On Jessica Lebovitz and Zachary Just’s first date, neither wanted the night to end. “As we got to know each other, I knew this would be the first of many amazing date nights together,” shares Jessica. And it didn’t take long for Zachary to realize that she, too, was special. “Jess is very family oriented and, as a nurse, has a lot of compassion towards people,” he says. One Sunday early in their relationship, Jessica accompanied her beau to his grandmother’s long-term care home for a game of bingo. “Seeing Jess have so much fun with my grandma and the other ladies, I knew then that she was The One.”
When a celebration for Zachary’s mother’s birthday turned into an intimate dinner for two, Jessica knew that her life was about to change. “As soon as we walked in the restaurant, I spotted our perfect table, where Zach had set up flowers and Champagne,” reminisces the bride, who couldn’t help but notice onlookers smiling with their camera phones ready. As soon as they got to their seats, Zachary was down on one knee. “He wouldn’t let me call anyone because he wanted us to share this special moment just between us,” she remembers; however, following the meal, he had another surprise in store for his beloved: Their families were all waiting nearby to celebrate the engagement. “It could not have been more perfect,” confirms Jessica.
When the time came to begin wedding planning, Zachary entrusted his bride to plan the celebration of her dreams. With two of the main elements – venue and color palette – already decided, Jessica was fully prepared to take on the feat with her mother, sister, and event planner. Since Jessica had visited the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago as a little girl, she knew she wanted her own nuptials to take place at the luxurious property. “When I was little, I would watch other brides getting married there, and I can’t believe I actually had my wedding there, too!” she exclaims. As for the color scheme, “I’ve always known that my colors would be ivory, blush, and pale pink with gold accents,” she notes of her choice to create an inviting and romantic setting.
At the entrance to the ceremony aisle, a large archway crafted from curly willow branches was decorated with white blooms and hanging amaranthus to fulfill the bride’s desire for décor with “a bit of an outdoor look.” Along the aisle, tall glass vases were filled with similar rustic-inspired arrangements atop risers, and pillar candles flickered from mercury-glass candleholders. An elegant chuppah was made of sheer pearl drapes gathered around each post with round floral tiebacks made of ivory blooms and light pink roses. A sparkling crystal chandelier was suspended overhead, along with the tallit of Jessica’s grandfather.
Bridesmaids wearing floor-length dresses in pale pink carried nosegays of spray roses and walked down the aisle to the sounds of “Today Was a Fairytale” by Taylor Swift. Jessica, who was resplendent in a strapless gown with a ruffled skirt, made her grand entrance to “Your Song” by Elton John. She held a romantic bouquet comprised entirely of blush peonies wrapped with an antique satin ribbon and pinned with a gold locket featuring photos of the bride’s late grandparents, so “they were with me as I walked down the aisle,” says Jessica. “Jess and I agreed we wanted lots of contemporary music,” muses the groom, who wore a dapper tuxedo for the sophisticated nuptials. Groomsmen donned tuxedos with bow ties and ivory boutonnieres to match the groom's attire. Flower girls wore vanilla dresses with frothy skirts and held charming pomanders made of spray roses suspended from ribbon handles.
Following the Jewish service, guests found their table numbers at an elegant escort-card table sprinkled with photographs of the couple’s family members on their own wedding days. Inside the ballroom, a long mirrored head table was adorned with ambient candlelight and blooms in ivory and blush. A mix of round and rectangular guest tables were decorated with either embroidered champagne linens or silver fabrics accented with textured runners and topped with various centerpiece designs. “Every table had its own unique look,” says the bride. Styles included low arrangements of white flowers and pastel pink roses surrounded by vintage mercury-glass vessels, golden votive candles, and tall glass vases filled with curly willow branches and vanilla blossoms to provide an ethereal, warm glow.
Zachary, who is an executive in the food industry, was very involved in the menu planning and music selections for the evening. “We wanted a high-energy night full of dancing, great food, and most importantly, a room full of love,” shares the bride. The newlyweds even got on stage to surprise attendees with an energetic performance of their favorite song, “Our Kind of Love” by Lady Antebellum. A four-tiered wedding cake embellished with sugar flowers and cascading antique gold rose petals delighted guests, as did a bar featuring frozen yogurt from the couple’s favorite shop. To honor the groom’s hometown, Chicago-style hot dogs and French fries were served out of a vintage cart at the end of the night. “It was a hit with everyone!” adds Jessica.
At one point during the festivities, the couple took a second to step aside and reflect on the day. “We looked at each other and said, ‘Wow.’ Seeing all of our family and friends out on the dance floor having the time of their lives made us so happy,” says Jessica. “I remember high-fiving Zach saying, ‘We did it!’” The bride reveals that besides marrying her best friend, she cherished sharing their wedding with those most important to them – “including my 97-year-old grandmother, who was the last one to leave the party at 2AM!” Jessica attests, “From the moment I walked down the aisle and saw the way Zach looked at me and felt the warmth of my family and friends, I knew I was the luckiest girl in the world.”