Jennifer & Roy 11.09.18


The Meeting

Jennifer and Roy met through online dating back in 2014. They had both been in long-term relationships before dipping into the unknown waters of online dating.

JR-25.jpgWe were each other’s first match right out of the gate… and forever.

The First Date

We went out for fondue at Gejas in Chicago.  Roy was on time, and due to terrible traffic coming from work, I was VERY late.  When I saw him and he wasn’t upset whatsoever, I knew he was a special person. Roy’s patience was further tested during our meal when I continued to lose my tofu in the fondue!  He, as always, helped me out so I didn’t starve. He also gave me glitter crayons, since I LOVE to color. I still have them to this day.

The Moment

JR-449.jpgIt sounds simple, but from the sheer easiness of being together, I knew I wanted to marry Roy.  All relationships require work, time and patience; but, this one always feels like we are working in the same direction.  And we laugh all the time. Nothing is ever so serious that we can’t make it work out.

The Shared Song

JR-745We sing a lot of songs in our house, and our shared Spotify playlist really runs the spectrum of genres!  Because she’s such a talented musician, great writer and puts on a HELL of a show, our song is Butterflies by Kacey Musgraves.  If you haven’t heard it, go do it now.

The Proposal

We went on a road trip in October 2016 to buy the ring from a small jeweler (because walking into the store to buy a cookie cutter item isn’t our style). Though I knew what the ring looked like, I still wanted to have a surprise to the proposal.  I used to tease and tell him that he should just give it to me—that I wore it around the house when he wasn’t home. But, he said to wait until the time is right.JR-3 The “right time” was just a regular day. Roy likes to go on what we call “Roy-ventures,” where he just hops in the car, puts on some music or a podcast and goes for a drive alone, or with our dog Sarge (who loves to be in the car).  On January 6, 2017, after work and kinda late, Roy asked me to go on a Roy-venture with him. It was cold outside, and I was already in my pj pants and a sweatshirt…I wasn’t into it. Then, when he asked, my response was, “Do I have to put on a bra?”  Finally, he talked me into it, and we packed up Sarge and hopped in the car.

JR-437.jpgAs we were driving, we were just talking and having a good time.  We made our way toward Chicago, and I began pointing out all kinds of places we’d gone to on dates.  Roy pointed out others, and then talked about places that we should go to in the future. Then, he pulled to a stop, and he asked me to look at the time.  It was now 1-7-17—the beginning of a new year and the beginning of our new phase of our life together.

The Wedding Day

I truly loved every single minute of the day, but if I had to choose, it was when we performed a vow renewal ceremony for our guests.  Roy and I really wanted to emphasize that this day was not just about us on our day, but about love and how much potential love has to overcome everything.  JR-513.jpgSo, as a surprise to our guests, Roy and I became ordained online. We wrote a short ceremony and invited all of our guests who wanted to take the time to renew their own wedding vows to each other to do so.  It was an amazing thing to see the love that made each of us as individuals be renewed as we began our next adventure together! One of my favorite pictures Nicole captured for us was of my parents during the vow renewal.  I get choked up thinking about it now!!


The DressJR-13.jpg

Jennifer’s dress was from Bride’s by Young Collection at Brides By Young in Schaumburg, IL. Roy’s Roy’s Custom Barong Tagalog was made by Lupita of Philippine’s Finest Barong in Forest Glen (Chicago, IL).

JR-435The Venue

Roy and I knew that we were going to have a wedding that would be on the smaller side, as we wanted to really invest in giving our guests the best experience we could without breaking the bank.  We wanted a venue that was going to be unique and the Haight did not disappoint! The Haight was the ONLY venue we visited, as we booked the next day with no regrets. The venue itself allowed us to not have to do too much to the atmosphere, so we could customize smaller details–really making our day so personal.


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The history of the building appealed to us as well, and all of the industrial yet artistic touches everywhere throughout the building really gave us the opportunity to create a customized experience for our guests.  There will never be enough good things to say about the staff either. They are kind, responsive and so organized that I was stress free. Their list of vendors was also a great guide–planning a wedding is so overwhelming with choices that having a set of people that you know are great really helped ease the process.  The day of staff (Lauren!!) was also phenomenal. Their help allowed me to take a nap in the bridal suite—I was so relaxed!!!


