Two high school sweethearts get married near the lake where they would travel together during the first blissful years of their romance.  Could it get more charming than that?  Oh wait.  How about beautiful garden flower arrangements, sweet pastel-hued parasols and buckets of lovely little DIY details?  This celebration near Apple Canyon Lake by Primavera Studios has charm tucked into and each and every corner and then some!  See it all in the full gallery!

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From the Bride…The moment we started planning our wedding, Brian and I knew one thing for sure: We had to have our wedding near Apple Canyon Lake, IL (2.5 hours west of Chicago).  My grandfather built my family’s lake house on Apple Canyon Lake in the early 1970s.  I’ve spent every summer of my life at the lake and since Brian and I started dating in high school, Brian has been traveling there with me the past ten years.  Needless to say, the lake holds a very special place in both our hearts. We found Oak Hill Farm (just ten minutes away from the lake) a few months after our engagement and instantly fell in love.  Everything from the 1860s chapel, the country store, a one-room schoolhouse (very fitting considering I’m a second grade teacher), to the original hay barn transformed into a home (where our officiant lives), the grounds were beyond perfect.  It had the rustic, country vibe Brian and I were looking for, not to mention endless ways to use our DIY creativity.

July 3, 2011 marked the day of our wedding and it began with a pre-ceremony cocktail hour, which we called the Welcome Hour.  Brian and I were very picky with the fact that we did not want to see each other before the wedding but also didn’t want to miss out on the cocktail hour or reception due to taking pictures.  Therefore, in lieu of a receiving line, we used the Welcome Hour as the time to greet and mingle with guests.  I wore a purple dress and visited with guests for the first half hour.  During the second half hour I went into the barn house (original hay barn) to change into my wedding gown and Brian socialized with the guests. My girlfriend and I painted messages on old barn wood to greet guests.  We served bottled water, lemonade, beer, and Sangria made by the local Galena Cellars Vineyard.  My mom’s girlfriends made finger foods such as cucumber sandwiches for guests to nibble on.  I used the one-room schoolhouse as an opportunity to share information about Brian and I with guests.  Scattered on desks we placed apples with a fact about Brian and I.  I also had a “photo booth” area where a girlfriend took photos of guests with props. After the ceremony she then transferred all these images onto a slideshow that then played during the cocktail hour and dinner at the reception.  Guests just loved seeing themselves in photos taken that day on display!

After the welcome hour came our most memorable part of the day, the outdoor ceremony.  It was held right below the barn house, in front of a pond, with a backdrop of lush, green trees.  Parasols and fan programs were provided to keep guests cool in the July heat.  We exchanged rings where Brian chose to wear his Grandfather’s wedding ring rather than purchasing his own.  Instead of combining sand, we mixed a red and white wine for our unity ceremony.  Both being wine lovers, we poured a white and red wine together and each took a sip from the glass.

Wedding Photography: Primavera Studios / Wedding Cinematography: The NEW View / Flowers: Garden Party Florist / Event Design + Planning: The Bride / Ceremony Venue: Oak Hill Farm / Reception Venue: Eagle Ridge Resort / Invitations: I Do Invitations by Michelle / Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman/ Welcome Hour Dress: Ciarla Bride / Bridesmaid Dresses: Thread / Wedding Gown: Angelina Couture / Groom’s Suit: Tom James