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A Glamorous Black Tie Downtown Chicago Wedding

Downtown Chicago Black Tie Wedding

We're not going to see super big weddings for a while, so when I saw the number of guests at Mark and Liz's glamorous black-tie downtown Chicago wedding, I knew I had to share. Come to find out their day was so much more - like they sent a secret Augmented Reality video to their guests via their wedding invites. What?  Yes, read on, I will explain in more detail. It is quite amazing.

Besides the high-tech wedding invites, all the bridesmaids wore custom-tailored floor-length black bridesmaid dresses. When I say custom-tailored, I mean the dress was made with their exact measurements just for them. Yes, Mark and Liz also wore custom made frocks for their special day. Liz wore three dresses. Each dress is remarkable, but I love the glittery gold number she wore at the end. You'll have to scroll down and see them all. 

It will come as no surprise that Vogue featured wedding photographer, Bottega53 captured their day. You can see all the photos in the full gallery here

One last thing, Liz and Mark were so gracious to share their wedding budget breakdown. Keep reading to learn more about how much a wedding like this costs.

Flat Lay wedding styling ideas


Their wedding invitations included a fun surprise for the guests with an Augmented Reality (AI) video for them to get guests pumped for the wedding weekend. Here is how it works.

1. Guests download the APP Zappar
2. They would then open the app, point their phone at the invitation
3. A SECRET video of Liz and Mark would appear about their wedding weekend and would direct them to a link to their wedding website to RSVP.
How cool is that?


©bottega53-Liz & Mark-0340

bridesmaids in white getting ready robes

Bridesmaid Gift Ideas

Liz is the best bride ever. She gifted each of her bridesmaids the beautiful white lace robes  that you see above. They also were given Tory Burch flip flops, jewelry, and fun accessories. As you scroll you notice that all the bridesmaids have matching pearl and diamond earrings on. Lucky girls!

bride opening wedding gift from groom

bride opening wedding gift from groom bride opening wedding gift from groom

Bridal Gift & Time with the groom

Liz opened the prettiest  wedding gift, Chanel earrings, and a Chanel necklace. She wore the earrings later on in the evening with wardrobe change number three.  A sparkly gold dress that went perfectly with her new chic earrings.

But before all this happened, Mark and Liz spent the morning with each other at a nearby cafe, where they read their vows. They were married in a Coptic Orthodox Church. There isn't a portion of the ceremony dedicated to reading personal vows. So, they took this time to be together. 

bride in white wedding dress with cape and white wedding bouqeut

custom made wedding cape


From Liz: Seeing our extremely talented, calm, positive makeup and hair stylist first thing in the morning totally started the day off right for me. I had never been part of a wedding party (let alone my own) where every single girl was ecstatic about the way their makeup turned out. Rana Nasif from Lueur Beauti is a complete dream.

White wedding bouquet

The Wedding Dress & Florals

From Liz: My wedding gown was custom made in Chicago, IL by, Mira Couture. I wanted something classic with a modern, yet conservative touch for the church ceremony. We landed on a fully beaded cape inspired by a Zuhair Murad piece.

My wedding flowers were arranged by Life in Bloom in Chicago. They created my dream wedding bouquet. I was very nervous about what it'd look like. Life in Bloom made it full, romantic, whimsical. It was perfect.

hand tailored black bridesmaid dresses

black bridesmaid dresses with white bouquets and pearl earrings


All nine of Liz's bridesmaids wore black floor-length bridesmaid dresses that were tailor-made in Kosovo to their every curve. Look above, and you will see that the dresses are in alternating styles. One style has around the neck strap, and the other is off the shoulder. Mark was outfitted by Nicholas Joseph Custom Tailors in a custom tuxedo, custom shirt and custom accessories.

first wedding look first wedding look

going to the wedding in a Bentley

hand drawn wedding program

fiancé Does It All

Liz planned their entire Chicago wedding while living in Florida. She moved to Chicago one week before the wedding.

