Chicago Fall Wedding and Reception Photography at Crystal Tree Country Club – Katie and Frank
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I can honestly say that, despite hearing all of ‘How We First Met’ stories from the many couples whose weddings we have photographed in Chicago and throughout the Midwest, I had not heard one blind-date-turns-wedding story. It was an urban legend until now. Not only did Katie and Frank meet on a blind date, they were set up by their mothers, who are both teachers at one of the local schools. I only wish my own mother had the same excellent taste – I still cringe from memories from the disaster dates she set up for me. With that first phone call and date, Katie and Frank realized how much they had in common and how attracted they were to each other and decided to pursue their friendship. Things became more serious and they started making long-distance trips to visit each other and spend weekends together. They met us at a Chicago bridal expo soon after their engagement and booked us right away to photograph their late-fall wedding. We were so excited!
We pulled up outside of Katie’s parents’ home on a gorgeous November morning (seriously, November is becoming the new October with the trend in warming temperatures) and we were greeted by Katie herself, who came outside to offer us coffee as we were unloading our equipment – so kind! One of our favorite parts of the wedding day is seeing where the bride grew up and we were charmed by the hand-carved wooden statues that we found throughout the house. The leprechaun and sailor were a cute variation of the gnome trend and a nod to Katie’s Irish heritage. Katie had already returned from her hair and makeup appointments at the Lisa Thomas Salon, a delicate white headband – her signature hairpiece – tied securely by ribbons that ended in a trail of crystals.
Katie’s mother knew from experience that it’s important to remember to eat on wedding days, so she made sure the girls had plenty of bagels and sandwiches. Katie and her bridesmaids relaxed and enjoyed a light lunch while we captured her pretty, coordinated details. Katie’s gorgeous gown from Exponiovos, Spain Sutil is probably my personal favorite of the 2012 wedding season – I loved the handkerchief skirt (almost as much as Joshua loved their Peter Lik print). Her sparkly bow jewelry perfectly complemented her bejeweled Vera Wang flats, and I reminded her more than once that we just happened to wear the same shoe size. Mitchell’s Flowers provided the florals, and Katie’s lush green bouquet featured massive cymbidium orchids. With help from her mother and best friends, Katie slipped into her gown and stepped out for a few portraits before the limousine arrived.
Frank and his groomsmen, looking very handsome in their tuxedos, were the first to arrive at the Saint Julie Billart Roman Catholic Parish in Tinley Park, peeking out the windows to watch for the girls and supervising the ceremony preparations. Guests soon started to arrive, and Frank followed Father Lanza inside the tabernacle for the ceremony. The bridal party lined up outside in the narthex and Katie tucked her hand into her father’s arm as the melodies from the trumpet, organ, and violin filled the air. Beams of light shined down on the couple as they were joined together in marriage, surrounded by family and friends.
Katie and Frank chose to hold their reception at the Crystal Tree Golf and Country Club in Orland Park and, after a quick peek at the finished reception space, we commandeered a couple of golf carts to capture the remaining daylight while guests enjoyed the cocktail hour. Frank expertly led us along the path to a small pond nestled in the hills and a stand of bare trees where we captured their silhouette and venue in the twilight reflection. Katie’s vintage fur cape was a family heirloom and helped add a timeless quality to their images.
Inside the Country Club Ballroom, twinkle lights shone through the sheer drapery and green up-lighting lined the perimeter of the room, highlighting the detailing on the wall of windows overlooking the course. Katie and Frank’s delicious cake from Domino’s Pastries was crowned with a sweet topper and tasted as good as it smelled. After toasts and the couple’s first dance, Near Dark Entertainment opened up the dance floor and the shenanigans ensued. We just have to say that we love family traditions, especially when they include unique variations of the conga line. 😉
The moon was high and full in the clear night sky; it’s wattage in competition with the party below and lighting our way out as the party continued inside. Katie and Frank, we had so much fun getting to know you both and sharing in your wedding day – we hope to see you again soon!
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