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2017-18 Edition




GOWN: Elisabetta Polignano SHOES: Badgley Mischka JEWELRY: Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio HAIR: Zazú Salon MAKEUP: Make Up First VENUE: The Art Institute of Chicago PHOTOGRAPHY: Dennis Lee Photography

GOWN: Romona Keveza via Bella Bianca Bridal Couture JEWELRY & BELT: Razny Jewelers HAIR & MAKEUP: Appease, Inc. VENUE: Kimpton Gray Hotel Chicago STYLING: The Wedding Dresser PHOTOGRAPHY: SYPhotography

GOWN: Naomi gown by Sareh Nouri PHOTOGRAPHY: SYPhotography




GOWN: Vanilla Sposa via Laurel Bridal SHOES: Badgley Mischka JEWELRY: James & Sons Fine Jewelers FUR AND VEIL: White Dress Bridal Boutique HAIR& MAKEUP: Appease, Inc. CAR: Classic Wedding Car STYLING: The Wedding Dresser PHOTOGRAPHY: SYPhotography

GOWN: Mark Zunino via Kleinfeld Bridal JEWELRY: Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio HAIR: Zazú Salon MAKEUP: Make Up First VENUE: The Art Institute of Chicago PHOTOGRAPHY: Dennis Lee Photography

GOWN: Kelly Faetanini via Jenny Yoo Collection EARRINGS: dalla nonna jewelry HAIR: Zazú Salon MAKEUP: wendycityfaces STYLING: The Wedding Dresser PHOTOGRAPHY: Ocken Photography



Cheers to 30 Years! We’re proud of every single issue of ChicagoStyle Weddings that’s been featured on newsstands for the past three decades, but our 2017 edition – the one that you’re holding in your hands this very momentmight just be our proudest accomplishment to date. Like always, as you flip through the next four hundred pages of our magazine, you’ll discover all the advice, inspiration, and encouragement that you’ll need to plan the wedding of your dreams, but this issue also contains a little something extra. Our talented writers didn’t discuss it in their stories, our photographers didn’t capture it on film, and the beautiful couples in our Real Weddings didn’t intentionally incorporate it into their celebrations, but it’s unmistakeably there: thirty years of gratitude to our team, our clients, and to you – our readers. Anniversaries are a time for celebration but also for reflection, and as we look back on our years in the wedding industry, we’re overwhelmed by thankfulness. We couldn’t produce our best-selling magazine without the support of an incredible, hardworking team, and we’re eternally grateful not only to our current staff of rock stars but to all of the talented and dedicated individuals who preceded them. We’re also grateful to our clients. As we celebrate thirty years, we also celebrate partnerships that have turned into friendships. No matter if that relationship is new or old, we’re in love with the gorgeous weddings and events that our clients bring to life, and we’re in awe of their dedication and professionalism. Yet most of all, we’re thankful to our readers. The world of wedding magazines is a unique one because engagements don’t last forever and wedding planning has an end date. Yet, no matter how short the time is, your engagement is one of the most beautiful and intimate periods of your life, and we feel so blessed to have played a role in your adventure. Whether you’ve torn

highlights, or followed us on Instagram and Pinterest, we feel more honored that you could ever imagine that you chose to include us on your beautiful journey to “I do.”

Looking forward to the next thirty years,

Kelly Broz

Christina Oddo





We’re celebrating 30 years of helping brides by giving them another incredible tool – our brand new, redesigned website! Head over to to see it for yourself.




out our pages, carried us in your purse, decorated us with notes and

Behind the Scenes A N I N S I D E L O O K AT O U R FA S H I O N S H O O T S ( PA G E 2 2 6 & PA G E 2 5 0 )

2017 | 2018 EDITION CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Joseph H. Chambers

The Make a Statement team poses between takes.


VICE PRESIDENT Joseph W. Chambers EDITOR OF PRINT & DIGITAL Christina Oddo CREATIVE DIRECTOR Judi Privett ASSISTANT CREATIVE DIRECTORS Christina Oddo Sylvia Seib ADVERTISING SALES Kelly Broz Denise Bruscher Joseph W. Chambers OFFICE MANAGER & Agnes Romanek PRODUCTION COORDINATOR DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER Sylvia Seib & WEB ADMINISTRATOR WEB DEVELOPMENT Web Infotech, LLC MAGAZINE CIRCULATION & DELIVERY Al Range PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Edyta Stopyra MAGAZINE PRODUCTION Studio Graphics ADVERTISING DESIGN Studio Graphics Claire Tomm Kelsey O’Shaughnessy-Podgorski Sylvia Seib From head to toe, no detail goes unnoticed!

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kristin Castillo Yanira Garza Colette House Mackenzie Jager Nesa Mangal E. Ce. Miller Christina Oddo Kelsey O’Shaughnessy-Podgorski Emma Sarran Webster Ariane Scholl 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 2017. 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.

ADVERTISING INFORMATION 847.584.2626 | Balloons from Paris312 make everything better.




Special Features & Inspiration 226

Make A Statement


New Classics


Designers’ Challenge


Craft Cocktails & Edible Art

Style Files 30-34

City Scene


Wed Essentials


Gown Glamour

Spotlight on Style 78

Avant Gardenia


Yanni Design Studio


Big City Bride


Divine Designs & Events


Galleria Marchetti


You Name It Events


LOLA Event Productions


Régine Danielle Events

Real Weddings Marla & Nicole


Jen & Josh


Rachel & Cody


Becca & Kyle


Neeral & Aniruddha


Mary Marshall & Dave


Adam & Jihane


Heather & Brandon


Angela & Andrew


Jim & Humberto

18 Publisher’s Letter


Kathleen & Conor

20 Behind The Scenes


Katie & Christian

28 Contributors


Stella & Matthew


Amanda & Zak

2017-18 Edition

Resource Guides


198 Celebration Locations Ceremonies & Receptions

16 About the Covers



Michelle & Derek


414 Advertisers Index

Alicia & Michael


ChicagoStyle Weddings

212 Celebration Locations Rehearsals, Parties, & Events


Newest Newlyweds Begins on page 366


ChicagoStyle Weddings


2017-18 Edition

Celebration Locations RECEPTIONS


The Trend Report


Local Love


Save A Dance For Me


I Do’s and I Don’ts


A Minute to Spare


Guest List 101


Guest Guidance



The Calm Before the Storm


The Quest for the Dress


You’re the Ones that I Want


Celebrating the Brides Before You


Under Covers

Planning & Prep 280

You’re Hired!


Something New


Social Media


Bridal Fashion


Invitations & Stationery 298

Stationery Trend Report


Make Your Wedding Program Worth Reading

Culinary Services CATERING


Eat, Drink, and Be Married



Dessert Meets Décor



Floral Inspirations


Color Your Day Beautiful


From Field to Aisle



Floral & Décor


ChicagoStyle Weddings



2017-18 Edition

Health, Beauty & Fitness 354

Hello, Gorgeous!


Ready, Set, Prep


Play it Safe



City Snapshots


Engagement Photography



9 Reasons to Hire a Videographer

Entertainment 388

Live Wire


7 Steps to Picking the Perfect Wedding DJ


Ride In Style

Honeymoon & Travel 406

The Honeymoon Handbook


Why Take a Mini-Moon?



Planning Notes


12-Month Planning Countdown


Tipping Guide and Sample Wedding Budget


A Quick Guide to Your Cocktail Hour


Obtaining a Marriage License


Money Matters


Lists to Make Before Your Big Day


8 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner


What to Include In Your Wedding Day Survival Kit


Invitation Dos and Don’ts


Sipping Solutions


Wine 101


Stocking the Bar


Raising the Bar


Another Handy Dandy List of Lists


Say Cheese


Questions to ask a Potential Photographer


Pick a Player





Contributors Rick Aguilar

Dennis Lee

Rick Aguilar Studios Craft Cocktails & Edible Art

Dennis Lee Photography Make a Statement

Rick Aguilar has been a photographer for more than 20 years in Chicago. His fun, artistic approach to weddings makes him a favorite for top wedding clients in the city of Chicago. Rick has a timeless and journalistic feel to his photographs. His years of experience in the wedding industry make him a valued asset in the event community. His work has been featured in a variety of wedding magazines, books, and wedding websites. Rick has taken part in national reality TV shows on networks such as Bravo, The CW, and VH1. He had the pleasure of photographing some of the top weddings in Chicago including the mayor of Chicago.

Frank J. Andonoplas, MWP Frank Event Design Craft Cocktails & Edible Art - Stylist 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.

Caroline Shaw The Wedding Dresser New Classics - Stylist 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.



Wedding and commercial fashion photographer Dennis Lee is a native Chicagoan with an eye for catching the moment that tells a story. His contemporary-yet-timeless images have been sought after by some of Chicago's most prominent clients, and his work has appeared along the boutiques of Michigan Avenue as well as in promotions for Mercedes Benz, The Peninsula Chicago, and Mastercard. His unique ability to combine the storytelling nature of a photojournalist with the eye of a fashion photographer defines Dennis' style.

Samantha Jensen Alicia’s Photography Designer’s Challenge Samantha is the wedding photog rapher for Alicia’s Photography, an internationally acclaimed and pub lished, award winning photography studio. Her goal is to capture each couple’s true personality and style while documenting the most important day in their life. Every new client challenges and inspires her to continue to seek the unspoken feeling that only a photograph can capture. Her pursuit to find the emotion that each wedding holds has taken her all around the world. After many years of experience, her love for photography, coupled with her passion for people, has been the foundation of her artistry.

Syed Yaqeen SYPhotography New Classics Syed Yaqeen is an award-winning visual story-teller, educator, and mentor to wedding industry professionals. Based in NYC, Syed considers Chicago his second home and regularly travels to many domestic and international locations for weddings and photoshoots. In addition to his wedding photography, his editorial and fashion photography are sought after by designers and stylists. With more than 10 years of experience as a professional photographer, Syed is there with you every step of the way - on your hectic wedding day or high energy fashion shoot, capturing every moment and detail.

City Scene

What’s neW around chicagoLand Effortless Events 738 Prescott Ct. • Naperville, IL 60563 630-416-5056 • Back in 2007, Owner and Creative Director Cindy Shanholtz named her new boutique planning company Effortless Events. Ten years later, Cindy has a strong team full of dedicated and talented planners whom all adore the planning industry. With over 500 amazing events under their belt ranging from weddings to corporate parties, Effortless Events knows how to plan flawless, fun, and unique events for their clients. In celebration of their ten year anniversary, Effortless Events re-branded with new colors, a new logo, and a fully re-designed website. The ladies at Effortless Events are excited to share their knowledge with all their future brides and grooms!

Ampersand Wine Bar 4845 N. Damen Ave. • Chicago, IL 60625 773-728-0031 •


Seeking an intimate urban space that perfectly captures the elegance of your event and the spirit of who you are as a couple? Ampersand Wine Bar, named Chicago’s Best Neighborhood Restaurant by Chicago Tribune, is the perfect locale for smaller weddings and celebrations, engagement parties, showers, brunches, and exceptional proposals. Ampersand’s award winning menu is curated just for your event, and includes hand crafted custom cocktails, wine pairings, and dynamic tableside wine education. “Fine dining sophistication is right here in the heart of the city,” said Chef Owner Darren McGraw, formerly the head pastry chef for Charlie Trotter and Wolfgang Puck. “We can’t wait to welcome you.”

Chicago Marriott Southwest at Burr Ridge 1200 Burr Ridge Pkwy. Burr Ridge, IL 60527 630-986-4100 For wedding receptions, cere monies, bridal brunches, meetings, events, and gather ings, indulge in the newly renovated banquet space at the Chicago Marriott Southwest at Burr Ridge. The style and décor of this major renovation will set the mood for a celebration you’ll never forget. This conveniently located property has always been a favorite, and now there’s more to enjoy than ever before.

Coco Pazzo Café 212 E. Ohio St. • Chicago IL 60611 312-664-0212 •




In 1992, Jack Weiss opened the doors of Coco Pazzo and introduced Chicago to the straightforward seasonal cuisine of Tuscany. Four years later, Jack introduced Coco Pazzo’s informal cousin, Coco Pazzo Café, to the Streeterville neighborhood. In 2017, on the 25th anniversary of the original Coco Pazzo, Jack merged Coco Pazzo Café with his Roman inspired restaurant, Tre Soldi. The new Coco Pazzo Café combines the familiar with the fabulous. The menu features time honored Tuscan favorites alongside Roman inspired dishes, and the relaxed atmosphere features Modigliani-style murals. When weather permits, guests can enjoy the warmth of the season while they dine alfresco.

Dame Couture 1576 W. Lake St. Addison, IL 60101 847-773-9061

Longtime independent bridal salon Dame Couture has moved to a brand new location in the western suburb of Addison. While the space is new, the shop still offers the same knowledgeable service, eclectic selection of gowns from independent and emerging designers, and a focused, one-bride-at-a-time experience for all the women who enter the store. Owner Daniela Chaidez also offers custom design, and has plans to expand into dresses and jewelry for bridesmaids later this year.

City Scene

What’s neW around chicagoLand Eaglewood Resort & Spa 1401 Nordic Rd. • Itasca, IL 60143 630-694-5907 •


Eaglewood Resort & Spa is celebrating fifteen years of making dream weddings become reality. Tucked behind a quiet neighborhood in the Western suburbs, Eaglewood’s 106 acres of natural beauty will make you feel a world away. With indoor and outdoor ceremony and reception spaces, delicious on trend menus, golf course views, an on-site spa, a bowling alley for your rehearsal dinner, 295 beautiful guest rooms, and Four Diamond service, you won’t have to travel far for an elegant and memorable venue. Whether your wedding is intimate or grand, Eaglewood’s dedicated planners will ensure every detail of your wedding is stress-free and flawless.

Ace Hotel Chicago 311 N. Morgan St. • Chicago, IL 60607 312-764-1921 •


With sweeping views of old Chicago, a classic black and white photo booth, and catering from Jason Vincent of Giant, Ace Hotel Chicago is ready to help you realize your wedding day vision. The hotel has several grand spaces for your reception, cocktail hour, ceremony, and more. Each space, adorned with considered aesthetic details, is flexible enough to comfortably accommodate your guests and all your wild visions. Ace Hotel Chicago is perfect for booking blocks of rooms so your friends and family can stay together.

Pulp & Ink 1344 N. Wells St. Chicago, IL 60610 312-475-1344 Pulp & Ink is excited to offer a new elevated, hand curated collection of treats for wedding guests who travelled near and far to celebrate your special day. HAVERSACK is the perfect way to say thank you with a collection of perfectly packaged items waiting for guests upon arrival in their hotel rooms. Packaging ranges from a hat box, canvas tote, and petite wooden bushels that can be personalized with monograms, images of Chicago, personalized notes, maps, weekend itineraries, and more.

Jojayden Custom Clothier 1457 E. 53rd St. • Chicago, IL 60615 773-675-6005 • Jojayden is a one stop shop for custom fashion when it comes to weddings. As one of Chicago’s best custom clothiers, Jojayden is known for its signature designs and custom handmade shoes. Visit the Hyde Park location and build your own shoes and accessories as a knowledgeable staff guides you through your personalized experience. Ensure your wedding day look is 100% on point.



The Odyssey 19110 Ridgeland Ave. Tinley Park, IL 60477 708-429-7400 The Odyssey experienced a complete remodel this winter. The reimagined space is brighter and more contemporary, offering a renewed sophistication. The Odyssey now offers shimmering platinum wall coverings and finishes, exquisite furnishings, marble floors, and magnificent crystal chandeliers. Dramatic, color changing cove lighting throughout the ballrooms brings each hosts’ color inspirations to life, and the grand entry foyer with its twin staircases and two story fireplace is always impressive. The exquisite ballrooms and outdoor veranda still offer views of the pristine golf course, private lakes, cascading fountains, charming gazebos, and beautiful floral gardens.

City Scene

What’s neW around chicagoLand


Ravenswood Event Center 4011 N. Ravenswood Ave. • Chicago, IL 60613 773-388-2170 • When it comes down to it, what really matters when hosting a wedding? Is it the food? Is it the space? Is it the service staff? Is it the attention to detail? Is it the experience one has planning for their wedding? For ten years, Ravenswood Event Center has said yes to each of those, and more. Everything matters. Over the past decade, Ravenswood Event Center has crafted, cooked for, and hosted many of Chicago’s most wonderful wedding celebrations and events. If details matter to you, visit us to see how we can make your wedding a wonderful celebration. CALLISON RTKL

The Ridge Hotel W4240 WI-50 • Lake Geneva, WI 53147 800-225-5558 • Lake Geneva, WI’s Ridge Hotel recently completed $4.5 million worth of sleek, modern upgrades including new dining and drinking concepts, an inviting and tech savvy lobby and reception area, enhanced fitness facility, and a fresh facelift to hallways, restrooms, and the glass adorned staircase leading down to the ballrooms. The most contemporary redesign in Lake Geneva of late, The Ridge Hotel also added an outdoor wedding pergola and aisle overlooking the wooded Lake Como shoreline and refreshed the Aspen Ballroom with raised ceilings, state of the art finishes, and French doors opening to a backyard veranda highlighted by a 12-foot fire feature, lounge, and poolside sports bar.

Pontarelli 5584 N. Northwest Hwy. Chicago, IL 60630 312-361-4111

160 E. Pearson St. • Chicago, IL 60611 312-266-1000 • The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago is refashioning its historic property with bold architectural design, memorably infusing the spirit of the city’s outdoor elements into lobbies and social spaces. Inspired by its iconic address that unites city, lake and sky, the long-awaited revitalization will solidify The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago as a fixture in the city’s storied history as well as its future chapters. Doses of art deco and “majestic modern” echo famed skyscrapers and celebrate the surroundings at every turn, including the reception area, new culinary concepts, and two lobbies, including the transformation of the 12th floor lobby lounge. Collectively, the spaces will set the stage for an urban respite with a sense of serenity and airiness.



Jewell Events Catering 424 N. Wood St. • Chicago, IL 60622 312-829-3663 • Jewell Events Catering is excited to be celebrating a milestone anniversary in 2017, our 50th year serving Chicago! Beginning with Mr. Jewell’s first “catered” party in Chicago, a tray of hors d’oeuvres that he prepared and delivered himself to a socialite’s home, we’ve grown into one of Chicago’s premiere catering companies. Fifty years later, we still understand that entertaining at home is one of life’s true pleasures.


The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago

A wedding is not about the cars that get you there, or the location of your reception hall; your wedding is about you! With forty years of experience, Pontarelli allows brides and grooms to breathe easy knowing that they’re in the most experienced hands in all of Chicago. Pontarelli offers no hourly minimums for our wedding services because we know that no wedding is the same. Our signature red carpet and champagne toast come included in our wedding packages and we also offer a complimentary ride to send you off on your honeymoon!


Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio;


MoriLee via Kathryn's Bridal and Dress Shop;


Moi Soli Galore Nightwear;


Mayfield Flowers;


Delish Cakes; SHOES


Invitations by Design;


Razny Jewelers;


Just Invite Me;



SweetPea Cakes; GOWN

Galia Lahav via Bella Bianca Bridal Couture;


James & Sons Fine Jewelers;


Badgley Mischka;


Razny Jewelers;


Mayfield Flowers;


MinkMaids via Dame Couture; Available Upon Request


James & Sons Fine Jewelers;


DBY invitations;


James & Sons Fine Jewelers;


Elum Designs via Pulp & Ink;



Badgley Mischka;

Oak Mill Bakery;


Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio;


Sorella Vita via Diana's Bridal Boutique;



Just Invite Me;


Label With Love;


Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio;




Razny Jewelers;


Paris312; CUPS



Maxe Designs;


Galia Lahav via Bella Bianca Bridal Couture; CONFETTI POP

Paris312; CUPCAKES

SweetPea Cakes;


Freya Rose;







Pulp & Ink;


Jojayden Custom Clothier | Shirt: J. Hilburn | Bowtie: Lee Allison;;;



Jojayden Custom Clothier;



James & Sons Fine Jewelers;




Formally Modern Tuxedo;


Yanni Design Studio;




Jojayden Custom Clothier;


Urban Icing;


Cherished Heritage;


Just Invite Me;


Rolex via Razny Jewelers;


Planning Countdown

No two weddings are exactly the same, which means that the preparation process varies from couple to couple. However, there are certain steps that every couple winds up ticking off their list: buying their attire for the celebration, choosing a venue, hiring an officiant, and so on. Trying to juggle all of these important items can get exhausting, which makes it all the more necessary for couples to start their planning well in advance. With our simple guide, you’ll be able to navigate the entire year before your wedding without any unnecessary stress. So tear out the next page and stuff it in your purse, tape it to your fridge, hand it off to your trusted wedding planner – no matter what you choose to do with our list, if you follow the steps in order you’ll be well on your way to wedded bliss.

WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Erin Hoyt Photography 50



12 MONTHS ___ Choose the date and time for wedding and rehearsal.



___ Choose dress and

___ Confirm details for rehearsal

___ Mail invitations.

___ Create your budget, then

accessories. Schedule

dinner, ceremony, and

select ceremony and

delivery date and initial


reception sites.


___ Set up a wedding website

___ Reserve any rental

___ Plan bachelor and bachelorette parties.

equipment such as tables,

and email account. ___ Decide on your wedding

chairs, and tent (if necessary).

theme and colors. ___ Choose an officiant and

___ Choose a baker, then order

meet with him or her to

your wedding cake and

learn about any premarital

groom's cake. ___ Select your wedding

requirements. ___ Start planning the guest list to get a rough head count.

stationery, then mail save the dates.

ONE MONTH ___ Pick up rings and check engraving. ___ Confirm details with the florist, caterer, entertainers, and officiant. ___ Have your final dress fitting. Use this as a trial run with

___ Choose your attendants.

___ Plan the rehearsal dinner.

full hair, makeup, and

___ Book the musicians for

___ Choose favors, then order or


ceremony and reception.

NINE MONTHS ___ Select dresses for bridal

begin to assemble them.

___ Buy gifts for attendants,

___ Finalize guest list.

flower girl, ring bearer,

___ Schedule hair and makeup

fiancé, parents, and anyone


else who helped make the wedding extra special.


___ Host bachelor and

caterer, photographer,


videographer, floral,

___ Choose the ceremony

___ Plan for floral and dress

___ Decide on vendors: planner,

transportation, hair, makeup. ___ Have engagement photos

music, and discuss

___ Register for gifts at bridal registries of your choice.

ONE DAY ___ Deliver welcome bags to guest accommodations, if you have them. ___ Get a manicure and pedicure. ___ Hold rehearsal dinner and hand out special gifts to the wedding party. ___ Prepare tip envelopes for vendors and arrange for someone to distribute them the day of the wedding.

WEDDING DAY ___ Arrange to get checked in and have luggage delivered to your hotel. ___ Relax and enjoy the day!


reception music with band or DJ.


bachelorette parties.

FABULOUS FLOWERS Bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces- flowers will be everywhere on your wedding day, so make sure to meet with your florist well ahead of time. Mayfield Flowers,

___ Discuss menu details with caterer. ___ Confirm out-of-town guest accommodations. ___ Order wedding rings and arrange for engraving. ___ Plan meeting for prenuptial agreement. ___ Order men’s attire.

ONE WEEK ___ Obtain marriage license. ___ Write toasts and vows. ___ Give assignments to wedding party members and remind them of rehearsal details. ___ Confirm timetables and details with all vendors. ___ Notify caterer of the final guest count.

SWEET MEMORIES Turn your bouquet into something gorgeous that you’ll wear time and time again. Austin Preservations,

FINISHING TOUCHES Beautiful accessories are the key to nailing your bridal look. Buy these add-ons six-eight months before the big day, just like your gown. Bel Aire Bridal via Diana’s Bridal Boutique,



Sample Wedding Budget 6%

ATTIRE: Wedding Gown, Rings, Accessories, Tux

By the Numbers THE MOST...


The most expensive wedding gown. It featured carats’ worth of diamonds.



BEAUT Y: Hair, Makeup, Spa Ser vices



CAKE: Sweets, Dessert Bar

The most bridesmaids in a wedding ceremony, though most brides opt for around


ENTERTAINMENT: DJs, Bands, Orchestras


FLORAL & DÉCOR: Bouquets, Boutonnieres, Centerpieces OFFICIANT:


1% 10%

PHOTO & VIDEO: Engagement Session and Wedding Day




The priciest slice of wedding cake ever sold. The piece was cut in 1937 from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s wedding cake and was sold to a couple from San Francisco.



Tipping Guide Tipping is never mandator y unless your contracts warrants it, but if a vendor went above and beyond, let them know!

10% 15-20% 10% 15-20% 15-20% 15% 15-20% 15% 52


CEREMONY & RECEPTION: Venue, Food, Beverage, Rentals


STATIONERY: Invitation Suite, Programs, Menus, Thank You Cards TRANSPORTATION: Limousine, Trolley, Classic Car







OTHER: Gifts, Tips, Favors, Rehearsal Dinner

1,500 The number of flowers in the world’s largest wedding bouquet. The bouquet weighed over 200 pounds and contained 8 types of blooms.

8,526 Ft. The length of the longest wedding dress train. It was inspired by a sea of flowers, and was decorated with real petals. Stats from Guiness World Records.

The Trend


While planning the perfect wedding is chiefly about following your heart, the majority of brides end up incorporating several elements that are popular with nearly-wedded couples across the board. We’re all for creativity and making your wedding truly your own, but taking a few cues from what’s trending isn’t following the herd. On-trend wedding ideas aren’t just about doing what’s popular – they’re about taking what’s new and exciting and making it truly your own. We love talking trends and discussing what brides are going ga-ga for these days, but this time around, we decided to let our vendors take center stage – the talented and creative wedding professionals who are putting these trends into action right as we speak. Flip through our Trend Report to get the inside scoop from Chicago’s top venues, bridal salons, décor experts and more as they share the latest and greatest ideas from their own unique corners of the wedding world. WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Erin Hoyt Photography 54




Tucked away in Chicago’s charming Roscoe Village neighborhood, our hidden patio combines cozy/chic design elements with urban vintage charm. In addition to a chef driven menu of gourmet food and curated wines, guests can enjoy elements such as intimate cabanas, a fountain and lush gardens, a retractable heated awning in case of inclement weather, reclaimed brick tiles, and a 100 year old coach house at the back edge of the property.


Volo Restaurant Wine Bar

Acquaviva Winery Our private 40-acre vineyard estate allows guests to feel as if they have traveled to an exclusive destination, surrounded by the charm and serenity of vines and orchards. We offer our wedding parties use of our private estate pool house as they prepare for their ceremony, choose wine or bubbly service for guests, and watch as Acquaviva delivers an unforgettable experience on the most important day of your life.

Blue Peak Tents

The Emporium at Abbey Farms Abbey Farms guests delight in the blend of rustic-chic, finely tuned accommodations that puts guest comfort and service at the forefront. Outside guests delight in details such as the Patio Bar, sweeping views of our 300 acre operating Christmas tree and pumpkin farm, our custom private bricked patio with wood burning fireplace, and our prairie for photos and conversation alike!


Having an outdoor tented wedding gives couples the opportunity to build an event space from the blank canvas of a simple plot of land. They can transform the space into the venue of their dreams with only their imagination as the limit. Our tents include all the amenities that indoor venues offer, such as hard flooring, complete weather protection, and climate control.

The Landing 1841 Our newly-renovated, charmingly rustic venue with elegant touches provides a picturesque setting for outdoor as well as indoor weddings. Situated along the White River, the outdoor ceremony sites are set up among lush greenery, a grand willow, and beautiful river views. Indoor ceremonies are equally beautiful with the warm natural wood, chandeliers, a stain glass window, and natural light flowing in from French doors. The hardest part may be choosing which one you want!




Chandler’s Weddings & Special Events Golf course weddings are all the rage, but weddings at Chandler’s are in a league of their own. Whether you host an intimate wedding or a large affair, Chandler’s offers a variety of beautiful ballrooms with stonework and fireplaces in addition to a breathtaking, dramatically lit ceremony arch that will make your ‘I do’ unforgettable.

Salvatore’s Ristorante

One of the best things about Salvatore's is that our wedding package includes everything you’ll need on your big day. Each couple gets two event coordinator professionals, top shelf alcohol, a phenomenal three course meal, chairs, tables, linens, and candles! Not to mention our beautiful, newly renovated space with mahogany wood paneling and ornate detail.

Millennium Knickerbocker Chicago Majestic crystal chandeliers, an illuminated dance floor that will keep your guests moving, our 1920s Gilded Ballroom… Millennium Knickerbocker has it all. Our award winning chef offers the newest trends in food and creative craft cocktails that will make it your own special day.




fashions Doris Bridal We have more and more brides asking for fuller dresses. They’re looking for straps and an open front with an illusion back and pretty details. They also seem to be loving continuous details that flow throughout the wedding gown, rather than breaking it up.

▲ Dame



Handmade bridal accessories are always trendy, and the Daphne Comb by Davie and Chiyo has all the right elements for the boho-chic bride. This independent Vancouver-based company created the comb so that the vines are bendable, and it adds just the right amount of sparkle!

Austin Preservations Brides spend so much time planning the perfect wedding, and turning their bouquet into jewelry is a unique way to keep their big day with them, always. Our Treasured Blooms petal jewelry is becoming super popular – we’re able to make countless styles of bracelets, pendants, and earrings.




We are thrilled to see the return of classic silhouettes and clean lines. Brides are asking for a timeless look with interesting necklines, and the designers at fashion week have certainly delivered that!

Bella Bianca Bridal Couture




Dilly Lily Creating garden-inspired bouquets with seasonal blooms sourced from local farms and foraging for special touches is our favorite current trend. We love to hand-pick flowers from family gardens or special locales for that added sentimental detail. Keeping to a color palette rather than to specific flowers allows your florist to select the best seasonally available blooms that might otherwise be overlooked.

Mayfield Flowers

▲ ▲

The Festive Frog Couples are really putting more thought into the design of their wedding table settings. Our clients are on the look-out for rentals that are interesting and reflect their individuality. They are looking for unique table and glassware to use as decor as well as for function.



Brides are moving towards a more tailored and classic look but still keeping some organic and natural elements from the rustic/DIY trends. There are so many different types of greenery now available from our growers, which has pushed us into diversifying our designs. We love continuing to learn about new floral varieties, and new design skills!


catering craves

Chic Chef Catering

Pesto Sriracha Shrimp Crostini is one of our most popular appetizers for weddings. People love it because it’s loaded with huge flavor in just a few bites. Its elegant presentation intrigues people to try it and its flavor palate keeps them coming back for more.

Jewell Events Catering


With the rise of condiments like Kim Chi and Sriracha, the average palate is quickly becoming more accustomed to food which packs a punch. Spicy foods are taking center stage and bold flavors are now common place in today’s dining environments. As a result, our chefs are fundamentally trained, but encouraged to embrace their creativity!

Sweet Baby Ray’s Catering

Elevated comfort food is right on trend. Nashville hot chicken is a southern favorite that tastes amazing with home-brined pickled vegetables. Baked macaroni and cheese takes a decedent turn when lobster and artisanal cheeses are added. The flavorful twists on this type of food add to a casual, fun dining experience.

Weber Grill Catering Couples today have made a huge shift in prioritizing food at their weddings. Foodies are an expanding population, and we love that trend. Weber on Wheels is our full scale catering service that provides the same quality, standard of service and backyard legacy that Weber Grill Restaurants are known for.









This year, wedding desserts are heading in two directions. Brides opting to serve traditional wedding cakes are keeping things super clean and simple with multiple tiers and delicate decorations. Think beautiful, pristine cakes adorned with real blooms, tastefully restrained foils, and edible beading and gems. Many couples opting to serve a very small cake or no cake at all are turning to tables full of tiny, bite-sized treats instead. Macaroons and beautifully iced cookies have been starring in more and more weddings, as well as donuts, croquembouche (see page 329!), cupcakes, and more. No matter what type of sweet treat you choose to serve, you're guaranteed to find the perfect bakery right here in Chicago!




entertainment ▲

Conquest Entertainment



Your first dance doesn't have to be overly complex – even just taking some ballroom dancing lessons will be a surprise! If you really want to blow their minds, have your DJ make a custom song that starts with a slow ballad and jumps to several 20-30 second clips of faster songs like "The Twist" or "U Can't Touch This.” This will definitely get a rise out of your guests.

BeatMix Music Whether it’s a mariachi band during your cocktail hour, a second line leading the way from cocktails to dinner because you met in New Orleans, or welcoming your loved ones to Chicago with a drumline performance, music is one of the best ways to personalize the night with pieces of your past.

H.Y.P.E. Productions, Inc.

For your first dance as newlyweds, have your band create a custom mash up with your favorite songs and work on a routine. This gives you a chance to be really creative with the music and be a part of the process. Add in some custom choreographed lighting and you have a unique first dance that will be so memorable.

Chicago Wedding DJs


Now more than ever, brides are wanting DJs with real mixing skills. A recent bride knew she wanted to be on the dance floor all night long, so she picked favorites that she knew her guests would like. And then she did something interesting… she searched youtube for remixes of these favorites that people probably had never heard before. Needless to say it was a thrill for me, because I do the same thing using my professional DJ sources. For her, she was on the dance floor all night long.




Today’s bride wants her wedding to be glamorous, and what era is more glamorous than the Gatsby era? This time period evokes parties, good times, luxury and a hint of naughtiness. We recently acquired a 1936 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith Limousine that represents this time period perfectly. With a fully restored interior and exterior, its passengers cannot help but feel regal.


Classic Wedding Car

Most couples no longer care if their wedding vehicles are white; they’re just taking the sharpest look over all. Our luxury buses are all black inside and out and provide a wow factor like no other in sharpness and class. People are spending their money on quality and appeal.

Empire Limousine There’s been a huge spike of interest in trolleys, even in the winter time! Equipped with both air-conditioning and heat, they’re an all-season vehicle that’s taken the spot of the classic white wedding limo. Wedding parties have been getting bigger and bigger, so there’s been a huge increase in larger capacity vehicles like party buses, trolleys, and minibuses.









When it comes to the wedding world, there is no better place

gorgeous scene and the perfect time to enjoy a wedding in a

to say your vows than Chicago and its suburbs. With every-

very natural setting, like a farm or orchard. Winter white just

thing from skyscrapers to farm fields, our beautiful region has

can’t be beat when it comes to stunning wedding pictures.

so much to offer. Read on to discover why Chicago is simply

Imagine a ceremony in front of a fireplace, and the twinkling lights of downtown Chicago glistening through the windows.

the best.

1. EVERY SEASON IN CHICAGO IS BEAUTIFUL Though the weather around here can be somewhat unpredictable,

Spring is full of possibilities and blossoms. It’s a romantic time in the city, where everything is blooming and people are bursting to get outside. Pretty spring peonies are perfect for a wedding at a golf course or private estate.

you can always count on the gorgeous seasons to provide a beautiful backdrop for your wedding as well as your photos. Summer in the city is sunny, bright, and colorful, and outdoor


venues and rooftop locations open up to welcome events with

The Chicagoland area has options abound when it comes to

warmth and comfort. When the fall colors take over, the city

venue styles, allowing you to select what fits your personality

and the suburbs ignite with oranges, reds, and yellows. It’s a

best. Imagine views from the top of a skyscraper as you say

WRITTEN BY Kelsey O’Shaughnessy-Podgorski | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Erin Hoyt Photography




your vows, or the way the lights look across the city as you dance the night away. Nothing says sophistication quite like a wedding a thousand feet in the air. On the other hand, the area also features many gorgeous rustic venues that will have your feet planted firmly on the ground. Unique farms and wineries dot the region, letting nature take center stage as you enjoy an outdoor ceremony and a casual reception. If you’re looking for something totally different, the region also offers opportunities to get married on the water. Gorgeous private yachts and charters let you enjoy Lake Michigan and other beautiful lakes nearby while you float right into married life.



get lost in a large city. However, you

“Chicago offers everything I could ask for as a wedding planner. I get to collaborate with couples who share my passion for creating sophisticated and timeless weddings in a city that is home to some of the most glamorous and breathtaking venues in the world.” – Regina Brooks, Régine Danielle Events

don’t want them twiddling their thumbs, bored out of their minds as they try to find something to do either. In a city like Chicago, there’s always something happening nearby. Tons of restaurants, shops and museums are within walking distance of local venues. One of our top-notch sports teams is always playing. Each neighborhood offers its own unique flair and fashion. Encourage guests to get out and explore! Or, provide a fun map showing the different sites your guest might like to see. It’s like a mini-vacation for your friends and family – even if they’re only coming in from the suburbs. Plus, it’s really hard to get lost in a grid system. To top it all off, there are a plethora of options when it comes to transportation. Uber and Lyft are prominent in the city,

When your friends and family arrive in

so people are never too far away for a

town for your wedding, it’s not hard to

ride. The L and the Metra are also



great options, especially if a city native is helping to guide guests. If all else fails, there are tons of cabs just waiting to be hailed.

4. YOU CAN’T BEAT OUR FOOD AND DRINKS In the last decade, Chicago has become something of a foodie destination. With world-renowned restaurants and amazing chefs preparing unique and delectable meals, there is something for every palette. Venues and restaurants offer everything from the most exquisite and sophisticated plated meals to fun, family-style favorites, to delicious small bite options. Spice things up by selecting some of your go-to options from your favorite restaurants. It will allow guests to get to know you a little better, and you get to eat all your faves on your big day. Maybe you’re interested in having some fabulous fare served with a side of a fun. Have a food truck stop by your event to offer late night tacos, barbeque or even donuts. Guests will have fun with this casual treat, and will be guaranteed to remember your wedding. Chicago is also home to many amazing breweries, like Goose Island, Two Brothers and Revolution. Offer guests a taste of the local flavor with a great beer flight showcasing your favorite local brews.

5. WE’VE GOT HISTORY If you’re interested in something with a little history, enjoy a timeless event in one of our famed museums or landmarks in and around the city. Friends and family will enjoy exploring as much as they enjoy the wedding. We have everything from amazing museums and beautiful views at Museum Campus, to the fun zoos and botanical gardens in the suburbs. Before or after your wedding, excite guests with a wonderful architectural 74



"As a planner, I love the fact that the Chicagoland area offers a multitude of options and the ability to tailor each couple’s special day to their unique style and flare. You can find the perfect setting for your wedding no matter your theme or budget: rustic, garden, beach, industrial, small town charm or big city views. Within an hour you can go from skyscrapers to corn fields, provide a family-style barbecue or exquisite five-course meal, enjoy a waterfront ceremony or an intimate gathering at a bed and breakfast. Chicago has it all." – Bethany Moore, Bethany Moore Events tour, highlighting some of the city’s most famous buildings. Enjoy a walk through Millennium or Grant Park to enjoy some historical green spaces, or take in one of our celebrated art galleries.

6. IT’S EXTREMELY PICTURESQUE There are a million beautiful spots in Chicago for pictures – everywhere from the Honeycomb, to the sign in front of the Chicago Theater, to North Avenue Beach. Talk with your photographer about the best places to visit in the city for photos to capitalize on all that this gorgeous town has to offer. No matter where you end up, you’re pretty much guaranteed a beautiful skyline view and a unique backdrop. Don’t forget to take a few “magic hour” shots with the famous buildings in the background. It’s a moment you’ll never forget, and a shot you’ll want framed in your living room forever.

7. IT’S HOME Whether you were born and raised here or you’re a new friend, it’s not hard to find your place in Sweet Home, Chicago. This is the place where acquaintances become friends, and friends become family. No city is quite as unique and amazing as Chicago, and we can’t think of a better place to start your happily ever after.

To find the perfect venue for your big day, visit








& Alex Ray

PHOTOGRAPHY: Timothy Whaley Photographic Artists; Maha Studios Inc. EVENT PLANNER: Régine Danielle Events STATIONERY: IJORORE TENT RENTAL: Arena Americas CAKE & SWEETS: Julie Michelle Cakes

ALICIA & MICHAEL WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Melissa Marie Photography

During a 2013 visit to Kentucky, Mike walked into a bar in downtown Lexington where Alicia and her friends were drinking and dancing the night away. “Mike said he saw me on the dance floor and had to introduce himself,” Alicia said. They hung out the rest of the evening and even though Mike returned to Chicago a few days later, the couple never stopped talking. Mike and Alicia tied the knot at the Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago on what Mike swears was the hottest day of the year. “It. Was. Hot,” he joked. “But you can’t tell that we were melting in our photos!” Mike and his groomsmen enjoyed Kentucky bourbon while the girls got ready, and then the couple met for breathtaking first look pictures on the fire escape of the Warwick Allerton – twenty-three stories high! It was important to Alicia and Mike that their Airedale terrier, Arden, was part of their big day. “After the ceremony, everyone stood to cheer for us and Arden joined in by jumping up and barking along,” Alicia remembered. “It was perfect!” In addition to their adorable pup, the couple made their wedding memorable by incorporating elements from their favorite movies and shows. Alicia wore the blue satin Manolo Blahnik shoes from Sex and The City, and the couple learned a choreographed dance to “A Whole New World” from Aladdin. One of Alicia and Mike’s favorite memories from their wedding day was the crazy thunderstorm that hit during the ceremony and lasted into the night. “There was lightning and thunder for hours,” Mike said. “Everybody loved watching the storm through the windows of the Warwick Allerton. It was pretty awesome.”

Real Wedding Vendors VENUE: Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago | PHOTOGRAPHY: Melissa Marie Photography | OFFICIANT: Dr. David McFadden | HAIR: Alexa Gorogianis of Zazú Salon | BRIDE’S GOWN: Pronovias | BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: David’s Bridal | FORMALWEAR: Menguin | STATIONERY: Shutterfly | FLORAL & DÉCOR: French Poodle Floral | CATERING: Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago | CAKE & SWEETS: Bombon Cake Gallery ENTERTAINMENT: Toast & Jam, Inc.




Ways To Make Your Wedding Unique


It’s the small details that count. Make your wedding special with unique touches to showcase everything distinctive about you and your partner. ChicagoStyle Weddings looks at some ways you can make your big day all your own.


