Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Congratulations to My Last 2014 Couples!

My 2014 wedding season has come to an end, but I was happy to finish the year with two lovely couples. 

Congratulations, Rachel & Brian - may every day you spend together bring you joy. 

Congratulations, Stephanie & Tony - I wish you a lifetime of true love, music, and laughter!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Katrina & Amanda's Vow Renewal

The rain may have dampened the garden, but we hardly noticed - there was too much love and laughter surrounding us! 

On July 1st, I had the joy and honor of doing a vow renewal ceremony for one of my favorite couples and sweet friends, Katrina & Amanda. They were a part of the Under a New Moon civil union wedding three years ago. This summer, on their anniversary, their civil union became a legal marriage! We celebrated with a ceremony - and their sweet little boy was there to make it that much more special.

Visit the Amanda Megan Miller Photography blog for more beautiful photos by Julia Franzosa

Photo by Julia Franzosa Photography

Congratulations, Millers! I am so happy to have been a part of your special day - and to be a part of your lives!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Rashonda & Steve's DIY Wedding at Floating World Gallery

Just realized that one of my favorite couples, Rashonda and Steve, were featured on the Styler's Studio blog! Could these two be any cuter?! 

Check out the blog for more pix of their fun, funky, DIY wedding at Floating World Gallery. Some of my favorite details? They collected vintage place settings for the reception, which was catered by food carts! And, their friends and family pitched in to decorate and help with the details. One of Rashonda's former students even took part in the ceremony. 

A wonderful wedding day for two incredible people!

 photo SRpt11032_zpsbb59b66f.jpg
Photo by Styler's Studio

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Missy & Sara's "Big Love Party!"

Photographer Rebecca Marie posted a lovely write-up about Sara & Missy's wedding earlier this month at Columbus Park Refectory. I was really looking forward to seeing this post, because I knew the pictures would be amazing. 

I was right! The photos are just breathtaking - especially the First Look shots.

Not only were Missy and Sara both gorgeous brides, their wedding was such an incredible celebration of love and support. They have a wonderful community and dubbed their wedding "The Big Love Party." 

I may be biased, but I just love this picture from the ceremony. That smile on Missy's face is just perfect!

Be sure to check out Rebecca Marie's blog for more photos!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Your Wedding Can Benefit Others (Including Four-Legged Friends)

Many couples use their wedding as an opportunity to benefit others. The newly married Meredith and Michael are no exception. At their wedding last night, they included a Dollar Dance, where guests gave cash to dance with the bride. The money they collected (check out that pitcher of cash!) will be donated to New Leash on Life, a Chicago dog rescue.

Do I have the best couples, or what? 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Graduation Day!

It's Graduation Day here at the Vaughan house - my son is graduating form 8th grade today.!

And that is an event that needs to be celebrated with CAKE. This beauty is from the wonderful folks at Sweety Pies in Skokie. 

While I'm looking forward to the graduation ceremony, I really CANNOT WAIT to cut into this cake. When Dana at the bakery began telling me about the best way to save "the leftovers," I just chuckled. Like there will be any leftovers. Ha!

Thanks for the amazing cake, Sweety Pies

Monday, June 2, 2014

Happy Anniversary!!

Happy Anniversary to the Under a New Moon couples! Congratulations to Ron & Jason, Kimm & Jo, Sam & Chris, Amanda & Katrina, Steve & Felix, and Esther & Kati! 

So thrilled that today, on their third anniversary, they are celebrating their MARRIAGES!!

Photo by Jeremy Lawson Photgraphy

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Modern Family Wedding Photo Shoot!

So excited to see our Modern Family wedding photo shoot featured on the Sassy Chicago Weddings blog! Be sure to CLICK HERE to see all the shots of this incredibly happy and colorful event.

Below are photos, courtesy of Ocken Photography, of rituals that were included in the ceremony part of the stylized shoot. 

First, the couple participated in an adaptation of a food sharing ritual known as the Tasting of the Elements. In this ritual, various foods represent the "for better or for worse" of married life. In our version, the couple shared a variety of candies - including Hot Tamales to represent the heat of an argument 

As you can guess, the candy was a big hit with the kids!

