Anna and Brad went to college together at Illinois Wesleyan University and were friends while there. They were both Accounting majors and did their internship and started work at KPMG together when they graduated in 2009. They both eventually left KPMG to go to their went separate ways, but 5 years later they ran into each other on the street (randomly after Anna moved back from Ireland) and went on their first date to the Art Institute and The Gage. For the proposal – Brad figured out the perfect way to surprise Anna. He recreated their first date by going to the Art Institute and proposing. Anna was suprised by the proposal, but even more surprised when she arrived at The Gage. Brad had coordinated a surprise engagement party, including both Anna’s and Brad’s families who flew into town that weekend to celebrate! I’m so happy to have been a part of their wedding day – it was so much fun and I’m happy to share some of my favorite moments. Anna + Brand, I wish you all the love and happiness in the world!
VENDOR CREDITS // Wedding Dress Designer: Taylor, Bridal Boutique, Essence of Australia | Tuxedo Designer: Custom made in Vietnam | Hair Stylist: Abby, Bird’s Nest Salon | Make-up Artist: Yolanda, Bird’s Nest Salon | Florist: Anna Canales, Flowers for Dreams | Cake Artist: Bang Bang Pie | DJ: Style Matters | Paper Goods Designer: Lydia Frost Wears | Ceremony/Reception Venue: Ovation Chicago | Caterer: The Smoke Daddy | Wedding Decor: Wood Waves
Michelle (and soon Brian) live right on the lake, across the street from Lincoln Park, so it was the perfect spot for him to propose to Michelle. The only difference in the spot from when he proposed and when we shot the engagement photos…. was that there were actually leaves on the trees and the grass was green this time around. When Brian originally proposed, there was snow on the ground! Anyway, we walked around Lincoln Park a bit before heading to their new soon to be home together. Michelle recently moved into this spot and it’s going to be their home after the wedding. They’re not going to live there forever – so it was special to capture this moment of time in their lives. Looking forward to capturing more moments for them at their wedding in December!
Enrique + Eula are both from the Philippines (fun fact: they have a cousin named Jill Tiongco)! They met during med school, which is also why they’re doing a long distance relationship right now – Eula is Atlanta for work, and Enrique is in Chicago completing his fellowship in Chicago. They met at the Lincoln Park Zoo so we started the session there as it had some meaning for them. And even though it rained, Enrique + Eula had the BEST attitude and wanted to shoot through it, and I think it looks adorable! We ended the session near Enrique’s home in River East – they spend a lot of time in the area so it was the perfect backdrop for their Engagement Photos. Enrique + Eula, best of luck to you both – I hope you have the best wedding in the Philippines (wish I was shooting it!) – but THANK YOU for having me as your Chicago photographer 🙂 Here are a few of my favorites from the session….
Kristen + Matt met playing volleyball at Boston College (what up, vball!!). Kristen was a freshman on the women’s volleyball team, and Matt was a Junior on the practice squad. They met on the court, and according to Kristen + Matt, Matt won. A few years later, Matt asked Kristen to marry him in their Chicago home (bringing both sets of parents in from out of town). Which brings us to their wedding day at Salvage One. One thing was clear – they were there to celebrate. With each other, with their families, with their friends – they spent the day having a blast and looking good doing it. We picked a few spots for portraits around the incredible Salvage One (I should shoot there all day, everyday and it would never get old). I had a blast with Kristen + Matt… just another couple that reminds me why I’m so lucky to do what I do! Cheers to you both!
VENDOR CREDITS // Wedding Dress Designer: BHDLN | Bridesmiad Dresses Designer: BHLDN | Tuxedo Designer: BlackTux.com | Hair Stylist: Kim Jurek | Make-up Artist: Brandi Koerten | Wedding Coordinator: Hardey Designs | Florist: Nancy Kierulf, Flowers for Dreams | Cake Artist: Portillos | DJ: Rub Des Jardins, Toast & Jam | Paper Goods Designer: Mint.com | Ceremony/Reception Venue: Salvage One | Caterer: Blue Plate Catering
Elayna + John met at work, and were friends for a long time before becoming a serious couple. Shortly after realizing this was the real thing, Elayna left the company, they moved in together, and got their adorable dog, Wesley, who you made a few appearances during the Engagement Session and even on the Wedding Day (and he even has his own instagram account @wesley_the_westie!
Fast-forward to their engagement, Elayna + John were on a cruise together (cruises have always been a big part of Elayna’s life) – and John spent a good part of the cruise trying to get a hold of Elayna’s Dad to ask for his blessing. And on the last night of the cruise, John proposed to Elayna on her favorite spot on the ship.
Their wedding day was just as magical – as it was early May, and one of the most beautiful days of the year that we’ve had so far. It was the absolute perfect day to get married – and their faces say it all. I loved spending this day outside the Planetarium with you guys – I even have a tanline on my ankles, haha! All my best to you, Elayna + John – cheers!
This is where they met! They worked at RSM in One South Wacker together, so we had to snap a few pics in front of their building!
