Page 1

18 Real ChicagoStyle WEDDINGS


& Fresh Ideas







2016-17 Edition




GOWN Florent gown by Delphine Manivet, ACCESSORIES Veil by Violet Bells, | JEWELRY provided by Razny Jewelers, | SHOES Carlos by Carlos Santana, | HAIR & MAKEUP Montage Salon & Spa,

GOWN Oscar de la Renta Ethan gown provided by Ultimate Bride, | JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, | SHOES James Ciccotti Bridal Shoes & Accessories, | HAIR & MAKEUP Bridal Brigade, | NAILS Tara Kadar

GOWN Peter Langner Asia gown provided by Ultimate Bride, | JEWELRY provided by Razny Jewelers, | HAIR & MAKEUP Montage Salon & Spa,

PHOTOGRAPHY Native Weddings,

MENSWEAR provided by Formally Modern Tuxedo, | JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, | SOCKS The Tie Bar, | SHOES Kenneth Cole, | HAIR & MAKEUP Bridal Brigade, | NAILS Tara Kadar

MENSWEAR Tuxedo provided by Formally Modern Tuxedo, | ACCESSORIES by Nicholas Joseph, | JEWELRY provided by Razny Jewelers, | HAIR & MAKEUP Montage Salon & Spa, PHOTOGRAPHY Native Weddings,

PHOTOGRAPHY Salvatore Cincotta Photography,




GOWN Harlow gown by Badgley Mischka, JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, HAIR & MAKEUP Bridal Brigade, NAILS Tara Kadar

GOWN Angel Sanchez provided by Dimitra’s Bridal Couture, | VEIL Erin Lindsay Designs, | ACCESSORIES Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, | PETITS FOURS AND SMALL BITES Wild Asparagus, | RENTALS Chicago Vintage Weddings, | MAKEUP Clarity Make Up Artistry, | HAIR Ambra Salon & European Spa,

GOWN Cadence gown by Jenny Yoo Collection,

PHOTOGRAPHY Salvatore Cincotta Photography,




PHOTO COURTESY OF Jenny Yoo Collection


Publisher’s Letter For nearly 30 years, ChicagoStyle Weddings has had the privilege of saying “Congratulations on your engagement!” And as the publisher, I am truly thrilled to tell you that the journey you are about to embark upon is one of the most memorable times in your life. We hope you will enjoy every moment. This year I celebrate a milestone anniversary – fifteen years of wedded bliss. Looking back on my own wedding day, I am reminded of my planning process and the team of wedding professionals that helped to make every wish, idea, and desire come true. It was a beautiful wedding, if I do say so myself. I recall so many magical moments from that special day – and yet so many potential disasters as well! For example, I was a June bride and the weather was completely unpredictable. It had been a rainy monsoon for days leading up to the wedding. But before I said my vows, the clouds cleared. A guest even reported that a butterfly landed on my gown and sat there for the duration of the ceremony. I was lucky, but I also knew that I had to be prepared, just in case things hadn’t worked out so well. To help you prepare, you’ll find a couple stories in this year’s magazine about being prepared for anything and embracing Chicago’s crazy climate. One of my favorite details of my wedding was my gown. It had an amazing detachable train. I was not interested in a bustle because I knew I was going to be dancing the night away. How could I do The Hustle in a bustle? It was the perfect option for me. Who knew that removable elements and separates would be back en vogue for bridal fifteen years later? We have two photo shoots that show off these and other trendy looks, so you can find your perfect gown, too. My hubby and I have decided to take a mini-moon to celebrate our milestone. A weekend downtown sans kids sounds like the perfect vacation. To help you find your ideal honeymoon or mini-moon, we scoured the area to find the best locales for a remarkable trip, and we offer some advice on preparing for your vacation. At ChicagoStyle Weddings, we want to help guide you down the aisle with ease. We hope that you’ll find inspiration in our Real ChicagoStyle Weddings. We hope you’ll find the right vendors for your event, who can take you from gown to honeymoon without a hitch. And we hope, whether you’re flipping through the pages of the magazine, visiting us online at, or checking out our social media pages, that we can make planning your fabulous fête fun and stress-free. Enjoy this journey! Your fifteen year anniversary will be here before you know it! Wishing you a lifetime of love and smiles now, on your wedding day, and for years to come!




Letter from the Editor Well, I did it, folks. That’s right, after just

2016 | 2017 EDITION

under two years of planning, I went from nearlywed to newlywed. I made more


decisions than I ever anticipated I would in my life. I learned the true meaning of


compromise. Things went totally wrong. It

Kelly Broz


was amazing. I’m going to let you in on a little secret

VICE PRESIDENT Joseph W. Chambers

about wedding planning – just a little tip from my own experience. You may want to dog-ear this page. Are you ready for this gem? I learned that the best way to prepare for such a big, momentous occasion is to surround yourself with people who know what they’re doing. That way, you don’t have to. Yep, that’s the big secret to wedding planning. If you pick vendors who know what they’re doing, you can relax and enjoy the day without worry. Let me give you an example. On my wedding day, unbeknownst to me, my crew found out that candles were a no-go at my venue after a recent change in the fire alarm system. That did not bode well for the lanterns that were supposed to be lighting my aisle or the candles that were supposed to be scattered through my centerpieces. My team immediately jumped into action. As my florists continued to set up the aisle, one sent her husband to the store to purchase fake candles and deliver them to the venue. Everyone who was helping to prepare the day stopped to help pull all the real candles out of the votives and drop in the fakes, so I could still have that warm, glowing atmosphere. In order to make the lanterns look authentic during the ceremony, my team lit the candles and stood on guard. My catering manager even ran around the venue through the whole service ensuring that the fire alarms would not go off halfway through the “I do” portion of the evening. It was truly a team effort. And here’s the kicker – I didn’t notice a darn thing. Seriously. I was so wrapped up in the excitement of the day, and they took care of everything so swiftly and quickly, that I didn’t even find out about the situation until a month later. Having an amazing team of professionals to take on any mishaps or issues really allows you to let go and have fun. You don’t need to worry about what might happen, you don’t need to panic if issues do arise, and you don’t need to make any last-minute decisions. All that is taken care of for you. All you have to do is sit there, look gorgeous, and have the best day of your life. So, to my team, I just want to express my gratitude. You made my day perfect. And to my readers, I hope you’ll find a team of vendors as

EDITOR OF PRINT & DIGITAL Kelsey O’Shaughnessy Podgorski CREATIVE DIRECTOR Judi Privett ADVERTISING SALES Kelly Broz Denise Bruscher Joseph W. Chambers OFFICE MANAGER & Agnes Romanek PRODUCTION COORDINATOR DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER Sylvia Stremming & WEB ADMINISTRATOR WEB DEVELOPMENT Web Infotech, LLC MAGAZINE CIRCULATION & DELIVERY Roger Rusk PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Robin Chambers MAGAZINE PRODUCTION Studio Graphics ADVERTISING DESIGN Studio Graphics Cristin Calomiris Wells Kelsey O’Shaughnessy Podgorski Claire Tomm Sylvia Stremming CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kendra Carruthers Katie Day Colette House E. Ce Miller Katie O’Shaughnessy Kelsey O’Shaughnessy Podgorski Ariane Scholl Lynn Tangorra FOR THE WEDDING PROFESSIONAL ChicagoStyle Weddings ® is a fully integrated marketing program to reach your target client. We provide marketing consulting services, magazine advertising, website advertising and listings, e-marketing services, direct marketing lists, sponsorships, contests/giveaway coordination, surveying mechanisms and other products and services to the wedding industry. For engaged couples, we provide an upscale magazine, a highly popular website at, e-newsletters, tip sheets, bridal shows, news, articles, advice and more to help plan the perfect wedding. ChicagoStyle Weddings ® is published annually by Chambers Marketing Options, Copyright 2016. ChicagoStyle Weddings Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any part of this publication without the express written consent of the publisher is strictly prohibited. ChicagoStyle Weddings ® is a trademark of ChicagoStyle Weddings Publishing Inc. The unauthorized use of this trademark is strictly prohibited. The information in this publication is believed to be accurate. However, ChicagoStyle Weddings ® cannot and does not guarantee accuracy. ChicagoStyle Weddings® cannot and will not be held liable for the quality of performance of goods and services provided by advertisers or any other portion of this publication.

amazing as mine. Who knows? They might just save your wedding day! With love,






2016-17 Edition







Features 226 Bold, Stunning & Dramatically Different Urban, cutting-edge fashion rocks theWit

260 Artistic Reflections Your window to effortless chic at the Boarding House

278 Designers’ Challenge


Spotlight on Style 74 Stems 98 Northern Greenhouses Floral & Event Productions

136 Andrew’s Garden 158 Yanni Design Studio 296 Soirée Weddings & Events

Inspiration from four local wedding planners

306 Finding Inspiration China patterns inspire unique wedding style

322 World Culinary Wonders Enjoy small bites from around the globe

Style Files 28, 30, 32 City Scene

“ K' Resource Guides 198 Celebration Locations Ceremonies & Receptions

212 Celebration Locations Rehearsals, Parties, & Events



Real Weddings 76 100 114 138 160

Julia and Anthony Marlowe

170 186 196 248

Kelsey and Chris Hillard

276 304 320 346 368 404 428

Allison and Kyle Hanley

Emily and Molly Claibourne Melody and Clarence Moore Sarah and Briggs Patterson Fiza Uddin Siddiqui and Wasay Siddiqui Suzanne and Brian Morris Robert Rogers and Steven Miller Seiko Phalidwanon and Kyungsoo “Dan” Kim Brittany and Roe Hubbard Kristy Lamontagna and Michael Ferlis Andrea and Sergio Mascorro Emily Anderson and Robert Nierzwicki Martha Schwartz and Jay Collen Jessica Curran and Steve Root

430 Advertisers Index

34-44 Wed Essentials 250-251 Gown Glamour

Extras 10 About the Covers 12 Publisher’s Letter 14 Letter from the Editor 22, 24, 26 Contributors

“ K' 16



NEWEST NEWLYWEDS Begins on page 382


2016-17 Edition










Categories CELEBRATION LOCATIONS RECEPTIONS 50 Trend Report The Latest Wedding Trends for the 2016-2017 Season

64 Transforming Spaces How to Make Your Event Look Totally Unique

78 More than Good Looks How to Research and Pick the Perfect Wedding Venue

88 Engaged and Entertained 102 Let It Snow How to Embrace the Cold and Have an Unforgettable Winter Wedding

116 Themed Weddings Create a Memorable Experience Things to Keep In Mind When Planning Your Themed Wedding

128 Encore! Encore! Encore Weddings Take Center Stage

140 10 Things to Remember While Wedding Planning



150 Calling On Your Team Why Your Bridal Party’s Job is Never Done – Before And After The Wedding

162 How to Avoid Becoming “That Bride”

172 Lessons from a Marriage, Year One

180 Not Your Mama’s Wedding A Guide to Getting Married For the Millennial Couple

188 Nine Things They Never Told You About Wedding Planning It’s Not All Hearts and Flowers Though Sometimes, It Is. Literally.

PRE & POST WEDDING PARTIES 208 Practice Makes Perfect A Rehearsal Dinner Guide

BRIDAL FASHION 238 Styled to Perfection 252 Playing Dress Up 272 Creative Ideas to Give Your Bridal Gown a Life Beyond the Wedding

PLANNING & PREP WEDDING CONSULTANTS 288 What Makes a Good Wedding Planner

298 On To Plan B Preventing (Or Surviving!) Common Wedding Calamities

INVITATIONS & STATIONERY 312 Simple and Suite Wedding Invitations That Wow

CULINARY SERVICES CATERING 328 The Perfect Pairing CAKES & SWEETS 336 Sweet Ideas Top Trends for Delectable Desserts




350 Things Your Florist Wants You to Consider

356 Fresh Blooms Breaking Floral Tradition

362 Table Matters Renting the Perfect Ambience

HEALTH, BEAUTY & FITNESS Hello, Gorgeous! Top Beauty Trends and Tips for Your Wedding Look


Getting Fit the Fun Way Uplifting Exercise for an Empowered Bride

PHOTOGRAPHY 384 The Weathered Look 392 Great Views The Top Spots for Memorable Wedding Photography

396 Going Organic Getting Real in Your Wedding Photos

VIDEOGRAPHY 400 Coming Soon To a Wedding Near You




46 12-Month Planning Countdown


48 Tipping Guide and

406 By Request To Request or Not to Request

412 Top Five Songs To Play at Your Wedding

TRANSPORTATION 418 5 Reasons to Plan Wedding Transportation Because Sometimes Uber is Not Your Best Option

Sample Wedding Budget

224 Announcing Your Engagement 225 Obtaining a Marriage License 274 Handy Dandy Lists of Lists 294 Money Matters 302 7 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner

303 Handy Dandy Lists of Lists

HONEYMOON & TRAVEL 422 Destination: Happily Ever After 5 Tips to Prepare for Vacay



Planning Notes

| continued











2016-17 Edition

425 Local Getaways Perfect for Your Mini-Moon

318 Invitation Dos and Don’ts 334 Sipping Solutions 335 Wine 101 345 Raising the Bar 376 What to Include In Your Wedding Day Survival Kit

415 Reception Timelines







Sal Cincotta

Rush Darwish

Rebecca Ickes

Jason W. Kaumeyer

Salvatore Cincotta Photography

Rush Productions Photography & Video

Gold Grid Studios

jason w. kaumeyer photography |

Sal Cincotta is an award-winning photographer, speaker, author, and publisher of Shutter Magazine. After spending ten years in corporate America, Sal left to pursue a career in photography and has never looked back. Success is directly tied to the education he received while in business school. Sal graduated from Binghamton University, a Top 20 business school, and has worked for Fortune 50 companies like Procter & Gamble and Microsoft. Sal owns and operates Salvatore Cincotta Photography. Started in 2008, he has built a million-dollar business focused on weddings and high-school seniors.

Rush Darwish is the owner of Rush Productions Photography & Video, an award winning production company focused on creating extraordinary work at an affordable price in the wedding industry. His background in broadcasting and documentary filmmaking has made Rush well-rounded in the business, bringing his creativity and attention to detail to the forefront. From commercial and editorial to special events, there is no detail left unturned with Rush Productions Photography & Video.

Rebecca is the founder of Gold Grid Studios, a modern wedding photography solution rooted in the foundational elements of the art. Her team of established photographers have joined together to provide amazing couples with better support for their big day. It is our firm belief that wedding photography is only successful if the couple and their families feel something when they see the photos. We can create the most unique image possible, or win awards from professional organizations – but none of that means anything if you don’t look at your wedding photos and feel something.

Jason W. Kaumeyer is a recent transplant from Charleston, South Carolina, and has been a professional photographer for over 10 years. He has a personality that clients really respond to, leading to lasting relationships. Jason relishes his role in providing on-demand creativity for a wide range of national, regional, and local clients. A successful commercial and wedding photographer, he understands that collaboration is key. Combining the ideas of what the client wants to convey, his expertise, and the creativity of all those involved results in an energy that is contagious and yields dynamically stunning images.

Bold, Stunning & Dramatically Different - Photo Shoot

Finding Inspiration

Designers’ Challenge

World Culinary Wonders

Photo Shoot

Photo Shoot

Photo Shoot







Native Weddings

Frank J. Andonoplas, MWP

Caroline Shaw

Big City Bride

Frank Event Design

The Wedding Dresser

Big City Bride

Native Weddings is a Chicagobased team of professional photographers, filmmakers, and artists whose trade is storytelling. Native is known for producing award-winning photography and videography both locally and throughout the world. Whether it’s at a classic local venues, such as the Chicago History Museum and Bridgeport Art Center, or incredible locations abroad, like Florence, Italy and Mombassa, Kenya, this team does far more than create media. Native creates a visual narrative that lasts a lifetime. Each wedding is history in the making, and Native is passionate about capturing the laughter, tears, and beauty of your moment.

Chicago’s only Master Wedding Planner – one of only 71 in the world – and recently named Event Planner of the Year, Frank has been planning, designing, and coordinating weddings for 24 years. His expertise has been featured both locally and nationally in magazines, newspapers, books, radio, and on television. His “One Wedding, One Weekend” approach gives you his full attention. He personalizes each wedding to reflect the style of the couple, as well as many unexpected and out-of-the-box details that wow guests for years to come.

The question of what to wear to your wedding is always a major decision. Trained and educated in Dublin, Ireland, as a dress designer, Caroline has built a reputation for providing bespoke styling and dressing for today's discerning couples. Caroline brings her trusty steamer, her big bag of tricks, and peace of mind for every client. They know that whatever fashion hiccup might occur, she’ll be there.

Big City Bride is the creative force behind Chicago's luxury weddings and most notable events. They provide you with the ultimate wedding planning experience from their cozy and convenient Lincoln Park studio. These trusted wedding experts will guide you through venue selection, vendor management and on-site perfection. From invitations to décor and darling details, they provide unparalleled vision, resources, and knowledge. The devoted team of planners are upbeat, professional and known for five-star service.

Artistic Reflections

Finding Inspiration & World Culinary Wonders – Photo Shoots

Bold, Stunning & Dramatically Different - Photo Shoot

Photo Shoot 24


The Art of “I Do”

Designers’ Challenge






Regina D. Brooks

Kristina Fossbakk Ferris

Lori Stephenson

Régine Danielle Events

Vision of Elegance Events

LOLA Event Productions

Régine Danielle Events is a wedding planning firm serving clients in Chicago and global destinations. They specialize in creating awe-inspiring weddings that embody your vision of sophistication and elegance. Their sophisticated eye and attention to detail result in polished events that reflect your unique vision. Régine Danielle Events' highly personalized service, partnerships with premier vendors, and design expertise blend perfectly to create both a smooth planning process and your ultimate wedding day.

Kristina Fossbakk Ferris is the owner and lead designer of Vision of Elegance Events. Kristina has built a reputation throughout the wedding planning industry for her exquisite taste and careful attention to detail. Inspired by weddings and events from all over the world, she has an ability to help clients bring their vision to life. Whether that means finding the perfect wedding favor, or designing the flowers surrounding the altar, Vision of Elegance includes the personal touches to make every event unique and unforgettable.

Lori's career started during her freshman year at Parsons School of Design, where she designed and made custom bridal gowns while interning for the biggest designers in New York City. She has spent the last 25 years building her experience within every facet of the wedding industry. She is celebrating the ten year anniversary of LOLA Event Productions this year. The LOLA Pros have helped over 500 couples design, plan, and implement their dream weddings. LOLA was just named one of the best wedding planning companies in the world by Vogue Magazine.

Art Deco Glitz

For The Love of Roses

Color Outside the Lines

Designers’ Challenge

Designers’ Challenge

Designers’ Challenge


City Scene

What’s neW around chicagoLand

A TASTE OF PARIS Bite off a little taste of Paris at French-inspired Vanille’s brand new location in Lakeview. Their third Chicago location is a quaint space that offers the authentic scene of a true European café. “We are so thrilled to be expanding our roots in Chicago,” explains Owner Sophie Evanoff. “Our Lakeview store will offer all our customer favorites, from our popular French macarons and croissants to our homemade entremets, luxurious wedding cakes, and fun Cubs cookies.” Their legendary macarons come in a “colorful spectrum of flavors,” including everything from inventive options, like strawberry lemongrass, to a classic vanilla bean. Vanille prides itself on using French techniques to create delicious handcrafted pastries. Wedding desserts and favors have never looked so delicious!

THE ART OF FLOWERS According to VEIL Event Design, a new, local florist company, couples will often spend ten percent of their total wedding budget on flowers. So, it’s definitely important to pick the right floral designer. “We are passionate about combining gorgeous floral artistry with custom tablescape designs to feature our clients' unique styles,” says Casey Cassandra Scherrer, owner and creative director of VEIL Event Design. This unique company considers personal style, venue location, color palette, and flower preference – not to mention their impressive inventory of stunning décor items – as they personally craft a one-of-a-kind design for every event! Scherrer explains, “We love working with clients who want to make a statement on their wedding day with flowers, leaving guests speechless as they enter the venue.”

Vanille 3243 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60657 773.868.4574 •

A NEW SCENE Award-winning filmmaker Jason Monroe is excited to announce the new location of Highway 61 Wedding Films in the heart of Bucktown. A staple of the city's premier bridal scene for the last decade, Highway 61 Wedding Films is an industry leader in bringing bold and cinematic wedding and engagement films to the Chicagoland area. With this new location, Monroe is looking to expand that vision by creating a truly unique, mixed-use office and studio space. Consultations are available by appointment only and will provide you with an opportunity to meet with the filmmakers and collaborate on planning your perfect day. Together, you'll dream up your unique vision for capturing all the unforgettable moments leading up to and following your big wedding.

VEIL Event Design

Highway 61 Films

2939 W. Belmont Ave. • Chicago, IL 60612 847.350.8121 •

1917 N. Milwaukee Ave. • Chicago, IL 60647 219.309.5236 •

CLASSIC MEETS CONTEMPORARY Nestled at the corner where both the Magificent Mile and Cultural Mile begin, the LondonHouse Chicago building was set on the site of historic Fort Dearborn in 1923. It was home to many jazz stars before closing in the 1970s. Today, LondonHouse Chicago has become a new icon in Chicago hospitality. It combines classic and contemporary architecture and modern designs with scenic views to create an exceptional luxury lifestyle hotel. With multiple ballrooms and event spaces – including Chicago’s only tri-level indoor/outdoor rooftop lounge – the new hotel is perfect for weddings of all sizes. This historic landmark location will be home to renowned master chef and mixologist, Riley Huddleston. With a destination spa and over 450 luxury guest rooms and suites, this extraordinary hotel is perfect for a wedding weekend to remember.

LondonHouse Chicago 85 E. Wacker Dr. • Chicago, IL 60601 312.357.1200 • 28


City Scene

What’s neW around chicagoLand


Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel 5300 N. River Rd. • Rosemont, IL 60018 847.447.4270 •


Anchored between the heart of the Rosemont entertainment district and its namesake airport, Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel offers the upscale, trendy atmosphere of a city property in an advantageous suburban location. The hotel offers a wide variety of entertainment, including a gallery of spectacular art installations by local Chicagoland artists, a live music club, and three exceptional restaurants. The convenient location is perfect for out-of-town guests, and with over 53,000 square feet of chic event space, Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel can accommodate large parties with ease. The in-house wedding coordination team can make your dream a reality. They can assist with everything from vendor selection to event design to ensure your wedding is an experience to remember.


Local favorite Wishbone Catering has expanded by adding a new event space in the West Loop. Located just one block east of Wishbone Restaurant, this new space is unique and extremely versatile. With crisp, white walls and gorgeous bowstrung ceilings, this lofty space is the perfect blank canvas for any kind of event. Some of their amazing amenities include private, gated parking, seating for up to 250 guests, in-house audio-visual equipment, and available uplighting. This gorgeous new space is perfect for pre-wedding celebrations, rehearsal dinners, ceremonies, and receptions! The best part is that guests get to enjoy the famous gourmet comfort food of Wishbone Catering.

In the suburb of Crystal Lake, two sisters work together to craft gorgeous floral designs for their company, Mayfield Flowers. Co-owners Keely Sindler and Marcy White have a combined total of 25 years of experience, and the unique connection these sisters have brings an unprecedented creativity to their business. Now, the thriving floral artists have opened their first brick-and-mortar location in a beautiful, newly-restored building. The space will offer a comfortable, fun environment where couples can get creative with these stylish sisters. “We both like to be fully involved so we’re able to bounce design concepts and styles back and forth,” explains White. Sindler adds, “Some couples know exactly what they want and some need time and direction. We’re happy to help guide our customers, and allow them the time they need to pinpoint their floral vision.”

Wishbone | 943

Mayfield Flowers

932 W. Washington Blvd. • Chicago, IL 60607 312.850.4050 •

171 S. Main St., Suite B • Crystal Lake, IL 60014 815.540.7590 •


GOLD COAST GORGEOUS For over 37 years, Zazú Salon has been a staple in the Chicagoland area. With a highly-trained team of beauty professionals, they offer brides-to-be and their crew an unparalleled, intimate luxury experience. With the opening of their second Chicago location in late 2016, the team at Zazú Salon is expanding their availability for wedding day beauty. These amazing hair and makeup artists understand the importance of your big day, and consistently go above and beyond to ensure everything is perfect. Interested brides can book a complimentary consultation to see how Zazú Salon’s style and sophistication can provide the perfect wedding day experience.

Zazú Salon 46 E. Superior St. • Chicago, IL 60611 312.573.8088 • 30


City Scene

What’s neW around chicagoLand


THAT SIGNATURE ATMOSPHERE Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse is famous for their award-winning steaks and uncompromising service. Corporate Executive Chef Randy Waidner and his amazing team have truly defined the “classic American steakhouse.” Celebrities, tourists, and Chicagoland natives love their USDA Gibsons Prime Angus Beef, fresh fish, and wonderfully extensive wine list. A Chicago icon, Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse has been hosting weddings and events for 27 years. Their Oak Brook location is now developing a 9,000 square-foot addition to house events of up to 300 seated guests, and up to 600 guests for a cocktail reception. The versatile space is divisible and has state-of-the-art AV capabilities. And best of all, the gorgeous new space has that signature Gibsons atmosphere.

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse 2105 S. Spring Rd. • Oak Brook, IL 60523 630.954.0000 •

SWEET SPOT Delish Cakes opened up shop in Old Town Bloomingdale in 2010, but by 2016 they definitely needed more space. With small cakes, cupcakes, cookies, cake pops, and more delectable treats offered daily, plus their custom wedding cake and sweets table orders, Owner Alicia Eisenmann knew it was time to grow. “By expanding the size of our location, we are able to expand our daily offerings, and our availability for custom orders,” she explains. Delish Cakes is able to accommodate more custom orders than ever before in their new, larger location. All of their delicious products are created in small batches and never frozen, which means clients receive the freshest sweets every time. And that kind of quality takes the cake.

Delish Cakes 148 S. Bloomingdale Rd., Unit 109 Bloomingdale IL, 60108 630.303.2235 •

DÉCOR AND MORE Jarrett Northern’s passion for design and carpentry led him to begin crafting custom bars, and his art quickly gained momentum. In addition to his bespoke bars, Northern expanded into tables, centerpieces, and other event products. As special requests started flying in, he put together a talented team to help couples design their big day, and thus a new kind of company was born. Northern Décor Event Design is a full-service event and production firm, providing creative insight and upscale décor for any occasion. The expert event designers at Northern Décor provide individualized attention to ensure all your floral, décor, lighting, draping, and logistics needs are met. And a full spectrum of designer products ranging from tablescape décor and floral arrangements to furniture and custom bars are available to help create your event’s ideal atmosphere.

Northern Décor Event Design 2150 S. Canalport, Loft 4A-3 Chicago, IL 60608 312.813.6107 • 32


COMMUNITY IN THE KITCHEN Located on the main floor of the historic Reid Murdoch Building in River North, The Kitchen is a true home-away-from-home dining experience. As you walk in, you’re greeted by a large island bar and community dining area. With reclaimed wood and bright, fresh décor, the restaurant has a fun, buzzing atmosphere. The bistro has room for 187 guests in total, and a private dining room with sliding wood and glass doors that seats 40 guests. The Kitchen Restaurant Group began from the roots of the Kitchen Community, which has been building Learning Gardens in over 100 schools across Chicago since 2012. With high quality, local ingredients, the Kitchen provides seasonal offerings that are sure to make your wedding or rehearsal dinner a hit.

The Kitchen 316 N. Clark St. • Chicago, IL 60654 312.836.1300 •





Watters gown The Crystal Bride,





Just Invite Me, CAKE SHOE


Elysia Root Cakes,

boho bride


Just Invite Me,


Amelia Rose Design,


Bombon Cake Gallery,


Jenny Yoo Collection,

VEIL Event Design,



Vince Camuto,



Mayfield Flowers,

romance RING

Simon G.,


Marvelous Party GOWN

Wtoo Betty gown Bijou Bridal & Special Occasion,


Delish Cakes,


Nina, SHOE


well suited


Razny Jewelers,


Just Invite Me, RINGS



Just Invite Me,


MENSWEAR Formally Modern Tuxedo,; ACCESSORIES Nicholas Joseph,; BOUTONNIERE Mayfield Flowers,; JEWELRY Razny Jewelers,


The Art of Shaving,


The Tie Bar,


Amy Beck Cake Design,





3. 4.

Rose Gold 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Simon G., Blue Nile Jewelry, Parade Design, Kavador, Benchmark,

Antique Gold

6. 5.


6. Trumpet & Horn, 7. Trumpet & Horn,


9. 11.




Gold 8. Blue Nile Jewelry, 9. Karen Karch, 10. Parade Design,


Antique Silver 15.

11. Eve AlfillĂŠ Gallery & Studio,

Silver 16.



12. Benchmark, 13. James and Sons Fine Jewelers, 14. Parade Design, 15. Parade Design, 16. Razny Jewelers, 17. Simon G., 18. Razny Jewelers,

12-Month Planning Countdown THE PLANNING PROCESS DECODED There's plenty to do before saying "I do." Our year-long breakdown will help keep you

A TOUCH OF CLASS Give yourself at least six months to choose your wedding bands and wedding day accessories. Razny Jewelers,

organized and sane throughout the whole process.

12 Months

Nine Months

Six – Eight Months

___ Choose the date and time for

___ Select dresses for bridal

___ Order dress and accessories.

wedding and rehearsal. ___ Select ceremony and reception sites. ___ Create a wedding website and email account. ___ Decide on a general style or theme for the wedding. ___ Pick your colors. ___ As a couple, create your budget. Then discuss finances with any family or friends who are contributing. ___ Choose an officiant and meet with him or her to learn about any premarital requirements. ___ Plan the guest list to get a rough head count. ___ Choose your attendants.

attendants. ___ Start shopping for men’s wedding attire. ___ Decide on the caterer, photographer, and videographer. ___ Have engagement photos taken. ___ Book a florist and choose arrangements. ___ Register for gifts at bridal registries of choice. ___ Select transportation for ceremony and reception. ___ Select hair and makeup services. ___ Look for accommodations for out-of-town guests.

___ Research honeymoon spots.

___ Announce the engagement

___ Interview wedding planners.

in the local newspaper.

___ Shop for gown and accessories. ___ Purchase a gym membership or book a trainer to develop your perfect health plan. ___ Book the musicians for ceremony and reception. ___ Interview photographers, videographers, caterers,

Schedule delivery date and initial fittings. ___ Help family members select coordinated outfits. ___ Reserve any rental equipment such as tables, chairs, and tent (if necessary). ___ Choose a baker, then order your wedding cake and groom's cake. ___ Enroll in dance lessons and plan your first dance together. ___ Select your wedding stationery, envelopes, and thank you cards. ___ Plan the rehearsal dinner. ___ Research marriage license requirements in the county where your ceremony will be held. ___ Choose favors, then order or begin to assemble them. ___ Confirm honeymoon plans and compile necessary documents, like passports, visas, etc. ___ Finalize guest list. ___ Mail save-the-date cards. ___ Schedule hair and makeup appointments and trials.

and florists. THE BRIDAL LOOK Experts recommend ordering your gown no later than six months before the wedding. Justin Alexander Signature, Eva's Bridal International and Eva's Bridals of Oak Lawn,



CREATIVE CAKES Make sure to select your bakery about six to eight months in advance. SweetPea Cakes,


BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS Bouquets and boutonnieres and centerpieces – oh my! Meet with your florist nine months before the big day to design the flowers of your dreams. VEIL Event Design,

INVITATIONS Select your stationery suite six to eight months before the wedding. DBY invitations,

One Month ___ Obtain marriage license. ___ Pick up rings and check

Three – Four Months ___ Choose the ceremony music. ___ Discuss reception music with band or DJ. ___ Discuss menu details with caterer. ___ Confirm out-of-town guest accommodations. ___ Order wedding rings and arrange for engraving. ___ If interested, meet with a premarital counselor. ___ Plan meeting for prenuptial agreement. ___ Visit officiant and review vows, readings, and music. ___ Select and reserve men’s attire. ___ Address invitations and announcements. ___ Purchase custom framing for invitations.

engraving. ___ Confirm details with the florist, caterer, entertainers, and officiant. ___ Notify the newspaper with wedding announcement and photograph. ___ Have your final dress fitting.

___ Give assignments to wedding party members and remind them of rehearsal details. ___ Confirm transportation details. ___ Notify caterer of the final guest count. ___ Review timetables and details with vendors.

arrange for someone to

Use this as a trial run with full hair, makeup, and accessories. ___ Buy gifts for attendants, flower girl, ring bearer, fiancé, parents, and anyone else who helped make the wedding extra special. ___ Arrange for facials and other beauty treatments. ___ Host bachelor and bachelorette parties.

One Day

___ Pick up dress or have it delivered.

announcements to an attendant to mail after the wedding. ___ Verify transportation to and from the wedding ceremony. ___ Deliver welcome bags to guest accommodations, if you have them.

___ Attend ceremony rehearsal. ___ Hold rehearsal dinner and hand out special gifts to the wedding party.

___ Pack for honeymoon.

Two Months ___ Mail invitations. ___ Confirm ceremony details. ___ Finalize any rehearsal and rehearsal dinner plans. Make sure guests know the time and location.

___ Confirm travel arrangements. If traveling abroad, purchase small amount of local currency. ___ Write toasts for rehearsal dinner and wedding reception.

___ Draw up a map to ceremony and reception sites. ___ Plan bachelor and bachelorette parties.

distribute them the day of the wedding.

___ Give wedding

___ Get a manicure and pedicure.

One Week

___ Prepare tip envelopes and

MEN’S ACCESSORIES Complete your ensemble with the perfect tie, tie clip, and cufflinks, The Tie Bar,

Wedding Day ___ Eat breakfast and remember to drink lots of water. ___ Arrange to get checked in and have luggage delivered to your hotel. ___ Get hair and makeup done. ___ Get dressed. ___ Switch your engagement ring to your right hand. ___ Relax and enjoy the day.


Stats from Guiness World Records. Budget info from







The Trend Report

This year, the wedding world is a bit divided. On one hand, there is a huge return to traditional elements, like black and white color

It’s a look that will never go out of style. But many couples are looking to create a more unique design that really speaks to their personalities. With bespoke rings, fashion-forward gowns, and one-of-a-kind venues, these events have a much more eclectic feel. Check out both sides of the spectrum and see where your event fits – or create a totally new trend of your own. WRITTEN BY KELSEY O’SHAUGHNESSY 50



schemes, beautifully scripted invitations, and classic black-tie events.






The Top Wedding Trends of 2016/2017









styles show off a bit of skin without being overly revealing.

Runway Style Down the Aisle Bridal fashion is entering a wonderfully unique era where brides can grace the

The world of bridal is opening up! Infuse your style into your wedding day look for


a fun, fashion-forward wedding.




plunging neckline and tattoo lace. These

If you’re looking for a more low-key kind of look, a solid grey or black never goes out of style. Make these simple options weddingworthy with spectacular accessories. A stunning bow tie and a great pocket square

aisle in color, wear a gorgeous cape, or

make a simple style anything but plain.

don a look that isn’t even particularly bridal. The styles for 2017 feature the gor-

Men’s accessories are definitely getting

geous backs and illusion lace that we’ve

an upgrade this year. We’ve seen the fun

been seeing for a while, but we’re also

socks, and we love them. But a thin, knit

welcoming beautiful bows, long trains and veils, and pretty patterns.

Man Made Modern The 2017 trends for men’s formalwear are

tie, a unique tie bar, and an epic lapel pin replacing a classic boutonniere are the pinnacle of style this year.

A cape, whether short or long, provides a

bright and fun. Add some color to that

show stopping addition to any simple

well-tailored three-piece suit or tux.

For a casual groom, tweed pants and sus-

gown. The look is sophisticated, but cer-

Maroons and rich blues are super hot this

penders are a fun look. For a more tradi-

tainly not over the top. If you’re looking for

year, and we are loving this trend! Bold

tional, black tie affair, a classic black tux

a unique style, start by adding some

patterns are also growing in popularity. Try

is always in style. Spice it up with a navy

texture. The runways of Bridal Fashion

a windowpane suit or checked jacket.

or patterned jacket.

Week saw everything from 3D flowers to feathers, and brides are loving it. Go casual with a sporty neckline, a trendy bridal jumpsuit or romper, or a bohobride-meets-Coachella crop top and maxi skirt. With floaty sleeves and flowers in your hair, you’ll be the bride of the year.

tional style on your big day, opt for romantic, off-the-shoulder sleeves and some sweet ruffles. Top the style off with a pillowy bow. For a sexier effect, try a 52



If you’d rather stick with a more tradi-




Black and Bold

To give the vintage look a modern twist,

a bit of flair. “Marquise and pear shapes

Men’s rings are staying pretty classic this

spice up the décor with a mix of beautiful

are making a comeback for brides who

year. According to A.J. Tosyali, president

metallic touches. “We are seeing a ton of

want something incredibly unique. Ovals

of Benchmark, “Shapes are round and

metallic this season,” says Ketcham. “Try

are also picking up speed,” says Razny.

traditional.” But that doesn’t mean they

metallic table coverings, accessories,

However, “rounds are still the most popular.”

need to be boring. A change in size can

shoes, or even bridesmaid dresses. It’s a

Whether you like an edgy look or prefer a

make a huge visual impact, and Tosyali

trend we hope to see more of!”

more classic style, there’s a gorgeous

says, “Wider millimeters are in as well.” A Ketcham recommends making whatever

ring out there for everyone.

thicker band makes a bolder statement. space you choose your own. “We really

If the giant rock on your left ring finger is

Speaking of bold, the size of men’s rings

embrace the idea of making your event

making you feel unbalanced, Razny sug-

isn’t the only aspect that stands out.

your own by adding simple, yet elegant

gests evening things out in a glamourous

“Darker colors, like greys and blacks” are

touches, like a custom monogram light

way. “Stackable bands are growing in

trending this year. It’s a simple way to

display on the dance floor.” It’s all about

popularity, specifically with colored gem-

make a great impression. Add an extra

infusing your own style into an already

stones,” she says. “It’s a fun way to dress

dose of dashing with a dark stone. “Black

gorgeous venue!

up your ring finger.”

stones are hot, too,” says Tosyali. “Especially black diamonds.” Rare and rich,

Classic Meets Eclectic

black diamonds are a true statement

The trends in women’s rings are mixing

piece. Plus, they will never go out of style.

classic and chic. While “the halo engage-

Vintage Venues

ment ring has been around, it’s still one of

with the trend simply moving from the gilded age to the golden era of Hollywood. “Our venue really captures that ‘Old Hollywood’ feeling, and we find our couples really embrace it,” explains Lale Ketcham, events coordinator at Stan Mansion. Add to the ambiance with custom drap-


the most popular styles – closely followed by a split-shank setting,” says Christine Razny, owner of Razny Jewelers. However, “these types of rings are typically paired with an eclectic wedding band or a shared prong or pave diamond wedding band.” The mix of glamour and something totally different creates a stunning style.

ing and amber lighting for a “soft and

To add to the eclectic vibe, brides are

romantic” atmosphere.

looking to uniquely-shaped stones to add



The vintage look is as popular as ever,


and food,” says Abby Villagomez, the third private dining sales manager at The Signature Room. Talk to your event coor-


cultural traditions into the décor, ceremony,

dinator about how to infuse tradition into


your urban event!

City Chic For every vintage couple out there, there’s

Delightful Décor

Personalized Perfection

A small intimate affair is not for everyone,

Couples are showing off their family ties

says Michelle Durpetti, owner and lead

with personal touches in their décor. “We

planner of Michelle Durpetti Events. “I

had a couple who used the bride’s grand-

have seen a return to beautiful, classic,

father’s vintage suitcase as their card box.

and elegant weddings – and larger guest

It was embossed with his initials, which

counts,” she explains. “The majority of my

made it even more special,” describes

weddings this year have over 350 guests

Leanne Valdes, wedding and event planner

and are black tie.”

at You Name It Events. “Another couple is

a modern pair searching for the perfect urban venue for their big day. With Chicago itself becoming a major wedding theme, couples are looking for event spaces way above the skyline. What’s more Chicago than a little rooftop romance? “Now that summer has arrived, rooftops are the place to be,” says Jenna Prewitt, a private

To get that look, Durpetti recommends a unique floral wall and some beautiful, customized lighting. But her biggest piece of

using the bride’s grandfather’s old ladder to hang photos of other family weddings.” It’s all about the familial nostalgia.

advice is to “create layers within the experi-

Couples are also adding a personal touch

ence for guests.” Get them involved! “Some

to their menu, says Valdes. Make selections

of my clients are creating customized cock-

based on trips you and your betrothed have

tails and bubble bars,” she says.

taken together, your favorite restaurants, or your heritage.

dining sales manager at The Signature

Couples are also looking for new and

Room. “However, there are not many

exciting seating options. “I have several

One of the biggest changes Valdes has

rooftops that can accommodate a larger

clients moving away from the Chiavari

seen lately is the use of color. “The traditional

event like a wedding, and weather is

chair and going more interesting routes

‘two colors and a neutral’ feels dated,” she

always a concern.” A venue like The Sig-

with their seating,” Durpetti says. It’s the

says. “Instead, couples are opting to mix in

nature Room offers the same sweeping

“personalized, customizable elements” cou-

whole color families and color schemes

views and that top-of-the-world feeling

ples are most excited about.

that are much more dynamic.”

Prewitt’s colleague, Gayle Preuss is seeing a trend in “smaller, more intimate weddings, with the ceremony and reception at the same location.” And to really get that urban look, she says couples are using the “in-house linen and charger plates that feature a black and white color palette for a classic look.” Though modern is the city look, “couples are more and more interested in highlighting 56



without worrying about the weather.




Seasonal and Sensational The culinary world is focused on seasonal selections for every event. “We provide

Bespoke Brews

our clients with a new menu every season

Custom brew creations are the latest in

Personalized treats are also huge this

of every year,” says Duce Raymond, man-

signature drinks. The experts at Native

year. Make selections for your sweets

aging partner and director of culinary at

Weddings saw this at one of their recent

table or dessert bar based on all your

True Cuisine. “We put a huge emphasis

weddings. The bride’s brother created a

favorites. If coffee is your thing, offer an

on seasonal ingredients.” By selecting

unique brew called “Matrimonial(e)” for his

affogato bar. If your go-to Sunday breakfast

seasonal options, couples are reducing

sister Jess’ wedding to her fiancé Hum-

is a Long John, have a buffet of doughnuts.

their footprint while ensuring that the food

berto. He explained, “This brew was spe-

If Nutella is your number one vice, a

for their wedding is the freshest and

cially crafted to celebrate the joining of

Nutella “spread” is definitely a must. By

tastiest it could possibly be.

two amazing lives. Texas-grown pale malt

the end of the night, your guests will love

and Midwest two-row provide the founda-

your favorites as much as you do!

healthy options are present every day,” says Raymond. “We make sure that every vegetarian or vegan feels just as appreciated as everyone else at the event.” He explains that his team is using more nutritious grains, like “kamut, quinoa, and farro,” as well as healthy greens, like

tion of this beer, symbolizing the unique, individual beginnings of the bride and groom. A healthy dose of west coast hops represents the place where Jess and Humberto’s love blossomed. Being something more than the sum of its parts, this brew as a whole depicts the synergetic spirit that Jess and Humberto hope to

“arugula, kale, and pea tendrils.”

exude in their life together.” That guy definitely wins the Brother of the Year award.

The Sweetest Trends Samplers and dessert trios are an excellent


way to give your guests options for dessert.



Rather than a slice of cake, offer small shot glasses or mini mason jars filled with delectable desserts, like ombre layers of chocolate mousse or a deconstructed cheesecake slice. Guests can take one or sample all of the flavors.


“Fresh, local ingredients are key, and



Classic Beauty Balance According to Wendy Woodside, owner of wendycityfaces, “The trend in beauty is ‘classic balance.’” She recommends keeping foundation to a thin layer (no airbrushing) to get a dewy, glowing look that feels natural. Use highlighting rather than contouring to brighten the face. Then, balance that with a fun pop of color. Woodside believes that balance comes in

look for photos,” she explains. “But neither is packed-on, cakey makeup. A professional will help to find the right products for your skin.”

Modern Stationery Color block is in for wedding stationery this year. The look is bold, but simple – and definitely chic. Gold or other metallic foil accents pop off the paper when placed with rich blocks of blue or deep purple.

A great smoky eye is a lovely bridal style. Woodside recommends using “brownreds, red-corals, red-golds and navy liner. It’s a great look for bridal.” She also warns

Bridal Boudoir

that brides should stay away from greys

Super sexy and fiercely fun, boudoir

and whites on their lids. “There must be a

photography is still skyrocketing in its

mid-tone with some warm colors.”

popularity. “Women feel more empowered

Pattern is everywhere – from large, water-

than ever about their bodies and are

color-esque floral designs to thin, metallic

willing to do something a little more out-

geometric shapes. To keep it from feeling

side their comfort zone,” says Alicia

overwhelming, add pattern in just a few

Johnson, owner of Flirty Martini Boudoir

Calligraphy and handwriting-inspired fonts are still popular for invites and envelopes. It’s a chic style that feels ultra modern, without losing the sophistication of traditional script fonts. Alternatively, Dottie Bucaro, store manager of Marvelous Party is seeing a return to



your pieces a solid, corresponding color.


places, like the envelope liner and the back of the invitation. Leave the rest of


moderation. “Totally natural is not a good

Photography. “Women now realize there are many types of beauty.” Johnson recommends selecting a female photographer who shoots in an editorial style at a great location. When it comes to selecting an outfit, she says some of the stereotypical outfits have become a little cliché. “Wearing an oversized sweater with a lacy bra underneath, sporting Calvin Klein underwear, or just donning a

elegance with simple designs and traditional

sexy blouse left slightly unbuttoned seems

black ink. “We’ve found that people tend

to be the norm,” she says. “Clients are

to be going for simpler, cleaner invitations,”

bringing a bit of their own style to the ses-

she says. “The basics are the trend –

sions, which makes their images much

ivory and white paper with black ink.”

more personal.”


can still all squish to the center to get that

people dancing is to lead by example.

climbing-on-top-of-each-other look. We

“Get out on the dance floor,” he says.

suggest lifting someone up at the last

Dancing the Night Away

“Dancing often follows the enthusiasm of

minute. Best surprise face ever.

As millennials are taking their place in the

the bride and groom, so take the lead.”

wedding spotlight, bands and DJs are truly starting to cater to their style. Richard Gintowt, owner of All Ears DJ, says, “It's not uncommon for me to spin heavy doses of artists like Calvin Harris, DJ Snake, Major Lazer, DJ Khaled, DJ Mustard, Drake, The Chainsmokers, Fetty Wap, and The Weeknd for younger crowds.” The goal is to ensure everyone in the crowd is on their feet the whole night. Gintowt says he’s getting a lot of requests

The New Photo Booth “Hard prints are just yesterday’s news,” says Nick Stoianof, founder of AirBooth Social. We all love a good photo booth, but the strips of images are sometimes a little unwieldy when you’re trying to squeeze them into your tiny Coach clutch. You don’t want to bend it, but what’s a gal to do? According to Stoianof, the answer is to simply go digital.

You may have seen social streaming at events, but you’ve never seen it like this before. “We can do live photo booth streaming to a venue’s AV system, offering a live slideshow during your event,” says Stoianof. “This encourages all your guests to participate and have their ‘fifteen seconds of fame.’” Come on, you know you want to be watching that happen all night long.

Split Trends There are two major trends happening in

for EDM and trap music. But if you’re not

In the age of instant sharing, having the

the wedding world right now – a resurgence

into that style of music, don’t worry. “The

option to get your photo booth images

of traditional elegance, and an exciting

classics haven’t lost their juice,” he says.

digitally is simple and fun. Stoianof’s goal

new rush of bold, modern events. The

“I still spin plenty of ’70s and ’80s jams.”

is to allow customers to “include family

most personalized events combine both

and friends in what’s going on now – not

options to create something totally beautiful,

next week.” To accommodate, he offers

totally unique, and totally you.

and not every song’s time and place is at a wedding. Gintowt is seeing songs like “Blurred Lines” and artists like Ke$ha pop

Wi-Fi to “enable guests to share their photos seconds after taking them.”

up on Do Not Play lists from his couples.

An open air photo booth is a great way to

“It mostly comes down to each couple’s

allow larger groups to get involved. While

vision for the evening,” he explains. “I

it’s fun to try to cram seven people into a

modeled my business on not playing the

tiny photo booth meant for three (and let’s

tired, old, cliché stuff – like the “Chicken

be honest, it makes for some great photos),

Dance,” “YMCA,” “Macarena,” “Electric

there’s certainly something to be said for

Slide,” etc. – and that’s served me well.

having a bit of space. Don’t worry, you



There’s a time and place for every song,





According to Gintowt, the best way to get

Transforming Spaces




How to Make Your Event Look Totally Unique Linens, lights, drapes – so much amazing décor to choose from! With a few simple tips from the pros on how to incorporate these elements into a venue, couples can make any reception site feel fresh, inviting, and personalized to them. “Brides and grooms appreciate a unique wedding experience – something different, something that really represents them and isn’t just a carbon copy of something they’ve seen before,” says Tiffany Munster, owner of Soirée Weddings & Events. Frank J. Andonoplas, MWP and owner of Frank Event Design, says it’s important to take a couple’s vision for their big day and room logistics into account when designing décor. “I start with looking at the whole space, including the walls, floors, and ceiling. Then I work my way in, designing the room with unexpected shapes and textures,” says Andonoplas.

Lighting Lighting quickly adds flare to any room and is the number one thing planners and designers recommend using to transform spaces. “You take a blank-slate space – all white walls or a wood loft or a room with ornate décor – and if you use different lighting effects, the space is going to look unique each time,” says Gabriela Schreiber, owner of Beso Weddings & Events.




Lighting is a great way to highlight other

bowl and some tulips – and light them,

Both Schreiber and Munster suggest incor-

décor elements, such as centerpieces.

and they will pop. They’ll look amazing.”

porating vintage or modern-looking chan-

Andonoplas recommends pin spotting centerpieces for couples to get the most bang for their buck.


Candles are a popular option and impact lighting in dramatic ways, greatly raising the romance factor of any room. Couples

deliers to draw guests’ eyes upward to something they weren’t expecting. “I love hanging structures, especially in a space with high ceilings. Drape swags, chandeliers,

“You could have the most beautiful, huge,

looking for just a little bit of light from their

elevated centerpieces and if they’re not

candles can use simple votives. “What I’m

pin-spotted, they’re not lit, they’re just

seeing more of, and which I actually love, is

going to disappear,” says Munster. “Or

use of taper candles,” says Schreiber.

you could have a very minimal centerpiece

“There are a lot of things that can be done

Mixing Up the Room

– go very simple and just have a little rose

with them to elevate the elegance factor.”

It’s trendy to use both rectangular and


or garland. These elements create visual interest and take the design to a whole other level of engagement,” says Schreiber.


round tables, mix up centerpiece design,

Andonoplas doesn’t always put his focus

and bud vases along a king’s table or

drape walls, and emphasize special tables

on centerpieces. Lately, he’s been into

farm table is very popular, as is using long

such as the cake table or a sweetheart

utilizing huge standing arrangements when

garland centerpieces.

table with different linens.

the room size permits. “As an alternative

Varying centerpiece design adds dimension to the room. Schreiber says while most of her clients still love floral arrangements, they’re not using as many large and


to elaborate centerpieces, I feature huge standing arrangements throughout the room and something more simple on the tables,” he explains.

Draping walls can enhance a couple’s theme or cover up parts of the room where colors and décor don’t match the look. Schreiber suggests using ivory drapes because they photograph well.

elegant floral accents on tables as before.

Using differently-shaped and sized tables

“Depending on the venue layout, if there

Couples now want lower centerpieces

gives couples even more of an oppor-

are no separations in a large room, an

that are designed and arranged differently

tunity to play with centerpiece design.

intimate space can be created with the

for various tables.

Munster says scattering votive candles

use of draping, decorative structures, and



furniture groupings,” says Schreiber. “When

“I love to create lounge areas either by the

allocate funds to décor that pops is impor-

a wall separator exists that isn’t so visually

bars or on each side of the dance floor. I

tant. For example, upgrade linens or glass-

appealing, draping the entire wall will

like to use some cocktail tables, couches,

ware and opt to use the venue’s standard

instantly transform it to cohesively blend

and comfortable, soft seating,” says

silverware. “You don’t have to upgrade

into the overall design theme in the space.”

Andonoplas. “That transforms it into some-

every piece of the tabletop, maybe just

thing it has never been.”

the charger or a beautifully upgraded col-

Creating a unique cocktail or lounge space spices up any venue and gives guests a place to relax. Schreiber says couples don’t have to use traditional tables and


ored glass for the wine,” says Munster.

The Little Things Make it Personal and Inviting

To really transform a room, Munster suggests upgrading from the venue’s standard

chairs. Couches, benches, ottomans, and

Couples don’t have to upgrade every ele-

folding chair or banquet chair to a Chiavari

side tables make great lounge areas.

ment in the room, but knowing how to

or French bistro chair. It’s slightly pricier,



but she says couples are usually extremely pleased with this upgrade. Adding in décor that showcases a message from the couple or gives guests a window into their world always goes over well, too. “An element that adds a lot of personality is signage. For contemporary and upscale designs, seating charts, table numbers, and welcome signs calligraphed on a mirror evokes elegance and uniqueness,” says Schreiber. “For designs that are more understated, special messages framed or on a board can be pretty and fun. The right personalized touches make great conversation pieces that are sure to amaze guests and create a memorable experience.” Andonoplas suggests branding the wedding with the couple’s names or a monogram, especially on the dance floor. “Covering your dance floor creates another layer of detail. It can be covered in almost any color and design, so you can incorporate your theme,” he says. “For example, the dance floor could be done with a vinyl applique featuring the motif or monogram that you’ve used to brand the whole wedding.” Remember to take into account how the room will look in pictures. Choose the décor elements that give the room a wow factor and a personalized touch. “Lighting, rentals, and floral design can totally transform a space. Munster says, “When you’re looking back at the pictures, those are the things that are going to make it interesting and separate it from every other wedding you’ve been to or seen.”

