Elegant Tented Backyard Lake Forest Wedding
May 20, 2015
Midwest
Classic WeddingsBackyardTented
Personally, I think nothing is more romantic than intimate home spun "I Do's"... And when your home's grounds (well, in this case, the Groom's parents') looks like this? Swoon! Annie Parish Photography captured this stunning couple at their beautifully tented, all-white backyard bash in the gallery here, so take a peek and get inspired!
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From the beautiful Bride... Our wedding day, September 13th, turned out to be a beautiful sunny day, although a bit cooler than we had anticipated! No worries; guests wore shawls and light wraps and were quite comfortable on the front lawn of the groom's family home in Lake Forest, Il. After cocktails on the rear terraces overlooking the pool and grounds, dinner and dancing took place in warm tented venues on the back lawn. Our inspiration for the reception décor could be described a “twinkly, forest fairyland,” with slender ficus trees as centerpieces and beautiful ambient lighting, as well as gorgeous chandeliers.

The fact that it was the home that Bretton grew up in made everything so special and personal. Although our bridesmaids were limited to our sisters, there were 20 women – all of my best friends, plus moms – getting ready at the house that day, as well as about a dozen guys in separate quarters. It was fantastically fun and so memorable. Lots of champagne! Another special element was that our favorite band from Minnesota, who also played at my sister's wedding, made the trip to Chicago for us. They played without stopping until midnight, and then we all moved into the “Apres” tent for the after-party with a DJ and pizza from Bretton's favorite place. The last trolley rolled out at 3 am!

A dear family friend of the Pope's presided over the ceremony, and my sister Tate —one of the bridesmaids—performed the vows, officially marrying us. Another fun feature of the ceremony was the men's a cappella group from DePaul University making a surprise appearance, filing out of the house to sing Ben E. King's “Stand By Me.” Bretton and I each read a poetry selection that we had chosen for each other; and through a blizzard of confetti we recessed to full volume Stevie Wonder singing “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”

Though the entire day was filled with memorable moments, our favorite part was walking out of the after-party tent, hand-in-hand, after the last guest had boarded the last trolley. I was carrying my shoes and Bretton had taken off his bowtie and jacket; we were both amazed that we were the last guests at the party! We took a moment to look back at the tents and talk about the day and night, and how we felt so lucky to have had the wedding day we did.

We met at Lehigh University on Halloween night, 2005. I was a freshman and Bretton was a sophomore, and we met on the steps of Sigma Chi where his fraternity Chi Phi was co-hosting a Halloween party. Bretton broke the ice by asking, “I think I was supposed to meet you!” Although it sounds like any other cheesy line, it’s actually true: Bretton’s dad had recently played golf with a friend of my dad, and they figured out that Bretton and I would both be at Lehigh that fall. Although we met in 2005, we didn’t start dating until September of 2008, after I got back from a semester abroad.

Bretton proposed on December 7th, 2013—about 18 months after I moved to NYC to live with him. He told me he had to go in to work on a Saturday, which wasn’t unusual. After he left, however, he asked me to check the bedroom for something he forgot, where I found a note instructing me to be in front of our building an hour later. A black car picked me up and whisked me over to the High Line, an old raised train track-turned-garden that I always admired but Bretton thought was over-hyped. Bretton was there waiting, ring in hand, surrounded by twinkle lights (I think he just got lucky, because Christmas was just around the corner!). After I said yes, we went down to the Standard Grill for oysters and champagne, and then uptown to our favorite sushi spot.

My dress was waiting for me, just as I imagined it, at Lovely in TriBeCa in New York City. My mother and sister came in for the weekend, and I had scheduled 5 appointments. The first two were disappointing, but I knew I would recognize my dress as soon as I saw it. It was a simple Theia sequined gown, elegant and sophisticated; and the fun surprise was a beautiful chiffon skirt with a seed pearl waistband that fastened over the gown, creating a lovely, floating bridal effect, which was perfect for the ceremony. When I took it off for the reception it seemed as though I had an entirely different dress on. I never expected to get so many remarks and compliments about my dress!
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