The Smashing Pumpkins frontman and his fashion designer wife said 'I do' in front of 100 of their closest friends and family members at their Lake Michigan home
When planning their 100-guest nuptials, the Smashing Pumpkins frontman, 56, and Mendel, knew that they wanted their ceremony to be intimate.
"Our home is a beautiful, private place," says Mendel, 31, who is the daughter of famed celebrity designer Gilles Mendel and Jenny Mui.
"It's like a secret garden. We have English rose gardens, organic vegetable gardens, and native wild grasses all around. So it's really just a magical place to have a wedding. It just felt really appropriate because we've been together for over a decade, so we just wanted to be at home and celebrate our family. It was very personal."
The couple's two children, son Augustus, 6, and Philomena, 3, walked Corgan down the aisle to a wedding processional played by Mike Garson, who was David Bowie's pianist. Then Mendel came down on the arm of her father Gilles.
"He did my dress," Mendel says of her father. "He's an incredible designer, and just launched a couture brand called House of Gilles. He made me two dresses — the wedding gown was pleated and very ethereal, very light. It used over 60 yards of lace from France from Solstiss, which is the finest lace mill in the world. It was a wonderful dreamy gown, very much in tune with nature and almost like an homage to a Greek Goddess. And the after party dress was a very different style — it was a crepe dress with lace appliqués all around it. It was much more modern and chic and really fun." The bride also wore jewelry from Cathy Waterman jewels. Corgan also wore House of Gilles.
During the ceremony, which was planned by Michelle Medina from NORA's Events and officiated by their good friend, Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering, Corgan and Mendel recited vows they'd written themselves. Afterward, guests enjoyed cocktails around the garden fountain overlooking Lake Michigan, while a harpist played.
The group was then led through wild prairie grasses to a seated dinner inside a tent. "It felt a bit like a 1930s intimate dinner," says Mendel, noting that she and Corgan prefer to live in the tradition of their 1930s home. "All of our plates, kitchen cups, forks are vintage from that time period," she says, laughing. "We like to live in our own old Hollywood fantasy."
The guests feasted on a dinner catered by RPM, which is one of the couple's favorite restaurants in Chicago. "The menu is very much plant focused, and everything in season," says Mendel who is vegetarian. "We had heirloom tomatoes, corn and beets — it was really about celebrating things that are local, and working with people that we had long-term relationships with, because I think that's most important."
For dessert, Chicago's popular restaurant Kasama provided a dessert table. "They're the new craze of Chicago right now since they were featured on The Bear," says Mendel. "I also had a beautiful, woman-owned bakery called Petal and Moon Pastry provide the wedding cake, which was incredible. She used Illinois-grown grains, and added foraged wildflowers all around it.
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After the dinner the guests danced late into the night, and Mendel even had a temporary casino brought in for the occasion. As for their famous guests, Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha was in attendance, but Mendel, who is one of seven siblings, says the rest of the guest list was low-key, and they kept the event small for a reason.
"It was really focused on family intimacy and the people closest to us," she says. "We do shows for a living, we are out in the public eye all the time. So it was like, we don't need to put on a show. This is just our moment. We didn't feel the need to invite all of our rockstar friends."
Mendel and Corgan first got engaged last September during Mendel's 30th birthday. On Instagram, she shared a sweet Instagram video of the couple and their two children blowing out the candles on her cake, and concluded her caption with news of the engagement.
"The day finished with a wedding proposal," she wrote. "Of course I said yes. ❤️"
Corgan and Mendel have been dating since 2012, and they also co-own Madame ZuZu's, a tea shop, vegan restaurant and performance space in Highland Park, Illinois. They day after the wedding, Corgan played a set at Siamese Dream.
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As for a honeymoon, Mendel says they might do something in the new year. "Billy's recording a new album, and I'll be in London for October so it's crazy times. But we've had a couple ideas of what to do. Billy's always wanted to go on a riverboat down the Nile!"
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