After connecting on a dating app, Alisa Strikas and Tim O’Donnell decided to meet in person at a local spot. “We both planned to just grab drinks and see how things went, and we ended up hanging out for more than three hours and having dinner together,” shares Alisa of their first date, where they hit it off even more than they had expected. The rest is history, and before long, Tim proposed on the front porch of their home they had just moved into together with their pup. 

When planning their wedding, Alisa and Tim knew they wanted to get married in Chicago, as it’s where they both grew up and where most of their family still resides. “We love the city and have so many memories here,” the bride confirms of the cherished location. 

When organizing the details of their wedding at a historic 1920s-era building, the couple relied on their wedding planner – Jen Ganson of A Fresh Event – to bring their vision to life. “I had a hard time envisioning what I wanted but knew the overall vibe I was going for. Jen read our minds and everything she presented was spot on!” 

Leaning into a bold, wintry color palette of black and white, friends and family found their seats for the ceremony on either white or black chairs dotting all four sides of the dramatic, geometric black-and-white square flooring element. String lights were draped overhead, and a spherical chandelier glistened above the spot for the vow exchange. The bride was gorgeous in a sparkling cap-sleeve gown with a plunging neckline and delicate bow detail at the waist as she made her way towards her groom for the short-and-sweet nuptials witnessed by 186 attendees. 

“Our wedding was a formal black-tie optional event with incredibly beautiful décor, but it was still a relaxed and fun event… That’s very us!”

Following the “I dos,” guests enjoyed a cocktail hour while the same space was transformed for the chic black-and-white reception. “The black and white allowed us to have a formal, but fun, event with some sparkle… It was formal, yet edgy and different,” confirms Alisa. 

The black-and-white flooring from the ceremony became the dance floor, and surrounding tablescapes alternated between all-black or all-white designs that wowed. White tables featured sequin linens, towering architectural arrangements of roses, hydrangea, orchids, anthurium, and bleached Italian ruscus, while black tables highlighted ebony sparkling linens and warm candlelight emitted from votives and taper candles in varying heights. 

After dinner was enjoyed, friends and family savored an array of delectable doughnuts, cupcakes, and more from the dessert table before hitting the dance floor. “Entertainment was really important to us, so we got an incredible band and everyone had a great time,” confirms the bride of their choice to hire Rush Street Rhythm of Gold Coast Events, and later in the night, dueling pianos provided the after-party entertainment. 

“Our favorite memory was spending the night on the dance floor listening to great music and having fun dancing with our friends and family," she adds. "That is very much us in our element, and it was so special having everyone we cared about in one place.” 

Admitting they had nearly zero stress leading up to the big day thanks to the team of wedding professionals they trusted throughout the process, Alisa and Tim wouldn’t change a thing about their celebration. “Our wedding was a formal black-tie optional event with incredibly beautiful décor, but it was still a relaxed and fun event,” confirms the bride. “Everyone got to enjoy a beautiful evening, while letting loose and having a good time… That’s very us!”