Hi Honeys! Welcome to Honeysuckle’s very first Real Weddings post! YAY. So exciting. Today’s Real Wedding couple is Nikki and Trace and you guys, you’re in for SUCH a treat. Nikki and Trace are truly the sweetest couple ever PLUS their barnyard wedding is almost too perfect to handle. All of their friends and family pitched in in THE most creative ways to help make their special day perfect! Not to mention, to help them save big $$$ (scroll to the bottom of this post for allll of Nikki’s money saving tips and tricks). I’ve been dying to share this couple’s special day with you, so without further ado, meet bride Nikki and check out her and Trace’s perfect day!

Bride Nicole

Groom Trace

All Photo Credit: Deidre Lynn Photography

How Nikki and Trace Met:

We technically owe our relationship to my cousin Bradley who’s been Trace’s best friend for years. I always knew of Trace and quite honestly, I’ve always had a “crush” on him. It had been put to the back of my mind however because we have quite an age gap and I didn’t think it would ever work. In the summer of 2011, we actually met for the first time. He came to my house to work on a project with my brother and cousin. He made the first move and started talking to me. Throughout the next couple years, we kept a close friendship which turned into him becoming my best friend and eventually boyfriend! Fast forward through a very long-distance relationship through four years of college, we got engaged!

Nicole and Trace

Nicole and Trace Hug

How Trace Proposed:

It was the last year of college and I wanted to do a big trip with my best friend, Christina. I tagged along on a short vacation with her and her fiancé to NYC. The first day there we explored the city and crossed so much off our bucket list. Our last day in the city was more casual. We eventually got to Central Park and made our way up on this huge rock that overlooked the city and the ice skating rink. I turned around and there he was, on his knee proposing! If you know anything about Trace it is that he is a small town country boy who has never flown in his life. All this time, he had been planning with my friends to fly out there secretly and surprise me, and he sure did!

Nicole and Trace Sun Beam

Wedding Day:

We got married on September 2nd, 2017 in my hometown in Illinois. It was so meaningful to me because the ceremony was in my church and the reception was in my parent’s barnyard. I grew up on the farm so to have everyone I love celebrate our wedding in the barnyard was a dream come true!

I really wanted to keep our wedding and reception simple and elegant, yet unique. One way we made our wedding unique was that I allowed the bridesmaids to wear different colors/styles of dresses that fit a color scheme. It ended up being really fun to let the girls wear what they wanted!

Our ceremony included singing and worship led by a dear friend, followed by a wonderful passage by our brother in law.

Bride and Bridesmaids Getting Ready

DressGroom Getting Ready

Bride and Bridesmaids

Groom and Groomsment

Bridal Party

Father of Bride Walking Bride Down Aisle

Welcome to The Wedding of Nikki and Trace

Wedding Day Continued:

Following the ceremony, we had everyone shuttled to the farm via an old school bus that was repurposed as a party bus. I had made tassels out of tissue paper to spruce it up a little. We had a friend drive the bus all evening to transport guest to and from the reception site.

We rented a huge tent that fit about 250 people. It had bulb lights strung across the ceiling with four huge floral wreaths hanging from the points of the tent. Our centerpiece on every table was an 8” round cake for everyone at the table to enjoy. After Trace and I cut our main cake, everyone had a blast cutting into their own cakes. Different flavored cakes on every table allowed people to mingle and trade flavors. We had a wonderful spread of hors d’oeuvres and a little wagon filled with mixed drinks. We also provided a selection of wines for people to poor themselves.

Our dinner was amazing! One thing I cared about most was the food! For dinner we served New York Strip and Ribeye steak and/or smoked chicken. Last, for dessert, Trace and I made an ice cream stand and had Dairy Queen cater to top off the cake. The night also included dancing, a bonfire, corn hole, socializing, and a sparkler exit. I only wish we could relive it!

Shuttle Bus

Wedding Party on Bus

Wedding Escort Cards Reception

Menu

Tips to save:

1. Use the talent of friends/family who are always willing to help! We owe A LOT of our night to family and friends who worked so hard.

    • My sister in law is amazing at floral arrangements! Without putting a lot of pressure on her to do an entire wedding, I asked her to create the floral wreaths and the bridesmaid’s flower crowns. Splitting up little floral arrangements really helped chip off some of the costs on my florist bill.
    • My husband’s best man is so good at wood working. By repurposing pallets at a local wood store, we helped make an awesome ice cream stand and a photo booth backdrop.
    • My grandmother is such an awesome cook, even better, she’s Greek! She and a handful of my mom’s friends made a ‘girls day’ out of making all of the hors d’oeuvres that were unique and delicious to everyone.
    • My parent’s friends have also gone through weddings of their own with their own kids and have many items left over sitting in storage. We borrowed and reused many vases, candles, and even our food tent!
    • My dad loves to weld. He enjoyed making toppers for our cakes on all the tables. My mom and I finished them with tulle on top. Having an outdoor reception, we had to think of ways to avoid bugs getting in the food. However, it made for a pretty centerpiece over our cakes.
    • A friend of a friend is really good at photography! Instead of paying for a photo booth, I hired him to take pictures of the guests against a backdrop wall we made from pallets. This is so much cheaper than renting an actual photo booth, plus a paid evening amongst friends with a free meal is hard to say no to! Dollar tree provides super easy and cheap props as well.
    • A good friend is amazing at calligraphy! She helped make signs for our wedding and reception.

Cake/Center Piece

  • Dairy Queen Ice Cream Stand

2. Buy in bulk

      • Buying flowers in bulk from Kroger’s saved us a lot. We ordered bulk eucalyptus and baby’s breath to use on signage, buffet tables, gifts table, and for vases down our aisle.
      • Amazon, amazon, amazon. We bought a lot of our napkins, hors d’oeuvres plates/utensils, etc. all in bulk for a pretty reasonable price.

3. Use centerpieces that are multipurpose. Instead of stocking up on a bunch of centerpieces that will never be used again, we put cakes on every table. This allowed such an easy flow into dessert time. Everyone enjoyed cutting into their own cake and serving amongst the table. It was fun to use different flavors, allowing people to get up, mingle, and trade.

Wedding Party Table

4. Use a second shooter! I really wanted this one photographer, however she was on vacation during my wedding. She offered me to use her second shooter (who has worked with her for years) for a cheaper price. She still edited all of the pictures and they came out so perfect!

5. Don’t be afraid to be open and honest with your vendors. One thing I really wanted was a videographer, but we couldn’t justify the price with our budget. Talking about this situation with this vendor, he actually wiggled close to my budget.

6. Etsy! I used Etsy for my ceremony programs and it was way more affordable than creating them online from a website. I downloaded a template and used my church’s printer to print enough for all the guests.

Program

Farm and Reception

Cake Cutting

Vendors:

Photographer: Deidre Lynn Photography

Florist: Fancy Florals by Nancy

Videographer: Benjamin Foote CP

Rental company: Let’s Party Rental and Morton Rentals

DJ: Complete Wedding Events

Dress: Michelle’s Bridal

Bakery: Caleri’s Bakery

Bride and Groom Looking Off into Sunset

Wasn’t their day a total dream? I love Nikki and Trace’s love story and wish them nothing but the best! If you want your special day featured too, click HERE.