Inside Weddings - - Contents - June 23, 2018 Madi­son, Wis­con­sin | Pho­tographed by Kent Drake Pho­tog­ra­phy

June 23, 2018 Madi­son, Wis­con­sin Pho­tographed by Kent Drake Pho­tog­ra­phy

The Univer­sity of Wis­con­sin-Madi­son was so im­por­tant to Lily Donnellon and Ben Ja­cobs that they even con­sid­ered get­ting mar­ried in Ben’s fra­ter­nity house where they first met. In­stead, they opted for a three-day af­fair kicked off with a Fri­day-night re­hearsal din­ner/wel­come party on cam­pus with a fun-spir­ited tail­gate theme that in­cluded the school’s march­ing band and a visit from Bucky the Badger as en­ter­tain­ment. The town of Madi­son is quaint, charm­ing, and con­jures up happy mem­o­ries for the sweet­heart alums and their fam­i­lies. “We wanted to in­cor­po­rate our love for the col­lege and Madi­son taste­fully through the en­tire week­end,” Lily ex­plains.

Another de­tail where the cou­ple wanted to il­lus­trate their love for Madi­son was in the wel­come bags. “I didn’t want to have a bag with just our names on it, so we opted for the phrase “Drink Wis­con­sinibly” and had all of our fa­vorite Madi­son snacks, in­clud­ing Spot­ted Cow beer that you can only get in Wis­con­sin,” says the bride. Lily’s dad was also in­volved in giv­ing the gifts a per­sonal touch. “He shared his fa­vorite restau­rants, bars, and sites in town and wrote hi­lar­i­ous blurbs to ex­plain why he loved each spot,” she ex­plains.

The sweet­hearts opted for a colorful palette to fit with their sparkling per­son­al­i­ties. “The amaz­ing HMR De­signs took our flo­ral-de­sign ideas and el­e­vated them in a way I could have never imag­ined. The shades to­gether were re­ally breath­tak­ing!” Lily em­pha­sizes. For the cer­e­mony, punchy-hued flow­ers were set in planter boxes down the length of the aisle, com­ple­mented with larger pedestal ar­range­ments. The chup­pah was a beau­ti­ful mas­ter­piece of blos­soms as well. “It re­ally popped and was so dif­fer­ent than any­thing I had seen be­fore… it was very much reflective of the fun, lively, and vi­brant look and feel we wanted,” af­firms the bride.

Along­side her fa­ther, the bride looked re­splen­dent as she grace­fully made her way to her beloved to the tune of Frank Si­na­tra’s “I Get a Kick Out of You” (the song she saw her par­ents dance to of­ten in their fam­ily liv­ing room). She car­ried a fem­i­nine bou­quet that looked as if it had just been plucked from a field of wild­flow­ers; the colorful mix in­cluded coral pe­onies, laven­der cab­bage roses, white clema­tis, blush sweet peas, salmon dahlias, and blue anemones.

The ser­vice was lay­ered with spe­cial ties to loved ones – in­clud­ing hav­ing Ben’s child­hood best friend of­fi­ci­ate. “It meant so much to us to have some­one up there who knows how deeply we love each other and has wit­nessed that first­hand,” the bride con­fides. “He ab­so­lutely crushed it, strik­ing the per­fect bal­ance be­tween com­edy and sen­ti­ment,” Ben adds.

As the cou­ple re­cessed, the Wis­con­sin Chil­dren’s Choir sang a Mo­town hit: “I Can’t Help My­self (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch).” Lily works in the mu­sic in­dus­try and en­joyed blend­ing the song list with both fa­vorite oldies and the newer sounds of to­day. As guests made their way into the re­cep­tion area, they found their tables by way of song lyrics in­stead of typ­i­cal num­bered signs.

The ball­room was made to look like a whim­si­cal gar­den. Gor­geous ceil­ing pieces and a fully cus­tom­ized dance floor that matched their in­vi­ta­tions and sta­tionery left loved ones in awe. “Both made the room so in­cred­i­bly stun­ning and looked amaz­ing to­gether,” il­lus­trates the bride. “I was ab­so­lutely blown away to see it all come to­gether on the wed­ding night, and even Ben was speech­less.” Cen­ter­pieces filled with vivid flo­rals and lush green­ery graced tables, whilst hun­dreds of can­dles added a ro­man­tic feel.

The crowd en­joyed the chore­ographed first dance and fa­ther­daugh­ter dance, re­spec­tively. The dance prac­tices added some comedic re­lief dur­ing the last stress­ful months of wed­ding plan­ning, notes the bride. At­ten­dees then en­joyed a scrump­tious chef-pre­pared sup­per of chicken and waf­fles. “We thought it was bril­liant for a for­mal wed­ding,” shares Lily, who con­firms that ev­ery­one loved the fare. Slices of a naked cake fea­tur­ing two fla­vors were then passed to loved ones to rev them up for a night of even more mer­ri­ment.

The fa­ther of the bride jumped on stage with the mu­si­cians for a sur­prise per­for­mance. The groom was shocked to learn that he hadn’t even prac­ticed with the band! He started with “Wild Night” by John Mel­len­camp and had guests lined up at the edge of the stage singing along. “He was like a rock star!” ex­claims Lily. “The en­ergy was through the roof and it’s a mo­ment I will never for­get.” The revelry, in­clud­ing stage div­ing, sin­ga­longs, late-night bites, and danc­ing to a DJ and elec­tric guitarist, con­tin­ued un­til 2AM.

Though two years of plan­ning and count­less wild ideas proved to be a lot of work, the cou­ple was glad they stayed true to their vi­sion. They de­signed the event they wanted to cel­e­brate their love and de­vo­tion to each other. “It was eas­ily the best week­end of my life,” con­cludes Ben.

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