Here in the midwest the chilly winter weather seems to just be getting started, but at the flower market the blooms of spring are starting to pop up. This includes one of my (and most peoples) all time favorite flower, the peony. I simply can’t get enough of them, and apparently neither can brides, it’s definitely our most requested wedding flower. Obviously I couldn’t resist sharing this gorgeous pink and white spring bouquet made up of pink and white peonies, and beautiful pink roses. A perfect clutch for a spring bride! Lovely pics by The McCartneys Photography, and flowers by Horants.
I should’ve known before I even looked at the vendor list, that the bouquet in this inspiration shoot was created by the ever talented Jackie of Munster Rose (see her Featured Vendor post here). Jackie is super duper sweet, and her work is, well by floral standards, to die for! It also doesn’t help that that model is adorable. I absolutely love, love, love the “brides” necklace, so I had to include a gratuitous shot of it, even thought it’s not flower related. Thanks to Dette Snaps for the lovely images!
When I started looking through the photos of Lisa and Brendan’s day, I have to say I felt a bit overwhelmed. There were so many amazing details, beautiful colors, and every moment was captured perfectly by the talented Heather Cook Elliott. I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going to be able to make cuts, so we definitely have more images to look at in this post than usual. I also thought it was adorable that Brendan wrote the narrative for their day. It’s not often that groom’s get into the act of participating in the blog posts, but I have to say I love what he wrote. It really brings their day to life! A big thank you to Brendan and Lisa for sharing the details of the day, and to Heather Cook Elliott Photography for the lovely images.
Who, What, Where ~ Ceremony/Reception: Boerner Botanical Garden. Photography: Heather Cook Elliott Photography. Flowers: Floral Impressions by Esther. Vidography: Blu Couture. Photobooth: Dustin White. Bride and Bridesmaids Attire: Lela Rose. Groom/Groomsmen Attire: Jim’s Formal Wear.
Even more loveliness…
From the groom, Brendan…
Our love story began in a rowdy northern Wisconsin honky tonk while throwing darts and downing beers. Don’t all the epic ones start in such a way? Lisa and I met through mutual friends and we were lucky enough to develop a friendship prior to falling in love. Even before we started dating, I knew Lisa possessed a heart so remarkably pure that, no matter the circumstance, she would do anything in her power to make life better for those around her. Lisa, meanwhile, knew there was more to me than just my dashing good looks and rugged masculinity. For instance, I think she was really impressed with my extensive knowledge about the Milwaukee Brewers.
Seriously, looking back, I can’t envision our path to happiness unwinding any other way. Our friendship – and the ability to laugh with one another – sparked a remarkable, unimaginable love. Lisa and I were engaged atop Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica. It was a memorable proposal involving horses, a pair of affable Jamaican tour guides, a waterfall, some soaked cargo shorts and a comically undersized ring – but that’s a story best told in a Jamaican accent over a round of Red Stripe.
As unforgettable as the proposal was, it pales in comparison to our wedding day. Like anything Lisa does, she poured her heart and soul into making sure our special day would be remarkable. As the planning progressed, and her “wedding binder” grew into a living, breathing thing that weighed as much as a small hatchback, I knew every detail would be perfect. And indeed it was.
These are some of the words Lisa uses to describe our Anthropology-inspired wedding: eclectic, modern and country chic. I simply call it “magazineish” because every image captured by our insanely talented photographer, Heather Cook Elliot, looks like it could be in a catalog for wedding awesomeness. With help from our moms, we made the candy table bags, labels, name cards and ceremony programs by hand. Not only was it fun to make the items together, it also made me feel good that my wife-to-be trusted me with things like a glue stick, scissors and paper punch.
Our table numbers were also one-of-a-kind creations as they featured our beloved Australian Shepherds Montana and Finnegan. The dogs patiently posed for pictures taken in a tiny touristy town by our close friend Jeff Lazewski (owner of Gravidee Photography) during a vacation to the lake last summer. We were also fortunate to have Montana and Finn brought to the beautiful Boerner Botanical Gardens in Milwaukee, WI, following our ceremony so they could share in our joy and experience all the charm a 90-degree wedding day in Wisconsin has to offer!
