Like many couples, Marlee Schuster and Matthew Somerman met on a popular dating app; however, Marlee made sure to do her due diligence before agreeing to meet her new love interest. “It took a few nights for Marlee to message back after she did her background checks to ensure I would be suitable for her,” Matthew laughs. After an incredible first date, the pair’s second outing almost didn’t happen due to Matthew getting sick, so Marlee suggested they meet for matzah ball soup instead of canceling. “It was from that day that my love for Marlee began to grow and I knew pretty soon that she was the girl I was going to marry,” he muses.

While vacationing with both of their families in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Matthew made his intentions clear on Valentine’s Day. As they got ready for dinner at his favorite spot, “I randomly put on a white jumpsuit, which complemented my tan, not knowing this was the night I would become a bride-to-be!” exclaims Marlee. He handed her a card with a love poem inside before continuing with the proposal. “That night was the best night of our lives thus far. Our families celebrated together over an amazing dinner filled with Champagne, tears of joy, lots of laughs, and churros!” she smiles.

As the father of the bride is a wedding planner in Chicago, organizing the details of the celebration was an even more personal experience than it is for most. “It was so special to me to plan this day that every girl dreams of with my dad,” affirms Marlee. “I spent so many years watching him plan other people’s weddings, and I was so excited when it was my turn.”

The ceremony was both elegant and modern. Two towering ivory vases filled with hydrangeas and orchids as well as oversized blooms marked the entrance, welcoming 235 guests into a space that set the tone for the rest of the fête. The bride was resplendent in a textured silk organza strapless gown with a tulle overskirt as she made her way down the aisle carrying a bouquet of vanilla peonies and garden roses. “She looked so beautiful and I couldn’t stop thinking about how lucky I was to be marrying her,” remembers the groom. On both sides of the walkway were custom glowing boxes featuring details inspired by the bride’s gown and topped with glimmering candlelight to provide a romantic ambience.

Bridesmaids dressed in ebony gowns with varying necklines and groomsmen in tuxedos witnessed the vow exchange from both sides of the grand chuppah enveloped in crème brûlée blooms and giant floral accents. “We wanted it to look like a Vanity Fair photo shoot, so we had lounge furniture for our bridal party to sit on,” notes Marlee of the unique setup. As both the bride and groom are Jewish, they incorporated traditional customs into the service, as well as familial heirlooms including the late grandmother of the bride’s prayer book and Matthew’s grandfather’s yarmulke. “Standing under the chuppah holding Marlee’s hands with our family and friends by our sides was by far the best moment of my life,” says the groom.

A glamorous reception followed, and guests were in awe over the décor, which was uniquely modern. A theme of mixed metals was incorporated throughout the space. Extravagant gold columns with hydrangeas inside swirling structures decorated some tables, others featured rose gold mirrored tabletops with chain-link candlesticks topped with white roses, and the last design showcased wooden tables with custom metal bases adorned with dendrobium orchids intertwined with chain-link décor that spanned the length of the table. Lucite numbers led guests to their respective tables, and each setting showcased gilded charger plates and menu cards featuring beautiful rose gold calligraphy.

To ensure loved ones had an incredible evening, the duo hired a 16-piece band to perform throughout the festivities. “Marlee and I wanted to make sure they played everything from today’s hits to the best wedding favorites you can think of,” affirms the groom. “We were dancing all night long with our family and friends!” To keep the energy going, guests enjoyed slices of a grey marble confection featuring Funfetti® cake with vanilla buttercream and banana cake with salted caramel and chocolate fudge fillings. Late-night snacks – including Chicago classics like hot dogs and Italian beef, a French fry bar to honor the bride’s favorite treat, and the famous “Cookie Fries” from the mother of the bride’s company, The Cookie Joint – were served to provide sustenance for the party that lasted until 2:30 a.m.

As the husband of a woman who planned their nuptials with her father, Matthew has sound advice for future grooms: “Be as available as possible and pick one or two things you really want. Once you get those incorporated, sit back and let your bride do the rest.”