I had been looking forward to Brian and Aynsley’s wedding day for awhile, especially after having such a blast photographing their engagement session last fall. But no one was anticipating the big day more than Aynsley, seen below. I met Aynsley near the entrance to The University Club while she was making her final preparations. She was absolute bridal perfection, and was ready to head to the lobby for her first look at Brian.
Brian was eagerly anticipating the first look as well, posted up at the foot of the University Club’s grand staircase.
This may be one of my favorite “first look” photos ever!
You could feel the love and excitement as the two of them locked eyes.
Anysley was beaming…
…and Brian was walking on air.
The wedding party moved across Michigan Avenue and into Millennium Park for the first round of photos.
We made good use of the skywalk that bridges the parks.
And Aynsley and Brian shared a few smooches in the park gardens.
There were lovely backdrops everywhere in the garden, and we made good use of them.
But there are fantastic backdrops everywhere in Chicago, and this view from the LaSalle Street Bridge is one of them. With a little help (anyone who has worn a wedding dress knows how hard it is to move in them… not that I’m speaking from experience… maybe), Aynsley climbed bravely to join Brian on the bridge support beams.
It was worth the effort!
After a round of wide-angle shots, the couple carefully dismounted…
…and were joined by the rest of the wedding party.
In a matter of moments we were on the move again, this time headed toward the Art Institute.
The weather was just right- cloudy enough to create the perfect lighting for a round of portraits in the garden.
Awww… Brian was happy and proud to have his brothers on hand, serving as groomsmen.
Aynsley’s sister was part of the wedding party, too, and they grouped together for a siblings picture.
The next stop on our whirlwind photographic tour of Chicago was the harbor, with it’s fantastic view of the city skyline.
Look carefully and you’ll see the groomsmen’s special Chicago Bears socks. They were all so excited to be wearing them in such close proximity to Soldier Field that a happy dance broke out.
Excited energy (somewhat) expended, we moved further down the lakeshore.
A quick glance at the time revealed that the ceremony would begin very soon…
…so everyone jumped back on the bus as we journeyed to the venue.
Aynsley opened a bottle of champagne to share. Brian was worried about a booze explosion, but Aynsley handled it like a pro… not a drop was spilled!
The ceremony and reception were held at Chicago Illuminating Company, where the bridal party retreated to the wedding suite- as to avoid being seen by guests- upon arriving. I took this photo of a red line train from the window while everyone was settling in.
The bridesmaids attended to details, making sure everything was perfect for the ceremony.
And Brian’s brother got in a last-chance practice of his toast.
One last photo of pre-marriage Aynsley and Brian.
The skies opened up and the rain poured down as guests began to arrive.
But it didn’t damper the excitement and energy of the ceremony, as Aynsley was escorted down the aisle by her father.
Brian couldn’t keep his eyes off of his bride as she made her way to the altar.
Brian’s parents sat in the front row, beaming with pride as this most important moment in their son’s life began.
Aynsley’s father gave her away with a kiss…
…and the ceremony began.
Brian’s parents took each other’s hands as the priest began to speak, and I was happy to have been there to capture the special moment.
And it was a ceremony full of special moments.
There was much joy and laughter as Brian and Aynsley made their vows of marriage to each other.
Brian’s brother fulfilled his duties by procuring the rings for the exchange…
…and their married life began with a kiss.
Kelly from Clementine Custom Events, who served as the event coordinator for the celebration, led us outside for a breather (and a few quick photos) after the ceremony.
The sun came out immediately following the ceremony- a harbinger of good things to come!- and we took a tour of Chicago Illuminating Company‘s beautiful courtyard.
But the party was underway, and we weren’t about to miss it.
Brian was greeted by his father, who was the first to offer up his congratulations.
Aynsley’s brother gave me a quick shout-out as he headed to the courtyard to enjoy cocktail hour.
The guests were enjoying drinks and conversation, so I headed back inside to take pictures of the details before dinner was served.
The room was perfect. Kelly and her crew from Clementine Custom Events did an amazing job, as usual, tending to all aspects of the party.
The tables were set, ready for the meal about to be dished up by Limelight Catering.
A sweets table was set up against the ballroom wall, and it took every ounce of restraint I could muster to keep from diving in.
The centerpieces, designed by the team at Hello Darling were lovely. Hello Darling did a wonderful job with all of the floral design for the day.
I was especially fond of the fixtures they displayed next to the ceremony aisle.
The guests finished cocktails and sat down for a great meal. While plates were being cleared, Aynsley’s dad took the microphone and delivered a speech in honor of the newlyweds.
Aynsley’s sister had loving words for her sister and new brother…
…and Brian’s brother, who was rehearsing his speech a few pictures back, gave his toast.
Brian was moved to happy tears.
In a day full of heartfelt moments, I think this was among the best.
Aynsley and her sister teared up a bit as well!
It was a great way to start off the dance party, which kicked off with the newlywed’s first dance.
Of course there was a big finish!
Brian and his mom had an entire choreographed routine for their dance…
…and Aynsley and her father were all smiles as they twirled around the dance floor.
Ties were loosened and uncomfortable shoes set aside as The Becca Kaufman Orchestra turned the volume up to 11.
Dirty dancing began at the start of the third song. This crew was ready to cut loose.
See what I mean?
And no two people were more ready to party than Brian and Aynsley, who hit that dance floor hard.
The drinks were flowing and the guests were having a great time.
And some were praying that certain moments wouldn’t show up on Facebook the next morning.
These light-up sunglasses were making the rounds on the dance floor, too. The ultimate in partying gear.
I love emotive dancers. This party animal was really feeling the song.
It was a helluva party, Brian and Aynsley!
And I couldn’t have been happier to have been a part of it. Thanks for having me photograph your big day, and congratulations on your marriage!