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Classic Chicago Black Tie Wedding at Rivers Restaurant

If I could pick my favorite type of wedding, it would be an intimate, yet elegant dinner party under twinkling lights. One where conversation flowed right along with the wine and each guest felt like the most important person there. So I think it’s safe to say I’m basically obsessed with this chic, Chicago soiree from Azuree Wiitala. Every detail was curated with love, and the result was beyond.


From The Bride…When my husband Tim and I moved to a city we’d never set foot in last September, we’d already been engaged for 8 months. We hadn’t thought about our wedding at all and hadn’t even talked about a date.

Then we fell in love with Chicago.

We wanted to share our new home, along with it’s rich history & awe inspiring architecture, with our friends and family from our respective hometowns. Only three of our guests were from the area. All the others flew in from Long Island, Boston, Toronto and Vancouver to share the day with us. We kept referring to it as a destination wedding in our backyard. To showcase the tradition & history of the city we decided to say ‘I do’ at the second oldest church in Chicago, which is nestled in Little Italy. From there, guests moved east and settled in for the night on a patio on the River. With boats going by and lights from the nearby city buildings, it was a perfect representation of summer in the heart Chicago.

Everything we did was inspired by italian elegance & simplicity with unique DIY touches. I planned everything myself, designed, ordered and put together all the florals, as well as designed the centerpieces, and all the decorative details. My veil was handmade by my Mom. One of my favorite details of the day was the dripping wax effect created as the candles melted down. I think it proved to us that the truly beautiful moments in life aren’t something you can plan for. I think it’s safe to say 100+ more people fell in love with Chicago on Aug 2nd.

Photography: Azuree Wiitala | Wedding Dress: Allure Bridal | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Elizabeth And James | Groom's Attire: Suitsupply | Catholic Church: Holy Family Church | Donuts: Glazed And Infused | Restaurant: Rivers Restaurant

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Monet’s Water Lily Bridal Inspiration

Inspired by some of Monet’s loveliest work, this beautiful collection of images from Katie Kett are a work of art themselves. With beautiful blooms from Life In Bloom Chicago, stunning stationery from Made Divine, and delicious sweets from A Baker’s Tale – every perfectly curated detail styled by La Belle Fleur Events defines lovely, and you can see just what I mean right here.


From Ashley La Fleur of La Belle Fleur Events On my tenth Christmas, my mom gifted me a book called Linnea in Monet’s Gardens. It was about a little girl who traveled to Giverny, France to visit Monet’s home and his gardens. I was completely enthralled with the book, and would look at it most days of the week hoping one day to visit there. Then, for my twentieth birthday, my mom gifted me a trip to France with a day tour of Monet’s home and gardens, and it’s to this day, one of my favorite places I’ve ever been. His gardens are even more beautiful in person, and his living room is filled with his paintings, a lot of which have never been seen. Throughout the years, Monet’s work has played a huge part in my design aesthetic, and I knew I wanted to design a shoot around one of his paintings.

I decided to use one of his water lily paintings that mostly incorporated blues, greens and a touch of pink. This painting in particular, has weeping willow branches on the sides, and I was interested in incorporating something hanging into the design.

For florals, I decided to work with Rachel of Life in Bloom because her romantic work was perfect for the overall feel. We discussed a hanging floral piece to give you the feeling that you’re actually in the gardens, and walking through the weeping willows. Small touches such as roses in the bowls were to give a nod to the water lilies that are in the Japanese Gardens, and the amaranthus that hung from the bouquet tied into the weeping willow trees.

For linens, I decided to work with Jessica from Bramble Workshop. I actually found her from Style Me Pretty! When I saw her work, I knew I had to have her on this shoot. I love that she custom made all her work, and that she was actually going to hand dye all the linens. It really made me feel like she was creating a work of art.

For stationary, I worked with Crystal at Made Divine. She always creates the most beautiful work, and I know her love of art would be the perfect addition to this shoot. One of my absolute favorite touches of this shoot is that the invitation holder is actually made out of canvas.

Lastly, Kpoene from Mignonette Bridal provided the beautiful dresses for the shoot. I loved the soft colors and the ethereal feel of them. I wanted the ladies to feel feminine, and I think every girl dreams of embracing her inner child and dancing around in a a lovely dress with lots of tulle!

Every vendor came together to really bring life and love to this shoot. I am so grateful to them for providing their talents and their love, and, of course, a very special thanks to my dear friend Katie for capturing it beyond compare.

Photography: Katie Kett Photography | Floral Design: Life In Bloom | Stationery: Made Divine | Venue: Room 1520 | Blue Tufted Chair: Rent Vintage Chicago | Bridal Dresses & Accessories: Mignonette Bridal | Buffet Table: Shadow Box Dreams Vintage Rentals | Cake Stands: re:find Joy | Cakes & Macarons: A Baker's Tale | Creative Director, Planner & Styling: La Belle Fleur Events | Linens: Bramble Workshop | Makeup & Hair Styling: Nika Vaughan Bridal Artists | Place Settings: Vintage Place Settings | Tables, Chair, & Flatware: Halls Rental | Water Color Signage: Layers Of Loveliness

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Modern Chicago Wedding at Public Hotel

One of the best things about cities are the hidden gems, which is exactly what these two Groom’s discovered at Public Chicago. High above the skyline they transported their guests into a quirky and modern affair featuring extraordinary views and minimalistic blooms by  Stems Chicago. Check out the stunning details captured by Annie Parish Photography in the gallery!

From the Grooms… A friend of ours had suggested the Public Hotel Chicago when we were considering venues for our wedding reception. We knew we wanted to have an intimate event with only 30 or so guests. We kept referring to it as a dinner party for our closest friends, instead of our wedding reception. We were drawn to the modern, minimalist style of the hotel because it mirrored our own tastes, and when we saw the terrace outside the Ava Room with its expansive view of the downtown Chicago skyline and peeks of Lake Michigan between the buildings, we were sold. It was the first and only property we toured, and we signed the contract immediately.

