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Romantic Ballroom Wedding

Think of this gorgeous Chicago wedding as our Monday morning gift to you.  It’s Old World romance meets traditional pretty in a breathtaking backdrop known as the Chicago Cultural Center and it’s pretty much the perfect way to jump start a work week.  Think one seriously darling duo and a gallery of amazing captured by Gerber + Scarpelli Wedding Photography.  See it all here

And a gorgeous film from Loudbyte Cinematography?  Yes, please. 

From The Bride… Following the theme of our wedding—an old world love story—our first quest was to find the perfect venue. Although we both grew up on farms in rural northwest Illinois, Chicago has always been romantic to us as the place where we first began our lives together and purchased our first home. When we entered the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall, it took our breath away with its giant glass dome (the largest Tiffany dome in the world), multicolored mosaics, sprawling marble, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Millennium Park. It had the iconic Chicago landmark feel we sought as almost all of our wedding guests would be traveling into the city for our wedding, and the icing on the cake was its history. It was the original Chicago Public Library. We truly would be married in the place that housed all of the great love stories.

A huge thank you goes to Maggie Thalheimer of Gerber + Scarpelli Photography. She captured the “old world Chicago” feel in our engagement pictures with classic black and white pictures of us and the skyline that we incorporated into our save the dates, our wedsite shaped as a book, and day of. We had a blast with her and Tim Jaroz throughout the wedding.

Fashion was my next priority. I wanted a dress that combined the soft, romantic feel for the day and that was grand enough for the ballroom—enter Vera Wang’s Hayley. Matching the organza petals on my dress, the bridesmaids and groomsmaids wore black organza one-strap sweetheart floor-length Lazaro Noir dresses. My maid of honor wore a similar black organza strapless Lazaro Noir gown with a sash. The groom and groomsmen sported BLACK by Vera Wang tuxes in classic black and white.

We next focused on selecting a florist to enhance our venue and bring our romantic vision to life. For our June wedding, I envisioned soft ivories, golds, and blush pink with petals, petals, and more petals to match my dress. Specifically, I was smitten with pink peonies and also wanted to incorporate white hydrangea and white roses, which was the first flower my husband had ever given me. Anthony Gowder Designs, with special thanks to Suzanne Read, nailed it perfectly. I almost cried when they delivered my bouquet—it was such a beautiful combination of the three flowers, and she even left a spot on the stem to attach my grandmother’s brooch after learning she had passed away earlier in the week so I could keep a piece of her with me throughout the day. The groom’s boutonniere featured the white roses and a sprig of hydrangea to set his apart from the rest. The bridesmaids carried pink peonies and the groomsmen wore white roses wrapped in black silk. Our aisle featured uplit columns lined the aisle alternating elevated floral arrangements and candelabras, and our monogrammed aisle runner was lined with blush pink rose petals up to the altar. Vintage book page petal cones were provided to guests for the petal toss. The true showpiece of the day was our cake table. A waterfall of flowers descended the cake and culminated at the bottom of our elevated glass cake table.

We prepped for the day in our suite at the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, which was more than accommodating.

Our hometown pastor, John Sgro, officiated the ceremony. I walked in to the Sound of Music wedding processional, and we walked out to “Everything” by Michael Buble for our recessional. Our mutual friend who originally set us up on a blind date eight years ago provided the readings, including “I Do” by Carrie Bradshaw. Our fathers provided the “Blessing of the Hands” before we exchanged rings, which brought us both to tears. Despite the 300 other people in the room, it truly seemed as though it was just us—a moment in time that we will always treasure.

Debra Nauman of Simply Elegant Catering, made sure no guest left hungry. Our cocktail hour was a bustle of passed hors d’oeuvres, including our favorite tomato basil soup shooters with triangle grilled cheese sandwiches. One of our highlights of the day was when she pulled my husband and I aside after the ceremony into a private room to give us a chance to have our first glass of champagne and savor the appetizers. We’re so grateful she did because we didn’t have a moment available after that! Simply Elegant also featured a delicious pink lemonade martini signature drink with a sugar rim and lemon peel, which we named the Mr. & Mrs. Sturtevant-tini. We honed in on offering a “taste of Chicago” to our guests, providing Goose Island 312 beer from the bar and a local favorites late-night snack of Chicago-style hot dogs, sliders, and French fries.

