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How To Prove Your Love Is To the Moon And Back

How to have a wedding at an observatory

Don't just wish upon a star, why not say "I do" under them? Kate and Walt wanted their wedding day to be a unique one. Lucky for us really, because we love wedding couples with a creative side! This whole wedding day took place underneath the worlds largest refracting telescope. So it is safe to say, everyone present had a clear view of the moon's distance worth of love between this sweet couple. 

You can see just how this day played out as you keep scrolling, and there are plenty more photos to fall in love within the full gallery thanks to the talents of Megan Yanz.

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A Unique Location

Kate and Walt's wedding day was nothing short of unique. Before this day, Yerkes Observatory hadn’t held an event on this platform beneath the world’s largest refracting telescope since it’s grand opening in 1897. Frontier Flowers of Fontana created these magnificent statuesque floral arrangements that complemented Yerkes architecture in the most beautifully subtle way. My favorite detail was the cotton that was intentionally placed throughout arrangements – a nod to Walt’s father and grandfather – both cotton farmers in Arkansas. The music and poems recited were meaningful and brilliant. There wasn’t a single detail of their day that didn’t speak volumes about their characters; quirky and playful, elegant and deeply rooted. 

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An Inspirational Day
The inspiration behind the day from the bride and groom: “Our inspiration for the day was to showcase our specific, unique love story. We wanted the day to be very “us.” We wanted to have a ceremony and reception in places where this had never been done. No one had ever been married in the Big Dome at Yerkes Observatory underneath the telescope. No one had ever had a reception at Mars Resort, a classic Wisconsin supper club, and tavern on Lake Como. 

We had a traditional Friday night fish fry, not so traditional for wedding receptions. We wanted to remove as many antiquated notions of gender roles as we could, thus we planned meticulously so each morsel of the ceremony equally uplifted the couple and men and women. 

The music highlighted the actual music we listen to instead of what people think of as wedding music. We had our friends and family sing and perform songs during the ceremony. We had them read poems we have loved for years, not simply “love” poems. In addition to English, we had them read in French and Spanish. These poems were “Compassion” by Miller Williams, “Happiness” by Carl Sandburg, and “With Our Eyes Shut” by Octavio Paz. The Kishwaukee Ramblers, a folksy mountain string band with a repertoire of the Americana songbook, played on the floor of the Observatory. 

Our inspiration for the day, back to the original question, was to have everybody leave the day thinking, “We’ve never seen anything like that and we will never see anything like that again. And wow, they’re in love.” We wanted them to notice that we cared about them as not only friends and family, but as audience members. 

Our performance inspirations were poetry readings at North Beach bookstores and bars in San Francisco in the late 1950s, folk music shows in Greenwich Village coffee shops in the early 1960s, Carl Sagan’s Cosmos television show, Jason Isbell concerts when his wife Amanda Shires plays fiddle, Tom Waits on Austin City Limits in 1978, wedding and funeral processions through the streets of the French Quarter and the Marigny in New Orleans, backyard jams in the Arkansas Ozarks, blues jams at juke joints in the Arkansas Delta, college radio stations, readings at Gertrude Stein’s home and Silvia Beach’s Shakespeare & Co. bookshop in 1920s Paris, punk rock shows at small clubs of the early to mid-1980s, country churches in the Arkansas Delta, Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, and Miller Williams reading his poem “Of History and Hope” at the 1996 Presidential Inauguration.”

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Bridal Advice + Budget Breakdown
It's your wedding, do what you want and make it represent you and your partner. Don't feel obligated to follow traditions. If you design your ceremony, still make sure you have a day-of wedding coordinator who's not a friend or family member to run the day. Embrace imperfection.

There was one thing that didn’t go quite as planned. Music was playing on the sound system as guests arrived at the ceremony. Then as the wedding procession started we had a band take over and play folk music. The person controlling the music forgot to turn the playlist off and the band played over the other music. Someone finally realized two sets of music were playing as I was about to walk down the aisle and turned the playlist off. Guests didn’t seem to notice and, if they did, we never heard about it!

Planned Budget: $25,000
Actual Budget: $25,000
Number of Guests: 100

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