Elizabeth Nord Photography » Everyone has a story. Let me tell yours.

Naomi and David met at the University of Michigan back in 2005 and began dating a few years later. For years, they had a long distance relationship while David was in medical school and Naomi was in graduate school in Chicago. One day, David came to visit her in Chicago as he often did, but this time was different. David surprised Naomi at her old home in the Gold Coast by asking her to marry him and then by taking her and their adorable dog Butters on a long walk along the lake.

The wedding day was something out of a dream. They lucked out on one of the warmest and sunniest days we’ve had in Chicago so far this year! They wanted their portraits to incorporate the beautiful Chicago skyline and building architecture so Milton Lee Olive Park and the Wrigley Building were the perfect places for that. Naomi and David are a couple after my own heart. They had everything organized and ready for me to photograph, greeted me with a hug me as I walked in the door, and were smiling from ear to ear the entire day. They were down for anything, trusted me completely, and were just SO excited to be marrying one another.

There’s so many things that I loved about their wedding day. I loved how Naomi and David chose to incorporate their dog Butters into the wedding details – on a ring that one of the bridesmaids wore and as a part of their wedding cake topper. SO cute! For their first look, they chose to read the letters they wrote to one another back-to-back, before turning around to see one another. It was precious to witness their reactions – I can’t get enough of first looks! I also really loved the gold sequin dresses that the ladies got from Rent The Runway and the floral bouquets made by Allium Floral Designs. They were stunning!

Osteria Via Stato was the perfect venue for an intimate celebration with their closest family and friends, plus their food is incredible! Naomi and David ended the night with a sparkler exit and a night photo in front of the restaurant. I love being able to capture at least one dramatic night shot for my couples at the very end of the night. It’s always so much fun and is a great time to break away from the party for just a few moments to enjoy some YOU time.

Naomi and David, I’m so incredibly excited to see what all you guys do together from here on out. You are such a sweet couple and I loved working with you throughout the entire wedding planning process. I wish you guys all the happiness in the world! It was truly an honor to capture your love.

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I loved photographing this wedding as a second photographer for my friend at Maria Harte Photography! Jillian and Gary were such sweethearts and I loved all of their details! They had an outdoor ceremony and indoor reception at the Galleria Marchetti in Chicago. It began to rain just before the ceremony began, but they continued anyway. Two of her brothers officiated the ceremony and it was the sweetest! All of her details were so classically beautiful, bright, and happy. I also loved that their first dance was a choreographed ballroom dance to Muse’s Madness, which was the first song they heard on the jukebox radio when they met each other for the first time.

Congratulations Jillian and Gary!

The Wit Hotel Wedding Chicago

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On Katelin and Dan’s first date, they went to the famous “Bean” statue and then to Gino’s East in downtown Chicago, so choosing Millennium Park for their engagement session was the perfect way to tell how their love story began. From that day on, a tradition began where each year, Katelin and Dan would go back to the bean for a photo in front of it. This year…their engagement photo. Next year… their wedding photo! I love this tradition. It’s a great way to look back on all the years they’ve been together, to see how they’ve changed, and to reflect on what all they’ve accomplished together. Katelin and Dan are so much fun to be around and some of the sweetest people I’ve photographed. I know their wedding next January at the Kimpton Hotel Allegro is going to be filled with so much laughter and joy! I can’t wait!

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The start of these friendships started over a glass of wine as I met Elizabeth (Liz) Greve for the first time at Eataly. I had just moved to Chicago in the fall of 2014 and didn’t know a soul, so the thought of getting together with other photographers in the industry was incredibly exciting to me! To make a super long story short, I met Liz, then Maria over coffee at Soho House, and then Nicki at the first ever Tuesdays Together meet up that was held at my house in June of 2015. We all clicked. Individually and as a group… which is so rare. Whenever one of us isn’t around, it just doesn’t feel complete. We love each other in our best and even in our worst. These ladies are the real deal!

After about a year of dreaming about taking a road trip together, deciding on Tennessee, and planning our stops, we made our way down to my home state! We made a quick pit stop in Elizabethtown, KY because when you have two Elizabeth’s in the car…it’s a must. We then arrived to Brentwood (a town just about 20 minutes outside of Nashville) to my aunt’s house where we stayed for the next two nights.

