It’s safe to say I’ve photographed a lot of weddings.  I could probably go back and count but for the sake of time…let’s just say it’s quite a few.  And while every wedding is different and special in it’s own way…there is one thing that I have found to be true across the board.  What makes a wedding truly great aren’t the decorations or the open bar.  The perfect weather or killer speeches.  The cake or food or flawless dress.  A great wedding is great because of the people.  The bride and groom.  All the people that love them and support them and show up to witness something so right.  A wedding is great because of two people who picked each other…above everyone else…forever.

 

So when I think about Becky and Kevin’s day…I definitely remember her incredible dress and the gorgeous, vibrant flowers.  The band that kept that party going all night and the unbelievable sushi spread making it’s way around cocktail hour.  I remember the laughter and tears and love that filled up that room.  But what I remember most is a couple who undoubtedly found there perfect person.  Two people who, even knowing them for a short time, really make you believe in love.  Becky and Kevin…I can honestly say you guys had a GREAT wedding.  But I have no doubt you are going to have an even greater life together.  I love you both to death and I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to document it all!  xoxo

 

 

A HUMONGOUS thank you to my second shooter, Karina, for all her help!

And another GIANT thank you to all the vendors who made this day possible!

Wedding Planner: (the one and only) Ali Phillips – Engaging Events by Ali  |  Florist: Exquisite Designs  |  Venue/Caterer: Galleria Marchetti  |  Band: Entourage  |  Dress brand: Romona Keveza  |  Cake: Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Cafe  |  Makeup: Beautify Spa & Makeup  |  Hair: Mario Tricoci

 

The first reaction I get when I tell anyone I’ve been welding is laughter.  Lots of it.  Which, trust me, I get it.  It’s funny.  Little ol’ Lauren melting metal together in her glitter sneaks…it’s a funny visual.  I mean hell…it even makes me laugh sometimes.  If I’m being honest…before I started this new little hobby of mine, the only knowledge I had on welding was what Channing Tatum taught me in Magic Mike (which can I just take a second to say…welding shirtless is very unrealistic – and frowned upon.  **ouch**).  But there is something so fun and somewhat empowering about learning something completely new and out of your comfort zone.  The idea of building something completely from scratch out of steel WITH MY OWN TWO HANDS was not something I ever thought I’d be doing.

 

I feel like in the last several years I’ve spent a lot of time standing still.  Maybe not professionally or even literally…but personally I’ve felt stuck.  Kind of like those dreams where you are trying to run but you can’t get yourself to move.  That’s how I felt.  Just stuck in one place and like life was flying by without me.  So maybe welding isn’t the answer to a happy, fulfilled life.  But it’s something I did for me.  It was a step towards something that I wanted – which wasn’t just a piece of furniture – but a life spent moving and doing and learning and becoming better.   A life that fills me up instead of breaks me down.  A life that I can truly say is my best.

 

So…here’s the beginning of my welding adventure.  As silly as it sounds I haven’t been this excited about something in quite a while.  So while you may see the beginning of a fabulous one-of-a-kind bar cart (stay tuned of part II to see the finished product)…I see a girl who got a little lost along the way but is finally back on track.  And is 1000% living her best life.

 

May I present…the beginning of my steaming pile of pride.  Otherwise known as my bar cart.  🙂

 

I feel like I’ve said this a million times but it just keeps getting truer and truer.  There is nothing that fills me up more than getting to document my wedding couples as they start their families.  Some people might not realize this but as you go through the wedding planning process (where I typically meet couples a year or so before their wedding day) you get attached.  And by you I mean me.  I get attached.  There I said it.  😉  I get to be with them on the best day of their lives and then once it’s over…a little part of me gets sad.  Luckily in the world of social media I get to keep up with their lives and then hopefully…continue to document them as they continue to grow.

 

So when Jess emailed me asking me to photography Rylee for her first birthday I literally did a happy dance.  Jess and Jake are two of my favorites who will always hold a special place in my heart.  So getting to photograph their new family of 3 on the most beautiful night made me happier than I can put into words.  It’s sessions like these that full me up to the brim and make me so grateful to get to work with such amazing people.  Not to mention this baby is BEAUTIFUL!  I mean look at those eyes.  I can’t even.  But enough from me.  Meet Rylee….in all her adorable cuteness.

If I had one word to describe Kate and Chris it would be fun.  They were so fun to hang out with and photograph and just incredibly laid back and easy-going.  Between the beautiful day Chicago gave us and their adorable dog, Pyper…it was just one of those days where I felt so incredibly lucky to get to do what I do.  Not to mention it made me super stoked for their wedding in November!  Here’s a little look at beautiful Chicago morning…

 

Lincoln Park • Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool • Lincoln Park Nature Walk • Lincoln Park Zoo

  • Sally - July 16, 2018 - 10:37 pm

    Beautiful photos and story telling.ReplyCancel

Oh hi guys!  It’s been a while.  If you follow along over on Instagram/Facebook you’ve seen a little behind the scenes (and lots of pretty photos) but it’s been a while since I’ve hopped on here.  And while I’d like to say it was a well thought out and purposefully planned hiatus…that would be a lie.  The truth is…my life has gone through a lot of changes lately and I didn’t feel like I was in a place to really share about them.  I have always tried so hard to be 100% authentic with you but sometimes there are just things you have to work through on your own before you are ready to share them with the world.

