Chicagoland Photographer | Cally & Joseph's MidSummer Night's Dream Wedding


Just a couple months before I left for my super long European vacation this summer I got the sweetest inquiry for a very intimate wedding. Cally and I met at the Sip one evening and told each other our life story. We laughed, we cried. Hearing all about her wedding plans and her family really made me want to photograph this important day in her life. Her fiancé is from England and shortly after the wedding she will be moving to England. I completely understood the importance this day had for her and her family.

The ceremony took place at the South Lake Church of the Nazarene. It is the church Cally grew up attending. The gorgeous sanctuary is spacious and was perfect for a traditional church wedding. Joy Wisehart coordinated and officiated Joe and Cally’s wedding ceremony. In order to be married at South Lake, Joe and Cally underwent pre-marital counseling lead by Joy Wisehart as well.

When I arrived Cally was finishing getting ready and the room was full of anticipation and emotions. I absolutely loved her braid which she had done all by herself. Her dress was breathtaking, it has rhinestones in the shape of a butterfly on the bodice. Cally received very special gifts from her friends and family. One of them being a gorgeous purse that matched her dress and mirror with a butterfly on it. The love for butterflies is something we have in common.

The ceremony was very uplifting and at the same time tears were flowing. The love Cally and Joseph have for each other is undeniable. You can see it in every look these two give each other. It was so beautiful for everyone to witness.

Tell us about how and where you first met?

Purdue University, West Lafayette at the start of the 2013-2014 academic year, Joe was on a year abroad and had been invited to a friend’s apartment for drinks and games. Cally, in her freshman year at Purdue, had been invited to the same party by another group of friends. That evening Joe and Cally met for the first time! Fun story, Joe originally thought Cally’s name was Kelly and she was too smitten with his cute English accent to correct him.


What is your favorite way to spend time together?

Joe and Cally love exploring new places. They often take long walks on the English countryside, and make little trips to new towns and cities for unique experiences. They both love visiting quirky coffee shops and watching theatre together.


Bride - how did you know HE was THE ONE?

During my first year at Purdue, I lived in an apartment about a mile off campus. In the second semester, I was in two shows, and theatre rehearsal ran until 10:30 in the evening. Joe would walk me home from rehearsal every night, and we would talk about anything and everything on these walks that I know we both began to cherish. One evening we talked about relationships, specifically those we know who are starting families. The question came up of how does anyone know when they are ready for that stage of life, and Joe said, “I don’t know, I guess for me it would be when I couldn’t possibly love the person I’m with any more than if I had a kid with her.” My immediate thought, followed by a bursting heart, was - I want to be that person!
— Cally

Groom - how did you know SHE was THE ONE?

Before we even started dating, Cally gave me a lift home one evening at school, and we stayed up all night talking in her car. I literally mean all night. The sun came up, street cleaners arrived, people left for morning classes, and we sat there in her old blue Saturn called Betty chatting about everything. I loved that night so much, and I knew in that moment, although a little sleep deprived, that if given the chance I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this girl.
— Joseph

For the wedding party photos we went to Deep River County Park. Due to the sunny and very hot August weather, Deep River County Park was perfect since it gave us some shade and even a little breeze. Deep River is special to Cally and Joe because they often escape to the outdoors to breathe some fresh air and chit-chat while enjoying a walk. Deep River County Park is one of their favorite spots in the Crown Point area.


The Proposal

On January 1, 2017, Joe took me to Dedham which is a little village in Suffolk, England. Its our favorite place to walk in the U.K. because there’s a cute country trail that runs from Dedham to Flatford, another quaint little village. Joe knew this trail is especially dear to me because on my first visit to England to meet his family, they brought us here to show me just a piece all the beautiful places England has to explore. We talked and got to know one another.

That day in Dedham was a landmark for me in our relationship because it was the day that I knew his family had welcomed me into their hearts.

At the end of the walk in Flatford, you arrive at a scene from of a famous John Constable painting, a beautiful pond by an old country cottage and an art building. Right there, looking over the water, Joe got down on one knee and asked me the question that changed my life. I said yes, of course!


Who stood up in your wedding?

On Cally's side: Matron of Honor: Kristen Koffer, Cally's big sister
Maid of Honor: Emma Baker, Cally's best friend since she was 10 years old
Bridesmaids: Ellen Trout & Sarah Bruce, Cally's best friends from Purdue

On Joe’s side: Joe didn’t have a best man, he had a best family and so he was honored to have his two older sisters Miriam and Emily and his brother-in-law Michael stand with him during the ceremony.

