The Chapel at The Morris Estate Niles Michigan Fall Wedding Jessica & Paul October 24, 2015

Jessica & Paul

October 24, 2015
The Chapel at The Morris Estate

Jason Kaczorowski Photography © 2015

Jessica & Paul chose the picturesque Chapel at The Morris Estate located in southwest Niles Michigan to host their Fall wedding. The Morris Estate has been hosting weddings since 1938 when it belonged to Ernest Melvin Morris and resided on his 1,000 acre farm. In 2010 the property was purchased by its current owners and, as of 2012, was renovated to add modern conveniences such as air conditioning, dressing lounges and floral refrigeration. The Morris Estate offers tented receptions adjacent to The Chapel in Spring, Summer and Fall in addition to their Supper Club which is located just 10 minutes from The Chapel. New for 2015, The Morris Estate began offering B&B style accommodations for wedding parties known simply as The Estate which includes well-appointed suites and rustic cabin accommodations for bridal party and family members.

Jessica and Paul discovered me thanks in part to other weddings I’ve photographed at The Chapel including my clients Trish & Matt from August of 2012. Paul & Jessica hired me well before their wedding which allowed us ample opportunity to capture a sunrise engagement photo session in Chicago this summer which the couple transformed into a sign-in book for their wedding. While capturing Jessica and Paul’s engagement pictures I got to know a little about the two of them and saw how much fun they are together. It wasn’t until their wedding day however that I really discovered how truly easy-going and amazing the two are both individually but more so together as a couple. During their ceremony their officiant referred to Paul as the “Ambassador of Fun” and Jessica was toasted during their reception in observance of how carefree and adventurous she is. Just one look at the smiles on the faces of their bridal party and guests throughout the day and you’ll get a sense of how much of an incredible impact they’ve made in the lives of their friends and family and how amazing these two truly are.

Though Jessica admitted she relentlessly checked the weather forecast every day leading up their wedding and Paul even downloaded a custom weather app that was highly rated for its prediction accuracy, the little rain the couple received Saturday still couldn’t dampen their intoxicating gleeful mood. The two braved their First Look preceding a sudden downpour but fortunately the sun came out long enough for us to escape for photos at the beautiful nearby Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve. Blazing trails with blisters and even a little mud on her dress pre-ceremony didn’t stop Jessica from radiating happiness with her smile and upbeat personality. By the time we returned for the couple’s 5:30 ceremony at the Chapel, the only thing on their minds was getting married quickly so the two could spend more time with friends and family and finally get to savor their whiskey tasting bar comprised of spirits from local Michigan distilleries which featured Paul’s signature cocktail called the “The Mazzhattan” (in tribute to the couple’s last name, “Mazzola”).

Take a sneak peek at these top 100 highlights from Jessica and Paul’s Fall wedding at The Chapel at The Morris Estate Saturday, October 24, 2015.

The Morris Estate Chapel Niles Michigan

The essence of Autumn was in full Fall flavor with colorful mums and changing trees that accented the charming Chapel at The Morris Estate in Niles, Michigan
(above) I captured Jessica’s special request for a photo of everyone in attendance quickly following their ceremony outside The Chapel at the Morris Estate
(above) Jessica couldn’t wait to finish bustling her wedding dress so she could sample her signature whiskey cocktail, “The Mazzhattan”
(above) Bottles of Limoncello were given as Thank You gifts to guests at they entered the newlyweds reception
(above) Paul delivers a heartfelt speech thanking everyone for helping make their day so special
(above) You know it’s a party when a unicorn appears on the dance floor!