We continued the minimalist look with white table linens and flower arrangements in shades of whites, creams, and pale greens. Graceful pieces of driftwood helped to visually ground the table. Pops of color came from the place cards we made that featured whimsical robots with guests’ names displayed on monitors in their chests. We had hoped our guests would want to keep them as souvenirs of the night so the cards had fun personal touches. For example, one of our friends had broken a leg in a biking accident, so her robot wore a cast.

As with all weddings, the day was a blur as we hurried to get dressed, manage last minute details, and have our photos taken with Annie Parish. Neither of us is particularly comfortable in front of the camera, but she was able to capture some really incredible moments from the night… including when we had to quickly scramble to move the event inside because a storm blew in from the lake right as we began our speeches. The wind was so strong that a bouquet of flowers flew out of the vase in front of us, rolled down the length of the table, and went over the railing.

The storm only lasted about thirty minutes, and we easily recovered with a champagne toast and dinner inside. The patio was dried off and ready to go for a night of dancing under the stars.

The evening was incredibly special because our closest friends from around the country — and two came all the way from Dubai! — made the trip to add their happiness to ours. It’s very rare to have all of your best friends gathered together at the same time, so it was amazing, humbling, and made for an all-around unforgettable party.

Photography: Annie Parish Photography | Floral Design: Stems, inc. | Cake: Alliance Bakery | Groom's Attire: Dsquared2 | Venue: Public Hotel | Groom's Shoes: Allen Edmonds | Groom's Shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo | Groom's Tie: Burberry | Wedding Rings: Cartier

Rustic French Country Wedding in Chicago at Bridgeport Art Center Skyline Loft

We’ve seen a lot of stunning Chicago weddings come across our screens, but this beauty from Cristina G Photography really stands out. It has that classic city elegance we love about the fêtes that come from Chicago mixed with some lovely rustic details just to shake things up a bit. Add in some picture perfect florals from A Stem Above, and ladies and gents, we have a winner on our hands. See it all here.


From Cristina G PhotographyA rustic chic wedding with beautiful skyline views of the city, farm tables and all white flowers. An elegant Monique Lhuillier dress, navy blue Jenny Yoo bridesmaids dresses, Jimmy Choo heels and a whole lot of pretty! It is a wedding that will inspire you to put your dancing shoes on, hire a great band and have a New York style reception! It has definitely convinced me that New York style receptions are the most fun you could have at a wedding!

Laura and Mike’s wedding was elegant and simple, yet sophisticated and chic. Their exposed brick with wood beams venue matched the rustic theme perfectly. It was quiet and a little ways away from downtown Chicago, but offered unparalleled views of the city skyline.

The guests made their way in just before the clouds gathered over the city and the rain started to fall. Inside the room, beautiful French Country chairs and white freshly picked flowers lined the candlelit aisle. After a short, but heartfelt ceremony cocktail hour awaited with a full bar and miniature passed hors d’oeuvres.

The dinner reception welcomed guests directly onto the dance floor. The lively band made sure no one stayed seated for too long in between courses. A New York style reception is probably the best entertainment you could offer your guests at a wedding! Sprinkled with a few toasts and the couple’s formal dances, the guests danced the night away alongside the newlyweds!

Photography: Cristina G Photography | Wedding Planner: BCR Events | Floral Design: A Stem Above | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Ceremony Venue: Bridgeport Art Center Skyline Loft | Reception Venue: Bridgeport Art Center Skyline Loft | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Catering: Blue Plate | Band: Rendezvous | Paper Goods: Magnificent Milestones

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These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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Romantic Outdoor Wedding at Bull Valley Golf Club

For these two college friends turned lifelong loves, a day surrounded by the beauty and romance of Bull Valley Golf Club sounded about as perfect as could be. And it was made even more so by a layer of peonies and other pink pretties by Twisted Stem and a day captured so beautifully by Jacqui Cole Photography. Check out the full gallery for even more!

From Jacqui Cole Photography… Lauren and Tyler really created their wedding day around their own personalities. The entire day was full of emotion! From their first look, the moments before walking down the aisle to the small glances they stole at each other during speeches. Every moment was such a joy to capture! Lauren and Tyler have this visible connection where they always seems to be on the same wavelength, just knowing what the other is thinking . They are two of the sweetest, down to earth and goofy people I know! It was so amazing to be able to document the start of their lives together and so incredibly happy that these two wonderful people are now husband and wife!

From The Bride…Tyler and I met in high school (but we weren’t high school sweethearts!). His group of friends and my girlfriends all became friends. While we never had any interest in each other at that time, our group of mutual friends allowed us to stay in touch into college. I was throwing a party at the end of sophomore year at my apartment when our friend, Tony, asked if he could bring Tyler. I said yes and, well – the rest is history! We were inseparable.

How we picked Bull Valley is a funny story. When we talked about getting married, neither of us ever thought we would do the “traditional big wedding.” We always imagined a destination wedding with a small group of family and friends – or even going to the courthouse. However, I grew up just a few miles from Bull Valley Golf Club and my dad (a huge golfer) had always loved it so we decided to take a look. The result? We were blown away. Everything about Bull Valley is absolutely breathtaking. They were in the process of completely revamping the outdoor patio and we knew it would be absolutely wonderful. We didn’t look anywhere else and booked it on the spot!

Choosing our colors was easy (pink/black/silver). It was a spring wedding and I love pink! There are so many ways to make it tasteful for a formal event. Tyler wasn’t thrilled at first, so we ended up using pink more as an accent rather than a main color to keep it boy-friendly (flowers, ties, etc). My favorite part of the day has to be the first look photo session. Having that moment alone before the ceremony for me and Tyler to see each other was incredible. I think he would agree. We could both react naturally and have no distractions from a crowd. Not to mention it made for some stellar photos! He looked so dapper!

