We are thrilled to bring you Danielle and Richard’s gorgeous wedding from Champaign, Illinois today. Mark from Mark Romine Photography sent it to us via Two Bright Lights and we are so glad he did. Danielle was a treat to work with on the feature. Thank you all for sharing such an amazing wedding celebration with GSS!
How did you and Richard (husband) meet?
We met at the beginning of our freshmen year in college. I grew up in a far south suburb of Chicago and Richard is from the northwest suburbs, but luckily we both decided to attend the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. I majored in accountancy and Richard is a high school social studies teacher, so the words destiny and fate mean a lot to us. There’s really no other way to explain how our paths came to cross. We didn’t start dating until halfway through our junior year, but we both still remember the first night we met. I guess we subconsciously knew something special was in store for us from the very start.
How long have you been together?
We have been together for over 5 years.
How did Richard propose?
After we graduated from college, we each moved back home with our parents. Unfortunately, they live about 75 minutes apart, so living at home only lasted a couple of months. We decided to rent an apartment in a near west suburb of Chicago during our first year of work. We already knew we were going to be together forever, so we soon began looking into purchasing our first home. At that point, we were lucky enough to be able to move in with his parents for a few months while we were house hunting. In the fall of 2008, we closed on our first place. One thing to know about us is that our favorite number is 10 and for that reason, Richard chose to propose on 10/10/2008. Richard coaches the boys cross country team at the high school where he teaches, so the fall is definitely his busiest time of year. On top of that, we had moved into our house about a week before the proposal. Needless to say, I did not expect him to propose during this hectic time. He had a cross country meet the day he proposed, but had told me to be ready to go out for a nice dinner when he got home. It was his way of saying thanks for all of the unpacking I had been doing during the week. I remember being upstairs in the bathroom finishing my make-up and hearing him come home. He yelled up to me to tell me it was time to leave. When I stepped out of the bathroom, I noticed a trail of red rose petals leading me down the stairs. The rose petals continued through our living room, dining room, kitchen, and the stairs to the basement. When I got down to the basement, he was waiting for me on one knee with the most beautiful ring in his hand. Having him propose in our first home made it even more special.
What sold you on your wedding venue?
Once we decided to get married in Champaign, a place that means so much to us both, the church was an easy decision. It is right on campus and the church we attended when we were in school. St. John’s is absolutely breath taking. The decision to have our reception at the Hilton Garden Inn was based on two reasons. First, we wanted to have our reception in a hotel or close to a hotel because most of our guests were coming from the Chicago area. Second, we needed a reception venue that would hold around 350 guests. We are both very lucky to have large families and circles of friends. After doing some research, we decided the Hilton Garden Inn would work perfect for us. They have a great space, plenty of hotel rooms, easy access, and a good menu.
Your dress is gorgeous, where did you get it and how did you know it was “the one”?
I got my dress from Michelle’s Bridal in Urbana, Illinois. I had looked at a few wedding boutiques, but was having a difficult time making a decision. I guess I just hadn’t found “the one” yet. I tried on so many different styles, some of which I liked and some of which I absolutely hated, but none that said “yes, I’m the one”. We decided to look at Michelle’s because that meant the dress would already be in Champaign and I wouldn’t have to worry about transporting it from Chicago and keeping it wrinkle-free. I will say I waited entirely too long to find my dress, but it was definitely worth the wait. I took my two sisters, my mom, and my future mother-in-law with me when I went to Michelle’s. I always thought I’d be in a classic A-line dress, so when the bridal consultant asked me to try on a Maggie Sottero dress with a tight fitting bodice, beaded crystals, and a skirt that was gathered at various points, I didn’t quite know what to say. She told me she thought I had the perfect body for it and just wanted to see how it looked. I am more than ecstatic that I listened to her. As soon as I walked out of the dressing room, I got ‘wows’ from everyone, including strangers. I had narrowed my choices down between what I called the ‘wow’ gown and another dress that was beautiful and looked like something I would have chosen, but felt a little too safe. I finally decided if my wedding day wasn’t the day to wear a ‘wow’ dress, I didn’t know what would be. I have received so many compliments on the dress. I am so thankful to my bridal consultant, Jen, at Michelle’s for getting me to venture outside my comfort zone. I have never felt as amazing in a dress as I did on my wedding day.
