The Drake Hotel‘s Princess Diana Suite is hands-down my favorite “getting ready” suite in Chicago. It’s spacious, elegant, and full of amenities fit for a bride. This was especially true for a bride with a passion for classic, traditional details like Cory! Working with Shaun Rajah at The Drake for all the details is an unparalleled experience — his attention to detail and high expectations for everyone on his team is exactly the kind of passion we love to work with in this industry.
Cory started the day with a few of her nearest and dearest at a private Core Power Yoga class, then made her way back to The Drake to begin getting ready. While she and her fiancé, Matthew, opted to have a smaller wedding party, Cory — an incredibly caring, loyal, and loving friend and sister — had quite a few more ladies she wanted by her side, so ehe chose to have a “House Party” in addition to her bridesmaids. This made for a much more buoyant start to the day, as a lively group was able to join her in the Princess Diana suite to keep her smiling and laughing all morning.
Kate Johnson Artistry and her team set up shop in the dining room of the Suite, and there was a constant buzz of chatting and laughter emanating from the room. Cory opted for a beautiful red lip to add to the classic, wintry bride look — perfect for a February wedding in Chicago!
Cory’s gorgeous custom gown was hand-crafted by Victoria Sdoukos. The material, cut, and color were all fit to the dress of Cory’s dreams, and she couldn’t have been happier! The gorgeous lace overlay that she wore for the ceremony was also custom made by Victoria, and is the stuff winter wedding dreams are made of.
Jiho Park of Lilly Photography was with us to capture all the details and special moments — like these beautiful cookies that Cory had made for her bridesmaids to snack on throughout the morning, designed by Jenny Horvath of Hey, Sugar Cookie.
While Cory and her ladies continued their hotel suite abuzz with activity, Matthew and his groomsmen were starting the day with their own festivities. Starting with a hearty brunch at Somerset, they then made their way back to Matthew’s suite at The Drake to get ready and hang out until it was time to leave.
Cory had Matthew’s daughter, Morgan, hand-deliver a special note she had written just for him, which Jiho captured along with the other snappy details that completed the groom’s wedding day attire.
These cufflinks are definitely a piece that will stick around for years to come, reminding Matthew of his special day!
The dapper groom all “dudded up!”
Soon it came time for the wedding party (minus the beautiful bride) to board the bus that would take them around for photos. Per usual, Aries Charter came through with flying colors!
Before Cory and her bridesmaids jumped in an Uber to sneak over without Matthew seeing his blushing bride, Jiho snapped this iconic photo of Cory in her dress.
Cory and Matthew chose to have their first look at the Chicago Cultural Center — a spot we are so fortunate to have here in the city, especially in the middle of winter! The architectural details and stunning staircases make for some beautifully dramatic photos.
There’s something so timelessly elegant about this photo of Cory and Matthew, with the fur coat, the ivory bowtie, and crisp white bouquet in the midst of a chilly Chicago winter day. We just love it!
Cory made sure to make time for a shot with ALL her girls on the stairs leading up to Palm Court before the festivities began. These women were all there to support Cory throughout the wedding planning process, and were full of energy as the big day had finally arrived.
The flowers for Cory and Matthew’s wedding were designed by Mary of Steve’s Flower Market — and she truly nailed the details. We loved how she flawlessly incorporated some sentimental elements from the women in Cory’s family, including the handkerchief and broach on Cory’s bouquet.
The ceremony design was exactly what Cory had envisioned — Mary and the Steve’s Flower Market team executed the plan to perfection! The criss-cross draping, subtle candlelight, and hints of blush pink and ivory were just the romantic look we were going for. We were lucky with timing, as The Drake had scheduled brand-new carpeting to be added to The Grand Ballroom in January 2020, with the work and minor renovations completed just before Cory and Matthew’s wedding weekend. Paired with Shaun’s impeccable eye for straight chairs and shiny chandeliers, the Ballroom had never looked better!