Have a Weekend Wedding. Make the celebration last longer than a day. Invite family and friends to join you and

your fiancé for a weekend full of activities. Consider a BBQ, a ballgame outing, or a trip to a local resort.


Wear a Custom or Vintage Gown. Order a one-of-a-kind custom gown or shop for a classic, vintage design to

show off all your best features. You’ll be the center of attention, just as a bride should be.


Use Family Recipes. Serve up one of your favorite family recipes at the rehearsal dinner, during the cocktail hour or

at your reception.


Mix a Signature Drink. Sure you can serve wine and champagne at your reception, but why not go for

something special like a signature drink? Maybe it’s the drink you ordered on your first date.


Incorporate a Favorite Hobby. Maybe you love scrapbooking and your guy loves cars. Why not mix your

special day with your special hobbies? The groom’s cake can be shaped like his favorite sports car, and you can scrapbook


Give Out Custom Wedding Favors. Look for wedding favors that set you apart from other couples. Give guests

your guestbook with photos of you and your soon-to-be

specially bottled and labeled wine (your favorite vintage, of


course), or bag up your favorite coffee or candy.



Walk Down Memory Lane. Show old photos or family videos at the reception. Everyone will ooh and ahh at how

Create Special Place Cards. Use your place cards to make a statement. Commemorate old photos, places

cute you were as a baby or how funny your partner was as a

you’ve visited or locations you’ll visit on your honeymoon.

toddler. Don’t forget the tissues for these emotional moments.



Create a Wedding Website. Start your own website and blog to chronicle your plans for the big day. Share your

Customize Your Cake Design. The wedding cake is a tradition, but you don’t have to have a standard cake.

Ask your bakery to whip up different flavors or work on a truly

ideas and insights so your friends and family can get a sneak

special color scheme and de sign. Your dessert will look and

peak of what you have planned.

taste amazing. WRITTEN BY Kristen Castillo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Native Weddings





Arrive in Style. Rent a classic car or a sports car to get you to

the ceremony and reception.


Be Charitable. Instead of favors, why not donate money to your

favorite charity? Ask your guests to consider donating, too.


Get Hitched on a Holiday. Christmas, Memorial Day, Valentine’s

Day, and the 4th of July are very fun on their own, but add a wedding to the mix and you’ll have an event to remember. Play off the colors, themes, and music of that holiday.


Go Outside. Get married at your favorite outdoor location like a

park or golf course.


Rent a Private Home. For a truly private event, rent a venue that

suits your style: a mansion, a beach house or a penthouse.


Write Personalized Vows. They’re not always easy to write, but per-

sonalized vows are sincere and special. Take some time weeks before the wedding to jot down your thoughts and then craft your vows.


Shoot Black and White Photos. This old-school look is a true classic

and will look timeless in your album.


Pick a Theme. A wedding theme doesn’t have to be over-the-top.

A subtle theme like a color or a location, such as Italy, can be lots of fun. Plus it provides a guide for you as you plan every moment of your day.


Rent a Photo Booth for the Reception. Cute candid photos

are lots of fun and will help your guests relax. Plus it’s a great souvenir for guests.


Wear a Hat. Let’s face it, most brides don’t wear hats. They

wear veils or tiaras, so go ahead and be different. 84




Enjoy Tea Time or Coffee Break.

are back and a great way for you to

If you’re a caffeine junkie, share

make a personal statement. Try a mono-

Spruce Up Your Décor. Take your ceremony and reception site

your passion with guests. Host a dessert

grammed topper to help you show off

from nice to amazing. Rent chair covers and

table with tasty after-dinner drinks like

your new initials.

luxe linens, then add stylish touches like cus-

your favorite flavored coffees and teas.


Host a Destination Wedding.


Vary Your Centerpieces. Your centerpieces make a statement, so

There’s no better way to show

why not mix up the displays by having a dif-

off your personality than to take your

ferent centerpiece on each reception table?

wedding on location to a favorite hotspot like Fiji, Hawaii or the Mexican Riviera.





Make a Statement with Calligraphy. Punch up the wow factor

Use Cake Toppers. They used

on your invitations with custom calligraphy

to be passé, but cake toppers

on the envelopes.


tom lighting and amazing floral decorations.


Choreograph a Dance Routine. Step out on the floor and wow

your guests with your dance moves. Sharpen your skills with a few lessons from professional dancers.


Include Your Pet on the Guest List. Have your dog or cat serve


as a member of the wedding party. This is

your big day. No matter how many people

the modern wedding party, so embrace the

are in your wedding party, embrace these

change and order a tux for your furry friend.



Share the Menu. Include a menu card on the tables to explain

your cuisine theme or a special dish to all your guests.



Create Your Wedding Party Your


Find an Untraditional Venue. Consider a movie theatre, a dance

hall or a museum.


Mix Up Your Bouquets. Have each of your bridesmaids carry a

Way. Maybe you only want one

custom bouquet and have your maid of

person to be in your wedding party. Go

honor’s bouquet stand out as something

for it. The other extreme? Ask all your

bigger or more colorful than the other

sorority sisters to stand up for you on




Don’t Forget Young Guests. Prepare an activity and goodie

bag for guests under age 12. Small games, cards, or coloring books will keep kids busy.


Add Color to Your Attire. Wear a colored sash, colored shoes or

other colorful accessories. The pop of color will definitely make you stand out!


Embrace Your Culture. No matter what culture you identify with,

there’s a way to celebrate your heritage


on your wedding day through cultural customs or family traditions.


Serve Non-alcoholic Drinks. Not every guest wants a cocktail, but

they still want a refreshing drink. Opt for alcohol-free margaritas and daiquiris. Don’t forget the classics like lemonade and iced tea.


Hand Deliver Your Invitations to Special Guests. Most of your

invitations will go out in the mail, but why not personalize the invitation process even more by delivering a few invitations in person?


Write a Message on the Bottom of your Shoes. Use colored, flat

rhinestones to write a clever message on the bottom of your shoes (near the heel). You can write the date and your initials or create a simple motif like a heart.


Colored Gems. Who says diamonds have to have all the fun?

Your ring can still shine with your favorite colored gem. Try a ruby or an emerald. If you have your heart set on a diamond, check out a rare, but very stylish canary yellow diamond or a pretty pink diamond.


Change into Casual Attire. You’ll be dressed to the nines for the

ceremony but who says you have to be so formal for the reception? You can even consider setting up a basket of cute sandals that all the women in your bridal party can change into. Let loose and have fun. It’s your day to shine!


Chauffeur Your Guests. Parking can be a nightmare at many ven-

ues. Avoid the hassle by offering your guests shuttle service in a fancy car or a limo. Arrange a pickup and drop off spot.


Order a Groom’s Cake. It’s fun and funky and can be very off-

beat. Screen a favorite photo or order a specialty design shaped like a guitar or including a sports team logo. 90




Find Cool Photo Opportunities.

cravings for good eats following a long

cozy feel of saying “I do” in their living

Take your wedding party photos

night on the dance floor. Order burgers

room and then celebrating outdoors.

in untraditional poses and places. Squeeze

and fries, pizza or whatever tasty dish

There are definite perks: you don’t have

everyone into your classic car or ask your

you want for you and your guests to

to worry about having another event

bridal party to hold up college pennants

savor after-hours.

at your venue and you can control

for fun pics. If you’re an active couple, ride bikes or do another activity you both enjoy.



Get Hitched at Home. Whether you’re a new homebuyer or an

Host a Post-wedding Snack. A

established homeowner, consider tying

midnight snack will satisfy your

the knot at home. Many couples like the

the décor.


Refresh your Makeup. Change your makeup between the cere-

mony and the reception. Have a stunning glow for the ceremony and then get ready to party at the reception with glam eye makeup and dramatic lips.


Honor Your Maid of Honor. Single out your maid of honor so

everyone knows who she is. She can wear a different color gown, a shorter length or even a dress with embellishments such as beading.





Arrangements. Your wedding is

a social event, so go ahead and encourage people to get to know one another. It may be awkward at first, but it could be very rewarding in the long run. Get guests out of their comfort zone by seating them with people they don’t know well.


Have a Postcard Guest Book. Instead of a traditional guest

book, ask guests to fill out a pre-stamped post card. Guests can send you wedding greetings, a special memory or even a joke. Ask your maid of honor to send you the cards one at a time throughout your first year of marriage. You’ll have something to look forward to all year long!


Make His & Her Gift Registries. You want water goblets; he wants

golf gear. You can register for both items. There’s no need to be so traditional with your registry. Select items that suit both of you or just one of you. Have fun and don’t forget to send a thank you note to the gift-giver. 92




FLORAL & DÉCOR: Yanni Design Studio VENUE: InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile

& Angela Orazio

PHOTOGRAPHY: Todd James Photography EVENT PLANNER: LeSpose Di Angela BRIDE’S SHOES: Jimmy Choo BRIDE’S JEWELRY: Maria Elena, Haute Bride STATIONERY: Crane & Co. CAKE & SWEETS: Sweet Fairy Desserts

MARLA & NICOLE WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Vesic Photography

Marla and Nicole met when they were twelve and

In addition to their November wedding day being

thirteen through their youth group, but didn’t fall in

unseasonably warm and right on the heels of the

love until a few years later when they went on a trip to

Cubs’ World Series win, the couple noted that there

Israel. “We realized our feelings for each other and

were several other elements that made their Big Day

never looked back,” the couple shared. Marla and

unforgettable. “We did our first look alone, so our

Nicole both attended Brandeis University and by the

wedding party hadn’t seen us yet,” Nicole said. “We

time they finished grad school, they were ready to

waited for them to come down and when the elevator

spend the rest of their lives together.

door opened and all of our dearest friends emerged

The couple knew that they wanted a black tie event with unexpected elements and chose River Roast for

with such joy and happiness…that’s a memory I’ll never forget!”

its industrial aesthetic. Marla and Nicole also decided

Marla’s favorite memory was being literally sur-

to incorporate their community into their ceremony

rounded by their guests during their ceremony. “People

and reception as much as they could. Isaac Sapsonik,

from around the room rose to speak and our friends

the rabbi from their youth group, acted as the couple’s

from Starving Artists sang a song from the camp that

officiant and their friends’ acappella group sang during

brought us together,” Marla said. “Those moments felt

the ceremony. “We were enveloped by the love and

so intimate and embracing, and it’s a feeling I want to

support that brought us together in the first place,”

hold with me forever.”

the couple shared.

Real Wedding Vendors VENUE: River Roast | PHOTOGRAPHY: Vesic Photography | OFFICIANT: Isaac Saposnik | BRIDES’ RINGS: Rebecca Zemans Jewelry DAY-OF COORDINATOR: The Simply Elegant Group | MARLA’S GOWN: Monique Lhuillier | NICOLE’S GOWN: Badgley Mischka via BHLDN HAIR: Norma Davila | MAKEUP: Wessam Shafek | BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Jenny Yoo Collection | STATIONERY: Shine Wedding Invitations FLORAL & DÉCOR: Epic Events | CATERING: River Roast | CAKE & SWEETS: West Town Bakery | ENTERTAINMENT: Becca Kaufman Orchestra



Don’t Stop the Party O U R T I P S F O R N AV I G AT I N G A L L T H E W E D D I N G B R U N C H E S , S H O W E R S , A N D PA R T I E S T H AT H A P P E N O N T H E R O A D T O “ I D O ” (Continued on page 102)

WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Native Weddings 100





most will be able to swing by an engage-

Like we mentioned above, the invite list

ment party for at least an hour or two.

He put a ring on it, and now it’s time to

to your engagement party is totally

party! Before you start hunkering down

flexible. If you’re pressed for time and

to plan the wedding, take the time to

want to make the celebration short and

stop and celebrate the fact that you’ve

sweet, keep it to just the VIPs. If you

ment party gets planned by you and

just made the most important commitment

know you’re going to have a destination

your partner or a professional planner.

of your life. Whether you host an intimate

wedding though, consider expanding the

That being said, it shouldn’t take nearly

dinner with just your families and close

guest list to include friends, extended

as much effort as wedding planning –

friends or invite everyone you know to a

family, and other people who are important

just pick a when and a where, then

gigantic bash, reveling in your new status

to you. Not everybody will be able to

spread the word and let a professional

as a fiancée is a must.

afford to travel for your wedding, but

handle the rest.


WHO PLANS IT? Just like the actual wedding, the engage-


THE BRIDAL SHOWER Traditionally, bridal showers are a much tamer version of the bachelorette party that moms, mother-in-laws, grandmas, and aunts get to attend. Think a girlsonly lunch that involves presents like pots, pans, and vacuums. If you’re yawning as you’re reading this, don’t worry – you aren’t alone. Most modern brides have put their own special twist on the bridal shower, and we’ve found that the more you adjust this event to fit your personality, the more fun you’ll have. Turn it into a wine night, host it at a cute bed & breakfast, take a cruise around Lake Michigan – as long as you’re spending quality time with the women who matter most to you, you’re doing this one right. WHO’S INVITED? Your future hubbie typically sits this one out, but the women in his life get to come. His sisters, mom, and grandma should get an invite to the shower, and so should all the important ladies in your own life. WHO PLANS IT? The role of planner typically falls on your mom, sister, maid-of-honor, or bridesmaids for this one. If none of them want to take the lead, it’s perfectly okay for this to turn into a group effort, so long as you aren’t lifting a finger. Again, a professional wedding planner could step in here and make your life considerably easier.

THE BACHELORETTE PARTY Bar hopping. Male strippers. Sexually suggestive desserts. Whether your bachelorette party includes all or none of these things, it’s bound to be one of the most memorable nights of your life. Other than the fact that it’s meant to be just for you and your bridal party, there really 104



are no rules here. Some girls skip the

starts steamrolling. Make sure everybody’s

multiple girls put the night or weekend

partying and have a movie and cocktails

on the same page, then step back and let


night, while others decided to turn the

your ladies do the work.

party into a weekend-long affair. If you’ve got your heart set on a bachelorette trip


though, be aware of your bridesmaids.

This night is for you and your bridal

evolved over time. It used to be an

party, plus maybe one or two additions.

actual rehearsal for the wedding followed

Some might not be able to afford a

Just like bridal showers, this event has

by dinner with everyone involved, but

weekend in Vegas or New Orleans, and WHO PLANS IT?

modern couples have turned it into the

Your maid-of-honor gets to lead the charge

calm before the wedding storm. It’s a

solution: if your bachelorette party is going

on this one, but don’t be surprise if it

chance to hang out with all the amazing

to last longer than a night, have an honest

turns into a bridal party group effort.

people who are going to help you pull off

talk with your girls before the planning

In fact, it usually turns out for the best if

your Big Day, and it’s perfect opportunity

putting them in an uncomfortable spot is the last thing you want to do. The





to trade stories, hand out thank-you

your ring bearer and flower girl (if it’s not

same place at the same time, consider

gifts, and let all your loved ones get to

past their bedtime!) and your officiant (if

this one a win.

know each other. It’s also one of the first

you’re close with him or her).

chances you get to see what your combined family of friends and relatives looks like together, and we promise that sight is something unbelievably special.




There’s no clear answer for this one.

Brunch is a fairly new addition to the list

Some couples like to totally take the

of optional wedding events, but many

reins and do all the leg work, while

couples say it’s their favorite. After every-


others are so exhausted by the wedding

one wakes up with a raging post-wedding

All of the VIPs should be on the list for

planning that they pass the responsibility

hangover, you all head down to the

this one. Both sets of parents, siblings,

off to their parents, best man, maid-

lobby of your hotel or next-door to a

bridesmaids, and groomsmen get an

of-honor, or wedding planner. As long

restaurant and stuff yourselves with pan-

invite, and optional attendees include

as all your loved ones wind up in the

cakes, bacon, and waffles. It’s the perfect



way to rehash the night and besides–

brunch to happen at the hotel you and

different from every other couple out

hangovers are always more tolerable

your guests stayed at you’ll have to plan

there, and how you decide to celebrate

when you aren’t suffering alone.

ahead, but if it’s a last minute decision,

is entirely up to you. Whether you spend

rallying the troops and heading out in

hundreds of dollars on these events or


Ubers will work just fine.

Most couples extend the invitation to It goes without saying that you aren’t

honor of you, your soon-to-be spouse,

you’d rather keep it small, you could

required to throw any of these events.

and your love. As long as that’s where

make the invite list match the one for

After all, getting hitched is a big enough

the focus stays, we guarantee your

your rehearsal dinner.

celebration as it is! If you’re excited to

showers, dinners, and parties will be a

start planning one or all of these events,

smashing success.


keep in mind that there’s no “right way”

You and your new spouse. If you want

to throw them. You and your fiancé are

To find the perfect venue for your big day, visit

any guests who want to tag along, but if


opt to make them much more low-key, the important part is that they’re in




EVENT PLANNER: Big City Bride VENUE: Millennium Park – City of Chicago

& Aly Richard

PHOTOGRAPHY: Riverbend Studio FLORAL & DÉCOR: Platinum Events CAKE & SWEETS: Alliance Bakery LIGHTING: VLS LINEN: BBJ Linen RENTALS: Halls Rental; Tablescapes


Michelle and Derek first met through a mutual friend at a bar called The Scout but at the time, they were both seeing other people. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘Wow. This guy has the same look, style, and vibe that I do’,” Michelle shared. “Something about him was different than anything I’d ever found before.” Six months later when the pair happened to bump into each other again, they were both single and traded numbers. Their first date was a Wu Tang concert after party and the couple only grew closer from there. The couple decided to get married in Chicago so that their out of town family and friends could be immersed in their Windy City lifestyle. Their ceremony was held on the Chicago History Museum’s private back patio and included a white hydrangea gazeebo, live piano and violin music, and the breathtaking backdrop of planes soaring through the sky as part of the Air and Water Show. Following the ceremony, guests had the museum all to themselves and were able to check out the exhibits before heading to theWit Hotel’s rooftop bar for cocktail hour. Here, Michelle, Derek, and their family and friends enjoyed gorgeous skyline views and award-winning hors d’oeuvres, then headed downstairs for their full reception. When asked about their favorite memories from their wedding day, the couple agreed that being able to incorporate their friends’ and family’s talents into their celebration made the day all the more special. Whether they were playing music, making ring bearer pillows, or officiating the ceremony, the couple’s loved ones played a huge role in Michelle and Derek’s wedding and the newlyweds made sure to thank them with a wide array of amazing gifts.

Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY: The Chicago History Museum | RECEPTION: theWit Hotel | PHOTOGRAPHY: Dare2B Productions VIDEOGRAPHY: Well Spun Wedding Films | EVENT PLANNER: Michelle Ganti | OFFICIANT: Rev. Fredrick D. Lewis RINGS: Pro-Gems Jewelers | BRIDE’S GOWN: Victor Harper Couture via Bella Bianca Bridal Couture | HAIR: Glam Studio 304 BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Badgley Mischka | FORMALWEAR: Suitsupply | STATIONERY: Paper Source River North FLORAL & DÉCOR: Divine Designs & Events | CATERING: theWit Hotel | ENTERTAINMENT: Born Legend Mgmt; Memories with Music CAKE & SWEETS: theWit Hotel | TRANSPORTATION: Second City Trolley CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Stepping Out HOW TO GET OUTDOORS O N Y O U R W E D D I N G D AY WITHOUT RISKING IT ALL ON THE RAIN. There’s something all Chicagoans know and it is this: the weather is unpredictable. There might be unexpected beach days in February or the need for a winter coat in May. Even the best planners cannot account for monsoonlevel rains or mid-summer hail, so most brides tend to question whether or not getting hitched outside is a good idea. Unpredictable weather doesn’t mean you should abandon your dreams of an outdoor wedding though. Here are some great ideas on how to get outside during your wedding without risking it all on inclement weather.

KEEP YOUR OPTIONS OPEN. Folks in the wedding industry know the importance of having a back-up plan. They’ve seen one too many tear-stricken brides in their day to ignore the very real chance that rainy wedding days are very possible, and that not every couple will love that. If the idea of getting married beneath an umbrella isn’t your idea of a dream day, then you will need to have a back-up plan. The simplest solution is to find a venue that has indoor and outdoor options. If you want to plan your ceremony outside, it will be very stress-relieving to know your venue offers an indoor option just in case that glowing prediction from your weather forecasting app proves to be fruitless. Ask your venue about their indoor options. Is there a space inside you can use in the event of inclem ent weather? Can your decorations be easily moved and modified for an indoor WRITTEN BY Ariane Scholl PHOTOGRAPHY BY Alicia’s Photography

Photo by: Windy City Production


ceremony? Don’t forget to ask what fees

“The great part of booking a wedding indoors and outdoors is

or charges might be included should

that you can enjoy the amazing location that you are in. If you

you need to move your ceremony, because you certainly won’t want to

have out of town guests joining you, it is always fantastic to show them a taste of the City or area that you decided to get married in. Being able to experience a view during a wedding adds a unique element and allows it to stand out from other

worry about those details on the day of your wedding. Does the thought of having to make a split-second decision on your big day stress you out? You can always plan to

weddings your guests may attend.”

have your ceremony and reception indoors

– Hilary Saurer, River Roast

An amazing terrace or patio strung up

then host your cocktail hour outside. with lights is a whimsical and romantic




"Planning a wedding outdoors is always a dream come true - natural light, greenery, and fresh air, but only if the weather cooperates! Having a backup plan is crucial. It eliminates the surprise and disappointment on your wedding day because you already know what you would do in the event of bad weather. When booking your location ask what they have done in the past is there a tent available, or enough space to move everyone indoors? Be comfortable with the backup option and keep it in your mind that it might be a possibility.” – Nicole Fauls, Urban Allure experience that your guests will adore, but if the weather won’t cooperate, you can easily move the cocktail hour indoors. Knowing you have that versatility will leave you feeling calm and collected no matter what the sky throws your way. Besides – your guests will be so happy about their signature cocktails and fancy hors d’oeuvres that if the party has to move back indoors, they’ll be none the wiser.

CONSIDER THE RUSTIC ROUTE. There is something very charming about a rustic wedding. Having your celebration at a farm pretty much guarantees magnificent landscapes with acres of rolling fields, but in addition to that gorgeous outdoor space you’ll get a great indoor area that’s the perfect solution to all of your potential weather woes. While the gorgeous landscape can serve as a bucolic backdrop for a wedding ceremony, having a barn to host your reception in can be a real steal. Think beautiful wooden interiors with beams to die for. Not only will you not have to concern yourself with fears about less than ideal weather, but having a temperaturecontrolled indoor location is also a good idea for older members of your family and guys who are decked out in suits and jackets. Some locations have fire pits and outdoor spaces where your guests can roast s’mores or play games like bocce ball, bags, horse shoes, and croquet. All that open space is also 120



great when it comes to letting your

rating options to make your dream come

even add heating or cooling to keep your

younger guests blow off steam, or

to life. If your wedding will be primed for

guests comfortable.

sneaking off with your new spouse for a

dancing, you can choose from a variety

quiet moment away from the crowd.

of different dance floors to get your


Whatever the case, if you pick a location

guests moving. Are you having a live

that has both a charming interior and

band or DJ? There are different stage

exterior, you will be all set for your big

options to accommodate your needs.

A popular option for couples is to plan a

day whether it comes with wind, rain,

Want to include an air of romance?

sparkler tunnel for your farewell. Not only

or shine.

Adding draping to your ceilings and walls

does it make for truly magical photographs,

is a sure-fire way to do so. While these


but it’s a great way to say goodbye to

options are all impressive, perhaps the

everyone as you exit to spend your first

Tents don’t just have to be a back-up

most comprehensive and lovely options

night together as a married couple. Equally

plan. In fact, nowadays event tents are

are those for lighting. Blue Peak Tents

as beautiful is inviting all your guests to

luxurious and upscale and offer a variety

provides nearly any lighting plan you can

write a wish or hope they have on a

of options. Whether your wedding is

dream up. Some options include: a sea

paper lantern and sending it into the sky.

quaint and intimate, or large and jubilant,

of lights sparkling overhead, hanging

Just make sure you choose the biodegrad-

there is a tent with ample space for you

chandeliers, Chinese lanterns, or Italian

able option, because you certainly want

and your guests. Options for tents range

Café style lighting, all of which are gor-

to keep nature as pristine as you left it.

from having a very open-air aesthetic to

geous and charming. The beauty of using

Watching all the lanterns ascend into the

the ability to add sidewalls if weather is

a tent is that it’s highly customizable and

sky is a striking moment to share with

a concern. Rental companies like Blue

able to be changed if you see a foreboding

loved ones and one that you will remember

Peak Tents also offer a variety of deco-

forecast on the horizon. In fact, you can

for a lifetime.


One final idea is to plan on having a memorable part of your wedding outside.



FLORAL, DÉCOR & LIGHTING: Divine Designs & Events VENUE: JW Marriott

& Zayna Hisham

PHOTOGRAPHY: Kristin La Voie Photography DAY OF COORDINATION: Clementine Custom Events STATIONERY: The Invitation Place CAKE & SWEETS: JW Marriott TRANSPORTATION: Classic Wedding Car

JEN & JOSH WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY LewChan Photography

Jen and Josh got to know each other after Jen’s stepbrother urged them to meet up. “We’d been in the same circles of friends back in Ohio, but we didn’t get to know each other until we both moved to Naperville,” Jen said. “He was living two blocks from my house. It was fate!” Jen and Josh decided to get married on New Year's Eve with a Gatsby-style wedding, and the couple began their day with a first look that included their loved ones. “I rode the elevator down to the lobby and when the doors opened, Josh was standing there,” Jen said. “Our family and friends were all standing behind him and the immediate outpouring of love made all our nervousness go away.” Upon arriving at Stan Mansion, guests were greeted with a huge antipasto display that featured the couple’s favorite meats and cheeses. After a little snacking, guests were handed champagne flutes and ushered into the ceremony. There, surrounded by their guests and their dogs, Jen and Josh got married in an emotional ceremony that featured live piano and trumpet music. “I don’t think we stopped laughing and smiling throughout the entire ceremony,” the couple said. Afterwards, Jen and Josh surprised their guests with a choreographed first dance then enjoyed their art-deco reception. Gold centerpieces with white hydrangeas and green amaranths set the mood at the head table while the rest of the room featured jewel-tone florals and elegant feathers. All in all, the couple couldn’t have been happier with their wedding day. As for advice? “Just let the small things go,” Jen suggested. “You only have so much time to have all the people you love in one place!”

Real Wedding Vendors VENUE: Stan Mansion | PHOTOGRAPHY: LewChan Photography | VIDEOGRAPHY: Imagination Designers OFFICIANTS: James DiQuattro and Ryan Lennox | BRIDE’S GOWN: Jenny Packham | BRIDE’S SHOES: Jimmy Choo HAIR & MAKEUP: Magnificent Brides | BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Badgley Mischka; Calvin Klein FORMALWEAR: Calvin Klein; Joseph Abboud | FLORAL & DÉCOR: Luminous Blooms | CATERING: Pinstripes CAKE & SWEETS: Amy Beck Cake Design | ENTERTAINMENT: Shout Section Big Band CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Strut Your Stuff F I V E T R I E D A N D T R U E WAY S T O M A K E Y O U R WA L K DOWN THE AISLE AS UNIQUE AS YOU ARE. As you’re planning your dream wedding, don’t forget to think about how you’ll make your grand entrance! If you’re a traditional bride planning a simple ceremony, you might choose to walk down the aisle on your father’s arm with the wedding march playing. But if you’re planning a themed wedding or just want to add a bit of flair to your ceremony, we have some ideas that will help you make your walk down the aisle as unique as you are. (Continued on page 130)

WRITTEN BY Mackenzie Jaeger | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Erin Hoyt Photography 128



“It’s not completely necessary to match your bridal bouquet to

UPGRADE YOUR BOUQUET. Carrying a traditionall bouquet down the

the overall theme of your wedding. Your bouquet is an accessory.

aisle is sweet and classic, but switching

Choose something that doesn't overpower your dress and

out those flowers for unusual foliage – or another object altogether – can help

compliments your personality. The simpler, the better!" – Magdalena Lipiarz, Yanni Design Studio

your walk down the aisle stand out. Take some time to brainstorm creative bouquet ideas that will complement your wedding theme and venue. Match your venue or season. For a barn wedding, think about carrying a hay or wheat bouquet–with or without flowers added in. Winter weddings will look gorgeous with a pine bough and pinecone bouquet. Feather bouquets are gaining popularity in whimsical weddings, and beach weddings almost beg for a seashell and driftwood bouquet. Ditch flowers entirely. Dream even bigger, and you can leave natural bouquets behind. Consider creating a bouquet out of brooches, book pages, sheet music, felt, buttons, ribbons, lace, tulle. . . . The options are only as limited as your imagination. Abandoning the idea of a bouquet entirely is also fair game, and that’s fine too. Popular nonbouquet options include carrying lanterns, pets, pinwheels, or simply nothing at all. Whether you opt for a simple floral bouquet or create a magical masterpiece, make sure that whatever you carry down the aisle reflects your unique personality.

CHANGE THE TUNE. Tired of hearing the same song played during every wedding ceremony? Choose a new tune to accompany you as you stroll towards your soon-to-be spouse. Stick with an instrumental piece or be really bold and play a ballad or a romantic pop song. If you’re hosting an upbeat wedding, you might even want to ask your wedding party to dance down the aisle during the processional. The right 130



wedding party would have a blast dancing

meet her groom at the front of the crowd,

the way of creating a ceremony that is

into your ceremony space, and the fun

but what if she didn’t? Every detail of

comfortable and meaningful for you.

entrance would set an energetic tone for

your ceremony should reflect your per-

the rest of the wedding.

sonality and help you feel at ease on your special day, so take a few seconds to

Once you decide who you will enter with, you need to think about how you will enter. There is always the traditional


close your eyes and imagine your grand

center aisle approach, but there are lots

entrance. Are you with your dad? Your

of other options. Instead of seating your

Everyone expects the bride to walk up

best friend? Are you alone? Don’t let

guests and then entering, you could

the center aisle on her father’s arm and

traditional wedding conventions stand in

enter the space first. You and your groom could stand at the front so that you are ready to start the ceremony as soon as your guests are seated, or you could greet guests as they came into the ceremony space, mingling and chatting until you’re ready to start. Some brides can’t imagine sacrificing the walk down the aisle. If that sounds like you, there are still plenty of ways to make your walk unique. Think about your entrance. You could enter from the side of the venue or loop through your seating plan. If your venue accommodates such a thing, you could make an even grander entrance by arriving by boat, horse, or something else equally romantic and full of shock-value. Remember that your entrance should reflect your wedding theme and tone, but most of all, it should reflect you!

SET THE SCENE. It’s also important to think about your seating plan. Many venues will allow you to create your own unique seating arrangement, so don’t forget that this is yet another aspect of your wedding day that you can personalize. Instead of the customary straight rows and a long center aisle, you could arrange the chairs in a circle around a raised platform, angle the rows, use benches instead of chairs, or even create a spiraling seating plan.

BEAUTIFY THE SPACE. Even simple decorations go a long way toward making your walk down the aisle unique and memorable. 132



Did You Know? Decorate the chairs or benches. Tying tulle and flowers onto the chairs or benches in your ceremony space is the wedding decor that we are most familiar with, but you don’t need to feel limited to that. Tulle and flowers are great choices for some weddings, but other weddings call for a little more inspiration. Again, it’s time to think about your theme

The largest pet wedding involved 178 pairs of puppies who sealed their “I dos” with a bark. The dogs all met their spouses at a speed dating event just before the ceremony.

and venue. Instead of tulle, try tying ribbon or burlap onto your chairs. Or, move the tulle to the front and create a draped canopy you can say your “I Do’s” under. If tulle isn’t your thing, trellises and arches decorated with lights or flowers always dazzle. Upgrade your aisle. Don’t neglect the aisle itself. Whether you unroll a runner, arrange a trail of stepping stones, install a boardwalk, or make a carpet of petals, your aisle does not have to be boring. At the ends of your rows of seating, think about adding interest points such as tea lights, tall vases of flowers, hand painted signs, lanterns, or something else that reflects your wedding theme. Remember to look up. If your wedding is inside, you may also have the option to hang things from the ceiling. Add mood lighting with twinkle lights, chandeliers, or candles in glass

Timothy Whaley & Associates Photography

jars. You can soften the atmosphere by hanging dripping flower displays or sweeping pieces of fabric. There are plenty of ways to personalize your walk down the aisle. Think carefully about your bouquet, music, entrance, and décor, and during the planning process, always keep your theme and venue in mind. The most important part though is to make sure that your choices reflect you. By implementing just a few of these ideas, you’ll be well on your way to creating a walk down the aisle that is as unique and special as you are.





Tips on Writing the Perfect Toast Just like any speech, your wedding toast

guests might be aware of how you

should have three parts: a beginning, a

know the couple.

• End your toast with a “cheers!” or “salute!” and take a drink yourself. Before you head back to your seat, make sure to hug or shake hands with both the bride and groom.

Memorize Your Toast

middle, and an end. It might sound obvi-

• Compliment the bride and groom, the

ous, but simplifying your toast into thirds

ceremony, and their parents, and be

this way makes it easier to tackle. Here’s

sure to thank the couple and their

when they’re memorized, but if you know

families for including you.

you get nervous or plan on having several

a few other tips to make sure you knock your speech out of the park:

• Share a poignant or funny story about

• Don’t launch into your speech imme-

the bride or groom, but make sure

diately after grabbing everyone’s atten-

the anecdote is appropriate for all

tion. Give guests a few moments to

audience members. During this part

collect themselves and get settled so

of your speech, turn and face the

that you don’t have to talk over any

couple and talk directly to them.


• To wrap up your speech, turn back to

Wedding speeches are more impactful

drinks before your speech, it’s perfectly okay to bring along a note card. Avoid reading your speech off of your phone though; there’s no way to make being glued to your screen look classy.

Practice, Practice, Practice

• Once everyone is ready, start with a

the audience and lift your glass to

brief introduction. It might seem like

signify that it’s time to toast. A generic

should give your toast a few practice

“to Mary and John and a happy

runs. Whether you recite it in front of a

common sense to you, but not all the


marriage” will do the trick, but feel free to personalize it.


Even if you plan to use a notecard you

Design/Images: Yanni Designs / Julia Gartsman


mirror or make your dog be the audience, it’s important to run through the entire speech aloud several times. It’s also important to have someone (this time a person, not your dog) read the speech before you deliver it at the reception.

Toasting Don’ts • Don’t mention any ex boyfriends or girlfriends • Don’t use profanity • Don’t make jokes about the honeymoon or make tasteless comments • Don’t talk about yourself unless it’s directly related to the couple • Don’t mention the cost of the wedding • Don’t talk about the gifts • Don’t embarrass the couple • Don’t reference politics, religion, or race • Don’t discuss their future plans • Don’t mention anything about pregnancy or having kids





VENUE: Galleria Marchetti PHOTOGRAPHY: Kent Drake Photography

& Cayla Bradley

FLORAL & DÉCOR: Platinum Events EVENT PLANNER: Cre8 Chicago STATIONERY: Impressions CAKE & SWEETS: Toni Patisserie

RACHEL & CODY WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Native Weddings

Rachel and Cody initially met through church but it was during the summer before Rachel’s freshman year at Loyola University when the pair really hit it off. “We realized that we make a great team,” the couple said. “We really balance, challenge, and encourage each other.” Getting married in Chicago was a nobrainer for Cody and Rachel. “Chicago is the background to so many of our first memories,” they explained. “This city is where we grew together, searching for the newest restaurants and the perfect cup of coffee.” The couple tied the knot at Morgan Manufacturing in front of a large crowd of friends and family. Their talented designers transformed the warehouse into a beautifully intimate space that overflowed with candles, soft draping, and greenery. Stunning floral wreaths that hung from the ceiling gave the venue a timeless, romantic feel. The couple agreed that their favorite memory from their wedding day was seeing each other for the first time as Rachel walked down the aisle. “We dated for five years before our wedding day, and all the emotion, anticipation, and excitement came together in that moment,” the couple shared. “Native Weddings captured the moment perfectly!” Another emotional moment from Rachel and Cody’s wedding was during the traditional father-daughter dance at the reception. Since Rachel’s father had passed away two years earlier, Rachel took turns dancing with her brother, mom, uncles, and fatherin-law. “It was a sweet moment for everyone,” Rachel said. “Our whole wedding was full of so many good things! From the getting ready to the send-off, everything was beautiful.”

Real Wedding Vendors VENUE: Morgan Manufacturing | PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY: Native Weddings | OFFICIANT: Pastor Steve Andres EVENT PLANNER: Plum & Ivy Events; Art of Imagination Design | BRIDE’S GOWN: Vera Wang HAIR & MAKEUP: Sonia Roselli Weddings & Makeup | BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Jenny Yoo Collection FORMALWEAR: Calvin Klein; Nicholas Joseph Custom Suits | FLORAL & DÉCOR: Abby Flowers Design CATERING: Paramount Events | ENTERTAINMENT: Sound MVMT | CAKE & SWEETS: Bittersweet CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



for me


We polled a few of our favorite dads to get their thoughts on weddings and how to plan them, and they were full of amazing advice. Before we jump into all of their tips and tricks though, we need to take a second to discuss what being a “dad” really means – and how playing the role of a father consists of a whole lot more than just sharing genes.

WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Gold Grid Studios




DEFINING THE WEDDING DAD If you were to flip to the page on dads in the Official Wedding Rules and Regulations Guide (that exists, right?), you’d find a few notes about him paying for the wedding, a paragraph or two on walking you down the aisle and dancing at the reception, and then the section would end. Tradition has made it clear that brides need to have a dad around on their wedding day to be given away, but what about brides whose fathers are out of the picture? What about the women whose grandfathers raised them? Or the ones who lucked into having two dads – a biological dad and a stepfather, or two adoptive dads? No matter who ends up playing the role of “dad” at your wedding, the only thing that matters is that whoever gets to escort you to your partner and dance




with you at the reception is someone who loves you, supports you, and helped you to become the woman that you are

1. Remember that dads are more than just a checkbook. You might just assume that your

today. That person might very well be

dad doesn’t care about choosing

your biological dad, but if you decide to

flowers for centerpieces or crafting

have a stepdad, a grandfather, a brother,

menus, but ask him for his input

or even your mom fill the part instead,

anyway– especially if he’s the one

your wedding will still be perfect and all

shelling out the cash to make your

of the tips below still apply.

wedding happen. You can shower

him with as many hugs and thankyous as you’d like, but nothing beats getting him involved in the process. Let’s say you’re in love with the idea of walking down the aisle with a bouquet of pink carnations, but you’re struggling to pull the trigger and commit. Some dads might tell you that if the those pink rose-looking things make you happy, then it makes him happy too, but other dads might surprise you and point out that since you’re dressing your bridesmaids in pale yellow, maybe a light yellow bridal bouquet is worth considering. You won’t know what insights your dad has to offer until you make the effort to ask him, so remember to keep him in the loop during planning.


“Try to balance showing respect for tradition with displaying your uniqueness and creativity. Don’t force your collective beauty and personality to compete with excessive pomp and details.” – Mike, Dallas, TX

2. Go to him when you start losing focus. Whether it’s a member of the bridal party acting out or a vendor bailing a few weeks before the wedding, bumps in the road are bound to occur and it’s easy to lose sight of what’s truly important. Rather than stewing in your frustration, talk things out. It’s natural for women to turn to their moms first, but don’t discount your dad. Dads have an innate sense for seeing 148



right through to the heart of the issue, and we highly recommend taking advantage of their superpowers. When we asked the men about what advice they had for couples in the midst of the planning process, they all came back with the same tip: After you’ve done all the planning and made sure your guests have the wedding necessities (food, drinks, music), keep the focus on yourselves. The dads stressed that when, not if, things go wrong during planning or on the actual wedding day, couples should try their best not to get distracted and remember how amazingly significant getting married is. All soon-to-be brides could benefit from gentle reality checks like these, so make the most of your dad’s wisdom.





“This day is about the two of you. Choose food and drinks you like. Pick music that’s significant to both of you, and that you enjoy. That’s not being selfish. It’s actually being as selfless as you can be by making your spouse – and nothing else – the center of your undivided attention on one of the most exciting days of your lives.” – Tom, Naperville, IL

3. Rely on your dad, but don’t let him overburden himself.

foot out the door. Need somebody to go deliver a present to your soon-to-be spouse while you’re

Learning how to delegate is a crucial part of planning a wedding, and dads are almost always willing to lend a helping hand. Forgot to go pick up the wedding cake? Dad’s on it. Left your veil back at the hotel? He’s already got one

getting ready? Dad’s the man for the job. No matter how willing your dad is to help out with all the little things though, remember that your wedding is an incredibly special time for your dad, too, and he deserves the chance to enjoy the day. Say it with us now: “I will not turn my dad into my wedding pack mule – even if he’s insisting on it.”


“I had a long list of errands the morning of the wedding that I should have partially delegated or eliminated. When I finally stopped in order to suit up, I had no spare time for last-minute glitches – like a broken suspender buckle and the wrong tie. No one noticed the tie or the safety pin, but errands challenged my attempts to focus on the real significance of the upcoming ceremony.” – Mike, Dallas, TX

4. Give him a small memento. In typical dad fashion, the general feedback from the men that we polled was that they were just thrilled to be at their daughters’ weddings in the first place. As long as the celebration went smoothly, the dads were content with staying out of the spotlight and basking in their daughters’ happiness. If the only thing dads seem to want in regards to weddings is a day full of joy that puts a smile on their daughters’ faces, consider how much even a tiny surprise gift would mean to them. Whether it’s getting the back of his tie embroidered with a special 152



message or giving him a new pair of cufflinks, we promise that going the extra mile and giving your dad a wedding memento will mean the world to him.