The Advice

Remember that your wedding day is the celebration of you as a couple and where you are at your lives in that moment. Stop at different times throughout the day and think about that fact.  Take that moment when you approach your partner for the first time in front of your group of loved ones. Take the moment when you dance. Take that moment when you walk out of the ceremony.


Decide what you want to spend your money on!  Prioritize what’s going to be most important to you as you look back, and spend your money there. For us, it was photos (since they last a lifetime) and food (because we love to eat!).


If you’re crafty, don’t feel like you have to make everything yourself! You will go down a rabbit hole of fun ideas, but don’t let it be stressful.

The Shoutouts


Custom keychain place cards were made by MyCraftedStudio on Etsy. Custom Cookie Favors were courtesy of Sweetbox Boutique. Photographer, Nicole Vega of The Still Life Photography. Food and set up by Cuisine America. Hair and Makeup by Cassie and Mariah of Blushing Bride.


The Vendors
Photographer: The Still Life Photography
Florals: Town & Country Gardens | Catering: Cuisine America
Cake & Sweets: The Sugar Path  | DJ: DJUj
Hair/Makeup: Blushing Bride | Alcohol: Drinks on Me Catering

Samantha & Chris 10.05.18


Meeting & Falling in Love

Samantha and Chris first met in 2006 while playing Xbox Live games. Samantha was 16 at the time and, as she did quite often with her best friend, would form friendships over the online gaming platform.



I eventually became friends with a good-looking gamer over Uno (yes, the card game). The cute gamer’s friend then entered the scene, who ended up wooing myself with his sultry voice  over mic chat. Soon we were talking to each other every day. Even though he was miles away in North Dakota, Chris became one of my best friends. We would talk for hours and our conversations spanned over every intimate detail of our lives. Chris eventually bit the bullet and traveled to Chicago to finally meet me. When he arrived, however, I wasn’t there! I never showed up to meet him because I was insecure, scared, and not ready to have such a major change in my life. Chris went to my parents house in hopes that I’d be there, but I wasn’t. I actually escaped to a friend’s house in fear, knowing that Chris had my home address and would look for me there first. Defeated, he left a book of poetry with my mom’s boyfriend at the time and went back to North Dakota. We didn’t speak for a year after this incident and the book of poetry would lay, forgotten and unread, underneath my bed.


After the year of silence passed, I came across the book and finally read its contents. Feeling the undeniable love he felt for me through his words, I immediately knew that I had made the biggest mistake in my life by running away from him—I not only lost my best friend, but the man I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I sent Chris a MySpace message apologizing to him and hoping there could still be a friendship between us. Chris replied that he didn’t want to be friends…instead, he loved me and never stopped loving me. 48972801_10218244041002199_358807516437544960_oHe wanted nothing but to try and figure out this thing between us.

Love will always find a way.

In 2009, we decided to try meeting again and this time, I didn’t run. I instantly recognized Chris as he walked towards me at O’Hare. It was a surreal experience to finally see each other in person for the first time, after all of these years of talking. I was so enamored to see Chris… I never stopped staring at him and smiling—he still jokes about it this to this day. Things moved pretty fast from there, we lived together for a year in Colorado, then returned to Chicago. We blossomed those following years, creating a deeper bond with not only ourselves but all of the friends and family that watched us grow together. We continuously made things better for each other, always having positive outlooks amid any situation.



The Quirkiest Things

I love her sense of humor, her kind heart, her patience, talking about deep things such as philosophy and religion as well as her artistic abilities; she is a wonderful painter and musician. She is also an outstanding mother to our daughter and that is a quality I admire.


I love that Chris and I are not afraid to be ourselves in front of each other. I love that we make each other laugh hysterically at least once a day. I love that Chris will come up to me and we will just stop what we are doing and grab me to dance with him with or without music. I love that we try to teach and show each other things we are passionate about because we love each other so much that we want each other to love what we love. I love so much that we can work together the hardest we will ever work—to teach and give so much love to our baby girl, Luna. He truly is my best friend.

