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Organic Botanical Inspired Downtown Chicago Wedding

This dream Monique Lhuillier gown is the wedding dress equivalent of business in the front and party in the back. And truth be told? I’m wholeheartedly obsessed. It’s the kind of dress that sets the scenes for only the prettiest of days, and the designers at Foraged Floral didn’t disappoint. Go ahead and bookmark this baby, because Olivia Leigh photographed a gallery you’ll want to revisit time and time again.

Colors
Seasons
Fall
Styles
Classic

From Foraged FloralChristina and Howard had a vision of an intimate and naturally styled wedding in downtown Chicago. They were inspired by the unique decor that The Kitchen (a completely new restaurant and venue – we were one of their first weddings!) offered with its industrial charm, but also wanted the environment to be cozy, and intimate, for their guests to enjoy and relax. They decided on not having a bridal party at all, so their friends and family could all relax and not stress about anything. We worked together for many months planning and perfecting the vision they had, which included many seasonal inspired florals to compliment the botanical prints they loved, as well as some beautiful handcrafted pieces.

Their ceremony took place at Bond Chapel, on the University of Chicago’s campus, where Christina attended. The chapel has beautiful stained glass windows, amazing wooden details and a cozy atmosphere. We brought in a classically trained pianist to serenade guests with music that you wouldn’t find at your normal wedding (more classical piano pieces from operas and theatrical events, no Canon in D here!), which really set the tone for a sophisticated and unique ceremony. After the ceremony, guests were transported to The Kitchen, just along the river in downtown Chicago, for a delicious and unique family style dinner among long, wooden communal tables and lounge areas.

As their florist and event designer, I really loved designing their arrangements and bouquets, but some of my favorite details were the smallest ones – the vintage botanical print book that Velvet Raptor made into a guestbook, the fact that they hand wrote each couple a letter on handmade paper, which designated where they would sit at the family style tables with calligraphy by BUSHYL, and even the signature drinks they crafted together. I have to admit, watching each guest open the envelope with their seating assignment listed on it, only to find a handwritten note from the couple was the sweetest thing, and something I know they will cherish for a long time.

The florals used for Christina and Howard were something special and I spent many weeks planning out exactly what flowers I wanted to used to fit their theme and warm palette. We incorporated a large amount of seasonal flowers like local dahlias, garden roses, fall foliage, scabiosa, and we were lucky enough to get peonies too! :) SO rare in October, but we were so happy!

Olivia Leigh, who is nothing short of amazing, captured the day with film and digital images, which I love! Olivia truly knows how to make everything pop and was so impressed with the images she passed along to us after their wedding.

Nothing was missed, as they wanted their guests to feel at home, comfortable and loved. Christina and Howard are some of the nicest, most gracious and wonderful people out there, and they deserved nothing but the best for their October celebration in Chicago! Congrats to Christina and Howard!!

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Photography: Olivia Leigh Photographie | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Cake: Sweet Mandy B's | Invitations: Minted | Ceremony Venue: Bond Chapel | Reception Venue: The Kitchen | Bride's Shoes: Valentino | Catering: The Kitchen | Hair + Makeup: Nika Vaughn Bridal Artists | DJ: Style Matters DJs | Groom's Attire: Givenchy | Bride + Groom Transportation: Windy City Limousine | Bride's Jewelry: Custom made | Calligraphy + Water Color Painting: BUSHYL | Floral Design, Event Design + Styling: Foraged Floral | Guest Transportation: Masters Transportation | Guestbook: Velvet Raptor | Linen Rentals: Windy City Linens | Lounge Furniture: Shadow Box Dreams Vintage Rentals

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Timeless + Elegant Chicago Fall Wedding at Jacob Henry Mansion

To say that we’re majorly color crushing on Liann and Kyle’s Big Day would be putting it lightly. Because not only did these two plan the perfect fall celebration complete with soft grays and saturated seasonal hues, but they also enlisted the ever-so-talented Jacqui Cole Photography to capture every happy moment and we’ve got to say we’re obsessed. See it all in THE VAULT!


From Jacqui Cole Photography.. Chicago gave Liann and Kyle all of its’ beautiful colors on this perfect October day! Liann and Kyle chose to wed at the historic Jacob Henry Mansion in Joliet, IL. Many of Liann’s decor items were DIY with the help of family and friends. When you were at the wedding it really felt like every guest had put a piece of their heart into planning the day. One of the best moments of the day had to be when a few of the guests broke out into a Jimmy Fallon ‘lip sync battle’ at the reception! To say the crowd couldn’t stop laughing is an understatement! SO many congratulations to the beautiful couple – I’m so very happy for you both!

