Monique Lhuillier’s Director of Alterations Explains How to Have a Perfect Dress Fitting

 Monique Lhuillier, Wedding Dresses  Comments Off on Monique Lhuillier’s Director of Alterations Explains How to Have a Perfect Dress Fitting
May 232016
 

You chose the dress. You waited for the dress. Finally, it's time for your first fitting. And whether you've picked a structured gown or a flowing slip dress, you'll want to make sure that it fits absolutely perfectly. We've enlisted the help of Rita Ertl, Monique Lhuillier's Director of Alterations and pinner of thousands of dresses, to find out the questions every bride should ask at her fitting.

Who and What to Bring
Invited your mom, sister, future mother-in-law, grandma, and all of your bridesmaids to shop for your dress with you? You might want to consider scaling back — way, way back — when going in for your first fitting. Ertl suggests inviting just two people to join you for the appointment. "At your first fitting a myriad of emotions will be running through your head. You want to have moral support but you don't need everyone's opinion," she explains. And while you're in the headspace of making tough choices, don't forget to zero-in on your shoes and undergarments before you try on your dress. "The fitter will work with you to determine, depending on your gown, your body and what results you want whether any undergarments will be worn," says Ertl (and she can only do that if you have them on-hand!).

The Dress Is On
You stepped in and are zipped up. Now what? Ertl hopes (like, really, really hopes) that you'll be happy from minute one, but notes that, for some brides, this is where the process can go south. "The gown is a standard size, with your measurements matched to the measurement chart of your designer. It will need adjustments to become your dream gown," she explains. Take a few deep breaths and remember that a lot of work still needs to be done. Whatever you do, don't panic if the dress doesn't immediately match your vision.

Fitting 101
You know what you like about your body — now is the time to talk. Be as specific as possible about which parts of your body you'd like to accentuate and which parts you wouldn't. According to Ertl, any good fitter should explain the alteration process and review each section of the dress. "I start with the bust, the gown and your apex (bust point) need to be aligned, adjustment then can be made from shoulders, waist, or both, keeping the apex aligned," explains Ertl. (So make sure to keep an eye on your bustline as adjustments are being made). Then scan the dress on your body. Ertl suggests getting in touch with your own look during the process, asking yourself if you want a fuller bust (hello, cups!) or are looking to show more or less cleavage.

A-Hem
Sure, you splurged on shoes, but unless your dress is tea-length or short, they shouldn't be visible when you're walking down the aisle. Ertl says "grazing" should become your go-to word when discussing hemlines at your fitting. "With your hem grazing the floor you will be able to walk, dance, and mingle with your guests," Ertl explains. The only thing you shouldn't be able to do is trip on it. And for any brides worried about grass stains, mud, or other elements of nature wreaking havoc on her dress, Ertl offers the following wisdom: "It will get dirty. That's what preservation is for."

See More: From Her New Collection to Her Best Bridal Style Tips: 10 Minutes with Monique Lhuillier

Oh, Weight
In her 30+ years as a fitter, Ertl has encountered one question more than any other: "What if I lose weight?" And, while dealing with 100 last minute to-dos, many brides do lose weight — a lot of weight — before the big day. Ertl says planning is key, "I schedule each fitting to accommodate a final fitting close to the wedding to make sure the gown is perfect!!" Request that your final fitting be no earlier than 10 days before your wedding. Ertl believes that will still give the seamstresses enough time to make final adjustments and give you enough time to pick up your dress well in advance of your wedding.

Apr 292016
 
Kate Middleton wedding trends Spring 2015

Photo: Getty Images

You're not just seeing things: When it comes to wedding dresses, the Kate Middleton effect is still very much present. The now-iconic Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen gown that Middleton wore to marry Prince William on April 29, 2011 (their anniversary is right around the corner!) immediately sent shockwaves throughout the bridal industry. At the time, Dan Rentillo, fashion director for David's Bridal, told Brides that dresses in similar styles began rocketing off the racks. "Women have really responded to the coverage," he said. "They're asking for ladylike gowns with clean, simple lines."