There’s not much in life that this bride loves more than details, and her stationer was here for it! Colleen Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald’s Stationery had every little element covered for Cory, and was a true delight to work with. Her turnaround time and eye for detail were a planner’s dream. She seamlessly tied Cory and Matthew’s “CM” logo into the day-of design pieces and print elements along the way.
The ceremony was a part of the day that Cory and Matthew knew would flash by in an instant, while also being one of the most important moments in their lives — so they opted to hire Vanilla Video to memorialize it (along with the reception details, speeches, and dances!). We always enjoy working with their professional, affordable team.
Matthew and Cory’s daughter, Morgan, was certainly a great reason for the commemorative video. She stole everyone’s hearts as she walked down the aisle towards her dad, welcoming Cory into their family!
Cory and her Dad had a gorgeous walk down the aisle themselves, as the power of the moment took over.
There are no other smiles like the ones on the couple’s faces when they are “done” with the ceremony, their nerves have released, and they get to start their celebration! Cory has such a great smile — and I know she felt a wave of relief rush over her when the ceremony was done!
We love that The Drake offers a deep navy linen as an option for tables in addition to gold and silver. It really made the soft florals and gold details pop, and ivory escort cards always look so crisp against a navy backdrop.
The statement floral in Palm Court changes a few times a year; we were so fortunate that the arrangement for Cory’s wedding went perfectly with her color palette!
I always love the calm before the storm — when the couple gets to take in all the hard work they have put in to planning their big celebration and see it all come together for the first time. There’s a stillness in the air, and nervous energy from all the vendors! Cory and Matthew were so happy with how everything turned out, and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t shed a tear or two at the joy they emitted!
The Drake works exclusively with Cake Chicago, and we are so grateful that they do! Jo-Anne is an *actual* food scientist, and her passion for sweet things knows no bounds. She created a truly memorable tasting experience for Cory, and perhaps more importantly, Matthew and his brother, who take their desserts very seriously. They were thrilled with the final decisions, and we’re not sure if we’ve tasted a yummier cake.
Cory and Matthew hid away in the French Room as they waited for their guests to fill in their seats in the Gold Coast Room. Matt Lewis and The Union were ready to welcome everyone to signal a high energy night was just getting started, and brought the group to their feet for Cory and Matthew’s big entrance. They moved right into their first dance, and after a couple minutes, invited Morgan and the rest of their guests to join them for a quick dance set.
Another amazing service that The Drake offers — the champagne parade!
After the champagne was poured, Cory’s dad welcomed all the guests and gave a beautiful toast to Cory and Matthew on their new journey together.
It was incredible to see how everyone celebrated Morgan’s special place in the collective hearts of the families; even the priest invited her to join him in blessing the special couple!
Cory’s dearest friends gave a heartfelt toast; filled with laughter and tears, it highlighted many of the traits that we learned about Cory as we worked together — she’s an incredible friend, extremely loyal, detailed, and hilarious!
Matthew’s brother was up next, and he did not disappoint! It is no doubt that everyone from both sides of the family were truly thrilled about this match.
Cory and Matthew took a moment to share a few words with all their guests, as well. They wanted to make sure to let everyone know how appreciative they were of all the help that went into this special day, before the celebration truly got under way.
Matthew was lucky enough to dance with both his mother AND his daughter before we opened the floor to everyone. The bond between Matthew and Morgan is absolutely adorable, and we loved how they did a mash-up of both My Girl and Shake it Off. Morgan knows how to get things started!
While the guests got to dancing, we got busy setting up the favor table for anyone who might need a little savory treat as they made their way on to their next destination. Matthew is from Rockford, so Cory had the brilliant idea to offer guests a personalized bottle of water along with a bag of Ole Salty’s (based in Rockford). Cory even had a personalized sticker added to the bag!
Cory and Matthew, it was truly a pleasure being a part of your wedding planning process. We hope you have years and years of blissful happiness together, and can’t wait to plan our next celebration together 🙂