Classic APW: Drea & Josh

When I think of weddings that get posted on this site, Drea’s wedding is the first one I think of, always. Maybe it’s because this picture pretty much sums up what I think a wedding should be (and what ours ended up being):Or maybe it’s because we took the Beatles quote Drea used in their wedding and put it on the first page of our program: “And with a love like that, you know you should be glad.” Because that sums it up, right? So, here for their encore performance, Drea and Josh:

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.What 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.We 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.
We 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.We 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”
We 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.What 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 or
ganic 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.
I 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.In 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.

More wedding pictures can be found on my blog The Maiden Metallurgist.

Pictures by the lovely Michele Wayman Photography

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  • love and fun.

  • Jacquei

    This is my favorite wedding because this is how I found APW: by googling Chicago Practical Weddings- I found this post.. and fell in love. :)

  • i remember this wedding, and i'm envisioning something similar for me in boston. can i ask how many people came?

  • Allison

    I love, love, love her blog and I'm so glad that you brought her wedding out of the archives!

    The photo of her dress hiked up to reveal her undergarments is so "I don't give a sh*t, I'm having fun"!!

  • Meg

    47 people.

    I know. That's my second favorite picture. Or maybe my first.

  • That gives me hope as a resident of Chicago. You can have an awesome practical wedding here. Thank you for reviving this post Meg.

  • 1st of all, hair envy. girlfriend has some majorly flowing locks, doesn't she.

    2nd lingerie pic kills. Sexy bride

    3rd i love the weddings where I look at it and think 'i wish i was at that PARTY'. That's my major wedding goal, besides getting married….par-tay

  • Elissa

    Thankyou, Meg. I don't know how you knew, but I needed this one today.

  • i love everything about this post, and her wedding. she's gorgeous!

  • lyn

    OH YES. That's the spirit I want to embody! Limit it to what's important, and nothing else matters.

    **filing away in memory**

  • Thanks so much, everyone. It's so funny to see all this through other people's eyes!

  • i love, love, love everything about this wedding. can drea talk to my crazy italian family and get them to chillax before i f–ing kill myself? :) this looks sooo fun. thanks for posting.

  • Those pies! I love the idea of pies at a wedding.

  • i heart her sassy dress. and you can never go wrong with pies. never.

  • fun!!

  • So in love with that dress!

  • May

    Great dress, great photos, and it looks like a great party!

    But "under $10K"?

    I am probably nuts, but that still sounds crazy-expensive to me.

  • Meg

    IN CHICAGO? For a big group of people? With dinner? And drinks? And music? And flower? Um. No. That's amazing.

    But the point: I don't want people to bash budgets around here. It's not helpful or constructive. The bottom line is you can get married for the cost of a marriage license and be wonderfully happy, and money should never ever stop you. But at the same time, throwing a big party in a big city sucks when it comes to money, and people don't discuss that honestly on the web. In San Francisco most venues go for $5K for an empty room for the night (hides). So, what I'm saying is, I work hard to make this a community of women constructively supporting other women. If you want to throw yourself a married-getting party for $2K or $5K or $500? You'll find resources here and respect. And people spending $10K responsibly in a big expensive city? They deserve the same resources and respect.

    That's my newby intro ;) Welcome to APW.