WILLOW HARBOR VINEYARDS WEDDING // stephanie + billy

The clouds hung low in the sky as the Lake Michigan waves crashed in to the shore. The possibility of rain left the air sticky, but it couldn’t deter Stephanie’s excitement for her wedding day. Nestled along the beach, Billy stood anxiously waiting to see his bride. As she walked up behind him, Stephanie hugged him tight and waited for a moment… not wanting the moment to be swept away so fast. When Billy turned to see her, they fell into each other’s embrace … only pulling away to show Billy her wedding dress.

They invited their friends and family to share in their wedding in Michigan where they became husband and wife overlooking a beautiful vineyard. Stephanie and Billy promised to make each other better, to perfect the process of loving each other, and to always support each other in their quest for their dreams. Their love left Michigan better than they found it.

Stephanie and Billy – I think you are something kind of wonderful. What I want to write is a billion words to express my gratitude, but for the sake of time, I hope a simple thank you will suffice. I feel blessed to have been such an important part of your day, and I wish you all the happiness in the world. I hope you are savoring all of paradise in French Polynesia!

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Stephanie got ready at a lake house in New Buffalo …

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and had lots of sparkling accessories …

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Her sister and her mom helped her dress … ensuring everything was perfect.

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Billy and Stephanie opted to see each other before the ceremony so they could enjoy cocktail hour with their friends and family.

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Billy was clearly excited to see his future wife.

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Stephanie looked gorgeous all day long …

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Stephanie and Billy surrounded themselves with an amazing group of friends (and one amazing, pup, Zoey). I had a blast hanging out with them.

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Oliveti Events designed all of the beautiful floral.

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The guys were full of laughter and jokes all day …

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And this is the sweetest / cutest flower girl, Alexa!

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Stephanie and Billy set aside ample time for photographs around the Willow Harbor Vineyards for photos in this beautiful location.

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A personal favorite ….

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Zoey wanted to be right at her parent’s side ….

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Willow Harbor Vineyards is so picturesque. I never wanted to leave.

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Zoey, the couple’s rescue pup, was a part of the wedding, and she sat in the front row watching her parent’s marry.

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Many thanks to Kelly, my assistant, for snapping this photo of Stephanie and her dad!

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Stephanie and Billy are the type of people who put the needs of those around them first. It was no surprise that they have amassed the most amazing group of friends and family to witness their love.

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Sweet vows for an even sweeter couple …

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So much love ….

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The moment their marriage is official!

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Billy made sure their first kiss was memorable.

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Stephanie and Billy snuck away for a few moments so we could document their love among the beautiful vineyards.

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The light was simply perfect …

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Guests enjoyed Harbor Valley’s own pinot noir during cocktail hour as they enjoyed the beauty of the venue.

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Stephanie envisioned a romantic spring wedding with elements of mixed metals.

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Stephanie and Billy heard some of the most heartwarming speeches … and Steph willed herself not to cry during them.

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The first dance …

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It is one of my favorite parts of the day to photograph … and this is why.

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…. so much love and so much happy!

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…. and then it was party time .. complete with lots of dancing and fun!

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… and lots of fun!

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As the sun set, guests enjoyed a perfect May evening in Michigan.

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A huge thank you to all of the team members who ensured the best day ever for Stephanie and Billy.

VENUE : Willow Harbor Vineyards

WEDDING COORDINATOR : Lauren, Oliveti Events

FLORAL : Oliveti Events

BRIDE’S HAIR + MAKEUP : Le Roc Salon (Ashley + Melissa)

DJ : Music Host Entertainment

MUSICIANS : Gaska Quartet

CAKE : Wild Flour

INVITATIONS : Wedding Paper Divas

VIDEOGRAPHY : Lexoria Wedding Videography

PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANT : Kelly Mccue

PHOTOGRAPHY : Brittany Bekas Photography

Brittany XO Signature 2

 

OAK HILL GALENA WEDDING // sara + david

Amidst a slice of Midwestern heaven was a day basking in love. Sara and David invited their friends and family to experience the moos of the cows, the clucks of the chicken, and the fresh country air as they started forever together.

The day was an outpouring of family love and commitment including family traditions intertwined throughout. Her grandmother’s famous cinnamon thumbs. His family’s love of hunting. Blissful wedding photos of generation before. His father’s homemade maple syrup. As their pasts blurred into their futures with the promise of their own new traditions, Sara and David vowed to navigate life hand-in-hand.

Sara and David …. words fail to express how grateful I am to have documented such a personal and special day. You’re both incredibly kind and warm and deserve all the goodness that’s come your way. I am honored to have shared in the start of your happily ever after. I hope that Mexico has been the perfect transition from one amazing fiesta to another.

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The morning started off at the barn house where Sara and girls hung out. Oak Hill is a private farm in Big Apple, IL (just outside of Galena). It is a photographer’s dream ….. the grounds, the fresh country air … swoon.

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Sara’s brother, Andrew, designed the wedding invitations, and they set the tone of the wedding day perfectly.

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Kaye, Sara’a mother, helped her dress and ensured she looked flawless.

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I just loved Sara’s TOMS …. comfy AND cute!