We ended with a family sand ceremony. The dads and each of the kids picked a color to be layered in a tall vase. Not only was this fun for all the participants, the results yielded a bright and beautiful keepsake.

It was so much fun working with this couple and their adorable kids. And it didn't hurt that I had the opportunity to be back at Catalyst Ranch.

Thank you to Kerrie of Citygirl Weddings and Lauren from the Ranch for including me in this wonderful celebration of marriage equality! 

And a huge thank you to Ocken Photography for the wonderful photos!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Gorgeous Interfaith Wedding

This spectacular wedding was featured on the BRIDES website. The couple combined elements from their Jewish and Hindu backgrounds in the ceremony, which was officiated by a rabbi and a Hindu priest. A lovely example of how different cultures can be combined to create a beautiful and meaningful ceremony.

The gorgeous photos are by one of my favorite photographers, the awesomely talented Oriana Koren of Okrfoto. Click HERE to see more.

Photo by Okrfoto

Sunday, April 27, 2014

What I Do When I'm Not at a Wedding....

As you probably know, I'm a big geek at heart. And so, today, I joined my friends from Aw Yeah Ladies' Night at C2E2! It was so much FUN!

Some of the ladies from Ladies' Night 

Death & Dream from Sandman

The Cyberman offering me an upgrade

My Walking Dead friends

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Shannon & Steve's Geeky, Sweet, Whale of a Wedding!

When I met Shannon & Steve for our initial consultation, we hit it off immediately. By the end of our conversation, I knew I just had to be their Celebrant! We talked about their wedding - and just about everything else, ranging from comic books, Harry Potter, to pet cats. 

Their ceremony included many personal elements, including a handfasting. I also shares they story of Steve's proposal. He surprised Shannon with a Beluga Encounter at the Shedd Aquarium, which was something she had always wanted. What she didn't expect was that one of the belugas would play an important role in presenting the ring. 

All along the wedding planning process, I knew Steve wanted to add a secret element to the ceremony. This wound up being a helium shark (as a whale stand-in) to deliver the rings. And naturally, the shark's entrance was accompanied by the Jaws theme song, thanks to the always fantastic DJ Harsh.

In a addition to this fun surprise, the ceremony also included quotes from The Princess Bride, Harry Potter, and author Neil Gaiman. Can you tell why they became one of my favorite couples?!

Their gorgeous wedding, which took place at the lovely Hotel Arista in Naperville, is featured on the Angel Eyes Photography blog. Click HERE to check out the amazing pictures!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Steam Punk Wedding Goodness!

Do you appreciate architecture? Vintage settings? A turn-of-the-century vibe? 

Check out this photo from a recent steam punk-themed event hosted by Pleasant Home in Oak Park. Isn't this place gorgeous?! The 30-room Prairie Style house is available for weddings, and offers many options for your big day. The expansive front porch, which opens to a tree-filled park, is a great spot for your ceremony. The lovely, warm interior is an incredible choice for your wedding - in any season!

Now head on over to the Angel Eyes Photography blog to see the rest of the pictures! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Getting Married? Here's What People Won't Tell You....

Thanks to my Celebrant colleague, Celia Milton, I just read a great article about weddings. I highly recommend that you read it, too.

25 Things Wedding Photographers Wish You Knew has some excellent advice. And these are things all wedding professionals wish you knew, but likely won't say so. 

Some of my favorites? 

#14 - Slow Down  

Yes! Relax. Have fun. Breathe. Things may go wrong. So what? The things that matter will be fine. The little things are not that big of a deal. Stop worrying. And slow down. Literally! You don't need to run down the aisle. 

#16 - Control Your Uncle Bob 

This one can't be stressed enough. I've seen an over-zealous uncle almost knock over a person from the wedding party - the GROOM! This poor groom was bumped into by the uncle, who remained oblivious behind his camera & just kept snapping those pix. 

And yes, the couple had a professional photographer. The uncle got in his way, too.

I have become a big fan of un-plugged weddings. I often recommend that we include a statement at the beginning of the ceremony, asking guests to put away phones & cameras and "be fully present."  

Thanks to Type A Images for writing this post. Now go read it, people! 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Chicago History Museum Celebrates Marriage Equality With ONE LOVE!

