How we met
Gillian: Jeremy and I met the more traditional way, we attended Indiana University. In our Junior year I had class with several of his friends that my friends knew. We all had the same core set of classes that semester so we ended up studying together in the library and hanging out together on the weekends.
Jeremy: We were a bunch of nerds
Gillian: My sorority sisters and his fraternity brothers were good friends so that brought me to meeting Jeremy, one of his friends texted us to all hang out one weekend and that gave Jeremy my number and he started talking to me, and we’ve been together ever since.
Jeremy: Our first date we ended up going out to winner with one of my fraternity brothers and one of her sorority sisters to a restaurant in Bloomington, which was a lot of fun, it was kind of awkward at first where it was the four of us and they were just starting to date as well but it was a lot of fun just getting to know Gillian a little better, be outside of the classroom and just enjoy the day.
Gillian: It was a little bit awkward since they were a new couple too and not fully comfortable but at the same time it was a little more relaxing to be together as a group of friends instead of just us two.
How did you propose?
Jeremy: Gillian was in Paris for work, which is probably her favorite city in the world outside of Chicago, we had been talking about next steps in life. We had been planning to go to Punta Cana for memorial day a month or two after her trip in Paris. I had been laying some hints down that maybe it would happen in Punta Cana. I surprised her in Paris instead. Before that I was in San Francisco for work, I had bought the ring in Chicago, sent it to our San Francisco office to pick up, but I was so nervous taking the ring across all these states and then eventually to Paris and then trying to hide it for a few days before proposing. We had plans for dinner on the eiffel tower, I found a photographer online the day of the proposal. Everything ended up working out very well except for my shirt.
Gillian: It was very wrinkled, a crumpled mess so I had to iron his shirt so we were a little rushed. I lived very close to the eiffel tower and there is this street around the corner with where if you glance down this street and you have this very special view of the eiffel tower between very purisian looking buildings. So Jeremy proposed at that corner, it is a very special spot for us. Luckily the photographer he had hired was there to capture that moment, and Jeremy surprised us both with a proposal. We went around Paris taking photos with the photographer then went to dinner 2-3 hours after we were supposed to.
Gillian: I would say our favorite photo is the 5 second game, everytime we look at that photo we laugh, it’s just so candid and funny to see one guy between Jeremy’s legs and there’s another guy waving up top. Everyone looks great, that's one of our favorite ones.
Jeremy: One thing to add to that too, those pictures are the ones our friends like the most too which is fun, everytime they look at it they say that it’s hilarious.
Gillian: Theres a couple photos of us walking and my veil blowing, one with us looking at each other with a very sincere and loving look. Theres others that you captured as well during out ceremony where laughing and those photos just help us remember since the day goes by so quickly. Lasly the ones we did with our extended family, especially as some people begin to get older, it’s great to have those memories with them.
Jeremy: Another one would be the Indiana University flag with all of our college friends
Gillian: That one has some funny faces too which makes that one extra special.
Jeremy: One other picture though, on top of the balcony, We had a nice eiffel tower “statue” in the foreground and with us in the background. That picture turned out great and helps with our memory of proposing in Paris.
How did we make you feel special?
Gillian: Valen Studios made us feel special for many reasons, I think from the beginning, meeting with Steve with my parents to see what he had to offer. I had to talk about myself, Jeremy and our relationship. I remember at the end Steve just summarized what we were like and it was perfect. After speaking for 20 minutes he nailed our relationship perfect and that was amazing to me that he can understand people so well. Throughout the whole process he was very focused on the customer and what is very important to us and is able to pick out the important things without telling him directly what it is. His whole team bends over backwards, so does his whole team to get what you want, understand what’s important, stay around extra time all to make your whole day feel special and he knows what photos you will value later that you could have never imagined.
Jeremy: I’m not someone who likes to take a lot of pictures, Steve and his team made it super easy for us on our wedding day where it seemed like we took hundreds of pictures but in reality to me it felt like we only took one picture because it was so smooth, so easy going. We got married on a 95+ degree day where everyone was sweating, it was so hot outside. But it was so smooth, for myself and the groomsmen too, everyone enjoyed it, everyone laughed a lot which I didn’t really expect so it was awesome.
What would you keep the same?
Gillian: I think a few things I would have kept the same about our wedding is we did dance lessons and did a bit of a choreographed dance. I grew up as a ballerina dancer
Jeremy: I did not
Gillian: Jeremy not as naturally talented at dancing and so he was initially a little apprehensive about the dance lessons, but I think that was such a special, fun time for us to prepare for our wedding but in a relaxed setting. I think our family and friends were very impressed by how the dance turned out and the fact that Jeremy can actually dance and how he has a little bit better moves.
