Courtney and Tim have slightly different stories about how their relationship began. According to her, they were friends in high school and even went to their sophomore homecoming dance together, but nothing materialized until they reconnected in Chicago in 2007. But he tells a different story: “Our first date was to the homecoming dance, and I thought it went pretty well. But when our teacher asked Courtney on Monday morning after the dance if she’d had a good time, she quite bluntly said no!” remembers Tim. So the romance was put on hold, but when the pair found themselves living in the same Chicago neighborhood, Tim took a chance and asked Courtney out again. This time, it stuck, and four years later, he got down on one knee outside of Courtney’s old apartment, followed by drinks at the restaurant where they’d had their (second) first date and an evening spent celebrating with family and friends.
On July 6th, 2013, they invited 300 guests to Chicago for a wedding at Assumption Catholic Church, followed by a celebration in the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing. “We were worried our options would be limited with such a large guest list, but the Modern Wing was perfect,” says Courtney. They let the clean, modern aesthetic dictate their theme, working with Lisa Bascomb of Parties Etc. to create the gray, ivory, and coral celebration, and choosing Olivia Leigh to take the stunning photographs.
Courtney’s bridal look was a mix of classic and modern, with bejeweled Kate Spade sandals and a floral headpiece complementing her mother’s diamond studs and a simple updo.
The bride’s Carolina Herrera gown was the perfect mix of a simple shape and surprising details in the shape of an asymmetric color-blocked train. “I’d pulled the dress out of a few different magazines and, when my consultant said they had it at the bridal salon, I was giddy,” Courtney remembers. She paired the gown with a bouquet of closed white peonies interspersed with dusty miller leaves and silver brunia berries.
Courtney and Tim had a large wedding party, with 11 bridesmaids and 10 groomsmen between them. Courtney’s ‘maids wore knee-length dresses in shades of slate, dove, and blush. The flower girls wore white dresses with silvery petals, with the oldest donning a crown of baby’s breath.
After the Catholic ceremony, which featured traditional vows and a song sung by Courtney’s mother, the newlyweds exited the church as guests waved ribbon wands. They hopped into a vintage car, which brought them to the museum for photos.
A lush, green garden provided a beautiful contrast to the wedding’s modern setting.
Guests arrived at the Art Institute of Chicago to find seating assignments tucked into croc-embossed boxes filled with baby’s breath. In the main area of the modern wing, a skylight let natural light shine on the white tables topped with a mix of high and low arrangements.
Round tables were decorated with clear vases filled with baby’s breath, surrounded by white vessels with single orange and coral blooms. On the square tables, white embossed boxes held ombre arrangements of white, peach, apricot, mango, and tangerine roses, waxflower, and stock flowers.
At the head table, the centerpiece faded from white to mango and back again, set atop a graphic gray and white runner.
The new Mr. and Mrs. found their seats marked with baby’s breath wreaths and custom silhouettes. The modern ombr´ theme covered everything — including the cake. Alternating layers of vanilla cake with cream cheese frosting and lemon cake with strawberry buttercream were decorated with perfectly appointed fondant polka dots and fresh white peonies.
As the guests got down to a mix of Motown, pop, and hip-hop, waiters passed trays of mini donuts and milkshakes and Courtney surprised everyone by swapping out her toast for a song. “I sang ‘Your Song’ by Elton John. It perfectly summed up everything I was feeling,” she says. “And Tim was shocked!”
Everyone headed to an after-party at the bride and groom’s favorite local dive bar, and a few days later the couple headed to Paris, Santorini, and Athens for their honeymoon. Says Courtney, “Make sure to get to know your vendors’ personalities as well as making sure you love their work. You’ll be spending a lot of time with them, and working with people you really enjoy like we did will make a world of difference!”
Ceremony Venue: Assumption Catholic Church || Reception Venue: The Art Institute of Chicago || Wedding Planner: Parties Etc. || Bride’s Wedding Dress: Carolina Herrera || Shoes: Kate Spade || Jewelry: Ultimate Bride, BHLDN || Hair: Erin Ahern of Salon Buzz || Makeup: Cheryl DeHaan || Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Monique Lhuillier || Groom’s Attire: ProperSuit || Wedding Bands: Chicago Diamond Consultants || Florist: Jesse Deckard of Bliss Weddings and Events || Invitations & Paper Goods: Magnificent Milestones || Music: Gold Coast All Stars || Catering: Bon Appetit || Cake: Amy Beck Cake Design || Rentals: Event Creative || Favors: IdeaStage.com || Videography: Leap Weddings || Photography: Olivia Leigh Photographie
Want to see more modern museum weddings? Then check out another couple’s contemporary day in the video below!