The Dogwood Hill team loves getting to feature real weddings and brides that have used our wedding stationery. Today’s real wedding feature is no exception. Anne Jorjorian and Mark Gustafson’s December 2021 wedding in Illinois exuded sophistication, and elegance with a twist of Ralph Lauren prep. Continue scrolling to learn more about this beautiful couple’s love story and about their stunning wedding day.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. How did he propose?
Mark and I met through mutual friends in 2015, as Mark went to college with quite a few of my friends from high school. We went on a first date and the rest is history. Mark proposed Memorial Day weekend of 2019, by surprising me with our closest family and friends for a weekend away at Mark’s parents’ lake house in northern Wisconsin. Since I was a little girl, I have been going up to northern Wisconsin, ironically very close to Mark’s parents’ home, and it quickly became one of my favorite places. By Mark choosing to propose there, it was very special to our families and me.
What made you select your particular ceremony and reception venues?
St. Luke’s and Michigan Shores have both been important locations with deep rooted history within my family. For over 50 years, numerous weddings, funerals, baptisms, parties and other festivities have been hosted at these places for momentous occasions within the Jorjorian and extended family, which led me to want to have our wedding celebrations take place there.
What was the feel that you wanted to accomplish for your wedding and how did your Dogwood Hill paper coordinate with that?
My goal was to emulate the feel of a Ralph Lauren Winter wedding; with navy and forest green accents, tartan plaid, seasonal flowers and warm winter lighting with festive holiday touches. I started with the Dogwood Hill Alexandra Crest as the base and with the help of the Dogwood Hill design team customized it to help achieve the winter look and feel I was going for. The crest was then used throughout all of our paper pieces, including custom matchbooks that were placed on all of the bars and available for guests to take home. I also found tartan plaid fabric in Canada and my mom sewed custom napkins for all guests at the wedding. I then used the same tartan pattern to create a custom envelope liner that was used in the invitations, as well as the back of the matchbook giveaways. I love the pattern Blue Willow on china, so I used Blue Willow dinner and bread plates for our head table seating, which all belong to my family.
What was the best advice you received as a bride?
Be sure to be present that day and take in every detail/moment. The day goes by so fast and taking in all of your hard work and planning is so important! It is very rare to have all of the most important people in your life in one room celebrating you – so relish in it! I was a “COVID bride” and was engaged for over 900 days, which made it that much more special to truly take it all in and everything coming to life!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day?
The moment my Dad and I started walking down the aisle at the church for the beginning of the service. Mark and I chose to not do a first look, so it was the first time they saw each other and no one had seen my dress since I kept it a secret! My Dad and I are very close, and it has been something I have always looked forward to – walking down the aisle with him at my wedding. The organist was playing Prince of Denmark’s March by Jeremiah Clarke, along with the very long aisle at the church and all of our family and friends looking on was very special and memorable.
Can you tell us about finding your wedding dress?
The dress I chose was Sareh Nouri’s Peony gown, which was the second dress I tried on! I had it saved on my phone prior to trying dresses on, as I absolutely loved the large artistic bow on the back. The day I said ‘yes to the dress’, the designer, Sareh Nouri herself, was at the boutique and helped me to pick the absolute best dress and it was so special to be able to meet her in person and be part of the day. I then kept my dress a secret until the wedding day, with the only two people having seen it were my Mom and Matron of Honor, who were there when I picked the dress. I actually found my dress pre-COVID so the surprise was kept for over 2 years!
Venues – St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Evanston, IL and the Michigan Shores Club
Dress – Sareh Nouri
Photography – Grace Gruwell of True Grace Photography