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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

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.
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Vintage Inspired Post-Wedding Portraits

Today is one of those super awesome days.  One of those days that we are lucky enough to share in a beautiful couple’s heartwarming wedding AND their post-wedding photo shoot around the snowy streets of the Windy City.  And while unforeseen circumstances kept these two cuties from wedding day portraits, their talented family (the oh-so-amazing Two Birds Photography) had it all handled in spades.  See it here.

From Two Birds Photography… This sweet bride and groom are very near and dear to our hearts. Julie Beth is my sister and Jerome is my brand new brother-in-law, and their wedding day was one for the books. As many people know, weddings rarely go as exactly planned, but the important thing to remember is that it isn’t all about that one day! The focus should never be entirely on the wedding, but on the marriage that follows. While we were sad not to be able to get portraits of these two lovebirds on the day of their wedding, we are overjoyed that we were able to take some photos of them a few weeks later.

We started their post-wedding portrait session at the Oriental Theater with our own private little tour — which we weren’t expecting and were so excited about! Julie Beth and Jerome have a love affair with the theater, so this location was absolutely perfect. We could not have asked for a prettier, or more fitting setting for the two of them!

After the the Oriental Theater, we made our way over to the Kinzie Street Bridge for a few photos in a blustery Chicago blizzard before wrapping things up at the very busy Union Station.

We just adore these two wonderful people, and wish them a lifetime of love and happiness.

Photography: Two Birds Photography | Wedding Dress: BHLDN | Hair: Ethan James Salon | Groom's Attire: Express Men | Theater: The Oriental Theater | Veil: Etsy

BHLDN is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. Two Birds Photography is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Two Birds Photography

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Vintage Inspired Chicago Wedding

They say that true love conquers all, and in the case of this adorable duo, it couldn’t be more true. Because a day that started off with a trip to the emergency room and a missed dinner celebration with friends and family ended with some of the sweetest “I do’s” you will ever lay your eyes upon.  Think glowing candlelight and smiles that are never-ending.  Just how a wedding should be.  See it all captured by Two Birds Photography right here.

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Winter
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Vintage

From The Bride… Jerome and I were married on January 10, 2014 in Chicago, IL. We approached our wedding not just as a chance to celebrate our love for each other, but to celebrate the love we have for our family and friends. We kept it small so that we could individually focus on each guest and the extra effort made the day more intimate. For instance, my younger brother wrote and performed an original poem, and instead of a seating card we hand wrote a letter for each guest sharing what we appreciate about them and how they shaped our lives both individually and as a couple. We also asked each guest to take Polaroid photos of themselves so that we could have photos of our closest friends and family decorating the walls of our new home. We served our favorite foods (like braised short ribs and smoked salmon) with choice of dessert (New York style cheesecake or French Apple Pie with homemade ice cream) thanks to the Boarding House and Julia, their fabulous in-house pastry chef.

We looked to vintage inspiration to create a beautiful space for everyone to enjoy and so many great vendors helped make our day possible. Fragrant Design created delicate succulent and baby’s breath arrangements, and Kel and Co handmade a custom altar out of vintage lace and did an outstanding job coordinating our day-of events. I wore a vintage-inspired gown from BHLDN with a custom-made veil, and much of our décor, such as brass candlesticks and mercury glass planters, was vintage thrifted.

Our wedding was beautiful and perfect in its own way, but that is not to say that everything went as planned. Jerome woke up very sick on the morning of our wedding, and at one point we considered getting married in the Emergency Room. When it came time for the ceremony, we decided to have all our friends and family enjoy dinner and time together without us while Jerome gathered his strength and I helped him to get ready back at The Langham. At the tail end of dinner, we finally arrived at our own wedding! We walked in and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house and everyone was cheering for us! We finally made it! For me (Julie), this was the best part of the day, to see everyone celebrating us and to walk down the aisle with my best friend knowing that he sacrificed so much and loved me to the point that he would not even let physical illness stop him from marrying me. For Jerome, the best moment of his day was after the ceremony. “I was still so nervous that I was going to be sick during the vows that I didn’t relax until they pronounced us as husband and wife. When they did, and we turned around and cheered, I was so excited to be married to my best friend! That moment was unforgettable!”

With all the planning that went in to our special day, it would be devastating to not remember or appreciate it, and this is why we are incredibly grateful to Jake and Jennifer from Two Birds Photography. Two Birds captured our day beautifully, and not in staged photos, but in the details: candid shots, sentimental moments shared and dozens of the small touches that helped to make our wedding so special. That exact moment that Jerome described, when we turned around and were pronounced for the first time, fists in the air, beaming, was captured on film perfectly so we have that moment forever. When I look at the images, I am not just reminded of what our wedding looked like; I am reminded of how I felt and who I was on that day. It takes a remarkably talented photographer to capture a feeling, but that is exactly what they did. With all that transpired on January 10th, we never could have appreciated it all, but thankfully Two Birds captured it for us and can appreciate it for years to come.

Photography: Two Birds Photography | Coordinator: Kel & Co | Flowers: Fragrant Designs | Wedding Dress: BHLDN | Groom's Attire: Express Men | Accommodations: The Langham | Hair : Ethan James Salon | Reception Venue And Catering: The Boarding House | Veil: Etsy

BHLDN is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. Fragrant Design and Two Birds Photography are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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Two Birds Photography

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