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MILLER + MILLER - Chicago Wedding Photographers - A Husband + Wife Wedding Photography Team

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Jimmy + Stephanie – Chicago to Lake Powell Destination Wedding Photographer

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The bride and groom Jimmy + Stephanie are fearless film-makers who head their own wedding videography company called Captured in Frames. Jimmy + Steph are such a power couple of talent, not to mention they are just all around awesome people, we have been recommending CIF to our Chicago clients ever since we watched one of their Same Day Edit videos played during a reception three years ago! After 10+ weddings working together, we have become good friends. We couldn’t have dreamed of a better trip, nor two more fantastic people and truly a perfect match between Steph + Jimmy to be married! Thank you for the unforgettable experience traveling out West with you J+S, your family + friends! If you’re a new guest to our blog and liked our photos… Next watch the video below and experience even more moments from Jimmy + Stephanie Wilderman’s wedding and the incredible trip in beautiful Lake Powell. Filming by Jimmy, Steph, Josh and Jon. Edited by Jimmy + Steph of Captured in Frames.


“This isn’t a typical Miller + Miller Chicago area wedding. We are thrilled to blog photos from Jimmy + Stephanie Wilderman’s destination in Lake Powell. A destination with hiking, exploring, scenic rocky vistas, sunsets, canyons and mountain tops picturesque for capturing wedding photography. Every inch of the 186 mile long Lake Powell bordering the Arizona and Utah state lines, provides for an unforgettable golden sunset at the end of every day.


Our travels took us from Chicago to the Southwest covering 1,600 miles passing over the mountains of Colorado through the yellow aspen trees, through sunshine and deserts of Utah and Zion National Park eventually arriving at the shores of Lake Powell in Page Arizona. Exploring and hiking National Parks with our cameras is one of our favorite vacation activities… as well as Jimmy + Stephanie’s. When J+S asked us about photographing their wedding day in Lake Powell, of course without hesitation a few months later we were packing our gear and heading West for the fabulous destination wedding celebration in the desert. Why choose a destination wedding? Some say skipping town and deciding on a dream destination out of the way allows for the bride + groom to just focus on how much fun they are going to have. Ryan and I choose a destination in the mountains of Nevada outside of Las Vegas for ourselves for that very reason! For this “wanderlust” and adventurous couple, the Southwest holds some of the best memories with each other exploring, camping and hiking in Utah; not to mention Jimmy’s surprise proposal to Steph occurring near Lake Powell, at the summit of Angel’s Landing at Zion National Park. So how did Jimmy + Steph find Lake Powell and decide it was a fit for their destination’s location?


We actually found Lake Powell by accident. Jimmy and I had a week long shoot get cancelled at the last minute (we’re film-makers in St Louis) and we decided to use our spare time to travel. We didn’t know where to go so we flipped a coin: heads north, tails south. As the coin was in the air we both shouted WEST! The next morning we packed a tent, a case of redbull, some extra clothes, and hit the road. We drove all day and into the night. Neither one of us had ever been out west so we really had no idea what we were driving into. It was about 2am when we finally decided that we were too tired to go any further, so we pulled off the road and slept in the car. When we woke up, we were in Moab, Utah. That was a moment that we’ll never forget. It was like waking up on Mars! Surrounded by red rock and towering buttes, we continued on our journey. We spent the day hiking in Arches National Park and driving the scenic UT 12 highway, which is now our favorite road. We arrived at Lake Powell at sunset. It was like something straight out of a movie. We were driving up a slight slope in the road with two enormous buttes on both sides, and it was the most beautiful sunset that I’d ever seen. Then we reached the crest, and sprawled out before us was the bluest lake. Even in the fading sunset, you could see the blue of the water. The next day we found a quiet cove and spent the day swimming and soaking up the sun. It was incredible! That was our first experience with Lake Powell.


