enjoying the moment.

The offbeat bride: Amanda, Artist and Office Manager

Her offbeat partner: Jose, Silk Screen Technician

Date and location of wedding: Olympia Fields Park District, Sgt. Means Park Barn, Olympia Fields, Illinois — September 24, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We took what we love and created an art-inspired wedding. Being an artist, I wanted to show my crafty side. Jose, being a comic book fanatic, wanted to include superhero references. Over the last seven years of dating, we have a photo strip collection dating back to 2004, which we also wanted to include somehow. We DIYed a photo booth with help from family, a couple of feet of PVC pipe, and a few yards of red fabric.

clark & lois sit on a cake.

take your own photos

..you may kiss the bride..

Tell us about the ceremony: The church we were married in, Sacred Heart Church located on the south side of Chicago, is a very old church with personal family history. My grandmother grew up going to this church and her grandparents were married here. The church has natural charm and is very decorative with statues, paintings, architectural features, and stained glass windows, so we decided not to bring our own decoration into the church.


Our ceremony was very short, only about 20 minutes long. Our godmothers did two readings, and before we knew it, we were reading our vows. We asked the church organist to play two songs for us, one in the beginning, one at the end. And we had our two best friends stand up as our witnesses.

there's nothing like wedding cake.

Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was staying within budget, since we were paying for everything ourselves. When we first set the budget, we just didn't know how expensive weddings could be. We had to be flexible, keep organized, and be real about venues and catering. We looked at several venues before deciding on a park district's headquarters, which was an old, white barn.

everyone we love in one room

What was really great and helped keep costs low was that the chairs and tables were included in the rental package and we didn't have to worry too much about beautifying the space, because it was already gorgeous. Little things like that helped keep our budget where we needed it to be.

great fun

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? We went back and forth about a wedding band and dance floor. From the beginning, he was against a live band and filling the limited floor space with a dance floor since he believed no one in his family would dance. I worked for a country club as a wedding server, and after seeing a whole summer's worth of weddings, knew I wanted a live band. Jose relented and it ended up being a lot of fun.

bride & groom/superheros of the day

My advice for Offbeat Brides: As soon as we decided to get married, we opened up a separate savings account just for the wedding. For nine months the account sat without any withdrawals, just deposits. We contributed what we could each pay-day. Having this money was great during the planning, and helped a lot when it came time for deposits and final payments.

just married

leaving the church

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Comments on Amanda & Jose’s DIY superhero wedding

  1. I’ve gone back and forth so much on whether I would enjoy a live band or not. Your post is definitely swaying me a little bit! Beautiful wedding! Congrats!

  2. A friend of mine had his reception at this venue, and I LOVE it! So glad to see it again! I only wish I was also getting hitched in Chicago.

  3. My grandparents got married at Sacred Heart too! (though we are not getting married there) Beautiful wedding, congrats!

  4. Ahhh, I love the idea of setting up a separate savings account and just letting it sit for awhile until the wedding. How long were you guys engaged for?

    Also, any more info on how you set up your DIY photo booth? I have pretty much every Offbeat Bride link bookmarked, and I would love to know how you did it–I’m planning on creating my own vision from all the resources on here! Thanks if you can 🙂

    • The photo booth was a blast. I borrowed a lot of ideas and based the design off of the actual photo booth from our engagement photos. Really, it was a shell made of PVC pipe (cheap stuff!), curtains, and foam board covered w/vinyl. Inside we had a bench and a tripod w/camera. I purchased a remote for guests to take their own photos. The only down side was guests did not get their photos automatically, I mailed the printed photos w/the thank you cards. I wanted it to feel like a real booth, so we kept it small so guests would have to squeeze in there (that’s most of the fun!).

      Does that help? Good luck!!

  5. Oh my gosh! I have been looking everywhere for a cake topper like that! Please please please…where did you get it? My FH insists on a superman cake topper, but the only ones I have found are really cheesy looking.

    • I had the same problem, so I decided to make my own! I purchased the cake topper from a local bakery, took it apart, painted it and customized it. If you look closely, you can tell I painted over the grooms button up shirt, but we still loved it. I put the DIY instructions on an old blog: http://bit.ly/SuperManCT

  6. This looks so perfect. My fiance and I are looking for something local in the suburbs. Any other venue suggestions or catering? This is definitely somewhere we missed so thank you.

    • Sounds great. We also really loved Katherine Legge Memorial Lodge in Hinsdale, IL. The lodge is gorgeous, but a bit too far for some of our guests. Two other places we visited: The Glessner House in the Prairie Avenue District of Chicago; and Promontory Point in Hyde Park, Chicago.

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