Photography: Jacqui Cole Photography | Floral Design: Twisted Stem | Wedding Dress: Volle's Bridal Boutique | Cake: Oak Mill Bakery | Shoes: Kate Spade | Hair And Makeup: Blush Salon & Spa | DJ: Music In Motion | Venue: Bull Valley Golf Club

Garden Wedding in Monticello, IL at Allerton Park

Inspired by a Liberty of London print, this Bride and her talented team of vendors created a vision of wedding filled to the brim with style and elegance. The gorgeous images from Wright Photographs paint the prettiest of pictures of their perfect day, and it’s all waiting for you here

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From The Bride…The story of our love is one of travel, distance, and… shall we say “savoring the flavors of life”. After a romantic proposal under the nighttime stars on the shores of Lake Sara, and 6 years of dating, we began planning our wedding. Our love of travel has brought us to many beautiful and romantic places that have left imprints on our hearts. It was important to us that through our wedding, we told the story of our love through atmosphere, food, and drink. Though our dream was to return to an estate in the French countryside for our wedding, our large and in turn, relatively immobile, families gave us new inspiration to bring our travels to them. As an artist and a maker, I knew the journey could be captured in careful, refined details.

Both my husband and I are native to the state of Illinois, him to central Illinois and I to Chicago. After investigating many venues in both locations we chose Allerton Park and Retreat Center in Monticello, Illinois. The park is an old estate surrounded by beautiful European-inspired gardens, carved sculptures, thick woods, and lush cornfields – a unique mix of our favorite locations. Our ceremony took place in the Sunken Garden on a cloudless September afternoon. To bring the aroma of France, and to allow the natural beauty of the garden to shine, we kept the space simple; only supplementing it at the beginning and end of the aisle with blue ceramic urns full of fragrant rosemary, lavender, and thyme and by lining the aisle and stairs with white petals. We hand selected the music and songs with our band, who doubled as an acoustic three piece orchestra, as well as worked with our officiant, J. Sain, to design the perfect spiritual ceremony. After the ceremony, guests walked through the gardens to the Koi Pond Terrace outside the mansion where the staff was waiting with trays of sparkling drinks and hors d’ouerves inspired by our travels. After cocktails, guests descended into the oak-gilded 19th century mansion, filled with evening sun. As they passed the impassable dessert table filled with a variety of treats like bite-sized s’mores cupcakes, passionfruit macaroons, and bacon brownie bites from Cream & Flutter, they entered the main gallery. Dinner tables were set with pristine white tablecloths, navy blue napkins, and stunning garden-inspired floral arrangements by Fleurish in a mix of glass vases and handmade wooden boxes Ian and I created from French wine crates. A stickler for clean, simple design, and the endless pursuit of “timeless” I supplemented the tables with menus, table numbers, and placecards of my own design alongside mercury glass and other eclectic votives filled with candles and more flowers.

While we never officially decided on wedding colors, a Liberty of London floral print became the cornerstone that brought our palette of blues, pale greens, and touch of sparkle together. We sought old world elegance in our attire. Ian and his groomsmen wore midnight blue suits from Macy’s and bowties in the Liberty of London print made by the talented hands of Andrea at Pomp and Ceremony. My bridesmaids wore Amsale crinkle chiffon dresses in slate, accessorized by silver and gold hydrangea earrings (which I made especially for them!) and white freshwater pearls. My attired consisted of a San Patrick traditional lace gown, birdcage veil, Julianne Hough for Sole Society wedges, and an antique silk clutch embroidered with Czech glass beads given to me for this special occasion by an aunt. To add a final old world touch to the ensemble, I wore the diamond studded Victorian inspired earrings Ian gave me the night before as a wedding gift.

The end result was a night to remember – filled with so many special memories. Wright Photographs did an amazing job capturing the fun of the night, grandeur of the mansion, and many of the details we created to make the day truly ours.

Photography: Wright Photographs | Floral Design: Hale Koa phineas Estate | Bride's Shoes: Ryan Seacrest Distinction | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale | Band: Underwater People | Officiant: Marrying Reverend | Bridal Gown: Wolsfelt's Bridal | Bridal Veil: Gilded Shadows | Bride's Earrings: Miadora | Bridesmaids' Jewelry: Anne Fiala | Ceremony & Reception: Allerton Park | Ceremony Cards: Anne Fiala | Dad's Bowties: J.Crew | Dessert: Cream And Flutter | Groom & Groomsmen Bowties: Pomp & Ceremony | Groom's Shoes: Paul Green | Groom's Socks: Macy's | Men's Wear: Macy's | Table Decor & Planters: Anne Fiala | Vendor: Liberty of London | Wedding Rings: Anne Fiala

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Spring Garden Engagement Session

The beautiful grounds of the Chicago Botanic Garden made it the perfect setting for this adorable engagement session. Shot by Kina Wicks, the sweet couple has an entire gallery of great shots, and you can see how their love was captured perfectly here.


From Kina WicksRandi & Curt wanted to have color in their session even though we had a pretty rough winter and everything was still brown in March. Because of this, we settled on Chicago Botanic Garden as the perfect location due to the color in the gardens year round and the beauty of the grounds. We were blessed with the most lovely Spring day to accompany the gardens… the first sunny day of the Spring!

Photography: Kina Wicks | Session: Chicago Botanic Garden

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1920’s Inspired Country Club Wedding

This Gatsby inspired wedding was true vintage glam, from the feathered florals by Town and Country Gardens, to that sparkling and oh-so fabulous hairpiece worn by the beautiful bride. Set at Royal Fox Country Club, the pretty affair had pin-worthy style, and you can check out all the day’s details in a gallery by Kristin La Voie Photography.

From Kristin La Voie PhotographyIf there’s one thing you need to know about these two people, it’s this: they are seriously sweet and seriously fun. Just being around them puts me at ease since they are so laid back, chill, and fun to hang out with! Let’s not forget to mention Lauren is absolutely STUNNING. Oh, and Cooper… check out his hair!!! I mean, don’t you just want to touch it?! These two Californians had the perfect day for a gorgeous summer wedding at the Royal Fox Country Club. I could not contain my excitement photographing them, either. Serious magic was happening before my eyes. And the details? Oh, were they perfection. Gatsby inspired details included feathers in the flowers and centerpieces, old family photos and trinkets, a giant moon for the guests to sit on in their photo booth, and Lauren’s majorly stunning ensemble (with a hair piece I can only now dream about). The entire day was simply breathtaking, and the only downside is that I cannot hang out with them more often!

