ChicagoStyle Weddings 2019-2020

Page 1



planning perfection Chic &


Congratulations on Your Engagement!


2019 | 2020 EDITION CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Joseph H. Chambers

am truly honored and thrilled to say the journey you are about to embark upon is one of the most memorable times in your life. Enjoy it!

The planning process will be filled with excitement and important decisions. Although planning a wedding may be viewed as a long and challenging process, our team wants to make it fun and easy for you!




We have carefully curated every page of the magazine to help you


along the way. From planning tips and tools to timelines and

Kelly Broz | Denise Bruscher | Judy Touhy

check lists – your essential planning resource will help you find everything you need to plan the perfect celebration.


First, you need to assemble your team. The people you can trust with your unique vision for your Big Day.


When do you envision yourself walking down the aisle? How many guests do you intend to invite? Those answers will really get the ball rolling for you. Select your venue and now you’re off!

WEB DEVELOPMENT American Eagle | Web Infotech, LLC

Choosing your dress is one of the most personal elements of all.


Find your unique style within the pages of our fabulous fashion

Roger Rusk

shoot and Gown Glamour. These gowns are wow-worthy and let


you express yourself in a highly stylized way. If festive décor is more your fancy, you will love our Designers’ Challenge photo shoot! Maybe it’s culinary creations - let Chicago’s

JK Associates


top chefs create a wedding meal that’s sure to evoke “Compliments to the Chef!” Our pages are packed full of endless ideas, dazzling designs and gorgeous gowns so you can customize your day to personalized perfection. Take these ideas and make them your own!

Studio Graphics

ADVERTISING DESIGN Abneyville | Claire Tomm | Studio Graphics

Whatever you decide, you can’t go wrong because within these


pages you will find the most talented, inspirational, and savvy

Angela Ash | Bridget Clemens | Emily Conley | Micaela Fischer Kellee Grucci | Bailey Heldmar | Stephanie Jewell Nesa Mangal | E. Ce Miller | Mia Riddell | Amanda Shepard Nicole Swanberg | Aleesha Thomas

vendors in the business. These experts will take you from engagement ring to wedding band without a hitch. Still need more ideas and inspiration? No problem! Check us out online at, follow us on Instagram and


like our Facebook page. Planning a fabulous fete has never been

847.584.2626 |

so easy! Best Wishes,

Kelly Broz Kelly Broz Publisher




FOR THE WEDDING PROFESSIONAL ChicagoStyle Weddings® is published annually by Chambers Marketing Options, Copyright 2019. 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.



2019-20 Edition




GOWN Belle Custom Atelier, Sophie et Voilà HEADPIECE Eugenia Kim JEWELRY State Street Jewelers HAIR Zazú Salon MAKEUP Bridal Brigade STYLING The Wedding Dresser LOCATION Loews Chicago Hotel PHOTOGRAPHY Rick Aguilar Studios

GOWN Jenny by Jenny Yoo PHOTOGRAPHY This Modern Romance HAIR & MAKEUP KC Witkamp

GOWN Netta BenShabu PHOTOGRAPHY Dvir Kahlon HAIR Ran Karisi MAKEUP Naor Appel




GOWN Luxe Bridal Rack, LiRi Bridal EARRINGS, NECKLACE, RING Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio BRACELET State Street Jewelers SUIT Formally Modern Tuxedo EARRINGS, RIGHT HAND RING, SHIRT STUDS Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio HAIR Zazú Salon | MAKEUP Bridal Brigade STYLING The Wedding Dresser LOCATION Loews Chicago Hotel PHOTOGRAPHY Rick Aguilar Studios

GOWN Netta BenShabu PHOTOGRAPHY Dvir Kahlon HAIR Ran Karisi MAKEUP Naor Appeli


ChicagoStyle Weddings

IN THIS ISSUE 2019-20 Edition

Fashion 30 Wedding Essentials 38 A Few of Our Favorite Things 48 Bridal Beauty for All 56 Gown Glamour 58 With This Ring 60 Banded Together 68 Haute In The City

Beauty & Fitness 78 Beauty or Bust 82 A Solid Foundation 86 Hello, Gorgeous! 88 Wedded Wellness RICK AGUILAR STUDIOS


2019-20 Edition

Culinary Services 290

Food Truck Frenzy


Give My Compliments to the Chef


Sweet Slices


Delicious Decisions


ChicagoStyle Weddings

Entertainment 324

The Most Important Playlist of Your Life

Floral & Décor 276

Bouquet Basics


Seasonal Blooms


Wedding Themes

Honeymoon & Travel 332


Types of Honeymoons

Invitations & Stationery 320

How Can I Ever Thank You!

Photography 306

Million Dollar Moments


Practice Posing


Chicago’s Newest Newlyweds


Designers’ Challenge


Benefits of Hiring a Wedding Planner


What to Do After the Wedding

Planning Notes 26

12-Month Planning Checklist


Obtaining a Marriage License


Budget Breakdown & Tipping Guide

Transportation 330



Planning & Preparation

Arrive In Style



ChicagoStyle Weddings


2019-20 Edition

Celebration Locations City Scene


Location, Location, Location


From the Chic to the Unique


One-of-a-Kind Wedding Options


How to Book a Wedding Venue


Something Blue


A Hint of Blue


Your Wedding Party


Is This Seat Taken?


Choose Your Words Wisely


Every Wedding Event Explained


Your Unique Ceremony


8 Important Tips



Spotlight on Style 46

LOLA Event Productions


Big City Bride


Bethany Moore Events


Avant Gardenia


Sarah Kathleen Events


Northern Greenhouses


You Name It Events


The Gilded Aisle

Resources 18 216 228 334


About the Covers

180 Real ChicagoStyle Weddings 44

Laura & Mike


Stephanie & Dane


Teri & Mike


Victoria & Frank


Jaime & Will

Prelude to the Party Rehearsals, Brunches, and Events


Patricia & Gerasimos


Taylor & Ronnie

Advertisers’ Index


Nicole & Nicole


Diana & Francisco


Sylvia & Bill


Dustin & Alex


Lexie & Tyler

Ceremony Locations Ceremonies & Receptions


ONE YEAR ___ Create your budget. ___ Begin researching wedding vendors (go to to get started). ___ Choose a date and time for your ceremony and reception. ___ Select and book your ceremony location and reception venue. ___ Choose your attendants. ___ Begin wedding dress shopping. ___ Decide on an officiant and meet with him or her to learn about any premarital requirements. ___ Begin planning the guest list to get a rough idea of head count. ___ Determine your wedding theme, colors and décor.

TEN-TWELVE MONTHS ___ Finalize your guest list. ___ If you are having a destination wedding, mail save-the-dates. ___ Choose your dress and accessories and schedule delivery date and fitting(s). ___ Select dresses for bridal attendants. ___ Meet with and make final decisions on your team of vendors: wedding planner, stationer, floral and décor, caterer, musicians, photographer, videographer, transportation. ___ Get a facial and start your pre-wedding skincare routine.


___ Have engagement photos taken.

Planning Checklist


ou have said “YES!” but now what? With plenty to do before walking down the aisle, our twelve-month planning checklist will help you stay organized without experiencing the occasional mini-breakdown.

By using our easy-to-navigate guide, you will be able to plan your Big Day while also enjoying every moment of your exciting new chapter.

GOWN Enzoani via White Dress Bridal Boutique AJ ABELMAN PHOTOGRAPHY



SHINE ON Be sure to sparkle on your Big Day. Get your rings polished a few days ahead of your wedding. EVE J. ALFILLÉ GALLERY & STUDIO

SENT WITH LOVE Select stationery that tells your unique love story. Mail your invitations two months before the wedding to ensure arrival and enough time for your guests to RSVP. INVITATIONS BY DESIGN

NINE MONTHS ___ Begin to plan groom’s and groomsmen’s attire.

TWO MONTHS ___ Mail your invitations.

___ Register for gifts.

___ Develop a system for organizing

___ Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests.

RSVPs. ___ Begin to write wedding vows.

___ Reserve any rental equipment such as tables, chairs and tent (if necessary). ___ Choose a cake designer for your wedding cake and groom’s cake.

___ Prep for bachelor and bachelorette parties. ___ Confirm details for rehearsal dinner, ceremony and reception.


___ Select hair and makeup vendors.

___ Give assignments to wedding party


members and remind them of rehearsal


___ Pick up rings and check engraving.


___ Mail your save-the-dates.

___ Research local marriage license and

___ Start planning your rehearsal dinner. ___ Choose wedding favors for your guests.

name change requirements. ___ Have your final dress fitting. ___ Confirm details with the florist, caterer,

___ Meet with your officiant to plan ceremony details.

entertainers and officiant. ___ Have a trial run for full hair and

___ Start planning your honeymoon (check passports/visas if necessary). ___ Secure transportation to and from the ceremony and reception. ___ Purchase wedding bands and arrange

makeup. ___ Purchase gifts for attendants, flower girl, ring bearer, fiancé, parents and

___ Reserve groom’s and groomsmen’s ___ Schedule hair and makeup trials.


___ Decide who will do readings and toasts. ___ Finalize wedding vows.



cards. ___ Prepare tip envelopes for vendors and arrange for someone to distribute them the day of the wedding. ___ Perfect your wedding vows.

ONE DAY ___ Get a manicure and pedicure. ___ Arrange to have welcome bags delivered to hotel rooms. ___ Host rehearsal dinner and hand out special gifts to the wedding party. accessories are all ready to go.

___ Meet with caterer to discuss menu ___ Plan welcome bags for out-of-town

___ Assign attendant to collect gifts and

___ Ensure dress, shoes, jewelry and



wedding extra special.

___ Plan for floral and dress preservation.


___ Confirm timelines and details with all

anyone else who helped make your ___ Attend bachelor and bachelorette

for engraving.

___ Obtain marriage license.

___ Finalize seating arrangement.

___ Pack overnight bag if you are staying at a hotel the night of your wedding.

___ Give caterer and venue final guest

___ Choose the ceremony music and


discuss reception music with your band

___ Break in your wedding shoes.

or DJ.

___ Get last pre-wedding haircut and color.

___ Confirm out-of-town guest

___ Practice your wedding vows.


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

ENCHANTING CREATIONS Don’t be a late bloomer! Meet with your florist ten to twelve months before the Big Day to ensure you’ll have the floral arrangements of your dreams. PHILLIP’S FLOWERS

Visit for more tips, tools and inspiration.

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 license for name change


when it comes to forms of acceptable

Both partners must appear together in

ID. Call your county clerk to verify what

person at the time of application.

documentation you should bring.

and/or filing purposes.

COOK Downtown Chicago – Daley Center 50 W. Washington St.



Unmarried people who are 18 years of

Civil unions are still legal, valid and

age or older and not blood relatives can

offered to all couples in the state of

apply for a marriage license, as can first

Illinois. It is not required that a civil union


cousins 50 years or older. People 16 and

be converted into a marriage. If couples

17 years of age must provide the following

would like to convert their civil union into

110 E. Sycamore St. Sycamore, IL 60178 815.895.7149

information: sworn consent, in person,

a marriage, the marriage license fee will

from each parent or legal guardian before

be waived if the couple applies for their


the county clerk at the time of application,

licenses and has their ceremony within

421 N. County Farm Rd.

as well as a certified copy of their birth

60 days of the date their civil union was

certificates and a second form of identi-

actualized. If a couple does not live in

fication to show their date of birth. Those

Illinois, they may still apply for a marriage


giving consent must provide proper iden-

license in an Illinois county, provided

111 E. Washington St., Room 12

tification, including a valid driver’s license,

they have a ceremony in that county

Morris, IL 60450

state ID or a valid U.S. passport. If the

within 60 days.

legal guardian is giving consent, a certified

Chicago, IL 60602 312.603.7790

Wheaton, IL 60187 630.407.6500



copy of his or her guardianship papers


must be provided.

Depending on your county, the cost to

Geneva, IL 60134

obtain a marriage license is $30-$60.



Certain counties only accept cash, so

You must provide one of the following

call ahead to confirm what types of pay-

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.

719 S. Batavia Ave., Building B

KANKAKEE 189 E. Court St., Room 1 Kankakee, IL 60901 815.937.2990

LAKE 18 N. County St., Room 101

above is not available, you must provide

Waukegan, IL 60085

your birth certificate, U.S. naturalization


papers or resident alien card, a valid for-

A marriage license becomes effective


eign passport, life insurance policy that

twenty-four hours after it is issued. After

667 Ware Rd., Suite 107

has been in effect for at least one year, a

the document becomes effective, coup-

Woodstock, IL 60098

baptismal record showing the birth date

les have 60 days to hold their ceremony


of the applicant or a consulate identifi-

and make their marriage official. The


cation card. Some counties may require

couple must hold their ceremony in the

302 N. Chicago St.

divorce decrees and/or death certificates

same county that issued their marriage

Joliet, IL 60432

of former spouses. Counties may vary


two of the following: a certified copy of


East Concourse (Lower) Level, Room 25




your money. Whether your funds are limited or infinite,

Transportation 2%

Stationery 4%

2% Beauty (hair, makeup, spa services)

Cake 3%


Beauty 2%

6% Attire (wedding gown, formalwear, rings,

Attire 6%

to break down your budget.

Floral & Décor 8%

After agreeing on your total, here’s a good starting point

Entertainment 8%

prospect of putting together a budget for their Big Day.

Photo & Video 10%

many couples find themselves overwhelmed at the

Other 3%

There are an array of options when it comes to allocating

Event Planner 12%

Ceremony & Recepttion 42%

Sample Wedding Budget

3% Cake (sweets, dessert bar) 42% Ceremony & Reception (venue, food, beverage, rentals)

8% Entertainment (DJs, bands, orchestras) 12% Event Planner PHOTOGRAPHY BY ERIN HOYT PHOTOGRAPHY

8% Floral & Décor (bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces)

3% Other (gifts, officiant, favors, rehearsal dinner) 10% Photo & Video (engagement session and wedding day)

4% Stationery (invitation suite, programs, menus, thank-you notes)

2% Transportation (limousine, trolley, classic car)

Tipping Guide Aside from contracts that include it, tipping is never required. In instances when a vendor has gone above and beyond, tipping is always

15% Bartenders 15-20% Catering Managers $50-100 Civil Officiant or Friend Performing the Ceremony

greatly appreciated. But how much is enough to thank those who have

$1-2 Coat Check Attendants, per guest

helped make your Big Day extra special? We’ve got you covered!

15% DJ 15% Event Planner, or a gift valued up to $500

10% Florist 15-20% Hair & Makeup Artists 15-20% Limo Driver $20-50 Live Musicians, per member $100-300 Officiant, additional to be donated to their institution

15-20% Photo & Video $1-2 Valet Attendants, per car Coqui Paperie

$25+ Waitstaff per server




State Street Jewelers


Amore Creative


captivating classics

Martin Thornburg via All About The Gown By Judy


Baublerella Bling Brush


State Street Jewelers



Louise et Cie


Love Story via Veiled by ChaCha





Phillip’s Flowers


eternally yours



Tom Ford

Invitations by Design


Oscar de la Renta


Badgley Mischka


Moira Hughes via Luxe Bridal Rack NECKLACE

State Street Jewelers


Artistic Blooms


Paris Hilton ProD.N.A. Advanced Recovery Serum

sultry & stylish


State Street Jewelers


DBY invitations


Bella Belle Shoes


Jojayden Custom Clothier WEDDING BAND

Benchmark LAPEL PIN

Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio




Avant Gardenia

men of distinction CUFFLINKS


Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio

Jojayden Custom Clothier JEWELRY

Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio


The Groomsman Suit


Mark and Graham EAU DE PARFUM

Prada – Midnight Train


EJD Design

A Few of Our Favorite Things Something we love about the wedding industry is its effortless ability to follow its ever-changing styles, while still capturing the timeless essence of love. As certain items slip away, and new trends are introduced, our Chicago couples continue to sweep us off our feet with their breath-taking beauty and unique personalities. With a refreshing take on vintage styles, cutting-edge designs and eclectic dÊcor, we can’t wait to see what our couples choose to incorporate into their Big Day.

WRITTEN BY Mia Riddell GOWN Anne Barge

Monique Lhuillier

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS While the high-low trend hit the scene a few seasons ago, it seems to be gaining momentum this season. We love the hem's versatility and twist on the classic ball gown. Scoop out the front of this skirt and now you have a gown that is structured, simple, relaxed and non-traditional. Frothy versions of these skirts made their way down the runway and many of these high-low tulle confections were finished with seemingly endless trains. Keep in mind, this silhouette is great to show off a sensational statement shoe!

Reem Acra

SHORT & CHIC Short dresses are the most popular option for the bride who wants to spend her night being whisked away on the dance floor. If a floor length gown is still on your mind for your ceremony, consider choosing a glam mini-dress as your second look to slip into before your reception. Less material and shorter lengths will allow you to move freely on the dance floor without worrying about your train or extra fabric dragging along.

Justin Alexander Signature

Sareh Nouri Bridal

FITS LIKE A GLOVE A fashion staple for royalty and style icons everywhere, bridal gloves are appearing again in true fashion with undeniably gorgeous and vintage embellishments. If you’re looking to make a


fashion forward statement, a pair of sheer or lace gloves will certainly do the trick. Flaunting this accessory in photos gives


you an air of regal elegance and editorial edge. They also work

The last thing you want to worry about on your wedding

well with any style of dress – elbow length styles work well with

day is trying to pick apart your favorite necklace from a

strapless gowns, while wristlet gloves complement a higher

pile of tangled chains. Lasso is a travel and storage


solution for organizing and protecting all of your glittering rings, necklaces and earrings to ensure they don’t end up in a tangled mess. It’s a cute and thoughtful bride-tobe or bridesmaids’ gift to make sure you never have to worry about misplacing or ruining your jewelry again!


ALL ABOUT THE ACCESSORIES Bridal hair accessories have always been a trend on the runway, but this year brides are replacing the sacred veil with captivating statement pieces such as pearl-beaded barrettes, flower studded crowns and silk bridal turbans. Not only do these headpieces keep your hair from falling in your face, but they elevate your wedding hairstyle to tie your entire look together. Consider adding these memorable pieces to stand out on your Big Day.

BARRETTES Maria Elena Headpieces & Accessories

SUIT UP Today’s bride is unmistakably herself. If you would never be caught wearing a dress in your “every-day” life, then don’t wear one to your wedding! Bridal suits are a great option for the nontraditional, empowered bride. With a growing interest in women’s suits and gown alternatives for weddings, designers have started to create bridal suits that cater to every woman's ideal wedding day look. If you’re looking to do a modern take on a traditional gown, incorporate a lace cape on your suit jacket or attach a dramatic train to your trousers.

SUITS The Groomsman Suit

TAILORED TO YOU As the years go by, we see more and more grooms replacing the traditional black tuxedo with bolder colors and unique styles, showcasing their individual fashion tastes. Custom suits give you the opportunity to add flair to your wedding day attire with creative jacket styles, decorative vests and matching ties. You can match your suit color with your wedding theme, or you can draw attention to your fashionable choice with eclectic colors and patterns. CUSTOM SUIT Jojayden Custom Clothier PHOTOGRAPHY BY SYPhotography



UNDER THE NEON LIGHTS It’s no secret that neon lights usually lead you to a


great party, so why not include them in your celebra-

When deciding what décor and design style you want for your

tion? Incorporate these electric signs at the door,

wedding, consider choosing pieces that captivate the essence

behind the altar or at your reception for an enticing

of the entire room. There are several ways to wow your guests,

accent to your wedding theme. Simply spell out you

but enchanting ceiling installations make for a great environment

and your partner’s names or write a clever catch-

at your ceremony, reception or even rehearsal dinner. Some of

phrase like, “better together” or “cheers to the newly-

our favorites include beautiful floral chandeliers, candles floating

weds”. It’s the perfect photo opportunity for guests to

down from the ceiling or a simple crystal globe decorated with

enjoy, and a unique feature that will make your cele-

metallic designs. You won’t regret adding this gorgeous feature

bration stand out.

to your wedding once you see how it brings the room together.

PHOTOGRAPH Courtesy of You Name It Events

PHOTOGRAPHY BY Erin Hoyt Photography

GOLDEN FIELDS Organic flowers have been showing up at wedding celebrations everywhere making for beautiful rustic and dreamy looks. One of our favorites is the towering plant, pampas grass. Its feather-like plumes are found in shades of beige, white and even dusty pink, making it easy to pair with other gorgeous flowers in a fresh bouquet or centerpiece. These organic flowers are romantic and versatile and can be incorporated into every aspect of your wedding décor, from an intimate countryside wedding to a glamorous city celebration. PHOTOGRAPHY BY Ashley Galminas Photography 42


MOBILE MUNCHIES Whether you’re at an outdoor reception, a cocktail hour or a grand ballroom, food trucks are a fun alternative to serving your guests a wedding meal. Most food truck vendors can accommodate dietary restrictions or special requests, giving you the freedom to choose what kind of food you would like to serve.


PHOTOGRAPHY BY Rick Aguilar Studios

There has been a surge of couples choosing to set aside a sweetheart table at the reception for themselves. With a sweetheart table, having those first few minutes as newlyweds to yourselves at a special table can make for an intimate, and memorable moment. Dress up the table with romantic décor and your family and loved ones will be gushing over you and your partner all night long. FLORAL & DÉCOR Kensington Florals & Events PHOTOGRAPHY BY Nakai Photography

DISCO FEVER What’s a better way to kick off your reception than a glittering disco ball shining light onto all of your guests? This 80’s quirk is making an appearance again at all styles of wedding celebrations. Of course, installing one over the dance floor is the obvious option, but there are so many other ways to incorporate this funky feature. Smaller decorative disco balls bode great for themed wedding cake toppers, name placeholders, mini flower holders and several other creative concepts. PHOTOGRAPHY BY Justine Montigny



LAURA & MIKE Lovely Location Laura and Mike met in high school, but later realized they had actually attended pre-school together! Throughout their relationship, they had vacationed in Lake Geneva many times and had even gotten engaged in the area. It was clearly the perfect mini destination spot for their wedding.

Bright & Beautiful Laura’s vision for the Big Day included an abundance of color and was very summery, with pink, coral, bright green and white. With inspiration from Lilly Pulitzer and the flowers from her wedding dress fabric, the florals were big, bright and fresh. The vibrant flower arrangements and bouquets were also reflected in the custom watercolor monogram crest that was used on everything from the stationery to the napkins.

Recipe for Love Mike is a chef, so he came up with the entire menu for the cocktail hour and dinner. He worked closely with the chef at Geneva National Resort to bring those ideas to life. The guests couldn’t stop talking about how delicious everything was!

Par for the Course Both Mike and Laura agreed that their favorite part of the day was driving in a golf cart together around the reception site, soaking in the day and enjoying a moment of alone time.

