A Timeless Chicago Wedding in Lincoln Park

Kristin Hanson and Elliot Lauzen’s meet cute seems straight out of Cinderella. “We met at a charity event in Chicago in March of 2013, and after a night of chatting, I accidentally left my favorite jacket behind,” recalls the bride. “Elliot did a lot of research to find my phone number so he could return it—and ask me out!” The pair dated for four years after that, with a stint in New York City before returning to Chicago in March of 2017. “Elliot planned an entire day of our favorite Chicago activities, from visits to the Art Institute and Restoration Hardware to the Lincoln Park Conservatory,” Kristin remembers. When they got back to their apartment, Kristin opened the door to find the space filled with flowers, and Elliot got down on one knee to propose. “We headed to the Boarding House, where we’d had our first date, and all of our family and friends were waiting there to surprise me!” says the bride.

The bride had known for years that she wanted to get married at Café Brauer—and even told Elliot as much on one of their first dates!—so they set the date around the venue’s availability, giving themselves 15 months to plan their June 16, 2018, wedding. They loved the neighborhood charm of the Lincoln Park venue, and turned to florist Vale of Enna to fill the elegant brick building with white blooms, olive branches, and candlelight. “Elliot and I wanted to look back on our wedding day, 25 years from now, and say that we wouldn’t change a thing,” says Kristin of the timeless design. Photographer Kristin La Voie captured every detail of the celebration—from the stunning floral installation to the adorable father-daughter dance—so keep scrolling for more!

Kristin is founder of gifting company Blissfully Broke, so putting together welcome boxes for the couple’s 200 guests came easy to her. Every item in the welcome boxes was meaningful to Kristin and Elliot’s five-year relationship, including sugar cookies in the shape of their beloved cavapoo pup, Hudson.

Kristin was in the market for a simple gown, turning down anything with lace, beading, or sparkle. “I thought I’d found my dress and brought my sister-in-law to look at it again when a saleswoman walked by with a gorgeous Anne Barge design,” says Kristin. Her sister-in-law chased down the dress, and the second Kristin put it on, she knew it was the one. Elliot also kept it classic, wearing a black tuxedo for the ceremony and a navy blue jacket with a black shawl collar for the reception.

Kristin's bridesmaids wore crepe Dessy dresses in shades of champagne, while her two maids of honor stood out in taupe. Their bouquets combined peonies, anemones, dahlias, and olive branches for a soft, romantic look. “My bouquet included a locket with a photo of my niece, Addie," says the bride. "She passed away three years ago, and is my guardian angel so it was so special to have a little bit of her with me.”

All three flower girls wore lace gowns with satin bows and crowns of baby’s breath. “They were the absolute cutest, and everyone made it down the aisle in one piece!” Kristin says with a laugh.

The ceremony took place at Assumption Catholic Church. “Our priest incorporated segments from love letters we’d written to each another in his homily,” the bride explains.

As guests arrived at Café Brauer, they were treated to two signature cocktails: the "Lighting Bolt," a jalapeño margarita, and the "Squirtky," a combination of grapefruit and vodka.

In addition to candlelight, Kristin and Elliot filled Café Brauer with flowers and greenery. Bare tables were topped with low arrangements, while the head table was placed beneath an overhead installation of olive branches and garden roses. Votive candles in glass orbs were suspended as a final romantic touch.

“Elliot is by far the better dancer between the two of us, so he did his best to spin and swing me so we would both look like we knew what we were doing,” says Kristin.

After she and her groom danced to “I Love You Always Forever” by Betty Who, Kristin and her father had a surprise for everyone: a surprise routine! “We started our dance to ‘Because You Loved Me’ by Celine Dion, then we put on a glasses with a jersey and jacket to dance to ‘Go Cubs Go’ by The Steve Goodman Anthology," she explains. "The smile on my dad’s face is something I’ll never forget!”

The couple's funfetti cake was covered with buttercream frosting. “We wanted to save some of it for our anniversary, but it was so hot that day that it melted beyond saving!” Kristin laughs. Thankfully, the petite confection wasn’t the only dessert. “We also had a doughnut wall with our favorite flavors of Stan’s mini donuts, plus a Firecakes truck pulled up at 11 p.m. to serve late-night snacks,” adds the bride.

“The wedding day is so much fun, but it’s important to remember why you’re doing it all, too,” says the bride. “Early on, Elliot asked that we make Friday nights date night, with no wedding talk allowed. It quickly became something I looked forward to as a break and a moment to reconnect. Planning a wedding can definitely be all-consuming, so it was nice to press pause on a regular basis.”

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