Lauren & Matt's Chicago Wedding

I've somehow managed to build a life for myself that is about 80% magic.

I went to school in Chicago at Columbia College and it was there that I first met Lauren. We are both natural leaders and when our professor imposed a semester-long full-class group project, we more or less shouldered the entire burden of the work (group projects - am I right?) and through that, we realized we were also very similar ladies and our friendship naturally bloomed.

Lauren met Matt in class at Columbia as well and from the very beginning it was clear that these two had something pretty special. We won't talk about the first time I met Matt (at a super loud club in Wrigleyville for Lauren's birthday) and wasn't his biggest fan (two guys were vying for her attention and I wasn't totally sure who was who and it was loud and I hate crowds and just immediately decided I didn't like either of them). Needless to say, I am THRILLED Lauren ignored my opinion because over the years, Matt has become one of my absolute favorite people in the world.

Since college, the three of us have only become closer. During my extended summer stays in Chicago for work, I lived with them and our crisp summertime Chi nights were full of last minute ice cream runs, coffee-filled mornings, and countless Sunday family brunches. The life that these two have built together is so beautiful and happy that getting to witness little peeks into it has really affirmed my belief in true love. So, when Matt popped the question and wedding planning was in full swing, I was beyond thrilled when they asked me to do their flowers. And when I say, "They asked me to do their flowers" I mean "I demanded they let me do their flowers and they agreed". Moving right along.

Chicago Wedding - Athletic Association First Look

Here's the thing people don't tell you about wedding planning: it's insanely easy for everyone's opinions about your big day to derail your ideal plans. Something I loved about watching Matt and Lauren's big day come together was seeing the way they honored their shared vision of what their wedding would be.

Chicago Wedding - Athletic Association First Look

Here were the non-negotiables:

  • open bar
  • good food
  • good friends
  • kick-ass DJ

If you're in the thick of your own wedding planning, I'd highly encourage you and your significant other to sit down (separately) and make a list of the top 5 parts of your wedding that are the most important to you. Then, get together and see where your lists match up and make those your golden rules. Funnel your budget towards those items and agree to let the rest fall as it may. It'll make your planning a lot easier and it will help ensure that the wedding you plan is the one you really want to have.

Chicago Wedding
Chicago Wedding - Bride in Bhldn Gown
Chicago Wedding - Groom Style

OKAY! Back to Lauren and Matt!! They both come from graphic design backgrounds and are art directors so every details meshed beautifully with its surroundings. The invitation suite was designed entirely by Lauren and even featured a custom illustration of their venue that she had made into a wax seal.

Chicago Wedding - Custom Stationary Suite

Their venue was the Tribune Tower in downtown Chicago. The views were AMAZING. The ceremony was heartfelt, officiated by a lifelong friend, and had everyone crying. Ok, maybe not everyone but I was bawling all of my makeup off. Anyone else just immediately crumble at weddings? No? Just me? Cool.

Chicago Wedding at Tribune Tower
Chicago Wedding at Tribune Tower

After the ceremony, guests sipped on passed wine on the roof of the building and when the rain rolled in (Chi weather - am I right?) we all moved downstairs to Howells & Hood for toasts, dinner, dancing, and the almighty open bar.

Chicago Wedding - Tribune Tower
Chicago Wedding - Reception at Howells and Hood
Chicago Wedding - Bud Vase Centerpiece
Chicago Wedding - Centerpiece

Their decor was minimal yet impactful. We created small round centerpieces for half of their guest tables and adorned the remainder with simple, chic bud vases. The decor was filled in with fun signs and gorgeous candlelight!

Rather than having a bridal party, Lauren and Matt just made sure all of their favorite friends were invited to the party and photos were taken of everyone as we danced the night away.

Chicago Wedding - Clever Reception Signs
Chicago Wedding - Toasts
Chicago Wedding - Reception Dancing

The wedding was absolutely magical. The fact that I was able to contribute to it in some tiny way still gets me all choked up. As I said at the top, this life I have is about 80% magic and I'm just completely blown away by the people I get to share it with and the beauty we all get to create together.

Chicago Athletic Association Wedding

credits

photo: Madeline Northway // ceremony venue: The Crown Chicago // reception venue: Howells & Hood // portrait venue: Chicago Athletic Association // dress: Bhldn