Number of Wedding Guests: 190 To see more photos from this Real Wedding, go to WRITTEN BY Emily Conley

Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY VENUE: St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, Lake Geneva, WI | RECEPTION VENUE: Geneva National Resort PHOTOGRAPHY: Jenna Kutcher | VIDEOGRAPHY: One Fine Day Productions | WEDDING RINGS: James & Williams Jewelers ENGAGEMENT RING: New York Jewelers | EVENT PLANNERS: Frontier Flowers of Fontana; Graceful Events; Something Blue Lake Geneva GOWN: Lela Rose via Dimitra’s Bridal Couture | BRIDE’S SHOES: Sophia Webster | HAIR & MAKEUP: DMC Makeup Artistry BRIDE’S ACCESSORIES: Kate Spade; Tiffany & Co. | BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: After Six via Brideside | STATIONERY: Bluebird Paper Company GROOM’S FORMALWEAR: Men’s Wearhouse | GROOMSMEN’S FORMALWEAR: Menguin | GROOM’S ACCESSORIES: David Yurman; Rolex FLORAL & DÉCOR: Frontier Flowers of Fontana | ENTERTAINMENT: Andrew Blake Band | CAKE & SWEETS: Julie Michelle Cakes; Alliance Bakery CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


SPOTLIGHT ON STYLE | Hues Used: Jennifer & Michael


Vendors EVENT PLANNER: LOLA Event Productions | VENUE: Café Brauer | PHOTOGRAPHY: Katie Kett Photography STATIONERY: Steracle Press | FLORAL & DÉCOR: Exquisite Designs | CAKE & SWEETS: Sweet Mandy B’s

To see more photos from this Spotlight on Style, go to CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM




Bridal Beauty for All N AV I G AT I N G W E D D I N G G O W N S H O P P I N G A S A C U R V Y B R I D E


inding your dream wedding dress can feel daunting,


regardless of your dress size. For curvy brides, navigating

Let’s start with one of the toughest parts of shopping for a

the high-fashion world of wedding gowns can feel down-

wedding dress – the sizing. When you buy a pair of jeans or a

right impossible. We understand the fear and apprehension that

dress off the rack at a run-of-the-mill clothing store, chances are

commonly accompanies bridal shopping when you don’t wear a

good that the manufacturer employs vanity sizing. As the average

sample size, but we also believe every woman should feel

size of a woman has increased over time, stores have adjusted

empowered when shopping for her Big Day. If you are a curvy

the size of their clothing without increasing the nominal size. This

bride-to-be searching for your perfect dress, you should know

means that an item that was sold as a size-twelve in a store in

that it is absolutely out there. The key is having the right mindset,

1950 is smaller than the item sold as a size-twelve today. To

confidence and support system to help you overcome any inse-

make matters more complicated, stores all use their own sizing

curities or fears to find the dress of your dreams.

systems, so it’s entirely possible to wear an eight, twelve and

WRITTEN BY Emily Conley | GOWN Anne Barge via Belle Bianca Bridal Couture CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



fourteen in jeans that come from three dif-

which is based on European measurement

matter what the tag in your dress says.

ferent stores. Your waist obviously doesn’t

charts. You should expect your wedding

The reality is that it does matter to a lot of

change from store to store, but rather the

dress to be one to two sizes (or more)

plus-size brides, so what can you do

number assigned to your clothes has little

larger than your typical off-the-rack size. If

about it?

correlation to the actual measurements of

you already have a difficult time with your

You have different options for dealing

the garments.

number size, having to go up in number

with the emotional impact of your wedding

Now here’s where things get psycho-

can feel soul-crushing. But here’s the

dress size. You can mentally prepare your-

logically challenging. Wedding dresses are

thing – you haven’t changed size. You are

self for the size to be bigger, acknowledge

typically made following high-fashion sizing,

still exactly the same, so it shouldn’t

the fact that wedding dress sizing runs small and accept the size of the dress you order as a reality that doesn’t affect how you look or feel in your dress. This strategy will work well for a lot of brides, but it isn’t enough for everyone. Another option is to simply not find out what size you are ordering. The sales associate will take your measurements and order your dress size based on your largest measurement, but you don’t have to know what size they order. Simply ask for that information to be withheld or redacted on any form or receipt you need to sign. You can have a friend cut out the tag when you receive your dress and never be the wiser. While this may sound dramatic, if the size of your dress will influence how you feel in it, it’s worth it to keep that negative information out of mind.

SHOPPING Where you choose to shop for your gown and who you choose to invite with you will seriously affect your experience. You should put some serious thought and consideration into both decisions before making appointments or inviting anyone along. Your feelings matter the most here, so be careful and cautious. Do some research to find plus-size friendly salons. We’ve got some incredible bridal boutiques in this issue who offer a range of plus-size gowns. Some brides also prefer smaller, more intimate salons where they don’t have to try on dresses surrounded by other brides. If you feel self-conscious, consider booking your appointment in an off-peak time or at a smaller store where you can be assured 50



of privacy while you shop and try on

a close, supportive friend, parent or family

dresses. You’ll also want to make sure

member as your plus-one. Alternatively,

you only make appointments at bridal

some brides find strength in numbers. If

salons that carry sizes you can try on.

having a larger group to swoon over you

Sample sizes are generally a bridal size-

in pretty dresses feels right, don’t hesi-

eight or – ten, and it can be challenging

tate to invite a crowd. Regardless of the

to get a true idea of what your dress will

number of supporters you invite, make

look like on you if the dress you try on is

sure each person included only brings

considerably smaller. It can also feel awk-

good vibes. Even if your sister expects to

ward and embarrassing to try on a dress

be included, you may want to leave her off

that is clipped to you, with giant gaping

the list if she is known for offering biting or

holes in the back. Avoid this situation by

rude criticism. It might be uncomfortable

shopping at bridal salons that carry plus-

in the moment, but be picky and only

size samples.

invite those you know will build you up

Set yourself up for success by creating

and make sure you feel beautiful.

a support squad who will give you a boost of confidence without any underhanded


or judgmental comments. It’s best to go

Once you have found your dream gown,

with at least one other person so you have

don’t trust the alterations to just anyone.

someone to give you feedback and make

Virtually everyone has to have their wed-

the experience feel more special. If you

ding dress altered, so go ahead and plan

are unsure about bringing a crowd, consider

for the expense and time requirements of some serious tailoring. It’s vital that you find a tailor who has ample experience with plus-size wedding gowns. A skilled seamstress can add boning, built-in bra cups and other structural support that can make quite the difference in the comfort and silhouette of your gown. Make sure the tailor takes the time to understand any specific concerns you have around the fit and any changes you wish to make. If you fell in love with a ball gown that is just too full for your shape or taste, you can have several layers of tulle or crinoline taken out during alterations. Ask your tailor to explain how any potential alterations will change and affect the fit.

CUSTOMIZATION There’s a wide range of customization available when it comes to wedding gowns. From a completely custom creation to small changes, curvy brides should be discerning when it comes to customizing their gowns. You may find a dress that checks all of your wants, except for the neckline. Don’t despair! See if there is a 52



way to change up the look, like deepening

other bride, look good in a wide variety of

a V-neckline or adding lacy sleeves to a

styles – ball gowns, fit-and-flare, mermaid

strapless design. You can make some

and more. Bridal fashion is extensive and

pretty significant changes if necessary.

your size does not determine what is

If you can’t find anything that fits your

available to you, so don’t rule out that

needs, it may be best to go custom to

deep v-neckline, illusion back. Think about

avoid an ill-fitting gown. Research designers

when you feel the most confident and

and seamstresses who specialize in custom

what aspects of your body you want to

plus-size gowns and explore the possibil-

highlight. If you love your full hips or your

ities. Don’t let the potential price tag

strong shoulders, you may want to find a

scare you off from a custom gown – you

style that accentuates the parts of your

may be surprised at how reasonable a

body you’re proud of.

custom creation can be. Your wedding

To physically prepare for the day,

gown is one of the most important aspects

consider laying off salty, fatty foods for a

of how you look and feel on your Big Day,

few days before your appointment. Drink

so don’t be afraid to spend the time and

plenty of water and get ample sleep.

dollars necessary to find the right dress.

These small efforts will leave you feeling stronger and physically ready for trying


on dresses. Wear an outfit you love and

You deserve to feel incredible and look

take the time to fix your hair and follow

amazing on your Big Day. Prepare men-

any beauty habits that make you feel

tally, physically and emotionally for wed-

better. Eat a healthy breakfast and make

ding dress shopping to give yourself the

sure you give yourself plenty of time to

self-confidence to enjoy the experience.

get to your appointments on time. Feeling

Being intentional about your attitude and

calm and confident will go a long way to

outlook can dramatically shift the tone of

making your fitting a success.

your shopping day.

You are your own worst critic, so do a

If you’re planning on trying to lose

little emotional homework before taking

weight before your wedding day, it can

on the bridal boutiques. Make a list of the

be tempting to put off dress shopping

things you love about yourself: physical

until you’re down a few pounds. However,

traits, personality characteristics and

don’t wait too long or you won’t have

achievements. Ask your partner to give

time for a made-to-order gown. Most

you a pep talk if that feels helpful. Focus

wedding dresses take around at least

on the positive and think about how you

eight months to arrive, and you’ll need a

want to feel walking down the aisle on

month or two for alterations once you

your wedding day. Go into your appointment

receive your gown, so plan accordingly.

with the knowledge that you will find a

Remember, your partner loves you for

dress that makes you feel like a bride.

who you are, and they think you look

Acknowledge any concerns or worries

amazing exactly as you are right now.

you have, name them and let them go.

There’s nothing you need to change in order to find your dream dress.




Once you’ve made your bridal appoint-

One of the best ways to feel confident

ments, it’s time to get ready for the day.

about your body is to surround yourself

It’s good to have an idea of the styles you

with images of women with a body shape

like, but it’s definitely not required. Forget

that reflects your own. Don’t build Pinterest

any notion of anything you aren’t “allowed”

boards and wedding dress inspiration

to wear. Plus-size brides, just like every

that only feature thin models. Find body

your emotional desires, even if it fits well

so feeling good about yourself and being

life brides and other curvy women with

or your friends love it.

confident will do wonders for how you

whom you can identify. Seeing wedding

see yourself in that bridal salon mirror.

gowns on women similar to yourself will


You and your wedding dress are no less

help you feel more comfortable when

Make a big deal out of your wedding

important than anyone else just because

you try on a wedding gown and look in

dress shopping day (or days)! Invite your

you have a larger number on a tag in your

the mirror for the first time.

best supporters, look and feel your best,

gown. It’s also a healthy practice to

Along with curating a collection of

and then pop some bubbly and celebrate

remind yourself that everyone compares

curvy brides for dress inspiration, you

once you find your dress. Make a whole

themselves to others and feels insecure

should also take some time to find emo-

day out of it – with a stop to get your

about something, so there’s really no

tional inspiration. Consider how you want

nails done, a celebratory brunch or a

escaping those doubts. You can make

to feel on your wedding day. Maybe it’s

relaxing spa treatment after the shopping

sure your wedding dress shopping experi-

most important that you feel sexy or per-

is over. Even if you aren’t looking forward

ence is fun, successful and enjoyable

haps you want to feel like a princess.

to dress shopping itself, bookend the

by setting the right tone and mood and

These emotions, unique to each individual

trip with things you do love so you have

going into it with a positive outlook. The

bride, should drive your wedding gown

something to look forward to. The excite-

truth is that you will find a dress that works

shopping more than anything else. Focus

ment and enthusiasm will naturally carry

for you! It might not be what you expect,

on the emotions that are most predominant

over to your dress appointment as well.

so always keep an open mind when trying

when you imagine yourself as a bride on

Remember that your wedding day is

on different styles, but you will slip into a

your own wedding day and keep those

about you and your partner – not a model

gown that feels just right and that makes

feelings in mind when trying on dresses.

you saw on Pinterest. Your confidence

it easy to imagine walking down the aisle

Don’t buy something that doesn’t fulfill

and inner beauty reflect on the outside,

to marry the one you love.



positive photos of plus-size models, real





EVA’S BRIDAL INTERNATIONAL Morilee by Madeline Gardner






With This Ring T H E U LT I M AT E G U I D E T O C H O O S I N G T H E P E R F E C T W E D D I N G B A N D S


hen it comes to choosing the right wedding bands

rings that you like. If you are looking for a custom ring, you may

for your Big Day, you’ve got options is an under-

need even more time – keep in mind that even small details like

statement. Save yourself and your partner some

engraving can take up to one month. If you want your wedding

time and take the guesswork out of choosing which wedding

band to match your engagement ring, you and your fiancé can

bands are right for you by familiarizing yourself with these

purchase your engagement ring and wedding band as a duo


set or even have his wedding band match to form a trio set. No matter what you decide, it is important to give yourself enough


time to find or create the ring you have in mind.

Planning ahead is key. If you are purchasing wedding bands

Once you have established a personal timeframe, set a

separate from your engagement ring, start shopping two to

budget. The average wedding band costs around $600, but

three months before your wedding day. Browse for wedding

there are more cost-effective options if you are looking for more

bands in person and online, compare prices and revisit any

economical options. Plenty of wedding bands are available for

WRITTEN BY Nesa Mangal | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Elena Cuellar Photography 58


hand, for a more durable option that

to show your enduring love, due to its

going to wear this band every day, so it

won’t tarnish, consider an Argentium

rarity. The metal is also a great choice

is important to choose a wedding band

silver ring due to its higher percentage of

for people with sensitive skin because

that will easily integrate into your lifestyle.

silver. Even though it is much harder

platinum is naturally hypoallergenic.

than sterling silver, Argentium is more

Platinum rings have high-shine and are

malleable, lending itself well to a variety

exceptionally durable, making it a great

of designs and settings for gemstones.

choice for couples who have a higher

KNOW YOUR BASIC OPTIONS Wedding bands come in many styles

Platinum: Of the white metals in this

and you have likely heard of the most

list, platinum is the most luxurious option


under $100. More importantly, you are

budget but still want a timeless ring that is practical for long term wear.

common types — yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, silver and titanium. But more than anything else, thinking longterm about your budget and how you’ll wear your ring day-to-day will help you determine the right metal for your wedding band. Pure Gold: Pure or 24 karat gold is a very soft metal that is more likely to scratch and bend, making it a rare find. More practical and common gold choices include yellow, white and rose. Yellow Gold: The most common and traditional type of gold, yellow gold, is a mixture of pure gold with silver, copper and zinc. It is the purest color of gold and the most hypoallergenic. It requires the least maintenance, which makes it the easiest and the most practical to wear and repair. However, it is also the most expensive type of gold. White Gold: White gold is usually made out of gold and platinum or gold, platinum, nickel and zinc, which gives it its glistening white color. White gold is usually plated with rhodium, to give it a hard reflective surface, but it will require replacement plating once signs of wear and tear begin to appear. White gold is more durable and scratch resistant than yellow gold, and it’s also more affordable. Rose Gold: Rose gold contains silver and copper to give it its trademark warm pinkish hue. Its inexpensive copper mix also makes it cheaper and more durable than yellow or white gold. Silver: If you’re looking to go more traditional, a sterling silver wedding band will always be in style. On the other CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



banded together

Palladium: Palladium is another metal that works for people with sensitive skin. It is more common than platinum

You liked it and now you’ve got to put a ring on it! Wedding band options are endless, so we’ve collected some of our favorites below to

and friendlier to couples on a budget. The metal is prized for its bright, natural white color. Unlike silver, palladium is

help you find the bands that are just right for you and your partner.

not prone to tarnishing, making it a popular alternative. Titanium: Strong, lightweight and unique, titanium rings will endure the test of time and are a popular metal 1.

choice for men. Titanium is much more


durable than gold or platinum and even stronger than stainless steel. Titanium wedding rings appear whiter than tungsten, but darker than cobalt, platinum or 3.

white gold. The metal does not contain any nickel, making it the perfect choice for a hypoallergenic wedding ring. Keep


in mind – this metal cannot be resized, so it is best for couples who don’t plan 4.

on upgrading their rings in the future. Tungsten: Another metal choice for


men, tungsten is harder than precious metals like gold and platinum and is perfect for those who are looking for a ring that is durable and far from dainty. Not only is the rare metal distinctive –


its steel gray, white or black color comes with high luster – tungsten can stand



up to the wear and tear of an active lifestyle without losing its shape over time. However, just like titanium, tungsten can’t be resized. It also comes with a lower price tag than traditional gold bands and other jewelry metals like silver and platinum. Cobalt: This durable, scratch-resistant

10. 11.

metal is another option for men. Cobalt is usually mixed with chrome to form a strong bond that also alters cobalt’s signature deep blue color into a stunning

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

State Street Jewelers Benchmark Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio State Street Jewelers European Jewelry European Jewelry

7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio State Street Jewelers European Jewelry Benchmark Benchmark

white one. As far as platinum and white gold rings go, cobalt rings are an affordable option for white jewelry. They are even whiter than titanium and offer a better scratch resistance. Plus, cobalt does not require rhodium plating to keep




its color. It is also free of nickel, making it hypoallergenic and perfect for those who experience sensitivity to traditional jewelry material.

ADD A LITTLE BLING If you decide to spring for stones in your wedding band, the choice will ultimately come down to budget, style and personal taste. White diamonds are the most popular choice, but you can also opt for colored diamonds or gemstones to complement your ring. All of the metals above are well suited for stone embellishments. Popular wedding band styles for women include the eternity band, which features stones that wrap completely around the finger allowing the band to sparkle from every angle, and the channel band, which has two tracks of metal that hold a row of stones side-by-side. By far, the most popular male wedding




band style with a stone is the gypsy band, where most commonly a solitary stone is placed into a hole and flushed with the surrounding metal’s surface.

PROTECT YOUR RING Your wedding band will likely be one of your most valuable possessions, so ring insurance is essential to making sure it is protected for a lifetime. Consider both its sentimental and monetary value and then opt to add a rider to your homeowner's or renter's insurance to provide higher coverage limits to your jewelry and protect it from greater risks. Make sure to talk with your jeweler first to see what options they offer. If they don’t have the option you would prefer, another alternative is to take out a separate policy with a specialty insurer like Jewelers Mutual. On average, the yearly cost to insure a ring is around $1 to $2 for every $100 that it would cost to replace, so that means that if your wedding band costs $2,000, you’ll be looking at around a $40 fee. Before you purchase insurance, you will first need to collect your receipt and have the ring appraised by a certified jeweler to get a description of details like its metal and embellishments. Taking a few high-quality photos of your ring from different angles to submit is also a good idea. Getting your ring laser inscribed and investing in a home security system can help you qualify for a discount on your jewelry insurance. Additionally, before settling on a policy, become familiar with the fine print as some policies may cover theft but not misplacement or repairs.

KEEP IT SPARKLY CLEAN To maintain your ring, clean it often to remove lotions, oil and dirt, which can tarnish and cloud it. If you don’t have a brand-name jewelry cleaner, you can soak the ring in warm water and mild 62



dishwashing liquid before scrubbing it with a soft toothbrush. You can also soak your ring in equal parts ammonia and cold water for 30 minutes then let it air dry. Note that this latter method works only with diamonds and can damage other types of stones. It is also smart to take off your ring for tasks that require harsh chemicals or abrasive solutions (like the ones in household cleaners). These chemicals can erode metal settings and dull their finish. Ring maintenance should also include bi-annual visits to your jeweler, who can check the prongs on your setting to make sure they aren’t getting loose, which can lead to a dislodged stone. A little extra caution goes a long way when storing your wedding bands. When you need to take off your ring, place it in a dry and secure location. If you take off your ring often, consider a safe or an unusual but memorable hiding spot. If you need to take it off when you're on vacation, store it in the hotel safe. Lastly, it is worth remembering that diamonds are the hardest substance on earth, which means that they can scratch other gemstones, metal bands and even other diamonds if left in the same jewelry pouch or box. For that reason, keep your ring in an individual soft cloth pouch or box when you're not wearing it.

REMEMBER WHAT IS IMPORTANT When all is said and done, your wedding band will be more than a symbol to the world that you are married now – it is a testament to the love and commitment you and your partner share. And with the right amount of time, a set budget and the knowledge of basic wedding band options and care, there is no doubt that keeping in mind the reason you are searching for a wedding band in the first place will lead you to a ring that will represent that promise for a lifetime. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


STEPHANIE & DANE Darling Details Choosing to work with the colors of the ornate ballroom, Stephanie and Dane incorporated accents of gray and silver into the overarching blue and white theme. Their florist designed a breathtaking floral installment of wisteria and orchids that framed the couple while they exchanged their vows. With thirteen tables, an exact match for the number of years Stephanie and Dane had been together, they chose to use a photo from each year of their relationship as their table numbers.

Ready to Mingle Stephanie and Dane had guests travel from all over the world to celebrate with them. The couple chose to seat random groups of people together and were thrilled when everyone bonded and had fun getting to know each other. Stephanie and Dane really hoped their guests would enjoy the dance floor, and they did — it was a boisterous party all night.

The Last Piece Everyone loved the cake which was layers of butter cake and chocolate fudge cake with passionfruit curd and bittersweet chocolate mousse fillings frosted with Italian meringue. For those who weren’t quick enough to indulge in their piece, there were onlookers waiting to run over and swipe the unclaimed slices.

Number of Wedding Guests: 135

To see more photos from this Real Wedding, go to WRITTEN BY Emily Conley

Real Wedding Vendors VENUE: The Blackstone Hotel | PHOTOGRAPHY: Colin Lyons Wedding Photography | VIDEOGRAPHY: Hendzel Productions STEPHANIE’S RINGS: Family Heirlooms | DANE’S RING: MJ Metals Jewelry | GOWN: Morilee by Madeline Gardner via Kathryn’s Bridal VEIL: Kathryn’s Bridal | BRIDE’S SHOES: Badgley Mischka | BRIDE’S JEWELRY: NADRI | HAIR: Lumination Salon MAKEUP: Neapolitan Collection | FORMALWEAR: Kathryn’s Bridal | GROOM’S ACCESSORIES: Baume & Mercier; Charles Tyrwhitt; Cuff-Daddy BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Bill Levkoff via Kathryn’s Bridal | STATIONERY: Minted | FLORAL & DÉCOR: Joseph’s Events ENTERTAINMENT: Okyne Medialab | CAKE & SWEETS: Cake Chicago CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


SPOTLIGHT ON STYLE | Hues Used: Sarah & Will


Vendors EVENT PLANNER: Big City Bride | VENUE: Bridgeport Art Center | PHOTOGRAPHY: Studio This Is | STATIONERY: Minted FLORAL & DÉCOR: Kehoe Designs | CAKE & SWEETS: Alliance Bakery

To see more photos from this Spotlight on Style, go to CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


HAUTE in the city

LOCATION Loews Chicago Hotel

PHOTOGRAPHY Rick Aguilar Studios

HAIR Zazú Salon

STYLING The Wedding Dresser

MAKEUP Bridal Brigade

FROM LEFT: GOWN Belle Custom Atelier, J.Mendel; SHOES Badgley Mischka; JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio | GOWN Belle Custom Atelier, Sophie et Voilà; SHOES Bella Belle Shoes; JEWELRY State Street Jewelers; HEADPIECE Eugenia Kim | SUIT Jojayden Custom Clothier: SHOES Macy’s: JEWELRY & LAPEL PIN Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio | SUIT Jojayden Custom Clothier; SHOES Macy’s; CUFFLINKS State Street Jewelers; RING & LAPEL PIN Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio

To see the video and more photos from this fashion shoot, go to

LEFT PAGE – FROM LEFT: SUIT Jojayden Custom Clothier; SHOES Macy’s; LAPEL PIN Varón by Maria Elena | GOWN Jenny Yoo Collection; JEWELRY State Street Jewelers; HAIR COMB Dame Couture | GOWN Jenny Yoo Collection; SHOES Bella Belle Shoes; JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio; HAIR COMB Dame Couture ABOVE – FROM LEFT: GOWN Belle Custom Atelier, Sophie et Voilà; SHOES Bella Belle Shoes; JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio GOWN Jenny Yoo Collection; SHOES Badgley Mischka; JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio; HAIR COMB Dame Couture

GOWN Bella Bianca Bridal Couture, Galia Lahav; NECKLACE State Street Jewelers; RINGS & BRACELET Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio

GOWN Bella Bianca Bridal Couture, Anne Barge SHOES Badgley Mischka JEWELRY State Street Jewelers

FROM LEFT: SUIT The Groomsman Suit SHOES Macy’s JEWELRY State Street Jewelers SUIT The Groomsman Suit SHOES Badgley Mischka JEWELRY Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio

SUIT Formally Modern Tuxedo WEDDING BAND State Street Jewelers, Benchmark; WATCH State Street Jewelers; CUFFLINKS, EARRINGS, LAPEL PIN, RING & SHIRT STUDS Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio

LOCATION Loews Chicago Hotel PHOTOGRAPHY Rick Aguilar Studios STYLING The Wedding Dresser HAIR Zazú Salon MAKEUP Bridal Brigade NAILS Tara Kadar VIDEOGRAPHER Newlyweds Cinema PROP STYLIST Amanda Wolfson Productions

FROM LEFT: SUIT Jojayden Custom Clothier; SHOES Macy’s; LAPEL PIN & RING Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio; WATCH, CUFFLINKS & BRACELET State Street Jewelers | GOWN Diana’s Bridal, Pronovias; EARRINGS & RING ON MODEL’S RIGHT Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio; BRACELET & ENGAGEMENT RING State Street Jewelers | GOWN Modeca; VEIL Belle Custom Atelier; EARRINGS State Street Jewelers; BRACELET & RING Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio | SUIT Jojayden Custom Clothier; SHOES Macy’s; WEDDING BAND State Street Jewelers, Benchmark; EARRINGS & LAPEL PIN Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio



Beauty or Bust T H E U LT I M AT E G U I D E T O W E D D I N G M A K E U P


o, you found the dress of your dreams, booked the

choose these things? Probably because they spoke to essential

perfect venue and those save-the-dates are in the mail!

parts of your personality and you liked how they all work

Now, it’s time to tackle another wedding day must-have:

together. Your makeup should fit into the mix just as seamlessly.

bridal makeup. Like every other part of your Big Day, planning

Now, that is not to say your makeup can’t make a bold

your beauty routine and day-of makeup deserves the utmost

statement. Quite the opposite! In fact, a daring look might

attention and care. After all, your wedding day is one of the few

just make the perfect accent or contrast to the rest of your

times in your life where you can truly glam it up like a supermodel.

ensemble. After all, you wouldn’t want the color of your lipstick

So, you might as well take advantage of it! If you’re a makeup

or eyeshadow to clash with your flowers or bridesmaids’

novice, you might be stressing over just where to begin. To help

dresses. Find a delicate balance between your makeup and

you answer all of your burning questions, we’ve put together this

your wedding’s aesthetic that ties everything together effortlessly.

ultimate guide to wedding day beauty!

