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Morgan Manufacturing, Brooke & Andrew

Planning Brooke and Andrew’s wedding was one of the highlights of my career. I knew the moment Brooke and her mom called, that we were going to have so much fun together…and be lifelong friends. Brooke is one of the most sincere women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. With Brooke’s impeccable sense of style and (her mom) Sheri’s flawless taste in finding the perfect details to tie everything together, we created a magical experience for their guests.

After meeting in Austin and spending a few years long distance, Brooke and Andrew eventually landed in Chicago to begin their life together. Brooke works for the Neat Method and Andrew works for Ora Interactive. Both from the Chicagoland area, they knew they wanted a Chicago wedding that was unique to their personalities but of course, FUN!

As guests entered Morgan Manufacturing they were greeted with welcome refreshments on a custom (American flag) table to kick off the 4th of July weekend. A “Welcome” floral ring (designed by Sheri) was suspended over the table. We served cucumber water, basil infused lemonade and, St. Germain Fizz (the bride’s favorite cocktail). If guests wanted to hydrate before the long night ahead, we had beautiful custom mini water bottles. One of our favorite décor elements from this wedding was the ceremony in the round. We loved creating this for Brooke and Andrew as it felt like every single guest was a part of the ceremony. It was intimate and inviting.

Brooke carried a hand tied bouquet filled with rich pink peonies, ranunculus, garden roses and textural botanicals designed by Revel Decor. Her bridesmaids complimented by carrying bouquets filled with rich greenery and pops of vibrant floral. Andrew matched his bride with a hot pink ranunculus, which looked dashing against his navy tux.

A trio of magnificent suspended green chandeliers hung from the ceiling with bold botanicals and pops of bright floral. The dining tables complimented the overhead installation with garlands of organic and wild smilax and bright bold peonies, ranunculus, and roses. We completed the look with ambient candles in mixed metals and low lush floral. We had some fun with the photo booth and Revel designed a backdrop of café lights complimented by another floral ring stating “Cheers!”

Brooke and her Mom added so many unique personal touches for the wedding from the guest book cards and signature drink signage, to the escort card frames and who can forget those marvelous suspended rings throughout the venue.

I had the pleasure of working with the most beautiful couple, inside and out, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the “dream team” of event professionals we put together for Brooke and Andrew. Hard to believe it’s almost been one year! Congrats B&A!


Venue: Morgan Manufacturing
Hotel Suite: The Langham Chicago
Band & DJ: BKO MusicBecca Kaufman
Floral & Decor: Revel Decor – Erin Sellers
Catering: Limelight – Molly Fennell
Cake: Elysia Root Cakes – Elysia
Photography: Vrai PhotographyTina LaDeur Brouwer
Video: SharkPigCorey Thomas Bienert and Margaret Bienert
Paper & Stationery: Steracle Press – Stacey Stern
Website: Madz DesignsMaddie Nieman
Calligraphy: Calligraphy Nerd – Andrea Fowler
Hair: Lauren Vitagliano Logan & Christina Maxwell
Makeup: Doris O’Meara
Photo Booth: SmileBooth – Chris Rubarth
Officiant: Groom’s Uncle, Kevin Considine
Rehearsal Dinner: Smith and Wollensky
Welcome Reception: Chicago’s First Lady Cruises
Transportation: VIP Valet Services
Wedding Planner: LK Events, Lauren Knuepfer

Kathryn & Jed, The Langham Chicago

Sophistication and grace would be the two words to describe Kathryn & Jed and their wedding day. They have a timeless style that was woven throughout their wedding day. From Kathryn’s gorgeous Vera Wang gown to the gardenia blossoms at each place setting, it was a classic celebration captured by Elena Banzini Photography and LEAP Weddings.

Kathryn & Jed worked together to incorporate personal items into their day, like Kathryn’s ceremony procession to Clair de Lune, having their friend read an excerpt from “Gift By the Sea” during the ceremony, and introducing their wedding party to the tune of Cissy Strut.

Vince Hart from Kehoe Designs worked with Kathryn and her mother to create a spring, Southern look to The Langham’s Devonshire Ballroom. Using flowering branches, white orchids, white tulips, mint hydrangea, and touches of green camelia foliage, guests were transported to a lovely, spring garden. Guests then enjoyed a first course of Maine lobster risotto with English peas, red sorrell, vanilla bean oil and espelette. A choice entrée of organic salmon or slow-roasted filet mignon followed, with the granddaddy of a finish…a custom four-tier cake from Elysia Root Cakes.

Kathryn & Jed chose to work with a choreographer for their first dance and they were such a striking pair, gliding over the dance floor to the Chicago Catz’s rendition of Love Is Here to Stay. Congratulations to Kathryn & Jed, a couple who will never go out of style!

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Wedding Gown: Vera Wang
Bakery: Elysia Root Cakes
Beauty: Sara & Cherie from Sonia Roselli Studios
Floral/Décor: Kehoe Designs
Ceremony & Cocktail Hour Musicians: artistrings
Reception Musicians: Chicago Catz
Photographer: Elena Banzini Photography
Rehearsal Dinner: Sepia
Friday Night Welcome Reception: Stout Barrel House
Rehearsal Dinner Transportation: The Trolley Car & Bus Company
Linens: BBJ Linen
Rentals (chairs, chargers): Hall’s Rental
Room Blocks: The Langham and The Kinzie Hotel
Invitation Suite: Hannah Handmade
Ceremony Programs: All She Wrote
Escort Card Calligraphy: Mary Zabrin
Venue, Food & Beverage: The Langham, Chicago
Videographers: Josh & Rob from LEAP Weddings
Wedding Planner: Nicole Zenner from LK Events

Angela & Trip, The Langham Chicago

Working with amazing couples and talented colleagues in Chicago is why I love my job so much. When I first met Angela and Trip, I knew that we were going to have a fun journey together and that they were going to have a beautiful wedding day. I was not wrong.

Angela and Trip really made a weekend out of their wedding because they wanted to show off the city that they love. The day before the Wedding, Trip had a Groom’s Brunch at Hash House A- Go-Go and then took his groomsmen on a river boat cruise. Angela and her ladies had a luncheon at Jane’s with a mani-pedi party at Polish & Pour. We then had a Rehearsal at Saint Clement with a Dinner/Welcome Party following that at Little Goat. What a way to start the festivities!

On the morning of the wedding, Angela and her ladies gathered in her suite at The Langham, Chicago, for hair and make-up appointments. It was a very relaxed atmosphere, except for the fact that we were still waiting for a bridesmaid to get into Chicago. Unfortunately, her flight was affected by some disturbance at O’Hare and she had grabbed the Amtrak Train and was traveling straight through to be by her friend’s side. That is definitely a best friend!

Angela was soon stepping into her stunning Lazaro gown and then Amanda Hein was bringing her to the Plaza to meet her fiancé. These photos!! Amanda truly captured the spirit of Angela & Trip and their love of Chicago. After some more photos inside The Langham with their wedding party and family, we all traveled up to Saint Clement for the wedding ceremony. I always love seeing couples getting married in the parish I call home and Angela and Trip’s ceremony was very touching.

We shuttled guests back to The Langham, Chicago, where they were greeted with passed sparkling water and wine, along with Specialty Cocktails – the Bride’s Moscow Mule and the Groom’s Old Fashioned. They also noshed on a North Carolina Style Pulled Pork Slider and Mini New England Lobster Rolls while mingling with Angela and Trip. We soon brought everyone into the Devonshire Ballroom for dinner and Cornelia McNamara had provided a spectacular fall, romantic and classic atmosphere, with beautiful paper accents from Courtney Callahan. After Angela and Trip were introduced as husband and wife, they had their First Dance to “Home”. Guests were delighted with the culinary skills at The Langham and Rendezvous soon had them on the dance floor for a party that lasted until after midnight. Congratulations to my newest friends, Angela & Trip!

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Gown: Lazaro
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Hair Stylists: Ashley Young Styling
Make-up Artist: Cherie from Sonia Roselli
Florist: Cornelia McNamara
Ceremony Musicians: Chicago Musical Connection
Reception Musicians: Rendezvous
Photographer: Amanda Hein Photography
Photo Booth: Shutterbooth
Rehearsal Dinner: Little Goat
Room Blocks: The Langham Chicago, Westin Chicago River North, Conrad Chicago
Stationery: Courtney Callahan Paper
Transportation: Chicago Trolley Company and M&M Limousine & Bus
Ceremony Venue: Saint Clement
Venue, Food & Beverage: The Langham, Chicago
Lighting: PSAV
Wedding Planner: LK Events

Getting Ready Photos with Kent Drake Photography

Planner, Check.
Venue, Check.
Caterer, Check.
Photographer, Check.
Band, Check.
Dress, Check.
Prep Location….?
A wedding checklist can be long and overwhelming, with some items feeling more rushed or important than the next. It’s a day you’ve thought about for years, envisioning the dress, the spouse, the venue, the portraits and everything in between, but you can’t . One item I wish to remind you of today, is another location you spend a good part of your time… The prep location!
For many of us, we aren’t born and raised in downtown Chicago. The city is full of transplants and professionals from the surrounding suburbs. You may also have out of town guests, and there is no way a bride & groom should be spending your wedding night in your own bed. The hotel you choose to call “home” for your wedding weekend has a few important factors, which I wanted to provide some insight on from the experience of a professional photographer. I hope this can serve you as some help!

