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Why a One-Year Anniversary Session is Always a Good Idea

There’s no doubt that I’m a full supporter of documenting life’s milestones—especially those based around love. I wouldn’t be worthy of the wedding blogger title without that notion. And for me? That includes the 1-year anniversary. Enter this Chicago sesh from Elizabeth Nord, who captured her very own sister’s anni. Complete with city scenes and love in the street, you can find it all in The Vault.

From Elizabeth Nord… After months of planning to visit the city, Lauren and Adam decided to celebrate their first year wedding anniversary with a photo session in the heart of downtown with me, her older sister. We chose two iconic photo spots for their session: the Lasalle bridge and in front of the Chicago Board of Trade building. They dated for 2 years prior to getting married and were married on our parent’s 30-acre property in West Tennessee. It’s been a joy to watch these two as they dated and as their marriage continues to grow. They are the perfect match and I’m so happy my sister has found her forever love.

From Lauren… In the year that we’ve been married, we’ve already learned so much about growing a marriage together. The best piece of advice that I could share with other newlywed couples is to make time for one another. It’s important to continue to date your spouse as you did before you were married. If you’re able to do it, I would suggest a date night a week. If not, a special date night each month is lovely! Continue to show each other how much the other means to you by little gestures throughout the day. Husbands, text your wife to tell her how much you love her or surprise her with flowers randomly. Wives, offer to give him a back rub or tell him how proud you are of him. Those kinds of gestures make such a difference!

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Photography: Elizabeth Nord Photography | Black Dress: Lord & Taylor

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Gorgeous Views + A Beaming Bride Fight Off Wedding Day Rain

It’s pretty hard to beat a view as amazing as this one… but well, this beaming Bride did just that. With her gorgeous Jenny Yoo dress and her never-ending smile (despite rain!) she stole the show and Tim Tab Studios and Old North Film Co. captured it all – see every moment in our Vault right this way!

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Styles
Romantic

From Tim Tab StudiosAlex and Brandon’s wedding day dawned with sun and sweeping, light rains. It was the day of the Air and Water Show in Chicago, and the city was bustling and warm. Alex spent a leisurely morning prepping at her hotel on the Magnificent Mile with her bridesmaids and mom. The energy in the room was so joyful and excited, a true reflection of Alex’s persona.

She dressed in Jenny Yoo, posed for a quick group shot with her ladies, and then it was time to see Brandon and begin their wedding day. The moment that Brandon stepped in for their private First Look was positively bursting with love. Brandon barely held it together when he saw his bride, and those first minutes alone together were the perfect start to the best day of their lives.

Alex and Brandon went into their wedding day knowing they wanted to feature the crown jewel of Chicago in their photos – the waterfront skyline – and their venue choice could not have been more perfect. The Adler Planetarium gave their guests the best vantage point in the whole city for both the ceremony and reception.

The Ketubah ceremony was an emotional time for everyone, as it was more intimate than the larger ceremony to follow. When the Rabbi asked the bride and groom to read their marriage contract aloud and in unison, there was hardly a dry eye in the room. According to Jewish tradition, it was at that point that Alex and Brandon were truly married.

What followed next threw a curve in their plans: rain swept across the ceremony space just as Fleur, Inc had finished the last decor details. But Alex and Brandon never wavered on their plans for an outdoor ceremony. Guests began to arrive and were ushered inside to wait out the rain. When it was finally clear, a perfectly cohesive vendor team (Food for Thought catering, Fleur, Inc floral designers, and Wrap it Up party planners) made quick work of drying off the guest’s chairs while the pianist played “Here Comes the Sun”. A few enthusiastic guests even jumped in to help too! It was an endearing team effort, and it was all for Alex. Minutes later the procession started and she walked down the aisle with her parents as the sun really did come out and lit up the whole glistening planetarium.

Initially it had felt like a challenge to create an interfaith ceremony that honored both Jewish and Catholic traditions that were so important to Alex and Brandon, but the delivery by the priest and the rabbi was so seamless, fitting, and even humorous that no one even thought twice about how hard it must have been to meld the two traditions together. Once Brandon stomped on the glass, the party got started!

Guests were ushered into the reception with a champagne place-card just as the sun was setting behind the Chicago high rises, and to their delight they saw that tacos were on the menu! The Gold Coast Allstars, arguably one of Chicago’s very best wedding bands, had the dance floor completely packed the entire night. It was an incredible day, and even the rain made Alex’s memories of her ceremony even more perfect.

