Chic Modern Wedding at a Museum Venue in Chicago

Juli and David

Photographed by: Carasco PhotographyLocation: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Juli Gilliam and David Dreifuss’ first encounter came about via a dating application specifically created for Jewish singles. “David’s opening line was, ‘my sister’s name is Juli, but she prefers it with an ‘e,’” laughs Juli. After agreeing to go out, both realized that, should the date go sour, their meeting could simply serve as a networking opportunity as they both worked in the same field. Luckily, the lunch date held more romance than professional value, and the two were soon an item. When David popped the question to his girlfriend, he elected to catch her off guard. “He proposed to me at home on New Year’s Eve right after I woke up from a nap!” she remembers. “I thought we were going to a friend’s house that night, but David actually arranged a dinner for just us.”

The pair wanted their wedding to have a unique flare. “I looked for vendors that were willing to think outside of the box and do things a little differently,” notes the bride. While she admits that the process was time consuming, the couple, their parents, and their hired team of professionals organized the event in nine months. Their venue, the Museum of Contemporary Art, was idyllic for their offbeat, fall nuptials. 

220 guests gathered in the ceremony space, which was bathed in white, including the chairs, floral vessels, and the beautiful drapery of the grand chuppah. Per tradition, the groom tread down the aisle accompanied by his parents – “he loves to golf, so they walked to the Master’s theme song,” Juli reveals. The bridesmaids complemented the groomsmen in differing, all-black ensembles. Finally, the bride entered the room in a sleek gown with a straight-across neckline and a striking bow on the back of the bodice. The couple recited sweet and humorous personalized vows to one another, mentioning their dogs as they weren’t allowed at the venue, but had gotten ready with them in the morning. David broke the glass, and the two were officially joined.

The reception color scheme was a classic black and white, as it was flanked by a large colorful wall. “It’s an open and airy space and I didn’t want to take away from that,” Juli says. “I also didn’t want to go overly romantic and whispy in such a modern space, as I think the two concepts would have been competing with one another.” Friends and family found their seats with custom escort cards sporting real photos of each guest. Place settings were clean and modern, featuring a completely clear reception menu on top of black napkins. “The centerpieces were enormous bunches of babies breath. When you take something as ordinary as babies breath and use it in an unexpected way, it becomes extraordinary,” explains the bride.

The party was kicked into gear by the lively music, but Juli and David included an additional source of entertainment. “We hired the karaoke band from a popular local restaurant – we opened the live band karaoke up to our guests for the last hour of the reception,” she tells. “David and I kicked it off with a duet we had prepared.” After a delicious meal, revelers enjoyed a slice from the modern, asymmetrical, four-tier yellow cake with salted caramel filling and buttercream frosting. “It was all memorable, but I really appreciated the brief moments we spent alone after our ceremony,” muses the bride. “They brought in all the appetizers for us to try so it was our own private mini-party before the real party.”

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