General, planning wedding

Average Wedding Costs

We started out at Lizzie & Isaiahs $10,000 Windy City Wedding (phew, thats a mouthfulorange you glad we changed names?)Were planning a $10,000 or under wedding (were actually aiming for around $5,000). In my quest for understanding how we would accomplish a budget wedding of the epic proportions we have in mind, I came across the average cost of weddings in Aurora and Batavia, IL.

Neither price includes the cost of honeymoon or engagement ring.

Batavia: (Kane County, IL 60542) between $29,067 and $48,445.

Aurora: (IL 60506) between $19,276 and $32,127.

Dear God.

In comparison, I understand $10,000 is a modest budget. However, can you imagine spending a dollar more for one day? It’s one day!

The important part, I’ve found so far, is not to define yourself by your wedding day. After you’ve come to terms that it won’t be your storybook wedding, it’s gonna be kickass. You just have to decide what parts of the day will make it rad for you and your honey. Nothing else matters…Not the “usual” formal etiquette or guest list size, not the usual anything. It’s your day, cater it to a price and style you feel comfortable with.

To find the average cost of weddings near you, enter your zip code at Cost of Wedding.

art, Blog, General

Dream Killah

Isaiah and I are creative freelancers. We have sent many an RFP (request for proposal) and received plenty of emails that read, I like your style, you’re just not right for this project. We call those emails, collectively, The Man. Sometimes The Man raineth upon us. Or sitteth upon us, whatever floats your boat.

Were working right now on rebranding and developing all original content and marketing collateral for Isaiahs moms salon. Really, shes a fantastic stylist and her business has thrived for more than 15 years based solely on word of mouth. Were really excited about being able to help her out and the project is a really fun creative testing ground for us as well.

Part of the project is to find models and a photographer for a styled shoot. We want to showcase her unique style and the vibe of her salon with an über-amazing shoot-to-end-all-shoots that will provide all the photos for the website, the blog and submissions to print publications.

We decided to start by posting a Craigslist ad for a photographer. Its a paying gig and the shoot will be great for someone’s portfolio, but heaven help you if you ask a photographer to come out just for their portfolio. We would be damned. We’ve been asked to design logos just for our portfolio. I’ve been asked to write editorial stories for teeny-tiny print publications just for my portfolio. Isaiahs been asked to model nude just for his portfolio. That guy turned out to be a creeper, who would have thought? Just kidding.

Anyway, we asked for going rates and a link to a portfolio. Kept it basic. Made sure people knew it is a legit shoot and we offered pay. Thats what we went for. It was 3 sentences long.

We put it up the night before last at 11:48 p.m.

We got our first email at 11:49.

The emails continued to pour in until last night at 11:13 p.m. when we had to take down the ad. We found two perfect photographers and now its all up to Isaiahs mom to pick the one she likes best.

It was easy-peasy. We knew the top two the second we opened their portfolios.

What wasnt easy was getting link after link to portfolios that werent a good fit. For one reason or another, their work screamed amateur with over-editing, the style was just wrong or they just werent good enough for what were looking for.

I hate waiting and waiting for a response to an email that never comes especially if I put the energy some of these photographers put into it. So we decided we were going to respond to each and every email, no matter how painful and time consuming it was its better to know that youre not right for a project than drive yourself crazy wondering if youre still under consideration.

We wrote the emails very kindly: Think Its not you. Its me.

We hoped that would put an end to it all. It would have for us. Maybe we would have sent back, Thanks for the consideration. Keep us in mind for any future projects. But, really, that would have been it.

Instead, we received responses pushing for the job, No, you dont understand, you will pick me. At that point, we had no option but to respond with a long-winded, Look, we get it. But youre trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Still, the responses came back to us, pushing harder, explaining why they were perfect for the project, even though we knew they werent.

We were systematically killing a dream many of them said was exactly what they needed and everything theyre looking for. 

