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Whimsical Wedding Inspiration in Chicago

Celebrating love is the greatest reason to celebrate in my book, and if you are going to kick up your heels, you might as well do so in style. Enter A Splendid Occasion and this ridiculously fun shoot captured by Emilia Jane Photography. This gallery is literally overflowing with fun, steal-worthy ideas for your next soiree (including some gorgeous beauty inspiration from Nika Vaughan Bridal Artists). Which means you should make a beeline to this gallery ASAP. 

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Event Venue
Styles
Whimsical

From A Splendid OccasionThe idea for this shoot came from the recent passing of the same-sex marriage law in Chicago, IL. We thought it would be nice to show our support by putting together a small styled shoot for those now able and excited to start planning their wedding.

The goal was to keep everything very feminine, romantic, and soft, with a touch of whimsy. Alice Padrul’s dresses (the highlight) really lend themselves well to this theme, and Emilia Jane photographed them beautifully. The bright, summer like colors and the accents of handmade materials really put this shoot over the edge. All of the materials used for this wedding can be created by anyone, it just takes a little bit of time! The handmade elements include the popcorn bar, calligraphy, the wedding cake, cake topper, as well as the backdrop for the ceremony, all by A Splendid Occasion.

Photography: Emilia Jane Photography | Floral Design: The Bread & Butterfly | Stationery: Chykalophia | Dresses/Accessories: Alice Padrul Bridal Couture | Hair/Makeup: Nika Vaughan Bridal Artists | Linens: M & M Special Events | Planner/Designer/Stylist/Decor: A Splendid Occasion | Rentals: Rent Vintage Chicago

Nika Vaughan Bridal Artists, Emilia Jane Photography and A Splendid Occasion are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Nika Vaughan, Makeup Artist

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Emilia Jane Photography

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A Splendid Occasion​

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You'll love these vendors in The Midwest

Eric Yerke Photography
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Chicago Wedding at the Honky Tonk BBQ Garden

Two Birds Photography never fails to bring us the sweetest of soirees, and this pretty little party below is no different. It’s honky tonk meets lovely garden party, and before looking at this gallery, I never knew that was one seriously darling combination. Well, it only takes one peek right here to see it so is. 

Colors
Seasons
Fall
Settings
Restaurant
Styles
Romantic

From The Bride…We couldn’t have been happier with our 80-person wedding. Everything, including the venue, the music, the food, the photography, and the guests– even the weather– all came together better than we could have hoped. We aimed for a welcoming, fun, and friendly atmosphere for everyone, hoping for the sort of environment where no one would take themselves too seriously. We were very excited to host a Patsy Cline cover band and feature delicious BBQ food in a private urban courtyard. As a symbolic gesture, during our ceremony we planted a Japanese Maple tree that we brought home to plant in our own yard.

Wedding Dress - Luly Yang 2009, but I got it used from a charity called Brides Against Breast Cancer. I loved how BABC had hundreds of dresses from different designers at at different price points that I could try on at one time. It felt much more natural than the bridal boutique experience, and I was glad to support a good cause rather than buy a new dress that would never be reworn.

Venue - The secret garden where we hosted our wedding is the former courtyard and convent of St. Procopius Parish, founded in 1875. Today it is owned by Honky Tonk BBQ, a restaurant and music venue across the street. They handled all of the catering, and we had quite a feast (the bacon candy appetizer was a hit). The venue is BYOB, which allowed us to bring in a few kegs of local beer from Atlas Brewing, a new brewery owned by friends. Band -The Weepin’ Willows, a phenomenal Patsy Cline cover band! Pastor - Reverend Rachel Frey, a friend and former co-op housemate of Lisa’s. Photographer - Two Birds Photography. Jake was wonderful to work with, and we loved all of the wedding photos.

Photography: Two Birds Photography | Wedding Dress: Luly Yang Couture | Bride's Shoes: Nina | Band: The Weepin Willows | Groom's Attire: J.Crew | Groom's Shoes: Calvin Klein | Beverages: Atlast Brewing | Bride's Dress: Brides Against Breast Cancer | Bride's Earrings: Kate Spade | Groom's Tie: Calvin Klein | Pastor: Reverend Rachel Frey | Restaurant: Honky Tonk BBQ Garden

J.Crew is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. Two Birds Photography is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Two Birds Photography

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Wisconsin Glam Vineyard Wedding

Take everything you’ve thought about a vineyard wedding and gently toss that out the window. Because this, my dears, is the vineyard wedding glammed up with chandeliers, macaroons, glitter tablecloths – the works. Munster Rose and Cocoa & Fig were a few vendors behind the pretty and Melissa Oholendt is to thank for the snaps. Sit back and start the swoon party here.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Vineyard
Styles
Romantic

From Munster Rose… Mindy & Thomas knew they wanted a Midwest wedding and began searching for a venue that would not only provide a beautiful destination for their guests, but also an experience that would allow them to feel like they were enjoying an extended stay with their closest friends. They considered close to a dozen different places but fell in love with the natural yet refined elegance of Villa Bellezza, a vineyard in Pepin, Wisconsin on the beautiful, historic Highway 61.

