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Tara & Mark

A downtown duo escapes to the Northwoods of Wisconsin for a waterfront wedding.

Tara said yes to the dress at the Vera Wang boutique in the Gold Coast.

Tara celebrated with her 10 bridesmaids.

Paper goods and tablescapes were in keeping with the Northwoods theme.

The blushing bride carried florals in colors reminiscent of the natural landscape.

A burlap “Just Married” sack trailed behind one of the bridal party’s pontoon boats.

Dinner was a tented, elegant affair.

The bride and groom felt right at home celebrating up north.

When Tara Clack attended the Kandy Kane Ball in December 2011, she wasn’t expecting to run into an old college acquaintance, let alone fall in love. “I said to my girlfriend, ‘I forgot how cute Mark Bell is,’” she recalls of seeing the fellow University of Wisconsin graduate. Less than two years later, they were engaged, and Tara, a veterinarian and star of Bravo’s 100 Days of Summer, planned her nuptials to the commercial real estate developer in five months. “He asked my best friend how long I’d need, and she said six months,” she says, laughing.

Luckily, the location had long been selected: the Northwoods of Wisconsin, where her extended family has always gathered at their houses along the chain of lakes. To mimic that atmosphere, the couple rented out the Chippewa Retreat Resort in Manitowish Waters.

Father Jeremiah Boland from Holy Family Parish in Chicago, who oversaw the holiday toy drive and fundraiser where the couple exchanged phone numbers, led the ceremony at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church. Afterward, the bridal party took pontoon boats sporting burlap “Just Married” signs to join the nearly 250 guests at an outdoor tented reception. “When we pulled up and people were already at the cocktail hour, we were seeing everything for the first time and it was surreal,” she says. “To have all your best friends and family in one location was a moment of awe.”

They wanted an up-north vibe for the affair: Tasting stations served pan-fried walleye and wild rice with cranberries; a birch canoe was filled with fresh crab, shrimp and lobster salad; fall floral centerpieces were accented with antlers; several fur hides lined the dessert bar; and the bridesmaids hit the dance floor in Minnetonka moccasins.

Tara wore Vera Wang, followed by Monique Lhuillier, though most of the guests would remember her in a Wisconsin jersey. “There’s a Badgers song called ‘Teach Me How to Bucky.’ One of my bridesmaids was captain and then coach of the dance team, so she taught us girls the dance; we threw on jerseys and did it between the band and DJ,” she says. “At that point, it was almost midnight, but here’s this gorgeous dress I covered up!”

Despite the short planning time, they pulled off a fabulous fete without a hitch—but Tara admits she did have a secret head start. “You do have your wedding kind of planned out [in your mind],” she says. “I was 33 when I got married, so I had time to think about what I wanted, and it couldn’t have been more perfect.”

THE LIST

Ceremony Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Manitowish Waters, Wis.
Reception Chippewa Retreat Resort
Florals Three Branches Floral Design
Planner D’Arcy Theiler
Videographer One Fine Day Productions
Catering Dawn Psenicka
Desserts Bee Delish Custom Cakes
Invitations Pulp & Ink
Programs The Green Kangaroo
Music Sorry For Partying and DJ Manny Waters
Wedding Gowns Vera Wang from Vera Wang Chicago and Monique Lhuillier from Ultimate Bride
Tuxes Black Tie Formalwear and The Tie Bar
Bridesmaids’ Dresses Monique Lhuillier from Bella Bridesmaid
Hair B. Suite
Rentals A La Crate Vintage Rentals and Sperry Tents
Tables and Chairs Elegant Presentations