A Lillian Wild Bride for an Autumnal Jewish Brunch Wedding at Towne & Oak in Winnetka, Illinois, USA


We love a good brunch wedding here at Team STG. And bagels-and-lox-loving couple Carly and Jonathan’s autumnal Midwestern Jewish wedding is one of the best we’ve seen – pandemic or not.

These two always wanted a fall Sunday afternoon wedding, but just as they began planning COVID-19 started taking hold. After much deliberation, they decided to go full steam ahead rather than waiting for the crisis to pass, embracing their intimate wedding of 13 (down from an original guestlist of 150) and sharing a professional livestream with those who couldn’t be there in person. And even though it wasn’t the wedding they’d initially planned, you can tell from each and every one of Alisha Tova‘s stunning photos what a very special day it was.

We’re obsessed with the couple’s gorgeous ketubah, custom designed and handmade for them by Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor BRITcolors. Britt spent time getting to know Carly and Jonathan so she could dream up a unique ketubah that was totally, 100% them – and she totally knocked it out of the ballpark with the finished product, featuring ‘70s-inspired floral designs in a mixture of embroidery and watercolor.

There’s so much more to say about this awesome wedding – for starters, don’t miss the chic contemporary geometrics and subtle autumnal florals – but we’ll let Carly, who looked so elegant in her Lillian Wild gown, fill you in on the rest…

How We Met

Carly, the bride: My work is in brand marketing and storytelling, and Jonathan works to develop strategic partnerships. We met during the summer of 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. My profile had appeared in the friend suggestion section of Jonathan’s Facebook newsfeed. Jonathan soon discovered that my dear friend Alex was our mutual connection, so he reached out to him asking about my status.

Alex said Jonathan was a nice guy, so I gave Alex the OK to give Jonathan my phone number. Jonathan called a few days later. After a fun 30-minute conversation, we scheduled our first date. We ate a delicious dinner at the pizzeria Spacca Napoli and then saw a beautiful performance by Sarah Jarosz at the Old Town School of Folk Music.

Venue and wedding plans

Jonathan and I were looking forward to having a fall Sunday afternoon wedding to be with loved ones, eat lox and bagels and dance to live music. But, while we were on a venue tour, the COVID-19 pandemic was going from bad to worse in real time. Uncertain how the pandemic would unfold, we decided to pause our planning. After many conversations between the two of us, we decided to pick up our planning while fully embracing the nature of the pandemic. Our wonderful wedding planner, Carlene of Naturally Yours Events, suggested we tour the then brand new cafe and event space Towne & Oak in Winnetka, Illinois.

We loved the beautiful blue tilework, sunlit rooms and trees planted throughout the space. Finding fun amongst the safety protocols was a challenge, but we were in good hands between our rabbi and wedding planner. We became the first virtual aufruf at my family’s congregation, limited our 150-person guestlist to a 13-person one, provided face masks that complemented the venue and shared a professionally produced livestream with our friends and family who couldn’t be there physically. In the end, we were able to be with loved ones, dance to our favorite tunes thanks to a vinyl-spinning DJ and eat lox and bagels on a special fall Sunday afternoon.


I wanted the space to reflect both of our Midwestern roots while keeping the decor as eco-friendly as possible. Our wedding planner, Carlene of Naturally Yours Events, was an outstanding resource for us since she specializes in eco-friendly weddings.

Invitations / stationery

Given the changing nature of the pandemic, we chose to design and send our invitations online through Paperless Post, so we could send updated information easily if needed. One invitation was sent to our in-person guests while another was sent to our virtual ones, which included all of the livestream details.

Hair + Make-up

I met Aviana Beauty, a Chicago-based makeup artist, through my profession. She’s so talented, uses clean beauty products and always brings a calming energy. Since I typically air-dry my hair and don’t usually wear makeup, I went for an elevated look that was inspired by my everyday style.

A Lillian Wild Dress

My dress was from Honey Bridal, a wedding dress retailer in Chicago that carries ethically and sustainably made gowns. Being inspired by the fall season, my only hope was for my dress to have sleeves, which was hard to find! When I put on the Grace gown by Lillian Wild, which is handmade in Kelowna, BC, Canada, I fell in love with the higher neckline, buttons along the back and the overall ease of the dress. My mom’s middle name is Grace, so I loved that connection too!


The neckline of my dress was sheer, which I loved, so I didn’t want to cover it up with a necklace. I found these pretty pearl earrings by Erica Koesler during my visit to James Ciccotti Bridal Shoes and Accessories in Chicago.


I’m at one of my happiest dancing barefoot in nature, so the thought of wearing heels for a prolonged period of time while being the center of attention was making me anxious. I’m so grateful for wedding shoe designer James Ciccotti . His Tullia style, with its closed square toe and 2 1/2″ heel, were comfortable and perfect for the occasion.

The handsome groom

While Jonathan’s curls are always the star of the show, his custom suit by Tom James definitely had him looking even more dapper for our special day. His look featured a heather brown textured wool suit, green textured tie and tan Cole Haan shoes.