Photography: Kristin La Voie Photography | Floral Design: Town And Country Gardens | Invitations: The Paper Source | Ceremony Venue: Royal Fox Country Club | Shoes: BHLDN | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Monique Lhuillier | Makeup: Style Onsite | Hair: Style Onsite | DJ: Music By Design | Dress Boutique: House of Brides

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1920’s Inspired DIY Backyard Wedding

I love the way this gorgeous bride describes finding the dress (you must to read it below), and I think her calm but firm attitude in dress shopping must have carried over into what was a seemingly perfect wedding day. It’s beautiful and put together in a way only someone with a clear vision can do. She brought in Yazy Jo to capture the day, yet another wonderful decision, and I have no doubt the images will be a family heirloom for generations to come.


From the Bride… After my mom meeting Jason in the Portland airport, things unfolded beautifully. We went to a vintage jewelry shop in Portland called Gilt, and picked out a 1929 diamond and gold ring for me. 3 months later he got down on one knee at one of our favorite restaurants called Noble Rot. We had one of our first dates there and felt it was a very special place to go for dinner on my birthday. I said yes immediately and we celebrated with our families on east coast time through tearful phone calls and excited texting.

The next day I flew to NYC for fashion week, and found my dress in a Martha Stewart Bridal Magazine that I read on the flight over. It caught my eye, as I had never thought about a wedding dress before. This was timeless, beautiful and sexy. Something I thought Jason would love to marry me in.

I googled the dress and found the style at a bridal shop in NYC that I was able to visit on my trip. It was an experience like any other; I put the dress on and said, “Yes this is the one, time for margaritas!” Just like Jason, the decision was quick and absolute, like adding cream to your coffee. Simple. But yet if you did anything else it would be extremely complex.

As we planned for the wedding, we wanted to bring in as many friends and family that could support in participating their craft while putting together a very special day. My brother in law owns a restaurant that we knew would be an amazing place to celebrate at, my sister is a floral designer, my good friend designs weddings and a mutual friend wanted to marry us. Jason designed and printed all of the stationery, a good friend made the desserts, and my sister and her husband paid for the pork that was served at the meal. It was an amazing collaboration that came together seamlessly at the end.

We also took the opportunity to send a care package to Jason’s Army unit that was deploying to Afghanistan in lieu of favors. We made cards for each guest that had pictures of the unit, and the address to where one could send a letter of thanks or a care package of cookies to the brave soldiers over seas. After we made the announcement of what we had done, Jason received a standing ovation of thanks from the 230 guests. It moved him to tears, as it was a memory I will never forget.

The wedding was so special for us all, and brought our family and friends together over our love. I would not have done it any other way.

Photography: yazy jo | Wedding Venue: Millrose

Vintage Chic Backyard Summer Soirée

Sweet as can be and charming as all get out, this backyard wedding captured by Gina Cristine Photography couldn’t be more lovely if it tried. Overflowing with darling DIY details and loads of smiles, this gallery is not only pretty but packed with personality, leaving me head over heels for every image.


From The Bride… Wedding planning began shortly after our engagement, and like most brides, was a job I was excited to take on. Deciding where to have our wedding was one of the most difficult parts of the planning process for Jason and I. I always envisioned a beautiful outdoor summer wedding in a natural garden-like setting, with trees, flowers, and greenery as our backdrop. Finding a place that offered that to us that was close to Chicago and could also accommodate our 150+ guests was not an easy feat. One day, after a conversation with my mom, it dawned on me that my aunt and uncle’s home in a nearby suburb could be the location I had been imagining. Their yard was large enough to accommodate our needs, plus it provided us with the tree-lined, nature-soaked backdrop that I needed to make my vision come alive—it couldn’t have been more ideal. After just a little convincing, my wonderful aunt and uncle were kind enough to let us take over their home and yard in order to make our wedding dreams a reality. We will always be grateful to them for giving us the most perfect wedding venue we could have ever imagined.

Jason and I are a pretty laid back, fun-loving couple, so we did our best to make our wedding reflect this side of us. We did not want anything too over-the top. Everything from the photo booth to the bonfire at the end of the night, it was all very much “us.” We really wanted our guests to feel like they were at a family party, but with the beauty and elegance a wedding should have and our individual personalities shining through.

We were on a somewhat tight budget and knew we had to utilize a good portion of it for our tent and caterer, so we incorporated a lot of DIY ideas (thanks to Pinterest & SMP!) and utilized local thrift shops for a most of our décor. I am drawn toward rustic and vintage looks so I knew I wanted to incorporate both of those styles into our wedding. The centerpiece of our ceremony was a handmade arch Jason made out of birch trees he cut down himself in his parents yard. On our wedding day, we simply tied on some colorful Larkspur flowers with twine to create the most perfect rustic backdrop for our ceremony. It was absolutely beautiful, and knowing my soon to be husband had built it, made it that much more special to me. It was one of my favorite additions to our wedding and I love seeing it in the background of so many of our photos. My thrift store finds included an eclectic mix of vintage vases used as centerpieces, old picture frames that we re-purposed into chalkboard menus and seating card holders, and mason jars that we turned into hanging flower vases that adorned the aisle. After the wedding, I was even able to resell most of these items, which helped out even more with keeping our spending to a minimum.

Taking on so many tasks ourselves and trying to keep within our budget required a ton of help from family and friends— we would not have been able to pull it all off without them! Aside from the bouquets and boutonnieres, we bought all of our flowers from an awesome local wholesale flower shop and created the centerpieces and accenting floral décor ourselves. My bridesmaids, my aunt, and some other helpful family members each took on jobs decorating on the morning of the wedding while I was getting ready in the house, allowing me to relax and take it all in. The support and generosity received from our nearest and dearest did not end there. We had a close friend of the family, who is a Pastor, officiate our ceremony; Jason’s mom made our lovely wedding cake; and our invitations and programs were created by and gifted to us by two of my good friends who also stood up as bridesmaids. It meant so much to us to have our loved-ones involved in so many aspects of our special day!

