How to get Recycled Items for your Chicago Wedding

One thing that is for SURE is that there’s usually a lot of waste after a wedding celebration, but there doesn’t have to be.  There are a number of things you can do to reduce your wedding’s carbon footprint. Today I’m going to share some ideas for how to get recycled items for your Chicago wedding.

  1. The easiest thing to do would be to hire a wedding planner who specializes in coordinating “Green Weddings”. A planner who specializes in this will know all the tricks for making sure your wedding is as “green” as possible. If you’re considering a wedding planner and not sure where to start, be sure to check out my friend Carlene, who owns Naturally Yours Events in Chicago.
  2. Another option would be to hire an event stylist who owns and re-uses many of their materials for different events. Check out Janelle from Re: Find Joy. She has ALL kinds of goodies available for rent that she styles with.  She also can coordinate finding the pieces you need if she doesn’t have them herself.
  3. The Chicago Green Wedding Alliance has a sweet event they put on EVERY year called The Great Wedding Recyclery. This event allows married couples and engaged couples to meet, mingle, and learn about having a green wedding. There is a market where you can purchase recycled items for your wedding.  So, if you had no idea what you were going to do with 100 place card holders, now you do! If you have items to sell, you can rent a table, or if you just have items to donate, all the proceed go to the CGWA. You can get ALL kinds of things from signs to table numbers, vases, to candles. The Chicago Green Wedding Alliance also has other events they coordinate throughout the year so be sure to check out the website for upcoming events.
  4. Rent Vintage Chicago- Rent items for your big day…From furniture to vintage champagne glasses, they have tons to choose from!
  5. Aged Rentals- These guys have EVERYTHING from small and large accessories to benches, pews, chairs, couches, trunks, tables and dressers. The have some really gorgeous finds in their collection.

What are some ways you’d like to use recycled items for your big day?

Books for Photographers

In honor of the holidays, I thought I’d share some of my favorite books for photographers with you.  Whenever I’m in need of a little visual inspiration, I turn to these classics! If there’s a photographer on your gift list this year, I’m sure they’d love any or all of these books. Maybe this is my little attempt to throw a hint at Jon…haha. Not that I’m not throwing hints in real-time, like all the time.  There’s no one in the world that loves to hate surprises like me.  I always love the idea of a surprise but just have such a hard time not asking for clues as to what the surprise is.  And guess who’s an amazing guesser?! This girl!

Okay, here are my top 7 Books for Photographers (in no particular order):

  1. National Geographic Stunning Photographs- This book is full of color, texture, and gorgeous unstaged imagery.
  2. Humans of New York- This book is the brainchild of Brandon Stanton who set out to capture the lives of New Yorkers. It’s full of awesome street photography.  You can check out his blog here.
  3. Fine Art Wedding Photography- Jose Villa is one of my favorite wedding photographers.  It’s pretty rare that he ever takes a picture I don’t love.  His style is classic, romantic, and unscripted.
  4. The Luminous Portrait- Elizabeth Messina is an ACE when it comes to natural light photography.  Her work is breathtaking.
  5. Vivian Maier: Street Photographer- Vivian Maier is perhaps one of the best street photographers of her time.  Her work was discovered almost by accident when someone bought a shoebox full of her negatives.  Upon looking through them and realizing how freaking amazing they were, John Maloof started collecting and archiving them.  This book is the first collection of her images in print.  Her work was also on display at the Art Institute in Chicago and I was lucky enough to see a portion of her photos.
  6. The Hot Shoe Diaries- Joe McNally is a lighting GOD! He demystified using off camera flash and is a kick ass teacher.  Learning off camera flash is something that a lot of photographers are intimidated about when they first start out.  This book will explain it all!
  7. Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Mind’s Eye- This was recommended by a friend and it’s on my list of “must reads”.  This book contains writings about photography and photographers.

What’s on your holiday wish list? Leave it in the comments…


I’ve been gearing up for my return to Chicago and this has caused me to fall WAY behind in editing my own travel photos! I still have been traveling to many places but in between I’ve been preparing to rock my 2015 wedding season back in Chicago.  I’ve designed and printed all kinds of goodies for potential clients and current clients, began using a new studio management software, and also have been preparing for the Indie Wed Chicago Bridal Show on January 31, 2105! In addition to these things, I’ve managed to travel to the States, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, and France (I think… I’m losing track…lol) This weekend Jon and I are visiting Vienna, Austria and I’m super stoked.  We’re going to the Opera and have plans to visit the Christmas and Food Markets while we’re there.