To find the perfect venue for your big day, visit 72




FLORAL & DÉCOR: Stems | CAKE & SWEETS: Bittersweet | • Oak Mill Bakery | WEDDING CONSULTANT: Clementine Custom Events | VENUE: InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile | LINENS: InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile |


Alice Byskosh JaeSang Lee

STATIONERY: Magnificent Milestones | PHOTOGRAPHY: Averyhouse | RENTALS: Hall’s Rental | LIGHTING: PSAV |




It was love at first sight for Julia and Anthony, and five months after they met, the groom-to-be proposed in a helicopter as they flew over a beach at sunset. The couple immediately began planning a party no guest would ever forget. “We wanted to blend an urban, city vibe with timeless glamour and luxury to create a really classic look,” explains the bride. Julia and Anthony chose the Field Museum’s Stanley Hall because of its historical and architectural drama. “We paired white flowers and décor with gold accents, and used as many candles as possible to enhance the romantic ambience.” The couple knew that the perfect party needed lots of energy, so they brought in the best of the best. Ben Quam, a well-known in-arena host for the Minnesota Timberwolves, acted as the master of ceremonies, while Miami DJ Joe Maz, a frequent performer at Hyde Bellagio, played upbeat tunes to keep the dance floor packed. An artist also painted the reception on canvas as he watched the night unfold. “The end result was incredible,” says the bride. “We highly recommend a live artist.” Though Anthony and Julia worked with their vendors to perfect every last detail, what they remember most about their wedding day was the love. “It was as though we were the only two people in the room,” Julia remembers. After their wedding, the couple enjoyed an amazing honeymoon that took them to Amsterdam, Greece, and Italy.



Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY: Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral PHOTOGRAPHY: Nakai Photography OFFICIANT: Fr. Stamatios G. Sfikas

• •

RECEPTION: The Field Museum

VIDEOGRAPHY: Amor in Motion WEDDING CONSULTANT: Kensington Florals & Events

BRIDE’S GOWN: Dimitra’s Bridal Couture MAKEUP: Makeup by Kimberly Patterson

• •

HAIR: Blaze Salon BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Calvin Klein


FLORAL: Kehoe Designs

CATERING: Food For Thought

STATIONERY: Ashley’s Custom Stationery •

SWEETS: Vanille Patisserie

ENTERTAINMENT: Ben Quam | DJ Joe Maz | Magnificent Events TRANSPORTATION: Avital Limousine

More than Good Looks HOW TO RESEARCH AND PICK THE PERFECT WEDDING VENUE The big question was popped, you said yes, and now you’re ready to take the first big step – except, you’re not sure where to start. Don’t worry. We’re here to help!

Step One: The Initial Search This first step can feel very daunting. It seems like there are a million venues in the Chicagoland area. How are you supposed to pick just one? Begin by determining whether you’d like your ceremony and reception in the same location or at different places. “Think about what is important to you and your families about the ceremony,” says Lois Scott, wedding administrator at LaSalle St. Church. “Does the wedding have religious or spiritual significance for you or your families? Is it important that the wedding takes place in a church or is performed by a minister or priest rather than by a secular person? This will be one of the first decisions.”



Determining whether you’d like to hold your ceremony in a house of worship or another venue will help guide your choice of reception venue, as well. Once a ceremony spot has been picked, you can easily narrow down a list of reception venues near that location. Start by doing a search in the area where you’re looking. Our local vendor search option on is a great place to start. Just click the magnifying glass and select “ceremony and reception venues.” Type in your location, and a list will be populated. “There are so many venues to choose from. Try to narrow it down to the top three to five choices and focus your attention on those,” says Becky Cieslowski, assistant director of catering for The Palmer House Hilton. As you’re researching, make sure to take a few minutes to really consider your vision for the day and your list of musthaves. Scott says, “Consider what is important or significant. Do you like a traditional-style space? Do you like modern?” Having an idea of your style will help narrow down venue options quickly.

Step Two: Do Your Research Once you’ve picked out a few venues you like, spend some time online looking through their websites before setting up tours. Not only will this save you a lot of time eliminating the venues that aren’t a good fit, but it will also help you compile a list of important questions you can ask should you decide to book a tour. “Some couples will visit over ten different venues before narrowing down their options. The best advice would be to do their best to eliminate any possible con80



tenders before going out to visit the actual

Capacity: It’s pure and simple math. If the

special events coordinator of Chicago

space. The more research and discussion

space isn’t big enough for all your guests,

History Museum. Determining the pricing

a couple can have before going on venue

then it’s not a match made in heaven.

and available packages before ever setting

tours will help to keep the search more focused and stress free,” says Tara Kubicki, director of sales and catering for Abbington Distinctive Banquets. Here are some important items to research:

Packages and pricing: “One mistake we see couples make is not fully knowing

foot in the venue is a good way to narrow down your search right away.

their budget or doing enough research on

Menus: What food packages do they

the full scope of what a venue’s costs are

offer, and how much do they cost? Do

before seeing them,” says Melanie Enright,

their food choices appeal to you? Can they accommodate any dietary restrictions you or your guests might have? Parking and transportation: “Make sure to think about other details involved like location, parking access, and making sure there are hotels nearby for out-of-town guests. If you’re having a ceremony off site, like at a church, be sure to consider all the details that go along with coordinating two locations for your guests to travel between,” says Enright.

Step Three: Check Your Dates and Book a Tour Now that you’ve narrowed down your choice, call the contact listed to discuss date availability. If they have the date you are looking for or if you can be flexible with their schedule, then you are ready to book a tour!

Step Four: Ask the Right Questions It’s important to be armed with the right questions during your tour, so grab the question lists you made during the initial research phase and consider some of the ones we recommend asking: 1. How many weddings do you host per day? 2. What is the parking situation? Do you offer transportation for guests? “One amenity that seems to be important to 82



most couples is the ease of a shuttle service and hotel accommodations. If the venue is not directly connected to a hotel, it is beneficial if they work with some in the area. Providing transportation for guests can relieve some worry and stress for the bride and groom,” says Kubicki. 3. What restrictions do you have involving décor? “It would be tragic if you designed your table arrangements with glitter only to find out too late that the venue doesn’t allow it. Since the Chicago History Museum is first and foremost a museum and a repository of many priceless Chicago artifacts, we do have some restrictions on things like open flames that we want to make sure we fully communicate to our clients so there are no surprises,” says Jessica Trent, director of special events for Chicago History Museum. 4. How long can we rent the space? 5. Can we have the ceremony and reception on site? 6. What is included in the quoted prices? “One suggestion for couples is to find out exactly what is included in the prices they are receiving. Some venues may have additional costs besides the per-person prices. It is important to find out all the costs some places may charge because they can really add up,” says Kubicki. 7. What is included in the package? “Finding out what is included in the package will help couples determine their budget for other vendors. Most venues now supply an upgraded linen option as part of the overall package, so it eliminates the extra cost," says Cieslowski.




Knowing exactly what’s included will help keep you on budget. “Don’t be shy asking about cake cutting, bartending, or clean-up fees because some venues may not have those items stated in their packages. Getting estimates on the

The couple needs to pick what feels right to them – that’s what is important. You’ll know it when you see it and are in the

After each venue, go home and compile a pro and con list as a couple. Do it while

space. Go with your gut. And remember, it’s your day. Not anyone else’s.”

the visit is still fresh in your mind. Talk about what’s most important to you as a

Once you’ve decided what feels right to

couple. Cieslowski suggests thinking about

you and have found the perfect venue, it’s

“what kind of look and feel you want

time to make that exciting call, reserve

your wedding to have. There are so many

your date, and arrange your first payment.

8. And finally, the least exciting question:

[venues] to choose from in this gorgeous

Congratulations! Now you’re ready to start

When is the remaining balance due?

city, some with historical significance and

planning all the fun details like flowers,

Make sure your payments are on time.

some that are sleek and modern and new.

food, and décor.

total event cost may help to outline some charges that the couple may not be aware of,” says Kubicki.


Step Five: The Hard Part – Make Your Decision


Engaged and Entertained You’re primping all morning with your best friends and family, then you’re whisked off to a momentous ceremony, “I Do’s” are exchanged, and now you and your guests are ready to party! But what’s a couple to do when their reception doesn’t begin until hours after their ceremony? In a perfect world couples can snag a church’s or venue’s latest ceremony slot, around three or four o’clock in the afternoon, but not all couples are that lucky. “There’s only one October first, so you know the bride who booked it three years ago has the prime spot and you’re sort of left with what’s left,” says Cindy Shanholtz, owner and creative director of Effortless Events. “There are only a certain amount of choices in the city.” So, when those choices leave couples with an eleven o’clock ceremony and a six o’clock reception, it often falls on the couple to figure out how to keep guests engaged and entertained between the two events. Luckily, the great city of Chicago is just steps away, offering plenty of activities, tours, and amenities for guests to enjoy.




“I always tell couples, put yourself in your

According to Shanholtz, Chicago is becom-

If Chicago’s craft beer scene isn’t your

guests’ shoes,” says Katisha Denton,

ing a destination wedding hotspot. Guests

vibe, the city’s landmarks, museums, and

owner of Cherishable Moments Events.

fly in for the wedding, but often stay for

waterfronts offer great backdrops for an

“What would you like to do when you go

Chicago’s attractions and a weekend vaca-

afternoon out on the town. Couples can

to a cousin’s wedding in Florida? Would

tion. Chicago’s craft beer scene provides

book one of the famous Chicago architec-

you just want to sit around and have

guests with tasty tours post-ceremony

tural boat tours for their guests or charter

cocktails, or would you want to do some-

and pre-reception. Guests will love touring

a bus for a sightseeing tour.

thing a little more out-of-the-box?”

Lagunitas Brewing Company, 3 Floyds

With chartered bus tours, couples can

Chicago Offerings

Brewing Co., Half Acre, or Two Brothers

specify which locations guests should

If out-of-the-box is your taste, Chicago

Brewery. “People love brewery tours,”

visit. Denton has used this method with

offers a ton of options.

says Shanholtz.

couples that have lots of out of town or



international wedding guests. She will usually provide mini appetizers and bev erages for guests as they board the

On-site Options If the ceremony and reception are at the same venue, but still require lots of down-

versus having traditional appetizers,” says Denton. “Your guests can stand in line and try out all the different, cool foods during that down time.”

buses. “I think the guests really enjoyed

time in between, Denton suggests bringing

the fact that they were here for the cere-

in food trucks to keep guests’ stomachs

Denton also suggested bringing in games

mony and event, but they were able to

full and their curiosity up. “Food trucks

for guests to play on site. She cautions

indulge in some of the culture of Chicago,”

can come and serve small-plate versions

couples to be strategic when planning

says Denton.

of what they actually sell on the truck

games and avoid something like basketball, which leaves guests sweaty and disheveled, but bocce ball, bags, or lifesize Jenga boards can be tons of fun. Denton has used games when couples have a two-hour or more gap and the venue has an outdoor space. She once set up a carnival themed pre-reception where games were a big hit. “We had games out there for the guests to play, along with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails,” says Denton. “We kept those out all night so if they didn’t necessarily want to dance they could be outside.” For more traditional couples wanting to stick with the standard cocktail hour before their reception, they can easily work with hotels to accommodate guests. Shanholtz says hotels where couples have room blocks reserved will often charge a nominal fee to rent a hospitality suite. Couples can simply rent the room and have sandwiches, sodas, and chips available for guests to munch on for a few hours. Whether guests need a touch up after an architectural tour or just want to feel refreshed before the reception begins, Shanholtz recommends bringing hair stylists and makeup artists to the hospitality suite to style guests.

Logistics Couples need to be aware that a large gap, about four or five hours, between the 92



ceremony and reception will impact the number of guests that attend the actual ceremony. “You do lose a significant amount of your guests when you have a gap like that,” says Shanholtz.” If a gap can’t be avoided, couples need to keep some logistics in mind when planning downtime activities. Make sure your guests have food options during this time. Offerings can be as simple as sandwiches and soda or as elaborate as hand-picked cheese trays and signature cocktails. Be sure to consider the travel implications of a large gap, too. Chicago traffic is unpredictable and can seriously mess with party plans. Make sure whatever activity you have planned or hospitality suite you book is either near your ceremony site or reception venue, making it quick and easy for guests to travel. Make sure your guests RSVP in advance for any excursions so companies can plan accordingly. Make any additional activities optional, but know how many guests plan to partake in advance. Taking care of guests really starts the moment they arrive in town, not at the start of the ceremony. Denton suggests providing guests with a welcome bag upon arrival. Gift bags can include snacks and water bottles, but providing guests with lists of dining options and attractions is most important. Personalize it by giving guests options of going to your favorite restaurants and your favorite date night spots. The down time between your ceremony and reception doesn’t have to be a bore. By planning fun activities and providing a place to relax, guests will be recharged and ready to rock the reception.





Floral & EvEnt DEsign

FLORAL & DÉCOR: Northern Greenhouses Floral & Event Design | STATIONERY: Northern Greenhouses Floral & Event Design | VENUE: Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel |


Kathy Benetatos Phil Hiotis

SWEETS: Cake Sweet Food Chicago | PHOTOGRAPHY: Kenny Kim Photography | DRAPING: Modern Event Rental | LINENS: Covered Affairs, Inc. | Tailored Elements |

Simple Elegance EMILY AND MOLLY CLAIBOURNE Molly and Emily became close friends while working together on a comedy show. At the end of the rehearsal process, Emily invited friends out to celebrate her birthday. “Before I left, I kissed her,” remembers Molly. “I think we were both shocked, but that’s when it all started.” After a touching scrapbook proposal, the couple began planning a beautiful wedding they would never forget. Their sweet first look was celebrated with their bridal party. “Seeing each other for the first time that day was really a bit magical,” explains Molly. “We looked great and felt even better. It was the first day of the rest of our lives.” Family and friends joined in the ceremony through readings, poetry, and songs. It was a heartfelt service that ended with “a pinky swear and a kiss, promising nothing but love and support for each other for the rest of our lives.” The couple decorated the loft space venue with fresh cut flowers and seasonal vegetables from Molly’s parents’ farm. They really wanted to emphasize the natural light, exposed brick, and simple wooden features of City View Loft. Every detail was infused with Emily and Molly’s personality. The couple scavenged for antique vases and milk glass to add to the beautiful wood centerpieces handmade by Emily’s father. “Each table was named after a Chicago neighborhood we had lived in with a small note about our lives there.” The brides were thrilled when a surprise flash mob broke out to “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars. To finish the evening, they enjoyed doughnuts rather than cake, and toasted to their new life with delicious local brews. “Our wedding day was exactly what we wanted – fun, simple, and elegant.”


Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY & RECEPTION: City View Loft PHOTOGRAPHY: Rush Photography & Video Productions OFFICIANT: Rose Freeman


BRIDAL ATTIRE: Bella Sposa Boutique | J.Crew ATTENDANTS’ DRESSES: Various STATIONERY: BSaz Creates

HAIR: Emmett Rodé Salon


FLORAL: The Padden Farm

CATERING: Pure Kitchen Catering

SWEETS: Glazed & Infused

ENTERTAINMENT: DJ Swaguerrilla | Nathan Cotter TRANSPORTATION: Golden Star Limousines


Anyone who has fallen in their Yaktrax while running to catch the El doesn’t need to be told just how wintry the Windy City can be. Heck, come January, sometimes it’s all you can do to walk three blocks to the corner store for a few more days’ worth of groceries, am I right? So why on earth are you contemplating planning a winter wedding in Chicago? Yaktrax are good for many things, but bridal footwear is definitely not one of them. But as it turns out, the traditional wedding season is a thing of the past. Many couples these days are opting to brave the elements in order to celebrate their “I Do’s” in the middle of a winter wonderland. If you’re a soon-to-be-wed couple gutsy enough to WRITTEN BY E. CE MILLER • PHOTOGRAPHY BY NATIVE WEDDINGS 102



think outside the wedding season box,

adore winter weddings!” she says, adding

Golf Club Roisin Daly agrees. “Chicagoland

then these tips and tricks on planning a

that having an off-season wedding can

is beautiful any time of year, and winter is

winter wedding in Chicago are just for

actually be a perk. “It gives you more

no exception. Many brides choose a

you. Here is everything you need to know

options for vendors, as winter weddings

winter wedding because it gives them the

about embracing the cold and pulling off

are just starting to become popular. Costs

opportunity to have a more unique wedding

the winter wedding of your dreams.

all around are significantly lower this time

where they can do something different. It

of year as well.” She also recommends

really allows their personality to shine

reserving some of your budget to splurge

through.” She adds that many vendors

The first question you might be asking yourself is: Am I crazy to plan a winter wedding in Chicago? Lale Ketcham, event coordinator of Stan Mansion, says absolutely not. “At Stan Mansion, we



on a valet. “Your guests will thank you later,” she adds. Director of Banquet Sales at Seven Bridges

might even offer perks or discounts for their services during the colder months. “You can have a wonderful wedding day


while staying within the budget that works

whether it’s 90 degrees or freezing cold,”

ceremony and reception, and guests do

for you.” Definitely a plus.

she says.

not have to move from location to location

According to Karen Dragel, event special-

Essential to any wintertime wedding in

ist at Venuti's Banquets, couples shouldn’t

Chicago is location, location, location,

Speaking of location, what about an out-

stress about the wintertime weather.

and according to Ketcham, one that can

door winter wedding – totally insane? As

“Winter is a beautiful time of year for a

accommodate both your wedding and

it turns out, it’s not impossible. “One of

wedding. I know couples sometimes worry

your reception is ideal. “Try to host your

our January brides wanted to have her

about bad weather or snow. I like to let

ceremony and reception in the same

ceremony outdoors, and we came up with

them know people are coming because

place. This allows guests to stay put as

a way to make that happen,” says Daly.

they love you. They’re sharing in this very

they enjoy your big day. At a space like

“We have seen some centerpieces created

special day with you and will be here

Stan Mansion, we can host both your

from spruce, twigs, and pine cones. Using


during inclement weather.”


candles and lanterns as table décor and hanging lanterns from the ceiling beams add winter romance.” The key to embracing the cold is simply to let your own style and creativity guide the details of your big day. One of the best ways to let your unique style and creativity shine is, of course, through your wedding photography – and between the sparkling snowfall and the glowing newlyweds, you definitely can’t go wrong. “The idea of a little snowfall as a backdrop for photographs gets us so excited!” says Ketcham. “Add some glamour to your wedding photographs with a horse-drawn carriage ride through the snow while wearing a fur wrap and fancy gloves.” “Maximize outdoor photo opportunities with snowscapes, and highlight falling snow in photographs. Or consider accessorizing dresses with stoles or capes,” recommends Daly. “For one winter wedding, the bridal party wore UGG boots to stay warm while posing for outdoor photographs. Seven Bridges Golf Club has many evergreens, beautiful water views, and bridges for photography. In the winter, the paths are plowed to offer access to these photographic areas. Our clubhouse offers many hard landscaping features, which reduces a couple’s reliance on more traditional floral backdrops for their wedding photography.” “There are beautiful pictures to be taken in the winter weather,” agrees Dragel. “I have a beautiful picture on my desk. It’s a thank you card from a wedding last January. The picture on the card is the bride and groom outside on our veranda with a white umbrella and snow coming down. It is breathtaking.”




When thinking about photographs, definitely plan on emphasizing the unique seasonal elements that a winter wedding offers, and don’t stop with the gorgeous snowfall either. Indoor wintertime goodies, from holiday decorations to mugs of hot cocoa, will definitely add an unforgettable element to all those once-in-a-lifetime pics. Seven Bridges Golf Club’s clubhouse is fully decorated for the holiday season from Thanksgiving through the new year. Their reception space features wooden beam ceilings, panoramic windows and two brick accent walls – all of which add a wonderful sense of warmth and coziness for winter weddings according to Daly. Stan Mansion also offers glamorous holiday décor throughout their wedding and reception spaces. As an added bonus, they recently unveiled a new bar and lounge space, complete with an exact replica of the fireplace at the Palace of Versailles. “Our expert staff is happy to help you create a winter wonderland inside of our historic venue,” says Ketcham. Something you definitely don’t want to forget when planning your winter wedding is your guests. In addition to finding a venue that offers wintertime must-haves like valet parking, a coat check, and easily accessible outdoor spaces, think about the extra perks too. “At Stan Mansion, we will greet your guests with a warm winter cocktail to welcome them out of the cold,” says Ketcham. “Once, we hosted a masquerade-themed winter wedding that was complete with hot cocoa and adult hot cocoa with the perfect amount of Baileys.” Hot cocoa is definitely a recurring favorite of wintertime couples (and who can blame ‘em?). The team at Seven Bridges Golf




Club has created themed hot chocolate

Also be sure to be mindful of all the great

is to make sure you’ve planned a day that

stations complete with all the toppings as

places where out-of-town guests can

speaks uniquely to you. “Let your creativity

well as spiced hot cider and mulled wine

enjoy the winter weather before the big

shine through,” recommends Daly. “You

bars, perfect for warming wedding guests

day. “Winter in Chicago is wonderful!”

can create your very own winter wonder-

and creating a totally cozy atmosphere.

says Ketcham. “Host out-of-town guests

land, both indoors and outdoors. Be

Be sure to incorporate the weather into

to an afternoon at Navy Pier’s Winter

ready for whatever the weather brings,

your guests’ favors too. “One of our

WonderFest or a Christmas show on

and incorporate many of the things you

couples gave their guests a pair of woolen

Broadway in Chicago. Or our favorite:

love about winter.” Sounds like the perfect

gloves with hand warmers inside. Another

brunch at the Walnut Room!”

celebration to me.

gave a mason jar of cocoa mix, marsh-

However you decide to celebrate your

To find the perfect venue for your big day,

mallows included,” Daly said.

winter wedding, the most important thing





The night Clarence met Melody, he leaned over to his friend and said, “That’s my future wife.” From that moment on, the pair were inseparable. And after dating for a while, Clarence decided to give Melody the surprise of her life. While the couple was seeing a show. at the Chicago Theater, the actors asked for assistance from the crowd. Melody was selected to join the scene. At the end of the act, Clarence came on stage, took a knee, and asked Melody to marry him in front of the whole audience. Her “yes” earned them a standing ovation and a headline story on WGN News. On the day of the wedding, after some “good luck” rain had passed, the couple made their way to the Vintage Garden at Midway Village Museum. Melody’s father, her closest friend, walked her down the aisle. “I remember feeling a rush of love hit me as soon as Clarence and I were hand in hand,” she explains. “Before I knew it we were husband and wife!” The very intimate ceremony was written and officiated by the couple’s nephew. With shades of purple accenting vintage décor, the reception featured a gorgeous cupcake tower, adorable antique signs, and many personalized details. Guests enjoyed videos honoring Melody’s late mother and a short “confessional film,” in which the newlyweds gave a humorous behind-the-scenes look at their relationship. For soul mates who have been together since the day they met, this intimate and joyful event captured the love they have for each other and their family perfectly. 114


Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY: Midway Village Museum

OFFICIANT: Micheal Hoekstra

RECEPTION: The Venetian Club of Rockford PHOTOGRAPHY: Jonathon Brust Photography WEDDING CONSULTANT: Kimberly Isham-Carter | Midway Village Museum BRIDE’S GOWN: White Satin Bridal BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Various STATIONERY: Zazzle

HAIR: Christina Walker


CATERING: Penguin Foods

Themed Weddings

Create a Memorable Experience



A themed wedding is a great way to showcase your personality as a couple and add some whimsy, magic, and perhaps even a little fantasy to your event. It’s the perfect opportunity to share your interests, passions, and hobbies, and to create an unforgettable experience for your guests. If you’re considering a themed wedding, remember that underneath all the beautiful and well-considered details, the main essence of your wedding should still focus entirely on you and your love for one another. Therefore, the best place to start is to ask yourself who you are as a couple.





A Couple Of…

Joseph Altobelli, wedding account man-

it reflects you as a couple. Spend time

When picking out a theme or concept for

ager of Odyssey Cruises (Entertainment

brainstorming some of your mutual interests,

your wedding, its important to first look

Cruises), says, “Do some research, but

important moments, or favorite travels to

inward and think about who you are as a

think outside the box to stand out. Don’t

help you decide on a great theme.

couple and how you want to convey that

necessarily pick what’s trending. Pick

to your loved ones. Are you lovers of liter-

what’s meaningful to you.”

ature? Seafarers? Theater goers? Or Great

Remember, while you want it to be fun for

spend three weeks abroad on the coast

Gatsby aficionados?

everyone, the most important part is that

of Italy? This might be something you will

Your interests and passions are a great way to find inspiration. Did you once

want to draw upon when determining a theme. Have fun with this initial dreaming stage. The sky’s the limit!

Consider The Experience Once you’ve determined a theme, the next step is to consider the experience you want your guests to have. “Any time you are going with a thematic idea, it is important to have an understanding of what the experience is,” says Gary DeVar, special events manager of the Genesee Theatre. “You should ask yourself: what is the experience? Where is the fantasy? What is the whimsy? How do you want it to work into your display and décor?” “Think subtle and think simple. A theme doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be outrageous,” says Veronica Mellado, event sales manager of Pinstripes. “You can still get your theme across without going overboard. For example, you can get creative with your centerpieces, such as table numbers and menu cards that have your theme incorporated, or by offering a signature drink with a fun name or color.” Centerpieces are certainly a great way to really share your theme with your guests. “I remember doing a beautiful wedding where the theme was more on the literary side,” says Mellado. “The couple had met at a library and both shared a love for 118



books, so naturally their centerpieces

exper ience of going to the theater with

DeVar. “You don’t want the theme to over-

were books that they had read and shared.

their guests and made their invitations to

ride the emotional intent that you’re trying

They also made personal books that had

look like tickets, as well as a playbill with

to create. The theme can compete with

a short story about how they met, printed

bios and photos for each member of the

the beauty of the moment if it’s too much.”

and bound on each table for guests to

wedding party. That was a great takeaway

read. It was really sweet.

for guests.

DeVar notes that he has seen some very

“Themed weddings are about creativity

your theme is The Great Gatsby, then

creative weddings come through the

and imagination, but you don’t want the

have the champagne poured in 1920 style

Genesee Theatre, primarily from couples

experience to get in the way of the

coupes instead of traditional champagne

who have theater or film backgrounds.

essence of what your wedding is – the

flutes. Or you can even have a speakeasy

One couple really wanted to share the

celebration of coming together,” says

bar set up in your space.”


“Small details go a long way in keeping your theme known,” Mellado agrees. “If


Don’t underestimate the smaller details,

complements the style of the theme

the environment than to work against it,”

as they will tie your whole vision together.

you’ve dreamed up. Finding a venue that

says DeVar.

“It needs to be a completed thought, says

already has many of the elements you

Think about what elements are important

DeVar. “Creating an experience that goes

want to highlight will make it easier for

to you. Do you want your venue to be

from beginning to end. It’s like writing or

all the smaller details to come to life – and

more glamorous or edgy? Do you want the

creating, there needs to be a beginning,

cut your decorating efforts in half. Why

atmosphere to be more fun or serious?

middle, and end. Otherwise it goes so far

make your life more difficult than you

and then falls flat.”

have to? You already have enough on

Know Your Venue

your to-do list.

When picking a venue for a themed

“The venue already has a certain person-

theme that was selected by a same-sex

wedding, it’s important to find one that

ality. It’s better to integrate the décor into

couple. Every centerpiece had peacock


If you’re a bold couple, don’t be afraid to be bold. It can certainly pay off if it’s done well. “We absolutely loved the peacock


feathers, and all the linens and flowers were peacock colors. It was a bold choice but resulted in a wedding that their guests will certainly never forget,” says Altobelli. He also adds that what makes a theme most successful is the “passion behind it and the details that make the theme come to life.” “At the Genesee Theatre we have a stage, so if you wanted to create something on the stage for the wedding and reception, you are as limited as your imagination,” says DeVar. You can use their lights, create stage sets, or use fog to really build an experience. If you’re looking for something more mod ern, “Pinstripes is a fantastic venue for those couples that want to have a memorable, intimate reception with a sophisticated, fun element such as bocce,” says Mellado. We can just imagine some amazing vintageinspired weddings taking place in this space, and the fun photo opportunities are endless when boccie is involved.

Remember What’s Important As you start the planning process, “Have fun with it, and don’t get too caught up in the planning, or you will become overwhelmed and lose focus on what’s really important: the two of you and this new chapter together.” says Mellado. Focus on specific elements you would like to use to transform your space. Will you showcase your theme through your menus, linens, centerpieces, or flowers? Picking a few main elements can help you center your ideas so that your theme is present, but not overpowering. “Remember not to stress out. This is a day you’ll remember for the rest of your 124



life, and you want to have positive memories about the way you were feeling during the planning process as well as during the wedding,” says Altobelli. Your engagement and wedding is meant to be a joyous time, so if you find yourself stressing about the small details, remember to take a step back and remember that planning a wedding, especially a themed wedding, is supposed to be fun and exciting. “We see too many people who are stressed out because they go, ‘It’s my special day, and it has to be perfect.’ I think the process should be perfect, and the only way it will be perfect is to have fun and remember the love – and have that love when you go into the process,” says DeVar. Talk with the coordinators at your venue and ask them for their expertise. They certainly have more experience than you do and can offer clever ideas to add to the special ones you already have planned. Don’t get bogged down with the details. Take a deep breath, narrow down the long list of ideas you have, and think about the elements that will really make your fun, glamorous, love-filled wedding come to life. We can’t wait to see what you do!



Encore! Encore! Encore Weddings Take Center Stage

Weddings are tough. Encore weddings for second, or third, or whatever marriages are even tougher. Though not uncommon, it’s not often people really talk about the etiquette of getting married again. But don’t worry – it’s not as complicated as it might feel. It just takes a bit of planning.

Intentional Invitati Just because this is not your first wedding does not mean you should be printing out four invitations per page at home and mailing them in rectangular business envelopes. Pick something reflective of you, your soon-to-be spouse, and your big day. Make sure you’re including all of the pertinent information about the big day, and giving an indication to the style and formality of the event. Remember, this is likely the first glimpse your guests get into your big day – wow them. Traditionally, etiquette dictated that those paying for the wedding (i.e. the bride’s parents) should have their names on the invitation. That’s not really the case anymore. Many couples choose to pay for their own weddings. Choose who to include, text, and style based on your event and your WRITTEN BY KENDRA CARRUTHERS AND KELSEY O’SHAUGHNESSY • PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON W. KAUMEYER PHOTOGRAPHY 128



comfort zone. This is your big day. Start it

flexibility for couples, so they can create a

totally okay. “On second marriages, I have

out by showing your guests that you’re

more customized event.”

seen a trend of less traditional venues,”

about to throw one heck of a party.

Does Size Really Matter?

Medium Events – 100 to 199 For medium sized events, check out country clubs, loft spaces, or larger restaurants.

Whether you prefer a small event or a big These venues often have multiple rooms bash, the truly important thing is to have in varying sizes. Some even have the the party you want. We do suggest dis-

at various options like cozy restaurants, unique mansions, private estates, rooftop lounges, or boutique hotels. “We provide

opens up a whole new area.”

cocktail hour or reception, like a craft beer tasting or a themed event including must-

Large Events – 200 and up

space. Look into options like banquet halls, country clubs, large loft spaces, or

wear costume attire. This is your opportunity to do something you love and share it with those you’re close to. Pick something fun and memorable to include on your big day.

hotels. These locations generally offer large ballrooms that can accommodate a

Wearing White – Or Not

high guest count.

We’re going to get this out of the way

an intimate and versatile space for 50-75


marriage in a church, per say. So this

just right.

Large scale events require some serious For a smaller wedding, we suggest looking

may not feel obligated to have their second

Consider some alternatives to a traditional

process because it does have a fairly

Smaller Events – under 100

planner at Del Frisco’s Chicago. “People

option to divide a room so your event fits cussing size early on in your planning

profound effect on your venue options.

says Dana Rinaldi, sales and events

right now – yes, it’s okay to wear white for

people,” says the events manager at the

Get Crafty

your encore wedding. Ditto goes for the

Guesthouse Hotel. “We allow a level of

Not sure if any of this is your style? That’s

length of the gown. You don’t need to



wear a knee-length ivory skirt suit down the aisle if that’s not your style. You get to wear what makes you feel most beautiful

Getting Your Marriage License In order to apply for a marriage license, both partners must appear in person at

either partner has been widowed, they may need to present a copy of their deceased spouse’s death certificate. For more details on how to get this important

on your wedding day. If you want to go

the county clerk’s office in the county

down the aisle in a giant, fluffy, ball gown,

where you will have your ceremony. Appli-

you pick up that hoop skirt and you own

cants who are divorced may need to pro-

it. And if Great Aunt Mildred isn’t into it,

vide the date their divorce was finalized or

Navigating the Ceremony

she doesn’t need to stay.

a certified copy of their divorce decree. If

When it comes to the ceremony, feel free

document, check out our “Obtaining a Marriage Licence” article on page 225.

to explore your options. “People aren’t being held to tradition anymore, themebased ceremonies are the new direction, and people are really putting their heart into it,” says Allison Gallese, director of marketing and events for Nacional 27 and Osteria Via Stato. If you want a traditional religious ceremony, then definitely have it. If you want your lifelong friend to marry you in the backyard of your childhood home, by all means, go that route. If you want to get married in a courthouse and then throw a chic, urban reception after, we know that will be amazing, too! Create a ceremony that truly reflects you and your new spouse.

Your Own Personal Brady Bunch For those nearlyweds with kids, there are a million and one ways to include them in your big day. Of course, you’ve got your classic flower girls and ring-bearers, but don’t hesitate to get creative. Ask your daughter to be your maid of honor, or your son to be your best man – or vice versa. Request that they read a prayer or poem, play a song on their instrument of choice, or walk you down the aisle at the ceremony. Include your children in your vows to each other, or make special vows that speak directly to them. During the reception, have your DJ or band introduce them for their own grand 132



entrance right before yours. Ask them to give a short toast (with sparkling grape juice, of course), or share a special family dance together. You could even get the whole family up front to devour the first slice of cake. Come on, haven’t you ever wanted to shove cake in your kid’s face? This is your opportunity. Take it!

Registry Restrictions Already have all the appliances you need? That’s okay. If you would still like to register, that’s fine! Your family and friends are excited to celebrate your marriage and will probably want to bring a gift either way. They’ll appreciate a bit of direction. If you don’t really need a third crockpot, look into some alternative registry options. Some online registries allow your guests to purchase an activity for you to do on your honeymoon, like a snorkeling lesson or a wine tasting. You could also ask that in lieu of gifts, guests make a donation to a charity that’s close to your heart. It’s a meaningful opportunity for guests to give you something that will make a difference in many lives.

Make Your Own Tradition There are all these old notions about encore weddings, like what a bride can wear, what the invitation should say, or whether or not a couple should register. But the truth is, none of that matters. Forget about old traditions and start your own. The important thing is that you’ve finally found the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. Celebrate that amazing new love in whatever way makes you happy. To find the perfect details for your big day, visit 134








Colleen O'Brien Brandon Blackshear

FLORAL & DÉCOR: Andrew’s Garden | PHOTOGRAPHY: Ryan Cosens Photography | RENTALS: AAA Rental System | WEDDING CONSULTANT: Cynthia Perry LINENS: Sheila Fuller Catering CAKE: Sheila Fuller Catering VENUE: Maypole Art Gallery



Briggs was bartending at a college bar called Kilroy's in Indiana, when a friend introduced him to Sarah. They immediately hit it off, dated through the end of college, and then moved to Chicago. The pair loves cooking together, so Briggs proposed to Sarah in the kitchen one night as they prepared a meal. Sarah remembers, “It was everything I had hoped for in a proposal – private, laid back, and natural.” Their ceremony was planned out perfectly, incorporating many family members into the service through readings and music. “My favorite memory was standing on the altar facing the entire congregation, and realizing that everyone we love was in the same place to show their love and support for us,” explains Sarah. “It was an incredible feeling.” Guests arriving at the reception had two options: they could enjoy a traditional cocktail hour, or they could take a step back in time to a flawless recreation of the bar where Sarah and Briggs met, Kilroy’s. With bartenders filling red Solo cups from kegs, Kilroy’s famous breadsticks, and drinking games, it was an excellent way to get the party started. When it was time for the reception, Sarah and Briggs were so excited to see how the venue had come to life. “As soon as we walked in, we were speechless,” describes Sarah. The unique, industrial space had been transformed. Blush and neutral tones complimented mixed metals and organic, free-flowing greenery to create an elegant atmosphere. The foodies ensured their guests could indulge in some of their favorite fare – and bring a taste of it home with favors of a custom spice blend. The evening ended on a high note, with Sarah and Briggs dancing their hearts out with their closest friends and family. 138


Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY: Holy Family Catholic Church RECEPTION: Moonlight Studios

PHOTOGRAPHY: Tim Tab Studios

WEDDING CONSULTANT: Effortless Events •

VIDEOGRAPHY: Imagination Designers

BRIDE’S GOWN: Bella Bianca Bridal Couture HAIR: Studio Luxe Hair Salon


OFFICIANT: Fr. Michael Gabriel

FLORAL: Avant Gardenia

MAKEUP: wendycityfaces •

FORMALWEAR: Nita Fashions

STATIONERY: Clementine Ink + Paper

CATERING: Food For Thought

ENTERTAINMENT: Arlen Music Productions’ Indigo SWEETS: Cake Sweet Food Chicago | Mrs. Prindables | Sugar Fixé Patisserie TRANSPORTATION: M&M Limousine Services | Naperville Trolley & Tours, Ltd.

to Remember While

10 Things Wedding Planning September 26 was a blur. Before I knew it, I had walked down the aisle, taken my marriage vows, and danced the night away with my closest friends and family. After just six hours, the event that I had been planning, anticipating, and wishing for was over. As my husband and I happily graced the dance floor one last time, I tried to memorize all the glorious details of the night – from the music to the room lit by candlelight to the last few pieces of cake resting on our sweetheart table. The day was more special than I could have imagined and I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that months of planning had made for a magical day. I couldn’t help feeling a touch of sadness that the night was over, but I took memories with me that I will cherish forever. Looking back, I wondered how such a special day could have stressed me out for the entire year preceding it. Was it really necessary to agonize over which tablecloth to pick or spend hours choosing the right flowers for the centerpieces? Yes and no. Yes, because all the little details came together and made for one special wedding day. No, because the stress sometimes took the focus off what was most important – the marriage. Like most brides, wedding planning worried and consumed me much more than I thought it would. I didn’t anticipate the number of decisions I had to make, how many details needed to be attended to, and I certainly didn’t anticipate how difficult – if not impossible – it would be to balance my wedding must-haves with everybody else’s. But, when I saw my husband waiting for me at the end of the aisle that day, all the stress melted away and I felt only joy and happiness. Suddenly, it seemed so silly to have been wrapped up in the minute details. It was clear that the only thing that really mattered on this day was the commitment we made to each other. Wedding planning would have been so much easier if I’d only known then what I know now! Experience is the greatest WRITTEN BY COLETTE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALICIA’S PHOTOGRAPHY 140



teacher, however, so I wanted to share

1. Not all advice needs to be followed.

some of my experiences with you, dear

Everybody – and I do mean everybody –

readers. Hopefully they will help you

will share opinions on how your wed-

stay organized and enjoy the wedding

ding should run. At first, all the opinions

planning process.

and suggestions overwhelmed me. I

When planning your wedding, always be sure to remember the following:

thought that I should take every piece of advice to heart and somehow incorporate it into my wedding. I wish I had

realized sooner that opinions were just part of the process. Just because someone offers advice doesn’t mean you need to follow it. I learned that I could agree to disagree and still have an amazing wedding. And don’t worry, you won’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Just genuinely say, “What a fun idea,” and let it go. 2. Make a list of non-negotiable wedding day items. Even though many people are involved in planning your wedding, at the end of the day, it’s about making you and your betrothed happy. There are probably certain things the two of you really want to happen on your special day. For us, it was getting married in the fall at a venue near our childhood homes. While we knew those were nonnegotiable, not everyone involved with the planning did. If I were doing this again, I would make sure my husband and I made a list of our “must-haves” and shared it with everyone right away. I suggest having the other people involved do the same. That way everybody knows what’s most important and you can work together to make it happen. 3. If it’s not on your “must-have” list, consider letting it go. Once the individuals involved with planning your event know what your must-haves are, consider letting smaller things slide. Let’s say your mother really wants a certain song played at the reception. It’s not your favorite, but not playing it isn’t on your non-negotiable list. Why not make mom happy and play the darn




song? Or maybe another family member

make it work with this person, but

gathering ideas willy-nilly, I consolidated

wants a certain dessert served in addition

after several meetings, my vision and

my pictures by searching for themes.

to cake. You may not want another

her designs just didn’t match. It was

dessert option, but if it’s not super

hard, but I decided to use a different

important to you, maybe just let it go.

vendor that I had better chemistry with

My advice? Pick and choose your

and I’m glad I did. Wedding planning

battles. Don’t let your most important

is intense enough. Make sure you

needs go, but if you can give on some-

build a team that’s right for you and

thing without it ruining your wedding

can help you through the process.

day, definitely consider it. In the end, the little battles just add extra stress and take away from the fun of planning.


5. Pick a direction and stick with it. There are so many amazing places

For example, I found that nearly every photo I pulled had black chairs in it. Using that inspiration, my venue helped us find espresso chairs that fit exactly what we wanted. If you find yourself drowning in pictures, pull out your ten favorites and find the similarity in each. Use those patterns as a jumping off point for designing your reception.

to find wedding inspiration – hello,

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you

4. Pick vendors you really like. Remem-

Pinterest! In the beginning I saved,

want. Remember, this is your wedding

ber to select your vendors carefully.

clipped, and cut out anything and

day. If your vision isn’t coming together,

Go with the ones that fit your budget

everything that I thought I’d like at

don’t be shy about consulting your

and understand you best. The right

my wedding. I accumulated a moun-

vendors about it. They want you to be

vendors will bring your vision to life.

tain of images of outdoor weddings,

happy and are always willing to work

At one point, my venue suggested a

barn weddings, weddings in museums

with you on tweaking things here and

particular vendor. I really wanted to

– you get the idea. After a while of

there for event.



7. Finish your guest list early. Formulating a solid guest list early in the process removes a significant amount of stress. Knowing how many people might attend your wedding makes it so much easier to design nearly everything else. Your guest list will determine how many tables and centerpieces you need, what size cake you’ll want, how large your dance floor should be, and what your budget is per plate. Getting the logistics down early saves a lot of time – and many headaches – in the long run. 8. Make your guests happy, but remember to please yourself and your significant other first. One of my top priorities was making my wedding guests happy. If they took the time out




of their busy lives to celebrate our

Chances are your guests are just

bachelor or bachelorette party, searching

wedding, I wanted to make sure they

happy to be included and celebrate

for your dress or formalwear (even if it

had the best time ever. While I’m glad

with you. Make them feel special, but

takes multiple visits to multiple stores),

I made my guests’ happiness a priority,

make sure you and your partner are

and try not to brood over how many

I sometimes worried too much about

happy, too.

tasks you still must complete.

what would please them and not

9. Be grateful. Try to stay in the moment

I constantly reminded myself how lucky

enough about how my husband and I

as much as possible during the plan-

I was to be surrounded by good

wanted to spend our day.

ning process. Enjoy every shower, the

friends and family that supported and celebrated the whirlwind year leading up to my wedding. Cultivating gratitude definitely helped me get through the more stressful moments. 10. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. Looking back, it was so much fun to plan every aspect of the day. We all get lost in the weeds of wedding planning stress, but it’s important to remember how awesome it is that we get to plan a celebration honoring lifelong love and commitment. Before you know it, your wedding will come and go. So, sample every flavor at your cake tasting, try on a bunch of different dress styles, and have a ball. September 26 was one of the best days of my life. It was amazing to bring all our friends and family together for one fabulous evening. I loved every minute of it and would do it all over again if I could. So, while the details are definitely important, try not to worry about them too much. Challenges will arise, but these dilemmas have a tendency to work themselves out – especially if you have a great team of professionals helping your big day come together. And when you think you can’t make one more decision, remember this: In just a few short months, you’ll be married to your best friend, dancing the night away, happy and in love.




Before And After The Wedding

I’m not normally the type of gal who asks others to do things for

I wasn’t really a bridezilla, per say. More like a bride in absentia.

her. I mix my own drinks, mow my own lawn, and will YouTube my

At least sometimes.

way through DIY home repairs until there’s water leaking through

It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy trying on dresses, looking at linen

the ceiling and I have no choice left but to face the music and call

samples, picking out flower arrangements, and tasting hor

a professional. And even then, I apologize for disturbing them.

d'oeuvres or towers of cake pops. It’s just that I know so many

But during my wedding, and well into the weeks and months that

people who are so much better at doing all those things than I

followed, all that self-sufficiency went right out the window.

was – except for the dress-trying-on, I suppose. That you can’t



really outsource. And when it came to all

fabulous as mine was, you’re going to

know, you never think it’ll happen to you.

those other things – the surprising, the

have a whole group of diverse friends who

My now-husband and I had an especially

last-minute, the unexpected, and the

boast a myriad of unique and never-

long engagement, and for whatever reason,

downright inconvenient aspects of wedding

ending skills. And as an added twist: if

I started assembling my gift registry a

planning and execution – well, that’s when

your bridesmaids think their work is done

good year and a half before there was any

my gals really came through for me.

as soon as that bouquet is tossed, they’ll

event for which to buy us gifts.

In case all you couples deep in the throes of wedding planning haven’t figured this out quite yet, a wedding is a really great


need to think again. I kept calling on my leading ladies for help long after the day of “I Do’s.”

So months before the wedding invitations had even been slipped into the mail, I suddenly found out the adorable, boho-

place to practice your delegating skills.

I suppose it all started with the gift registry

chic, square plate dining set I registered

And if you’ve assembled a bridal party as

emergency that nobody saw coming. I

for was being discontinued. Now, why I



was so attached to these particular plates

being discontinued? I assembled my gals

Absurd? Sure. But when is there ever a

when there was an endless number of big

– who conveniently lived all over the

time to become absurdly irrational about a

box stores stocked with plenty of other

country – and tasked them with running

discontinuing dining set if not in the months

dining settings that would have done just

out immediately and purchasing every

before your wedding day, am I right?

fine, I’ll never know. But I had to have

boxed set their local stores contained

The unconventional requests, I hate to

(and then sent them back out to return

say, didn’t exactly end there. As it happens,

What did I do when I found out my

several of those boxes, when I realized I

in high school I was employed by a local

beloved, in-store-purchase-only plates were

might have panicked a bit too overzealously).

greeting card store, as the wedding invita-

them. There was no getting around it.

tion assembler. And I loved it. For years I would sit cozily in their back storeroom, peeling glue dots, tying bows, and tucking RSVP cards neatly into their lace-lined envelopes. To this day it was one of the best jobs I ever had. Naturally, when it came time to send out my own wedding invitations, it was DIYassembly all the way. And no matter how many times the company I ordered my invitations from called to confirm that I did not, in fact, want the invitations to arrive assembled, I stood firm in my desires. Then the boxes arrived. A lot of boxes. Stacks upon stacks of boxes filled with big envelopes and small envelopes, square cardstock and rectangular cardstock, bows, and flower decals, and tiny wisps of tissue paper, and approximately seven thousand sheets of glue dots by which all of the above were to be assembled into something resembling a wedding invitation. I kind of freaked. As it turns out, assembling wedding invitations for $12 an hour is a whole lot different than assembling wedding invitations for free. So, I threw a little party – a come-over-and-put-together-my-wedding-invitations-with-me party. And yes, even though their fingers were still a little numb days later, each one of my BFFs forgave me. Perhaps nothing was more dire than the myriad of needs I had for my unfailing 154





ladies on the biggest day of them all – the

poop, (thanks, Chicago) to finding my

deep conversations with me during the

wedding day. From reminding me that our

husband’s cowboy hat – which he insisted

reception, so I could eat without being

priest had to sign the wedding certificate

on wearing (even though he is not, in fact,

interrupted by well-intentioned but poorly-

before we rode off into the sunset – or

a cowboy) and then lost no less than

timed guests. They convinced the DJ to

really, reminding me there was such a

twelve thousand times during the wedding

play “Call Me Maybe” on repeat – it was

reception – my bridal party took care of

the song of that summer, after all – even

everything for me, no questions asked.

after a handful of guests expressed their

thing as a wedding certificate to begin with – to lifting the train of my wedding dress away from puddles and goose

They pretended to carry out long and

inability to stomach the tune one more time. And they ran interference when one misguided guest brought a former-fling of mine as her date. Basically, they did it all. After the wedding I was no less needy. Gifts needed to be exchanged, since I had a bad habit of registering for roughly eleven of the same thing – whether I needed eleven Ninja Blenders or not. Thank you notes needed to be written. OK, I did write these myself. But my friends definitely kept me company and cheered me on when my hand started going numb. And to top it off, immediately following my wedding I moved across the country, which meant I had an entire crawlspace in my mother’s house filled with over two decades of memories that needed sorting. And yet still, their jobs are never done. Even now, a handful of years after my own “I Do’s,” rarely a day goes by that I don’t talk to one of the gals from my bridal party. On particularly wonderful (or stressful) days, sometimes I even talk to all of them. I guess that’s the thing about a wedding. Sure, it bonds you and your partner untildeath-do-you-part, but from planning, to recovery, to tips and tricks for how to keep that newlywed glow alive three years in, it bonds you even more closely to your best friends as well. And if you’re lucky enough to have friends like mine, that’s a very, very special thing.







FLORAL & DÉCOR: Yanni Design Studio | LIGHTING: Yanni Design Studio | STATIONERY: Papagraphics Custom Design | PHOTOGRAPHY: Andre LaCour Photography | WEDDING CONSULTANT: Manikas Designs |


Sheri Alex Khakham

VENUE: Concorde Banquets | LINENS: Covered Affairs, Inc. | RENTALS: Bowery & Bash | CAKE: Sviatlana Trubachkina



On a chilly winter afternoon, Wasay and Fiza’s eyes met outside Islamic Foundation in Villa Park. The instant connection sparked nine years of dating and a surprise proposal on Fiza’s twenty-second birthday. “Even though we were young, I knew he was the one for me. It was just a matter of the perfect time and the perfect place.” The couple’s family and friends were treated to three days of traditional celebrations filled with beautiful colors, wonderful live enter tainment and dancing, and sincere toasts. A pastel mint color scheme ran through the Mehndi day, then the couple “brightened the atmosphere with a peach and white pattern” for the evening’s celebration. Both families wore “pure white outfits to celebrate the auspicious occasion” of the ceremony, then everyone enjoyed a rich red and gold theme throughout the remainder of the reception. As guests arrived at Islamic Foundation on the day of the ceremony, Wasay remembers feeling many emotions. To marry in the same place where he and his bride first met felt like destiny. When he locked eyes with Fiza, Wasay felt "overwhelmed with happiness." “Wasay’s dance was by far the most outstanding moment for me,” explains Fiza. “He unexpectedly took the stage – and with it, my heart.” The newlyweds say they feel so “grateful for the indefinite support provided by their family and friends throughout their journey to marriage.” It was an incredible weekend filled with fun, family, and a true celebration of love. 160


Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY: Islamic Foundation RECEPTION: Ashton Place | DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago–Oak Brook PHOTOGRAPHY: Maha Studios

VIDEOGRAPHY: Mirar Productions

OFFICIANT: Mufti Azeemuddin Ahmed


HAIR & MAKEUP: Bushra & Saleha Abbasi FLORAL: Amer Design Studio ENTERTAINMENT: DJ Sahil

STATIONERY: Shubham Cards

CATERING: Masood Ali Catering

SWEETS: Oak Mill Bakery


How to Avoid Becoming “That Bride”

Of course you’re a gracious, caring, loving person. But let’s face it, you’re engaged. Everyone feels stressed, overextended, and generally fed up at times when planning a wedding. But beware – that can make you susceptible to turning into “That Bride,” also not-so-affectionately referred to as a “Bridezilla.” No one wants to be “That Bride.” But how do you know if you’re venturing into that territory? If any of these sound like you, it may be time to put down this wedding magazine, take a step away from the sample invites, and take a break.

You talk endlessly about the wedding. You’re excited. And everyone’s excited for you. Your wedding is a big, momentous occasion and people are happy to celebrate with you. However, that doesn’t mean they need to hear about it every second of every day. Please don’t bombard family, friends, and co-workers with photos of flowers, wedding favors, or potential bridesmaid dresses. When they ask how the wedding planning is going, try to avoid WRITTEN BY KATIE DAY • PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALICIA’S PHOTOGRAPHY 162





launching into a 30-minute spiel on how you can’t choose between the crab puffs or the stuffed mushrooms. It may seem beneficial to get things off your chest, but it stresses you more. Instead, enjoy spending time with your loved ones. See how they’re doing, catch up on what’s going on in their lives, and take a (well-deserved) break from the wedding madness.