Nearly three years later, the main style elements that Kate's wedding dress embodied—that is, dramatic trains, deep V-necks, long sleeves, and lace detailing—were among our favorite details during Spring 2017 Bridal Fashion Week. What gowns best exemplified Kate Middleton's delightfully ubiquitous hold on bridal fashion? Read on to find out!

lazaro-wedding-dresses-spring-2017-013.jpg

Photo: Gerardo Somoza & Luca Tombolini / Indigitalimages.com

Long, dramatic trains: Before Kate stepped out of the vintage car on her wedding day, trains were going out of style. Thought of as unwieldy and old-fashioned, many brides were opting for low-maintenance wedding dresses with short (or no) trains. Though Kate required several bridesmaids (and one Pippa) to wrangle her train, it made the case for bringing back the former wedding dress staple. Her gorgeous, cathedral-length train made a stunning statement as she walked down the Westminster Abbey aisle, giving guests a special stylish treat. This Lazarro wedding dress, from the designer's most recent collection, made a huge splash with its full train. Though it's not as long as Kate's, it has as much of an impact.

lela-rose-wedding-dresses-spring-2017-011.jpg

Photo: Luca Tombolini / Indigitalimages.com

Deep V-necks: One wouldn't expect a future princess to wear a wedding dress with a plunging neckline, but somehow, Kate made it work. Like this gorgeous Lela Rose dress that we just spotted at the designer's latest fashion show, Kate's gown used lace to make the neckline feel ladylike. Kate absolutely popularized this style of neckline, and Lela Rose's dress proves that it's still an irresistible look.

oscar-de-la-renta-wedding-dresses-spring-2017-017.jpg

Gerardo Somoza / Indigitalimages.com

Long Sleeves: Thanks to Kate, long-sleeved wedding dresses have overthrown strapless gowns as the most popular style. And for good reason! They're conducive to beading and embellishment, offer warmth for cold-weather weddings, and are perfect for more conservative or religious brides. Kate, for example, needed a more covered-up look to become the Duchess of Cambridge. The gorgeous lace sleeves on her wedding dress were tasteful without being too stuffy. This Oscar de la Renta gown, fresh off the runways, is a sleek update on Kate's wedding-day style. It shows how long sleeves can balance a modern silhouette, a concept that would surely get Kate's approval.

reem-acra-wedding-dresses-spring-2017-012.jpg

Photo: Rodin Banica / Indigitalimages.com

Lace Detailing: One of our favorite aspects of Kate's wedding look is how it incorporated ladylike lace throughout. It was on her veil, sleeves, bodice, and hem — so delicate yet regal. Reem Acra, a veritable queen of royally romantic wedding dresses, used lace in nearly all of her Spring 2017 wedding dresses. This gown caught our eye because the lacy detailing reminded us of Kate's wedding dress. It's meticulously embellished, and yet the overall effect is still one of subtle sophistication.

From Her New Collection to Her Best Bridal Style Tips: 10 Minutes with Monique Lhuillier

 Monique Lhuillier, Wedding Dresses  Comments Off on From Her New Collection to Her Best Bridal Style Tips: 10 Minutes with Monique Lhuillier
Jul 182014
 
Monique-Lhuillier-with-models.jpg

Photo: Brides via Instagram

With almost 20 years in the wedding business, Monique Lhuillier is an expert on all things bridal fashion, so we sat down with the designer to talk about her otherworldly Spring 2015 bridal collection, her favorite bridal trends, and perhaps most importantly, her top styling tips for brides-to-be.

For Spring 2015, this Californian designer was inspired by romance, daydreams, and a certain artist's paintings.
"For my spring collection, I was inspired by an ethereal daydream. I envisioned brides taking on an artful fantasy, and for our show I really wanted my guests to physically experience that," says Monique. "I drew inspiration from John Singer Sargent portraiture, and my goal was to showcase my gowns through a tableau vivant, a living picture, where the gowns looked like they were walking out of a painting. I wanted the gowns to have a regal feel; clouds of tulle, silk satin organza and our signature Chantilly lace infused with delicate embroidery and intricate beading to create a dreamy, alluring vision. I also experimented with color using pastel shades of blush, hydrangea, pistachio and mist, within the traditional palette of ivory and silk white."

