Stefania & Dean - Congress Plaza Hotel Wedding
Planning a wedding from another country is, without a doubt, challenging! But Stefania and Dean were SO amazing about the entire process. From the beginning, they knew they wanted a super fun, yet elegant, event. And Chicago was the natural choice for a few reasons. First, Dean popped the question to Stefania in Chicago (on the Skydeck of the Sears Tower!) . They flew in from Scotland for an epic 2 years in the making road trip of a lifetime- traveling on Route 66 cross country to Los Angeles, California. So although their relationship started as friends a couple of years earlier, the newest chapter of their love story was based in the windy city. It just felt like home for the couple. And it was the perfect tie-in to ALL of their reception decor (tables named for destinations along the way, photos of the trip).
Stefania’s dress was from a little shop called Opus in a small Village called West Kilbride. She was fairly certain she knew just what she wanted, but after a few try ons with “the dress” she had her heart set on, it turned out it just wasn’t “the one”. Much to the bride’s surprise, the shop owner actually found the Maggie Sottero dress (Yasmina in Blush) and Stefania ended up falling in love with it! She ROCKED it too!
The traditional Scottish elements the incorporated? All the men wore lovely grey kilts in an eternal thistle tartan pattern. Each kilt was adorned with the sgian-dubh (skee-en-doo) - which is a knife that goes into the sporron (which is the pouch like attachment that hangs at the front of the kilt). They also included Irish thistles for the buttonholes and sporron.
The couple knew they wanted something formal and classy for the ceremony. After deciding on a Gatsby-esqu theme, the large floral arrangement of feathers, orchids, and lush filler blooms were a no-brainer! Their theme wouldn't be complete without LOTS of gold. Stefanie actually selected this venue because of the rich, gold tones everywhere! Add in more than a few pineapples (this became a bit of an obsession during the planning process for the bride and she found herself collecting an eclectic array of them. She soon had enough to make it a central focus in the theme) and some funky Route 66 signage and the “class meets trash” theme was born for the reception. Add a champagne tower and the couple had an upscale American hotel party fit for any Scot!
At the end of the night, they asked the band to play a traditional Scottish song that gets played at the end of a party/wedding/event, its called "Banks of Loch Lomond" by Runrig. Everyone stands in a circle with their arms crossed and holding one another’s hands with the host/couple in the middle- the song starts slowly and then picked up the pace, with everyone running in and out of the middle. It’s CRAZY and SO much fun.
Stefania’s favorite moment of the day? “Apart from marrying my best friend…. the band. They were unbelievable and you literally couldn't get me off the dance floor. They really did put on a show.”
She has a few great pieces of advice for the bride-to-be! She said "Have fun! Don't let silly things get to you, everything will come together very quickly on the run up [to] the wedding....Make sure you make a labeled folder up and keep on top updating it and putting things in the right section. It really helps not just you, but your planner and vendors too." And lastly, "Just remember it's you and your groom’s day, make it special. You won't be able to please everyone but if your guests see you relaxed and having fun, they will too!"
Photographer: Thara Photo
Planner: Elisa, The Simply Elegant Group
Venue: Congress Plaza Hotel
Hair + Makeup: Stylisted
Dress: Opus Couture
Stationery: EYI Love
Florals: Virgina Wolff
Rentals (champagne tower): Vintage Place Settings
Cake: Amy Beck Cake Designs
Ceremony Music: Moeller Music
Reception Entertainment: One Night Band
Videography: O'Grady Cinema
Officiant: Calvin Denison, Chicago Officiant Services