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Classic Country Club Wedding with Ukrainian Touches in Chicago

Areta and Ryan’s wedding is irresistibly classic from their gorgeous church ceremony to the timeless country club reception. It’s back to basics in all the right ways and I’m loving every bit of it. / Photos by Angela Renee Photography.

Says Areta, “I wanted the day to be romantic, elegant and classic. Think violins throughout the ceremony, neutral color palette (blush, ivory, taupe), bouquets of baby’s breath, roses, touches of gold and lots of candlelight.


Ryan and I wrote each other letters, which we opened at the exact same time before heading to the church. I loved that we were able to share that moment even though we were miles apart, tears and all.

Tell us about the moment you knew you had found *your* dress: “It was at the end of a long day of wedding dress shopping and a lot of “maybe this could be the one” dresses. I finally slipped on what would become THE dress and it just felt different, it felt right. I didn’t cry. Instead, I did a happy dance. That’s how I knew.”

Areta + Ryan’s Love Story:
Ryan and I met at a beer olympics party. The epitome of romance, I know. I was a last minute sub on Ryan’s team and let’s just say he was skeptical of my abilities. That quickly changed after I took Silver in an event that shall remain unnamed. I’m pretty sure that’s when Ryan fell in love. I followed shortly thereafter. The rest is history.


We were married at the parish that I’ve belonged to forever, Queen of All Saints Basilica in Chicago. I thought it would be meaningful to get married at a place where I spent so much of my life. It was surreal to walk down the aisle I had walked down so many times before, as a bride.

One unique element of our wedding was the Ukrainian tradition of having a Mistress of Ceremonies or starosta host our reception. My aunt did us the honor. We loved the idea of having someone close to us make the introductions – it just felt more personal that way. We also incorporated a Ukrainian blessing before our introduction into the reception. My parents presented us with a korovai (a Ukrainian wedding bread adorned with birds made of dough), salt, honey and wine. The bread represents nature’s bounty, salt, a necessity of life, and honey and wine for prosperity. My mother read the blessing while my aunt translated for our guests. Then the four of us shared a special toast with some Croation Cabernet to represent the other side of my heritage.

We held our reception at North Shore Country in Glenview. We loved its simple elegance, and the mix of indoor and outdoor space. We wanted something elegant, yet warm and inviting.

Thank you so much to Areta + Ryan for sharing their special day! Areta leaves us with some wedding planning advice, “Try not to sweat the small stuff, even though it may seem impossible. And make your day as much about the two of you as possible. That, above all, is what makes your wedding yours.”

Credits: Photography: Angela Renee Photography / Ceremony: Queen of All Saints Basilica / Reception: North Shore Country Club / Day-of Coordination: Anticipation Events / Catering: North Shore Country Club / Sweets Table: Angela Renee Photography / Videography: Blu Couture Wedding Films / Band: High Society / Florist: Kathie’s Flowers / Transportation: Second City Trolley / Rehearsal Dinner: Quartino / Make-up: Salon V Chicago / Hair: Nika Vaughan

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