“I wouldn’t change a thing about either of my daughters’ weddings. They go by so fast though. Try to enjoy each moment.” – Al, Elk Grove Village, IL

5. Don’t underestimate how much that walk down the aisle means to him. You might be in a rush to get to your partner as you head down the aisle, but the man who’s escorting you probably isn’t in nearly as much of a hurry. The dads couldn’t stop talking about how much that




simple walk meant to them, and for a few, it was their favorite moment from the entire wedding. No matter how anxious you are to stand at your soon-to-be spouse’s side, slow down and make your walk down the aisle count. In fact, don’t discount the moments before you walk down the aisle. So many

down a different route, keep your REAL DAD TALK

“It struck me that not only was I walking a beautiful bride to the altar, I was her final escort accompanying her to a new adventure and a new future. That’s why I walked slowly, to hang on a little bit longer.” – Giovanni, Chicago, IL

scenes with their dad as they

the effort to give him some type of special job. Letting him make an announcement before dinner might not seem like a huge deal to you, but giving him that small moment to show off how proud he is will

6. That being said, don’t feel obligated to be traditional.

waited to head down the aisle. If


during the reception to give him a

walked down the aisle or having a

heartfelt thank-you, that quiet alone

father-daughter dance, don’t let

“It’ll be a crazy day but really, I’m looking forward to just being a part of one of the most exciting days of her life.”

time is a great opportunity to let

us change your mind. It’s your

– Chris, Schaumburg, IL

him know how much you appreciate

wedding, not anyone else’s (well,

you don’t plan on taking the mic


him in a traditional role, but make

mean the world to both of you.

brides end up treasuring that minute or two that they spent behind-the-

dad in mind. You might not utilize

If you weren’t planning on getting

him. Once the walk starts, take the

aside from your spouse), and you

time to truly drink in the moment

have the right to call the shots. All

To find more tips, trends

and let the magnitude of the day

we’re suggesting is that if you do

and advice for your big day, visit

the sink in.

decide to mix things up and head




EVENT PLANNER: You Name It Events VENUE: Heritage Prairie Farm

& Samantha John

PHOTOGRAPHY: Michael Novo Photography STATIONERY: That’s Just My Type Design SIGNAGE: Emily Makes LINENS: Elegant Presentations FLORAL & DÉCOR: Floral Wonders CAKE & SWEETS: The Sugar Path

BECCA & KYLE WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Palette of Light Photography

Becca and Kyle met in high school but he didn’t realize she was the perfect girl for him until many years later when she showed up with Chipotle and Stepbrothers for what he considers their first date. “I wasn’t ready for a relationship when we started hanging out,” Becca admits. “But something kept drawing me back to him. That’s when I knew he was the one.” The couple chose to get married in Chicago so that their friends and family members could attend the wedding. Thanks to Kyle’s “golf obsession” and Becca’s “love of pristine landscapes”, the pair decided to host their celebration at Arrowhead Golf Club. “Our wedding day was like a dream out of a story book,” Becca said. From the rainy forecast not coming true to all of the love and support from their amazing guests, Becca and Kyle swear their wedding day went off without a single hitch. The couple started the day by opening up gifts and notes from each other, then met in Arrowhead’s ballroom for their first look. Following their ceremony, the newlyweds took beautiful pictures on the golf course then went to enjoy their white, black, and gold themed reception. “We wanted to keep things timeless and elegant,” the couple explained. Becca and Kyle had an amazing evening of dancing and drinking with their guests, and joked that even though their flight was a little rough, they still made it to Rome the next day. When asked about his favorite memory from the wedding, Kyle chose seeing Becca during their first look. “It was the most breathtaking moment of my life,” he said. As for Becca? “Finally getting to see Kyle at the altar. It just felt right – I couldn’t have been happier.”

Real Wedding Vendors VENUE: Arrowhead Golf Club | PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY: Palette of Light Photography | OFFICIANT: Jarod Gaither DAY-OF COORDINATOR: An Affair to Remember | BRIDE’S GOWN: Wtoo by Watters via Vanessa’s Bridal | HAIR & MAKEUP: Bloom Salon FORMALWEAR: Men’s Wearhouse | BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Eva’s Bridal of Chicago | STATIONERY: Vistaprint FLORAL & DÉCOR: Kio Kreations | CATERING: Arrowhead Golf Club | CAKE & SWEETS: Oak Mill Bakery | ENTERTAINMENT: Crash Events



I Do’s and I Don’ts VA L U A B L E L E S S O N S F R O M O U R FAV O R I T E C I N E M AT I C W E D D I N G S . As you start planning your wedding, you’re going to get inundated with advice. Friends, family, and people you barely even know will start saying vague things like “Don’t stress” and “Focus on what really counts” and “I wished I’d known ______ when I was in yourshoes”. With so many sources of tips and tricks, it can be hard to separate the good advice from the bad. The best course of action? (Continued on page 164)

WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Alicia’s Photography 162



Only pay heed to the people who’ve

can’t get any worse, Pam tears her veil

“been there, done that” when it comes

and has a break down. The couple

to getting hitched. Some of the best

realizes that they’ve lost focus of what

wedding ideas come from couples you

their wedding is really meant to be about,

know who’ve already swapped rings

and they happily run off to get married

and made it official, but you can also

in private.

pick up some topnotch tips from fic-

MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING The Wedding: Toula’s family has been pushy about her relationship with Ian ever since it started, but once the couple gets engaged, her loved ones take their crazy to the next level. From crashing

tional newlyweds. Movies and TV shows

Moral of the Story: Jim and Pam’s wed-

are practically fountains of wedding

an intimate dinner with Ian’s parents to

ding is a hilarious yet poignant reminder

wisdom, so take notes from our list

deciding on Toula’s hair, makeup, and

to stay focused on why you decided to

of favorites then rewatch a few of

gown, the well-meaning but overbear-

get married in the first place. No matter

your own.

ing Portokalos family completely domi-

how much madness occurs in the days

nates Toula’s wedding planning. When

before your wedding, never forget what’s

Toula finally stands her ground, she ends


at the heart of your celebration: you,

up stepping on more than a few toes.

The Wedding: Shocking pregnancy

your spouse, and your love. You’re

The family comes together in the end

reveals. Odd dancing injuries. Unprepared

making a commitment to spend the rest

though, and the wedding is eccentric

guests. The time leading up to Jim and

of your lives together, and it’s easy to

but successful.

Pam’s Niagara Falls wedding is full of

forget how beautiful that decision is

distracting disasters and as the actual

when guests start acting up and fashion

Moral of the Story: The Portokalos fam-

ceremony draws closer, the couple

disasters occur. Take your cues from Jim

ily’s antics are definitely exaggerated,

gets more and more stressed about the

and Pam, and do your best to not sweat

but most families tend to get a little nuts

bumps in the road. Just when things

the unimportant stuff.

when a wedding is on the horizon. Your

Half Page Ad Coming




dad might not insist on baptizing your

celebration. Listen to what they have to

bridesmaids is a disaster, but Annie and

soon-to-be spouse and your aunt’s

say and then stand your ground because

Helen in particular are the source of Lil-

taste in beauty and fashion might be far

it’s your wedding, not theirs.

better than Toula’s, but that doesn’t mean you won’t experience pushiness

lian’s problems. As the two women duke it out for Lillian’s attention and engage in


from people who, quite frankly, have no

The Wedding: Lillian’s wedding day is

business giving you their two cents. It’s

rapidly approaching, but she’s too busy

easy to get frustrated with overly assertive

refereeing her bridal party to enjoy her

relatives, but don’t let them spoil your

engagement. Her entire ensemble of

a gigantic battle to upstage each other, Lillian is forgotten almost entirely and her wedding starts heading off the rails. The bridal party comes together at the end and helps Lillian through her Big Day, but the entire ordeal is fraught with close calls that almost result in Lillian skipping her own wedding. Moral of the Story: While you and your spouse are the stars of the show, the supporting cast can be just as important as the main characters when it comes to weddings. Picking out bridesmaids and groomsmen should be a somewhat strategic decision. Choose friends and family members who will not only bend over backwards to support you but will play well with each other, and don’t get pushed into choosing people simply to keep the peace. If you have an inkling that certain friends will compete with each other and cause drama, do yourself a favor and don’t give them a key role in the most important day of your life.

MODERN FAMILY The Wedding: An impending forest fire, a domineering friend-turned-planner, and a M.I.A. officiant would be enough to stress any couple out, but for Mitch and Cam, these mishaps don’t matter because they have a bigger problem: Mitch’s dad, Jay. While he’s grudgingly begun to support his son’s relationship, the fact that Mitch is marrying another man makes Jay take several steps backwards. After multiple venues fall through, the couple is ready to cancel their celebration entirely, but Jay does a 180 and tells the couple that they can get married at his country club, and the wedding turns out perfectly. Moral of the Story: Jay eventually came around and supported Mitch and Cam 166



but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case with wedding detractors. You can’t make everyone happy, and there’s a good chance that not all of your family and friends will be over the moon about your wedding and your soon-to-be spouse. As long as you’re happy and the handful of people that you trust the most are in approval, don’t stress about a few sour grapes. Forget the haters, and make your wedding day the best day it can possibly be.

WEDDING CRASHERS The Wedding: Despite getting off on the wrong foot when they first meet, Jeremy finally falls head over heels for Gloria towards the end of the movie and the couple decide to get married. On the couple’s wedding day, Jeremy’s best friend, John, comes sprinting into the church in the middle of the vows and




confesses his love for Gloria’s sister and

stay calm. Getting upset and wading

who truly knows what they're doing,

maid of honor, Claire. The entire ceremony

into the drama will only make you look

Bride Wars provides a valuable look into

comes to a standstill as John and Claire

bad, so just roll with the punches and

sharing the wedding spotlight. The drama

shout at each other, but the situation

hope that your guests save their dramatic

is wildly exaggerated for comedic effect,

eventually resolves itself and the wedding

announcements for another day.

but this movie still offers a grain of truth.

rolls on to a happy ending. Moral of the Story: Most Wedding Crashers fans find themselves rooting for John and Claire from the get-go and are thrilled when they talk through all their tension and get together in the middle of Gloria and Jeremy’s wedding. Everyone loves a happy ending, but we think the real heroes are Gloria and Jeremy. Rather than causing a scene and trying to force the attention back to themselves, they quietly stand by and wait for the chaos to settle down. While it’s not very likely that something like this will happen on your wedding day, Jeremy


Unless you're absolutely positive that


there won't be any jealousy, keep your

The Wedding: After a mix-up results in

wedding day as just that – your wedding

best friends Emma and Liv being sched-

day. No matter how much you love your

uled to get married on the same date,

best friend or your identical twin sister,

the duo engage in a battle for the altar

you deserve a day where all the eyes are

that spans the entire length of both their

on you, your spouse, and no one else.

engagements and culminates on their

You have the rest of your life to share

joint Big Day. Liv winds up tackling

with your friends and family, so when it

Emma down the aisle and the two former

comes to your wedding, insist on being

friends brawl as their loved ones look on

the star of the show.

in horror. The fight ends with the pair reconciling, but not before they humiliate themselves in front of their guests and Emma ends up losing her fiancé.

THE ROYAL TENNENBAUMS The Wedding: After all of their familial

and Gloria’s behavior is still a valuable

Moral of the Story: Aside from the obvi-

ups and downs, the Tennenbaums finally

lesson. If your guests start acting up,

ous lesson of hiring a wedding planner

come together at the very end of the


drama and don't compare your second

vows, Ross makes a massive error and

wedding to your first, we promise that "I

says "I, Ross, take thee, Rachel" instead

bration is thwarted by Etheline's ex-hus-

do" round two will be just as spectacular,

of Emily.

band and the officiant gets trampled, but

if not more so.

the glowing bride manages to tie the knot anyways a few days later in a ceremony that's simple and perfect. Etheline's ex-husband eventually admits that he's happy for her, and her children echo the same sentiments.

Moral of the Story: In addition to making


sure you're marrying the right person,

The Wedding: With the exception of

practicing your vows is key. Even if your

Rachel, who stays behind because she

promises are short and sweet, take the

can't bear the sight of Ross marrying

opportunity to run through your lines

someone else, the gang flies to London

several times prior to the Big Day. If you

to watch Ross and Emily get hitched.

notice any phrases or words that routinely

While multiple bumps arise en route to

trip you up, nix them and use different

even though second-time brides might

the wedding – the building is getting

wording. It's also not a bad idea to write

come with a little extra baggage (in this

demolished, Emily's parents are running

your vows down on paper. Even if you

Moral of the Story: Etheline is proof that

case, terribly adjusted adult children),

up astronomical fees with the vendors,

think you have them committed to mem-

there's no reason that wedding number

guests are overindulging and spending

ory, reciting your vows alone in front of a

two shouldn't be equally as poignant,

the night together – Ross and Emily

mirror is totally different from saying

exciting, and romantic. Not everyone

manage to successfully navigate all the

them in front of hundreds of people and

finds Prince Charming their first time

hurdles and make it to the altar. Rachel

the love of your life. Nerves and emotions

around, and that's no reason to not try

decides last minute to attend the wedding

run rampant at weddings, so having a

again. Keep your chin up and ignore the

after all, and as she sits in the crowd

little cheat sheet isn't really cheating at

pettiness. As long as you rise above any

and watches Ross and Emily say their

all – it's being smart.



movie to watch their matriarch, Etheline, marry her good friend Henry. The cele-



| PHOTOGRAPHY BY Matushek Photography

After connecting through a mutual friend, Neeral and Anu decided to meet up in Chicago in the summer of 2006. “Things clicked immediately,” they said. “Anu had to return to Boston, but we decided to give long distance a shot.” The couple dated for several years, graduating from college and making it through medical school before settling in Chicago together. There, the couple spent two years together and “acquired a cat and a dog” before Anu popped the question. “Both of our parents immigrated to Chicago from India in the ‘70s,” Neeral and Anu said when asked why they chose Chicago. “It’s where they put down their roots and built their American dream. It felt like the natural place to have our wedding.” While looking for venues, the couple fell in love with Salvage One. The antique warehouse fit perfectly with their theme: a subtle homage to 1960s vintage Bollywood. The couple’s wedding was breathtaking and unique from start to finish, befitting of the fact that it was a same-sex Hindu wedding – a rare event that’s still outlawed in India. “We didn’t expect the outpouring of love and genuine interest from our extended families and family friends,” the couple said. “It was such a powerful experience for both of us.” Neeral and Anu headed down the aisle to an instrumental version of Beyonce’s “Halo” that was played on a sitar, and their officiant explained their traditional vedic vows in English so that all the guests could feel included. Following a beautiful cocktail hour in the gardens behind Salvage One, the grooms and their guests spent the rest of the night enjoying heartwarming speeches, a delicious mix of American and Indian food, an incredible cake decorated with an intricate mendhi design, and hours of dancing to Hindi and English music.

Real Wedding Vendors VENUE: Salvage One | PHOTOGRAPHY: Matushek Photography | VIDEOGRAPHY: R.E.M. Video & Photography OFFICIANT: Hersh Khetarpal of Yog Sadhan Ashram of Chicago | EVENT PLANNER: Big Day Easy | HAIR & MAKEUP: Appease, Inc. HENNA: Unnati Shah of Unnati’ZArt | FORMALWEAR: Bar III | STATIONERY: Customizing Creativity | ENTERTAINMENT: DJ Harsh FLORAL & DÉCOR: Ashland Addison Florist | CATERING: Entertaining Company | CAKE & SWEETS: Alliance Bakery



A Minute to Spare A S T E P - B Y- S T E P L O O K I N T O C R E AT I N G Y O U R R E C E P T I O N TIMELINE. PHOTOGRAPHY BY Gold Grid Studios

You and your guests might want to party well into the night, but it’s unlikely that your vendors feel the same way. Sticking to a reasonable timeline is simply good etiquette, but a tight schedule can also help you avoid expensive overtime fees and prevent your guests from overindulging and getting rowdy. Setting up a timeline might sound like a daunting task, but it’s actually fairly easy. With a few of our tips, you and your planner will be well on your way to crafting




Hour One:

and wait in the wings, your emcee will

A typical wedding reception runs around


ask all the guests to take their seats and

five hours long. If you’ve never been on

You said “I do,” you kissed the love of

the band or DJ will change up the music

your life, and now it’s time for your

to indicate that the time has finally

guests to head to the reception while

arrived. This second hour includes multiple

the planning end of a wedding before it’s easy to think that the reception meanders from toast to dinner to dancing at its own pace but believe it or not, the majority of weddings are tightly scheduled. Without someone holding a firm leash on the reception it can quickly spiral out of control, so once you’ve hammered out your schedule, entrust one of your vendors to make sure that your steps are followed. Your DJ or band leader is the perfect person to guide the night on the microphone, but having a planner to control the process behind the scenes will make

you sneak off for some alone time or

small events, and goes by very quickly.

head out to take your portraits. There

After announcing the wedding party, fam-

should be very little down time between

ily, and finally you and your new spouse,

the ceremony and the cocktail hour, so

your emcee will pass the mic over to you

keep that in mind if your ceremony and

so you can thank everyone for coming

reception are taking place at separate

out to celebrate you. The thank-you is

venues. Make sure to factor transportation

then followed by toasts from the best

into your schedule, and play things safe

man, maid of honor, and parents, and

by giving yourself an extra fifteen to twenty minute buffer. We wish it weren’t the case, but flat tires and traffic don’t care that it’s your wedding day.

your night practically fail proof. Once

then after this comes the food. Dinner is a great time to share any video reels or slideshows, so if you’re stressed about not having enough time to include a quick presentation, consider killing two

vendors and gotten their stamp of

Hour Two:

approval, hand the reigns off to your


while your guests eat. Once the video or

planner and prepare to enjoy your night.

As you return from your photo session

slideshow wraps up and you’ve finished

birds with one stone and showing it

Photos by: WASIO photography

you’ve run your schedule past all of your


The Basics:




eating, now is the time for you to go from table to table and personally greet your guests.

Hour Three: DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY Once your guests have cleaned their plates, it’s time to gradually hit the dance floor. Rather than having your emcee demand that everyone get on their feet and start grooving, have him or her play increasingly upbeat music until your guests get the idea. Join your new spouse in the center of the room and twirl your way through your first dance, then take a bow. Traditionally, the fatherdaughter dance follows, and then the mother-son dance. After that, your emcee will invite guests to join the wedding party on the dance floor. Towards the end of this hour, take a quick break to cut your cake if you have one, or have your guests grab dessert from your sweets table. Following dessert, head back to the dancefloor.

Hour Four: TRADITIONS It’s time to start incorporating the traditional events. This penultimate hour is when all the single ladies you’ve invited get to tackle each other and try to catch the bouquet, and it’s also when your groom gets to go searching for your garter. Your emcee and planner will make sure that any fun cultural extras like the Jewish Hora or Greek money dance get factored in after the garter and bouquet snatching are finished, and then it’s time for more dancing. Not all your guests will catch a second wind though, so expect to see a decent amount of your loved ones making their way back to their dinner tables to mingle and catch up away from the music. This 176


“After we create a preliminary timeline, we email it to the couple

will give your guests an extra boost of

and all vendors about six weeks ahead of the wedding day. The

excitement and energy.

Hour Five: TAKE A BOW While you and your wedding party are still grooving away, your grandparents are probably dozing off in a corner. Guests will start slowly trickling out

couple and vendors have the opportunity to go over every


is the perfect time to bring out any cigar bars or surprise midnight snacks that

minute and smooth out any issues or possible items not considered. Our timelines tend to be quite extensive with 2-5 minute increments planned out from 6am until vendor clean up the next morning at the venue. Adding in time cushions always helps to ensure a smooth and carefree day that

at this point, and that’s your cue to

allows the couple and their guests to enjoy themselves

start wrapping up the evening. Have

while creating fantastic memories!”

your emcee announce last call at the bar about thirty to forty-five minutes

– Victoria Kensington, Kensington Florals & Events

before the reception officially ends, and make sure that he or she notes when the last song is being played.

to join you for your final tour of the

sparkler send off. In addition to providing

Whether you go out with “Piano Man” by

dance floor. Many couples run into a

you with amazing pictures, this fond yet

Billy Joel or “Closing Time” by Semisonic,

problem with slow moving guests after

official farewell is a great way to firmly

give your remaining guests the chance

the final song, so consider doing a

close the night.




OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER As you’re planning your reception schedule, 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! In the event that your reception does go a little over the mark, check to see what your vendors’ overtime fees are. Remember that even after you and your guests have headed home for the night, your vendors will still need around an hour to an hour and a half to take down all the décor and equipment, clean up the venue, and clear everything out of the space. Be sure to keep this extra time in mind when you are booking your venue rental period. While the timeline we just discussed is tried and true, be aware that it’s not set in stone. Every couple has different needs and wants, so it’s perfectly okay to build a reception schedule that varies from the standard chain of events. The important thing is that you discuss your night with your planner and other vendors well ahead of time. Once everyone is on board and the Big Day finally arrives, have fun, make memories, and enjoy the night of your life.


A Quick Guide to Your Cocktail Hour Picking a band or DJ for your reception is relatively quick and painless, but figuring out how to entertain your guests during your cocktail hour can be a little 178


pretty glasses with some fancy looking

encourage them to talk? Should it be the

food that’s wrapped in puff pastry and

Step 3. Give Them Something to Play With

same DJ who’s playing for your reception,

you’ll be well on your way to guaranteeing

We all know that adults are really just tall

or should you hire a live band? Also, are

your guests are enjoying themselves.

children, so the final step in nailing your

drinks and appetizers enough? Should

cocktail hour is giving your guests a

you be doing more to amuse your guests

Step 2. Create Positive Ambience

grown-up toy. If you’re having an outdoor

while you’re off taking pictures?

You and your best friends might be able

wedding, consider setting up horseshoes,

The idea of your guests sitting around

to entertain yourselves with nothing more

a bean bag toss, or a different picnic

and twiddling their thumbs while they

than a bottle of wine and good conver-

game. If your wedding is indoors and

wait for you to return is pretty much a

sation, but you need to keep in mind

more upscale, make the drinks the toy.

nightmare, so it’s normal to stress about

that most of your guests won’t know

Set up a make-your-own (insert type of

your cocktail hour. Luckily, it doesn’t

more than a handful of people at your

drink here) bar, and let your guests build

take too much extra effort to nail that in-

wedding. Make things a little easier on

their own cocktails. If there are kids at

between time and ensure your loved

them by providing some beautiful back-

your wedding, be sure to include a

ground tunes that will fill the awkward

lemonade or hot cocoa bar as well.

silences. If you skipped out on live recep-

In the grand scheme of wedding things,

Step 1. Wine and Dine Them

tion musicians due to the cost, now

the cocktail hour is merely a blip on the

It’s illegal in all fifty states to frown while

might be a great time to incorporate

radar. However, if you take the time to

holding a cocktail, so we highly recom-

them. Whether it’s a violin quartet or a

make sure that your guests have every-

mend that you take the name of this part

hipster and his acoustic guitar, giving

thing they need, you’ll elevate this hour

of the evening very seriously and supply

your guests some live music is sure to

from awkward in between time to a

your guests with alcohol. Pair drinks in

be a success.

memorable mini-party.

ones are having fun.



trickier. Should you play mellow music to




EVENT PLANNER: LOLA Event Productions VENUE: The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago

& Alexandra Ian

PHOTOGRAPHY: Emilia Jane Photography CAKE & SWEETS: The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago FLORAL & DÉCOR: Revel Décor • RENTALS: Tablescapes LINEN: BBJ Linen • LIGHTING: Sound Investment DANCE FLOOR: Elegant Event Lighting STATIONERY: Magnificent Milestones

M A RY M A R S H A L L & DA V E WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Layla Eloa Photography

Dave proposed to Mary Marshall on Christmas Eve with

The cocktail hour took place in the same room as the

a diamond that his dad had given to his mom. “His original

reception, but the couple decided to curtain off most of the

plan was to propose with a puppy, but my mom accident-

space with ivory chiffon drapery until dinner. When it was

ally spoiled the surprise,” Mary Marshall laughed. “I got

time to eat, the curtains went up and revealed everything

suspicious, so the puppy ended up being an early Christmas

from blood-orange Moscow mules and mini pumpkins filled

gift instead!”

with soup to a grand Cubs entrance and plenty of dancing.

The couple didn’t think twice about getting hitched in

As for the couple’s favorite memories? “For me, it was

the Windy City and after taking their time shopping around

when we were able to relax and spend quality time together

for venues, they chose to hold their reception at the

with our guests,” Dave said. “It really hit us how lucky we

Sidney Yates Gallery in the Chicago Cultural Center.

were when we saw everyone together in a small vicinity.”

“We fell in love with the bold orange walls and the tower-

Mary Marshall couldn’t help but agree. “Enjoying dinner

ing ceilings,” they said. The pair opted for rich, inviting

with everyone really stood out,” she said. “One of Dave’s

colors that played well with the Cultural Center’s décor

groomsmen has a hobby of trying out Michelin-rated restau-

and perfectly completed their unusually warm November

rants, so we actually brought him along to our tasting! The

wedding day.

food passed his test, and was delicious.”

Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY: Assumption Catholic Church | RECEPTION: Chicago Cultural Center | PHOTOGRAPHY: Layla Eloa Photography OFFICIANT: Fr. Joseph Chamblain | DAY-OF COORDINATOR: Red Orchid Events | MAKEUP: Lucy Macias Makeup Artist BRIDE’S GOWN: Hayley Paige via Bella Bianca Bridal Couture | HAIR: Lira Guzi Salon | FORMALWEAR: Formally Modern Tuxedo BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Amsale; Bella Bridesmaids | BRIDE’S JEWELRY: Bella Bianca Bridal Couture, Maria Elena STATIONERY: Dodeline Design | FLORAL & DÉCOR: Stems, Inc. | CATERING: Food Evolution Catering & Special Events ENTERTAINMENT: Mike Dangeroux Band | CAKE & SWEETS: Oak Mill Bakery | RENTALS & LIGHTING: Prestige Wedding Decoration Services CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Guest List 101 H O W T O M A K E S U R E Y O U H AV E E V E RY O N E Y O U L O V E W I T H Y O U O N Y O U R S P E C I A L D AY.

WRITTEN BY Colette House | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Gold Grid Studios

choice but to cut people in order to stay

wedding planning can make crafting your

within the number of guests that our

list considerably less stressful. Another

was creating our guest list. It was so fun

venue could hold.

to imagine all of our closest friends and family together in one room, celebrating our love. As several friends pointed out to me, your wedding day is probably one of the only times that both you and your fiancé’s family and friends from all stages of life will meet each other and spend time together. Having those

Deciding which guests to cut turned out to be one of the hardest decisions I had to make leading up to the wedding. After all, I’d put peoples’ names on my guest list for a reason. These people meant something to me and had added value to my life or my fiance’s life in some way.

loved ones close to you and present on

As I was about to learn, making cuts to

your wedding day is certainly something

a guest list is hard but necessary. The

to cherish.

reality of the situation is that unless you’re planning to throw a party with

Creating the guest list was one of the first tasks I tackled in my planning process. Everything was going along smoothly until I realized that if I com-

hundreds of guests, capping your guest list at a certain number is not only inevitable, but necessary.

reason to get a head start? Your guest list is what determines how many tables and chairs to order, how much food to


One of the things I looked forward to the most when planning my own wedding

serve, how you’ll lay out the room, and how many favors you’ll need to give away at the end of the night. Our advice: Set a firm deadline for when your guest list will be complete and follow our tips to avoid any drama.

GETTING STARTED ON YOUR GUEST LIST. Before you even write down the names of potential guests, talk with your fiancé and anyone else involved in paying for the wedding about the size of the party

bined my list, my fiancé’s list, my parents’

There’s no way to avoid making tough

they’re willing to throw. Having an idea

list, and my in-laws list, there would be

decisions about who gets an invite and

of whether your wedding will be on the

way too many guests! Like it or not, I

who doesn’t, but getting started on your

smaller or larger side will alter how you

had to acknowledge that we had no

guest list at the very beginning of your

approach creating your guest list. You




guest lists. Have everyone write down the people they’d like to see invited to

“Our couples find it helpful to group folks by category as a

the big day. Think broad and big here.

starting point, which can then help when you're getting into

Now is the time to reflect on every family

the logistics of your group size. For example, grouping and

that you might want to invite. Put all their

member, friend, colleague, or mentor

prioritizing by immediate family, extended family, current close friends, college friends, high school friends, current work colleagues, past work colleagues, etc. gives you the ability to see how large each group is and decide if there are some

names on your list. Non-negotiable invites – people that you feel must be invited no matter what – should be placed at the top of the list. Once everyone’s list is complete, come together to compare. Look for overlap amongst your lists –

natural cut off points between the groups.”

how often do guests’ names appear? For example, names that show up on

– Leanne Valdes, You Name It Events

everyone’s list can be immediately added to the “master” guest list. Do this until

have more people to invite than the other?

a ballpark figure will do. It’s equally

Figure out the answers to these questions

important to decide how building the guest

before you start working on your list.

Review the “master” list to make sure

family and his side be able to invite the

The next step is for the bride, groom,

count how many guests you have. If

same number of guests? Does one side

and both sets of parents to make separate

you’ve already reached your capacity,

list are people that don’t overlap.

list will be divvied up. Will your side of the


the only names left on every individual’s

don’t have to settle on a specific number;


everyone is okay with who is on it and to

people or you might have to cut people from the master list in order to add others. If there’s still room, everyone can review his or her individual lists again. Of



you may not be able to invite more

the remaining people on the lists, is there anyone you feel must come? If so, add them to the master list. If you feel their name can be permanently removed from the guest list, do so. Once that process is complete, meet again to create and review the final list. When you have a list that everyone feels comfortable with, you’re ready to start working on

about the big day or assumes they’re

ask yourself how important this person

your save-the-dates and invitations.

going to be invited. However, there is a

is to you and how active they currently


limit to how many guests can attend a

are in your life. For example, the friend

wedding and it’s ultimately up to the

you just met who you see almost every

bride and groom to determine who their

weekend and is intimately involved in

Removing someone’s name from your guest list is never easy. It’s always an

guests will be.

planning your wedding might receive

awkward conversation when someone

When you’re deciding which names to

an invitation over a childhood friend

you’re not inviting to your wedding asks

remove, keep a few things in mind. First,

who you’ve know a long time, but don’t




keep in touch with. Think about who you would like to keep in your life for years to come, the strong friendships you’ve created, and who you might need to invite to keep peace within the family. Evaluating your guest list in this way can help you decide who you ultimately want celebrating your big day with you.

INVITING COWORKERS. Inviting coworkers can be tricky. You spend quite a bit of time with these people and chances are most of them know you’re getting married. Office politics can come into play when you’re working on your guest list, especially if you’d like to invite only one or two of your coworkers, instead of the whole group. You and your significant other should discuss how you both want to handle inviting the people you work with. You might opt to not invite any coworkers, or only your bosses, or only the people that work in your department. If you’re comfortable doing so, explain your decision to your coworkers ahead of time. If you’ve chosen to invite only your department, reach out to people in the other departments and let them know that due to the limited number of guests you can have, you’re only inviting those whom you work with directly. This way, you can set boundaries while being polite and open, and hopefully avoid hurting anyone’s feelings. Remember that creating your guest list should be fun! It’s a time for you to reflect on the relationships you’ve developed, feel grateful for the people in your life, and look forward to celebrating with them soon. Start making your list early. Determine who is most important to invite and work your way through your list from there. Don’t overcomplicate the process, and don’t forget to enjoy your loved ones’ company on your special day! 188



Let me start by congratulating you on completing one of the most difficult tasks of wedding planning: finalizing that guest list. (I know giving those last few names the axe was tough but believe me, we’ve all been there). And while you might be tempted to send that list off to the calligraphers without giving your guests another thought – don’t. Believe it or not, you’re going to want to keep them in mind as you continue to plan your big day.

WRITTEN BY E. Ce. Miller | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Timothy Whaley Photographic Artists



pleaser,” says Kelsey Westwood, who’s

from larger, fancier weddings. It was

been a recent guest at 9 weddings. “I

what the couple wanted, and we were

wedding. But you still want to make sure

attended a wedding where the groom,

there to celebrate the couple. Just being

your guests have a smashing time too,

who was in a band, had his musicians

able to witness their happiness in the moment is what weddings are all about!”

am I right? To do that, you might need a

play while he sang for the bride. At

little advice – and who better to give it

another wedding the bride arrived in a

than the folks who know weddings best?

1950's car driven by her grandpa – it

That’s right, I’m talking about your guests

was the same car her grandpa used to

themselves! These tips from some fre-

drive her mom and sister to their wed-

quent wedding guests are guaranteed

dings. They each had pictures of them-

to make your celebration as special and

selves with their father/grandpa in the

unique as you are.

same car, and after the reception all the newlyweds drove off in it as well. It was

DO: MAKE IT PERSONAL Wedding guests definitely love those personal touches that make your wedding day uniquely you. From creative table numbers to writing your own vows, something that gives guests deeper insight into you and your love story is a definite must.

a very sweet and fun tradition!”


Don’t get me wrong: you and your fiancé should definitely be the focus of your

“I really liked when a history-buff friend used historical couples as table makers,” says Marty O'Donnell, a frequent wedding guest and former-wedding bartender. “Sure, it would have been easier to remember I was sitting at 'Table 5' rather than the 'Pharaoh Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti' table, but darned if it wasn't charmingly esoteric.”

Becca Knight has recently attended a total of 14 recent weddings – twice as a


member of the bridal party – so she’s a

There is one caveat here: while guests

guest who knows her stuff. “I attended a

love those elements that tell a story

wedding at a park where they had boxed

about who you are as a couple, don’t

wine and a keg, and then went out to a

overdo it. If your references or design

“Incorporating favorite hobbies or talents

bar afterwards,” Knight says. “It was

elements are so personal they’d have to

into your wedding day is always a crowd

very simple, which was a nice change

flip through the innermost pages of your




Did You Know? The wedding with the highest number of guests topped out around 150,000 people. The celebration spanned two days and reportedly cost over $23,000,000.

grind to a halt with a never-ending parade

elements that work (or don't) whether

of speeches,” says O'Donnell. “After the

she’s attending a wedding as a guest

fifth toast starts to drag past seven minutes

or as the photographer. “I am im-

my eyes start glossing over. Keep things

mensely relieved when loved ones

simple and heartfelt.”

are getting married and ask my opinion on who to hire. I want them to be taken working the wedding. If you have a

diary to understand what’s going on,


they’ll probably be more distracted than

Speaking of keeping things personal,

talking to them about your plans! I

impressed. Maybe save some of those

definitely get to know your vendors (you

guarantee they want to do what they

obscure pop culture and literary references

know, those behind-the-scenes folks

can to help you have the perfect day

– that only you and your love will recall

making sure your wedding runs smoothly)

you've envisioned – and they might have

and be thoughtful about who you trust to

a few handy little insider secrets to

help you arrange your big day – both you

ensure just that!”

the significance of – for another time. Another way to keep the personal from petering out is to put a cap on the number of toasts given. Sure, we love that second cousin Sal wants to wish you well, but try

care of just as much as if I were actually close friend or family member who works in the event industry, don't be shy about

and your guests will definitely notice. A great way to do that is by asking your

But remember: asking your wedding

guests themselves for some advice.

industry BFF for advice and actually hiring her to work your big day are two

giving him a few extra minutes in the

As a wedding photographer, Rebecca

different things. “I learned that you need

receiving line, instead of handing over a

Ickes, owner of the Gold Grid Studios,

to choose to either be a guest or work

mic. “I've seen far too many receptions

has an amazing eye for those unique

your job,” notes Ickes. “When you try to be both an attendee and (in my case, the photographer) something gets missed. Too often I see other photographers standing up as a bridesmaid for a friend and also photographing the event. I think this does a great disservice to the couple getting married because you are never fully present for them.”

DON’T: SACRIFICE YOUR GUESTS’ COMFORT FOR YOUR BRIDAL DREAMSCAPE When setting the scene for your I-dos be warned: what might seem like a dream landscape might not play out quite the same in real life. “I was recently at a family wedding where the couple was married in front of a river. It was beautiful, however some guys floated by on inner tubes during the ceremony – it was distracting,” says Knight. Also, don’t go overboard trying to orchestrate a photo op. For example: sparklers Timestilling Photography



might be a bridal fave, but when you’re

potatoes and green beans… I remember

they’ll leave the party loving you even

feeling hungry,” says Knight.

more than when they arrived. “At one of

enced this firsthand: “We were given long sparklers to make a pretty tunnel for the couple to run under on their way out of the ceremony. The sparklers were beautiful, but a tad dangerous. A guest nearby was on her phone and dropped her sparkler a little low, landing some flames onto my date's head. Awesome idea, but distracting to guests.”


A word to the wise: offer enough dining options for all your guests to be comfortable, even if it means being flexible with

my all-time favorite weddings, the couple supplied flip flops for those guests who arrived wearing painful shoes,” remembers

the style of your reception. If your carni-

Knight. “At another, our program was

vore cousins from Texas are going to be

printed on a paper fan, which was perfect

mingling with your gluten-free pals from

for the hot, outdoor wedding.”

Seattle, consider thinking outside the


plated dinner. “At one wedding, we had appetizers and desserts instead of a formal meal – and boy, those were delicious appetizers! There was such a large variety, I definitely had enough to eat despite the lack of dinner,” says L.P. Anderson, who attended four weddings last summer.

“Don't get caught up in formalities or perfection. The best weddings I've attended included unique touches related to the bride and groom's personalities, and made all us guests feel included,” says Knight. “Make your wedding authen-

honey, because wedding guests like to ceremony might be, food can make or


break a wedding reception. “I attended a

It doesn’t take much, but if you can

celebrate, celebrate, and enjoy the night!

vegan wedding and the food was inter-

show your guests you were thinking

Also, please don't play Single Ladies for

esting, to say the least. It included purple

about them as you planned your big day,

the bouquet toss. Throw us a bone.”

eat; and no matter how gorgeous your


playing with fire things don’t always turn out the way you planned. Knight experi-

tic, and real to who you both are – as individuals and as a couple. Celebrate,





EVENT PLANNER: Régine Danielle Events VENUE: Union League Club of Chicago

& Alissa Jeremy

PHOTOGRAPHY: Todd James Photography FLORAL & DÉCOR: Floral Gardens STATIONERY: Jilly Levy Morton CAKE & SWEETS: Union League Club of Chicago


Despite the fact that they grew up less than a mile away from each other, Jihane and Adam didn’t meet until Jihane happened to go to a Halloween party at Adam’s apartment. “Adam opened the door and I instantly felt like I knew him,” Jihane said. “After that night, we never looked back.” After two years of dating, the couple knew they wanted to spend their lives together but didn’t feel any rush to get married. When they did decide that the time was right, the couple decided to have an intimate wedding at Spiaggia. Before their non-denominational ceremony, Adam and Jihane gathered with their parents and siblings to have a ceremonial ring blessing. “Everyone stood around us and took turns holding our rings and saying a few words about love and marriage,” Adam said. “It was quite emotional, and we felt so supported and loved.” Following the blessing, Jihane and Adam tied the knot in front of eighty-five guests with the help of their officiant, Sheri Reda. The couple walked back down the aisle to “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay then took a few moments to compose themselves in private. “It was just the two of us, crying and laughing, high on adrenaline and the fact that we just got married,” Jihane said. “It was incredibly special.” Before taking to the dance floor with all of their family and friends, the couple got to enjoy their candle-lit reception and the Michelin Star food that Spiaggia is famous for. “One of the main reasons we chose Spiaggia was for the incredible food,” the couple said. “The reception meal was brilliant and the service was just impeccable.” WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Rotarski Photography

Real Wedding Vendors VENUE: Spiaggia | PHOTOGRAPHY: Rotarski Photography | OFFICIANT: Sheri Reda | HAIR: The Colour Room MAKEUP: Jessica Jennings Makeup & Hair | BRIDE’S GOWN: Pronovias | BRIDE’S SHOES: Salvatore Ferragamo FORMALWEAR: Calvin Klein | GROOM’S SHOES: Cole Haan | STATIONERY: Lindsay Green | FLORAL & DÉCOR: Anthony Gowder Designs CATERING: Spiaggia | CAKE & SWEETS: Bittersweet | ENTERTAINMENT: Toast & Jam, Inc.



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


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.


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


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


Located in the heart of the city, the historic Chicago Temple offers three ceremony options: The Sanctuary (seating 600), Dixon Chapel (seating 65), Sky Chapel (seating 30). A Reconciling Ministry.



A historic venue with 2 ballrooms, 50’ ceilings, crystal chandeliers, 20 ft. windows and Victorian architecture. Capacity is 1,300 cocktail and 550 seated. Food designed by celebrity chef Katie O’Reilly.




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




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

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 Coco Pazzo

300 W. Hubbard St. • Chicago 312.836.0900 Coco Pazzo Café

212 E. Ohio St. • Chicago 312.664.0212 Congress Plaza Hotel, The

520 S. Michigan Ave. • Chicago 312.427.3800 ext. 5071 Elite Private Yachts

600 E. Grand Ave. • Chicago 888.957.2634 First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple

77 W. Washington St. • Chicago 312.236.4548 Germania Place

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

1028 N. Rush St. • Chicago 312.587.0508 Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza River North

350 W. Mart Center Dr. • Chicago 312.529.1124 198


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


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Hotel Allegro


















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Historical loop location that boasts a recent $15 million dollar renovation. Art deco, city chic and a perfect backdrop for your wedding day celebration.


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


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.


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


Your big day is something to remember for a lifetime – we offer wedding experiences from simply elegant ceremonies to lavish soirées.


Soak in rays of dancing light and spectacular views of Chicago through the floor-to-ceiling windows in our grand ballroom, creating the perfect backdrop for your special celebration.


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.




Historic church in the heart of the city. Beautiful stained glass windows, oak furnishings, and modern amenities. Lovely park close by for photo ops and gatherings. Space available for a small reception up to 250 guest.




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




This historic ballroom located in the heart of Logan Square is equipped with full bar, state of the art lighting system, and an open floor plan allowing you to transform the space into your own masterpiece.




New luxury lifestyle downtown hotel on Michigan Ave. and Wacker Dr. with multiple event spaces, including a ballroom with floor to ceiling windows with stunning architectural and river views.




Unique ceremonies & receptions. 3 preferred caterers. State of the art sound & lighting systems, bridal suites, café tables & chairs, votive candles, and marquee available for every event.