For now though, I thought I would FINALLY share our Maldives Travel Photos!! After 12 hours of flight time, we took a sea plane to the island of Huvahendhoo in the Indian Ocean where we stayed at Lily Beach Resort for 8 nights.  The Maldives had always been on my bucket list.  I remember seeing gorgeous beach calendars and many of the images were from the Maldives.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d be able to go there.  This opportunity to live overseas over the past 18 months has truly been life changing.

The island was complete paradise and so relaxing.  We ate tons of food, drank lots of wine, and spent the week connecting after what had been a pretty busy time for Jon at work. Don’t get too jealous…We did encounter “unseasonably” rainy (more like monsoon) weather and it poured I mean POURED rain for half the time we were there.  But we didn’t let it ruin our time, we just made the best of it.  We still had 4 sun days and that was still enough time to get a decent tan.

The coolest part of the trip was meeting a couple from CHICAGO who was on their honeymoon, Alicja and Adam.  They were super fun to hang out with and I can’t wait to reconnect with them when we return to my favorite city.  It’s seriously such a small world… They even live off Ashland, the same street as us! Totally nuts!

Huvahendhoo Maldives Travel Photos

This is one of my favorite images…Takes me right back and gives me a sense of tranquility just to look at it.

Huvahendhoo Maldives Travel Photos

One of our only sunsets…Still not too shabby.

Huvahendhoo Maldives Travel Photos

Our new friends Adam and Alicja on the left, above.

Huvahendhoo Maldives Travel Photos
Huvahendhoo Maldives Travel Photos
Huvahendhoo Maldives Travel Photos
Huvahendhoo Maldives Travel Photos
Huvahendhoo Maldives Travel Photos
Huvahendhoo Maldives Travel Photos
Huvahendhoo Maldives Travel Photos

Since it was quite rainy, we spent a lot of time at the bar and the spa…haha

Huvahendhoo Maldives Travel Photos

Pool and sunburn time;)

Huvahendhoo Maldives Travel Photos
Huvahendhoo Maldives Travel Photos

Everywhere you turned to look, this is what you saw…

Looking forward to sharing more travel with you in the near future!! Where’s your favorite place to take a beach vacation?


  • Judy Bos - Alaina.. Your pictures are so
    beautiful.. Thanks for sharing a glimpse of the MaldivesDecember 13, 2014 – 12:43 amReplyCancel

My Photo Editing Process

Only 10% of what I do for a client happens on the wedding day. The other 90% happens before and after.

 This statement probably comes as a shock to many people searching for a wedding photographer. After all, when comparing photography collections and offerings, rarely would you see everything detailed in terms of the work your photographer is doing for you. Usually you just would see the end result, e.g. what you get in a photography collection.

Every photographer and their workflow is different. Some may just take all the unedited images, put them on a CD and hand them back to you. Others may do what’s called a raw edit, which means they will adjust for color, contrast, and exposure, and then plop them on a CD and send you on your way. The next photographer may cull your images, complete a raw edit, and upload the digital files to an online gallery so you can make purchases. And finally, you may find a “full-service” photographer. This photographer will complete a similar process to the last mentioned photographer, but then they will complete the service by providing you with an Heirloom Album and Art to preserve your wedding memories.

In order for you learn the difference when working with Alaina Bos Photography, I thought I would take you through the typical photo editing process I complete for every client I work with.

  • Typically at a wedding, my second shooter and I take somewhere in the ballpark of 2,000-3,000 images. This is to insure that every moment is properly captured, and that the images I later deliver to you are of highest technical quality.
  • After I shoot your wedding, I go home and immediately back up your images in 3 places. I back them up on a portable external hard drive, as well as to a mirrored RAID hard drive. Then over night, my computer sync with the Back Blaze service, which creates a copy in the cloud. That way, there is virtually no way a technology failure can happen that would result in me losing your images.
  • The next thing I do is sort through, or “cull” through all 3,000 images to decide which images meet my professional expectations in terms of exposure, focus, color, and contrast. This process alone can take several hours. My goal is to deliver 50-75 finished images to you for each hour of coverage I provided at your wedding.
  • After I’ve finished the “culling” process, the images are then imported into special photo editing software. Because I shoot images in what is called “RAW” format, special software must be used in order for the files to be read by my computer. This software is what I like to call my “Digital Darkroom”.
  • Once the files have been imported, I then go through each image individually and adjust for color, contrast, exposure, blacks, and highlights. I want to make sure that I am providing you with images that are high quality and corrected sufficiently.
  • While I complete this raw edit, I also go through and label my favorite images so I can provide you with a blog post and social media sneak peek.
  • When all images have gone through the raw edit, I give myself a day away from the computer in order to rest my eyes. I then return to your images to make any final adjustments.
  • After all the final adjustments have been made, I export all your wedding photos in JPEG format, which is a format that computers can read. After the export, I open the 20-30 images I’ve chosen to show you as a sneak peek in another program called Photo Shop. I then complete a fine art edit (skin smoothing, final color adjustments, blemish removal, under eye enhancement, forehead shine, etc) on these images.
  • Once edited, I use another program to resize and make the images web ready and then create a blog post that tells your love story and showcases your images.
  • Also at this time, I upload all your finished wedding images to an online viewing gallery so you can view, share, and purchase art for your home. Then you can create a favorites folder and add images that you’d like to see in your album.
  • Once you’ve chosen your favorites, these images are opened in Photo Shop and given a final fine art edit (skin smoothing, final color adjustments, blemish removal, under eye enhancement, forehead shine, etc) as well.
  • The next step is for me to begin your designing the spreads of your album. I use a special program that allows me to make clients a unique design based on their wedding images. My goal is to re-create the story of your day so the album views like a picture book, detailing all the important events (and the special little moments in between). There is a three-step process that I follow to be sure you’re thrilled about your album design before you approve it and it goes to print.

