my kind of love.
what an absolutely amazing wedding weekend! i can’t imagine a more fabulous 4-day (yes, FOUR day!) celebration! joe + sean welcomed me to chicago and into their lives with such warmth and excitement that i fell instantly in love with them, their friends, and their town! joe + sean are both utterly magnetic people – they are generous, kind and caring as well as funny, sassy and stylish. they are genuine, they are in love, and i am still reeling from the spectacular time i had documenting their love and participating in their celebration.
friends flew in from all over the world, and the festivities commenced thursday night (sean’s birthday!) on their awesome roof deck overlooking the city, right next to wrigley field. meeting sean was as fabulous as i had hoped – he is absolutely exuberant and brimming with the most wonderful energy imaginable. joe i met years ago while living in baltimore and i couldn’t wait to see him again! back then he was finishing law school and i was an undergrad, and we spent countless hours reflecting on the state of pretty much everything while seated at none other than the famed owl bar in the belvedere hotel. almost seven years later i was beyond thrilled to reconnect with him via the ever-impressive power of the internet and was overjoyed when he + sean asked me to photograph their wedding.
while this wasn’t my first trip to chicago, it was the first time i had the opportunity to really explore the city and i loved that i got to do so with the boys during their lifestyle session. since both sean + joe hail from the south side, and met after returning to the city to practice law, i wanted photos that captured their personality + relationship as well as the city where they fell in love. they loved the idea and decided the best time to shoot would be the morning of their wedding! a fun photo shoot capturing the true anticipation + buzz preceding a wedding? yes, please!
after running around the city, we headed to their hotel to prep for the wedding in an incredible penthouse loft with sweeping skyline views. as they donned their sharp suits + classy boutineers, i reveled in their quiet excitement as the time drew closer, feeling so lucky to be there for every moment. the camera only provides so much of a buffer from emotion, and i was completely caught up in the intoxicating joy of the day!
the wedding took place at the chicago illuminating company – a stunning venue perfect for such a fabulous affair! the evening began with a partnership ceremony officiated by two of their best friends, witnessed by a large circle of family + friends. the ceremony was intensely meaningful and profound, including two powerful readings – an excerpt from song of the open road by walt whitman, and a letter written by oscar wilde to his lover lord alfred douglas, from prison. just before the conclusion of the ceremony, one of their friends sang a hauntingly beautiful rendition of in your eyes, bringing an already captivated crowd to tears.
once again, i was truly humbled to be in the position to witness and document such intense emotion. i am keenly aware that i am not simply observing a ritual or event, but rather watching the culmination of true love, commitment, and dedication. the desire of two people to join together, against all that life and society throw in their way, is inspiring. to feel the love, not just between the couple declaring their commitment, but also of those who support, admire and love them, is tremendous.
through my experience documenting the lives + unions of couples like joe + sean, i have come to believe that two people can indeed be more than the sum of their parts – that love is in fact a transcendant and extraordinary force. i believe that individuals can become stronger and more enlightened through a partnership and that to deny anyone that ability is unjustified and unethical.
prior to their wedding celebration in chicago, joe + sean married legally in connecticut – one of the four states that currently perform same sex marriages. i am a strong advocate for the freedom to love and the freedom to marry. i feel it is both a social and moral tragedy that the majority of states in this country do not recognize the union of every couple that shares a beautiful and noble love, and to use the fitting words of oscar wilde, i presume “it is because the nature of that love has not been understood.” i anxiously await the day when people stop trying to understand that which may be different and learn to accept that which is good, putting aside any preconceived ideas and honoring the sanctity of human emotion.
* * * * *
joe + sean, thank you for truly opening your lives to me and sharing your love. you are an inspiration! furthermore, you totally know how to throw a party! i had the time of my life in chicago thanks to you and your amazing family + friends. i know your life together is, and will forever be, nothing short of amazing. i’m so glad to know you and so honored to count you both among my friends.
double decker bus tour of chicago en route to the after party!
* * * * *
5-star vendor reviews!
chicago illuminating company :: fantastic venue in downtown chicago!
windy city photo booth :: fun, entertaining photo booth – run by local firefighters!