A Retro-Inspired New Year's Eve Wedding in Chicago

Photo: John Huu Nguyen
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Kelly and Lucas

John Huu Nguyen

"It was a hot, hot Chicago night," says Kelly, remembering why she and a pal sought out an air-conditioned bar one evening in 2007. But the hair-salon manager could also be describing her chemistry with Lucas, the art gallery employee who chatted her up inside.

Four years later, they rang in the New Year with a '60s style wedding that looked like it broke the bank -- but it didn't even break $8,000. Huge balloons, a confetti-strewn floor, and a rockabilly band made the bash just as sizzling as the night they met.

The big-day fashions: Lucas looked natty in Topman, and Kelly embodied midcentury glamour in Silver Moon Bridal.

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The Invitations


Peppy notices sporting party-horn motifs spread the news.

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Bridal-Party Style

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Kelly's four bridesmaids wore lace-overlay dresses from Donna Morgan, while her expectant matron of honor donned a similar frock from A Pea in the Pod. Old-timey pillbox hats capped off the wedding party's look.

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Ceremony Marker

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The couple said "I do" in front of road-sign letters with the reflectors removed, which left behind "cool circular cutouts," says the bride. So that the decor wouldn't outshine the vows, only the ampersand in the center, a splurge from Urban Outfitters, was illuminated.

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Father and Daughter

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With her bouquet in one hand and her proud papa in the other, Kelly made her way down the aisle beneath a row of streamers.

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Reception Welcome

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On a wall in the gallery's foyer, peel-off vinyl stickers announced the night's festivities.

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Bourbon Bar

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Poured from vintage decanters, the liquor was served alongside napkins bearing phrases such as "Kelly & Lucas fell in love."

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Drink Offerings

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Other beverages up for grabs included beer, wine, and soda. A clutch of carnations, in a milk-glass jar from the duo's personal collection, fancied up the serving station. The budget-friendly bloom was the only variety Kelly used: "Wholesale flowers from Costco go a long way!"

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New Year's Eve Countdown

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Vintage time-telling flashcards, spanning from 8 p.m. to midnight, trimmed the walls.

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Hangover Kits

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Bags held homemade bloody Mary mix, vodka, and an Advil-loaded pillbox.

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John Huu Nguyen

Location: Stephen Daiter Gallery

Stationery: Bow & Arrow Paper & Design Co.

Photography: John Huu Nguyen

Gown and Veil: Silver Moon

Catering: Philip Gasparas and Severn Dorre

Reception Music: The Hoyle Brothers

Bridesmaid Dresses: Donna Morgan

Hair: Ella Stauber and Nicole Cisternino of Trianon Salon

Makeup: Megan Winternheimer

Bottles and Pillboxes: Specialty Bottle

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