Annie McLean has always loved vintage, and she’s always loved her childhood home (a 1920s colonial rehab in College Hill on five acres with incredible landscaping), so combining the two for her wedding to Emerson Cooper was a no-brainer.
They didn’t want a standard formal affair. Instead, Emerson says, they had their hearts set on a backyard garden party with friends and family. The ceremony was short and sweet—just five minutes—and a simple three-piece jazz band set a casual soundtrack. Scrapping a traditional sit-down dinner, guests floated between three themed food stations, plus one for dessert. Their favorite cocktails were served as the signatures along with a bourbon butterscotch milkshake, spiked hot chocolate, and a moonshine bar, accompanied by cuban cigars.
Comfy furniture vignettes and yard games—think cornhole, croquet, and giant Jenga—dotted the sprawling lawn, because “we didn’t want anyone to get bored,”Emerson says. Vintage accents were everywhere, including Annie’s authentic 1920s gown, Emerson’s straw boater hat from Batsakes Hat Shop, 1920s cake toppers, and the 1936 Cord thatAnnie rode into the ceremony. The bridesmaids and several guests even got into theme with blush and gray-toned flashback attire. As for “something borrowed,” Annie donned her mom’s bridal hat and Emerson carried his father’s gold pocket watch.
The flowers also had special meaning: Annie’s mom, Beth McLean, an award-winning gardener and founder of College Hill Gardeners, planted a garden to supply the flowers for the occasion. Larkspur, Bells of Ireland, snapdragon, caladium, marigold, cape ivy, euphorbia, fuchsia, and many others were lovingly grown from seed. Together, Annie and her mom also foraged greenery and blossoms from throughout the McLeans’ property to create a magnificent chandelier, a unique “bracelet bouquet” for Annie, boutonnieres, and other floral accents to achieve Annie’s “loose but structured” vision. “Everything was so personal because we could control every detail, being that it was at my parents’ house,” Annie says. “My mom puts so much effort into her yard every year, and it was no exception for the wedding.”
Venue: Bride’s parents’ home, College Hill | Bride’s Dress: Vintage, Silver Moon, Chicago | Groom’s Suit: ESQ Clothing, Chicago | Flowers: Bride’s mother; Cincy Flower Wholesale | Videography: Photosphere | Catering: Jeff Thomas Catering | Desserts: Homemade; North College Hill Bakery | Wine: Marty’s Hops & Vines | Beverages: Uncorked | Invitations: Designed by the bride, printed by Starr Printing | Bride’s Hair: Crystal Lewis | Custom Wedding Bands: The Richter & Phillips Co. | Music: Matt Flynn Jazz Trio | Rentals: Advantage Tent & Party Rental