In addition to all of the projects we took on ourselves, we hired some of the best local vendors that helped our day to be as amazing as it was. We used Heybecks, a nearby meat market, as our caterer, and that was one of the best decisions we made. The food was outstanding and the help and service we received was beyond expectations. To this day, we are still receiving compliments on our menu! Our tent was spectacular—Blue Peak Tents did an outstanding job. The lighting they provided created an Italian café-like atmosphere with ball lights strung throughout the tent and colorful Chinese lanterns over the dance floor. It was truly magical. And capturing all of these details and creating memories that will last us forever, were our awesome photographers Gina and Tom from Gina Cristine Photography— they did not miss a beat!

Everything came together as planned and made our wedding day all we had hoped for it to be and more. Even the unpredictable Chicago weather cooperated, and we were blessed with a pristine August day—75 degrees and sunny! Our day was a true labor of love by all involved and it was the perfect setting for the beginning of our life together as husband and wife.

Photography: Gina Cristine | Flowers: Steve's Flower Market | Wedding Dress: Casablanca | Shoes: Grace | Bridesmaids Dresses: Ryan Seacrest Distinction | Bridesmaids Dresses: Ann Taylor Loft | Bridesmaids Dresses: David's Bridal | Catering: Heybecks Meat Market | Venue: Private Residence | Flower Girl Dresses: Color Angles Boutique | Hair/Makeup: Krave Salon | Invitations And Programs: Owl And Bunny | Jr. Bridesmaids Dresses: Ryan Seacrest Distinction | Rentals: Blue Peak Tents | Veil: David's Bridal

Lincoln Park Summertime Engagement

We can’t help but swoon over an e-sesh that features so many thoughtful details. The stunning couple, the sweeping scenery, an adorable pup, and don’t forget about that ring! Thanks to Britta Hundertmark’s captures, this couple now has a gorgeous set of photos to add to their ever-growing list of memories together. Take peek for yourself.

From the Bride… Michael and I met in 2009 in Cancun, Mexico while we were both on spring break. While there, mutual friends introduced us. That led to us staying up all night talking and watching the sunrise. When we returned to school, Michael asked me to attend his spring formal. We had a blast, continued to have fun dates and eventually started dating! He even stuck by my side through my crazy year as Miss Nebraska USA! In 2012, after graduating from the University of Nebraska, we both moved to Chicago, where we lived for the past 2 years. Since then, we are now back in Nebraska so Michael can attend dental school!

Proposal: Traveling is one of the many things we love to do together, so when we planned a trip to Mackinac Island, MI over Memorial Day weekend, we were both ecstatic to explore a new place together. Mackinac is unique because there are no cars on the island, so you get around by bike or horse and buggies while there! (We celebrated our 5-year anniversary in April, so of course the entire time I was thinking that this beautiful place would be the perfect place to get engaged. It was so magical!)

After checking into the the historic and beautiful Grand Hotel, we biked the entire perimeter of the island. Later that evening we had a 5-course dinner planned at our hotel. Being the avid picture taker that I am, we took some photos on the porch with the breathtaking views before dinner. (Fun fact, the Grand Hotel has the record for the world’s longest porch!) There were professional photographers on the porch, so Michael went to ask them to take our photo. As they were snapping a few, Michael said, “Lets take a goofy photo.” I didn’t think anything of it, because, like I said, we had taken a ton of photos, so I thought he just wanted to change it up. At that moment he proceeded to get down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I barely remember it, but all I know is that I was overjoyed with happiness! When we finally took in our surroundings, we noticed that everyone inside was smiling and clapping for us! We then had our amazing dinner, celebrating with champagne, just the two of us. After dinner, we couldn’t contain our excitement anymore, so we enjoyed coffee in the foyer while we told our family and friends the exciting news. We had two days left on Mackinac (one being my birthday), and they were both so wonderful to spend together as a newly engaged couple.

Engagement Session: Every location we chose to capture our engagement photos was a special place to us. First, since we are both homebodies at times and seem to spend a lot of time in our apartment (especially during the cold winter months) either hanging out watching movies or hosting parties, we wanted to capture a few photos in our home with our pup. Next, since we love going on walks, we wanted to capture some photos at North Pond. We always say it’s our little secret, because it’s never overcrowded with people and it’s tucked away from the street and is surrounded by trees! It’s so quaint and romantic and we love going on walks around the pond. Lastly, we wanted to capture some photos by the water. Being on Lake Michigan makes Chicago such a special city, and since we lived in the Lakeview neighborhood, we spent a lot of time by the water either biking along the lakeshore path, running or going to the beach in the summer. We often went to the beachfront in the evenings to unwind from the hustle and bustle of city living. When it came to photography, we were immediately drawn to the magical and airy feel that Britta’s photography has. Her work is timeless and just simply beautiful. Once we met her energetic/fun personality, we were sold! She truly made our engagement session so special. When it came to our outfits, we knew we wanted them to be timeless with a subtle touch of elegance. We chose classic colors and luxe fabrics/textures with lace, chiffon and pearls. Now, since we have moved from Chicago, we look back on these photos with even more happiness, reminded of all of our favorite memories in our favorite city!

Wedding Plans: Although Michael and I both love the city, we have a special place in our hearts for the country since we grew up there. We’ve decided a countryside wedding was how we wanted to celebrate our special day. There’s something so beautiful and relaxing about being surrounded by the outdoors and only hearing the humming of birds and the breeze in the trees. We’re having our ceremony and reception at a beautiful estate in Nebraska, where our nearest and dearest will celebrate under a white tent. We want all aspects of our wedding to be elegant, timeless and bespoke with shades of white and ivory, gold and all white flowers with greenery galore. August 8, 2015 can’t come soon enough!

