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Erica + Ryan's Modern-Chic-Meets-Italian-Elegance Wedding in Illinois!

If you know us, you know we have a weakness for dreamy wedding decor. That our real brides put together the most stunning weddings is just the icing on the cake (pun intended!), and this week's bride feature is as stunning as they come. Everything from the dress details and Save the Dates to the beautiful florals and the wedding cake - swoon!

Erica and Ryan tied the knot at the Trailside Event Center - a stunning venue featuring exposed bricks and wooden beams - in the charming village of Peoria Heights, Illinois. The couple whose love story dates back to their college days, had the most special wedding full of special details--most of them designed by the super creative bride herself! Erica was a vision in the Zella gown, an elegant sheath crepe dress featuring the most stunning floral train and beautiful crystal beaded lace appliqués on the bodice.

Ready for some major inspiration? Scroll down to view the couple's incredible wedding album and read all about their love story and wedding planning deets!

The proposal..

He proposed to me at my family lake house. It was honestly my dream proposal. It happened during Labor Day Weekend when my entire family was there so everyone got to see it go down. My sister and her husband even flew in from California, and she videotaped the whole thing. So basically it happened at my favorite place in the world in front of my favorite people in the world.

Finding the dress..

It was so much fun, and Adore Bridals in Morton, IL just has such a great group of ladies working there. It was such an amazing experience all around. I brought my closest 3 friends (bridesmaids), my sister (matron of honor), grandma, mother, and future mother-in-law. Our first stop was the same boutique that my sister had gotten her wedding dress from 6 years earlier so it was really special already just being there to try dresses on...

I went in very hopeful that I would find my dream dress there, as well, but after they told me I only had time for one more dress I was honestly feeling a little defeated. I for sure didn't think I was going to find the one at this place. But the last dress they brought out was like nothing I had ever seen before. I mean that train...holy moly...

I love unique things so I was so excited to show all the girls. They all instantly loved it and most even teared up, especially my mom. My sister was pregnant at the time and she said she felt her baby kick when I unveiled that dress so she knew it was the one. It was just so me and exactly what I had imagined. AT this bridal boutique their brides get to sign the wall when they find their dress there so I got to sign the wall and my sister did too! They didn't do the wall signing thing when she got her dress from there so it was super fun that we got to sign it together.

How they met..

We met in college at Western Illinois University. Ryan had a crush on me freshman year but I had no idea. He eventually said hi to me sophomore year in passing one day and we've been together ever since!

Favorite memories..

My favorite thing about the wedding was honestly just being surrounded by everyone in the world that I love most. It was so surreal to have our whole family and our dearest friends, who are like our family, all in the same place at the same time..

I felt seriously so blessed to be able to bring all these wonderful people together to celebrate love and joy. It was a very humbling feeling and one that I'll never forget.

Wedding planning..

I am very right-brained so I loved just getting to design and create every aspect. Picking out the decorations with the decor company was super fun because we got to play around with a lot of unique things..

I also loved creating the flowers with our florist. I think DIYing our wedding favors and the wagon the flower girl (my new little neice :)) was pulled down in was also one of my favorite parts.

I don't think we meant to have a theme, but we both love wine and were going to Italy on our honeymoon so there were splashes of Italian charm everywhere. We had wine cork place card holders, we had a giant charcuterie display with cheeses and olives during the cocktail hour, we obviously had lots of wine, grape vines surrounded the flower girl wagon, my bridesmaids and flowers were wine colored, and then our favors were bottles of olive oil infused with rosemary.

I was definitely going for chic and timeless with touches of gold and lots of flowers. I love flowers. Oh, there was also geometric shapes throughout the evening so it had a touch of a modern feel like on the tables, on our wedding cake and our arbor was a giant hexagon that my dad made so it was super special.

The whole day was just all about family. We wanted to get everyone involved. Ryans cousins were junior bridesmaids and groomsmen, my little niece was the flower girl along with my cousin's two little girls, my dad made the arbor, both our mothers took part in a tree ceremony which represented our two families becoming one as Ryan and I start to grow our new family, my great uncle said grace before the meal, and obviously my sister played a huge role being my matron of honor and she had the best speech which had people both laughing and crying. We also had a memory table for those who were celebrating in heaven.

Our vendors were amazing. Brooke, Steve, and Adam seriously made our whole experience unforgetatble. It would not have been the same without them.

Congratulations on a stunning wedding, Erica and Ryan! Thank you for allowing Evelyn Bridal to be a part of such a special celebration!


Venue (ceremony & reception) - Trailside Event Center in Peoria Heights, IL

Decorations - I Do Events 

Videographer - Steve Weber Films

Officiant - Adam Jamsa 

Hair/Makeup - Identity Salon

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