Lincoln Park Engagement Session by Heather DeCamp Photography

There’s nothing quite like a downright darling e-session to wrap up the week on a seriously happy note – and this charming Lincoln Park shoot captured by the amazing Heather DeCamp Photography is guaranteed to keep you smiling ’til Monday.  An adorable duo, a meaningful (+ gorgeous) backdrop and a bundles of L.O.V.E… that’s a whole lot of joy for your Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Get ready for image after image of soon-to-be married bliss and join me in the gallery for more.

From Heather DeCamp PhotographyWhen many people think of Chicago, they think of the downtown area. Many of Chicago’s residents do not actually live downtown but in small neighborhoods surrounding it. Amanda and Paul decided to start their engagement session in front of their first apartment together in Lincoln Park. From there, they went to several little fun spots in their neighborhood that reflected their fun and playful personalities. They ended their engagement session at a semi-private beach up in Rogers Park for something a little more romantic. Amanda and Paul are getting married in Chicago at the Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier in August.

Photography: Heather DeCamp Photography / Location: Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois

Chicago Proposal by Ashley Biess Photography

Ladies and gentelmen-take note, because this is EXACTLY how to go about proposing to your other half! The incredibly creative groom behind this sweet engagement shoot really upped the ante by ending their session (and completely surprising his bride!) with a custom puzzle spelling out “Will You Marry Me?”  The emotional day was captured brilliantly by Ashley Biess Photography.  Don’t miss the rest of this sweet shoot and be sure to take a peek at that sparkler…swoon!

Click here for the FULL proposal!

From Ashley of Ashley Biess PhotographyWhere to begin! Manisha and I met back in the first grade at Salt Creek Elementary School. She was new to the school and as soon as I saw her, I KNEW she had to be my friend. I was a super-shy and quiet six-year-old and not really great with words. I gathered up my courage, walked up to Manisha one day, and asked her, point blank, if she would be my friend. Much to my relief, she said yes, and we spent the next eight years glued at the hip! So when, 20 years later, she asked me to do a photo shoot of her and her boyfriend/soon-to-be-fiance, I was ecstatic! Little did Manisha know, as soon as she scheduled the photo session, her boyfriend, Kandarp, began planning his surprise proposal so that I could be there to photograph the big moment.

During their photo session, we did a little bit of everything. Manisha and Kandarp started off in their traditional Indian clothes to celebrate their heritage and culture. Manisha’s sari was gorgeous, and everyone kept stopping to tell her how beautiful she looked! The couple did several different outfit and location changes to get a sampling of their favorite things about Chicago. We took pictures along Kinzie Street Bridge, then headed over to a more industrial setting for photos. From there, we headed to Oak Street Beach for some fun in the sun, water and sand. Manisha and Kandarp’s love for each other is so obvious and genuine — it radiates from their photos. I hardly had to tell them to do anything because they were just so adorable on their own! After the beach, it was proposal time. Kandarp had planted the ring and his special surprise in my camera bag before we headed to our final stop.

We headed up north to Lincoln Park Zoo. (Originally, the plan was to go to Chicago’s Museum Campus, but because of the NATO Summit being held in Chicago that weekend, the city closed off the campus earlier than scheduled and we were forced to make a quick decision for a new proposal spot). I walked the couple across the street to take photos along the nature trails and prairie grass outside of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (one of my favorite spots in the whole city!). I was hoping that would give Kandarp a chance to relax and calm his nerves before asking Manisha the big question. As the sun began to set, we walked over to the Alfred Caldwell Lilly Pool and looked for the perfect spot.

Earlier, Kandarp had given me the pieces to a puzzle he had made by hand for Manisha with their favorite photo of the two of them printed on top. In hopes of keeping the proposal a surprise for a little bit longer, I presented the puzzle, told her that I made the puzzle as a special prop for their photo shoot, and asked if they would assemble the pieces for me. At the end, she discovered that four pieces were missing, and Kandarp confessed he had them hidden in his pocket. As he revealed the missing pieces one at a time, she realized the pieces said “Manisha, will you marry me?” As he presented her with the final piece, Kandarp got down on one knee, presented the ring, and asked her the most important question he’ll ever ask. The surprised look on Manisha’s face was priceless, and I definitely teared up a bit! Of course, she said yes, and the newly engaged couple spent the rest of their evening soaking in their love and joy. I am so happy that I could be there to photograph such a special memory for one of my oldest and dearest friends! I wish the two of them the best of luck and happiness.