Monique-2014-split.jpg

Photo: John Aquino and Steve Eichner

There are some seriously gorgeous shapes in this collection — just take a look at the skirt on the "Riley" gown, and the beautiful draping of "Delphine".
"My signature fabric is lace. For me the key design detail is layering. I cut the layers in different lengths, so the gown is lightweight and where the bride does not feel the heavy volume. It is so important for my brides to feel effortless on their wedding day."

She loves shorter hemlines and surprising color choices for brides.
"A bride should always take into account her individual style when she plans her wedding look." Monique adds, "I love that brides are opting for unexpected hues, and long sleeves, once seen as conservative, are now an opportunity to showcase intricate fabric details. Shorter hemlines are also more common, and I designed a line of short dresses in laces and jacquards specifically for the bride who feels that less is more. Another trend that I love is a beautiful, unique headpiece to finish a bridal look. However, it's so important to remember that elegance is key, and to avoid overloading on dramatic accessories that can distract from the wedding dress."

She also reveals her top three tips for brides-to-be.
"On your wedding day, you should look like the most beautiful natural version of yourself; do not use this as an opportunity to try out a bold new lip color. Your pictures will last a lifetime, and you don't want to regret your makeup choices that day. Pack extra pins, double stick tape, and body shapers. The week leading up to your wedding is stressful, and every bride's body reacts to stress in different ways — including last minute weight loss or weight gain. It's important to be prepared with these styling tools in case your dress needs a last minute adjustment. I always encourage my brides to try to get their final fitting as close to their wedding day as possible so to ensure that the dress fits you perfectly. Also, drinks lots of water (double the normal amount!) the day before your wedding. When you wake up, you will look refreshed and feel hydrated."

Two of her most recent celebrity bridal clients wore two of her favorite custom gowns — long-sleeved silk tulle for Ginnifer Goodwin and bohemian Chantilly lace for Stacy Kiebler.
"Each bride is unique, and it is so important to capture their individual style. Most recently I designed dresses for Ginnifer Goodwin and Stacy Keibler. Ginnifer wore a romantic scoop neck, long-sleeved draped dress with a beautiful open back and matching veil. I created her gown by draping silk white tulle over a delicate layer of floral Chantilly lace. Stacy's dress was more bohemian, and completely effortless for her beach wedding. Her dress was created using a delicate Chantilly lace v-neck bodice with an ethereal, silk chiffon draped skirt."

Apr 162014
 
Kate Middleton wedding trends Spring 2015

Photo: Getty Images

You're not just seeing things: When it comes to wedding dresses, the Kate Middleton effect is still very much present. The now-iconic Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen gown that Middleton wore to marry Prince William on April 29, 2011 (their anniversary is right around the corner!) immediately sent shockwaves throughout the bridal industry. At the time, Dan Rentillo, fashion director for David's Bridal, told Brides that dresses in similar styles began rocketing off the racks. "Women have really responded to the coverage," he said. "They're asking for ladylike gowns with clean, simple lines."

Nearly three years later, the main style elements that Kate's wedding dress embodied—that is, dramatic trains, deep V-necks, long sleeves, long veils, and lace detailing—were among our favorite details during Spring 2015 Bridal Fashion Week. What gowns best exemplified Kate Middleton's delightfully ubiquitous hold on bridal fashion? Read on to find out!

Kate Middleton Theia wedding dress Spring 2015

Photo: John Aquino

Long, dramatic trains: Before Kate stepped out of the vintage car on her wedding day, trains were going out of style. Thought of as unwieldy and old-fashioned, many brides were opting for low-maintenance wedding dresses with short (or no) trains. Though Kate required several bridesmaids (and one Pippa) to wrangle her train, it made the case for bringing back the former wedding dress staple. Her gorgeous, cathedral-length train made a stunning statement as she walked down the Westminster Abbey aisle, giving guests a special stylish treat. This Theia wedding dress, from the designer's most recent collection, has an eye-catching back and a full train. Though it's not as long as Kate's, it has as much of an impact.

