Hey, I'm Chelsea.

I'm a Chicago wedding photographer and videographer who's on a mission to take the stress out of wedding planning, one anecdote, gif, and movie
quote at a time.

Amanda + José Luis’ Chicago loft wedding reminded me of something important:

As much as society tells us that weddings are all about pretty details + your dream venue, the people you surround yourself with are what really make a wedding perfect.

Ya’ see, A + JL originally had booked City View Loft for January 2021. Right smack dab in the middle of winter break (a very important prerequisite for a high school teacher who also coaches boys + girls soccer).

But as time went on, COVID evolved, and vaccines developed, they decided to postpone their wedding to the summer of 2021.

The problem? City View Loft didn’t have any summer availability. 

That’s when their caterer, LM Catering & Events (the same team behind City View Loft and Lacuna Lofts), saved the day by offering up their brand new South Loop venue—LM Studios.

Take a peek at their wedding highlight above and you’ll see what I mean:

Even though Amanda + José Luis didn’t exchange vows at their original “dream venue”, they managed to have a perfect wedding surrounded by their favorite people in the world.

Now, let’s break down all the stand-out moments of their day. ⬇️

Chicago Loft Wedding with a Mexican Flair

A Sentimental First Look

Amanda + José Luis decided to do their first look outside Gibson’s Italia—a not-so-secret spot with amazing views of Downtown Chicago. It also happened to have a special meaning for the couple:

It’s the exact spot where José Luis proposed to Amanda. 

While we were getting him in position, JL was looking out at the city and telling us all about the proposal. He had told Amanda that they were meeting her parents for dinner at the restaurant. She was getting annoyed that he was leading her to a park because they needed to make their reservation and she didn’t want to dick around.

… Let’s just say that this always-early photographer has never related to a bride more 🤣.

Related: The Pros and Cons of Doing a First Look on Your Wedding Day

An LM Studio Wedding

After some quick touch-ups and a chance to cool down (August heat is no joke), Amanda and José Luis said “I do”.

The ceremony was short and sweet but still jam-packed with the story of how they fell in love, vows through happy tears, and readings from the moms that I’d somehow never managed to hear before.

⬆️ Leave it to a high school English teacher to write one of the best ceremony scripts I’ve ever filmed.

If you’re thinking about having a friend marry you and writing is not your strong suit, check out these amazing officiant journals (created by my favorite wedding officiant, Liz Rae & Co). They’re full of prompts to help you write a personalized wedding ceremony.

Use the promo code WHITEQUILL at checkout to save 10%.

Once they had their first kiss and walked down the aisle, a mariachi band greeted them downstairs at cocktail hour.

After a quick room flip, guests were welcomed back upstairs. The reception kicked off with the couple’s grand entrance, a cake cutting*, delicious food, and toasts worthy of standing ovations.

*After a little bit of a struggle cutting through their still-frozen cake—but Amanda and José Luis handled it like champs (and only one f-bomb was dropped).

Bilingual Wedding Toasts and Multicultural Dance Moves

I will never forget one of the first things Amanda said to me when I met with her:

“When I watched one of your wedding videos—the one where the white Dad spoke Spanish—I knew I had to hire you. I can just see my Dad doing the same thing.”

7 months later, Amanda’s dad got up to give his welcome toast and greeted everyone in Spanish.

The cheers from the crowd were so loud, you couldn’t make out a single word. And, that was the theme of the toasts—whether given in English or Spanish. As soon as someone raised a glass, the crowd jumped up to their feet and cheered as loudly as they could.

And that beautiful blend of cultures carried over onto the dance floor, thanks to Style Matters. It was important to the couple that Mexican favorites blended seamlessly with “traditional” dance floor songs. Their DJ, Margot, took that in stride and did an amazing job mixing up a playlist that kept everyone on their feet.

In true White Quill fashion, we ended the night with a round of tequila, big hugs, and promises to grab more drinks soon.

^^ You can rest assured that we follow through on that promise every few months.

(Photo by Ed & Aileen, courtesy of the bride’s sister doing a great job at figuring out elaborate camera gear)

My Favorite Moment of the Day

During dinner, I saw Amanda sitting at the sweetheart table alone and went to check in. She gestured around the reception room.

I’m just taking it all in. This is the only time everyone will be together. Sure, at other weddings they will be together… but it’ll just be my side or his side. I’m just soaking up both our families being here together.

^^ That made my heart melt.

It’s so easy to forget about what really matters. At the end of the day, it’s about surrounding yourself with loved ones and soaking up every second.


AM Prep: Ambassador Chicago

Venue: LM Studio

Photography: Ed & Aileen Photography

Videography: White Quill Creative

Hair: Amato Hair Design (Mary Young)

Makeup: Beauty by Tassi (Monica)

Florist: Flowers for Dreams

DJ: Style Matters

Catering: LM Catering & Events

Cake: Vanille Patisserie

Invites: Minted