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The Proposal

49106978_10218243758075126_2581973543369572352_o.jpgIn 2014, the first heavy snowfall of the season prompted us to bundle up and play in it (as we did every year). We walked hand in hand around the town, enjoying the silence when suddenly Chris stopped and turned towards me. He got down on one knee and proposed. It was such a dream come true on a beautiful snowy evening, there were no other words except, “YES!”


The Wedding Day

49206525_10218243915879071_2742007782914916352_o.jpgMy favorite part of the wedding was finally getting to read the vows I had written Chris almost 5 years before the wedding. I love that I get to have the BEST last name ever (Sweet). I loved having our family dance with our baby girl, Luna. I loved all of our closest family and friends there to celebrate with us. I really loved EVERYTHING about that perfect day, even dancing to Metallica (requested by Chris) with all of our friends.. WHO PLAYS METALLICA AT THEIR WEDDING?… The Sweet family does!


The Wedding Venue

48997546_10218243842997249_5735896564308639744_oWhen we walked into The Haight and saw the beautiful drapery, the seats and everything set up, Chris turned to me and said, “Yep! This is the place!”—taking the words right out of my mouth. The bridal suite wasn’t there when we had first seen it and it turned out to be EVERYTHING! We are so happy to have chosen The Haight. All of our friends and family said they LOVED our wedding location. The farm tables are gorgeous and all of the decorations and help from the staff made everything a dream come true! Best decision ever!


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The Marriage

48991592_10218244108803894_8008454590590615552_o.jpgI love my new name. It took a while to get used to husband and wife, but we did try to go out of our way to say it for the first couple of months. Ha! Our relationship has for the most part stayed the same considering we had been living with each other for years before we got married. There is less anxiety now that the wedding planning is over with and now that people are treating us as husband and wife. I feel more secure and it has made me want to be better. The more we are together, the better we understand each other, and the more in love we are!


The Dress & Tux49205965_10218244042042225_3178708736038404096_o.jpg

I got my dress from David’s Bridal and it was designed by Oleg Cassini. The tux was a custom suit from Men’s Warehouse.

The Advice

Take it all in! Patience when planning and with each other during planning. Don’t work towards the expectations of others and invest in your marriage! WRITE YOUR OWN VOWS!! It was my favorite part of our wedding!

The Shoutouts

48428790_10218243823196754_6775656156091121664_oNicole at The Haight was honestly SO AMAZING! She gave me the best ideas and helped me set everything up perfectly. Cuisine America brought us food on our day and let us borrow so many things from them! We loved that they are family-owned and how sweet and beautiful they were to us! We loved the entire experience working with them! Town and Country Gardens were so talented and did such beautiful work—I’m still obsessed with my flowers! Esther with Oh So Lovely Photography is SO talented and sweet…honestly one of the nicest people ever. We loved working with her!


Backthird Entertainment played everything and anything we asked for. They were AMAZING! We loved that The Sugar Path added our little cookie from Kingdom Hearts and Nina was so sweet and attentive! We loved our cake tasting and all of our choices! I can’t say enough about Craft Donuts! We LOVE their donuts so much and donuts are Chris’ favorite food! Concept One Photography did a great job on the photo-booth and I’m so grateful to my really good friend, Loni Lovely for my hair and makeup!


The Vendors
Photographer: Oh So Lovely Photography| Photo-booth: Concept One Photography
Florals: Town & Country Gardens | Catering: Cuisine America
Cake & Sweets: The Sugar Path & Craft Donuts | DJ: Backthird Entertainment
Hair/Makeup: Loni Westman | Alcohol: Drinks on Me Catering

Vendor Spotlight: SLT Makeup Artistry


Sarah Tjaden has been doing makeup professionally since 2011. She received her Illinois State Makeup Artistry Certification in 2011 and started focusing her energy into bridal beauty in 2015.

How did you get started? 

Screen Shot 2019-06-26 at 12.52.11 AM

LAF Lines Photography

I have always gravitated toward makeup since I was very young- typically leaving the grocery store with a new Lip Smacker when I would shop with my mom. In high school, I was the friend that would help with friends’ hair and makeup for prom, homecoming, and other dances. The summer after I graduated college, I came across Makeup First: School of Makeup Artistry in Chicago in a Google search. I talked to my parents about getting certified and creating a bridal beauty business. They were extremely supportive, so I signed up for classes that night! My instructor, Jill Glaser, amped up my love for my craft and helped push me to make each application a perfect application.

