Magical and Musical

April 3, 2013 in handmade and vintage goods

Jennifer Hall
Jennifer Hall

Jennifer works as a nurse, and lives in Chicago with her husband Mark. They love travel, music, food, and Breaking Bad.

I met Mark at a backyard barbecue one hot fourth of July afternoon. He was shy (or so I thought) and we didn’t have much interaction, but we definitely noticed each other. We connected in the days ahead, and I soon found out just how interesting, funny, and adorable he is. Five years later, he proposed with a beautiful engagement ring he designed himself.

We wanted our wedding to be unique, romantic, memorable, and a reflection of us. Mark is an artist, musician, and photographer, so naturally, we wanted to do many things ourselves. We quickly noticed that the DIY route saves some money here and there, and this just in: weddings are expensive! Mark designed the paper goods – from save-the-dates to ceremony programs. He designed my wedding band as well, which was crafted at Bryn Mawr Jewelry Co.

Our home is full of vintage decor, and we wanted our wedding have a similar look and feel. Between our own collection and borrowed treasures, there was an abundance of vintage items scattered throughout the venue. Cameras and books decorated the guest tables, and we set up a globe, fan, and suitcase on the gift table. The Art Deco-style guest book came from Paper Jayne. We also used a lot of maps in our decor, inspired by our love of travel and our appreciation for their aesthetic quality. We used maps to make flowers, and arranged them with birch branches and baby’s breath for centerpieces. We also made them into paper airplane mobiles and place cards. The framed retro postcards that distinguished each table were from places we’ve visited together.

The wedding was in October, and the Michigan fall foliage was lovely. Millcreek Barns was the perfect venue for us. The day was cold and rainy, so we moved our guests inside for the ceremony. Everyone sat at their tables by candlelight, and it ended up being more intimate and romantic than being outside!

For my dress, I wanted a something unique yet classic. Silver Moon Vintage in Chicago designed my gown, and I wore earrings and hair clips from the 1930s with a custom-made birdcage veil. Mark sported a custom bow tie from bagzetoile. For our favors, I ordered biodegradable paper bags from Pretty Tape and filled them with supplies to make s’mores at the venue’s fire pit (had it not been for the rain!). I stamped, decorated, and filled the bags with help from my sister. My mother knitted the ring bearer pillow, and added a vintage brooch in the center. Our friend Christine Taylor arranged the bouquets and boutonnieres. Another close friend, Kent, not only played usher but also shot and edited a beautiful video for us.

Music was an important aspect of the wedding. A cellist played some classical pieces during the ceremony, and Mark’s band mates played a couple of his compositions – including my processional, which I heard for the first time at that moment. I felt like I was floating! To be surrounded by our family and friends, with our dear friend Geo officiating the ceremony, was truly special. During the cocktail hour and reception, a couple of Mark’s old friends (and amazing jazz musicians) came together to play everything from standards to traditional New Orleans-style sets. They were fantastic!

Food is very important to us, and we didn’t want bland wedding food. We used CK Catering and arranged different stations serving Southern comfort food, Mediterranean eats, and Latin cuisine. We had a small cake to honor tradition, but we served our guests pies from Hoosier Mamma Pie Co. and Grand Traverse Pie Co. for dessert. I concocted the recipe for our signature drink: bourbon-spiked cider with mulling spices and ginger. We printed labels with our initials for each cup.

As a final surprise, Mark sang me the song “Stand By Me” at our reception. All in all, our wedding was the most magical and memorable night of our lives. Even though it was a lot of work and many late nights, we were able to have fun and stay relaxed. We wouldn’t have changed a thing.

All photographs by Sean Flanigan, video by Ohana Films.