Category Archives: photography

Wedding Snapshots: The Groom

You know who doesn’t get enough fuss at a wedding?

The Groom.

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And why not? Last time I checked, they were just as much a part of the 1+1+1=1 equation as the bride. (For those of you who with an engineering background, the extra one is representative of God) And yet, here they stand on the wedding day, looking all relaxed and sipping bourbon after their long morning workout. Meanwhile, when their bride attempted to go for a run, she got 10 minutes out and realized she didn’t in fact have time for it and spent the rest of the morning just trying to stop sweating long enough for the makeup artist to finish up thus killing any chance at an endorphin release for the next 12 hours.

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But this is about the groom, remember? And what a handsome groom he was. And today, some 65 days since we made our vows to love one another as long as we both shall live, we celebrate the birthday that puts him two years closer to the finish line than I am.

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Kidding.

I think we all know he’s far too healthy and stubborn to go before I do.

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So here’s a montage of my handsome groom in celebration of his 33rd birthday. A post he’ll 80 percent scoff at, and 20% secretly love.

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Wedding snapshots: The Ceremony

They say girls dream about their wedding day from a young age.

I wasn’t one of those girls.

If I wore a dress, I usually rocked a pair of shorts under it. And in my mind, princess referenced ladies like Belle or Diana, not the cut of a diamond.

As I got older and my love for party planning and design grew along with my collection of bridesmaid dresses, I fielded a lot of comments assuming my future wedding to a not yet in the picture groom was already planned.

Truth is, the only time I ever thought about a wedding day was when I was in church. Now you may assume I take my religion seriously, and I do, but I must admit that my reasons for contemplating future wedding plans while attending Sunday mass over the years was pretty selfish.

You see, I planned on getting married in the same church I received all of my sacraments in. The same place that in 4th grade I confessed my sins for the times “I was maybe being mean to my sister or might have lied to my mom.”

There was just one problem. It had blue carpet.

Bright Cubbie blue carpet.

At one point I even got crazy enough to mention the idea of getting married (still no groom in the picture) at nearby St. Agnes. It had burgundy carpet and it was technically the parish in which we now lived. And burgundy carpet was better than blue, right? Not according to my mother and her mother. Wrong. Way wrong.

I thought about it over the years as awesome priest after awesome priest got transferred out of our home church to go off and witness the weddings of other lucky brides. Each time, I remember thinking I’d probably end up with a priest who knew nothing about me, especially since I no longer lived in Springfield.

And once I moved to Chicago, found an amazing parish and eventually met the man who would stand up next to me for our wedding day, I considered how we could swing getting married at Old St. Pats now that we were living in Florida.

God has a way of saying “I told you so” if you finally allow yourself to listen. When Matt and I decided to get married last year, there was no doubt in my mind where we’d have our ceremony. I let go of any assumptions I had about the way my church should look or feel or by whom the mass would be led. And when I did, I realized my home parish had everything I could ever look for in a church. It had family and friends who loved and supported us. It had people who cared enough about us as a couple to speak, sing, witness and pray. It had an awesome priest who took the time to get to know us and offered realistic and comforting advice for our upcoming marriage. It had history. Years of celebrations and sacraments.

And it had beautiful tile where the blue carpet once was. A perk I can only assume was given to us for waiting until our thirties to get married.

Our wedding ceremony was my favorite part of the wedding day, even though I lost it multiple times. Here are just a few pictures from our talented Wright Photographs to help illustrate the love and support we received.

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Are you ready for some ruins?!

It’s Day two in Rome and you’ve got a date with a Gladiator in the Colosseum.

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There are several career paths you’re now husband has mentioned over the years that fit his personality type and high tolerance for pain. Firefighter. Police Officer. Top secret member of the U.S. Army Special Forces or Navy Seal. But a Gladiator? Weren’t they all unfortunate criminals or prisoners of war with no citizenship? Sure, some of the attributes line up: brute strength, athleticism, courage and enough craziness to fight to the death, but who would choose that path? Well, if you measure it in giddiness and chatter during our tour of the Colosseum, he would.

And apparently he wouldn’t be the only one. Even free men opted to enter the ring in search of glory and prize money. Confident in your abilities, my dear, but happy it’s no longer an option for you.

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Having a hard time picturing what all this rock is about? Let’s revisit a classic scene to put us in the Gladiator spirit.

That’s better.

It’s really hard to believe this building still stands after thousands of years, earthquakes, floods and fires, but it does. There are parts of the massive arena that still showcase the original marble flooring as well as a reconstructed area that simulates what it looked like in its prime.

