Captured & submitted by Lauren Ashley Studios
Shayna & Michael’s City Chic Chicago Wedding at The Marriott Marquis
The wedding industry is almost unique in its use of small businesses. Without the hard work, passion, and dedication shown by individuals, rather than major corporations – weddings would look very different. You are able to create utterly unique ceremonies and receptions because of the varied and vast skills offered by the great American public, and the businesses they work tirelessly to run. Today’s couple, Shayna and Michael, understood this completely. Being small business owners themselves, they decided, whilst planning their wedding, that they wanted to work with as many minority-owned vendors as possible for their big day. What they created was a celebration of Chicago and the endlessly talented individuals that walk its streets.
Brought together by Mom and Harold’s Chicken
Michael and Shayna met because of her mother’s family-run business, Q’s Beeper’s & Cellular Boutique on Chicago’s west side. Shayna was set up on a blind date by her mom, who told her she needed to show this lovely man, Michael, around the neighborhood. Even though, subsequently, Shayna found out that Michael had been living in that part of Atlanta for years. Their first date was at Harold’s Chicken and Ice Bar, a spot that soon became very special for this couple.
An Impulsive Proposal Right There & Then
Ever the impulsive romantic, Michael proposed to Shayna out of nowhere in the middle of her kitchen, after floating the subject while on holiday in Greece. “He (Michael) formally proposed in my kitchen. I was putting on my boots ready to go walking together, and I turned around to see Michael down on one knee. I just remember thinking, I wish someone was here to record this, ’cause the moment was so special and the ring was absolutely gorgeous. I said yes. My friends took me dancing that night to celebrate, the moment they saw it.”
An Off-the-Shoulder Gown that Hinted at a Special Grecian Moment
Wearing two different wedding dresses on your big day is a luxury. But it’s also a really fun way to transition through your wedding day. And Shayna wanted the opportunity to do this, without breaking the budget.
During the wedding planning, Michael kept mentioning how much he loved a certain off-the-shoulder dress she had worn while they were on vacation in Greece, right around the time he unofficially proposed. And he commented on how it’s a shame they don’t have any pictures of that moment, and Shayna in that dress. To honor that original gown, our bride purchased, and returned many bridal dresses, searching for a look that would remind them both of their time in Greece. In the end, no gown accentuated her body or felt as good on, as the beautiful style she finally chose from Fashion Nova. The dress she would eventually tie the knot in.
A Great Gatsby Gown that Didn’t Burst the Budget
For the reception, Shayna made another sentimental, yet budget-friendly choice of dress for the evening. A 1920s style gown that was picked out by herself and her mom, while visiting Eva’s Bridal. “It’s a special dress because my mom helped me pick it out, and she couldn’t attend the wedding as she was ill. It was a simple, Great Gatsby style city dress and even though I knew she liked a much more dramatic option, she told me that dress is the right one because I’d feel the most comfortable in it. She was right. I’m a clumsy girl, simple is always the way to go!”
Michael & the Boys were Suited & Booted to Perfection
Michael wasn’t left out in the cold when it came to his big day look, and in fact, he and his groomsmen went all out with their suits for the occasion. A decision that Shayna herself pushed, as she wanted her man to stand out on their big day. The boys purchased their suits from Agriculture Custom Clothier, a black-owned business in Chicago, that really outdid themselves with their selection of suits for the groom, and custom suit for the father of the bride.
A Wedding that Celebrated the City of Chicago
The whole of Shayna and Michael’s celebration took place at the wonderfully elegant Marriott Marquis. A super sophisticated backdrop in downtown Chicago, that looked just so extraordinary in their wedding photography. Especially during their ceremony, an intimate, and personal exchange of vows set against the city skyline on level 33. A city that both Shayna and Michael also wanted to be celebrated in their portraits. Together, we captured some incredible moments out on the streets with these two, and their respective wedding parties, all-embracing the chilly evening air. Shayna in particular looked stunning during this nighttime session, creating some really dramatic scenes with her veil floating in the breeze.
Following the portraits outside, Shayna and Michael escaped the chilly Chicago streets and returned to the warmth of the Marriott for their reception. A fun and joyous affair full of laughter, dancing, and some very touching speeches from their loved ones. It’s amazing to think that these two pulled off this wonderful wedding with only three months of planning, organizing everything together via email while Michael was stationed overseas.
Reception Venue: Chicago Marriott Downtown//Event Planner: Wedfuly//Event Planner: Sholeh Events//Bakery:Brown Sugar Bakery//Apparel:Agriculture Custom Clothier’s//Photographer: Lauren Ashley Studios//