Inspired by images of an inviting, timeworn barn in the Great North Woods countryside, Dana and Greg set out to create a beautiful event that would transport their guests to an enchanted space sprinkled with sophisticated rustic details.
The couple met in college, their love story crowning with a one-year engagement. The timeframe provided Dana the opportunity to draw on her interior design experience to plan the wedding of her dreams with the help of her mother, who conspired from afar. “My mom made everything easier for me,” says the bride, “she was amazing.”
Dana’s wish was to hold the wedding in her hometown of Chicago, so the couple settled on a luxurious hotel known for its beautiful architecture and unparalleled level of service. Dana planned to transform the space of the venue's Grand Ballroom into a magical reception area filled with vintage-inspired rustic details. “The challenge was to take an elegant setting like the Four Seasons and give it that North Woods aesthetic in a refined way,” she says.
The couple wanted to include customary elements from their Jewish heritage in their ceremony while also incorporating special tokens from their family history. “After all, these details made the ceremony incredibly personal and special,” explains Dana. The beautifully embroidered tablecloth used to create the chuppah was hand sewn by the bride’s great-grandmother; the prayer book utilized was the same one that Dana’s grandfather used at his bar mitzvah; and the prayer shawl draped delicately on the couple was from the groom’s bar mitzvah. The final touch of sentimental significance to the bride was having a piece of her mother’s wedding dress sewn onto the inside of her gown. “I thought it was special to have a part of my parents with me throughout the evening,” she describes of the custom stitching.
A magnificent staircase led the 245 guests from the mahogany-filled preassembling room up to the ballroom for the ceremony. The high ceilings boasted glimmering crystal chandeliers while champagne-colored silk fabric and patina wood paneling adorned the walls. The floors were an expanse of neutral bloomy carpeting and marble of light sea green, bullion, and cream.
Several chandeliers were enhanced by birch creations, which descended from the ceiling, buoyant with hundreds of glowing pillar candles. Diaphanous pearl-hued silk chiffon draping softened the entrance and traversed the area. “The tension between rustic and elegant was on full display,” says Dana.
The lovely bride clasped a bouquet of distinctive pale gray succulents sprinkled with white anemones and Majolica spray roses, lisianthus, blush pink Eskimo roses and mini wax flowers. She wore her wavy chestnut hair long with the sides pinned gently back; the simplicity of her jewelry-free neck and arms allowing ambient light to present her naturally radiant beauty.
Bridesmaids wore floor-length gowns in the fairest whisper of pink and carried their own succulent bunches. The groomsmen were debonair in black suits and ties with Greg cutting a fine figure in a Midnight Blue tuxedo and matching bow tie.
A vanilla aisle runner flowed between sections of guest seating, and was lined with flickering metal candle lanterns. Smaller hurricane lamps illuminated the walkway, lined with rows of French Country seating with crème brûlée cushions. White and blush pink roses teemed in pillar vases while harmonizing roses garlanded the birch trellis.
For the reception, guests found their seating cards penned in dramatic calligraphy, placed amongst a glorious centerpiece of garden roses, topiaries in crystal containers, and mercury glass. “We focused on making everything look as though we’d been collecting the objects for years,” shares Dana.
Round reception tables were sheathed in gunmetal shantung embellished with overlays featuring motifs of a snowy garden. Rectangular wooden farm tables were interspersed and covered in silver shantung with linen runners and coordinating napkins. An ambling selection of vintage vessels, candlesticks, and rosy florals ornamented the tables. Place settings were finished with lovely Sevres china patterns in alternating colors of celery, ocean, peach, and lavender.
The soaring wedding cake was a butter cream delicacy enveloped in ivory textured strips top-to-bottom and accentuated with additional fresh roses. The couple rejoiced with their loved ones and danced the night away to a live orchestra, made complete with a surprise set from Dana’s father’s band. The groom sums up the special day: “Cake, flowers, the menu... though important, these basics aren’t what you will remember about the night. Just have fun and relish every minute.”