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Garden Inspired Wedding at River Roast, Chicago

Elegant in the way that will truly never go out of style, this Chicago affair captured by Britta Marie Photography at the River Roast is pure perfection. With florals from Pollen, beauty by Carly Pribich and entertainment by Toast and Jam, it’s safe to say this was a wedding that guests are still talking about today. See why here.

 

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Eatery
Styles
Elegant

From The Bride…When Andrew and I got engaged, I knew planning would be tricky since this was going to be a classic Midwest (Chicago) meets urban New York City wedding –  but I also knew that planning would be a blast for the same reason! We made a list of the words we wanted to describe our day and came up with: authentic, personal, relaxed, and romantic. Most importantly, we wanted our friends and family to walk away feeling loved and valued, knowing they were an integral part of this new family we were creating.

In our search for the perfect venue, we sought spaces that embodied those words. We chose Chicago Temple for our ceremony because it’s a skyscraper (and you can’t get more “Chicago” than architecture!) but it’s also the kind of church open to the entire community, regardless of religion, with a congregation who does really powerful things for their community,
and that’s the kind of energy we wanted for our day.

River Roast housed our reception, because it was also so “Chicago” – an old warehouse, sitting on the Chicago River, that’s now a restaurant. We knew good food was incredibly important to us and River Roast is first and foremost a fantastic restaurant! It also had an undone, romantic quality to it – the warm exposed brick and stunning view of the river and skyline had our guests (and us) in awe.

In order to create the essence of undone romance to contrast our urban setting, I knew we’d need stunning florals and great lighting. Lynn from Pollen blew me away with what she created! She merged Andrew’s modern, edgy desires for lots of floating candles with my dreams of loose, garden-y florals and “rose trees” (as I called the tall centerpieces). I will never forget walking into our reception for the first time (I cried!) because Lynn and our lighting designer had created this magical, romantic space that blew me away. To accent the florals, we bought gold chargers and set the tables with white bowtie napkins (one of two DIY projects that I did. Note to readers who want bowtie napkins – they’re fabulous and oh-so-easy… just don’t wait until two days before the wedding to tie them!) We also had a generous helping of candles in mercury glass votives all over: The candlelight on the golden brick at River Roast created such a lovely glow, thanks again to Lynn! We included several touches to make the ceremony and reception truly ours.

For the ceremony, I carried a piece of jewelry on my bouquet belonging to each of our Grandmas who were no longer with us – my maternal grandmother’s engagement ring, Andrew’s maternal grandmother’s ring (which happens to be sapphire, his birth stone), and Andrew’s paternal grandmother’s opal brooch (which happens to be my birth stone). We also included our Frenchie, “Iceman” in the ceremony as the ring bearer – we are so grateful to the Chicago Temple for allowing him to participate!

For the reception, we greeted guests with a framed thank you note we wrote specifically to convey our gratitude and love. We framed our favorite love quotes and placed them on the highboys during cocktail hour. We also hand-wrote each person’s place card and used nicknames or inside jokes for many of our guests rather than their formal names.  We chose our funfetti cake instead of going the more traditional or “grown up” route and serving more refined or fancy flavors.  We also entered the reception via boat, which was Andrew’s TOTAL stroke of genius/contribution to the wedding planning process and it worked out beautifully! It was so memorable to see everyone waving and cheering for us as the boat pulled up to the dock.

Our reception music was so “us” – a great mix of classics with the hits of today and I loved seeing all our guests, regardless of age, jamming with us (I even noticed aunts and uncles who I’ve never seen dance out there grooving). Our photographer, Britta, snagged amazing candids of the dance floor and Andrew and I have spent hours laughing over them and enjoying how much fun everyone had together.

All in all, the day was far beyond anything I expected and I still get so overwhelmed by love, gratitude, and excitement when I think about it. We owe a huge thank you to all of our vendors and our friends and family for helping us create this day of our dreams!

From The Groom…Best. Day. Ever.  You hear those three words tossed around quite a lot when people refer to their weddings. They even put it on napkins and make signs with them. Well, I finally realized why. It was mostly the little things (and some of big things too) that truly made our wedding the Best Day Ever. 