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Kesley and Kurt began their love story when they met in college at the University of Iowa. I loved getting to hear more about their love story and what all they’ve accomplished since then. They are both so incredibly sweet and smart! Kesley and Kurt expressed to me at our initial meeting that they wanted warm weather and spring colors for the engagement session so this past weekend was the perfect opportunity. Cantigny Park was where they chose to do the session and it did not disappoint! With the beautiful purple trees, yellow buttercups, and multicolored tulips in full bloom, this session was a spring lovers dream. They chose the perfect outfits for this location too, don’t you think?

Kesley and Kurt are such cuties and I cannot wait for their wedding at Pinstripes this October!!

chicago best wedding photos

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Wedding season is now in full swing here in Chicago and I am thrilled to have begun the spring season with an amazing couple like Stella and David. Stella, the owner of a beautiful clothing store called Stella315, originally met David a few years ago through mutual friends. They fell in love soon after becoming friends and David proposed to Stella at the Chicago Botanical Gardens on their one year anniversary. We decided that the Chicago Botanical Gardens would be the perfect place for their engagement photos and you can see those HERE! As I walked in the hotel room on their wedding day, Stella had her beautiful Lazaro wedding gown hanging on the window seal and next to it were her Monolo Blahnik heels. As you can imagine, my detail-loving heart just exploded. The floral bouquets were absolutely stunning as well. They definitely go in my all time favorites book – KH Flowers did such an amazing job on those!

Stella told me how she went from hotel to hotel to find the one with the best interiors for portraits and man, did she deliver! The Loews Chicago O’Hare hotel was perfect for photos… neutral colors, bright with natural light and even some darker areas that made for some beautifully dramatic bridal portraits. I love how much detail went into their wedding day and how they chose to start the rest of their lives together. They were surrounded by their closest family and friends – laughing and dancing the whole day. There was never a doubt about how excited they were to become husband and wife. They simply radiated happiness!

Their ceremony and reception were held at Stonegate Banquets in Hoffman Estates, which was perfectly decorated with classic and royal colors like white, pinks, and gold. It took no time at all for this crew to get dancing! They were all so much fun to photograph on the dance floor!  You’ll just have to check out the last few photos in this post to see what I’m talking about! From the moment David saw Stella for the first time to the tearful moments during Stella’s sisters’ speech, there were so many beautiful memories made on their wedding day. I know these two are going to create even more beautiful moments together throughout their marriage and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have been a part of their love story. Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Lim!

 

lazaro bridal gown

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Once again, I fall in love with photographing branding sessions! I think it’s because small business owners, like myself, hold a special place in my heart. I love every chance I get to help other creatives succeed, cheer them on, and provide images for them to help elevate their website and social media accounts. For this session, I met Rachael at her home office in Glendale Heights, IL where I was greeted with hugs, champagne, and petit fours. THE BEST, right?! Rachael has been in business for a year now and has been rocking it! She particularly loves doing month-of coordination for her clients but loves to do full service planning as well. She is inspired by bubbly, unicorns, and sparkles which obviously attracts incredibly fun and outgoing clients to her business! Rachael also spent a good amount of time living in London so you’ll see dashes of London inspiration throughout her office.

Grab some coffee and stay a while… You’re going to love these photos of Rachael Steacy Events!

branding session

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Hey friends!! The past few weeks have been so much fun, but a little hectic to say the least 🙂 From travels, to photo shoots, and getting ready for wedding season to kick off, I’ve been going a million miles a minute. Ordering take out, letting the dishes pile up, and having the laundry sit in the washer way too long has become the norm over the last few days in the Nord household. EEK! Anyone else with me?! 🙂

I’m so excited to finally blog our amazing trip to Seattle that we took back in February! The last time I was in Seattle was with my mother in law back in 2007. She took me on a girls trip – just she and I. It will always be such a fond memory that we share together, but while there, we definitely missed our “boys.”  I told Vince that he would have to come back with me one day and nearly 8 years later it actually happened! Our trip was just as amazing as we expected it would be.

