A White and Blue Garden Wedding at Armour House in Lake Forest, Illinois

The day Lydia Lie (33 and in human resources) and Matthew Haedicke (27 and a senior financial analyst) got engaged was also the day they moved into the house they bought together—“to commemorate a new beginning,” Lydia says. They planned their wedding in eight months, starting with the venue. “We visited a lot of venues in Chicago,” Lydia says. It was Armour House at Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest, Illinois, in the end, that “took our breath away” with its beautiful garden, fountain, pagoda, grand staircase, marble fireplace and rooms filled with turn-of-the-century character and charm. They opted for a simple outdoor ceremony for their 120 guests, with a few nontraditional aspects: The ring bearer was Matt’s sister (who carried their late father’s ring down the aisle), Matt wore a small photo of his dad in a pendant under his boutonniere, and Lydia’s mom walked her down the aisle. In honor of Lydia’s Chinese heritage, they had a traditional Chinese tea ceremony—to pay respect to and receive blessings from their elders—and used a red string on their invitations, symbolizing the “red string of fate,” where two people are destined to become soul mates. While their overall color scheme was shades of grays and blues, evident in the wedding party and floral arrangements, they chose burgundy, gold and fuchsia to highlight the cultural traditions for the tea ceremony. The party moved indoors to the 1908 villa, where the staircase was lined with candles. Guests enjoyed a meal of grilled beef fillet with bordelaise sauce, prosciutto-and-sage-wrapped halibut, chicken stuffed with spinach or a portobello mushroom cap with grilled vegetables. Dessert options were a chocolate and raspberry red velvet cake with cream cheese, and guests also enjoyed Michigan fudge (Matt's father's favorite) as wedding favors and the high-energy music of Standing Room Only Orchestra. —Chrissy Sorenson