While we were out in Chicago last week, we actually got to do two engagement shoots with our J&M couples...both who are getting married later this Fall. But a love of autumn wedding dates isn't all these two couples have in common! You see, Sheila (who you will remember from our University of Chicago engagement shoot we just posted) was a former classmate of Justin's in the photo program at RIT, and Nicole is a former classmate of mine at Yale Law. She was actually a year ahead of me, and my first year she was my "Big Sis" in the Yale Law Women's group! So we dubbed this the week of alumni shoots!! :)
Nicole was also the director of the Yale Law Revue -our year end comedy show (think Saturday Night Live, but with law jokes!)- my first year & passed the director title down to me the following year. So basically what that means is that she's super funny AND super smart, not to mention beautiful! She is now off in Chicago taking the legal field by storm & that's where she met Jeff! These two share a love of their bulldog Basil, their super cute Chicago neighborhood, and sushi....all of which we got to enjoy with them while we were out there! Here are just a few favorites from our shoot & we can't wait to head back out that way at the end of September for the BIG day!
We got an email from Sheila last year & on the inquiry form where it said "On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited are you to have J&M shoot your wedding?"....she said it was a 20! :) That's when I first knew she definitely had to be a J&M bride.
We emailed back & forth in preparation for their engagement shoot & Sheila sent me a picture of the incredible navy Modcloth dress she was going to be wearing. She described it as a "poofy, retro-inspired, party dress." And that's when I knew she most definitely was our ideal J&M Bride.
But it was afterr the shoot, after we were on our way back home, when we got not one, but two emails- one from Sheila AND one from Jon thanking us for everything....that's when I knew that we had been lucky enough to book our ideal J&M COUPLE! The kind where we just connect so much with both of them, they are both so super kind & thoughtful, they have amazing, classic style, they are funny, they are both into planning the wedding, they both value photography, love the work and knew they wanted to work with us in particular, and they are the kind of people you just want to be friends with....the kind of people where you are the best version of yourself when you're around them. Now THAT'S our idea couple!
Earlier this week, we got together with Sheila & Jon to shoot all around the University of Chicago campus. As soon as we walked through our first stone archway & saw the ivy growing up the wall....it felt like we were home! And we thought....these are our people! :) I have to admit, I think the UC campus might even be a little prettier than the Yale Campus. And that's saying something! Everywhere you looked, there was some new amazing corner to shoot in! Let's just put it this way, it took us about a half an hour to walk twenty feet, we just kept seeing so much we loved! This is a classic photographer's DREAM backdrop and we were loving every minute of it!
I think this shoot was made even better because Sheila & Jon are both creatives themselves, so photography & art are really important to them. Jon is a designer & Sheila is actually photographer herself (she & Justin were at RIT at the same time!) who does a lot of editorial work in Chicago, so it was such a HUGE honor to be asked to be her photographer! We were joking that I think this must be the year of the photographer wedding because Sheila's will be our FIFTH photographer wedding of the year! Amazing!
Sheila & Jon we had the BEST time hanging out with you guys and seeing a part of Chicago we've never seen before! We loved every minute of getting to know you guys, hearing your story, and winding up the night in a pub together. It just got us SO excited for the wedding & now we can't wait until October to see you guys again! Until then, here are a few of our favorites from our time together!
We had such an awesome group of mentoring sessions for June! They ran the full spectrum from just getting to started to fully established & even expanding with associate photographers, and it just made me realize more than ever how much I LOVE helping people build businesses! I am such an entrepreneur at heart (I come from a long line of them!) and so doing these sessions allows me to help build business after business every single year....talk about an entrepreneur's dream! I love sitting down with people to strategize and dream up the next step. To take an honest look at what's not working & what's holding people back. And to brainstorm the next steps. When I was in college, I actually went to school on a debate scholarship and in my senior year I graduated to being one of the coaches. That was the year that I fell in love with being someone's mentor & teacher. To cheer them on at every win & success, and to push them when they needed pushing. And now we get to do that times four every single month! It is seriously something I am grateful for every day!
In June we were so lucky to get to hang out with Stacy Hart, Sharon Elizabeth, Gabrielle Halle & Caroline Talbot. We met with Gabrielle via Skype and the weather was pretty gross for Sharon (and Ashley!), so we'll have to do all of their head shots another time! But it was still so awesome to meet up with all of them, and we have some of our faves from Stacy & Caroline's mini head shots to share with you guys today! We do these mini-sessions with everyone who signs up for a mentoring session & I think it's such a great bonus because it's something almost all of us are in need of!
