View All Weddings in The Midwest
Sea + Sand Wedding Inspiration

Nothing is a straight shot to my heart more than a good dose of nautical inspiration. And oh, do Kyle John Photography and Linn P. Wheeler sure know how to deliver. The sun, the sand, insanely pretty props from Refind Joy, breathtaking calligraphy from Jenna Blazevich and wildly magnificent florals from Forget Me Knodt… it’s more beauty than I can handle and it’s all right here.

Ocean, pray, how deep are you?
Ocean wide, how old?
Could I but wander, wander through
Your blue depths, silent–cold!

Old Ocean, your sheer, satin gown,
Is good and fair to see:
Those that with battered wrecks go down,
In it shall folded be.

Then give me, Ocean, restless strength
To travel o’er you far,
To know your reach and sinuous length,
Till towering mountains bar.

- Benjamin Franklin Field

Photography: Kyle John Photography | Styling: Linn P. Wheeler | Floral Design: Forget Me Knodt | Jewelry: Mineralogy Design | Hair: Weronika Bobula | Calligraphy: Jenna Blazevich | Film Lab: Photovision | MUA: Nika Vaughan | Model: Khrystyna B | Props: Refind Joy | Venue: Beach | Wardrobe: Gossamer Vintage

re:find Joy and Jenna Blazevich Calligraphy & Design are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
re:find Joy

Jenna Blazevich Calligraphy & ...


You'll love these vendors in Illinois

Fulton's on the River
View Portfolio
Artifact Vintage
View Portfolio
View Portfolio
Spiaggia Private Events
View Portfolio
Hello Darling, floral and even...
View Portfolio
Jeffrey and Julia Woods ~ Phot...
View Portfolio
Black & White Tented Wedding

I’ve always been a black & white girl. Simple, pretty, classic. So when I see other couples who planned their days with that very same mindset, I tend to feel like kindred spirits.  Jai Girard captured the photo goodies and Studio 272 put together the film, so what are you waiting for? Dive straight into this love story right over here!


From The Bride…Set on a rainy October day, our wedding tied together all the fairytale moments that I hoped for on our special day. The locations of our ceremony and reception seemed to fit perfectly with our close ties to home, and our love of nature and the outdoors. Marc and I met and fell in love in Colorado. After an injury to my foot from running, I wanted to learn how to swim for exercise. He gave me swim lessons for a couple of years until he went away to grad school in Arizona. We spoke on the phone for hours talking about our dating life and giving one another advice. Marc would come back to visit on his breaks from school. Over the course of the 6 years that we knew one another, we became very close friends and eventually fell in love when Marc injured his back on a visit to Colorado, and was immobile on my floor for weeks.

We were married in a magical little church called Kenilworth Union Church in Kenilworth, IL. I wanted the church to be cozy filled with all of our favorite people. The church was perfect for our vision. I loved the fantasy that a little hobbit might pop out from behind a stone wall, or that the vines growing up the sides of the church walls might come to life. The church itself reflected a similar feel for our love. Cozy and comfortable, but romantic too.

We drove to a pier at Lake Michigan afterwards to take some photographs in front of the water. Even though it was raining, there was something really peaceful about being at the lake front and breathing the fresh air. It was a way for us to tie in our love of the water, and spend a few moments reflecting. It’s one of the moments I remember very vividly despite all the chaos of a wedding day. I remember feeling really refreshed by the crispness of the Fall air coming off the water. Just to look out on the water with the one I love felt like the best thing ever. It was a very special moment.

For our reception, A 10,000 square foot tent was built on my parent’s property in Bannockburn, IL for our 200 person wedding. The tent took over a week to build, and nearly a week to tear down. The look of the reception was romantic and soft, but had some edginess at the same time. We knew we wanted it to be a big occasion for our guests to wear their prettiest dresses and most handsome tuxedos and suits. The colors were black and white, eggplant purple, and mossy greens. We focused a lot on texture to bring the outside natural elements into the tent. One of my favorite parts was the holes that were put in the tent to bring some of the tree branches in. While the wedding was black tie and elegant, we didn’t stray far from the earthy wooded feel we wanted to keep. I love the feel of mixing sparkly elements with organic elements. The juxtaposition of “dress-up glamour” and the beauty of nature pair together in a really unusually awesome way.

