Just a few days ago over the weekend Chicagoans Victoria & Alex got MARRIED! If you remember the blog post from their Chicago Engagement Session, we know these two because Victoria and Jenny went to school together (as Vicky and Jennifer) for a whopping 12 years growing up with Jenny’s mom being their middle school volleyball coach in middle school. For university, Victoria went off to Chicago to attend Loyola University and Jenny went down to Ohio to attend Miami University. It’s been 14 years since their high school graduation and they’ve lived in different states for the past 14 years (Victoria in Illinois and Jenny in Ohio, California, Michigan, then Indiana 11 years after leaving), so last year was a reunion of sorts and an amazing time getting to know Alex, Jason, and each others’ new lives! Victoria & Alex even took us out to an amazing Peruvian meal, so we got to chat further about family, careers, homes, and really get into the thick of everything about these two while laughing at their candor and contagious senses of humor.
Alex & Victoria are absolutely hilarious and we loved getting to spend not only their wedding day with them, but hours with them also the day before for their rehearsal dinner/ celebrations! Their clan is a lively bunch on both sides and cracked us up both days with their jokes, fun spirits, dance moves, and candidness. There wasn’t a shy bone in the majority of their family members’ bodies as they swooped in and immediately welcomed everyone in in such a loving fashion.
On Friday night Victoria and Alex had their rehearsal, then rehearsal dinner at the Carnegie Library- gorgeous and built in 1916 it is now the upstairs of Jesus Latin Grill in Mishawaka. Their families gathered to celebrate these two and we’re so glad that we were invited to capture the event and get to know them all ahead of the wedding!
We had a list of requested family photos, so amidst capturing the socializing, meal, speeches, and more, we were also able to capture some group photos of they and their loved ones for some formal group photos-!
The next morning was their wedding day-! These two opted for a simpler start to their day wanting to get ready solo with Victoria at Bangs Salon to get her hair done and Alex at the hotel of the grandiose Double Tree in downtown South Bend. Jenny met Victoria at her hair appointment to capture her preparation photos while Jason headed to the hotel to capture Alex getting dressed and ready.
While getting ready Victoria was joined by her best friend Hayley (met in high school) and Alex was joined by his mom. These two helped them get some final touches done before their First Look just outside! Alex’s mom helped him finish up his wedding clothes, then went down to the First Look spot with him for some photos and Hayley helped Victoria with some makeup tips, then helped zip her into her wedding dress before Victoria’s mom and dad got First Looks with her!
We even recreated some some of her parents’ family photos from their wedding day before having Victoria head down to do the First Look with Alex!
For Alex & Victoria’s First Look it was a bit overcast which was perfect! We took them outside and the spot we took them too happened to randomly have gorgeous cherry blossom trees lining the path which was such a wonderful surprise! Alex awaited Victoria patiently, then since he had to wait a bit longer, made her sweat it out for a second before turning around when she tapped his shoulder making us all laugh. Once he turned around these two were all smiles and we took the moment to capture these two embracing before they had to head off to the church!
We also managed to capture some individuals of these two in their final moments of being non-married folks!
Once to their ceremony venue (St. Casimir) Victoria and Alex were separated on the adjoining school building with Victoria on floor one and Alex on the second floor. These two took a moment to decompress and spiff up, then got a blessing by the priest and headed into the church.
And then it was time for their wedding ceremony!
Their family members made it down the aisle, the moms walked Alex to the front of the church, the flower girls and ring bearer came down the aisle, then it was time for the bride!
Victoria walked down the aisle and was reunited with Alex in the same church that many of her family members (including her parents) were wed! The church has quite a significance for Victoria’s family, so it is very special that she too was wed there. St. Casimir was founded in 1898 by the Polish in South Bend. VIctoria’s grandma (who you may remember from her 98th birthday portraits a couple years ago) is from Poland and is a whopping 99.9, so this was her original church! (When Victoria and Jenny were in AP Spanish their Senior year of high school a Spanish-spoken mass was added for every Sunday and they attended one such mass with their AP Spanish class that year).
Victoria and Alex had a semi traditional Catholic mass with the priest beautifully emphasizing in his homily that every one of their family members is an important piece of their story hence why these two asked that their loved ones add a stone to a small vase at the back of the church so that they can keep this container in their homes (signifying how the love and support of their loved ones plays a vital role in their relationship and lives together).
Victoria’s mom joined her in paying homage to Mary and their moms also stood by their sides as they exchanged their vows together. Victoria got teary eyed as they recited their vows aloud.
The two like the majority of our couples have been together for quite a while before getting to this day (6 years in the making), so pledging their love comes from a much deeper place of years and years of proven commitment and love of one another. (Many newly married folks have been together fewer years than these two have already made it through together, so we may have teared up a bit as well viewing their love and commitment to one another).