Event Coordinator • The Morris Estate | Amber Janowski
Ceremony • Adara Haley | The Chapel at The Morris Estate
Wedding Dress • Wedding 826 | Suzi Mijailovic
Hair • Paparazzi Hair Studio | Ali Mashke
Make-Up • Outer Beauty | Dominica Szwajnos
Floral • Marco Alexzondra Floral & Event Design | Marco Alexzondra
Location Portraits • Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve
Ceremony Musicians • The Morrow Strings
Transportation • Royal Excursion
Reception • The Morris Estate | Amber Janowski
Catering • CK Catering
DJ • D & T Productions | Chris
Cupcakes • Gigi’s Cupcakes | Dee Florea
Photobooth • D & T Productions
Associate Photographer • Brian Menz
Honeymoon • The Cook Islands & Auckland, New Zealand

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Loews Downtown Chicago Hotel Wedding Katie & Francisco October 10, 2015

New Loews Downtown Chicago Hotel Wedding Photos

Katie & Francisco

October 11, 2015
Loews Downtown Chicago Hotel

Jason Kaczorowski Photography © 2015

Located at 455 North Park, the Loews Chicago Hotel has a prime Streeterville location which is only a few minutes walk to Navy Pier and Michigan Avenue and is ideal for weddings in downtown Chicago. The hotel’s 400 rooms – including 25 luxurious suites – feature incredible views of Lake Michigan and Navy Pier but the best feature of this Chicago hotel have nothing to do with the rooms: The third floor of the Loews Chicago Hotel boasts a huge 9,000-square-foot rooftop featuring an indoor pool, a bar, green spaces, a yoga terrace and phenomenal views over the city making it Chicago’s largest outdoor rooftop space to host an amazing wedding, reception or simply cocktail hour which is just what Katie & Francisco did this past weekend. Take a sneak peek at their spectacular wedding photos from the new Loews Chicago Downtown Hotel.

(above) The elevators at the Loews Chicago Hotel are tattooed with the lines of Carl Sandburg’s poem “Chicago.”
The Loews Chicago Hotel features a 9,000 square foot rooftop – Chicago’s largest outdoor space to host weddings and special events.
(above/below) The rooftop garden features unparalleled views of NBC Towers and the classic neo-Gothic, Tribune Tower.

Event Coordinator • Paper to Party
Wedding Dress • Kleinfeld NYC
Hair • Renee Feldman
Make-Up • Cynde Cosmetics | Cynde Hoffman
Floral • Nilee Event Décor
Officiant • Har Shalom Synagogue | Rabbi Michael Sommer
Band • The Chicago Players | Danny Chaimson
Video • Sure Shot Productions | Steve Goodman
Cake • Cake
Favors • Carol’s Cookies
Honeymoon • Bali, Indonesia

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Burning Man 2015 Neo Pagan Steampunk Wedding Temple of Promise Black Rock City Nevada

Burning Man Dust Storm Wedding Ceremony

Metzalli & Chris

Burning Man 2015 – Carnival of Mirrors
Temple of Promise
Black Rock City, Nevada

Jason Kaczorowski Photography © 2015

Wind sweeps and swirls the fine dust through the air, creating a translucent curtain of white, powdery alkali that blankets everything in its path. 45mph gusts of dried ephemeral lakebed silt become Mother Nature’s own coarse exfoliation. Ventilation masks prevent inhalation of playa dust into the lungs, turning to mud, clogging the alveoli and blocking the body’s ability to intake oxygen. Goggles must be worn to see through the constant dust storms. Temperatures reach above 100 degrees by day and dip down to into the 40s at night. Bicycles are required to traverse the 60+ miles of roads – an area nearly 25% larger than the size of the city of San Francisco. No, this is not an ordinary wedding. This is an exercise in “radical self-sufficiency“. This is Burning Man. This is Black Rock City… and it’s trying its best to kill me.

New York Magazine’s Daily Intelligencer reports, “As Burning Man and Silicon Valley meld, as the art here gets more elaborate and the accommodations more comfortable, Burning Man is becoming huge for weddings.” Black Rock City’s volunteer wedding coordinator Armadillo Puttanesca reiterates, “Wedding tourists who’ve never been to Burning Man think it sounds beautiful. It’s not Hawaii! To get married here, it’s a sacrifice.” Fortunately my couple Chris Van Dyne and Metzalli Guel are veteran Burners. Metzalli returned this season for her 8th year at Burning Man to wed Chris on Friday, September 4th. And Metzalli knows a thing or two about love: She is an Ordained Priestess of Perpetual Love within an eclectic neo-pagan CAYA (Come As You Are) coven within the San Francisco Bay Area community. “I am the Priestess of Perpetual Love because I am an absolute conduit for divine love, it’s like a fountain that runs through me. I have the gift of loving pretty much everyone, and for helping people realize how lovable they are,” says Metzalli.

