A DIY City Wedding with a Stunning 1930s Wedding Dress
For all of you creative brides planning a DIY wedding, or brides on a budget planning an intimate celebration, I have just the wedding for you today! Beautifully captured by Anna Page Photography, Erin and Kevin’s big day is packed full of meaningful and hand-crafted details, as well as stunning sartorial styling. It is a wedding that pulls on all of the heart strings and once seen won’t be forgotten!…..
After a romantic proposal on a once in a lifetime trip to Lisbon, BHLDN bridal stylist Erin (yep, you know this girl is going to have style when you read that don’t you!) and Kevin planned their intimate wedding at Kitchen Chicago in 18 months – no mean feat when you set out to create a DIY packed day! Wanting a wedding that was vintage in style, but also relaxed, fun, and most importantly meaningful, the couple began their wedding planning journey with 3 things in mind…..
“When Kevin and I began planning our wedding there were 3 important things we wanted. We wanted to do it in the City where we met, Chicago. We wanted as many elements of our day as possible to be done with the help of people we had relationships with. And we wanted people to experience the day with amazing food, drinks and an intimate dinner.”
It was no plain sailing, but in the end their day was exactly what they wanted it to be; a celebration of their story! Erin explains “Our wedding planning journey was up and down. We had a hard time wrestling with having so many family members but wanting something that felt extremely personal and intimate. What we finally landed on was an open invitation to our ceremony (if it is so important for someone to see us get married I could never turn them away) but doing an extremely private dinner. The luxury of living in a city like Chicago is we had a million restaurant recommendations to give everyone else. To this day I hear stories about cousins and aunts and uncles who hadn’t seen each other in so long and had an amazing dinner at some little cafe we suggested. People got to go make their own memories. Everyone got to get out and see a little of Chicago, and then come back later to eat pie and dance with us. It was the perfect compromise.” Such a great idea for couples with extended families wishing to enjoy an intimate wedding reception!
“My wedding dress was a gorgeous silk charmuse dress from the 1930’s. I bought it at a wonderful boutique in Chicago called “Silvermoon Vintage” that specializes almost entirely in antique and vintage wedding gowns. The construction is quite simple: no lining or boning or any sort of structural elements, just one layer of fabric expertly constructed. It’s a stunning work of art! I actually went to Silver Moon on 3 separate occasions and each time paused at the dress on the rack, but over looked it because it had a huge ruffle over the chest that I didn’t think would flatter me. I finally decided to try it on, because it other wise had all of the details I had been looking for – fabric, bias cut, champagne color, 1930’s era styling. When I put it on, it fit so perfectly that there was this magical feeling like the dress had been waiting for me to come along and bring it back to it’s glory. We edited the neckline and the back to flatter me a bit better, and Colleen at Silver Moon did an impeccable job.”
“All of my accessories were purchased through BHLDN. The Jewelry was designed by Ben Amun, who has a very old world deco aesthetic. The shoes were something I had to think about too because my dress was tea length. In the end my Badgley Mischa’s were a perfect match.”
“My bouquet was pretty simple and natural with a lot of seasonal flowers. I did the flowers myself. We used Football mums, lavender, dusty miller, things with a soft muted palette and a natural feel. Emphasis was more on texture than flowers.”
“My husband had a custom tailored suit through Haberdash. He’s quite a fashionable guy so I totally trusted him to figure out what to wear. He had no idea what I was wearing, just that it was vintage. We actually coordinated perfectly but that’s not really a surprise since we pretty much have the same taste in everything. We asked the men to get a custom tailored gray suit through Indochino. Since there were only 4 grooms people, we offered to gift them a little money towards their suits. I was worried this would be asking a lot but everyone was happy to pay a little more for something that looked great and that they would actually get to keep and wear again. We picked out ties and pocket squares that were mismatched. The aim with the wedding party was to have them coordinate – cohesion was the emphasis over matching.”
“We were married in a Loft Space called Kitchen Chicago. It was the only venue that Kevin and I simultaneously “ooooh”ed at when we walked in. There were tall ceilings and tons of natural light and it still had an urban vibe, which was important. I wanted the space to be clean, because this was a wedding about people and relationships and I wanted a neutral space to present that in. I wanted it to be easy to direct peoples attention depending on what was happening. In the case of the venue simplicity was key.”
“We wrote our own ceremony with our two very good friends who officiated. I’m really happy we did this because it was such a wonderful ceremony. People tell me constantly how touching it was and how much they loved our vows. We incorporated elements that involved our guests so that everyone understood that their presence was important to us – we did a ring blessing ceremony, where the rings got passed around through the readings so people could touch them, say a prayer, and see them up close; and we had a “peace be with you” part of the ceremony because that’s my favorite part of a Catholic mass, even though I’m not religious. Our vows were thoughtful, and a little silly, but felt like we were promising something significant. I’m so happy we did all this, it all really felt like something very important had occurred.”
