Spouse’s Name: Christopher Pappas
Gown Style: Lindsey
Boutique: Vera Wang Chicago
Wedding Date: July 18, 2014
Location: Chicago, IL
Photographer: T&S Photography
Chris and I met in college when I traveled across states and was introduced to him by my best friends’ boyfriend (convenient for double dates!). I don’t think I’ll ever quite forget the moment I laid eyes on him – I just knew right away. We both went back to school but ended up living in Chicago over the summers and fell in love.
We were so young and ended up spending some time apart in which we were able to get our early 20s out of our system, have too much fun with friends and date all the wrong people. While we dated, we formed an incredibly tight knit group of friends so Chris and I would sometimes bump into other. I hadn’t seen him in a while and the group asked me to join a sushi dinner. I was hesitant at first – ya know, the dreaded ‘I ran in to the ex at dinner’ experience. It was anything but that. It was exactly what we needed.
Chris and I haven’t left each others’ side since that one sushi dinner. We always used to joke around and say that we were teammates. Though one time a joke, it has become the truth. This is the fortunate truth that brings me comfort at night and eagerness to wake up in the morning. Chris is my very best friend and the person that brings me a happiness I could never experience otherwise.
The proposal was the most perfect day prior to July 18, 2014. I had moved into our apartment before Chris, so it was his official move in day. It was a rainy Saturday morning. I went to my barre class and came back to find Chris really eager to… do something. He couldn’t sit still. I thought he was merely excited that we were officially roomies, but little did I know what he had in store! My favorite food in the world is frozen yogurt, so Chris knew this would be the perfect and safest way to get me out of the house. The frozen yogurt shop was just a few blocks away and in between our apartment and our favorite park. I confirmed my interest in going – nothing like post workout froyo! Chris went into the bathroom and started a video (I didn’t know this until after the fact).
We walked through the park and that was that. The video kept rolling and it’s one of my most cherished pieces. There I was, in my work out clothes sans make up, jumping up and down like a little girl, squealing the words “yes!!!”
We went back to the apartment where I found boxes of gifts, cards, champagne, and flowers from all my friends who couldn’t be there for the celebration. Chris knows how much my friends mean to me, and I’m incredibly thankful he was thoughtful enough to add this into the day. From there, I was a mess. I could barely get through reading a card, and couldn’t come near my cell phone.
His family, local to Chicago, showed up to our apartment for drinks and then – alas, Chris surprised me with my family. Talk about tears. My family is all spread out and we’re a very tight knit group so this just bowled me over. Our families, who had never met before, had dinner at Café Babareeba – the place Chris and I had our first date.
After dinner, we had a celebration at a bar with all our friends. The most perfect day.
I had actually been on the hunt for a wedding dress long before the ring ever arrived – oops! I actually went into Vera Wang with every intention of purchasing a different dress that I had been consistently eyeing via pinterest and other blogs. I brought my posse (Mom, Mother In Law, Sister in Law and BestFriend/Bridesman) to the Vera Wang store in Gold Coast, Chicago to show off my dress and get the final approval that this was “the one.”
Before we even made it down the fabulously dark hallway into our very private room to try on the dress, my best friend saw the Lindsey dress hanging on a mannequin. I never would have picked it for the life of me as the Lindsey dress is definitely best shown with a few curves that the mannequin lacked. I tried on the dress and immediately – it was the one. Tears, champagne, twirling, more tears. Without a doubt, the Lindsey was my dress. It’s crazy to think I didn’t pick the dress myself because I tend to be someone who knows what they want, but lucky for me I have a friend who knows me better than I know myself.
I knew my dress was going to steal the show, so when it came to accessorize, I took the motto of “less is more.” Because I wanted my dress (and big smile) to shine, I carefully selected the few pieces I would adorn on this special day.
I only wore my Grandmother’s clip on earrings. These were the earrings that she wore for special occasions, and earrings that she wished me to have on my wedding day. Because I couldn’t have one grandmother without the other, I fastened my other grandmother’s diamond brooch on my white peony bouquet.
My Grandmothers were strong women. They found strength in separate, yet equally important, ways. They raised amazing families and lived full lives. I knew I’d have them in my heart on this day, but it felt like they were a little bit closer having their physical pieces with me. I often think I’m a mix of them; having my maternal grandmother’s style and passion for entertaining and having my paternal grandmother’s sensible head and big heart.
I couldn’t help but think about how they felt on each of their wedding days. Were they nervous or excited? Did they feel beautiful in their dress? Were they thinking of their Grandmothers as I thought of them? Did they stand by the window with their mother, as I did, awaiting a lifetime ahead of them? I will never know the answers but I found solace in the fact that I knew they lived blessed lives and got to spend many years feeling their love and learning from their wisdom. With my mom by my side, I put on these pieces of the past and couldn’t help but hope they were proud.
Buzz words when I was planning: chic, trendy, traditional, clean.
The wedding definitely took on a mix of traditional and trendy; a classic Chicago wedding venue, a traditional monogram with a twist given my modern-day calligrapher’s j&c design, an #allwhiteverything bridal party with my bridesmaids in white cocktail dresses and bridesmen in white dinner jackets, a playful gold “party animal” escort table, gold flatware, chic hand painted Lucite table numbers.
More than just a wedding, I wanted this day to be a party. It my was one moment to throw an amazing event for the people we love most.
Though technically my only Vera Wang piece was my gown, Lindsey was so much more than just a dress. She was one of the first things I crossed off my wedding list. Because of that, she really set the stage for the entire day. As I mentioned, the Lindsey was a mix of traditional and trendy and that was something I wanted to carry throughout the day.
In fact, my floral centerpieces were inspired by the design of the dress. The florals mixed traditional, full, structured white hydrangeas with delicate, flowing phaeleonopsis orchids. The contrast of each flower mimicked the opposite personalities of my dress; the traditional hydrangea similar to the structured lace bodice and the orchids similar to the chic, trendy mermaid bottom.
I did! My mother wouldn’t have it any other way. New? My dress and my Kate Spade shoes. Borrowed? My grandmother’s jewelry. Blue? Hanky Pankys! (there should be more “something blue” things on the market…)
Any advice to share with women who are about to embark on this incredible journey of planning their wedding and selecting their wedding dress?
Make thoughtful decisions. It can be overwhelming at times when you think about the endless options. But try your best to go with a overall theme and concept, listen to your gut, don’t make rash decisions. I spent a lot of time researching before I made decisions and though it did take some extra time, I received in return the best day of my life.