As many of you know, I started my photography business when I was living in Chicago, and I love to get back there a few times a year for weddings. Stephanie and Philip were married in mid-September at Prairie Production in the West Loop, not far from where I lived before I moved back to Michigan. Their wedding day lived up to every expectation that I could have set for it.
Read Stephanie and Philip’s full wedding story below.
- Wedding Venue: Prairie Production
- Florist: Pollen
- Wedding Invitations: Spilled Ink Press
- Catering: Hearty Boys Caterers
- Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal
- Female Attendant Dresses: J. Crew
- Tuxes: Black Tie Formal Wear Lincoln Park
- Engagement Ring/Wedding Bands: Steve Quick Jewlers Lincoln Square
We met during graduate school at Loyola University Chicago. We were both studying social work and had a few classes together throughout the program, but we never actually talked to one another until a mutual friend invited both of us out a couple weeks before graduation to celebrate. Needless to say, we hit it off from the start and never slowed down. Three plus years later, here we are today!
Philip proposed in front of some of our closest friends. I had no idea it was coming! I tried to throw him a surprise birthday party at one of our friends’ homes, but unbeknownst to me, Philip and my fellow party planners were in cahoots and turned the surprise around on me. He proposed in candlelight with rose peddles at our feet and our friends standing around us. I was speechless, but finally found my words and obviously said, “yes!”
The planning was both stressful and exciting, but everything turned out to be absolutely perfect, and many of the details were even better than we were expecting. We found the perfect venue in Prairie Production, which also doubles as a photography studio, where we had both the ceremony and reception. It offered us a blank canvas to bring in whatever we wanted, but at the same time allowed us to stay minimalistic in our design and still look stunning. In this space, less was best. We added a pop of color to the all white venue with the beautiful shades of purple flowers and 500 origami ducks with crystal beads hanging in front of the floor to ceiling windows. We wanted to keep it simple and keep the focus on our family and friends, the memories we were creating, and honoring both of our cultures in whatever details we could. We incorporated Philip’s Filipino culture into the regular ceremony by having family members come forward and present us with coins (for prosperity), place a veil over us (to unify us) and drape a cord around our shoulders (to bind us with love). We also had a brief traditional Korean ceremony at the beginning of the reception where we bowed to our parents out of respect and they offered us good wishes and advice in our marriage. I wore a traditional Korean dress and Philip wore a Filipino wedding shirt. Even the origami ducks (which symbolize a long and happy marriage in the Korean culture) and our Filipino and Korean desserts were thoughtfully chosen to reflect our identities and honor our cultures.
We didn’t feel like we had to go to great lengths to try and get our vision across to any of our vendors. They all seemed to be able to read our minds and just knew what we wanted. The shop that made our invitations was gracious and patient with us as we went back and forth making tweaks to get them just right. The owner of the venue couldn’t have been easier to work with. The food and desserts were great and the set up for the ceremony and reception couldn’t have gone smoother. The flowers were even better than we envisioned and our photographer and her assistant captured stunning photographs of the most special moments of our day.
All the stress and hard work paid off and I am lucky to have had a super involved fiancé who, might I add, folded probably 300 out of 500 of those origami ducks, dealt with most of the vendors, and generally kept us on a steady pace in order to get everything done in time!
And we couldn’t have done any of this without our very good friend and wedding planner extraordinaire, Kate Kusiak-Galvin. She is one of the reasons why our wedding from the beginning to the end, was so wonderful. But in the end, it was the fact that both of our families and closest friends traveled near and far to help us celebrate, that made our day so perfect!
I’ve always had this dream about taking photographs out by my parents house. They live in the country on a dirt road far away from just about everything. Leading up to Nicole and David’s wedding, I decided to pack up Zelda and head out to the Rosewood Inn to check it out so that I would know what to expect, and I was absolutely delighted to discover that this was the wedding venue I had been passing by for years on the way to my parents’ house. It’s out in the country surrounded by corn fields, and it’s a dream (field of dreams, heh). They were absolutely the sweetest when Zelda and I stopped by to tour, and I love that they take care of all of the details—from flowers to cake—right there on site. I’m in love with this venue. It’s completely unique to the Lansing area.
Okay, after gushing about the venue, I hope you’ll allow me a moment to gush about Nicole and David. We met last year to photograph their engagement session when I was super pregnant with Zelda, and I knew that I liked them right from the get go when they were game for going behind a dumpster to take photos in a spot that I swore would be worth it. These two were just plain fun to work with—incredibly sweet and clearly head over heels in love with each other. Nicole and David, thanks for having us out. And a big thank you to Dionel for assisting on this wedding and getting some amazing shots to help tell the story of the day.
Watch the video below for more photographs from this wedding.
I met Brian and Jessi almost exactly a year ago when I photographed their engagement session on MSU’s campus, and I’d been looking forward to their wedding ever since. These two are so natural together—the kind of couple that every photographer hopes to work with.
Thanks to Chris, as always, for helping out as my assistant photographer and helping to get some amazing photos from the day.
Chris stayed behind the scenes with Jessi and her dad while I was in the church as the ceremony started.
We went to Island Park in Grand Ledge for photos after the ceremony.
We wanted to get a few photos by this wall near the park, but there was a youth league baseball game going on. By the time we left, the whole wedding party was cheering on the game.
Channeling our inner ‘Bridesmaids.’