Young & Rustic Barn Wedding in Bloomington, Indiana

As I promised all the way back in August, today we finally have the Real Wedding of Kaitlin and Aaron: my sister and new brother-in-law!  As a transplant from suburban Chicago to rural Indiana, Kaitlin has adopted many things since meeting Aaron, a Bloomington town local.  The two met at Indiana University and promptly fell in love.  Aaron has since introduced Kaitlin to the many wonderful things country life has to offer: his grandparent's farm and each spring's newborn calves; countryside bonfires with friends; the slower pace of a more rural community.  

Aaron's family's farm has great meaning to Kaitlin and Aaron and was a major inspiration for them choosing to host their wedding at a farm.  They chose Sycamore Farm, an absolutely gorgeous venue.  Formerly a fully operating farm (and still a working horse farm), the owners decided to convert the location into a location to hold special events.  The barn was rehabbed into a banquet and party area, all the while maintaining it's authenticity by keeping the horse stalls and hay lofts.  The grounds are beautifully manicured and the farm's horses and donkeys graze in pens nearby.  

summer 2014's new addition to the farm! image via  my instagram

summer 2014's new addition to the farm! image via my instagram

This wedding has a special place in my heart (obviously) because it belonged to my little sister!  Objectively speaking, however, this was a beautifully personal wedding.  As someone who loves and obsesses over details, this wedding had so many sweet small touches that it made me jump for joy!  The handmade art I made especially for the occasion, the custom banners created by bridesmaid Molly, the strip of lace cut from the old wedding dress Kaitlin spent the majority of her childhood playing dress-up in, and the floral features throughout the location are some of my favorite details of the day, but there are countless others.  From the rope tying during the ceremony (because Aaron loves tying knots!) to the mac n' cheese on the dinner menu (Kait's favorite food growing up!), the entire wedding was abundant with meaningful touches.  It brings a tear to my eye! ;)

image courtesy of   Icarus Photography

image courtesy of Icarus Photography

image courtesy of   Icarus Photography

image courtesy of Icarus Photography

image courtesy of   Icarus Photography

image courtesy of Icarus Photography

image courtesy of   Icarus Photography

image courtesy of Icarus Photography

image courtesy of   Icarus Photography

image courtesy of Icarus Photography

image courtesy of   Icarus Photography

image courtesy of Icarus Photography

image courtesy of   Icarus Photography

image courtesy of Icarus Photography

image courtesy of   Icarus Photography

image courtesy of Icarus Photography

image courtesy of   Icarus Photography

image courtesy of Icarus Photography

image courtesy of   Icarus Photography

image courtesy of Icarus Photography

image courtesy of   Icarus Photography

image courtesy of Icarus Photography

image courtesy of   Icarus Photography

image courtesy of Icarus Photography

image courtesy of   Icarus Photography

image courtesy of Icarus Photography

image courtesy of   Icarus Photography

image courtesy of Icarus Photography

image courtesy of   Icarus Photography

image courtesy of Icarus Photography

image courtesy of   Icarus Photography

image courtesy of Icarus Photography

Below I was able to get some answers from Kaitlin on her big day.  Enjoy!

 

Where was your wedding held? Is there a special meaning about this place for you (what made you choose this place)? 

Our wedding was held at Sycamore Farm in Bloomington, Indiana. We chose to have our wedding in Bloomington because not only is it our home, but it is also where we met when we were students at Indiana University. We chose Sycamore Farm as our venue because of the rustic, country feel. Aaron has always loved the country and now I do, too! It just seemed like the perfect fit for a relaxed summer wedding.

 

What were your wedding colors? What made you choose these colors? 

Our wedding colors were bright pink, yellow, and orange. We chose these colors because they are bright, happy, and summery!

 

What were challenges you faced planning your wedding? Do you have any advice for future brides in regards to these challenges, or in general? 

