Julia + Edward by Emma Wilder

Julia will say there was no one moment but rather a steady culmination of moments rendering life without Edward unimaginable.

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love…

Edward is the founder of a FinTech company, and Julia is a corporate lawyer. Despite demanding careers, we always make time for our French Bulldog, Fitzgerald, who enjoys long walks off short distances (read: lots of stopping and smelling things). We enjoy slow Saturday mornings, long dinners, and one another’s company. We are based in Chicago, but Edward is English, which made choosing London for our wedding venue an easy choice.

How/where/when did you meet – and what were your first impressions?

We met ‘in the wild’ at a bar in Chicago, where we were the tallest people there. Edward waved to Julia across the room, and the rest, as they say, is history. After just one month, Edward flew to Minnesota to meet Julia’s family, and five months after that, Julia headed to Spain to spend Christmas with Edward’s family.

When did you first realise that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with?

Julia has a text message from the night they met that indicates Edward knew this from their very first encounter. Julia will say there was no one moment but rather a steady culmination of moments rendering life without Edward unimaginable.

Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it…

One of our very first dates was at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. That date is the date Edward cites as the day he fell in love with Julia, and he knew it would be the perfect place for a proposal. He went a few days ahead of time to scout out the exact location with the Primate House in mind. Fortunately for them both, he realized the smell in the Primate House was not all that romantic and pivoted to the secluded lake near the back of the grounds. Just after the proposal, Edward walked Julia around to the other side of the water, where their beloved French Bulldog Fitzgerald was waiting with dozens of roses and celebratory drinks. From there, the two went to the bar they met at, where some of their closest friends were waiting to celebrate, followed by a romantic dinner for two at one of their favourite restaurants.

Tell us about the vision you had for the mood or style of your wedding.

An elevated dinner party was the vibe we were going for—taking simple elements and elevating them to our style. Candles? Of course, but drench the room in them and make them mauve and electric yellow, the former of which is the bride’s signature colour. Wine? Duh, but make them all Spanish wines as a homage to the groom’s Spanish heritage. Flowers? A must-have, but make it feel like they are growing out of the ground and from mossy flower beds on the dinner tables. Balloons? Sure, but make them cover the entire ceiling of the atrium and have photos of the bride and groom tied to the end, creating an interactive transition from dinner to the dance floor. Favors? Sure, but make them personalized hats matching the wedding colors that say, “Julia and Edward are my Friends” that people still send us pictures of them wearing out and about around the world 7 months later.

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

Details! From personalized haikus for each guest as their place cards to embroidered velvet ribbons with each guest’s name, we wanted to be sure that our guests knew this day was just as much about them as it was about us. One of our favourite details was the transition from string quartet to brass band. We had a string quartet playing modern music to welcome guests and play throughout the ceremony. The string quartet learned Harry Styles’ “As it Was” just for the occasion for Julia’s processional song and ended the ceremony with Katy Perry’s “Firework” as Julia and Edward walked back up the aisle. As the doors opened to the cocktail hour, a brass band picked up “Firework,” playing in unison with the string quartet to transition guests from ceremony to cocktail hour. Friends and family danced the night away with a live band at the reception, with the option to duck into a side room to visit the glitter bar, where the lovely @glitterbarlondon adorned guests with glitter, or to have their portrait hand drawn by @lucie_sheridan_live_artist.

Did anything happen on your wedding day that you laugh about in hindsight (even if it was stressful at the time)?

We worked with Halo FX to coordinate the explosion of giant confetti-filled balloons as we shared our first kiss. This entailed having a person sit in the corner of the room with a “trigger” button, waiting for our officiant to say, “You may now share your first kiss as husband and wife.” We purposefully did not tell anyone about this other than our officiant and our photographer to keep the element of surprise. The only problem is, in the excitement of the day, we too forgot about it and it scared us both when it happened. In our wedding video you can see both of us jump when the balloons explode above our heads. Still one of our favorite details, though!