My favorite part of the ceremony was having Rabbi Wendi Geffen as our officiatant. Jonathan and I both admire and adore her, so we were thrilled to have her part of our day!


We wanted our ketubah to be unique and personal. We are so happy that we came across Britt from BRITcolors, an extraordinary artist from and based in Israel. She spent significant time with us learning about our story and interests. Our handmade custom ketubah features ‘70s-inspired floral designs in a beautifully bright mixture of embroidery and watercolor.


Outside of sharing a handful of inspiration I found on Pinterest, I had total trust in Jori and her team at Romee Willow Florals, a boutique floral design studio in Chicago. They channeled our theme through the chuppah design and floral arrangements spectacularly!

Our Music Choice

To keep the amount of in-person bodies at our wedding to the absolute essentials, we replaced a multi-person band with one DJ, Kevin, who was stellar! Kevin spun vinyl and played all of our favorite tunes. Our parents and my grandmother walked down the aisle to ‘Albatross’ by Fleetwood Mac. Jonathan and I walked down the aisle to ‘The Inlaw Josie Wales’ by Trey Anastasio. After we were married, we made our way back down the aisle to ‘Orange Blossoms’ by JJ Grey & Mofro.

One of our first dates was seeing The Arcs perform at Park West in Chicago, so we chose ‘Stay In My Corner’ as our first dance. During our cake cutting, which was a delicious apple pie from Deerfields Bakery in Deerfield, Illinois, we played ‘Sweet Spot’ by String Cheese Incident.


I was drawn to the airiness of Alisha Tova‘s photography and was so excited to work with her. She gave great direction and brought a warm and fun energy to the day!

Since we had to move our wedding away from the traditional in-person affair, it was extremely important to us that our guests tuning in virtually had just as good of an experience as our in-person guests. Cage + Aquarium produced the livestream of our ceremony with exceptional video and sound quality. We still get compliments on it!

Food and Cake

It’s not an exaggeration that one of the reasons we chose to have a brunch wedding was to eat lox and bagels, if you couldn’t tell! Towne & Oak is neighbors with the deli Once Upon A Bagel, so we were thrilled to be able to cater the assortment of bagels from there. The scrumptious spread also included elevated classics like crispy smashed potatoes and waffles with berries and fresh whipped cream. To play off the brunch vibe, we served an array of seasonal pies from Deerfields Bakery in lieu of cake.


While I was searching for party favors on Etsy, I came across these cute mini soap bars by Le Box Boutique. Sending guests home with all-natural, handmade soaps was perfect during these pandemic times. We went with the Oat & Honey scent, which smelled divine and matched perfectly with our Midwestern theme.

I loved utilizing Etsy for all of the small details, like our pie topper, vintage pie stand, reusable cloth face masks and burlap kippahs!


In light of the pandemic, we kept our honeymoon close to home, doing a road trip around Michigan. We were blessed with beautiful weather the entire time! Among the fun was hiking in Glen Arbor, visiting a winery along the Grand Traverse Bay, driving the beautiful Tunnel of Trees and enjoying a Zingerman’s Delicatessen picnic with friends in Ann Arbor.

Advice to couples currently planning their wedding

Throughout the planning process, let your intuition guide you. As the pandemic was getting worse, we were about to enter a significant vendor contract. Thanks to both of our inner alarms sounding, we paused planning, pivoted and had the wedding that was perfect for us and the times.


Photography – Alisha Tova
Ketubah – BRITcolors {offers 10% discount to all members of Smashing The Glass’s Brides Club}
Wedding planner – Naturally Yours Events
Venue – Towne & Oak
Bride’s dress – Lillian Wild Lillian Wild  found at Honey Bridal
Bride’s shoes – James Ciccotti
Bride’s accessories – Erica KoeslerJames Ciccotti
Groom’s attire – Tom James
Hair + Makeup – Aviana Beauty
Flowers – Romee Willow Florals
DJ – Cage + Aquarium 
Catering – Towne & Oak
Cake – Deerfields Bakery
Stationery/Invitation – Paperless Post
Livestream – Cage + Aquarium
Favours – Le Box Boutique via Etsy
Rabbi – Rabbi Wendi Geffen

If you’re a Jewish or Jew-ish bride-to-be, you’ll want to join Smashing The Glass’ Brides Club. Guided by the world’s number 1 Jewish wedding expert, Karen Cinnamon, Brides Club is the private community for Jewish and Jew-ish brides that removes wedstress and indecision and gives you what you need to plan with confidence during these uncertain times. Join our Brides Club here.

The post A Lillian Wild Bride for an Autumnal Jewish Brunch Wedding at Towne & Oak in Winnetka, Illinois, USA appeared first on Smashing the Glass | Jewish Wedding Blog.

A Lillian Wild Bride for an Autumnal Jewish Brunch Wedding at Towne & Oak in Winnetka, Illinois, USA