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Drea and Josh’s Exuberant Chicago Wedding


Drea and Joshs Exuberant Chicago Wedding | A Practical WeddingToday’s wedding is one of those weddings that when I find it in my inbox I gasp with wonder. Team Practical is just the smartest, coolest, most stylish and savvy group of readers on the planet (if I do say so myself). So, without further ado, I bring you Drea and Josh Eisenberg’s joyful, honest, and stylish wedding. Take it away, Drea:

It was easy for us to be creative, thrifty and sane in the planning of our wedding because very little traditional wedding stuff was actually important to us. We were married on January 24, 2009 at Lovely: A Bake Shop in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago.Drea and Joshs Exuberant Chicago Wedding | A Practical WeddingWhat made our wedding creative: I am a metallurgist for a large, multinational steel company, and Josh owns his own business; the web and print design firm Boys From Jupiter. It was important to us to support small local businesses, and almost every part of our wedding was local and independently owned, in most cases by friends of ours.Drea and Joshs Exuberant Chicago Wedding | A Practical WeddingWe bought our rings (stainless steel, a nod to my profession) from a funky, local jewelry store, The Silver Room, one of Josh’s clients. Josh designed our invitations and website where our friends and family could find details about the wedding and pictures of us as well as rsvp online.
Drea and Joshs Exuberant Chicago Wedding | A Practical WeddingWe had both our ceremony and reception at Lovely. The bakery’s owners, our friends Brooke and Gina transformed their cute bakery space to a glittering, elegant reception area and dance hall. We put up a tent in the courtyard (with heaters, this is winter in Chicago after all) for the ceremony and after dinner dancing.Drea and Joshs Exuberant Chicago Wedding | A Practical WeddingWe were married by a good friend of ours who wore a James Bond-esque tux he bought that morning (he’d left his suit in Colorado), Josh wore his only suit (it looks good on him), and I wore a dress I bought the week before. We had no bridesmaids or groomsmen, but everyone we love stood around us as we exchanged vows we wrote ourselves.

The catering was done by an amazing neighborhood restaurant, Bonsoiree, and our gorgeous photos were taken by another friend, photographer Michele Wayman. The food was so good that people are still talking about it and I still cannot believe how beautiful the pictures are. “Blackbird,” by the Beatles played as I walked in to the ceremony and our first dance was to “Blame it on the Boogie” by the Jackson Five- it caught everyone a little off guard, but we loved it.

What made our wedding thrifty: We had no colors or centerpieces or themes or favors. My mother, my MIL and I spent the morning arranging the flowers we bought wholesale and I handmade booklets to serve as place cards for each of our guests. At each of their seats instead of a card with their name on it they found a booklet with their picture on the cover and inside was a personal note from me and a favorite Beatles lyric. “And with a love like that, you know you should be glad”
Drea and Joshs Exuberant Chicago Wedding | A Practical WeddingWe bought all the wine and beer wholesale- and now we have wine for months; we over estimated what lushes our friends might be. The day after the wedding we invited all of our friends and family over to our house for brunch. I served quiche, deviled eggs and baked French toast, as well as leftover champagne and wedding pies.

I did my own hair (though I did have it blown out in the morning) and one of my girlfriends, a make-up artist donated her services. Josh made rocking mixes on his ipod for before the ceremony, during dinner and dancing.

We took taxis to and from the wedding, because that’s how we normally get around town, and figured why fix it if it isn’t broken.

All in all our wedding came in at less than $10,000, but it felt like a million bucks.Drea and Joshs Exuberant Chicago Wedding | A Practical WeddingWhat made our wedding sane: The two things that did the most to keep our budget low also kept us sane, and they were actually the most organic things about the wedding. We had a small wedding, 47 guests, but that was born less from a desire to be thrifty than from a desire to only be surrounded by people we know and love on our wedding day. We didn’t want to spend the whole night making polite small talk when we could be dancing.
Drea and Joshs Exuberant Chicago Wedding | A Practical WeddingI think the number one best thing we did was plan the wedding in three months. When we got engaged our first instinct was to go down to city hall and elope that weekend, but we didn’t want to miss out on this one chance to get all of our friends together this one time; I am from Denver, Josh is from Chicago, and we knew we’d never have the chance again. Neither of us wanted anything fancy so we didn’t need the extra time to plan. It kept the wedding from getting bigger than us, and it kept what was important in the forefront of our minds.

