Real wedding: Melinda + Dan part 1

I posted images from Melinda and Dan‘s wedding a couple of days ago, and Melinda actually contacted me with some more photos and explanations of her wedding, which I’m very excited to share with you. There’s a lot of info so I’ll spread it out over 2 days. Enjoy!



We met through a mutual friend for the first time at the beginning of our freshmen year at DePaul University in Chicago; however, we did not bump into each other again until the end of the year. We began dating soon after our 2nd meeting and we’ve been together ever since (9+ years!).


Dan told me we were going out to dinner to meet his brother’s new girlfriend and he took me to DePaul University’s quad where he said we were meeting them. Before I knew it, I was sitting on the very same bench where we’d first met and he dropped to one knee and proposed (there was no dinner with the brother)!


In my spare time for the past 6 years I’ve been an Associate Wedding Coordinator for Parties Etcetera, so finally planning my own big day was a long time coming! When my Parties Etcetera boss, Lisa, got married we made a promise to each other…I would coordinate her wedding and, when the time came, she would coordinate mine! We took 16 months to ensure every detail was taken care of and I was able to utilize my industry contacts when selecting our vendors.

Because I’ve worked on so many different weddings and seen so many amazing ideas, I really knew exactly what my vision for my own wedding was and who to go to implement that vision. I knew going in that the night itself would go all too fast, so I really tried to be “in the moment” as much as possible and just enjoy my guests and new husband. I knew my wedding coordinator was tending to all the details, so I really made an effort to just relax and take everything in!


Our ceremony, cocktails, and reception all took place at Prairie Production which is this amazing hidden gem in Chicago. It’s a photographer’s studio with a fabulous loft vibe, clean lines, and modern feel. It’s a completely blank canvas so you’re really able to customize the space. You don’t have to settle for anything that’s already there because everything from the chairs to the linens to the place settings has to be selected and brought in.

Dan and I have lived in Chicago for over nine years, so the city really represents who we are as a couple. It was important for us to host our wedding in the city where we live and fell in love.



Our theme was very crisp, clean, and modern. The lines of the space were very architectural and contemporary and we wanted a look that was both urban and chic. Our color palette was primarily white with accents of green…a very fresh look and one that reflected both of us.

It was important to us that the wedding be elegant, but not too stuffy or formal. We wanted the overall mood for our guests to be very relaxed and enjoyable. We really worked hard to create an atmosphere for our guests that would allow them to socialize with one another and just enjoy the food, music, and space. We specifically chose rectangular dinner tables, instead of round, so our guests could more easily talk with one another during dinner.


Our escort cards were placed inside miniature envelopes of the same color as our wedding invitations. The names were written with calligraphy by the same person who did our invitations. We used a block font with very clean lines. We chose to use traditional table numbers which I created based on a design I saw from another bride on one of The Knot’s featured weddings!

Our escort cards were displayed on a square table detailed with green floral enhancements. Some blossoms were featured alone, while others were housed in simple bud vases. Some vases were fully submerged with flowers and foliage and topped with white floating disk votive candles. A few cube votives provided a beautiful glow. My favorite was the massed button mum spheres.


Designer: Vwidon

My gown was a strapless, trumpet style with a portion of the bottom cut away to expose soft layers of tulle. Vwidon is a design house devoted to contemporary couture wedding gowns. The fitting process was exceptional because the dress designer was also the one doing my alterations! She took my measurements and then made the gown to fit my body. There were no size charts…everything was completely custom. You were even able to modify the designs if you chose to. I elected to remove one of the stiff layers of crinoline that was under the gown so it wouldn’t be as full.

I wore Blue Tux Shoes which have an adorable blue sole that easily counts as your “something blue”!

The only piece of jewelry I wore were the most amazing pair of green tear drop earrings from Nordstrom. I was originally looking for a tear drop shaped earring, but with crystals or diamonds. My mom and I literally stumbled upon these green earrings and instantly knew they were the perfect find! They were just the right “pop” of color to accent my bouquet.

My veil was also from Vwidon so the tulle perfectly matched the fabric from my gown. It had one simple cascading floor length layer.


All my hair was pulled back into a low chignon just above the nape of my neck. I wanted something classic and timeless that would also photograph well. The front of my hair had the perfect amount of height so my face didn’t look too severe. I had countless hair and make-up trials before I found my artist. I loved that she was able to do both my hair and make-up so I didn’t have to juggle two separate vendors.

My single layer veil was attached to a comb that we placed at the top of the chignon. On top of that, we placed a vintage style hair comb. After the ceremony, I removed the veil but left the hair comb in place.


Designers: J.Crew & Jessica McClintock

I had 3 bridal party attendants…1 Maid of Honor, 1 Matron of Honor, and 1 Junior Bridesmaid. My Maid and Matron of Honors are my two best girlfriends and I’ve been babysitting my Junior Bridesmaid for almost nine years and she has become a very dear friend.

I allowed my bridal party to choose their own dresses and told them the only criteria were for it to be black and cocktail length. Both my Maid and Matron of Honors selected 2 different styled silk chiffon dresses from J.Crew and my Junior Bridesmaid selected a black Jessica McClintock dress with white details.


Designer: Calvin Klein

Dan had 1 Best Man and 2 Groomsmen. His Best Man is a childhood friend and his Groomsmen were his older and younger brothers. All the tuxedos were black with white shirts, black vests, and black ties. The only exception was Dan, who wore a white tie to match my gown.

Tomorrow we’ll have info on the ceremony and reception.

[images by Kingen Smith Productions]

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  1. One Love Photo

    I love a clear vision! It is SO CLEAR what this brides vision was for her wedding. Modern and clean….I love the simple green pod in the vase and how it looks next to her invites. Great find Vane!

  2. Caitlin

    I LOVE Melinda and Dan’s wedding! Thank you for featuring it on your blog because I don’t think I would have ever found it. I was looking for some ivory and green inspiration photos and yours were perfect. I included them in my blog! Thank you!

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