Someone once asked me how I manage to come up with creative wedding images. I responded, "I look for what's different." I try to look at the details of their day, or the way a bride and groom respond to each other using their body language during their portraits. I even watch the way they react to certain images during the sample wedding that I show them during our initial consult. With Sofia and Brent's wedding, I certainly didn't have to make much effort to find what was different. It was all different! And it was all beautiful.
I have known Brent since I started high school. He was a year older than me and we were both involved in band, marching band, musicals, etc. so when he and Sofia inquired about me potentially shooting their wedding ceremony in Chicago, I was more than delighted. Brent was traveling home for the holidays so we met for coffee to discuss the details. I asked all of the typical questions: "How did you and Sofia meet? Tell me about your venue!" and I got some nontraditional answers. Hell. Yes. I love nontraditional and I love anything that isn't mainstream--especially when it comes to weddings!
Brent also mentioned that he and Sofia identify as being polyamorous, and that their significant others would also be attending the wedding. I consider myself to be open-minded so I took this opportunity to ask questions and educate myself on what it means to be in a poly relationship. In fact, I was not alone in having questions about poly relationships. Brent and Sofia anticipated that it might instigate questions from their guests as well, so they included a brief paragraph about it in their wedding invitations:
"When people hear the term “marriage” or “wedding”, some very specific ideas often spring to mind. We would like to take a moment to explain what our relationship means to us, and why we chose to marry and have a ceremony, since some of our concepts may not coincide with yours.
We identify as polyamorous. It is important to us to have the choice to sustain multiple romantic relationships with full knowledge and support of all the partners involved. We fully intend to continue to engage in the relationships we are currently in, as well as remain open to new relationships in the future. The relationships we are involved in are connected and intertwined in our individual lives, and in the life we share together. Each of our relationships are foundational and influential in their own way, so while this celebration is primarily about Sofia and Brent, this constellation of connections is a deeply important part of who we are together. In sharing this with you, we seek to honor the validity and importance of all our relationships, and to avoid surprise when you see us being affectionate with other partners.
We view our marriage as a practical extension of the love and partnership in life that we already share. Our ceremony is a celebration of our shared vision of a future together, our strong emotional bond, and the joining of our families and communities. While our agreements do not include promises of monogamy, or of a lifelong commitment, they do include our intentions to support each other and share each other’s burdens and joys for the foreseeable future.
We enjoy talking about our relationship and how it works, so if you have any questions or concerns, please let us know.
They describe their relationships as a "constellation of connections" and it was truly that beautiful. I watched so many displays of affection amongst them and I loved the way they overlapped. Sometimes affection was obvious as two women slow danced together, and sometimes it was low key love, like quietly holding hands or a shoulder rub. Regardless of what it looked like, it was beautiful and I could feel love in every corner of the room.
Sofia's dress and Brent's jacket and vest were custom designed by talented seamstress Angel Burns of Slainte Craoi Events. And wow! Just wait until you see those outfits! Her purple dress was so gorgeous! Their ceremony and reception would take place at the industrial Kitchen Chicago. The best part--they reserved the balcony area to be a quiet space where introverts could sit and read or play board games. As an introvert myself, I certainly appreciated this and took advantage of a few moments to "recharge". They had long tables decorated with flowers from Sofia's mother's garden, and tablecloths from her basement. The tables were set up so that guests were able to sit for the ceremony, and then remain there for dinner. Another unique detail about their day was that dinner was prepared potluck-style! In fact, my second shooter and good friend Tracy and I were there early enough to see family members dicing up vegetables and watched as guests brought in their crockpots full of homemade food. Small cards were displayed that labeled food as being nut-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, spicy, etc. I loved everything I ate. Maison Cuisine kept everyone quenched as they served beverages for everyone.
This is easily one of my top 5 favorite weddings. I am so grateful to have been able to e a part of this wedding. Just wait until you see these photos: