Nick + Nikki Metzger’s Wedding at the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago

Below are selected previews from the wedding of Nicole Waalen and Nick Metzger. Nikki and Nick’s wedding was held at the Joffrey Ballet in Downtown Chicago, Il.

Wedding Photography Highlights

Below are some of the best photos in which we have selected to “tell the story” of the Metzger-Waalen wedding. They booked one of our Album Artistry™ wedding photography packages, which includes plenty of coverage time and special attention to all the “little moments” as well as the “big memories” throughout their special day.


It was a gorgeous Summer day, and the Blue Angels were flying above as part of the Chicago Air & Water show. The bride acquired a newspaper to commemorate the wedding day, so we placed it on the floor and shot a few photos of it. While editing, we took it in Photoshop, wrote an article highlighting the day’s events, and placed it next to one of the bride’s favorite photos to make this unique feature.

Creative Photoshop for Wedding photography

As the bride was getting ready, we borrowed her shoes for a few portraits in creative scenarios.

Photos of bride's shoes

The bride and her bridesmaids got ready in a room at theWit Hotel in Downtown Chicago. It has rooftop platform that made for some spectacular “find the dress” features with the cityscape in the background.

Wedding dress features

We took many photos to capture all the small details and decor as the bridesmaids got ready.

Detail photo of shoes, bridesmaid decor and flowers

The hairstylist (AJ) and makeup artist were busy getting the bride and bridesmaids ready for the big day.

Bride getting makeup and hair done

And then came the big reveal of the bride in her wedding dress. The mother of the bride was present, and we captured candids of their interaction.

Bride Dress Reveal

We then took the bride aside to shoot some portraits of her looking out the window.

Beautiful bridal portraits in the window.

We borrowed the rings of the bride and groom and found creative textures and scenarios to photograph them.

Featured portraits of the rings of the bride and groom

TheWit Hotel has many modern features, and we found a unique light fixture to in the lobby to provide for some creative textures for some of the ring features. The image below shows a light fixture as we would see it, compared to how we used our artistic vision to apply it as a background texture for the ring portraits.

Light fixture as a background for wedding ring portraits

The groom and the groomsmen got ready at their downtown apartment, but at noon, Nick came by the hotel to get a few photos before meeting his bride.

Best portraits of the groom

Now, it was time for the couple’s “First Look.” We generally direct these shots, and staged the groom on the theWit’s rooftop overlook and found a creative angle to capture him alone through a window. We then had the bride enter and come up behind him while capturing their candid reactions.

First Look wedding pictures

We left the two of them alone for a few minutes and let them interact naturally in the glass overlook. We went back to the window that provided the creative angle and phoned our assistant to direct their interaction. The photos displayed below do the originals no justice, as they would make fantastic panoramic images when displayed on a large canvas. Their natural emotion combined with the Chicago skyline is breathtaking. (As you’ll see below) in moments like this, we often take many pictures and provide a variety of creative treatments to ensure the couple loves at least one of them.

Wedding pictures on the rooftop of theWit in Chicago

Just inside the rooftop lounge at theWit is where they host their popular night club. We felt the furniture presented a great opportunity for a lounging photo of the two of them while still providing natural cityscape imagery.

Best bride and groom portraits

About a half-block away from their hotel sits the famous Chicago Theater. Nikki wanted a few photos of her and Nick with the theater’s sign in the background, so we took them across the street and took a few. Our biggest challenge was waiting for the traffic to pass.

Chicago Theater wedding pictures

Getting a large bridal party (and family members) from place to place is rarely an efficient process. While waiting for everyone to gather, we snapped some candids and took a trolley to shoot the group formals.

Wedding Pictures in Downtown Chicago

The fun continued on the trolley as we visited 3 nearby locations for the photos.

Wedding Photos on a Chicago Trolley

Nikki wanted to emulate a popular wedding group photo on one of the bridges in Downtown Chicago. Again, traffic was a challenge, but we had planned for enough time to not be in a rush. She had previously scouted out another nearby alley within walking distance that had a unique and symmetrical stairwell. Unfortunately, the daylight and height of the rails were a bit of a challenge, and we couldn’t get the “perfect” group photos we had hoped for. In situations like this we do what we can to make the most of the natural environment.

Wedding Party on a Downtown Chicago bridge

As mentioned above, the Chicago Air & Water show was happening nearby and the Blue Angels were flying above. We snapped a few photos of them in the sky and even used Photoshop to apply their streaks in one of the bride’s favorite photos. Check it out below.

