Hannah Koch and Max Clink first met a decade before they said "I do," as high school students at a mutual friend's party. "We didn't get along at first, but over the course of our high school years, we started to really bond," Hannah remembers. By the time senior prom and graduation rolled around, they'd fallen in love, and their relationship only grew as they studied at DePaul University together. On October 24, 2014, on the way to Hannah's parents' lake house in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Max invited his longtime girlfriend to join him for a walk down the pier. "The lake is our getaway from the bustle and noise of Chicago," Hannah says. "We stood at the end of the pier, looking at the stars and listening to the sounds of the lake at night. Then Max got down on one knee! It was just the two of us, and it was perfect."
Exactly one year later, on October 24, 2015, they returned to Lake Geneva to celebrate their marriage. "Ever since I was a little girl, I would point to the little stone church in town and tell my parents I was going to get married there," says Hannah of Holy Communion Episcopal Church, where she and Max had their ceremony. They wanted an equally fairytale-inspired location for their reception, so they explored ballrooms and barns until they found something that fit their personalities to a T: Mountain Top Ski Chalet at Grand Geneva Resort. "When we saw the huge stone fireplace, cozy lodge styling, and floor-to-ceiling windows, Max and I knew it was the place," Hannah says. With 150 guests in tow, they headed to the cozy, intimate setting for a weekend of eating, drinking, and relaxing (and of course, celebrating!) with the people they love most. The bride's godmother, a former event planner, came out of retirement to bring the couple's magical day to life, and Carly McCray Photography captured every sweet memory. Take a peek, below!
Swirling calligraphy and handwritten block font were the perfect intersection of elegant and relaxed on this couple's invitation suite. The text took on an almost watercolor vibe with ink that shifted between shades of blue and green.
Hannah's accessories were a big part of her wedding-day look. Her shoes, sparkling Jimmy Choo flats, were found during a weekend in New York City with her mom. "They're a great memory from our trip, and I tore up the dance floor in those bad boys!" she remembers. Her cathedral-length tulle and Battenberg lace veil was made by her great grandmother for her paternal grandmother's wedding — and was also worn by Hannah's mom on her wedding day. Last, but not least, are the buttons down the back of her Watters wedding dress. "I took silk buttons from the dress that my maternal grandmother designed for her wedding day — the dress my mom wore for her own wedding! — and had them added to the back of my dress. I loved having that legacy with me!" Hannah explains.
Her Watters wedding dress combined traditional and modern details, with an illusion neckline, lace appliqués, and beading across the bodice. "I didn't have a train. I had every intention of being able to move on the dance floor!" she says.
We can't get enough of her oversized bouquet, combining garden roses, peonies, clematis, olive branches, and pepper berry. "I asked for something cascading and loose, and boy, did our florist deliver!" says the bride.
"Seeing Max at our first look was one of my favorite moments," says Hannah. "It was so special to share that quiet time before a night of partying. We both immediately burst into tears!" Max wore a navy blue suit, which he designed himself. "He isn't usually one for formal attire so watching him get into the details was so fun."
The bridesmaids all wore navy blue cocktail dresses from Lazaro. The lace neckline was a beautiful complement to Hannah's gown, while the shorter length gave the ladies a more relaxed vibe. Their bouquets also echoed the bride's, with the addition of blue privet berry to match their dresses.
Max stood out against a group of groomsmen in gray suits, which they paired with navy ties to coordinate with the rest of the wedding party. Their seasonal boutonnieres contained garden roses with blue privet berry.
Since Lake Geneva plays such an important role in Max and Hannah's wedding, it should come as no surprise that they headed out to the pier for photos!
The front door of the church was decorated with a garland of bay leaf, silver dollar eucalyptus, olive branches, and salal. As guests arrived, they were handed programs that perfectly matched the couple's blue and white invitations.
"My dad walked me down the aisle to 'Hey Jude' by The Beatles," says Hannah. "If I could change one thing about our wedding day, I would have walked more slowly to make that moment really last."
As the ceremony came to an end, the bride slipped on her aunt's antique fur jacket to ward off the fall chill.
At the Chalet, the chandelier was draped with peonies, garden roses, clematis, silver dollar eucalyptus, and olive branches. "It was so breathtaking when you walked into the room — you could smell the eucalyptus and peonies as soon as you walked through the door," Hannah says. At the head table, a garland of greenery was woven between vases that held the bridesmaids' bouquets.
Tables were named after destinations that were special to the couple, from Oahu (where they were set to honeymoon) to Chicago (where they live). Some tables were lit by candles in gold lanterns, while others featured taller candlesticks wrapped in eucalyptus and olive branches.
For dinner, guests were served a family-style feast of peppercorn-crusted sirloin, scaloppini of chicken, and wild mushroom ravioli. "Max and I frequent Portillio's in Chicago and have had more Italian beef sandwiches than we can count, so we had to have Italian beef sliders as a late night snack," says the bride.
The roughly-frosted wedding cake, topped with roses and pepper berries, had three flavors: cinnamon cake with hazelnut filling, white cake with Bavarian cream, and almond cake with lemon filling.
Outside around the fire pit, guests could gather on chairs draped with buffalo blankets and indulge in the make-your-own s'mores bar for a sweet and cozy treat.
"The best choice we made was to have our dinner while everyone else was eating the salad course," says Hannah. "That way we could have a full meal and still have time to visit with the tables during dinner. It was a whirlwind, but I'm so glad we were able to greet everyone in person."
Ceremony Venue: Holy Communion Episcopal Church || Venue, Catering & Cake: Grand Geneva Resort & Spa || Bride's Wedding Dress: Watters, from BHLDN || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Jewelry: Kerry Gilligan || Hair: Hair by Lauren || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Lazaro || Groom's Attire: Zeglio || Groomsmen's Attire: Men's Wearhouse || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: R.L. Jewelers || Floral Design: Frontier Flowers of Fontana || Invitations & Paper Goods: Vichcraft Design Studio || Music: Moeller Music; Okyne Media Lab || Favors: Graham's Fine Chocolates || Photographer: Carly McCray Photography
Can't get enough of this beautiful celebration? Then check out another couple's lakeside wedding in the video below.