Alli was just about ready for her wedding to Joe. Brenna and Perry, two stylists from Black Hearts Hair House, had just finished her hair and makeup, and all that was left to put on were her shoes, and of course, the dress.
Before stepping into the gown, Alli presented her mother and mother-in-law with special handkerchiefs that were embroidered with special messages.
Alli’s sister was on hand to help secure the gown while the bridesmaids and Alli’s grandparents watched on. The final step was the veil, which Alli put in place just before stepping out the door.
Meanwhile, Joe and his groomsmen were getting ready, too.
Joe’s brother, who was also the best man, had some damages that got checked out by their mother when she first saw him.
He accidentally clipped his eyebrows a little short! They were a source of amusement throughout the rest of the day.
Joe was beyond excited for the day, and he wasn’t shy about sharing the love. Once he and his groomsmen were suited up, they headed out for the couple’s first meeting.
Alli and Joe got their first look at each other in the lobby of the Hotel Sofitel downtown. The family and bridal party were there to share the moment with them, as well.
They exchanges some gifts, too, and Alli had a great one for Joe. She made this book for him, and for each story had a corresponding gift to give him. Guess what he got with this story?
The whole crew jumped onto the party bus and Alli wasted no time in getting juiced up. She was going to hit the day at full steam! And there was a lot of day ahead of us, too. The first item on the itinerary were wedding party pictures around the downtown area.
This was the first spot we hit up, which is one of Joe’s favorite views of the city. We ventured around the rest of the neighborhood, taking advantage of the other backdrops we found.
The gentlemen helped Alli off the platform after the picture…
…but Joe only needed one hand for his dismount.
The wedding party grabbed their beer cups and headed back to the bus for the next stop on the photo tour.
We jumped out at the Kinzie Street Bridge for the next round of bridal party shots.
The ladies had to be careful walking across the grating in their high-heeled shoes!
Alli’s sister caught a ride from her boyfriend. What a good guy!
This was a special stop. Alli and Joe met in a photography class and one of the projects for that class involved taking pictures at an El stop. This was the exact stop they shot at and wanted to replicate some of the pictures they took that happy day.
Up next was some fun at the zoo. The popcorn smelled too good to pass up.
And the carousel looked too fun to pass up. Everyone in the wedding party chose their favorite animal and held on tight as the ride began.
I think the groomsman in the middle really wanted to ride the panda.
After the wild ride was done, we had to make fast tracks back to Café Brauer for the Ketubah signing.
Both sides of the family were present to watch Alli and Joe began this important tradition.
Joe’s dad was watching out to make sure it was done right.
With the Ketubah signed and guests beginning to arrive, it was time to get in place for the ceremony.
Alli’s mom and dad walked her down the aisle as the ceremony began.
Once they were both under the Chuppah, they completed the tradition of the bride circling the groom three times.
Her grandpa smiled warmly as he watched as the two deliver their vows to each other.
Joe’s mom and dad.
Alli’s mom and dad.
The vows were delivered, the rings were exchanged, and the rabbi gave the two a special blessing.
And then they were man and wife! Mozel Tov!
The newlyweds went off to spend some time together alone before the reception, and I joined the rest of the guests as cocktail hour began.
The sun began to set just then, and there were some beautiful colors as a result.
Alli’s grandma enjoyed one of the signature drinks the bride designed. In this picture, she’s enjoying a Zootini. They also had a drink called a Funky Monkey that was served in a champagne flute. The drinks matched the zoo theme of the reception.
Alli’s dad greeted family and friends in the crowd.
And Joe’s dad made the rounds as well.
While the guests were enjoying the drinks and each other’s company, I slid out to take some pictures of the details in the dining area before people sat down for the meal.
But first I wanted to take some close-up shots of the Chuppah which was designed and assembled by Ryan at Kehoe Designs. The professionals at Kehoe, who did all the flowers for the day, always do such an amazing job.
Kehoe Designs also did the centerpieces for the tables in the gorgeous dining area. Wedding consultant Amanda Weil also helped with the design and organization of the day.
Melina Ketsen Podolsky, a Certified Master Baker and instructor at Chicago’s Kendall College, created this beauty.
And here’s the bouquet, which was also designed by Ryan at Kehoe.
I loved this. They used zoo animals as their table markers to designate where guests should sit. The scents of a delicious dinner prepared by Entertaining Company wafted in the dining hall as guests found their way to their tables.
When guests had made their way from cocktails into the dining area, Alli and Joe made their entrance…
…and immediately began their first dance together.
Then Alli’s sister, who was the maid of honor, began the toasts.
Joe’s brother used his iPad when toasting his brother and sister-in-law.
Joe was the last one to take the mic and thanked everyone for sharing the day with him and Alli.
Then it was time for the hora!
Alli was having a blast!
Joe’s dad danced and clapped along as everyone participated in the traditional dance.
Joe’s grandma and brother danced alongside him.
Alli’s mom hit the dance floor as the band Front of House began to play.
There was a lot of energy on the packed dance floor as the guests danced the evening away!
The last photo I took on my way out the door was of their rings, which I posed with Joe’s cufflinks from the day.
Thanks for sharing your big day with me, Alli and Joe. I had a blast! Best wishes to you both as you begin your married life together!