A Super-Personalized Party in Chicago

Tacos, lawn flamingos, and bubbles made this celebration crazy fun

Grooms kissing

Photo by Mae & Minh Photography

Though Jimmy Sperzel and Chris Van Meter had technically met on the dance floor at a New York City nightclub a few years earlier, it wasn’t until a snowstorm hit the city in January of 2015 that they reconnected, when Chris was thousands of miles away. Jimmy left work early as the snow came down, heading to a West Village pub with a friend. After a few rounds of beers, he texted the man he’d met years earlier. It took a few more months before they met up in person (while Jimmy was in Los Angeles for work) but the following year of constant texts, bicoastal visits, and Chris’s eventual move to Brooklyn solidified what the couple knew from the start: They’d each found their true love.

On September 24, 2016, just days before Jimmy and Chris moved from New York to Chicago, they stopped in Washington Square Park to listen to a musician playing the park’s piano. A woman approached the musician, asking to perform a duet, and Jimmy looked at Chris. “Wouldn’t it be amazing if she sang Adele?” he asked. The next thing he knew, she began singing Jimmy’s favorite Adele song, “One and Only,” and Jimmy was both surprised and thrilled. Chris smiled knowingly as the song continued, then stood up as the singer reached the bridge of the tune—and got down on one knee.

The couple’s stylish summertime wedding, at Chicago’s Ignite Glass Studios on August 5, 2017, was pure fun—think a red carpet, yard flamingo escort cards, custom temporary tattoos, and margaritas! Photographed by Mae & Minh Photography, this is fun-filled Chicago wedding is definitely the inspiration you’ve been looking for.

Groom fixing partner's bowtie
Photo by Mae & Minh Photography
Grooms holding hands
Photo by Mae & Minh Photography

Chris and Jimmy took on all of the design for the event, making sure every detail reflected who they are as a couple. “We didn’t want it to be a wedding you could just slap any name on,” says Jimmy. He donned a light gray suit from Bonobos, while Chris wore a French blue suit from SuitSupply. The grooms wore matching chambray bowties (Jimmy’s flaunting pink whales, Chris’s with blue), but realized as they were getting ready that neither knew how to tie them! “We tried YouTube tutorials, called the front desk at the hotel, and even turned to a busboy at the hotel restaurant, all to no avail,” Chris remembers. “We frantically sent out SOS texts to our families, and discovered that Jimmy’s sister’s fiancé knew how to tie a bowtie, so we raced to the venue and he saved the day just in time for family pictures.”

Flower girls
Photo by Mae & Minh Photography
Groom high fiving flower girl
Photo by Mae & Minh Photography

Jimmy and Chris skipped the formal wedding party and instead asked their parents and siblings to walk down the aisle, followed by Chris’ seven-year-old twin cousins. The girls donned navy blue floral rompers and crowns of blush flowers. “They were beyond adorable, and did their job perfectly,” says Chris.

Grooms at Ceremony
Photo by Mae & Minh Photography
Selfie During Ceremony
Photo by Mae & Minh Photography
Grooms Exit Ceremony
Photo by Mae & Minh Photography

The couple’s close friend served as officiant, filling the rooftop ceremony with touching anecdotes about love and the grooms. “Being in Chicago, we were interrupted twice by the Metra train,” says Jimmy. They also took a quick pause for a mid-ceremony selfie! And as soon as the grooms were pronounced married, they were draped with pink “husband” sashes and surrounded by hundreds of bubbles. Says Chris, “With the skyline in the background and bubbles everywhere, it made for some really special pictures!”

Overhead shot of reception venue
Photo by Mae & Minh Photography

“We really wanted our guests to relax and have a great time,” says Jimmy—which is why the pair had cocktail hour before the ceremony.

Wooden wedding timeline
Photo by Mae & Minh Photography
Napkin with fun facts
Photo by Mae & Minh Photography
Cornhole board
Photo by Mae & Minh Photography

Once the vows were complete, guests headed back down to the venue’s lawn for some of the couple’s favorite food and drinks: Chips and guacamole and margaritas! Guests also enjoyed yard games, including corn hole at a set decorated with the couple’s custom monogram (featuring an image of the pair’s pup, Stevie Nicks, drawn by Jimmy).

Pink flamingo decor
Photo by Mae & Minh Photography

A flock of pink lawn flamingos served as escort cards, directing guests to their seats at the long tables inside the venue.

Dinner tablescape
Photo by Mae & Minh Photography
Guests cheering
Photo by Mae & Minh Photography

Vintage farm tables were decorated simply with burlap runners and garlands of greenery. The couple put their logo on everything—including the place cards and the printed thank you notes.

Dinner was catered by Antique Taco, the grooms’ favorite Mexican restaurant, and included habanero popcorn, tacos, and rosemary margaritas. For dessert, guests were treated to scoops of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, followed by late-night Doughnut Vault doughnuts (from the shop’s vintage truck!) and iced coffee.

Grooms during first dance
Photo by Mae & Minh Photography

Jimmy and Chris shared their first dance to Adele’s “One and Only,” the same song Chris used to propose. For their dances with their moms, the grooms chose “Landslide” by their dog’s namesake, Stevie Nicks.

When it comes to personalizing their wedding, Jimmy and Chris really knocked it out of the park. Says Jimmy, “Think of all of your favorite memories as a couple and everything you like to do together, and use that as your inspiration.” After all, what’s more “you” than the things the two of you really love?

Wedding Team

Venue: Ignite Glass Studio

Jimmy’s Attire: Bonobos

Chris’s Attire: SuitSupply

Flower Girl Attire: J.Crew

Floral Design: Everleaf Decorative Greens

Paper Products: Paper Culture, Argyle Chicago

Catering: Antique Taco

Cake: Sweet Mandy B’s

Ice Cream: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

Doughnuts & Coffee: Doughnut Vault

Entertainment: DJ Tasty Beats

Rentals: Jordan’s Food of Distinction, Chicago Farm Tables

Photography: Mae & Minh Photography

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