Emily Cole and Alex Groden met while working as economic consultants in Boston, Massachusetts. After about two years at the firm, they got into a friendly debate about pizza: was deep dish or thin crust better? To settle it once and for all, Emily shipped Alex a deep dish pizza overnight from her hometown of Chicago. When the huge box was delivered to his office, Alex thought for the first time that maybe his crush on Emily was reciprocated. “It seemed like a big gesture,” Alex jokes. His hunch turned out to be right, and the rest is history. “But to be clear,” Emily interjects, “Alex admitted that the deep dish pizza was amazing!”

The couple’s 18-month engagement culminated in Chicago, Illinois, with a ceremony that Emily describes as “classic, but modern.” The bride donned a floor-length veil that spilled into the tail of a strapless mermaid dress, creating a frothy trail behind her. She walked down an aisle lined with pillar candles encased in glittering silver and glass vases of various heights, towards an altar draped with curtains that took on a soft pink hue in candlelight. In the reception area, sparkling chandeliers were suspended overhead and additional candles rested alongside centerpieces comprised of flowers in tones of soft pink, peach, and shades of leafy greens. 

Amidst the stylish modernity of the occasion, the couple worked to ensure personal touches truly made the day a celebration of their relationship. “Your wedding day should be about you. If you stay true to who you are, you will feel comfortable and your guests will sense that and have fun,” Emily affirms. Framed photographs of family and friends were displayed in a china cabinet, their favorite bottles of wine and metallic permanent markers stood in place of a guest book, and personalized ‘roses are red’ poems, a Cole-family tradition, were placed throughout the reception in lieu of signs. “It took extra effort to execute these details, but it was totally worth it,” she adds.

The bride and groom also provided guests with a taste of their love by sharing the cookies Alex gifts Emily on her birthday each year and every Valentine’s Day. “We wanted to give our guests a real glimpse into our lives together,” Emily explains. The couple also planned a four-course meal with an additional spread at the cocktail hour and, as an ode to the start of their relationship, deep-dish pizza was provided at the karaoke after-party. “We really, really love food!” admits the bride. The towering wedding cake alternated between layers of devil’s food cake with salted caramel and vanilla buttercream frosting and vanilla butter cake with raspberry and Nutella buttercream frosting. “Let’s just say nobody went hungry!” she declares.

Toasts from guests allowed the bride and groom to sit back and relish the familial support on the journey to their wedding day. “It was the first time we really had a chance to look around the room and realize how very special it is to be able to bring all of your closest family and friends together in one venue for one night,” the bride expresses. “We will never forget the love and support we felt that day.”