While some couples have intriguing stories of how they met, the beauty of Brenna Robinson and Alex Nadelman’s first meeting was that it wasn’t riveting; however, it set them on a path that would change their lives forever. “No grandiose origin story here, but life is funny that way,” smiles Alex. “A chance encounter with a girl from Omaha at a bar in Chicago turns out to be the beginning of a relationship that lasts a lifetime.”
Three years later, Alex worked with Brenna’s family to plan a proposal under the guise of her father’s birthday celebration. While friends and family hid nearby, Brenna walked towards her beloved through a candlelit path to a balcony overlooking the city. Instead of reciting “Will you marry me?” aloud, Alex taught himself to say the special phrase in American Sign Language. “I am a sign language interpreter, so this was really thoughtful and adorable!” remembers Brenna of the sentimental moment. After she said yes, both of their families came out of hiding to celebrate with the newly engaged couple.
The planning process was going smoothly, until Covid hit. “We had to postpone our wedding three times due to the pandemic,” says the bride. Not to be deterred, they worked with their wedding team to ensure the big day was worth the wait. “The most important aspect for me was just to make sure Brenna got the wedding she dreamed of,” confirms Alex. His only request was to have a black-tie wedding in Chicago, and the rest was up to his bride-to-be. Since most of their guests were from out of town, they selected a luxury hotel off of Michigan Avenue for the convenience, attentive staff, and fine fare.
While their original winter wedding date had the couple leaning towards darker hues and cozy textures, they pivoted to a much different look for their reimagined July nuptials. “When we postponed to a summer wedding, we wanted fun, color, and for each room to tell a story,” confirms the bride. Since Brenna is admittedly obsessed with anything cheetah print, the design was incorporated in the envelope liner of their wedding invitation, which set the tone for the exuberant black-tie wedding to come.
As friends and family entered the ballroom for the ceremony, they were immersed in lively décor. “I am obsessed with wallpaper! We incorporated this into the wedding by creating a chic, oversized custom floral wallpaper,” confirms Brenna. “If that wasn’t enough, we made it living with fresh flowers attached to corresponding parts, so that it literally came to life!” Loved ones found their seats atop velvet chairs on either side of the aisle, lined with mirrored flower boxes showcasing ivory and blush hydrangeas, facing the incredible acrylic chuppah embellished with hundreds of billowing blooms.
“I am obsessed with wallpaper! We incorporated this into the wedding by creating a chic, oversized custom floral wallpaper... If that wasn’t enough, we made it living with fresh flowers attached to corresponding parts, so that it literally came to life!”
Bridesmaids walked down the aisle to “Seasons of Love” from Rent to honor Brenna’s love of Broadway, groomsmen processed to Alex’s favorite song “Can’t You See” by The Marshall Tucker Band, and the couple was escorted by their parents to traditional Jewish songs. Alex describes the moment Brenna walked down the aisle as when it all felt real. “Watching her walk towards me and thinking ‘I really get to marry this girl’ is a moment I’ll never forget,” he shares. To personalize the service, one of the bride’s favorite vocal artists Rick Recht performed, and Havdalah – which marks the separation between the end of Shabbat and the new week – was incorporated into the service.
Following the vow exchange, loved ones enjoyed a joyous cocktail hour before finding their seating assignments arranged on a table strewn with a linen in robin’s egg blue and decorated with tall gold risers displaying blue and pink hydrangeas. Upon entering the ballroom for the reception, the space came even more to life with a variety of different table shapes, centerpiece designs, and live music was performed by The Golden Coast All Stars from Gold Coast Events on a stage arranged where the newlyweds said “I do.”
To create a captivating reception design, the bride requested that tablescapes vary widely. So, loved ones found their seats atop round- or square-back gold chairs with lavender velvet upholstery, as well as curved ivory banquettes embellished with plush pillows. The modern, mirrored head table was adorned with a lush floral runner of hydrangeas that gracefully fell to the floor, while other tables showcased textured linens or mirror tops and wild centerpieces in lavender and pale blue. Even each guest’s place setting varied, with some attendees receiving a cut-crystal charger topped with a cheetah-print menu and others a pale pink plate with a floral menu reminiscent of the surrounding wallpaper.
The bride changed into a pair of sneakers before joining her new husband on the dance floor for their upbeat first dance to “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” by Jackie Wilson. The fun-loving dance helped start the party – as did an extra-long hora, which became a highlight of the night for Brenna along with listening to her siblings’ speeches. The Golden Coast All Stars kept friends and family on the dance floor all night, playing a blend of older tunes and modern songs in order to appeal to all generations in attendance. “I just thought the band was unbelievable,” affirms Alex. “They were all so talented and provided so much energy to the celebration.”
The bride changed into a sequin one-shoulder designer minidress with another pair of sneakers for the after-party. The energy was high, thanks to the live band, as well as late-night Portillo’s hot dogs and the vast array of desserts served throughout the night. Dessert carts surrounding the dance floor offered cupcakes, cookies, dessert bars, ice-cream bars, and more. For an added bonus, loved ones were encouraged to take home additional sweets from the candy bar that wished guests “sweet dreams” before they headed up to their rooms for the night.
Some of the links included may be affiliate; however, everything we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. When you make a purchase, we may receive revenue. Thank you for your support!