Mara + Jason (are you ready for this) met on Tinder. Yep, it’s official. They’re my first couple to meet on Tinder, and prove to all the critics of the well-known dating app that love can be found by swiping right 🙂 And these two are a great match. They laughed together throughout the entire Engagement Session, and truly had amazing chemistry. We explored the Lincoln Park South Pond and finished the session at one of their favorite date spots – Yard House. Mara + Jason, I can’t wait for your wedding next year. I’m so glad we got to get to know each other a little better and I look forward to working together over the next year up until your wedding day! Until then, happy planning and enjoy this exciting time in your lives (hopefully with many more dates to Yard House).
Eve + Brad met at a college party a few years ago and are tying the knot up in Green Bay, Wisconsin next year. Before then, they wanted to capture a few moments of them hanging out near their apartment. We spent some time walking around the Lincoln Park South Pond, wandered our way through the softball fields, and ended up along Lake Michigan at North Avenue Beach. Not a bad way to spend a beautiful Monday night 🙂 Eve + Brad, congratulations on the Engagement and I wish you nothing but the best in your future together! Thanks for letting me hangout with you for the night!
I love telling the story of my couples. However, I usually put them into my own words, through my eyes and through my lens, but the way Melissa talks about the experience is simply unbeatable. I have to give it to you word for word.
“In life there are good days, but September 4th, 2015 was a truly perfect day…. (Her Story) Earlier in the week, Patrick told me he had a work party to attend on Friday at High Line Tavern. He said all of his work colleagues would be there and wanted me to come with him. Well, Friday came, and after work I rushed over to Patrick’s to hurry and get ready for the evening. I wanted to look my best since we were attending his work party! Instead, we got caught up watching “Bachelor in Paradise” on TV and soon realized the time. I was now in a panic trying to hurry and get ready and in my rush, I just throw on some clothes and we headed out the door. In heels and walking fast, we came up to the Kinzie Bridge; it is one of the most beautiful places in Chicago to take in the city skyline. I noticed a couple taking what looked like engagement photos and remember thinking, “How sweet!” As we stood there for a moment taking in the view, and resting my feet from our speed walking, I looked over and Patrick was on one knee! My heart dropped and it was as if time stood still. I couldn’t believe it. This was happening. I’d waited my whole life for this moment. There was no question, no hesitation, of course I said “YES!” My fairytale was now a reality. And he’d even gone as far as arranging a photographer to capture our moment on the bridge! He is so thoughtful. I was beaming in happiness. But it didn’t stop there… Naturally, all I wanted to do was call my family (and every other person I’d ever met for that matter!!) but Patrick asked that we please just go on to High Line Tavern first. He quickly admitted that it wasn’t a work party after all, but rather some of his family was there waiting for us so we could celebrate our engagement! Well, sure enough, we walk in the door, and there in front of me was my family and his family and some of our close friends! I couldn’t believe it. He’d thought of everything. My family!! My family all flew in. It was the greatest night of my life and I was honored to be sharing it with our family, friends and most importantly, the man of my dreams. Even now I pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming! This is real. This is my fairytale! I couldn’t be more honored and blessed to know that I get to spend the rest of my life and grow old with such an amazing man.”
Melissa, from the way Patrick was looking at you all day, I am 100% certain that he feels just as lucky to be spending the rest of his life with you. My warmest congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Larmon!
VENDOR CREDITS // Wedding Dress Designer: Lazaro 320 | Bridesmaid Dresses Designer: Jenny Yoo – Aidan, Staci Darby – Wedding Stylist @ Nordstrom Oak Brook Suite: 630-571-2121 | Tuxedo Designer: Michael Kors, Savvi formalwear, contact person Barry: 847-965-5565 | Hair/Make-up Stylist: Francesca Ortale Makeup and Hair Artistry by Francesca, email@example.com/phone: 630-412-1244 | Videographer: Joe Mastrino, e: firstname.lastname@example.org/630.546.7210 | Florist: Maggie (Fasan) France Fasan Florist, 773-523-8564/www.fasanflorist.com | Band: Wedding Crashers, 801-231-0172 | Paper Goods Designer: Clyde Printing Co., Colleen Woulfe email@example.com | Ceremony Venue: Notre Dame Catholic Church | Reception Venue: Butterfield Country Club | Rings: Chicago Diamond Consultants, Peter Miller | Brides Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Event Planner: Alexander Lilly
Colleen + James met at a bar downtown Chicago through mutual friends. They kept it platonic for two years before they started dating, but four years later – here they are, getting married at the end of July! The proposal was quiet and intimate in their home. One morning while they were relaxing with their dog, James asked Colleen if she was sure she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. He got down on one knee, and that was that. There’s something about the simplicity of it that I just love. It sounds like something they’ll be doing for the rest of their lives together. Waking up, hanging with the dog, chatting about nothing… those are the moments we take for granted, aren’t they?
