How dreamy is this snowy Chicago wedding?! LOVE!
Shea Shoemaker
Shea Shoemaker November 08, 2017

DIY Wedding | David + Amy

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“Amy + David started their day getting ready at home with family and friends and taking some amazingly gorgeous first look shots on North Avenue Beach while they waited for the first snowflake to fall. After photos, Amy, David and their wedding party headed to Church of our Saviour for the most perfect winter wedding ceremony. We loved everything about their wedding, including the girls’ prayer circle before heading down the aisle. So sweet and sentimental! If you thought this wedding was impressive so far, just wait until you see what’s next. Holy wow. Amy + David {with a lot of help from David’s mom} put together some of the best DIY details we’ve seen in a long time. Hot chocolate bar? Complete with coffee cups collected by the couple for each guest to take home? Yaaaasss please! And of course, the evening ended with just the right dusting of snow before guests headed home in the dark and snowy winter night. Sigh. It almost makes you miss winter {almost}.” –Anticipation Events

What is your favorite wedding day memory?

It is so difficult to choose just one! We were blessed to have a wedding day that was filled with joyful and emotional moments from beginning to end. The day truly reflected who we were as a couple and it meant the world to see our dreams become a reality in the company of our closest family and friends. If I had to choose a favorite memory, I’d have to pick one that we actually didn’t have any control over: the weather! Our west coast families were skeptical when we insisted on a December wedding in Chicago {where we met and now live}, but we hoped and prayed all year for a fluffy snow-filled, not-too-cold, wedding day. On our wedding morning, skies were clear, which made for easy pictures with families and the bridal party overlooking a clear view of the Chicago skyline. Then, the moment that we ran out of the church into our getaway vehicle, the first snowflakes of the day began to fall. Our amazing photographers had convinced us to take additional photos between the ceremony and the reception, and when our car reached the location, beautiful, thick snow was heavily falling from the sky. My new husband and I danced around at dusk in a snowstorm, celebrating our marriage and our dream come true of a snow globe wedding day.

What did you DIY for your wedding?

We DIY’d and repurposed as much as we could! First, I need to give credit to the many family members, particularly David’s sister and mom, who donated much time, creativity, and resourcefulness to making our DIY wedding plan a reality.

Our table decorations reflected our love of Christmas and the west coast homes in which we were each raised. Garland ran down the tables, accompanied by votives with tea lights, silver Christmas ornaments, birch logs cut from the yard of David’s childhood home, and lilac branch rounds my dad cut and varnished off of the tree in my family’s backyard. We included these pieces of wood throughout the decorations, as well. Table numbers were hand-painted numbers on scraps of wood. It helped to have a father with carpentry training!

My wonderful sister-in-law painted our guestbook: a canvas image of three overlapping states to represent where we were raised {Washington + California} and our current home, Illinois. I loved the idea of a visual reminder of all of the friendly faces at our wedding.

To add to the cozy + wintery {but not overly Christmas-y} vibe, we included our portable mini-fireplace at the entrance, a mini Christmas tree made from wrapped branches, freshly picked evergreen sprigs from a local Christmas tree farm, simple and stylish hanging ornaments hung along the staircase, and hanging lights wherever we could place them.

Our adorable, 6-month-old nephew served as our ring bearer and we faced the challenge of getting him down the aisle when he couldn’t walk or crawl. To solve that problem, we decorated a children’s wagon with fluffy blankets and ribbon as his carriage, which our exceptional flower girl pulled down the aisle. No tears were shed!

To hang pictures, we used an old frame, strung chicken wire from end to end, and displayed pictures of David and I as we were growing up. This same piece was used at my sister-in-law’s wedding in 2013, which made it very special! We hung pictures along the sides, too, directly on the wall. Clear string was our best friend!

One of my favorite elements, which made the wedding day truly ours, was our hot chocolate bar. During our year of engagement, David and I frequented many a thrift shop to choose eclectic, clever, and absurd mugs to stock our hot chocolate bar. Guests chose a mug for their drink, but also the mug doubled as their favor for the evening. The mugs were a huge hit, and people got really into choosing a mug that represented their personality {I chose a simple mug that said, “I’d rather be drinking bacon.”} In addition to providing some very tasty hot cocoa, we put together a bar of our favorite toppings: candy canes, marshmallows, pieces of Snickers bars, etc. One of my bridesmaids wrote on a chalkboard sign “Baby it’s Cold Outside” with instructions of how to load up a hot chocolate mug, and for the grown-ups, top off with Kahlua or Bailey’s at the bar.

Like many couples, we wanted the fun of a Photo Booth without the expense. We created our own background with ribbon, lights, and a sign, and supplied props from thrift shops. October and November were great months to buy silly Halloween props!

Overall, we got creative with using things in our apartment to fill the space: activities for the high-top tables? Board games from our living room. Displays for the hot chocolate mugs? Spare ikea bookshelves in the guest bedroom. We got creative and resourceful. We also bought things that we used for the wedding but intended to adapt for our home decorating!

Did you have a something old, new borrowed, blue?

Yes, my Something New was my dress, as it is for many women. My Something Old was also sewn to my dress. During the alterations process, I realized that I wanted a softer neckline on the sweetheart neck, so my seamstress added lace from spare fabric off of another woman’s wedding dress. My Something Borrowed was my friend’s earrings. Lastly, my Something Blue was a bit unique – wool socks! I was very turned off by the idea of aching feet on my wedding day, so I wore heeled winter boots with light blue socks {from Costco!} My feet were comfortable all day, which kept me dancing late into the night both inside and outside in the snow.

Any advice for brides currently in the planning process?

The most important part of the wedding planning process is really the marriage planning process. Conflicts will emerge in wedding planning {who knew you could care so much about table settings?!}, but use that as an opportunity to set new traditions for your family about how you handle conflict. Focus on growing in how you love each other really well. No element of the wedding or preparation is more important than your relationship itself and I believe engagement should be a time to continuously recommit yourselves to loving one another in a meaningful way.

Also, be thoughtful about what you choose to include in your wedding in the same way as you’re careful about how you want it to look. Think through how traditions you include reflect your values and beliefs as a couple. Consider doing things differently than tradition expects, if you want to put your own spin on things. For us, the order of who walked down the aisle with whom, and what music was played simultaneously, was extremely intentional. This made the day feel all the more special to us.

Also, the expense of a day-of coordinator is SO WORTH IT! We always say that day-of coordinating was the best money we spent on the whole wedding. This saved us so much stress in the weeks prior to the wedding, as well as on the day of the wedding, so that we could focus on how happy we were.

Event Credits

Photographer + Videographer: The Coloagrossis // Cermony Venue: Church of our Saviour // Reception Venue: Kitchen Chicago // Officiant: Vineyard Christian Church of Evanston // Wedding Coordinator: Anticipation Events // Invitations: Vistaprint // Catering: Maggiano's // Bakery: Mariano's // Event Staffing: Carol's Event Staffing // Florist: A Pretty Flower // DJ: DJ Chicago // Rentals: Tablescapes Event Rentals // Transportation: Elite Chicago Limo // Engagement Ring: Christopher Duquet // Bride's Attire + Jewelry: I Do Bridal // Bride's Shoes: Payless // Hair + Make-up: Nightingale Beauty // Groom + Groomsmen's Attire: Men's Warehouse

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