Drea and Josh’s Exuberant Chicago Wedding

Today’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.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 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.
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.

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!

Featured Sponsored Content

Please read our comment policy before you comment.

The APW Store is Here

APW Wedding e-shop

go find all our favorites from around the internet, and our free planning tools

Shop Now
APW Wedding e-shop

Planning a wedding?

We have all the planning tools you need right now.

Budget spreadsheets, checklists, and more...

Get Your Free Planning Tools