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Sarah & Alex - Westin Lombard Wedding Highlight Video

From neighbors to lovers

We start this beautiful story of love at the groom’s home in Lombard, IL. After seeing the groom, my wife and I visited the bride the the Westin Chicago Lombard for getting ready photos. From there we head to Lilacia Park for the first look, as well as bridal party and portrait photos. Afterward, we return to the Westin Chicago Lombard for the ceremony and reception. This footage was captured solely by Damien next to full photography coverage.


LA Mayslake Forest Preserve Engagement Photo shoot 2

Lizzy & Andrew - Mayslake Forest Preserve Engagement Photography

Oak Brook, IL For A Walk In The Park

From our first Zoom call, I could sense the compatibility between Lizzy and Andrew! Every time one was talking, the other was smiling and admiring the presence of their loved one. I often get asked “how do you know when you’ve found the right one?” as if I’m some sort of love guru because of my line of work. The truth is that love looks different for everyone , and through this couple’s engagement photographs, you’ll see what that love looks like for Lizzy and Andrew!

Mayslake Forest Preserve is a beautiful nature trail that houses the historical Peabody Estate and the Portiuncula Chapel! There are multiple lakes, a trail, picnicking and even an off-leash dog park. Flower and herb gardens surround the mansion and greet you with a warm welcome. The sound of wildlife echoes through every turn as the trail gets more vibrant as you progress! Mayslake is the perfect place for a photo shoot, or even just a walk in the park.

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Megan & Chris - County Line Orchard Wedding Hobart, IN

To luck, fate, or a bit of both

Creating connection is one aspect of being a wedding photographer that I have come to admire. Megan’s sister Blair is a photographer who couldn’t make a family session due to conflicting schedules. She asked a group of Chicago photographers if anyone could help, and I was selected out of the bunch. The shoot went very well, at least that’s what I have to assume when Blair asked me to shoot her sister’s wedding a few weeks later! After a Zoom chat with Blair and Megan, I knew I was the perfect one for the job. After all, I wanted Blair to enjoy her sister’s wedding instead of having to capture it.

Midwest Barn Wedding at CLO

Megan and Chris had a barn wedding (of sorts) in an orchard with apple cider donuts as snacks and pie cutting instead of cake. I was given full creative reign and the stage was set perfectly for a magical night to remember. Starting at the hotel, I arrived at the tail end of hair and makeup as planned. After that, we were quickly off to County Line Orchard (CLO). At the orchard, Megan had a room where she where she would be putting on the dress and relaxing before the first look. Chris and the groomsmen claimed the opposite end where they would finish getting ready. After running around taking pictures of everything I could, it was time for the first look.

I get very emotional during first looks, but this isn’t about me! Megan and Chris shared a special moment where they got to see each other for the first time. They also got to enjoy a nice quiet moment before the day was really set in motion. This also made for some great photos to help tell the story of their love. We then got portraits, family photos and pictures of the wedding party to ensure there was enough daylight to spare. The ceremony happened in the blink of an eye as they usually do, and the dancing took over for the rest of the night. I was treated like on of their own, welcomed by every guest in attendance.  By the time I left, I truly felt like I had friends to say goodbye to – something I will never take for granted.

The Morning

Bridal prep

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County Line Orchard (CLO)

Groom prep and staging

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Pre-ceremony

First look & wedding party portraits

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The Evening

Ceremony and reception

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Elise & Drew - Chicago's First Lady Cruise Wedding

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The Magnificent Mile

This morning started out at The Embassy Suites on the Mag Mile in downtown Chicago, IL. After overcoming a slight queasiness from the glass elevators, I arrived to the door of the groom! Drew was in the company of his closest friends celebrating the big day with beer pong, Bears football and customary shots. Drew is a rare kind of human, one that makes you immediately feel welcome when you’re in his presence. His good mood and high energy built up the excitement to come. Once his side of the wedding party was ready, I headed off to see the bride!

When I knocked on Elise’s door, she was in the finishing stages of hair and makeup. Her bridesmaids were much more reserved, saving their energy for the night’s festivities. Nonetheless, the room was filled with laugher and stories of the past. Once ready, we headed downstairs for an emotional first look on The Magnificent Mile. It was a special moment in time as Drew fought back tears of joy when he saw his beautiful bride to be!

