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  • Writer's pictureAfton Vangsness

Allie + Nick: Grand and Glamorous Downtown Chicago Wedding

If you are into timeless elegance, luxe details, and opulence in the heart of Chicago, you've come to the right place! Allie and Nick's wedding was a dream day for a dream couple.

All photos courtesy of Amanda Megan Miller

Chicago wedding by wedding planner Afton Events

Chicago bridal party for fall

I worked with Allie and Nick for a year planning and designing their wedding. They knew they wanted a grand and traditional wedding in the heart of the city. Allie and her family are from Atlanta, so they had many guests traveling in, and they wanted to ensure that they got a true Chicago experience. We didn't just plan a wedding though! From the rehearsal dinner at Orso's, to the welcome party at the InterContinental, to the post-wedding brunch at Maple & Ash - the entire weekend was full of events!

View from the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile

The wedding day all took place at the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile. Allie and Nick wanted everything to be easy for them and their guests, so ensuring it was all in one place was important. Located on Michigan Avenue, you can't get a better spot (and view) than this!

The ladies were in the stunning 2-story suite at the hotel, which was the perfect backdrop for getting ready. With makeup by Kylie Jordan Artistry and hair by Nicole Barron, everyone was looking gorgeous! The gentleman had their own lounge, with views of the city, where they got ready and enjoyed some drinks and good times.

Allie and Nick exchanged cards and gifts in the morning. You can't go wrong with Cartier, am I right?!

Allie wore a jaw-dropping dress by Neta Dover from The White Magnolia. With an illusion top, ballgown silhouette, and ornate details - it was a dress fit for a modern day queen.

Bride at InterContinental in Neta Dover wedding dress

How beautiful does she look? Allie's bridesmaids agreed, as they wore burgundy dresses from The Dessy Group.

Allie accessorized with classic Stuart Weitzman heels, statement earrings, an heirloom ring, and her beautiful solitaire engagement ring and wedding band.

We incorporated cabernet, gold, and ivory colors throughout the wedding design. It started with the invitation suite by Ink Love and Paper which featured gold foil, a vellum overlay, and calligraphy.

Burgundy Invitation Suite by Ink Love and Paper

Allie also had a first look with her dad. Both of her parents were so loving and happy for their daughter!

Nick looked dapper in a custom tuxedo from Indochino, as he waited for his bride on the rooftop of the InterContinental for their first look.

Groom at the InterContinental Chicago

This rooftop makes an amazing setting for a first look. Surrounded by buildings and views of Lake Michigan, they were on top of the world as they saw each other for the first time!

Chicago rooftop wedding on Michigan Avenue

Chicago wedding planner - Afton Events

First look location ideas

Then it was time for some photos with their wedding party! The convenient location allowed them to just step outside and get pictures by The Wrigley Building and Chicago River.

The groomsmen wore classic black tuxedos from The Black Tux - perfect for this formal affair.

Chicago bridesmaids

The bride and bridesmaids carried classically shaped bouquets in complementary colors by Juliet Tan Floral Design.

Wedding party photos in Chicago

Chicago wedding photo locations

I really enjoyed every minute of working with Allie and Nick. They are true partners. They had a cohesive vision, were excited every step of the way, and they both have such infectious energy. Another pro? They were super decisive, which is basically a wedding planner's dream. One of my biggest pieces of advice for wedding planning is to make decisions and don't look back!

Wedding dress and tuxedo

Chicago skyline by Wrigley Building

Hotel InterContinental Wedding

There was no detail not thought of when it came to the wedding itself. We had the largest ballroom at The InterContinental for the grand affair. The bride's family is Jewish and the groom's family is Catholic, so we incorporated traditions from both of their backgrounds.

Ballroom wedding ceremony in Chicago

We had a large ivory draped chuppah from MDM Entertainment. The lush floral was attached across the top and on each side, creating a dramatic focal point.

Draping was also used for the back wall, and we covered the stage and aisle in ivory to brighten up the space. Floral arrangements and candles of varying sizes were placed on pedestals along the aisle by Juliet Tan Floral Design.

