Almond and Loretta choose to have a small ceremony overlooking Lake Michigan at the Observatory. It was a beautiful Monday–sunny, warm, and peaceful. The couple plan to have a larger wedding next year in Singapore, where Loretta is from; in the meantime, they wanted to make it official in Chicago.
Loretta told me she didn’t want the ceremony to be too formal, which is why she painted her nails neon orange (love!) and wore a simple lace dress. Even though they weren’t inside a church or in front of a large audience, the two said the experience was very emotional. Loretta shed a single tear while Almond recited his vows.
Afterward, Loretta and her mom embraced in a tender hug, silently letting the tears flow.
When we took family portraits, Almond brought out oversized plastic-framed glasses for everyone alternatively to try on. It was silly and fun! Just one example of the couples awesome, creative taste (did I mention Almond is a super talented graphic designer?).
From there, we took a walk around the Observatory for more pictures. They were so sweet with each other, hardly containing their smiles of joy.
Thank you so much Almond and Loretta for letting me share in your ceremony! It was beautiful and touching. All the best…
Xiyun and Ben have a remarkable story that spans continents and years. I feel like I’m more exotic and interesting just by photographing their wedding. Xiyun and I first started a correspondence back in March, when she e-mail me about her wedding from China. They were living in Beijing at the time, so meeting in person was impossible. I still hoped to get to know them a little more, so I asked Xiyun if she’d share more about their relationship with me. She wrote:
“Okay, and now the story of how we met. This is kind of a crazy story, which I’m sure you’ll hear many times over at the wedding. My fiance’s name is Ben Foster. He’s english (tiny little town near manchester), we met in beijing (where I was born and where I grew up until the age of seven) in the summer of 2004 while I was taking a year off from college. Within a week of meeting him, I had these crazy plans to move to Tunisia (another totally long story, which can be boiled down to: I more or less threw a dart at a map). After knowing each other for about two weeks, (I pushed back my original flight a week) he bought a flight to Tunisia to visit me. We had this insane on again off again transpacific relationship between Beijing and Tunis and then Beijing and Rhode Island while I was still in school at Brown. We split up a for two years because the thought of keeping up a relationship while I still had two years left at school was too daunting. But then i graduated, did some traveling around more random parts of the world and moved back to beijing about 3 years ago, and we’ve never looked back. And that’s the short version.” 🙂
So we now live in Beijing, where Ben runs a motion graphics studio (http://www.39degreesnorth.tv/) and I’m a translator/researcher/occasional writer for the New York Times. After the wedding, we’re moving to new york together, where I’ll be starting law school in the fall.
We generally spend our time arguing over books and movies and tv shows (he claims that I refuse to like anything great that he discovered first). I cook a lot and sometimes write about it, so he eats a lot, and we high five each other even more often for being lucky enough to eat so much. We have both traveled a lot separately in the past, but we’ve not been to enough places together, something we’re hoping to remedy in the future. He plays in a band, so I sometimes go to his gigs in an attempt to compensate for my super asian nerdy teenage years.”
That’s the short version. From the stories guests shared at their wedding and speeches from family and friends, the long version includes travel, adventure, and more chemistry than a high school science class. I feel so lucky to have photographed such an expressive, interesting, and inspiring couple. Here’s to both of you! I hope you have many many years of fun adventure together!
The first time Kathlyn and I talked on the phone back in the winter it felt like we were old friends. She is a fellow Missouri Journalism school graduate, so we immediately commiserated over shared stories of the J-slums (dilapidated apartments filled with over caffeinated aspiring reporters and broadcast students) and tail gating. We also shared a love for travel, which lead to the story of her and David. The two met on the streets of Italy one evening. David was actually on a date with a local, when Kathlyn came on the scene. While the Italian woman was native to the country, Kaitlyn had something that stole David’s attention away-she too was from Illinois originally.
Now the two live in California, but not for long. but maybe not for long. After David completes a three-year intensive graduate program in Middle Eastern studies, they may be on the road again. Who knows where they’ll head next!
Wow! Did I mention how nice they are too? Their family and friends were extremely welcoming me, making me feel right at home through the entire day. Thanks so much Kat and David.
Becky and Darnell were married 30 minutes outside of Chicago in Arlington Heights, IL. I was able to spend sometime with the couple a little before their wedding during their engagement session. They’re fun, funny, and kind people. I love Becky’s easy going laugh and Darnell’s quiet sense of humor.
Their day was full of family-including three lovely flower girls who wooed myself and second shooter Tom Root. They were Becky’s little helpers dressed like mini-me’s in layered white fabric. One of my favorite moments was when Becky captured their attention, and like magic, had them all sitting patiently as she spun them a fairytale-patiently for two minutes, but hey, that’s a lot for a day full of hustle and bustle!
Big thanks to Tom Root who seconded with me on this one!