She was visiting Las Vegas with her two best friends for the weekend; he was there for a bachelor party. Lisa and Paul were both prepared for fun getaways, but neither had planned for what fate had in store when their paths crossed. The two groups randomly met, gambled together, and got along splendidly. “We had so much fun together and I enjoyed getting to know Lisa so much that I couldn’t stop trying to talk to her even after the weekend ended,” he declares. And so their romance began.
When the time came for the couple to plan the sophisticated wedding they envisioned for 200 loved ones in only four and a half months, the numerous elements involved to achieve this feat took them by surprise. “Thank goodness for our coordinator, Beth [Bernstein]. She helped to keep us organized and thought about all the tiny details,” recalls the bride. “She was invaluable.” Since Lisa grew up in Chicago, she thought it would be a great location for the celebration. Moreover, having selected a New Year’s Eve date, the city’s major airport would be easy for out-of-town guests to travel to during the holiday season.
The ballroom of a luxury hotel was enrobed in snowy draping for the ceremony. Capturing the aesthetic of a sanctuary, per Lisa’s wishes, the aisle was embellished with contemporary stands boasting opulent tufted fabric, mirror tops, white petals, votive candles in golden vessels, and elegant crystal candleholders. A fashionable flower girl in a bullion dress with an ivory tulle overlay, faux fur jacket, and gilt ribbon crown followed bridesmaids clad in frosty silver beaded frocks.
A string quartet played the instrumental version of John Legend’s “All of Me” as the bride approached her handsome groom. A radiant Lisa wore an ethereal fit-and-flare gown with a sparkling beaded tulle overlay and sheer keyhole back by Monique Lhuillier. Gilded puffs of baby’s breath and leaves around the base accented her bouquet of vanilla ranunculus blossoms and peonies.
“[Pastor Bishop] officiated a beautiful ceremony for us,” says Lisa. Having given the bride and groom an assignment to write their hopes and dreams for their future and marriage, he then incorporated the heartfelt sentiments into the service.
“We wanted our wedding to be a festive New Year’s Eve party,” explains the bride of the reception. “We used lots of gold and sparkles, matched with white to give it a sophisticated, glitzy feel.” Thus, the ballroom was magnificently transformed. Colorful lighting reflected off a cluster of disco balls suspended over the glossy dance floor cast a confetti-like effect. The couple’s monogram design of a clock face with roman numerals and hands announcing midnight – introduced in their elegant invitation suite and repeated in menus and the cake stand – was projected on a pillar behind the head table.
Creamy arrangements with painted gilt touches decorated mirror-top tables and others swathed in pearl linens. One of the tall styles was inspired by a burst of fireworks and included calla lilies with bullion-hued stems. A sculptural orb was suspended from its stand, echoing the New Year’s Eve ball drop. Spherical vases and modern candleholders also continued this motif. Table numbers were displayed on mirror discs with glittery golden roman numerals. “[Our décor and lighting team] did an amazing job setting the tone perfectly for the evening,” extols the bride. “It was so breathtaking.”
To keep the fun atmosphere alive, the sit-down dinner and speeches were interspersed with dance breaks. The first dance tune started with Boyce Avenue’s cover of “We Found Love,” then transitioned to Rihanna’s original, at which point the bridal party invited everyone to join the newlyweds on the dance floor. “It was an amazing way to kick off the night,” notes Lisa. A generation dance to honor marriage was also part of the merriment. “The DJ played a song and slowly started eliminating couples based on how long they had been married. The last [pair] dancing had been married for over 60 years!” Lisa marvels.
Aspiring for such a future, guests received bombonieres: traditional Greek wedding favors consisting of delicate purses filled with five koufeta – white candied almonds – to represent the wishes of happiness, health, wealth, children, and a long life for the bride and groom.
“We also had the Chicago fireworks show as our backdrop, which was amazing,” shares Paul. “It was so cool to start the New Year with my new wife, while surrounded by all of my closest friends and family.”