There’s tons of things to do in Seattle, even on rainy days! But first, no trip to Seattle is complete without spending an entire day at the Pike Place Market

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From the fresh water lakes to the snow covered mountains, Whistler was absolutely beautiful. Vincent, my life-long friend Caroline, and her husband, met in Seattle this past January to make the drive to Whistler, Canada. The drive itself was simply stunning and we really couldn’t have asked for much better weather while we were there. The sun made skiing and walking to the village so nice! 30 degree skiing? I’ll take it!

It had always been a dream of Caroline and mine to travel together, so we figured after nearly 20 years of waiting, we had waited long enough! Our husbands spent so many hours planning this trip for all of us and it was so much fun anticipating this trip. From the late night hot tubbing to soak our soar muscles to the time I snowboarded down the “bunny” slope with my eyes closed the whole way down, I will always remember this trip with them and the memories that we made there.

canadian flag

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Oh my goodness, where to even start with this session?! I had so much fun getting to photograph Mallory and John at their beautiful home in Glenview! Mallory is not only a sweet friend of mine, but also the incredibly talented owner and lead planner at Chi Chic Weddings & Events here in Chicago. When she asked me to come photograph her family at their home, I was so excited! I fell in love with their blue house as soon as I pulled up the driveway and their kitchen, which included white cabinets and marble countertops (can we say dream kitchen!!), was the perfect backdrop for some of their indoor portraits! I especially loved getting to meet their dog, Roo! SUCH a cutie!!

Oh and can I just say that I have some amazingly talented friends? Mallory’s makeup was done by Bianca Sansosti who is seriously one of the best! I feel so lucky to get to hang out with these ladies while I work, whether it’s for their own sessions or on a wedding day! 🙂

chicago engagement session

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A few weeks ago, I traveled to San Francisco for the second annual Tuesdays Together Leaders Retreat! I loved getting to see the Honeybook office and room with three wonderful ladies that I met at last years retreat in Charleston, SC! Go check them all out – Shaunae with Shaunae Teske Photography (Green Bay, WI leader), Callie with Komma Designs (Reno, NV leader) and Morgan with Morgan Anderson Photography (Dayton, OH leader). I took so many photos and wanted to share them all with you, so the photos below are a mixture of iPhone photos, photos I took on my Nikon D750, as well as photos taken at the retreat by Laura & Rachel.

Besides getting to learn a ton, I think my favorite thing about these retreats is getting to hug all of my friends again. These leaders are spread out all over the world so getting to see them if only for a few days a year is such a treat! I also wanted to send a huge thank you to all of the amazing speakers who took time out of their crazy schedules to talk to us about how to become better and stronger leaders in our community. I’m so excited to take what I learned from this retreat and apply it to my group in 2017. Are you a creative entrepreneur based in Chicago that believes in community over competition? I’d love to have you at our next meet up! Join us here!

After the retreat, I got to visit with my sweet friend Kayla with Kayla Fletcher Photography who lives in San Francisco! We initially met when we both lived in Knoxville, TN so it was really fun getting to spend time with her, eat at her favorite local spots, and explore the touristy as well as the not-so-touristy areas of San Francisco. She took me to see the Full House house, the Painted Ladies, San Francisco City Hall, as well as Sausalito which was SUPER cute! Thanks for taking me around the city, Kayla!! I loved seeing San Francisco through your eyes!

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Can I just say that shopping for a man is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done? Because truly…guys are so hard to shop for! Girls, do you feel me?! However over the years, I’ve done tons of research. I’ve also listened and watched my husband, my dad, my brother, grooms, as well as their groomsmen.  On the wedding day, I’ve seen the groomsman’s face light up as he receives his thank you gift. I love when they excitedly show me the gift and want it photographed. Over the nearly 6 years that I’ve been in business, I’ve seen all sorts of amazing gifts and today I’m going to share some of my favorites with you all!

