1.4.20. The most magical day of my life! I truly could never put into words how much I loved our entire wedding weekend. The absolute best part was being surrounded by all the people we love, as cliche as that may sound. I will never forget what that feeling was like! But, there were so many little details that made this day even more perfect. I am finally recapping those all for you!
Overall, I think we did a really great job at sticking to what we wanted for our wedding. Not doing exactly what I saw on the Internet/Instagram, just our vibe and our priorities. The number one thing I recommend to brides-to-be, is to not for one second feel like your dream wedding has to look like someone else’s dream wedding. Do you- you will never get this day back! xo
We chose to use a local designer for our invites, instead of one of the wedding invite websites. This was just personal preference, as I love to support a local entrepreneur, and also had a specific look in mind! Not pictures: in insert that had all of the wedding weekend details, which had a really cute minimalist design on the back as well :).
Pro tip: if your wedding is around a major holiday, send invites out early! Expect a lot of people to send rsvp’s back last minute!
We booked Tionna with Wedicity Wedding Day Detailing 6 months out from our wedding. This was a huge help in keeping us organized and on schedule, as well as finding some of the vendors. You still have to be active in the planning, but having her expertise and organization was so amazing. Tionna and her team were amazing to work with and so incredibly helpful, especially day of!
On Friday morning I got a spray tan from Art+Science in the West Loop (Rae is the best!); ideally I would have gotten this on Thursday but lots of things were closed due to the New Year. It worked out fine, though!
We then got set up and ready at the hotel (we stayed at the Hyatt Regency on the river). My hair and make up stylists came to my hotel room to do my hair and make up before heading to rehearsal and dinner.
I decided to go against the traditional bride in white for the rehearsal; I absolutely LOVED this look and can’t wait to wear this dress again in the future! My dress was from Reformation, but it is unfortunately sold out. Linked here is a similar gorgeous option! My shoes were from Nordstrom and are also sold out, but I LOVE this option linked here.
Rehearsal dinner was at Topo Gigio in Old Town. I really wanted an old school Italian vibe for my rehearsal dinner, because it’s what I grew up on and reminded me of all of my cousins’ wedding growing up. This is where you’ve got to just do you! I didn’t feel the need to have a super fancy rehearsal (although it was still really nice and a great space!); do your own style! We loved our rehearsal dinner so much because it’s the kind of food Blake and I love, and it was a great space to spend the night with our loved ones. The food was great, the open bar was so fun to have, and the speeches were so amazing. It was truly the most perfect rehearsal dinner 🙂
The Morning Of
We chose the Hyatt Regency because it was a great central location for people to be able to explore the city a little if they wanted to, and the views from the rooms were gorgeous! The bridal suite was big enough to be comfortable for my large wedding party, and the food they catered for breakfast and lunch were actually great! They have quite a few menu options to choose from, which was nice. We had breakfast ready right after everyone arrived, and lunch a few hours later.
Our photographers, videographer, and wedding planner were so helpful the morning of! It was so nice to have them help get everything organized and keep us on schedule. We had a bit of a tight schedule, because we took pictures at a separate location before to the ceremony, so it was important we stay on the timeline that Tionna (our planner) created!
The First Look
We did our first look outside of the hotel, because it was convenient and there was a pretty view of the city! It was cold for sure, but I didn’t love any of the indoor options in the hotel. Plus I just prefer natural light!
We were both so emotional when we saw each other, and also just completely on cloud 9. I think we were both a little speechless- just feeling like we couldn’t believe the day had arrived.
Can’t even handle how handsome Blake looked! He got a custom suit from Grant McNamara of GPS style. Funny story: after Tionna suggested Grant for Blake’s suit, Blake actually sent a picture of Nick Viall from the Bachelor with a look he loved and Grant replied that he worked on some suits for Nick! He was definitely a good match for Blake and did an amazing job.
Blake’s shoes are linked here (they looked so great and he will definitely get more use out of them!)
After our first look, we hopped right on the trolley for the next stop! The trolley was a little tight for us, but we had a huuuge bridal party lol. We still made it work! It was a white trolley and really pretty for winter 🙂 We provided drinks and snacks for everyone on the trolley, too.
