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chicago engagement photograper

All the pastels and lush greenery make me feel like we’ve been transported to some charming Southern town, like, oh say, Charleston. Don’t be fooled – we didn’t have to go far for these simple but picturesque backdrops for Jamie and Mike’s engagement shoot. Just an hour away from Chicago is downtown Geneva, a quaint suburban town with historical architecture and unique shops with quirky details. This adorable yellow bike was parked outside one business and we couldn’t resist playing with it a little – made the best prop, right? Couldn’t have planned it better myself.

Jamie and Mike are the sweetest couple. I’m shooting their upcoming wedding, and it was fun to get to know this couple before the big day. They are both naturals for the camera and so easy to work with, and you can tell they have a lot of fun together. It was 100 degrees this day, but that didn’t stop them from looking cool and collected. Don’t they look like they’re just taking a stroll through the park, stopping for a little dance… just the beginning of a beautiful life journey…

xo, Melissa

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santa Monica engagement photographer

Oh, but California
California I’m coming home
I’m going to see the folks I dig
I’ll even kiss a sunset pig
California I’m coming home…

California by Joni Mitchell

What do you do when you’re in town shooting a wedding, but then have free time to tag along with your photographer friend/spirit animal for the day? Why, just go shoot some more! That’s what I did with my talented photographer buddy, Adrian Wood, when we did a lifestyle shoot for Serena and Sergio. I met the couple met for an hour first at a cool guitar shop. The kind you see in old movies about LA. We clicked instantly, and I could feel Sergio’s love of music because he looked so in heaven amongst all those guitars! Serena is an amazing photographer herself, so homegirl knows how to work the camera. This couple is the epitome of California cool even thought they’re from Venice, Italy– they have that West Coast ease about them, and it doesn’t hurt to be chasing the glorious California golden sunset at the Santa Monica Pier. You would never know this beach is one of California’s most popular, tourist-trappy beaches just by looking at Serena and Sergio’s serene photos. It’s so, so dreamy, am I right? Scroll through and feel the sun-drenched, salty spray of the West Coast/Best Coast at your fingertips!

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playa del Carmen Cancun wedding photographer

Timeless, elegant, and effortless are just a few words I’d use to describe Nam and Tu’s Mexican destination wedding at Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla. Nam’s lace-embroidered mermaid gown and a blush and gold color palette only enhanced the natural beauty of the bayside venue and lush greenery everywhere. As beautiful as the wedding celebration was aesthetically, what I can’t take my eyes off of are the genuine smiles and spirit shared between Nam and Tu on their big day, or the joy and love emanating from all their wedding guests. And with over 130 friends and family present, it’s safe to say this ranks amongst the largest of destination weddings – and that this couple is well-loved. Even the thoughtful detail they brought with them to Mexico – a pair of giant heads on sticks to represent Tu’s younger brother/Best Man and sister-in-law who gave birth two days prior and thus could not attend the wedding – was a testament to the closeness you can feel amongst this family.

My most favorite moment from Nam and Tu’s big day was the First Look – I always feel an incredible rush of emotions for the bride and groom, thinking of this moment as just the beginning of the rest of their lives together. I also loved their mother/son and father/daughter dances. I cried three times that day!

Nam is a little firecracker, so very fitting in festive Mexico – you’d never guess by looking at these photos that she partied so hard the night of her bachelorette party at the resort and broke her toe. She has zero recollection of how it got broken… but no shame in the game… when it’s all part of a dream wedding experience… 🙂 Dream away with me and take a peek at the beachside tropical paradise where Nam and Tu tied the knot and all the pretty details!

xo, Melissa

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Nam and Tu’s Wedding Guide ::

Venue, Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla // Bride’s Gown, Marisa Bridals // Bride’s Hair, Jessica Phan Luong // Makeup, Christine Le // Groom’s Attire, Express // Bridesmaids’ Dresses, Vera Wang // Event Designer, Planner 1 Events // Wedding Consultant, Jaime Alarcon Villalpa // Florist, Planner 1 Events // Cake, Planner 1 Events // Caterer, Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla // Music, JSAV Audio // Videographer, Deepend Imagery // Wedding Officiant, John Herlihy

Chicago Destination Wedding Photographer

Melissa Diep Photography is a highly sought after wedding, engagement, family, maternity, newborn, baby, and children portrait photographer based in Chicago. Melissa strives to capture organic moments as works of art. She loves to incorporate natural environments and soft light to create beautiful imagery.

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