What do you get when you add a gorg dress, beautiful photography, sweet reception details and a stunning bride?
One amazing wedding!
Meet the lovely Britni...
Britni is such a sweetheart and we loved working with her!! She looked absolutely amazing in her Allure Bridals gown, Berger veil, and accessories by Bel Aire Bridals - all purchased from SBB of course!
Her gorgeous bouquet was made of brooches to fit the vintage feel of her lace gown. Britni says she loves having it as a keepsake and hopes to pass it down one day.
Britni and her hubby Chris were married at Aberdeen Manor in Valpo. To make things even more special, Britni's dad not only gave her away, but also married the couple.
After the ceremony, guests had an easy commute - across the parking lot- to the reception hall. This venue is just beautiful and Britni did a fabulous job decorating it for her big day!
After dinner, guests were served the couple's favorite dessert - warm cookies with vanilla ice cream! Even their wedding cake was made to look like cookies. We absolutely adore this idea!
Let's get down to the nitty gritty. How did these lovebirds meet?
"We met in a Video Production Class at Lake Central High School. First day of school we sat right next to each other as seventeen year olds. We were informed immediately on that first day, August 2007, that we would be going "on air" together to give the daily high school announcements. Students were paired up ahead of time by class leaders. Our student class leaders thought it would be "funny" to the student body for everyone to see our last names together "Vienna Weiner" across the bottom of the TV screen as we gave the daily school news. Our names gave everyone a good laugh. After many "on air" moments and laughs about being "Hot Dogs," we started becoming best friends for a year before officially dating in 2008. Nine years later we are still best friends as we just said "I do." Silly last names brought the two of us together. We have had many journeys together from high school graduations, to a college graduation together at Purdue University in West Lafayette. We have watched each other grow from age 17 to 27 in total. We are so excited for many more journeys together ahead as husband and wife."
After years together, it was time for the big proposal. Britni's hubby, Chris, wrote this part himself which we LOVE! Prepare yourself - it is the sweetest story!
"When I finally decided I would propose to Britni, I knew I would be making meticulous and detailed preparations. Britni has spent years watching The Bachelor and Bachelorette, so her standard for proposal speeches is pretty high. Years ago, I had her sister ask her what she expected out of a proposal. She articulated several desires. First, her family be involved. Second, it be a surprise. Third, that there be a photographer to capture the moment.
With this in mind, I asked others for advice. A friend of mine told me that I should propose at a location we could always return to. Preferably somewhere outdoor and permanent. Restaurants close and buildings get torn down, so a public location was desirable. With this in mind, I thought of locations that Britni and I had experienced together in the past. This reminded me of the first time we spent the day together in Chicago. We were at the museum campus. I decided to ride my bike out to the museum campus one day in March to scout locations. There is a ledge behind the Shedd aquarium with a perfect view of the skyline. It is also far enough away from common paths of foot traffic that I believed we could have a moment of privacy.
Once I determined a location I decided to determine a date. In reality, the date was determined for me. I contacted Britni's sister and asked her to help me arrange an 'engagement party' the same day as the proposal. There was only one weekend that summer that her entire family would be in town at the same time. It was Memorial Day weekend. Not the ideal weekend to avoid tourists and foot traffic at the Shedd, but at least we were likely to have good weather.
So, I had a location and a date. Next, I went to work arranging details. I hired a photographer to hide in a crowd of tourists while I proposed. I also purchased a bouquet of flowers that I hid in my trunk. With the necessary materials prepared, I had to fabricate a lie to get Britni to the Shedd aquarium the morning of the proposal. That ended up being very easy. I told her I had 'a work thing' and she took that on faith.
The morning of the proposal I realized how many opportunities there were for things to go wrong. All of our friends and family knew I was proposing that day. Literally, everyone knew but her. Her aunt had already almost spoiled the surprise the weekend prior. Furthermore, all she had to do was look in my trunk to see a bouquet of flowers. Or, notice a giant ring box bulging out of my pocket. At any point, she could have googled the 'work event' I had lied about, but luckily she didn't.
Things generally went to plan. I drove Britni out to the Shedd aquarium and dropped her off at the door. She was confused why I would drop her off before parking, but I insisted that it was to 'keep her hair out of the humidity.' Whatever. She needed to be separated from me before I actually proposed so I could place the photographer and retrieve the bouquet of flowers. I told her to wait for me before entering. She didn't exactly follow my directions, but she delayed long enough for me to get everything in place. I parked the car, placed the photographer, grabbed the flowers, and went to the proposal spot. Then, I called her and told her to meet me at the ledge behind the aquarium. She expressed some initial confusion but quickly obliged. At this point, she still was under the impression this was all a work event.
The moment she saw me holding a bouquet of flowers is the moment she knew. There was no 'work thing.' I wasn't parking the car. I didn't care about her hair and the humidity. She knew something was up. Then, she started talking. A lot. If you've ever watched the Bachelor, the gentleman proposing generally has ninety seconds or more of uninterrupted silence to express a 'speech' of sorts. A soliloquy of romance. A monologue of passion. I never got that. Britni immediately began crying, looking around, and shouting 'Is this really happening?' through my entire first attempt. At that point, we both agreed to a repeat. We both took a deep breath, and I recited the speech I had rehearsed. I took a knee, asked the question, she said yes. After ten years of dating, that was the predicted response.
