This past week-end I traveled with family to the northwest corner of our state, to the town of Galena. This town is a lovely historical area. Just to the northeast lies the perfect wedding venue of Oak Hill Farm.
Here is the place where my youngest child and his soul mate joined together in marriage, with as many family members and friends who could travel there.
And the story begins -
An engagement takes place ...
... Reminders are sent out ...
... invitations are mailed ...
... and the day arrives!
September 16, 2017
So much preparation went into making this day memorable and fun by Andrea and Matthew, not only for them but for each of those in attendance. From the location, to the venue and all the special touches, we enjoyed this special moment of their lives with them!
The weather was more then spectacular for early Fall. The forecasts was calling first for 70's all week, slowly the temps climbed with each report. The sun was shining and temps reached mid 80's.
The saying goes - "location, location, location" - and yes, it was big part of making this day! Galena is situated in the far, northwest corner of Illinois. It's filled with unique buildings and history. With that in mind, guests who made the trip could enjoy all this rural town and area offered in any free time.
The venue for the entire wedding, from ceremony to reception, took place at Oak Hill. It's a 20 minute ride from town, down country roads with spectacular views of the countryside and river valley in this area.
The Bridal Party, the families of the Bride & Groom, the Officiant, the musicians and photographer arrived ahead of time for photos. Guests began to arrive just before the 4:30 ceremony and took their seats near the handmade wooden pergola. Above this setting, we waited for the ceremony to begin in a lovely renovated barn on the property.
The time arrived to start! Matthew and I were the first to begin the walk down the hill for the ceremony. As I took my youngest son's hand, I asked him to hold on tight and tried to keep the happy tears from my eyes. He told me several times to just keep looking straight ahead as we walked through the doors to the area of the guests. The attendants followed, each couple held a significent relationship to both the Bride & Groom. THEN came the Bride ... escorted by her parents!
The ceremony was officiated by a high school friend of Matthew's, Erik Peterson. Readings were done by Matthew's sister and Andrea's brother. A song was sung by Andrea's youngest brother. Their handwritten, personal vows were exchanged as well as very special wedding rings. A tree planting took place before it was over. Then came the official annoucement of the new husband & wife, followed by, yes, the KISS!
Just before the ceremony was over the winds picked up slightly with gentle, cooling breezes. Call it what you will - but many of us saw this as a sign of someone being present among us on this special day!
Now, let the party start!
After the ceremony, everyone moved onto the site of the "old schoolhouse" that is located on the property. (Yes, it's an actual schoolhouse that was moved to the venue.) Signature cocktails, for the Bride and Groom, and appetizers were shared by all. There was a place for "selfies" and instagram photos. The schoolhouse had a message on the old blackboards and photos of the Bride & Groom could be found around the school room.
The time for dinner arrived. Guests moved to the tent and found their seats. Kraft tags were used for locating the table for the guests, along with it showing their menu choice. The space captured the look of "rustic chic" they were going for - from the dining table style set-up, the mason jar water glasses, candle holders from recycled jars and handmade centerpieces from reclaimed wood (Thanks Brien Akers) and handmade succulents (made with love by me), each helped to create "their" look!
After introductions of the parents and bridal party, the DJ, Adam Ryan introduced the married couple. We immediately were asked to start the evening off with a dance and many joined in! As dinner was served the speeches and toasts took place by the father of the bride, the matron of honor and the best man. Each was lovely and emotional!
It was at this point the the best man, Matthew's older brother Kevin, presented the couple with a version of what is called a "shotski". This one was made from a birch branch from Camp Nawakwa and wood burned with the couples initials and wedding date by Kevin. (This camp, in northern Wisconsin, is a place of many memories for 4 generations of our family.) The couple, the matron of honor and best man broke it in that evening (I missed getting a photo of them). Many did give it a try during the evening (as seen below) even I did!
Things came to a slight stand still as dinner began because the sky was putting on a marvelous display! The slightly cloudy sky that brought a few sprinkles, began to clear as the sun began setting and made for a priceless background.
It was a wonderfully delightful evening, filled with laughs and fun and so many special moments. One being the performance of the Bride & Groom singing a duet together! It was quite the performance to say the least!
And now the story will continue.....
Just some additional photos of family and friends that joined Andrea & Matthew on their wedding day. They really did come from near and FAR to help them celebrate. Most came from in and around the Chicago area, others locations were Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kentucky(my college grandson), Atlanta, California, New York and all the way from Belguim.
|Adam & Sarah from Belguim|
|Matt, Matt, Andrea, Lauren|
|Godfather & Aunt from California|
|Stacey(California), Patti, Caroline|
|Uncle & Aunt|
|Relatives from Minnesota/New York state/Wisconsin|
|Bill, Mary Ellen, Mary(Godmother), Grandmother|