Real Wedding | Rebekah & Dennis

I think most brides would agree that it is best to pick your venue first, then decide on your wedding dress.  That way, you can be sure your dress fits the style of the ceremony/reception site.  Clearly, Rebekah did just that. Her wedding gown was the perfect match for the formal beauty of the Cathedral of the Holy Name and the Palmer Hotel. I think Kenneth Pool is among the best ball gown style  designers.  And detail and train on Rebekah’s dress.  Oh my!

Rebekah & Dennis |January 30, 2010(Rebekah’s birthday!) | Chicago, Illinois

How he proposed

Dennis planned a long weekend for us at the Bruce Peninsula National Park in Ontario, Canada. While we have been to a number of other countries, it was my first trip to Canada and we were very excited about getting a away for a few days. I had no absolutely idea he might be planning a proposal. One morning, Dennis insisted on getting up before dawn to hike down to the lake shore to watch the sunrise. He’s never wanted to see a sun rise before, and it seemed a little strange, but I thought it might be nice and went along with the plan. We hiked down a long path in near darkness until we reached the lake shore. At the national park, there are giant rocks and cliffs that border the crystal clear lake, and the views are absolutely amazing. Dennis and I climbed a large rock and watched the sunrise together. We were the only two people in sight, and it was as if we had the entire world to ourselves. It was after the sun rose that he got down on one knee and proposed. He later told me he wanted the proposal to take place at sunrise instead of at sunset, because that moment symbolized the beginning of our lives together instead of the end. It was perfect.

The ring was the same engagement ring that my grandfather had originally given to my grandmother in the 1950s. When my parents got married, my father purchased the ring from my grandparents and, little did I know, Dennis had already paid a visit to my parents and purchased the ring from them. I had mentioned the ring to him before, but I had no idea he was seriously considering getting it from them, and certainly didn’t know he had already been to their house to seal the deal! I was so thrilled and excited. We both practiced screaming “We’re getting married!” and listened to our voices echo off the surrounding cliffs. I’ll never forget that magical morning.

The ceremony
Dennis and I were married on my 29th birthday, and it was, without a doubt, the best day of my life, and surely the best birthday party I’ll ever have! Our wedding was a traditional Catholic ceremony at the Cathedral of the Holy Name in downtown Chicago. Our priest, Father John Boivin, had guided us though pre-marriage courses at the Cathedral and he did a wonderful job of officiating at the ceremony. We incorporated other traditional elements of a Catholic wedding ceremony into ours, including an offering of flowers to the Virgin Mary, and a unity candle we plan to light every year on our anniversary.

The moment Rebekah will never forget
We will certainly never forget the moment we realized the town car we had rented to take us from the cathedral to the hotel had failed to arrive. We ended up standing on the street, alongside all our guests, waiting for a taxi, which actually turned out to be great fun. Everyone thought it was an intentional attempt at a truly urban wedding, and the taxi driver was thoroughly entertained. We had a good laugh about it and got some priceless photos.

I will also remember exchanging our vows. We had them memorized, and for the only moment during that entire day, it was as if we were the only two people in the world.

The reception
Our reception took place at the Palmer House in downtown Chicago. The Palmer House is the oldest continuously-operating hotel in North America. It is known as “the hotel that love built” because it was built by Potter Palmer as a wedding present for his bride, Bertha Honoré, to whom Palmer had been introduced by Marshall Field himself. The hotel opened its doors in 1871 only to burn to the ground thirteen days later in the Great Chicago Fire. Palmer immediately went to work on rebuilding it. The new hotel was completed in 1875 and has since hosted a number of writers, celebrities, public figures, and nearly every US president. After a 180 million dollar renovation which was completed in 2008, the hotel has been restored to its original splendor and is simply breathtaking. Our cocktail reception took place in the Chicago Room and dinner and dancing followed in the Red Lacquer Room, a stunning red and gold room ballroom that captured my heart the moment I saw it.

What made her wedding dress “The One”
I only spent one afternoon shopping for a dress. I vowed to walk out of the store with a dress and never look back. I probably tried on twenty dresses before finding “the one.” I knew it would be amazing before I ever took it out of the bag. The dress was a Kenneth Pool ballgown from the Spring 2008 collection. The color was “pearl,” a light, silvery-white, and I had never seen such a beautiful color on a wedding dress. I was determined to squeeze myself into it no matter what size it was, but it turned out to be a perfect fit! In fact, I had no alterations whatsoever, so I was extremely fortunate. The dress was unbeleivable, and I received so many compliments on it the day of the wedding and for weeks afterward.

Her advice for other brides
My only advice for other brides is to avoid getting too wrapped up in all the small details. If you drive yourself crazy agonizing over the little things, it can become difficult to sit back and enjoy this amazing and wonderful moment in your life. My husband and I had a short engagement, and we only had three months to put together a fairly large, formal wedding. Those few months were very hectic, but honestly, I’m glad we didn’t have more time, because I think we would have ended up simply taking longer to eventually arrive at the same ultimate decisions. If there is any way to avoid getting bogged down in the minutia, be it by hiring a great wedding planner or by delegating tasks to those you trust, my only words of wisdom are to relax, have fun, and enjoy your special day as much as you possibly can. It’s your day, so make sure you get to enjoy it!

Rebekah’s Wedding Dress: Kenneth Pool Renoir / Photography: Edward Fox Photography