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Chicago Wedding at Gallery 1028 from Ashley Biess Photography

I’ve fallen completely in love with Gallery 1028 and this pretty, little gem sent into us by Ashley Biess Photography. The twinkling lights, suspended frames and that sweetheart table are all just so fabulous, I can’t decided which detail I love the most. And don’t even get me started on those perfectly fluffy florals! If you’re a huge fan of this wedding like me, there’s only one thing to do: head straight to the full gallery for even more.

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From the Bride… We wanted our wedding day to be filled with fun, laughter and the people we love most. It turned out to be exactly that! Early in our planning, we decided to have a very small, intimate church ceremony for our immediate family members the Thursday night before our “big day.” It turned out beautifully and was the perfect way to begin our wedding celebrations. On Saturday, we kicked it up a notch with a vow renewal ceremony and reception with 200 of our closest friends and family members at Gallery 1028. A family friend presided over both of our ceremonies. We did our marriage prep with him, and the personal connection he put into both evenings was extremely special to us. Everything about both evenings was absolutely perfect!

One of our favorite moments of the weekend was walking into Gallery 1028 for the first time on Saturday afternoon. To see our vision and the culmination of over a year of planning come together in real life was amazing. We couldn’t believe how beautiful everything looked! Throughout the planning process, we loved putting the small details together — our sweets table, family wedding photos, bridal party accessories and small nods to my dad, who passed away suddenly early in our engagement but surely was present throughout our entire weekend of celebrating.

Our longer engagement (14 months) gave us the opportunity to work with both big Chicago companies that require booking long in advance, and smaller, home-based companies and vendors. We loved working with the smaller companies especially. Everyone was so friendly, willing to help and excited for us! Our best advice to couples planning now is to take your time! Give yourself enough time to plan and search for vendors who can give you exactly what you want within your budget — those people are out there if you look hard enough! Also, don’t be afraid to DIY — even with our busy schedules, we were able to bring a lot of homemade, personal touches to our day. Finally, soak in as much of your big day as possible. Take time to step back and feel the love!

Wedding Photography: Ashley Biess Photography / Wedding Venue: Gallery 1028 in Chicago, Illinois / Floral Design: Cornelia McNamara Flowers / Decorator: PJ Acosta of Studio AG / Catering + Pies: Calihan Catering / Wedding Paper Goods: Anna Michelle Cards / DJ: Style Matters DJs / Table + Chair Rental: Hall’s Rentals / Candy Table Vessels: World Market / Candy Table Candy: Candy Warehouse / Candy Table Bags: SomersetMarket / Candy Bag Stamp: StampOutOnline / Vintage China Rental: Plate Vintage Crockery / Vintage Decor: Re:find Joy / Accommodations: Hotel Felix / Wedding Dress: Blue by Enzoani via The Dress by Nicole / Bride’s Belt + Veil: The Dress by Nicole / Bride’s Earrings: Nadri via Nordstrom / Bride’s Shoes: Ivanka Trump “Natalya” in Gold / Bride’s Hairpiece: Amoretto /Bride’s Garter: LyaLyaCreations / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew / Pearl Bridesmaids’ Belt: MyWanderingEye / Bridesmaids’ Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar / Groomsmen’s Suits: Alfani RED via Macy’s / Groomsmen’s Ties: BlackBrown 1826 via Lord & Taylor

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Chicago Engagement Session from Dabble Me This

This Chicago couple is soooo CUTE.  Like in an all caps, seriously can’t get enough of their smiling faces kind of way.  And their breathtaking engagement session?  Well, it’s about as adorable as it gets with one image after another of love-filled frolicking around some of their favorite Windy City hot spots, aka, a Fall-inspired masterpiece of e-session bliss.  Dabble Me This captured every last moment beautifully and it’s all making for one gorgeous gallery.  Join me there for more.

Click here for the FULL engagement session!

From Dabble Me ThisHave you ever met two people that were right for each other? Matt and Ana are just that! They complement each other in every way and are so adorable together. Matt and Ana both live in Chicago and LOVE the city! So naturally, we started with some of their favorite spots. You are simply going to love the soft beautiful details from this shoot! It kills me how natural the two of them were in front of the camera!

Photography: Dabble Me This / Locations: Millennium Park, Chicago Theater, Chicago River Walk, Michigan Avenue Bridge + and North Pond in Lincoln Park, All in Chicago, Illinois / Bride’s Ring: Tacori / Bride’s Shoes: Adrienne Vittadini

Chicago Wedding at Architectural Artifacts from Stoffer Photography

There’s only one way to describe this next wedding and that is FUN. It’s got so much whimsy and charm, you can’t help but smile from ear to ear. From the amazing stationery adorned with their mottos, Best Day Ever and Let’s Do This to the all white tables and fabulous dessert spread, this wedding gets an A in craftiness. Stoffer Photography snapped up all the pretty and you can see even more right here.

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From the Bride… Rob and I dated for 10 years prior to getting engaged, and we were so thrilled to finally plan our wedding. Right away, we knew we wanted a wedding in Chicago in the fall, and we determined that the venue, food, music and entertainment were the most important aspects of our wedding. It was also really important to us that all of those aspects reflected who we were as a couple. We chose Architectural Artifacts, an amazing antiques warehouse with a large event space, for our ceremony and reception. We fell in love with the quirky and vintage feel, built-in decor, the fact that they had ping pong — very important to us as avid ping pongers — and the space itself was just perfectly laid-out for us and our needs. Soon after booking our venue, we began looking at caterers. We were lucky that the venue allowed us to select from a large list of caterers and we ended up selecting Hearty Boys, whose specialty is upscale southern cuisine. We loved their southern comfort vibe and were able to create our dream menu including chicken and waffle skewers and late night sweet potato tots.

Next up was dress shopping, which actually ended up changing a lot of our plans. I had thought I would be in lace and that our wedding would have a rustic vibe, but I found a silk Winnie Couture gown that I fell in love with that took us in a more vintage glam direction. We decided on silver, gold, blush and ivory for our colors. Next, we figured out our save the dates and invites. Our close friend, who owns Dolce Designs, created the perfect design for each of our paper pieces. We decided on a vintage typewriter for our guestbook and connected the typewriter theme into all of our paper pieces. We decided that our theme for the day would be “Best Day Ever” because we truly felt that it was going to be our best day ever! We incorporated that theme into our save the dates, invites, bunting, flags and chalkboard sign. We collected mercury glass for our centerpieces and vintage frames for our signs and photo area. Rob created our R&J glittered marquee letters, and we made bunting for our sweets table, over the ceremony spot and on our sweetheart table. We chose not to have a bridal party, so we made two bulletin boards for our best friends to show our love. We put together several photo albums of us and our loved ones from over the past 10 years. We also put together framed photos of us — one from each year we dated and added some of our favorite love quotes in our typewriter font. We made glitter frames for our seating info. We picked out our favorite craft beers and sodas for our favors and stamped tags that said “Love&Hugs” and “Thank You” and tied them with ivory and gold yarn. We had a photo booth with costumes that got a lot of use. Later in the night, I had a surprise for Rob — a Klezmer band to teach us some traditional Jewish wedding dances. It was such a great moment and so much fun! It was the best day we could ask for.

