A Modern Spring Wedding at Room 1520 in Chicago, Illinois

Not many couples can cite Baconfest as the location of their first date, but for Sara Youn (35 and an attorney) and Mark Choh (37 and a surgeon), both

Not many couples can cite Baconfest as the location of their first date, but for Sara Youn (35 and an attorney) and Mark Choh (37 and a surgeon), both of whom have a passion for food (especially bacon) and the Chicago food scene, it was the catalyst for their eventual walk down the aisle. It was only appropriate then, that their wedding pay tribute to their love of good food. Room 1520 had few vendor restrictions, allowing Sara and Mark to bring in Blue Plate Chicago to whip up a mouth-watering menu of inspired East-meets-West eats. A variety of dinner and dessert stations, including bacon themed and build-your-own bi bim bap stations, created a fun, interactive way for guests to fuel up before hitting the dance floor, while making it easy for Sara and Mark to serve a wide range of cuisines to suit all of their guests’ tastes. When it came to the decor, the couple, with the help of planner Charlene Liang of Sweetchic Events, struck the perfect balance of modern and vintage. “Room 1520 was essentially a blank canvas,” says Sara. “We tried to keep things simple and modern, adding little vintage flourishes to keep the space from feeling too cold or sterile.” This was achieved with rustic wooden accents, chalkboard-inspired stationery and signage and even the lace on the bridesmaids’ dresses. The bright pink, coral and orange color palette was also key in bringing the venue to life, with florist Vale of Enna translating the punchy hues into eye-catching arrangements of peonies, pincushion flowers, roses and hydrangeas for the ceremony and reception. Another detail that spoke to Sarah and Mark’s personalities was the music selection. For the ceremony, Sarah’s sister Grace put together a string quartet and performed some of the couple’s favorite songs, like “The Good Life” by Weezer, “Pompei” by Bastille, “Somebody to Love” by Queen, and “Fell in Love With a Girl” by the White Stripes as guests were arriving. A tip for the taking from Sara: “Charlene, our planner, was a godsend. She was very down to earth and responsive and made the planning process as smooth and as pain free as possible. She was worth every penny and it was so wonderful showing up to our wedding day knowing that everything was taken care of. And it went off without a hitch!”

Before she set out to find her dress, Sara knew that she wanted a classic style with straps, which helped narrow the search significantly. Her Anne Barge gown had a classic, feminine feel with a lace overlay, v-neckline and illusion lace straps. “The dramatic train had a lot of beautiful lace and intricate hand-beading, which was absolutely incredible and ultimately sold me on the dress,” says Sara.
Full Pink Rose, Peony and Ranunculus Bouquet
“I have seen and worn my share of awful bridesmaid dresses, so I wanted my bridesmaids to wear a dress that didn’t look like a bridesmaid dress,” says Sara. Jenny Yoo’s Harlow dress, a sleeveless lace number in a short, sheath silhouette, perfectly fit that description and the bold paprika color tied in seamlessly with the wedding’s color palette. To complete the look, the girls donned gold satin peep toe pumps and simple pearl earrings.
Coral Pincushion, Rose and Peony Bouquet
Rustic Chick Peony Aisle Decorations
Chalkboard-Inspired Ceremony Programs
Modern Coral Rose and Peony Arrangement
Grace’s sister, a talented musician with a knack for composing string arrangements of pop songs, performed all of the music for the ceremony. She put together a quartet with some of her friends in the area and got to work creating arrangements of some of the couple’s favorite songs, including “The Good Life” by Weezer, “Pompei” by Bastille, “Somebody to Love” by Queen, and “Fell in Love With a Girl” by the White Stripes, to play as guests arrived to the ceremony. For the actually ceremony, Grace kept things traditional, playing pieces like Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” “Air on G” and Jeremiah Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary.”
The modern, white space at Room 1520 served as a blank canvas for Sara and Mark to truly make their own. The couple decided to play up the space’s contemporary vibe with simple designs, clean lines and a bright, punchy color palette of coral, orange and pink. Vintage-inspired touches like chalkboard table numbers and rustic planter boxes for the flower arrangements gave the room a warm, welcoming feel and prevented the space from feeling cold and sterile.
In addition to a lengthy list of inspired passed appetizers and an anti-griddle station with savory frozen treats, the couple served a variety of Midwest craft beers to whet their guests’ whistles, in addition to the regular offering of spirits. Choices included Half Acre Daisy Cutter, Revolution’s Bottom Up Wit and Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald. Mark is also a big fan of bourbon, so included some of his favorite bourbons — Angel’s Envy, Elijah Craig and Breckenridge — was a must.
Room 1520 Outdoor Cocktail Hour
As foodies, a bland, boring menu was totally out of the question for Sara and Mark. The couple worked with Blue Plate Chicago to create an extensive East-meets-West menu that would appeal to all of their guests’ tastes. “We were determined that no one leave our wedding hungry,” says Sara. “We ended up deciding on stations, because we wanted a fun, interactive and varied menu and a traditional plated dinner just wasn’t going to give us that flexibility.” After two plated courses of salad and soup, guests were free to sample the mouth-watering offerings at the three dinner stations. They noshed on everything from Korean drunken chicken wings at the Bi Bim Bap station to smoked bacon mac n cheese at the bacon station and petite tenderloin with zinfandel mushroom sauce at the carving station.
Bacon Breadsticks and Tomato Soup Shooters
Julia Child-Inspired Thank You Notes
Rustic Modern Candle Centerpieces
Vale of Enna created centerpieces for the reception tables that were the perfect fusion of rustic and modern. Each table boasted one of two different centerpiece styles to give the reception decor a bit of variety. Some tables were topped with a trio of bright pink peonies and moss nestled into four inch wooden boxes, while the others displayed six inch wooden boxes filled with a bright mix of peonies, hydrangeas, roses and pincushion flowers. Both styles incorporated floating candles in square glass vases of varying sizes to illuminate the tables in soft candlelight.
Room 1520 Reception Entrance
Instead of traditional wedding cake, Sara and Mark, neither of whom are big fans of cake, decided to serve up a diverse selection of sweet treats for dessert. The dessert station was stocked with espresso-infused creme brulee, assorted French macarons paired with a variety of sauces and miniature vanilla creme brulee. There was also a gelato station serving up vanilla sea salt caramel, malted chocolate and pistachio gelato, as well as strawberry basil sorbet.
To honor their Korean heritage, Sara and Mark decided to do a traditional Korean ceremony, paebaek, the night before the wedding with their closest family members and their wedding party present. While they chose not to include and ethnic or cultural traditions in their Room 1520 ceremony, they paid tribute to their shared backgrounds during the reception by incorporating traditional Korean fare into the menu.