-By Renee Lee. Every wedding tells a story. Contact Renee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-651-6613 to share yours. Photos courtesy of Adam Novak Photography.
“We wanted our wedding to be special. To us, that didn’t mean having the largest wedding we could possibly have, but it meant having very special characteristics that were very us,” Joel Bruckman said.
As with many couples, Joel, an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County, and Barisa Meckler, who recently earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University, had high expectations for their wedding. Looking back, their big day far exceeded the expectations they set.
Joel, who was born and raised in Skokie until his family moved to Northbrook during his high school years, and Barisa, who grew up in Highland Park, met in 2007 while attending John Marshall Law School in Chicago. The couple dated long distance for a year and a half while Joel finished school and Barisa moved to Washington to work in President Barack Obama’s personnel office.
In planning, the couple felt guests would likely only remember a few things from a wedding — for them those were the band and food. The couple married July 20 at Spiaggia, an Italian fine-dining restaurant on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. Barisa and Joel attended several events there and knew nothing could rival the fare and location.
“That room in particular had an incredible view looking out onto that Oak Street and Michigan (Avenue) intersection,” Joel said. “You get the unobstructed view of the lake from their floor-to-ceiling windows.”
As for music, the couple had Dolce Strings, a classic orchestra, play at the ceremony. Barisa and Joel enjoy musicals so for the processional, the orchestra performed selections from “Phantom of the Opera” and Barisa walked down the aisle to “Somewhere” from “West Side Story.”
Joel had 10 groomsmen by his side, including his brother Ari, 14 years his junior, as his best man. Barisa had eight bridesmaids and two matrons of honor. The couple’s traditional Jewish wedding was complete with a chuppah and draping by Art of Imagination.
For the reception, the couple chose Final Say, an “incredible” band they often saw perform. A magical moment for the couple, who now live in the West Loop, occurred about 1 a.m., when the band ended the night with “We are Young” by Fun.
“Barisa and I were in the center of the dance floor,” Joel said. “Everyone was singing, and as Barisa and I spun in the middle of the dance floor, we were able to see all the people that meant the most to us.”
Photographer: Adam Novak Photography, Chicago
Venue: Spiaggia restaurant, Chicago
Event planner: Anthony Navarro, Liven It Up Events, Chicago
Floral arrangements and chuppah: Art of Imagination, Chicago
Music: Dolce Strings; and band Final Say, Chicago
Cake: Flour Cake and Pastry, Chicago
Dress: Justina McCaffrey, Bella Vie, Chicago