A Glittery, Boozy Illinois State Park Wedding

Set to the sound of Queen

Jessica, Laboratory Technologist & Austin, Network Engineer

One sentence sum-up of the Wedding Vibe: A sequin and floral extravaganza put together by our closest friends and family.

Soundtrack for reading: “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen

Other Cool Stuff We Should Know About

Our wedding was the culmination of sixteen months of hard work and planning. Jessica did a majority of the planning while going to nursing school full-time and working part-time as a laboratory technologist. It was a huge undertaking, but looking at sequin table runners and taste-testing wedding cakes was a bright spot in the midst of her chaotic life. Austin worked hard and we both saved enough money to pay for the wedding ourselves, with help from our friends and family with the food and catering.

There were a lot of sentimental touches in our wedding that made it feel like ours. First, my grandmother had the most beautiful engagement ring. When I knew Austin and I were nearing engagement, he asked me about my taste in rings. Everything he showed me I compared to that ring. I didn’t completely realize I was doing it. Austin asked my mother if he could give the ring to me as my engagement ring, and with the blessing of my aunt and the family it was mine to treasure. From there we chose our date, the day before my parents’ wedding anniversary and my grandmother’s birthday. It was a perfect way to honor them both.

We made several crafts and did a lot of DIY and DIT. Austin and I constructed the ceremony backdrop out of paper fans and gold bird confetti from BHLDN. That is my favorite craft from the whole wedding. It looked so spectacular. Jessica’s father made all of the meat for the wedding (we only needed meat for one hundred, but in his typical fashion he made enough for three hundred). Our friends and relatives made the sides and did all of the catering. That was an enormous undertaking, but it was so well executed and we appreciated it tremendously. We provided an open bar stocked with Absolut cocktails, since we are big fans of the recipes and RuPaul’s Drag Race.

We developed an amazing relationship with our florist, Corry, and she saw the exact vision we had for flowers. She also told us we could supplement her flowers with any we had growing at the time. We put the message out to all of our friends and family that we were looking for peonies. They happened to be in full bloom the week of our wedding. Two days before our wedding, we drove all over the Quad Cities tracking down peony leads. We ended up with six buckets of them; doubling the amount we had available for our reception. It was a wonderful way to spend that day together. It was nice distraction that had a huge payoff in the end. Corry was ecstatic and went crazy with all the extra flowers. She sent me pictures of the bouquets the night before the wedding and I cried because they were so beautiful.

Once the day was here, it was literally out of a dream. The reception venue was more beautiful in real life than I ever could have imagined it would be. I had made extensive lists for setup, but it was left to Austin, the groomsmen, and some family members to execute it. Wow, did they do an amazing job. More happy tears. My cousin, Will, officiated the ceremony Austin and I had written together. The ceremony was beautiful and easily my favorite part of the day. There were about twenty guests in attendance. It was so personal and intimate. After the ceremony, we had a larger reception with all our friends and family. The food was spectacular. The drinks were pretty and delicious. The dance party was a blast. I remember every little bit of that day so fondly. Oh, and at the end of it all Austin took my last name and we are married. How cool is that?

Favorite Thing About the Wedding

Austin isn’t terribly sentimental, but we both wanted to write our own vows. I was astounded when I heard his. They were poetry he had written. The most lovely words any man has ever said to me. I loved reading him mine as well because they were the most earnest heartfelt promises I could make to him, and that’s really what this day was all about.


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