When Marc Rubensten first asked Kristi Phillips for her phone number, she responded with an eager, “I’m so excited!” Her sincere enthusiasm was infectious, and Marc loved it. “Over time, I learned that this impossibly beautiful, kind, and earnest image that Kristi projected wasn’t an act,” describes the groom. And true to form, when Marc asked Kristi to marry him, she shouted, “Yes, yes, yes!”

“And to this day she has never broken character,” he says.

Because of her naturally happy nature, Kristi realized what many women do not – that through the planning process, a bride has the opportunity to live out her wedding in slow motion. “During the tasting, we got to sample our food and enjoy every bite; while dress shopping, I was able to play dress up with my bridesmaids; and through dance lessons, we enjoyed our first dance over and over again,” describes Kristi of the memorable moments. “The process allowed me to experience my wedding throughout the year, until it all came together in one day.”

Though the duo didn’t have a clear idea of how they wanted their special day to look, they followed the advice of a friend and began writing down words on index cards that they’d like their guests to use in describing their wedding. Kristi started with the word “beautiful,” while the groom added “open bar.”

“After some laughs and several more cards, we started to create a vision of what was most important to us,” shares the bride.

Kristi and Marc focused on creating an ambiance of effortless elegance. “We wanted it to be glamorous, but comfortable and fun,” describes the bride. The twosome decided on an internationally known hotel and tower in their hometown of Chicago based on its magnificent views of the town, chic atmosphere, and amazing service. “We wanted to get married in the heart of the city, among the tall buildings, and with the peaceful Chicago River sweeping by,” expresses Kristi.

The ceremony took place in the Skyline Room of the luxury hotel, where dramatic ceiling-to-floor draping encircled the room. Violet rose petals sprinkled along the white aisle were met with groupings of hurricane candles in varying heights sitting on mirrored tiles. Tall candelabras cast additional illumination, and hanging ivory light fixtures gave off a warm glow. A raised platform showcased a stunning circular-framed chuppah swathed in sheer fabric that encased the couple and their loves ones during the vow exchange.

Kristi wore a classic strapless gown of silk satin and proudly walked down the aisle with her parents to the song “Marry Me” by Train. The groom was outfitted in a smart black tuxedo and wore a boutonniere that matched the bride’s collection of lush purple roses flawlessly. Kristi and Mark opted to incorporate traditions from both the bride’s Catholic background and the groom’s Jewish heritage. “It was important to me that both religions were included so both families could feel wonderful about the ceremony and the joining of our lives,” he says. Guests were able to follow along with the respective religious customs by way of a personalized program that included descriptions of the rituals carried out.

A post-ceremony cocktail hour was planned so that guests could enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the towering buildings changing color as the sun set. A striking arrangement of ivory blossoms and punchy purple orchids decorated the seating-card table that later transformed into a candy buffet for guests to visit at their leisure.

A dreamy color palette including hues of lilac, grey, and ivory was employed for the décor of the Grand Ballroom where guests enjoyed stunning views of Lake Michigan, the Chicago River, and the nightline of the city’s magnificent architecture. Round tables were covered with linens in a chic shade of steel and surrounded by clear Ghost chairs. Flowers in vibrant purple, violet, and soft plum adorned tall candelabras with dangling votive candles at most tables, while towering glass vases sporting ball-shaped arrangements were centered on others.

A glowing atmosphere, a room full of smiles, and live tunes filling the air made for a perfect ending to a sweet day. “The single most important thing to me was that we created an occasion through which every dream Kristi had ever had about her wedding day could come true,” confides the groom. “It was an amazing day... And we still have our whole life together ahead of us.”