Join me on April 10th at The Chicago History Museum for a wonderful evening dedicated to marriage equality! And don't forget to stop by and say hi to me! 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Jessica & Sang-Woo's Multicultural Ceremony at Greenhouse Loft

The couple posing at same spot where Sang-Woo proposed.

This is long overdue, but I am finally getting around to sharing some details of Jessica &; Sang-Woo's gorgeous wedding from September of 2012. (I told you this was overdue!)

A true Chicago couple, their wedding took place at the wonderful Greenhouse Loft, with the ceremony outside on the lovely patio.

Photo by SnoStudios
Sang-Woo and Jessica's ceremony was a true reflection of them as a couple. They shared their love story, including how they met by chance (or maybe fate!) at John Barleycorn and the sweet and funny story of Sang-Woo's proposal outside of the Field Museum. They both value the importance of family and made sure to include their parents in the ceremony. They also incorporated Korean wedding traditions in honor of Sang-Woo's heritage.
Wine sharing 

Happy tears during the vows. Photo by SnoStudios

One of these traditions was a wine-sharing ceremony. In a traditional Korean wedding, a couple will sip wine that has been poured into two halves of a gourd, traditionally grown by the bride’s mother. When the wine is sipped, the two halves of the gourd are symbolically reunited and made whole, representing the joining of two lives.

In honor of this ritual, Sang-Woo and Jessica shared small cups of wine, presented by Jessica’s mother.

Parents tossing chestnuts & jujube fruits for Parents' Blessing
Photo by SnoStudios
Another important Korean wedding tradition is the Parents’ Blessing. In this ritual, the couple’s parents bless the couple by "showering" them with wishes for many children. They do so by tossing nuts and fruit at the bride and groom, who will try to catch them in a wedding cloth. The number caught represents how many children the couple will have. 

I'm happy to report that this ritual was a success - Jessica and Sang-Woo have a beautiful new baby boy!

Guests writing wishes on the wishing stones
Photo by Anita Vaughan

At the end of the ceremony, guests were asked to stop at a table with river rocks and write their wishes for the couple on the rocks. A wonderful keepsake for the couple!

This wedding had so many lovely elements - but the best part? The bride and groom! I had such a wonderful experience working with Jessica and Sang-Woo and seeing their ceremony take shape. They are two of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet - and they know how to have fun!!

Thank you to SnoStudios for generously sharing these photos. And, of course, I have to give a huge shout out and thank you to Heather of Greatest Expectations Special Events and Weddings. She made everything run seamlessly - and made it all utterly gorgeous!
Incredible sweet table! Photo by Anita Vaughan

Congratulations on the birth of your son, Jessica & Sang-Woo! He is one lucky little boy to have you two as parents!
Adorable flower girl! Photo by Anita Vaughan

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Getting Married? Get Committed!

Getting married? Looking for ways to keep it eco-friendly? Then you need to come check out Committed

This is a fantastic wedding show featuring wedding vendors who are all members of the Chicago Green Wedding Alliance. (Like me!) Not only will you get to meet some great like-minded wedding folks, there will be plenty of food to nibble on, drinks to sip, and more! 

While you're there, be sure to visit to the Rumpus Room, where there will be fun, hands-on activities. That's here I'll be hanging out as a volunteer for the event, so be sure to stop by and say HI! 
For tickets, click HERE

Thursday, January 16, 2014

DIY Flower Crown

How the crown looked at my wedding

Just saw a tutorial on Offbeat Bride with showing how to make your own flower crown for your wedding. 

The process is pretty easy and the results are so pretty! 

Check it out HERE, my crafty friends!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Beautiful "Fish and Bird" Wedding

Look at this gorgeous wedding, inspired by the Tom Waits song, "Fish and Bird." It is featured today on the Wedding Chicks blog.

When Janelle and Chris were first dating, Chris sent Janelle a note with the lyrics to the song. This became the theme for their gorgeous backyard wedding. 

There were so many amazing elements, including succulents (!!), a jellyfish backdrop, and even pie.

Not only do I love all the beautiful details of this couple's wedding, but they happen to be two people I know and absolutely adore.

Congratulations, Chris and Janelle! I wish you a lifetime of love, laughter, joy, and game nights with friends! 

Check out the full gallery of photos by Julia Franzosa Photography (one of my favorites!) HERE.