The main reason I am showing you these 5 favorites is because, first of all, they are practical! Unlike some gifts that you know are cute but they’re never use again, these gifts will be something they use over and over again. The second reason is because they are memorable! All of these gifts are customizable and are something that, when they look at it, they’ll be reminded of you and your wedding day! That’s pretty darn special if you ask me! So without further ado, here are my top 5 favorite groomsmen gifts!

bridal party present

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Leo and Sarah chose to celebrate their beautiful wedding in downtown Philadelphia at the Ballroom at the Ben. They decided on this location so that friends and family from New Jersey, Miami, Brazil, and everything in between could join them on their special day. For months we had anticipated snow and cold temperatures, but we were surprised with sunshine and 40 degree temps which was absolutely beautiful! We were like frolicking little kids once we went outside- we were so happy! I absolutely loved all the special attention that was put into their wedding day details. Their stationery featured a drawing of the Philadelphia skyline which incorporated the famous Liberty Bell, City Hall, and even the LOVE statue! Sarah gifted a pair of cufflinks to Leo that had the Alabama map on them. This was special to them both since they first met at a wedding in Alabama and it’s also where Leo proposed to Sarah a few years later 🙂 I’m also particularly fond of the florals Sarah chose for the bouquets. Tulips are one of my favorite flowers and who doesn’t love a classic all- white bouquet! Oh and believe it or not, but Sarah is the very first bride I’ve ever had to wear a fur wrap on their wedding day and I hope to see more of them! SOOOO pretty and cozy! The bridesmaids wore stunning navy sequin gowns and the groomsmen the most dapper navy suits. I had so much fun working with these group of friends at the top of the Loews Philadelphia Hotel and also on the streets of Elfreth’s Alley! Thank you guys for laughing with me and being up for anything!

Sarah had two first looks – one with her dad and one with Leo. There’s something so unique about a daddy-daughter first look and they never cease to give me all the feels! Anyone else?? Leo and Sarah were married at the Saint Augustine Catholic Church and celebrated with a travel themed reception at the stunning Ballroom at the Ben. I totally geeked out when I found out that it’s the same ballroom where they filmed the dance competition scene from Silver Linings Playbook! From Seattle to New York … Paris, France to Cairo, Egypt, each table was decorated with a different city where they had traveled together. The table “cards” were luggage tags with each guests name printed inside and the head table featured a globe with Leo and Sarah written on it. How cute is that?! It was such a beautiful day and I loved seeing the love that they share for one another. Nothing makes my heart happier than to photograph such genuine emotion and the kind of love that can move mountains. I’m thrilled that our paths crossed in Miami during Leynee and Doug’s wedding day and that I had the opportunity to travel to Philadelphia to capture their wedding too! I know I’ve said this a million times, but I’m so happy for you both!! Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Silveira!!

minted stationery

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Hi friends! If you keep up with me on Instagram (and especially on Insta Stories), you’ve probably seen that I’ve been traveling for the majority of January and February! I’ve been all over …. from coast to coast, and even to Canada! I’m finally back in Chicago and am excited about getting to share photos from all of these amazing places with you all.

Thanks to my amazing friends and clients, Leo and Sarah, I had the opportunity to travel to Philadelphia for the first time to photograph their beautiful wedding day! I was able to come a few days early with my husband, Vince, so we could meet the family, location scout, explore the city with friends. I immediately fell in love with its rich history, gorgeous architecture, and their famous cheesesteaks! Below are some of my favorite sights from our trip!

Post office on 925 Chestnut St

philadephia city hall

 

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As a wedding photographer, I get to witness and capture some of the most precious moments in your lives. From the moment you put on your wedding dress to the moment you dance the night away, I am there, clicking away and ready to capture even the smallest of moments for you to treasure for a lifetime. Throughout my years of wedding photography experience, I’ve learned to anticipate these moments before they happen, which is how I’m able to capture such special memories for my clients. While moments are sometimes approached in a similar way the result, the surroundings, the PEOPLE are never the same. These are among my favorites from each wedding that I had the honor of photographing in 2016. My goal when photographing wedding is to not only tell the wedding day sorry and to capture my clients’ personalities, but also to let those that were unable to attend feel as though they were there with you every step of the way. I hope you all love these special moments as much as I loved photographing them!

I’m beyond excited to capture more beautiful memories like these for my 2017 (and 2018!! woohoo!) clients. To my 2016 clients, thank you for trusting, loving, and supporting me wholeheartedly throughout the wedding day planning, the day itself, and even after. I couldn’t feel more lucky to have you all in my life!
surprise roses from husband

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This past Saturday afternoon, I had the chance to work with these two cuties! Naomi and David are high school sweethearts and have been engaged for 2 years now! They were so excited to have an engagement session documenting this special time in their lives.  I love any chance I get to spend time with other fellow high school sweethearts! 🙂 After some discussion, we decided that we would start the session at the Garfield Park Conservatory. From there, we would make our way downtown for some outdoor pictures along the riverwalk and some at-home photos with their dog Butters! Who, by the way, I am now obsessed with. Photographing in 20 degree weather next to the river is no joke… it wouldn’t be a classic Chicago winter session without a pit stop for coffee along the way! They treated me to a latte at the adorable Goddess and the Baker on Wacker and I am in love! Such a cute place!

From the very first click of my shutter, I told them that they were naturals and I meant it!! The genuine laughter, cuddles, and smiles made my photographer heart soar. I cannot wait to photograph their wedding at Osteria Via Stato in Chicago this May!!

 

best places for engagement session

 

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Hi friends! Throughout the year, you get to see all the beautiful images that I take at each wedding that I photograph, but what you don’t usually get to see is all the hilarious “outtakes” or what I like to call the Behind-The-Scenes photos of me and my second shooters photographing all the gorgeousness! This is definitely my FAVORITE blog post of the year!

These photos are a compilation of lighting test shots, moments where we were being funny, or from when we snapped a photo of each other during a spare moment … just to capture ourselves in our exhausted, sweaty, hair-up-in-a-pony glory. These photos make me laugh as I’m editing my weddings, but I feel they shouldn’t be just for my own enjoyment! I save them all in a special folder so that at the end of the year, I can compile them into a huge blog post for you all to laugh and shake your head through! We can’t take ourselves too seriously, y’all! 😉

Without further ado, please enjoy these crazy photos as I hide underneath a blanket from embarrassment haha! Oh the faces I can make!

 

 

I get way too excited about riding in trolleys!

abbey farms wedding

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This past weekend I flew to New York to spend a long weekend for a girls trip! From our brunch at the Plaza to watching the Rockettes, it was an unbelievable weekend full of fun memories together. Check out all of our adventures below!

The Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel

You will definitely need to book a reservation a few weeks in advance for this place. Also be sure to BE ON TIME! They mean business! I also want to mention that it’s worth the hype. The eggs benedict and the steak and eggs were both SO yummy! Can’t beat it!

 

Wedding Photographer

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When Jackie and Kyle first contacted me back in July, I immediately felt a connection to them. They told me their story and about how they’d always wanted to adopt. They were so excited for this new chapter in their lives! I met them over coffee, discussed what they were hoping for during their sessions, talked about the possibility of me coming to the hospital as they meet their baby for the first time, and everything in between. As newborn/hospital photography is not something that I typically photograph, we laughed, saying “Well, this is a first  for the both of us!” I was thrilled to get the opportunity to document such a special time in their lives!

For their first session, I met Jackie and Kyle at their sweet home in Wicker Park for a “before the baby” session documenting the newly decorated nursery and them as they normally are in their home. The next time I saw Jackie and Kyle, was after I received a text at 1:30am the Monday before Thanksgiving. I immediately got dressed, grabbed my camera, and headed straight to the hospital where the birth mother was in labor. I was only there an hour before the baby (Charlie Grace) made her way into the world. Spending this time with them was incredibly special. Documenting the first time they got to see and hold their brand new baby girl was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The last session I had with them was to document Charlie and all of her cuteness at her new home. She was the most perfect little angel and did so well for me!  Thank you Jackie and Kyle for asking me to photograph this all for you guys and for trusting me with everything! It was such an honor to be a part of all of this! I will forever feel connected to you all and to Charlie Grace in more ways than one! 🙂

You can read more about their story below!

adoption-waiting-001

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If I could take branding images for CHI Chic Weddings & Events every day, I totally would. We shared so many smiles and laughs during this session! This wedding and event planning company’s brand speaks to my deep love for Kate Spade, so it was easy to see why I fell in love with their office space! The ladies behind CHI Chic Weddings & Events are truly one of a kind. I cannot say enough sweet things about them. They’re all incredibly smart, talented, professional, witty, and beautiful so you would be without a doubt in wonderful hands when you hire them. Mallory, the owner and lead planner, graduated from Northwestern with a degree in communication studies and business. She began her career as a planner shortly after planning her own wedding in 2012 and now specializes in celebrations of all types, budgets, and sizes! Whether you are planning to have 100 guests or 1000, she will give you a wedding day celebration that is elegant, stylish, and one you’ll never forget.