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You try not to compare it to familiar places like Soldier Field, but it’s hard not to when so many of today’s mega-stadiums resemble the same framework the Colosseum originated so many years ago. roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

Now uncovered, the area below the main floor housed two levels of compartments and included trap doors that could spring the animal up onto the main stage to excite the audience and challenge the gladiator. Kind of reminded me of the bushes behind my old Montessori school where I used to run an imaginary zoo. Much friendlier animals in my care, of course.
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Thanks to high-end designers like Tod’s and Fendi, historic sites like the Colosseum and Trevi fountain are getting the funding for much-needed restorations that they otherwise couldn’t afford. Check out this recent 60 Minutes episode to learn more. It’s really fascinating.  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

 

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We wrapped the Colosseum tour and spent the rest of the afternoon trying to find our way out of the fiery maze that was the Roman Forum. Fortunately we had learned a lot about it the day before so the main focus became trying not to suffer heat stroke and keep our minds clear. The fresh water fountains helped.

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One of my favorite parts of the forum and surrounding hills were the contrast of bright poppies and fresh water against the red and brown rubble.
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Remember popular 90’s game Labyrinth? Yeah it was kind of like that. roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

That saying, all roads lead to Rome? Thanks to Augustus, technically all roads lead to this rock.  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

After the forum, we headed back towards the hotel to try what our guide John said to be the most authentic and homemade gelato in the city. And with a line out the door 100 or so flavor offerings, I’d say he was right.

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We wrapped day two with an evening aperitivo on the rooftop followed by a heaping plate of carbonara. IMG_0423_2 IMG_0425

When in Rome!

Rome: It’s like Chicago but older

Today we land in Rome and I must admit this city far exceeded my expectations in the three days we explored it. I was excited for Rome because I knew Matt would be really excited for Rome. Why do you ask? In the short six years we’ve known each other, I’ve come to learn that my new husband is a bit of a history buff. Falling slightly behind any shows that involve ultimate survival and fast and loud car restorations, chances are if he’s watching television, he’s tuned to the History Channel.

So I knew Rome would live up to Matt’s expectations and for that I was pleased. And while I did really enjoy Mr. Peterson’s World History class, I must admit I went into Rome a little rusty on my ruin knowledge. Fortunately for Matt, my parents gifted us with a private tour from a family friend who lives in Rome and just so happened to have a Masters in philosophy, a PHD in theology and a rich knowledge of local gelatology. The amount of knowledge our guide, John poured into our carb-and-wine-filled brains was enough to fill a semester-long course, but it set a foundation (no Roman pun intended) that we were able to use for the rest of our trip and for that we are very grateful. If you plan on going to Rome, check out John and his wife Ashley’s web site and be sure to meet up with them. You’ll be glad you did.

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I’ll tell you a little more about the forum when we go back for a closer look on Day 2 but just imagine the above photos some 2000 years ago. And if you still can’t picture it, this may help.

source

We were privileged to learn that John also served as a consultant in restorations to the local Catholic churches in the area so we got an in-depth lesson in Art History and more Catholic facts to supplement our recent marriage prep workshops.

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dome is not in fact a dome but painted. Take that Rationalists.

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John also set us up for a dinner reservation that evening, stopping by the restaurant towards the end of our tour and putting in a good word for us with the chef. A tour guide and a concierge!

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We wrapped Day one sharing a good bottle of shiraz, mussels and linguine with black truffle.

Next up, a tour of the Coliseum.

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Wedding Snapshots: Getting Ready

I know we’re due to travel to Rome today but I thought I’d take a break from honeymooning to share a few wedding photos with you. We just received the cutest little package in the mail this week from our wedding photographers, Wright Photographs, and while you can see how beautiful their work is below, I can’t tell you how impressed I’ve been with their speed of delivery. We had proofs within three weeks and received the final versions just a week or so later. Practically took me longer to write this blog post.

So today let’s take a look at some getting ready photos to kick off the tour. I hope your heart swoons as much for candids and detail shots as mine does.

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Florence: Day 2: Under the Tuscan Sun

It’s Day 2 in Florence and you’re up early and ready to head out for a hike. And even though you packed enough workout clothes for nearly every day of your trip, you find yourself in them for the first time in over a week. You make a mental note to wear less luon when you get back to the states, likely short-lived but an effort nonetheless.

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It’s also the point in which you are reminded how much more organized your new husband is with clothes than you are. You make a mental note to try harder once your back home but when you’re reminded by seeing this photo approximately one month later, you realize you like the luon, that goal was also short-lived.

