TRUE LOVE STORY: when Annie met Paul

When my little sister came home one Christmas morning at 4am after meeting her now husband, let me just say, I was not initially impressed. While it is a family tradition for all our cousins to head to the local dive bar for after dinner drinks …errrr shots, I’m the old lady of the bunch that prefers to stay home and cuddle with family dog on the couch instead. I wasn’t sure what kinda guy would keep a gal up late and out on Christmas night but it turns out Paul is the kinda guy that makes sure a gal is home on Christmas morning! In any case, that fateful Christmas eve would go down in history as the night Annie met Paul.

Fast forward the tape through many a family crisis, the death of our dear mother and all the interesting ups and downs a new relationship can have in it’s salad days, and these two love birds continue to impress me with the evolution of their love and #relationshipgoals. Whilst their engagement was long and full of it’s challenges, it certainly proved their dedication to one another and when getting to the altar became next steps, Annie + Paul where just as inventive and creative as they’d been in growing with each other in their first few years dating; he with his strong loyalty to his awesome group of friends and dear family and she with her dedication to keeping it classy and always being the hostess with the mostess.

Since our mom, Marie, had passed away in the initial year of Annie + Paul meeting, wedding planning took an unusual and out of the box twist when the two dreamt up the idea to have their ceremony prerecorded at our hometown, vintage movie house, The Tivoli Theater . Both Annie + Paul grew up seeing movies at the ‘Tiv’ and they thought it extra special to have a slightly more private take on their vows. The ceremony would then be shared as a surprise unveil to their guests at their winter wedding. Super untraditional and really creative, all the small pieces of creating that endearing film will remain one of my favorite wedding ceremonies ever. I only wish our mom could have been there with our combined family but we know for sure she watched from above.

Of the 250 friends + family on the guest list, only very few knew that the ceremony had already happened. The showcasing of the short film in place of the live exchange of vows was another unconventional and sweet twist on the standard wedding approach. Aside from the Tivoli surprise, Paul had a number of super heartfelt and really thoughtful moves up his very dapper, white tuxedo sleeves on wedding night . Though prior to #Pannie’s grand entrance into the wedding reception when the two where announced in at the video’s end, Paul + Annie went for a totally different look at their wedding ceremony. Paul wore his army greens and Annie rocked one of our mom’s favorite dresses, from every girl’s favorite shop, Anthro. And of course, always with amazing floral accents from Annie’s + my very fave storefront florist in Chicago, Asrai Garden. Whilst the two opted for just video coverage of the ceremony, I couldn’t help but bring my camera for a few captures at the theater, just after they said ‘I do’, really in love and really outside of the wedding box!

When it came time to wedding day, with the ceremony having already been captured, my team worked on developing a calm timeline so we could create truly stunning portraits of Paul + Annie’s combined families, the shimmer of the season and, of course, set in a gorgeous location. One of my favorite things to do as a photographer is scout the best backdrops for the best wedding portraits. Can we say…out of the box one more time ?? Specifically since my sister and soon to be brother in law - btw he wouldn’t say they where hubs and wife until December 22 was all tied up!! - but since the two of them wanted to focus on being with all the people they love so much and really just hosting THE BEST HOLIDAY WEDDING EVER, I wanted to be sure the Rose Photo fly on the wall approach to documenting moments was spot on - especially on that crazy dance floor - and our portrait game was strong. You might even peek a photo of me shooting in my Sunday best below and a few cameos in family formals, too !! I’m so in love with all the Christmas inspired shots from that big day but since it’s now February, I’ll save a little of that holiday bokeh for next Christmas season and share just a few here.

Paul + Annie gave me one more job beside running photo crew on wedding day. It was big sis on the mic as I pined over a little welcome speech and a few general MC duties. I fell right back into my age old, obviously not shy, show pony role as Master of Ceremony! Another slight nod to our mom, Marie, because a) she is our fashion queen forever b) to shield any ugly crying and c) also be fabulous, I had to accessorize with some very large sunglasses . Even though I wrote my speech 5 or 6 times on my smartphone, I ended up rewriting it the night before the wedding, on napkins. Ever the classy show pony, I delivered said speech in fancy Gucci’s from a paper towel like a good ‘Sister of Honor’ would do!!

