I used to picture my own wedding being in the backyard of my childhood home, so when Hailey and Steve told me they were moving their Morton Arboretum wedding to be in the backyard of her family friends’ home because of COVID, I was already pumped to see what they would do. Hailey is a lighting designer and Steve a lighting technician, so I knew their reception space was going to look amazing no matter what, but they blew me away with every other detail of the day beyond that—from banners displaying the theme of the wedding “In Sickness and In Health: The World Tour” (a nod to their shared career that oftentimes has them on the road with musicians), to RSVPs designed to look like Admit One tickets, to a spinning ring display made by Steven’s dad and grandpa that held their wedding bands made by Hailey’s uncle (!!).

Some of my other favorite details and moments of the day were: 

  • Hailey’s emotional first look with her family where they got to see her amazing bridal jumpsuit (complete with a cape!!!). A fun fact about her wedding jumpsuit; it was made by Samantha Stokes who is based in New Zealand. Serendipitously, her family took a trip there so Hailey was able to meet Samantha and try her jumpsuit on before it got shipped overseas to her!! 

  • The moment Hailey’s dad was walking her down the aisle and a teary Steve waved at her as she got closer—cutest reaction ever. Their whole outdoor ceremony was amazingly beautiful and intimate; it was sunny with the slightest chill in the air as they said their vows they had written for each other in front of their family and friends.

  • The bride and groom’s handwritten notes on the placemat of every single wedding guest.

  • The beautiful speeches, from people both there and afar. After his speech, Hailey’s dad read a handful of letters and notes from family members in the U.K. who couldn’t make it to the wedding because of COVID. They honored these family members in all sorts of other ways throughout the day too: the pearls on Hailey’s wrist were her Something Old, given to her by her great-aunt in the U.K. before she passed last year. The watch next to the pearls was her Something Borrowed, sent by her aunt when they found out they couldn’t travel overseas for the day; it belonged to Hailey’s great-grandma who wore it on her own wedding day, and it still works generations later. The cake they cut was her grandma’s fruit cake recipe—a traditional English wedding cake that she would have made for them if she could have attended—made by Steve’s mom.

  • The moment after they finished their first dance song—”Simply the Best” covered by Noah Reid (ironically the last song I saw performed live before COVID hit!!)—when it switched to the Tina Turner version and then when the chorus hit, a BADASS 80s-vibe light show started and all the guests moved the dance party outside where there were more colored lights lighting up the backyard.

I need to force myself to stop at five because I could go on and on. These two (and their families) are just such wonderful humans—we’re already planning a bread date where Steve is going to teach me how to make homemade bread, because their wedding reception is NOT the last time I’m going to see them—and it was an honor to be a part of their day. The whole thing was, in fact, simply the best. 

“In the hunt for the perfect photographer for whatever life event you want captured, look no further. Marissa is a star. She’s enthusiastic, professional, super cool to be around, and absolutely incredible at what she does. Marissa recently photographed my wedding and I couldn’t have asked for more. She got all *the shots* while also capturing the feel of the day. My husband and I are backstage people and are usually kinda awkward in front of the camera, but Marissa is absurdly talented at directing you so you feel comfortable. She knows how to make you and all your loved ones look your best in every photo. She does the best job of being present with you, making sure you’re all good and are getting everything you need, while also blending in to the event to snap all the details you worked so hard on and moments you might have missed. She also got us preview photos the morning after which was such a gift, because everyone you love is still around and you all get to cry again looking at them while eating left over cake. I cannot express enough how impressed I am with Marissa and the photos she delivered to us. I cry every time I look at the beautiful images she gave us. My entire family loves her to the point where my parents ask me tell her they say hi when she messages me about the photos. My husband’s brothers hadn’t even seen any of the photos when they told me they wanted her at their weddings too. She has a great energy and delivers an amazing product. I don’t know what good juju helped us find her in the vast expanse of the internet to capture the best day of my life, but I’m so thankful we found her. She’s simply the best.”

Lighting: ILC and Upstaging

Bridal Jumpsuit: Samantha Stokes

Engagement Ring: Alexis Russel Jewelry

Wedding Bands: Hailey’s uncle

Florals: Andrew’s Garden

Tent Rental: Blue Peak

Makeup: Makeup and Hair by Traci

DJ: Toast and Jam

Invitation Suite: designed by Hailey herself

Catering: Marcels at Maison

Cake: Steve’s mom, using Hailey’s grandma’s fruitcake recipe

Other Cakes: various family members

Lake Barrington Backyard Wedding | Hailey + Steve


Copyright 2024 MKP | site credits