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Vibrant + Romantic Illinois Wedding

It takes a bold bride to ditch the traditional white dress in favor of a pale blush or icy blue. But it takes an even bolder bride, like this one, to choose a fashion-forward coral-and-purple watercolored gown, and I am absolutely head-over-(coral)-heels for her bridal style. Captured by Esenam Photography, this couple’s gorgeous wedding is a work of art. See all of it in the gallery.

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Summer
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Mansion

From the beautiful Bride… Just before we got engaged, Frank had just relocated from Charlotte North Carolina to live with me in Southern California where I had lived for the past twenty years. Frank and I had been neighbors as kids in a small rural town north of Chicago, Libertyville, Illinois. We knew each other through our siblings and had only one brief encounter before we each left Libertyville as young adults and began our independent lives. By chance, we reconnected after nearly twenty years by virtue of Facebook Scrabble and played diligently from across the country with each other for about a year. We finally met again in person and quickly fell in love.

When Frank and I got engaged, we struggled with our “where” for a couple of years until one day it just all made perfect sense! We had so many options in front of us that it just seemed so overwhelming to simply decide on a location for our big event.

One day, while browsing my Facebook news feed, I noticed a post from a high school alumni that had graduated in my Frank’s and my eldest sister’s class. Father Matt Foley had been the captain of the football team and the homecoming king of his class and a very dear friend of my fiancé. “Let’s get married in our hometown at St. Joseph Catholic Church (where both of us had attended as children) and see if Father Matt would officiate our ceremony!” I exclaimed to Frank, and he excitedly agreed! I don’t know why that wasn’t the first idea that popped into our heads because it certainly was the perfect place to have our wedding!

When Frank and I were children living in Libertyville, the Cuneo Mansion had been a privately owned home along the main street through town and a mysterious place behind a forest of trees on the way to the local mall. In 2009, the mansion was donated to Loyola University. It is now a museum and has a beautiful event pavilion for private events. Since our families no longer maintain homes in the area, we decided on this hometown landmark for a perfect, homey garden wedding feel.

The true inspiration for our wedding was the children in our families. All of the children in my family were eagerly anticipating the addition of a new cousin with Frank’s twelve-year old daughter. When my cousin relayed a conversation between her three children about how excited they were to have a new cousin, our procrastination had come to an end and the wedding planning had begun!

I knew that I wanted a dress from Monique Lhuillier, and I knew that I wanted the dress to be unique, and oh, was it ever! I was so excited to find a gorgeous skirt that reminded me so much of my Grandmother Ruza who had been a dressmaker on Michigan Avenue in Chicago during her day. My dress was gorgeous and colorful, reflecting the colors of our favorite Hawaiian Islands, Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai! I was also thrilled with the idea that my wedding dress was not going to wind up in a box like the fate of so many traditional wedding dresses after the wedding never to be worn again. I can easily tailor the skirt and wear these separates again!

Once I chose my dress, I was able to find my adorable Jr. Bridesmaids dresses from Laundry by Shelli Segal. I loved that all of the little girls would be in beautiful light layered white dresses that were perfect for running around the gardens on a summer evening and spinning on the dance floor at the reception!

I commissioned Jill Tegtmeyer, another LHS alumni to be my “day of” director as well as to do my flowers, which were beautifully administered to compliment my dress from Joseph’s Flowers in Libertyville.

Most important to us for our reception was to have fabulous food and we were very pleased with the selection of vendors that The Cuneo Mansion and Gardens required us to use. We chose Blue Plate for our “touch of blue” and for their very wonderful tasting that we enjoyed a few months prior to the event.

Our wedding ceremony was a traditional Catholic Mass but instead of walking down the aisle to the traditional bridal entrance march, I walked down the aisle to the Christina Perri Instrumental – A Thousand Years.

For a whimsical touch, I made place cards for each guest using a scrabble letter in each name, and place cards for the bride and groom were scrabble letters as well! Frank and I designed a beautiful corn hole game for the garden with our beny-bachi “good kiss” logo, which was a big hit with the kids and the adults! Beny-bachi is a play on our names and, since we had shared a kiss in our youth, perfectly befitting: “a good kiss”!

At the reception, welcome cocktails were colorful and complementing our color palette. We had a Jazz Trio during cocktail hour and during dinner, and then a seven- piece orchestra with male and female vocalist that kept everyone on the dance for the duration of the evening! It was a perfect hometown family reunion and close friends celebration – exactly what we had hoped for!

