July 19, 2006


Ok, so the wedding is in a week and a half! Holy Crap! Everything is so awesome and stressful and exciting and emotional right now that it is almost too much to handle! And Fuzzy and I are both just so exhausted that we fall asleep whenever we sit still for more than 5 minutes.

But I cannot wait. I can't wait to see all of our family and friends. I can't wait to marry the man that I love and that makes me so happy. And I can't wait to take that fat-ass vacation...

July 5, 2006

Marriage License

Erica with marriage license

On a Saturday morning, downtown Chicago is very quiet and still, but there's a small buzz of activity around the Randolph Street entrance of the Cook County Building. From 9 am until noon the Vital Records Division is open for marriage license applicants only, and Marriage Court is also open for people who are actually getting married.

To get married in Illinois, you have to get a marriage license ahead of time (a minimum of a day in advance, a maximum of 60 days). You both have to show up with ID and it's $30 cash.

Just inside the door, there were 3 different photographers offering their services to newlyweds with digital cameras and portable photo printers. One of them even had a backdrop set up. Downstairs in the Vital Records office, everything was cheerful and efficient. I think this was the best time I've ever had in a government office.

June 19, 2006

Chicago Wedding Shower

Flip flops

Thanks to Mel and Leslie for organizing our Chicago Wedding Shower and to everyone who came out and loaded us up with loot. Thanks to Rine-Stone for taking so many pictures. (No thanks to T's for kinda being jags.)

Quick wedding stats

In the invites we asked people to RSVP by June 30, but this weekend we got a little antsy and sent out a reminder email. Here's the stats as of today:

We sent 253 invitations. We have received 132 responses for 157 guests. We're waiting on 121 responses.

Remember, you can RSVP by emailing us at or by filling out the handy webform. (Or by calling us or stopping us on the street, but then I write a note to myself and then lose the note. It's true.)

And if you think you should have received an invitation but have not, please let us know. We've heard from several people that they have not gotten theirs who should have. Stoopid Chicago mail.

June 14, 2006

Thank You notes

We're trying to stay on top of Thank You notes right from the start here, so some of you may already be receiving notes which feature another Kate O'Leary illustration. I just want to say, be sure to look on the back of the card.

June 5, 2006



We went over to our friend Rebecca Rine-Stone's this weekend to look at wedding flower arrangement possibilities she had put together. We managed to make all the decisions about arrangements and colors, so that's another thing off the checklist. Also, something she had thrown together out of extra flowers became one of our main favorites, which so often seems to be the case.

More pictures of pretty flowers in a Flickr set.

June 1, 2006


Wow, so it is June 1. The wedding is July 29. That means, we are getting married NEXT MONTH! Holy Crap! That is awesome! We are so excited and love all of the RSVPs that we are getting in. Now we are in the odd waiting time--it is too early to buy a lot of food and do a lot of stuff, and most of the big decisions have already been made. So we are trying to think of all the little things that we may have previously overlooked. One thing that is 100% ready to go is the honeymoon. Oh, that honeymoon. I daydream about it every day. VACATION!

Less than 2 months to go...I am going to milk this engaged/ wedding/ bride thing as much as I can.

May 25, 2006

Tussy Mussy

The word(s) of the day is Tussy Mussy.

What's, the heck indeed, is a Tussy Mussy?

It's a bouquet holder.

And, it turns out, it's absolutely essential for the mother of the bride.

For the mother of my bride, anyway, and that's all I need to know.

May 22, 2006

Vicksburg Post

Vicksburg Post May 14, 2006

From the May 14, 2006 Vicksburg Post:

Reid, Gerdes to exchange vows July 29 in Chicago

David and Patricia Reid of Vicksburg announce the engagement of their daughter, Erica Noelle, to Fuzzy Gerdes of Chicago, Ill. Mr. Gerdes is the son of Donald and Rach[a]el Gerdes of Austin, Texas.

Miss Reid is the granddaughter of the Juanita Bane and the late George Bane and Norma Reid and the late George Reid, all of Vicksburg.

Mr. Gerdes is the grandson of the late John and Tina Ahlrichs of Rockwell City, Iowa, and the late Ed and Bertha Gerdes of Forest City, Iowa.

The bride-elect is a graduate of Warren Central High School. She receive[d] an associate's degree in theater from Hinds Community College.

