Photography by
Carasco Photography

Gabrielle Cummings & Elbert Hatley

September 13, 2015 in Chicago, IL

Gabrielle Cummings was settling in for a quiet evening at home, when she received a phone call inviting her to a friend’s 40th birthday party. When she arrived at the party and met Elbert Hatley for the first time, they had an unexpected connection. At that point, both were single and content with flying solo; but even though Elbert wasn’t Gabrielle’s usual type, she thought there was something very endearing about him. He even asked her to let him know she got home safely at the end of the night – a clever way of making sure she was single.

When Elbert proposed, it was at the end of a long day. Gabrielle was watching one of her favorite shows and couldn’t figure out why Elbert was pacing in front of the TV screen. “Mind you, he is a very confident man, but something seemed awry,” she says. Elbert then said he wanted to give Gabrielle her Christmas gift early and handed her a jewelry bag with a box inside. Initially, Gabrielle figured it was a necklace or earrings; so it was a wonderful surprise when she opened the box to find a beautiful sapphire engagement ring.

The wedding planning process was fun yet intense, as the couple is very detail-oriented and wanted to make sure the day was exactly how they envisioned. Some early challenges included deciding who to invite to their intimate wedding, selecting the wedding location, and staying true to who they are. Their intuition told them the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago would be the perfect wedding venue; and after visiting several other beautiful hotels, they were certain the Waldorf was the right choice.

The wedding day was a glorious occasion filled with love, warmth, and family. “I couldn’t wait to see the wedding space filled with gorgeous flowers and the people Elbert and I love most,” says the bride. The ceremony décor included touches of gold and flowers in shades of magenta, purple, and fuchsia. An adorned chuppah was set up with the bride and groom encircled by their wedding guests.

After the photo session, the newlyweds were escorted to their reception and were met with tables decorated with cascading flowers, candles, and crystals, which complemented the jewel-toned wedding theme. Guests were then served a phenomenal meal and a scrumptious wedding cake before dancing the night away.

Gabrielle and Elbert were pleased to see everyone enjoying themselves, but were especially humored to see their three-year-old nieces dancing as hard and as long as the adults. It was the perfect end to a spectacular day, which was exactly how they wanted it – an intimate, spiritual celebration of love.

Location: The Waldorf Astoria, Chicago Chicago, IL; Floral and Event Design, Planner, Rentals and Lighting: Kesh Events Chicago, IL;
Linen: BBJ Linen and Windy City Linen Wheeling, IL; Ceremony Entertainment: Wellington Strings Chicago, IL; Wedding Dress: Vera Wang;