An Outdoor Woodland Wedding at a Private Residence in Waterloo, Illinois

Laura Morton (29 and a registered dietitian) and Austin Wolf (29 and an artist) were together for almost a decade—through high school and college—before Austin proposed on a family trip to Anna Maria Island, Florida. The proposal “went a little something like this: A shaky hand shot out of nowhere and stuck a gorgeous antiqued band on the middle finger of my right hand. My left hand was holding a sleeping baby girl. It was perfect,” Laura says. The sleeping baby girl was their daughter, Ruthie. They set an October date on their wooded property—complete with a barn, a creek, walking trails and a bonsai garden—affectionately nicknamed Morton’s Grove (and now available for rent). “Having our wedding at our home seemed like a natural decision,” Laura says, explaining that a large part of their wedding budget went into building a pergola—with each bracket made by Austin to achieve the perfect rustic aesthetic—and an expansive red-brick patio and sprucing up the barn. “Every detail of the space was thoughtfully curated with our wedding day in mind,” she says. It was a point of pride to exchange vows in front of the beautiful barn, carefully renovated by Austin (with a little help from family and friends). The rustic beauty was accented with pumpkins, gourds and mums, and a large handmade banner served as their ceremony backdrop, featuring the song lyrics from Blitzen Trapper "Furr": “I took her by the arm, we settled down upon a farm and raised our children up as gently as you please.” Other memorable elements included a ride in a 1920s beer delivery truck, a “kids’ area” set up with hay bales and a tractor, a meal catered by a local restaurant and a propane-powered fire pit for guests to gather around after sunset. “Having everyone you love in one place is such a cool experience,” Laura says. “Hearing how much guests love the venue means so much when the venue is your home.” —Chrissy Sorenson