“Two” was the magic number for Elisabeth “Elise” Terlato and Luke Joyce, who went from two engagements to two wedding ceremonies. But first, it all started with a blind date that a mutual friend arranged on February 12, 2016 at Celeste in Chicago. “I was 45 minutes late to Celeste and knew that he was a keeper when he waited,” Elise reflects. “He mentioned to me that there were girls at the table across from him taking bets on whether or not I would show. But I did, and we didn’t want the night to end.”
Two-and-a-half years later, Elise stopped by Tangley Oaks Armour Estate in Luke Bluff, Illinois, the headquarters of her family’s business, to pick up a platter for her niece’s birthday party. “When the door was locked, I went to head back to the car where Luke was. When I turned around, he was right behind me, in the entrance corridor, smiling on one knee,” she recalls. After the two of them basked in the moment, the newly engaged couple shared the news with their families at the birthday party. “It was the most perfect engagement for us—first alone and then celebrating with the people who mean the most,” she shares.
Since Elise was 25 years old and just starting to work for her family business, upon further reflection, she decided that she wasn’t ready to get married yet. “Getting married was something I knew that I eventually wanted but felt it was too soon for me to make the leap,” she explains. “Luke and I continued to talk for a bit and then broke up for a couple of months to find clarity.” That time apart only reaffirmed their love, and on July 3, 2020, Luke popped the question once again. This time, the answer was a confident “yes.”
That fall, the bride enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu in London, so she began planning her wedding overseas and during a global pandemic. “There was an increased fear and anxiety around making sure people were safe at our wedding,” she discloses. With the help of wedding planner Linda Alpert of Affairs With Linda and Elise’s mother, the pair was able to prevail despite the uncertainty, and they ended up planning not one, but two ceremonies.
On Thursday, September 2, the couple said “I do” at an intimate church ceremony in Chicago with loved ones. “It was exactly what we wanted: No fuss, not a lot of frills. Just the two of us and those who matter most,” Elise reminisces. Then, on Saturday, September 4, the duo hosted a larger ceremony at Tangley Oaks Armour Estate, the site of their first engagement, followed by a lively reception and after-party.
Keep reading to see how the two weddings played out, as planned by Affairs With Linda and photographed by Olivia Leigh Photographie.
For Thursday’s ceremony, Luke looked dapper in a plaid burgundy blazer, navy blue pants, and navy blue Gucci shoes. He accessorized with a baby-blue printed tie from Hermes and vintage cufflinks that once belonged to the bride’s grandfather.
Meanwhile, Elise donned a high-neck, long-sleeve Eisen Stein gown with beaded accents and an exposed back. “For the church ceremony on Thursday, I wanted the dress to be more conservative with a touch of glam,” she explains. As soon as Elise saw this dress on Mira Couture’s Instagram, she was certain it would be the perfect accompaniment to the church venue. “I knew the moment I tried on the dress that this was the one I would walk down the church aisle in,” she remembers. “It fit me perfectly.” For her own unique spin on the dress, the bride shortened the hemline and added a veil. “Without trying to achieve this look, it felt very ‘Italy in the ‘40s,’” she summarizes. A sleek low bun and natural makeup completed her look.
Elise carried a small bouquet of white tweedia, astilbe, and myrtle leaves wrapped in ribbon and secured with a special locket that housed photos of loved ones.
The first ceremony took place at St. Mary of the Angels in Chicago with just their nearest and dearest present. For the processional, the bride linked arms with her father while “The Prayer” by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli played.
The duo followed a traditional Catholic ceremony, which their family friend Monsignor Velo officiated. “Both of us are Catholic, and it meant a great deal to both of our families for us to officially get married in a church with a priest who knew our family,” Elise shares. Throughout the ceremony, the priest imparted words of wisdom. “He had many great quotes, but one in particular was when he ended our homily with, ‘The best is yet to come,’” the bride remembers.
