It all started with green beer. In March of 2012, Grace Chensoff was living in Chicago and celebrating “Green Beer Day,” a pre-St. Patrick’s Day event in the Windy City where—you guessed it—all the beer is green. A few friends introduced her to Tommy Nurre, and the pair realized they’d overlapped two years at Miami of Ohio. “Our paths had somehow never crossed,” says Grace. After a little persistence, she agreed to go out with Tommy on their first date, and the rest is history.
When Tommy proposed to Grace four years later, the pair gave themselves a year (to the day!) to plan their May 6, 2017 wedding. “Though we live in Chicago, I have always known I wanted to get married in Florida,” says the bride. “I’ve been going there since I was a little girl.” Choosing the venues was easy: Her family has been attending Easter mass at St. William Catholic Church for as long as Grace can remember, and Calusa Pines Golf Club holds special significance for her entire family. When Grace’s father was overcoming a life-threatening illness, he decided to take a gamble and create the club. “It meant so much to celebrate this milestone at such a special place. Ours will be the only wedding ever held at the Club—making it all the more special!” says Grace.
The bride is crazy about tulips, so wedding planner Karen Krischanowski of Grace Creative Services ran with it. French tulips were everywhere, from the hand-painted crest featured on the stationery suite to the over 7,000 tulips used to fill the reception space. “The crest was on the dance floor and thousands hung overhead, so we had floor-to-ceiling tulips!” Grace exclaims. The wedding was black tie, but with a fun twist—lots of color, high-energy music, and, of course, green beer!
Keep reading to see how Still55 captured this fun-and-formal, weekend-long celebration.
The destination wedding weekend kicked off with a rehearsal dinner at The Beach House at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. Grace wore a breezy lace jumpsuit paired with statement earrings, which matched the pineapple print on Tommy's festive shirt perfectly.
The couple kept with the tropical theme for the party Friday night, decorating with white wicker furniture and Florida-appropriate palm frond linens.
On the big day, the bride selected a strapless Oscar De La Renta gown with a detachable overskirt “I tried on over 100 dresses, and it really came down to the wire,” says Grace. “I was actually in the salon to choose between two other dresses when I saw this one!” She especially loved that the gown was both formal and fun, with a front slit and tulle overskirt that gave the dress a dose of personality. “I was able to wear the overskirt and bow belt for the ceremony, and then remove it for a different look later,” she says.
Tommy went formal with a custom navy tuxedo but he added an element of fun by wearing pineapple socks (to tie in with the theme from the night before!). The bride wore pearl-embellished Jimmy Choo pumps.
Instead of traditional bridesmaids’ dresses, Grace’s girls wore pale blue Free People dresses with laser-cut bodices and tulip skirts. They carried all-white bouquets of peonies and French tulips.
The bride's flower girls wore cotton and lace dresses, and topped off their look with floral crowns.
Before walking down the aisle, Grace made yet another grand entrance when she showed off her dress for all of her girls!
Grace walked down the aisle with her father before she and Tommy were wed in a Catholic ceremony. “The most special part was that Monsignor Velo, our officiant, married my parents 31 years ago!” says the bride.
After exiting to “Handel’s Hornpipe," the newlyweds popped champagne as they made their getaway on a trolley.
At the golf club, a clear-top tent was set up on the clubhouse’s patio. A mix of bare farm tables and round tables draped with custom linens filled the space. Clusters of white French tulips and eucalyptus hung over the head table, where printed napkins matched the other linens. “Our planner searched all over the country for the perfect fabric, and bought the last of it from a mill in New York,” says Grace.
Each place setting featured a menu printed with tulips, set atop white scalloped plates. After enjoying a raw bar featuring oysters and crab claws with house-made cocktail sauce, guests dined on a watermelon and heirloom tomato salad and a choice of beef tenderloin or blackened Florida grouper.
Grace removed her gown’s overskirt for the first dance, which they performed to “You Make Loving You Easy” by Zac Brown Band. “We had a 12-piece band (with extra horns!) during the reception," she says. " We told them not to play any slow songs to keep the energy up, and no one left the dance floor all night!”
The couple had two cakes: A tiered wedding cake—with layers of lemon and carrot cake, paired with cream cheese frosting—and a surprise groom’s cake. Says Grace, “It was designed to look like a bucket of beers, and when Tommy accidentally saw it early, he didn’t even realize it was a cake!”
Grace changed into a lace mini for the after-party. “I never wanted to take my dress off, but it was nice to wear something a little more light-weight,” she says. There, a DJ took over the music as guests nibbled on French fries with bernaise sauce and cinnamon sugar doughnuts. “Tommy and I had the time of our lives. It was like being at the very best party—that just happened to be our wedding. It will be hard to top!”
Wedding Planner: Grace Creative Services || Ceremony Venue: St. William Catholic Church || Reception Venue: Calusa Pines Golf Club || Bride's Dress: Oscar De La Renta || Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Bride's Jewelry: David Yurman || Hair & Makeup: Duality Artistry || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Free People || Groom's Attire: Trunk Club || Flower Girls & Ring Bearer: Isabel Garreton || Floral Design: Isn’t She Lovely Florals || Paper Products: Luster Designs || Catering: Lurcat || Entertainment: Melodic Expressions, The Hit Factory Band, DJ Dayve || Rentals: Ooh Events || Videography: Highway 61 Films || Photography: Still55