Jenny Schnabl and Leland Brewster met while undergraduates at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
They were both on the crew team–he a rower and she a coxswain–and after rowing together for nearly a year, they became inseparable and eventually moved to Boston together. During a weekend trip to Nantucket in November of 2012, Leland proposed on a deserted beach on the north side of the island.
The couple knew they wanted to be married in June of 2014, which left them a year and a half to plan their perfect wedding. Their wedding was to take place in Chicago, where the groom’s family lives and where the couple would be moving in the following fall for Leland to attend business school at the University of Chicago. It was also a great location for family and friends to converge from all over the country. Jenny and Leland say the best decision they made, however, was hiring Bliss Weddings & Events. Wedding planner Jesse Deckard and the bride “hit it off immediately,” matching in both personality and aesthetic vision, which resulted in a relaxed wedding planning process.
“THE BRIDE WANTED THE WEDDING TO LOOK AND FEEL LIKE A LUSH, BLOOMING GARDEN PARTY SET INSIDE THE HISTORIC SPACE.”
The wedding day was welcomed by gorgeous June weather, and the event went off without a hitch. After proudly announcing all week that she never cries at weddings, Jenny started “crying hysterically” during the couple’s first look at the Peninsula Hotel, and essentially cried tears of joy for the rest of the day.
The ceremony and reception took place at the landmark University Club of Chicago, overlooking Lake Michigan. As an art historian, interior designer, and design blogger, the Gothic Revival-style architecture of the 150-year-old building appealed to the bride. Growing up on the shore in the northeast, she has a love for gardens with white hydrangeas and green boxwood, and wanted the wedding to look and feel like a lush, blooming garden party set inside the historic space. The aisle was lined with white window box-like planters filled with boxwoods and candles glowing in large hurricane glasses, and the couple was married under a large hydrangea arch.
Cocktails were served after the ceremony in the library of the club, and floral arrangements were paired with Chinese-style blue and white porcelain vessels–an ode to the bride’s love of Chinoiserie and Anglo-American styles. Guests were then welcomed into the reception with a three-story, vaulted Cathedral Hall.
The room was lined with 12-foot arbor vitae trees. Centerpieces of hydrangeas, peonies, and white garden roses graced the round tables, and low arrangements spilled out of antique silver trophies, loving cups, and crystal compotes atop the rectangular tables. Custom white basket weave linens with black piping provided a graphic highlight to the soft and full florals. Boughs of greenery hung from iron chandeliers suspended throughout the space, making the room’s soaring ceilings feel cozy. A 16-piece band played a nonstop list of pop hits, including the newlyweds’ first dance. The music, along with a packed dance floor of family and friends dressed in their black tie finest, fulfilled the couple’s dream of a beautiful, “grown-up” version of their college crew parties.
For their honeymoon, Jenny and Leland traveled to Scotland, London, and the Amalfi Coast.
Location: University Club of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Cake: Cake Sweet Food Chicago, Chicago, IL; Event Design and Planner: Bliss Weddings & Events, Inc., Chicago, IL; Floral Design: HMR Designs, Chicago, IL
Linen: BBJ Linen, Chicago, IL; Rentals: Tablescapes Event Rentals, Chicago, IL; Lighting: Frost Lighting, Chicago, IL; Stationery: Sugar Paper Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA; Wedding Dress: Christos; Wedding Bands: Tiffany & Co.