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Chicago Day of the Dead Wedding

Photos By: Kate Romenesko

“Love” isn’t nearly enough to capture how I feel about this wedding from Kate Romenesko. It was planned entirely by the bride and her mother, and by the looks of it, you’d think they’ve had a lifetime of wedding planning experience. Every bit of this Day of the Dead-inspired affair is perfection, right down to the floral design from Pistil and Vine.

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From the bride, Marisa: Our theme for our wedding evolved over the planning process, one of the guiding images that shaped our style was a vintage postcard of a lovely lady picking oranges, this image’s mix of classic beauty and bright citrus tones captured my vision for the wedding. We started the design process by finding the perfect venue, Honky Tonk BBQ. The venue’s urban, rural, industrial mix perfectly fit our personalities and the staff there were so open to all of our ideas. It was like hosting an amazing party in a friend’s backyard. We were able to bring in all of our DIY projects and friends and family to help decorate and create the space.

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The theme for our wedding was loosely based on some of our vintage Mexican art objects that we have gathered over the years. I knew from the beginning that I wanted the wedding to be bright, we chose warm citrus tones as our color scheme. Each bridesmaid chose their own dress in the citrus color scheme. Our venue was Honky Tonk BBQ’s Secret Garden, which is a beautiful old church convent that has been transformed into an urban oasis tucked into an old Chicago neighborhood. One of the many focal points for the wedding space was the wall of papel picados, or Mexican paper flags. We commissioned an amazing Etsy artist to create a string of customized papel picados. We had a crafting gathering with friends to cut the rest of the papel picados, this was a great way to connect with old friends, and give them a chance to create an original flag that would be a part of the wedding. Just about all of the decor was DIY, which proved to be a great way to slow down and connect with family and friends in the crazy weeks and months before the wedding. For each project we invited over different people to help us cut, glue, and assemble the little objects that all came together on the day of the wedding. It was fun to have these personal touches surrounding us on the day of the wedding.

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Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? My advise for couples planning their wedding now is to make the arrangements for all the out of town guest early on, so the weeks and months before the big day are not filled with lodging logistics. That way you can spend more time before the wedding thinking about the fun design stuff, and making last minute DIY projects. Also, I recommend spending the time in the begging to find a venue that fits your wedding style, we found the perfect venue for our style, so we didn’t have to spend any time thinking about trying to turn a space into something that it was not. Our space was rustic and filled with beautiful old vintage furniture, so we did not have to think about ways to bring in vintage pieces on our own.

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View all images from this wedding in the gallery

Wedding Music:
Processional: “You Make Me Smile,” Aloe Blacc
First Dance: “Tupelo Honey,” Van Morrison
One of the best decisions we made for our wedding was hiring a live band to play. The band was The Weepin’ Willows, an amazing local Patsy Cline cover band. The band played a lovely mix of Patsy Cline standards and included a few choice songs that we requested (crowd favorites were “Jackson”, by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash and the Eagles’ “One of these Nights”).

From the photographer, Kate: This is by far the most colorful wedding I’ve ever shot and is full of creative, cultural decor that highlights the couple’s and their neighborhood’s Hispanic heritage. The wedding took place in the eclectic Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago in what they call “The Secret Garden,” a large open garden space enclosed by a vintage brick wall covered in vines with a small historic church which now serves as the indoor event space. It’s an absolutely fabulous event space and the couple decorated the space with some of the most creative, colorful, and unique items.

Wedding Location: Chicago, IL / Photographer: Kate Romenesko / Wedding Planner: Bride + mother / Florist: Pistil and Vine / Venue and Caterer: Honky Tonk BBQ’s Secret Garden / Wedding Dress: Vintage via Wedding Belles in Barrington, IL / Veil: family heirloom / Wedding Shoes: Modcloth / Wedding Dessert table: each pie, cake, cupcake was brought by family and friends – we prepared little flags for each dessert ahead of time for the bakers to label their dessert with / Band: The Weepin’ Willows / Papel Picado: Ay Mujer / Wedding Invitations: bride / Invitations Inserts: Minted

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