Real Wedding Q&A: Ashley & Ryan

Ashley & Ryan's wedding radiates elegance, from the bride's blush gown to the romantic decor...

My husband and I met through mutual friends after we graduated from college and returned home to Chicago. We are both from neighboring North suburbs and had a lot of friends in common that introduced us.

Ryan's proposal was beyond special and romantic. After securing a date in the calendar under the guise of dinner with my brother and his new girlfriend, Ryan went to work decorating a suite at the then-Elysian Hotel for the big moment, followed by an intimate Champagne and seafood dinner at Balsan. As we were wrapping up, another surprise was waiting for us in Bernard's Bar as our friends rushed over to celebrate. The amazing weekend came to a close after a celebratory brunch with our immediate families at the hotel the next morning.

We selected the Four Seasons because we were seeking out a venue that had traditional beauty, impeccable service and the ability to host all aspects of the evening seamlessly on one floor. From the minute you walked upstairs from the lobby, you entered our experience and we were able to completely transform the space. We wanted to create an intimate garden feeling by draping the walls and then adding lots of flowers, greenery, candlelight and warm gold and blush accents.

Of course, we also fell in love with the innovative food and drinks at the hotel!

When we first walked into Bella Bridesmaid, the Ceremony by Joanna August Newbury gown we ended up selecting was on the mannequin. We were immediately attracted to it! One by one, all of my bridesmaids tried on the dress and started raving about the flattering fit. Everyone at Bella made the experience so fun and enjoyable. Accented with some glamorous jewels, it was the perfect gown to bring to life the dreamy ambiance we were trying to achieve.

My gown was designed by Monique Lhuillier and I got it at Ultimate Bride. Though I had never imagined myself in a blush dress, after trying it on I couldn't envision myself in anything else.

My favorite part of our wedding was when the clock struck midnight and a mariachi band burst into the ballroom to signal the start of our after party. We got married on May 4th, so we were able to celebrate with a Cinco de Mayo-themed after party that went into the wee hours.

After deciding that we wanted to create a romantic garden ambiance with a sophisticated black tie twist, we were inspired by all things vintage, mirrors, English roses, blush peonies and classic glamour. We incorporated personal touches like the cake topper my parents used at their wedding, along with contemporary inspiration we found in our favorite foods and music!

My advice to other brides planning a wedding would be to surround yourselves with a great team. If you trust the vendors you are working with, you can rest easy knowing that they will do everything in their power to turn your vision into a reality. Our wedding planner, Stacy Saltzman, impressed us beyond words with her skills leading up to the wedding and on the day of. With loving friends, family and a new husband by your side, it would be pretty hard for the night to be anything but perfect.

Ceremony and Reception Location- The Four Seasons, Chicago, IL

Wedding Planner- Stacy Saltzman

Bridesmaid Dresses- Bella Bridesmaid,Chicago, IL

Bridal Gown- Ultimate Bride, Chicago, IL

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