Our favorite part of the planning process was putting together our playlist — we chose not to have a DJ and so we wanted to make sure that our iPod playlist could keep the dancing going all night. We got so many compliments, and we were so happy with how it turned out. My favorite part of the day was exchanging our personal vows in front of all of our loved ones. Advice for other couples: take the time to figure out what would make it your best day ever!

Wedding Photography: Stoffer Photography / Wedding Venue: Architectural Artifacts in Chicago, Illinois / Floral Design: Dilly Lily / Catering: Hearty Boys / Wedding Invitations: Dolce Designs / Photo Booth: The Traveling Photo Booth / Wedding Dress: Winnie Couture / Invitations: Dolce Designs

DIY Greenville Wedding from Our Labor of Love

As someone who is a self-proclaimed non-DIYer (my crafting skills are most definitely lacking), it never fails to amaze me just how talented all of you SMPers truly are.  It’s the reason I find my jaw dropping on a daily basis – and this Greenville wedding has me gasping big time.  A true labor of love crafted by the bride and groom (+ a team of downright talented family and friends), it’s moment after moment of seriously amazing, vintage-inspired details with a St. Germain kick.  Add in a gallery of beautiful images captured by Our Labor Of Love and saying “I Do” never looked so good.  See it all here.

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From the Bride… It’s funny how one little thing can lead you down a rabbit hole in the process of planning a wedding, but that’s exactly what happened with me and a bottle of St. Germain. Not the liqueur itself, per se, but the brand’s beyond-compare packaging design. My lifelong best friend (who was also my matron of honor and is now my sister-in-law) always has a bottle of St. Germain in her home bar, so I’ve admired the gorgeous design for years. And finally, one day early in my own wedding planning process, it finally dawned on me: I wanted a celebration that looked like a bottle of St. Germain. From there, with the help of sites like SMP and Pinterest, it was all too easy to find more inspiration than I could handle! And while I don’t consider myself a particularly trendy person, the effects that Downton Abbey, Boardwalk Empire and Baz Luhrmann’s approaching remake of The Great Gatsby have had on pop culture did make that 1920’s glam tone easier to attain than expected.

That said, our bank account looks nothing like that of a privileged Fitzgerald protagonist, so hiring a wedding coordinator was out of the question, and we had to cut corners in the classiest ways we could think of. And since my husband and I both grew up on very rural farms, planning a “Great Gatsby meets the Great Outdoors”-inspired party wasn’t really in anyone’s wheelhouse. But we have phenomenally talented friends and family who kept reminding us that “it takes a village,” so we took them up on it! My graphic designer best friend helped me design the invitations, and we hand-cut the paper and paid a small studio fee to letterpress them ourselves. My dad, who’s both an artist and an avid hunter, made all our wayfinding signs, a whole host of tree stump cake stands and two antler chandeliers and also contributed hundreds of gorgeous turkey and pheasant feathers for the arrangements and bouquets. My mom, mother-in-law and wedding party helped with DIY projects such as the metallic crepe photo backdrop and mixing our pre-made cocktails, and our extended family and family friends baked scores of desserts — everything from bourbon pumpkin caramel cheesecake to ginger sweet potato cake with brown sugar buttercream. I even managed to pull off a lavender honey goat cheese cheesecake myself.

We had the wedding and reception on my family’s land, and instead of working with a florist, we saved hundreds of dollars by making the bouquets, boutonnieres and table arrangements out of wheat from my family’s fields. I collected most of the gold/copper/bronze/mercury glass decorations from thrift stores and used free things like naturally beautiful buckeyes, acorns and hickory nuts as fillers. And I got hundreds of free wine corks from a very kind wine shop owner (sometimes all you have to do is ask nicely!) and used them to make giant garlands, which we then combined with twinkle lights. As the SMP experts will tell you, DIY doesn’t always end up being the most time-efficient or cheapest route to your dream wedding, but it definitely makes it special. It was amazing to feel like our wedding day wasn’t just a celebration of us, but a showcase for the talents of all our nearest and dearest. I’d do it all over again!

Wedding Photography: Kendrick Brinson + David Walter Banks of Our Labor Of Love / Wedding Venue: “Uncle Keith’s Pond” (The Bride’s Family Campground) near Greenville, Illinois / Event Planning + Decor: DIY / Floral Design: DIY / Hors d’Oeuvres + Dinner Catering: Amy Costa of Gasperoni Italian Foods + Marcoot Jersey Creamery / Desserts: The Bride, Friends, Family + Jo Mama’s Signature Sweets / Wedding Invitations: The Bride + Audra Hubbell Graphic Design / Printing: Spudnik Press Cooperative / Band: Soulard Blues Band / Rentals: Signature Event Rental / Wedding Dress: Badgley Mischka via Saks Fifth Avenue / Bride’s Shoes: Miss L Fire / Bridesmaid Dresses: Their Choice / Groom’s Suit: Alfani via Macy’s / Groom’s Shoes: Allen Edmonds / Groomsmen Attire: Their Choice

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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Traditional Chicago Wedding from Jeffrey and Julia Woods

There is so much emotion involved in a wedding, and no one is better at capturing that raw emotion than Jeffrey and Julia Woods. They are able to relate to the couple so wonderfully well that their happiness simply shines out of every single image the talented duo takes. It’s total magic, if you ask me. Click here to see more of this gorgeous downtown Chicago soiree!

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August 18, 2012 began with the beautiful sight of Chicago’s Air and Water Show. As I watched the Blue Angels fly past my Drake Hotel window, I knew that this was the perfect day for a downtown wedding. Brad and I met in college while we were both working at Lou Malnati’s pizzeria in Lincoln Park. Five years later, he popped the question at one of our favorite downtown restaurants. I couldn’t have been more surprised as I watched him get down on one knee and hold up a beautiful engagement ring!

We started planning right away and immediately knew that we wanted a classic summer downtown wedding. As we searched for the perfect venue, nothing seemed better than the beauty of Holy Name Cathedral and the classic elegance of the Drake Hotel. Before we knew it, our big day had arrived!

As I walked down the aisle, all I could think about was how excited I was to finally be marrying the love of my life, and my best friend. After our ceremony, we rode around downtown in a classic Rolls Royce to take pictures. Being in the middle of Michigan Avenue in my wedding gown with so many people around felt like a dream!

