Cory & Giovanna (or Cory & Jojo to their friends and family) were married in August on the Saturday of the Chicago Air & Water show.

Laurie and I arrived at their apartment and were greeted by Cory with a smile on his face and a beer in his hand. We walked further into the apartment to see a happy Jojo in the makeup chair and also a beer in hand. There was good music playing and bridal party members scattered around the apartment. I had been worried all morning about the rain, the air & water show going on, if there were going to be enough cabs to get us to the boat on time, etc. When I saw Cory & Jojo, I realized none of that mattered to them. All they cared about was that they were going to be married and their closest friends and family were going to be there to help them celebrate. In my opinion, that’s really the only thing you need to have a good wedding day.

When I asked Cory & Jojo to describe their wedding, the answer was, “A yacht party and wedding, in that order”. Not only did they throw a fantastic yacht party, their family and friends came together and helped them perfectly put together all of the fantastic details. The dress was handmade by Jojo’s mom, Jojo and her bridesmaids put together all the florals, and other family members designed some nautical details. Even the food was provided by family! Jojo’s dad owns Galati’s Hideaway in Cary, IL and he generously provided appetizers, dinner and desserts for all the guests.

The getting ready process was a lot different than any other wedding I’ve photographed. The entire bridal party was getting ready together. They had a great view of city and you could see the Blue Angels fly past every few minutes.

Believe it or not this dress is handmade!! Jojo’s mom made it based on a Jenny Packham design. It was unbelievably gorgeous.

So many fun nautical details at this wedding. Their favors were nautical themed pashmina afghans with a treasure map to the after party. If you do not get this reference please see the end of the post because it was a pretty brilliant tie-in and one of my favorite favors ever.

Cory & Jojo have some very talented family members. Jojo’s sister designed the invitations. Cory’s sister drew the map and their photo on the coasters.

Once everyone was dressed and ready to go, we headed over to the Civic Opera house for some photos of the wedding party.

Just Married! The sun was just about set so we grabbed a few more photos at the back of the boat.

The intimate moment above wasn’t super intimate. Guests were enjoying cocktail hour and cheering the new Mr. and Mrs.

Back inside there were heartfelt speeches and delicious dinner from Jojo’s dad’s restaurant Galati’s Hideaway that he generously gifted to the couple.

First dance was to Something by The Beatles

The first dance was short and sweet because they were excited to get the dance party going. It started downstairs then moved to the top deck.


The Vendors


Anita Dee Yacht Charters || Galati’s Hideaway in Cary, IL
Goddess Effect Artistry || Lightning Steve Porter


One of the greatest things about this wedding was how many of their family and friends pitched in to make everything so beautiful and so personal.  Even though they aren’t professionals, it would be a huge oversight not to credit all their hard work!

  • JoJo’s mom made it (based on a Jenny Packham design) and the flower girl’s as well! JoJo hand-beaded her belt and head piece, and also the flower girl’s belt.
  • JoJo, Rose (Bridesmaid), and Sunny (Cory’s Mom) ordered flowers wholesale and put together bouquets and boutonnières for the wedding party.
  • Invitations – Kati (Jojo’s sister) designed the invitations
  • Maps & Coasters – Rose (Cory’s sister) drew the picture of Cory and JoJo on the Save the Date coasters and the Map to the Afterparty handouts.


From the Bride and Groom


Favorite/Most Memorable Moment of the day?

Bringing the DJ, lights and dance party to the upper deck after we realized that ~75% of the guests were upstairs enjoying the awesome weather and view. Also, fireworks!


Staying up until 5am singing karaoke in our living room, post-trolley ride, the night before the wedding. This dulled our wits and contributed to the general silliness of getting ready when the make-up crew showed up at 9am to a room full of passed-out wedding party members.


Favorite Song you danced to at the reception?

“I’m on a Boat” by The Lonely Island


Make a detailed list of everything that needs to get done. Do the big things yourself then delegate everything else to friends and family. Do your best but don’t sweat it if a couple of details don’t work out exactly perfectly – it’s unlikely that anybody will even notice! Take the Monday following the wedding off of work if you’re not going directly on your honeymoon.


We just returned from two weeks in the Greek Islands! Highlights were exploring the islands on scooters or ATVs, beaches (Cory’s favorite were the nudie beaches) and a fun sailing trip around the Volcano in Santorini.


No more filling out two declaration cards at customs


In case you were wondering what a nautical themed pashmina afghan is, it’s this and everyone got one as a favor.

nautical themed pashmina afghan

Last but not least, huge thank you to Laurie of Elle Rose Photo for not only being an amazing second shooter, but also a weather tracker extraordinaire.

Cory & Jojo, thank you both so much for choosing me to be your wedding photographer. Laurie and I had such a great time with you and your family & friends. Wishing you guys many, many years of love, happiness and all that good stuff. You two are the best! Congratulations on throwing the best Yacht Party and Wedding ever!