Chicago: Two Churches, a Wedding, a Library, and Some Amazing Views

We’re just back from four days in Chicago, where we attended the wedding of the daughter of some dears friends of ours.

We’re in that stage of life where our friends’ kids and our kids’ friends are getting married. We have ten (!) weddings this year and they all fall into one of those two categories.

This wedding was the first of the ten and it was lovely. So lovely. Some of my favorite things about it included the music (string quartet plus piano and trumpet), the priest singing the Irish blessing at the end (the priest had such a great voice that we were all craning our necks and nudging each to make sure that was really the priest singing), and a first dance to Beyonce’s Love on Top (such a fun choice!).

This was also the happiest bride and groom you ever did see. Many of us noticed a sweet moment between them on the altar when they were admiring their new rings after they exchanged vows.

The wedding took place in Old St. Patrick’s Church in the Loop. I love this church and everything it stands for.

It also has a really interesting story behind it. One of the oldest churches in Chicago, it was down to just four registered parishioners in the early 80s when two priests took it over and revitalized it, turning it into a thriving parish and a destination of sorts in Chicago.

If that kind of thing interests you, you will probably find this PBS documentary on Old St. Pat’s worth watching. Tom and I had seen it before and made a point to visit Old St. Pat’s on our last visit to Chicago, so it was really fun to get to go to a wedding there.

The wedding was on Saturday, so we had a full day on Friday to mosey around Chicago. We stopped by P.O.S.H. , which I always make a point to go to when I’m in town.

It’s worth a trip just to look at their beautiful displays, but I did pick up a little something for my daughter’s Easter basket.

We then walked up Michigan Ave. to Ghirardelli, where we got hot chocolate and drank it on barstools by the front windows as we watched the world go by. This has also become something of a tradition for us. We always seem to be in Chicago when the weather calls for hot chocolate. Maybe on our next trip we’ll be able to get ice cream instead.

And then Tom peeled off to go watch basketball games with friends. He did this with my enthusiastic encouragement because I was looking forward to striking out on my own for a bit.

Not in the mood for Michigan Avenue shopping, I did a quick Google search on my phone for libraries to see what was nearby. That led me to the Newberry Library, which is a gorgeous building.

Newberry Library

I ducked in for a minute and checked out one of the exhibitions on the main floor. I was hoping to visit the library’s bookshop (I LOVE a good library or museum gift shop) but it was closed for lunch, so I ventured on.

My next stop was the Episcopal cathedral in Chicago, St. James Cathedral. There is something really magical about stepping off a busy city street, straight into a church in the middle of a weekday.

The organist happened to be practicing while I was there, so I was treated to a mostly private concert (there were just me and a few others in the church at the time).

And I took the opportunity to light a couple of candles for my kids. I loved how colorful these were.

Back out on the street, I ran across several large planters bursting with blooms.

These were definitely fake flowers, but I was still happy to see them because one thing I noticed was that Christmas greenery was still out all over downtown Chicago. It was pretty brown and dried out at this point and I wondered out loud and over and over (to Tom’s great enjoyment I’m sure) why it hadn’t been taken down yet. Do they leave Christmas greenery up until it’s warm enough to put in Spring flowers? Chicagoans…weigh in!

Finally, one really fun thing about this trip is that another couple who are great friends of ours and were also going to the wedding, stayed in an apartment that some other friends of theirs (are you following this?) rent in the city but weren’t going to be using that weekend.

We spent two evenings there and would you look at these views from their balcony?

It’s hard to tell from these photos, but they have views of both the Hancock Building and the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower.

It got our friends and us dreaming about renting an apartment in the city for a year and visiting together, alone, with our kids, girls weekends, boys weekends, in the summer, at Christmastime…the possibilities, as they say, are endless. And it goes without saying that I had already started mentally decorating that apartment. 🙂

Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy calls this crazy talk (her version of this conversation was living on a farm for a year) and it kept us busy the better part of an evening thinking how fun it would be.

A couple more of my favorite pics from this trip.

P.S. Eataly Chicago and Naperville, Pretty Houses, and Resale Shop Plates

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  1. Wow! Sounds like a great weekend. I have a confession: I am a Chicago girl but I’ve never been to POSH. It’s on my list. Isn’t the Newberry Library awesome? They offer some interesting classes/seminars that I’m hoping to take. And it’s a great event venue — I have been to two weddings there. I don’t know about anyone else, but I just took my Christmas pots apart a few weeks ago. Before that everything was just frozen in place! Finally, I think your plan for an apartment sounds like a winner!

    1. Janet, you MUST go to POSH the next time you’re downtown. I insist! I think you will love it. I think a wedding in a library would be so amazing. And it did occur to me that the super hard winter might be the reasons for the Christmas decorations still being out. And if we ever spring for that apartment you’ll be first on the guest list!

  2. A beautiful post. Thank you.

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