Megan and Justin
Megan and Justin’s destination wedding at Secrets Puerto Los Cabos last December was fun, beautiful and memorable. The two of them were so welcoming, kind and generous – I’m so lucky that they asked me to capture their wedding day! Their friends and family really made the experience such a wonderful one, too! Each time I take a look at the photos we captured together, I am left with many smiles and even a giggle or two.
Meg and Justin really wanted to capture as many photos as we could together. The three of us worked on scheduling their wedding timeline to allow for plenty of time to capture a first look, portraits of the two of them, and plenty of images of their bridal party. We also made sure to have plenty of time after the ceremony to capture family portraits at the gazebo. The couple couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful resort, or one with as many beautiful photo ops as this one! One of my absolute favorite spots at the resort was this wall that was covered in lanterns. The wall reminded me of something you might see in Europe – I wish I could have brought it back to Chicago with me!
The reception was an incredible party! The dance floor was nonstop, and everyone had the best time! Meg and Justin ended their fairy tale day with a somewhat choreographed dance to The Phantom of the Opera. Everyone surrounded and cheered them on, and clapped at the finale of their reception! Everyone continued the evening at the resort’s on site club into the wee hours of the morning.
Meg and Justin, thank you both so very much for asking me to capture your beautiful day! An extra special thank you to you for getting me out of Chicago in the freezing cold yuckiness of winter (remember how brutally cold it was???)! Cannot wait to see you both again, and to continue making memories together! You’re both two of my favorites!!
Jessie & Chris’ St John Wedding at Caneel Bay
Jessie & Chris’ St John destination wedding at Caneel Bay was more than just a wedding,it was a celebration of love, hope, and victory.
Jessie and Chris have had quite a journey together. Shortly after we captured their engagement session, Jessie was diagnosed with breast cancer. The couple opted to marry in a private civil ceremony so that they could more easily go through Jessie’s cancer battle together. After about a year of successful treatment, they decided to have their dream St John destination wedding day as originally planned.
Jessie is one of the sweetest, most thoughtful, and kind-hearted women I have come to know. To see Chris (who I have been friends with since we met while I was flying for the news) care for and love her the way that he has is without a doubt one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I love the two of you together.
Jessie and Chris had their first look at the sugar mill ruins at the Caneel Bay Resort. We then spent about two hours together going from location to location, capturing portraits of them. I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful backdrop for these two! Their ceremony took place at Turtle Bay. Surrounded by family, close friends, and the beautiful ocean, the happy couple said “I do” for the second time.
We all headed back to the sugar mill ruins to celebrate together. Jessie and Chris, thank you for including Mark and me as guests that evening. What a wonderful experience it was for us to see how much love and support you, your family and friends have for one another! I’m so blessed to have you both as friends.
Here’s to a life filled with love, remission, and happiness together!
Jessie’s story was recently featured in the American Cancer Society‘s newsletter
How much should you expect to spend on wedding photography?
When budgeting for your wedding, how much should you expect to spend on wedding photography? What a question, right?
So many people will tell you different things, but I’m here to set the record straight!
Every geographic location has different pricing averages on what a couple will spend on their entire wedding day. This includes every little cost, including shoes, favors, food, and more. In the Chicago area in 2016, couples spent an average grand total of about $34,000 in the suburbs, and $56,000 in the city proper (although that city average, in my experience, is actually MUCH higher; nearly double).
In figuring out how much to spend on photography, the first thing you need to do is determine what elements of your day are MOST important to you. Maybe you’re a foodie. Maybe you are huge into music and the party aspect of your big day. Whatever is important to you, be sure to keep this in mind when allocating your budget. Remember this tip as you begin signing contracts: going a ‘little bit’ over your budget adds up quickly!!!
I have found one thing consistently with every one of my clients: photography is one of the most important aspects of their wedding day.
For wedding photography budgeting:
- Determine your total wedding day budget
- Expect to spend approximately 10-20% of your entire wedding day budget (using the 2016 suburbs average, expect to invest at least $3,500 – $6,800 on your initial contract).
