Madonna del Strada & Hotel Allegro Chicago Wedding Photography

It's difficult to even begin the process of blogging this wedding. I usually end up with about 100 pictures to showcase the day, and I have over 160 chosen for this wedding. It's hard to even find the words to put with this amazing, unique couple that weren't said at the wedding. So instead of starting with Ruth & Paul, I'm going to start with Ruth and me, Mary. 

I try to very cautious and specific with what I post on our website and Facebook page. I really want clients who want what we offer instead of clients who want us to copy their favorite photographer they couldn't afford. I post candid shots and showcase our natural posing style photos because I want couples who like that. I often retell the story of a groom who received his wedding pictures and exclaimed, "I don't remember them even taking this many pictures. Those two are straight up ninjas!". It's been our motto for almost 10 years. So when Ruth said she wanted us to do our ninja thing, my heart skipped a beat. I love that she wanted us to capture the day as it was happening. I remember meeting with her and she mentioned that she just wanted lots of pictures with her mom and sisters while she was getting ready. THAT is what I want to capture. While a cute picture of your shoes is fine, I just cannot spend hours taking pictures of details ignoring the interaction between you and the people who love you the most in the world. They are all together. In one room. For one day in your life. I don't prioritize a picture of the flower centerpiece over that. My goal is not to be the next real wedding editorial in a bridal magazine. My goal is for you to remember your day, your family, your friends, your new spouse and re-live the emotions via the pictures. Ruth got it. Then I met her family and I understood. Their connection was evident and  their tribe was priority. I watched as they carefully cared for Ruth and her veil and her dress and made her day about her and Paul. It was lovely to see and so fun to photograph. We started at Hotel Allegro which is a badass hotel in Chicago, where they tapped the first keg after prohibition. It is beautiful and unique and I loved all the little pockets for pictures! Blue walls are my favorite. Just can't resist 'em. 

And then there is Paul. Oh my goodness. He is such a sweet man. You know that old saying about choosing a man to marry who loves his mother. CHECK. MATE. Paul and his parents were just about the sweetest thing I've seen. As an only child, he didn't have the same dynamic as Ruth's family with 5 kids, but he had the same connection with his family. It is no surprise that these two fell in love seeing that their families are so full of love. Paul loved people. It was so evident in the way he treated his parents and in the way he looked at Ruth and even in the way he interacted with us. He shares happiness with those around him. I watched him get up after dinner and give his groomsmen a minute of his time before rushing to eat. He truly cares for the people in his life. 

While the guys took over the lobby, we took a few outside. As I was posing and taking these photos, both moms were right behind me saying how much they loved the shot. Mom approval for the win. So I made sure to get a couple with the moms too, for good measure. 

Off to the church! These photos are literally back to back in time. We set up a special moment for Dad & Ruth to see other and then I went back in the chapel to find Paul and his parents together. I have said it before, but I will say it forever-make time for your parents on your wedding day. Don't rush through it. They may not demand it as they work to get everything perfect so make sure you stop and hug them. Extra love to parents. Include them in more photos than just the ones at the front of the church. I had 9 bridesmaids and I talk to 3 of them still. I wish I had more pictures with my parents. 

Time to get married! Madonna Del Strada Chapel has specific rules about where we could go in the middle but I loved that they let us move up and down the side aisles during the service. 

The Madonna Del Strada Chapel is on the lake. ON IT. It is gorgeous. Windy, but so beautiful. Made for some awesome pictures. This wedding party was hilarious and even though I made them wait an extra 12 minutes, they made the best of it "watching that cool dog". :) Thanks guys. Next time TELL ME when you start the timer and I'll do better. 

Also sidenote: the close up photos are mine and the further back ones are Seth's. I included both for a few shots so you could see how we work through photos by getting two different shots at the same time. :)

The reception was amazing.The Bluewater King Band was awesome. I'll have to post it. Ashley Lafleur did a great job of organizing everything and we had a great time celebrating. I loved hearing everyone's toasts and I gotta admit, Tracey's questions are becoming a staple in our home. :) 

I LOVE when people dance at weddings. Yea, it makes for good photographs, but ultimately I love when people are happy and are together. I loved watching everyone dance the night away and even caught my new best bud, Jack, giving Grandma a twirl off to the side. So if you attend a wedding, just dance, people. Or take Seth as your date and with few beers and he'll be jamming to Whitney Houston in no time. :) 

What a glorious entrance to married life for Paul & Ruth and such joy as they begin their life together. Thanks for choosing us, for loving our ninja skills (hopefully they live up to their legendary status) and for letting us be a part of the tribe for a day. I am sure there will be more Berres weddings in the future and I expect to be there as you welcome more people "to the beast". Love to you all! Lots more photos to come (yes even more!!) Thanks to the rest of you for sticking it out for one of my longest blog posts ever!!