Mikey's First Birthday | Family Portraits

My nephew, Mikey, turned 1 today! Here are some photos we took at my in-laws' a few weeks ago. He's at such a fun age where you can see him processing things and forming his own thoughts, though he can't talk yet!

After our session we ate lunch on the back patio. The dogs were playing catch with Jimmy, while Jennie and and Nikki were on a blanket with Mikey playing. It was too idyllic to not run back inside and pick up my camera again. I love capturing the 'normal'. What a Saturday summer afternoon at this point in their lives looks like. Thank you so much for having me photograph 1 year with Mikey, Jennie & Jimmy! xoxo!

Wedding Details | Part III

Alright, last up of my wedding details series (parts I & II)! This one is all about the music. I know you might be surprised that this is getting its own post, but this was the one aspect of our wedding we truly spent all 11 months of our engagement working on. As you'll see below, there are a lot more important song choices that go into the weekend than it seems!

Formal Ceremony Songs

  1. "Two Coins" by Dispatch > Processional - Bridesmaid Entrance
  2. "Dreamgirl" by Dave Matthews Band > Processional - Bride Entrance (we spliced this version a little to make the intro shorter)
  3. "For Once in My Life" by Stevie Wonder > Recessional

Ceremony music was easily the hardest to select! For our first two songs during the ceremony, we had David's sister, Lauren Nolan, & one of his best friends, Trace Loptien, sing "Songbird" & "I've Got This Friend". Lauren used to pursue a career in musical theater & Trace is a singer/songwriter living in Nashville. Right when we started planning our ceremony outline and had a general idea of our song selections, we listened to "I've Got This Friend" by the Civil Wars. We could both actually hear Lauren & Trace's voices through the song and knew this was perfect--it encompassed the vibe of David & I's relationship and the song couldn't have fit Lauren & Trace's styles better. Leading up to the wedding every time we listened to this song we got chills just thinking about hearing two of our favorite people perform it for us & our guests during our wedding ceremony--and they totally nailed it! And "Songbird" is just an all-around classic with some phenom lyrics, it flowed perfectly in between our readings.

After the vows & exchange of rings, my dear friend and college roommate, Brianne, performed "That's What's Up".  We wanted to end the ceremony with a more light-hearted/up-beat tune, but still have great meaning. In college, my friends & I used to love watching youtube videos of Lennon & Maisy--they're just the CUTEST I don't know how you can't not fall in love with them. Brianne is a killer guitarist and singer with all sorts of soul--she used to perform at our sorority talent competitions and always made us weep during her performances. Shortly after David & I got engaged I was listening to "That's What's Up" and actually started crying at the thought of Brianne performing this near the end of our ceremony. Not sure if it was the nostalgia factor of Brianne playing or the recently engaged emotions, but her performance on our wedding day was even more magical than I had hoped and was the best way to close our ceremony! 

As you can probably tell by now, music is so important to us! David pretty much took the reigns with hiring our DJ. He talked to 3 DJs in Southern California before we ultimately signed a contract with Elevated Pulse. Deciding to go DJ vs. band was pretty easy for us because there were a lot of songs we wanted to hear the original version of. These guys were phenomenal to work with and absolutely killed it on our wedding night! On multiple occasions I remember thinking "ok, I'll get a water from the bar next song" (because I was dancing my face off and needed some H20), but then DJ Mike would transition into another amazing song and I'd eventually send a friend to get me a water. I'm pretty sure no one left the dance floor ever.

In terms of playlists for the weekend, we started off with a major wedding day playlist that we ended up breaking out and parsing down. DJ Mike played everything in order on the cocktail hour & dinner playlists, but he used the reception playlist as a guide & primarily got creative/read the crowd for the reception post-dinner music. Our only musts were a) Remix to Ignition because that's my favorite song ever and b) end with Bohemian Rhapsody. All good wedding receptions end with an anthem IMO! 

