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James + Lauren: Illinois Brewery Wedding

Updated: Dec 19, 2019

On a drizzly November day, James + Lauren and their closest friends and family gathered in a little brewery in Byron, Illinois to eat pizza, drink beer, share some cake, and tie the knot! These two are so sweetly easy-going that it all just made sense when she told me their wedding plans. They found the perfect balance as they made this day their own. Even though it was a small wedding, it certainly wasn’t lacking in energy! Even though it was in a brewery, it still had the right bit of elegance. Even though it was freezing cold, we still kept warm!

Earlier this year I met Lauren and James for the first time at their engagement session! (Lauren and I connected over Instagram this summer before she was even engaged! Her cheese puns are high quality) They weren’t sure they needed a wedding photographer but they knew for certain that they still wanted portraits before the big day together and I LOVE that. The reality is, not everyone feels like themselves on their wedding day. It’s an unusual time that may be stressful if you’re not into hosting and big crowds and having everyone watch you ;) But if you take time to at least get some engagement photos together in your normal clothes with just you and the photographer and the camera, you may feel a little more natural. We genuinely had the best time together! The way James and Lauren care for each other and show their love is authentic and sweet and gave me all the good feels for the rest of the day :) When they asked me to join them for their wedding at the Hairy Cow Brewing Company in Byron, I knew it would be one for the books!

What I love about this day is that they really leaned into who they are and thought outside the box. It felt like they just sat down and asked themselves “what do we love?”

Beer? Check.

Pizza? Check.

Hanging out with our closest friends and family? Check.

Spending the day together? Check.

Letting our family just relax and enjoy themselves? Check.

Rocking cool, kinda fancy, kind vintage, kinda modern outfits that make us real trendsetters? Check.

Having a super chill, super fun time? Check.

AND THEN they went and made their entire wedding out of those things! Love love love this.

So often I get asked by couples “Do you think I have to have a receiving line?” or “Do you think we can serve an ice cream sundae bar instead of cake?” and to all those amazing people, I just want to point you to the Deals who said “We’ll do what we want and it’s going to be awesome!” There were certainly some traditional aspects, but they didn’t fall into the traps of getting carried away with themes, traditions, or expectations. They just let the day evolve and it was so lovely.

That being said, they enlisted the help of some amazing vendors who really brought their A-game. I loved the floral Lauren ordered. Her bouquet from Crimson Ridge was the perfect blend of vintage-teardrop style meets modern elements and the boutonniere tied in the brewery backdrop with a little of James’ spontaneous 70s flair. Erica Koren Cakery created the prettiest watercolor, ombre, geode style cake (with two different flavor profiles on the top and bottom!) And of course, The Hairy Cow Brewing Company really created the perfect ceremony and reception location (going above and beyond with the loveliest mantle decor, including a personalized “D” for Deal!) In all, it was a good reminder of how important it is, even for the most chill weddings to have a team of vendors that you trust and are on board with your vision.

At the end of the day, your wedding is a celebration of your relationship, of the families you’re joining, and the friends who have supported. So be like Lauren and James and make it true to who you are and how you celebrate!


Catie Coleman
Catie Coleman

These photos are so beautiful!!

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