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The old proverb says that, “The cobbler’s children have no shoes,” but the wedding photographer’s sister is guaranteed to have amazing wedding photos if I have anything to say about it! Most people don’t get the opportunity to overlap their professional skills and talents with their personal family life, but everyone always knew I would photograph each of my three sisters’ weddings – beginning with Bethany.
Our family is Italian (if you couldn’t already tell by the name), and our parents raised us to be strong and independent individuals and helped us develop our values and moral foundation. They showed us how to build and run a business and gave us all the tools and education necessary to become successful adults. We take great pride in the Albanese name, so when Bethany became engaged to Scott Shelhart and decided to take his name (also very respected in the NWI Community), I realized how important he is to her. Bethany made the perfect choice in bringing Scott into our family – he is a kind, intelligent and genuine guy with our same set of morals and values, and strong determination to match Bethany’s independence. They began planning what could only be described as their ‘Big Fat Italian Wedding’ this spring, throwing everyone into the wedding planning extravaganza and allowing me to add my professional expertise where I could. I had the opportunity to see the full wedding planning experience from the bride’s perspective – all the work that goes into the details, from ring-forging to tinkering with the menu. Bethany and Scott were married in a wonderful Northwest Indiana wedding celebration this fall and I’m so excited to share some images from their beautiful day.
Excitement levels were already high with family starting to arrive in town, and the girls were off to their salon appointments early on the bright and brisk morning. We found Bethany’s dress downstairs, draped from her ‘Mrs. Shelhart’ hangar and carefully spread out by my mother to keep the train free of wrinkles. Outside in the backyard where we played in as kids, the jewels on Bethany’s ribbon stilettos sparkled in the sun and the breeze gently lifted the scalloped hem of her gown off the lawn. The rings – each personalized, hers with blue stones and his with her hand-forged messages – found a home nestled in the branches of the tree we’ve watched grow from a sapling. The girls returned from the salon, constant happy chatter announcing their arrival, and quickly dressed. Our mother’s hands – loving, strong, capable – latched the buttons down the back of Bethany’s dress and helped her pin on her veil.
Bethany’s lush bouquet was filled with white anemones and lilac roses, with dried scabiosa pods nestled between the petals. She chose to honor our family that wasn’t with us, with photo charms of our Aunt Celia and Uncle Bill, Grandpa Foresta, and our brightest (smile-wise) and wittiest of aunts, Sonya. You will never be forgotten and you still have an effect on us to this day. Love you.
Bethany and Scott chose to exchange vows at the historic Crown Point Courthouse. The courthouse, with its red clay roof and John Dillinger legends, is a beautiful venue and appealed to the history buffs in the Albanese family. The girls’ limousine pulled up and they headed inside to the Ballroom to hide while they waited for Bethany and Scott’s First Look. In the empty foyer outside the Courtroom, Bethany found her groom in his stylish gray suit and vest looking out the window, seemingly contemplating the significance of the special day. With happy tears in her eyes, she tapped Scott on the shoulder and he turned around, breaking out into a huge smile seeing Bethany in her beautiful bridal gown.
Bethany and Scott planned for their wedding to focus on their guests and the unity of their two families, and they chose to honor our Uncle Frank by asking him to officiate their ceremony. Uncle Frank was the perfect uncle growing up – the type that would take us on trips to Toys ‘R’ Us while at the same time making sure to teach us important life lessons. Already a spiritual man, he got ordained for Bethany and Scott’s wedding and his customized ceremony spoke directly to their union and marriage. Uncle Frank is tech-savy, bringing his love for gadgets to the ceremony by dictating from an iPad.
Bethany and Scott exited the courthouse to a fragrant shower of dried lavender and after a few family portraits, we took the bridal party over to the Lake County Fairgrounds – home to Lake County’s oldest covered bridge and full of nature trails through the mature oak trees.
Scott and Bethany held their wedding reception at the South Shore Indiana Welcome Center, just off the shores of Lake Michigan. The building, with its unique design incorporating the history and symbols of the NWI Community, was the perfect complement to the ceremony venue and to Bethany and Scott’s desire to make their wedding a celebration of their shared family, history, and future. Inside the large exhibition hall – the soaring architecture meant to emulate the glistening waves of Lake Michigan – were rows of eggplant covered tables, surrounded by gold Chivari chairs. Guests found thhttp://weir names on the wildflower seating charts, matched inside with caramel apples from County Line Orchard at each seat.
After an excellent meal, Scott’s brother Sam shared warm words of cheers, and our sisters Tess and Domi brought down the house with their toast to the couple. They were fully prepared to welcome Scott into our family and came with a bag of props to illustrate – a birthday hat to mark his first day as an Albanese, an Italian flag to wave in celebration, a lesson in speaking like an Italian, a pass on indentured servitude at the candy factory, and much sisterly love.
Scott and Bethany shared their first dance together as husband and wife, swaying together under the steel waves to Adele’s ‘One and Only’ before Deja Vu opened up the dance floor for everyone to dance, party, and celebrate.
Bethany and Scott, your wedding celebration was more than just your vows to each other, it was the joining of two families to support your commitments and dedication as you build your lives together. My team and I had an amazing day and I’m so happy to welcome Scott into our family!
If you are looking for a wedding photographer in Chicago, or Northwest Indiana, 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.