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Grand Gesture

Millennium Park’s Rooftop Terrace provided the perfect setting for this fun-loving couple’s big, bold celebration.  

WHAT WE LEARNED “The most important advice is to enjoy every single moment,” says Ela. “It goes by in the blink of an eye.”

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The bride’s kicky pale-blue Nina peep-toe pumps

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Ela’s bridesmaids glowed in varying glittery frocks by Adrianna Papell and Sorella Vita.

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Revel Decor combined vintage furniture with rustic elements to create an inviting cocktail-hour setting.

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A vintage brass birdcage serves as a charming hanging solution to the card table

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Tables were topped with elegant runners of brunea berries, succulents, hydrangeas and garden roses.

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When Ela Bulawa and her then-boyfriend, Daniel Carcillo, went to the doctor for the mom-to-be’s ultrasound, she was certain the only surprise from that day would be finding out their baby’s gender. Little did Ela know, the former Chicago Blackhawks player had another plan: “Later that night, after she exited the shower and was still in her towel, I showed her the ultrasound picture—which had the question ‘Will you marry Daddy?’ written on it—got down on one knee and pulled out a ring,” tells Daniel.

About two years later, with their son, Austin, in tow, the couple feted their love with a gorgeous elegant-meets-edgy wedding. “Ela wanted something different from all the weddings she’s ever been to or seen in magazines,” says Daniel, who enlisted all-star planner Susan Cordogan of Big City Bride to pull off the couple’s one-of-a-kind celebration. “To get a feel for their style as a couple, I visited their Lincoln Park town home,” says Cordogan. “This gave me a panoramic picture of their panache—edgy, fearless, big and bold.”

After the I do’s at St. James Chapel, the couple’s friends and family descended upon Millennium Park’s Rooftop Terrace tent, which had been transformed into a glittering spectacle. Revel Decor draped the tent top-to-bottom in a warm mocha fabric, while the focal point of the room was an expansive ceiling installation of birdcage and crystal chandeliers. Guests were blown away by the open-air cocktail space, which featured a tree at its center and the groom’s extensive vinyl record collection as decor. Just as Daniel finished his welcome speech, Cordogan ushered in a “Champagne parade” of 50 waiters with sparklers and bottle flares, who nimbly served all 300-plus guests while Larry King Orchestra egged on the fun with its rendition of Fergie’s “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody.” Limelight Catering fueled the celebration with superpersonal bites (sliders donned Canadian flags in honor of Daniel’s roots, and traditional Polish sausages honored Ela’s heritage). At evening’s end, guests waved 36-inch-long sparklers as the bride and groom made their grand exit—but the party was far from over. Guests were swept away in coach buses to the Westin River North, where the music-loving couple hosted a karaoke afterparty until the morning hours, giving their friends and family just a few hours to recoup before setting off on a celebratory morning-after cruise on a 100-foot yacht. “People didn’t care that it was Sunday and they had to work the next day,” remembers Ela. “They had the time of their lives!”

Millennium Park Rooftop Terrace
Planner Susan Cordogan, Big City Bride
Flowers Chicago Flower Company 
Decor Revel Decor 
Bride’s Gown Berta Bridal, Ultimate Bride 
Bride’s Shoes Nina, Nordstrom 
Bridesmaids’ Dresses Adrianna Papell, Sorella Vita, Brideside
Groom’s Tux Formally Modern Tuxedo
Catering Limelight Catering 
Cake Alliance Bakery
Music Larry King Orchestra
Hair & Makeup Hair: Mario Tricoci; makeup: Anna Suarez