Joyful, fine art wedding photography for real couples. Serving Chicago, Washington DC and beyond.
Based in South Bend, Indiana. Available for travel.

Romantic Winter Wedding at the Palais Royale – Amber & Christian – South Bend Wedding Photographer

Amber and Christian’s wedding will go down as one of the most romantic weddings I’ve ever shot. I felt so blessed to have the ability to really create and think outside the photo box. I met Amber and Christian last March and we hit off right away. From our first meeting, to their epic engagement session on Mackinac Island, to their wedding day, it has been an utter joy to work with them. 🙂

Amber and Christian met back in 2019 and, after the pandemic forced them to quarantine together, their relationship grow even stronger. A family trip to Disney World in October of 2021 turned out to be a true life fairytale when Christian got down on one knee and proposed right in front of Cinderella’s castle. This incredible journey has brought us to today. This is Amber and Christian’s wedding day story.

Grace and I arrived at the Palais with Starbucks in hand, ready to celebrate with this amazing couple. Amber hadn’t started her hair and makeup yet so I proceeded to photograph their details. Their gorgeous winter invitations set the tone for their wedding color scheme. 🌲

Christian’s details incorporated personal touches from Amber, like his engraved watch and pin.

While Grace stayed upstairs with the ladies, I made my way down to the Granada to photograph the guys getting ready. When I saw that they all had suspenders, there was no way I wasn’t making them snap them on camera. 🤣

The guys were all eager to help Christian look his best for the big day. 😎

The bromance is strong with this group! 😉

Now those are some pretty rad dudes. 😎

Sorry ladies, this one’s taken! 😍

I left the boys to enjoy some pizza and I headed back to the bridal suite to finish up details. I loved all the sparkle from Amber’s headpiece so I used it as the background for their ring shot. ❤️💍

I’m pretty obsessed with the dress shot. But seriously, all of Amber’s details were heavenly. 😊

What started as a test shot for something else, turned into a killer detail shot. Can you believe that this was taken with ALL the lights on and windows open??? Magic! 🤩

Amber’s makeup accentuated her gorgeous skin and bright eyes. 🥰

This was the shot I was setting up with the shoes from above. From that shoe photo, I realized I needed two framing elements so that I could force the viewer to look directly in the middle of the photo. I looked around the room and saw these two shinny perfume bottles. But just lighting them wouldn’t be enough, I had to add color. I added a red gel to my light and pointed it at the bottles, then Grace held a light just to the left of Amber. With the right angle and a little bit of imagination, I was able to create this gorgeous getting ready photo that’s inspired by the 1920’s era. 😍

Let’s pop that bubbly! 🍾

Each gal, including mom, had a hand in helping Amber look her best. I love that everyone in the wedding party got their own special moment of the getting ready process.

Beautiful ladies! 😊

I’m just going to admit right now that I am utterly obsessed with Amber’s portraits and that’s why there are so many. The natural light (and a few photo tricks) illuminated Amber in a way that she looks like she’s in an antique painting. So delicate and refined. 😍

These images are reflections from the floor length mirror in the bridal suite. I stumbled upon the reflection while I was changing lenses and was blown away by the result.

With getting ready done, it was time for the first looks. Dad was up first and there was definitely some happy tears. 🥲

Next, Amber and Christian read their letters to one another while standing back-to-back on the balcony.

When they were done, Christian turned around to see his future wife. ❤️❤️❤️

These two look like they belong in a Christmas Hallmark movie. 🎥

The snow started to fall which caused the fountain area to be pretty wet and slippery so we decided to do the wedding party portraits under the marque. Our beautiful (and very cold) ladies were first!

The boys jumped at the chance to tackle Christian. 🤣

I love when couples get their names on the marque. Celebrity status! 😎

Ceremony time! Their ceremony was in the lobby of the Morris Performing Art Center and boy was it stunning! 🤩

Amber made her grand entrance down the staircase.

Amber and Christian exchanged vows and rings. 💍

WOW! 😯

It’s official!

Mr and Mrs Ramirez! 🥳🥳🥳

After the ceremony, we did family formals at the front of the aisle.

That’s a good looking wedding party.

But this version is far cooler… 😎 This photo is a composite of 11 different photos. In order to illuminate each person evenly, while still keeping the room dark, I had Grace light each person while I (and the wedding party) stood perfectly still. Then in post, I added each person to the ‘safe’ shot (meaning no light or Grace) to come up with this masterpiece! I love how it came out. You’d never know it was 11 different photos if I hadn’t told ya. 😉

Amber and Christian took some time alone before starting portraits, which I always encourage. A wedding day can be a lot to take in, so giving yourselves 10-15 minutes alone together, allows you to truly enjoy the whole day.

We went outside briefly to get the beautiful snow falling. I love that you can see each tiny snowflake in these photos. ❄️

Inside the Morris is where the creative magic really happened. As the guests enjoyed cocktail hour, we walked around the lobby and theater, getting the most romantic portraits that have ever been shot there. These two look like 1920’s movie stars. ⭐️ ❤️

Love, love, love!

We were lucky enough to be allowed in the theater to take a few quick photos. The symphony orchestra was practicing below as Amber and Christian shared this beautiful moment.

A few formals at the ceremony spot.

I then turned around and placed Amber and Christian in the middle of the lobby floor. With an upwards angle, I was able to get the whole ceiling and chandlers in the photo. 🤩🤩🤩

Reception time! The Palais ballroom was decorated beautifully for Christmas and Amber and Christian’s wedding color pallet complimented it perfectly.

The newlyweds were welcomed into the reception in style from the third floor balcony. 🥳

Amber’s dad welcomed all the guests and mentioned how happy he was the Amber had found her perfect partner in life. ❤️

Before dinner, Danielle and Alex gave their speeches to the happy couple. 😊

After a very yummy dinner, it was time for some cake! 🍰 🎂

Then Amber and Christian shared their first dance as husband wife. ❤️

Amber’s dad, Craig, joined her on the dance floor for their father/daughter dance. 🙂

Then it was time for Lisa to dance with Christian for the mother/son dance. 🙂

Party time! 🥳 🥳🥳

The bouquet and garter tosses got a little heated. 🤣🤣🤣

Christian and the guys wanted a cool shot of them shotgunning a beer outside the Morris. Done and done! 🍻

The wedding party made a tunnel of love as Amber and Christian went outside to take their final photo of their wedding day.

With the Morris all lit up for Christmas and their names on the marque, I can think of no better way to end the perfect wedding day. ❤️

To Amber and Christian – I can’t thank you enough for letting me and Grace be apart of this wonderful journey with you. It was an honor to capture your story from the engagement, to the wedding day. And a big thank you for your patience as I took the time to create these unique portraits that hopefully you’ll cherish for the lifetime. I wish you both all the love and happiness in the world and I can’t wait to see you for your album reveal. All my love – S

To see their full day, click here.


Photography: Sarah Sage Photography LLC

Venue: Palais Royale

Catering: Navarre Hospitality Group

DJ: 27 Entertainment

Tuxedo: Louie’s Tux Shop

Cake: Macri’s Italian Bakery

Dress boutique: Here comes the dress

HMU: Red Stiletto

Floral – Friend

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