Clark Park WMS Boathouse Wedding

Clark Park Boathouse Wyn Wiley

When searching for a wedding venue, it is important to find one that is authentic to you and your fiancé. Wesley and August did just that, when they wed last fall at the WMS Boathouse at Clark Park. Wes and Gus swam together at Eastern Michigan University and instantly hit it off. They have been together ever since. Having a shared mutual love of water, their wedding venue had to be heavily focused on aquatics, sports and the outdoors. Enter WMS Boathouse. This hidden gem is actually a Chicago Park District rowing facility! Recently, CPD began hosting weddings and corporate events at their boathouse. Honestly, Wes and Gus could not have found a more perfect venue.

Clark Park Boathouse Wyn WileyChicago Park District Wedding Ashley Nicole Events Chicago wedding photography clark park

When I asked them what their priorities were, they said “each other!” They wanted to be fully present to and for each other. While they wanted their friends and family to have an awesome time, they were not super concerned with any “formalities” they just wanted “to be”. I told them over and over that they truly had it figured out. It is not about the “stuff” (the napkins or the color of the chairs, etc.) it is about making sure their marriage was strong. Weddings can be fun, but marriage takes work. Wes wanted to have several periods of time carved into the day where she and Gus could spend together. Not having to smile for photos or mingle with guests. Just be.  As a matter of fact, Wes and Gus focused so much on togetherness, they skipped the wedding cake entirely! It just wasn’t important to them.

Clark Park Boathouse Wedding Chicago Fall

Clark Park WMS Boathouse is home to the Chicago Rowing Foundation. This was the perfect wedding venue for Wes & Gus who have a love of water. If you are looking for a venue that has scenic views and can be both indoor and outdoor, check out Clark Park. Clark Park Boathouse Wedding Fall ChicagoChicago wedding Clark Park Fall Wedding

However, they did not miss a beat when it came to their all star vendor team! These A List vendors made sure that everyone ate, drank and danced the night away.

Vendor Love:

Planning: Ashley Nicole Events Inc
Venue: WMS Boathouse at Clark Park
Photography: Wyn Wiley
DJ: Backthird Entertainment
Catering: Food For Thought
Florist: Steve’s Flower Market
Transportation: Elite Chicago Limo
Invitations & Day of Printing: Bride

Michele & Nick: Romanian Orthodox Wedding – Glenview Illinois

Glenview Wedding Photography Valley Lo Club Ariel Chapman

“In a sea of people, my eyes will always search for you” – unknown

Michele and Nick got married on August 18, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois in a traditional Romanian Orthodox ceremony. I had the distinct pleasure to be, not only a guest at their beautiful wedding, but also their planner. Blush, Burgundy and dusty rose set the color pallet for their late summer wedding. Out of all aspects of the wedding, family was by far the most important and their wedding day was no exception. For that reason, the morning began with Michele getting ready in her parent’s home surrounded by her Grandmother, Mom, sisters and bridesmaids. Their family dog was also a huge part of their wedding celebrations. Sadly, Michele’s dog passed away two weeks after her wedding. Therefore, these images serve as a very emotional reminder of the love between an owner and fur baby.

Glenview Wedding Dog Bride Illinois
Glenview Illinois Wedding Valley Lo Club

Similarly, Nick was able to spend the morning hanging out with the groomsmen and his family. I always feel that the groom gets left out of so much preparation, but Michele made sure Nick was close by and his out-of-state family was welcomed at her home to kick off the day.
Chicago Suburb Wedding Glenview Illinois

Ceremony

Michele comes from a large Romanian Orthodox family. As a result, there is a lot of tradition and culture interwoven throughout their day. Special dances, songs, ceremonies and foods are apart of every Romanian celebration. If you have ever seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” that is a pretty accurate interpretation of an Orthodox ceremony. In an Orthodox ceremony, the bride and groom wear crowns symbolizing that they are the King and Queen of their household. I wish everyone got to wear a crown for a day! Their ceremony was beautiful and full of rich history and tradition.
Orthodox Ceremony Chicago Romanian Wedding
Outdoor Wedding Photos Chicago Glenview Illinois