Once pledged together, these two had their First Kiss, then sped down the aisle excited that they were officially married!
Post-ceremony we had quite a list of family photos to make it through (single-spaced full page & a half), so these two opted to stay inside of the church for their family photos, we captured a large portion of them, and then they cut out a large portion since the crowd seemed eager to head to cocktail hour and we’d luckily gotten to many of the photos the evening prior during their rehearsal!
Once finished up at St. Casimir we headed back downtown right nearby to capture some married photos of the newlyweds! For most of the photos we remained inside of their hotel since it’s picturesque and had coincidentally just started to drizzle outside a bit! We’d scouted some good spots for them days prior, so we took them to a few spots right there and captured them hugging and kissing as a married couple!
Whether it had rained or not we’d hoped to capture these two inside there post family photos, so we’re thankful that there was a bit of time for these important photos-! At the end of the day the wedding itself is to come together to celebrate these two and their relationship, so we wanted to capture the important photos of them officially MARRIED!
After their newlywed photos they wanted to go rehearse their elegant choreographed First Dance, so we headed over to their reception hall (The Armory) for them to practice a couple times before their guests were allowed in for cocktail hour & hors d’oeuvres.
Once they felt confident in their dance, guests were allowed in early for cocktail hour and we began in on some more of the large group family photos!
During cocktail hour we were also able to capture the room and guests enjoying themselves. A Photobooth was up and running, guests were signing the Guest Book that Victoria & Alex had us make for them with their Engagement photos, and snacks were being served, so people were having a good time.
After Cocktail Hour, these two were officially announced in to their reception! One of Alex’s family members said a blessing and salads were served. After the salads, Victoria’s dad gave a speech to the two of them! Once finished, dinner was served and we captured beautiful staged photos of their rings (and enjoyed the delicious meal). Post-meal Victoria and Alex cut their wedding donut, fed it to one another, then opened up the dessert tables to their guests: A huge table of Chicago donuts AND a huge table of bowls of candy and bags with their names on them for their guests to fill up!
Post-meal Victoria and Alex cut their wedding donut, fed it to one another, then opened up the dessert tables to their guests: A huge table of Chicago donuts AND a huge table of bowls of candy and bags with their names on them for their guests to fill up!
Shortly after desserts these two were ready for their First Dance. Their nerves were heightened, but they again performed their amazingly choreographed dance with class and ease. Once finished these two were extremely relieved and ready to party!
Open Dance started and guests hit the dance floor! The kids were all dancing, guests were in the Photobooth, people filled up bags of delicious candy, and we were laughing with joy as we were able to capture Victoria’s 99.9 year old grandma cut a rug, a sort of Soul Train dance line opened up on the dance floor, the kids got involved in the dance-offs, and we even witnessed pretty badass Michael Jackson dance moves (complete with hat).
Everyone seemed to be having a blast out on the dance floor after having their fill of dinner, drinks, candy, and the photobooth!
Once we got closer to the end of the night we were able to capture a photo of all of the reception guests and the late night hamburger snack bar!
The snack bar and candy were the perfect late night snacks and guests of all ages dug right in!
Before heading out for the evening we made sure to capture some last evening portraits of the newlyweds inside of the reception hall. It was a beautiful, full couple days with these two and we felt honored to get to capture such an epic chapter to their love story over the weekend.
We were even able to capture a photo of their rings on wedding family heirlooms: two chalices passed down from Victoria’s grandparents’ wedding!
Congratulations again, Victoria & Alex! We hope that you two are living it up this week on your honeymoon in Bali and we hope to see you sometime when you return! We hope that you two enjoy these photography reminders of your gorgeous wedding just days ago and we can’t wait to see your marriage continue to blossom and add a literal lifetime to your 6+ years together! Thank you so much for including us in your amazingly beautiful, fun wedding day (and rehearsal!) and continue to enjoy your beautiful honeymoon together!
Unrelated: Coming up next week on the Weekly Wednesday blog post we’ll be sharing some of our favorite Spring May weddings that we’ve captured over the past 10 years-! There are some pretty wonderful anniversaries being celebrated by our couples this month, so we cannot wait to share these in the upcoming blog and re-live their big day! In the meantime we continue to edit wedding & engagement photos, create Save the Dates, and are even having a huge Yard Sale this week starting at 8 am tomorrow (through the weekend doesn’t rain) since we are phasing out quality big studio furniture and other props/ things (that we’ve replaced over the years) in this our only weekend not photographing our couples over the next month & a half! No running to Chicago, Indianapolis, or churches to capture our couples this weekend, but there is a lot of work that we’ll be doing, so we’ll be completely tied up working daily!