Okay, so remember how I told you that Phil and Mary Ann had probably the prettiest indoor reception I have ever seen? Well, I was not messing around! Check it:
I LOVE THIS. The colors are great and the lantern balls hanging from the ceiling are INCREDIBLE. I really, really loved it.
I had a lot of fun toast pictures, which you can see in the gallery, but this one was my favorite. A little different than normal, I know, but you can still tell what's going on and I think it looks really neat. :)
The cake was just gorgeous and really went with the decor, and the flowers on top are flowers that were in her bouquet. (Hydrangeas? I need to brush up on my flowers, obviously.) I got to check out the ballroom early, and I got to be there when Phil and Mary Ann first saw it, and their faces just LIT UP with excitement. I think that even though they mentally knew what they asked for, seeing it was really beyond what they expected. So anyway, we went over to the cake and Phil pointed out that they got some of Mary Ann's favorite cupcakes made and I guessed red velvet. Phil confirmed my guess and said, "I think that's every girl's favorite." So what do you say ladies? Is it?
Billy took one of these and it was one of my favorite pictures of the entire night. She just looks so simultaneously devious and gleeful! You can tell that Phil totally knows what's coming, but I found out later that they'd agreed earlier on no cake in the face.
Well, you can see how that one turned out for Phil. :)
Phil took the mic to say thanks, and I can't remember what was going on that resulted in this picture, but I wish I could because it looks like it was hilarious!
Okay, now I promised you guys the greatest ring shot in the history of ring shots and while this one is definitely up there, it's not even it! Can you believe it? There's an even BETTER one! But this one was really special, because it's of the rings with the St. Christopher pendant that Phil gave to Nate, and I really did just love that. Also, whoever gave them a journal and left it unwrapped on the gift table, THANK YOU--it was a perfect ring shot backdrop. :)
Another shot of the amazing ballroom decor, with a nice view of the newlyweds at the sweethearts' table. Seriously, I am still not over this reception--GORGEOUS! I am in mad love and I might have to hang little ball lanterns from my living room ceiling just to recreate it. (You think I wouldn't? Then you don't know me! :))
And seriously, all the first dance pictures were this magical, because come on, how could they not be? Even the permanent chandeliers (with the amber colored glass hanging down) just fit in perfectly and added so much. They've done a GREAT job with this place. And seriously, having a happy, fun, spectacular couple as your subject doesn't hurt either! :)
Love this shot of the bouquet toss, and I think that the girl who caught it really wanted it! Call me for YOUR wedding, bouquet catcher! :)
And gearing up for the garter toss! Do you SEE this? I told you they were so so so fun, and this is irrefutable proof!
In typical guy fashion, I don't think anyone was QUITE as excited to catch the garter, but one of the groomsmen did come up with it eventually. :) Phil and Mary Ann had a little thing I'd never seen done before, where the garter catcher put the garter back ON the bouquet catcher! It was really funny and you could tell that neither of them expected that little twist, but the groomsman was a total gentleman and put it on her arm. :)
Mary Ann and Phil got a photo booth, and once again, it was SO MUCH FUN, and such a big hit! I had fun too, sneaking up on it and taking pictures through the side curtain. Plus, the people waiting outside with the crazy hats on were totally entertaining. I've got to say, you guys, this is a trend I'm excited to see catching on, mostly because everyone seems to enjoy it so much. Plus, with the little photo strips that people get, I think that would be a great way to spend part of your favor budget. DEFINITELY something you should look into.
This pic cracks me up, because I think that this was the point where the DJ (accurately) announced that the bridesmaids had been unleashed. Seriously, they all descended at once and out of nowhere, and really got the party kicked into high gear!
Loved this pic of my bridesmaid friend, who is a fellow lover of photography! You know, it was funny--I've had a couple people snap pictures of me at weddings here and there, but this was the first one where someone actually took MY camera and took shots of me! And someone else got in to model! It was really fun (and cracked me up). I later took a picture of this bridesmaid with her husband, and she had me take one from each side of her, so we could figure out which was her "good side". Although judging from this pic, looks like we found it!
Now usually at a wedding, I don't get that much info about people's particular relationships, unless they're really obvious (like parents, the couple getting married--you know, the biggies). So I am just going to ASSUME (and yes, we all know what happens when you do that) that this is Phil's brother (okay, I know that's true) and his wife and kiddo. Hopefully I'm close. :)
Anyway, they were all really cute and dancing together all night, and I love how they're all doing the same dance here! So cute, and such a fun party!
Speaking of, this picture CRACKS ME UP. I snapped this one really quick (and I love how dark it is, actually), and then looked up to see his parents kissing each other. Ha! We all know that no kid wants to see that. Although I admit that it's kind of weird that people my age can have kids old enough to be grossed out by them kissing! Where does the time go?
Phil's mom was totally fun and such a dancing queen all night out on the floor. I'm pretty sure she was leading a train at some point!
And hello, crazy dancing! This groomsman tore it up with some of my favorite moves of the night!
Billy also took this one and I LOVE THIS SHOT. It just reminds me of an old 40's movie still or something, and I love the composition, the leaning on the bar, and all the glasses on the counter. It's all very glamorous.