The day started with a gift (so private that she would be mad if I wrote what it was) from my beautiful wife. Let’s just say it was perfect. Then, meeting Becca for our first look was a moment I will never forget. Our photographer, Britta, made us forget she was there and the moment was completely surreal. We included our Frenchie, Iceman, in our first look (after a few minutes) and in our ceremony and I’m so glad we did.

Some of the other personal touches were really what made the day for me. From Becca including all of the Grandmas’ jewelry on her bouquet, to including Iceman in our ceremony, to spending time between the ceremony and reception with our bridal party on a boat, the day was flawless. We also used hybrid vows – exchanging the traditional vows while also writing individual promises for each other. That moment was perfect (I’m tearing up as I write this…if that tells you anything).  

There’s something really magical about having so many people you love from different parts of your lives all together in the same space for one day – all to celebrate with you and to kick off your new life together. We had written and framed a thank you note to everyone that greeted them when they walked in the reception and I’m so thrilled that we did because it truly encapsulated everything we were feeling.

The other personal touch that meant a lot to me, specifically, was the pens we included as favors. They didn’t necessarily fit the “romantic” vibe Becca and our vendors were creating, but they were so personal that they were perfect. My sister, Michelle, was born with Cerebral Palsey and the individuals in her program craft these pens to raise money. Becca and I decided to offer them as our favors as a way to include Michelle and to give back while also giving a gift. My wife is so beautiful and I’m so lucky and this day was the perfect example of that :)

Photography: Britta Marie Photography | Floral Design: Pollen | Wedding Dress: Enzoani | Ceremony Venue: Chicago Temple | Reception Venue: River Roast | Bride's Shoes: Betsy Johnson | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Ann Taylor | Makeup: Carly Pribich | Hair: Fern Hill | DJ: Toast and Jam | Groom's Attire: Vera Wang | Transportation: Chicago Water Taxi | Bridal Boutique: RK Bridal | Film Processing: Goodman Film Lab | Groomsmen Attire: Joseph Abboud | Photo Booth: The Traveling Photo Booth | Photography - Assistance: Amanda Megan Miller Photography

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Elegant Chicago Engagement

From a quiet garden to that famous city skylineOrange Photographie has captured an elegant e-sesh that has got me floating on cloud nine. From the striking statement these med-school sweethearts made on North Avenue Beach, to the peaceful woodland walk they shared, it’s all waiting for you in The Vault!

From Orange Photographie… Tanuja & Amit met in Chicago after they both moved there for medical school. Their paths crossed one night at a party neither of them wanted to go to, and after a crazy night of trying to get home, they exchanged numbers and started building a friendship. The two eventually fell in love with each other and Chicago, so it only made sense that they used the beautiful city as a backdrop for their engagement session. They had plans to move back to Amit’s home state of Florida shortly after their engagement session, so they wanted these photos to represent their time in the city and their love that blossomed there.

Chicago has an amazing array of locations to choose from for photo sessions, from quiet gardens to that famous city skyline. Tanuja and Amit wanted contrasting spots that showed off the best the city has to offer. We started in the peaceful woodland setting of the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool for some more naturally romantic photos and then finished the evening with a striking statement of the two in front of the Chicago skyline dressed to kill. These two have a classic, elegant style that blended perfectly with both locations we visited, especially Tanuja’s stunning black geometric dress from Guess she wore on our last stop of the evening at North Avenue Beach.

Photography: Orange Photographie | Venue: North Avenue Beach | Venue: Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool | Black Dress: Guess | Suit: Banana Republic

A Chicago Pied-a-terre Home Tour

This home is what pied-a-terre dreams are made of. Tucked inside is a subtle, elegant color palette reminiscent of the Chicago skyline, striking art, and a master bathroom that we could honestly live the rest of our days in. Designed by The Chad James Group with photography by Alyssa Rosenheck, have a look here for even more from this gorgeous space right here.

This home is in a prime location off of Michigan Avenue. In this project, Chad’s inspiration for the palette was taken from the colors of the Chicago skyline at the “golden hour”, as the sun sets and illuminates the architecture of the city and Lake Michigan.

This home is the perfect balance of sophistication combining both masculine and feminine influences throughout. The combined formal living and dining area incorporates subtle tones reflection the hues at sunrise and sunset. The kitchen employs bold lines and strong steal details reminiscent of Chicago’s strong foundation in architecture and cityscapes.
And the relaxed tv room is the room closest to the lake and incorporates grays and blue hues magnifying the views of the water adorned with vintage blue prints from midway airport.