Cake Chicago provided our delicious five-tier cake with two flavor options: White buttermilk cake with raspberry and lemon cream filling frosted with Italian buttercream and chocolate fudge cake with salted caramel and creme brulee filling frosted with Italian buttercream. Simply Elegant then provided an ice cream sundae bar to serve with the cake.

Our paper goods by Holly at Pink {Paper + Ink} helped make the “love story” theme come to life. We named the tables after books and movies that were meaningful to us as couple, and incorporated our favorite love quotes on the place cards and table numbers. Holly even made “And they lived happily ever after” signs for some fun group shots.

Loudbyte Cinematography captured our day on film. They gave our reception a fun twist—after our bridal party was announced, the DJ asked all of the guests to gather for a special presentation during which our love story short film premiered. It shared how we met and our future plans. At the conclusion, he then welcomed us into the ballroom for the grand introduction. We felt so much love from everyone walking into that room!

Our DJ, Tom from Spinnin’ Discs, was such a joy to work with and kept the dance floor packed all night long.

We capped off the night with a private last dance to “The Way You Look Tonight” while our guests prepared for the “let love shine” midnight sendoff on the steps. As we ran out, I will never forget the look on my groom’s face as he saw my surprise wedding gift to him—a vintage getaway car. We spent the next hour cruising up and down Lakeshore Drive with the windows down, sipping champagne, listening to country music, and trying to soak in every moment and memory.

It was the most magical day.

Photography: Gerber + Scarpelli Wedding Photography | Cinematography: Loudbyte | Floral Design: Anthony Gowder Designs | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang | Bakery: Cake Chicago | Invitations: Pink {Paper + Ink} | Bridesmaids Dresses: Macy's Bridal Salon By Demetrios | Catering: Simply Elegant Catering | DJ: Spinnin Discs | Favors: Garrett Popcorn | Tuxes: Men's Wearhouse | String Quartet: Innocenti Quartet | Ceremony & Reception: Chicago Cultural Center | Charter Buses For Guests: Cheeseman Coaches | Getaway Car: Classic Car Chicago | Hair & Make-up: Sonia Roselli | Honeymoon: Hellenic Holidays | Hotel: InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile | Ice Sculpture: Johnson Studios | Jeweler: James & Sons | Limo: M&M Limousine | Photobooth: Essence Photo & Video

Loudbyte Cinematography is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Loudbyte Cinematography


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Classic Candlelit Lake Forest Wedding

Give me a classic soiree doused in blush pink and you’ll have one happy wedding blogger on your hands. Said wedding? This candlelit beauty from Heather Cook Elliott. With so many family legacies layered in, including the Bride sewing pieces of family members’ wedding dresses into her own and wearing her Groom’s Grandmother’s Tiffany earrings, this gallery is overflowing with traditional elegance at it’s best.

Country Club

From Heather Cook ElliottOh where to start. As I look back on Katelyn and John’s wedding day I am flooded with adjectives – elegant, romantic, classic, traditional, sweet, lovely – and yet none of them seems quite enough. Their wedding day was the complete, real deal package, the kind of wedding day that manages to be perfectly beautiful but feels easy, wonderfully traditional but still fun. It starts with Lake Forest, a little seemingly magical place 30 miles north of Chicago where small town luxuries include great beaches, boutique shopping and an elegant family oriented Club called Onwentsia. With majestic willows on its golf course and century old brick architecture to boast of, Onwentsia is the place where John’s parents celebrated their wedding and where John played as a kid. Its close to his family home and close to his heart, and now its close to Katelyn’s too.

