Chicago Suburbs Wedding on a Budget
August 29, 2011

It is always a pleasure to come across a wedding that is not only incredibly beautiful but also put together on a limited budget. And this backyard affair proves that sacrificing style isn't necessary in the least. In fact, stylish details are positively bursting from each and every image captured by Erica Barraca. The Bride rolled up her sleeves, delved into a little DIY and managed to put together one heck of a wedding and she's letting you in on some of her secrets behind this soirée below. See the full wedding here!

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Click here to see the entire gallery of images!

From the Bride...My husband and I met at the University of Illinois in Champaign - he a law student and I a fifth year senior.  We ended up settling in Springfield, Illinois where my husband would practice law with his father.  On Christmas Day 2009, and after 4 years of dating, he proposed in Lake Forest in front of my entire family.  We decided to get married up in those suburbs of Chicago where I had grown up.  We were on a budget and on a mission.  For months on end, I scoured the internet (and Style Me Pretty in particular!) for inspiration.  We refused to sacrifice quality and break the bank.  Growing up, I had always dreamed of getting married at our family friend's home.  They were beyond gracious in opening up their home to fulfill my dream over Memorial Day weekend 2011.  Aside from saying "I Do", all Jonathan and I cared about was having a great party with delicious food.  We had been to so many weddings that followed a stuffy order.  Instead, we opted for a cocktail hour and stations so our guests could mingle and we could enjoy ourselves equally.  My mother took it upon herself to be the event planner extraordinaire and oversaw everything during the ceremony and reception.

One of the DIY projects I was most pleased with was the centerpieces.  The florist who designed the bouquets and boutonnieres sold us hydrangeas at wholesale that we put in large glass vases with river rocks and twigs.  My aunts (who assembled these beauties) took the leftover leaves from the hydrangeas and put them inside the vases that the bridesmaids bouquets went in to that adorned some of the cocktail tables.  I also recycled the bouquets of peonies that were used the evening before at the rehearsal dinner.  I turned to A Printable Press for the invitation designs and assembled them myself at home.  My husband put his graphic design skills to work and designed our programs.  Another little known secret is that my veil was picked up at JoAnn Fabric a couple of days before the big day when my original veil arrived from etsy as far smaller than the picture had lead me to believe.  Aside from that one snafu, etsy proved to be an extremely valuable resource as I ordered my bridesmaid's gifts (ornate pashminas), a watercolor map enclosed with the invitations, bridal headband, and moss letters from vendors on the website...all of which I was extremely pleased with.  My sister popped in to a toy store the week of the wedding and surprised me with a Playmobil cake topper...we had played with these toys growing up and I was distraught that I had yet to find something to go on top of our cake.  All of our vendors were absolutely fabulous as our DJ, David Olivares, kept everyone on the dance floor the entire evening and the photographer, Erica Barraca, captured our day in a way that was truly special.  Our caterer, Maria with FoodLove, prepared the delicious spread of food and our wedding cake.  Knowing we could trust all of these vendors, our friends, and family allowed Jonathan and I to truly enjoy ourselves and celebrate the beginning of our journey.

Photography: Erica Barraca / Flowers: Lake Forest Flowers / Invitations: A Printable Press / Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Dress: J.Crew / Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew / Jeweler: A.B. Lauer (Springfield, IL) / Music: David Olivares, / Caterer: FoodLove