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Jonathan + Vera’s Museum of Science and Industry Wedding Photography

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“If you are researching a historic wedding reception venue that offers an on-site outdoor ceremony space, we suggest taking a peek at the Museum of Science and Industry. Jonathan + Vera’s choice in selecting the museum offered a perfect combination of the old and the new (plus something borrowed and something blue!). With its architectural origins dating back to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair (at the time, it was called the Palace of Fine Arts), the museum is of great historical importance to both the city and the world. Combining picturesque vantage points, historic architecture, and spectacular modern-day science and technology exhibits, the Museum of Science and Industry was a perfect and ideal location for J+V. If you are searching for an eye-catching space, MSI offers just that. Guests are able to experience captivating, non-traditional wedding visuals extending from floor to ceiling. Inside the venue are vivid colors, earthly elements of tornados, waves and water, lights, and the added activity of guests being able to enjoy the exhibits after dinner via private tours just steps away from their tables. The action packed evening made the night and our shooting spaces unlike any other ceremony and reception we have been to. With a first dance under suspended full-sized aircraft, and Jon and Vera closing the evening with a walk through a tornado, what a unique series of photos and memorable events. According to Vera, the couple had a few special reasons for choosing the venue:


“The Museum of Science and Industry is our favorite museum in Chicago (and one of our top favorites out of the world). We love the exhibits at MSI, and the subject matter pertains to our lives more so than any other museum in the city. Jon is an optometrist and I am a microbiologist. We considered the Art Institute but while we appreciate art, it doesn’t define us as clearly as MSI does. Also, Jon and I had many dates at MSI.”


When working with Jonathan + Vera to plan their day, we set aside time for photographs in a few modern and timeless historic settings to capture a variety of innovative wedding photographs. As already mentioned, the inside of the museum was captivating. In contrast, the outside of the museum was a classical setting where rows of massive ionic columns surrounded the building. Just beyond a grand staircase was an amazing waterfront terrace. The couple’s evening ceremony took place waterside and was breathtaking! J+V exchanged vows outside on the Museum of Science and Industry’s South Portico. The outdoor ceremony on the South Portico occurred on a sunny June day, surrounded by lush landscaping, tranquil scenery, columns, and all of their friends and family. Brilliant pink, purple and white floral arrangements accented the black-and-white outfitted bridal party, as well as the crisp white altar and seating areas, making for a breathtaking color exclamation next to the neutral waters. While inside, we stopped at a few exhibits in the Museum of Science and Industry, photographing the couple in editorial style wedding photography setups. A few favorite stops of ours included the sleek, modern and eco-friendly Smart Home, as well as the futuristic Science Storms showcase, and the interactive You! The Experience exhibit. All provided a unique look that Jon and Vera desired in either an eye-catching or a modern photography setting. From the moment we first met, Jon + Vera talked with excitement about us capturing unique photos in the museum’s dramatic spaces. When the big day arrived, we found J+V naturally fit into the photos. They were glowing with enthusiasm and excitement for the day.


From the romantic, scenic outdoor ceremony where guests were seated between towering pillars and the calming lagoon, to the elegantly-appointed reception space under the dramatic rotunda and purple-hued lighting, every detail of Jonathan + Vera’s early summer wedding was carefully planned and executed… even down to the handmade wedding invitations and pyramid guest gifts lovingly designed and assembled by Jon’s mother. From the bride getting into her Vera Wang gown to the very last dance of the evening, it was easy to see that the couple was so at home at the Museum of Science and Industry, which made for an abundance of stunning wedding photography opportunities. We had so much fun with you, Jon + Vera. We can’t thank you enough in deciding to book us to capture your photos at the museum. As for our wedding photography experience at the Museum of Science and Industry, we had so much fun with J + V that we can’t wait to go back to the site and shoot more photos. Cheers to Jonathan + Vera on a beautiful and amazing city event!”


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In closing this blog post, we would like to share a few of Vera’s memories, key moments, and favorite parts from the day:

“Jonathan says his favorite memory was the first look, which is ironic because we didn’t even know what a first look was from the start. So first advice for brides and grooms? Trust and listen to your wedding photographers! We agreed a first reveal was right for us, and we are very glad we did it. My favorite moment of the day is when I got to eat my dinner with Jonathan at our sweetheart table…best decision of the wedding planning aside from booking Miller + Miller. Dinner was the only time during the day we had some time to ourselves to just be ourselves together. That’s my second piece of advice for brides and grooms: plan some time for yourselves to reconnect and take in the wedding day because it goes by in a blur. There’s so much activity that there is no time for your brain to absorb what is truly happening. I don’t remember much of my wedding aside from the time in the Smart Home and dinner at the sweetheart table. Last piece of advice is really for the wedding day itself. Whatever happens — just go with it because a solution will present itself and the wedding will still be everything you dreamed it would be. Jonathan and I both agree that our best memory associated with the wedding is that it’s finally over and we got to go on our 3-week honeymoon to Europe. The trip of a lifetime to start our lifetime together.”


