Melissa and Simon | Outdoor Garden Wedding at Schlitz Audubon and Shully's Watermark

From the Groom:

A Capernwray, UK Proposal

Though we planned to visit Paris on New Year's Eve, I proposed to Melissa on December 23rd, during a trip to Capernwray, a very rural village in the northwest of England.  We went to Capernwray because it is a Bible school where Melissa's childhood friend (Stacey) studied.  

Sadly, Stacey passed away in a car accident not long after returning to Wisconsin. Her death was a devastating loss for Melissa, so she wanted to go to see the school and lay some flowers there in her memory. I thought it would be fitting to propose to Melissa while we were there, so that Stacey could share the moment with us. And December 23rd, the day we would be there, also happened to be Stacey's birthday.

Melissa had many photos of Stacey at Capernwray, next to a tree which appears to be standing totally on its own in the middle of a field. I assumed it must have been one of Stacey's favorite spots near the school, so my plan was to propose to Melissa under that tree.  It looked so prominent, I didn't think it could be hard to find!

When we arrived at the school, we walked around the grounds close to the Hall...and no sign of the tree!  We even drove all over the area, down many country lanes, and still no sign of the tree. Finally, when we decided to go for a longer walk to find a suitable spot for Melissa to lay the flowers, we found the tree!

It was in the middle of a field, not quite as prominent as the pictures suggested, but nonetheless very picturesque and an ideal spot to propose.  The only problem...there was a bull between us and the tree!  And although we can both run pretty fast, we weren't going to test how fast we can run against the bull!

So, content with having found the tree, we returned to the Hall's grounds and found a secluded spot in the rose garden where Melissa laid the flowers and said a prayer for Stacey.  When she stood up, I proposed.

I had planned to go down on one knee, have the ring box open, etc.  All the stuff you see in the movies.  But the emotions of the occasion got the better of me and it didn't quite work out like that!  We were both already in tears, and so we must have looked rather odd to anyone watching from the Hall and to the sheep casually standing nearby!

But I felt it was perfect and just like the wedding itself, I wouldn't change a thing.  Not least because Melissa also said "Yes"!  We laughed about it on the drive back to my parents that evening, and still laugh about it now.  Though I have to say, I am bawling my eyes out again while writing this!

From the Bride:

Natural and Ethereal Wedding Inspiration

Our wedding inspiration was natural and ethereal-in fact it was actually nature itself. We have seen so many sunsets together that combine beautiful tones of pinks and blues in an amazing blend and used that as our starting point. 

We wanted our day to be simple, romantic, and elegant. This allowed us to combine the natural look (flower crowns, flowy pastel dresses, outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour, plenty of draping greenery in the florals) with the classic elegance of gold, glass, and mercury accents. We didn't really have a color palette but we were drawn towards the blush, dusty blue, coral, ivory, and gold we so often saw in sunsets together

What Melissa loved about her wedding

I loved how our design and wedding day was truly us. Every moment was thought through by both of us and I felt so natural and at ease the entire day because of this. My mom and I worked tirelessly to plan and pull things together (I owe her so much!!) and while I had a few days where I questioned myself and thought it would all be too much, when everything was put together with our naturally stunning venues, it worked out beautifully.

The ceremony was my favorite time. I felt so secluded with Simon, like I was in my own tiny cocoon with him and both of us bursting with love. The tree tops seemed to be covering us, our family and friends surrounding us, and it was very intimate for a 200-person outdoor wedding.

My favorite image from the day was probably after I was in the back corner of the reception venue talking to a few older relatives that were seated during the dancing, and I walk back to join the dance party when Chumbawamba's "Tubthumping" comes on and I look up to see our ENTIRE packed dance floor jumping in crazy unison. My heart was so happy and I thought to myself "this is what it's all about" before joining my husband and all the best people in our world on the dance floor. 

Many thanks to the following talents:

Invitation suite: Goodheart Design | Bride's Robe: Silk and More | Bride's gown: Carol Hannah via Alice in Ivory | Veil: Jennifer Leigh Couture via Miss Ruby Boutique | Hair and Makeup: Tres Jolie Solace | Ring box: The Mrs. Box | Florals: Daffodil*Parker | Ceremony: Schlitz Audubon Nature Center | String Quartet: Lakeside Strings | Reception venue and catering: The Watermark at Shully’s | Rentals and signage: Vintique Rental | Bouquet Ribbons: Frou Frou Chic | Cake: O What a Day Cafe | Cake Topper: Better Off Wed | Chair signs: Yuling Designs |