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Our 3 Year Anniversary + Marriage Re-Ceremony Photos

So, I am just realizing I said I would share these photos months and months ago and never actually did! And since I am missing my little family crew this week, what better time than now?! We were ever so grateful to have our dear friend Anita officiate a little re-marriage ceremony for us on our 3 year wedding anniversary, and had my dear friend, the incredibly talented Julia, on board to take photos and the awesome Keith to take a little video! Not to mention, K surprised me with a Forget Me Knodt bouquet…and the tiniest most adorable baby boutonniere for G that I have ever seen! And even though it may have rained on us, it was so beyond perfect!

Re-marrying the love of my life on our 3 year wedding anniversary. 3 years ago that same day Anita married us in a civil union ceremony, at midnight, the very first day same sex unions were legal in Illinois. Fast forward three years, nestled in the Art Institute gardens, with raindrops falling on our heads and our sweet boy in our arms, Anita re-married us on that very same day, when same sex marriages became legal in Illinois and we upgraded our license. We’re basically too legit to quit now, you guys! And I couldn’t be happier about that! And, granted, the spouse likes to joke about how we have said ‘I do’ three times now…I could say ‘I do’ a million times more! I truly couldn’t have picked a better way to celebrate our anniversary than this….

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Yup, our #ambreetakesthecoast adventures are in full swing! Hung out in LA for a couple days, shot a wedding with my West Coast bestie, Brienne, and we hit the road bright and early yesterday morning…okay, maybe it wasn’t bright at all out yet, but it was definitely extra early! Our first day of road tripping was a total success and I can’t wait to show you SO. MUCH. PRETTY. when I get back. From a Malibu morning to local coffee jaunts in Santa Barbara to accidentally stumbling on a nude beach/cove spot with the prettiest sailboat anchored in it near Pismo Beach (pictures of the sailboat to come, NOT the nudes! Eeek!)! And let’s not forget ending our day in the ever pretty San Francisco for a beyond epic shoot that I am just beyond excited to share with you (Check my instagram for sneak peeks!!!)! Followed by checking in at our lovely hotel in Tiburon, getting an unexpected and seriously amazing gluten free dinner at a local spot, and ending our night with some side by side photo downloading and bubbly sipping! Day one was a total success!!!

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(Photo thanks to the amazing Brienne!!!)

Today, we have a driving heavy day to tackle, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have a couple note worthy stops (…and not just 10 Starbucks stops throughout the day!). First up, the Golden Gate bridge at sunrise! Let’s do this! Keep up with us on our west coast roadtrip adventures using the hashtag #ambreetakesthecoast on Instagram! (Yup, we hyphenated our names together, because we are cool like that…and all our other hashtag ideas were way too long!) Otherwise, I will likely be back to my regularly scheduled Monday through Thursday blogging come next week! (Unless I can find a smidgen of time between shoots, driving, exploring, and getting VERY little sleep.)

Emilia Jane - September 22, 2014 - 2:42 pm

Enjoy the sunshine! :-D Can’t wait to see more of the photos when you get back!

Christy Tyler - September 25, 2014 - 9:00 pm

So much fun!!! This trip is looking so amazing on Instagram!!! <3

Airport Freak Outs and Mini Plane Vacays

Is there an Iced Coffee ban at Midway airport I don’t know about?! I guess I mostly fly out of O’Hare airport when leaving Chicago, so it never occurred to me that Midway wouldn’t have a Starbucks…or a Caribou…or a Dunkin’ Donuts for goodness sake! I showed up to the airport yesterday, exhausted, going on just over 3 hours of sleep, having stayed up all night packing and trying to finish as much work as possible, and was ready to make a beeline to the nearest coffee dolling establishment…when I discovered there were none to be found. When I pleaded with the newstand gal to point me in the direction of any iced coffee to be had on the premises, she replied, ‘You could maybe try Potbelly…’ What?! What self respecting airport doesn’t have a coffee joint in it?! That just makes no sense whatsoever! And, now, I’ve sworn off of ever flying out of that airport again! Gah!Who_knew_this_airport_didn_t_believe_in_Starbucks_or_iced_coffee__Gah__Going_on_3.5_hours_of_sleep_and_this_bookstore_iced_coffee_find_was_a_god_send__along_with_the_latest_issue_of__martha_weddings____ammtravels__ambreetakesthecoast__weddingphotogliYou will be happy to know, I did eventually stumble upon a little coffee stand inside the bookstore that may have literally saved my life and no lives had to be spared in my hunt for caffeination. (Thank you to the gal behind the counter who showed me how to get my straw in my cup….yeahhhhh, I was so beyond exhausted.) So, after paying ridiculous overage fees on my way overpacked luggage and my momentary freak out about the coffee situation (or lack thereof), I picked myself up a copy of the latest Martha Stewart weddings and finally settled in to just zone out. And a zone out was exactly what I needed! I’ve been running on fumes for weeks…and, to be honest, there is no end in sight for quite some time, so I was totally taking advantage of my solo traveling day as an opportunity to zone out, relax, and just be. Iced coffee, magazines, and my latest favorite song on repeat in my earbuds, I gave myself permission to take the day off (and maybe the next day before my shoots and travel adventures really start). I needed it. I even paid for in-flight wifi to watch a movie…instead of to do work! Hello luxury! Stretching my legs out into the empty seat floor space next to me (score!), getting a drink, and getting to watch a movie I had been meaning to see for over a year felt downright indulgent! It was my little 4 hour vacay on a plane! And, with today being the only day I do not have anything planned for the next 10 days, I’ve decided maybe I deserve a full day of vacay. So, today is the day! The day I get to not pick up the camera or take a meeting or do computer work or do one of the 80 million other things I do for work on a day to day basis. The one day I am giving myself to take a break and not feel bad about it. So, basically, what I am saying is…bring on the wine! Tomorrow, we are back at it!

