As wedding photographers, every so often, we meet a couple who are prepared to do things in an untraditional way. Two people who just wanna follow their own path and create a celebration that speaks to them! Someone who represents who they really are. This kind of couple is our favorite kinda people to work with! Because you never know what you’re gonna get! It could be a pair of kick-ass bikers who want a black leather, lace, and cold beer celebration. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and always dope to see how people express themselves. And that’s why we were so excited when Syd & Andy got in touch and started telling us about their plans for a Viking-themed wedding at The Swan Barn Door Venue! It sounded off the chain, and nothing like we’d seen before. SO we knew we had to clear our diaries for it.
Let’s be clear, we’re not Vikings. But hell, we got hooked on the idea of a Viking-themed wedding from day 1! Because what’s not to like! You get to dress up in a fantastical outfit like something from Game of Thrones. Carry big swords around. And drink booze out of longhorns! SOUNDS SICK, RIGHT?! As a celebration, we can completely understand why these guys love this lifestyle. The whole day was super sweet too, with so many teary moments for the couple, loved ones, and even this big softy Chicago wedding photographer!
They were just big nerds like us! But in a super cool way, of course. As a couple, they’re just so down-to-earth, real, and not afraid to be 100% true to themselves. Hence, the Viking-themed wedding! After meeting them both, you can’t really imagine them marrying in any other way.
In the moments we shared with them individually, you could also see how well they complement each other, in a yin and yang kinda way. Because Syd is always on fire, darting from one conversation to another and often doing some kind of dance or impression in-between. She’s super energetic, and damn-near bursting with positive vibes. Whereas Andy is so mellow. Cool as ice, calm as a Buddhist monk, but still really positive in everything he says or does. These two together, match made in Viking heaven. As Andy keeps Syd grounded, while Syd tops up the atmosphere with her high, positive energy.
The moment we stepped through the clearing, and into the forest wonderland that Syd & Andy had prepared for their Viking-themed wedding, we knew we were entering something special. Because they, and all of their loved ones, had really gone all out to give their exchange of vows an otherworldly feel. The ceremony was situated in the middle of a forest where an arch had been erected, and seating laid out for guests. Everything was given that kind of ‘winter is coming’ vibe, with vines wrapped around the arches, and antlers hanging. Plus, almost everyone had dressed for the occasion, wearing costumes that looked so killer on the day! Even we got in on the action, and both donned some fetching Viking outfits! We really got into the spirit, in fact Michael had to hold me back from pillaging a village on the way home!
Following the ceremony, the wedding party moved onto The Swan Barn Door venue in Wisconsin. It’s super different from other barn wedding venues in Chicago and has some unique design features I’ve just not seen as a wedding photographer before. The venue is also an epic, family-built business. Like the damn tree roots hanging from the ceiling! A cool effect is when the roots are lit up in the eve! In general, this place was perfect for Syd and Andy’s Viking-themed wedding as it offered all those rustic elements they needed.
The whole day was a vibe. From start to finish, we were made to feel part of one big long boat family. Everyone was super chill, and just embraced the quirkiness, and romanticism of the occasion. As for highlights, we couldn’t pick just one, and we had to share two OMG moments that we’ll never forget.
First would have to be our creative session with Syd and Andy, because they were just up for anything! Syd especially, obvs! And to be honest, the results were pretty damn great! It was because the two of them that had fully thrown themselves into the Viking-themed wedding concept, knew that we got it, and trusted us to just guide them into some ‘Twilight-esque’ moments.
The second moment would absolutely be when Syd and her Dad shared their first dance. It was a really emotional, tender moment that was at times funny too. For their performance, I could barely hold the camera straight because I was just bawling like a damn baby! They were so sweet, and in-tune with each other, it was just impossible not to tear up. But yeah, it was also pretty hilarious too because they performed some dances from their favorite movies. The Beetlejuice moment was certainly a major highlight! And the elegantly lit Swan Barn Door Venue served as the perfect backdrop.
We killed this amazing Viking-themed wedding! Michael and I so stoked that Syd and Andy chose us to capture it for them! And if you’re considering a themed wedding like this, count us in, because we had a blast!
Wedding Venue: The Swan Barn Door
Dress: Sue Wong
We would love to be your wedding photographer in Chicago! Michael and I are obsessed with weddings and love to bring out the very best of our newly-weds, using a fresh modern style and an easy-going approach in our photography and wedding videography. We encourage you to browse our portfolio of past brides and if you feel we are right for you, please do get in touch via our contact page.
We’re Nicole and Michael, your dedicated hype duo! Andddd we’re a husband and wife photography and videography team for kickass couples in Chicago and Florida.