Before you can celebrate in your wedding attire, you have tons to cross off your to-do list. There is endless shopping, Amazon list making, and meetings. On top of all that you need to send out save-the-dates, followed by wedding invitations, and your wedding website AND registry. UGH! Can't we just fast-forward to the big day?!

Unless you are the most carefree person or have hired a planner to execute and think for you - you are going to have to do some planning. The first steps usually involve booking the venue, the photographer, and the DJ. (At least, that's what we as experts tell couples to do.) Then you might start looking at wedding dresses, suits, transportation, dinner menus, and tastings - easily the best part of planning a wedding is eating gourmet appz + cake right?

In the midst of all this preparation though - you might forget you are in the middle of a milestone. This is the time where you are ENGAGED! Not married, not boyfriends or girlfriends, but fiances. This is a chapter. This is a time capsule when you took a big leap forward, together. It is SO important to capture this part of your life. That's why we think an engagement session is a must. The photos serve multiple purposes! It gives you a little break in-between real life and planning to connect with one another, have fun at your favorites spots, feel completely in love, and the have pics to prove it. ;) You then have photos to use for save-the-dates, wedding invitations, and your wedding website. Several couples even print and frame them to use as decor around their reception space and/or as their wedding guest book!

Megan and Mike are saying "I Do" at Saint Gertrudes Catholic Church and throwing their reception at The Library on 8-8-2020. What a cool date right? They chose Lincoln Park Zoo as their location for engagement photos. We shoot here almost every weekend and it looks good no matter the season. It has city skyline views, a pond, the famous Honeycomb Structure, a beautiful stone tunnel with a bridge overlooking the pond, the nature boardwalk, fields, flowers, and tons of greenery! 

So quit putting off your to-do list and go book an engagement session - you'll be sooo glad you did.

C&A Photographer: Hadassah Brand

Let's face it, few couples want to brave the winter weather in Chicago. Snow, ice, and freezing winds are an everyday part of our city lives and many don't want to deal with that on their wedding day. But, there is something so romantic about winter weddings! Maybe it's the color schemes, the twinkly lights, a blanket of snow on the ground, the light flurries that force you to cuddle more for warmth. We LOVE winter weddings. So few couples go for it - that you have all the pretty photo locations to yourself!

Ellen and Gil married one another on December 14, 2019. They got ready separately with their bridesmaids and groomsmen, as well as their parents. The bride and groom are very close with their parents. Both the wedding party and their families were so supportive of the couple. They were already one big, blended family, and it was so sweet to see them hug each other, share tons of love and laughs throughout the whole day. 

They had their first look outside the Garfield Park Conservatory before roaming around the greenhouse for photos. Conservatories are a huge help during winter weddings! They offer heat, shelter, and various backdrops and scenery for portraits. Most couples would have only chosen indoor locations, but this Chicago couple adventured to Millennium Park - their first kiss was at The Bean, their first date at Cindy's Rooftop, and Gil proposed at Pritzker's Pavillion. The final stop before their ceremony was LaSalle Street Bridge.

They blended both of their cultures together during their ceremony at Biago. They signed their Ketubah with their family and wedding party as witnesses, the bedeken followed. After Ellen walked down the aisle, they had a Chinese tea ceremony with their parents under the Chuppah. They did the Hakafot which is where the bride and groom circle one another during a Jewish ceremony, blessed the wine, broke the glass, and kissed! 

The reception kicked off mingling with guests, then hilarious and heartfelt speeches, followed by their first dance and the cutest dances with their loving parents. The DJ put on Hava Nagila and the Horah started the dance floor that lasted until midnight!

We love winter weddings - so when are you having yours??

C&A Photographers: Kristin Parra + Eva Ho

Getting Ready Location: Renaissance Chicago O’Hare

Venue: Biago

Day-Of Coordinator: Alyssa Rapp at Biago

Hair + Makeup: Jean from Diem Angie Agency

Bride's Dress Designer: David's Bridal

Groom's Suit Designer: Jos. A. Bank

Rings: Brilliant Earth

Florist: Marguerite Gardens

DJ: Okyne Media

Cage and Aquarium had a blast with all the vendors at Indie Wed 2020! What's Indie Wed you ask? It's a non-traditional wedding expo where you walk around Ravenswood Event Center (a real wedding venue) and chat with a ton of wedding vendors while you eat, drink, and taste all the treats! 