Chad James is known for implementing a harmonious blend of masculine and feminine influences with his interiors. The Chad James Group has a distinguished architectural and interior brand based in Nashville Tn. His designs incorporate accents from the local environment, so as to “bring the outdoors in” is a theme you will find with his interiors from coast to coast. You will often find thought provoking uses of texture and fabric amongst clean lines. Chad and his talented team implement intention in every detail and meaning behind every layer when designing for his national and international clientele.

Photography: Alyssa Rosenheck Photography | Interior Design: The Chad James Group

Elegant + Traditional Chicago Wedding

When you let your personalities shine through each facet of your wedding day as this beautiful duo so gracefully did, with the help of Art Of Imagination—you’ve got a city fete as memorable as can be. Think chic skyline views, a champagne bar, a Bride in a sparkly custom number and Kyle John Photography floating around snapping up every pinch-me-perfect moment. Well, that sounds like a dream to me.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Event Venue
Styles
Elegant

From The Bride…The first Saturday in May proved to be the perfect timing for our Chicago wedding. Albeit, we prepped for the picturesque day at the Blackstone Hotel which was in the midst of NFL Draft Town. Luckily, due to our amazing team, it did not even hit the radar of any part of our bridal party, friends or family. We were able to capture the most amazing moments prior to our ceremony due to the extraordinary sunshine on a perfect Chicago spring day.

Our foremost desire for our wedding was to find a unique venue that not only allowed our personalities to shine through each facet of the day, but also to provide our nearest and dearest a memorable evening at one location. We both fell in love with the Skyline Loft and immediately thought of unique touches the moment we stepped off the elevator into the space. One of our favorite items was the bespoke champagne bar in the large freight elevator for our 250 guests as they arrived and were brought up the lift for the ceremony. Once they exited the elevator, they were welcomed into a sun drenched ceremony space overlooking the city skyline while a string trio performed.

Cocktails, dinner and dancing followed in the space, which played host to an amazing sunset view, as the night of fun commenced for all. The French garden theme shone through each table setting with hand crafted moss wreaths adorned with calligraphy and ribbon for each guest. The room was adorned with crystal chandeliers and ivory draping to add a classic garden flair to the wooden beamed backdrop. Floral arrangements at each table varied in height and composition to balance against the hanging décor.

Overall, we wanted the details to represent how much fun we have with one another, our friends and family to create an atmosphere that allowed our family and friends to have a complete blast on this joyous occasion. At the end of the evening as guests departed with donuts and coffee in hand, I believe we all agreed it was apparent that this was the absolute best night of our lives.

Photography: Kyle John Photography | Cinematography: Higuchi Productions | Wedding Dress: Custom Designed By Borris J. Powell | Cake: Elysia Root | Invitations: Oak & Orchid | Bride's Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Monique Lhuillier | Catering: Hearty Boys | Hair And Makeup: Kate Johnson | Hotel: The Blackstone Hotel | Venue: Bridgeport Art Center Skyline Loft | Bride's Hair Acccessories: BHLDN | Decor: Art Of Imagination

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Romantic Chicago Loft Wedding

A crazy romantic meets industrial wedding overflowing with some of the most thoughtful details you will ever see: loves, meet my happy place.  From the fab invitations designed by the beautiful bride to the breathtaking images captured by Sean Cook to the non-stop dance party with Toast and Jam.  Head to The Vault for every awesome moment, then click play on the sweet film from Foster Light Studios.

Colors
Seasons
Fall
Settings
Loft
Styles
Elegant

From The Bride… David and I met in the summer of 2008, both working as designers at an advertising agency in Chicago. By that October (10/10 to be exact), our friendship was something more… and five amazing years later, David proposed at an orchard on a crisp October day— in honor of my love all things Fall and in celebration of when our relationship first began. So a Fall wedding the following October was only fitting… and we were married on our exact sixth year anniversary in a bright and airy industrial loft space in Chicago. 

