Photos by Geneva Boyett
As a young college graduate living in downtown Chicago, Sarah Hartman used to walk past A New Leaf floral studio every Thursday night, pizza in hand, and peek into the beautiful space to get a glimpse of the weddings and celebrations going on there. This past October, Sarah fulfilled her dream of hosting her own wedding reception at A New Leaf when she married her husband Dan, whom she met playing basketball for their company in Dallas. Below is an interview with the bride about her love for her venue and how it made her wedding day extra special.
What elements of your wedding were most important to you and your partner?
Even though I’m from eastern Pennsylvania, we decided to get married in Chicago 1) because I loved it and I loved the venue, and I fell in love with it the first time I ever saw it, and 2) three-quarters of our wedding was coming from the midwest, so that factored a lot into our planning. Other than that, I think just making sure we had a fun venue, good food, drinks flowing, good music, so people had a good time partying with us and celebrating.
What were you looking for in a wedding venue?
Something sentimental because the one we did end up going with was the one I saw when I first moved to downtown Chicago from college. I just wanted it to be really cool, unique, and something that just meant something to me. It was important to me that it was something that I loved and I could see us having a really great time there and our guests really enjoying themselves and making it worthwhile for the guests that were spending money to come see us.
Tell me a little more about A New Leaf and what made it unique?
The coolest part, I’d say, right off the bat, is that it’s a flower shop that bought the property that’s connected to it and they created a venue for weddings, for work events, and so forth, and it’s really cool because guests can walk around a whole flower shop. It was absolutely beautiful. The venue itself is so unique with exposed brick and iron elements, which we love, like the industrial feel, from a decor standpoint, and it has this awesome back patio that is lit up with candles and lights at night and little cute seats to sit around. So it’s really cool because it gives guests multiple different ways to enjoy the night of like sitting outside, enjoying the outdoors, seeing all the beautiful flowers. It’s just this really unique space that you don’t typically see in wedding venues.
What’s your favorite memory from the wedding?
I think one of the coolest things was when we did the grand entrance. Walking in and just seeing all of our friends and loved ones staring at us, I was like, ‘Holy Cow, everyone we love is right here in the same space at the same time.’ During the ceremony you don’t really get that same shock and awe because you’re in the moment of getting married, but at that point I was like, ‘I’m married, I’m ready to party, and there’s everyone I love just staring at me.’ If you look at pictures of A New Leaf, they’re all up on the steps and look down at you as you walk in and everyone’s surrounding you and it’s so intimate and close. It was just awesome.
If you were to give one piece of advice to a couple planning a wedding, what would it be?
Plan time to plan, like, ‘Okay tonight we’re going to have wine at dinner and knock out these things,’ and then make sure that outside of that you’re making sure to still spend time on each other—not planning, not thinking about planning, not letting it take over your life. Be diligent about it and be conscious about one night planning a bunch, and then the rest of the week you don’t have to think about it.
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