 

I remember back when I had cancer (SIX YEARS AGO…holy moly) I felt like I needed to go through it and get to the other side before I was ready to talk about it to the internet.  And my life this last year has been no different.  I had to get through it on my own first.  And as always…this blog exists to hopefully inspire the next person in some small way so I feel like sharing my story as it unfolds (or in this case has unfolded) will hopefully do just that.

 

Earlier this year, I got divorced.  We’d been struggling for some time and in order for us to both live a happier life this was the right call.  It’s incredibly hard to imagine your life one way and all the sudden have it take a complete 180.  And it’s even harder to then take those steps toward a new life you know deep down you want.  And ultimately need.  For me…I was and always have been an incredibly happy person.  If you ever ran into me at a party or in the grocery store…you would say I was happy.  I’ve always felt that a day spent unhappy was a day wasted.  And while I was going through each day generally “happy” on the outside…deep down I was miserable.  I felt like there was this whole life out there that I was missing out on and something inside of me just needed to get out.

 

It’s funny how life works because since I made one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make…I’ve felt this overwhelming sense of peace.  And freedom.  I’ve started trying so many new things (I weld now…and rollerblade! Just wait for those posts – coming soon!) and experiencing more of life than I ever have before.  I wake up happy and fall asleep even happier and it’s not because I’m not married anymore or anything like that.  It’s because for the first time in a long time I am living life solely for me.  Which is incredibly exhilarating.

 

I don’t want you to think this was something that I came to lightly.  It was a very long, hard road to get here.  There were lots of tears and overwhelming anxiety.  Like ‘lose 12 pounds in a week‘ anxiety.  There was therapy and so many ‘try-agains’ that I lost count.  It was a very, very, very hard thing to go through and divorce is and never will be something I take lightly.  And as unexpected as it may be….it’s now part of my story.

 

Change can be really scary.  Terrifying actually.  But sometimes it’s just something that is necessary.  And at the end of the day I think it can be really beautiful.  A lot is different in my life now.  Goose is no longer here (which still hurts so much).  I am taking care of a house on my own.  Life got a whole lot more expensive.  I’m a Wakefield again.  But each and every day I get out of bed and am committed to living the best of my life for the rest of my life (love a good rhyme).  And I can sit here now and tell you that I am truly and honestly, so happy.

 

And for the first time in as long as I can remember, I feel like blogging again.  And sharing with you guys about the dumb in-betweens in my life (which will definitely be looking a little different than you may remember).  I have no idea what the future looks like or what’s next for me but I know I’m excited for it.  And I can’t wait to take you guys along for the ride.  🙂

 

  • Christy Tyler - July 9, 2018 - 10:11 am

    So glad you’re sharing your heart here again. So glad you’re happy. So glad you’re being open because that also helps with healing and moving forward! <3ReplyCancel

  • Kasey Wakefield - July 9, 2018 - 10:21 am

    It isn’t easy to put your feelings out there for the world to see and dare to see your life differently. As usual, I am inspired by your bravery and optimism. So proud of you Lala and grateful my girls have such a strong influence in their life (and I’m not just referring to the welding strength 😉ReplyCancel

  • Jenna Davis - July 9, 2018 - 11:28 am

    I’m so sorry to hear what you’ve been going through— I know it had to be tough. 🙁 Praying for you as you continue on, that you will find peace and happiness (which it sounds like you are well on your way). Love you, Dolphin! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Caili Helsper - July 9, 2018 - 9:33 pm

    You’ve got this, girl. Weld the $&!@ out of this new chapter!ReplyCancel

  • Sharon McCarter Herndon - July 10, 2018 - 6:25 pm

    You are such an inspiration Lauren ❤️ It’s so refreshing to see your amazing outlook on your situation. Divorce is hard..but not living your best life is even harder. I applaud your strength and bravery! Sending you love and comfort ReplyCancel

  • Carolynn - July 10, 2018 - 9:17 pm

    Oh sweetheart….

    You reached out to me when you were first diagnosed. I have been a champion of you ever since. I will admit that seeing this post broke my heart…yet I am all too aware of the challenges that life gives us and the hurt that divorce creates.

    Please know that you are loved for being exactly YOU! This journey is so unpredictable. The things we think are guaranteed can be taken breathlessly away. What’s most important is that you continue to be your best self. Interestingly enough (and painfully enough…from experience) I know that these experiences force us to become our best selves …even when we don’t choose it.

    Know that I will continue to be here for you…will always support your mission/purpose in life. You have made incredible things happen…and most importantly…you are loved and respected by so many.

    My heart is with you.
    CarolynnReplyCancel