To the CHI Chic team… thank you for asking me to create these gorgeous branding images for your company! I love working with you all and am excited for more opportunities to work together in 2017!


team of wedding planners

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Marcie and Eugene were married earlier this month at the gorgeous Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, Michigan. Everyone in attendance would tell you that it was the most beautiful day and we couldn’t have asked for better weather! It was warm during the day, cool at night, and oh my word at the COLORS!!! You’ll just have to see for yourself. 🙂 Marcie and I met in January of this year and I actually didn’t get to meet Eugene (who was living in New York at the time) until their engagement session a few months later. Marcie is so incredibly sweet and I loved every chance I got to meet up with her throughout the planning process! I knew by the way she talked about Eugene that he was a keeper. After meeting him for myself at their e-session, I could definitely see their love for one another and it was infectious.  I didn’t think it was possible, but I believe their love grew 10 fold on their wedding day. Those beautiful smiles never left their faces the entire wedding day and they were having so much fun together! Every detail was carefully thought out and planned to perfection. I loved that they had rented a ice cream sandwich station from Cool Jack’s and that Marcie and her dad planned a surprise dance for everyone at the reception! I especially love that they snuck away from the dancing for a quick minute so that we could get an epic night shot at the end of the night! Gotta LOVE when clients trust you with capturing some amazingly fun photos!

 

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Yesterday night, the Chicago Tuesdays Together group met to support the non-profit company Letters in Motion. L.I.M’s goal is to bring awareness to the literacy gap and to encourage the children in Nepal and Kenya to advance academically. We also wrote our letters to these orphans and small children to bring them hope, encouragement, and love. It’s such a powerful thing to let someone, that you’ve never even met, know that they are loved and special. We had so much fun creating these letters together and I can’t wait to do more things like this with our amazing group! A huge thank you to Lovely Bastian who hosted us at her shared studio in River North!

You can learn more about the story behind Letters in Motion, their goals, and upcoming trips to deliver these letters on their website at www.lettersinmotion.org

 

Chicago Tuesdays Together

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If you’re a lover of white, blues, and grays like I am, then you’re in luck! This wedding is simply a dream!  Malori and Tyler’s wedding day was filled with the most elegant and romantic details that were perfectly put together by Kelly with Five Grain Events. Tyler is an entrepreneur and just created a company in which he will sell Italian leather mens dress shoes. All of the groomsmen’s shoes were from his new company and they looked amazing! I truly adored the simplicity in Malori’s getting ready details and the invitation suite they chose for their wedding. Her all lace dress is to die for!

They had the most beautiful wedding ceremony at the First Presbyterian Church in Evanston, where the sanctuary aisle was lined with lit candlesticks. I absolutely loved the way the candles created such a peaceful and joyful ambiance. The musical talent of the singers and words from the preacher left many in tears as they watched Malori and Tyler say their vows to one another.

Later that evening, they celebrated their reception at the Hotel Orrington. The bridal party had everyone laughing, cheering on their feet, and dancing along with them as they entered the party. The tables were decorated with classic all white details, gold chargers and paired with gold chiavari chairs. The dance floor was never empty thanks to the amazingly talented band, Sway Chicago! My favorite part of the reception was probably was the money dance! It was SO much fun to photograph!

Lastly, I just want to say congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Kirsch! You guys are so amazingly sweet. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to know you guys more and to photograph such a beautiful love story!

 

northwestern campus photos

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Yesterday, I shared the first part of our Gracefully Wed workshop which included a gorgeous wedding styled shoot and today I’m sharing our beautiful styled engagement session with you all as well as all about Day 2 at Swig! Shaunae and I felt that it was important to not only share how we would pose couples and interact with them on a wedding day, but also how we approach an engagement session! We talked about the importance of guiding them with their clothing choices, hair and makeup, as well as timing of day and locations for their shoot. Be sure to check out Shaunae’s blog about this day as well!

