Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"Justin and I met at our best friends' wedding. I was the maid of honor and Justin was a guest. We had a quick moment on the dance floor, thought I honestly don’t remember it. It wasn’t until the fall that we started to get to know each other at bonfires and game nights with the newlyweds.

"During that time, I also met and got to know his five year old daughter, yet I was completely oblivious to his attentive interest in me. In February of 2013, I finally came to my senses and we officially started to date. It didn’t take long to realize God was calling us to a greater commitment to one another and so we began to talk about marriage. In February 2014, Justin proposed and I said, 'Absolutely!'

"I am an employee of Kathryn’s Bridal, so I was very familiar with our exquisite inventory of gowns. Originally, I wanted to wear something over the top or different for my wedding. On a random Thursday night after the shop closed for the day, Kathryn and my co-workers encouraged me to try a few dresses on.

"Since we planned a short engagement, I knew my gown options would be rather limited. That’s when the owner, Kathryn handed me a dress and said, 'Try this on.' This particular dress was one I had sold on numerous occasions to other brides and therefore never thought it would be something I would wear on my wedding day. However, Kathryn has this magical talent of selecting a bride’s perfect silhouette. So, I slipped it on, turned to the mirror in the fitting room to see myself and I was SOLD. I loved it, I couldn’t keep from smiling.

"On our wedding day I took full advantage of wearing my dress. Although the seamstress did beautiful alterations on my dress, I never bustled it up. I loved walking around with my train trailing behind me all night. I also decided on a cathedral veil which I had kept in all night.

"Each of the bridesmaids was able to select their own style dress. I choose the specific designer and color. I loved allowing them to express their own style and feel their very best. For Justin’s daughter, we found a sweet floral-patterned dress which complimented both my dress and the bridesmaids'. Her dress had soft pink, yellow and light blue flowers and it was also the inspiration for the tuxedos.

"What we kept at the forefront of planning our wedding was the end result; we would be married and become a family. The covenant we were making that day before God, each other and our guests was most important. We wanted to be intentional with the ceremony and let it represent our hearts for God and each other. Our pastor spoke from Romans 12 and encouraged us to let our love be sincere and to be devoted to one another. When I think back to the ceremony I recall those moments I was facing Justin, saying our vows, and the growing excitement to be announced as his wife.

"My mom loves to garden and she therefore recommended we check out The Gardens of Woodstock as a possible location for the wedding. I knew this was the perfect location and I fell in love. I couldn’t stop dreaming about our wedding day there.

"Our guests were seated on the patio while our parents and grandparents sat front and center. We stood under a rusty iron arbor with just enough room for our bridal party to stand on each side and it felt like we were in our own secret garden. We were really impressed and blessed to have Justin’s daughter so involved during the ceremony. She bravely stood between us; holding our hands taking it all in. We were so proud of her. Of course she covered her eyes when we sealed the deal with a kiss!

"While planning, I spent time collecting unique glass vases at second-hand stores. Each table was set with a doily from my grandmother and three mismatched vases. The flowers coordinated with the bouquets. I ended up making my own table numbers after an Etsy disaster! They turned out better than I originally imagined and I was so happy with the result. Each table was slightly different.

"The catering was phenomenal and exceeded my expectations. Their presentation was beautiful and the food was fresh, hot and flavorful. My aunt works in a bakery and gifted us our cake and cupcakes.

"The reception moved along quickly. We loved getting to visit with all our guests after dinner. The setting was so comfortable as the day turned into night. The patio was laced with garden lights. Our photographer set up a backdrop so we could take ‘photo booth’ pictures. As the night came to an end, everyone jumped in on the fun. Taking crazy, fun pictures was an awesome memory and great way to end the night." -- Melissa


Ceremony + Reception: The Gardens of Woodstock // Photography: Ryan Klos Photography // Officiant: Pastor Len DiCicco // Bride's Gown + Alterations: Kathryn’s Bridal and Dress Shop // Hair + Makeup: Salon 334 // Bridesmaids Dresses: Kathryn’s Bridal and Dress Shop // Formalwear: Jim’s Formal WearKathryn’s Bridal and Dress Shop // Invitations: Kathryn’s Bridal and Dress Shop // Flowers: Trellis // Catering: Noteable Events Productions, Inc. // Entertainment: Three 5 Media, LLC // Sweets: Homemade by Bride's Aunt

Monday, September 28, 2015

"Dan and I grew up in Christian school together. We have known each other since early elementary school. I found out that Dan liked me when I was in eighth grade, and he was in freshman year of high school. Years later, I found out that he had liked me for a while, but had never told me. When I eventually asked him why, he said that I was cute and not loud like the other girls.

"Through high school we mostly just hung out with each other in groups of friends. My junior year we finally started talking more. A few months before I graduated high school, we went on a mission trip to India together.

"We officially started dating on December 27, 2010, and went to downtown Chicago for our first date. At this point we were both in Bible College and working full time, so we spent as much time together as we could, even though our schedules were super busy.

"We dated through college and on September 28, 2013, Dan proposed at Independence Grove Forest Preserve. (With a secret photographer documenting it for us!) That day we shared our first kiss!

"We started to plan the wedding and then realized that we couldn't do it without help, especially since Dan and I were finishing up and graduating college that year. So we found Christina Currie Events through a friend and thank goodness we did! She helped us so much with everything!

"It was a beautiful wedding, not only because of the gorgeous flowers and decorations done by Meetinghouse, but because it was a traditional wedding, and most importantly because it was a wedding centered around God. We want to show our love back to God for what He has done for us by serving Him as best we can. And we feel that our marriage will allow us to serve Him better as a couple, more than we could when we were single.

"Our reception was unique in the fact that unlike most weddings, we did not have any alcohol served and there was no dancing. We wanted it to be centered on our union in marriage, and a family celebration more than an entertainment event. And it was all of this!

"The day truly was perfect and we wouldn't change any of it. I feel like it's very rare to have high school sweethearts get married. Especially a pair like us, who saved our first kiss until we were engaged!" -- Emily

Ceremony: Long Grove Community Church // Reception: Metropolis Ballroom // Photography: Marian Todd Photography // Videography: Cinaesthetic Films // Officiant: Pastor John Fontana // Wedding Consultant: Christina Currie Events, Inc. // Bride's Gown: Belle Vie Bridal Couture // Hair: Nikki Dennis // Makeup: Brie Aarin Makeup // Bridesmaids' Dresses: Victoria Sdoukos Couture Bridal // Formalwear: GQ Formalwear // Stationery: Little Shop of Papers, Ltd. // Flowers: The Meetinghouse Companies, Inc. // Catering: Metropolis Ballroom // Entertainment: Lola Bard Productions // Sweets: Lovin Oven Cakery // Transportation: VIP Valet Services