Kate Middleton Monique Lhuillier wedding dress Spring 2015

Photo: John Aquino and Steve Eichner

Deep V-necks: One wouldn't expect a future princess to wear a wedding dress with a plunging neckline, but somehow, Kate made it work. Like this gorgeous, near lookalike Monique Lhuillier that we just spotted at the designer's latest fashion show, Kate's gown created the effect of a deep V-neck by combining a sweetheart bodice and sleeves. Kate absolutely popularized this style of neckline, and Lhuillier's dress proves that it's still an irresistible look.

Kate Middleton Oscar de la Renta wedding dress Spring 2015

Photo: John Aquino

Long Sleeves: Thanks to Kate, long-sleeved wedding dresses have overthrown strapless gowns as the most popular style. And for good reason! They're conducive to beading and embellishment, offer warmth for cold-weather weddings, and are perfect for more conservative or religious brides. Kate, for example, needed a more covered-up look to become the Duchess of Cambridge. The gorgeous lace sleeves on her wedding dress were tasteful without being too stuffy. This cocktail-length Oscar de la Renta, fresh off the runways, is a fun update on Kate's wedding-day style. It shows how long sleeves can balance a short hemline, a concept that would surely get Kate's approval.

Kate Middleton Naeem Khan wedding dress Spring 2015

Photo: John Aquino

Long Veils: For her royal wedding, Kate wore a stunning, lace-trimmed veil with a princess-worthy tiara. Swoon. Her veil was the perfect complement for her wedding dress, and since then, stylish veils have been back in a big way. Naeem Khan paired most of the wedding dresses in his Spring 2015 collection with gorgeous, cathedral-length veils, which only added to the dresses' drama. This gown is not only reminiscent of Kate's wedding dress, but the silk-bordered veil provides an extra wow factor the same way that hers did.

Kate Middleton Reem Acra wedding dress Spring 2015

Photo: Thomas Iannaccone

Lace Detailing: One of our favorite aspects of Kate's wedding look is how it incorporated ladylike lace throughout. It was on her veil, sleeves, bodice, and hem — so delicate yet regal. Reem Acra, a veritable queen of royally romantic wedding dresses, used lace in nearly all of her Spring 2015 wedding dresses. This gown caught our eye because the lacy detailing reminded us of Kate's wedding dress. It's meticulously embellished, and yet the overall effect is still one of subtle sophistication.

Apr 142014
 
Mila Kunis Ashton Kutcher

Photo: Getty Images

Mila Kunis has had a busy two months, to say the least. First, news broke that she was engaged to Ashton Kutcher. Then, excitement heightened when we found out that she's not only marrying Kutcher, but that they're expecting a child together, too. Naturally, the first thing that comes to mind with all of this bridal and baby buzz is her future wedding dress! While we're unsure if she'll wait until her baby is born to get married, we do know one thing: Kunis's dress will be as show-stopping as her past red carpet looks.

Kunis, after all, is a fan of drama, often opting for eye-catching necklines (everything from one-shoulder, to a deep-V and sweeping scoop) and skirts with volume. When she's not making our jaw drops in tulle confections (2010 Met Ball, anyone?) she's donning intricate ruching and draped silhouettes (we know you remember her lavender Elie Saab number at the 2011 Oscars). If there's one thing Kunis favors, it's a flowy gown.

With all of this in mind, we looked to the recent Spring 2015 runways to find Kunis a few dream wedding dresses fresh off the runways.

Reem Acra Spring 2015 Wedding Dress - Mila Kunis Dress Predictions

Photo: Thomas Iannaccone

If there were two style details Kunis had to stick to for the rest of her life, we could confidently say it'd most likely be a flowy skirt and a deep V-neck. This Reem Acra gown not only boasts both, it also features an intricate lace bodice with regal short sleeves. Plus, the plunging V, and slight cutout underneath it, offers up a dose of sex appeal.