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Photography: Tim Tab Studios | Videography: Old North Film Company | Floral Design: Fleur Inc | Wedding Dress: Jenny Yoo | Wedding Cake: Sweet Mandy B's | Bride's Shoes: Stuart Weitzman | Engagement Ring: Well Adorned | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Catering: Food For Thought | Hair + Makeup: Ashley Condron & Rachel Reiman | Band: Gold Coast All Stars | Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux | Wedding Venue: Adler Planetarium | Bridal Boutique (Bridesmaids' Dresses): Brideside | Invitation Suite: Matthew Kelsey | Ketubah: Once Upon A Paper | Partial Event Planning: Wrap It Up Parties, Inc.

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The Best Advice a Bride Has Ever Given

It may sound simple but when I read this bride’s advice to her fellow bride’s to be, I knew that it was the most simply put, poignant piece of advice there is…”There will be flaws and hiccups that will not go accordingly to the detailed itinerary you spent hours making. Laugh about it and live in the moment. Your wedding day is about the new life you are creating with your soul mate and everything else doesn’t matter.” Thanks to the gorgeous photographs by Shaun Menary, you can literally that she took her own advice entirely to heart. More here!

From the bride…After we were engaged wedding planning was my second full time job. We were together for 8 years and this was finally a time I was able to put our own style and wishes into one day. I could have easily hired a wedding planner to do everything for us but instead I wanted this to be a personal journey of our own.

For the overall design choices I envisioned a soft romantic outdoor vineyard theme. We were able to enjoy the natural beauty of the vineyard as our backdrop for the ceremony. Our wedding colors were blush, gold, white, burgundy, and green.

On our special day we wanted a more intimate wedding with close friends and family. I have always dreamed of a romantic vineyard wedding and so we brought Nappa Valley to Illinois. After researching different vendors for everything that had wedding in the name ( invitations, decorations, venues, etc) I realized I wanted to try and DIY on some things. We were grateful to have amazing family and friends in our life that jumped on board when we told them the plan.

The overall wedding planning process was exiting, but also overwhelming at times with the amount of different options available. We sat down and made a decision on what was important to us and completed the budget from that list.  I wanted my dress to be a statement and Allure did not disappoint. The bridesmaids dresses matched my blush dress with burgundy and gold. The groomsmen wore black and white bowtie tuxedos.

My favorite part of the day was our ceremony. My father walked me down the aisle to A Thousand Years and seeing my groom at the end waiting for me under our backdrop was breathtaking. We had an intimate ceremony exchanging our own vows in front of our close friends and family. The reception carried on to the Italian restaurant next door.

One of our focuses for the wedding was good food and exceptional wine which is why we decided on Acquaviva Winery. They make their own delicious wine and have excellent Italian food. Family is everything to us so a memory table for those not here with us was a must. Our signature drinks were dedicated to past family dogs, and our cigar bar for our current furry son Chewbacca. The table centerpieces were gold plated bowls with overflowing flowers and greens. Candles were placed throughout the entire restaurant to add lighting and a romantic feel. Our wedding day felt like I was in a fairytale. Every detail I imagined came together and the vows we exchanged with one another are something I will hold close to my heart forever.

Advice for future brides- enjoy every single moment of the day whether good or bad. There will be flaws and hiccups that will not go accordingly to the detailed itinerary you spent hours making. Laugh about it and live in the moment. Your wedding day is about the new life you are creating with your soul mate and everything else doesn’t matter.

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Photography: Shaun Menary Photography | Videographer: Imagination Designers | Floral design: Hyvee Floral | Wedding Dress: Allure Bridal | Cake: The Sugar Path | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Wedding bands: Diamond Doctor | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Marien Mae Bridal Boutique | Catering: Acquaviva Winery | Makeup artist: Flawless By Tiffany | Hair stylist: Tami Martin | Suit: Michael Kors | Transportation: Way To Go Limousine | Wedding Venue: Acquaviva Winery | DJ and lighting: Magsino Mobile Entertainment | Paper goods: Wedding Paper Divas | Prep location: Pheasant Run Resort | Shoe retailer: Arte Latica | Wedding dress retailer: Marien Mae Bridal Boutique

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