I first met Lauren when she and her mother met me at a coffee shop to discuss wedding details months before the big day, but the first time I got the chance to see her and Steve as a couple was when they were guests at a wedding I was photographing of friends of theirs. I watched (and photographed) the two of them on the dance floor that night – energetic and beaming as they belted lyrics at one another with their drinks in one hand and each other’s palms in the other – and it felt a bit like getting a glimpse into what their wedding day would be like.
On the day of their big day, one of my favorite moments of surprise after seeing them as this outgoing, lively couple on the dance floor of another wedding was witnessing the other sides of them – the quieter, tender ones that show themselves more clearly in the days and moments that are about to change one’s life. Lauren calmly and quietly sat in a room with a mix of laid back music and chill bridesmaid chatter as her hair and makeup were done. I would later go to find Steve to take him to the spot where he was about to see his bride for the first time, and I watched as he even caught himself by surprise as he suddenly felt hot and nervous, fidgeting with his jacket and tie and asking me one more time if he looked alright. As someone who has seen a lot of first looks, something about Steve’s nerves leading up to this moment felt incredibly pure and sweet to me; this guy who I had previously observed at his most energetic and gregarious, who had been dating this girl he was about to marry for years, still allowed himself to get clammy when about to see her.
This wedding day went on to be one of those wedding days where my second shooter, Derek, and I would rave endlessly to one another about how laid back and fun everything was – Lauren and Steve had a blast together, and all of their family and friends who were involved in the wedding seemed to be soaking up every last second, and the ceremony was heartfelt and sincere. Lauren and Steve entered their reception to ‘Semi Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind, and to say they merely “entered” feels like an understatement. They came bounding through the doors with an energy that I don’t usually get to see from couples, but clearly one that they bring out in one another. They threw their arms in the air and then around each other, belting out the lyrics once again and hyping up their loved ones as they looked on. Every so often, a couple is so sincerely vibrant in the way they interact in a particular moment that it legitimately changes a song for me. I have no idea if Semi Charmed Life is considered by them to be “their song” or not, but I know that when I hear it from here on out in my car, or on the patio of a summertime bar, or on the dance floor of one of my future weddings, I’ll be thinking of Lauren and Steve, and how the way they lit up each other, in turn, had a way of lighting up a room.
Venue: Independence Grove [Events at Independence Grove in Libertyville, IL]
DJ: Memory Makers Entertainment, Juan
Dress: Bijou Bridal; Willowby by Watters
Cake: Oak Mill Bakery
Catering: Catering by Michaels
Videographer: Native Creative Media
Ceremony Music: Artistrings
Florist: Polly’s Petals & Particulars
Officiant: Pastor Rich Rubietta