The moment Dan Vitale met Caley Chelios, he knew she was going to be a special part of his life. “I was immediately infatuated with her,” remembers Dan. “Anyone who knows Caley will admit you cannot help but get lost in her crystal-blue eyes and her infectious laugh.” Even when they were both attending and playing sports at Northwestern University, he knew that he wanted to propose someday; however, Dan waited until they had spent a few years developing their careers – his as a full back for the Green Bay Packers and hers as a reporter and color analyst for the Tampa Bay Lightning. After asking for the blessing of her father, Chris Chelios formerly of the Chicago Blackhawks, Dan planned a romantic rooftop proposal for Caley, which she happily accepted.
As Caley was working in Florida and Dan was playing football in Wisconsin during the planning process, the pair chose their shared hometown of Chicago for the location of their nuptials, since it’s where their families reside and also where they first met. To assist with coordinating the details from afar, they enlisted the help of talented Chicago-based consultant Hope Weis of Hope Weis Consulting. The ceremony took place on Chicago’s Gold Coast at a stunning chapel that required minimal decoration due to the impeccable architecture and stained-glass windows. Caley was ethereal in a gorgeous long-sleeve gown featuring illusion elements and floral lace appliqués from Dimitra’s Bridal Couture; she clutched a bouquet of lilies of the valley. “She looked absolutely stunning,” smiles Dan.
Following the traditional Catholic vow exchange, loved ones gathered on the terrace of a luxurious hotel overlooking Michigan Avenue for cocktails, including “The Billy” – the pair’s signature cocktail, which was named after their puppy whose photos accompanied the libations on butler-passed trays. When Caley and Dan arrived to the venue in a vintage 1946 Packard Clipper, the party truly began. Guests entered into the reception space as The Gold Coast All Stars, a 15-piece band led by Danny Chaimson, performed, sustaining the high energy of the festive occasion all night long.
Since the bride originally envisioned getting married outside in a romantic garden setting, Caley wanted the ballroom to feel intimate, romantic, and be full of flowers. “My design team knocked it out of the park with bringing that warm, Italian garden feel into a formal ballroom and completely transforming it to what we envisioned,” she adds. The décor, which was designed by Rishi Patel of HMR Designs, showcased lush florals in pale pinks and ivories accented with greenery. Sparkling crystal and mirrored elements added a glamorous feel to the soirée, as did soaring 16-foot-tall cypress trees and whimsical floral chandeliers adorned with cascading wisteria around the ballroom.
Following the delectable dinner service, loved ones enjoyed slices of wedding cake as well as mini cannolis, baklava, and chocolate chip cookies for dessert. After the pair’s first dance to“Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers, guests – including the father of the bride’s dear friends Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, John Cusack, Rande Gerber and wife Cindy Crawford, and Kid Rock, who had all watched Caley grow up – celebrated into the early hours. “[The band] had everyone participating on the dance floor, even family I never expected to see out there!” confirms the groom. “They also let me come up and play guitar, which was one of my favorite parts of the reception,” reminisces Dan of his epic performance of “Say It Ain’t So” by Weezer. Caley changed into a chic jumpsuit for the after-party that continued with a packed dance floor until 2:30 a.m. “Nobody wanted to go home!” adds the bride.
When looking back on their celebration, the pair wouldn’t change a thing – except to spend more time relishing the moment. “I was just in awe of the entire day, from the second I stepped foot in the hotel to saying our goodbyes at brunch on Sunday,” muses Caley. “It was the best day and weekend of our lives.”