DANI + PHIL | DOWNTOWN CHICAGO ELOPEMENT

April 2, 2021

Oh my gosh, I am SO SO SO excited to finally be able to share this one. Phil met his STUNNING wife Dani about 5 1/2 years ago now in Omaha, where she lived at the time, introduced by friends over tacos and margaritas. He lived in Chicago and neither one of them was looking for anything but the sparks were flying (don’t you love when that happens 💕) Fight it as they tried, they couldn’t shake that feeling and after a year of back and forth, on New Year’s Eve, Dani packed herself, her things and her two dogs into a U-Haul and she moved here to Chicago to be with Phil. “New city, new me” as she put it. Can you think of a better way to start the new year? Ugh, this has the makings of a romantic comedy!

The adorable pair loves to travel and does it often, so a year later, she didn’t get suspicious about a trip to Mexico on the horizon, and when Phil popped the question he took her completely by surprise. As a souvenir of their trip they stopped by a little shop and got little shot glass mugs that say “Hasta que la muerte nos separe.” Without realizing it they bought souvenirs that said “Until death do us part!” So of course those had to be at the wedding (continuing the cute.)

Their 2020 wedding was one of those affect by COVID (boo) but selfishly part of me can’t be completely sad about that, because it’s the reason they were put in my path. Without that I would never had met them, or gotten to be a part of their day. I can’t tell you HOW SPECIAL it was to me there. I mean it’s always special, photographing someone’s wedding day, you know? But an elopement? You’re one of just a few people there. Sometimes you’re the ONLY person there. Can you imagine? Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, I have the honor of being there when no one else is, it’s not lost on me how special that is. And of course, I’m entrusted with making the memories that couples will be looking at forever, the heirlooms they’ll pass on to their children (if they choose that path of course.) As I edit images, it’s always at the forefront what an important, beautiful and meaningful task I have.

Dani walked toward Phil to a string version of The Smashing Pumpkins’ Tonight, Tonight, and their good friend Suzanne (who is adorable by the way) was the officiant. They teared up, and laughed, and teared up some more, and all day Dani kept saying “This is the best day!” That made me so happy 🥰 After the ceremony we popped champagne, ate cake and opened presents. Suzanne (who apparently has been everywhere in the world! I’m so jealous! Suzanne take me with you!) gave Dani a beautiful wooden box from Jordan with the word “love” inscribed in Arabic over the lid to put the rings in (and so many other meaningful gifts!) Then we had our Chicago day! We walked around Wrigleyville, rode the ‘L’, captured the Handcock tower whilst on the ‘L’ lol (that was a task but I GOT it!!! We all cheered lol!) got a double train lol, strolled along the river… and that’s when, to everyone’s dismay, we run into Shawn & Becky! Two of Dani & Phil’s friends (and their pup, let’s not forget.) But wait! There’s more! (lol.) Do you think running into one pair of friends on your wedding day is enough? I’ll give you TWO! We walked up the stairs to get on Wacker Dr and call an Uber.. no need! A car pulls up at that exact moment and out comes their friend Michael (and his wife Caitlin.) Like I said, this is essentially a movie. So we chat and grab a ride to Gibsons’ with them for the love birds’ wedding day dinner. Who needs Uber?! Phil got me the most delicious ravioli ever lol. (No I did not eat at the table with them lol. I gave them privacy, got myself dinner, but Phil very generously said “Ravioli?! Now that’s on me!” lol.) Some more portraits by the river, and we end the night on a high rise rooftop overseeing the Wrigley Building and glittering downtown night sky. We went from Wrigley Field to the Wrigley Building as Phil put it and it was a perfect day.

Phil and Dani, I can’t thank you enough for inviting me to be a part of this day with you. It nourished my soul to work on this for you and I wish you so many years of happiness (but also, now I’m your friend and you’re stuck with me. Hope that’s cool. Ok. Awesome. Bye.)

To view their slideshow, click here.

Music Credit: Rising and Falling, What the Tide Could Bring by David Harwell. Licensed by Musicbed.

“Here’s to all the places we went. And here’s to all the places we’ll go. And here’s to me, whispering again and again and again and again: I love you.” 

JOHN GREEN

THE WEDDING TEAM
Photographer  |  Laëtitia Donaghy
Officiant  |  Suzanne
Wedding Venue  |  Hotel Zachary
Wedding Dress | Lulu’s
Hair  |  Dani Hair Chicago
Make Up  |  Gabrielle Raguso
Cake  | 
Restaurant | Gibsons’ Steak Italia

Want to see more work? Peruse the blog, check out my portfolio or visit my art gallery.

Laëtitia Donaghy is a French-born, Chicago-based, international photographer focusing on weddings and elopements. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art with a focus in Photography, and a minor in Political Science from Florida Atlantic University. She brings to her weddings and portraits her Fine Art training in order to bring forth the realness and emotion present, and showcase people’s relationships. Her focus is on preserving as much of the day as possible and keeping it as honest as possible. She travels the world for weddings and other assignments. She has been published on the web and in print.

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