Fourth Presbyterian Church Chicago weddings are always a treat to photograph, but they come with a unique challenge. The church has a particularly strict set of photo restrictions that require careful planning to be able to get a variety photos that encompass the whole scene as well as closeups of the key ceremony moments. In a search online, most of the wedding photos at this church look pretty similar, but there are ways around this. The wedding ceremony coordinator requests that photographers stay stationary throughout the ceremony. Photos from the same location all look the same (you’ll see what I mean with a quick Google search) but after photographing here so often, I’ve developed a plan and technique that allows me to capture a variety of wedding ceremony photos even with the restrictions.
I met Matt and Lacey in New York City for their Central Park and New York Public Library engagement shoot in the winter and learned about their wedding day plans. at “Fourth Pres.” Fourth Presbyterian Church is a majestic Gothic landmark located right across the street from The John Hancock Center and has some of the most striking architecture of all Chicago’s ceremony venues. I especially love the Tudor-style buildings that surround the church’s courtyard. Its a charming backdrop that allows for stunning editorial style wedding photos.
Onward to the wedding day – I began photographing Lacey, her mother and her bridesmaids in the bridal suite at the Ritz Carlton Chicago where their reception would later be held. The team from Sonia Roselli Makeup Studio provided hair and makeup on location for the girls.
Lacey had timeless and luxurious wedding invitations, Badgley Mischka peep toe pump bridal shoes and glamorous wedding gown – everything was so tastefully coordinated ahead of the big day.
I headed downstairs to the groom’s suite to photograph the Matt prepping for the wedding day. I was nervous that I would get confused between he and his identical twin brother Dan who was his best man but I was able to tell them apart. Phew!Back up to the ladies suite, Lacy gifted personalized pink satin robes and unique jewelry to her bridesmaids. I thought it was so sweet that Lacey had gotten embroidered handkerchiefs for her parents. They were visibly touched by the personal message to them. It was time to for Lacey to get ready for her wedding ceremony. The bridesmaids in their lavender dresses helped her with her gown and shoes, while the mother of the bride helped her with jewelry.Before heading to the Fourth Presbyterian Church on Michigan Ave, Matt waited patiently to see his bride at the Promenade at the Ritz Carlton. We headed over to the church for some quick portraits in the cloisters and courtyard area before the ceremony began.
The wedding coordinator at Fourth Presbyterian has a set of guidelines for photography, the ceremony and portraits that works very well. Its known to be one of the most strict churches in Chicago from a photography standpoint, but knowing this ahead of time, a great set of photos can be had with the right planning.
I have yet to see another set of wedding photos from Fourth Pres that have the same variety of wide photos and closeups that I have learned to be able to capture even under stringent church guidelines. It all comes down to planning!
With engagement season soon to be in full swing, here is a blog post on important things you should know before your engagement session! These 6 tips for engagement photography should point you in the right direction.
1. What time should we plan the engagement session? Photography is all about having great light. Unflattering midday sun won’t allow me to deliver the engagement photos you’ve seen in my gallery. For outdoor locations, I encourage looking into what time the sun sets on your scheduled shoot date and starting a bit before the sun actually sets. For indoor locations, you won’t have glaring light coming through the windows either. Katie Spina and Brigham Hyde look stunning during time right after sunset as all the city buildings began to lit up. I especially love night photography, as long as its in an area with ample light.
2. What’s the best location? There are classic locations such as a park or landmark that first come to mind for many couples. Photographing in the park or on the water is a safe bet for “pretty” shots. I find that the couples I work with have a closer connection to their engagement photos if they’ve chosen a location that is significant to both of you, whether it be where you met or where the proposal took place, or a favorite spot that you frequent together, that can be a great choice for your engagement session. Lorraine Ostanik & John Bellessa had their engagement session in the North End, a neighborhood that they enjoy spending time in that reads as iconic Boston. Prior to showing up to a location for a photo session, it’s always a good idea to check beforehand if you need permits or a manager’s permission to use the locations.
3. What should we wear? One of the most common questions I am asked is what to wear for an engagement session. I enlisted New York-based personal stylist Hilary Rushford of Dean Street Society for some pointers here. Its very important that both of you are dressed to the same level – whether it be casual or fancy. Another important tip is to make sure you’re comfortable. If not, this will certainly show in your expression and in photos. Ashley Leman and Nate Gravel arrived to their engagement session with a vintage Ford pickup truck and went with a rustic look polished up just a bit. It worked very well!