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You hike up towards the villas stacked in the hills surrounding Florence with the hope to see the panoramic landscape below. Only problem is your hike leads you on a two to three-mile uphill tour of narrow roads with thick, high walls. It’s still beautiful, and a great way to burn off the gelato, but you’ll soon realize you chose the local scenic route and they probably don’t care about seeing the properties of all their neighbors on the morning walks, either. Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

It’s on your way down that the you finally catch a glimpse of what every book about a recently divorced woman who decides to search for her identity again in Italy, describes. Sweeping valleys filled with grape vines, sunshine-colored villas you swear you’ll come back and rent with your group of friends for your 40th birthday and Italian cypress trees. Lots of Italian cypress trees. Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangeloFlorence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangeloFlorence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

 

I’m not quite sure how we got there, but we eventually made our way to the piazza de Michelangelo towards the end of our hike. We’d visit the real guy later that afternoon so it was neat to watch the buses drop off hundreds of tourists at the top of the city after we had sort of carved our own path (literally) along the scenic route. Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

We took the short way home, just down a little winding road in the above picture and got cleaned up for breakfast at the same place we went the morning before.
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Seeing Michelangelo’s “David” was perhaps the only time we paid too much to skip the line the whole trip. At this point we hadn’t pre-booked anything and had managed to see quite a bit by just the one person gets in a random line and the other walks to the front to make sure the random line actually gets us in the door strategy. David is a pretty popular guy in Florence so we figured he was worth it.Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

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Thanks to Michelangelo, I no longer feel self-conscious about my arm veins. Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

That afternoon, we checked out the nearby leather district with intention to actually buy something. I can’t even remember the place, but suddenly I lost Matt and was somewhere in Vegas, trying to find my way out from the random corridors that let me to watches, jewelry and leather goods I could only afford if I got to take home half the pot of the guy with the gold pinky ring for being his good luck charm.
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I did learn how they get gold-leaf on leather, though!

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Our last night in Florence, after a snack of cheese and wine ate with a baby sugar spoon, we went to dinner at local spot Trattoria Casalinga. We’d heard good things about the family run restaurant and promised ourselves that even if we got stuck with the menu only being written in Italian, we’d just wing it. And wing it we did. Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

We started with mixed crostinis and more antipasto than we realized we were ordering and enjoyed a tortellini with sugo (don’t ask but it was delicious) and a cut of veal (once again don’t ask but it was delicious).

We normally didn’t have room for dessert, but when we watched the grandmother of our waitress carry a fresh batch of her special merengue cake to the dessert counter below, we pushed through. And I’m so glad we pushed through. Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

Stick with me because next up, we head to Rome!

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Florence: Day 1: A ridiculous amount of renaissance art

Today we kick off a two-day tour of Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, home to Michaelangelo’s “David” and checking the box on everything I expected Tuscany to be.

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In just an hour or so on a high-speed train we arrived in Florence (Firenze) and made our way from the train station across the Ponte Vecchio bridge to Hotel La Scaletta.

Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Tucked away in a nook near the Palazzo Pitti or Pitti Palace was our gem of a hotel. The staff was wonderful, the tiny lift that could only fit the two of us OR our luggage was adorable and the views were breathtaking.

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After brunch and a cappuccino at a nearby cafe, we spent most of the morning browsing what’s said to be a ridiculous amount of renaissance art inside the Pitti Palace.

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Home to the Medici family as early as 1549, it took us hours to get through all of the residences of the family and their assistants. I was pleasantly surprised that Matt and I shared similar taste and tolerance for renaissance art, perhaps one of the few things our pre-marital questionnaire did not reveal ahead of the wedding. Crazy to think that it took us until the modern wing of the museum to see anything American.

That afternoon we ventured around the central part of the city towards the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, or the Duomo. Even with photos, it’s hard to explain how beautiful this gothic-style cathedral really is but perhaps mentioning that every green, pink and white detail you see is made of polychrome marble.

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We stopped for an aperitivo at local sweet spot Gilli and enjoyed the people watching in the Piazza de Republica. It reminded us both of Chicago, both the high-end shops and the group of twenty-something girls from Chicago drinking Champagne at the table next to us.

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That evening we had a dinner reservation on the roof of our hotel. I was expecting nice views, but the meal was one of the best we had the entire trip. The waiter was wonderful, the wine perfect and well the sunset, I’ll let you be the judge of that.

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Next time I’ll introduce you to my guy David and tell you more about how much I didn’t want to leave this pretty city.