Photography and story by Bradley Moss
Mary and Sébastien wanted to get married in Chicago ahead of their wedding in France, Sébastien’s home country. They decided they would make sure their city hall wedding felt just as special as their more formal celebration abroad. After all, it was the official start of being husband and wife! They hoped these photos would feel different from the airy photos they anticipate for their second wedding, but still wanted to incorporate a few French elements as a nod to their next steps. Their hopes and my vision came together to serve that purpose perfectly.
Planning their intimate civil ceremony alongside planning a wedding and a move abroad proved to have its challenges. Through it all, Mary and Sébastien kept their spirits up and each other in mind.
In addition to the photographer, only one witness was allowed downstairs in Chicago’s marriage court. Mary’s sister Anna fulfilled the witness role that day.
Mary had put together the perfect bridal look complete with her mother’s wedding earrings. The bouquet and boutonniere were made by her mother as well.
Outside City Hall’s doors, Mary’s brother, parents and the couple’s golden retriever, Archie, patiently waited for the new husband and wife to make their grand exit. Sébastien’s new in-laws had a bottle of Provence rosé in tow for a toast. Archie was stylishly dressed with a tuxedo collar and a “Dog of Honor” tag, eager to see his parents. Their reunion with Archie was of high importance because the golden pup sent his regrets for the next wedding.
Since they only had a few months left in Chicago, Mary and Sébastien wanted the city to be the backdrop for many of their portraits. These two braved the classic Chicago cold to make their first memories as husband and wife.
Our next step was the couple’s first dance class where they rehearsed for their summer wedding reception in France. They were naturals dancing to “Baby I’m Yours” by the Arctic Monkeys.
We ended our day together at a French restaurant, Francois Frankie, for drinks and a place to sit. They had been on their feet all day and the French spot was a great tie-in. Here Mary brought jacket number two out. It was personalized with their civil ceremony date and her new last name on the back.
These two were able to take a quick courthouse ceremony and turn it into a beautiful, memorable day. It was the perfect precursor to their French wedding!