I know it seems as though winter literally ended yesterday, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t Brides out there knee deep in planning their own winter soiree. So if you are just such a Bride, or if you just like super gorgeous weddings (so basically that includes everyone), you’ll want to stop and stay awhile at chic Chicago wedding captured by Jill Tiongco Photography. It’s winter wedding perfection, and there is even more waiting for you here.


From the Bride… Reyahd and I met through a friend at City Hall (he worked for the City Treasurer of Chicago and I worked for the Mayor.) She kept telling me about this super-hot, tall and kind man but failed to make the introduction. However, fate has a way of working its magic and one day Reyahd happened to be coming to visit my colleague at work at the exact same time I was leaving her office. We ran into each other (literally) and after a few awkward “hello’s” and “nice to meet you” I got so nervous I ran off without another word. He later found my email address in Microsoft Outlook and asked me out. You know when people say “you know when you know” well that’s exactly how our love story goes. Eleven months later Reyahd surprised me with the most incredible proposal at his apartment on Wednesday afternoon the day before Thanksgiving. He even planned a surprise family engagement dinner by flying all of our parents in from Texas, Ohio and St. Louis! He is truly the man of my dreams and the one I have been waiting for.

It was so important to us both that our wedding was fun, unique and totally us. We wanted it to be very intimate and romantic but also a fabulous party. It was all of the above. Every detail embodied us as a couple all the way down to the food. Reyahd and I are the definition of multi-cultural couple. He is Palestinian, Jamaican, African American, Polish-Jew and Irish. I am Mexican, German and French. The whole wedding weekend our family and friends referred to our wedding as the United Nations. Our food was a mixture of all of our cultures from cocktail hour hor d’oeuvres through dinner by serving Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Chicken Mole and Hummus. Even the dessert bar was a good mix of us! Considering Reyahd’s favorite food is ice cream, we opted for an ice cream bar with all our favorite toppings. My favorites include red velvet cupcakes and brownies which we also had in abundance. And since our love started in a City we now call home, Chicago we even added touches of Chicago to our wedding…a Chicago Hot Dog late night bite station and Chicago themed rehearsal dinner with Lou’s pizza, mini Italian beefs and chopped salad.

Since we paid for the wedding ourselves (on our government salaries!), we made sure that we were able to do everything we wanted but stay within budget. One of the biggest party hits, the Photo booth, was a surprise gift from my bridesmaids. My mom and sister helped with the DIY ornament centerpieces and my mom even went as far as to buy out all the silver ornaments on sale after Christmas last year. My sister and I got creative by gluing lace and rhinestones to votive candles to give them that extra special detail. My wonderful husband even made the table numbers himself by using our leftover invitations and adding glitter numbers into silver frames we bought at Dollar Tree. We were so blessed to have so many people that loved us, helping us make our dream wedding come true. Last but not least my co-worker and loving friend, Eloise Bahrmasel, stepped in big time to be our “Day of” coordinator. She not only helped me with finalize all the small details she also linked us with the best vendors of all time. From the caterers, DJ, hair style and makeup team and venue to the florist and caterer for rehearsal dinner, everyone was absolutely amazing and all went the extra mile to ensure our wedding was perfect. It is so true what they say about picking good vendors. They really make the difference, so remember brides, be choosy! But the most important thing I learned was just to remember to take it all in, every single moment, because it goes by fast!

All of the preparations and the partying with our loved ones – family or friend, was worth it because the best thing, now that it is all over, is that I am starting a life with the perfect man and partner. And that is the most exciting part of it all.

From the photographerIf I were to dream up a winter wedding, Anna + Reyahd’s day would have been it. It was about 18 degrees all day, but that didn’t stop us from shooting at at all the Chicago hotspots – City Hall, Board of Trade, the Adler Planetarium along the chilly lake for some skyline views, and of course the iconic Kinzie St. Bridge. We shot the First Look at City Hall – where Anna works, which was completely dark except for a beautifully decorated Christmas Tree and red and green ceiling lights. Talk about Christmas spirit! The Christmas cheer didn’t stop there. There were so many little details that Anna + Reyahd had incorporated into their winter/Christmas themed wedding. Name cards with glittered acorns, fur shawls for the bridesmaids, Christmas Ornaments as centerpieces, gorgeous silver wreaths, candles… it was the epitome of a Chicago winter wedding – Mayor Rahm Emmanuel was even there! It was truly a beautiful day that I’m incredibly happy to have been a part of!

Photography: Jill Tiongco Photography | Florist: Wishing Well Florist | Catering: Washburne Culinary Institute | Hair Stylist: Tamara Makeup And Hair Artistry | DJ: Toast And Jam | Ceremony, Cocktail, And Reception Venue: Prairie Production | Dessert Table: Unforgettable Edibiles | Make-up Artist: Tamara Makeup And Hair Artistry | Paper Goods: Delphine Press | Transportation: Empire Limousine | Tuxedo Designer: Joseph A. Banks | Wedding Dress Designer: Lazaro

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