“I put a lot of energy towards our decor. I knew our location was going to be completely bare and 100% up to us to make it our own. I wanted a lot of flowers, unique decorations and things that made it OUR wedding and not generic. I did as much personalization as possible.” -Alyson
Alyson and Matt’s wedding was full of charming rustic details including lace, warm lighting, worn wood and colors of navy, blush, gold, and ivory. I arrived at, Acres Inn, one of my favorite small town locations, a rented out loft apartment in Pontiac, that is nestled in the downtown and serves as a trendy space for brides and their bridesmaids to prep for the big day. Alyson had all the impressive details of the day laid out ready to photograph. What she didn’t know is that Matt had come in early that morning before she was there and wrote a little personal message on the bottom of her wedding shoe (Amazing). I was able to capture a few shots of her tearful reaction.
Alyson and Matt wanted to keep true to themselves when planning a location for their wedding. They are very laid back and definitely didn’t want a church wedding or banquet reception. Along with Alyson’s love for vintage details, they decided on The Mills Shed. Right outside of Pontiac, Illinois, The Mills Shed, is a newer rustic venue that is surrounded by large old trees, sprawling corn fields, open fields, and vintage grain bins… or maybe they are corn cribs…. I grew up in The Midwest, and I still am not quite sure the difference. Either way, they are covered in a crawling Ivy that is perfect for portraits.
Next, one of my favorite parts of the day.. the first look( Stay tuned later for my #1 favorite moment of the day). The first look… as Alyson walked up behind him I was standing there with Matt and could feel his nervous energy. He was anxious to see his bride for the first time and had a card in hand waiting to give to her. He turned around to see her for the first time that day, and this big handsome manly-man switched into a gentle teddy bear embracing Alyson as a few tears rolled down his cheek.
We went on with the day getting photographs all around the beautiful property before guests starting to arrive for the ceremony. The ceremony was outside in the yard with lots of personal touches. It was a loving, quick ceremony that included a few tears.
Afterwards, everyone made their way over to the shed for the reception. The place lit up with hanging lights giving that warm, romantic ambiance Alyson dreamed of. The toasts were great and full of laughs, the first dances were fun and heartfelt, and the sun was starting to set. Then, comes my favorite part of the day. MATT turned out to be an impressive break dancer. This quiet, humble guy got a couple drinks in him and pulled out some insane dance moves. And everyone lost it. It was epic.
I then pulled Alyson and Justin Timberlake… I mean Matt… out for a few sunset shots to end the night. We laughed about his hidden dance moves, and I gave them a big hug and headed back to Iowa.
Another amazing couple and wedding. Thank You, Alyson and Matt, for a wonderfully intimate beautiful day. Thank You for having me capture it for you.
Words from the Bride
Most important part of planning: Decor and making the blank canvas venue their own
Special details of the day: Matt and his dad tore down a wood building on a family friend’s farm to be able to build the bar for the reception. Alyson had lace from her Grandma’s wedding dress, special family charms and an heirloom pendant wrapped around her flowers. Her something blue was a piece of fabric cut into a heart from an old Tshirt that belonged to her Grandpa, sewn into her dress. She also had her Grandma wear the same blush color as her bridesmaids to be recognized as her “Senior Bridesmaid”.
Favorite Details: Dress and Flowers
Matts Favorite Moment: The entire ceremony
Alyson’s Favorite Moment: When she noticed the message Matt wrote on the bottom of her shoe
Advice to future brides: Stick to a well written timeline and take a week off before the wedding!
Honeymoon: Still in planning for later this year
Getting ready location: Acres Inn, Pontiac, Illinois
Ceremony and Reception: The Mills Shed
Flowers: Britney Schmidt
Videographers: The Film Jar
Rings: The Diamond Family in Manchester, MO
Dress: Adore Bridal in Morton, Illinois
DJ: Josh Schultz
Catering: Tom Tuley
Cake: Cupcakes made by April Roos
Jewelry: Perfect Details in San Mateo, CA
Hair: Amanda Griffith, Studio 214
Makeup: Kaylin Griffin
Officiant: Marcia Weldm family friend
Invitations and Place Cards: BettyLuPaperie on Etsy
Are you interested in wedding photography information? Contact today// http://www.brandyswartz.com
Want to follow along with me as I photograph 30 weddings in 2017! Locations include Costa Rica, Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, Washington D.C. and Hawaii !! Follow on Instagram and Facebook!