When Laura went out to meet a friend for dinner, the plan was to meet her friend's new boyfriend. What she didn't know is that she'd also be meeting Robby. "My friend and her boyfriend got married, and they signed the ketubah at our wedding!" says Laura. In March of 2014, Robby planned a surprise for Laura while she was out at breakfast with her family. She came home to find a flower arrangement and a note from Robby telling her to meet him where they had their first date, at a wine bar a few blocks from where they lived in Chicago. "I didn't even shower, I just ran over!" she laughs. Up on the rooftop, surrounded by snow, Robby proposed.
The pair spent just under a year planning a black tie wedding at a venue that was still under construction when they booked it, Morgan Manufacturing. "It's right in our neighborhood, and we loved how unique the space is," Laura explains. The pair worked with Bliss Weddings & Events to plan the blush, gold, and ivory celebration, and hired Olivia Leigh Photographie to capture the details. Take a closer look at their romantic candlelit celebration below!
The soft and elegant invitation suite was designed by Magnificent Milestones.
Laura chose a classic Oscar de la Renta gown, with a sweetheart neckline and a ball gown skirt. For the ceremony and cocktail hour, she topped the dress with a beaded overlay by Austin Scarlett. "I loved how easy it was to have two distinct looks," she says. On her feet were crystal-embellished silver pumps by Manolo Blahnik, the perfect match to the diamond studs Laura borrowed from her mother-in-law.
With six sisters between her and her husband, Laura had her bridal party figured out. She asked her four sisters and Robby's two to choose long black dresses in a range of fabrics and silhouettes. Robby and his groomsmen looked the part for a formal celebration in classic tuxedos.
February in Chicago can get chilly, so Laura topped her gown with a luxe black mink coat, a gift from her mother-in-law. She opted for an all-white bouquet, which combined ranunculus, freesia, sweet pea, and garden roses.
"We wanted to keep things local," explains Laura. "We chose a venue a few blocks from where we live, had the rehearsal dinner at a restaurant across the street, and chose vendors who are all local to Chicago."
For the ceremony, ghost chairs were arranged in a semi-circle around a blush chuppah lit with twinkle lights. Though they were out of season, Laura had her heart set on cherry blossoms, so her florist ordered them and was able to help the branches bloom in time.
The couple had a ceremony that combined Jewish and Christian traditions, with both a rabbi and a close friend of the couple officiating. "We wrote our own vows, and that was my favorite part of the whole day. I often find excuses for us to read them to each other again!" says Laura.
As guests sipped cocktails and ate apps like kumamoto oysters and rosemary-roasted lamb chops (served by waiters wearing t-shirts describing each dish!), the ceremony space was flipped for the reception. Escort cards were hung along the walls on double-faced satin ribbon in shades of blush. Wooden feasting tables were topped with sequin runners and as many candles as the couple could possibly fit.
The vases of cherry blossoms from the ceremony were used to line the long tables. Ribbons with guests' names written in calligraphy were draped over each place setting. While the setting was decidedly formal, the menu wasn't. "We put beef, salmon, and vegetarian on the RSVP cards, then surprised guests with Kobe beef, salmon, and veggie burgers!" Laura reveals. They served the burgers with veggies and truffle fries.
After dinner, chocolates and caramels were served at each table, and the couple's fathers surprised their guests by having a local food truck, Doughnut Vault, pull straight into the venue. Flavors included salted caramel, lemon poppy seed, triple chocolate, and honey bun. And of course, doughnuts need a warm drink on the side! "Guests loved the hot cocoa bar!" says Laura.
The band, The Party Faithful, played everything from oldies to Led Zeppelin — though the latter had a little help from the groom. "Robby got on stage and played the drums while the band played 'Rain'!" says Laura. "He was nervous, but he knocked it out of the park!"
The party ended at midnight, but the dance floor went on until 2 a.m., with a sunken dance floor and a DJ playing from above. The couple made a point to prioritize things like music and having a friend officiate the wedding to put a personal spin on the event.
Says Laura, "Make sure you're organized with your guest list. It was not fun or easy finding everyone's addresses, and I think it would have been easier if we'd been organized about it from the get-go."
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Morgan Manufacturing || Wedding Planner: Bliss Weddings & Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Oscar de la Renta, Austin Scarlett || Shoes: Manolo Blahnik || Hair: Axelle + Ivy || Makeup: Façade Makeup Artistry || Groom's Attire: Ralph Lauren || Florist: HMR Designs || Invitations & Paper Goods: Magnificent Milestones || Music: The Party Faithful || Catering: Blue Plate Catering || Dessert: Katherine Anne Confections; Doughnut Vault || Videographer & Slow Motion Video Booth: Poetic Weddings || Photographer: Olivia Leigh Photographie
Looking for more winter wedding inspiration? Then check out another couple's snowy New York City celebration in the video below.