Feb 08

October 2nd 2016

Mokena, Illinois 

Jessica and Sara met in their college sorority, but also played softball together and volunteered with Healthcare Without Borders. They were best friends and decided to move in together. Say the brides, “It wasn’t until we lived together that we decided to start dating. Talk about a risk!” Lucky for Jessica and Sara, the relationship was the real thing. They moved to Chicago after college and after six years of dating Sara proposed to Jessica behind a waterfall in Starved Rock State Park. “It was magical,” says Jessica.

Jessica and Sara planned an outdoor, DIY wedding at Hickory Creek Preserve. Both brides walked down the aisle accompanied by their dads. A huge, formal wedding didn’t quite appeal to the brides, so they chose something more personal and casual. “We had our ceremony in the late morning in a nearby forest preserve, which was such a beautiful setting. We then went back to our house for a buffet lunch outside, catered by one of our favorite restaurants.” Instead of a DJ and dancing—which neither bride enjoys—they put out yard games and board games.

The tables were set with old, mismatched china and silverware that Jessica and Sara gathered from thrift shops. They ordered flowers in bulk and did their own arrangements in thrift shop vases and made all of the signs for the ceremony and the party, with a lot of help from sisters and friends. Jess’s parents own a bakery, so there was not only cake, but mini pastries and cookies too.

Jessica’s Favorite Moment: “My favorite moment was our ceremony. We had a friend officiate and we wrote the ceremony with her, so it had a lot of personal touches. It felt truly special, to share such a wonderful moment with my wife while surrounded by our closest family and friends.”

Sara’s Favorite Moment: “My favorite moment was finally getting to sit down with my new wife and enjoy the awesome food, which was from one of our favorite restaurants. It was really special to be able to share that first meal with her and to be surrounded by our favorite people.”

Among the DIY touches were coloring books for the kids that were made by Jess’ sister. Say the brides, “One of the other details we really loved was using rocks as our guest book. Now we’re able to display them in different ways in our home.”

Asked if they would change anything the brides say that their day was so special that they wouldn’t change anything. Their advice for other brides? “It wasn’t until we stopped trying to replicate all the beautiful weddings we found online and we started planning a wedding true to ourselves that all the pieces started falling into place.”

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