Miss Reid is an actress, comedian and choreographer.

The prospective groom is a graduate of Pembroke High School in Adelaide, Australia. He received his bachelor's degree in computer science from Purdue University.

Mr. Gerdes is a network analyst with Playboy Enterprises.

The wedding will be July 29, 2006, at 3036 N. Lincoln Ave., in Chicago. All relatives and friends are invited to attend.

May 16, 2006



Well, Invitation Day stretched into Invitation Long Weekend, but this morning I mailed out 250ish invitations. The same thing applies as to the Save The Date card -- if you think you're invited, you're invited, so if you don't get your invite in a week or so, let me know -- it's likely lost in the mail. It's not because we didn't invite you. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

(Lordy -- 250 invites! Just between you and me, I'm sure I have forgotten to invite some dear, close friend of mine. Just because it's too many names to think of all at once.)

May 14, 2006

Invitation Day

Today is invitation day! We're making the big push to get the invitations printed and addressed and collated and mailed. Erica's in the dining room addressing envelopes. By hand! She's up to the Ses. When you get your invite, please admire her lovely penpersonship.

I'm in the office sheparding 270 invites through the printer. (And getting caught up on the show with zefranks.) I've printed all the fronts and now I'm sending them all back through the printer, which is going pretty well except for the occasional paper jam because the card stock got curved a little going through the printer the first time. Then it's just information sheets and RSVP notes. Hmm... we might be up late.

The invitation features an awesome illustration by the awesome Kate O'Leary. If you want to be surprised when you get the invite, don't follow the "read more" link...

Continue reading "Invitation Day" »

Vicksburg Post

If you live in Vicksburg, Mississippi (and who doesn't?) you can pick up a copy of today's Vicksburg Post and see our beaming faces smiling at you to announce our engagement and wedding to all of Vicksburg society.

We originally sent them our "eyes peeking over the edge" engagement photo, which got Erica a phone call from the V'burg Post staff telling her that they can't print "non-traditional photos" because then everyone would want to have non-traditional photos. Great, say I, welcome to the 21st Century. But they were not swayed by any of Erica's arguments, so we ended up sending them a more normal picture.

Erica tells me that in Mississippi people often don't send out wedding invitations, they just print their announcement in the paper and say "all welcome". So, if anybody from Vicksburg wants to just show up, well, the more the merrier.

May 10, 2006


Thanks to Steve for helping me with the JavaScript so that when you "regretfully decline" you can't enter a number of people who are not coming.

That little form below is part of the mad rush to get the invitations out. I'm including a URL in some of the invitations, and so the form had to be up before people got the invitation and tried to go to it.

There are some wedding traditions that are awesome and really speak to us about our upcoming celebration of our commitment. Rings, for example, and the exchanging thereof, are great. There are other traditions that are right out. "Who gives this woman away?" Boo. I'm not trading Erica's dad three cows and a chicken for her hand in marriage.

But then there are a whole mess of traditions and expectations that we have no strong feelings about one way or the other. Cake? Eh. We love dessert, but I'm not sure either of feels any great need to have a giant wedding cake. (I, for one, really don't like most cake.)

Now any time you mess with traditions (and ignoring the whole notion that tradition was invented in the 19th century) there will be some people who are offended. If you're offended by any change, I'm not sure I can help you. But we do recognize that people differ and what for us is an Eh-tradition, might be a Really Important-tradition for someone else. If that's the case, and we diddle with something at our wedding that you think is just too much, please be kind and realize that we never mean to offend -- we're just trying to make our wedding day special for us, while balancing the needs and expectations of our friends and family.

All of that is prompted by the RSVP -- we're doing something for our wedding that I think some people might think is a breech of etiquette, but we're willing to take the risk and push the envelope. Most people will NOT be getting a return envelope for the RSVP in their invite. Instead, they'll be getting a slip of paper that asks them to reply via email to or to visit and RSVP electronically.

We know that not everyone has a computer, so we went through our entire invite spreadsheet and divided it into Hi-tech and Low-tech (if you're reading this, you're most likely in the Hi-tech group). Low-tech people get a reply envelope. Hi-tech people get pointed here. And we'll take what would have been all those 39¢ stamps and turn them into cake (or other desserts. For me.)

May 8, 2006


Fuzzy in a tux

This is exactly and precisely what I'm going to look like in my new Calvin Klein 2-button tuxedo.