4. What about hair and make up? Although you can get away with doing your hair and make up yourself, I suggest getting it professionally done at a salon. Its not often that you get professionally photographed. Aeshna looked flawless for her winter engagement session with Beejal.
5. Should we bring props? I encourage you to bring something that is personal or helps share your personalities with each others’ friends and family. You can always bring props and not use them, but it’s fun to play around with the idea. Be creative and have fun!
6. Trust Your Photographer. I’ll see a scene completely different than what you’ll be seeing. So if your photographer suggest something, embrace the idea and you will most likely be thrilled with the results. For Tara and Sam’s Chicago engagement session, instead of going to Lincoln Park, Millennium Park or going for a jaunt through the Loop, I suggested to do an indoor engagement session at a gritty Chicago billiards hall established in the 1940s. They were on board immediately, and the contrast worked perfectly with their glammed up look. Often times, the more alternative locations and hidden gems get a much more enthusiastic response once my couples have seen the photo results!
It’s always lovely hearing a couple loved their wedding photography so much, they referred their friends to me. You might remember when Annie and Sunil got married last year at the River East Arts Center in downtown Chicago. Sunil knows Rich, so when Rich and Jo were going to get married, Sunil recommended me. The rest is history! The wedding ceremony and reception were held at the chic Ivy Room at Tree Studios. Any venue in Chicago that allows for a couple to have natural light incorporated into their wedding day wins in my book!
Getting Ready Hotel: Fairmont Chicago Millenium Park
Ceremony Venue: Ivy Room
Reception Venue: Ivy Room
Caterer: Blue Plate Catering
Dress Make: Jenny Yoo
Tux Make: Indochino
Hair: Nkauj’lis Lyfoung (also did the hair at Annie’s wedding)
Makeup: Nkauj’lis Lyfoung (also did the makeup at Annie’s wedding)
Officiant: Pastor Jonathan Ramos
Wedding Coordinator/DOC: Tiffanie Yau and Olivia Pan
Band/DJ: Roberto Monastero Entertainment
Florist: Event Creative
Lighting design: Event Creative
Wedding stationery company: Wedding Paper Divas
One of the coolest wedding venues in downtown Boston is the BC Club. Located on the 36th floor of 100 Federal St. in the Financial District, the Boston College Club offers great 360° views of Boston. When I was first contacted by Brian, we hit it off right away when I learned about the sense of adventure he and his soon to be wife had and their love of travel. I had an amazing time working with them for their engagement shoot and knew their wedding would be just as fun. One of my favorite things to do is travel and I was so happy when I saw that every part of the wedding day had a travel element to it. This awesome couple talked about travel in their personalized wedding vows and all of the decor details had a travel vibe.
A wedding photography review from Kerry and Brian:
“Heather Parker is a talented, fun, artistic photojournalist and we were lucky that she was available for hire on our wedding day. She was able to capture very meaningful and memorable shots but by blending into the crowd without adding ANY undue stress. It was incredible and I am not certain how she was able to accomplish the task.
Brian and I were married in Boston and really wanted a photographer that would fully engage in the most special day of our lives, we searched for the best and found her! Heather travels the world so we instantly had a connection. It felt like she really knew us and captured the love that binds us from this day forward.”
The day started out at the Langham Hotel, one of my favorite hotels to photograph in. Brian and his groomsmen got ready on one level, and nearby I was able to document the finishing touches for Kerry and her girls. Kerry’s dad was welcomed into the bridal suite to see his beautiful daughter all dressed up in her wedding gown. Once everyone was ready, I went with Kerry just across the street from the Langham Hotel to Leventhal Park in Post Office Square. There, she awaited the moment she’d first see Brian on their wedding day. When they locked eyes, there was so much joy. After sharing a few minutes together, they met up with their bridal party to do some creative portraits around Boston. With perfect weather and a carefully planned schedule, we were able to stop at the Harborwalk and Boston Public Library in Copley and we had so much fun! This was a fantastic way for their bridal party and families to get a quick tour of Boston. After touring the city, we headed back to their venue.
