Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dawn + James : Eco-Friendly Wedding

Today's real wedding features Dawn and James' eco-friendly event at the Four Rivers Environmental Center, located just outside of Chicago in the McKinley Woods Forest Preserve. As the bride told me, "By planning a 'green' wedding, we hope that our eco-friendly elements lessen the environmental footprint of our special day and truly make a difference." 

Their story is a classic opposites attract tale. Dawn is from the city, James is from the country. She's and interior designer, he's a farmer & lumberjack. It was important to them for their wedding to reflect both of their personalities and to maintain an elegant feel while incorporating natural elements. The result was an intimate, sophisticated event that perfectly represented the blending of two unique individuals. 

Photo credits : Elizabeth Greve Photography

Here are just a few of the ways the couple incorporated environmentally friendly elements into their wedding day:

  • They reduced paper waste by eliminating "Save the Date's".
  • They used locally grown flowers as well as flowers that they grew themselves for centerpieces, bouquets, and church decor.
  • Invitations were printed on 100% post-consumer waste recycled papers and envelopes. No new trees are used in the process.
  • Centerpieces and other decor were purchased from antique stores throughout Illinois, Indiana, and Tennesee.
  • Favors were handmade by bridemaids & close relatives, re-using elements that had been packed in the basement for years.
  • All candles were soy wax, cultivated from US farmers.

  • I asked the bride if she had any special stories about their wedding to share. She told me, "My cousin was able to marry us. She flew in from Vegas where she is a minister. It was so special having her do that. I was also able to incorporate my late grandmother into a few elements as well. I used her old suitcase as my card box and held on tightly to her hankerchief as I said my vows."

    "My florist came over the morning of the wedding and hand cut the flowers that my family & I grew for the tables and for my bouquet. She even was able to include a few garden roses from my late grandmother's rose bush."

    I asked Dawn what advice she has for brides who are currently planning their weddings. "Try to incorporate both of you into your wedding. If you come up with a bizarre idea, follow  through with it. Some of our ideas that got eye rolls, turned out the most fun and memorable at the wedding, like our programs printed on wildflower seeded paper or our fingerprint tree."

    And the best advice she received as a bride, "One of my best friends told me during the reception to sit back and take it all in. Look around at every table and remember they are all here for us, supporting and loving us. I did exactly that, and am thankful I had that moment."

    I also love the couple's engagement story so much, I just had to share it:

    "On a typical Friday night, James told me he wanted to take me out for supper. On our way there, he asked me if I wanted to see where he had been working all week. As we were taking the little drive, the sun was just starting to set and we were laughing and having our usual good time. Once we arrived in Loda, he told me there was a house he wanted to take me to that he thought was for sale. We drove around for about ten minutes - apparently James was kind of lost. 

    Once we pulled up to the house, there was a small lake in front of us with a little beach. He asked me if I wanted to go take a walk. On our walk, hand in hand towards the water, he got down on one knee and said the most beautiful 4 words I have ever heard. It was timed perfectly with the sunset and it was the most beautiful summer night…. he did good! The lake that James proposed on is our new home at Lake Iroquois! Love that we got engaged where we will start our lives together!"

    Vendors and Photo Credits:
    Photographer : Elizabeth Greve Photography
    Florist : Mandy Ooykaas (She grew many of the flowers in her greenhouse locally. She does not have a website, she is an old friend whose parents own a greenhouse and tree farm.)
    Cake : The Cake Box in New Lenox, IL. (They have shut their business down since then. What a shame, our cake was lemon with raspberry preserves and was delicious!)
    Garter : Rosebud Lips on Etsy 
    Unity Candle : Leigh Ann Kline on Etsy (shop no longer open)

    Want to see your wedding or engagement story featured on Rew Elliott Style? Submit your story and photos today!


    1. I love the shoe photo! What a refreshing take on an eco-friendly wedding!

    2. Great post, absolutely love the photos!

    3. What a beautiful wedding! I absolutely LIVE the purple shoes, the programs, and the delicate cake! So lovely!


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