Have you + your love considered eloping? For some couples, that’s the only way to go! They want the sense of adventure, a more intimate, stress-free day, where they can truly focus on each other… At least that was the case for Claire + Ryan!
Their photographers, Colagrossi & Co. and The Kismet Collective share: Claire and Ryan’s wedding was a true elopement — many didn’t even know the two were engaged let alone getting married on a Tuesday. They got ready together listening to rap music and lounging in their pajamas. Ryan welled up with tears when he zipped Claire into her dress. They hailed a cab outside of the brand new Ace Hotel together and fell into each others arms when they were pronounced husband and wife by their very best friend. They shared doughnuts and cocktails on a rooftop in Wicker Park. They did everything they wanted to do on their wedding day, and nothing they didn’t.
That’s how it should be, isn’t it? Let’s see all the mystical magic of this Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool elopement in Chicago…
They spent the morning cuddled in each other’s arms and then got ready together…
How stunning is this portrait of Miss Claire? She’s wearing the “Isolde” Crown by Emma Katzka Bridal.
For the florals, Wild Floral Design crafted this moody + extremely textured bouquet, complete with black lilies, tulips, dahlias, astilbe and a King Protea!
This was the first e-mail C+R sent to their photographers: Ryan & I are eloping. We have nothing officially planned other than we will say our vows on Tuesday, September 19th, the 7 year anniversary of the first time we said “I love you”… We were never the “big wedding” people. After seeing friends and family members get married, we saw how something so important and intimate somehow got transformed into a big event about everyone else. We really want to have a special day that is just about us, in the city we fell in love in, and we want to capture it with your stunning photography.
Once we started talking about getting married we realized neither of us were keen on a big traditional wedding. We wanted it to be intimate and memorable, and we realized the best way to make that happen was to elope. The only person who knew was Kevin, our officiant, who has been best friends with Ryan for 24 years. It was important to us to be married by someone who knew us a couple and could make the vows personal — Kevin was brilliant, we both cried during his speech!
The officiant/best friend of the groom is an illustrator in Chicago and actually did a series of cartoon illustrations about their wedding planning and eloping process. So fun!!
Each spot we took photos in felt completely us, even though they were all so different. The Lily Pool was peaceful & intimate — the sun peaking through the trees and the soft sounds of the water — it was the ideal spot for the ceremony because it felt as though it was our own personal oasis.
If you're thinking about eloping, DO IT. We cannot stress enough how happy we are with our elopement. The day had zero stress - seriously, ZERO. We were able to have everything we wanted on our day, and we got to completely focus on each other and the important life moment we were sharing. If there is any day in your life when you shouldn't have to compromise a thing, it's your wedding day. Make it about you! Ryan and I got to spend the whole day together, just us, deliriously giddy.
Instead of cake, the two opted for sweet treats from Stan’s Doughnuts! At that point, neither one of them had eaten since breakfast and donuts were such a treat!
Ryan: We got to have breakfast that morning together which we don't usually get to do in our normal schedules. When we got back to our room I was still working on my vows at the time and watched Claire for a while as she got her makeup & hair done. But my most memorable moment was getting ready with Claire. We had a ton of fun getting ready together, being able to laugh and enjoy each other's company. When we started getting dressed together I just remember how happy I was with Claire and that we were about to get married.
Claire: It's hard to pick when the whole day was perfect, but two stick out to me... First, the night before the wedding we took a bath together. The hotel had left us a bottle of champagne so we drank it in the bath. We both remarked how if we had been having a big wedding, we'd probably be spending the night before our wedding cleaning up a rehearsal dinner and panicking about guests whose flights were cancelled or whatnot. Instead we were completely relaxed, enjoying time to ourselves. My other favorite moment of the elopement was towards the end of the evening. We ended up at the rooftop bar of the Robey Hotel and Ryan and I were leaning on the balcony, drinks in hand, watching the sun set over Chicago as husband & wife. It was magic - a contentment I'd never felt before.
We still wanted the day to feel important so we booked a hotel room at the Ace in Fulton Market for a few days to make it feel like a bit of a vacation, which we highly recommend.
It’s a hard decision to elope – it means not having your friends and family there. But if you feel it’s what you want and what’s best for you & your partner, do it! Your friends & family will understand. Almost every time we told someone we eloped, the response we got was “That’s the way to do it!” Your wedding day is about you, and too often people get caught up with all the details, the expectations, etc., and then the meaning of the day gets a bit lost. Eloping means getting to focus on yourself and your partner, for the whole day – and believe us, it’s so worth it.
The day was all of them + they drank it in… So, so beautiful! Congrats, Claire + Ryan!!
photography: Colagrossi & Co. // venue name: Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, Chicago, Illinois, USA // planning: Bride // florals: Wild Floral Design // wedding dress: 'Silvermine' by Elizabeth Dye // wedding dress boutique: Honey Bridal // hairpiece: "Isolde" Crown by Emma Katzka Bridal // bride's shoes: Jeffrey Campbell // bride's ring: Sparkles Fine Jewelry // getting ready robes: Jens Pirate Booty // hair stylist: Friend of the Bride // makeup artist: Shannon O'Brien // groom attire: Top Man, Hat and Goorin Bros // groom's shoes: Cole Haan // groom's ring: Sparkles Fine Jewelry // cake: Stans Doughnuts // officiant: Kevin Budnik // hotel: Ace Hotel Chicago // photography: The Kismet Collective