Vanessa and Bastian became husband and wife on October 28, 2019. Their story began with grabbing tacos and beer at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. They both love the beach, so after dinner they spent hours talking on lifeguard tower in Capitola. Their first kiss happened on their second date, after chowing down on some pizza. Basti dragged Vanessa back to Capitola and proposed on the beach near the spot they shared their first date - how romantic! 

They had an intimate ceremony with 50 guests and took portraits in the breathtaking San Francisco City Hall. It's not your typical city hall, no waiting line or stiff office rooms, this building is gorgeous! It was built in 1913 with steel, granite, and four floors of white marble interior, in addition to the gilt exterior detailing, a sweeping grand staircase, and the massive dome - which is 307-feet tall and 42-feet taller than the dome of our nation's capital. 

In the heart of the building they shared their vows beneath that dome. After taking more portraits near the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, the newlyweds boarded their cruise ship for their reception. Yup - that's right, they had their reception on a BOAT! As the sun was setting and the party was kicking off, the boat toured around the Bay Bridge, the skyline, and off into the sea toward the Golden Gate Bridge. 

The two have traveled the world together, so it makes sense that they would have an adventurous wedding day! Vanessa and Bastian said "Our wedding day is about friends and family, celebrating our love." My oh my, did they do it well!

C&A Photographer: Shelley Anderson

Ceremony Venue: San Francisco City Hall

Reception Venue: Hornblower Cruises - San Francisco 


You only wear your wedding dress once, usually. Most brides are torn between keeping their wedding dress clean throughout the day and being adventurous and daring with their white gowns for photos. What if you didn't have to choose? 

Holly and Gordon had a beautiful wedding at The River Roast. It was a full day with love and laughs and polished photos. They ventured around the city for photos before spending the rest of the night on the river surrounded by twinkly lights. Her dress was preserved and looked perfect all night on the dance floor. Holly knew she would want to wear that dress again - and who could blame her! So we planned a morning-after session. We'll call it a 'dirty-the-dress' photoshoot, not trash-the-dress, because who could ever damage a gown as beautiful as this one?

Gordon and Holly got up early the morning after their wedding, changed back into their wedding attire with beautiful, messy, second-day hair and headed to the beach. It was 6:00am and the sun was rising with precipitation. I'm sure they were exhausted (and maybe even a little hungover), but you would have never known. They looked so alive and in love!

First they ran around the beach with umbrellas, embracing the wind whipping their hair, then threw the umbrellas aside because they were already married. They stood in puddles, climbed hills, and walked through meadows. Holly didn't care what happened to this dress - she just wanted to have fun with her husband. 

We LOVE this idea and we hope this inspires you to plan an additional photo session where your dress can have its own story too. 

C&A Photographer: Hanna Walkowaik

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

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

1803 W Byron #105
Chicago, IL 60613

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