When Brad and I arrived back at the Drake and got our first peek at the Gold Coast Room, we were in awe. The room was absolutely stunning, and it literally took our breath away! The rest of the night went off without a hitch. We were surrounded by family, friends, love, and laughter. We danced the night away to the incredible Ken Arlen orchestra and finished the night off with some Lou Malnati’s pizza. Our wedding day was everything we’d hoped it would be and more. We couldn’t have asked for a better florist, venue, band, or photographers. They certainly made our wedding day a day to remember.

Photography: Jeffrey and Julia Woods / Ceremony: Holy Name Cathedral / Reception: The Drake Hotel / Flowers: Yanni Design Studio / Wedding Dress: San Patrick / Veil: Jennifer Leigh / Shoes: Angela Nuran, from The Left Bank Jewelry & Bridal Finery / Groom’s Suit: Formally Modern Tuxedo / Groomsman: Formally Modern Tuxedo / Wedding Planner: Kristina Taheri Special Events  / Bridesmaid Dresses: Lazaro / Band: Ken Arlen Orchestra / Video: Poetic Productions / Invites and Menus: Be U Brides

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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Chicago Engagement Session from markit photography

This sweet e-session celebrates one of my favorite things in the whole world-fall in Chicago. markit photography captured so many sweet moments between this soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. in the city they call home. See the rest of this love sesh in the full gallery!

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From markit photography Michael and Tawnya reached out to me late this summer summer about their upcoming June 2013 wedding. We met and knew we wanted to get engagement pictures done this fall. The original session was scheduled for early November, but we decided to bump it up to better capture fall’s beautiful colors. Boy, are we glad we did! It was so incredibly gorgeous around the park (albeit a little chilly), and the colors were still so vivid. My favorite part is they were up for anything! Even as I asked them to do a quick dance or a walk through the farmers market. It was just so them. I simply cannot wait to reconnect next summer for their wedding as I have no doubt it will be just as fun, relaxed and beautiful as their engagement shoot turned out to be.

Photography: markit photography / Locations: Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois + Green City Market

Joliet Engagement Session from Ashley Biess Photography

One thing is for certain and that is that high school sweethearts are the cutest couples ever. Especially when they have pictures of them from way back in their early dating years and incorporate them into their adorable e-session. And since today is Thanksgiving we just have to go ahead and say that we’re thankful for all the gorgeous images of them that Ashley Biess Photography has shared with us. See even more right here!

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From Ashley Biess PhotographyHigh school sweethearts Hannah and Nick have been together for nine years and have the pictures to prove it! Both runners, the couple discovered the location for the engagement session while jogging together along one of Joliet’s running paths. The partially demolished buildings and rubble were the perfect setting for the industrial and unique location they were looking for. Hannah and Nick arrived to the session equipped with a cozy blanket, a parasol and, my favorite, a photo of the two of them from early in their relationship back in high school. Hannah wanted to incorporate the photo into a few of their engagement photos as a “then and now” idea. We recreated the 9-year-old photo to show how much they’ve changed over almost a decade, but how their love for one another has only grown. Such a sweet idea! They are such a fun, easy-going couple, and I had a blast working with them.

Photography: Ashley Biess Photography / Location: Joliet, Illinois

Chicago Engagement Session from Pen / Carlson

There’s really nothing like basking in the glow of your new love status. And that’s why we love e-sessions around here because we get to know you (and sometimes even your furry little friends!) before the big day. And we’re especially loving this one by Pen / Carlson because of its graphic, industrial feel mixed in with some sweet lake front shots. See it all right here.

Click here for the FULL e-session!

From the Bride-to-Be… Eric and I are both very wary of getting our pictures taken, so needless to say we were quite nervous before our engagement session. Our photographers, the fabulous Kiri and Brett of Pen / Carlson, made us so comfortable! The shoot was a blast. They even helped us incorporate our dog, Tyson, into some of the photos, and let me tell you, he never sits still! I’m shocked he’s not just a blur of white. A few of these pictures in particular are near and dear to our hearts. The one where it looks like Tyson is bearing his teeth at the camera — that’s him smiling. It’s adorable!

Eric and I wanted an industrial feel to most of our photos. We started at the famous Kinzie Bridge and made our way over to the West Loop. Both locations are quite close to where we live, and I know that for many years to come, we’ll be able to look back on these and remember the place we called home. We wrapped up our day with a quick wardrobe change, picked up Tyson and headed to North Avenue Beach. The view of our Chicago skyline is to die for! Our wedding is next September at River East Art Center in downtown Chicago.  Any qualms we had about our pictures looking natural have all been taken care of, all thanks to Kiri and Brett!

Photography: Pen / Carlson / Location: Chicago, Illinois / Dress, Belt + Sweaters: J.Crew / Heels: Ann Taylor / Boots: Tory Burch / Shoes: Cole Haan / Blazer: Tinley Road / Jeans: Rock & Republic + Paige / Hair + Makeup: Mario Tricoci

Elmhurst Wedding at Wilder Mansion from Elizabeth Greve Photography

This is a classic, (and not to mention pretty!) example of a summer wedding with gorgeous shades of blue, blush and silver. Flowers clearly played a huge role in this day and Elizabeth Greve Photography captured all the fluffy peonies to perfection and that’s just one of the reasons we can’t stop smiling this morning. It’s light, airy, and oh-so-charming and you can see even more right here in the full gallery. 

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From the Bride… Planning our wedding involved so much more than I ever expected. I love love loved looking at wedding magazines, blogs and Pinterest to gather ideas, see new trends, and really, just to stare at beautiful images. We decided on a June wedding and selected a color palette of navy, light pink and cream with silver accents. We wanted the event to be laid-back, fun and romantic, so we looked for venues we thought would best fit this atmosphere. After exploring both city and suburb options, we chose the Wilder Mansion in Elmhurst, Illinois. As soon as we visited the mansion, I think we both knew we had found the perfect place for us. The mansion is decorated in neutral colors but still has all the charming details we wanted. Also, we liked the idea of having multiple rooms in the venue because it felt more like a giant family party! Having most of our family in Illinois, but our friends spread across the country, it was so wonderful to be able to celebrate with all of our loved ones.

Dress shopping was one of my favorite parts in the wedding planning process. Every girl dreams of the moment she gets to try on wedding dresses, and I was no different. I was excited to see which style was “me.” My mom and sisters came shopping with me, and I found my dress at Nordstrom, the second store we visited! In fact, my sister spotted it, and the moment she showed it to me, I knew it was the one. The dress is designed by Sue Wong and it’s very unique and detailed. I love that it’s not the traditional, white, flowing wedding style — it makes a statement and it has more of a vintage look. When I tried on the dress, I felt like a bride, but I also felt like myself. Since my everyday style is not too dressy, I wanted to feel comfortable but beautiful. The moment I tried on the dress, I knew I was done looking.

