When I first met with Ulana and Mark over Zoom, I knew their wedding at The Field Museum of Chicago would be nothing short of extraordinary! They hold both their Ukrainian and Catholic heritages close to their hearts and wanted to infuse them into their wedding day. One thing I love most about cultural weddings is how they slow things down for the couple and their loved ones to savor and enjoy instead of feeling rushed.
Getting Ready at the Blackstone Hotel
To begin, the wedding crew started getting ready at The Blackstone Hotel, which is a stunning addition to the Autograph Collection of premium Marriott hotels. The ornate gold trim and accents make the iconic hotel a place of luxury and intrigue—the perfect backdrop for fine art portraits like these. Even the rooms and suites where the party got ready had unique characteristics, like the bride’s circular window ledge, where we took some amazing, artistic photos to start the day.
Ironically, during their first phone call with me, the couple was concerned that they weren’t very photogenic. As you can see, that couldn’t be further from the truth! They just needed some guidance and fun, creative compositions to boost their confidence. As we worked together and they loosened up, I deemed them professional models. They looked like naturals in front of the lens (and they seemed to have quite a bit of fun with it, too)!
First Look at Grant Park
They were great even on their own, but the chemistry blossomed even more when they came together for their first look. (Before heading to Grant Park for their intimate first look, Ulana and I stopped by the immaculate golden staircase in the Blackstone Hotel lobby for a couple of glamour bridal shots). Then, we met up with Mark for their priceless first look and a few couple’s photos at the park.
The Ukrainian Wedding Blessing
After the first look, we went to Ulana’s parents’ gorgeous home for a blessing before their ceremony at St. Joseph Ukrainian Catholic Church. I absolutely love going with couples to places that are meaningful to them. And even though I am not Ukrainian (I grew up in the Czech Republic, about a 5-hour drive from the Ukrainian border), I felt so at home with them. There were a few bits and pieces that felt nostalgic for me as well. Their traditions and warm welcome come alive, and it’s an incredibly immersive experience. I’m honored to have photographed that part of the day for them.
Chicago Wedding at St. Joseph Ukrainian Catholic Church
Then, it was time for their beautiful church for a ceremony at St. Joseph Ukrainian Church, where Ulana and Mark looked like royalty with green crowns adorning their heads. Every part of the ceremony felt so sacred as they exchanged heartfelt vows. They left the church as smiling newlyweds, and we went right next door to the Palmer House for newlywed photos because that is where they went for a first date. I must say, those photos were epic! (And peep the cute inflatable flying pup who made a few appearances in honor of their real four-legged friend.)
A Grand Wedding Reception at the Field Museum of Chicago
We went from one meaningful place to another throughout the day. After the Palmer House, we arrived at The Field Museum of Natural History for the reception. They grew up going to this museum for field trips, and Ulana even slept over in the museum as a child, so capturing their wedding in such an amazing venue was pretty cool.
Yanni Designs did a fantastic job transforming the venue into something truly spectacular with the greenery and floral arrangements at the Field Museum of Chicago. Meanwhile, we took more fun photos with the whole wedding party around the museum.
After the dinner speeches, Ulana and Mark had a live band to accompany them on the dance floor, and Ulana changed into a super fun cocktail dress later at night. All in all, this was a wedding day I’ll never forget. Cheers to the happy couple!
Book Your Digital Wedding Photo Booth
They also booked a photo booth with us to create more unique photos of all the guests. Photo booths are entertainment in and of themselves, like a mini interactive event within the wedding. Plus, the guests can create even more memories from their wedding day. It is a self-run digital photo booth where people can take photos, gifs, or boomerangs and instantly share them to their phones or download them later from the online gallery. It is a great addition to the wedding day, and the guests always love it.
Connect with us to learn more about our services and ask about the photo booth.