Courtney and Billy met through mutual friends in 2013. They saw each other a few times in group settings and as they got to know each other, they starting spending more time together one and one. They never really had a first date, just a perfect natural evolution from friendship to romantic love.
Courtney is the manager of the beautiful event venue The Landing 1841. For the proposal, Billy arranged everything with Courtney’s boss to have her come in for a special Valentine’s Day meeting. They set up a beautiful display of flowers and champagne and when Courtney walked inside, Billy was waiting for her on the patio. He pulled out a Barbasol can, just like the one used to smuggle dinosaur embryos in Jurassic Park, and popped open the false bottom of the can to reveal the ring. Laughing through her tears, Courtney said “yes!” and the Jurassic Wedding was on!
Courtney and Billy married on July 7th, 2018 at The Landing 1841 in Burlington, Wis. Since Courtney works there and loves it so much, she knew right away that it was the perfect place for them to marry, but she did not want to do the same burlap and lace theme that dominates the barn venue aesthetic. The couple has an obsession with Jurassic Park and all things dinosaur. When they were planning their wedding, the Jurassic Park theme started as a joke, but they just decided to just have fun and go for it.
Your wedding should be whatever makes you happy, but Courtney felt that she wasted a lot of time defending their theme, especially to vendors. “We eliminated a lot of vendors based on the reactions we got when we told them we were having a Jurassic Park wedding,” said Courtney.
Courtney and Billy were glad that they remained true to their vision and it definitely wowed their 170 guests. To pay homage to their favorite movie, they rented the movie accurate Jurassic Park Explorer. It was parked outside for when guests arrived and the driver provided different props for guests to take photos. At the end of the night, the couple left under a tunnel of glow sticks and drove away in the Explorer playing John Williams’ “Jurassic Park Theme.”
They did not set a formal budget, but rather they just started with the things that were the most important to them. Courtney and a family friend did all of the floral design themselves. Courtney ordered pre-made centerpieces online from Fifty Flowers. For the bouquets, they added some faux pieces from Hobby Lobby and the boutonnieres were made from the leftovers.
Thanks to the floral savings, they were able to splurge on their escort cards which were a highlight of the night. Each guest got a Jurassic Park VIP guest pass with their name and table number on it. Everyone wore them all night long.
The dessert table was also a big hit. Billy hand made a donut wall in the shape of the Jurassic Park Gates. It was surrounded it with more donuts, coffee, and cupcakes so there was something for everyone.
To really add to the party atmosphere, their DJ, Stan from DJ Felix Entertainment, lit the room in dark green and the doorways in amber and he even made a custom spotlight that had the Jurassic Park logo along with the couple’s last name.
The dinner menu ended up causing Courtney a surprising amount of stress, but it worked out in the end. “I was so concerned with making sure everyone had a ton of options,” explained Courtney. “I over thought this decision more then anything else. We ended up with a stations menu that had all of the guests raving about how delicious and unique it was.”
Courtney’s favorite part of the day was their incredibly personal ceremony. She walked down the aisle with her grandmother, who raised her, to the “Jurassic Park Theme” performed by the Piano Guys. “She was hands down the most fitting person to do the honor,” said Courtney.
They were married by a close friend and Courtney’s first grade teacher and her Man of Honor’s mother performed readings. They included a traditional Celtic Handfasting as part of the ceremony and Billy’s Grandfather’s favorite Irish Prayer was read in his honor.
One of the most unexpectedly memorable parts of the day happened while they were taking photos – one of Courtney’s bridesmaids fainted.
“She had secretly been fighting a flu bug and a very high fever for the whole week prior,” said Courtney. “I had no idea she was even sick, she did not want to worry me. My photographer rushed to her aid and my other bridesmaids rushed to get her comfortable. Get bridesmaids who care that much! I honestly had the best group surrounding me.”
Courtney’s biggest advice to other members of the Big Bride Club is to be true to yourself and do what makes you and your partner smile.
“All too often brides and grooms are stressing out about making everyone else happy, and while that is important to an extent, it’s your day,” explained Courtney.
“If you want to leave your ceremony to the violin version of “Trap Queen” (ed. note: omg please someone do this) because it makes you smile, THEN DO THAT! If you want a fajita/taco station for dinner, DO THAT. If you want to wear black nail polish, DO THAT. Everyone also says to savor the day because it goes so quickly and it does. I could cry because there are so many people I missed talking to and songs I missed on the dance floor and pictures I forgot to take and moments I let slip by so quickly. Savor the day and savor the time with the ones you love!”
Venue: The Landing 1841
Photo: C.Mae Design
Suits: Men’s Wearhouse
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: White x Vera Wang via David’s Bridal
Dessert: O&H Danish Bakery
Catering: Gooseberries Catering
Bar Service: Drink Inc.
Hair: Olive Grace Collective
Car: Jurassic Park Motor Pool, Jurassic Park Explorer #09