An Enchanted Garden Wedding at Galleria Marchetti in Chicago, Illinois

Lauren Johnson (29 and a banker) and Kent Tedford (30 and an investment analyst) met at a sorority formal at Indiana University. Kent was actually Lau

Lauren Johnson (29 and a banker) and Kent Tedford (30 and an investment analyst) met at a sorority formal at Indiana University. Kent was actually Lauren’s best friend's date, so he was off-limits. A year later they met again at a sorority-fraternity mixer (this time when Kent wasn’t someone else’s date) shortly before the school year ended, and eventually they started dating. Seven years later, they got engaged in Hawaii. Lauren and Kent knew they wanted to get married in Chicago, Illinois, but needed to have some criteria for whittling down the seemingly never-ending Windy City options. The couple focused on finding a naturally beautiful outdoor space, a venue that didn’t look like a generic “manufactured” wedding site—one that could be elegant without being pretentious or stuffy. The urban Galleria Marchetti, with its classic Italian elegance characterized by lush courtyards and a tented pavilion, filled the bill. “We fell in love when we saw what Galleria had to offer: a suburban-size event space with ample greenery in the middle of a bustling city.” They locked in a date and booked the big vendors, planning everything on their own until a month before the wedding, when they hired a planner for day-of coordinating. "She thought of things I never would have thought about and handled all the logistics of the day flawlessly," Lauren says. Their planner helped keep everything on track for a casual yet elegant “romantic Italian garden wedding" in Galleria Marchetti's courtyard. Aspects were incorporated from Lauren’s Italian heritage and a recent trip to Italy. The meal included appetizers, a main dish of butternut squash ravioli with sage brown butter and toasted hazelnuts, and a gelato bar (in addition to the wedding cake). "Since I come from an Italian family, good food and a lot of it is important. We wanted our guests to leave full," Lauren says.  A quartet played during dinner, followed by an 11-piece band and DJ for dancing. The entertainment gave the evening an added dose of festivity for a celebration of good food, good music and good fun. —Chrissy Sorenson

For Lauren and Kent's watercolor-wash invitations perfectly matched the seaglass-colored bridesmaid dresses, and custom portraits of each member of the bridal party were created for the ceremony programs. “I had so much fun with Annie Brooks of the Wells Makery in designing our custom wedding invitation and day-of paper goods,” Lauren says. “Her watercolor is so beautiful and so delicate and romantic. I loved how she added plenty of personalized details.”
A pair of Harriet Wilde Chantilly lace bridal peep-toe bootees added a romantic, feminine touch.
“I had always pictured myself wearing a romantic, delicate lace dress, and I knew that the best silhouette for my short frame would be something fitted," Lauren says. "The Judd Waddell gown was everything I was looking for: several layers of delicate French lace, a sweetheart neckline, a fit-and-flare shape, and a train." The designer was actually at the salon, in town for a trunk show, when Lauren was gown shopping. Not an overly emotional person, Lauren knew she had found her gown when she tried it on and tears started streaming down her face. Judd made the moment even more memorable by creating a sketch of Lauren in the dress, then signing the picture.
Each bridesmaid received a personalized wooden hanger for her dress.
Lauren's delicate cathedral-length French lace veil was made by designer Judd Waddell. Cascading loose curls were swept to the side for a pretty, romantic look.
Lauren’s bouquet consisted of white peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, hypericum berries, jasmine, seeded eucalyptus and a flower with sentimental value: gardenias. Gardenias were Lauren’s late grandmother’s favorite flower (and the flower that her late grandfather always bought his beloved bride), and the only flower Lauren’s mom carried down the aisle on her own wedding day. “I wanted to keep in tradition and have some in my own bouquet,” Lauren says. Her bouquet was wrapped in lace purchased by her mom on a trip to Italy. A cherub charm—worn on a necklace by Lauren’s great-grandmother—was hand-stitched onto the lace, doubling as her something old.
Seven of the eight bridesmaids wore Annabelle dresses in Jenny Yoo their preferred style. (A stylist from Bella Bridesmaids worked with each woman to find the right fit.) “I loved how the dress flowed as the ladies walked and, most important, it would be easy to dance in later in the night.” Lauren thought she wanted pale pink but changed her mind when she discovered the sea-glass color. “I had not seen this color in any bridesmaid dress before,” she says. The "lady" of honor (so much better sounding than "matron," Lauren says) wore a different dress by Adrianna Papell in the same color.
Kent wanted to rent a navy suit but had a hard time finding that at a big-box tux shop. He came across a midnight blue tuxedo online through TheBlackTux.com that fit like a glove. The online service came in handy since three of the eight groomsmen were from out of state.
The men wore succulent boutonnieres with a hypericum accent wrapped in a coordinating twine wrap. “We wanted something a little more masculine looking than a flower, and the  succulent boutonniere tied in nicely with all the greenery in the other arrangements,” Lauren says.
The large stained-glass window above the altar at Assumption Catholic Church is patterned after a number of famous paintings, including El Greco's "The Assumption of the Virgin," part of the collection at the Art Institute of Chicago. The church was founded in 1881 to serve Irish immigrants.
Lauren’s aunt and uncle made 100 ribbon wands waved by guests as the couple left Assumption Catholic Church in Chicago, Illinois.
The wedding party posed in front of the reflecting pool and Fountain of the Great Lakes statue in the South Garden of the Art Institute of Chicago.
In the outdoor garden at Galleria Marchetti in Chicago, Illinois, a freestanding structure of curly willow accented with tufts of floral and seeded eucalyptus, mock orange and jasmine held the escort cards, attached with wooden clothespins. Guests were then invited to replace their escort card with a fun Polaroid picture.
The Pavilion at Galleria Marchetti in Chicago, Illinois, features crystal chandeliers, an 800-square-foot dance floor, and an adjoining terrace featuring a 72-foot long fire pit, set alongside a beautiful and expansive courtyard. In lieu of favors, Lauren and Kent donated on everyone’s behalf to Paws Chicago, the no-kill animal shelter where they adopted their fur baby, Winnie. "We wanted to do something to give back to the very place that was so good to us,” Lauren says.
A simple salal and olive branch garland was suspended on the back of Lauren and Kent's chairs. A garland of seeded eucalyptus, mock orange, wisteria, camellia leaf, magnolia, an olive branch with a combination of artichokes, peach and soft pink garden and spray roses and collections of votive, taper and pillar candles decorated the head table.
Lauren’s aunt baked the four-tier wedding cake, decorated in olive leaves and surrounded by flower-filled coffee mugs spelling out “amore” in gold letters. “My aunt’s cake is, by far, the best cake I’ve ever had,” Lauren says.
After much debate, Lauren and Kent chose “At Last” by Etta James for their first song as a married couple. "Ultimately we wanted something classic," Lauren says. "Since we had been together for eight years, 'At Last' seemed very fitting."