VARCA | A Bridal Atelier

Sarah Varca is the boss lady behind the Bridal Atelier, Varca! She designs all of her gowns in her Chicago studio, providing dresses for “the woman on her own level'“ all over this lovely planet. Her bubbly yet sassy spirit really comes out in all of her gorgeous gowns. If you want to have fun and be seen feeling your best, go set up a consultation for an original gown by Varca or visit one of her stockists around the world!

The two dresses below are called “The Nikki”, where the lace neck and puffy sleeved cape is removable, and the “Arabella Gown”, the one with all of the fluffy layers and white leather! These are part of Varca’s latest collection and I’m just amazed at the detail that went into them!

I’m just so grateful to photograph entrepreneurs who are doing amazing things, and creating beautiful masterpieces by hand and businesses from the ground up. So enjoy these beautiful looks below and be on the lookout for future features on creative entrepreneurs that I am inspired by, coming to my website soon!

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Dresses Varca | Models Aria + Vinitra | HAMU Celena | Florals Fleur | Location Chicago, IL

Glasgow Creatives | Jono + Emily

I am just in awe of these two,
individually and as a couple.

Lately, I have really enjoyed highlighting creatives that inspire me with their work. Needless to say, Jono and Emily are true inspirations. Between their color palette, chemistry, passion for unique handmade pottery and wood sculpting skills along with their love for each other … I could easily spend time with these two refreshing souls daily.

Here are a few words from them below, in their own words, to truly understand the essence of what they do as a pair and individually (and also because I am not a writer, ha). //

“We are Jono Smart and Emily Stephen, a Scottish based couple who live and work together. Jono is trained as a garden designer and works as a potter. Emily is trained as an architect and works as a woodturner and in the pottery studio. We also combine efforts to make sculptural works and installations. Our studio is a showcase of the things we make and design, our home, our neighbourhood and the landscape we live in.

We decided to combine our two practices, everything you see coming out of the studio is the result of our collaboration. We are constantly talking about and designing new work together and we believe our work is improved through our collaboration. There is a natural harmony between clay and wood, between the tree and the ground it grew from.  

Both of us have worked closely with nature. Emily, while working as an architect, designed simple timber buildings, that sat quietly in their landscape. Jono worked with trees, hedges, water, stone and flowers when designing gardens. In our current work as a potter and a woodturner we rely on nature for our material. We try to impose as little as possible upon our pieces. Allowing the natural surfaces of wood and clay to be at the forefront of all we do.” - Jono + Emily

I hope everyone enjoys these lovely moments of Emily, Jono and their handmade pieces below. I’m so grateful to have been able to document this stage of their journey, as they have already grown into a larger studio space a few weeks after this session was captured. I’m so honored to have been able to capture all of the growth and forward motion that has taken place this last year in this beautiful space in Glasgow.


You can also keep up with their latest work on their website and Jono + Emily’s Instagram pages.

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Isle of Skye Road Trip | Scotland

When I’m with you, I’m home.

My boyfriend, Ross (who has the kindest heart and is the loveliest human I have ever had the privilege of knowing and loving) and I travel back and forth between our two cities regularly every few months. He is Scottish and lives in the beautiful historic city of Edinburgh and I am an American who lives in the stunningly modern city of Chicago.
With that said, when I visit Scotland, we road trip, multiple times a month when I’m in the country. Sometimes our travels consist of weekend flights to nearby countries (well relatively, to me) to France or to Ireland, sometimes we do long weekends away in the Highlands (the most consistent and always regular, to explore Scotland’s beautiful countryside), other times it’s day trips that we can take around the coast in the middle of Scotland.
However, of all of our trips we’ve taken together, we don’t go for the purpose of shooting but to just spend time together in new places, which is why this is the first post I’ve taken enough on my camera to share. I love capturing the land, but more so just seeing it with my eyes, in general, since I never grew up or experienced much of the outdoors as a child, and Ross…well he grew up in Scotland and was practically raised outdoors and would hike and be in nature with his family constantly. This blog post is a simple look into one of our many road trips taken together over the last few years. I also wanted to show some lovely scenes from a country that I currently spend half of my time living in and that I’ve fallen in love with over the last few years. I just love it. Although, I definitely don’t need to sell the majestic beauty of this place with my words, which I couldn’t do if I tried, so enjoy the images below. And if you haven’t yet, I highly suggest visiting Scotland. Just driving anywhere north in the country is beautiful, no location tag needed. It’s truly a beautiful land.