In the end, its just a single shoot. It may or may not get a photographer some exposure. It definitely will get the chosen one a hefty paycheck. Its likely not going to change anyones life but Isaiahs mom. Thats why we need to keep her best interests at heart and be picky and short and cut off a pushy conversation before it gets worse.

But one things for sure: Its not a position we like being in. 

planning wedding

Why I don’t use wedding blogs planning my own wedding.

I have more than 700 blogs I read every day. Some I skim just for headlines before I read like my advertising or HR/career daily reads. I read every post on about 200 blogs a day because I love them. I have always been a big fan Shared Human Experiences. I believe in the power of blogs to level certain playing fields. Sharing information instead of hoarding and staying an unknown expert is something I’ve seen the benefits of in others lives.

Also planning a wedding without blogs would be a nightmare for me. Or, maybe it would have been easier if I had never found them. We would have gone to the VFW or a church or something. But I cant un-know what I know now, yeah?

We have found a couple of potential vendors through the blog community:  photographers, venues, the dresses OMFG, the dresses. We thought we hit the jackpot. My friend started her own cleaning service in portland, check it out.


In the beginning, we contacted a couple of photographers because we collectively geeked out over their work and it was like a first date when they responded back.

We love your work! Were planning a wedding. Wanna be part of it?! Schwede!

Of course! We’ll even give you a discount because of your so fucking awesome.

What?! Thats aweSOME, but don’t worry about a rebate. We want to pay you what you’re worth. What’s next, yo?

Oh! Awesome! Well, were on a moderate budget, so lets talk pricing.


Radio silence.

My question: I follow your blog. That’s how I met you. When I email you to follow-up and ask if everything’s okay and get continued silence, but daily posts pop up on your blog, that’s not what I would call incentive to work together.

Unfortunately, a lot of our experiences with local vendors we have found on blogs have been like this.

Its a shame. I’m not sure if there’s some post deep down in the archives of our blog that hints were douche-nozzles to work with or what but after the first whoopee-inspiring talk, we cant seem to move forward into the commitment part of it.

And I’m starting to think its not us.

Did you have a similar experience? WTF.


Think For Yourself, You Hipster

I went through this phase once. I wouldn’t listen to bands other people listened to. Any brand name or new clothing I had stuck out that year in my closet. I was a vegetarian. I dreamed day and night of living in Portland. I was undeniably hipster and called out on it for the majority of 2007. The memory seems faint and ridiculous to me now.

Vegetarianism is not ridiculous. Thrifting isn’t ridiculous. Listening to unknown, local indie bands isn’t ridiculous. But before I did each of those things at the time, I thought about their perception.

And now. Now, nothing fucking annoys me more than a group of thoughtless hipsters who drink PBR ironically, listen to the latest in the indie phenomenon and loudly talk about how weird their taste is. Yeah man, I don’t really care if plaids not in style or if kids make fun of my loafers, I’m just doing me. Really? Plaid is totally in style. Every fucktard on the block is decked out in plaid and Toms.

No matter what style you fall under, whether you’re deliberately trying to fit in with a certain style or you are being yourself and happen to match it, there’s a blueprint for each category of person, and you’re bound to fit within it. But the point of hipsterdom is yourself. Or, at least it was, right? Don’t go along with the mainstream society of meat eaters, be a vegan. Don’t buy new, buy antique. Blah blah blah.

Its time to admit that hipsterdom is the mainstream. You’re vegan because it’s hip to be. You’re a thrifter because it’s hip to be. You wear plaid and a full beard because of its hip.

You keep thinking that people don’t get you and your oh-so-unique style with your Mumford and Sons and your beach cruiser bike. But they do. They get you. You’re just not that interesting. 

If something you like happens to fall into the realm of hipsterdom, awesome, love it. No problems. If somethings been dubbed lame or you, like, really love meat, do that. If you like Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch in a totally embarrassing, non-ironic way, do you, man, do you. 

But seriously, for the sake of your future children, quit following trends blindly even trends that claim to be offbeat and unique because they’re not. I was pretty sure that the man-scarf-with-a-t-shirt look is the parachute pant of our day.