Natalie and Dan are good friends of ours who own and operate Zuzu’s Petals in Orland Park. This duo of creative florists got married this past February and asked me to photograph the day for them.
I joined Natalie at her parent’s home as Nika Vaughan was working on Natalie’s makeup. Natalie’s niece was close-by, taking mental notes as Nika worked.
Natalie’s bestie, Jem, who would be traveling with us throughout the day, needed a touch-up.
Natalie’s bridesmaid Shannon, who’s also in the wedding industry (she’s the owner and head coordinator of Shannon Gail Events), was tending to some details of the day. She made sure the dress was perfect as Natalie prepped to put it on.
Natalie was beyond excited to get into that beautiful dress.
A few final details to complete the look…
Bridesmaid Jill was all smiles and sighs… until Natalie turned her back. Yup. She’s THAT bridesmaid.
I’m totally kidding. The whole wedding party was a hoot, and we were all excited to hit the road and enjoy the fun times ahead.
We hurried out of the house…
…and into the limo. Jill showed off some of her patented seated-dance routines to entertain everyone on the way to meet up with Dan.
Dan was waiting for his first meeting with Natalie at The Plush Horse, an ice cream parlor that’s one of the couple’s favorite hang out spots.
There were hugs and cheers… and then ice cream!
The parlor is called “The Plush Horse” for a reason. A life-sized plush horse watches from the corner as people enjoy their treats. Little creepy, right?
And enjoy them they did. Bridesmaid Jill’s daughter was enjoying her pre-wedding treat… and she did a great job of not getting any on her new dress!
Dan’s daughter got a cup of ice cream, too. She was a great sport and always put on a big smile for the camera.
Dan’s best man finished up his cone before joining Dan, Natalie and everyone else outside for more photos.
And the photo-taking began.
There were some great photo ops around The Plush Horse. The Easter Bunny’s pissed about something.
Even the baby got in on the action.
Onward! We all jumped in the limo, and Natalie cued up her “Limo Mix”. It’s mostly Broadway show tunes and theme songs from 80’s sitcoms.
We hopped out at a nearby forest preserve for some group shots. Dan and Natalie led the way for the rest of the wedding party.
Natalie takes a second to make sure Dan’s at his most dapper.
One last shot of the wedding party, and then it was ceremony time!
Dan held on for dear life as the limo raced to the church.
But of course we made it there with time to spare. Here’s Natalie and her father, beginning the walk down the aisle.
Dan watched as his bride approached.
Then things got all Jeff’d up. Who gave him the mic, anyway? I’m teasing. Groomsman Jeff, of Traveling Photobooth fame, was a perfect gentleman throughout the day.
But this guy was not impressed.
Dan and Natalie exchanged vows and rings…
…the pastor gave a blessing…
…and that was it! The newlyweds made their way to the front of the church to greet guests.
As they left the church, everyone grabbed a handful of petals to toss at the happy couple.
This young guest knows Natalie well… flowers and candy are two of her favorite things!
Natalie and Dan exited the church in a shower of petals.
Natalie took a second to collect her thoughts as we travelled to the reception venue. Everything happens so fast on a wedding day, it’s good to take a breather here and there.
The reception hall at Cog Hill was decorated to the hilt, and looked absolutely amazing.
Zuzu’s Petals, along with Ryan from StemLine Creative and Kristen from Kio Kreations did an incredible job on the florals and lighting for both the ceremony and reception.
While Kristen was at the church making sure it looked perfect, Ryan was hard a work at Cog Hill setting up these gorgeous centerpieces.
And that cake… chocolate perfection. Creative Cakes knocked this one out of the park. This is one shot that I wish was scratch and sniff!
The guests all made their way into the banquet area after an extended cocktail hour to find their seats.
Dan gave his wife a spin as they made their grand entrance.
And they had mouths watering as they cut into the cake.
Natalie’s sister, who served as co-maid of honor, led off the speeches as the guests enjoyed their dinner. Both of Natalie’s sisters had some good stories about their youngest sibling.
This guy and I were in the same state of mind, though: When are they going to serve the cake?
The newlyweds enjoy their first formal dance as husband and wife.
And then everyone joined them on the dance floor.
Natalie’s dad was tearing that floor up!
The guests were having a great time, enjoying the company, drinks and dancing.
Beth Bernstein of SQN Events, a friend of Dan and Natalie’s (and event planner extraordinaire), let her hair down, or up, rather, after lending a hand with coordinating throughout the day.
Colin Lyons, a Chicago photography colleague, had his camera on hand for some dance floor shots, too. You don’t understand how hard it is for a wedding photographer to go to a wedding and NOT take photos.
The guests were giving me some great shots on the dance floor. Those people were crazy!
Amanda, Natalie’s friend who helped out with the hair design for the day, danced up a storm too, and needed to cool off.
The dance party raged on into the night. A good time was had by all!
Thanks for a great time, Natalie and Dan, and congratulations on your marriage! Much love to you both!