It’s only fitting to hold a wedding in the beautiful, English Garden style Chicago Botanic Garden when the bride is American and the groom is British. The venue marries the traditional English feel with everything Chicago has to offer and when punctuated by morning coats and fascinators and captured by Susan Ryan Photography, it’s brilliant.
From the stunning bride… Henry and I met in a pub in London in July of 2009; I had moved there from my hometown of Chicago after graduating from college. Despite the fact that I was planning to move to Spain one month later, Henry immediately welcomed me into his life, introducing me to his wonderful friends and his loving family. I knew right away that I had stumbled upon something very special. After seven amazing months in Barcelona I moved back to London, and three years later at a picnic alongside the Thames river, he proposed.
Henry and I wanted our wedding to blend our favorite traditions from both the US and the UK. To us, the Chicago Botanic Gardens was the the perfect setting to combine the tradition of an English country wedding with the fun and lightheartedness of an American-style garden wedding. It was the first and only venue we visited. Finding the right dress wasn’t quite as easy, but once I came across Delphine Manivet’s gorgeous Lubin gown in a London boutique, I knew I had found “the one”. It was the perfect combination of traditional romance and bohemian glamour. Her amazing white leather and satin ankle boots were the icing on the cake!
Friends and family played a huge role in the day, with my incredibly talented sister helping to create a unique vision for the wedding and designing all the paper goods and signage. I wore my grandmother’s necklace, the same one my mom wore on her wedding day. My aunt created my veil and also skyped my grandmother into the ceremony when she wasn’t able to make the journey. Our friend Tom, who the year before had taught me to play guitar, played Canon in D as I walked down the aisle, and all of our friends pitched in to create our wedding video. My mom’s care and attention to detail were evident in every element of the day, under her keen direction the whole week went without a hitch!
We were blown away by the number of guests who flew in from far and wide to be with us on the day, covering seven countries and ten US states. Henry’s sister and her three small boys (the most adorable page boys on the planet!) even flew all the way from New Zealand. Many people chose to make a vacation out of the week before the wedding, so we arranged a number of activities for everyone to enjoy. It the perfect opportunity to show off the amazing city of Chicago, and also for our guests to get know each other before the wedding, creating a wonderful convivial atmosphere on the day. Guests wore hats and morning suits, we mixed up the seating plan to bring together friends and family from different countries and everyone joined in to sing the traditional English hymn “Jerusalem” during the ceremony.
I have so many favorite moments from the day, including seeing Henry for the first time and our first dance. However, one of the most memorable moments was dancing with my dad to UB40’s rendition of “I Got You Babe”. My dad needed last minute back surgery the week before our wedding and was still in significant pain afterwards. One week after the wedding we found out that he needed immediate hip replacement. It was a miracle that he had the strength to walk me down the aisle, and a pure testament to his character that he was able to withstand the pain so I could dance with my dad at my wedding.
All in all, it was the perfect day celebrating with our family and friends and a perfect display of how seamlessly our English and American heritages have been intertwined. It was the best day of our lives… So far!
Photography: Susan Ryan Photography | Floral Design: Larkspur | Makeup: Elise Brill | Hair: Magnificent Brides | Band: Out Of Control | Wedding Venue: Chicago Botanic Garden | Day Of Coordinator: Honey Bee Weddings | Design And Paper Goods: Rachael Smith | Rentals: A La Crate Vintage Rentals | Wedding Dress And Shoes: Delphine Manivet