A Boho Wedding on Lake Michigan
High school BFFs are the OG wing-women. Back in 2006, in the days of crushes and prom dates, a friend told Ilana Brooks that Grant Heitkamp thought she was cute. â€śWe would walk by one of his classrooms and make noises outside of the door so Grant would look up and I could catch his eye,â€ť Ilana remembers. The persistent flirting paid off when Grant invited Ilana to a party...and the rest is history!
After almost a decade together, Ilana came home to the coupleâ€™s Chicago apartment to find flowers and a note at the front door telling her to head up to the roof. â€śGrant knows how directionally challenged I am, so he included directions for how to get there from our apartment,â€ť the bride says, laughing. Once on the rooftop, Ilana found Grant and their puppy waiting for herâ€”with a ring.
The couple grew up going to Bay Harbor, Michigan, and chose that special spot as the perfect place for their outdoor wedding on the water. â€śWe wanted the weekend to be a fun and informal getaway for our 200 guests, with neutral colors and a beach-like boho vibe,â€ť Ilana says. Planners Alison & Bryan Events brought the beach to the shore of Lake Michigan for the pairâ€™s September 3, 2016 wedding, and photographer Curtis Wiklund captured the relaxed, refined celebration. Take a look at all the pretty details, below!
The simple silhouette and layered textures of Ilanaâ€™s Oscar de la Renta gown were a beautiful mix of couture design and boho styling, with stripes of corded macramĂ© and band lace. The bride wore a matching veil, and paired her dahlia, garden rose, and lisianthus bouquet with a coordinating flower crown.
The bridesmaids wore maxi gowns from Show Me Your Mumu. â€śInstead of bouquets, I had them each carry a single oversized dahlia,â€ť says Ilana. â€śIt gave the ceremony a touch of whimsy that I really loved!â€ť
To fit the waterfront setting, Grant skipped a tux in favor of a navy blue suit by Theory. â€śGrant wore my grandfatherâ€™s watch, and we exchanged my grandparentsâ€™ wedding rings during the ceremony to represent their beautiful marriage,â€ť Ilana says.
Rows of potted blooms led to a birch chuppah in the sand, where garden roses were tucked between branches of olive and eucalyptus. â€śWe really wanted the beauty of nature to do the talking,â€ť says the bride.
â€śWe had a few meetings with our rabbi before the wedding, and shared some thoughts with him via email so he could incorporate our story into the ceremony,â€ť the bride describes.
In keeping with the beachy theme, guests found their table assignments handwritten on pieces of sea glass.
Beneath the sailcloth tent, tables were topped with dotted white linens and decorated with pastel-hued dahlias, ranunculus, and garden roses. â€śWe wanted to highlight the incredible local food, so our menu included fresh whitefish, Michigan cherries, and lots of local cheeses,â€ť says Ilana. Guests toasted with "Coop's Cucumber Cooler" (named for the pairâ€™s dog) and white sangria.
For dessert, the couple served a semi-naked vanilla cake, filled with chocolate ganache and topped with fresh dahlias.
â€śWe had DJ Allison Kinney fly in from New York,â€ť says Ilana. â€śShe was amazing, and played the perfect mix of throwbacks and current hits. We got so many compliments on the music!â€ť
After a wedding full of beach-inspired details, the couple sought even more sun and sand for their honeymoon, heading to Thailand and Bali. But the bride has this advice first: â€śRemember that the wedding is about the two of you,â€ť she says. â€śMake sure the decisions are something youâ€™ll both be happy with, and try to block out all of the other opinions. You want the end result to feel like the two of you!â€ť