Bottom Lounge Wedding Chicago

Have I mentioned that I love everything about weddings at The Bottom Lounge?

I’m just finding a general trend in that allllll of my couples who get married there are legit the chillest most fun people ever. They plan these rad parties and want to enjoy time w/ family and friends. I’M A HUGE FAN. I could go on and on about this day but Sarah and Brad did it better so I will let them take it from here ūüėÄ


The Beginning: 

We first met the summer before 7th grade and started dating junior year of high school, spending two years taking awkward dance pictures, declaring our everlasting love, and experiencing the ups and downs of high school sweethearts. At separate colleges and nine hours apart, we broke up after three years together.

Another three years came and went until we grabbed a coffee before Sarah left to work in Spain. Spain brought many calls and even a visit from Brad! Though still apart, we were very much back together.

Sarah moved back stateside and Brad popped the question! We tied the knot and threw our favorite party ever nine years after we first started dating.

Sarah’s Dress

I fell in love with getting a dress from BHLDN before I actually found a dress to love at BHLDN. On that first visit I tried on many a dress to tepid “Nice’s” from mom and sister but was determined to return. I brought in a family friend and my dad to continue¬†the search. My dad pointed out the winner, the Suri Gown, and I felt awesome and COMFORTABLE for every pic and dance. Good call, Dad!

Brad’s Suit

Brad wanted a gray suit and I wanted it to be at least a little fun! We headed to Suit Supply downtown and found a medium gray suit with a light pattern (that was the little fun). He looked so sharp! To bring in some brightness we added an orange ranunculus boutonniere and a floral tie.


We got married at Bottom Lounge in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. The bar/music venue was perfect for our Spain in Chicago vibe–BL made us¬†sangria and paella to enjoy and we had the city as our backdrop! Their event manager, Natalie, was a huge support for the months ahead and the Big Day itself. (rachel¬†here, Natalie is AMAZING and the most fun ever <3 I just love her and it’s a huge reason I love BL)

The Decor: 

We wanted bright, bold colors with some Chicago touches. Brad’s Aunt Martha was a godsend when it came to turning our nebulous ideas¬†into beautiful sketches and, ultimately, gorgeous final products! Paper flowers made by friends and family, a hand-painted floral tablecloth by Martha and Aunt Leslie (they even did the bridesmaids and table flowers!), and stenciled tiles for the centerpieces¬†gave us our Spanish feel. Our graphic designer friend Lena created our “Seating Map”–a recreation of the Chicago’s El¬†Map for our seating chart. It came together beautifully. We feel so lucky to have our talented, generous friends and family who helped us pull it off!

The Ceremony: 

The ceremony started off with the HVAC loudly kicking on and the El whizzing by. Safe to say it began with a bang! The pastor of our home church, Dave, performed the ceremony and the vows we cry-wrote each other were cry-read. It all felt very personal and true to us.


What a night!¬†Sarah’s aunt and uncle Emceed the reception to keep with the personal theme. The speeches made us laugh and left us teary-eyed.¬†We devoured¬†pies from Chicago’s Bang Bang Pie and brought out Chicago-style hot dogs for a late-night snack.¬†Brad’s crowdsourced playlist and our DJ kept the tunes coming for much dancing and merriment, but¬†the night had to end eventually (despite¬†Sarah’s continued Cardi B requests).

Your Photographer: 

Rachel was pure JOY! She was fun, creative, professional, and so easy to be around. Our families and wedding party all raved about her. The best was that it all felt so natural even for us not-a-photo-couple. With Rachel behind the camera there was¬†plenty of being in the moment and documenting the best day! Katie, her second shooter, also brought her A game and we can’t wait to enjoy their amazing work for many years to come. Thank you!!

Any Advice for couples planning their wedding?

The day goes so quickly–from a plan to a memory in an instant–so take plenty of moments to just look at your people, the family, friends, wedding party, and, of course, your betrothed,¬†and bask in the lovey glow.



