Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Laura and Andy's Nautical Wedding in Connecticut 5.27.11

Laura and I go way back.  As juniors in college we ended up on the same Study Abroad program in Milan, Italy and had an amazing experience traveling all over Europe together.  Since then, we've stayed in touch thanks to Laura's work schedule sending her to Chicago a couple times a year and her now husband, Andy, having grown up in the area.  I was completely honored last spring when Laura asked me to help her out with the coordination side of things for her nautical-themed wedding over Memorial Day Weekend.


Laura and Andy decided to host their big day in Connecticut where the two of them had been living for the past few years.  Since Laura's parents were out of town, they rented a gorgeous beach house in Norwalk, CT for the weekend so the ladies would have a place to hang out and get ready on wedding morning.  You could not have asked for a better spot--tons of natural light and a view overlooking the water.  While enjoying the view, Laura and her bridesmaids were prepped and pampered by the talented artists at Jennie Fresa Beauty Library.



Meanwhile, the gents were hanging out at the hotel nearby.  Andy wore this fabulous belt buckle to pay homage to the fact that the couple was moving to Austin, Texas immediately after their honeymoon.  I'm sure he's fitting in well!!


Justin & Mary Photography





Laura's dress was absolutely stunning with applique flowers and a matching jacket for modesty during the ceremony.  She was truly glowing! 



Before long it was time to head over to the ceremony, which was held at St. Philip Catholic Church in Norwalk.  Laura and Andy were both incredibly calm--both just excited to be marrying their best friends.  I think they both smiled through the entire ceremony!


Justin & Mary Photography




The photographers, Justin & Mary, have what they like to call "The 10 Minute Rule".  Immediately after the ceremony, the couple takes ten minutes, just the two of them, with Justin and Mary.  That way, those face-flushed, teary-eyed, "oh my gosh we're actually married", moments are captured without the chaos of family and friends' congratulations and stiff family portraits interrupting those feelings.  I love the idea and think more photographers should take advantage.  I mean, look at the pure emotion in these images!







Justin & Mary Photography




Laura's bouquet and all the florals from the wedding came from Stew Leonard's...a grocery store in town.  These certainly don't look like your average grocery store blooms!  That was my one disappointment during my trip out to Connecticut that I didn't get the chance to check out Stew's.  I've heard it's an experience!


Justin & Mary Photography





Post-ceremony, the guests headed over to Wee Burn Beach Club for the reception.  The club already had a nautical feel to it, but the couple's own special details, including handmade table runners "Captain" and "First Mate" signs for the bride and groom's chairs, and milk glass vases filled with yellow Billy Balls, really brought the whole look together. 




Justin & Mary Photography


                                              Laura's mom created this escort card display out of a cork board, batting, and the same fabric they used for the table runners.  The cards were held in place by yellow map pins.  Such a cute idea!


Justin & Mary Photography
While guests were mingling on the gorgeous patio, the bridal party got to take some group photos on the beach.  You definitely can't replicate photos like these in Chicago! [clear]












Justin & Mary Photography
Before long the festivities had begun.  The couple shared their first dance to the musical stylings of A Sound Choice by Groove Events, were toasted by loving friends and family, and ate their first meal as a married couple followed by tasty cupcakes from Cake Suite (Laura made all those adorable cupcake flags herself!).







Justin & Mary Photography












Justin & Mary Photography





In addition to these fabulous photos by Justin & Mary, Laura and Andy were lucky enough to have their wedding day filmed by Red Shoe Film.  Check out their wedding film, too!

Laura + Andy - Coming Soon Teaser from Brian Russell on Vimeo.



All in all it was a truly fantastic evening.  Laura and Andy, I am so glad to have gotten the chance to work with you on such an important day in your lives.  I hope you are enjoying Austin to the fullest!



Justin & Mary Photography





Laura & Andy's wedding was also featured on Style Me Pretty this fall!  Check that out below.
http://www.stylemepretty.com/2011/10/21/rowayton-wedding-by-justin-mary/
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Monday, November 7, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Kristen and Adam!

