A Formal Spring Wedding at The University Club of Chicago

Real Weddings

Danielle and Michael, hip thirty-somethings who call Chicago home, wanted a "classic but comfortable" wedding. They also loved the idea of incorporating a wine and cheese tasting into their reception, as the duo met while at an event dubbed "Pinot Days." The University Club of Chicago provided the ideal venue, and on April 13, 2010 the couple celebrated with 250 of their friends and family.

Inspired by the venue's regal atmosphere, the couple selected navy blue and plum as their wedding colors. Danielle's four bridesmaids wore long Jenny Yoo gowns in navy.

Bridesmaids carried mostly-white peony and anemone bouquets accented with a touch of lavender.

Danielle and Michael live just five blocks from St. Clement Church, making the bride's childhood chapel an easy choice for their ceremony space. The traditional Catholic ceremony was "brought to life" by the priest, the bride says, who "made the ceremony accessible for all guests, Catholic or not."

The priest "read aloud from letters that we had written to him about our relationship," Danielle says. "We didn't know they would be made public, and they got quite a few laughs."

The bride wore a strapless silk Monique Lhuillier wedding dress paired with a two-tier cathedral length veil.

A formal reception followed the couple's traditional wedding ceremony. "We went to the reception room to see the space about 10 minutes before our guests arrived," says the bride. "When we walked in, you could smell the beautiful flowers and the sun was still streaming into the room showing off the stained glass. By the end of the night, you could see the lights of the city."

Two types of floral centerpieces, each in keeping with the couple's blue and purple color palette, were used throughout the reception space. One centerpiece mixed fluffy white hydrangea and peonies with lush pink and purple buds.

Cut-glass vases filled with small-but-vibrant blooms in hues of ivory, purple and blue were also used as centerpieces.

Custom calligraphy by Stacey Shapiro Calligraphy tied the couple's cocktail hour offerings, including an enviable cheese table, together.

Danielle DIY-ed the couple's escort cards: Ivory tags tied to miniature compasses with velvet blue ribbon.

Purple menu cards were tucked into linen napkins and accented with sprigs of lavender.

"Our absolute favorite part of the planning process was the cake tasting," the bride says of the couple's three-tier chocolate fudge cake with crème brûlée and salted caramel filling.

Apothecary jars filled with moss and white tulip blooms decorated the bar area.

Danielle and Mike selected Otis Redding's "That's How Strong My Love Is" as their first dance song.

"Mike got on his knee and proposed, and the whole restaurant joined us in celebrating, opening up the case of champagne that Mike had sneakily dropped off earlier in the day," Danielle recalls of the night her groom proposed.

Danielle and Michael stole away for 10 minutes during their reception, sneaking off to a balcony with a view for a few couple-only photos. "But those 10 minutes away from the reception with just the two of us was a very fun, private moment to take a time-out and realize what an amazing night we were having," Danielle says.

"One piece of advice that we were given and would pass on was to try to spend as much time together during the reception as possible," Danielle advises. "We wanted to be together in our first hours as a married couple and wanted to have shared memories of our reception, so for nearly the entire reception we held hands and stuck together, whether it was on the dance floor or walking around talking to family and friends."

—Jillian Kramer

Wedding Planner: Anne Book Signature Style || Ceremony Venue: St. Clement Church || Reception Venue: The University Club of Chicago || Bride's Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier || Bride's Veil: Ultimate Bride || Bride's Shoes: James Ciccotti || Bride's Accessories: Gabrielle Sanchez || Bride's Wedding Ring: Harold Burland & Son || Groom's Tux: Hugo Boss || Groom's Wedding Ring: Harold Burland & Son || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo || Mother of the Bride's Dress: Neiman Marcus || Florist: Hello Darling || Caterer: The University Club of Chicago || Stationery: Magnificent Milestones || Favors: LH Calligraphy || Rentals: Tablescapes || Entertainment: Colby Beserra and the Party Faithful || Photography: Olivia Leigh Photographie

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