Many couples ask me about “first looks” (when the couple sees one another before the ceremony) — Should we do one? Should we not? Won’t it ruin that moment at the ceremony? My opinion is that if you have ample time in between two locations, it’s fine (and in some cases, ideal) to do photos in between your ceremony and reception when the lighting is great and time is on our side, but if your cocktail hour is beginning right after the ceremony, if you are having your wedding at one venue, or if you simply want to spend a little time by yourselves on the wedding day, a first look is a wonderful route to go to ensure you get great portraits and then can truly CELEBRATE for the rest of the day! On the matter of “runining a ceremony moment” I’d have to point to these photos of Laura and Wes! Granted, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a couple so unabashedly excited to be marrying, but these reactions during their first look were some of my favorite of all times. You simply would never get these moments in a church, where by virtue of the setting, a more reserved reaction tends to be the norm. Of course, we can still capture the emotion in your eyes and perhaps a lip quivering, but the all out joy that Laura and Wes had in seeing each other was one of the highlights of my year to capture and I am so thrilled they opted to do it in a private setting where they could really be themselves!

Aside from their first look, the rest of their day carried the joyful spirit we witnessed in those moments. They were just so very excited and it made such a joy to shoot all of their moments, from portraits to toasts to some serious dance floor celebrating! Their wedding also took place during the Stanley Cup Finals, a pretty big deal in such a sports loving town! Wes’ mom in particular is a huge Blackhawks fan, so for her and other guests, a TV was set up on the side of the Drake’s Gold Coast Room. Capturing the party of the reception along with the nerves of the game was a unique experience and one that really helped tell a true story with little nuances that could only be Laura and Wes’ wedding!

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Ceremony: St. James Chapel | Reception + Catering: Gold Coast Room at the Drake Hotel | Cake: Amy Beck | Band: Colby Beserra and the Party Faithful |Second Photographer: Jacqueline Barkley + Vivan Wan | Invitations: Elizabeth Grace | Florist: Yanni Design Studio