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.

171 W. Randolph St. • Chicago 312.325.7142 Hyatt Regency Chicago

151 E. Wacker Dr. • Chicago 312.565.1234 Hyatt Regency McCormick Place

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

505 N. Michigan Ave. • Chicago 312.321.8735 Kendall College

900 N. North Branch St. • Chicago 312.752.2556 Kimpton Gray Hotel + Boleo

122 W. Monroe St. • Chicago 312.950.7012 Kimpton Hotel Palomar Chicago

505 N. State St. • Chicago 312.985.0769 La Pergola at Galleria Marchetti

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

3638 N. Pulaski Rd. • Chicago 773.283.7980 LaSalle Street Church

1136 N. LaSalle Blvd. • Chicago 312.573.8800 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 Mayne Stage

1328 W. Morse Ave. • Chicago 847.869.5423 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

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


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


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


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


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.




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!




The only Chicago wedding venue with 360 degree views of Chicago 99 floors in the sky. The panoramic view makes an unforgettable setting.




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.




Multiple unique spaces available. Spectacular Skyline views of the River and Navy Pier.

163 E. Walton Pl. • Chicago 312.867.7513 Montgomery Club, The

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

50 E. Erie St. • Chicago 312.280.8447 Odyssey Cruises

600 E. Grand Ave. • Chicago 888.957.2634 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 Salvatore’s Ristorante

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

875 N. Michigan Ave. • Chicago 312.280.0465 Skydeck Chicago

233 S. Wacker Dr., 103rd Fl. • Chicago 312.875.9447 Spiaggia Private Events

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

2408 N. Kedzie Blvd. • Chicago 773.276.0099 Swissotel Chicago

323 E. Wacker Dr. • Chicago 312.268.8235




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



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201 N. State St. • Chicago 312.467.0200 Thompson Chicago


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

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.


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

701 N. Michigan Ave. • Chicago 312.274.6423 Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront

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


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

Celebrate your unique love story in our creative, stylish and expressive spaces in the heart of downtown Chicago.

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


71 E. Wacker Dr. • Chicago 312.346.7100







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




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




This 1908 historic and prestigious Italian Villa combines old world charm with a surprising contemporary style. Garden setting for an on site ceremony.




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




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.




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!




Completely restored to its original glory from the roaring 1920s. Crystal Ballroom is where timeless elegance meets lifelong memories.




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.

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

430 N. Addison Rd. • Addison 630.543.1222 Armour House Mansion & Gardens

1500 W. Kennedy Rd. • Lake Forest 847.615.3219 Bartlett Hills Golf Club

800 W. Oneida Ave. • Bartlett 630.213.3103 Café la Cave

2777 Mannheim Rd. • Des Plaines 847.827.7818 Chandler’s Weddings & Special Events

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

10 Marriott Dr. • Lincolnshire 847.634.0100 Concorde Banquets

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

360 S. Creekside Dr. • Palatine 847.934.5500 Crystal Ballroom & Lounge, The

529 Davis St. • Evanston 847.570.4400 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

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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.

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 Genesee Theatre


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


All ballrooms at this gracious clubhouse boast panoramic views of the Arnold Palmer Course and shoreline.


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


Rustic venues and classic spaces, go hand-in-hand with Four-Diamond accommodations. With breathtaking indoor and outdoor settings, Grand Geneva is the Midwest’s most beautiful wedding destination.


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


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!


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


A breathtaking lakeside venue with waterfront ceremony sites and unique indoor space options. Exceptional food and a variety of packages to fit most budgets.


Grand elegance meets rustic charm. Newly renovated and located on the White River with panoramic river views. Look no further and start your journey together here.


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


Just renovated 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.

203 N. Genesse St. • Waukegan 847.406.3152 Geneva National Resort

1221 Geneva National Ave. S. • Lake Geneva, WI 262.249.3849 Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

5464 N. River Rd. • Rosemont 847.928.9900 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 Hawk’s View Golf Club

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 Orrington/Evanston

1710 Orrington Ave. • Evanston 847.556.7901 Lake Lawn Resort & Calladora Spa

2400 E. Geneva St. • Delavan, WI 262.728.7950 Landing 1841, The

3640 Bieneman Rd. • Burlington, WI 262.758.6611 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




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



McHenry Country Club

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


Located in the heart of downtown Arlington Heights, we offer four private event rooms and an outdoor terrace overlooking 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-toceiling 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!


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.


Recently redesigned hotel. Ballroom French doors open to terrace and ceremony site with wooded shoreline views.


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.


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 the newly renovated Garden Rooms at Historic Winnetka Community House.


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


Outdoor vineyard and indoor ceremony options. Full service reception with two beautiful patios overlooking the vineyard. Experience the stunning art and architecture.

820 N. John St. • McHenry 815.385.1072 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 Pinstripes

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

933 Skokie Blvd. • Northbrook 847.498.6500 Ridge Hotel, The

W4240 WI-50 • Lake Geneva, WI 262.249.3849 Seville, The

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

2401 W. Higgins Rd. • Hoffman Estates 847.884.7000 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 Acquaviva Winery

47W614 IL Rt. 38 • Maple Park 630.365.0333



Allegra Banquets of Villa Park

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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 couple per evening at Arrowhead, so the focus is solely on the newly married.


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


Our rustic Barn and guest house built in the 1920's offers a beautiful setting from days gone by. Enjoy your weekend wedding event with vendors of your choice to make your wedding and reception as unique as you are.


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.


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


Unique restored historical hotel that offers sophisticated upscale events. Outdoor space to include gazebo and veranda. Talented service team to make your dreams come true.


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.


Centrally located, gorgeous venue clad in reclaimed barn wood and antique furnishings, surrounded beautiful grounds, and private bricked patio with wood burning fireplace!


Beautiful hall. Elegant atmosphere. Over 25 years of experience.


The OAKS is a new 6,000 square foot private dining expansion, on the east side of Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse’s Oak Brook location.


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


Beautiful gardens and friendly farm animals with red barn makes this outdoor setting unlike any other.

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 Barn at Allen Acres, The

2206 Prophet Rd. • Rock Falls 847.687.3348 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 Chicago Marriott Naperville

1801 N. Naper Blvd. • Naperville 630.505.4900 Drake Oak Brook Hotel, The

2301 York Rd. • Oak Brook 630.571.0000 Drury Lane

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

915 Harger Rd. • Oak Brook 630.575.8070 Emporium at Abbey Farms, The

2855 Hart Rd. • Aurora 630.966.7775 Empress Banquets, The

200 E. Lake St. • Addison 630.279.5900 Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse Oak Brook

2105 S. Spring Rd. • Oak Brook 312.587.0508 Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort

3500 Midwest Rd. • Oak Brook 630.850.5555 Ki’s Gardens Outdoor Weddings & Events

705 North Ave. • Glendale Heights 224.256.6712




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



Naper Settlement

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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!


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!


Our award winning banquet facility features floor to ceiling windows overlooking our beautiful, Scottish links-style golf course.

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

320 W. Jackson Ave. • Naperville 630.848.5000 Pinstripes

7 Oakbrook Ctr. • Oakbrook 630.575.8744 Prairie Landing Golf Club

2325 Longest Dr. • West Chicago 630.208.7633 Venuti’s Banquets & Ristorante



Three rooms available in a formal bistro atmosphere.


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


From an intimate brunch to an elegant reception, enjoy a picturesque setting and stunning banquet facilities to make your special occasion perfect.


Featuring sophisticated style, and all new modern banquet facility. Enjoy the new Crowne Plaza for all the ingredients for a wedding to remember.


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



2251 W. Lake St. • Addison 630.376.1500

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.




Congratulations on your engagement! We would be honored to help plan your special day!




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




Featuring a spacious, and flexible event space. Warehouse 109 meets the need for an interesting venue to host your next event.

2001 Rodeo Dr. • Bolingbrook 630.771.9400 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 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, The

19110 S. Ridgeland Ave. • Tinley Park 708.429.7400 Prairie Bluff Golf Club

19433 Renwick Rd. • Lockport 815.836.4653 Silver Lake Country Club

14700 S. 82nd Ave. • Orland Park 708.349.6940 ext. 5 Warehouse 109

14903 S. Center St. # 109 • Plainfield 815.556.9553



H E AT H E R & B R A N D O N WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Gold Grid Studios

Brandon and Heather didn’t officially meet until later in college, but the pair first caught each other’s eye when they sat across the table from each other at a sorority dance. “Years later, we talked about how we both had noticed one another and thought how cute the other was,” the couple laughed. After they talked for the first time at a bar, Brandon admits he kept looking for reasons to bump into her. “I couldn’t tell if she liked me or I was annoying her, always showing up and being around,” he joked. “But I guess whatever I was doing workedlook at us now!” The couple decided to get married at the Rookery and took full advantage of its exquisite architecture. Rather than having their décor compete with the venue’s beautiful gold and marble etchings and romantic, spiraling staircase, Brandon and Heather chose a gentle color palette with gold details that complemented The Rookery’s elegance. Brandon and Heather said their “I dos” in a traditional reform Jewish ceremony that included an emotional speech from their rabbi and special touches like sealing a box of wine for their ten year anniversary, but the couple’s favorite memory from their wedding happened during their first look. “I heard her walking up and then all of a sudden I heard her start to run and that’s when I started to cry,” Brandon said. “It was just an incredible moment.” At their reception, the couple and their guests danced the night away to live 90s music. Zac Brown Band covers got everyone moving, and Heather and Brandon both agreed that standing in a circle of their friends and family and watching all their loved ones sing along at the top of their lungs was the most fun they’ve ever had. “I looked around and saw just how lucky I was,” Heather said. “I’ll remember it forever.”

Real Wedding Vendors VENUE: The Rookery | PHOTOGRAPHY: Gold Grid Studios | OFFICIANTS: Rabbi Jeremy Weisblatt | EVENT PLANNER: Paper to Party BRIDE’S GOWN: Jade Daniel | BRIDE’S SHOES: Angela Nuran | HAIR & MAKEUP: Exquisite Bride by Desi BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Bari Jay Bridesmaid Dresses | FORMALWEAR: Wilfred Newman | POCKET SQUARES: The Tie Bar STATIONERY: Lucious Verde | FLORAL & DÉCOR: Art of Imagination | CHUPPAH: City Scents CATERING: Jewell Events Catering | CAKE & SWEETS: Urban Icing | ENTERTAINMENT: Run Forrest Run, Bear and Jake CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


The Calm Before the Storm OUR TIPS ON HOW TO ACE YOUR REHEARSAL DINNER. WRITTEN BY Emma Sarran Webster | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Ocken Photography


Here’s the thing: Planning a wedding

to plan things like the menu without

dinner guest list ends up being almost

often means more than, well, planning

having to do so hurriedly.

as big as the wedding guest list–particu-

the actual wedding. For most couples, it involves a weekend’s worth of events– including the rehearsal dinner. In many

Regardless of when you start planning, there are many ways to ensure the event is special and successful.

before the frenzied (but fun!) day of the nuptials begins. Of course, coordinating your actual wedding day takes priority; and if you’re not too picky, you should have plenty of options available to book even if you wait until a couple months out to plan your rehearsal dinner. But if you have a

the need to invite all of your out-of-towners to the dinner, it’s by no means a

cases, the rehearsal dinner kicks off the celebrations with friends and family,

larly if most of the guests are coming in from out of town. But, while you may feel

Did You Know? Rev. William Tavernor conducted a marriage at the age of 98, making him the oldest person to ever join a couple in matrimony. The groom just happened to be his very own grandson.

requirement. Those people are traveling to town for your wedding day; if they get an invite to the rehearsal dinner, they’d certainly enjoy it; but if not, that doesn’t take away from the actual wedding day festivities. Feel free to keep the dinner small and intimate, spend quality time with those in attendance, and perhaps give your out-of-towners a list of dinner and activity suggestions in the area (via

specific vision in mind for the wedding-

your website, a note in the hotel room,

eve events, it’s worth it to think ahead.

or even casual emails and text messages).

the last minute and find that the venues


If you prefer to include a bigger guest list

you prefer are already booked up for pri-

In theory, the rehearsal dinner is a post-

but have a limited budget for the event,

vate events or parties. Save yourself the

wedding rehearsal meal for your bridal

consider the recent trend of hosting a

stress of a scramble and start looking

party and family. But in actuality, many

small dinner followed by a larger cocktail

into your options at least a few months

guest lists expand far beyond that. In

reception or welcome party.

in advance, so you can book and begin

fact, for some weddings, the rehearsal

You can also ditch the sit-down dinner

The last thing you want is to wait until





idea completely. Keep the event more fluid by turning it into a cocktail party with passed hor d’oeuvres and the like, and let everyone (yourselves included!) mix and mingle freely.

smoothly. Rather, you should be enjoying

“Why not hold your reception dinner outside? Enjoy the stars, beautiful panoramic views, magical lighting, and outdoor bars.”

the company of your family and friends

– Spiro, Ki’s Garden

DELEGATING THE WORK You shouldn’t spend your entire rehearsal dinner (or the hours and days leading up to it) making sure everything runs

complete opposite direction of the wedding. For example, if you are having that traditional wedding, opt for a rehearsal dinner at a cool and casual billiards or ping-pong bar. Really, the possibilities are endless – and there are fun rehearsal dinner options that suit all budget ranges. Incorporate some sort of activity, like dance lessons, golfing, karaoke, or even bowling, to keep your guests easily entertained and in a festive mood. Keep

and relaxing (as much as you can!)

things simple (and pretty affordable) by

before the big day. So, don’t be afraid to

reserving the party room in your apartment

delegate and ask for help. If you already

like. The “one-stop shop” approach may

building and ordering pizza (bonus points

have a wedding planner or day-of planner,

save you precious time and energy.

if it’s Chicago style!). Or, rent out a

consider asking him or her to work on your rehearsal dinner as well. If not, it might be worth it to hire a professional to help with this event alone.


In fact, consider taking the event in the

BUCKING TRADITION Even if you’re having a traditional wedding, the pre-nuptial festivities are your opportunity to think outside the box. There are

simple, frill-free event space and book a taco truck (or, really, any type of food truck) to hang out outside for the meal. You don’t even have to feel constrained

Or, perhaps the simplest option: Opt to

no rules that state it needs to be a

by the “dinner” part of a rehearsal dinner.

have your rehearsal dinner at a restaurant

formal, seated dinner at any certain type

Why not make it a rehearsal brunch,

that includes event-planning services,

of venue, with any certain type of food,

lunch, or even an afternoon tea? Pick a

like coordinating linens, music, and the

music, or time constraints.

time of day that works best for your


and friends there to experience not only one of your favorite spots, but also the

time to relax at home in the evening and

Chicago neighborhood you call home?

get to bed super early before your big

Or, incorporate decor and menu items

day, an earlier gathering will help you

that correspond to your honeymoon des-

make that happen.

tination, your culture, or your favorite

And the daytime option can be super-

places to go, and things to do.

casual: Head to the beach or one of

Ultimately, those personal touches will

Chicago’s many gorgeous parks for a

not only make the rehearsal dinner a

picnic or BBQ. You can even bring fun

fun and unique experience for your

outdoor games like croquet and get a little

guests, but it’ll also make it more

casual tournament going between bites.


schedule and your tastes. If you think you’re going to want a good chunk of

special for you and your partner. That means the event may be vastly different


from various trends you read about,

Your guests are there to celebrate you,

or even your friends’ own rehearsal din-

so take the chance to make your rehearsal

ners, but that’s more than okay. No

dinner personal and share pieces of your

two rehearsal events will be alike – nor

life that exist outside your wedding day.

should they be. It’s about you, your

If you and your soon-to-be spouse go to

fiancé, and the loved ones who will be in

the restaurant on the corner of your

attendance. As long as you keep that in

block so often that the entire staff knows

mind when you’re planning, it’s bound to

you by name, why not bring your family

be a success.



Celebration Locations

Rehearsals, Parties, and Events


312 Chicago

Ampersand Wine Bar

136 N. LaSalle Dr., Chicago 312.325.7118

4845 N. Damen Ave., Chicago 773.728.0031

Bon Appétit at The Art Institute of Chicago

Maximum # of Guests: 225 Starting Price per Person: $60

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

From the heart of Italy to the Heart of the Loop, 312 Chicago focuses on contemporary Italian cuisine by Chef Luca Corazzina. The ambiance continues to evoke the comfort and sophistication of a 1930’s supper club, but the style is pure, modern elegance with rich walnut wood & dramatic chandeliers.

Mark the moment at the perfect little spot in the city. Superb dining as well as amazing wine tastings & cocktail hour for rehearsal dinners, engagement parties, brunch, showers, bachelor & bachelorette wine experiences, wedding registry wine club gifts, private proposals, intimate weddings.

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

111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago 312.443.3530

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Chicago’s First Lady Cruises

Club Lucky

12 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago 312.940.3552

Michigan Ave. & Wacker Dr., Chicago 847.358.1330

1824 W. Wabansia Ave., Chicago 773.227.2300

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

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

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

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. 212


The ultimate way Experience classic your own Private parties of 10-250. included.

to showcase Chicago to your guests. luxury and superior service aboard Rehearsal Dinner Cruise. Perfect for Breathtaking sunsets and skyline views

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.


Andre LaCour Photography

Maximum # of Guests: 150 Starting Price per Person: $120




Coco Pazzo Restaurants

D.O.C. Wine Bar Chicago

Erie Café

300 W. Hubbard St. • 212 E. Ohio St., Chicago 312.836.0900

2602 N. Clark St., Chicago 773.480.3708

536 W. Erie St., Chicago 312.266.2300

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

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

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

Coco Pazzo’s elegant setting, 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.

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 Erie Café is a classic Chicago steakhouse, with warm and inviting fine dining. The Erie Café is 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.

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

The Guesthouse Hotel

Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza River North

1028 N. Rush St., Chicago 312.587.0508

4872 N. Clark St., Chicago 773.564.9568

350 W. Wolf Point Plaza, Chicago 312.529.1124

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

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

Maximum # of Guests: 300 Starting Price per Person: $45

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.

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. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM





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: $40

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.

Kimpton Gray Hotel + Boleo

Kimpton Hotel Palomar Chicago

La Pergola at Galleria Marchetti

122 W. Monroe St., Chicago 312.950.7012

505 N. State St., Chicago 312.985.0769

825 W. Erie St., Chicago 312.563.0495

Maximum # of Guests: 250 Starting Price per Person: $85

Maximum # of Guests: 150 Starting Price per Person: Call

Maximum # of Guests: 160 Starting Price per Person: $50

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!

The Canvas Room, a non-traditional space, boasts highlights like floor-to-ceiling windows and the capacity for interactive chef events, thanks to an open-kitchen layout. The sophisticated style of our River North luxury lifestyle hotel–and that loveable Kimpton personality–make us the ideal setting for your next to-do.

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.







Lockwood Restaurant & Bar


The Metropolitan Club

17 E. Monroe St., Chicago 312.917.4933

18 E. Bellevue Pl., Chicago 312.642.3400

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

Maximum # of Guests: 75 Starting Price per Person: $50

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

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

Craft an event reflective of your vision for the occasions leading up to and following your wedding. Entertain in a refined setting under 21 Greek mythology frescoes of the Palmer House Lobby while sampling from seasonally fresh menu selection serving up simple plating of high quality flavors from our rooftop with unique homegrown garden-fresh ingredients.

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.

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!

Michael Jordan’s Steak House

The Mid-America Club

The Montgomery Club

505 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago 312.321.8823

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

500 W. Superior St., Chicago 312.587.0508

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

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

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

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.

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





The Murphy Chicago

The Original Gino’s East

Pazzo’s at 311

50 E. Erie St., Chicago 312.280.8447

162 E. Superior St., Chicago 312.266.5421

311 S. Wacker Dr., Chicago 312.913.1600

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

Maximum # of Guests: 300 Starting Price per Person: $22

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

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.

Our centrally located restaurants are perfect for entertaining a rehearsal dinner, reception, welcome dinner, engagement party, or day after brunch. We can offer the perfect setting for your legendary event. Our spacious rooms can accommodate groups of 15-300. Room sizes will vary based on location. Please contact our event management team for further details on custom menus and setup.

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.

Petterino’s Restaurant


Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar

150 N. Dearborn St., Chicago 312.422.0150

435 E. Illinois St., Chicago 312.527.3140

626 N. State St., Chicago 312.698.5000

Maximum # of Guests: 200 Starting Price per Person: $50

Maximum # of Guests: 220 Starting Price per Person: $41

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

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.

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.

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.



Shelby St. Cin

Cristina G. Photography







The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago

1925 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago 312.462.3671

20 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago 312.952.6120

160 E. Pearson St., Chicago 312.266.1000

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

Maximum # of Guests: 250 Starting Price per Person: $55

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

Ranalli’s offers traditional 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.

Remington’s is a classic American grill, welcoming guests to enjoy handcrafted cooking & unparalleled service in an elevated & sophisticated atmosphere. Located steps from Millennium Park, this energetic & modern restaurant offers multiple private & semiprivate event spaces. Spaces include the much buzzed about Wine Room featuring glass walls filled with 1200 bottles of wine.

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

Riva Crab House on Navy Pier

River Roast

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

700 E. Grand Ave., Chicago 312.644.7482

315 N. LaSalle St., Chicago 312.527.1417

1 W. Grand Ave., Chicago 312.755.1677

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

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

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

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.

Rock Bottom will make your wedding event a memorable one! Our renovated event spaces & rooftop terrace create an atmosphere for a one of 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!

Jennifer Hyde Photography






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 CUTN. 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

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

1500 N. Wells St., Chicago 773. 966.0404

201 N. State St., Chicago 312.239.9517

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

Maximum # of Guests: 330 Starting Price per Person: $35

Maximum # of Guests: 225 Starting Price per Person: $80

Featuring floor to ceiling panoramic views of Lake Michigan and The Magnificent Mile, Spiaggia’s private event spaces set the perfect backdrop for your rehearsal dinner. James Beard award winning Chef Partner Tony Mantuano, Executive Chef Joe Flamm and Sommelier Rachael Lowe support in creating a menu and experience to wow all guests.

In the heart of Old Town with 3 levels with private & semiprivate space, SteakBar is the perfect venue to host your event. SteakBar is a partnership between Four Corners Taverns Group and Hogsalt Hospitality.

Leave your guests in awe when you host your rehearsal dinner in one of our creative and stunning spaces in the heart of downtown Chicago. Offering a variety of private settings with dramatic views of the Loop, theWit provides expert event planners, custom dining menus and state of the art technological and entertainment capabilities that will provide an unforgettable evening for you and your closest family, friends and loved ones.







Thompson VenueChicago

Tuco & Blondie

Volo Restaurant Wine Bar

21 E. Bellevue Address,Pl., CityChicago 312.994.7252 000.000.0000

3358 N. Southport Ave., Chicago 773.327.8226

2008 W. Roscoe St., Chicago 773.348.4600

Maximum Maximum ## ofof Guests: Guests:150 XX Starting Price Price per Person: $65 Starting $XX

Maximum # of Guests: 60 Starting Price per Person: $18

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

TIn the heart of Chicago’s e Gold Coast, Thompson x Chicago is at Tstylish 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 designere Tara Bernerd, partnered x with Nicot Text. Osteria's authentic, coastal Italian cuisine for all events.

If you're hungry, chow down. If you're thirsty, drink up. We have room for all. The hottest new spot on Southport! Private & semi-private rooms available seven days a week for (up-to) 60 guests. Perfect for your shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, or reception. With several party's a perfect fit with a lot of fun!

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

The Windsor

701 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago 312.274.6421

Multiple locations, Chicago & Suburbs 312.467.0574

160 E. Huron St., Chicago 312.952.6120

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

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

Maximum # of Guests: 175 Starting Price per Person: $45

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 service catering with on-site grilling. Let us share our passion for grilling and entertainment while you sit back and enjoy your guests.

Located just steps off Michigan Avenue, The Windsor is your neighborhood hideout for enjoying craft cocktails, classic American fare, and good times in the heart of Streeterville. Warm hospitality combined with an elevated menu makes each dining experience unforgettable. Multiple private and semi-private event spaces for your shower, rehearsal dinner, reception, or post-wedding brunch! CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront


Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano

739 N. Clark St., Chicago 312.266.6691

1524 S. Randall Rd., Algonquin 847.658.5040

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

Maximum # of Guests: 84 Starting Price per Person: $15

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.

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.

Located in Algonquin Commons, Biaggi’s Special Event Room comfortably accommodates up to 84 guests. With large tables, glass and mahogany wine displays, and a stone hearth fireplace, your guests will dine in comfort. Whether it’s your bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, or wedding reception, let Biaggi’s help to make your special day an event to remember.

Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant

Eaglewood Resort & Spa

20560 N. Rand Rd., Deer Park 847.438.1850

798 W. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights 847.981.0900

1401 Nordic Rd., Itasca 630.694.5907

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

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

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

Located in the Deer Park Town Center, Biaggi’s offers a choice of private room options. Our Special Event Room, complete with mahogany wine displays, comfortably accommodates up to 72 guests. And our Wine Room is perfect for smaller gatherings of 10 – 20 guests. Let Biaggi’s help to make your special day an event to remember.

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.

71 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago 312.462.7077 Maximum # of Guests: 140 Starting Price per Person: $50










Elawa Farm

Highland Park Country Club

Hofbräuhaus Chicago

1401 Middlefork Dr., Lake Forest 847.234.1966

1201 Park Ave. W., Highland Park 847.432.8048

5500 Park Pl., Rosemont 847.671.2739

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

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

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

Rustic elegance and the unforgettable beauty of a restored gentleman’s farm, just a short drive from Chicago. Let Elawa Farm provide a breathtaking backdrop for your wedding, rehearsal dinner, shower or celebration.

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

The Original Gino’s East


25 W. Davis St., Arlington Heights 847.398.2400

45 S. Barrington Rd., South Barrington 847.304.4466

1150 Willow Rd., Northbrook 847.480.7676

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

Maximum # of Guests: 200 Starting Price per Person: $22

Maximum # of Guests: 200 Starting Price per Person: $38

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

Perfect for entertaining a rehearsal dinner, reception, welcome dinner, engagement party, or day after brunch. We can offer the perfect setting for your legendary event. Our spacious rooms can accommodate groups of 10-150. If you are from Chicago or visiting for the first time, Gino's East is the spot to make your memorable event stick out from the rest.

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. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM






Tuscany Wheeling

Arrowhead Golf Club

Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano

550 S. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling 847.465.9988

26W151 Butterfield Rd., Wheaton 630.653.5800

2752 Showplace Dr., Naperville 630.428.8500

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

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

Maximum # of Guests: 56 Starting Price per Person: $15

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.

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.

Located in Naperville Crossings, Biaggi’s Special Event Room comfortably accommodates up to 56 guests. With large tables, glass and mahogany wine displays and a stone hearth fireplace, your guests will dine in comfort. Whether it’s your bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, or wedding reception, let Biaggi’s help to make your special day an event to remember.

D.O.C. Wine Bar Lombard

The Drake Oak Brook

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse Oak Brook

326 Yorktown Ctr., Lombard 773.480.3708

2301 York Rd., Oak Brook 630.571.0000

2105 S. Spring Rd., Oak Brook 630.954.0000

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

Maximum # of Guests: 350 Starting Price per Person: $30

Maximum # of Guests: 300 Starting Price per Person: $65

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.

The Drake Oak Brook Hotel will create a rehearsal dinner that will be one to remember. Whether your party is casual or calls for a truly extravagant meal, we offer many options that are perfect for your special event needs. Our culinary team uses the freshest and highest quality products.

The OAKS is a nearly 6,000 sq ft private dining expansion at Gibsons’ Oak Brook location. This 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.





WEST CHICAGO - continued - continued

Naper Settlement

The Original Gino’s East


523 S. Webster St., Naperville 630.420.6010

315 W. Front St., Wheaton 630.588.1010

7 Oakbrook Ctr., Oak Brook 630.575.8744

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

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

Maximum # of Guests: 270 Starting Price per Person: $38

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.

Perfect for entertaining a rehearsal dinner, reception, welcome dinner, engagement party, or day after brunch. We can offer the perfect setting for your legendary event. Our spacious rooms can accommodate groups of 10-150. If you are from Chicago or visiting for the first time, Gino's East is the spot to make your memorable event stick out from the rest.

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.


Venuti’s Banquets & Ristorante


2251 W. Lake St., Addison 630.376.1500

9333 S. Cicero Ave., Oak Lawn 708.229.8888

Maximum # of Guests: 600 Starting Price per Person: $65

Maximum # of Guests: 40 Starting Price per Person: $15

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.

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. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Obtaining an Illinois Marriage License

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


of former spouses. Counties may vary

Both partners must appear together in

when it comes to forms of acceptable


ID. Call your county clerk to verify what

Downtown Chicago – Daley Center

person at the time of application.

documentation you should bring.

WHO MAY APPLY Unmarried people who are 18 years of age or older and not blood relatives can apply for a marriage license, as can first cousins 50 years or older. People 16 and 17 years of age must provide the following information: sworn consent, in person, from each parent or legal guardian before the county clerk at the time of application, as well as a certified copy of their birth certificates and a second form of identification to show their date of birth. Those giving consent must provide proper identification, including a valid driver’s license, state ID, or a valid US passport. If the

50 W. Washington St. East Concourse (Lower) Level – 25


Chicago, IL 60602

Civil unions are still legal, valid, and


offered to all couples in the state of


Illinois. It is not required that a civil union

110 E. Sycamore St.

be converted into a marriage. If couples

Sycamore, IL 60178

would like to convert their civil union into


a marriage, the marriage license fee will


be waived if the couple applies for their

421 N. County Farm Rd.

licenses and has their ceremony within

Wheaton, IL 60187

60 days of the date their civil union was


actualized. If a couple does not live in Illinois, they may still apply for a marriage license in an Illinois county, provided they have a ceremony in that county

GRUNDY 111 E. Washington St., Room 12 Morris, IL 60450 815.941.3222

within 60 days.

legal guardian is giving consent, a certified


copy of his or her guardianship papers

719 S. Batavia Ave., Building B

must be provided.


COST Depending on your county, the cost to

Geneva, IL 60134 630.232.5950

obtain a marriage license is $20-$60. Certain counties only accept cash, so


You must provide one of the following

call ahead to confirm what types of pay-

189 E. Court St.

pieces of information to receive your

ment the clerk will accept. If you intend

marriage license: valid U.S. driver’s license

to request multiple copies of your marriage

or state ID, valid U.S. passport, or U.S.

license, be prepared to pay a small repli-

Armed Forces identification card. If the

cation fee.

Kankakee, IL 60901 815.937.2990

LAKE 18 N. County St., Room 101 Waukegan, IL 60085

above is not available, you must provide


your birth certificate, U.S. naturalization


papers or resident alien card, a valid for-

A marriage license becomes effective

667 Ware Rd., Room 107

eign passport, life insurance policy that

twenty-four hours after it is issued. After

Woodstock, IL 60098

has been in effect for at least one year, a

the document becomes effective, couples


baptismal record showing the birth date

have 60 days to hold their ceremony and


of the applicant, or a consulate identifi-

make their marriage official. The couple

302 N. Chicago St.

cation card. Some counties may require

must hold their ceremony in the same

Joliet, IL 60432

divorce decrees and/or death certificates

county that issued their marriage license.


two of the following: a certified copy of

EDITED BY Christina Oddo 224

and/or filing purposes.



Make a


LOCATION Art Institute of Chicago

PHOTOGRAPHY Dennis Lee Photography

STYLING The ChicagoStyle Weddings Team

HAIR Zazú Salon

GOWN Elisabetta Polignano JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio | SHOES Badgley Mischka

MAKEUP Make Up First

LEFT: GOWN Mark Zunino EARRINGS, RING, BRACELET Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio NECKLACE Razny Jewelers

RIGHT: GOWN Gemy Maalouf JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio SHOES Badgley Mischka

LEFT: GOWN Ivy & Aster JEWELRY Razny Jewelers

RIGHT: GOWN Elisabetta Polignano JEWELRY Eve J. AlfillĂŠ Gallery & Studio

GOWN Pronovias JEWELRY Razny Jewelers SHOES Badgley Mischka







There’s a beautiful engagement ring sparkling on your finger.

scrolling through Pinterest, gathering inspiration is one of the

Your phone is blowing up with congratulatory texts. Your

most important parts of finding your wedding dress. Walking

camera roll is already almost full with ring selfies, and the but-

into a bridal boutique with no clue what size or style you’re

terflies are still going wild in your stomach. Later that night, it

looking for can be incredibly overwhelming, so treat dress

starts to finally sink in: you’re getting married. Sitting in a tree,

shopping like it’s a college final and prep, prep, prep. Luckily,

K-I-S-S-I-N-G. And as if that weren’t exciting enough, this new

hunting for dress inspo is the fun kind of research. Start off

piece of jewelry means you’ve finally gotten the greenlight to go

simple and collect images of gowns that you love. Once you’ve

wedding dress shopping! You go to bed with visions of veils

got a decent collection going, analyze your choices. Are a

dancing in your head, and then you wake up and realize you

bunch of the dresses blush? Are your choices mostly ball

have no idea where to begin. What type of dress will look best?

gowns? Are half of them designed by Hayley Paige? Note what

Who should you take shopping with you? How will you know

styles and designers you’re gravitating towards, and arm

when you’ve found the one? Sit back and relax because you’re

yourself with this info when you head out shopping.

in good hands – with a little help from our guide, you’ll be saying yes to your dress in no time.

STEP #2: PICK YOUR POSSE This might be the trickiest step of all because we can’t put a


magic number on your dress shopping entourage. The sweet

Whether you’re flipping through the pages of our magazine or

spot seems to be between two and four, but that varies from

WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Erin Hoyt Photography




STEP #3: SET YOUR BUDGET This step is pretty self-explanatory, but oh-so significant. Before you ever set JENNOGRAPHY

foot in a bridal boutique, set your budget and set it firmly. Once you get down to the actual shopping, save yourself the heartbreak and don’t even try on gowns that are above the amount you decided on. As long as your budget is realistic, we promise you can find a


bride to bride. What we can tell you is

party. The key is to stick to your guns

picture-perfect gown without putting

that when you’re deciding who gets to

and not let anyone guilt you into bringing

yourself in debt.

tag along to the bridal boutique, less is

them. This is your day, and it should get

more. A big group will only result in

done your way. A little word of caution

chaos, confusion, and probably crying,

though: if you don’t have a good rela-


so stick to the VIPs. Your immediate

tionship with one of the people we listed

We hate to be the bearers of bad news,

family members get first pick – mom,

above, we highly recommend letting them

but loving a gown on Pinterest doesn’t

grandma, and sisters. Next comes your

sit this one out. Shopping for dresses

mean you’ll love it in real life. Manage

Maid of Honor, followed by your future

most likely won’t mend any fences, so

your expectations and remember that

mother or sisters in-law. If you have

avoid the potential disaster and save

inspiration is meant to inspire – there’s a

space leftover, pick from your bridal

playing nice for a less important day.

good chance the gown of your dreams



STEP #5: GET REAL It’s easy to fall in love with a dress when NATIVE WEDDINGS

you’re standing still in front of a mirror, but 99.9% of weddings involve walking down the aisle and dancing the night away– two things that both require mobility. So keep that in mind once you’ve tried on a dress and decided you love it. Before you say yes, walk the length of the store, take a few turns, and most importantly, bust out a few dance moves. If you feel comfortable moving around in won’t be a dress that’s pinned on your

a choir of bridal fairies doesn’t appear

the dress, you’ve got a winner. If you

“Gown Goals” board. If you’ve been

and play celebratory music when you

can barely breathe or have to seriously

drooling over that slinky Pronovias gown

find the one. In reality, it’s all about your

flex your quads every time you take a

for months but try it on and realize it’s

reflection. When you look in the mirror,

step, then that satin, bejeweled mermaid

not the one, don’t freak out– we promise

what do you see? Are you smiling from

dress might not be the one after all.

other gorgeous gowns are just around

ear to ear? Does the dress look like it

the corner! Saying yes is another part of

was made just for you? Is mom bawling

the shopping process that requires a

her eyes out a few feet behind you? If

little expectation adjustment. Contrary to

so, there’s a good chance that this is

what TV shows might have you believe,

your dress.

STEP #6: RESIST, RESIST, RESIST Once the gown is officially yours to take home, lock it in your closet and throw away the key. It’s natural to be excited and want to try on your dress once a week until the big day finally arrives, but this is actually a recipe for disaster. Most soon-to-be brides who can’t stay away from their dresses end up over-analyzing their buy and wondering if they should have gone a different route. Having buyer’s remorse over a five dollar tank top from Forever 21 is one thing, but wedding dress stress is a totally different story. So unless you’ve undergone a drastic weight gain or loss and need to make sure your gown still fits, have a little self-control and keep your dress under wraps until just before your wedding. At the end of the day, buying a wedding dress is a decision that’s incredibly personal, and our steps are a guide, not a rulebook. If skipping one of these suggestions feels right then follow your gut. As you walk down the aisle towards the love of your life, feeling beautiful and confident in the dress of your dreams, know that we’re cheering you on.



Gown Glamour DAME COUTURE Jillian Fellers Bridal,


Essence of Australia,

Alessandra Rinaudo,



Autumn Silk Bridal,





Stella York,


JENNY YOO Jenny Yoo Collection,

LAUREL BRIDAL Crystal Design,

KATHRYN'S BRIDAL Badgley Mischka,




Stunning silhouettes, gorgeous fabrics, and head-turning accents: Today, these are the marks of not only wedding gowns, but also of the looks donned by your bridal party. Bridesmaid fashion continuously evolves and improves, and the options available for stylishly dressing your family and best friends are practically limitless. So how do you go about narrowing it down and selecting the best looks for your big day?

WRITTEN BY Emma Sarran Webster | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Erin Hoyt Photography




day of shopping, sipping champagne,


and playing dress-up sounds good in

If you’re looking to dress, say, five or

theory, but it’s probably better to start

more bridesmaids and you invite them all

small. Invite one or two people to come

think your party will wear

with you on your first scouting trip so me they won't

that you can more easily narrow down

and they don't, sorry. If you

on your first style-hunting adventure, you’ll likely be dealing with a lot of opinions and that can get very overwhelming,

the options before involving anyone else.

very quickly. Sure, the idea of gathering

This also means that you don’t have to

your entire bridal party together for a fun

worry about your entire crew getting

“First and foremost, don't shop for a dress that you

want your party to be excited about their dress, give them the option to select their own style. They know what looks best on them, so have them shop from a collection that offers a variety of styles in the same colour and/or fabric. It makes for a far more interesting and sophisticated photo!” – Caroline Shaw, The Wedding Dresser their hearts set on a specific dress (or dresses) before you’ve had time to fully think it through. After all, it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement and opinions and make a premature decision that you may later realize isn’t quite right. You also may find that, after your first shopping trip, you actually want to go in a different direction than you initially thought. Looking at pictures of dresses is one thing, but actually seeing them in person and on a couple of your bridesmaids is another. Who knows? You could enter the store with your heart set on perfectly matching floor-length gowns and leave in lust with mismatched cocktail dresses. That said, it’s important to start looking early so you don’t feel like you have to make the call right away if you’re not ready. Explore your options, sleep on it, and make the final decision once you’re sure it’s what you want.




specific) store and let them know you’re looking for some active guidance while you’re there. You don’t need to come in with a clear idea of what you’re looking for. Stylists do this for a living and will be happy to provide input or advice if you SYPHOTOGRAPHY

ask for it. Need to keep costs down? Many designers offer lower price points and readyto-wear options, and you can even go the rental route through sites like Rent


something a bit more supportive. Fortuconvertible styles, like Jenny Yoo’s

One of the great challenges of dressing a bridal party is selecting looks that flatter everyone. Unless you have a bridal party made up of girls who are the exact

the Runway or Vow to Be Chic.

nately, there are plenty of options for Annabelle, that allow your bridesmaids


to customize their necklines while still

Bridesmaids don’t have to be female. If

wearing coordinating looks.

one of your best friends is a man, why not include him? Your bridal party should

same shape and size as each other,

And if you’re just not sure what will

you’ll likely run into a situation where, for

look best on your friends, don’t be afraid

example, one bridesmaid might favor a

to seek the help of a stylist. Make an

strapless look, while another insists on

appointment at a bridal (or bridesmaid-

be about gathering the most important people in your life to stand by you on your big day; not the most important people in your life...who also happen to be female. When it comes to dressing the guy(s), you can match their garb to the groomsmen’s, or choose a suit or accessory (like ties or pocket squares) in the same or complimenting color to the bridesmaid dresses.

MAKE THE MOST OF MIXING AND MATCHING. Gone are the days when brides felt the need to dress their ‘maids in identical dresses. Lately, we’re seeing more and more bridal parties dressed in prints, sequins, beads, and varied shades that all come together to make a stunning statement. That’s the cool thing about the mixing and matching trend: It can be manifested in so many ways. Your bridesmaids can don different colors, necklines, prints, and even more for a fresh look that allows each person to show of her unique personality. But, it also presents a challenge: Just how different can the dresses be and still look like they’re all part of one group? The key is to make 246



sure there is some sort of common thread throughout all of the looks. Perhaps all of the dresses are the same fabric and designer, but different silhouettes; or all the same color (or even have the same pop of color); or all the same length. If you have some element that clearly and cohesively ties the looks together, it’ll appear coordinated. But how do you actually decide on those factors yourself? It does require some planning on your end. Again, start early and don’t include too many people when you’re just starting out. Enlist a trusted friend or two and a stylist to help you hone in on fabrics, patterns, and styles that will work together, and narrow it down to a few select choices. Once that’s set, invite your bridesmaids to customize their dresses from a predetermined set of options. While it may seem easier to simply give your bridesmaids a color and length and send them out on their own to find dresses, that route can actually create more stress for everyone involved. Rather than simply being sent a link to a specific dress, or being told to choose from a handful of options, they now have the responsibility to go to a bunch of stores (or painstakingly browse through countless websites) to find something that they think fits your vision. And, since they likely want to please you without asking you too many questions, the whole process can easily get overwhelming. Help your bridal party out (and avoid having to awkwardly say “no” when they come to you with selections they totally thought you’d love) by doing some of that heavy lifting on your end. Above all, keep in mind that this is a celebratory day for you and your loved ones. When things get a tad stressful, it always helps to take a step back and remember the positive, exciting purpose for this whole process. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM




Money Matters W H O I S T R A D I T I O N A L LY R E S P O N S I B L E F O R T H E C O S T S O F Y O U R B I G D AY ? When it comes to pulling out the wallet,

with your planning, here are some tradi-

it’s becoming less and less common for

tional expense guidelines, including what

the bride’s family to shoulder the bulk of

each family is usually responsible for.

the wedding costs. Instead, many of today’s couples are opting to pay for their own weddings, or the couple, the bride’s parents, and the groom’s parents share the expenses. If you decide to follow tradition and ask your parents for financial assistance for your wedding,

The Bride 1. The groom’s wedding band 2. Gifts for her bridal attendants 3. Gift for the groom

allow them to determine an acceptable figure for the celebration. To help you

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 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 budget shouldn’t limit you. Rather, 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 in order to pull off the wedding that you’ve been dreaming about.