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Ross is featured in this edition of Rucksack Magazine.

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We never go on a trip without an Aeropress and a bag of local whole bean coffee.

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We like crosswords + breakfast bagels.

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The two above images were taken 2 minutes in between each other. This is Scottish weather at it’s finest.

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We’re not super into the “tripod and formal pictures” being taken of us, but when it started pouring rain we ran to the overhang of this house for a bit and I saw our reflection when I was looking too hard inside the windows, ha. Thankfully, no one was home.

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We stop at many small inns for soup + hot drinks on our road trips.

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Tatiana Cabral Smith | Spring 2019

Where to begin with Tatiana Cabral Smith? Well, for starters, her jewelry is just like she is; fun and one of a kind! Tatiana designs, sources the metal, cuts, welds and makes all of her custom pieces by hand in her studio in Savannah, GA. I’ve been lucky enough to know her ever since she married her husband, Isaac Smith, who is a long-time family friend and an incredibly talented musician! I still remember the first time she told me about a jewelry class she had started taking. It’s been so lovely to witness her journey progress from The Paris Market picking up her pieces, to her being involved in New York and LA Fashion Week, to now having many boutique stockists and a strong online client base. I’m just so proud to know this lady and I know she is still only in the early stages of her career. I’m continually inspired by friends who are not only wonderfully kind humans, but use their talents to give back. She is someone I truly look up to, and she feels like an older sister to me!

Below are some of the shots I took for her Spring 2019 editions. So check them out and then go purchase a few custom pieces from her online store!

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Pictured above is Tatiana, the founder and maker of all things Tatiana Cabral Smith Handmade Jewelry.


Photographer Melody Joy Co. | Jewelry Tatiana Cabral Smith | Fabric Measure Fabrics | Models The lovely Amelia and Alfonsette

Porteous Studio | Edinburgh, Scotland

Watch carefully the magic that occurs
when you give a person enough comfort
to just be themselves. - Atticus

Eilidh and Jack, of Izat Irundell, are the beautiful humans who created this serene and cozy space, quietly located in the center of Edinburgh. Its name is Porteous Studio. It encompasses who they both are and was their first project working together as a couple. I truly appreciate the thoughtful details they included, from the local coffee beans in the cupboard to the custom furniture that was commissioned for the space. The textured design, the clean lines and the calming color palette all contribute to the experience of a stay at Porteous Studio. I’m so grateful to have spent a few days here and can’t wait for my next retreat in this beautifully designed getaway, nestled in the heart of my second home.

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photography Melody Joy Co. | oak screens  @56northkitchens  | brass object @fionadeanartist  | linen print @hayleymccrirrick | textured walls @clayworksclayplasters  | clay pots @_rebeccaproctor  | sofa @namongaston | toiletries Aēsop Skincare | coffee table read Rucksack Magazine | that delicious carrot cake | Love Crumbs

Scotland Elopement | Lamb's Pavilion

We were together.
I forget the rest.
-Walt Whitman

The beautiful wedding vendors involved in this day are listed at the bottom and I personally believe they offer some of the best options for eloping in Scotland. I’m also so thankful for Tamar + Matt’s genuine love for each other, that always comes through every time they are captured. If anyone is eloping or getting married in Scotland, I would love to help plan the day if you are unfamiliar with the area. I hope everyone enjoys these images and would like to thank the Lamb’s Pavilion, Narcissus Flowers, and Those were the Days Vintage Bridal for being a part of this simply elegant + naturally textured elopement shoot!

