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{  Category: Rockefeller Memorial Chapel Ceremony  }

Leo + Kia’s Rockefeller Chapel and Hotel Sax Chicago Wedding

Category: Rockefeller Memorial Chapel Ceremony, weddings   Wed. Nov 21. 2012

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“From a Christian wedding ceremony at the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel in Hyde Park to the super chic downtown reception at the eclectic Hotel Sax, every part of Leo + Tekia’s wedding day emanated romance, elegance and vintage. The day began with photographs of the bride and groom in separate hotel suites, where they got prepped and pampered. In the bridal suite, mothers and grandmothers and lifelong friends helped Kia slip into a gorgeous sequin and lace, tulip-style dress. Meanwhile on another floor of the hotel, the groom’s family and friends helped Leo put together his formal black and white attire. A favorite image from the morning is without a doubt of JJ, the couple’s son, brushing his teeth. Hiding from our camera a good majority of the day, JJ made it tricky for us to sneak a quick picture. What a priceless photographic moment; little JJ and dad getting ready together. Family was a big part of Leo + Kia’s wedding; you could just feel the love and support from the family and friends that were there to make it a memorable and completely personal occasion. A personalized touch, Kia’s mom who officiated the ceremony, left us speechless with her heartfelt oration. Together, literally every element reflected the bond of family and Leo + Kia’s new bond going forward in marriage.


The ceremony took place across town, just south on Lake Shore Drive in the historic Hyde Park neighborhood, at the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel on the University of Chicago campus. This was not our first visit to the captivating church, but it was the first time being there to photograph a ceremony. The golden afternoon sun lit the cathedral and Kia’s beautiful smile intently glowed for Leo. A massive sanctuary, the Rockefeller chapel carried the couple’s recited vows and voices out into the pews where family and friends listened intently. Steps from where the couple exchanged their first kiss, we found some beautiful ivy, and captured romantic nature photos outside the chapel. Majestic church architecture, and specifically the limestone and gothic elements of the historic Rockefeller church built in the early 20th century, is always a favorite of ours and a simple backdrop for romantic and modern wedding photography in Chicago.


As the mid-Summer wedding went from sunny skies to starry night in a flash, we couldn’t help but think how gorgeous the day truly was. From the choice in selecting a vogue hotel, to the task of hand selecting pink and romantic details, Kia’s months of planning became a huge inspiration for our photos. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the bride and her incredibly talented wedding planner, Anika of Anika Kai Events who helped tie everything together, the two put together a fabulous event. In Kia’s own words about Anika, “I’m so glad we hired her. Anika gives the best advice and she is great at what she does.” While the bridal party was busy capturing photographs, meanwhile Anika was completing an elegant transformation of the hotel’s reception room. With the doors closed off to guests who were mingling in the nearby sci-fi and distinctive Hotel Sax rotunda cocktail hour space, both the bride + groom and later guests, were happily surprised when the doors opened to reveal Anika’s efforts behind the flowing curtains of the reception room.


Leo + Kia booked Hotel Sax Chicago to host the reception and it is one fabulous modern hotel reception choice. Located adjacent to the House of Blues in the heart of the River North neighborhood, and within close proximity to the nearby river walk and hustle bustle of Michigan Avenue, Hotel Sax mirrors the artsy vibe and décor of the famed rock venue and urban location. A trendy, cosmopolitan inspired lobby and hotel suites, the hotel mixes worldly textures, modern visually stimulating spaces with vintage styling. The suite and the building’s steel and glass city style architecture allowed tons of sunlight to rush through floor-to-ceiling, metal windows. The room mixed in a classic touch and vintage feeling of “being at home in good old-fashioned Chicago” with a checkered, black-and-white tile floors, reminiscent of classic flooring in Chicago-style brownstones or row houses. Downstairs, the hotels’ globally-inspired and intriguing Crimson Lounge bar featured dark walnut woods, plush velvet lounge seating, royal fabrics and wild candlelit wall sconces, which provided a perfect palette for some edgy, high chemistry photos of the bride + groom. Leo + Kia looked fabulous and we liked how the artsy atmosphere, worked well their stylish fashions. The luxury hotel provided us with an eclectic editorial setting for intimate photos of the couple and high-fashion wedding photography.


