hannah + steve | starved rock state park fall wedding.
The forecast was calling for rain off and on throughout the entire day at Starved Rock State Park on October 6th, but Hannah already knew a little rain wasn’t going to change the day she and Steve had been planning and looking forward to for so long; they decided they were going to roll with their outdoor ceremony later that afternoon, rain or shine.
The girls grabbed umbrellas as they ran from the lodge to their cabin after finishing their hair and makeup, and once Hannah’s sisters finished getting her into her wedding dress, Hannah picked up said umbrella again and made her way toward the trolley with the girls. She and Steve had already decided they wanted to let their first look happen naturally, so when they both approached the trolley from their respective cabins and saw each other for the first time, umbrellas in hand, it felt like exactly what they had hoped for. They boarded the trolley for some photos with their wedding party, and had fun and laughed despite the fact that their nice clothes were getting soaked and their hair was damp.
When it came time for the ceremony, the rain picked up – Hannah and Steve’s wedding guests shuffled inside the lodge as everyone waited until the last minute to head outside to the ceremony space. Since weddings are typically very organized, scheduled events, there’s something that feels strangely special to me when things go off course a bit – when people ditch their seats to watch from under a tree instead, and when others hang out in the shelter nearby until show time, and when we vendors are scrambling because we’ve never done a ceremony out in the pouring rain before. This feels special to me because it feels unscripted, and real, and a lot like life actually feels. And beyond that, there’s something to be said for how your guests react when a wedding goes off script. I felt myself in a bit of awe in this moment over everyone involved as I watched them shrug their shoulders and smile as the rain came down on their backs – these people who wore their nice dresses and maybe put an extra twenty minutes into their routine that morning to curl their hair, who then stood out in the rain and laughed and cried with Hannah and Steve anyway.
Weddings don’t have to fit the guidelines we see on Pinterest and wedding blogs and social media posts. They don’t have to fit within a certain theme or “style”, nor do they have to look a certain way. To me, all that really matters is what you felt in the moments that made up this day – remembering how it felt to pull on your tennis shoes while wearing the nicest dress you’ll likely ever own as you crack up with your bridesmaids while they do the same, and the way he looked when the rain poured down on you both beneath the altar as you tearily said your vows, and how you walked through mud and wet leaves and had your friend pour his beer on your feet to temporarily wash it away. These are the things you’ll remember. And they’re the things that make your wedding day nothing like the ones you’ve seen before, and nowhere near the way you pictured it – because instead, it ended up even better.
Venue: Starved Rock State Park + Lodge and Conference Center
Catering: Starved Rock Lodge
Wedding Gown: Eva’s Bridal of Oak Lawn
Donuts: Roll N’ Donuts Cafe
Hair + Makeup: Manic Trends Hair Salon
DJ + Uplighting: Tone Productions DJ Service [Spero]
Linens, Cascading Lights, Candelabra, Ceiling Draping: Suez’s Linens and Things
Flowers + Table Decor: Arkadiusz Byczkowski