A Chic Vintage Wedding at Room 1520 in Chicago, Illinois

Annie Polack (33 and Virtuoso Performing Arts co-owner) and Matt Conway (33 and a music instructor) pulled off an elegant vintage-inspired affair with

Annie Polack (33 and Virtuoso Performing Arts co-owner) and Matt Conway (33 and a music instructor) pulled off an elegant vintage-inspired affair with a chic urban edge for their mid-October nuptials in Chicago, Ill. The airy, historical loft spaces at Room 1520 played host to the celebration, providing a unique backdrop for the event. “Matt learned of Room 1520 through the owners themselves, who happened to be the parents of one of Matt’s piano students,” says Annie. “It presented a clean, urban, elegant space, and one that was a blank slate on which we could create our own design.”

The couple made the most of the venue’s many event spaces, holding each part of the evening in a different room or floor to create a distinct vibe. The ceremony took place on Room 1520’s first floor and started the day off with a bang. A stunning canopy of textured fabric panels in varying blush hues stood at the center of the room, a crystal chandelier hanging from its center where it cast a warm ambient light over the couple as they exchanged vows. “Before we said our vows, we performed a ring ceremony, which ended up being my favorite part of the day,” says Annie. “We tucked our rings inside a small lace pouch and all of our dearest family and friends circled around us and passed the rings from person to person, warming them with a silent prayer or wish.”

Cocktail hour followed in the adjoining room, where Annie and Matt surprised guests with delicious food and drink pairings and whimsical displays. “One particular standout hors d’oeuvre was a mini pint glass filled with Guinness (a favorite among Matt’s family) and a pork slider resting on top.” Dinner was just as enticing with dishes like an apple and brie salad, red wine braised beef short ribs and grilled butterfish with curried peach relish pleasing even the pickiest of palettes. The atmosphere was cozy and inviting, with lace table runners, mercury glass candles, gilded accents and petite bouquets of white hydrangeas and pink roses dotting long wooden farm tables. Mismatched china heightened the charm of the vintage-inspired display while flickering candlelight exuded romance.

Music was an important component of the event, and the couple ensured that live performances were incorporated into each part of the festivities. An Irish trio provided a unique ambience during the ceremony and cocktail hour, while a jazz trio filled the air with smooth tunes during dinner. “For dancing, the incomparable Bumpus played their original songs interspersed with hits from Michael Jackson, James Brown, Prince and more,” says Annie.

A tip for the taking from Annie: “Do a first look! This was so special for us and it allowed us to be alone and check in for a moment before all the craziness ensued. Also, it meant that we were able to do photos before the ceremony, which allowed us to attend our own cocktail party. That and our guests didn’t have any type of awkward lull before the reception. Flow is everything. And consideration for your guests — logistically speaking — goes a long way towards ensuring you can sit back and enjoy your own party!”

A stunning canopy of textured fabric panels in varying blush hues stood at the center of the room, a crystal chandelier hanging from its center where it cast a warm ambient light over the couple as they exchanged vows.
The atmosphere was cozy and inviting, with lace table runners, mercury glass candles, gilded accents and small bouquets of white hydrangeas and pink roses in antiqued vases dotting long wooden farm tables.
Reclaimed props, like vintage shutters used to display the couple's handwritten escort cards, were incorporated throughout to set a charming, old world tone.
Vignettes with vintage furnishings added to the evening's overall atmosphere, while providing guests with a cozy place to kick back as they sipped on signature drinks and indulged in playful pairings like miniature glasses of Guinness and sliders.
Annie put a personal touch on her classic ivory rose, ranunculus and brunia berry bouquet with her grandmother’s lace bonnet and a gold pin that had belonged to Matt’s grandmother.
To achieve the vintage chic aesthetic they were after, Annie and Matt dressed their dinner tables with lace table runners, ornate crystal glassware and mismatched dishes and cutlery.
Wanting to enjoy their own cocktail hour, where signature sips like Pom vodka punch and basil gimlets were served, Annie and Matt did a first look and took all of their wedding party photos before the ceremony.
Matt and his groomsmen added a fresh touch to their classic gray suits with lush boutonnieres filled with succulents, seeded eucalyptus, brunia berries and dusty miller.
The wedding invitations set the tone for the rest of the stationery, with their understated vintage design carrying through to the place cards, menu cards and ceremony programs. Elegant borders and hand-lettering lent the paper goods a note of old world charm and whimsy. “One of my favorite design elements were the vintage stamps on the outer envelopes,” says Annie.
“It was really important to me that my bridesmaids felt comfy, confident and like themselves in their dresses,” says Annie. “So I gave them a color palette to work with and some other guidelines and asked them to select their own dresses. They all looked beautiful and, most importantly, I think the dresses really reflected their respective personalities and styles.” To make sure there was a spectrum of hues, Annie asked the girls to send photos of their dresses as soon as they found it, so that she could then notify the rest of the group, allowing them to steer clear of that particular color.
Annie and Matt went classic when it came to their cake, choosing a simple, elegant design with square tiers, ivory fondant and dainty, decorative piping. The pair chose three decadent flavors for guests to choose from, including chocolate, vanilla and carrot cake.
“Before we said our vows, we performed a ring ceremony, which ended up being my favorite part of the day,” says Annie. “We tucked our rings inside a small lace pouch and all of our dearest family and friends circled around us and passed the rings from person to person, warming them with a silent prayer or wish.”