Thankfully, I had booked the photographer for an hour. We spend the next part of our morning taking pictures. Then we got a quick bite to eat and I told her we had plans for the afternoon. Remember, I had worked with her sister to plan a surprise engagement party. I told Britni that we were simply having dinner with her parents and sister. Unbeknownst to her, her aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends were actually gathering at her house this entire time in anticipation of her arrival. When we left the museum campus I had discovered a flaw in my scrupulous plans. Beyonce was performing at Soldier Field. Getting out of downtown in a car proved to be a tribulation, and we spent over an hour sitting in traffic before we could even leave downtown. This meant we were already 40 minutes late for the engagement party before we had even gotten off the highway. Britni had no idea, but I was sweating the entire time. This was due to nervousness more than temperature.
We arrived to the engagement party an hour late. Britni entered her garage code and was greeted by over fifty family and friends clapping and cheering. It was the second surprise of the day, and my plan was complete."
Well sweep me off my dang feet! How awesome and perfect is that?!
Moving on to the wedding planning. What were Britni's favorite parts of the process?
"There are so many. I truly enjoy planning and being creative for that is my personality! My Pinterest boards finally were put to use! I made a very detailed wedding binder that helped make the process run smoothly too and keep track of all the vendor contracts and more. But at the end of the day, that binder was not opened and details were not worried the day of the wedding. It was time to celebrate and watch everything unfold and relax!
My Wedding Coordinator, Megan Wiesjahn, was provided to us by our venue. She was amazing with all the meetings, emails, and advice. This helped make the process go so smoothly and she truly understood our vision. Planning is so important for it makes a wedding an experience for the guests. I did not have to worry about any of the "small" stuff or hiccups for Megan took care of it and I was able to enjoy the moment without having someone come up to me with a "problem."
Despite my personal love for planning, I loved asking my two best friends to be my Maids of Honors. My sister and friend were truly surprised for I did a little "proposal" asking them to be part of such an important day with me.
I think this current trend of asking your girls to be part of your wedding day is so special for it creates such a special bond and makes them feel appreciated too. The girls reactions were priceless and that is by far a favorite moment. I loved the idea of making your Maid(s) of Honor(s)/Bridesmaids (I did not have Bridesmaids) feel so important for these beautiful people were going to be such a huge part of the planning process. These women helped plan my Bridal Shower, Bachelorette Party, and gave endless assistance with helping me with details leading up to the wedding, to helping me pick the dress I walked toward my husband in, and so much more. My favorite part was working with my two best friends so closely every step of the way. We created even stronger bonds and the three of us made a great team!"
It is seriously so helpful to have your best girls by your side as your plan! Once the big day had arrived, there were a few moments that will always be favorites in Britni's mind.
"My favorite moment was having much of our family be a part of our wedding day. My father who knows both my husband and I so well married us and became an officiant online. He has great public speaking skills and my husband and I knew right away that we wanted him to marry us. At first, my father thought we were joking when we asked him but went with it. My father did not only walk me down the aisle, but also married me away. Many guests did not know that he was our officiant, we kept it a secret and did not put it in the programs. My husband and I stood at the bottom of the stage and watched my father walk up and that's when the audience started to figure it out. Everyone gasped, clapped, and laughed because my father has such a contagious energetic personality to begin with. It was a sweet surprise for our 150 guests. Our ceremony truly set the tone for the rest of the wedding, everyone had such a fun heartwarming experience at the ceremony that it brought everyone together at the cocktail hour.
Another personalized touch was my father-in law playing guitar as part of our live music during sections of the ceremony. It was so special having my father-in law play the music I walked down the aisle toward his son. We then had my brother-in law and his girlfriend play live music during cocktail hour. In addition to having family all around us and part of the day, to get me to the chapel my aunt (Godmother) drove me in her mini van. Yes, that van has driven me all around as a kid and what not a better way to pull up to the chapel as it felt full circle.
My final favorite moment that truly lasted the entire wedding day was having an article that my deceased grandmother owned with me as my something blue. My grandmother may not have physically been at my wedding, but was close to mine. When she passed in 2011, I grabbed a particular dress she wore for my cousin's wedding in hopes she would be my something blue when that time came. The dress she even wore was blue. The seamstress cut fabric from where her heart laid and sewed where my heart sits in my wedding gown. This was by far a favorite moment."
Finally, Britni has a few pieces of great advice for future brides!
"First, I wish someone told me makeup artists book so fast! Finding a makeup artist should be top on your list. It was on my bottom for you think of all the other vendors first. I learned that some artists are booked 1 year to a 1 1/2 years, specifically in NWI. What is nice is that the makeup artists have much respect for each other and will recommend you to other artists. Just something to keep in mind though if you had an artist in mind.
My second advice, if you and your future husband have a vision, like having a smaller wedding, or having no bridesmaids or groomsmen but only Maids of Honor(s), go with what feels right with you and not what you think others expect - it is YOUR day! Stick with the vision you both share and carry it out as best as you can. Many people are excited for the both of you and have wonderful ideas too, keep their ideas in mind but make the final call with your significant other.
My third piece of advice, go to Bridal Expos/Bridal Shows! This is where I won my photography package (always look into vendors even if you win them to ensure they have a high standing in the wedding industry). Bridal Expos/Bridal Shows provide unique ideas and even provide you with vendors that are willing to travel to you! Many of my vendors came from a Naperville Bridal Expo. Keep an open mind and have fun with these shows!"
Thank you SO much to Britni and Chris for sharing your special day and advice with us and our brides! We wish you nothing but the best in your future together!! Check out more of their beautiful wedding pics in the gallery below!