A year ago yesterday, Kristen and Adam tied the knot at the Allerton Hotel, and then proceeded to have one of the wildest dance parties I've ever witnessed (they even pulled me on the dance floor a few times!).


I hope the two of you have spent the last 12 months having as much fun as you did that night!

Much love,

Joan
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Elizabeth and Alex's Brunch Wedding at Chicago History Museum 05.01.11

Elizabeth and Alex initially wanted to host their wedding at Elizabeth's parents' home on the North Shore, but when their list of their nearest and dearest began to exceed 150, they knew it just wasn't possible.  Plus, with their guests coming from in from literally all over the world, they wanted to make sure everyone got to experience the best that Chicago has to offer.  They decided, instead, to emulate the feeling of an at home event, with a morning wedding and brunch reception in the sun-soaked Chicago Room at the Chicago History Museum.


The morning began bright and early for the bride and her team.  I met Elizabeth and her Maid of Honor, Brynne, at the Sofitel where Livia Caporale was hard at work on Elizabeth's hair and E's friend Kaylin was busy doing makeup.




Maypole Studios
The bride and groom shared their first look on the steps of Chicago History Museum.  The weather was a total toss-up but it turned out to be a gorgeous sunny day.  Everyone, especially the photographer, Bethany from Maypole Studios was thrilled with this serendipitous outcome. They took advantage of the sunshine indoors by signing their Ketubah in the new North & Clark Cafe.







Maypole Studios
While the room was changed over from ceremony to reception, delicious hors d'oeuvres were passed by Food for Thought staff and Larry King Orchestra provided a Bluegrass trio to play some tunes.  During the last few minutes of cocktail hour, the musically-talented newlyweds (who met playing at a jam session in NYC) sat in with the trio and delighted the guests with a couple of their favorite Bluegrass numbers!




Maypole Studios
Brunch, which was served at long tables speckled with sweet terracotta pots and blue mason jars filled with mint, artichokes, and the most beautiful delicate early-spring blossoms created by Fleur, was where their homestyle vision really came to light.  Following a plated salad, guests were each served a slice of quiche paired with a minted grape salad and potatoes along with traditional lox and bagels served family style.  Guests ate and passed and chatted with family and friends--both old and brand new:  exactly how the couple hoped the afternoon would be spent.


Maypole Studios

The toasts honoring Alex and Elizabeth were some of the best I have ever seen or heard.  Elizabeth's parents wrote a rhyming poem that mentioned every single guest present at the wedding.  Alex's brother, an accomplished singer, brought in his world-class barbershop quartet to dedicate a song to the couple.  Even Alex's little niece got in on the action--she performed The Beatles' Love Me Do, with Alex backing up on the mandolin, for the crowd! 







Maypole Studios
Brunch was over about 1:30pm and then it was time to party!  Larry King Orchestra got the crowd up immediately--not an easy feat for a mid-afternoon reception--and the dance floor was packed until the bitter end.  Guests were treated to one last surprise when Elizabeth's parents, who both play harmonica (aka blues harp), rocked out to a rendition of Walter's Boogie.  It was almost too much to handle how ridiculously talented this crowd was!





Maypole Studios

Once their guests had said their goodbyes, Alex and Elizabeth freshened up and headed out for a final photo session with Maypole Studios.  It was a nice perk of the morning event that they could take some time for some really relaxed photographs after the festivities had ended without worrying about a time crunch.  Elizabeth's Caroline De Villo tea length eyelet dress looked just as beautiful as it had the moment she put it on.

Maypole Studios


It was such a pleasure working with this wonderful couple and their families on their unique and beautiful celebration.  Congrats to you both!


E&A's wedding was also featured on Elizabeth Anne Designs this fall!  Check that out below, and stay tuned for another feature in the next issue of Chicago Social Brides!

http://www.elizabethannedesigns.com/blog/2011/09/27/chicago-brunch-wedding/
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