You treat your bridesmaids like actual maids. Your friends love you and they’re most likely honored to be part of your special day. To be honest, most of them would do almost anything for you, but please don’t ask them to. Don’t ask them to blow their entire savings account on a dress they’ll



You dismiss your family.

You blow your budget.

come to appointments at the last minute.

You’re getting input from everyone. Mom

You’re wedding dress shopping and you

Don’t force them to spend their precious

thinks you should have more flowers.

know that dress is over your budget, but

weekends DIYing your centerpieces, invites,

Grandma has a gorgeous venue in mind.

you try it on anyways, and you fall in

and favors.

Your sister wants short bridesmaid dresses.

love. A week later you’re picking out

It can be overwhelming when everyone is

flowers. You’d planned on getting a sim-

throwing ideas your way. I mean it’s your

ple bouquet of roses, but there are so

big day right? Shouldn’t you get what you

many other options. The next thing you

they have bills to pay, jobs to go to, and

want? Of course, but before you start

know you’re picking out spring peonies

other loved ones that need their time

screaming “my day, my way,” try to see

for a fall wedding.

and attention. If you love an expensive

where your family is coming from. They’re

bridesmaid dress, offer to pay for it or

excited, too, and they really do have good

split the cost. Plan ahead for any outings

intentions. Listen to their ideas and appre-

you’d like your girls to attend. Ask them

ciate that they care.

politely to help you with your wedding DIY

You certainly don’t have to do anything

there’s a reason you created a budget.

projects at a time that’s convenient. They’re

you don’t want to, but by listening you’ll

Nothing causes stress and anxiety like

your bridesmaids and they want to be part

make them feel loved and appreciated.

debt. Create a list of wedding must-haves

of your wedding, but they also want to be

Who knows, they may actually have some

and a list of wedding would-likes. Start

treated with respect and kindness.

great ideas!

with the must-have list, and allocate what’s

Your license to get married is not a license to boss your friends around. Understand


never wear again. Don’t demand that they

We’re not saying you should skimp on your big day here – you only get one wedding, so you want to make it absolutely perfect. That’s totally understandable. But




left to the would-likes. If you just must have a gown that’s over your allotted dress budget, see if you can borrow the difference from another area to allow the cost to even out.

You don’t apologize. It’s a week before your wedding and you’re meeting up with your sister for brunch. She walks in with an awful new haircut. As hard as you try, you just can’t keep quiet. Your brunch date ends with you yelling at her about how she’s going to ruin your wedding photos and how you can’t believe she’s being so inconsiderate. No matter how hard you try not to be “That Bride,” you may slip up. That’s okay. No one’s perfect and your loved ones know that. It’s embarrassing if you do go off the deep end, but the best way to do damage control is just to fess up. You don’t want any hard feelings on your big day, so take the initiative to make things right.

You try something new at the last minute. Your wedding photo will likely be on display for years to come, so it’s only natural that you want to look your best. Maybe you’re looking to slim down. Maybe you’d like to clear up your complexion. Whatever your reasons, don’t be too extreme. Talk to your doctor before you try a new diet or workout routine to make sure it’s right for you. You may be in great shape for the wedding, but if you’re too exhausted to dance, what’s the point? Same goes with hair and makeup. Give any new skin care products, hair colors, or makeup styles a test run well in advance 166





of your big day. If you’re planning on


getting a trim or a touch up color, make sure you do it a few days before the wedding, just in case. You’ll have plenty enough to think about as your big day approaches, your looks don’t need to be one of them.

You forget the point of the day. Dress? Check. Flowers? Check. Food? Check. Venue? Check. Photographer? Check. Looks like you’ve got every-

Dress? Check. Flowers? Check. Food? Check. Venue? Check. Photographer? Check. Looks like you’ve got everything, right? Wrong. You’re missing the most important part of the day – your fiancé! It’s easy to get caught up in the wedding planning process. It can seem like there’s so much to do and so little time to do it.

thing, right? Wrong. You’re missing the most important part of the day – your fiancé! It’s easy to get caught up in the wedding planning process. It can seem like there’s so much to do and so little time to do it. The easiest way to avoid becoming “That



Bride” is to remember what your wedding

of the day, you get to marry the love of

is all about. It’s about you and your fiancé

your life. That’s what really matters.

spending the rest of your lives together. When you think about that, the details

To find the perfect details for your big day,

don’t seem to matter as much. At the end





After twelve years as a couple, Chris took his high school sweetheart, Kelsey, on a surprise helicopter ride over Chicago. The breathtaking view twinkled with a holiday glow, and high above Lincoln Park Zoo’s iconic light show, Chris asked Kelsey to marry him. Friends and family awaited their arrival at the airport to celebrate. Kelsey remembers, “It was truly magical.” Chris and Kelsey dreamed of a wedding that was dripping with flowers and candles from top to bottom, and their vendors did not disappoint. Gorgeous blooms transformed their winter wedding into a warm, lovely day. Gentle uplighting created a softness that accented their rose gold, off-white, grey, and burnt lavender color scheme. The couple used white draping to create an intimate space during their beautiful ceremony. After, guests moved to another area of the venue to enjoy signature “bride” and “groom” cocktails. Little did they know, the ceremony room was being completely redesigned for the reception. A drape hid the area, so “the transformation of the space was totally unknown to guests.” When it was time for the grand reveal, the fabric drapes in the walkways were pulled back by beautiful floral bunches and cast with uplighting. Guests stood in awe as they took in the gorgeous atmosphere and the beautiful scent of flowers in the air. They enjoyed a delectable five-course meal, then kicked off a night full of fun and dancing. In lieu of favors, the bride and groom made a donation to PAWS Chicago. It was a fabulous evening for all in attendance. “Chris and I have nothing that we would change about our magical day,” says Kelsey. “We will never forget our wedding and the people who made everything possible.” 170


Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY & RECEPTION: The Pavilion at Orchard Ridge Farms PHOTOGRAPHY: Furla Studio

OFFICIANT: The Rev for Whatev

VIDEOGRAPHY: Furla Vision •


BRIDE’S GOWN: Vanessa’s Modern Bride

HAIR & MAKEUP: Arch Apothecary

BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Brides by Demetrios


STATIONERY: DBY invitations

FLORAL: Event Floral

CATERING: Henrici’s Catering

SWEETS: Delish Cakes

ENTERTAINMENT: Something 2 Dance 2

Between the announcement of my engagement and walking down the aisle, I got a ton of advice about marriage. From tips about vacationing on my own to the suggestion that separate bedrooms were the key to a successful marriage and a good night’s sleep, I heard it all. The message was that space and scheduled time apart are essential. Then my husband and I moved across the country, away from all of our personal spaces, separate interests, and friends, and into the smallest apartment ever. All of that advice, while it had its merits, just wasn’t realistic for us at the time. And while

Lessons from a Marriage,

Year One

the first year of marriage was pretty challenging (and definitely cramped) we got through it. We learned a lot of valuable lessons about what it was going to take to last until death-do-us-part. Here are some tips from the front lines of marriage, year one.

Advice from a Former Bride Do: Have fun with the little things. My favorite memories of my husband and I almost always come from times when we did





unplanned detour, or made the most of an everyday occurrence. There was the weekend we were unexpectedly snowed in, playing board games and eating PB&J sandwiches for three days. Or that Friday afternoon when a quick run to the grocery store turned into a two-hour road trip to the state fair because we just happened to pass a new billboard advertising funnel cakes the size of our heads. Or spontaneously adopting






a new kitten who was just too cute to pass up. These are the moments, more than the lavish dinners, expensive trips, or epic parties, that I cherish most in my marriage.

Don’t: Forget

you’re both

still growing. Some of my most vivid memories from my first year of marriage involve socks. Yup, socks. Gym socks, dress socks, and crazy holiday-themed socks that always seemed to appear months before their actual holiday arrived. I found them everywhere — on the floor and behind the bed, draped over kitchen chairs and buried between couch cushions, shoved into damp corners of the bathroom, and even once dangling from beneath the passenger door of my car.




At first I didn’t say anything; marriage is supposed to be all about compromise, after all. But eventually, after picking up what must have been the millionth sock and putting it in its rightful place in the laundry basket, I lost it. I woke him up, which led to a good bit of yelling. But in the middle of all that yelling, my husband said something that made so much sense it ended the fight right there: “I’m still growing,” he said. “I don’t plan on being this person forever, and I’m always trying to do better.” Huh, I thought. That actually makes sense. We were both 25 years old when we got married, and I certainly didn’t plan on being the same person I was at 25 for the rest of my life either. I’ve since allowed my husband and myself the space to grow




into ourselves and our marriage. The sock situation has begun to improve. Sort of.

Don’t: Take

on your entire

marriage all at once. In the early throes of romance, “forever” can seem like the most magical word in the world. But after you’ve been competing for bathroom time in the morning, cleaning up one another’s messes, and dealing with your partner’s strange, unexpected habits, “forever” can seem daunting. If I learned one thing during my first year of marriage, it was to live as much in the present as possible, both to fully embrace the special moments and as a way of getting through more challenging times. Sure, when you take your vows, you’re promising “forever,” but after busting out dance moves to your last wedding reception dance, marriage becomes a daily commitment, rather than a one-and-done promise. Every day I promise to love my husband that day, and I commit to making the same promise tomorrow. And that’s it. So take it a day at a time, and don’t be afraid to live in the moment.

Do: Remember

you really are in

it for the long haul. My husband and I annoy one another about a million times a day. But we love each other, so we go into disagreements knowing we’re going to get past them. That’s what we signed up to do. Knowing we’re committed to getting past disagreements allows us to fight toward a solution, instead of against one another. And to be honest, knowing I’m really not going to be mad about, say, socks all over the floor forever helps me to shrug off the small stuff a lot more easily. 176



Do: Sleep

in every chance

you get. It sounds simple, I know, but I learn more about my husband between nine in the morning and noon on Sunday mornings than I do at any other time in our relationship. Even if sleeping in is not your thing, find your own equivalent. It’s important to notice the situations or activities when your partner seems the most open and the most themselves because those are the times they’re likely to give the most as well, and you can learn a lot. For some couples, this might be over a long dinner, in the middle of a hike, or during the adrenaline rush of an adventure sport. Whatever it is, be sure to carve out plenty of time for it, especially during the first year of your relationship when you’re starting to establish your own routines and traditions as a couple.

Advice from a Former Groom Do: Own

everything you do.

If you are messy, don’t hide it (note my wife’s advice). If you have quirks or offbeat character traits, don’t downplay them. The odds are that your partner is already aware of them. And if they’re not by the time you’ve exchanged rings, year one is when all those fun little tidbits come to light, so buckle up. If you haven’t already moved in together by the time you walk down the aisle — my wife and I hadn’t — don’t bother trying to hide all your single-person habits from

Est. 1990

your new partner-in-cohabitation. Play video games in your gym shorts. Watch The Bachelor with abandon (yes, men do this, too). Get out of bed at two in the morning and drink half a gallon of milk. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



The truth is, it’s all going to come out eventually anyway, so you might as well cozy in from the start. If some personal habit really does annoy your partner, then do make an honest effort to fix it, but for the most part, just be you. Don’t forget your partner loves you. Don’t take it for granted, but also trust that love and be the person your partner married.

Don’t: Keep


Men know two things very well: sports and Die Hard movies. Marriage is nothing like either one of these things. Dealing with adult conflicts is sometimes (every time) not quite as easy as killing it on the football field or single-handedly taking down a band of organized criminals in your imagination. While football and world-saving are great places to keep score, in marriage, not so much. In marriage, when one partner is winning, both partners are winning, and when one partner isn’t doing so hot, that affects both of you, too. So don’t compete against one another. Life is hard enough without feeling like you and your spouse are playing on opposing teams.

Do: Accept

the “dead zones.”

Have you ever walked into the grocery store, mid-cell phone chat, and had an entire conversation with yourself before realizing your phone lost service the minute you walked past the frozen food section? Marital “dead zones” are kind of like that. In the pre-marriage counseling my wife and I attended at the behest of our church, one of our tasks was practicing active listening, meaning don’t tune one 178


certain situations, like during a disagree-

Don’t: Let

social media get

you down.

your spouse haven’t had kids yet, send her a picture of your totally high-mainte-

ment or when making plans for the future,

The fact of the matter is that we live in a

nance cats. But don’t let ‘em get you

but definitely not practical or necessary in

world where Instagram filters relationships

down. Nobody has to live your relationship

all situations.

to perfection, and everyone from Aunt

but you, so only you and your spouse

Lucy to that girl from sophomore year

have to love it.

Chemistry 101 feels free to weigh in on

It’s true that the first year of marriage can

your relationship on Facebook. But you

be a difficult time. But more often than

don’t have to let them affect you. While it

not, it’s amazing, fun, and extremely

might appear as though every couple you

rewarding. Just because you’re married

know is off clinking glasses of Pinot Grigio

now doesn’t mean there’s nothing left

in the south of France while you’re at

to learn or discover about your spouse.

home weeding through a pile of laundry,

Make spending time together a priority,

they’re really not.

and remember to enjoy this stage of

In my marriage, Game of Thrones has that “dead zone” effect on my wife. I can talk to her about it for an hour, and she’ll nod sympathetically throughout without actually hearing a single word I’ve said. She just doesn’t care, and that’s fine. She is nice enough to let me nerd out, laugh over references she doesn’t understand, and lets me fill an entire man-cave with


another out, ever. This is good advice in

your relationship. It’s the beginning of

fan merchandise. I didn’t marry my wife

When Susie from chemistry tweets a dig

because of Game of Thrones, I married

on that cheesy gift you gave your spouse

her because of all the meaningful areas

for Valentine’s Day, mute the notifications.

of our life where she provides feedback

And when Aunt Lucy fills an entire com-

To find the perfect details for your big day,

and attention.

ments section wondering why you and


something wonderful.




There are a lot of traditions surrounding weddings. Some are pretty dated (tossing garters, anyone?) and some are keepers (something old, new, borrowed, blue). But when it comes to all of these wedding traditions, Millennials are putting a spin on the whole shebang. A desire for uniqueness is driving trends like event hashtags, mismatched bridesmaid dresses, and patterned wedding gowns. Millennials are deciding what’s right for them rather than what’s expected of them.

TIP The most important part about all of these options is to ask your vendor (or your friends) to make sure they get these images and videos online. Because it basically didn’t happen if it’s not on Insta. WRITTEN BY LYNN TANGORRA AND KELSEY O’SHAUGHNESSY • PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON W. KAUMEYER PHOTOGRAPHY



If the photo booth is getting a little main-

friends) to make sure they get these

We’ve all seen the grainy footage and

stream for all you hipsters out there, some

images and videos online. Because it

faded photos from our parents’ weddings,

other really entertaining options are just

basically didn’t happen if it’s not on Insta.

but in a world of smartphones and selfies,

starting to hit the scene.

the Millennial generation is opting to

artist is what you might call the original


capture memories in a more artful way.

photo booth. Hire an artist for a couple

And as they’re posting those photos and

hours and see how many amazing por-

videos, they best not forget to use that

traits of your friends you end up with. GIF

personalized wedding hashtag. Millennials

booths take multiple photos and string

and social media go together like eggs

them together for guests like a digital flip

and bacon. Now couples can share their

book. Slow-motion booths video the par-

big day with their entire network of friends,

ticipants acting silly for a couple seconds

friends of friends, and the general public

then slow it way down. For those who just

with just the simple tap of a button.

In addition to traditional wedding photography and videography, couples are looking for unique options to set their wedding apart. Probably the most common of these options is the photo booth. To begin with, the act of grabbing silly props and cramming as many people in the booth as you can is just fun. Then you laugh like crazy as you try to come up with a funny pose before the camera flashes. The photo

A caricature



do it better themselves, a selfie station is always fun. Line up a few selfie sticks with props and a background nearby. Your guests will pretty much take it from there.

booth is a highly engaging activity from

But with great advancement comes great responsibility. To select a hashtag is to brand your wedding, so nearlyweds should not take this moment lightly. The stress of

start to finish. Plus, guests get a sweet

The most important part about all of these

trying to come up with a brilliant hashtag

take-away afterwards.

options is to ask your vendor (or your

is akin to the stress of selecting a venue




or making cuts on the guest list. Still, in

Out with the Old, In with the New

that moment when you think of the perfect

There’s an odd similarity between wedding

Does This Ring Make Me Look Engaged?

pun, every hair you pulled out was worth

pictures from previous generations. We’re

Changing your status to “engaged” is

it. Include your catchy hashtag on save-

willing to bet that if you find a picture of

easily the single most “liked” post of your

the-dates, invitations, and wedding day

your parents’ wedding, it will probably

life. So, if you want that ring selfie to go

signage. It’s a great way to ensure all of

look very similar to your friends’ parents’

viral, you know you need a good rock.

your photos end up in one location.

images. Back in the day, a wedding party

Whether your spouse-to-be picked the

And no discussion of social media and

consisted of over the top dresses, big

ring him or herself, or you decided to

event planning would be complete without

hair, and pastel color tuxedos. Oh, and

shop together, Millennials are making their

mentioning the glorious time-suck that is

those bridal hats with veils were a thing

mark on the jewelry world as well. Custom

Pinterest. With the remarkable ability to

for a while, too. We’re still not sure why.

designs are extremely popular, as are

scroll down through infinity, this amazing

Today, couples strive for unique and per-

unique gems, like morganite and tourmaline.

tool is guiding many couples in finding

sonalized. Gone are the matching gowns

Yellow gold is making a comeback, and

new trends and ways to purchase event

with giant poofy sleeves. Hello to a mix-

rose gold is gaining momentum. Less

décor that looks like you DIY’d it. One

and-match bridesmaid look. Ta-ta to the

common shapes, like marquise cuts or

truly amazing aspect of this engaging

traditional penguin-like tux. Hello to maroon

emerald cuts turned horizontally, are a fun

medium is that friends can actually collab-

jackets and kitschy bow ties. Planning a

take on a traditional symbol.

orate and contribute to wedding planning

wedding is about finding your style. Find a

Couples are also looking for ways to per-

from all over the globe.

look you like and go for it.

sonalize their wedding bands. Custom



bands can be created to open and close to better fit those with larger knuckles. Rather than a classic inscription, couples can have their fingerprints pressed into the metal of their band. And for a very permanent reminder of your vows, you can always opt to have a band tattooed onto your ring finger.

Have Your Cake and Eat it Too! Cakes used to just be something you cut and then smooshed in each other’s faces. But no longer. These masterpieces are now the centerpiece of the entire room. Incredible, creative designs have soared in popularity. Geometric shapes, hand-painted watercolors, metallic details, ombre ruffles, realistic replicas of hobbies – cakes can truly be a




work of art. Plus, personalized cake toppers

no Millennial would really, truly enjoy the

make your way down the catwalk – oops!

always make for an adorable picture.

night without their coffee fix. Add a locally

We meant aisle.

sourced coffee bar, and you’re set. But, let’s be honest here – there’s a whole wide world full of desserts out there. Millennials know that it’s a frontier waiting to be explored. In addition to a cake, selecting a well-curated collection of other sweets is the norm. Consider hands-on, engaging

The Bro-dal Shower Color Me Bridal

Ladies get a shower, why shouldn’t the

The truth is, a stark white does not look

men? The so-called “bro-dal shower” is

great on most skin tones. The whole

definitely the next big thing. Turn on the

white wedding dress thing is a little over-

grill and spend some time celebrating the

played. Most brides opt for ivory, cream,

groom. This is an excellent time to invite

options like flavored, handmade marsh-

or off-white. And these days, color is

family and younger guests who may

mallows, artisanal graham crackers, and

totally en vogue.

not be able to (or welcome to) attend the

extra-dark, organic chocolate bars. With a tiny grill on the patio of your venue, your guests can make the s’more of a lifetime.


bachelor party, since this is generally a We all know blush is big, but Millennials

pretty PG event.

are still searching for the next new thing. Soft blues and pale greens have been

Whether you have two separate showers

Sweets tables offer an option for everyone.

hitting the runways at Bridal Fashion

or chose to have a Jack-and-Jill event,

Consider doughnut towers in your favorite

Week. Subtle patterns, like watercolor flo-

the modern wedding shower is about so

flavors, hand-spun cotton candy cones, a

rals, are definitely trending. The more

much more than tea and crumpets. Opt

French crêpe station, or pretty much any-

unique the look, the more awe-inspired

for a wine or craft beer-tasting to incorporate

thing coated in Nutella. Yes, please. And

gasps you’ll draw from the crowd as you

a couple’s hobbies into this event. Or pick



a dine-and-play venue, where couples, families, and friends can enjoy a round of bowling, ping pong, or Pac-Man after all the gifts have been given.

The Millennial Way The amazing thing about Millennials is that they’re totally open to trying new things. It’s not that they hate tradition or feel the need to turn everything upside down (though sometimes that is fun). They just want to pave their own path, make their own memories, and start their own traditions. You’d be surprised how much fun some of these new-age extras can be. So, go ahead, Millennials! Make your mark on the wedding industry. We’re thrilled to see what fabulous, creative ideas you’ll come up with next.



A Grand Event SUZANNE AND BRIAN MORRIS Suzanne and Brian fell in love while serving with the United States Peace Corps in Mongolia. After their return, the couple enjoyed a visit to the beach in Suzanne’s hometown. Brian gave Suzanne handwritten letters to read throughout the evening, and with the last card, he proposed. The ring was a custom design by the groom featuring family heirloom diamonds and sapphires. Their traditional Catholic ceremony was punctuated by personal anecdotes and “the most talented musicians and powerful songs,” says Suzanne. They also involved nine nieces and nephews in their service – including six ring bearers. Suzanne remembers telling Brian, “We are going to have so much fun in life together.” During the cocktail hour, the newlyweds paid tribute to their time in Mongolia with a favorite cultural tradition. They asked guests to tie a ribbon on a tree to wish the couple a wonderful journey through marriage. Guests entered the reception to a trio of violins, which were a surprise from the bride’s parents. They sat down to favor bags of Garrett Popcorn and personalized, handwritten notes from the bride and groom. Beautiful ivory flowers and rich greens graced each table. “The taller centerpieces incorporated a moss, which delicately hung down and was incredibly romantic,” explains Suzanne. Brian and Suzanne were introduced on the balcony of the ballroom, and descended the stairs to wild cheering from their friends and family. They moved right into an elegantly choreographed first dance, and then cut their monogrammed cake. After a delectable dinner and champagne toast, guests hit the dance floor, enjoying the tenpiece orchestra all through the evening. Suzanne reflects, “We hope everyone could feel the love that weekend.” WRITTEN BY KELSEY O’SHAUGHNESSY | PHOTOGRAPHY BY GERBER + SCARPELLI PHOTOGRAPHY

Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY: Old St. Patrick’s Church

OFFICIANT: Msgr. John Canary

RECEPTION: Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel Chicago PHOTOGRAPHY: Gerber + Scarpelli Photography BRIDE’S GOWN: Le Salon Bridal Couture

HAIR & MAKEUP: Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa

BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Elegance Wedding & Evening Wear STATIONERY: Eight21 Studios Designs by Carol Woldhuis FLORAL: Taylor & Co. Events

SWEETS: Alliance Bakery | Garrett Popcorn Shops

CATERING: Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel Chicago ENTERTAINMENT: Don Cagen Orchestra

TRANSPORTATION: Second City Trolley

Nine Things

They Never Told You About Wedding Planning IT’S NOT ALL HEARTS AND FLOWERS. THOUGH SOMETIMES, IT IS. LITERALLY. I’ve always been a wedding kind of person. You know the type. Maybe you’re the wedding type, too. Any time you hear about anyone proposing you have to hear the whole story. And you begin wondering if you’ll be invited – or better, if you’ll be part of the wedding party! It doesn’t matter that you’ve only met this person twice. In your imagination you’re planning most of the day, coordinating a totally compliant group of wedding attendants, solving problems like a whiz to prevent the couple from any unnecessary stress, and taking over the mic when the sound system crashes, heroically saving the night with your extreme vocal talent. In your mind, weddings are fun, beautiful, and always look like they cost a million dollars, but were actually completely DIY-ed by the bride and her bestie – a.k.a. you. WRITTEN BY KELSEY O’SHAUGHNESSY • PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIMOTHY WHALEY & ASSOCIATES


But that’s not the reality of a wedding. In reality, no one other than a trained wedding pro knows what they’re doing. DIY weddings can be very beautiful, but in this wedding aficionado’s experience, they rarely look the same as a big-budget affair. And whether you’re a true wedding person or just the opposite, weddings are always complicated. As much as I have always loved weddings, when it came to planning my own, I realized I had a lot to learn. There are so many things I know now that I never would have thought of before. So, to help all you nearlyweds out there get through the next few months (relatively) unscathed, we’ve put together the top nine things no one else is going to tell you about planning your wedding.




1. You will, unfortunately, have to make some cuts. I’m sorry, but for this topic I need to dole out a little bit of tough love. I know Pinterest is pretty. I know you have three

whether for budget reasons, personal or

need to have a “1920’s Gatsby wedding.”

religious reasons, or simply because you

You can go for an antique look that

cannot do a holiday motif in the middle of

doesn’t focus on a specific era. Having a

August, you need to start narrowing down

broader concept will give you room to

your must-have details.

play with some details. In contrast, using

separate wedding boards and you love

When deciding on the style of the wedding

them all equally like children. I know that

and some of the important details, think

this is the biggest day of your life. But

more broadly than a theme. You don’t

words like “classic” or “elegant” don’t really have much value when it comes to determining what colors to select. Be specific, but keep an open mind. 2. You get what you pay for. People with experience and skill are adequately priced. If you go for a bargain vendor, prepare to get bargain quality. Now, trust me, I know that money doesn’t grow on trees. Pick and choose the details that you are really passionate about and spend a larger portion of your budget on those. To be perfectly, blatantly honest, the best way to save money is to cut people off your guest list. Which leads us to… 3. You’re going to have to figure out how to tell some of your friends they can’t come. It’s hard. You’re three months away from your wedding still and you make a new friend. She is fantastic! So funny! She is the absolute life of the party and also the best brunch date ever. You just know that if she’s at your wedding, the night will be amazing. But you cannot fit even one more butt in one more seat at your venue. The struggle is real. Unfortunately, most of the time, you can’t give in and just “figure it out.” Weddings don’t really work that way. As hard as that scenario is, it’s worse when you’re cutting out some of your close friends that you’ve known since diapers. I know it’s hard, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. The fact is, venues have capacities, caterers need numbers a good bit of time in advance, and adding




another person will add significantly to

breath included in their bouquet. That’s

ensure that you’re on the same page,

the cost of your day. They love you –

when everyone else around them starts to

make sure you get everything in writing.

they’ll understand.

take a slow step back and put on their

Friends are one thing, but picking between family members can be straight up dan-

now face. In this moment, there is but one course of

ical. Give each set of parents a number of

action. Don’t stop the tears. That’s right! I

guests they’re allowed to invite. This

said it! Go ahead. Look a little crazy for a

includes their side of the family and any of

minute. Let those babies fall from your

their friends. Make them stick to that num-

face like a rainstorm. And once you’ve let

ber. The flip side is that you need to stick

out that stress in the form of large, wet alli-

to your allotted number of guests as well.

gator tears, you refocus and make a deci-

something really stupid.

sion. That’s how you’ve got to play this game. Feel the feels and then move on.

In movies and books (and real life) some-

5. You must get everything in writing.

times you see brides or grooms suddenly

When working in the wedding industry, it’s

get choked up about something silly, like

not hard to get caught up in shop-speak.

not knowing how to address an enve-

Sometimes vendors can start to get a little

lope or whether or not they want baby’s

too specific and your eyes glaze over. To


Beware that contracts can get a little confusing, too. Make sure you see all the necessary components on every contract.

gerous. Don’t let your selections get polit-

4. You’re probably going to cry about


wide-eyed oh-man-what’s-happening-right-

That includes a total cost, a deposit amount and due date, the date the rest of the payment is due, what exactly the vendor is providing and how many, what you (the couple) will need to provide, and whether or not they need a vendor meal. If you discuss any other specifics, add it to the contract, just in case. That way, in the very unlikely event something goes awry, you’re covered. 6. Your friends are going to get tired of hearing you talk about wedding stuff. I know it’s hard to believe some people


out there ever tire of talking about wed-

If you really want to thank your amazing

because your planner and caterer banded

dings, but it’s true! And while your friends

vendors who put up with your twelve

together and totally solved the problem.

and family are super excited for you, the

emails per day for the last twelve months,

Don’t worry about it, just know that some-

shiny excitement does wear off a little

give them some beautiful images of their

thing will probably happen. Be flexible.

when it’s all you hear about 24/7. If you

work. Plus, there’s the added bonus of a

Roll with the punches. And have a plan B

find your friends don’t seem as jazzed

million people seeing how gorgeous your

just in case.

about all your amazing plans after a while,

day was.

it doesn’t mean they’re not being supportive. It just means you might need to bring it down a notch. They have lives, too!


ever had. For all of the stress and frustration that

It doesn’t matter how meticulously you

are bound to come with wedding planning,

plan – something will always go wrong.

you will have many more fun, exciting

For every decision you make, have a con-

days. Think about the amazing moments,

7. The best “thank you” that you can

tingency plan. Want an outdoor wedding?

like cake tastings, having your engagement

give to a vendor is a great review

Find out about tent options. Not sure if

photo session, going to lunch with all your

and some amazing pictures.

your votive candles will set off the fire

attendants, finishing the final touches to

alarms? Get some fake ones just in case.

your vows. This is prime memory-making

Make sure you give them as much attention as they give you.

When selecting a vendor, you want to see


8. Something is definitely going to go

9. It’s going to be the most fun you’ve

stuff right here. Soak it in. Enjoy it.

their work right? Well getting images –

This is one of those times that a great

professional quality images – from a wed-

team of vendors is very helpful. You may

To find the perfect details for your big day,

ding they did isn’t always an easy process.

not even know something went wrong





Steve and Bobby had an instant connection. After five blissful years of dating, Steve popped the question while at Pops for Champagne, surrounded by their closest friends. The pair began the wedding day together at their house along with their twenty-person wedding party. The lovely hustle and bustle of the morning created an amazing energy as the grooms prepared for their big moment. “It was so wonderful to have all of those people in the same place supporting us that morning,” says Steve. The party moved to the venue, Salvage One, and Bobby and Steve separated to finish dressing in their handsome tuxes. “There is an indescribable feeling that you get when you see the person you’re about to marry in that first look moment,” says Bobby. “When I saw Steve dressed in his tux for the first time, he was the only thing I could focus on in the room. Our love was the only thing that mattered.” Guests were greeted with champagne as they entered the venue. Warm light from chandeliers glowed over the grooms, as they were walked down the aisle by their mothers. A life-long friend of Bobby’s performed an extremely unique service. Steve and Bobby read personal vows, and everyone in the room could feel the love between these two gentlemen. The couple wanted to create a timeless look for the reception by using different textures, mixed metals and wood, and a spring-like palette of green and white. “The inspiration for our wedding was West Elm meets Restoration Hardware, with a bit of J.Crew style,” says Bobby. These fun, personalized elements, sweet speeches, and excellent music and dancing created the perfect evening for the newlyweds and their guests. 196


Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY & RECEPTION: Salvage One PHOTOGRAPHY: Anjali Pinto Photography

OFFICIANT: Emily Sobczak

WEDDING CONSULTANT: Robert Rogers | Chrissy Dwyer FORMALWEAR: Macy’s


STATIONERY: First Kiss Paper | Lauren Michel Inc. | Shine Wedding Invitations FLORAL: Asrai Garden


CATERING: Maison Cuisine | Osteria Via Stato TRANSPORTATION: Uber

SWEETS: Elysia Root Cakes

Celebration Locations LOCATION

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Let your guests mingle with masterpieces by adding a private gallery viewing to your event, or add a personally designed menu by celebrity chef Tony Mantuano.


Bottom Lounge is not your cookie cutter event space! Contact for sight visits & quotes.


Your wedding is more than a moment in time. It’s a moment in history. Reserve your date now, and add your name to our legacy.


With breathtaking views and beautiful Georgian-style architecture, the Chicago History Museum is the perfect setting for your unforgettable moment.


With serene gardens, lakefront settings, and grand ballrooms, find out why so many are choosing the Chicago Park District for their next event.


The architectural centerpiece is the Winter Garden, a spacious marble and terrazzo atrium, covered 52 feet above by a glass dome.


Traditional Italian food. Private dining available. Convenient location. Casual elegance at its best. Visit


The Timeless Elegance of the Congress Plaza Hotel will provide you and your guests the ideal setting for your wedding.


Prime Gold Coast venue for wedding events including wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, showers and more.


Let Chicago be the backdrop to your special day aboard a customizable private yacht, which received a $1M renovation in 2015.


A historic venue with 2 ballrooms, 50’ ceilings, crystal chandeliers, 20 ft. windows and Victorian architecture. Capacity is 1,300 cocktail and 550 seated.


“Chicago’s iconic steakhouse makes its’ traditions, your memories.”


A sleek and modern restaurant in stylish River North for 20-400 guests. Highline is the perfect place for your wedding celebration.


Let the Mart Plaza make your dreams come true. Three venues with Chicago’s most spectacular views. South Asian menus.


Just steps from the Magnificent Mile, our stylish hotel provides the perfect backdrop for your event.

Kosher Available


Bon Appétit at the Art Institute of Chicago

111 S. Michigan Ave. • Chicago 312.443.3530 Bottom Lounge

1375 W. Lake St. • Chicago 312.666.6775 Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

12 S. Michigan Ave. • Chicago 312.940.3552 Chicago History Museum

1601 N.Clark St. • Chicago 312.799.2254 Chicago Park District

541 N. Fairbanks Ct. • Chicago 773.256.0159 Chicago Public Library - Harold Washington Library Center

400 S. State St. • Chicago 312.747.4130 Club Lucky

1824 W. Wabansia Ave. • Chicago 773.227.2300 Congress Plaza Hotel, The

520 S. Michigan Ave. • Chicago 312.427.3800 ext. 5071 Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House

58 E. Oak St. • Chicago 312.888.2499 Elite Private Yachts

600 E. Grand Ave. • Chicago 888.957.2634 Germania Place

108 W. Germania Pl. • Chicago 312.573.1968 Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

1028 N. Rush St. • Chicago 312.587.0508 Highline Bar + Lounge

169 W. Kinzie St. • Chicago 312.462.3671 Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza River North

350 W. Mart Center Dr. • Chicago 312.529.1124 Hyatt Regency Chicago

151 E. Wacker Dr. • Chicago 312.565.1234



All informAtion is subject to chAnge without notice. PleAse check with venue for detAils And AvAilAbility.


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Unique and contemporary wedding packages for the modern bride looking for an affordable, renovated downtown location.




Experience is everything let our wedding planners create truly personal, memorable occasions! Choose from four unique ballrooms.




The James offers the space, catering by David Burke’s Primehouse and event expertise to surpass expectations.




The JW Marriott Chicago offers elegance and modern style, surrounded by the Windy City’s finest dining and entertainment.




Host your wedding at Kendall College for sweeping skyline views, outdoor area and free parking.




The Kitchen offers a warm and inviting setting for your event in the heart of River North in the historic Reid Murdoch Building.




An open-air boutique space featuring a tent with a retractable roof, Moroccan brass sconces, beautiful travertine flooring, and an adjoining dining room that boasts a stunning exhibition kitchen.




La Villa Banquets, Restaurant and Lounge in Chicago’s Old Irving Park area is a local favorite since 1972.




With a variety of dramatic reception spaces in a premium location, Loews Chicago Hotel brings the dream wedding downtown.




This historic building is enriched with elegant architectural details; yet, its bare bones allow you to transform it into your own masterpiece.




Brand new Spring 2016 on Michigan Ave. and Wacker Dr. with multiple event spaces, including a ballroom offering city and river views.




Elegant event space, breathtaking views, global cuisine and magnificent ambiance for an unforgettable wedding in an iconic building!




Have your romantic wedding 80 floors above Chicago’s sprawling skyline. The club provides a stunning 360-degree panoramic view of the city.




Create an exceptional wedding in our stunning Crystal Ballroom with an illuminated dance floor at a Magnificent address.




Beautiful rooms, delicious cuisine, excellent service, and complimentary valet parking for your perfect event!




The Montgomery Club is located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. The newly-opened event space boasts over 8000 square feet of event space.




Beautiful historic building, reminiscent of Paris chapel. Steps away from Michigan Avenue, a beautiful location for both ceremony & reception.

Hyatt Regency McCormick Place

Outdoor Reception Area

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2233 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. • Chicago 312.528.4168 InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile

505 N. Michigan Ave. • Chicago 312.321.8735 James Hotel, The

55 E. Ontario St. • Chicago 312.337.1000 JW Marriott Chicago

151 W. Adams St. • Chicago 312.660.8200 Kendall College

900 N. North Branch St. • Chicago 312.752.2556 Kitchen, The

316 N. Clark St. • Chicago 312.836.1300 La Pergola at Galleria Marchetti

825 W. Erie St. • Chicago 312.563.0495 La Villa Banquets

3638 N. Pulaski Rd. • Chicago 773.283.7980 Loews Chicago Hotel

455 N. Park Dr. • Chicago 312.840.6600 Logan Square Auditorium

2539 N. Kedzie Blvd. • Chicago 773.252.6179 LondonHouse Chicago

85 E. Wacker Dr. • Chicago 312.357.1200 Metropolitan Club, The

Willis Tower, 66th & 67th Fl. 233 S. Wacker Dr. • Chicago 312.876.3200 Mid-America Club, The

200 E. Randolph St. • Chicago 312.861.1100 Millennium Knickerbocker Chicago

163 E. Walton Pl. • Chicago 312.867.7513 Monastero’s Ristorante & Banquets

3935 W. Devon Ave. • Chicago 773.588.2515 Montgomery Club, The

500 W. Superior St. • Chicago 312.587.0508 Murphy Chicago, The

50 E. Erie St. • Chicago 312.280.8447






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Nacional 27




Experience the unique flavors and one-of-a kind cocktails of 27 Central and South American Countries.




Let Chicago be the backdrop to your special day. Private and shared spaces available for groups of 2-500. Complimentary event coordinator.




Experience an Italian celebration – food, wine and a sense of la dolce vita!




From the lavish ballrooms to the inspired catering to the discerning decor, no other wedding venue boasts such a legacy of romance.




A state-of-the-art tented pavilion with modern crystal chandeliers and an ajoining terrace featuring a 72-foot long fire pit, all set alongside a beautiful and expansive courtyard with a vine-covered wedding arbor.




Pazzo’s will help you create an unforgettable event your guests will be talking about for years to come.




Distinctive and unique venue offering events that are upscale, sophisticated, fun and customized to suit your style. Our talented team brings your wedding to life!




Ravenswood Event Center is a full service event venue with onsite culinary & hospitality services.




Let us exceed your expectations and set the standard for Chicago weddings at The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago.




With six spaces to choose from overlooking the Chicago River, the options for your intimate dinner of 8 to your grand affair 1,200 guests are endless. Our event team will work with you to create a memorable event.




Stunning skyline views overlooking the Chicago River, with fine dining cuisine, covered terrace and indoor reception area.




Salvatore’s offers an intimate atmosphere to create a perfect event that is personalized to meet your specific needs.




Surround your guests with spectacular views of Chicago complemented by exquisite culinary specialties all from 95 stories above the city!




Modern style meets French elegance at Sofitel Chicago Water Tower, where weddings are magnifique!




Floor-to-ceiling views of Lake Michigan and Michigan Ave. along with stunning food from our culinary team sets the stage for spectacular events.




Stan Mansion will accommodate up to 300 guests for a sit down event and up to 400 guests for a cocktail event.

Simultaneous Weddings

325 W. Huron St. • Chicago 312.664.2727 Odyssey Cruises

600 E. Grand Ave. • Chicago 888.957.2634 Osteria Via Stato

620 N. State St. • Chicago 312.642.8450 Palmer House, A Hilton Hotel, The

17 E. Monroe St. • Chicago 312.422.1325 Pavilion at Galleria Marchetti, The

825 W. Erie St. • Chicago 312.563.0495

Pazzo’s at 311

311 S. Wacker Dr. • Chicago 312.913.1600 Pinstripes

435 E. Illinois St. • Chicago 312.527.3140 Ravenswood Event Center

4011 N. Ravenswood Ave. Ste. 105 • Chicago 773.388.2170 Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, The

160 E. Pearson St. • Chicago 312.266.1000 River Roast

315 N. LaSalle St. • Chicago 312.527.1417

Rivers Restaurant

30 S. Wacker Dr. • Chicago 312.559.1515 Salvatore’s Ristorante

525 W. Arlington Pl. • Chicago 773.528.1200 Signature Room at the 95th, The

875 N. Michigan Ave. #1525 • Chicago 312.280.0465 Sofitel Chicago Water Tower

20 E. Chestnut St. • Chicago 312.324.4017 Spiaggia Private Events

980 N. Michigan Ave., 3rd Fl. • Chicago 312.280.3300 Stan Mansion

2408 N. Kedzie Blvd. • Chicago 773.276.0099




All informAtion is subject to chAnge without notice. PleAse check with venue for detAils And AvAilAbility.



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theWit Hotel




At theWit Hotel Chicago, we take your vision and turn it into a masterpiece.




The Gold Coast’s Thompson Chicago specializes in personalized service, fine dining, and exceptionally executed events.




If you have always dreamed your day to be the pinnacle of sophistication, Trump Hotel is the perfect choice.




Year-round #1 Hidden City Patio (Chicago Magazine), acclaimed food and wine, plus unique and memorable wedding celebrations.




Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago combines a rich sense of Windy City history and tradition blended with captivating modern design.




Exclusive venue of Wishbone Catering located in the heart of Chicago’s West Loop.




Our Penthouse Ballroom features city views and a stunning outdoor terrace, while our Grand Ballroom is perfect for larger parties.




From beginning to end, Zam Zam Banquets is sure to please.

Kosher Available

201 N. State St. • Chicago 312.467.0200 Thompson Chicago

21 E. Bellevue Pl. • Chicago 312.994.7252 Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago

401 N. Wabash Ave. • Chicago 312.588.8000 Volo Restaurant Wine Bar

2008 W. Roscoe St. • Chicago 773.348.4600 Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago

701 N. Michigan Ave. • Chicago 312.274.6423 Wishbone 943

943 W. Washington Blvd. • Chicago 312.850.4050 Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront

71 E. Wacker Dr. • Chicago 312.346.7100 Zam Zam Banquet Hall

2759 N. Oak Park Ave. • Chicago 773.836.9000








Located in Comfort Suite Hotel-O’Hare Int’l Airport. Honeymoon suite available.




“Where your dreams really do come true.......”




This historic and prestigiously Italian Villa combines old world charm with a surprising contemporary style.




Spectacular restored mansion in downtown Barrington; classic, historic elegance combined with every modern amenity!




Charming & rustic ballroom with two story windows overlooking a beautiful wooded golf course and pond.




Banquet rooms with views of our award winning golf course! We also have a majestic outdoor event area ideal for wedding ceremonies and photos!




Chicago area’s premier venue for fine dining, impeccable service, and timeless elegance.




Surrounded by acres of stunning golf course views and features a stylish & sophisticated prairie style decor with a beautiful outdoor ceremony space.




Discover a true urban oasis surrounded by a wooded natural setting, perfect for an intimate gathering or grand celebration.

4200 N. River Rd. • Schiller Park 847.987.0897 Alta Villa Banquets

430 N. Addison Rd. • Addison 630.543.1222 Armour House at Lake Forest Academy

1500 W. Kennedy Rd. • Lake Forest 847.615.3219 Barrington’s White House

145 W. Main St. • Barrington 224.512.4292 Bartlett Hills Golf Club

800 W. Oneida Ave. • Bartlett 630.213.3103 Bridges of Poplar Creek Country Club

1400 Poplar Creek Dr. • Hoffman Estates 847.781.3658 Café la Cave

2777 Mannheim Rd. • Des Plaines 847.827.7818 Chandler’s

401 N. Roselle Rd. • Schaumburg 847.885.9009 Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort

10 Marriott Dr. • Lincolnshire 847.634.0100



Chicago Marriott Northwest

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Mention this ad and receive 10% off your wedding booking.


Private picturesque setting. Fountain pond with white swans and gazebo. Newly renovated grand ballrooms.


Experience the most elegant venue in the northwest suburbs. Award winning food, customer service and grandeur awaits you!


Elegant and spacious rooms, beautiful crystal chandeliers, economical package options, phenomenal food and impeccable service.



Wedding receptions can be customized to meet your needs. Kosher, South Asian and outside catering available.




Panoramic views of the Chicago skyline in our penthouse Monaco Ballroom, or take the grand staircase to our exclusive Versailles Ballroom.




Nestled on 106 acres of natural beauty and 35 minutes from downtown, Eaglewood Resort & Spa is ideal for weddings.




Centrally located in Chicagoland area. Easily accessible from all major expressways. Complimentary valet parking.




Elegant style, unparalleled service, and magnificent space.




Perfect atmosphere for a one of a kind wedding and reception. Blooms to delight you and your guests. Professional catering.




For a truly beautiful event, the Genesee Theatre will make you feel like a star. An extraordinary experience for memories that last a lifetime!




“Chicago’s iconic steakhouse makes its’ traditions, your memories.”




The Glen Club provides the elegance and excellence you deserve on your special day.




Golf Club of Illinois provides the perfect setting for special events, with seating from 40-200.




Rustic venues and classic spaces alike, go hand-inhand with Four-Diamond accommodations and amenities, making Grand Geneva the midwest’s most beautiful wedding destination.




Located minutes from nearby Traverse City, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa is Michigan’s premier wedding destination.




A unique, city-style loft feel in the suburbs.

4800 Hoffman Blvd. • Hoffman Estates 847.747.0613 Concorde Banquets

20922 N. Rand Rd. • Kildeer 847.438.0025 Cotillion Banquets, The

360 S. Creekside Dr. • Palatine 847.934.5500 D’Andrea Banquets & Conference Center

4419 Northwest Hwy. • Crystal Lake 815.459.7234 Donald E. Stephens Ballroom

5555 N. River Rd. • Rosemont 847.692.6415 DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago North Shore

9599 Skokie Blvd. • Skokie 847.679.7000 Eaglewood Resort & Spa

1401 Nordic Rd. • Itasca 630.694.5907 Elmcrest Banquets by Biancalana, The

7370 W. Grand Ave. • Elmwood Park 708.453.3989 Estate by Gene & Georgetti, The

9421 W. Higgins Rd. • Rosemont 847.653.3333 Gardens of Woodstock, The

5211 Swanson Rd. • Woodstock 815.337.2509 Genesee Theatre

203 N. Genesse St. • Waukegan 847.406.3152 Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

5464 N. River Rd. • Rosemont 847.928.9900 Glen Club, The

2901 W. Lake Ave. • Glenview 847.832.6420 Golf Club of Illinois

1575 Edgewood Dr. • Algonquin 847.658.4400 Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

7036 Grand Geneva Way • Lake Geneva, WI 800.558.3417

Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

100 Grand Traverse Village Blvd. • Acme, MI 231.534.6203 Haight, The

166 Symphony Way • Elgin 224.801.4166 202



All informAtion is subject to chAnge without notice. PleAse check with venue for detAils And AvAilAbility.



Hawk’s View Golf Club

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An intimate ceremony or a grand affair, our rustic chic décor enhances all celebrations and allows us to offer you a day to treasure.




The Heritage Ballroom is the perfect venue for your event. Wedding packages and indoor/outdoor ceremony sites available.




Custom packages to fit any budget are available. With our full service kitchen and executive chef anything is possible!




Downtown style at just the right price. With our undivided attention, relax and enjoy your day!




North Shore Chicago’s Historic, Four-Diamond Hotel. Trendy and chic intimate downtown location. Breathtaking staircase, professional and caring staff, delicious food.




Two historic mansions in downtown Lake Geneva offer timeless ceremony and reception venues, as well as 30 boutique hotel rooms.




A breathtaking lakeside venue with numerous waterfront ceremony sites and flexible indoor spaces.




Beautifully restored historical mansion featuring an outdoor wedding site. Four season tent with A/C and heat. Exceptional food and custom menus available.




The new Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel: where hospitality meets art, and your big day is all it deserves to be.




Manzo’s creates memories with great celebrations. We care about each and every event. We love what we do. You can feel the difference.




From the initial inquiry to your “last dance,” the experience at MCC will be a truly memorable one!




Medinah Banquets offers white glove service, gracious hospitality and savory, distinctive cuisine to suit your requests.




Multiple rooms available. Outdoor veranda. Located in the heart of downtown Arlington Heights across the street from Harmony Park.




The grounds and gardens offer a beautiful vintage backdrop for showers, rehearsal dinners as well as both wedding ceremonies and receptions.




Our 16th floor ballroom is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, giving you an unobstucted view of the dramatic Chicago Skyline.




Elegant hotel setting with 7 banquet rooms for 20 to 330 guests. Custom packages for all occasions.




Distinctive and unique venue offering events that are upscale, sophisticated, fun and customized to suit your style. Our talented team brings your wedding to life!

Simultaneous Weddings

Kosher Available

7377 Krueger Rd. • Lake Geneva, WI 262.348.9900 Heritage Ballroom at The Centre of Elgin

100 Symphony Way • Elgin 847.531.7047 Highland Park Country Club

1201 Park Ave. W. • Highland Park 847.432.8048 Hilton Garden Inn Chicago North Shore/ Evanston




1818 Maple Ave. • Evanston 847.475.6400 Hilton Orrington/Evanston

1710 Orrington Ave. • Evanston 847.556.7901 Historic Hotels of Lake Geneva

327 Wrigley Dr. • Lake Geneva, WI 262.248.9711 Lake Lawn Resort & Calladora Spa

2400 E. Geneva St. • Delavan, WI 800.338.5253 Lehmann Mansion

485 N. Milwaukee Ave. • Lake Villa 847.356.9911 Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel

5300 N. River Rd. • Rosemont 847.447.4203 Manzo’s Banquets

1571 S. Elmhurst Rd. • Des Plaines 847.593.2233 McHenry Country Club

820 N. John St. • McHenry 815.385.1072 Medinah Banquets

550 Shriners Dr. • Addison 630.458.0200 Metropolis Ballroom

6 S. Vail Ave. • Arlington Heights 847.870.8787 Midway Village Museum

6799 Guilford Rd. • Rockford 815.397.9112 Midwest Conference Center

401 W. Lake St. • Northlake 708.409.2828 Mirage Four Points Sheraton

10255 W. Irving Park Rd. • Schiller Park 847.671.4230 Pinstripes

100 W. Higgins Rd. • South Barrington 847.844.4810




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Distinctive and unique venue offering events that are upscale, sophisticated, fun and customized to suit your style. Our talented team brings your wedding to life!




From elaborate fairy tales to simple love stories, the newly renovated Renaissance Chicago North Shore has the space for your magical day.




Enjoy the ambiance of our “grand foyer”. We offer the most comprehensive package at an affordable price.




Stonegate provides a warm, rich, inviting feel that will bring a timeless romantic elegance to your event.




Family-owned business. Beautiful cozy rooms. Impeccable service and fine food. Off premise catering available.




From golf course views to rustic A-frame ceilings, Villa Olivia has the space to fit your style and make your dream wedding a reality.




Private luxury estate with 10-acres of prize-winning gardens, 4-acre lake, exquisite Garden Railways, and a private Model Train Museum.




With delicious cuisine, picture-perfect locations and personalized service, every detail is carefully selected to reflect your individuality.




Experience the charming Arches Garden and Garden rooms at Historic Winnetka Community House.




Setting the standards for excellence in wedding receptions and special events.




Allegra Banquets’, second location, completely renovated in 2015. An elegant venue with exquisite atmosphere is the perfect place for your wedding.




There is only one bride and groom per evening at Arrowhead, so the focus is solely on the bride and groom.




Captivating two-story lobby accented with beautiful cascading staircases. Quality food and excellent service!




Brookfield Zoo’s beautiful grounds and unique animal exhibits make it the best place to host your wedding or reception that guests will talk about for a lifetime.




Cantigny is the former estate of Robert R. McCormick. The 500 acre park and golf course include formal gardens, four ceremony sites and two reception venues.




From small intimate affairs to large celebrations, the Carleton offers an elegant décor and innovative cuisine.




Where happily ever after begins! 2.2 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. Located in the Historic District of Oak Park.

1150 Willow Rd. • Northbrook 847.480.7676 Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel

933 Skokie Blvd. • Northbrook 847.498.6500 Seville, The

700 S. Barrington Rd. • Streamwood 630.289.4500 Stonegate Conference & Banquet Centre, The

2401 W. Higgins Rd. • Hoffman Estates 847.884.7000 Villa Brunetti Banquets & Catering

9755 W. Grand Ave. • Franklin Park 847.455.1078 Villa Olivia

1401 W. Lake St. • Bartlett 630.540.4190 Wandering Tree Estate

North Barrington 847.381.1907 Westin Chicago Northwest, The

400 Park Blvd. • Itasca 630.773.4000 Winnetka Community House

620 Lincoln Ave. • Winnetka 847.446.3154


WEST Abbington Distinctive Banquets

3S002 IL Rte. 53 • Glen Ellyn 630.942.8600 Allegra Banquets of Villa Park

237 W. St. Charles Rd. • Villa Park 630.607.0094 Arrowhead Golf Club

26W151 Butterfield Rd. • Wheaton 630.653.5802 Ashton Place

341 75th St. • Willowbrook 630.789.3337 Brookfield Zoo

(Managed by Chicago Zoological) 3300 Golf Rd. • Brookfield 708.688.8355 Cantigny Park

1 S. 151 Winfield Rd. • Wheaton 630.260.8145 Carleton of Oak Park, The

1110 Pleasant St. • Oak Park 708.848.5000 Cheney Mansion

220 N. Euclid Ave. • Oak Park 708.725.2500 204


All informAtion is subject to chAnge without notice. PleAse check with venue for detAils And AvAilAbility.