And Billy strikes again! Another of those moments where I SO wish I knew what was going on here. :) And can I just say, on the subject of Billy, that he's been resisting me promoting him from assistant to second shooter, but the real fact of the matter is that he's been kicking so much butt (and taking so many names), that I really have no choice. I'll keep trying to convince him before I flat out overrule him, but he's been doing an AWESOME job, and he also continues to improve. In fact, I was showing him one day at home how to use focus points on the camera, so we were screwing around and taking each other's pictures, and there are actually some of me that are totally cute (and I'll show them to you once I finish up all my client pics!). YAY for the best assistant/boyfriend ever!
I just love this, with Mary Ann gettin' down and Phil just having a great time watching her and being there. (Phil got down too, of course--just not in this particular shot.) :)
Thought this was a great little grandpa/grandson moment. :)
And this is a great little father/son moment! Seriously, this is going on a wall somewhere, right? RIGHT? :)
More sneaking up on the photo booth! Do you see how much fun everyone is having? It really cannot be said enough--I even look back through the pictures and I get that feeling of just havinga really fun night all over again. Also, shout out to the guy in the picture--he emceed the reception, and I believe he's a friend, which made his color commentary really entertaining. :)
This is Mary Ann and her mom and a couple of her aunts, and you know, I was just feeling really sentimental about the aunts that night. I grew up being really close to my mom's sisters, one of whom is undergoing chemotherapy right now, and ... I don't know. I guess it just made me picture my own future (hypothetical--I'm not keeping any secrets from anyone!) wedding, and I don't know, it was weird because I don't think I've ever actually done that at a wedding before, because I'm always just so involved in the actual day, or in some task at hand, but this whole little group dynamic just felt very familiar to me and I kind of loved it.
Now this picture cracks me up because of the story behind it--I snuck up on Nate and his grandpa and told him to smile. He did, SUUUUUPER cutely (obviously), and I looked at my camera, SAW how cute it was, and said, "Man, Nate, you're so GOOD at this!" And in the most hysterical, exhausted, funniest little kid way, he goes, "I know, but I'm SO TIIIIIRED!" I mean, I really believed him because it had been a long day, but I still laughed pretty hard (and went to share that with Billy, who also got a kick out of it). But Nate was really not messing around, because a few minutes later ...
... this happened! Isn't that just too cute for words? Apparently Nate, like me, can sleep anywhere with no problem. And Nate, I hope that this is a skill that you maintain and learn to appreciate over the years, because some of the things I've slept through ... I've slept through a tree falling over right outside my window, loud roommates, sirens, storms, about every form of transportation a person can take, and perhaps most impressively, I once slept for like 12 straight hours right over the wheels on a charter bus coming back from Florida while people walked back and forth over me to get to the bathroom. My old college roommate Kelly once told me that I had been blessed with the gift of sleep, and she was so right. And it most definitely IS a gift. :)
Two things about this: first of all, I was really impressed with the endurance of everyone at this wedding, guests included. A lot of people had really small kids, and pretty much the kids just went to sleep in their strollers and the party went on. You don't always see that, but I think pretty much everyone was there until the last dance, which was awesome. Secondly, there were a lot of REALLY fun pictures from the reception and of a lot of different guests. I really wished I could include all of them in the blog but look at how long this thing is already, AND it's a two-parter! So definitely make sure to go check out the gallery--you could be (and probably are) in it!
I definitely felt like the Birthday Girl deserved a spot on the blog, though! And how fortunate was it that they had a birthday cake hat at the photo booth? And also, do you see what I mean about how everyone right on down the guest list looked like a supermodel? I'm still not over it!
Awwww, I really love this picture and I love the look on Mary Ann's face. (I also, in a very "photographer" way, love how the colors turned out. But that's just a little non-sequiter.)
And FINALLY, THE GREATEST RING SHOT OF ALL TIME! I'm not even kidding, I need to submit this bad boy for some awards. And yes, I took it, but it was really a team effort because Billy spotted their photo strip on the table and suggested that it would make a great ring shot and he was SO RIGHT. I am madly, madly, madly in love with this. Also, back to the team effort, besides my mad photo skills and Billy's awesome art direction, we also have to thank gorgeous jewelry AND OF COURSE, Phil and Mary Ann and their cute, fun facial expressons!
And that, my friends, does it for the prettiest, most fun, and all around best wedding Chicago has ever seen! Don't forget to check out the gallery (last time I'll bring it up, I swear), and CALL ME next time you guys have an event and need a photographer--I'll be beyond excited! And not just because that's my normal state, either! :)
Also, if you're getting married in Chicago, I DEFINITELY recommend having it at the Marriott on the Magnificient Mile. It was obviously BEAUTIFUL, but in addition, the staff was friendly, helpful, and the reception was very organized and ran according to schedule--those last two things aren't something you might think about much when choosing a venue, but trust me, it makes a HUGE difference.
And last of all, a big thank you to Mary Ann and Phil, for picking me, and for liking what I do and how I do it, and trusting me with all of your memories on your big day! I feel so lucky to have gotten to spend it with you, and you guys and your guests made Billy and I feel very, very appreciated, and we hope to cross paths again sometime!