Reception

Michele and Nick chose to have their intimate reception (of 200) at the Valley Lo Club in Glenview, IL. Valley Lo, is a wedding venue tucked inside a private residential golf and swimming community. Michele’s aunt owns Truffles Cake & Pastry Shoppe, a bakery located in Michigan City, Indiana. Because of this, she wanted to use her special talents and gift them a stunning desert display. She painstakingly made each and every dessert and drove them to the reception. It took her several hours to build the stunning dessert display. Most importantly, they tasted better than the looked; and they looked amazing.
Reception Valley Lo Club Glenview Illinois
Daddy Daughter Mother Son Dance First Dance Glenview Illinois

Above all, as Michele and Nick settle into married life, I wanted to thank them for allowing me to be apart of their special day. It is a unique position to be in, both the planner and a guest. Ashley Nicole Events had a great team in place where I could actually step back and enjoy the wedding as a guest. I even got to have a cocktail – or two! Congratulations on your marriage and I wish you nothing but a lifetime of love and happiness!
Lakefront Wedding Glenview Illinois Valley Lo Club Dark Moody Photography Vendor Love:

Planning: Ashley Nicole Events Inc
Photography: Ariel Chapman Photography
Videography: Juan Alvarado Photography
Ceremony Venue: Holy Nativity Romanian Orthodox Church – Chicago, IL
Reception Venue: Valley Lo Club – Glenview, IL
DJ: Fig Media
Floral: SaniMar Decor Studio
Cake & Sweets: Truffles Cake & Pastry Shoppe
Transportation: VIP Express Limousine Inc.
Lodging: Sheraton Northbrook
Invitations: Paula Kolar
Hair: Hair By Julia
Makeup: Makeup By Sarah B

San Diego Love Fest

Stephanie was interning at the Wide World of Sports complex in Disney World and Alex was working for a marketing company on special assignment.  One day at work, Stephanie was scheduled to work security… Don’t get me wrong, Stephanie is a strong girl, but not very intimidating!  Sometimes, the universe conspires to put you in direct path with your future spouse. In this case, it put Stephanie on a direct collision course with her future husband, Alex! Stephanie, having been originally from California moved to Florida for the Walt Disney internship and Alex was currently living and working in Florida. After Stephanie finished school and Alex applied for a new position, he followed her and his dreams across country as they made a new home in Sunny San Diego.

Joy from Being Joy Photography captured their love as we visited some of the most iconic locations in San Diego on an unseasonably cold and windy day. Stephanie proved to be a complete bombshell in the custom Alyssa Kristin bridal gown and her flowers were provided by Wyld Blooms. Stephanie’s hair and makeup was provided by Flora Hair and Makeup. Stephanie and Alex, you both were such troopers braving the cold and wind! You deserve a lifetime of love and happiness and I wish you nothing but the best!

TOP SECRET: ON LOCATION PHOTO SHOOT IN PROGRESS!

Sometimes, being a business owner, you get to create epic work. Like out of this world beautiful work. This week, I was commissioned to create such work and I am SO EXCITED!  Here is a sneak peak of where I will be for the next three days. Creating stunning photos of love, life and marriage. Follow along with my Insta stories @ashleynicoleevents_Inc or the photographer @beingjoyphotography to get more behind the scenes details! California, we are in love with you! 

 Photo Credit:  American Expeditioners  
Photo Credit: American Expeditioners  

This is a sneak peak of our two day photo shoot. Apparently, Joy and I brought the Windy City with us, because San Diego reached record breaking lows with 40 mph wind gusts. It was quite the chilly day. Real life couple, Stephanie and Alex were such troopers braving the temperatures and looking stunning while we dragged them all over the city. We ended our day with some of the most adorable seals…San Diego, you have our hearts. 

 Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography | Floral: Wyld Blooms | HMUA:Flora Hair + Makeup Team 
Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography | Floral: Wyld Blooms | HMUA:Flora Hair + Makeup Team 
 He was quite the charmer! 
He was quite the charmer! 

