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Elegant Chicago Wedding at Balena

This Mark Zunino Bride and her handsome groom were literally surrounded with love on their wedding day. Evan Hunt captured the moments that mattered, while close family and friends gathered at Balena for an inviting celebration planned by Kelly Cavanaugh. From the six cakes baked out of love, to Artistrings rendition of Katy Perry, every detail was personal and you can see it all here.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Restaurant
Styles
Elegant

From The Bride…On a whim, I signed up for a beginners’ rock climbing class, thinking I should try something new and different. I noticed a good-looking guy in the advanced class. He introduced himself and we chatted briefly during class for a few weeks. Eventually he invited me to come climb with him on a Friday night. When I arrived, he encouraged me to try a move that was clearly above my skill-levl, offering to take me out for a drink if I could make it. I didn’t make it and instead fell off the wall injuring my knee, but I still got that drink. We had a blast that night and have been together ever since. We are total partners in life and we love to do things our own way. We added running, mountain biking, and wake surfing and you can always find us taking adventures together, including moving to the suburbs.

Our wedding really reflected our personal choices and who we are as a couple. From the beginning, it was important to us to have a beautiful wedding without all of the fuss. Our favorite parts of other weddings are the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing. So, we decided to mash them all together and skip (almost) everything else — including a formal dinner with seat assignments — in favor of a more relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. We knew immediately that we wanted to have the wedding at Balena; the food is divine, the drinks are spectacular, the staff is amazing, and the decor reflects perfectly the things we like and the mood of the day: warm and inviting, with soft beautiful lighting, rich leather chairs, and exposed wood.

Our ceremony was “in the round,” with my law-school best friend officiating and our moms providing heartfelt personal introductions. Our family and bridal party sat in chairs around the ceremony and everyone else stood around, which lent to the intimate, family atmosphere. The introduction to my favorite Coldplay song “Reign of Love”, played as I walked down the aisle and a quartet played a version of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” for the recessional.

After the ceremony, I changed out of my first dress and heels and into a comfortable ball-gown and flats. Dave kept me company as I had my hair twirled into a bun, and we snacked on appetizers and champagne in the quiet of Balena’s downstairs private-dining room. The reception was divine; we hand picked our favorite items off Balena’s seasonal menu, and Dave’s sister made six gorgeous cakes. We named our signature drinks “The Polly” and “The Reuben,” after the characters in “Along Came Polly” who remind us of each other. Our family and friends were in on all aspects of the wedding, my mom designed our invitations and made the groomsmen’s cufflinks. A family friend handled all the flowers. Almost all our vendors were friends, and all were in attendance to help us celebrate. We were surrounded by love at our wedding and wouldn’t have done it any other way.

Photography: Evan Hunt | Videography: Evan Hunt | Wedding Planner: Kelly Cavanaugh | Florist: R. Jane Morgan Interior + Design: Rjanemorgan@aol.com, 847-275-3530 | Wedding Dress: Mark Zunino | Cakes: Sweet As Cake | Bride's Shoes: Stuart Weitzman | Jewelry: Mark Zunino | Bridesmaids' Dresses: JLM Couture | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Ann Taylor | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Hair And Makeup: Kate Johnson Artistry | String Quartet: Artistrings | Bridesmaid's Dress: Watters | Cake Stands: Nimble Well | Clutch: Judith Leiber | Custom Veil: The Giving Bride | Dress Belt: Ms. Couture | Earrings : New York Jewlers | Flower Girl's Dress: Autolive | Getting Ready Venue: Public Hotel | Groom / Groomsmen Cufflinks: McLaughlin Glazeware | Groom's Suite: Nicholas Joseph | Reception Dress: David's Bridal - Melissa Sweet | Wedding Rings: New York Jewelers | Wedding Venue: Balena

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Elegant Chicago Wedding at the Chicago Cultural Center