Lurie Garden in Millennium Park

A Cadillac Escalade limo picked us up from our first look location. The ride was equipped with drinks, music and lights to bring the energy to that next level! We headed to Lurie Garden in the heart of Millennium Park in downtown Chicago. We were working with limited time and had to navigate tourists, but it was nothing a Chicago native couldn’t handle!

Encapsulated by the beautiful sounds of the garden, we enjoyed all that Lurie had to offer. It’s almost a surreal feeling in the thick of it. The garden has a way of making you forget you’re surrounded by skyscrapers, teeming with greenery and wildlife at every turn! We made the most of each corner as we exited on Monroe St. and found a nice green garage door that made the perfect backdrop for a few group photos. Along the way, we happened upon an ice cream truck that briefly stopped on the busy street. It was there I would take one of my favorite images to date! I called to Elise and Drew and they had no problem following my instruction after getting to know how I direct and compose my shots. And just like that, we were off to CFL cruises!

Chicago's First Lady

The limo stopped at our final destination on Wacker St. Once we headed down the steps to the Chicago River, Chicago’s Fair Lady was getting the royal treatment by K. Carlton event planning. Guests arrived as we waited by the dock, exchanging hellos with people who have been distanced by Covid-19 and ready to celebrate sweet love. The captain gave us the thumbs up and we were water bound!

Guests took their seat on the top of the Fair Lady as the wedding party stayed on the lower level awaiting their grand entrance. The yacht was sailing down the river and the ceremony was underway! After a few speeches and an exchanging of vows, they sealed their love with a kiss and the next phase of the wedding night took place.

The wedding party and their guests enjoyed a buffet of food, delicious cake and plenty of drinks. By the time everyone was done, the upper level was clear to make way for a large dance floor. The night concluded with fireworks overlooking the Chicago skyline and hours of dancing and celebration. It was a beautiful conclusion to an impactful day in this couple’s life!

The Morning

Bridal prep and first look

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Lurie Garden

The wedding party

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Chicago's Fair Lady

The cruise

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The Chicago River

The ceremony & reception

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Chicago Engagement Shoot 16

Ann & Rollin - Chicago Engagement Shoot

Would you be mine?

For this Chicago engagement shoot, we opted to head into the woods and leave the busy city behind. Ann & Rollin asked me if I would photograph them surprising their niece and nephew with news that they would be flower girl and ring bearer! I didn’t hesitate to say yes as I knew this would be a beautiful moment and a great start to our photo session.

After the kids were met with their surprise, we wandered deeper down the nature trail. One thing was very clear – Ann & Rollin have a very pure love filled with truth and trust! As I checked the back of my camera every few shots, I grew with excitement about their October wedding at the Wilder Mansion that I would be capturing. The faces on their guests as they profess their love for each other will be something to behold. This story is to be continued!

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Jessica & Patrick - An Illinois Farm Wedding

Midwest Backyard Farm Wedding

Smaller, intimate weddings are a nice change of pace from the speed and moving pieces that come with larger celebrations. Jessica and Patrick opted to have their special day on their aunt’s farm in Monee, IL! The start of the day was quiet as I found myself in the middle of corn fields – not too different from my home in Yorkville. The other wedding vendors were getting set up and I took the opportunity to get some nice detail shots of the scenery!

The ceremony was accompanied by horses in the background, as well as a guitarist who would provide the soundtrack for this part of the evening – and one Midwest wedding photographer moving throughout the space with respect to the guests and the couple. A beautiful song was performed by the mother of the groom, vows were exchanged, the first kiss was had and cheers echoed throughout the acres of land! I was able to sneak the couple away for some sunset portraits, then dinner was served followed by cake cutting. The cake was dropped by the couple, but they picked it back up and enjoyed the funny moment that would become a story for future generations.

The first dances were held on a dance floor popup tent in front of the house. The weather was nothing short of perfect, allowing the evening to flow without a hitch! The tent gave the feeling of an indoor space, but the freedom to move between different settings by simply stepping right outside. Jessica and Patrick’s people gathered for the garter and bouquet toss, full of energy and enthusiasm. Once these time-honored traditions were complete, they took to the dance floor as they saw the moon rise into the night sky! My time there was short and sweet, but packed with moments that will continue to live on long after we’re gone.

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Pre-ceremony

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On the range

Ceremony & portraits

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The reception

Cake cutting & dancing

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