Alyse + Ben | Jim Hjelm Wedding from Nels Akerlund Photography

No need for the expected rice or confetti for Alyse + Ben, guests at this Illinois wedding had the delight of releasing individual monarch butterflies once today’s featured couple tied the knot.  Talk about magic! And if that’s not novel enough, why not add glass vase center pieces swimming with real gold fish! This is such a pretty Jim Hjelm wedding, don’t miss the vibrant pops of green, white, orange and yellow grounded in accents of satin finished slate grey, or the very playful wedding cake designed with a birch tree effect (carved sweetheart initials and all).  So good!

Alyse + Ben | June 8, 2013 | Rockford, Illinois | Dress Listing: Jim Hjelm, 8210

The Ceremony
It was a beautiful ceremony in my parents backyard along the riverfront. My folks had been gardening over the past year to get things ready. The bridal party walked out of the greenhouse and down to the seating area walking to the Dave Mathews song “You and Me.” My father walked me down the aisle to the song “The Promise” by Traci Chapman. The music was played by a close family friend’s band. We began the ceremony with a remembrance candle for our close family and friends that have passed away and could not celebrate with us. We stood under a beautiful arch of Japanese maples. We kept the ceremony short and sweet and ended it with a romantic dipping kiss just like I have imagined since I was a little girl. It has been a family tradition for multiple different events, instead of throwing rice each of the guests had been given a small envelope with a live butterfly in it. When we walked back down the aisle we had all of our guests release the butterflies!

The Reception
The reception was at a local country club here in town, the Forest Hills Country Club. Ben and I share a love for the outdoors and enjoy spending as much time as we can at his cabin. Based on this we incorporated our love of the outdoors in the theme of our decorating. Throughout our wedding we used the idea of our initials carved into a tree and used the decor to be reminiscent of the woods at our cabin. The hall was lit by candles and white twinkling lights hanging from the chandeliers and walls. On some of the tables we had tall skinny vases with underwater lights at the bottom with fish swimming above them. Our cake was designed to look like a birch tree with our initials carved into it. We had a live band play at our reception. We also had a photo booth for guests to take pictures with a bunch of goofy props. A copy of the photos were then placed in a book for the guests to sign as our guestbook.

Alyse’s Dress Search
When I first started looking for a dress the only thing I knew in advance was that I was very attracted to lace dresses and that I wanted a low back. Other than that I was willing to try on anything and I did. The dress I ended up buying was only the second dress of the entire day. I kept comparing every other dress to it and it was the only one that brought my family and close friend to tears. When I put it on I felt beautiful and romantic and could not wait to show it to Ben.

How Alyse Felt in Her Wedding Dress
Beautiful, Elegant, Happy

Why Alyse Decided to Sell Her Wedding Dress
Although it was heartbreaking to decide to sell the dress I would rather it be used by someone else to make them just as happy as I was. I couldn’t bear the thought of storing it away in a box. So I decided to sell the dress but keep the belt and my hairpiece to give to any future daughters I may have.

Wedding Dress: Jim Hjelm, 8210 | Photography: Nels Akerlund | Ceremony Venue: Private home of the parents of the bride | Reception Venue: Forest Hills Country Club | Floral Design: Crimson Ridge | Cake: Patricia’s Patisserie

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