Photography: Britta Hundertmark | Shoes: Michael Kors | Jewelry: J.Crew | Blush Dress: Alice And Olivia | Film Developer: At Your Side Planning | Navy Sweater: All Saints | White Dress: For Love And Lemons

Chic Chicago Wedding at the Greenhouse Loft

I love, love, love Olivia Leigh Photographie. Why you ask? She never fails to send us weddings that make our heart beat a little faster, and this chic Chicago wedding beautifully planned by Estera Events at the Green House Loft is the most stunning example. Her images left this couple with a gallery of images they will cherish forever, and you can cherish them too right here


From Estera EventsWhen I first met Lauren over a cup of coffee, we immediately connected. She was so warm and friendly, and mostly, excited to marry Jeff. After talking about her vision for the day, she casually mentioned she would be wearing a gold wedding dress and I think I actually squealed! The entire day was a dream. Lauren, her sweet sister Nicole and her beautiful mom all got ready at The Waldorf Astoria. Lauren and Jeff did their first look under the holiday tree in the courtyard of the hotel and were married at St. Hedwigs. Snow started to fall just as the ceremony ended, and guests exited the church with sparklers in hand while Lauren & Jeff ran to their getaway car. The reception was at Greenhouse Loft – an amazingly beautiful event venue in Chicago with enormous picture windows. With over 250 candles, a majority dipped in gold, the entire room glowed. The cake was flecked in gold leaf and a light snow fell outside the picture windows the entire evening. It was such an amazingly magical day and we were more than thrilled to be part of it!

Photography: Olivia Leigh Photographie | Event Design: Estera Events | Florist: Asrai Garden | Cake: Bittersweet | Reception: Greenhouse Loft | Catering: Pure Kitchen Catering | Hair + Make Up: Samara Toby

Bohemian Chic Chicago Wedding

When you get right down to it, this is the kind of wildly beautiful yet deeply personal wedding we preach here on SMP. From the gorgeous blush and gold stylings by Kelly Lenard to the Bride’s late mother’s photograph sewn into her BHLDN dress, it’s everything an “I do” should be and we’re got a front row seat. Lauren Balingit captured the moments, and you can get started in the gallery right here.

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From The Bride…On June 7th 2014 I married my Prince Charming, Mike, in the suburbs of Chicago, and my fairytale wedding came true. It was a sunny day, filled with our best friends and family celebrating the commitment we made to each other. I was lucky enough to hire Lauren Balingit, a film photographer, to capture all of the day’s beautiful moments, and her fiancé, Alex Balingit formerly of 27 Entertainment.

The décor was a combination of gold, blush and pale blue, along with pieces of my favorite childhood memories. The nostalgic smells of lavender from family trips to France, several Disney elements, blue birds, and my favorite flower, lily of the valley. I remember picking the lilies in my Grandmother’s garden in Indiana with my Mom. Both my Mom and Grandma, sadly, could not be present on our special day. My Mom was close to my heart though as my Aunt Cyndy sewed a picture of her in my dress. Also, for our recessional we asked our friends and family to sprinkle us with the blue bird confetti (that my aunts and cousins individually hand-punched!) to honor my Mom’s beautiful spirit. Blue birds also adorned our wedding cake, tying a bow of ribbon with their beaks, similarly to how Cinderella’s dress was sewn together.

I felt like a true princess wearing the wedding gown I chose from BHLDN Chicago, designed by the incredible Catherine Deane. My lovely veil was vintage-inspired as well from the bridal boutique Meringue, also in Chicago. I wore the timeless Sakura halo created by Cécile Boccara from France, which further incorporated the delicate pearls that embellished my dress. I carried a vintage Whiting & Davis gold mesh bag, and my earrings were by Nadri that my Mike had given me for our one-year anniversary. The morning of our wedding day, he surprised me with a gold monogram necklace incorporating my new initials, LOM. It was an honor to wear it as part of my wedding ensemble.

The incredibly talented wedding stylist, Kelly Lenard from Intertwine, is whom I give all the credit for our wedding décor. She communicated with me for months to bring all of my scattered ideas to tasteful fruition and beauty. I asked Kelly to incorporate as much gold into the day as possible. She misted metallic gold paint onto baby’s breath, eucalyptus leaves and seeds, to enhance our whimsical theme. She even surprised me the day of the wedding with the most stunning bright pink peonies that complimented my bridesmaid’s dresses perfectly! Also, as a tribute to the amazing Irish family I was marrying into, Bells of Ireland adorned the pews of the church aisle. My husband Mike and I used the cork collection filled with the memories we had shared and written on, to use for place card holders at our reception.

Two days after our wedding I was beyond excited to get dressed up again, but this time having the magnificent city of Chicago for a backdrop. Kelly Lenard created a stunning secondary bouquet for me, incorporating more vibrant colors and large garden roses, and a gorgeous floral crown. Lauren Balingit photographed us as we frolicked around our favorite city and strolled along the crystal blue water. After the shoot, Mike and I visited our favorite Irish Pub in the city, The Celtic Crossing for a pint of the black stuff. It was the perfect way to end our wedding weekend!

Photography: Lauren Balingit | Floral Design: Kelly Lenard | Wedding Dress: BHLDN | Cake: Toni Patisserie | Church: Ascension Catholic Church | Makeup: Alyssa Lalagos | Hair: Robert Jeffrey | Suits: Men's Wearhouse | Country Club: Butterfield Country Club | Video: 27 Entertainment

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Elegant Country Club Wedding with a Pop of Coral

A country club wedding in shades of coral is pretty much a safe bet for stunning, and this next little lovefest was no exception. Bridesmaids dressed by Twobirds and florals from Carriage Flowers, it was packaged perfectly and bursting with beautiful details. M Lindsay Photography captured all the lovely, and you can check out the full gallery here.


From M Lindsay PhotographyAna + Jordan put together a perfect summer country club wedding. Combining the perfect colors with chic attire and modern elements made this wedding unique and beautiful….wait until you see the groom’s tux! Navy, coral, and silver details came together to bring a fun pop of color. A little bit about the wedding: From my first meeting with these two, to the engagement session, I felt like these two are the kind of people that I could be friends with. Apart from being a gorgeous couple, they have such a great way about them and a deep love for each other that is very apparent. Plus, they have impeccable style–I mean can we talk about Jordan’s blue custom tux with matching tuxedo slippers and Ana’s stunning lace dress and Valentino heels? The day was filled with emotion, especially from the bride. Beautiful toasts, great food and an energetic dance floor made for a great party too!