VENDOR CREDITS // Photography: Jill Tiongco Photography | Wedding Dress Designer: Anne Barge Jubilee Dress (full length, not high/low), Bella Bianca Bridal Couture | Bridesmaid Dresses Designer: Jenny Yoo Chicago | Tuxedo Designer: The Black Tux | Hair Stylist: Sabrina, Tamara Makeup & Hair Artistry | Makeup Artist: Tamara, Tamara Makeup & Hair Artistry | Wedding Coordinator: Nancy Eisenberg, Accessory to the Party | Videographer: Turning Point Productions | Florist: Jason, Flowers for Dreams | Cake Artist: Jo-Anne Buege, Cake Chicago | Band: Greenlight Band, Rendezvous Music | Paper Goods and Taco t-shirts: Sara Zahorak | Invitations: Minted | Ceremony/Reception Venue: Adler Planetarium | Caterer: Food for Thought | Officiant: Rev. Dave
how they met // Meghan + Tim met as Freshmen at Wheaton College during their orientation week in the dorm kitchen. They lived on the same floor and were on brother-sister floors.
the proposal // One night Meghan + Tim were making dinner together. Tim had adapted a recipe that he printed out, so when they were towards the end of preparing the meal, he swapped out the recipe Meghan had been reading with one that had the following inserted right into the recipe:
“FOR THE PROPOSAL: Slice chicken crosswise into 1/4-inch thick strips. Return chicken strips to skillet and toss to coat with pan juices. To serve, spoon few pieces of chicken into center of warmed tortilla and top with spoonful of vegetable mixture, cilantro, and spicy pickled radishes. Ask Tim what he has in his pocket. Say yes. Serve with lime wedges.”
How cute are these two?! Their faces say it all in the pics. Capturing moments like these on their wedding day are my everything. Scroll down to see the story of their day 🙂 Congrats Meghan + Tim!
VENDOR CREDITS // Wedding Photographers: Jill/Lex, Jill Tiongco Photography | Hair/Make-up Artist: Carrie, Appease Inc. | Videographer: FortyOne Films | Florist: Flowers by Steen | Cake Artist: Morton Arboretum | DJ: Tim Stolkey, Mike Staff Productions | Ceremony/Reception Venue: Morton Arboretum
A few weeks ago, I photographed my friend Lara’s boudoir session. During the session, we talked about what it meant to her, why she was doing it, and everything that she did leading up to it – and I was so inspired. I get a lot of people asking why would anyone shoot a boudoir session? Or why do I do it. Hearing Lara talk about what it meant to her was amazing so I asked her to share some words with all of you! All the love and props to Lara for speaking so candidly about this experience, and for being open to sharing the photos with everyone! Here’s what she had to say…
“I recently reached out to my friend and photographer, Jill Tiongco, to book a boudoir photo session. Leading up to the session, I began to get nervous because this was something completely new, and to be honest, my selfie game is far from strong! Some may ask why I would want to do a boudoir photo session…it’s not like I’m getting married or have a significant other to share them with, or maybe people view them differently than I do. All I can say to that is these photos were 100% for myself and I have worked my butt off (literally and figuratively) over the past year and I saw it as a way to celebrate everything I have accomplished at this point in my life.
I’ve come to learn that there is no better feeling than when you completely love and appreciate the
woman that you have become. When Jill sent me the email that my photos were available to view, my self love reached an all time high as soon as I started clicking through them. I never knew the strength and confidence this session and photos could bring me. Some might think that sounds shallow or conceited, but for me, it was a reminder of all the work I have put in to taking care of myself and falling back in love with who I am. I’ll always have these photos available to remind me of how far I’ve come, the confidence I’ve built, and how beautiful our bodies truly are.
We all have pressures in life and situations that can keep us from focusing on what is most important. I remember hearing something about how we spend our entire life with ourselves, so why wouldn’t you want to love being around that person. After 30 years, I began to understand that in order to be the best version of myself, I needed to come first. Through some deep soul searching, appointments with my life coach (I recommend everyone have one at some point in their life!), endless hours at the gym lifting weights, and lots of alone time shared with my puppy, I found a self care routine that brought me to the happiest place I’ve been in life. I can look in the mirror and love the person I see in the reflection. I’ve learned that living in the present by practicing gratitude is the key ingredient to my daily happiness.
While my steps may not be what works best for others, there are a few things I promise will make
positive changes in your life:
- Take care of your mind – My life coach has helped me identify the importance of practicing gratitude every day. I created a gratitude jar in which I wrote down one thing that made me grateful that day. You’ll start to notice the little things that are beautiful in your life and make you appreciate what you have.
- Take care of your body – Lifting weights 5-6 days a week has been a healthy outlet for me to release stress, celebrate the wins in life, challenge myself, be excited when I reach a new
personal best, all while seeing my body change. Maybe lifting weights isn’t for everyone, so find a fitness routine that works best for you and be proud of the effort you put in to taking care of your body. More importantly than fitness, be mindful about your nutrition! Pay attention to what you are putting into your body and give it the proper fuel it needs to feel energized and strong. I’ve tried different “diets” but what I’ve found that works best is balance. Allow yourself “treat meals” when you might need or deserve them. Take time to learn about what is healthy fuel for your body and get in that kitchen and cook! Also, let’s eliminate the whole “cheat meal” phrase. Cheating has a negative connotation and having some cookies, pizza, etc. every once in a while is needed and deserved!