From the Bride… Kyle and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity we had to customize each decision there was to make. We didn’t want to be confined by traditions or strung along by the day. ​We envisioned a day that would intentionally involve those closest to us, that would honor our parents and grandparents, and that would celebrate ​a love that we were taught to know. When choosing colors, we always wanted to pick colors that would be timeless. When we chose a Victorian mansion as the venue, ​we knew the colors needed to be neutral to not clash with the vibrant ones in the church and reception space. ​​Kyle loved the idea of charcoal suits, and I wanted floor-length dresses in the taupe family.

We incorporated many DIY elements in the wedding day. My mom and sister designed the centerpieces themselves, collecting mercury glass from friends and various stores. Any signs at the reception were put into frames that went with the Victorian décor.​ There was also a photo tribute to my grandmother who had passed away a few months before the wedding. The flowers were designed by my friend Jenny of Petals Design Co. She did such a great job keeping it neutral, but tying in some deeper tones to ​compliment the elegant setting. The cake was designed and made by my friend Marla Wang. We aren’t the biggest icing fans so we knew we wanted a “naked” cake, but Marla took it from there!​ ​My gown was designed by Ellis. It was a complete surprise to me, and was honestly nothing like what I thought I would pick. Actually trying on dresses is such a game-changer, and the one I chose was definitely the one I could not stop thinking about. In lieu of favors, Kyle and I made a donation to GRIP, which is a non-profit that was created to meet the needs of fatherless teenagers in the city of Chicago.

Some of my favorite moments from the day were before the ceremony. The time getting into my dress with my friends, sisters, and mom, the first look with my dad, and the first look with Kyle. ​Each time helped to calm my nerves and provided such sweet moments with my favorite people. My favorite crafted detail would have to be the invitations. The materials came from Paper Source, and my friend Heather LaHood designed them, even down to the fonts that were used!​​

Some of my best advice to future brides would be to take one thing at a time. All the details of planning a wedding can be overwhelming, but sometimes making one decision can decide others. I found it easier to let my vision develop as we went rather than forcing it to happen. I didn’t know I would be getting married at a Victorian mansion, but that helped me pick colors, a dress, etc. that would compliment the setting well.​ Enjoy it! The process will be as stressful as you let it.

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Photography: Jacqui Cole Photography | Floral Design: Petal Design CO | Invitations: Paper Source | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Dessy | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Weddington Way | Band: The Joe Freer Band | Groom's Suit: Topman | Groomsmen Suits: The Suit Supply | Ceremony + Reception: Jacob Henry Mansion

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Elegant Urban Wedding in Chicago at Prairie Productions

For as long as I have been writing about weddings, I know one thing – Chicago just gets it. They know how to do city chic in a way that is fun and approachable, and weddings in the windy city always make me wish I made the guest list. Sprinkle in the talents of The Ideal Day and Field & Florist with amazing photography from averyhouse, and we’ve all struck city wedding gold.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Urban Space
Styles
Modern

From averyhouseA wedding venue that truly reflects a couple’s personality is such a joy for us to photograph. Case in point, the chic, sophisticated, and wonderfully bright space that is Prairie Production. Meeting Julia + Phil and witnessing the love that they share is absolutely a breath of fresh air and now we can understand exactly why they chose Prairie Production as the location for their vows and (let’s be serious) all out dance party. We fell for Julia + Phil when they told us their story of having lived apart for WAY too long and finally moving in together in Chicago’s West Loop. When we asked what one of their favorite memories was while shooting their West Loop Engagement Session their answer was that it wasn’t necessarily a memory, but a favorite spot-their patio. The same patio that has since hosted dinners with friends + family and important discussions with moscow mule in hand. It only makes sense that Julia and Phil would have their first look on the Public Hotel rooftop with sweeping views of the city before heading to the lush Lurie Garden for photos with their wedding party. Shortly after we were whisked off to Prairie Production for a tear jerker ceremony (we cried too!) and enough champagne to feed a small army. We can pretty much promise that with one look at Julia + Phil’s beautifully elegant wedding and you’ll fall hard for them too.

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Photography: averyhouse | Event Planning: The Ideal Day | Floral Design: Field & Florist | Cake: Sweet Mandy B's | Invitations: The Charm Studio | Catering: Food For Thought | Venue: Prairie Productions | Getting Ready Venue: Public Hotel

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Abby Capalbo

Design, Styling, Parties