Wednesday, March 31, 2010

STD's and Indiana (haha, I know)

With 192 days to go, the wedding is basically 6 months away we have decided to make one tiny, little change... the wedding is now officially going to be held in Southbend, Indiana.

It's just that, with everything going so smoothly we thought, "hey, let's change that." Chicago wasn't enough of a challenge!

In all seriousness, the big determining factors were the following:
  • With over 250 guests, finding a caterer for less than $9K (estimated before tax and without) booze wasn't seeming as though it would be likely to happen. I have some great recommendations if you're realistic about how much you intend to spend. Email me for deets.
  • October 9th is marathon weekend in Chicago. Hotel rooms are around $300 and up.
  • With one of the highest sales taxes, adding that to every bill was beginning to add up.
  • This will make it easier and hopefully less expensive for all the guests. For Ohio peeps, the drive was cut from 6 to 4 hours. For Chicago peeps, there's a direct train and it's not too much of a drive if you have a car or a friend willing to make the trek in their car (we're also working on getting a friends and family pickup system in place for non-car owners) and for Indiana there's no commute.
  • We can (hopefully!) have the "backyard"/low-key wedding style we've been dreaming up without trying to replicate it for a lot more money in Chicago.
The plan is to scope out the venue in question next week. Until then, we're still in the land of TBD which is honestly pretty unnerving at this stage in the game.

On a much brighter note, JCakes and I were able to collaborate on a very sweet little midwest-centric save-the-date design. There was some changing since the back was supposed to have an Illinois outline, (I am now really appreciating the fact that I did not call this blog something other than "awesome MIDWEST wedding," with the location changes and all) but ultimately, we both love it. Here's a preview...

It's not at all stuffy, it makes sense for us and it's just the right amount of cute. Pretty awesome.

Our good friend Christyl Uhan did the final editing and sent it out for printing through (My friend Rachel over at 10.02.10 ties the knot can vouch, it's the way to go if you're going DIY) and Christyl was also able to score us a discount on the printing costs. The only downside on the site is that you jump from ordering 100 to 250 and the next up is 500. Not too hard to work around if you have a lot of people living in the same household. For us, 100 was just a little too shy of enough to cut the mustard. Honestly, I'm just glad we got them out. We should be receiving them in the next week and then it's just a matter of getting them all out to our nearest and dearest and on to the next task.

Whew! I'll be so relieved when we finally this stuff locked down.

P.S. If you were hoping to snag October 9th at Humboldt Park, hit me up. We're sad to see it go because it has a crapload of potential.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

West Coast Food Envy

For the last few JCakes and I have been working on how to crack the catering issue. It's be said (and read) in every bit of wedding budget advice -be it blog, book, glossy or otherwise - that you can expect to spend anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of your estimated wedding budget on food, drink, service and rentals alone.

Fair enough, when you consider that is pretty much the bulk of big day spending. However, despite our efforts to cut back wherever we could and with an uncompromisable guest list at this point (fixed at 268 and more likely to rise than drop) the catering proposals we've found have been around the 9K mark. Kind of a lot when your entire budget is 15K and the figure suggested doesn't include the alcohol.

That said, we've been trying to wrap our brains around how to skirt the issue without going so DIY that we're overwhelmed come the day of the wedding.

If I lived in Portland, Oregon or somewhere in California I know exactly how I would solve this issue - Food Trucks!

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Not so affectionately referred to as "roach coaches" by some party-poopers and ill-informed individuals, the food truck has come a long way from solely slingin' late-night pizza and ice cream trucks, (at least, in places where Daley isn't the mayor - oh snap, I said it!)

Tasty, kitschy and cheap, trucks boasting meals on the move have been popping up and creating a following for the last few years. Toting everything from truffle french fries to creative curry concotions, living in a food truck-friendly environment would definitely solve some troubles and add a more interesting take on "something new" for weddings. had the right idea with the taco truck.

GreenWeddingShoes has a slew of food truck-friendly couples. But this one in particular struck a note with us.

If only Chicago and the rest of the Midwest could get on board!

I did a little digging, and managed to actually find a few food truck listings beyond the ones I usually see parked in Humboldt, among these finds - Three J's Catering and The Pasta Bowl. Having never tried either place, I decided to call to at least get a sense of what would be the deal. Never did reach anyone from Three J's to answer my questions, but the guy from Pasta Bowl was really helpful if you're considering this option and the food comes to being something insanely affordable like $9 person. (Please note: The pricing depends on whether or not you're having guests approach the cart for self-service or having Pasta Bowl set up a buffet. There is no option to have it fully catered, but you're crafty you could figure something out).

And, if you'd go for the food truck feel, but not necessarily the food, Honest Foods catering has a food truck and is happy to cook on-site, with a tailored customized menu.

If you're into the idea but would rather keep things traditional for the reception dinner, there are also a slew of food truck fans who are using truck as a quirky way to include the increasingly popular "late night eats." Basically, the truck is hired to provide greasy or sugary goodness as a surprise snack for guests later in the evening. Think ice cream, tacos, pizza and more.

Veggie Taco Photo Credit:

So jealous of the West Coast right now.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Yesterday I spent the day out with JCakes, Jenny and Ali and came home to a care package of homemade bread on my doorstep. All tied up in a ribbon, I knew it had to be from Jenna & Jason, (we're the kind of building neighbors that actually like to hangout and share a few drinks from time to time), so I went up to thank them. Jenna's mom was visiting, so I got a chance to meet her and was told this funny story...

Jenna & Jason, newly engaged, were thinking about possibly holding their ceremony/reception in Humboldt Park, and without knowing we're neighbors, Jenna's mom had sent our blog address along as a helpful link to Jenna.

It may sound silly, but I found it really nice to know that other people may find this blog to be helpful. I started writing about all of this wedding business as a way to keep our ideas in order and our friends and family in the loop. I had hoped that maybe other people might find some useful link here or there or get some ideas, but it was really nice to hear about it firsthand.

It got me thinking about all of the wonderful people I know who are currently working on their own wedding plans for this year, and though it's been said, Congratulations and Best Wishes again to:

Jenna and Jason
Lisa and Joe
Rachel and Conor
Eileen and Brandon
Kaye and Chris
Amy and James
Brenda and Steve
Jen and Nathan
Aaron and Meghan
Stephanie and Jeff
Emily and Rachel

...and to anyone we missed and any readers.

If you've got some killer ideas or advice on what not to do, feel free to pass it on, and good luck with all your planning!

Annnnd, if you just got married or have friends who have had recent midwest weddings, lemme know. I'd love to feature them on the blog for a little real deal inspiration.

Best Wishes!
Can and JCakes