The biggest challenge we faced was budgeting. It is easy to budget all of the big expenses, but brides have to also remember to factor in all of the little expenses that pop up. Future brides, be prepared to spend on things like place cards, frames, vases, etc!

 

What are 5 words you would use to describe your wedding?

Rustic

Unique

Colorful

Fun

Happy!

 

What was your favorite detail/details about your special day? 

My favorite detail about the day was our venue. It was PERFECT. The barn gave off a relaxed, summery vibe that put our guests at ease. It made our wedding feel like a fun summer party! 

 

Were there any handmade touches? 

There were lots of handmade touches! My sister, Britta, painted several different items to display at the wedding. Molly, a bridesmaid, made adorable banners to display at the head table and cake table, as well as a "Just Married" banner for Aaron's truck. My cousin, Jenson, cut down a whole tree to make the wooden trivets for our centerpieces!

 

Were there any uniquely meaningful items? 

All of the handmade items were meaningful to me because people I love made them. I also had a unique item as my "something old" and "something borrowed." My best friend and bridesmaid, Molly, gave me a piece of the old wedding gown we used to play dress up with as kids. My florist wrapped it around my bouquet. 

 

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? 

Our rustic venue was very inspiring to me. I was also inspired by a variety of things that I saw on Pinterest and some wedding blogs. 

 

Is there a story behind your dress?

 I went dress shopping in downtown Chicago with my mom and three of my bridesmaids. After I found the dress, we went to one of my favorite restaurants, Leona's, for some bacon mac'n'cheese!

 

What was your favorite part of the day? 

My favorite part of the day was dancing with Aaron and our friends and family. It felt great to relax and have fun with the people we love! 

 

all photos courtesy of  Icarus Photography

all photos courtesy of Icarus Photography

image courtesy of  Icarus Photography     Photographer:   Icarus Photography      Florist:   A Fresh Flower      Wedding Dress:   House of Brides Couture, Chicago      Catering and Cake:   Sugar Daddy's Cakes and Catering      Venue:   Sycamore Farm Bloomington      Bridesmaids Dresses:   The Dress By Nicole, Wheaton Illinois      Men's Wear:   Men's Wearhouse      Music:   The Dance Machine

image courtesy of Icarus Photography

Photographer: Icarus Photography    Florist: A Fresh Flower    Wedding Dress: House of Brides Couture, Chicago    Catering and Cake: Sugar Daddy's Cakes and Catering    Venue: Sycamore Farm Bloomington    Bridesmaids Dresses: The Dress By Nicole, Wheaton Illinois    Men's Wear: Men's Wearhouse    Music: The Dance Machine

Hip Multi-Cultural Wedding in North Carolina

What is a wedding without handmade touches?  They add so much to such a special event, truly infusing the day with the personality of the couple.  I'm a huge fan of handcrafted details (I mean, I kind of have to be since I help make them!) and constantly find new inspiration in each couple's unique vision for their big day.  I think you can tell a lot about a couple by the details they choose.  

Francesca and George tied the knot in a crazy beautiful multi-cultural ceremony in North Carolina.  Everything was so perfectly hip!  I adore Francesca's stunningly retro tea-length dress and the vibrant bouquets and colorful touches (her shoes! his tie!!) make me jump for joy!  The sweetest hand-decorated jars made by Francesca and her mom were used for the centerpieces--what a special bonding activity!  Perhaps my ultimate favorite part (although it's really hard to choose!) was their favors--little jars of tea!  I'm a total tea fiend and even have an entire styleboard online devoted to weddings with coffee, tea, and cocoa, so obviously I'd be in love with this little detail.  

I find it particularly special that when Francesca realized that every guest might not like coconut cake as much as she and her beau (and what a gorgeous cake it was!), she added some adorable mini cupcakes to their dessert table so accommodate all her guests' tastes!  What a sweetie (literally)!  

all photos courtesy of the bride

all photos courtesy of the bride

Francesca was kind enough to let me interview her about her wedding.  Below are her thoughtful responses, as well as some great advice to other brides in the process of planning their wedding:

 

Where was your wedding held? Is there a special meaning about this place for you?