I can honestly say that planning our wedding was a stress free experience for me. The reason is simple. We picked two things we cared about, and decided, actively sometimes, not to worry about anything else. We wanted good food and lots of booze. Done and done. So when the caterer said, “what color linens do you want?” I’d say “I don’t care” and I meant it. And when the bakery girls said “What kind of pies do you want?” I’d say, “whatever you feel like making is fine” and you know what? It was. They were delicious. I know that kind of wedding planning isn’t for everyone, but it certainly was for me.Drea and Joshs Exuberant Chicago Wedding | A Practical WeddingIn the end it turned out to be more amazing than anything I could have dreamt up if I’d tried. Plus absolutely nothing went wrong, because I had no expectations. I owe much of the magic of our wedding to the bakery owners Brooke and Gina as well as the catering coordinator Anthony Navarro, who has his own event planning business, Liven It Up. They all knew I didn’t care about the details and gave us the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever seen- though, admittedly I may be a little biased.
Drea and Joshs Exuberant Chicago Wedding | A Practical WeddingMore wedding pictures can be found on my blog The Maiden Metallurgist.

Thanks Drea! I’m a bit overwhelmed by the effing coolness of your wedding. Letting go of preconceptions and expectations clearly made your day full of who you are as people, a joy to the rafters. May your years together be filled with as much joy and honesty as this day where you celebrated something new and wonderful!

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10441798371617926431 kaitlin

    And just as you love opening your inbox to find these weddings Meg, I love the surprise of finding such awesome weddings here! Truly wicked stuff, Drea + Josh!

  • http://nicoleandjesse.blogspot.com Nicole

    So hip it hurts. Love it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00174894872050076618 Marie-Ève

    So, so, so , so fabulous. Exactly to my liking. Hope we can pull off something half that great, and it would still be friggin’ wicked.
    And oh, that dress…!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15103047512463828864 jamie

    yay yay yay!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13484691703233805436 Sara E. Cotner

    Hooray! So inspiring. Thank you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06421997839879080174 Accidental Housewife

    My dream wedding, hands down. Mind if I link to this through you???

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08511117741320344532 Julia

    What a wicked wedding! I wish I had been there, it looked like a lot of fun! best wishes to Drea and Josh.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17468276901563947172 Kristy

    Drea and Josh are awesome.

    *sigh* That’s pretty much exactly what I want for my wedding.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12997875522614810785 Mouse

    So great! I love how personal the weddings you post always are.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06206689296805893265 east side bride

    awesome. of course.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16304480484080457167 Leighton and Lisa

    The wedding pictures are amazing. Drea in real life is just as cool as she is as a wedding planner. Good times always happen! Wishing you two a lifetime of happiness!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15080583721005285729 the un-bride

    I love Drea’s attitude about … everything! Sounds like an amazing, fun, truly special celebration.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05750659066802561501 Erika

    Simply adore that dress.

  • http://www.bubblybride.com/blog Caroline @ Bubbly Bride

    I love the couples attitudes!! Most brides expectations are so high on their wedding day they are stressed..having the “what will be.. will be” attitude makes the day stress free! Im so glad you featured this wedding!

  • http://www.themaidenmetallurgist.com The Maiden Metallurgist

    Thanks everyone! It was really great to read all these nice things about our wedding. Josh and I couldn’t agree more!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11371172824707301749 Cate Subrosa

    *sigh*

    So freakin’ cool. Makes me want to plan a party… hmmm, maybe we could hold Nate’s 30th in a bakery?!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01579220597950819378 Danielle

    Fantastic! I also planned my wedding in three months and most people look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that. It really isn’t that hard as long as you don’t stress the little details. Some people say the little details are what people notice, but I think the little details are the things people forget first. People (and more importantly, the bride and groom) will remember the love, and the fun that was had. And maybe the booze. :)

    I love your pictures Drea and Josh! Your wedding looked amazingly fun, and you both looked great!! I wish you a lifetime of happiness!

  • http://made-of-sun.tumblr.com/ Trisha

    Love your wedding! I also planned mine in three months, and think that it was way better for it.

  • Alexandra

    Awesome! Love it…I think the pies are gonna be the inspiration I take away, most. I’m already pretty low-key. ;D

  • Tonia

    Rock it out, girlfriend!!! And can I just say, MY GAWD that dress is killer! Your wedding reminds me a bit of my wedding and that makes me pretty proud. Just like you didnt have expectations, I learned to let go of a lot of mine.