Lake Powell was the ‘dream’ destination location that we both wanted but couldn’t imagine as a reality. Eventually we decided to dive in headfirst and make it happen. Having a small, intimate celebration was always a priority for us so a destination worked out great. None of our guests had even heard of Lake Powell so we saw our wedding as an opportunity to share it with them. It was very exciting and rewarding to road-trip with everyone and watch them experience our favorite places for the first time. The week spent out on the lake was very laid-back and relaxing. Some of us hiked, some guests swam, others simply pulled up a chair and turned on the radio, and every night ended around the fire, even the wedding! :) – Steph


The Wilderman wedding journey in Lake Powell began by launching houseboats from The Point at Antelope Point Marina in Page Arizona. “Glamping” (glamorized camping) guests bunked within two houseboats with 6 bedrooms, 3 baths each (which really were glamorous!) Explorative Jimmy + Steph navigated the waterways towards Lake Powell’s Padre Bay in search for the best desolate sandy peninsula or an island to anchor the boats and set up camp for the week. This impromptu waterfront spot was to determine not only our sandy home for the week, it would host a few activities including a night of festivities for the bachelor and bachelorette parties, the waterfront ceremony and outdoor reception all taking place under the night stars. The area’s preservation of a “dark sky” brought an abundance of stars for star gazing (and for many of us, we saw the jaw-dropping milky way set on a dark sky for the first time.)


An outdoor beach wedding reception with a travel theme, Stephanie antiqued before the trip thrifting for vintage grey suitcases, antique cameras, and reception decor that would pack easily and be brought aboard the houseboat. A 15 mile boat ride from the nearest town and harbor, a number of modern conveniences such as hiring a florist were not an option due to choosing the most desolate of beach locations on the Arizona Utah border. With a dry desert climate, Stephanie opted to substitute fresh flowers for paper decor and unique paper bouquets. Creatively handcrafting the long reception table’s burlap runner and paper centerpieces, two bridesmaids and the bride’s paper wedding bouquet, Steph DIY constructed all the florals from atlas map pages and colored paper rich in shades of tan, rust, orange and grey. The rehearsal evening was a set-up day, where friends and family helped to put another DIY project together: a romantic vision of dancing under hanging, stringed lights, criss crossing over the outdoor reception’s sandy dance floor. Symbolic cairn stacked rocks, travel themed items, coupled with elegant touches of white lace, burlap, and pearls surrounded the outdoor reception space. The sun and day shined with vintage elegance, simple decor and colors which blended into the golden rocks. Vintage and bohemian fashion choices, from the bride’s romantic long gown and vine & pearls hairpiece crown, to the groom’s gingham grey and orange colored tie and fashions, J+S’s day was everything that is fabulous about a destination celebration that is 100% about the bride + groom’s personality. We felt honored to be there and a apart of the trip + celebration. Congrats Jimmy + Steph!”


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Jimmy + Stephanie’s Destination Planning Details:
Wedding Theme: Travel with Vintage Suitcases
Flowers: DIY Map and Paper Wedding Bouquets and Boutonnieres by the Bride
Colors: Tan, Orange and Shades of Grey
Waterfront Ceremony and Outdoor Reception: A Desolate Desert Beach on Lake Powell Utah / Arizona

Chicago Destination Wedding Photographers: Miller + Miller
Videographers: Captured In Frames

Houseboat Details: Fully equipped 75′ XTreme HouseBoat 2.5 stories, 6 staterooms, 2.5 baths with slide, rooftop hot tub and much more
Accommodations: Forever Resorts with a harbor launch at Antelope Point Marina in Page Arizona
Bridal Dress Designer: Allure
Dress Shop: Elegant Brides
Bride Flower Crown Hair Accessory: ArsiArt
Bride’s Sandals: Glare by Matisse from Nordstrom
Non-Traditional Groom Attire: Gingham Vintage Fabric, Grey & White Plaid Checkered Express Button Up Shirt and Suspenders
Groom’s Handmade Tie: Orange and Grey Checkered Knotty Tie Co.
Rings: Shane Co.
Caterer: Antelope Point Marina
 Page, AZ
Desserts: S’mores instead of Cake
Marshmallows: Wondermade
First Dance Song: Live Forever by Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors
Destination Location: Lake Powell


Lake Powell is without a doubt visually “unique” combining scenic nature providing sandy beaches with a contrasting dry desert climate. A one-of-a-kind United States destination, boating through rock canyons carved by the Colorado River navigating the 2,000 miles of shoreline make the lake a popular vacationing spot. 4 hours from Las Vegas Nevada, 3 hours from Sedona Arizona, 4.5 hours from Phoenix / Scottsdale, 2 hours from Zion National Park, 21 hours from St. Louis, 24 hours from Chicago.

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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