Wedding Portraits on the Chicago skyline

Sometimes unexpected opportunities show themselves in unique ways, but it takes a little “true vision” to recognize them. The alley with the stairwell that the bride had chosen provided a beautiful blue backdrop when you looked down it in the opposite direction. Moments like these are why we love shooting weddings. We staged the bridesmaids and groomsmen against the new-found backdrop to get the spectacular group photos below.

Best Wedding Group Pictures of Bridesmaids

Natural daylight can change very quickly. While we can normally Photoshop things like this, notice how the sun’s reflection is more prominent on the blue building in the short period of time between the shots of the groomsmen and the bridesmaids. But hey, the shots of the groom and groomsmen still turned out fantastic.

Group of groomsmen walking and standing with the groom

On the way back to the trolley, we found this bench which offered one of Chicago’s most authentic buildings as a creative background element. With proper posing, this quick little snapshot turned out to be one of our best portraits of the bride and groom.

Best wedding couple portraits of the bride and groom

After the formals, we took the trolley to the Joffrey Ballet where the ceremony was conducted. The Joffrey is full of unique items, places and spaces which made for some excellent “details” photos.

Creative wedding detail pictures at the Joffrey Ballet

With all the traffic downtown, the officiant experienced some challenges arriving on time. One of the groomsmen made light of the situation by jokingly announcing that they were searching for Nick to the awaiting guests. After he arrived, he delighted the audience with humor and singing – providing a fun and efficient ceremony.

Highlights of a wedding ceremony at the Joffrey Ballet

After the ceremony, the bridal party took a trip down to the couple’s favorite watering hole. Nikki and Nick climbed behind the bar to serve their favorite bartender a shot, and since Nikki isn’t a shy gal, it wasn’t long before she climbed on the bar.

Wedding Party at The Shamrock Club in Chicago

Shortly thereafter, the bridesmaids warned Nick that they would “bust his balls” (on the pool table) if he didn’t treat Nikki well. Nikki then reinforced the message herself (and yes, she did hit the cue ball at him).

Funny wedding photos of a groom on a pool table

After a few drinks, we made our way back to the Joffrey for the reception. As you’ll see below, we found some fun opportunities for creative photos in the elevator.

Wedding Party in the elevator at the Joffrey Ballet

There was no formal cake cutting here. Upon the grand entrance, Nikki took a chunk of the cake (as she passed it) and fed it to Nick. Nick reciprocated and off they went to the head table.

Feding wedding cake to each other

The reception site at the Joffrey was beautiful, with bright decor and large views out the full-height windows.

Wedding decor and cake in the Joffret ballet venue

As the guests enjoyed their meal, the only child at the wedding (dressed appropriately as a ballerina) got the party started with some moves on the dance floor.

Flower girl dressed as a ballerina

It wasn’t long before Nikki and Nick had their first dance to officially kick off the reception. Thereafter, Nikki danced with her father, Nick danced with his mother and Nikki then danced with her mother. In situations such as the formal dances, we almost always use off-camera lighting to get unique, well-lit photos of those special moments.

Photos fo the first dance and the dance with parents at the reception.

Throughout the night, we captured different groups of families and friends along with the garter fling and the bouquet toss.

Photos of the bouquet toss and garter belt fling

Nikki’s grandparents (Curtis & Mabel) were her next-door-neighbors as she grew up and made the trip down from Western WI with other family members, which meant a lot to Nikki. Curtis’ mobility is limited, which put him in a wheelchair for all the weekend’s festivities, but that didn’t stop him from tearing up the dance floor all night long. As a child, Curtis would jokingly stick his dentures out of his mouth at Nikki and her cousins (upon request) , and we asked him to do this for the camera. Curtis couldn’t help but smile at our request, which caused his dentures to pop completely out of his mouth. Nikki’s reaction is priceless!

Funny Wedding Picture of bride and Grandpa's Dentures

At the couple’s request, the DJ played up-beat music all night, which kept the dance floor highly active until closing time. Friends and family members of all ages stayed later than one might have expected, as it was the perfect ending to a spectacular wedding. At the end of the night, Nick carried Nikki away to start their new chapter together…

Groom carrying the bride away at the wedding dance

Whew! That was a lot of previews! But this is a good demonstration of all the photos you’ll get from your wedding if you book with Luke Studios. If you’re still reading along and you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends.


Want to view ALL photos from this wedding?

We’ve posted a few of the featured photos above, but you may view ALL final photos from this wedding on this page.


Photographer: Allen Luke
Assistant: Jessica Henderson
Hair / Makeup Artist: Your Stylist AJ
Locations: TheWit Chicago, Joffrey Ballet