Kelsey + Brian : A Chicago wedding with a rooftop view at the J. Parker!


When a potential couple first contacts me about their wedding, my first questions are usually ‘How is the wedding planning going?’, or ‘What other vendors do you still need to book?’, or ‘What other details still need to be done?’  With these two, it was simply answered with, it’s taken care of.  Not only had they worked together and planned out every detail for their day, it was already BOOKED!  These two did things a little out of order, but it was perfectly THEM.  You might recall their amazingly gorgeous proposal at sunset in Lincoln Park I photographed.   This was done AFTER they contacted me about the wedding day.

You see, Kelsey and Brian have been together since August of 2005 when they first met at Northern Illinois University.  Kelsey was Brian’s RA in the dorms.  With over 10 years of ‘getting to know one another‘, these two only had one thing left to do : Plan a wedding day that celebrated all those years together and the ones to hopefully follow.  I loved every single thing about their process, including the way in which they planned it all alone. They dreamed out a day that was JUST FOR THEM and it was that and so much more if you ask me.

This day was truly an honor to witness…AND photograph! We ran ALL over our amazing city of Chicago to all of their favorite spots, ‘Just for one shot’, HA! 😉 We may have been a TAD late for the ceremony (Sorry Anthony!!!), but hey, you can’t start a wedding without the bride & groom right?  Now you have the pictures you wanted and the awesome story to tell.

Here is the jam-packed-full-of-so-many-fun-pictures wedding day of Kelsey and Brian.

Ceremony : St. Michael’s in Old Town

Reception : The J. Parker (Hotel Lincoln)

After Party : Old Town Pour House

Florist : A New Leaf

Trolley : Signature Transportation

Dress : VWIDON by Carla & Kenneth / Alfred Sung : (Bridesmaid)

Shoes : Badgley Mishka

Groom : BALANI Custom Clothiers / BLACK by Vera Wang (Groomsmen)

Hair : Samantha Evans (Stranded Beauty & Barber)

Makeup : Alex Tatar (Stranded Beauty & Barber)

Jeweler : Joel Singer

Wedding Planner : Anthony Navarro (Liven’ It Up Events)

Photo Booth : Photo Booth Time

I had met with them earlier to scope out locations for pictures for the first look and for family formals.  The great thing about their locations?

They lived ACROSS THE STREET from the park for the first look, and a few blocks away from their church (See the church in the above picture? That’s the view from their apartment!).  Their reception location? Oh ya know, just a few buildings down. Can you say AMAZING?! <3They both got ready in their apartment building.

The ladies were in a community room by the rooftop pool while the guys were in their residence. Brian, you look so dapper! 😉His groom’s gift : an amazing watch to wear at the wedding.Oh hi two of my past grooms!

One more on the way???? 😉 🙂 🙂While the guys relaxed outside (because it literally always takes men 5 minutes to get dressed) ;)…The ladies finished up makeup and hair. As the guys were all ready, I suggested we move the ladies into their apartment so they could both have ‘getting ready’ pictures at home.

<3 <3 <3How adorable is their dog??? He wouldn’t leave Kelsey’s side.Sorry bud, this is Kelsey’s day. HA!The views from their living room window – ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Just Hershey stealing the bride’s thunder with his cuteness. How regal does Kelsey look here?!So beautiful lovely!See that little alley way of trees? We were all set to go meet Brian down there for their first look.And he was waiting patiently…🙂 🙂 🙂Of course Hershey had to join the family picture. <3Trolley and wedding party patiently waiting to race around the city…First stop, the Doughnut Vault where Kelsey politely asked all the patrons in line to MOVE so we could get a picture.

AMAZING!Next stop – Kinzie Bridge for the entire group shot.Excuse US friendly bike rider.

😉Off to Lasalle Street for the iconic Chicago Board of Trade pictures.You two are stunning!Run out, run in, run out, run in…this was our afternoon routine with the trolley as we stopped quickly at the Italian Village, (where they actually had their first date!), and the Chicago Theater for more pictures.GO! GO! GO!After a few “Where are you???” texts from our amazing wedding planner and screams at the crazy traffic jam, we made it safely (just LATE) to the church…not so on time.Time to get married!HOLY CHURCH BATMAN!!!

What a view as this beaut walked down.I couldn’t get over how gorgeous St. Michael’s was.Hey guys, over here, smile at me! 😉Oops! When the best man gets his tux soaked with holy water meant for the rings. HA!Mr. & Mrs.!!!Time for a few portraits before we head to the rooftop to celebrate.Brian saw this guy across the street from The J. Parker and got an idea.A quick cash exchange later and it’s umbrella’s UP!