NEW Classics

LOCATION Kimpton Gray Hotel


STYLING The Wedding Dresser

HAIR & MAKEUP Appease, Inc.

LEFT: GOWN Pronovias via Doris Bridal Boutique | EARRINGS Razny Jewelers | BALLOONS Paris312 RING AND BRACELET James & Sons Fine Jewelers | HAIR PIECE Erin Lindsay Designs ABOVE: GOWN Romona Keveza via Bella Bianca Bridal Couture | EARRINGS AND BELT Razny Jewelers

LEFT: MENSWEAR, BOW TIE, AND SHOES Jojayden Custom Clothier SHIRT J.Hilburn JEWELRY Razny Jewelers

RIGHT: GOWN Hayley Paige via Bella Bianca Bridal Couture SHOES Battaglia Footwear EARRINGS AND NECKLACE Razny Jewelers

BRIDE: GOWN Maggie Sottero via The Crystal Bride BOUQUET Bonnie Flower Shop EARRINGS James & Sons Fine Jewelers NECKLACE Razny Jewelers

GROOM: MENSWEAR Formally Modern Tuxedo BOUTONNIERE Bonnie Flower Shop SHIRT J.Hilburn BOW TIE Lee Allison

GROOM: MENSWEAR Formally Modern Tuxedo | SHIRT J.Hilburn | SCARF, GLOVES, AND COAT Richard’s Fabulous Finds | JEWELRY James & Sons Fine Jewelers | PIN Razny Jewelers | SHOES Battaglia Footwear BRIDE: GOWN Vanilla Sposa via Laurel Bridal | SHOES Badgley Mischka | VEIL AND FUR White Dress Bridal Boutique | CAR Classic Wedding Car | JEWELRY James & Sons Fine Jewelers

CAR Classic Wedding Car VIDEOGRAPHY Highway 61 Films NAILS Tara Kadar

BRIDE: GOWN Vanilla Sposa via Laurel Bridal VEIL White Dress Bridal Boutique JEWELRY James & Sons Fine Jewelers GROOM: MENSWEAR Formally Modern Tuxedo SHIRT J.Hilburn JEWELRY James & Sons Fine Jewelers

Celebrating the

Brides Before You

To find your “something borrowed” you need only to turn to the women in your family who have already walked down the aisle. A necklace, a handkerchief, a piece of lace from your mother or grandmother’s veil – little touches like these are all it takes to honor the brides who have come before you. Using something from a family member’s wedding can make your day extra special and add an additional dose of sentimentality to an already emotional event. With a little creativity, you can include aspects of family members’ weddings in your wardrobe, accessories, ceremony, and reception.

WRITTEN BY Colette House PHOTOGRAPHY BY Gold Grid Studios

to wear the dress in the future. Once it’s

Wearing a family member’s wedding

altered, it’s permanently altered, and you

aren’t interested in using your grandma’s

dress can be a meaningful experience. If

want to make sure that everyone who

accessories, there are multiple ways to

this is what you choose to do, be our

could possibly wear the dress is com-

incorporate elements of an heirloom

guest! It can be a wonderful way to feel

fortable with that.

gown or veil without explicitly rewearing them. If your family wedding dress is

connected to someone special to you. Remember that how you wear the dress


If you want to buy your own dress and


Not loving the idea of wearing a hand-

lace, you are in luck! There are so many

is up to you. As long as the original

me-down gown? Pick out your own wed-

ways to use lace on a gown, veil, or with

owner has given you their blessing, you

ding dress and consider wearing a family

other accessories. Start by seeing if your

can make as few or as many alterations

member’s veil with it. You can wear the

seamstress can use the lace from the

to the gown as you’d like. Just be sure

veil as is or ask your seamstress to add

heirloom dress to add accents to a veil

that no one else in the family is planning

lace and/or beading to the piece.

you’ve purchased to create a beautiful





are go-to pieces that a bride can wear to feel connected to her family on her special





broaches, and hair accessories can also be passed down and add some sparkle and sentimental value to your wedding day look.

YOUR ACCESSORIES. Like we mentioned previously, fabric from a family member’s old dress or veil can one-of-a-kind veil. If the dress you’ve purchased is simple, consider adding lace accents to it. Your seamstress can help you determine where adding lace looks best. If you choose to add a belt to your dress, see if your dressmaker can

YOUR JEWELRY. Wearing special jewelry is another great way to honor family members who have been married before you. If they’re available to you, consider wearing the same earrings that your mother did

sew the lace from the older gown onto

on her wedding day, or maybe that gor-

the belt. You can also use pieces of lace

geous string of pearls that’s been in the

to create your garter. Add bling to your

family for decades. Items like these and

garter by pinning a family member’s

many other jewelry items that have

broach to the piece.

been passed down through generations

be used to add a finishing touch to several of your accessories. Have your florist take a piece of lace from the dress and pin it around the stem of your bouquet to give it a soft and romantic touch. If your groom wants to honor a family member, he can also do so by having a piece of fabric from his mother or grandmother’s wedding dress wrapped around his boutonniere. Brides can also pin a picture or add a locket with pictures of someone special – mother, grandmother, or aunt – to the fabric wrapped around the stems of their bouquet. Consider sewing some of the fabric onto the pillow your ring bearer will use to walk the rings down the aisle. You can also use lace or scraps of fabric from a wedding dress to have a handkerchief made. Carry it with you so you have something to dab your eyes with as you become emotional throughout the event.

YOUR CEREMONY. Of course wearing “something borrowed” from a family member is a great way to honor the brides before you, but incorporating aspects of their ceremonies into yours can be just as meaningful. Consider walking down the aisle to the same song your mother did. If you’re doing a more traditional ceremony, think about using the same readings as your parents or in-laws did. If you live near your family’s hometown you could be married at the same religious site or venue as your parents or in-laws. 262



If family members have passed away, you can still honor them in your ceremony. Your officiant can call for a moment of NATIVE WEDDINGS

silence; you can light a candle in their honor, or write a loving note about them in your program. Also, consider asking your family members what the most important parts of their wedding days were. If something jumps out at you, incorporate it into your own ceremony. Remember to tell them that their ceremony served as inspi-

your guests to see. Your wedding is a

While your wedding day is ultimately

ration for your special day.

celebration of love – you and your soon-

about you, your partner, and what makes

to-be-spouse’s – and everyone else’s.

you both happy, you don’t want to forget

Spread a message of love through photos

the brides that came before you in the

Dedicate an area either in your cocktail

of wedding days gone by. Find out what

process. They all have something to

space or event room where you can dis-

your family members’ first dance songs

give. Whether it’s a material object like a


play pictures from your family members’

were. Ask your band or DJ to play those

dress or veil, advice, or a tradition,

weddings. Ask for wedding photos of

songs throughout the night and mention

adding elements of their wedding day

parents, in-laws, grandparents, aunts,

which couple’s first dance it was. It gives

into yours will make your day that much

uncles, or cousins in advance. Use dif-

your parents the chance to dance to

more meaningful.

ferent sized frames and create a collage

their special song side-by-side with you

of the wedding photos on a table for all

and your new spouse.

To find the perfect bridal attire for your big day, visit



Under Covers

When it comes to romance, your wedding night is THE night of all nights. After your guests


have gone home and the champagne has worn off, the excitement starts building and the jitters begin. Whether you’ve been intimate with your partner before this point or not, your wedding night has the potential to be one of the most romantic evenings of your life. It doesn’t need to be filled with pressure though. There’s a lot of hype involved, but as long as you make a plan with your soon-tobe spouse and go about prepping correctly, you can relax and be confident that you and your partner will have a wonderful evening. Not sure where to begin? Here’s a blue print to get you started.

WRITTEN BY Kelsey O’Shaughnessy-Podgorski PHOTOGRAPHY BY Flirty Martini

Does the thought of stripping down to

“Embrace that feminine power! A sexy outfit and a boudoir

your skivvies in front of a camera give

photo shoot can transform your fear into confidence, and give

you the cold sweats? You’re not alone.

both you and your partner a tease of what’s to come.”



However, boudoir photo shoots can be really fun, feisty, and a fierce confidence

- Beba Georgieva and Daina Kaleja,

booster. It’s normal to feel shy at first,

Moi Soli Galore Nightwear

but we guarantee that after a few flashes, you’ll be smizing like Tyra. Start by doing your research on reputable local boudoir photographers. After some due diligence, select a professional that makes you feel comfortable. A boudoir shoot should be about you and your love, and a true pro will make sure that’s where the focus

select something that makes you feel fab-

for the occasion. If you’d rather spice it

ulous and comfortable. When you feel

up a bit, consider going for more striking

comfortable, you feel confident – and con-

and dynamic colors like black or red.

fidence is the sexiest thing you can wear.

Can’t decide between a sweet bridal look and a more seductive black ensemble?


outfit. Select a handful of looks that you

old favorite or something brand new,

If you’re feeling a bit traditional when

can use throughout your wedding week

your lingerie should make you feel like

you’re picking out your lingerie, stick

and honeymoon. Pick a few contrasting

Wonder Woman on steroids once the

with bridal white or a beautiful “something

styles to show your delicate, softer side,

camera starts clicking.

blue”. It’s fun, sexy and totally appropriate

as well as your playful, flirty side.

stays. Next, pick an outfit for the shoot and get ready to pose. Whether it’s an

No one says you have to pick just one

STEP 2: FIND SOMETHING NEW, SOMETHING YOU Let’s be honest – going shopping for wedding night lingerie is half the fun. There are a ton of amazing styles, colors, and shapes, which can make shopping either quick and easy or extremely overwhelming. Your best bet is to choose a style that emphasizes what you love most about your body. If you’re proud of your long legs, go for a garter belt and thigh-high stockings plus lacy undies and a push-up bralette top. Are all those squats at the gym paying off? Try a tightfitting teddy that accentuates your derriere. It’s easy to pick out which features you want to highlight, but we all have parts of our body that we’d rather keep under wraps. If you’re looking to hide your midriff, try baby doll style lingerie. If you think less is more when it comes to showing off your booty, opt for a look with a cute flouncy skirt. The key is to CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



STEP 4: HELP A GUY OUT Ladies aren’t the only ones who need to prepare for the wedding night. While red silky boxers may not be a huge hit in your book, there is something a man can wear that will get your engine roaring – cologne. Tantalize your senses by suggesting that your guy pick out a mouthwatering scent. Women are highly sensitive to male pheromones, so choosing the perfect cologne on your wedding

“Go for the color that

turous vibes, your wedding night is the perfect time to test that super seductive look that you’ve always wanted to try. We’re not saying you need to do anything

speaks to you loudest. After

too intense though. You don’t need to

all, you know your spouse

dabble in anything extreme in order to

and yourself better than

We’re just suggesting that you play into

anyone else.”

your fantasies and do something a little

hit your wedding night out of the park.

unique. Make it fun. Make it sexy. Make

- Beba Georgieva

night can be worth the research before-

and Daina Kaleja,

hand. As a bonus, every time your new

Moi Soli Galore Nightwear

it memorable.

husband wears that cologne in the future,


you’ll be instantly transported back to

Whether you’re leaving for your honey-

your wonderful wedding night...and all the fun it entailed.

the night even more memorable. A silky


evening, but take it off to reveal an ultramodern look in black. Or maybe introduce

Communication is key for a relaxing, no-

a beautiful, silk or lace mask that allows

robe might be a romantic start to the

pressure wedding night, but having a

you to surprise your partner at every

little surprise up your sleeve will make

turn. With all of its excitement and adven-

moon right away or you have a little time between the wedding and the getaway, it’s time to start planning your lingerie for that adventure as well. Pack a few new pieces that are outside of your “normal” box, but if you have an old favorite, we suggest bringing that outfit along with you as well. If you don’t want to spend a ton of money on new lingerie, don’t forget that bikinis are basically lingerie you’re allowed to wear in public. Also, keep in mind that no honeymoon suitcase is complete without a gorgeous robe. You’ll need something to lounge around the room in as you sip your room service mimosas and bask in your newlywed glow! Ultimately though, your honeymoon is a time for being a little naughty no matter what you’re wearing. Your wedding night can certainly be an emotional time. After all that’s happened during your wedding day, there are tons of feelings flying around. Make sure you communicate openly and honestly with your partner. If you’re not feeling it, it’s really no big deal. You have the rest of your lives to make some magic. But if you do feel like you want to mark the occasion, turn on some special music, light scented candles, pop the champagne, and let all your preparation make the evening unforgettable.




“Be spontaneous. Play a little game, give him something he has never seen before, and keep him coming back to that memory of your honeymoon years down the road.” - Beba Georgieva and Daina Kaleja, Moi Soli Galore Nightwear


Lists to Make Before Your Big Day 1. Morning-Of To-Do’s If you thought the last six months were hectic, buckle up. Your mind will be racing the morning of your wedding, which means your memory will be far from its best. If you make your day-of todo list well ahead of time though, your wedding day will go off without a hitch.

choosing the perfect dress, shoes, and

sure would have something to say about

accessories, and we’re crazy for even

that!” This way, you won’t have to do any

suggesting you’d forget anything, but trust

panicky on-the-spot thinking.

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

(a.k.a. Your Friends and Family) Now that you have a fat stack of lists, they’re starting to look a little intimidating.

He’s not thinking about his cummerbund;

Here’s the best part: You get to start

he’s thinking about you. Just like you did

doling out the fun and feel the stress leave

for yourself, start listing every item he’ll

your body, one slip of paper at a time.

2. Emergency Kit

need on his wedding day: each piece

Rips, tears, minor flesh wounds – all

of his tux or suit, razor, hair products,

are repairable if you have the right

rings, even his wallet.

resources. List out things to add to an

6. Use Your Resources

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

emergency kit like bobby pins, safety

5. Polite Responses

pins, thread, blister bandages, and

If you haven’t already, you’ll be getting

feminine hygiene products, whether

plenty of advice from people just trying to

you’re expecting your monthly wedding

help you out a little. While “Get a huge

crasher or not. Pack the kit up a few

chocolate fountain we can play in,” and

rush from being asked to take responsibility.

weeks before the wedding so you don’t

“Live doves!” may not go with your wedding,

The implied trust offers its own little high

have to stress about it last minute.

you need to be polite in dismissing them.

and helps people feel like they’re con-

Make a list of responses from, “I wish,

tributing to your wedding in a meaningful

3. Bride’s List

but I’m not sure that’s in the budget,”

way. You wouldn’t deprive them of that,

You’ve spent the last twelve months or so

to “Awesome idea, but my mother-in-law

now would you?

one of the most important parts of being a bride. Don’t feel like you’re asking too much of your loved ones. People get a




After meeting at Thanksgiving through Angela’s half-brother, Angela and Andrew talked all night and well into the morning. “It was love at first sight,” Angela said. “We had so many similar interests – we both loved outdoor adventures and country music. We were perfect for each other!” Angela and Andrew’s wedding was full of sunshine, blue skies, and waterfalls. “It was the perfect day to get married,” Angela said. “I was the luckiest woman alive.” The couple said “I do” in an outdoor ceremony that overlooked a canyon and cascading rapids. Surrounded by greenery and filtered light and wearing a gorgeous gown from Kathryn’s Bridal, Angela walked down the wooden stairs of a tiered deck that lead towards the falls rather than an aisle. The newlyweds’ rustic reception at Grand Bear Lodge was the perfect follow up to their woodland ceremony. Personalized wooden crates, wild flowers, and a grey and peach color palette helped capture the free and natural vibe that inspired Angela and Andrew’s celebration. “We asked our guests to dress casually so that everyone could enjoy the celebration,” the couple said. “It truly was perfect.”

Real Wedding Vendors VENUE: Grand Bear Lodge | PHOTOGRAPHY: McConville Studio | OFFICIANT: Steve Erickson BRIDE’S GOWN: Kenneth Wilson via Kathryn’s Bridal | BRIDE’S SHOES: Kelly & Katie | HAIR & MAKEUP: Luscious Moi Salon BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Kathryn’s Bridal | STATIONERY: Kathryn’s Bridal | FLORAL & DÉCOR: Mary’s Special Touch CATERING: Grand Bear Lodge | CAKE & SWEETS: Kelsey’s Kakes | ENTERTAINMENT: DJ4U







PHOTOGRAPHY BY Alicia’s Photography




Beachside Romance – Tiffany Munster Soirée Weddings & Events • Soirée is a boutique event planning firm specializing in Chicago and destination weddings. Tiffany Munster and her team have a passion for collaboratively bringing your vision to life through their creativity and expertise. Tiffany's negotiation and organizational skills, along with her knack for details, are the perfect marriage of tools needed to plan an amazing one-of-a-kind wedding for the chic couple.

Come Away With Me – Bethany Moore Bethany Moore Events • Bethany Moore Events is a full-service wedding planning and event design boutique serving Chicago and its nearby suburbs. They create beautiful weddings and events that reflect their clients’ unique personalities, as they strive to bring their story and vision to life. Bethany Moore is the owner and lead designer of the company. She is a highly motivated, detail-oriented, professional planner whose passion for perfectly orchestrated events and activities instills confidence in her ability to deliver. No matter where you may be in the planning stages, Bethany Moore Events offers a number of services with varying levels of involvement. At the core of every event, their goal is to make sure each client’s personal style shines through to create a stunning and memorable event.

It Might Be... It Could Be... It Is! – Samantha Dockery Bliss by Sam • Bliss by Sam has been working with couples since 2005. Owner Samantha Dockery and her team work with busy, discerning clientele to reduce stress throughout their wedding planning process and on their wedding day, so they can relax and enjoy the moment. Bliss by Sam has won awards from the National Association of Catering Professionals and the Forever Bridal Wedding Show. Their articles, wedding, events and styled shoots have been featured locally and nationally.

New Beginnings – Nicole Williams Allen/William Events • Allen/Williams Events is a boutique, couture event-planning firm, specializing in making “your style, in platinum.” Its founding partners, Heather and Nicole, met at the University of Illinois at Urbana– Champaign and, with their shared love of planning and design, created a partnership dedicated to serving their clients with their particular brand of specialized service. Heather and Nicole are members of the Association of Bridal Consultants.







The Team PLANNER/STYLIST Soirée Weddings & Events FLORAL & DÉCOR Dilly Lily CAKE & SWEETS Oak Mill Bakery STATIONERY Sarah Drake Design RENTALS Northern Décor Event Designs; Hall’s Rental VENUE Galleria Marchetti PHOTOGRAPHY Alicia’s Photography Vote for your favorite design at




The Team PLANNER/STYLIST Bethany Moore Events FLORAL & DÉCOR DBG Events & Florals CAKE & SWEETS Delish Cakes STATIONERY DBY invitations RENTALS The Festive Frog; Northern Décor Event Designs ; M&M The Special Events Company VENUE Thompson Chicago PHOTOGRAPHY Alicia’s Photography Vote for your favorite design at



The Team PLANNER/STYLIST Bliss by Sam FLORAL & DÉCOR Ashland Addison Florist CAKE & SWEETS Bombon Cake Gallery STATIONERY Maxe Designs RENTALS BBJ Linen; Well Dressed Tables by Arenas America VENUE Chicago Athletic Association Hotel PHOTOGRAPHY Alicia’s Photography Vote for your favorite design at




The Team PLANNER/STYLIST Allen/Williams Events FLORAL & DÉCOR Mayfield Flowers CAKE & SWEETS SweetPea Cakes STATIONERY Invitations by Design RENTALS BBJ Linen; Hall’s Rental VENUE Waldorf Astoria Chicago Hotel PHOTOGRAPHY Alicia’s Photography Vote for your favorite design at




To hire a wedding planner or not to hire a wedding planner is a

to go to find the rare decor you’re attached to and can

question that every engaged couple faces before their big day.

negotiate contracts before you sign them. They’re also able to

Some couples who opt out of bringing in the extra pair of

view your event with objectivity and experience so they can

hands are worried about the price tag or simply feel that they

prevent any risky decisions in the making. For example, while

can manage the celebration on their own or with the wedding

you may be more focused on holding your ceremony on a river

coordinator of a venue (more on that in a minute). Between the

bank for the sentimental value and gorgeous photos, a wedding

creative solutions, the budget control, and the experienced coor-

planner will know to focus on whether the area is prone to

dination, hiring a wedding planner will help make the absolute

spring flooding and needs to be cleared by an engineer.

best of your wedding in the three ways you will need it most.

Another thing to keep in mind is that there is a difference


between a wedding coordinator and a wedding planner.

Even if you’re the owner of an expertly curated Pinterest wedding

Wedding coordinators that come paired with venues are limited

board and have the most minute details of your affair ironed out,

in scope and are ultimately there to work for their facility, not

you shouldn’t count out a wedding planner. The scoop on where

find a fix for your rained out seating plan. However, with a

to order the most vibrant calla lilies or where to find a chic barn

wedding planner on your team, you will be guaranteed to have

won’t appear out of thin air. Web searches can also leave you

help pulling off every aspect of your vision.

with a ton of options but no guarantees. This is where a wedding


planner can take the reins. Not only are they savvy when it comes to lining up the perfect vendors, they can provide more unique and budget-friendly location options.

Aside from executing the vision for their wedding, brides also need to figure out how much they want to spend on their nuptials. More importantly, they need to plan how they will

Many wedding planners belong to bridal associations and have

spend it successfully. Imagine estimating and maintaining costs

built-in connections across major cities. They know just where

for your wedding when you have absolutely no idea what the

WRITTEN BY Nesa Mangal | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Alicia’s Photography





“As a planner, it’s my job to oversee the 12-14 page timeline

and means. They’ll provide personal recommendations for allocating your budget and advise you on where to pare down

I’ve developed for the wedding day and communicate with as

the celebration to keep things in balance.

many as 20 different vendors. I’m there to advocate on my

They are also privy to discounts and know the best times to buy certain things

client’s behalf throughout the day which often begins as early

because of their role in the industry. For

as the first hair and make-up call at 8am and ends when

instance, they’ll know that venues are

the last guest walks out the door at 2am.” – Lynne Kennedy, The Gilded Aisle

more affordable in February but because of Valentine’s Day, you’ll shell out whatever you saved in flowers. If you’re not stressed over cost, you’ll be able to focus more on enjoying your wedding and whoever

average wedding invitation should cost

planner will be able to tell you that they

is funding your wedding will thank you

(yikes!). If you want to avoid budgeting

start at $250, but without a point of

(and your wedding planner) later!

snafus, a wedding planner is your best

comparison you could end up choosing

bet. It’s their job to be knowledgeable on

the first $800 centerpieces you see.


bridal so you don’t have to – and in all

Planners are also helpful for couples that

Lastly, a wedding planner can help you

honesty, so you’re not signing off on

have no idea what their dream wedding

arrange your wedding in the most effi-

overpriced items. Elevated centerpieces

will cost. A wedding planner can come

cient way. Picture this: after quite a bit

are all the rage right now and a wedding

up with a budget based on your ideas

of back and forth, you’ve secured a

the going market prices for all things




couple of vendors near the beginning of your engagement period. The average engagement lasts 15 months and now, three months before you’re set to say I do, you need to remember what exactly the vendor promised almost a year ago when it arrives. Rather than sift through emails, a binder of papers or – heaven forbid – your own memory, a wedding planner will have all of those details in check for you. Wedding planners can be dedicated to tasks like handling all of your bridal purchases and directing the ceremony or nuances like the flowers or the reception. They’ll be the ones to worry about who will be doing which task and any other questions that are going into the day, saving you headache and time. In addition to a day-of timeline, some wedding planners have an online planning cloud that stores vendors, contracts, contacts and other relevant information that is easily searchable by keyword. So if you’re on the go and need an answer, it will not only be a breeze to find but neatly streamlined. Some brides may be fortunate enough to have ample time to organize the wedding of their dreams, but chances are they could still use a helping hand. This becomes especially true if both partners work. Every bride and groom wants to have a wedding that will remain special to them for years to come and a wedding planner’s time is dedicated to that. They will set up venue walk-throughs, make the necessary phone calls and follow-up with any vendors or contracts as needed so that you can focus on the fun things like looking glamorous for your bridal shower and showing up to the cake tasting. It’s one of the only times you’ll be able to have a time-saving fairy godmother who has an unlimited wish bank – and for one of the most important days of your life!



8 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner 1. Because navigating four vendor contracts at a time can get a little complicated. Luckily, professional wedding planners handle them daily.

"It all begins with a solid timeline that synchronizes all vendors and wedding locations so that the day flows seamlessly for the bridal party and guests. While your guests and vendors experience the wedding in "real time," your planner is looking ahead and anticipating what comes next. So word to the wise...hire a professional and proficient planner who can create and communicate a plan and strategize for the unplanned."



2. Because when you look at a venue,

– Susan Cordogan, Big City Bride

you see a room. Your planner sees an event. 3. Because you don’t want to be DIYing favors at 3:00 A.M. the night

the line someone thought you said

correctly. Which, let’s be honest, is

before the wedding.

you wanted to sit on bean bag

no easy feat.

4. Because you don’t want to know

chairs. In comes the wedding

what that crash was in the kitchen

planner to fix it – or make it work.

right before your beautiful cake

Either way.

was supposed to be wheeled out.

6. Because you forgot your shoes.

No, you want to gaze into your

Or your veil. Or your dress. Or the

new spouse’s eyes and let someone

rings. Or your groom.

else handle clean up.

7. Because you want to actually enjoy

8. Because sometimes – just like everybody else out there – you need a helping hand. Your wedding day is a day you should spend doing nothing else but basking in the love of your family, your friends, and your

5. Because even though you paid for

your day and not worry about any-

partner. Great wedding planners

chiavari chairs, somewhere along

thing other than saying your vows

allow you to do just that.



Something New H O W T O C R A F T A R E G I S T RY Y O U ’ L L A C T U A L LY U S E F O R Y E A R S T O C O M E .

WRITTEN BY E. Ce. Miller | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Jennography




While dress shopping can be totally glamourous and cake tasting is a blast, one of the most fun parts of planning a wedding is – you guessed it – putting together your wedding registry. When else in your life do you really get to shop for things that are just for you, without spending a dime? But with all the fun comes a little bit of registry etiquette (and advice) you’ll want to keep in mind. Don’t forget, once the wedding is over the rest of your life together begins. Your wedding registry is meant to not only help the two of you celebrate your unique bond, but should also reflect the life you’re building together. Follow this list of registry dos and don’ts, and you’re guaranteed to put together a wedding registry that you – and your guests – will love.

DO NOT: REGISTER FOR THE $500 BREAD MAKER In case you can’t tell, I’m using this as a metaphor. If you happen to really be a baker of breads and have been longing for the $500 bread maker – but just couldn’t justify splurging on it yourself – then by all means, absolutely register for the $500 bread maker. Send me some bread if you do. What you should avoid, however, is simply assuming that the moment you say “I do” you are suddenly going to become a baker of homemade breads, or a churner of homemade ice cream, or a maker of homemade cheese, and so on, if you have never, in fact, had a desire to do any of those things before. You will not. What is far more likely to happen if you register for the $500 bread maker without having a solid plan for where such an item will fit into your life, is that some well-intentioned and generous wedding guest will gift it to you. You will open it, because it is large and shiny and intriguing, and use it exactly one time – just CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



opportunity to exchange it for $500-

things that you love and would want to receive. If you love to

worth of gifts you will actually use, like

“Even if you already have a household set up, register for

cook, register for cooking classes or all those specialty pieces

enough to ensure that you have burnt so much flour into the bottom of the bread pan that there is no possibility of returning it for store credit, thereby wasting the

say, margarita glasses. It will then become a $500 stainless steel box of guilt, which

of cooking equipment you really would like to own.

you will be forced to make counter space

Register for holiday china. You can even register for a piece of

for, for the rest of your life, because you asked for it. Avoid this. Don’t register for

art at many art galleries where guests can make a contribution. I learned personally by not registering for my own wedding that guests get creative and give you things you don’t want, which you’ll be stuck with or have to run around and return. This way you’ll get things you’ll love.” – Frank Andonoplas, Frank Event Design

the $500 bread maker.

DO: TAKE YOUR OWN UNIQUE LIFESTYLES INTO CONSIDERATION For years the typical wedding registries consisted of dozens of pricey china place settings, crystal glasses, those cutlery sets with the tiny forks, and all sorts of other things that – at least in my house – only ever see the light of day on occasions like, say, Thanksgiving. The good news is those days are over, if you want them to be. When putting together your wedding registry, really think about who you and your soon-to-be-wedded truly are as a couple. Do you love taking long backpacking trips together? Then go ahead and register for those deluxe climbing backpacks you’ve had your eyes on and some super-comfy hiking boots. Do you celebrate Taco Tuesday like it’s a religious holiday? Then skip the fancy plates and create a taco-lover’s dream registry, complete with a veggie dicer, a tortilla press, and plenty of stainless steel taco racks. You can also register for experiences – a perfect option for the couple that loves to travel, or who is struggling to comingle all the belongings you already own. Through websites like Vebo and NewlyWish, you can register for everything from couple’s food tours and yoga retreats to skiing trips and beer tastings. You know, the kind of adventures you’ll remember for a lifetime.



desire to organize a wedding registry

it is important to consider registering not

with me, he still wanted wedding gifts

only for gifts you can enjoy as a couple,

want, consider forgoing a wedding reg-

that he would enjoy. And that is how a

but also for gifts you will appreciate indi-

istry, and instead ask guests to donate

Playstation II and a set of deluxe, surround

vidually as well. After all, at the end of

the cost of a gift to a cause both you

sound, noise-canceling headphones

the day, that’s really what your wedding

and your fiancé care about. There’s noth-

wound up on our wedding registry.

is about: two amazing individuals, blending

Whether or not your partner views your

your unique lives together as one. Put

gift registry as a group activity, or you’re

together a registry that will celebrate

taking one for the team this time around,

exactly that.

ing like starting your life together by paying it forward.



Or, if you and your partner already have absolutely everything you could possibly

If your guest list is a blend of everyone from college pals and coworkers to great aunts and grandparents, chances are folks are going to have different budgets. Be mindful of making your guests feel comfortable with the gifts they’re able to give by making sure that your registry is filled with a range of both high- and low-end options. That way your Great Aunt Sally can splurge on one of your pricier must-haves, while your old college roommate can still feel comfortable gifting you wine glasses and festive coasters. You should definitely consider the type of wedding you’re having as well. If you’re going the destination route, and asking everyone to pay for flights to a remote island in the Bahamas, let your registry reflect the fact that you recognize and appreciate all the money they’ve already spent, just to support you on your big day. Your guests will be grateful for your thoughtfulness, and will enjoy your celebration more if they’re not worried about breaking the bank to be there for you.

DO: CONSIDER YOUR SPOUSE AS WELL If you and your fiancé are anything like me and my now-husband, one of you is probably going to be far more committed to wedding planning and prep than the other (and I bet you’ll be able to guess who.) But while he had practically no CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM




What to Include in Your Wedding Day Survival Kit It doesn’t matter how much hairspray you spritz or how many puffs of powder you add to your face – eventually you’re going to want a wedding day touch up. You need to look flawless in all those wedding photos, and you need to be prepared for fashion disasters! Here’s a list of what to include in your wedding day survival kit: • A cute bag to hold all these items- if you’re making a kit, it might as well be a cute one. • A mini sewing kit – This tiny stitching set 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 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 any medication you take, allergy drugs, and antacids. Definitely include a bottle of pain reliever pills in case some of your crew are feeling the after effects of last night’s rehearsal dinner. • A bottle of clear nail polish – and maybe an extra bottle of whatever you have on your fingers and toes. A nail file is a great addition as well. • Blotting sheets and powder – You want to glow with joy, not shine with sweat. • 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’ll want to be posting pics all day. If your phone dies, how will you Facetime 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. So go get packing!




Proposals and weddings are filled with romance, thrill, joy, and, more likely than not, a few nervous butterflies. Here’s the truth: capturing and sharing those special moments with family and friends is a rite of passage for every pair-to-be, whether you’re about to rock a ring on your finger or you’re preparing to meet at the altar.

WRITTEN BY Nesa Mangal | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Timothy Whaley Photographic Artists




But it’s worth remembering that taking the time to make sure the social media posts surrounding your nuptials don’t rain on your parade. Follow our guide, and avoid headaches and hurt feelings.

TELL THE IMPORTANT PEOPLE FIRST. Before posting any photos or status updates, make a mental list of the people who you know will appreciate hearing the big announcement in person or via phone call. Social media may be the easiest way to inform the people around you that you’re getting married, but it’s also the least personal. There are some people who will not want to find out the big news through notification along with everyone else – and it’s up to you to reach out to them. Additionally, any close friends or family who aren’t using social platforms won’t appreciate missing out on the news if you head down that route.

Did You Know? Appropriately enough, the Facebook post with the highest number of likes was Mark Zuckerberg’s very own wedding announcement. The post received 1,045,272 “thumbs up” from millions of online users.

LEAVE A LITTLE MYSTERY. There are some moments everyone expects to be privy to. Engagement ring, check. A handful of photos of you and your sweetheart lost in love, check. But what people connected to your CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


they see what you’ve been up to, not leave a bad taste in their mouths.

CREATE A DIGITAL ALBUM. Let’s face it: countdowns, flashback photos, and posts that capture moments step-by-step may seem like an endearing way to showcase the love between you and your partner in the days leading up to your wedding – and honestly, sometimes they can be – but daily or frequent posting can be a bit much. Instead, create an engagement or wedding album that allows friends and family to view pictures in one location at their leisure.

BE CAREFUL OF FLAUNTING. These days, dream weddings come in all colors, sizes, and budgets, and why shouldn’t they? The best wedding is no TIMOTHY WHALEY PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTISTS

longer the one with the most dollar signs. So please, for the sake of everything

platforms don’t need to see leading up to the wedding are pictures of your shoes, your jewelry, your bridesmaid dresses, your table centerpieces, your flower bouquets, and your venue – you get the point. Some details are meant to


of your wedding. Posts like these can

the only people that should see it are

make you seem boastful and at the very

those who will actually be receiving it. A

least, they decrease the wow-factor of

publicly posted invite could not only

your celebration.

attract the dreaded wedding crasher,

engagement and wedding preparation,

but it can also lead to confusion when it

this still holds true.

comes to official RSVP headcounts. Either

While you prepare for the Big Day, you’re

way, your safest bet is to share your invites through regular snail mail or email your intended guests individually.

time to bad mouth a professional, friend, or family member on social media as you work through the ordeal but if you absolutely must vent, pick up the phone


BEWARE OF THE UNINVITED. It’s safe to assume that those who truly care about you will be thrilled to scroll through their social platforms and see the stunning photos from your big day.

bound to have a few days filled with worry and stress. There is never a good

that center mainly on the extravagance

Though your invitation may be flawless,

only be seen in person and in the case of


that is good, avoid price tags and posts


But chances are you didn’t invite every single one of your followers to your wed-

It is downright heartwarming to see a

ding. Don’t forego posting about your

couple you care about take a big step

wedding entirely, but be mindful that

together, but pictures that are too inti-

people who may have not gotten an

mate are a turn-off no matter how close

invite may view frequently posted pictures

and give that person a call. You’ll steer

you are to someone. We’re looking at

clear of any drama that may result from

as a sad reminder that they didn’t make

you, kissing pictures turned make-out

the cut.

posting your frustrations online and you’ll

session. Whether it’s the surprise proposal

maintain a pristine reputation for keeping

photo-op or the photos of you tying the

your cool during wedding planning – and

knot, you’ll want everyone to tilt their

The beauty of social media is that finding

who doesn’t want that?

head to the side and smile wide when

a collection of photos during an event




Did You Know? The most Googled wedding of all time belongs to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky. It stole the spot back in 2010 from Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom’s wedding.

has never been easier thanks to hashtags. You will already have full access to any pictures you opt to have professionally taken on your day and with hashtags you can also have full reign over any pictures taken by friends and family as well. There’s always that one person who captures a priceless moment that your photographer missed! All you have to do is brainstorm a phrase that is short and sweet, remind guests to add it to any posts or photos they take and share, share, share!

PUT SOME THOUGHT INTO IT. This final rule may seem like the most obvious when it comes to engagement and wedding social media etiquette, but it is often the most overlooked. These moments are your special moments and the internet offers eternal preservation. So, before you post anything, take an extra second or two to make that caption really reflect the genuine excitement or love you feel. Absolutely no one will fault you for choosing to post the pictures that meant the most to you instead of every single photo you took, including the blurry one where your eyes are closed and you can’t remember what you were doing. Future you will thank you later, trust us on this one! CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


J I M & H U M B E RT O WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo

| PHOTOGRAPHY BY Erin Hoyt Photography

Jim and Humberto initially met at the gym. “His energy is infectious,” Jim said. “Since day one, he’s made me a better person.” In the time following their first meeting, the pair discovered just how perfect they were for each other. “Jim lets me be angry when I’m angry, sad when I’m sad, and talkative when I feel like it,” Humberto explained. “And he dances with me in the living room. He’s the perfect teammate.” Despite having many guests from out of town – particularly from Miami, where Humberto was born and raised – the couple decided to wed at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel on a beautiful September day. “Chicago is a city that all our guests could appreciate,” the couple said. “Whether they wanted to be tourists, foodies, health nuts or art lovers, they could achieve it.” Since the couple was already living together, they decided to skip the traditional first look and get ready together while listening to a playlist of their favorite pop tunes. Their black tie ceremony hosted almost 200 hundred guests, and was held beneath three gorgeous, nineteenth-century chandeliers. After the ceremony, guests were ushered into a ballroom that overlooked Millennium Park and the harbor beyond. “Being introduced as husbands to a room full of family and friends from all over the U.S. was such an exhilarating yet humbling experience,” Jim and Humberto said. The couple agreed that this was the highlight of the night, but said their entire wedding was full of perfect, serendipitous moments. One of their favorites? As luck would have it, the pair got married on the very last Saturday of the Navy Pier fireworks show, which turned out to be an amazing yet unexpected extra treat.

Real Wedding Vendors VENUE: Chicago Athletic Association Hotel | PHOTOGRAPHY: Erin Hoyt Photography | OFFICIANT: Dr. Kyle Nash FORMALWEAR: Hugo Boss; Canali | GROOMS’ SHOES: Hugo Boss; To Boot New York | JEWELRY: Tiffany & Co. STATIONERY: Maximum Printing & Graphics | FLORAL & DÉCOR: Gromeza Floral Design Studio | CAKE & SWEETS: Cake Chicago CATERING: Chicago Athletic Association Hotel | CEREMONY AND COCKTAIL HOUR HARPIST: Nicole Luchs ENTERTAINMENT: Toast & Jam, Inc.; Fotio CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM





Whether you send out engagement announcements followed

you’ll make as a wedding-planning couple – so be sure to make

by save-the-dates, or skip the preliminaries and head straight

it count (and have lots of fun too). Here is what’s totally

to the wedding invitations, one thing is for sure: wedding sta-

trending in the world of wedding stationery this year.

tionery is a key element in any couple’s nuptials, and not one to be underestimated. In addition to helping you and your wedding planner prepare for the big day (I’m talking about RSVP cards here) your wedding stationery is also your very first opportunity to set the tone, vibe, and style of your once-in-a-lifetime celebration; not only letting guests know what to expect, but also offering helpful hints about formality and color schemes. Whether your stationery lets your guests know it’s time to dust

First of all, it is all about the bolds – bold colors, that is. While blues are definitely big this year, that’s not the only color wedding-planning couples are loving. In addition to French and navy blues, think emerald and hunter greens, burgundy and deep purples, or a striking contrast of traditional black and white. Consider complimenting your favorite bold with a more subtle, dustier color, like peach, rose, grey, or quartz. Show stopping combos include navy and rose gold, French blue and

off that tuxedo with the tails, dress to impress at an outdoor

copper, or black and white with rose gold foil accents. But if

ceremony, or prepare for a reception that is completely flip flop-

bold-on-bold is totally your thing, don’t be afraid to pair two.

formal, you definitely want to be on trend (especially since this

Invites featuring deep blue with accents of dark are popping up

year’s wedding stationery trends are super gorgeous and fun).

here and there this year – and with all that color, your guests

Your wedding stationery is one of the first major decisions

definitely won’t forget to save the date.