Flowers were a big deal to me; we chose light pink and cream peonies for the bridal party and the reception décor. Thanks to the wonderful people at Jewel, Sandy in particular, we actually had flowers – apparently it was a warm year and all of the US peonies bloomed early, so ours had to be flown in from out of the country! As far as the other décor, we kept everything simple and let the charm of the mansion speak for itself. Every part of our day was perfect, and everyone we worked with along the way contributed to this.

Wedding Photography: Elizabeth Greve Photography / Ceremony: The Rose Garden at Wilder Mansion in Elmhurst, Illinois / Reception: Wilder Mansion in Elmhurst, Illinois / Floral Design: Jewel / Catering: Beyond Events / Wedding Cake: Marie Roesler / Wedding Invitations + Programs: Invitation Consultants / DJ: Sound Productions / Wedding Dress: Sue Wong via Nordstrom / Bride’s Shoes: The Wedding Etc. / Hair + Makeup: Rocco and Rocco / Nails: J K Super Nails / Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank

Chicago Wedding from Paul Carlson Photography

There is something so gracious, so absolutely peaceful about this wedding from Paul Carlson Photography. It might be that beautiful Whichgoose floral crown or the communal wedding ceremony that took place, but who would ever think this darling little number took place in the big city of Chicago? From the looks of the Garfield Park Conservatory, I would have guessed we were seeing a wedding straight out of the tropics. And you can see it all in the gallery right here.

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From the Bride… The best planning advice I got was from a friend who said her favorite weddings are the ones that reflect the couple. It is easy to get overwhelmed looking at blogs or feeling pressured to please all your family and friends. I kept her idea in mind and focused on making it personal, even if it meant breaking a lot of traditions. Since our ceremony and reception were at the same venue, we decided to take photos earlier in the day. I got ready at our apartment while David went ahead to take some solo shots. We had our first look at Lincoln Park Zoo. The skyline of the city we both love so much offered a beautiful backdrop for the moment.

Community was the overall theme of our wedding day.  We were so blessed to have friends and family fly in from Mexico, Turkey, San Francisco, Boston, Reno and more. We chose to conduct our ceremony in a format inspired by the Quaker tradition in order to include everyone who has played an important role in our lives and our relationship. Everyone gathered in a semi-circle around us in the Monet Garden. Our parents walked us down the aisle. There was no priest of officient. A variety of speakers welcomed guests and explained the proceedings. Since David’s whole family lives in Mexico, readings were in both English and Spanish.  After we exchanged vows we wrote ourselves, everyone was invited to speak to share their own blessings and advice. At the conclusion of our ceremony, we walked out to a children’s choir singing The Beatles’ “All You Need is Love.” I teach at an elementary school that is home to a very talented choir. The presence of so many students I love, and the opportunity to share their gift of song with my guests, was another wonderful moment. The choir also sang Patrick Wolf’s “The Magic Position” since we met at his concert. Their performance acted as a transition from the ceremony to the reception, and it allowed us to sneak away to take a few “just married!” pictures.

One goal was to keep the wedding budget friendly. We chose a venue that is both meaningful to us and serves a mission we support, so the rental fee felt more like a generous donation. Garfield Park Conservatory is free to visitors and offers educational programs throughout the year. It’s one of Chicago’s best-kept secrets! We served heavy hors d’oeuvres instead of a sit-down meal, which allowed everyone to mingle and resulted in less food waste. Instead of hiring a DJ, we rented speakers and used my laptop. It was fun perfecting the playlist in the days leading up to the wedding, and then we had it to listen to again when we first looked at the photographs. And I saved on my dress because teachers get a discount at J.Crew! We also tried to keep the event environmentally friendly. Choosing a venue that is naturally beautiful resulted in less need to bring in decorations. For centerpieces, I saved jars from pasta sauces and purchased candles off Craigslist from a woman who had extras leftover from her wedding. We used a wedding website to cut down on paper use (and postage!). My engagement ring and wedding band are both vintage, and we chose a ethically responsible jeweler who used reclaimed metals to make David’s wedding band.

Wedding Photography: Paul Carlson Photography / Wedding Venue: Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, Illinois / Event Design + Planning: DIY / Floral Design: Pollen / Floral Crown: Whichgoose / Pie: Sweet Mandy B’s / Wedding Invitations: Vistaprint / Guestbook Tree Poster: PERSONALIZEDprints / Wedding Dress: J.Crew / Bride’s Shoes: Target / Bridesmaid’s Dress: Ann Taylor Loft / Bride’s Engagement Ring + Wedding Band: Vintage / Groom’s Wedding Band: Leber Jeweler

Chicago Wedding at The Rookery from Soirée Weddings & Events

When we at SMP come across a wedding like this one, we just have to stop. Stop all of the business of our days and steal a minute to take it all in. To soak up all of the warmth and shine and glimmer and love that comes through our screens as we get lost in the gallery. And oh, that gallery. Every image from George Street Photo and Video glows. Literally, they glow. Down the exquisite aisle of St. Ignatius Church and through the magnificent rafters of The Rookery, every speck of this wedding exudes radiance in its fullest form. And you can see it all right here.

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From the Bride… Tony and I met at bar in our San Francisco neighborhood, locked eyes and talked for five straight hours. We have been together ever since. We packed one weekend visit to Chicago with 20 venue visits. Not kidding! From museums to lofts to hotel ballrooms, we saw everything. When we walked into The Rookery, we were done. We were both in awe. We wanted a fall wedding, but the first available date wasn’t until spring. April 14th ended up being the same week as that fateful night at the Pacific Heights bar four years ago…

The Rookery was our inspiration, and its beauty stands out on its own, so we kept it neutral then added my fave sterling rose, paired with ivory, black, gold, lavender and gray wedding colors.Garment packaging is my trade so I wanted to subtly bring that into the wedding décor. I also have so many samples lying around my office; it would be a shame to buy something new versus just using what I had. The name cards were written on old Banana Republic denim packaging (i.e. the tag on the jeans you buy!). The note on the cinnamon rolls were old Club Monaco denim packaging, and the string was from an old Gap hangtag. The San Fran neighborhood table names were in the shape of hangtags with a gold string, another subtle nod to packaging.

I had two favorite moments on my wedding day. First was my first moment of eye contact with Tony as I walked down the aisle. Second was my family tradition when my dad sings “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” while all guests hold hands and encircle the bride and groom, slowly enclosing and tightening circle until there is no space. I can’t explain the love that’s felt when you’re bear-hugged by all your closest ones at same time wishing you well. Regardless of what I wore or how our centerpieces looked, it is our love that made our day unique. And always remember to focus on that.