Spotify Playlists

  1. Getting Ready - David
  2. Getting Ready - Ali
  3. Hanging by the Pool
  4. Cocktail Hour > a hodge podge of songs we loved in high school, some tunes by our friend Trace Jory, and some from David's favorite band, Phish.
  5. Reception Dinner > Mostly our favorite classic rock songs 
  6. Reception > a sampling of songs we wanted to hear, but our DJ primarily did his own thing. A good mix of old + new!
  7. After Party > Total random mix of songs we love. We plugged in a phone to the speakers and people ended up putting on whatever they wanted from the playlist for the most part. 

Formal Reception Songs

  1. Chicago Bulls Intro by Alan Parsons Project > Wedding Party Entrance
  2. "Stay" by Kygo > Bride/Groom Entrance to Reception
  3. "Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison > Bride/Groom first dance
  4. "Stand by Me" by Ben E. King > David & his Mom's dance
  5. "Love Never Felt So Good" by Michael Jackson + Justin Timberlake > Me & my Dad's dance. My siblings joined a few minutes in.
  6. "You've got a Friend" by James Taylor > More of an honorable mention. For my dad's speech he sang this song to us and had our guests join in at different parts.

David & I had the hardest time thinking of an entrance to the reception song. One day at work about a month before our wedding the idea of the Bulls intro song popped into my head. I texted David & we both were literally freaking out to each other via text. Finally a song we both LOVED the idea of! We got so excited and decided to keep the song a surprise to our wedding party. All we said was don't do a cheesy dance, just strut your stuff with your partner when you hear your name! Almost the whole wedding party was from Chicago (and at least half of our guests) so it was AWESOME for David & I to see/hear our guests and bridesmaids/groomsmen reactions to hearing the familiar legendary Chicago Bulls lineup song bumping in the middle of the desert. It instantly pumped everyone up!

If you haven't already heard the story behind #6 above (my dad's song/speech), here it is! The 3 toasts leading up to my dad's were equally absolutely amazing. We were so wrapped up in all the emotion that was escalating, my heart was in a downright PUDDLE when 2 of my dad's best friends walked up behind him with their guitars strapped around their necks, ready to back him up on a song. In high school I performed in our school choir, and one year my dad joined our community choir for a competition in Italy. We've always sang & danced together at every major life event so it was completely fitting that he would sing David & I a song as his toast, but we were absolutely SHOCKED in the moment. The photos tell all. We went from "wait, is this really happening!?" to "brb, ugly crying" to "my heart is exploding in a million pieces this is the coolest EVER!" to sobbing for the rest of the song. Shock & disbelief followed by our hearts exploding over and over again each time a new group of friends and family stood up to join in for the different verses. Just. AMAZING. All the sudden it was over, and I jumped up to join my dad on the dance floor to (lip sing) & dance to Michael Jackson. Absolutely the best :) 

Bohemian Rhapsody topped all of our last song expectations. The video is below (thank you Mads for whipping out your phone to capture this after our videographer & photographer left!). Need I say more?

Hope you all found this series helpful! Let me know if you have any wedding-related questions--I'd love to help!


*Video content provided by Amari Productions. Click this link to see our highlight video by them.

Wedding Details | Part II

Now that we've gone through all the things leading up to the wedding (part I), let's dive into the wedding day! First up: rings. All 3 of our rings (both wedding bands & my engagement ring) were custom that we designed with Oak Park Jewelers. They're located right off the blue line (perfect for going real quick from the loop on a lunch break) and they were absolutely fantastic from start to finish! Very fair prices for the city, too. If you're looking for a jeweler, head there and ask for Sam. Tell them David & Ali sent you! The ring box pictured below is from The Mrs. Box.

