When I read that the colors of this wedding were inspired by a Parisian sunset, there may or may not have been a little swoonfest happening in my office. At the risk of sounding like a complete wedding nerd, there definitely was, but in my defense, I don’t think a single one of you can keep a happy dance from working it’s way in while cruising through these images from Tao Zhang!
From the stunning bride… Chicago is where my fiance and I both grew up, where we met, and live, so we knew we wanted a downtown wedding, but with a European inspiration since we got engaged in Paris.
With this pairing in mind, I chose a slim, modern silhouette for my dress and incorporated vintage touches with vintage bracelets and a headband I created from a necklace. I also gave my sisters and mother vintage jewelry to pair with their simple, flowing dresses (inspired by the colors of a sunset on the Paris rooftops).
We knew from the start that we wanted a no-fuss, all-fun event with our closest friends and family – which for us, meant holding both our ceremony and reception in one place. We looked for two things in our venue: amazing food and a chic, but rustic interior. Balena is known for their delicious dishes and incredible cocktails, so combined with their gorgeous interior, the choice was easy.
We loved the faux finishes of the restaurant interior, and existing decor of vintage books and bottles on shelves. We added personal touches, including our parents and grandparents wedding photos in vintage frames, and small vintage clear and mercury glass vases with simple white roses. I created a potted paper wreath for the cards sign and used a vintage frame as a tray. A local artist created our framed “guestbook” art which will hang in our home – another place we like to blend our modern and vintage styles.
To make the day extra special, our best friend officiated our wedding. We held our ceremony in the round, with a single ring of seats for our family. My fiance and I each read vows that the other had written in secret, and we topped off the ceremony with a champagne toast. A friend’s jazz band made for an upbeat cocktail hour, before djing the rest of our event.
Guests enjoyed a buffet of Balena’s signature dishes, and French-inspired desserts like pots de creme and french macarons. Perhaps one of our favorite things is that we can visit Balena (and it’s delicious dishes!) anytime we want to relive our special day.
Photography: Tao Zhang | Wedding Dress: J.Crew | Bridesmaid's Dresses: Joanna August | Hair: Frankie Christina | Bouquets: Fill It With Flowers | Bridal party jewelry: Vintage | Bride's headband: DIY | Brides's Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Ceremony and Receptiom: Balena | Getting Ready & First Look: PUBLIC Chicago | Groom's Tuxedo: Nicholas Joseph Custom | Guestbook: Etsy | Makeup: AgaJ.Crew is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here.