It wasn’t love at first sight for Jessie Kalin and Eli Mash — the two grew up together in Minnesota as nothing more than good friends. But that 14-year friendship turned romantic when both moved to Chicago after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2007. “I realized there was a reason we were such great friends,” says Kalin, producer of ABC-7’s “Windy City Live.”
Five and a half years after falling in love, Mash, an account executive at Salesforce.com, surprised Kalin after a long day of work with a rose petal path leading to their candlelit living room, where he popped the question. Their Sept. 13 nuptials — held at the bride’s synagogue, Temple Israel (2324 Emerson) in Minneapolis — were equally romantic. “The rabbi had known me since preschool and it was special for her to get to know Eli throughout the process,” Kalin says. “It just felt very personal.” That spirit pervaded the ceremony: The bride collaborated with her close friend, Chicago-based designer Azeeza Khan, to create a fitted ivory Chantilly lace gown and sweeping fishtail train with Swarovski accents; wrote her own vows; and donned her late Auntie Janet’s gleaming diamond earrings. “It was important for me to figure out a way to make her a part of the day,” says Kalin.
After the sweet ceremony, nearly 300 friends and family members headed to a garden-inspired reception at Aria (105 N. 1st), decorated with a variety of blooms — including white O’Hara roses, hydrangeas, Champagne spray roses and café au lait dahlias — and cream candlesticks resting on gold bases and glass votives. The night’s highlights included nonstop dancing and a brownie and ice-cream bar. “It was high-energy and it flew by,” says Kalin, who, immediately after the reception, was whisked away for a relaxing honeymoon in the Greek islands. “We did nothing but drink wine and relax. I didn’t want to go back to reality — it was the best two weeks of our lives.”
Photographer: Matt Blum; Matt@mattblum.com
Groom’s attire: Sebastien Grey, 70 W. Madison; Sebastiengrey.com