Dating websites today may be an endless sea of one-word greetings and frequent ghosting, but back in 2012, things were different—at least for Emily Asher and Scott Tooredman. "Scott reached out to me with an unusually long message, inviting me to dinner at a fancy restaurant in Chicago," says the stationery designer and calligrapher behind Emily Rose Ink. "How could I say no to such genuine effort?"
Over five years of dating, Scott and Emily had joked about getting engaged in a photo booth. "I thought it would be so sweet and funny to see the moment happen in real time," says Emily. So once they got serious about getting married, Scott decided to take Emily to as many photo booths as they could find so she'd never know when a proposal was going to happen. "We made a list of bars and restaurants with photo booths and started working our way though the list," Emily explains. But Scott had intentionally left one location off of the list: Lagunitas Brewery. "One weekend, he asked if I wanted to go there for a brewery tour. At the end of the tour, we 'discovered' that they had a photo booth, went in to take pictures, and that's where Scott proposed with his grandma's ring!" And that wasn't the only surprise. When the newly engaged couple emerged, 40 of their family and friends were waiting to celebrate with them!
Because she's in the wedding industry, Emily knew a few things: that she wanted to show off what her stationery company can do to highlight a couple's love story and that she and Scott needed a wedding planner. "Hiring LOLA Event Productions was the best money we spent," says Emily, who found herself planning in the middle of her busiest wedding season yet—even though the pair had chosen October 7, 2018, as their wedding date to avoid peak wedding season as much as possible. The couple embraced the season, using warm autumn colors and a vintage botanical theme that was inspired by the Garfield Park Conservatory's plants and history. They struck the perfect balance of incorporating gorgeous design and letting the venue speak for itself.
"I knew I wanted to really showcase my stationery work, but it was hard to narrow down the options," admits the bride. "I was overwhelmed by wanting it to be really amazing." She ultimately settled on invites featuring watercolor and line-drawn botanical illustrations of plants that grow at Garfield Park Conservatory and dressed them up even more with plantable seed paper for the envelope liners and bellybands and vintage stamps featuring state flora and fauna that were specifically chosen for each guest's envelope.
Emily paired a long-sleeved lace Sarah Seven gown with a floral crown by Anna Marguerite and a fall-hued bouquet of garden roses, parrot tulips, amaranthus, hellebore, chocolate Queen Anne's lace, maidenhair fern, and autumn leaves. "My mom sewed my veil for me the morning of the wedding, in the bridal suite," Emily reveals. "I wouldn't recommend it, but we made it happen!"
Scott wore a custom forest green suit by Nicholas Joseph, which was lined in a botanical pattern. He paired his suit with a custom tie made from fabric that Emily designed. "My mom actually sewed the ties for Scott and all of his groomsmen," the bride adds.
Scott's nieces and nephew served as their flower girl and ring bearers. The younger children are twins, so they walked down the aisle together, while the older attendant served as flower girl and led the way. "We had to bribe them with candy—they knew their grandma had the treats, and took off running once the ceremony started!" Emily says with a laugh.
Emily's bridesmaids wore a variety of dresses in dusty pink, blush, and burgundy. "I wanted them to wear dresses and colors they genuinely liked," says Emily. The warm and cozy palette was perfect for the fall season. Each woman carried a smaller version of the bride's bouquet, with hellebores, Queen Anne's lace, and maidenhair fern adding texture to the romantic arrangements.
Florist Kelly Lenard of Intertwine created a semicircle of roses, antique hydrangeas, and other flowers and plants as the altar, set in the Show Room. "It really helped define the ceremony space, but still let the beautiful backdrop of existing greenery take center stage," Emily says.
Scott and Emily admit that they were both too nervous about getting emotional to write their own vows, but they did adapt traditional vows to reflect the elements of marriage that they really value. "Our friend Andi is a spoken-word poet and agreed to officiate our ceremony," she says. "We sent her things we love about the other person, which she incorporated into her remarks."
Scott manages five locations of the family framing business and made all of the copper frames used to hold the escort cards. "We assigned a plant to each table. I created botanical drawings of each to insert into the frames, and guests were able to take the framed prints home with them," says Emily.
Guests were seated at two long tables arranged in Horticulture Hall. The head table was set in front of the mosaic fountain, directly next to the dance floor so the newlyweds wouldn't miss any of the action.
Low arrangements in warm, autumnal colors covered the tables, overflowing from ceramic vessels. Textural flowers included garden roses, delphinium, dahlias, lisianthus, clematis vine, and amaryllis. Emily's botanical drawings served as table numbers, adding another layer of detail to each table. Place settings included rose cut glass goblets and copper flatware, while dove gray pillar candles added a warm glow. The dinner menu featured local, seasonal ingredients. "The bacon risotto served with the chicken was a big favorite!" Emily raves. "But even more than the food, our guests were really impressed with Food for Thought's professionalism and service."
Flourish Cake Design used a fondant printer to print the pattern Emily created and drape it over the square wedding cake. Says the bride, "It was one of the most talked-about details of our wedding—many guests didn't believe it was real!" But inside were delicious layers of chocolate and vanilla cakes and passionfruit buttercream.
"It was one of the most talked-about details of our wedding—many guests didn't believe it was real!"
The Bluewater Kings Band played all night long, even when things got a little wet. "It rained heavily later in the evening, and the roof of the conservatory sprung a massive leak directly above the drummer," says Emily. "They kept playing even as it kept pouring." Now that's dedication!
Wedding Planner: LOLA Event Productions
Venue: Garfield Park Conservatory
Bride's Dress: Sarah Seven
Bride's Shoes: Louise Et Cie
Bride's Headpiece: Anna Marguerite
Hair: Heidi Chankin
Makeup: Joanna B Artistry
Groom's Attire: Nicholas Joseph
Groomsmen's Attire: Generation Tux
Engagement Ring & Bride's Wedding Band: Suzie Saltzman
Groom's Wedding Band: Simply Wood Rings
Floral Design: Intertwine Flowers by Kelly Lenard
Paper Products: Emily Rose Ink
Catering: Food for Thought
Cake: Flourish Cake Design
Reception Music: Bluewater Kings Band
Photography: Kyle John