I may have mentioned a time or two (or three or four) that I adore Winter weddings, but I think it’s most definitely something worth repeating. Because Winter weddings? Well, they are amazing… especially when they are as fabulous as this Bloomington affair captured beautifully by Maggie Fortson Photography. A vintage chic celebration chock-full of sophisticated blooms from Shari’s Enchanted Florist, it’s sweet DIY details meets vibrant purple hues meets one seriously stunning Amy Kuschel masterpiece. See every last moment in the full gallery.
From the Bride… James and I met in the January of 2009 while we were attending college at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL. He was a Sophomore and I was a Junior. We met during an exchange with his fraternity (Theta Chi) and my sorority (Alpha Gamma Delta). We knew within the first couple of weeks of dating there was something special happening between us. Sadly, James left the country to study abroad in Buenos Aries, Argentina for four months a little over one month into our budding relationship. Looking back, we are very grateful for that time apart because it forced us to really get to know each other and made our relationship grow and become so much stronger. We have had so many good memories getting to know each other and growing into the husband and wife we are today. We started looking at engagement rings back in December of 2011 and James proposed to me at sunset on the beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on April 18, 2012.
We had so much fun planning all of our pre-wedding and wedding festivities with the help of our amazing wedding planners at Simple Elegance Events and Weddings. We do not know what we would have done without them. They were life savers and made our day so special and as stress free as possible. I made all of the centerpieces and I made bracelets for all of my bridesmaids and our wedding singer. DIY bracelets were made using bracelet blanks and adhering vintage earrings and broaches to the blanks. As we started to plan for the wedding we did not know at first where we wanted to have it. We live in Chicago now and thought that we would do it in the city. Then James mentioned doing it back on campus at IWU and the decision was made. There was no more discussion. Of course, we should start our new life together as one at the place our relationship blossomed. We felt at home there. We loved our experience at IWU, plus it is gorgeous and we knew we could take some pretty amazing photographs on campus.
The day was magical. I wanted a more vintage glam experience and I think it turned out perfectly. The girls and I started getting ready early in the morning at T M Hair Design. We got our hair and make-up done while drank mimosas and ate bagels from Panera. The guys got ready at the Marriott Hotel (where we later had the reception). We had the most amazing photographer Maggie Fortson, who we worked with for our engagement photographs, and her second photographer Robb Davidson so we were so excited for our photos. After the girls and I got to the hotel to get dressed, James and I exchanged gifts . I received the most beautiful diamond earrings and he received a pretty snazzy Tissot watch and then we headed to my sorority house AGD for our first look.
Our first look was perfect, it was on the porch of my sorority and we were both so extremely overjoyed to see each other and could not believe that this was actually our wedding day. We had a ton of fun taking pictures outside and inside AGD and then it was off to the chapel to get married!! Evelyn Chapel on IWU campus is absolutely gorgeous. It is small and quaint and has perfect acoustics which made the ceremony something that everyone will remember. Our good friend Rachel, who has a voice of an angel, sang our processional and recessional and was also our wedding singer along with Susan (one of my bridesmaids) for our first dance. DIY: I made bead covered wooden Ls for the front doors of the Chapel and we tried to keep with the vintage theme by using antique trays for our bubbles and for our communion. The ceremony was everything I could have imagined, short, thoughtful, funny, and ended with a very unexpected dip during our first kiss as husband and wife. The pictures captured throughout the ceremony are fantastic. You can really get an idea of what the chapel looks like and i’m so glad Maggie and Robb captured photos of us praying with our Pastor Dave. I believe that a family that prays together will stay together and can get through whatever this crazy world throws at them.
After the ceremony we were whisked away to our campus library because they have a circular book room that James and I thought would be fun for photos and then we roamed though campus a little for more photos before enjoying sometime on our party bus before the reception. The reception turned out even better than I imagined it. Our wedding planners were amazing and took what I had made and my dream reception. DIY: I spent the 11 months before the wedding going to thrift shops and salvation armies for vases and gold picture frames for our centerpieces and picture frames. For the centerpieces I made mercury glass vases by using Kyroln looking glass spray. I put about 5 coats on each vase and then distressed them with a combo of vinegar and water on a paper towel to make then look antique. For the table numbers I used the gold picture frames and musical scrapbook paper and attached each number. I then glued purple bows to each frame to match our color theme. I also spray painted curly willow gold and then adhered gold glitter to them which I put into hand blown glass vases. The food at the Marriott was great and our cake, made by Sugar Mama’s Bakery, was to die for. Everyone was raving about it and people still talk about how good it was. I am looking forward to eating our top layer on our anniversary. We had so much fun dancing the night away with all of our friends and family. It was so special to be back where it had all began and to have all of our family, sorority, and fraternity brothers and sisters there that helped us and watched us grow throughout the years. I think it was special for all of us and a throw back and reunion to our college days which everyone enjoyed. We absolutely love being married and are looking forward to so many wonderful years together. We are truly blessed.
Photography: Maggie Fortson Photography | Wedding Planning: Simple Elegance Events & Wedding Design | Floral Design: Shari’s Enchanted Florist | Ceremony Location: Illinois Wesleyan University at Evelyn Chapel | Reception Venue: Marriott Hotel and Conference Center | Bakery: Sugar Mama Bakery | Bubbles + Gift Boxes: Oriental Trading Company | Vintage Trays: Linen and Lace | DJ + Lighting: Absolute Light and Sound | Hair: TM Hair Design | Makeup: The Loft Salon and Spa | Wedding Dress: Amy Kuschel via Cloud Nine Bridal Boutique and Fine Paper | Shoes: Nina | Necklace: Etsy | Garters: Etsy | Fur: Vintage | Brides Rings: James and Sons | Grooms ring: Borshems | Tux: Formally Modern Tuxedo | Flower Girl Tutu: Etsy