Share on Facebook‚ÄĘTweet this Post‚ÄĘPin Images to Pinterest‚ÄĘBack to Top

Bottom Lounge Wedding Photographer

Swipe Right On LOVE y’all!!!! These two are seriously so amazing. This was one of the most emotional days I have photographed EVER and I was so lucky to be a part of it. Thank you so much to Jane and Mike for trusting me with your love story <3 I’ll let them take it from here.

Your Story:

Short story: TINDER!!! YES! Swipe right on love.

Long¬†story: Jane was starting to feel a bit run down from Russian Roulette, aka Tinder dating, but she was trying to be more open-minded and keep dates with someone other than Andy Cohen. Mike, having had the Tinder app for a hot minute, was ready to go on his very first IRL Tinder date. Yep. One shot, one kill. We had our first date at The Gage, where Mike nervously drank as many old-fashioneds as the bartender could pour, and Jane awkwardly ranted about how Coachella was lame (shortly before Mike informed her he had just returned from Coachella). Luckily, somehow The AV Club came up in conversation and realizing that we both loved reading very long, detailed, ornery episode reviews of Game of Thrones (for experts), the second date was as good as set ūüôā

Jane’s Dress

From: Jasmine Galleria

I was NOT expecting to buy my dress that day. Jasmine is a one-stop wedding shop, but I was certain I was going to get my dress at BHDLN–I even had an appointment for BHDLN the day after my Jasmine dress appointment, where my bridesmaids were going to join me and everything. So, casually and with low expectations, my mom and I went to Jasmine to try on dresses. I was pleasantly shocked by how many dresses I loved and how reasonable the prices were. I told the consultant what I was looking for, then we went back to look at the dresses. The first dress I grabbed the consultant smiled and said, “I knew you were going to pick that one.” That dress was my wedding dress. I tried on about 5 others, but I knew it was the one.

Mike’s Suit

Originally, Mike wanted a dark green tuxedo jacket (Go¬†Green!), but apparently only people who like spending $1000 on a tuxedo like that look (sad). The styling bow ties were all thanks to Paul Angelone, the groomsman MVP and Mike’s brother-in-law. Paul was the only person who knew how to tie a bow tie.


Bottom Lounge!!!!!

Maybe my favorite thing about Bottom Lounge was when the father of the flower girl snuck into the Red concert that was going on downstairs.

The Decor: 

Theme: Beauty and the Beast

Flowers: Jasmine Galleria

Most amazing vine garland ever: Julie Mizzi

Originally, I thought the ivy wall covering that Mike envisioned was unnecessary, but Mike did not like the idea of having a huge blank wall and he knew his mom could knock it out of the park. She did, and it was my favorite things about the decor from the whole day ūüôā

The Ceremony: 

OMG—I wish the faulty aisle runner had been planned all along. The aisle runner was supposed to be unraveled after everyone had taken his/her seat. That didn’t happen, and two of my absolute favorite things from the wedding video are 1) Watching people struggle to unroll it just for Mike to eventually throw it to the side, and 2) When the beautiful and adorable Mackenzie decided she was over weddings.

Your Photographer: 

I found Bottom Lounge on a thrifty wedding website, so I was curious what weddings there actually looked like. That search led me to the Rachel Kaye photography website, and considering how much¬†I loved the photographs–not to mention the venue–I figured, why not, maybe she’s available, so fill out that contact form.¬†Best. Decision. Ever. From the engagement photos to the day of pictures, Rachel made us feel comfortable, happy, and excited. One thing I really wanted for the wedding photos was to have a first look photo that focused on the groom’s reaction, not the back of his head. I still get tears in my eyes every time I see the picture Rachel captured. I absolutely love all of the pictures. Side note, I also just want to be best friends with¬†Rachel, because damn she’s awesome ūüôā (P.S. I want to be your friend too!!! LETS BE FRIENDSSS)

Reception/Dancing/Music: All the fun!

The Mizzi cousins and my step-siblings

Any Advice for couples planning their wedding?

