I first met Kate & Tommy through an Instagram connection. I attended an event in the city, took a sweet photo of a girl with her dog, showed her the photo, sent her a copy upon request, a copy that she then put on Instagram that her friend Kate saw and then sent me a DM. And from there, a beautiful friendship was struck.
At this time, Kate & Tommy were recently engaged and in a lull of wedding planning. She reached out to me to take their engagement photos with their dog Rory. And let’s just say, these photos were dog-on fantastic. Instantly I connected with this couple and could see such spark between the two. Before the session, I asked them to fill out a short questionnaire where I asked them a few questions on their taste of music, if they’ve had photos taken before and their PDA level. They marked their PDA level at a 3- “we are comfortable kissing on the cheek”. So I conducted my session around a PDA level of 3, not pressing them too hard for more intimate styled photos. Twenty minutes into our session, Kate & Tommy were so comfortable in front of my camera. They kissed, they laughed and I’m pretty sure they forgot I was even there. This is how I instantly think of this couple when I think “Kate & Tommy”. They love one another dearly, love showing it and are all smiles when around each other.
Kate explained that her and Tommy were not just eloping but eloping in the best way possible. They were eloping in Montana, a place at which they had zero relation with, on a Tuesday afternoon. People, if you elope- take notes because this is the way to do it. And although Bone Photography could not fly out there to photograph the ceremony, I was asked to photograph their wedding reception party in September.
Kate & Tommy’s wedding reception took place September 1st, 2018 at The Byron Colby Barn in Grayslake, IL. And to accommodate their love for all things Tolkien, they centered the entire reception round a Lord of The Rings theme. Yup!
The wedding reception was planned and organized by Fierce Productions, a Chicago based event planning service. Laura Reitsma, the brilliant mind behind it all, prides her events on being bold, being unique, being creative and being fierce. From weddings, birthday parties and corporate events, Laura does it all to give you a not your grandmother’s party experience. And this aspect of Fierce Productions made her the perfect match to plan this Lord of The Rings Celebration.
They chose to have their reception at The Byron Colby Barn because it reminded Kate of Bilbo’s house. The rustic, red barn sits in a field with a silo connected onto it and a large patio area spilling out the backside. Directly across from the barn is a tiny gravel pathway in between two fields of wild flowers and wheat.
As far as making the inside of the barn resemble The Shire, Kate & Tommy put so much care and time into their decorations. Each table had greenery placed in the center around lanterns and soft candles. Place cards where slid inside small pieces of wood and placed on each table. The place cards on the main floor read “Shire Table” and the cards in the loft read “Lothlorien Loft”. The deep browns of the wooden barn mixed with the dark blue linens and greenery truly transformed this Grayslake wedding venue into The Shire.
The Florals & Details
And attention to detail was not an oversight by any means. Kate & Tommy did Lord of The Rings right. Between the font’s they chose for menus (and language!), book decorations, guest book pens, card boxes and more, the fantasy was truly built into everything you saw. Even the florals by InFlorEscence did an amazing job of incorporating the theme. Anjelica, founder of InFlorEscence, created beautiful floral arrangements, all built into rings for the white backdrop wall inside the barn. Yes- a wall of flower rings. Anjelica offers a variety of services including floral design and arrangements, event planning and event rental space.
Before cocktail hour began, and the bride and groom saw one another and their completed Shire, for the first time, Kate and her best girls got ready inside the barn. Between sharing laughs and passing around a 2 liter of Coke, the ladies were able to spend some truly amazing moments together and help Kate get bride chic- again! Kate wore a soft creme gown with a plunging neckline, empire waistline and sea & navy sashes ties around her. She topped off her fantasy bride look with a jewelry head piece, leaf earrings and a necklace passed down from her great aunt from the 1950’s.
“..life is well while strolling hand in hand with you..”
Soon enough, it was cocktail hour for Middle Earth and the happy couple was allowed to reunite! Kate & Tommy’s friends and family all joined together for Merry & Pippins Pints on the Byron Colby patio. Dinner was served quickly after as quest where asked to dig into some amazing BBQ, pasta, vegetarian delights and more provided by BBQ’d Productions and Pyrite Sun.
Soon enough Kate & Tommy shared their first dance as Revrb DJ and Lighting played the theme to Star Trek Enterprise. Oh yes! You heard me correctly. It wasn’t until after the wedding that I had realized what song played. I don’t know if it was the adrenaline rush of a photographer or if Star Trek has smooth feels similar to that of Bruno Mars, but I remember being completely slept up in the moment of Kate & Tommy as they owned the dance floor and were 100% themselves in one another’s arms.
The Cake & Desserts
Pyrite Sun was the mastermind behind the extra 5 pounds that we all gained from the delicious treats at this celebration. Sarah Jane Mallin, the chef, farmer and artist behind Pyrite Sun created wondrous spread of pies, tarts, molten chocolate cakes, cream filled delights and cupcakes that had not only the crowd lining up at first sight, but gave the bride a grin that stretched ear to ear.
Happily Ever After
Kate, Tommy and myself ended our night under the stars. While the two were finishing up busting moves on the dance floor, I took my equipment outside to prepare for a night time shot in front of the barn. I should note that the forecast for this day called for heavy rain all day. But somehow the Lords blessed this Shire wedding with sunny skies for Kate & Tommy that lasted all day. All day until I opened The Byron Colby Barn doors to go outside to discover pouring down rain. So with the help from the kitchen staff, I wrapped by cameras and equipment up in trash bags and headed outside in the rain to set up. Once I had everything in place, I retrieved Kate & Tommy and gave them an umbrella for shelter. As I placed my head under a Heafty bag to take the photo and back out to give direction, I can only imagine that I looked like a photographer (a wet photographer) from the 1800’s. But we got the shot!
Kate & Tommy, my heart pours out to you in the form of a ton of hugs and smiles. The two of you have brought me so much joy and I have sincerely loved having meet you and having you be such a warm part of Bone Photography. I love you both and cannot wait to see what life has in store for you.