Hotel Service

It’s possible you are having your ceremony and/or reception at the hotel you do your prep at. This is very convenient option for the day, and the hotel staff is there for you all weekend long. Whatever you need (within reason), they understand you are bringing in a lot of business, and should be providing flexible assistance to you and your guests during your stay. This makes the rehearsal process easier, and it’s a one stop shop for your wedding experience. Luxury hotels are not only immaculate, but they excel at high quality service, and that cannot be overlooked.
There are of course downsides to the all in one approach. Most obvious, being you miss out on some of the great venue spaces that are in Chicago. It’s a matter of taste, but there is no shortage of venue options. So due your research, and if you have a planner like LK Events, they know venues and staff inside and out. This is why you brought them in.

Getting Ready

As a photographer, this section will carry the most weight for me. Photographically, the room you decide to dress in, is a big part of your wedding day story. First and foremost, it should fit your style. If you are into modern furniture and sleek lines, that’s the hotel you should be looking for. If you are into classic Chicago architecture and motifs, you should be looking in that direction. Whatever it is, here is what is important to make those images really shine.

1. Windows:

Where ever you end up, ask for the room with the best light. In Chicago, that generally means south facing, and a high floor. That may not be the case for every hotel, so ask the hotel coordinator as you book your suite. Floor to ceiling windows are fantastic, and allow the photographer the most flexibility to control the room.
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2. Suite:

You will have anywhere from 5 to 20 people in that room, depending on your bridal party and family size. That’s a crowd, and has the potential to overwhelm both you and the space. Having a large open suite with a living room set up is great, and multiple rooms are also a plus. I prefer to clear out a room of excess luggage and food/bottles before we starting photographing you putting on your dress. This also allows more flexibility for the photographer to shoot the dress, shoes, accessories without being in the way, or your bridesmaids can dress in the other rooms if need be.
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3. Mirrors:

Once that dress is on, you need to see yourself from head to toe. After all the work you’ve put in, you deserve at least that much! If the room doesn’t have a full length mirror, ask the hotel what they have on hand.
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4. Bridal Party:

I stress this with every couple I meet, and I will do so again here. Please consider having your bridal party dressed if they are done with hair & make up. At the very least, by the time you are putting on your dress. When you flip through your wedding album years down the road, you will appreciate the difference between your friends in their dress versus pajamas. This is so often overlooked, but it does change the tone, and adds that extra touch of class to the room. Now, I am all for getting your girls something personal and that matches to wear all morning long. I think this is great, and is really the best alternative. Whether it’s a robe, monogramed shirt or anything in-between, I love it. It’s a great idea, and is a wonderful favor.
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5. The Gents:

Everything I said above stands here too, with just a little less stress on the suite and mirrors part. The biggest thing, is having the guys get ready in the same building as the girls. You ensure nobody forgets something, the planner/photographer can balance the schedule better, and if you wish to do a first look, it’s very complimentary to first looks. If you have the whole bridal party, parents and more at the same location, no one should be left behind, and everyone has someones cellphone number.
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6. Perks:

What else does the hotel have to offer you? What is the aesthetic and environment of the space? Keep in mind, that many hotels have luxurious bars, lounge spaces, or even rooftops and terraces for you to access. These are priceless perks on your wedding day, so don’t forget to look beyond the suite itself!
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Call an Audible! Private Residence

Let’s just say for a second you have no desire to use a hotel for yourself at all. I’ve photographed in many different prep locations, and it’s not the end of the world. If you have a space in the city that can hold your bridal party, is open and clean, I see no reason to dissuade you. I’ve been in friends homes, and also in more intimate settings with only immediate family present. I honestly loved that too. It was classy and personal, and that fit the bride.
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Everything I’ve shared is about finding what suits your tastes the best, and promoting a relaxing wedding environment. I hope that this was able to provide some insight and help to you in your planning process. Remember to seek advice from other professionals around you, our insight comes from nothing more than experience!