The gorgeous, grand staircase in Maggie and Dan’s venue, Armour House, was built by Jonathan Ogden Armour with the intention of walking his daughter, Lolita, down it on her wedding day. And he did just that!
So many things about this venue made it a perfect—even fated—choice for our sweet bride and her charming groom, but they never would have found it if they hadn’t been determined to wed in Chicago. Maggie and Dan have lived in California for the past seven years, but they wanted Dan’s 96-year-old grandma, who lives in the Windy City, to attend. They fell in love with the Armour House, which is five minutes from her house!
As special as their venue is, that warm, enchanted glow emanating from every single picture? That’s allll Maggie and Dan. Inspired by the Victorian meaning of flowers and fairy tales, they filled the day with love and thoughtful, creative touches that reflected their story.
Maggie’s wedding dress journey is super relatable…and was touched with a bit of the magic that threaded through her wedding day:
“I knew I wanted to go with Dan. I have struggled with body image issues and he is the one person who makes me feel more beautiful than anyone else. I actually looked online for dresses that made their dresses in plus size because though I am a regular size on top, I am bigger on bottom. I also wanted to support a company that makes sizes for all women. I am therapist who specializes in eating disorders and body image issues so this was important to me!
I discovered Lea-Ann Belter and found that they sold at a boutique in the Bay Area—Lace and Bustle in Lafayette, CA. Dan and I drove up there for my appointment. I tried on several dresses. Then the owner of the shop said, we just had a Lea-Ann Belter trunk show last weekend, this dress is here. I saw it and was like o-m-g that is gorgeous! Right when I put it on I knew. I smiled and felt so happy. I wanted to twirl! It even had butterflies on the lace and butterflies always remind me of my Grandma in Heaven. It was so comfortable, flattering, soft, breathable. It didn’t feel like I was wearing a costume like I felt in so many others. It was so me! It truly felt like a Cinderella moment where the Fairy Godmother came and dressed you up, which is funny because Leaann is the name of my Godmother who I always called my Fairy Godmother!”
More from Maggie:
How did your sweetie propose?
“One day Dan said “Babe, I’m taking you to San Francisco and we’re going to pick you out a ring!” I was in shock! We drove up the city and had a few different estate jewelry stores we wanted to check out. It was 106 degrees in the city a record high! It hadn’t been that hot in the city for like 100 years. We went up to the 3rd floor where there was no AC to Jahan Diamond Imports. I found the most beautiful 1930s ring. But it was our first stop! After three more jewelry stores I kept thinking about it. Dan said he’d surprise me with which ring it would be. A few weeks later (we had to wait for them to re-size it), Dan pulled me out to the balcony of our house where he had lit a bunch of candles and had made us pasta. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes!”
Tell us about your day! Did you have a theme or style in mind?
“So, I based the whole theme of my wedding off the book “A Victorian Flower Dictionary”. Did you know all flowers have a meaning? So, in our ceremony programs I had listed the flowers we had selected and their meanings. For example zinnias mean “familial ties” and my dad made all the little zinnia flower arrangements that we had on the high boys and at our escort card table! The flowers came from his garden! All other florals were done by Twigs and Blooms (3 women who I now refer to as the 3 fairies from Sleeping Beauty!). I also wanted the dining hall to look fresh and crisp like Harry Potter at Christmastime in Scotland. I wanted the dance floor to feel like the Ballet. And I wanted the whole evening to be whimsical and fairy-tale-ish! Turns out that Armour House, where we got married there is a sign that says “Ferry Hall” fairy – ferry! The mansion of the venue is at an academy so there’s different “Halls”. It was built in 1904-08. One cool thing is that the grand staircase was built with the intentions of walking his daughter down it on her wedding day, and she did end up getting married there during the roaring 20s. The gardens are unbelievably gorgeous and its due to it being a Jens Jensen and Ossian Simonds project- 2 famous landscape architects. My mom is an interior designer so she helped me a lot with the planning!
Also when I was a little girl I DREAMED of being a flower girl. My mom would even make me these little flower tiaras that I would wear to family reunions and prance around the newly engaged relatives! Haha! My dream finally came true at my uncles wedding when I was 10 and it was so memorable. So I made my wedding extra special for my 2 cousin’s daughters who were our flower girls.”
What’s your favorite wedding day moment?
“When Dan took me for a spin in the golf cart after we said I do! I just remember looking up at these tall trees and zipping around! So fun! And we could hear the beer bottles that were attached clanging and everyone cheering us on!”
What was your first dance song?
“It Must Have Been the Roses” by the Grateful Dead. The song talks about a woman with ribbons in her long brown hair, which is why I decided to wear a ribbon in my hair!”
Describe your wedding day in 5 words or less:
“Fairies, magic, whimsy, love, celebration.”
What was your something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue?
“Old- my engagement ring from the 1930s, new my wedding band, borrowed a diamond tennis bracelet from my new mother and law, blue- a blue amazonite bracelet with a love charm on it- they were the bridesmaids gifts- each girl got a bracelet with moonstone, rose quartz or labradorite with a love charm! They were made by my friend Natalie Skyy at LaBellaVitaStyle. I also had by blue rosary that my mom gave me that she had blessed at the Vatican.”
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
“We are going on a cruise in December to Puerto Rico, St. Barths, Anguilla, Virgin Gorda, BVIS, and Miami! Can’t wait!”
Any advice for future brides/grooms?
“Embrace any and all “wabi-sabi’s”- the Japanese term for the beauty in the imperfection. Whenever something would go wrong I’d say let’s roll with the punches, let’s move forward! And it all worked out so well in the end. Strangely enough, people said that the night flew by, but I remember at dinner turning to my friend who had gotten married 2 months before me and saying. Is it just me or does it feel like the cocktail hour and the dinner have been like 5 hours long? And she said, “Oh my gosh I know! My whole night everything felt like slow motion!” And I was like “Yes!” I hope you have that experience too.”
Maggie & Dan’s Armour House Wedding Vendors
bride’s finery: Lea-Ann Belter Maxine and hand-painted veil by Debra Moreland via Lace & Bustle Bridal boutique | photographer: Wonder & Awe Photography & Courtney Cimo Photography | venue: Armour House | hair: by bride’s cousin James Rosko of Neon Avenue Salon | florals: Zinnia flower arrangements by the bride’s father Ken Kohout from his garden, all other florals by Twigs & Blooms | vegan desserts: Swirlz Cupcakes