Chicago Loop Wedding at The National

Colleen and Andy envisioned an easy, sophisticated party that showcased the gorgeous city lights, and their courtyard ceremony and reception at The National delivered! Wedding planning by Anticipation Events and photography by DeAnda Photography.

How We Met

Andy and I met in the middle of February, 2013 at Mad River, a typical sticky-floor, bro-infested Big Ten bar in Lakeview. Two good friends brought us together, Andy’s roommate Rob and my friend Jessica from grade school. Despite being a Cardinals fan, I decided to ask for his number at the end of the night. About a week later in the snow, we had our first date in a cozy booth at Club Lucky in Bucktown and have been inseparable ever since.

The Proposal

One of our favorite weekend activities when the weather is nice is to head to the lake and spend time at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Whenever we go, we always check to see if the otters are out, and they literally never are!

April 9, 2017 was unusually warm for early spring in Chicago. We woke up early and like many beautiful Sunday mornings, we decided to go for a run by the lake. About a quarter mile into the run, we made a detour into the zoo. Since it was so early, all of the trainers were out with the animals. We were immediately distracted. After watching the seals show off their skills, we made our way to the otter exhibit.

As I watched a cute little otter amble towards the glass with a pinecone, Andy pulled the ring from a secret zipped pocket in his running shirt. I turned around to find Andy on one knee with the ring. I looked at him like he was a crazy person. Shocked and overjoyed, I accidentally put the ring on my right hand, and we walked around the zoo the rest of the morning, floating on air.

The Wedding Vision

We both knew we wanted a relaxed party atmosphere, and a little less-traditional wedding set-up. No stuffy banquet hall, no assigned seats, champagne at the ceremony, as much outdoor time as possible and lots of dancing. We also really wanted to showcase our two favorite things: the city and good food. Our venue really hit the nail on the head on both. The cozy lounged offered the perfect vibe we were looking for, and needed little in additional decorations– candles on all of the end tables, overstuffed chairs near the fireplace and framed portraits of famous Chicagoans on the walls. You know when fall begins in Chicago and the crisp air and sunshine snap the buildings in the loop into a magically clear focus? At night, the light shines a little more vibrantly. We wanted to try to capture that for our guests, and luckily the weather cooperated perfectly. Everyone was able to dance the night away in the courtyard in the middle of a beautiful building in the loop amid the city air and twinkling lights.

Favorite Memories

Some of favorite memories were out on the dance floor. The father-daughter dance meant so much to me. I’ll always remember watching the flower girls and my sister twirl around. There was also a couple guests super into the music and the band, basically appointing themselves jr band leaders. Andy and I took the advice of some of our good friends and took a minute or two to be alone and take in everyone. We stood on the edge of the dance floor watching all of our favorite people in the world dancing and having a good time.

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