Tricia + Wes | Mahomet wedding photos at Lake of the Woods + Grace Church

Tricia + Wes blended their families together last Saturday with a beautiful and fun portrait session at Lake of the Woods, followed by their ceremony and lunch reception at Grace Church in Mahomet. Wes and his two daughters and Tricia and her two sons all prayed together both before the couple’s First Look, and again during the ceremony. The kids are all close in age (all between 2nd & 5th grades) and you can tell that they all get along pretty well and love each other so much already!

The group then traveled across Mahomet to Grace Church where the early afternoon ceremony took place. We then went straight into the reception in another wing of the church. Everything was delicious! And then the bride and groom played the shoe game, had their first dance as a couple, in which the bride’s father stepped in. And Wes’s girls also stepped in to dance with him to “I Loved Her First.” It was a sweet, intimate wedding, and I am so happy for Tricia, Wes, and their children!!

Ceremony & Reception | Grace Church, Mahomet, IL | Instagram

Photographer: Holly Birch Photography, Illinois-based photographer available for destination weddings

Koharu + Merlin | Japanese wedding reception at Pear Tree Estate

I described it this way on my Facebook sneak peek too, but Friday’s wedding of Koharu + Merlin truly was a dream! They (with the help of Merlin’s mom Denise) planned an intimate, faith-filled ceremony and reception at Pear Tree Estate with plenty of personal touches and nods to their Japanese heritage.

Can we take a minute to talk about Koharu’s amazing dress? It was gorgeous, and that back — so stunning with the buttons, lace, and the perfect bow at the top. And how snazzy was Merlin’s suit? So sharp, with a fun added touch of the bunny socks for the guys.

I adored all the origami paper cranes that Koharu made to decorate the tables. The colorful 4-tiered butterfly cake by the Cake Artist’s Studio was a show stopper and almost too pretty to eat!

The couple held a ceremony on the back patio at Pear Tree with the pond and fountain as a backdrop, and the giant gold ring as an altarpiece. The monogrammed aisle runner led the way for the couple to enter their new married life together.

Following the as always delicious dinner by LA Gourmet, I led the couple out for a few sunset pictures, and then we did a sparkler exit on the back patio as well.

It was so fun to see Koharu’s wedding vision come to life and for all the details to come together perfectly. I was honored to be a part of it and to be able to capture this special day for them. Congrats, Koharu + Merlin!!

Ceremony & Reception | Pear Tree Estate, Champaign, IL | Instagram

Catering | LA Gourmet, Champaign, IL | Instagram

Cake | Cake Artist Studio, Champaign, IL | Instagram

Florist | Blossom Basket, Champaign, IL | Instagram

Instrumentalists | Barbara Hedlund, 1st Choice Music Services, Urbana, IL | Facebook

Officiant | Pastor Herb Coates

Menu design & Handlettering | Apricity Ink

Bride’s Dress Retailer | Elite Bridal Shop, Champaign, IL | Instagram

Bridesmaid Dresses | Azazie | Instagram

Suits/Tuxes | Men’s Wearhouse, Champaign, IL | Instagram

Bride’s hair & makeup | Style & Grace Salon

Video: Tori Beach Videography | Instagram

Photographer: Holly Birch Photography, Illinois-based photographer available for destination weddings

Throw a Bachelorette Party on a Budget

Today I am welcoming Aimee from DIYDarlin as a guest blogger with her killer ideas for bachelorette parties on a budget. A bridesmaid’s job can definitely get expensive from buying a dress to buying gifts for the bridal shower(s) and also the wedding. Then to top it off, you are supposed to split the costs of a bachelorette party with the other bridesmaids and maid of honor. As her name says, Aimee is all about DIY shortcuts, and she has some great tips to share!

Bachelorette Ideas for Budget-Challenged Brides and Bridesmaids

Do budget concerns have you anxious about planning a bachelorette party? Well, they really shouldn’t! Seriously, you can plan some epic bachelorette celebrations without having to spend a small fortune. Consider getting the bride tribe excited for one of the totally fun, but not totally expensive, bachelorette ideas below.


1) Host a Mega Fun Bachelorette Movie Night

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money by going out, why not just stay in? You can use a streaming device and choose from over 1,000 channels to find fun movies and TV shows to watch together. This will also save money in the process; you won’t have to worry about paying for extra channels or entertainment you don’t need You can even amp up the fun by taking the party outside. Plan your very own special movies under the stars event, complete with beach chairs and yummy snacks.Think about putting a pink or white spin on things to add a personal bridal touch. Wondering what to stream? Pick one of these pre-wedding faves, depending on the mood you want to set. Whether you watch a hottie-filled flick or a comedy, you’re sure to have a blast together!

2) Take an All-Girls Glamping Adventure

For the outdoorsy bride-to-be, there’s no better way to celebrate the impending nuptials and save tons of money than by getting in touch with nature. Since it’s your bachelorette, though, you still want to keep things extra fun, so consider one of these budget-friendly glamping spots to make sure your big night will be truly memorable. A few destinations on the list—like Carlsbad Caverns, TX, and Lakeside, CA—are right here stateside, but if you want to travel outside the country, you can also save on international travel expenses. Look for flights using apps on your phone, so you can score the best deal on airfare, and also look for free activities (hiking, stargazing, etc.) to help cut costs during your bachelorette trip without cutting out all of the excitement and fun.


3) Plan a Posh Staycation Closer to Home

Even with the most savvy travel tips, an international bachelorette excursion may be out of the question for some bridesmaid’s budgets. No need to worry, though, especially when you can have just as much fun with a bachelorette staycation right in your own city! As part of your hometown fun, you can put together an adult sleepover or a spa night for your best friends, or you can get out on the town and go to your fave restaurant, outdoor spot or local attraction. This type of lowkey celebration is the perfect way for brides-to-be to bond with their closest gal pals without anyone having to stress about overspending on the event. If you want a change of address for the night, you can also look for local vacation rentals, which can be a budget-friendly option for accommodations and also help you cut costs on snacks and meals.

4) Gear Up for an Epic Pre-Wedding Road Trip

Staycations and movie nights can be fun for bridal parties and budgets, but you may want a little more adventure to celebrate your bestie. So, if flying to a far-away destination isn’t in the cards, think about planning a road trip with your best friends that still won’t break the bank. If you live in the Midwest, consider visiting one of several great girlfriend getaway destinations, including Lake Geneva in Illinois or Lakelands in Minnesota. Just be sure to avoid common road trip mistakes, like paying too much for gas or splurging on restaurants for each meal, if you want to keep the costs of your road trip from adding up and spoiling all of the bachelorette fun.


When you need to save some serious cash on a bachelorette party, you need to think outside of the box. Talk with your bride squad to see which budget-friendly idea sounds like the most fun, so you can stop stressing about funds and start enjoying the celebration!

Thank you, Aimee for such an informative and actionable post! I think most bridal parties can take advice from your ideas!