Katherine & Elliot
Columbia Yacht Club | Viceroy Chicago
“We began our search for a wedding photographer when my soon-to-be father-in-law received a sudden terminal cancer prognosis. Where we once had 8 months before our big day, we suddenly found ourselves with just three weeks to plan our wedding.
Of all of the items on the wedding checklist, choosing the photographer gave us the most anxiety. Because of the context of my father-in-law’s health, we knew our wedding photos would take on an even greater meaning than a typical wedding. We also knew that, in his deteriorating condition, being able to capture our special moments with him would be much more difficult— both physically and emotionally.
We spoke to many photographers to make sure we got our decision right, but not one was as competent, compassionate, or talented as Shanti. She understood our needs, saw our vision for the day, and wasted no time. Through her incredible professionalism and humanity, Shanti completely raised the bar for what we thought we could expect from a wedding photographer.
Shanti earned our trust from the start through her willingness to dive into planning head-first. Shanti’s deep expertise and know-how meant that we could rely on her not only to help us plan our shots, but also help us make broader decisions about the day that might typically be left for a wedding planner. She was our most trusted advisor throughout the planning process— never shy to give us her honest advice, and always respectful of our unique needs and wishes.
Never in my life has a plan come to fruition quite as smoothly as the wedding we put together with Shanti’s help. When the day began, I was worried that our shot plan might have been too ambitious— because working with our family can be like herding cats. Shanti and her team were not phased for a second— true battle-hardened professionals. And while Shanti was ready to take charge to keep us on schedule for our posed shots, she was also incredibly skilled at giving the appropriate space and deference to natural moments.
Only when the day had passed and it came time to see our photo collection did we understand the total effect of Shanti’s intuition and creativity. Shanti had expertly captured in our album all of the important shots we had planned for and envisioned. But in between the poses and key event were moments we didn’t even notice Shanti had caught— and whose honesty, intimacy, and unflinching candidness embodied the true spirit of our big day.
My wife and I joke that our family gained a member the day of our wedding— Shanti. That’s the trust we have in her. I don’t know how we would have planned the day without her. I don’t know how we would have captured the day without her. But I do know that, without her kindness, knowledge and sheer ability, the keepsake photos she gave to us would have only been captured as memories.”
I really can’t say enough good about this incredible couple, and I’m touched beyond words to have been their chosen wedding photographer. Their ceremony was intimate, personal, and meaningful, and their whole day was full of joyful group singing and music-making with their combined immediate families.They are so sincerely kind, generous, and loving, and their families are infectiously openhearted. They are completely for real and in it for the long haul, to quote their very own vows, “through the shit and the sunshine.” Their ceremony was the day before Thanksgiving, and I could think of no better way to usher in a weekend of gratitude than by photographing a wedding that exemplified all of the reasons I am so grateful to do this work: the love, the tenderness, the legacy, the shared experiences, the promise, the heart… and, of course, the beauty.
Katherine and Elliot met on the shores of the same water over which they said their marriage vows. Elliot signed up for sailing lessons, not knowing that his instructor would one day be his wife— and co-owner of their sail boat. Since Lake Michigan and nautical life are a centerpoint to their lives, Columbia Yacht Club was a natural choice for their venue. With fewer than 20 people in attendance, the day centered around their close-knit families. Their siblings— Elliot’s sister and Katherine’s two brothers— provided the music, and a family friend officiated. After their ceremony, the group headed to a private dining room at Viceroy Chicago for a meal, dancing, cake, and more singing. Full steam ahead.