Inspiration is everywhere. LET’S START WITH THE BASICS.

Of course, Pinterest is a tried and true source of inspiration.

Your makeup journey starts with finding inspiration. This all-

But you can also look to other social media platforms as well as

important first step helps you get a better idea of what’s out

keep a close eye on some of your favorite celebrities, influencers,

there and what appeals to you. Are you going for a dramatic and

and beauty gurus. You might even take inspiration from online

smoky look? Or maybe more fresh-faced and natural with just

ads or billboards for things like perfume and other beauty

a pop of color? The possibilities are endless! Luckily there are

products. Magazines (like the one you’re holding!) are also

many resources out there to get your creative juices flowing.

incredible resources.

Think about your other wedding decisions.

Stay organized.

Before you begin your search, take stock of the things you’ve

As you find looks you like, save them all in one place so they

already planned. Consider your dress, color scheme, bouquet

can be found and referenced easily. And remember, at this

and any other relevant parts of your wedding. Why did you

point, nothing is set in stone! This early stage is your chance to




let your imagination run wild and collect any and all looks that call to you. With that being said, you will probably want to end up with a look that’s less trendy and more classic. Why? Because your makeup will be forever showcased in your wedding photographs, so it is usually better to go with a look that can stand the test of time. But that doesn’t mean statement looks can’t work! It all depends on your unique style. Later, your makeup artist will help you refine your ideas and find what works best for you.

NOW, LET’S FIND YOU THE PERFECT ARTIST. Next comes the hard part: finding an artist who can execute the runwayworthy looks you've been dreaming about. Now, this step can be a bit tricky and requires some legwork, but in the end, it will all be worth it – trust us! Now, let’s review some of the ways you can find your makeup artist soulmate.

Nothing beats word-of-mouth. Getting a recommendation from someone you trust is one of the best ways to go. Were you recently a guest at a wedding and just couldn’t take your eyes off the bride’s makeup? Reach out and ask to be put in contact with the artist! Also, never underestimate the power of social media. Consider putting out a call to ask your friends and family if they have any connections or recommendations. You never know, that high school classmate you haven’t spoken to in years just might be BFFs with Beyoncé’s personal makeup artist. (We kid, but still…what if?). All jokes aside, however, you might be surprised by what your social network can find for you. But a word of caution: just because an artist’s style worked for one person, does not necessarily mean they will work for you. So, even if you get an amazing recommendation, it’s probably not a good 80



a solid foundation

idea to just hire them blindly. You will still want to do your research before making any final decisions.

You know it’s all about that base! Finding a solid foundation that fits your skin-type can be stressful, we know. By working these products into your makeup routine, you can count on every day being as flawless

Check out the websites of local artists. If you find an artist you like, carefully

as your foundation!

review their website and portfolio. Do they have looks that prove they can pull off the style you’re going for? Does their


website have a clean and professional appearance? If you’re impressed by what


you see, then it might be time to take the


next step: setting up a consultation.

Schedule a trial run. Before you make final hiring decisions, arrange to do a trial makeup run with the artist you’re vying for. Trial runs allow the makeup artist to show you what they’ve got. It's a time in which they can play 3.

around with different colors, foundations and styles to help you finalize a perfected look. Trials are also an opportunity to get a sense of what you can expect on your Big Day. So, when the wedding arrives, there are no major surprises. You can feel confident that your artist knows what


they are doing and will make you look your absolute best. But remember, talent isn’t everything! While a trial run gives the artist a chance to show off their skills, it also helps you get a sense of who they are as a person. Sure, you want an artist who does amazing work, but you also want someone 5.

with a personality that jives well with your own. Professionalism and a good attitude are non-negotiables. After all, weddings can be high-stress. So, you need an experienced artist who works well under pressure and still manages to

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation Éminence Organic Skin Care Vanilla Latte Tinted Moisturizer bareMinerals Original Loose Powder Mineral Foundation

make you feel like a superstar!

STICK TO A CONSISTENT SKINCARE REGIMEN. When it comes to looking your best on your wedding day, makeup can only do



tinted moisturizer might be perfect for

said, extra coverage will be needed to

and body is equally important. This

you! As the name implies, tinted mois-

cover blemishes, dark circles or an

means drinking plenty of water, eating

turizers hydrate your skin while providing

uneven skin tone.

nutritious foods, and putting a little extra

just a smidge of color for sheer coverage.

thought into your skincare regimen.

Because of their rejuvenating quality,


During your consultation, your makeup

they work well for brides with dryer

Typically, powder foundations are very

artist will have many recommendations

skin. They are meant to enhance your

versatile. They are easy to blend, rarely

for ways to improve the quality of your

skin’s natural beauty without layering

leaving discoloration or blotchy lines (think

skin. For example, they might suggest

on unnecessary product. With that being

the dreaded makeup mask!). Usually, they


so much. Taking proper care of your skin

regular facials to give your complexion a little pick-me-up. Or they might advise using a soothing exfoliator twice weekly to slough off dead skin cells. This leaves your face feeling baby-soft and gives your makeup artist a smooth, clean canvas to work with. But the importance of consistently practicing a good face-wash routine cannot be overstated. If you have ultra-sensitive skin, then keeping it simple is probably the best way to go! Use a gentle soap to cleanse your face twice daily, followed by an oil-free moisturizer for hydration. You might also consider adding a toner for an even skin tone. Just remember, don’t add any new products in your regime the day or so before your wedding if you don’t know how your skin will react.

FOCUS ON FOUNDATION. Now we turn our attention to one of the most important products in your makeup artist’s arsenal: foundation. While it might not sound as exciting as, say, eyeshadow or lipstick, foundation literally lays the groundwork for the fun stuff. After all, without a solid base, the rest of your look will fall apart. So, choosing the right foundation is essential. While you and your makeup artist will talk about the specifics and the best option for you, here is a general overview of the different foundation types available.

Tinted Moisturizer If you are blessed with blemish-free skin and are looking for a foundation that’s super light and breathable, then a CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



have a lovely satin finish that leaves your face with a delicate glow. Plus, the absorptive quality of powder foundations keeps shininess down and works especially well for oily or acne-prone skin. But powder can also be quite finicky. It’s difficult to set, so it tends to wear off after only a couple of hours. Also, they are often light-weight, making it challenging to build coverage. Often, the more powder used, the cakier your skin tends to look. So, powders are usually best suited for brides who need minimal coverage.

Liquid By far the most popular choice for bridal makeup, liquid foundations provide a wide range of coverages and finishes. They're long-lasting and make great bases for the rest of your makeup. Like tinted moisturizers, liquid foundations also help to add a bit of hydration to your skin. So, they work well for dry or combination skin types. Whether you have only a few blemishes you wish to cover up or more troublesome skin problems, your makeup artist can help you find a liquid foundation best suited to your needs. But keep in mind that these foundations tend to be a bit heavier, so you will want to keep your skin’s sensitivity in mind. During the consultation with your makeup artist, let them know if you’re prone to breakouts or if your skin is easily irritated.

Airbrush This technique, which has been popular with models and film stars for years, is gaining traction among brides. And it’s easy to see why! When done correctly, airbrushing gives your skin a flawless look not easily achieved with more traditional foundations. Plus, it needs less product than a liquid foundation for full coverage, giving airbrush a similar lightweight feel to powder foundation. Better yet, most airbrush makeup is silicone-based, which 84


Big Day as much as possible, that’s what

your skin. The right makeup artist will

resistant (so you can bring on the tears!)

friends are for.

help bring out the gorgeous glow of hap-

Once the airbrush foundation is set, it

piness that’s inside you to create a timeless, and perfect makeup look that’s

one of its downsides. For example, if air-


brushed makeup does flake or streak

Your wedding day is a chance to look as

every day you get fully immersed in the

throughout the day, it can be more difficult

good as you feel. That means enhancing

supermodel experience. So, sit back and

to blend out than other foundations. But

your natural beauty with healthy habits

enjoy the extra pampering, you deserve it

if it dries properly, then it shouldn’t be too

and products that are best suited for

after all your hard work and planning!

doesn't move easily. But this can also be

personalized just for you. Plus, it’s not


means it lasts longer and is more water-

much of an issue.

Cruelty-Free Products It’s a harsh reality to face that many makeup brands test on animals. But if you’re a more socially-conscious bride, you might be wondering if there are any ethical options out there. Luckily, they aren’t as hard to find as you might think! In fact, there are many big-name brands out there that are 100% cruelty-free. You just have to do a little digging. Ask your makeup artist about the products they use. If you’d prefer to use a cruelty-free brand, let your artist know and they will most likely be happy to accommodate.

LET’S TALK DAY-OF MAINTENANCE. In most cases, after the initial makeup application is complete, your artist most likely won’t be on-hand for touch-ups throughout the day. So, you’ll probably have to take your makeup maintenance into your own hands. That means anticipating and planning for anything that might mess up your flawless look. Talk with your makeup artist on the best ways to keep fresh-faced all night long. The best way to fight against fading makeup is to pack a touch-up kit with all the essentials – blush, translucent powder, cotton swabs, blotting paper, etc. – to stash in either the bridal suite or a clutch. Don’t be afraid to check in with your bridesmaids or family when you don’t have enough time to run to the powder room. They will want to help you on your CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Hello, Gorgeous! With a million things to think about before your Big Day, a new beauty routine should not be one of them. From bridal trends to beauty tips, we have you covered in becoming your best self as you say ‘I do!�.

FLAWLESS & FABULOUS The key to achieving the bridal glow you have always wanted is to know which beauty products are current and work best for you. Embracing and enhancing your natural features is always a bridal beauty trend to follow. Doing your research on wedding makeup and skin care trends is a great place to start. Whether you choose a bold lip, defined brows or trendy metallics, your bridal look should elevate your every-day style, while also staying true to your personality and natural beauty.

HAIR & MAKEUP I Do Plus Two PHOTOGRAPHY Mandelette Photography


IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Flat Top Buffing Foundation Brush #6 LIPSTICK White Lotus Lip Color

Recommended by White Lotus Weddings



Anastasia Beverly Hills Sultry Eye Shadow Palette

Make Up For Ever Highlighter Recommended by Visage Joli Makeup & Hair Chicago


Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer

EYE GELS FlashPatch Restoring Night Eye Gels TWEEZERS Tweezerman Slant Tweezer HAIR AND MAKEUP Appease, Inc. PHOTOGRAPHY Juancho SC Photography


CV Skinlabs Restorative Skin Balm FACIAL SPRAY Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater

NOT A HAIR OUT OF PLACE Whether you choose a traditional updo or effortlessly styled waves, embrace your unique hair texture with style. From a messy bun, to hair done up with eye-catching accessories be sure to highlight your natural beauty as you walk down the aisle.


evo haze styling powder Recommended by DRYtini HAIR CREAM

Joico Heat Set Blowout Perfecting Créme HAIR SPRAY

Moroccanoil Luminous Hairspray Recommended by Studio Stÿl

HAIR & MAKEUP Sophia Bella Bridal PHOTOGRAPHY Inspired Eye Photography



rom cake tastings to vow writing, venue visits to décor

keeping calm and planning on, from the moment you said

designing and so much more, planning your Big Day

“yes!” to the moment you say “I do”.

involves a whole lot of big decisions. Whether you are

newly engaged or well on your way to planning the wedding of


your dreams, you are probably already feeling the pressure to

Yoga is all about support: supporting the body, supporting the

get every single decision exactly right. And whether you have

mind and teaching the mind and body how to work together in

hired an amazing wedding planner or have a whole team of

supporting your overall wellness. Planning a wedding essentially

nuptial experts by your side, chances are you’re still feeling a

works the same way: you need a solid support system around you. One of the absolute best ways to make sure you keep self-

little (or, you know, a lot) stressed out. The truth is, weddings can be as stressful as they are

care at the top of your to-do list, throughout the entire wedding

magical – but they definitely do not have to be! If you have

planning process, is to assemble a support system that will be

already turned to the pros for everything from your flower

there for you no matter what – and once you’ve got ‘em, be

arrangements to the menu selections, then it’s time to add one

sure to keep them close by. From family and close friends to an

more expert to your list: a wellness expert! Because yeah,

amazing team of wedding professionals, many of which you

sometimes we all need a little help with something as simple as

can find right in the pages of this magazine. Don’t tackle

remembering to breathe.

wedding planning solo. Ask the folks around you for help, and

Here are some (totally yoga teacher approved) tips for

then let each of them do what they do best: whether that

WRITTEN BY E. Ce Miller 88


that the Big Day really does feel like the

There is no underestimating the power

says calla lilies are a never-fail classic,

most magical day of your life, rather than

of taking a breath when you are stressed

inviting your music-loving bestie to put

a marathon.

– whether that moment comes in the

together a rockin’ list of tunes for your

heat of rethinking your seating arrange-


ments, again, or just seconds before

own dresses (with some general guidance from you, of course.)

Did you know that there are entire yoga

to make sure all that deep breathing

classes dedicated to just sitting still and

doesn’t suddenly turn into full-on hyper-

breathing? (Believe it or not, it’s true!)

ventilating (that would definitely defeat

DJ or letting the bridal party select their



means trusting your florist when she

you’re about to walk down the aisle. But

Just like a regular yoga practice, wedding planning is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. And as crazy as it might sound, you actually have to plan to plan. Aka: don’t try to arrange your entire wedding all at one time, schedule yourself mindfully. If you’re running straight from a cake tasting to a dress fitting, or trying to write your vows after spending hours looking at seating charts, chances are that not only will you burn out fast, you will also miss the oneof-a-kind experience that is planning your wedding in the first place. Instead of trying to check everything off your to-do list as quickly as possible (tempting as that may be,) arrange each task in a way that supports your own wellness. Add a weekly massage to your wedding planning agenda. Schedule a quiet walk around your wedding venue after an extra-long session with your wedding planner. Take time to savor that cake you’re tasting (I mean, cake tasting is basically the best part of the whole planning process.) And don’t just stop to smell the roses (or those calla lilies) during the wedding planning process. Arrange a little down time in your Big Day as well. Whether that means scheduling an extended cocktail hour so you and your spouse can quietly bask in the glow of those just-spoken “I dos” or taking five minutes to kick your shoes off in the Bridal Suite between your first dance and dinner. Setting aside time during your wedding day to deliberately unwind will ensure CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



the purpose), consider practicing some



planning all the way ‘til death do you

easy breathing exercises when you’re

process, and even beyond, is a great

part – and it’s another one that is as

already feeling calm. Then you will be

way to work some stress release into

easy as its name. Whether you journal

prepped to tap into them when they are

your schedule. And hey, don’t let all

daily, weekly or whenever you feel yourself

most needed.



those fancy yoga poses you see on

approaching meltdown mode, a gratitude

A favorite breathing technique of yoga

social media intimidate you: yoga is as

journal is a great way to refocus your

teachers is the “4-7-8 Breath” – and

much about sitting still as it is about

energy away from what is stressing you

yeah, it’s as easy to remember as it

breaking out a headstand or folding your-

out in the present moment, and towards

sounds. Simply inhale for a count of four,

self into a pretzel. Even just one yoga

all the things that are going oh-so-right.

hold your breath for a count of seven

session can calm the nervous system,

Consider giving yourself a goal of listing

and then release that breath through

slow the mind, relax the body and let

five, or even ten things you are grateful

your nose for a count of eight. Repeat

you tune into you. Added bonus: yoga

for – those super-stylish strappy san -

this breathing technique as often as nec-

is great for toning your muscles, if

dals that are also amazingly comfortable,

essary, until you are feeling ready to

that’s the look you are going for as you

that cake tasting that ended in red vel-

tackle whatever is heading your way: be

approach your Big Day. You really can’t

vet bliss, the fact that you are about to

it a persnickety future-in-law or an endless

beat something that tones your bod and

marry the most amazing person you

to-do list. Extra relaxation points if you

relaxes your mind at the same time.

have ever met.

close your eyes while doing it.

ACTUALLY PRACTICE YOGA. Signing up to attend a regular yoga class

And yes, you have to physically write


each item down, pen and paper in hand

This is a wellness practice that you will

app.) By the time you’re done, not only

definitely want to take from wedding

will you be totally tuned into some positive

(definitely no typing these into your Notes

vibes, you will also have a hand-written keepsake that you can cherish forever.

START A MEDITATION PRACTICE. If you have always thought meditation is way too “woo” for you, think again. Meditation is one of the simplest – and easiest to implement – ways to de-stress your mind and reconnect to your calm; no matter where you are or what you are doing. And don’t think that meditation is just for professional yogis and Buddhist monks, either – it’s definitely a practice for anyone and everyone. Unsure of where to start? Believe it or not, beginning with even just a couple of minutes of a meditation practice a few times a week can completely transform the way you walk through the world – and through your wedding planning. Finally ready to give it a try? Consider starting with a mantra – one designed to draw your mind to everything that’s going well in your life, and to encourage the universe to send even more goodness 90


Does a miscommunication with your

edge your emotions and then give yourself

your eyes if you are comfortable doing

calligrapher have you spiraling? Pause in

time to get to the root of them before

so, take a breath and say quietly to your-

your frustration, acknowledge what you’re

making a final decision. One of the keys

self: “I am a magnet for the goodness of

feeling and why and don’t move forward

to mindfulness is to accept that frustration,

life. I receive goodness freely and without

until you’re able to communicate from a

stress and discomfort are going to come

hesitation.” Repeat this mantra at least

place of calm. Is an unexpected inability

your way – and that’s okay! Let yourself

five times, or as many as needed before

to say yes to your dress or tux about to

feel your feelings, and then take the time

you begin to feel calm, grounded and

bring you to tears? Have a moment to

to figure out what needs to change

centered. Once you get into the habit, I

yourself in the dressing room, acknowl-

before you can move forward.


your wedded way. Settle yourself, close

guarantee you’ll find yourself turning to these words whenever you need a quick pick-me-up.

ACCEPT THAT EVERYTHING IS NOT GOING TO BE PERFECT, IN ADVANCE. If there is one Big Day guarantee, it’s this: everyone wants their wedding day to be perfect, and nobody’s wedding day is. (Although, having the right professionals by your side can get you pretty darn close.) But even with the best in the biz behind you, things like unexpected weather, unfortunately-timed traffic, wardrobe malfunctions or minor miscommunications are bound to happen. And while you can’t always plan for the unexpected, you can plan for how you’re going to handle those last-minute snafus if, and when, they occur. Is the trolley transporting the entire wedding party stuck in rush hour traffic? Turn that slowdown into a dance party.

TAP INTO SOME MINDFULNESS. If you’re looking for more than mediation, or if meditation still just isn’t your thing, consider a mindfulness practice instead. (And yes, they are different things.) While meditation is designed to take you out of your current moment and direct your energy somewhere else, the goal of mindfulness is to bring your full awareness to your present moment, engage with what you are feeling and approach it with new energy. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


TERI & MIKE Showing Off Chicago After meeting each other at work in Boston, Teri and Mike moved to Chicago together to attend grad school. Since neither are Chicagonatives, most guests were traveling from out of town. They wanted to showcase the city they love with a summer wedding. A Friday evening cocktail hour helped kick off the wedding weekend and gave guests time to explore and enjoy the city before the Saturday ceremony.

Sprinkled with Love The couple wanted an elegant and modern aesthetic for their wedding but, they decided their cake should be “all fun”! They covered the cake in sprinkles – Teri’s favorite. The pair also chose a banana bread cake with cream cheese icing for a unique take on the traditional wedding cake.

An Egyptian Flair Mike’s family is Egyptian, so the pair wanted to incorporate his cultural heritage into the reception. Teri and Mike worked with the band to curate several blocks of Egyptian songs throughout the evening. Guests were delighted to learn the traditional songs and dances!

Game Play Playing board games is one of Teri and Mike’s favorite hobbies. So instead of having a traditional guestbook, they asked that guests sign Jenga tiles. With the game added to their collection, the couple will be able to reminisce about their wedding day for years to come.

Number of Wedding Guests: 115 To see more photos from this Real Wedding, go to WRITTEN BY Emily Conley

Real Wedding Vendors VENUE: The Langham, Chicago | PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY: Giadore Photography | EVENT PLANNER: Effortless Events RINGS: Stephanie Gottlieb Fine Jewelry | GOWN: THEIA via Lovely Bride | BRIDE’S SHOES: Jimmy Choo HAIR & MAKEUP: Kate Johnson Artistry | FORMALWEAR: The Black Tux | FLORAL & DÉCOR: Avant Gardenia STATIONERY: Minted | ENTERTAINMENT: Sway Chicago | CAKE & SWEETS: Sugar Fixé | FAVORS: Garrett Popcorn



SPOTLIGHT ON STYLE | Hues Used: Tricia & Jake


Vendors EVENT PLANNER: Bethany Moore Events | VENUE: The Monte Bello Estate | PHOTOGRAPHY: GReyes Photography STATIONERY: Chelsea Brown Designs | FLORAL: Flowers by Steen Productions | CAKE & SWEETS: Vanilla Sugar Bakery DÉCOR: Chicago Factory, Flowers by Steen Productions, Key To Your Heart, Stacey’s Place & Morgan’s Place To see more photos from this Spotlight on Style, go to CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


City Scene W H AT ’ S N E W A R O U N D C H I C A G O L A N D PHOTOGRAPH BY Jasko Omerovic Photography

InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile 505 N. Michigan Ave. | Chicago, IL 60611 312.321.8735 | The InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile is thrilled to have given both their Renaissance and Grand Ballrooms exquisite renovations for your upcoming celebrations. Guests will twirl around the dance floor under opulent crystal chandeliers and intricate hand-painted frescos reminiscent of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. With an updated color scheme of sophisticated gray tones and gold accents, the historic hotel establishes an elegant and lavish atmosphere that makes it one of Chicago’s most treasured gems. With the help of their incredible culinary and events team, The InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile will successfully make your wedding dreams come true.

