One Couple's Elegant Wedding at the Lyric Opera in Chicago

Planned by Big City Bride

bride and groom

Photo by Robyn Rachel Photography

Tyler Murphy and James "Warren" Reed knew they wanted their Chicago wedding to be different. After meeting at a friend's holiday party in December of 2014 and getting engaged in Costa Rica on New Year's Day in 2017, they wanted a wedding that felt equally celebratory. "We wanted something dramatic and formal, but in a venue where people don't usually have weddings," explains the bride. So, when she and Warren walked into the Lyric Opera and saw the high ceilings, gold accents, and rich red carpeting, they immediately knew they had found their place.

The couple was drawn to a neutral palette, perfect for the already-ornate setting. "We kept all of the decor white, instead adding texture with a variety of flowers," the bride describes. Chrissy Magliano of Big City Bride helped the couple work through all of the details, creating a dramatic black tie wedding that was a perfect for the formal setting.

Keep reading to see how Tyler and Warren hosted an "unexpected" Chicago wedding complete with a black tie dress code, an elegant color palette, and textured, gorgeous details. Robyn Rachel Photography was on hand to capture it all, below!

bridesmaids black dresses
Photo by Robyn Rachel Photography

Tyler fell hard for her strapless Carolina Herrera ballgown, which featured a cathedral-length train and buttons running down the back. "I thought I'd want a really elaborate gown, but the more I tried on the more simple, I went with the direction," she says. She paired the gown with Jimmy Choo sandals and a diamond tennis bracelet (a day-of wedding gift from Warren).

To contrast with her white dress, Tyler asked her bridesmaids to choose their own floor-length black dresses. Each attendant carried a bouquet of white roses and peonies—a timeless choice that popped against the dark gowns.

bride and groom in Chicago
Photo by Robyn Rachel Photography
Carolina Herrera wedding dress
Photo by Robyn Rachel Photography

Warren wore a custom peak lapel tuxedo from Ermenegildo Zegna, while his groomsmen wore notch lapel tuxedos for a slight variation.

white and gold ceremony
Photo by Robyn Rachel Photography

Soft gold draping and oversized arrangements of white orchids, hydrangeas, and roses flanked the ceremony space. The bride walked down an aisle that was decorated with dappled lighting and flanked by rows of elegant Chiavari chairs.

ring bearer
Photo by Robyn Rachel Photography

Tyler's 18-month-old cousin had just learned to walk, making his trip down the aisle as ring bearer extra adorable.

bride and father
Photo by Robyn Rachel Photography
first kiss
Photo by Robyn Rachel Photography
Photo by Robyn Rachel Photography

The bride's father escorted her down the aisle to the altar. "My pediatrician, who is still practicing medicine, is also a bishop," says Tyler. "It was so special to have him serve as our officiant."

black tie wedding reception
Photo by Robyn Rachel Photography
first dance
Photo by Robyn Rachel Photography

To match the grandeur of the setting, guests were seated at long tables topped with white linens and white floral runners. "When we walked into the reception, we headed straight to the dance floor for our first dance," says Tyler. "Warren and I danced to a medley of 'Ain't Nobody' by Chaka Khan and 'All of Me' by John Legend."

ruffled wedding cake
Photo by Robyn Rachel Photography

After a vegetarian-friendly dinner (the cauliflower steak was a huge hit!), Warren and Tyler cut into a ruffled all-white wedding cake that featured layers of chocolate, vanilla, and passion fruit. Everyone hit the dance floor as a DJ spun a mix that ranged from The Four Tops to Kanye West.

bride and groom in Chicago
Photo by Robyn Rachel Photography

Looking back on their big day, the bride had this advice to share: "Hiring a wedding planner was so worth it!" she says. "The last thing you want to be doing on your wedding day is producing the event while you're trying to enjoy it."

Wedding Team

Wedding Planner: Big City Bride

Venue: Lyric Opera

Officiant: Bishop Horace E. Smith, M.D.

Bride's Dress: Carolina Herrera

Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo

Makeup: Fashion Fair Cosmetics

Groom's Attire: Ermenegildo Zegna

Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux

Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Ring Concierge

Floral Design: Platinum Events

Paper Products: Bella Figura

Catering: Limelight Catering

Cake: Amy Beck Cake Design

Music: The DJ Firm

Rentals: BBJ Linen, Hall's Rentals, Northern Décor Event Design

Lighting: Frost Lighting

Videography: Something New

Photo Booth: Smilebooth

Photography: Robyn Rachel Photography

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