What do you love most about doing makeup?

I love being able to help women see what makeup can do for them. I know that sounds cliché, but there are so many different ways to utilize makeup and it’s really cool when I’m able to educate my clients and share knowledge, that I’ve acquired over the years, of makeup. It’s very fulfilling to be able to empower women through makeup.



Why weddings? 

kristin getready4_16

Ashley Klemm Photography

When I was in middle school, I used to want to be a wedding planner and create beautiful weddings. I combined my love for makeup with my love for weddings and voilà! It’s also a great feeling knowing that I’m doing the beauty for an important day in someone’s life. The bride’s pictures and memories will last forever- I love being able to be a part of something so special.



What do you think makes you stand out among other make up artists?


Kara Evans Photography

Makeup artistry is so subjective; each artist has their own workflow and style to their craft. My approach to makeup is more along the lines of natural glam. I keep my client’s complexion flawless and enhance their natural features, so they still feel like themselves, just with a touch of glam. We save the cake for the table- not your face.



What’s your favorite part of a wedding day? 

LAF_5592- 2 crop

LAF Lines Photography

My favorite part of the wedding day is when I get to do my bride’s makeup application. Spirits are high, photographers are taking pictures, music is bumping, bridesmaids are taking selfies and it’s almost time for the show to go on. Whether I’m having a Zen moment with my bride or keeping up with the excitement, it’s an exciting feeling getting her ready to walk down the aisle.


Thara Photo

What advice do you have for newly engaged couples?

SLT Makeup_Habeeb_E_JM_DO-0251

Timothy Whaley and Associates

Don’t sweat the small stuff; pick and choose your battles; laugh together as often as possible.

Why do you love working with The Haight? 

I absolutely LOVE working with The Haight because of their culture. Their environment is fun and beautiful and that’s all thanks to their employees and owners. Not to mention, the space is absolutely stunning. We have a wonderful partnership and I could not be happier working with them!






Florals & Flurries Open House

Florals & Flurries

Friday marks the official start of summer and we LOVE the summer florals from this open house. The Haight hosted the Florals & Flurries winter open house on Tuesday, January 15th. Along with our current clients, we invited brides, grooms, and their friends/and or family members to check out the venue and meet a variety of wedding professionals and vendors for their big day.


Just over 200 guests joined us and had the opportunity to explore the space and get to know each of the vendors that helped make the night such a success!


Couples and their family members were able to try different foods and desserts like Graham’s Chocolate & Graham’s 318 Coffeehouse.  Fun music from Backthird Entertainment & Monastero Entertainment was just the cherry on top of a great evening!


Be sure to keep your eyes open for our next open house event! A lot of our vendors offer a discount if you book them at the event, so you don’t want to miss out!


The following were the featured vendors:

Catering: Belvedere BanquetsCuisine America | Pinstripes|Uncle Bub’s
Sweets & Treats: Herb’s BakeryGraham’s 318 CoffeehouseGraham’s Fine Chocolate & Ice Cream
Coffee Cart: FreshGround Roasting
Wedding and Event Coordination: Ashley Nicole Events
Hair & Makeup: Shine. Salon & Dry Bar
Florals: EdenTown & Country Gardens 
Photographer: Fox + Ivory Photography
Videographer: Newlyweds Cinema
Officiant: Rent-A-Rev
Event Entertainment: Backthird Entertainment | Monastero Entertainment | Caricatures By Rich
Invitations: Too Chic & Little Shab Design Studio, Inc.
Outfitters: Lorenzo’s Tuxedo
Rentals: Halls
Travel Agency: Guru Travel
Hotel: Courtyard Marriott Elgin/West Dundee

Madison & Brandon 11.11.18


The Meeting

Madison first met Brandon in high school—she was a freshman and he was a senior. Their first date was at Olive Garden on November 11, 2014.

DSC_5263The Moment

We knew we wanted to get married about 5-6 months into our relationship when Brandon got me a promise ring.