Mike and I love spreadsheets, so we felt like we were pretty well-planned out. I was nervous as heck through the ceremony,  but I have the anxiety. Advice? Be excited! You found your lobster and you want to celebrate that with those you love! Cherish it!


Share on Facebook‚ÄĘTweet this Post‚ÄĘPin Images to Pinterest‚ÄĘBack to Top

The Ballroom at McKay Tower WeddingJW Marriott hotel bathroom in Grand Rapids MI

This wedding was a whirlwind! So much fun and action with this amazing group of people. Some of my favorite parts of the day were Emily and Blake’s emotional first look at Zoko 822, the adorable flower gals and how much fun this group was! There was an AMAZING dance party with this crew so lots of those shots :D. I will let Emily and Blake take it from here <3

The Beginning:

Blake and¬†Emily¬†met through a mutual friend (Emily‘s high school bestie who went to Blake’s university)¬†the year after finishing university.¬†Emily¬†was coy and Blake was smitten. After multiple group hangouts, Blake surprised¬†Emily¬†with a date at Target shooting range and dinner.¬† Shortly after that he surprised her again, meeting his parents at his new house.¬† After a few months,¬†Emily¬†knew she wanted everyone to know that she and Blake were “a thing” and posed Blake to ask her to be his girlfriend (she said yes).¬† Blake met¬†Emily‘s parents during a China work trip (they lived in China at the time) and continued to travel together during their relationship.¬† The moment that Blake and¬†Emily¬†knew they wanted to be with each other for the rest of their lives, was in Blake’s basement working together cleaning up debris after the crazy 2014 mass flood, Blake said out loud, “I can’t wait to marry you” (Eeeee!!!).¬†After 5 years of dating, Blake proposed to¬†Emily¬†at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall, with both sets of parents and the same mutual friend there to witness, to which¬†Emily¬†obviously replied, “Are you kidding me, Yes!!!” (jumping up and down).

guys hanging under the window at jw marriott in Grand Rapids MI

rip van winkle wedding

Blake’s Suit:¬†

Blake and his groomsmen were styling in their dark blue suits, and accessories to match the bridesmaids.  Blake and his fraternity brothers had stood up in multiple weddings together and decided to be thrifty and use the same suits as a previous wedding, but add new accessories. Blake wore a blush bow-tie while the groomsmen wore regular ties.  They had matching blush pocket squares and argyle socks.

Emily’s Dress:

After the engagement,¬†Emily, and her two best friends, Courtney (the same mutual friend that hooked them up) and Kristen, arranged a girl’s trip to Nashville (pre-bachelorette party!!!).¬† During that trip, Kristen made reservations at a fancy bridal boutique to try on dresses.¬† After listening to¬†Emily‘s likes and dislikes, the boutique consultant was the bomb, and picked out THE dress … on the first try!!!¬† Of course,¬†Emily¬†wanted to be sure and also get her mother’s approval and tried on the dress¬†3 more times at different bridal salons and finally purchased her dress at Becker’s Bridal, where the bridal consultant was the most patient with¬†Emily‘s nervousness to finally purchase the dress.¬† The dress was a lace¬†Enzoani dress with small sparkle details along the straps and matching sparkle details on the veil.


Blake and¬†Emily¬†were married at East Congregational Church – United Church of Christ in the main sanctuary and signed their marriage license in the chapel.¬† The reception was at the Ballroom at McKay Tower.¬†¬†Emily¬†and Blake loved the close proximity to downtown and wanted to have a “party vibe” with ambient lighting (that came with the ballroom!).

The Ceremony: How did it go? Anything special?

Witty/Quirky Pastor Robyn and amazing pianist Jameson made the ceremony an ease.¬† The flower girls and ring bearer were the cutest. And the bridesmaids’ dresses sparkled walking down the aisle.