We held our wedding in my parents' town of New Bern, NC. We searched high and low for affordable venues in Chicago where we both live, but it was difficult. My mom had the suggestion of keeping the wedding southern style, and having it at an old manor down the road. I was skeptical at first, but as soon as I saw the place, I loved it. The manor was this lovely, old house surrounded by flowers and palm trees with enough room to house the bridal party before and after the wedding. There was a pool in the back. It also had a separate area for an outside ceremony and an attached carriage house and patio for the reception. It meant that we couldn't have as many friends at our wedding as we wanted to, but that was alright because we wanted our wedding to have a family focus anyway. We celebrated separately with some of our friends that couldn't come to the wedding.

 

What were your wedding colors? What made you choose these colors?

We chose mint and coral for our wedding colors. I tried to pick refreshing and cheerful colors to go with the month (August), and setting of the wedding. I wanted something to mix cool and bright. I'd advise brides to think about the setting of their wedding before picking out their colors-a favorite color can look out of place depending on the place. I love dark plum, but it would have clashed with the season and wedding manor.

 

What were challenges you faced planning your wedding? Do you have any advice for future brides in regards to these challenges, or in general?

Our biggest challenge planning the wedding became trying to plan from out of state. My mother was wonderful in helping us to find things. I ended up having to fly out for a week to iron out all of the details and we used every minute of that week to meet with vendors, talk about details, and make things together like my centerpieces. I'd say that any brides planning on getting married from out of state should expect that they'll need to fly out at least once to plan. 

Another challenge was writing a ceremony that would suit everyone's needs. We are not religious, but our relatives are. Both sides are culturally used to longer ceremonies. We wrote a ceremony by hand that had length, meaning, and tradition, but was not necessarily religious. We used poems for readings, included a call and response, wrote a vow ourselves, and included a ribbon tying portion. We wanted to symbolize the two families and cultures coming together. Our mothers came and braided two colors of ribbon together to represent our cultures and family stories being woven together. 

 

What are 5 words you would use to describe your wedding?

Family-oriented, multi-cultural, simple, bright, loving

 

What was your favorite detail/details about your special day?

I really liked seeing our families come together for the first time. My family is Italian. My husband's family is Indian. Many of our relatives we hadn't seen in a great while came to our wedding. We even had families fly out from oversea. We tried to make the event friendly to all of our relatives. We chose two caterers for the reception. One was a small, local Indian restaurant. The other was a larger scale caterer who prepared Italian dishes. We had dishes like channa masala and lamb rogan josh alongside pesto pasta primavera and chicken marsala. I learned that often times if you want to use two types of food, a smaller vendor may not always have the equipment for larger catering like weddings. Mixing vendors can be a good thing. A larger catering company will often be willing to pick up food from a smaller vendor, to use their equipment to warm both types of food, and to serve both. That was what happened in our case and it worked out well.

I also learned that while you can plan details for your big day, some of the best memories can just be from not micro-managing and letting it happen. I forgot my bouquet on my way back down the aisle after our "I do's" and had to run back for it in my high heels. Everyone laughed and I admit it added humor to the day. I didn't know what my father's speech would be and it was so touching I cried my eyes out and my wonderful maid of honor had a kerchief magically waiting for me. My mom's side had a dance off that left us all laughing. After the dress was on I didn't worry anymore and great things happened. 

 

Were there any handmade touches?

