“From the moment I saw her walk into our college English class and sit down across from me, I knew she was something special,” says Christopher Carrow of his bride, Nicole Moriarty. “I’d never been so instantly enamored of a woman in my life.” Fortunately for Chris, Nicole felt exactly the same way about him. “Something clicked immediately,” she says. “He was the most handsome, charming guy I’d ever met – and still is!”
After their engagement, the pair felt strongly that their wedding should reflect the love and appreciation they had for their guests as well as for each other. “Our vision was to have an event that really illustrated to our friends and family how much we care about them – it was very important to us that our guests felt special,” Chris explains. After selecting a guest friendly wedding date for Labor Day weekend, the pair booked a venue that had sentimental value: the University Club of Chicago. “From lunches with my dad, to New Years’ celebrations with my whole family, it’s been the location of so many happy memories,” says Nicole. “It was a natural choice.” The rest of the pair’s planning focused on a traditional Jewish ceremony, timeless décor, and brilliant food and entertainment.
Many details went into ensuring that the rituals of the couple’s nuptials were properly observed. “We had the ketubah signing and bedeken before the ceremony,” Nicole explains, “and the hazzan (Jewish cantor) from my childhood synagogue collaborated with the hazzan and rabbi from our current congregation.” Beautiful white fabric was draped to form the customary chuppah, and the couple sipped from a traditional kiddush cup during the service.
The ceremony décor was classic and romantic, including four towering arrangements of Monte Casino flowers at the entrance to the seating. An extra-wide aisle runner swathed the floor in white, and polished candelabras lined the pathway to the altar. Snowy columns added height to the elegant décor, while stained-glass windows above the altar gave a reverent touch of sparkle.
With the ceremony complete, the groom proudly escorted his bride up the aisle and later swept her into their reception. “Those were the two moments when I felt our marriage was real,” Chris confides. “Walking back up the aisle, and walking into the reception hall for our first dance represented the beginning of our marriage to me. Both of those memories are clear pictures in my mind, and I remember feeling so incredibly happy.”
The décor for the ceremony carried seamlessly into the reception. More towering candelabras adorned tables draped in white, and tea lights dangled from floral arrangements for a magical effect. “The room was magnificent but also a little dark, so we really wanted to keep the overall look light and lively,” says Nicole. The dinner menu was of great importance, as it gave the couple an opportunity to surprise and delight their loved ones. Guests enjoyed a duet of asparagus and wild mushroom croustade with a demitasse of wild-mushroom bisque before being presented with a mesclun salad with Vermont brie dressed in huckleberry vinaigrette. A choice of three impressive entrees was offered, and each delicious course was paired with wine. “We were excited to provide our guests with fun little culinary surprises, such as a dim sum station during the cocktail hour, and fun desserts after dinner, such as mini ice cream cones and chocolate shakes,” says Nicole. After indulging in the elaborate dessert bar, guests were treated to Chocolate Decadence wedding cake with Caraibe Truffle mousse iced in ivory buttercream.
The dance floor was packed from the first song to last, a sure indication that the party was a hit. “We extended the band’s overtime twice, and when they finally stopped playing in the wee hours of the morning, the dance floor was still completely full!” Nicole exclaims. The couple’s plan to create a wonderful evening for their guests in turn created wonderful memories for the two of them as well. “When I think back to that night, it was our guests that made our wedding so special and unique,” says Nicole. “Every single person was there to celebrate and have a wonderful time.” Chris wholeheartedly agrees. “My wife and I still talk about the wedding,” he says, “and we’re instantly smiling and glowing with the details that we remember.”