Also below are my wedding shoes. Seriously struggled with picking these because a) you have to have them at your first fitting which for me was 4 months out and b) because I had a blingy dress I wasn't sure if I should go super simple on the shoe or try to complement the jewels. Then I saw these beauties at BHLDN and snatched them up! I loved the unique ankle strap and summery style, but the prongs for the jewels did get caught on the tulle under my dress a lot. I had a feeling I'd want to change shoes (because I'm a total whimp with heels) so I came prepared. I ended up changing my shoes not once, not twice, but four times (1. heels 2. wedges 3. crystal jelly sandals 4. finally gave into my birkenstocks). If you have an A+ coordinator like me, she'll bring you every pair (THANK YOU JEN!!). 

At the end of the day, I loved my shoe game & I wouldn't change a thing. Just know that you might just want your favorite shoes at the end of the night! Same goes for the dress. I was fully planning on wearing my wedding dress through the reception then changing for our after party. Wrong. The MOMENT our photographers left I sprinted to change into my romper. It was so stinking hot and everyone was stepping on my dress--I just wanted to get comfortable! I wasn't planning on changing so I didn't have it handy, but luckily my hotel room was about 20 steps from the dance floor.

Next up: dresses! For my dress, I knew I wanted something different & unique, but wasn't willing to pay an arm and a leg for it. I totally lucked out finding my dress at Wedding Belles in downtown Barrington, IL (just recently closed for good--so sad!). In all honesty, I only wanted to look at wedding shops in the city and didn't think I'd find anything I'd like in the suburbs. Turns out Wedding Belles had by FAR the best selection. Lesson: don't turn up your nose to mom & pop boutiques in the burbs! My dress had been a recently discontinued style by Hayley Paige so I got the dress for half off and it was the absolute last one! Translation: it was 4 sizes too big and took 5 fittings to get it right. Completely worth it though! I cannot recommend my tailor, Mary Catomy, enough. She books up a year out so call her immediately! She is a true visionary and phenomenal at her craft. One thing I loved is she had to remove a ton of beads from the straps of my dress when she shortened them so she made a hairpiece with the extras to complete the look. On top of that, her prices are beyond reasonable!

The hangers (though hard to see in the photos) have copper embossed calligraphy with each bridesmaid's name, also done by my friend Annie. They turned out great! Word of the wise: when making things for your bridesmaids don't forget about yourself! I had to make my bride hanger the day before flying to Palm Springs (whoops!). I scored all the bridesmaid dresses on super Black Friday sale through Revolve & Shopbop (with the help of LSL). I definitely had it easy considering all my ladies have similar style and are basically all the same size! The deep v-neck dress is discontinued, but the strapless & draped dresses are still out there! Here are some similar styles as well (1, 2, 3, 4). I LOVE Zimmermann because they are structurally beautiful dresses that you could wear again and don't look too "bridesmaidy". I wanted all 5 of my girls to feel sexy & beautiful and there's no way to not feel that way in a Zimmermann!

David wore his favorite Hugo Boss suit he bought at Nordstrom a few years ago (He couldn't find anything else he liked better.... when you have something you love, just wear it!) and had a custom french cuff shirt made at Nordstrom as well. The guys wore similar navy suits we rented from Formally Modern, here in Chicago. The rental also included the white shirts & brown shoes which was great because there are 5 million shades of brown leather shoes. I was little nervous about David blending in too much with the guys but I think him wearing a different suit & different shoes helped! We bought these bow ties & these suspenders (sold out, similar here) for the guys. We went through about 5 bow ties before we found one we liked, and our dads ended up wearing 2 of the ones we didn't pick. Pro-tip: Don't wait until the wedding weekend to learn how to tie a bow tie. Youtube is v helpful! 

Invitations... right off the bat I knew what I wanted them to look like. Playful verbiage to set the tone. Subtle nods to the desert. A watercolor cactus envelop liner. A belly band that said 'a weekend ten years in the making'. Lastly, I wanted the leading lady--the invitation--to have copper foil, a blind deboss, and edge painting. Taryn crushed it. She seamlessly incorporated it all! Below are some photos Society House took for Twinkle & Toast's portfolio.

David & I gave each other our gifts the morning of the wedding. I got him brushed brass cufflinks with the longitude/latitude of where we met, Barrington Middle School Station, & where we were wed, the La Casa at La Quinta Resort & Club. He ended up loving them more than I expected and keeps them on his nightstand next to his alarm clock! I thought about the typical watch gift since he's had his Fossil forever and could use an upgrade, but it's such an expensive gift (considering we paid for a good portion of the wedding) and not as meaningful. I love that the cufflinks are subtle, represent the start & end to the first chapter of our relationship, and are special/reserved only for special occasions. Also, they go with anything so he will definitely get use out of them!

For my gift I was convinced David was giving me a bottle of Chanel Coco Noir perfume (I was in need of a new scent!). Luckily, he told me to pack a travel perfume just 'in case' he did something else (yep, obvi he did). DPN used to burn me CDs in high school that my sisters & I would listen to in the car. One of my favorites was titled 'To: Ali From: The Sexiest Man Alive'. We played the CD so much until it was so scratched it would skip on every song and we couldn't play it anymore. Then, for our wedding day, he remade a similar version (because he lost the original) with songs we used to listen to all the time in the first few years we were dating (which was 11 years ago now!). I sobbed for a bit, then found an outlet in the courtyard to plug it in and listen while I hand wrote my wedding letter to David (don't worry, I already had it pre-typed in my phone). It was the perfect way to start the morning--nostalgic in every way! Also, I was so happy that David made sure I got my gift BEFORE an ounce of makeup was put on my face. Between his mega nostalgic gift + sappiest letter on the planet, it took me about 20min to pull myself together after!

Another element to the day were the flowers. Our entire wedding ceremony & reception was outside at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains so it was already a gorgeous setting and didn't need much! We wanted to take advantage of all the beautiful florals you have access to in the CA area--full, lush & loose arrangements (that you wouldn't typically see in Chicago) were the vision. Kasia of Plenty of Petals did a wonderful job bringing it to life! For the alter we ended up renting the front portion of a Chuppah. Don't be afraid to think outside the box & borrow from other faiths! We really wanted long farmhouse style tables with garland draping from end to end, but there just wasn't room in the budget to do that for all. We decided to do a long table and garland at the head table, and kept the rounds provided by the property everywhere else. We ended up 'dreaming the dream' only at our head table which made sense because the most photos are taken at that table! 

I think the main reason why our relationship has always been so strong is because we're really good at communicating. In fact, I might say we're over communicators sometimes. Saying personal vows to each other was a no brainer and something we both really wanted--I wish everyone did it! We got these cute little vow books and hand wrote them. The process of writing my vows was honestly so fun. I kept a note in my phone for about 6 weeks leading up to our wedding day and jotted down some thoughts every now and then whenever I thought of something I wanted to include. It really wasn't as hard or as daunting as I thought it'd be. Our vows really seemed personal to us & our relationship so I love that we will have these forever. 

It was 95 degrees during our ceremony (10 degrees warmer than we were expecting) so I was very happy we made fan programs! My mom and I put these together--thanks for your help momma! Taryn made a wooden sign with our crest that stood at the base of the arch to the La Casa. She also made the prettiest seating chart! When we first walked the venue I knew something special needed be under that insanely gorgeous bougainvillea. We waited until the last minute on this--explored all sorts of more affordable seating chart options but I'm glad we splurged at the end of the day. It was one of my favorite things and created the most beautiful vignette. Also, my girl Madeleine (Shaw) Castelli gets a BIG shout out here for picking up all these large pieces from Taryn's house in San Diego! When planning a destination wedding, it's so helpful if you have a girlfriend located there to help!

Some reception ditties... we wanted unique chair signs on acrylic with copper. We've adored the song 'Into the Mystic' for years, so it was easily chosen as our first song. We had Taryn put the lyrics as our chair signs. They're still tied to our dining chairs in our apartment! I love that we'll always have these in our home somewhere and it's something we were able to repurpose after the big day.

