"If you can believe it, Anthony and I are one of those rarely heard of anymore cases of high school sweethearts. We met at a concert our senior year. After that, all it took was a friend request on Myspace, hours of chatting on AOL instant messenger, three trips to Panera, five episodes of "The OC," a first kiss in Anthony's car, the “will you be my girlfriend?” question, and we have been together ever since! This year makes eleven years! We grew up together and have a bond like I’ve never experienced with anyone ever before. I think we both knew pretty early on in our relationship that we were going to be together forever!
"The day we got engaged will forever be one of the best days of my life! Anthony had a whole day planned for us that started out with a drive to the suburbs. While driving on the expressway, I noticed the large sign that read "Chicago Botanic Gardens," which immediately gave me flashbacks to two years prior when we were at the gardens together and I told Anthony, "This would be a perfect place to get engaged." Of course I didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I choked back my teary eyes and put that possibility out of my mind.
"While walking through the gardens, I noticed Anthony becoming more and more nervous, much unlike his normal cool-as-a-cucumber self, but truly didn’t become suspicious until we walked under an arch into a gorgeous garden where two of my best girlfriends were standing with tears in their eyes! At that moment, I knew exactly what was about to happen, and immediately started crying as I watched my boyfriend of eight years get down on one knee and propose! As if the ring and two of my best girls being there wasn’t enough, about ten minutes after the question was popped, in rushed about fifteen of our nearest and dearest friends to help us celebrate! The rest of the day consisted of lots of laughs, excited phone calls, and champagne!
"Anthony and I truly could not have asked for a more perfect wedding day! We had an outdoor ceremony and a tented reception, which could not have worked out better on what turned out to be a gorgeous 78-degree July day. The entire day was so emotional and after being together for so many years, you could truly feel the love and excitement for us in each one of our guests.
"We made sure our whole day was filled with personal touches and details, including signature drinks, custom monograms, meaningful songs, and poems read during our ceremony by two of our best friends. Anthony and I giggled together through our relaxed ceremony that represented us even more in that moment than I ever could have imagined during the planning process. We said our, “I do’s” under a chandelier made of the most beautiful garden roses that ranged from ivory to blush pink. I remember looking into a sea of our closest friends and family and growing more and more excited as the ceremony went on! I couldn’t wait to be announced as “Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Ortale!” and to hit the dance floor!
"For our reception décor, we knew we wanted bright, beautiful flowers with bursts of fuchsia and green to pop off of the white tent and Ashland and Addison nailed it! I still can’t believe how gorgeous our floral was! All of our paper products for the day had individually hand water-colored roses by Laura at Elizabeth Grace. Our wedding invitations are one of my most prized possessions and we still have people telling us that they were the most beautiful invitations they have ever received! From the speeches by our fathers and best friends, to our first dance, to tossing the bouquet and dancing the night away, it was the best day of my life! I wish I could live the whole thing over again!" -- Alison
Ceremony + Reception Site: Lincolnshire Marriott Resort // Photography: Cage and Aquarium // Videography: Shot Time Productions // Officiant: Kate Miller // Bride's Gown: Vera Wang // Hair + Makeup: Salon M // Bridesmaids' Dresses: David's Bridal // Stationery: Elizabeth Grace // Floral: Ashland and Addison Florist Co. // Catering: Lincolnshire Marriott Resort // Entertainment: Cage and Aquarium // Sweets: Lovin Oven Cakery
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