Wedding Photography: George Street Photo and Video / Ceremony: St. Ignatius Church in Chicago, Illinois / Reception: The Rookery in Chicago, Illinois / Wedding Coordination: Tiffany Munster of Soirée Weddings & Events / Floral Design: Cattleya Bridal & Floral Design / Catering: Blue Plate / Wedding Cake + Gelato Cart: Black Dog Gelato / Wedding Invitations, Signage + Stationery: DIY by Bride / Band: Indigo / Draping + Décor: Art of Imagination / Cinnamon Roll Favors: Ann Sather / Transportation: Chicago Limo Anywhere / Wedding Dress: Le Sposa / Bride’s Earrings: From Her Aunt / Bride’s Shoes: From Hong Kong / Bride’s Headpiece: DIY by a Bridesmaid / Hair + Makeup: Morgan Blaul / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Their Choice / Flower Girls’ Dresses: Chasing Fireflies / Flower Girls’ Sashes: DIY by the Bride’s Sister / Flower Girls’ Shoes: Target + DIY Gold Glitter / Groomsmen’s Cufflinks: Brooks Brothers

Champaign Country Club Wedding from Jeffrey and Julia Woods

If there is one thing every engaged couple should do, it’s find a photographer who connects with you. Someone who is going to be able to capture the very essence of your day so you have the memories captured for years and years to come. These sweet lovebirds clicked with the uber-talented Jeffrey and Julia Woods and we’re so lucky they did because that means we have a stunning gallery from their big day to enjoy. So click here for more!

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J.J. and I met as neighbors in 2008 after he “fake-proposed” to me in an attempt to get a spouse discount at the gym where I had a free membership through my medical school… spontaneous & fun, just like the rest of our relationship! He asked me to marry him two and a half years later on a ski vacation in Jackson Hole, WY with my grandmother’s engagement ring, making me legitimately the happiest and luckiest girl in the world! The next year and a half before our June wedding was insanely busy for us… planning the wedding together while living an hour and a half apart, me finishing med school and interviewing across the country for residency, him finding a new job, and then us buying a house and planning to move to Charleston, SC immediately after our wedding! It was a crazy time, but a fun one.

Our biggest goal was for our wedding day to be an occasion where all of our family & close friends could come celebrate and have an absolute blast with us, already knowing that it would be the best day of our lives regardless. I pictured a romantic and elegant decor, using white and champagne colors with a bright spring flowers, a simple ceremony full of love and joy with touches of our personalities showing throughout every part of the day. Figuring out these personal touches was definitely the most fun part for me and something I put a lot of thought into. We put together gift boxes for our hotel guests containing treats from each of our home towns and from Jackson Hole, had a wishing tree in lieu of a traditional guest book that we plan to read on our first anniversary, made table numbers with photos of each of us at the corresponding age (by the way, so fun to go through our childhood pictures together), and wedding cake with words in icing of special meaning to us. We picked out a signature drink made by a friend at our engagement party, and my mom put together the most delicious late-night dessert table with cake pops and SC-shaped cookies.

I was almost in tears when I saw how beautiful the church and Country Club turned out… and I was definitely in tears when I saw my husband-to-be waiting for me at our first look, which was such a special moment between us and also really helped calm our nerves!

One of my best and earliest decisions was getting the help of a wedding planner, our family friend Denise. Her organization and task-managing kept us on track and helped me pull together all the above details for the day with minimal stress. We really could not have been happier with our vendors—Jeffrey and Julia Woods did a fabulous job capturing the day’s special details, the Champaign Country Club was accommodating in every way up to weeks before the wedding, our florist Rick Orr took my ideas to a whole new level of gorgeous, and our DJ kept literally all of our guests on the dance floor all night.

The entire day was better than I could have ever dreamed, and there is no better feeling than being surrounded and supported by so many loved ones in our lives while we became husband and wife!

Photographers: Jeffrey and Julia Woods / Ceremony: Holy Cross Catholic Church / Reception: Champaign Country Club / Flowers: Rick Orr / Wedding Dress and Ceremony Veil: Vera Wang / Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Groom’s Suit: Men’s Wearhouse / Groomsmen’s Suits: Men’s Wearhouse / Wedding Planner: Denise Webster / Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal / Bridesmaid Sashes: Etsy / DJ: Jeremy at DJ’s Direct / Lighting and Videography: The Premier Productions / Hair and Makeup: Sue Ellen Hinkle / Cake: Cakes by Rosie

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Chicago History Museum Wedding from Michelle Durpetti Events

I sometimes forget just how much I love vibrant colors.  Then I see a burst of brightly-hued details pop up on my computer screen and I remember instantly.  Needless to say, this gorgeous Chicago wedding had me at “pink, purple and orange” and has been tugging at my heart strings ever since with some seriously breathtaking florals by ALD Shows + Kim Schiller and some uber-chic contemporary details. Michelle Durpetti Events planned every last moment flawlessly and JPP Studios was there to capture every second in beyond beautiful images.  See them all here.

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From the Bride… Whenever I attend a wedding, I’m on the lookout for those personal touches that make it a couple’s own. So when my now-husband (it still seems odd to say that!) Travis proposed, I knew I wanted to avoid anything cookie cutter. Helping to make that happen was our venue. The Chicago History Museum is a wonderful tribute to the Windy City, and I immediately felt at home. It’s as if Chicago met the South in this gorgeous, Georgian-style building, which is particularly fitting considering my mom’s side of the family hails from the Peach State. Despite breaking with several traditions, I was going for timeless and elegant. And bright. It was August, after all, and we had a gigantic cream room to work with. I wanted things to pop. People would ask what my colors were, and I hesitated when answering pinks and oranges because it’s a combo that could easily clash. But with the help of all my amazing vendors, what could have been brash and gaudy was instead more gorgeous than I ever imagined.

The setting was also an introduction to our hometown for much of Travis’ family. He grew up in Nebraska and moved in 2005 to work as a copy editor at the Daily Herald, one of the metro newspapers. I started there shortly after as a reporter. We worked out of different bureaus, though, and only met about four years ago. We immediately bonded over our shared misery/love for the Cubs and made bets whenever his alma mater, the University of Nebraska, played mine, the University of Michigan. One of my favorite moments of the reception came when his groom cake — a big block N — was wheeled out to his fight song. He didn’t know that a little figurine made to look like me would come with it, waving a Michigan flag. But the joke was on me, since my mom arranged for another cake — this time a block M — to come out with a mini Travis waving a Nebraska flag.

