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A&A13 Oct, 2018
The story of our wedding
I met Andrew while I was finishing grad school for Costume Design in Chicago. Seeing him on the weekend always felt like going on vacation. I went to New York to try out being in theatre there, but when I returned to Chicago and to him, I knew he was the one. He proposed on the perfect summer day. He planned a day full of all of the dates and adventures we had discussed but never got around to in our beautiful city of Chicago We ended at the craft beer bar where we had our first date, and when I went to order my drink, every beer name and brewery had been changed to one of our inside jokes. The last one on the menu was "A Modest Proposal" by McWoody Brewery, which is our last names smushed together. When I looked up through my tears, he was kneeling and holding up this gorgeous ring. I couldn't have asked for a more special moment, it was so personal to us. The surprise party he had waiting for us at our house after dinner was just the icing on the cake.
For our wedding day, I originally wanted a bonfire in my parent's backyard, but my husband's family is huge, so we started looking at venus. I fell in love with our venue when I saw it because it reminded me of my childhood farm. I had a lot of stress that my style and our ideas wouldn't feel right in a larger more formal venue setting. But on the day, I was so glad that we threw our kind of party because it really felt like the best of both worlds: laid-back party with a bonfire, smores, an Irish band, and a beautiful backdrop. It really felt like the most amazing day ever, and I cried the whole time because it felt magical to marry my favorite person with everyone we love around us.
As a costume and set designer, I had so many plans and tricks for essentially building the wedding, and I'm very used to loading in a show in one day. My mother and I are both artists, so we DIYed pretty much the whole thing. It was fun to spend so many days with her the year leading up to the weekend working on our projects.
I used a wonderful wholesale florist shop for the centerpieces and bouquets. I also bought bulk flowers from them, and my mother and I used those to do the boutonnieres, corsages, flower crowns, and a few other small arrangements for tables the day before. We also scouted my family's woods the year before and planned on what floral items we knew we could harvest for free. From there, we got all of the vines for the arbor, the hydrangeas (which we dried a month in advance), and branches to fill in the arch and bulk up the centerpieces. The evergreens we purchased from a Christmas tree farm down the road. They were trimming and sold us bundles, which allowed me to really fill the space with greenery. I could never have afforded that many flowers and arrangements, and it was really important to me that the room feel lush since our style was cozy and woodsy.
We're a couple who loves craft beer and goes to breweries a lot. So we chose to do several special beers instead of a full bar. We even had one brewed for us by a friend! We brought one large bottle of whiskey and wrote on the bar menu to see the groom for a tipple. This encouraged people to seek us out for a shot in their coffee or coke, which was a really fun way to visit with people.
My mom made our wedding cakes. She's a fantastic cook and baker. She practiced all year, and they were amazing. We couldn't pick form her amazing flavors, so we did 3 small cakes instead of one large one. My favorite was the maple cake, but my husband swears by the chocolate stout cake with salted caramel and chocolate ganache. The bridal party voted for the orange cake with raspberries and white chocolate buttercream. It was an experience to try them all! My mother-in-law and our aunts provided cookies so our dessert table was full of the love and talents of both of our families.
My mom is a professional ceramics artist, so she made tiny vases for our favors, and the vases for the centerpieces, as well as having two of her large carved floor jars holding arrangements on either side of the entryway. We spent all year thrifting and collecting the wood candlesticks and glass toppers. Each table had an eclectic mix of bronze metal, dark wood, and gleaming glass. My parents found and completely refinished the fireplace that was behind our head table. If it had rained that day, we would have been married in front of it
Andrew is a creative director, so he designed all of our invites, signs, and menus. I handpainted the color on each invite so they were one of a kind, and we made the envelope inserts our of my favorite fancy paper.
I used my costume skills to create my hair wreath out of vintage jewelry pieces that I found and to embroider my shoes. My bridesmaids and I did our own hair and makeup for the day, as two of them are costume designers as well. It was a novel experience dressing and designing ourselves instead of someone else!
I gave Andrew a custom vinyl record of all of our songs, and he gave me a bracelet that matched my ring. After opening our gifts, we decided to do a "no look first look". Our photographers Katy and Patrick helped us sneak into the manor house so that we could be together before the ceremony. It was so calming to hear his voice and hold his hand, and it settled all of my nerves. It was a really special moment, and I love the photos from it because now I can see how he was feeling at the same time.
The ceremony was my favorite part of the day. It had been cold that day, but it miraculously warmed up for the afternoon and evening. The sun came out and shone through the trees with a golden light that made everything look magical. It caught in the crystals of the arch, which were a surprise from my mom the week before. She had saved them from the chandelier of the house I grew up in. With the golden light and the trees, it felt like the coziest place to make our start. We wrote our own vows, and Andrew's vows blew me away. He had the whole place tearing up, not just me. Andrew and I chose to do a quaich ceremony as part of the vows. Out of the tiny silver cup, we shared a sip of scotch that we had brought back from Scotland right before we got engaged. Everything felt so specific to us, and the whole ceremony was a moment of perfect magic.
If I get to pick a second favorite moment, it would be when my mom got everyone up and on their feet to kick off the party by dancing a jig with the Irish band, Kennedy's Kitchen. I love the photos from that moment because it set the mood for a fun night, and got everyone laughing and on their feet.
At the end of the night, everyone was gathered around the fire, listening to each other play guitar and singing. It was the perfect end to our day, and it felt so magical.
Andrew and Anna's vendor team
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