Today’s budget-savvy wedding is filled with all sorts of wedding goodness! A popcorn bar. Aqua bridesmaid dresses. A gorgeous farm setting. A cupcake table. What more could you want? I love seeing the thoughtfulness and attention to detail that Mike and Catherine gave their big day. Enjoy this Illinois farm wedding! xoxo, Jessica
Catherine + Mike
June 4, 2016
Northfork Farms | Oswego, IL
What was your budget?
We had a budget of $15,000.
Save the date/Invitations/postage: $475
Venue (included tent for 300/upscale portable restrooms/tables/dressing location/services of location/lighting/valet/set-up and tear down/rehearsal): $5200
Rentals (chairs/linens/sound/additional tables): $1500
Catered pig roast: $3100
Flowers/place cards/programs: $725
Specialty brand hot and cold non-alcoholic beverages/ice/specialty plastic ware: $650
DJ/did sound for both wedding ceremony and reception: $700
Videography: Friend did it as a wedding gift
Dessert buffet table and popcorn bar: Family friend did it for free.
How many guests did you have?
We had 200 guests.
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
I found a lot of stuff on Pinterest. I don’t feel like I am a super crafty person but I do have friend that are, so I utilized them a lot.
Did you do any DIY projects or create any handmade items for your weddings?
I did do some DIY projects for the wedding. I got some old painting from goodwill and then painted them with chalkboard paint. My friend then used a white sharpie and wrote some fun things on the chalkboard. We also used old books as our center pieces. We got about 100 books for about $20 from a used book store.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
We saved money by taking our time. Most people rush through decision and do not take the time to think about how they can save money. We had about a 9 month engagement so we had a good chunk of time to plan out our dream day.
Another big way was finding places that are new. The place we had our wedding at had only been doing it for two years so their prices were still pretty low. Same goes with our photographer, which were AMAZING by the way.
Another huge money saver was having friends help out as much as you can. My mom was our wedding planner, a friend did the videographer for free, we had family friends do the after ceremony/before reception treats (an amazing popcorn bar), we had an amazing house party that help us during the ceremony and during the reception, a family friend did my hair and make-up, and we had wonderful friends that help out during it all. The last thing we saved money on was doing a dry wedding. As much as it is nice to have something fun for the toast, it really saved us a lot of money.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
The best piece of advice I would give a future bride is to take people up on their offer to help! We would not have been able to pull off our dream day if it were not for our amazing family and friends would helped out.
What was your biggest splurge?
Our biggest splurge was renting the toilets! The venue did not provide bathrooms to the guests so they had a place where you could rent nice air conditioned restrooms. That was about $1,000 but totally worth it.
What was your favorite detail?
My favorite detail was our candy bar. A friend of our actually asked us if they could do something at the wedding and the idea of a candy bar was thrown out. They went all out with the candy bar! She asked us our favorite candies, cookies, and deserts and spent about 3 months slaving away in their kitchen. Then they drove all the way from D.C. to Illinois to attend our wedding (with the treats in their car). They also made the candy bar with our personal touches with our favorite candy as I mentioned above, but they also had an old school house kindergarten chair because I am a kindergarten teacher.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
Honestly becoming husband and wife was a huge plus but our most memorable moment was probably seeing everyone was loved come together and celebrate our special day. People came from Texas, California, Arizona, D.C, and even Scotland!
Photography: Melissa and Isai Photography • Venue: North Fork Farms • Flowers: Meegan McCarthy (local teacher from Oswego High School) • Videography: Kara Gardner • Catering: Double D Catering • Bakery: Chelsea’s Cupcake’s (no longer in business) • Rentals: Top Notch Rentals • DJ: Topher Taylor • Bridesmaids Dresses: Etsy • Bridal Shop: David’s Bridal • Veil: David’s Bridal • Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.