Brienne Michelle - September 18, 2014 - 6:13 pm

You should seriously go lay out at the beach! Enjoy your down time!!!

Engagement: Jenna & Brad

These two win the troopers award for sure! A high of 55 degrees and drippy rain all day long and they still brought the cuteness to the nth degree!!! And a whole lot of silliness too! It’s safe to say I cannot wait until their wedding next year!!!

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How To Have An Amazing Wedding Day

Today’s ‘How To’ post is the first of many I plan to roll out over the fall and winter about all the various aspects that go into making your wedding day as fabulous as can be, everything from ‘Why you should do an engagement session’ to Getting Ready Tips to Wedding Party Advice, you name it and I will  be covering it at some point or another on the blog! But before I dive into the nitty gritty details of tips and advice for your engagement and wedding, I wanted to kick it off with this post on How to Have An Amazing Wedding Day regardless of all those details! Start here! Stick to these and I guarantee you that your day will be as wonderful and memorable as can be!

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1. Hire An Amazing Team of Vendors!

This is more than a plea for you to hire a wedding planner (do that too though, okay?)….as a type A control loving gal myself, I know what it is like to want to make sure things are just as they should be and obsesses over it constantly until you know it has been done correctly, but no one should have to worry about all that stress on their wedding day. Not even my fellow type A gals out there should have to do that on their own wedding day! You should be able to be in the moment. Enjoy the anticipation of your morning, the building excitement to marry your love…not be fretting over tablescapes and music cues. Leave it to the professionals! Hire amazing, talented, and experienced vendors who know what they are doing to do all that for you! People that you can trust to make your all your wedding day wishes come true without you having to micromanage and check in on it. Research your vendors, meet with them, choose the ones you connect with, make all your hopes and expectations clear, and, then let it go, trust in them to get it done and make it amazing for you! And this applies to everyone from your wedding coordinator to your florists to your DJ to your caterers to your photographer! Knowing you hand picked the best people for you and that you have a stellar team behind you making everything perfect is the best peace of mind you could give yourself on your wedding day!

2. Make it about you…BOTH of you!

Letting all your family, friends, and everybody who walks down the street weigh in on your wedding plans is all fine and good, until it starts to affect what it is that you two truly want for your wedding day. Sit down together before wedding mania begins. Discuss your hopes and dreams for your wedding days. Compromise! Come to an agreement on what you want your day to be about. You get sparkly table runners, he gets to be introduced to the Chicago Bulls theme song (I’m looking at you, Katie and Mike! Love it!). Your day should be about the both of you, let that show through! Figure out what things are most important to each of you (and as a couple!) for your wedding and don’t let anyone shake you from them. If you have to add on a few extra people to the guest list because mom and dad insist upon them being there, okay fine…but don’t get strong armed or guilt tripped into making your day about anything but the two of you…or having 400+ guests! You have to draw the line somewhere. Stick together and stand up for the wedding choices that are important to you, no matter what anyone else thinks. At the end of the day it’s your day! And you will enjoy it SO much more knowing that it is just as you wanted it to be!

3. Be in the moment!

This one is not just for the brides and bridesmaids, it’s for the mommas and the poppas, and the distant cousins too! Put down the camera, the professionals have got this! Pocket (and silence!) your cell phone, you can instagram at the reception later! And for goodness sake, please leave the iPad at home! Watch, listen, and be present in the special moments of your day! Just enjoy them! Unplugged! You have chosen a talented professional to capture the moments of your day, trust in them, and turn the devices off! I want to capture those sweet tears of joy on mom’s face as you say, ‘I do’…I don’t think you want a photo of mom with an iPad covering her entire face.

3. Let. It. Go. 

At the end of the day, your day will be perfect! It will be perfect because it has to be! It’s happening right then and there and you can either enjoy every second of it, rain or shine, or you can let all the little things that may go wrong get to you and put a damper on your once in a lifetime day. I say go with option A, no one wants to be a pouty bride (or groom)! Your day will play out as it plays out and that will be the story of your wedding day for decades to come, regardless of how much you worried or made a big deal about it, so why not enjoy the ride?! Trust in your team to make it work, bumps in the road and all, breathe, and then….LET IT GO! If it rains, it rains! It may not be ideal, but it isn’t the end of the world…and no matter how much you fret about it, it is what it is…make the best of it! You may have not hoped for it, but it happened. So, try not to get too wrapped up in being disappointed if things beyond anyone’s control go awry. Accept it and make the best of it. Breathe, smile, look into the eyes of the one you love, remember WHY you are there, and make the best wedding day memories you can! It is going to make for one heck of a story to tell your grandchildren one day!

Feel free to leave any ideas for blog posts on specific wedding day (or engagement session) tips or advice you would like to see on the blog in the comments, I will add it to the list of blogs to come! 

Kara Esbaum - September 11, 2014 - 3:19 pm

I barely even remember the rain on our wedding day, because you were such an awesome photographer and just came up with a new plan and told us all what to do instead of asking me! And I love our photos at Union Station so I’m glad we got to go there :)

Katie Glaser - September 11, 2014 - 5:11 pm

Yes! Such great advice and love the Bulls shout out!

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