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Rustic Elegance Chicago Outdoor Wedding Photography – Jenny and Mike

True story – we knew Jenny before she was even engaged to Mike, and, in a way, she had already picked us for her wedding photographer.  We first met Jenny and her sister, Patty, at a Bridal Show a couple of years ago when Patty was freshly engaged and shopping around for Chicago wedding photographers.  Jenny fell in love with our work immediately and convinced her sister to do whatever was necessary to secure us for her wedding.  So when we photographed Patty and Rob’s pretty pink Chicago wedding last summer, we got to know the friends and family a little better – including Jenny, Mike, and several key people who would make an appearance at the next family celebration.  We were so happy when Jenny contacted us after Mike’s proposal to start making arrangements to have us photograph their wedding – we had such a fun time with everyone the previous summer and we were definitely looking forward to a little reunion.

When we arrived at Jenny’s parents’ home the morning of the wedding, we were greeted by Jenny’s mom (one of the nicest people ever), who directed us up the familiar staircase to where the girls were getting ready.  Jenny bounded excitedly out of the bedroom, all smiles and sparkly rhinestones with cute knee-high socks, giving huge hugs all around.  She pointed us to the room where her dress and accessories were laid out and gave us the overview of the layout for their backyard ceremony, then turned everything over to us as she returned to the bedroom where Diana from Kelly Cardendas Salon was arranging her hair into loose, natural waves.  We gathered up Jenny’s vintage-inspired lace James Clifford gown and wedding accoutrements and headed outside to check out the ceremony space.

Outside, Jenny’s handcrafted “Happily Ever After” sign fluttered in the breeze, leading the way down the path to the backyard that had been transformed into a beautifully rustic setting for the couple to exchange vows against the lush foliage of the giant maple, oak, and sycamore trees.  We were amazed when we saw all of the thought and effort the couple had put into the personalized details and we think Jenny has a calling as a wedding planner or Anthropologie design editor if she ever gets bored with her day job.  Jenny’s adorable cowboy boots perfectly complemented the burlap and rustic wooden accents and the overall organic wedding scheme.

The bridesmaids had trickled in throughout the morning – many familiar faces, including the infamous Barbie (girl is a RIOT) – and they all looked amazing in their rich, brown gowns, chunky jewelry and varied footwear choices.  Jenny’s sisters, Maureen and Patty, served as her Matrons of Honor and were gorgeous in their accompanying merlot hues.  Patty just recently celebrated her one year anniversary with Rob, and we couldn’t believe that Maureen’s sweet daughter Chloe had grown so fast from the toddler riding down the aisle in a wagon at Patty’s wedding to this precious gypsy toddler who had conned her aunts out of all the gold bracelets she could fit on her chubby little wrists.  Family and friends weren’t the only familiar faces – we were pleased to see Patty Kudzlack from Fairy Godmothers arriving to drop off the wildflower bouquets and add her special touch to the décor.

While we were out in the nearby park doing photos with the girls, Jenny’s dad came out to check on the activity, giving us a sneak peek at the incredible outfits Jenny and Mike had chosen for the guys and receiving catcalls and air-kisses from the girls.  We knew the guys would be arriving soon so we sent Jenny inside to hide away while we met them outside to set up Jenny and Mike’s First Look.  Our jaws dropped when Mike pulled up and stepped out of the car – he and the rest of the groomsmen were dressed in what is, hands down, our absolute favorite wedding attire of the year.  Words cannot describe how much we loved the suspenders, the herringbone patterns, the Irish flat hats, and most of all, the cigar boutonnieres.

We led Jenny down to a spot behind the trees near the lake and as we waited for Mike to get into place for the First Look, she told us about how she first met her handsome fireman at the local bowling alley and how he has made her laugh till her cheeks hurt from then to now.  Jenny took a deep breath to composed herself, making sure she was fully aware of the moment as she made her way around the lakeside to where Mike patiently stood with his back turned.  He could hear the leaves crunching beneath her feet as she approached and broke into a smile before she reached out to touch his arm.  He turned around, his smile growing as he saw his bride and wrapped his arms around her.  Nothing could stop these two lovebirds from grinning happily at each other as they nuzzled under the branches of the weeping willow tree.

Jenny and Mike are a fun and friendly couple and took a ‘more is merrier’ approach with their bridal party – probably the largest one we’ve photographed so far and definitely a group who served up all kinds of awesomeness.  These sassy bridesmaids and stylish groomsmen were out in the park enjoying the gorgeous fall day and we gathered them up for a few photos before the guests started to arrive.

