When dreams of love and Great Gatsby nostalgia combine, magic happens. Such was the case for Leah and Seth, whose vision of a 1920s, Gatsby-themed wedding became a reality on April Fool’s Day, 2023. With a flair for the dramatic, their wedding at The Drake in Chicago’s Gold Coast Ballroom was nothing short of a grand occasion.
Leah and Seth’s journey to their big day was like a chapter from a novel, written with the ink of pranks and competitiveness. Their playful beginnings started at Washington University, where an intense game of “assassins” and a series of flirty pranks set the stage for their love story. Leah, a writer, and Seth, a surgeon, share a love of books, adventure and their German Shepherd, Olivia. The couple dated for 11 years before Seth proposed, in the style of an elaborate April Fool’s Day prank. They got married on April Fool’s Day and will be trading pranks for the rest of their lives.
From the moment they began discussing marriage, Leah and Seth knew they wanted to have a Great Gatsby-themed wedding. So once the planning started, they went full tilt on dreaming up an art-deco-style celebration that would transport guests back to the glamorous era of the 1920s.
At the heart of their roaring 20s celebration was The Drake’s iconic Gold Coast Ballroom. This magnificent art-deco venue, which witnessed its fair share of extravagant parties in the 1920s, provided the perfect backdrop for Leah and Seth. The couple’s attention to detail was evident in every corner of the venue. From the elegantly designed deco-style poster of the bride and groom that welcomed guests to the big band musical act, The Jeff Stitely Orchestra, guests were transported to the golden age of swing and jazz.
As the doors of the Gold Coast Ballroom swung open, guests were greeted by a sight straight out of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s imagination. Men looked dapper in white tie attire, and women donned stunning A-line dresses, complete with fringe, beads and fascinators. The atmosphere was electric, capturing the essence of high society from the Roaring Twenties.
The bride’s mother, a retired creative director, took the reins in curating the finer elements that elevated the event reminiscent of the era. From personalized seating-chart tiles as favors to programs adorned with skeleton key wine charms, every touch radiated vintage charm. However, the pièce de résistance was the interactive guest book, featuring a vintage typewriter that allowed friends and family type out heartfelt messages to the couple.
While the couple met in St Louis, they’re both from Chicago and wanted to honor the city. Chicago’s spirit was woven into the celebration with welcome bags containing Goose Island beer and Chicago-style popcorn. Showcasing the city’s rich musical heritage, Blues Brothers impersonators entertained their guests with a twenty minute set during the reception.
The couple’s ability to embrace humor and adventure touched every aspect of their wedding, from the carefully curated details to the vows that left everyone laughing. Leah and Seth’s Gatsby-themed extravaganza at The Drake was more than a celebration; it was an immersion into a bygone era, a storybook brought to life.
VENUE & CATERING The Drake Hotel
FLORAL & DECOR Taylor & Co
PLANNER Honey Bee Weddings
HAIR Stephanie Reid Hair
MAKEUP Paige Puccio (The Beauty Paige)
BRIDE’S GOWN Maggie Sottero from Volle’s Bridal
GROOM’S FORMALWEAR Mr. Tux
STATIONERY Cartalia Stationery Studio, Christine Barsanti (bride’s mother)
CAKE Cake Sweet Food Chicago
PHOTO BOOTH Bespoke Flipbooks
CHOREOGRAPHY Chicago Dance
ENTERTAINMENT Jeff Stitely Orchestra
AFTER-PARTY VENUE Gold Coast Social