previously known as iron and honey

Chicago Intimate Wedding at The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

Love, Weddings

April 19, 2023

Fate brought Ruth and Emi together and documenting their love in their Chicago Intimate Wedding at The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool was just the icing on top of the cake.

The Love Story of Ruth & Emi

Ruth and Emi first met during their PhD program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison back in 2015. Since they were studying Latin American Literature, they became very close friends. Years into their friendship they slowly began developing a stronger bond and connection. This connection formed slowly but built a solid foundation for their relationship moving forward. Together, they both enjoy literature, film, and art. Together, they have brought so much joy to not only their relationship as a whole but individually as people.

The Proposal

While Ruth was away visiting family in Spain, Emi seized this moment to buy Ruth the non-traditional engagement item that was just perfect. Honoring Ruth’s birth month and both Ruth and Emi’s desire to move away from tradition, Emi bought a necklace that held Ruth’s birthstone, a sapphire. Little did Emi know that Ruth actually had a dream where Emi gave her a blue sapphire ring. Trippy, right? It was Emi’s plan to propose to Ruth while they reunited in Spain, however, the timing didn’t feel quite right.

It wasn’t until they made it back to Wisconsin for Ruth’s birthday that they went on a hike and birthday picnic just outside of Madison. They wanted to capture a picturesque view from the top of an outlook and this was the moment. Emi, Ruth, and their dog, Alakanuk, were peacefully sitting there soaking in all the beauty. Emi turned to Ruth and explained that while marriage wasn’t the “center” of their love, they wanted to resignify and reimagine the meanings behind the traditional bond. Enjoying some canned champagne, they celebrate Ruth’s birthday along with their engagement on an amazing September afternoon.

Intimate Chicago Wedding Venue | The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

Chicago holds a special place in both Ruth’s and Emi’s hearts. It was the city where they had their first getaway and really started to fall in love. From that point on, it was almost like they knew that Chicago would be where they would get married. When it came time to choose a wedding venue, it seemed like a natural fit for both of them. For their Chicago wedding, Ruth and Emi chose the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool. Now, I am no stranger to the ACLP.

In fact, I have photographed plenty of intimate weddings and elopements at this beautiful location. You can check some of those out here.

The ACLP is located inside the Lincoln Park Conservatory and is just absolutely breathtaking. You’re surrounded by gardens and greenery and small ponds with lily pads floating across them. It is the ultimate city escape and it gives you the perfect amount of privacy for your intimate Chicago wedding.

Ruth and Emi, have never been fans of “traditional” and all the bells and whistles that came along with it. For them, what matters most is the bond that they have built. Along with that, the commitment to improve both themselves and each other throughout their lifetimes. They wanted their intimate wedding to be small with their close friends in a private and beautiful spot. The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool was the perfect symbol to celebrate the beauty of those deep connections that, against all odds, transcend traditions, expectations, and obstacles.

Chicago Intimate Wedding at The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

First, we started off at The Publishing House as Ruth and Emi got ready together. It was a sweet moment that again, is untraditional in itself but absolutely beautiful. Most couples choose to wait until the first look or ceremony to see each other, but in fact, this moment between Ruth and Emi just brought them further together. It was also important to Ruth and Emi to capture the essence of the beautiful city of Chicago. This city means so much to them and their love story and they really wanted their intimate wedding photos to reflect that. We took a few photos at The Publishing House before moving towards our next adventure.

After, we wandered throughout the city embracing all of the beauty it had to offer. We made sure to hit some of Chicago’s most iconic photo locations. This includes the Chicago Riverwalk and just outside of City Hall before making our way to the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool for their intimate Chicago wedding.

Intimate Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

In a small ceremony surrounded by a close group of friends, Ruth and Emi made their vow to one another. Reading poems from books they had both chosen, it was evident the overwhelming and radiating amount of love between the two. It was utter perfection as you could see that this moment bonded them even closer together. Before we knew it, Ruth and Emi were married. Nothing about this day was “traditional” and I absolutely fell in love with it. It was unique, it was special, and completely personal to who Ruth and Emi are as people. I wouldn’t have pictured it any other way and I am honored to have witnessed such an intimate and personal experience with them.

Cheers to Ruth and Emi!

Check out some of the amazing vendors who came together for this Chicago Wedding at The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool.


Photography: Iron + Honey Photography

Venue: Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

Dress: Saja Wedding

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