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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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Lessons Learned When an Event Planner Ties the Knot

Make it personal, take care of your guests and don’t forget about the logistics … three incredible lessons from one incredible bride. Who also happens to be an event planner who knows her stuff. With photographs from Keen and Kind along with gorgeous florals + styling from, All Grand Events – a Little Black Book member that we ADORE – this is our own definition of wedding perfection. Click here for more!


From the Bride… Matt and I were engaged for almost two years before we walked down the aisle. We decided on a longer engagement so that we could book the vendors we wanted and we knew we needed extra time since we were planning a mini destination wedding. It was difficult for me specifically as a bride since I have been in the industry for six years as an Event Coordinator and Event Designer. I have played a role in hundreds of weddings and certainly felt the pressure to make sure all the notes I had from weddings of family, friends, and clients were taken into consideration.

Luckily, Matt and I were on the same page of what we envisioned for our wedding. We wanted to spend as much time with our family and friends as possible. As people get older and busier, it seems to be more difficult to gather and make memories. We took that as our vision for our wedding and decided to host our wedding in Traverse City in Northern Michigan.

Matt’s family had a home in Northern Michigan that we frequented throughout our relationship and my family spent every summer in Northern Michigan and it was such special place to both of us. We wanted our family and friends to spend the weekend with us up north. We met up with friends and family the night before on a patio along Lake Michigan with a live band, it was the perfect kickoff to the festivities ahead. We did a farewell brunch on Sunday at the hotel where everyone shared stories from the wedding and said their goodbyes after a great weekend together! The weekend allowed us to spend time and catch up with family and friends on numerous occasions. Since we had the whole weekend we didn’t feel rushed or feel that our wedding flew by, which is exactly what we hoped for when we decided to host a wedding weekend rather than just a wedding day!

We wanted our wedding to be timeless and classic, so we decided on a neutral color palette. I knew I wanted all the bridesmaids to feel comfortable in their dress so I opted to have the girls choose a floor length dress in any hue of champagne and the men wore black bow tie tuxedos. It worked out beautifully and the wedding party looked stunning!

From that point we chose to keep things as neutral and classic as possible with ivory, gold, and metallics. We knew that the beauty of Northern Michigan would help bring color to our wedding from the church among the green vineyards and the reception hall overlooking a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan. Our focal point for design was the reception hall. We wanted to transform it into a space that felt inviting and warm but also sophisticated and formal. All Grand Events did a beautiful job transforming our vision. We created a warm environment with ivory pipe and drape around the entire room and extra long tables where our guests dined in candlelight. The tables were perfection with gold candelabras, fresh florals, and beautiful place settings.

Our ultimate goal was for our guests to feel welcomed and taken care of the entire evening. We included personal elements to the cocktail hour with a fresh floral backdrop for guests to take pictures in front of, wedding pictures from generations past, and a “take home a taste of Michigan” favor table that included popular items that represented Michigan including Mackinac Island Fudge, dried cherries, salt water taffy, great lakes bumper stickers, and special Michigan State University cookies as a nod to East Lansing where Matt and I met.

We were thrilled with the vendors we chose from our photographer, Sarah Dunn, from Keen and Kind who took stunning photos and captured our wedding day beautifully to our band, The Bluewater Kings, who were the highlight of the wedding for all of our guests! We danced the entire night with all of our loved ones, it was perfect!

I think my favorite moment, though, was when Matt and I stood in front of all our guests at the wedding reception and thanked everyone for being there with us. It was an overwhelming feeling to look at all the people in one room that have shaped mine and Matt’s lives and they all graciously gathered together in honor of us. Our wedding would not have been the same without them! The next best thing was dancing the entire night to our amazing band, Matt and I never left the dance floor!

As for advice, my recommendation would be to think about logistics before anything else. Logistics are the most important aspect to a wedding and they are often overlooked. Weddings are a very complicated fete that people assume will come together on that day. It is important to think of weddings you have attended as a guest and what you remember to be a positive experience and negative experience and let that guide you to creating a positive and memorable event. This will lead you to choose the best vendors based on your budget and be able to prioritize what is important to you. Begin your wedding planning with your guest list and a budget and then talk over the logistics from the beginning of the day to the end of the evening. If you are able to navigate the logistics, the mindset of a guest’s point of view, and all the special details you want as a couple; you will be able to host a flawless wedding!

All your family and friends will have the best time but they won’t be able to quite put their finger on why it was so wonderful – that’s logistics!

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Photography: Keen And Kind | Cinematography: Kaz and Mac Creative | Cake: Cake Connections | Invitations: Kaz and Mac Creative | Ceremony Venue: St. Joseph Catholic Church on Old Mission Peninsula | Reception Venue: The Hagerty Center | Catering: The Hagerty Center | Band: Bluewater Kings Band | Transportation : Celtic Shuttle | Bridal Boutique: Beker's Bridal | Chiavari Chairs: Sweet Seats Chairs | Floral Design & Styling: All Grand Events | Groom & Groomsman Attire: Ike Behar | Jewelry Designer: Wheat Jewelers Custom Design | Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist: Memorable Occasions | Wedding Dress Designer: Allure Bridal

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
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.

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Michigan Surprise Beach Proposal

This beautiful gallery really needs no introduction. A surprise proposal, with an adoring groom-to-be and his gorgeous love. Photographs that will make you tear up by the incredible Tiffaney Childs. And a sense of magic that just leaps right off the page.

From the photographer… When David contacted me about photographing his surprise proposal to Kier, he was so nervous and excited as we talked over the timeline. Kier had no clue what had been planned for months prior to her seemingly innocent girls day out with her sister and girlfriends to a local winery.

David made all the signs, had Kier’s talented sister paint the meaningful lyrics on them, and set them up a path on the beach for Kier to follow when she arrived with the girls. The sun had been behind the clouds all day, and it was a bit chilly, but when Kier found that first sign on the path, the sun peeked out and seemed to shine for the two of them.

It was so emotional watching them both absorb the shock of this perfect upcoming moment. David got down on one knee while Kier wiped away tears of joy and instantly said yes. The excited laughter and kissing that followed was a joy to watch.

Kier’s sister and friends watched from a sandhill and ran down to congratulate and hug them. We quickly headed down towards the water to take some beautiful photos of the two of them while they were both still reeling with glee. Her sister and friends had brought some cute decorated glasses for a quick toast to them on the beach. The sun set over the water as they cuddled and giggled to themselves about getting married.

This was one of the most perfect proposals I have ever had the privilege of capturing.

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Photography: Tiffaney Childs Photography | Calligraphy: Brooke Brinkley | Jeweler: James & Sons