For performing couple Dannie and Sarah, it was an easy choice to find the perfect theatre to tie the knot in.
Over Thanksgiving weekend in 2014, Dannie and Sarah shared a quiet engagement. On a quiet Sunday night, the pair laid in bed, not looking forward to returning to work the next day. As they got comfortable into their pre-sleep snuggle, Sarah asked Dannie what her favourite part of their weekend together was. Dannie can’t remember what her answer was, but next asked Sarah what her favourite part was. Her response; “this part right here”, pulling a ring from under her pillow.
A few months later, Dannie also proposed. Another quiet affair, scooping up their recently adopted pooch and asking through the dog; “Hey Mum? Mama has a question for you. Will you marry her?”.
After enjoying the holidays together, they jumped into planning in February. Step one, venue hunting. They had a time frame in mind, one as close to Dannie’s mothers birthday as they could swing. The set three different appointments to see venues but, after looking at the first venue, they cancelled the other two. They had found something that was perfect.
Mayne Stage is a small theatre on the north side of Chicago with a restaurant in the front. Both Dannie and Sarah have a background in theatre, so it was a natural fit.
The couple are also amateur photographers so have plenty of opinions and ideas about what they wanted in a photographer and spent a lot of time looking up potential folk to work with. Once again, after meeting Johnny Knight, his experience in both weddings and theatre exceeded all their expectations.
Flowers were another detail the couple focused a lot of energy on. Sarah had scheduled a call with Flowers for Dreams. A local florist which donated a portion of their proceeds to a different charity every month. After seeing a preview of what they could create, Dannie and Sarah fell head over heels in love. An added bonus, the October charity benefited mental health, a cause dear to their hearts.
The rest of the details fell into place rather quickly. They asked their wedding party to be a part of the big day, went dress shopping and began DIY projects like their centre pieces and their guest book.
As wedding day dawned, rather than getting ready at a hotel or in a salon, the couple chose to host a brunch at their apartment and let everyone help each other get ready. They admit that while there was more planning and a bigger clean up ahead, it let everyone come together in a much more relaxed way and guaranteed everybody was fed before things started to get crazy. Dannie was set on having a salon experience so did sneak away from brunch for an hour and headed over to Goldplaited, a finishing salon in Lakeview
At the venue the couple split into separate dressing rooms to complete their wedding day preparation, getting Into their respective dresses.
They each had photographs in the upper and lower lobbies with their families, two dogs and bridal parties before the first look on the staircase. Sarah wore an A-line tulle dress with a chapel train, a sweetheart neckline and custom-made lace illusion necklace. Dannie chose a Vera Wang mermaid style tulle gown with ruched bodice and rosettes in the skirt.
Soon enough, it was time for the ceremony. The stage of the theatre was set up with a staircase coming off the double-wide aisle so the couple could walk down together with their Dads. Their celebrant was a long time friend of Dannie’s, and the ceremony included two monologues from ‘Loves Labours Lost’ and a children’s book titled ‘Love Monster’. Sarah’s sibling, Dima, played a piece on the viola.
At the end of the ceremony, Sarah smashed a glass I honour of her Jewish heritage, and the pair emerged into the bar for cocktail hour.
Dannie made an announcement, asking everyone to cheers, and the pair gave their guests a big kiss. Then, Dannie informed guests that it was the last freebie and from now on, kisses would cost money. The pair had chosen to donate this money to their favourite animal shelter, PAWS Chicago. Through the night they made special requests, trading donations for high-five kisses, arm wrestle kisses and even a dance off.
As the night came to a close, Dannie and Sarah called themselves a Lyft (Uber) and went home to their puppies and their own bed.
Exhausted and thrilled, they slept. Married at last.
Photography by Johnny Knight Photography (Chicago)