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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 Chicago Downtown Autograph Collection, 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 Kia Marie Jenkin who owns her own wedding event company called Kia Marie Events and her incredibly talented wedding coordinator friend 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 (now named Hotel Chicago Downtown Autograph Collection) 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, the Hotel Chicago Downtown Autograph Collection hotel 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!”

Illinois Chicago Wedding Photographers

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: Marriott Hotel Chicago Downtown Autograph Collection (formerly Hotel Sax Chicago)
Cocktail Hour: Hotel Sax’s Hub and Rotunda
Wedding Planner: Kia Marie Jenkins (the Bride!) Kia Marie Events
Day of 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.