Photography: Esenam Photography | Videography : Wedding Films | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Cake: Bittersweet | Church: St. Joseph's Catholic Church | Reception Venue: Loyola At Cuneo Mansion And Gardens | Bride's Shoes: Monique Lhuillier | Catering: Blue Plate | Band: David Rothstein | Groom's Attire: Zegna | Groom's Attire: Zegna | Groom's Shoes: Zegna | Flower Girls Dress: Laundry by Shelli Segal

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Elegant Emerald + Gold Wedding Inspiration

What do you get when you combine the luxurious shades of emerald and gold, a stunning halter-style silk shantung gown (it even has pockets!!), and an amazing team of vendors?! This vintage-tinged wedding inspiration shoot, that just happened to be shot at one of our favorite venues ever, the Chicago History Museum. Lucky for us, Emilia Jane captured every last stunning moment for us, right here!


From Clover EventsWhen I teamed up with Emilia Schobeiri of Emilia Jane Photography and Alyssa Kahle of Alyssa Kristin, we knew one thing for certain: we wanted to do a late fall inspiration shoot at the iconic Chicago History Museum that incorporated a mix of neutral colors, brought to life with a bold pop of emerald green.

We emphasized our interpretation of classic beauty using the Chicago History Museum as the perfect backdrop to blend new and old. Erin McDonald of Platinum Events provided the most beautiful, lush florals in ivory and many shades of green. The florals were complemented by elegant crystal and gold table settings from Hall’s Rentals and luxurious table linens from BBJ Linens. There were so many wonderful textures on our table! And can we talk about the emerald sofa and arm chairs from Bowery & Bash?! These were the ideal finishing touch!

Sarah Drake Design’s invitation suite and menu card offered the perfect modern, neutral accompaniment to the bold pops of emerald. Maddiebird Bakery baked the most elegant, classic ivory cake.

Our stunning bridal model happens to be Natalie Probst of Natalie Probst Photography, who wore the gorgeous silk shantung bridal gown from Alyssa Kristin Designs as if it were custom-made for her. The darling bridesmaids were dressed in taupe and grey gowns from Brideside. All three ladies wore gold and rhinestone jewels from The Left Bank, which evoked the timeless elegance of the Chicago History Museum. Their fabulous hair and makeup were flawlessly done by AJ Schulz and Shannon O’Brien, respectively.

With this all-star vendor line-up we knew this shoot would be everything we had imagined it could be!

Photography: Emilia Jane | Event Planning: Clover Events | Floral Design: Platinum Events | Wedding Dress: Alyssa Kristin | Cake: Maddiebird Bakery | Invitations: Sarah Drake Design | Reception Venue: Chicago History Museum | Jewelry: The Left Bank | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Brideside | Makeup: Shannon O'Brien MUA | Hair: AJ Schulz | Linens: BBJ Linen | Rentals: Bowery & Bash | Rentals: Hall's Rental

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Glam Gatsby Waldorf Astoria Chicago Wedding

If F. Scott Fitzgerald were writing The Great Gatsby today, he would look to this couple’s big day for inspiration. From the deco stationery and luxe feather-accented florals from Dilly Lily to the beautiful Bride’s gorgeous Lazaro gowns and festive tunes from Toast and Jam, the details of this stunning affair epitomize the Roaring Twenties. Gatsby famously said, “Can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can!” And, all the beautiful images from Ann & Kam Photography & Cinema in the gallery prove him right.

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Fall
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Hotel
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Glamorous

From Ann & Kam Photography & CinemaHave you ever dreamed of the perfect, glamorous, Gatsby-themed downtown affair? Well, Kelly and Joe created exactly that with their amazing wedding at the Waldorf Astoria. Kelly and Joe’s wedding was a stunning event complete with TWO Lazaro dresses, amazing florals by DillyLilly, and run flawlessly by CityGirl Weddings. But really, the most memorable parts of the day are always the people, and this wedding was as full of memorable, emotional moments as it was beauty and glamour.

Kelly was as beautiful and emotional as can be, and Joe was perfectly handsome and dapper. Before the wedding, Kelly had told me about how cute her nieces were, and I have to admit that these two flower girls are among the cutest we have ever seen. The ring bearer was so cute he never made it down the aisle, and the flower girl was so confident that she decided to sit down and pick up her flower petals before taking more than a few steps. Those are the moments that touch are hearts and we will never forget.

Photography: Ann & Kam Photography & Cinema | Event Planning: CityGirl Weddings | Floral Design: DillyLilly | Wedding Dresses: Lazaro | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Adrianna Papell | Makeup: Nika Vaughan | DJ: Toast And Jam | Wedding Venue: Waldorf Astoria

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Romantic Winter Wedding in Chicago

There are about a million reasons this sweet Chicago affair is awesome, but I’ll start with the obvious: it’s crazy pretty.  From the luxe champagne and blush hues to that beautiful bouquet from Joseph Events to the freshly fallen snow adding just the right touch of romance to the proceedings, this, my friends, is elegant with a capital E.  See it all captured by Jacqui Cole Photography right here in the full gallery.