The Decor: 

My mom was the biggest helper.¬† The idea was “Mix’n’Match”. The ballroom was decorated using mixed metals, different shades of green and pink flowers (from Posh Petals), white textured table clothes (Special Occasions West).¬† The mix’n’match theme came from the mix’n’match bridesmaids dresses, all different shades of pinks/rose/and metallics.

the ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingReception/Dancing/Music: 

Fun shenanigans!  DJ Eddie Kleinfeld kept the dance floor packed and everyone had the greatest of times!

the ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddingthe ballroom at mckay tower weddinggrand rapids best wedding photographergrand rapids photographermckay ballroom weddinggrand rapids wedding photographerYour Photographer:

Rachel Kaye and Katie were champs!¬† They were on point for all the photos requested by the bride and were energetic, involved, and motivating¬† (for groomsmen that don’t care for pictures). I am so thankful that Rachel Kaye¬†stayed for the Sigma Chi Sweetheart Song (sing along) which meant a lot for Blake and his fraternity brothers as well as¬†Emily‘s uncles, who were also in the same fraternity.

We can’t wait to see the pictures!!! The only thing I wish I had was more sneak peek pictures right after the wedding.

Rachel Here!: I so so wish I had more time to share larger sneak peek’s! It’s something I am always working on getting better at. So pumped to share ALL these images with you two now <3 <3


Any Advice for couples planning their wedding?

Things will not go according to plan and you have to be okay with that!  Go with the flow and have fun with every moment!  Our hiccups included, but not limited to: a change of pastors, a change of bar managers, the hottest day of the year, boutonniere flowers wilting during outdoor photo shoots and an open air trolley that we assumed was A/C.

The day is a celebration of the future of you and your spouse creating a life together, but the celebration doesn’t stop on that day, it continues throughout your life together!

Share on Facebook‚ÄĘTweet this Post‚ÄĘPin Images to Pinterest‚ÄĘBack to Top

Shagway Arts Barn Wedding


This wedding was exactly WHY I love this job.

Sydney and Andy planned things quickly, having known each other FOR A LONG TIME and had only their closest friends and family in attendance. They poured their hearts and souls into this amazing day and the photos show truly how much everyone loves them. I WILL LET THEM take it from here <3


The Beginning: AKA how you met, fell in love etc. 

Andy and I met twelve years ago in 6th grade band class, but our family history stretches back even further than that. My parents lived in the house behind his grandparents in our hometown of Battle Creek, Michigan,¬†and our eldest siblings went to school together. Our friendship was almost inevitable. Although we technically started our relationship in junior year of high school, Andy was my first ever boyfriend in 7th grade (and we were each others’ first kiss!). We have always kept the notes we passed to each other during class from this time in our lives.

We were together for 5+ years by the time Andy proposed in October of 2017. Andy proposed to me near our first waterfall on the Fiery Gizzard trail during our trip to Altamont, Tennessee. Eight eager months later, after celebrating our 6 year anniversary, we got married at the Shagway Arts Barn on June 23, 2018, in Ludington, Michigan.

shagway arts barn weddingbride getting shoes on bride getting help with the veilkiss from brother


We got married at the Shagway Arts Barn in Ludington, Michigan. The barn is on a beautiful property that was the absolute perfect size for our wedding party (approx. 40 people – though, it certainly could’ve handled a few dozen more very comfortably). Nancy, the owner of the venue, was incredibly helpful and very easy to communicate with whenever we had any questions.¬†The ceremony and dinner were held outside, and dancing during the reception was held inside the barn. There were plenty of great photo opportunities outside as the property is surrounded by lush forest and fields.

shagway arts barnoutdoor wedding michigan

The Decor: 

We didn’t hire a wedding planner, and we were sooooooo ridiculously moved by how willing and enthusiastic our family and friends were to help out with our big day. Part of the reason we¬†loved Shagway, was because it offered a beautiful canvas for us to craft our outdoor wedding the way we’d envisioned it. With that said, ALL of our decorations were transported via five vehicles and one very long trailer all the way from Kalamazoo or Battle Creek, Michigan, where our parents live. The long trailer was used to transport eight stunningly beautiful farmhouse tables, handcrafted by the brides’ parents, Rick and Tammy Bicknell. So, to simply say that blood, sweat, and tears went into making our wedding such a perfect day would be an understatement. Our wedding day was the result of hard labor, months spent planning, and some very memorable weekly dinners at Sawall’s of Kalamzoo with the grooms parents, Jeff and Lori.