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Sara’s dad, Todd, was delighted to see his little girl for the first time on her wedding day.

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Sara and David decided to see each other before the ceremony allowing us plenty of time to explore all the beauty of Oak Hill.

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Sara and David’s wedding was a labor of love, and one of David’s favorite items they made were the bullet boutonnières. David, his dad and his grandfather have hunted together for years … so it was a sentimental touch to use the bullets they fired together in their wedding.

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I have no words … because this makes me SO happy. I mean …. holy beautiful!

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Sara was simply radiant.

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David looked extra handsome in his tux… and his smile never left his face.

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Special thanks to Nicole for this beautiful photo!

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Sara and David’s wedding party were a complete blast …. it was non-stop laughter and fun with them.

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The guys decided to have an impromptu kick line and there was no way I wasn’t encouraging it once they started.

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Simple and stunning …..

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Sara’s bridesmaids were beyond sweet (and super helpful, thanks again, ladies!).

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The couple chose to marry at St. John’s – a little chapel on the Oak Hill property.

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The chapel exploded with love, happiness and excitement as Sara and David vowed to support each other through whatever life brings their way.

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So much joy as the two walked down the aisle as Mr. and Mrs!!!

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Their guests cheered as they exited amidst a shower of bubbles.

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The weather was simply perfect, and guests enjoyed cocktails and Grandma Marge’s famous cinnamon thumbs outside the barn house.

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Also on the property is an old school house which was decorated with wedding photographs of Sara and David’s parents and grandparents.

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There was no shortage of yummy sweets …

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As a small token of something sweet, Sarah and David gave each of their guests a mason jar of homemade maple syrup. David asked Sara to marry him last March while his father was making his annual batch of homemade maple syrup at their family cabin.

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Friends and family showered them with love all day long.

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Ally and Mitch prepared a beautiful toast …. complete with a personalized song / rap / dance performance that had all the guests laughing.

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I love to sneak out for a few minutes during golden hour for a few more bride and groom photos … and this is why. The light was beyond magical.

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…. and Sara and David cuddled up as the sun glowed around them.

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Their first dance …

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Once the dance floor opened up …. guests showed off their favorite dance moves ….

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….. and “SHOUT” always gets the crowd going …

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As the sun tucked behind the country horizon, Sara and David stayed at each other’s side soaking in the perfectness of the day.

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Many thanks to the wonderful team who made the day so special for Sara and David.

VENUE : oak hill weddings

CATERING : hyvee

FLORAL : diy by bride + mother of the bride

BRIDE’S HAIR + MAKEUP : arch apothecary (hair : sara / makeup : betsy)

DJ : kc fleming

CAKE : wedding day bakery

INVITATIONS : andrew sladky

VIDEOGRAPHY : neal johnson

PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANT : nicole morisco

PHOTOGRAPHY : brittany bekas photography

Brittany XO Signature 2

CHICAGO ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS // candy + brian

Inside Candy’s petite 5-foot-frame is a bubbly, outgoing girl that caught the heart of Brian instantly. The two met online (thank you Tinder for being such a fabulous matchmaker), messaged back and forth, and then met for a drink to see if they were compatible.  The evening passed in what felt like a second due to their connection, conversation and endless laughter. Candy’s smile captivated Brian from the start, and they’ve been together ever since.

It was their second Christmas together as a couple when Brian changed the trajectory of their relationship. It had become their tradition to spend the day together, just the two of them, hopping from hotel to hotel … drinking and eating. At the Peninsula Hotel, Brian got down on one knee and proclaimed his love to Candy and asked her for a lifetime together.

They’re planning an amazing wedding at the gorgeous Chicago Athletic Association this July, and I couldn’t be more excited to document their love.

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I met Candy and Brian at Lincoln Park on a beautiful May afternoon. The sun was shining, the flowers were blooming …. and these two were full of love and laughter.

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Candy and Brian have this natural chemistry where their bodies just naturally fall into each other perfectly ….

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One of their favorite things to do together is to ride their bikes along the Chicago lake path, so they decided to incorporate their bikes into their engagement session.

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Lincoln Park was full of blooms … spring is finally here, Chicago!

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One of my favorite things about Candy is that she’s a girl who knows what she wants and makes it happen! After a few emails, she booked my services for her wedding and thus began our online friendship…meeting her in person was the highlight of my day!

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Candy and Brian mentioned they were nervous to be in front of the camera at the start of our session, but within minutes these two were complete naturals. They were silly and downright adorable.

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Brian has this cool, calm and collected aura about him that compliments Candy’s outgoing personality. When they are together, their love is the envy of those around them.

 

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We wandered around the Kinzie Street Bridge for a change of scenery …

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Candy and Brian were completely wrapped up in their love for each other. As cars passed by us on the bridge, they were 100% fixated on each other.

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Fun fact : Candy is Ashley’s sister and the one who encouraged Ashley to give online dating a try (because she met such an amazing guy herself!). I am honored to document two of the four sisters weddings this year!

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They are so sweet together …. I mean just look ….

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Just as the twinkle of the city lights turned on, Candy and Brian ended their session with a kiss.

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