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A Sweet Love Affair at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Lisa & Jay

Lisa & Jay contacted us six months before their wedding. They had a very clear vision on what they wanted for their wedding and they really wanted a professional to help them make sure all of the details were covered on the day of the wedding. We were so excited to be a part of their special celebration.

It’s not often where we have a couple not want to see each other before they walk down the aisle, so Lisa & Jay’s “First Touch” was one of the sweetest moments we have seen in a long time. Jennifer Claire captured the moment so beautifully and it was exactly the moment that Lisa and Jay wanted before they finally saw each other during their ceremony. We love the Chicago Botanic Garden, and the aisle of the Rose Terrace is simply idyllic.

We loved that Lisa & Jay embraced pops of color in their celebration and unique details like Jay’s wooden bow tie and Lisa’s wooden earrings. They also hand engraved all of the wooden place cards at each table. We also loved that they, and their guests, were able to enjoy a perfect summer evening in multiple areas of the Chicago Botanic Garden. After the ceremony, we escorted guests to the English Walled Garden for cocktails and pass hors d’oeuvres such as the citrus glazed shrimp, avocado & cilantro crème on sweet potato chip and the seared scallop with truffled corn veloute in an Asian spoon.

Throughout my time with Lisa & Jay, I could tell that they were a relaxed couple that takes in the moment of each day. This was definitely the case during the group photos that occurred during the cocktail hour. They were overflowing with happiness – just look at their faces! Once we wrapped up photos, we then invited guests to McGinley Pavilion for the reception. Guests oohed and aahed over the centerpiece cakes and took their fill on the beautiful meal provided by the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Congratulations, Lisa & Jay! May you continue to have the sweetest moments throughout your marriage!

Cake & Centerpieces: Fabiana’s Bakery
Hair & Makeup: Pin Me Up Chicago
Floral: Lake Forest Flowers
Food & Beverage: Culinary Landscape
DJ: Nick from DJ Chicago
Officiant: Pastor Dave Johnson
Photographer: Jennifer Claire Photography
Venue: Chicago Botanic Garden
Videographer: Chelsea Bliefernicht
Wedding Coordinator: Nicole Zenner from LK Events

Sarah & Jeff, Art Institute of Chicago – Modern Wing

Some couples have many celebrations around their wedding day and that was how I came to meet Sarah & Jeff. They had decided to have a small ceremony in Napa in May, a Chicago reception in June, and a Michigan reception in July. I was lucky enough to work with them for their Chicago reception with family and friends at the Art Institute of Chicago – Modern Wing.

Sarah and Jeff had a weekend celebration in Chicago with a rehearsal dinner at Carnivale on a Friday night. Guests were treated to appetizers like Shrimp Ceviche and Veal Empanada and entrees like Arrachera and Paella. Shutterbooth was also on hand to capture the festivity of the evening!

The next day found Sarah and Jeff having a relaxing day together and Sarah having Pin Me Up Chicago treat her to hair and make-up appointments at her home. We met the beaming couple that afternoon at the Art Institute of Chicago – Modern Wing and Rebecca from Rebecca Marie Photography & Design whisked them away for photos together and with their families.

That evening, we gathered the couple and their guests back up in Bluhm Terrace for Cocktail Hour. Guests were greeted with passed appetizers of Cantonese Spring Rolls and Coriander Grass-Fed Beef Tenderloins under a canopy of red Chinese Lanterns and a beautiful Chicago evening. As they made their way into Terzo Piano, guests picked up their escort cards which featured Chinese Red, the Double Happiness symbol and beautiful calligraphy from Stacey Shapiro. Incorporating elements of Chinese culture into their wedding day was important to Sarah and Jeff, as they met in Shanghai when both of them were working there.

Alexandra from Exquisite Designs provided a clean and modern décor that featured mixed collections of white tulips, white hydrangeas, white roses, white lilies and white spray roses in clear glass square vases lined with black ti leaves. For some contrast in the room, the round dinner tables featured a tall arrangement of open cut white calla lilies in a clear glass tall cylinder vase. With a couple of speeches to kick off the night, guests enjoyed an amazing dinner from Bon Appetit with monogrammed Petit Fours for dessert and DJ Rob spinning the 1’s and 2’s. Congratulations to a spectacular couple, Sarah & Jeff!

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Beauty: Pin Me Up Chicago
DJ: Spin-Chicago
Florist: Exquisite Designs
Food & Beverage: Bon Appetit
Rehearsal Dinner: Carnivale
Rehearsal Dinner Photo Booth: Shutterbooth
Hotel Room Block: Renaissance Blackstone Chicago Hotel, The Palmer House Hilton
Linen: BBJ Linen
Photographer: Rebecca Marie Photography & Design
Calligraphy: Stacey Shapiro Calligraphy
Reception Venue: Art Institute of Chicago – Modern Wing
Wedding Planner: LK Events

Mackenzie & Neil, The Shedd Aquarium

There is so much to love about the Second City and I love working with couples that choose Chicago as their destination for their wedding. That was the case with Mackenzie and Neil, who live in San Francisco. We had a terrific initial consultation over the phone and the first time that we met in person was at their tasting at the Shedd Aquarium about 4 months before their wedding. So while we did not have that much face to face communication prior to their wedding day, we had an absolutely amazing time together!

As we arrived at the W Chicago Lakeshore on the wedding day, the ladies were in the midst of their beauty appointments with Pin Me Up Chicago. There was a lot of activity and stylish accessories being shown and the very artistic Colin from Colin Lyons Wedding Photography was capturing all of these moments. Before we knew it, we were all gathering together on the mini bus for photos around Chicago. Colin was able to capture not only Mackenzie & Neil’s amazing personalities and their love, but also gorgeous views of our fair city. I once again fell in love with Chicago after seeing all of these photos!

When Mackenzie and Neil could pose no more, we headed to Shedd Aquarium to prepare for their ceremony. Tulip greeted us with the incredible bouquets and sassy boutonnieres – they tied into the Shedd’s decor and Mackenzie & Neil’s vision for their day. After taking a short reprieve while guests arrived, it was time for the procession. It was a beautiful moment – happy parents and happy bridesmaids and groomsmen walking towards the Chicago skyline to Between Two Lungs from Florence + the Machine. Then, a favorite moment of mine, was Mackenzie & Neil’s Spice Ceremony that blended together different spices representing things in their lives to help sustain their marriage.

After the I Do’s, guests mingled in the tented terrace for a lively cocktail hour with passed hors d’oeuvres like a Gazpacho Shooter and Crab Rangoon. Guests were able to check out the aquarium exhibits, like the Jellies, and then they were escorted into the Caribbean Reef for dinner. When Mackenzie and Neil were introduced to their guests, they cut their cake with the special Star Wars cake topper – adorable! Dinner included a Petite Filet with Scallops or a Trio of Duck with Alliance Bakery cupcakes for dessert. The night concluded with dancing under the charming Shedd Aquarium clock! Congratulations Mackenzie & Neil!

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Bakery: Alliance Bakery
Beauty: Pin Me Up Chicago
Florist: Tulip
Food & Beverage & Venue: Shedd Aquarium
Hotel: W Chicago Lakeshore
Musicians: Music By Design
Photographer: Colin Lyons Wedding Photography
Photo Booth: Music By Design
Rehearsal Dinner: Francesca’s on Taylor
Transportation: Chicago Motor Coach