How did you choose your wedding color palette?
That’s actually a really funny question. I had originally wanted to have a classic black and white themed wedding. My husband-to-be thought those colors were entirely too boring, so I left it up to him to decide. Given that our wedding was to be held at our alma mater, he decided blue and orange were just the right colors for us. I’ll admit I was a little nervous to begin with, as were just about every family member we told, but I think it was the perfect choice for us.
What was your “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”?
My something old was also my something borrowed. My older sister has a very special ring my grandmother left her when she passed away because they shared the same birthstone. It meant so much to have a little piece of her with me on such an important day. My something new was a six-pence a family friend gave to me for good luck. Richard had gotten me a gorgeous strand of pearls as a wedding gift, but I didn’t get to wear them during the ceremony because of the neckline of my dress. My something blue was the pair of Kenneth Cole navy blue ballet slippers. They fit right in with the wedding colors.
What was your favorite part of your big day?
Is everything too much to say? I loved going to the hair salon with all of my girls. I loved getting ready and having my sisters and my mom help me into my dress. I loved the look on my dad’s face when he walked into the suite and saw me for the first time that day. I loved that our photographer, Mark, had suggested a private meeting between me and Richard before the ceremony. It was exactly what we both needed. I loved the butterflies in my stomach waiting for my dad to walk me down the aisle and then seeing all of the family and friends there. I loved riding in the limo with our wedding party, making random stops, and finally getting to the reception. We had such a great time at the reception and the impromptu post reception party we held in the hotel lobby. Most of all though, I think my favorite part of our big day, was standing at the front of the church amongst all of our family and friends, but feeling like we were the only two there, like we were in a world of our own.
What type of cake did you have?
Neither one of us really like cake, but we both love tiramisu. We had a two-tier tiramisu cake for the cake cutting. For the guests, we also had two cupcake trees with chocolate, vanilla, and red velvet cupcakes, as well as mini cupcakes with fondant monograms. We were lucky enough to have a dessert table with assorted pastries. The dessert table was extra special because it was filled with goodies made by family and friends.
What song did you dance to for your first dance as husband and wife?
Our first dance was to “You & Me” by Dave Matthews Band. We had a difficult time coming up with the song for our first dance. I like country music and Richard, well doesn’t. A friend of actually recommended the song we eventually chose and after listening to the words, we decided it was the one.
Do you have any advice for brides that are in the planning process?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help getting items checked off the ever growing To Do list. I am someone who needs to be in control, so it was very difficult to delegate tasks to my mother, bridesmaids, fiancé, etc. As I got closer to that big day though, I would have gone crazy without them. Also, remember that all of the stress and anxiety is worth it. In the end, all of the planning will lead to one of the greatest days of your life. You get to share it with everyone you love and will have so many wonderful memories to cherish that the time spent worrying will seem like a small price to have paid.
Reception Venue: Hilton Garden Inn
Ceremony Location: St John’s Catholic Chapel
Dress: Michelle’s Bridal
Cake: Tiramisu from Biaggi’s; Cupcakes from Cakes on Walnut
Floral: Real touch flowers from Sharon Nagassar Designs LLC
Linens: My grandma made the table runners and the rest came from the Hilton Garden Inn
Catering: The Hilton Garden Inn had a great chef
Videographer: Wedding Connections
Invitations/Wedding Stationery: Magnet Street Weddings for invitations and save-the-date magnets
Thank you again, Mark for sharing this wedding with us! Be sure to check out his site and blog for more awesome wedding images. Thank you Danielle for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish you and Richard a lifetime full of love and laughter and may each day be better than the last!
If you have an engagement, wedding, day after, or anniversary session that you would like featured- Please send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We HEART submissions!