Sometimes it takes time apart for people to realize just how much they mean to each other. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, and when Ryan Reidelbaugh left his high school friend KaLeigh for the Marine Corps, he realized there was something special between them. This spark was lit after he returned home from his first deployment. Their friendship soon ignited into a love that kept them together throughout the rest of his time in the Marine Corps and seeing their return back to the state of Illinois.

Once the two moved back to the Land of Lincoln, Ryan proposed. “I couldn’t have been more excited to marry my best friend and one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met”, said KaLeigh.

Following on the heels of saying ‘yes’, the wedding planning soon ensued.

KaLeigh had daydreamed of her wedding throughout her teenage years, but with the reality of it settling in, she knew she had to make it one of a kind. Especially since her small town didn’t see much difference from wedding to wedding.

Once the date and location was settled upon, she began to plan the smaller details. However small the details, she knew that they all pulled together to create the look for the big day. “… I began brainstorming colors, décor, dresses, etc.  With my fiancé being in the Marine Corps, I wanted  the décor to coincide with his dress blues, but not be a ‘red, white and blue’ wedding”, she said.

There was fine line to walk between paying homage something that played a big part in their relationship and an all-out military ball, but she managed to strut on without tripping over the color scheme.

After deciding on navy blue for the bridesmaid dresses and décor, she decided to employ a charcoal grey for a secondary color, working it in with the groomsmen’s tuxedos.  Working in the theme color to her own ensemble, her navy blue pumps peeked out from her dream dress.

“I found the most beautiful dress, exactly what I’d envisioned.  Mermaid style covered in beading with a corset back,” she stated. Large tear drop earrings, crystal bangles, her grandmother’s wedding ring and a stunning Bella Bleu Wendy veil completed the look.

After securing the fashions, it was time for KaLeigh to start to put details into the décor. Gray satin overlays were used for the tables, and navy and grey damask table runners were made as covers for the walls. The wall covers were crafted from table cloths in order to hide the bird wallpaper that made the room look more like an aviary than a reception hall.
Countless mirrored Christmas ornaments were purchased, matched with paper balls and hanged from fishing line over the dance floor. KaLeigh got creative with her décor details and created custom cones for flower petals to be thrown as the newlyweds left the ceremony.

Votives and a center vase with alternating tables of white hydrangeas and white calla lilies welcomed guests to the reception hall while navy napkins and a favor card that she designed welcomed them to their seats.

Charity took front line, in lieu of favors as they donated funds to the Semper Fi Fund, an organization that helps wounded Marines and families of deceased Marines to recover from tragedy.

“This fund is dear to our hearts and we made the donation in honor of three friends of Ryan’s who lost their lives in Iraq during his first deployment”, said KaLeigh.

Different than the wedding she had planned in her teens, this was even better as she called it the wedding of her dreams.  “All of my friends, family, and Ryan’s fellow Marines were there and neither of us could have asked for more”.

The couple is currently planning their honeymoon back to San Diego where Ryan was stationed to see old friends and enjoy the beach. A dream wedding sure turned into the reality of a beautiful life together.  Congratulations to Ryan and Kaleigh from Bella Bleu Bridal.



Photography- Hillside Studio in Freeport IL

Gown- Celebration Bridal in Davenport IA

Alterations-Lisa Jules in Clinton IA

Tuxedos- Once Upon a Dress in Freeport IL

Flowers- Brush Creek Floral in German Valley IL

Reception Venue- Freeport Country Club in Freeport IL

Rings- Frank Jewelers in Freeport IL

  Hair and Makeup- Elite Design Team in Freeport IL

      Cake- Margaret Kempel in Lena IL