Alison recounts her and Doug’s classic, elegant wedding (with a dash of shabby chic) in southern Illinois wine country.
Doug and I both live in Chicago and met through a mutual friend in 2008. It was a Friday night and once we started talking, we were inseparable. We’ve been together ever since. We go to Lincoln Park Zoo for Zoo Lights every year, and in December 2012, Doug proposed in a quiet area of the zoo under the Christmas lights and made me the happiest woman.
We fell in love with the southern Illinois wine country while driving home after visiting family in Missouri in 2009. We stayed at a couple B&Bs and enjoyed many of the wineries. We always said we’d be back and even then knew it would be a great place to get married.
The Scene: September 7, 2013. St. Joseph Church | Historic Bell Hill Bed & Breakfast, Cobden, IL.
Fast-forward four years, and southern Illinois immediately became part of our vision for our wedding. We found a beautiful B&B called Historic Bell Hill in Cobden. It is an old Victorian house on a 75-acre estate with a barn that predates the Civil War—all overlooking wine country. It was our blank canvas and it spoke to us. Doug is an artist and I am a girl with a vision. We set up a tent and tables in the gardens so guests could enjoy the glorious night. Chandeliers, lanterns, sparkling lights and candles were everywhere. There was a hint of shabby chic in the air but mostly it was classic, romantic elegance.
My Dress: ‘Coco Marie’ by Heidi Elnora
I’m petite, so I didn’t want anything overwhelming. This dress fit my body like a glove. For the ceremony I wore the ‘Addison’ Chantilly lace top by Jenny Yoo over the dress; I had fallen in love with the top even before I found the dress. It wrapped around my waist and I wore my late grandmother’s rhinestone broach on the knot. After the ceremony I removed the top and wore the rose-colored ‘Treasure Sash’ by Olia Zavozina and the ‘Melaney’ ribbon and cluster bib necklace by Nina. I had two totally different looks with the same gown, and guests even asked me if I had changed dresses.
I decided to not wear a veil. The back of the dress was so exquisite I didn’t want to take away from it. My hair was up, and I wore an ivory flower pin by Nina. My heels were Badgley Mischka and my late-night flats were Nina. My bridesmaids wore Monique Lhuillier one-shoulder taffeta dresses in navy with pink Franco Sarto wedges. My girls were beautiful and comfortable.
My Wedding Stylist: Caitlin Ritzema, Nordstrom Michigan Avenue
I went to a couple other bridal salons but came running back to Caitlin. She was amazing during the search for my dress. She found one that looked amazing on me that I never would have picked out on my own. It seemed very simple on the hanger, and I almost said no without even trying it on. But it was the only one that made me say “Wow” when she began to zip me up and add accessories. My sister referred to it as the “Audrey Hepburn dress.” Doug likes my curves, and the dress accentuated them oh so well—sexy in a classy way.
The lace Jenny Yoo bolero was so elegant and complemented the vintage, chic feel of our wedding. It was very important to me to be able to dance all night in my dress, so the change of accessories—switching into the sash for the reception—made for another beautiful look. Caitlin made my experience so comfortable, fun and pressure-free. She helped style my bridesmaids, and every time I went in for an appointment, I felt like I was going to go hang out with my friend. I am very grateful to Caitlin for helping make my special day so beautiful, stress-free and fun.
My Beauty Stylist: Iris Brostowicz, Nordstrom Topanga, Canoga Park, CA
My Beauty Stylist was Iris Brostowicz in the cosmetics department. She was wonderful. She took so much time with me on multiple occasions to make sure I had the right makeup that would look beautiful in person and in photos. She has a background in photography, so she knew exactly how to highlight my best features. I wanted to look like myself, and—after trying on many different colors and products—we found the perfect look for me.
Our friends and family are very important to us, and since they were all going to be traveling long distances to be there, we wanted to make it a beautiful, relaxing and unforgettable experience for all. We danced with our guests all night and had the time of our lives. It was more perfect than we could have imagined.
Photos by Julia Noack Photography.
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