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