A Heartfelt 1950s Inspired Church Wedding
JIM WOOLSEY PHOTOGRAPHY
High School sweethearts Claire & Robert had almost 2 years between proposal and big day, and it was time much needed to perfect their vintage inspired celebration with all of the DIY and personal details they had planned for their lucky guests! From the church in which they exchanged their vows, to the vintage red car in which they made their getaway, every detail of their day was carefully considered and completely them – just how every wedding should be!
Bride Claire is here to share all the details with us…. “I have always dreamed of getting married at Sabylund Lutheran Church, the beautiful country church near my family’s farm in Stockholm, WI. I can see the beautiful copper steeple of the church across the pasture from my bedroom window. For years there was nowhere to hold a formal reception nearby, but a few years ago a beautiful winery and event space called Villa Bellezza was built a few miles away so our venue choice couldn’t have been easier. With the location set, we decided to build the wedding around that timeless setting. My engagement ring also served as inspiration as it’s a vintage piece from the early 1940s.
Given our mutual appreciation of history and my love of vintage fashion we tried to put together a romantic, vintage wedding with elements of our favourite eras (the 40s, 50s, and early 60s). We incorporated family elements (like my father’s antique ice cream bike), vintage finds, and lots of handmade details. We wanted our guests to experience classic romance from the past, without the wedding feeling uncomfortable or stuffy. We spent a lot of time curating vintage vessels, cake plates and linens to make the give the wedding a home-like feel through the eclectic mix of pieces. We hoped it would seem like we’d collected pieces from our extended family to create each unique tablescape. Color-wise we drew inspiration from wildflowers to put together a palette of soft champagne, faded turquoise, earthy green, red and sunflower gold.”
“Accessory-wise, I’m a big believer in less is more. I wore just a beautiful pair of pearl and diamond pave drop earrings that Rob had given me for my 22nd birthday. In my hair I wore a pearl and rhinestone broach that had belonged to my grandmother and I topped it off with a simple champagne tulle veil with blusher. For my wedding band, I took stones from both of my grandmothers’ wedding bands and had them merged into an antique-style diamond band so I could carry both of them with me.”
“Because I am a musician, I ordered antique sheet music and formed them into cones for our petal toss upon leaving the church.”
“I had always dreamed of getting married in a lace dress with long sleeves. I wanted it to feel like it stepped out of another time, but could never find anything vintage that was the right size and in good condition. I decided to hunt for dresses out in NYC and tried on many, quickly landing on a ballgown shape because of its vintage vibe and the comfort it afforded compared to tighter styles.
At my 4th store, RK Bridal , the consultant brought in a lovely white cap sleeve V-neck ball gown with a lace top, tulle skirt and buttons trailing down the back. It was by Allure Bridal (#9272). I liked it, but the white struck me as quite stark so Iasked if it came in a cream or another color. She returned in a few minutes with the same gown that was a mix of ivory lace and soft champagne tulle in the skirt and I was in love. All that was missing were my cherished lace ¾ length sleeves. I had them build those in once the dress arrived in the spring and also widened the neckline to compensate.”
“Rob wore a fitted Ludlow shawl collar tuxedo by JCrew. He actually had a cream dinner jacket as well, but on the day it got left at the hotel in Red Wing so it was never worn. As a wedding present, I gave him my grandfather’s monogrammed cufflinks to wear as well. By some happy twist of fate they happen to share the same initials RHM.”
“We also hunted down an antique car through a family friend that was the same model as one my grandfather used to own in the 1960s.”
We hired a florist for the bouquets/boutonnieres, 2 large arrangements for the altar, wreaths for the church doors and flowers for the arch over our sweetheart table. We chose Clementine Floral in Redwing, as the owner is a friend of my family and many of her flowers are grown locally. She included some other favourites in my bouquet like marigolds and lilac. She did a beautiful job realizing our vision.
“As I said, we drew a lot of inspirations from wildflowers. I wanted all of the flowers to look rally natural, like you went out to the garden or a pasture and scooped them up. We ended up DIY-ing most of the flowers for reception, almost 100 vessels.
