A Classic, Lake Michigan Wedding Anchored in Tradition
April 25, 2017
Classic WeddingsChurchCountry Club
There’s something special about a traditional wedding. Each detail – like the couple’s sweet history with the location, the bride’s beautiful bouquet wrap crafted from her mother’s veil and grandmother’s gown, and the groom's heirloom toasting goblets – overflows with love and thought. Grab a tissue because this elegant event captured by Laura Ann Miller Photography will pull on your heartstrings. See all the thoughtful details in our Vault!
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From the Bride... Although Dan and I met and now reside in Missouri, there was never any doubt that we would marry in Wilmette, my beautiful hometown. Situated on Lake Michigan just north of Chicago, it’s a special place for us – even more so after Dan asked me to marry him there on my childhood beach. We hope to one day settle in Wilmette with a family of our own, so it only felt fitting to become husband and wife there, too.

Dan and I were together for seven years before we became engaged, so we had a long time to dream of our future wedding. Once our engagement was official, our vision for an elegant, romantic and traditional wedding came together quite easily, especially because I previously worked in the wedding industry and had filed away ideas for my own special day over the years. We knew we wanted a classic wedding that wouldn't look too dated in the albums we one day show our children. Above all, it was important to us that the day feel personal and intimate; that drove all our decisions, from our venues to the decor to small details throughout the day.

We chose beautiful vintage venues with personal connections to my family. We married at my childhood church, and our reception followed at Michigan Shores Club, a historic social club in the neighborhood where I grew up. Michigan Shores is just steps away from the beach where Dan proposed, making it all the more special. The beautiful Tudor architecture of the club and the traditional-yet-intimate ambiance of both venues drove my design for our wedding day.

We chose a neutral and romantic color palette of blush, ivory and gold with black accents – a combination that both reflects our style and is a nod to our alma mater, Mizzou, where we fell in love. Our floral design was garden-inspired, with green garlands, large hydrangea blooms, and garden roses. To create an intimate ambiance and encourage conversation, we opted for long tables adorned with low floral arrangements and lots of candles to add warmth to the space. We also mixed in small, round tables with blush linens and high candelabra centerpieces for contrast.

I planned every detail of the wedding myself, and everything had a personal touch or meaning. I customized my strapless Tara Keely wedding gown to add removable, off-the-shoulder lace sleeves, which at the time was a look I wasn't able to find in stores but one I envisioned for my wedding dress. I designed the wedding-day paper, signage, and bottle-coolers for our reception bars. My parents and I scoured antique shops for vintage vanity mirrors to use on our escort table and painted vintage frames for our displays. I sourced all the candles and tabletop decor for months. I wore Badgley Mischka shoes, and my bridesmaids wore Badgley Mischka dresses, a nod to my day job. I was also fortunate to work with wonderful vendors who brought my ideas to life, in particular our floral design by Kristin of Petals N' Bloom and our gold thermography wedding invitation suite by Alicia of On Three Designs. I loved working with Alicia to design our invitations and incorporate personal details, like the vintage-inspired monogram and wedding map.

One of my favorite details that went unseen by most was my bouquet wrap. My mother made my bouquet wrap from pieces of my grandmother's wedding dress and her own lace wedding veil. The finishing touch was my mother's pin from our shared sorority – my something borrowed that day. Dan and I were also the latest in a long line of couples to toast with his family's silver goblets; we loved continuing the tradition.

As much as we wanted a sophisticated and elegant wedding, we also wanted a fun wedding! Our DJ, Karin of Toast and Jam, played a huge role in creating a party atmosphere. Her music kept our dance floor going all night. The photo booth (complete with cardboard cut-outs of our beloved dog, Henry) was also a big hit, as were the festive sequin accents throughout. Seeing all the people I love having such an amazing time made all the hard work planning and coordinating on my own so worth it.

One of the best decisions we made was to have a long engagement, which allowed us to take our time with planning and to enjoy every step of the process. We also had plenty of time to relish being engaged and all the pre-wedding celebrations that come with it. My advice to brides is to give yourself the gift of time and enjoy the planning process.