The ceremony was timed perfectly so that they said their vows with the views of the city right at sunset and everything went perfectly thanks to the BC Club’s private events director, Sara. Following the ceremony, guests mingled and took in sights of Boston the 36th floor. In the reception ballroom, personalized details really made the wedding fun for the guests while sitting down eating. The theme throughout the wedding was travel since Brian and Kerry have had the opportunity to travel throughout the world extensively. The menus were on cards that resembled in-flight menus, and the day’s schedule was laid out in a passport style booklet. A globe welcomed guests to tables named after destinations the couple visited.
The reception couldn’t have been any more magical as all the city lights lit up and the famed Citgo sign flashed in the distance. The newlyweds celebrated with their guests who traveled long distances to be with them to celebrate such a special day.
Every part of the wedding day had a travel element to it. Kerry + Brian talked about travel in their personal vows, they picked readings for the ceremony from different continents and even all of the decor elements had a travel vibe.
Here is a comprehensive Boston wedding venues list with links to photos that you may find useful when planning your wedding. The wedding venues list showcases top Boston wedding venues, ceremony and reception sites throughout the Boston and New England area, where I have shot or are scheduled to photograph.
Boston Wedding Venues List
9OFS | 1 Federal St., Boston
This is a brand new 6000 square foot indoor/outdoor space overlooking the financial district of downtown Boston at One Federal St.
Allen Farm Sheep & Wool Co. | Chilmark, MA on Martha’s Vineyard
If you’ve ever considered a destination wedding on a beautiful farm overlooking the ocean, the Allen Farm offers one of the most picturesque settings.
Agricultural Hall | West Tisbury, Martha’s Vineyard
This spacious century old post and beam structure is surrounded by sprawling hay fields, picket fences, and two iconic rustic barns.
Alden Castle by Longwood Events | Brookline
Located in the legendary Longwood Towers, Alden Castle features two distinctive, and newly renovated event spaces. The Vintage Ballroom and The Modern Room. Each ballroom offers dramatically historical settings that will give your wedding a feel from a bygone era of romance and royalty.
Artists for Humanity EpiCenter | Boston
Artists For Humanity EpiCenter is and ultra-modern LEED Platinum certified building in South Boston. Artists for Humanity is environmentally friendly and uniquely innovative space. Events ranging from intimate dinners for 50 to cocktail receptions for 450 contribute to fund the arts for youth in Boston.
Barn at Gibbet Hill | Groton
The barn at Gibbet hill is a turn of the century barn, stylishly renovated and restored, overlooks rolling hills of conservation land that are home to a farm.
Beach Plum Inn | Menemsha, Martha’s Vineyard
Situated above scenic Menemsha Harbor, Beach Plum Inn is surrounded by colorful gardens, lush pastures, alpacas and ponies.
Belle Mer | Newport
This elegant venue is located amongst sprawling manicured lawns over looking Narragansett Bay and can hold between 250-520 guests.
Boston Center for the Arts Cyclorama | Boston
An historic South End venue located that showcases urban industrial chic with a copper skylight dome atop a round, brick-lined space, the Cyclorama can host from 100 to 875 guests.
Boston College Club aka BC Club | Boston
A hidden gem on the 36th floor atop 100 Federal St. in downtown, this venue has panoramic views of downtown Boston through huge windows and is one of my favorite spaces in Boston.
Boston Harbor Hotel | Boston
The Boston Harbor Hotel at Rowes Wharf is Boston’s landmark, waterfront hotel located at Rowes Wharf overlooking historic Boston Harbor.
Boston Public Library | Boston
(capacity 300) Whether you love the legendary Bates Hall with adorned with green reading lamps or the classic Abbey Room, this venue is a favorite of many Boston couples as it has a Venetian style outdoor courtyard which serves as the perfect setting for outdoor ceremonies or cocktail hours.
Bradley Estate | Canton
Brooksby Farm | Peabody
(wedding featured in The Knot Magazine, capacity 250) (many weddings at Smith Barn, search the blog!)
Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center | Cambridge – capacity 150
Captain Flanders House Inn family farm house | Chilmark, Martha’s Vineyard
Castle Hill at Crane Estate | Ipswich – 200 seated capacity indoors
Captain R. Flanders House | Chilmark, Martha’s Vineyard
Chappaquiddick Beach Club | Chappaquiddick Island / Martha’s Vineyard
A fun, colorful, preppy location on Chappy perfect for a rehearsal dinner or wedding overlooking the ocean, and just a short ferry ride from Edgartown.
Charles River Museum of Industry | Waltham
Charles Hotel | Cambridge
Commanders Mansion | Watertown
This brick mansion has a grape arbor for a beautiful outdoor ceremony. Indoors, elegantly restored rooms
Dr. Daniel Fisher House | Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard
The Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel | Boston
One of Boston’s most splendid hotels, this beauty boasts three opulent ballrooms in the heart of Back Bay.
Four Seasons Hotel | Boston
Overlooking the famed Public Garden and Beacon Hill, the Four Seasons is characterized by elegant simplicity and old-world Boston charm and is just across the street from the Boston Public Garden.
Hampshire House | Boston
A classic library feel can be had in this historic mansion above the famous Cheers Restaurant, complete with a working fireplace and wooden paneled walls.
Harvard Faculty Club | Cambridge
Harvard Club of Boston | Boston
Harvard University CRI Rowing Boathouse | Brighton
Hammond Castle | Gloucester
InterContinental Hotel | Boston
Jared Coffin House | Nantucket
Langham Hotel Boston | Boston
Lenox Hotel | Boston
With a soaring domed ceiling, the ballroom at this boutique Back Bay hotel
Le Meridien Hotel | Cambridge
With a sought-after roof garden, this is one of the Boston areas only locations for a rooftop wedding ceremony. The indoor ballroom seats about 180.
Liberty Hotel | Boston – 225 seated capacity
Lyman Estate | Waltham
Mandarin Oriental | Boston
OceanCliff Resort | Newport
Omni Parker House Hotel | Boston
Red Lion Inn 1704 Barn | Cohasset
Rialto at the Charles Hotel | Cambridge
Ritz Carlton Hotel Boston Common | Boston
Seaport Hotel | Boston
(capacity up to 450) This hotel is in the hip Seaport neighborhood of South Boston and has a variety of modern ballrooms to choose from.
Smith Barn at Brooksby Farm | Peabody
(wedding featured in The Knot Magazine, capacity 250) This authentic barn on a working farm is a favorite because of the orchards and authentic, rustic feel.
SpringStep | Medford
The State Room | Boston
Taj Boston Hotel | Boston
Located at the corner of the fashionable Arlington and Newbury streets Taj Boston overlooks the charming Public Garden and its ballrooms blend old world grace with contemporary luxury.
Turner Hill | Ipswich
Westin Copley Place Hotel | Boston
White Elephant Hotel | Nantucket
A charming venue with a perfectly manicured lawn, the White Elephant Hotel overlooks the ocean and is a perfect setting for an island destination wedding.
The W Hotel | Downtown Boston
Modern and urban chic are qualities many fashionable couples select this downtown hotel for.
Boston Ceremony Venues / Sites
Emmanuel Church | Boston
First Church in Cambridge | Cambridge
Holy Cross Cathedral | Boston
Houghton Chapel at Wellesley College | Wellesley
King’s Chapel | Boston
Memorial Church at Harvard University | Cambridge
MIT Chapel by Saarinen (W15) | Cambridge
Nantucket Unitarian Church | Nantucket
Old North Church aka Christ Church | Boston
Old South Church | Boston
Ruggles Baptist Church | Boston
St. Cecilia’s | Boston
South Church | Nantucket
St. Leonard’s | North End Boston
Temple B’nai Moshe | Brighton
Temple Sinai | Brookline
Trinity Church | Boston
Wellesley College Chapel | Wellesley
Popular Boston wedding bands for reception music include: Winiker Orchestra, Boston Common Band, Kahootz, Hush Band, Soho Band, Night Shift Wedding Band, Timmy Maia, Greg Gates, Sultans of Swing, District 21 Band, and Legit Band. These bands have experience performing at most of these Boston wedding venues.
This is just a sampling of Boston wedding venues, reception sites, and ceremony locations. I try to keep this list as current as possible to correspond with locations I have worked or will work.