Chicago Marriott Naperville

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From our beautifully landscaped grounds to our various private ballrooms, we transform our space to meet your vision for your special day.




Two elegant ballrooms, exceptional food and beverage and dedicated wedding specialists providing an experience that is second to none.




Allow our catering staff to share their experience and expertise to make your special day a most memorable one.




We provide complimentary assistance finding wedding and reception venues, hotels, transportation, caterers, florists and related services.




Beautiful hall. Elegant atmosphere. 25 years of experience.




Picturesque golf course view, professional service and several unique wedding packages available.




Memorable ceremonies. Unique receptions. Oversized guest rooms, and great before-and-after dining and recreation choices, too.




Quaint and intimate or grand and spectacular, our certified planners will work with you to make this unforgettable day the wedding of your dreams.




We’re not a chain, rather, we’re something a little different. Chic. Seductive.




The Hotel Baker has established a tradition of elegance and personal service. Let Hotel Baker turn your fantasy wedding into reality!




A historic, nondenominational chapel with spectacular architectural details and seating for 175 guests nestled on 12 picturesque acres.




We offer beautiful and unique indoor and outdoor spaces for wedding ceremonies and receptions, located just steps from the Naperville Riverwalk!




Welcome guests with gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking landscaped brick patio, pond and fountain. We host both receptions and ceremonies with receptions year round.




We do catering and beverage service, for all events. Choose your own menu and our food is prepared onsite. Parking is also available!




Distinctive and unique venue offering events that are upscale, sophisticated, fun and customized to suit your style. Our talented team brings your wedding to life!




Cathedral ceilings, brick accent walls, covered veranda and picture windows with stunning golf course views.




Three rooms available in a formal bistro atmosphere.

Kosher Available

1801 N. Naper Blvd. • Naperville 630.505.4900 DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel and Conference Center Chicago - Downers Grove

2111 Butterfield Rd. • Downers Grove 630.434.3805 Drury Lane

100 Drury Ln. • Oakbrook Terrace 630.530.0202 DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau

915 Harger Rd. • Oak Brook 630.575.8070 Empress Banquets, The

200 E. Lake St. • Addison 630.279.5900 Glendale Lakes Golf Club

1550 President St. • Glendale Heights 630.260.0095 Hilton Chicago Indian Lakes Resort

250 W. Schick Rd. • Bloomingdale 630.894.3802 Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort

3500 Midwest Rd. • Oak Brook 630.850.5555 Hotel Arista

2139 City Gate Ln. • Naperville 630.579.4100 Hotel Baker

100 W. Main St. • St. Charles 630.584.2100 Naper Settlement

523 S. Webster St. • Naperville 630.420.6010 Naperville Park District

320 W. Jackson Ave. • Naperville 630.848.5000 Northern Illinois University Naperville - NIU

1120 E. Diehl Rd. • Naperville 630.577.9101 Oscar Swan Inn

1800 W. State St 630.232.0173



7 Oakbrook Center • Oakbrook 630.575.8744 Seven Bridges Golf Club

One Mulligan Dr. • Woodridge 630.964.7735 Venuti’s Banquets & Ristorante




2251 W. Lake St. • Addison 630.376.1500



Max Reception/ Dinner Size

Starting Price per Person

Ceremony Site Available

Simultaneous Weddings

Kosher Available

Outdoor Reception Area

Page Number


As Chicagoland’s highly acclaimed and prestigious golf club, we welcome you to experience the elegance and admire the ambiance!


The golf course is quietly nestled on 250 acres of rolling hills, creating the most exclusive experience for you and your guests.


The Chicago Marriott Southwest at Burr Ridge offers a picturesque setting to make your special occasion perfect.


From a simple gathering to a formal affair, enjoy a wedding to remember in beautiful Burr Ridge.


Allow us to create the wedding of your dreams. Call today for your personal tour!


Let us, together, focus on your key elements to build your perfect wedding package. A wedding package to satisfy your needs and budget!


SOUTH & SOUTHWEST & INDIANA Bolingbrook Golf Club
















A convenient experience in exquisite banquet dining and luxury hotel accommodations. All in one location...




Create an unforgettable wedding day at Hilton Chicago/Oak Lawn, from the first kiss to the last dance!




Unique venue delivers traditional elegance. Four spacious ballrooms featuring fireplaces, stained glass windows, chandeliers, skylights and much more!




Historic mansion, ballroom, lush gardens, nondenominational church, with stained glass windows and pipe organ.




Windows overlooking golf course, lakes, fountain, gardens and gazebo. Cathedral ceilings, crystal chandeliers and marble dance floors.




Floor to ceiling, wall to wall windows overlooking lush illuminated gardens.

2001 Rodeo Dr. • Bolingbrook 630.771.9400 Broken Arrow Golf Club

16325 W. Broken Arrow Dr. • Lockport 815.836.8858 Chicago Marriott Southwest at Burr Ridge

1200 Burr Ridge Pkwy. • Burr Ridge 630.986.4100 Crowne Plaza Chicago Southwest at Burr Ridge

300 S. Frontage Rd. • Burr Ridge 630.325.2900 DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago Alsip

5000 W. 127th St. • Alsip 708.371.7300 Elements Banquets - Homewood Suites by Hilton

16245 S. LaGrange Rd. • Orland Park 708.364.9411 Georgios Banquets & Hotel

8800 W. 159th St. • Orland Park 708.403.1100 Hilton Chicago/Oak Lawn

9333 S. Cicero Ave. • Oak Lawn 708.229.8850 Holiday Inn Countryside & William Tell Banquets

6201 Joliet Rd. • La Grange-Countryside 708.352.1101 Jacob Henry Mansion Estate, The

20 S. Eastern Ave. • Joliet 815.722.1420 Odyssey Country Club

19110 S. Ridgeland Ave. • Tinley Park 708.429.7400 Silver Lake Country Club

14700 S. 82nd Ave. • Orland Park 708.349.6940 ext. 5

All informAtion is subject to chAnge without notice. PleAse check with venue for detAils And AvAilAbility.



Practice Makes



You’ve spent months planning this amazing party. Every box has been checked, every flower ordered, and every name card has a place, but there’s just one thing left to organize: the rehearsal dinner. This is definitely a common tradition that cannot be skipped, unless you want the groomsmen trying to figure out what they are supposed to be doing on the fly. Rehearsal dinners are the perfect place to have a little fun and relieve some stress before the big day. For once, someone else will be telling you where to go and how things should run. At least for the rehearsal part. WRITTEN BY LYNN TANGORRA • PHOTOGRAPHY BY SALVATORE CINCOTTA PHOTOGRAPHY

First thing’s first: the guest list. Before picking a venue or choosing a menu, decide who should be a part of this evening besides the bridal party.

“I see a more relaxed feel for the rehear-

required. Something as simple and informal

sal dinner,” says Maddi Dill, lead event

as an e-vite is considered proper etiquette,

manager for Cooper’s Hawk Winery and

but if you would rather have something a

Restaurant. “The rehearsal dinner can

little fancier, send out invitations three to

still be a classic event without having to

six weeks before the dinner. Remember,

out-do the wedding.”

never include a rehearsal dinner invitation

There are no rules! Other than members of the wedding party, who typically bring a spouse or guest, out-of-town guests are generally invited since they have traveled for the special occasion. The officiant and the immediate families of the bride and groom also attend. Your guest list really depends on the budget and on how big of a soiree you would like. Have a con versation with whomever is footing the

with your wedding invitation; they are conSome couples opt for really low-key venues sidered two separate events! such as someone’s backyard or even a bowling alley. It will vary based on

Some couples send out video invitations

how intimate you would like the atmos-

through email. You can record a brief

phere to be. You want your guests to be

message inviting guests to join you for the

relaxed and enjoy themselves, especially

dinner and tell them all the details.

since most of them won’t know each

For those who are not so tech savvy,

other and it’s a smaller event than your

sending cards may be the best route. If

actual wedding.

you are on a tight budget but still want to have invitations sent via snail mail, consider

bill to determine how large the guest total should be.

Who pays?


Who does the guest list include?

What kind of invitations should I send? It’s not a bad idea, but it’s also not

postcard invitations. You can order a variety of different styles and write out the details on the back. Since stamps for

Traditionally, the groom’s parents host the rehearsal dinner. Nowadays, more and more couples are deciding they can pay for the dinner themselves with maybe a little help from Mom and Dad. If the families both feel strongly about helping host the dinner, let them split the bill. Just make sure they are aware of how many guests you want to attend and the type of venue you’ve chosen.

How formal should the dinner be? It generally depends on the preference of the couple. Never have your rehearsal dinner compete with your wedding reception! Typically, if a couple is having a formal wedding, the rehearsal dinner will be a more casual, laid-back event. This occasion is an opportune moment for the families to spend some quality time together before all of the excitement begins for the big day. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



postcards cost less than mailing a card,

reservation, do it. You can also start plan-

If not, make sure to contact the location

this option will help you save money.

ning a menu that won’t conflict with what

and see if you can bring in outside food.

you’re serving at the reception.

Chocolate could be a good idea (something

If you are having something as simple as

small and not too heavy), or you can bring

a get-together at someone’s house, any

“I would recommend planning or booking

sort of invitation may not be necessary.

a rehearsal dinner space a few months

Just give guests a call for headcount pur-

after the couple has chosen the wed-

“Our couples always serve some sort of

poses and make sure to have them RSVP

ding venue,” says Amanda Michi, event

dessert, but it is never a cake so that they

to you with who they will be bringing.

coordinator for Salvatore’s Ristorante.

are not competing with the cake at the

“Many places that host rehearsal dinners

wedding,” said Hilary Saurer, director of

Where should I host the dinner?

also host weddings, so it’s only a matter

sales at River Roast. “We see more mini

Location may be one of the easiest choices

of time before their dates will start to

desserts and a larger assortment than

to make. Pick something that is the most

book up.”

one type of dessert per person.”

What about toasts and gifts?

party and immediate family. Most will want

Should I serve cake? How do I choose the menu?

to relax after the ceremony rehearsal and

“Serve something that is completely dif-

for the couple to address friends and

not spend a good chunk of time carpooling

ferent from the wedding menu,” says

family to thank them for the time spent

to the next location. Unless you are dead

Michi. “We always recommend family style

in helping make the upcoming day so

set on hosting your dinner at a certain

because it is a little more relaxed and

special. This is also a great time to thank

venue, find some place within walking dis-

casual, which is usually the mood of a

the bridal party for their involvement. If the

tance or a very short car trip of where the

rehearsal dinner. Family style also does

groom’s family is hosting, it’s expected

ceremony will be held.

not require guests to choose their meal

that they will give a speech. The bride’s

ahead of time, which can often feel like

parents can also say a few words if they

When should I start planning the dinner?

hosting another wedding.”

feel prompted.

Most couples have cake at their wedding,

If you don’t have time to add a little some-

To stay on schedule, have a general idea

so the dinner could be a good time to try

thing extra to the schedule for the wedding,

of who is attending by about three months

something different. Depending on the

get creative and set aside some time to

out. And as soon as you can make a

menu and venue, dessert may be included.

have it at the rehearsal dinner. This could

in cookies or small finger desserts.

convenient for you and your guests. This will make it less stressful on the bridal



The rehearsal dinner is a perfect place

isn’t a common one. “I think most couples

friends want to share.

Alcohol can be expensive, so it depends

prefer to use the budget toward the

on who is paying for the evening. You can

wedding,” says Dill. “I also think many of

choose not to have an open bar, and if

the guests end up taking their own pic-

you would like to offer alcohol to your

tures and then are able to post on social

guests, you can speak with the venue to

media with the couple’s personalized

see about packages.

wedding hashtag.”

Most couples choose this time to hand out bridal party favors and sometimes a gift of appreciation for Mom and Dad. Bridesmaid gifts can be as simple as jewelry or as elaborate as a bridesmaid’s bag, which includes essentials like tissues,

Some hosts will offer to pick up the tab

lip gloss, flip-flops, and a bathrobe for

for beer and wine while guests are respon-

getting ready. Groomsmen gifts can range

sible for purchasing mixed drinks if they

from cufflinks to a grooming kit. It is up to

want them. Never feel obligated to provide

the discretion of the bride and groom on

alcohol. Don’t forget, you are already

how much they want to spend on their

paying for their meal tonight. Some may

respective parties.

choose to not have alcohol because they don’t want things to get too rowdy, espe-

What about decorating the venue for the rehearsal dinner?

cially with the bridal party who have to be up and at ‘em early the next day.

Remember, the night before your wedding should be relaxed and stress free. The dinner is meant to be a time for family members and friends to come together to celebrate the joining of two families. Take the time to plan something that feels right for you and your significant other without trying to top what you have planned for the big day. To find the perfect rehearsal dinner venue, visit

Again, the décor should not compete with

decorate away! There are plenty of ways

Should my photographer attend the rehearsal dinner?

to get creative and incorporate themes or

If you have a little extra wiggle room in

color palettes for the dinner.

your budget, you may choose to have the

your reception, but if you like to decorate,

While a great time-saver, this strategy


of readings, or just fun stories family and

What about alcohol? Should we pay for an open bar?

include slideshows of the couple, any sort

photographer capture some precious “The rehearsal dinner is typically the time

moments of family and friends at the

for the story of the couple to be honored,”

rehearsal dinner. Some photographers

says Saurer. “We see a lot of personal

prefer to attend the rehearsal because it

decorations instead of décor companies.

gives them a chance to find the best

For instance, we often see pictures of the

angles to shoot the bridal party, especially

couple in frames as centerpieces, and

the bride and groom. It is also nice to

each table is a place they traveled.”

have more candid photos of the dinner

If you choose to host it outside, hanging

and guests mingling as extra mementos.

lights could be an intimate, classic option.

Plus, if you have a large family, you can

Long tables are recommended to encour-

get photos with everyone with the extra

age a family-style meal setting. If your

time. Yes, even Uncle Stan! That way you

event is very casual and the venue is

don’t have to spend too much time

already beautiful, you won’t have to prepare

worrying about scheduling all of the photos

any decorations or spend the time setting

during the reception when you are trying

up. Place cards are unnecessary unless

to visit with everyone. Not many couples

you would like to ensure people mingle

choose to do this, but if it’s something

with guests they don’t know.

you can afford, go for it. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Celebration Locations

Rehearsals, Parties, and Events

Bon Appétit at The Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Chicago Sports Museum

12 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago 312.940.3552

835 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago 312.202.0500

Maximum # of Guests: 300 Starting Price per Person: $105

Maximum # of Guests: 1200 Starting Price per Person: $40

Let your guests mingle with masterpieces by adding a private gallery viewing in the second largest art museum in the country.

Located on Chicago’s cultural mile on Michigan Ave. across from the iconic Millennium Park and Jay Pritzker Pavillion, the Chicago Athletic Association has been restored and transformed into a 241-room luxury lifestyle hotel. The property features 17,000 sq.feet of multi-functional venue space to accommodate upscale events and functions of various sizes.

Combining interactive exhibits, state-of-the-art audio/visual capabilities and upscale design, the Chicago Sports Museum is the ideal venue for casual and formal events. Massive windows with breathtaking views of Lake Michigan flood the space with natural light. Catering is provided by Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group.

Chicago’s First Lady Cruises

Club Lucky

Coco Pazzo Restaurants

Michigan Ave. & Wacker Dr., Chicago 847.358.1330

1824 W. Wabansia Ave., Chicago 773.227.2300

Maximum # of Guests: 250 Starting Price per Person: Call

Maximum # of Guests: 190 Starting Price per Person: Call

300 W. Hubbard St., 212 E. Ohio St. & 636 N. St. Clair St., Chicago 312.836.0900

The ultimate way to showcase Chicago to your guests. Experience classic luxury and superior service aboard your own Private Rehearsal Dinner Cruise. Perfect for parties of 10-250. Breathtaking sunsets and skyline views included.

Bucktown/Wicker Park’s most popular restaurant and unique cocktail lounge. Featuring generous portions of traditional Italian food served family style. Convenient location blocks from expressway and downtown hotels. Private party & wedding room, main dining room and patio available. Special rehearsal, wedding dinner and bar packages.

Coco Pazzo’s elegant setting, Tre Soldi’s lively atmosphere and Coco Pazzo Café’s warm ambiance add versatility when selecting the perfect venue for your wedding festivities. Our goal is to make all guests feel welcome, as we embrace all couples and event celebrations.

111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago 312.443.3530 Maximum # of Guests: 150 Starting Price per Person: $120



Maximum # of Guests: 150 Starting Price per Person: $40


Andre LaCour Photography





D.O.C. Wine Bar Chicago

David Burke’s Primehouse

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House

2602 N. Clark St., Chicago 773.480.3708

616 N. Rush St., Chicago 312.660.7157

58 E. Oak St., Chicago 312.888.2499

Maximum # of Guests: 120 Starting Price per Person: $16

Maximum # of Guests: 175 Starting Price per Person: $80

Maximum # of Guests: 430 Starting Price per Person: $84

Thank you for considering D.O.C. Wine Bar for your special event. Our private rooms are available seven days a week for brunch, lunch, or dinner. There are no room rental fees. We can accommodate up to 80 guests for a sit-down meal or up to 120 guests for a relaxing cocktail party complete with our extraordinary wine selections and top-quality appetizers.

The James Chicago offers restaurant-style dining with culinary creations by David Burke’s Primehouse - named #1 Steakhouse in Chicago by Chicago magazine. Enjoy 7000 sq. ft. of flexible space complete with natural lighting and warmly modern design, providing a truly memorable experience.

Del Frisco’s dishes up a bold menu of prime steaks and fresh seafood, an award-winning wine list and genuine hospitality. Located in the historic Esquire Theatre in the heart of the Gold Coast district, Del Frisco’s has four private dining rooms and a mezzanine with a full bar available for groups ranging from 20-430 people.

Erie Café

Frankie’s Scaloppine

Gene & Georgetti

536 W. Erie St., Chicago 312.266.2300

900 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago 773.433.5330

500 N. Franklin St., Chicago 312.527.3718

Maximum # of Guests: 200 Starting Price per Person: $35

Maximum # of Guests: 180 Starting Price per Person: $35

Maximum # of Guests: 240 Starting Price per Person: $50

The Erie Café is a classic Chicago steakhouse, with warm and inviting fine dining. The Erie Café is a family owned and operated, with 3 generations providing exceptional service and attention to detail. Highly individualized private dining is a priority at this River North establishment.

Located on the famed Michigan Avenue, just steps away from an array of shops, variety of hotels and gorgeous Lake Michigan, Frankie’s Scaloppini & Pizzeria is the perfect location for a rehearsal dinner, brunch or wedding celebration.

Gene & Georgetti was founded in 1941 by Gene Michelotti and his partner Alfredo Federighi, who was nicknamed “Georgetti” after a famous Italian cyclist. Located in the heart of River North, Gene & Georgetti is Chicago’s oldest and one of its finest steakhouses. Partners Gene and “Georgetti” worked hand in hand to establish a reputation of excellence. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM





Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

The Guesthouse Hotel

Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse

1028 N. Rush St., Chicago 312.587.0508

4872 N. Clark St., Chicago 773.564.9568

33 W. Kinzie St., Chicago 312.828.0966

Maximum # of Guests: 200 Starting Price per Person: $75

Maximum # of Guests: 50 Starting Price per Person: Call

Maximum # of Guests: 400 Starting Price per Person: $40

Always happening and consistently offering abundant portions of USDA Gibson’s prime angus, pristine fish and homemade desserts. Entertainment radiates from the piano bar where locals, celebs and out-of-towners mix and mingle. Choose from six of the iconic steakhouse’s private dining rooms.

Voted one of the best new hotels in Chicago, celebrate like a local at our neighborhood boutique hotel. Perfect for an intimate wedding, rehearsal dinner, shower or milestone celebration, our unique event space is designed with urban sophistication. Our distinctive style and exceptional service is guaranteed to create lasting memories.

Located in a historic landmark building in River North, the iconic Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse combines sophistication, charm and sports history with prime steaks and Italian classics. Harry Caray’s skilled event planners, attentive wait staff and renowned culinary team will make your special day one to remember forever.

Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House

Hyatt Regency Chicago

Kendall College

1024 N. Rush St., Chicago 312.640.0999

151 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago 312.565.1234

900 N. North Branch St., Chicago 312.752.2556

Maximum # of Guests: 200 Starting Price per Person: $75

Maximum # of Guests: 40 Starting Price per Person: $80

Maximum # of Guests: 180 Starting Price per Person: Call

A lively next-door neighbor to the iconic Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse, this Gold Coast seafood authority offers an impressive selection of fresh seafood, flown in daily, along with renowned USDA Gibsons Prime Angus beef. Guests can choose from six elegant private dining rooms.

Experience Hyatt Regency Chicago’s superior service and style. Whether it’s an elaborate dinner for entertaining or a brunch after the ‘big day’, let us build the perfect backdrop for your event in our private dining room, The Annex or in Stetsons Modern Steak + Sushi. Our events team will help you create the perfect menu and an unforgettable celebration.

Looking for a truly unique event space? Consider Kendall College. With sweeping views of the city skyline, an outdoor area and free on-site parking, we offer impressive settings for hosting your wedding or rehearsal dinner. For your special shower, we can create bespoke, hands-on, interactive classes led by our Kendall culinary team.







The Kitchen

La Pergola at Galleria Marchetti


316 N. Clark St., Chicago 312.836.1300

825 W. Erie St., Chicago 312.563.0495

18 E. Bellevue Pl., Chicago 312.642.3400

Maximum # of Guests: 120 Starting Price per Person: $60

Maximum # of Guests: 125 Starting Price per Person: $50

Maximum # of Guests: 180 Starting Price per Person: $50

In the heart of River North on the Chicago River in the historic Reid Murdoch Building, The Kitchen has a variety of options to compliment your desired style. Events are served in our signature family style and highlight the flavors of the season. We can accommodate up to 120 guests seated or 300 reception style for brunch, lunch, or dinner.

Introducing La Pergola at Galleria Marchetti, the new openair boutique venue for extraordinary events. This unique setting features a European-designed shade structure with a retractable roof, a beautiful indoor pre-function space, and the fantastic food and service for which the Marchetti’s of Como Inn fame are known.

The ultimate evolution of the neighborhood bar in the heart of Chicago’s Gold Coast. Comfort, convenience and familiarity of the corner tavern are combined with luxury, quality and service. Second level private dining room boasts views of Rush Street.

The Metropolitan Club

Michael Jordan’s Steak House

The Mid-America Club

233 S. Wacker Dr., 66th & 67th Fl., Chicago 312.876.3200

505 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago 312.321.8823

200 E. Randolph Dr., 80th Fl., Chicago 312.861.1100

Maximum # of Guests: 400 Starting Price per Person: Call

Maximum # of Guests: 150 Starting Price per Person: $80

Maximum # of Guests: 400 Starting Price per Person: $50

Located on the 66th & 67th floors of the iconic Willis Tower, experience stunning panoramic views of the Chicago skyline while enjoying world class cuisine & service. Impress your guests with a unique Chicago experience. The private events team at The Metropolitan Club is ready to assist in turning your vision into a night to remember!

Your legendary event starts here. Raise a glass on the Magnificent Mile to celebrate rehearsal dinners, bachelor/ bachelorette parties, and wedding dinners. Enjoy a special dinner in Michael Jordan’s favorite private dining room. Choose from our customizable menu and beverage packages. It’s your party. You call the shots.

The Mid-America Club is among the most idyllic Chicago venues located just steps from Michigan Avenue, Grant Park, Millennium Park, and we have the best views in the city. The elegant, private ambiance of our venue offers a unique option for those who wish to avoid having their celebration in the public eye of a hotel or restaurant. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM





Monastero’s Ristorante & Banquets

The Montgomery Club

The Murphy Chicago

3935 W. Devon Ave., Chicago 773.588.2515

500 W. Superior St., Chicago 312.587.0508

50 E. Erie St., Chicago 312.280.8447

Maximum # of Guests: 300 Starting Price per Person: $28

Maximum # of Guests: 1000 Starting Price per Person: $60

Maximum # of Guests: 200 Starting Price per Person: Call

Let the Monastero Family host your rehearsal dinner! Four private dining rooms, including our indoor garden, will impress all of your guests. Four-course dinners start at $28 per person, featuring chicken breast marsala, homemade spinach lasagna, eggplant parmigiana entrees and more. 30-300 guests. Plenty of free parking.

Located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, boasting 8,000 square feet of event space. Enjoy customizable menus from the award-winning fare of Gibson’s Restaurant Group. Their knowledgeable and attentive staff will create a completely unique event.

Steps away from Michigan Avenue, The Murphy offers elegance, charm and historic space for rehearsal dinners too! Working with Chicago’s top caterers, let us execute a wonderful event for you.

Osteria La Madia

Pazzo’s at 311

Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar

59 W. Grand Ave., Chicago 312.329.0400

311 S. Wacker Dr., Chicago 312.913.1600

626 N. State St., Chicago 312.698.5000

Maximum # of Guests: 50 Starting Price per Person: $40

Maximum # of Guests: 400 Starting Price per Person: $65

Maximum # of Guests: 300 Starting Price per Person: $35

The Semi-Private Stage seats up to 50. With its unique vantage of our 20-foot-tall, glass enclosed wine cellar, the Wine Room accommodates intimate gatherings of up to 14 guests. Our menus are versatile, from passed, seasonal hors d’oeuvres to pizza parties to family-style meals. Our cocktails change seasonally and are always prepared fresh.

Pazzo’s is located south of Willis Tower. We provide full-service event planning and have two private rooms that seat 50-400 guests. Our atrium makes us one of the most beautiful venues in the city. Let our staff customize an event you’ll always remember in a venue you’ll never forget. Also available for rehearsals and engagements.

Embrace the essence of an authentic Italian urban ristorante, pizzeria and wine bar in quintessential Gibson’s Restaurant Group style. Complimenting the regional Italian cuisine is an extensive wine list with offerings by the liter, mezzo or quartino.








The Redhead Piano Bar

Rittergut Wine Bar & Social Club

1925 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago 312.462.3671

16 W. Ontario St., Chicago 312.640.1000

10 S. Wacker Dr., Chicago 312.559.1832

Maximum # of Guests: 385 Starting Price per Person: $35

Maximum # of Guests: 200 Starting Price per Person: $40

Maximum # of Guests: 150 Starting Price per Person: $50

Ranalli’s offers traditional and Neopolitan pizzas accompanied by great drinks and the Four Corners Tavern Group’s take on Italian-focused bar fare. With a large private room, an intimate King’s Table and the largest neighborhood patio in Chicago, Ranalli’s is perfect for your rehearsal of 12 to 385.

This iconic Chicago venue combines class, style and fun in a unique environment to create an atmosphere that appeals to everyone. A wide selection of drink and food packages as well as great live music options allow for creation of the perfect backdrop for your rehearsal dinner or reception. This classic Chicago nightclub also offers a covered and comfortable smoking patio.

Experience Rittergut Wine Bar`s intimate atmosphere. Our private rooms provide a customized, modern dining experience. The outdoor covered patio, which overlooks the Chicago River, has breathtaking architectural views. Rittergut`s proximity to the loop`s transportation hubs makes it the perfect spot to host your rehearsal dinner.

Jennifer Hyde Photography

The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago

Riva Crab House on Navy Pier

River Roast

160 E. Pearson St., Chicago 312.266.1000

700 E. Grand Ave., Chicago 312.644.7482

315 N. LaSalle St., Chicago 312.527.1417

Maximum # of Guests: 600 Starting Price per Person: $150

Maximum # of Guests: 100 Starting Price per Person: $40

Maximum # of Guests: 280 Starting Price per Person: $39

Allow our experienced staff to craft a stunning event inspired by your vision and reflective of your style.

Make your rehearsal dinner one to remember by hosting it at Riva Crab House on Navy Pier. Whether your party is casual, or calls for a truly extravagant meal, we offer menu options that are perfect for all your special event needs. All of our menu items are prepared to order using only fresh, seasonal, high-quality ingredients.

Located on the Chicago River, River Roast offers dramatic city and water views from every seat. James Beard award-winning Chef Tony Mantuano and executive Chef John Hogan’s menu of contemporary American tavern fare is satisfying and soul-warming. Our private rooms accommodate intimate affairs from 50-280 for cocktails and dinner with access to a private outdoor veranda. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM





Roanoke Restaurant

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

Ruth’s Chris Steak House Chicago

135 W. Madison St., Chicago 312.940.3761

1 W. Grand Ave., Chicago 312.755.1677

431 N. Dearborn St., Chicago 312.321.2725

Maximum # of Guests: 120 Starting Price per Person: $55

Maximum # of Guests: 250 Starting Price per Person: $40

Maximum # of Guests: 100 Starting Price per Person: $50

Roanoke is a sophisticated space located in the heart of the Chicago Loop in the historic Eleven South LaSalle Building, serving artisan comfort food, craft cocktails, local beers and unique wines. It’s the perfect setting to host an engagement celebration, rehearsal dinner, wedding shower, or post ceremony brunch.

We are poised to make your wedding event a memorable one with our newly renovated space & rooftop terrace for a truly oneof-a-kind event. River North location, private rooms with full bar access, upgraded AV capabilities and a private staff dedicated to you. Add our award-winning craft beer selections and innovative menu choices and you have the recipe for your event's success!

The Private Dining Rooms in our Chicago steakhouse offer the ultimate Ruth’s experience. Our variety of rooms can accommodate any occasion, large or small. Work hand-in-hand with our expert Private Dining Manager for the perfect event tailored to your budget and personal tastes. It’s your day, and we’re here to make it flawless.

Salvatore’s Ristorante

Shula’s Steak House


525 W. Arlington Pl., Chicago 773.528.1200

301 E. North Water St., Chicago 312.329.6831

401 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago 312.588.8030

Maximum # of Guests: 230 Starting Price per Person: $45

Maximum # of Guests: 45 Starting Price per Person: $75

Maximum # of Guests: 50 Starting Price per Person: $76

Salvatore’s is the perfect place to begin your wedding celebration! Let our staff create a rehearsal dinner, reception or bridal shower that you will never forget! With the help of our event planners expertise, they can design every detail to fit your needs. From linen to custom menus we are always happy to help!

Enjoy an undefeated private dining experience with the best beef money can buy, The SHULA CUTM. Our private room seats up to 45 people, features audio-visual capabilities, specialized group dining menus, and a highly qualified service team. With Shula’s experience and dedication, we ensure that your event will be a “Perfect” one.

The rehearsal dinner marks the beginning of your celebration and Sixteen can create a truly memorable event. Our private dining room offers stunning views of the city, Chicago River and Lake Michigan, matched only by the exceptional cuisine being served. Superior service combined with classic luxury makes Sixteen the premier choice for hosting your rehearsal dinner.







Spiaggia Private Events

theWit Hotel

Volo Restaurant Wine Bar

980 N. Michigan Ave., 3rd Fl., Chicago 312.280.3300

201 N. State St., Chicago 312.239.9517

2008 W. Roscoe St., Chicago 773.348.4600

Maximum # of Guests: 300 Starting Price per Person: Call

Maximum # of Guests: 225 Starting Price per Person: $50

Maximum # of Guests: 120 Starting Price per Person: $45

Located on one of the most posh downtown Chicago corners, Spiaggia’s newly renovated private dining rooms set the perfect backdrop for your rehearsal dinner. Showcasing floor to ceiling windows overlooking Lake Michigan and featuring a custom menu prepared by James Beard Award Winning Chef, Tony Mantuano.

At theWit, couples may choose from a wide array of options for their rehearsal dinner. From a serene private dining room to an interactive chef’s table, as well as lively, sumptuous or rustic environments, theWit is sure to delight. Our special events team will work to provide an unforgettable evening that is sure to warm the hearts of your closest family and friends.

Volo has been fortunate to have hosted many rehearsal dinners, post-wedding brunches, and other wedding related celebrations that have been truly special. We’d love to create a unique and memorable celebration for you. Our “#1 Hidden City Patio” (Chicago Magazine), 100 year old patina’d barn, and urban-chic dining room combine to create an ideal wedding venue.

Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago

Weber Grill Restaurant

701 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago 312.274.6421

Multiple locations, Chicago & Suburbs 312.467.0574

Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront

Maximum # of Guests: 200 Starting Price per Person: $60

Maximum # of Guests: 150 Starting Price per Person: $35

Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago presents two very different, yet equally spectacular ballrooms, for your occasion. Our 23rd Tip Top Tap offers breathtaking views of Michigan Avenue and downtown Chicago, accommodating up to 200. For more intimate affairs, you’ll love the architectural features of our 3rd floor Buckingham Ballroom, accommodating up to 120 guests.

From backyard barbecues to gourmet dinners Weber Grill Restaurants can help you create the perfect event. We have many options including private rooms with patios as well as full catering services. Let us share our passion for grilling and entertaining while you sit back relax and enjoy your guests.

71 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago 312.462.7077 Maximum # of Guests: 140 Starting Price per Person: $50 Chicago’s newest addition to the Rehearsal Dinner scene. Stunning, panoramic views of the city, a true Chicago experience like no other! Amazing food, outstanding service, and jaw dropping views. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM







Barrington’s White House

Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano

739 N. Clark St., Chicago 312.266.6691

145 W. Main St., Barrington 224.512.4292

Deer Park, Algonquin & Naperville 847.438.1850

Maximum # of Guests: 800 Starting Price per Person: $50

Maximum # of Guests: 120 Starting Price per Person: Call

Maximum # of Guests: 72 Starting Price per Person: $15

ZED451 caters to everyone in your party. Voted “Best Private Dining Venue in Chicago,” our warm, urbane setting is perfect for elegant rehearsal dinners, bridal showers and wedding day banquets. With 2 levels, a rooftop and 18,000 sq. ft. of private and semi-private dining space, ZED451 delivers an unmatched culinary experience on your special day.

Expertly restored in 2015, this gorgeous mansion combines the best of historic elegance and modern amenities as a premier event venue for: weddings, showers, rehearsal dinners, and other private parties. To arrange a tour, email

In Italy, every meal is an event for family and friends - this tradition of honoring food and celebrating those it brings together is what we do best. With the perfect combination of authentic Italian food, distinctive ambiance and affordable pricing, Biaggi’s will make your bridal shower or rehearsal dinner an event to remember.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant

Eaglewood Resort & Spa

The Glen Club

798 W. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights 847.981.0900

1401 Nordic Rd., Itasca 630.694.5907

2901 W. Lake Ave., Glenview 847.724.7272

Maximum # of Guests: 120 Starting Price per Person: $35

Maximum # of Guests: 300 Starting Price per Person: $40

Maximum # of Guests: 230 Starting Price per Person: $31

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant offers a unique and memorable setting for your shower, rehearsal dinner, breakfast, or your ‘big day.’ Private and semi-private spaces are available, along with first-class event packages to create the perfect menu and wine pairings. All event packages are customizable to meet your individual needs.

Nestled on 106 acres of lush, natural beauty, Eaglewood provides a magical setting for your special day. From romantic décor to personalized menus, you will find resources for planning every detail. With breathtaking views & a variety of venues, Eaglewood has everything in place for weddings of unrivaled distinction.

Our beautiful clubhouse presents a grand ballroom and additional banquet spaces appropriate for any social gathering. We understand that your special events are important moments not only in your life but also in the lives of your family and friends. At The Glen Club, we provide first class facilities and deliver impeccable service to make any occasion a memorable event.







Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse

Highland Park Country Club

Hofbräuhaus Chicago

10233 W. Higgins Rd., Rosemont 847.699.0200

1201 Park Ave. W., Highland Park 847.432.8048

5500 Park Pl., Rosemont 847.671.2739

Maximum # of Guests: 220 Starting Price per Person: $40

Maximum # of Guests: 350 Starting Price per Person: $70

Maximum # of Guests: 1000 Starting Price per Person: $33

Located near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, the iconic Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse combines sophistication, charm and sports history with prime steaks and Italian classics. Harry Caray’s skilled event planners, attentive wait staff and renowned culinary team will make your special day one to remember forever.

Customized packages to fit any budget are available. With our full service kitchen and executive chef anything is possible! All three private rooms feature floor to ceiling windows over looking our 18 hole championship golf course and is conveniently located off route 41 and Park Ave West.

Hofbräuhaus Chicago provides an authentic entertainment experience. From traditional German cuisine to famous freshly brewed beers, and nightly live music from Germany, every day feels like Oktoberfest. Hofbräuhaus Chicago can accommodate any size party and offers three classic rooms: the Beer Hall, King Ludwig Room and Biergarten.

La Tasca Tapas Restaurant

Tuscany Wheeling

Villa Olivia

25 W. Davis St., Arlington Heights 847.398.2400

550 S. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling 847.465.9988

1401 W. Lake St., Bartlett 630.540.4190

Maximum # of Guests: 250 Starting Price per Person: $20

Maximum # of Guests: 85 Starting Price per Person: $23

Maximum # of Guests: 300 Starting Price per Person: $21

Experience private dining in casual elegance! We offer our guests a fun alternative to a banquet hall or a typical restaurant. Special rates for private parties, bachelorette, rehearsals, showers and weddings. La Tasca dishes, colorful décor and live Latin entertainent celebrate the vitality of Spain. “Innovative touches and diverse flavors abound in this lively tapas restaurant. MUST SEE!” Tribune

At each Tuscany location, we offer beautifully decorated private dining rooms that are perfect for celebrating your rehearsal dinner. We believe that our success depends on exceeding our guests’ expectations. Each guest is treated with a personal touch that distinguishes us and guarantees all of our guests an unforgettable experience.

Villa Olivia has the perfect location for your rehearsal dinner with rooms accommodating 20-300 guests, delicious food, and attentive staff to make the night before your wedding stress free. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM




Arrowhead Golf Club

CityGate Grille

Country House Restaurant

26W151 Butterfield Rd., Wheaton 630.653.5800

2020 Calamos Ct., Naperville 630.718.1010

2799 Maple Ave., Lisle 630.983.0545

Maximum # of Guests: 250 Starting Price per Person: $27

Maximum # of Guests: 150 Starting Price per Person: $80

Maximum # of Guests: 70 Starting Price per Person: Call

Nestled among a forest preserve, the stone and brick clubhouse, lush fairways, lavish greens and sparkling waters provide the perfect setting for wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, and indoor and outdoor ceremonies.

CityGate Grille offers 4 unique event spaces for your custom events. Whatever the occasion – weddings, rehearsal dinners, showers, social events or business meetings – CityGate Grille’s exceptional Naperville event spaces are a blank slate for all your best ideas. For more information, please contact us.

With two distinct locations, both Lisle and Geneva provide a rustic English Country atmosphere. In Geneva, choose from an outdoor ceremony on our deck, overlooking our beautifully landscaped pond, or an indoor ceremony by our large stone fireplace. Lisle also offers a private garden patio as well as, a large stone fireplace.

D.O.C. Wine Bar Lombard

Glendale Lakes Golf Club

Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse

326 Yorktown Center, Lombard 773.480.3708

1550 President St., Glendale Heights 630.260.0095

70 Yorktown Ctr., Lombard 630.953.3400

Maximum # of Guests: 100 Starting Price per Person: $16

Maximum # of Guests: 250 Starting Price per Person: $20

Maximum # of Guests: 450 Starting Price per Person: $40

Thank you for considering D.O.C. Wine Bar for your special event. Our two private rooms are available seven days a week for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Join us for a sit-down meal or cocktail style reception. Our event spaces feature a private bar, table and couch/lounge seating, floor to ceiling windows, fireplace, and access to an outdoor courtyard.

With several plated and buffet packages to choose from, Glendale Lakes Golf Club can accommodate your shower, rehearsal and special event needs! Special golf pricing for the future groom and bachelor party.

Located within the Westin Lombard, Harry Caray’s exquisite ballroom and adjoining terrace make it one of the most sought after venues in the western suburbs. Our skilled wedding planners, attentive wait staff and renowned culinary team will make your special day one to remember forever.





Premier Entertainment

WEST CHICAGO - continued - continued

Naper Settlement

Oscar Swan Country Inn

Seven Bridges Golf Club

523 S. Webster St., Naperville 630.420.6010

1800 W. State St., Geneva, IL 630.232.0173

One Mulligan Dr., Woodridge 630.964.7735

Maximum # of Guests: 40 Starting Price per Person: Call

Maximum # of Guests: 50 Starting Price per Person: Call

Maximum # of Guests: 150 Starting Price per Person: $22

With its warm wood floors and ceiling, authentic hand-carved bar and period lighting, the historic tavern is an ideal setting for a rehearsal dinner or bridal shower. An outdoor patio is also available. Our exclusive listing of approved caterers and staff will work hand-in-hand with you to make your event unforgettable.

The Oscar Swan Country Inn reflects an eighteenth century estate with acres of scenic landscaping and a touch of vintage charm. Featuring a barn built in 1836, formal gardens, and a gorgeous path through still-untamed wilderness, this stunning venue is perfect for an indoor or outdoor rehearsal dinner.

Unique, warm and intimate venue with vaulted ceilings, brick accents and access to a covered veranda. Delicious made-toorder fresh food and attentive service. Custom menus, plated and buffet dinners, appetizer menus and bar packages available. No room rental fees. Several amenities included in price. Located off Route 53 and in proximity to I-88 and I-355.


Venuti’s Banquets & Ristorante

Broken Arrow Golf Club

2251 W. Lake St., Addison 630.376.1500

16325 W. Broken Arrow Dr., Lockport 815.836.8858

Maximum # of Guests: 600 Starting Price per Person: $65

Maximum # of Guests: 250 Starting Price per Person: $40

Enjoy your party at Chicagoland's most dramatic special events property. Old world architecture mixed with contemporary artwork offers the elegance and warmth that you deserve on your special day. Known for our attention to detail, five star service and our exquisite food, let Venuti’s customize your private event.

Our golf course is quietly nestled on 250 acres of rolling hills, creating the most exclusive experience for you and your guests. Let our experienced catering staff provide you and your guests with the finest food and most personalized service available. From a small, intimate reception to an elaborate event, let Broken Arrow make your event one to remember! CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



Engagement Announcements You’ve got big news! Share it with the neighborhood by posting your engagement announcement in your local newspaper. Here, we provide information on costs for postings as well as contact information for submissions.

ChicagoStyle Weddings Submit your engagement photo to ChicagoStyle Weddings magazine to be

announcement for $60 or a full-color

per inch. Display ads include a black and


white photo (add $30 for color).





announcement at forms/engagement. Includes one photo.

featured on our website! Visit chicagostyle and follow the image upload instructions. If you have questions about the process or would like





847.584.2626 or email submissions@

Chicago Tribune

Daily Herald Visit to submit

Kane County Chronicle Visit to submit announcement and photo. Engagements are published in the weekend edition. Choose a basic $60 announcement or a full-color announcement for $85. Includes one photo. Please allow two weeks for publication.

an announcement and photo to Celebrate, which circulates the second Sunday of each month. Prices vary by size, with many options for amount of text and number of images. Deadline is two Fridays before publication date. Contact Carrie Dockendorff at





Northwest Herald

For the following local newspapers, visit

the website.

Serving McHenry County. Engagements

select "place a new announcement." Pack-

are printed in the Sunday edition. Get a

age information is listed on the website.

Daily Journal

basic announcement for $60 or a full-

Starting price varies by package.

bune and select "place a new announcement." Package information is listed on

Use the online form at site/forms and click on the engagements page. Announcements run in the milestone section of the Weekend Edition. A listing

color announcement for $85. Be sure to allow at least two weeks for the announcement to be published. Submit an announcement at

Aurora Beacon Daily Southtown

Includes one photo.

Elgin Courier News

include more information and a black and

Rockford Register Star

Lake County News Sun

white or color photo. Cost varies on sub-

Visit and click

Naperville Sun

scription status.

on the engagements page. The standard

North Shore Publications

of the couple’s names and the date of the wedding is free. You may upgrade to


package includes 15 lines of text for free. Add a photo for $15 (black and white or

Serving Will County. Engagements are

color) and additional lines of text for $1.50

printed in the Sunday edition. Get a basic

each. Upgrade to a display ad for $12.65



Pioneer Press Publications Post Tribune

2017 spring/summer SUPPLEMENT


Contents S-2, 4 City Scene S-6, 8 Wed Essentials S-12 Rock Your Reception S-18 Newest Newlyweds S-24 Rising Tides S-34 Express Yourself S-38 Say Yes to Your Dress ... Again!

S-42 Runway Report S-44 “I Dude”

Resource Guides S-17 Celebration Locations Ceremonies & Receptions

S-22 Celebration Locations Rehearsals, Parties, & Events

Real ChicagoStyle Weddings S-10 Savannah Tielking & Jake Trischler

S-20 Nicole E. Williams & Ilya V. Kotov


City Scene

What’s neW around chicagoLand

Kimpton Gray Hotel + Boleo 122 W. Monroe St. • Chicago, IL 60603 877.771.7031 • Situated in the historic New York Life Insurance Building that was originally built in 1894, the ornate architecture of The Gray Hotel’s granite exterior is juxtaposed with the venue’s contemporary-styled rooms and their crisp furnishings. The Gray Hotel is home to Boleo, a year-round rooftop lounge that makes visitors feel as though they’ve been whisked all the way to Argentina. This venue is famous for hosting timeless celebrations under the stars where the drinks flow, the food is irresistible, and the music is always playing.

Elegant Evenings 209 W. State St. • Geneva, IL 60134 630.457.5459

Aisle Chic 2324 N. Clark St. • Chicago, IL 60614 773.904.7577 • This charming showroom in Lincoln Park features couture bridal samples and fabulous prices. Gowns by Hayley Paige, Lazaro, Ines Di Santo, Galia Lahav, Pronovias and more are offered for between 30 and 70 percent off the original sale price. Samples are curated from couture bridal salons across the country as well as directly from designers. Everything from the knowledgeable stylists to the boutique’s posh environment keeps the focus on the bride and her memorable gown shopping experience. Inventory at Aisle Chic is everchanging so brides are encouraged to contact the salon if there is a particular gown they are searching for.

Everyone knows that the bride is the star of the show on her wedding day, but the woman who raised her deserves to look equally glamorous as she watches her daughter tie the knot. Located next door to The Crystal Bride, Elegant Evenings is a boutique filled with gowns that mothers can wear to weddings or any special event. In addition to a staff of highly trained stylists that provide personal attention to each shopper who comes looking for a gown, Elegant Evenings offers over 300 sample dresses in a wide range of sizes and styles. The boutique allows mothers to purchase off the rack as well as order in, and offers expert alterations to ensure a perfect fit.

Andrew’s Garden 131 W. Wesley St. • Wheaton, IL 60187 630.456.4689 • This upscale flower and fine gift shop has moved to a brand new home. Andrew’s Garden is just one block away from its former site, and the new shop is bright, beautiful, and full of gorgeous blooms – reminiscent of flower shops in Paris, London, and Amsterdam. This high-quality boutique has provided couture floral designs for weddings and events since 2009. From intimate gatherings to grand-scale weddings, every arrangement that comes out of Andrew’s Garden is specially customized for each occasion. Whether it’s a small order of personal flowers or enough blooms to decorate a large wedding, Andrew’s Garden treats all its arrangements with the same amount of attention to fine detail.



The Murphy 50 E. Erie St. • Chicago, IL 60611 312.280.8447 • This year, The Murphy is excited to celebrate ten years as one of Chicago’s most beloved wedding venues. Just steps away from the Magnificent Mile, The Murphy has spent the past decade working with Chicagoland’s top catering and décor vendors to host weddings that are absolutely unforgettable. The venue’s breathtaking French Renaissance architecture, spacious outdoor areas, and quiet, tucked away location allow it to pull off a multitude of memorable events every year without a hitch. The Murphy has hosted everything from intimate weddings to large celebrations of 200 dancing guests.

City Scene

What’s neW around chicagoLand The DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago North Shore If a wedding reception is only as good as the venue you host it at, then why not celebrate your “I do” at one of the most beautiful ballrooms the Chicagoland area has to offer? After undergoing extensive renovations, the DoubleTree North Shore’s Monaco and Versailles Ballrooms are more glamorous than ever with new carpeting, walling, mirrors, and light fixtures. While the Versailles is the larger of the two and beautifully traditional, the Monaco remains the star of the DoubleTree North Shore. With floor to ceiling windows that let guests drink in the Chicago skyline, this rooftop venue is beyond compare.




9599 Skokie Blvd. • Skokie, IL 60077 847.329.4365 •

311 W. Superior St., Loft 404 Chicago, IL 60654 312.642.2327 • Jenny Yoo Collection’s Chicago boutique is home to a breathtaking assortment of gowns that use luxurious silks to create a look that’s elegant, feminine, and refined. The shop is taking their dreamy dresses to a beautiful new location that features lofty ceilings, gleaming hardwood floors, exposed brick, and expansive 10-foot windows that fill the space with gorgeous natural light and let soon-to-be brides drink in amazing views of the city while they find the perfect gown to escort them down the aisle. Their location might have changed, but Jenny Yoo’s knowledgeable team of consultants is still dedicated to giving women the best gown-shopping experience they could dream of. S-4


Located on the iconic Magnificent Mile, Spiaggia’s newly remodeled private events space features floor to ceiling windows that offer guests stellar views of Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago. The versatile room can seat up to 150 people, and still has ample space for a dance floor. Hand-blown Italian glass chandeliers and other custom finishes greet guests in the lobby and provide a modern elegance that is uniquely Spiaggia. The venue’s expansive rooms and neutral grey and white tones allow couples to decorate and enhance their weddings however they see fit. Above all, the award-winning authentic Italian cuisine of Spiaggia’s Executive Chef, Tony Mantuano, has helped couples celebrate at Spiaggia for the past 32 years.

Pulp & Ink 311 W. Superior St., Loft 214 Chicago, IL 60654 312.475.1344 • Nestled in a brand new home in the heart of downtown Chicago, the new Pulp & Ink shop is a sun-filled loft where creativity thrives. Whether couples are more traditional or urban-minded, they’ll find the perfect stationery to fit their wedding needs. Invitations, programs, maps, place cards… all of these and more can be found in a variety of sizes and styles that range from cleanlined and brightly colored to calligraphy-printed and understated. Pulp & Ink offers couture designs as well as Smock, Elum, Oblation, Kleinfeld Paper, Crane & Co., Bella Figura, and Web Design. This boutique is truly a one-stop-shop for all your wedding stationery needs.


Jenny Yoo Collection

980 N. Michigan Ave. • Chicago, IL 60611 312.280.2750 •

rosyrebellion GOWN

Crystal Design, Laurel Bridal,


David Yurman;


Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio;



Mayfield Flowers;




Badgley Mischka;


Just Invite Me;


Moi Soli;


Meira T, Razny Jewelers;


Rebecca Schoneveld, Dame Couture;


Crane & Co.;


VEIL Event Design;


& serene RING

Benchmark; CAKE

Oak Mill Bakery;



Austin Preservations; SHOE

Freya Rose;


After meeting in 2006 at a friend’s birthday party, Jake and Savannah began a relationship that would change their lives forever. “We’ve been together for ten years, and our love has never depreciated,” they told us. “No matter what life threw at us, it only grew stronger.” The couple got engaged at Montrose Beach, and knew that they wanted to get married in Chicago. In August, the couple won the Loews O’Hare Love Affair wedding giveaway and were able to make all their Windy City wedding wishes come true. Loews O’Hare and a team of Chicago’s best wedding vendors worked together to create the James Bond themed wedding that Jake and Savannah were dreaming of. Alluring purple lighting, flickering candles, and towering floral centerpieces perfectly captured the elegance and intrigue of 007, all the while remaining chic and modern. “Yanni Design Studio did an absolutely spectacular job with the decor,” Savannah gushed. “The food was to die for, our kissing cats cake topper was adorable – we didn’t want the night to end. The music from Conquest Entertainment was so good that Jake and I actually didn’t even leave the dance floor until they were halfway done tearing things down!” One of the couple’s favorite memories from their Big Day was when their wedding consultant, Vasso Power, grabbed them after the ceremony and took them to a private room with hors d’oeuvres and champagne. “It was great to just bask in the moment,” they said. While their incredible wedding might have come and gone in the blink of an eye, the couple still has another part of the giveaway to look forward to: WRITTEN BY CHRISTINA ODDO PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARIA LACOUR FOR ANDRE LACOUR PHOTOGRAPHY

their “mini-moon” at Loews Coronado Bay Hotel in sunny California.

