Rob and Rachel are fairly active in Chicago’s underground garage/punk scene, so it made perfect sense that they’d hold their wedding at the Volcano Room, located above the Bottom Lounge music venue and diner. Not only did the Volcano Room have a stage, a disco ball, a bar, and a smoking patio overlooking the city, it was outfitted with a half-dozen pinball machines set to free play. Serious fun for a fun-loving pair who owns a Tommy machine (the one that obscures its flippers so players can’t see what they’re doing, just like the Who’s Tommy)!
As it turned out, Rob and Rachel’s wedding coincided with a sold-out New Found Glory show at the Bottom Lounge. A long line of pop-punk fans looked on as we bustled around the tour bus and under the L tracks for portraits of our happy couple. (Even though it was December, the weather was surprisingly warmer than it was in the San Francisco Bay Area!) Rachel dazzled in her early ’70s glam ensemble: suede turquoise heels, fishnet stockings, and a sparkly vintage melon cocktail dress. Rob wore a smart suit accented with a 1950s tie and a boutonniere Rachel had crafted using feathers from their yard hens.
We fooled around in the downstairs photobooth before heading upstairs. Rob and Rachel took a breather (i.e., pre-wedding pinball game), knowing full well that they’d have no chance once the guests started arriving. Both are artists (Rob’s also a photographer), and we loved that they peppered their special day with their DIY know-how, such as the figurine animal-head card box and several small sculptures. They arranged their personal knickknacks into charming centerpieces and provided a big chest filled with slippers in anticipation of the hardcore dancing that would surely ensue. They also created a montage of Busby Berkeley footage, trippy animated shorts, and Gumby and Sesame Street clips to project on the wall throughout the evening, while Rachel’s music-obsessed cohorts at Toast & Jam supplied the eclectic soundtrack.
And then the night zipped by—good thing we took plenty of pictures! Rob and Rachel fidgeted in the spotlight onstage as Rachel’s sister conducted the touching, humor-filled ceremony. After dinner, everyone’s eyes lit up when four kinds of Hoosier Mama Pie Company specialties were rolled out. Rob and Rachel managed to cut themselves a hefty wedge of decadent Fat Elvis (peanut butter, chocolate, and bananas with a graham cracker/peanut/pretzel crust) and enjoy a mouthful before their guests eagerly swooped in.
After the pie cutting, masked madman Nobunny kicked off the first dance party of the night with zany renditions of classics from the 1950s and ’60s. Rob and Rachel continued with their first dance and then twirled their parents around before everyone joined them on the dancefloor. At one point, at least two of the bands (Seahaven? New Found Glory?) playing at the Bottom Lounge crashed the festivities but no one seemed to mind.
Toward the end of the evening, hot Bavarian pretzels appeared as if by elf magic, delighting everyone who needed to refuel after shimmying the night away. First pinball, then pie, and now pretzels—a perfect twist to top off a truly terrific day.