danielle + joe | fishermen’s inn ceremony | elburn, il.
When I first arrived at Danielle and Joe’s home the day of their wedding, the ladies were all inside in the middle of hair and makeup and hanging out over some lunch. A few of the guys were out front, chatting and greeting one another at the end of the driveway before leaving to get ready at the venue. Joe and Danielle’s dog also came out to the front yard and Joe happily greeted him, too. Back in the house, Danielle discussed the day ahead with her bridesmaids, mom, and future mother-in-law. We were surrounded by pieces of the life that Joe and Danielle have built together throughout the past years: notes left for one another by the back door and photos from the trips they’d taken on the living room wall, in the home they’d been renovating together over the past year.
Danielle’s mom helped her into her wedding dress once they made their way over to the venue, and then she and her father shared a teary first look as he clutched his handkerchief and saw his daughter in her wedding dress for the first time. Soon after, she met Joe outside to see him for the first time that day as well, and the anticipation on both of their faces as they were about to do so was nearly as great as the laughs and the giant grins and the wiping of tears that followed. Their friends and families joined them outside for photos after that, and though we had prepared for a chilly October afternoon based on the prior forecast, the sun came out and gave us all something to be a little extra thankful for.
Danielle and Joe had narrowed their guest list to 25 people due to the pandemic, so their ceremony at Fishermen’s Inn was beautifully intimate. Their officiant recounted the story of how the two of them met — years ago, as teenagers on an Appalachian Service Project trip. They were young and knew each other for a brief week, and though Danielle had a crush on Joe at the time, he had a girlfriend. Fifteen years later, they came across one another on a dating app and reunited, and the rest, as they say, is history. We now were fortunate to be here watching them say vows to one another, witnessing them excitedly committing to a lifetime of being one another’s adventure buddy, fellow dog lover, spouse, and friend.
Having postponed their larger reception for the following year, they opted to have a small dinner with their ceremony attendees that evening. They put a playlist on a speaker in the private room they’d rented and cut their cake in front of their loved ones. Soon after, their best friends and fathers also gave toasts, which were the perfect odes to friendship and being a parent and life and love. Danielle texted me in the week that followed that they had also shared some dances later in the evening, telling me how beautiful and perfect it all was despite it not looking like a “normal” reception. I love them for this — for enjoying themselves and being thankful and loving it, despite it all.
Ceremony Venue: Fishermen’s Inn
Dinner: Tribella Grill
Videography: Avant-Garde Videography
Hair + Makeup: Yes Ma’am Hair & Makeup
Florist: Designs by Janet
Violinist: Katie Yackey
Officiant: Rev. Anne Styx, Rev for Whatev