If you’re new here, you’re in for a treat! I freaking love stories. IG captions don’t quite allow me to share with you all the beautiful details that go into my couples and our time together.
The Blog is the place to learn more about real love stories, real wedding days, and be inspired for your own wedding.
Ashley and Jake’s intimate wedding day at Reality on Monroe was a day filled with love and emotion, their story starts LONG before their wedding day though! The two practically grew up together, but were never interested in one another. They later moved across the country from one another, Ashley to Colorado and Jake to NYC, before finally meeting again in Chicago at a mutual friend’s birthday party! The two reconnected, and more importantly had both moved back to the Chicago area. They quickly became more than friends, and as their connection deepened so did their love for one another! It’s this passion that led to Jake’s proposal to Ashley on New Year’s Eve, and to this incredible wedding day that I get to share with you all!
Ashley and Jake’s wedding day started quietly and intimately. They got ready separately from one another, and I met up with Ashley as she got dressed with the help of her family at Girl Friday in Bloomington. Girl Friday was the perfect space to get ready in as it not only gave us plenty of natural light to work with, but also a moody and calm setting for the start of Ashley’s day. Once ready we headed out to meet up with Jake at the Vrooman Mansion. I helped choose this location for these two as they knew they wanted to do a first look as well as a private vow reading. Being December in the suburbs of Chicago things can get pretty cold, so having a space with a beautiful inside and outside for us to use was a must!
From the moment we met up for their first look you could practically feel the love in the air. When we arrived Jake already had his hand in the ASL sign for “I Love You” even though he had yet to see Ashley. Upon seeing her though the emotions Jake was holding back all came to the forefront and it was SUCH a sweet moment. After some portraits outside the mansion we made our way indoors for more portraits as well as their private vows.
Having this moment for their private vows to be read to one another was SO important to Ashley and Jake. All three of us were crying, and I made sure to leave them with some space to enjoy this time together as just the two of them. We finished our portraits at the historic Vrooman Mansion before heading out to Reality on Monroe for the rest of their intimate wedding day!
Reality on Monroe is one of the most stylish and charming wedding venues in Bloomington, Illinois, and Ashley and Jake’s intimate wedding day is a perfect showcase of this undeniable beauty! The space is that perfect mixture of history with modern comforts that provide an experience you’ll love through and through. Warm brick walls, moody atmospheric lighting, and a blank slate when it comes to décor let you make this space the venue of your dreams! Music is a big part of both Ashley and Jake’s lives, so a large amount of décor revolved around that, such as the guitar case for their gifts, their guitar guest “book”, and the 200 disco balls that occupied the space.
Ashley and Jake made friendship bracelets to mark their guests’ seats, and Ashley wrapped her bouquet in her grandmother’s wedding dress, which gave their ceremony a personal and emotional touch as well. Making your wedding day truly feel like you is something I’m always advocating for my clients to prioritize, as the results always feel so magical and special! The ceremony itself was stunning, with Ashley walking down the aisle to a live acoustic rendition of First Day of My Life. Ashley and Jake then re-read their vows in front of their guests immediately bringing out the waterworks from everyone in attendance!
Immediately after their intimate wedding ceremony, Ashley and Jake scheduled time for portraits with their family members inside of Reality on Monroe. The ceremony space was THE perfect backdrop for these portraits as well as the perfect setting for the reception which was about to begin! The reception consisted of four heartfelt and moving speeches, a lovely first dance between Ashley and Jake, and PLENTY of dancing throughout the evening! Continuing on with the theme of making their wedding day for them and only them, Ashley and Jake included Cute Without The ‘E’ into their wedding playlist. I’m all for the traditional Sweet Caroline for your wedding reception if that’s your jam, but don’t be afraid to do things your own way! After all it is YOUR wedding day!
Ashley and Jake’s intimate wedding at Reality on Monroe was the perfect way to cap off the incredible year that was 2023! I’m so in love with these two, their vision, and the wedding day we were able to create! If you’re ready to book me for your own intimate wedding in Central Illinois be sure to send me an inquiry through my contact page so I can reserve your date and we can start making your dream wedding a reality!
Venue: Reality on Monroe
Getting Ready Space: Girl Friday
Wedding Dress: Jenny Yoo
Florals: Vera & Buck
Rentals: Cash Décor Rentals
January 11, 2024
All love is welcome & celebrated here.
Rachael Marie Photography values inclusivity and will never discriminate against your gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religion, body type, or abilities. You are wonderful, beautiful, and loved here.