It was moments like these that made our wedding so memorable. Our officiant, a columnist we work with, captured us perfectly with his remarks in the ceremony. My friend sang. We honored my brother’s memory with a charm in my bouquet, as well as an engraved vase on the escort card table that was covered in sunflowers, his favorite. There was a table with our parents’ wedding pictures, and our favors were Chicago favorite Garrett’s Popcorn. A “K+T” graphic pattern we printed on the liner of our invitation envelopes made its way onto our programs, the bars and on customized pillows in the lounge area we set up. And the lighting subtly changed colors throughout the night. Everything was just so us, and it made for a wonderful celebration to begin our marriage.

Wedding Photography: JPP Studios / Wedding Venue: Chicago History Museum in Chicago, Illinois / Wedding Planning: Michelle Durpetti Events / Floral Design, Lighting + Rentals: ALD Shows + Kim Schiller / Officiant: Burt Constable, a Friend of the Bride & Groom / Catering: Blue Plate / Wedding Cakes: Amy Beck Cake Design / Wedding Paper Goods: Erickson Design / Ceremony Musicians: Belle Music / Ceremony Soloist: Dr. Falyne Frye, a Friend of the Bride / Entertainment: Toast & Jam / Linens: BBJ Linen / Trolley: Second City Trolley / Favors: Garrett Popcorn / Hair: Beth Stock of Epoch Studio Salon / Makeup: Jessi Sheehan of Epoch Studio Salon / Rehearsal Dinner: Adobo Grill / First Look: Sofitel Hotel

Wheaton Wedding at Danada House from Allori Photography

When wedding dress design-guru Judd Waddell just happens to be your soon-to-be-hubby’s Godfather, it’s pretty much a guarantee your gown is going to wow! The lace stunner this lucky bride donned was only the beginning of the gorgeousness at this Danada House wedding shot by Allori Photography. With florals by Kio Kreations and the cutest cake topper I ever did see by Red Light Studios, you’re bound to spend some time in the full gallery!

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From the Bride… My husband and I knew pretty much from the beginning that we were meant to be. We actually met on, and after laughing non-stop on our first date and feeling like we’d known each other for years, we were inseparable. After a year and a half of dating, Josh proposed. This wasn’t just any proposal, though. I thought we were just on a nice dinner date and that we were going to go for a walk after dinner at a park. Little did I know Josh had planned to have my brother hiding in the bushes, ready to take pictures of the moment, and had him hide a bottle of champagne on a nearby picnic table for us to enjoy. The surprises didn’t stop there though. As we were going back to my parent’s house to share the good news, Josh pulled into a nearby restaurant where our families and best friends were waiting to surprise me and celebrate with us!

The wedding planning began with a fairy tale. Judd Waddell, my husband’s godfather, had me visit his studio to try on dresses and choose one to wear on my wedding day. It was a dream come true! Choosing a dress was probably the hardest decision of the entire wedding process — how on earth do you choose one gorgeous dress over another? Judd is one of the most incredibly gracious, kind and loving people I know and I am so lucky to have been able to wear one of his timeless beauties on my wedding day.

Family means everything to us. So while planning our wedding, family was always our main focus. We wanted to be surrounded by our loved ones on the most special day of our lives. Josh’s sister was my maid of honor, and my brother was Josh’s best man. The flower girl, ring bearer, ushers and several bridesmaids were cousins, and our uncle, aunt and grandma did the readings in our ceremony. In lieu of favors, we made donations to charities that help to improve diseases that have greatly impacted our families. I wore my grandma’s earrings and pinned her cameo on my bouquet. We also displayed family pictures on the mantle in Danada House and created a slideshow with pictures of us growing up around our families and friends.

My husband is incredibly talented and did so much DIY work for the wedding, which made it even more special. He designed the save-the-dates, menu, escort cards, thank you (donation) cards, guest signature poster and programs. We made the table numbers with vintage cards from Etsy and background paper from old, unused wallpaper books. We tried to add as many personal touches as possible. During the ceremony we had wonderful live music, thanks to Alan Bayert, who sang and played the acoustic guitar. Everything came together perfectly thanks to our wonderful vendors. The day itself was an absolute dream and truly was the best day of our lives. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to begin our life together, making cherished memories, surrounded by family and friends.

Wedding Photography: Eric O’Connor of Allori Photography / Wedding Venue: Danada House in Wheaton, Illinois / Floral Design: Kristen Janes of Kio Kreations / Catering: Jean True of True Cuisine / Wedding Invitations: Papyrus / Ceremony Music: Alan Bayert / DJ: Okyne MediaLab / Table Number Cards: 30one  / Cake Toppers: Red Light Studio / Ring Bearer Plate: Paloma’s Nest / Wedding Dress: Judd Waddell / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bride’s Hair Clips: Hair Comes the Bride / Hair + Makeup: The Sanctuary Day Spa / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew / Bridesmaids’ Earrings: Nadri via Nordstrom / Groom’s Suit: Custom by Nicholas Joseph / Groomsmen’s Suits: Alfani via Macy’s

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Lisle Engagement Session from Just Love Me Photography + Design

Engagement sessions make my heart pitter patter more than normal, and that’s saying a lot. I just adore the idea of the first official shoot between two lovebirds, one they will look back on for years and years to come. And when that shoot is as darling as this one by Just Love Me Photography + Design, you know they will still love every image for years and years to come – which happens to up the ante on heart pitter pattering just that much more. See all the darling images right here!

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From the Bride-to-Be… My fiance, Justin, and I are getting married at The Morton Arboretum in March, so we felt it was only fitting to shoot our engagement photos there. Neither of us take photos, ever, so having these photos taken was especially important to us. the Morton Arboretum was an amazing fit for our “Enchanted Forest” themed wedding. Having the photos taken at the Morton Arboretum was also a great opportunity for our guests to get a “sneak peek” of the location, as numerous guests have no idea what the Morton Arboretum is. We also wanted our photos to represent who we are as a couple in an environment that went perfectly with our wedding theme. In our photos, we really wanted our personalities to shine through. Please notice the photo with his headphones and dirty hat I bought him six years ago with me on my laptop — typical us! Justin also proposed with my ring in a Starbucks cup, since coffee has always had a special meaning to us as some of the only times we saw each other during college was for coffee dates at 9 p.m. after class, just so we could see each other, even if it was only for 10 minutes. To this day, we continue to have our weekly coffee date on Sunday mornings at Starbucks. :) Our photographers, Just Love Me Photography, did a beautiful job capturing our vision.