Mindy and Thomas chose a lovely palate of blush, taupe, and soft golds to complement the high wood beams of the vaulted ceiling and curls of the wrought iron railings. When trying to decide what style they wanted, they knew they wanted sophisticated, but not contrived. They desired for the decor to match the natural feel of the vineyard, but also match their classic, and slightly eclectic taste. Beginning with the incredible iron and reclaimed wood arbor that Mindy’s father handcrafted and ending with a decadent dessert table, every detail of their wedding was specifically chosen to be both aesthetically pleasing and a personal, thoughtful experience for their guests.

As guests entered the Villa for the ceremony, sun and a lush backdrop of the vineyard for the Ceremony greeted them. The to-be-weds were led down the aisle by their wedding party, their sweet dog Tucker, and their adorable nephew/ring bearer Kooper. Standing under the twelve-foot tall arbor that literally dripped with grapevines & lush floral decor and was crowned with a crystal chandelier, Mindy and Thomas promised each other their hearts forever. And in a meaningful touch, the stunning chandelier will hang in their newly built home to remind them of their vows and the beautiful start to their marriage.

After the ceremony, guests entered the Tuscan-style Winery where they found high vaulted ceilings and beautiful woodwork. A martini luge, carved to match the model of the plane Mindy and Thomas fly together in their careers as pilots, was waiting for guests as the entered the Tower room for an energetic Cocktail Hour. Fun was had by all the guests at the hand-built photo wall backdrop, that Mindy’s dad also created, that allowed guests to take photos on their phones and upload the images to the wedding app, Wedding Party App, for the bride & groom to view while on their honeymoon.

For the aesthetic of the dinner & dancing portion of the night, Mindy & Thomas chose to incorporate vintage decor that they sourced themselves, such as an antique art easel for the escort cards as well as an assortment of the hand-picked family china for the head table. These pieces were mixed in with modern touches such as sequin linens and DIY shimmering table numbers to create a playful, yet elegant touch to the decor. Complementing the taupe satin linens at the guest tables were bright and loose floral designs that included giant dinner plate dahlias that Jackie, their florist, grew at her own home.

Soft touches of pink and gold throughout the space were also seen in their custom stationary, designed by Mindy’s Maid of Honor and put together by Mindy, as well as their expansive dessert table where guests were encouraged to taste test a variety of sweets. The table featured miniature dessert shooters, macarons, mini tarts, and a light pink cake with gold fondant detailing, all displayed on a variety of gold and white cake stands, and surrounded by hand-crafted gold and glitter confetti. Guests dined on salmon and filets while they drank wine crafted at Villa Bellezza.

There were many special moments that they recall about the day, but their favorite moment included sneaking away for a few stolen minutes to the Bridal Suite to (literally) collapse on the floor and revel in all that had just taken place. With the ceremony behind them and a wonderfully long night of dancing and mingling ahead of them, they stole away to recount how they felt as they first saw each other that day from opposite ends of the aisle, to excitedly share their favorite parts of the day to that point, and reenergize for the fun evening yet to come.

After gathering themselves up to make their Grand Entrance into the Reception Hall they took a quick moment to view the scene from the balcony. They watched as their guests rose to their feet, champagne in hand, to grey the newlyweds as they danced their way into their reception to the song “Safe & Sound” by Capital Cities. It truly was a night of toasts, love, and memories they’ll always treasure.

Photography: Melissa Oholendt Photography | Floral Design: Munster Rose | Wedding Dress: Watters | Bridesmaids Dresses: Watters | Catering: Deco Catering | Calligraphy: Reneé Polcher | Groom's Attire: Heimies Haberdashery | Bridal Salon: Bridals By Lori | Cake & Dessert: Cocoa & Fig | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Villa Bellezza | Design/Planning: Kirsten Fischer Of FAB Event Design | Groom's Watch: Breitling Watches | Lighting & DJ: Instant Request | Makeup: Muse | Rentals: BBJ Linen | Rentals: Latavola

Watters is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. La Tavola Fine Linen Rental, Cocoa & Fig, Munster Rose and BBJ are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
La Tavola Fine Linen Rental

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Cocoa & Fig

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Munster Rose

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Modern Minnesota Backyard Wedding

When it came time to settle on a location for their long-awaited nuptials, Megan and Justin knew there was no spot better than his childhood home. And with a family of makers and designers to help them plan the day, their backyard wedding turned into an elegant affair with a black and white palette guiding every detail. A Sunshine Moment captured the beauty and lucky for you it’s all waiting here!

