It’s the weekend! I’m off to photograph the wedding of my dear friend Morgan from middle/high school in about an hour. The weather is perfect and it is gonna rock.
I guess this is my first “official” blog post? But hey—I have a wedding fresh off the press and I’m excited to share!
Deniz reached out to me earlier this summer. She connected with the words on my website, and felt we would be a good photographer/bride match. And woah, we totally were. I happened to be in Chicago, where she lives, when we decided to work together. We made a last minute coffee date at Heritage Bicycles and I got reeeal excited to photograph her and Joe.
Deniz and Joe got married at Morton Arboretum on August 11th. It was a rainy morning, and last minute decisions needed to be made whether they could still have the ceremony outside or not. I certainly advocated for keeping it outside because outside ceremonies are my total favorite, even with a few sprinkles.
Thankfully the rain cleared, the ceremony chairs were wiped down, and the show was still on.
Deniz got ready in what looked like a room in a castle. Stunning windows, concrete interior, nice lighting. Her mother and aunt helped her put on her wedding dress, which was an absolutely stunning piece of art from Pronovias Barcelona. It fit her like a glove and had the most romantic lacy details. It was a special moment, as Deniz’s family traveled from Istanbul, Turkey — where Deniz is from — to be at the wedding. Her mother even brought a few things to incorporate into the wedding all the way from Turkey — including a veil and lavender satchels. They found it funny that the “train” of a dress is called a train. And it made me realize that they are totally right and it is, in fact, really weird that it’s called a train. A “tail” makes way more sense and sounds cooler. Ha!
Deniz and I proceeded to take some bridal portraits outside the building, where there was a very Game of Thrones-ish looking door. Speaking of GOT, I really freaking miss it. Something about the fact that fall is approaching and temperatures are (hopefully) going to start dropping makes me want to drink red wine and watch it all over again. Love you, Jon Snow.
When Joe was in his suit and ready to see his beautiful bride, the two met in front of the aforementioned door, surrounded by trees and nature in the stunning Thornhill area of Morton Arboretum. They instantly embraced and were awestruck by one another. First looks are one of my favorite moments in a wedding day — it is like a big refreshing deep breath for everyone. It is a reminder why all of this is happening: love.
We then wandered around the forest-y wonderland of trees and plants and flowers and took probably 1,000 photos because the possibilities are just endless at this beautiful place. As we were walking out to the meadow, Joe mentioned how thankful they are they had their wedding this way. At first they considered more of an elopement-style wedding with no frills, but ended up throwing this amazing kick-ass party in a lovely place. I, along with them, am really glad they did.
Their ceremony was held in the Fragrance Garden, a super intimate spot surrounded by greenery and plants. Palo santo was burned throughout the whole ceremony, which I thought was just so awesome. Patrick and I often burn palo santo in our home because it reminds us of a campfire and smells sooo good.
The joy on everyone’s face made me smile behind my lens. After the ceremony, Deniz and Joe exited as all their friends and family blew bubbles in celebration.
No one wasted time getting the party started, guests lines up to embrace and congratulate their dear newlywed friends. After cocktail hour, dinner, and speeches, they had their first dances. Deniz and her father shared a first dance with Joe and his mother. I think pairing both dances together is super sweet and probably less pressure, ha! Joe and Deniz slayed it on the dance floor for their first dance together.
Once the formal dances ended, everyone headed outside to the terrace that overlooks a massive freshly manicured meadow. Deniz and Joe’s friend DJ’d the whole night and I’ll be honest, it is the first wedding I went to that played exclusively deep house music. But holy shit, it was amazing. I may be mistaken, but I think I heard some Nicolas Jaar in there — one of my favorite artists. Everyone was dancing and it was seriously so fun to photograph.
Deniz introduced me to a Turkish tradition, similar to a bouquet toss. The bride’s friends write their names on the bottom of her shoes. Whomever’s name rubs off by the end of the night is supposedly gonna get married. They say this works for everyone who doesn’t use permanent marker. I signed Deniz’s shoe and I’m just gonna assume my name is rubbed off because she was killing it on the dance floor and also because I am actually getting married next year. Haha!
Once the sun had fully set and the full moon was out in all its’ glory, Deniz, Joe, and their friends took off their shoes and ran to the meadow to dance. It felt magical, even as an outsider documenting it. I was tempted to take my shoes off and dance as well.
These two were so surrounded by love the entire day. I am truly honored to have the privilege to document days like this. Thanks, Deniz and Joe, for choosing me to be your photographer. 💛
Below are a few more photos from their day! Thanks a million for reading / looking.
Venue: Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois
Bouquet: Lauren Roberts
DJ: Alice Iguchi
Sound + Lights: Critical Sound
Table Arrangements: The bride herself!