Garden Inspired Wedding at River Roast, Chicago
September 4, 2015
Classic WeddingsEaterySummer Weddings
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.
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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 :)

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