Here is my happy dance

Happiness means getting to do something you love every day!

— Ashley

Valentine’s Day, Singles Awareness Day or Galentine’s Day?

February 14 is widely known as Valentine’s Day in Canada, the United States, Mexico and parts of Western Europe. Do you know how the candy and flower empire began? See below for this interesting breakdown of Valentine’s Day numbers. 

 source credit  here
source credit here

Typically, Valentine’s Day in my house was always spent working at my grandparent’s flower shop. I would help sort the flowers, run bouquets up and down to the cooler after they were designed. When I got older, I would even get to help wait on customers and try and sell the unsuspecting and obviously terrified guys the most expensive thing in the store. Let me say, I was pretty darn good at my job. Also, perhaps, they couldn’t say no to a 10 year old. 

Galantine’s Day

Wether you are spending the day with your boo, or are hitting up the town with your best girlfriends, take the time to tell your loved ones, how much they mean to you. It seems that on Valentine’s Day it is common to spread the love, but what about the other 364 days of the year? A few years ago, I had the extreme pleasure of being the creative director for this Girl Power Bridal Brunch Photo Shoot. It applies for weddings or for a girls afternoon party, spend time with your friends and there is never an occasion to small to have a party. 


Creative Partners:
Creative Director: Ashley Nicole Events Inc
Photography: Being Joy Photography
Venue & Stationary: Ijorere
Floral & Event Decor: JD Event Design
Hair: Mariefel Lagatuz Westa
Makeup: Adrianna Gilarducci
Fashion: Whimsy Luxxe and Abby Bella Couture
Jewelry: Gemma Jewels 
Bakery: The Sugar Path
Balloons: Oh Shiny Paper Company
Linen: BBJ
China: Kate Spade
Wrapping Paper: Paper Source

 

Ashley Hamm Photography

Part of being a wedding planner is being connected. I know a guythat can help with whatever you are looking for. Do you need an authentic cuban cigar roller? I know a guy. Perhaps a master sommelier or someone to hang from the ceiling while pouring tequila shots? I know a guy…or girl. Really, I do!  When it comes to wedding photography, I know Ashley Hamm. When I met Ashley, we immediately connected over having the best name on the planet! Hello, Ashley Squared! 🙂 Ashley has been the owner of Ashley Hamm Photography for ten years! Ashley was a blast to interview. Please get comfy, grab a cup of coffee and get to know my friend. 

How did you get started in the wedding photography business?

Gosh, that’s a great question! I remember the first time I found a disposable camera in my parents’ junk drawer and went out to play with it in the woods. I was maybe 7 years old and I loved the clicking sound of the camera when I pressed the button and the way the light shone through the trees. At first, it was a hobby, just for friends and coworkers, but then it became something I just couldn’t live without.

What do you love about being a wedding photographer?

I love working with people capturing their favorite moments. The moment they say I do, the moment they hug their children and watch laughter spread across their face or the moment they hold hands and fall in love all over again. I get to see how people look at each other and love and embrace and cry and just be amazing.

 Photo credit: Ashley Hamm Photography
Photo credit: Ashley Hamm Photography

Let’s be honest, what do you not love so much about wedding photography?

Honestly, it’s the laundry (from working with kids getting on the floor and getting dirty) and finding comfortable shoes. That’s it. Worst answer ever? Maybe. There is not much I don’t love about this profession. 

You deal with couples on the most important day of their lives, what is something you wish all couples looking at photographers considered or asked?

Full weddings! Before you book, ask to see at least 3 full galleries of the most recent weddings from your photographer! From start to finish, consistency should be a key element when booking a photographer for your wedding day.

Where are some of your favorite engagement session locations?

Downtown Milwaukee, Starved Rock, and The South Shore Cultural Center!

 Photo credit: Ashley Hamm Photography
Photo credit: Ashley Hamm Photography

What is your favorite wedding venue? Why?

Wandering Tree Estate, Salvage One and Emerson Creek.

