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Elegant Tented Backyard Lake Forest Wedding

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!

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!

Photography: Annie Parish Photography | Event Design: Christine Janda Design And Events | Floral Design: Christine Janda Design And Events | Wedding Dress: Theia | Bridesmaids' Dresses: David Meister | Catering: Truffleberry Catering | Band: Trailer Trash | Ceremony And Reception Venue: Private Residence | Linens: BBJ | Planning: Christine Janda Design And Events | Rentals: Tablescapes | Tent: Blue Peak Tents

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Romantic North Shore Wedding At Armour House

In the midst of planning my own nuptials, the one consensus I’ve taken to heart is that the entire day goes by in a blur. The solution? Investing in reliving every happy tear and terrific toast in the form of cinematography. And a show stopper like this one from Loudbyte has me all the more excited. Get those tissues ready SMP’ers, because some happy tears are about to arrive!

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Fall
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At Home
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Romantic

From LoudbyteIn our first meeting with Mirini and Jason, we exchanged Netflix playlists and realized our common passion for great movies and TV. Later, as we helped the couple plan their wedding day schedule, we had so many interesting ideas for their wedding film and decided to add a second day of shooting so that we would have enough time to make everything happen. Mirini and Jason had a rehearsal walk-through the day before at Armour House so it made sense to schedule the cinema shoot that day. We met the couple at our downtown studio to record their voice over. They had written a few lines about how they met and what it meant to them personally. After recoding their voice-overs, we drove to the venue and shot Jason driving in his convertible. We captured aerials and car-mount shots. Then we setup an incredible first look under the outdoor pagoda. Both parents were present and we captured some really touching reaction shots. We also mic’d the couple and you can hear their real first reaction’s to seeing each other; so touching. This pre-shoot allowed us to tell the couple’s story in a much more detailed and intimate way.

After meeting Mirini, Jason was deployed to Afghanistan. During a long walk in the desert, he realized how much he loved her. Mirini made herself a promise that if Jason returned from the war, she would marry him. The toasts are not to be missed!

Cinematography: Loudbyte Cinematography| Photography: Redwall Photography | Ceremony Venue: The Armour House| Reception Venue: The Armour House | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Shoes: Bruno Magli | DJ:Roberto Monatero | Brides’ Dress: Jasmine Couture

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Loudbyte
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Elegant Summer Wedding at Armour House

Fresh wedding ideas get my heart racing and the thought of a champagne brunch reception, with a little Southern charm tossed in, and I’m sold. Held at the gorgeous Armour House outside of Chicago, this summertime fete has me absolutely swooning – and taking notes. Two Birds Photography worked their magic and I’m adding pocketed gowns, orchids and historic mansions to my list of favorites immediately.

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Summer
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Elegant

From Gail at GZ Weddings & Special Events… Lauren and Brian were married on Saturday, August 9, 2014 at the historic Armour House on the grounds of Lake Forest Academy in Chicago’s northwest suburbs.

Their ceremony was held outdoors on a beautiful, sunny morning. Lauren’s dream was to have a wedding and reception on a estate that was similar to the look of a southern plantation. Their event included many traditions that described good ole’ southern charm since Lauren’s family is originally from New Orleans.

Their reception immediately followed and included those southern details such as shrimp & grits, and chicken & biscuit benedicts on their brunch buffet! Their “Champagne Brunch Reception” was accompanied by music from the Elmhurst College Jazz Band who played popular tunes from the roaring 20’s and classics that everyone enjoyed.

Lauren’s wedding gown was something right off of a southern plantation! She wanted it to look simple yet elegant for their morning wedding.

The plants and centerpieces that helped achieve the look of an outdoor garden reception were brought in and created by the mother of the bride.

Photography: Two Birds Photography | Event Coordinator: GZ Weddings & Special Events | Floral Design: Stems Chicago | Cake: Poppies | Ceremony And Reception Venue: Armour House | Music: Elmhurst College Jazz Quartet

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Classic Candlelit Lake Forest Wedding

Give me a classic soiree doused in blush pink and you’ll have one happy wedding blogger on your hands. Said wedding? This candlelit beauty from Heather Cook Elliott. With so many family legacies layered in, including the Bride sewing pieces of family members’ wedding dresses into her own and wearing her Groom’s Grandmother’s Tiffany earrings, this gallery is overflowing with traditional elegance at it’s best.

