For a lovely Lake Forest couple with dreams of a backyard wedding, home really is where the heart is.
To make their daughter Elizabeth’s wishes come true, Danny and Mary Dolan enlisted the help of Steven Valenti from North Shore event planning firm All Things Party to translate the Shelley Johnstone-designed interiors style of their home to an outdoor wedding for Elizabeth and her fiancé Richard.
Think a black and white dance floor that reflects the painted checkered brick in the foyer and an abundance of seasonal plucked-from-the-garden peonies, hydrangeas, and lily of the valley in shades of pink, blue, and green.
Taking inspiration from the “modern traditional with a twist” styling of the home—where Johnstone paired antique mahogany furniture with Pop Art paintings—Valenti created a classic and crisp garden wedding with white silk tablecloths and linen napkins then infused contemporary elements, like an acoustic guitar duo playing upbeat rock ‘n roll.
“When you go to Mary and Danny’s home, they always have fresh flowers, a lit candle, and bowls of candy,” says Johnstone. “It is more than just a pretty interior, it’s a happy and fun house that is filled with love. That’s how they entertain, and that’s how the wedding was. It was beautifully executed and seamless, right down to Mary’s vintage Pucci dress.”
A clear tent created an open and airy feeling and also allowed the nearly 200 guests views of the bride’s childhood home, and the carpeted dining tent evoked the summertime feeling of fresh cut grass underfoot.
To ensure the groom felt just as at home as his bride, Valenti nodded to Richard’s British roots with Union Jack flags at the entrance and after-hours fish and chips.
“It takes more than inspirational images and a vendor list to create a lifelong memory,” says Valenti. “The residence was at the epicenter of the event plan. We extended the entrance of the home in two directions to bridge the ceremony and cocktails on the front lawn with the dinner and dancing in the backyard. It flowed naturally and extended the formal yet approachable feeling of the home.”
The house—from the Miles Redd for Schumacher Chinoiserie wallpaper and pale pink walls to the bullion fringe sofa accents and Lee Jofa fabric—is a true reflection of the people who live within its walls and an homage to what they love, which made the family affair one to remember.
“Weddings at home have always been en vogue,” says Valenti. “There is no better way to create something personal and a feeling of family than to do it in your own home. When done well, the event is truly an extension of your personality. The Dolans were gracious hosts to open their home for a celebration of life and love.”