To Annie + Paul, thank you so much for including me, my photo crew and our collective vision to see your wedding into photo memories! It is always a privilege to capture any love story and though we are family, it is my true honor to have the occasion to not only observe your love but also to make chronicle of it and a bit of commentary, too. I’ll pass the mic back now but only because Annie is in great hands of dear Paul.


Rose + Co

love is still love: Mexican Destination Wedding

Have you ever heard of the Mexican Snowbird? It’s sorta like the Florida Snowbird but a bit more colorful and full of shiny brilliance than it’s cousin and only makes occasional flights to select ports!! You know, many local Chicagoans get through our long winters by dodging the snow and heading for sunnier locales, just like any good snowbird would :) So in honor of the 1 year anniversary of two lovely humans finding each other and making it legal, let’s talk about birds of a feather and how incredible it is when you find your love dove, shall we??

It’s always our honor and privilege to travel for weddings, to be both a fly on the wall documenting all the amazing moments and to be included in the flock that appreciates that love is love. Rose Photo believes through and through that true love knows no limits and that there is always room to celebrate equally. When these two gentlemen met each other, they will both tell you that they each knew right away they’d met their darling dove. I’m unsure if it was love at first sight; maybe it was love at first sniff or even love at first sound?? In any case, these guys knew it so immediately and followed up on that hunch with an intimate yet very colorful display of their undying affection in Puerto Vallarta Jalisco, Mexico one year ago today. Surrounded by just under 100 of their nearest and dearest, Adam + Jaime joined flight force to be sure to love together, trust together, travel together and grow together. They first began their wedding weekend in a traditional Mayan ceremony blessing their union. Then, the next day, with bow ties on, in multilingual, Spanish and English ceremony, the two made it official with happy tears and honest declaration of their union.

One of the shiniest parts of this celebration of love was the floral! Adam is a very talented florist so no flower detail went unnoticed; complete with orchid purses for the flower girls designed by Adam and his amazing team !!!! With a picture perfect photo tour through old the Old Town area of PV, we captured some really fun, very editorial images of our couple and their dream team in a historic chapel and naturally with their flock of fancy lady birds! The day was magic and truly, even weeks later in the edit bay, our team was feeling the emotionality of the day. We never have the same work day twice and couples so in love like Adam + Jaime make that real.

Having dodged the Chicago winter and hosted a very classy destination wedding, these dapper Snowbirds set out for their next flight pattern on a European tour, holding true their promise to grow and travel together. Adam surprised Jaime with a multi-stop honeymoon to London, Paris and Rome , how very romantic!! Certainly traveling can show you so much of the world and even more of your travel partner. We are happy to wish our beautiful couple all the adventures in flight as birds of a feather, after all, love doves mate for eternity!!

Jaime + Adam happy Anniversary to you !! It was a pleasure to document the beginning of your love story and we wish you many more adventures together.


Rose + Co

Chicago Indian Wedding where East meets West

The very first wedding I ever photographed- all be it completely unplanned and possibly unwarranted - was in India when I spent a semester studying the continent’s myriad of culture and colors. I was attending that wedding as a guest and when my trusted host literally pushed me into the mix and shouted to me ‘start shooting!’, I did just that. Of course, I now know it’s really not a pro move to step in the way of the photographer actually hired to capture the full storyline. Nonetheless, I was immediately swallowed by the colors, patterns and amazing tempo that South Asian weddings exude. As a forever student of photography, even then I had a camera on hand: a 35mm film, a small tank of a Nikon. Needless to say, I’ve not stopped capturing the colorful world around me since being pushed into that wheel of excitement so many years ago.

At the risk of having this ‘Dear Diary’ entry run on and on, I am excited to share this highlight reel featuring each chapter of P + D ’s wedding weekend. The plentitude of rich color, delicious texture, perfect patterns and above all else, love, makes choosing faves for this teaser set extra challenging and so much fun! As we enter into the American holidays of bounty and brightness on this side of the pond, I want to take a minute and think on why I love doing what I do and just how it fills me with so much light and love to share this work with the world.