Real Wedding Vendors PHOTOGRAPHY: Maria LaCour for Andre LaCour Photography CEREMONY & RECEPTION: Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel | WEDDING CONSULTANT: Vasso Power OFFICIANT: Milan Tomic | RINGS: Razny Jewelers | BRIDE’S GOWN: Mira Couture BRIDE’S MAKEUP: Kasey Surges | HAIR & BRIDESMAIDS’ MAKEUP: Zazú Salon SPA SERVICES: Spa in Your Space | BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Jenny Yoo Collection FORMALWEAR: Formally Modern Tuxedo | CAKE: Cake Chicago for Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel SWEETS: Penthouse Sweets | CATERING: Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel STATIONERY: aDORAble Designs by Candice | FLORAL: Yanni Design Studio ENTERTAINMENT: Conquest Entertainment | AUDIO/VISUAL: PSAV


As a soon-to-be bride, it’s easy to fixate on the moment when you finally get to look the love of your life in the eyes and say “I do”. After all, that simple exchange of words is the reason you’re having a wedding in the first place. If you’ve sat through a wedding ceremony though, you’re probably all too familiar with how it goes down for the people in the audience. In between all the smiling, clapping, tearing up, and cheering, your guests’ thoughts are going to be on what comes next: the reception. What’s for dinner? Who am I sitting next to? Is there an open bar? I really hope they don’t play the YMCA… With guests putting so much emphasis on your reception, it’s important to get it right. WRITTEN BY CHRISTINA ODDO • PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON W. KAUMEYER PHOTOGRAPHY S-12




While there’s no magic recipe to ensure that all

borrowing a little inspiration from jewel tones

your guests have the

will infuse your cele-

night of their lives (if we

bration with a vibrancy

ever find one, we prom-

and excitement that

ise to share), our wed-

more muted colors like

ding experts let us in on

base tones and pas-

a few tips and tricks

tels simply can’t deliver

that are guaranteed to

on their own. Some

make your reception not


only live up to your


guests’ expectations, but

thought of using such

exceed them.

strong and impactful

might by

be the

shades and we don’t

Use Your Color Palette to Set the Mood.

is exactly the opposite of what you

blame them one bit. The key to using

want your guests to do at your reception.

gemstone hues successfully? Balance,

We love neutral tones. We really do. They

That’s why we’re huge fans of the latest

balance, balance. “When I have clients

make us want to curl up with a warm cup of

wedding color trend: gemstones. Whether

who want to utilize jewel tones, I always

tea or coffee and read a great book, which

it’s rubies, amethysts, sapphires, or emeralds,

recommend that they start off with a base color like beige, cream, or pale gold, and then give a little 'pop' of the richer colors,” says Nicole Williams of Allen/Williams Events. “It’s a feast for the eyes, if you will. Balancing your colors ensures that you won’t run into issues like overpowering a beautiful centerpiece with a powerful linen color.”

Break Away from Traditional Table Layouts. Clusters of round tables have become somewhat of a wedding reception hallmark but lately, more and more couples are trading them in for beautiful banquetstyle tables. In addition to giving the reception a more intimate feel, using long tables allows you to up your wedding wow-factor in a variety of ways. Circular tables limit décor to a small space at the center of the table, but the elongated shape of banquet-style tables leaves room for much more elaborate place S-14


drinks at your favorite pizza place, then

tables are also perfect for being arranged

why not serve up slices of your favorite

Throw in a Little Something Extra.

in a box formation with the bride and

deep-dish pizza?” A little helpful hint: don’t

Since midnight snacks and wedding favors

groom at the top. This layout gives you a

let nostalgia overpower common sense

are becoming less of a surprise and more

birds-eye view of all your friends and

with this one. Whatever snack you pick still

of a routine highlight, adding an additional

loved ones, and makes it easier for you to

needs to be a crowd-pleaser. Just because

twist to your reception is a hot new trend.

gauge how the reception is going. “The

you live for dill pickles and mustard doesn’t

If you’ve got space at your venue and

king's table or harvest table is a won -

mean that your guests do too.

room in your budget, why not go the extra

derful trend that we love for our clients to incorporate,” says Samantha Dockery of Bliss by Sam Wedding & Occasion


settings and centerpieces. The longer

Planners. “They’re great because they allow for flexibility with seating arrangements, and make everyone feel grand!”

Don’t Forget the Midnight Snack. Of all the trends that are turning into traditions, the “midnight snack” might just be our favorite. No matter if it’s sweet, savory, or somewhere in between, midnight snacks give your guests a second wind and reinvigorate your reception. Guarantee that your snack is a smashing success by following these simple rules. 1) Talk to your venue and make sure they’re on board. If they aren’t, don’t panic! Just because they vetoed your popcorn cart doesn’t mean all is lost – beautiful tins of popcorn, like Garrett Popcorn’s delicious Garrett Mix, are always a sensational hit. 2) Make sure your guests know the snack is happening. If you aren’t having your caterer walk around with the midnight snack, make sure no one misses the treats by having your band or DJ make an announcement. 3) Pick a snack that has meaning. “Midnight snacks are a great way to showcase who you are as a couple,” says Erin Bobsin of Prairie Landing Golf Club. “If your first date was spent over dinner and CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM




caricaturists, hot chocolate or coffee stations, fireworks shows… we could go on about reception extras forever, but we’ll leave you with one final note. Since your guests won’t be expecting it, there’s no need to break the bank over your reception surprise. Feeling inspired and maybe a little overwhelmed? We’ll let you in on our Golden Rule. Focusing on wedding details is necessary, but getting bogged down by them


mile and give your reception a little extra

the venue’s Director of Sales. “It’s such

is a major wedding no-no. No matter what

oomph? Some venues, like Skydeck

a unique and memorable experience,

elements you decide to incorporate into

Chicago, deliver all the oomph on their

and it doesn’t cost the bride and groom

your reception, it’s important to remember

own. “Our private event space is on the

any extra!” If you’re now stressed that

that your guests have shown up to your

99th floor of Willis Tower, but guests

you aren’t getting married near a scenic

wedding to celebrate you. The best gift

are more than welcome to zip up to the

glass-bottom ledge, fear not – your

you can give your loved ones is the sight

103rd floor and take advantage of our

options are still almost endless. Cigar

of you and your new spouse glowing on

glass ledges,” says Mary Lynn Ferrara,

bars, Tarot card readers, poker tables,

the happiest day of your lives.


Celebration Locations LOCATION

Max Reception/ Dinner Size

Starting Price per Person

Ceremony Site Available










Simultaneous Weddings

Kosher Available

Outdoor Reception Area

Page Number

Ceremonies & Receptions


CHICAGO Coco Pazzo


Simply elegant. Always in style. 25 years of expertise. We embrace all couples and event celebrations.


Beautifully appointed warm ambiance. Personalized arrangements, customized gourmet menu.


Your big day is something to remember for a lifetime – we offer wedding experiences from simply elegant ceremonies to lavish soirées.


The only Chicago wedding venue with 360 degree views of Chicago 99 floors in the sky. The panoramic view makes an unforgettable setting.



Completely restored to its original glory from the roaring 1920s, Crystal Ballroom is where timeless elegance meets lifelong memories.









300 W. Hubbard St. • Chicago 312.836.0900 Coco Pazzo Café

212 E. Ohio St. • Chicago 312.664.0212 Kimpton Gray Hotel + Boleo

122 W. Monroe St. • Chicago 312.950.7012 Skydeck Chicago

233 S. Wacker Dr. S. 3530 • Chicago 312.875.9447

Crystal Ballroom & Lounge, The

529 Davis St. • Evanston 847.570.4400 Geneva National Resort


All ballrooms boast panoramic views; onsite wedding planners available.


Ballroom opens to patio & ceremony site; onsite wedding planners available.


The OAKS is a new 6,000 square foot private dining expansion, on the east side of Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse’s Oak Brook location.



Our award winning banquet facility features floor to ceiling windows overlooking our beautiful, Scottish links-style golf course.



Congratulations on your engagement! We would be honored to help plan your special day!

1221 Geneva National Ave. S. • Lake Geneva, WI 262.249.3849 The Ridge Hotel

W4240 WI-50 • Lake Geneva, WI 262.249.3849

WEST Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse Oak Brook

2105 S. Spring Rd. • Oak Brook 312.587.0508 Prairie Landing Golf Club

2325 Longest Dr. • West Chicago 630.208.7633

SOUTH Prairie Bluff Golf Course

19433 Renwick Rd. • Lockport 815.836.4653



aLL information is subject to change Without notice. PLease check With venue for detaiLs and avaiLabiLity.



Sarah Dawson & James Hernan ALICIA’S PHOTOGRAPHY

Effie & Louie Fronimos FURLA STUDIO


Newest Newlyweds

Julia Tarnovsky & Russell Furman

Chelsea & Kevin Taylor




Priscilla Ku & Garrett Cavanaugh SYPHOTOGRAPHY






Laura & Aaron Reed

Faisal Mohamed & Benazeer Chaudgry



Karly & Kevin Kohlstedt

Brittany Kusch & Ryan Franklin





Wined and Wed NICOLE E. WILLIAMS & ILYA V. KOTOV Ilya and Nicole met at a University of Chicago seminar on the Soviet Union and instantly connected. “He’s simply the easiest person to be around,” Nicole said. “It felt completely natural.” So natural, in fact, that the couple got engaged after being together for only four months. Nicole married Ilya in the University Club of Chicago Library – the very same place where he proposed. The intimate walls of books and wood-paneled décor meshed flawlessly with their “Wine in the Wilderness” theme, surrounding the couple and their guests in a cozy blur of peach, deep red, and pale pink. Later that night, vintage wine crates and bottles were transformed into elegantly rustic centerpieces at their Cathedral Hall reception. Ilya and Nicole’s wedding honored their beautifully varied heritage by borrowing from a variety of cultural and religious traditions. In a nod to Ilya’s Jewish and Russian background, Nicole circled him three times during the ceremony and read her vows in Russian. At the end of the ceremony, the couple “jumped the broom” as an homage to her African-American roots. Nicole’s favorite memory? “When all of my sorority sisters surrounded me and sang our traditional wedding song. I’d sung that song so many times before, but it was amazing to have it sung to me!” As for Ilya, his favorite memory from the wedding was taking Nicole’s shaking hand in his after she walked down the aisle.


Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY: The University Club of Chicago Library RECEPTION: The University Club of Chicago – Cathedral Hall OFFICIANT: Rabbi Jodi Kornfeld


WEDDING CONSULTANT: Allen/Williams Events

BRIDE’S CEREMONY GOWN: Victor Harper Couture HAIR: Elizabeth Adam Salon and Day Spa BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Macy’s

STATIONERY: Allen/Williams Events


MAKEUP: Solomon Arnold


FLORAL: Cattleya Bridal & Floral Design

CATERING: The University Club of Chicago CAKE: The University Club of Chicago


Celebration Locations

Rehearsals, Parties, and Events


Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza River North

Kimpton Gray Hotel + Boleo

Petterino’s Restaurant

350 W. Mart Center Dr., Chicago 312.529.1124

122 W. Monroe St., Chicago 312.950.7012

150 N. Dearborn St., Chicago 312.422.0150

Maximum # of Guests: 300 Starting Price per Person: $45

Maximum # of Guests: 250 Starting Price per Person: $100

Maximum # of Guests: 200 Starting Price per Person: $50

From beginning to end, the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza River North offers sophisticated elegance, impeccable service, first class cuisine, and panoramic views of the Chicago River and downtown skyline. Our team of professionals work closely to provide everything you need to make your wedding dreams come true.

Boleo, the year-round rooftop lounge at The Kimpton Gray Hotel, may only be 15 floors up, but you’ll feel like you’ve been transported all the way to Argentina. Contact us to plan your timeless celebration under the stars. The drinks flow, the music is always playing, and the food is irresistible!

Petterino’s is located within walking distance of dozens of Chicago’s downtown hotels, making it a perfect choice for your rehearsal event. Steps away from Michigan Avenue, we specialize in classic Italian dining, prime steaks and fresh seafood. Petterino’s private dining rooms are also perfect for weddings and showers.



Thompson VenueChicago

435 E. Illinois St., Chicago 312.527.3140

17 E. Monroe St., Chicago 312.917.4933

21 E. Bellevue Address,Pl., CityChicago 312.994.7252 000.000.0000

Maximum # of Guests: 220 Starting Price per Person: $41

Maximum # of Guests: 135 Starting Price per Person: $25

Our beautiful ballroom seats up to 220 guests, while our private reception rooms and beautiful outdoor balcony create an intimate experience. Picturesque views of the Chicago skyline, luxurious bowling lanes, bocce courts, and a cozy outdoor fire pit allow you to craft an unforgettable and simply unique wedding celebration.

Potter’s will craft an evening reflective of your vision for the occasion leading up to and following your wedding. Bold colors, rich fabrics, and lighting elements transform the space into a sociably casual setting complemented by a focus on classic cocktails done well with a throwback menu offering.

Maximum ## ofof Guests: Guests:150 XX Starting Price Price per Person: $65 Starting $XX All menus can be customized per request TIn the heart of Chicago’s e x Gold Coast, Thompson Chicago ist Ta stylish retreat specializing e x service, curatedt in personalized Tamenities, and residential e x 247-room hotelt comforts. The Tfeatures bold interior e architecture and x rich accents byt Tacclaimed designer eTara Bernerd, partnered x with authentict Text. Nico Osteria’s cuisine for all events.









1150 Willow Rd, Northbrook 847.480.7676

9333 S. Cicero Ave., Oak Lawn 708.229.8888

Maximum # of Guests: 200 Starting Price per Person: $38

Maximum # of Guests: 40 Starting Price per Person: $15

Our beautifully appointed ballroom seats up to 200 guests. Private reception rooms and a grand outdoor patio surrounded by picturesque wetlands create an intimate experience. Luxurious bowling lanes, bocce courts, and a cozy fire pit allow you to craft a simply unique wedding celebration.

From the time you book a private dining room until the final toast is made, we will cater to your every need. Almost anything on our menus can be on your private menu, from delectable appetizers, to mouth-watering steak, to delicious desserts. Premium bars & award-winning wines are also available.


Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse Oak Brook


2105 S. Spring Rd., Oak Brook 630.954.0000

7 Oakbrook Ctr., Oak Brook 630.575.8744

Maximum # of Guests: 300 Starting Price per Person: $65

Maximum # of Guests: 270 Starting Price per Person: $38

The OAKS is a nearly 6,000 sq ft private dining expansion at Gibsons’ Oak Brook location. The versatile and beautiful space, with hardwood floors, terrazzo entry, and custom wooden accents, is accompanied by Gibsons’ legendary food and service for events of all kinds. Customizable menus will be available from the expert private dining team.

Our beautifully appointed ballroom seats up to 270 guests; private reception rooms and beautiful outdoor patio create an intimate experience. Luxurious bowling lanes, bocce courts, and cozy fire pit allow you to craft an unforgettable and simply unique wedding celebration. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Rising Tides

LOCATION 12th Street Beach at Northerly Island

PHOTOGRAPHY Ocken Photography

STYLING The Wedding Dresser

HAIR Zazú Salon

GOWN Eddy K gown provided by Eva’s Bridal International; JEWELRY dalla nonna jewelry;

MAKEUP wendycityfaces


GOWN Pnina Tornai provided by Kleinfeld Bridal; RINGS dalla nonna jewelry; MENSWEAR J. Hilburn;

GOWN THEIA; | JEWELRY dalla nonna jewelry; | SHIRT J. Hilburn;

GOWN YolanCris, provided by Kleinfeld Bridal; | BRACELETS Austin Preservations; EARRINGS dalla nonna jewelry; | MENSWEAR J. Hilburn; | FLORAL Navjot Design;

GOWN Kelly Faetanini, provided by Jenny Yoo Collection; | EARRINGS dalla nonna jewelry; FOOT JEWELRY Bare Sandals; ADDITIONAL CREDITS: ASSISTANT DRESSERS Tonya Coleman and Crystal Johnson from The Wedding Dresser; | VIDEO KBH Media;



It’s no coincidence that all the hottest wedding trends are the ones that are allowing couples to show their guests exactly who they are. From offbeat rings and daring dresses to effortless photography and funky formalwear, brides and grooms are making their Big Day truly their own, and we’re totally on board.

Peekaboo “Barely there” has long been a theme for beach and bedroom wear but lately, this sultry style has been heading down the aisle. Using lace and sheer paneling to let brides show a little skin, designers are creating gowns that leave less to the imagination and offer a



but still comfortable.” The important thing to remember is that your wedding is just as much about him as it is about you. Letting him have a little fun with his outfit is the perfect way to show him that you


haven’t forgotten that.

Don’t Say Cheese Gone are the days of stiffly posed wedding photos, and we can’t say that we miss them. Instead, wedding day photoshoots are much more about catching the couple in candid, intimate moments that truly capture the excitement of the day and the

tastefully flirtatious look. “Recently, we’ve

your groom get creative with his outfit,

had a lot of interest in sheer and showy

don’t quit just yet. You can choose to add

gowns,” says Beata Milewska of Laurel

a little spark to traditional tuxes by consid-

Bridal. “Brides are looking to make an

ering trendier yet still classic colors like a

elegant statement with dresses that are

textured heather gray or deep burgundy.

ultra-romantic and charming yet still very

Spice up his shirt by choosing faint plaids

modern.” The secret to toeing the line

or restrained polka dots. “No matter what

between elegant and flirty? Don’t get too

style a groom chooses to wear, it should

excited and go overboard. If you want to

be fitted perfectly,” says Joann Ambriz of

show off your legs, find a gown that pairs

Formally Modern Tuxedo. “Just like brides

a gorgeous sheer skirt with a more

go to fittings to ensure they’re getting

restrained top. In love with the idea of a

the ideal look and fit, grooms should do

What Your Mama Gave You

dramatic neckline? Look for a gown that

the same. A trained eye can adjust and

As the contouring craze starts to simmer

delivers a skirt with lots of body to balance

tweak the tuxedo or suit so it’s flattering,

down, brides are going back to embracing

that sexy plunge. Keep in mind that your family and friends will be there to watch you tie the knot. You want their attention focused on you, and not all the skin you’re showing.

Prints Charming Grooms are following brides and hopping

couldn’t be happier about it. Whether it’s with the color of his suit or the pattern on his shirt, tie, or socks, letting your groom mix things up a little will only make your wedding that much more special. If you aren’t so sure that it’s a good idea to let S-36



on the creative bandwagon, and we

love that they share. The most popular wedding images right now are slightly voyeuristic photos that showcase the couple in a private moment, seemingly unaware that they’re being captured on film. Whether they’re laughing, kissing, or leaning into each other, letting the couple act naturally in a beautiful setting almost always results in an authentic intimacy that radiates right out of the picture.

stepping up their game. While diamonds

Women are falling in love with a natural

will forever be timeless, elegant, and

and dewy look that highlights their best

absolutely irreplaceable, they’ve recently

features but still leaves them looking

started to share the ring finger spotlight

like themselves. “A fresh face will always

with a few equally precious friends. Colored

be in style, so on your wedding day, opt

gems in a variety of shapes and sizes

for the most beautiful version of you,”

have embarked on a wedding band come-

says Ioana Qureshi, co-owner and lead

back tour, and their beautifully unique flair

“To create a dreamy, ethereal effect for my brides, I focus on dewy, beautiful skin. It’s less about contouring (which can cave in your features!) and more about buffing the skin with subtle high-

is elevating “I do” jewelry from the engagement ring’s right hand man to a star in their own right. “Brides are now looking for wedding bands that can stand on their own,” says Amanda Grohn of James & Sons Fine Jewelers. “These trendy bands

lights and creams that give you that can feature different metals, colored stones, ‘glowing from within’ effect.” This naturallooking style is the perfect complement to the latest bridal hair trend: long, loose, “I-woke-up-like-this” curls. If just wearing your hair down doesn’t feel fancy

unique shapes, or even multiple rings! Her fiancé chose the engagement ring; now it’s her turn to showoff her own personal style with her wedding band.”


makeup artist of Rare Bird Beauties.


the beauty that they were born with.

enough for your big day, try a braided half-up half-down style or embellish your loose waves with a veil or headpiece. But keep in mind that natural doesn’t mean easy. “Many ‘effortless’ looks can actually take a lot of work to achieve, and that’s okay!” says Jennifer Beyers, who co-owns Rare Bird Beauties with Ioana and is the business’s lead hair stylist. “Just make sure you’re prepared for the process you’ll go through with your stylist. I encourage a lot of our brides to consider clip-in extensions – they add the perfect volume to beachy waves and are definitely your friend.”

Expect the Unexpected We all know that in the world of rings, the engagement ring is the star of the show. However, that doesn’t mean that wedding bands are doomed to a life in the shadows. In fact, bridal wedding bands have started CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Say Yes to Your Dress …Again!



Your wedding dress will always hold a special place in your heart. You loved how you looked when you were wearing it and it brings back all of the fun memories from your wedding day. You don’t want to let something that special (not to mention expensive) go to waste in the back of your closet. Well, you don’t have to. Just because the wedding is over doesn’t mean you can’t dig out your dress every now and then. No matter what style wedding dress you had, there are a few ways you can give it new life! Whether you had a casual, sheath-style wedding dress or a fuller ball gown, accessories will go a long way in transforming your look. Next time you have a formal event, don’t rush out to buy a new dress. If you had a simpler sheath-style gown, try adding a statement necklace or bold earrings and a chic cross-body clutch. A simple dress will always be in style and it will act as a blank canvas for you to accentuate. Don’t be afraid to go a little bolder with your accessories. It will help your dress feel less bridal and more fashion forward. If you had a bigger ball gown-style dress, you may not want to go as bold with the jewelry. Pick out some simpler pieces that will add just a small pop of color. Fuller gowns also look great with belts, so use a more casual and colorful belt to make your dress less formal. Once you have the accessories in place, don’t shy away from adding some layers. Cover the top of your dress with a sweater to make it look like a skirt or add an edgy leather jacket to give it a relaxed vibe. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



printed button down or a knit shirt for a Carrie Bradshaw style ensemble. Aside from adding accessories and

Those of you who want to

layers to your dress, you can also eliminate

get more creative with your dress can transform it into

some of the fabric. A little trim can

something entirely new. Take some fabric from the skirt of your

totally transform the look of your dress.

dress and turn it into a clutch you can take to events.

Take your dress to a tailor and have the train trimmed or get a few feet

If your dress has a belt, you can turn that into a

chopped off. A shorter dress will be a

sparkly strap for the clutch.

more functional piece in your closet, giving you more opportunities to wear your dress.

If you had a two-piece wedding dress,

they can also function as fashionable and

A mermaid style dress can be transformed

you’re in luck. Two-piece dresses not only

more casual separates. Take the bodice

into a sexy pencil dress. A full gown can

give you more options on your wedding

of your dress and pair it with a pencil skirt

become a cute, voluminous midi or mini.

day, but also make your dress more ver-

for a polished look, or throw it on with

A sheath dress can turn into the perfect

satile after the fact. The pieces of your

jeans and a jacket for a night out. Then do

short dress for a night out. When your

dress look gorgeous put together, but

the opposite. Throw the skirt on with a

tailor is trimming the length, you can also have them remove some of the tulle or crinoline to make the dress work better as a mini or add a bit of volume to an A-line dress to make it more playful. Think about how you’ll want to wear the dress and what style you’re going for. You may have loved your strapless gown on your wedding day, but would prefer to have the tailor add some straps for comfort if you’re going to be wearing it more frequently. The tailor can also shorten the sleeves on a long sleeve dress or raise the bust-line to make everyday movements more comfortable. While white is great for your wedding day, you may find it’s not the most practical color for everyday wear. Or maybe your dress got a couple of stains on it during the wedding and reception that you’d like to hide. The good news is that most fabrics can easily be dyed. Your dress will take on a whole new style by taking on a



activities you love doing as a couple, all

change by dying your dress blush or

while donning your gorgeous gown. It’s a

ivory, or go bolder with a dark blue or red.

great way to rekindle the romance from

If you don’t want to completely forgo

your wedding night. Plus, when you look

white, have your dress dip dyed to add a

at your wedding dress, you won’t just

chic ombre at the bottom or have a

think about your wedding, you’ll also be

pattern painted on to certain parts. Even

reminded of all the fun you’ve had on

just a little pop of color or a fun design will

your anniversaries.


new color. You can go for a more subtle

change the whole aesthetic. Those of you who want to get more creative with your dress can transform it into something entirely new. Take some fabric from the skirt of your dress and turn it into a clutch you can take to events. If your dress has a belt, you can turn that into a sparkly strap for the clutch. The remaining fabric of your dress can be transformed into a fitted skirt, a stand alone bodice, or a bolero-style cover-up. The options are unlimited. For a sexier transformation, have your dress made into lingerie. Almost all dresses, whether short or long, can easily be cut to create a bra and panty set. If your dress has more fabric, you can also use it to make a lacy negligee or a silky robe. You may not want to re-use your special wedding undergarments, so these lingerie pieces will serve as a fun way to bring back those wedding night memories. Plus, you’ll get to keep a piece of your wedding dress in a more intimate way. If you’d prefer to skip the drastic transformation but still want to re-wear your dress, there’s a way you can do that too. Start a tradition with your spouse where you both dress up on your anniversary and celebrate your married life together. Go out to dinner, take a weekend getaway, tear up the dance floor, or do any of the CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


The Runway Report WRITTEN BY christina oddo


Monique Lhuillier SYPhotography


From voluminous ball gowns to sheer silhouettes, New York Bridal Week was overflowing with some of the most gorgeous designs that we’ve ever laid eyes on. The CSW Team spent three incredible days hopping from one runway to the next, and in the process, met an amazing group of designers and their talented staff. Each collection showcased unique and thoughtfully designed gowns that left us beyond impressed. We can’t wait to see these dresses in action as real brides wear them down the aisle! Inbal Dror

Francesca Miranda Dan Lecca Photography

Ines Di Santo SYPhotography

Amy Kuschel

Sareh Nouri

BERTA SYPhotography

Anne Barge Dan Lecca Photography

Pronovias Dan Lecca Photography

RIVINI by Rita Vinieris SYPhotography

Jennifer Behr


While some grooms might be super enthused about picking out place settings and hunting for the perfect cake, most brides admit that their hubby-to-be wasn’t exactly over the moon about all the girly touches that tend to take over weddings. “My fiancée and I had to make a deal where she buys me a donut before every vendor interview we go to.” “I still don’t understand why ‘eenie, meenie, miney, moe’ isn’t the best way


together? This way, they’ll be socializing

for a night because I brought my Nintendo

with each other instead of frantically

to our meeting with the caterer.” If any of

refreshing their ESPN or app

these quotes are making you text your

under the table.

fiancé and ask if he’s talked to the CSW staff, we have some great news for you: after doing a little detective work and polling our favorite dudes, we found some

Host a mini bags tournament. Whether your reception is indoors or outdoors, having a bean bag tossing station is inexpensive and tons of fun. In addition

Pro tip: Set the TV up near the bar. This

to giving your guests something to do

way, the guests who want to watch the

when they want a break from dancing, a

game can still be right next to the wedding

mini tournament gets guests to mix and

action and can multitask.

mingle with people they’ve maybe never


to pick linens.” “I got exiled to the couch

guy-friendly wedding touches that will lift even the most despondent grooms from the pits of wedding planning despair and get them excited for your wedding day – a day that belongs to them just as much as it belongs to you.

Have a TV if your wedding is the same day as a big sports event. If something earth-shattering is happening in the world of athletics, you better believe that your male guests (and probably some ladies, too!)

will be much more

concerned with rooting on their team than focusing on your wedding. More bad news: Whether it’s McGregor fighting Diaz, Arsenal playing Chelsea, or the Cubs embarking on a World Series run, you can’t cancel the event simply because it’s your wedding day. So rather than fighting the tide, go along with it. If your guests are going to be watching the game regardless, why not set up a TV so they can all enjoy the event

TIP Just like a tango, it takes two to get married. Your wedding should include elements that both of you can get excited about. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


your wedding might seem

match your wedding colors

like a dangerous detour into

and cute monograms of your

casino territory, but with a

initials on the boards will

little planning, it can be down-

keep this game from seeming

right philanthropic. Rule #1: TIMOTHY WHALEY & ASSOCIATES


met before. Bean bags that

too out of place. Pro tip: Turn the bags station into an amazing keepsake by getting your guests to sign the boards or jot

small bets, and limit the number of times they can play. Losing five bucks? Not the end of the world. Losing $100? Probably going to

down a note after they’ve

wreck the evening. Avoid

played. Every time you break

post-gambling blues at your

them out for a game at a


reunion or pic nic, you’ll get




dealer only accept bets that

to take a sweet trip down


memory lane.

Offer bar games like darts or pool. Arming your guests with pointy projectiles and long sticks after drinks have been flowing is a dubious move

up the games so that if the guests lose, the money gets donated to the charity of your choice. Don’t quote us on this, but we’re pretty sure that “Poker for the Puppies” will soften the blow of having to hand over some cash.

dudes assured us that offer-

Pro tip: Pick a cause that

ing either of these bar games

everyone can get behind.

at your reception guarantees

Nobody is going to be sad

you a place in the Wedding

that their money went to the

Hall of Fame. If your venue

Humane Society or the St.

is on board, renting a pool

Jude Foundation, but dona-

table or setting up a dart

tions to Circus Clowns of


at best, but our panel of

board is the perfect way to turn your male guests from strangers into friends. As long as they’re set up well out of the way of the dance floor, we give this idea two thumbs up. Pro tip: Leave the actual darts with your

Have a cigar bar. If your venue gives you

bars are a certifiable hole-in-one. In addition

tion faster than an accidental skewering.

to the fact that we’ve never met a guy who didn’t enjoy a good cigar from time to

ask for them, and the bartender can decide if they’re sober enough to get in

Introducing cards and poker chips into


as well.

on the action. Few things will ruin a recep-

Set up a blackjack or poker table.

they’ll have to head over to the bar and

America might not go over

access to the outdoors, cigar

bartender. When guests want to play,


Only let the guests make

time, this extra touch is something that male guests of all ages can enjoy. Grandpa Joe might hate tossing bean bags and

a very good chance that cigars are his kryptonite. Cigar bars are also the perfect way for the groom to get a little bit of oneon-one time with his closest friends before returning to the action. Even if you don’t want to smoke one yourself, getting the cigar wrapping monogrammed with your initials, your favorite quote, or anything

Cigar bars are also the perfect way for the groom to get a little bit of one-onone time with his closest friends before returning to the action.

Pro tip: Station the cigar bar far, far away from where most of your guests will be congregated. Not everyone likes that smoky smell, and a dance floor full of coughing guests is not the goal here.

Let your groom pick a “getaway car”.


think darts are for hoodlums, but there’s

There’s tons of ways to make your wedding

meaningful to you and your spouse will

more guy-friendly, but what about adding

turn the cigars into a neat memento.

a special touch that’s just for your groom?




We toyed with the idea of surprising

process. We just have a feeling that

takes two to get married. Your wedding

him with the getaway car, but after talking

“Babe, can you pick out a getaway

and the planning process should be

it over with the dudes, we agreed that

car?” will put a little more pep in his step

something that you and your partner work

in this case, anticipation beats surprise-

than “Are hydrangeas or lilies better for

at together, and your Big Day should

letting him pick the car is the way to go.

the centerpieces?”

include elements that both of you can get

We can’t think of a better way to make a

Pro tip: Aside from warning him not to

excited about. Whether you go with one

new husband feel like a million bucks

blow your entire budget, step back and

of these ideas or come up with your

than to let him peel out of the reception

let him take the reins on this one.

own, we promise that giving your groom a

in the car of his dreams with his beauti-

In fact, why not let him surprise you with

little something extra to look forward to

ful wife at his side. It’s also an amazing

his choice?

will only make your wedding day all the

way to get him excited about the planning

Moral of the story: Just like a tango, it

more special.



Where To Go Call your County Clerk’s office to verify requirements, hours, and additional locations. We recommend getting two or three certified copies of your marriage certificate for name change and/or filing purposes.


Obtaining an Illinois Marriage License REQUIREMENTS

birth date of the applicant, or a consulate

Downtown Chicago – Daley Center 50 W. Washington St. East Concourse (Lower) Level – 25 Chicago, IL 60602 312.603.7790

DEKALB 110 E. Sycamore St. Sycamore, IL 60178 815.895.7149

Both partners must appear together in per-

identification card. Some counties may

son at the time of application.

require divorce decrees and/or death certificates of former spouses. Counties may



vary in forms of acceptable ID. Call your

Unmarried people who are 18 years of age

county clerk to verify.

421 N. County Farm Rd. Wheaton, IL 60187 630.407.6500

or older and not blood relatives can apply 50 years or older. People 16 and 17 years


of age must provide the following information:

Civil unions are still legal, valid, and offered

sworn consent, in person, from each parent

to all couples in the state of Illinois. It is

or legal guardian before the county clerk at

not required that a civil union be converted

for a marriage license, as can first cousins

GRUNDY 111 E. Washington St., Room 12 Morris, IL 60450 815.941.3222

the time of application, as well as a certified

into a marriage. If couples would like to


copy of their birth certificate and a second

convert their civil union into a marriage,

form of identification to show their date of

they can apply for a marriage license and

birth. Those giving consent must provide

have a ceremony within a 60-day time

719 S. Batavia Ave., Building B Geneva, IL 60134 630.232.5950

proper identification, including a valid driver’s

limit. The $60 fee will be waived.

license, state ID, or a valid US passport. If

If a couple does not live in Illinois, they

the legal guardian is giving consent, a

may still apply for a marriage license in an

certified copy of the guardianship papers

Illinois county, provided they have a cere-

must be provided.

mony in that county within 60 days.



You must provide one of the following

Depending on your county, the cost to

pieces of information to receive your license:

obtain a marriage certification is $20-$60.

valid U.S. driver’s license or state ID, valid

Some offices only take cash.

U.S. passport, or U.S. Armed Forces idenyou must provide two of the following: a


certified copy of your birth certificate, U.S.

A marriage license becomes effective

naturalization papers or resident alien card,

twenty-four hours after it is issued. Licenses

tification card. If the above is not available,

a valid foreign passport, life insurance

are only valid for 60 days from the issued

policy that has been in effect for at least

date and must be obtained in the county

one year, a baptismal record showing the

where the ceremony will take place.

KANKAKEE 189 E. Court St. Kankakee, IL 60901 815.937.2990

LAKE 18 N. County St., Room 101 Waukegan, IL 60085 847.377.2411

MCHENRY 667 Ware Rd., Room 107 Woodstock, IL 60098 815.334.4230

WILL 302 N. Chicago St. Joliet, IL 60432 815.740.4615



Bold, Stunning & Dramatically Different


PHOTOGRAPHY Salvatore Cincotta Photography HAIR & MAKEUP Bridal Brigade

STYLING The Wedding Dresser

NAILS Tara Kadar

GOWN Oscar de la Renta Ethan gown provided by Ultimate Bride, | JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, | SHOES James Ciccotti Bridal Shoes & Accessories, MENSWEAR provided by Formally Modern Tuxedo, | JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, | SOCKS The Tie Bar, | SHOES Kenneth Cole,

MENSWEAR Tuxedo provided by Formally Modern Tuxedo, | SHIRT J.Hilburn, | ACCESSORIES The Tie Bar, JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, GOWN Frascara gown provided by Veiled in Elegance, | SKIRT Oscar de la Renta Emilia skirt provided by Ultimate Bride, JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio,

GOWN Atelier Pronovias Verona gown provided by Dimitra’s Bridal Couture, | HEADPIECE Dimitra’s Bridal Couture JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, | SHOES James Ciccotti Bridal Shoes & Accessories, | CLUTCH James Ciccotti Bridal Shoes & Accessories MENSWEAR Tuxedo provided by Formally Modern Tuxedo, | ACCESSORIES The Tie Bar, | JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, | SHOES Daniel George Custom Suits,

BRIDE GOWN Elizabeth Dye Paloma gown provided by Dame Couture, | HEADPIECE Dame Couture | JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, | SHOES James Ciccotti Bridal Shoes & Accessories, | FLORAL Bonnie Flower Shop, GROOM MENSWEAR provided by Formally Modern Tuxedo, | JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, BRIDESMAID GOWN Nouvelle Amsale Liane gown provided by Veiled in Elegance, | JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, GROOMSMAN MENSWEAR provided by Daniel George Custom Suits, | ACCESSORIES The Tie Bar, | JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, | SOCKS Formally Modern Tuxedo, | SHOES Daniel George Custom Suits

GOWN Harlow gown by Badgley Mischka, JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, SHOES James Ciccotti Bridal Shoes & Accessories, MENSWEAR Suit provided by Daniel George Custom Suits, ACCESSORIES Daniel George Custom Suits JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio,

GOWN Jillian Fellers Agathé gown provided by Dame Couture, | JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, MENSWEAR Suit provided by Daniel George Custom Suits, | SHIRT provided by Formally Modern Tuxedo, ACCESSORIES Daniel George Custom Suits | JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio,

GOWN Carolina Herrera Jordana gown provided by Ultimate Bride, JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, MENSWEAR Trousers provided by Formally Modern Tuxedo, SHIRT J.Hilburn, ACCESSORIES The Tie Bar, JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio,

Styled to Perfection

Brides are seeing more options when it comes to selecting the perfect dress for their big day. There is now flexibility in what is considered appropriate for a wedding dress, and brides can get creative and trendy when it comes to bridal fashion.

High-Low Gowns For starters, do you want a long or short dress? This may seem like an odd question since the majority of brides wear long gowns, but now you can have both. For those who are indecisive, the very trendy high-low gown may be the perfect fit for you. “High-low gowns are a great way to bring a bit more edge to your wedding day style – no matter where you get married,” says Shannelle Armstrong-Fowler, chief stylist of Haute & Co. Bridal and Revolution Bridal. “Brides can truly show off their fabulous wedding shoes as well as walk the aisle with ease if wearing a traditional gown brings a fear of falling.”




Even if you fall in love with a long wedding

and budget. Brides are able to have their

store manager of Bijou Bridal & Special

gown, ask if the alterations team can

personality really shine through by pairing

Occasion. Try a lace crop top with a

make it into a high-low dress. This trend is

any top they want with any bottom.

flowing chiffon maxi skirt.

“Separates have became very popular in

“Separates can also give the bride a more

the last year. They give the bride the

comfortable fit,” she says. “It gives them

option to mix and match and personalize

the option to order the top in one size and


her look. Not everyone will pair the same

the bottom in another depending on their

This trend is great for every style, taste,

two pieces together,” says Natalia Lagunas,


still on the rise, and if you’re looking for a wow factor, this will definitely catch people by surprise. Whitney Port anyone?

Detachable Details This popular trend includes the option of also having a gown with a detachable portion such as a skirt or train. This can act as a fun transition between a ceremony look and a reception look. “We are just starting to have requests for detachable skirts and trains — something we have

TIP SEPARATES This trend is great for every style, taste, and budget. Brides are able to have their personality really shine through by pairing any top they want with any bottom.

accommodated through alterations, but now there are gowns to show the brides!” says Kathryn B. Trocki, proprietress of Kathryn’s Bridal. “We absolutely love the Sophia Tolli Maeve gown where the skirt completely comes off to showcase a lace sheath. Simply beautiful and changes the look for the bride!”

Tattooed Lace It’s all about that lace. Lace has always been a popular choice for bridal gowns. 240



Now, you can take that lace and make it a

skin,” Lagunas says. “The tattoo lace is

and romance at the same time.” This

daring look with a “tattooed” style gown.

also used in long sleeves and illusion

might be a little scandalous for Grandma’s

This trend has been seen on almost every


taste, but it’s your day!

Brides can opt to have a dress with

Bold Colors

“barely there” details or opt for a more

Here comes the bride all dressed in ivory,

solid covering by adding sleeves. “So

champagne, or blush pink. Right now, it’s

“Brides love the detailed backs with lace

many lace dresses have this detail, and

all about color.

appliques against a sheer fabric on their

brides love it!” Trocki says. “It is drama

runway this season. One of the most popular ways to incorporate the lace is to have a gown with an illusion back.

If you’re looking for a non-traditional alternative to white that’s not too bold, go with champagne, moscato (soft blush), or almond. These options are close enough to white for an unobtrusive look, but allow you to pick the most flattering color for your skin tone. According to Lagunas, many designers and vendors are using more color in gowns than you would expect. For example, lace dresses are available to brides with ivory or white lace on top, but the underlay is available in colors like champagne, almond, blush, pearl, and rose gold among others. “It is very popular and common to not wear white on your wedding day. At our store location, all of our bridal samples are available in an ivory, not in white,” Lagunas says. “Ivory is a softer color for most skin tones, which makes it easier to wear. To the naked eye, ivory tends to look white depending on the shade. A true bridal white is going to be very strong and bright.” Many brides are walking down the aisle sporting gowns that are Rose Quartz (a pale pink) and Serenity (a cool blue), the Pantone Colors of the Year. “We have always displayed more shades of ivory and champagne, and now added to the mix are shades of pink and blue,” Trocki says. “Our brides love that they can try so 242



Ideal for all body types, this style is so DURON STUDIO

popular that it is extending into next year’s bridal collections. It combines a sexy look and a romantic feel. “Off-the-shoulder is hot,” says Antonietta Cervantes, owner and designer of Veiled by ChaCha. “We are even transforming strapless gowns to off-the-shoulder gowns.”

Veils, Accessories, Capes Accessories are a perfect way to add a little extra something for your special day. Brides are adding to their looks with belts, dramatic bows, bold jewelry, and capes. many different colors and be able to visu-

brides are even branching out into the

alize what their dress will look like in the

wide world of patterns. Now those options

shade they choose.”

pack a visual punch!

Bridal capes keep you warm for outdoor photo shoots and are perfect for areas where the weather may be chillier, even in


For those more daring, popular colors for

Off-the-Shoulder Gowns

the warmer months. Yes, the Midwest

bridal gowns include seafoam green, pale

One of the hottest trends right now is off-

tends to get confused on when it’s spring

blue, fuchsia, black, and lavender. Many

the-shoulder silhouettes.

and fall.



“Bridal capes are the hottest trend right

be for everyone, but you can still spice up

Many bridal shops are seeing a rise in

now,” Armstrong-Fowler says. “It can bring

your look with dramatic necklaces and

popularity with rose gold pieces paired

a wow factor to a traditional ceremony

earrings. “Brides love statement necklaces

with statement earrings. Even accessories

that requires the bride’s shoulders to be

as long as they don’t overpower her look,”

like floral headpieces are popular right

covered. Bridal capes bring a memorable

Trocki says. “We have been seeing the

now. Who said you had to be royal to

and enchanting visual as the bride walks down the aisle.” Adding an accessory like a cape may not

long dangle earring make a comeback

wear a crown?

recently, and pairing the earring with a

Trendy and unconventional fashion op-

sparkly bracelet is also very popular.”

tions may not be your cup of tea. Not to worry, you can still stick to tradition but include some trendy fashion items. Armstrong-Fowler feels that while not every bride wants a look that strays from the traditional view of bridal fashion, there is always room for adding non-traditional elements, such as bridal capes or wearing bold jewelry.

“Bridal capes are the hottest trend right now,” ArmstrongFowler says. “It can bring a wow factor to a traditional ceremony that requires the bride’s shoulders to be covered. Bridal capes bring a memorable and enchanting visual as the bride walks down the aisle.”

Never fret, millennials are not forgetting about traditional gowns. “Traditional styles will always be around and will always be classic no matter what the current trends are,” Lagunas says. “I think that romance and femininity is what brides truly want to have in their gowns,” Trocki says. “Traditional silhouettes are by far the top sellers. Every bride dreams of her fairy tale day!” 246


“From the moment I met my husband, I knew he was my soulmate,” says Seiko. Dan tried to play it cool when giving her his number, but wasted no time in actually taking Seiko out. Before they knew it, they were in love. On a particularly cold Valentine’s Day trip to Boston, the pair braved a blizzard to see the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Dan, who had planned to propose on the beautiful steps in the entry way, decided to wait until they returned to their hotel. The room was filled with roses, and Dan proposed to Seiko knowing he, too, had found his soulmate. Dan and Seiko really enjoyed their wedding planning process, and Dan took the lead on securing vendors and making the day absolutely perfect for his bride-to-be. Dan explains, “It was about finding the right people who could do what my wife wanted and stay within our budget.” Family and friends also helped with crafting the perfect floral arrangements and preparing for all the traditional elements of the wedding. In addition to a modern western ceremony, the couple also did a traditional Korean ceremony. It “was really amazing, and made me feel like part of his family,” remembers Seiko. The beautiful setting at Wandering Tree Estate made the whole day feel magical. “I got to have

East Meets West Seiko Phalidwanon and Kyungsoo “Dan” Kim

my wedding in the most perfect place.” “It was a really great day for us,” says Dan. “I could not ask for more from my friends and family who stepped up to make it an amazing day. Also, having the most beautiful and loving wife just makes everything perfect.”


Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY & RECEPTION: Wandering Tree Estate OFFICIANT: Rev. Charles Chun

PHOTOGRAPHY: J. Harley Photography


FLORAL: Kellen’s Florist, Inc.

BRIDE’S GOWN: Dimitra’s Bridal Couture | Total Wedding BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Various FORMALWEAR: Men's Wearhouse

• •

HAIR & MAKEUP: Grace Weil STATIONERY: Vistaprint

SWEETS: Le Sucre Cakes & Cupcakes ENTERTAINMENT: DJ Sang Hun Lee

CATERING: Biagio Events & Catering


Gown Glamour

BRI’ZAN COUTURE JASMINE GALLERIA Jasmine Collection, Jasmine Galleria,

Allure Bridals, Bri’Zan Couture,

WHITE DRESS BRIDAL BOUTIQUE Paloma Blanca, White Dress Bridal Boutique,

LAUREL BRIDAL Sidney by Crystal Design, Laurel Bridal,



Eleanor by Badgley Mischka, Kathryn’s Bridal,

Essense of Australia, Revolution Bridal,

EVA'S BRIDALS OF CHICAGO Vega by Val Stefani, Eva’s Bridals of Chicago,

REDDINGTON BRIDAL Marissa by Ivoire by Kitty Chen, Reddington Bridal,


Dress Up


You’ve always imagined this moment. The day you slip a wedding gown on and know that this is “the dress.” And it’s a process that everyone – from Grandma to second cousin, once removed – wants to be involved with. For some brides, having a large entourage is perfect. They welcome everyone’s opinion and thrive in the group environment. Other brides prefer a more intimate setting with just their mothers and few close friends or family members. In the


TIP In large groups especially, it’s not uncommon for people to comment on how a dress looks before the bride has the chance to express her feelings about it. That’s why bridal store owners typically recommend bringing between three and five people to an appointment.

end, every bride will find her perfect dress. But sometimes, the bigger the entourage, the more overwhelming the process can be. “When you bring people with you, you can expect opinions,” says Marcia McReynolds, owner of Wedding Belles, Ltd. “They think you’ve invited them for that.” In large groups especially, it’s not uncommon for people to comment on how a dress looks before the bride has the chance to express her feelings about it. That’s why bridal store owners typically recommend bringing between three and five people to an appointment. “Four to five will let the bride bring her mother, maybe the mother of the groom, or her grandmother, a sister, maybe a maid of honor, or a couple of bridesmaids that are really close,” says Nancy McElvenny, owner of The Crystal Bride. “That seems to be a really good number because then they’re more supportive of the bride.” McElvenny says the four to five people that know the bride best can tell when she’s glowing in a gown and thinks she’s found the right one. She says it’s important for the group to acknowledge the bride’s 254



emotion and respond to that – something more easily done in a smaller group. “The experience of trying on a wedding gown is special, but it’s also overwhelming. As much fun as it sounds to bring a large group of people with you, sometimes the focus goes off of the gown,” says McReynolds.

McElvenny says the four to five people that know the bride best can tell when she’s glowing in a gown and thinks she’s found the right one. She says it’s important for the group to acknowledge the bride’s emotion and respond to that – something more easily done in a smaller group.

Too many opinions can sway a bride’s decision regarding her dress. While some brides can tell the group they respect their opinions, but they like a particular dress and are going to buy it, not all brides are able to do that. With smaller groups, the most important voice – the bride’s – is heard, as well as the opinions of those closest to her. Bringing a larger group to an appointment can turn into a social event. It’s a fun excuse to hang out, chat, and play dress up with some of their best friends. There will always be someone who pulls a 256


you try it on (either ironically or because they love it). If you’re in to the look, give it a try. If it’s not your style, just be honest about it. You don’t have to try it on. To avoid an

suggests booking an appointment SALVATORE CINCOTTA PHOTOGRAPHY


hideous dress and demands that

later in the day. On Saturdays, many brides that have been shopping all day tend to cancel their later appointments if they’ve already found their perfect gown.

awkward situation, give your group

“Sometimes if someone wants a big

a list of what you’re looking for in a

group like that we’ll recommend

gown. Then they’ll at least be search-

doing an evening appointment or

ing for things you like as the prowl

see if there’s a consultant that will

the shelves.

do a private appointment for them,”

Some brides prefer to bring even

says McElvenny.

fewer than that suggested amount.

Stores also advise brides to be aware

For some, the experience can just


of the layout of particular bridal

be between a bride and her mother, as

She knows what she wants. Other people

salons. Some shops have large viewing

McReynolds suggests.

tend to look at a dress and think of what

areas, while others do not. Packing in

“When the mother is with the bride, she

they want.”

more people than the store can accom-

selects gowns for the bride, not for her-

If you do plan to bring more than five

modate can sometimes leave brides and

self,” says McReynolds. “She knows her.

people to an appointment, McElvenny

their group feeling cramped.


what’s available, and what looks good

you do some research on the brands they

on you, you might change your mind. I

carry and any dresses you might like to

would say eight out of ten brides wear

try. If you’re not sure what shape will fit

exactly what they think they wouldn’t.”

you best, try on a variety of styles to see

So, as tempting as it is to bring ten of

what you prefer. You might be surprised

your closest gal pals shopping, something

by what you like!

as intimate as buying a wedding gown is

“Try to keep an open mind on your first

best left to be experienced with your

appointment,” says McReynolds. “Once

closest friends, family, and those who

you start to see all the different styles,

know you best.


When selecting a salon to visit, make sure







LEFT PAGE: BRIDESMAIDS GOWNS Belsoie gowns provided by Jasmine Galleria, ACCESSORIES Crown hairpiece by Violet Bells,; Floral hairpiece by Mayfield Flowers, JEWELRY provided by Razny Jewelers, SHOES Model’s own RIGHT PAGE: BRIDAL ATTIRE Cyrus top by Delphine Manivet, ACCESSORIES Veil by Violet Bells, JEWELRY provided by Razny Jewelers,

Complete credits found on page 271

LEFT BRIDESMAID Bustier and skirt by Sarah Seven, JEWELRY provided by Razny Jewelers,

MENSWEAR provided by Nicholas Joseph, JEWELRY provided by Razny Jewelers,

BRIDAL GOWN Hayley Paige Mona gown provided by Bella Bianca Bridal Couture, ACCESSORIES Hairpiece by Violet Bells, JEWELRY provided by Razny Jewelers,

RIGHT BRIDESMAID Dress provided by Jasmine Galleria,; Floral skirt by Sarah Seven, ACCESSORIES Floral hairpiece by Violet Bells, JEWELRY provided by Razny Jewelers,

MENSWEAR Tuxedo provided by Formally Modern Tuxedo, ACCESSORIES provided by Nicholas Joseph, JEWELRY provided by Razny Jewelers,

BRIDAL ATTIRE Top and skirt from the Provence Collection by Riki Dalal, JEWELRY provided by Razny Jewelers, SHOES Badgley Mischka,

GOWN Florent gown by Delphine Manivet, | ACCESSORIES Veil by Violet Bells, | JEWELRY provided by Razny Jewelers, SHOES Carlos by Carlos Santana,

MENSWEAR Tuxedo provided by Formally Modern Tuxedo, ACCESSORIES by Nicholas Joseph, JEWELRY provided by Razny Jewelers, GOWN Peter Langner Asia gown provided by Ultimate Bride, JEWELRY provided by Razny Jewelers,

LEFT BRIDESMAID GOWN Sophia gown by Jenny Yoo Collection, ACCESSORIES Floral ring by Mayfield Flowers, JEWELRY provided by Razny Jewelers, RIGHT BRIDESMAID ATTIRE Millie top and Lucy skirt by Jenny Yoo Collection, ACCESSORIES Floral ring by Mayfield Flowers, JEWELRY provided by Razny Jewelers, | SHOES Model’s own

MENSWEAR provided by Nicholas Joseph, JEWELRY provided by Razny Jewelers, GOWN Alon Livné White Lisa Tull gown provided by Bella Bianca Bridal Couture, JEWELRY provided by Razny Jewelers,


Creative Ideas to Give

Your Bridal Gown a Life Beyond the Wedding Everyone remembers the woman who took a paintball launcher to her wedding gown after the big day. (And if you don’t remember her, I advise a quick Google search.) At the time I had a recently-worn wedding dress of my own that needed tending to, and looking at photographs of all that rainbow-splattered damask and tulle got me thinking. (Continued on next page)



I’m not a terribly sentimental gal, so the idea of having my wedding gown cleaned, preserved, and tucked away in some far corner of an already-too-full closet never really appealed to me. Plus, after a bride has spent days – or even weeks – picking out a wedding gown that feels meaningful to her, enjoying just a single day outside the closet hardly seems enough to do a beloved dress justice. The good news is, brides these days are getting super creative and definitely aren’t afraid to think outside of the preserveyour-own-gown box. If you’re an offbeat bride looking for a way to celebrate your bridal gown beyond the big day, here are some great ideas for you:

Schedule a post-nuptial “trash the dress” photo shoot. Or, if you just can’t bring yourself to use the word “trash” in reference to your wedding gown, have a “rock the frock” shoot. These non-traditional bridal pics are totally trending with couples. From skydiving to jumping into the pool for a quick underwater smooch, tons of brides are foregoing the usual dress preservation in favor of these one-of-a-kind photos — and making memories that will definitely last a lifetime.

Use your awesome DIY skills to repurpose your gown. There are an endless number of Pinterestworthy projects for a bride looking to repurpose her gown. From transforming its more sultry features into custom lingerie, to repurposing the softer elements into a christening gown or a receiving blanket for baby-to-be, it’s fun to see how far you can make that fab dress go. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



Pay it forward by donating your wedding dress to a good cause.

their needs as well.

