An Elegant Backyard Wedding Near Chicago
When Troy Volkel decided it was time to propose to Kelly Hellwig, he didnâ€™t settle for just any old plan. â€śFor months, Troy had been telling me about his aunt and uncleâ€™s anniversary party in Los Angeles over Memorial Day Weekend in 2015,â€ť says Kelly. â€śWeâ€™d visited his family there a number of times, so I didnâ€™t think anything of it.â€ť A few weeks before the trip, the couple found out there wouldnâ€™t be room for them to stay at Troyâ€™s parentsâ€™ home, after all. â€śThey felt badly, so they booked us a room at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel,â€ť says Kelly. The couple wandered the property, then grabbed glasses of champagne before heading to dinner. â€śWe brought out drinks out to the cliffâ€™s edge to enjoy the view, and thatâ€™s when Troy grabbed my hands, turned me toward him, and started talking.â€ť Kelly immediately knew what was happening and started to cry before Troy even got down on one knee. The next day, they arrived at Troyâ€™s parentsâ€™ home for an engagement party, and found Kellyâ€™s entire family standing inside. â€śI still donâ€™t know how he kept it a surprise!â€ť Kelly says.
After an engagement surrounded by family, the couple knew they would have a wedding in the same style. â€śIâ€™ve always loved my grandparentsâ€™ home in Illinois, and it was the perfect place for an elegant outdoor wedding,â€ť says the bride. They spent almost a year and a half planning their September 10, 2016 celebration. â€śHaving so much time made the process much less stressful!â€ť Kelly emphasizes. With help from her mom, as well as planner Kristina Taheri, the couple put together a tented black tie party that was lush, homey, and totally sweet, photographed by Kristin La Voie Photography.
She didnâ€™t have any luck dress shopping with friends in Dallas, so Kelly headed to Chicago to shop with her mom. â€śIt was out of my price range, but I convinced my mom to let me try on this Anne Barge ball gown,â€ť says Kelly. Neither could stop thinking about the pleated bodice and full skirt, so they went back to the salon that afternoon to say â€śYes!â€ť
The couple upgraded the beauty of the existing garden with arrangements of hydrangeas.
When Kelly and Troy exchanged their personalized vows, the bride wasnâ€™t expecting a surprise. â€śTroy and I had decided that I would only wear my engagement ring, and that we would get my wedding band for our next significant milestone,â€ť says the bride. â€śBut when it came time for the ring exchange, he opened his hand and the most beautiful eternity band was lying next to his ring!â€ť
A tent was erected next to Kellyâ€™s grandparentsâ€™ home, with greenery wrapped around the poles and chandeliers lighting the dance floor. â€śIâ€™ve always envisioned a tent full of crystal chandeliers and lots of flowers!â€ť says the bride. The head table, overlooking the dance floor, was topped with a mirrored runner and decorated with white hyrdangeas and roses.
â€śWe had the best chance for an outdoor wedding near Chicago in September, but that didnâ€™t mean we werenâ€™t holding our breath!â€ť says Kelly. â€śWe had to decide whether or not to put up a tent for the ceremony two days before, and the weather kept changing!â€ť They decided to risk going tent-free, covering the ground with a tarp to keep it dry. â€śIt rained in the morning, but cleared up by the afternoon, and all evening was perfectâ€”it was amazing!â€ť