I finally had a chance to sit down and write up my Big Wedding Post!
Before I get started, let me say that most of the photos in this post are from our photographer, Kimmy Noonen. The few non-watermarked photos were taken by my mom and step-dad. Kimmy was a joy to work with. By the end my dad said she was like an old friend. Her photos are so amazing I can't stop looking at them all. Suffice it to say this is a really, really image-heavy post, and only a drop in the bucket as far as memorable photos we have from that day!
As you all know, Mel and I got married on Friday, June 17th. Up until literally the day of the wedding we'd been having pretty crappy weather in Chicago that month. Case in point two days earlier, my dad flew in from New Mexico and it was pouring cats and dogs. But the forecast all week looked good for Friday, and it stayed that way. The weather was absolutely perfect! Which is a good thing, since it was an outside wedding and we really had no alternate plan other than umbrellas.
This was a guerrilla wedding. No reserved location, no aisle, no wedding party, no bouquet. It was held along the trails at the North Park Village Nature Center, 155 acres of nature smack dab in the middle of the city. When you're there it's hard to imagine you're in Chicago. We had no idea exactly how it would go, descending upon the place with our parents, Mel's sisters, their husbands and 5 kids total, our closest friend in Chicago and our photographer.
But it was perfect. The place was almost empty. Seriously, we saw about three people the entire afternoon and not a single soul during the ceremony itself. It couldn't have been better!
We all gathered in the parking lot beforehand. Our friend Jen kindly supplied Mel and I with flowers, gorgeous yellow mini calla lilies. My mom helped Mel with the boutonniere.
This was my "how the heck do I put this corsage on?" face. Why do I look so horrified? It's a corsage, not an alien life form. I laughed myself silly the first time I saw this photo.
But I figured it out...
I know I mentioned that I worked on something special for our ring bearer pillow. I embroidered a vintage handkerchief with our names and the wedding date. I used a small ball of yarn to form a 'pillow', wrapped the pressed and starched hankie around it and tied it at the base with ribbon. I threaded two buttons onto ribbon and tied them through the ball of yarn, to tie the rings. I used toothpicks on the underside of the ball of yarn so that the thread didn't pull up through the ball of yarn and release the carefully orchestrated pillow. Plus in doing that I was able to pull the thread tight and make the buttons taut against the pillow. The pillow was tucked into a pine needle basket that my step-grandmother made, and I carefully arranged the folds of the hankie around it. Once the ceremony was done, I snipped the ribbons and thread and now I have a keepsake hankie. (I'll be doing one for Mel, too.)
Talking to our niece about the rings. Our two nieces (cousins about the same age) were our ring bearers.
I'm sure you want to know about my outfit! I knew I wanted to go non-traditional and casual from the beginning, due to the location and guerrilla nature of the wedding. I found the most perfect dress on Etsy from ReEnhabit. It's a 1940s dress with a peplum and a collar that overlaps and buttons at the center. I wore it with 1940s pee wee cowboy boots and lots of vintage family items. Earrings and brooch set that were my mom's mom's. High school class ring from 1931 that was my dad's mom's. Hankie tucked into my belt (which I later realized was off-center all day long) that was my mom's grandmother's. It was my something blue. And my something borrowed was my mom's pearl necklace. The celluloid bangle was my own.
You can see my grandma's art deco class ring and my half moon manicure (currently my favorite way to do my nails).
Mel was wearing a black vintage blazer with subtle vertical stripes, light yellow shirt, a straw hat and a hand-painted tie from the 40s.
Did I mention how great the weather was? Seriously. It was clear and in the low 80s with barely any wind. Just ideal.
And then we headed towards the ceremony site. Actually we didn't know the exact site until we all got there and decided. :)
These are our little ring bearers and two of my most favorite photos. They were just adorable.
Inside the actual Nature Center building (you walk through it to get to the trails) they have bee hives. The bees have access to the outdoors through tubes cut out through the windows. It's a pretty ingenious display that they've had since I was a little kid. I'm so happy they still have it. And yes, while you can't tell, the bees are behind glass.
Aren't the girls so sweet?
We meandered down the trail until we decided on the site, a small grassy clearing under oak trees, on the edge of the path. You aren't supposed to go off the trail so we just barely stepped over and tried not to disturb anything.
Mel's dad, a retired judge, officiated.
We wrote our own ceremony. It was short, sweet, and beautiful, if I do say so myself. ;)
And the KISS!
Look at how our niece was in the corner of this shot, ha ha!
And then the ceremony was finished! We all spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the wooded and wetlands trails.
Isn't this a great photo of our cowboy boots? Mine in the middle, my mom's on the left (which she thrifted!) and Mel's mom's on the right.
I wanted a shawl for my wedding day, so my mom graciously obliged and knit me a gorgeous shawlette in a yummy silk wool blend. I love it and can't wait to wear it this Fall!
This is another favorite of mine. In case you're wondering where my other leg is, I had it up in the air.
There were deer (several!), there was gorgeous flora and fauna, wood chip paths, wooden bridges and big blue skies...
Did I mention my other crafty project? We brought a cooler with bottles of water for everyone after the ceremony and walk, since we figured people could use a cool drink. I personalized them with packaging tape, a color printer and Photoshop.
They were well received!
There was laughter, there was silliness, smiles, and bubbles...
And a good time was had by all.
After frolicking in the park we all went out to a fantastic Southern-style dinner at Wishbone (who handled our large but not huge group beautifully), where two more of our close friends joined us. After that we had a couple of drinks with our friends then retired to the very posh Hotel Monaco for the evening, where we were greeted with a complimentary bottle of champagne in our room. I felt so fancy!
So that's the wedding in a nutshell. When the only thing I recall being amiss is that I forgot to put on blush when I did my makeup that day, I think I can safely say: it was the perfect wedding day!
If you'd like to see the whole set of photos, there's more on Flickr. Thanks for indulging me while I shared our wedding day! It means a lot to me to be able to share it with you all. :)