kari + greg | greenhouse loft wedding.
I once heard another wedding photographer say their ultimate goal was to “photograph it like it feels”, and I remember thinking that no description of a style or approach had ever felt so close to what I hoped to accomplish in this job. Every so often, a wedding day comes along that leaves me with a magical combination of fulfillment and exhaustion as I pack up my gear to head home and replay the day over in my head – this was one of those days. The thing is, the exhaustion on a day like this one doesn’t come from working extra hard or being physically worn out – instead, it’s based in how wrapped up in this day, and these people, I become. And it’s the absolute best kind of exhaustion.
I woke up on Kari and Greg’s wedding day to dark skies and rain hitting my windows, and then I crossed my fingers and checked the weather forecast for what felt like the 760th time that week. We had back up plans on back up plans, and if anyone could handle a rainy wedding day, I knew it’d be these two – but when you see people planning something so thoroughly and thoughtfully for so long, you can’t help but root for things to work out in their favor. By the time I hopped in an uber to head downtown, though, the rain had let up and thankfully rendered my just-in-case umbrellas useless. The ladies’ getting ready room was chill with a quiet energy as makeup and hair was being done, and as Kari came up to give me a big hug, she looked me right in the face and said, “I’m so glad you are here”, and I knew she meant it. Sometimes on a wedding day, I’ll be in the midst of a moment – whether it’s standing there talking to the bride and groom, or watching the way they’re looking at each other, or the way their loved ones are looking at them – and I swear I can physically feel my emotions and adrenaline rushing through me. It feels kind of like the biggest breath you could take combined with a lump in your throat and internal disbelief over getting to experience joy like this, all at once. I felt it in this moment, and as I said, “I’m so glad I am, too”, I hoped she knew how much I meant it.
From this moment on, I felt waves of this rush multiple times throughout Kari and Greg’s wedding day – during their first look, and when they walked down the streets of Chicago and beamed at one another amidst onlookers watching and congratulating them, and when they embraced their loved ones during the ceremony, and when Greg’s voice cracked as he repeated the words “you are my best friend” during their vows, and when they grabbed each other’s arms even more tightly, knowingly, immediately after that. The thing about Kari and Greg is that they mean everything they do – they don’t bullshit, and they love people as hard as they can, and this wedding day felt like all of that hard, excited loving mixed with a massive amount of freaking fun. Because Kari and Greg know and love their people well, and it’s clear that these people reciprocate it as well, there were multiple elements wrapped up in their day that simultaneously made it feel like a celebration for both them as well as ALL of their people. Their pup walked down the aisle and they took their wedding party to a rooftop brewery and everyone excitedly lined up for the photo booth during the reception and they served their guests forties of Miller High Life and Rose (and late night McDonalds!) and I found myself in the middle of a room full of people having the absolute best time together, celebrating love and life and friendship and family and each other. As I edited these photos and then put this sneak peek together, I found myself smiling at my computer screen and occasionally nodding my head, as if in enthusiastic agreement with something. Because I was looking at these images, and thinking that this is exactly how it felt.
Venue: Greenhouse Loft
Coordinator: Kristen Wilfinger, Naturally Yours Events
Florist: Steve’s Flower Market
Catering: Hearty Boys
Dessert: Swirlz Cupcakes
Photo Booth: Fotio
Dress Shop: Aisle Chic [Designer: Lazaro]
Dress Alterations: Ette
Hair: Kat Duncan, KMD Hair Design
Makeup: Hannah Richard
DJ: DJ Major Taylor
Transportation: Windy City Limo
Officiant: Pastor George Humbert