Photography: M Lindsay Photography | Floral Design: Carriage Flowers | Wedding Gown: Weddings 826 | Bride's Shoes: Valentino | Bridesmaids' Dresses: twobirds Bridesmaid | DJ: Fig Weddings | Bow Tie: The Tie Bar | Groomsmen's Ties: The Tie Bar | Groomsmen Attire: Tommy Hilfiger | Venue: Park Ridge Country Club | Groom's Loafer: To Boot NY | Groom's Shirt: Hugo Boss | Groomsmen's Shirts: Hugo Boss | Groomsmen's Shoes: ASOS | Guestbook: WeddingTreeGuestbook

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Elegant Chicago Wedding at Fulton’s on the River

This darling day from Cristina G Photography, which began with some seriously beautiful getting-ready shots I might add, is Chicago elegance at it’s best. No surprise here when we saw that Clementine Custom Events and A Stem Above added their pretty touch. And following all that pretty? A first dance shot that’ll steal your heart, with none other than Toast & Jam at the DJ helm. Head to the gallery for more!

From Cristina G PhotographyJen & Tyler’s wedding was a romantic and chic celebration at one of my favorite venues in the city – Fulton’s on The River. Cocktails al fresco with the sun setting over LaSalle Bridge and beautiful nighttime views of the city as the backdrop for their head table, not to mention delicious food, and you have the perfect late spring wedding in the heart of downtown Chicago.

The day was emotional and full of love. Starting with getting ready pictures in the beautiful suite at St Michael’s in Old Town, a tearful first look of the bride and groom just before they walked down the aisle and a touching ceremony in one of the most beautiful churches in the city.

Jen & Tyler laughed, cried and danced the night away together with their friends and family!

Photography: Cristina G Photography | Videographer: Gravity Weddings | Wedding Coordinator: Clementine Custom Events | Floral Design: A Stem Above | Wedding Dress: Nicole Miller | Cake: West Town Bakery | Ceremony Venue: St. Michael in Old Town | Reception: River Roast Private Events | Bridesmaid Dresses: BHLDN | Makeup: Bobbi Brown Cosmetics | Hair Stylist: Pin Me Up Chicago | DJ: Toast and Jam | Mens Attire: Macy's

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Behind the Blog: La La Lovely

I’m convinced that Trina of La La Lovely is magical. I mean, it’s the only answer! To run one of the best design blogs around, freelance as a writer, art director and beyond, all while raising a brood of children is no easy feat. But this girl does it with style, class and so. much. grace. With photos from Yazy Jo, we’re going behind the blog, and it’s really really good. 

SMP: Tell us a little about La La lovely!
La La Lovely is really my place to share my favorite finds and work out my words. I have a habit of looking for the lovely. Some days I find it in perfectly styled spaces, and other days i find it in the broken places. But simply put, La La Lovely is a lifestyle blog that offers inspiration in the areas of decor, design, style, littles and life.

SMP: What made you decide to start a blog?
I started blogging 6 years ago and I wasn’t even exactly sure what a blog was at that time (aside from my Xanga). I had been thumbing through Domino Magazine and read about a design blog called Absolutely Beautiful Things. I hopped online and was so inspired and excited about what I had stumbled upon. I knew I wanted to start one for myself. It seemed like the perfect place for me to write (which I love most about blogging) and a great way to share things that inspire me. Friends were always asking me where I got this or that or what I would suggest for gifts, etc. Also, it was a great way to digitally keep a file of all of my favorite decorating ideas and anything that was visually inspiring. Today, I blog for the same reason, I started, because I love to write and share inspiration and ideas.

SMP: What’s one thing you’ve learnt along the way?
Trust your gut. I’ve learned that just because an opportunity is there doesn’t always mean you should take it, even it appears to be a good one. When you’re a blogger you are a little bit of everything (especially in the early days), a designer, a photographer, a stylist, a writer, an salesperson, a business owner to name a few. As you get going you’ll find your voice, your style and your message. Once you find that, let it be a filter and guide as to what opportunities best align with you.

SMP: If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
I don’t know that I would do that much differently It’s been a pretty organic process for me. I suppose I probably would have reached out and went after a few opportunities sooner. And, I would try to find a blogging schedule, earlier on, that didn’t require staying up until the wee hours of the morning. It catches up with you, eventually.

SMP: One piece of advice you’d give to a blogger just starting out?
My greatest advice is simple…..be yourself. Write about what you love and be true to your own voice. Don’t be concerned about what others are doing. Be concerned about what moves you. There are some basic principles that will work for everyone, like being consistent on how often you post and creating a consistent aesthetic, but I’ve found that if you are consistent with being yourself first, your style will develop and you will have created a brand naturally and authentically.

SMP: What was the tipping point in your business that made you feel your blog was going to thrive?
A few years ago, after I had re-designed my daughter’s room, The Land of Nod reached out to me to collaborate for an upcoming catalog. Three rooms in my home were featured as well as two rooms in a New York City apartment that I designed. It was so fun and extremely inspiring working with such a great brand and such fun and amazingly talented people. After that project I felt more confident and comfortable in my abilities to design spaces and to take on bigger projects and collaborations.

SMP: What color do you think will stand the test of time?
I’d have to say white. You just can’t go wrong with crisp white walls. And, pink. Some shade of pink always seems to be in style. Pink can be sweet, modern, neutral or punk rock.

SMP: One thing you simply can’t live with out?
My family. And, coffee. During this season of life, coffee seems like a means of survival.

SMP: Three things every stylish homeowner should have?
1- A favorite chair.
2- A breathtaking light fixture that makes you always look up (whether glamorous or modern).
3- Comfy Bedding.

SMP: Your favourite online design resource?
Pinterest. What can I say, It always seems to be where I start (online). I love getting lost on different rabbit trails that take me, somehow, to exactly where I need to be.

 

Photography: yazy jo | Design: Lala Lovely Things | Beauty: Design Within Reach | Decor: Z Gallerie | Decor: Ikea | Vendor: Land Of Nod | Vendor: Pottery Barn Kids | Vendor: Sherwin Williams "Nomadic Desert" | Vendor: Lulu & Georgia | Vendor: Benjamin Moore's Robbins Egg, High Gloss | Vendor: RugsUsa | Vendor: High Fashion Home

Jacquelyn Clark

Modern Chicago Wedding at Ignite Glass Studios

One part classic and another part modern, this wedding speaks straight to my minimalist-loving heart. It’s crisp and clean with a nod to tradition (read: the bride’s heirloom lace veil) and lucky for us, we get to swoon Every. Last. Bit. See the gallery from Caili Helsper right here.