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Getting Ready + Lodging The Lamb’s Pavilion | Vintage Wedding Dress Those Were the Days Bridal | Wedding Bouquet + Florals Narcissus | Groom’s Jacket + Vintage Burberry Coat Those Were the Days Vintage | Portrait Locations Private Historic Home + Holyrood Park, Edinburgh | Lovely Couple Tamar + Matt

Katie + Oliver's Intimate Wedding | Loch Lomond, Scotland

I love how every couple is so uniquely them. Whether they have a large party with endless amounts of friends, family members and acquaintances or a small intimate wedding, both represent who the couple is and it's such a lovely thing. 

Katie and Oliver originally were planning a large wedding in downtown Glasgow and as the weeks went on they realized they really just wanted an intimate day with just 20 of their closest family and friends from near where they both grew up on Loch Lomond.

The day was as serene as the landscape that surrounded us. The beautiful mountains lining the horizon, the calming still water served as the backdrop of the day. 

I always learn so much about myself and others after becoming a part of their family for a few days. It's always such a humbling experience and these precious moments make me so grateful for my life's work. I truly love what I do, photographing memories being made and stories unfolding.     

So cheers to you, Katie + Oliver!
May your days be filled with lots
of explorations in nature, lots of
delicious donuts, lots of reality
tv shows and most importantly
lots of love! 


Dress Seni Dey // Florals Adelaide's Secret Garden // Shoes & Other Stories // Suit Moss Bros //  Venue Stuckgowan Estate // Vintage Tables Virginia's Vintage Hire // Floral Boxes Bailey's Fine Furniture // 2nd Shooter Ross Dickie // Caterer Raegan Hallatt Catering //

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Iceland Vow Renewal | Anastasia + Felix

Anastasia and Felix had me document their wedding photos in Iceland... just three years after they were married.
Their story moved me so much. 

This is a "renewal of love" that is pretty unique and beautiful.

Not filled with a lot of detail, but a lot of love. 
 

Anastasia and Felix are an endearing, entrepreneurial and charming Ukrainian couple who had to flee their hometown just two days after their wedding because of a war breaking out. Their photographer had decided to leave their city a week earlier, so there were no official images on their wedding day. In circumstances like that, photos seem a bit trivial. 

It was my honor to document their love on a very special trip to Iceland after years of them not even thinking of professional wedding photos during these transitional years of settling into their new home and lives. My favorite part of the trip was just spending our days and endless hours with them in the car just enjoying ourselves and the beautiful views. 

We discovered a favorite stop along our route for soup, hot dogs and coffee. And after endless days of them speaking amongst each other, I definitely want to learn how to speak Russian. I also learned that we peel potatoes differently, ha, and that we share a love for any type of board game. 

We ended up extending our stay with them at an Airbnb in Reykjavik on our last night (after a hilarious balloon-animal-making, taco-eating, and local-cat-stalking adventure) and playing this game called "keep talking and nobody explodes." It's an online game and everyone should definitely go play it with some friends today. 

All of this to say, the images below are beautiful moments from the trip, but nothing is more beautiful than truly enjoying the company you are in, in person and not in front of a camera. 

I've learned that my favorite moments with the ones I love from the last few years have not been documented, because I'm too busy enjoying them in person, and I love how special that is between the individuals that are there in those moments. 

Cheers to many more beautiful adventures together, Anastasia + Felix! 

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Lauren + Nick | City View Loft Wedding

It was an incredibly beautiful and snowy day in Chicago for Lauren and Nick's stunning Chicago wedding. From the weather to their endless smiles, I couldn't get over how much joy there was! I think smiles are incredibly underrated. I love when a couple can't have serious faces because they are just so filled with laughter and joy from looking at each other! It's just so beautiful to see.

It's so refreshing to second shoot in between my own clients' weddings. (And not just because it's super fun and enjoyable to work with friends!) When you second shoot, you get to spend more time with the groom, usually, and I always gain so much appreciation for them. Some grooms party beforehand, some need their alone time, some are pumped for the day, and others are incredibly emotional or solemn. I really love being able to document the groom's side. Now I make it a point, even in my own weddings, to document the bride and groom equally, because it's just as special a day for him as it is for her. 

I captured this wedding day alongside my sweet and talented friend Alisha, from ATS Photography, and we couldn't have enjoyed ourselves (or danced) more!  

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