It’s not easy being the new girl in town, but having a few friends to encourage you sure helps! In August of 2011, after moving to [Chicago],(http://www.brides.com/topic/chicago) Megan Olson went out for drinks with some friends from home who were trying to get her to meet more people. “Louis was bartending while working on his paramedic degree, and my friends convinced me to go over and talk to him,” says Megan. “We exchanged numbers, but didn’t hang out until a month later, when we bumped into each other on the street and realized we were neighbors!” It took a little fate, but those things have a way of working out, don’t they?
On Christmas Day in 2014, Louis and Megan headed to her family’s lake house in Door County, Wisconsin, instead of taking their usual trip to Megan’s parents’ house. “Louis thought it would be the perfect place to propose, and had the whole surprise planned, down to a ring box in a bigger box that had weights in it so I wouldn’t be suspicious about how light it was,” says the bride. “Needless to say, I was totally surprised when I opened it!” The couple spent the next nine months planning their September 26, 2015, wedding at Gordon Lodge, a picturesque lakefront venue perfect for a weekend of swimming, kayaking, and long afternoon bike rides with their 140 guests.
“Everyone could stay on the property and spend time together, which is exactly what we wanted,” says the bride. The couple’s romantic, rustic wedding was full of dark and moody flowers, lots of candles, and a little Mexican flair in honor of Louis’s heritage. The photos, captured by Kate Weinstein, will have you absolutely swooning!
These simple invitations received a rustic treatment with a shaded font and clasped hands motif. Megan designed the rest of the paper goods herself, from the place cards to the programs.
The bride wore a beaded silk slip gown by Jenny Packham, with nude stacked heels, a Jennifer Behr hairpiece, and her grandmother’s engagement ring on her right hand. The couple’s pup, Tank, was set to serve as ring bearer but, after having surgery the week before, their four-legged friend made a few appearances and then spent the evening resting and recovering.
“My bouquet was enormous!” says Megan of the collection of burgundy and blush dahlias and seeded eucalyptus. Trailing ribbons in the same hues gave the arrangement lots of movement and drama.
Louis looked sharp in a navy Theory suit and a white pocket square.
“Picking our venue was one of the easiest parts of planning our wedding,” says Megan of the gorgeous setting.
The ceremony took place overlooking Lake Michigan, with a white arbor decorated with flowing vines of eucalyptus and blush and burgundy dahlias. “The weather in Door County in the fall can be chilly, so we draped Mexican blankets over the guests’ chairs,” says the bride. “We ended up getting really lucky with such a sunny day!”
Megan’s bridesmaids wore navy dresses of their own choosing, with the women in a range of fabrics and silhouettes. The groomsmen also wore their own navy suits. “We didn’t want to fuss over what they wore, as it wasn’t important to us that they match perfectly,” Megan says.
A friend of the couple performed “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes, then another friend officiated the ceremony, where Louis and Megan exchanged personalized vows.
“Seeing each other at the ceremony was such a special moment,” says Megan. “Having our family and friends there, we could feel the love around us.”
The bride and her dad built the escort card display together. “I used a Silhouette machine to die-cut the letters, then we tucked the cards into tiny gray pockets,” she describes.
At the bar, guests sipped Moscow mules and Old Fashioneds, as well as plenty of Spotted Cow beer from New Glarus. “You can only get it in Wisconsin,” Megan explains.
Inside, candlelight cast a warm glow over the light and airy space. Gold chargers and arrangements of greenery and burgundy flowers topped the simple tables.
“We had such a large wedding party, so at the head table we joined long tables to create a communal, family feel,” says Megan. For dinner, guests enjoyed mini tacos and egg rolls, followed by filet mignon, raspberry-marinated chicken, and late-night pizza.
The wedding cake, topped with greenery and berries, had layers of vanilla cake with raspberry compote and chocolate cake with chocolate ganache.
“After a long and tearful week taking care of our dog after his surgery, our wedding weekend was a blissful and happy time. We weren’t worried about anything anymore, and were so happy to have our loved ones there,” Megan remembers. “Make sure to enjoy each other and the time with your family and friends! Do your best to live in the moment.”
Venue & Catering: Gordon Lodge || Wedding Planner: Chandra Johnson of Door County Event Planners || Bride's Wedding Dress: Jenny Packham, purchased at L'atelier Couture Bridal || Hair Piece: Jennifer Behr || Shoes: Kurt Geiger || Hair & Makeup: Jen Ronning of Sparkle Darling || Groom's Attire: Theory || Flowers: Roorbach's Flowers || Invitations: Sparkvites || Cake: Pink Bakery || Photographer: Kate Weinstein Photo