When a couple decides to marry, they’re digging into the soil and planting roots that, with care and attention, should grow and bear the fruit of love and happiness.
For Blake and Whitney, the soil they’re planting their roots in is rich and deep, starting with the sprawling farmstead of Blake’s grandfather, Ed, that’s nestled in the rolling hills of Galena, Illinois.
We can see why it all start there.
Ed has the heart of a lion when it comes to his family, bursting with pride and support. He’s also gregarious and sweet, as we witnessed firsthand at the rehearsal dinner at Chestnut Mountain. We were sitting off to the side, trying to be the silent observers we are, and Ed would have none of it, inviting us to his table because he didn’t want to see us eating alone. Gentleman to a T!
The farm is a magical place to Whitney and Blake, both hunters who revere the beauty and power of nature. It’s where Blake proposed, and where they spend countless hours helping keep the dream alive and staying connected to not only the land but to family.
We’d never been to Galena before, and now we know why everyone talks about it with a glimmer in their eye: stunning vistas, lush farmlands and quaint architecture. Eagle Ridge Resort, where the wedding and reception were held, lived up to its name with one of those majestic birds circling the property every day in the late afternoon. And what a property! Eagle Ridge is probably more well-known for having a world-class golf course, but it’s location atop a massive cliff overlooking Lake Galena.
That stunning view was perfect for this couple’s vows, repeated on an expansive deck with miles and miles of water, sky and rolling hills as witnesses … along with a hundred or so family and friends. We loved, too, how they incorporated special people into their ceremony, from their wedding party filled with closest friends and relatives, to those giving readings, which included Ed. He read one of our favorite blessings of all time, said to be from the Apache tribe:
Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness,
For each of you will be companion to the other. …
Now you are two bodies,
But there is one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.
Such a fitting last phrase for a couple that is so grounded in who each of them is, in their family and in their love. We are so privileged to have witnessed their wedding, and of course, feel honored to be creating an art piece that will tell their story for generations to come.
Congrats to the newlyweds!!
Photographer: Dana Brandt of Happily Ever After Photography
DJ: Steve Rogala of All Pro Music
Florist: Valley Perennials
Cake: Wedding Day Bakery
Bride’s gown and veil: David’s Bridal gown and Vera Wang veil from Davids Bridal
Bridesmaids attire: Emerald Green from David’s Bridal
Groom’s attire: Vera Wang from Men’s Wearhouse
Bride’s hairstylist and makeup: Lauren Haines
Bridesmaid’s hairstylist: Amber Jordan