If you’re not already in the mood for summer, you will be once you see this lakefront wedding from Wisconsin photographers Ray + Kelly. They’ve captured the day so perfectly, you’ll feel like you were there! Also, these newlyweds had quite possibly the best getaway car of all time…
Lucky Luxe stationery set the tone for the relaxed lakeside celebration.
One of the many DIY projects the couple and their families took on was making and painting various signs, including one that exclaims, “Yay! You’re here!”
Says the bride of their wedding venue: “Dan and I lead an active lifestyle and love everything about being outdoors in Wisconsin – fishing, camping, waterskiing, etc. After searching for unique venues across the state, we came to the realization that it would be so much more meaningful and unique to have it in my parents’ backyard where I grew up and where we enjoy so much of our summer. Their property is located on a small isthmus between two lakes with amazing views of both lakes! We knew it would be a lot of work (we had many wedding planning sessions on the pier that summer – rough life!) but also knew that if we could pull it off, we would cherish the memories and talk about forever the day we we transformed the backyard into our wedding location. And we did, and we do.”
“We got married on a small deck in the corner of the yard, with the lake behind us and our guests seated on the hill above us. That location is so special to me, and I can still close my eyes and be right there, with the warm summer air and all of our loved ones around us…. it was just perfect and I’ll never forget what it felt like to be exactly in that place and that moment.”
“We surprised everyone by having a neighbor pick us up from the pier after the ceremony in his antique Amphicar with a Just Married sign across the back. We couldn’t stop laughing as we drove off, waving to our guests and honking at the other boats. That moment was just surreal.”
“A storm after dinner was a fun surprise – what’s more exciting than a summer storm at the lake?! It came on really quick and people took shelter wherever they could (I think a few guests even maybe have gotten stuck in the portable restrooms!), but we rolled down the tent sides and continued to have fun until it passed. I remember a young man from the catering staff coming up to me, soaking wet, and saying, ‘Ma’am, my boss wants me to let you know that we are going to stay inside until the storm passes so that everyone doesn’t end up looking like me!’ I just laughed, he was so clearly having fun getting soaked. It was clear that everyone had adopted the laid back “at the lake” mentality.”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? We were really inspired to stay true to who we were as a couple, and to embrace our unique venue and informal style. Ray + Kelly’s blog captured the wedding days of many couples with similar non-traditional locations, and I actually spent hours poring over the the small details and unique touches that made those weddings feel so simple and authentic. I also had a pretty killer Pinterest inspiration board.
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? We followed tradition to an extent, but really took care to make everything feel like “us.” The bridal party arrived by boat, and used the pier as the “aisle.” I didn’t carry a bouquet, but had the groom’s sister, groom’s mom, and my mom all hold bunches of wildflowers that I collected (along with hugs and a few tears) as I walked by, which together formed my bouquet. Some traditions we skipped altogether, like cutting a cake and doing the formal first dances. If it didn’t feel natural, we didn’t do it.
How did your families play a role in your wedding? We were also thoughtful of how we asked others to participate in our day, giving people special roles that fit them. It gave us a chance to celebrate our families’ unique talents and personalities. Dan’s family has a number of talented singers who sang an (awesome!) rendition of “Stand By Me” during the ceremony. His sister read a really cute adaptation of The Lovely Dinosaur during our ceremony. His brother designs board games and computer games for a living, and he created a really fun trivia activity as a pre-dinner icebreaker. // My family rolled their sleeves up and worked hard to help get the venue just right. They built handmade signs for around the yard, trimmed trees, built new steps where we were concerned about old ones, lit lanterns at dusk and built a cozy fire pit later that evening. I remember, just before the ceremony, looking outside and seeing my uncle in his dress clothes clipping a final few stray branches with a pair of hedge trimmers and thinking “Wow, we seriously could not have pulled this off without our families.” I am still asking questions about what happened during the storm, like “So who covered the boat? Where did band get the tarps and towels from?”
What advice do you have for other brides? Never lose sight of the meaning of the day and who you are as a couple.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day? We had a beautiful patio set up for dancing later in the evening. Our band took the brunt of the rain, staying outside to hold down tarps over their equipment. After the storm passed and they dried everything off, the stars came out and they played until late in the evening. Growing up, I can remember other lake weddings, and loved listening to the music twinkle from across the lake. Many neighbors wandered over to join the fun, and I remember looking down at one point to see a group of people I didn’t know dancing in the street.