After a dream engagement during a helicopter tour of Kauai, Hawaii, Maggie and fiancé Kevin Prendergast could think of no better place than the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago to start their lives together. “We knew we didn’t want any component outside and we wanted our guests to be able to take a quick elevator ride up to their rooms once the party was over,” Maggie notes. While the bride took the lead on the majority of the coordinating, the groom knew where he might be most helpful. “Maggie has far better taste than I do when it comes to decorations and music, but I did enjoy the tastings and helping pick out the food very much!” Kevin laughs.
While the planning process was certainly eventful, the journey of finding “the dress” was a harrowing one. “I saw the most beautiful gown online, so I called Dimitra’s Bridal Couture,” Maggie begins. “Sadly, they told me that since it had just debuted at Bridal Fashion Week, they wouldn’t have it available for purchase until after my wedding.” Disappointed but determined, she continued to search for “the one” and tried on a slew of pretty gowns. However, her mind was still on that stunning, beaded, V-neck ensemble. “I called Dimitra’s again on a whim and begged them to find a way to let me try it on. They pulled some strings and had it sent over from New York, straight off the runway! They really went above and beyond for me,” she beams. “Once I put it on, I knew it was my dress.”
Hope Weis, who has planned and designed a number of important life events for the bride’s family, helped the duo create an idyllic atmosphere for their vow exchange. “I was beyond honored to receive Sarah’s call that Maggie and Kevin were engaged. To be trusted to plan multiple events for a family is the greatest compliment I could be given,” shares Weis. When envisioning her special day, Maggie affirms: “I wanted it to be warm and intimate, with nothing feeling overly curated – even though, in fact, it was planned down to the votive.” The space was filled with reflective elements accented by candles of varying heights and opulent chandeliers suspended overhead, all accompanied by soft lighting, against a creamy linen backdrop. “The openness, warmth, and trust in collaborating to create Maggie and Kevin’s vision was a true joy,” notes Weis. “To watch the day unfold and witness the joy and love was a gift.”
Maggie strolled down the aisle with both her mother and father, as they both “embody partnership” and had an equal hand in raising her, according to the bride. “I wanted the first time I saw Maggie that day to be walking down the aisle, so no ‘first look’ pictures,” adds Kevin. “Seeing her enter the room was one of the most emotional experiences of my life.” The officiant started the service by listing aloud each state and country from which the guests had come, which left the duo feeling humbled by the love of friends and family.
Prior to the reception, the couple spent a moment alone together. “Maggie and Kevin loved the classic, romantic vibe of the Four Seasons bar,” explains their photographer, Heather KingenSmith. “After they got married, the newlyweds enjoyed an intimate toast as husband and wife while we created some nontraditional wedding photographs that captured their chemistry with a fashion-forward vibe. Having this time alone is something we recommend to everyone!”
Continuing the blissful and cozy ambience from their ceremony, the reception ballroom was bathed in neutral hues, infusing a hint of gold accents throughout. “I wanted the flowers to feel like my dress, with a lot of texture and depth, so we had three different heights of centerpieces in the room,” Maggie notes. Her floral designer, John Hensel of HMR Designs, shares that the bride’s wedding “required a certain regal tone to it, and yet, it could not be overwrought in any way,” he notes. “We quickly understood that the florals would be abundant and designed in a timelessly elegant way that would be only one thread in a wonderfully rich tapestry of details. Additional crystal chandeliers were brought in to augment those already in the ballroom. Magnificently scaled elevated arrangements of cream and very pale blush roses added impressive stature to the room… Each layer of detail was carefully considered with special attention to how and what it contributed to the overall look.”
Attendees enjoyed a sit-down dinner by candlelight, followed by a slice from the newlyweds’ four-tier chocolate-and-hazelnut wedding cake. “The best!” gushes the bride. Additionally, Maggie made sure both of her parents had space to make a toast, and similarly, ensured she was able to address their nearest and dearest, forgoing the tradition of only the groom making a speech. The night was topped off with plenty of lively dancing. Muses Kevin: “The band put on a tremendous performance, which included choreographed violinists!”
When mulling over advice she might have for future brides and grooms, Maggie relates the success of their event to practicality. “Create a great checklist and figure out the best way to organize details according to your own personal style (Excel sheet, Word document, binder, etc.),” she states. However, when it comes to experiencing the big day, “attitude is everything. Choose to look at the process with joy and a good sense of humor – everything else will follow.”