Just got engaged? Read about where to begin. For many wedding photographers, there are two “busy” seasons. One is shooting season the popular times of year that couples tie the knot. The other is engagement season, the time of year when so many couples announce their engagement to their friends and family. The best photographers’ phones ring wild with couples rushing to nail down wedding vendors for their upcoming weddings. Jewelry advertisements on the radio and TV are abundant and it seems there are so many mentions of engagement rings and diamonds all over the internet.
After recounting how the question was asked and celebrating the occasion, its time to sit down and think about when you’d like to get married, talk about budgets, and determine what resources you’d like to have in planning your wedding. Pinterest is popular for designing a dream wedding, but a great wedding planner will help you work with realistic expectations. If you’re changing jobs, studying for the bar exam, or in the middle of your residency, setting a time frame as to when it makes sense to get married is a great first step.
Today I spoke to someone who just got engaged and they determining if they’re having a wedding local, back in the hometown where they grew up, or having a destination wedding so that they can have a mini-vacation with their closest friends and family. Once you’ve got an idea of what you want, its important not to get overwhelmed with the resources that are out there. I’ve lost count of the different wedding blogs that have sprouted up over the last five years. It can be a daunting task to navigate to find trustworthy wedding vendors with great reviews.
Each year there are dozens of wedding photographers that quit their day jobs to take a stab at becoming a professional photographer. At the same time, many of these new photographers realize becoming a sought-after wedding photographer is much more difficult than showing up at a wedding and pressing a button on a camera. After a few years, they realize it was a lot more difficult than they thought. When you are looking for a wedding photographer, make sure they have professional training in photography. It’s not rude to ask if they went to an accredited photography school. Understanding artistic composition and having a solid knowledge technical knowledge of photography equipment isn’t something that can be learned overnight or even in a few years. Because there are no do-overs, your wedding should not be a testing ground for someone to grow their portfolio. If you’d like to learn more, check out my FAQ section and wedding tips pages.
If you are looking for a list of reputable wedding vendors with great reviews, I have a preferred vendor website that I have put together. I do not offer commissions or kickbacks so you can rest assured, this list is of people I have personally seen do an exceptional job.
10 Tips to Getting Dressed for Engagement Photos from Hilary Rushford. Quite often, I get brides and grooms asking me about what to wear for their engagement shoot. Because I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a fashion expert, I’ve enlisted New York City personal wardrobe stylist Hilary Rushford to offer tips on what to wear. Hilary Rushford is the founder of Dean Street Society where she works as a stylist with men & women doing wardrobe remixes, personal shopping & engagement shoots/wedding parties/special events.
Close your eyes. Picture your engagement photo hanging on your best friend’s fridge. Envision a large print framed in your living room as newlyweds. Imagine one being passed down to your grandchildren. You’re creating a memory that will last a lifetime! Let’s make some magic people.
Do your homework. Search wedding blogs for engagement photos you’re crazy about. Study them. What is it you love? Be specific. Look at what the bride is wearing, the groom, their shoes, the colors, patterns, props & background. Take notes & replicate your favorite elements. (P.S. Find couples who look similar to you to help envision what you’ll look like.)
Douse yourselves in color! Many engagement photos are taken outside. This means you could have a grey day, empty tree branches & neutral colored buildings as your backdrop. YOU make the pictures vibrant. Your photographer can have the best skills & equipment, but if your wardrobe is bland, all the editing in the world won’t make it colorful.
You’ll notice I said “yourselves.” Don’t forget the groom needs color too! Many men shy away from color in their wardrobe, but try a plaid button down, a striped tie, under a colored v-neck pullover — the elements aren’t scary & or far-off from what he may already sport. Just take the color up a notch & make sure he’s wearing pattern to keep the photos visually interesting.
(Gap.com and JCrew.com)
If you want your photos to look fresh & modern, invest in new outfits. A groom in particular may want to turn to his favorite trusty sweater & broken in jeans, but odds are that well loved pieces look … well, well loved. And that makes photos look dated faster. Be a stickler for fit. A groom shouldn’t be in pants or a shirt one size too large. They’ll only make him look heavier. A bride should belt almost anything! It will instantly nip in your waist at the narrowest part. A cardigan hides bra straps & slims arms, a knee-length skirt is universally flattering, & Spanx are every girl’s best friend.