Bridal Party and Family Pictures
We headed to Garfield Park Conservatory for bridal party photos. We purchased a permit for our wedding day to have the space for an hour for family and bridal party pictures. It was so gorgeous there! I chose to do this because it was just way too cold to take pictures outside. I will say, doing this definitely put us on more of a time crunch. However, the pictures turned out so gorgeous! The conservatory is open to the public, so just expect there to be people there. However, everyone was super understanding and didn’t mind letting us take our pictures.
My bridesmaids wore a black velvet or satin dress of their choice (I wanted them to feel amazing in whatever they wore!). Our flowers were done by Revel. The boys rented tuxes and suede loafers from The Black Tux.
I also chose to have both of our parents come along for these pictures, because I wanted to get some pretty family shots other than just in the church. We got the family photos out of the way first so that our parents could be off the hook and head to the church 🙂
We then headed back on the trolley to St. Clement’s Church in Lincoln Park for the ceremony. It was beautiful; the church is stunning! My cousin is an insanely talented opera singer, and she got to sing a couple of songs for us. It made the ceremony that much more beautiful 🙂
Our reception was at the Bridgeport Art Center in the skyline loft (they have two options for weddings). We knew this was our venue the second we stepped in to tour it. It’s exactly our style, and the space is so beautiful that I knew it would be perfect for my decor vision.
We first took some photos with sparklers in the Sculptural Garden of Bridgeport (we got lucky, because it wasn’t being used for another wedding that night!) I absolutely love how these photos turned out.
We then got to head up the elevator- one of our very favorite parts of the venue. It’s a HUGE old warehouse elevator, and it had a bar with champagne in it with “Sweet Home Chicago” playing in the background. Truly EPIC.
We did our first dance to Coming Home by Leon Bridges. We are both obsessed with Leon, and one of our favorite memories together is seeing him at Lollapalooza a few years ago. It was perfect!
Our food was catered by Homestead on the Roof. With Bridgeport, they have a preferred vendor list- so my options were more limited than I would have liked (I wished I could have brought in my caterer of choice), BUT our food ended up being amazing. We did passed appetizers, and plated dinner with 3 options (beef, fish, or vegan).
We also brought out an ice cream cart with gelato bars and cookie sandwiches made by my Godfather (Zarlengo’s Italian Ice- they are based in Chicago Heights but you can find them around the city!). Everyone was soo excited about this part- it made me so happy! We have the cart at every Zarlengo family wedding, so it’s definitely become a tradition.
Our decor was all done by Revel Decor. They did such an amazing job (they did our bridal flowers as well). I cannot recommend them enough! I was obsessed with every last detail- they really helped bring my vision to life. I wanted wintery greens, white florals, and some rustic/vintage simple touches. The cafe lights and all of the candles were my favorite part- I wanted to give off the feeling that you stepped into a cozy cafe or restaurant!
For the menus, I decided to make those myself using a template from Etsy. They turned out so perfect- minimalist and exactly how I wanted them!
We rented large farm tables for our head table- something I really wanted for my vibe 🙂 The head table was so gorgeous!
Can’t forget to mention the skyline view of this space…just pure magic. Ugh I love Chicago!
Our band was The Chicago Catz and they were seriously the most fun ever! We literally danced the entire night- they made the night that much more special. One of the main singers was actually a Voice contestant and she was unbelievable! Having a band was a priority for us because we both justy love live music. They did not disappoint!
I feel like I could go on forever (and share a million more pictures), but I’ll wrap it up here. I can’t wait for our full wedding video to come in! When it does, I’ll be sure to share.
I will never be able to fully explain how magical our wedding was. We are so blessed to have the most amazing family and friends in our life. I married the man of my dreams on a night I will truly never forget. I only wish we could do it all again!
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this little recap 🙂 All of the main vendors for our big day are listed below! xo
- Hair: Kelsey Morgan Hair
- Make Up: Brandi Koerten Makeup
- Wedding Planner: Wedicity Wedding Day Detailing
- The Dress: Alexandra Grecco from Alive in Ivory
- Photography: Trailhead Creative
- Videographer: Sauer Productions
- Venue: Bridgeport Art Center
- Catering: Homestead on the Roof
- Decor and Florals: Revel Decor