One the best parts of the wedding day is that you get to share your story with all of your loved ones. You get to create little details that are unique to you, and show off the part of the city you love. For Catherine & Kristopher, it was a Chicago-centric day at St. Alphonsus Church and River Roast. But the Windy City love didn’t stop there! We hope you’re ready for the Lincoln Park skyline and Chicago River silhouettes!
According to Catherine, it was the architecture of these spaces that made the difference. All of the beautiful details at St. Alphonsus combined with the terrace view and exposed brick of River Roast — the perfect mix of class & romance!
We love the rich navy blues and soft pinks that accented the day, with just a hint of glitz and bling to make everything sparkle. Speaking of sparkle — Catherine & Kristopher’s smiles were the envy of the day!
Congrats, you two! Cheers to an instant Chicago classic wedding day!
The Wedding Day Team
Wedding Day Planner: Ohana Events | Ceremony Venue: St. Alphonsus | Reception Venue/Caterer: River Roast | DJ: Toast & Jam | Florist: Trablume | Photo Booth: Alfresco Photobooth | Hair Stylist: Emily Lauf | Makeup Artist: Melanie Larson | Bakery: Urban Icing | Trolley: Chicago Trolley & Double Decker | Getting Ready: Hyatt Place River North
There’s nothing better than an enthusiastic, excited bride! With all of the planning and detail work, it can be easy to lose sight of the light. The wedding day is supposed to be about love, laughter, and all of those once-in-a-lifetime feelings. Tina & Jonathan have always had an infectious joy about them. If you haven’t seen their engagement session, NOW is the time! We’ve been looking forward to their wedding day ever since we saw those smiles and their chic style. We were expecting fabulous details, breathtaking views (come on, it’s The Art Institute), and swoon-worthy moments. Get ready for all of the above! We asked bride Tina all about the wedding day. Enjoy, and join us in congratulating these two lovelies!
We both wanted something that, when looking back at our wedding day years from now, would be timeless, classic, but with a modern twist. Once we decided on the Art Institute, we knew that all the details needed to reflect our love for art, the beauty of the building, and the beginning of Spring. This included details such as Jonathan wearing a navy tuxedo with cufflinks matching the AIC lions and Starry Night socks (all of the groomsmen wore socks of different paintings), a string quartet playing modern songs before/during the ceremony & cocktail hour, and Tina’s hand-made art/Chicago specific photobooth props.
For Tina, it was stepping outside of the typical white wedding dress and choosing to wear a traditional Vietnamese ao dai. An ao dai is a long, flowing tunic over trousers, most commonly worn by Vietnamese women for special occasions. Both Tina’s mom and grandmother wore one when they got married; the choice to wear one would be a surprise to her family and also a nod to her heritage.
Tina sought out a designer she had found online after spending some time looking up custom ao dai’s; unbeknownst to her, it turns out that he is very well known throughout the Vietnamese community due to his association as the head designer for a popular Vietnamese variety show. From there, Tina booked a trip with her parents to Orange County to meet with Thai Nguyen. Thai and Tina quickly bonded over their love for fashion and design, and he created custom, hand-beaded ao dais for Tina and her mom.
Any favorite moments from the day?
Our first look was perfect. It was raining all morning but the weather cleared up just in time for the wedding party to walk from the Chicago Athletic Association to the Art Institute front steps. Jonathan was waiting in front of one of the lions and as Tina approached him, the bucket boys started drumming, which made it feel like a dramatic, grand entrance.
So tell us about this fabulous venue….
The Art Institute is our favorite place in the city. We love spending hours walking through the museum exploring new exhibits as well as visiting some of our favorite museum staples. Regardless of how many times we’ve been to the museum, there is always something new and exciting to discover. The lions on the front steps is our city meeting spot, whether it is meeting up for dinner after work, or getting lost in the shuffle of a parade or concert–we can always find each other in front of the lions. To be able to share our love for this place and for each other with our closest friends and family meant a lot to us.
It also has special significance because it’s where Jonathan proposed, in front of Renoir’s Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando. This is a detail that our officiant worked into her script, as a metaphor for our marriage; we also gave out chocolate oranges as our wedding favor.
One unique moment from our ceremony was the tea ceremony. In the Vietnamese culture, serving tea to one’s parents is a devout way to express their gratitude for being raised. But also the tea ceremony is meaningful in other ways; it is a symbol of purity, stability, and sweetness. The purity of the tea signifies that their love is pure and noble; the stability of the tea stands for faithful love; and the sweetness of the tea is believed to bring a sweet and satisfying life.
Any wisdom for other couples?
We created a separate email address to handle everything related to the wedding. It’s such a simple thing but it was really helpful in every step of planning. Consider things that are not just visually appealing, but also appeal to the other senses to enhance your guests’ experience. E.g we had a string quartet playing “Kashmir” by Led Zepplin as they entered the museum. The crescendo in the music got our guests excited and set the tone for the evening.
If you’re debating between writing personal vows versus reciting the generic, go for writing your own. It’s very confronting to figure how to convey your feelings for someone you love in a mere few sentences, but to declare your love to one another in your own words and in front of everyone you love allows you to have such a sweet moment. It also gives your family and friends a glimpse of how in love you are with each other.