Wedding ceremony in the Grand Ballroom at InterContinental Chicago

We also covered each of the staircases on each side of the stage in floral. Playing off of the gold details throughout the ballroom, we brought in gold and ivory Chiavari chairs from Tablescapes. Fun fact: The chandelier in this ballroom is the largest in Chicago!

InterContinental Chicago wedding ceremony by Afton Events

Although there were about 250 guests, we created intimacy with romantic lighting.

We also had ceremony music from Nichole Young on the harp playing in the alcove overlooking the ceremony space.

Classic wedding ceremony

Luxury Chicago wedding

The ceremony was officiated by Rev Tom Perrucci and featured a unity candle representing the groom's side and the breaking of the glass representing the bride's side.

And just like that, they were husband and wife!

First kiss as husband and wife

Wedding ceremony draping and floral

After the ceremony, the guests moved to a different space for cocktail hour featuring grand displays of seafood, crudités, charcuterie, and passed hors d'oeuvres. The bride and groom went off to another room to have a moment alone over a bottle of champagne and hors d'oeuvres. One of my biggest recommendations is to do this after the ceremony. The day can get overwhelming, and it's so nice to have a space to take a breather with your partner!

Black and white wedding photography

Meanwhile, we were busy flipping the ballroom to get it ready for dinner!

Wedding reception planned by Afton Events

The room was illuminated with a combination of uplighting, pinspotting, spotlights, and votive candles around the perimeter of the room. Lighting makes such a difference when it comes to the ambiance of a wedding, especially in a ballroom!

Chicago wedding reception at InterContinental Chicago

We also had a custom white vinyl dance floor by Elegant Event Lighting, which again lightened up the dark floor and modernized things a bit.

We had a mix of tall and low floral arrangements on the guest tables. The tables also featured champagne colored linen and gold accents.

We made sure the back of the chuppah could be detached in order to create an arch that sat behind the head table on the stage.

An acrylic welcome sign was placed at the entrance, along with escort cards featuring custom wax seals and calligraphy. The color of the seal was the meal indicator for the guests. We also had menus matching their invitation suite at each place setting. All of this was courtesy of Ink Love and Paper.

Allie and Nick got a moment alone in the space during the room reveal as well!

The Grand Ballroom at the InterContinental Hotel

Once guests were seated, we had the grand entrance which was made even more grand by the bride and groom entering from the balcony.

Marble wedding cake with burgundy flowers

On the center of the dance floor was the wedding cake from Bittersweet Pastry Shop. It had marbled fondant, gold foil, and burgundy floral.

We continued with toasts and a 4-course meal. Food was extremely important to this couple, and guests indulged in all they had to offer!

Wedding toasts

Allie and Nick then shared their first dance, followed by the father/daughter and mother/son dances.

First Dance

The Hora Dance was the first order of business after that, getting EVERYONE on the dance floor!

Hora Dance Chicago Wedding

Jewish Wedding Chicago

Wedding reception with The DJ Firm

DJ Sye Young from The DJ Firm kept the party going and the dance floor full all night long! In order to better party, the bride had an amazing outfit change which warranted a grand entrance of her own!

Chicago wedding reception

As the night went on, guests also had fun with the photo booth from Shutterbooth. We also served late night snacks from two Chicago staples - Stan's Donuts and Lou Malnati's.

At midnight, it was officially the bride's birthday! We of course had to celebrate that with a shout-out and song as well!

Wedding reception by Afton Events

Amanda Megan Miller described Allie and Nick as both having 'main character energy,' and I couldn't have said it better myself! They were the stars of the show - and I can't wait to see what the future has in store for them!

Chicago wedding planner

Hotel InterContinental

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez!



Vendor Team -

Planning and Design: Afton Events

Photography: Amanda Megan Miller

Videography: 312 Film

Draping and Lighting: MDM Entertainment

Rentals: Tablescapes

Ceremony Music: Nichole Young

Officiant: Rev Tom Perrucci

Photo Booth: ShutterBooth

Stationery: Ink Love and Paper

Hair: Nicole Barron

Dress Designer: Neta Dover

Bridal Shop: The White Magnolia

Groom's Tuxedo: Indochino

Bridesmaids' Dresses: The Dessy Group

Groomsmen's Tuxedos: The Black Tux

Late Night Snacks: Stan's Donuts and Lou Malnati's


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