Marchesa Spring 2015 Wedding Dress - Mila Kunis Dress Predictions

Photo: Robert Mitra

This Marchesa gown is the bridal translation of Kunis's affinity towards draped silhouettes. While it doesn't have a diagonal gathering of fabric, or a one-shoulder neckline, this off-the-shoulder sleeve and airy skirt have a similar effect in a much more wedding-worthy way.

Jenny Packham Spring 2015 Wedding Dress - Mila Kunis Dress Predictions

Photo: Robert Mitra

If Kunis chooses to make like Drew Barrymore, Savannah Guthrie, and most recently, Ginnifer Goodwin and get married while she's pregnant, we think this Jenny Packham dress would be perfect. It has all three things Kunis loves: a draped sleeve, a plunging neckline, and a free-flowing shape, while offering a natural waistline — perfect for accommodating what we're sure will be her adorable belly!

Carolina Herrera Spring 2015 Wedding Dress - Mila Kunis Dress Predictions

Photo: John Aquino and Thomas Iannaccone

A sleeker option for Kunis is this Carolina Herrera sheath, which still offers the va-va-voom factor with the deep V-neck Mila adores. We love the little lace inserts for a bridal finish to this clean and minimalist gown.

Monique Lhuillier Spring 2015 Wedding Dress - Mila Kunis Dress Predictions

Photo: Robert Mitra

Last but not least, Monique Lhuillier's lace illusion sleeve gown, with a voluminous tulle overskirt, is the most formal option for Kunis. The lace, though, is modern enough to appeal to her attention to detail, while the shape of this gown is both dramatic yet ethereal enough to satisfy her personal style.

Apr 122014
 

Monique Lhuillier's Spring 2015 wedding dress collection wasn't short of wow-worthy romance. New lace patterns, a soft touch of glitter, and flouncy tulle skirts were so ethereal they practically floated down the runway. So, it should come as no surprise that Lhuillier dubbed her latest collection an "ethereal daydream." Lhuillier's show was so beautiful we had to capture the graceful gowns in action.

The entire runway presentation was set in a John Singer-Sargent portraiture, adding to the collection's "visionary fantasy," as Lhuillier calls it. Other details contributing to the runway show's dreamscape? An overflow of light-as-air tulle, cascading hemlines, and embroidered Chantilly and Alencon lace, all of which resulted in a feminine fluidity on the runway. The beloved bridal designer infused a few new colors to the mix, too: Pistachio and Mist (along with tried-and-true blush and hydrangea) introduced bridal blue and green hues that made our eyes pop with excitement. Large rosette appliqués added a girlish glamour to a few of the gowns.

Watch the gowns walk the runway in our exclusive video, above, and don't forget to check out Monique Lhuillier's Spring 2015 collection in our slideshow.

For more front-row photos and exclusive behind-the-scenes coverage of Bridal Fashion Week, follow Brides on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google +.

Apr 122014
 
kanye-west-kim-kardashian.jpg

Photo: Getty Images

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's wedding is fast approaching (May 24, as long as a French residency law doesn't get in the way!), which means she's likely already picked out a wedding dress. However, we're here to help in case she has yet to find the perfect one! Along with asking designers to create custom dress sketches, we found five gowns that would look amazing on the bombshell from the Spring 2015 Bridal Fashion Week collections.

Since she started dating Kanye, Kim has amped up her fashion game, stepping out in figure-conscious looks from designers like Givenchy. She's even taken some notes from future BFF Beyoncé, who loves sheer details and tons of embellishments. With Kim's recent style transformation in mind, we picked some totally gorgeous, show-stopping wedding dresses that just hit runways.

Kim Kardashian Monique Lhuillier wedding dress

Photo: John Aquino and Steve Eichner

This Monique Lhuillier gown stood out to us immediately when it graced the runway at the designer's recent bridal fashion show. The sweetheart neckline and spaghetti straps reminded us of the white lace Dolce & Gabbana outfit she wore to her birthday party in Las Vegas (above). The mermaid skirt, though, really won us over. That silhouette is ideal for brides with hourglass shapes like Kim's, and this one will absolutely showcase her enviable assets.