I love Olivia Leigh. Seriously. She captures weddings in a way that tells the prettiest of stories, and I always want to reach through the screen and kiss her for it. This chic Chicago soiree is a wonderful example, because boy does it have a story to tell. With literary nods tucked throughout the floral-filled reception, it’s all as gorgeous as it is meaningful, and you can see just what I mean here.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
ChurchMuseum
Styles
Elegant

From Olivia Leigh PhotographieEmily and Angelo are an elegant and intellectual couple that met at Northwestern University. They held a ceremony at the stunning Holy Family Church in Chicago where both families were close to the priest, making it a very warm and personal ceremony. Given their intellectual bent and Emily’s passion for education (she works in education reform in Chicago), the Chicago Cultural Center was a natural choice for their reception, as the stunning building with Louis Tiffany domes is dedicated to arts, culture and learning, with many quotes about education and literature worked into the gorgeous tilework throughout the building. She also loves children and education in the city and we even did some photos outside at a popular water fountain in downtown Chicago as she really wanted a true local, urban, real feel for photos in addition to the beautiful and romantic locales!

Detail wise, this one was a stunner, with an enormous and lush bouquet which we often don’t get in the city. The maids wore a dress of their choosing in pink, gold or blue. Table decor paid more nods to the literary bent with many different quotes about love from a variety of authors printed on one side of the menu cards along with, of course, the menu on the other side. It was so fun to walk around and read all the different quotes and it really lent a super personalized feel to the day! Card tables were done as library call number cards with ivy and greenery spilling out of card catalogs. Tables featured rustic summer blooms along with golden pears and candle light. Angelo is Italian and many of the guests were from Italy. Limoncello paid homage to his heritage with his dad giving a beautiful toast, and the backs of the bride and groom chairs reading Avere & Tenere (to have and to hold). All of this of course was beautifully accented by the amazing architectural gem that is the Cultural Center! Emily and Angelo did my favorite first dance EVER to Be My Baby by the Ronettes which was just so special in this space. Lastly, the invitations were AMAZING with vintage postcards of Chicago reproduced as Save the Dates and beautiful custom calligraphy by Jilly Ink & Sarah Drake Design pulling in their beautiful color scheme. It was just gorgeous!

Photography: Olivia Leigh Photographie | Coordinator: Estera Events | Florist: Fleur | Wedding Gown: Jenny Packham | Cake: Dominos Pastries | Invitations: Sarah Drake Design | Ceremony Venue: Holy Family Church | Catering: Blue Plate | Calligraphy: Jilly Ink | Groom's Attire: Suit Supply | Officiant: Fr. John Belmonte | Music: Style Matters DJs | Rentals: ReFind Joy | Venue: Chicago Cultural Center

Rustic Farm House Wedding

Having grown up on a farm, I adore when a couple opts for wide open spaces and an oh-so lovely landscape for their nuptials. Farm Friends NFP proved to be the perfect place and with Tonya Tuitman behind the scenes every moment sparkled (just like the Bride’s bouquet!). After taking a peek at all the pretty snapped up by the talented Peter Gubernat, this cream of the crop gallery has me feeling right at home.

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Seasons
Fall
Settings
Farm
Styles
Rustic

From Peter GubernatChantel and Chris are a pretty awesome couple. Aside from the strong love they have for each other, they have an awesome story to tell.

When Chantel was younger, she was in a pretty bad car accident. Through a number of operations she had a number of metal plates grafted to her bones. Through intensive therapy and rehab the plates were removed and she saved them in a jar for 16 years.

Now, enter Chris. Knowing Chantel had these metal plates, what better way to express his love for her than making his wedding ring from those same metal plates? That’s exactly what he did.

I hope you enjoy their epic wedding at a beautiful farm house location.

Photography: Peter Gubernat | Event Design: Tonya Tuitman | Wedding Dress: Ivy & Aster | Catering: Tyler Frelitz | Hair & Makeup: Gabrielle Post | Farm: Farm Friends NFP