During Jennifer Cohen’s first date with Steven Fingerman, she remembers thinking to herself, Wow, does this guy actually exist in real life? “It was as if my soul mate walked into the bar and sat next to me,” says Jennifer. Talking for hours, the couple realized they grew up minutes away from each other, had attended the same temple and Sunday school, and even had mutual friends. Their relationship quickly flourished and after moving into their new condo, Steven surprised Jennifer with a proposal. “Besides our wedding day, [it] was the happiest day of my life!” she exclaims.

As a corporate event planner, the bride had made countless décor choices for clients, but Jennifer soon learned that she had a harder time making decisions for her own celebration. One detail she was sure of – the venue. “I always had the River East Art Center in the back of my mind for that day when it was my turn!” notes Jennifer. The ceremony was kept light with florals in shades of white, pale pink, and blush. A towering chuppah in the center of the room was surrounded by guest seating, as the couple was married in the round by the same rabbi who performed their consecrations, bar and bat mitzvahs, and confirmations.

Attendees shuffled into the reception to discover an array of unique décor elements. Lucite chairs surrounded two long tables that featured breathtaking ombré centerpieces composed of light pink blooms transitioning to dark red blossoms presented in striking lit transparent vessels. Even the wedding cake reflected the ombré theme with the floral embellishments that climbed up the confection. “When we walked into the [room], I was blown away. The vivid flowers, lights, and décor made a vision into an artistic reality,” reveals the groom. 

“Not only did we want our reception to be visually stunning, we wanted it to be personal and memorable,” says the bride. As longtime season ticket holders of the Chicago Bulls, the couple had the team’s official public address announcer record the wedding-party introductions. And instead of a formal guest book, they set up a confessional booth inspired by one of their favorite shows, The Real World. In lieu of favors, family and friends filmed seven-second videos that were transposed into a flip book; and as a surprise for the groom – a much relished hometown snack was served as a late-night treat. Says Steven, “I’m not a person to ever be speechless or unable to communicate; but that day, I was searching for words.”