A White & Gold Rustic Orchard Wedding in Illinois

Julianne and Alex

Photographed by: Jen Lynne PhotographyLocation: Beloit, Wisconsin, United States

It was on the observation deck of the Sears Tower – 1,344 feet above ground – that Alex Nienberg popped the question… and so enormous was Julianne Portugues’s surprise, she was rendered temporarily speechless.

“I was motionless – unable to find a single word – until someone in the crowd yelled, ‘Say yes!’” Julianne recalls. The nudge was enough to break the spell, and Julianne ecstatically obliged.

The couple chose to marry on the picturesque grounds of a private estate that included a working organic farm and apple orchard. Knowing from the outset that their marriage would be centered on their shared Christian faith, the pair integrated favorite Bible verses into the details of their wedding.

“Our invitations featured a band inscribed with 1 Corinthians 16:14: ‘Let all that you do be done in love,’” says Julianne. “I also hand-painted the scripture onto a large picture window that was used as décor at our reception.”  

In addition, Julianne commissioned a custom-built cross engraved with a verse from the book of Proverbs. “It was my surprise for Alex,” the bride confides. “We were married by our pastor beneath a pair of oak trees, and the cross was suspended with ribbon between them.”

The reception was held in a grand structure designed to suggest an elegant barn, and the couple’s choice of a neutral color palette enhanced the space beautifully. Roses, peonies, and dahlias tinged with blush were gathered with white hydrangeas to form a series of delicate centerpieces. Wooden planter boxes were hand-painted in gold and a collection of mercury-glass compotes, antique crystal vases, and clear-glass cloches were also incorporated into the floral design.

Following a fresh, farm-to-table meal, guests were treated to mini cupcakes arranged to resemble the tiers of a wedding cake. In between dancing, the crowd took turns posing in front of a shimmering gold backdrop and taking instant photos that they arranged into an album/guest book for the bride and groom.

Donuts and flagons of crisp apple cider ended the evening on a very sweet note. “There isn’t anything we would have done differently,” sighs the bride… and with love as their central theme, how could they possibly have gone wrong?

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