If I could introduce you to Stefanni and Chris, I would.
These are the kind of people that not only should you get to know but you actually should plan to spend a weekend with. From the moment I talked with Stefanni, I knew she was something special but the first time I was able to spend time with both of them in person, the thing that struck me the most was how genuinely in love with each other they were. I know that might sound strange coming from a wedding photographer (clearly I spend time with couples in love getting married on a frequent basis), but there is something special in the way a couple who is head-over-heals in love looks at each other that’s hard to describe. Chris and Stef had that.
Now, side note: the first time I actually got to hang out with them was on the Notre Dame ( GO IRISH!!!!! ) and Saint Mary’s campus, which if you know me even a little bit you might know that I’m Californian through and through… AKA I know nothing about sports with the LARGE exception of being a diehard Notre Dame and Michigan State University fan. You can thank my midwestern uncle for indoctrinating me early to that life. So it did not hurt my feelings to meet equally Irish obsessed, lovely people as we walked around campus creating portraits, Chris and I talking about the importance of coffee. 😉
The other thing that became incredibly personal for me is that Stefanni is currently a NICU nurse and is studying to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Both of my children have had a range of medical needs from birth and we have spent huge amounts of time in children’s hospitals throughout their whole lives. It hard to describe the incredible person it takes to be a ‘pediatric’ anything… and it’s hard to explain the bond that is formed with the medical professionals that take care of your babies. Stefanni is the PERFECT person for that job. Watching her on her wedding day, caring for everyone around her, loving her family, laughing with her friends. I’m not sure it would be possible to find a more compassionate person anywhere. And Chris knows it, you can see it in how he looks at her. This is the stuff fairytales are made of.
Although Stefanni and Chris live in Chicago, they decided to plan a destination wedding on a little island off of South Florida called Marco Island. This is especially fun considering their wedding was in mid-December and all of their family and friends would be able to enjoy some time in the sun and warm weather while celebrating their love story.
Their wedding day was perfect in every way. From their beautiful ceremony at a nearby Catholic church to laughing with their amazing (and large) wedding party on the trolly driving around the island drinking champagne.
One of my very favorite moments was watching them walk along the beach as the sunset perfectly behind them. Chris leaning over to her and saying to her; “does this remind you of anything?” He was referring to when he had asked her to marry him. They had taken a trip to San Diego, California and were staying at the Hotel del Coronado. Her version of the story includes him acting really nervous and weird… and her trying to figure out why he was being so odd. 😉 But as they walked along the beach watching the sunset as he began to ask her to be his wife. It ended on top of a hill watching the sunset and him on one knee. It was pretty special to see that moment come full circle for both of them on their wedding day.
There are so many things I could say about this couple and my never-ending love for them both. But, I will leave you with a small glimpse into their incredible wedding story here. Steffani and Chris – I know Casi, Ali and I were so thankful to be able to stand alongside you on your wedding day.
Everyone else, enjoy.