- If photography is ultra important to you, consider adding a bit more to the upper end of this budget
- Remember that you DO get what you pay for, especially with photography. You’ll generally find more luxury products and higher skilled photographers with higher price tags, however, make sure to use your discretion
- Don’t forget to consider wedding day cinematography. Remember that cinematography is NOT the same as wedding photography, and requires a separate budget. It is recommended to use the same formula in budgeting for a high quality wedding cinematography team.
Finally, be on alert if you are investing any less than $3500 on your wedding day. Yes, you may find a hidden gem who is priced too low for the market; however, are your forever memories worth that risk?
Coming up next:
How do I figure out what services and products to include in my wedding photography contract?
Ela and Daniel’s Wedding Day
Last summer, I had the incredible experience of photographing Ela and former Chicago Blackhawk Daniel Carcillo’s wedding. Susan Cordogan (owner and planner of Big City Bride) introduced the couple to several photgraphers’ work, including my own, and set up some in person meetings. When Ela saw some of the more creative and ‘different’ things I could do (she wanted me to make her fly!), I was thrilled to learn we’d get to create together! Ela and Daniel became my first ever Black Label wedding clients!
Black Label is my newest photo offering that allows my clients to have their very own fashion editorial photo shoot on, before, or after their wedding day (or for any other occasion!). For the Carcillo’s we opted for Ela to have her own bridal session the morning of her wedding by herself. I had an incredible team of talented photographers both photographing with me and assisting me throughout the day to make sure that everything was captured exactly how we planned. Evan Thomas, one of the photographers, was in charge of setting up studio lighting around a ‘set’ we created using furniture and decor that was to be used for the reception (held at the Millennium Park Rooftop Terrace). Susan personally drove Ela, myself, and my personal photo assistant (Andra Elk) to Millennium park for this special part of the day.
When we wrapped, and after we captured the images that I needed in order to composite Ela’s flying bride photo, Susan again drove all of us over to the cancer survivor’s garden at Maggie Daley Park for the couple’s first look. Ela and Daniel’s adorable son, Austin (aka Wolfie), led the way for the happy couple to see one another for the first time. We followed our quick family session with photos with the bridal party, and the rest of the day was a fast-paced, beautiful and fun day! A huge thank you to Joy Bijedic and Misty Winter for helping me capture details and moments, and also taking so much pressure off of me by being amazing photographers!
With so much to do and so much going on, I didn’t even have a second to look around and people watch for any of my favorite Blackhawks players. To be honest, that didn’t matter to me; not even a little bit. Just to see Ela and Daniel having a great time, smiling with their family and friends, and capturing photos for them (especially the adorably cute ones of their little boy) was such a thrill.
And I got to come back the next day for their afternoon cruise on Lake Michigan, too! Momma Bulawa was sure to make me partake in the party while I was photographing everyone (thanks for the smiles and spirit juice! hahaha).
I’m looking forward to capturing even more moments with these incredible people, and am so grateful to have had the chance to get to know them and their amazing friends! Be sure to check out the very end of the photo trail in this blog to see Modern Luxury’s two page feature of Ela and Daniel’s wedding day in the 10th anniversary issue!!
Congratulations, Ela and Daniel! Much love and many years of happiness to you!!
Venue – Millennium Park Rooftop Terrace
Planner – Susan Cordogan, Big City Bride
Flowers – Chicago Flower Company
Decor – Revel Decor
Ela’s gown – Berta Bridal, from Ultimate Bride
Bride’s Shoes – Nina, from Nordstrom
Bridesmaids’ dresses – Adrianna Papell, Sorella Vita, Brideside
Daniel & Groomsmens’ Tuxes – Formally Modern Tuxedo
Catering – Limelight Catering
Cake – Alliance Bakery
Music – Larry King Orchestra
Hair & Makeup – Hair Mario Tricoci, Makeup Anna Suarez