Within minutes of gazing upon Jeff Sampson’s pics, I found myself Googling how to recreate this adorable Bride’s braided hairstyle – and this chic style was only the beginning of one fantastic fete. From the new Mrs’s Jenny Yoo dress and her dapper groom to all their guests laughing the night away thanks to The Traveling Photo Booth, it’s was a nautical night to remember. See it all in our VAULT right here!
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From the Bride… Bart told me he wanted to marry me about two months into dating while I was vacationing in Belgium, but we officially were engaged about seven months later. After a long week, Bart suggested we meet up at the yacht club and go for a walk along the breakwall. He brought along some sparklers and while I was jumping and spinning, he got down on one knee. I remember the waves crashing against the wall and his kind words. I couldn’t have been more excited!
We started planning right away and were pretty excited to take on the project together. As we went, we decided together which of our talents would be used in what areas, as well as what parts we wanted to do together. We spent pretty much the whole year planning but enjoyed the process and using our creativity in new ways.
I am from Minnesota and Bart loves the state. We knew at some point we wanted to move there, but also wanted to incorporate our love for sailing and the role Chicago Yacht Club played in bringing us together. Both we and Bart’s parents are members. The first place I had ever been sailing was on White Bear Lake and I had fond memories of the club. White Bear Yacht Club was the first and only venue we visited. We felt right at home among the sailboats and vintage photos on the walls, and loved the Minnesota charm and history. Standing in the middle of the dining room, you could almost picture all the great parties that had taken place in this little gem in the woods over the last hundred years. We booked it that day without hesitation! I have been a member of Church of the Assumption and love the inclusion and commitment to service.
I wanted a gown that was light and airy, yet classic and chic. When I put on my A-line Jenny Yoo gown, I loved that it was two pieces and could imagine it blowing in the breeze. Satin on the bottom with a chiffon overlay, yet details on the straps and waistband made it feel regal. I chose a long veil for the church for the long aisle,and reasoning, when are you going to get to wear it again?! After trying on about 20 pairs of shoes, the Jimmy Choo sole not only felt the most comfortable, but the metallic was so fun without sticking out. I found great jewelry that had a vintage feel at J.Crew, but for the ceremony I wanted to wear the real thing: a 1910’s necklace worn by my great grandmother at her wedding.
I had four bridesmaids, and I picked the color (strawberry) and material (silk chiffon) from J. Crew but then let each of them pick their style since I didn’t want them perfectly matching. Their silver shoes were from Aldo, but I also gave metallic Sperry Top Siders to each of them as a gift for later on in the evening. Each bridesmaid also chose their own jewelry. They all picked their hairstyles but I encouraged the entire wedding party to consider incorporating braids into their look.
We wanted the groomsmen to look like a well put together sailing team, with Bart in navy, and the guys in matching gray suits, with a common thread of leather accents and striped coral and navy ties. Bart wore an Italian linen Ludlow suit from J.Crew in navy. All guys wore Sperry for J Crew ‘1-eye canoe’ shoes in brown. Guys also all had matching brown belts, and coral/navy ties fromJ.Crew. Groomsmen suits were great J.F. Ferrar from J.C.Penny, and white shirts from Charles Tyrwhitt.
Our theme for the wedding was ‘chic sailing summer camp in Minnesota’. The sailing part was a must, but Bart and I also have fond memories of summer camp, and we wanted to capture the feel of summer on the water in MN, filled with fun activities, mini adventures, and making friends. My favorite kind of regatta is a blustery day by the water, with the burgees flying in the wind, sailboats heeled over with all of their crew on the rail barely hanging on, and a threat of Gale winds. Although everyone is getting absolutely soaked, there is a sense of excitement and fun and returning to the club feels like a refuge. This actually ended up being the weather on our wedding day. I was immediately drawn to the idea of navy and gray, but wanted to brighten it up with a pop of pink/coral, similar to how the spinnakers add this great pop of color to the mass of gray and white sails. We loved the feel of the yacht club’s many spaces and wanted them each to be inviting in their own way. Lastly, we wanted the day to be a celebration of our love with our friends and family, but not ‘all about us’. We skipped things that felt un-inclusive, awkward, or cliche. There was no bouquet toss, garter removal/throw, cake cutting, or grand entrance. Instead we took a ‘let’s include everyone’ approach and tried to create a fun guest experience.
