Updated: Jan 24
Another wedding I have to gush about. Tori and I tackle this wedding industry together year after year, through the family-owned venue, The Eastwood, in Streator, IL. I photograph so many beautiful weddings here, and she is usually the strength behind the fantastic details. I expected absolutely nothing less at her own wedding. I knew it would be good. I just wasn’t prepared for the magic it was. I couldn’t stop taking detail photos. Love to Flowers Plus in Streator for the amazing-ness.
It all started at her home, where she and hubby just finished renovating her Grandmother’s old house. I stepped in, and my jaw dropped. Side note, it rained this day… all. day. long. Not one minute of dry sky. But guess what? That didn’t matter one bit because their home was so amazing that I had zero issues just tackling the photos inside.
I was full of envy when photographing her sexy boho details, down to the invites that she created herself (She’s killer talented). Once we realized there was no going outside, we did the first look and intimate portraits inside the house. My assistant, Bailey, helped me with adding in soft light where needed!
Tori and TJ decided on an untraditional way of scheduling the day, which worked out to be a casual intimate twist on the usual look of the day. We walked into the Eastwood to the most magically lit location. What seemed like hundreds of candles lit on each table gave off the warmest, most romantic ambiance. Small intimate dinner with family was followed by the ceremony, cocktail hour, and a party. The party guests were treated with yummy appetizers, and the most delicious dessert spread you could ask for.
The toasts made me cry…. As always. And the first dances and cake cutting finished up my night. I have to spread the word on how amazing Tori and TJ are but also their families. The Eastwood family has created a fantastic space to join together. They are not only the biggest family photo I have ever done but some of the kindest and most fun members I know!
Q: Did you have inspiration for your wedding?
A: Working in the wedding industry, I knew the more recent trend of all things neutral just wasn't for me. I've also been a bridesmaid in 10+ weddings myself and wanted the experience to be a bit more casual for our wedding party + for the guests. I wanted our wedding to feel personal + thoughtful in all aspects of the day. And I wanted our personalities and love for family to come through as well.
Q: What were the colors of your wedding?
A: We didn't really have a set color theme but knew from day one that I wanted bold + bright goral elements with dark tones thrown in. We included brass elements and mismatched colored glassware in greens, blues, and ambers.
Q: What were the most important parts to you in planning your
wedding? Location? Photography? Flowers?
A: I think for me personally, it was fun to break outside of the trending looks that were happening during our planning process (nude tones, large wedding parties, etc.) and run with some bold details. I knew right away I wanted a photographer that could help me capture that look,
and Brandy nailed that. Our location (The Eastwood) was significant to us as well, as its where we got engaged and my family venue, also the venue I coordinate at. I think our entire day, as generic as that answer likely is, was important to us, and we wanted everything to feel cohesive.
Q: Did you have any special details that were unique to your wedding?
A: Our dinner was first with 150 family members only. We wanted to take time to spend not only with one another but with our favorite people that have been with us + supported us from quite literally day one. We then invited all our guests (300+) to our ceremony, which was a very emotional
one as Tj's (groom) 5-year-old son Cooper was an active part of our vows. My cousin/best friend married us and wrote family vows for the 3 of u, followed by our marital vows. Cooper was very emotional on the big day, and it really meant the world to him that all THREE of us got married.
Our reception was fun and casual, with tons of heavy appetizers + pizzas to follow, but no formal sit down dinner. We had a very relaxed band for guests to enjoy however they pleased. We also broke up the "wedding activities" throughout the night. We cut our cake and did our first dance, then the band played for a while, then we cut in and did speeches and parent dances and then back to the band. From what I've heard, guests loved the ability to come and go from space to space as they pleased without being forced to entertain any specific part of the evening.
Q: What was your wedding attire? Include vendors, if possible.
A: I knew I wanted to make sure our small wedding party was comfortable and not dying to get out of their apparel. I wanted it to feel like an all evening cocktail hour, where you've lost the fussy portion of your wedding look and are down to what feels less the best!
The bridesmaids (2) wore a dark teal/emerald velvet dress that was bought from ASOS for $80. The three of us girls worked together and ordered a bunch of dresses from online retailers to find one that they both loved. They each chose their own shoes as well. They had minimal gold jewelry. They had a few custom bangles on and a brass hairpin from Etsy. The groomsmen wore black goral ties, black slacks + crisp white shirts, and black suspenders. The pants + shirts were rentals from Marien Mae. Tj (groom) wore a black suit without a tie + a white shirt also from Marien Mae. He hates ties, so I wasn't going to put him through that. His pocket square was my grandmother's handkerchief. The dads of the wedding had on rented tuxes from Marien Mae and coordinating
ties from The Tie Bar in similar teal tones as the bridesmaids' dresses.
I found my very boho off the shoulder ivory dress from Marien Mae as well. I wore a simple floral headband + skipped the veil. My shoes were my favorite portion of my personal look and were lace-up booties with a multicolor appliqué.
My moms dress was the perfect find from Anthropologie. It was as if she had it made specifically for the day. The details were spot on.
Q: What was your favorite wedding detail of the day? Dress? Shoes?
A: I think it was the final outcome of the entire day's details. I guess if I absolutely HAD to choose one, my favorite details were the tablescapes. The glassware was a mismatched combination of colored glass from my grandmother's collection, Tj's aunt, + my personal findings over the last year. Seeing it all come together was such fun.
Q: What was your favorite moment of the day? Groom's favorite moment?
A: I think the ceremony ties for both of our favorite moments. It rained from start to finish on our big day. As everyone tells you (shoot, as *I* tell every single one of my brides), the day truly gets by. Still, in those few moments during our ceremony, time really slowed down, and every bit of chaos around us was forgotten. Our family vows with Cooper were so emotional + sweet, and seeing him so excited to "get married" indeed was the best part of the day.
Q: What advice would you give to brides who are planning their wedding still?
A: Space things out more to give yourself a cushion. I felt like I needed an extra 15 minutes that morning to hang out with my girls, mom, and mother in law. Give yourself time to enjoy your morning. And opt for a Thursday rehearsal! It was so lovely being able to prep/set up all-day
Q: Would you have done anything differently when planning your wedding?
A: I honestly can't think of anything I would have changed, aside from the weather.
Q: Are you planning on taking a Honeymoon? If so, where?
A: We've discussed it, but our schedules make it tricky. We want to take a week long ski-trip in February, but we'll see!
Getting ready Location: Our home
Ceremony Location: The Eastwood
Reception Location: The Eastwood
Off-site portrait Location: Our home
Flowers: Flowers Plus
Rings: Vanduzer Jewelers
Dress: Marien Mae
Tux/Suit: Marien Mae
DJ: Pocket Mouse- band
Catering: The Eastwood
Cake: Jamie Wykes- cheesecake, to DIE FOR!
Hair: Elegance Salon + Day Spa in Toluca
Makeup: Encore Salon
Wedding Planner: The Eastwood