Alysa + Charlie
September 26, 2020
St. Philomena Catholic Church
The LaHood Home, Peoria, IL
Looking back on 2020, it's easy to look at all of the things that we missed out on or had to postpone due to Covid. However, when I think of Charlie and Alysa's wedding day, I think of what Caroline, Charlie's older sister and Alysa's Matron of Honor, said in her speech: "Despite everything - and there has been a lot - we were there today, on your original date, in the church, with all your family there, witnessing your sacrament. And we're here tonight, celebrating you guys. And the reason that is, is because this love is unstoppable. Your faith, your love for God, and your openness to Him - nothing will ever be in your way. You can accomplish it all. And I can't wait to see where your love and faith takes you next."
Alysa and Charlie had to start completely from scratch about two months before their wedding day. Instead of a huge reception hall, they downsized to a small private property- Caroline's back yard! The LaHood home was transformed into a wedding venue, and honestly, it was perfect. All of their vendors adapted and pulled off the reception with grace and ease. They called Clink, the cutest mobile airstream bar, borrowed a tent from their neighbor, rented tables, chairs, and linens, and put together an elegant reception. Alysa and Charlie reset their expectations and still had the most wonderful wedding day.
Spoiler - Alysa and Charlie's next adventure is at the end of this recap!
Ceremony: St. Philomena Catholic Church
Reception: The LaHood Home, Private Property
Florals: Georgette's Flowers
Photography: Shelby Photography
Videography: A Reel Life Moment
Coordination: Greater Joy Events - Wedding Day Coordination
Rentals: Peoria Rentals
Caterer: A Matter of Taste
Dessert: Jessica Stecher Homebaker
Hair & Makeup: V&E Studio
Dress: David's Bridal
Tuxes: The Black Tux
Transportation: A Touch of Class
Alysa and her bridesmaids got ready at St. Philomena, where they had their hair & makeup done, had the largest breakfast setup I've ever seen, and started off the morning celebrating Alysa with balloons and flowers. They were the best bridal bunch - whenever I checked in to see if they needed anything, they had nothing but cheery smiles and reassurances that everything was going exactly as planned. It was a dream morning! Also, I know I've mentioned that I love bridesmaid reveals, but man - I LOVE bridesmaid reveals. They're always filled with so much joy!
While they were getting ready, I was at the LaHood Home setting out linens, positioning cocktail tables, and setting up the welcome table, gift and card table, and guest book table.
After setting up, I checked in on the guys at Charlie's home. I helped with their boutonnieres and definitely spent a good amount of time hanging out with their dog, Walter, while Charlie took a moment to read his letter from Alysa. I was a *bit* worried when the guys said they wanted to walk to the church - luckily, we had enough buffer time in the timeline to allow for a longer travel time! Honestly, I was more worried about their light gray suits on a warm day, but they were totally fine when they arrived to the church! I opted to drive over and check on the ladies, so luckily Stephanie from Shelby Photography captured a few candid photos!
Alysa and Charlie's ceremony went off without a hitch! It was a beautiful ceremony, witnessed by their family and friends. Alysa and Charlie were actually able to have more guests at their ceremony than at their reception, due to the size of St. Philomena. Knowing that their ceremony meant so much to them made it all the more special that they were able to have more guests there to witness their vows. I've found that some of my favorite photos are captured during the ceremony, when the bride and groom glance at each other. I can only imagine that they're thinking, wow, here we are - this is real and it's happening!
We had plenty of time between Charlie and Alysa's ceremony and their reception, so we brainstormed quite a few ways to try to incorporate the family and friends that weren't able to attend their reception. We settled on meeting outdoors at Heritage Square after their photos for an informal cocktail hour, which went so well! Some of Alysa's relatives brought a traditional Lebanese spirit for a toast, and they were so thankful to be able to celebrate before departing for their reception.