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Morton Arboretum Wedding from Ashley Biess Photography

I’m one of those sappy romantics that believes in fate, true love and all things meant-to-be.  One of those ladies who can’t seem to ever get enough of a romantic story (here’s to you, Jane Austen) or a fabulous, love-filled wedding.  And when I meet two cuties as sweet as this adorable duo captured by Ashley Biess Photography, my day jumps from amazing to outrageously happy.  Because these are the type of sweethearts that have a story that is beyond movie-worthy (hint: they met in pre-school) and a wedding that is chock-full of pretty.  See it all in the full gallery.


From Ashley Biess PhotographyAbout 20 years ago, Emily, JT and the rest of their pre-school class gathered around the playground for a class photo. Everyone smiled for the camera and then resumed back to their games and play time. It was Emily and JT’s first photo together; and while they didn’t know it at the time, it would certainly not be their last. These two little pre-schoolers would meet again later in life, and someday become best friends and husband and wife.

Emily and JT’s wedding, in one word, was perfect. It was the most beautiful Spring day at the Morton Arboretum, where guests gathered in the Hedge Garden to watch the couple’s knot tying ceremony. The vibrant yellow flowers and handcrafted decor made the sunny day shine even brighter. JT’s heartfelt vows to his bride had everyone in tears. Guests applauded and cheered as JT and Emily shared their first married kiss.

At their reception, beauty was everywhere to be found! Everything from the flowers to the handmade decorations to the room itself at the Morton Arboretum were perfect for their summery wedding. The room looked effortlessly gorgeous and fit perfectly with their personalities, style, and story. Emily’s pinwheels were found as both decor and escort cards, leading guests to their tables. Friends and family wrote well wishes to the couple on Jenga pieces, so that Emily and JT can reread the happy notes every time they play. My favorite detail was JT’s home brewed beer and root beer, appropriately titled Something Brewed, that he made special for all of their guests. It was a big hit!

From the Bride… One of my favorite memories of the day was hearing my husband’s vows to me and all the emotion that he had behind them. His words were filled with love and affection. For him to confess his love in the most raw form, in front of our family and friends, was absolutely amazing. Another moment that I won’t forget is sitting with my husband at our table watching all of our guests dancing and enjoying themselves on the dance floor. It whas at that point that I realized how after 18 months of planning for our wedding, it turned out to be even better than I had envisioned.

Photography: Ashley Biess Photography | Cinematography: Blink of an Eye Productions | Coordinator: Ryan Alexander Events | Floral Design: Forget Me Knodt | Wedding Dress: Dillon by Enzoani | Cake: The Cakery, Inc. | Calligraphy: Calligraphy by Cristine | DJ: Sounds Abound | Accommodations: Lisle Hyatt | Bridal Boutique: Dimitra's Bridal | Bride's Robe: Victorias Secret | Bridesmaids' Robes: JustCottons | Paper + Invitations: Anna Malie Design | Photobooth: Concept One | Strings: Innocenti Strings | Venue: Morton Arboretum

Calligraphy by Cristine is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Calligraphy by Cristine


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Morton Arboretum Wedding from Just Love Me {Photography + Design}

This wedding has the perfect amount of romance. Maybe it’s the gorgeous backdrop of The Morton Arboretum or maybe it’s all the sweet DIY details covering every corner of this sweet fête. But I am pretty sure what makes this gorgeous day captured by Just Love Me {Photography + Design} as romantic as they come is the new Mr. & Mrs. that everyone came to celebrate. They are what make this wedding favorite-worthy, and you can see all the reasons why right here.

And don’t miss their sweet film from Robert Cawthorne Wedding Films

Lisa & Justin (Lisle, IL) from Robert Cawthorne on Vimeo.

From the Bride… Justin and I never knew we went to high school together until we met for the first time at our prom when I went with his best friend. Four years later, we met again through Justin’s college roommate, Andy, and the rest is history!

As soon as we got engaged, we knew we wanted to have an intimate and romantic wedding with our closest friends and family. It was important for the wedding to feel like “us” so we went the non-traditional route by having no bridal party, asked my sister to be our ring bearer, decided not to have a bouquet or garter toss and made it a point to play absolutely no cliché wedding songs. We also chose to do a first look and wrote our ten-minute ceremony where Andy officiated, making it all the more special because he’s seen our relationship grow from the beginning.

