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Real Wedding | Lia + John

Tell us a little about yourselves!

John and I met 5 years ago right after I graduated from the University of Georgia. John also graduated from there, but he was four years older so our paths never crossed. He was visiting his friend’s beach house, and I was visiting my friend’s beach house. Those two friends just happened to be siblings. John made the first move and asked me on a date, but I turned him down, having just graduated and wanting to be single. I turned him down one or two more times before he gave up. Later that summer, the same friend whom I stayed with at her beach house asked me if I had wished him Happy Birthday. I jokingly said I would and ended up asking him out. We went to a brewery on our first date, and it worked out ever since then. The friend who introduced us ended up being one of my maids of honor.

Why did you decide to get married where you did?

John and I did long distance while I lived in Chicago. Some of our best memories were our Chicago reunions after weeks apart. It’s our favorite city as a couple, so we thought of no better place than to have it there. Also, since our guests live all over the country, it is an easy place to get to.

How many guests did you have?


Tell us about your outfits.

I tried on probably over 50 dresses, but the one I ended up going with was always my #1 favorite; I think I was just scared to commit to such an important choice so quickly. I knew I wanted something that I could look back on in years to come with it still being timeless. I also love a dramatic train and a drop waist. So it only made sense for me to choose Nina by Danielle Frankel. I paired it with Danielle Frankel Manolo Blahnik's since the dress is a very unique off white color. My gloves were Varca Bridal which is a women-owned chicago native bridal brand. I worked with Giselle at Belle Atelier on all of my alterations, and she was an absolute gem to work with from start to finish.

What was the most important aspect for you, in terms of planning your wedding?

Making the weekend as guest-forward as possible. People are traveling and spending money to celebrate you, so we wanted to make it special for every single guest. Logistics and transportation were something we worked on with our amazing planner, Carly. We just wanted everything to flow so guests could enjoy the weekend without stress. We also were really passionate about having amazing food and drinks for guests. John and I love nothing more than a great meal and a glass of wine so we were adamant about having that experience for our guests. Food For Thought did a fabulous job on all things food and drink.

Were there any elements that were important for you to incorporate?

About 95% of our guests were out of state with a good amount having never even been to Chicago. Throughout the weekend, we wanted to pay tribute to our favorite city. From speciality cocktails being named after Chicago icons: the Al Capone (a classic old fashioned), the Chicago Fire (spicy margarita), and Lucie’s Lakeshore “Libation” (virgin lavender lemonade with a special shout-out to our puppy, Lucie). To Homecoming by Kanye West playing on the freight elevator as guests sipped on champagne while being transported to the event space. To instead of a traditional guest book, we had a Chicago Architecture book. To ending the night with the iconic Phil’s Pizza. Everywhere guests turned we made little odes to Chicago while the sun set over the skyline.

Any tips for couples getting married?

You’ll likely never again have all of the people you love together in the same room celebrating you. The couples’ energy and vibe is what fuels the energy for the entire weekend. If you’re having fun and enjoying every second of marrying your best friend, so will your guests.

Are there any vendors that you would like to tell us a little more about?

All of our vendors, including our photographer Alisha Tova were so fun, easy, and incredible to work with. Leaning on them for their expertise made the weeks leading up and the weekend a breeze. I am extremely indecisive when it comes to what I want and I am very visual, but every vendor was able to adapt to that and make our wedding the absolute best. At the end of the day, they are the experts so let them do their job. Every single one deserves a shoutout.

Photographer : Alisha Tova @alishatova | Ceremony Location : Saint James Chapel | Reception Location : Bridgeport Arts Center @BridgeportArtsCenter | Celebrant : Monsignor Merdian | Entertainment : Gold Coast All Stars @GoldCoastAllStars | Planner : Carly Carynski at Lola Event Productions @lolacarlyc | Rentals : BBJ Lines, Bowery and Bash, Festive Frog @bbjlatavola @boweryandbash @thefestivefrog | Flora : Life in Bloom @lifeinbloom | Makeup : Shannon O’Brien @shannonobrienweddings | Hair : Erin Graham @eringrahamhair | Catering + Beverages : Food For Thought @fftchicago | Cake : Flourish Cake Studio @flourishcakedesign | Stationery : Steracle Press @steraclepress | Getting Ready : Alexander Wang | Wedding Dress : Danielle Frankel @daniellefrankelbride | Veil : Belle Atelier Chicago | Gloves : Varca Bridal | Alterations : Belle Atelier | Second Look : Khaite @khaite_ny Dress + Danielle Frankel @daniellefrankelbride Gloves | Wedding Rings : Suzanne Kalan (Hers) + David Yurman (Him) | Shoes : Manolo Blahnik @manoloblahnik | Brooch : Heirloom from Great Grandmother


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