I rode to Chris and Metzalli’s campsite on bicycle to capture photos of the couple’s preparation. Metzalli applied her make-up inside a truck to prevent the dust and wind from spoiling her efforts. Chris escaped the elements and got dressed inside his tent. Friends gathered around outside under shade enjoying spirits at a makeshift bar supplied by their camp. Chris, along with the first wave of friends, rode the nearly 2 miles to an area known as the Deep Playa. Metzalli and a second wave of spectators and friends accompanied her on bikes a few moments later.

We arrived just before sunset at the Temple of Promise, a lobed spire arching nearly 100 feet into the desert sky. The skyward curving shrine invites participants deeper, offering a transformative path as it gradually twists and tapers down before opening into a grove of weeping willow trees. The branches of the trees are initially bare. Participants write messages on long strips of cloth and attach them to the trees, creating the gentle shade of weeping willows. The temple has become an annual space of memorial and contemplation on the playa. It has also become a place for celebrating life and love so it was befitting for Chris & Metzalli to wed before it. Weddings have occurred in temples since the early 1500s. As the Roman Catholic Church became a powerful institution in Europe, the blessings of a priest became a necessary step for a marriage to be legally recognized. By the eighth century, marriage was widely accepted in the Catholic Church as a sacrament to bestow God’s grace.

The ceremony began with a grounding ritual by calling upon the elements. Next the couple made their way around their circle of friends hugging and thanking them for being a spiritual part of their lives and their day.

Next Metzalli performed a dance for her ancestors followed by calling upon her four Goddesses: La Santisima Muerte, Mistress of Death, a protectress who guards from all harm while reminding that every moment is precious; Hekate, Queen of Witches, who provides vision to see between the worlds and connects the Quantum Sea; An Morrighan, the Great Queen, who provides bravery and strength for the battle; and finally Aphrodite, Lady of Love, who provides the power to love thyself and others truly and fully.

As the couple’s officiate spoke of love, perseverance and understanding, Metzalli wanted their vows to signify fully trusting one another so the couple performed a dagger (or athame) ritual which stems from Gerald Gardner’s writings on the first degree of Initiation (origins of Wicca, with Gardner’s own Book of Shadows, the athame represents fire). Holding a dagger to another’s throat is a way of knowing they fully trust you and vice versa and in doing so, Metzalli wished to express the trust the couple has for each other visually.

The ceremonial dagger tradition was followed by a song Metzalli performed on acoustic guitar. Tears flowed through the crowd and dust trailed off of Chris’ cheek.

Finally, the couple performed a traditional pagan handfasting ritual – a historical term for “betrothal” or “wedding” – and recognized as another visual bond between two people, to reinforce that the couple is now one. Friends danced in a circle surrounding the newlyweds to raise the energy of the moment and celebrate the couple’s union.

Fires raged off in the distance as Metzalli and Chris shared their first kiss before hopping onto their bikes and riding off into the flames.

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Chris Van Dyne - There aren’t words to describe these images Jason. They bring me straight back to that magical night. Thank you so much for all the care you’ve taken not only in snapping these beautiful shots, but in your write up, in the time you took to get to know us, and just overall professionalism. You’re a rockstar my man. We’re so lucky to have met you!

Steve Sound-Man Evans - Geeze! Why can’t more photographers like Jason treat Burning Man reduced light photography like shooting underwater; exposing for the background then using offset lighting to reduce backscatter and bring out the color of the foreground? Great job!

Metzalli Van Dyne - Thank you for capturing our magical sunset!!! <3 Many blessings to you!!

Kismet Conrad - Congratulations, my beloved sister and her devine love! You’re beauty shines through the dust and clay. My love to you and your new beginnings! See you at HH!!

Stephanie Gabler - FABULOUS Photos (and subjects !) Rev Stephanie

Melissa Jean Southwood - Mesmerizing photos! Such a beautiful capturing, of an unforgettably unique ceremony.

Damon Nordby - These pictures are outstanding, and a great article to go with them.

Vicki Solomon - Fabulous photos! I couldn’t be there, but these stunning photos help.