Manzo’s Banquets 1571 S. Elmhurst Rd. | Des Plaines, IL 60018 847.593.2233 | Manzo’s Banquets has effortlessly hosted beautiful weddings at their venue for nearly 35 years. With recent renovations, guests will be in awe of their spectacular ballrooms adorned with crystal chandeliers, ornate ceilings and marble dance floors enhancing the venue’s sophisticated atmosphere. The private bridal suites have been redecorated with love, to ensure you feel comfortable and relaxed on your special day. Guests will capture the perfect photo opportunity on an enchanting open patio decorated with glowing LED lights spelling “I DO” and “LOVE”. Manzo’s impeccable service and luxurious decór will help create intimate memories that will be cherished forever. 98


River Roast 315 N. LaSalle St. | Chicago, IL 60654 312.527.1417 | River Roast has been named one of the best patios in the city with glittering views of the Chicago riverfront and its acclaimed glory. Expansive windows line the restaurant’s historic red brick walls giving the venue a rich and industrial ambiance. With its updated bar that includes indooroutdoor service, the spacious Murdoch room opens up to a beautiful outdoor terrace for a cocktail reception STEPHANIE JENSEN PHOTOGRAPHY

overlooking the water. The versatile space includes new








decorative mobile bars and an eclectic selection of furniture to accommodate your event’s ideal aesthetic. Your special day will be unforgettable with breathtaking views and remarkable service from the beginning to the the fairy-tale ending.


City Hall 838 W. Kinzie St. | Chicago, IL 60642 312.801.1181 | Chicago’s newly opened City Hall is a sprawling venue divided into a 5,000 sq. ft. event space, a 3,700 sq. ft. restaurant and a 6,000 sq. ft. patio. Skylights run the length


Taureaux 155 W. Van Buren St. | Chicago, IL 60605 312.624.8778 |

of the building and bathe the space in natural light,

Experience a taste of France right here in Chicago at

accentuating the intricate iron trusses and exposed brick

Taureaux. Offering elevated French dining in the heart of

original to the structure. The open hall brings in classical and

Chicago’s Loop, this recently opened restaurant and bar

neoclassical design elements, emulating those of historic

boasts outdoor seating all year round under the covered

municipal buildings across America. Refined finishes, such

outdoor pergola. Your guests will taste the acclaimed

as art deco steel panels and a 40-foot marble bar, dazzle,

chef's seasonal menus and indulge in paired wines from an

while a newly built loft and private bridal suite, overlook the

extensive list. Let the private dining team customize and

space for your perfect wedding celebration.

refine your next wedding event to distinguished perfection.




Location, Location, Location N

othing defines a wedding more than the location. Not


only does it set the tone for the day, but it also says a

If you are looking for a full-service, traditional location, a hotel

lot about the personality of the couple. The sheer

is a great choice. Most hotels have all-inclusive wedding

number of wedding venues can make an engaged couples’

packages and in-house event specialists that will lead you

heads spin. City vs. country. Ballroom vs. barn. Indoors vs. out-

through the entire process from linen colors to cake flavors.

doors. Library vs. loft. Park vs. by the water. There is so much to

Because of their versatility, hotels are a great option for almost

take into consideration that it can be overwhelming. Where do

any type of wedding celebration. It is common for hotels to

you start?

offer intimate nooks that can accommodate 20 guests, elegant

Before you dive head first in looking at venues you need to

grand ballrooms that can accommodate up to 400 guests,

determine your budget and how many guests you plan to invite.

rooftop terraces, skyline views and on-site restaurants where

This information will help you to narrow down your choices. One

you can hold your rehearsal dinner.

other thing to be mindful of is the distance your guests will need

If you foresee inviting numerous out of town guests, holding

to travel between the ceremony location and the reception

your reception at a hotel will take the guess-work out of booking

location, if they are not one and the same. Once you have those

a room. Some hotels can even supply you with a unique

details in mind it’s time to start thinking about the type of venue

reservation link for your guests to book their rooms. Another

for your Big Day.

perk is that it will allow guests the convenience to access their




rooms throughout your reception to change

you are not a member. Similar to hotels,

Having the peace of mind that you have a

their high heel shoes to flats, freshen up

most country clubs will offer many of the

space to move into if inclement weather

or easily get to their room safely if they

services you will need on-site, such as

strikes will allow you to focus your

have had too much of a good time.

an event planner, catering and a variety

thoughts on other things. Then there’s

of linens.

the golf! Your wedding party might enjoy


Known for their golf courses and expan-

playing 18 holes the morning of the

sive grounds, a country club is an ideal

ceremony or as a part of the bachelor or

A country club is another classic venue

location for an outdoor event. As every

bachelorette party.

to consider. You might think that you are

savvy planner knows, if you are planning

required to have a membership to rent

an outdoor ceremony or reception it is

their facilities, but they are not as exclusive

advisable to have a back-up plan in case


as many people think. Many country

of rain. Be sure to discuss your options

If a picturesque setting is on your must-

clubs are available to the public even if

with your event planner ahead of time.

have list, then be sure to explore the



many opulent mansions located throughout Chicagoland. Where else are you going to find cascading staircases, expansive grounds, exotic gardens, historical backdrops, romantic chandeliers and elegant architecture all in one place? Mansions that are available for events, such as weddings, will also offer some of the same amenities as hotels and country clubs. Most are likely to offer all-inclusive packages, including a dedicated wedding specialist, full-service caterer and bridal suites. The versatility you will have when deciding how to execute your Big Day will enable you to have both your ceremony and reception on the property if you so desire. Plus, most mansions will offer both indoor and outdoor site options. Keep in mind that Chicago weather can change on a dime. It is advisable to have an alternate location set up inside if you have decided on an outdoor wedding. Another bonus to having your wedding at a mansion is that they typically only host one event per day. This means that you will have the grounds to yourself for pictures and the staff will be completely focused on your needs alone.

MUSEUMS & LIBRARIES Art and culture are all around us in Chicago. There are many spectacular museums, art galleries and libraries to choose from. Though these locations might not be obvious choices for holding a wedding, they should be. These amazing buildings often feature exquisite art, unique architectural design, historical yet modern elegance and amazing natural light. Depending on the venue you choose, you may need to be more hands-on with all the details. This is a fantastic opportunity to truly make the day your own. If you do not feel prepared to handle all the planning single-handedly, you can enlist the help of a wedding planner. These professionals can walk you through everything from hiring caterers to selecting 106



a florist. Plus, they will be your point per-

party. Be sure to take a step back and


son on the day of your wedding to take

carve out some time for yourself and

Getting married on a farm or in a barn

care of any issues big or small.

your wedding party to enjoy a little pam-

has grown in popularity over the years,

pering at the spa or improve their swing

and for good reason. Think rustic wood

on the golf course.

beams wrapped in twinkle lights, gorgeous

RESORT & SPAS Planning a wedding can be stressful, so

Choosing a resort and spa as your

landscapes for wedding photos, a casual

why not incorporate some well-deserved

wedding location can also take the guess-

reception set around fire pits, mature

rest and relaxation into the equation?

work out of how to fit in a trip to the salon

trees and farm to table catering. Though

Holding your ceremony at a luxurious

to have your hair and nails done. And

these kinds of locations will probably not

resort and spa might be just what you

don’t forget about that massage. After

have an all-inclusive option, you can hire a

need. The final 48 hours leading up to

the major undertaking of planning a wed-

wedding planner to assist you with all the

your Big Day are likely to be a whirlwind

ding and making it to the finish line (aka,

details. Plus, if you were planning to have

of activity for you and your wedding

the aisle), you deserve it!

your four-legged friend be part of the Big



Day, holding your wedding in such a


numerous venues located by the river, or

versatile location means that your pet

Chicagoans looking to get married are

on Lake Michigan, that boast spectacular

could not only walk you down the aisle

blessed in many respects when it comes

water views. Whether the venue you

but could join you at the head table.

to location choices. On top of all the

choose has grand windows or a high-rise

beautiful hotels, restaurants, museums,

patio that overlooks the water, either way,


etc. that the city and surrounding area

you can’t go wrong.

Parks and gardens have always been

have to offer, couples planning their wed-

popular as wedding locations. You are

dings also have the option of a ceremony


almost guaranteed amazing wedding

with water views, or even a wedding on

Banquet halls are another popular choice

photos among the blossoming flowers

the water.

for wedding celebrations. One major perk

in the spring, the lush greenery in the

Envision sailing down the Chicago

to selecting a banquet hall is large scale

summer or the magnificent array of col-

River as you and your guests sip cham-

events are their niche. This means that

orful leaves in the fall as your backdrop.

pagne under the setting sun. Depending

the staff will be well-versed in making

Many parks and gardens offer both out-

on the vessel you select, your guests will

any size event go off without a hitch.

door and indoor options for your nuptials

have the option of sitting out on an

With their custom kitchens designed to

giving you a built-in back-up plan. Addi-

open-air deck or in a climate-controlled

prepare meals for large events, all-

tional items to keep in mind are that

salon. Either way, they will be treated to

inclusive packages and dedicated event

parks and gardens tend to be public

a fabulous meal, full bar service and a

planners, you can rest assured that every

property, you will probably need to

spacious dance floor so that they can

aspect of your reception will be taken

adhere to a noise ordinance and may

dance the night away.

care of meticulously.

not have all the privacy that you and your partner desire.



If you would rather keep your feet

If you are planning to have a rather

firmly planted on dry land, there are

extensive guest list, be sure to discuss


your audio-visual needs with the event planner. From microphones for your toasts and speeches to projectors for your picture montage, this will be another item you do not need to worry about and an added feature to enhance your reception.

RESTAURANTS Throughout your wedding planning, you are likely to use restaurants for your bridal shower, bachelor or bachelorette party and rehearsal dinner, but many couples may not think of them for the wedding celebration itself. Here is some food for thought. A restaurant can be a great location if you are having a smaller wedding. It is common for restaurants to have event rooms that can be reserved for private parties, or, depending on the time of day, you might be able to rent the entire restaurant. While you are likely to get delicious meals at any venue you choose, most large kitchens are set up for catering, thus limiting the meal options you can offer your guests. You are more likely to be able to add variety to your menu at a restaurant, or even have your guests order off the main menu which is aavailable to all who dine at the establishment. Another perk that a restaurant can offer is a personal connection. Maybe you met your future spouse during your semester abroad in Italy or had your first date in Chinatown. Holding your wedding celebration in a restaurant that ties a part of your journey together as a couple to your wedding day can be a special reminder for you both of the things that brought you together, and will continue to be the ties that bind you together for your happily ever after.

LOFTS The modern engaged couple may be looking for a location that is a little edgier or industrial. There are many benefits to having your ceremony and reception in a 112



loft space. Many of these venues are con-

have amazing steel beams, original wood

modate even the most eclectic desires.

verted mills, so they have expansive,

or concrete floors, weathered brick walls

These couples may choose to say “I do�

wide-open spaces to fit all your friends

and exposed ceilings. Work with your

in a stunning wildlife habitat at a local zoo,

and family, plus a great dance floor. If you

wedding planner and photographer to

standing on a glass ledge thirteen hundred

and your wedding planner are up to the

come up with some creative ideas to

feet above the city, on the playing field of

task, this could be a great choice for you.

incorporate these urban features into

a hometown sports stadium, on stage at

Though some lofts will offer in-house

your photographs.

an iconic Chicago theater, in front of an

catering, many do not. This provides you

While most couples will opt for one of

with the opportunity to select the caterer

the more traditional wedding locations

among the stars at a planetarium. Chicago-

of your choice and have your wedding

mentioned earlier, there will always be

land offers an almost endless list of options

cake designed by your favorite bakery.

those adventurous duos who want to

if you are looking for something more

Another benefit is the unique photo oppor-

treat their guests to something a little more

inimitable for your wedding. The only limi-

tunities. These wonderful spaces tend to

unique. Luckily, Chicagoland can accom-

tation you have is your imagination.


aquatic wonderland at an aquarium or

VICTORIA & FRANK Vintage Glam Victoria & Frank both love the Rat Pack Era and Old Hollywood Glam, so settling on a wedding theme proved to be easy. No detail was left unplanned, from the personalized and monogrammed pillows to the custom paper fan backdrop behind the live band playing big band music. The addition of red roses throughout the décor truly stole the show amongst the black, gold and ivory color palette. Together, it created a bespoke, intimate experience for guests to feel as if they stepped back in time.

Always Frank regularly signs his letters to Victoria with “I will love you, always.” In combination with the symbolism from Harry Potter, “Always” has become the couple’s personal mantra. They incorporated the “Always” emblem into every detail of their celebration, from their invitations to their table décor.

Unforgettable Moments When reminiscing about their favorite moments from their Big Day, Victoria and Frank had a hard time narrowing down their list. Frank decided that one of his favorite moments was riding around in Victoria’s Dad’s vintage car at the end of the day. For Victoria, the best part of the day was seeing her groom waiting at the end of the aisle.

Number of Wedding Guests: 180

To see more photos from this Real Wedding, go to WRITTEN BY Emily Conley

Real Wedding Vendors VENUE: Stan Mansion | PHOTOGRAPHY: Hello Rose Photography | VIDEOGRAPHY: Old North Film Company EVENT PLANNER: Fairy Tale Dream Events by Monica | RINGS: dimend SCASSI | HAIR & MAKEUP: Tigerlilie Salon GOWN: Sophia Tolli via Eva’s Bridal International | BRIDE’S ACCESSORIES: Silver Moon | BRIDE’S SHOES: Emmy London BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Adrianna Papell | FORMALWEAR: DXL Mens Apparel; Men’s Wearhouse | DAY-OF STATIONERY: Buffy Weddings FLORAL: Juliet Tan Floral Design | DÉCOR: Art of Imagination; Centerpiece Productions | CAKE & SWEETS: Lezza Spumoni & Desserts ENTERTAINMENT: MVMT Events; The Nite Hawks CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


From the Chic to the Unique 8 WAY S T O M A K E Y O U R W E D D I N G M E M O R A B L E


ouples are always looking for exceptional ways to make their wedding stand out. Of course, you can opt

So, let’s jump right in and look at eight ways to ensure your wedding is as special as your commitment to each other!

for a flashy theme that will encompass your personalities,

or you can go with a classic, traditional vibe that looks like it


just came off the silver screen.

As you already know, anything and everything can be posted

However, if you don’t want to go with a theme per se, but

on your favorite social media platforms. Your wedding and

still want your wedding to be distinctive, there are a number of

the entire process leading up to it, can easily be shared

things that you can do to make sure that your guests are

with your friends, family and coworkers. We don’t have to

talking about your wedding for months to come. Sometimes it’s

remind you what a special day your wedding is to both of

the little touches that are the most memorable, and just a pinch

you as a couple, so it’s absolutely normal that you will

of creativity can certainly go a long way. Guests love to attend

want to share all of the exciting details with your social

a wedding that utilizes new, trendy ideas and maybe even get

media followers.

a few ideas for their own upcoming nuptials.

However, will a few random posts do, or will you want a little

WRITTEN BY Angela Ash | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Emma Mullins Photography 118



more? In an environment packed full of hashtags, shouldn’t your wedding have one, too? Well, a lot of couples agree, as wedding hashtags are one of the biggest trends for 2019. So, how does it work? Well, whenever you make any post about your wedding, whether it be pictures of dress fittings or your first walk-through at the reception venue, you will include your carefully crafted wedding hashtag. That way, everyone can follow right along with you, from the first moments of planning to the last song at the reception. Now, you may already be throwing around a few ideas for your wedding hashtag, but make sure that it will be unique. There are hashtag generators that you can use, but they can be expensive. Plus, it’s fun to create one yourself, if you follow just a few steps. Brainstorm – Get together with your partner and come up with a few ideas. Think of your full names, your wedding date, the venue or honeymoon destination, your theme and some of your special memories. Also, consider your children, pets, your go-to music genre and your favorite sports teams. Get Witty – Now it’s time to get those creative juices flowing! Think about what makes your union unique, and try a play on words. Blend your last name with a saying, like #ILoveYouMoore, or make a pun like #FureverLove, especially if you are including fur babies in your journey. Keep It Correct – Be sure that you use the proper format. Capitalize the first letter of every word, be sure that there are no common typos and make certain no one else is using it.

2. DECORATE TIL YOU DROP If you really want to devote some energy to your décor, you can come up with some amazing ideas. Even if you are working with a professional designer, 120



which we absolutely recommend, you

gifts for the table, with small potted plants

an iPad, or take a Polaroid and write a

can work together to be sure that he or

that can be taken home and planted in

note on the back. If you or someone in

she creates your ultimate vision.

your garden, or even consider tiny spruce

the family likes to sew, your guests can

The first thing to do is get inspired.

trees. Also, etched candles or little boxes

sign squares of fabric that can be put

It’s really important to find local trends,

containing monogrammed items will always

together in a beautiful wedding quilt to

because let’s face it – what’s going on in

be a reminder of your wedding.

be cherished for generations.


Wisdom” box. This is an opportunity for

Use every inch of space at your dis-

Your guests love feeling as if they are a

to settle arguments, why you should

posal. A lot of people tend to neglect the

big part of your ceremony or reception.

never go to sleep angry or why deep-

entryway, but this is the first impression

It’s impossible to have everyone in your

dish pizza is never a bad dinner plan.

that your guests will have when walking

wedding party, but you can come up

Another interesting way to keep guests

into your venue. If you have a theme,

with ideas that will make it simple for

interacting is to allow them to create a

incorporate it here, and give your guests

them to participate in a myriad of ways.

time capsule. Let them add whatever

the option to be pulled in. For example,

One way to get started is to re-think

they want to a box or crate to be opened

are you going with a travel theme, or do

the notion of a boring guestbook, with a

at a predetermined time. You can even

you both just like packing a suitcase and

distant cousin standing behind it to

set up stations for multiple time capsules,

hitting the road when the mood hits? Set

somehow encourage people to sign their

say at one year, five years or longer.

up a globe or a flat vinyl map that your

names. The globe tip above is a neat idea,

guests can sign as they come in.

but let’s take things a step further. Allow


your guests to leave a video message on

When these blasts from the past began

You can also set up a “Words of

Dallas or Los Angeles is completely different than what might be considered on trend in Chicago.

Your centerpieces can also serve as



other couples to leave a few tips on how


together. Candid photos can be the best

appearing at wedding receptions all

take photos with your two best friends?

across the country, some cynics thought

Most photo booths come with hilar-

they wouldn’t last. However, photo booths

ious props and a choice of backdrops

are most definitely the trend that is

or screens, so you can personalize the

decidedly here to stay! Perhaps a big

experience for your guests. Photo booths


part of this is the nostalgia that is

are wonderful because, at weddings, old

If you have space at your reception venue,

involved. Doesn’t everyone recall cram-

friends tend to reunite after 10 years, or

consider setting up a lounge area where

ming into a dark booth at an amusement

family members from the other side of

guests can mingle and sip a cocktail or

park, an arcade or a movie theater to

the country are able to spend a few days

two. If your wedding will have a seating

way to commemorate these moments.

chart for the dining portion of the reception, or if guests simply want to converse in a more relaxed setting, a makeshift cocktail lounge can do the trick. A small side room is ideal, but you can also section off an area in the main venue and bring in a few sofas and tables to give the space its own vibe. And don’t forget to be creative with your cocktails, and have a few featured drinks with cute names that incorporate your wedding theme or other ideas. Years later, it may come up in conversation – I wonder what was in the “Kendall and Brady Blast”?

6. GET CUTE WITH YOUR CONFECTIONS While the wedding cake will always be the centerpiece of the sweets at your reception, that doesn’t mean that you can’t add a bit more here and there. Cupcakes are perfect for the kiddos, and you can even bring the sweets to the tables as centerpieces. You can wrap up local chocolates in brightly colored paper, or you can stack small boxes filled with candies on the tables as well. While it was extremely popular a few years back, what is known as the “groom’s cake” is really making a comeback. Of course, the cake doesn’t have to be just for the groom or decorated in sports or other hobbies. The idea of this second cake is to have fun with it. If you’re both big fans of the Broadway sensation “Wicked,” go with bright green icing on one side and pale blue on the other. If you both play golf, then your cake 124



designer can go crazy with a fun hole-in-

wedding doesn’t have to be any differ-

enger hunt, which is a fantastic choice

one design. Are you getting the idea?

ent. Typically, the focus of the game is

for the young people at the reception.

Let your main cake be the masterpiece

on the bride and groom, where they are

Prepare a list of items or information that

that you’ve been dreaming about since

asked questions about each other until

must be gathered, and have a prize for

watching “Ace of Cakes,” but get quirky

one can be deemed the winner. However,

the winner who finishes the list first.

and eccentric with this smaller cake.

you can also test the members of the

7. GAME ON Everyone loves a good game, and your

wedding party, such as “Who Knows


Taylor the Best”?

Many couples are heading out on their

There’s also the ever-popular scav-

honeymoon the following day, or at the start of the next weekend. They are sad to see the reception come to an end, so why not have an “after party”? A lot of couples opt to continue the party at their favorite bar or nightclub, where they have rented a separate room or a few VIP booths so that the fun doesn’t have to end. If you are catching a plane to Bermuda the next morning and are anxious to get to your B&B for the night, set up a plan for your guests. As mentioned, this may be the first time several of these people have gotten together for years, so make the night last! Spending time brainstorming with your loved ones can be a great way to come up with even more inspiring ways to make your wedding and its reception memorable. Think outside of the box, and don’t be afraid to try something new or different. On the flip side, if you’ve seen something that you thought was super-awesome at another wedding, incorporate it into your own, with perhaps an extra detail or a slight twist. Your reception is the party that you deserve after months, even years, of planning. This goes for your bridal attendants and family as well. Remember all those late nights making out-of-town gift baskets or visiting every bridal shop in town until you found the perfect bridesmaids dresses? Trust me, everyone is ready to let loose and celebrate! So, let your personalities shine through, and be as unique as you want to be with this list of tips. After all, it’s your wedding day – enjoy it!



One-of-a-Kind Wedding Options T

here is no right way to plan a wedding. Seriously. The

personalize their celebration and truly showcase their person-

entire point of your Big Day is that it is a reflection of

ality as a couple. If you’re tempted to do something a little unex-

you, your partner and the love you share. While a

pected for your Big Day, we’ve got some ideas (both big and

traditional affair speaks to many couples, there’s no reason you

small) for you right here.

can’t design a celebration that makes the two of you happy, no matter how quirky or “outside the box” it may seem. We are


seeing more and more couples opt for non-traditional wedding

Let’s just start with perhaps the most dramatic non-traditional

ceremonies, receptions or wedding day elements in an effort to

route you can take – eloping. Couples choose to elope for so

WRITTEN BY Emily Conley | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Emma Mullins Photography 128



many reasons, and the popularity of this

stunning architecture if that is important

you’re eloping. Go as fancy or as casual

wedding day option is currently on the

to you. You can also choose a location

as you want! Other details you may con-

rise. Maybe you don’t want to spend the

that is special to you and your partner – a

sider including: a bouquet and bouton -

money on a typical wedding, you can’t

rooftop where you had drinks on your first

niere, a small wedding cake or sweet

stand the thought of hundreds of eyes

date, a waterfall you hiked to or a

treat and a customized announcement to

on you as you exchange vows or you

restaurant you both really love. There’s no

send out afterwards. Some couples choose

want your wedding day to feel completely

need to travel to another city or country

to celebrate with a small group of close

intimate and personal. There’s no rule

to pull off the perfect elopement, though

loved ones after a private ceremony. Skip-

about why you would choose to elope.

that is always a choice, too!

ping the traditional Big Day does not

Just like with planning a traditional wed-

Couples who decide to elope should

mean you have to pass on everything –

ding, you should choose what feels right

still consider including some of the ele-

include the elements and traditions that

for you and your partner.

ments of a more traditional wedding. At

feel right to you.

