Chicago Romantic Elopement Photographer |Sue & Earl

As a Chicago romantic elopement photographer, courthouse weddings are one of my favorite things to capture. I love how these weddings are intimate, which puts the focus entirely on the love the couple has for each other. Chicago Romantic Elopement Photographer

Chicago Elopement Photographer-12 Sue and Earl’s DuPage County Courthouse wedding was heartfelt. I waited with the couple, and Earl’s parents at the courthouse for their number to be called. You can tell in these photos just how excited and happy Sue and Earl were.  Chicago Romantic Elopement Photographer

Once their number was called, we all headed down the corridor to the room where the ceremony would take place. Sue and Earl personalized their ceremony by having Earl’s father say a prayer. It was such a special moment. Chicago Romantic Elopement Photographer Chicago Romantic Elopement Photographer Chicago Romantic Elopement Photographer

Another favorite moment from this courthouse wedding was when Sue and Earl recited their vows. Chicago Romantic Elopement Photographer Chicago Romantic Elopement Photographer Chicago Romantic Elopement Photographer Chicago Romantic Elopement Photographer

Following the ceremony, we headed to Cantigny Park in Wheaton. The Magnolia Trees were in bloom, and it was a beautiful backdrop for photos. Chicago Elopement Photographer Chicago Elopement Photographer Chicago Elopement Photographer Sue and Earl both love to play golf together. The bride had a custom cake topper made to resemble her and Earl, and they of course were holding their golf clubs. She also had the fun idea to take a photo to mimic what the cake topper looked like.
Chicago Elopement Photographer

It was a lot of fun taking photos of this couple as we walked around Cantigny. They are natural in front of the camera, and enjoyed this special day together. It really does show through in their photos. Chicago Elopement Photographer

Chicago Elopement Photographer Chicago Elopement Photographer Congrats, Sue and Earl! Thanks so much for choosing me to capture this special moment in your lives. Chicago Elopement Photographer Chicago Elopement Photographer

Are you planning a courthouse wedding and looking for a Chicago romantic elopement photographer? Click here to contact me today.

10 Lessons from a Former Bride | Looking Back on my Rustic Wedding

It’s been almost 2 years since I was a bride and planning a rustic barn wedding. These are 10 lessons I learned that I wanted to share with you brides to be:) Chelsey_John_Wedding1134

1. Come up with a budget.

This is one of the most basic steps when wedding planning, but I think it is something that can be easily overlooked or even put off. You’re so excited, and well, budgeting isn’t as glamorous as your secret wedding Pinterest board.

Sit down with your fiancé, and figure out how much you are willing to spend on your wedding. Meet with your parents and your fiancés parents separately to see if they would like to contribute to your wedding. 2017-04-26_0005

Now that you have a budget (and hopefully an approximate guest count), think about what vendors you value the most. For me, the atmosphere of the wedding, and also having memories captured was really important, so I allocated more of our wedding budget to rustic and vintage decor, flowers, and our photographer.

2. Consider hiring a wedding planner.

I think many of us have the preconceived notion that wedding planning is always going to be a romantic and exciting experience. You are elated about being engaged and everything planning related will seem fun at first.
Chelsey_John_Wedding0509 Then a month or two later, the reality of wedding planning will hit. There are countless options for vendors, and hundreds of details that all need to be sorted out. Wedding planning stress will begin to set in.

Looking back, I wish I would have considered hiring a wedding planner. He/she can help keep the experience fun for you, and also spare you from wedding related stress.

3. Too many opinions can be overwhelming.

As a bride, I was guilty of making this mistake. I asked people’s opinions about everything, including the most minute details.

When I was trying on my wedding dress, I once again asked for everyone’s opinion. Should my belt be perfectly centered or to the side? Yes, looking back it doesn’t seem important. But in that moment (ridiculous as it sounds) this was a crucial question. 2017-04-26_0006

The bridal consultants and my mom all said the belt should be centered. Then I looked in the mirror, and for a moment tuned all of the opinions out. What did I want?

I wanted the belt off center since that was how the dress was designed to be. There. Decision made.

I know that as a bride you will want to please so many people, but you will need to realize (for your own sanity), that this day is really about celebrating with the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with. And while you can value other people’s opinions, when it comes to your wedding day, the most important opinion and voice is your own.

