Back in August, Adena and I were invited to photograph the wedding of Kelley Fea and Anthony Kroeker. We have been friends of Kelley’s family for years, and her maid of honor suggested as they were scrambling to find photographers that they might give us a try. We talked it over and decided to sign on for the gig. It’s always harder to work for friends and family on gigs like this, as you feel the expectation is so much higher – weddings are a one-shot opportunity and we didn’t want to disappoint! When we met up with Kelley and her family at the Glencoe Golf and Country Club (the venue), we got even more nervous… we’re signed on to do it, and we need to work hard to get it right. Still, we are really glad we went, as it was a beautiful wedding with lots of fun people and a terrific theme. It would certainly be a day to remember!
There were two really neat things that Tony and Kelley did for this wedding: they used Lego, and they decided to make the whole wedding a masquerade theme. This really resonated with Adena and I as we absolutely love Venice, and dearly want to get back there some day. The wedding was in a small way a trip to another country, almost to another time for us. They whole day felt wonderful and classical, with so much of the rich family history we have come to expect from the Feas, and also found in the Kroekers.
We arrived early on in the day to further scout out our plans and locations for the rest of the day, as well as to photograph the setting before guests arrived and parties started. Tony and Kelley lucked out, as they got an absolutely bluebird day – wonderful weather for a wedding! Warm (but not too warm!), and almost not a cloud in the sky. Makes for tough outdoor photography when you’re capturing people! The Glencoe grounds were absolutely meticulously groomed, making it very photogenic. The reception hall itself (where they were holding both the ceremony and reception) was decked out in full masquerade regalia. Cirque du Soleil was represented, and the Doge of Venice would have been proud.
When the people started arriving, Adena and I split up to document both what the girls were doing to prepare, as well as the guys. This is the great thing about shooting with a partner like Adena on a project like this, it’s not so awkward for us to work directly with the people involved and be in the right place at the right time to be a photojournalist. Our big goal for the day was to be able to produce a set of pictures to tell the whole story, and it started there. This part was pretty interesting for me, personally, as I found out that Tony’s dad works with me! So, that just added further pressure. No problem, stick with it!
The ceremony itself was beautiful, and you could feel the happiness in the room as the wedding parties worked their way to the front. Even the pastor was in the masquerade mood! There were lots of laughs, and lots of tears, but there were also two very emphatic “yes” statements from Kelley and Tony, and that’s what you want in a wedding. Because we knew the people involved, I found myself grinning from ear to ear watching Tony, Kelley, their parents, and all their families go through the run of emotions that accompany a wedding. It really was great. Remember, keep shooting!
The family portraits we took afterwards were challenging, as the location we had (which was gorgeous) was also front-lit with full sun – one of the only disadvantages of a blue-bird wedding! The photo sessions we did with the wedding party and then Kelley and Tony on their own afterwards were a lot of fun, Kelley and Tony were very patient with us and good sports – we know that photographers can be annoying on your big day. We all resisted the urge to have golf cart races, and made our way back to the reception hall thanks to the dutiful schedule-tracking of the ushers.
Dinner was awesome, and Kelley and Tony danced for everyone, and the party that ensued was full-on. There were great people to meet, there was great food to be eaten, and a whole lot of dancing to be done. If you want to know how to make me happy at a wedding, make sure that the DJ at some point plays “Home for a rest” by the Spirit of the West, and make sure that there enough people in the crowd who know it such that the singing drowns out the speakers. That gets me every time. To top it all off, when the midnight snacks showed up, they were full of hot wings and nachos and they were right beside our table and photo HQ. It was as if Kelley and Tony had sung right to my soul.
Like it or not, every evening comes to an end, and so did Kelley and Tony’s wedding. There were lots of goodbyes, and lots of hugs, and lots of smiles, but I know first hand how tiring it is for a bride and groom to go through a perfect day like this one, and in the end you have to go home no matter how much you don’t want the fun to stop. That’s where we come in. When you get married, it’s often hard to just step aside and understand and take in all that’s going on around you, and understand all the people that are there just for you: they’re all too busy shaking your hand or hugging you. The images you see help you remember just how many times you hugged and greeted, and maybe remind you a little bit fondly of how much your cheeks hurt from smiling. It’s a wild ride, it’s a rush, and then you’re sitting in the back set of a car thinking “what just happened?” One of the most fun days of your life, that’s what.
This has been a long time coming. It would have happened a lot sooner, but I found out my monitor calibration meter was not ever designed for wide-gamut monitors (which I am editing on). Well, everything came out the other end yellow. Oops. So I had to do it again, but we’re very happy with the results! I hope you enjoyed the story of Kelley and Tony’s Masquerade wedding, and do visit the whole gallery here:
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this!