On day 2, we all gathered at Swig, an awesome restaurant in the Third Ward. At each seat, we had an amazing swag bag full of goodies and discounts from our amazing sponsors! We dove right into our presentations as soon as everyone arrived! Shaunae presented her client workflow from the initial email to the end of the wedding day…and beyond! Shaunae amazes me with her genuine love for making her clients feel adored and appreciated! After lunch, I began my presentation on how to grow your business with branding, marketing, networking, and getting your work published! We were so happy to hear how much our attendees learned, and how they left with full notebooks and their brains hurting 😉

To our attendees, we love each and every one of you! We cannot wait to see where your business takes you in the future! Come see me in Chicago anytime!

 

Engagement photos

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Once upon a time a girl met a friend at a Rising Tide Society leaders retreat in Charleston, SC… no, but seriously 😉 Shaunae and I met last January at a leaders retreat and became instant friends. After keeping up with one another, admiring one another on social media, and Shaunae visiting me in Chicago for a Honeybook event, we sat on my couch drinking wine and dreaming big dreams together. We had talked about possibly doing a workshop together a few months prior, but as we sat on the couch that night, we decided to make this dream a reality! We had each hosted separate workshops in 2015, and were so excited to be working together for our 2nd wedding photography workshop. Our goal was to really showcase the beauty of the midwest in our styled shoot, and what better place than at Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin?!

Last week was an amazing adventure. It was truly better than either Shaunae or I could have ever imagined and we feel so blessed to have had such an amazing group of vendors, sponsors, models, and venues! Even the hotel we stayed at was a dream. We truly had the best group of attendees and I love this photo of all of us together! The group photo below as well as all of the behind the scenes images from the workshop were taken by my sweet and talented friend Maria Harte Photography!

Lastly, I want to say thank you to all of our amazing attendees! You are the reason this workshop happened and it’s because of you that we’re able to follow our dreams of teaching! We know you are all destined for amazing things in your lives and in your business! We can’t wait to see what you guys do next!

Today, I’ll be sharing all of the images that I took from the 1st day’s afternoon wedding styled shoot as well as some of the behind the scenes images that Maria took for us! You’ll definitely want to check out Shaunae’s blog as well to see the images that she captured from the shoot! No doubt that they’re beautiful! Tomorrow, check back for the 1st day’s morning engagement session styled shoot and to find out all about day 2 of the workshop!! I cannot wait to share this all with you guys!

The Gracefully Wed Wedding Photography WorkshopOur amazing vendor dream team…
Styling & Stationery – Mint and Lovely Studios
Rentals, Table Settings – Pottery Barn
Hair & Makeup – Makeup by Jaycie
Jewelry, Shoes, & Veil – The Left Bank Jewelry & Bridal Finery
Wedding Rings – Alyssa & Anna Fine Jewelry
Linens- BBJ Linen
Wedding Models- Anne Kenny and Chad
Venue- Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum
Suit Rental – The Black Tux
Floral – Ebb & Flow Flowers
Macarons- Cake and Cookie
Floral State Sign – Lovely Retro Renos
Styling Boards – Curio and Oak

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These high school sweethearts have been together for nearly 12 years now and just a few weeks ago, they tied the knot! It was fitting to have the Chicago skyline in the background of some of their portraits because Efrain proposed to Amanda one night at Navy Pier at the top of the Ferris Wheel. Down below them, their family and friends held up signs that said “Amanda, will you marry me?” I can only imagine the surprise on Amanda’s face! Two very special days began next to Lake Michigan!

Y’all know my intense love for special details and this wedding had lots of them! Amanda’s aunt including the sweetest letter inside her bridal clutch that I cannot get over. I adored Amanda’s pink and jeweled Betsy Johnson flats and the fact that she wore her great grandmother’s bracelet on her wedding day. Another special detail that they incorporated into their day was Efrain’s cufflinks and Amanda’s bouquet, which included photos of some of their late relatives.

Amanda and Efrain were married at the St. Michael The Archangel Catholic Church. This church is absolutely stunning with its ornate details, stained glass windows, and balcony access! Later that evening, they had one amazing reception filled with laughter, love, and of course, dancing!! From the hydrangea centerpieces, mini Don Julio bottles, to the Garrett’s popcorn bags on each table, this reception at Tuscany Falls in Mokena, IL is one you won’t want to miss!

