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Real Wedding: Jessica & John

There is so much to love about Jessica and John’s real wedding – from all the amazing details to the pure joy you can see in their smiles.

Initially I fell in love with the colorful DIY details of this real wedding, but after getting some inside scoop on this darling couple – the surprise proposal and the sentimental meaning behind many of the special wedding day touches – I couldn’t wait to share more of their story and images from their wedding day with you!

What started as a casual beer-drinking St. Patty’s Day weekend in Chicago quickly turned into a life-changing weekend to remember for Jessica and John. John’s unexpected marriage proposal during a Friday afternoon happy hour sent Jessica in a spin. Needless to say, she was taken by surprise, and the rest of the weekend would be full of engagement celebrations planned by the groom himself, with surprise appearances from family and friends who flew from all over the country to celebrate the newly engaged couple.

Speaking of travel, most of their guests traveled to San Diego to celebrate their wedding in June, so acquainting everyone during weekend festivities and transportation coordination were top priorities. Guests lodged at neighboring hotels and partook in Thursday’s Beach Olympics and Friday’s Rehearsal Dinner. By Saturday, Wedding Day!, many of the guests were already acquainted, which made the wedding day feel more intimate and comfortable for everyone – and it didn’t look like anyone had trouble getting down on the dance floor! Jessica and John challenged their bridal party to entrance dances (the couple with the most creative idea won a prize!) and as you can see from the images, they took to the challenge quite well – with hats, props, and even a horse costume! These were all kept a secret, so you can imagine what fun this was for the bride and groom (and guests!) to experience.

As mentioned, I love the amazing DIY details – from the madlib-inspired RSVP cards (the groom actually made!) to the handmade banners and table runners, to the personalized “hooking up with hot sauce” favors. Perhaps my favorite touch is the blue feather hooked to the back of Jessica’s dress. The feather was an earring that belonged to a dear friend Jessica lost last year. While she didn’t plan to wear it as her “something blue,” it happened to be in her cosmetic bag on her wedding day and was a sweet reminder of her friend who was unable to be there in person, but always in spirit.

Cheers to you two, and wishing you a beautiful life together!




1. Photographer: Next to Me Studios
2. Venue: The Emma Estate, contact Estate Weddings & Events
3. Event Coordinator: Tanya Slater Events
4. Rentals: Concepts Event Design
5. Officiant: Keith Potter, Unshakable Marriage
6. Hair & Makeup: Erin Luce, Unveiled Bridal Beauty
7. Florals: Moments in Bloom
8. Caterer: Chef Greg DeMichiel of Estate Weddings & Events Catering
9.  Candy Bar: 
10. Band: Kevin Miso
11. Gown: House of Brides, Chicago
12. Bridesmaid Dresses: Lulukate, Bella Bridesmaid
13. Groom’s Suit: Bonobos 
14. Photo Booth: Republic Photo Booth


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