University of Illinois Wedding from Mark Romine Photography
September 11, 2012
Classic Weddings
There's something so fresh and simple about this wedding that I totally love. Perhaps it comes from the bride's love of nature and trees in particular that inspired her to have a clean and unfussy day. Whatever the reason, we are head over heels with each and every detail! Mark Romine Photography captured everything to perfection: from the gorgeous outdoor ceremony to the very last dance. See it all right here!

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From the Bride... The day before my wedding, as my dad and I were pulling into their driveway, he said "You grew up in the trees, you bought a house in the trees, and now you're getting married in the trees. I'm starting to see a pattern." He was right — I love the simple beauty of trees. (And as a redhead, I’ve always been fond of the shade they produce!) When we began planning our wedding, both Jon and I quickly agreed that the wedding should be outside, but the reception should be inside because of the temperamental weather in Illinois. It’s much easier to move a ceremony indoors at the last minute because to inclement weather than a reception.  So, with much of the day relegated to the indoors, I resolved to bring as much of the outdoors in.  I wanted to be sure to use elements of trees and wood in an elegant and clean, rather than rustic way, so I decided that the rest of the décor would be white, ivory or taupe. And from there, the concept grew.

I knew I wanted the ceremony to be amongst the trees, and the University of Illinois Arboretum provided the perfect location: the Oak Grove. The Oak Grove had a large shaded lawn for the ceremony, and a perfect cluster of trees to use as our backdrop. Not wanting to take away from the natural beauty of the trees, I added to the backdrop a line of hemp twine with ivory and white ribbons and strands of hemp with paper (i.e. cupcake wrappers) and tulle circles. There was a nice breeze the day of the wedding, so the strands danced behind us. My cousin Adam, a self-taught banjo player, serenaded guests while they arrived and created his own arrangement of Pachelbel's "Canon in D" to play while we walked down the aisle. Rather than carry the wedding rings in on a pillow (or the best man's coat pocket), we tied the rings to a small silver tree, which is actually a jewelry stand, that one of the rings bearers carried down the aisle. Finally, as we were announced as married and exited the ceremony, the guests waved ribbon wands in ivory, white and taupe ribbon. For the reception, we were lucky enough to book the only Saturday available that summer at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. The lobby of the center is a sprawling space with gorgeous parquet floors that has a modern but elegant feel to it. It had plenty of space for our large wedding, but we also really liked Krannert because it has a generous outdoor patio, an exposed brick wall, a small stage by the bar that made a perfect dance area and ample free parking.

Wood was incorporated into each table one of three different centerpiece designs. The first was an 18" cross section of a walnut tree (with gorgeous bark) covered in a variety of different sized jars with candles in each. I spent months asking everyone I knew for their empty jars, and with the help of several babies, many pasta-sauce eaters, a friend's co-worker who had been collecting beautiful mason jars for years, and one friend who eats more Bon Maman jelly than you can imagine, I assembled a sufficient number and variety of jars. I tasked my dad with finding someone in our little hometown that could slice the walnut log from the woods surrounding my parents’ home. The next centerpiece was a floral arrangement in a birch bark-covered pot. In addition to the white hydrangeas and other greenery, the florist incorporated beautiful twigs into the designs. Finally, my favorite and most labor-intensive centerpiece was a mini tree with twinkle lights potted in a white glazed pot. We used branches from a variety of types of trees (again from my parents’ yard), including some gorgeous cherry tree branches. My dad came up with a time-saving method of setting them inside the pots that prevented us from spending hours cutting floral foam to exactly the right size - we filled each pot with expanding foam insulation (e.g. Great Stuff) first, and then once the foam dried, we positioned the branches down into the foam, and they were perfectly secure. After the twinkle branches went in, we covered the foam with pieces of moss and river rocks. The entire day was worry-free for me and my family because of the help of Miranda and Julie at After the Diamond.  As our wedding day coordinators, they managed the entire day and took care of any issues that came up. 

Wedding Photography: Mark Romine Photography / Ceremony: University of Illinois Arboretum in Urbana, Illinois / Reception: Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana, Illinois / Wedding Planning: After the Diamond / Floral Design: Boka Shoppe / Catering: Hendrick House / Wedding Cake: The Cake Artist's Studio / Wedding Invitations: Paper Source "Faux Bois" / Save-the-Dates: Allison Kizer Designs / Escort Cards: Modern Moments / Fans: DIY by the Bride's Mother / Signs: DIY by the Bride / Entertainment: Bugbee's DJ Plus / White Folding Chairs: Champaign Country Tent / Chiavari Chairs: Elite Chair Covers / Wedding Dress: J.Crew "Cecelia" / Bride's Hair Flowers: Maria Isabel Garrido, a Friend of the Bride / Bride's Necklace: From Her Mother / Bride's Rings: Jill of Sucree / Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew (Their Choice in Fawn) / Bridesmaids' Necklaces: DIY by the Bride / Men's Suits: Jos. A. Bank / Flower Girl's Attire: DIY by Her Mother