A Twist on Beauty and the Beast with Sweet Darling Weddings in Urbana, Illinois

A few times a year, I collaborate with other creatives and wedding professionals on styled photo shoots. These “styled shoots” allow us to stretch our imaginations and produce work that may be a bit outside the requests we get from our clients. When Sweet Darling Weddings approached me with the idea of a Beauty and the Beast inspired project with a bit of edge, I was thrilled. I knew Heather through mutual friends and was fortunate to have worked with her and Kristin already on another project. They had a clear vision and had assembled an impressive set of contributors. Be sure and visit the sites of these amazing vendors as you hire your wedding team!

Photographer, Coordinators and Styling: Sweet Darling Weddings

Florist: J.Blu Design

Gown and Shoes: Michelle’s Bridal and Tuxedo

Suit: Elite Bridal

Hair and Makeup: Something You Salon and Spa

Jewelry: Champaign Jewelers

Invitation Suite and Lettering Details: Dash/wood

Furniture and Details: Spruce Rentals

Cake: Pan and Cake Catering

One of the first requests from Heather and Kristin was that we didn’t use red roses. I instantly knew I wanted these amazing red dahlias from Finding Eminence Farm near Lexington, IL. I love to buy locally grown flowers whenever possible and these rich, red beauties were perfection. This project called for something a little outside the box when it came to the bridal bouquet and I had been wanting to design on one of these hoops for awhile.

When it came time to consider flowers for the tablescape, I wanted to incorporate vintage books which were central to the love story between Belle and the Beast. A hollowed out book served as the base of the piece with a stack of colorful spines behind. The china, teapot and goblets are from Kristin’s personal collection while the table, silverware and globe are from Spruce Rentals.

Emily at Dash/wood created a beautiful invitation suite. The navy velvet and hand lettered address in gold ink were so lush. Can we talk about that ring set from Champaign Jewelers? I adore those rubies in the wedding band and that diamond...stunning! Below, Pan and Cake Catering provided the beautiful cake.

One of my favorite things about Sweet Darling Weddings images is that they capture the natural connection and expressions of the couple. I think this is attributed to their personalities and relaxed approach while shooting. They both have an keen eye and an amazing way of making people relax which results in beautiful photographs. The makeup and hair by Something You Salon and Spa were perfection! Special thanks to Elite Bridal for the handsome suit and gold accessories. The beautiful bridal gown came from Michelle’s Bridal and Tuxedo.

J.Blu Design Wedding Florist Peoria Illinois Sweet Darling Weddings

Alexandra and Remy: Intimate Wedding at Pear Tree Estate in Champaign, Illinois

I adore this couple’s style! Elegant, classic, with a little kick. Can we talk about Remy’s red bow tie?! And that lace dress…exquisite. From the first video chat with Alexandra and Remy, I was so excited about their wedding at Pear Tree Estate in Champaign, IL. The couple met in France while Alexandra was traveling abroad and Remy’s family traveled to the US for their wedding day. The images captured by Wright Photographs are sublime.

J.Blu Design Peoria Illinois Wedding Florist Pear Tree Estate Wright Photographs.jpg

Alexandra wanted a mix of white, ivory and a very faint blush roses for her bouquet. We used white playa blancas, ivory vandelas, blush majolica spray roses accented white lisianthus and olive branches. The result was a soft, romantic bouquet completed with trailing hand-dyed silk and lace ribbon.

The grand windows at Pear Tree Estate paired with their hanging doors make for a stunning ceremony backdrop. The bride supplied candles which we arranged on the doors with olive branches and eucalyptus. For the reception, they were rearranged to serve as the dessert table.

Above, the bridesmaids carried smaller, matching bouquets to the bridal. Below, silver compote bowls from our inventory were filled with the same combination of roses as well as ranunculus, hydrangea, and veronica. The head table was dressed with the same greenery as the hanging doors.

Congratulations Alexandra and Remy! I was honored to be a part of your wedding day. Wishing you a lifetime of blessings. xo, Julie

Elizabeth and Riley: Western Illinois Wedding at the Jerry Lewis Barn near Good Hope, Illinois

The Saturday of Memorial Day weekend brought gorgeous blue skies perfect for an outdoor wedding and barn reception near Macomb, Illinois.  It was my first time with a wedding at the Jerry Lewis Barn near Good Hope, IL and I was blown away by the gorgeous property and gracious owners.  It was a perfect setting for Elizabeth and Riley, who recently graduated from Western Illinois University, to say their vows and celebrate with family and friends.

The temperatures were high and thankfully the threat of storms held off for their outdoor ceremony under one of the large trees on the property.  The classic blush and navy color scheme perfectly complimented the green surroundings. The flowers we selected gave an elegant feel but weren't too formal for the setting. I'm so thankful to Stephanie Bartman Photography for these beautiful images.  

