Painting the Town Bright

Alex of Alexandra Lee tells us all about her wedding inspiration shoot below:

It all started with a painting. A painting by Karen Kardatzke who is an artist in Downers Grove, IL who sells fine art work. I had been following Karen for a while and that’s when I, Alex, of Alexandra Lee Photography, came up with an idea.

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My idea was to have her paint something and then take her painting and derive inspiration from that one piece of art. I reached out to her and that’s where it began. And boy, oh boy do I recommend couples do this! Especially if they are looking for something unique for their wedding day.

I looked to Eric Cmar, of Cmart Celebrations, to help me tackle this shoot and come up with a color scheme. With photo-drive platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, it is all too easy to simply replicate what has been heavily circulated and recreated. Though these websites and apps have amazing showcases of fantastic wedding ideas, with this shoot, Eric and I wanted to draw new inspiration from outside of the wedding industry.

Eric says, “The abstract anemones [in the canvas painting] sparked a vision in me of a blank canvas with bright colors. From there, I curated a vibrant mood board of Peruvian textiles, scenic hillside villages, and city street views. Since the eye of the anemone reads black, the modern touch of black was incorporated.”

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We then needed a blank canvas space that was equal parts sophisticated and high end. The newest expansion of Room 1520 created the perfect backdrop for the ceremony space. An empty frame served as the focal point of both the altar and the center of the tablescape to draw in the art aspect of the painting. Kat, of Wilrett Flower Co., filled the frame with a stunning floral installation of cascading blooms and greenery, creating a homage to the couple, as they begin their marital masterpiece. To continue the color palette Eric, “set the reception to showcase a luxe twist of bright hues.” Eric dressed the scene with white velvet linens, matte black cutlery and chargers, simply black chairs, and organically shaped white plates.

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Keeping the key items black and white allowed the bright colors in the napkins, hand-painted cake pops, and stunning florals to stand out - without being overpowering. One of our favorite parts were the mini canvas paintings that served as the escort cards created by Ashley Frye of Paper Love Club. Each escort card was a mini piece of the Kardatzke painting on canvas with an easel. When laid out on a escort table, they make up with actual painting. Each guest could leave the wedding with a little piece of the painting as a wedding favor.

Invitations and calligraphy by Ashley, again from Paper Love Club, took the artisanal theme and applied this art to the paper goods. She utilized the actual painting to serve as the envelope liner while using black paper and white calligraphy to keep it simple, yet playful.

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The bride and groom were dressed in clean white pieces to keep the look elevated, classic and elegant while allowing the colors around them to pop. Like the vivacious flowers in the painting, colors in the bouquet bounce right of the bride’s high neck, backless dress with pearl, diamond details that was from Something Blue Bridal. We had black accents brought in with the bride’s stunning Bella Belle shoes, the lapel on the groom’s tux (designed by Ike Behar from Formally Modern Tuxedo), and his accessories. The Chicago team of Amelia & Co kept the bride’s look clean and luxe as well. The bride’s makeup was classic and not overdone, bringing in pops of color through the eye shadow and her hair was made to look effortless and show off the back and neckline of the dress. (Apparently we were ahead of the trends... it's very similar to Meghan Markle's reception dress ;)) The bride truly looked stunning. (Can we appreciate her gorgeous ice blue eyes!?)

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All this culminated in the final portraits taken on the roof of the venue, with the picturesque Chicago skyline framing the couple’s smiling, joyful faces.

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We love and adore blush, neutrals, and everything in between - but - there is something so refreshing about this shoot seeing pops of color, in a classy, high end, and timeless way, amongst the noise of blushes, navy, and neutral soft colors. This could be a refreshing new way for couples to get inspiration for a wedding. If they are artists or have a piece of art that they resonate with, their wedding day too could become a painting brought to life.

Photographer: Alexandra Lee Photography
Venue: Room 1520
Event Planner: Cmart Celebrations
Florals: Willrett Flower Co.
Videography: Kathy Ramirez Films
Hair/Makeup: Amelia C & Co
Paper Goods: Paper Love Club
Wedding Dress Boutique: Something Blue Bridal Boutique 
Wedding Dress: Allure Bridals
Shoes: Bella Belle Shoes
Rings: Ken & Dana Design 
Groom Attire: Formally Modern Tuxedo 
Groom Attire: Ike Behar 
Calligraphy: Paper Love Club
Art: Karen Kardatzke Fine Art 
Rentals: Urquid Linen 
Rentals: House of Hough
Model: Celine Certa
Model: Zoki Najdeski