As a wedding photographer in Chicago, I saw first hand how hard couples struggled to get their celebrations across the line during the height of the pandemic. And Mary and Mauro were no different. Their Italian style wedding at Venuti’s Banquets was their third attempt to tie the knot, with the first back in July 2020. They are such a lovely couple, and so when I heard they had the go-ahead to finally get married, I was overjoyed for them both.
Often when I meet couples and find out how they got together, they say ‘we met at university, or more recently, ‘via a dating app’. And so, it was quite refreshing to hear that Mary and Mauro met the old-fashioned way, drunk in a bar! I’m kidding! But they did meet in a bar, in West Loop, back around 2015. This led to much romance, dating, and then the big proposal from Mauro. Which took place on Mary’s birthday, but not at a certain restaurant as she had predicted, but back in the comfort of their own home.
One of the most exciting experiences brides often have, is wedding dress shopping. And thankfully Mary was not disappointed with her visit to Dimitra’s Bridal in Chicago. She found her dream gown there before Covid-19 hit, and felt so blessed to be looked after by their seasoned pros. An accommodating bunch that made her feel so welcome.
Mary knew before walking into the store that she wanted something sophisticated, yet fun, with long sleeves. Together with the team at Dimitra’s, they found an incredible bridal dress by Stephen Yearick, which offered her two looks in one! A blooming, dramatic ballgown for the ceremony, and a fun mermaid silhouette for the reception! The perfect combo!
Searching for the perfect bridal can be hard enough, but finding gowns for the bridesmaids, that everyone likes, can sometimes be just as hard! Especially during a pandemic when stock is in high demand. Mary, however, was lucky and was able to dress her whole bridal party effortlessly, all in one place. Jasmine Bridal in Lombard offered her a stunning, and expansive selection of bridesmaids’ dresses, mother of the bride, flower girl gowns, and hair accessories.
As a wedding photographer, I love a church or cathedral wedding in Chicago. And by now you’ve probably seen why, if not, have a browse through their photography, and you’ll see how a traditional church scene can create such a powerful backdrop.
Mary and Mauro chose the Saint Mary of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Chicago for their ceremony. A venue that certainly has the wow factor, and delivers all the grandeur and opulence you could hope for in a church setting. It was a mesmerizing exchange of vows and a beautiful wedding that even garnered a few tears in this veteran Chicago photographer!
Here’s how Mary describes her experience. “Walking into your ceremony and feeling the love from your guests, hearing the music, then capturing the true moment of seeing your spouse waiting for you at the end of the aisle is just priceless. I would not have done it any different”.
Following the nuptials, we took some portraits of the newlyweds while still inside the church, backdropped by the altar and the grand domed ceiling. And I have to say, they came out beautifully. Mary’s gown looked just so majestic, with her veil magically floating in the air. While Mauro was the personification of handsome! Together, they created a dreamy image.
Before we all headed over to Venuti’s Banquets in Addison for the reception, it was important for us to capture some more portraits of the happy couple and their wedding party. These were so much fun, with the whole gang getting into the spirit of the experience. Especially the boys! As soon as they donned those shades, they all turned into rock stars! Which looked so cool overlooking the iconic Chicago River, and its modern skyline.
Following the portraits, we made our way to Venuti’s Banquets for the wedding reception. Another opulent venue that fitted Mary and Mauro’s Italian style wedding just perfectly. Its lavish banquet hall accommodated their loved ones with ease and created a really relaxed vibe for their celebrations. And served as a very impressive backdrop for their big day moments!
As a wedding photographer, I’m a sucker for a first dance, and this loving Chicago couple enjoyed a very sweet moment together. In keeping with the theme, and because of their love for Italian music, Mary and Mauro opted for ‘I Belong to You’ by Eros Ramazzotti and Anastacia. A modern duet that I hadn’t heard as a first dance before, but it worked just perfectly.
This magical moment was also a favorite of Mary who said; “Being in the middle of the dance floor in a circle of my guests, feeling their love and excitement made me realize what this whole day was supposed to be about!”
Now, I didn’t ask Mary and Mauro to say this, but their main piece of advice was to not scrimp on a wedding photographer in Chicago. Their words, not mine, but sound advice nether the less.
Here’s exactly what Mary said, “Of all the things you spend money on for your wedding, splurge on your photographer. Photos are one of the few tangible things you actually get back from your wedding. Life is all about memories, and capturing these beautiful moments is worth every penny!” Couldn’t have said it better myself!
“Lauren is a true talent and professional. She kept us on time and followed our schedule, which allowed us to get all the photos we wanted and still make it to the reception on time. Lauren’s direction for posing was comfortable and seamless, we had so much fun shooting with her. She has her own vision and really takes creativity to a whole new level.”
It would be an honor to become a part of your wedding team and create that timeless keepsake of your big day that you’ll love forever. Myself and my team of Chicago wedding photographers at videographers at Lauren Ashley Studios will go above and beyond to capture the atmosphere of your special occasion and share it with passion and authenticity.
We welcome you to browse our portfolio of wedding photography, videography and if you would like information about our investments please click here. If you’re looking for a wedding photographer in Chicago, or beyond, and you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.