Alison Mae

Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati







The first time I talked to JJ and Kat we stayed on the phone for well over two hours. We clicked immediately and I instantly adored them. Since that first phone call we’ve shared laughs during their engagement session at Newfields and over drinks at Sunking while talking through the details of their wedding day. We’ve sent countless messages back and forth over instagram and along the way, these two have become not just clients, but friends. So needless to say, when their wedding day arrived it felt like Christmas morning for me. I was elated to celebrate my friends Kat and JJ at their summer Ritz Charles wedding. And today, one month later, I am just as excited to share their wedding story!

Getting Ready

The celebration began at Kat and JJ’s lovely home. Kat and her bridesmaids enjoyed getting their hair and makeup done while beautiful light streamed in the kitchen windows. Laugher filled the home and I knew we were in for a great day! Kat hand selected some of the most amazing details to add to her wedding look including some seriously stunning Badgley Mishka heels and Dareth earrings. Kat wore her grandmother’s ring in addition to her engagement ring which was the perfect heirloom piece. She even had the most amazing robe that she wore before putting on her dress. She was stunning all day long! But when she put on her Kitty Chen wedding dress, we were all speechless! (Just wait until you see her bridesmaids’ first look!) It was truly made for her!

One of my favorite parts of Kat and JJ’s wedding day was how important it was to them to honor their parents through out the day. In addition to writing letters to one another, JJ had written special letters to both of Kat’s parents which brought tears to their eyes. And Kat had special letter just for her dad that he read right before he saw for the first time in her wedding dress!

JJ got ready for the day with special help from his wonderful best man, Merrill, and his kind hearted father. JJ put on his navy tux and was every bit the dapper groom! With a cool watch and a classic black tie, the always stylish JJ looked handsome for his bride! (And speaking of style, just wait until you see JJ and Kat’s reception shoes!) JJ even shared a first look with his sweet mom, which was extra special.

The First Look

Kat and JJ decided to see one another before their ceremony and shared a first look. They opted to see one another for the first time in the chapel where they would be married later in the day. The smile on JJ’s face when he saw Kat was the best ever! They are so sweet together and it was so fun to see!

The Bridal Party

Kat’s beautiful bridesmaids wore the most lovely green gowns! The soft sage color tied in perfectly with the soft summer greens found around the Ritz Charles. Each woman carried a stunning bouquet made lovingly by Graceful Hands Floral Design. JJ’s groomsmen looked great in blue suits! We adored Kat and JJ’s friends! They kept us laughing all day long and took care of Kat and JJ without hesitation. I am a big believer that you can learn a lot about a couple by their friends. And it’s safe to say that JJ and Kat have some truly incredible people in their corner!

The Reception Reveal

Kat and JJ planned for so many special touches on their wedding day. So I was delighted to see that they decided to do a reception reveal! Oftentimes on wedding days things get so busy and the couple doesn’t get to see the reception space before it’s full of their guests. But Kat and JJ took a moment to slow down and soak everything in, which was very sweet. They even made a stop by their After the Tone guest book to leave themselves a message that they will have forever!

The Ceremony

Kat and JJ’s ceremony was held in the always stunning chapel at The Ritz Charles. With a gorgeous floral arch adorned with roses, the space was romantic and welcoming. Through out the ceremony, several traditions were woven in, creating a sentimental celebration. Both sets of parents lit the unity candle, the very same one from Kat’s parents’ wedding. Following a ring warming ceremony, Kat presented JJ with a claddagh ring to match her own. And JJ placed a meena pendant around Kat’s neck, tied with threads from his mom’s wedding saree! With so many meaningful touches, it was hard to find a dry eye in the room!

The Reception

One thing is for sure, Kat and JJ know how to throw a party! Guests were welcomed into the garden chapel at the Ritz Charles by Alpha Lit letters spelling out the happy couples’ last name. A cigar bar, custom cocktails and beautiful weather kept cocktail hour lively. Once inside the all glass reception space, guests eyes were drawn up to the lovely white draping by tall floral center pieces. Light pink linens and patterned napkins in soft grey added elegance to the decor. And the floral arch from the ceremony was repurposed as a backdrop for the sweetheart table! Kat and JJ cut their delicious cake to officially get their party started!

Kat and JJ

As I mentioned earlier, Kat and JJ have become so much more than clients for us. So seeing them completely captured by joy all day long was something I will never forget. Together they are silly, sweet and work hard to pursue their shared dreams. They care deeply for the people in their lives and are always ready with a recommendation for a great restaurant. (A theory we tested during our recent trip to NYC!) Seeing Kat and JJ get the love they put out into the world returned back to them on their special day was truly wonderful and a joy to capture on camera.

As I edited these photos I thought back to that first phone call I had with them. A call filled with laugher, relating with Kat about our love for organization and being captivated by JJ’s charismatic story telling skills I can’t believe their wedding day has already come and gone. But I am so thankful to have been able to be there to photograph each and every one of these moments for them, big and small. Congratulations Kat and JJ! Zach and I adore you both!

Creative Professional Team

Venue: The Ritz Charles– @ritz_charles

Photographer: Alison Mae Photography @alisonmaephotography

Florist-  Graceful Hands – @graceful_hands_floral

DJ and Photobooth-  Complete Weddings and events @completewedo

Catering: The Ritz Charles

Cake: The Ritz Charles

Hair: Black Swan Beauty – @blackswanbeautyindy

Makeup: Olivia Rodiguez – @oliviadrod and Betania Dominguez @tannarosestudio 

Guestbook: After the tone –

Rentals: A Classic Party Rental @aclassicpartyrental

Rings: Diamonds Direct @diamondsdirect 

Jewelry: Dareth – @darethcolburndesigns

Dress; Blue House Bridal @bluehousebridal // Kitty chen @kittychencouture

Alterations: Something Wonderful @somethingwonderfulindy

Suit: Men’s Wearhouse @menswearhouse // Vera Wang @verawang

Groomsmen suits: Men’s Wearhouse // Calvin Klein @calvinklein

Shoes: Badgley Mishka @badgleymishkabride

Stationery: The Knot @theknot

Wedding Programs: The KnotMarquee Letters: Alphalit @alphalit317

View more Ritz Charles weddings here!

Summer Ritz Charles Wedding

Summer Ritz Charles Wedding

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