Emily also did the most lovely prayers for our wedding!

Ring Bearer: Jaxon Koffer, Cally's 4 year old nephew who is the most bashful and sweet little man you could ever meet.


Describe your wedding style in 3 words:

Simple. Rustic. Charming.

What were your wedding colors?

Pale Green & Dusty Blue


The Reception

Cally’s family lives in the Four Seasons so naturally the Lakehouse already felt like home. The Lakehouse’s banquet room has a max capacity of 144 and so it was more than enough room for Joe and Cally’s 50 wedding guests to dance, eat, drink, and celebrate! The staff was very helpful, and the bridal party was welcome to decorate however they wished. The view of the lake was breathtaking throughout the evening.


(click on below images to enlarge)

The Vendors

1.) Where did you buy the rings and why?

Joe bought Cally’s engagement ring at Earnest Jones in his hometown Colchester, England.
Cally bought her wedding ring from Brilliant Earth. Brilliant Earth is a remarkable organization that focuses on recycled metals and ethically sourced jewelry. Their prices are reasonable, their service is outstanding, and their designs range from simply gorgeous to extraordinary and unique.


Joe’s wedding ring is very special to him as it was originally his Grandy’s wedding ring. His Grandy was once a jeweler, and this particular ring was made for him by the master jeweler he worked for as a wedding present long ago. His Nan paid ten pounds for the gold to make it, but now it is absolutely priceless.

2.) Where did you buy the wedding dress? Why did you pick that one?

Here Comes the Dress in Chesterton, Indiana is the best place to look for your special dress, hands down. The ladies who work there are genuine, kind, and they listen! My favorite thing about going to Here Comes the Dress is that they give the bride privacy and time. Every other place I went dress shopping, the consultant would stay in the dressing room with me 100% of the time. There would never be a moment alone to really check in with how I was feeling in a dress. Here Comes the Dress never rushed me, never tried to upsell me, never smothered me. I am so thankful for their guidance and their service.


My dress chose me. I barely remember picking out the dress to try on. Honestly, it is not at all what I thought I would want, but once I put it on and stepped up in front of the mirror, I was suddenly hit with a vision, not of me in this perfect dress, but of Joe at the other end of the isle waiting for me to join him. Then I started ugly-crying, and that is how I knew I found my dress.

3.) Where did you get the bridesmaid dresses and what made you choose those particular ones?

Most importantly, I wanted my bridesmaids to feel comfy and confident. I told them to get a white top they feel good in, and then I sent them a link for long, dusty blue tulle skirts on Amazon. It turned out perfect! When buying off of Amazon, just check the sizes and read the reviews. It’s a much more creative and affordable option than other bridal retail stores!


4.) How about the guys Tuxedos or suits?

Suits! Joe bought his suit from Moss Bros London
The Ring Bearer and Flower Boys (Cally’s nephews) got their little suits from Old Navy.

5.) Who was your florist? What made you choose those particular flowers? What flowers were most important to you to be included in your bouquet?

I am not a bride who is crazy about flowers, although I do appreciate their beauty. Baby’s breath was the only greenery that I really wanted. When it came to flowers, I procrastinated, and it wasn’t until the day before the wedding that we sorted them out. I am so thankful for Joe’s family because we made a trip to Meier together, bought loads of baby’s breath and other pre-arranged bouquets, and then we took them back to the hotel to re-arrange them. Joe’s mom Carolyn ended up making my bridal bouquet, and its because she made it with her own hands that I loved it so much. My mom was touched when she saw a lily in my bouquet because those are her favorite flower.

Fun fact: We also bought all of our cakes from Meier! Guests especially loved the Carrot Cake

6.) Who was your DJ/Band/Lighting/PhotoBooth company?

The Lakehouse let us have control of their sound system for the evening, so we hooked up our phones and used Spotify playlists!

Later in the evening we had some live music - Cally's uncle Anthony Dearth, her brother John and even Joe's dad joined in

Later in the evening we had some live music - Cally's uncle Anthony Dearth, her brother John and even Joe's dad joined in

As for a photo booth, we ordered a do-it yourself version from Etsy and it was great!

