Greg and I met at a board game night hosted by a mutual friend. A great friendship, and eventually an even greater romance, developed between us over time as we bonded over our love of games and cats and books. The more we talked, the more we discovered shared interests; the more we discovered, the more our friendship transitioned into courtship.
Last August, Greg proposed to me with a book (he knew I wasn’t keen on engagement rings). The proposal book was titled “Marry Me” and is part of the Easton Press series that we’ve been collecting. He left the book in a spot where he knew I’d find it and put a note inside. He also gave me a second book an an engagement gift: a first edition of Undine with illustrations by Arthur Rackham. It had been on my ‘dream book’ list for years. He found a gorgeous copy that even has its original dust jacket intact! It also has an inscription – I love books with inscriptions: the old handwriting, messages of intent or encouragement…
We decided not to have a long engagement and soon started planning for an October wedding. Neither of us wanted a big wedding, so 2 months was plenty of time for us to plan. Within a week we had everything figured out logistically: secured the venue, contracted a photographer, set a date for cake tasting, chose our wedding rings, and hunted for the perfect ceremony location.
We went to Jared for our wedding bands. Blue is my favorite color and sapphires are beautiful, so I knew that I wanted a sapphire ring. I ended up with a beautiful gold band with alternating sapphires and diamonds. The two of the three diamonds that were removed were turned into a set of earrings. The third diamond is going to be used for probably a pendant later on. Greg really loved the two tone look and chose a band that is gold on the outer edges and silver in the center. They suit each other quite well, we think! We also had the rings engraved with a phrase that relates to our love of books, and fairy tales, in particular: Once upon a time… R&G
We had a very private ceremony officiated by the woman who, for all intents and purposes, is a mother to me: Kathy. The only attendees were our witnesses: Greg’s brother, Eric, and my best friend, Jen. The five of us (plus our photographer) gathered in a clearing next to a lake in a local forest preserve on a gorgeous, sunny October morning. The date, October 10th, was already special to me because it is the date of my grandfather’s birth and death. Kathy performed our hand fasting ceremony and Eric and Jen each did a reading. It was a very special moment full of happy tears and laughter. The following set of twelve ceremony photographs were done by Kari at Essence Photo + Video and are being shared for personal use.
For the reception, we came up with idea to turn it into an adventure game with quests. We kept the reception very small – there were 50 people, including us. The location was Level 257 – one of our favorite restaurants. Level 257 is by NAMCO, the company behind Pac-Man. The restaurant is a “resto-lounge with boutique bowling and vintage/modern games. All-chef prepared fresh food, craft beer and cocktails.” Greg and I went there often and usually had the same server, Jeff – he’s great. We worked with Michelle, Ashley, and Cameron at Level 257 to secure the date, figure out menus, etc. The entire experience was amazing.
To turn the reception into an adventure quest, we sent out invitations that read like game encounter prompts for a new quest.
The guest favors were what really pulled the game together. We created many favors ourselves: chainmaille dice bags for every guest, a quest scroll for every guest, a program designed as a rule book, table name cards, guest seating cards, and zone labels. Greg made every chainmaille dice bag by hand – each one taking, on average, 90 minutes to complete.
I put together the graphics and layout for the invitations, thank you cards, rule book, quest scrolls, and table cards. We decided to number the dining tables with cards from the game Love Letter. AEG has a special Love Letter: Wedding Edition that you can only get by contacting them and sending a copy of your invitations to them. We got enough copies of the game to give one to each family and based our table themes on the Love Letter: Wedding Edition cards. It worked out perfectly because there are 8 different cards in the game and we had 8 tables. We used various game symbols next to each guest’s name to indicate their meal choice for the servers. The following set of six reception photographs were done by Kari at Essence Photo + Video and are being shared for personal use.
The quest scrolls included a list of quests that were available to complete during the reception, such as: getting a photo with the bride and groom, building a house of cards, playing an arcade game, etc. Because we kept the reception small, we were able to include quests that would get us interacting with every single person there in several ways.
The rule book included all the things one would expect to see in a rule book for a board game: components list, how to play, designer/publisher information, and a FAQ section. We also designated a social media hashtag for the event: #rngwedquest2015. Click on the photos below to read the rule book!
We used blank dice and playing cards as our Guild Charter (guest book) and had guests create custom dice for us and leave notes on cards. (Click on the images to view larger)
My friend, Jen, also made some awesome chocolate candies for us! She and I spent an afternoon wrapping and decorating them all.
We had custom dice created and ordered red and blue meeples. Each guest got two custom dice, a red die, and a blue die in their dice bags. One of the quests required guests to seek each of us out to recruit new guild members. The new recruits were the red and blue meeples: blue for me and red for Greg.
The cake topper was one of our favorite things about the reception. We worked with Rhoda at Blue Butterfly Design to create a piece that reflected our love of games and cats. When searching for cake toppers I found a sample that she did of two people playing Settlers of Catan. I immediately contacted her to inquire about customization. Rhoda was AMAZING. She included specific details down to the difference in eye color between our four cats. She made the dress reflect my actual wedding dress. The personality of our cats is evident in the piece, as well. We could not be more thrilled. The topper is now in a display case in our game room.
And, to wrap this up, I want to share a few photographs from our reception. The following set of 27 reception photographs were done by Kari at Essence Photo + Video and are being shared for personal use.
None of these vendors paid for a review, I am sharing them because we were so happy with everything.
Officiant, Attorney for Estate/Life Planning: Kathy McNeely-Johnson
Wedding Planning Tool: Wedding Wire
Wedding Bands: Jared, The Galleria of Jewelry in Algonquin, IL
Wedding Photography: Kari at Essence Photo + Video
Wedding Cake: Deerfields Bakery
Cake Topper: Blue Butterfly Designs
Ceremony Venue: Busse Woods
Reception Venue: Level 257
Love Letter: Wedding Edition: AEG
Custom Dice: Las Vegas Wedding Favors
Large 2in Dice: Wondertrail
Giant Wooden Dice: Backyard Dice
Meeples: Meeple Source
Bride Dress: Raise a Glass to Classy Dress on ModCloth
Bride Shoes: Mew and Me Forever Heel in Slate on ModCloth
Green Cloak: Bad Wolf Costumes