Happy people filled the backyard and Rob met us with a hearty embrace before finding his seat.  Inside, Jenny pinned on her cathedral veil and tucked her hand into her father’s arm.  As the musicians from Moeller Music begin their melodies, Mike’s adorable nephews led the way down the lantern-lined aisle with their sign signaling Jenny’s arrival. The couple exchanged vows in a beautiful outdoor ceremony under a canopy of leaves, framed by a simple fabric altar.

After they were pronounced husband and wife, guests were invited to enjoy tasty snacks, including ‘Mom’s Cookies,’ washed down with apple cider, while we led the bridal party’s trolley to the Dam No. 4 Woods East – the perfect location to make a quick stop on the way to the reception to get a few photos with that natural and rustic feel that fit Jenny and Mike’s wedding vision.  Our timing was spot-on with the sunlight and the golden glow of late afternoon gave the woods an ethereal feel.

We arrived at Fountain Blue and made our way through the garden courtyard and into the tented pavilion to a reception that is the definition of rustic elegance.  Birch-wrapped wildflower centerpieces sat in beds of moss and stones, softly illuminated by intricate chandeliers.  The Central Continental Bakery incorporated organic detailing in the cake design using natural materials and the charming cake topper is a cute nod to Mike’s career and Jenny’s new status as Firefighter’s Wife.

Guests enjoyed excellent appetizers and a delicious meal before (another familiar face) MDM Entertainment opened up the dance floor.  The party was in full swing when an announcement was made that ‘Elvis was in the building.’  His tabletop performance and following retirement definitely made it into our top list of crazy/hilarious things that have ever happened at a wedding reception.  Well played, Elvis.

Jenny and Mike, we’re so glad we crossed paths with you at that bridal show and we’re so thankful for the opportunity to get to work with you and your amazing families on more than one occasion.  We hope to be back for another ‘reunion’ soon, be it for family pictures or that vow-renewal Maureen mentioned.  😉  Can’t wait to see you again soon!

If you are looking for a wedding photographer in Chicago to capture the memorable moments at your wedding, and interested in our availability and pricing, please drop us a line using the online inquiry form here.

  • November 5, 2012 - 7:22 pm

    Christine - Beautiful pictures and what a gorgeous themed wedding. Congrats!ReplyCancel

  • November 5, 2012 - 10:28 pm

    Megan Koppenberg - Amazing job. I cannot wait to see the rest. You all did an amazing job with such a big group and the scenery you chose nailed their theme 🙂ReplyCancel

  • November 6, 2012 - 9:40 am

    Lisa - I can’t express how much I loved looking at these photos and reading about it all…and I was in the wedding! The photos turned out fabulous and Jenny and Mike looked flawless. Joshua, you and your team were great to work with. Smiles all around 🙂ReplyCancel

  • November 6, 2012 - 9:45 am

    Natalie - I’ve been stalking your blog in hopes to get a glimpse of Jenny and Mike’s wedding pictures! All I can say is GORGEOUS!! xoxoxReplyCancel

  • November 6, 2012 - 9:54 am

    Jenny Modjeski - I absolutely LOVE our pics!!! And I can’t wait to see the rest!! It was so awesome to work with you guys again!! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • November 6, 2012 - 10:11 am

    Shanon - These were absolutely gorgeous! I can’t wait to see more!ReplyCancel

  • November 6, 2012 - 10:46 am

    Jennifer Herald - Beautiful!!!ReplyCancel

  • November 6, 2012 - 11:08 am

    Sara Staral - Love your pics!ReplyCancel

  • November 6, 2012 - 11:08 am

    Sara - These turned out great!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • November 6, 2012 - 11:09 am

    Nat - LOVE!!ReplyCancel

  • November 6, 2012 - 11:14 am

    Maureen Schwartz - In starting to write this comment, I feel that I am speechless. It is virtually impossible to find the words of how incredibly beautiful these photos are and how sweet and thoughtful this blog is. I cannot believe the time that went into this story and how truly memorable Joshua has made this for you both. You both look so gorgeous and you did a spectacular job on your wedding. Jenny and Mike, these photos of you are ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!!!!! I MEAN WOW!!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • November 6, 2012 - 12:45 pm