There are tons of local and national

Another great option is the Chicago-based

charities that would love to put your gen-

charity Glass Slipper Project. This organi-

tly-worn wedding dress to good use. For

zation helps local high school students

instance, CSW loves to work with the

attend prom in the dress of their dreams.

you’ll be helping struggling families meet

Chicago chapter of Wish Upon a Wedding. This amazing organization helps to grant Wedding Wishes to those fighting serious illness or life-altering circumstances. Brides can donate their dress to Wish Upon a Wedding through their partnership with Brides for a Cause. House of Hope Resale, in Lake Zurich, sells donated bridal gowns for around $50, and all the proceeds go to local families in crisis. So not only are you helping

NICU Helping Hands provides services to bereaved families around the U.S. who are mourning the death of their newborn. Donated wedding dresses are repurposed into “Angel Gowns” that are given to families free of charge. Whatever you decide to do with that special dress, you’ll definitely love giving it a meaningful life beyond your own wedding day.

a bride in need snag a gorgeous dress she might not otherwise be able to afford,


Handy Dandy List of Lists 1. Day-Of Preparedness If you thought the last six months were hectic, buckle up. Your mind will be racing the morning of the wedding. But if you make these lists ahead of time, you’ll be ready for smooth sailing. 2. S.O.S. Rips, tears, minor flesh wounds – all are repairable if you have the right resources. List out things to add to an emergency kit like bobby pins, safety pins, thread, blister bandages and feminine hygiene products, whether you’re expecting your monthly wedding crasher or not. 3. Bride’s List I know you’ve spent the last twelve months or so choosing the perfect dress, 274



shoes, and accessories, and we’re crazy for even suggesting you’d forget anything, but trust us: don’t leave it to chance. List out every item that you’ll be putting on your body from underwear to veil to mascara. 4. Groom’s List He’s not thinking about his cummerbund; he’s thinking about you. Allow yourself a moment to say, “Aw!” and now start listing every item he’ll need: each piece of his tux or suit, razor, hair products, rings, even wallet. 5. Polite Responses If you haven’t already, you’ll be getting plenty of advice from people just trying to help you out a little. While “Get a huge chocolate fountain we can play in,” and “Live doves!” may not go with your wedding, you need to be polite in dismissing them. Make a list of responses from, “I wish, but I’m not sure that’s in the budget,” to “Awesome idea, but my mother-in-law sure would have something to say about that!” 6. Use Your Resources (a.k.a. Your Friends and Family) Now that you have a fat stack of lists, they’re starting to look a little intimidating. Here’s the best part: Now you get to start doling out the fun and feel the stress leave your body, one slip of paper at a time. Give the emergency items list to one of your bridesmaids. Give the groom’s list to the Best Man. Let your Maid of Honor keep track of your finery. Delegation is the most fun part about being the bride. Don’t feel like you’re asking too much of your loved ones. People get a rush from being asked to take responsibility. The implied trust offers its own little high and helps people feel like they’re contributing to your wedding in a meaningful way. You wouldn’t deprive them of that, now would you? CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Simply Breathtaking It was love at first period Biology class for Allison and Kyle. The Arlington Heights natives dated during high school and college, knowing all along that they were meant for each other. Kyle proposed to Allison the evening before Valentine’s Day. “It was very natural and intimate,” says Allison. Mirroring their proposal, the couple chose the day before Valentine’s Day for their wedding. “We wanted to go with a romantic look – without being cliché,” explains the bride. The couple opted for a “classy, vintage look” that had a slight art deco feel. Allison and Kyle selected the Drake Hotel for its romantic look. “It’s simply breathtaking.” As they decided on details of the ceremony, Allison’s brother, Ryan, asked if he could be the one to perform the service. “We agreed…and it made the ceremony so much more special,” she says. The reception was filled with beautifully crafted details, like burgundy, blush, and champagne flowers to match the romantic feel. The couple says their florist really “did an amazing job making the flowers look breathtaking and complimentary to the beauty of the Drake.” Guests enjoyed an evening filled with delectable food and lively dancing. And, in the midst of it all, Allison and Kyle were able to sneak away with their photographers to take some amazing wedding pictures on the roof, in front of the iconic sign for the Drake Hotel. “Everything was perfect,” remembers Allison. “It was literally a fairy tale wedding.”



Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY & RECEPTION: The Drake Hotel

OFFICIANT: Ryan Patrick Flood

PHOTOGRAPHY: Bob & Dawn Davis Photography and Design BRIDE’S GOWN: Bella Bianca Bridal Couture HAIR: Mario Tricoci

MAKEUP: Bridal by Aga

BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Bella Bianca Bridal Couture FORMALWEAR: GQ Formalwear

STATIONERY: Lou Lou Di Paperie

FLORAL: Ashland Addison Floral & Event Décor CATERING: The Drake Hotel

SWEETS: The Drake Hotel

ENTERTAINMENT: The Orchestra 33



Vote for your favorite design at

The Art of “I Do” BIG CITY BRIDE

The Team PLANNER/STYLIST Big City Bride, FLORAL/LIGHTING Platinum Events, SWEETS Vanille, STATIONERY Just Invite Me, LINEN RENTALS BBJ Linen, VINTAGE LOUNGE Bowery & Bash, RENTALS Tablescapes Event Rentals, Hall’s Rental, VENUE Bridgeport Art Center Sculpture Garden, PHOTOGRAPHY Gold Grid Studios,

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Color Outside the Lines LOLA EVENT PRODUCTIONS

The Team PLANNER/STYLIST LOLA Event Productions, FLORAL/DÉCOR HMR Designs, STATIONERY Steracle Press, SWEETS Elysia Root Cakes, TABLETOP/CHAIR RENTALS Hall’s Rental, CHARGER/LINEN RENTALS BBJ Linen, VENUE Ravenswood Event Center, PHOTOGRAPHY Gold Grid Studios,

Vote for your favorite design at


The Team PLANNER/STYLIST Régine Danielle Events, FLORAL VEIL Event Design, SWEETS Scafuri Bakery, STATIONERY L Brown Design & Paperie, CHARGER/LINEN RENTALS BBJ Linen, VENUE The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, PHOTOGRAPHY Gold Grid Studios,

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The Team PLANNER/STYLIST Vision of Elegance Events, FLORAL Gromeza Floral Design Studio, Vision of Elegance Events, SWEETS Amy Beck Cake Design, STATIONERY Dear Emily, RENTALS Luxe Event Rentals & Décor, PIPE AND DRAPE RENTALS Quest Drape, VENUE Chicago History Museum, PHOTOGRAPHY Gold Grid Studios, Vote for your favorite design at

What Makes a Good Wedding Planner In the world of DIY projects and Pinterest, many couples feel they can take on planning their wedding day themselves. But throwing the perfect soirée isn’t as easy as it looks. On the most important day of your life, you want everything to run smoothly. You want to be able to enjoy yourself and relish in wedded bliss. You don’t want to worry if your friend got the vegetarian option she asked for, if the band has a power outlet, or if the place cards adorn the right tables. A great wedding planner will make sure you and your family don’t encounter any of the above issues. They ensure that you can be guests at your own wedding and have a blast! “Even if your best friend, maid of honor, or mom is really organized and communicates well with all of your vendors, you want them to be able to relax and have a good time,” says Rebecca Ickes, owner and lead photographer of Rebecca Marie Photography. Ickes says there is a misconception that people work with planners because they need help with organization, but that’s not always the case. Most of the couples she works with are extremely organized people, but they have not gone through




the wedding planning process before. It’s

photographs, play music, and arrange

impossible for them to know what they

flowers – while the planner orchestrates

don’t know about wedding planning. That’s

the rest of the day to perfection.

where a planner can be extremely benefi-

Before the Wedding Vendors appreciate working with a wedding planner in the months leading up to the

Photographers, musicians, and florists all

big day almost as much as the couple. A

have important jobs to do on your wedding

good planner understands what kind of

day. It’s much easier for them to do their

bash couples want to throw and strate-

best work when a planner is present to

gizes vendor suggestions accordingly.

Great wedding planners coordinate the

manage timelines, vendor needs, and

Kaufman says a great planner will match

many moving parts and people in the

any unforeseen mishaps that are bound

the right vendor with the right couple.

months leading up to and on the big day.

to arise. When someone else is in charge,

They won’t present ten band options to a

They seamlessly integrate the bride’s

couples can rest assured their vendors

pair but rather the top two or three that

desires, the family’s wishes, and the ven-

can focus completely on their specific

are a good fit for a specific couple’s

dors’ needs to create a fabulous experience

tasks, making the day less stressful for

needs and budget.

for the couple.

all involved.

It’s not only the couple that benefits when

“There are, invariably, things that go wrong,

will offer a timeline for the wedding day in

a great wedding planner takes the reins.

always. The key is that the couple never

advance. “It is very helpful for a planner to

Vendors also enjoy collaborating with a

knows about it,” says Becca Kaufman,

bring a timeline and a ceremony proces-

great planner because he or she allows

president of BeatMix Music and bandleader

sional to our music meeting so we can

vendors to do what they do best – take

of Becca Kaufman Orchestra (BKO).

review announcements and timing, as

cial. “It’s really helpful to just have someone who can help you figure out what the next thing to do is,” says Ickes.

Once a match is made, a quality planner

well as focus on making music decisions,” says Kaufman. The timeline can be rough and subject to change, but it’s very helpful for vendors to have something tangible to look at when meeting with a couple. Most vendors benefit from having even a basic timeline well in advance. Florists like Jenna Sprengel, owner and lead designer of Avant Gardenia, enjoy collaborating with planners ahead of time to ensure everything runs smoothly with the flowers. “If a couple has a great planner, we are given information about the timeline weeks in advance so we are able to plan the logistics of our day accordingly,” says Sprengel. Jason Monroe, owner and creative director of Highway 61 Films, appreciates when a planner is able to join their couple for a videography consultation. “It always puts 290



“On the day of the event, the planner makes sure people who have toasts coming up are seated and ready,” says Kaufman. They also act as the liaison between the band and the kitchen so everything is timed perfectly.

my mind at ease when we work with a good planner because I know things are going to be on schedule,” says Monroe. “I know that they’re going to let us know when speeches are happening. They’re going to be on point, making sure that no stone is left unturned regarding details and timeline.” The more a couple and their planner hammer out a detailed schedule, the more time vendors can spend consulting the couple on their area of expertise. Vendor meetings should be about the music selections, floral designs, and photography – not about the other details of the day.

The Big Day Vendors say planners who are accessible and present the day of the wedding make the event run much more smoothly for all involved. The best planners are ones who are easy to reach on the wedding day, even if by text. “They’re the key piece,” says Kaufman. “They’re the team leader that day.” Great planners help the band in a number of ways. Kaufman says the best planners know how many chairs her band needs as well as the size of her stage. They have vendor meals ready at a time her band 292


that if there’s not a planner there, which

or she knows how to bring multiple vendors

give her an even more detailed timeline

means that our focus is now pulled in a

with different needs together to make

for the day that includes music, such as

different direction. When there’s a brilliant

your wedding the best day ever. “I love

what song will play as the bride and

planner involved on the team, we get to

working with collaborative planners because

groom enter the room.

solely focus on being photographers –

it's enjoyable to work as a team from

which is what the couple wants in the first

beginning to end,” says Sprengel. “When

place,” says Ickes.

a group of vendors is working as a team

“On the day of the event, the planner makes sure people who have toasts coming up are seated and ready,” says Kaufman. They also act as the liaison between the band and the kitchen so

on your event, the outcome is going to be Monroe says it’s extremely helpful to be

better than you've imagined.”

able to connect with the planner on the day of the wedding. “It is really helpful to

While no member of that team is more

have a contact if the vendors need to

important than another, it certainly helps

Photographers really benefit from having a

know about arrival times and departure

to have a fearless leader. “The best

great planner take charge of the day as

times. We need to know how much time

planners really are the coach of your team

well. They are often some of the first ven-

we’re going to need for transportation to

of wedding professionals,” says Ickes.

dors to arrive at the site to take photos of

and from the ceremony, to the photo tour,

Managing the coordination aspect of the

the bridal party getting ready. If a planner

and back to the reception,” says Monroe.

day isn’t the only skill a planner must

everything is timed perfectly.


can eat them. She loves when planners

isn’t present, Ickes says it often becomes

have. Our experts say that being a good

the photographer’s job to keep everyone

It’s All About Teamwork

planner is just as much about managing

on schedule. “We have to end up doing

A great planner is a great team leader. He

emotions and expectations, as it is about




logistics. He or she must know how to


have vendors’ backs and also manage differences of opinion between a couple and all of their family members. “A good planner knows how to manage those expectations, be there for families, and be the client’s emotional pillow sometimes,” says Monroe. Great planners orchestrate events like no other. They make everything appear flawless, even if a slight mishap occurs behind

Money Matters Who is Traditionally Responsible for the Costs of Your Big Day

the scenes. They know where they need

When it comes to footing the bill, today

to be for the couple and vendors, when

it’s less common for the bride’s family to

they need to give couples and families

shoulder the bulk of the financial burden.

private moments, and how to coordinate

Instead, many couples are paying for their

the day so vendors can focus on their

own weddings, or the couple, the bride’s

craft and not logistics. “A great planner

parents, and the groom’s parents share

lets every other vendor do their job that

the expenses.

day,” says Kaufman.

If you decide to follow tradition and ask your parents for financial assistance for your wedding, allow them to determine an acceptable figure for the celebration. To help you with your planning, here are some traditional expense guidelines, including what each family is usually responsible for.

The Bride 1. The groom’s wedding band 2. Gifts for her bridal attendants 3. Gift for the groom

The Bride’s Parents 1. Wedding invitations and postage 2. Bridal gown 3. Bridal accessories, including veil, headpiece, lingerie, jewelry, and shoes 4. Fees associated with the ceremony location, including rental fees, decorations, and music costs 294



5. Bridal and bridesmaid bouquets, as well as all boutonnieres 6. Cost of the reception, including rental fees, decorations, music/entertainment, and the cake 7. Initial fees for the photographer and videographer (each family will be responsible for selecting and paying for their own photos and videos following the wedding) 8. Transportation

The Groom 1. The bride’s wedding band 2. The marriage license 3. Gifts for his attendants 4. Officiant’s fee 5. His formalwear 6. Honeymoon 7. Gift for the bride

The Groom’s Parents 1. Cost of the rehearsal dinner, including location fees, decorations, and invitations

The Attendants 1. Their wedding attire and accessories 2. Portion of the bridal shower, bachelorette party, or bachelor party 3. Wedding gift for the couple 4. Their travel expenses to and from the wedding Formulating and sticking to a budget is never easy, but it’s the right thing to do when you’re planning a wedding. Your bud get shouldn’t limit you, it should keep you focused and out of debt. Be realistic, analyze your wish list, and tally the price tag – you need to make the most of your money to pull off the wedding you want. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM





Kellie Klein Scott Ames

WEDDING CONSULTANT: Soirée Weddings & Events | LIGHTING & RENTALS: MDM Entertainment | PHOTOGRAPHY: Cristina G Photography | VENUE: Skyline Loft at Bridgeport Art Center | FLORAL & DÉCOR: Vale of Enna | CAKE: Elysia Root Cakes | RENTALS: Hall’s Rental | STATIONERY: Minted | LINENS: BBJ Linen |

On To Plan B Preventing (Or Surviving!)

Common Wedding Calamities Picture it: you wake up on the morning of your wedding, bright eyed and well rested, ready to begin one of the most magical days of your life, when suddenly you’re overcome with a gripping terror as you realize you forgot to…, you didn’t bring…, you never managed to finish…! And with that, my friend, you’ve found yourself victim to one of any number of common wedding calamities. From uncooperative weather to losing the dress (it’s happened), weddings are filled with opportunities for mistakes, misfortune, and mayhem. But the good news is, you definitely don’t have to let any of the above ruin the big day. By planning ahead, plotting out a Plan B, and having faith in your amazing team of wedding vendors and your bridal party, you can avoid – and



the marriage license at home, and that’s a

order to give them time to get back with

differently than what you had planned.

very important part of the wedding since it

the license.”

needs to be signed by the officiant, the

“We’ve had couples forget the rings, and

bride, and the groom. While they were

then have to borrow rings from guests or

all! From missing rings, to broken bustles,

having the ceremony, someone went

from the wedding planner,” adds Basche.

to the curse of Chicago traffic, to missing

back to the house to retrieve the ma-

“We’ve even had a bride whose dress got

ceremony readers, and more – there is

rriage license. The officiant actually slowed

misplaced! The photographer was ready

always something,” says Leanne Valdes,

down the ‘do you take so-and-so,’ part in

to take the pre-wedding pictures with the

“Over the course of 5-plus years and more than 100 weddings, we've seen it


prepare for – anything that might go a little

owner, founder, and wedding and event planner at You Name It Events. “The best Plan B's we've seen are more about how couples approach their day than about the logistics. No matter your priorities or budget, hiring an experienced, professional wedding planner or coordinator is the single best thing you can do to protect your overall investment in your wedding. The peace of mind you get when there is a knowledgeable, experienced point person there to handle the day is invaluable.” Denise Bonds, owner of Windermere Elegant Weddings & Special Events, agrees. “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” she advises. “We’re the planners. We take care of the details. That’s why we’re here.” “Brides planning their own weddings should make a list of everything they’ll need to take with them to the wedding,” recommends Bonds. “Everything from their underwear and veil to safety pins and hairspray

really be prepared at least a week before the wedding, and that’s something a wedding planner can help coordinate ahead of time.”

Photo by Dani Stephenson

– basically the emergency kit. That should

Patty Basche, associate at Windermere Elegant Weddings & Special Events, remembers more than one occasion when such a list would have come in handy. “We worked with one couple who forgot CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



No matter your priorities or budget, hiring an experienced, professional wedding planner or coordinator is the single best thing you can do to protect your overall investment in your wedding. The peace of mind you get when there is a knowledgeable, experienced point person there to handle the day is invaluable.

dress, the shoes, and the ring, and we couldn’t find the dress anywhere. We had to check with the hotel’s security, and search the entire hotel to find the dress. We finally found it with the groomsmen’s clothing – luckily.” One of the biggest elements to plan for, says Bonds, is the weather. “Always look at the weather, and anticipate what will have to happen if you need to switch. Figure it out before the last minute,” she recommends. “If you wait to account for rain until the last minute, remember that everything has to be reset. We’ve had groomsmen and bridesmaids who helped rearrange an entire venue due to weather. This can cause delays up to an hour. Don’t be too emotional or too committed to your plan, and be willing to be flexible. You’ll still have a very pretty wedding, even if your outdoor plans are forced to move indoors.” When things start to go awry, be sure to rely on your bridal party as well. Make 300



sure your expectations for them are clearly established before the big day. “The best advice I give bridal parties is to let the big day be 100 percent about the bride and groom,” says Kristina Fossbakk Ferris, owner, lead designer, stylist, and planner of Vision of Elegance Events. “All too often, you run into bridesmaids having ‘diva’ moments, shifting the focus from the bride to them. It’s simple: leave your ego at the door and be there for the bride and groom on one of the biggest days of their lives.” And don’t forget – sometimes something that seems like a total disaster can actually turn out to be one of your all-time favorite memories. “At one couple’s reception, there was a fountain surrounded by a pond of water. People were dancing all around it and a guest fell into the pond,” remembers Basche. “It was an outdoor event in the middle of this beautiful, natural setting, and she ended up completely submerged in this 3-foot pond – her dress and everything. Another guest pulled her out, and she just shook it off and kept dancing! By the time the reception was over her dress was dry.” Definitely sounds like the kind of guest I want at my next party! Valdes has experienced a wedding ‘oops’ turn into a favorite memory as well. “We had a couple with a gorgeous six-tier wedding cake that had a few dummy layers to it,” she recalls. “When they cut the cake, they forgot which layers were foam and tried cutting into a fake layer. Needless to say, the knife did not go through smoothly! Once they figured it out, they laughed it off and moved on to a regular layer. To this day, that is one of the CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM





7 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner 1. Because navigating four vendor contracts at a time can get a little complicated. Luckily, professional wedding

sweetest memories of their wedding. I

the couple is having a wonderful time no

love that it showed they could laugh off

matter what, the guests will, too,” says

something unplanned and still have a

Valdes. “We try to remind folks just before

2. Because when you look at a venue,

great day!”

their big day that a wedding is a party, not

you see a room. Your planner sees

Above all – no matter what happens –

a performance. If at the end of the day

an event.

don’t forget you’re there to have fun.

you're married to the one you love, then it

“Guests take their cues from the couple. If

all went perfectly!”

planners handle them daily!

3. Because you don’t want to be DIY-ing favors at 3:00 A.M. the night before the wedding. 4. Because you don’t want to know what that crash was in the kitchen right before your beautiful cake is supposed to be wheeled out. No, you want to gaze into your new spouse’s eyes and let someone else handle clean up. 5. Because even though you paid for chiavari chairs, somewhere along the line someone thought you said you wanted to sit on bean bag chairs. In comes the wedding planner to fix it – or make it work. Either way. 6. Because you forgot your shoes. 7. Because you want to actually enjoy your day and not worry about anything other than saying your vows correctly. Which, let’s be honest, is no easy feat.





Handy Dandy List of Lists As the stress of the big day starts

3. Edward or Edwin or Something

piling up on your delicate shoulders, it

Your great-grandmother’s sister-in-law’s

may seem like there are a million things

nephew’s name is Christopher. Did you

you need to keep track of and remember.

remember that? We don’t blame you.

Whether or not organization is your thing,

Make a list of all the guests you’re not

there’s a way to make sure no distant rel-

entirely familiar with. If you’re really into

ative or gold earring gets left behind.

cheating, print out the list with pictures and keep it at the head table as a quick

Day-Of Preparedness 1. You’ve Got Their Number Things go wrong sometimes. Whoa,

reference. Odds are your partner will be using it at least as much as you will. 4. Last-Minute Snaps and Claps

whoa, whoa! Stop panicking! It’s okay

You’ve already had a lengthy discussion

because you have a list of important con-

with your DJ about the Electric Slide and

tacts all on one safe little piece of paper.

battled with your photographer over whether

Sure, all the numbers are saved in your

or not you want yourself Photoshopped in

phone, but when it’s ten minutes ‘til go-

the sky next to a close-up of your groom

time and the flowers haven’t floated their

(you don’t see what the problem is), but

way into the party yet, the last thing you

new things keep bubbling up in your

want to do is scroll through 500 contacts

mind. Suddenly, Journey’s “Faithfully”

(you’re insanely popular) to find the name

sounds more romantic than corny. And

of the florist, which you just forgot due to

you realized your best friend from California

the frenzy. Also, a list is easy to hand to

will be there, and you two have a tradition

someone else to deal with…hint, hint.

of taking pictures in strange locations.

2. Favors and Décor You know the 250 burlap-and-vintagelace-wrapped Mason jars with hand-dipped candles that you begged your sister to

Make a list for the DJ and photographer with your little updates so that your day is wonderful. 5. Get Ready to Pack Your Bags

help you handcraft? Let’s just say that if

Picture yourself under a palm tree in

you forget them, she’s going to have

Cabo or bundled up on a whale-watching

strong feelings. And as your sister, she’ll

expedition in Alaska. Whatever adventure

probably be making a speech in front of

you’ll be embarking upon, make a list of

everyone you know tonight. It’s in your

every single item you need to pack. It

best interest to make a list of all the favors

seems like a lot of work, but it’ll save your

and décor you need to bring. When you’re

tush if you’re leaving shortly after the wed-

packing up, you want to be sure nothing

ding. It’s also quite a bit of fun to get lost

gets left behind.

daydreaming about your honeymoon. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Music and Memories BRITTANY AND ROE HUBBARD “Roe would often come down from his office to have dinner and a drink at my family’s restaurant, Pazzo’s at 311,” explains bride Brittany. She enjoyed watching him entertain the other guests by singing and playing his guitar, telling jokes, and occasionally pulling off a great magic trick. “He loved how I was the ‘boss lady,’ and I loved how he was all country in the big city.” Eventually Roe moved from West Texas to Chicago permanently and the two began dating. Roe celebrated Brittany’s birthday by serenading her and proposing in front of all her loved ones. Brittany and Roe prepared for the day separately in beautiful suites at Trump International Hotel & Tower, then met for an exciting first look. The couple and their attendants enjoyed singing and dancing their way through the city to take pictures in some of their favorite places. The excitement ramped up as the couple entered Pazzo’s at 311, just before their ceremony. A dramatic aisle led to a stunning fountain, framed by a show-stopping arch. Brittany remembers feeling emotional as she walked down that aisle on her father’s arm. “The ceremony was perfect in every way.” The newlyweds enjoyed the vibrant view from their sweetheart table, situated in front of the beautiful “Gem of the Lake” fountain. Guests enjoyed a wonderful meal under a glass ceiling, through which they could see the starry sky. “Our family is rich in diversity,” explains Brittany. “We had traditional Arabic music, authentic singers, and exceptional belly dancers cascading down the aisles.” Roe WRITTEN BY KELSEY O’SHAUGHNESSY PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIMOTHY WHALEY & ASSOCIATES

was also welcomed on stage to sing some of his favorite country songs with the orchestra. “We had the time of our lives.”

Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY & RECEPTION: Pazzo’s at 311

OFFICIANT: Rev. Dave Angle

PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY: Timothy Whaley & Associates WEDDING CONSULTANT: Pazzo’s at 311


HAIR: Andrea Buttner | Tinamarie Possidoni BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: David’s Bridal

STATIONERY: Ashley’s Custom Stationery

MAKEUP: Adla Askar | Wendy Hammad

FORMALWEAR: Men’s Wearhouse •

SWEETS: Cake Sweet Food Chicago

FLORAL: Northern Greenhouses Floral & Event Designs ENTERTAINMENT: TVK Orchestra

CATERING: Pazzo’s at 311

TRANSPORTATION: M&M Limousine Services, Inc.





STATIONERY DBY invitations, CHINA Tabula Tua, SWEETS Bombon Cake Gallery,




Uptown STATIONERY DBY invitations, CHINA Crosell & Co., SWEETS Emily Wheeler Custom Cakes,


DynamicFusion STATIONERY Maxe Designs,

CHINA Elements, SWEETS Vanille,


Impressions STATIONERY Scrap-n-dipity, Available through Frank Event Design CHINA Three 50 West, SWEETS Swedish Bakery,


Art-Deco STATIONERY Maxe Designs, CHINA Char Crews, Inc., SWEETS Elysia Root Cakes,



STATIONERY EIGHT21 Studios Designs by Carol Woldhuis, CHINA Char Crews, Inc., SWEETS Elysia Root Cakes,







Basics DETAILS CARD Include your accommodation information, wedding website, and additional guest information. Split into multiple cards, if needed.

ENVELOPE Use an outer and inner envelope to identify the invited guests. Weigh your assembled suite at the post office before adding the proper postage.

ENVELOPE LINER Adds color and finesse to the inside of the envelope.

INVITATION Indicates the who, what, when, and where of your big day.


POCKET FOLDER Keeps all items together and tidy. Another option is a belly band.

REPLY CARD Gives guests a way to RSVP to your event. Also can be used to gather dinner selections and number of guests attending from each household.

REPLY ENVELOPE Include postage for guests and host’s address for ease of return.




There is a difference between the little

font? They’re thinking vintage-chic. These

fill-in-the-blank invitations you used for

subtle clues give guests just enough

your birthday party as a kid and the

detail to make some assumptions about

sophisticated – sometimes complicated –

how to prepare for your big day but leave

stationery sets that are appropriate for a

them guessing when it comes to the

modern wedding. But the truth is without

bigger picture.

an invitation, there is no wedding. So it’s pretty imperative to get this right.

Enter phase two of the stationery suite: the invitation. By the time the invitation

Let’s break down this all-important piece

comes, guests are dying for more infor-

of the matrimonial puzzle to ensure

mation about what kind of fabulous day

you’re on the right track with your station-

you’re planning. “Your invitations are your

ery suite.

chance to really grab your guests’ attention,” explains Jessi Cabanin, owner and

What’s the Big Deal?

lead designer of Just Invite Me. “They

The moment your save-the-dates arrive in

emphasize the theme, the formality, and

the mail, your guests are already forming

really set the tone of your wedding day.”



The design, font, content, and overall feel

heads. A sophisticated, flourishing script?

of the invitation give guests all they need

They’re thinking formal. A classic, antique

to know about the wedding. It has the





who, when, where, and what the heck do I wear. “It shouldn’t be the last thing you think about,” says Kasey Larson, president of DBY invitations. “And the day after your wedding, it is one of the only tangible items of proof that the event happened. Until you get your photos back, all you have left is the well-loved wedding dress and your copy of the invitation. It’s always the first thing guests see and the last element from the big day you have in hand.”

Is Custom King? Why go custom? “It’s the experience,” says Molly Axe, owner, artist, and designer of Maxe Designs. “Some couples have ideas but don’t know what they want. Working with a stationer who specializes in custom design provides guidance.” “We understand budgets are a top concern,” says Cabanin. “Working with a 314



smaller business will allow you to have more personal contact with the actual stationer.” That means more customization when it comes to what’s included in your package as well as the design. “The cost difference is not really significant, but with a custom order, you will always get exactly what you want,” explains Larson. “A professional will also give you lots of guidance on etiquette and wording, and will help you every step along the way.”

Budget Breakdown Which leads us to our next concern – the budget. Budget is a huge priority for most couples. How much should you spend? How much do various printing options cost? Is it worth going custom? Because of the importance of the stationery, Larson recommends spending “an appropriate amount proportionate to your entire wedding.” Meaning, if you’re operating on a sky-is-the-limit budget for the event, opting for cheap invitations is not a great idea. “The style and quality does have an impact on how your family dresses, which can be important, especially in a venue where there are rules, such as a country club” she says. A DIY invitation does not prepare guests for the formality of a black-tie affair. To all the tight budgeters out there, don’t worry. There are some truly creative ways to make a gorgeous stationery suite without breaking the bank. Consider what’s most important to you about the stationery and spend your money there. If you love gold foil or embossed text, go for it! But consider only using that special option for your invitation rather than the CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM







Use to denote favors in a coordinating style.

GUEST DOOR HANGER Add to your welcome bag to identify your guests’ suite as part of the event.

MENU Entice guests with the evening’s dining selections. It’s a helpful detail for guests with dietary restrictions.

SOCIAL DETAILS Include signage with custom wedding hashtags.

STICKER Personalized way to seal the envelope or folder.


THANK YOU Place in each welcome bag, thanking your guests for attending.




whole set. A stationer can help you create

A Numbers Game

by taking the total guest count, dividing

additional elements that still coordinate

One huge way to ensure you stay within

by two (one invite per couple) and then

without spending the extra cash to have

budget is to make sure you order the right

add ten more invitations to that total.”

every item handpainted or letterpressed.

amount of stationery. Many couples think

The set will look gorgeous and complete,

if you’re inviting 150 guests, you need

and the invitation will really stand out.

150 invitations. Wrong. The fact is, most

Plus, your pocket book will love it.

of those invitations are going to families,

Say you’re all about opulence. Go to town on the invitation, but opt for a simple, white envelope. It cuts costs and really



Leave a charming memento for guests to fill out for the couple as a keepsake.

couples, and singles with a plus one, so it’s the number of households that will be most important.

It’s true, you definitely don’t want to forget to order a few extra invitations. “Always add at least five or ten extras in case of post office loss and to save as souvenirs,” says Larson. You never know when someone might pop up. Oh, you didn’t invite your mom’s best friend’s childhood nanny?

surprises your guests when they crack

Ordering an invitation for each guest can

that baby open. And when designing,

be a costly mistake, so calculate carefully

make sure to mind the extras. Every

using Larson’s strategy. “The most accurate

Today, it’s rare to find a couple who has a

pocket, flap, and ribbon will add to the

way is to create a master guest list and

complete list of contact information and

overall total. Don’t forget to account for

count the number of addresses you need

addresses for their entire family and friends.

postage in your budget, and remember

to mail to – don’t forget to include your-

While there are certainly some adorable

that irregularly shaped envelopes, like

selves,” she explains. “If that is too daunt-

options for those cute, pocket-size address

squares, can cost more to mail.

ing, you can estimate your number needed

books, they’re just not very common these


Good thing you’ve got a spare invitation.


days. To ensure you’re ready to go when it’s time to send the save-the-dates, make sure to start gathering information early. Your parents and grandparents can be great resources when collecting names and addresses. And don’t be afraid to give someone a call to ensure you’ve got the proper address. If there’s someone who you just can’t seem to find information about, get creative. Maybe a quick Facebook message to get their phone number would be a good option.

Taming the Timeline So you’ve got an idea of what you want, and you’re ready to get started. But when is the right time to talk with a stationer? “On average, clients book me for their one-of-a-kind designs anywhere from four to twelve months in advance,” says Axe. This allows for a custom design to be crafted in time to use it for a gorgeous save-the-date. “Typically, we mail save-the-dates about eight to twelve months before your wedding,” says Cabanin. “Invitations are mailed about eight weeks prior to the wedding to ensure you have enough time to gather your responses and give them to your caterer and venue.” That doesn’t mean you’re doomed if you missed the boat on this timeline, but note that a rush order will likely cost more. The best option is to sit down with your stationer early and come up with a timeline that works for your event. There are always unique situations that could alter your personal schedule. For instance, Cabanin warns couples to “keep in mind that higher-end printing methods are extremely custom and labor heavy, so they are, in general, more time consuming.” CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



PLANNING NOTES “If we have bilingual wedding invitations,

thank guests for giving a gift, it’s also a

extra time is always requested for transla-

way to acknowledge that you did indeed

tion and for capturing the culture we are

receive said gift. It’s easy for a gift card to

inviting,” adds Axe.

slip out of the pile or for Grandma’s check to disappear. Sending a thank you allows

Invitation etiquette can be complicated. That’s why we asked our experts to give us their advice for Do’s and Don’ts.

Thank You Very Much

those guests to relax knowing their gift


While the invitation is likely the most

made it to you safe and sound.

• Do mail invitations about ten weeks

important part of your wedding stationery, the thank you card comes in as a close second. A loving, hand-written, personalized note should be sent to each person or household that received an invitation. There are a couple reasons these little

The timeline on thank-you’s is often

before the wedding. If you have a des-

debated. Some experts say all notes

tination wedding, you might send them

should be signed, sealed, and delivered

earlier so guests can make reservations.

by six months. Others say you have up to

• Do choose a stationer who’s a match

a year. Most experts do agree that they

for you and your fiancé. Pick a designer

should go out as soon as possible.

that fits with your style, tell them your

bits of gratitude are so important. First Stationery suites may contain a lot of and foremost, it’s crucial to thank guests pieces, but they don’t have to be com for attending the wedding. Without all


tations that your guests will rave about. • Do pick a theme or color you want to

with is the key to crafting a custom look

coordinate with your event. Your save-

you love from save-the-dates to thank

the-date, invitation suite, and day-of

you notes.

items should all have one cohesive look.

you would have such crazy, fun memories. Also, beyond being an obvious way to

vision, and they will create fan tastic invi-

plicated. Finding a stationer you mesh your friends and family, there’s no way


Invitation Do’s and Don’ts

and reception locations as possible.

• Don’t use mailing labels – including

date cards are a great idea to ensure

Include maps, lodging, and dining infor-

clear labels. Remember the invitation

your guests reserve the date and make

mation, as well as phone numbers of

will be the first impression of your wedding

travel arrangements. .

someone they can contact if needed.

for your guests and you want it to be

• Do show gratitude to your guests

personal. Handwrite your envelopes or

• Do use proper titles for all guests, such as Ms., Mrs., Dr., or Mr.

and your wedding vendors. Sending

hire a calligrapher..

• Do plan your guest address list in

out thank you notes is a big one. It’s

• Don’t be messy. Stack all elements on

advance. Otherwise you’ll be franticly

important to send a handwritten message.

top of each other according to size – smallest pieces in the front, largest pieces

gathering address info at the last minute. • Do supply the postage. Place stamps on the RSVP cards or envelopes. Do not leave this task to the recipient. • Do order enough invitations the first time. Many couples have to place multiple

DON’T • Don’t forget to be gracious. Don’t

in the back. Then slide everything into the envelope with the text facing upwards.

send save-the-dates to guests unless

• Don’t use abbreviations. When address-

you are sure you will invite them to your

ing, spell out the word ‘Road’ rather than


‘Rd.’ Also spell out the word ‘street’ and the state. Abbreviations are a no-no.

orders because they miscounted when

• Don’t give multiple RSVP options,

they placed their order. It’s very costly to

like email, online RSVP, and mailing

• Don’t email your thank you notes.

have to place another order.

cards. All the options are confusing and

Your guests deserve a handwritten note

can be a lot of extra work for couples

of appreciation, not an email. It can

trying to finalize their head count.

seem insincere.

• Do provide directions. Give your guests as much information about the ceremony


• Do send save-the-dates. Save-the-



The Wedding of All Seasons

KRISTY LAMONTAGNA AND MICHAEL FERLIS Michael and Kristy met while working together at Sunda, a popular local restaurant. “We started as friends, then quickly realized we hated to be apart,” remembers Kristy. Their chemistry was undeniable, and the two fell in love with each other’s humor and a common devotion to family and friends. Michael planned an intimate proposal to Kristy with hundreds of candles and ten dozen roses in their beautiful home. After a fairy tale moment – and a resounding “yes” from the bride-to-be – the pair enjoyed a lovely dinner at their favorite restaurant, followed by a large celebration with friends and family. Like the proposal, Michael and Kristy’s wedding day was right out of a storybook. The unpredictable Chicago weather produced a blizzard in the morning, sun in the afternoon, and rain and heavy winds in the evening. Though their big day was dubbed “the wedding of all seasons,” it didn’t stop Kristy and Michael from having the best day of their lives. Luckily, the sun came out just long enough for guests to toss rose petals as the couple exited the church after being pronounced Mr. and Mrs. Ferlis. The swanky cocktail hour was filled with guests’ laughter. “The piano was playing as waiters passed lamb lollipops and chicken and waffles while guests enjoyed classic cocktails,” explains Kristy. The formal reception featured large candelabras, white roses, orchids, and hydrangeas. The atmosphere was timelessly elegant. Sweet speeches began the entertainment, and guests packed the dance floor all evening. “Every detail fell into place,” says Kristy. “Every moment was a blessing.” WRITTEN BY KELSEY O’SHAUGHNESSY PHOTOGRAPHY BY ARTISAN EVENTS, INC.

Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY: St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church RECEPTION: The Montgomery Club

WEDDING CONSULTANT: The Simply Elegant Group HAIR & MAKEUP: Tamara Makeup + Hair Artistry FORMALWEAR: Formally Modern Tuxedo STATIONERY: Minted

OFFICIANT: Rev. Walter Smedley IV

PHOTOGRAPHY: Artisan Events, Inc.

BRIDE’S GOWN: Macy’s Bridal Salon



FLORAL: Anthony Gowder Designs

CATERING: The Montgomery Club

SWEETS: The Montgomery Club

TRANSPORTATION: Signature Transportation Group

World Culinary




Aleppo pepperdusted hanger steak with red radish kimchi and avocado crème

Latin Spice J&L Catering

Snapper ceviche with poblano, orange, and caper salsa and citrus pickled onions in a taro root taco shell. Served with a Yellow Daisy cocktail featuring sage liquor

Chipotle grilled shrimp with hibiscus-glazed pineapple on sugarcane skewers

Slow-simmered, spicy beef pho shooter with mini meatballs, rice noodles, candied jalapenos, and bean sprouts, finished with micro opal basil

Poke tuna in synched lettuce cups

Petite kimchi corn dogs in five-spice batter with sweet pickled shallots and spicy mustard dipping sauce, served with smoking chilled Sake

Buffalo crab Rangoon tacos with ranch mousse and blue cheese crumbles, topped with celery and carrot curls in a wonton shell

Asian Inspired Inspired Catering & Events

Spicy shrimp egg roll push pops topped with crispy wonton curls and a sweet and sour mousse

Braciole bites featuring flank steak stuffed with prosciutto, spinach, and parmesan

Panzanella salad served in mini parmesan cups

Skewered mini meatballs stuffed with fresh mozzarella in a house-made marinara

SautĂŠed chicken wrapped in prosciutto and topped with broccoli rabe pesto

Prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella atop zucchini puree

Italian ElegantĂŠ ElegantĂŠ Cuisine, Inc.

Mini prime burger with fried pickles

Grilled vegetable rollatini with zucchini, oven-dried tomatoes, pesto, and mozzarella

Lime chili-rubbed skirt steak kabobs with chimichurri dip

American Grill Weber Grill Catering

Hickory-smoked pulled pork pretzel bowl with coleslaw and crispy onions, paired with a Limoncello Sangria

Indian Jewels Jewell Events Catering

Pista kulfi featuring pistachio and cardamom mousse-filled dehydrated pineapple cups garnished with tropical fruits

Top Left: Curried zucchini dosa filled with cumin-scented paneer and marinated cherry tomatoes, topped with a coconut chutney Top Right: Mango and kaffir limes with chocolate pistachio crunch, mango gelĂŠe, and ghost chili Bottom Right: Poached apricots, plums, and cranberries in hibiscus with vanilla chai quenelle Bottom Left: Delicate dahi puri pastries of butternut squash and fresh English peas with tamarind chutney

Crispy chicken tikka with a refreshing cucumber and red onion salad

Spiced tandoori lamb with a chickpea fritter and mango chutney

The Perfect Pairing

If you want your guests to hit the dance floor, you’ll need to make sure they’re well nourished and full of energy. Use our suggestions for the perfect food and drink pairings or get creative and craft your own. Incorporate them into your cocktail hour, dinner, and dessert to create an unforgettable experience for your loved ones. If you’re offering passed hors d’oeuvres, have the wait staff stock half of a tray with food and the other half with mini-size drinks. A buffet lets you place pairings together for your guests to grab on their own. For dinner, include a suggested drink pairing on each guest’s meal card so they can easily order as they eat. And for a magnificent finish to the evening, set shot glasses of corresponding drinks next to each item at the dessert table.




Cocktail Hour Food: Bacon-wrapped dates Drink: Kentucky mule Bacon-wrapped dates have been at the top of the “trendy food” list for years with no evidence of losing steam. They take our constant craving for bacon and infuse it with something sweet and sticky. What’s not to love? The tangy ginger beer in the Kentucky mule adds a little effervescence to what could otherwise be a heavy bite, while the bourbon complements the sweetness of the date and enhances the smoke of the bacon.

Food: Grass-fed sliders Drink: A local IPA Grass-fed sliders are a sustainable crowd pleaser. Dress them up with a teriyaki dipping sauce or jalapeño slices. Burgers can be a little heavy as an appetizer, so pairing these little guys with an IPA is a must. The complex bitterness cuts through the taste of meat to cleanse your palate for the next app. To class up your party and give your out-of-town guests a taste of your city, choose a local craft beer.

Food: Brie and chilled grilled peaches Drink: Manhattan Stack a wedge of Brie on a slice of chilled grilled peach for the perfect combination of smooth and tangy. With a high-class feel, this pairing gets its flavor power from the oakiness of the Manhattan’s rye, which complements the char on the grilled peaches and enhances the rich texture of the Brie. A cherry wraps up the flavor for a sweet finish, or have your bartender rim the glass with a fresh slice of peach for a subtle taste tie-in. 330



Food: Mini grilled cheese sandwiches Drink: Bloody Mary A grown-up twist on a childhood favorite, this pairing hits the spot to get your guests through the cocktail hour to dinner. Class up the grilled cheese with Gruyere or aged cheddar on focaccia bread. Add bacon or garlic for an extra punch of savory flavor. The mini Bloody Mary is a solid alcoholic stand-in for tomato soup, giving this pairing an adult update that lets your guests sip or dip as they desire, creating a tiny mobile meal.

Dinner Food: Chicken and waffles Drink: Vanilla porter Bring a little brunch to your dinner with this pairing. Chicken and waffles entangle sweet and savory into one sexy mess. This filling meal is the perfect kind of trendy – indulgent, rich, and satisfying in every way. Pair it with a beer that does the same thing. A vanilla porter offers a malty backbone for a delectable mouthfeel while hints of chocolate and vanilla bean balance any bitterness with sweet tones. Hints of coffee linger to create a cozy breakfast vibe.

Food: Wild-caught Alaskan salmon Drink: Limoncello martini Bring fresh to the table with sustainable, wild-caught Alaskan salmon. This delicious meal teeters on the edge of rich and light, indulging every savory craving your guests have. Dress this delicacy lightly with dill, lemon, and garlic for a solid crowd-pleaser. A limoncello martini adds the perfect tart kick to this meal with a touch of sweet to round out the palate. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



Garnish each glass with a sprig of dill to

them. Leave these tender medallions

Food: Vegetarian Mexican flatbread

create a gorgeously fresh herbal look.

sauceless, naked in all their glory and pair

Drink: Jalapeño margarita

Food: Filet mignon medallions

them with a Pinot noir. With its low amount

Drink: Pinot noir

of fat, the filet mignon doesn’t have enough

Filet mignon is a classic that no carnivorous

power to soften tannins, making Pinot noir

guest can turn down. With a rich, buttery

an excellent pairing due to its lower tannin

flavor, filet mignon makes your guests

and slight fruitiness. The resulting mouthfeel

and cheese for a mouth-watering combi-

slow down and appreciate the meal before

is satisfying and not overly dry.

nation. Keep the spice subtle so you can

Treat your guests to a kick of flavor and spice with a vegetarian Mexican flatbread. Fajita-style peppers, onions, and portobello mix with beans, guacamole,

kick it up a notch with the jalapeño margarita. This classic margarita has a hot twist that lends more sensuality to an already luscious meal.

Dessert Food: Crepe cake Drink: Riesling Move over cupcakes, crepe cakes are in town. Instead of a wedding cake, many couples are doing crepe cakes. These French-inspired beauties let you choose your filling between each layer of crepe, letting you play with limitless combinations that include fresh fruit, chocolate, whipped cream, and sweet cheese. With its perfect balance of sweetness and acidity, Riesling is a reliable pairing due to its versatility, allowing it to pair well with whatever you choose for the crepes.

Food: Lemon-glazed beignets Drink: Kir Royale Soft, sweet, and fluffy, beignets deliver everything you could want in a dessert while transporting you to a Parisian café. Top these delicious treats with a tart lemon glaze and a smattering of powdered sugar for a twist on a favorite. Pair with a luxe Kir Royale cocktail. The dry effervescence of the champagne will temper the sugar, while the fruity crème de cassis complements the lemon. 332


creamy feel and flavor. Your guests may

reminds you of a warm hug. For a perfect

Drink: Chocolate espresso martini

even choose to pour the drink over their

pairing, offer a Rumchata mocha shot

ice cream for a luxe affogato treat.

made from two parts Rumchata and one

Your guests know exactly how much syrup


Food: Sundae bar

part room temperature coffee. Delicious

and sprinkles they take on their sundae,

Food: Chocolate chip cookies

so let them build their own with an ice

Drink: Rumchata mocha shot

cream bar. Start with two or three flavors,

Comfort foods are enjoying a comeback,

supply all the best candies, drizzles, and

making this adult cookies-and-milk pairing

BONUS ROUND: Show your guests

even cereals, and let your guests choose

perfect for the end of the night. Order

you’re a pro by making chocolate chip

their own adventure. Serve with a chocolate

your chocolate chip cookies from a local

cookie shot glasses and filling them with

espresso martini to enhance the smooth,

bakery for that homemade taste that

the Rumchata mocha shot.

to drink, this shot is even better to dip cookies in.





sipping solutions

Ask the caterer or reception hall manager to serve the drinks in specialty glasses,

it was used to celebrate the marriages of the monarchs. So, you're basically royalty.

The Golden Rule

like tulip or fluted glasses for champagne,

Do not let your guests drink and drive.

large-bowled glasses for red wine, curved

It is smart to plan some alternative trans-

top ones for white wine.

portation for such a circumstance. Have a back up plan, like renting a hotel shuttle

Bubbly, Beer, Bourbon, and Other Drinking Matters.


Go for a Splashy Presentation

Tiny Bubbles Champagne is a festive beverage, per-

or van. You could also display the phone number for a local taxi company.

fect for hors d’oeuvres, toasts, and wedding

Be a Responsible Host

At more and more of today’s weddings,

cakes. Technically, the real thing is pro-

the bar is limited to beer, wine and one

duced in the region of France called

Always have ample alternative bev -

specialty drink, like a martini or a signature

Champagne. Imported French champagne

erages, including soft drinks and bottled



is considered the finest. According to the

water available, for those choosing not

opting for an array of micro-brewed beers

experts, everything else should be called

to partake in the spirits. These guests

or an ice luge. Here’s some helpful infor-

sparkling wine. Until medieval times, the

may be designated drivers. Thank them

mation about stocking your bar and keeping

French monks tended the vines and pre-

by ensuring they have lots of choices

your guests happy.

pared the drink for mass. Over the years,

as well.





Wine 101 Skip the wine class. We’ve got a crash course to help match the right wine with your menu.

RuLe #1

bodied red wine such as a pinot noir. It


goes with everything.

(based on a guest list of 100)

cOnSIDeR THe WeATHeR Guests will often prefer a lighter wine

4-5 cases


4-5 cases


1-2 cases


6 liters

in the warmer weather and a richer one in


2 liters

the cold.


2 liters


3 liters


1-2 liters

You don’t have to serve red wine with meat and white wine with fish.


SIPPInG TIPS Choose a full-bodied red or white wine


3 liters

for cuisine that is spicy, richly sauced, or


2 liters

You do need to decide whether you

hearty. This is also a good choice for


2 bottles

want a full or light-bodied wine – red or

salmon or tuna that has been prepared


2 bottles

white – by considering the ingredients of

with heavy cream sauces. Choose a light-


1 case

your meal. If you are offering a choice

bodied red or white with meals that are


1 case

of fish, meat, and poultry, choose a light-

delicate, such as broiled fish.


2 cases

RuLe #2



Stocking the Bar



Sweet Ideas Top Trends for Delectable Desserts


One of the more fun tasks couples have when planning a wedding is choosing the dessert. Who doesn’t like cake? OK, maybe not everyone has a sweet tooth or is a big fan of cake, but nowadays you aren’t stuck with just choosing a cake as a wedding dessert. Traditional wedding cakes will never go out of style, but think about how many personal touches your wedding will have. You have chosen the music you like, the colors you like, the decorations you like. Why not choose a special dessert that you like with its own personal touch?

SWEETS Oak Mill Bakery, CUSTOM BAR Northern Decor, RENTALS The Festive Frog, FLORAL Mayfield Flowers, LOCATION The Boarding House,




As soon as a couple has chosen a venue, caterer, and has an estimated guest count, it is recommended that they place their dessert order. This is especially important for bakeries who only take a few wedding cakes per week. Here’s a little taste of some scrumptious wedding dessert ideas.

Bare It All with a Naked Cake Lately, naked cakes are a front runner for top wedding dessert trends. What’s cool about this style is that you can display the intricate details that are happening on the inside of the cake on the outside! The great thing is you don’t have to forgo the fancy details that may come with a traditional cake (like edible flowers, decorations, or even real flowers). You can just add those to the layers! “I sometimes struggle internally when finishing a naked cake because to me it looks ‘unfinished,’” says Kelly Lynch, owner and pastry chef of Scafuri Bakery. “But when the cake is set up with fresh flowers or berries, it always looks beautiful and rustic.” Bright pops of color can add a contrast to a darker layered cake, or bright fruit can add a colorful detail to a lighter creation when mixed into the layers between the cake. These cakes fit right in with the ever popular rustic wedding theme, which might be the reason why this trend has picked up so much, especially in Chicago where many venues are open-air warehouses with rustic style. This type of cake fits in perfectly with that vibe.

Put a (Doughnut) Ring On It Incorporating doughnuts into wedding 338



desserts is huge right now. Whether it be

shop. Have your baker construct a dough-

‘cakes’ – large yeast doughnuts stacked

a stacked doughnut cake or just offering

nut tower with all different flavors so your

like a cake,” says Lynch. This super trendy

doughnuts as one option at a sweets

guests can pick and choose which kind

dessert has been seen on sweets tables

table, couples are going crazy for that

they want. The different flavors and colors

all over Chicago.

doughy goodness.

will also provide a stunning visual, which

One pro of serving doughnuts is that you don’t have to choose just one flavor. There’s never only one option at a doughnut



is ultimately what most couples are looking to create anyway. “We’ve also been doing layered doughnut

One of the bakery’s most unique desserts ever concocted for a wedding was an groom’s cake. “It was nine tiers of king cake for the couple’s Mardi Gras themed

side. Black wedding cakes are starting to

color or different shades of gray, they can

from Louisiana and he said it was just as

gain more and more popularity. Before

make a very dynamic, bold, and unex-

good as the king cakes back home.

you totally pooh-pooh this non-traditional

pected statement.

idea, there are some interesting ways that These yummy treats are also perfect for cake makers have designed these inkythe reception’s late night snack. hued creations.


wedding,” Lynch recalls. “The groom was

Couples can choose black with stripes, black edible flowers with another statement color, floral arrangements, or even polka

Black is the New White

Black cakes have a very modern feel to

dots (Kate Spade theme anyone?). The

Sometimes it’s more fun to go to the dark

them, and when combined with a bright

possibilities are endless.




“Black cakes are stunning and unique, but go with black fondant instead of frosting so you can avoid eating it,” Lynch cautions. “No one wants black-tinted teeth in pictures!” No, most brides would not envision a black cake on their wedding day, but that’s the fun part! It’s a definite wow factor.