WRITTEN BY E. Ce. Miller | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Duron Studio




“What wedding stationery trends can my couples not get enough of? Calligraphy inspired fonts, metallics, and custom illustrations for maps and other parts of the "suite" are all on trend.” – Colin Falco, Pulp & Ink

Patterns are also going bold this year, so

But while this year’s brides might be

you might be loving stationery with wide

taking things a tad darker and edgier

stripes or polka dots, or color blocked

when it comes to color, in other ways –

invitations – think two primary tones or

like the shape and structure of your invites

a darker color layered over white or

– the top trending wedding stationery will

black. You’ll also spot wider, bolder

reflect more traditional, simplistic, and

accents of ribbon, adding a whimsical

streamlined styles. Clean lined square

element to stationery that is one or two

and rectangular invitations are definitely

solid colors.

back in the bridal spotlight, as well as stationery that utilizes folios or pockets, (which, let’s be honest, are super handy when you’re trying to stuff everything from your RSVP cards to the directions from the ceremony to the reception in one sleek and streamlined package). When it comes to paper, couples are loving high-end and unusual papers, like those that feature elements of velvet or damask, or layered papers – pairing sleek and clean invites with one or two major wow factors. Think: bold envelope liners, custom wax seals, or elements of texture. And if you’re going super highend, wedding invites that arrive in a box instead of an envelope are definitely a big crowd pleaser. Paper isn’t the only element keeping it sleek and simple this year. Clean fonts and block lettering – with just a few accents of script – are also totally trending, as is traditional black letterpress. Most invites feature one primary font, with one or two accent fonts, so you can mix up a few styles you love.



one thing brides are all about this year – be sure to think of ways you can feature

“We love to test the waters with new color combos, textures,

a unique element without totally over-

patterns, and more! While rose gold foil, blush, and glitter

whelming the invitation itself. This year’s wedding invites are seeing pops of linen

continue to top the stationery charts, we’re really excited to

backing, bookbinding cloth, silk, or cotton,

see an array of geometrical patterns making their way in,

paired with a basic letterpress or print.

as well as lots of gorgeous vibrant florals!”


When it comes to incorporating texture –

For fall or winter weddings, you might also see much more subtle elements of

– Jessi Cabanin, Just Invite Me

velvet or damask. You’ll also notice plenty of white gold and rose gold foils featured this year, which compliment those darker, bolder colored invites beautifully.

are turning out to be just as bold as the

remember the most important detail of

Environmentally conscious couples will

invites, featuring dark greens, bold blues,

all: that your wedding day is about cele-

be happy to hear that nature-inspired,

and deep burgundies and purples. Cus-

brating who you and your fiancé are as

organic, recycled, and other eco-friendly

tom stamps are also always a fun option,

a couple. Make sure your stationery

invites are also big this wedding season

featuring the names or initials of the

reflects that, in addition to setting the

– especially if you’re having an outdoorsy

happy couple.

or rustic wedding, incorporating a little greenery will definitely set your stationery

stage for a day you’ll both remember for-

Whatever style you choose for your

ever. Oh yeah, and don’t lick all those

wedding stationery, make sure you

envelopes yourself.

apart from the crowd. Think: recycled paper, a touch of burlap paired with lace or ethically-made silk, and elements of recycled twine or other natural fibers. There are even biodegradable invitations with wildflower seeds set into the paper, so after taking note of all the important details of your big day, your guests can plant the entire invitation – a festive and earth-friendly wedding favor that will definitely make an impression. (Just be sure they don’t plant the RSVP card too! You’ll need that one back.) If you’re going the earth-friendly route, be sure to ask your printer about vegetable and soy-based inks. They do take a little longer to dry, but most only release around 2-4% of volatile organic compounds into our atmosphere. That’s a wedding invite you can feel really good about. One more thing to keep in mind is coordinating your stamps to the invites – yep, every detail counts, right down to the postage stamp. This year’s stamps CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM




Invitation Do’s and Don’ts Invitation etiquette can be complicated. That’s why we asked our experts to give us their advice when it comes to sending out your wedding invites.

DO: • Mail invitations about ten weeks before the wedding. If you have a ERIN HOYT PHOTOGRAPHY

destination wedding, you might send them earlier so guests can make reservations. • Choose a stationer who’s a match for you and your fiancé. Pick a designer that fits with your style, tell

multiple orders because they mis-

them your vision, and they will create

counted when they placed their order.

fantastic invitations that your guests will rave about. • Pick a theme or color you want to coordinate with your event. Your save-the-date, invitation suite, and day-of items should all have one cohesive look.

and can be a lot of extra work for couples trying to finalize their head count.

• Provide directions. Give your guests as much information about the cere-

• Use mailing labels – including clear

mony and reception locations as pos-

labels. Remember the invitation will

sible. Include maps, lodging, and

be the first impression of your wedding

dining information, as well as phone

for your guests and you want it to be

numbers of someone they can contact

personal. Handwrite your envelopes

if needed.

or hire a calligrapher..

• Send save-the-dates. Save-the-date cards are a great idea to ensure your

• Show gratitude to your guests and

• Be messy. Stack all elements on top

guests reserve the date and make

your wedding vendors. Sending

of each other according to size –

travel arrangements.

out thank you notes is a big one.

smallest pieces in the front, largest

It's important to send a handwritten

pieces in the back. Then slide every-

• Use proper titles for all guests,


such as Ms., Mrs., Dr., or Mr. • Plan your guest address list in

• Use abbreviations. When addressing,

advance. Otherwise you’ll be franti-


cally gathering address info at the

• Forget to be gracious. Don’t send

than ‘Rd.’ Also spell out the word

save-the-dates to guests unless you

‘street’ and the state. Abbreviations

are sure you will invite them to your

are a no-no.

last minute. • Supply the postage. Place stamps on the RSVP cards or envelopes. Do not leave this task to the recipient.


thing into the envelope with the text facing upwards.

spell out the word ‘Road’ rather

wedding. • Email your thank you notes. Your • Give multiple RSVP options, like

guests deserve a handwritten note of

• Order enough invitations the first

email, online RSVP, and mailing

appreciation, not an email. It can

time. Many couples have to place

cards. All the options are confusing

seem insincere.



NEW BEGINNINGS • Invitations by Design,



Matching your stationery to your wedding theme is a timeless trend. We love these themed stationery suites – from save the dates, to invitations, menu cards, table numbers, signs, and more. Check out these stationers in this year’s Designers’ Challenge found on pages 270-279, and don’t forget to vote at!

COME AWAY WITH ME • DBY Invitations,



IT MIGHT BE... IT COULD BE... IT IS! • Maxe Designs,



Make Your Wedding Program

Worth Reading Anyone who has danced their way through at least one

But other than taking note of the essentials (like when that

wedding season is probably familiar with the purpose of a

cake is scheduled to be sliced) how can you make your

wedding program: it lets your guests know what to expect

wedding program worth reading? After all, it’s the thing

throughout the ceremony and reception, it introduces your

guests will have in hand between taking their seats and

wedding party to guests who may not know everyone, it’s an

waiting for the ceremony to start – you might as well make

opportunity to give thanks to those who made your wedding

it entertaining, right? Here are some tips and tricks to keep

special, and, most importantly, it lets folks know what time

in mind.

cocktail hour starts. (Just kidding.)

WRITTEN BY E. Ce. Miller | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Timothy Whaley Photographic Artists 304


Did you and your fiancé meet in some crazy way? Was your first date totally out there (swimming with sharks, indoor skydiving, eating squid for the first time?) Or maybe it was a totally LOL-worthy evening (did he show up in an outfit you thought was totally crazy, or spill your entire glass of wine into your lap in the

“Liven things up by adding fun facts about who you are, a thank you note, art, a schedule of events, your hashtag plus a list of fun photos you’d like to challenge your guests to take for social media, your engagement story… our ideas are endless!”



– Molly Axe, Maxe Designs

first five minutes?) How soon did you know that the two of you were destined to end up together? From the super romantic stories to the ones that will leave your guests laughing out loud, include an anecdote or two that will remind your guests they’re celebrating one of the coolest couples around.

FEATURE FUN FACTS The wedding program is a perfect opportunity to share some fun, insider-only facts about the happy couple. Do you have any hilarious habits or goofy nicknames for one another? What’s the deal with that pet goldfish making its way down the aisle with the flower girl? Did one of you totally mess up the proposal? Featuring facts alongside all the practical info will definitely keep your guests reading. Also use this opportunity to include facts about the wedding party as well, whom all the guests might not know. Did you and your maid of honor meet while studying abroad in Hong Kong? Have the groomsmen been besties since before kindergarten? Not only will this help introduce your wedding party to your guests, it’ll give everyone some great conversation starters to refer back to during the cocktail hour and reception.

EXPLAIN ELEMENTS OF YOUR CEREMONY OR OTHER IMPORTANT TRADITIONS If you’re having a ceremony that is specific to your faith and traditions, guests of other practices might need a CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM




little guidance in order to follow along

grade class photos or FOMO-inspiring

with the rituals. Include brief details

pics of the happy couple traveling through


about any unique elements of your


It might sound a little cheesy, but including

ceremony, or a personal story about why you chose to include the traditions that you did.

Don’t forget to include the wedding party too! Not only will some cute photos keep your guests from confusing your cousin

Do the same for special aspects of your

with your college roommate, they’ll help

reception. Is there a great story about

everyone understand your relationship

why you chose that particular song for

and why this particular group of folks is

your first dance, or why mini cherry pies

standing alongside you on your big day.

are the featured dessert instead of a

a long way if (when) the wedding is running just a few minutes behind. (Plus, it’ll entertain those guests who arrive a tad earlier than expected.) Be sure to include cute, personalized mini-pens or pencils – a great wedding favor!

three-tiered cake? How about those


crazy dance shoes the groom is wearing

Are you the couple that is always making

Was someone an outstanding helper to

or that sorority sister tradition that has

everyone laugh on game night? Are you

you throughout the wedding planning

the bride laughing out loud? Let your

two known for playing the best pranks

process? Or maybe you really want to

guests know what’s up so they can be in

and practical jokes? Maybe you just

thank the friend who introduced you to

on the fun too.

have a great sense of humor about life,

your soon-to-be spouse. Were your parents

or some hilarious near-fail wedding plan-

essential to your wedding going off without



a word search or a crossword puzzle with fun facts about the newlyweds goes


ning stories to share. Your wedding is a

a hitch? Maybe there is someone special

There is nothing like a few well-placed

big deal, sure – but that doesn’t mean it

in your life who couldn’t be present for

baby pictures to keep your guests flip-

has to be a super serious affair. The

your wedding day? Consider using the

ping pages. Images are a great addition

wedding program is a great opportunity

wedding program to say a meaningful

to any wedding program, whether you’re

to leave your guests wiping tears from

thanks to anyone who has really made a

including those totally embarrassing 6th

their eyes – tears of laughter, that is.

difference in your lives and your relationship.


effort to fly across the country (or the world!) for your destination wedding? Did they all chip in to make sure you got everything you really wanted on your wedding registry? Whatever it might be, a little thanks will ensure that every enjoys reading your program.

“We’re really seeing brides simplify their wedding programs. Couples are making their guides short, sweet, and much more fun. Our summer brides have been creating programs that double as fans so that their guests don’t have to feel guilty about using them to cool off!”


You could also use this opportunity to thank your guests. Did they make the

– Tara Vanderheyden, Invitations by Design

SELECT A UNIQUE DESIGN OR STYLE From those old-school cootie catchers to fancy folios or festive checklists, there are tons of unique and creative wedding program styles to choose from. Consider a Broadway playbill-style program for the theatre loving couple. For the couple that loves to garden together, print your program on seed packets or sachets of dried herbs from your very own crop. Try a program that doubles as a cute wedding favor bag, if you want to give out bubbles or confetti before the ceremony. Or feature all the important details on a fold-out fan, if your outdoor wedding just happens to take place in, say, July. Whatever unique touches you decide to feature, a wedding program that celebrates what stands out about you and your ceremony will be a definite crowd pleaser.

Did You Know? Some people just can’t get enough of saying “I do”, like the Tennessee couple who have renewed their vows 100 times. The irony? The bride initially said no when her husband proposed!



K AT H L E E N & C O N O R WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Steve Scap Photography

Kathleen and Conor first met at Fenwick High School,

first dance to “Rose of My Heart” by Johnny Cash and

where they began a relationship that started off as a

then spent the rest of the evening dancing with their

friendship and eventually became more. “We love Chicago

guests. As for the décor? “We have zero artistic talent,”

and we wanted to show it off,” the couple said when asked

the couple joked, “but we come from very artistic fami-

why they decided to get married in the Windy City. The

lies. Conor’s mom created custom pen-and-ink drawings

pair held their ceremony at Ascension Catholic Church in

for our centerpieces and Kathleen’s sisters designed our

Oak Park, where Kathleen teaches fourth grade, and over

wedding logo!”

fifty of her current and former students were in the

When asked about her favorite memory from her wedding

audience to watch her say “I do”. Afterwards, the newlyweds

day, Kathleen couldn’t choose only one moment. “I had

took pictures with Kathleen’s students on the playground

two favorites,” she admitted. “The first was our first look.

and then headed to Hotel Allegro for their reception. Kathleen and Conor both agreed that Hotel Allegro

Conor and I had a few minutes to let it soak in that we were finally getting married, and we were so excited,

“embodied everything we wanted on our wedding day and

happy, and ready!” Her second favorite memory was the

more.” In a nod to Conor’s grandpa and Kathleen’s dad,

trolley ride from the church to Hotel Allegro. Surrounded

the couple served Manhattans and treated their guests

by her and Conor’s siblings, parents, and close friends,

to unique views of the L as it raced past the windows

Kathleen remembered looking around the trolley and

of Hotel Allegro’s Walnut Ballroom. The couple had their

thinking “This is the best.”


Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY: Ascension Catholic Church | RECEPTION: Hotel Allegro | PHOTOGRAPHY: Steve Scap Photography OFFICIANT: Rev. Larry McNally | BRIDE’S GOWN: Macy’s Bridal Salon | HAIR & MAKEUP: Robert Jeffrey Salon FORMALWEAR: Men’s Warehouse | BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: BHLDN | STATIONERY: Carlson Craft | CATERING: Hotel Allegro FLORAL & DÉCOR: Carousel Flowers | CAKE & SWEETS: West Town Bakery and Diner | ENTERTAINMENT: Toast & Jam, Inc. TRANSPORTATION: The Trolley Car and Bus Co. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Craft Cocktails


LOCATION The Guesthouse Hotel

PHOTOGRAPHY Rick Aguilar Studios

STYLING Frank J. Andonoplas, MWP Frank Event Design

RENTALS M&M The Special Events Company

BAUER’S CATERING “Every bride has dreamed about her wedding day since she was a little girl, and we go to any measure to help those dreams come to life. The best part of catering weddings is the hug at the end of the event from the clients! We've always been told that all you need is good food and good service and everything else will fall into place.” – Bauer’s Catering



Foie Gras Terrine Soft Shell Crab with Spicy Aioli Fried Oyster with Seaweed Salad Infused Vodka Root Beer Float





Fruit Tart Chaat Chicken-Stuffed Sweet Plantains Pesto Sriracha Shrimp Crostini Thandai Martini

“We love to cater weddings because we get to help make a dream come true. Every bride has a vision of what their day will look like, and we’re able to help them achieve that dream. To see the bride and groom at the end of the night and have them thank us for making their wedding day amazing, that's why we do it.” – Chic Chef Catering



JEWELL EVENTS CATERING “There’s something so special and magical about playing a role in one of the best days of a couple’s life. It’s an exciting time and being able to share our enthusiasm in their event is very fulfilling. Seeing couples and the love they share celebrated by their closest friends and family members is one of life’s greatest gifts.” – Jewell Events Catering



Yellowfin Tuna Crudo Raspberry Thyme Smash Chimichurri Charred Baby Octopus Brioche Bread Pudding Foie Gras





Frisee Salad Cup Spring Pea Soup Orange Mule Goat Cheese Mousse

“We love details, big and small, and weddings are full of them. We love everything from designing a menu that showcases the couple’s different backgrounds to tailoring a tablescape from their Pinterest board to having Dad’s drink ready for him after the ceremony. It’s truly rewarding to see all the pieces come together to build an unforgettable day.” – The Caterist



WEBER GRILL CATERING “We love dreaming up ways to make each couple’s wedding a little more them. There is nothing like seeing someone we’ve built a relationship with through planning their event have the biggest smile and twinkle in their eye from marrying their best friend. It makes the stressful days of event planning all worth it.” – Weber Grill Catering



NY Strip with Tomato Jam Tea-Smoked Duck Breast Satay Grill Roasted Beet Stack Tropical Fruit Sangria





Eat, Drink, and Be Married THE INS AND OUTS OF CRAFTING A MENU T H AT ’ S B O T H D E L I C I O U S A N D S E N T I M E N TA L .


Buffet: for couples who can’t wait to get dancing. Opting for a

Before you even start thinking about what food to put on your

buffet-style dinner gives you enough time to enjoy your food

menu, you need to figure out how your meal is going to be served.

and a few toasts, but also gets the party started much sooner.

Choosing how the food gets from the kitchen to your guests is a

Once dinner wraps up, everyone is free to hit the dancefloor or

much more important decision than most couples might think.

go back for seconds. Let your guests decide whether to stay at

Food service sets the tone for the rest of the reception, so take the

the tables and chat over dessert or hit the dancefloor and get

time to mull over your options before you pick.

their groove on.

Full service: for couples who want the meal to be the star of

Combo: for couples who want the best of both worlds. If you

the show. If you don’t mind dinner taking up a good part of

can’t decide if eating or dancing is more important to you, stop

your reception, having individual courses served directly to

stressing out and get the best of both worlds with a combo

your guests is definitely the way to go. Pair beautifully plated

style service. Have the main course served directly to each

dishes with wine, have your DJ or band leader read a little

guest, but skip wait staff for dessert and have your guests

description of each plate as it’s brought out, and give your

serve themselves. This way, you get all the elegance of a full

guests the time to savor each and every bite.

service dinner plus the added expedience of a buffet.

WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Erin Hoyt Photography




“There are so many ways to personalize a wedding and food is absolutely one of those ways! From exploring different cuisines to recreating old favorites in a new and exciting way,

you’ll also be ensuring that everything is inseason and therefore tastes amazing.

PICK DISHES THAT HAVE MEANING TO YOU. Go the extra mile and work with your

we’re in love with the challenge of helping create a menu that

caterer to create a menu that has mean-

reflects the personality of our clients. Food should be both

ing. It might sound a little strange, but

beautiful and delicious and “typical wedding food” is something with which we are not familiar.” – Kristin Kramer and Jenna Cook, Jewell Events Catering

take some time to reflect on food in general before deciding what to serve. What are your favorite meals to cook together as a couple? What foods conjure up happy memories for both of you? Come up with a list of foods that not only taste

January, serving a summer strawberry


salad is going to be not only pricey but

When picking out your food for your

confusing for guests who are probably

reception, take into account the time of

expecting soup and other warm, hearty

year. The same way certain flowers can

dishes. Do your budget, your caterer, and

only be used at certain times of the year,

your guests all a favor and stick with a

food is seasonally dependent as well. If

menu that matches the weather. Your menu

you’re tying the knot in the middle of

will make the most sense this way, and

great but have a special meaning to you, then talk to your caterer and see what they can do. However, keep in mind that you and your partner won’t be the only ones dining out on your wedding night. Make sure you choose dishes that your guests will actually want to eat. Beef tartar might be your soon-to-be hubby’s favorite meal, but not everyone is comfortable with uncooked meat. Avoid making your guests uncomfortable by offering a variety of main course options that are delicious but won’t feel outlandish to guests with less adventurous palates.

GET PERSONAL. There’s no point in serving foods that have special meaning to you if your guests have no clue about the backstory that makes the dishes so important to you! Work with your stationer to personalize the menu that gets put in front of each guest at the reception. Add little notes about how ravioli was the first dinner you ever cooked for your new spouse or how lobster bisque always reminds you of your summer trips to Maine. Using your menu to let your guests in on a few special moments from your relationship will make them feel even more connected to the wedding, and it’s got the additional perk of giving them something to read while they wait for their food. 318


One of the most beautiful elements of

gap in your backgrounds and come

marriage is its ability to unite people who

together to create a love that’s brand

come from different places and upbring-

new and one-of-a-kind.


you and your partner have bridged the

creative and touching way to signify how


various backgrounds side by side is a


ings. This type of melding is definitely

Catholic or you’re a Cubs fan tying the


knot with a Sox fan, consider using your

Nothing says disaster more than a

menu to showcase your unique blend-

guest going into anaphylaxis in the middle

ing of cultures. Serving foods from your

of dinner. Your entire reception doesn’t

something to be celebrated, so whether you’re Hindu and marrying an Italian




PLANNING NOTES need to be peanut free just because

at their food or forget to eat completely.

your boss’s husband is allergic, but do

Don’t pass up a delicious meal! Allow

make the effort to talk to your caterer

yourself to really enjoy the food you

and ensure that any guests with allergies

spent so much time picking out. Also,

or food restrictions will have something

remember that food is fuel. How are you

to eat. If you include a card in your invi-

going to tear up the dance floor on an

tation that lets your guests choose their

empty stomach? Avoid burning out early

entrée, make a note at the bottom with

by taking care of yourself and making

instructions for guests with allergies. In

the most of your dinner.

Sipping Solutions

fact, it’s a great idea to let them get in

Feeling a little overwhelmed? We don’t

Bubbly, Beer, Bourbon, and Other Drinking Matters.

touch with the caterer directly. Most

blame you – planning a menu for a big

At more and more of today’s weddings,

people with food restrictions feel best

group of people can be super stressful,

the bar is limited to beer, wine, and one

when they’re able to talk to the people

and it’s easy to get panicky. Our best

specialty drink, like a martini or a signature

who are preparing their food, and the

piece of advice is to trust your caterers.

cocktail. Some trendy couples are opting

majority of caterers are more than happy

Feeding large crowds is what they’re

for an array of micro-brewed beers or an

to make sure that these guests get

best at, so once you communicate your

ice luge, but the majority are sticking to

served meals that are not only delicious,

vision, it’s A-okay to step back and let

the basics – plus one stand out drink.

your caterer take the reins. Relinquishing

Here’s some helpful information about

that control might feel a little scary, but

stocking your bar and keeping your


the end result is well worth it: a room full

guests happy.

Most brides and grooms are so distracted

of your favorite people, eating some

during their reception that they just pick

absolutely amazing food.

but safe.

Go for a Splashy Presentation Ask the caterer or reception hall manager to serve the drinks in specialty glasses, like tulip or fluted glasses for champagne, large-bowled glasses for red wine, and curved top glasses for white wine.

Tiny Bubbles Champagne is a festive beverage, perfect for hors d’oeuvres, toasts, and wedding cakes. Technically, the real thing is produced in the region of France called Champagne. Imported French champagne is considered the finest. According to the experts, everything else should be called sparkling wine. Until medieval times, French monks tended the vines and prepared the drink for mass. Over the years, it was used to celebrate the marriages of the monarchs. So order up. You’re basically royalty.

The Golden Rule Do not let your guests drink and drive. It’s smart to plan some alternative 320


shuttle or van. You could also display the phone number for a local taxi company.

Be a Responsible Host Always have ample alternative beverages, including soft drinks and bottled water, for those choosing not to partake in the spirits. These guests may be designated

Stocking the Bar


2 liters


3 liters

Quantity cheat sheet


1-2 liters

(based on a guest list of 100)


3 liters


2 liters


2 bottles


4-5 cases


4-5 cases


2 bottles


1-2 cases


1 case


6 liters


1 case


2 liters


2 cases


transportation for such a circumstance. Have a backup plan, like renting a hotel

drivers. Thank them by ensuring they have lots of choices as well. _______

Wine 101 Skip the wine class. We’ve got a crash course to help you match the right wine with your menu.

RULE #1 You don’t have to serve red wine with meat and white wine with fish.

RULE #2 You do need to decide whether you want a full or light-bodied wine – red or white – by considering the ingredients of your meal. If you are offering a choice of fish, meat, and poultry, choose a light-bodied red wine such as a pinot noir. It goes with everything.

CONSIDER THE WEATHER Guests will often prefer a lighter wine in the warmer weather and a richer one in the cold.

SIPPING TIPS Choose a full-bodied red or white wine for cuisine that is spicy, richly sauced, or hearty. This is also a good choice for salmon or tuna that has been prepared with heavy cream sauces. Choose a light-bodied red or white with meals that are delicate, such as broiled fish. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Dessert Meets Décor

T I P S F O R M A K I N G Y O U R D E S S E R T N O T O N LY A S W E E T T R E AT, B U T A T O TA L S H O W S T O P P E R . Anyone deep in the stages of planning a wedding knows that cake is one of the most important centerpieces to your big day. And since all eyes are going to be on the cake you select, the pressure to present not only a delicious dessert but a beautiful one is high. But these days, cake doesn’t have to be just cake. Lots of couples are foregoing tradition in favor of tasty and totally personalized treats – and with a little creativity, anything from blueberry pie to chocolate doughnuts can be elevated from a sugary snack to a wedding-worthy photo op. Here are some things to keep in mind as you start to plan your own dessert décor.

WRITTEN BY E. Ce. Miller | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Alicia’s Photography





that will have all of your guests racing to

been on your mind since you slipped the

Snapchat. If you still want that classic

engagement ring onto your finger. But

Hey, it’s your wedding! And you’ll serve

“cutting the cake” wedding photo, the

wedding cakes don’t just stop with those

pie if you want to. Or ice cream sundaes.

good news is practically any dessert

round, white-frosted towers anymore

Or a cinnamon roll tower. Or mini cup-

can be shaped, stacked, or tiered into

(although if that’s your vibe, it is definitely

cakes, buttercream-filled chocolate chip

a cake-style creation. So, go ahead, cut

a classic for a reason.) When considering

cookies, and tiny spools of cotton candy.

into that doughnut tower! It’ll make your

a traditional, tiered cake, style it your

reception even more uniquely you.

way. Maybe you want square tiers, or a

The first step to putting together a knock-

gravity-defying display. Consider incor-

out, photo-worthy dessert display is

will totally ooh and ahh over. Feel free to


striped or polka dotted fondant. Adding

think beyond the traditional wedding

If you’re planning a totally traditional

some sugared flowers that correspond

cake and serve fun, creative desserts

affair, maybe that many-tiered cake has

with the theme of your wedding or the

selecting the dessert you and your guests

porating your wedding colors with fun

brulees. By going mini, you and your

thought of eating even one more slice of

fiancé don’t have to decide between

cake might seem totally unappealing,

Whether you’re keeping things tradi-

that decadent chocolate caramel crunch

am I right? But do you know what

tional or topping your cake with, say, a

cake and the more refreshing cherry

nobody ever gets tired of eating? Break-

pie – you (and your guests) can have

fast. I’m talking fancy (and wedding-

both! And, if you just can’t resist the

dress-friendly) French toast, Belgian

mini Princess Leia and Han Solo, make sure it’s something your guests will notice.

GO MINI I am a huge fan of the mini desserts.

glamour of a traditional wedding cake, but you still want the fun of a mini, consider a tower of fondant-frosted petit fours or gorgeous cupcakes.

waffles, chocolate croissants, or glazed doughnuts. Anything drizzled in maple syrup and topped with candied bacon crumbles is bound to be a huge crowd

Practically anything can be made into a


pleaser. And the mouth-watering photos

mini: mini fruit pies, mini cake pops,

Let’s be honest – by the time you reach

will give those folks who were unable to

bite-sized tiramisus, one-spoon crème

the end of a long wedding season, the

attend your wedding some serious FOMO.


style of your venue is always a big crowd pleaser. And don’t forget that cake topper.


one another while you were living long-


that were served at your own parents’

A great way to elevate your desserts

weddings. Whatever it is, consider includ-

from party snack to showstopper is by

ing personal photographs or chalk boards

using them to tell a story about your relationship. Did you and your fiancé travel through South America before getting hitched? Then use your wed-

distance, or recreations of the cakes

throughout the dessert display, sharing the stories of why these desserts are meaningful to you.


ding desserts to take your guests on

For the couple that loves to DIY, an old

those once-in-a-lifetime journeys too!

fashioned, serve-yourself ice cream bar

Feature a selection of mini desserts

or soda fountain – complete with your

from your favorite countries – a thought-

favorite ice cream flavors and plenty of

ful touch that will not only make your

toppings to choose from – might be just

desserts stand out, but will also take you

what you’re looking for. Plus, pictures of

and your new spouse on a trip down

you two topping each other’s sundaes

memory lane.

with chocolate kisses or sharing an ice

Or maybe you’ll want to feature the chocolate brownie that was served on your first date, the homemade Rice Krispy treats you took turns mailing to

cream cone is cuter than a cake-in-yourface pic any day.

FEATURE A DESSERT DISPLAY THAT ALL YOUR GUESTS WILL WANT TO ‘GRAM How you present your dessert is almost as important as what you’re serving – so once you settle on exactly which sweet treats will be featured at your wedding reception, it’s time to think about exactly how you want to display them in a way that will have your guests going hashtag crazy. Flowers, draped fabrics, glitter, and colored confetti are classic go-tos – but the fun definitely doesn’t stop there. Consider incorporating the theme or setting of your wedding. For an outdoor wedding, serve cake pops standing in a display of clipped grass or moss. If your wedding is filled with rustic vibes, feature a dessert stand with tiers made from tree stumps or a picket fence. If the six different flavors of cookie you’re serving are a nod to Grandma, then make the dessert display feel just like walking into her kitchen. If you both share southern roots, practically every dessert looks adorable in a mason jar.



are: the Ferris wheel on Santa Monica pier, the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben, the Golden Gate Bridge, and more. By thinking creatively and adding the kind of personal touches that celebrate


from the area, or a centerpiece that reminds everyone of exactly where you


For a destination wedding include traditional local decorations, foliage, or flowers

you as a couple, you can transform your dessert from a sweet snack to a stunning centerpiece everyone will want a bite (and a picture) of.






Raising the Bar The modern couple has partially turned their back on the standard wedding cake and found 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 bars. Often a couple will choose to get a small cake to cut for photos, but opt for a larger spread for

Ice Cream Bar

guests to enjoy throughout the evening.

This melty-but-magical dessert bar has

This new phenomenon combines the

been gaining popularity for a few years.

best of both worlds! Read on to find out

Grab two or three ice cream flavors and

how you can create your own perfect

give guests the opportunity to create

dessert bar.

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 nutfree for guests with special dietary needs.

S’mores Bar Crunchy graham crackers, gooey toasted marshmallows, and soft, melty chocolate – the perfect dessert combination. Work with your venue or caterer to set up a marshmallow “toasting” station. Whether using a bonfire or a sterno surrounded by decorative rocks, guests will truly enjoy warming up and crafting this fabulous treat. Be sure to have an attendant at this bar, just in case. If the sprinkler system went off, it would really ruin your hair. 328


(Root) Beer Bar

Popcorn Bar

A twist on a classic bar, serve up your

Who says dessert has to be sweet? Give

favorite alcoholic and non-alcoholic

your guests a salty treat for a truly

drinks with a scoop of amazing, deca-

unique twist on the last course. Start by

dent vanilla ice cream. With so many

picking three or four popcorn flavors,

drink options, create a small menu of

like butter, cheddar, or kettle corn. Give

ideas for guests to try. For those who

guests custom bags or boxes in your

don’t love the creaminess of the ice

wedding colors and allow them to create

cream, go for a wonderful sorbet-and-

their own amazing mixes!

The world’s largest wedding cake tipped the scales at 15,032 pounds. The megalithic dessert was displayed at the 2004 New England Bridal Showcase.


Did You Know?

champagne concoction.

Cookie Bar A cookie bar is the perfect place to delve into those childhood favorites. Create a spread of down-home favorites and gourmet delicacies. Work with your baker to recreate Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies and serve them atop little milk shooters! Don’t forget to decorate with cookie


jars of all shapes and sizes.



K AT I E & C H R I S T I A N WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Julia Franzosa Photography

Katie and Christian met at a water polo party in Dayton, OH after being introduced through Christian’s brother Brendan. Over the course of a few months and several visits to Chicago, Katie and Christian started dating. “We just love spending time with each other,” the couple shared. “On road trips and bike rides, at yoga, while playing sports and cheering on our favorite teams… we both just love good company, good pizza, and spending time with each other’s family!” The couple began their wedding day with champagne and small bites as they prepped for their ceremony. After taking a trolley ride over to St. Michael’s Church, Katie and Christian said “I do” with the help of a beautiful quartet, gorgeous blooms, and all of their family and friends. The ceremony was followed by a sunny outdoor photo session, and then the cocktail hour and reception at Germania Place began. “The food and drinks from Kenmare Catering were absolutely delicious,” the couple said. “We loved our tasting and working with Katie O’Reilly!” At Germania Place, the couple’s two hundred guests enjoyed piano music and mouthwatering appetizers as they mixed and mingled in the venue’s chandelieradorned ballroom. Later in the evening, the Dan Hayes Orchestra took the mic and treated guests to hours of upbeat tunes. Aside from the dining and dancing, one of the couple’s favorite memories was the series of speeches that Katie’s dad and brothers gave. “They were so heartfelt and honest,” Katie said. “Hearing them speak in front of everyone we love was so moving.”

Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY: St. Michael’s Catholic Church | RECEPTION: Germania Place | OFFICIANT: Rev. Ted Lawson PHOTOGRAPHY: Julia Franzosa Photography | EVENT PLANNER: Wrap It Up Parties BRIDE’S GOWN: Isabelle Armstrong via Nordstrom | HAIR & MAKEUP: Penny Lane Studios | BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Bella Bridesmaids FORMALWEAR: Hugo Boss | STATIONERY: Note Bene Fine Paper Boutique | FLORAL & DÉCOR: Hello Darling CATERING: Kenmare Catering | CAKE & SWEETS: Alliance Bakery | ENTERTAINMENT: Dan Hayes Orchestra CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM




“Statement pieces can come in a variety of forms and can really add a beautiful dramatic effect to any special event. This sweetheart table statement piece added a touch of whimsical romance that properly highlighted the couple’s favorite quote, which captured the mood of their entire wedding day. We suggest also placing candles in front of mirrors which in this case created a brilliant glow that added a breathtaking theatrical affect to the already gorgeous 1920’s styled space. Statement florals are the perfect addition to any wedding as they, along with your bouquet, are the most photographed flowers. This couple was framed in perfectly, making this an incredible backdrop that gave them magnificent photos to share for a lifetime.”


“A great way to break up the monotony of round guest tables at a wedding is to add long or square tables. Different table shapes enable you to feature elevated floral arrangements. Not only do they add drama to the room, but


nothing is more magical than dining under a bountiful arrangement of floral and greenery. A raised, elongated centerpiece spanning the length of a table creates a visual path and each and every guest seated at the table can enjoy the beauty of the florals. Suspended votive candles add a whimsical ambience while additional candlelight and low-set florals fill the table space and create a lush appeal.”



“An unexpected surprise greeted guests as they arrived at this sophisticated wedding. Lush foliage and fragrant flowers lined the classic stairway leading to the lavish ballroom of the Four Seasons. White hydrangeas, Phalaenopsis orchids, spray roses, and stock accented with blush peonies and garden roses created a stunning and lightly scented pathway to the reception area. On the stairway landing, an oversized gold frame featuring large faux flowers provided the perfect spot for guests to snap a photo and capture an Instagram-able moment. This dramatic installation delighted the bride, friends, and family and created the perfect beginning and ending to a perfect day.”

WRITTEN BY Mackenzie Jager + Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Native Weddings



COLOR your day beautiful


When you’re planning a wedding, it’s never too early to decide on your color palette. Your colors will set the tone for your wedding and they should be featured everywhere on the big day – from dresses to decor to party favors and more. And if you’re really thinking ahead, colors will play an important role in your venue decision as well.

1. FIGURE OUT WHICH COLORS YOU’RE NATURALLY DRAWN TO. Brides often feel overwhelmed when faced with choosing a color palette, but it’s important not to stress. Taking a quick look at your wardrobe and home décor is usually enough for most brides to discover what colors and patterns they tend to gravitate towards. If your clothes and wall hangings don’t give you a clear answer though, create an inspiration board to catalogue your favorite colors and styles. As you add to your boards, you’ll be surprised at how quickly patterns and preferences emerge.

2. TAKE YOUR VENUE’S COLOR SCHEME INTO ACCOUNT. Before your colors are finalized, consider the aesthetics of your top venue choices. If you’re determined to do a pink wedding, a ballroom with bright red walls is not for you. Bold colors like pinks call for venues with “blank slate” color schemes – neutral colors such as grey, white, and cream that will play well with almost any color palette. The same rule works in reverse.




If you’re dead set on hosting your wedding

choose neutral colors for your wedding.


The key is to avoid a competition between

Not everyone interprets color the same

your venue and your color palette. If you

way, but it’s safe to assume that the

in that bright red ballroom, you’ll want to

force bold colors on a colorful venue,

majority of your guests will make the

you’ll either end up with a chaotic-looking

same basic associations. Corals create

wedding or you’ll spend a fortune covering

a bright party atmosphere, while whites

up walls.

and creams are dreamy and romantic.

Jewel tones are dramatic, and reds are passionate. We could go on forever, but the main idea here is that choosing a color is choosing a mood, so making






nate is essential. Ideally, brides should choose three to four colors for their color palette, and they should never choose more than five. You want your guests to feel welcome at your wedding – not bombarded by a color explosion – so if you can’t resist using one or two bolder shades, plan to also incorporate softer, neutral colors that tastefully support the vibrant tone.

“Look in your closet and at the décor in your house. You already know what your favorite colors are!” – Cindy Shanholtz, Effortless Events

4. TAKE TRENDS AND SEASONS INTO ACCOUNT, BUT DON’T LET THEM RUN THE SHOW. It can be fun to play with trendy colors in your wedding, but be careful not to go overboard. You still want to be happy with your color choices ten or twenty years after you say “I do”, so restraint is crucial. If you’re determined to incorporate trendy colors into your celebration, use them as the cherry on top. Rather than featuring metallic gold as your main color 338



“It’s fun to play with bold tones and mixed metallics, but try not to overuse trendy colors. You still want to be happy with your color choices in ten to twenty years!” – Cindy Shanholtz, Effortless Events

with attention snatching blooms, go ahead and incorporate your colors into your bouquet. If you’d rather keep all the eyes on you, opt for a subtler bouquet that compliments your color palette but doesn’t detract from your grand entrance.

6. SEAL THE DEAL WITH A COLOR WHEEL. To finalize your color scheme, pull out or dressing your bridesmaids in it, use it

It’s also important to take the season


into account. Weddings that match the

When choosing your colors, keep in

weather are always in style, but having a

mind that they’ll most likely be accom-

with your dominant color. Confused?

December wedding doesn’t mean you’re

panying you down the aisle. A bright

Here’s an example. If you want to fea-

obligated to choose red and green as

bouquet is gasp-inducing and eye-catch-

ture royal purple in your wedding, choose

your colors. Choose the tone you want

ing, but it also takes some of the attention

other purples (the colors that flank royal

and then tailor your wedding to the

away from the bride. If you’ve chosen

purple on the color wheel) or greens (the

season by adding details such as beautiful

bright colors for your wedding and you

colors that are across from royal purple

wreaths or gorgeous wild flowers.

don’t mind sharing your aisle spotlight

on the wheel).

to accent your decor or accessorize your bridal party.



a color wheel. Select your dominant color and then note what colors are directly opposite and on either side of it. These are your complimentary colors, and they’re guaranteed to work well



Your linen supplier and your florist might

If you’re still feeling uncertain about

have different definitions of pale blue, so

colors, look at your guest list. Will you

setting the record straight prior to your cel-

be throwing a black-tie event? A charming

ebration is key. Colors should add to the

backyard wedding? A party bursting with

Picking out your wedding colors is one

magic of your day, not take away from it,

dancing and laughter? Think about your

thing, but successfully incorporating them is

and keeping things consistent is the best

favorite colors and the moods the different

another. Your colors should appear every-

way to avoid unwanted color distractions.

color families create, and you’ll be able

where, starting with your invitations and

Looping in your vendors also allows them to

to choose the perfect color palette for

following through to your take home gifts.

take things to the next level. Little touches

your wedding. With your carefully chosen

This ensures that your wedding is a beautiful

like having the wait staff wear bowties that

colors and our expert planners’ decorating

and cohesive affair. On the day of the

match your colors can add a layer of sophis-

tips ringing in the back of your mind,

wedding, make sure that your vendors are

tication and consistency to your wedding

you’ll be fully prepared to design the

all bringing the correct shades of your color.

that otherwise might have been missing.

wedding of your dreams.


From Field to Aisle W H E N A R E Y O U R FAV O R I T E F L O W E R S AVA I L A B L E ?

Flowers can transform a space unlike any other décor. They’re a fun and easy way to showcase your personality and bring your wedding theme to life, but choosing which blooms are right for you can be tricky.

Are you looking for vibrant

flowers like gerbera daisies, or would you rather keep things white, green, and simple with ferns and hydrangeas? Maybe both of those options pale in comparison to the subtle tones and muted pinks of roses and peonies. One thing to keep in mind while you’re making wedding floral plans is that flowers grow seasonally. Some flowers can be sourced year-round like roses, alostromeria, and gardenias, but others – like sunflowers – can be much more difficult to attain depending on when you’re getting married. Here’s a breakdown of which flowers are available for each season to help you better plan your wedding flowers.

WRITTEN BY Ariane Scholl PHOTOGRAPHY BY Jennography



The ranunculus also makes for a perfect

A time of new beginnings and flower-

boutonniere and comes in a variety of

ing bulbs, making it a beautiful season

fun colors including yellow, orange, white,

to say “I do.”

and pink.