Actually, we fit Men's Wearhouse into our Sunday errands outing, so I was trying on tuxes in an I Am Ten Ninjas t-shirt and a Lucky Charms baseball cap. Oh, and two days unshaven. Classy.

We decided that buying made sense over renting because, hey, tuxedo. I've already gotten so much use out of my $10 tuxedo, that having an actual, fancy one makes a lot of sense.

The rest of our Sunday errands were concerned, primarily, with ever-larger-spiraling organizational systems for our home office. We're going to print the wedding invitations ourselves, so it made perfect sense to buy a color laser printer (an HP LaserJet 2600N since you asked). But then we couldn't just set it up in the office until we'd cleaned off my desk. And if we're going to clean off my desk, we might as well coil and velcro all of the loose cables in the office. And buy all new bins to replace the moving boxes everything is sitting in. And get a label-maker to label all those bins. And... you get the picture.

(Oh, and... make blog posts instead of finishing that project.)

May 3, 2006

More Registries!

This whole registering thing is a blast. For those of you who live in the Southeast--well, Mississippi-- we have registered for our dishes at Belk (formerly McRaes, may it rest in peace).

Registry ID 101458647
Since there are a few Erica Reids getting married this year, I find it is easier to search under Fuzzy's name. Cause there is no one like him.

May 2, 2006

Thanks, Target

Chillin' while Registerin'

On Saturday we went over to Target to replicate our Bed Bath & Beyond registry for friends who might only have a Target in their area. And it's hard to turn down a visit to Target (Choxie!).

When you hand back in the scanner gun, it's supposed to take less than 10 minutes for your selections to show up in your online registry. When ours hadn't shown up 3 hours later, I sent an email to customer service through the Target website. I was rather impressed when I received a reply just 20 minutes later from what seemed to be a real person. Of course, that person said they'd have to hand my problem off to a registry specialist, and it took until today for that registry specialist to get back to me. But today, thanks to the efforts of Target researcher Peggy, our registry items are back under our name (they were on someone else's registry -- I'm surprised they didn't notice the sudden appearance of 117 new items, including two monkey lamps and a bug vacuum).

So... Target Club Wedd, search for Erica Reid, Illinois.

April 25, 2006

The Ceremony!

Last night, we went over to Sara McGuire and Erik Schnitger's house for fish sticks and wedding planning. I am honored to have Sara perform our ceremony (sidenote: how blessed are we that we can have our best friends involved with so many aspects of the wedding? Answer--VERY blessed), and I wouldn't want it any other way. It was so fun, crazy, and nervewracking all at the same time deciding what perfectly suits Fuzzy and I best with our personalities, beliefs, and humor. I got so nervous! But it was a great productive meeting and I am so thrilled with what we have come up with. The wedding is truly going to be amazing.

And Sara and Erik made their own tartar sauce! It was delicious!

April 19, 2006


Erica and the registry gun

As something of a shy person, registering, that is, telling people what you want to get as presents for your wedding, makes me vaguely uneasy. I don't want to seem greedy. And I wasn't really sure how much stuff we needed. I mean, Erica and I have each lived on our own for many years. And if you've been over to the house you know we have plenty of stuff. But family and friends have been asking where we were registered, sometimes repeatedly.

So last night we made a mature decision to cancel our reservations for Chicago Underground Comedy and went over to Bed Bath and Beyond and got some by-gum registering done.

Fuzzy pretends to register for a pan

Somehow in my head I was thinking of registering like it was "shopping". I mean, I can get in and out of a store pretty efficiently, so I was figuring on being there maybe an hour. We were there 3 hours and part of that was just because I was getting worn out and hungry, so I think we zoomed through towels perhaps faster than we might have otherwise.

It's exhausting making all those choices. And the endless possibilities. We registered for a couple of things (a Dyson vacuum cleaner!) that no one's going to get us. Unless they do...

So we're registered for a bunch of stuff at BB&B (registry # 2309651). When we finally got home, I got online and deleted a bunch of stuff from that registry, and then made registries at Target (search for Bride, Erica Reid, Illinois) and Amazon. There isn't really anything in those yet, but maybe we'll fill those out during ANTM tonight.