It’s Like an Open Bar – For Food For couples who just can’t live without options, sweets tables with an accompanying single or two-tiered wedding cake is extremely popular. A sweets table, or tables, is a perfect fit for couples who want a plethora of delicious options. Since you aren’t just displaying one dessert item, you can have fun with decorating the space to fit your theme. Some couples choose to pair a sweets table with a small tiered cake to keep with tradition and then have a display of individual desserts or sweets for guests to enjoy. Individual desserts like cake pops, macarons, mini personal cakes, and even Oreo towers are also a good option for a sweets table along with traditional sweets like brownies, cookies, cupcakes, and tarts. Non-cake tiered displays like croquembouche are also gaining traction. And for those pie lovers, individual mini pies, hand pies, or pie squares are also in demand, but take caution – slices of pie are harder to serve and may not always look nice on the plate. Bittersweet Pastry Shop, a quaint European-style pastry shop and café, recommends having a sweets table plus a cake for a wedding. “It’s very social and fun to have bite-size options,” Nancy Fetsch, director of sales 342


having a cost-effective way to feed a

it’s all about. Sure, couples will scour

tinues the grazing way of eating and pro-

large group of people. When paired with a

magazines and the Internet for what’s

motes socializing.”

small tiered cake and additional sheet

trendy, but what it comes down to is

Other trends the bakery is seeing include

cakes, it’s definitely the best bang for

what’s right for both of you.

gluten-free options, candied apples, mac-

your buck.

arons, decorated butter cookie favors in more traditional or fun designs, cake pop place holders, skyline images, and salted

“There is no one trend that fits everybody,”

Items like cookies are small and normally

says Amy Beck, owner of Amy Beck

sold by weight, so you will end up paying

Cake Design. “Your wedding is a combi-

less per person.

nation of both your styles. Pick a

caramel treats.


for Bittersweet Pastry Shop says. “It con-

cake designer that you feel comfor-

The sweets table option along with a side

A Personal Touch

table with and can see your vision of the

cake is Fetsch’s recommendation for

Making a dessert personal is really what

perfect cake.”




Known for custom designed wedding and specialty cakes, Beck sees a lot of clients who want more stylized desserts to complement their wedding cakes – personal touches like using the lace from a bride’s gown as inspiration or a sugar figurine of a couple’s dog or cat peeking out from the cake. “Last summer we made a 3-D carved groom’s cake, in realistic resemblance to the couple’s French bulldog,” Beck recalls. If a couple’s sweet tooth differs in flavor favorites, get them both!

Gluten-free Options That Take the Cake For those who can’t indulge in the sugary goodness of traditional desserts, there are some gluten-free alternatives that couples choose to have at their weddings. Bittersweet Pastry Shop is known for its gluten-free delectables, it’s one of their most requested types of dessert. “Our individual mousse cakes are perfect for the gluten-free guest but delicious for everyone,” Fetsch explains. If you know of some guests who are gluten intolerant, or if you yourself are, speak with your cake designer to see what options they have to offer.

All that Glitters is Gold – and Gold is Everywhere. Gold, silver, and bronze, oh my! Brides are raving about this modern trend of varying shades of gold, silver, and



PHOTOGRAPHY: Salvatore Cincotta Photography CAKE: theWit

accents or full gold tiers,” says Lynch of Scafuri Bakery. Think it won’t work with your colors? Don’t worry. Metal-inspired options can complement any shade. When perusing for color choices, try turquoise and gold or white and silver. Metallics offer just the right blend of a masculine touch, which will make the groom happy, and a sleek, sparkly look for the bride.

bronze on wedding cakes. These cakes

Whether you decide to go the traditional

are shiny yet elegant with glimmering

route or non-traditional route, any scrump-

touches that will make your dessert sparkle.

tious dessert you choose will be a nice

“We love metallic accents on cakes, and

way to wrap up the evening on your

we are doing a ton of cakes with gold

special day.

Raising the Bar

marshmallows, and soft, melty chocolate – the perfect dessert combination. Work with

cookie Bar

your venue or caterer to set up a marsh-

A cookie bar is the perfect place to delve

mallow “toasting” station. Whether using a

into those childhood favorites. Create a

bonfire or a sterno surrounded by decorative

spread of down-home favorites and gour-

rocks, guests will truly enjoy warming up

met delicacies. Work with your baker to

and crafting this fabulous treat. Be sure to

recreate Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies

have an attendant at this bar, just in case.

and serve them atop little milk shooters!

If the sprinkler system went off, it would

Don’t forget to decorate with cookie jars

really ruin your hair.

of all shapes and sizes!

bars. Often a couple will choose to get a

(Root) Beer Bar

Popcorn Bar

small cake to cut for photos, but opt for a

A twist on a classic bar, serve up your

Who says dessert has to be sweet? Give

larger spread for guests to enjoy throughout

favorite alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks

your guests a salty treat for a truly unique

the evening. This new phenomenon com-

with a scoop of amazing, decadent vanilla

twist on the last course. Start by picking

bines the best of both worlds! Read on to

ice cream. With so many drink options,

three or four popcorn flavors, like butter,

find out how you can create your own per-

create a small menu of ideas for guests to

cheddar, or kettle corn. Give guests

fect dessert bar.

try. For those who don’t love the creaminess

custom bags or boxes in your wedding

Ice cream Bar

of the ice cream, go for a wonderful sor-

colors and allow them to create their own

bet-and-champagne concoction.

amazing mixes!

The modern couple has turned their back on the standard wedding cake to find new ways to make dessert more interesting and interactive for guests. The latest trends encourage guests to let out their inner child by diving into tasty dessert

This melty-but-magical dessert bar has



been gaining popularity for a few years. Grab two or three ice cream flavors and give guests the opportunity to create their own perfect sundae. Offer toppings like chopped fruit, chocolate syrup, candy, and cereal in cute containers. We hear that ice cream sandwich bars are also hitting the scene! No one will walk away from that dessert bar unsatisfied!

candy Bar This dessert bar is definitely the most colorful. Incorporate different textures and types of candy to make sure every guest finds something they like. When picking your chocolate, we suggest something with a candy coating to help keep it from melting. Be sure to include items that are gluten-free, sugar-free, and nut-free for guests with special dietary needs.

S’mores Bar Crunchy graham crackers, gooey toasted CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM




While out visiting a client, Sergio looked down at his phone to send a text. The next thing he knew, a pair of beautiful black pumps walked right into his life. “I looked up and could not help but be completely taken by Andrea’s beauty,” remembers Sergio. “I never knew what people meant by love at first sight until that moment.” He introduced himself to Andrea and the rest, as they say, is history. On their wedding day, the couple chose not to see each other until the ceremony, and the anticipation was palpable before the big moment. Andrea peeked from the bridal suite down to the gorgeous tented area hoping to catch a glimpse of her groom. Sergio says, “Little did she know, I was doing the same.” Finally, that big moment came. As Andrea walked down the aisle, a tear came to Sergio’s eye. “When I saw Sergio standing at the altar, I knew I had made the right choice,” says Andrea. “It was the best day ever.” After the ceremony, the wedding party enjoyed a fun-filled photo session before entering the reception. The transparent tent was decorated with beautiful hanging lights, gold chairs, and rustically chic décor. “We had guests coming from all different parts of the world – Germany, Columbia, Mexico, and many parts of the U.S.,” explains Andrea. “Sharing this day with family and friends we hadn’t seen in years was so amazing, I can’t even put it into words.” The couple melded their Columbian and Mexican traditions together to create a unique and unforgettable experience for everyone.



Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY & RECEPTION: Ewing Cultural Center PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY: Brett Paul Photography WEDDING CONSULTANT: Palace Events

FORMALWEAR: Formally Modern Tuxedo


STATIONERY: Wedding Paper Divas

BRIDE’S GOWN: Eva’s Bridal of Orland Park | Veiled by ChaCha HAIR: Frank Gironda Salon & Day Spa CATERING: Biaggi’s

MAKEUP: GioMari Salon

SWEETS: Sweet Temptations Cupcakes

ENTERTAINMENT: Keith Christopher Entertainment Group

Things Your Florist

Wants You to Consider It’s easy to be distracted by all of the events and people surrounding the big day, but one behind-the-scenes vendor plays a major part in ensuring your wedding looks spectacular – your florist. A great florist is an invaluable resource for couples looking to make their event stand out from the rest. From the initial meeting about coordinating colors and floral families to the placement of decorations, establishing a solid relationship with your florist is vital. It’s easy to fall into the Pinterest trap. All those lovely pictures can trick you into believing a gorgeous ten-thousand dollar spread was really a DIY project, or that some beautifully neon colors actually exist in nature. “Flowers are a natural medium, so colors and sizes will vary,” says Ramsey Prince, floral designer at Ashland Addison Floral & Event Décor. “Please don't rely on Pinterest as the ‘Bible.’ Those images could be edited or filtered, and may not be reflective of the natural state of ‘nature.’” It’s easy and fun to find inspiration online or – gasp! – by actually going out into nature. Look around and find some ideas of what you like. Pick your favorite color options, textures you enjoy, and any unique shapes you find interesting. Bring all this inspiration with you to your floral consultation. It can be really helpful in describing




your desired look. But definitely keep an open mind. There are so many important factors that go into selecting the right flowers for your wedding day that just picking pretty flowers may not cut it. Denise Adan, marketing and sales manager, and wedding coordinator of Jazzy Flowers shared that the most critical things to consider before meeting with your florist are cost, seasonality, and location. Flowers that are local and in season will generally be less expensive than rare, exotic blooms. That’s a fairly widely accepted fact. But after that, pricing can get pretty difficult to estimate. Adan recommends discussing your budget and the cost of your desired flowers with your florist right away. “Guessing the cost of wedding flowers is a lot more difficult than following what sources tell you,” says Adan. “Another flower truth is that no floral product can ever be 100 percent guaranteed. Flowers are a natural product and things like weather, a late season start, or even viruses can affect production,” says Adan. “The California drought had a big impact on certain common flowers, driving their cost up and availability down.” While this can sound scary, florists are actually very used to adapting to what’s available and replacing what’s not. Trust your vendor to find comparable substitutes should there be an issue with the flowers you requested. A great florist will ensure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck with high quality, fresh products and a flawless design – even if it’s a touch different from your original inspiration. “Trusting your floral designer to take your vision and ramp it up a bit can actually bring your true vision to life,” says Prince.




Location also plays a major factor in cost.

wedding venue about nearby floral com-

you the time to discuss your floral goals to

Adan says, “The further away the location,

panies they’ve worked with and trust.

see if they are realistic to your budget.

the more cost there will be in labor.” If you

The smartest way to go about hiring the

If you aren’t sure what you’re looking for

book a Wisconsin florist for a Chicago

right florist for your wedding is to take the

before you have your floral consultation,

wedding, there will definitely be an added

time to meet with them in person. It’s the

do take the time to research. Pinterest

cost. Working with hyper local sources

best way for both parties to understand

isn’t evil, you just need to manage your

can get you the freshest flowers at a

one another’s expectations for the big

expectations. Find some lovely images

fraction of the cost. Try asking your

day. Also, only a consultation will allow

that inspire you, and use them as a jumping-off point to start the conversation with your florist. But it’s important to remember that not everything you love online will be right for your big day. When you meet with your florist, definitely bring your inspiration, and be open to discussing other options that may be more cost effective, local, or seasonal. If you don’t love the ideas your florist is throwing out there, don’t be afraid to be honest. As in any good relationship, communication is key. Be flexible and open to hearing your florist’s design ideas, then work together to create something that’s totally unique and perfect for you. “Flowers and décor help to create an ambiance or certain kind of mood to fit each couple's personality and style,” says Casey Cassandra Scherrer, owner and creative director of VEIL Event Design. It’s also important to communicate with your floral vendor about the logistics of the day. While floral transportation may not be on the top of your to-do list, if you want to use flowers from your ceremony site again at your reception venue, you need a plan in place to get those pieces from point A to point B. And you definitely don’t want to be doing that in a ballgown and heels. Chat with your florist about options and costs for transporting flowers to the appropriate location, and be sure to factor that into your budget.




We know this is all a lot to discuss in one short, little consultation. But by far the most important thing you need to learn from that meeting is whether or not you jive with that vendor. You have to find a florist you trust who makes you as passionate about planning your floral designs as they are. “It's important that our clients leave the consultation feeling excited about their wedding flowers and comfortable making the investment,” says Scherrer.



Fresh Blooms Breaking Floral Tradition

You’re shaking up the wedding scene with a modern dress, funky venue, and witty vows, but if there is one tradition you absolutely cannot do without, it’s incorporating flowers into the big day. The sweet smell, vivid hues, and artistic arrangements upgrade your wedding to a classy affair, so you simply can’t do without them. You can, however, let your florist get a little wild and take a unique approach to raise your event to a new level of style and treat your guests to a breathtaking surprise.

To Have and to Hold Your bouquet is going to be in every single photo you take on your big day. Do you really want it to look like the boutonniere you awkwardly pinned on your prom date? Probably not, but if you said yes, just go grab some carnations from the grocery store. Eye roll. Honey, you need to personalize that bunch of buds. Choose the flowers that resonate most with you. We’re not saying you should spend a whole day in the woods meditating on your spirit flower, but a few minutes in a garden couldn’t hurt. Many couples focus only on the color scheme and choose flowers that match, but there’s more to a bloom than its hue. Of course, you’ll need to take color into account, but be more selective. Think about shape, texture, fullness, and even scent. Don’t forget, this bouquet will be hanging out just a foot south of your nose all day. If you don’t like the smell, you’re going to be gagging throughout the ceremony. WRITTEN BY KATIE O’SHAUGHNESSY • PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECCA MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY & DESIGN 356


Remember, there’s more to a bouquet

loved one who has passed or a special

florist about how to put them together.

than just flowers. “We have also covered

locket or brooch that has an emotional

“Texture is a keyword that many brides

the stems of the bridal bouquet with fabric

connection to the bride.” These sentimental

use to describe the look of their bouquet,”

or lace from the bride’s mom’s dress,”

touches can bring extra meaning to your

says Charlene Martin, director of marketing

says Martin. This touch adds to the texture,

bouquet, turning a bunch of flowers into

and sales at Yanni Design Studio. Your

provides “something old” and keeps your

the most important physical item at the

florist will know how to create that rich,

mother close to your heart as you get

wedding aside from the ring.

lush texture by pairing your chosen flower

married. “Many of our brides love inserting

If flowers are still too traditional for you,

with others that enhance their beauty, add

a special keepsake that is tucked in at the

add some crystal details or ditch them

contrast and tie them into the rest of your

back of a bouquet,” she says. “We have

altogether. “Small succulents and unique

wedding décor.

seen pretty charms with a photo of a

greenery are very popular this year,”



Once you pick your blooms, talk to your



says Martin. This will give your wedding a

holding and keeping track of a whole bou-

getting married at a Coachella side stage.

more earthy, natural vibe with understated

quet when you’re constantly on the move.

Bring a hint of the beach to your wedding


Instead, wear them on your body so your

with a single large tropical flower in your

hands are free to fend off Aunt Marcelline’s

hair, or weave a few smaller ones into a

Moving Blooms

hot pink kisses.

braid. Decorate a birdcage veil with some

The one thing that’s certain is you’re going

It’s not all daisy chains and flower crowns

to be pretty darn busy on your wedding

– there are plenty of ways to wear your

day. Maybe you’re not looking forward to

florals that won’t make it look like you’re

pretty blooms, or have your florist create a garland shawl from greenery and baby’s breath that drapes over your elbows and around your back.

Almost the Center of Attention The happy couple is the real center of attention, but what your guests will notice the most as they slurp their soup and dig into their filet mignon is the centerpiece at their table. “We always suggest choosing several styles of centerpieces,” says Martin. “If you’re having a wedding with 30 guest tables, we would suggest three different styles of centerpieces, but there would be a common element between the three styles.” This overarching theme is what keeps the room tied together without feeling too matchy matchy. At larger tables, Martin recommends a taller, more dramatic piece to draw the eye upward. “Another popular complementing centerpiece is a candle light collection,” says Martin. In a variety of metal and wood finishes, a set of candlesticks cast a warm, romantic glow on the flowers for a stunning effect. When it comes to centerpieces, don’t just think outside the box, think atop the box. “Our brides love to display their centerpieces or candlelight collections on a box,” says Martin. “The lighting is very effective to accent the high floral piece.” These acrylic, crystal, and moss boxes let you choose any look from modern to luxe to earthy, literally setting the stage for your décor. 358


color palette and give the design texture

exterior views, they really improve the feel

Get daring and reach out to a florist who’s

and movement. My favorite combination

of the space,” says Mesias. She’s meticulous

not afraid to break the mold. “Every pro-

for a centerpiece is a sphere made of

in the design of her floral walls, and this

posal is different. Incorporating the vision,

cherries, fig branches, garden roses, cat-

process usually takes much longer than the

style and needs of my client is a must,”

tleya, and lady’s slipper orchids.”

actual construction. This option makes an

says Jeanine Mesias, founder and CEO of

Add an extravagant pop of luxury with a


Break from Tradition

impact on others as well. “If our clients are interested, their arrangements are donated,

JMB Haute Floral Design .

floral wall. “You could use them to highlight

Mesias uses berries, figs, and pear

an entrance or a card table, behind the

branches combined with florals to produce

bride and groom’s table, or to hide an

an unexpected effect. “I usually include

architectural detail you don’t like. Especially

A green wall can set a more subtle and

non-traditional elements that match our

in venues that don’t have enough height or

unique tone for the wedding. “Our green

repurposed, and delivered to retirement homes and hospice care centers.”




walls are made of real foliage combined with preserved roses,” says Mesias. These walls are crafted from a wood structure, foam, foliage, and florals. “The uses are the same as natural floral walls, but you will have a truly sustainable option.”

Like Taxidermy but Prettier Think the day after the wedding is all about relaxation? Think again. Make sure you get your flowers to a preservationist one to three days after the wedding. Calling in advance will ensure they have time to process your flowers, and when it comes to blooms, time is of the essence. “It is very important that the bouquet is kept hydrated until it is brought to us, so please keep it in a vase with a little water,” says Trisha Zehnder, co-owner of Austin Preservations, LLC. With shadow boxes in all shapes and sizes, you can create a gorgeous customized arrangement that keeps your wedding day fresh. “This year we have had a lot of brides go for our bigger shadow boxes so that they could add more items from their big day,” says Zehnder. “We always encourage them to include whatever has special meaning to them.” Once you bring in your flowers and other special items, a designer will sit down with you and show you layout options. “One time a couple created a timeline from their first date, highlighting all major events leading up to and ending with their wedding. Also, many couples are bringing cool cake toppers lately to really add their personal touch.”

Take it with You Always Austin Preservations also offers their Treasured Blooms beads. “Each bead is handcrafted using flowers brought to us by our clients,” says Zehnder. After freeze360



drying the flowers for better color retention, the artists crush the petals and incorporate them into a special clay. The beads are then shaped and turned into wearable jewelry with a sterling silver clasp. This option lets you carry a piece of your wedding with you wherever you go. You can relive one of the happiest days of your life every time someone asks you about your bracelet, and one day, you’ll be able to pass it down to your children. Thank your mother and bridesmaids for supporting you by having a piece of jewelry made for them as well. Even a non-traditional wedding can benefit from the beauty of flowers. Get creative, find a florist who’s on your wavelength, and infuse your arrangements with your own personal brand of style.




Table Matters



After the last piece of wedding cake is devoured and the final song of the evening fades away, what do all couples have to remember their wedding day (other than, you know, being married)? The photographs, of course! You want to make sure your pics are as memorable as the wedding itself, and the perfect way to do this is by using your rental resources to plan a flawlessly styled photo shoot.


RENTALS The Festive Frog, FLORAL Mayfield Flowers, LOCATION The Boarding House,




One of the main reasons couples love taking advantage of rentals is the ability to choose all of the amazing little details. The right rental company can help you set the perfect scene, from tablescapes and tents to furniture and glassware, creating the perfect atmosphere for those photographs you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Kendell DeBoom, co-founder of The Festive Frog, knows a thing or two about selecting unique items. “We offer a wide variety of things not typically found at mainstream rental companies,” says DeBoom, who helps hand select every unique, vintage, and stylish item for the collection The Festive Frog offers their clients. “We were avid vintage collectors and couldn't help but notice all of the gorgeous, beautifully crafted items sitting



– almost anything goes. We urge our

story on their tables,” says DeBoom. “This

quented. Because of their timeless designs,

clients to choose items, colors, and pat-

can happen just by the type of rentals

we felt that these items were still very

terns they love. Personal style and interests

they choose. For instance, a beloved

much on-trend. After all, good style never

come into play here. That's the fun part!”

grandma who had passed away was

Be sure to consider what story you want

remembered fondly when our bride elected

Jarrett Northern, president of Northern

your wedding photographs to tell because

to rent a wide variety of teacups and

Décor Event Design, offers his clients

your rentals are the key to making that

saucers to be used at each place setting.

handcrafted furniture that can be tailored

happen. “We always urge clients to tell a

Grandma was known for her tea service

goes out of style!”


unused in the antique malls that we fre-

to a couple’s specifications, including items like specialty bars, high-boy tables, centerpieces, and chuppahs. “I recently designed and created a pair of leather end tables. The smooth lines and upscale leather give VIP lounge groupings a posh feel. Another new addition to our collection is a silver pillar centerpiece, adding custom flair to any event. According to Northern, the key to celebrating your own unique style is to come prepared to your meeting with the rental company. “Bring pictures of your home, office, or even clothing that you love. This helps your designer get a better feel for you and your unique style. Then we can give you options customized to your taste.” Remember to use these elements as inspiration, not as carbon copies of your desired result. “Make sure it is your own personality that shines through, and allow professionals to guide you through that process,” recommends Northern. “Find your inspiration in pictures, but use them as a tool, not the end result. An experienced event designer can guide you to the products that will leave the impression you are longing for.” According to DeBoom, this means knowing what you love. “In terms of rentals, there are really no hard rules of etiquette anymore CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



and 'always brought out the good stuff' when people came calling.” Once you have your amazing décor and furniture selected, it all has to go somewhere, right? Be sure to think about the entire space you want to create, not just the tables and what goes on them. This is where tent rentals come in. “A lot of brides tend to choose our tented solutions because we can offer the most options for tent styles, flooring options, and tent accessories,” says David Cesar, president of Blue Peak Tents. “For example, our sailcloth tents have been very popular lately for rustic-elegant wedding themes. The tent’s dark-stained side poles and center poles give added ambience compared to the normal large, metal center poles and side poles.” You don’t want to forget flooring and lighting either, which can be essential to creating the vibe you’re looking for. “Flooring and lighting definitely change the atmosphere of the tent, and all pieces of the event need to work cohesively in order to create the best atmosphere,” recommends Cesar. “What makes a big difference in the overall atmosphere of the tent is what floor covering option is chosen. We can install turf, carpet, or vinyl coverings that look like hardwood, pavers, or rocks for example.” Overall, the key is to get a great sense of what you love as a couple: what your dream aesthetics are, if you have family heirlooms you want to incorporate, and above all, how you want to feel on the big day. Between your own sense of style and the fabulous rental items you choose, you can’t go wrong.




On vacation to Washington Island in Door County, Wisconsin, where Emily had vacationed as a child, Robert proposed. They had “spent the day biking around the island” and enjoyed a picnic on a cliff overlooking the water. Robert asked Emily to marry him just after the sun had set. The ceremony was held at St. John Neumann in St. Charles. “I’m glad we made the decision to have our ceremony in a church. I knew this was an important part of marriage to Robert and his family,” says Emily. “Robert is Catholic and although I was baptized, I was not raised with religion in my life. Our priest was very open and welcomed me.” Guests wandered through Hotel Baker’s beautiful rose garden with cocktails, then retired to the historic Rainbow Room for dinner. A lovely blend of burgundy and deep purple dahlias were accented by pink and ivory roses. The rich floral designs and gold candelabras created the perfect ambiance. To ensure the day was beautiful, loving, and fun, the couple set the tone through music and dance. “Having such a historic venue made us want to bring the vibe back a few years,” explains Emily. “We chose to do this with the music we played.” Emily and Robert made their debut on the dance floor with their first dance to a choreographed Fox Trot, and golden oldies kept the dance floor packed through the evening. The newlyweds were thrilled that their “plans came together to create this beautiful experience for our family and friends!”


Kelly Vanderploeg Photography

Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY: St. John Neumann Catholic Church RECEPTION: Hotel Baker

PHOTOGRAPHY: Michael Novo Photography

HAIR: Haylie Pop

MAKEUP: Nicole Parejko

FORMALWEAR: Trunk Club | Men’s Wearhouse SWEETS: Oak Mill Bakery

OFFICIANT: Fr. David Peck


BRIDE’S GOWN: Tickled Pink Bridal Boutique •


BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: House of Brides STATIONERY: Invitations by Design •

CATERING: Hotel Baker

FLORAL: Town & Country Gardens

ENTERTAINMENT: Music by Design

TRANSPORTATION: Spare Wheels Transportation

Hello, Gorgeous!




Fresh Flowers

Luminous Skin

“Whether wearing a floral crown

Bold Lips and Beachy Waves

“For an instant sun-kissed, dewy

or a subtle sprig, fresh flowers

“Whether it’s a classic red, peony

glow, try using illuminators and

add an unbeatable elegance to

pink, pastel lavender, or beautiful

bronzers to enhance your makeup

your bridal coif. They can look

burgundy, bold lips are a

routine. Apply bronzer anywhere

great incorporated into an updo,

must-have. Use a lip stain for long-

the sun would naturally hit.

half updo, or a down and loose

lasting color, and pair with natural

To heighten your glow, finish

style. Fresh flowers are also more

eye makeup. Beachy, loose waves

with a highlighter blended

affordable than some of the

are the perfect complement to

over the cheekbones, nose,

more blingy hair accessories.”

this style. They’re perfect for a

cupid’s bow of the mouth, and

casual bride with long locks.”

arches of the brows.”

Brandi Paap Helfrich, master makeup artist and managing director of BRIDAL BRIGADE

Jill Glaser, owner and founder of MAKE UP FIRST SCHOOL OF MAKEUP ARTISTRY



Top Beauty Trends and Tips for Your Wedding Day Look WRITTEN BY KELSEY O’SHAUGHNESSY





Lash Love

“Non-touring is all about beautiful,

“Long, luscious lashes create a

The Double-Dutch Braid

sexy, gorgeous skin. It softly

glamorous look. Individual or strip

“The Double-Dutch Braid is a

defines the face with subtle

temporary lashes are a must-have

no-fuss, low-maintenance hairstyle

shades and highlighters that make

for any bride. Adhesives keep your

that provides just the right amount

the skin look irresistible.

lashes firm and fierce for up

of glam. Flattering to any bride or

Non-touring also allows room to

to four days, taking you through

bridesmaid, it’s the perfect style

really play up the eyes or lips.”

your whole wedding weekend.

for a beach wedding or informal

Lash extensions offer a great look

venue. This look has been

that lasts through your

frequenting the red carpet, and


Kim Kardashian rocks it daily.”

Christy Swain, teammate at STYLE BY BRAVURA

Leah Gurgone, general manager of ZAZÚ SALON

Kristen Kaven, makeup artist and esthetician at MONTAGE SALON AND SPA



No one wants a blemish or dried-out hair

your last one at least two weeks before

TIP: Try your method of choice a couple

on their wedding day. You need that gor-

the wedding.

months before the wedding to see if you

geous nearlywed glow! Follow these simple steps to a radiant complexion, fabulous hair, and a dazzling look for your big day.

Your Face Face the Facts

TIP: The simplest way to improve your

like the shape and effect. Also, we recommend getting your last service done about

skin is to drink tons of water. You’ll be sura week before your wedding, just in case. prised how much of a difference getting your eight, eight-ounce glasses of water

Pearly White Perfection

per day will make.

Everyone wants gorgeous, white teeth in pictures. Start with regular cleanings

We know it’s tough to find the time, but if

Bold Brows

you really want to clear up any skin blem-

If the eyes are the windows to the soul,

ishes in time for your big day, it’s best to

the eyebrows are your curtains. Make

consult a dermatologist at least six months

sure they are neat and tidy before your

for you. Toothpastes and mouthwashes

before your wedding. They’ll be able to

wedding events. Waxing is great for fine

branded specifically for whiten are a good

give you the best advice on what to do –

hair, because it gets all those tiny little

starting point. Whitening strips or gel can

and what not to do – to prep your skin. A

spots you can hardly see. It can be a bit

be harsh on sensitive teeth, but are usually

great esthetician will also be able to rec-

intense for sensitive skin, though. Threading

a little more effective. If you’re okay with a

ommend the ideal facial treatments for

is a great alternative, and tweezing is

splurge, ask your dentist if professional

you. We suggest getting a few facials

always a solid option – especially for last

whitening is for you.

before the day-of, but definitely schedule

minute touch ups.

at your dentist. A well-maintained mouth makes for a great smile. Ask your dentist about the best whitening methods

TIP: If you have your teeth professionally whitened, don’t start the process right before the wedding. Overly white teeth can look a bit fake and weird. We recommend having the process done a few months in advance, then supplementing with less intense whitening agents as necessary.

Your Hair Treat Your Hair Right Even if you’re growing your hair out, regular cuts are a must. Get rid of those ends before they give you a splitting headache. While you’re at the salon, talk with your stylist about your hair type and the look you’d like to have on your wedding day. They can give you tips on the best products to use to enhance your natural shine and make sure your locks look luscious when the big day rolls around. TIP: To avoid those pesky, wispy, tiny hairs, avoid daily washing and heated 372



styling products. If you’re too far gone, try

your stylist about the best colors for you.

Your Body

a deep conditioning treatment about a

Mention the color of the dress and whether

Your Beautiful Body

month before your big day.

or not you plan to tan before the big day.

The face is not the only place acne and

Careful with Color...

...Or Go Bold

Nothing makes your hair look shinier and

We absolutely love funky hair colors. If

lovelier than a fresh dose of color. Try a

you want to get a little crazy, go for it! Be

flamboyage look by combining ombre with

bold, friends! Be you! Pick a color you

balayage. The look is natural, but fresh

love and have a professional stylist get

and bright. It’s the best of both worlds.

you gorgeous. If you’re not sure you want

If you want something to lighten up a

to fully commit, consider a really subtle

winter look, add some snowlights. This

color like rose gold, pastel purple, or pale

new style features pale blond, shimmering

blue. You also might like a colored streak

strands of hair that gracefully pick up the

or more of a dip-dyed look.

other skin issues can pop up. To avoid pesky pimples, use a loofah or body scrub to exfoliate every day. If you have sensitive skin, start with every other day and find what’s most effective for your body. Exfoliation washes away any excess oils and dead skin that could clog pores,

light. Need some dimension? Opt for a color melting treatment. Multiple tones literally melt together to create the perfect, natural hue.

leaving your skin soft, smooth, and glowing for your big day. TIP: Because your loofah helps get rid of the dead skin cells on your body, it’s a

TIP: We recommend sticking with a color

prime location for bacteria to grow. Make

you’ve tried before. Experimenting right

sure you're replacing your loofah every

before your wedding could lead to a color

month or so.

you really aren’t thrilled about – and it will Slather On the Sunscreen

TIP: For any of these processes, talk with

be in every single one of your pictures. We are all about having a fun, sun-kissed glow. It’s refreshing, and everyone looks great with a hint of color in their cheeks. But this look comes with a huge caveat – please do not attempt to get a tan through unhealthy methods. No tan is worth longterm skin issues. TIP: The American Academy of Dermatology recommends selecting a sunscreen that has broad-spectrum protection (against UVA and UVB rays), an SPF of at least 30 or higher, and is water resistant ( Don’t forget to reapply. Bronzed Goddess If you still want the tan without the safety risks, check out lotions and makeup that contain bronzers. It gives a similar effect without the damage. However, it can take a couple tries to learn to apply these without some streaking. It also takes a couple applications to build the perfect color. Start testing your options a couple




months out to make sure you’re a pro by the time the wedding comes along. TIP: Definitely do not apply self-tanning lotion on the morning of your wedding. If it doesn’t have sufficient time to dry, you could be looking at some pretty nasty stains on your wedding gown. Stress Busters It’s old news that exercise decreases stress, but if you’ve never experienced wedding planning stress before, it’s definitely a new kind of beast. Taking a quick walk or run can really help to work it out. Plus, it helps counteract the seven cake tastings you’ve scheduled for the next month. TIP: An excellent activity to help with your pre-wedding prep is to take a dance class. Bonus – the salsa and the Argentine tango are wicked sexy. Nail Smart Get regular manicures and pedicures leading up to the wedding. To begin with, more people will ask to see your ring than you could ever imagine. And your nails need to look good if you’re going to post an awesome ring selfie on Instagram. Check out fun nail art trends, like warm nude tones and tiny, metallic accents. TIP: Pedicures lead to more than just pretty toes. Well-hydrated feet resist blisters better than dry, cracked feet. Also, you get to sit there and relax while someone gives you an hour-long foot rub. It’s kind of a win-win.

Your Soul You pluck and primp your body to perfection, but don’t forget about what’s inside. Make sure you take a few moments for CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



PLANNING NOTES - What to Include In Your Wedding Day Survival Kit yourself to really relax and enjoy your time

It doesn’t matter how much hairspray you

drugs, and antacids. Definitely include

being engaged. Plan date nights with your

spritz or how many puffs of powder you

a bottle of pain reliever pills in case

betrothed and vow to not talk about any-

add to your face – eventually you’re going

some of your crew are feeling the after

thing wedding-related at all. Give yourself

to want a wedding day touch up. You

effects of last night’s rehearsal dinner.

a break! Give yoga or meditation a try to

need to look flawless in all those wedding

• A bottle of clear nail polish – And

quiet and focus your mind. You’d be sur-

photos! Here’s a list of what to include in

maybe an extra bottle of whatever you

prised what a little bit of focus can do

your wedding day survival kit!

have on your fingers or toes. A nail file

when it comes time to make all the impor-

• A cute bag – You need a bag for every-

would be a great addition as well.

tant decisions. TIP: When planning a wedding, the best thing you can do for yourself is to just unplug for a while. Shut off Pinterest, silence your phone, and just take a

thing. Might as well be stylish about it! • A mini sewing kit – This tiny kit can save the day if you or your wedding party gets a snag. Get one that includes thread, needles, and tiny scissors. • Safety pins – They’re the Duct Tape of

break from your electronic lifelines. When you return to planning you’ll be a brand new person! To find the perfect stylist for your big day, visit

the fashion world. • Tissues – These are a must. Think of all those happy tears! • A mini first aid kit – Bandaids are always good to have on hand. • Your pillbox – Bring medications, allergy

• Blotting sheets and powder – Get rid of that shine! You want to glow. • Lipstick and lip liner – You’ll need to reapply after all that kissing. • Travel-size treasures – Pick up a mini set of everything you use during your regular morning routine. • Feminine products – If you don’t need them, great. If you do, you’ll be happy to have extras. • Hairspray – For a last minute mist. • Chargers – You know you want to be posting pics all day. If your phone dies, how will you Periscope to your friends who couldn’t make it to the wedding? • Stain remover pen – Because you know someone is definitely going to spill a drink at some point. • Super glue – Crack a nail? Super glue can fix that. A heel breaks? Super glue can fix that. The flower girl won’t stop running around the bridal suite? Super glue can fix that. Just kidding. Sort of. • Static-cling spray – Few things are less comfortable than having a bridesmaid dress stuck to every nook and cranny of your body. • Water – A hydrated bride is a conscious bride. • An extra copy of your vows – If you forget those, you better be good at improvisation. Like Second City good. Armed with your wedding day survival kit, you’re sure to tackle any obstacle standing between you and the aisle.




Get Fit the Fun Way Uplifting Exercise for an Empowered Bride

Look, I’m telling you right now that you’re

deep muscles in your abdomen you didn’t

And don’t worry – it is totally natural to

already rocking a fabulous body. You

know you had. And as you lay back at the

spontaneously start giggling as you nail the

could take that stroll down the aisle today

end of practice for savasana, or final

handstand you didn’t know you could do.

and everyone would catch their breath,

relaxation pose, you can easily imagine a

marveling at your beauty. But if you feel

piña colada waiting for you as you gently

like you want to get a few good workouts

sway in the hammock.

in before the big day, try something different. With your marriage, you’re embarking on a new adventure, so why not start early and break out of the gym and your comfort zone?

The poses feel great and they look even better. Put a little panache on each movement and suddenly you’re creating a gor-

Remember recess? Remember how good

geous dance. Have a friend film you so

and refreshed you felt after thirty minutes

you and your partner can look back on it

of hogging the swings? Play is as important

and see how sexy you are as you tap into

for adults as it is for kids, helping keep

a place of empowerment.

you sharp, active, and happy. Aerial yoga

What a crazy coincidence that something

Flying High

lets you enjoy the play in a way that

Hammocks are the new mats, and aerial

literally uplifts you.

yoga takes your asana to the skies. In this

There’s a feeling of true empowerment as

provides gentle traction that helps relieve

exhilarating workout, you perform modified

you flip over in a hammock or try a pose

neck and back pain. It’s also a total body

yoga asanas, or poses, on hammocks

that looks incredibly complicated but just

workout that strengthens everything, includ-

suspended from the ceiling. Sometimes

feels right. In each class, you’ll try new

ing your hands as you grip the hammock

the hammock helps you get deeper into a

poses you’ve never done, and you’ll feel

to stabilize yourself, your arms as you lift

stretch, and other times it makes you use

yourself stocking up on new experiences.

your bodyweight in and out of poses, and

that feels so freeing and fun is also phenomenal for your body! The hammock




your legs as you find a new sense of bal-

portray with your undulating movements the

the most common thing we hear from our

ance. All this is merely a distraction from

depths of your love for your betrothed.

brides is not only that they perhaps went

the intense workout your abs are getting, which you’ll painfully notice when you start to laugh the next day.

down a dress size for their final fitting, but If you’re looking for something that gets your heart pumping and targets your butt and legs, check into a hip hop class.

Fill Your Dance Card Dancing is a double whammy. Sure you’re getting your exercise, but you’re also learning some moves that will ensure cousin

that their arms looked fantastic in their dress,” says Rachel True, owner and teacher at Pure Barre Chicago, Old Town.

These modern classes infuse you with body confidence so you can loosen up,

The low-impact design of barre means you

find your rhythm and swing those hips.

get great results with minimal risk of injury. “The benefits of Pure Barre, aside from

Hit the Barre

weight loss, include a boost of confidence,

Not that kind of bar. Barre fitness takes

increased overall strength, more energy,

place at a studio with a ballet barre that

and an hour set aside just for you, which –

runs the perimeter. Each class targets

with planning a wedding – any bride needs

arms, thighs, seat and abs, using small,

that!” says Hanah Vissepo, owner and

isometric movements to work your muscles

teacher at Pure Barre, Lakeview.

to the point of fatigue. You look like a

“Pure Barre is so challenging that most of

Go sexy with flamenco or cha-cha, get ele-

badass ballerina as you tighten and tone,

our clients say they can't think about any-

gant with ballroom, or take a modern inter-

literally sweating your tush off while stretch-

thing else while they are taking a class,

pretive dance class so you can accurately

ing your muscles to prevent injury. “Probably

and that because of that there is almost a

Danny doesn’t look the fiercest on the dancefloor this year. How does he memorize and perfect a new routine before every family wedding? It doesn’t matter because you’re going to wipe the floor with the “Thriller” dance he performed last year.

meditative quality to it,” says True. Barre is also a great way to enjoy a friendly group class. “We have many clients who have met at the studio and now spend time together outside the studio,” says Vissepo. True says, “If you are planning a wedding be careful – Pure Barre's welcoming community might have you adding a couple more people to your invite list.” The only way you’ll find out whether or not barre makes you feel fabulous or fried is to try out a class. This cross between weight-training, ballet, and pilates will definitely turn you into a mean green marrying machine. And if you want to hit up a real bar afterwards, we won’t stop you.

Welcome “The Brawling Bride” to the Track You might be a true warrior princess and made it through this entire article thinking, 378



“Whatever. I want the tough stuff. Bring it on.” In that case, strap on a helmet, lace up your skates, and find a roller derby team. Not for the faint of heart, roller derby is a contact sport, full of swinging elbows, angry snarls, and the sweet smell of competitive lady sweat. Not only are you going to have quads you could grind coffee beans on, you’ll be shining with bold and sassy confidence you found on the track and a new nickname that strikes fear into the hearts of all who dare tell you the flowers will be late or the DJ lost your playlist. This alone will keep you standing straight and strong as you stride down the aisle. And stress? Kiss those hormones goodbye. You’ll be racing at the speed of light, knocking people down left and right. It’s scientifically-proven (note: I am not a scientist) to be 10,000 times more effective (not a real statistic) than a stress ball. There is one downside to roller derby. If a crooked nose isn’t part of your wedding ensemble, you might want to rethink tying up your skates. While you’re flying around the ring trying to bash up your opponents, they’re throwing punches your way, too. If you let down your guard, you might find yourself with a shiner, and black and blue doesn’t go well with white.

Have Fun Whatever you choose, make sure your exercise doesn’t cause more stress. Stress causes a host of icky health issues, so if you’re forcing yourself to run ten miles a day and you don’t enjoy it, ask yourself why you’re doing it. Find something that takes the focus off how your dress fits and just lets you feel free to have fun. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



Dimitra & Taso Bozonolos FURLA STUDIO

Jessica Hoyos & Vincent Su TIMOTHY WHALEY & ASSOCIATES



Newest Newlyweds



Anna & Bridget Volkman LISA WINN PHOTOGRAPHY




Taylor K. Atkinson & Amir Abbas

Lana & Mike Ohs



Amy & Derek Weber

Angela & Jeremy Giesholt



Audrey Dooley & Brian Solski

Madeline Brady & James Arogeti



See more Newest Newlyweds on pages 391 & 403 CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM




The Weathered Look

It's always freezing in Chicago. Even when it's "warmer" it's still considered "cold as heck" by most of the country. But if we Chicagoans waited until we had perfect weather to have our weddings, we'd all be getting married within the same two weeks of September. For those of you who were opting for a different wedding date, there’s good news. You can get the perfect wedding photos you’ve been dreaming of without the perfect weather. In fact, the messy weather may make your photos a lot better than you’d expect.




We spoke with a couple photographers who explained how you can embrace the rain, the wind, the snow, and everything else to create some amazing (and one-ofa-kind) wedding photos. “As much as we would like to control everything on the wedding day, that just simply isn’t possible,” says Samantha Jensen, wedding photographer at Alicia’s Photography. Since you and your photographer cannot control the weather, the best thing you can do is sit down together and come up with a bad weather backup plan. “This is something I do with all my clients,” Jensen says. It may seem silly, but having a backup plan prevents you and your photographer from scrambling at the last minute, trying to figure out where or what to shoot when the bad weather comes rolling in. Your wedding day will be busy enough. The last thing you want to worry about is finding a location for photos or trying to stay dry without an umbrella. Not only will a backup plan make your day easier, it will also make it easier for your photographer to be prepared as well. He or she will have a chance to brainstorm poses, locations, and props ahead of time so when the day comes, everything is in order. “My job is to keep the couple as calm as possible and to assure them that everything will be OK,” Jensen says. It’s much easier for everyone involved to stay calm, cool, and collected if the weather turns bad when you have a plan in place and can hit the ground running. When you're coming up with your bad weather plan, consider the location of




your wedding and brainstorm some near-

If you had your heart set on outdoor

"Bad weather can always help to make

by places that would be good for photos.

photos, there's no need to dismay. Less

a very dramatic photo," says Jason

If you’re having an outdoor wedding,

than perfect weather doesn’t mean that

W. Kaumeyer of jason w. kaumeyer

look for some locations that would offer

all of your photos will have to be taken

photography. Clouds make an amazing

coverage from the rain or snow. If you’re

indoors. With a little creativity you and


having an indoor wedding, think about

your photographer can capture some

actually be the best lighting to shoot in.

some shots you may like to get out in

great outdoor moments that will exceed

You can also get creative and head out

the elements.

your expectations.

onto the sidewalk or to a local park for





a fun dancing-in-the-rain shot to end the session. If you’d prefer to stay dry, Jensen recommends getting creative with the local attractions – especially if you’re in downtown Chicago, which is full of incredible backdrops. "A lot of the hotels have gorgeous lobbies,” she notes. "You can also utilize the architecture, which has more coverage than you would think, so you can still be shooting outdoors without getting wet." Another bonus of planning some photos ahead of time is that you can grab some fun props to bring with you. Pick up some printed rain boots for you and your bridesmaids or snuggle up to your fiancé under a brightly colored umbrella. When it comes to props, the options are really unlimited. Look through previous work your photographer has done to get some ideas, talk to them about their recommendations, or browse online for some unique inspiration. Maybe you saw a pose that you loved on Pinterest, or maybe you’re not crazy about getting your dress or hair wet. Tell your photographer these preferences! Don’t be afraid to let him or her know what you like and what you don’t like. “I love it when couples have shots in mind they want to capture,” Kaumeyer says. “I want the couple to love their images. 388



I know they hired me for a particular style and skill set, however, if they know they’re looking for a specific photo – we all win.” If you don’t have any specific shots in mind and would rather go with the flow, that’s okay, too. Part of your photographer’s job is to come up with photo ideas and figure out how to orchestrate the day. “Trust your photographer,” Jensen advises. “Allow it to be their issue to figure out and not yours. That's what we’re here for.” “Good weather or bad weather, inside or outside, the photographer’s job is always to make magic happen with what he or she is working with,” Kaumeyer notes. Both experts agree that while you definitely want to capture those posed moments with your wedding party, family, and friends, some of the best photos happen without planning. “You can’t put a price on candid shots,” Jensen says. She makes a point of capturing the special little moments that others don’t see along with the more traditional photos. To get the best candid shots, you’ll need to be comfortable with your photographer. Kaumeyer recommends brides and grooms use the same photographer for both their wedding and their engagement photos. “It really helps us all become familiar with each other,” he says. “The more open and candid we can be together, the better the photos will be.” Your wedding day photo shoot is a big part of your big day. Your photographer wants you to be happy with the photos that they’ve captured. But they also want you to have fun and think back on your day CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



with fond memories – even if the weather

Jensen echoes Kaumeyer’s statement.

down rain because the couple chose to

wasn’t exactly what you had in mind.

She encourages her couples to forget

trust me and wanted to remember their

about what the weather is doing and have

wedding day down to the last detail –

“There is no sense in letting the weather

fun with the wedding party. Just stay pos-

which just happened to include rain.”

affect your mood,” Kaumeyer says. “In the

itive and be in the moment. “Don’t allow

countless weddings I have shot, never

the weather to dictate how the day goes

No matter if you have rain, snow, or wind,

once has weather put a damper on any-

because that will come through in the

your wedding is going to be a perfect day.

thing. I would even say, the worst weather

images,” she advises. “The best type of

Make your wedding photos just as amazing.

I ever shot a wedding in was probably

bad weather photos are when the bride

Gather your wedding party, pick up some

the most fun wedding I’ve ever seen. The

and groom throw all caution aside and

cute rain boots and a couple of umbrellas,

couple and guests embraced it and had a

just let me shoot – rain or shine. We have

pop open a bottle of champagne, and go

wedding for the ages.”

gotten some gorgeous pictures in pouring

dancing in the rain.



Elisabeth Dalton & James Lodolce

Yamini Ramakrishnan & Mark Irvin



Jackie & Adam Pennington NATIVE WEDDINGS

Claudia & Gino Roberto FURLA STUDIO

Daniel Cramer & David Tan ALICIA'S PHOTOGRAPHY

Elizabeth & Suleyman Aslan BRETT PAUL PHOTOGRAPHY

See more Newest Newlyweds on page 403 391



The Top Spots for Memorable Wedding Photography Your wedding day photography choices are among some of the most important decisions you will make during the wedding planning process. As Timothy Whaley, owner of Timothy Whaley & Associates, explains, “When your wedding day is over, your photos will become your memories. Choose locations that are timeless.” Therefore, it’s important to spend time planning beforehand. “When looking for a photographer, make sure you pick one whose style appeals to you,” says Brett Paul, owner and lead photographer of Brett Paul Photography and Videography. “Some photographers focus on candid photos, some on very traditional styles, or some might take more artistic photos. It’s important you like the photographer’s style because that is how they will photograph your big day.”

See the Love – Feel the Love A great picture starts with you, the couple. “The wedding day can be full of distractions, and I find the best photographs are captured when couples are relaxed and have set aside time specifically for us to photograph the two of them,” says Paul. Make sure you have planned ample time to enjoy one another, play with the location, and get some really great shots. “Have fun with your photographer, and, most importantly, have fun with each other,” says Whaley. “As photographers, our main goal is to show your love for one another through each image captured. We want you to feel comfortable – not only with us, but in front of one another as well.” He recommends having an engagement session prior to the wedding in order to practice WRITTEN BY ARIANE SCHOLL • PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIMOTHY WHALEY & ASSOCIATES 392


getting comfortable in front of the camera.


Top Spots Once you’ve set aside some time for photographs and mastered the art of being in front of the camera, seek out the best views in the city and surrounding suburbs.

For the Nature Lover What better way to display your love for one another than with the timeless backdrop of natural prairieland and wildflowers? Here are a few great options for nature lovers: Cantigny Park – The former grand estate and grounds of Colonel Robert R. McCormick hosts 500 acres of beautiful greenery and flowers, as well as McCormick’s former mansion and antique cannons. If there is a military element to your wedding, the cannons could add a unique touch. Morton Arboretum – Morton Arboretum offers 1,700 acres of woodlands and native prairies. Some features that make for great photos are the ponds and the maze garden. Afton Forest Preserve – The Afton Preserve provides a beautiful backdrop of native prairie plants and wildflowers. “It’s a great place to capture a sunset photograph,” says Paul.

For that Urban Edge Maybe you’re looking for something with a little more grit and edge. Whaley suggests the following urban locations. Morgan Manufacturing – The high ceilings, bold wooden beams, and metal elements create an unforgettable photographic experience. They also have a roof top deck to capture some great skyline photographs from the Fulton Market District. Salvage One – Exposed brick, an abundance of antique chandeliers, and beautiful CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



artifacts make this West Town location perfect for a vintage-inspired wedding shoot. “I think these locations really encompass our city. The exposed brick, unfinished wood and metals are tough on the exterior, but provide a warm and inviting aura,” says Whaley.

For Your Artistic Side These fun, colorful, and unique locations will show off your inner artist. Boeing Galleries – Skip The Bean and check out the North and South Gallery that make up the Boeing Galleries, located on the mid-level terraces of Millennium Park. The art installations rotate throughout the year, making it a one-of-a-kind location. While you’re there check out the beautiful Lurie Garden and Nichols Bridgeway. Pilsen and Wicker Park Murals – If you’re looking for something different and colorful, Pilsen is host to many beautiful murals. Likewise, in Wicker Park, The Violet Hour is guaranteed to have a beautiful mural painted across its front door in order to disguise its entrance.

For a Touch of Romance These historic beauties will make your heart flutter. Union Station – The romance of lovers coming and going isn’t hard to imagine in this dimly lit architectural beauty. Dating back to 1925, its stately arches and marble staircases offer a multitude of photographic options. Café Brauer – Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 1908 beauty is located on the grounds of Lincoln Park Zoo. It echoes the elegance of the past with its beautiful, intricate architecture. 394


called it the Palmer House,” Whaley says.

Let the beauty of well-designed structure

Teeming with opulence, the Palmer House

add to the beauty of your day.

Hilton features beautiful art and chandeliers. It’s not hard to see why this is a favorite.

Ellwood House Museum – Once the

on Lake Michigan,” Whaley explains. “Night portraits are my favorite photos of the day,” says Paul. “They have a romantic look, and it’s at the end of the day, so

private home of the inventor of barbed

For the Explorer in You

couples are very relaxed as we work with

wire, Isaac L. Ellwood, this beautiful Victo-

There is nothing more romantic than a

the light and locations to create some

rian mansion has a grand porch and bal-

photograph of you under the stars.

magical moments.”

Museum Campus – Capture great views

Just remember that any location will be

Palmer House Hilton – “In 1870, Mr.

between the Adler Planetarium and Shedd

perfect as long as you are focused on the

Potter Palmer gave his bride-to-be the

Aquarium. “This area provides a great view

most important part of every photograph –

most grand wedding gift of all time. He

of the entire skyline with its lights reflected

capturing your love for one another.

cony perfect for bridal party photographs.


For Your Inner Architect



Going Organic Getting Real in Your Wedding Photos We live in a world where pictures speak a thousand words, and moments are captured in pixels and saved to iPhone albums. This new standard of photography is changing the way we take and preserve wedding images.

What Is This Style of Photography? With the rise of Instagram, Pinterest, and other image-based social platforms, the organic, candid photo has really spiked in its popularity. Rather than a simple smilinginto-the-camera image, couples are opting for more natural poses that really show the romance of their wedding day. Although it’s imperative to capture the wedding in its entirety (traditional shots included), it’s often the candid shots that are the most memorable. Cruise through your social media channels and you’ll find that the most viewed, liked, and shared images generally have one thing in common – they all feel natural and organic. Chris Ocken, owner of Ocken Photography, has adapted his photojournalistic technique to meet this new style of wedding photography. He believes the best method is to just roll with the punches while still shooting strategically. “If I create a series of beautiful images that reveal the couple’s personalites, I am happy. If I do my job well, the client is happy,” Ocken explains. WRITTEN BY KENDRA CARRUTHERS • PHOTOGRAPHY BY NATIVE WEDDINGS 396



How Do You Get the Look? Whether you're into a more posed, polished look or you're more of an in-the-moment kind of person, it's vital to form a good relationship with your photographer. After all, they are responsible for documenting your entire day from beginning to end. While candid photos can be beautiful, they also take someone with a keen eye for the beautiful hiding in the mundane moments. Taking the time to have an open and honest conversation with your photographer about your expectations helps get everyone on the same page from the start. Explain the type of photography you're interested in, and bring some images you love to illustrate the look. Express your goals and the type of memories you’d like to have after your wedding is over. When it comes to a candid, photojournalistic style, keep in mind that the more realistic and organic the photograph, the better. Yes, there’s always Photoshop and other editing tools for that zit that just wouldn’t quit, but a good photo truly starts by taking the time to capture a quality image. The best way to help your photographer out with that is actually to just act normal. We totally understand how normal can be a stretch at times, but just relax and let yourself have fun. Yes, it’s odd to have a camera in your face, but the worst thing you can do is to tense up. Petrified doe eyes do not a cute photograph make.