There were lots of nice handmade touches to the wedding. My mom and I made centerpieces out of varying sized mason jars. We decorated them with scrap book paper and tied twine around them. My mom made us pennants out of pieces of coral, yellow and mint fabrics and hung them around the patio area. She also made us one of paper that had our names written on it to put over our sweetheart table. My bridesmaids (and even some of the groomsmen), helped me to fold and hang paper fans along the wall also made of scrap book paper, folded together and glued. I was gifted a cake plate made by a local artist for our wedding cake to stand on. It was painted beautifully and had our names, wedding date and location written on it. We used tiny jars to make favors. My own parents used to sing, "tea for two," together when I was growing up. It reminded me of how a happy marriage should be. Our favors were little jars of tea then, with "tea for two" and our names and dates written on them. We got the labels off etsy, bought loose summery tea in bulk, and filled the jars and tied ribbons on. 

 

Were there any uniquely meaningful items?

A family friend wrote me the nicest note before our wedding wishing me luck, and offering me a traditional six pence piece for my shoe. A wedding can show you just how helpful and kind others are-this was just one instance where I was humbled during the planning process. Everywhere I turned people offered help, made me smile, and gave love. 

 

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?

My best friend was so helpful. She was always there to help me find things from DIY ideas to shoes. Without her, I would have felt overwhelmed with all of the choices. She knows me better than anyone, so she was able to help me find ideas she knew that I would like. In addition, I used the "cross it off" method for planning. Once I had picked something, I didn't over-think it. If I made a decision about flowers, or gift favors, I crossed it off the list and moved on. 

I also realized I didn't have to plan everything. I picked a color for the dresses and told my bridesmaids to pick whatever they wanted to wear, as long as it was near that color. Giving others choices made parts of the wedding more fun for them, and more of a fun surprise for me. I wanted everyone to feel involved and comfortable. I never liked weddings where everything feels forced and formal.

 

Is there a story behind your dress?

 I can be an advocate of dress shopping with friends, and also alone. When I first went to find a dress, I felt pressured into getting one that wasn't exactly what I had in mind. Luckily, when I went back to get it fitted alone, I happened to see a dress that was perfect. There was no one with me and I didn't feel guilty about asking if a switch was possible. The shop nicely let me exchange the dresses and did a last minute alteration. 

 

What was your favorite part of the day?

My family surprised us with a getaway car at the end of the night at a really nice local bed and breakfast. They packed us leftovers knowing we would be hungry from not eating much that day, and extra cake. They had the best man and maid of honor go sneak in our rooms at the manor before the wedding started and pack us extra clothes. I didn't think we'd need the peace and quiet we did at the end of the day, but we did, and it was the perfect surprise. One of my brothers drove us and  gave us a bottle of champagne to take with us. 

They're just so cute!  What a perfect day!  A big "Thanks!" to Francesca for the interview and pictures.  :)


I'm Obsessed: Anemones

I meant to post yesterday but had some unfortunate tech problems.  Apparently I pushed my luck too far using a cheap knock-off apple charger (because my rotten cat chewed through the original one) and it shorted out the power board of my laptop. Luckily I was able to take it in and get it worked on a bit and didn't have to buy a whole new computer, but lesson learned.  It set me back a whole day's work, too, which is a lot considering I need my computer for so much of what I do. It feels good to have it back in working order.  Now I'm enjoying getting back to it and catching up. (I made yesterday my "Saturday" and watched too many episodes of Breaking Bad on Netflix.  :D )

I digress.  

So lately I've been a little obsessed....  

Now, I normally tend to consider myself more of a peonies and orchids kind of girl, but lately I have literally been obsessed with anemones!  Suddenly they are popping out to me everywhere I look.  How is it that I've overlooked this flower for so long?!  I love it's gorgeous simplicity.  I love it's unapologetic contrast.  I love how it is simultaneously vintage and modern.  It's like the soft-spoken girl in the group who when you actually look the faces suddenly stands out above all others for her effortless beauty.  The anemone adds something seriously amazing to bouquets and floral centerpieces, but I love it by itself without any floral competition, too.  

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I practically fell out of my chair for how beautiful this styled set-up is below.  The colors, the coffee cup, the tray... SWOON!

