erica + ryan | trailside event center wedding | peoria, il.
Erica and Ryan first met in college, and I think with that can sometimes come a relationship involving two people who have seen each other through the fraternity parties and the old inside jokes and the questionable decisions and the equally questionable hairstyles, which lends itself to knowing a person in a way that is unattainable to those who meet later in life. It’s not better or worse, it’s just different – there’s something to be said for seeing a partner go through different stages of life (especially the ones as formative as our early twenties), growing and changing and gradually becoming a better version of his or herself. You figure this life thing out together, and I think it’s safe to say Erica and Ryan have certainly been figuring it out.
Their wedding revolved largely around not only them, but also their families – both Erica and Ryan care deeply about their kin, so they incorporated their parents and siblings and cousins into the important moments that made up their day. Erica’s dad built the arbor they were married in front of, and she exchanged the most heartfelt letter and gift with her mom before getting into her dress, and her sister was by her side every step of the way, and her niece was a flower girl. Ryan’s mom and grandmother helped him get ready, along with his dad, and his younger cousins were in the wedding party as junior bridesmaids and groomsmen. It’s clear that Erica and Ryan are so incredibly loved by their families as well – I watched as Ryan’s aunts’ eyes filled with tears during the ceremony and beamed at their nephew, and as Erica’s great uncle gave the blessing and then was so excited to dance with her at the reception.
And when it comes to the reception, Erica and Ryan also had the chance to get after it with the other important group of people in their lives – their friends. I knew this day would be fun from the moment I first spent time with Erica and Ryan, simply because these two are the embodiment of a good time. They immediately started greeting their friends with big hugs upon arrival, and made sure to get photos with their Western crew and their high school friends, and all of their friends from different stages of life filled up the dance floor as soon as the DJ opened it. Erica and Ryan hardly left that space for the rest of the night as they busted EVERY move and quite clearly had the best time – surrounded by all the people who mean the most to them, who have also watched them grow together through all these years, and who got to spend an evening celebrating the “official” joining of two people who it sorta feels like have been together all along.
Venue: Trailside Event Center
Dress: Adore Bridal
Cake: Trefzgers Bakery
Hair + Makeup: Identity Salon
Videographer: Steve Weber Films
Catering: Cracked Pepper
Decor: I Do Events/Create A Scene
DJ: Top Hat Productions