7.) Did you have wedding favors? If so where did you get them?

Our wedding favors doubled as the name cards for guests. They were made by an artist off the High Street in Colchester where Joe and his family live. Since Joe and I really love nature inspired, simple decorations the wooden leaf design in pale green and cream colors was exactly what we wanted. They would be perfect as an ornament this Christmas or just a little keepsake.

8.) Brides, how did you find your hair and make-up girls?

I am a bride who braved it and did my own hair, and I do not regret it! I loved my hair on the day of the wedding because it felt like me. I chose to go with the whole distressed princess braid, and I practiced along with YouTube tutorials for weeks ahead of time. To add length and fullness, I bought clip-in extensions from M&M Beauty in Merrillville, and the staff there was very informative.

Sarah Bruce, one of my best friends, and a bridesmaid, did my makeup for the big day! She is a makeup enthusiast and has often used my face to try new things. I totally trust her, and she did a wonderful job. I loved that on the day, she helped me look natural and radiant!

P.S. If you need Cruelty Free, long-wear makeup for a special occasion, Urban Decay products are amazing!

Were there any challenges planning your wedding?

We are in a long distance relationship as Cally is from the U.S. and Joe is from the U.K. Planning a wedding is hard enough so planning a long-distance wedding is even more of a challenge. It was difficult not to be able to always be together to make decisions and to visit reception sites. However, our ability to communicate well, loads of trust, along with taking a gazillion pictures, meant that things went smoothly for the most part. Having supportive friends and family is also a blessing. We had to learn to delegate and to trust one another to get specific tasks done. Setting manageable goals and time limits for tasks really helped move things along.


What piece of advice would you pass on to future brides and grooms?

Planning Advice:
Keep your eyes on the prize, and the prize is your marriage. The most important thing about the day is the marriage. Plan with that in mind. Do not be embarrassed if you are on a tight budget. Make a priority sheet and align that sheet with your budget. If you do that, you won't be disappointed in losing the things that aren't necessary.

On the Big Day:
Look one another in the eyes. Try to stay in the moment and live each second of your special day. It will go so fast and you will miss so much if you don't remember to breathe and enjoy the moment here and now. Don't sweat the small stuff, and remember to say hello to all of your wonderful guests.


What made you choose CHC-Photography as your wedding photographer?

Cally spent a long time searching for a photographer because we wanted someone unique and genuine to capture our big day. We are both terrible at remembering to take photos, and we often find it awkward to pose or hold the camera for selfies.

We really wanted a photographer who would understand our long-distance situation and how meaningful the day was for us and our families. Cally's mom is terminally ill and on home-hospice care. Her one goal this past year has been to make it to our wedding, and she did it! Because of Cally's mom's health and the ocean between our families, our wedding day will probably be the only day we ever get to have our families together so having a photographer that loves and empathizes deeply was essential to us.

Cally and Carmen met up for coffee at Sip in Crown Point to discuss her work and our love story, and they ended up speaking for 5 hours. Cally called me raving about how Carmen really understands our wants and needs for our wedding photos, and how similar her story is to ours! If anyone could understand how important this day was to us, it was Carmen. She did such a wonderful job at our wedding, and we wouldn't have wanted anyone else to take our photos. Carmen was sincere, thoughtful, and creative about each moment. She felt like one of our guests, a friend.


Anything else you'd like to add?

A big thank you to Carmen, again, for joining us on our wedding day. She was efficient, friendly, accommodating, and professional. We loved having her photograph our wedding! Your photos will help us relive our big day for the rest of our lives.

Another big thank you to Olivia Reusze for letting us borrow tons of her handmade crafts and arrangements for our wedding reception because we have the same wedding colors. Check out her designs. She goes by LivSimply.

One last thank you to all of our friends, our church, and our family who made this day possible. Everyone chipped in like a big old team, and Joe and I could not have tied the knot without your support for our relationship and the wedding. We love you all so much xx


Cally and Joseph - your love story is beautiful and your bond so strong it will conquer anything! It was amazing being your photographer and guest at your wedding. I will never forget it. I really felt appreciated and that means so much to me.

I was so in love with Cally's wedding gown and her whole look that we went on a little adventure to the Gary Methodist Church a few days after the wedding. I will blog those images in the next couple of days.


Wishing you a happily ever after!

- Carmen | CHC-Photography, Inc.