We can’t say thank you enough to Leo + Kia in allowing us to capture your love, and thank you for choosing us to be your photographers for the day. We hope you enjoy reliving some of the our favorite photographic moments and captured events from the memorable day. We wish you both and your family the very best. Congratulations!”


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Vendors and details that made it all possible:
Theme: Romantic, Classic Vintage
Colors: Classic black & white with a touch of blush pink
Ceremony Venue: University of Chicago Rockefeller Memorial Chapel
Reception Venue: Hotel Sax Chicago
Cocktail Hour: Hotel Sax’s Hub and Rotunda
Coordinator: Anika Jackson of Anika Kai Events
Ceremony Officiant: Mother of the Bride
Pink Bridal Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Hair: Farrah Bledsoe of Remedy Salon
Bridal Makeup: Stacy Kelly Mitchell of Stacy Faces
Cake: Take the Cake
Flowers: Grace of Vale of Enna
Invitations and Programs: DIY by the Bride
Decor, Chuppah, Fabrics and Black Dance Floor: Precision Sound and Lighting
Music: DJ Vince Adams


Kia’s Favorite Moment + Advice: My favorite moment was the first glance and seeing my husband right before the ceremony. It was so exciting and it calmed my nerves a bit. To future brides, DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF! Things will happen and you will NOT have any control over them. Just stay on the dance floor and be happy!


Click this link to take a peek at Kia + Leo’s Miller + Miller engagement session.

Sean + Emily’s Palmer House Hotel Wedding

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“We can’t believe Spring is here and how fast the recent months have flown by. It feels like just yesterday when we were outside in the chilly December weather photographing Sean and Emily’s Chicago Winter engagement photography session and now… these two are happily married! Sean + Emily planned an early in March wedding day. It was a formal event, with classic details, style and utter sophistication. A mix of cultures and traditions from both the bride and groom’s families were tied into the day, including an Irish bagpiper during their exiting down the aisle at the ceremony, photos at the father of the Groom’s alma mater the University of Chicago, and later Persian music and gifts at the reception. The lavish Empire Room ballroom hosted the couple’s reception dinner and dancing. The Empire ballroom is located inside one of the most famous of hotels in Chicago The Palmer House Hilton Hotel. When planning the decor and florals for the room, S+E hired a florist located nearby their Hinsdale home where they could work closely with and refine the details of the space. What stunning results and we believe it was exactly what they sought out to achieve, a jaw dropping room and presentation to their guests.


“For the ballroom, we wanted the decor to reflect the beauty in our church and the Palmer House. We saw the hotel and room as regal, with romantic touches, so we spent a lot of time with Sadie Belman our florist at The English Garden Flower Shop creating the centerpieces. We wanted people to gasp when they walked into the Empire Room. We were not looking for something conventional such as flowers low on the table. Because the room is so special, we wanted to add height with a grand, mystical feel.”


Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton hotel offers a number of historically stunning rooms and grand ballroom spaces. Photographically, we found the hotel to have an abundance of amazing photo settings around every corner. ( And great for couple’s who enjoy romantic and magazine style Chicago editorial wedding photography as Sean + Emily love, where we incorporate the room. ) If your searching for a stylish venue with historic and architectural details, the Palmer house is a excellent downtown hotel venue. Sean + Emily choose the hotel’s Empire Room, and the room defines the word luxury and grandeur. With it’s rich tapestries, painted molding and metallic embellishments, a centered in the room stage where historically celebrity performers took that same stage, and balconies on the sides, The Empire Room is one of the most captivating atmospheric settings we have photographed a reception within. Undeniably the most memorable of of element in the ballroom is its gold, ornate ceiling details. The rich elegance of the room, gold and brilliantly gleaming chandeliers offers an unmatched feeling for the bride + groom to feel truly like a celebrity and royalty for the day. With recent renovations in 2009, the Palmer House has undergone a complete restoration back to the hotel’s architecture from its 1920’s era glamour. Historically the hotel has been re-constructed a few times, from it’s original and first construction dating to 1871. The original building was a casualty of the Great Chicago Fire, rebuilt in the 20’s, and today stands as the second largest hotel and acclaimed the fanciest post-fire in all of the City. It’s a legendary space and the perfect setting which defined Emily + Sean’s classic and formal wedding theme. We decided to not only photograph the couple inside at the hotel before dinner began, but also at the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel. Another architectural significant building, the Rockefeller’s cathedral with it’s circular drive, Porte Cochere “covered doorway” entrances, and towering limestone and concrete walls presented another amazing setting for incorporating historical architecture and wedding photography together in pictures.