For the place settings we had Kasia, our florist, source a few varieties of Monstera leaves to serve as the 'charger' under the plate. We needed a paper weight of sorts to hold the napkin & menu down, so I ordered orange (vegetarian), pink (chicken) & red (steak) tiles through one of my tile vendors at work and shipped to Taryn to write names on them. These were a great keepsake for our guests (and made cute coasters, too!). For the menus I followed a similar layout/typeface to the program. We used italian words for the headlines (ex: mangia means eat in italian) and the courses since David & I studied abroad together in Italy and think of it so fondly! I love how through the combination of these elements the tables became so colorful, but still simple. Our entire menu was Italian-inspired including sorbet after the first course as an 'intermezzo'. David  & I loved that this was a little different than your standard menu. For chairs--upgrading to the fancy gold ones is really expensive (since the white chairs came with the venue, similar to the round tables) so we just did those at the head table. The plain white folding ones ended up blending in with our long white tablecloths so I didn't mind them in the end!

The last item for this post is the [godforsaken] table numbers! Going into this DIY I knew I'd be cursing every minute of it. Very thankful DPN is just as meticulous as I am and was SUCH a great helper with this one!! I used my Silhouette Cameo machine to cut the copper vinyl, similar to the cards I made in the first wedding details post. The idea was to have the copper be solid around the number and the number to be clear so you could see through to the floral centerpiece. We used these acrylic sign holders for the table numbers and these to hold the bar signs. The bar signs turned out relatively atrocious therefore, no photos (don't worry you're not missing anything!). I designed each number/sign in photoshop, used the Silhouette Cameo program to program the machine to cut the vinyl, then David & I would stick the vinyl to the acrylic. It took a lot more time & patience than it sounds! Overall, they came out exactly how I envisioned. We did have to ship them to the property and a handful broke at the base, but nothing a little gorilla glue & momma B couldn't fix ;) 

The last detail for this post is the desserts. This still makes me laugh. David & I aren't the biggest dessert people and in particular we aren't super fond of cake. After months of trying to think of something a little more creative (our best idea was gelato but HELLO 95 degree heat) we caved and went with the tradition of cake. As you can tell, we both cared a lot about pretty much every element of the weekend, but dessert was the exception. This was one of those things where we just wanted someone else to make the decision and us show up for it. Anyway, about 2ms before our wedding we settled on a simple buttercream naked cake by Exquisite Desserts and our florist provided some flowers for it. For supplemental desserts we did a fresh fruit tartlets (because berry anything is my fav) and profiteroles. For this being one of the things we really could have cared less about, I think our cake turned out stunning and just as we envisioned!

If you made it to the bottom here, you deserve a medal! Apologies for the length of this post, but I hope you found it helpful :) Please let me know if there's something in particular you'd like me to touch on for my last Wedding Details post coming up! 

Wedding Details | Part I

I know we're coming up on 1 year of being married in just a few months (where does the time go!?), but I thought I'd share some of the sources for as many of the little details that went into our wedding weekend as I could remember! When I debate writing these non-photo shoot related posts my #1, DPN, always reminds me that this is my little piece of the internet and I make my own rules for it. And here we are. The reason why I wanted to write this is because when planning our wedding I found very few sources for these types of things so I'm hoping that maybe this post will be helpful for a bride-to-be or two out there. One of my more popular blog posts is still the one where I shared all the sources and info about my bachelorette weekend (which is funny, because that's my one non-photo related post!). So here it goes, wedding details part 1 (aka, almost everything prior to the big day). Full disclosure: yes, this is a photo blog, but this post is not about the photos so please excuse the less than best quality!