If you do decide to elope, there are

the very least, you should still hire a pho-

dozens of ways to pull off this more

tographer to capture the event. You’ll

intimate wedding day option. You can opt

want to have photos to share and look


for just you and your partner, parents and

back on. You may also want to include a

If a full-on elopement feels too dramatic,

immediate family only, or a small gathering

videographer if you want to share your

but you are still not digging the tradi -

of close friends. Once you’ve decided

special day with friends and family who

tional wedding day experience, a desti-

who will be included, you’ll need to decide

may not be included in the event. If you

nation wedding may be just the ticket.

on a location. The courthouse is historically

have always dreamed of wearing a fancy

Destination weddings lend themselves

a popular option, and some cities and

white gown or a crisp tux, there’s no

to smaller affairs as you typically only

towns have city halls or courthouses with

reason to not dress up just because

ask your closest friends and family to



spend the time and money required to

the day-of your elopement. You’ll almost

in control of every single detail, a destina-

travel. You may also choose this option

definitely need to buy your dress at home,

tion wedding could prove challenging, as

for your Big Day if you want a more laid

well ahead of your wedding date, and be

you’ll likely have to leave a lot of the work

back, less formal vibe than a traditional

sure to talk to the boutique owner about

up to professionals on location and trust

wedding venue would provide. If you

any concerns with packaging your dress

that it will be what you want when you

and your fiancé are from different states

for shipping to your destination.

arrive. If you are aware of these challenges

or countries, maybe a neutral location

Benefits of a destination wedding are

ahead of time, and tying the knot some-

makes more sense so as not to unfairly

bountiful: gorgeous photos in exotic loca-

where far from home sounds like your

burden one side of the family.

tions, a more intimate guest list, a relaxed

cup of tea, then a destination wedding

If you decide to host a destination

party vibe and less stress if you book

may just be your dream come true.

wedding, consider sourcing some wedding

your wedding at a resort that offers a full-

vendors from your hometown and bring

fledged wedding coordination package.

them with you. A hair and makeup artist

However, a destination wedding doesn’t


who knows your hair and skin, that can

come without some difficulties. Make sure

For couples who want a more traditional

do a trial run with you before the wedding,

you know exactly what the legal process

wedding ceremony, but still want to cus-

is invaluable. You may also want to

is like for obtaining a marriage license if

tomize their Big Day in a unique way, a

consider hiring a photographer who is

you are in another country. You may want

non-traditional reception may be the

willing to travel with you. This affords you

to consider staying for a night or two after

perfect compromise. Instead of hosting

the opportunity to get to know one another

your wedding and then booking a separate

an afternoon or evening reception like

during the engagement session this will

honeymoon, so you aren’t surrounded by

usual, couples could choose to have an

ensure you feel more comfortable than

your wedding guests for the entirety of

early-morning ceremony followed by a

you would if meeting someone on location

your newlywed vacation. If you like to be

brunch reception. Similarly, couples could



choose to host a later ceremony with a

hors d’oeuvres or passed appetizers.

cocktail tables are perfectly acceptable,

cocktail reception to follow instead of a

This type of reception could be held in

make sure you do offer some seating

full dinner reception. There are specific

the early afternoon or later evening. If

options, especially for older guests and

pros and cons to consider with these

you choose to host a cocktail reception

anyone whose feet are tired from standing

non-traditional reception options.

during typical “dinner” hours (5-7 PM),

in heels.

A brunch reception is the perfect

you should let guests know, on a details

choice for the couple who wants to eat

card or invitation, so they don’t expect


delicious food and spend time with

a full dinner. Having food stations or

While some cultures throw multi-day

their wedding guests, but doesn’t want

passed apps instead of a plated meal

wedding celebrations as per tradition,

a raucous party. Brunch doesn’t have to

can be a fun alternative to typical wed-

the Western or Christian wedding is typ-

mean no alcohol (hello, mimosas and

ding food, giving you the opportunity to

ically a one-day affair. If you crave the

bloody marys!) but guests tend to be

offer bite-size treats or unexpected fare

intimacy of an elopement or destination

more subdued and less inclined to tear

like tacos or sliders. While some couples

wedding, but also want to celebrate

up the dance floor at eleven AM. A brunch

choose a cocktail reception as a way to

with a larger group, a two-day wedding

reception can be laid back or more formal,

save money, be aware that snack food

could be the answer. On the first day,

but you should generally stick with a

costs can add up quickly and some-

exchange vows in a small ceremony

semi-formal dress code at most. An earlier

times end up costing more than a regular

with only your closest friends and family

celebration could also allow you to get

dinner. A cocktail reception is perfect

and then follow up the next day with

into more popular venues that may be

for a couple who wants a less-formal

a larger reception to celebrate! Or con-

booked already.

vibe. It’s generally easier to mix and

sider including all your guests in a week-

With a cocktail reception, a couple

mingle with guests when everyone isn’t

end full of festivities. You could have a

foregoes a full dinner in favor of heavy

seated at tables to eat. While standing

pre-wedding ceremony activity on Friday



that incorporates a special interest that

for a personal touch. Some couples have

Desserts are easily customizable and

you and your partner share – kayaking,

elected to have their grandmothers drop

there’s no need to even stick to sweets.

hiking, painting, ballroom dancing – and

flowers in lieu of traditional flower girls,

Couples are opting to cut into things they

then have your wedding and reception

and the photos can be cherished for

love – pizza and cheese wheels are two

on Saturday. By stretching your wedding

years. Want a unity symbol but not into

popular choices – instead of traditional

celebration over several days, couples

the idea of lighting a candle? Switch it up

cakes. There’s also interactive s’mores

can personalize activities and share more

and toast your new spouse with each

bars, donut walls or French crêpes. You

time with their guests than just a few

other’s favorite beer or wine.

can always have a wedding cake and

hours at a busy reception.

You can always use entertainment options to set your Big Day apart and

your culture or favorite desserts.


leave your guests with an experience to

Never forget that your wedding is a

remember. Hire a magician or tarot card

reflection of you and your partner. It’s

If you’ve read through all of the alternative

reader to move between tables. A mariachi

important that you both feel like your Big

options above and none feel quite right,

band could add a fun touch to a cocktail

Day is authentic and personal, even if that

you may be interested in planning a

hour. We’ve seen Elvis impersonators ser-

means flouting tradition or expectations.

more traditional wedding while including

enade guests at the reception and LED

From solo elopements to an unexpected

a unique element or two. From wedding

robots spray guests with fog from the

dessert, there are endless options for

attendants to dessert, there are hundreds

dance floor.

customizing your wedding, you just need

of ways to customize your wedding and

When it comes to the food options, a

to decide what feels right and follow your

food truck reception instead of a typical

heart – especially if it leads to pizza at

To customize your wedding ceremony,

plated meal or a beverage truck for spe-

your reception, because who doesn’t love

you can have a family member marry you

cialty cocktails is a memorable option.

a little wedding pizza?

add in a little unexpected flair.


then bring in additional sweets to highlight


JAIME & WILL Knowing Early On After meeting through an online dating site, Jaime and Will just knew this was it. They shared so many interests including a love for food, traveling, sports (loyal Cubs fans) and family values. By their second date, they were a perfect match for one another.

Ready to Party Jaime and Will wanted their wedding reception to feel like a big party, with a focus on the band, food and bar. They featured two specialty cocktails named after the bride and groom – a pear martini with grenadine and a spicy Old Fashioned with habanero bitters – which were a big hit with guests. The upbeat band had guests kicking up their heels on the dance floor the entire night.

The Lone Star State In honor of Will’s Texas roots, the couple incorporated a “Texas chic” theme throughout their reception. They used antlers, cacti and plenty of candles interspersed with a navy, pink and metallic color scheme to keep things both western and elegant.

Photogenic Pup Jaime and Will enjoyed taking photos around the financial district and the Wells Street Bridge after their first look. One of their favorite moments of the day was including their sweet pit bull Macey in the photoshoot for some adorable family wedding portraits.

Number of Wedding Guests: 200 To see more photos from this Real Wedding, go to WRITTEN BY Emily Conley

Real Wedding Vendors VENUE: City Hall | PHOTOGRAPHY: Juancho SC Photography | EVENT PLANNER: The Simply Elegant Group RINGS: Albert’s Diamond Jewelers | GOWN: Lazaro via Bella Bianca Bridal Couture | BRIDE’S SHOES: Manolo Blahnik HAIR & MAKEUP: Rose Austra | EYELASHES: Doll in a Dash | FORMALWEAR: BALANI Custom Clothiers BRIDE’S JEWELRY: Brides & Hairpins; Susan G. Allen Couture Bridal Accessories and Jewelry | STATIONERY: Design That Flies FLORAL & DÉCOR: Atmosphere Events Group | ENTERTAINMENT: Rod Tuffcurls & The Bench Press CAKE & SWEETS: Blue Plate; Jewell Events Catering; Sweet Mandy B’s CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


SPOTLIGHT ON STYLE | Hues Used: Dana & Justin


Vendors FLORAL & DÉCOR: Avant Gardenia | VENUE: Pazzo’s at 311 | EVENT PLANNER: Rachael Steacy Events PHOTOGRAPHY: Kristin Bernice Photography for Cage + Aquarium STATIONERY: Minted | CAKE: Sweet Ali’s Gluten Free Bakery To see more photos from this Spotlight on Style, go to CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


How to Book a Wedding Venue B

ooking a wedding venue obviously requires organization

family and friends attend your celebrations, make sure the

and preparation, but whether you are ready for it

venue has room for your ample head count. So, grab your

depends on details such as where you are in your

laptop or a pen and paper and let’s dive into the most common

overall planning, the type of venue you want and how soon you

venue details to iron out.

want to get married. In order to choose the best venue, you and your partner


should determine what is most important to you both on your

Choosing a location is the first step of booking your venue.

wedding day. For example, if you both value having all of your

Consider guest count capacity, indoor and outdoor potential,

WRITTEN BY Nesa Mangal | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Kristin Bernice Photography for Cage + Aquarium 142



catering and alcohol options and proximity

for a lot. Even if you only dislike the

locations have a list of caterers, design

to your ceremony. It is also important to

ceiling or the carpeting, moving forward

studios and florists they recommend who

note that while you might be able to

with signing a contract could translate

have worked with them on events in the

transform an event space with lighting,

into spending thousands of dollars trying

past. However, some venues go beyond

drapery and flowers, the costs of those

to camouflage it down the road.

recommendations and exclusively work

elements add up quickly. To avoid a

with these partners as their “preferred

hefty price tag, consider selecting a loca-


vendors.” Be sure to ask about the

tion that requires only minor changes.

Another detail to consider about your

policy before bringing in outside vendors

But remember, some little things count

venue are your wedding vendors. Many

to make sure you can create the wedding you have in mind. You and your partner should also look into an all-inclusive venue. All-inclusive venues often come with pre-packaged options, which can save a lot of coordination and research for couples who want a celebration that is more simple and traditional. A-la carte locales require a lot more time and effort, but they allow for more customization for couples who want a celebration that is tailor-made to their preferences.

GUESTS If you are not celebrating the day with just the two of you (which we are not knocking), make sure you consider any family or friends who will be witnessing your nuptials. Transportation, accessibility, parking, safety and proximity to the ceremony are all details to account for. Some urban venues don’t have attached parking and outdoor venues, while picturesque, are not always easily accessible for guests. Knowing approximately how many guests you will invite is crucial to selecting a venue that safely accommodates each person and allows everyone to have a good time.

BUDGET It goes without saying that to book a venue, you will have to spend some cash. How much you spend, however, is completely up to your personal style and budget. The average cost of a wedding venue is around $15,000, but venues can be as low as $2,000. Setting a 144



budget for your venue might also impact

number of guests or a food and beverage

100 percent able to fill the number of

your vendor budget. The last thing you

minimum to book the space and guaran-

seats you request. Another tip for lowering

want to do is blow your budget on a

tee a certain price. If you know for a fact

the price of your venue is requesting

beautiful venue and then realize you

that your number of guests will exceed

changes to the event package. Politely

have to scrimp everywhere else. Call

the minimum amount or your catering

tell the venue representative what your

potential vendors and make sure each

needs and preferences will go beyond

price range is and ask if you can subtract

quote is within your means before even

the requirement, this could lower the

extras that you don’t think you’ll need

visiting a venue.

venue price or the catering price per

(chair covers, candle treatments, center-

guest. However, make sure that you are

pieces, etc.). Be aware – negotiating will

Many event spaces require a minimum

have its limits. If you are dead set on a particular venue, you will have to accept their general price range. Make sure you also ask the venue representative to calculate the total cost per person, including any service charges and taxes. Online prices and even prices quoted in person sometimes exclude these two figures, which can make a sizable difference in your total cost. For good measure, check that your venue doesn’t charge extra for services like cutting your cake.

DATE Unfortunately, there is not an industrywide standard that wedding venues follow when it comes to securing an event date at a venue. In fact, many venues will charge anywhere between $500 to 20% of the total cost of your wedding to hold a date. It is crucial to call each vendor on your list and ask how much the deposit is when you have your date set in stone. This will ensure that you don't show up short-handed during your inperson visit if you fall in love with a space – and do make sure you visit in person before you put down any money towards any venue space. Some venues also charge a premium for Saturday evenings. You can instantly save by booking your wedding on another day of the week. You might also consider having your wedding during the off-season months like January through March versus May through October. Generally, you should plan to book your wedding reception site at least nine months to a year before your wedding 146



date. Give yourself a deadline and begin

your mind, there is no such thing as

date as you. So do not hesitate to book

researching and touring a month or two

booking too early – keep in mind, most

a space if you know you really want it.

before then. If you are having a longer

venues will not allow you to switch the

engagement, try to book your venue

date once you have signed a contract.


early to lock in the current year’s prices

Remember, dates fill up quickly – wed-

While it may seem like a small detail,

versus the year you are actually getting

ding venues usually get booked as far as

couples need to consider the staff they

married. This can save you up to at least

two or three years in advance – and

will be working with. It should feel like a

15 percent of the total cost of booking

there are plenty of other couples out

natural fit and they should get along well

the space. Unless you are apt to change

there who will want the same venue and

with your wedding planner, and other points of contact. Searching for this type of relationship will provide a much smoother planning process and wedding celebration. Do not underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. Reviews are an important part of a business’ reputation and your secret weapon in validating whether the venue representative’s conduct and anecdotes are both truthful and professional. Finding out what kind of experience friends, family members and especially other brides had at a particular wedding venue will give you the most accurate sense of what you will be getting. Another perk of word-of-mouth – telling the venue representative about the couples you know that have gotten married at their establishment and recommended it to you could earn you a discount.

ASK QUESTIONS The most important aspect of booking your venue is to make sure you get all of the agreed upon details in writing. Nothing will give you more peace of mind than knowing all of the aspects of your dream venue are accounted for and guaranteed. Overall, booking a venue isn’t rocket science, but it does require careful thought and project management before you set foot inside of a location. There is no rule of thumb for what your venue should entail but there are workarounds to stay within budget and ensure everything runs smoothly so you and all of your guests have a memorable time. Trust us, the months of planning and hard work will all be worth it. So what are you waiting for? 148


Something Blue F U N A N D F E S T I V E WAY S T O F E AT U R E “ S O M E T H I N G B L U E ” I N Y O U R W E D D I N G T H AT A R E A L S O O H - S O - M O D E R N


very bride and groom knows that there are a few items

blue classic, but there are also TONS of oh-so-modern ways to

you absolutely must have before you are ready to walk

get much more creative than that.)

down the aisle: including something old, something

But first things first: where did this whole “something blue”

new, something borrowed and something blue. But it’s that last

tradition even come from, anyway? Aren’t weddings supposed

one – something blue – that can leave a couple totally stumped

to be all about white? As it turns out, the tradition of having

for ideas. (Sure, that light blue garter might be a tried-and-true

“something old, something new, something borrowed and

WRITTEN BY E. Ce Miller | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Erin Hoyt Photography 150



something blue” comes from an Old

how do you go about incorporating

statement-making earrings. Are there

English rhyme. (One that actually ends

something blue into your wedding, any-

buttons running down the back of your

with “and a sixpence in your shoe” – but

way? Especially if blue isn’t exactly a key

dress? Make them blue! Are you rocking

seriously, who wants to dance the night

element of the color palette you’ve been

a corset bodice? Replace those white

away with a sixpence in their shoe?)

planning for.

laces with blue ones. Adding a cocktail

The rhyme features four objects


can’t go wrong with a blue one. And

ple good luck in their life ahead. Something old to demonstrate continuity and

While a blue ribbon laced through your

Carrie Bradshaw, who arrived at her

sentimentality. Something new to start

garter is a classic “something blue” go-

headline-making wedding with blue feath-

the happy (new) couple off on an optimistic

to, you definitely don’t have to stop or

ers in her hair? If all else fails, or you’re

foot. Something borrowed from an already

start there. When it comes to modern

just not feeling the blue vibes? Blue

happily married couple, with the hopes

manifestations of this antiquated tradition,

undies totally count towards your blue

that their good luck will rub off on the

the bluer the better. From sassy stilettos

quota. Believe me when I say that when

newlyweds. And finally, something blue,

to a statement wedding or reception

it comes to wedding attire, blue is the

traditionally meant to deflect the Evil Eye

dress, sleek sunglasses for your outdoor

new white.

(eek), but more modernly to represent

wedding or a vibrant blue veil, this sea-

Grooms can definitely get in on the

the love, purity and fidelity that goes into

son’s couples aren’t just featuring a

blue action too. Think: a blue tux, vest or

a successful relationship.

touch of blue – their motto is go blue or

suspenders; argyle socks or shoe laces;

go home.

pocket squares or a fun bow tie. There

intended to bring the newly wedded cou-

So now that that’s settled – and you


ring for even more bridal bling? You

are pretty clear that you don’t want the

Brides can also boost the blue with

Evil Eye anywhere near your Big Day –

accessories like a cute clutch or some


who can forget fictional fashion icon

are so many ways to have fun with the color blue.



Consider a blue mani or pedi (or, just

to go – and exiting your wedding cere-

one sparkly blue accent nail on your

mony through a cloud of bright blue

It’s your wedding and you can walk

ring finger.)

bubbles will make for some seriously magical photographs.

down the aisle with blue hair if you want “rules” these days, which means that


right now there is no better time to let

The tradition of “something blue” defi-


your unique, creative spirit fly than on

nitely doesn’t have to stop at your

Custom cocktails are a super fun element

your wedding day. A blue hairdo a tad

wedding wardrobe. Consider adding

to any wedding reception – and while

too much for you? Consider blue high-

some brilliant blue elements to your

you’re creating your custom cocktail

lights or lowlights, a few blue flowers or

wedding ceremony itself. Incorporating

why not add some custom color to it as

gemstones to accent your updo, or a

blue flowers into your bouquets or wrap-

well? From blue liquor to creative incor-

blue birdcage veil.

to. Modern brides are breaking all the

ping them with blue ribbons are two

porations of fruit, there are tons of ways

And by the way, if you think blue

beautiful ways to boost the blue. Not

your mixologist can make sure you’re

makeup was best left in the ‘80s think

into carrying blue hues down the aisle

serving up all the color you want on your

again. While brow-high blue eyeshadow

yourself? Sounds like the perfect task

Big Day.

might be so four-decades-ago, there

for your flower girl, who will definitely

Not quite ready to drink your “some-

are other ways to do blue that won’t

be more than happy to sprinkle bright

thing blue” – or worried that you and

give you and your guests Saved by the

blue petals along your path. Or maybe

your guests will spend the entire evening

Bell flashbacks. I’m talking eyeshadow,

you’re ring bearer will present you’re

boasting blue tongues? In that case,

eyeliner or some super subtle shimmer.

ring on a plush, baby blue pillow. Blue

blue glasses or goblets are definitely the

None of the above speaking to you?

bubbles are also a wildly whimsical way

way to go.



a hint of blue

EAT YOUR BLUES. You know it’s important to eat your greens – but on your wedding day, feel

Your “something blue” doesn’t have to be predictable. Find a shade of blue you love and include it anywhere throughout your Big Day. You can trust these true-blue options we’ve compiled to make a statement your

free to indulge in your blues, instead. Blue food, that is. And no, I’m not talking about a menu of purple potatoes, eggplant and blueberries (although, that would

guests will remember.

definitely make an impression.) When it comes to featuring a menu of blue food, dessert is definitely a huge 1.

crowd pleaser. (I mean, unless you and everyone you know just really, REALLY loves eggplant.) Consider adding some blue accents to your wedding cake – think: fondant ribbons, a blue monogram of your brand-new initials or edible blue flowers. If you’re including a groom’s cake that’s a great place to go all-blue.


A garden of blue cake pop “flowers” will definitely dazzle your guests and their taste buds. An ice cream sundae bar with an offering of all-blue toppings is another fun and festive feature or maybe a custom candy bar with bowls of all-


blue candies that your guests can take home as wedding favors.

SET YOUR TABLES IN BLUE. Whether you’re keeping your blues subtle or you’re jazzed about making them the star of the show, table arrangements 4.

and place settings are a great way to feature all kinds of blue accents. Blue glasses, goblets or dinnerware make for some gorgeous eating; while blue table runners or napkins can add that pop of color you’re looking for. Want to keep your “something blue” mostly on the down-low? Consider a 5.

subtle blue monogram on your cocktail or dinner napkins.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.


Monogrammed Mini Daily Zipper Pouch, Mark and Graham Sapphire Ring, State Street Jewelers Royal Blue Hodgkiss Flowers Tie, The Tie Bar Plate Collection, The Festive Frog Blue Macarons


THINK: LIGHTING, DÉCOR AND MORE. Just because you don’t walk down the aisle carrying a bouquet of blue doesn’t mean you can’t feature some blue


beauties in the rest of your floral arrange-

blue with the flip of a switch. Blue tunes

ments. Whether you’re seeing visions of

are another totally unexpected way to

ceiling-high flowers cascading blue or

get your wedded serving of blue – from


are more interested in small, subtle pops

a classic like Blue Moon to that Eiffel 65

Is the color blue still not quite speak-

of blue blooms, a great florist will know

song that was stuck in our heads all of

ing your wedding day language? It might

exactly how to make all your blue dreams

1999, there are enough “blue” songs to

be time to head over to the paint sec-

come true.

keep you dancing all night long. (Just

tion of your local hardware store, to see

Blue candles – fun tea lights or more

make sure you don’t over-blue it, as

just how many shades of blue there

dramatic tapers – are another beautiful

many blue songs do tend to be on the

actually are to choose from. While every

way to include some blue in your décor.

sad, sappy side.)

venue and vendor obviously won’t have

Blue balloons or Chinese lanterns can

from (seriously, there are SO MANY)

tables in blue, or wrapping your dining chairs in blue bows.

Consider wrapping some highboy cocktail


every shade of blue available to choose


add a touch of whimsy to your reception.

having an idea of how much blue you really want and what hues you would like

While wedding invitations typically fea-

to include can go a long way in getting

Are you definitely looking to feature

ture the same colors you will be high-

you started. There is a perfect shade of

some blue but are not totally sure you’re

lighting throughout your wedding day,

blue for every color palette.

ready to commit? Blue lighting might be

there’s no rule that says they have to. A

After all, whether you love the color

the way forward for you. Talk to your DJ

blue envelope liner, blue text or even

blue or it just ends up giving you the

about including some blue spotlights on

blue calligraphy are all great ways to

blues, one thing is for sure: nobody wants

the dance floor. End up hating the vibes?

check “something blue” off of your to do

the Evil Eye making an appearance at

Chances are you’ll be able to ditch the

list before the Big Day.

their wedding.


PATRICIA & GERASIMOS “It’s Wedding Day!” On the day of her wedding, Patricia woke up to her sister chanting “It’s wedding day!” The enthusiasm spread until the whole family joined in on the chant. The family danced out of the house and onto the bus taking them to the church while the live band from Crete, Greece followed along playing music. The band accompanied the bride as she arrived at the church, walking in with both her dad and brother by her side.