Be the superstar version of yourselves! Even if you want natural, everyday “us” … this is a professional photo shoot. Add a higher heel, a bolder necklace, a brighter belt. Grooms, embrace the word “accessorize”. Brides often arrive at a shoot with a plethora belts, scarves, colored shoes as options. Step up your game to match her for the moment you’re capturing. Hats, suspenders & bow ties are everywhere these days from Urban Outfitters to Ralph Lauren.
Consider having a timeless vintage moment. There’s a reason so many couples choose to style themselves from the 30’s-50’s era: the look has stayed classic for this long, so odds are it’ll still look chic when your grandchildren are looking at them. In this case, go back to Tip #2! Gather all the details from vintage-inspired engagement shoots you love. Brides can visit Mod Cloth & Unique Vintage. Grooms get off even easier: implement details like bow ties & suspenders. And for both of you, it’s all about the right shoes! Visit Remix Vintage Shoes for inspiration. Remix Vintage Shoes for inspiration. For a mens look from Unique Vintage click here. For an elegant ladies dress from Mod Cloth, click here. It’s wise to invest in a professional to do your hair & make-up, but if you’re strong in that area there are oodles of tutorials on YouTube these days. This is a great time to utilize your hair and makeup trials with your wedding hairstylist and makeup artist. If you do take this opportunity, please make sure to allow more than ample time for a punctual arrival to your shoot.
Don’t exceed your budget. If you spend more than you wanted on wardrobe, you’ll feel extra pressure & stress the day of the shoot. Budget-conscious brides can try RentTheRunway.com which allows you to wear a designer dress without the price tag. Order a second dress option for just $25, plus you can also rent jewelry & be done in one fell swoop!For the groom check out H&M, Gap, or your local department store. (The dresses below are all $50 or less!
Pack extra. Your photographer can always help you edit, but the more belts, cardigans, ties, shoes you arrive with, the more they have to work with. Help them help you!
Enlist help. helping them choose the wardrobe for their shoots. While easiest & most fun in person, it can be done even cross-country entirely with online window shopping, vision boards, Skype chats & camera phone pics. If you don’t go with a stylist, seek out your most fashionable friend or go to your favorite store, find a salesperson who’s style you like & ask them for help. (Beware that an in-store stylist may just be trying to sell you something, so take multiple options into the dressing room & ask for their favorite vote, not just a “yes/no” on one item.)
Get a great night of sleep & get excited to take pictures with your favorite person in the whole wide world: your brilliant fiance!
Hilary Rushford is the founder of Dean Street Style and is available for advice and guidance on styling for your engagement photography session via Skype, email, phone, or locally in the NYC/Brooklyn area. Be sure to visit and subscribe to her blog at Dean Street Society for useful tips! Hilary is a stylist for lookbooks, advertising campaigns & photo/video shoots for emerging through luxury brands. She also takes one-on-one clients as a personal stylist for “real people with real budgets.” With a professional background in musical theatre, she works on-camera as a host & style expert as well as writing, curating & consulting for various print & online publications, sites & brands. Look her up on Youtube for great tips!
Available for photo/video shoots, personal sessions, on-camera hosting, writing, & speaking.
Hilary works out of New York City, London & worldwide both via Skype & in person.
There’s a magical time of day, just before the clouds get completely lost in darkness and the city lights. Whenever I am capturing engagement photos, if my clients are interested I try to align a portion of the session around that time of day. For this particular shot, we took engagement photos in front of the Fairmont Hotel although I suppose because of what I am focusing on, you might never know the location. Does location matter? Sometimes. The main thing I look for when photographing a couple is the connection they share. Of course the Fairmont Copley Plaza and the areas surrounding it offer a great backdrop. In between all of the weddings I get to photograph, I’ve had the honor to meet some really cool couples during their engagement session. It’s a great chance to spend some time with my couples just being themselves. If you’re camera shy, it’s a great opportunity to get comfortable getting photographed. The great thing about engagement pictures is that they can be used for all sorts of details throughout the wedding. There are countless beautiful locations in Boston’s Back Bay for unique engagement photos. Whether you adore the classic Boston brownstones, a stroll on Newbury Street, or the Commonwealth Avenue Mall lined with trees, it’s an opportunity to create a magical set of memorable images that document such a special chapter in your lives. For this particular shot, I waited until my favorite part of the day – the twilight sparkle. After the sun has set and all the city lights come on, the shot looks richer and inviting.