The Proposal

Brandon and I were moving from Illinois tounnamed Arizona and we decided to make our move into a road trip. We stopped in Colorado to visit my uncle, and he took me to a waterfall on a hike. He took me into the middle of the stream and it was there that he got down on one knee with so much confidence and asked me to marry him.


The Wedding DayDSC_5915.JPG

My favorite part of the wedding day was just spending it with him…dancing with my friends and family AND just so many photos! Oh yeah, and my dog!

The Venue

I fell in love with The Haight the first minute I saw it and I knew that everything else would fall together.








The Dress & TuxDSC_4019

Brandon’s stuff we got from Kohls. My dress was a limited Sherri Hill prom dress that began as just plain white, but I had a complete redesign done to it that I overall chose the design for. The redesign was done bGemma out here in Arizona.



The Advice

Make sure to get a GOOD photographer and videographer for the wedding (even if it’s just a friend). These photos will mean more to you than you know.




The Shoutouts

All of my vendors did such a fabulous job. Danny’s Pizza for food, David Leith for DJ, Mary Zygulski’s desserts through Danny’s Pizza, The Haight for my venue, and many, many more.




The Vendors
Photographer: Judith Rackow Photography| Florals: Jewel Osco
Catering, Late Night Food, Cake, & Sweets: Danny’s Pizza
DJ, Cocktail, & Ceremony Musician: David Leith| Alcohol: Drinks on Me Catering

Vendor Spotlight: Anthony Alanis

Photo Cred - Roni Rose Photography.pngHow Long Have You Been In The Business? 

I consider my first wedding on July 21, 2012—although I shot weddings for other companies starting in 2009.Photo Cred - Hitch & Sparrow

How Did You Get Started? 

After graduating from the Los Angeles Film School and moving back to Illinois, I spent a few years working freelance gigs. It wasn’t until I started second shooting weddings that I realized I had the ability to capture weddings on my own. The first wedding I shot I actually had to pay to film it—I filmed it for free and needed to rent a bunch of extra gear. I turned that one video into 3 clients the following summer, 5 clients the year after, etc.… and now I’ve been lucky enough to capture nearly 80 weddings!

Ryan & Kathryn – The Crawford Wedding from Anthony Alanis on Vimeo.

What Do You Love Most About Shooting Weddings?

 Weddings afford me the ability to raise my children during the day, edit until the early hours of the morning, and sleep on occasion.

Matt_Kristi1.jpgWhat Do You Think Makes Your Work Distinct? 

Simply put, filmmaking is storytelling. Every story has 3 parts: a beginning, middle, and an end. Too many times, I see a beautiful looking wedding video that leaves me feeling like I’m missing part of the story. I focus my attention on documenting the day as a whole, as candid as possible. You’re not going to get any crazy visuals or flashy edits, but you will end up with a video that tells the complete story of your wedding day.

Matt & Kristi – The Sterricker Wedding from Anthony Alanis on Vimeo.

What’s Your Favorite Part of a Wedding Day? Matt_Kristi2.jpg

No two weddings I’ve captured have ever been the same, yet there is ALWAYS coffee after dinner.

What’s Your Favorite Time of Year to Shoot?  

Every season has its advantages and disadvantages. In my experience, no weather has ever changed the outcome of a wedding day as long as the couple embraces it and has the best time possible! Although I used to dream of shooting a wedding in a blizzard until I did it 3 times in a row!

What Advice Do You Have For Newly Engaged Couples? 

Ryan_Kathryn2.jpgFind a vendor whose work you like but maybe more importantly, find someone you get along with!

Why Do You Love Working With The Haight? 

I was born and raised in Elgin so I tend to have a different perspective on The Haight than many other vendors. Growing up you’d see people getting married at the churches in Elgin, but their receptions were always somewhere else—different towns. When The Haight opened, it gave locals a beautiful space to host their weddings (or any event, really) but it has grown into something much larger. Ryan_Kathryn1.jpgNow you’ll find couples from all over the Chicagoland area coming to The Haight to have their wedding, bringing their families from all over the country and even the world to Elgin. It’s great for the community and I love anytime I can help The Haight provide a great experience for the families!

Mock Wedding at The Haight from Anthony Alanis on Vimeo.