Before their wedding this summer, we decided it would be a good idea to get some practice in front of my camera – and I’m so glad we did. Colleen + James, it was wonderful getting to know you a little bit more! I can’t wait for the wedding and I hope I captured a few photos that you love in the meantime!
Erin + Ed actually walked down the aisle together four years ago, but not as a couple. They met through friends – one of Erin’s friends started dating Ed’s fraternity brother – so they were in the same place a few times but it wasn’t until May of 2012 that the universe did a little literary foreshadowing. They immediately hit it off, and by the end of the next month they were officially together. Three years later, Ed took Erin back to their first date spot for their anniversary. After dinner, they went back to their newly-moved-in-together-home, where Ed (oddly – says Erin) made Erin read his anniversary card full of the sweetest things outloud – after which he proposed!
Erin + Ed, I’m thrilled you chose me to document your wedding day (shoutout to Stephanie + Tim Gannon for introducing me to this incredible crew – of which I will have shot four weddings of by the end of the year). From your Engagement Session at Lily Pond, to your perfect wedding day, I’ve had so much fun with you both and I hope to continue seeing your faces at friends’ weddings in the future! All the best!
VENDOR CREDITS // Wedding Dress Designer: Maggie Sotero, Martellens Boutique | Bridesmaid Dress Designer: Alfred Sung, Nordstrom | Tuxedo Designer: Alfani RED Collection | Hair Stylist: Antonette White | Make-Up Artist: Antonette White | Florist: Philip’s Flowers Westmont | Cake Artist: Baking Institute | DJ: Louis Rarick | Band: Wedding Banned | Paper Goods Designer: Taryn Palumbo, Tok Graphics | Program Designer: Karen Godfrey, Bootsie G Designs | Ceremony Venue: Holy Trinity Church | Reception Venue: Esplanade Lakes
Lauren + Joe met at a bar in Wicker Park, exchanged numbers after chatting for 10 minutes, went on their first date 2 days later, and never looked back (for more on that story, check out their Engagement Session)! Fast forward to March in 2015, and Joe was ready to propose. Here’s the incredible story in their own words: “We had planned a trip to San Francisco with Lauren’s college friends the first weekend of March in 2015. It was technically Lauren’s first time in San Francisco, so we spent the day Friday doing all kinds of touristy things before our plans to meet up with the group for dinner. Joe was insistent on going up to “Twin Peaks” before dinner to “watch the sunset”… but Lauren challenged the logistics of trying to get across town in Friday rush hour. Joe (uncharacteristically) put his foot down & Lauren rushed to get ready… not without a few complaints – one of which was she didn’t have enough time to put on her jewelry… When arriving at Twin Peaks, Joe gave Lauren a scrapbook (that he had cleverly hidden in the camera bag) full of cards they had exchanged over the course of their relationship – complete with explanations of what it meant to him / why he loved it. The last card in the book was new & read “Grow old along with me… the best is yet to be…” & then he got down on one knee & proposed! Lauren (not usually a fan of surprises) was thrilled (& very surprised!) We then spent the rest of the night and weekend celebrating with Lauren’s college friends – making for an incredibly special and memorable weekend!
Lauren + Joe, I am so happy to have been a part of this special time in your lives. From the Engagement to the Wedding Day, I’ve loved seeing how much love you have for each other. Going through the photos, there are SO many moments caught where you two are stealing glances at each other – and you can see it all in the eyes. Although your wedding day was cold, rainy, and windy… everything turned out beautiful and it just means your days together can only go up from here 🙂 Cheers to your next adventure together!
People always ask what I do in the off-season. Do I take month long vacations and adventure to places I’ve never been? Sometimes 😉 But mostly, the off-season allows me to do things for the business that I simply don’t have time to do when I’m busy on photo shoots and editing, blogging, and delivering thousands of photos. One of those things being getting my photos out to other blogs, submitting to magazines, sharing photos with vendors, and entering photo contests. This year, I submitted 50 of my favorite photos from 2015 to The Shoot and Share Photo Contest. It’s is a free contest by shootandshare.com which has 25 categories, some of them including: Just the Bride, Bride/Groom, Wedding Party, Just the Guests, etc. Contestants can submit to any of those categories, and voters can look through all the photos randomly and vote for their favorites without knowing who took those photos.
The Photo Contest is only about the photos; not the photographer, his or her popularity, how many friends or how much money they have. Everyone is a judge and gets a chance to vote. A group of 4 photos is shown and out of the 4 you select your favorite. Then, this keeps happening in random groups of fours in the same category. People vote as much as they want for as long as they want. Each category has a 1st, 2nd, and a 3rd place winner as well as an overall Grand Prize Winner for the contest.
With thousands of submissions, unfortunately I did not place in the Top 3 in any category, but a few of my photos did make the Top 10, 20, and 30% and one of my photos placed 21st place out of nearly 7,500 entries in that category! I’m disappointed I didn’t place as high as I had hoped, but it only fuels me to become a better photographer in the future! Here’s to pushing my limits in 2016 🙂
21st Place out of 7,490 entries