A Rustic Lakeside Wedding at a Wisconsin Camp
Kelly Marie And Dave
Kelly Marie, who owns a flower shop called Fleur in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago, met Dave when he was bartending at a restaurant next door and bought her a glass of wine. Seasons passed and she never quite forgot him. Though a friendship blossomed, it wasn't until they bumped into each other at a bar, and he invited her to watch a movie. Four and a half years later, the pair tied the knot, on June 1, 2013, not far from the Windy City, in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.
As for that fateful night the singletons met? Well, the neighboring restaurant remodeled their bars a few years into their relationship, so Kelly Marie snatched up the actual bar at which they first met, and it's now quite the conversation piece inside her flower shop.
A Field Guide
The stationery items had motifs that incorporated flowers and music, the couple's passions as well as a new beginning. The design, which boasted a banjo and guitar surrounded by hellebores flowers and overgrown hops, was used on several elements throughout the wedding weekend, including a field guide and the tote bag it came in, along with soaps, beef jerky, a mini flashlight, bug spray, water, and s'mores truffles.
When wedding talk began, Kelly Marie and Dave spoke about their desire to tie the knot at his family's cabin in Minnesota. But with its small size and far distance, they looked into other options and after seeing Camp Wandawega, a storied lake resort in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, they fell in love with the property, its magical lake, perfect sunsets, and history. They took their cue from the venue to create a relaxed wedding weekend for their 117 guests (and the 40 that stayed on site) on the campgrounds, with group activities and lots of landscapes to admire.
Fun and Games
As children, they each loved scavenger hunts, so the couple decided to put their own spin on them by designing "marriage badges" that were hidden throughout camp all weekend long. The pins were stashed near the bonfire, the rope swing, and the beer, among other hot spots. "One of my favorite parts of the day was seeing guests begin to find them and wear them," Kelly Marie said.
A Lucky Token
The day Dave proposed, he took Kelly Marie to a little nature preserve in Michigan. As they were walking to a pier that overlooked the river, she noticed hundreds of shamrocks and commented that she had never found a four-leaf clover. The couple walked closer to the river, where he popped the question. After she said yes and got teary, they took a few steps and she looked down—immediately spotting a four-leaf clover. They brought it home to press and save, and for the wedding it was placed in an antique glass locket and worn during the couple’s first look.
The First Look
"I practically ran down the steps to the dock to see Dave," Kelly said of their first look down by the water in a quieter part of the camp. It was her favorite part of the day other than saying "I Do."
Both the bride and groom wore J.Crew, and Kelly Marie opted for a fitting pair of shoes: Minnetonka moccasins. She also wore a simple veil and earrings from Mignonette Bridal that she tucked into her loose updo with some fresh ferns.
Her Edwardian-style engagement ring was found at an antique fair in Illinois, so they balanced it out with wedding bands purchased in Minnesota—so each of their home states were well represented.
The Bridal Bouquet
With peonies as the bride's favorite flower, it was pretty important to include them in her big day bouquet. The yellow blooms were accompanied by seasonal flowers like ranunculus, clematis, garden roses, astilbe, and locally foraged greens. The bridal bouquet, and all of the special day's flowers were designed by Kelly Marie, of course.
The Bridal Party
Pre-ceremony, the couple and their bridal party posed for portraits on the grounds and on the deck of the tree house, which was dressed up with a garland.
Bridal Party Flowers
Kelly's bridal party carried clutches of ranunculus, mock orange, astilbe, peonies, and poppy pods.
With large grounds to navigate, the couple wanted their guests to find everything with ease, so they painted sandwich board signage to direct people where to go. They incorporated arrows that referenced archery, a popular camp activity.
The Ceremony Program
The simple programs outlined the ceremony and thanked everyone for attending. In addition to the rest of the event’s stationery, Lily Red Studio designed the piece.
The Little Ones
Kelly Marie's nephew and niece served as ring bearer and flower girl. He carried a petite wood canoe holding the wedding bands and she held a nosegay of posies.
The Ceremony Music
After the bridal party entered to "You Can Never Hold Back Spring" by Tom Waits, it was an original song that came next. Dave, who’s also a musician, put his skills to use, writing and recording the music that played as his bride walked down the aisle on the arm of her father.
More Nuptial Music
Two songs were chosen as readings during the ceremony: Nick Cave's "Breathless" and Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love." After the couple exchanged vows inspired by nature and music, they recessed up the aisle to Bob Dylan’s "The Man in Me" — a nod to The Big Lebowski—which the couple watched on their very first date.
The Escort Cards
Since the wedding was outside, there was worry that traditional paper cards would blow away if the wind picked up, so paperweights were designed to outline seating assignments and survive nearly any weather conditions. The keepsakes also doubled as favors for the guests.
The Drink Labels
The couple made labels with ribbon and kraft paper so guests could identify their glasses during cocktail hour. All of the glassware was vintage and mismatched, and sourced by the bride and groom.
The delicious and unfussy fare included pulled pork sandwiches, stuffed chicken breast, fruit salads, a seasonal salad, green beans, mashed potatoes with gravy, and vegetarian lasagna. The menu was painted on to a wooden board framed with fresh foliage.
"We wanted a wedding at a camp, but not a camp-themed wedding," Kelly Marie said. "However, we still liked a little nod to the grounds, so we made mini pennants as table numbers with ribbon trim." They were anchored in arrangements of clematis, roses, ranunculus, and poppy pods, in custard glass vessels sitting atop raw wood slices at the tented reception.
Dancing with Dad
Kelly Marie and her father danced to "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys, after the newlyweds took their first spin on the floor to David Bowie's "Heroes."
An Alternative Guest Book
Rather than a traditional guest books, attendees jotted well wishes and messages on postcards.
An On-Site Perk
The tree swing was quite the hit, and the day of the rehearsal guests couldn't get enough. On the wedding day, there were still some adventurers who gave it a whirl.
A Sweet Selection
Rather than a traditional wedding cake, lots of miniature sweets were set out for guests to enjoy, like lemon bars, s'mores truffles, blueberry tartlets, and honey bon bons.
In keeping with the camp environment, s'mores brownies were also included in the dessert assortment.
Photography: Jaclyn Simpson Photography; Jennifer Kathryn Photography
Location: Camp Wandawega
Day-of Coordination: Greatest Expectations
Catering: Sherman's Catering
Videography: XO Pictures
Desserts: Truffle Truffle
Music: Toast and Jam
Rentals: re:find Joy; Aged Vintage Rentals
Hair and Makeup: Nika Vaughan
Lighting: Chicago Lighting Design
Beer: 3 Floyds Brewing Co.