I can't think of anything cosier than a wedding in the fall and the gorgeous colours in this Chicago celebration really play up the sense of the season. With exquisite photography by CLARY PFEIFFER it's classic yet modern at the same time and beautifully intimate. Caroline & Brian love to entertain so they considered their wedding the largest dinner party they'd ever hosted and this formed the basis for a lot of their planning
"We wanted to recreate the cozy personal feeling, so we selected d cor elements that could feasibly be in someone's home. We focused on classic luxuries such as bubbly, candlelight, and live jazz. Clean modern lines tempered the vintage design elements for a timeless ambience. As a nod to autumn, we selected the colors and floral varieties that felt regionally appropriate for that time of year. It was a huge compliment when guests told us afterwards that it the night was elegant, yet warm and approachable. We still can't believe that we were so lucky to be in such a beautiful place surrounded by so many people that we love, and I'll never forget how joyful and at ease everyone was on the day.
HOW DID YOU MEET? I was bemoaning a series of frustratingly bad dates to my Tom when he offered to set me up with "the nicest guy he knew," my now-husband Brian!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROPOSAL: One Friday evening in March, Brian took me out to dinner at one of our favourite restaurants, Ralph Lauren. Afterwards, he took me to "check out" a new hotel in town, The Langham. Little did I know, he had reserved a suite there. It was filled with flowers and jazz was playing. He proposed with a poem, as my dad had done for my mom. Our families met us for brunch at the hotel the next morning, and he had also planned a surprise party at our condo that afternoon. That whole day was really special because seeing everyone made the engagement feel truly real. Brian even made a little book for me from the sweet emails from friends who couldn't make it. Seven months later we were married at the hotel where we got engaged!
TELL US ABOUT FINDING YOUR WEDDING DRESS: I had originally purchased a wedding gown at a sample store. I was trying so hard to get an inexpensive dress and to keep the process simple. After trying that sample dress on at home we all realised it was a mistake. After that, my mom and my sister braved almost every bridal salon in Chicago with me. When I tried my dress on it was an obvious winner; it was the first time I had felt comfortable all day! When it arrived, I felt at ease the moment I put it on.
ANY DIY ELEMENTS? One of my absolute favorite parts of the process was working with my dear friend Allie Hasson. We collaborated on the paper goods, which were 100% custom from start to finish. Working with vendors like Allie who make the whole process more joyful is incredibly important! Her handlettering was on almost every paper element, lending a handmade touch. Also, the copper foil on the paper goods was selected custom to coordinate with the copper wall in the chapel. It was a perfect fall color, and was also a sweet nod to how important that church is to my family.
DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING FLOWERS: Our wedding flowers were autumnal yet soft and bridal. The centerpieces featured dahlias, garden roses, majolica roses, leatherleaf fern, turning nandina leaves, and privet berries. My bouquet coordinated with the centerpieces but also had beautiful peonies and ranunculus. The two bridesmaids' bouquets were a deeper “autumn sherbet” – pink, peach, eggplant - a palette that looked amazing against the girls' coordinating plum dresses. The boutonnieres featured majolica roses, nandina leaves, privet berries, and a ginkgo leaf.
FAVOURITE DETAILS OF THE DAY: We were so glad that we did a cell phone free ceremony! When we came down the aisle we saw everyone's faces, and it was such a memorable moment.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OUT TO A COUPLE PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? We weren't entirely prepared for the craziness of the planning process, but our day was still a joy and we absolutely love newlywed life. So if things get stressful, hang in there! It does get fun again. You might be totally surprised by the moments you expected to be special that fell flat, and the unexpected ones that you never could have imagined and you'll never forget. We were glad that we went into planning not feeling beholden to any "rules." We cut every element that didn't feel authentic or necessary (for example we didn't care to introduce the bridal party at the reception or do a bouquet toss). We spent our time focusing on the elements that were important to us and we were so glad we did!
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT? We were surprised by how much we loved our ceremony! We did a candlelight service at sunset, with low light and lots of candles. A solo piano played some of our classical favorites, including Clair de Lune. As Clair de Lune was playing, the moon happened to be rising, and when the angelic eight-person a capella choir sang "Ubi Caritas" during the moment to remember our family who has passed, a flock of birds glided past the front window. We had selected readings and music that meant a great deal to us, and our pastor was unbelievable. It was pure magic.
ANY OTHER DETAILS THAT HELP TELL THE STORY OF THE DAY: We served a selection of classic cocktails, everything from manhattans to martinis, and paired them with classic hors d'oeuvres. We also served champagne cocktails consisting of rose bubbly, St Germain, bitters, and a lemon twist, a drink we often serve at parties in our home.
Photographer CLARY PFEIFFER / Videographer EMILY HARD / Cake ELYSIA ROOT / Florist FLEUR / Stationery ALLIE HASSON / Ceremony Venue THE BUCHANAN CHAPEL AT FOURTH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH CHICAGO / Reception Venue THE LANGHAM / Designer CAROLINA HERRERA from ULTIMATE BRIDE / Shoes J. CREW / Jewellery BHLDN / Hair EMILY GRISSOM / Make-up KELLY BUSH / Bridesmaids' dresses BELLA BRIDESMAIDS / Grooms attire OLIVER & ROWAN BESPOKE / Planner LK EVENTS