Luckily Mark was an amazing fiancé, and assembled every single seating card, wedding favor, and had all the ceremony booklets printed and ready all before I arrived. We wanted that week to be as calm as possible and he really helped make that happen. 

religious wedding ceremony

religious wedding ceremony religious wedding ceremony

religious wedding ceremony religious wedding ceremony

Yay we are married wedding photograph

escort card station

escort seating ideas escort seating ideas


From Liz- Our seating chart was an instillation of custom key tags and tassels with calligraphy by LB Letters out of Atlanta, GA.

We had a violinist serenading our guests during dinner with classic Hip Hop hits. Our LED dance-floor and massive LOVE beach balls were a huge hit for everyone. Liz wished she would have done differently was asked Bottega53 to stay the extra two hours to the end of the reception.

unique escort card ideas unique escort card ideas

guests finding their wedding table acrylic please sign our guest book sign


In the background, Florida wedding planner, Teresa Fernandez of Simply Couture Weddings, was setting up their 300 guests wedding reception. Just look at how amazing the set up is below.

I asked Liz what she would have done differently, and there was not much. But, the one thing she did mention was she wished added more flowers and candles.
Advice from Liz -Life in Bloom is so good at what they do, I would have loved to add more of everything. I'm sure most couples can agree, you get to a point in wedding planning where you're just like, "I will not pay another person an additional penny for anything" but I wish I looked past that feeling and just went with my gut.

Listen to Liz and just add more of the flowers, you will be happy with your decision. I promise!

large wedding table set up ideas

The Room Was Sprayed

From Liz: At the beginning of planning, we told Teresa Fernandez that we wanted our reception to feel like one big dinner party - for people to feel, smell, laugh, dance, catch up. We wanted it all. 

Before guests entered the great hall Simply Couture Weddings team sprayed the room with a room spray to hit our guests' senses the moment they walked in.

Did you know that custom wedding scents are a new thing?

tall wedding centerpiece ideas

acrylic table numbers with gold calligraphy

black and white table decor with greenery

Wedding Favors

Each guest left the wedding with a staple Palmer House brownie (creator of the brownie!) and a hand blown glass perfume bottle from Egypt.

black and white table decor set ups white wedding centerpiece ideas

wedding party in black bride and groom arrive

big wedding reception

neon wedding sign

bride and groom at sweetheart table bride and groom at sweetheart table

large wedding reception

white wedding cake

bride and groom cutting the wedding cake bride and groom cutting the wedding cake

photo booth at wedding

bride and groom walking the streets of Chicago


Please note that prices do change, and this budget breakdown gives you an idea of how much a wedding like this might cost you.

Venue: $75,000
Florist: Life in Bloom Florist (Chicago): $12,500
Dress: Mira Couture Custom Wedding Dress with Cape (Chicago) $8000
Reception Dress: Matopeda Custom Reception Dress (Nigeria) $900
Wedding Shoes: (Prada) $500
Wedding Earrings Fallon Jewelry: $250
Etsy Day Of Jumpsuit and Robe: $300
Tuxedos range from $995-4995
Custom Shirts $119-295 
Custom Accessories $250
Wedding Invitations: $2100
Simply Couture Wedding Planner: $5,000
Photographer: $6,500
Louis Gabriel Photographer (Videographer): $2000
DJ: $3300
B&W GIF Smile Booth: $1,600
Key Tag Seating Cards: $400
Panels for Seating Chart: $400
Neon Garden Custom Neon Sign: (Australia) $375 (including shipping)
Cake Stand: Etsy Custom Grey Cake Stand $189
Etsy Acrylic Easels for Reception Signs: $30
Linen Table Runner for Sweetheart Table: $80
Cake: Chicago Custom Grooms Cake $250
Custom Welcome Bags for 150: $280
Etsy Custom Couple Illustration for Ceremony Booklet: $215
Etsy Table Numbers: $282
Etsy Custom Cocktail Napkins: $210
Guest Favors with boxes & tissue filling: $200
BIG LOVE BALL beachballs: $160
Total: $115,000

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