Despite being set up by mutual friends, Laura and Jon were initially hesitant to date because they lived so far apart—he in Seattle and she in Chicago. "But we started to get to know each other through emails and phone calls, then Jon flew out to meet me for the first time," says Laura. "We dated for five months before getting engaged, and nine months later we were married—when it's the right person, you just know." Laura wore a Paloma Blanca gown from Francia Bridal Boutique and customized it by adding a strap. The bridesmaids wore Vera Wang dresses and carried jewel-toned bouquets. Flowers were by Kloeckner Preferred Flowers.
The bridal party got ready at the W Chicago-Lakeshore, which is where Laura and Jon met before the wedding for the "big reveal."
The ceremony and reception were held at the River East Art Center. Laura and Jon exchanged vows next to a "curtain" of vibrant origami cranes, which are especially meaningful to the couple. When they began dating, Jon gave Laura a paper crane he'd folded; she later found a secret note he'd written inside. "Jon continued to send me paper cranes, each with a secret message," she says. Friends and family, along with the fifth-grade students Laura teaches, folded the more than 1,300 cranes that were used throughout the wedding.
Cranes bearing guests' names and table numbers on their wings served as escort cards and were displayed on beds of grass. The reception was held in the Spiazzo, the center's airy event space. Tables were decorated with patterned runners and vibrant floral arrangements. Guests dined on mesclun greens with honeycomb, and pan-seared chicken. All catering was by Berghoff Catering & Restaurant Group.
Guests enjoyed slices of wedding cake as well as offerings from a dessert bar, which featured mini root-beer floats and strawberry shortcake trifle. Wedding-party members offered toasts and the couple's musician friends performed songs; guests could also browse the center's galleries.
"The evening went off without a hitch," says Laura. "It was absolutely perfect."
Photos: Orange 2 Photography
Visit our Real Weddings page to find more whimsical style inspiration.