Additionally, All Occasions floral design of Ludington was fantastic in terms of making our wildflower dreams come true. I remember hearing some doubt from others when I told them I¬†didn’t have a color theme for the wedding, but I had full faith that¬†Wendy and Cheryl would find the perfect balance of elegance with wild, natural colors– and they did not disappoint! I loved my bouquet so much!!

Bride’s Dress

After doing some bridal-related Pinterest research, I knew that I wanted flower-applique on my dress, and the plan from the start was to get something ethereal and unique. I went to one other bridal store in Michigan before discovering BHLDN upon further internet research. I immediately made an appointment for a bridal consultation at their Chicago location. I brought my Mom, Tammy, along for the ride, and we were SO in awe of the store’s interior, and especially their bridal suite! Caprice, the awesome gal who helped me discover my dress, greeted us with canned champagne (who knew!) to enjoy while I tried on gowns. About four dresses in, I fell head over heels for the Ariane gown (in all her glory).¬†It was unlike any other dress I had tried on before– it had all my flower applique dreams while still incorporating my childhood ballgown fantasies I didn’t know I still dreamed of. I love it so much. I never thought that I would actually consider framing a dress before now.

Groom’s Suit

The first thing I knew about my suit was that I wanted it to be similar in color to a suit that Jim Carrey wore when he presented an Oscar in 2014. Feel free to Google.

Because it was an outdoor wedding and in the middle of summer, I wasn’t¬†100% on board¬†with the velvet material his suit was made of. I ended up going with a super comfortable, and breathable suit from J. Crew that I’ll continue to wear for special occasions in the future. All things considered, my wildflower corsage pocket square was probably my favorite part of the outfit. All Occasions in Ludington,¬†MI, did an awesome job putting it together!

The Ceremony: How did it go? Anything special?

The ceremony was absolutely perfect. Even though we did a first look, it didn’t keep us from tearing up a bit! We were incredibly lucky to have such helpful, and hands-on family members taking part in our big day. My Dad, Jeff,¬†was my Best Man, Sydney’s brother, Ricky, was her Man of Honor, our cutie baby nephew, Leland,¬†was our ring bearer¬†(with my sister and brother-in-law, Courtney and Nat,¬†acting as co-ring bearers (; ), and both of our mothers were the most lovely and beautiful¬†flower girls you’d ever laid your eyes on.¬†One of our best friends, Christian Elliott, acted as our officiant and he did an incredible job – balancing light-hearted humor with his own thoughtful insights on our relationship. Another one of our best friends, Alex Tobin, did all of the sound for our ceremony AND reception. After we shared our vows beneath the archway handcrafted by Sydney’s father, Alex queued up “Lovers in Japan” by Coldplay as we shared¬†our first kiss (we timed it so we kissed RIGHT when the main piano riff started). It was an awesome¬†send off for our honeymoon which we happily spent in Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Hakone!).

flower moms

Reception/Dancing/Music: All the fun!

Andy and I also did not hire a DJ. We created a public and collaborative Spotify playlist months before, which our friends and family added songs to leading up to our wedding. Some of our favorites were “The Good Life” by Kanye West, “Yeah!” by Usher, and of course, “Moonlight Mile” by The Rolling Stones, the song we chose as our first dance.¬†Andy shared a dance with his Mom to one of their favorite group’s songs – the¬†Carpenters’ “On Top of the World.” And last but not least, my dad and I had a blast choreographing and mixing our very own surprise mashup for our father-bride dance. We decided to make a go of it no more than two weeks before the big day, and I’m pretty proud of the end result. I loved dancing with my Dad to Marky Mark’s “Good Vibrations” as much as I loved dancing with him to Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.”

Any Advice for couples planning their wedding?

