I’m generally a very productive person. I thrive on to-do lists and projects, but when I come across a wedding like this one captured by Lauren Wakefield, all bets are off. I drop everything I am doing to sit and stare at the pretty, fully blaming it on the fact that doing so is indeed my job. Because this is a wedding filled with the perfect amount of pretty and the perfect amount of heart, and you can see precisely what I am talking about right here in the full gallery of images.
From the Bride… It really is a funny thing planning a wedding. As girls we always think and dream about how that day will be, what dress we will wear and what our future husband-to-be will look like. It is just something innate in us. When I met Jeremiah, my now husband, things just were different. We didn’t see each from across the room and know, we met while working in Chicago at a logistics firm and grew a close friendship talking over emails about our dreams of our futures, travel and our families. After 6 months we finally took the plunge and went on our first date and the rest is history. Being with him felt familiar and safe and warm and like a piece of me that was always missing was found. He was caring and compassionate and didn’t have a selfish bone in his body; he was so different from anyone I had ever met. When we started planning our wedding we knew we wanted it to replicate how we felt when we were together-carefree, warm and inviting.
Jeremiah and I were those nerds that started planning our wedding about three months after we got engaged. We just knew it was going to happen and I have always been an organized and chaotic nut. He was amazingly hands-on throughout the entire process from creating spreadsheets for our vendors to helping me pick out each and every decor item and dessert. It was such a blessing to have someone who was the perfect teammate!
The first and best choice we made was choosing Lauren Wakefield to be our photographer. When we met it was over a glass of sangria at a little pub in Chicago where we talked for hours like old friends. She shot our fantastic engagement photos first and made both of us feel way less awkward than we anticipated so by the time she shot our wedding it was a breeze! She has a talent that is rare to be seen, knowing how to capture the softest moments and make them feel real again when you see them in a photo. She is a true treasure and just a beautiful person inside out. I can tell you now she will be the one documenting every other important part of my life! (Sorry for your luck Lauren)
We knew we wanted a rustic outdoor setting and we loved the idea of having our guests be able to interact with the venue. We found Oak Hill after hours and hours of googling and as soon as we walked onto the property we knew it was where we would get married. The owner, Becky, was absolutely amazing and took the time to sit down with us, take a tour and detail out the best ways to handle everything. Her family had originally spent summers on the land and after several years of collecting antiques (including an amazing 1960s church that was actually moved by flatbed to their land in honor of her father) they have turned it into a one-of-a-kind wedding venue. She was an absolute Godsend throughout the process, we had to have exchanged over 200 emails in the course of a year and she made it all so much easier on us.
She gave us several referrals to local catering services, florists and bakeries which we chose with ease. Our baker, Mary did a phenomenal job on our beautiful dessert table from her homemade pies to the decadent carrot cake. They were all gone by the time I made my way over there so she must have done something right! Our florist, Jean and I also became fast friends exchanging tons of emails and calls so she could perfect our centerpieces and bouquets. She outdid herself. Not only were they breathtaking but just exactly what I was looking for.
We also found an incredibly talented band in Chicago-One, Unity Candle. They were easy to work with, so friendly and even helped us out with our ceremony music by letting one of their singers sing my favorite song ‘I Have and Always Will’ by Dave Barnes as I walked down the aisle. They got everyone on the dance floor during the reception and even let Jeremiah and the band he used to play with a few years back get on stage with their instruments! It was the best moment of the entire wedding seeing my husband sing on stage at his own wedding and we had several people tell us in the coming weeks that it was the best wedding band they had yet to see.
I was also blessed with an amazing family to say the least. My mother, sister, aunt and cousin all had big hands in creating the elegant country wedding we both so dearly wanted. They helped me spend hours upon hours creating honey jar favors, signs for the dessert table, programs and several other paper crafts. A lot of time was spent at JoAnn Fabrics, Michaels and collecting different cake plates from all over. My aunt made the sweet little gingham bow ties for the groomsmen, the flower girl baskets and several other wonderful items that were scattered all over the venue. My bridal party who are my heart and soul also did their part from helping me shop for dresses to writing out the several chalk boards I found at local flea markets to fluffing up dozens of pom-poms to hang from the ceiling of the tent.
The process of course could be stressful at times but one thing I can’t repeat enough to brides is to let each step of the way be fun, don’t get too down on yourself for forgetting something at home or getting a slightly different colored item than you thought. Also make it your own! We chose a venue that let us choose every vendor and do everything ourselves. Our wedding day went by in a blur just like everyone says it does, we even forgot to cut the cake! But it was completely magical. You don’t realize how much people truly love you and support you until they trek three and a half hours to come for your special day! Remember the most important thing is that you are marrying this person who is going to be your everything and that you will always get through every stressful part that comes up because you are in it together.
Photography: Lauren Wakefield | Floral Design: Garden Party Florist | Wedding Dress: Pronovias | Bakery: Sweetheart Bakery of Galena | Catering: Cindy's Catering | Band: We, Unity Candle | Wedding Venue: Oak Hill Weddings | Hair + Makeup: Blend Beauty Studio