After first locking eyes at a pool party during graduate school, Amy DiMatteo and Jonathan Saigh became fast friends. “We both had significant others at the time, so there was no pressure to impress,” Jonathan recalls. Soon, their other relationships ended, allowing them to strike up a romance. Three years later, Jonathan proposed while taking a stroll on the beach during a visit with Amy’s parents – though he admits that “after two months of dating, I knew she was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with” – just one month after her older sister got engaged. The pair also immediately agreed on their venue. “The hotel was a no-brainer. It’s like a second home to us,” Amy gushes. “Why not add the best memory of my life to the Rolodex?”
While organizing her nuptials, Amy found that her groom wanted to dive headfirst into the process. “He was involved in every decision besides the dress!” she reveals. When the time to find her gown arrived, Amy ventured to Dimitra’s Bridal Couture. The bride-to-be was set on finding a versatile outfit for her big day. “I wanted that big bridal skirt, but I didn’t want to have to carry it around all day,” she remarks. In an effort to create the perfect ensemble for her “I dos,” she was able to select the silhouette of one dress and the voluminous, detachable overskirt of another and meld them together – producing a romantic A-line gown with a lace bodice and a sweetheart neckline. “It was just perfect!” Amy exclaims.
Opting to hold their service in a nearby church, Amy and Jonathan elected to keep the décor minimal. “I wanted the beauty of the chapel to shine, so we kept it simple with two decorative floral pieces at the altar,” she tells. Though they were married in a house of worship, the couple desired to incorporate a few non-traditional elements, including a “first look,” which turned out to be the most special moment for the groom. “I will never forget the moment I turned around and saw my bride for the first time,” he smiles. According to their photographer, Heather KingenSmith, Amy and Jonathan desired an “epic Chicago” wedding-day photograph. “With Michigan Avenue’s magnificent mile just steps from the Four Seasons, we knew this would not be a problem,” shares KingenSmith. “The photograph of Jonathan dipping Amy in the middle of Michigan Avenue on their wedding day, with their venue in the background, was not only grand but very sentimental for them.” Amy also had her father and mother walk her down the aisle – an aspect of great importance to her, as they both had starring roles in making the bride who she is today.
“I wanted people to feel like they walked into a romantic dream,” explains Amy of the motif of their reception, which showcased ample greenery with touches of ivory, charcoal, and cream. The space designed by Hope Weis Consulting, who has designed many of the family’s important celebrations – including that of the bride’s sister – was dimly lit and tablescapes featured a whimsical compilation of low and high votives as well as centerpieces in a variety of shapes and sizes displaying classic florals. “Planning two sisters’ weddings within five months of each other was quite an experience,” begins Weis. Inherently the girls (and their fiancés) had very different tastes and visions for their wedding day. Sisters, yes, but two different women with different husbands-to-be!”
“Amy wanted a more relaxed, yet supremely elegant, feel,” explains John Hensel of HMR Designs, also noting she liked the idea of having organic textures complement the florals. “We employed lacy foliages on top of a circular lounge feature in the cocktail hour space. Fountain-like arrangements of fantastically long Hawaiian dendrobium orchids cascaded over the center of round tables, and oval tables dressed in luxurious graphite velvet carried tall, stately candles and compotes spilling over with hydrangeas, roses, and phalaenopsis orchids. Copius gatherings of candlelight knitted the room together, while organic rings of wild smilax foliage and pillar candles floated above the dance floor."
With both the bride and groom having dietary restrictions, they were excited that the venue was able to create a delicious menu within their boundaries. “Our close friends are still raving about the food!” exclaims Jonathan. The cake was designed with the dress of the bride in mind, and “the majority of guests still don’t know that it was gluten free,” adds the groom.
When looking back at the lovely and memorable moments from their vow exchange, one instance in particular stands out to the bride. “I took an hour to myself the morning of the wedding, which gave me time to reflect and get in touch with my emotions. It was amazing,” shares Amy. “I took a walk with my dad the morning of, and he gave me a lot of amazing words of wisdom about marriage. I then spent time with my mom, where she gave me her advice, and we shared a good cry.”