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Kristin La Voie Photography + A Discount + A Giveaway!

http://kristinlavoie.comAround these parts, Kristin La Voie Photography is totally legend.  An award winning photographer recently named one of the Best Wedding Photographers of 2015, she is a serious expert at capturing each and every gorgeous moment of your day as it unfolds naturally.  In other words?  Stunning images for you, and a whole lot of swooning for those of us here at SMP.  We call that a win-win, lovelies.

A specialist in film photography, and one of the leading film photogs in the Chicago area, we’ve been obsessed with Kristin’s work since the very moment we laid our eyes on her breathtaking captures.  Think beautiful light-filled images that document your day in the prettiest of ways.  With Kristin La Voie Photography, you’ll have those special moments you didn’t even realize were being captured (she’s that good, people) to remember for always.  And, bonus.  Kristin La Voie Photography recently launched KLP BEAUTY, a brand new site totally devoted to capturing all of you stunning brides pre-wedding in a beautiful + oh-so-romantic light.  It’s boudoir reinvented, and it’s totally awesome.

Contact Kristin La Voie Photography today to get started on your amazing journey.  And don’t forget that Kristin is offering SMP readers $300 off any 2015 wedding package through March 31st!


Kristin La Voie Photography is giving away a Boudoir Mini Session to one lucky SMP reader, which will include session time (30 minutes) and digital images!*  To enter, leave a comment below telling us your most beautiful feature!  The winner, chosen completely at random, will be announced right here on SMP on Friday, March 27, 2015.  For terms and conditions, click here.  Good luck, lovelies! xo

*Boudoir session must be held at a location within 20 miles of 60174.  Value $450. 

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Whimsical Engagement Session

This is a story about soul mates.  One adorable duo that is sooo in love, it literally jumps from your computer screen.  And it’s also the story of one crazy gorgeous engagement session.  The kind that takes those aforementioned sweeties and captures them celebrating their upcoming nuptials in one seriously breathtaking setting.  See it all captured by Cory & Jackie in the full gallery.

From the Bride… My childhood best friend had told me that she knew someone that she thought would be perfect for me. The following weekend, I decided to go to University of Evansville to visit her, and to meet Jason. I was hesitant to go, because I really wasn’t interested in dating anyone, but I went anyway just to have some fun and catch up with my friend. She introduced us and we instantly hit it off. You know when people say they believe in “the click”? We definitely clicked. We set up a first date, and after that, we were inseparable. I knew I loved him and that I would marry him within a month or two.

It’s truly odd how much we are alike. I think that we both felt from the very start that we were meant for each other, and everyone around us could see that as well. Before, I did not believe in soul mates. Now, I truly believe that God created us to be together. I’m an extremely romantic person. My entire life, I’ve wanted to have a love like the movies, but I never really believed that I would have that. With Jason, I do. I feel like I really am living inside a movie. I always tell him that life with him is a dream, because it really is. I adore and cherish him. We are more than blessed to have this great love.

We love a good cup of coffee, historical places, antique-ing, going new places, trying new things, indie/alt rock, and kisses. 

As far as the feel of our engagement session, we chose West Baden because it truly is my most favorite place. I’m fascinated by its history, and love that its prime was around my favorite era, the 1920’s. Jason also proposed to me in the hotel lobby. The ’20s aspect did play a small role in our choice as well, because we’re having a 1920’s/Gatsby inspired wedding. That’s really our little secret, though. We haven’t told anyone except the bridal party about the theme, and we probably won’t mention it. I think they will get the idea on the big day. West Baden and my flapper headband were my little ways of sneakily incorporating a little Gatsby.  I chose the picnic and the bike because they both are things we really would do in real life. We ride bikes downtown and we have picnics. That shoot was pretty true to us. It was everything we love.  I’m so glad you guys got us and everything had a very romantic feel. I wanted something that I could show to my children and grandchildren so that they could see how in love we were (not that we won’t still be in love that way when we’re older), and that is exactly what I got. 

Photography: Cory & Jackie | Venue: West Baden Springs Hotel

SMP Midwest Welcomes Our Advertisers + A Discount!

How do you spend the perfect Sunday?  Getting to know the fabulous + oh-so-talented team of eco-friendly wedding vendors at the Chicago Green Wedding Alliance.  Because when it comes to hosting an amazing event that is also socially conscious, this is a group of vendors that will most definitely deliver. Learn so much more about their mission… and their crazy cool wedding show, Committed, below.

From Chicago Green Wedding Alliance… The Chicago Green Wedding Alliance is a group of eco-friendly wedding vendors that is committed to making less environmentally impactful events. We connect vendors with the conscious consumer for mindful weddings and social events. Our vendors create gorgeous events that transcend people’s expectations of “green” weddings.

Check out the Chicago Green Wedding Alliance on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.  

The GWA is hosting a wedding show on February 22nd at Greenhouse Loft!  Any couple that books with the code “SMP” will get $5 off!  The discount on tickets can be redeemed on the Eventbrite ticketing page.


Brideside + A Discount!