Darling Details Patricia loves invitations, so the couple wanted to ensure their wedding invitation made a lasting impression. The acrylic invitation included an etched lace design that was hand-drawn to match the details on Patricia’s stunning wedding gown. They also included a dance floor monogram that coordinated with their gorgeous invitations to make sure every detail flowed seamlessly throughout the celebrations.

Greek Traditions To celebrate her Greek heritage, the couple incorporated many Greek traditions throughout the day. Her father and Gerasimos both wore a traditional white sariki – a Cretan headscarf with a dense fringe, and Patricia changed into a traditional Cretan wedding dress midway through the reception. Staying true to Greek tradition, the first dance was The Bride’s Dance. The couple stood side by side while guests danced with Patricia and showered the couple with money.

Number of Wedding Guests: 400 To see more photos from this Real Wedding, go to WRITTEN BY Emily Conley

Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY: St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church | RECEPTION: The Westin O’Hare | PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY: RED Weddings EVENT PLANNER: Manikas Designs | RINGS: Ancona Jewelers | BRIDE’S GOWN: Ersa Atelier via Dimitra’s Bridal Couture BRIDE’S SHOES: Jimmy Choo | HAIR: Danielle Specialty Hair | MAKEUP ARTIST: Brett Loding | GROOM’S FORMALWEAR: My.Suit GROOM’S ACCESSORIES: Tiffany & Co.; Thomas Pink | GROOMSMEN’S FORMALWEAR: Emanuele Tuxedo Rental & Sales STATIONERY: Papagraphics Custom Design | FLORAL & DÉCOR: Yanni Design Studio | CAKE & SWEETS: Brookhaven Marketplace ENTERTAINMENT: John Grammatis; The Pantermakia CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM




f you are anything like most couples, you’ve probably been

are you and your partner becoming a family, but you will also

dreaming about your wedding since the proposal. Your visions

be joined to each other’s as well. Therefore, things will change

have more than likely consisted of the perfect ceremony

when you need to think about incorporating some of the

venue, the most unique decorations and a reception that no one

important people in your partner’s life. Unless you’re going to

will ever forget. And it doesn’t end there! You may have even

have a gigantic wedding, you’ll need to make some cuts and

picked the most beautiful beach in the world to spend your honey-

devise a plan to make every attempt possible to make both

moon – can you almost feel the sand between your toes?

families comfortable with your choices.

But when it comes time to begin thinking about the bridal

Never fear, though, as there are a few tips that you can

attendants, groomsmen and the flower girl and ring bearer,

follow that might simplify choosing the members of your

you may think that it’s a no-brainer. Even though you may have

wedding party and ensure that you include as many loved ones

made a change or two over the years, you’ve definitely decided

as possible.

that you’re going to stick with your siblings, your three best friends from college and your favorite cousin. However, you’re getting married, which means that not only

AVOID UNFORGETTABLE MISTAKES. Before you begin to center in on how to select your bridal

WRITTEN BY Angela Ash | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Ocken Photography 162



attendants, you will want to be sure that

is all about you and your preferences.

what one couple may see as an inspired

you make the right choices straight out

Always know that it can still be your day,

ceremony may not appeal to another.

of the gate. Think long and hard about

even if you make a few compromises

There’s no need to stress over your cer-

the repercussions of the selections that

along the way.

emony in the traditional sense, and see the choices that other couples have

you make, as well as how it may affect other people – particularly your relationships with your in-laws. It’s easy to get caught up with the idea that selecting your bridal attendants


made as “rules.” If you find yourself

No two ideas are typically the same, and

popular, it doesn’t have to apply to

starting a sentence with “it’s customary,” remember that even if a choice may be selecting your own attendants. The first thing that may come to mind is separating the attendants according to whether they are male or female, or with which member of the couple they are the most acquainted. If this makes selecting your attendants difficult, or if a choice based primarily on gender just doesn’t feel “right” to you, there’s no reason that you have to go in that direction. If you’re the bride, and your best friend is the boy who lived two streets down your entire life, you shouldn’t feel pressured to ask a distant cousin merely to have a particular “look” during your ceremony or scattered throughout your wedding album. Make your decision based on love and loyalty – not on perception. There’s certainly nothing wrong with having a “man of honor” or a “bride’s man.” Many couples are even skipping the idea of a bridal party altogether, and simply looking at their wedding as a lavish party, where everyone is welcome, and no one feels left out. It seems that the days of 10 bridesmaids are over, as more and more couples are finding that they want the majority of the focus on their own relationship at the ceremony. When you’re considering your options, forget about seeing things as male or female, or traditional or modern. Only envision the ceremony that you will remember for the rest of your lives together. Nothing else will do!

FAMILY SHOULD TYPICALLY COME FIRST. Making decisions that will impact who 164



stands next to you on this long-awaited

keep in mind, starting with how there’s a

closest friend or sibling, but try to give a

day can sometimes get complicated, but

reason that you’ve heard countless times

little on how you can incorporate others

as long as you keep a clear head and

how blood is thicker than water. Your

into your wedding party. If you have

choose with your heart, you can’t go

family will always be your family, and

extra space on your side and your partner

wrong! However, we all know that family

your partner’s relatives are also going to

needs to include a step-sister or close

can sometimes be tricky. Don’t expect

become a big part of your relationship –

cousin, try to be as accommodating as

that to change just because it’s your

if they aren’t already.


wedding day. However, there are several things to

Everyone has the absolute right to

Additionally, if you’re having a really

save that special place of honor for their

difficult time choosing between your two closest friends, sometimes opting for a brother or sister can ensure that you won’t regret your decision or create feelings of ill will or jealousy. Even if you have a really small wedding party, you can even find unique ways to incorporate your closest family friends. This is your wedding, so get as creative as you want!

10 YEARS FROM NOW. There are so many different things to remember when making numerous important decisions regarding your wedding ceremony. So, it’s not too far-fetched to understand that there may be moments when you need a little grounding when it comes to making your choices. What are some of the things that can impact your decision the most? No matter what situation you find yourselves in, there’s always one thing that can help you step back and see things in a different light. Deeply consider where you may be in the next 10 or even 15 years. Will you have the same friends? Is it really wise to choose a bridesmaid or a groomsman that you only seem to be friendly with regarding a particular hobby or sports league? If you’ve just graduated from college, will you still keep in touch with your roommate from your semester abroad in Amsterdam? Be sure that you understand your relationships and are able to see which ones are “situational.” In other words, what if you no longer work in the same office on the same team? What if you no longer live in the same apartment building? 166



What if your friend stops dating your sis-

require some compromising on at least

partner’s second cousin that you don’t

ter? Would you still feel a deep enough

one or two issues. Selecting your atten-

particularly like help seat the guests isn’t

connection to include this individual in

dants typically takes some give and take.

that big of a deal.

your wedding party?

Absolutely refusing to accommodate

More often than not, many couples

a particular person upon your partner’s

look at their wedding album a few years

request may set your entire wedding off

later and wonder why they chose a par-

on the wrong foot, especially if it involves


ticular person. They may not remember

a relative or a close family friend. Be

While you can make every attempt pos-

their last name, or even if they’re still

especially cautious when you may be

sible, not everyone can stand next to

friends on social media.

considering only three out of four siblings,

you in those beautiful eggshell dresses

Try to pick wedding attendants who

or if you are filling up more than your

that you spent weeks looking for, and

have a sense of permanence – that you

“fair share” of slots available for the

you shouldn’t feel bad about that. Some-

can envision being around for your 20th

wedding party.

times, no matter how hard you try to

wedding anniversary, or even becoming

It’s a fact that it is often difficult to

please everyone, it’s just not possible.

godparents or honorary aunts and uncles

merge two sides of the altar, while at

This can especially be the case with

to your children.

other times, it can quickly turn into one

close co-workers or more distant relatives.

big happy family. Setting the precedence

Even if you get along well enough at the


to compromise will ensure that your part-

employee picnic or at your fun family

ner’s loved ones are included just as

reunion, it doesn’t mean that you may

often as your own can determine the

have a closer relationship with other

There probably hasn’t been a single wed-

tone for your entire married lives. So, in

people who may be a better fit for your

ding in the history of the world that didn’t

the grand scheme of things, having your

wedding party.


Is This Seat Taken? A G U I D E T O P L A N N I N G Y O U R R E C E P T I O N S E AT I N G


ell, you’ve done it: you have finally settled on your

chart alone. From that fantastic wedding planner you hired to

guest list, sent out all those invitations you so thought-

your ever-helpful parents, there are plenty of people who will be

fully designed, and diligently gathered the RSVPs that

more than happy to assist you as you take on the task ahead.

came flooding in. It sounds like you, my friend, are smack dab in

This guide, full of tips and tricks for successful seating arrange-

the thick of wedding planning. At this point, if there’s one task on

ments, is a great way to get started.

that Big Day to-do list that you’ve been putting off, it’s probably


the seating charts. Compared to dress shopping, cake tasting, ring designing

If you are waiting for those last, lingering RSVPs to trickle in:

and floral arranging, planning the seating for your wedding

don’t. If you have already followed up with your invited guests

reception can seem like a total snooze fest. But it’s also one of

who haven’t responded and you still haven’t heard back, it’s

the more important elements of the entire day. How you choose

the kids’ table or the highboy beside the DJ booth for them.

to handle this task can either lead to a room full of smiling,

(And honestly, even Miss Manners would say it serves them

dancing guests or an evening ending with awkward encounters

right.) Putting off your seating charts until the last minute is a

between estranged family members. So, for better or for

definite no-go – it’s a fairly substantial undertaking, and just ask

worse, it’s a task that you must complete.

any wedding planner: they’ll say it’s something you’re going to

The good news is that you don’t have to plan your seating

want to get settled and off your mind sooner rather than later.

WRITTEN BY E. Ce Miller | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Jasko Omerovic Photography 170



(All the more energy you can spend

able sitting next to each other. While it

circumstances. Put aside any dreams of

focusing on veil length and custom cock-

might be tempting to sit your college

your wedding day becoming the occasion

tails – am I right?) If the deadline you

roommate next to your BFF from grade

upon which your estranged in-laws finally

gave your guests to RSVP has passed

school (you’ve always wanted them to

make peace, and put those folks on

and you’ve heard from most of the family

become better friends, and what better

opposite ends of the room (or, at least,

and friends you are going to share your

way to bond than over their mutual love

opposite sides of a very large table) from

“I Dos” with, it’s time to get cracking on

of you, right?) if they’ve only spent a few

one another. Nothing about too much

seating charts. So, grab some of your

passing moments together, neither one

champagne and a few sappy love songs

favorite snacks – and your fiancé, of

is going to appreciate an evening of

says: “maybe it’s time to reconcile.”

course – and start planning.

inescapable small talk; especially if all

You’ll thank us later!

their own friends are sitting elsewhere.


This isn’t speed dating, it’s your wedding.

Think: family, college friends, high school

Seat your guests next to the people who


friends, office buddies, distant relatives,

make them comfortable and who they’re

While you won’t be spending much of

friends of your parents and – if they

guaranteed to have the most fun with.

your wedding reception seated (you’ll be greeting guests, circling the room,

made the cut – all the kiddos. Organizing

dancing, taking tons of photographs)

labeled piles of RSVPs – will not only


help you determine who you want sitting

Yes, “off limits” as in: these people can

time sampling, at some point. By placing

where, it’ll also help you figure out which

in no way sit within earshot, eyeshot or

a table of your BFFs between you (and

of your guests will be the most comfort-

arm’s length of one another, under any

your well-deserved meal) and the rest of

your guests by categories – whether that means making a list, an excel sheet or

Photos by: Maksym Prokopiv



you are going to want to sit down and actually eat the food you spent so much


the room, you won’t feel obligated to

paper for the past decade. Don’t be

be forced to spend an evening awkwardly

make casual conversation with your

afraid to delegate.

trying not to bump elbows as they cut

parents’ work pals while your chicken

into their Beef Wellington.

let that table of friends run interference


while you eat.

While time once was that weddings were

piccata gets cold. There will be plenty of time to chat with them later. Meanwhile,

a one-stop-shop for matchmaking (at




least, that’s what the rom-coms from the

Did the rug rats you know – and, okay,

‘80s say) nowadays, nobody – and that

generally love – make the guest list? Then

Speaking of your parents’ work pals,

means: nobody – likes a singles table.

it’s definitely worth thinking about hav-

unless you’ve been dropping in to visit

From the perspective of your guests, it

ing a kids’ table. Not only will all of their

your parents at the same office every

can definitely be both a little bit embar-

parents have more fun with their littles

week since you were a kid, chances are

rassing and a whole lot of boring. Seat

stashed away in their own, kid-approved

you haven’t a clue what the interpersonal

your guests by the people they already

space, the kiddos themselves will defi-

dynamics of your parents’ workplace are

know and love, and they’ll be guaranteed

nitely have more fun seated with others

like. When it comes to seating the guests

to have a good time. Think your cousin

their own age. It’s a win-win situation.

your parents invited to your wedding,

and your coworker would totally hit it

Plus, if your caterer is featuring a few kid-

enlist their help. I guarantee they will be

off? Find the time to introduce them

friendly options on the menu, having all

more than happy to tell you who gets

before your wedding – maybe your

those little eaters seated in the same

along best with whom, and who has

instincts are spot on, and they’ll end up

place will make your servers’ evenings

been fighting over replacing the photocopy

as each other’s dates. If not, they won’t

easier as well.





table after a location from your globe-

Now that the hard part of your seating

a giant map. Hosting your reception

chart is done, it’s time to have some

beneath some starry skies? Constella-

So, you’ve thought about it all, now it’s

fun! The seating chart is just one more

tion-themed table numbers with corre-

time to actually diagram who belongs in

fun and festive way to show off your Big

sponding place cards might be the way

what seats. Do so in a way that makes

Day style – so be sure to get creative!

to go. If you’re celebrating all things

sense to you. If that means digital, snag

(While keeping things organized and

vintage on your Big Day, a display of

a PDF of the reception floorplan from

easy for your guests to understand, of

vintage picture frames, each featuring a

your wedding planner and start clicking

course.) While a table lined with num-

different table, is cute and creative.

keys. Does your brain run better on old-

bered cards is a simple and classic

Have way too many guests to work in

school technology? A giant bulletin board

approach, that’s definitely not the only

that much whimsy? Something as simple

and some color-coordinated Post Its

way to go these days. Want to welcome

as an alphabetized board (in calligraphy,

should do the trick. Are you a lover of

your guests by inviting them to imbibe

of course) might work for you.

lists? Then number (or name) each table

that fancy bubbly you bought? Consider

and line up the guests accordingly. Defi-

listing their table numbers on champagne

nitely keep the overall flow of the room in

glasses; alongside pretty, personalized

mind too – aka: give your favorite guests

glass tags. For a rustic wedding, string


the best seats in the house, put the

some rope across a few picket fence

If assigned seating – and all the charting

kiddos closest to the bathroom, and

posts and attach your guests’ place

that goes with it – is still just not for

don’t seat the grandparents next to the

cards with colorful clothespins. Is travel

you, don’t worry. Assigning guests to a

DJ’s giant speakers.

a trend in your relationship? Name each

table and then letting them determine

trotting lives, and pin each place card to

their own seating from there is a great way to keep all your guests organized without micromanaging every single detail. Is hosting a formal dinner not really the Big Day vibe you’re going for? In that case, consider some more creative seating: a mix of high and low tables, some couches and cushions, a blend of indoor and outdoor arrangements (weather permitting.) Pair more casual seating with hors d’oeuvres and a passed dinner, and your guests will be free to mingle, move around and change seats as they please. No matter how you decide to seat your guests, or what creative seating chart you incorporate into your Big Day, the most important thing to keep in mind is that seating arrangements are a great way to show your guests just how much you love them and appreciate their presence as you proclaim “I Do.” Thoughtfully arranged seating will not only ensure success on your Big Day, it will tell your guests you thought about them, and you are really glad they are there. 176


TA Y LOR & RON N I E Heartfelt Vows Taylor and Ronnie chose to read their vows individually in front of the videographer before their ceremony. They opted not to do a first look, so reading each other’s vows was a personal and intimate experience in anticipation of seeing each other at the altar.

Feels Like Home The wedding ceremony itself was a celebration of Taylor and Ronnie’s south side Chicago upbringing. The wedding was held in their hometown church and their pastor incorporated many loving memories into their service. They also asked friends and family members to participate in the celebration by providing a ceremonial dance and song selection.

Family Roots Instead of a unity candle, the couple chose to use a plant to symbolize their union. Both mothers provided soil that the couple poured into the pot of the plant. The gesture ceremoniously illustrated their family roots and values.

Ronnie’s Favorite Moment While the whole day was memorable, Ronnie’s favorite moment was seeing his beautiful bride walk down the aisle for the first time. It was a magical moment that signified the wonderful journey they were about to begin together.

Number of Wedding Guests: 275

To see more photos from this Real Wedding, go to WRITTEN BY Emily Conley

Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY VENUE: St. Sabina Church | RECEPTION VENUE: The Odyssey | EVENT PLANNER: The Event Source PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY: M28 Photography & Films | OFFICIANT: Fr. Michael Pfleger | ENGAGEMENT RING: Verragio WEDDING RINGS: Tacori | GOWN: JJ’s House | BRIDE’S SHOES: Badgley Mischka; Nina | HAIR: Crystal-Eyez Makeup & Beauty Lounge MAKEUP: Brittani Goode; Lauren Blackwell | BRIDE’S JEWELRY: Allure Wedding Jewelry | BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Azazie GROOM’S FORMALWEAR: Indochino; Yulain | GROOM’S ACCESSORIES: Pronto Uomo; Royal London Watches GROOM’S SHOES: Calvin Klein | STATIONERY: Yadao Printing | CAKE & SWEETS: Dat Donut; Kesha’s Kreations4U FLORAL & DÉCOR: Elegant Chair Covers & Event Décor; Mitchell’s Flowers & Events CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Choose Your Words Wisely T I P S F O R C R E AT I N G T H E P E R F E C T W E D D I N G V O W S


ithout a doubt, your wedding will be full of magical

your vows should truly embody the spirit of your relationship.

moments. But one of the most meaningful moments

This is definitely not something you want to rush! You’d hate to

will by far be the exchanging of your vows. After all,

be scrambling at the last second and resort to snagging some-

they're the whole reason you're getting married in the first

thing subpar off the internet.

place! For a few short minutes, all eyes will be on you and your

Have an open and honest conversation with your fiancé

fiancé as you pledge your love and devotion to each other. In

as early as possible to discuss your vows. If you plan on

fact, your vows might just be the most important words you

having a religious ceremony, keep in mind that some religions

ever speak! But no pressure, right? With everything hinging on

require the use of traditional wording in your vows. But others

these all-important oaths, you want them to pack the right

can be more flexible. So, always be sure to keep your officiant

punch. So, if you’re dying to learn the secret to creating mem-

in the loop. That way, you can be aware of any limitations you

orable, personalized wedding vows, look no further!

might face.



With so many other things to arrange, don’t let your vows get

If you want to break the mold and move beyond traditional

lost in all the chaos. More than any other part of the wedding,

vows, there are plenty of alternative options. The beauty of

WRITTEN BY Micaela Fischer | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Rachael Schirano Photography 180




would hate to pressure them into doing

really do whatever you want! Sure, there’s a customary format, but feel

Before you go lunging for a pen and

On the other hand, they might be just as

free to throw the rulebook out the

paper, there’s some preliminary fieldwork

thrilled by the idea as you are!

window. You might shake things up by

you should do first. Like with any major

reading a beloved poem or moving pas-

project, writing your vows involves a

sage from a favorite book. If either you

process. Following these first steps will

Once you and your fiancé are on the

or your fiancé is a musician, you might

help tremendously when the time comes

same page about writing your vows, it's

even consider playing something that

to start writing.

time to talk about tone. Are you dreaming

planning a wedding is that you can

something they’re not fully onboard with.

Time to talk tone.

of poetic and romantic vows that'll leave

represents you as a couple. It’s totally

Communication is everything.

your crowd in tears? Or maybe something

First and foremost, check in with your

casual and funny? A lot of these decisions


fiancé to make sure you agree on writing

depend heavily on your personalities.

If you’re feeling especially ambitious, you

your own vows. This might seem obvious,

Take some time to think about how you

might even be so bold as to write your

but it’s best to have all your bases cov-

can incorporate the best parts of your-

vows from scratch. Going this route

ered. After all, while you might have your

selves into your vows.

takes a bit more work. But nothing will

heart totally set on writing your vows,

Agreeing on a general tone is a good

be more gratifying than speaking the

your fiancé might be a bit iffy about it.

way to prevent any embarrassing surprises

vows you wrote as you gaze into the

Maybe writing isn't their forte. Or perhaps

on the day of the wedding. After all, how

eyes of your betrothed. But where do

they just don't feel comfortable being

mortifying would it be if your fiancé deliv-

you even begin with such a daunting

that vulnerable in front of all your friends

ered a long, heartfelt speech and you

task? Let’s break it down.

and family. Whatever the reason, you

followed up by jokingly vowing to never

up to you!

watch your favorite Netflix shows without them? What might seem clever and funny at first could turn out to be hopelessly awkward if you don’t plan ahead.

Better together? Along the same lines, it’s important to decide early-on just how much of your vows you’ll write together. Maybe you’re the type of couple dead-set on tackling everything side-by-side. Collaboration can be a beautiful thing. You might turn it into a romantic bonding time for the two of you to reflect on your relationship and future. Or maybe, after you’ve settled on a tone, you want to keep your vows a total surprise! Going this route will add a little extra thrill on your Big Day as you each eagerly await to hear what the other wrote for you. Many couples do a combination of working together and separately. There might be some parts that just make sense to collaborate on, while others you might want to keep secret. 182



Get inspired.

mindset. Pour yourself a glass of wine,

your thoughts. It might even be a good

If you’re stumped on how to format

coffee, hot tea or whatever else puts you

idea to set a timer (about 10 minutes, or

your vows, there are plenty of samples

most at ease. Maybe even turn on some

so) in which you allow yourself to freely

out there to help inspire you. Read a

music that reminds you of your fiancé.

write whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t

large variety of different examples and

Just get comfortable and reflect on

necessarily have to make sense yet. In

save the ones that speak to you. You

what this marriage will mean to you. What

fact, you don’t even have to write in com-

can mix and match elements you like

specific qualities do you adore about your

plete sentences! For now, just allow the

from your favorites to get a bare-bones

fiancé? What are you most looking forward

pen to move across the page completely

idea for what you might want.

to in your future together? What do you

uninhibited. What’s important is that you

want to promise? These are the questions

get all your thoughts out in front of you.

You can even get inspiration from your favorite love songs, poems and sto-

your vows should answer.

ries. Consider printing out specific lyrics

This is an old trick that professional writers use to kick writer’s block to the


curb. And it can be just as useful as a

might even be able to find imaginative ways to weave them into your vows!

Now, that you have a general idea of how

Remember, the blank page is not your

you want your vows to sound, it's time to

friend. It’s better to have a page full of

dive into the nitty-gritty of content.

messy scribbling than nothing at all.

Practice some free-writing.

Create an outline.

to keep them nearby as you write. You

Do some soul-searching.

starting point for writing your vows.

Before you start writing your vows, find a quiet, stress-free time when you can be alone to really think about your

Keep a pen and paper nearby as you

So now you have a piece of paper

relationship. Create a romantic and relaxed

think about the questions above. Then,

filled with your semi-coherent, love-sick

atmosphere to get yourself in the right

whenever you feel ready, just jot down

ramblings. Now what? It’s time to make the magic happen! You’ll want to start by creating an outline. This will help you develop the structure you want your vows to take. Circle the big ideas from your freewriting exercise and expand on them a bit more. Then, put them into an order of importance and relevance. Maybe you want to open with how you first met, followed by the things you love about them and then close with whatever you wish to promise them. Once you have this rough sketch, writing your first draft will be much easier.

