Travis and Stephanie met in the college dorms at the University of Chicago. Their chemistry was undeniable from the first time they met; however, dating Stephanie would violate Travis’ #1 rule as a college senior – NO DATING FRESHMAN. After months of flirting, Travis finally decided to break his own rules and they started dating in April 2007. Two months later, Travis graduated and moved to St. Louis for graduate school while Stephanie finished her degree in Chicago. They continued to date long-distance for 7 years as they pursued their careers in different states. Travis traveled back and forth between St. Louis and Chicago almost every weekend. In 2014, Travis followed Stephanie to LA so they could finally live together and get married. Their August 2014 Chicago wedding was an absolute dream, but tragically the photos didn’t turn out. The devastation of the photography nightmare was quickly cast aside as they got pregnant with their first child. Now, nearly two years after the wedding, they finally have wedding photos that reflect the true magic and romance of their wedding day!
FROM THE BRIDE // We are about the moments, about being so in love that you can feel it when you get close, about the twirl of our beautiful daughter in her dress. We are about family and friends and joy and laughter. These are the things that inspired us both for our wedding day. We wanted to capture the essence of who we are together and so we chose our beautiful venue, surrounded by hills and horses, choosing with intention the day of the summer solstice, celebrating on the longest day of the year. What better than a midsummers day with enchanting yellow and white bouquets of flowers, feathers and dreamcatchers and of course marrying my love.
It was the perfectest of days for us, the energy was so full of love, my shy daughter as flower girl, a very dear friend performing our ceremony. There was laughter, there were tears and there was dancing. Through all of that y favorite part was seeing Michael waiting for me as I walked down the aisle, the shimmer of tears in his eyes as he met might, the knowing that this was so right. And our first dance, so romantic and full of love and so full of silliness and laughter as we changed up the music so our 2 year old daughter could join us! And the couples dance, we had so many married couples, we decided to dedicate a dance for them and it was just so amazing and wonderful watching everyone get on the dance floor together, embracing each other and just genuinely feeling the love.
So many aspects of planning a wedding are important, choosing the right vendors to work with, but the most important vendor for us was our photographer ( and the food!). We wanted to make sure we chose a team that would celebrate with us, be passionate about day, to be able to trust that the moments would be captured, especially the moments we didn’t know were there. We chose Sun and Sparrow because their photo have an almost ethereal magic to them.Their photos seem to come to life, just beautiful photos that would capture everything. And can I just say…a photographer willing to face the elements! (Thank you Tiffani for also doing our stunning rainy day engagement photos!)
To brides planning their wedding now, don’t forget to include your fiance in this process,,,even if they just want to do a little bit. Find your rhythm, and go with it, enjoy the whole journey, even the lows of it. It will be an amazing day no matter what! When the day finally arrives, just remember you are there to marry your love, if some piece of that day doesn’t come together the way you planned – its really ok- you will be the only one who knows, everyone else will be all eyes on you two!
What is our favorite part of being married? We have been together for many, many years, we have a two year old daughter that we adore and so we thought things would remain relatively the same, but they didn’t, things got so much better. We see each other differently, we are husband and wife, we have made that commitment to our family, to the journey. Its a great feeling being married!
Shout out to – Dress – Kirstie Kelley, Shoes – Frea Rose, Necklace – Special made by Kelly Morgen, Earrings – BHLDN, Hair and Make-up – Mariah Nicole, Venue and food – Calamigos Equestrian, MC – Dave Mancini, Flowers – Flowers by Dan, Cake – Portos bakery.
This day was everything we ever imagined and more, it was filled with smiles, laughter, and overflowing love. Looking back, we wish we had more time and wished things happened in slow motion, we even joke about wanting to do it all over again just minus the 9 months of planning. ADVICE: Live in the moment J
As soon as we got engaged we couldn’t wait to start planning. We had always envisioned a rustic, shabby chic, garden wedding. So next step was to start looking on our Pinterest boards where we had millions of ideas. All we had to do was narrow them down, find our favorites, and either DIY or find a vendor who could replicate that exact look and feel. From shopping locally in the south bay to ordering our incredible flower dresses from our favorite place to travel in Thailand everything came together. ADVICE: At the beginning planning everything will seem overwhelming, but if you take each step together you will start to unveil the dream wedding you always imagined.
Next big hurdle for us was to choose our vendors, which took multiple calls, Skype sessions, and even in person interviews to ensure we all had the same vision. ADVICE: As said by our DJ – Michael “If you are not getting the name on the door (one of the owners), then keep looking.” We can honestly say we couldn’t agree more, which lead us to the best! Between our coordinator/florist (A Touch of Lavender by Cindy Wu), our DJ (Ovation Entertainment by Michael McNeil), our fabulous hair and makeup team (Nicol Makeup Artistry by Kimberley Nicol, w/ Aubrey & Lindsey), and most of all our INCREDIBLE photographers (Sun & Sparrow by Tiffani & Elli). They all truly made our day flawless, beautiful and carefree!
We originally fell in love with Sun and Sparrow when Katie saw photos from her friend Larissa’s wedding on Facebook. The photo was incredible and they truly captured the love they had for each other. Once we met with Tiffani, we immediately knew we had to have them be a large part of our wedding. So we decided to have them shoot our wedding and engagement session. Both of their attention to detail and kindness make you feel like you are the only two people in the room. ADVICE: Taking posed photos is always awkward but not when you are with them. They are both so fun and thoughtful, which helps to ensure no hiccups along the way.
