Shelly was beaming when I arrived at the home she shares with DJ. I was feeling pretty excited myself- this creative couple had a fantastic party planned and I was ready to start shooting.
Nika Vaughan had completed Shelly’s bridal beauty look and the time had finally arrived to slip into the dress.
That smile didn’t come off of Shelly’s face for a minute as her bridal party made sure everything was perfect.
A few last details were tended to…
…and then Shelly stepped into her shoes…
…and we were out the door. The church she and DJ were to be married at was just around the corner so we traveled there on foot.
And, of course, I had her stop for some portraits along the way.
The ceremony was held at St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church, one of the most beautiful churches in the city.
Shelly couldn’t hold back the happy tears as her father escorted her down the aisle.
After shaking hands with the groom, Shelly’s father gave the bride a kiss, found his seat…
…and the ceremony began. Take a good look at this sanctuary- gorgeous!
Their traditional Catholic ceremony featured readings from special family and friends.
And even though we tried very hard to go through the ceremony unnoticed, one observant guest had their eye on us.
I’ve always admired how Catholic wedding ceremonies employ so many rituals and traditions. All weddings hold special significance, but the history behind Catholic ceremonies hold a unique gravity. The following set of photographs highlight some of those traditions.
DJ’s parents couldn’t have been more proud of their son.
I love it when my couples cry during their vows!
Their vows were delivered and their rings exchanged…
…and after one final blessing…
…they were declared to be married. Congratulations!
The newlyweds gathered with their wedding party in the bus, and we hit the road to take some pictures around town.
Shelly was fearless as she climbed up on the bridge railing at our first stop.
Totally worth it. The following set of pictures show why shooting at the LaSalle street bridge is a must for wedding photos.
Shelly and DJ were savoring every moment the day, and you can tell by the looks on their faces just how joy they were feeling.
I gotta tell you, I’m always a fan of brides who aren’t afraid to visit some of the more ‘gritty’ corners of the city while in their dress.
I think it makes for some pretty cool portraits!
DJ and his groomsmen were eager to pose with their Michigan banner…
…and they could hardly contain their excitement.
As the reception start time drew near, we headed back toward the venue.
Shelly and DJ were hosting their celebration at the Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier. And while at Navy Pier, you HAVE to take a turn on…
…the giant swing! FUN!
Ok, maybe too much fun!
Crowns for everyone!
Phew! Just tall enough for the carousel.
Shelly picked out her favorite horse for the ride.
Man, we could have spent all day visiting the pier and riding the rides…
…but there was something even better waiting. The wedding celebration!
The room looked fantastic, and one of the highlights were the details Shelly and DJ sprinkled throughout the room.
They received some help planning the day from the team at Jayne Weddings.
Everything was in place, perfectly laid out and waiting for the guests to enjoy.
No detail overlooked!
And check out their cake! This fun confection was created by Nutphree’s.
Shelly was particularly impressed with her bouquet, assembled by Janessa at Forget Me Knodt who did all the floral work for the wedding.
This antique card catalog held cards that revealed the seating assignments.
It seemed like there was something unique to photograph in every corner.
This giraffe was kind enough to hold Shelly and DJ’s wedding bands while I took the rings shot.
As I wrapped up photographing the details, guests entered the gardens and sat down for dinner. Soon after, Shelly’s friends and family picked up the microphone to deliver toasts in honor of the newlyweds.
Shelly and DJ wrapped up speeches by thanking their guests for celebrating with them…
…and then they shared their first dance as a married couple.
This had to be one of the most scenic spots for a first dance EVER. My eyes were going nuts!
Shelly and DJ were joined by their father and mother, respectively, for the parent dance.
And DJ was the first to bust a move when Shannon from Toast & Jam began the dance party.
These guests were ready to cut loose, too, making for some hilarious and fun dancing pictures.
Conga line!
What a party! I grabbed Shelly and DJ, pulling them away from the fun for just one moment…
…so we could take a night photo in front of the iconic ferris wheel. How could we not?
Shelly and DJ, your wedding was a complete success! Thank-you for sharing the day with me and congratulations on your marriage!