Aliza Rothstein and Jared Matthew grew up a few blocks away from each other. They attended the same private school from kindergarten through eighth grade, as well as the same high school. However, their age difference of one year kept them apart, until they met as day-camp counselors in 2009. Six years later, Aliza had been working in Lima, Peru. When she was done, Jared met her in South America so they could travel to Iquitos, Peru, as well as tour the Amazon River. On the last day of the trip, Aliza was starting to suffer the effects of the heat without having shade or water. As she told her beloved of her health concerns he said, “Well don’t kill me, but I have to ask you something,” and dropped to one knee. 

Soon after their return to the United States, the couple began planning their nuptials in their home of Chicago. Their biggest priorities were the band – as they wanted as much dancing as possible – and photography.  “It was really important to us to be able to relive this day through amazing photos (especially capturing the candid moments), so we chose Carasco Photography to capture our day,” the bride notes. 

Following their traditional Jewish ceremony, the newlyweds entered the gorgeous reception space, perfectly decorated in the ivory-and-gold color palette they selected during their engagement. “Our centerpieces were flawless!” Aliza exclaims. Rococo candelabra with crystal or pearl accents were flanked by roses and votive candles on the bullion tablescapes. 

Though the décor was elegant and classic, the bride and groom wanted to make sure the celebration was a fun time as well. In addition to a lively band that kept revelers on the dance floor, playful favors were offered at the end of the night. “We gave away scratch-off lottery tickets, so we could share our good fortune!” shares Aliza. Instead of a traditional wedding cake, the couple had a small confection made for the ceremonial cutting and also provided miniature donuts, tiramisu shooters, and milkshakes for dessert. 

While she wouldn’t change anything about the big day itself, the bride does note that she wishes she had enjoyed the engagement process more. “Sometimes visiting vendors felt more like a chore, and we should have looked at it from a more exciting perspective,” she explains. Dance lessons gave Aliza and Jared one evening a week to spend time together having fun, and made their first dance the most memorable moment for the bride.