Ashley’s dream was always to have a romantic garden wedding and the Chicago Botanic Garden provided her and Ian the perfect backdrop for their fairytale wedding come to life. The day was planned by Clementine Custom Events with florals by A Stem Above, stationery and paper goods by Magnificent Milestones and cake: Three Tarts Bakery while Kristin LaVoie Photography was on hand to capture all the magic in these dreamy photographs.
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
I found my wedding gown at Bella Bianca in Oak Brook, Illinois. Once I put the dress on, I knew it was different than the others. Once I walked out in the dress to show my family, my mom, my grandma and my sister (MOH) all started crying. In that moment, I knew it was special. But when I saw it had pockets, I knew it was the one! As silly as that sounds, I knew it matched my personality perfectly and how I wanted to feel on my wedding day. It was elegant yet fun. Not to mention practical as I knew I would tuck my personal vows to Ian in the pocket for the ceremony. It was an A line dress, a perfect combination for me of lace bodice, sparkle, and satin with a low, open back.
What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?
Our goal was to make the whole wedding feel very personal. It started with Ian and I not wanting to see each other until I walked down the aisle. We knew it would be a feeling we would never forget. We were thrilled to have my grandmas be the flower girls and for them to be a part of our special day. We wrote our own heartfelt vows and planned several surprises for each other throughout the day. Ian surprised me with a personal letter and red roses that were delivered while my bridesmaids and I got ready. I surprised Ian with a large framed quote which read -” If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk through my garden forever”. I also surprised Ian with a coaster placed at his place setting that read “You are my happily ever after”. When it came time to cut the cake I looked down and realized Ian had arranged for the cake cutting knife set to be personalized and then placed at the cake table for me to find when it was time to cut the cake.
What made the wedding special and unique?
My dream was always to have a romantic and elegant garden wedding. The Chicago Botanic Garden provided the perfect backdrop for our fairytale wedding come to life. The whole day felt magical. It was everything I ever dreamed of and more.
The wedding ceremony in the Rose Garden followed by cocktail hour with the string quartet in the English Walled Garden. The reception was in the McGinley Pavilion. The weather was also glorious that day.
We wrote our own personal vows and kept them a secret. We were both so excited yet calm the whole day, knowing we couldn’t wait to marry each other.
Ian and I also did not want to see each other before the ceremony.
Both my grandmothers were my flower girls.
What was the most memorable part of the day?
The most memorable part of the day was walking down the aisle with my dad and feeling his joy and pride – and then seeing Ian, my soon to be husband tearing up as I walked towards him. It was everything I ever pictured it to be and more!
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
Ian and I met in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at Marquette University in 2013. We happened to walk past each other on Wisconsin Avenue, the main street on Marquette’s campus where we were both attending school. Neither of us said anything, but we shared a look and a moment that neither of us will forget. Weeks later, I look up and see the same man I saw on the street looking at me from across a cafe where I was studying. He came over and asked if he could sit down at my table, I said yes. We talked and got to know all about each other and how we grew up. For the next six months, we would meet in the same cafe at the same time without ever exchanging numbers. Once I agreed to give him my number, we arranged our first official first date, and have been together ever since.
Proposal story – After we graduated, Ian and I had a trip planned to go back up to Milwaukee and Chicago to visit my family in February 2018. We spent the first half of the trip in Milwaukee reminiscing about where we met and our old stomping grounds. The next day, we drove to Chicago to see my family. Once we arrived, Ian asked if I wanted to go take a walk. It was freezing out with snow on the ground, but I agreed! We walked to the park in the neighborhood I grew up in, and he took me to the spot where he first told me he loved me years ago. He got down on one knee in that exact spot and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. Little did I know, also he hired a professional photographer to capture the moment, as well as including my parents who were hiding behind the bushes watching it all go down! I was beyond surprised and so thrilled to be able to share the moment with my parents as well, knowing how much it meant to them to feel included. The rest of the weekend, we celebrated our engagement and had the best time ever!
Photography: Kristin LaVoie Photography // Planner/Coordinator: Clementine Custom Events // Florals: A Stem Above // Stationery/Paper Goods: Magnificent Milestones // Venue: Chicago Botanic Garden // Dress Designer: Martina Liana // Boutique: Bella Bianca // Hair/Makeup: Kate Johnson Artistry // Cake: Three Tarts Bakery // Men’s Wear: Eleganza // Catering: Culinary Landscape // Linens: BBJ Linen // Rentals: Halls Rentals // String Quartet: Artistrings // DJ: Okyne Media Lab