“We were introduced by my father in 2015,” Margaret Bolhous reveals of her first encounter with Daniel Ariens II. “Though he lived in Wisconsin and I in California, we started emailing more and more and hit it off.” While hiking in Zion National Park one year, Daniel asked for his beloved’s hand in marriage, capturing the memorable engagement on camera. “Dan set up the camera to get a photo of the two of us under a rock alcove and instead put it on slow-motion video and got a video of him proposing to me!” muses the bride.

Despite their residence in the United Kingdom, the lovebirds traveled to Chicago for their nuptials. After eight months of wedding planning, their big day began with a Catholic ceremony in honor of Dan’s grandmother and their family’s Catholic faith. They exchanged vows at a beautiful sanctuary at Margaret’s alma mater. “It was a perfect fit that we chose it as our church – happy medium,” she smiles. In addition to religious traditions, the couple also incorporated an unconventional element to the service. “We had our best man and maid of honor stand up with us while we took our vows. That wasn’t typical for our church, but we wanted our siblings by our side supporting us,” the bride explains. 

For the reception, guests relocated to a nearby hotel where the always envisioned getting married. “When I was a little girl, I would dance on the steps and tell my mom, ‘One day, I will get married here,’” she remembers. Studio This Is captured images of the couple’s special day, which included a Champagne tower that welcomed guests upon arrival. “Everyone knows Dan and I enjoy a bit of bubbles and a party,” Margaret muses. Describing their wedding as “whimsical,” the couple utilized charming décor while also honoring the ambience of national parks as an ode to their engagement. “I wanted our ballroom to feel like you were entering a forest [but] our theme also had touches of vintage glam,” she explains. “Our tables were named after national parks we have visited.” Wooden chairs and tables, green and white floral arrangements, and verdure on the tables continued the aesthetic. The reception also featured delicious menu selections served for dinner, a cupcake tower, and dancing all night long.

Though she wishes they had hired their photographer throughout the night to capture some of the later moments of revelry, the couple was thrilled with their celebration. The bride stresses the importance of teamwork in wedding planning: “Make decisions together that reflect what both of you want.”