Ya gotta love a backyard wedding, especially if your backyard looks like this gorgeous, tree-filled North Shore Chicago yard. This gorgeous DIY wedding was truly a labor of love and although it was mainly homespun, it has an elegant quality that is clear to see in the amazing images from photographers Dawn E. Roscoe and Torie McMillan. We’re loving each and every detail from the handmade and hand painted ceremony chuppa to the delicious looking signature cocktails complete with herbs from their very own garden. No doubt this wedding was just as special and meaningful as it is beautiful. Click here for even more.
From the Bride…Drew and I met after college while living in New York through a mutual friend. Oddly, we had both attended college together at Northwestern, and actually lived in the same dorm for a year, but didn’t cross paths. Luckily, fate kept trying. We moved back to Chicago after two years in New York – me for law school and Drew for business school – both at our alma mater, Northwestern! After dating for four years, Drew proposed on the shore of Lake Michigan, with the gorgeous ring that his grandfather gave to his grandmother for their 50th wedding anniversary. Since then, we graduated in June, got hitched in September, and will be starting our new careers in downtown Chicago in October. Drew and I knew that we wanted to have a very personal and homey wedding. And what better place to accomplish that than in the exquisite garden of my parents’ home on the North Shore of Chicago – the same house where I grew up and where my older sister, Christie, got married two years prior.
Our garden, our home, and our family history were really the entire inspiration for the event. We tried to exude a sense of warmth and “backyard elegance,” and pretty much everything was home-spun. We incorporated contributions from friends and family, showcased personal relationships, and added homemade details as much as possible. My mom, aunt, and cousin made all the desserts for our dessert table from scratch. Drew’s cousin hand-painted and hand-sewed our ceremony huppah, and the huppah posts were borrowed from a neighbor. I handmade the invitations, programs, and other paper cards along with help from various family members and friends. Our signature cocktails were made with fresh herbs from our garden and each came with a bamboo stir stick with a fun little flag that I made with a variety of paper that I found over the course of the year. I made the lavender-infused lemonade (a refreshment we provided before the ceremony) with lavender from our garden. My dress, veil, and shoes were my sister’s, which she wore at her wedding two years prior. (In fact, the only “something new” I had were my Spanxx!)
We collected jars and bottles for the flower vases, and I bought and tied about 200 ribbons for them. I handmade all of the chalkboards that we used for wedding signage out of chalkboard spray paint and wood panels. Our friend, Tim, played our ceremony music on his guitar. Drew’s father, brother, and family friends sang Here, There, and Everywhere by The Beatles during our ceremony – the same song that was sung at Drew’s parents’ wedding. The judge who presided over our ceremony was the judge with whom I formerly clerked during law school. We got married on the lawn, with a lush ravine as our backdrop. Cocktail hour took place throughout my dad’s beautiful garden – on the patios, decks, and little garden “nooks” on the ravine’s edge – with the doors to the house wide open to allow people to access wherever they might like to explore. The reception was under a clear-span tent we had set up on the other side of the house.
For our “First Look” Drew was standing in a beautiful and quiet part of the garden waiting for me. When I came, he turned around, and we both immediately had tears in our eyes. I cry all the time, so this was no surprise for me, but I have never seen Drew cry in the five years I’ve known him. We just stood there holding each other and sobbing and whispering how happy we were to be getting married to each other. It was such gift to share such a tender, happy, and relieving moment with the one you love amidst such a hectic day.
Venue: Private Residence / Wedding Photography: Dawn E. Roscoe / Second Photographer: Torie McMillan / Wedding Planner: A Perfect Event, Debi Lily / Floral Design: Asrai Garden / Wedding Dress: Oscar de la Renta / Bridesmaid Dresses: Simple Silhouettes / Make-up: Adriana Aude / Hair: Kim Schmidt with Beauty on Call / Band: Entourage / Jewelry: David Yurman (gift from Bride’s father and groom) / Invitations: Handmade by the Bride