Kim Kardashian Rivini wedding dress

Photo: John Aquino

Nude underlays are a huge trend on red carpets — and, it appears, in wedding dress collections, as well! Rivini's Spring 2015 collection features this ornate gown, which is similar to the white cutout number Beyoncé wore to this year's Grammys. Kim, of course, is not shy about showing a little skin, which is why this ultra-glam gown would be great for her Paris wedding.

Kim Kardashian Reem Acra wedding dress

Photo: Thomas Iannaccone

Can't you just picture Kim strutting down the aisle in this stunning Reem Acra creation? As much as Kim loves to flaunt what she's got, she has been covering up a bit more since she's become a mom. Out of all the sophisticated dresses that the designer showed in her Spring 2015 collection, this one caught our eye because of its trendy long sleeves and slimming skirt. The dress is grown-up glam, and similar to looks the star has worn before.

Kim Kardashian Houghton wedding dress

Photo: Thomas Iannaccone

Spring 2015 Bridal Fashion Week is still underway, but we can already tell that crop tops are going to be the look of the season. This one, featured in Houghton's latest collection, is one of the most compelling arguments we've seen for them to date! Kim will love that it shows a sliver of stomach and includes a figure-flattering skirt. Whether or not she wears this to say "I do" is still to be determined, but we could totally see her rocking this on a red carpet or even a shopping trip!

Kim Kardashian Truly Zac Posen wedding dress

Photo: Thomas Iannaccone

Kanye certainly influences Kim's wardrobe, so we think it's safe to assume that he's helping her choose her bridal look. Colored wedding dresses are a big enough trend to earn the fashionable rapper's approval, but still edgy enough to get people talking. Truly Zac Posen debuted this delicate pink gown in its Fall 2014 collection, and we love it for the same reasons we think Kanye will: The petal color balances out the otherwise simple gown, and the slimming mermaid silhouette will be a winner on Kim.

Apr 122014
 

Monique Lhuillier: Always ladylike, always romantic, and always turning up the style volume to high. Her Spring 2015 wedding dress collection used yards of tulle, skirts with rose details, and the most delicate bead-and-lace work to show brides how wedding-day glamour should combine classic and contemporary elements. (For example, just look at how the pearl buttons highlight the intricate design on the back of the dress above!) Last season, the designer focused on streamlined, sheath dresses that looked cool and sleek against her rustic backdrop, but this year? It's all about the drama.

It's amazing what a little tulle can do! This gown is already super ethereal, with its gauzy, strapless sweetheart bodice and swirling skirt. But the whisper-thin wrap (which she included on several looks) make it look simply heavenly.

And how about this ice-blue stunner? Colored wedding dresses are gaining in popularity, and Lhuillier makes a convincing case for brides to consider a non-white option with this gown. The oversized flowers on the skirt make this a dress that playful brides will love.

Lhuillier stepped out at the end of the show to pose with all of her dreamy dresses. This tableau is a stunning sneak peek at the entire collection. We love the abundance of embellished bodices, full ball gown skirts, and princess-y tiaras. Lhuillier is a pro at creating feminine, glamorous gowns, and it looks like this collection is just another prime example!

Want to see more of the newest looks from Monique Lhuillier? Click here for the entire slideshow!

For more front-row photos and exclusive behind-the-scenes coverage of Bridal Fashion Week, follow Brides on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google +.

Mar 052014
 
Monique Lhuillier Reception Table

Photo: Getty Images

We asked four legendary wedding dress designers to help us create dream reception tables. Get ready for the most fashion-forward meal of your life.

Matching the whimsy of her secret garden-esque Fall 2014 bridal runway, Monique Lhuillier dressed her table with a mix of lush blooms, sleek silver prints (and even lampshades!), and feminine calligraphy.

"I love fusing the traditional and the modern, like crystal glassware and graphic china," Lhuillier said of her table. "A mix-and-match vibe looks extra inviting. Plus, nothing says 'celebrate' like lush blooms and a little sparkle."