What Do You Capture? Here’s the thing: no matter how non-traditional you are, you still want a picture of you cutting the cake. Otherwise, why CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



would you have paid for both a photographer and a cake? A photojournalistic style isn’t about skipping those moments, it’s just about capturing them differently. For example, rather than holding the knife together and cheesin’ into the camera, pretend like the world doesn’t exist. Share a forkful without worrying where your photographer is, or whether or not you have blue frosting on your teeth. Laugh with each other and enjoy the moment. Trust your photographer to capture the moment – and the love – perfectly. One of Ocken’s favorite moments to capture happens at every wedding, but is never actually planned out by any couple. “I feel one of the most unique things to shoot – and the hardest – is that moment when the bride and groom realize they are a couple and are completely into themselves in the happiest moment of their lives,” he says. “It’s the moment they realize they did it – they are together forever.” And while you should totally embrace the whole newlywed glow, don’t forget that your wedding photos are about way more than just you and your new spouse. After your wedding, you get to take a fly-onthe-wall glimpse back to your big day through your photos. Asking for a photojournalistic style will ensure that you’re not just getting the big moments, you’re also getting a candid of the ring bearer picking his nose out of boredom, or the bride’s grandmother chatting it up with one of the groomsmen. Now that’s a conversation starter. Another great opportunity for a really raw, emotional, natural photo is the moment you are pronounced newlyweds. It’s pretty




impossible to stage the glee that you will


feel as you make your way down the aisle, grinning madly at your friends and family and clinging lovingly to your new spouse. It’s a perfect shot every time.

Which Images Will Be Best for an Album?

Here’s the thing: no matter how non-traditional you are, you still want a picture of you cutting the cake. Otherwise, why would you have paid for both a photographer and a cake? A photojournalistic style isn’t about skipping those moments, it’s just about capturing them differently.

“There are so many photos taken at a wedding these days, that looking for that one special image is a challenge,” says Ocken. “I’m always looking to take a photo when the light, the environment, and the emotional moment for the subjects of the photo all come together in one frame. That is stunning.” The wonderful thing about this organic style is that there will be some truly awful images that make you cringe and laugh and wonder what the heck was happening in that moment. And there will be some photos that are so perfect and amazing that you can hardly believe that stunning model is you. Both images – the slightly rough and the insanely gorgeous – will hold special memories of your wedding day. Our vote is to keep them all. But if you must edit down your hundreds of images to create an album, consider picking some of the funnier images along with all those beauties.There’s nothing better than laughing at yourself and remembering that silly side of your big day many years down the road. “Not every photo will be high art, and even fewer will become the iconic images that hang on the wall,” says Ocken. “But every photo taken that day is important. It’s up to the photographer to make the whole story wonderful.” All you have to do is relax and enjoy all the wonderful moments of your big day. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Coming Soon

to a Wedding Near You Once upon a time, only the happy couple, their family, and a few select friends would view their wedding video. It was a grainy, hard-to-hear mess and the shakiness took away most of the magic. Digital has changed all that. High-definition filming makes your wedding video a cinematic treat you’ll want to share with all of your guests, and they’ll actually want to watch it. Instead of looking like a blob wearing white, the high-def video turns you into a movie star on the most important day of your life. Sharing is easier than ever. You can post a high-quality video or a link to the video on your social media accounts or your wedding website with the click of a button. This way your guests can relive the party as they relax in their own homes.

Start Early Instead of a card or postcard people will end up losing, send a save-the-date video to your guests. Start reviewing clips and interviewing early to pick the videographer whose style really resonates with your vision for your wedding. You’ll want to use the same videographer for your save-the-date and the wedding to get a cohesive look between the two videos. You might even choose to incorporate pieces of the save-the-date video into the full-length wedding video. WRITTEN BY KATIE O’SHAUGHNESSY • PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON W. KAUMEYER PHOTOGRAPHY 400


Sending the video out on social media the

full-length wedding video by creating a

date to document your relationship up to

morning after the wedding hits your guests

short teaser reel that’s full of drama,

this point, tell the story of how you met, or

when the happy memories are still fresh,

sweeping views, and just enough material

address your audience directly to request

allowing them to sip their coffee while

to leave the viewers wanting more. An

their presence at the party of the century.

reminiscing about how much fun they

intense soundtrack heightens the experi-

The great thing about any of these options

had, how delicious the food was, and, of

ence, and they might shed a tear before

is that the replay makes a great introduction

course, how beautiful you were.

they even get to see the real thing.

at the reception before you make your big entrance as a newly married couple.

Instant Gratification

If you’re having a full-length video made, your videographer may still be able to issue a short trailer for you to share the next day.

Plenty of videographers offer a same-day


Have fun with the style. Use the save-the-

The Movie Theater Experience With all the high-tech equipment and editing software, your videographer can deliver a new level of awesomeness on

edit option. After the ceremony, they’ll find

In a World…

par with an epic Hollywood film. Talk to

a calm spot to hunker down and look

You know that feeling after you see a

them beforehand about the mood. Do you

through their footage, splicing together a

trailer that pulls at your heartstrings and

want romantic? Dramatic? Laid-back?

beautiful video you can show at the recep-

you must see the movie now? A trailer

They’ll put together a full-length film that

tion. They can also pull an all-nighter and

amps up the anticipation for the feature,

captures the atmosphere and incorporates

put together the reception footage so you

creating a sense of urgency and excite-

music and creative editing to make some-

can share your big day immediately.

ment. Your videographer can tease your

thing worthy of the big screen.




Keep it Chill

emphasize the excitement and the build-

the flower girl indiscriminately dumping

If a cinematic foray into your wedding

up, and they can follow up on the day

petals make your viewers laugh and remi-

seems a little too dramatic for you and

after to let your viewers in even on the

nisce about the amazing time they had.

your spouse-to-be, a documentary style

hangover and the blissed-out calm after

video is the perfect option for the low-

the storm.

maintenance couple. This style lets you

Let’s Get Real

logue catches so much more than the

get a little more in-depth and lets your

Make sure your video isn’t all about you.

wedding. Your videographer will travel with

viewer see behind the scenes a little bit.

The bulk of it should be, of course, but

you and catch you enjoying the local

It’s not so clean, not so edited and shows

when your guests watch the video, they’ll

scene before and after the wedding. Cap-

a less produced and more “real” version

be more engaged if they see themselves

turing the beauty of the landscape and

of your wedding.

cutting it up on the dance floor or taking

the local flavor, this type of video is

an enormous bite of cake. They want to

fantastic because it doubles as a com-

see themselves wrapping the happy couple

memoration of your honeymoon as well.

in a tight group hug.

Imagine capturing the first exotic sunset

magic happens. Let them into your life,

Talk to your videographer about catching

you two watched as a married couple.

show them your hobbies together, explain

those candid moments, not just the prac-

Every time you watch it, the video takes

how the love started and built to where it

ticed vows and staged cake cutting. Quick

you back to that magical moment.

is today. Your videographer can follow you

cuts of guests dancing, the time the

for a few days before the wedding to

groom tripped and almost went down, or

Work with your videographer ahead of time to show a little about your relationship prior to the wedding. This is where the

The Travelogue Perfect for destination events, the trave-

Laugh at Yourself What’s the best part of any movie? A blooper reel makes everything better. Talk to your videographer about saving some embarrassing,




moments from the big day. Roll them after the credits to lighten the drama of the film and infuse your video with a little more personality and life. No wedding in history has gone exactly according to plan. Just knowing those not-so-perfect moments are contributing to a blooper reel will remove a little bit of stress from the day.






Lary Valenzuela & Laura Mercer TIMOTHY WHALEY & ASSOCIATES

Alexa Ryan & Casey Ruhlander JASON W. KAUMEYER PHOTOGRAPHY


Kristina Harris & Scott Ruderman DURON STUDIO






On a Saturday afternoon during a trip to New York City, Jay proposed to Martha in front of a fountain in Midtown. Jay, a magician, and Martha, an actress, share a love of performance and followed the special moment by seeing Pippen on Broadway. It “capped off an exhilarating, magical day,” remembers Martha. The couple chose to host a traditional Jewish wedding inclusive of all rituals, such as the Bedeken, Chuppah, Blessings, Sheva Brachot, Breaking of the Glass, and Yichud. “Two days before the wedding, Jay and I each went to the Mikvah,” explains Martha. “It was very moving and cleansing and got me into the mindset of being a bride.” The couple’s vision for a ritually pure ceremony included a simple four-pole walking Chuppah, covered with a Tallit (a men's prayer shawl) adorned with silver stripes. The ballroom was also illuminated by an aisle of candles. Martha’s nephews and Jay’s sons took the great honor of walking the Chuppah. Jay’s youngest son, Joel, an active Marine, did so in his “dress blues.” Additionally, Jay wrote an in-depth program detailing all of the rituals for guests. The traditions continued through the reception, at Doubletree by Hilton Chicago North Shore. Chef Chris Gasso created a complete Kosher menu for the night. Guests danced the evening away, with a special hour-long hora set. Martha says, “I think what I loved most about the wedding was all the love in the room from family and friends.”



Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY & RECEPTION SITE: Doubletree by Hilton Chicago North Shore PHOTOGRAPHY: Duron Studio

OFFICIANT: R. Michael Siegel

BRIDE’S GOWN: David’s Bridal


HAIR: Blowtique | Sarah Collen FORMALWEAR: Various

MAKEUP: Sarah Collen

STATIONERY: Wedding Paper Divas

FLORAL: Color & Company | Jewel-Osco CATERING: Doubletree by Hilton Chicago North Shore SWEETS: Zelda's Sweet Shoppe


By Request

Music is all about taste. This can be tricky when it comes to the music playing at the reception because everyone will have their own likes and dislikes. This can go one of two ways for couples. You can choose to play whatever songs or genres you like, or you can pick songs that will resonate with every generation. Oldies often kick off the dancing since most people are more than happy to “Twist and Shout.” As the crowd dwindles and Grandma heads out, the hits of today are a great way to get the remaining party animals out on the floor. Introducing the “Electric Slide” too early can kill the dance party and maybe even make people feel like it’s time to go home, but playing music that no one has heard before can make people not dance at all. Remember, you can't please everyone!

To Request or Not to Request Nobody wants to see an empty dance floor. If the crowd isn’t feeling the music you have chosen, you do have the option of letting guests request songs. But there are definitely pros and cons to making that decision.




Some DJs prefer not to take requests or

and founder of Backthird Entertainment.

guests, but also let your DJ filter that

may not be able to accommodate them.

“It gives your DJ a much faster read on

through all his or her previous experience

On the other hand, a guest is sure to

what folks are into at your particular party.”

and the preferences you’ve already

dance to any song they request – and they usually drag their friends out with them.

Hughes says that the best DJs garner the

expressed in your conversations together.”

most insight by listening to guests at

You may also end up hearing songs you

“Letting guests make requests helps them

events and picking up what works and

dislike, which is a definite downside. If

feel involved, which can also get them

what doesn’t. “We think the best approach

you just don’t feel like whipping your hair

dancing faster,” says Benjie Hughes, CEO

is to let your DJ take requests from

back and forth or calling Carly Rae Jepsen, you might not want to allow guests to request songs. An easy way to counter this problem is to have a “no” list that the DJ can refer to during the night. They can then politely say no if a guest requests a song that happens to be on that list. “A good DJ will avoid a song they’re pretty sure will kill your dance floor, or they’ll save it for a time when it’s going to be cool instead of awkward,” says Hughes. “Guest requests should be a guideline, but they shouldn’t steer the party completely.” If you choose to have a band at your reception instead of a DJ, song requests may not be as easy. A band may not know how to play every song a guest wants to hear. “Many of our couples take a lot of time selecting the songs they want to hear and truly don’t want us to veer from their list,” says Becca Kaufman, president of BeatMix Music and bandleader of Becca Kaufman Orchestra (BKO). “I respect that and will simply say I have many requests from the guests of honor and will see what I can do. For most guests, that is all they need to hear.”

Music to Their Ears Couples should start thinking about booking a DJ at least a year in advance. This seems like a long time to pick entertainment, but DJs and bands book up fast. Of 408



course there are a lot of acts within the same types of genre or style, but “the one” may have already been found by someone else. This timeline gives couples the opportunity to do some serious music homework. “I send my couples our most recent song list about eight to 10 weeks before their wedding,” Kaufman says. “Marking off the song list is part of their ‘homework’ for our music meeting scheduled about six to eight weeks prior where we discuss their timeline, name pronunciations, and of course, music! I ask them to highlight the songs they love, cross off the songs they hate, and leave the rest alone.” Kaufman makes sure music choices span the gamut of generations, crossing decades and styles that will appeal to all of the couple’s guests. Planning at Backthird Entertainment happens in two ways. First, couples submit written ideas and requests. Then a personal discussion happens with their DJ about said ideas and requests. Hughes’ company starts with an online planning tool, accessible via the company’s website where couples can complete an agenda for the day, which includes special dance requests, names of people to introduce, who is giving toasts, and other reception details. This is also where couples are encouraged to submit a list of “must have,” “play if possible” and “do not play” songs. A month before the wedding, couples collaborate directly with their DJs. “You’ll meet with your DJ and review his or her agenda for the reception,” Hughes says. “The DJ will ask questions or make suggestions, and you might adjust things CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



plan out a certain amount of music but also good to allow flexibility so we can read the crowd and put together a seamless DJ set.”

Songs or Genres to Avoid at the Reception That one awesome song that was so fetch with your sorority or fraternity may just not be the best thing to play at your reception. It might have a special meaning together.” He feels this is the most important

musician at All Ears DJ, says he encour-

part because it helps them understand

ages couples to give as much input as

why you requested certain songs and

they want to contribute when it comes to

how they can present that song in the

choosing the perfect playlist.

best way. It’s not just about what you want to hear. “Our job isn’t just to play certain songs,” he says. “It’s to achieve the kind of feeling you want.” Richard Gintowt, owner, DJ and ceremony

“Every wedding is unique, so it helps to have some general sense for each couple’s taste,” Gintowt says. “We generally ask for 20-30 ‘must play’ songs or artists and some ‘maybe’ tracks as well. It’s good to

for the couple but may not resonate well with the guests. This is not to say you can’t play the song, it just may need to find a new home on the playlist closer to the end of the night. “As a general rule, [the song] has to have a danceable beat, and a lot of people have to know it,” Hughes says. “That song you love that nobody else has heard of, or that death-metal or indie-rock song that is cool but doesn’t have a dance beat — those are going to be risks.” Hughes suggests playing those songs during cocktails or dinner, just not when people are trying to dance. Kaufman will never tell her couples what should or shouldn’t be played, but she is there to guide and advise them when they come to her with suggestions. “I always say I will respect your list, and if you want six polkas because the crowd loves polkas, then six it will be,” she says. “But if polka number three doesn’t get the whole crowd engaged, we won’t play polkas four, five, and six. Your memories should be of a packed dance floor, not about how many polkas we played.”

By Popular Demand Most of the time, guests will have great 410



requests, keeping people jiving on the dance floor all night long. In case you’re wondering what gets people moving, here are some top songs that couples are choosing to play at their receptions. Gintowt’s favorites include: 1. “Turn Down for What” - DJ Snake and Lil Jon 2. “Hotline Bling” - Drake 3. “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” - Silentó 4. “Ignition (Remix)” - R. Kelly 5. Anything by Taylor Swift, Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Prince, or Beyoncé Kaufman’s top picks were: 1. “Do You Love Me” - The Contours 2. “Wagon Wheel” - Darius Rucker 3. “Shake it Off” - Taylor Swift 4. “Uptown Funk” - Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars Hughes prefers: 1. “Uptown Funk” - Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars 2. “Shut Up and Dance” - Walk the Moon 3. “Twist and Shout” - The Beatles 4. “The Way You Look Tonight” Frank Sinatra “The funny thing is that it’s almost common to see these same songs on a ‘don’t play’ list.” says Hughes. “If a song is super popular, it’s almost guaranteed to be a hit at your wedding if your DJ plays it at the right time. But there are also plenty of couples who say, ‘I am sick of this song, let’s do something different.’” Do your homework, find the “one,” and be prepared to dance the night away at your reception. After all, who says you can’t have your music and play it, too? CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



Top Five Songs to play at your wedding

One of the best parts of a wedding is feeling nostalgic when the DJ plays your favorite songs back to back, and more importantly, witnessing everyone rush to the dance floor to boogie. Throughout the venue family, friends, and colleagues of the newlyweds stand as speakers blast music from different decades. While the ceremony is truly the main event of the celebration, the reception is the place where everyone lets loose, socializes, and parties. If the couple hired the right DJ, the room should have constant energy from the music influencing everyone to get up and burn a few calories from their meal. Just like any event, there is a science to the order of transitions and the DJ’s selection of music. Likewise, it is just as important to analyze the movement of the room and briefly study the demographic beforehand so you aren’t critically judged at the end of the wedding for your poor understanding of what gets the guests moving.



loyalty, and progression – similar to what

Energy Boost


a marriage union symbolizes.

“Suit & Tie” by Justin Timberlake ft. JAY Z

First Dance

Other options:

“Stand By Me” by Ben E. King

• “Amazed” by Lonestar

This is for sure an oldie-but-goodie, and

• “By Your Side” by Sade

When JT released his album The 20/20 Experience, a new wave of music was

anyone over 40 will appreciate hearing

• “Wonderwall” By Oasis

this while watching the bride and groom dance together for their official First Dance. There have been multiple covers and remakes of this 1962 classic, but the meaning of this song exemplifies strength,

introduced and yet another layer of his


Let’s think about the playlist in five

musical talent was revealed. This track quickly went from the radio to being frequently requested at school dances, wed-

• “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” by The Talking Heads • “Can’t Take My Eyes off You” by Lauryn Hill

dings, and parties around the globe. What makes this song so special is not just the chorus and stellar production but its overall meaning, which shines light on how good




it feels to dress up and make a statement

popular songs, which is why it is the

of vocals and catchy lyrics that made this

for the night. With Timberlake’s swanky

perfect addition to a wedding playlist.

song live up to its title. “Uptown Funk” is

lyrics and passion behind the production,

For the entrance, in particular, this song is

the perfect jam to boogie with your grand-

“Suit & Tie” is a notable song to play at a

fun and upbeat but also just the right

mother or grandfather. Loved by kids and

majority of celebratory events and a reminder

tempo for the wedding party to get creative

adults of all ages, Bruno Mars brought

of how beautiful pop music can be.

with their choice of movement as they

together multiple generations, all for the

enter the reception.

sake of loving good music and the fashion

Other options:

of the 50s. The percussion and horns fea-

• “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay

tured in “Uptown Funk” create a feel-good

• “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” by

vibe that much of today’s music lacks.

Other options: • “We Found Love” by Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris • “Bust a Move” by Young MC • “Poison” by Bell Biv DeVoe • “Hey Ya!” by Outkast

Michael Jackson • “Let’s Get It Started” by The Black Eyed Peas

Bridal Party Entrance

• “Beautiful Day” by U2

“September” by Earth, Wind & Fire

Dance With Your Grandma

Earth, Wind & Fire set the bar for the baby

“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft.

Other options: • “Happy” by Pharrell Williams • “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” by The Gap Band • “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston • “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” by

boomers and Generation X in terms of

Bruno Mars

popular music. They always brought energy

While the video for this song screams “old

to every song they wrote. “September” is

school” and features some pretty swanky

End of the Night

catchy, timeless, and one of their most

50s-inspired outfits, it is the combination

“One More Time” by Daft Punk

Michael Jackson

This Daft Punk classic is known for being a hit among all ages. The title itself represents celebrating good company, positive vibes, and coming together for a good cause. Going back in time to its 2001 release date, “One More Time” will never lose its meaning and will always get people out of their seats to feel and embrace the love. The bass, drums, and general production of this song are before its time, and they create a memorable moment as the bride and groom send their guests home in a good mood. The faster beat gets people on their feet so they can head out and make it to their destinations safely. Other options: • “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds • “Good Life” by Kanye West ft. T-Pain • “We Are Young” by Fun. ft. Janelle Monáe • “Livin’ on A Prayer” by Bon Jovi 414




reception timelines While you and your guests may want to boogie until the wee hours of the night, it’s not likely that your venue and caterer’s staff feels the same. A typical wedding reception runs approximately five hours long, and has a fairly structured schedule. Your band leader or DJ will serve as the Master of Ceremonies, or the MC, for the evening. He or she will keep your party moving along smoothly so no one feels rushed and you don’t run into overtime fees. Whether you’re looking at a mid-morning reception or an evening affair, here’s a general overview of how it can progress.


Cocktail Hour You said “I do,” kissed, and now it’s time for the guests to make their way to the reception. There may be some down time between, but guests will generally arrive to a cocktail hour pretty quickly after the service. If the ceremony is held at the same venue as the reception, guests may simply venture to another part of the space to continue the festivities. While the new couple, their attendants, and their families are out taking glamour shots around the city, it’s up to the MC to keep guests entertained. Light music in the background allows for socializing without that awkward silence. The MC can also advise guests to begin taking their seats about ten or fifteen minutes before the couple is scheduled to make their grand entrance. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM




The Newlyweds Arrive After the MC has guided guests to their seats, the band or DJ will change up the music to indicate that something big is about to happen. The MC will take the mic and start introducing the family and wedding party as they enter one-by-one, two-by-two, or whatever-by-whatever. The newlyweds will be announced last – to

back to some pleasant background music to encourage chatter through dinner. Here’s your chance to start greeting your guests at each table. A few minutes later, dinner will be served. At this point, take a break and grab a bite. You’ve been planning this meal for months! You deserve a few minutes to try it. Let the wedding party and family eat first – especially those who are making speeches. Toasts usually begin about 20 minutes after dinner has been served.

wild cheers from the crowd, of course. After this, the MC will request that guests take their seats.

Traditionally toasts are started by the best man, followed by the maid of honor, and then the parents’ speeches. If you

This is a great opportunity to move right

and your new spouse would like to say a

into your first dance. You’ve got the spot-

few words, this is a great time for that as

light, might as well use it! When the

well. Be sure to give your MC a list of

dance is over, the band or DJ will switch

everyone’s name so they can announce each person who will be speaking and their relation to the couple. Bonus tip – spelling the names out phonetically will drastically reduce the number of awkward pronunciations.


Dance, Dance After the speeches wrap up, it’s time to hit the dance floor. If you decided not to do your first dance right after your grand entrance, now would be the time to do it. Traditionally, the father-daughter dance follows, and then the mother-son dance. After that, your MC will invite guests to join the wedding party on the dance floor, and everybody starts going crazy.



As the dancing continues, it’s time for all the single ladies to put their hands up 416


during hour five, and it’s time to start

time for the guys. Your MC will keep track

wrapping up the evening.

of time and help spread out any of the fun extras, like the Hora at a Jewish wedding, an anniversary dance, or a money dance.

As you’re planning your reception timeline, Have your MC announce last call at the bar about 30 to 45 minutes before the reception officially ends. A great way to start

About halfway through the hour, you get

getting everyone out the door is to have the

to smash frosting into your new spouse’s

wedding party coordinate a fond farewell for

face – oops, we meant cut the cake. Your

the newlyweds outside the venue, complete

MC will help to clear the floor a bit so that

with bubbles or sparklers. If you plan to do

everyone has a great view. Then it’s right

this, have your MC give the crowd a fifteen

back to dancing. Because let’s be real –

minute warning before it begins.

that’s what everyone wants to do!

Other Things to Consider

If you’ve got a particularly rowdy crowd

remember that it’s always best to overestimate the amount of time needed. Allow enough time between scheduled activities for the unexpected, and don’t forget that you and your spouse need time to relax and enjoy your family and guests! Check to see if your venue contract requires all guests and vendors to vacate the premises by a certain time. Remember

that doesn’t seem to be taking the hint,

that once your guests leave, your vendors

ask your band or DJ to play a very

will still need time to clean up and clear

definitive last song. It’s pretty hard to mis-

out any equipment. Those speakers don’t

While you and your crew are out on the

interpret the meaning of “Closing Time” by

pack themselves. Make sure to give them

dance floor getting your groove on,

Semisonic. After that, bring up the lights,

at least an hour to ensure you don’t

Grandma is probably starting to fall asleep

shut off the music, and eventually people

exceed your venue rental period. Overtime

at her table. Guests will start to trickle out

will head out.

fees can get expensive quickly.


Take A Bow


and catch the bouquet. It’s also garter



5 Reasons to Plan Wedding Transportation Because Sometimes Uber is Not Your Best Option You’re feeling good. You have your venue picked out, you’ve coordinated the wedding party’s clothing, and you see an item on your to-do list that you haven’t thought much about – transportation. Planning the transportation for your wedding day might not be the detail you’re the most excited about planning – although there are definitely some fun ways to liven it up – but it is a very important detail. How you and your guests will get from point A to point B is at the root of having a successful and stress-free wedding. The more planning you can do ahead of time, the fewer decisions you will have to make the day of. And that’s always a good thing.



This first point might seem obvious, but

When choosing your wedding day transportation vendor, you need to consider

Time Restraints If you plan to set aside some time for pho-

the size of your wedding party and guest

tos around the city between your ceremony

list. How many people will you need to

and reception, you’ll want to make sure

transport from the ceremony site to the

you have a realistic timeline set up. If you

reception venue? How many guests will

need to go from one end of the city to the

need a ride from the reception venue to

other in an hour, you don’t want to be

transportation vendor comes in handy.

the hotel?

hailing a cab.

If you have out-of-town guests who need

You will also need to decide who you will

“A well planned out itinerary with realistic

to get back to their hotel from your

offer transportation to on the big day. Will

travel times can ensure that the couple

reception venue, ask your venue if they

you offer transportation for all of your

and wedding party will be at the locations

have partnerships with nearby hotels.

guests or just your wedding party? Or, are

needed at the times they expect to be

Some hotels offer a shuttle service you

you simply looking for a getaway car for

can utilize. If they don’t, your venue might

you and your beloved to leave in style?

have a transportation company they can

Deciding these details early can help you

recommend. Ensuring that transportation

pinpoint whether a limousine, shuttle,

is taken care of will make the big day less

trolley, or classic car will be best for your

“It is helpful to designate someone from

taxing for you and your guests.

wedding day.

the bridal party to keep an eye on the time

it’s good to think about ahead of time. If your ceremony and reception are in two different locations, you will want to make sure you and your guests can get there without issue. That’s where a professional


The Basics

there,” says Tom Axoy, owner of Second City Trolley. “And it can help avoid any unnecessary anxiety the day of the event or any overtime charges.”




so the couple can stick to their itinerary and accomplish what they like for their big day,” Axoy adds. After all, you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the perfect locations for your wedding day photos and you want them to turn out great. The last thing you want is to appear worried and concerned in your pictures!

Running Smoothly When things are running smoothly, that means less hassle for you. The more you can plan ahead the better. That means you can focus on being present and really enjoy your day. Don’t let it pass you by in a blur of photo ops, too long red lights, and transportation overages. You want to be making happy, positive memories, not ones where you are delayed by traffic for an hour. When planning your itinerary, discuss the locations you’d like to visit with your photographer to see how much time you will need. Discuss this with your transportation provider to ensure the timing works well. Keeping everybody in the loop will help to ensure there are no surprises on the big day.

Traffic While they cannot control traffic, your transportation provider can certainly do their best to avoid it. Hiring a professional means you aren’t sitting in the passenger seat, checking Google Maps for the latest traffic report. “Our drivers cannot beat the traffic when there are events like the Taste of Chicago or the Air and Water Show,” says Axoy. “However, they are very familiar with the heavily trafficked areas that should be avoided and what the traffic flow is for the most efficient routes during busy times.” 420


In addition, you will want to make sure you

traveling,” says Axoy. Make a wedding

summer, so check if there are any big

check with both your venue and trans-

playlist for you and your wedding party to

events happening during your wedding

portation company to ensure easy acces-

listen to while you travel around the city

weekend that might cause road closures.

sibility for all of your guests.

taking fabulous photos. Whether you

“The worst transportation disaster I have heard of was an unfortunate instance where the bride and groom were cut off from their transportation because of multiple street closures around the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival several years ago. Their hotel was right in the middle of the closures so they could not get out and their transportation could not get in.” says Axoy.


Chicago is a busy city, especially in the

choose to play classic oldies or the top

Make It Exciting

hits, it’s a great way to help your wedding

When you plan ahead, you can add some

party relax and have fun.

elements to make your ride more enjoyable and memorable. It is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life after all. Don’t be afraid to ask your transportation vendor about perks they offer newlyweds. Some transportation compa-

Another perk to planning your wedding day transportation ahead of time? You and your guests can celebrate fully dance the night away, and rest assured that everyone will be getting back to their hotel room safely.

nies will offer you extras like beverages, By simply planning ahead and doing your

champagne, or decorations.

research, you can easily avoid such dis-

So plan ahead, make it special, and soak in the views as you race around the city

rushing among the tourists on Michigan

stereo systems and a supplied auxiliary

Avenue to make it in time for your cham-

cord so guests can play their own wedding

pagne toast.

music playlist through the stereo while

with your favorite people by your side.

To find the perfect transportation for your big day, visit

Cristina g PhotograPhy

asters. You certainly don’t want to be

“All of our trolleys are equipped with



Destination: Happily Ever After 5 Tips to Prepare for Vacay Even during the rush of a busy day like your wedding, your mind will slip to the trip that’s just around the corner. Sure, marriage is the greatest adventure of your life, but the honeymoon is going to be a pretty amazing adventure, too. We know your mind is on other things right now, so we wanted to help you get prepared before you take off to places unknown.

1. Do Your Research This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people throw caution to the wind because they want to be spontaneous and free. Know what else is “spontaneous and free?” Starving in a foreign country because you don’t have the right currency and you wouldn’t know how to order a burger anyway. You would never say, “Wedding day? Eh, I’ll just wing it,” so don’t wing it when traveling either. Look at maps of where you’re heading, and pack a phrase book (or download a language app). It’s always good to get an idea of the culture you’ll be immersed in as well as the current political climate.

2. Pack Like a Pro This takes practice, but the goal is to not take anything you don’t need and to miss nothing while you’re there. That means you have exactly as many shirts and shoes as you need. Going out for fancy dinners? Take one or two dresses. Get creative with accessories so you don’t feel the need to wear something different every night. Take advantage of hotel amenities like shampoo and soap so you can leave all the heavy bottles at home. And ladies, one swimsuit is definitely enough. Make sure you don’t shortchange yourself either. Look at the temperature leading up to the trip and pack layers you can wear alone or together instead of space-sucking winter coats. (Continued on page 424)



3. Take a Language Course If you’re spending a week at an allinclusive resort, you’ll probably be fine with a language app, but if you’ll be wandering around exotic cities, engaging with locals, or looking for the most romantic and least touristy spots, you’ll need some basic communication skills. Incorporate a language class at your community college into date night. You and your partner can practice your French and follow class up with a movie or a romantic bistro dinner. If you’d rather wear your pj’s and eat popcorn while you learn, there are plenty of online courses that will deliver the basics you need.

4. Make a Knot List This happier alternative to a bucket list will make sure you don’t have the “I should have’s” once you get home. Make a list of sites you really must see before you leave. Put these items in your itinerary, or if you’re more of a loose traveler, at least have a rough idea of where and when you want to do the activity so you don’t try to cram it all in on the last day.

5. Talk to a Travel Agent You know how indispensible your wedding planner is? That’s because he or she has all the inside connections to help you find exactly what you want. Like your wedding planner, a travel agent has the insider view and can offer options you didn’t know existed. Let them book the travel and find the best deals while you focus on your wedding day.

To find the perfect honeymoon and travel services for your big day, visit 424



Local Getaways that are perfect for

Your Mini-Moon If I’m being honest, the honeymoon was what I looked forward to most when it came to planning my wedding. Believe me, I love dancing and endless cake-eating as much as the next person – but when I imagined my wedding day, in my mind I was running straight down the aisle and landing in the aisle seat of a commercial jet, headed for exotic and exciting landscapes unknown. WRITTEN BY E. CE MILLER PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIMOTHY WHALEY & ASSOCIATES





Then, I got to the final stages of planning

all that Chicago has to offer as you’re

places to relax, rejuvenate, and totally

the celebration of my dreams, and realized

gulping down that third cup of coffee on

reconnect with your partner after the

I so did not want to travel halfway around

the Red Line to work? Take an oppor-

excitement of your wedding day. Everybody

the world immediately after the big day. I

tunity to get to know the romantic side

loves massages, hot tubs, and breakfast

wanted to relax. Preferably somewhere

of Chi-town.

in bed, am I right?

Take a hand-in-hand stroll around Bucking-

For a mini-moon that really feels like

So here’s some news for all you jet-

ham Fountain, the iconic Chicago landmark

you’ve traveled a world away, you’ll want

setting (or not) soon-to-be-wed couples

loved for its light and music shows, impres-

to visit the Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa,

out there: you do not have to hop on a

sive water display, and Art-Deco vibe. Steal

tucked away in the rolling hills of Galena,

plane, train, or cruise ship in order to have

some kisses at Promontory Point, a man-

Illinois. If you’re up for a major splurge,

the unforgettably romantic honeymoon of

made peninsula on the shore of Lake

you definitely can’t beat Destination Kohler,

your dreams.

Michigan that boasts an amazing view of

located just a few hours north of Chicago

the skyline and a castle-like field house.

in Kohler, Wisconsin, where you’ll be

don’t have enough vacation days saved

For some gorgeous nature, spend some

treated to an irresistible menu of spa

up, you spent every dollar of that pesky

time in the Peggy Notebaert Nature

services, as well as golf, five-star dining,

budget of yours on the wedding (who can

Museum’s Butterfly Haven, a 2,700-square-

outdoor activities, and gorgeous lodging.

blame you?), or simply don’t have enough

foot greenhouse filled with butterflies.

For a quiet, peaceful hideaway in the

energy post-I-do’s to take that adventure

Make reservations at the John Hancock

heart of the city, look no further than a

‘round the world just now, fear not. There

Center’s sky-high Signature Room at the

full day of luxurious body treatments at

are tons of local getaways in and around

95th and totally splurge. For something

The Peninsula Chicago, or a calming

Chicago that are just perfect for your

even more intimate, hit up Geja’s Café,

eucalyptus steam at the Four Seasons

locally-sourced honeymoon – a mini-moon,

where the cozy ambiance and fondue will

Chicago. You seriously can’t go wrong

if you will.

have you feeling like you’re anywhere but

with that much relaxation.

within walking distance of my own pillow.

Whether you and your newly-nuptialed


a few blocks from home.

Take in Chicago Through the Eyes of a Tourist

Two Words: Spa Weekend

Branch Out into the Greater Midwest

Sure, you might have lived in the Windy

The bustling metropolis that it is, the

If a longer car ride (or a super-short flight)

City for years, but do you really appreciate

Chicagoland area sure has some great

isn’t out of the question, there are tons of



can’t-miss options for taking your minimoon out of state, while still staying close to home. For example, The Villas at Gervasi Vineyard, in Canton, Ohio, is both idyllic and romantic, with a chic B&B vibe. Starved Rock State Park in North Utica, Illinois, is perfect for a rustic, outdoorsy couple looking for a great woodland getaway – and nothing compliments a long day of hiking like an afternoon wine tasting and evening massage. Or head north to The Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, Michigan, where you can celebrate yourselves via seasonal skiing or mountain biking, followed by in-room wine and strawberries. Yes, please.

When in Doubt, Rock the Staycation I am always down for a well-planned staycation. Honestly, sometimes the most luxurious option of all is simply turning off your cell phone, setting up that out-ofoffice email, and lounging in your own bed all day. Plus, a staycation doesn’t have to be without all the indulgences of real travel. Treat yourself to things like breakfast in bed, a personal chef or at-home cooking class, and a great massage therapist who’s totally willing to make a house call. You’ll feel like you’re at the swankiest of spas, I promise. And, hey, there’s no rule that says the mini-moon has to end. Once you master the art of traveling local, you and your partner can throw yourself a mini-moon any old time you please. Keep that newlywed glow going all the way to your golden anniversary. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM





After bonding over baseball, Jessica and Steve knew they were destined to be together. During a romantic weekend trip, Steve surprised Jessica with an engagement ring while on a small island overlooking a beautiful Spanish-style vineyard. The couple planned their wedding on their fifth anniversary, and enjoyed a beautiful day in the bride’s hometown of Chicago. Their ceremony, officiated by Jessica’s childhood pastor, was held at Saint James Chapel in Chicago. The chapel is modeled after Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, a meaningful spot for the newlyweds. Their color palette of slate, sage, ivory, and silver created a chic and stylish affair. Candles cast the room in a soft glow, enhancing the ambiance. Guests enjoyed 360-degree views from the 99th floor of Willis Tower all night. During the cocktail hour, they even ventured out onto the Skydeck's Ledges. “One of my favorite memories was surprising my husband by singing a folk song to him as my father, Ed Curran, reporter and broadcast meteorologist for CBS 2 Chicago, played guitar,” explains the bride. “It was so special to share such an unforgettable memory with the two most important men in my life.” Taking a moment for themselves, the couple snuck away to enjoy their dessert in private, sitting on one of the Ledges. “It was so perfect to just be in the moment, hand-in-hand, floating magically above our city.” Guests danced to live music by a ten-piece band, enjoyed viewing the Navy Pier fireworks from their bird's eye view, and took home a bag of Garrett’s Popcorn to remember the amazing evening.



Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY: Saint James Chapel

OFFICIANT: Fr. Ronald Kalas

RECEPTION: The 99th Floor of Willis Tower PHOTOGRAPHY: Steve Koo Photography

VIDEOGRAPHY: Highway 61 Films

WEDDING CONSULTANT: Simply Azure Events BRIDE’S GOWN: Belle Vie Bridal Couture HAIR: Maxine Salon

MAKEUP: Sonia Roselli Makeup

FORMALWEAR: Men’s Wearhouse

BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Nordstrom Wedding Suite

FLORAL: Hlavacek Florist of Glenview CATERING: Catered by Design

ENTERTAINMENT: UpBeat Music Productions

SWEETS: Catered by Design | Oak Mill Bakery

TRANSPORTATION: ChiTown LimoBus | Odyssey Transportation

Advertisers Index Bridal Fashions Bella Bianca Bridal Couture ..............................241 Bijou Bridal & Special Occasion.........................254 Bri’Zan Couture ..............................................247 Crystal Bride, The............................................239 Dame Couture ................................................256 Doris Bridal....................................................273 Erin Lindsay Designs .......................................254 Eva’s Bridal International ..................................258 Eva’s Bridals of Chicago...................................273

Gibson’s Bar & Steakhouse ...............................59 Glen Club, The................................................118

Bottom Lounge ..............................................165

Glendale Lakes Golf Club .................................134

Bridges of Poplar Creek Country Club ................119

Golf Club of Illinois ..........................................166

Broken Arrow Golf Club ...................................112

Grand Geneva Resort & Spa .............................131

Brookfield Zoo ...............................................146

Grand Traverse Resort & Spa ............................129

Burr Ridge Hotels ...........................................125

Haight, The ....................................................144

Café la Cave ..................................................153

Hawk’s View Golf Club .....................................146

Cantigny Park.................................................107

Heritage Ballroom at The Centre of Elgin.............168

Carleton of Oak Park, The ................................169

Highland Park Country Club ..............................163

Chandler’s .....................................................156

Highline Bar + Lounge ......................................84

Eva’s Bridal of Orland Park ...............................275

Cheney Mansion .............................................166

Hilton Chicago/Indian Lakes Resort ....................169

Jasmine Special Occasion Galleria .....................255

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel .......................31

Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort ................183

Jenny Yoo Collection .......................................245

Chicago History Museum..................................175

Hilton Chicago/Oak Lawn .................................127

Kasia’s Bridal .................................................274

Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort ..................141

Hilton Garden Inn Chicago North Shore/ Evanston .174

Kathryn’s Bridal ..............................................243

Chicago Marriott Naperville ...............................173

Hilton Orrington/Evanston .................................163

Laurel Bridal ..................................................256

Chicago Marriott Northwest...............................192

Historic Hotels of Lake Geneva..........................181

Reddington Bridal ...........................................240

Chicago Marriott Southwest at Burr Ridge ...........125

Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza ...........................61

Revolution Bridal.............................................259

Chicago Park District .......................................167

Holiday Inn Countryside & William Tell Banquets ...126

Sarah Seven ..................................................253

Hotel Arista .....................................................IBC

Tickled Pink Bridal Boutique .............................191

Chicago Public LibraryHarold Washington Library Center ................174

Veiled by Cha Cha Bridal Boutique .....................275

Club Lucky ....................................................177

Hyatt Regency Chicago......................................71

Wedding Belles, Ltd. .......................................274 Wedding Dresser, The......................................244

Hotel Baker .....................................................86

Concorde Banquets.........................................103

Hyatt Regency McCormick Place .........................82

Congress Plaza Hotel, The..................................67

InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile .............15

Cotillion Banquets, The.....................................111

Jacob Henry Mansion, The ...............................182

Crown Plaza Chicago Southwest at Burr Ridge.....125

James Hotel, The..............................................63


D’Andrea Banquets ........................................189

JW Marriott Chicago..........................................68

Formally Modern Tuxedo ..................................246

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House ................89

Kendall College ..............................................157

White Dress Bridal Boutique .............................257

JEWELRY Benchmark ......................................................BC Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio ............................242 James & Sons Fine Jewelers..........................IFC, 1 Razny Jewelers ................................................45

Ceremony & Reception Location

Donald E. Stephens Ballrooms ..........................133

Kitchen, The...................................................183

Doubletree by Hilton Chicago Alsip.....................130

La Pergola at Galleria Marchetti ...........................87

Doubletree by Hilton Chicago North Shore ..........120

La Villa Banquets ............................................178

Doubletree Suites by Hilton ChicagoDowners Grove ...........................................94

Lake Lawn Resort ...........................................176

Drury Lane ....................................................154

Lehmann Mansion...........................................177

LaSalle Street Church ......................................294

DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau.................151

Loew’s Chicago Hotel ........................................53

Eaglewood Resort & Spa ...................................73

Loew’s Chicago O’Hare Hotel............................123

Elements Banquets- Homewood Suites by Hilton..148

Logan Square Auditorium ...................................91

Elite Private Yachts ............................................80

LondonHouse Chicago.......................................23

Allegra Banquets ..............................................70

Elmcrest Banquets by Biancalana, The................190

Manzo’s Banquets...........................................124

Alta Villa Banquets ..........................................135

Empress Banquets, The....................................105

McHenry Country Club.....................................167

Armour House at Lake Forest Academy ..............155

Estate by Gene & Georgetti, The........................8, 9

Medinah Banquets ..........................................145

Abbington Distinctive Banquets..........................155


Bolingbrook Golf Club........................................95 Bon Appétit at The Art Institute of Chicago ............37

Arrowhead Golf Club .......................................132

Gardens of Woodstock.....................................134

Metropolis Ballroom ........................................149

Ashton Place..................................................147

Genesee Theatre.............................................110

Metropolitan Club, The .......................................41

Barrington's White House ...................................90

Georgios Banquets & Hotel ..............................164

Mid-America Club, The ......................................35

Bartlett Hills Golf Club ......................................106

Germania Place ..................................................7

Midway Village Museum ...................................173


Culinary Services

Mirage Four Points Sheraton .............................184 Monastero’s Ristorante & Banquets......................92 Montgomery Club, The.......................................59


Jazzy Flowers.................................................358

Amy Beck Cake Design ...................................338

JMB Haute Floral Design..................................364


Johnson Studios Ice Sculptures.........................330

Bombon Cake Gallery ......................................338

Kensington Floral & Events ...............................364

Murphy Chicago, The.........................................25

Delish Cakes ..................................................345

Mystic Blue......................................................80

Elysia Root Cakes ...........................................342

Nacional 27 .....................................................72

Garrett Popcorn ................................................39

Naper Settlement ............................................176

Jewel Osco Bakery .........................................339

Naperville Park District .....................................178

Oak Mill Bakery ..............................................343

Northern Illinois University-Naperville ..................179

Scafuri Bakery................................................344

Odyssey Country Club......................................113

SweetPea Cakes.............................................344

Odyssey Cruises ..............................................80

Vanille ...................................................340, 341

Oscar Swan Inn ..............................................189


Osteria Via Stato ...............................................66

Bauer’s Catering .............................................177

Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel, The........................33

Inspired Catering & Events................................329

Pavilion at Galleria Marchetti, The ........................27

J & L Catering ...............................................335

Pazzo’s at 311 .................................................79

Jewell Events Catering .....................................333

Pinstripes ........................................................83 Ravenswood Event Center ................................194 Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel .............175 Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, The ..................................17

Bonnie Flower Shop ........................................351 DBG - Designs by Guzzardo’s ...........................357

Kenmare Catering ...............................................6 Sweet Baby Rays............................................332 True Cuisine ...................................................331 Weber Grill Catering ........................................334 Wishbone ......................................................330

Mayfield Flowers .............................................360


Midwest Conference Center ..............................185 Millennium Knickerbocker Chicago.......................13

Meetinghouse.................................................352 Northern Décor Event Design ...................348, 349 Northern Greenhouses Floral & Event Design .......359 Stems, Inc. ....................................................355 VEIL Event Design...........................................361 Vision of Elegance Events.................................295 Yanni Design Studio ........................................353

FLORAL PRESERVATION Austin Preservations ........................................366

Guest Accommodations Days Inn Chicago............................................211 DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau.................151 Guesthouse Hotel, The.....................................214 Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza ...........................61 Trump International Hotel & Tower......................2, 3

River Roast ......................................................57 Rivers Restaurant..............................................85 Salvatore’s Ristorante ........................................29 Seven Bridges Golf Club ..................................108 Seville, The ....................................................109 Signature Room at The 95th, The........................49 Silver Lake Country Club ..................................104 Sofitel Chicago Water Tower ...............................11


Health, Beauty & Fitness

Johnson Studios Ice Sculptures.........................330

Appease, Inc. .................................................375


Make Up First ................................................372

Bridal Brigade ................................................376


Montage Salon & Spa .....................................379

Backthird Entertainment ...................................417

Pure Barre .....................................................378

BeatMix Music, Becca Kaufman Orchestra...........411

Style by Bravura .............................................374

Chicalba Bagpiping Services .............................415

wendycityfaces ...............................................375

H.Y.P.E. Productions, Inc...................................415

Zazú Salon ....................................................373

Stan Mansion ...................................................55

DANCE LESSONS Arthur Murray Dance Studio..............................413

Honeymoon & Travel

Stonegate Banquet & Conference Centre, The .....142 theWit Hotel.....................................................19


Spiaggia Private Events......................................69 Spirit of Chicago...............................................80

Apple Vacations ..........................................96, 97 Pompano Beach Club ......................................423

Thompson Chicago ...........................................43

All Ears DJ ....................................................416

Trump International Hotel & Tower......................2, 3

Backthird Entertainment ...................................417

Invitations & Stationery

Venuti’s Banquets & Ristorante..........................4, 5

Chicago Wedding DJ’s.....................................416

DBY invitations ...............................................317

Villa Brunetti Banquets & Catering......................122 Villa Olivia ......................................................152

Conquest Entertainment ...................................410

Dear Emily .....................................................319

Epic DJ Services ............................................414

Invitations by Design........................................314

H.Y.P.E. Productions, Inc...................................409

Just Invite Me ................................................315

Midwest Event Solutions...................................408

Marvelous Party ..............................................318

Music by Design .............................................407

Maxe Designs ................................................314

Westin Chicago Northwest, The .........................143

Floral & Décor


Winnetka Community House .............................121

Amer Design Studio ........................................365

Volo Restaurant Wine Bar .................................164 Wandering Tree Estate .......................................93 Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago ...........................21

Art De Triumph ...............................................317 Austin Preservations ........................................366

Wishbone|943 ...............................................157

Andrew’s Garden ............................................360

Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront .....................81

Ashland Addison Florist Company ......................361


Zam Zam Banquet Hall ....................................185

Avant Gardenia ...............................................354

Garrett Popcorn ................................................39 CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM




Glen Club, The................................................220

AirBooth Social...............................................399

Glendale Lakes Golf Club .................................222

Alicia’s Photography ........................................395 Brett Paul Photography ....................................397 Duron Studio..................................................390 Native Weddings .............................................387 Edward Fox Photography & Video ......................386 Furla Studio ...................................................389 Gold Grid Studios............................................386 jason w. kaumeyer photography ........................394 Lisa Winn Photography ....................................397 Ocken Photography.........................................394 Rush Productions Photography & Video ..............393 Salvatore Cincotta Photography .................380, 381 Timothy Whaley & Associates............................388

Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse Chicago ............214 Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse Lombard...........222 Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse Rosemont .........221

Blue Peak Tents..............................................367 Festive Frog, The ............................................366 Meetinghouse.................................................352 Northern Décor Event Design ....................348, 349

Highland Park Country Club ..............................221 Hofbräuhaus Chicago ......................................221


Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House ..........................214

Beaver Creek Golf Cart ....................................420

Hyatt Regency Chicago....................................214

Classic Wedding Car........................................419

Kendall College ..............................................214

Make A Memory Limo .....................................420

Kitchen, The...................................................215

Second City Trolley..........................................421

La Pergola at Galleria Marchetti .........................215 La Tasca Tapas Restaurant ........................209, 221 LUXBAR........................................................215


Metropolitan Club, The .....................................215

Edward Fox Photography & Video ......................386

Michael Jordan’s Steak House ..........................215

Furla Vision ....................................................401


Mid-America Club, The ....................................215

Highway 61 Films ...........................................402

Flirty Martini Boudoir Photography......................398

Monastero’s Ristorante.....................................216

Rush Productions Photography & Video ..............393

Will Knight Photography ...................................398

PHOTO BOOTHS AirBooth Social...............................................399 All Smile Photo Booths ....................................399

Rehearsal Dinner & Pre-Wedding Celebrations Arrowhead Golf Club .......................................222 Barrington’s White House .................................220 Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano ................................220 Bon Appétit at The Art Institute of Chicago ..........212 Broken Arrow Golf Club ...................................223 Chicago Athletic Association Hotel......................212 Chicago Sports Museum by Harry Caray’s...........212


Guesthouse Hotel, The.....................................214


Montgomery Club, The.....................................216 Murphy Chicago, The.......................................216 Naper Settlement ............................................223

Wedding Services

Oscar Swan Inn ..............................................223


Osteria La Madia ...........................................216

Complete Wedding Expo, The............................191

Pazzo’s at 311 ...............................................216

Illinois Bridal & Wedding Expo ...........................193

Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar .........................216

Wish Upon a Wedding .....................................195

Ranalli’s ........................................................217 Redhead Piano Bar, The...................................217


Rittergut Wine Bar & Social Club .......................217

LaSalle Street Church ......................................294

Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, The ................................217 Riva Crab House on Navy Pier ..........................217


River Roast ....................................................217

Wedding Dresser, The......................................244

Roanoke Restaurant ........................................218

Chicago’s First Lady Cruises .............................212

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery ...................218


CityGate Grille ................................................222

Ruth’s Chris Steak House Chicago .....................218

Beso Weddings & Events .................................290

Club Lucky ....................................................212

Salvatore’s Ristorante ......................................218

Bethany Moore Events .....................................300

Coco Pazzo ...................................................212

Seven Bridges Golf Club ..................................223

Big City Bride .................................................291

Coco Pazzo Café ............................................212

Shula’s Steak House .......................................218

Cherishable Moments Events ............................302

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant ..................220


DBY events....................................................303

Country House Restaurant ................................222

Spiaggia Private Events ....................................219

D.O.C. Wine Bar Chicago..................................213

theWit Hotel ...................................................219

D.O.C. Wine Bar Lombard.................................222

Tre Soldi Trattoria & Pizzeria..............................212

David Burke’s Primehouse ................................213

Tuscany Wheeling ..........................................221

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House...............213

Venuti’s Banquets & Ristorante..........................223

DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau.................151

Villa Olivia ......................................................221

Eaglewood Resort & Spa .................................220

Volo Restaurant & Wine Bar..............................219

Effortless Events .............................................299 Frank Event Design .........................................289 Gilded Aisle, The .............................................300 LOLA Event Productions...................................292 Michelle Durpetti Events ...................................301 Régine Danielle Events.....................................301

Erie Café ......................................................213

Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago .........................219

Soirée Weddings & Events................................293

Frankie’s Scaloppine........................................213

Weber Grill Restaurants....................................219

Vision of Elegance Events.................................295

Gene & Georgetti ............................................213

Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront ...................219

Windermere Elegant Weddings ..........................292

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse ...............................214

ZED451 ........................................................220

You Name It Events .........................................294


ChicagoStyle Weddings 2017 with Spring / Summer Supplement  

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