Meeting the love of your life in eighth grade is one of those oh-so-amazing stories you couldn’t even make up if you tried; the sort of story where it’s clear Cupid had a plan for you and yours all along. And when you follow up that fateful meeting in science class (and 13 years of courtship!) with a drop-dead gorgeous vintage meets rustic wedding at the breathtaking Danada House, it’s the perfect chapter to one crazy fabulous fairytale. One that includes the beautiful stylings and florals of The Perfect Pick and one love-filled moment after another captured by Chrystl Roberge Photography. See them all right here.
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From the Bride… Our love story began in the eighth grade. Dan’s neighborhood had been moved to my middle school and he sat behind me in science class. He has always been a little bit rebellious and a daredevil; we girls can’t help but fall for the bad boy! After exchanging shy smiles, we soon embarked on a romance that wove in and out of our lives for the next thirteen years!
Dan is the most selfless and loving person I have ever met. Together, we share a passion of always helping and caring for others. When planning our special day, it was essential for our wedding to capture the special memories we have created together throughout the years and include the people who have supported and fostered our relationship. It was important to both of us that our wedding was unique and memorable. We knew we wanted to find a venue where we could hold both the ceremony and reception. Dan and I really liked the idea of getting married outdoors with the sun beginning to set at the end of the ceremony. When Dan’s brother Adam, the best man, raved about a wedding he had attended at the Dananda House, we had to check it out! We loved the tidy gardens, vast landscape, and the atrium with three walls of ceiling to floor windows that overlooked the forest preserve. We immediately knew that this was the ideal place for us to officially tie the knot!
Part of the theme that we selected had that strong rustic feel, with elements of birch and trees in the invitations, floral arrangements and wedding décor. My friends tease me that my home looks like a picture out of the Pottery Barn catalog, so I was immediately drawn to the rustic and vintage details of mercury glass and lanterns. The lanterns were used to line the aisle and reused on guests’ tables during the reception. Mercury glass candles, globes, vases and votives offered delicate decoration to the cocktail, guest, feasting, dessert, and place card tables. Romantic details came in the rich fabrics of my dress, bouquet ribbon, flower selection, calligraphy, and candle lighting. Skeleton keys adorned place cards to capture a classic vintage feel for guests.
One of my favorite details of our wedding was the feasting table. Both Dan and I wanted our attendants to feel comfortable and happy at our wedding. We knew from experience that it is no fun to be separated from your date during dinner. As soon as we heard about the feasting or harvest table idea, we knew that was what we wanted. Our table was so elegant! Blush satin table cloths lined our table, ruffle chair covers noted the bride and groom’s special seats, and blush, ivory and apricot flowers were accented by soft mercury glass votives. Dan and I had the perfect view of all of our guests and the band!
I could not have made a better decision than hiring Stephanie at the Perfect Pick to do my flowers. She handpicked every single bloom herself and put together the most amazingly beautiful arrangements I have ever seen. The slightest detail was not overlooked. Dan’s boutonnière was wrapped in birch bark to match not only the reception décor, but to accent the strips of birch elegantly woven in my bouquet. Stephanie incorporated ruffles and romantic textures in all of her work to capture the carefree and personable attitudes that Dan and I share.
Stephanie soon introduced us to the adorable Emily Cavanagh who would help personalize so many important details for our wedding. Emily has such a flair for gorgeous handwriting and we put her talent to work! Emily hand wrote each address on beautiful teal envelopes. Using a fabric swatch, she searched for the perfect teal envelope to match the bridesmaid dresses. Emily also designed the wedding invitation. On the back of the invite, it looks like birch bark with a K&D lettering that appeared to be carved into the bark. This small detail made the invitation so personal and went with the rustic theme. A hand-drawn, watercolor map of the key locations was included to help guests navigate between the hotel and Danada House. Each invitation was carefully tied together with a crinkled silk ribbon and paper heart, which incorporated the same style as the save the date and wedding details.
There were countless personalized details that reflected details about us as a couple. The many uses of books and book pages reflected our mutual love of reading. Our ceremony programs were book marks with one of our engagement pictures for our guests to reuse after the wedding. Our favors were delectable caramel apples from Rocky Mountain Chocolate factory (with no peanuts because Dan is allergic). I am a teacher, so the books and apples went perfectly with my profession! Each bar had our favorite/specialty drinks with large coffee table books with menu items written in calligraphy. Every detail fit together perfectly.
Collecting wedding details soon became a family and friends project! Both of our moms had no problem purchasing gorgeous mercury glass pieces from Pottery Barn that they knew could be incorporated into their home décor when the wedding was over. My sister-in-law Natalie and I searched through old antique shops downtown Ottowa, Illinois for vintage books for table decorations. She would surprise me with new finds whenever I saw her until we had quite the collection! As soon as a family friend decided to cut down his birch tree, my dad was the first person he called! We collected an entire truckload and used it for numerous details throughout our ceremony and reception (you can see birch bark candles, picture frames, flower cones, logs, etc.). My aunt gave us countless numbers of skeleton keys that she had collected. It was amazing to see how generous and motivated people were to lend a helping hand to the aesthetics of our big day!
Photography: Chrystl Roberge Photography | Floral + Event Design: Stephanie Robinson of The Perfect Pick | Wedding Venue: The Danada House, Wheaton, Illinois | Invitations: Emily Cavanagh | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Wedding Dress: Wolsfelt’s Victorian Bridal, Aurora, Illinois | Bridesmaid + Flower Girl Dresses: Bella Bridesmaid, Chicago | Linens: BBJ Linen | Favors: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory | Place Card Keys: The Porkchop Show | Makeup: Dominica Szwajnos of Outer Beauty Airbrush Makeup | Hair: Brandy Olsen of Eddie Caruso’s Salon