Prepare for multiple drafts. Once you’ve written your first draft, take a break from it. Put it in your desk drawer, or close out of that word document, and just walk away for a few days – maybe more. This really helps to clear your head. So, when you finally come back, you’re looking at it with fresh eyes. Distancing yourself makes the revising process so much easier since areas that need improvement will be more obvious. 184




no pressure to follow it. But you might

repeat this process several times before

So, now you have something that resem-

be pleasantly surprised by the sugges-

you end up with a version you feel

bles a final draft for your very own

tions they give you.

satisfied with. At the same time, know

wedding vows. Congratulations, you’re

when to call it quits. Be careful that you

almost done! Now, it’s time to work on

don’t become overly critical of your work.

the finishing touches.

It’s very possible that you’ll have to

you’re striving for.

Keep things brief.

While this might go without saying, you should always practice your vows

There is no such thing as perfection. So, you’ll drive yourself crazy if that’s what

Practice makes perfect!

Show them to someone you trust.

before your wedding day. Play around with your delivery by placing emphasis

Having a second opinion can give

and emotion on different words until it

you valuable insight into what changes

sounds just right. If you feel comfortable,

For the benefit of your guests, shorten

you might need to make. Consider

you could even try practicing on someone

your vows to one or two minutes, tops.

showing your vows to someone you

else. This might be the same person

Ceremonies have a rhythm to them, and

trust – like a parent, or maybe your Maid

who helped you proofread.

you want to make sure you keep things

of Honor or Best Man. This is especially

While you don’t have to memorize

rolling. If they start getting a bit too lengthy,

helpful if there are places in your vows

them (although that would be a nice

it’s probably time to make some edits. If

that you feel just aren’t working. Ask

touch!), you should be able to recite your

there are things you want to say, but can’t

them for honest feedback and be open

vows fluidly without stumbling over your

fit them in, consider putting them in a letter

to their critique. But remember, ulti-

words. Even if you do memorize them,

for your fiancé to read before the ceremony.

mately, you’re in complete control of

it’s a good idea to keep a copy on-hand.

Or, you might even find a way to work

what makes it into the final version. So,

You’d hate to get a sudden case of

them into a toast during your reception.

if you disagree with their advice, there’s

stage fright mid-ceremony and completely forget your words! It’s best to have your vows typed and printed. But if handwritten, make sure your script is clearly legible and free of any margin notes. You don’t want anything to distract you while you’re reading.

READY TO GET STARTED? While creating personalized vows requires a lot of thought and time, it doesn't have to be overwhelming. If you keep an open line of communication with your fiancé and break the process down into smaller, more manageable steps, you'll be golden. Whether you decide to write your own vows, keep things traditional or do a combination of both, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to plan. Enough preparation will ensure that your vows sound streamlined and sincere. So, when the moment finally arrives, you’ll be able to speak from the heart and focus on what really matters: promising your commitment to the love of your life. 186


Every Wedding Event Explained s you’re busy planning and prepping, it’s easy to for-


get about all the events leading up to your Big Day.

You said yes, which is definitely cause for celebration! There’s

From an engagement party to a day-after brunch, each

not a firm rule for who hosts the engagement party, but it’s

event is a chance to celebrate your love story with your nearest

usually the parents of the bride or groom. However, many

and dearest. But, more events also mean more questions. Who

couples choose to plan their own! Held during the first few

should you invite? Where should you have it? Who’s supposed

months of the engagement, the party is a fairly casual affair

to host, plan and pay for them all?

before the stress of wedding planning kicks into high gear.


We have rounded up the most common wedding-related events along with the tradition and etiquette for each. Keep in mind that none of these events are required (besides the ceremony, of course!), but the more celebrations the merrier!

Although if everyone is in on the surprise, you may head straight to your engagement party after the proposal! You don’t have to invite everyone that you plan to invite to the wedding; in fact, it’s customary to keep the guest list to just

WRITTEN BY Bailey Heldmar | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Ashley Galminas Photography 188



family, the wedding party and perhaps a

take a peek at your registry if you already

for this event. After all, it’s a time for

few other close friends. However, don’t

have one, but don’t feel obligated to reg-

you to relax, let loose and forget about

invite anyone to the engagement party

ister before the engagement. A card and

wedding planning.

that you don’t also plan to invite to the

nice bottle of wine are an appropriate

wedding. Speaking of invitations, an

engagement party gift.

The guest list for the bachelor and bachelorette is by no means limited to only those in your wedding parties; feel

engagement party doesn’t require formal


free to include other close friends and

Host your engagement party at home

Hosted by the bridesmaids and the

group text may be the easiest way to

or at your favorite restaurant to keep

groomsmen, bachelor and bachelorette

determine everyone’s schedule to start

cost and planning to a minimum. It’s

parties take place closer to the wedding


still early, so save your budget for the

– think two months to two weeks before.

Whether your friends have planned a

Big Day! Many restaurants and bars have

While it’s tradition to have them on the

night on the town in your hometown or a

rooms available to rent for large groups

same weekend, don’t stress if you and

weekend getaway to a different city, the

that are perfect for engagement par-

your sweetie celebrate your final days

most important thing is to have fun at

ties. If you host at home, ask a few

as singles on different dates. It’s more

your bachelorette or bachelor party.

close relatives to pitch in with food prep

important to find a time that works for

Whether you go out for dinner and danc-

and decorating.

mailed invites. Evites or even a Facebook event are an acceptable and easy way to get the word out.

siblings. This is another event that does not call for formal invitations. In fact, a

everyone in your individual wedding

ing, enjoy mani-pedis and a wine tasting,

While most guests will likely bring a

parties. While not everything about the

take in a local sports game, explore a

small gift, gifts are not mandatory at the

party has to be a surprise, your friends

new city or simply lounge by the pool,

engagement party. Some guests might

should take on the majority of the planning

there are endless ways to celebrate your upcoming wedding with friends! One point of contention for bachelor and bachelorette parties can be the cost. As a rule of thumb, the wedding party should treat the guest of honor to a night out; however, if travel is required, the bride or groom should cover her or his own expenses, with the exception of a nice dinner or a few drinks on their friends at the destination. And if you do opt for a weekend getaway, don’t be

Photos by Rick Aguilar Studios

offended if some of the invitees can’t attend; there are plenty more opportunities to celebrate you.

BRIDAL SHOWER Another event that takes place in the last month or two before the Big Day is the bridal shower. True to its name, the bride is showered with love and gifts at this traditionally daytime event. As for the host, it can be anyone from your maid of honor to your mom or another close female relative. Historically ladies only, the guest list should include family, the bridal party




and other close friends of the bride. A

asked to gift lingerie or sultry sleepwear

The guest list should always include the

classic bridal shower is brunch at the

for the honeymoon. While this doesn’t

wedding party and immediate family, but

host’s home; opening presents would

require a registry, be sure to list your

many couples choose to invite extended

follow light snacks, refreshments and

sizes and perhaps a few preferred brands

family and other close friends as well. In

maybe a few games. If you’re imagining

on the invitation.

the case of a destination wedding, it’s a

something less traditional and a little

courtesy to invite all guests to the

more relaxed, have the festivities at a


restaurant or an art class.

The groom’s parents usually host the

Since the main event is the next day,

rehearsal dinner.

As with many events on this list, the

rehearsal dinner, which is always held

most couples opt to have a more casual

female-only rule is increasingly broken

the night before the wedding. After the

rehearsal dinner that complements the

by couples that choose to have a joint

couple and their wedding party rehearse

wedding. The rehearsal dinner is a time

shower. As with a traditional bridal shower,

the ceremony at the venue, they’ll head

for everyone to mingle and enjoy each

a relative or the couple’s close friends

to dinner to celebrate with their closest

others’ company before the production

would host a coed event at their home

relatives and friends. While the father of

of the wedding day; be sure to thank

or favorite local spot. Whatever kind of

the bride, best man and maid of honor

guests from near and far for attending

event you choose to have, mailed invita-

will give speeches the next day at the

and being a part of your celebration as

tions are expected.

reception, the rehearsal dinner is a time

you rest assured that everything is set

for other guests to share their fond mem-

for the Big Day.

Make sure to register before your shower because guests will look to it as

ories and well wishes for the couple.

The venue could range from your par-

a source for what to gift you at the

Like the engagement party, you don’t

ents’ backyard to your favorite restaurant.

shower. Alternatively, some brides opt to

have to invite everyone to the rehearsal

Whatever you choose, the rehearsal

have a lingerie shower where guests are

dinner that you invite to the wedding.

dinner is the perfect time to infuse a little of your personality as a couple into the wedding weekend. Was your first date at a taco truck? See if you can rent it for the event! Did you bond over a love of craft beer? Host the rehearsal dinner at your favorite brewery. If it’s a destination wedding, think about a restaurant that showcases the local cuisine. Paper invitations are customary for the rehearsal dinner and are sent after you receive wedding RSVPs. Guests do not bring gifts to the rehearsal, but the night before the wedding is a good time to give thank you gifts to your wedding party, especially if it’s something you’d like them to wear during the ceremony.

CEREMONY & RECEPTION The main event! Although tradition states the bride’s parents host the wedding and reception, like many traditions, this one no longer holds firm. Many couples choose to host their own wedding, the groom’s parents may offer to host or all three parties could chip in a little bit to pull off 192


Photography courtesy of Danielle Heinson Photography and Allison Williams Photography


your dream wedding. The wedding cere-

Even if you choose not to have a wedding

tion may also host a brunch the day after

mony and reception themselves should

planner, most event spaces have an

the wedding. Especially common for des-

need no explanation, but there are a few

event coordinator that keeps things run-

tination wedding, the informal and com-

details that often need clarification.

ning smoothly while you enjoy your

pletely optional party is for wedding

The guest list is historically the same

special day to the fullest. Similarly, you

guests to say a final goodbye to the

for both events, but some couples choose

wouldn’t want your mom or best friend

newlyweds before they jet off to their

to have an intimate ceremony followed by

running around the venue instead of cel-

honeymoon. Of course, a brunch is just

a larger reception. Although it depends

ebrating at your side.

one more event to add to an already

on the couple’s style, the ceremony and

Guests should bring gifts from your

busy wedding calendar; nobody will ques-

reception will be the most formal of all

registry to the wedding. Register for

tion if you choose to skip this event and

your events, which means mailed invita-

gifts at a variety of price points at a few

start the honeymoon a little early (or you

tions are a must. The typical wedding sta-

different stores so that every guest can

just want to sleep in).

tionery suite will include an invitation,

find the perfect gift at a price they feel

Invitations to the brunch can be an

reception card, an RSVP card with pre-

comfortable with. If you don’t need or

added insert in the wedding invitations,

addressed envelope, directions to the

want physical gifts, you can also ask

but an evite is equally appropriate. While

venue, an accommodations card for out-

that guests contribute money to a hon-

destination weddings typically call for

of-town guests, as well as any other infor-

eymoon fund. Although this trend is still

inviting everyone that attended the wed-

mation you think your guests will need.

catching on, there are a few websites

ding, in other cases, it’s acceptable to

designed to help.

invite only the wedding party, immediate

Whether you hold the ceremony and reception at separate venues or at a

family and out of town guests as a cour-

location that can accommodate both,


tesy. Common places to host a morn-

it’s helpful to have a day-of coordinator.

Whoever hosted the ceremony and recep-

ing-after brunch are at the host’s home or at the hotel where most of your guests stayed. Fitting the more casual atmosphere, the day-after brunch can be a comeand-go event. Let guests know that they should feel free to stop by anytime within a two or three hour period to offer any final congratulations. A buffet is an easy way to feed your guests without much stress and; offer light breakfast options like muffins, quiche and fruit that do not require a sit-down meal. While a mimosa or bloody mary bar is always festive, be sure to have plenty of coffee and water! If you take anything from this, it should be that there are a few rules that can’t be broken. Talk to your family and friends early-on about what events are a must and which you’d rather skip, discuss who might be willing to host and what you’d like to take on yourself, and set budget expectations for each event. Most importantly, remember that every event is supposed to be a celebration of your unique love story!



NICOLE & NICOLE Meant to Be Nicole and Nicole had a strong connection from the very start and after only a few months of dating, they knew their love was meant to be. Sports, fitness and family are only a few of their many similar interests.

Feeling Butterflies They knew seeing each other prior to the ceremony was necessary to work out their excitement and nervous jitters. The resulting first look was one of their favorite moments of their wedding day. Nicole and Nicole exchanged gifts under a huge willow tree and treasured the alone time together before the busy wedding festivities began.

Family Support Having their family members involved in their wedding ceremony was very important to the couple. They chose significant poems and passages about love and marriage for their aunts to read as a meaningful and memorable part of their service.

Love is Sweet Enjoying good food was an essential part of Nicole and Nicole’s Big Day. Nicole R.’s mom customized a heart-shaped donut wall to create a special way to serve sweet a treat to the wedding guests. Each guest got to choose from over a dozen different flavors!

Number of Wedding Guests: 190

To see more photos from this Real Wedding, go to WRITTEN BY Emily Conley

Real Wedding Vendors VENUE: Lincolnshire Marriott Resort | PHOTOGRAPHY: Tamara Jaros Photography | EVENT PLANNER: Clementine Custom Events VIDEOGRAPHY: Our Wedding Movie | RINGS: James Allen; R.C. Wahl Jewelers | BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Reddington Bridal NICOLE J.’S GOWN: Stella York via Volle’s Bridal & Boutique | NICOLE J.’S HAIR & MAKEUP: Structure Salon NICOLE R.’S GOWN: Casablanca Bridal via Reddington Bridal | NICOLE R.’S HAIR & MAKEUP: Elana Darrus Makeup & Hair STATIONERY: Minted | FLORAL & DÉCOR: Yanni Design Studio | ENTERTAINMENT: The Gold Coast All Stars CAKE: Lovin Oven Cakery | SWEETS: Oak Mill Bakery | DONUTS: Do-Rite Donuts CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


SPOTLIGHT ON STYLE | Hues Used: Bri & Mike


Vendors EVENT PLANNER: Sarah Kathleen Events | VENUE: The Pavilion at Orchard Ridge Farms | PHOTOGRAPHY: Palette of Light Photography STATIONERY: Minted | FLORAL & DÉCOR: Event Floral | CAKE & SWEETS: Delish Cakes

To see more photos from this Spotlight on Style, go to CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Your Unique Ceremony W H AT S H O U L D Y O U A S K Y O U R O F F I C I A N T ?


very wedding is unique and the planning process can

Your wedding will create the perfect blend of two fam-

be similar to finding all of the right pieces to an

ilies, along with their past, traditions and standards. Depend-

extremely important puzzle. Selecting the right officiant

ing on your religious affiliations and even your own personal

is like sliding that last piece into the picture, standing back

preferences, you may opt for a ceremony that is classic and

and seeing just how perfectly it fits. You’ll want to make sure

traditional in every way. Or, you may want to take that cray-

that your officiant will be the perfect match for you specifically

on and scribble outside of the lines with a sudden burst

as a couple.

of creativity.

WRITTEN BY Angela Ash | PHOTOGRAPHY BY UnPosed Photography 200



You will also find that, should you come from different cultures, nationalities or religious backgrounds, it may become

Do you customize your script, or try to stick to something standard?

ested in working with an officiant who isn’t open to accommodate your vision.

Have you been involved with ceremonies that have incorporated unique ideas or unions?

even more challenging to select the per-

Some officiants have presided over

fect officiant. After all, it’s not always

hundreds of weddings. Therefore, it is

easy to combine ideas that are rooted so

fairly common that an officiant will read

deeply in opposing views. Yet, when you

from a script, or that they even have it

find the right formula, the end result can

memorized. However, what you need to

If you already know that you will have

be absolutely beautiful.

discover with this question is if the officiant

unique requests for your ceremony, it’s

is willing to make changes to what is nor-

best to mention this up front, and then

mally performed.

ask if the officiant has ever held a wedding

Therefore, it’s easy to see why finding just the right officiant can set the entire tone for your ceremony, including reciting

You can begin by asking to read the

of this nature. When meeting with a

your vows and that magical moment

script that is typically used at most wed-

prospective officiant, or even when vetting

when you both say “I do.” But how do

dings. Who knows? Perhaps it will be per-

them over the phone before you make an

you know that you’ve found “the one”?

fect as it is! If not, kindly ask the officiant

appointment, there’s absolutely nothing

First, you must start by asking the

if they are willing to amend the wording.

wrong with jumping right to the point.

right questions. You and your fiancé will

Most will agree to do so, but you may

Some officiants may only perform a

want to feel confident in your decision.

come across an officiant who isn’t com-

particular religious-based ceremony, or

Use this list to help you ensure the

fortable with making any changes and

others may not be familiar with your par-

officiant you have chosen is the right

tries to follow the same blueprint. At this

ticular culture. An officiant may have

selection for this ever-important role in

point, you will probably need to decide if

pages of five-star reviews or come with

your ceremony.

this is a deal breaker, and if you are inter-

a stellar reference from another recently married couple. But what’s most important is that they will be a good match for your specialized ceremony. You will also need to decide if you are willing to work with an officiant who has never performed a ceremony similar to the one that you are wanting, but is still willing to do so. A couple can tell a lot about an officiant and whether their personalities will get along. Yet, it’s also imperative to be sure that the officiant will put in the work to ensure that he or she is properly educated on your religion, culture or any other unique background or circumstance.

Have you performed multicultural or multireligious ceremonies? As already mentioned, some officiants specialize in a particular ceremony style, so it’s always best to know a bit about their background. Things can get even trickier when you are hoping for a ceremony that will incorporate two different cultures, ethnicities or religions. 202



Choosing an officiant who has performed a ceremony that melds two different cultures, nationalities or religions may not be as difficult as you might

What are some of the different customs that you have seen used in ceremonies?

are based on tradition, such as the giving away of the bride, the exchange of rings and even sealing the deal with a kiss. Adding your own customs to

think. The United States embraces diver-

Even though you have already asked

your ceremony will make everything

sity, and it is a melting pot of different

if your officiant has performed a cere-

more meaningful to you and your

people from so many unique walks of

mony that will be similar to the ideas

guests. And when your family members

life. It’s not at all unusual for a Catholic

that you have presented, it doesn’t

see traditions from their own wed-

to marry a Buddhist, or for an American

hurt to ask about some of the customs

dings repeated in your ceremony, the

to wed an Austrian or a Jamaican, so

and traditions that they have seen. Just

feeling of pride and sense of culture will

professional officiants have learned the

like wedding planners and a host of

be unimaginable.

best ways to highlight the beautiful dif-

other wedding professionals, an officiant

Ask detailed questions of your officiant,

ferences, while also illustrating the numer-

has probably witnessed a lot of really

and you may also learn about a custom

ous commonalities.

original ceremonies.

or tradition that had been previously

If you come from countries that speak

Thankfully, unique ceremonies are

unknown to you or even your older family

two different languages, consider per-

memorable, so the officiant can more

members. Many couples walk into a

forming the ceremony in both of them. If

than likely recall a few examples that

meeting with a professional officiant with

you have different religious backgrounds,

might be useful to you. Moreover, you

a basic outline of what they’d like but

think about incorporating passages from

may even decide to replicate certain

leave with the entire ceremony mapped

both spiritual prayer books. Your union

aspects of a ceremony or two that piques

out. The best weddings are typically a

is a message that everyone can connect

your interest.

blend of many different ideas and input

with, especially on your wedding day.

So many things at weddings today

from several different people.

What are some of the best ways to feature our particular heritages? Almost every culture has a few staple traditions that couples often incorporate into their ceremonies. A professional officiant will surely be familiar with several, but here are a few ideas to get you inspired. Germany – German weddings include flower girls, just like most weddings. However, Germany also keeps the wedding party simple, as the flower girl is the bride’s only wedding attendant. Jamaica – It’s customary for the bride to wear a typical white wedding dress just like in the United States. However, the groom wears a brush jacket, which is a special shirt worn only for important occasions. Japan – Many Japanese couples begin their wedding ceremony with a quick sip of Sake. Mexico – During a Mexican ceremony, one tradition is for the groom to give the 204



bride 13 gold coins. Another is a Lazo,

more classic, traditional wedding in mind,

leave the rehearsal in the hands of the

where a rosary or a rope is wrapped

it does not mean that you can’t spice

wedding planner or other professionals

around the happy couple to symbolize

things up a little. Who truly wants a

who work with the venue.

that their marriage will last forever.

cookie-cutter wedding?

What will you wear?

Pakistan – Flowers make up much more

Your officiant should be able to make

than bouquets and centerpieces in Pak-

a few suggestions, such as incorporating

This can vary depending on the type of

istan. Instead, the happy couple also

your wedding theme into the decorations

wedding that the officiant will be perform-

wears wreaths made of beautiful blooms

or even the wording of the ceremony, or

ing, as well as religious or cultural prefer-

around their necks.

perhaps you may want to have a loved

ences. Some officiants will wear robes,

The Philippines – This small country

one walk your pet down the aisle.

while others will wear suits or dresses. If

encourages wedded couples to release

If you’re looking for other ways to get

you have a particular idea of what you

doves right after the ceremony ends. It

creative, ask a few family members or

would like to see your officiant wear,

symbolizes their love taking flight, which

friends to perform a reading. It can be

speak with him or her plainly, and discover

has become a popular custom in the

something classic like a few lines from

if your request can be accommodated.

United States over the years as well.

your favorite poem, or it can even be an

Russia – For a Russian ceremony, a red

inspirational movie quote. Just be sure

carpet is used as the aisle to the altar, as

that the words are personal to both of

While no one really wants to think

the couple is viewed as royalty for the

you, and your guests will sense their

about this, situations sometimes arise in

day. Couples also race to see who arrives


which a particular wedding vendor cannot

Do you have a backup plan?

You can also consider the music that

assume their responsibilities. This, of

the household.

will be played during the ceremony.

course, can also apply to your wedding

Wales – It is traditional for the bride to

Choosing popular, current songs, but

officiant. It is best to simply ask what

include myrtle in her bouquet, which will

playing them with a string quartet, is an

type of emergency plan they have in

symbolize the unending love between

excellent way to do something classic

place. Many officiants always have some-

the couple. The bridesmaids will also

with a modern edge.

one on standby that they can call should

at the carpet first to declare the head of

the need arise. However, it’s also imper-

stick a cutting of the flower in their bouquets as well, in hopes that they will also soon encounter true love.

Will you attend the rehearsal? Many officiants will also preside over

Do you have any fun ideas on how to customize an otherwise traditional ceremony? Even if you are both of the same heritage and religion and have the idea of a

the rehearsal and make certain that

ative that notes are provided to the substitute officiant so that they can become as familiar as possible with your specific ceremony requests.

everyone involved is familiar with the

Your ceremony is the main event, so

order of things. This may be included in

it’s only natural that you’ll spend a good

the contract, or it may be an option that

portion of your wedding planning time

is available for an additional fee.

on ensuring that it will be perfect. This is

However, some officiants may opt to

the moment that you’ve been waiting for since you saw your first romance film or began to anxiously peek into jewelry store windows at their selection of engagement rings. Even when you’re on a quest to make your ceremony as unique as possible, or to include customs or traditions that are important to your culture, never feel pressured to include aspects that don’t appeal to you in a personal way. Finding just the right mix is key to the ideal ceremony, and a professional officiant can assist with every aspect.