- Don’t be afraid to say no – Too often I felt the need to go to every party, event, etc. when I was invited. I wanted to make sure my friends and family knew I cared and felt my presence. Turns out, saying yes to every invite is extremely exhausting. If you want to stay in on a Friday night vs. going to that work happy hour, don’t hesitate to say no! We all need time to unwind and if that means a Friday night in ordering your favorite food and watching a movie, then you go for it!
- Cut out the negativity! – One of my favorite quotes is “When things in life aren’t adding up, start subtracting.”. This applies to negative and toxic people, relationships, situations, jobs, etc. If something or someone is bringing you down, don’t be afraid to walk away from it. My hope is that all women take time out of their day/week/month to practice self care and find a routine that makes them feel confident and love who they are. Don’t forget to practice daily gratitude as you’ll find that it’s easier to be present in your life. And although the practice of self care and loving yourself is never over, celebrate the wins! Maybe a boudoir session isn’t the first thing that comes to your mind, but to any women out there looking to celebrate who they are and appreciate their body, it’s an experience I whole heartedly recommend!
Hi friends! It’s about to be busy season again – so the blog is back in action! Today’s post is featuring this adorably happy couple, Dana + Joe. They’re getting married in December so they wanted to get some Engagement Photos taken for their Save the Dates. I rarely shoot in Lincoln Park anymore – but I think I’m realizing I like it better in the winter/spring because LOOK AT THOSE TONES. The tall, not-yet-green grass looks gorgeous. And so do these two in it. We had so much fun playing some games, laughing, and just getting to know each other a little better (my favorite part about engagement sessions is that we build that connection before the wedding!). Anyway – Dana + Joe, lovvvvve that we spent this chilly spring day together. Can’t wait for the wedding!
Late last year, my mom announced to the family that she was going to officially retire. For years, we’ve been telling her – just retire, you’re so old 😉 – jk, mom! But when it finally happened, it felt like more than just an end to her days of working – but the culmination of a lifetime of sacrifice to make myself and my two older brothers the people we are today. Over 40 years ago, my parents came to America from the Philippines to give us a life of opportunity. They lived in a tiny apartment, slept on cardboard boxes, and worked multiple jobs just to make ends meet. They bought their first small house in Bensenville a few years later, and have upgraded houses twice in my lifetime, all the while giving us everything we ever needed – spending way too much on those Abercrombie jeans that I had to have in high school, paying for my college education, and still to this day always willing to give me the shirts off their back (or quite literally the purse in my mom’s hand if I like it).
So while this post isn’t photography related – I had to send some love to my mom and share with all of you how awesome she is. She’s an incredibly supportive mother – never missed a basketball or volleyball game in high school, and didn’t doubt me for a second when I told her I wanted to quit my desk job and pursue photography full time, which meant EVERYTHING to me. Having that support gave me the confidence I needed, and made me believe I could do it. She’s funny, strong-willed, and deserves every bit of free time that she now has (whether you spend it selling random things on Facebook or at the casino is up to you, mom!).
I’m so glad we completely surprised you with this dinner at Gene & Georgetti – even though Dad came a little too close to blowing the surprise a few times! We love you so much and just wanted you to know how much we appreciate everything you and dad have ever done for us… now we just have to get Dad to retire 😉
My oldest brother Oliver made these BEAUTIFUL center pieces, and the place cards and menus were designed by yours truly.
Although Christina + Tom grew up in neighboring suburbs and had several mutual friends, they didn’t meet until four years after college. Good old-fashioned kickball brought them together… and through mutual friends and a couple of seasons of post-game partying, Christina + Tom officially started dating in 2013. As they rang in the new year together last year… everything came together in the first few hours of 2017. Christina + Tom had just returned from dinner with friends, and as Christina did the dishes, she thought she heard Tom say something, so she yelled out, “Was there something you wanted to ask me?” And as she turned around, she found Tom – down on one knee, and he responded, “Actually, there is something I wanted to ask you…”
VENDOR CREDITS // Wedding Dress Designer: Enzoani, Reddington Bridal | Bridesmiad Dresses Designer: Bill Levkoff, Reddington Bridal | Tuxedo Designer: Jos. A. Bank | Hair Stylist: Amanda Diedrich, Blohaute | Make-up Artist: Joanna B. Artistry | Wedding Coordinator: Veasna Kim, Ravenswood Event Center | Florist: Erin McLoraine, Life in Bloom | Cake Artist: Do-Rite Donuts | DJ: Style Matters DJs, Inc. | Paper Goods Designer: Ann Kate Design | Ceremony Venue: Queen of All Sants Basillica | Reception Venue: Ravenswood Event Center | Caterer: Ravenswood Event Center