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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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Modern Ballroom Wedding at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago

Ok, I just need to say it. This Bride’s Marchesa gown is absolutely incredible. I would go as far as to say it’s my all time favorite. Combine that gorgeous gown with a stunning Bride, her handsome groom, and their super chic Chicago wedding? And well, I’m in love. See all the gorgeous images from KingenSmith here.

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Spring
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Ballroom
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Elegance

From The Bride…Josh and I are both very close with our families and we knew having them intimately involved with our special day, along with our closest friends, was of the utmost importance. Their participation in our journey to becoming “husband and wife” began in the summer of 2012 on the night we got engaged. Josh and I flew home to Chicago for what I thought was a birthday celebration weekend for my grandmother…little did I know so much more was in store. Unbeknownst to me Josh had also flown his family in to Chicago on an earlier flight so that they too could celebrate in the occasion with us (and also help my grandmother celebrate her 92nd birthday!). This theme of deep family involvement continued during the planning process, into the ceremony and throughout the reception. Family members joined me for wedding dress fittings, walked us down the aisle, read passages that held special meaning to Josh and me and gave old, traditional Italian toasts during the reception. It truly was a family affair.

My parents first learned of Josh during my stepfather’s birthday dinner in 2011… just weeks after Josh and I met! Josh knew they were in town for a weekend visit and knew that I was taking them out for a birthday dinner so he called the restaurant and had a bottle of champagne sent to our table as we sat down. Little did I know I’d be forced into disclosing this “relationship” to my parents so soon after it had begun…at this point Josh and I had only been out a handful of times! Needless to say, my parents were totally on board… so long as Josh promised to continue sending bottles of champagne!

Our choice for venue was primarily driven by the warm and intimate setting provided by the Waldorf’s banquet room where the ceremony and reception were to be held. Both of us immediately knew this was the place and we booked on the spot. Although the hotel is not small, per se, it is able to maintain the boutique-ish feel which we both desired. Each and every employee truly made us feel as if the hotel was ours right from the start of the planning process.

Without a doubt, I think the most poignant description of the night was summed up by one of our guests who told us “the room was filled with love and that’s something you cannot buy.”

Photography: KingenSmith | Cinematography: VDO Video | Florist: Bukiety | Wedding Dress: Marchesa | Wedding Cake: Chef Andrew Johnson | Stationery: Stephanie LLC | Bride's Shoes: Valentino | Groom's Shoes: Crockett And Jones | Groom's Tux: Ermenegildo Zegna | Hotel: Waldorf Astoria Chicago | Orchestra: Bradley Young Orchestra

Romantic, Vintage, DIY Chicago Wedding at Salvage One

Salvage One is a venue unlike any other. It beautifully combines charm and style, and the weddings there? Well they are always beyond – particularly when Olivia Leigh Photographie is behind the lens to capture the magic. Weddings like this one make us want to jump right out of our chairs, and you can see why here.

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Winter
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Urban Space

From the Bride…Perhaps the most defining choice in planning our wedding was the date itself. I fell madly in love with a spectacularly nontraditional venue in Chicago – a place that is as quirky as it is elegant, as unexpected as it is inviting. The choice was easy, but the timing was complicated – due to availability, our only option was to have our wedding in January…a month most other Chicago brides would never consider. But we knew our wedding wouldn’t be us without this venue, so I let go of the fear of blizzards and freezing temperatures, and warmly embraced the idea of a cozy winter affair.

Planning this wedding was truly a gift – I wish every bride the opportunity to feel so cared for and to have so many cherished experiences leading up to her big day. My partner in crime for this journey was my mom – we had been dreaming about planning this day for 30 years. From collecting vintage handkerchiefs to roasting rosemary orange nuts for all of ours guests, she was as dedicated as I was to ensuring we covered every detail.

Our January day came with blue skies and plenty of sun. It had snowed two days earlier, which meant there was just enough powder on the ground to remind us how beautiful a winter wedding could be. And once the sun set and guests began arriving, it was clear – there was no more magical place to be married on this day than at Salvage One. Exposed brick walls, antique chandeliers and apple cider invited guests to settle in for the evening.

Looking back, I am incredibly proud of all our little touches – the things you wonder along the way if anyone will even notice. My mom collected vintage handkerchiefs and sewed on tiny tags that read “happy tears”, which were given to guests before our ceremony. We set mismatched paper placemats at each place setting with silverware inside paper bags printed with the message, “It’s time to drink bubbly and dance on the tables!” Origami cranes folded from handmade paper topped our cake as a tribute to my Japanese grandmother. Our favors were gourmet chocolate bars wrapped in childhood photos of me and my husband. The brainstorming, list making, shopping, printing, and packaging was all part of this incredible journey, and I could tell from the expressions on our guests’ faces that we had successfully curated an event that inspired true joy.

I never could have imagined that in the middle of a cold Chicago winter, we would find our happiest moments and our best day ever.

Photography: Olivia Leigh Photographie | Cake: Luscious Layers Bakery | Catering: Food For Thought | Band: Standing Room Only | Groom's Attire: Suit Supply | Coordinator : Amy Stockbridge | Dress Designer: BHLDN | Officiant : Anita Vaughan | Quartet : Artstrings | Venue: Salvage One

BHLDN is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here.