Carolyn from Dallas and Justin from Chicago met in 2012 when they both worked at a non-profit called Chicago Lights. “They put on a summer program for Chicago children called Summer Day,” Carolyn explains. “Justin was the program’s math teacher and I was a program intern. We hit it off almost immediately.” When the two got engaged, it was a mutual decision. In November 2016, Justin and Carolyn legalized their relationship with a civil union. They then planned a summer party at Carolyn’s grandma’s cabin to celebrate with family and friends.
“We were going for rustic, but chic — beautiful and comfortable at the same time. Like an elegant backyard party.” While wedding guests thought the day was all about celebrating Justin and Carolyn’s civil union, the couple had quite the surprise in store: “A few weeks before the wedding, we decided we wanted to get formally married,” Carolyn says. “My sister knew because we asked her to perform the ceremony — but nobody else knew!”
Following the surprise marriage ceremony, the party kicked off with delicious food and drinks. “Bartenders on the Go provided the beverages,” Carolyn says. “I have to say that I only tasted my signature cocktail: The French 75. But it was so delicious, I assume all the beverage options were great!” For dinner, Justin and Carolyn turned to their friend Chef Aram Reed, and then served up scrumptious cupcakes for dessert.
To outfit and decorate the space, Carolyn and Justin worked with All Star Rentals and Alfa Flowers. The couple also whipped up some charming DIY lighting. “We’re not usually the DIY type, but I ended up feeling inspired to work on a couple projects,” Carolyn says. “I collected tin cans and Justin drilled holes in them and spray-painted them to make little lanterns. I also collected mason jars and wrapped twine around them to make lanterns. They all turned out adorable! The lighting was beautiful and really brought everything together.”
The party was filled with great music and fun for all. “Our friends and family took tons of photos in the photo booth, with the disposable cameras we had out, and with the polaroid cameras we had for the guest book.” Carolyn says one one of the most special moments was when the band finished up and said goodbye: “They shared with us that it was one of the most fun, laid-back weddings they’d ever performed at. The vibe I dreamed of for the wedding not only manifested for me, but was also palpable to everyone else in attendance — even the vendors!”
Looking back on the day, Carolyn remembers how, after dinner, the videographer took her and Justin aside to shoot some footage. “As we walked away, the joyful noise of the party faded into the background, and we got to observe the most beautiful sunset in a quiet, peaceful moment together. As we were finishing up, the band started to play. We got to observe this beautiful event that we worked so hard to put together and to see all of our friends and family enjoying it. That memory is the quintessential moment of exuberance I’d hoped to experience on my wedding day.”
|Wedding Consultant||Jamie Diplaris from The Simply Elegant Group|
|Rehearsal Dinner||Lake Geneva Lanes Bowling Alley|
|Ceremony & Reception||Bride's Grandma’s log cabin|
|Caterer||Chef Aram Reed|
|Bartending Service||Bartenders on the Go|
|Photo & Video||Bonphotage|
|Gown||Rue de Seine from Alice in Ivory|
|Rings||Steve Quick Jeweler|
|Rentals||All Star Rentals and Area Rentals|