Once you set a date, start planning and ironing out details as early as possible. Even little things here or there add up every couple days.¬†There will always be stress, but if you give yourself enough time, all will be good. Take up your family when they offer to help, you’ll be happy to shed some weight from your own to-do list, and it’s an unforgettable bonding experience with your loved ones.

Your Photographer:

Rachel was incredibly fun and made it easy for us to relax during our engagement shoot and the big day. She was a hit among our friends and family at the wedding and added a great energy to such a special day. We love the creativity she adds by including GIFs, and her attention to detail really makes her photos stand out from other photographers. We’re so happy we met Rachel and that she was apart of our wedding day!

Share on Facebook‚ÄĘTweet this Post‚ÄĘPin Images to Pinterest‚ÄĘBack to Top

Apple Blossom Chapel and Gardens Wedding

The Love Story:

We met through our family friend or Alex’s cousin Minu. Initially, we were texting, which then turned to phone /Skype conversation. From getting to know each other for over a month we realized that we liked each other enough to meet up. Alex who lives in Maryland wanted to meet me in Michigan while I was on spring break. Me, on the other hand, wanted to visit Disney World so I asked him to meet me in Orlando. That way if things don’t go too well between us we will be surrounded by things that we can both enjoy as it was our first time at the place. Few days before our trip Alex surprised me with tickets to Disney World, I was thrilled that he was not opposed to the idea and it felt like we were both taking a leap or a chance. To us, the short time in Florida felt like an adventure and everything so unreal. We realized that we want our relationship to grow even though it’ll be long distance. We saw a future with us in it.


Apple Blossom Chapel and Gardens is a beautiful place where guests would have a wonderful time strolling around and exploring the garden. It’s a great place for pictures, and someone may even discover a place for playing golf frisbee.

The Decor:

Katie who works for Apple Blossom helped me to pick out the centerpieces and arranged them for the reception. The theme was blush and gold to create charm and elegance for the wedding.

Bride’s Dress

The dress I bought is sweetheart neckline, ballroom style in ivory, Oleg Cassini collection, picked by my mother and sister in law at David’s Bridal. It was the last dress I tried on that day and when I was asked to close my eyes and picture myself walking towards Alex wearing it, I said yes to that.

Groom’s Suit

The grooms suit was from Express, slim khaki wool-linen blend jacket.

The Ceremony: How did it go? Anything special?

Flower girls were the crowds favorite, as they ran away from the aisle and later chased down by their mothers. It was supposed to rain the whole day but two hours before the start of the ceremony the rain stopped. The vow we took made us almost cry. Overall everything went smoothly and on time.

Smita’s crown got caught in a twirl and I had to do some hair fixing REAL after her dance <3¬†

Reception/Dancing/Music: All the fun!

The last call of the night was with Chris Brown’s Forever. At some point, we saw Smita’s dad and our cousin Shiuley putting on sunglasses and dancing to a Hindi song with Shiuley on the lead.

Any Advice for couples planning their wedding?

Don’t worry about every single detail on the day of the wedding just enjoy the day with your loved ones. Do have a day of coordinator.  Don’t go cheap on food. Hire Rachel as your photographer.

Your Photographer: 

Amazed by Rachel our photographers’ energy. She was amazing and even helped me out with the bustle and a lot of other small details at the reception besides¬†taking pictures and telling us how to pose.


Thank you for viewing this Apple Blossom Chapel and Gardens Wedding gallery! Rachel Kaye Photography is a  West Michigan based wedding photographer who loves a great destination wedding. Rachel Kaye specializes in off-beat natural light wedding photography. Rachel Kaye Photography provides the best wedding photography services for the coolest kind of couples. Those who want to tell their love story in a natural, documentary style with amazing service. Rachel Kaye Photography tells unique stories through gorgeous natural looking photographs and fun, quirky, animated GIF’s.

For more information on how to tell your wedding day story or engagement/love story please contact Rachel Kaye

Love and Light, Rachel Kaye

Share on Facebook‚ÄĘTweet this Post‚ÄĘPin Images to Pinterest‚ÄĘBack to Top