The couple kept their ceremony décor as simple as possible to let the space shine. “The church is gorgeous and dramatic on its own, with one of the largest aisles in the city of Chicago, large archways, stained glass windows, and mural paintings throughout,” Elise notes.
After their first kiss as newlyweds, the pair walked back up the aisle while the church choir sang.
A family-style Mediterranean dinner and speeches were next up on the agenda. After the ceremony, everyone reconvened at The Dalcy, a private event hall located inside Aba, one of the couple’s favorite restaurants. “It’s all around good vibes and transforms you to another place right in the heart of Chicago,” the bride describes of the venue.
With ceremony number two on deck, Luke dressed himself in a custom bespoke midnight blue tuxedo with a silk black shawl jacket from Loro Piana. He paired it with a custom shirt from the Knot Standard and Tom Ford loafers.
“We wanted the groomsmen to be in black tuxes, so the groom would stand out in his midnight blue,” Elise explains. Their boutonnieres made of a single calla lily matched the bridesmaids’ bouquets.
On the morning of her second wedding day, Elise gifted her parents custom handkerchiefs engraved with a heartfelt note of gratitude.
Of the thousands of different dresses that I tried on that day, with varying necklines and shapes, I knew this was the dress.
The bride’s second ceremony look was a lace trumpet dress with a plunging neckline from YSA Makino. Ever since her first engagement in 2018, Elise had her eye on this dress. “It was complex and intricate with lace, varying textures, and layers of ivory and white, but also very romantic and traditional,” she says.
While dress shopping with her mom and sister, she kept that original dress in the back of her mind. “Of the thousands of different dresses that I tried on that day, with varying necklines and shapes, I knew this was the dress,” she illuminates. Like her first ceremony gown, Elise personalized her ensemble by adding a detachable skirt, which she removed at the reception. White heels with a sparkly strap rounded off her outfit.
For her beauty look, Elise settled on something traditional, romantic, and whimsical. She wanted neutral makeup to accentuate her natural beauty. “I didn’t want to look unlike myself, especially for my groom,” she explains. Elise also had soft waves pinned into a half-up, half-down hairstyle, and she topped it off with an embroidered cathedral veil.
Before their second ceremony, the twosome shared a private first look in the stairwell of Tangley Oaks Armour Estate, reminiscing on how everything had come full circle since Luke first proposed there in 2018.
An all-white cascading bouquet of roses, ranunculus, and calla lilies paired perfectly with the bride’s white gown.
Since Elise was in London when she ordered her bridesmaids’ dresses, she saw them for the first time on the morning of her wedding day. Her gang wore satin gowns with a cowl neck from Jenny Yoo in blush and rust hues, inspired by autumn. Her sister—who served as matron of honor—sported a velvet maxi dress to stand out from the rest. Each member of the bridal party carried long-stemmed calla lilies. “The simplicity paired nicely with and did not detract from their simple satin and suede dresses,” Elise notes.
Guests gathered for the ceremony in a white sailcloth tent outside of Tangley Oaks Armour Estate.
The flower girls all coordinated in ivory dresses with tulle skirts and floral tops from Needle & Thread, and they slipped on dainty Mary Jean shoes. Each of them had their hair parted to the side and slicked back in a low bun, and carried hoops of white astilbe and ranunculus with myrtle leaves. Before their walk down the aisle though, the group experienced a mishap. “One of the girls was hysterically crying before walking down,” Elise admits. “She stopped crying. And, right before walking down, they all huddled in a group and held each other’s hands.”
Once again, Elise and her father made their way down the aisle, which was framed with two large floral arrangements in gold vases. Female vocalists and a string quartet played “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Kina Grannis while they walked toward the altar.
It felt so intimate in the circle. I could see the faces of friends and family surrounding us.
While the couple exchanged personal vows, their guests sat in a circle around them. “It felt so intimate in the circle,” Elise recalls. “I could see the faces of friends and family surrounding us and emoting during the ceremony with us.” They put another unique spin on their ceremony by releasing butterflies as “a symbol of those who we’ve lost and to represent our growth and life as a couple.”
