Liz and Alex’s CSA Barn-Dance Board-Game Wedding

It’s funny we all (myself totally included) have become a teensy bit obsessed with barn weddings, because barns are pretty and rustic, not because we have any real attachments to barns. Well, not Liz and Alex. Liz and Alex got married in a barn on the farmland of the CSA that they belong to (I knnnnooooowwwww), so to say that their wedding was grounded, was rooted in their values, well, it would be a little bit punny and a whole lot true. With that, I’ll let Liz take it away:
Where your wedding was held: Our wedding and reception was held at the Byron Colby Barn in Grayslake, Illinois. Grayslake is a far north suburb of Chicago. The Byron Colby Barn was built in the late 1800s as a dairy barn. In the mid 1990s the Barn was taken down beam by beam and was rebuilt in a conservation community known as Prairie Crossing in Grayslake, Illinois. Before we decided on the Barn we started a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and our CSA actually has farmland in Prairie Crossing. We fell in love with the Barn because it had character, it was indoors (crucial during the winter!) and we were able to hold the ceremony and the reception at the same place, which is surprisingly (for me) not common.What made your wedding creative? Alex and I did not want to break tradition too much in our wedding but we also knew that certain traditional aspects of weddings were just not us. We had a nonreligious ceremony that a friend of ours officiated. The ceremony was incredibly important to us, especially because we did not have guidelines that we had to follow. In the end our ceremony took on a traditional feel with processional in, two readings, exchanging of vows and rings and lighting of a unity candle – but we added personal touches throughout.Both of my parents escorted me in, one of our readings was “It’s You I Like” by Mr. Rogers, our vows were carefully selected, although not self-written and we extended our unity candle to our friends and family. We also kept the music in the ceremony upbeat because I did not want to sob, since I cry at everything, while walking down the aisle. Instead, I sobbed to “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles.We wanted our reception to be laid back and relaxing. We had a buffet line of awesome food from a great, local catering company. The cupcakes and cake were to die for; in fact people still talk about the food to this day! After dinner, we had the traditional first dance and parent dances but then we turned the iPod over to our friends. On the RSVP cards people suggested songs for the reception, which we guaranteed would make it onto the iPod and along with a lot of classics. We weren’t fussy about what songs got played when so everyone took a turn deejaying when songs they wanted to hear weren’t getting played. Alex and I also provided a handful of board games for people to play because sometimes when you’re at a wedding, you don’t want to dance but you don’t want to leave and you feel bad for just sitting around. We had games in the balcony of the barn and dancing on the main level.What made your wedding thrifty? Our wedding was thrifty because we weren’t unreasonable in our expectations and we knew what was important to us. Almost everything was DIYed and we had local wedding fairies that were not dependent on the wedding industry for their livelihood. Alex drew the robots (yes, robots) for our Save the Dates and designed our wedding invitations, the seating cards (also with robots), the programs, the tags for the root beer and the Thank Yous (again, robots here too!). We goccoed almost everything and what we didn’t gocco, we printed on our printer. We picked our own music, ate delicious food, selected our own beer and wine, drove to the wedding in my Dad’s truck and got a ride back in the hotel shuttle. We made use of our skills and resources and kept everything as sane and simple as possible.What made your wedding sane? My husband. We planned our wedding in 8 months and with less than 4 months to go I was working 50 to 60+ hours per week and I was “lucky” to be able to get the day before our wedding off. My husband made almost all of the vendor calls and we shared in the responsibility of DIYing items things. He also served as the voice of reason and helped keep our wedding practical. On the day of the wedding he was an awesome director, telling everyone what needed to happen and where things needed to go. Our wedding really felt like a team effort since it was our wedding and not my wedding. Congratulations to you both. May you remember the joy of spinning in each others arms on your wedding day for the rest of your long and happy lives together.

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  • LPC

    That wedding is so romantic. And Richelle's comment is pretty romantic too.

  • This seems like such a great wedding. I love that they had activities for people other than dancing. I think it would be so neat to go to an outdoor wedding and play laddergolf, cornhole, badminton, and lawn darts. Battleship is fun too, though. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Anonymous

    Before this gets bigger, I wanted to post a quick comment. I'm Liz, from the above wedding and a small bit of what I wrote got misinterpreted. Alex and I did not found a CSA, we just participate in one and the farmers who grow the veggies that Alex and I are awesome folks. When I typed up this little post I wasn't thinking about how the word "our" would be interpreted. I feel pretty silly and I'm hoping that our wedding is still practical, even if we aren't CSA famers…

    A huge apology to all the readers and especially to Meg.

  • love it. between the barn, the robots and the board games, this is a wedding after my own heart.

  • AWESOME. I'm totally bringing games to my wedding because it is quickly turning into a family reunion and that's just how we do. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Liz-

    What a lovely, thoughtful wedding! Congratulations!

    We're getting married at the Byron Colby Barn next August and starting to look casually at vendors. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!

  • Sunshine


    They had GAMES at their reception!

    I die. (in a good way)

  • I love the game idea. My friend was concerned about her reception because her friends are dancers, but her family isn't. Board games are a great way to entertain everyone!

  • cr

    "It's You I Like" by Mr. Rogers…I just love that

  • Cate Subrosa

    Oh, Richelle, have an amazing wedding. I love a little "brides say thanks to APW" :)

  • Finally, an example of a wedding that brought board games! I thought of doing this, but wasn't sure how I would pull it off and if it would go over well. Thank you!

  • Meet Me Here in One Year

    Wow! The pictures just radiate love.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you everyone for letting us share our wedding with you!

    Analiese & Andy – We didn't have a ton of vendors but those that we did have were great! Maravela's did the catering; Lovin' Oven took care of the cake and cupcakes (their cupcakes are filled!!); David with Crazy for You did the flowers/center pieces and Justin from Studio Verite did the photography. If you have any other questions, just let me know! :)


  • RLS

    I just loved reading about your wedding! I'm planning mine for next year, and have definately starting feeling the stress about things. I love how you brought board games, and I'm definately stealing your idea to have people suggest songs with their RSVP. Thank you so much for sharing your big day with this site!

  • I love the green shoes peeking out of her dress in the last picture!

  • This looks so fun. Does anyone have ideas for a cute game-table sign?

  • Amanda

    Hi there! I LOVE what you did with the Byron Colby Barn. Very classy! My question is, I noticed you said you got a ride back with the hotel’s shuttle. What hotel did you stay at that offered the shuttle from the Barn?

    • Liz

      I know this is probably too late (Sorry!), but we all stayed at the Crowne Plaza in Mundelein. About a year after the wedding it changed owners and is now a Double Tree…not sure if they still do a shuttle or not. There are a couple of hotels that opened since the wedding much closer, they may do shuttles as well! Hope this helps!

  • Devin

    I would really like to know about hotels with shuttles too!