I’ll admit it.  As much as I love being a bridesmaid (and, oh, do I love it), trekking to bridal shop after bridal shop to try on gowns is, well, seriously tiring.  Which is why I am all sorts of obsessed with Brideside, the online retailer that brings the bridal shop to YOU by letting you browse bridesmaid dresses online and then try them on in the comfort of your very own home. Say it with me, loves: awesome.

With Brideside, you can choose from a plethora of style choices and colors, all with the help of an amazing stylist who works with you every step of the way to guarantee a fabulous (+ chic) bridal party. Just chat with the stylist about your dream wedding and vision, then let them take over and guide your besties through an array of different designers on Brideside’s online store.  They’ll even provide instructional videos on measuring and selecting the best dress types for your body!  And when every last dress is chosen, they’ll ship the samples to your home, so you can have that girl’s day with mimosas and cozy yoga pants.  Soooo comfortable and soooo fun.

Ready to get started?  Visit the Brideside website ASAP or, if you live in Chicago, make an appointment with a stylist here. And don’t forget this exclusive discount for SMP readers: When you buy your bridesmaid dress in February, the first $20 is on Brideside!  Use discount code “SMP20″ at checkout. (Terms & Conditions: Cannot be combined with any past or future promotions. Readers must purchase bridesmaid dress at full price on or before 2/28/15. Offer does not apply to the following designers: Joanna August, Donna Morgan, Jenny Yoo.)


Elegant Summer Aberdeen Manor Wedding

You might have heard this couple’s amazing story, and today it’s all coming full circle. Following the surprise visit from her military fiance – plus 4 months and 6 rounds of chemotherapy later- this unbelievably courageous bride married her beloved with one of the loveliest weddings we’ve ever come across. Dressed in a tulle skirted Tara Keely, she managed to steal the show, and Lady & The Lens was on hand to capture every bit. Pay a visit to the gallery and don’t miss the film from Wholehearted Wedding.


From The Bride… It was almost 6 years in the making and August 31st, 2014 was the day we had been waiting for. My fiance Drew and I knew it was going to be such a special day with all of our family and friends traveling from all over the country to celebrate our love. My very recent cancer diagnosis made our wedding day even more meaningful. 4 months before our big day, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Adenocarcinoma which is a form of Colorectal Cancer, at the young age of 25. It was certainly something that we were not prepared for. Drew and I had been living apart for just a few short months before I received the devastating news. He was stationed in South Carolina for his work with the Navy and I was back in my hometown planning our dream wedding. Luckily, the Navy granted Drew military leave to move to Indiana to be with me as I underwent aggressive chemotherapy. AOL reached out and did a short story about my husband and I which you can see here.

The following months were a struggle as I continued to plan my wedding and receive a total of 6 rounds of chemotherapy. Thankfully, the chemotherapy I was prescribed did not make me lose my hair. I was so ecstatic knowing that I would be able to have my “dream wedding look”.

The big day came and it really couldn’t have been more perfect. It was the Sunday of Labor Day weekend in my hometown of Valparaiso, IN which is a short drive from Chicago. I was feeling great physically as it was my “off” week for treatment. The weather was a perfect 80 degrees which was ideal for our short outdoor garden ceremony. The day started very early with hair and makeup at my parents house. We had to get an early start due to having 10 bridesmaids! 7 hours and a few mimosas later we were ready! The videographers (who generously donated their services ) arrived and it was time for my “first look” with my dad, Scott. I couldn’t have imagined a better reaction from my dad as the one I received that day and I feel so grateful to have that on camera to watch for years to come. It was raw emotion and lots of happy tears that I will never forget.

I chose a stunning Tara Keely by Lazaro gown. 3 years ago, I noticed a beautiful dress on Pinterest that converted into a short lace dress for the reception. I knew I had to have it as I have been a dancer since the age of 3 and I knew dancing at the reception in a huge ball gown would not go over well. I wanted to have the princess look with lots of tulle but still be able to dance/party at the reception. After an exhausting search, I finally located the designer and had it shipped to a store just outside of Chicago. The minute I stepped into the dress, I fell in love. At the reception, I decided I wanted to reveal my short dress in a fun, unique way. During the father-daughter dance, we stopped mid song, my bridesmaids surrounded me while I took off my tulle skirt and then started a choreographed dance with all 10 girls and my father to the song Brickhouse.

Aberdeen Manor was our venue of choice from the beginning. It has the charm and small town wedding feel that we were looking for. The venue has a small chapel on the property but we chose to have our ceremony in the garden which was right outside the reception hall.

The flowers and centerpieces were my favorite part of the entire wedding day look. I knew I wanted to chose a vendor that wasn’t your typical florist so I decided on hiring a local floral designer. We met several times before the wedding to ensure she knew exactly what I wanted. My vision was light neutral colors with hints of pink throughout. I requested her to use my favorite flowers which consist of hydrangeas, orchids, dahlias and roses. For all of the bouquets she traveled up to a dahlia farm in Michigan and handpicked them herself. Our bouquets complimented the floor length, champagne colored bridesmaid dresses perfectly. On our head table that seated 22, I knew I wanted something very romantic so we chose to have 70 lace wrapped candles at different heights to line the center of the long oval table with small hydrangea bouquets in mercury glass vases spread throughout. Our designer really took our vision to the next level and we couldn’t have been happier with the end result.

