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Sunrise Engagement Session at Montrose Harbor Beach

With summer just around the corner, my thoughts have turned to BBQ’s, flip flops and days spent at the beach.  My favorite time to chill waterside?  Sunset.  Which puts this beautiful Chicago engagement session right up my alley.  It’s one VERY adorable duo meets the perfect time of day meets one breathtaking image after another from the talented Ashley Bosnick Photography.  See them all right here.

From Ashley Bosnick Photography… This sunrise Chicago engagement session was SO much fun. Courtney and Tim were seriously troopers and totally trusted me when I said we should do a 6am sunrise beach session. Morning light is so soft & gorgeous; it ended up being a bit chilly that morning, so we grabbed a quilt from the car to incorporate, which was perfect! We kept the session simple and clean with some small details to keep the keep focus on the these two lovebirds.

Courtney & Tim have one of the cutest love stories I have ever heard. Tim & Courtney went to middle school together and have known each other for years. Tim always said that he was smitten with Courtney, but that not matter how hard he tried, she was never really interested. Bummer, right? It wasn’t until Courtney moved away for college and shortly after her return, her and Tim ran into one another and totally hit it off. The rest is history…

Photography: Ashley Bosnick Photography | Flowers: Whole Foods Market | Location: Montrose Beach, Chicago IL

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Romantic Wine Country Wedding

You know what happens when Chicago’s finest vendors join forces with the amazing talents in Napa Valley?  Pure, unadulterated perfection.  Think LK EventsVrai PhotographySharla Flock Designs and Sherrie Long (+ many, many more) all coming together to create a fairytale-eque day in wine country.  Prepare yourselves, lovelies. This is sooo good.  See it all here.

And a sweet film from I Do Films?  Yes, please.


From the Bride… Although Joe and I now reside in Chicago, where Joe grew up, I had always hoped we would get married back in my home state of California. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and fell in love with the Napa Valley at a young age. Some of my most cherished memories involve wine tasting in Napa or Sonoma with my family. Napa was also the first trip Joe and I took together as a couple after we graduated from college and where we continued to visit many more times over the years. Plus, it is hard not to love Napa… fabulous wine, amazing food, and a beautiful backdrop to top it all off. When the time came to start planning our wedding, the Napa Valley immediately went to the top of our list.

We took a trip out there with our parents soon after we got engaged to do some wedding research and immediately fell in love with the Vintage Estate. The venue is nestled in the quaint downtown area of Yountville on a hotel property surrounded by gardens and vineyards. It checked off all of our must-have items: it could accommodate a larger guest size, we were able to have our ceremony, cocktail hour, and dinner outside in a stunning wine country setting, and we were able to continue the celebrations with our guests late into the evening in an old wine barrel room-turned-event space.

Our two favorite things to do as a couple consist of eating (either cooking at home or trying new restaurants) and chatting about the day over cocktails (because we can never turn down a glass of wine or an Old Fashioned). Therefore, it was really important to us to incorporate those passions into our wedding day. The Vintage Estate did a wonderful job with the menu and created a cuisine with fresh ingredients straight from the valley which we paired with some of our favorite wines from the area. We had our first look and bridal party photos in the vineyards at a winery that both of our families love, which was also the very first winery Joe and I went to on our trip to Napa together many years before. During our ceremony we opted to do a unity cup, instead of a candle, and sipped the wine from that same winery.

I didn’t have an exact color scheme picked out for our wedding, but I knew I wanted more of a natural feel given that almost everything took place outside, so we went with a softer pallet of white/cream, blush, coral, mint, and gray. For the floral and décor, Sharla Flock and her team created loose arrangements consisting of roses, hydrangeas, dahlias, lavender, berries, and pops of greenery. They used lanterns, wine barrels, candles, wooden boxes, mercury vessels, and farm tables to compliment the rustic beauty of the Napa Valley. We wanted to do something fun and different with the escort card table so Sharla placed the cards in wooden crates filled with fresh grapes, which turned out wonderfully. We incorporated those softer tones and the wine country theme of grapes and vines into our paper products as well, which we had an absolute blast designing with Kara Gordon of Magnificent Milestones in Chicago.

