“That’s Amore.” The words that defined Emily & Brandon’s wedding all started on a gorgeous terrace in Italy, as they enjoyed a glass of wine as a newly engaged couple. In that state of relaxation, taking it all in, they looked to the future together.
Honestly, if you could combine the whimsy, romance, and elegance of an Italian vista with the history, culture, and built environment of Chicago, that would describe their day. Old World meets New World. It was so important to Emily and Brandon to visit several locations, including the Adler Planetarium, the LaSalle bridge, the Lurie Gardens, the Lyric Opera building, and finally landing at the historic Warwick Allerton Hotel.
But the day would not be complete without a dance to “That’s Amore”, the continuation of the spirit of that perfect evening in Italy, and the friends and family that surround the day with love and support.
We were amazed by the Allerton’s new remodel, with golden details, warm lighting, and massive windows pouring in light while revealing the surrounding Chicago architecture along the Magnificent Mile. The gorgeous ballroom set the stage for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and following reception. The hotel, originally built in 1924 is now a Chicago Landmark. The classic “Tip-Top-Tap” neon sign is iconic – you can see it walking along Michigan Avenue! Emily and Brandon knew they wanted to brave the heights together for a photograph under the sign (you wouldn’t believe what it’s actually like up there)!. But one of our favorite moments was the view of the city from the outside of The Allerton. Completely breathtaking.
We hope you enjoy this Italy-meets-Chicago-meets…well, you know, the things that matter most… adventure with us. Congratulations, Emily and Brandon!
The Wedding Day Team
Venue: The Warwick Allerton Hotel | Printing: Minted | Bridal Gown: Watters | Bridesmaid’s Dresses: David’s Bridal | Groom, Groomsmen Clothing: The Groomsman Suit | Hair & Makeup: Blush & Burgundy | Floral: Flowers for Dreams | Caterer: The Warwick Allerton Hotel | Cake: Vanille Patisserie | DJ: Mike Staff Productions | Transportation: Windy City Limo
It all starts with a stellar first look! Julie & Michael’s emotional moment set the tone for a warm, inviting wedding day at the Newberry Library. It was a day full of laughter, tears, and the kind of hugs you only get on a special occasion like this. One of the (many) reasons we love Newberry Library is the great mix of indoor and outdoor spots. Give us all of the classic architecture next to romantic gardens — it’s a photographer’s dream.
So much of wedding day success comes down to to the WHERE. With the Hilton, St. Vincent DePaul, and Newberry Library — Julie & Michael made all of the right choices! We talked to Julie a bit about what made her fall in love with these spaces, the perfect backdrops to a gorgeous day.
Without further ado — let’s dive right in! Enjoy!
Tell us about your connection to your ceremony venue…
St. Vincent DePaul Church is a beautiful Catholic Church in Lincoln Park. Julie, an alumnus of DePaul University for undergrad, attended church here throughout her college days. After deciding to get married through the Catholic Church, we selected St. Vincent DePaul because of Julie’s fond memories of the church community here in college and its lovely Lincoln Park setting.
And Newberry Library. What’s your favorite part?
When Michael and I decided on a Chicago wedding, we knew we wanted a venue that would show off the city’s beauty and life. We met in Chicago and both lived there for 6+ years and are excited to add our wedding to our list of memories in this place. We decided on the Newberry Library because of its beautiful event space and its location in the Gold Coast neighborhood. Michael and I both love the green space and architecture of the Newberry and its surroundings. Additionally, the Newberry Library itself has been a long standing part of Chicago’s history. It is an independent research library established in 1887; we are excited for our guests to visit this downtown landmark.
The Wedding Day Team
Getting Ready Venue: Hilton Garden Inn | Ceremony Venue: St. Vincent DePaul Church | Reception Venue: Newberry Library | Printing: Minted | Bridal Gown: Hayley Paige | Bridesmaid’s Clothing: Amasale | Hair: Pin Me Up Chicago | Floral: Blumgarten Floral | Caterer: Jordan’s Food of Distinction | DJ: Toast & Jam DJs | Cake: Sweet Mandy B’s | Transportation: Echo Limo
Alright, if you’re a #2018bride, #2019bride, or a Chicago #bridetobe — get ready for this Lincoln Park engagement session! Amy & Eamon prove that Chicago is photo ready any time of year!
Let’s be honest, our weather has been anything but predictable. One day it’s sunny and summer, the next is misty and cold. It makes it hard to plan for your engagement photos. Do you bring a jacket? Will a sundress be appropriate? Amy & Eamon are firm believers in the fashion mantra that classy NEVER goes out of style. Call it chic, call it elegant, call in plain good taste! Since we didn’t know whether it was going to be moody and gray or bursting with sunshine — tasteful neutrals were the obvious choice.
It was the romantic, soft pink of Amy’s first dress. It was the dapper navy blazer that Eamon wore. Every accessory was perfect for telling the story of this stylish couple in Lincoln Park. They’re hip Chicagoans who would look at home at a wine bar in Wicker Park, or strolling along the Riverwalk! The skyline was a great backdrop, and the chilly day was an excellent excuse for lots of cuddles!
Enjoy, friends! And congrats to Amy & Eamon on their engagement!
Want more Lincoln Park engagement sessions? Sure, you do!
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!