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I can't help it, I love floral crowns.  And that lipstick is AMAZING!

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I am feeling so inspired by anemones that I am incorporating them into some of my newest invitations and paper goods!  Keep an eye out for them in the upcoming Fall and Holiday Collections in my shop!

The Purrfect Day

Oh my word.  Well this is just incredible. 

The fact that this exists makes my LIFE.  

One of my favorite wedding blogs to keep up with recently posted this and I about died.  This kitty-licious wedding is the inspired work of Happily, a wedding planning resource that is about to launch a shiny new planning app for couples (I checked it out, it was pretty sweet).

I truly never thought it was possible to create a (respectable) wedding featuring cats as the theme, but this wedding's combination of fun, whimsical, and stylish touches makes it work!  It's a little bit elegant, a little bit hipster, a little bit silly, and I'm seriously loving the unique wedding concept, personal touches and attention to detail.

With clever kitty details galore, there were seriously some creative geniuses behind this.  From the table centerpieces that were massive balls of yarn and the sweet kitten cake toppers to cat food cans tied to the back of the old fashioned car and my personal favorite--confetti served in a kitty litter tray! --the brains behind this thought of darn near everything.  But thank goodness that they didn't get too Lisa Frank on it.  Alongside the silly feline features were the classy touches: gorgeous florals, beautiful cakes, and a seriously stunning BHLDN wedding dress.

So for all you crazy cat ladies (and feline-obsessed fellows), please sit down.  Take a few deep breaths.  Maybe put down your drink.  Because you're about to be overcome with cat-wedding greatness.  Prepare to pin your brains out.

Photographed by Josh Madson, with creative direction and styling from Alex Michael May of Beautilitarian.

(And as for the real stars of the show, the cats and kittens were from Second Hand Souls Animal Rescue, you can find out more about the great work they do with cats and other animals on their Facebook page.)

Photographer: Josh Madson / Creative Direction: Alex Michael May / Event Styling: Beautilitarian /Animals: Second Hand Souls Animal Rescue and Animal Actors with trainer Susan Guillot & Wrangler Anita Curnutt / Venue: The Washbow / Bride’s Dress: BHLDN / Groom’s Attire: Topman / Groom’s Attire: The Grunion Run / Hair and Make-Up: T. Justine Reilly for Beautilitarian / Custom Design Elements: Little Cat Design Co. Rentals: Classic Party Rentals Cake Baker: Sweet & Saucy Shop /Flowers: Glasswing Floral Glitterbox: The Confetti Bar / Car Rental : Classy Chassis Rentals / Sweets:Sugarfina / Triangle Table Decals: Mur / Glassware: BHLDN

LGBT Wedding Resources

Hooray for progress!  In celebration of the marriage-bans in Wisconsin and Indiana being judged unconstitutional (read about it here or here), I've collected a few blogs that I frequent, as well as a couple websites that offer excellent resources for same-sex couples looking to plan their big day.  From tips on planning a wedding to honeymoon deals and gorgeous photos from real LGBT marriages, the following sites are great places to add to your bookmarks bar.  For the record, I have immense respect for the wedding blogs giving equal attention to gay and straight relationships and weddings.  Because, really, LOVE is LOVE.  And genuine, authentic love is beautiful.  Today's ruling adds to the growing legal momentum for marriage equality across the country.   Michael Tarm says in this article on ACBnews.go.com, there are "bad traditions that are historical realities such as cannibalism, foot-binding, and suttee, and traditions that ... are neither good nor bad — such as trick-or-treating on Halloween," the ruling says. "Tradition per se therefore cannot be a lawful ground for discrimination — regardless of the age of the tradition."

Amen.

Click through the images to go directly to the sites and browse away!

I'm sure there are countless others, but these are the ones I enjoy the most!  Feel free to share other resources you might know about in the comment section! 

Have a super weekend! 

xo Britta