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Outdoor
Styles
Modern

From the Bride… Justin and I met in high school. We grew up in a small town, he was a senior and I was a freshman when we first met, so it was a big deal when we sparked a interest for one another. We both knew something was there between us, but we didn’t start dating until years later. Due to various life events (mainly in part to the fact that we were both so young and at very different stages of our lives at that point in time), Justin and I went our separate ways and had little to no contact for 3 years. Then one day, I got a random text message from him. As he would say, he couldn’t stop thinking about me and just decided to reach out to see if I would respond. Obviously fate has different intentions for us than we had expected. We began dating and the rest is history!

When Justin popped the question, we had been together for 6 years and both new we wanted to spend forever with each other, so of course I couldn’t respond “YES” quick enough. Justin proposed in a fairytale-like way. Anyone who knows me, knows that I absolutely LOVE the holiday season. It truly is my favorite time of year, so when Justin popped the question on New Years Eve 2011, it made perfect sense. Going to plays is one of our things we love to do together, so weeks in advance he had planned a date night for us to go see Cinderella at a local theater and grab dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in the city. On the night of New Years Eve, 2011, we walked out of the play and it was snowing these huge, puffy, white gorgeous snowflakes, the sight was so beautiful it made me tear up – little did I know what was coming that would make me really cry. He asked if I wanted to go for a walk in the park that is across from the theater. The park had all the trees light up, dripping in gorgeous, sparkly white lights. We walked hand-in-hand, soaking up the beauty of the snow, loving that moment with each other…. And then Justin got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. It was truly a magical moment.

When we began discussing the details of our big day, we considered everything from getting married on a mountain top in Vancouver to a Chateau in the French countryside, but after much deliberation (over a year) we landed on home, literally, Justin’s childhood home. Twenty acres of trees, rolling hills, and open grassland in a small town northwest of Minneapolis, Minnesota. A place that encompasses our history, our present lives and our future! Home is where the heart is, and that is truly the case for us. Justin isn’t very emotional…yet, the thought of celebrating our marriage surrounded by family and friends where he grew up brought tears to his eyes. At that moment, we knew the Zwieg home is where we needed to make the day! The close relationships with our family and friends is what means the most to us, so we wanted all of our loved ones to be a part of our special day.

One of the biggest challenges of our wedding was that we finally solidified the date and location four months (Yes – FOUR MONTHS!) before we said I do at the Zwieg home! Needless to say it was a busy four months for everyone involved, especially because we did most everything as a family…thus, truly a “family affair!” Justin comes from a family of designers (Justin is an Art Director/Graphic Designer; his brother Jamison, is an Interior Designer; his Mom is a Designer, his dad isn’t a designer per se, but he can make or do just about anything.) It only seemed fitting that we put all of our brains together and decide to conquer this fete together. Justin and I’s big focus for the wedding was simple; we wanted it to be comfortable and welcoming for our guests, beautiful (in a tangible and intangible way) and we wanted it to feel like us, both as individuals and as a couple.

Our color palette was sophisticated with mostly black, white and silver with a little pop of pink for some fun! For us, everything is in the details, so every tiny aspect was planned out for very specific reasons. Justin designed our own personal crest, which we used throughout the wedding on large signs, coasters, and napkins. We plan to use this family crest for years to come! My mother-in-law planted all of the urns and outside arrangements, and made all of the bouquets. Our Mom’s and Justin’s siblings helped plan the entire wedding. My father-in-law had a rigorous mowing and watering schedule to ensure that the yard and plants were kept in impeccable condition throughout the heat of the summer.

My dad created the pergola structure where we got married underneath, cut all the wood slabs and loaned us his deer antlers for the nature element in the table centerpieces and throughout. My girlfriends helped me make the “Love is Sweet” sign on the dessert table and our table numbers. The guys all helped wrap the trees with white lights – dozens of trees! Justin’s high school friend was our officiant. My brother-in-law, Jamison, is an incredible designer and he took all of the pieces we imagined, and all of our desires and turned the location into a masterpiece. He set every table with help of family members, added his black crystal chandelier to the pergola to add flair…added some lamps to add ambiance and luxury to our head table…he cut the grass in a cross cut pattern to make sure it was perfect for our walk down the aisle…among so much of his design work. Jamison and I even went to Otten Brothers Nursery in Orono, MN (a family nursery on my Dad’s side) and were able to borrow dozens of trees and shrubs to add to our estate décor – wow! Everything, and I mean everything, about our wedding was done in four months and with the help of our families and friends. 

