My first wedding for the month of July started downtown at the James Hotel, where Monique was just finishing up her preparations. She and her bridesmaids had finished up with the hair and makeup stylists from Morgan Blaul and very soon Monique would be walking down the aisle to marry her fiancee, Jay.
Monique had styled her day with details reminiscent of the early 60’s. This perfume bottle is a vintage piece from that time period. Dachsunds and poodles were common visual images during the mid-century period, and Monique brought it along to include in the background of getting ready photos.
Monique looked gorgeous. Her amazing dress was custom made in Hong Kong by Arthur Lam of Matador Couture. The bracelet completed the look, and this bride was ready to meet her groom.
Jay beamed as he watched Monique enter the lobby. Have you ever seen a happier face?
Monique was pretty happy, too, and she couldn’t hold back her tears of joy as she hugged Jay.
We jumped into a cab…
…and traveled to P.J. Clarke’s for a drink with the wedding party.
The merry wedding party grabbed their drinks and made a toast to the couple.
Monique had one final sip of water before we exited the bar.
We walked down the street a few blocks, stopping at the bridge for some pictures.
Monique was helped up onto the railing by Jay and the helpful groomsmen. Climbing up there is no easy task when you’re in a wedding dress, and I loved that Monique was willing to do anything for a great picture.
The groomsmen helped Monique off the railing and then everyone gathered up for a group shot.
The groomsmen even had a chance to show off their colorful socks.
It was hot that day, and although everyone was doing a great job, we wanted to be sure that no one got overheated.
So we ducked into nearby Fulton’s on the River for a break.
Cocktails are always ten times classier when they’re consumed while wearing gloves.
Outside of Fulton’s, Monique and Jay posed for a shot among the downtown buildings. Monique had some of their props on hand, and used them in the picture.
Too much smoochin’! One of the bridesmaids gives Jay a little help removing lipstick.
Next stop: Union Station.
Given the thematic choices Monique employed, choosing Union Station for some pictures was a no-brainer.
Jay was a definitely a dapper groom.
A great group shot on those famous Union Station stairs.
It was almost time for the ceremony! The wedding party was buzzing with excitement as we made our way to the Chicago Illuminating Company.
This bridesmaid made sure that her hat was perfectly straight.
And Monique applied a touch more lipstick before heading into the ceremony venue.
The wedding party made their way inside and I grabbed Monique and Jay for a quick picture before they followed.
They exchanged a few quick words before heading inside.
Meanwhile, the guests had begun to assemble in the ceremony area.
Monique’s cousin participated in the ceremony by playing his guitar.
The gentleman in this photo is Lt Col Martin Cohen, Jay’s Great Uncle. He was in three wars (WW2, Korea, Vietnam) and has been married for 65 years as of this year.
The crowd rose to their feet as Monique was escorted down the aisle by her father.
Jay gave his father-in-law a hug as Monique took her place at the altar.
Monique’s mother was beaming as her husband took his seat next to her and the ceremony began.
A friend of Monique and Jay’s officiated their ceremony.
Another friend gave a reading in honor of the couple.
Monique and Jay were sure to incorporate many of their family’s traditions into the ceremony.
One such tradition was sitting at the Sofreh-ye Aghd, a table at which items are placed to represent many good things for the couple and to guard them from harm.
Monique’s sister completed the tradition of rubbing two pieces of hardened sugar together, which is done to shower the couple in sweetness.
Next, Monique and Jay took their place at the altar to deliver their vows to each other.
After the vows came the exchange of rings…
…and then the big kiss. Congratulations!
The guests applauded the newlyweds while Monique took care of some post-kiss lipstick smear.
What a gentleman! This kind soul held the door while guests made their way into the cocktail hour.
One of the groomsmen took a moment to get off of his feet after the ceremony.
There were hugs and congratulations all around.
While Monique, Jay and the wedding couple took some time to themselves, Leah and I set out to take photos of the cocktail hour.
I was blown away by how many thoughtful details were on display in the reception area.
Everywhere I looked was a different piece of memorabilia from the late 50’s or early 60’s.
Special tags for the decanters.
And a personalized letter from Monique and Jay to their guests.
The dining area was elegant, and ready to serve a delicious meal that was catered by Limelight Catering.
Everything was perfect. Ryan Larson of Savoir Flair served as wedding planner, and helped Monique make sure the day went off without a hitch.
Their classic cake was designed and baked by Amy Beck Cake Design.
As the guests settled in to enjoy their dinner, Monique’s father took the microphone to thank the guests for sharing the day with his family.
Jay’s brother gave his toast to the couple next.
Monique’s sisters gave their speech together.
They did a great job- their speech delivered a lot of laughs!
Finally, Jay and Monique took their turn, thanking everyone for their love and support.
With speeches wrapped up, they took to the dance floor to share their first dance as husband and wife.
Monique and her father shared a father-daughter dance…
…and Jay danced with his mother as well.
Then it was time to party! Monique’s dad started things off with a toast.
Patrick Belton from 123 DJ’s did an amazing job providing the soundtrack to the party.
The guests were having a great time as evidenced by the packed dance floor.
Whew! What a party! Some of the guests had fancy dance moves to show off, too.
The day was absolutely perfect. I took a shot of the rings before heading out the door.
Congratulations on your marriage, Monique and Jay!