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Don’t get us wrong, those of us at Ruffled simply adore rustic outdoorsy weddings, but there’s something equally charming about grand, classic weddings. This next celebration from Olivia Leigh of Olivia Leigh Photographie fuses two of my great loves, beautiful weddings and art museums, with a wedding at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art.

chic chicago wedding

From the photographer, Olivia Leigh: Sarah and John were a couple I met about 18 months before their wedding, and they easily grew into becoming one of my favourite couples of the year. Sarah has amazing style, and her touch was felt throughout all their choices. They wanted a wedding that felt authentic and modern and after getting to know them, it was clear the day was such a reflection of who they are. They chose a beautiful invitation suite that featured letterpressed lines that mimicked the Chicago skyline, and Sarah chose a stunning, modern wedding dress with straps. So chic! She had amazing Tory Burch dove grey shoes with bamboo heels, and vintage inspired jewelry that set off the look. Her hair was also something I so loved–such a unique and chic style that felt so modern but still had a touch of softness and vintage with the braid weaving through. John also did it up, looking very Mad Men in a retro-modern, Don Draper-esque suit from J Crew.

Prior to their ceremony, we went out to a few of my secret urban photo spots in a vintage car, and photographed some amazing portraits of the two of them together. After that, we drove back to the Museum of Contemporary Art, where we happened upon a group of dancers that surprised Sarah and John with some dance moves. They were married in a simple, authentic, candle-lit ceremony on the third floor of the MCA surrounded by all of their friends, family and beautiful art. A low-key cocktail reception followed, with Sarah and John causing so many “aww”s with a sweet first dance to “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story. It was such a sweet, emotional, simple, and still incredibly chic wedding, and I just adored getting to know them and being a part of this wedding.

mad men wedding invitations

chic chicago weddingchic chicago wedding

From the bride, Sarah: Growing up, I had always envisioned my wedding day very classic and a bit grandiose – church ceremony, fingertip veil, and a big band to play the reception. However, John and I had been longtime friends before we started dating (after going to school together from 6th grade through high school!). By the time he proposed we had been a couple for 5 years and had already started our lives together, complete with house and dog. Suddenly, I found this type of affair really didn’t fit us. We wanted the day to feel really easy and comfortable not only for ourselves, but for our friends and family as well. I wanted the impact of the day to be big, but the tone to be intimate. Chic, but relaxed.

chic chicago wedding

Our colors were orange and slate grey. Fall is our favorite time of the year, and I wanted to incorporate some of that color in a fresh way. The outcome was a bit dramatic, but easily polished with the addition of metallic and glass accents.

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One of the best choices I made going in was to eliminate anything that would cause me stress the weeks just before the wedding. Ceremony programs, no thanks. Place cards, gone! Favors, passed on to some eager family volunteers. But I’ll admit – I got a bit blog obsessed during the planning process. There are so many creative and crafty brides out there, inspiration is endless. Weddings are incredibly detail focused and they can really take a wedding to the next level. However, I’m not a DIY queen and I probably took on one too many unfinished and expensive projects. You don’t have to have everything! I forgave myself instantly for this and focused on throwing a party to celebrate our love for each other and for our guests as well. Don’t forget, being a wedding guest can be stressful too! Your guests are giving you a day or even sometimes a weekend of their otherwise busy lives. Wearing uncomfortable shoes. And even bringing a gift! Make it fun and easy for everyone who comes out to support you.

chic chicago wedding
diy wedding favors

We hosted our ceremony and reception at the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Chicago. I wanted to find a really unique and memorable space and the MCA was the perfect setting. The building itself is 4 floors of floor to ceiling windows that showcase the city and it has a terraced sculpture garden that looks out on to Lake Michigan. An inside/outside space can be a challenge to find, but we could not have been more pleased as fall in Chicago sometimes lends us gorgeous 80 degree days in October – as it was on our wedding day!

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Rather than hosting a seated dinner, we opted for a cocktail reception with modern white lounge furniture settings incorporated with traditional and cocktail tables and lots of lovely warm lighting. We wanted our guests to feel free to eat, drink, and mingle at their own pace – as well as browse the galleries and check out some eclectic art!

chic chicago wedding

Wedding Songs:
Processional: Mothersbaugh’s Canon from The Royal Tenenbaums
Recessional: Wouldn’t It Be Nice by the Beach Boys
First dance: You Gotta Friend In Me by Randy Newman from Toy Story (Groom’s choice!)

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Wedding Vendors (Chicago, IL):

Wedding Ceremony and Reception Site: Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, IL / Wedding Photographer: Olivia Leigh Photographie / Florist: Bridal Party Flowers: Vale of Enna; Reception Flowers: Event Creative / Wedding Dress: Madison by Priscilla of Boston’s Vineyard collection / Wedding Shoes: Tory Burch / Earrings: Anthropologie / Bracelet: Noaki Jewelry on etsy/ Makeup: and Hair: Sonia Roselli / Groom’s suit: J. Crew / Ceremony Musician: String Quartet Ceremony Music by Artistrings / Caterer: Wolfgang Puck’s / Wedding Dessert: Hot Apple Cider and Cupcakes by Molly’s Cupcakes / Wedding invitations: Letterpress Invitations by Bella Figura

10 comments
  • I love the photographer’s description of the day, the couple look gorgeous but most of all – LOVE the song choices! Mothersbaugh’s Canon yes!

  • I LOVE the bride’s hairstyle. She looks absolutely gorgeous.

  • Marni

    So gorgeous!

  • Kathy Virlas

    She was absolutely gorgeous! The pics were fantastic and the party was beautifully set with a major touch of class! Well done, my first Godchild, well done!

  • That dress is incredible. As is the bridesmaid’s look, and the vintage car, and the groom’s suit, and the venue…and basically everything.

  • I love the blue and orange color combination!

  • LAAAAOoooove the belt on the dress

  • It’s my dream to have my wedding reception in a museum….I bet it has been a perfect day

  • Jen

    oh my goodness that dress is my ultimate dream dress! if i was having more than a city hall wedding i would NEED it! plus that girl is GORGEOUS! ugh im in love with this wedding!

  • Shelby

    I am in awe! That dress is absolutely stunning. I dream about my wedding colors being navy, orange, and slate gray so it is fantastic to see them played out in these gorgeous photographs.

    Question for the bride or anyone else who may know: is the belt on the gown detachable?

    Congratulations :)