Our big day was magical! We woke up to a beautiful, sunny, Minnesota summer day. The heat was on, not only temperature wise, but also getting everyone and everything ready for our 5pm event of our lifetimes. This past summer was one of the hottest summer in years. The girls got ready at my childhood home, while our families were rushing around at Justin’s childhood home getting everything setup and in place. The time flew by! Before we knew it, guests were arriving and it was show time. The energy was high, love was in the air and the emotions were a roller coaster ride – this was the day that Justin and I had been looking forward to for years. As the ceremony began, the sky went from bright and sunny to dark grey. It was mystical, ethereal – but not a drop of rain fell. We got through our very intimate ceremony, did the entire receiving line and once every last guest was seated and Justin and I walked into the tent to start the reception – with a strike of lighting and a crack of thunder, it started pouring rain. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect… it was a refreshing, summer evening rain that cooled the temperature down.

We weren’t interested in the typical banquet food, so we hired a caterer that came onsite and grilled everything outside. We served delicious, comfort food that everyone loves – angus burgers, chicken sandwiches and mac ‘n cheese for the main course and dessert was a local bakery’s delectable Tres Leche cake and my dad’s famous homemade chocolate chip cookies. Our wedding was a black tie event, but Justin and I are passionate about good food and wanted our guests to really enjoy their dinner. Our menu juxtaposed with black tie attire was the casual elegance that we wanted to accomplish on our wedding day. After dinner, our fathers, siblings’ and dearest friends gave the most touching speeches. Truly one of our most favorite moments of the evening. They were the longest, most thoughtful speeches I have ever experienced. There was not a dry eye in the house. After the speeches, we turned down the lights and danced the night away. Throughout the night the thousands of twinkle lights and bunches of tiki torches stayed light and sparkled all night. The rain added to the ambiance of the evening and according to an old fortune says that rain on your wedding day is good luck.

Our families and close-knit group of friends made everything come together perfectly. The day was an absolute dream come true. We couldn’t have asked for a better celebration to mark the next chapter of our lives together. 

Photography: Kaia Calhoun, A Sunshine Moment | Bridesmaids Dresses: Mixed – Ladies’ Choice (Tahari, J.Crew, Eliza J., White House Black Market, Sangria) | Catering: Dehmer's | Makeup Artist: Jodi Favata | Officiant: Micah Blake | Art Director: Justin Zwieg, Vantage / Se7en | Bride’s Earrings : Erickson Beamon Chrysler Earrings From Rent The Runway | Bride’s Gown: Vera Wang From L'Atelier Couture | Bride’s Perfume: Flora By Gucci, Gorgeous Gardenia | Bride’s Ring: Designed By The Groom From Graham Jewelers | Bride’s Sash: Vera Wang From L'Atelier Couture | Bride’s Shoes: Glint Radiance From Nordstrom's | Cake - For The Guests: Cafe Latte | Cake - Specialty Vanilla Bride & Groom Cake : Crazi Coffee, Bakery, Flowers & Events | Cake Topper: Oh Dier Living | Chandeliers (outside): Jamison Zwieg Design Group | Event/Landscape/Exterior Design: Jamison Zwieg, Ron Zwieg, Nancy Zwieg And Nicole Daly - Jamison Zwieg Design Group | Floral Design (Exterior, Landscape And Bouquets): Nancy Zwieg, Jamison Zwieg Design Group | Florist (boutonnieres And Corsages): Candle Light Floral | Graphic Designer: Renee Rodgers, ReneeNicoleDesign | Graphic Designer: Justin Zwieg, Vantage / Se7en | Groomsmen Attire: Savvi Formalwear | Groom’s Ring: Graham Jewelers | Groom’s Shoes: Florsheim From Nordstrom’s | Groom’s Suit: Indochino | Groom’s Watch: Gucci | Hair Stylists: Renee Douville And Brenda From Hair By Hughes And Crew | Location: Private Residence | Musicians: Sara Jeddeloh And Anna Alvarez | Plants, Flowers And Shrubs: Otten Brother's Nursery | Tent, Linens & Chandeliers (in The Tent): Apres Party And Tent Rental | Wedding Planners: Our Families

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