Our (bartered) wedding in pictures

Our September 1st, 2013 almost 100%-bartered wedding in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago… a day of Best Decisions, ending with the best of them all, becoming legal Best Friends.

#petaya#petayaI found out a week before the wedding that I couldn’t get ready at the venue. I reached out to a guy I had met twice, for all of 20 minutes, who lived a few blocks from the Secret Garden. An email later, I had a place to be prettified, thanks to James and C’ne! Fun side note: after their wedding venue fell through and after hearing about our great experience, they’re now getting married at the same place, exactly a year later!#petaya

Kristine did my hair and makeup, in exchange for us hosting a fundraiser for the Chicago Women’s Health Center. In November, we sent the proceeds from one of our Idea Potlucks to CWHC, about $600.#petaya #petayaMeanwhile, Husband was making his way over to meet me, his brother bringing my bike. Matching bikes bought on uber-sale at REI.#petaya#petaya#petayaHe had time for a photo shoot and to look over his vows.#petaya#petayaSeeing each other for the first time.#petaya#petaya#petaya#petaya#petaya#petaya#petayaTime to go get married! Four block walk to the Secret Garden.#petaya#petaya #petaya#petayaIt was all about comfort (and frugality) for us. My entire outfit, including jewelry and shoes, was $190 and Husband’s was $38. All are things we’ll wear again.#petayaCeremony and reception all in one location. Best decision.2#petayaOur bartered invitations, created by the ‘You must work with them!’ Spilled Ink Press #petaya5No assigned seats, during the ceremony or at dinner. Best decision.Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 4.10.44 PMFlowers gifted to us by Honky Tonk.Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 4.11.24 PMNo programs or other needless throwaways. Best decision.Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 4.11.39 PM#petaya#petaya

Not only were our guests able to get free rides home, we also rode in style gratis — huge, luxury SUV to and from the downtown hotel, thanks to Uber.#petayaDidn’t buy any decor; scrounged up everything from home, my mom’s house, and from alleys.#petaya#petaya#petaya#petayaEngagement Party invitation created by Sara & Julie (looking to buy or sell a home? Best decision on your part will be to go to them!). #petaya

Honky Tonk let us bring in our own alcohol. The beer, we bartered for. The hard stuff and the wine, we bought from Trader Joe’s. Best decision. You can return any unopened bottles with a receipt, which we did. #petayaA few flavors brewed for us by Kim of Hail to the AleScreen Shot 2014-03-05 at 4.34.45 PM#petayaScreen Shot 2014-03-05 at 4.11.52 PMHusband carried this palette four blocks from an alley to our house. He’s still mad about it. #petaya#petaya#petaya#petayaWe were in the alley at this point, feeling all surreal and whatnot. Is this really happening? #petayaWalking down the ‘aisle.’#petaya#petaya#petaya #petayaOur friend Frank James married us. Best decision. We wanted someone who knew the two of us and could speak from an authentic place. He get ordained via the Universal Life Church so that he could marry us, which takes about five minutes on the internet.#petayaNo bridal party. We asked a few of our friends to ‘be a part of the wedding,’ whatever that meant to them. Best decision. Husband’s friend from Vanderbilt, Richard.#petayaOur amazingly talented and big-hearted friend Tim played the ceremony music. The rest of the music was on my Nano. Best decision.Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 4.10.27 PM#petayaMy roommate from Boston College, Liz. She did most of the artistic decor, painting the signs and just being an all around Creative Genius.#petaya #petaya#petaya My friend from Boston College, Erin. Husband and I stayed with her and her husband in Amsterdam, on our first trip together.#petaya Husband’s brother, Tommy.#petaya Husband’s improv teammate, Jon, and his fiancé, Katie, sing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow.’#petayaVows. I wrote mine the morning of, in Starbucks, and the barista now knows me as the girl who wrote her vows the morning of her wedding (and who tried to scam Starbucks by asking for her “free wedding-day drink” which apparently is not a thing).#petaya#petaya #petaya #petaya #petayaIf you’d like to watch our vows: my vows, Husband’s vows.#petaya#petaya #petaya#petaya#petaya

Friend Adrienne printed the lyrics to our song on plantable paper handed out to guests as they arrived, which we then all sang together.#petayaFriends Tim, Frank James, Carrie, and Derek led us in rounds.Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 9.23.32 AM#petaya#petaya#petaya #petaya #petaya#petaya#petaya#petayaScreen Shot 2014-03-06 at 12.29.42 AMAlso found in the alley.Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 4.32.44 PM#petaya #petaya We wanted good comfort food, not your traditional dry chicken breast. Best decision. Our photographer, who has shot countless weddings, said it was the best vendor dinner she’s ever been given.#petaya#petaya

No head table. We had a Sweetheart Table, just for the two of us. Best decision.#petaya#petaya

Josh from Powell Brew House brewed three flavors for us.#petaya #petaya#petayaWe had a No Kid wedding. Best decision. We rented a suite in the hotel everyone was staying in and bartered three babysitters, whom we armed with pizza, games, and arts and crafts. Then we stayed in the suite that night. Only drawback — it smelled like baby-pee. Tip: throw diapers in trash outside of your wedding-suite.baby-trainsm1

This is the parents wheeling their kiddies back to their rooms post-wedding.#petaya

Instead of a photo-booth, we had a live-drawer. Aka Husband’s brother. Best decision. #petayaScreen-Shot-2013-09-09-at-9.28.34-PM2 1187088_10151617587143240_1946682161_n-e1378936970529#petaya#petayaToasts by the parents.#petaya#petaya#petaya#petaya

Our angel, Kate of K.Bella Events. She was the most amazing Day of Coordinator. I almost didn’t have one (I curate events for a living and thought I could handle it), which would’ve been the dumbest decision. We bartered an improv workshop for her and her friends, led by Husband.#petaya

Instead of a wedding cake, we asked a few loved ones to bring a dessert, in lieu of a gift. Best decision. They outdid themselves.#petayaScreen Shot 2014-03-05 at 4.29.56 PM #petaya Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 4.37.48 PM Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 4.37.55 PM Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 4.38.02 PM Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 4.38.11 PM Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 4.38.24 PMScreen Shot 2014-03-05 at 4.31.16 PM

One of my three rings and his ring. No wedding band. Best decision.#petaya

Six months into marriage, best decision. All of it.

The throwing of an event where I met Husband four years ago, the decision to stay home texting him all night instead of going to a party, the introducing a boy to my family for the first time, the trip to Europe just a few months into dating, him moving in, our collaborations, getting engaged in Asheville, NC, our wedding planning and wedding weekend, our fights and how we un-fight, our talks about traveling the world, our biking to improv shows and BBQ restaurants.

Best Friend. Can’t wait for the rest of our lives together…

PS – another Best Decision was waiting to go on our honeymoon. We waited about a month a half before we went to Hawaii for two weeks. As the memories of the wedding were beginning to fade and real life was taking over again, hooray! Oahu and Maui, here we come. If we had known the winter in Chicago was going to be this bad, we would’ve stayed…

Most photos by Angela Garbot Photography