Photography: Just Love Me Photography + Design / Location: Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois / Bride’s Clothing: Anthropologie / Boots: Bare Traps / Heels: BCBG / Hair + Makeup: Patricia Casolari (The Bride’s Sister) / Groom’s Clothing: Ralph Lauren, Macy’s + Old Navy

Arlington Heights Wedding at Metropolis Ballroom from Dawn E. Roscoe

Everyone who knows me knows that I have a serious weakness when it comes to bright, happy colors and I just can’t resist the delicious shades of red in this wedding that look as sweet as candy next to Unique Floral’s most beautiful of bouquets. Speaking of sweet and delightful, it doesn’t get any more romantic than wedding your beloved while surrounded by a heart-shaped arrangement of flower petals at the Metropolis Ballroom. Every photograph from Dawn E. Roscoe will have you clamoring for more and it’s all right here in the gallery.

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From the Bride… Our wedding was a modern mix of our vintage and organic touches. We wanted our wedding — the ceremony, the food, the colors, every detail — to tell a story about us and who we are. The day started with a reveal. I met my (soon-to-be) husband in front of our wedding venue and nervously tapped him on the back. He turned around with a huge smile, and I felt incredibly excited to start our wedding day. Our photographer, Dawn Roscoe, and her assistant took us to nearby forest preserve, where we took photographs together. This was one of my favorite parts of the day; I loved being able to spend some time with Hosain before everything started. It tried to rain, but our photographer was prepared with an umbrella that we used in some of the shots. When the sun finally arrived, so did our guests — it was time for our ceremony.

The ceremony blended American Christian and Persian traditions with modern music and vows that we wrote. Reverend Casey started the ceremony with a prayer, then my godmother read “The Art of Marriage.” We read our vows sitting down under a Persian cloth while my bridesmaid rubbed sugar bells over our heads to symbolize sweetness in life. After lighting a unity candle, we kissed each other for the first time as husband and wife. The programs matched our invitations, all designed by Mae Mae Paperie. Our ceremony was followed by a cocktail reception in another room within the venue space. We decorated the space with a fabric banner (using the same fabric as the welcome quilt squares that greeted guests when they arrived). We also had photos clipped up on string with gold clothespins. Guests were served a variety of hot and cold appetizers: pesto and goat cheese crostini; caprese skewers with mozzarella, basil and tomato; and cocktails (complete with striped straws!). After the cocktail hour we joined our guests at the reception. Our cake was three tiers with layers of white cake, strawberry preserves and white buttercream frosting. It was decorated with polka dots and topped with a cascade of red flowers and a custom cake topper that looked like us! Next to the cake table, we had a sofreh, an Iranian wedding table, with a variety of symbolic items — painted eggs for fertility, candles for a bright future, Persian coins for prosperity — on display during the reception. My mother-in-law spent hours creating each piece on the table.

Guests were served a house salad and then were invited to partake in the buffet with a beef carving station, a mashed potato bar with piped mashed potatoes in martini glasses and a variety of toppings, a made-to-order pasta bar with different add-ins and sauces, and vegetable and chicken kabobs (a Persian staple). Hot pretzels with cheese and mustard dip were served as the late-night snack. Guests were then invited back into the cocktail room, which was transformed into a dessert room with wedding cake, mini pumpkin, pecan pies and a donut hole bar where guests could dip their donuts into funky toppings (crushed Reese’s Pieces, Cocoa Puffs and Capt’n Crunch cereal) inspired by the famous Voodoo Donuts and our trip to Portland, Oregon, where we got engaged.

Wedding Photography: Dawn E. Roscoe / Wedding Venue: Metropolis Ballroom in Arlington Heights, Illinois / Floral Design: Unique Floral / Wedding Invitations + Signage: MaeMae Paperie / Persian Table: The Groom’s Mother / Wedding Dress: J.Crew / Bride’s Veil: Her Mother’s / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew / Men’s Suits: Jos. A. Bank / Men’s Ties: Brooks Brothers

Lemont Wedding from Ashley Biess Photography

Marrying your high school sweet heart: This is the stuff that movies are made of and we’re getting to see it play out right before our eyes thanks to Ashley Biess Photography. This happy pair celebrated in style with a wedding day that combined power house purple with the fit and flare of modern lines and fresh linens by BB Chair Covers. I adore how every image in the gallery captures the twinkle in this happy couple’s eyes – swoon!

And you must simply watch this wedding film by Hannah Goering Productions, which also features some of Ashley Biess’s photographs. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I learned that this is Hannah’s first wedding video ever, and I am floored by how beautiful and touching it is!

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From Ashley Biess PhotographyYou can tell that high school sweethearts, Kamile and Adam, have been together for over seven years. Their love for each other is so obvious by seeing the way they look, laugh and smile and each other. Even though their wedding fell on a rainy spring day, the couple didn’t let that stop the party. Kamile looked stunning in her floral-inspired Allure Couture gown, and Adam looked suave in his Express suit. The black and purple color scheme popped perfectly against the greenery of the Morton Arboretum as the couple and their wedding party had fun taking photos in the misty weather. Kamile and Adam celebrated their nuptials with friends and family at the Lithuanian World Center in Lemont. The wedding decor was garden-inspired, perfect for any spring wedding. Kamile, a teacher, and Adam, a pharmacist, served guests his and her signature cocktails: the “Teacher’s Pet” and “Rx.” In honor of Kamile’s heritage, they served guests traditional Lithuanian food for both dinner and dessert, and they even had Lithuanian treats available at their candy bar. After dinner, the party got started. Kamile changed into her sparkly purple TOMS and joined their friends and family on the dance floor. Everyone had a great time and danced all night long.

Wedding Photography: Ashley Biess Photography / Ceremony: Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Chicago, Illinois / Reception: Lithuanian World Center in Lemont, Illinois / Photo Location: Morton Arboretum / Wedding Day Coordination: La Belle Fleur Events / Floral Design: Beth Koenig / Wedding Cinematography: Hannah Goering Productions / Catering: Grand Duke’s Restaurant / Wedding Cake: A Family Friend / DJ: Okyne Medialab / Chair Covers, Sashes + Table Runners: BB Chair Covers / Guest Book: Hannah Miller / Limousine: Naperville Limo Service Inc. / Trolley: The Trolley Car and Bus Co. / Accommodations: Holiday Inn / Wedding Dress: Allure Couture “C157” / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka “Randall” + TOMS / Hair + Makeup: Kim Piech / Groom’s Suit: Express

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Chicago Sunrise Engagement Session from Rachel G Photography

A beautiful sunrise engagement session set against a breathtaking Chicago skyline – a downright stunning combination that seriously can’t be beat.  And when that fab sunrise e-session happens to feature an uber-adorable duo and a gallery chock-full of amazing images captured by Rachel G Photography?  Well, we call that a cause for a serious celebration.  It’s a whole lot of romance meets one light-filled beauty after another and it’s most definitely worth a trip to the full gallery.  Join me there for more.

