There is so much to say about this gorgeous Chicago Botanic Garden wedding, but before I go any further, I just have to say one thing — Check. Out. Her. VEIL!!! Oh my goodness – This is the most stunning garment I think I’ve ever seen. The lace applique is so elegant, so dramatic, so stunning that I can’t find the words to do it justice. The affair itself is one for the books as well — The setting of the reception showcased the beautiful garden surroundings, and many of the creative details were made with love by family and friends. Thank you to Fig Weddings for capturing every lovely moment in the full gallery of photos!

Click here to see the whole pretty soiree!

 From the Bride… My husband and I met four years ago when we were introduced by mutual friends during a beach weekend in North Carolina. I was living and working in Chicago, and he was attending law school in New Orleans. Two years and many weekend visits later, we decided it was time to live in the same city and made Washington, DC our home.

I always wanted to get married in the church I grew up attending in Winnetka, Illinois, a small suburb about 15 miles north of Chicago. Deciding on the Chicago Botanic Gardens as our reception venue was easy. I have many great memories of visiting the gardens throughout my childhood, and as soon as my husband saw the beautiful grounds, it was a done deal. We both wanted our reception to be outside and to feel relaxed and fun so our focus was on food, drinks, music, friends and a good time. Since my husband is from North Carolina and I went to college in Virginia, many of our guests traveled long distances to help us celebrate. To give them a little taste of Chicago, we served beer from Chicago’s Goose Island Brewery and passed out mini Chicago-style hot dogs for a late night snack. 

Inspired by many hours perusing the gorgeousness on SMP, we kept our look simple and classic to avoid competing with the natural beauty at the garden. With the help of some seriously sweet and talented family members and friends, our wedding came together just as we’d imagined. My mom and her green-thumbed friends were kind enough to create the beautiful white flower arrangements and wreaths that decorated the dinner tables and the church. My sisters (my bridesmaids) helped tie hundreds of bows around flip-flops, fill giant jars with candy for our candy bar and do my hair for the big day.  It was truly a labor of love for which I’ll be forever thankful!

The weather on our wedding day was just perfect, a rarity in Chicago. We had one slight hiccup when the trolley carrying the wedding party and family from the church to the reception broke down. Luckily, one of the charter buses came to rescue us, so our time standing on the side of the road was short-lived. It made for some pretty funny pictures. Overall, our wedding day could not have been better!

Wedding Photography: Melissa Martens + Eric Rademacher of Fig Weddings / Bridal Portraits: Jordan Pigott / Ceremony: Christ Church in Winnekta, Illinois / Reception: Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois / Church Flowers + Centerpieces: DIY by the Mother of the Bride + Friends / Bouquets: Barbara Devlin / Catering: Culinary Landscape / Wedding Cake: Deerfields Bakery / Band: UpBeat Music Productions / Wedding Dress: Tara Keely via Lovely Bridal Shop / Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Kirribilla / Men’s Attire: Brooks Brothers / Men’s Ties: Collared Greens

Hayley Paige and Jim Hjelm Occasions are members of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. Lovely Bridal Shop, JLM Couture, Inc and Chicago Botanic Garden are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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