So many family details were incorporated into the day it was easy to see that though it all came together as uber-stylish and very “pinnable”, their day was honestly about celebrating their family legacies. John wore his grandfather’s tux studs, Katie his grandmother’s Tiffany earrings; Katie sewed fabric from family wedding dresses embroidered with wedding dates into her own dress and she wore a now-heirloom veil that other women in her family have worn. They said I Do at John’s family church and celebrated at Onwentsia, riding to and fro in a 1941 Ford Super Deluxe Sedan restored by Katie’s late Grandpa Robert as a replica of his first car. Katie’s dad hauled the burgundy stunner from her hometown in Indiana and all the men in her family decorated “Old Bob” on the day of the wedding, a stunning tribute to tradition and family that I adored. The pictures say more than my words can ever hope to, so without further ado, enjoy a peek into Katelyn’s & John’s stunningly beautiful wedding day.

Photography: Heather Cook Elliott | Florist: McNamara Florist | Reception Venue: Onwentsia Club | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaid Dresses: Bella Bridesmaid | Hair: The Salon, LTD | Band: Shout Out | Groomsmen's Attire: Men's Wearhouse | Bridal Shop (Dress & Veil): Nancy's Bridal Boutique | Bride's Dress: Casablanca | Bride's Earrings: Tiffany's | Bride's Hairpiece: Nancy's Bridal Boutique | Cake & Sweets: Three Tarts Bakery | Custom Logo And Decor: Rosemari Herbert / McNamara | Groom's Tuxedo: Brooks Brothers | Paper : Ghega Scolari With Cartabella | Robes: Natori

Badgley Mischka is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. Heather Cook Elliott Photography is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Heather Cook Elliott Photograp...

Elegant Outdoor Wedding at Shoreacres Country Club

Ladies and Gents, get your pinterest boards ready – because this elegant affair captured by Julia Franzosa Photography is overflowing with steal-worthy ideas. Planned beautifully by SQN Events and filled to the brim with florals so pretty by Molly Flavin you won’t even believe they are real, I can promise you’ll want to pin every single image in this gallery. See what I mean here.


From Julia Franzosa PhotographyTheir love for each other is amazingly contagious and their surrounding family and friends shared in the joy of their wedding. Alex and Nicolas’ are one of those once-in-a-lifetime loves. It was incredibly fitting that their wedding was nothing short of a fairytale wedding! The wedding was held in August and was absolutely breathtaking. The ceremony was held in the backyard of the bride’s parents’ home in Lake Forest, IL (with the most impeccable landscaping), beneath a willow tree, trimmed to perfection to serve as the arch under which the bride, groom, and officiant stood. (The officiant is the bride’s brother, a professor of literature at Smith).

The wedding then moved to Shoreacres Country Club in Lake Bluff. The Club is located on Lake Michigan and the lake truly looks like an infinity pool as it is so close to the terrace on which cocktails were held.

We progressed to the Club’s dining room for a delectable dinner, complete with an amuse bouche composed of morel mushrooms the brides’ parents curated themselves.

After dinner, guests retired to a tent that was stunningly decorated, featuring several seating vignettes and a dramatic lattice with greenery and orchids suspended from the tent’s ceiling over the dance floor.

From The Bride…I had so many favorite parts of the day it is so hard to just pick one!! Aside from actually saying our vows a few of my favorites moments were:

*Sending love notes back and forth with Nicolas throughout the day
*Standing with my mom and dad in our dining room waiting for the ceremony to start. It was just such a special moment between the three of us.
*Celebrating with my family in the kitchen immediately after.

Photography: Julia Franzosa Photography | Event Planning: SQN Events - Beth Bernstein | Floral Design: Molly Flavin | Wedding Dress: Lazaro | Ceremony Venue: Lake Forest Estate | Reception Venue: Shoreacres | Catering: Shoreacres | Hair: Livia Caporale | Band: SWAY Chicago | Grooms Attire: Indochino | Makeup: Andie Cumber

Indochino Custom Apparel, Hayley Paige and Jim Hjelm Occasions are members of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. JLM Couture, Inc is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
JLM Couture Wedding Gown Bouti...