Real Weddings: A Modern Chicago Wedding

Check out this beautiful and modern wedding in downtown Chicago.

A Classic Touch

About the Couple: Christen and Jeff love their city of Chicago and wanted it to be the backdrop to their elegant wedding aboard the Odyssey Cruise Ship.

When Jeff popped the question with this beautiful antique-inspired ring, this modern bride, Christen fell in love with its charm. Playing off the much-loved ring, she incorporated vintage touches throughout her urban wedding.

A Simple Bouquet

Christen knew from day one that she wanted to use calla lilies for her wedding bouquet. To add a splash color she had her florist surround them in peach roses.

Bride's Tip: To tie in a classic, antique feel -- attach vintage inspired pins from the craft store to the base of your bouquet for a special touch.

Wedding Day Hair

Christen had a very special hair stylist the day of her wedding: her mother. Christen's mom did everyone's hair, plus her own. Christen debated about wearing her hair up or down but decided at the last minute just to keep it down.

Budget Saver: To save money on a veil, shop online. You can find great deals and get swatches to ensure the veil will match your dress.

Pre-Ceremony Photos

Since they wanted to get so many photos of the city before their ceremony, Christen and Jeff set up a very special "first sight" moment -- just them and the photographer.

Bride's Tip: It was nice seeing each other before the ceremony to get all the jitters out, then we were able to enjoy the rest of the day together.

Capturing the City on Your Wedding Day

The most important part of their wedding was getting amazing photography that told the story of their big day. To capture Chicago at its finest, they rented a bus and hauled their wedding party to special spots -- including the Millennium Park Bean -- for two hours.

Baby on Board

Christen's matron of honor, her sister, was 9 months pregnant on the day of the wedding. With a growing belly, she chose an alternative to the chocolate bridesmaid dress with this chocolate outfit in the same shade. Christen's nephew was born just four days after the wedding.

A Picture Perfect Bride

After buying one dress and returning it, then having her heart set on another dress, Christen walked down the aisle in this beaded Alfred Sung. She loved the elegant and antique touches of this dress that tied in her ring and other wedding day jewelry.

Budget Saver: Don't feel pressure about buying a dress. If you aren't 100 percent sure that you love it, just wait and keep trying on other dresses.

Showing Off Their City

Christen and Jeff thought about having a destination wedding but decided to have it in their own neck of the woods, downtown Chicago. Since they live downtown and grew up in the Chicagoland area, they wanted to use the city as the backdrop to their big day.

One-of-a-Kind Wedding on the Odyssey

The Odyssey at Navy Pier is one of Chicago's most popular ways to enjoy romantic views of the city, and Christen and Jeff thought it was the perfect place to have their wedding. Their flower girl, Eryka, poses with the personalized lifesaver that Christen and Jeff made to welcome guests to their wedding.

Chicago Skyline = Perfect Ceremony Decor

Christen and Jeff wanted to showcase Chicago's skyline at its finest. Their ceremony took place on the top level of the Odyssey while docked at Navy Pier. Christen kept the ceremony decor very simple to highlight the city in the background.

Bride's Tip: To personalize your wedding use recorded music of your favorite songs.

Warm Tones for the Bridesmaids

Christen loves brown and knew that was the color she wanted for her bridesmaids dresses. To stay away from a getting too trendy, she paired it with these classic peach roses, which was the perfect pop of color.

A Ferris Wheel Backdrop

Christen also loved the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier being in the background of many of her wedding photos.

Bride's Tip: Always have a backup plan when it comes to having an outdoor wedding. It will save you from stress in the days before your wedding.

An Interfaith Ceremony

Since Christen and Jeff come from different religious background, they wanted to keep the ceremony focused on their love for each other. Jeff's best friend was ordained and performed the ceremony which kept it very lighthearted and fun. Neither Christen nor Jeff knew what he was going to say during the ceremony, which made it even more special.

Bride's Tip: If you are coming from two religious background, incorporate different traditions of each faith into the ceremony and the reception.

The Sand Ceremony

To incorporate another tradition, Christen and Jeff, along with their parents, performed the sand ceremony to show their unity to one another. For their sand ceremony, they began with a layer of neutral sand to symbolize the marriage is grounded, this layer was poured by their parents. Then Christen and Jeff, layered the individual color sands to symbolize that the marriage is based on the strength of the individuals. For the final layer they combine their colors to show the joining together of the couple.

Setting Sail for Dinner

After the ceremony, guests headed below deck for dinner and dancing. Christen and Jeff loved the views the Odyssey offered their guests -- it was truly a memorable experience.

A New Approach to the Signed Photo Mat

As guests made their way down to dinner they signed Christen and Jeff's photo mat complete with pictures taken earlier in the day.

Get the Look: Ask your photographer if he can print special pictures from pre-ceremony wedding photos to fill your photo mat.

Creative Favors

Being music lovers, Christen and Jeff thought favor CDs that doubled as place cards were the perfect gift for all who attended.

Budget Saver: CDs are cost-effective favor. Set up your favorite playlist, burn it, and make a CD cover.

A Modern Cake

Christen and Jeff kept their cake simple and modern. The fondant cake, topped with a chocolate-colored bow, was filled with white cake with buttercream.

Top It Off with Fireworks

After dinner, wedding guests were treated to fireworks. Christen and Jeff didn't have to pay a penny for the show, as they are an annual tradition put on by the city. It was the perfect view from the Odyssey.

Get the Look: If you are interested in having fireworks for your big day, pick a date and location where you can see fireworks put on by your city. It will save you a ton of money!

Bring Your Own Tunes

Since Christen and Jeff are such big music fans, they brought three CDs of their favorite tunes for their DJ to play.

Vendor Guide

Location: Odyssey at Navy Pier, Chicago, Illinois

Florist: Patricia Wedge, private florist

Wedding Dress: Alfred Sung; Volley's Bridal;

Day of Wedding Coordinator: Brooke Bandik, bridesmaid, co-owner of Tying the Knot;

Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jasmine Bridal, B2 collection, ordered through

Photographer: PJ Photo Lab;

Hair:Gayle Friedman;

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