We have a beautiful barn wedding for you today! Claire and Kevin got married on a gorgeous private estate in Wisconsin. They filled with space with simple decor, lawn games, a huge tent, and twinkle lights, and pulled the whole thing off for under $25K! We especially love their gorgeous color scheme. Enjoy this Rustic Twilight Wisconsin Wedding! Xoxo, Jessica
Claire + Kevin
June 23rd, 2018
MJ’s Farm | Deerfield, WI
What was the total budget for your wedding? Please provide a budget breakdown.
We originally wanted to budget close to 10K but ended up spending around $24,000. Everything adds up so fast – from the dress, alterations, transportation, etc.
Bridal party gifts: $1070
How many guests did you have?
We invited 250 and about 150 guests ended up coming to the wedding.
How did you meet?
Kevin and I met at North Central College (NCC) in Naperville, Illinois. We lived in the same dorm Freshman year but did not become friends until Sophomore year through a mutual friend. We stayed friends through our remaining time at NCC and didn’t start dating until 2 weeks before graduation! I ended up moving back to Madison, Wisconsin after graduation and he stayed in the Chicago area. We made it work long distance for about 9 months before I landed a job back in Chicagoland.
What is your proposal story?
We had been together for 3.5 years when he proposed. I knew it was coming but thought we still had another year or so before it would actually happen. Surprise! Kevin had worked with my sister secretly to design my engagement ring using his grandmother’s (from both sides) diamonds and to plan a fabulous engagement and party. We went out in Edison Park (close to where he grew up) with all our friends and I just thought it was a normal get together for dinner and drinks since we hadn’t seen them all in a while. I joked to Kevin about it being my birthday party as my birthday was about a week later. He said no, but then turned around and said this is your birthday party. I followed his gaze and saw my entire family and tons of friends from all over that showed up in the bar. I was ecstatic, but still had no idea what was going on and immediately went over to start hugging people and telling them how much it meant for them to come to visit. Kevin had to literally pull me back and when I turned around he was on one knee. I immediately started crying. I don’t even think I formed words, but just was shaking my head yes through my tears of excitement and shock. We then had a fabulous engagement party that followed with all of our close friends and family. It truly was one of the best nights ever.
Tell us about your wedding vision.
We were looking for a more casual, laid-back wedding. I love the rustic style, so when my mom’s friend said we could use her farm, I was hooked. We didn’t want to spend a fortune and wanted it to really just be about the momentous day.
Tell us about your attire choices.
I had no idea what I wanted for my wedding dress besides nothing too “froo-froo”. I went in the summer of 2017 with my mom and sister to just try on some dresses to see what I liked (Here Comes the Bride in Addison, Illinois). It ended up being the second dress I tried on. I would never have picked it off the hanger, but my sister was like “here just try this on” and it was perfect. It has a beaded bodice with a corset/lace up back, and a chiffon skirt with a slit. It was perfect. We then found the bridesmaid dresses at the same location – mulberry long dresses and all had the slit as well! It was perfect. For the guys, we rented tuxes from Men’s Warehouse – dark grey with mulberry ties. We chose not to do jackets and just stick with the vests to make it more casual, and not as warm for the boys :).
What was most important to you two while planning? Was there anything you chose to splurge on or skip?
We definitely splurged on the food. That was probably the most important part for us. We wanted a casual/laid-back atmosphere for all of our friends and family to come together and share the special day with us. To save money, we ended up skipping the wedding favors or welcome bags at the hotels.
What was your favorite part of the day?
It’s very hard to choose a specific moment/memory! Everything came together so well and it was just so great to spend such a special day with all of our friends and family!
Tell us about your wedding flowers.
My mom’s co-worker does wedding flowers on the side. She offered to do our flowers and they were amazing. She incorporated all the colors we wanted and was able to find great prices. We love hydrangeas so having those in my bouquet were a must. We had white/blue hydrangeas, pink peonies, pink and white roses, white stephanotis, and limonium misty blue.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
We ended up doing cupcakes instead of a large wedding cake for our guests. My mom knows the owner of Bloom Bakeshop in Madison, Wisconsin and we already knew their desserts were AMAZING. We met with them once, decided on our cupcakes, and ended up doing a small wedding cake for the ceremonial cut. We ended up on classic vanilla, chocolate ganache, and almond raspberry rose cupcakes.
Did you include any special traditions or family heirlooms?
For my something borrowed, blue and old I used my great grandmother’s handkerchief around my bouquet.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
It seriously will be ok! It is so so so stressful and the whole time you will probably question why you didn’t just go to the courthouse, but in the end, it really is worth every part of the stress to spend time with those you love. I know everyone says this, but seriously, be present and in the moment. It goes so fast that you will feel like you barely remember any of it!
Photography: Blu Photography & Design LLC • Ceremony Venue: MJ’s Farm • Reception Venue: MJ’s Farm • DJ: T&R Productions • Floral: Erin Keesecker Juedes • Invitations: Grace Davenport • Catering:Smoky Jon’s BBQ and Catering • Wedding Cake: Bloom Bake Shop • Rentals: Madison Party Rentals • Transportation: Kobussen Buses Ltd. • Alterations: Here Comes the Bride Addison • Lighting: T&R Productions • Rehearsal Venue: Uno Pizzeria & Grill Madison East • Bridal Salon: Here Comes the Bride Addison • Wedding Dress: Mori Lee • Groom’s Attire: Vera Wang • Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse • Bride’s Shoes: Tom’s • Bridesmaid Dresses: Here Comes the Bride Addison • Headpiece/Jewelry: Here Comes the Bride Addison • Wedding Ring: Jacqueline’s of Highland Park • Submitted via: Matchology
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.