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...but trust me that 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!
(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!
Being an artist, it has often felt like a waste of time to take care of my nails. In high school I painted my nails for homecoming, prom, and my senior pictures - that was it. That said, I am simultaneously a bit of a nail polish junkie. I have a whole box full of polishes, many of which I have only used once or twice before I've moved on to the next color that I just HAD TO HAVE. It's a bit ridiculous, really. My mom thinks I have a serious problem.
Whether it's a real problem or not, I've always justified it because I'm not spending the money on "real" manicures. I've always just bought the polish and done it myself, because professional manis cost too much and take too much time, blah blah blah.
My dear friend Alli, who is getting married exactly one month and one day from today, took me to get "practice manis" for her wedding. While I've never done the mani thing, I do strongly believe that professionals should take care of you on the Big Day - you're going to have a ton of pictures taken of your hands, so it must done right!
Alli had heard great things about no-chip gel manicures. I had too, and since her wedding is on a 5 day cruise, a lasting mani is pretty crucial.
We went for it, and...
The picture was taken 3 days after I got it done, which may not seem like a big deal, but at my workplace (a very dry, woody environment) a manicure not chipping after half of one day is a big deal - this hasn't chipped at all.
I'm not going to pretend to understand the science of gel manicures - I've looked up a thousand different things online and nothing really has explained to me how or why it works. Our process involved 2 different base coats, 2 to 3 coats of the actual polish, and a finishing top coat. We held our nails under a UV light for a few minutes between EVERY COAT. When we were done, a shine spray was applied, rubbed into the nails (which blew my mind...who knew you could RUB A NAIL right after a manicure??) and we were done! They were dry and ready to go immediately after leaving the salon and there was none of the traditional manicure "24 hour drying time."
Overall, I'm extremely impressed. I will obviously be getting my nails done again before Alli's wedding next month, and I'm strongly considering getting another gel mani and pedi before my trip to Brazil this summer.
I *may* be a convert. I've heard the removal process is horrifying, but it may or may not be worth it. I'm definitely interested in trying an at-home version, too.
We got our manicures at :
Nail & Spa
265 W Peace Rd.
Sycamore, IL 60178
We walked right in, the ladies were really attentive, and we were in and out in half an hour. The overall experience totally changed the way I think about manicures - for a wedding (or for whenever) it's definitely worth a try!
This photo was taken more than 3.5 weeks after I originally got the mani. Can you believe it?! NO CHIPS WHATSOEVER. I was seriously amazed. Yes, there was a ton of outgrowth at the cuticle, and I worked pretty hard to maintain my cuticles so they didn't look gross. Really, cuticle outgrowth doesn't bother me as long as the ends don't chip, and they clearly did not. This was also after I filed my nails down a bit because super long nails just don't work for me, and the fact that nothing chipped even after filing some of the nail/polish of was impressive.
I did take of the polish at the 4 week mark, and I have some advice: FOLLOW DIRECTIONS.
A video tutorial recommended soaking the polish in pure acetone for about 10 minutes and then peeling back/using a nail groomer to push off the polish. I, like an idiot, did not do this. Some of the bits on the edges were peeling slightly, and I figured I would be able to just tug and peel back the polish without using acetone. I ended up peeling off parts of the top layer of my nails and I had to sand down other parts, and it was just bad news. If I had followed directions it probably would have been fine, I just thought I knew better.
Note to self: Jordan does not ever know better.
This was the shade I ended up going with for Alli's wedding. I'm mildly obsessed with it. I might need to keep it in mind for when I get married!