We had such a clear vision of the style of the wedding from day one as well. When we visited the Morton Arboretum we fell in love. Its natural beauty was the perfect backdrop for our “enchanted forest” theme. It boasted a unique space, breathtaking views and the convenience of housing the entire wedding in one location. We wanted to enhance the beauty of the Arboretum so we mixed a neutral color palette of white, dove grey, ice blue and blush with various textures. The style blended an ethereal romance with woodland details by combining lush floral arrangements, iced berries, birch accents, moss, twinkling lights and flowy chiffon and velvet fabric.

We made it a point to intertwine a ton of personalized details into the wedding. The word forever was the main inspiration because Justin told me he knew I was the one when the word forever suddenly had meaning. So it was incorporated into our save the dates, invitations, décor, vows and even the toasts. Because we got married in a library, our rings were tied in the first book Justin ever bought me, which he wrote an inscription in. So I wrote our love story on the cover and my vows on a page from the book, and inside I wrote my own inscription to Justin with the words, “Say You Will”. Everyone also knows we adore our rescue animals, so we added them to our cake topper and played homage to our cat Abe by getting Justin personalized Abe Lincoln cuff links. And as we expressed in our engagement shoot, coffee, particularly Starbucks, means a lot to us. So Starbucks was incorporated into our photos, cake topper, mini desserts and our favors which were chocolate covered espresso beans in Starbucks cups with a personalized logo I made. These were all little details, but were really special and truly made the wedding feel like “us”.

There wasn’t a lot of indoor winter wedding inspiration, so most of our ideas were from re-imagining various aspects of weddings we had seen on blogs and in magazines, as well as pulling from our own personal style and visiting my favorite Anthropologie locations for display ideas. Nearly all of the decor was DIY so we spent many long nights painting, crafting and putting together favors. I also designed and printed all of our paper goods and signage and hand drew the floral design that was carried throughout the wedding. It was a lot of hard work, but it was all worth it in the end because it was truly amazing to see all of our planning come together and we will forever cherish the moments of that day.

Wedding Photography: Just Love Me {Photography + Design} | Wedding Venue: The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois | Venue Coordination: Denise Martinez of the Morton Arboretum | Cinematography: Robert Cawthorne Wedding Films | Floral Design: Town & Country Gardens | Event Design + Invitations + Paper Goods: DIY by Bride | Wedding Cake: The Cakery | Catering + Rentals: Classic Fare Catering | Drapery: Elegant Event Lighting | Ceremony Music – Justin & Jason Picchiotti | DJ: Toast & Jam | Wedding Dress: Jasmine Bridal at VIP Occasions | Veil: Sandra’s Designs + DIY comb (re-deisgned from a BHLDN sash, by Bride) | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Earrings: Fossil | Belt: Diana by Enzoani
Garter: Handmade by the Bride | Hair + Makeup: Patricia Casolari (sister of the bride) | Groom’s Suit: J. Crew

Badgley Mischka, BHLDN and J.Crew are members of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. Toast and Jam is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Toast & Jam

Lisle Engagement Session from Just Love Me Photography + Design

Engagement sessions make my heart pitter patter more than normal, and that’s saying a lot. I just adore the idea of the first official shoot between two lovebirds, one they will look back on for years and years to come. And when that shoot is as darling as this one by Just Love Me Photography + Design, you know they will still love every image for years and years to come – which happens to up the ante on heart pitter pattering just that much more. See all the darling images right here!

Click here for the FULL engagement session!

From the Bride-to-Be… My fiance, Justin, and I are getting married at The Morton Arboretum in March, so we felt it was only fitting to shoot our engagement photos there. Neither of us take photos, ever, so having these photos taken was especially important to us. the Morton Arboretum was an amazing fit for our “Enchanted Forest” themed wedding. Having the photos taken at the Morton Arboretum was also a great opportunity for our guests to get a “sneak peek” of the location, as numerous guests have no idea what the Morton Arboretum is. We also wanted our photos to represent who we are as a couple in an environment that went perfectly with our wedding theme. In our photos, we really wanted our personalities to shine through. Please notice the photo with his headphones and dirty hat I bought him six years ago with me on my laptop — typical us! Justin also proposed with my ring in a Starbucks cup, since coffee has always had a special meaning to us as some of the only times we saw each other during college was for coffee dates at 9 p.m. after class, just so we could see each other, even if it was only for 10 minutes. To this day, we continue to have our weekly coffee date on Sunday mornings at Starbucks. :) Our photographers, Just Love Me Photography, did a beautiful job capturing our vision.

Photography: Just Love Me Photography + Design / Location: Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois / Bride’s Clothing: Anthropologie / Boots: Bare Traps / Heels: BCBG / Hair + Makeup: Patricia Casolari (The Bride’s Sister) / Groom’s Clothing: Ralph Lauren, Macy’s + Old Navy