I grew up down the street from Hillbrook and have always loved the venue. I celebrated my sweet sixteen there as well, and always knew it was where I wanted to get married. Unlike the hotels downtown, I felt a connection to Hillbrook. It is beautiful and grand but intimate and cozy at the same time. The scenery is breathtaking and there is something magical about it. No other venues in the area even compare.
Hillbrook is beyond beautiful so you don’t have to add much to make the event amazing. This helped me relax about the details and not stress about decorations. In the back of my mind I always knew that I had a beautiful venue so the flowers, candles and decor would just be icing on the cake.
Did your wedding have a theme?
Our wedding didn't have a theme, but I wanted it to exude casual elegance. We aren't super formal people, so we did not want our wedding to feel too fancy. I gravitated towards neutrals and blushes because I didn't want to distract from the natural beauty around us.
What was your favorite part about planning the wedding?
I loved choosing the flowers and putting the tablescape together. I worked with Arne at Blooms and he was simply wonderful. He helped me piece together my ideas and brought my vision to life. When I walked into the room for the first time, I saw my childhood wedding vision in front of me.
Yes, we did do a first look. It was starting to rain (which is kind of a theme in our relationship as it poured on us when Brett proposed) and I came out front to meet Brett. I was so overjoyed to see him. A wedding day can be stressful and I am painfully detail oriented. Brett is my calming force so I needed him by my side.
I actually loved having the ceremony on the veranda. I was quite devastated about the weather forecast, but the ceremony was even more spectacular than I could have imagined. There was something so intimate about having it there. It was like being outside in a rainstorm. It was truly beautiful.
Everyone raved about your chuppah. How did you design it?
I loved our chuppah so much. I wanted it to look very natural and tie into the beautiful lawn and woods surrounding the veranda. I also wanted very neutral blush tones, white flowers and a lot of greenery, so it almost looked a little overgrown. It turned out perfectly!
It took me a long time to find my dress. I knew that I wanted something sophisticated and timeless. I looked all over Chicago, where I live, with no luck. My florist mentioned Brides by the Falls and I went there when Leanne Belter was having a trunk show. I tried on my dress and that was it.
Definitely saying our vows! We wrote our own vows and they meant so much to us. I also will never forget our first dance as husband and wife. It was surreal to look around and feel so much love and joy in one room.
What was your processional, recessional and first dance song?
Our processional songs were "All You Need is Love" and "Can't Help Falling in Love With You." Our recessional song was "Perfect Day." Our first dance was "Let's Stay Together."
Our save the date and rehearsal dinner invite tied together in that they were rustic and printed on craft paper, but I wanted something more elegant for the wedding. I went to All She Wrote in Chicago to customize our wedding suite. The creme paper and gold ink tied in with our place cards and menus.
I would tell brides to stay calm and enjoy the chaos. Also, listen to your instinct and turn down the noise around you. Before the day, write down a list of all the photographs you want - you won’t remember on the day of. Lastly, don’t forget that it is your day and it should reflect who you are as a couple.
Florist: Blooms Plantscaping
Make-up: Kajal by Kimberly
Hair: Dino Palmieri
Wedding Cake: White Flour
Videographer: JustHitched Films
Strings: Sonata Strings
Invitation: William Arthur via All She Wrote
Dress: Lea Ann Belter