4. Go with your first instinct.

You will quickly realize that indecisiveness is the quickest path to a bridal meltdown. One of the most overwhelming things about wedding planning is how there are countless decisions to be made. You also have the added pressure of trying to make one of the most important days of your life perfect.

I would go back and forth on so many decisions from jewelry to bridesmaid dresses to invitations. One thing I discovered was that my initial choices ended up being what I eventually went with. Chelsey_John_Wedding0149

Lesson learned. Once you find something you love, commit to it. Don’t keep looking, because you’ll most likely end up right back where you started 😉

5. Don’t be a procrastinator. 

Yikes. I am beyond guilty of this. I was engaged for 2 years, and really didn’t start planning my wedding until 6 months before. Chelsey_John_Wedding0318

Save yourself from so much stress, and start planning little by little as you go along.

6. Ask for help when you need it.

One of the things I struggled with was asking for help. I didn’t want to burden any of my family or friends with work.

True story. The day before my wedding, I had not finished my photo booth backdrop, I had no guest sign in book, and no ceremony cards. 2017-04-26_0007 My friends, parents, and grandparents all came over to help me. And to my surprise, they were happy to help.

Don’t make the same mistake I did. Ask for help. Chances are your close family and friends will be happy to help make your wedding day special.

7. It’s not “all about the bride.”

I think we hear this saying so much, that it’s hard to sometimes see it isn’t true. The day should be about the both of you and the love you share. Chelsey_John_Wedding1303

John told me that having a good time with me and our guests was really important to him. So he was in charge of the DJ, cake, caterer, and of course the alcohol 😉 2017-04-26_0008

Allocating some of the wedding planning to John helped out a lot. It also was nice, because then we both felt like we were working together.

8. DIY, doesn’t always save you time and money.

Pinterest can sometimes be misleading. What looks like a simple DIY project, can end up taking hours and require a lot of materials.

I chose a few DIY projects that were manageable. I also purchased a few items that could double as home decor once the wedding was over. 2017-04-26_0011 2017-04-26_0010

The decor for the rest of my rustic and vintage wedding was rented. This not only saved me time and money, but it was so nice not having to set up or take down all of the decor items. 2017-04-26_0009

9. Make your wedding personal.

One of the things I love about being a photographer, is that every wedding is different. The traditions may be similar, but every couple makes their wedding special with details and memories that happen throughout the day.

Personal touches will not only make your wedding unique, but personal to you. My great-grandma wrote poetry, and grew up on a farm. For my rustic barn wedding, I had my grandma recite the poem during my ceremony. I also had the poem written on a vintage mirror that was on a mantle at my reception. Little things like this are memorable and also tell a little story into my family’s history. 2017-04-26_0001 Another personal touch were the little vintage tins that held flowers. My mom has a vintage tin collection so it was fun incorporating it into my wedding decor. 2017-04-26_0002

10. Things will not go exactly how you planned, and that’s ok!

One of the things I wished for on my wedding day was for it not to rain so that my ceremony could be outside. 2017-04-26_0004 Well…it rained, and my ceremony has to be moved inside the barn.

To my surprise, I was completely ok with it. The barn was decorated beautifully, and it felt like the perfect place for our ceremony. Chelsey_John_Wedding0684

The rain was off and on so we were still able to get photos outside. Surprisingly enough, the photos with our umbrella ended up being some of my favorites from the day.

Even though our wedding day didn’t go exactly how we expected, John and I both agree, that we wouldn’t have changed anything. Chelsey_John_Wedding0511

I know that however your day unfolds, it will be special for you and your fiancé. Just remember to relax, and enjoy every single moment:)

Did you enjoy this post or have any lessons you’ve learned as a bride? Leave a comment below!:)

All of the photos in this post are from my wedding day, and were captured by Lidia Codrean.

Independence Grove Wedding Photographer |Libertyville Wedding Photographer

As an Independence Grove wedding photographer, I loved capturing all of the romantic and candid moments from Mitch and Sarah’s wedding day.

