German expat Florian Hudelmaier remembers the exact moment he knew he would marry New England native Karina Bhaiwala: It was on a trip to southern Germany when she sweetly disarmed his family’s stoic patriarch. “Karina is a hugger,” he said. “Hugging is not a big thing in my family. Before we left, my grandpa gave Karina a hug, and that was the first time I saw my grandpa hugging someone. That’s when I knew.”
Hudelmaier, a 32-year-old strategy and business development manager for the Wieland Group, matched on Tinder with Bhaiwala, 31, who works at health care marketing company Scout. After two years of dating, Hudelmaier re-created one of their early dates — a picnic in the park — to surprise Bhaiwala with a proposal. Though a rainstorm moved the picnic indoors to their East Lakeview apartment, he still caught her off guard when he popped the question.
Their Labor Day wedding weekend kicked off with an Indian-style sangeet and henna party at Alhambra Palace in the West Loop. “Some of my family came in lederhosen and dirndls,” Hudelmeier said. The next day, a dear friend married them at the foot of the historic Rookery Building’s stunning marble staircase. Instead of a program, guests received a Hochzeitszeitung, a traditional German wedding newspaper about the bride and groom created by their best friends. “They collected photos and stories and people wrote little letters, and there was a crossword puzzle. It was adorable,” Bhaiwala says. After dinner and dancing, they continued the celebration with an afterparty at Theory and honeymooned in Peru, where they hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS
Venue: The Rookery Building, 209 S. LaSalle, therookerybuilding.com
Bride’s attire: Gold, champagne and silver custom lehenga from Studio East6, 1151 W. Madison, studioeast6.com
Bride’s accessories: Shoes by Stuart Weitzman, 701 N. Michigan, stuartweitzman.com; earrings, necklace, ring, and bracelet designed by the bride’s mother
Bride’s hair and makeup: Meghana Prasad, meghanaprasad.com
Bridal henna: Pratiksha of Henna Tattoo Chicago
Groom’s attire: Tuxedo by Suitsupply, 945 N. Rush, us.suitsupply.com
Catering: Food Evolution, 4260 N. River, Schiller Park; foodevolutioncatering.com
Cake: Three-tiered strawberry and lemon seminaked cake from Whole Foods Lincoln Park, 1550 N. Kingsbury
Entertainment: DJ Ruby from Toast & Jam, 3317 W. Fullerton, toastandjamdjs.com
Decor: Art of Imagination, 1829 S. Halsted, artofimagination.com
Floral: Reception arrangements by Flowers for Dreams, 1812 W. Hubbard, flowersfordreams.com; bridal bouquet of pink roses, greenery, succulents, baby’s breath arranged by mother of the groom
Photos by JPP Studios