I wish we could go back in time and do it all over again. My Dad did an amazing job documenting the build of the tent and the tear down. I think our photographs tell the story of the excitement of seeing the event come to life, the joy and beauty of the moments we had during the event, and the bittersweet feelings as it all came to a close. Our videographer wrapped the day together in a lovely little package.

I wouldn’t change a thing to celebrate the beginning of our marriage.

Photography: Jai Girard Photography | Videographer: Studio 272 | Videographer: Joel Witmar | Wedding Planner: Lauren Housley | Flowers: Avante Gardenia | Dress: Vera Wang | Cake: Cravings | Reception: Private Residence | Shoes: Mui Mui | Caterer: Pure Kitchen | Band: Gold Coast Allstars | Officiant: Pastor Peter Warmanen | Officiant: Dr. Gilbert Bowen | Accessories and Decor: Two Kisses Weddings and Events | Bridal Boutique: Anna Be | Bride and Groom's Wedding Bands: Jes Maharry Jewelery | Church/Ceremony: Kenilworth Union Church | Groom's Tuxedo: Astor and Black Custom Clothier | Lingerie: Victoria's Secret | Rentals: Tablescapes | Stationer: Be U Brides | Tent and Lighting: Party Time Productions | Wedding Designer/Stylist: Two Kisses Weddings and Events

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

Casual Back Porch Wedding

Fact: there’s nothing more romantic than vowing your life and your love with a backyard wedding. Especially when that spot happens to be your family’s 142-year-old farm house complete with wide, open views and Midwest charm. And while it wouldn’t be a farm wedding without a hog roast and a little rain, it was the unplanned moments that added up to perfection. See more from Shannon Leigh Anderson here!


From The Bride…The front porch of my family’s 142 year old Illinois farm house served as the backdrop to the wedding that exceeded my dreams! I wore an Allure Couture dress as my Dad walked me out the front door of my childhood home to my groom, Jacob Calaway and 350 of our dearest friends and family waiting patiently in a soggy yard. It had rained for 2 days straight before the wedding. After all, what’s a wedding without rain and a farm without mud! Despite the rain, the whole day was perfect. At the moment when we said our vows the clouds parted and the sun shined down on us through the elm trees. I was given a strand of pearls from my parents. My husband’s father, Nathan Calaway married us using his Grandfather’s bible. My youngest brother, William, walked down the aisle with a ring bearer pillow made from a quilt my great grandmother had made.

So, needless to say family is a huge part of our lives! We wanted to incorporate family into every aspect of our wedding. I have a big family. Ok, it’s huge. I have six brothers, three sister and a total of 49 first cousins from both sides of my family and we’re all close! My aunt Katrina Messmore was my wedding planner and she did a fantastic job of keeping things organized and keeping me calm. Oh, and she also made our wedding cake! I had other aunts who made pies and cheesecakes for the dessert table. A cousin made the fun, groom’s cake that had waves, little Fondant people who looked like Jacob and I and a surf board. Along with my cousins, sisters and sisters-in-law and friends, we made all of the decorations for the big day. The men pitched in too by doing the dirty work like landscaping, painting and even building a dance floor. Everything had a family touch to it! Everyone did such an amazing job of helping capture the farm with a “touch of whimsy” style I had pictured for my special day.

After the ceremony and pictures, taken by the wonderful Shannon Leigh Anderson, we walked to the back yard to the reception tent. Dinner was especially delicious and served buffet style. Catering was provided by The Pantry in Tuscola, IL and Dutch Valley Meats in Chesterville, IL, who, by the way, roasted a whole hog! When it came time for the the toast, my sister, Alyssa, who was my Matron of Honor stood up and sang “Stand By Your Man” instead of giving a traditional speech. It was awesome! I had a surprise planned for Jacob for our first dance. My dad and I had written a song a few years ago that The Band Perry had recorded and made a number 1 hit, called “All Your Life.” I had recorded (unbeknownst to Jacob) my own acoustic version of our song and it made a perfect, sweet moment come true as we danced to it! “All Your Life” has been “our song” from day one because I sang it for him on the beach the day we met.

At the end of the day on May 4, 2013 the hem of my dress was six inches deep in mud and I was married to the man of my dreams! It was truly a perfect day. 

Photography: Shannon Leigh Anderson | Cupcakes: Lindsey Capperune | Catering: Dutch Valley Meats, Inc. | Catering: The Pantry | Hair & Makeup: Melanie Shelley Of Trim | DJ: Toby Tucker - WDZQ | Reception Tent: Champaign County Tent