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High School Sweethearts: An Event Spotlight on The Jones-McFarland Wedding Celebration

For high school sweethearts TJ McFarland and Jenna Jones, their dream wedding celebration was 8+ years in the making. That’s how long they were together before TJ proposed at their favorite Italian restaurant. The night of the proposal, Jenna could tell he was nervous. But TJ had planned it all out perfectly. By now, he’d gotten pretty good at planning for things.

This was in large part due to his career. TJ’s work in the minor leagues had made distance a factor in their relationship, and it continued to factor into their wedding planning process. As Jenna put it, “Challenges planning the wedding really just came down to TJ [traveling and] not being able to be in Chicago for some of the decisions. Luckily, our family is so supportive and jumped in when TJ was unable. We were both stressed out at times over the budget or guest list, but [in the end] it was all so worth it.”

Such is a love like theirs—able to overcome any challenge, from nerves to long distance.

Inside Galleria Marchetti Wedding Decor Chicago

The team at Galleria Marchetti was determined to give this couple a wedding celebration that would serve as a true testament to the depth of their love. We crafted a delicious menu with food and drinks to resonate with their entire new and extended family. There was elegance in lighting and décor. There was dancing well into the night. There were memories being made that have spanned (and will continue to span) generations.

Here are some highlights from this incredible November celebration of love and family.

The Event Spaces

With a little more than 250 guests, the McFarland-Jones wedding celebration was the size and scope that tests and reveals the character of the Galleria Marchetti event space. It was also the kind of logistical challenge that our team embraces.

Plated Dinner Table

The cocktail hour began at 6PM in Il Cortile dell’Est, our charming and expansive East Courtyard. It was the perfect open and inviting space to welcome reception guests. At 7PM, guests proceeded into Il Padiglione (The Pavilion) for an elegant plated dinner under the roof and sheltered from the brisk chill of the November Chicago nighttime air. Together, the spaces were more than readily accommodating for guests in terms of number and level of comfort. It was a quality display of the versatility and utility of Galleria Marchetti’s event spaces.

The Menu

The cocktail hour featured several of Galleria Marchetti’s most delicious Italian passed hors d’oeuvres. This included tomato and goat cheese bruschetta, savory parmesan-crusted meatballs, and freshly prepared caprese salad-topped beef sliders.

Upon moving into The Pavilion, guests were indulged with an unbelievable plated dinner. Starting with a fresh Italian mixed field greens salad, they then had their choice of tender medallions of beef with rosemary red wine reduction or baked chicken roulades with sherry wine sauce. Contorni (sides) included russet red potatoes and sautéed green beans topped with shredded carrots—a healthy and colorful combination. The children on-site (ages 3–11) were treated to delicious chicken tenders and fries. Finally, the star of Jenna and TJ’s dessert menu was their gorgeous three-layer wedding cake from Bittersweet.

Cutting the Three Layer Wedding Cake

During dinner, Galleria Marchetti provided an unlimited table wine service with elegant and appropriate Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc selections. Guests’ spirits were already joyful and high, and Jenna and TJ’s reception included a four-hour premium open bar with Johnnie Walker Black Label at special request to contribute to a fun and celebratory atmosphere.

At 10:45, guests were treated to late-night bites from the burger bar and topping station, which also included sweet potato fries. Mini milkshake shooters and cakes also helped to satisfy guests’ late-night need for something sweet.

The Atmosphere & Décor

The effort and dedication that went into establishing the visual quality and class of Jenna and TJ’s reception filled our team with great love and pride.

Couples First Dance

Ivory and taupe classic hues were prominent throughout the space, from table linens to napkins. Aided by the flowered centerpieces and soft candlelight, it gave the entire Galleria Marchetti setting an aura of love, tranquility and purity. Our beautiful chandeliers lit the dining space and dance floor with elegance and class. It made the couple’s first dance under The Pavilion a memorable and moving experience for everyone in attendance and provided a stunningly picturesque background for sharing a kiss of true love.

One particularly unique visual element of Jenna and TJ’s celebration really stood out and helped to make it their own. Together, they arranged a number of wedding portraits from family members’ celebrations throughout the years. It made for a momentary yet transcendent visual journey through their family history and spoke to the timeless nature of their love.

What an incredible privilege it was to be part of TJ and Jenna’s celebration. Theirs was the kind of wedding event—characterized by love, passion and family togetherness—that our team cherishes and looks forward to hosting at every opportunity. So long as we have that opportunity, we hope to bring it to you and the rest of our community.

If you’re looking to create a loving and memorable Chicago wedding celebration in the heart of the city, contact us online or give us a call at 312.563.0495.

Vendors at the Jones-McFarland wedding included:

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