I went to the Lincoln Park Zoo for the first time in my adult life recently, and after visiting, it’s no wonder why this sweet Bride and Groom decided to host their classic wedding reception at Cafe Brauer. With soft pink hues, regal centerpieces and a beautiful Lazaro dress, this elegant affair, captured by Emilia Jane Photography, is sure to inspire. See all the beauty in THE VAULT!
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From The Bride…We met through mutual friends. Russell and I both found ourselves celebrating the 4th of July in Lake Geneva at the same lake house. The entire weekend was filled with jet skiing, s’mores, dance parties, boating & all around summer fun. However, the highlight was during the firework show when sparks flew as we enjoyed one of our first kisses on a historic boat cruise. After that weekend, we were inseparable & spent pretty much every free day together, aside for when Russell was traveling internationally for work. I think we both knew pretty early on that we were destined to end up together. I remember Russell joking that my initials & monogrammed items wouldn’t have to change since both my maiden name & his last name started with a B. That’s where our nicknames (RB & HB) came from.
On a snowy New Year’s Day, Russell took me on a walk around the Gold Coast. He’s from Georgia, so he didn’t have the appropriate attire on. I remember him wearing Sperry’s & khakis and I thought he was crazy. When we got to one of the corners that we would frequent, he got down on one knee, & pushed aside a pile of snow to reveal he had carved our initials into the sidewalk. It was the most romantic, snow globe moment, I’ve ever felt in my life.
Favorite Part of Wedding Planning:
1. Us as a couple: I wanted to prioritize making the day as representative of the two of us as a couple and as individuals as possible. I grew up in Michigan & Russell grew up in Georgia, so I loved trying to incorporate nods to the midwest mixed with southern charm & elegance. At the reception, we created signature drinks with a variety of personalized cocktail stirrers. We served a spinach salad with Michigan cherries alongside a Georgia peach soup as our first course followed by a selection of our two favorite dishes to cook (Short Ribs were Russell’s & Salmon & asparagus were mine).
2. Family: I loved incorporating both of our family’s traditions into the day as well. We both carried heirlooms from past grandparents and great-grandparents to during the ceremony to represent those family members that weren’t able to be there with us. We also have a family recipe for red velvet cake that my great grandmother used to make, which was the flavor of cake that we had. I also did a custom Montenegrin polka with my father after our first dance, as a nod to the country that he was born in.
3. Custom Details: I had the most fun incorporating custom elements throughout the day so our wedding day felt fresh. I helped custom design our invitation with Antiquaria, actually scouring ebay to source a vintage postcard with an image of Café Brauer to use as the RSVP response card. I also did the calligraphy on all elements at the wedding, which I loved! (Menu, Signage, Envelopes, Place Cards, Escort Cards & Favors). I crafted the escort card holders via inspiration I found on Pinterest (not surprising) and Russell and I wrote personalized notes to every single guest that we had at the wedding. Each person that was invited to our wedding day has touched us, inspired us, helped shape us and become the individuals that we are today, and we wanted to make sure that they all knew that. We also made homemade sweet tea & lemonade. The sweet tea was another Georgia touch for Russell, while the lemonade was for me. All of my friends know that I drink lemonade like water, so I made mine special by infusing flavors like lavender & rose.
Favorite Part of the Day: For both of us, it was the ceremony. Walking down the aisle with both of my parents, looking at Russell, was the most impactful moment of my life. Seeing everyone that we love, come together to celebrate us as a couple & our marriage was so special. I also loved getting ready with all of my bridesmaids, mother & grandmother and my awesome hair & makeup team the morning of. Seeing the flowers that Sarah created for the first time and the reception room was truly magical – it was exactly what I dreamt up in my mind. Sure there were a few small hiccups (foggy weather, & a missing party bus to name a few), but that’s not what I remember. When people ask me how our wedding day went, I tell them it was an absolute dream that ended with me being married to my best friend and love of my life. It was perfect and one of my favorite days in my entire life.
Photography: Emilia Jane Photography | Event Planning: Clementine Custom Events | Floral Design: Vale Of Enna | Wedding Dress: Lazaro | Cake: Alliance Bakery | Ceremony Venue: St. Chrysostom's Church | Reception Venue: Cafe Brauer | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Catering: Food Evolution | Makeup: Shannon O'Brien MUA | Hair: Tina Morales | Band: Ken Arlen Band Front Of House | Bridal Boutique: Bella Bianca | Paper Goods: Antiquaria