Elegant Winter Wedding with Vibrant Lighting in Downtown Chicago

Ashley and Shane

Photographed by: Collin Pierson PhotographyLocation: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Though Alex Resnick and Shane Massel weren’t a good fit, their first (and only) date still changed their lives. “While Alex and I had a great time together, there wasn’t a spark; Alex, however, thought correctly that [her sister] Ashley and I would be a great match!” Shane reveals. With Rush, one of Ashley’s favorite bands, in town for a concert, it felt like the stars aligned for the last first date the pair would ever go on. “Watching Ashley in her element jamming out on an air guitar” was a moment that stood out to Shane, and after sharing their first kiss later that night, it was clear that there was something special. 

“I realized I wanted to marry Ashley when I would miss her on Sundays nights – even though we were together – because I wouldn’t be with her all day on Monday,” Shane reflects. At a dinner the couple had with both sets of parents, he was able to privately obtain her father’s blessing. Shane initially planned to pop the question during a family trip to Cabo San Lucas for the holiday season, but unfortunately the dream ring he had picked out would not be ready in time. Though he considered using a placeholder ring, it just didn’t feel right and thus the proposal was postponed. Shortly after the new year, during a blizzard, Shane got down on one knee atop the observation deck of the John Hancock Center in Chicago in order to ask Ashley to be his wife. “I had no idea the whole thing was being filmed and that both of our families were there to surprise us!” Ashley admits of the monumental moment. 

The December evening event started not with the ceremony, but with a fun cocktail hour. The sleek space was awash in purple lighting as attendees enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, wine, and specialty cocktails while mingling. Prior to joining the festivities, the couple and their loved ones took part in the ketubah ceremony, in accordance to their Jewish faith. “Our ketubah was custom-made and very special to us because it tells our story,” elaborates Ashley. The important document was painted with images to reflect their time in Chicago, as well as vacations they’ve taken together. 

Guests were seated in the round for the ceremony, allowing everyone to have an excellent view of the glamorous chuppah, which was photographed beautifully by Collin Pierson Photography. With 15 crystal chandeliers suspended overhead and thousands of white orchids, hydrangeas, and garden roses, the one-of-a-kind structure made a statement. Projected candlelight effects added to the atmosphere as Ashley walked down the aisle with her parents. She was a vision in a sparkling A-line gown featuring a plunging neckline and open back. “Seeing my bride for the first time and getting to watch all our closest friends and family walk down the aisle was beyond memorable,” Shane reflects. 

The reception space was elegant and wintry, without coming across as cold. Lofty floral centerpieces featuring white calla lilies and orchids were complemented with silver details. As with both the cocktail hour and ceremony, lighting played an important role in setting the mood. The purple glow throughout the room elevated the ambience, as did an Art Deco-inspired projection, which tied into the black, gold, and silver geometric dance floor. 

As beautiful as the dance floor was, after dinner it was hardly seen. The Gold Coast All Stars from Gold Coast Events kept everyone moving. “They played every song we requested and blew everyone out of the water!” exclaims the groom. “There wasn’t a dull moment the entire wedding.” Once the five-hour set was complete, guests went home happy with favor bags that included replenishing bottles of water and donut holes, in addition to hangover kits and New York bagels and cream cheese to make the next morning easier. 

“Ashley and I share many life values; however, family always comes first,” Shane affirms. “The love and support we received from our immediate and extended families, including their presence at every celebration along the way, meant the world to us.” The wedding night concluded with triumphant tears of joy, as the bride proclaimed, “[it was] the best night of our lives.”