Elizabeth, called EB by family and friends, knew what she wanted her flowers to look like from our first conversation.  A self-proclaimed "flower snob", she was very clear on her likes and dislikes.  When she showed me an inspiration photo full of color, but in muted shades, I instantly knew what I wanted to create for her big day.  The peachy, pink Shimmer roses are a new favorite variety of mine and worked perfectly with the white peonies and the pink ranunculus.  Blue agapanthus and yellow solidago brought a garden feel while the hypericum berry, thistle and grevillea gave beautiful texture.

The bridesmaids carried bouquets of Shimmer roses, white stock and hypericum berry.  The mothers corsages were pink ranunculus and textural filler on gold cuff bracelets. 

The bridesmaids carried bouquets of Shimmer roses, white stock and hypericum berry.  The mothers corsages were pink ranunculus and textural filler on gold cuff bracelets. 

The flower girls carried simple nosegays of roses and mixed foliage accented with navy ribbon. The groom wore a boutonniere of pink ranunculus, thistle and berries accented with grevillea and eucalyptus. 

Guests were welcomed to the ceremony with a pair of white antique doors each holding a fresh floral wreath.  Three lanterns were adorned with fresh flower sprays and were placed amongst the doors.

For the centerpieces, we started with mercury glass compote bowls and goblets and filled them with peonies, roses, ranunculus, sweet peas, agapanthus, spray roses, hypericum berry, thistle, and solidago.  They smelled amazing! Additional tables were filled with candle trios in glass cylinders with greenery at the base.  

What a perfect country wedding! I love when a wedding stays true to the couple and their style. Every detail was well thought out and execute to perfection. What a wonderful day to look back on and remember with fondness. 

Congratulations EB and Riley!  You had a beautiful wedding and I'm so happy to now call you friends.  I relish the opportunity to work with those who were also raised and work in the agriculture industry. Can't wait to see what the future holds for you. Wishing you many years of happiness as you start your lives together!  




Photography: Stephanie Bartman Photography | Make Up: Blush by Cassidy | Hair: Simply | Rings: Caitlin Hicks at M.J. Reed Jewelers | Bridal Gown: Blush Bridal Boutique | Officiant: Benjamin A. Murray | Caterer: Witch's Rib BBQ | DJ: Joe Roselieb at Cup of Joe Production | Cupcakes: Cupcake Baby | Printing: WIU Digital Production Services

Taylor and Joshua: Romantic Spring Wedding at Pear Tree Estate

I first met Taylor and her family during a tasting event at Pear Tree Estate. I designed the florals for the evening and they were attending to make catering decisions for their upcoming wedding. We hit it off from the start and after a great consultation (in a torrential downpour/flooding) we started planning Taylor's vision for their big day. Lush, romantic arrangements in shades of pink were a perfect compliment to this beautiful couple. It's hard to spend time with Taylor and Josh and not smile.  The love between them is obvious. They treat each other and those around them with such care and respect. It was a joy to work with them throughout the entire process. 

Thank you to Rebekah Albaugh for these stunning photos.  

A combination of Keira and Ohara garden roses as well as Sweet Akito, Titantic and Nina standard roses made for a lush, timeless bridal bouquet. We added white lisianthus and stock to the pink roses for the bridesmaids so they complimented Taylor's bouquet yet stood out against their beautiful blush and gold dresses from Michelle's Bridal.  

Below, the flower girls wore halos of pink spray roses, babies breath and eucalyptus. The groomsmen accented their gray suits with pink rose boutonnieres with full ribbon wrap.

Groomsmen Boutonnieres J.Blu Design Champaign Illinois

For the ceremony, the entrance of the aisle was accented with tall arrangements of white hydrangea, roses, spray roses, lisianthus, and stock. Their lovely scent filled the room. Pink petals and candles lined the entire aisle length while blush pomanders hung from the gold chiavari chairs. Round vases filled with double tulips, roses and hydrangea sat upon the alter.  The tall, round candlestick arrangements - that would later serve as centerpieces - were placed in the grand Pear Tree windows.   

For the reception, the dining tables were beautifully styled in blush tablecloths, gold chargers and white napkins by the Pear Tree Estate staff.  The tall arrangements from the ceremony were placed on half of the tables while the other half held round vases the same as those on the alter. The gorgeous cake from Cakes by Lori was topped with the same delicate garden roses that graced the bridal bouquet. The eucalyptus garland running down the length of the head table was accented with pink stock and the bridesmaid bouquets.

Congratulations Taylor and Josh on your marriage! Your beautiful wedding day was just the start of what I am sure will be a long and blessed union.  I love seeing two awesome people come together surrounded by their family and friends. It was clear in the brief time I spent around your wedding party, family and guests that you are both greatly loved and cherished by many. 

Thank you for trusting me with your vision and welcoming me onto your venue team.  It was a dream! 

Love, Julie

Wedding Vendors: Venue - Pear Tree Estate | Photographer - Rebekah Albaugh | Catering - l.a. Gourmet | Videographer - Ransom Wedding Films | Bridal Gown - David's Bridal | Bridesmaid Dresses and Suits - Michelle's Bridal and Tuxedo | Cake - Cakes by Lori