Sarah & John’s Rustic Vintage Wedding in Lake Geneva

October 12, 2016

Sarah and John met years back at John’s brother’s birthday party. Sarah spotted John from across the room and finally worked up the courage to chat with him. “I put on my charm, batted my eyes, and coyly asked him if he’d be my knight in shining armor,” she says. “His response was to give me his business card — success!”

Three years passed before John and Sarah finally got together; she still had his business card. John proposed on the Pont des Arts (the Lovelock Bridge) in Paris. Walking along the bridge, the two approached rose petals laid in the shape of a heart. John dropped to one knee, presented Sarah with a music box that played their song, and a lock that said “Will you marry me?” Sarah said yes, and a photographer captured the entire romantic scene.

The style of John and Sarah’s wedding was rustic vintage with a color story of blush, champagne, gold, and white. On the eve of the wedding, the couple invited their out-of-town guests to celebrate with a BBQ rehearsal dinner at Lake Lawn Resort in Lake Geneva. Guests were gifted with a bag filled with water, snacks, a list of things to do in the Lake Geneva area, an itinerary for the wedding weekend, a Belgian-style beer brewed by Sarah’s brother (called “Too Late to Bail Ale”), a bottle of wine, an Eiffel Tower bottle opener, measuring cups, and beer koozies.

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The ceremony was held at St. Andrew’s Church in Delavan, where John’s family went when visiting their summer home. Sarah says one of the best parts of the day was finding out her honeymoon destination, since John had planned the whole thing as a surprise. “I jokingly asked him to pack my suitcase; the day of the wedding, John sent over a bag of all the swimwear and coverups I could need. Still unsure where we were going, at least I knew it would be warm!” As they walked up the aisle as husband and wife, John pulled Sarah aside and broke the news: Fiji! “This is a moment we will always cherish.”

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Then the party moved to Hawk’s View Country Club for the reception. “When we walked into the room, my jaw dropped,” Sarah says. “We finally saw the vision we’d been imagining. Everything was white with touches of gold and neutrals. We had rustic and ornate decorations made by a friend, and all the tables had wood-burned table numbers and signs.”

During cocktail hour, there were Moscow Mules with mason jar dispensers, fancy straws, and wooden coasters with sayings like “Happy Ever After.” Sarah and John hired a guitar/ukulele player, Cary Kanno, to play during cocktail hour, and John’s parents surprised them with the Shannon Rovers. “I think it really surprised everyone when two Irish dancers walked out with bagpipes,” says Sarah. For dinner, guests enjoyed both chicken and steak.

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The first dances were some of Sarah and John’s favorite moments of the reception. During the father/daughter dance, Sarah’s dad chose James Taylor’s “Sarah Maria” — the song the bride was named after. “In his speech, my dad mentioned how I clung to three major things in my life: my blanket, my dog Beckham, and now John.” During their dance, Sarah’s dad pulled out a piece of her childhood blanket that he’d had embroidered with the date of the wedding.

Then, for their first dance as husband and wife, John and Sarah treated guests to some choreographed moves. “We’d been taking dance classes for months, but Sarah wanted to call the routine off just days before the wedding,” John says. He talked Sarah into going through with their dance, and family and friends were thoroughly impressed — even suggesting they should join “Dancing with the Stars!”


The photographers and videographers at Ideal Impressions expertly captured all of these once-in-a-lifetime moments. “Ryan from Ideal Impressions was very helpful. He was always on call when we had questions about our picture timeline and locations. He was also able to make connections with the horse owners over at the Grand Geneva so that we could get photos by their barn with a horse.” The night ended with a sparkler send-off, a fun and thrilling show for the bride, groom, and guests alike. “The feeling of having everyone we love together enjoying our beautiful day will never be forgotten.”

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Bridal Shows~Hawk’s View Country Club, Lake Geneva
Dance Lessons~Get on the Floor Dance (Chicago, IL).
Invitations~Jaquie Van Guilder
Rehearsal Dinner~Lake Lawn Resort
Ceremony Location~St. Andrew’s Church, Delavan, WI
Reception & Catering~Hawk’s View Country Club
Cake~Julie Michelle
Flowers~Treasure Hut, Delavan, WI
Music/Entertainment~Connexion Band, Cary Kanno, Shannon Rovers
Transportation~Jones Charter, Elkhorn, WI
Photo & Video~Ideal Impressions
Dress~Brides by Demetrios, Schaumburg, IL
Bridesmaid Dresses~Bridesmaids were able to choose their own dress; most bought from Macy’s or Nordstroms from Adrianna Papell or Pisarro Nights
Formalwear~Modern Tuxedo, Chicago, IL
Rings~European Jewelers, Mount Prospect, IL
Rentals~Lakes Area Rental, Elkhorn, WI