I was thrilled when Kristen and John got in touch with me to help with their September wedding happening on John’s family’s lakefront property in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. Kristen is an interior designer with incredible taste, so she had a very specific vision for the details of their wedding day. The Congress Club holds many of John’s fondest childhood memories and has become an oasis for whenever he and Kristen feel ready to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Congress Club, founded in 1882, was established as a social and musical club formed by several families that resided near Congress Street on Chicago’s west side. The Club’s architectural significance rests on the 19th century interpretation of the Queen Anne style as an appropriate summer cottage form [source]. We feel very honored that we were able to work in such a prestigious, private club and the panoramic lake views at The Congress Club are simply stunning.
The day started early for everyone, and tensions were running a little high because it was raining cats and dogs all morning–not ideal for an outdoor event! Thankfully, the wedding gods smiled down on the beautiful lakeside venue a couple hours before the ceremony and the day turned out to be flawless. While the ladies were getting their hair done at the Clear Waters Salon in Williams Bay, the guys were having a nice brunch at Daddy Maxwell’s. Our bride and groom each got ready in separate homes on the property and while the gents were rehashing old times, the ladies continued their “getting ready process. Makeup by Laura Rose made sure faces were flawless as bouquets and boutonnieres were delivered to the ladies by the Fleur team (who was also responsible for all the décor that day). Kristen put on her dress and met John for the first look shortly after that. Anna and Paul from Anna Guziak Photography were there to take pictures of the day and they did an incredible job!
During the first look, team Five Grain was running around making sure all of the moving parts were prepared to ensure the perfect wedding day for Kristen and John. The catering team from Shully’s was ready to go and all the staff members were moving very quickly to prepare and arrange everything perfectly. Lighting, draping, and power were provided by Elegant Event Lighting while tents and rentals for the day were provided by Canopies and the specialty bars by AFR. Service Sanitation helped us with a mobile restroom setup that was crucial for the night’s survival.
We would like to extend a huge thank you to Principal Bill from Williams Bay High School for allowing us to use their parking lot for guests to park and load into the Jones Travel charter buses to the Congress Club.
Kristen and John were able to enjoy a little bit of the afternoon before guests started arriving. The ceremony began around five o’clock and was short, sweet, and magical. Ceremony music was provided by Elegant Music Services. The bridal party, which included Kristen’s adorable son Gilbert, utilized a boat from the Lake Geneva Cruise Line for an unforgettable grand entrance. The wedding was officiated by Bonnie Cortez from Chosen with Bonnie who did a lovely job.
Cocktail hour started immediately after the ceremony in the grassy area overlooking the lake. There was an endless supply of rosé for the newly married Rose couple and their guests. The view of Lake Geneva was incredible and paved the way for a joyous reception. Our bride and groom were even able to enjoy what Kristen described as her “cotton candy sky” and a rainbow as the sun went down on the lake–it was something out of a fairytale.
John and Kristen were able to get a sneak peak of our tent setup before the guests took their seats. They (and we!) were so happy. Everything that Kristen and John had envisioned had come together perfectly and the result was truly sublime. The tent setup was gorgeous! Guests were then able to convene in the tent for dinner service while the newlyweds hid away in the back. The wonderful Shawn Sommer from the Maggie Speaks introduced the married couple as soon as everyone was seated. Dinner service began promptly and guests were able to pick their entrées from the beautiful menu designed by our studio roommate, Meredith, of Studio M Creations. As guests were eating, we heard wonderful toasts from their friends and family.
Kristen and John shared their first dance to David Bowie’s “Heroes” (a personal Five Grain favorite) followed by mother-son and father-daughter dances. The dance floor was packed for the rest of the night and included some serious dance moves and several guests getting on stage and singing with the band! Elegant Event Lighting shifted the glowy uplights to “party mode” and shifted through a rainbow of colors to highlight the festive mood.
At the end of the night, there were two boats waiting for guests for a late-night cruise from the Lake Geneva Cruise Line. Special thanks to the Captain Garrett on the Walworth, Captain Kevin on the Polaris, Shully’s for the late night snacks, and Vanille for the incredible macarons! Jones Travel later took guests back to their respective hotels for a seamless conclusion to the evening. What a night!
Kristen and John, we loved working with you. There’s no better feeling than seeing such a wonderful event come to fruition after meticulous pre-planning and flawless execution. We feel so lucky and fortunate to have been a part of your special day. We smiled the whole time while reminiscing and writing the blog post, and hope we did the day justice. Feel free to have us over for your next shindig on the lake!
Joan, Theresa, Jesseca, and the Five Grain team