Eclectic DIY Wedding at Columbus Park Refectory

Amanda and Melody’s Chicago wedding at Columbus Park Refectory was intimate, fun, and beautifully curated by their artistic vision. From creating the bouquets, centerpieces, and boutonnieres to building their own photo booth backdrop echoing their geode wedding theme, the couple crafted a celebration that was innately personal and unique to them. You will fall in love with their wedding story and the beautiful images by Jordan K Fuller Photography!

Our Love Story

We met in Champaign, IL in the fall of 2009 when a mutual friend took us out dancing at a local bar for 80’s night. We had so much fun and immediately became good friends. Over many months (and many more 80’s nights) a beautiful relationship had developed, and by February 2010 we became Valentines and started dating.

Flash forward six years later. We had moved to Chicago and graduated from college and graduate school. Admittedly, Melody had been hinting at her desire for an engagement for many years, and finally in June 2016 Amanda decided the timing was right. Melody had been at work and was instructed to meet Amanda and a good friend, Matt, at Lagunitas Brewery down the street from home. When Melody arrived (two hours late), she was bought a beer and the three walked around the catwalk portion of the brewery. When they reached the end of the catwalk and were just about to walk in to the restaurant, Melody was greeted by a large group walking the opposite direction. After a few short moments, Melody began to recognize the faces of her family and closest friends, and she suddenly realized exactly what was happening; they were all there to watch Amanda propose.

Favorite Wedding Day Memories

We genuinely feel that our wedding day in its entirety was the best day of our lives. We had overcome a lot of both personal and societal adversity as an LGBT couple before that day, so witnessing the totality of all of our supports and the amount of love that pulsed through Columbus Park Refectory that day was everything. Our favorite memories were the times throughout the day that we got to really take in those moments and appreciate each other and all the people that have been there throughout our journey.

For couples that have been together prior to marriage for many years just as we were, our advice is to let the wedding day rejuvenate you – both as individuals and as a newly married couple. After the honeymoon’s over, it’s easy to fall seamlessly back into negative patterns of thinking. Treat your special day as a refresh button for not just the relationship, but also for all the other stressors you’ll be coming back to post-celebration.

Chicago Wedding Vendor Love

We had the absolute best day – and it could not have been possible without four key Chicago wedding vendors.

Jordan K Fuller Photography – Jordan’s mere presence on our special day put us at ease and made us feel comfortable, allowing us to be in the moment with one another all day long. She encouraged our goofiness, was flexible with our lack of punctuality, and photographed us and our love for one another with compassion. Even while we excitedly waited for our pictures to be edited and sent to us, we never worried. And we were right not to. As expected, Jordan’s talents captured our favorite day beautifully.

Mike Ingram – We chose Mike as our DJ immediately upon engagement, as he was the DJ of all of our 80’s night adventures when we first met in Champaign. His passion and intuitiveness on our wedding day made every technical hiccup a non-issue. He took our styles/preferences and delivered our perfect wedding atmosphere, from ceremony to dancing, so we could best share our day with those we love.

Corky’s Catering – When asked during our engagement about how wedding planning was coming along, we remember very early on singing the praises of our caterers. The menu alone is reason enough to recommend them, but that would not capture just how incredible Corky’s was. While her title at the company is “Sales Manager,” we felt a more accurate description of Sam Kuhn was our personal wedding planner. She and her team assisted us in both conceptualizing and executing every important detail we envisioned, way above and beyond their duties as caterers.

Columbus Park Refectory – When it comes to wedding venues, Columbus Park Refectory speaks for itself aesthetically. However there was much more to our renting this venue than just how beautiful it is. Merrill Malone simply has that energy you want (and need) on your day. Even when unforeseen construction was not resolved before our wedding occurred, she took the time and worked with us to problem-solve and ensure we would still be able to enjoy the gorgeous venue in full.

Handmade Geode Wedding Details

The theme was geode-inspired and the color palette was an array of jewel tones, mostly greens, purples, and blues across a black backdrop. Almost everything was handmade.  Melody’s mom sewed the iridescent bow ties which were painted leather backed by black velvet.  Melody’s sister helped her hand make the 7×8 photobooth backdrop. Each of our guest’s names were hand lettered on real agate slices and adhered to a wooden board for our seating guide.  We spent the two years of our engagement collecting geode bookends which decorated our table numbers for centerpieces.  In each small detail from candle holders to wedding favors, we spent a great deal of time collecting and crafting every aspect to make it our own.

Contact Wedding Pros

Planning a Chicagoland wedding and on the hunt for fabulous wedding pros? Send a message to our Go Team!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.