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From Rachel G PhotographyI have been wanting to shoot a sunrise session for about six months. There is something so calm and peaceful about that time of day, especially on the water. When Erin and I began chatting about ideas for her and Ben’s engagement session, I threw this idea out there, thinking she would tell me I’m nuts for asking them to wake up so early on a Saturday morning, but I was surprisingly wrong!  Erin and Ben are getting married this coming January, so it will be really cold and probably snowy for their wedding. I love that their engagement pictures are opposite of that — warm both in color and temperature! The colors of the sunrise this specific morning were nothing shy of nature’s authentic signature; they did not disappoint in any way! The lake was so calm with virtually no breeze, as still as can be. Just as the sun peeked its head above the water, the most beautiful colors were cast in the sky and all around. We spent some time on the beach and then headed to Wrigley Field for some friendly “competition.” Erin is a huge Cubs fan and Ben is huge White Sox fan, so we had some fun around the stadium! What I loved about spending some time with Erin and Ben is how at ease they were with each other, how confident they both are and what playful personalities they both have. They are the real deal, and I’m so looking forward to their wedding in early 2013!

Photography: Rachel Gundersen of Rachel G Photography / Location: Chicago, Illinois

Conrad Chicago Wedding from Kristin La Voie Photography

The more I see of Chicago’s amazing weddings, the more I’d like to hop aboard the next available flight to see that elegant skyline and gorgeous city for myself. And when it comes to this wedding at the Conrad Chicago, I can’t decide what I love more, if it’s those angelic images of the Bride and her Groom gazing out of the window from Kristin La Voie Photography or if it’s the magnificent balcony reception with the to-die-for views of Chicago’s greatest architecture. Either way, it’s all wrapped in glamour and grace and can be seen in the gallery right here.

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From the Bride… By the time our wedding date arrived, Kurt and I had been together for six years. We wanted our wedding to be a fun celebration for our closest friends and family who have been with us through our relationship and to reflect an understated, intimate elegance. Although work has brought us to Cincinnati, Chicago will always have the top spot in our hearts. Since we were engaged at the Conrad Hotel in Chicago, we decided it would be the perfect location to celebrate our big day.

And perfect it was! The wedding weekend also coincided with my 30th birthday, so we kicked off the weekend with all the girls at the Princess Nail Lounge. They have private space on the second floor for parties, which for us meant mimosas and Sprinkles cupcakes. Then instead of a traditional rehearsal dinner, we prepared an Italian feast with all of our guests at the Chopping Block in the Merchandise Mart. Everyone had a great time cooking and celebrating. As our wedding favor, we gave each guest a customized apron and created thank you cards letting them know they were our favorite people in the world.

I can’t say enough about how wonderful the service was at the Conrad, especially our wedding planner, Kate, who assured us we wouldn’t have to worry about anything, even the weather! Our ceremony was held indoors and to help carry out the intimate feeling, we kept the bridal party to just my step-children. A special moment for me was when my 7-year old step-son, Cooper, walked me up the spiral staircase and down the aisle. The wedding was then officiated by my father-in-law, which was also special for all of us. Following the ceremony, guests were ushered to the 16th floor Grand Terrace Suite, where the cocktail hour, dinner and dancing were held on the private terrace overlooking the city. The views were magical, especially after the sun set and we only had candles for lighting. It was wonderful to not have a care in the world that day, as all of our vendors did an amazing job! Our photographer, Kristin, who I found on Style Me Pretty, was a joy to work with capturing each moment. We exited to sparklers, which was a perfect ending to a truly magical evening.

Wedding Photography: Kristin La Voie Photography / Wedding Venue: Conrad Chicago in Chicago, Illinois / Floral Design: Ashland Addison Florist / Wedding Cake: Bittersweet / Linens: BBJ Linen / Wedding Dress: Augusta Jones via Fabulous Bridal / Hair + Makeup: Vanessa Valliant of Vanessa’s Art of Beauty / Groom’s Tuxedo: Jos. A. Bank

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Chicago Wedding at Architectural Artifacts from Ashley Biess Photography

I am always simply astounded by a dedicated DIY-inspired couple, and this bride and groom are no different. They brewed their own beer to make homemade gifts for guests, and they learned how to make letterpress stationery in their very own dining room! I am beyond impressed! The venue, Architectural Artifacts, offered the perfect place to turn their vision into a reality. I especially love the transformation of the ceremony site into the dance floor! Ashley Biess Photography shares all the amazingness below, and you can’t miss the full gallery of photos right here.

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From the Bride… When we started to plan our wedding day, we knew that we wanted to get married in Chicago and that we wanted a venue that was unique and different. After searching for the perfect place, a friend recommended Architectural Artifacts, and we instantly loved it. The space provided such great opportunities to make it your own and to be creative. We also loved that we were allowed to incorporate the store’s unique items into our vision. While planning, we had the opportunity to work with so many creative, professional and friendly vendors. We also had a great time incorporating our friends and family into the process. We learned how to make letterpress stationery in our dining room. My mom let us turn her basement into a brewery so we could make the gifts for our guests, and we had a tasting party with our friends to select what craft brews we would serve at our wedding. Everyone’s patience, creativity and enthusiasm provided us with many great memories leading up to our wedding day.

The weather on our wedding day was absolutely fantastic. We had a great surprise that morning when there was a farmers’ market in the parking lot behind our hotel. So before going our separate ways to get ready, we ate fresh crepes at the farmers’ market together with our siblings and parents. The first look was a fantastic moment. We loved having a moment together to laugh and be ourselves while just taking it all in. We were so overwhelmed by seeing all of our hard work and planning come together, knowing that we were going to be married at the end of it. After that, it was all just a whirlwind. Memories that stand out include seeing everyone wave the flags we made and cheer as we walked up the aisle after our first kiss, hearing the amazing toasts from our siblings and parents, standing in the candlelit dining room, and singing the last song in a circle with our friends. It was truly an amazing ride that we will never forget.

Wedding Photography: Ashley Biess Photography / Wedding Venue: Architectural Artifacts in Chicago, Illinois / Floral Design: Larkspur / Centerpieces: DIY with Lanterns from Target + IKEA / Wedding Cinematography: Wedit / Catering: Food Evolution / Dessert: Sweet Mandy B’s / Beer Gifts: DIY / Wedding Stationery, Flags, Programs, Place Cards + Bar Menus: DIY / DJ: Toast & Jam / Guest Log: Baumbirdy / Lighting: Art of Imagination / Getting Ready Location: Hilton Garden Inn Evanston /Wedding Dress + Sash: J.Crew / Alterations: Mary Catomy Bridal Alterations / Hair: Sarah Kotarinos of Salon Kallisto / Makeup + Eyelashes: Briana Cardone / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Nordstrom / Men’s Suits: Macy’s / Men’s Cufflinks: PhotoJule / Engagement Ring + Wedding Bands: The Gem Gallery