Bridal Sign Up

Vanessa Weinstein and Mark Davids. 

Vanessa and Mark gifted their guests two of their favorite tomes.

The bride’s best friend, Lauren Anne Miller, and her husband, actor Seth Rogen. 

Cornelia McNamara decorated the couple’s chairs. 

The dessert by Take the Cake. 

The bride’s bouquet boasted a tag that read “To Have and To Hold.” 

Cycle of Romance

Vanessa Weinstein and Mark Davids July 31, 2011 

A Chicago couple, who fell in love on a triathlon trail, celebrate with a big-day bash for the books.

Vanessa Weinstein and Mark Davids first discovered each other during a triathlon training session at a Georgia State Park. A mutual friend introduced the pair before the day’s open-water swim. Later, after a bike ride that left Mark bloody from a fall, it was Vanessa’s first aid kit that came to the rescue. One Band-Aid later and the two were already smitten.

In August 2008, the pair began dating and, six months later, moved to Chicago for Mark’s work as the co-founder of a technology startup company, Performance IQ. Jump ahead to December 2009 and Mark, originally from London, took Vanessa on a two-week jaunt to England for his cousin’s wedding. He planned to pop the question during their trip but knew Vanessa wasn’t expecting anything traditional.

“We’re very unconventional,” says Vanessa, a native of Florida and a full-time account manager. “I don’t like jewelry. I had already told him that whenever he planned to ask the question, not to have a ring.” So in the back of a cab on the way to the airport, Mark made his ring-less proposal, which Vanessa happily accepted.

The couple brought on Tara Moser from LOLA Event Productions to help assemble their day, planned for July 31, 2011, in the Crystal Ballroom at the Blackstone Hotel. The affair accommodated a global guest list with roughly 95 of the 100 attendees flying in from Morocco, South America, Switzerland, England and more. Even celeb Seth Rogen was among the crowd (the actor wed Vanessa’s best friend, actor/writer/producer Lauren Anne Miller, two months later).

The big day arrived on a Sunday. Vanessa chose a gorgeous, silk and satin-organza Lazaro gown from Volle’s Bridal paired with sparkling blue Christian Louboutin shoes. Her bridesmaids donned slate gray Jenny Yoo frocks, and the groom and his men wore classic tuxedos from Men’s Wearhouse.

Reverend Jim Rehnberg officiated the nondenominational ceremony, which featured music by Parkwest Strings quartet. For the reception, set in a contemporary peach, gray and ivory color scheme, Vanessa added a Vera Wang sash to her gown in time for dinner catered by the hotel’s Mercat a la Planxa restaurant. Escort cards were tied to two books—Quotations of Benjamin Franklin and Keep Calm and Carry On—as a tribute to the couple’s love of reading, and fresh peaches sat on each place setting as favors. “The details were what told the story,” says Moser. “The personalities of the bride and groom were illustrated in almost every aspect of the wedding day.”

Special activities included a Ping-Pong table (Mark loves to play), a kids’ room and a photo booth by ShutterBooth. The couple shared their first dance to Nat King Cole’s L.O.V.E. before jamming the night away to the sounds of Toast & Jam. “The dance floor was packed all night and, upon my request, they played some songs from Michael Jackson’s Thriller album,” says Mark, “to which I performed a brief but memorable break-dancing routine!”

The couple enjoyed an open-house brunch the next morning and took their honeymoon the following January to New Zealand and Australia. And this summer, they plan to tackle another triathlon.