How can one person shoot in one location so many times and it’s literally never the same? WELL because I really truly believe no two wedding days are alike. Even in the same space. Rose and Seth used The Bottom Lounge in Chicago to the FULLEST of it’s potential and I am just STOKED to be sharing images from their day. They got ready at the Kimpton Hotel Allegro and then we bopped around on the most fun / quirky of busses to a few spots for photos and spent the rest of the time hanging w/ their family and friends. Their ceremony made me WEEP and their first dance was by far my favorite everrr. I will leave the rest up to them but just know I adore these two sooo much.
Seth and his friends ran a show at the Conservatory Theater in Chicago called Improv Gladiators. At the beginning of 2015, Rose‘s improv group, “In a Pickle,” decided last minute to sign up as participants. Without much warning, the Pickles took the stage on Week 1 of a 6-week improv competition show.
Seth was the hilarious host of Gladiators, so you may think this was love at first sight—it wasn’t. The two barely took notice of each other for the first five Fridays. Rose assumed Seth and his friends were clique-y (spoiler alert: they are, but Rose is now part of the group so it’s cool) and Seth was used to improvisers coming and going all the time so he didn’t think it was worth striking up a conversation.
Enter the co-host: Drag Queen, Mane. After that 5th week, Mane asked if Seth thought any of the improvisers were cute. Seth pointed to Rose. Being an expert matchmaker, Mane called Rose over later and asked if she was single because Seth thought she was cute. Flattered, Rose got straight on Facebook that night and friended Seth as an extremely subtle way to let him know she was interested.
Subtlety doesn’t work on Seth, though, and the two didn’t actually speak until the next Friday night. Mane called Seth over and the two endured a few minutes of awkward small talk, ending with Rose inviting both Mane and Seth to her birthday party the next night. After many hints, Seth failed to get Rose‘s number before she was ushered out by her sister and some friends who wanted to go home. Once again, Rose took to Facebook and messaged Seth her number so he could come to the party.
He did not come to the party.
Seth did, however, take Rose out for her birthday that Monday afternoon. The two enjoyed a day date which included coffee and tea at Julius Meinl before dinner at Sushi Mura. After that, they became inseparable and the rest, as they say, is history.
Rose knows better than anyone that I don’t like shopping. Not in that stereotypical “guys hate shopping” way, but in my own “I’d rather not talk to people” way.
That said, Rose convinced me to try Trunk Club and get myself a fancy custom suit and, amazingly, I felt super comfortable with the whole process. My parents came down for the initial fitting and suit selection, and I got exactly what I wanted – simple and fancy, but still me. They even embroidered the date of the wedding on the collar (I did have a stress dream that they got the date wrong – but they didn’t!)
There’s nothing quite like wearing a suit that’s made JUST for you. And I felt well taken care of by Meghan and the Trunk Club team. Now I’m just looking for excuses to wear my suit. I guess I’ll just sleep in it.
I was a PAIN about the whole dress shopping part (just ask my mom and sister). I really don’t feel like I have a strong aesthetic and the thing no one tells you about wedding dress shopping is that everything is so pretty! You really just need to decide what vibe you’re going for, which again, for an indecisive bride, was difficult.
After about a million dress appointments, I was torn between two gorgeous dresses that were totally different styles but I leaned on my mom, sister, friends and thinking about our venue to make a decision.
I do know that my dress was the right one in the end because it fit our indoor, loft-style Chicago wedding so perfectly. It’s Karen Willis Holmes from Bella Bleu Bridal and it’s the Anya gown. I felt like a bride and a movie star all night long!
We toured a few venues in Chicago but Bottom Lounge felt right from the start. Natalie, the coordinator, made us feel so taken care of and made us feel like they were a well-oiled machine there. Turns out, we were right! Everyone kept remarking about how smoothly things went between our indoor ceremony (the train passing by the open windows behind us was a delight to the out-of-towners), the cocktail hour on the deck and then the family style meal and reception. They took care of us so well and we’re forever grateful. We highly recommend this spot to other couples!
Our theme was “wedding”…which is to say we didn’t feel like we needed a theme. Lavender is my favorite color so we mostly just knew the palette we’d be working with. Our table numbers were library cards from Etsy attached to books from my dad’s collection (he passed away last year very suddenly so we looked for different ways to still incorporate him into the day).
Our phenomenal florals/decor came from Jessica at Anemone Chicago and she was so great to work with. Our mouths literally dropped when we saw what she and our event coordinator, Natalie, did for us that night. Jessica made a stunning chuppah for our ceremony, a killer “Mazel Tov” wall piece, floral hair combs for myself and my sister/maid of honor and fun floral cuffs for the moms.
We know nothing about flowers or wedding centerpieces, but she worked so nicely with my mom and sister who also added their touches to the night. My sister is an artist so she made the gorgeous wall hangings for behind the head table and Jessica was so great about letting that shine on that wall and accenting it with some greenery. We would highly recommend Jessica and Anemone to other Chicago folks, you won’t regret it!
Oh boy, the ceremony. Our friend Claire officiated and she is one of the smartest, funniest and best people we know. She KILLED it and was so warm and hilarious and set us on the path to an unforgettable ceremony. We said our own vows and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, mostly stemming from Seth’s insanely touching vows. There was so much laughter, so many tears that were coming from every emotion you could imagine. Per Jewish tradition, we were supposed to break the glass at the end but we all realized too late that no one had set it at the chuppah. Luckily, we were all quick on our feet and just improvised the best man handing Claire an imaginary glass. She mimed handing it to Seth and everyone bought into it and yelled Mazel Tov after he “smashed” it. Most guests thought that we had planned that moment because no one skipped a beat, which is just indicative of the phenomenal people we surround ourselves with.
Our cocktail hour was on the deck outside and it was a perfectly warm, beautiful evening. The space inside was flipped for our reception and everyone was seated for a family style dinner. After some amazing speeches from my sister/MOH, the best man and mother of the groom, we headed into the first dances. Seth and I didn’t practice our dance and just decided to wing it. We forgot that anyone was around and just looked at each other and danced like we were in our living room.
Seth and his mom had a very nice slow dance together before it was time for the father/daughter dance. I struggled a lot with how to approach this part of the night and wound up deciding that since my dad was such an energetic, social person, we should still have this moment. I said a little bit about him and then invited everyone to the dance floor to dance to the song that we would have chosen. I think we had all 160 people dancing at the same time and it was very special.
We then danced the horah and our families lifted us up in our chairs and, despite the fear on Seth’s face, it was such a highlight and again cemented to us how our friends and family would always be there supporting us throughout our lives.
Rachel was amazing from the start. We chose her because her pictures had so much life in them rather than the boring, lifeless wedding portraits. We instantly trusted her to get pictures that felt like “us” and that started with an incredible engagement session and ended with wedding photos that perfectly encapsulated our day and who we are as people.
Rachel is efficient yet fun on the day of, and she has a unique ability to command a space (she’s a boss babe) and get even the least photo-enthusiastic people to join in on the action. Her second shooter, Katie, was also a joy and we’ve loved the sneak peeks we’ve seen so far.
Our only critique is that Rachel had to go back to Michigan after she wrapped up so we didn’t get to party with her all night 😉
Any Advice for couples planning their wedding?
Do your best to choose your battles. There are some parts of the wedding that your family will care about more than you do, so remember that this is also a time for others to express their love for you and sometimes that means putting their interests before your own. And that’s okay!
Also, don’t sweat the small stuff because things are going to go “wrong” but as long as you’re with the love of your life and supportive family and friends, nothing will be able to wipe the smiles off your faces.