We couldn't agree more! This set-up would serve an ethereal bride with contemporary tendencies—and a flair for fun, feminine-looking decor—well. Whether it's an upscale garden party or city loft, this look would work at a multitude of venues, too.

Stay tuned for more of our favorite designer's dream wedding reception décor!

Pictured above: Dinnerware "Embrace," $135 for a five-piece place setting, Monique Lhuillier Waterford; Flatware "Crestridge Bead," $30 for a five-piece place setting, and centerpiece bowls $200 each, Reed & Barton; Small wine glasses "Mozart," $160 each, Moser; Large wine glasses, $24 each, Vietri; Favor boxes, $13 for 10, Paper Presentation; Centerpieces, $475 each, Michael George; Table number, $2.50 and menu $200 for 100, JP Stationery; Place-card holders, $225 for six, L'Objet; Place-card calligraphy, from $2 each, Fleur de Letters; Silver votives, $340 each, Christofle; Glass globe votives, $3.95 each, Z Gallerie; Shaded candlesticks, $815 each, Baccarat

Dec 312013
 
Modern Couple Blue Shoes Chicago Wedding

Photo: Robin Sloan, River Bend Photo Studio

When they were freshmen at the University of Indiana, hanging around the dorm with some other students, Jon, now 31 and an IT consultant, told a joke about sausages in a frying pan. Most of his friends dismissed it immediately as another one of his silly wisecracks—to this day, no one can remember exactly how it went—but one person laughed. Jamie, a 31-year-old communications consultant, remembers finding her future husband instantly entertaining—and, luckily, she still does.

When planning their April 2013 nuptials, Jamie and Jon knew they wanted to honor both their shared love of their home city, Chicago, and their wacky sense of humor. They chose the Chicago History Museum for their modern, sophisticated reception because it perfectly represented their city life together: the couple said "I do" surrounded by artifacts and memorabilia from their hometown, and just steps away from the path where they coach a team of runners each weekend.

By adding personal touches like custom notes, a quirky, self-written ceremony, and a visit from their favorite hot-dog truck, Jamie and Jon crafted a party that went way beyond any affair we've ever seen and became a day so completely their own, they'll never forget a second.

Couple Chicago History Museum Wedding Engagement Ring on Modern Stripe Background

Photo: Robin Sloan, River Bend Photo Studio

"Jon believes that the perfect proposal contains three elements," Jamie says. "It should be a complete surprise until the moment it happens, it should be at a location I can go to when I'm having a sad day, and it should include an experience I've never had before." Ever the consultant, he put together a spreadsheet weighing every possible proposal scenario. The winner? A jaw-dropping underwater "will you marry me?" in the whale tank at Shedd Aquarium (he signed them up for a whale-training session), complete with bubble-wrapped ring box. Yes, it really does get that romantic.

Black and White Wedding Portrait Chicago History Museum Wedding Portrait Chicago History Museum Monique Lhuillier Manolo Blahnik Blue Jeweled Pumps Wedding

Photo: Robin Sloan, River Bend Photo Studio

Jamie wore a trumpet-style Monique Lhuillier gown with a Chantilly lace and French tulle overlay, three-quarter sleeves and a train. Paired with a cathedral-length veil embellished with Swarovski crystals, the gown was equal parts sophisticated and modern. Her blue Manolo Blahnik pumps coordinated with Jon's orange socks as a nod to their shared alma mater, the University of Illinois.

White Wedding Bouquet Tulips Roses Peonies Groom Boutonniere White Ranunculus

Photo: Robin Sloan, River Bend Photo Studio

Jamie carried a pale bouquet of French tulips, white peonies and roses tied with an ivory silk ribbon. The groom wore a boutonniere of white ranunculus.

Bride Ceremony Chicago History Museum Monique Lhuillier Ceremony Program Custom Monogram Chicago History Museum Wedding Ceremony Chicago History Museum Topiary Modern Wedding Ceremony

Photo: Robin Sloan, River Bend Photo Studio

In fitting with the French-garden feel of their wedding, Jamie and Jon lined the aisle with boxwood topiaries for their informal, self-written ceremony, which was officiated by a close friend. Jamie walked down the aisle to "Henry the Eighth" by Herman's Hermits, her late father's favorite song. The two vowed to "eat all the chocolate chip cookies you want to bake for me," and "always run at your pace."