Bart carefully designed everything: the save the date cards, the invites, programs, escort cards, menus, and gift bag tags. Bart started out by designing an emblem, almost with the look of a stamp that included the White Bear Yacht Club burgee and our names. The save the date cards used a nautical rope-like font which we carried throughout the rest of the stationery. There was a common theme with everything printed that included our colors and coordinating font, but Bart had fun making each piece unique. Much of the stationery also included cut out pictures and stripes. For the invitations, we kept it formal but fun. The top read ‘Holy Matrimony!’ The invitation pieces (hotel information, response card, directions and invite) stacked such that the heading of each was revealed when the envelope opened.
Bart also designed tons of stationery and print for the reception – menus, activity list, bar menus, and signs for the photo booth, cards, s’mores, and burgee carried a common theme throughout the space. Signs were either framed in silver frames with nautical rope accents or placed in menu clips. Each guest was given an activity list on their place card with a full bar menu on the back to encourage an evening of fun. While it’s time consuming to DIY on such a big project, several editors throughout each of our families helped us catch any typos and style errors before everything went to print. All of the artwork was designed in Adobe Illustrator and printed on 100 to 130lb white card stock by MinuteMan Press. Escort cards were displayed on painted canoe paddles with individual hooks for each guest. Cards were watercolor painted and handwritten, with sailing line knots to hang them from the hooks. Paddles were
hung in the entryway.
I was escorted down the aisle by my dad. Ave Maria was played at the wedding, as it had been in my mom and grandma’s weddings. I wore a vintage gold necklace that had been worn by my great grandma at her wedding. Our unity candle was a carved/engraved birch base with our initials and a heart, which matched the birch base of the table numbers, purchased on Etsy. The Minnesota shaped ring bearer pillow was also a favorite.
Painted canoe paddles with hooks were hung in the entryway. From each hook was a watercolor place card hanging from knotted sailing line. Reception tables were outfitted with hurricane lamps, sailboat table numbers, various vases and menus on one side with an activity list for the day on the other. Numbers were carved sailboats, created by Tom Kraemer (firstname.lastname@example.org), a wood furniture builder in Cable, Wisconsin, who my mom met while shopping at a farmer’s market. He actually built the boats to scale from a Sonar sailboat (the kind Bart gave lessons on) design we sent him. We painted and stained them ourselves. The hurricane lamps from Pottery Barn were especially special to me. Last fall I had brought three lamp options over to my Grandparent’s home after a day of wedding shopping as they loved to hear the planning details. My grandfather looked at me very definite and said “That one! It’s like the kind we had on my coast guard ship in WW2!” He passed away two months later, so it was lovely to have feel his presence and light literally at every table. We knew that we did not want a ‘matchy matchy’ wedding, more a feel and vision throughout. Rather than choosing a single vase and flower type for the tables, I gathered 70 different vases from friends, family and various small stores, then gave the florist the direction of ‘light airy white and coral flowers’ and let them go crazy. I loved the result of their creativity and how each table looked a little different and unique!
The yacht club place settings included the burgee which felt perfect for our wedding. Each place setting had the two sided activity list/cocktail menu and a Minnesota shaped sugar cookie. Lanterns lit the way down a path from the yacht club building to the water that encouraged guests to explore the grounds. At the end of the path there was an outdoor bonfire with s’mores. Creative signs designed by the groom were scattered about along with various flower vases. Near the entrance to the dining room was a table filled with wedding photos from our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. A Pottery Barn box which resembled a vintage box you would use on a boat to put fish or tackle in was used for cards. The yacht club living room and parlor carried the theme of flowers for a warm, inviting feel. In the living room guests could snap a photo of themselves in the photo booth and sign the burgee. Round tables were more clustered and long tables vases spread out in a line, but each and every table was different!
PHEW! That’s it!
Photography: Jeff Sampson Photography | Floral Design: Lexington Floral | Wedding Dress: Jenny Yoo | Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Jewelry: J.Crew | Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew | DJ: Midwest Sound | Groom's Attire: J.Crew | Groomsmen's Attire: J.F. Ferrar At J.C. Penny | Venue: White Bear Yacht Club | Groomsmen's Shirts: Charles Tyrwhitt | Photo Booth: The Traveling Photo Booth