The first look is always one of my favorite moments from each couple’s wedding day. It’s a moment alone to just enjoy each other before your wedding day unfolds. Mitch and Sarah’s reaction was sweet. I love the photo below of the two of them. Independence Grove Wedding Photographer Independence Grove Wedding Photographer

The natural landscape with prairie grass was the perfect backdrop for Mitch and Sarah’s wedding photos. Independence Grove Wedding Photographer

Mitch and Sarah are such a sweet couple. They enjoyed every single moment from their wedding day, and were very comfortable in front of the camera. I photographed this wedding with Artistrie Co. Independence Grove Wedding Photographer Independence Grove Wedding Photographer Independence Grove Wedding Photographer

The wedding party was a lot of fun for this Independence Grove wedding. There was a lot of laughter and smiles as they posed for photos with Mitch and Sarah. Independence Grove Wedding Photos Independence Grove Wedding Photos Independence Grove Wedding Photos Independence Grove Wedding Photos Independence Grove Wedding Photos Independence Grove Wedding Photos Independence Grove Wedding Photos Independence Grove Wedding Independence Grove Wedding

I love when couples have ring bearers and flower girls. It always makes for some cute photos. Independence Grove Wedding Independence Grove Wedding Independence Grove Wedding Independence Grove Wedding

When I saw all of the rustic details at the reception, I was impressed. The honey favors that Sarah made were adorable. The flower arrangements at each table were wrapped in birch, and pulled the woodsy theme together perfectly. Independence Grove Wedding Independence Grove Wedding Independence Grove Wedding Photographer

Do you see the origami birds in the background of the photo below? Mitch and Sarah’s family made each one. The origami birds were hung from the floor to ceiling.
Independence Grove Wedding Photographer

One of the things I love about weddings is when couples create their own traditions. Instead of doing a first dance, Mitch and Sarah sang together in front of all or their family and friends. Independence Grove Wedding Photographer

For the hora, the guests lifted Mitch and Sarah up in the air with chairs. It was a lot of fun to capture. Independence Grove Wedding Photographer Independence Grove Wedding Photos Independence Grove Wedding Photos

Are you looking for an Independence Grove wedding photographer or looking for a photographer? I’d love to hear from you. Click here to contact me today. 

Phoenix Restaurant Chinatown Wedding | Chicago Wedding Photographer

Phoenix Restaurant Chinatown Wedding I loved photographing this Phoenix Restaurant Chinatown wedding in Chicago. To start their wedding day, Han and Willis met each other at the beautiful Art Institute garden for a first look. Phoenix Restaurant Chinatown Wedding Phoenix Restaurant Chinatown Wedding

This was such a special moment between these two. They took their time, and really enjoyed this exciting part of their wedding day. Since they didn’t have a wedding party, the focus with all of their photos was on the two of them. Phoenix Restaurant Chinatown Wedding

Wedding days tend to be hectic for couples, but this wasn’t the case for Willis and Han. They were relaxed and enjoying their time together at the Art Institute garden before the wedding day celebrations began. They are such a sweet couple, and you can tell in these photos how in love they are with each other.

I photographed this Phoenix Restaurant Chinatown wedding with the lovely Ashley Biess from Artistrie Co. Phoenix Restaurant Chinatown Wedding

The Art Institute garden is one of my favorite places in Chicago to take wedding photos. The trees and vines provide such a great backdrop.  Phoenix Restaurant Chinatown Wedding Chicago Romantic Wedding Photographer Chicago Romantic Wedding Photographer Chicago Romantic Wedding Photographer Chicago Romantic Wedding Photographer

For the next location, we headed over to the Lurie Garden.  Chicago Romantic Wedding Photographer Chicago Romantic Wedding Photographer

Willis and Han’s wedding ceremony included a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. The tea represents bringing happiness to the couple, and also is a way to show a forming of new relationships with in-laws. During the ceremony, Han and Willis served tea to their parents. As part of the Chinese tradition, they also served tea to family members from oldest to youngest (i.e. grandparents, aunts, uncles). Phoenix Restaurant Chinatown Wedding Phoenix Restaurant Chinatown Wedding

Phoenix Restaurant in Chinatown is not only a beautiful venue, but the food is also amazing. Willis and Han’s guests received a 14 course Chinese dinner. During dinner, the happy couple went up to each table for a toast. This is another family tradition that was really special. Phoenix Restaurant Chinatown Wedding Phoenix Restaurant Chinatown Wedding

Chicago Romantic Wedding Photographer Are you planning a Phoenix Restaurant wedding or looking for a Chicago wedding photographer? I’d love to hear from you. Click here to contact me today.