An Understatedly Elegant Wedding in Chicago
Joanna and Kyle
In the fall of 2013, Joanna DuFour, a director of production at a media nonprofit and Kyle Kirk, a hedge fund analyst, met at a bar on the Lower East Side and instantly clicked. Two weeks later, they were on their first date. Joanna had a party to go to later that night and told Kyle that if dinner went well, she'd take him along—Kyle made it to the shindig.
Fast-forward two years later, it was time to pop the question. The couple, who live in New York City, took a cooking class in Brooklyn and got drinks after. Kyle initially had a whole plan worked out but just couldn't keep the secret much longer. The only problem: he hadn't asked her parents yet. "So, while Joanna sat and finished her drink, I snuck into the bar's bathroom and called her parents, got their blessing, and then rushed us out of the bar to get home, where I proposed the second we walked into the door," he recalls.
On their post-engagement trip to the bride's hometown of Chicago, Joanna and Kyle scouted around for possible locations but immediately fell in love with the elegant and classic feel of the Chicago History Museum. Overlooking Lincoln Park, the museum also had a special personal touch, as it was right in the neighborhood that the bride grew up in. The couple chose to have their wedding on Memorial Day weekend, allowing their guests who were travelling from all over the country to enjoy and explore the Windy City.
On May 28, 2016, Joanna and Kyle became husband and wife in front of 170 friends and family members. Keeping with a theme of fresh, understated elegance, the couple stuck to neutrals with pops of greenery and hints of color with buttery yellow and pale pink flowers. The couple also tied in family memorabilia and little personal touches, making their destination wedding just a little closer to home.
The Stationery Suite
The couple kept the invitations simple, with a black-and-white letterpressed suite from Bella Figura, finished with a custom botanical envelope liner.
The Welcome Bag
The newlyweds treated guests to a bag filled with their own personal favorite goodies such as Kyle's go-to hot sauce in the form of mini Sriracha key chains and cookies from Joanna's favorite neighborhood bakery, Sweet Mandy B's. A cute play on the wedding, the cookies served as a "something sweet" while mini pretzel sticks posed as "something salty".
Joanna and Kyle adored the layout of the museum—light and airy during the daytime but also intimate and welcoming at night. "One of my favorite moments of the day was just walking out at the top of the museum steps and seeing the view of all of our friends and family gathered for the ceremony," Joanna says. The regal steps also acted as the perfect backdrop for the newlyweds' portraits.
Joanna had initially seen her wedding gown, the "Ava" style by J. Mendel, online and loved it, but it was by a stroke of luck that the designer was having a trunk show at Saks Fifth Avenue. She tried on about five dresses before finally coming back the next day for her dress of choice. The bride fell in love with the architectural details on the silk crepe number such as the pleated chiffon top and the asymmetric starburst-type detail. "I loved the simplicity of it—it felt very 'me'," she explains. She paired the gown with nude-and-white Manolo Blahnik sandals, diamond-lined pavé emerald drop earrings from TheRealReal.com, and a bracelet from Bloomingdale's.
The groom kept it classy in a midnight blue tuxedo by Michael Andrews Bespoke.
The Bridal Bouquet
The Special Somethings
In keeping with the age old tradition, Joanna had a hankie from her paternal grandmother (that her sister also used on her own wedding day) as her "something old", a monogrammed embroidered patch by Beloved Jeannie for her dress as her "something blue", and a ribbon that she had given to a friend for her wedding that was lent back to her as her "something borrowed".
The Bride's Entrance
Both the bride's parents walked her down the aisle to Lord Huron's "She Lit A Fire"; a nod to one of the first concerts Joanna and Kyle went to together when they first started dating.
The Ring Bearer
The ceremony also had a dose of cuteness thanks to Joanna's nephew, Theo, who served as the couple's ring bearer. "His amazing babysitter brought a bag of goodies to keep him occupied throughout the day including that disposable camera," Joanna says.
The couple recited their vows under a chuppah designed by their florist, Fleur. They wanted to incorporate certain elements from both of their religious backgrounds—Joanna's mother is Jewish and her father is Catholic while Kyle grew up Christian—and included a reading from Corinthians that was also read at Kyle's parents' wedding 35 years ago. The groom also broke the glass and although it didn't really break, the duo have since turned the intact light bulb into a Christmas tree ornament—a true melding of both their religions.
The Cocktail Hour
Guests sipped on two of the night's signature drinks—Park Slope Pimm's and The Montgomery. A classic Pimm's cup (and Kyle's favorite drink), the first cocktail was named after the Brooklyn neighborhood where the couple reside, while The Montgomery was a gimlet-inspired concoction of gin, mint, lime juice, cucumber, and soda, named after their block in the neighborhood. The drinks were also jazzed up with little drink flags bearing the day's hashtag, ordered through Bleu Dog Creative.
The Guest Book
The couple did a Polaroid guest book station, allowing guests to take fun snapshots throughout the night, which served as a great recap for the newlyweds the next day.
The Family Photographs
Joanna's mother put together a collection of framed family photographs as a tribute to all family members, both past and present. "It is important to us to celebrate our loved ones, so that was one way we honored them," the bride explains.
Joanna and Kyle wanted to play off the existing classic interior of the museum's Chicago Room by keeping things simple with off-white linens. To add some height dimension to the long and narrow room, the bride used her previous experience working in flower shops to collaborate with their florist, resulting in a mix of tall green arrangements of green foliage and low centerpieces similar to her bridal bouquet. Although the museum prohibited real candles, they brought in faux ones to achieve the same warm lighting.
The Place Setting
The wedding cake was a buttercream creation by Sweet Mandy B's and included one layer of chocolate, especially for the bride. A wide selection of sweets consisting of treats such as s'mores cups and mini funfetti cheesecakes were also served.
The First Dance
Joanna and Kyle had their first dance as a married couple to "The Way You Look Tonight" by Frank Sinatra. Though initially worried that no one would dance right away, the newlyweds were pleasantly surprised when guests rushed to the floor when the band played "I've Got Friends in Low Places", by Garth Brooks.
The couple, along with loved ones, also got a chance to serenade their guests. "We got pulled up on stage along with some other guests when the band was singing 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered'—it was definitely a spontaneous moment!" the bride recalls.
The Instagram Moment
Everyone also enjoyed a little blast from the past with help from the day's #DuKirk2016 hashtag. "My sister, Kandace, very creatively coordinated with another wedding guest to live-post embarrassing photos to Instagram that went along with her speech. For example, exhibit A: me dressed up as Aladdin, exhibit B: me dressed up as Captain Kirk, and exhibit C: me dressed up for The Nutcracker," Kyle explains.
Photography, Kate Headley
Location, Chicago History Museum
Event planning, Bambi Caicedo Rogers of BCR Events
Lighting, Remarkable Events
Catering, Blue Plate Chicago
Stationery, Bella Figura
Cake, Sweet Mandy B's
Music, Bill Pollack Music
Bride's gown, J. Mendel
Hair, Renee Feldman
Makeup, Rachel Reiman
Groom's suit, Michael Andrews Bespoke
Transportation, Masters Transportation