The biggest piece of advice we could give any Bride and Groom would be, DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF. All of the work leading up to the wedding, no matter how impossible it seems… it will all work out and be worth it in the end. Don’t loose sight of what your wedding is all about, the celebration of the two of you becoming one. The day is all about you so be selfish and remember it only happens ones. Your wedding day will truly fly by so try and absorb every moment.
Michael – “My favorite part of being married is, the smirk on her face when I call her my wife J”
Katie – “My favorite part of being married is, marrying the man who has the same vision in life as me and makes the best out of any and all situations. I am truly the luckiest girl in the world, I get to live life with my best friend, partner in crime and the man who makes me feel like I am the only woman in the room. Oh, and moving up in the alphabet ;)”
DIY: Arbor, BAR marquee lights, table numbers, all wood signs, favors, lanterns, fabric curtain, place card doors, cake table décor, and much much more, couldn’t be completed without help from our amazing parents, sister in-law, brother in-law & bridal party.
When the time came for us to start planning our wedding, we knew that we wanted our décor to be soft and romantic. Slowly but surely, the little things began to come together. Like many couples, we embraced DIY projects and had a blast with them. We built, painted, drew, hand wrote, and designed as much as we possibly could. Not only is DIYing an obvious money-saver, but it allowed us to have a customized wedding day that was unique to our personal style as a couple. That was really our goal from the start, and when we walked into the venue on the big day, we knew we nailed it. Seeing your vision come together is such an amazing feeling, and we were so pleased with all the small details!
But there is no greater feeling than marrying the person that you love. During our ceremony, it truly felt as if we were the only people in the world. Staring into each other’s eyes and sharing our vows was surreal and overwhelming. We rubbed each other’s hands and smiled proudly the entire time. It rained all morning, and it was very humid all evening. We quickly got off schedule, and our champagne coupes broke and never made it onto our table. The father-of-the-groom had a huge cut on his head, and the bottom of my dress got dirty and ripped. The cake was served too late, and one of our flower girls jumped into a huge puddle. So many things did not go the way that we had planned. And yet, none of it mattered. Everything melted away except for the two of us. It may not have been the perfect day that we expected, but it was certainly perfect for us.
Future brides—don’t sweat the small stuff. You’re getting married, and a few hiccups in your day couldn’t possibly ruin the beauty of that. Just grab your groom’s hand and look at his smile. Everything else is just a bonus.
Our wedding day was amazing. It was everything we dreamed of and more. We had all of our family and friends with us, they traveled from near and far, just to be with us on our special day. My day started off with finishing up our wedding cake. I still had to cover the top cake with fondant and lace and put the flowers all over it. I was crazy for doing this, it took so long. While all my girls were getting ready, I was decorating our cake. This put me behind on getting my hair and makeup done, which then put us behind on leaving to our venue for pictures. This was my only stress on our wedding day. I am so happy that Sun & Sparrow was there. Tiffani made sure we were still able to get all the ‘getting ready’ shots, and then all of the shots at our venue. When I first saw Shon, during our “first look” all of my stress went away. I knew nothing else mattered that day, now that he was with me again. I couldn’t stop crying when I saw him. He was the man I was about to marry and spend the rest of my life with. Nothing could get me down that day. Once we did all of our photos with our family, we had a couple moments to ourselves before we said our I do’s. It was like the calm before the storm. It was so peaceful and magical. We said our I Do’s and we were finally married!! We could finally party and enjoy everything we had worked so hard to plan. Our reception was wonderful! Wonderful food, wonderful music, fun games, and loving people all around. It was everything we had dreamed it to be. It was the best day of our lives!!!
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR WEDDING? // The inspiration behind our wedding was rustic/romantic. We wanted to get married in a forest and be surrounded by trees, since Shon is from Oregon, we wanted to bring a little of that into our wedding. We wanted it to feel very homey and like love was in the air.
WHAT WAS THE MOST MEMORABLE/FAVORITE PART ABOUT YOUR WEDDING DAY? // Shon: Seeing my bride, and getting married. I will always remember our first look.
Lena: Finally seeing Shon after being apart from him all day. And finally being able to marry him and call him my husband. I also loved that our dog Penny could be there, that made me feel more relaxed. I will never forget how loved we felt that day. Having our closest friends and family with us on such a memorable day, was amazing. It was also perfect weather, our whole wedding was all outside, we couldn’t have asked for better weather. We felt so blessed and so loved, we will never forget this day!!
WHY WAS PHOTOGRAPHY IMPORTANT TO YOU AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE SUN & SPARROW? // I always knew I needed to have photography at my wedding. I can’t always remember the little details, so I wanted someone to be there to capture all the little things and moments I wouldn’t be able to see. Once I became friends with Ellie, and later Tiffani, and I saw their work, I knew I wanted them to be my wedding photographers.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR BRIDES WHO ARE CURRENTLY IN THE PLANNING PROCESS? // It is never too soon to start planning! I can’t believe all the last minute little details that snuck up on us. It was crazy! We were blessed to have all of our family and friends around to help, but there are some things that only the bride and groom can do. Make sure all of your vendors are on the same page, and you have someone to be your day of coordinator. Mine helped so much! She took care of all the setup and communicating with the vendors. I didn’t have to think of anything on my wedding day!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF BEING MARRIED NOW? // My favorite part of being married now is being able to call Shon my husband. We have since moved and we are enjoying married life, just the two of us and our dog. It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for us, being married has brought us closer together. It’s so amazing to be married, to have my best friend with me all the time.
PLEASE COMMENT BELOW AND TELL SHON & LENA HOW MUCH YOU LOVE THEM!!