There were so many wonderful elements of Sarah and Andrew’s wedding that made being their coordinator such a pleasure — killer venue, awesome photographer, great music, delicious food — but my favorite was probably just how incredibly kind the couple and their families were to work with. We had so much fun getting all the details together!
The weekend kicked off on Friday with a fabulous rehearsal dinner at Manny’s Deli. Instead of a traditional receiving line, the couple served food to their guests as a way to say hello to all their favorite people!
Wedding day morning began at The Alise hotel downtown with a (surprisingly large!) Parade of Nations Lions Club parade going down State Street. The parade added a bit of a logistical puzzle piece for getting into the iconic hotel at State and Washington, but it was fun to watch from Sarah’s window as she and her bridesmaids were getting dolled up. Each detail of the day was accounted for, including the beautiful ring that had been gifted to Sarah by Andrew’s mother as her “something blue”.
Emily Elizabeth and Kelly Bush made sure the ladies looked radiant, and before we knew it, it was time for Sarah to go meet Andrew for the first look!
Photographer Ryan Moore wanted to highlight the structural details of the Alise Hotel, and take advantage of the marble staircase that led to the main floor. Sarah and Andrew were both palpably excited to see each other, and absolutely felt more at ease once they were reunited to enjoy the rest of their wedding day together.
While Ryan took Sarah and Andrew to a few locations around Chicago for portraits, we scurried over to the Chicago Cultural Center to make sure the preparations for the ceremony and reception were well underway.
While guests began to arrive, Sarah and Andrew camped out in the Claudia Cassidy Theater to revel in the quiet before their big day officially kicked off. We were so glad Ryan was able to capture this sweet kiss! After thinking of every detail along the way (including offering valet parking services for their guests, courtesy of VIP Valet), it was nice for Sarah and Andrew to have some time to just relax!
Sarah and Andrew’s ceremony incorporated traditions from both their backgrounds — Jewish and Filipino — and was officiated by a dear friend of Sarah’s. Elegant Event Lighting provided the decor for the ceremony, with a beautifully draped Chuppah and aisle runner.
As a complete surprise to the groom (and most of the guests), Sarah enlisted our help to add a gospel choir to perform the recessional song and lead the wedding guests into cocktail hour. As luck would have it, Kevin from Chicago Catz was also a member of a gospel choir, and was able to secure the singers without a hitch! It was an amazing success, and completely blew Andrew away.
Cocktail hour took place in the GAR Hall Rotunda, and guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from Food for Thought while still relishing the sounds of the gospel choir. The beautiful arrangements that adorned the tables were by Treeline Farms in Michigan. The escort cards were created by Studio M. Creations, who also designed all the directional signage to lead guests from the Cultural Center entrance to the ceremony and reception. The bride’s sister had lovingly created the ceremony programs, bar menus.
As cocktail hour drew to an end, the bride and groom cheerfully led their guests to the reception in Preston Bradley Hall under the gorgeous Tiffany dome. Each guest was greeted at their seat with a “thank you” card letting them know of the donations the couple had made to causes close to their hearts: The National Park Foundation and Doctors Without Borders. The Chicago Catz were playing lively dinner music to set the mood and once everyone was seated, the father of the bride gave a welcome toast.
Laughter and tears filled the room when it came time for speeches by the bride and groom’s sisters.
Before we knew it, it was time for Andrew and Sarah’s first dance!
Watching the bride and groom get whisked off the floor high above the shoulders of their guests will always thrill (and slightly terrify) us — luckily, we make sure to have lightweight, sturdy chairs (with arms!) nearby for the hora.
The Chicago Catz made sure guests were up and on their feet for the remainder of the night.
Sarah and Andrew, we absolutely adored working with you both — and wish you many years of love and happiness together!