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Summer
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Country Club

From Heather Cook ElliottOh where to start. As I look back on Katelyn and John’s wedding day I am flooded with adjectives – elegant, romantic, classic, traditional, sweet, lovely – and yet none of them seems quite enough. Their wedding day was the complete, real deal package, the kind of wedding day that manages to be perfectly beautiful but feels easy, wonderfully traditional but still fun. It starts with Lake Forest, a little seemingly magical place 30 miles north of Chicago where small town luxuries include great beaches, boutique shopping and an elegant family oriented Club called Onwentsia. With majestic willows on its golf course and century old brick architecture to boast of, Onwentsia is the place where John’s parents celebrated their wedding and where John played as a kid. Its close to his family home and close to his heart, and now its close to Katelyn’s too.

So many family details were incorporated into the day it was easy to see that though it all came together as uber-stylish and very “pinnable”, their day was honestly about celebrating their family legacies. John wore his grandfather’s tux studs, Katie his grandmother’s Tiffany earrings; Katie sewed fabric from family wedding dresses embroidered with wedding dates into her own dress and she wore a now-heirloom veil that other women in her family have worn. They said I Do at John’s family church and celebrated at Onwentsia, riding to and fro in a 1941 Ford Super Deluxe Sedan restored by Katie’s late Grandpa Robert as a replica of his first car. Katie’s dad hauled the burgundy stunner from her hometown in Indiana and all the men in her family decorated “Old Bob” on the day of the wedding, a stunning tribute to tradition and family that I adored. The pictures say more than my words can ever hope to, so without further ado, enjoy a peek into Katelyn’s & John’s stunningly beautiful wedding day.

Photography: Heather Cook Elliott | Florist: McNamara Florist | Reception Venue: Onwentsia Club | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaid Dresses: Bella Bridesmaid | Hair: The Salon, LTD | Band: Shout Out | Groomsmen's Attire: Men's Wearhouse | Bridal Shop (Dress & Veil): Nancy's Bridal Boutique | Bride's Dress: Casablanca | Bride's Earrings: Tiffany's | Bride's Hairpiece: Nancy's Bridal Boutique | Cake & Sweets: Three Tarts Bakery | Custom Logo And Decor: Rosemari Herbert / McNamara | Groom's Tuxedo: Brooks Brothers | Paper: Ghega Scolari With Cartabella | Robes: Natori

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Elegant Outdoor Wedding at Shoreacres Country Club

Ladies and Gents, get your pinterest boards ready – because this elegant affair captured by Julia Franzosa Photography is overflowing with steal-worthy ideas. Planned beautifully by SQN Events and filled to the brim with florals so pretty by Molly Flavin you won’t even believe they are real, I can promise you’ll want to pin every single image in this gallery. See what I mean here.

Colors
Seasons
Fall
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Elegant

From Julia Franzosa PhotographyTheir love for each other is amazingly contagious and their surrounding family and friends shared in the joy of their wedding. Alex and Nicolas’ are one of those once-in-a-lifetime loves. It was incredibly fitting that their wedding was nothing short of a fairytale wedding! The wedding was held in August and was absolutely breathtaking. The ceremony was held in the backyard of the bride’s parents’ home in Lake Forest, IL (with the most impeccable landscaping), beneath a willow tree, trimmed to perfection to serve as the arch under which the bride, groom, and officiant stood. (The officiant is the bride’s brother, a professor of literature at Smith).

The wedding then moved to Shoreacres Country Club in Lake Bluff. The Club is located on Lake Michigan and the lake truly looks like an infinity pool as it is so close to the terrace on which cocktails were held.

We progressed to the Club’s dining room for a delectable dinner, complete with an amuse bouche composed of morel mushrooms the brides’ parents curated themselves.

After dinner, guests retired to a tent that was stunningly decorated, featuring several seating vignettes and a dramatic lattice with greenery and orchids suspended from the tent’s ceiling over the dance floor.

From The Bride…I had so many favorite parts of the day it is so hard to just pick one!! Aside from actually saying our vows a few of my favorites moments were:

*Sending love notes back and forth with Nicolas throughout the day
*Standing with my mom and dad in our dining room waiting for the ceremony to start. It was just such a special moment between the three of us.
*Celebrating with my family in the kitchen immediately after.

Photography: Julia Franzosa Photography | Event Planning: SQN Events - Beth Bernstein | Floral Design: Molly Flavin | Wedding Dress: Lazaro | Ceremony Venue: Lake Forest Estate | Reception Venue: Shoreacres | Catering: Shoreacres | Makeup: Andie Cumber | Hair: Livia Caporale | Band: SWAY Chicago | Grooms Attire: Indochino

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