Behind the scenes at MDE

May 12, 2011

Recently, one of our brides asked me what I love most about my job. The first thing that came to my mind was, “to tell a story -to tell YOUR story.” I know that every bride has a story – from how she met her groom to how together, they choose to celebrate their marriage with friends and family on their wedding day. This is not just my job, but a privilege and my passion to work with our fabulous couples to bring their love story to life on their wedding day…. But I think the most magical part of my job is that at the end of the day, when my job is finished, it is just the beginning of that couple’s story…And, there is something so spectacular and hopeful about that. And of course, when we have the opportunity every so often  to put ourselves in front of the camera and share with you our own story;  with some of the VERY talented individuals and companies that we are lucky enough to work with, we CAN’T resist! We were able to do just that earlier this month when we did a photo shoot for our ad for the June issue of Chicago Social Brides Magazine.


When you are in this industry inspiration can be found in every corner of the world, and from every colleague…and about 5 or 6 weeks ago, I saw the trailer for the movie “Water for Elephants” and fell in LOVE with Reese Witherspoon’s vintage, glamourous look and I just knew I wanted to do something inspired by what I felt. So, over a fabulous dinner with the even more fabulous and talented Scott and Cara Nava of Carasco Photography , I shared my idea. And, as always, they were on board from the word go and brought even more creativity to my fledgling idea. The really cool thing about working with the same people throughout the years is that you develop a bond and you become like family, because they just get it. They are in the trenches with you, working the same long hours, up early and to bed late, sometimes sacrificing weekends and holidays to do this job. Once you have that bond and that friendship, any opportunity to work together is not only fun but creates such synchronicity the idea you are looking to bring to fruition really comes to life in brilliant high definition. This is always the case with Scott and Cara and I just LOVE them for that! And along with the love and beauty of each and every one of their couples, their passion just shines through every single memory that they capture on film.


In addition to Scott and Cara, we had the immense pleasure of working with the truly talented Kim Edstrom Schiller and Sara Jenkins-Sutton of Topiarius. These lovely ladies bring such creativity, personality and style to the table (literally and figuratively!) that when I sat down to discuss details with Kim about this shoot we ended up chatting for over two hours! Time flies when inspiration takes over!


What I love about working with both Kim and Sara is their attention to detail. For example, you may notice the small white horse featured on the table in the shoot. This was something that they brought to one of our very first collaborative shoots and has now become my own little good luck charm (as many  of you may know, I am an avid horse lover and have horses of my own!). This is the kind of creativity and personal touch that emanates through all of their lovely design work. Check out their FABULOUS floral design book here


So, now that I knew Scott and Cara would be shooting and Kim and Sara would be designing this little idea, it started to

not feel so little – and I started to get really excited. What is the next item on the list to keep bringing this idea to life? Models! And I was stumped. Everyone that had signed on thus far were friends and colleagues who I felt comfortable with because I know them…so I started thinking, “How can I bring that same feel to the couple that will be the center of my company’s story?…” and then it hit me – Who better to be a bride and groom than one of our ACTUAL MDE couples! The first person to spring to mind was out May 21st bride, the beautiful, spirited Heather Landies, and her sweetheart of a groom, Mark Allen. These two have such a great chemistry and love between them, and we have so enjoyed working on bringing their wedding to life that we were thrilled when they decided to be a part of our day!

Now that we had a bride, of course we needed a beautiful gown! Thanks to the incredibly gracious Susan Metropoulos, the proprietress of The Left Bank, “a petite haven for French-inspired gifts and a must-stop for brides shopping for beautiful wedding shoes, bridal accessories and a delightful place to indulge in bijoux (that’s jewelry, of course!) ,” We were fortunate enough to have a gown from the Fancy New York, collection, and along with the “Caroline” gown (a lovely satin faced organza, belted, sleeveless dress with a ruffled detail both at the fitted bodice and the hem of the skirt) she also provided all of the accessories that you see on Heather in the photos.



My dear friend Alexandra Jusino of Exquisite Designs Chicago came on board, providing pipe and drape as well as her talent, creativity and (my favorite of all her MANY traits) – her humor! Alex is truly one of the most amazing women I have been lucky enough to get to know and have as a friend and mentor. As our good friend Ali would say, “SHE ROCKS!”


So, now that we had our gorgeous couple, beautiful gown and accessories, fabulous floral and phenomenal photography – we needed a killer location, and Scott and Cara presented the opportunity to do the shoot at the Conrad Hilton on Chicago’s famed Rush Street, in the heart of the Gold Coast. The Grand Terrace Suite boasts 450 square feet of suite quarters with a king sized bed. The 1,000 square feet of terrace space offers breath-taking views of the Magnificent Mile and Lake Michigan.


Now we had almost everything in place. The final pièce de résistance?! – makeup and hair.This is always one of my favorite elements of a photo shoot. I will use any excuse that I can to sit down with experts and have them transform me into a better version of myself! It is just SUCH FUN! The beautiful, talented and fabulous Robyn Tornabeni of RBombshell Beauty, Inc brought out our inner bombshells,  and the lovely Aga Kaskiewicz provided all of the makeup.


So from the very bottom of my heart I thank each and every person who brought their talent and passion to making this day so much fun and truly beautiful. I hope you enjoy the photos and find your very own inspiration in them!


Personally, I can’t wait until the next time! 🙂



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