My team and I are like a small band of sociologists with cameras. With one look at our captures below, you’ll see all things merry and bright; from the mehndi through the pithi and onto the sangeet, and certainly through the wedding day, the deeply saturated colors and emotion of everyone involved are palpable. This, in fact, is one of the first memories I still carry with me from that inaugural Indian wedding I captured on film during my undergrad studies. In fact, this wedding weekend also coincided with the Indian holiday of Diwali, which literally translates into the festival of light, perfect timing as our days grow shorter and darker into the winter season in Chicago and the around the world.

Both our bride and groom’s family was above and beyond involved in keeping the energy level high and the spirits bright all wedding weekend. From the start of high tea, through the many dance performances of Friday night’s program at Theater on The Lake , all the way to the last dance at Rockwell on the River, our father of the bride was alive with so much synergy and excitement for his daughter’s wedding that we couldn’t help being carried away with his exuberant laughter and dancing! I love how the parades within parades carry the emotionality of these two individuals coming together in front of their entire circles of friends and families. Our groom’s grand entrance on a white motorcycle was a super cool spin on the traditional baraat entrance and our bride designed her second look for the evening: a classic silk pantsuit, complete with a detachable skirt from one of our very favorite bridal houses in Chicago, Mira Couture. At every turn of this weekend’s celebrations, the style, elegance, and glam sparkled perfectly. Then again, anytime we have the occasion to work with the brilliant team at Events by Nisar + Yanni Designs, we can’t keep our shutters still because gorgeous wedding photo ops are everywhere! Exhibit A: THE 5 TIERED CAKE by Cake is pretty much a show stopper on its own accord!

Simply put, the energy of long wedding weekends like this one is just magnetic and it truly keeps our entire team a buzz for days after the celebration has been tied up with a great bow! I am so very grateful and thankful for the brilliant vendors that help us create such beautiful captures of culture, color, movement, and momentum. Truly, without them, our work couldn’t shine as bright!

I was trying to keep this post a-political but with an undergrad in Political Science, I usually can’t avoid the subject altogether, especially lately. So please pardon me briefly as I step onto my small soapbox. I see it as my job to use my resources in the world to lead with love and share on the platforms I have access to; to use the tools of my trade in the best way I know how and lead my team with careful kindness on all of our projects. I’ve had the opportunity to travel and see outside of the confines of my own experience so that I can better understand the world around me. Compassion and love know no skin color, no state, no religion, and no gender. Our lenses get to serve as a mirror to our vibrant and incredible world full of love and light so that the reflection we create can outshine anyone who tries to lead our world into darkness. In working in the world of weddings where the talk is all about love, sparkly details, perfect uplighting and who has designed what, I think it’s really important for my team to keep our eyes on the prize: the focus is really on connectivity and care. After all, isn’t that why people get married?

I am forever grateful for my skills as a wedding photographer, for my team that listens aptly to my crazy, creative ideas and executes them and, of course, for our dear couples that entrust their love story with us.

P + D, a million thanks to you, your beautiful families and all the incredible love you shared with us last weekend. Your killer dance moves, indelible style, layers of generation standing in support of your love story are all the making of our photographic daydreams. We love your love and couldn’t do what we do without it! Thank you.


Rose + Co

Brigitte Bardot+ her beaux in Chicago

Who doesn’t need a pair of knee high go go boots and fur coat on Michigan Avenue this weekend?? Personally, I think it should be required attire or, at the very least, a fall fashion essential to have, at minimum, one fur to the knees look with seemingly nothing underneath for a walk down the Mag Mile before it snows!! Add a hot date and a seriously teased, very, very long shag and you’ve got yourself a pair of lookers on Michigan Avenue sexy enough to stop traffic dead in it’s grid.

