I have known Maddie since we were little - from running around the halls at church together as toddlers to her mom being my high school English teacher, her family has always had a special place in my life. It's a little surreal to think that we're all grown up and getting married, but I couldn't be more thrilled for her and Christian!
Maddie and Christian's wedding kept some traditional conventions, but the vibe was anything but typical. The industrial venue, her bohemian gown, and relaxed atmosphere put a signature stamp on their big day that was completely unique.
"There is so much pressure in the wedding industry on the 'right' way to do a wedding - from venue, to budget, to dress, to Pinterest," Maddie said. "The first few months of planning I felt so wrapped up in these expectations. But, as all the pieces started coming together, it was so evident that the wedding day would perfectly and naturally reflect Christian and I. It's a comforting revelation, and one that I hope most brides can be confident in!"
It's hard not to love a good first-look session, and it's even harder not to love one that features a lush ivy wall.
Maddie and Christian's bridal party was huge, and their friendships were delightfully showcased in their photos.
"It was so, so special for Christian and I to be surrounded by all of our favorite people through each element of the wedding. There was such a strong presence of community and celebration and thanksgiving."
Maddie's dad had the honor of both walking her down the aisle and officiating the ceremony, which added a personal and emotional touch.
Blumen Gardens is an amazing venue for receptions; their industrial factory space decked out with lights is simply magical and was perfect for Maddie and Christian's ethereal aesthetic.
"We loved getting lifted up by our friends when everyone was dancing at the reception. And the scooter send-off - we loved that, too! Too hard to pick just one moment."
If they had to do it all over again?
"I wish I would've been more intentional about saying thank you/goodbye to parents, bridesmaids, and other guests towards the end of the reception. It's a bit of a dirty trick - all of your favorite people in one place and then having to leave so suddenly. I remember feeling ultra nostalgic as we were leaving!"
SPECIAL THANKS to Maddie for letting me share this day with you, and to Raegan Lintner for her phenomenal photos.
Photography: Raegan Lintner Photography
Venue: Blumen Gardens, Sycamore IL
Flowers: Melissa Findlay, Hyvee
Wedding Dress: BHLDN
I have known Scot since middle school, and I met Ashley later on in high school. I was there when Scot and Ashley met during a mission trip meeting at church, I was there when Ashley was hardcore crushing on Scot before they started dating, and I've seen all of the ups and downs of their four-year dating relationship. Naturally, when they got engaged and Ashley asked me to help them plan their wedding, I was thrilled to be a part of their next chapter!
It's been three months since their big day, and I'm finally able to share it with you!
Special thanks to Kori of Kori Mauch Photography for the use of her beautiful images.
Scot and Ashley's "first look" session was the most precious thing. It doesn't take too much for Scot to cry so we all were prepped for that, but he lost it. I was watching from the window of the church and it was so sweet to witness.
For the ceremony, Scot walked both his mother and Ashley's down the aisle, which was a really sweet gesture.
Ring Pops were used at their rehearsal in place of their actual rings, but they managed to made an appearance at the real ceremony, too!
Instead of lighting a traditional unity candle, Scot and Ashley decided to plant a seed to water and nurture as a couple.
The parents of the bride and groom were invited to share their words of wisdom with them and to lead the congregation in prayer.
As their first act as husband and wife, they chose to take communion together to solidify the foundation of Christ as the center of their marriage.
My favorite moment of the ceremony had nothing to do with the bride and groom - Scot and Ashley's parents paired up and skipped down the aisle to make their grand exit!
Their reception was held in the gymnasium of the church (and yes, that's a little sliver of me hiding behind the divider.)
Scot's mom passed down an heirloom apron that had been worn by generations of women in her family during their cake cuttings, representing the wife's first act of service to her husband during marriage!
Of course, that "act of service" turned out to include a lot of frosting up the bride's nose.
Scot's best man, Zach, and Ashley's sister, Bri, gave their speeches before the bride and groom's sendoff!
