We first met with Alison and Paul in the fall of 2011 and we felt an immediate connection with them. Their playful and sarcastic sense of humor and way they teased each other could in no way hide the affection and attraction they had for each other, and we loved that, despite their strong personalities, their sweet sides would peek through in the most unexpected ways. We were especially charmed with the way Paul proposed to Alison, sending her on an Easter Egg hunt through their home that led to a special purple egg nestled on a shelf among their photos that contained a gorgeous diamond engagement ring. There isn’t a girl in the world that could resist that sweetness, and Alison responded with an excited “Yes!”
When we arrived at theWit Hotel on a gorgeous Saturday morning to photograph Alison and Paul’s modern and elegant wedding, it seemed like all of Chicago had turned out for the party – the streets were closed to traffic, there was a bouncer with a velvet rope at the hotel entrance, and people were literally hanging by ropes off the side of the building. We realized that there was a street festival that included rappelling down the side of theWit (not exactly related to the wedding), but it certainly added to the excitement of the day. Up in the bridal suite, Alison and her ladies were finishing up their hair and makeup while enjoying mimosas and chocolates from the Albanese candy factory. While the girls finished their preparations, we decided to document Alison’s slight Kate Spade addiction. 😉
We headed over to check in with Paul, who had spent the morning relaxing and flipping between the sports games on TV. He told us how much fun the rehearsal dinner had been the night before as he buttoned up his shirt and adjusted his suspenders. After hearing some of his stories, we were pumped for the good times to be had at the reception!
Back in the bridal suite, the girls had finished dressing and were busy fastening their jewelry and stuffing lip gloss into their clutches while Alison’s mother helped her into her breathtaking Anne Barge gown. Alison and her mother share an incredibly close bond and tears glistened in Alison’s mother’s eyes as she tied the black sash into a bow, completing her little girl’s transformation into a glowing bride. Alison stepped through the door to where her bridesmaids were waiting and called out to them that she was ready. As they turned around to see their best friend, ready to be married, the room filled with happy sighs, claps and excited laughter.
The girls grabbed their colorful Stemline Creative bouquets and we headed out for some photos with a classic, downtown Chicago feel. Our location in the theater district of Chicago was perfect and we ducked into alleyways with a vintage feel for some photos that reflected the couples’ passion for arts and culture. At the same time, the guys were taking total advantage of the street festival outside the hotel. The image of them with climbing gear has to be one of my favorites from the day – their expressions are absolutely hilarious!
theWit Hotel quickly became one of our favorite wedding venues, with a great downtown location and a perfect blend of eclectic and modern décor. We found this shoji door near the restaurant that was perfect for Alison and Paul’s ‘first look.’ They chose to do a unique variation that relied on their senses of sound and touch, saving the actual reveal for the ceremony. As Paul and Alison joined hands around the door and called out to each other, shaky and nervous voices became steady while they talked about the morning’s events.
With hand squeezes and words of encouragement, Alison and Paul were ready to exchange their vows. As the musicians began their sweet melodies, Alison’s mother adjusted her daughter’s veil and gave her one more quick hug before escorting her down the aisle. The couple was married in a touching, personalized ceremony that included a fantastic Robert Fulghum reading and – much to our amusement – anecdotes about their relationship and alter egos. Love the story about ‘Frank.’
After the final blessing, Alison and Paul were pronounced husband and wife and quickly stole away to the Phoenix Lounge to enjoy a private moment together while guests enjoyed cocktail hour in the ultra-swanky rooftop lounge. They toasted to their marriage and Alison showed off the finer details of her attire, including her something blue – a small heart patch with their names and wedding date that was sewn into the lining of her dress.
We gathered up the bridal party and snagged some of the photo booth props to take on our photo walk. Paul and his groomsmen rocked some funky socks and Alison sported some sparkly heels that would make Dorothy tired of her own red pumps. Better beware of falling houses and flying monkeys, Alison!
While guests were upstairs enjoying views of Chicago and Lake Michigan in the ROOF lounge, Jill Hankee from IC3 Events was downstairs supervising the reception decoration, setting out the Lucite name cards and helping Stemline arrange the lush pomanders and centerpieces. Take the Cake provided a stunning 4-tier confection that fit seamlessly with Alison and Paul’s ‘elegant with a twist of modern’ vision.
Because Alison and Paul chose to have a more intimate celebration with just close family and friends, they were able to give every detail their personalized touch and treated their guests to a delicious meal, sweet favors, and our favorite – Morning-After Bags that included Bloody Mary mix, mini bottles of vodka, Tabasco sauce, Advil, and water. Best idea ever! Glasses were raised and clinked to the heartwarming and funny toasts, and Alison and Paul shared their first dance as husband and wife before opening the dance floor for everyone to party and enjoy the views of the evening city lights.
Alison and Paul – we can’t get enough of your sassy, strong personalities and we’re so glad we got to help celebrate your love. Stay fabulous and we’ll see you again soon!
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