**We also have some new dates to announce today, in that we have just opened up a couple more mentoring sessions for July 15th & 16th when we're out in Chicago!! There are only TWO sessions available, so if you are in that area & want to meet up, be sure to grab your spot fast! You can do that by clicking over HERE!
Ohhhhhh what could I ever say about this wedding that would ever properly do it justice?
Let's just start with this: Lauren is amazing. She's just one of those people that everybody falls in love with instantly. She has a light and a joy about her that you just want to be around as much as you can. It's infectious! When you're with her, you feel like you could take on the world....as long as she's there taking it on with you. Lauren is an incredibly talented in her own right, and we first met her a few years back when she came to one of our Walk Through a Wedding workshops in Chicago. Not too long after that, she told us that when the time came for her we had to be her wedding photographers. I secretly crossed my fingers & hoped that it would be true, because I couldn't imagine giving up that huge honor to anyone else!
Then there's Gary. For those of you who don't know, a little while back Lauren battled cancer. Like a warrior. She did the treatments, she lost her hair, she has the scars to this day to prove it. And never ever once did she stop smiling through it or complain. She was the brave face to the world....but Gary, Gary was the quiet rock that she was standing on. Throughout the vows and the ceremony and toast after toast, we heard stories of how Gary never left her side. Of how he was at every single treatment. And how he always made her feel like the most beautiful girl in the world, even when she didn't feel like it. See, Gary's love is not the fleeting, when things are good kind of love. His is a love that will last forever whatever comes their way. Because it already has. And we all love him for that.
Lauren & Gary together are a Kenny Chesney song and a cold beer on a beach somewhere. They are a comfy couch and a blanket, cuddled up with their dog Goose. They are rooftop deck sitting and cheek to cheek slow dancing. They are not letting the microwave timer run all the way out and leaving socks out laying around. They are lightning fast witty banter and they challenge and push each other to be their best. They live in every moment to its fullest. They are the kind of friends who love with their whole heart.
A couple of days ago, on the cliffs of Antigua, they promised forever and they promised right now, they promised every second. Surrounded by forty of their closest friends & family, they laughed and cried and they laughed some more. They slow danced and fast danced....and serious face dance off danced. They strung bistro lights- five hundred and forty seven of them- and they warmed their faces in their glow. They sat at tables, decorated to perfection by people who love them so much that they flew in just to take care of it. And when the party was really getting going, a flash mob of all their guests broke out and surprised them. Because with people like Lauren & Gary, you just find a way to teach forty people from all over the country how to spontaneously do the same dance at the same time. There was never any question.
L&G, we love you to the moon & back and to Antigua & back. I will never EVER be able to tell you what a humbling, HUGE honor it was for us to be there with you and your amazing friends & family who made us feel like just part of the crew. I still can't believe it happened. Lauren, I am SO proud of you. Gary, I am SO thankful for you and how you love without fail. If I have my way, you guys will ALWAYS be in our lives. And we will vacation in Antigua & go to Kenny Chesney concerts until we are old & wrinkly together. My prayer for you both is that sixty years from now, you will still be dancing cheek to cheek. And when you look at each other you'll still smilie & say....
I don't see how you could ever be, anything but mine.
Last week Tsone came down from Canada to attend our Walk Through a Wedding workshop (it STILL blows my mind how far people have traveled in for these workshops! At this last one, we had folks from Canada, California, Atlanta, Chicago, Michigan, Maryland, Pittsburgh, and of course CT!!). And since he was coming all this way, he decided to go ahead & make a whole trip out of it with his amazing girlfriend Christy, including hiring us to do a couple's shoot of them all around Yale!
Now let me tell you, on the day of our shoot it was COLD! Coooooold! It was like Antartica wrapped in an igloo wrapped in an ice cream sundae. Cold! Like the kind of cold where you can't feel your fingers to push the shutter anymore cold. But these guys & they're amazing hearts just smiled right through it. And when it got too cold to cuddle, they would bust out some killer dance moves to warm back up! So I mean c'mon, how are you NOT going to shoot your heart out for two people like that?!
Christy & Tsone, it was truly an honor meeting you both. This thing that we do for a living has trained us to observe very quickly when a couple just fits, when everything about them works, when they will be one of the truly great couples of our time that inspires everyone around them. The way you help one another, the way you love one another, the way you take care of one another. That's what you guys are. I see it in you. And if/when the day comes that you two decide to get married....I am totally calling DIBS on the wedding!! :) :)