Real Wedding | Christine & Justin

I can’t decide what I like best about this wedding.  The super sweet proposal, the soft romantic look to the ceremony, or the elegant incorporation of Halloween into the decor. Whichever you pick, this is one lovely wedding.

Christine & Justin  | October 31, 2009 | Chicago, Illinois

How he proposed
It was a random Tuesday night in September (September 30 to be exact) and he had picked me up from work. I remember him being extremely nervous in the car, but didn’t think anything of it and we proceeded on our way home. When we got home I opened the back door and there was a flood of rose pedals on the floor. I gasped and couldn’t move. He said go in and follow the path, so I did. The path led into the master bedroom which was filled with more roses and flowers. There was a heart made out of rose pedals on the bed with a box in the middle. I thought to myself, “He’s not going to get on one knee?” When I opened the box there was a little note inside that read, “Did you really think I wasn’t going to be on one knee? Turn around!” And to my surprise there he was on one knee with the most beautiful engagement ring I had ever seen! He asked me to be marry him and I cried yes!

The ceremony
We wanted the ceremony to be intimate and elegant, so we transformed the white tented pavilion into a candle lit environment with soft white drapery to compliment the space. As the guests arrived they entered through a draped entryway with pleated soft white fabric to allow a more formal look to the space. This drapery was closed just before the procession began to offer a dramatic effect for the entrance of the wedding party. The aisle was set with a champagne runner covered with white rose pedals along side a row of white lit pillar candles. The altar was set by a flowing fabric backdrop dropped from the ceiling and up lit from its base. The nine chandeliers in the pavilion were strung with white dendrobium orchids, as well as hanging crystal stems. As far as the program, we went for very simple — a short mass and two readings read by each of our mothers. We chose to have the ceremony at the same place as the reception, as many of our guests had traveled far to attend our wedding. Having everything in one place made it easier for everyone.

The moment Christine will never forget

I was calm the whole day (at least I thought so) but as soon as they opened the curtain and the wedding coordinator said “this is your moment” the water works began. I will never forget having my dad by my side and walking down my aisle to marry the man of my dreams.

The reception
Since our wedding was on Halloween, I wanted to incorporate a bit of the holiday, but not have it be our main theme. So we chose black, white and champagne as the colors. We used white Hawaiian orchards as our centerpieces, champagne flowers for the wedding party, bridesmaids sashes and other accents on the tables and used black as the main color for everything else. We used masquerade masks on the bars and put candy corn in the gift boxes on the table to incorporate Halloween. We also have a love for wine so our table numbers were wine bottles with the seat cards set in corks. Since we were in a a large tented pavilion we needed something to make the space more intimate. So we used large white hanging Chinese lanterns that were the main source of light when the sun went down.

Splurges & Savings

My parents would say the dress, but I would have to say the flowers and the band. I had always envisioned my wedding with a ton of flowers and candles, so I definitely spent the most on what I like to call décor, entertainment and the dress. Everything else I really did my homework on like: table gifts, paper goods and all the little odds and ends. I found a fabulous company called, A Milestone Paper Co. who did all of our paper goods at an incredible price.

I also shopped at discount stores to buy such items as the unity candle (which we made ourselves), wedding party gear and all the welcome & gift bags.

What made her wedding dress “The One”

Funny, I went into this whole process thinking and saying I wanted a simple silk gown, but what I ended up with was something much more spectacular and memorable! I probably tried on a million dresses before I found my dream dress. But I do have to admit my mother actually picked it out. We were at Vera and looking at everything from simple to outrageous and nothing felt right. Then my mom pulled this dress out and was like I think you should try this on. Like a typical  mother and daughter relationship I hesitated, but then agreed to just try it on. I loved it right away, but needed that final approval. So the very next day we brought my dad in. As soon as he saw it he said that’s the dress. When I asked him how he knew, he said I will never forget your mother in her wedding dress and I know Justin will never forget you in this one.

Her advice for other brides

Don’t stress. Everything always falls into place and expect the unexpected. Our officiant was terrible, but we laugh about it now. Remember the wedding is a celebration its the rest of your lives together that really counts!

Christine’s Wedding Dress: Vera Wang Clarissa
Photography: Becky Hill