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Ben and Tara | Starline Factory | Harvard IL | Ever After Planning New Years Eve Love Story

Apr 26, 2019

Ben and Tara

I actually laughed out loud while I was reading the questionnaire this couple filled out after their wedding. It was so real, and so honest. Tara admits right off the bat how indecisive she is about many things in life, including planning her wedding, and her and Ben joke about how bad they are at DIY projects. But even though Tara might have had a hard time selecting her wedding gown, and Ben didn’t quite get the perfect proposal he initially wanted, these two planned (with some help from Jordan) a stunning New Year’s Eve ceremony to wrap up 2018.

The Beginning…

Ben and Tara met in 4th grade, but never really had a conversation until they were forced to sit by each other in a few classes during their freshman year of high school. They went from acting out the roles of Romeo and Juliet (what a way to begin a relationship!) to going on a movie date, to eventually becoming inseparable.

The Proposal…

Ben proposed to Tara on his birthday. He originally wanted to take her out to dinner and then for a walk along the river in Beloit, but the weather (and Tara) didn’t cooperate. He ended up surprising her by proposing as she was getting ready for their evening out. She was wearing a towel after she hopped out of the shower and was shocked to find Ben on one knee! While they both think it wasn’t very romantic, it certainly was unforgettable. And the romantic in me loves the fact that it was an intimate proposal without being too extravagant…it seems to reflect the personalities of this couple perfectly.

The Details…


Ben and Tara chose to have a New Year’s Eve wedding, which I’m partial to because that’s when I got married as well! Tara said it seemed like everyone was doing fall weddings and she wanted to be different. They loved the industrial feel of their venue, the Starline Factory, and chose to incorporate navy and wine as their colors (with plenty of sparkle- a must for a NYE wedding!) Ben wore a blue suit that he already owned (again, a perfect testament to this “no fuss” couple who know exactly what’s important to them) and Tara’s bridesmaids wore stunning sequined gowns by Adrianna Papell that they were very lucky to snag in a Black Friday sale!


Tara wore a Maggie Sottero gown from Eva’s Bridal, and her brother was actually the one to choose it for her! It was a gorgeous, lace and sequin halter gown with a deep v illusion neckline. The beading extends from the neckline all the way to the train with a matching lace and sequin illusion back. In the photos you can see how happy Tara is when she’s wearing the dress, as she should be- she looks incredible.


Tara didn’t want her flowers to look like traditional wedding flowers; she was more interested in greenery than in blooms. Her and her mom met with Apple Creek Flowers to design the perfect bouquets. They featured wine and blush-colored roses, tons of greenery, and even some winter thistles! They complimented the winter season and the industrial venue perfectly.

Their centerpieces consisted of similar greenery from the bouquets, beautiful gold lanterns with white lights inside, and adorable journals that they asked guests to leave messages in for them to read on their anniversaries.


Their wedding cake was from Nothing Bundt Cakes, and I can attest from my sister’s wedding that they know how to do cake right. Ben and Tara both knew as soon as they opened a location in Rockford that there’s nowhere else they would get their cake from.

The Big Day…

Ben and Tara wrote their own vows, and despite their nervousness, they’re so happy they included such an intimate detail in their wedding. Overall, they’re incredibly happy with how the day turned out. Tara says one of her favorite memories is dancing with her family and friends at the reception. There was also mention of Ben’s garter dance…I’m sad they didn’t have a videographer to provide further evidence of this!

The reception hall was decorated with balloons and fairy lights, and it looked like a dream. Ben and Tara even got to sit on a vintage sofa during dinner- a unique touch that fit their theme so well. As the clock struck midnight the guests were showered with white and gold balloons. They toasted each other, the end of 2018, and the end of a perfect night.

Personal Touches

The couple included many TV and movie references in their planning as an ode to their love of watching films together. They included Harry Potter themed unity locks as part of their ceremony, and their cake featured a Friends themed cake topper. Guests were treated to songs from films like The Greatest Showman, The Great Gatsby, and Midnight in Paris throughout the reception.

They included a special tribute to their parents who had passed away, and Tara received several items from family members including her crystal headpiece from her Aunt and her earrings from her Godmother.

Their advice to engaged couples…

They advise couples to stay true to themselves when wedding planning, something that they themselves did so well (in my opinion). A family member told them to step back and take it all in, because it goes by so quickly. Ben and Tara had the chance to go upstairs during the reception and have a quiet moment together, and they said it was amazing to watch all their loved ones dancing, having fun, and celebrating love.

The individual details are so important, but at the end of the day it’s the marriage, not the wedding, that lasts a lifetime. Don’t let the planning change you; stay true to who you are as a couple, and you’ll be guaranteed to have the perfect day.

Wedding Planner: Jordan Williams of Ever After Planning

Photography: EllAdelle Photography

Officiant: Jennifer Fox


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