The Wedding Day Team
Venue: Art Institute of Chicago | Event Coordinator: Lionhearted Events | Bridal Gown: Thai Nguyen Atelier | Cake: Molly’s Cupcakes | Caterer: Bon Appetit | Celebrant: The Rev for Whatev | Ceremony Musicians: Quartet Parapluie | Custom Printing: Minted | Floral: Edwards Florist | Lighting Design: Magic Uplighting | Hair/Make-Up: Tera Weeks & Becky Luckmann | Groom’s Clothing: Avant for Men | DJ: Style Matters DJs
When we say that you can get fabulous engagement photos ANY time of year, THIS is what we’re talking about! Samantha & Markus made winter work, taking advantage of the natural backdrop and fully embracing the snow-kissed setting! A winter engagement session is not always buttoned-up. With proper planning, you can choose to cozy up indoors, or brave the day with an outdoors stroll. A fashionable coat is always photogenic — not the only option, though! If you and your significant other are ready to take the plunge, you can totally face the winter engagement photo challenge together. Take a deep breath, remove the coats, and grab each other’s hand — just go for it! We just need a few seconds to catch the perfect moment — plenty of time for the adrenaline to keep you warm!
And now back to the gorgeous couple! Markus & Samantha have such great personal style. From the grade-A accessorizing to the complementary colors of their outfits, these two know what they are doing! Their cream palette is such a nifty choice for the winter background, and it makes them look right at home in this winter wonderland. And Sam’s scarf, the nails, the lipstick — every color POPS! It draws us right in to every smile, every touch, and every laugh.
Join us in congratulating Samantha & Markus on a stylish, sophisticated session!
Take a look at more Gold Grid couples!
Hey, Chicago friends — do you you need a little warmth this week? We’ve got a romantic engagement session that will melt your heart and shake those winter blues! Meet Emily & Calvin, the cutest couple to brave the Chicago winter to celebrate their upcoming nuptials! We first met these two at a bridal show last spring, and knew immediately that their story was special. The way they look at each, the way they make each other smile – it’s L-O-V-E! We took a stroll along Lake Michigan, visiting some of our favorite spots. Being right beside the lake only added to the sense of winter drama & romance. Don’t get us wrong — it was cold! But it was oh-so-worth-it to see Emily & Calvin against the backdrop of snow, ice, and the majestic Chicago skyline! And they did an excellent job of staying cozy and making it all look so easy!
Winter engagement sessions aren’t all coats & cold. It’s an excellent opportunity for snuggling, keeping each other warm, and seasonal fashion statements. We love the subtle complimentary plaids of Emily’s scarf and Calvin’s shirt. The pop of red in Emily’s nails is picture perfect, a bold stroke of genius in this winter wonderland! We had so much fun getting to spend time with these lovebirds, and we know you will too! Join us in congratulating them, and celebrating their love! Cheers to warm hearts and lots of love — any time of year!
Looking for more winter wedding inspiration? Yes, please!
I hope you all have your warm blankets, a mug of cocoa, and your best cuddle buddy! It’s time for a fabulous winter wedding!
Kylie & Matt have the kind of love we all dream about — that sort of “can’t stop, won’t stop” love! They take every opportunity to share with each other, and to make sure the other feels like the most important person in the world. From the love notes they exchanged at the beginning of this winter wedding day to the emotional vows (scroll for all of the feels!), these two spent the whole day saying I DO.
Winter in Chicago can be a challenge, but with the right amount of planning — there are magical possibilities! Get ready for Christmas lights, cute winter accessories, and a whole lot of genuine snuggle time! Kylie & Matt were so smart in their choices. They kept the schedule simple, making only a few stops between their hotel and ceremony venue (the cozy and endlessly charming Revolution Brewing). For the most part, everything was in one place. This allowed these two lovebirds to relax (as much as one can on the wedding day) and soak in every moment! And that is exactly what it’s all about!
Join us in congratulating Kylie & Matt for making winter look absolutely lovely! Cheers!
Kylie has excellent taste, and made sure everything matched her vision. Every detail was in place, down to the last rose-gold detail. Her dress, her bridesmaid gifts, her shoes — it all worked together in fab fashion! The handkerchiefs she gave her bridesmaids were hand sewn by Kylie herself! That’s just one of the unique details that makes this winter wedding one-of-a-kind!
So much of this wedding day was fun and heartfelt. We played it a bit by ear because…#ChicagoWeather! Luckily, it was a beautiful day and we decided to walk to Water Tower Place. We found some lovely photo opportunities along the way, showcasing Chicago as well as this chic bridal party. The cape, the wraps, the soft, romantic bouquets — yes!
Revolution Brewery is one of our ABSOLUTE FAVORITE places to photograph a wedding! It is perfect for intimate events, and has a cozy atmosphere that fit beautifully with this winter wedding. Also, the Revolution staff are so so helpful and thoughtful — and that’s exactly what you want on your wedding day!
Oh, these vows! Matt went first and there were very few dry eyes in the room (including our photographers Alissa & Vanessa ) as he got choked up during his vows to Kylie. Hankies at the ready, everyone!
Meet the Team:
Hotel: Hilton Mag Mile | Venue & Caterer: Revolution Brewing | DJ: Toast & Jam | Flowers: Steve’s Flower Market | Dress: Allure from House of Brides | Hair: Hair Salon Buzz | Make-up: beGlammed