Remember Benny “the Jet” Rodriquez from the Sandlot? The one that all the girls had a crush on growing up? Well Christina met her ‘Benny’ when she was in just seventh grade while riding bikes around the neighborhood like most kids did. She saw her now fiancé, Jimmy, thought he looked like Benny, and immediately had a crush. And next year, they’re getting married 12-years to the day from when they started dating.
Which brings us to the Engagement Session. I won’t say much more because I’m dying over the photos and they speak for themselves, but to sum it up – Jimmy is a pilot, so Christina had this idea to rent a vintage air plane and complete the look of the session with vintage luggage. Like I usually am with my brides, Christina and I were completely on the same page, super excited about the whole idea behind the session and what we were going to do creatively. But, I will say – it was even more exciting to see Jimmy completely in his element – like a kid in a candy store – surrounded by beautiful planes and talking to the owner about all things aviation. Folks, the excitement you see on his face (about the airplane and his beautiful fiancé) is 100% real. We had a blast. Congrats Christina + Jimmy, can’t wait for the wedding!
It’s not very often that I don’t meet my bride and groom before the wedding day. Usually I meet with my prospective clients in person before signing a contract, we do an engagement session, or at some point before the wedding day grab a cup of coffee or a drink. But, since Erin + Tony live in Las Vegas, it was difficult to schedule something. So, I’ll admit I was a little nervous walking into the bridal suite that day not knowing what I was getting myself into…. what if we didn’t click? What if we didn’t feel each other’s vibe? Both things that are so important when working with my couples… and in about 3 seconds of meeting Erin – all my fears went away.
Erin is sweet and welcoming. And then I met Tony who was next door getting ready – and he was just as kind. They were both as nice of a couple as I could have asked for – and the wedding day, despite the moments of rain – flowed perfectly. Friends and family had a great time as we celebrated the start of Erin + Tony’s new life together. Erin + Tony smiled their way through the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception… and it just really never gets old seeing such a happy couple together. Congrats to the newlyweds!
VENDOR CREDITS // Wedding Dress Designer: Maggie Sottero, The Crystal Bride | Bridesmaid Dress Designer: House of Brides | Tuxedo Designer: GQ Formalwear | Hair Stylst: Mary Smrstik Dombkowski | Videographer: ojo Creative | Florist: Kathleen, Romance in Blooms | Cake Artist: The Cakery | DJ: DJUJ | Ceremony/Reception Venue: Riverside Receptions
Kathleen + Chris met senior year of high school but didn’t begin hanging out until Chris visited U of I to see all his Northside College Prep friends, one of which happened to be Kathleen’s cousin. They immediately hit it off and enjoyed each other’s company, however the timing didn’t really work itself out until Senior Year. And once Kathleen moved back to Chicago where Chris lived, their love took over. They started dating, and a year later moved in together. Fast forward six years off bliss, Chris asked Kathleen to spend the rest of her life with him on top the city where it all started, on the 95th floor of the John Hancock.
It was clear on their wedding day that years later, Kathleen + Chris still have fun together. They are constantly laughing, kissing, and just being happy. They are so happy that I found myself smiling behind the camera with them most of the day. Kathleen + Chris, I would wish you a happy life together, but you seem to already have that one in the bag 🙂 Congrats!
