Today I’m sharing some favorites from Taliah & Cordero’s wedding day! These two followed their hearts and planned an intimate Chicago wedding. Each couple - each love - is unique. So why should every wedding have the same rules? Sometimes a small gathering of your most cherished loved ones is the way to go. That was what felt right to Taliah & Coredero - and they did it! As they looked into each others eyes and exchanged vows, I could feel the weight of the moment - it was so very clear that these two share a special love. Congratulations to Taliah & Cordero! Cheers to many years of love.
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If you’re reading this - chances are you’re engaged! Congratulations! Seriously, what an amazing thing - to have found your soul mate, your best friend, your true love. While I tend to shy away from corny-over the top-declarations of love, I must confess I am a romantic at heart. I agree whole-heartedly that love is a verb, a choice made. Real love takes work & true love means commitment. To truly offer your love to another that means you are committed to helping them realize their dreams and live their fullest life. When I see two people who have chosen to make a marriage commitment - I just think that is such an inspiring thing. So truly, congratulations, this is an incredible step you’re taking together and I am so excited for you!
Now of course I had to start with my congrats - but the real point of today’s post is to be helpful in the next steps: planning your wedding! This post could also be titled, “How to avoid completely loosing your mind as you plan your wedding”. I’ve gathered some tips & advice that I believe will help you enjoy the process as much as possible. It’s a lot of work but it is so worth it! Amidst all the research, decisions, and discussions - it’s important to do what you can to keep the JOY in your planning process. Read on to find out how!
1. Know what you want & talk it out…
Firstly, this day should be everything you want it to be - and nothing you don’t. There are no rules. If saying your vows to one another, completely alone, in a forest in Ireland feels right to you - DO THAT. If you can’t imagine this day without all your family & friends - find a way to make that happen, no matter what your budget needs to be. If you want to have an intimate ceremony in your backyard and keep it to 50 people - that is what your wedding should look like. Question traditions. As hard as it may be to push back on pressure to do things a certain way - push back. Whether the pressure is coming from society or a little closer to home - this commitment & celebration is a big deal and you deserve to do it in a way that makes sense for you two.
Talk to each other. Think about what is important to you. Whatever makes your heart swell with happiness - your wedding can be exactly that. As long as you take this important first step to figure out what you want - what you need - all of the planning efforts will be purposeful and worth it.
2. Do a little each month…
Any event planner will tell you - lists are everything. A realistic to-do list is the key to tackling tasks in a timely fashion - plus it feels soooo good to cross things off! There are many tasks in planning a wedding so it’s super helpful to break those tasks down into monthly lists. There are many resources for what to tackle when - check out this checklist on zola.com for inspiration. Or go old school and buy a pretty wedding planning binder! My amazing MoH gifted me with this planner when I got engaged and I love it! However you go about it, make some lists for each month leading up to the wedding & stay on top of it!
3. Do whatever you need to do to make it fun…
I’ll admit I have told more than a few people that planning my wedding sometimes feels like another part-time job I’ve taken on for the year. When those stressed out feelings creep in - it becomes critical that you find a way to make it fun. Maybe that means pouring yourselves a glass of wine and putting on some music while you pour over venue options. Maybe it means going out to your favorite dinner spot to chat about finalizing your guest list. Maybe you plan a day off to visit bakeries and eat cake ALL DAY knowing that you’ll finish the night by binge watching Game of Thrones. (That sounds like the perfect day honestly.) Point is, whatever you guys enjoy - do that and incorporate a little planning.
4. Learn to be decisive…
… so you don’t loose your mind. Imagine, turning to your trusty inspirational friend: Pinterest. You find an image of the most elegant, bouquet of dried lavender and decide THAT is your wedding florals plan, lavender all the way. Then a month later you decide to search “wedding greenery” just for fun. All of a sudden you’ve fallen in love with lush garlands of eucalyptus cascading down banquet tables and you’re re-thinking all the lavender plans you’ve made. If you’ve already started the planning process you may know too well what I’m talking about. We have to be realistic, of course you’re allowed to change your mind. But don’t change it too many times. The point is to avoid falling down a black hole of options. Find something you absolutely love and move on to the next thing.
5. Prioritize self care…
Planning a wedding can feel very time-consuming. Many couples spend a year or more planning their big day. If planning your wedding starts to feel like it’s taking over your life - take a break - take several breaks. It will be ok. Do something that is just for you - something that will put your mind at ease and allow you to recharge. Also make sure you’re taking time to still do the things you love to do together as a couple. Make time for one another that doesn’t involve wedding planning at all. Take care of yourself, take care of each other, and take a break from planning!
6. Remember what it’s all about…
This is about you & your best friend celebrating your love & commitment to each other! That is AMAZING. It is a wild, exciting, difficult, joyous, love-filled journey you’re embarking on. When the stress creeps in - stop and imagine your wedding celebration. Imagine the look on your parents face as you speak your vows of love. Imagine your loved ones excitement for you. The imagine your marriage - 5 - 10 - 50 years of marriage and what that will look like. Bring yourself back to the purpose. Remind yourself why you chose to love this person, why you together chose to have this wedding celebration. That will put everything in perspective.
These two are in love. So we met up just before Christmas to make some photographs and document this moment in their lives! They love the outdoors so we chose to shoot at one of my favorite parks in Geneva, IL. There is so much to work with at Fabyan Forest Preserve and the natural elements there are beautiful, even in the winter.
Will & Jennie were so fun to get to know. As we walked between shooting spots we talked about how they met - how Jennie knew pretty much right away that Will was something special - how that exciting foundation had led to them planning a Texas wedding for this year. I soon saw the kind nature they both share - they were the most understanding & patient when my left contact lens starting giving me issues. Lesson learned: if it’s freaking freezing out and you’re about to shoot an engagement session, wear your glasses. Make-up + cold wind + watering eyes = problems.
But we pushed through & came away with images that will last a lifetime. They trusted me, they were themselves, they had fun with it! That is the recipe for making great photos.