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From Caili Helsper… Tyson and Jackie wanted their wedding to feel modern, clean and contemporary while infusing the things that are most important to them into their day. Pashminas were given to their guests upon arrival at the ceremony, to keep warm during their sunset vows on the rooftop of Ignite Glass Studios. They kept their ceremony decor minimal, letting the skyline serve as the backdrop as they said their handwritten vows. The chuppah frame was made by the bride’s father (and also used at her sisters wedding), and was adorned with lace made by Jackie’s cousin. The lace on her veil was her mother’s.

They chose neutral tones and lace trim to adorn the tables at the reception, using a custom silhouette logo to tie all of the details together – even the candies at their dessert table! Tyson and Jackie are from Chicago but currently live in Brooklyn. To pay homage to their two home cities, they served their guests their favorite Brooklyn pickles and late night Chicago donuts. Jackie’s dad made custom takeout boxes for their guests to take the donuts home. They really did make every aspect of the day feel special and unique to them.

Photography: Caili Helsper | Floral Design: Samantha Kaplan | Wedding Dress: Michelle New York Brides | Cake: Do Rite Donuts | Catering: Smoque BBQ And Chow | DJ: Stu Hirsch Orchestra | Groom's Attire: Suitsupply | Venue: Ignite Glass Studios | Accomodations: The Hard Rock Hotel Chicago | Planning: Samantha Kaplan

Elegant Museum Wedding in Chicago

With Chicago History Museum as the venue for both the ceremony and celebrating, classic elegance was sure to ensue. And, judging by the pics from Emilia Jane Photography, it definitely did. From the city’s stunning architecture to the peony filled bouquets by Fleur Du Jeur, every inch of this wedding was covered in class. Check out this timeless beauty for yourself in the gallery.


From Emilia Jane PhotographyThis classic Chicago History Museum summer wedding was stunning from start to finish. The girls got ready in the gorgeous new Langham Hotel Chicago and we walked around the Chicago River for bridal party portraits. After an emotional ceremony at the museum, we had perfect weather for an outdoor cocktail hour! One of my absolute favorite things about the history museum though, is the epic black and white dance floor….which Julia and Tomas took full advantage of with friends and family.

Photography: Emilia Jane Photography | Florist: Fleur Du Jour | Wedding Gown: JLM Couture, Inc | Cake: Alliance Bakery | Bridesmaids Dresses: Weddington Way | Caterer: Jewell Events | Make-up: Shannon O'Brien MUA | DJ: Spin Chicago | Ceremony & Reception: Chicago History Museum | Day Of Coordinator: The Ideal Day | Getting Ready Hotel: The Langham Chicago

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Modern Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art Wedding

Modern weddings? They’re kind of my jam. Clean lines, chic details and black + white palettes always feel fresh, and Chicago museum wedding is the latest object of my affection. Planned by Soiree Weddings & Events with blooms by Sweet Petal, it’s black tie gone gorgeous, and Diana Lupu captured every last bit. More right here.

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From Diana Lupu Photography….Taking place at the fabulous Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, this wedding was truly one beautiful, stylish affair. It was modern, elegant, and as classic as they come, with one stunning couple as the focal point.

From The Bride…Our wedding was a dream from the beginning to end….from our proposal to all of the celebrations with family and friends to the ultimate end, our wedding day. The night we got engaged we decided three things about our wedding: We wanted it to be soon; we wanted it to be small and intimate; and we wanted it to be a representation of us, simple, classic and beautiful.

That being said, the day was perfect…. Being able to marry my best friend in the center of our beautiful city followed by a celebration filled with candles, flowers, lights floating about our heads, and a long white table filled with our closest family and friends. With the help of our amazing vendors, the entire day was carried out flawlessly. Tiffany, from Soiree Chicago, was a huge help as she and her team provided great recommendations throughout the process and made sure our day went smooth. The wedding meal, by Wolfgang Puck, was impeccable, light and delicious. Our uber-talented photographer, Diana Lupu, captured each special moment.

The night was black tie affair and our wedding party fit the bill. My bridesmaids chose their own dresses and the groomsmen wore tuxes. I found my amazing dress from Nicole Miller. Long, silky, sexy but simple. Doug wore his own tux by Hugo Boss, so classic and handsome. After eating and dancing under the stars, the night ended by leaving under a canopy of sparklers into a surprise horse-drawn carriage. And then, we lived happily ever after.

Photography: Diana Lupu | Wedding Planning: Soiree Weddings & Events | Florist: Sweet Petal | Bakery: Magnolia Bakery | Catering: Wolfgang Puck Catering | Bride Dress: Nicole Miller | Ceremony & Reception: Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago | DJ & Instrumental Musicians: Cage And Aquarium | Groom Tux: Hugo Boss | Lighting Design: MDM Entertainment

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Classic Blush Chicago Tent Wedding

This wedding? It’s the definition of timeless. Think classic Pronovias ballgown, tented reception and more white-on-white moments than you can count. The fab Kristin La Voie was there to capture the day, and she has all the classic gorgeousness sitting right here.


From Kristin La Voie PhotographyThere are no two sweeter, cuter, happier people than Luke & Lauren. Not only do their names together roll off your tongue, but they are pure magic in front of the camera. The minute I stepped into Lauren’s bridal suite and got one look of the most stunning updo of all time, I KNEW the whole day would be perfection. Even though it was a humid & hot day, we found the perfect shady patches for a magical first look. These two just couldn’t keep their hands off of each other! The ceremony was breathtaking with their gorgeous chuppah and the tented reception was just my cup of tea (even during a monsoon!). The day was simply stunning.

Photography: Kristin La Voie Photography | Videographer: Vanilla Video | Florist: Phillip's Flowers | Wedding Dress: Pronovias | Cake: Allegretti's Bakery | Ceremony Venue: The Aspen Institute At Wye River | Reception Venue: The Aspen Institute At Wye River | Shoes: James Ciccotti | Hair: Antje Kastner's Studio | Band: Orchestra 33 | Boutique: Volle's Bridal Boutique

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