“I had 9 bridesmaids, which to me is a lot, but I have 6 close girlfriends from Art School, and 3 sisters, so 9 it was! My only major stipulation was that, whatever style or colour dress they bought, this was their excuse to buy the amazing dress they normally wouldn’t be able to justify getting. I didn’t specify colours, I just had a general palette for everyone to use which evolved into jewel tones and metallics – again, cohesion over matching. It really looked gorgeous for the season and everyone looked stunning. When you think about it there are only so many group photos with your wedding party and the end result of mine was that we were just one huge good looking crowd having fun together. The photos feel so personal and playful. There’s nothing stiff or posed about them, and there’s nothing stiff or posed about my relationships with these people. I viewed the role of my bridesmaids less as an opportunity for them to be there for me and more as a chance for us to be all together. All of these women have strong creative personalities, and I wanted everyone at my wedding to see that.
As a bridesmaids gift I gave them all silver pashminas, vintage rhinestone earrings, and a vintage handkerchief. If I had the funds I would’ve gotten them all vintage fur stoles, but when you have 9 bridesmaids you have to find something a little more economical!”
“The reception was in the same space as the ceremony. We held a brief cocktail hour after the ceremony. We cleared out the venue, and went and took pictures, while the wedding coordinator and caterer’s flipped the space for dinner. When I walked into the room I felt my jaw hit the floor. The light and the flower arrangements my bridesmaids had made looked so gorgeous. I felt like I had walked into the magazine spread of someone else’s wedding. The dinner was really intimate, just all of us talking and laughing over a great meal. We were seated at one long table with our wedding party and immediate family, and it was family style table service. My friend joked that it was the best Thanksgiving meal she’d ever eaten. All the food and drink was rich and seasonal. This was the part of the day that was most important to us, to provide this amazing bountiful meal to all these people who had done so much for us and get to enjoy it with just them.”
Pearls of Wedding Wisdom from the Bride…..
“One of my co-workers told me not to let anything upset me. She said “Things are going to go wrong. If you can fix it, great, but don’t let it get in the way of enjoying your day. At the end of the day you are married to your best friend, and there really aren’t many things more important than that, so don’t give the small stuff any power”. This is why I had the best day ever. Certainly we had some upsets, and things we had planned never happened. But the day was still perfect.
I also think couples should pick 3 things that are important to you and be completely unwavering on them, even if it’s unconventional. But be willing to let go and compromise on everything else. The aim is not perfection, but something that feels right for you. I tell brides all the time “you’re the only one with this wedding album in 20 years, not anyone else. So make it count for you and your fiance and you two only.” ”
“We didn’t have a traditional wedding cake, we had pies from Hoosier Mama Pie. We hate bakery cakes, and love pie – and pie is definitely a more fall themed dessert – so we picked 5 of our favourite seasonal flavors.”
“Later we opened the doors to any other guests who wanted to party with us. We had pie, open bar, and music. There was dancing. It wasn’t the craziest party I’ve been to in terms of wedding receptions, but that wasn’t really the aim. Just a low key fun time. It was perfect.”
Tell us a little bit about your photographer…..
“Anna and Jonathan have been friends of ours for a long time. I knew that whatever the budget, their services would be top priority, even if it ended up being half of the budget or more. I’ve been a fan of their work for ages and the final result was really stunning. I have 900 photos, each one of them beautiful. It breaks my heart when I hear horror stories of people who went with budget photographers. People have a hard time grappling with the cost and thinking of it in terms of art and investment. As a working artist I see the value in what a good photographer does. You can’t put a price on it, and if you want a photographer that invests their entire professional full time to their craft, they’re going to be more expensive. And they’re going to be worth every penny. Ladies, I beg of you, don’t twist yourself into looking the most amazing you’ve ever looked, in a dress you are in love with, and shrug off having someone there to capture that. Spend money on a photographer, be frugal everywhere else. ” Such great advice Erin, I couldn’t agree more!
A huge congratulations to the chic and stylish Erin & Kevin, wishing you a long life together and every happiness as husband and wife! A big heartfelt thankyou too, to them and to their wonderful photographer Anna Page for not only capturing every detail of their perfect day so beautifully, but also for allowing me to publish it here on Chic Vintage Brides. Do pop across to her website www.annapagephotography.com, or follow her on Facebook and Instagram, to see more of her work.
Photography ~ Anna Page Photography
Venue ~ Kitchen Chicago
Videographer ~ Don’t Shout Films
Day of Coordinator ~ Anticipation Events
Wedding Dress ~ Silvermoon Vintage
Reception Dress ~ BHLDN
Accessories and Shoes ~ BHLDN
Groom’s Suit ~ Haberdash
Groomsmen’s Suits ~ Indochino
Flowers ~ Steve’s Flower Market