Mindy, an attorney, and Matt, a consulting-firm marketing manager, met during law school in Chicago. After four years of dating, Matt popped the question and a wedding date was set for Sunday, August 28, 2011. To kick off their country-meets-city nuptials, they planned a weekend full of festive activities, including a welcome BBQ, wedding day brunch, and beach volleyball.
Out-of-town guests were given paper suitcases lined with old maps of Chicago and filled with Windy City goodies: bottles of Chicago Beer Co. beer, cans of Dad's Root Beer, a Chicago-themed book ("The Adventures of Augie March," "Devil in the White City," "Sin in the Second City," or "Boss"), Frango mints, and a tin of "Chicago Mix" from Garrett Popcorn.
Matt wore a vintage Lanvin tuxedo and monogrammed platinum-and-diamond cufflinks, which belonged to his grandfather.
Mindy's Vera Wang "Esther" gown (from Saks Fifth Avenue) boasted English netting, Chantilly lace appliques, and satin-covered buttons. A custom silk-taffeta bow belt cinched her waist, and a French silk-and-tulle veil by The Dress Doctor crowned her head. (Later, she changed into a crystal headband from The Left Bank.) Adding sparkle were the finishing touches: crystal-embellished stilettos by Nina Ricci and antique pink-pearl-and-diamond earrings from Matt's grandmother. She also wore a pendant, a gift from the groom, and her grandmother's silver-and-opal heirloom ring.
Rachel Alvia of Avail & Co. designed the vintage-inspired silk-chiffon ball gowns with taupe underlays and blush-colored sashes. The eight custom dresses were designed and completed within four weeks.
Mindy gave her bridal party antique handkerchiefs, silver necklaces, and jewelry boxes. And throughout the day, they all carried charmingly mismatched vintage clutches.
The young ring bearers walked down the aisle, but Matt's brother Brandon actually carried the wedding rings.
But just hours before the ceremony, the wedding bands were missing. (When Matt and Mindy first saw each other just before the ceremony, he followed up a sweet "you look beautiful" with these words: "I have something to tell you. Please don't freak out.") Luckily, replacement rings that Matt's mother picked out from the Tiffany website were delivered just in time. The original bands -- a vintage platinum Cartier ring from Oak Gem for him and a 1920s engraved white-gold band from Marlene Harris for her -- were found in the pocket of Matt's wedding suit. They now wear both sets.
After an alfresco cocktail hour, the 100 guests moved inside to Cafe Brauer, a landmarked building constructed in 1908, that features exposed beams, original hardwood floors, intricate brickwork, and arches. The urban oasis, nestled in the middle of Lincoln Park, overlooks a lagoon and offers views of downtown Chicago.
Long farm tables were set with crystal charger plates, a mix of stemware and flatware, and distressed wooden chairs.
Guests dined on beef ravioli with toasted hazelnut butter and chive oil; grilled herb rack of lamb with spiced blueberry jam, savory baby leek bread pudding, and squash with mint jus; seared beef tenderloin filet with olive and mustard crust, Yukon Gold potato-celery root gratin, and tri-color carrots and edamame with lime cilantro butter; roasted French chicken breast with peach-goat cheese gratin, grilled asparagus, sweet onions, carrot ribbons, and natural jus; and vegetable polenta stacked with garlic-roasted baby spinach and charred tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and rosemary jus. The multicourse meal was prepared by Limelight Catering.
Photography: Olivia Leigh Photographie
Wedding Planner: Anthony Navarro of Liven It Up Events
Videography: Megan Taylor of Fig Media
Catering: Limelight Catering
Cake: Amy Beck Cake Design
Event Design: Jesse Deckard of Event Creative
Stationery: Lady Fingers Letterpress
Calligraphy (for day-of paperie): Diane Daly
Yarmulkes: Zara Mart