Night photography can be one of the most difficult types of photography for many people. Often a camera flash can kill the existing light, and a low shutter speed may add blur to the shot. As a photographer that specializes in low-light photography, many years ago I learned that the key to getting the best high quality night photography is balancing shutter speed and ISO, and waiting for the right moment when the light fills the frame perfectly. My goal here was to use as much natural light as possible because its so incredibly dreamy! For their engagement photos in front of the Fairmont Hotel, I waited until they walked directly past the lights of the famed red awning. They provided the best light for the shot and didn’t kill the natural highlights and shadows on the faces. I especially love how the vibrant background attains a buttery blur to allow these two lovebirds to be the main focus of the photo. We shot indoors at the Oak Bar in the hotel itself, and then headed over to the Boston Public Library just across the street. It was after we left the library and returned to the Fairmont Hotel that the beauty of this shot would become apparent. I’m looking forward to creating lots more documentary photos for this couple during their upcoming Boston wedding this autumn where I will be photographing alongside one of my favorite wedding planners Gracie Lou Events.
Although there’s still a few weeks to go until you can tear through the presents on Christmas morning, the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston pulled out all the stops again with delightful holiday decorations. They’ve rolled out the festive decor for the gorgeous lobby and its sure to be a real treat if you stop by. I hope you enjoy these photos!
In just a few months, I look forward to photographing the first of my 2014 Fairmont weddings in the Grand Ballroom. It’s always a delight!
University Club of Chicago is a classic Chicago venue to have a wedding in. It’s an iconic Chicago landmark with great architectural details. The reason its one of the most popular wedding venues in Chicago is because its right in the heart of the city and located right across from Millennium Park. Orchestra Hall and The Art Institute are very close and out of town guests can enjoy attractions such as the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and of course Navy Pier. Its always a treat to photograph a classically glamorous wedding reminiscent of yesteryear. The welcoming sight of a fireplace, the warm chime of the dinner bells, and the unsurpassed park views are why so many brides choose this timeless wedding venue to host their wedding reception. When Sara met with me to talk about her wedding photography, I was excited to shoot in the Michigan Room since I had previously shot in Cathedral Hall. When their wedding day arrived, it was one of the most perfect days filled with sunshine. I began shooting in a suite at the hotel within the University Club of Chicago.
University Club of Chicago Michigan Room wedding
After Sarah put on her Vera Wang and Jimmy Choos, we headed downstairs to the grand staircase where Ryan was waiting for a first glance at Sarah.
We journeyed onward via trolley to some pre-selected locations for photos with the bridal party. While a lot of couples enjoy smiling in front of landmarks, some of the more special moments are the candid ones. I love how Sarah’s attendants are smiling, helping her with her gown, and looking back to see that everything is just right.
The next photo was from an impromptu stop at a location that provided a some urban decay contrast paired with a stunning couple.
Ryan and Sarah were wed at St. Joseph Church with a packed church full of family who traveled as far from Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Carolina. The bride’s 3rd grade students were also in attendance to see their teacher marry.
Dilly Lily rocked the centerpieces, cake florals, and bouquets with hydrangeas and glass cylinder centerpieces wrapped in leaves. They also added a modern flair to classic glamour providing some tables with the popular floating candles.
Like Cathedral Hall, the Michigan Room has an impressive stone fireplace, rich mahogany walls soaring to a hand-painted ceiling, and signature stained glass windows.
Chicago wedding vendors the bride and groom selected for their wedding:
Ceremony Venue: St. Joseph Church
Reception Venue: University Club of Chicago
Coordinator: Charlotte Dillner-Hasapis
Photographer: Heather Parker Photography
Gown make: Vera Wang
Bridesmaid dresses: Priscilla of Boston
Bridal boutique: Vera Wang Salon Cary, NC
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Makeup Artist: Linda Giuntini
Hairstylist” Sarah Dowdy
Etsy veil was from Bella Bridal Veils.
Tuxedos: Formally Modern
Florist: Dilly Lily
Wedding Stationery: William Arthur