Our biggest desire for our wedding day was to create intimate memories and an extremely joyful celebration for ourselves and our guests that felt uniquely “us.” We asked two of our best friends, old coworkers where David and I first met that have known us since day one of our relationship, to marry us with a ceremony that we all wrote together that truly captured the beauty of our relationship. An intimate warming of the rings was followed by poetry from our favorite author, Pablo Neruda, read in English and Spanish to honor David’s Mexican heritage. Standing beside amazing friends, family, and our adorable dog and co-flower girl, Bananas, we recited vows we each wrote for each other as a violinist played Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” softly in the background. After the emotional ceremony, we walked down the aisle as husband and wife as the string duet played Tears for Fears’ “Head Over Heels.” Guests were immediately greeted by a live Mariachi band for an outdoor cocktail hour before a reception of delicious traditional Mexican fare, ombre wedding cake, Portraitbooth fun and nonstop dancing until the lights came on.

The entire day was made up of irreplaceable moments and intimate details. Being art directors at our day jobs in advertising, as well as running my own design company, Sugar & Gold, that specializes in events, design, and decor, David and I are constantly surrounded by design. And we know that true design is only as beautiful as the meaning behind it. So it was important for us to bring meaning in all of the little details that made up the visual richness and backdrop of our wedding. All while staying within budget… not an easy task, but we were up for the challenge.

One of the most important design elements was the official invitation… and after designing for other brides in the past, I was thrilled to finally get to design my own! It featured a custom monogram that I created with our initials E and D that took on the shape of a heart, and this element was used throughout all of our wedding stationery… including on post-ceremony pieces where our last initial “V” was added to frame the bottom of the heart. A custom accordion fold enclosure, which featured photography that I took of dozens of gorgeous peonies and Juliet roses, held blush and gold foil invitations that we designed.

On the day itself, including influences and wedding traditions from my Italian heritage and David’s Mexican culture in small ways was very important to us. Since Vaca (my husband’s last name) means cow in spanish, we had subtle hints to this around the wedding including a golden mini cow. We chose signature cocktails to also reflect our cultures — “The Emillini” (a traditional peach bellini) and “The Vacarita” (David’s custom margarita)— which complimented the mini Limoncello favors that we bottled. The sweets bar offered Italian wedding cookies made by the mother of one of my bridesmaids from a custom family recipe, as well as traditional Mexican wedding cookies that David’s mother made. The centerpieces consisted of oversized paper flowers, a nod to tissue paper flowers of Mexican culture, that sat on custom stands we built. We handcrafted over 70 paper peonies and garden roses (with the help of so many amazing friends) from florist crepe paper and gold painted paper leaves. Seating assignments and table numbers resembled papel picado (Mexican white paper flags traditional at weddings) with a custom cut pattern that we designed, which also played into a custom gold bar overlay we built that featured a V shape for our name. Other elements we handcrafted included a custom brass facet that held our rings, plaster flowers used as the cake topper, painted cake and entry tables, and glitter dipped bridal shoes and cathedral lace veil. For our guest book, we cut a slit in one of seven the giant faceted pinatas that we built for our save the date photo shoot, so that guests could slip in a note for us to read on our first anniversary when we break it open to celebrate.

The only way we were able to achieve any of this for our wedding meant doing everything ourselves that we could and, more importantly, enlisting in the amazing help of our wonderful family, wedding party, and friends. In fact, one of my coworkers and good friends, was the day-of coordinator, and she took care of every detail seamlessly so that we could simply enjoy every second of the day without stressing. It truly took a village to make our wedding as wonderful as it was, and we could not have done it without the countless hours that everyone gave us to make it happen. And we are so grateful that we found such an amazingly talented photographer and videographer that were able to craft such stunning images reflecting all of those candid moment and loving details… each frame they captured means to world to us and will just as much when we look through them and relive every moment 30 years from now.

Photography: Sean Cook Weddings | Cinematography: Foster Light Studios | Event Design: Sugar & Gold | Coordination: Tracy George | Floral Design: Life in Bloom | Wedding Dress: Tulle New York | Cakes: Luscious Layers Bakery | Invitations: Sugar & Gold | Catering: Cocina Fusion | Hair & Makeup: Tamara Makeup And Hair | Band: Mariachi Monumental De Mexico | Ceremony Music: Stephanie Young & Fretless Music | Hotel: Public Hotel | Venue: Prairie Productions | Photo Booth: The Portraitbooth | Reception Music: Toast And Jam | Taco Truck: La Adelita | Trolley: Windy City Trolley

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