Up first: save the dates. I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted these to look like so it was really fun to worth with my homegirl Taryn of Twinkle and Toast to make these come to life! I really wanted a save the date card that didn't say 'save the date' because duh, it's implied! I scoured the internet for a design that cut to the chase and said something along the lines of 'Ali & David are getting married! October 8, 2016 Palm Springs, CA' but could not find a single one! Which is why we ended up starting with Taryn right off the bat instead of using Minted or the likes for this. Wedding stationery websites--please start using more creative save the date verbiage!! 

Notable mentions go to Aimee Mazzenga for our engagement photos, my girl Alexis Smith for stamping (ink & postage), & Momma Burgoon for licking all the envelopes. This was the first of many labors of love. The envelopes were a shimmery blush (we later changed our color palette, but it started as coral/blush!). Taryn printed the front address & cactus on the envelopes with white ink. I made rubber custom stamps for the return address & 'get excited' at the inside of the envelope and we used a white ink pad to stamp them.

For pre-wedding paper goods, Taryn made a rehearsal dinner invite that went in with our invitation suite. We really wanted this piece to stand out from the rest with the watercolor desert sunset interpretation and the fun verbiage. Our rehearsal dinner was only 30 people while our wedding reception was 190 so it was a very different and much more intimate vibe. We loved how this piece came out and set the tone for a fun and intimate dinner with our nearest & dearest!

Taryn also created a map for our guests that reception handed to them upon check-in. The La Quinta Resort has over 40 pools so it's very easy to get lost! Being a visual person I thought we could illustrate some of the main landmarks and that should do the trick. Sure enough, by the end of the weekend everyone knew where they were when they saw the cactus garden! We definitely got some flack at first for the little map, but it sounds like it was pretty useful ;)

At the welcome party Friday night we had a table of gift bags for our guests to pick up. We really debated doing a gift bag, but I'm glad we did since it was such a hot weekend! I think the water & advil came in handy for more people than not. We kept it super simple by printing our wedding weekend logo (made by my very talented graphic designer co-worker Jessica Checkeroski) on white shipping label stickers and adhered them to plain white gift bags from Amazon. Inside we included water bottles, advil, cheez-its (Duh. David's favorite), & custom koozies (also featuring the logo by Jessica). We still get snapchats from our friends using the koozies and it makes my heart so happy! I also shipped a bunch of flamingo floatie coasters to Palm Springs for my girls to use all weekend at the pool! While entirely unnecessary, they made for a great 'grams & pool decorations.

Even thought I am awful at wrapping gifts, I couldn't help myself when I saw this banana leaf wrapping paper. We wrapped all gifts for our greeters, readers, musicians, priest, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and parents with this wrapping paper. This resulted in a suitcase exploding with banana leaf pattern and I loved it. For the ladies, I finished the gifts with pink tulle & a photo of us (because Artifact Uprising was doing a promotion on free photo prints at the time).

The greeter/reader/musician/priest gift was something we struggled to come up with. We ended up gifting them with one of my favorite books not only because everyone should read this, but because my favorite wedding ceremony reading, read by my uncle, was a passage by Shauna Niequist ('A Blessing for a Bride' from the book Bittersweet). We picked Bread & Wine over that one ultimately because cooking and gathering around the table is near & dear to David and I! Lastly, I made the cards in second photo below with my Silhouette Cameo machine and a roll of copper vinyl. You'll see a few other items I made with it as well later on. If you're a DIYer, you NEED this machine!! I use it all the time.

For this next section, I don't have too many photos but I do have most of the links! We had some fun with bridesmaid/groomsmen gifts. David kept things easy and gifted his guys a swiss army knife. I bought him one years ago when I traveled to Switzerland with my family and he uses it ALL the time. He actually lost the first one I gave him, but I went back to Switzerland a few years later and got him a new one at the same store in Interlaken. It's his trademark, always carrying it around. So it was the perfect gift to come from him. 

