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A Vintage Fall Wedding at Emerson Creek Pottery and Tea Room in Oswego, Illinois

Stephanie (31 and a freelance photographer) and Ryan (35 and a designer) planned an elegant vintage-inspired affair with a subtle rustic twist for the

Stephanie (31 and a freelance photographer) and Ryan (35 and a designer) planned an elegant vintage-inspired affair with a subtle rustic twist for their fall wedding at Emerson Creek Pottery and Tea Room in Oswego, Ill. “We wanted to get married outside in October and have the ceremony and reception at the same place,” says Stephanie. “We searched high and low, then Emerson was recommended to me by another photographer friend of mine. We grabbed the last available date, a Friday. It was absolutely perfect!”

The day was truly a labor of love, with the couple’s closest family members and friends pitching in their unique talents and skills to bring the couple’s vision to life. The day started with an outdoor ceremony overlooking Emerson’s quaint pond, officiated by one of Stephanie’s close friends. “Ryan and I each picked a person close to us to choose a reading to read. We didn’t hear them beforehand,” says Stephanie. The pair exchanged vows under an elegant wooden arch decorated with a garland of olive leaves, garden roses and small pink blooms. 

The evening’s festivities unfolded inside the barn, where details like ivory chandeliers, bright yellow and peach centerpieces displayed atop tree trunks and ladylike lace linens fused old world and organic styles to stunning effect. “I really let my florist go to town here and she did an incredible job,” says Stephanie. “We had Ryan’s uncle cut the tree trunks, since he works at a landscaping company and had access to the right tools. My florist also knew that I liked artichokes, so she wove some of those throughout.”

James Beard award-winning pastry chef Mindy Segal gifted the couple a decadent chocolate wedding cake for guests to enjoy after dinner, and the pair treated their friends and families to a special whiskey drink, “Cherry Bounce,” that Stephanie made herself. “I pitted seven pounds of Michigan cherries and then marinated them in a special whiskey mixture from Ryan’s friend’s grandfather for six months,” says Stephanie.

Toast & Jam kept the dance floor packed with a playlist of the couple’s favorite songs, and at the end of the night, Stephanie and Ryan sent everyone home with potted succulents that from Stephanie’s aunt’s garden.

A tip for the taking from Stephanie: “Try to find a good compromise between what you want and what your parents want. The fighting isn’t worth it, but definitely stand your ground. I was firm about not getting married in a church and it was really hard for my parents. In the end, we got married the way we wanted, and then two days later got married again in a church and we were both happy. Also, take at least 10 minutes after the ceremony to just sit with your new spouse alone — with appetizers. It’s an intense, long and hectic day, and to be able to set aside time with your partner and say ‘Hey! We’re married,” without 100 people trying to talk to you is really special.”

Guests found their way to their seats with the help of classic escort cards displayed in miniature potted succulents, which also doubled as favors. Stephanie's aunt grew them in her own garden in the months leading up to the wedding, along with a sedum for the couple to eventually dig up and plant in the yard of their first home.
Ryan put his design skills to work, creating the invitation suite for the wedding himself. The main invitation featured a wood grain backdrop with gold lettering, while the RSVP card and details card were decorated with whimsical letterpress fonts and linear borders.
Instead of a first look, Stephanie and Ryan had a first touch, where they exchanged heartfelt letters before the ceremony.
Foxglove Studio took the lead on all of the wedding’s florals, using olive leaves, dahlias, scabiosas, roses, ranunculuses, lavender, cosmos, ferns and astrantia and wildflowers to fill Stephanie’s breathtaking bouquet.
The couple decided to go off-the-grid for their ceremony to keep the focus fully on the sentiment of the event. They placed a rustic wooden sign at the entrance to the ceremony space asking guests to turn off their phones and cameras during the proceedings.
Foxglove Studio knocked the centerpieces out of the park with striking, textured arrangements of ferns, dahlias, roses, eucalyptus and wildflowers displayed atop rustic tree trunk rounds provided by Stephanie’s aunt. Lace table linens provided a note of old world charm to the tablescapes, while gold mercury glass votive candleholders added a touch of glamour.
Mindy Segal, a James Beard awarded pastry chef and a former colleague of Stephanie's gifted the couple their wedding cake and coffee, treating them to a decadent chocolate confection decorated with buttercream pearls, fresh garden roses and solid gold chess pieces Stephanie's father bought on his honeymoon.
Ivory chandeliers, lace table linens and gilded accents filled the reception tent with an air of old world charm and warmth.
After the couple said their "I do's," they invited guests to enjoy cocktail hour in the rustic barn. Panels of airy white fabric, ivory chandeliers and bursts of fairy lights brought an air of elegance and whimsy to the barn's country charm.
Stephanie let her bridesmaids take the lead on their wedding day attire, asking only that the girls wear dresses in gold. The girls rented their choice of sparkly sequin gowns from Rent the Runway, which they paired with gold pashmina shawls for an elegant and glam look.
The day started off with an intimate ceremony overlooking Emerson Pottery's quaint pond. To make the proceedings feel more personalized, the couple had a close friend officiate and invited two close friends to choose and read the readings.
“I really didn’t like looking for dresses. I’ve never had a thing for fashion in general, and me in a wedding dress was just bizarre to begin with,” says Stephanie. “One of my bridesmaids turned me on to Sarah Seven. I went with my mother-in-law, sister and sister-in-law and we picked my dress!”