Tell us about your main outfits, what was unique, is there a story?

One of the more unique elements was actually with respect to my bouquet. Worm London helped me achieve the mono boom bouquets of my dreams—each of my bridesmaids and Edward’s groomsmaid had a singular flower making up their bouquet, and then all four of those flowers made up my bouquet. I loved it so much. My 3 sisters-in-law and my 3 brothers were my bridesmaids and bridesmen (we love a mixed-gender bridal party!), but I had my closest friends serve as my “something blue,” each wearing a blue dress of their choosing. This was the perfect way to incorporate them without the added pressure and cost of being in a wedding party. We all did a first look and that was a really special moment for me.

Regarding my dresses, I never thought I would wear a traditional wedding gown. I went wedding dress shopping purely to make sure my mom had the experience (I have three brothers and am the only girl), but I ended up falling in love with the 4th dress I tried on, buying it on the spot. I went from not thinking I would wear a wedding dress to choosing a full-on ball gown with a long train. While quite grand, the dress was still very simple. My dinner dress was adorned in crystals, a clear departure from the ceremony gown but very on theme for a city wedding—I really loved the dramatic change from ball gown to slinky dress.

LOCATION The Ned, London UK, @thenedlondon PHOTOGRAPHER Emma Wilder, @emmawilder_photography VIDEOGRAPHY The McHendrys, @the_mchendrys STYLIST The Bride PLANNER Revelry, @revelryeventsuk; Liesl Lamare, @liesl.lamare; Mew Weddings, @mew_weddings FLORIST Worm London, @wormlondon CELEBRANT Friend of the groom & bride – Mark Daly ENTERTAINMENT Ceremony – Camili String Quartet, @camillistringquartet; Cocktail Hour – London Brass Band, @londonbrassroamers; Reception – The Edge Band, @theedgebanduk HIRE Balloons – Bubblegum Balloons, @bubblegumballoons; Exploding balloons – Halo FX CATERING The Ned, @thenedlondon CAKE SÜSS Cake Studio, @susscakestudio STATIONERY Wedding Invitation – Abby Richard, @abbyrichard; Everything else – By the Bride LIVE ARTIST Lucie Sheridan, @lucie_sheridan_live_artist GLITTER BAR Glitter Bar London, @glitterbarlondon GROOM’S RING Cartier, @cartier BRIDE’S JEWELLERY Gold bangle and antique earrings – Bride’s Grandmother GROOM’S ACCESSORIES Cufflinks – Groom’s Grandfather CEREMONY DRESS Samanta Dress – Eva Lendel, @evalendel PARTY DRESS Sau Lee, @saulee LATE NIGHT OUTFIT Hand beaded pants – PatBo, @patbo; Feather crop top – 16Arlington, @16arlington BRIDE’S SHOE Ceremony – Gucci, @gucci; Late Night – Wales Bonner Silver Sambas – Adidas, @adidas BRIDE’S ACCESSORIES “Til Death Do Us Part” Bag – Clio Peppiatt, @cliopeppiatt; Tiara – The Handmade Tiara, @thehandmadetiara HAIR Stylist – Natalie Danielle, @talie_danielle; Extensions and color – Karissa Schaudt, @scarletcochicago BRIDE’S FRAGRANCE White Suede – Tom Ford, @tomford TUX Brunello Cucinelli, @brunellocucinelli_brand GROOM’S SHOE Prada, @prada GROOM’S FRAGRANCE Fougère D’Argent – Tom Ford, @tomford BRIDESMAID DRESS Shona Joy, @shonajoy GROOMSMEN SUIT Suit Supply, @suitsupply MOTHER OF THE BRIDE’S DRESS Alex Perry, @alexperryofficial FATHER OF THE BRIDE’S SUIT Zegna, @zegnaofficial GETTING READY OUTFIT The Sleeper, @daily_sleeper