We collected antiques from the era for our centerpieces to give the décor an antique, local feel including antique tins, metallic containers and blue glass ball jars. We even ended up purchasing many of our linens (overlays, runners, some napkins) as the rental options lacked the originality and eclectic feel we were going for. “
“We wanted something light and fresh, so we decided to do a naked cake with no frosting, just powdered sugar and fresh berries. It was absolutely delicious. We also ordered donuts to make a special donut tower for a groom’s cake—it’s something I surprised Rob with. He loves donuts and used to be a unicyclist so I had them put a lego groom on top of a donut like he was riding a unicycle. “
Pearls of wedding wisdom from the bride…
“Go for the look you want, regardless of what’s “in”. It may make things a bit harder, but it will totally pay off in the look and feel of your event. Our lives would have been a lot easier if we’d stuck with 1 rental vendor and went with the popular monochromatic pastel/white/metallic scheme, but our event ended up feeling much more personal and unique and we absolutely loved it and so did our guests.
Also, make sure your involve your family and friends along the way. Our families wanted to help and were happy to take on projects—it made them feel like they were part of our day and was a fun bonding experience for all of us while taking some of the stress off of Rob and my shoulders.”
Tell us a little bit about your photographer…
“Our photographer, Jim Woolsey, was absolutely fantastic. He was one of 3 photographers we interviewed. but we ended up choosing him because of the artistic quality of his photos and his laid-back professionalism. His photos weren’t the typical wedding photos, even posed shots had this gorgeous artistic quality that really captured the moment. We’re so glad we made that decision. Jim was super flexible and easy to work with. He customized his package to bring in a second shooter, he was very responsive with our day-of coordinator, he captured our event without interfering with our experience of the day, and he listened to all of our ideas and shooting locations and turned them into something beautiful. Throughout the process he made us feel comfortable and calm and we can’t thank him enough.”
Isn’t it fabulous? And didn’t Claire look amazing?! Her wedding dress was just perfection, especially the neckline and sleeves. It is well worth remembering that wedding dresses can be altered if you can’t find JUST what you’re looking for. A huge congratulations to Claire & Robert and a big thankyou to their photographer Jim Woolsey for letting me share their big day with you. If you love these photographs and would like to see more of Jim’s work, head over to his website jimwoolseyphotography.com – and be sure to follow him on Instagram and Facebook.
If this has you dreaming of creating your own 1950s inspired celebration you will find plenty of inspiration amongst the archives of Chic Vintage Brides. Why not start with super creative Pan Am inspired editorial, or take a peek at Jacinta & Aleksander’s elegant affair (with the prettiest bridesmaids dresses!) and I just know you will love Sonia & Jules’s woodland wedding complete with high tea reception.
Contributors & Credits
Photography – Jim Woolsey Photography // Second Shooter – Alexandre Mayeur // Ceremony Venue – Sabylund Lutheran Church // Reception Venue – Villa Bellezza Winery // Day of Coordination – Ask for the Moon Events // Flowers – Market Flowers Minneapolis // Wedding Dress – Allure Bridal // Bridal Boutique – RK Bridal // Veil – RK Bridal // Bride’s Shoes – Something Bleu // Bridesmaids Dresses – Modcloth // Groom’s Attire – JCrew Ludlow // Groomsmen’s Attire – The BLK Tux // Hair & Makeup – Coco Callahan, the Beauty Boutique // Petal Toss Dried Flowers – Fifty Flowers // Floral Design – Clementine Floral // Invitations – Wedding Paper Divas // Wedding Cake – Hanisch Bakery // Wedding Pies – Stockholm Pie Company // Rentals – Apres Party Rental & Ultimate Events & On Solid Ground Vintage Rentals // Catering – River Valley Catering // Entertainment – Riverside Swing Band // Bride’s Engagement Ring – Erstwhile Jewlery // Bride’s Wedding Band – Greenwich Street Jewelers // Groom’s Wedding Band – Brilliant Earth