Today’s real wedding makes us realise why this job is so wonderful.

We just adore when a couple’s wedding day is a total reflection of them, and their lives together.

And Donnie and Rachel’s Wisconsin wedding is one of those gems.

Rachel and Donnie, are a couple utterly in love, with a beautiful life, in a stunning part of the world. And their wedding brought all of that together.

A lakeside summer camp bash, complete with campfires, swimming, cycling, canoeing and foosball.

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With bright colours, sweet details and a gorgeous setting, this pair have created an intimate, day that’s “so them”, and we couldn’t be more chuffed they’ve chosen to share it with us.

Stunning photographs by Amanda and Nate from Shalom Imaginative, capture every special moment of this unique wedding, from  Rachel and Donnie’s tearjerking (and we mean tearjerking!) first look shots, to the excitement of their children to get involved in the big day.

In three words, Donnie and Rachel describe their wedding as, Simple, Passionate and Creative”.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves…

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The Wedding

The one thing we really wanted, was to find a place that wasn’t your typically wedding venue. Someplace different that we could make our own.

Donnie is a Creative Director for a publishing company and Rachel has a degree in Marketing so we knew we wanted a rustic camp feel with budget friendly inventive DIYs.

Mismatched bow ties, canoe paddle guest books, homespun crafts with texture and color.

We chose a Summer Camp theme because we live in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and did not want mainstream.

We took advantage of camp colors, bonfires, canoes, cabins (which our guest got to stay in), mason jars, bbqs, pies and Spanish lighting.

We used the natural beauty of our location and just used decorations to emphasis it.

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The Theme

Summer camp wedding was our theme, simple and natural. Whether it was the cabins, swimming, bon fires, tiki torches, foosball. We had an indoor outdoor wedding where guests could flow between the two. Lots of beer and lots of fun!

The colours were sea blue and coral, something that would pop in the natural earth tone background. We loved chiffon and something that was airy and actually Donnie picked out the colors.

We wanted the wedding party to be able to re wear their clothes. The bow ties were all different patterns with the color palette intertwined. We had wildflowers that brought an array of tones!

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The Flowers

We had wildflower bouquets. I actually did not pick a single flower to be in it. I wanted color and rustic.

Our friends who own a greenhouse put them together and they looked amazing! They were so large.

We also had daisy bouquets on the tables and it was under $5 a bundle which could be split in two!

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The Ceremony

We wanted it short and sweet. We wrote our own vows and had the ceremony outdoors. In case of rain we wanted it 20 minutes, tops.

We signed the marriage license in front of everyone making it legal. That was something that meant a lot.

We also did a unity jar (that went missing mid ceremony!) where the wedding party wrote messages to be read on our anniversary.

I wonder how appropriate they are? We will see September 7th!

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The Photography

Nate and Amanda were an easy and amazing choice. They shoot weddings with their hearts.

They captured moments with simplicitiy catching real life emotions. Things weren’t staged, they were all natural. They created such an intimate experience and let us relive details we did not see firsthand.

We couldn’t have made a better choice, and better friends.

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The Decor

One of the hardest jobs was tracking down the Spanish lights with the big bulbs. Target had them half price, but they all were on summer clearance. We literally tracked down every set in the state on clearance.

We built our own bar, stamped our own silverware, made a Yippee Pie Yay board for our Pie backdrop, a Canoe Please sign for the guests to sign our paddle. Donnie ended up doing it all with chalk!

We also made our own buntings, and had random mismatched items on the fire place during the wedding!

Our families were amazing with helping out. Whether it was painting signs, hanging lights, putting together the tables, or cutting pies, they all pitched in and created an amazing night!

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The Refreshments

We had a casual buffet style for dinner with bbq sandwiches and chicken. (Although our caterers were 2 hours late).

But we had homemade pies, a smore bar and other fun things (like an open bar). We had three rows of long tables and everything was family style.

We did have Summer Shandy beer which was the last of the season. We had to put it on hold to make sure we would have it at our wedding!

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The Music

Our Processional was, The Lover’s Waltz, for Recessional,Wagon Wheel. For our First Dance, we played, Love your Love the Most, Eric Church and our Father Daughter Dance: Wild World by Cat Stevens. 

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Favourite Moments

Our wedding described Donnie and I better than anything else. It took his artistic flare and our outgoing personalities and spun it into everything we are.

We are laid back and simple, we love where we live. We didn’t want commercial and what everyone else seems to have for their wedding. We wanted different and unconventional like us.

Actually we were afraid with what most guests would think of it. They even had to bring their own bedding to stay in the cabins! But most people seemed happy! There was dancing, bon fires, and the beer was flowing. (There was actually an after-bar after our sparkler send off!).

We played the shoe game, had some Garth Brooks, took anniversary shots, had some toast and roast speeches and had just a carefree time on that September night!

The food was VERY late, but people were patient and supportive. Our families were so helpful and we couldn’t have done it without them!

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Sigh. Aren’t they just the sweetest couple (with the cutest kids!)

I just love everything about this wedding, the setting, the colours, the string lights, the bunting, the blankets…the pies!

This is the perfect example of why couples should just throw the rulebook out the window when they’re planning their wedding, and do what makes them happy.

Thanks so much to Donnie and Rachel for sharing their creative, intimate, and beautiful wedding day with us.

For more real wedding gorgeousness,  hit our archives for past Rustic Weddings + DIY Weddings

Photographer: Shalom Imaginative / Bride’s Dress: Forever Yours (411226 Dark Ivory) (it was a ball gown, but my mom tore out the tulle). / Groom’s Attire: Orvis / Bridesmaid Dresses: Alfred Angelo / Bow Ties: Fox and Brie / Reception Venue: Camp Nawakwa, Lac du Flambeau, WI / Flowers & Decor: JJ Acres Garden Centre / Cake Baker: Golden Harvest Food