April 11, 2006

It's not just a wedding, it's a 'project'


Erica and I had a dinner meeting tonight, before going to see a play, to get down on paper some of our wedding to-do list items, because it is, after all, April, and we've been telling everyone we'd have wedding answers for them in April. Heck, we've been telling ourselves we'd have wedding answers in April.

We ended up with a couple of notebook pages with the start of to-do lists on them, and I thought I'd throw them into a Word document tonight. But we've also got a couple of Excel charts of people's addresss and such that we've been trading back and forth over email. Those have been problematic, because we keep losing track of who has the latest version of the files. So I went looking for a simple document-management system that I could install on my website, to let us share and manage these few documents. Well, in the course of looking for that I came across Basecamp and I ended up setting up a Basecamp project for our wedding. Basecamp is a web-based, hosted project management and collaboration tool and it's got Milestones and To-Do Lists and File-Storage -- everything needed for a simple wedding planner. And 37signals is Chicago-based.

Half-way through setting up the project, Erica remembered that The Knot has similar checklists and such, and they are of course already wedding-centric. But Basecamp is so easy to use that I think anyone could take one of those wedding-books-that's-really-just-a-bunch-of-checklists and turn it into a Basecamp project in a half an hour or so.

April 5, 2006

Wedding Rings!

Wedding Rings, Ours

We picked up our wedding rings last night!

(And because I promised that we wouldn't leave them out of the story, Dayna LaRosa and John Mulhern happened to be walking by just as we got to Holtzmann's and they came in and congratulated/made fun of us (respectively). Then they went to have pizza at Cafe Luigi which they claim is the best (NY-style) pizza in Chicago. Noted.)

NOW we can get married at any moment. I mean, we're going to wait until July 29, but if we wanted to we could run downtown today to city hall, slip on those puppies and boom ... married-town.

They're both red gold. Erica's has an engraved pattern and little diamond chips. Mine is a "fibreglass" finish, which was a mistake (it was supposed to be matte) but I decided I liked it. You keep a fibreglass finish fresh by attacking your ring with a Scotch-Brite(tm) scour pad (or as we call it -- a "green scrubby") and they even gave me a little square of one. Which is just... manly. No fancy chemicals or micro-fibre cloths for me -- I clean my ring with an industrial scrubbing product. Boom.

April 4, 2006

Our Hotel

We also checked off a wedding planning item tonight when we made a reservation for ourselves for the wedding night. I'm not going to tell you where the hotel is, because I've heard that sometimes friends of the couple get up to Shenanigans. I don't think our friends are very Shenanigan-prone, but better safe than sorry. I'll plug the dickens out the hotel after the wedding, because gosh it's cute, and we got a "luxury" room for less than the standard room-price everywhere else we had been looking.

March 27, 2006


Now that people are getting the Save the Date card they're starting to ask some questions. Questions like "where should we stay in Chicago?" and "are you guys registered anywhere?" All of your questions will be answered. In April.

To register, for example, takes 2 or 3 hours free. In a row. During business hours. (Yes, yes, there's the internet, but darn it, I want to walk around the store with that gun.) And between all our stuff, we just haven't had that kind of time (any kind of time, come to think of it). Just when I got back from New York, Erica headed off to Mississippi for a week.

But she'll be back in April and we've cleared out our schedules. Some. (Do you know how hard it is for me to say "no" to a project?) Enough, anyway, to answer your questions. In April.

March 12, 2006


We ordered rings! Wedding rings, that is. We went back to Holtzmann's on Clark, who had handled resizing Erica's engagement ring. We had looked at rings there before and Michael Holtzmann had told us to go off, think about it, and to check other places. We did think about it, but we had such a good feeling from Michael that we didn't look anywhere else, we just went back.

Uncharacteristically, I didn't take any pictures, but the rings we were trying on were just samples anyway -- ours are going to be specially made for us. We're going with red gold, both in a matte finish. Mine will be a fairly simple flat band, and Erica's has an engraved design and sparklies. It's really quite pretty. In fact, they'd better be, to be rings that we're going to wear for the rest of our lives.

March 10, 2006

23 + 1 = 24


Did you know that postcards rates had gone up to 24¢? Yeah, neither did we. So after we stamped all those cards with 23¢ George Washington heads, today Erica added 150 1¢ birds. That, and some label issues, mean that we're finally getting the cards out today. So you should see it next week.