The couple and the bridal party departed and were off to their close friends' stunning property for some more photos together.
The pictures with Scot and Ashley's siblings are some of my personal favorites!
Naturally, as a young couple with a young bridal party, the photo session couldn't be taken too seriously!
Congratulations to Scot and Ashley!!! I was so happy to be a part of their special day and I'm honored to call them my friends. I can't wait to see where married life takes them!
Photography: Kori Mauch Photography
Videography: Anomaly Video
Venue: First Baptist Church, Sycamore IL
Cake: Latsis Bakery, Genoa IL
Wedding Dress: David's Bridal
For more of my work for Scot and Ashley's day, visit my gallery.
Polka Dot Bakery is definitely a hidden gem in the DeKalb/Sycamore area - and by hidden, I really mean hidden. It is located off DeKalb Avenue on a side street behind Carpetland, and inside the Energym. If you don't already know where it is, there is a slim chance that you would find it on your own.
That said, if you know, you KNOW. Polka Dot's cakes and baked goods are the best kept secret in the area, and they are definitely something to check out.
Polka Dot Bakery
1715 DeKalb Ave.
Sycamore, IL 60178
Polka Dot Bakery is owned and run by Paige Halstead, a Sycamore local who is too cool for words. Her hair frequently changes neon-brite colors, she's always rocking funky aprons, and her style is totally unique and fresh.
I first heard of Paige from a mutual friend while I worked at Maurices. She made a specialty cake for our annual work dinner (which I unfortunately don't have a picture of...too bad because it was super cute) and it was completely fabulous and delicious.
My encounters with Paige have thereafter been at various Bridal Expos, where she always has the most amazing booth with lots of tasty treats.
The 2012 NIU Bridal Expo is what first introduced me to the full range of Paige's products. She's definitely not just an ordinary cake decorator; she has a wide array of cakes, non-traditional cake options, and other desserts that are sure to be the highlight of any big day.
The fondant work in her traditional wedding cakes is rarely found outside a big city, and Paige's creativity is sure to astound. She even does groom's cakes to make your guy feel special and included, too.
Paige also does smaller cakes and simple cupcakes for weddings, showers, and other pre-wedding parties!
If a traditional cake isn't your thing, Polka Dot Bakery has you covered. My favorite options are her cake pops and her mason jar cakes.
Polka Dot's cake pops are perhaps the best cake pops I have ever tasted (and I've tasted a good healthy sample.) The icing is perfectly sweet and the cake inside is the most moist, decadent thing. To top it off, she can decorate the icing and use color-specific sticks to match the scheme of your party.
The mason jar cakes are something I've simply never seen before. Paige uses cake, frosting, and ganache and perfectly packages it inside an adorable mason jar with custom cupcake papers on top to match color schemes and decor. It is a great individual-sized portion for guests, and the mason jar can double as a favor.
In addition to cake, Paige is known for her custom decorated shortbread cookies. On top of tasting remarkable, her designs are the cutest and she can do just about anything you request. They are perfect for pre-wedding parties, a sweets table at your wedding, or any other occasion.
The best part is that Polka Dot Bakery won't leave you at the altar! Paige does hilarious maternity cakes and adorable baby shower cakes and desserts for those special moments later on in marriage.
I hired Paige to bring in desserts for a bachelorette party I was planning/hosting, and I had a phenomenal experience with her. My schedule was crazy and I wasn't able to meet with her in person to explain what I wanted, but she responded extremely well over email and everything turned out a thousand times better than I expected given the circumstances in communication. Her cookies, cake pops, and mini cheesecakes were the highlight of the party!
The best part was the pricing: $100 for 4 dozen cookies, 3 dozen cake pops, and 2 dozen mini cheesecakes, which is unbelievable and unbeatable.
(you can find a full feature of the bachelorette party here)
For a full menu, pictures of other cakes and desserts, and much more,
check out the Polka Dot Bakery website:
And be sure to like Polka Dot Bakery on Facebook for frequent pictures and updates!