Kevin and Sarah – A North Shore Wedding Celebration

Just north of the Chicago city limits, along the scenic Lake Michigan shoreline, lies Chicago’s North Shore. Though the collection of communities is swathed by distinctly midwestern flora and fauna, it was home to an unforgettable Cuban-inspired wedding celebration this past July. Kevin and Sarah wanted their big day to “feel like a fun summer party” with subtle Cuban influences, as an homage to the bride’s family heritage. Here’s how we helped them pull it off.

The Location

While the ceremony took place at a local church, the couple opted to host the reception at Sarah’s family home.

"Our house has always been a gathering spot for friends and family, so it just seemed natural that we would have our happiest celebration there! It’s a special place for Kevin too."

As guests exited the shuttle in the driveway, our EC staff greeted them with specialty cocktails and mini tacos. The first option, a mojito, is a rum-based, mint-flavored Cuban classic we garnished with a raw sugar cane stick. The second cocktail, a paloma, is a fresh and fruity tequila-grapefruit concoction finished with a half-salted rim. Our bartenders muddled and garnished drinks onsite at the popup bar, and we served the glasses on light wood boards decorated with tropical Monstera leaves. For mini taco pairings, we offered guests a choice of beef, shrimp or veggies, and topped each with avocado, diced tomatoes and fresh lime—perfect pairings.

In the backyard, florist Cornelia McNamara made the existing rose garden larger than life. Bright white flowers paired with the lush green ivy created a stunning backdrop for guests to imbibe in wine and champagne. In the tent, Cornelia also lined the dinner tables with white bulbs and textured tropical foliage—simple in style, opulent in abundance.

The Food and Drink

One of the standout elements was the display of jumbo gulf shrimp in the rose garden. The bright pink of the fish, the sheen of the ornate silver bowl, and the fresh yellow lemon wedges added bright, summery hues to the understated color scheme.

Amidst the caribbean-inspired elote-style corn fritters, our server-passed appetizer list also included classics such as light grilled cheese triangles and East Coast lobster rolls. The pre-dinner salad duet was oh-so summery too. Guests enjoyed both balsamic-tomato and burrata salads, as well as summer salads with roasted corn and parmesan croutons.

We then plated our main entree—a French-style, bone-in chicken breast dressed with lemon, parsley, thyme and olive oil served alongside potato dauphinoise (much of modern Cuban cuisine has been influenced by French and Spanish colonialism). Our vegetarian option consisted of colorful bell peppers stuffed with quinoa and served on a bed of cauliflower puree. For an extra-special touch, we poured Cuban Coffee (cafecito) during tableside coffee service. Cafecito contains a strong espresso base, topped with a sugar foam finished with another splash of coffee.

Ending the Night in Style

For those hard-dancing guests working up an appetite, the newlyweds brought in the 5411 Empanadas food truck (another Cuban classic!) and sweets from Mandy B’s for late night bites. Before hopping on the shuttle back to the city, guests got one last tropical touch with a FIJI water for the road.

We were so pleased to be part of Kevin and Sara’s unique celebration! Congrats to the happy couple!


Catering: Entertaining Company

Planner: Toni Lenzi

Florals: Cornelia McNamara

Bar Design: Northern Decor