Because I only had 5 ladies, I spoiled them a bit more than I normally would have! I gave them a clutch, earrings (they sold out but these are similar), a bracelet, banana leaf pajamas for getting ready (which happen to be insanely comfortable--i wear mine all the time) with their first initial embroidered on the pocket (thank you White Elephant Designs!), a mini fan (because it was hot AF), and heart sunglasses. I wanted to give my girls items that they could wear after the wedding, so I picked accessories that weren't too bridesmaid-y. When it came to the clutches, there was an insane sale at Gigi New York at the time so I got them half off (they're having that same sale right now)! They're such good quality so I was pretty excited about that. I'm not a monogram kind of gal, but ultimately I got them all monogrammed so they would know whose was whose on the wedding day (v happy I did that). I wasn't able to find photos from the wedding weekend of the earrings & bracelet, but my sister-in-law, Lake Shore Lady, has shot them with some of her outfit blog posts so I included some photos from her site. Thanks, LSL!

I also got these adorable notecards that went with each gift for my bridesmaids. David & I spent HOURS drafting on the computer what we wanted to write to each person who helped play a role in our day and wrote them on the flight to CA. We are so happy we spent so much time putting thought into this part of our weekend. It's not often you get to reflect and tell someone how much they mean to you (and it's not often you're in a 100% emotional feeling-all-the-feels state... or is that just me? #coldhearted) so this was the perfect time to do so! We also used thank you notes with a custom 'D+A' crest Taryn designed for us to write these notes, too (in a photo above). 

I had my friend & old roommate, Annie Ericson, help me with her calligraphy skills for welcome party & rehearsal dinner signage. She works wonders with a tombow pen! Annie started doing calligraphy right when I started doing photography when we lived together on Armitage Ave. so it's been fun to learn & grow together! Annie also makes adorable greeting cards and custom artwork commissions--hit her up!

Lastly, no party in the desert is complete without a little homage to cacti, succulents & palm trees. The laser cut palm tree, cactus & banana leaf drink stirrers/swizzle sticks are from the mega creative Nic Roc at The Roc Shop and were leftover from my bachelorette party, so we brought them to PS. She does all kinds of phrases & shapes. Last year Lauren & I had her make bronze mirrored swizzle sticks that said "slay" for the Beyonce concert! I made the table numbers in photoshop with the watercolor wash that was the background of the rehearsal dinner invitations & the air plant center pieces were a lovely surprise done by our venue, the La Quinta Resort.

I also have to point out the paper flowers in the last 4 photos. Not exactly a part of the wedding weekend, but these are too cool to not mention! They were the centerpieces at my bridal shower and they were AMAZING. I loved the look of peonies but they're out of season in July. Enter: paper flowers. I've had them in my apartment for over a year now and they still look as gorgeous as ever! Highly recommend as an alternative to real flowers. The best part is they never die!  And Carrie of Paper Rose was so fun to work with. 

Below are some photos from our Rehearsal Dinner so you can see how it all came together. We LOVED having an intimate dinner party in the string lit San Vicente Courtyard! My mom made a slideshow with the 10+ years of photos of David & I that played in the background while we sipped cocktails and ate. Then we had an open mic and got to hear some of the sweetest words from our friends and family. The energy and sentiments totally filled the space, each person's thoughts and loving vibes bouncing off one another. It was the perfect way to slow down and have some focused time with our people before beginning the whirlwind of celebrations! Then we joined everyone else at the waterfall garden for the welcome party (and yes, there were more string lights). We loved how the night before our wedding came together!

LSL | Spring Look

It's been so long since I've gotten to shoot with my sister-in-law Lake Shore Lady! A few weeks ago I had a half day at work and the sun was out so we decided to do an impromptu shoot for her blog. I love how these photos came out--the light was really working in my favor for the first time in what seemed like ages!! Also, isn't that blue bag just the cutest? I'm dying to borrow it for a Cubs game this summer (what sisters are for, right?)! So good for Memorial Day today, too! This look is coming to her blog soon, but if you're dying for some of these pieces, click this link for the sources. Hope you're all enjoying the gorgeous weather this MDW brought us!