This summer wedding day in Chicago brought to you by:
Outdoor Ceremony Venue: South Portico at the Museum of Science and Industry
Reception Venue: The Rotunda in the Museum of Science and Industry
Suits: Groom Hugo Boss and Groomsmen and Dads Perry Ellis from Formally Modern Tuxedos
Bridal Dress Designer: Vera Wang
Veil + Dress Shop: Vera Wang, 945 North Rush Street, Chicago
Bridal Shoes: Guess
Bride’s Jewelry: The necklace, ring, and bracelets are from Hong Kong. The earrings are a wedding day gift from Jonathan. : )
Bridesmaids and Groomsmen Gifts: Black Wayfarer Ray Ban Sunglasses
Wedding Bands + Rings: Viachi is the designer, but we purchased through Monique of Switzerland Jewelers in Minnesota.
Beauty Services: Hair by Becky and Make-up by Maris of Blend Beauty
Bridesmaids Shoes + Dresses: Black dresses and either red, cream or black heels. Vera let them choose the designers
Caterer: Sodexo at the Museum of Science and Industry
Menu: Goat cheese salad, rosemary and goat cheese stuffed chicken breast, and zinfandel braised boneless short rib
Cake + Desserts: Dessert station consisting of different flavored cupcakes, creme brulee, pot de creme, fresh fruits, tea, and coffee.
Flowers: Kloeckner Preferred Flowers
Invitations: Handmade by Jonathan’s mom
Reception Up Lighting: Chicago Lighting Design
Guest Gifts: Personalized fortune cookies within pyramid boxes made by Jonathan’s mom
DJ: Corey Sanford from MME
Honeymoon: Italy and Greece
Engagement Photography Session: Fall of 2011 by Miller + Miller at MSI and the Loop

Austin + Erica’s Patrick Haley Mansion Wedding

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“When we first met with Erica + Austin it was the end of Winter. Our meeting was at one of our personally favorite local martini bar & restaurants in historic downtown Ottawa. ( After learning the couple lived a few hours South of Chicago near Peoria in Washington Illinois we decided Ottawa would be the perfect place to meet. ) Although E+A’s wedding date was over 15 months away, it was and is never too soon to inquire about a date with us. For Erica, since photography was a very important and exciting part of their day, they were anxious to start their search early, in order to narrow down their search to a perfect styled photographer exclusively for them. During our meeting, it wasn’t long before we found out they are not only fans of photography, but also a number of the arts. They enjoy music, art, and local culture.


We always enjoy photographing a wedding at Austin + Erica’s chosen venue Patrick C. Haley Mansion in Joliet. The historic Chicago venue hosted both their reception and outdoor ceremony. At our meeting most of our initial conversations were spent discussing their favorite images from our portfolio of photos, and creating a plan for their day to fit their personality and style. Erica was especially interested in us working together to create magazine style wedding photography. She loved our editorial style, shooting in off-beat locations, and our fashion inspired wedding photographs. In deciding to keep their wedding day schedule more simplistic, Erica proposed to us her interest in adding a bridal session ( an increasingly popular plan to re-wear the dress again for more pictures. ) So A+E decided to book us for a bridal session where Austin put on his suit, and Erica her vintage wedding dress for a second time. We love it when couple’s add on the second day of bride and groom photos, it’s much more of a relaxed setting, and for E+A we were able to extend their wedding portfolio of images to include photos from not only the Joliet area, but to downtown Chicago too.


The couple’s venue Patrick Haley Mansion is a short drive from the home Erica grew up at, and her parent’s Naperville home. The unforgettable mansion offered for Erica and Austin the perfect setting, a venue with a flair of vintage, and historic style. Always a beautiful wedding mansion to shoot inside, we enjoyed for Austin + Erica’s day and decision on an outdoor ceremony location under the pergola at the Patrick Haley Mansion’s garden. If your a frequent visitor to our photo blog, you know we absolutely adore outdoor ceremonies! Erica + Austin’s evening ceremony did not disappoint; it was breathtaking, personalized, and consisted of Jewish ceremony traditions. A beautiful early evening and overcast sky blanketed the couple as they stood under a chuppah. The ceremony consisted of vows, readings from scripture, seven guests recited blessings and Austin shattering enthusiastically glass. Concluding the ceremony, following the kiss and exit, a few drops started falling from those clouds lingering in the sky. Luckily the evening’s strong storms held off until a mer 15 seconds after the couple’s exit from the aisle. The rain’s timing was perfect, dramatic and truly like a scene from a fairy tale.