VENDOR CREDITS // Wedding Dress Designer: Essence of Australia, Haute & Co. Bridal Boutique | Tailor/Custom Balero: Michelle Post, MPost Designers | Bridesmaid Dress Designer: Bill Levkoff, Reddington Bridal | Tuxedo Designer: Calvin Klein, Men’s Warehouse | Hair Stylist: Dana, Pin Me Up Chicago | Make-Up Artist: Sonia Roselli, Sami Young | Florist: Stephanie Stopka, Flowers by Stem | Cake Artist: Oak Mill Bakery | DJ: Brent Rolland, Fig Weddings | Paper Goods Designer: Etsy Squared Wedding Press, Zolla Lopez | Ceremony Venue: St. Michael’s in Old Town | Reception Venue: The Westin O’Hare | Photo Booth: Nick Harvey, Fotio | Transportation: Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. | Videographer: Ethan Nicolopolous and Tony Petersen
Meg + Matt’s Wedding at Floating World Gallery in Lincoln Park was the epitome of an intimate day celebrating their love – surrounded by their favorite people, favorite foods, and favorite photos of themselves during the time of their engagement. Neither Meg nor Matt had a worry in the world that day, except making sure the other was happy. We heard stories from their loved ones, talking about how they first met – how no one was ever good enough until they met one another – and we watched the subtle affections and gestures they quietly made towards one another when they thought no one was watching. It was a beautiful wedding day – one that warmed my heart and soul. Meg + Matt, I’m so happy to have worked with you on both the Engagement Photos and your Wedding Day, and I hope to work with you again soon!
VENDOR CREDITS // Wedding Dress Designer: Maggie Sottero | Bridesmaid Dress Designer: Wtoo, Brideside | Tuxedo Designer: Alfani, Macy’s | Wedding Coordinator: Allen Nicols, Floating World Gallery | Florist: Costco | Cake Artist: Whole Foods and Sprinkles Cupcakes | DJ: Charizma Entertainment | Ceremony and Reception Venue: Floating World Gallery | Caterers: Noodles & Co., 5411 Empanadas
A few weeks ago, I spent a couple days out of the office to learn from one of the best in the industry – Roberto Valenzuela. I love going to workshops like this because it gives me an opportunity to see things the way other photographers see them. To learn from others. To gain perspective. To keep me on my toes and always keep my creative juices flowing. I never want to stop learning. And I never want to stop pushing myself. What I can do next and what are the steps that will take me there are things that are always on my mind – it’s a personal thing, but most importantly, it helps me give my couples the best photos that I can give them. Not only did I learn about Roberto’s amazing Picture Perfect Posing techniques, but I learned some incredible lighting tricks that I have already incorporated into my last two weddings that, for lack of better words, have blown my mind.
Surrounding myself with other talented photographers not only pushes me to be better, but gives me a chance to make new friends and colleagues as well. Shout-out to all of my fellow workshop attendees – standing up in front of a group of photographers and having to pose/shoot is terrifying, but we all did it – and we’re better for it. HUGE thanks to Roberto Valenuzuela (and Collin Pierson for helping) for putting on a fun 2-day workshop and sharing your insights, experiences, opinions, and techniques.
Photo Credit (above): Collin Pierson
Photo Credit (above): Collin Pierson
Where do I begin with these two amazing people? Caitlin + Phong live in D.C. Caitlin’s family is from southern Michigan and Phong’s family is from Vietnam, so when choosing a place for their wedding, they landed on Chicago as a central and easy(-ish) destination to get to for everyone, and it also happened to be where Caitlin + Phong took their first vacation together. Being a photographer himself, Phong was very particular when it came to choosing his wedding photographer discovered me on Style Me Pretty. After chatting on the phone with Caitlin + Phong, the stars aligned and brought this wonderful couple to me.
Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate with us on their wedding day – but instead of hiding under the cover of the pillars at Union Station, Caitlin + Phong decided they wanted to brave the rain and see what we could do along the Chicago River. And let me tell you, their courage and ability to roll with the punches all day long enabled us to get some of the best photos of any wedding – rain or shine. Caitlin + Phong, thank you for being so kind and positive on what could have been a frustrating and stressful day because of the weather. Your hearts were so full of love for each other, did you even notice it was raining? Hope you love the photos and love married life even more.
VENDOR CREDITS // Photography: Jill Tiongco Photography | Venue: Adler Planetarium | Officiant: Jamar Walker | Florist: Steve’s Flower Market | Hair & Makeup: Diem Angie Nguyen | DJ: Phil Szaflarski, Manna Music | Cake: Dairy Queen | Lighting: Elegant Event Lighting