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Winter
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Event Venue

From Jacqui Cole PhotographyEvery bride dreams of snow flakes falling on her winter wedding day. On November 15th, 2014 Crystal and Eric had the first snowfall of the year – on their big day!

Their wedding day was elegant and romantic. Crystal’s colors were champagne gold and neutrals with a touch of blush in the beautiful florals. Crystal and the bridesmaids got ready at her mother’s house, which made for incredibly beautiful bridal portraits! Crystal’s daughter, Riley, was the junior maid-of-honor. The sweet getting ready moments between mother and daughter were some of my favorites of the entire day.

For the ceremony Crystal wore a lace, off the shoulder bolero. The ceremony included traditions from Eric’s German heritage and Crystal’s Mexican heritage. At the reception, just after the speeches were finished, we noticed the snow flakes falling outside. The brave couple didn’t hesitate to head into the cold for some of the most romantic images I have every captured. I am truly blessed to have captured such a beautiful day for this wonderful Mr. and Mrs.!

From the Beautiful Bride… Eric and I met through a mutual friend during the summer of 2009. We dated for four years before getting engaged in Aspen, Colorado on September 19, 2013. With a secret photographer there to capture the moment, Eric planned out everything perfectly and proposed in front of the Maroon Bells.

When we started planning our November wedding we really wanted to keep it elegant and romantic, with a neutral color scheme and a few rustic touches. Classic black Vera Wang tuxes for the groomsmen, champagne and nude colored dresses for the bridesmaids, and touches of blush in the flowers. With my name being Crystal and Eric being a carpenter, I incorporated some crystals and different wood ideas throughout the reception decor.

We chose Concorde Banquets in Kildeer for a number of reasons. Between the delicious cuisine, the elegant decor, top notch service and professionalism from the owner John, we knew this would be the perfect venue for our wedding reception. When we talked about our priorities for our wedding, we both really just wanted to throw a good party and make sure our guests had a great time. Every vendor we chose was a referral, or was from one of the many weddings we had either stood up in or been guests at. We felt the music would be really important, so we chose a DJ from our friends’  wedding. We had high expectations from John Grammatis and he did not disappoint. He played a perfect mix of old and new, and kept the dance floor packed all  night. We used Joseph’s floral in Libertyville for all of the bouquets and boutonnieres. I had to let go of my original florist three weeks before the wedding, so needless to say I didn’t have much time to meet with Joseph’s. I emailed them only a couple of pictures and when I got to the church and saw my bouquet I couldn’t have been happier to see it was EXACTLY what I wanted. Given the short notice, they were so patient and accommodating.

As far as photography, I knew right away I wanted Jacqui to be there. As a long time family friend, I’ve seen her amazing talent and watched her grow her photography business in such a short time. We have a similar style and I knew she would capture every special moment. You can tell Jacqui loves what she does, she was an absolute joy to have around that day. When she noticed it had starting snowing she pulled us outside to get some shots, and we are so glad she did that because those are by far ours and everyones favorite photos. The unexpected snow set the scene, but she captured one of my favorite moments of the whole night.

Then there was the choreographed dance that Eric and my daughter Riley performed, it was such a fun and emotional moment. To be able to look back at the photos and see their smiles and expressions is just priceless. Also, our guests really enjoyed when the German drum and bugle corps that Eric plays in came out and performed. It was important to us to have all of these personal touches. We loved looking around the room and seeing all of our friends and family there from all over the country, and some family from Mexico and Austria. We felt unbelievably blessed that day, and had the time of our lives!

To future brides, keep in mind what this celebration is really about and try not to let the stress of planning a wedding get to you. Choose what you and your groom like because it is your special day! Take help that is offered to you from friends and family, try not to have a specific vision of how everything will be, and trust that the day will be amazing. Because it will be!!!

Photography: Jacqui Cole Photography | Floral Design: Joseph Events | Cake: Central Continental Bakery | Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids' Dresses: BHLDN | Hair And Makeup: Avalon Salon | Wedding Venue: Concorde Banquets | Bridal Sash: BHLDN | Bridal Store: Gigi's Closette | Groom And Groomsmen's Attire: Men's Wearhouse

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Elegant Downtown Chicago Wedding

With a Bride that can’t stop smiling, stunning blush florals from A Stem Above, leather and lace ‘maids’ dresses, and one of the most covetable pieces of “something blue” we’ve ever seen, this downtown Chicago wedding has it all! Lucky for us, the ever-talented Jacqui Cole Photography was there to capture every last bit of pretty, and shared it all with us right here.