    Barbara Bernick - Beautiful!!! Oh and thanks for the shout-out!!! 😉ReplyCancel

  • November 6, 2012 - 1:11 pm

    Chris koppenberg - Awesome pics!ReplyCancel

  • November 6, 2012 - 1:23 pm

    Patty Boysen - OMG!!! I am speechless, Josh you did it again!!! Jenny and Mike you look absolutely stunning. I love how EVERY detail is captured. A Bride and sometimes their groom 🙂 go through so much planning with all of the small details to make it perfect and you have captured them all! Its like a payday for all of the hard work when you see it all photographed so beautifully! This is amazing, words cannot express what a fantastic job you did. You are the best! I will be proudly recommending you to everyone and anyone! Love you all 🙂ReplyCancel

  • November 6, 2012 - 1:40 pm

    Mandy Waughop - Mike and Jenny these are such beautiful pictures!!!ReplyCancel

  • November 6, 2012 - 8:03 pm

    Donna modjeski - The pictures turned out beyond amazing,can’t wait to see the rest!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • November 7, 2012 - 9:34 am

    Lou - Looks great!ReplyCancel

  • November 8, 2012 - 9:08 am

    Rosalind - PIctures are beautiful Mike and Jenny!!!ReplyCancel

  • November 9, 2012 - 1:45 pm

    Missy - pictures are unbelievable guys!!! excited to see the rest. xoxoReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 9:00 am

    Julie Huttner - Beautiful pics!ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 9:02 am

    Aimee - Great pics!!Love you guys!ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 9:03 am

    Meg - Can’t wait to see the rest. These pictures are so beautiful!!!ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 9:12 am

    Emily Dobry - Gorgeous pictures, I’m glad the passing of the Elvis torch is immortalized as well!!!ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 9:19 am

    Jeannette Dobry - Best Wedding pictures I have ever seen!! Amazing!!!ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 9:54 am

    Tom Dobry - The scenery is beautiful and the photography is stunning. That family is kind of homely, though.ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 10:26 am

    Kristi Allegretti - Just beautiful pictures of an equally beautiful couple!!ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 10:54 am

    Melanie - Beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 11:44 am

    Colleen Dobry - Absolutely gorgeous!! The lighting is so romantic 🙂ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 11:52 am

    Danielle Dobry - What beautiful pictures! I am so lucky I got to share this day with you two!ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 11:58 am

    Jennifer Sullivan - Absolutely gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 12:07 pm

    Kim Slavena - Beautiful!!ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 12:08 pm

    lauren - Beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 12:18 pm

    Daniel K - Beautiful Pictures!ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 12:41 pm

    Moe Modjeski - Great Pics Great Day!!ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 12:50 pm

    Lauren Zack - Wow! Gorgeous pictures!!! Where were you when I got married?? 🙂ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 1:17 pm

    Mike Modjeski - We could not have asked for a better photographer! You did an outstanding job!ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 2:40 pm

    Mary - Looks like a beautiful wedding. Congrats Mike and JennyReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 2:41 pm

    Dave - Congrats, great picsReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 2:42 pm

    Isabelle - Congrats Mike and Jenny– Love BelleReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 2:43 pm

    Aunt Kathy - Beautiful Wedding Mike and Jenny. Love all the picture!!!ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 2:50 pm

    Ed Cunneen - Fantastic pictures! What a way to remember the beautiful day we all had! Memories forever!!
    DadReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 3:03 pm

    g dobry - Beautifully done photos! Beautifully done wedding! Beautiful bride and groom! Beautiful Elvis!ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 3:49 pm

    Timothy Cunneen - Love the pictures!! Couldn’t have been better!!ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 5:23 pm

    Marie - OMG these are amazing. Looks like the perfect wedding mike and jennyReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 5:42 pm

    Mom - These wedding photos portray everything beautiful and romantic to represent what a bride would want to see in her wedding. Every day after the wedding, these gorgeous photos would allow anyone who views them to relive that beautiful wedding day. They are exquisite, and I can hardly wait to see the rest of them. All of the photographers were exceptional, and it was awesome to see them again!!! I absolutely love all of the photos in the woods. It is totally what Jenny envisioned. Also, the beautiful story that went with the photos just made the whole package. Many kudos to all of your hard work and effort! Thank youReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 7:06 pm

    Mackenzie Voeller - Beautiful pictures!ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 9:04 pm

    anna - Love the pictures! Can not wait to see them all!ReplyCancel

  • November 13, 2012 - 9:15 pm

    Ted - Wow! The photography is amazing! You guys look beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • November 14, 2012 - 11:31 am

    Carrie - Beautiful Wedding Pictures Mike and Jenny!!! You guys both look great and love the theme!!!ReplyCancel

  • November 14, 2012 - 11:34 am

    Kevin - Great Day happy to be a part of it!ReplyCancel

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