One distinctive element to Erica’s meticulous details, was her selection of her gorgeous lace, 1950’s vintage couture wedding dress. Before the ceremony, smiles and tissues were close by, and tears we captured as mom and grandma both helped Erica put on her gown. For us, it was one of the most emotional set of putting on the dress photographs we have ever photographed. Erica’s dress held a extra special meaning. The gown was originally made couture for Erica’s grandmother in 1952. And then it was worn a second time by her mother. On Erica’s day, this was the third time the gown had been worn. Below are details Erica provided about the three generations wearing the same dress:


“My grandmother had a seamstress in New York create a couture gown for her in 1952. She picked out the satin and lace herself and had the wedding dress made for around $12.00. My mother wanted to wear the dress again for her wedding in 1982 but my aunt had to remake the skirt (she bought matching fabric from the original store in NY!) because it had been made into Barbie clothes when my mother was little. I too had always dreamed of wearing the dress but wanted the bodice to be altered slightly into a more modern shape. I had the raglan sleeves and high back removed so that it was a scoop-back halter dress instead. My mother wore it without a hoop skirt, but I had a detachable tulle skirt made for the dress because I preferred the full ballgown look. Every 30 years the dress is worn and altered. It is our favorite family heirloom!”


Throughout the night, we heard several people asking to hear Erica’s dress story. The vintage wedding fashion was one inspirational element behind the decor selections for the event. But when finalizing and completing her bridal appearance from head to toe, she mentioned beyond find the task of choosing a seamstress to fit the dress perfect to her, she put a few hours of searching into finding some amazing heels to strut down the aisle in. Her choice was deciding on some impressive Jimmy Choo “Surf” suede and Swarovski crystal platform sandals. The shimmering Swarovski encrusted heels were a perfect choice to complete Erica’s evening glamour. Erica added a bold punch of colors to the event in dark hues, and jewel tone shades inspired by a peacock theme. We enjoyed the couple’s style, personalities and to Austin + Erica it was a pleasure working with you. We hope to see you again soon, wether it being in the future should our travels bring us out by your new home in Tucson Arizona, or if you’re back in the Naperville area visiting family. Hope you enjoy our selection of favorites images from our two days together. It was great getting to know you. Good luck to you both!


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A few of Austin + Erica’s planning details:

Theme: Vintage Peacock Glamour
Outdoor Ceremony Location: Patrick C. Haley Mansion Joliet
Reception Venue: Patrick Haley Mansion Ballroom
Dancing: The Conservatory inside the Mansion
Suits: Wilke Rodriguez from Men’s Warehouse
Bride’s Prep Location: The bride’s parents residence in Naperville
Bridal Dress Designer: Made couture for my grandmother in 1952
Dress Seamstress: Sew Special
Bridal Shoes: “Surf” by Jimmy Choo with heels featuring Swarovski Crystals
Bride’s Jewelry: Vintage
Wedding Bands + Rings: Custom by Jones Bros. Jewelry
Hair: Bree from Corpo Bello Salon
Makeup: Acacia Douglas at Chanel
Birdcage Veil + Fascinator: DIY by bride
Bridesmaids Dress: Gown #363 Liz Fields
Cake: Eat Moore Cakes
Flowers: ZuZu’s Petals
Photo Booth: Traveling Photo Booth
Invitations: Created by the bride and Erica Cronk
Decor: DIY by bride
First Dance Song: “Hurry” by Sleeping at Last
Wedding Night Accommodations: The Ruby Room Inn Wicker Park
Bridal Session Beauty Services: The Ruby Room Spa + Salon
Honeymoon: Santorini, Greece


Bride DIY Items: Erica’s says she pretty much made everything including: the unity candle, invitations, ceremony chair decor, chuppah, guest bags, reader/grandma corsages and reader/grandpa boutonnieres, window decor/candles, card holder, veil and fascinator, escort cards, cake stand, programs, etc.


Favorite Memories of the Day: “Both Austin and my favorite memory of the whole day was seeing each other for the first time, walking down the aisle: we felt like we were the only people in the world. And it was sweet to see how emotional Austin was! The ceremony was so special to us; we couldn’t stop smiling at each other…”

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