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Summer
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ChurchHotel

From Jacqui Cole PhotographyCourtney and Jamie’s wedding was a day full of romance, love and complete joy. Jamie decided to get ready with the Groomsmen at their childhood home. He gifted the Groomsmen an engraved bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label and happily toasted to his future before leaving for the church. Courtney and the Bridesmaids calmly got ready at the Loews Chicago O’Hare. Jamie gifted his Bride-to-be a beautiful pair of diamond earrings, as he wrote in her card, she deserved an upgrade for promising her life to him.

Courtney and Jamie wed at the stunning St Alphonsus, Chicago. It is such a breathtaking church and the perfect backdrop for such a joyful ceremony. We spent some time around the city taking portraits. Courtney opted for a more subtle, elegant backdrop of the Art Institute and I think it complemented her style perfectly! Their reception took place at the Loews Chicago O’Hare. The decor was classic yet romantic, with soft hydrangeas and whimsical blush roses. The couple danced the night away to the David Rothstein Band, who put on a fantastic performance! Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Smith! Your wedding was truly an honor to capture and I wish you a lifetime of love and happiness!

Photography: Jacqui Cole Photography | Floral Design: A Stem Above | Wedding Dress: Lazaro | Cake: Cake Chicago | Ceremony Venue: St Alphonsus | Reception Venue: Loews Chicago | Hair And Makeup: Kristen Repta | Band: David Rothstein | Groom's Attire: Formerly Modern Tuxedo | Bridal Boutique: Bella Bianca

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Industrial Italian Chicago Wedding

We get a lot of amazing stories from brides, but I kind of love when grooms include their little bit too. It’s usually short and sweet, but packed with a whole lotta heart like this one. From his first time meeting his lovely (and absolutely stunning) Bride-to-be, to the sweet at-home coffee mug proposal, they are the cutest. Clary Pfeiffer made sure to snap every moment of their day and you can see it all here.

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Summer
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Loft
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Romantic

From the handsome Groom… At the time we met in March 2012, Erica was working in New York with one of my best friends. They were both in town for work and I tagged along with my friend to a Chicago bar where he and his coworkers were meeting up. I sat next to Erica and became increasingly intrigued by her loveliness (especially after learning that she shared a last name with one of my favorite University of Michigan football players – Tyrone Wheatley).

The following morning I woke up to an email from my friend, who had forwarded me a message from Erica the night before with the subject “Fw: Your Friend”, the body of which simply stated, “Is really cute. Single?”

Erica and I began a long-distance “flirtship” shortly thereafter. We officially began dating about a month later and when she transferred to Chicago for work a few months later, our lives forever became intertwined. The two of us (and my dog and her cat) became inseparable. I proposed to her in November 2013, gently waking her up with a fresh cup of coffee in a new mug with my the initial of my last name on it and a ring loosely tied to the handle by a pink ribbon. That evening Erica and I dined at our favorite Chicago restaurant, Balena, which, even before we knew it, started us down the path of creating a vision for our wedding.

From the beautiful Bride… Jonathan and I wanted our wedding day to be intimate, warm, but above all else, fun. The team from Estera Events helped us come up with an “Industrial Italian” theme, inspired by our recent trip to Italy, our shared love of travel and our favorite Chicago restaurant, Balena.

We chose Gallery 1028 in Chicago as our venue because of its rustic exposed brick and weathered wooden beams. The venue evoked memories of walking through Tuscan villages on our trip the previous year. Estera Events worked with Fleur to infuse fresh herbs into all elements of the floral décor, including hand-tying sprigs of rosemary to each placecard, incorporating fresh sage and bay leaves into each centerpiece and incorporating olive branches and seeded eucalyptus into my bouquet. Each table shared the name of a town we had visited together (Rome, Reykjavik, San Francisco, etc.) and was marked by an Instagram picture from our trips. Our guest book was a collection of vintage postcards, which our guests used to share travel stories, advice, love and best wishes.

Spencer from Style Matters spun fun tracks throughout the night, ensuring we and our guests never left the dance floor. Clary Pfeiffer Photography and Emily Hard Films each captured the warmness, love, laughter and fun that permeated the day. Our memories from that uncharacteristically warm and gorgeous day in September will live forever through Clary’s exceptional photographs and Emily’s touching video.

Photography: Clary Pfeiffer Photography | Videography: Emily Hard Films | Event Design: Estera Events | Coordination: Estera Events | Floral Design: Fleur | Wedding Dress: Jenny Yoo - Monarch Gown | Invitations: Ruby The Fox | Bridesmaids' Dresses: BHLDN - Ainsley In Sapphire | Catering: Calihan Catering | Lighting: Studio AG | DJ: Style Matters | Wedding Venue: Gallery 1028 | Rentals : Re:find Joy

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here