Our wedding day was truly a family affair, which made it even more special and most importantly, fun! Joe’s oldest sister, Jenny, and her band Déjà Vu flew in from Chicago to play at our ceremony and reception. Jenny was kind enough to sing my processional song, our unity cup song, first dance, and Joe’s dance with his mom. Those are definitely moments that we will cherish for years to come. Joe’s other sister, Lauren, who is the owner of LK Events in Chicago, helped us throughout the entire wedding planning process. We were very fortunate to have someone that was so knowledgeable and talented with us every step of the way. When I first moved to Chicago I worked with Lauren on many of her weddings and met some incredible vendors that we knew we wanted to be part of our day. Kristina Carter and Aaron Brouwer of Vrai Photography and the brilliant guys from I Do Films made the trip from Chicago as well. Reverend Nye, who officiated our ceremony, also baptized Joe as a baby, so having him there to marry us was very meaningful.

We could not have asked for a more perfect September day in the Napa Valley with our friends and family. Many of them traveled from all around the country to celebrate with us and we will be forever grateful for that. The day was filled with everything we could have hoped for… lots of love, laughter, dancing, and wine!

Photography: Vrai Photography | Videography: I Do Films | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Cupcakes: Sift Cupcake & Dessert Bar | Reception Venue: The Vintage Estate | Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew | Catering: The Vintage Estate | Wedding Planner: LK Events | Hair And Make Up: Sherrie Long | Lighting: Lux Lighting Napa | Day Of Coordinator: Stacy McCain Event Planning | Floral And Decor: Sharla Flock Designs | Groomsmen Attire: Men's Wearhouse | Invitations, Day Of Items: Magnificent Milestones | Linens: La Tavola | Rehearsal Dinner: Merryvale | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals Napa | Transportation: Royal Coach Limousine

J.Crew and Monique Lhuillier are members of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. I Do Films, LK Events, Stacy McCain Event Planning and Sherrie Long Makeup Hair & Effects are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
I Do Films

LK Events

Stacy McCain Event Planning

Sherrie Long Hair & Makeup

Threaded LOVE Sign DIY

We love a good sign moment; especially one that you could virtually tuck into every nook and cranny of your wedding day. The options are truly endless with this threaded love sign crafted by A Splendid Occasion and shot by City Love Photography. It’s a DIY plucked from this gorgeous Pastel Inspiration Shoot and crafted for your viewing pleasure. Have a look here for even more.


2 different colors of yarn
White Nails
White Paint
Paint brush
Large piece of wood
Paper letter stencils (printed from computer)

Step by Step Instructions
View Slideshow

step-1  Prepare board – Grab your paint and completely cover your large piece of wood. Once that is dry, you will be ready to begin.

step-2 Prepare stencils – I used my computer to enlarge my letters to the size that I wanted, but you could definitely freehand your stencil too. Cut out your letters and lay them out on your board so you can visualize the word. Make sure that the spacing is accurate and you are happy with the overall look. Secure the letters to the board with tape.

step-3Create the outline of your letters - Take a hammer and insert the nails onto the very edge of your paper, repeat to create an evenly spaced border around all of your letters. Don’t forget about the inside of your letters, like the loop inside of the “e.” Take out the paper stencils. TIP: Make sure your nails are very secure in the board; you do not want them to come loose from the board as you are moving along!

step-4Outline in the letters with yarn – Now for the fun! Grab both colors of your yarn and tie a loop knot. Secure the knot around the first nail and begin outlining your letters; I suggest moving from the left to the right.

step-5Fill in the letters with yarn – Use your first yarn color and move back and forth between any nails that you want, wrapping the yarn at least once around each nail to secure. There is no pattern! Feel free to criss cross and stretch the yarn to nails far away, and also very close. The more criss crossing and diagonals lines you make, the better. Repeat with the second color. Try to overlap each yarn color for a unique textured affect. (To save time and to make it more fun, grab a buddy to do the second color the same time you are doing the first!)

step-6 Finish up – Once you are satisfied with your yarn crisscrossing, secure the ends of both yarn colors in a knot around a nail. Trim the yarn, but if you have a little extra, feel free to tuck it in behind the other layers. Enjoy the beauty of your work!

Photography: City Love Photography | Crafting + Sign Design: A Splendid Occasion