Chicago has chic down. It’s a town that has the perfect amount of sophistication sprinkled with a side of comfort making for an easy elegance that can’t be matched. And when the Windy City hosts not only a wedding, but the entire love story of a couple – then you simple know you are in for one stylish soiree. Which is precisely what is waiting for us in this gallery thanks to BellowBlue. It’s page after page of pure pretty, and you can see it all right here.

From BellowBlueWhen my husband Jon and I met Kelsey and Adam for the first time, we quickly learned how much they loved their city. Chicago is a huge part of the couple’s beginnings. We actually shot their engagement session at the location of their first date, the Old Town Social. The two planned their wedding around their city and used Chicago literally, as their event’s backdrop. The couple got ready at the Blackstone hotel, where the brides suite had amazing views of Lake Michigan. Venue Six10, where the ceremony and reception were held had stunning floor to ceiling windows that showed off Michigan Avenue as well as Lake Michigan. During their dinner you had a jaw dropping view of the sun setting as you ate. The entire day was spectacular.

From the Bride… Adam and I met with a twist on a classic set up. I moved to Chicago soon after graduating college and stayed with a family friend, in the suburb of Oak Park, for the first few months, until I was able to find full-time work and an apartment. Adam’s parents were neighbors and close friends to the family and were over often. Adam had also recently moved back to Chicago, after living in California for a few years, and they were ecstatic to have him back.

Once I had moved into the city, Adam’s parents gave him my number. As I was new to Chicago they thought it would be nice for me to have a contact familiar with the city and all its happenings. Never an intention to actually set us up (they deemed me a bit too young to date their son). Lost in translation, Adam thought his parents were trying to get him on a blind date, which is why it took him months to actually call. Our first encounter was at a local bar where we talked for a few hours over beers and french fries. Our relationship grew from there and after three amazingly fun and adventurous years later Adam proposed.

Adam and I are not necessarily formal or traditional people. We love nothing more than to be with family and friends and have a great time. And that was our whole goal for the wedding. We wanted a short and sweet ceremony followed by a MAJOR party. Our first hurdle was the space. We were looking for an affordable option large enough to fit 200+ people that was within walking distance to hotels. After months and months of searching we came across Venue SIX10, located in the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. Located on Michigan Avenue, the top floors have panoramic views of Lake Michigan, Navy Pier, and Soldier Field. They also had enough space for a ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. It was perfect and we actually enjoyed working with both the facilities and catering (Wolfgang Puck) people there.

No party is complete without an amazing band. An orchestra was too stuffy, but we wanted more interaction than a DJ behind a table. After doing some extensive research we found One Night Band, a cover band located in Chicago. The right band was so important to Adam that we had to see them play live three different times before he felt comfortable signing them. They turned out to be one of our best vendor picks – from “Have Nagila” to “Call Me Maybe” they kept the crowd dancing for hours.

Another important vendor for us was the photographer. We needed someone who could capture that moment when the flower girl looks at the bride with admiration and anticipation in her eyes, to the wild rush of the groom bodysurfing to Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child” (yes, that happened). Luckily, we were recommended BellowBlue Photography by a friend who had used them for her wedding. Easy-going yet professional, this husband and wife duo had the talent and creativity we were looking for. They captured these moments and so many more.

These vendors, and everyone else involved, truly made our wedding day one of the most amazing days of our lives. While we wanted a short ceremony, I still wanted the space inviting and intimate. Scarlet Petal Florist gave me that with row after row of candles down the aisle. I also used my own candles and vases to flood the area around the chuppah with a soft glow. Our ceremony was led by Adam’s parents’ Rabbi. I was raised Presbyterian and wanted to include my family in the celebration as well, so I asked my paternal grandfather to read Ruth 1: 16-17 – found in both Hebrew and Christian scripture. I also had my hair stylist create a hair piece for me that included a blue bead from one of my late maternal grandmothers’ earrings. Another piece of that earring went in the hair piece I gave to my sister, who was also my maid of honor. It was an incredibly touching moment to surprise my mother with these hours before.

The reception was kept informal with several stations of food placed around the space where guests could go and serve themselves. The menu card also served as a map, where guests could locate where and what food was being offered. In keeping with our low-key style, we kept the reception decor simple. On the tables we reused the candles from the ceremony and used an array of small succulents, bud vases and votives to fill in around them.

At the end of the night, Adam and I had a small surprise for our guests. After the final game of March Madness, CBS does a short video of all the great moments of the tournament, while Luther Vandross sings “One Shining Moment”. After watching Michigan play in the finals (Adam’s alma mater) we thought it would be great to have a recap of the day for our guests as well. Blu Couture Wedding Films shot and edited a “same day” video for us that we aired as we were leaving the venue. It was amazing to see all the months of planning and hard work rolled into a three minute video.

But the party didn’t stop there. Adam and I also hosted an “After Party” in the basement of the Blackstone Hotel following the reception. The hotel provided mini cheeseburgers, french fries, pizza and drinks while a DJ kept the dancing going till almost 4am. It’s a miracle Adam and I made it to our wedding brunch the next day!

Wedding Photography: BellowBlue | Ceremony Venue: Spertus | Reception Venue: Six10 | Officiant: Rabbi Max Weiss | Floral Decor: Scarlet Petal | Wedding Coordinator: Estera Events | Catering : Wolfgang Puck | Band: One Night Band | Cinematography: Blu Couture | Wedding Dress: Mori Lee via Brides & Weddings, Manchester, Iowa | After Party: Blackstone Hotel Barber Shop | Hair + Makeup: Ashley Jensen of Red 7 Salon