If you don't get a card next week, it's not because we don't want you at the wedding. If you're reading this, we want you at the wedding. (Yes, you stranger in Manitoba, we want you at the wedding.) It's because the postcard got lost in the mail, or because we don't have your mailing address and have an old email address for you, so our email that asked what your mailing address was bounced. Or something. Please don't be offended, just drop me a note with your mailing address and a cute little save-the-date card (and eventually an invitation) will be on its merry way to you.

March 8, 2006

C'est arrivé!

Save-the-dates cards

The save-the-date cards arrived today, which means that tonight is gonna be a stampin' and labelin' party! (After we finish integrating Erica and my address books. And while we watch the finale of Project Runway.)

February 24, 2006

Save the Date

Save the Date - July 29, 2006

I just ordered our Save the Date postcards from Rocket Postcards, my long-time printers for show cards and such. The illustration is by our good friend Noah and represents one of those long design processes where, after 4 or 5 revisions of 3 or 4 designs, you ask "that first thing you did? Can we go with that?" First thought, best thought, my friends.

The notion of a Save the Date card is yet another wedding thing I had never really thought about. "If you know the date your wedding is going to be, why not just send out the invitation?" I asked myself. Well, self, the answer is that if you've told a bunch of people September, but then changed the date of your wedding to July, and if you're not ready with all the details like hotels, the exact time, etc. but you do want people to, well, save that date, then you need to send something out. So that's what we're doing.

February 1, 2006

We have a date!!

Hooray! We have a space for the wedding and a confirmed date!
Saturday, July 29th, 2006.

The space is a (very generous) friend's apartment, so the wedding is going to be totally quirky and unconventional. We are really going to try to taylor it to our personalities. This is so very exciting! We are thinking it will be an afternoon wedding, going into early evening. And there are plenty of places to drink and play in the neighborhood, so the party can continue well after we leave.

So Save the Date! July 29th!

January 23, 2006

More Books

My mom went to a we're-moving-our-warehouse-and-so-getting-rid-of-all-our-stock book giveway down in Austin and she sent us a big package of wedding books. "They were free, so feel free to toss them away if they're terrible," she said.

Beautiful Things to Make for Brides (subtitle: "Clever ideas for a perfect wedding"). It's a combination of recipes, for things like a Champagne Breakfast or Engagement Party, craft projects like a Painted Pot Place Marker and a Padded Floral Hatbox, and general wedding advice like "Good health and clear skin make a beautiful bride." Oh, and here's the very first sentence of the book: "A wedding is a very special event for the bride-to-be, her family and good friends." I understand that there are plenty of grooms who check out of the wedding planning. But dear lord, the guy's going to be there.

Our Wedding, by Deanne Smith. Hey, it's not just one book, it's a box with an Our Wedding guest book and an Our Wedding Gift Record and an Our Wedding Memories book that's a pre-made scrapbook with blank pages labeled "Our First Meeting" and "The Proposal, When, Where, I Remember..." On the "My Wedding Dress" page there are blanks to fill in what was the Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue. Garnish with quotes about weddings and low-rent Monet knock-off illustrations.

I Do: A Guide to Creating Your Own Unique Wedding Ceremony by Sydney Barbara Metrick ("Co-author of The Art of Ritual"). This book actually looks pretty useful. She goes through each element of a "traditional" marriage ceremony and examines its meaning and then provides alternatives and examples from a wide variety of sources. Neato. (Is it weird that I like liturgy so much, for a guy who only goes to church when his niece is in a skit?)

Brides Wedding Book by Elizabeth Hilliard for Brides and Setting Up Home magazine. This is a British book and let's just contemplate for a moment the awesomeness of a magazine named Brides and Setting Up Home. This is actually a frightfully complete book, including under "Personal Matters" a Contraception Chart. This book comes to us previously owned, and the previous owner highlighted just two things in the book: the address for the National Association of Goldsmiths and two months' Birthstones, "May - Emerald - Love and success" and "November - Topaz - Faithfulness." I hope that all worked out for them.

The last book also comes to previously owned ("This Golden Book belongs to Ali Michel") and is the best of all:

Barbie Loves Weddings by Mary Man-Kong. Barbie loves weddings. Barbie loves weddings so much that when her friend Stephanie asks her to be her maid of honor, Barbie takes over and plans the whole wedding. At least, that's how I read it. Barbie's a jerk.