If you’re getting married in March, April,


or May, tulips are a great, classic choice. Not only are they available in a wide

A season filled with lush greens and enticing florals.

range of colors, but they’re also very



affordable. You can bring a bold color

For a wedding in June, July, or August,

palette to your table settings with tulips

you may be heading to a beach or

in yellows, reds, and oranges or keep

outdoor venue for your nuptials. If so,

things soft with pink and white. Peonies

you might be interested in adding areca

are also available from late spring to

palm fronds, papyrus reeds, or fern

early summer. They’re a super popular

leaves to your bouquet to create a lush,

choice among brides and are typically

tropical feel. For something beautifully

available in pink, white, and red. Other

unique, succulents can be added in with

popular spring flowers include the fra-

your favorite summer flowers. These

grant hyacinth (purple, pink, or white),

hardy plants are easy to source and cost

the elegant calla lily (white, yellow,

effective during the summer months.

pink, or purple), the beautiful, large-

Popular species of succulents include

bodied hydrangea (white, blue, purple,

graptopetalum, which has rosettes of

or pink) and the complex ranunculus.

plump leaves; echeveria, which can be

Photography by Kristin Lavoe


found in a bold purple color; and sedum

white), hydrangeas, sunflowers, and pom-

beauty of the natural colors present during

(Stonecrop), which has smaller com-

pom or spider chrysanthemums (white,

that time of year. Think deep reds, rich

pressed rosettes. Both tropical leaves

yellow, maroon, violet, and deep red) are

yellows, and rustic oranges to comple-

and succulents can add a unique twist

other popular choices. Craspedia flowers

ment the turning of the leaves and the

to table settings, boutonnieres, and bou-

are also available in the summer months

changing of the seasons. One of the most

quets when mixed with available summer

and have little yellow balls for heads,

iconic fall flowers, the marigold, will be in

flowers. Dahlias are bold and beautiful

which make them a common favorite for

full bloom during this time. Marigolds can

geometric flowers that pair well with


be stunning when mixed with roses of the

peonies (which will still be available in the early summer months) as well as garden roses, which are available year-


FALL. Bursting with rustic tones and autumn foliage.

same color and luxurious greenery. Marigolds are most typically available in golden yellow, orange, red, and white.

round. Brightly-colored zinnias (deep red,

For a wedding in September, October, or

The bright, joyful yellow of aster flowers

bright orange, yellow, bright pink, and

November, you may want to use the

and goldenrod make for a great wildflower



look for a rustic outdoor ceremony. Dahlias, sunflowers, zinnias, and chrysanthemums are also still available through the fall. If wonder of fall, you can also add wheat, seasonal berries, maple leaves, or greenery to accent your arrangements.

WINTER. A time for the quiet beauty of gentle


you’d like to really celebrate the rustic

January, and February, you might be

many excellent options available during

whites and rich reds.

concerned your wedding flower options

the winter months. If you want to celebrate

If you’re getting married in a winter won-

will be limited. Luckily, that couldn’t be

the beauty of snow-filled fields by bringing

derland during the months of December,

farther from the truth. In fact, there are

in bouquets of white, you will have plenty




of options to choose from. Mix and match tones of antique white, ivory, and creams for a rich, inviting look. Add paper-white narcissus flowers to your bouquet of cream roses along with clippings of fir and naked twigs, or play up the colors of the season by pairing bold red amaryllis with hypericum berries and cedar sprigs. If you’re looking for more options in white, casa blanca lilies, star of Bethlehem, and waxflower are popular choices. Other great winter bouquet fillers include pinecones, mistletoe, juniper boughs with berries, holly, and the fuzzyleaved lamb’s ear.

YEAR-ROUND. Every season is the perfect season for love. Many great flowers are available yearround, making your floral dreams a possibility during all seasons of the year. Roses, one of the most popular choices for weddings are among these options. Spray roses, which are smaller in size and come in a variety of colors including yell ow, white, light pink, and lavender, add a delicate touch to bouquets. On the other hand, garden roses with their wider heads and strong stems can be a bold and romantic statement. Snapdragons can add a cascading look to a whimsical bouquet and can be found in pastels and bright shades, making them a very universal option. Gardenias have a soft and full look with great leaves that pair well with peonies and roses. Other flowers available year-round include: daisies (yellow, white, pink), irises (purple, blue), alostromeria (yellow, purple, pink, cream) and baby’s breath, a popular floral filler. In the end, whether you choose the gentle colors of spring, the vibrant colors of summer, the rustic tones of autumn, or the quiet colors of winter, flowers are sure to be a beautiful addition to your wedding. Don’t forget to have fun with the process, and keep in mind that buying in season will help you stay within your budget. 350


S T E L L A & M AT T H E W WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Ryan Brandoff Photography

Stella and Matthew met through and after

gorgeous enchanted forest décor. “When we walked in,

hitting it off, the pair decided to go on a date. “Due to

we were blown away,” the couple said. “Kensington

work, weather, and a flat tire, I was two and half hours

Florals and Events truly captured the essence of our

late to the date but he waited!” Stella shared. “I remember

theme to a tee!”

feeling like it was the best first date I’d ever been on – we

In addition to their breathtaking décor, one of the ele-

instantly connected.” A year and a half later, Matthew

ments of Matthew and Stella’s wedding that made their

proposed to Stella in a pumpkin patch. Stella was so

celebration especially unique was their series of homages

excited that she told him to stand back up and said yes

to Stella’s Greek roots. The bride wore her Yiayia’s blue

before he even asked her to marry him. “We were so

diamond ring and wrote the names of all her single

wrapped up in the moment that we left without our

bridesmaids on the bottom of her shoes (it’s said that the

pumpkins,” the couple joked.

first name to rub off will get married next). The couple

Matthew and Stella held a Greek-Orthodox ceremony

served a traditional koufeta at the reception to symbolize

at St. Haralambos that included a crowning by their

their values and new bond, and Stella’s family fanned

kombara, circling the altar, the Dance of Isaiah, and

money over the couple as they danced to traditional

bountiful friends and family. Following the ceremony, the

Greek songs and spent the night on the dance floor with

couple climbed aboard a party bus and headed to the

their loved ones. “People warned us of how fast the

Hyatt Lodge where they enjoyed a reception full of

wedding flies by,” the couple said. “It truly did!”

Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY: St. Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church | RECEPTION: Hyatt Lodge | PHOTOGRAPHY: Ryan Brandoff Photography VIDEOGRAPHY: Essence Photo & Video | EVENT PLANNER: Kensington Florals & Events BRIDE’S GOWN: MoriLee by Madeline Gardner via Eva’s Bridal International | BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Eva’s Bridal International HAIR: Coco Beauty Lounge | MAKEUP: Karen DeWert Makeup Artistry | FORMALWEAR: Emanuele Tuxedo | LINEN RENTALS: BBJ Linen FLORAL & DÉCOR: Kensington Florals & Events | STATIONERY: Kensington Florals & Events | CATERING: Hyatt Lodge CAKE & SWEETS: Lezza Spumoni & Desserts Inc. | ENTERTAINMENT: The Keith Christopher Entertainment Group CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Hello, Gorgeous!




Clean Makeup, Messy Buns

Glowing Skin

True Texture

Brides today are moving away from

To thy own texture be true!

the smoky eye and bold colors

It's no secret that natural hairstyles

to focus on clean, glowing skin.

are on-trend. We love using the right

I like to accent my brides’ lips

cocktail of products to bring each

and eyes with colors that bring

bride’s texture to life and incorporating

out their best features, then top

florals. Couple that with the new

it all off with a wispy lash.

Monochromatic Makeup Technique of

Soft, demure makeup with emphasis on lashes and a pretty pink pout are currently our most requested look. This look encompasses dewy, natural skin with a light flush, a satin lip, and lush lashes. The bun-undone is also

keeping your eyes, lips, and cheeks

trending. Hair from the front and sides can be pulled back and polished or upswept with natural texture into a loosely gathered style at the


within one shade range, and you’ve got the radiant bridal look you've always dreamed of!

nape of the neck.



Top Beauty Trends and Tips for Your Wedding Day Look




Fresh Pop

Timeless Glam

Foiled Lids

Using a stronger lip shade to give the

A beauty trend we’ve been noticing

This wedding season, bridal makeup

face a fresh pop of color is all the

lately is ‘Timeless Glam’. It’s a more

is all about the eyes. Foiling, metallic

rage. Keep the lip color creamy and

natural, textured style, something that

eye shadows, and eye shadows

matte, then use a lip pencil to softly

allows the bride to feel dazzling and

enhanced with sparkles are all on

define the edge. Colors for spring and

most importantly herself without

trend. You can make almost any

summer are fun, bright pinks, like

competing with the rest of her look

color metal-licious! Ace this look by

watermelon or bright raspberry.

and incredible dress.

keeping the rest of your makeup palette neutral and let your foiled

For fall and winter, think deep plums or magenta. The trick is to keep the face balanced by using a strong natural eye – soft smoky shadow or liner


lids be that extra touch of glam that completes your bridal look without taking it over the top.

even out the stronger lip.





All brides are beautiful exactly how they are, but feeling

that you don’t have to go on one of those crazy liquids-only

pressure to look your absolute best on your Big Day is totally

diets to look and feel your best. One of the simplest diets–

normal. As long as you’re aware that you don’t need to make

clean eating – is also the most effective.

any changes to yourself and you’re going about your prep in a healthy way, we’re all for brides making themselves as glamorous as they possibly can be for their wedding day. Not thrilled about the idea of running ten miles a day for the next few months or hopping on the fad dieting bandwagon? Neither are we! Read on to discover ways you can become your happiest, healthiest self not only for your wedding, but for years to come.

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. Limiting yourself to apples, carrots, and water during the week leading up to your wedding is a great way to feel terrible during your celebration. As difficult as it might be, the healthiest and

A clean diet involves upping your intake of raw foods (fruits, veggies, nuts) while cutting back on carbs and lactose and cutting out refined sugars (cakes, cookies, ice cream) and caffeine. Many brides love clean diets because they don’t involve counting out calories or measuring your meals. As long as you’re eliminating foods that really aren’t good for you to begin with, you have complete control over your portion size. You might have to wave goodbye to Reese’s cups and apple pie, but you can eat strawberries and papaya to your heart’s content. Another great aspect of clean eating is that the intensity of the

most effective way to make a dietary change that gives you

diet is entirely in your control. If you start a clean diet six to

lasting results is to start months in advance. The good news is

eight months before your wedding, it’s perfectly okay to diet

WRITTEN BY Yanira Garza + Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Native Weddings




and toned, but they’ll also lower your overall anxiety level and teach you meth-

“Start an at-home hair regimen with salon quality products,

ods for coping with wedding planning

get conditioning treatments with every color service, and

stress. Zumba, Jazzercise, and other

consult with a stylist to plan out future dates for color and cut services leading up to the wedding day.”

up-tempo group classes are a great way to bond with your bridal party in addition to losing weight. As long as you start well in advance and don’t test your limits

– Maribel Borunda, Zazú Salon

(crutching down the aisle thanks to a CrossFit injury is not a good look), rou-

during the week days and cheat on the


tinely hitting the gym several months before your wedding will have you achiev-

weekends at the start. As the Big Day

Just like changing your diet, getting in

starts approaching, give yourself fewer

shape isn’t an overnight process. Whether

ing your body goals in no time.

cheat days and limit yourself to lean pro-

it’s jogging around your neighborhood or


tein, veggies, fruits, and healthy grains

shaking your booty in a Zumba class,

You can get as many facials and keratin

like quinoa and brown rice. For most

moving around is key when it comes to

treatments as you want, but the key to

brides, the key to getting trim and feeling

shedding pounds and feeling your best.

looking great on the outside is taking

great isn’t monitoring how much you eat

Not crazy about the idea of hitting the

but what you’re eating. When paired

gym? Choose a type of exercise that will

with regular exercise, clean eating tends

do double the work for you. Yoga, Pilates,

to give brides amazing results.

and Pure Barre classes will get you nice

care of your insides. Your hair, skin, and nails are all immediately effected by what you put into your body, so keep that in mind before you brush off clean eating. Super foods like kale and dark chocolate are chock full of antioxidants that benefit hair, skin, and nail health. Herbs like parsley and natural sweeteners like raw honey have been proven to freshen up your skin and reduce redness, and those sometimes-yucky green smoothies work wonders when it comes to reducing waistlines (assuming you aren’t chasing the smoothies with cookies and cake). If you’re itching for products to use externally, you can do so without ever leaving the kitchen. Coconut and olive oil are amazing for promoting overall hair health and softening your strands, and massaging either of these two liquids into your scalp works wonders. We recommend NOT using oil on your hair the night before your wedding though– depending on your hair texture, it might take a few washings for the oil to fully wash out. Another way to help out your hair, skin, and nails is to go natural. Put your curling wand and blow dryer on temporary retirement, and bid your nail polish a fond farewell. We know that




totally and completely normal. Normal

your worries packing. Other great solu-

harder concession, but taking a break

or not though, stress has an extremely

tions are meditating, listening to calming

from concealers and foundation gives

negative impact on overall health and

music, and getting outdoors to soak up

kicking makeup to the curb is a much

your skin the chance to breathe. The

weight loss. Learning to banish your

some sunshine.

more your skin breathes, the less irritation

nerves is crucial to feeling and looking

Feeling overwhelmed? Take your wedding

and acne you’re likely to get, so consider

your best, and with a little practice, it’s

prep in steps. Maybe start with getting

going makeup free at least a few times

easy to accomplish.

to the gym more often, then slowly work

The great news is that working out and

your way into incorporating clean eating

eating healthy are excellent ways to com-

and some of our de-stressing tips. It

bat stress. The endorphins you release

might seem like a ton of work, but


on the treadmill make your worries feel

making any of these changes has the

You’ve been regularly going to your Boot

less overwhelming, so if you can feel

potential to change your life.

Camp Abs class, you’re eating healthy,

your nerves building, consider heading

Fad diets only work for so long, but

you’ve parted ways with your heated

to the gym. If anxiety is wreaking havoc

clean eating, regularly exercising, and

hair tools, and you’re still not feeling

on your stomach, pick up herbal teas

taking mental health breaks are routines

great. What’s the catch? When you’re

from Whole Foods and sip on those a

worth sticking to long after you’ve tied the knot. So think of it this way: you’re

per week. Less makeup plus a great moisturizer will leave your skin feeling baby smooth and crystal clear.

doing everything right but still feeling

few times a day. Having someone to

stressed out or on edge, the culprit is

vent to or confide in is also amazingly

not only getting ready to look gorgeous

usually anxiety. Whether it’s nerves over

helpful. Sit down with your partner, your

on your wedding day; you’re preparing

wedding planning or jitters about making

mom, a sibling, or your best friend and

for a lifetime of not only loving your

a lifelong commitment, getting antsy and

talk things out. Sometimes, getting an

partner but yourself, and today is as

stressed out prior to your Big Day is

outside opinion is all it takes to send

good a day as any to get started.


Another Handy Dandy List of Lists As the stress of the big day starts piling up on your delicate shoulders, it may seem like there are a million things you need to keep track of and remember. Whether or not organization is your thing, there’s a way to make sure no distant relative or gold earring gets left behind.

1. You’ve Got Their Number Things go wrong with vendors sometimes. Cakes get dropped, the DJs run late, and what was supposed to be a rose bouquet sometimes gets delivered as a bunch of carnations, but it’s all okay because you’re a responsible bride and 360


corny. And you realize your best friend

Cabo or bundled up on a whale-watching

from California will be there, and you two

expedition in Alaska. Whatever adven-

the numbers are saved in your phone,

have a tradition of taking pictures in

ture you’ll be embarking upon, make a

but when it’s ten minutes ‘til go-time and

strange locations. Make a list for the DJ

list of every single item you need to

and photographer with your little updates

pack. It seems like a lot of work, but it’ll

so that your day is wonderful.

save your tush if you’re leaving shortly

the flowers haven’t floated their way into the party yet, the last thing you want to do is scroll through 500 contacts (you’re insanely popular) to find the name of the florist, which you just forgot due to the


you have a list of important contacts all on one safe little piece of paper. Sure, all

after the wedding. It’s also quite a bit

5. Get Ready to Pack Your Bags

of fun to get lost daydreaming about

Picture yourself under a palm tree in

your honeymoon.

frenzy. Also, a list is easy to hand to someone else to deal with…hint, hint.

2. Favors and Décor You know the 250 burlap-and-vintagelace-wrapped Mason jars with handdipped candles that you begged your sister to help you handcraft? Let’s just say that if you forget them, she’s going to have strong feelings. And as your sister, she’ll probably be making a speech in front of everyone you know tonight. It’s in your best interest to make a list of all the favors and décor you need to bring. When you’re packing up, you want to be sure nothing gets left behind.

3. Edward or Edwin or Something Your great-grandmother’s sister-in-law’s nephew’s name is Christopher. Did you remember that? We don’t blame you. Make a list of all the guests you’re not entirely familiar with. If you’re really into cheating, print out the list with pictures and keep it at the head table as a quick reference. Odds are your partner will be using it at least as much as you will.

4. Last-Minute Snaps and Claps You’ve already had a lengthy discussion with your DJ about the Electric Slide and battled with your photographer over whether or not you want yourself Photoshopped in the sky next to a close-up of your groom, but new things keep bubbling up in your mind. Suddenly, Journey’s “Faithfully” sounds more romantic than CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



The flower arrangements are full, fresh, and overwhelmingly gorgeous, the band sounds heavenly, and the groom, handsome as ever, awaits his bride. Yet as she heads down the aisle, something seems slightly off…

WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo + Yanira Garza PHOTOGRAPHY BY Jennography


"Trials give the bride the opportunity to customize the beauty details of her wedding day and make sure that what she envisioned is what she gets. Not only is it essential to get to know the artists who will be there for one of the most intimate parts of your day as you are getting ready with your friends and family, but the artists need to get to know you, your style, and the overall look you are going for. Trials give you peace of mind, knowing that you are working with professionals who will make you look like the best version of yourself.” – Ioana Qureshi and Jennifer Beyers, Rare Bird Beauties

Hair and makeup are a critical part of your bridal look, but countless brides make the mistake of waiting until the day of to test out their desired style. The result of skipping your beauty trials? Unexpected fashion disasters. Whether it’s your bright red lipstick looking more cartoonish than sultry or your towering up-do getting mistaken for a bobby pin arts-and-crafts project gone wrong, almost all beauty disasters can be avoided by scheduling a hair and makeup trial three to six months before your wedding. In addition to acting as an “interview” for your glam team, trials are a chance for both you and your beauty professionals to work out any kinks before the Big Day arrives. Still not convinced? Read on to learn more about beauty trials and how they’re essential to perfecting your wedding day look.

FIND A TEAM OF PROS. You’ve found what you think might be the perfect salon, and now it’s time to book a trial. You wouldn’t head out on a road trip without making sure that your car is good to go, right? Believe it or not, the same logic applies to your wedding hair and makeup. No matter how many inspiration images you show up with on the morning of your wedding, the only way to guarantee you get that perfect Adriana Lima smoky eye (and that you like the way it looks on you) is to test it out way ahead of time. All reputable beauty stylists should be more than happy to set up a trial or consultation CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



different because no two stylists are the same, but there are a few rules that ring true across the board. When it comes to scheduling, give your stylists ample time to test out multiple looks and block out about one or two hours for the trial. Another important step is coming to the appointment with ideas, but not overwhelming your stylists. Bring a few inspiNATIVE WEDDINGS

ration images for both hair and makeup, but don’t show up with an entire scrapbook of looks. Limit yourself to a few favorites, and let your stylists take the lead from there. If you’ve booked a makeup trial, arrive prior to your wedding day. In addition to

working with professionals, your beauty

with a fresh, clean face. Put on a little

being proper industry practice, trials

trials should be a fun and informative

moisturizer if it’s part of your routine,

actually take a load of stress off your

experience that gets you all the more

but don’t coat your face in anything

stylists as well. By meeting with brides

excited for your wedding day.

heavy or oily. It’s also a great idea to

ahead of time, stylists are able to come

bring some of your beauty staples along

up with a look that they know is doable,


and that you know you love. If you’re

All hair and makeup trials will be slightly

with you in a small toiletry bag, especially if you have sensitive skin and are worried about the stylist using new products on you. In addition to giving your stylist a better idea of what your makeup musthaves are, asking him or her to incorporate a few items from your personal stash will give you that extra level of comfort. If the trial is with a hair stylist, resist the urge to show up to the appointment with squeaky clean locks. Hair styling actually works best on day-old hair, so stay away from shampoo (yes, even dry shampoo) and other sprays the day of your trial. Do you have a beautiful hair piece or veil that you want to incorporate into your look? Bring any and all crowns, fascinators, veils, and other wedding hair accessories you’ve been considering along to your trial. The morning of your wedding is not the time for your stylist to figure out how to secure your pearl tiara, so make life easier on both of you by giving your stylist a chance to play around with your accessories well before the Big Day.




THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. If you’ve ever wanted to experiment with a certain makeup look or hairstyle, consider testing them out during your trial. Now is the time to play around with false lashes, hair extensions, and other beauty “boosters” you might have been too shy to try out in the past. Do keep in mind NATIVE WEDDINGS

that one of the most important parts of stepping outside of your comfort zone is being able to speak up and be honest. If you hate the way false lashes look on you, politely tell your stylist that you aren’t so crazy about them after all. A professional won’t get upset or offended. Instead, they’ll see your honesty as a sign of trust, not a knock on their talent. Good beauty stylists care about perfecting your bridal look just as much as you do, and the only way you’ll both be able to achieve that goal is if you’re open to

Whether you’re using your tried and

mended them, it’s critical that you

true hair dresser or you’re testing out

build a relationship with your stylists and

a brand new stylist, giving them the

ensure that they’re the perfect fit for your

chance to work with you prior to your

wedding day.

wedding day is essential. No matter how well you think they know you or

To find the perfect hair and makeup artist,

how highly your friends have recom-

or salon, visit

new ideas but also comfortable giving honest feedback.

ONE AND DONE… MAYBE. Not 100% satisfied with your look postconsultation? It’s time to walk away. It’s not always easy, but think of it this way: if you aren’t totally in love with your look on your wedding day, you can’t reschedule the wedding and try again on a different day. The good news though is that more often than not, most brides find themselves content with how their trial has gone. If you fall into this happy category but want to give your stylists the chance to work with you a few more times before the wedding, consider having them do your hair and makeup for your engagement shoot, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, or other wedding events. The more your stylists understand your hair and skin, the happier you’ll both be with the way your wedding day look turns out. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM




Taylor + Stephen FURLA STUDIO








Jackie + Kristi JENNOGRAPHY


Veronica + Nolan

Jenna + Phil



See more Newest Newlyweds on pages 385-387 CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM





Finding beautiful locations in downtown Chicago to take your


wedding photography isn’t the hard part, it’s deciding which

Don’t forget to look up when planning your photography

handful to visit. From the river to the lake to Chicago’s iconic

locations. The Loop is home to some spectacular rooftop

architecture and history, every magnificent mile of the Windy

restaurants and bars, which would make for some incredible

City has something special to offer.

photographs with a little planning. Cindy’s at the Chicago Athletic Association is a crowd pleaser with amazing views of

DOWNTOWN VIBES: It might be easy to overlook, especially if you have suffered from some serious delays at its expense, but Chicago’s L system can be a serious stunner when it comes to wedding photos. Getting a well-timed shot of your wedding party walking underneath the tresses can make for a visual treat, and we recommend checking out Lake Street, Wabash, and Van Buren. The historic beauty of the Quincy/Wells Station is also a great option if you’re looking to add some city flair to your pho-

Millennium Park and a gorgeous expanse of Lake Michigan in the distance. Hotels like LondonHouse Chicago, Trump International Hotel and Tower, and the Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront all offer memorable views of the Chicago River, the iconic movable bridges, and some stellar architecture. Even if you aren’t tying the knot at any of these locations, consider stopping by for your rehearsal dinner or engagement photos.


tograph, and The Kinzie Street Bridge is another transporta-

Head down to the newly-renovated river walk between Wells

tion-centered structure that looks amazing in photos. With its

and State Street (adjacent to Wacker Drive) for some spectacular

unique backdrop and amazing geometry, it’s bound to make

views. Whether it’s the middle of the day or late at night,

your photographer's heart flutter.

photographs in front of the Chicago River will always turn out

WRITTEN BY Ariane Scholl | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Ocken Photography




“When planning for city photos it is always important to plan ahead and have a plan B. A lot of our favorite outdoor and indoor spaces require shooting permits and the list of places that do is getting longer all the time. Definitely work with your photographer and trust their judgement to create a schedule of stops that will allow you to get great photos, but still enjoy your day! I love to suggest city spots that scream Chicago, but don't require having to push through crowds of tourists, and spots that have an abundance of variety so we aren't running around the city getting sweaty.” – Jennifer Jackson, Jennography

picturesque. Take advantage of the fantastic new architectural wonders this work-in-progress has to offer. In the ‘River Theater’ section there is a large ascending stairway which would make for some powerful photos. The river walk is also host to many new dock-like structures which are perfect for getting intimate photographs, and venues like the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza and River Roast offer great views of the water without the hassle of crowds as well. Don’t forget to change up the perspective and snag some photos on one of Chicago’s infamous movable bridges.

KEEP IT CLASSIC: Chicago is a city which recognizes the importance of preserving its heritage. Whether it’s the miles of pristine lake front (thank you, Burnham) or one of the many historical landmarks located downtown, you can’t go wrong with taking a more traditional route. Nothing screams a Chicago-style wedding like The Chicago Theater. Built in 1921 its glorious marquee is the perfect backdrop. Feeling artsy? The Art Institute of Chicago has a plethora of photo opts. The Modern Wing and Nichols Bridgeway are perfect for the contemporary couple, while the gothic architecture of the original wing and the museum’s courtyards add a flair of drama. Likewise, The Buckingham Fountain at night is certainly hard to beat with its beautiful cascading waterfalls of light, but make sure you check the schedule so you don’t miss the light show. Union 370



“One of the most important things to remember if you want to take photos around the city is that you can’t forget your photographer! If you're on a trolley, limo, or bus, make arrangements for him or her to ride with you.” – Peter Furla, Furla Studio

Station is another architectural wonder located west of Canal Street. Its Great Hall with a barrel-vaulted skylight ceiling and large pillars are hard to beat, and its natural light is amazing.

A CULTURAL PLAYGROUND: While the city itself is a cultural playground, it’s hard to top the views and architecture at the museum campus. One of the best views of the Chicago skyline can be found along the lake front between The Shedd Aquarium and The Adler Planetarium. With Lake Michigan in the forefront and the towering beauty of Chicago’s architecture in the background, it’s a great location to snag a great wedding party shot, especially if you have a large wedding party because the perspective provides enough space for everyone. While you’re at the museum campus, have your photographer style some group shots on the steps of The Field Museum, built in 1893, its white exterior is reminiscent of the times of the World’s Columbian Exposition and ‘White City.’ Definitely a must for Chicago history lovers or those looking to add a classic touch.

GREEN SPACE: You might be in the middle of a bustling cityscape, but that doesn’t mean you 372


sprawling 319 acres of meticulously

geous building that houses thousands of

photo roll. There are plenty of parks and

planted flowerbeds, lush green lawn and

Chicago artifacts.

green spaces to take advantage of down-

pockets of trees. With so much land,

town. One of the most notable parks is

you’ll certainly be able to find a corner to

Millennium Park and with good reason.

make your own. We recommend the

Lurie Gardens offers 3.5 acres of natural

Grant Park Rose Garden, located just

can only mean one thing: the city holds

beauty featuring fields of wildflowers,

steps from Buckingham Fountain. Another

a special place in your heart. So ask

prairie plants and a stunning 15-foot tall

great space is Lincoln Park, the beautiful

yourself: what locations speak to you as

hedge. Truly an oasis in the middle of the

lakeside area between Ohio Street Beach

a couple? Did you have your first date at


can’t find some nature to add to your

MAKE IT PERSONAL: If you’re getting married in Chicago it

city, it’s a great space to slink away

and Ardmore Avenue. In addition to the

a romantic restaurant downtown? Do

together to get some intimate shots. In

famous zoo, the North Pond Sanctuary,

you spend every Sunday running the

fact, technically Millennium Park is the

and a lily pool, Lincoln Park is also home

lakefront path? Are you big fans of con-

northwestern corner of Grant Park, a

to the Chicago History Museum – a gor-

certs in Millennium Park? Do you hit up




“The places to take the best wedding photos in Chicago are generally the places that are dearest to the couples' hearts! When I get to decide, it’s always the lakefront at Fullerton, or out by Northerly Island. And as corny as this sounds, I also love Millennium Park. The path and gardens in that area offer a wonderful mix of city and foliage.” – Chris Ocken, Ocken Photography

one of the amazing farmer’s markets hosted downtown weekly? Wherever it is, don’t forget to add your own personal history to your photos. It’s a fun way to capture this moment in time and share that love with others for years to come. Your photos will become your keepsakes for the rest of your life, so whatever route you decide to take – be it classic, edgy, urban or historic – make sure it reflects your personality as a couple and you won’t be disappointed.


Say Cheese If you were to hire three different photographers to shoot your wedding, you’d get three gorgeous yet completely different perspectives of your Big Day. This variation in style is what makes photography such a unique and beautiful art, but it also means that couples need to do their research before they sign on the dotted line and secure a photographer for their celebration. Bring this list along with you when you meet with potential photographers and have them identify which mediums and styles apply to them.

Medium: How the photos are taken If you’re scratching your head and thinking “Wait… aren’t they taken with a camera?”, don’t worry – you’re not alone! We’re referring to the type of camera. Digital: this type of camera allows photographers to see the images immediately after they’re taken. By far the most common type of camera, digital cameras allow photographers to shoot in dim light and the easy processing means you get your images back ASAP. Film: though film is more time-consuming and much pricier for the photographer 374


Photojournalistic/Lifestyle: this style is

Example: the standard kissing shot might

the opposite of classic. Lifestyle wedding

be taken in the middle of the woods and

downside: turnaround time can take up

photographers require barely any posing

to a month.

whatsoever, and instead follow the couple


(and therefore you), it typically results in gorgeous, organic-looking images. The

be extremely zoomed out, so that all you really see are the couple’s silhouettes.

as a silent observer. Their goal is to catch

Style: How the photos look

the couple acting natural, and to them, a

Classic: a little posed but still striking,

shot of the bride putting in her earrings is

tographer and they’re confused or don’t

this style was more likely than not used

just as magical as the - “I do” kiss.

know what the terms are referring to, run

for your parents’ wedding photos. These

Artistic: falling somewhere in between

images stand the test of time, but require

classic and lifestyle photography, an

all the special lingo for your job, all pro-

the bride, groom, and wedding party to

artistic style still relies on posing, but

fessional photographers should be at

hold stiff poses while the photographer

has the couple strike their pose in more

least marginally familiar with what each

shoots away.

creative locations.

of these mediums and styles entails.

If you show this list to a potential pho-

the other way. The same way you know




from our wedding season. Out of all the

pher follow you around, capturing your

ment photos. When our photographer

photographs my now-husband and I

every move. And yes, in the beginning

offered them as part of the wedding

have of ourselves, these are the ones we

it’s a little awkward. (It’s amazing how

package, at first it felt like just one

love most. After a great engagement

unnatural looking natural can suddenly

more thing to schedule during those

photo shoot, you might find yourself

feel the minute a shutter starts clicking.)

feeling the exact same way. Here’s why:

An engagement photo shoot will help

busy months before the big day. What was I possibly going to do with several

the two of you get used to being in the

out, our old college library,) I wondered?


As it turned out, a lot.

This is key, because unless you’re a

Our engagement photos ended up being

Kardashian, you and your fiancé are

at how quickly the two of you warm up

our absolute favorite pics – and not just

probably not used to having a photogra-

to being the center of attention.

dozen photographs of my fiancé and I wandering through a park (or, as it turned


I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure I wanted engage-

spotlight before the big day – and once your photographer starts asking you to tell the story of how you met, or what your first date was like, you’ll be amazed




Equally important is giving your photographer a chance to get to know you. And I’m not talking just flattering lighting, your best angles, and individual quirks to look out for (although all those things are important). It also helps your photographer notice how the two of you interact: who you are together when you start to let your guard down, how he likes to rest his head on your shoulder, how you raise your eyebrows at his jokes – the kind of things that’ll make your wedding photos look like the two of you.

THOSE AMAZING PROPOSAL PICS There is nothing like a good proposal session – especially if it’s a surprise. In that moment of complete shock and excitement, it’s easy to forget to pay attention to the small details, like how he was looking at you or what you did when you first saw the ring. But if you’ve got a photographer hiding out nearby, the two of you will be able to relive those amazing proposal moments in slow motion, as many times as you want.

ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHS ARE MORE VERSATILE Raise your hand if your grandmother still has your high school graduation photograph in the center of her mantle. I thought so. As adults, there aren’t many excuses to have beautiful, professional photographs taken of ourselves, (which means grandma might have that pic of you in a red mortarboard hanging in her house forever). An engagement photo session gives both you and your soon-to-be-wedded an opportunity to get all dolled up and take some great photographs of you as you are now. And don’t think you’re just going to end up with countless couples’ shots (even though that’s basically the point.) My engagement photographer 378


addition to a collection of couple’s photographs that we love, we also have some solo shots that are perfect for using on business cards or professional websites, social media profiles, and more.

THEY’RE MORE AUTHENTIC On a typical day in your life, you’re probably not going to be wearing a wedding dress or tuxedo, am I right? Don’t get

“An engagement session is an opportunity for us to get to


took photos of my fiancé and I together, and several of us on our own as well. In

know you before the wedding. We'll get to know your quirks, your angles, and what makes you laugh and smile. You'll get to see what you look like through a professional lens, and we will all find our groove! A session is a great way to set us up for wedding day success!” – Rebecca Ickes, Gold Grid Studios

me wrong: wedding photographs are





typically rock look amazing in your dayto-day, the camera might not necessarily pick up the greatness that is everydayyou. And you might realize your favorite office-red lip is not the look you want on your wedding day. An engagement photo session gives you the opportunity to tweak little things here and there, making sure you look exactly as you want to on your big day – and it gives your photographer an opportunity to make suggesonce-in-a-lifetime beautiful, and I love

dress I wear at least once a week, and

pulling out our own wedding album from

he’s in that polo that brings out his eyes,

time to time, remembering that amazing

and we’re walking through that park we

day. But I’ll also confess: my husband

used to love by our old apartment. The

and I do not have one single wedding

pictures that look like us, just being us.

photo of ourselves displayed in our home.

every day – are the ones from our


engagement photo shoot. They’re the

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that while

ones when I’m in that perfect little wrap

the cats-eye eyeliner and messy bun you

The photographs that we appreciate the most – and absolutely love looking at

tions as well. If you’re hiring wedding hair and makeup professionals, most will be game for prepping you for your engagement photo session too. Just like your photographer needs to get to know you in your best light, your stylists need to get to know your skin tone, hair pet peeves, and favorite looks. Engagement pics are the perfect opportunity for a no-stress test run.

IT’S FUN I’ll confess something else: my engagement session got a little… well… steamy, if you know what I mean. Sure, we kept it G-rated (maybe a little PG) but things definitely got super romantic, super quickly. And while we weren’t expecting that, we kinda loved it. The most important thing to remember about engagement photos is that they’re meant to document one specific, unforgettable moment in your relationship – who you are in those exciting, nervewracking, love-struck days before you say “I do.” And while your wedding is obviously about the two of you as well, it’s also about your family and friends: your parents, and the wedding party, those old college pals who you haven’t seen in forever, and that co-worker who introduced you. All the folks who watched your journey from first date to first dance will feature prominently in your wedding photographs too, as they should. But an engagement session? That’s all you guys. 380




Questions to ask a Potential Photographer • What is your primary photographic style? • Are you the individual who will photograph my wedding? If not, can we meet the photographer and see his or her work? • Did you shoot all of the images in your portfolio? • Do you shoot using film or digital? What amount of photos will be in color and what amount will be in black and white? • Do you shoot alone, or will there be a second photographer on-hand? • If you become ill or are unable to make it, what happens? May I see a portfolio of your back-up photogra-

“We love the history behind our couples’ relationships and we want the engagement photos to tell their unique stories. It's important for us to create a relaxed and fun atmosphere so the couple can enjoy this special moment. The time that we share with a couple during their engagement session goes a long way on their wedding day.” – Native Weddings

pher’s work? • Will we receive all of the images you photograph? In what form (CD, DVD, print) will we receive the final photos? • Do we provide a shot list or do you have one that we approve? • What exactly is included in your fee – engagement session, book, CDs, DVDs, etc? • How many hours do you shoot? • When is the deposit due? When is final payment due? • Are you working other events that weekend? • Is retouching included in the price? How many of the images in your portfolio are retouched? • What types of albums do you provide? • What types of packages are available? Can they be customized? • Do you charge overtime fees? • What kind of equipment do you bring, such as lighting, tripods, etc.? How intrusive will this be? • Do you have a copy of your contract I may review? CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



Let’s be honest for a second – weddings are expensive. Once

art. Think beautiful shots of you gliding down the aisle

you’ve finished booking all your vendors and get brave

and slow motion panoramas of your guests hair-whipping

enough to take a peek at the grand total, you’ll see that final

at the reception, all to the tune of your favorite songs. It’s

number is broken up by a comma or two and it’s enough to

like starring in your very own movie trailer, and we

set your head spinning. The natural thing to do is start making

promise you won’t be able to stop watching it.

cuts; scale back the flowers, change the string quartet to a solo violinist, maybe scrap the butterfly release because it’s probably inhumane anyways. You keep going down your list and trimming things, and then you get to your videographer and you pause. Well, you think to yourself, a video would be amazing but I already have a photographer… is a videographer

2. Film captures emotional moments in their entirety. Looking your best friend in the eyes and saying “I do” is one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever get to experience, so why wouldn’t you want to watch it again and again? Sure, you’ll have pictures of the moment– a shot of you both smiling, a shot of you leaning towards each

really necessary?

other, a shot of you kissing – but being able to relive your Without further ado, here are nine reasons why no wedding is complete without a videographer: 1. Wedding videos have come a long way.

“I do” exactly as it happened instead of in fragments is priceless. Same thing goes for your first look – getting to watch all the excitement and emotion play across your

Your parents’ wedding video might have a security tape

faces when you see each other for the first time is some-

vibe, but wedding videos today are practically works of

thing only a video can deliver.

WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Gold Grid Studios



sounds of your celebration. The vows. The music. The toasts. The laughter. When it comes to

from you, your new spouse, and

ever really knows what to write in

your loved ones.

a guestbook, but they do know how

4. Wedding videos are a digital guest book.

weddings, the sights and the

Which is the better memory: watch-

sounds are equally important, and

ing a 5 second clip of your younger

capturing the day on film makes

brother doing the worm in the mid-

sure all that amazing auditory con-

dle of the dance floor at your

tent goes down in history. Great

reception, or reading “Congrats on


3. Videography preserves the

to get down on the dance floor. Your videographer can pair shots of your guests letting loose with short, heartfelt quotes from them and voila: you have well-wishes that actually mean something. 5. Your videographer and photog-

videographers are wizards when it

your wedding, big sis!” in your

rapher work together to catch

comes to the editing process, so

guestbook? Unless he splits his

all the moments you miss.

expect your video to be chock-full

pants during the dance, most peo-

It’s impossible to see everything

of beautiful sound bites directly

ple would choose option A. Nobody

that happens at your wedding




because you’re busy, you know,

able to show up for your big day.

watch whenever you feel like it or

getting married. You might be too

You can have them Skype during

it becomes your anniversary tradi-

wrapped up in sealing your “I do”

the ceremony and you can send

tion, your wedding video is some-

with a kiss to see your grandma

out a bunch of pictures after the

thing that will have you falling in love over and over again.

tearing up in the crowd, but it’s

fact, but there’s no way for them

your videographer’s job to grab

to really experience your wedding.

those beautiful little moments. Hav-

Unless, of course, you’ve captured

ing professionals there is like hiring

the day on video. With one quick

an all seeing eye, and between

click, guests who couldn’t celebrate

your videographer and photogra-

in person can relive the highlights

pher, you’ll be able to experience

of your wedding day and feel a

all the moments you missed while

little less left out.

you were floating on cloud nine. 6. It’s great for guests who couldn’t make it.

7. It’s perfect for anniversary

8. Get your money’s worth. Like we said at the beginning, weddings can be pricey. If you’re going to shell out thousands of dollars to make your Big Day picture perfect, why wouldn’t you want to document it as much as you possibly can? Imagine getting an


expensive mani-pedi and not send-

Curling up on your couch with

ing snapchats to your friends. It’s

In a perfect world, everyone you

your spouse and flipping through

practically unthinkable. The same

invite to your wedding would be

your photo album is cozy and

concept applies to hiring a videog-

able to make it but unfortunately,

sweet, but pulling up your wedding

rapher for your wedding, only on a

that’s just not the case. Kids get

video and watching yourselves say

much larger scale. Capturing your

sick, flights get cancelled, and

“I do” is next-level romantic.

wedding on film is making the

some of your loved ones aren’t

Whether it’s something that you

most of your wedding investment. 9. You don’t want any regrets. There are definitely wedding elements that you can live without, but a videographer isn’t one of them. It might feel like an extra cost, but we promise that paying for a wedding video is worth every penny. We’ve talked to so many brides who decided to skip hiring a videographer and ended up regretting it a few weeks after the fact. So if you’re on the fence about wedding videos, try and think long term. What’s going to make you happier: saving a little money, or going the extra mile and making sure your wedding day is something you can relive for the rest of your lives? Still not convinced? It’s time to let the videos do the talking. Head over to and check out some of our favorite wedding videos from the past year, all shot by incredible Chicagoland videographers!






Francesca + Ricky JENNOGRAPHY








Amber + Ian

Lin + Jim



Allison + Yogy JENNOGRAPHY





Nicki + Joe

Nay + David



Katie + Ryan

Emily + Jeremy



Nicolette + Brad

Lauren + Steve







Live Wire H O W L I V E M U S I C C A N TA K E Y O U R PA R T Y F R O M G O O D T O G R E AT.

There’s a certain kind of sizzle to the atmosphere when a live band takes the stage. Whether it’s an 80s cover band, a bluegrass group, or an epic wedding band that covers all the hits, the crowd knows something big is happening the minute the mic turns on.

THE CEREMONY Imagine the ebb and flow of sweet notes as guests find their seats. The swell of sound as the ceremony begins, and perfect harmonies resolving the musical tension the moment you enter, your gown flowing behind you as the doors swing open. Live music brings something special to the ceremony. A soft acoustic guitar, a solo piano, a beautiful string quartet – music can bring a sense of elegance and timelessness. It can help to make a memorable moment unforgettable. Musicians are well versed in reading the crowd to ensure they are playing at the proper volume. They can follow the timing of the ceremony to ensure they are playing the right thing at the right time. No need to worry that the officiant’s speech about marriage is going a little long. The musician will be ready when he or she finishes. For those quiet moments, where you’re lighting unity candles or passing out roses to your moms, a musician fills in the silence to keep out any awkwardness. Plus, if you’re not feeling “Canon in D,” the musicians likely have some wonderful alternatives that are equally elegant. Or if you have a unique song in mind, many musicians will learn it for your event if they have the name and artist in advance.

