Casey and Ben Spacapan have experienced so many of life’s milestones—big and small—right by each other’s side. The duo first met through a mutual friend during an eighth grade dance in 2003 and—after many concerts, school dances, college tours, and instant messenger chats—started dating when they were 24 years old.
When the couple got engaged during a romantic trip to Jackson Hole in 2018, the duo set their sights on a 250-person hotel wedding in June 2020. Little did they know, their nuptials would fall in the Covid pandemic.
“The weekend I flew back to Chicago for our wedding tasting was the weekend in March 2020 when I was sent home from work for ‘two weeks’ and Ben’s final semester went from in-person to online,” Casey recalls.
But, just as they’ve done with every other milestone, Casey and Ben took on this unexpected curveball in stride and—most importantly—together. The couple ultimately pivoted to an intimate, 61-person wedding in August—and packed their big day with small, personalized touches.
“When I look back on our day, I don’t regret having to wear masks or the lack of dancing,” Casey shares. “I see the joy in the eyes of our guests in our photos, I hear the excitement when they tell me our wedding was a highlight of 2020 for them, and I cannot imagine having our day any other way.”
We saw so many of the Monet paintings that I had always loved in books, and I immediately knew I wanted a water lilies-themed wedding.
When planning their wedding, Casey and Ben drew inspiration from a weekend trip to Paris they took a few months after their engagement. “We saw so many of the Monet paintings that I had always loved in books, and I immediately knew I wanted a water lilies-themed wedding,” Casey explains. “The beautiful pink, purple, and blue tones and the overall ethereal aesthetic embodied my vision for our wedding.” The water lilies motif was depicted throughout all of the day’s paper products, including custom artwork on the Emily Rose Ink invitations.
For Casey, picking out her wedding gown was one of the easiest parts of the entire wedding-planning process. The bride went to two shops and tried on 10 dresses before selecting a strapless Peter Langner gown, complete with a draped bustier and embroidered lace flowers. “I was shopping with my mom, and she started immediately nodding and saying how beautiful the dress was,” Casey recalls. “She’s pretty quiet, so I knew it was the one when she said [that].”
I felt like a princess, and occasionally, I still watch the video from that initial try on.
For Casey, what sealed the deal was trying on the matching veil, also designed by Langner. “I felt like a princess, and occasionally, I still watch the video from that initial try on,” she shares. On the big day, Casey paired her Langner dress and veil with Jimmy Choo shoes, sparkling earrings from Jennifer Behr, and a diamond tennis bracelet she borrowed from her aunt.
The groom looked dapper in black tuxedo by Ermenegildo Zegna. Rounding out his wedding day attire was a class ring from Princeton, his undergrad alma mater, and a Breitling watch that Casey bought for him as a wedding present.
After the couple had their first look, they embarked on a bus ride around Chicago to take photos with their bridal party. “It was so special to be with our closest friends, especially after spending six months without seeing them,” Casey says.
Chicago’s Langham Hotel was the home base for the wedding party. In order to provide extra space for social distancing, they used three suites to get ready. “We also had an amazing, outdoor brunch the next day for our wedding guests at the Langham,” Casey adds.
In keeping with the Monet inspiration, the bridal party wore Monique Lhuillier gowns in a sea of purples and blues. “I knew I wanted them to wear tulle, as my dress was tulle. I thought we would all really flow and look beautiful in them,” Casey explains. The bride selected the designer and color palette, but allowed her bridesmaids to choose a dress style that flattered them best.
The groomsmen, on the other hand, sported their own suits. “Ben has been in a lot of weddings, and he always loves the weddings where he can wear his own black tuxedo,” Casey explains. “So, that’s what he chose for his groomsmen.”
“While quarantined together during the beginning of the pandemic, we realized we should pivot to a much smaller venue that was outdoors, for the safety and comfort of our guests,” Casey says. The couple decided to hold their festivities at Chicago Illuminating Company, which boasted a large outdoor space, a clear tent, and string lights. “We loved the ability to make the venue our own,” the bride shares.
Casey and Ben’s ceremony was filled with small touches that were unique to the couple, including live music during the processional and recessional. A trio of artists played Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” for the groom, family, and groomsmen’s entrances.
I always imagined walking down with my dad, but having my mom with me made it so special.
The bride walked down the aisle to John Williams’ “Hedwig’s Theme”—part of the Harry Potter soundtrack—with her parents in tow. “I always imagined walking down with my dad, but having my mom with me made it so special,” she shares. Casey held an organic, hand-tied bouquet of ranunculus, peonies, delphinium, anemones, garden roses, lilacs, and sweet peas with touches of greenery.
Another personal touch? The ceremony was officiated by Pastor Michael Steinke, who gave Casey her first communion and presided over her grandfather’s funeral. The couple chose traditional Lutheran vows, as they wanted their wedding to be a reflection of their beliefs.
“Our best friend who introduced us at 13 years old was Ben’s groomsman. [He] read us a poem he wrote for the occasion,” the bride explains. “My best friend from the age of three read a passage from my grandfather’s Bible.”
The aisle was lined with light pink, fresh flower petals to offset the venue’s brick bones, while the altar was decorated with a semi-circle of flowers that floated upwards to surround the happy couple. Various candles scattered within the flowers provided a romantic, water lily effect.
The newlyweds walked down the aisle to “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” during the recessional.
“Ben and I are passionate people [who] love our friends and family. They were with us each step of the way,” Casey shares.
The reception kicked off around 7:30 p.m., with the tent and string lights providing the perfect backdrop for the impending sunset. A mix of tall candelabras set in lush wreaths of flowers, and gold, arch-shaped vases acted as the centerpieces. Candles peppered throughout offered a romantic flicker. The tablecloths were an assortment of light blue faille and pink textured tablecloths, with light purple napkins at each place setting.
Upon arrival at the reception, guests received a miniature bottle of champagne along with their escort card. In order to adhere to safety recommendations, hors d’ouevres were plated and served to each guest. Highlights included crispy pork belly skewers as well as watermelon cups with feta mousse.
Guests kicked off dinner with a refreshing strawberry and arugula salad. The main course consisted of a choice of braised short rib, halibut, and sweet corn and leek risotto. Toward the end of the party, the couple served a series of late-night bites, including petite chicken-and-waffle skewers, mini sliders, and truffle fries.
Rounding out the menu was a three-tiered wedding cake, courtesy of Cake Chicago. The yellow butter cake was juxtaposed with two layers of salted caramel and a center of strawberry conserves.
To adhere to the CDC recommendations, dancing was kept to a minimum. “We opted for a DJ to play quietly as our guests chatted after dinner,” Casey shares. However, the party did have a few special dance moments. For starters, the couple performed their first dance to Beyonce’s “All Night.”
My favorite moment was doing a masked electric slide with my family to Beyonce’s ‘Before I Let Go.’
Casey and her dad danced to “Summertime” from Fantasia, while Ben and his mother opted for the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun.” Naturally, the whole family put on their dancing shoes. “My favorite moment was doing a masked electric slide with my family to Beyonce’s ‘Before I Let Go,’” the bride recalls.
When the guests weren’t getting their groove on, they were posing at the reception’s photo booth. “I asked in a kind of off-hand manner for a Kardashian-level blurred photo booth, and we had one,” Casey recalls. “I was really surprised by how many people used it and I loved looking through all the photos on our honeymoon.” The excitement didn’t stop at the wedding. The couple embarked on a two-week road trip along the California coast, making stops at Palm Springs, Montecito, and Big Sur. Casey adds, “We can’t wait to go back!”