Real Wedding: Shelli + Ethan

In winter of 2017, Shelli reached out to us with a mission: she and Ethan had booked the Chicago Athletic Association for their reception for their late October wedding but were feeling lost about how to decorate. She wanted us to help her create an atmospheric, moody ambience for their cocktail hour in the venue's Tank Room and carry that look upstairs to the Madison Ballroom. There were also a few other tasks to check off the list, such as finding photo and video teams to perfectly capture the day.

We got to work immediately to create the elevated Halloween vibe that Shelli craved. It had to be elegant, sexy and have just the right touch of darkness without feeling too themed. Adding to the challenge was the cocktail hour's location in a brightly lit converted pool. Yes, an actual pool! We were going to need to fully transform the space using a combination of draping, strategic lighting, Victorian lounge furniture, florals and a layout that would blow guests away upon entering. After working up a detailed design concept and layout--all one that would fit the couple's budget while still getting them everything they wanted--using our planning software, we enlisted the help of Atmosphere Events Group to execute the installation using our vintage rentals.

Upstairs in the Madison Ballroom, we dreamed up a dramatic floor plan that had never been done in the space before. We made sure everything about the format would come together as planned and then began figuring out the final decor elements, working with Reenie Rose to pull off moody little touches like tarot escort cards and Masonic-inspired (in a nod to the venue's Cherry Circle Room) table numbers, and bringing in luxe velvet linens to accent tables. The ultimate compliment may have been when the hotel's general manager visited during set up and told us it was the best he had ever seen the room look.

Finally the big day was here! With the vendor dream teams Studio This Is on photography and Loose Tie Productions on videography, there was no doubt that a lifetime of amazing memories would be captured. Shelli was whisked away to the Assumption Catholic Church ceremony in a vintage limo, then departed with Ethan to the sound of bagpipes after the ceremony (and after a celebratory glass of bubbly) to take portraits. Even with cold weather, the lounges in the cocktail hour space ensured a perfect location to capture wedding party portraits! Add in a little bit of time for relaxation and refreshment, and then it was time to open the doors to guests. The couple wowed everyone with an impeccably choreographed first dance and partied long into the night. Of course, the dance floor wouldn't have been complete without a life-size cutout of the King of Pop. It was a one-of-a-kind wedding to remember and we are honored to have helped pull it all off!

Planner + vintage rentals | Chicago Vintage Weddings // Reception venue | Chicago Athletic Association Hotel | Florist + event installation | Atmosphere Events Group // Photography | Studio This Is // Videography | Loose Tie Productions // DJ | Style Matters // Church | Assumption Catholic Church // Hair | Yolanda Trejo // Makeup | Debra Petrielli // Trolley | Third Coast Trolley and Limo // Limo | Classic Wedding Car // Calligraphy | Reenie Rose