The love story of Prentiss Koldyke and Max Smith began in high school when Max’s father married the mother of Prentiss’ good friend. They saw each other frequently at the house while spending time with their respective groups and had their first kiss while attending the Lollapalooza music festival; however, they went their separate ways after graduation and moved to opposite coasts.
“Many years went by before we were even in the same city, let alone the same room,” remembers Max. Delightfully, they reunited at a Chicago bar in Summer 2016. “It was a great evening, and I recall feeling like I would like to see Prentiss more now that we were both back in Chicago,” he confirms.
Their relationship blossomed, and the couple soon decided to spend the rest of their lives together – a moment Max cherishes even more than the proposal itself. After attending the concert of his favorite band Phish, the pair walked back home together along the lake. “We had an intense conversation about our life goals, what we value, and the future of our relationship,” reminisces Max. “We both came to the realization that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.” He proposed at her family’s Michigan home over Thanksgiving, and the newly betrothed began planning their nuptials.
When choosing where to host the celebration, Prentiss and Max decided upon their shared hometown of Chicago, as it’s not only where they met and grew up, but also where their families are based. “Everyone thought we were crazy to host a winter wedding in Chicago,” smiles the bride; however, “we truly got lucky with the weather – cold, but not Chicago cold.” To lean into the wintry setting, they selected a neutral design scheme inspired by cozy, warm elements. “We wanted everything to look natural and liked the Nordic idea of hygge,” shares Prentiss of their vision.
Hoping to create an informal feel for their short-and-sweet ceremony, the pair chose to ask friends and family to stand, rather than having a traditional seated service. The bride was radiant in a long-sleeve lace gown as she met her groom for the vow exchange on a raised stage embellished with fresh greenery and overhead twinkling lights. To ensure the ceremony was in fact brief, the bride and groom recited their vows in unison. “Glasses broke, people were cheering, Prentiss and I had to repeat our lines, our dog got to be up on stage with us,” describes Max. “It was all we wanted and then some.”
Focused on the experience of their 250 guests, Prentiss and Max organized an evening filled with delicious food, gorgeous décor, and spectacular entertainment. The large reception space showcased overhead beams suspending romantic drapery and twinkling lights. Loved ones were seated at wooden tables decorated with understated, yet beautiful, centerpieces featuring ivory blooms accented with fresh greenery and branches, interspersed with ceramic figurines of horses and stacked books, as well as plenty of ambient candlelight in the form of votives, taper candles, and floating varieties. The 24-person head table displayed an incredible overhang with florals and verdure that certainly impressed the couple, as well as their attendees.
Though Max was involved in the details of the day throughout the planning process, his main role was choosing who would perform. “The Gold Coast All Stars were beyond what we could have hoped for,” he affirms. “After the wedding, so many of my friends said that they felt like they were at a concert instead of a wedding… Everyone was blown away!” The live band kept the energy up all night long, as friends and family danced beneath an exquisite ceiling installation of fresh greenery, cascading blossoms, and crystal chandeliers.
As the evening came to a close, loved ones savored the special moments they spent together and with the newlyweds. Slices of a small cutting cake were enjoyed, along with an array of miniature desserts to sample in between dancing. Before heading home, friends and family took home an embroidered blanket as a wedding favor so they could always remember the warmth that was felt in the room that winter day.
Though the groom shares there were “too many memorable moments to count,” he and his beloved will never forget the sheer amount of love and positive energy they felt on their wedding day. He adds, “I had anticipated that our friends and family would make it a celebration; however, I was surprised at how the night really evolved into a celebration of all the people who have made our lives so wonderful.”