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 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