Kjerstin and Dan
In addition to being the first wedding ever to be hosted at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, Kjerstin and Dan’s wedding is a personal favorite of wedding planner Jordan Williams. From the venue to the stunning fall foliage and the personal touches this couple chose to include in their special day, this wedding is one to remember. Keep reading to find out why!
Kjerstin and Dan met when they were both sophomores at Augustana. (Sense a trend? Augustana must be the place to meet your future spouse seeing as how another Ever After couple also met there!) They both attended the same Business Statistics class and became close when they spent hours studying for tests together. Kjerstin says that math doesn’t click for her the way it does for Dan, so she approached him to explain things to her…and it doesn’t hurt that she thought he was super cute, too. They continued to run into each other around campus, and decided to start dating when they realized how much fun they had together. They said that they never laughed as much with anyone else as they do with each other.
Kjerstin and Dan didn’t jump right into marriage; they dated for 7 years and lived together in Chicago before deciding to take the next step. But even though they discussed marriage and moving forward in their relationship, Kjerstin didn’t know that Dan had purchased a ring and was planning to propose when they made plans to visit Lincoln Park Zoo one day. Once they arrived at the zoo they headed towards the Lion House, a favorite of Kjerstin’s, and Dan suggested they take a couple pictures in the photo booth there. It was in the photo booth that Dan took out the ring and asked Kjerstin to be his wife; Kjerstin said she actually said yes as soon as she saw the ring, before Dan even had a chance to ask the question! The entire moment was captured on film, and Kjerstin says that it was truly the surprise of a lifetime.
Dan and Kjerstin knew immediately that they wanted to get married at Augustana. In addition to attending school there, Kjerstin’s parents both work there and so she essentially grew up on the campus. And what’s more, the couple has a close relationship with the pastor at Augustana so they knew he was the right person to marry them.
Both their reception and ceremony were held on campus in the fall; the reception took place in a beautiful old building with lots of marble and gold accents. They went for a “Boho Garden” theme, and so they incorporated a ton of florals as decorations and to compliment the beautiful fall foliage. They wanted their day to feel romantic and elegant, but still cozy, and I think they achieved this goal perfectly.
Kjerstin’s wedding gown was made by St. Patrick by Pronovias. It was ivory and covered in a floral-style lace with an illusion lace back that had really unique floral/garden-esque designs running up and down. The dress perfectly complemented their Boho style. To accessorize, Kjerstin had a floor-length veil made in a fabric that perfectly matched the ivory of her dress. She also wore blush colored heels, pearl and diamond earrings that looked like flowers, and a diamond bracelet that Dan gifted her on the morning of their wedding.
The bridesmaids wore Cabernet colored dresses. Each bridesmaid picked out a style that they felt best represented their own personal style and in which they felt most comfortable. They all wore nude heels and jewelry of their own choice, in addition to a gold bangle bracelet that Kjerstin gifted each of them. She custom designed each bracelet with different quotes that reminded her of each girl, and included them in a card thanking them for being part of her special day.
Dan wore a charcoal suit (rented from The Black Tux) with a white shirt, burgundy tie, and patterned burgundy socks.
The groomsmen wore slightly lighter grey suits (so that Dan stood out) with brown shoes, burgundy ties, and burgundy patterned socks that Dan gifted them.
In addition to planning the wedding, all the florals were designed by Ever After Planning. Tying together the garden theme of the flowers, with the burgundy, blush and white color palette we sourced various locally grown flowers and dahlias!
Kjerstin and Dan chose to forego the typical wedding cake and only commissioned a small, one-tiered cake to use for photography purposes. Instead, they brought in chocolates from Lagomarcinos, a local candy shop, and they also catered Whitey’s Ice Cream, a Quad Cities staple and a favorite of the bride and groom!
The Big Day…
Looking back on the day, they both said their favorite part was the ceremony. They balked tradition a little bit and both of Kjerstin’s parents walked her down the aisle. The homily given by their friend and pastor was incredibly meaningful, and Dan even choked up a little when reciting his vows. But most importantly, the ceremony signified the beginning of their marriage, something that this couple had been looking forward to for a very long time.
For 75 days leading up to their wedding, Kjerstin wrote down 1 reason why she loves Dan each day. She then gifted him her 75 reasons on the morning of their wedding and said that Dan became very emotional when he realized what he had been given. Now he keeps the reasons by his bedside as a reminder of their love for each other.
They also had a friend from college make them a sign that they displayed by the doors to the reception hall. It was a beautiful wood sign, and in white lettering read “I love you, and that’s the beginning and end of everything” along with their names and wedding date. Not only was the sign special because of who made it, but the phrase they chose is one of their favorite quotes from author F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Their advice to engaged couples…
Kjerstin and Dan said that those who are planning a wedding should “think about what’s going to be important to you in 5 years, 10 years, etc when you look back on your wedding day! You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a meaningful and memorable wedding. Those special touches that hold importance to you and your partner (a custom sign that you can hang in your home, for example, or a poem you choose to be read at your ceremony) will be more memorable to you than what type of flowers you had or what kind of frame the table numbers were in. Try to keep this in perspective as you decide what to spend money on and what things to stress over. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you’re getting married to the love of your life!”
Additionally, they both agreed that the best money they spent on the wedding was for their photographer and their wedding planner. The photographer provided them with pictures that will help them relive this day for years to come, while the wedding planner helped them to live in the moment without having to worry about coordinating vendors or setting up a venue. Their reception space had never been used for a wedding before, and Jordan helped it all come together beautifully.
A Note from Jordan
Working with Kjerstin and Dan was so incredibly special. From the moment I met them I just knew that they were an Ever After couple. Couples like them are the kind that wedding planners dream of having come into our lives. I also loved the unique challenges they presented me, the biggest being their venue. A wedding at a college campus may not sound like too big of a feat, but the building presented so many challenges to us that it was honestly fun to overcome and work through! I loved seeing the space get transformed after months and months of planning into everything that they dreamed of it becoming. All of these Augustana graduates that come into our lives are so incredibly special, and such truly amazing people.
Kjerstin and Dan, your wedding was such a dream and honor to create. I hope you enjoyed every last second of the day, and are creating a marriage and life together that is even more beautiful than that day was.
Thank you for entrusting Ever After with your wedding day!
Planning, Design and Florals – Ever After Planning
Photography – Rebecca Haley Photography
Make Up – Rebeca Toledo
Hair – Ashley Hill
Bridal Gown – La Belle Vie Bridal Boutique
DJ – Luxe Productions
Linens – BBJ Linen
Hand Crafted Sign – K Rorer Decor
Invitations – Shine Weddings
Chair Rentals – Step It Up Rentals
Backdrop Rental – I Do Events
Hotel + Accomodations – Hotel Blackhawk