Lisa and I both have quite a bit of Irish coursing through our blood (we honeymooned in Ireland) so we were proud to incorporate a good deal of Celtic tradition into our ceremony. Our Reverend Jennifer Miller was a kind and clever woman that worked hard to get to know us as people while providing us with a ceremony that matched our personalities.
For me, the most brilliant part of the wedding day was the moment I took Lisa’s hands in mine and, standing before family, friends and God, professed my devotion to the woman I love. Following our vows, as Mother Nature continued to turn up the thermostat while withholding even the slightest semblance of a breeze, Lisa noticed the sweat dripping down my forehead and kindly handed me her something old – a white lace hankie once owned by her great grandmother – so I could wipe my forehead. It was a simple and genuine act of kindness from my new wife, the most selfless person I’ve ever known.
Halley and Josh’s wedding can’t be summed up with just one word. They have so many classic elements, but at the same time added a lot of quirky, hand made items, and mixed it up with some special family traditions as well. I love the bright pops of coral throughout the event, their wedding invites which tell the story of their relationship (such a personal touch), and I’m of course a sucker for any event that includes pets, especially a giant Great Dane. A big thank you to Halley for sharing all the details from the day, and to Heather Parker for submitting her lovely images.
Who, What, Where ~ Ceremony/Reception: Gallery 1028. Photography: Heather Parker Photography. Event Design: Alice’s Garden. Flowers: Blue Hydrangea Floral Design, and Dilly Lilly. Caterer: Calihan Catering. Cake: Sweet Mandy B’s. Dress: Ivy and Aster. Bridesmaids Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids. Men’s Attire: Calvin Klein. Etsy purchases: Garden4Arts cake topper, The Paper Stache, Maupromos stickers for candy buffet, Under Her Charm cufflinks.
More loveliness and details…
Josh and I are high school sweethearts. We met the summer before my freshman year of high school. After high school, we both went to Indiana University. We traveled Europe together, and got a dog … then moved back to Chicago after graduation. We’ve been here since and we absolutely love it!
We knew we wanted a Chicago wedding. Gallery 1028 was a perfect choice. A historic piece of Chicago real estate = a unique venue for a wedding.
I cannot even tell you how long it took us to choose a color scheme for our wedding. I think I changed my mind 70 times. In the end, it took a trip to a flower market in the west loop with our florist (josh’s uncle!). We put together the centerpieces and bouquets right then and there. We stuck with all natural, but exquisite floral colors … bright coral reds and variations of peachy pinks.
My mom and josh’s mom made the desserts at the wedding (besides the cake). My mom made pizzeles (traditional italian cookies) and josh’s mom made arugala (traditional Jewish cookies). My mom also made a special Lithuanian alcohol that has been in her family for years for a special toast josh and I made.
We also did the hora and josh broke the glass at the ceremony. Both of these Jewish traditions were very important to him and his family. For my favorite moments of the day the first would have to be the reveal when josh and I had a quite moment together to say, hi, I love you, you look great. Second would be after the ceremony where we had some more time to talk just the two of us. We spent this time reminding each other how excited we are, and how much we love each other.
I had a lot of trouble narrowing down the images, and editing the story for today’s post. Sara and Zac’s love story is so sweet, and they also put so much time, and creative effort into their day that it was almost impossible to pick and choose what to share. If you are planning to DIY any part of your day, especially the flowers, read about Sara’s experience (at the end of the post). It also doesn’t hurt that they’re a totally adorable couple, that definitely suite each other to a T. My favorite details: the shoes of both the bride and groom, the DIY bridal bouquet, and Sara’s lovely hand made accessories. A big thank you to her for sharing the story of their day, and to Dayna Pollard Photography for the lovely images.