January 15, 2006

Closing in on date

We went and looked at a venue for the wedding this weekend. It's a rather non-traditional location -- a large loft apartment -- but it's spacious, public-transport accessible, and, perhaps most importantly, (possibly) available during the height of wedding-season. And weather (and landlord) permitting, we'd like to have the actual ceremony on the roof. Because it's an apartment, we're waiting for all the roommates to agree to let us borrow their place for an afternoon.

We also looked at wedding rings, which was fun. We went back to the same jeweler that resized our engagement ring. The jeweler who helped us was... opinionated. One of the first rings he showed Erica was very ornate and I expressed the idea that maybe we should have matching rings. He looked at me as though looking across the top of imaginary bifocals and paused for a moment before asking, "are you the same person?" But it was good -- we got a lot of good ideas and will likely go back to get our rings (though I suppose we should shop around). I was looking at a pretty simple band of red gold. There's a finish called "fibreglass finish" that Michael (the jeweler) was pretty proud of, that looked to me like the ring had been all scratched up. Hmmm.

And, hey, is the Q section of the Sunday Tribune always filled with wedding stuff? A teaser about wedding rings (that actually turned out to be about engagement rings) caught my eye (it's, you know, on my mind) and I picked up the paper yesterday and the whole section was chock-full of weddingy stuff. Maybe it's always there and I'm just noticing it now because I'm thinking about it.

January 9, 2006


Though we still are nailing down a specific date, we are now shooting for July for the wedding! July! The time of flowers and sunshine and volleyball and rainbows!

Though this gives us less time to plan, we are excited for the change. We now will have all of our closest family members at the wedding, and we'll also be married sooner!

Stay tuned for more details...

December 29, 2005

Wedding Books

OK, here's the Wedding books we have so far. I know Dan and Vicky have already promised us their stash of wedding books when they recover from their immenient Date With Destiny. And I'm not reviewing these yet. I just have a few seconds that I wasn't typing anything else...

Christmas present from the Reids:

Your Stress-Free Wedding Planner by Judy Allen. "Experts best secrets to creating the wedding of your dreams." Spiral-bound with section tabs and lots of check-lists and fill-in-the-blanks.

Borrowed from my friend Kerianne:

The Bride's Book of Lists by Amy Nebens. "Things to Do & Questions to Ask." Little spiral-bound with section tabs and lots of check-lists and fill-in-the-blanks, and an elastic strap that wraps around and holds it closed.

The Knot Book of Wedding Flowers by Carley Roney. Everyone keeps saying that The Knot is a great wedding web site. Noted.

Anti-Bride Guide by Carolyn Gerin and Stephanie Rosenbaum. "Tying the Knot Outside the Box." Spiral-bound with section-tabs (I'm sensing a pattern here) and lots of hip illustrations and pockets on each section divider to hold your little lists and stuff.

The Desiderata of Love by Max Ehrmann. "A collection of poems for the beloved." Erica had an early bad experience with the audio version of the Deteriorata, a parody of the Desiderata, and just seeing the title of this book gave her the jeebies.

December 28, 2005

Wedding Party

One of Erica's presents at Christmas was a "No-Stress Wedding Planner" -- which, from my quick glance, was a binder full of pastel checklists. Well, we can put a big check on one of those pages: we have our Wedding Party picked, asked, and confirmed.

On Erica's side will be her brother as her Honor Attendant and her two Rebeccas: Rebecca Hanson and Rebecca Rine-Stone. On mine will be Shaun Himmerick as Best Male Person, Kate O'Leary as Best Female Person, and my brother Disco Gerdes. I really haven't decided which of Kate and Shaun will stand where -- I may have all three of them do a shuffle during the ceremony.

December 14, 2005

The earliest stages of wedding planning

As I just said (I guess I'm in a bunch-of-short-posts mood today) we're a little breathless, between the holidays and Erica's rehearsals for upcoming shows and the side work I've been doing, but we've started to make some of the earliest glimmers of some you could call planning a wedding.

We've started saying "September" instead of "Fall", for one. And Erica has a dress picked out already (I'll let her talk about that one). And we're trying to get down to the South Side to look at this Chicago Parks facility that was recommended to us (though we're way open to suggestions on this one -- we're just looking for a reasonably priced venue where we can have a wedding and then serve our own food and drink for, oh, a couple hundred guests -- preferably with access to the outdoors so that if it's nice we can be outside, too).