Jeremy: I'm still practicing
Gillian: Windy City Wedding Dance taught us how to dance. The second thing was incorporating family into our ceremony and reception in special ways. For example we had a catholic ceremony with Jermemy’s Grandfather be one of the people who pass out the host in our ceremony. Then in our reception we had both sets of parents and Grandparents sit at a table together to show unity in our families. A third thing it would be doing the wedding video, initially I didn’t think I would do the video but I think it was a really great way to remember how we felt and looked. Then being able to watch the ceremony afterwards and listen to the speeches, I could go on and on but remembering something that flies by so quickly is so amazing.
Jeremy: I think the funniest thing about the video is from the reception where you can see my Grandmother in the background dancing super goofy. Every single time we get together it’s hilarious and is such a great time. I think to me, having our family involved in the wedding was very special. My Grandfather was my little league baseball coach so I’ve grown up and go very far back with him, it’s more of a personal relationship rather than a Grandfather and Grandson type relationship. So having him involved was very cool I thought. One thing I really liked too was having all of the significant others at the pictures as well. We took a trolly/ bus around for all the pictures, even though they weren't a part of all the pictures it was just fun to have everyone involved in that experience.
What would you change?
Gillian: I think the thing I would change is worrying about all the small details like the little intricate decorations and signage as much as I did. Honestly, people don’t really notice and you spend hours and hours worrying about that, when people just want to have a good time and will remember the happiness, music, dancing and ceremony. For me I was surprised by how many people liked our ceremony and we did not spend as much time planning the ceremony as I did with all the little details on the signs and decorations for the reception. So I would say don’t spend too much time and money on all the little details when people are just looking for a fun time and a good experience.
Jeremy: I would echo that, I would also say the weather, try not to get married on a 95 degree day ahahaha. But the little things, everyone remembers the wedding as always having a great time, but the little things aren't as important and could get swept under the rug.
Bride to Bride
Gillian: I would absolutely recommend Valen Studios, I think Steve and Kelly were excellent. I'm not naturally one that’s very photogenic but they always made me feel comfortable and that I looked good. I knew they cared about me beyond just doing their job, they genuinely cared about how I was, that I was happy, felt comfortable, relaxed, was having fun. I care a lot about my appearance any day but especially on the wedding day, I don’t often like looking at pictures of myself but when I saw all the photographs they took I definitely felt happier looking at pictures of myself and that I looked a little more photogenic than I usually do. They really helped me feel comfortable. I'm not one to PDA much either but naturally in these types of pictures you have to do a little bit more of that so they made me feel more comfortable in that environment. They really build relationships and continue that. After the fact they were very patient with me and my very busy life and didn’t try to rush me a long in picking our photos and doing our album. Valen Studios has been great in being patient and really pleasing the customer genuinely from their heart.
Groom to Groom
Jeremy: For me, They just made everything so much easier for us. I've been in several weddings as well and had the pleasure of taking lots of pictures which is not something I always love to do. Every picture we took was always fun, there was always a joke involved with it. The five second game was one the most fu photos I have ever been a part of, we also had some fun football pictures too. We had a blast doing it even though for me it’s not one of the thop things I would like to do, but at the same time we just had a blast, my friends still talk about Steve and Kelly, how much fun they had doing pictures. As we go through several weddings we start making friends with other photographers but everyone still talks about our pictures and how much fun we all had.
Worth the investment?
Jeremy: Yeah, frankly at first hearing how expensive photographers were I was like “Holy cow that's a lot of money.” At the end of the day, based on the pictures we got, the love we got from Steve and Kelly, everything throughout the entire day. Looking back on it, I think it was well worth the money. Everyone was happy and involved, I think the images turned out fantastic and we had a great time!
Gillian: I think it is worth every penny. The day flies by so quickly, the only thing that will help you remember are the photos and the video so that to me is one of the most important things to invest into for your wedding. I would spend your money on that over many of the other little intricate details for your wedding.
Jeremy: One thing that someone told me before my wedding was to take a step back with your bride and just look at everyone else having a good time at the reception. I thought that was kind of goofy at the time but the day goes by so fast where it was one thing we did at the end, It was cool with the two of us to see everyone having a good time and enjoy the day. I would definitely recommend any couple to do that who is getting married.
Gillian: You actually helped us do that in a way when you pulled us from dinner for sunset photos, it didn't really matter that we were missing food, we were not really hungry because we were having so much fun. That was a good time since we were not really bonding or missing anything with family, we just got to step away and have a few moments to relax by ourselves without anyone around, I think that was good too.