Summer Romance in Downtown Chicago: Julian + Tatyana

Happy Valentine’s Day! For some of us, today — more than any other day of the year — is about romance. And in the spirit of romance, I thought it only fitting to take a walk down memory lane to one of the gorgeous weddings Kirk and I were fortunate enough to photograph last summer. Before we start, let me just tell you…Julian and Tatyana are completely awesome (and totally gorgeous, as you’ll see). In fact, as we’ve corresponded throughout the wedding preparation and album design process, I’ve reflected several times about just how blessed I am to know these two. Laidback, witty, intelligent, organized, and oh so NICE…yeah, my kind of people. So preparing today’s blog post for you all left me feeling all sorts of warm and fuzzy — completely feeling the spirit of Valentine’s Day!

Julian and Tatyana met in Chicago while they were in grad school, both working on their doctorates in Economics. And while you may appropriately surmise that it was crunching numbers and cracking the books that brought them together, that’s certainly not what ignited the spark. One fateful day, they both decided to attend a mixer being thrown by the economics department, and that’s when he saw her across the room — her beautiful smile and stunning brown eyes made him weak at the knees. Fortunately, though, Julian quickly recovered, knowing he had a few tricks up his sleeve when it came to getting a beautiful girl to notice you. He walked across the room and introduced himself, realizing that she was even more beautiful than he’d first suspected. He decided he could bring nothing less than his “A” game. “So…you wanna come back to my place and play Rock Band?” Feeling adventurous, Tatyana smiled, accepted his unusual invitation, and accompanied him home…where he proceeded to win her heart with his mad (fake) guitar skillz. And the rest, as they say, is history!


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Tatyana’s dress was beyond stunning!

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While Tatyana was getting ready, her parents were preparing the “vykup nevesty,” a Russian wedding tradition that translates to “ransom for the bride.” Unbeknownst to Julian, Tatyana’s parents required that before he could see his beautiful bride, he had to complete a series of challenges to prove that he was worthy of marrying their daughter. The challenges included answering some trivia questions, singing, and even arm-wrestling his future father-in-law. SO FUN, and a wonderful way to incorporate a tradition from Tatyana’s heritage!

Before the fun and games began, though, Tatyana’s mother stepped into the bridal suite to see her. This has to be one of my favorite moments we’ve ever captured; the power of their bond and their joy for what lay ahead just radiated from both of them!

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Eventually, after many trials and tribulations, this knight in shining armor passed the test and was indeed deemed worthy!

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Then it was time for a stroll down Michigan Avenue, full entourage in tow, to capture some romance at the gardens of the Art Institute.

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When Tatyana and Julian exchanged the vows they’d written, their humor and quick wit shone through, but there was no denying that these two are wholly…completely…and irrevocably in love. (Yes, it’s true…both Kirk and I managed to shed a tear or two of happiness for these two lovebirds!)

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Since we’d already done photos earlier in the day, Tatyana and Julian were able to head straight to the reception to enjoy their cocktail hour with the oodles of family and friends who’d traveled from near and far (in some cases, very, very far) to help them celebrate. Kirk and I took that opportunity to duck into the The Gold Room at the Congress Plaza Hotel to photograph some of the untouched reception details and decor. The intricate details of the original architecture were a sight to behold, and this was a reception that was certainly fit for a prince and princess.

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…and after dancing the night away, they all lived happily ever after.

In all seriousness, thank you Tatyana and Julian, for giving all of us a reason to celebrate. Your love for each other is amazing to behold, and I have no doubt that together, you’re going to live an incredibly happy and fulfilling life. Happy Valentine’s Day!

To see more of Tatyana and Julian’s romantic Downtown Chicago wedding, CLICK HERE for a slideshow with Ben Rector music provided by The Music Bed.

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