Chicago History Museum French Tulips Chandelier Chicago History Museum Main Room Wedding Escort Cards Chicago History Museum Wedding

Photo: Robin Sloan, River Bend Photo Studio

In the museum's quirky main room, surrounded by reminders of the industrial history of Chicago, Jamie and Jon created a modern organic paradise, lighting the room in soft green tones. As guests walked into the reception, they found their seat assignments under a giant arrangement of French tulips under a crystal chandelier—talk about a grand entrance!

Guestbook Tree Idea Jaime_Jon_16_guestbook2.jpg

Photo: Robin Sloan, River Bend Photo Studio

"In lieu of a guest book we had a "Wishing Tree" where guests wrote their wishes, wisdom and wit for us and placed them on the tree. Our families read their wishes as part of the ceremony," Jamie says.

Green Centerpiece Chicago History Museum Wedding Long Table Grey Tablecloth Chicago History Museum Wedding Candle Centerpiece Chicago History Museum Wedding Jeweled Initials Bride Groom Chairs Topiary Centerpiece Wedding Reception

Photo: Robin Sloan, River Bend Photo Studio

The couple swapped out round dinner tables for long ones and covered them with grey silk tablecloths, white linen napkins, white china, and green and black glassware. Boxwood-wrapped planters of white tulips, roses and ranunculus served as centerpieces, and freestanding topiaries around the room added to the mod-garden vibe.

Personalized Monogrammed Family Style Wedding Menu Square Tiered Wedding Cheesecake Dessert Lounge Wedding Chicago History Museum

Photo: Robin Sloan, River Bend Photo Studio

Jon, the foodie half of the newlywed couple, took care of the menu. He included a note on each guest's custom-monogrammed card explaining his selections, and letting everyone know that he made a donation to the Kidney Cancer Association in their honor. The spread was way beyond your standard filet mignon and seasonal vegetables. Each dish was Italian-inspired, family style, and absolutely mouthwatering: think individual cheese plates for each guest, rust artisan pizzas, and baskets of warm garlic bread. "We loved to hear that guests felt pampered when they sat down to our tables," Jamie says.

The biggest surprise of the evening? Everyone got to munch on hot dogs straight from the Chubby Weiner truck, a Chicago institution, during the reception.

As for dessert, Jamie and Jon ordered their three-tier cheesecake from a local, family-run vendor to show support to their city. And that's not all: After getting down on the dance floor in flip-flops the couple provided, guests were treated to a sweet session in Jamie and Jon's dessert lounge, complete with Lucite chairs, embroidered pillows and tables with warm chocolate chip cookies, whipped chocolate souffle, and s'mores supplies.



Bride Groom Chicago History Museum Wedding


Photo: Robin Sloan, River Bend Photo Studio


What everyone loved most about the wedding, Jamie says, is the wit they took care to weave throughout the fun-filled evening. Jon and Jamie's shared sense of humor was everywhere: in their vows, in little notes they left guests everywhere, in their whimsical song choices, and in their quirky, playful venue. They met because Jon made Jamie laugh, and—she says—years later, they're still laughing together.

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Chicago History Museum || Bride's Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier || Veil: Nancy Shefts || Shoes: Manolo Blahnik || Jewelry & Wedding Rings: Family heirlooms || Hair: Roger Gumm of Colette Salon and Spa || Makeup: Nicole Jacob || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Of their own choosing || Groom's Tuxedo: Nicholas Joseph || Florist: Beth Tarrant of Anna Held Floral Design Studio || Catering: Jewel Events Catering| |Invitations: Pioneer Announcements || Music: Amaryllis Strings, Michael Walters Orchestra || Cake: Swedish Bakery || Favors: Donations to The Kidney Cancer Association || Wedding Planner: Frank J. Andonoplas || Photography: Robin Sloan, River Bend Photo Studios

—Amanda First

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