WRITTEN BY Kelsey O’Shaughnessy-Podgorski PHOTOGRAPHY BY Alicia’s Photography




they can choose the best songs to start with, ways to get people up and out of their chairs, and the right atmosphere to keep them on their feet all night long. With so many types of musicians and groups, you can select the one that best suits your venue, theme and personal tastes. Consider dueling pianos for a lounge feeling. If you have a very elegant venue, a string orchestra will keep that black-tie vibe. Maybe you and your soon-


to-be spouse love 80s bands. Find a


perfect moment to jazz it up and lift

The cocktail hour is a great time to

the energy to get guests ready for the

add some live music. Mix it up with a

reception. Light, upbeat music in the

larger or smaller version of the musicians


you hired for the ceremony. This is the

atmosphere. And the addition of a few





cocktails will definitely have guests ready to dance. Consider spreading the musicians out based on the available space. If there are multiple rooms, maybe have a cellist on one room and a guitar

that it’s never the same. Even if you hire a band to play your typical tunes straight off of a “Wedding Mix 2017” playlist, every song is going to be unique to your wedding. No one will ever hear the version of “Brown Eyed Girl” that you and your family sang along with on your big day. It’s a level of personalization that you’re not going to get elsewhere. Think of how memorable that will make your first dance.

player in another. Or, perhaps a small

Live musicians know it all. After doing the wedding circuit for a few years, it’s rare to

covering the indoor area. Variety is the

find a popular song that these amazing

spice of life!

performers don’t know. That way, if guests

Nothing says luxury like soft piano music playing in the background during dinner. It sets a formal atmosphere of sophistication that stands out far above music piped in through the venue’s speakers. Hello, elegance. You know the old clinking of the glasses? How do you know if that’s supposed to signify kissyface time or speeches? A live band can indicate that speeches are coming through music and moments of silence. How charming is it to have music act as your master of ceremonies?


And the best thing about live music is

group is playing outside, and a pianist is



group that can cover all your faves. Epic wigs optional. It’s your night – go crazy!

have a fun request, the musicians can react on the fly and add it to the set list pronto. Great musicians will interact not only with the crowd, but with each other. A band with chemistry will charge the atmosphere like a live wire. There’s no way to not feel the electricity between a group playing in perfect harmony.

THE END OF THE NIGHT You could play “Closing Time,” because – let’s be honest – Semisonic knows how to end a party. Or, you could have live performers play an extra-long singalong cut of “Hey Jude,” and let their

After dinner ends, the musicians can

rendition of the Beatles start off your

pick up their pace. Reading the room,

marriage the right way. Your guests will



be chanting, “One more song!” through

sure the band’s area is covered, possibly


two solid encores.

with a tent that includes sides to protect

Pick a Player

THINGS TO CONSIDER It’s important to make sure the logistics of live music are feasible at your event. Remember that bands and orchestras take up space. Speak with your venue

your venue about noise limitations. The performers may need to stop at a certain point in the evening to comply with city

You’ve decided that you want live music at your wedding, but what style of music is right for you? Take a peek at our list below and learn about some of the most

or county rules.

common wedding musicians and groups.

fortably accommodate. And make sure

Ask your musicians if they will be taking

Violins: classic, elegant, and the peak of

to speak to your preferred group to see

any breaks. If so, ask them how they’ll

sophistication, these beautiful instruments

if they will be comfortable with the space

keep the party going. Will they provide a

make for the perfect ceremony music.

allotted. It’s a great idea to do a walk-

phone that connects to their speakers

As long as the room you’re in has great

through of your venue with the musicians,

so guests still have something to groove

acoustics, a solo violinist should do the

just to ensure everything looks good.

to? Or is that something you’ll need to

trick. If you’re really trying to make an

This also enables the musicians to check

about how many performers it can com-


everything. Also, when it comes to outdoor music, make sure to check with

provide? Make sure you know ahead of

impact, consider a trio or quartet. The

out the electricity and logistics of loading

time so you have no surprises on the big

sight and sound of talented violinists is

their equipment in and out.

day. It’s also a great idea to see your

not easily forgotten.

If you are considering having musicians

band live before hiring them. You’ll get a

String Quartet: If you’re hiring mul-

play outside, make sure to come up with

sense of their style, skill, and set time.

tiple musicians, why not mix it up? The

a plan B. Playing through bad weather is

And, in the end, you can select the musi-

majority of string instruments sound

both awkward and probably pretty bad

cians that will really make your wedding

beautiful together, and it’s not difficult

for instruments and equipment. Make

a night to remember.

to find small groups that feature a mix



of violins, cellos, double bass, and harps. This type of music adds a flourish to ceremonies but can also be a hit at cocktail hour. Horn Section: We had to throw this one in there because of Love, Actually. While horns are too loud to be appropriate for anything except your triumphant march back down the aisle as the new Mr. & Mrs. So-and-So, they certainly make a statement. We recommend having them play up on a balcony or at the back of the venue so that your guests don’t get blasted out of their seats. Acoustic Guitar: Gentle and romantic, the only thing that beats an acoustic guitarist is an acoustic guitarist who can also sing. Whether your musician can lend their pipes to the performance or not, this type of music is a guaranteed crowd pleaser that can easily reappear at your cocktail hour without feeling repetitive. A full ensemble: Like the name implies, a full ensemble is the whole works. It includes a mixture of instruments like drums, guitars, horns, and multiple vocalists, and it’s a true showstopper. Full ensembles are understandably pricy, but they create a one-of-a-kind brand of reception entertainment that simply can’t be duplicated. No matter what type of musician you opt to go with, make sure that they’re vetted professionals. Look for reviews on Google, Yelp, and other websites, and ask the musicians to provide you with videos of them performing – not SoundCloud tracks or any other audio files, because those don’t offer proof of who’s playing. It might seem extra, but what could be worse than hiring a tone-deaf flutist duo to play during your ceremony? Unless you’re aiming to be on America’s Funniest Home Videos, do yourself a huge favor and make sure you’re hiring pros. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



Steps to Picking the Perfect Wedding DJ

WRITTEN BY Kelsey O’Shaughnessy-Podgorski | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Native Weddings



up local professionals. Make sure to

to check out any videos or sound bites

take the time to ask for recommendations

they have shared.

you to find a DJ that suits you and your

from friends and family, as well. Whether

soon-to-be spouse. Don’t worry – it’s

they loved or hated their DJ, they’ll be

easier than you think. Just follow our

honest with you. When you find a DJ

seven simple steps to selecting the DJ

you’re interested in, check out their web-

of your dreams.


site and social media pages. Get a taste


for their style through their posts and the

Reviews give lots of insight into style

way they describe their style. Make sure

and how much a DJ likes to be involved


Like every wedding, every DJ is different. To create your perfect event, it’s up to

DJs can provide all kinds of services outside of playing music. While that’s probably your number one need, make sure you think about whether you need a DJ with microphones, or one who will act as the Master of Ceremonies for the day. Do you want someone who talks a lot to hype up the audience, or are you looking for someone who’s just going to let the music speak for itself? Also think about how much time you’ll be expecting from your DJ. Are you looking for someone to play music during your ceremony, dinner, and the reception? Or are you simply looking for someone to get folks on the dance floor after everyone’s done eating? Making these decisions early will help you select a DJ with the right kind of content for your event.

2. DO YOUR RESEARCH Once you have a solid idea of the type of DJ you’d like to have at your event, it’s time to do a little research. Check out the resources at or simply head to Google to start looking

Did You Know? 97 groomsmen helped Alexander Simmons of the UK get hitched, the largest groomsman party in history. We can only imagine what that bachelor party must have been like…




comes to reviews: The people who usually review vendors are the ones who have something to say. That means people will pour their hearts into reviews, but they may only do it because they either loved or hated the vendor. Those who felt “pretty good” don’t usually leave a comment. Remember to take reviews with a grain of salt. But if you see something repeated (like, “lack of com-


munication”), it’s a good thing to keep in mind.

4. SET UP A MEETING After doing your research and checking online reviews, set up a meeting with

a DJ is new or clients didn’t feel they

your top two or three choices. Check on

spoke a lot, was able to get people

wanted to leave a review. Twenty stellar

availability for the date and time of your

dancing, and/or played good tunes.

reviews probably means that they have a

event. When meeting with the DJs, dis-

Reviews are also great for recognizing

lot of great experience and do an awe-

cuss your likes, dislikes, and expectations.

at an event. People will mention if the DJ

the amount of experience an entertainer may have. Two reviews could mean that

some job. There is one thing to remember when it

Want them to keep the timeline of the day moving? Let them know. Prefer that they just roll the tunes? Tell them. Make sure the person you meet with will be the actual person who is playing music at your wedding. It’s important to make sure you jive with that person. Discuss what they will provide and what you or the venue will need to provide. It’s important to discuss the logistics of the event with them before signing a contract. They may even want to walk through your venue with you prior to making a commitment to ensure that their equipment will work.

5. COMPARE NOTES Now it’s time to have a frank discussion with your betrothed to see if you’re on the same page. Of the DJs you’ve interviewed, who are your top choices? If you and your fiancé’s selections don’t match, where is the disconnect? Do you want a regular DJ, while he’s looking for more of an MC? Do you want a fast-paced dance party, while she wants a more traditional playlist? Make sure to come up with compromises now so you’re not giving 396


Beyond that, give your DJ a bit of freedom. Allow them the authority to

your spouse to feel comfortable with the

read the room and play what they think

price point your potential DJs are offering.

will be best based on their experience.





expected to tip the DJ about ten percent.


mixed signals to your DJ during the reception. It’s also important for you and

Then just sit back and get ready to have the time of your life.


To find the perfect entertainment for your big

As you are mulling over your DJ options,

day, visit

start putting together the information that they will need to make your day special. Craft a list of your “Must Play” songs and your “Avoid At All Costs” songs. Determine whether or not you will allow the DJ to take requests from guests on the day of the event. Make sure to have all this information together in writing to give to your DJ after you select one. Next, pick the songs for your first dance, father/daughter, mother/son, and any other special dances you’d like to have. If you are planning to have the DJ play at your ceremony, provide them with a script and music cues, as well as the songs you’d like played. It's important to be as specific as possible when it comes to the ceremony. Make sure to also write down any unusual requests. It’s a great idea to put together a list of songs that might be difficult for a DJ to find. You may even provide them with a link to the video, so they can be sure it’s the right song.

7. PICK YOUR DJ AND GET READY TO PARTY You’ve done all the legwork, now it’s time to sign on the dotted line. Contact your preferred DJ to set up another meeting where you can take care of signing the contract and give a deposit. Give them the lists you’ve developed and go over the content with them. It’s imperative to make sure everyone understands the expectations you have for your big day. Discuss exactly what you do and do not want. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


AMANDA & ZAK WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Justine Bursoni Photography

Amanda’s brother became friends with Zak back when they were in sixth grade, but it wasn’t until a group trip to Austin almost a decade later that romantic sparks started flying between Amanda and her future husband. “I always found Zak super cute and funny,” Amanda admitted. “It was no surprise to me that when he first kissed me, I instantly knew he was the one!” The couple decided to get married at Radisson Blue Aqua Hotel, which allowed them to get ready in private suites as they prepped for a wedding day that was full of personal touches. After taking their portraits outside, the couple said “I do” while surrounded by gorgeous floral arrangements and all their family and friends. “We were so lucky to have a four piece orchestra from H.Y.P.E. Productions, Inc. at our ceremony,” the couple gushed. “They played instrumental versions of our favorite compositions, like Hans Zimmer’s ‘You’re So Cool’.” Immediately following the ceremony, Amanda and Zak snuck away for a little private time. “We made sure to take fifteen minutes to ourselves in a quiet room and just revel in the fact that we were now married and had miraculously pulled off our ceremony just as we’d imagined it,” the couple shared. Amanda and Zak rejoined their guests for a reception that was full of more great music from H.Y.P.E., an entire room full of sweets and desserts, and late night Lou Malnati’s Pizza. The dance floor remained packed well into the evening, and both Amanda and Zak agreed that their entire wedding day was simply perfect. “We’re so thankful to our parents, our family, our guests, and our wedding professionals,” the couple said. “It was the day of our absolute dreams!”

Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY & RECEPTION: Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel | PHOTOGRAPHY: Justine Bursoni Photography | OFFICIANT: Ann Marie Ursini EVENT PLANNER: Marcy Glink at Great Events | VIDEOGRAPHY: Keepsake Family Tree Video | RINGS: Tiffany & Co. BRIDE’S GOWN: Mira Couture | HAIR: Renee Feldman Salon | MAKEUP: Leesi B. Cosmetics | BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Amsale FORMALWEAR: Canali | STATIONERY: For Your Party | FLORAL & DÉCOR: Kehoe Designs CATERING: Radisson Blue Aqua Hotel | CAKE & SWEETS: Alliance Bakery | ENTERTAINMENT: H.Y.P.E. Productions, Inc. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM






It isn’t necessarily something at the top of every engaged couple’s to-do list: organizing your wedding day transportation, that is. It might seem like a small detail now, compared to say, altering your wedding dress or finalizing the reception menu, but when the big day finally arrives, the last thing you’re going to want to be thinking about is how you and your entire wedding party are getting from the ceremony to the reception – and it’s not a detail you’re going to want to leave until the last minute.





“Often at large venues the wedding is spread out and different things happen in different areas. Sometimes it’s too much walking for elderly or handicapped guests, so a golf cart is great to get them from one area to the next or from the parking lot to the site.”

you and your wedding party from the ceremony to the reception might be exactly what you’re looking for. The tinted windows, cool AC, and bubbly beverages will make for a relaxing and refreshing ride – just the kind of break you need between saying “I do” and dancing the night away. Plus, striking a sassy pose from the sun roof of a limousine always makes for a super cool wed-

– Sammie Valadez, Beaver Creek Golf Carts

ding photo.

GO OLD SCHOOL If your wedding has more of a classic, The good news is, wedding day trans-

creates some great photo-ops as well.

vintage feel – or if you’ve just always

portation doesn’t have to be all about

Consider this:

wanted to ride in a 1936 Rolls Royce –

the logistics of getting from point A to


then you might want to consider arranging

most important part.) With a little thought


and advanced planning, you can sched-

If you’re planning a wedding that is sleek

sic cars make for some one-of-a-kind

ule wedding day transportation that is

and sophisticated, arranging a fleet of

wedding snapshots and a once-in-a-life-

not only functional, but also fun – and

luxury cars or a stretch limo to transport

time experience. Plus, lots of classic car

point B (although, that really is the


the service of an antique automobile company. For the car-loving couple, clas-

of space to start the party a little early –

real life. Just keep in mind this may not

hand (think red carpets, roses, parasols)

so be sure you have a couple bottles

be a realistic option for your entire

for couples who want their wedding day

of champagne and your dancing shoes

wedding party – especially if you’re tak-

transportation to double as a creative

on hand.

ing that pony ride though the city – so

photo prop.


rental companies will have props on

consider additional, more conventional,



Wedding trolleys are super fun, and if

The horse and carriage is a classic for a

you’re trying to transport a lot of your

reason. If you have always dreamed of

guests at once (or if you just have a lot

being whisked away, Cinderella-style,

of folks in the wedding party) a trolley

your wedding day is the perfect opportu-


might be the way to go. There’s plenty

nity to create that fairy tale moment in

Do you and your fiancé love riding

transportation for everyone else. And remember: the muddier the wedding dress, the more memorable the wedding!




ing a stretch limo or two, but those photographs of the two of you dog sledding down the Lake Shore Drive bike path, or riding the L in your wedding dress, will last a lifetime.

…AND DEFINITELY DON’T FORGET THESE ADDITIONAL TIPS It’s important to nail down your head


count as early as possible. One of the

motorcycles together on the weekends?

you while riding the Red Line? Consider

Was your first date a totally awkward –

incorporating something totally unique –

and adorable – tandem bike ride? Do

and totally representative of the two

you go dog sledding in Alaska every

of you – into your wedding day trans-

winter around the holidays? Did the two

portation. Sure, it might take a little

of you meet when he spilled coffee on

more creative planning than just reserv-

first things a couple should do when planning their wedding day transportation is determine the number of people who will want or need transportation. Are you planning on getting everyone from the ceremony to the reception, or just arranging a ride for you and your wedding party, while your guests take their own cars? Or, do you want to arrange for a series of large vehicles – like several trolleys – to transport large groups of your guests in shifts? Whatever you decide, be sure to include all the details in the wedding program, so your guests know exactly what to do. Check out your ride before booking it. Just like you wouldn’t book a wedding venue without first having visited it, or buy a wedding dress without first trying it on, don’t book wedding day transportation without taking it for a test drive – or at least a test-look. You want to make sure what you’re getting is exactly what you’re imagining.

Did You Know? The highest altitude wedding occurred onboard a Fiji Airways flight. Five couples said “I do” while soaring 41,000 feet in the air.



is falling the next. Remember your vendors

tunes, and anything else that will make

cannot predict this anymore than you can,

your journey from ceremony to reception

wedding day transportation a key element

and (while it might sound obvious now,

a blast. If your wedding photographer

of the pics you’ll want from your amazing

the stress of a heavy rain on an open car-

isn’t with you for the ride, consider

day, don’t forget to actually include time

riage might make you forget, just for a

including a few disposable cameras (so

for snapping photos in the timeline you

moment) that your vendors can’t control

old school, I know – but more festive

give your photographer. This way, she’ll

the weather either. Plan for your dream

than that cell phone!) so you and your

be prepared to take in every moment

wedding, but be open to adjusting those

wedding party can take plenty of pics

you worked so hard to arrange.

plans if the weather requires.

you’ll be able to crack up over later.

Consider the weather – and have a plan

Make it fun! If your vendors allow, be

B in case you need it. We all know the

sure to bring plenty of champagne, a

To find the perfect transportation for your big

Midwest: it’s sunny one minute and snow

Spotify playlist for blasting your favorite

day, visit


Be sure your photographer is in the loop. If you’re planning on making your

Our fleet is one of the largest in the area and we feature all of the latest model luxury vehicles.

773.777.0300 • Guest Transportation • Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties • Airport Shuttle

The Lincoln MKT-Stretch the newest addition to our fleet!







No two couples are exactly the same, which means there’s no

explain. Many of today’s couples are going the traditional route

right way to honeymoon. For some newlyweds, jetting off to

and jetting off on their honeymoon immediately after the

Switzerland to spend a week or two snuggled up in a mountain

wedding, but a considerable percentage of newlyweds are

chalet is the perfect way to celebrate their marriage. For

waiting weeks, if not months, to escape on their vacation.

others, nothing says “romantic” quite like jumping out of

When weighing your options and deciding what timing is right

airplanes in Central America or backpacking around Southeast

for you, there are a few factors that you should take into con-

Asia. Whether your ideal honeymoon involves cozy alone time,

sideration. Weddings are draining both financially and physically,

breathtaking adventure, or a mixture of both, the most impor-

and you want to be in a position where you can truly enjoy your

tant part of planning the perfect newlywed trip is staying

honeymoon. If you’re going to be stressing about your budget

true to yourselves. Once you’ve picked your dream destina-

or yawning through your entire trip, is it really a good idea to

tion, keep this handbook in your back pocket while you plan

leave right after the wedding? If budgeting isn’t a concern and

your trip and we promise you’ll be well on your way to acing

you’re sure you can rally, go for it. If you’re a little hesitant, con-

your honeymoon.

sider delaying your honeymoon a bit so that you can enjoy it to


the fullest. Pro tip: If you’re worried that holding off on your honeymoon

Before you roll your eyes and skip to the next step, let us

will zap the trip of its romance, fear not. While you’re waiting for

WRITTEN BY Christina Oddo | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Ocken Photography




those vacation days to arrive, whisk your


new spouse off on a mini-moon. Spend

If the turnaround time between your

a long weekend in a swanky downtown

wedding and honeymoon is only a few

hotel or run off to one of the hundreds of

days, pack for your trip before you tie

charming B&Bs that the Midwest is

the knot. You’ll be crazy busy with wed-

famous for. Just like having a tiny snack

ding prep and it might be hard to find

before you go out to dinner, mini-moons

the time, but we promise that filling your

make the wait for your honeymoon much

suitcase and being able to check that off

more bearable.

your to-do list will take a huge weight off


type who gets forgetful when you’re

of your shoulders. If you know you’re the stressed, make a list of everything you

Whether you’re embarking on your hon-

need a few weeks before the time to get

eymoon the morning after your wedding

packing arrives. Many brides find that

or the month after, it’s important to get

being able to reference a checklist as NATIVE WEDDINGS

your lodging squared away well before you say “I do”. With all the planning and prep that go into a wedding, the last thing you need is the additional stress of wondering whether or not some other couple has snagged the luxury suite of that five-star hotel in Paris you’ve had your eye on. One of the first steps in the wedding planning process is choosing a venue, and if you’re on the classic yearlong engagement path, we recommend finding and booking your honeymoon accommodations around the same time – about eight months to a year in advance. If your engagement is shorter than a year, look into lodging immediately so that your dream spot doesn’t fill up and leave you settling for something less than perfect.

helpful, and if you aren’t in the mood to make your own, Pinterest has some amazing ones.

cheaper to snag them two weeks before you go, but the most anticipated vacation of your life isn’t the time to be gambling with airlines. Instead, book your flights six to eight months in advance and rest easy. If you’re determined to honeymoon immediately after your wedding, we recommend giving yourself at

Pro tip: Still confused about what to pack? Check out your destination’s website and find their concierge page. Many resorts and hotels have lists of activities that will give you a better idea of what to pack, and their reps are usually more than happy to answer your questions if their website info isn’t doing the trick.

least one to two days to recover before realize how exhausting weddings are


until the morning after your own, and

Planning a normal vacation can be stress-

you go jetting off on your trip. You won’t

that extra twenty-four hours of down

ful, but honeymoon planning comes with

time can make a huge difference in how

an additional dose of pressure. If you’re

much you’re able to enjoy your honey-

feeling totally overwhelmed, finding a

Pro tip: Be wary of scams, but don’t let

moon. If you’re dead set on leaving the

reputable travel agent can be a lifesaver.

reviews and ratings drive you nuts when

very next day, do yourself a favor and

Find an agent that a friend or family

hunting for the perfect honeymoon hotel,

avoid those crack of dawn flights. They

member has used in the past and then

cabin, or resort. It’s easy to fall down the

might be cheaper, but the odds of a

put the trip in their capable hands. It’s

TripAdvisor rabbit hole, so resist the

hangover or exhaustion making you miss

their job to book perfect vacations, so

urge. As long as the lodging has generally

that 6AM flight are high.

as long as you’re fully communicative

positive reviews and you’ve done your research, trust your gut and make your booking!

Pro tip: Don’t get overly excited and book your flights under your new married name. You’ll still be traveling with your


they pack for their honeymoon is super

and tell the agent exactly what you want, we’re confident that they’ll get you well on your way to honeymoon bliss.


old identification, and the TSA won’t let

Pro tip: Want more inspiration? Follow

Just like your lodging, it’s important to

you on your flight if the name on your

ChicagoStyle Weddings on Pinterest

book your honeymoon flights well before

ticket and the name on your ID don’t

and get your daily dose of honeymoon

your Big Day arrives. It might be a little

match up.



Why Take a Mini-Moon? 5 R E A S O N S T O G I F T Y O U R S E L F A M I N I VA C AT I O N BEFORE YOUR HONEYMOON. I’ll set the scene for you: you and your soon-to-be-wedded

After all the work that went into making your wedding day an

have just spent weeks, or months, (or more!) planning the

unforgettable event, if the absolute last thing you want to do is

wedding day of your dreams. You’ve done everything from

start planning an even more unforgettable honeymoon, don’t

booking venues and selecting flowers to tasting cakes

worry: you are definitely not alone. Tons of newly-wedded

and attending that very last dress fitting. No detail from

couples are forgoing big, extensive honeymoons for a more

your wedding programs, to your seating arrangements, to

local, laid-back mini-moon – at least right away. (Honestly, do

those ballet flats you’re totally going to change into at the

you really need me to tell you that nothing extinguishes a post-

reception, has been overlooked. Now, all the two of you want

nuptial glow like long lines, airport security, and cramped

to do – after enjoying the heck out of your big day, that is –

seats? Probably not.) Making the decision to follow your

is kick back, relax, and catch up on some well-deserved

wedding day with a mini-moon and saving that honeymoon for

sleeping in. Oh, except for one tiny detail: you still have an

later might be exactly what you and your brand-new spouse

entire honeymoon to plan.

need after saying “I do”. Here’s why:


WRITTEN BY E. Ce. Miller | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Native Weddings 410




3. TIMING IS EVERYTHING It’s no fun to think about your job or

mean it’s true (well, not entirely, anyway.)

We all know that weddings are beautiful.

other commitments when it comes to

There are some seriously gorgeous

An entire day filled with family and friends,

planning a honeymoon, but in your fast-

national parks and hiking spots just a

paced and jam-packed life, it’s just some-

few hours away.

great food, and dancing, and a whole lot of love – there are tons of reasons why

thing you have to do. If you’ve already

Lastly, if you want to make your mini-

you expect your wedding to be one of

had to account for pre– and post-wedding

moon super mini, consider my personal

the most special days of your life. But

festivities, (and of course, the big day

mini-moon fave: the staycation. That’s

what you might not be expecting is that

itself) your honeymoon might start to feel

right – don’t go anywhere. Just remem-

weddings are also exhausting! From all

a tad… rushed. Definitely not the vibe

ber to turn off your cell phone, stay far

the planning to the partying that follows,

you’re going for, right?

away from those work e-mails, and

prepare to be totally tuckered out by the time that last champagne cork is popped.

But postponing your honeymoon and swapping in a mini-moon gives you the

By planning a super simple mini-moon

best of both worlds: time to relax and

immediately following your wedding (and

reconnect with your spouse before head-

saving that real-deal honeymoon for a

ing back to daily life, and the opportunity

later date) you’re giving yourself and

to take your time planning that extended

your spouse the post-nuptial R&R you

honeymoon later.

both deserve. Maybe you’ll decide to

order as much of your favorite take out as your refrigerator can handle. You can sleep in, take bubble baths, watch all your favorite movies, and simply enjoy being together – just the uninterrupted two of you.


the honeymoon suite of a local hotel, or


plan a camping trip to that gorgeous

As a Chicagoan, you already know your

hiking spot just a short drive away. What-

city has tons of amazing experiences to

ever you decide to do, a mini-moon will

offer travelers but just because you live

give you the time and space to focus on

there doesn’t mean you should miss out

your honeymoon after the wedding –

what your wedding day was really all

on the fun of taking in your city like a

instead of jumping on a plane the minute

check into a nearby spa, treat yourself to a few nights (and some room service!) in

Do you know one of the best ways to celebrate your first wedding anniversary? By finally taking that honeymoon you’ve spent all year planning. Starting to plan

about: the two of you as a couple – and

tourist would. Consider a mini-moon that

the last slice of wedding cake has been

not, say, where on earth your gate-

starts the moment you step outside your

served – will not only give you two some

checked luggage ended up.

own front door: make reservations at

amazing anniversary plans to look forward

that exclusive restaurant you’ve been


to, but you’ll also be able to use that

wanting to try, check out the latest

delayed honeymoon to celebrate being

exhibits at the Art Institute, splurge a

newlyweds all over again, from the minute

little on Michigan Avenue, and stay in a

that seatbelt sign is turned off. Pro tip:

Um, hello. You just paid for an entire

local luxury hotel.

don’t forget to tell everyone you’re on

wedding. And I hate to break it to you, but honeymoons are usually anything but cheap. Taking a local, low-budget mini-moon will give your bank accounts some time to recover before funding your next big adventure. Because believe me – the last thing you want to do


table. Just because Illinois has a reputation for being flat and full of corn doesn’t

Or, if a slower pace is more your style, consider booking a few days at your favorite spa and schedule every single

love to give newlyweds free stuff.

one of those pricy treatments you normally

And hey: now that you and your partner

lust after, but have never bothered to

have perfected the mini-moon, you can

treat yourself to before.

when you finally land in Paris, or Tahiti,

There are also tons of places within

or Melbourne, is spend your entire

driving distance of the city, for couples

honeymoon stressing over how much

who love kicking back in the great

everything costs.

outdoors instead of on the massage


your honeymoon! From hotel room upgrades to complimentary dessert, folks

take one anytime! Keep basking in your newlywedded-ness for as long as you both shall live. To find the perfect travel planning info, visit

Advertisers Index Bridal Fashions Aisle Chic...................................................... 261

Arrowhead Golf Club....................................... 132

Bella Bianca Bridal Couture.............................. 239

Ashton Place..................................................149

Crystal Bride, The............................................237

Barn at Allen Acres, The................................... 192

Dame Couture................................................ 238

Bartlett Hills Golf Club........................................88

Diana’s Bridal Boutique.................................... 247

Bolingbrook Golf Club......................................105

Doris Bridal....................................................265

Bon Appétit at the Art Institute Of Chicago.............39

Eva’s Bridals International................................. 263

Bottom Lounge.............................................. 170

Eva’s Bridal of Orland Park............................... 248

Brookfield Zoo............................................... 156

Eva’s Bridals of Chicago...................................267

Burr Ridge Hotels........................................... 129

Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio............................ 244

Café la Cave.................................................. 157

Jenny Yoo Collection....................................... 245

Cantigny Park.................................................111

Kathryn’s Bridal.............................................. 243

Carleton of Oak Park, The................................ 171

Laurel Bridal.................................................. 246

Chandler’s Weddings & Special Events............... 134

Moi Soli Galore...............................................266

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel....................... 33

Tickled Pink Bridal Boutique............................. 189

Chicago History Museum..................................164

Veiled by Cha Cha.......................................... 262 Wedding Dresser, The......................................236

Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort.................. 145 Chicago Marriott Naperville............................... 185


Chicago Marriott Southwest at Burr Ridge........... 129

Formally Modern Tuxedo.................................. 249

Chicago Park District....................................... 191

Jojayden Custom Clothier.................................248

Chicago Public Library -

Drury Lane.................................................... 130 DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau.................153 Eaglewood Resort & Spa................................... 63 Elite Private Yachts............................................ 74 Elmcrest Banquets by Biancalana, The................110 Emporium at Abbey Farms, The......................... 118 Empress Banquets, The....................................109 First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple, The.................................. 178 Genesee Theatre.............................................. 90 Geneva National Resort....................................167 Georgios Banquets & Hotel.............................. 179 Germania Place................................................ 73 Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse................................6-7 Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse Oak Brook................ 6-7 Grand Geneva Resort & Spa............................. 135 Grand Traverse Resort & Spa............................ 121 Hawk’s View Golf Club..................................... 154 Heritage Ballroom at The Centre of Elgin.............154 Highland Park Country Club.............................. 150 Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort................ 106 Hilton Chicago/Oak Lawn................................. 131

Harold Washington Library Center................ 176

Hilton Orrington/Evanston................................. 101

Austin Preservation..........................................350

Club Lucky...................................................... 84

Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza River North........... 91


Coco Pazzo..................................................... 84

Holiday Inn Countryside & William Tell Banquets... 169

Benchmark.......................................... Back Cover

Coco Pazzo Café.............................................. 84

Hotel Allegro.................................................... 75

Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio............................ 244

Concorde Banquets.........................................107

Hyatt Regency Chicago......................................61

James & Sons Fine Jewelers..... Inside Front Cover, 2

Congress Plaza Hotel, The..................................93

Hyatt Regency McCormick Place......................... 76

Razny Jewelers................................................ 29

Cotillion Banquets, The.....................................117

InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile............. 19

Crowne Plaza Chicago Southwest at Burr Ridge... 129

Jacob Henry Mansion Estate, The...................... 177

Crystal Ballroom & Lounge, The........................ 103

Kendall College.............................................. 136



Armour House Mansion & Gardens.................... 138

Ceremony & Reception Location

D’Andrea Banquets......................................... 168

Kimpton Gray Hotel + Boleo...............................53

Abbington Distinctive Banquets..........................146

Donald E. Stephens Ballroom............................137

Kimpton Hotel Palomar Chicago.......................... 57

Acquaviva Winery............................................163

DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago Alsip.................... 122

Ki’s Gardens Outdoor Weddings & Events........... 165

Allegra Banquets.............................................. 69

DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago North Shore.......... 102

La Pergola at Galleria Marchetti........................... 11

Alta Villa Banquets.......................................... 139

Drake Oak Brook, The..................................... 155

La Villa Banquets............................................ 150


Swissôtel Chicago............................................. 89

Divine Designs & Events.................................. 347

theWit Hotel.....................................................23

Festive Frog, The............................................ 350

LaSalle Street Church...................................... 211

Thompson Chicago...................................... 12-13

Kensington Florals & Events..............................346

Lehmann Mansion...........................................152

Trump International Hotel & Tower ..................... 2-3

Mayfield Flowers............................................. 346

Loews Chicago Hotel.........................................45

Venuti’s Banquets & Ristorante.......................... 4-5


Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel............................ 123

Volo Restaurant Wine Bar...................................92

Northern Décor Event Design..................... 332-333

Logan Square Auditorium................................... 85

Wandering Tree Estate....................................... 77

Northern Greenhouses Floral & Event Design....... 349

LondonHouse Chicago.......................................27

Warehouse 109............................................. 178

Paris312....................................................... 345

Manzo’s Banquets...........................................104

Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago........................... 25

Stems, Inc..................................................... 342

Mayne Stage..................................................188

Westin Chicago Northwest, The......................... 147

Yanni Design Studio........................................ 339

McHenry Country Club.....................................168

Winnetka Community House............................. 133

Metropolis Ballroom........................................ 151

Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront..................... 67

Metropolitan Club, The....................................... 41

Culinary Services

Mid-America Club, The...................................... 37 Midway Village Museum................................... 148 Midwest Conference Center.............................. 176 Millennium Knickerbocker Chicago.......................17 Mirage Four Points Sheraton............................. 175 Montgomery Club, The..................................... 6-7 Murphy Chicago, The....................................... 8-9 Mystic Blue......................................................74


Odyssey Cruises............................................... 74 Odyssey, The..................................................119 Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel, The........................35 Pavilion at Galleria Marchetti, The........................ 10 Pazzo’s at 311................................................. 65 Pinstripes........................................................ 83

FLORAL PRESERVATION Austin Preservations........................................ 350

Gift Registry Bloomingdale’s, The Registry..........Inside Back Cover

Bittersweet.....................................................323 Bombon Cake Gallery...................................... 329

Guest Accommodations

Delish Cakes.................................................. 326

DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau.................153

Oak Mill Bakery.............................................. 327

Guesthouse Hotel, The.....................................211

SweetPea Cakes.............................................326

Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza River North........... 91

Urban Icing.................................................... 328

Trump International Hotel & Tower...................... 2-3

Vanille Patisserie...................................... 324-325

Naper Settlement............................................ 138 Naperville Park District..................................... 146

CATERING Bauer’s Catering............................................. 152

Health, Beauty & Fitness Appease, Inc.................................................. 361

Caterist, The ................................................. 320

Bridal Brigade................................................ 363

Chic Chef Catering.......................................... 321

Kate Johnson Artistry.......................................360

Jewell Events Catering..................................... 319

Make Up First................................................ 358

Kenmare Catering............................................. 73

Rare Bird Beauties.......................................... 364

Weber Grill Catering........................................ 318

wendycityfaces............................................... 365 Zazú Salon.................................................... 359

Prairie Bluff Golf Club...................................... 193


Prairie Landing Golf Club..................................166


Honeymoon & Travel

BeatMix Music................................................391

Apple Vacations...........................................96-97

H.Y.P.E. Productions, Inc...................................393

Half Moon Jamaica......................................... 411

Ravenswood Event Center................................ 187 Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel............. 108 Ridge Hotel, The.............................................167 Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, The.................................. 21 River Roast...................................................... 49 Salvatore’s Ristorante........................................ 31 Seville, The................................................. 14-15


Lake Lawn Resort........................................... 186 Landing 1841, The......................................... 188

DJs Chicago Wedding DJs..................................... 390 Conquest Entertainment................................... 396 H.Y.P.E. Productions, Inc...................................397 Midwest Event Solutions...................................395

Signature Room at the 95th, The........................ 43 Silver Lake Country Club....................................86

Floral & Décor

Skydeck Chicago.............................................. 87

Ashland Addison Florist Company...................... 340

Pompano Beach Club...................................... 409

Invitations & Stationery DBY invitations............................................... 305 Invitations by Design........................................300 Just Invite Me................................................ 301 Maxe Designs................................................ 300 Paris312....................................................... 345

Spiaggia Private Events......................................59

Avant Gardenia............................................... 338

Pulp & Ink..................................................... 307

Spirit of Chicago...............................................74

Bonnie Flower Shop........................................ 335


Stan Mansion................................................... 47

DBG Events & Florals...................................... 348

Paris312....................................................... 345

Stonegate Conference & Banquet Centre, The..... 120

Dilly Lily........................................................ 343

Pulp & Ink..................................................... 307 CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM




Hofbrauhaus Chicago...................................... 221


AirBooth Social...............................................381

Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza River North......... 213

Windsor, The.................................................. 219

Alicia’s Photography........................................ 377

Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House.......................... 214

Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront................... 220

Dennis Lee Photography.................................. 374

Hyatt Regency Chicago....................................214

ZED451........................................................ 220

Duron Studio..................................................375

Kendall College.............................................. 214

Erin Hoyt Photography..................................... 380

Kimpton Gray Hotel + Boleo.............................214

Furla Studio................................................... 373

Kimpton Hotel Palomar Chicago........................ 214

Gold Grid Studios............................................372

La Pergola at Galleria Marchetti......................... 214

Jennography.................................................. 378

La Tasca Tapas............................................... 221

Native Weddings............................................. 371

Lockwood Restaurant & Bar............................. 215

Ocken Photography.........................................372



Rick Aguilar Studios........................................ 378

Metropolitan Club, The..................................... 215

Beaver Creek Golf Carts...................................404


Michael Jordan’s Steak House.......................... 215

Classic Wedding Car........................................402

Timothy Whaley Photographic Artists.................. 370

Mid-America Club, The.................................... 215

Empire Limousine........................................... 405

Montgomery Club, The.....................................215

Pontarelli....................................................... 403

BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHY Flirty Martini Boudoir Photography......................381

Murphy Chicago, The.......................................216 Naper Settlement............................................ 223

PHOTO BOOTHS AirBooth Social...............................................381

Rehearsal Dinner & Pre-Wedding Celebrations


Original Gino’s East - Chicago, The ................... 216 Original Gino’s East - South Barrington, The ....... 221 Original Gino’s East - Wheaton, The .................. 223 Pazzo’s at 311............................................... 216

Rentals Blue Peak Tents..............................................351 Festive Frog, The............................................ 350 Meetinghouse.................................................341 Northern Décor Event Designs................... 332-333

Videography Furla Vision Films............................................ 384 Highway 61 Films........................................... 383

Wedding Services CLERGY

312 Chicago..................................................212

Petterino’s Restaurant...................................... 216

Ampersand Wine Bar.......................................212

Pinstripes - Chicago........................................ 216

Arrowhead Golf Club....................................... 222

Pinstripes - Northbrook.................................... 221

Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano - Algonquin............... 220

Pinstripes - Oak Brook.....................................223

Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano - Deer Park............... 220

Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar......................... 216


Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano - Naperville............... 222

Ranalli’s........................................................ 217

Wedding Dresser, The......................................236

Bon Appétit at the Art Institute Of Chicago...........212



Chicago Athletic Association Hotel......................212

Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, The................................ 217

Complete Wedding Expo, The............................189

Chicago’s First Lady Cruises............................. 212

Riva Crab House on Navy Pier.......................... 217

Illinois Bridal & Wedding Expo........................... 225

Club Lucky.................................................... 212

River Roast.................................................... 217


Coco Pazzo .................................................. 213

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery................... 217

Allen/Williams Events....................................... 290

Coco Pazzo Café............................................ 213

Salvatore’s Ristorante...................................... 218

Bethany Moore Events..................................... 288

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant.................. 220

Shula’s Stek House......................................... 218

Big City Bride................................................. 283

D.O.C. Wine Bar Chicago..................................213


Bliss by Sam..................................................295

D.O.C. Wine Bar Lombard.................................222

Spiaggia Private Events.................................... 218

Citygirl Events.................................................290

Drake Oak Brook, The..................................... 222

SteakBar....................................................... 218

Effortless Events............................................. 287

DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau.................153

theWit Hotel................................................... 218

Frank Event Design......................................... 291

Eaglewood Resort & Spa................................. 220

Thompson Chicago......................................... 219

Gilded Aisle, The............................................. 293

Elawa Farm....................................................221

Tuco & Blondie...............................................219

LOLA Event Productions...................................284

Erie Café....................................................... 213

Tuscany Wheeling........................................... 222

Régine Danielle Events.....................................291

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse............................... 213

Venuti’s Banquets & Ristorante..........................223

Soirée Weddings & Events................................285

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse Oak Brook............... 222

Volo Restaurant Wine Bar................................. 219

Urban Allure................................................... 293

First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple, The.................................. 178 LaSalle Street Church...................................... 211

Guesthouse Hotel, The............................. 211, 213

Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago......................... 219

Windermere Elegant Weddings.......................... 284

Highland Park Country Club.............................. 221

Weber Grill Restaurant..................................... 219

You Name It Events......................................... 289


Profile for ChicagoStyle Weddings

ChicagoStyle Weddings 2017-2018  

For over 30 years, ChicagoStyle Weddings Magazine & Website has provided couples with comprehensive wedding planning information and interac...

ChicagoStyle Weddings 2017-2018  

For over 30 years, ChicagoStyle Weddings Magazine & Website has provided couples with comprehensive wedding planning information and interac...