Wedding days can be stressful and over in a flash. What do you wish people considered on the day of the wedding?

I would actually prefer it if they didn’t think about it at all. Be in the moment, live it up, smash the cake all over each other’s faces. Be present! I am there to document your day just as it is, so be there and enjoy!

Tell me one thing no one knows about you (but you are okay with the world knowing!)

I own 35 cameras (film and digital) and collect them from all over the world when I travel! I’m also allergic to kiwis 🙂

Thank you, Ashley, for joining me and allowing my corner of the internet to get to know more about you! If you are interested in meeting Ashley, or getting to know more about her, I recommend you reach out directly to her. You can find her corner of the internet by clicking   Ashley Hamm Photography  Tune in next week when I provide my top 5 Engagement Photo tips! 

The Red String of Fate Lands in the Happiest Place on Earth

There is an ancient proverb that says the gods tie an invisible red cord around the ankles of those that are destined to meet one another in a certain situation or help each other in a certain way. The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of place, time, or circumstances.

I have met a lot of couples but none more clearly that represents this Chinese proverb then Alex and Kelly. Alex and Kelly met as children and became friends in middle school. Through the years, they ebbed and flowed but were able to maintain their friendship into college. They felt the stars were aligned and found the one whom their soul loved. Friendship turned into dating and on a flight to Walt Disney World, in February 2015, Alex tightened the bonds of the red string by proposing to his long time girlfriend.

Disney World holds a special place in their hearts, after all, they did get engaged on a trip to the happiest place on earth! Disney themes were woven into their Chicago wedding by incorporating Mickey and Minnie trinkets around the venue and a Disney sing along during the toasts. Alex and Kelly love Disney World so much, they visit at LEAST once per year! Since they have been married, they adopted their very own Pluto, a fluffy golden retriever fur baby.

 How can you be sad when you are wearing Mickey ears?!?!
How can you be sad when you are wearing Mickey ears?!?!
 Welcome to the family, Pluto!
Welcome to the family, Pluto!

Alex and Kelly professed their vows in their childhood church, St. Patricks in McHenry, Illinois on June 18, 2016. It was very important to them as a couple to get married in the same church that they received their First Communion and other sacraments throughout their lives. They never lost sight of their beliefs, their family culture and their values as a couple. Alex got to bring a little of his fun-loving and goofy personality to the wedding when his colorful socks poked out from under his pant leg during the ceremony.

 How fun are those socks! Bring a little of your personality into the mix! 
How fun are those socks! Bring a little of your personality into the mix! 

As a nod to Alex’s career, pilot at American Airlines, Alex and Kelly wanted to take their bridal party photos at a local regional airport in the suburbs of Chicago. Standing on an active runway (no planes were actually landing) is such an exhilarating feeling. I have had this experience once or twice! It is a place where not many people think to have their photos taken!  With modern day security issues, actually, not many people are allowed to go. As a note to other couples, think outside of the box when it comes to finding locations to take your photos. If you are a fireman, think of taking photos with a fire truck. If you are a musician, perhaps taking photos (or having your ceremony) on a stage or in a theatre. Be creative!

Alex and Kelly had a beautiful wedding and since their Chicago suburb wedding, we have become great friends. Alex works with my husband at the airlines, (which is how he discovered Ashley Nicole Events) and we enjoy getting together when their crazy work schedules allow. Alex and Kelly, your red string of fate might have stretched and tangled, but never broke. Congratulations on your big day! It was such a pleasure working with you both. Much love!

Forever let us hold our banner high. Come along and sing a song and join the jamboree….
M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!

— Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Vendor Love:
Planner: Ashley Nicole Events Inc.
Ceremony Venue: St. Patrick’s Catholic Church
Reception Venue: Concorde Banquets
Photographer: Lex Alexander
Videographer: With Love Productions
Invitations: Ijorere
Florist: Trellis Weddings
DJ: Fantastic DJ
Hair: Hair Philosophy
Makeup: Nina Trader Makeup
Transportation: Exquisite Limousine Chicago
Lodging: Courtyard North Arlington Heights