Vintage Chicago Wedding at Rockfeller Chapel

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Elizabeth and Ian met while attending the same graduate program at the University of Chicago, so it was only fitting that they held their wedding ceremony at the campus’ stunning Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. Their vintage 1920s theme wedding was photographed by A Gillardi Photo.

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The Proposal

Ian and I were long distance for 4 years before getting engaged. I had just arrived to his apartment after a 7-hour car ride, and he had flowers, wine, and the ring sitting on the kitchen table when I came in. It turns out that he had picked up the ring that day, and decided that he could not wait to give it to me. (He had been working with a jeweler to find the right stone for months!). Not knowing what was waiting for me when I arrived to Ian’s place, I had gotten a bit of a late start to my road trip, much to Ian’s chagrin! Of course, the fact that I said ‘yes’ when I got there made it all worth the wait.

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The Ceremony

We’re not very religious people, so we didn’t want a religious ceremony. But once you step out of the outline of a religious ceremony, there’s so much freedom with what you can do! We spent a ton of time making our ceremony unique to us, while also nodding to and acknowledging traditions that we knew our families would care about – from selecting songs (I’m gonna be by the Proclaimers!) and readings that were special to us to doing a rather unique unity ceremony (we combined scrabble tiles that we collected from our guests).

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Rockefeller Chapel Wedding University of Chicago Vintage Chicago Wedding

Our Wedding Theme: 1920s Vintage

My bouquet was made of white and peach roses and cream hydrangeas. My florist, Annie Occasion for Any Occasion, also put broaches and other jewelry pieces that were family heirlooms in the bouquet, and she lined the bottom of the bouquet with peach ostrich feathers to reflect our 1920s theme. For the bridesmaids, I handmade bouquets using cream ostrich feathers. For the groomsmen, I handmade boutonnieres using copper mesh and ribbons.

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Our DIY Wedding Details

We had a very DIY wedding. We made our programs and the menus for dinner. We used stencil numbers, spray paint, and clear glass vases to make our candle holder table numbers. We spray painted recycled glass bottles and made toppers with fake pearl strings, Styrofoam, and ostrich feathers for our centerpieces, and my mom made a cake stand and the party favors. My dad cut some copper piping and helped us weld it together for the backdrop behind our table and I strung Edison lights from it. We also made our own photo booth using PVC pipes, blackout curtains, and an iPad. So basically, all of our reception decorations were handmade!

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Wedding Planning Advice

Decide early on what parts of your wedding are important to the two of you, and remember to decide as a team. There will be a lot about your wedding day that doesn’t go as envisioned or planned – knowing when you can be flexible and when you need to put your foot down will be important. At the same time, remember that the actual day is about the two of you, but everything leading up to the moment you’re walking down the aisle is about everyone else but you! I know this sounds counterintuitive, but if it was just about the two of you, why did you invite all of those people?! As long as you pick a few things about the day that are cherished between the two of you and protect them with all that you have, you’ll feel more comfortable letting other things go, and saving yourselves headaches.

Oh, and open a credit card that gives you airline miles or other rewards!