After Elise’s aunt pronounced them husband and wife, a gospel choir escorted them from the ceremony to the cocktail hour while singing “You Can’t Hurry Love” by The Supremes.
To set the tone of their garden-inspired reception, the couple had their escort card wall covered in moss. Each escort card had a key fastened with ribbon, which guided guests to their seats.
The couple served two signature cocktails. Hers was “Nonino L’Apertivo Spritz,” and his was “Spicy Picanta de la Casa.” “These are our favorite drinks to enjoy in the summer months, perfect for an early September wedding,” Elise illustrates.
Before their grand entrance into the reception, the duo snuck away to take portraits. “Don’t sweat the small stuff, don’t let wedding planning occupy your time or headspace as a couple, and don’t blame each other for things that are out of your control,” Elise advises other couples planning a wedding.
At the reception, floral chandeliers hung above wooden banquet tables and round tables wrapped in mauve linens. A combination of tall and low floral arrangements sat at the center of each table, accompanied by white votive candles in varying heights.
The couple had the tables set with green acrylic glassware, gold-rimmed chargers, gold flatware, and pink linen napkins with olive branches. The pops of gold and rose-y hues added color to the neutral aesthetic. “The overall reception décor was really meant to be elegant and romantic, but not a stereotypical ‘all-white’ wedding,” Elise states.
To match their escort card display, Elise and Luke had their bar coated in moss. They also incorporated their joint monogram for a special touch.
Fireworks went off while the lovebirds swung around the dance floor as a live band performed “Still Falling for You” by Ellie Goulding.
“The menu was very important to us and our family,” Elise declares. “Rather than eating to live, we live to eat. In other words, food and wine are always a very important part of the experience and the night.” The two curated a menu that reflected their heritage, the wedding venue, and the season. The first course was a potato and sage ravioletti pasta dish, followed by wood grilled filet or cauliflower steak, and an arugula salad with black walnuts, fennels, orange, fig, lemon, and olive oil.
Of course, wine was a must. Each table had red and white wines for guests to try. “Some people were swapping wines with other tables to get a taste of all the different wines offered,” Elise remembers.
The food didn’t stop there! The couple cut into a six-tier all-white cake decorated with 3D flowers and leaves. “The wedding cake design was inspired by the lace and flowers on my YSA Makino dress,” Elise expresses. As for the flavor? Alternating layers of chocolate-noir cake and coconut butter cake with ricotta cheesecake filling and caramel-mascarpone Chantilly cream melted in everyone’s mouths.
The couple saved a moment out on the dance floor for the traditional family dances. “Luke’s mom passed away,” Elise explains. “He asked his grandma to dance with him, and all four of his mom’s sisters stepped in to take turns dancing with him. That was a highlight moment.” Meanwhile, Elise and her father danced to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Frankie Valli, which was sung by The Jersey Boys.
We wanted it to be non-stop fun all night with continued surprises that kept our guests entertained, and it was just that.
Although the reception came to a close, the night was only starting! The duo hosted an after-party with a vintage baseball theme, a nod to the groom’s college baseball days. “We wanted it to be non-stop fun all night with continued surprises that kept our guests entertained, and it was just that,” the bride says. “We still have people telling us how fun it was.”
The couple served Chicago-inspired snacks, which included hotdogs, French fries, popcorn, and Italian beef subs, for guests to munch on late at night.
The main after-party room was filled with statues of baseball players, upbeat music, and endless dancing. To really drive the theme home, the couple threw on baseball shirts that showcased their last name and wedding date on the back. Elise kept it bridal by wearing a sparkly white mini dress from Retrofête underneath. Looking back on their night, the duo couldn’t have imagined a better celebration of their love. “Embrace every second and act with no regrets,” Elise says. “Aka, never leave the dance floor. It happens so fast!”