Due to a combination of semesters abroad, summer jobs, law school, and a yearlong clerkship, college sweethearts Caroline Kelleher and Joe Beglane dealt with several periods of long distance during their relationship. “After all of that, we could finally start our lives together. I proposed and we moved to New York City together,” shares Joe.
There couldn’t be a more natural choice for either venue selected for the nuptials. The Catholic church that served as the ceremony site was the house of worship the bride grew up attending and it’s even where she went to grade school. For the reception, the country club to which her parents belong was the perfect fit. “I always loved the view of the sun setting over the golf course from the patio,” Caroline muses.
As guests entered the brick church, they walked through an arch of greenery interspersed with delicate white blossoms. The color scheme continued indoors, befitting the traditional ceremony the bride desired. Joe and his groomsmen were dapper in black tuxedos, and Caroline exuded classic elegance in an A-line gown with a bateau neckline. Her bridesmaids wore soft mauve dresses that contrasted beautifully with the vanilla-hued flowers in their bouquets. In honor of the Cuban heritage of Joe’s maternal side of the family, his aunt did a reading in Spanish during the ceremony. A classically trained male singer accompanied the string quartet for the service. “I got chills when he sang ‘Ave Maria,’” reveals the bride. Following their vow exchange, the newlyweds made a grand exit from the church, having provided wands with ribbons and bells to guests to wave as the couple left, taking a vintage car to the reception.
The cocktail hour was when Caroline and Joe embraced their shared history. Their first vacation together was to Spain, so they had a Spanish station with sangria, paella, Marcona almonds, jamón ibérico, and Spanish cheeses for loved ones to enjoy. A bagpiper led guests to the tent for dinner, which was inspired by the musicians that perform on game days at their alma mater, the University of Notre Dame. Personal details extended into the reception: the custom drink the parents of the bride served at tailgates for the Fighting Irish football games was the signature cocktail at the wedding, welcome bags included Chicago mix popcorn for Caroline’s home city, while the groom’s cake was a replica of Yankee stadium in honor of Joe’s New York roots.
A clear tent for the reception was a must for the bride, as it allowed for attendees to see the stately trees surrounding the patio, as well as the sunset view she’s always loved. “The trees, combined with more trees and topiaries we had in the tent, made it feel like we were in a lush, elegant greenhouse or conservatory,” she illustrates. As with the ceremony, white and green arrangements were created. “The flowers looked organic and beautiful, but refined,” Caroline describes. Every table was different – rectangular varieties had velvet runners in neutral hues and round tables were dressed with thicker linens. A mix of lofted and low floral centerpieces, taper and pillar candles, gold and brass details, and delicate lamps were all used throughout the space. The newlyweds and their immediate families sat at an exquisite head table adorned with a lush garland of verdure and ivory blooms.
After dinner, it was time for the entertainment, which was a priority for the groom. The Chicago Players of Gold Coast Events played a mix of Motown, rap, classic pop and rock, and hits from the 1990s. “People still tell us how much they loved our band and how much fun they had dancing,” Joe affirms. “The dance floor was packed all night.” At 11PM the festivities moved inside for an after-party that lasted two more hours. A brunch the next morning allowed the bride and groom to enjoy their wedding weekend as long as possible before heading back to New York for a “staycation” and a chance to explore their new neighborhood where they would be starting their life together.