Thank you Emily + Sean in choosing us as your engagement and Chicago wedding photographers. What an amazing day it was, truly a memorable fairytale event. We can’t help but to feel like we’ve become close friends. We enjoyed the entire day, our photo shoot outside at the University, catching smiles as the cold March wind provided the perfect excuse for you two to get closer and warm up, the day’s Irish and Persian elements, and spending the day with you documenting all the celebrating. We hope you, family and friends enjoy seeing the photos. More will be coming soon.”


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Sean + Emily’s Vendor Details:
Theme: Classic + Formal Wedding
Ceremony: St. Thomas More and photography at Rockefeller Chapel University of Chicago
Reception: Empire Room at the Palmer House Hilton
Bridal Dress: Badgley Mischka
Bridal Dress Shop: Ultimate Bride, 106 E Oak Street, Chicago
Bridal Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Jewelry: Family Heirlooms
Bands: Custom from Browning and Sons Fine Jewelry, Hinsdale
Engagement Ring: Family Heirloom Reset
Hair: TJ from Zazu Salon, Hinsdale
Make-Up: Morgan Byrnes, Freelance MUA
Bride’s Veil + Lace Bolero: Custom by Ultimate Bride
Bridesmaid Dresses: Jim Hjelm
Catering + Day of Coordination: Jane S. Himmel of Palmer House Hilton
Dinner Details: Soup: asparagus and green pea; Salad: champagne and saffron poached baby pear, ripe brie cheese, dried cranberries and candied walnuts, with balsamic vinaigrette; Entree: grass fed filet of beef encrusted with blue cheese and a pinot noir reduction-or-phyllo pouch stuffed with sauteed spinach, mushrooms, onions, and sundried tomatoes, with a red pepper reduction
Cake Dessert: Red Velvet, Yellow Cake, Layer with Buttercream and Chocolate Fudge Frosting by Take the Cake
Flowers: The English Garden Flower Shop, Clarendon Hills
Invitations: Sass n Class, Hinsdale
Church Exit: Red Rose Petals + Irish Bagpiper
DJ: James Traut from Big Fish Productions
First Dance: Tu Recuerdo, Chambao
Transportation: White Vintage Rolls Royce from Chicago Trolley Rental
Videography: Keith Jorgenson of Poetic Productions


Favorite Memory: Emily said the entire day was so perfect. But she said Sean had the most perfect of all answers. Simply he said and Emily says “I have to agree seeing him at the church and promising our life together was by far the best memory I have of that day. :)”


Honeymoon: With a love of traveling Sean and Emily are hoping to spend 3 weeks in Switzerland and Italy exploring. Honeymoon plans include starting in Geneva, Switzerland and then driving through the Alps to Milan. On Emily’s “bucket list in life” ( that Emily says Sean has promised her they will complete together ) they plan to attend a horse race ‘the Palio’ in the center square in Sienna, Italy. After leaving Sienna, they plan to drive down the breathtaking Amalfi Coast and end the trip in the Island of Sardinia, and do nothing but swim, sail and drink wine in the Mediterranean.



♥ Check out our recent photo blog photos post of Sean + Emily’s Winter engagement photography session.

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