A Black Tie Wedding in the Woods

This couple transformed their tent into a stunning enchanted forest

Updated 06/01/17

Photo by Kyle John

You’ll never believe how Chloe Kirchner and Joseph Jensen met. “When I was 12 and Joseph was 15, he saw my family’s Christmas card while at a friend’s house, and told his friend right then and there that he would marry me some day!” she says. Four years later, in June of 2009, the couple met IRL right before Chloe was heading to college in California. “He came up to me, introduced himself, and said, ‘I love Chloe Kirchner,'" she remembers. "We’ve been together ever since!” (Now that gives a whole new meaning to love at first sight, right?)

In December 2014, Chloe and Joseph headed home to Michigan to see their families for the Christmas holidays—and while they were home, Chloe's dad asked Chloe when Joseph was going to ask for her hand in marriage. “I told him we were months away from that,” Chloe remembers. But little did she know, it had already been done! That evening, Joseph proposed in front of a tree covered in Christmas lights.

Chloe and Joseph again headed home to Michigan for their August 20, 2016 wedding—this time, to Blisswood Resort in Harbor Springs with 285 guests in tow. “Harbor Springs has been my family’s happy place for as long as I can remember, and once Joseph and I started dating, he began to feel the same way,” Chloe says. The resulting celebration was a stunning black tie wedding in the woods, as photographed by Kyle John. Keep reading to see a stunning celebration that was picture-perfect, even with a little rain.

Forest-Inspired Invitation Suite

Photo by Kyle John

Watercolor pine and birch trees added a refined touch to Joseph and Chloe’s classic invitation suite.

Bride Getting Ready

Photo by Kyle John

Bride in Vera Wang

Photo by Kyle John

Bride with Bouquet

Photo by Kyle John

“When I tried on my Vera Wang dress for the first time, I knew that it was special,” Chloe says. She kept looking, but couldn’t get the ivory silk gown, with double straps and a v-neck, out of her mind. She paired her dream gown with block-heeled Stuart Weitzman sandals (because of the outdoor setting) and a pair of gold bangles, made by one of her bridesmaids. She also added a lace-edged veil, which she borrowed from her sister. “I’m one of three girls, and it was so special to share that piece of my wedding with my eldest sister," she says. "We hope my other sister will do so as well!”

For the bridal bouquet, Chloe put a twist on a classic rose bouquet by choosing the long-stemmed variety in soft cream.

Bride and Groom

Photo by Kyle John

For their black tie wedding, Joseph went with a traditional black tux, paired with black loafers. “I gave him specific instructions not to wear socks,” Chloe says. “I love that look!”

Bridesmaids with Umbrellas

Photo by Kyle John

Bride and Groom First Kiss

Photo by Kyle John

Bride and Groom Exit

Photo by Kyle John

Even though it was raining during their outdoor ceremony, Chloe says it was her favorite part of the day. "It was the one moment of the day that didn’t fly by,” she says. “It was lightly raining, and we had everyone we love most in the world gathered beneath a candle-lit tent.”

The pair wrote their own vows and invited one of Joseph's groomsmen to sing “Beth Rest” by Bon Iver for the bride’s processional. “It added to the romance that Joseph and I were feeling,” Chloe explains.

Reception Tent

Photo by Kyle John

Table Setting with Topiaries

Photo by Kyle John

The reception took place beneath a white tent that was barely noticeable once you were inside. “We brought in beautiful trees to camouflage the tent poles,” Chloe says. A hanging arrangement of greenery, moss, and white flowers served as the centerpiece for the couple’s sweetheart table and completed the tent's forest-like feel.

Bare farm tables and white linen-topped tables were decorated with a mix of materials like wood, metal, linen, and sheepskin. “I loved the way all of the textures played with one another,” Chloe says. Tables were topped with small topiaries, potted herbs, and white roses in crystal bud vases, while each place setting featured a textured glass plate, white linen napkin, and printed menu—all topped off with a fresh bloom, of course.

Wood-Inspired Wedding Cake

Photo by Kyle John

“Our cake was decorated to look like the bark of a birch tree,” Chloe says. Sugar flowers and pinecones added an extra natural touch. The cake itself was an extra-nutty carrot cake frosted with orange and ginger cream cheese icing. “It’s the same flavor my parents served at their wedding 40 years ago,” says the bride.

First Dance

Photo by Kyle John

Chloe and Joseph shared their first dance to “When I Get My Hands on You,” written by Bob Dylan and performed by Green Sky Blue Grass. “Some of the band members had played at my parents’ wedding, and they were incredible!” says the bride.

Looking back, the bride has this advice for brides-to-be: Be on top of planning from the very beginning. "If you start planning early, you’ll be able to take some time to relax in the last few weeks before your wedding," she says.

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Blisswood Resort || Bride's Dress: Vera Wang || Bride's Shoes: Stuart Weitzman || Groom's Attire: The Black Tux || Bridesmaids' Attire: ABS by Allen Schwartz || Wedding Coordinator: Sincerely Ginger || Officiant: Judy Grimes of Northern Michigan Officiants || Bride's Jewelry & Groom's Wedding Band: Octavia Elizabeth || Bride's Engagement Ring & Wedding Band: Ahee || Hair: Emily Rellinger of Northern Michigan Beauty || Makeup: Emily Jones-Boyer of Northern Michigan Beauty || Floral Design: Jon Gerych of Gerych Flowers || Catering: Nancy Kelly || Invitations: Brenna Berger Paper & Ink || Ceremony Music: Mike Dragovic || Reception Music: Leo Creek || Cake: Bella e Dolce || Rentals: Jon Gerych of Gerych Flowers; Taylor Rental || Favors: Tom's Mom's Cookies || Videographer: Little Tree Studios || Photography: Kyle John

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