Christina Dietel was the recipient of some priceless advice the day before her nuptials to fiancé Cy Monley. “It was recommended that I pick a moment during the wedding to stop, count to 10, and remember every single thing I saw and felt in that specific window of time, because the day goes by like a dream and I might otherwise forget all the small, beautiful details.” The counsel would come in handy during the whirlwind of the wedding, but with so many precious moments throughout the day from which to choose, the bride may have been hard-pressed to select a single favorite on which to focus.  

Influenced by the bride’s affection for the Golden Age of Hollywood, the affair was designed to emulate the glamour of gala events from days gone by. “We wanted a very magical and intimate theme, almost like an old-world ball,” Christina describes. “Not a lot of weddings are grand in nature anymore,” adds Cy, “and I believe the black-tie element really tipped ours over the top.” An illustrious house of worship was selected as the ceremony site, and the celebrated University Club of Chicago was chosen to host the reception that followed.

The Catholic church where the vow exchange took place featured a spectacular sanctuary replete with columns, colorful frescos, and brilliant stained-glass windows. Towering cathedral ceilings were trimmed in gold and bordered with elaborate moldings, contributing to the space’s overall sense of grandeur. As black-tie was the order of the day, Cy and his attendants were handsomely turned out in formal tuxedos, while bridesmaids were clad in burgundy gowns beautifully accented with bouquets of lavender roses. The bride made a stunning entrance in a gown with delicate straps and subtle beading on a gracefully embroidered bodice; elbow-length gloves in the same true white as the dress bestowed an additional element of formality to the ensemble. Sprigs of crystals dotted Christina’s bridal bouquet of creamy roses and calla lilies, while pavé rhinestones added sparkle to the heels of her custom, platform sandals. “I don’t cry much, but I started to tear up,” says the groom of the moment his bride appeared at the end of the aisle. “It was really hard not to!”

Guests reconvened in the Millennium Reading Room at the University Club to enjoy post-ceremony Champagne as well as soft music provided by a live instrumentalist. Shelves lined with books lent an academic air to the interlude while crimson floral arrangements added a splash of color to the scene. The Club’s storied Cathedral Hall was outfitted in timeless white for the reception, a lovely contrast to the Neo-Gothic stained-glass windows and rich inlays of wood throughout the palatial space. “The floral arrangements were our idea of elegance and glamour, with lots of crystal ornamentation and cymbidium orchids in a loose, open design to reflect our open personalities,” says Christina. Floating candles cast a romantic glow from columns of crystal that glinted in the light. “It was incredibly romantic and intimate,” affirms the bride. “The venue was something I really think reflected Christina and me,” asserts Cy. “Big, bold, beautiful and elegant.”

A five-tier wedding cake with a cascade of red roses concluded a formal sit-down dinner service of four decadent courses. The brother of the groom, a Broadway veteran, performed an original song dedicated to the couple that drew an emotional response from all in attendance. Christina and Cy then took to the dance floor for the first time as man and wife… and that was the moment the bride employed her friend’s recommendation to stop and breathe in everything around her. “I did it just before our first dance, and lo and behold, it is one of the finest, strongest memories I have of that special day – those 10 seconds where I just stood and took it all in. Thank goodness for that advice!” she enthuses.   The wedding reflected the grand, glamorous vibe of which the couple had been dreaming... and if it hadn’t, the groom still would have been utterly content. “At the end of the day, I have her,” he says of his dazzling bride, “and that’s all I care about.”