Beth and Jon’s wedding day was the second wedding I shot on Labor Day weekend; I photographed a wedding on Friday in Chicago, and made the drive Saturday morning to the Quad Cities for their big day. While these double-header weekends can often be exhausting, I couldn’t have possibly picked a better couple to spend my “round two” day with if I tried. I essentially forgot about how tired I had initially felt that morning simply because these two are full of so much freaking life – you can see it in their giant grins, and hear it in Jon’s snicker and Beth’s hearty laugh. They had their wedding guests cracking up as the priest retold the story of how they first met during the ceremony; he laughed himself about how Beth had unabashedly explained that she had picked up her part-time bartending gig at Kelly’s Irish Pub years ago with the main intention of “meeting a man”. She shrugged and nodded her head as he described this to the congregation, and the man she did end up meeting at that bar grinned knowingly alongside her. This is one of the many things I love about Beth and Jon – they’re honest and hilarious and brazenly themselves, and anyone observing them can tell they’re genuinely having the absolute most fun when they’re together.
We hopped on the trolley post-ceremony and had one of the most enjoyable, laid back afternoons – there were drinks and laughs and plenty of photos taken, but it never really felt as though we were adhering to a typical wedding day schedule. Their reception was full of them spilling their love and laughter all over the people in their lives – their tight-knit families, and their wedding party, and the friends who made the long trek from out of state. One of the best parts about being a wedding photographer is observing what people are like when they’re with the individuals they care about most – Jon was hugging his people left and right, and telling them each how much it meant to him that they made the trip, and having me snap photos with them as I’d pass by on the dance floor. Meanwhile, Beth was scooping up her nieces and nephews to dance and play with them and sharing jokes and dances with her siblings. While I was photographing the reception, Beth told me she wanted to have a cigar from their cigar bar with me and our mutual friend Jacqueline (one of my past brides, who also happens to be who Beth found me through in the first place) once I was “off duty”. While I loved this idea, I assumed it was unlikely to happen – I’ve photographed enough weddings to know that the bride and groom are a hot commodity during their reception, and figured the chances of her being able to break away from her friends and family and dance floor were slim. But instead, I packed up my gear and to my surprise, Beth made it happen – she, Jacqueline, and I hopped out on the patio of the venue, drinks in hand, and smoked cigars together. While something as simple as smoking a cigar during a wedding reception sounds small, it felt kinda big to me; it reminded me of how lucky I am to be in a job where I meet people who start simply as “clients” that I get to end up calling my friends. Beth and Jon are the real deal, and getting the chance to both photograph + know them in the first place made me feel all sorts of lucky as I drove home that night – likely with cigar on my breath and a grin on my face.
Reception Venue: The Outing Club
Ceremony: St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church
Bride’s Dress: A Storybook Ending
Cake: Olde Towne Bakery
DJ: Twisted Mic’s
Videographer: Accent Studio
Hair + Makeup: Haus of Heir