Jamie Madrid, 28, met James Han, 30, at a friend's pool party in May of 2010, and the two immediately hit it off with jokes and pool shenanigans. He asked her out at the end of the party, she said yes, and on May 31, 2013 (three years to the day after they first met), James took Jamie on a weekend trip to Santa Barbara, California and proposed on the beach at sunset.
After the cross country move and 15 months of planning, their vision came to life with a traditional ceremony at Holy Name Cathedral and a romantic, black-tie reception at the Racquet Club of Chicago. Keep reading to see the details of their big day, as planned by Charlene Liang of Sweetchic Events and photographed by Kristin La Voie Photography.
When Jamie tried on her strapless Carolina Herrera dress, she knew it was the one. "I felt like myself in it," she says. "And it wasn't too much dress!" Made of hand-painted lace on silk organza, the gown was an off-white stunner so Jamie completed her fashion-forward look with strappy Jimmy Choo stilettos, a cathedral length veil, crystal drop earrings, and a crystal hairpin.
The groom looked equally as classic in a black tux and polka-dot bowtie. He topped his lapel with a boutonniere of pink peony buds and silver brunia berries.
The bridal bouquet was every bit romantic with blush pink garden roses, café au lait dahlias, dusty miller, and silver brunia berries tied together with satin ribbon and hanging pieces of white fabric.
Jamie's six bridesmaids matched in strapless chiffon dresses in a purple-pink hue. The two flower girls wore pink ballerina-style dresses, glitter ballet flats, and flower crowns for the ceremony.
The ceremony venue, Holy Name Cathedral, didn't allow added décor but Jamie didn't mind. "It's the most beautiful church in Chicago," she says.
After the ceremony, 150 guests moved the party to the Racquet Club of Chicago, where they toasted to the newlyweds with a champagne and raspberry cocktail. Before guests entered the reception for a family-style dinner of pan roasted scallops, rib eye, and kale gruyere gratin, Jamie and James snuck in for a "first look" at the celebration they'd spent months envisioning. "We walked into the room and it was pure magic," Jamie says.
With the help of wedding planner, they filled the grand, historic space with hanging votive candles with invisible line from the ceiling's wooden beams. In the main dining rom, dinner tables were covered in rose-colored linens and dressed with alternating low and high arrangements of roses, hydrangeas, calla lilies, and willow branches.
The bride and groom's chairs were decorated with tags that announced their new titles, "Mr. and Mrs. Han." The newlyweds ended the night on the dance floor with the band's rendition of "Shout" by The Isley Brothers. "Everyone was dancing and throwing their hands up and we looked at each other and said, 'This is the best day ever,'" Jamie remembers.
After dancing the night away, Jamie and James headed south of the border to LeBlanc Resort in Cancun, Mexico for their honeymoon. With 15 months of planning under her belt, Jamie has a few words of wisdom for brides-to-be. "If you're going to invest a hefty portion of your budget into one or two items, put it toward the photographer and videographer," she says. "You'll barely remember the day so hire someone you trust to capture it for you."
Ceremony Venue: Holy Name Cathedral || Reception Venue: Racquet Club of Chicago || Wedding Planner: Charlene Liang for Sweetchic Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Carolina Herrera || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair & Makeup: Nika Vaughn || Bridesmaid's Dresses: After Six || Flower Girl Attire: US Angels, purchased at Nordstrom || Groom's Suit: Formally Modern || Florist: Vale of Enna || Invitations: William Arthur for Papyrus || Music: Dan Hayes Orchestra || Catering & Cake: Racquet Club of Chicago || Photography: Kristin La Voie Photography || Videography: Highway 61 Films