As 220 guests sat down for dinner at the Hilton Orrington (1710 Orrington, Evanston) on a cold day in December, 27-year-old stylist Genna Katz stepped onstage to surprise her husband (of just a few hours). With all the lights turned toward her and her gaze fixed on Cory Friedman, she sang “At Last” by Etta James.
But a year before that, it was Friedman, 28, a healthcare broker, who had a surprise in store. He called her on a Saturday in November to grab a quick bite at Mindy’s Hot Chocolate (1747 N. Damen), where they spent their very first date four years prior. They sat down, he ordered his usual — the hamburger — and then got down on one knee.
The wedding itself had some surprises, too, like when three of Katz’s (adult) friends walked down the aisle as flower girls in matching tutus and flower crowns. “Everyone said they made the whole ceremony,” the bride laughs.
But undeniably, it was Katz’s ballad that left the most lasting impression. “In the years [we’ve been] together, she was always too embarrassed to sing for me,” Friedman says. “[I] never expected that she’d finally decide to do it at our wedding, but it was so perfect that she did.”
Photos by Jai Girard Photography
Bride’s gown: Inbal Dror, Dimitra’s Bridal Couture, 1009 N. Rush; Dimitrasbridal.com
Bride’s afterparty dress: Parker, Revolve; Revolve.com
“Flower girls’” tutus: Jenny Yoo Collection, 311 W. Superior; Jennyyoo.com
Wedding planner: Rachel De Marte; Racheldemarte.com
Rings: Cy Fredrics Jewelers, 600 Central, Highland Park; Cyfredrics.com
Cake: yellow cake with bittersweet mousse and cinnamon mascarpone, Cake, 1635 W. Walnut; Cake-chicago.com
Decor: Art of Imagination, 1829 S. Halsted; Artofimagination.com
Floral: dark red roses, Color & Co Floral Art, 1734 W. Grand; Colorandcompany.com
Entertainment: Gold Coast All Stars; Goldcoasteventschicago.com
Invitations: The Stationery Studio, 975 Weiland, Buffalo Grove; Thestationerystudio.com