County Line Orchard CLO Wedding Photographer (427)

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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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.

Monee, IL

Pre-ceremony

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On the range

Ceremony & portraits

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The reception

Cake cutting & dancing

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Naperville Hotel Arista Wedding

Shay & Grant - Hotel Arista Naperville Wedding

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Sweet home Aurora

The groom started his day at his childhood home located in Aurora, IL. Their beautiful house is going to be sold soon, so these final memories make the experience all the more important. A lifetime of moments leading up to one of the biggest days in his life seems like a fitting way to close that chapter! The groomsmen opened their gifts, joined in on a few rounds of shots and started prepping for the day ahead. Grant put on his ceremonial Nike kicks and made his way to the city next door.

Hotel Arista in Naperville

The bride patiently waited amongst the company of her friends and family. Shay and Grant opted for a first look, which is a growing trend in America that seems to have gained more popularity since Covid-19 hit. It was certainly a moment worth waiting for, filled with emotion on both sides of the table! Grant couldn’t hold back a few tears when he said his bride to be for the first time in her stunning wedding dress. We took a few group shots and headed back in to get ready for the ceremony!

United at last

Shay and Grant may be young in age, but their love feels as timeless as hot cocoa on a snowy day! They exchanged vows in front of an audience of very important people and sealed it with kiss. Post-ceremony kept the emotional train rolling as they met their closest friends for the first time as husband and wife!

Cocktail hour was filled with drinks, snacks and lots of laughter. In the first summer with a vaccine, people were eager to see one another in a social setting again! The energy was high, and it stayed that way for the rest of the night. Shay and Grant performed a beautiful first dance together before they got to hear their closest loved ones say a few words. After dinner it was nothing but good music and good times, putting the cap on a day that couldn’t have gone any better!

The Morning

Groom prep

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