Photography: Ashley Biess Photography / Locations: Chicago, Illinois

Lincoln Park Wedding Film from Loudbyte Cinematography

This is the kind of wedding that forces ear-to-ear smiles on everyone who watches the stunning highlight film from Loudbyte Cinematography. It’s the kind of wedding that has an energy that is happily contagious. It’s the kind of wedding we can all relate to because the bride and groom are so beautiful, yet so down to earth friendly, we feel like we know them the moment we first spy their prevalent smiles. It is the perfect wedding to put you in the perfect mood for your Saturday morning.

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Brian proposed on a trip to Whistler, British Columbia.  He woke up that morning and knew that he would propose that day so he popped the ring in his pocket as we set out for the day.  The plan for the day’s activities had not been fully hashed and I was inspired on a whim to go zip lining after a hike that morning.  So, yes, it made a lot more sense why Brian seemed uncharacteristically unnerved while we were zipping around the mountains, 10,000 above ground, engagement ring in pocket, moments before the big proposal.

I grew up in Chicago and would drive by the Lincoln Park Zoo every day on the way to school so Café Brauer and the zoo have always felt like an extension of my neighborhood.  Café Brauer had always resonated with me as the most beautiful place in the world ever since I was dazzled by my best friend, Matt’s, jazz-themed bar mitzvah in that venue when we were in 7th grade.  Fast forward a decade, Brian and I now live just a few blocks west of the zoo and Café B, we take our dog, T, on walks there every weekend. So it really felt like we were inviting everyone to our backyard to celebrate with us in our home.

We wanted to incorporate the zoo into the wedding so we had animal shaped place cards and table numbers, laid out on moss and monstera leaves to give it a jungle-like feel.  We had green linens to maintain an earthy feel along with a floral deep purple.

We incorporated several personalized elements from Jewish tradition into our wedding day.  My cousin and one of my bridesmaids, Amy, made me beautiful “Bridal Blessings” which I read during the ceremony leading up to the chuppa called the badeken.  The bridal blessing my cousin made was printed on a decorated tambourine which I could play during the badeken while my family and friends sang and danced to traditional Jewish wedding music.  There is also a Jewish belief that a bride has a special connection with God on her wedding day so I gave each of my bridesmaids and my best friend Matt a special blessing under my veil – these were all deeply personal, moving moments for all of us.

We sent our guests home with mini cupcakes in mini Chinese takeout containers that were baked by our favorite local bakery and baker of our wedding cake in the same flavors as our wedding cake.

Cinematography: Loudbyte Cinematography / Photography: Danielle Aquiline Photography / Flowers: Ashland Addison Florists / Event Design: Ashland Addison Florists / Event Planning: Anika Kai Events / Ceremony Location: Café Brauer at the Lincoln Park Zoo / Reception Location: The Foreman Pavilion, Lincoln Park Zoo / Invitations: Designed by Clementine Ink + Printed by Accucolor Plus / Shoes: Kate Spade / Dress Designer: Ulla Maija + TOMS / Bridesmaid Dress Designer: Jenny Yoo Collection / Men’s Fashion: DKNY

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Elegant, Relaxed Chicago Affair, V

I have love, love, loved today’s final wedding! It is a lesson in all things gorgeous with details that just about any bride can easily fall in love with. The photographer behind the day, Olivia Leigh, is all talent and has given us a window into a day that will go down in the books as a complete and total favorite.

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Thank you so very much to Olivia and to the adorable bride and groom for sharing this wedding with us! It was a treat, to say the least! The bride is the designer behind a fabulous jewelry line, coming up next, so it’s no wonder that every little detail was lovely.

