“Erin + Joel’s rustic styled wedding took place in the LaSalle Peru area of Illinois. Throughout our shooting season often we are traveling into the City of Chicago one weekend, and then come the next weekend we are out in the ‘burbs. We enjoy both settings of a modern city venue and location, but we also love the simplistic beauty found in country settings, desolate nature photos, and outdoor ceremonies in unique places and surrounded by nature. Ottawa, LaSalle Peru and even further West into the Illinois River Valley and the Starved Rock areas, we definitely include all of these spots as some of our favorite regions for nature.
Erin + Joel’s smiles and love for each other was very easy to capture on this day. E+J’s day started off in us meeting each of them as they were getting ready in separate rustic cabins at Grizzly Jack’s Grand Bear Resort & Lodge in Utica Illinois. Grand Bear was also the couple’s venue where dinner, dancing and their reception took place later in the day. We first met with Erin + Joel over a year before their wedding day. They mentioned that in the earlier part of their relationship, often they enjoyed spend time outdoors, either biking along the river or hiking at the parks in and around Starved Rock State Park. Instantly the four of us bonded on that subject, as we also enjoy hiking in the Starved Rock region too. So when discussing the couple’s ceremony and reception plans, deciding to incorporate photos in nature was definitely a must. Erin + Joel decided to see one another before their outdoor ceremony took place, so we’d have plenty of time for a little, light hiking into a forest preserve followed by some bridal photography.
E+J chose a historic ceremony venue where their vows were exchanged outside, in the rain, and on the step of the Lasalle Illinois Hegeler Carus Mansion. The rain held off for the first part of the day up until about 5 minutes before the ceremony began. Continuing on, the bridal party stood alongside the couple as the rain drops steadily fell… guest watched down below with umbrellas in hand. The rain Joel and Erin had made their day one of our most memorable exchanging of vows this year. The light rain was actually quite beautiful. Details we enjoyed about Erin + Joel’s planning was the overall in the woods and outdoors style incorporated to all the locations, selections of details, and decor. Erin’s vintage inspired lace dress tied in a touch vintage elegance. Erin worked closely with her florist in choosing florals to complement their outdoor day’s activities and woodsy venues. Floral bouquets and centerpieces included chopped wood, wood branches, moss, and an earthy color palette. A bright shade of orange found accented in her bouquet and within the bridesmaid’s dresses brought in a lively burst of color. Erin said inspiration for her theme of was also derived from the mansion’s own family history, the story of the mansion and the Hegeler Carus mansion’s historic story of togetherness. Erin decided to carry that over creating a family-togetherness aura while having their ceremony at the mansion.
“In addition to the story behind the family that lived at he Hegeler Carus Mansion, we really wanted it to be a day about love and family….and we wanted it to be a personal experience for everyone. Every one of our guests really have played an important role throughout our lives, so for the reception we created a wedding wall with photos honoring those guests and the commitment they made to each other… just the same as Joel and I had that day.” Erin and Joel mentioned they didn’t know at first have any ideas what to do for their guest’s favors. She said “we didn’t want to just throw some M&M’s in a paper box and say thanks for coming! I have a green thumb. I thought it would be cool for the place card succulent plants to double as a little gift guests could take home. Personalizing the day even more, we incorporated a unique recipe concept since we both love to cook. ( Erin said cooking is frequently a weekend date night activity. ) On date nights, we choose a couple of recipes, turn the music up really loud, make some drinks and cook all night long.” So when considering personalizing the reception, Erin + Joel thought it would be a special personal touch in sharing their favorite recipes for everyone to have their own date night at home. Rather than gifting a generic favors… Erin said “we wanted everyone to have a piece of us. If Joel and I had any advice to give anyone getting married, it would be take the time to research and find GREAT VENDORS who know what they are doing. I think the biggest reason the two of us didn’t get stressed is because we made a point to choose vendors who were very professional and experienced and all we had to do was let them do their jobs. Also, don’t sweat the small stuff or the big stuff for that matter. Everything always has a way of working out and at the end of the day, you honestly won’t remember what you were so worried about. I think both Joel and I agree that our favorite memory is when my dad gave me away to Joel in the rain. You just can’t recreate moments like that.”
Erin and Joel, we thank you again in hiring us to share the beauty of the day with you. We were honored to be chosen as one of your vendors – we enjoyed capturing the many moments in the official start of your lives together. Sending out a congratulations again to the two of you, and best wishes! Hope seeing photos bring back more smiles for you and fond memories from the day.”
Joel + Erin’s vendors included:
Theme: Vintage Rustic
Mansion Outdoor Ceremony: Hegeler Carus Mansion, LaSalle, IL
Reception Venue: Grizzly Jack’s Grand Bear Resort & Lodge, Utlca
Getting Ready Locations: In a Cabin and Villa at Grizzly Jack’s Grand Bear Resort & Lodge
Bridal Dress Designer: Paloma Blanca from Bridal Elegance, Ottawa, IL
Bridal Shoes: Martinez Valero
Hair: Lauri Vancil and Stevi Fox of Colorific Salon, Normal, IL
Makeup: Anne Frances Salon & Spa, LaSalle
Bridesmaids Dress: Mori Lee from Bridal Elegance
Tuxedos: Jim’s Formal Wear by Marien Mae Bridal
Cake: Kelsey’s Kakes
Flowers: Jennifer Hunt of Countryside Flower Shop, Crystal Lake
Guest Favors: Small potted succulent plants
DJ: Tone Productions DJ Service
Honeymoon: Secrets Capri in the Riviera Maya
Travel Agent: The bride Erin from Travel Connections, Peru, Illinois
♥ Visit our photography we captured during our day out in the Spring season for Erin + Joel’s engagement photography session.
Looking to book a destination, honeymoon or vacation? Erin the bride is an owner and partner in a local travel company called Travel Connections. We recommend contacting Travel Connections when planning a destination, honeymoon or another travel event. Visit Erin’s company’s web site by clicking the preview image below, use this link Travel Connections or call them at 815.780.8581.