I know this information can be a lot to take in all at once.   I’ve decided to share it with you because I’ve often had clients tell me they had no idea how much work went into their wedding images until the entire process was finished. I think knowing all steps I follow to deliver you a full service experience gives you a better idea of what you get when choosing to work with my studio.

If you have any questions regarding this process, please don’t hesitate to ask:)

Today’s Vendor Spotlight features Chicago On Location Wedding Hair Stylist, Livia Caporale! I was lucky enough to meet Livia at our Thursday Therapy event through my friend Jenn. It was the BIG TT event of the year and the theme was “Mad Men” so everyone went all out.  Not only were Livia and I able to socialize that evening, I was able to see her work her magic firsthand, as she styled the hair of several of my friends and colleagues that evening.

And for your wedding, I absolutely LOVE the idea of On Location beauty services.  What better way could you spend the morning of your wedding? Imagine hanging out in a posh hotel room, sipping champagne, and laughing with your mom and girlfriends while you get primped and pampered for your big day! Liv would be the perfect addition to your glam team for making you look like a beautiful version of yourself!!

On Location Hair Stylist in Chicago

Tell me about your business what do you specialize in? Livia Caporale specializes in on location hairstyling for weddings, fashion and commercial print. On a wedding day, we bring convenience and beauty from a professional hairstylist to the bride’s location so they can relax and enjoy the day.

How did you get started? Hairstyling began as a hobby when I was very young, about high school age. I styled friends and family’s hair for special events and word of mouth then spread and I suddenly had strangers and in turn clients. One Saturday after doing several heads of hair my mom sat me down and said “Liv I think you need to start charging, you are running a business”. Shortly after I went to cosmetology school at Pivot Point Academy.

What’s your favorite thing about working in the wedding industry? There is nothing better than seeing a client’s face when they look in the mirror at their hair and are elated with how they look on their wedding day. It’s wonderful to leave them feeling more beautiful and confident then when you first met them. In this industry there is never a dull moment, you never have the same day of work twice so it keeps it new and fresh. Encountering so many different walks of life, traditions and to be surrounded by beautiful things and love is refreshing, and in my book, that’s not a bad days work.

Chicago On Location Wedding Hair Stylist

Source: Kenny Nakai

How would you describe your business’ style? My business style is classic, chic, glamorous and fun. Hair is a medium that allows you the opportunity to do so many different things.

How far in advance should clients book your services? Clients should book about a year out and they can do their hair trial closer to the big day when they have their hair accessories and or veil to bring along so they can see the whole look together.

Where does your inspiration come from? Inspiration comes from my brides overall vision for their big day, attire and personal style. Their personality and face shape play a large roll in finding what works best for them. Usually when you meet a bride something about them stands out and you instantly have vision.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? When I don’t have a curling iron in hand I enjoy some of the simpler things: relaxing with friends and family, cooking, EATING and trying new restaurants, shopping, my dogs.

Chicago On Location Wedding Hair Stylist

Source: Dennis Lee

What is one piece of advice you think all couples would benefit from knowing? The wedding day is just one day, you have the rest of your lives to plan together and no one will know if the smallest of details aren’t exactly perfect, so just enjoy. Also, on a wedding day time flies, so always have some extra buffer built into the schedule.

Is there anything else you’d like to share? When looking for photos of hairstyles you like for inspiration to bring to your wedding hair trial its best to look for women with similar coloring, face shape and hair texture that way it can be most easily translated into a unique style that works best on you.

How can clients connect with you?

Clients can visit to check out my portfolio and fill out a contact form to learn more about my on location hair styling services.


Instagram: hairprimp


Email: livia @

Are you looking for other wedding vendors? Check out the posts below for more amazing vendor suggestions!