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Now I’m hungry!

Elegant, Relaxed Chicago Affair, IV

Love, love, love everything about this wedding that Olivia Leigh sent us. Filled with DIY touches that seem incredibly professional and a sweet and a completely charming style…it’s a love, love, love kind of wedding!

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Does it get any better than this? Here are a few of the vendors that helped to make this day so special…

Sweets table items (except cake): Vanille / Cake: Take the Cake / Bouquets: Hello Darling / Catering and table florals and design: Fox + Obel / Most small details and printed pieces including programs, name cards, save the dates, wood table stands, birds’ “outfits” etc. were by Julie, her sister and father and others / Bridesmaid jewelry was by Poesi / Photographs by Olivia Leigh Photographie / Venue: St. Clement Chicago / Reception Venue: Cheney Mansion

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Coming up, the AMAZING dessert spread that the couple had…with DIY details that will make you swoon!

Elegant, Relaxed Chicago Affair, III

Okay…now on to the details that I have been bragging about all day. When I got this wedding, Olivia (the photographer) described the day as a Nature Inspired, High-End DIY wedding. And I couldn’t have said it better myself. There is an organic elegance to the affair that seems to be infused into every element…from the moss covered balls that the flower girls are holding, to the wooden boxes that hold the perfect centerpieces. Everything is pure elegance with a nature inspired undertone. And it’s spectacular.

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photography by Olivia Leigh

From the beautiful bride…

We were surrounded by creative people to help us prepare for the most important project of our lives- with my sister, a graphic designer, creating an entire wedding paper suite, to our artist parents crafting centerpieces and designer friends helping with countless other details.  Being from two creative families from opposite sides of the world, it was a fun challenge to bring together elements of Matt’s Irish-Catholic background with the Korean culture from Julie’s upbringing.  The ceremony was held in a stunning cathedral in Chicago, while the evening festivities took place at an intimate garden and historic house in the architecturally significant village of Oak Park.

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photography by Olivia Leigh

It was in this garden setting that the traditional Korean ceremony of Paebaek took place.  It was a beautiful and colorful ceremony where, as newlyweds, we were able to pay our first respects to our parents and families.  The evening progressed with dancing in Cheney Mansion’s ballroom, which was the backdrop for much laughter and celebration, and ended with a magical sparkler getaway.

Elegant, Relaxed Chicago Affair, II

We are featuring traditionally elegant weddings on SMP today and this one is just that…and so much more. Photographed by Olivia Leigh, this affair is easy to obsess over, with perfectly lovely details that could translate into just about any style. But before we get to that, I had to share these shockingly beautiful photographs of the Chicago church where the couple was married…

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Holy Cow. Amazing. Coming up, all of the perfect details!!

Elegant, Relaxed Chicago Affair

There is so much to say about this wedding, I’m not even sure where to begin. So I’ll just start by saying that it’s gorgeous. From the magnificent Chicago church, to the perfect bride, the gorgeous maids, the flowers that will make you swoon, the organic but totally elegant reception style…every detail is perfection.

But really, what totally floored me when I opened up this email, was the photographs. Olivia Leigh is the genius behind the lens of some of my favorite weddings. Her style is forever elegant, timeless, crisp and visually stunning. I love Olivia, to say the least, and this wedding is a perfect example of her crazy skills.

Before we get into the details, I wanted to share some of these spectacular images that she captured of the bride…

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From Olivia

Earlier this summer I photographed a truly stunning wedding for one of my favourite couples of the year, Julie and Matt. Julie is a jewelry designer and Matt is an architect, and their design backgrounds were reflected perfectly in an elegant, but relaxed Chicago affair with inspiring details! They were married in a beautiful church in Lincoln Park, followed by a gorgeous garden reception in Oak Park, a town just west of the city. All in all it had a fabulous “east coast” sort of vibe, with a beautiful dinner on a lawn at sunset followed by dancing upstairs in an old mansion designed by a colleague of Frank Lloyd Wright.

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We have SO much more to come from this picture perfect wedding that I KNOW will inspire you to no end.