Loved this!!!The gorgeous bridal party.A New Leaf did an AMAZING job on their bouquets.The handsome groomsmen.Off to the rooftop we go…I love seeing how couples use their engagement pictures on their wedding day. <3Up, up, up and away we go to the rooftop.As they were announced in, Kelsey had a BIG and LOUD surprise waiting for Brian.She hired Northwestern University’s BOOMSHAKA to perform!I’d say Brian was pleasantly surprised. 🙂These guys were amazing!Then Brian got a turn!HA! Like a kid in a candy store…or a drum line. 😉CHECK OUT THIS ROOFTOP!!!The MOH and Best Man speeches were VERY sweet. <3Time for food, drinks, and an incredible view!I just happened to climb the fire escape so I could get some fun views from the tip top.

Why not?

(p.s. I’m crazy!)Worth it though!I loved their tiny cake.These Jr. Bridesmaid dresses were worn at Kelsey’s parent’s wedding.

Now, they were worn by the daughters of one of those bridesmaids.

How cool!This was such a unique reception setting, especially since it was in the afternoon.

Everyone got to enjoy sunshine while relaxing with amazing views, and great food and drinks,Around 3pm, it was time for Kelsey and Brian to sneak outside with me for pictures of the newlyweds.

Time to put those shoes back on! 😉So glad we found the viel! 😉Anywhere you walk around Lincoln Park is gorgeous.

I have a love thing for ivy walls in particular. <3Back to the park where they first saw each other earlier in the morning.One of their MUST HAVE pictures – The Old Town sign of course.Sometimes the ‘beauty is pain’ phrase (referring to shoes) gets thrown out the window (especially after a whole day of wearing them)…and sometimes the groom drops them. HA!You two looked gorgeous ALL DAY!Such a beautiful couple. <3 <3 <3 One of my favorites!

THIS is why we take afternoon sunset pictures people!

<3 <3 <3

A quick cab ride and we ended over at North Avenue Beach for some city views along the Lake.

‘Hey, go walk across the ledge there all pretty like.’

Kelsey…welp! Guess we’ll just go around.

LOL! I love you girl!Such a gentleman helping with those shoes.What a perfect afternoon!!!Hey other wedding couple! 🙂🙂 🙂 🙂YOU ARE GLOWING KELSEY!

Absolutely stunning.Not so bad yourself there Brian. 😉 And we are done!

This couple is married and ready to go party away the rest of their wedding night.What an amazing and unforgettable day! So fun that I got to get a picture with all three of my couples too!

Love you all!!!

*A little about Kelsey & Brian*

Q.  When did you get engaged? Where?

A. Brian & Kelsey got engaged in Lincoln Park on July 5th, 2016.  It was a beautiful proposal!

Q.  How did the proposal happen?

A.  You can view their gorgeous proposal HERE! 🙂

Q. What was the most important aspect for you two when planning your wedding?

A.  We wanted something that represented our style and the neighborhood we lived in. We felt like The J. Parker was a great combination of both of those options and luckily the weather worked out! The Church, Reception and After Party were all within 2 blocks of each other and our condo.

Q. What was your favorite thing about your wedding day?

A.  Our favorite thing about the wedding day was that everything seemed to come together flawlessly. Yes, we were a little late for the ceremony, but other than than, the ceremony, reception, after party and everything in between came together exactly as we had hoped. Brian’s personal favorite moment – the drummers at the reception (Northwestern University’s – Boomshaka). Kelsey’s personal favorite moment – laughing at the alter when the Priest soaked Scott’s (Best Man) tux with the holy water.

Q.  If you could do it all over again, what would you change, if anything?

A.  We wish that we could have enjoyed the day that we planned. It all seemed to go so fast and when we woke up the next morning, we had trouble remembering a majority of the day (even the sober parts)! Luckily, we had a ton of photos from friends and family to help us remember.

Q. Where did you (or plan to) go for your honeymoon?

A. We just got back from a two week trip to Thailand and Hong Kong. While the trip was planned in advance of the wedding and wasn’t technically dubbed as a ‘honeymoon’, we took an extra day on the Island of Ko Samui to really take things in and look back at the whole process.

Q. Can you give any advice for future couples planning a wedding?

A. A few things come to mind:
– If you’re not fully invested in having a ‘traditional wedding’, alope. It would have taken so much of the stress and worry out of the entire process.
– Dedicate 30 minutes at the reception to really sit back and enjoy everything. By the time that we had the opportunity to do that, the reception was over.

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Thank you for sharing!

And thank YOU Kelsey & Brian, Mr. & Mrs. Termini!!! I can never thank you enough for letting me be a part of such an unforgettable day. It truly was an honor and I’ll cherish all the funny moments created forever.

I wish you both all the happiness in the world and THEN some.  Enjoy your memories.  I can’t wait to see where they take you.


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And THIS picture idea…ya, not mine. All them.  I don’t look nervous about them picking me up, do I?


LOVE IT! My couples are AMAZING! <3Just a little behind the scenes of my adventure up the fire escape.

Did I mention I’m crazy??

Thank you to my friend and 2nd photographer Liz of Coach House Pictures for capturing these moments.I have to say…it was worth it for these views!

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