Offbeat partner: Madeleine, attorney
Offbeat partner: Jaret, attorney
Date and location of wedding: Prairie Production in West Loop of Chicago, Illinois — June 23, 2018
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Rescue dogs and donuts! Our wedding had modern and vintage touches but no clear "theme" other than Our Favorite Things. Rescue dogs, donuts, pizza, New Orleans, Chicago, and each other. We wanted our wedding to "feel like us" and it sure did. Our dog is a rescue and I am on the board of a local rescue, so we had lots of references to the dog and organization throughout the day, from the sweatshirts the girls got ready in to our specialty cocktail.
We're a modern couple of blended religious backgrounds so we decided our wedding was the perfect event to set the tone for a life of unapologetic joy.
Tell us about the ceremony:
My uncle, a professional violinist, provided the ceremony music, playing covers of popular songs including "This is the Best Day of My Life" by Jason Mraz. The officiant was my best friend who we both met in law school and who watched our romance move from the awkward "Sup?" greeting stage to marriage. My childhood friend read Taylor Mali's "Why Falling In Love Is Like Owning A Dog," a nod to our dog and the many foster dogs we've welcomed over the years.
Jaret's childhood friend read excerpts from the love letters of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. We wrote and read our own vows, revealing them to each other for the first time at the ceremony. Jaret promised to always watch Harry Potter marathons on TV with me while I promised I would "probably never stop being a bed hog" but would "always make room for you." We asked those in attendance to promise to continue to love and support us, together and as individuals. The crowd answered with a resounding "WE DO!"
Tell us about your reception:
I lived in New Orleans prior to moving to Chicago and the city has a hold on my heart. The cocktail hour was New Orleans-themed with a brass band, Mardi gras table decorations including votives made by me, and New Orleans-inspired appetizers including shrimp ‘n' grits, mini jambalaya, and mac ‘n' cheese cups. The speciality cocktail was a "Chicago Canine," a clever take on the classic Moscow Mule.
A bowl of temporary tattoos featuring our dog were available at the bar for guests to sport.
The reception featured tables adorned with long greenery, colored glassware, and candles. The cutting cake featured a "You, Me & The Dog" sign made by me. In lieu of favors we donated to our favorite local dog rescue, One Tail at a Time and the Greater Chicago Food Depository. We danced to "This Will Be Our Year" by The Zombies before the parent dances which included my mother and father and Jaret's mom. The reception featured a DJ spinnin' tunes and the Hora, a nod to the groom's Jewish upbringing. As the night wore down, guests snacked on Chicago staples: donuts from DoRite Donuts and pizza from Lou Malnati's.
What was your most important lesson learned?
Everyone will have their opinion when it comes to your wedding. Focus on having the wedding you and your partner imagine because in the end, that's all that matters. For us, a fun and lively cocktail hour, good food, and a memorable ceremony that reflected our values were most important.
People thought it was "weird" I was going to do a dance with my mom and my dad when they aren't divorced. My mom has been an equal partner in raising me and a dance with her to "Mama Said" felt right in my heart and was a beautiful moment. I'm glad we didn't listen to the haters. The truth is that many of the traditions of weddings are outdated and in need of an update.
Photographer: Jimmy Fishbein of LakeShore Photography & Videography • Venue: Prairie Production (closed) • Cocktail Hour Band: Four Star Brass Band • DJ: Drew at Cage & Aquarium • Flowers: Flowers for Dreams • Catering and cutting cake: Blue Plate Chicago • Donuts: Do Rite Donuts • Late night deep dish: Lou Malnati's Chicago • Party Dress, belt, veil: BHLDN • Party Sneakers: Kate Spade x Keds • Bride's Dress: David Meister • Grooms' Tux and Groomsmen Suits: The Black Tux • Bridesmaid Dresses: Alfred Sung • Escort Cards: Minted • Save the Date & Welcome Sign: Jana Kinsman of Doodlebooth • Day-Of Coordination: SweetChic Events • Wedding bands: Stanley Brown Jewelist • Pitbull cufflinks: William Sturt Fine Pewter