Legs for days and a total sweetheart of a babe, our bride- to- be featured in this smoking hot RP Custom Engagement Shoot steals the show for the first half of this blog post - spoiler alert if you skip through to the imagery, her other half is pretty easy on the eyes, too! I like to shoot portrait photography like every image we capture would grace the cover of a magazine. With that in mind, I obsess and I mean obsess over lighting details, style and mood of every shoot. No matter what we are commissioned to photograph, these are my team’s directives: who is our subject, what is important to them and where are they going after our shoot? I get on their level and try to see them how they see themselves. In this case, our Brigitte is a witty, glam sexy, West coast gal getting hitched to a solid, business savvy beaux that gets his kicks driving fast cars, jumping from airlines and playing in traffic…well, at least in our photoshoot he did!

We camped out in the couple’s suite at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel complete with vintage decor and mood lighting to boot. I write about this historic spot in Chicago a lot because my team and I work there…a lot! When the spot first reopened a few years ago, I laid my eyes on the White City Ballroom and pretty much promptly declared ‘We were moving in!’ And so, a handful of years later, we work there at least once a month. Humble brag, I know, but we work hard and love every minute of it! In doing so, we’ve gotten to know the ins and outs of the sweet gem of old school, Chicago architecture like the back of our hand. The Cherry Circle Room is a fave spot to photograph though it’s self named, dark wood and select details are a great lighting challenge to keep moody and bright all at the same time.

A+ E your style is the stuff my photo dreams are made of. I’m just as obsessed with the outcome of this shoot as was in creating it. We cannot wait for your wedding imagery because we both know your West Coast style paired with a classic Chicago style martini is on point. My crew loves your crew and we cannot wait for more reasons to work together. Bring on the fast cars and furs!


Rose + Co

Getting weird in Asheville: Fall Wedding @ Horseshoe Farm

Given the opportunity to get weird on our photo tour of wedding day, we say YES to the dress (shot) ! This recent wedding hosted just outside Asheville, North Carolina on a fully operational horse farm had the most gorgeous floral details, perfect photo ops and all the equestrian day dreams you could (weird) dream of. But before we got weird, our bride looked like she stepped our of a fairy tale book with hand sewn, seasonal flowers in her hair, a gorgeous, princess style, wedding gown and a calmness so sweet that even a ladybug landed on the lace detailed train just as first look was taking place!! True story!! Later, when our photo crew found a few interesting art pieces around the venue’s grounds, we figured we’d have to include them in our photos somehow! A rose quartz + a blue turquoise covered skull made their way into our bridal portraits only after we asked our handsome couple, ‘are you ok with getting a little weird?’ They quickly said yes and well…keep reading or just skip ahead to see more ‘photo gems’ with these two love birds !!

The property at Horse Shoe Farm is also right out of a picture book. Without a doubt, fall in this region is crazy beautiful but the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains in the back ground of many of our shots just gives us another reason to swoon over this wedding’s highlight reel. A few #bts shots of hair goddesses at Lola Salon actually hand sewing all the floral into our bride’s flowing locks and super beautiful big, romantic braid are faves amongst details of floral + fauna. The decor was organized, installed, and planned by the team at Shay Brown Events whom produced a top notch, dream wedding. Hands down, pairing art and culture is a combination that the sweet mountain town of Asheville, North Carolina is keen on in more ways than one. Having opened our second studio location here last year, we are head over heels with all of the amazing wedding venues, beautiful backdrops and texture with so many more beautiful places to pull inspiration.

Our gorgeous couple kept their guest list tight and didn’t miss a detail in making sure all those whom where invited felt very special being in attendance. Each lady was given a small fur wrap to keep her warm on the brisk fall afternoon and a equally sweet touch of small, flower crowns for all the princesses. One of the VIP guests in attendance was our bride’s grandmother. The two shared a sweet toast at the start of the night and then later opened the dance floor like it was their job, hand in hand , generation in generation. These are the sweetest moments we always keep an eye out for happening in real time, no shot list needed. That’s why we do what we do!

K + T, we are basically obsessed with your hugs, can’t get enough of your fairy inspired, dreamy looks of love and next party you invite grandma to, please be sure we are there because we love her as much as we love your love story!


Rose + Co