A Chicago couple brings their dream wedding to life on the North Shore.
Photographed by Zandbox Photo
THEIR RELATIONSHIP BEGAN in the carpool: Sharlin Usmani and Qonain Bawany shared rides to grade school in Chicago before eventually dating as adults. So, naturally, Qonain surprised Sharlin with a romantic proposal on their elementary school playground. “He invited my close friends and family, and had a very cute setup near the jungle gym,” Sharlin remembers. “I cried a lot.”
Three years later—after Qonain had finished medical school—250 guests gathered at Loft 21, a venue that took them nearly a year to find and one that captured their hearts with its ability to have a surprise room reveal through rising mechanical doors. Their decadent, dim setting was perfectly appointed with gorgeous white florals and greenery, elegant candles and a massive floral ring above the dance floor, where the bridal party later performed a choreographed dance at the reception.
The ceremony commenced as Sharlin’s cousin recited a Quranic verse about love and marriage. It was a family affair, indeed: The couple’s nieces trotted down the aisle as flower girls in matching Pakistani attire (escorted by their dads), and Sharlin’s two young cousins presented the rings in matching three-piece suits and boutonnieres. “I loved seeing Sharlin smile throughout the night and walk down the aisle as my bride,” Qonain says. And Sharlin’s favorite moment? “Hearing Qonain recite his vows—and seeing him living up to them—is at the top of my list.”
Chandeliers seemed to float in midair against black draping. Photographed by Zandbox Photo
Decadent centerpieces featured a striking mix of white hydrangeas and roses complemented by delicate greenery.
The bride wore Jimmy Choos.
The couple took portraits downtown.
The black fondant cake was decorated with gold flakes and lush roses and embellished with gilded greenery.