It was Amanda and Aaron’s wedding day, and I joined Amanda in her suite at Hotel 71 to kick off the day.
Her dress was hanging and ready to go…
…and Kimberly from Cally’s Curls and Company was just finishing up the bride’s hair and make-up.
Amanda slipped into her dress when the make-up was finished, ready to begin her big day.
Amanda’s maid of honor, having just had her make-up finished too, tried hard to force back the tears.
Amanda’s grandmother, seen here with Aaron’s mother, wasn’t so successful in reigning back her happy tears.
Beautiful! One last, quick glance in the mirror, and it was time to meet up with Aaron for the first look.
Aaron was waiting patiently on the bridge near their hotel for his bride to arrive.
He was blown away by his first look at Amanda. This was one happy groom!
Amanda and Aaron joined hands, and we set out to take some pre-wedding photos around town.
Our first stop was at the lily pond at Lincoln Park, where the wedding party met us for some group pictures.
Then the happy couple shared a few minutes alone by the waterfall.
It was a gorgeous day for a wedding, and I was thrilled that we were able to take so many pictures outside.
Next on our itinerary was the LaSalle Bridge.
Amanda and Aaron climbed bravely onto the railing, and I couldn’t help but snap a few pictures of their fancy footwear.
Aaron gave his bride a quick kiss, and then it was back on the bus.
There was a quick stop in front of the board of trade…
…and then on to the west side of the city.
This was one photogenic wedding party!
The ceremony time was getting closer and closer, so we wrapped things up…
…and moved on to Salvage One, where ceremony and reception were being held.
I took Amanda and Aaron for a quick trip around Salvage One for some staged pictures…
…before joining everyone outside for group portraits.
A big shout-out to the maid of honor for double-checking the list and helping me stay organized through the family shots.
Aaron’s adorable niece was all dressed up and ready for her uncle’s party.
Aaron’s solo portrait wrapped up the list…
…and then everyone headed inside for the Kettubah signing.
Aaron and Amanda were the first to sign…
…followed by their witnesses.
The signing was then celebrated by the group.
Some strong stuff!
And then it was time for the marriage ceremony! Aaron left Amanda’s side and took his place outside in the courtyard.
The wedding processional ended with Amanda being escorted down the aisle by her grandmother.
Amanda took her place next to Aaron after completing the tradition of circling the groom…
…and the ceremony began.
Aaron’s parents participated in the ceremony by reciting one of the seven blessings.
Amanda’s brother listened as his sister recited her vows to Aaron.
The Rabbi recited Kiddush over the cup that Aaron holds in this picture.
Amanda and Aaron were also wrapped, to signify their unity as a couple.
The ceremony was concluded with the Rabbi’s benediction…
…and then Aaron broke the glass.
Mazel Tov!! The newlyweds adjourned to the traditional yichud room for time alone immediately following the ceremony.
Meanwhile, the guests began cocktail hour, which was catered by Hearty Boys.
While the guests enjoyed themselves, I set out to take some details of the day.
Their gorgeous cake was designed and baked by Naomi at Tipsy Cake.
Each table was signified by being named after a Chicago neighborhood and was decorated with floral arrangements created by Lisa at Cattails.
Amanda and Aaron’s head table was set and ready for the celebration feast.
This was an awesome idea: they blew up one of their engagement photos and divided them into sections, each section serving as the table assignment card for a guest. Very cool!
Cocktail hour wrapped up, and guests made their way upstairs for dinner.
The newlyweds make their big entrance into the reception.
They headed immediately to the dance floor, where they shared their first dance as husband and wife.
The first dance was followed by a slow dance that all guests could participate in.
Then it was time for the Hora! My favorite!
The Hora is always so much fun, and everyone loves it.
And it makes for great pictures, too!
The guests settled down after the Hora and found their seats for dinner. Aaron’s sister and brother-in-law gave a blessing over the Challah, and then Amanda’s grandmother gave a blessing over the wine.
The toasts began soon after, and here we see the Maid of Honor’s boyfriend helping by holding the visual aide for her speech.
Amanda’s cousin, Jessi, wrapping up with her toast for the couple.
Aaron’s friend Marina had some loving words for the newlyweds as well.
Amanda’s grandmother, listening intently to the toasts.
The last of the toasts was given…
…followed by a big hug.
And then there was dancing!
Rachel from Toast & Jam served as DJ for the night, and she kept the party hopping!
Congratulations on your marriage, Amanda and Aaron! Here’s wishing you both lots of happiness as you begin your life together as husband and wife!