For this Chicago duo, the only “rule” in wedding planning was that there were no rules. Set in an industrial-style warehouse, they opted for a cocktail party reception in lieu of a sit down dinner and made sure every detail spoke to their story along the way. Natural Beauties Floral glammed up space with rich-hued bloomage and you can see it all through Stoffer Photography’s lens right here.
To play up the party vibe and compliment the raw materials in our venue, we chose rich colors like sapphire navy, ox blood red florals and gold metallic accents. There were no rules to any of the details – we just made sure we asked ourselves at every decision point if this was staying true to who we were. That method took the pressure off doing what was “in” or what our other engaged friends were doing. In the end, the evening felt cohesive and we regretted none of our decisions. For the ceremony, Aaron and I wanted to create an atmosphere of inclusion and unity, and used several elements to pull this together. Tea lights lined the walls and an assortment of hurricane candles were placed at the “altar” space.
Friends and family were asked to sit where they felt comfortable; readings were both secular and spiritual. Our close friend officiated the ceremony and incorporated personal anecdotes into his marriage address. That, while being surrounded by family and friends, lead to a powerful and moving experience and absolutely the best part of the day. As we were announced husband and wife, our guests blew New Year’s Eve paper horns as a celebratory tribute to how we met. The Ravenswood Event Center’s Industrial Ballroom had the perfect space for a “strolling cocktail party.” The center used passed dishes, food stations and carted treats to keep the flow moving. Andy and Jen at REC dreamed up a menu that reflected our tastes (which is anything but fancy) but added a creative spin (think grilled leek and shrimp quesadillas, and honey and prosciutto white sauce flatbread). Even though it was a cocktail party, our guests left stuffed and couldn’t stop talking about the food. I wanted to be very hands-on with the wedding crafts but for projects beyond my capabilities I enlisted the help of some very talented and creative family and friends.
My aunt – a talented cake decorator – has made me my birthday cakes since I was born. To keep tradition, she baked and decorated a special wedding cake for us to enjoy. My uncle – a carpenter – built the outside sandwich board which my cousin hand-painted. All the paper goods – from the invites to the program to the little food signs – were all designed by a dear friend. And my dad built all the ceremony pedestals (which are now re-purposed as nightstands in our tiny Chicago apartment). All the other details were chosen because they had special meaning to Aaron and me. Our signature drink – the May-garita – was not only titled after our new married name (May) but also a nod toward our love affair of Mexican food. Cocktail napkins displayed “fun facts” about us; discovering these were an amusing ice breaker during cocktail hour and got the guests going back to the bar to collect more.
Other personal touches included wrapping my bouquet with my late grandmother’s handkerchief, using my mother’s ring pillow (with our embroidered wedding date below her’s) and using my late grandma’s blue bird pin as my “something blue.” Even our dessert table included frosting shots (tiny cups of vanilla frosting) as it is oddly my favorite treat from the bakery. Aaron’s dad has long personal ties to Superdawg and made sure the famous Chicago dogs were served as a late night snack. At the end of the night, our guests were treated to an assortment of our favorite sweets which they could enjoy on their way home. The day was unforgettable and emotionally overwhelming in the best way possible. We couldn’t be more grateful for the love of our family and friends, and the talent and care of our vendors.
Photography: Stoffer Photography | Floral Design: Natural Beauties Floral, Inc. | Wedding Dress: Pronovias | Cake: Sweet Mandy B's | Bridesmaids Dresses: BHLDN | Bridesmaids Dresses: Adrianna Papell | Make-up: Beauty By Alana | Hair: Salon Blue | DJ: Spin Productions | Cake Topper: Caro And Coco Etsy Shop | Coordination: Seamless Event | Getting Ready Location: Villa D’Citta Bed And Breakfast | Venue: Ravenswood Event Center