I’ve “known” Erica for as long as I can remember – while I only had seen her a few times in person prior to her and Ryan’s engagement session, her mother and mine have been friends for years, so I grew up seeing her face on the wall of annual Christmas card photos in my parents’ home. That said, we grew older and went to college and left our parents’ houses and I didn’t always see or hear as regularly from my mom about what Erica and her sister were up to, so I was extra excited to hear from her and her mom when she and Ryan got engaged.
Though we’re both originally from Central Illinois, both Erica and I ended up moving to the Chicago area in recent years, and since she and Ryan will be getting married in Peoria, we decided that an engagement sesh in the city would be the perfect way to incorporate both of the places that feel like home to them. After a few times rescheduling their session due to rain, we ended up with one of the most beautiful afternoons Chicago has seen this summer. We roamed around the Riverwalk together, chatting all things wedding and work and friends as we walked and snapped photos along the way. After hitting up a few more spots downtown, we stopped at Chicago Brewhouse for a drink. Ryan and I grabbed beers and Erica had a glass of wine, and it’s so great to get moments like this one where I felt like I really had the chance to get to know the two of them. They’re both effortlessly chill and down for whatever, and it’s clear that they have so much fun together.
One of my favorite things that can happen during the second half of an engagement session is that the couple settles in and begins to really get comfortable – even with my camera on them and an extra person there and simply being in a public place, they ease into their us-ness, and it’s like I get to see a glimpse of what they’re like in their living room, or with their closest friends. For Erica and Ryan, this came through dancing and swaying together, then through kissing on the beach, then through making each other laugh, over and over again. We ended their session in this exact way, and there’s nothing more I could wish for with a session than that.