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Paniagua!

 


tuscany-falls-wedding029

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It’s always so exciting to get to photograph couples a second time or even for years and years to come! Being their go-to photo gal and the one they trust with capturing the special moments in their lives is such an amazing thing to me! I was thrilled to hear from Ann again a months ago when she emailed me about surprising her husband Andrew with a Chicago anniversary session at the Shedd Aquarium.  If you follow along on the blog, you may recognize this couple from their proposal at the end of the Chicago Marathon in October 2015! Ann was back to run the marathon again, this year.  Upon asking Andrew why he didn’t run this year, he said “I decided not to run this year or maybe even ever again.  I couldn’t top last year!” SO sweet!

Ann decided she wanted to make this a fun surprise for Andrew, so upon arriving to the Aquarium, he had no idea what was in store. Greeting them with hugs and surprises seem to be a trend with these two now! 🙂 Andrew wore a gray suit with a blue tie which complemented perfectly with Ann, who wore a beautiful chiffon dress from J.Crew! She even got her hair and makeup done by one of my friends, Bianca Sansosti Artistry! I was excited to photograph around the Shedd Aquarium because it features stunning Chicago skyline and harbor views as well as some nature and architectural backgrounds! What’s your favorite part about this amazing location?

 

Architecture at the Shedd

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I would love for all of you to meet these three beautiful ladies from Storybook Weddings and Events! I had the pleasure of photographing them to celebrate the launch of their new brand a few weeks ago at Nicole’s office in Palatine, IL.

Nicole (middle) is the owner and lead planner of Storybook. She first began her career at Walt Disney World managing the logistics of events there as well as working as a special events manager for one of Chicago’s top catering companies. From there, she decided to start her own event planning company, which is when Storybook Weddings and Events was founded. She is the north suburbs leader of her Tuesday’s Together group (which is a part of the Rising Tide Society), has won multiple awards and recognitions with NACE and ILEA, and continues to be a rising star in the wedding industry.

Lindsay (left) started working as an on-air radio talent, but eventually began working in the hospitality industry leading her to her career as a wedding planner! She is so happy to have finally found her passion in planning and cannot image doing anything else! She spent the majority of her life in Ohio and NYC, and is a perfect mix of the two lifestyles!  Lindsay pays great attention to even the smallest of details, ensuring your event will be flawless!

Lisa (right) joined the Storybook team in January of 2015 and has experience planning events all over the world. From music festivals to corporate gatherings, she has a wide range of expertise and creativity. Her sweet and bubbly personality is one that everyone relate to. She loves incorporating new and before-the-trend details into events that she plans!

 

Chicago Wedding Planner Storybook Weddings and Events

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One year ago, Stella and David met through mutual friends. This summer, David surprised Stella by asking her to marry him at the same location they chose to do their engagement photos: The Chicago Botanical Garden! Even though I’ve lived in Chicago for over 2 years now, I’d never made it up to the Chicago Botanical Gardens. I had heard how beautiful it was and even saw photos online, but nothing compares to seeing it firsthand! It’s such a beautiful place and was the perfect spot for their engagement session! Despite their hot and summery proposal day, their engagement session started off raining like crazy! This didn’t matter though and I was so excited to hear Stella say “I’ve always wanted a rainy engagement session!” Immediately I thought, “Ok! YESSSS! Then we’re going to ROCK this!” She began the session wearing an adorable off the shoulder hunter green sweater dress, black Hunter boots, and a khaki colored rain jacket that coordinated perfectly with Davids khaki pants and multicolored shirt. Stella even hunted all over the city to find a clear umbrella that they could use just for this occasion! After about 30 minutes of rain, we were gifted with an opening of only clouds with a little drizzle of rain here and there. It was PERFECT for photos! Later on, they changed into a more formal outfit which I adored! She wore a beautiful white and blue floral dress along with a pair of blue Manolo Blahnik satin pumps and he wore a nice blue shirt with navy dress pants. Did they know my favorite color is blue!? 🙂 I had so much fun exploring the Chicago Botanical Gardens with these two and cannot wait to celebrate their marriage with them in March!

Chicago botanical gardens engagement session photos

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