We decided to have cupcakes for our guests and a small cutting cake for the bride, groom and bridal party. Even though our cake was small, we had it suspended from the ceiling on a platform. Being that Drew is a lieutenant junior grade in the Navy, we cut our cake with his sword that he received when he commissioned as an officer in 2012.

The ceremony and reception was so magical from the minute it started to the minute it ended. The speeches from our matron of honor, best man and my father were the icing on the cake. The room was filled with so much love and happiness. The one thing that Drew and I cherish most from our wedding day is definitely our gifted video from the amazingly talented team at Wholehearted Wedding Film Co.

Even though Drew and I have been through very difficult times, we both feel it made our wedding day that much more unforgettable. In sickness and in health took on a whole new meaning and we really couldn’t be more blessed to have each other. I hope you enjoy our wedding photos and magical video as much as we do. :)

Photography: Lady & The Lens | Videography: Wholehearted Wedding Film Co | Floral Design: Intertwine By Kelly Lenard | Wedding Dress: Tara Keely By Lazaro | Cake: Designer Desserts | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bill Levkoff | Makeup: Krissy Vanderwoude | Hair: Center Of Attention | Groomsmen's Attire: Men's Wearhouse | Ballroom Reception: Aberdeen Manor | Bridal Jewelry: Kate Spade | Outdoor Ceremony: Aberdeen Manor

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Organic and Elegant Laurel Hall Wedding

Weddings like this make my heart happy. For these two triathletes their Big Day was an ode to nature, and naturally with April Foster Events behind the scenes it was extraordinary. Guests gathered for terrace cocktails and merriment underneath twinkling lights while the Bride donned a delicate J P Parker floral crown. Every moment captured by Megan W Photography is pure wedding bliss and we can relive it all right here.


From The Bride…Mitch and I have a somewhat unique story of how we met. We were both at a triathlon (I signed up to compete last minute while I was home from school, and he was reminded the night before that he had agreed to cheer on a friend at this particular race). As fate would have it, he noticed me during the race, and I asked to meet him for coffee. Mitch and I have a shared love of exploring and adventuring, especially in the great outdoors, and when we began planning the wedding, our undeniable love of nature had to be in all our wedding details.

Every piece of this wedding was lovingly thought out. I found an artist on Etsy who helped me custom design our wedding invitations with watercolor. We chose to have the ceremony and reception at the breathtakingly beautiful Laurel Hall, a tree-covered property nestled right in the middle of Indianapolis, Indiana. I knew I had found my dress the minute I put it on – classic and timeless, with a hint of early 1960s glamour. Bridesmaid dresses were found on BHLDN, and perfectly complemented my gown. Friends helped create signage and programs, and streamers were hand-made to celebrate us down the aisle. And when it came to photographing our day, a lot of care was put into hiring an amazing photographer. We are so happy with Megan Wynn’s eye for beauty and her ability to capture our day.

Not long after we had booked the venue, Mitch and I made the decision to move to Portland, Oregon. Instantly, the mood of the wedding changed when we realized this was going to be more of a homecoming celebration. Our wedding was going to be the first opportunity in months to spend time with family and friends since our move across the country, and we wanted to have lots of liveliness, merriment, hugs, and stories to catch up on.

Mitch and I love the wilderness (much of the reason why we’ve always dreamed of ending up in the Pacific Northwest), and we knew we wanted to weave our love of forests and sunshine into the day. Details were left very natural – raw wood, greenery, mismatched crystal glasses, simple lights strung up on the terrace that were reminiscent of stars.

The ceremony was sweet and simple. Guests sat in mis-matched wood chairs, and sang our favorite hymns. Mitch’s dad married us (he also happened to make the weathered wood arbor), and I received the wedding ring worn by my great-grandmother. John Muir quotes were read, and we walked down the aisle as newly-weds to the sounds of a fiddle, guitar, and cello.

Dinner was held on Laurel Hall’s terrace, right before dusk. Guests enjoyed grown-up food stations (pasta, tacos, and sliders), local craft beer, as well as milk and homemade cookies from old family recipes. The evening continued with dancing to the sounds of an eight-piece band just inside from the star-lit backyard.

This was the most lovely day of my life; being married to my best friend has turned out to be even sweeter than the buttercream frosting layered between our unembellished wedding cake.

Photography: Megan W Photography | Wedding Planner: April Foster Events | Floral Design: J P Parker | Wedding Dress: Raimon Bundo | Bridesmaids' Dresses: BHLDN | Makeup: The Makeup Studio By Danielle Wilson | Hair: Terra Salon | Groom's Attire: Banana Republic | Venue: Laurel Hall | Decor: Violet Vintage | Photography Assistant: Melody Carpenter

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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