Who, What, Where ~ Ceremony & Reception: Chandler Hill Vineyards. Photographer: Dayna Pollard Photography. Flowers: Harold’s Wholesale Florist, assembled by the bride, her friends, and family. Invitations: Sam Wiley design. Dress: 2be Bride, Clarices. Shoes: Seychelles. Hair: Lauren Zenke, Main Street Salon St. Charles. Cake: Federhofer’s Bakery. Bride’s jewelry & bridesmaid necklaces: Sarah Timmons of Pink Street on Etsy. Cake toppers: Knotting Wood on Etsy. Officiant: Rev. Rex Barbeau.
More loveliness and details…
My husband and I met on Thanksgiving 2006. I was living in California at the time, and was back home in St. Louis for the holiday. My girlfriends and I were going out that night, and one of my friends brothers were going as well. Zac was one of these brothers, and we started talking that night. He came to California a few days later for a convention and we spent lots of time together. I realized that I was really sad that he was leaving when his trip was coming to an end, but was excited because I was going home for Christmas for 10 days in just a few weeks. We talked for many hours on the phone over those couple of weeks, and we spent every day that I was home for Christmas together. Zac eventually moved to California, and eventually we decided it was time to move back to our hometown.
In December of 2009 it took me 3 days to drive back to St. Louis. I had to drive through a blizzard, as well as stop to put air in my tire in freezing cold temperatures the entire way. There were a couple of times during that trip when I questioned if I was making the right decision. Why was I leaving sunny, warm, southern California again? Had I lost my mind? Well, when I arrived at our new home, the answer to those questions was spelled out for me. Zac had decorated the whole house (roof & all!) in Christmas lights. Out in the front, on a huge 8 ft sign, written in lights were the words “Will you Marry Me”. Right then, I knew that I had made the right decision.
When we first started planning our wedding, we knew that we didn’t want a traditional, cookie-cutter, St. Louis wedding. We wanted to get married somewhere outdoors with a rustic & romantic feel. When we saw Chandler Hill Vineyard we both knew immediately that it was the perfect venue. We wanted the overall feel of our wedding to be laid-back and personal, and the best way to do this was to have a hand-made touch on almost everything! After many months of scouring the internet and wedding blogs, and thanks to many creative and talented friends, I was able to create my “vision”.
There were so many aspects of our wedding that were DIY. It started with my save-the-dates and invitations that my bridesmaid Samantha, graphic designer of samwileydesign.com, created. My fiance and I spent about a week of evenings tying twine with opaque leaves around the invitations to give them the rustic feel we were going for. My mom and I cut many, many yards of burlap and lace for the table runners and the aisle runner. We mounted our engagement pictures on cardstock to hang on the mantle of the fireplace. We designed and printed the programs, table numbers, and escort cards.
I had gone to a couple of florists, and was just not loving what they were suggesting, for the price they were asking. After seeing many weddings online where brides had done their own flowers, I began to do some research on how I could do my own. I felt like it would be a great way to save money, and would make the wedding that much more special. I was able to find a local wholesale florist that allows you to order flowers, rent a table space to work on, store the flowers in their cooler for a night after you’ve assembled them, and then they deliver the flowers, all for a fraction of the cost that the florist was going to charge! The afternoon before the wedding, my mom, sister, a bridesmaid, and myself had 4 hours to create every flower arrangement. It was very stressful, but completely worth it!
It was important to me to have something to remember my grandfathers and remind me that they were there with me in spirit on my wedding. I was able to size down pictures of each of them and made small bouquet charms that hung off of my bouquet. I also had my great grandmother’s wedding band tied onto my bouquet. The braclet that I wore was my grandmother’s. My grandfather had given it to her on their 50th wedding anniversay when they renewed their vows in Jerusalem. Every bride in my family has worn it since.
My favorite part of the day was when my husband and I had our “first look”. I had been stressed & rushing around all day and was concerned with how everything was going to get finished with the winery being open up until 1 hour before the wedding. I could hear all the noise of the winery off in the distance, but when we saw each other, it’s as if everything stopped. I was overwhelmed with emotions! It was so quiet and seeing him relaxed me and made me realize that all the hoopla of the details of the wedding were just that, details. All we really needed for the wedding was each other.