Sophisticated Chicago Wedding at the Drake Hotel
February 6, 2015
Classic WeddingsHotels + Resorts WeddingsSummer Weddings
Take a sophisticated setting like The Drake Hotel and add in a stunning gown designed by Project Runway contestant Kate Pankoke and a whole host of amazing details coordinated by Lola Productions and the results are this: a drop-dead gorgeous set of nuptials that take classic to an entirely new level.  See it all captured by MaiCamera right here and the beautiful Smiling Toad Productions' film below. 
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From the Bride... George and I had a lot of aspirations for our wedding (not necessarily the same!) but at the end of the day it came down to three main things: work with people you love, respect your heritage, and throw a great party.

George is from Russia where weddings (and all parties for that matter) are not beholden to the 12:00 cut off of most American venues. We knew we wanted a place that would entertain our late curfew and allow us to go crazy on the food, drinks, and whatever else might come up. Thankfully we were able to work with my favorite hotel in Chicago (The Drake) to create the wedding of our dreams. As a nod to my Jewish heritage, we had our first look at the Ketubah signing ceremony. It was a wrestle of schedules to accomplish, but in the end it was perfect. With just our families around us, both my mom and mother in law remarked to me later that it was like having a private wedding ceremony. The pictures from that moment capture the build up and excitement of the day perfectly.

For the reception, we wanted to create an atmosphere where people felt relaxed but taken care of. That meant a family style dinner of beef stroganoff, lamb, potatoes, and kugel that kept our guests happy even through a marathon 10 speeches (including one fully in Russian). But the real highlight of the night was the ice luge which - together with our Russian DJ - kept everyone dancing way past 1 AM. (The photo booth later in the night captures the progression pretty accurately.)

The day was a huge success but it couldn't have been accomplished without the help of our vendors. Our florist, Cornelia McNamara, helped us achieve our vision of relaxed, natural floral arrangements that complemented, but didn't fight against, the fantastic decor of the room. Our invitation and stationery designer satisfied George's desire for "lots of things with wreaths on them," and my darling dress designer Kate Pankoke not only granted my wish for a ridiculous amount of tulle, but made the dress shopping experience so special that to this day we remain good friends. Our photographer, Mai Duong, captured the day perfectly and had such a great time she stayed through the after party to capture the groomsmen jumping in lake Michigan at sunrise. It was just one of the many unexpected moments that made the day truly memorable.

Not all of the unexpected moments were positive of course - the groomsmen all forgot how to tie bow ties, one flower girl insisted on being photographed eating cheese (who could blame her), and I fell out of the chair during the Hora. But the day was perfect despite its imperfections. With your friends and family around you, and the love of your life by your side, it can't help but be.