After years of dating Elizabeth Weiss, Brett Sterling was unexpectedly stricken with a dose of life without her. “Lizzy had to go back to Chicago for a surgery while I was in Pennsylvania [for professional hockey season],” he shares. “It was not the same without her around – it felt like I was missing something.” Wishing to avoid that feeling in the future, the handsome athlete began to shop for an engagement ring… a ring Lizzy accepted with joy when Brett surprised her with a proposal in front of their new home. “He swears I interrupted him and said ‘of course,’ while he was still asking,” she says, “but I swear I let him finish!”

Rather than risk an alfresco wedding to the uncertain Chicago weather, the pair decided to try to bring the outdoors in. “Our designer listened to how we wanted our wedding to feel, and designed a room for us that was perfect in every detail,” says Lizzy. Four magnificent trees adorned with flowers and candles lent an outdoorsy feel to the couple’s chosen venue, while the strategic placement of the lush décor created an intimate environment for 200+ guests. Plush vanilla drapery served as a backdrop for the ethereal stage erected for the vow exchange, and a collection of creamy gladioli were arranged to create a gorgeous chuppah. A beautifully understated aisle was fashioned from flickering candlelight and large tree branches. The dreamy sophistication continued with ambient lighting that reflected beautifully from faceted chandeliers. “Our room felt outdoorsy, warm, and very much like us!” says Lizzy.

The couple incorporated aspects of their respective religious beliefs into the service, as well as personal touches that reflected them both. “The most unique aspect of our wedding had to be the music and how it all came together,” asserts Brett, whose picks with Lizzy for the ceremony included hits by Coldplay, Eddie Vedder, and Bob Dylan. “Essentially, we looked at our ceremony music as a way to communicate our feelings for one another to our guests – the songs were kind of like our musical vows,” says the bride.  The recessional was made to the song “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen, “an ending we couldn’t have planned better,” adds Brett.

For the formal reception, escort cards were set on a mirrored table that featured an arrangement of upside-down gladioli. “When guests looked down to find their card, they saw the flowers reflected above!” remembers Lizzy. The décor echoed elements from the ceremony, and included lush floral arrangements creatively arranged throughout the ballroom. Glowing candlelight and abundant bunches of orchids, roses, and ranunculus in shades of celery and cream were arranged in centerpieces. Guests were gifted with customized shortbread cookies shaped like French fries and served with tasty dipping-sauce “condiments.” “They were such a big hit!” says the bride.

A multi-course sit-down dinner was followed by the presentation of the pair’s white wedding cake. Guests chose between fillings of buttercream, cream cheese, passion fruit, and peanut butter with salted caramel. The sweet fix provided the burst of energy the crowd needed for dancing – a live band played an eclectic mix ranging from swing to 80s rock to hip-hop, electrifying the room. “The music was absolutely phenomenal,” enthuses Brett.  “Not only was the band the best wedding entertainment I had ever seen or heard, the energy and charisma with which they performed and interacted with the guests cannot be rivaled.”

At midnight, the band began to sing “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, and pulled the couple up on stage. “Everyone on the dance floor gathered around to jump and cheer while we sang,” describes the couple of their shared favorite moment of the evening. “They absolutely made us feel like rock stars!”

As the band played on, Brett and Lizzy reflected on how much their special day was enhanced by music. “We chose songs that were meaningful to us as a couple and had lyrics or a certain feeling behind them that really spoke to us,” asserts the bride.

“And although all the selected music and the way it was performed was not traditional for a wedding, it was perfectly our style and could not have played out any better,” affirms the groom.