A few years ago, we wrote, “Jeffrey and Julia Woods are to weddings… what LOVE is to marriage. A team. A fusion of style, emotion and tradition … with hearts full of passion.” Today, we couldn’t mean it more, or say it better if we tried. Once you see images from Jeff & Julia, you’ll never look at wedding photography the same again. Reading through their blog, especially reading about them is part and parcel of who they are in the wedding world. They say, “Your love is our inspiration.” No better motivation than that! And so with the amazing Renny Pedersen of Bliss Weddings & Events designing this spectacular Chicago affair, and Jeffrey and Julia capturing all those memories, there’s no doubt in my mind that you will remember this wedding for a very long time! We’ll meet you in the full gallery.

And now as only Jeffrey and Julia can do – a film that tells this beautiful story…

From the bride… I was never the little girl who day dreamed about my one-day wedding; I never had a vision or even thought about flower arrangements, let alone a wedding gown. All of that changed when basking in the glow of a diamond, a softball diamond. Matthew and I met long before we became a couple, while playing intermural softball. Neither of us could have imagined the story that would soon unfold or the fairytale wedding we’d be planning in the future.

Our courtship began, as most do, with casual dates and butterflies. From the beginning, it was easy… we found common ground rooting for the Chicago Cubs and Bears and a mutual understanding of always being touted as the “funny friend”. It didn’t take long for us to realize what we had was special, and more than that, it was real. Two years and 10 months, to the day, Matthew proposed while walking our Lhasa-Poo’s, Stella and Ralph. We’d been at a concert all night and he’d considered proposing sooner, but waited. He waited until it was just us, the four of us – I wish I could remember exactly what he said, but it’s all a blur. I recall screaming and worrying I’d wake the neighbors and dialing frantically to reach my parents and brother to share the good news.

Fast forward 14 months and 3 days, October 13, 2012… it was a rainy gray day in Chicago, it was my best friend and bridesmaid’s birthday, we decided to start the day as normally as possible – a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts. All of the planning, over the last 14 months, was about to be realized. Matthew and the guys were watching college football, while the girls and I were starting hair and makeup. I was calm, eerily calm. Everything was going according to plan, with the exception of the rain, but I was constantly reminded of the good luck that rain promised. As I finished writing my vows, I took a few moments to spend with my parents, separately – each offered words of advice, encouragement, love and affirmation that my choices leading up to this perfect day were just that.

We were married, just after sundown, under a simple but grand ivory Chuppah at the Chicago Illuminating Company. Our wedding party could not have been more gorgeous – the bridesmaids stunning in coordinated Bari Jay gowns and the groomsmen dapper in their custom bow-ties and pocket squares, by Chicago based designer, Elise Bergman.

Following a beautiful ceremony by Rabbi Ari Moffic, Matthew and I took a few minutes to reflect and to peek into the event space. It was, in a word, breathtaking. I could not have been happier with the end result. Every single touch was beautiful and immediately brought tears to my eyes. Matthew dried my tears and within moments a cocktail was in my hand and we were being greeted by our loving and supportive guests, at the cocktail hour. The party was just getting started.

We danced our first dance as husband and wife to Beautiful Mess, by Jason Mraz – this kicked off the night perfectly. My father surprised me with the song choice for our Daddy/Daughter dance, a Paul Simon tune, Father and Daughter, which had most of the guests in tears as the lyrics could not be truer. Rendezvous set the tone for an incredible evening, seldom was the dance floor empty and upon my request, one of the last songs of the night, Hang on Sloopy, was both a tribute to my Alma Mater and my incredible group of college friends.

In between dancing, toasts and greeting our guests we ate and drank the most delicious food and sumptuous swills – our meal was capped off by a beautiful and delectable wedding cake designed by our dear friend Joshua John Russell; three flavors, seven tiers, dozens of hand-made sugar flowers and an uncanny likeness to the details of my wedding gown, was the proverbial icing on the cake, of our wedding!

Everything about our day was truly us… we could not have done it without the help of our amazing team of vendors and our parents who made our wedding dreams come true! If only we could do it, all over again…


Wedding Photography + Cinematography: Jeffrey and Julia Woods / Wedding Ceremony + Reception Venue:  Chicago Illuminating Company + Room 21 / Wedding Planner: Renny Pedersen of Bliss Weddings & Events / Floral Design: Jesse Deckard of Event Creative / Caterer: Food for Thought / Cake: Joshua John Cakes / Wedding Dress: Rivini via Destiny’s Bride, Scottsdale / Ceremony Veil: Toni Federici via Destiny’s Bride / Bride’s Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti / Groom’s Tuxedo: Hugo Boss / Groom’s Shoes: TOD’s / Bridesmaid Dresses: Bari Jay / Groomsmen Accessories: Elise Bergman / Band: Rendezvous / Rabbi: Ari Moffic / Hair: Ashley Condron / Makeup: Clare Hubbell / Paper Goods: Paper Pleasers

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