My heart is so happy because I have another sweet as honey couple to share with you today! Today’s Real Wedding lovies are Rachel and Jerad. Their story is so touching! Make sure to read allll the way to the bottom because I threw in a lil’ surprise (hint hint a video)! Without further ado, meet bride Rachel and and her sweet hubby, Jerad!

Rachel and Jerad Wedding

Rachel and Jerad Wedding - Couple Dancing

All Photo Credit: Arrow Works Co.

How Rachel and Jerad Met:

Jerad and I met at the beginning of 2015 through a college christian ministry at Illinois Central College and Bradley University called Cru. Jerad was working for Cru and I was a student at ICC finishing up the PTA program. I finally had a conversation with him after months of trying to figure out a reason to go introduce myself! We were both a part of a spring break trip with Cru to Panama City Beach, Florida where we got to have conversations with people on the beach and share our faith in Jesus. I fell in love with the way he cares for people and loves the Lord! We got to know each other over the next few months and started dating in the fall after I graduated!

Rachel and Jerad Wedding - DressRachel and Jerad Wedding - Flowers Rachel and Jerad Wedding - Groom's shoes, tie, watchRachel and Jerad Wedding - Couple embracingHow Jerad Proposed:

I knew it was coming, but I didn’t know when, where, or how. On May 15th, 2017, Jerad picked me up for what I thought was just a normal date. We wanted to stop by the house where I grew up because my parents were getting ready to rent it out again. Jerad and I had talked about the possibility of moving there if we got married so I wanted to give him a tour. We went around the house to go in the back door and then I turned the corner I saw 3 roses sitting on the back porch. Everything after this is a bit of a blur. I remember Jerad telling me why he loved me and wanted to marry me, I remember crying, I remember him getting down on his knee and not being able to see the ring through my tears of joy, and I remember saying YES! The rest of the night consisted of stopping by our parents’ houses, eating dinner at the restaurant where we had our first date, and Jerad taking us to different places that meant something to us like the place where we first said “I love you.” The whole evening was so thoughtful and romantic and I will remember it forever! We did end up moving into that house after we got married which makes our proposal story even sweeter. It’s the place where we got engaged and also the house where we have started our lives together!

Rachel and Jerad Wedding - bride and bridesmaids Rachel and Jerad Wedding - groom and groomsmen Rachel and Jerad Wedding - wedding party

Wedding Day:

Our wedding was on October 28th, 2017. The ceremony was at Living Waters Church in Peoria, IL. and the reception was at Countryside Banquet Facility in Washington, IL. We had about 315 people at our wedding. We had a pretty traditional ceremony where the pastor talked a little about our story, read from Ephesians, and reminded us that marriage is a gift from God and is meant to reflect Christ’s love for us! Our reception was exactly how I always pictured it with lights strung up in the tent and tables filled with flowers and candles. It was the most fun day I’ve ever experienced with all the people in our lives that mean so much to us.

Rachel and Jerad Wedding - wedding venueRachel and Jerad Wedding - ceremony kiss Rachel and Jerad Wedding - couple leaving ceremony hand in hand

Tips to Save

  1. Amazon! We bought so much on Amazon for the wedding from candles to the beaded belt for my dress to wedding favors. This saved us a lot of money because we were able to get nice decorations and accessories for the wedding for a lower price. If you check out the reviews you can usually make sure that you’re getting nice things that don’t look cheap.
  1. Walmart cake! We decided to have cupcakes at the wedding and then just one small cake to cut. We looked at lots of expensive cakes and finally decided to go with a cake from Walmart. It was a simple white cake that we had our florist decorate with some leftover flowers. You would never know that we paid very little for such a beautiful, delicious wedding cake.
  1. Skip the Save the Date and RSVP cards! We actually did not send out Save the Date cards which saved us money on cards and postage. Then, when we sent our invitations we included our wedding website (created on The Knot) on the back with instructions to RSVP online. This also saved money by eliminating more cards, envelopes, and postage. Keeping track of the guest list and RSVPs was much more efficient online which saved me some stress!

Rachel and Jerad Wedding - couple's grand entrance into reception Rachel and Jerad Wedding - reception dinner Rachel and Jerad Wedding - best man speech Rachel and Jerad Wedding - dessert table Rachel and Jerad Wedding - reception dancing


Ceremony Venue: Living Waters Church

Reception Venue: Countryside Banquet Facility

Photographers/Videographers: Tyler and Rebekah Thompson

Florist: Jani Davis

DJ: Don Baker

Rachel and Jerad Wedding - kiss

And last but not least, the treat I promised all of you! Try watching Rachel and Jerad’s sweet wedding video and NOT crying. I dare you!

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