We had our DJs on two floors showcasing our talents. The bottom floor had our typical DJ set up - turntables and the ability to play both vinyl and any new songs. On the top floor, we had our 'all-vinyl' DJ setup. With us you can have the best of both worlds! You can choose an all-vinyl cocktail hour with records sitting out in view for all your guests. Then transition into our typical set-up with the ability to play both old and new, or keep that analog audio going all night. No matter what you choose, digital or vinyl, you can't go wrong! 

Ravenswood Event Center is a three-level venue with vintage cars, neon signs, and beautiful window light. There are models who walk around showcasing wedding gowns, alcohol capri-suns, gelato, ideas for favors, pole-dancers for Bachelorette parties, custom coloring books for the kiddos at your wedding, hair stylists who will braid your hair, jewelry, and the newest addition to Illinois - a bud-tender for cannabis at your wedding! 

If you're bummed you missed out on this awesome event, don't worry, we have another one coming up March 1, 2020 at The Haight in Elgin, Illinois. The first winter suburban Indie Wed! We have comp tickets available for purchase here.

A huge thank you to Ravenswood Event Center for hosting this and to all the couples who came out to enjoy the event! See you at the next one!

 

Vendors at Indie Wed 2020:

 

DJs (vinyl + digital): Cage + Aquarium Productions - (Tyler Huffman, Michael Rodriguez, Kevin Sanabrais)

Venue: Ravenswood Event Center

Plant-based Vegan Catering: Kalish Vegan (also the owner of Ravenswood Event Center) 

Photographer: Shelley Anderson from Cage + Aquarium with her brand new iPhone 11 

Fit/Pole-Dancing Company: Fempress Fit

Cannabis Company: HUSH Chicago

Custom Designed Coloring Books: Paper and Crayon

Gelato Station: Black Dog Gelato

Braid Bar: Blush and Burgundy

Wedding Jewelry/Headpieces: Rachel Andrea Collection

Live Band: Gussied 

Beer: Dovetail Brewery

 

This is a how-to for all you brides or grooms wanting a Backyard BBQ wedding reception in the city of Chicago but wondering how the heck you’d fit all your guests in your shared courtyard. Is your soon-to-be spouse asking if they can have grilled cheese or mac-and-cheese at their wedding? Did they beg you for burgers? If the answer is yes, just know you can have it all, in the best city in the world, and with style.

Ali + Pat told us they were having a pig roast/backyard BBQ style reception at our first meeting. Uhm, what? Where - in the city??

Fifteen before the ceremony in the gorgeous St. Francis Xavier church in the suburbs Ali and Pat shared their first look. Pat’s reaction to Ali walking done the aisle did not disappoint. You can have a first look and still get those OMG reactions. It helps you calm your nerves, and they wanted to prioritize fun over everything else. They were the kind of couple you dream of - completely in love and just want to enjoy every moment of the day.

After their wedding they hopped on trolley and explored around the city, stopping at every one of their favorite places. Garfield Park Conservatory for some greenery and color. Ali and Pat then got buzzed in to the first apartment they shared, they told us the courtyard was beautiful, but when we walked in it was like a Tuscan garden. Last stop was Thalia Hall, where these music lovers have spent many nights.

The party got started when they arrived at their reception venue. Saint Lou's Assembly is an indoor and outdoor venue space, full of fresh air, and is completely free flowing. Saint Lou’s has an old style diner inside, a speak-easy, another bar with long rustic picnic tables, a Photo Booth, and bocce ball!! This backyard BBQ had it all: frozen cocktails, koozies, all-vinyl cocktail hour, mac-and-cheese, honey butter and biscuits, green beans, gourmet grilled cheese, salmon bites, mini burgers, and a FULL pig roast.

Ali and Pat had every little detail tailored to THEM. That’s how it should be. And honestly - who doesn’t want their favorite food on their favorite day?

 

Photographers: Cage and Aquarium Productions - Jade Hull Hadassah Brand

Church: Saint Francis Xavier Parish 

Venue + Catering: Saint Lou's Assembly

Florist: Cornell Florist

DJ: Cage and Aquarium Productions - Ed Clemmons

Wedding Dress: BHLDN 

Bridesmaid Dresses: Free People

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