8 Important Tips F O R B O O K I N G G U E S T A C C O M M O D AT I O N S


our wedding is not only an important event in your lives

travel expenses and juggling busy schedules for this not-to-

as a couple, but it is a day that your family and friends

miss moment.

are also looking forward to as well – often with every bit

Therefore, you will want to ensure that finding accommodations

as much excitement and anticipation. A wedding is one of the

is not just one more hurdle to jump so that they can attend your

happiest occasions that can be imagined, so it’s only normal

wedding. Even though you have menu tastings, formalwear

that everyone on your guest list will do everything possible to

fittings and way too many other tasks to mention, you can

ensure that they can be a part of this momentous occasion.

often set up accommodation options with only a few phone

When you look at your guest list, you may find that it is comprised primarily of people who live in the same general location. However, everyone has out-of-town loved ones that they hope

calls or even emails. So, without further introduction, it’s time to explore eight important tips for booking guest accommodations for your wedding.

can be a part of their Big Day. Moreover, what if you just moved to a different city? If you choose to host your wedding from your


new home, then you’ll have plenty of people traveling to join you

You’ve heard the phrase, “Location is everything” on repeat

in celebrating.

your entire lives because it is absolutely true, and it is even more

For all of your friends, family members and co-workers who

important at a time like your wedding day. While you might like

will be flying, driving or even taking a train to attend your

the idea of your day moving slowly so that you can enjoy every

wedding, you will want to make things as simple for them as

second without even the slightest hitch, chances are good that

possible. After all, they may be taking time off work, paying for

this may be the busiest day you’ve ever encountered.

WRITTEN BY Angela Ash | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Rachael Schirano Photography 208



In short, every single minute counts.

walking distance, this is your best bet.

accompanies such a crowd – especially

So, having accommodations that are

That way, you won’t have to worry about

the weekend of your wedding.

nearby can be crucial, especially if you’ve

traffic and driving times at all.

Before you even think about contacting

maps and then start to search the sur-

a particular hotel to inquire about making

rounding areas for available hotels. You


arrangements, make use of that handy

can even view price points, or set a filter

While you’re looking at things like room

GPS app on your smartphone to check

that will match a multitude of options.

types and availability, you should also

opted to book your own rooms the night before for an added convenience.

To see everything on an even broader scope, look at your venue on Google

explore the amenities that are offered to

on the actual distance from the hotel to


hotel guests. Let’s face it – if you could

look at the actual driving time. Just because a hotel is only 10 minutes away

It never hurts to get an idea of the event

that offered an indoor pool for a similar

doesn’t mean that you can always use

space that is offered at a hotel, even if

price in the same location as the one

the estimated minute-per-mile method.

you already have your dream wedding

you selected, you had better not let your

You may have selected a venue that is in

venue booked. For example, you may

guests find out.

a busy area, which can increase travel

want to host additional events at the

You may think that no one may have

times. When you can, check the driving

hotel, to make it convenient for your out-

time to enjoy the property’s amenities, but

time on the exact day of the week and

of-town guests, who will find it harder to

you’ll need to keep in mind that your

time of the day as your wedding, if you

travel back and forth to other locations.

guests may not have the same hectic pre-

the venue. Once you’ve made note, next

want to get as accurate as possible. If you can find a hotel that is within

have made arrangements with a hotel

Many couples opt to host their rehearsal

and post-wedding itineraries that you will

dinners or a pre-wedding brunch at their

need to manage. Furthermore, many of

chosen hotel. You can also consider plan-

them will also be viewing this weekend as

ning a going-away breakfast or lunch for

a little getaway, so why not make it as

your out-of-towners, even if you’re already

much of a vacation as possible?

on your plane to discover the wonders of Europe or ready to board your cruise ship to the Southern Caribbean. The possibilities are endless, so it’s

Things that can make the stay more enjoyable include a: • Swimming pool • Hot tub or sauna

definitely worth looking into the possibility

• Spa

of an event space that may be available

• Fitness center

on your selected dates.

• Dining options on-site • Bar

3. ASK ABOUT OTHER EVENTS. When you have the venue booked and your date is set in stone, you will want to

• Lounge area • Play area or other children’s activities • Shuttle for airport transportation

make sure that there aren’t any confer-

difficult for last-minute guests to book a


room could be problematic.

When you’re asking exploratory questions

ences or large meetings being held at the hotel. Any events that could make it



Additionally, check the surrounding

about the property, don’t forget to get

areas for things like sporting events, festi-

inspired by additional ideas that could

vals or big-name concerts. These attendees

make your guests’ stay even more con-

may also be looking at the same hotel as

venient or memorable.

an overnight option, and you may not want

First, if the hotel is within driving dis-

to be surrounded by the hype that often

tance of the venue, check to see if trans-


portation can be arranged for your guests.

will undoubtedly change several times

booking a suite for the bridal party to uti-

Many hotels offer courtesy shuttles to

before the wedding, with some guests

lize, consider booking it for two days.

the airport and other popular destinations

finding that they can no longer attend,

That way, you’ll have time to bring over

within the city, and that’s also an added

and others finally realizing that they can

all of the necessities, as well as relax

bonus, as mentioned above. But often, if

readjust their schedules and be there to

with a little downtime.

a large block of rooms is booked, you

lend their support.

may be able to coordinate additional

When coming up with your count, be


shuttle services with the hotel, even if

sure to include:

it’s at an additional cost. If a lot of your

• All out-of-town guests who have

No matter where you look or what

guests are flying in for your wedding,

expressed that they would like to

options are available to you, it may just


be that your wedding occurs at a busy

this service would be invaluable. Next, if you’re still thinking of ways to show your out-of-town guests a little love

• Any members of the bridal party who’d like to be closer to the venue

time of the year, or there may be unavoidable events that are booking up large

for making the effort to travel to your

• Yourselves, as the hotel is a perfect

blocks of rooms. Perhaps you are having

wedding, you can also consider setting

place to spend the night before the

a holiday wedding, or maybe your wed-

up a small gift bag upon their check-in.


ding date falls on the same day as an

This can include anything from unique,

Next, you will need to begin the

important city-wide event.

regional treats to tickets to a local attrac-

process of making arrangements as a

If this is the case, then it may be wise

tion that’s within walking distance.

group, which may be referred to as a

to make arrangements with two different

“block” of rooms. Note that you will not

hotel properties.


be confirming reservations or making

Once you have decided that this prop-

payments, but you will make an agreement


erty checks off all the boxes for what

with the hotel to set aside a number of

The final step is to spread the word about

you’re looking for in a hotel for your

rooms for your guests. Typically, they will

the options that you have arranged. Some

guests, you will be ready to move on to

need to be booked before a specific

couples may include a small card inside

the most important tip on this list – to

date, or the hotel will release them to

the invitations providing this information,

book as a group.

other interested parties.

or you can utilize your wedding website.

The first thing that you’ll need to do is

Be sure to set up a group code, so

Always follow up with word-of-mouth,

get an estimate of the number of rooms

that people booking their reservations

especially if you haven’t confirmed with a

that you will need, so that the property

can use this information to ensure they

guest who will needs accommodations.

will have a general idea of how many

are identified as a part of your group. This

Above all else, be sure your guests

guests to anticipate. This number doesn’t

also negates any confusion that might be

do not book their rooms independently.

need to be exact, but it should be accu-

created by using last names that might

If so, they will not receive the special

rate enough to create a good starting

be unfamiliar or difficult to pronounce.

discounted rate.

point for negotiations. The total number

Additionally, if you are thinking about

Setting up the accommodations for your out-of-town guests will not be a very time-consuming task, but it can make all of the difference. By following these simple tips, your guests will enjoy the convenience of a prime location, rather than having to race across town and possibly encounter traffic. Moreover, not only will you make this step of attending your wedding easier for your guests, but they’ll see the efforts that you have made and, accordingly, will make the same effort to be a part of your celebration.





Hues Used: Anna & William

Vendors FLORAL & DÉCOR: Northern Greenhouses Floral & Event Design | VENUE: Concorde Banquets | PHOTOGRAPHY: Bart Galbas Photography EVENT PLANNER: Toula Kriemadis | CAKE & SWEETS: The Baking Institute

To see more photos from this Spotlight on Style, go to CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Celebration Locations CEREMONIES & RECEPTIONS


ocating and securing the perfect venue for your

house 200 guests, while other venues are a bit more intimate.

wedding celebration is most likely at the top of your

If you have always dreamed of tying the knot outdoors, several

priority list. Whether it is a formal affair or a more

venues offer beautiful spaces and picturesque views that will

casual afternoon gathering, finding the right venue for your

fulfill all of your alfresco wishes. From ballrooms and mansions

reception style requires asking yourself a few key questions.

to lofts and gardens, these inquiries and more can be answered

For example, do you want to get married in the city, suburbs or

by simply perusing the next several pages. Keeping this guide

off the beaten path in a countryside affair? Additionally, will

handy during planning will help you navigate this important

your venue be able to comfortably host and accommodate your

wedding decision quickly and accurately ensuring the picture-

desired guest list? Some venues are spacious and can easily

perfect fit for your Big Day.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY Erin Hoyt Photography 216



Max Reception/ Dinner Size

Starting Price per Person

Ceremony Site Available

Simultaneous Weddings

Outdoor Reception Area

Page Number





CHICAGO Chicago Athletic Association

312.792.3500 12 S. Michigan Ave. • Chicago



Chicago History Museum

312.799.2254 1601 N. Clark St. • Chicago



Chicago Park District

773.256.0159 ext. 1 7059 S. South Shore Dr. • Chicago



Chicago Public Library Harold Washington Library Center

312.747.4130 400 S. State St. • Chicago



Chicago’s First Lady Cruises

847.358.1330 112 E. Wacker Dr. • Chicago




City Hall

312.801.1181 838 W. Kinzie St. • Chicago




Congress Plaza Hotel, The

312.427.3800 ext. 5071 520 S. Michigan Ave. • Chicago



Elite Private Yachts

888.957.2634 600 E. Grand Ave. • Chicago



Fulton Market Kitchen

312.733.6900 311 N. Sangamon St. • Chicago



Galleria Marchetti - La Pergola

312.563.0495 825 W. Erie St. • Chicago




Galleria Marchetti - The Pavilion

312.563.0495 825 W. Erie St. • Chicago




Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

312.587.0508 1028 N. Rush St. • Chicago



Gwen Hotel, The

312.896.7474 521 N. Rush St. • Chicago



Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza River North

312.529.1114 350 W. Mart Center Dr. • Chicago




InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile

312.321.8735 505 N. Michigan Ave. • Chicago




Kimpton Gray Hotel + Boleo

312.604.9830 122 W. Monroe St. • Chicago














Starting Price per Person

Ceremony Site Available

Simultaneous Weddings

312.325.7142 171 W. Randolph St. • Chicago



Kimpton Hotel Palomar Chicago

312.985.0730 505 N. State St. • Chicago



La Villa Banquets

773.283.7980 3638 N. Pulaski Rd. • Chicago



Loews Chicago Hotel

312.840.6600 455 N. Park Dr. • Chicago



LondonHouse Chicago

312.357.1200 85 E. Wacker Dr. • Chicago



Mayne Stage

847.869.5423 1328 W. Morse Ave. • Chicago



Metropolitan, The

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



Mid-America Club, The

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



Millenium Knickerbocker Chicago, The

312.751.8100 163 E. Walton Pl. • Chicago



Murphy Chicago, The

312.280.8447 50 E. Erie St. • Chicago



Mystic Blue Cruises

888.957.2634 600 E. Grand Ave. • Chicago



Odyssey Chicago River

888.957.2634 455 N. Cityfront Plaza Dr. • Chicago



Odyssey Lake Michigan

888.957.2634 600 E. Grand Ave. • Chicago



Palmer House, A Hilton Hotel

312.422.1325 17 E. Monroe St. • Chicago



Park Hyatt Chicago

312.239.4074 800 N. Michigan Ave. • Chicago



Pazzo’s at 311

312.913.1600 311 S. Wacker Dr. • Chicago




Kimpton Hotel Allegro


Outdoor Reception Area

Page Number



















Max Reception/ Dinner Size


Starting Price per Person

Ceremony Site Available

Simultaneous Weddings

312.527.3140 435 E. Illinois St. • Chicago



River Roast

312.527.1417 315 N. LaSalle St. • Chicago



Rookery Building, The

312.553.6100 209 S. LaSalle St. • Chicago



Salvatore’s Ristorante

773.528.1200 525 W. Arlington Pl. • Chicago



Skydeck Chicago

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



Spirit of Chicago

888.957.2634 600 E. Grand Ave. • Chicago



Stan Mansion

773.276.0099 2408 N. Kedzie Blvd. • Chicago



Swissôtel Chicago

312.268.8235 323 E. Wacker Dr. • Chicago




312.624.8778 155 W. Van Buren St. • Chicago



Thompson Chicago

312.994.7204 21 E. Bellevue Pl. • Chicago



Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago

312.588.8000 401 N. Wabash Ave. • Chicago



Volo Restaurant Wine Bar

773.348.4600 2008 W. Roscoe St. • Chicago



Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago

312.274.6423 701 N. Michigan Ave. • Chicago







Outdoor Reception Area

Page Number




Max Reception/ Dinner Size













847.987.0897 5035 N. River Rd. • Schiller Park



Café la Cave

847.827.7818 2777 Mannheim Rd. • Des Plaines






Starting Price per Person

Ceremony Site Available

Simultaneous Weddings

Outdoor Reception Area

Page Number

847.438.0025 20922 N. Rand Rd. • Kildeer




Cotillion Banquets

847.934.5500 360 S. Creekside Dr. • Palatine



Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

815.776.5027 444 Eagle Ridge Dr. • Galena




Eaglewood Resort & Spa

630.773.1400 1401 Nordic Rd. • Itasca




Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

312.587.0508 5464 N. River Rd. • Rosemont



Grand Victoria Casino

847.494.2795 250 S. Grove Ave. • Elgin



Hawk’s View Golf Club

262.348.9900 7377 Krueger Rd. • Lake Geneva, WI



Heritage Ballroom at the Centre of Elgin

847.531.7047 100 Symphony Way • Elgin


Holiday Inn Itasca

630.773.2342 860 W. Irving Park Rd. • Itasca

Lake Lawn Resort & Calladora Spa


Concorde Banquets









262.728.7950 2400 E. Geneva St. • Delavan, WI



Lehmann Mansion

847.356.9911 485 N. Milwaukee Ave. • Lake Villa



Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel

847.447.4203 5300 N. River Rd. • Rosemont



Makray Memorial Golf Club

847.381.6501 1010 S. Northwest Hwy. • Barrington



Manzo’s Banquets

847.593.2233 1571 S. Elmhurst Rd. • Des Plaines



Metropolis Ballroom

847.870.8787 6 S. Vail Ave. • Arlington Heights



Midwest Conference Center

708.409.2828 401 W. Lake St. • Northlake














Max Reception/ Dinner Size


Starting Price per Person

Ceremony Site Available

Simultaneous Weddings

847.671.4230 10255 W. Irving Park Rd. • Schiller Park




847.844.4810 100 W. Higgins Rd. • South Barrington



Ridge Hotel, The

262.249.3849 W4240 WI-50 • Lake Geneva, WI



Rolling Green Country Club

847.253.0400 2525 E. Rand Rd. • Arlington Heights


Wandering Tree Estate

847.381.1907 North Barrington

Armour House Mansion & Gardens


Mirage Four Points Sheraton

Outdoor Reception Area

Page Number









847.615.3219 1500 W. Kennedy Rd. • Lake Forest




Chicago’s North Shore Convention & Visitors Bureau

847.763.0011 8833 Gross Point Rd., Ste. 307 • Skokie




Crystal Ballroom & Lounge, The

847.570.4400 529 Davis St. • Evanston



Hilton Orrington/Evanston

847.866.8700 1710 Orrington Ave. • Evanston



Lincolnshire Marriott Resort

847.634.0100 10 Marriott Dr. • Lincolnshire




847.480.7676 1150 Willow Rd. • Northbrook



Ravinia Festival

847.266.5066 418 Sheridan Rd. • Highland Park



Max Reception/ Dinner Size









SOUTH, SOUTHWEST & INDIANA Bolingbrook Golf Club

630.771.9400 2001 Rodeo Dr. • Bolingbrook




Chicago Gaelic Park

708.687.9323 6119 W. 147th St. • Oak Forest






Starting Price per Person

Ceremony Site Available

630.986.4100 1200 Burr Ridge Pkwy. • Burr Ridge



Crowne Plaza Chicago Southwest at Burr Ridge

630.325.2900 300 S. Frontage Rd. • Burr Ridge



DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago Alsip

708.371.7300 5000 W. 127th St. • Alsip



Odyssey, The

708.429.7400 19110 S. Ridgeland Ave. • Tinley Park



Renaissance Center

815.600.7034 214 N. Ottawa St. • Joliet




Seven Bridges Golf Club

630.964.7735 One Mulligan Dr. • Woodridge




Silver Lake Country Club

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




Allegra Banquets of Villa Park

630.607.0094 237 W. St. Charles Rd. • Villa Park




Arrowhead Golf Club

630.653.5802 26W151 Butterfield Rd. • Wheaton



Brookfield Zoo (Managed by Chicago Zoological)

708.688.8355 3300 Golf Rd. • Brookfield



Cantigny Park & Golf

630.260.8145 1 S. 151 Winfield Rd. • Wheaton



Carleton of Oak Park, The

708.848.5000 1110 Pleasant St. • Oak Park



Chicago Marriott Naperville

630.505.4900 1801 N. Naper Blvd. • Naperville



Clubhouse, The

630.472.3079 298 Oakbrook Ctr. • Oak Brook



Drake Oak Brook, The

630.571.0000 2301 York Rd. • Oak Brook




Chicago Marriott Southwest at Burr Ridge

Simultaneous Weddings

Outdoor Reception Area

Page Number

















Max Reception/ Dinner Size


Starting Price per Person

Ceremony Site Available

Simultaneous Weddings

630.530.0202 100 Drury Ln. • Oakbrook Terrace



DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau

630.575.8070 915 Harger Rd. • Oak Brook



Empress Banquets, The

630.279.5900 200 E. Lake St. • Addison



Heritage Prairie Farm

630.443.5989 2N308 Brundige Rd. • Elburn



Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort

630.850.5555 3500 Midwest Rd. • Oak Brook



Hotel Arista

630.579.4100 2139 City Gate Ln. • Naperville



Naper Settlement

630.420.6010 523 S. Webster St. • Naperville



Oaks, The at Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

630.954.0000 2105 S. Spring Rd. • Oak Brook



Paramount’s Meyer Ballroom

630.723.2468 8 E. Galena Blvd. • Aurora




630.575.8744 7 Oakbrook Ctr. • Oak Brook



Prairie Landing Golf Club

630.208.7633 2325 Longest Dr. • West Chicago



Venuti’s Banquets & Ristorante

630.376.1500 2251 W. Lake St. • Addison




Drury Lane

Outdoor Reception Area

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DI A N A & FRANCISCO Love Never Fails Diana and Francisco’s love story began in high school. A few years into their relationship, their love grew even stronger after having a brave, beautiful daughter who was born with a heart defect. Their angel baby passed away as an infant and together, Diana and Francisco learned to rely on each other for strength and comfort. The loving couple endured and were later blessed with a second beautiful daughter. She was a very special part of their wedding day, along with the memory of their angel baby.

Cultural Traditions Diana and Francisco’s Mexican heritage was reflected in many of the details. Throughout their Big Day they served specialty drinks, danced the “baile de la culebra” (a special cultural wedding dance) and even featured a Mariachi band. Their wedding color palette also held significance as their last name translates into ‘purple’ in Spanish.

Favorite Memories Before their guests came into the reception, Diana and Francisco had a quiet moment together to walk through their decorated celebration. This was one of their favorite moments of their wedding day. Another highlight was when their daughter ran up to them and started clapping while they were enjoying their first dance.

Number of Wedding Guests: 250

To see more photos from this Real Wedding, go to WRITTEN BY Emily Conley

Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY VENUE: St. Mary of the Angels Church | RECEPTION VENUE: Bridgeport Art Center | PHOTOGRAPHY: Angela Garbot Photography EVENT PLANNER: Elena’s Garden Floral Design and Event Planning | GOWN: Anne Barge via Bella Bianca Bridal Couture RINGS: New York Jewelers | HAIR: Rare Bird Beauties | MAKEUP: Sol Jimenez | FORMALWEAR: The Groomsman Suit GROOM’S ACCESSORIES: The Tie Bar | BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Brideside | STATIONERY: Basic Invite | SEATING CHART: Reenie Rose FLORAL & DÉCOR: Elena’s Garden Floral Design and Event Planning | CAKE & SWEETS: ECBG Cake Studio ENTERTAINMENT: Escuela de Rancho; Jesse El Grandote; Mariachi Perla de Mexico CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


SPOTLIGHT ON STYLE | Hues Used: Lauren & Peter


Vendors EVENT PLANNER: You Name It Events | VENUE: Bride’s Parent’s Home | TENT: Blue Peak Tents PHOTOGRAPHY: Mary Rose Photography | STATIONERY: You Name It Events | FLORAL: Town & Country Gardens WOODEN DÉCOR: Bride’s Father | ICE CREAM CART: Cook’s Ice Cream Cart & Catering To see more photos from this Spotlight on Style, go to CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Prelude to the Party



312 Chicago

Biggs Mansion

Blue Door Farm Stand

136 N. LaSalle Dr., Chicago 312.325.7118

1150 N. Dearborn St., Chicago 312.809.2444

2010 N. Halsted St., Chicago 312.265.0259

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

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

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

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.

Housed in an iconic and historic landmark, this unique and sophisticated space is the only man cave a groom needs. Perfect for bachelor parties, birthday celebrations, and viewing parties.

Let the seasons dictate what’s on the table. Blue Door Farm Stand provides a warm and welcoming space perfect for wedding showers, brunches, rehearsal dinners and more!

Blue Door Kitchen & Garden

Chicago Athletic VenueAssociation

Chicago q

52 W. Elm St., Chicago 312.573.4000

12 S. Michigan Address,Ave., City Chicago 312.940.3552 000.000.0000

1160 N. Dearborn St., Chicago 312.642.1160

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

Maximum Maximum##ofofGuests: Guests:300 XX Call Starting Price per Person: $XX

Maximum # of Guests: 240 Starting Price per Person: Call

A farm-to-table oasis in the heart of Chicago’s Gold Coast, Blue Door Kitchen and Garden offers a charming and elegant space for wedding showers, rehearsal dinners and other celebrations!

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

Mastering the art of elevated BBQ, Chicago q provides a charming and comfortable atmosphere for any rehearsal dinner, shower or gathering!







Chicago’s First Lady Cruises

City Hall

Cochon Volant Brasserie

112 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago 847.358.1330

838 W. Kinzie St., Chicago 312.801.1181

100 W. Monroe St. (at Clark St.), Chicago 847.284.0855

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

Maximum # of Guests: 1200 Starting Price per Person: Call

Maximum # of Guests: 80 Starting Price per Person: $52

This column-free space boasts 40ft ceilings with 20ft windows and skylights that run the length of the building, bathing the space in natural light. Laser-cut art deco steel panels and a 40-foot marble bar flanked by fluted columns dazzle while a newly-built brick second floor, complete with bridal suite, overlooks the space.

Located around the corner from the historic Chicago Board of Trade Building, Cochon Volant Brasserie blends traditional French influences and execution with American bistro staples. Semi-private spaces are available for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Ask about our fully private spaces and special room block rates that are available at the Hyatt Centric The Loop Hotel.

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

Coco Pazzo Restaurants

The Congress Plaza Hotel

The Curragh Irish Pub

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

520 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago 312.427.3800

6705 N. Northwest Hwy., Chicago 773.774.6170

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

Maximum # of Guests: 550 Starting Price per Person: $45

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

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.

This downtown Chicago hotel offers a convenient location across from Grant Park and close to Lake Michigan. Since hosting its first wedding in 1893, the Congress Plaza Hotel & Convention Center has upheld an enduring tradition as one of Chicago’s premier settings for unforgettable celebrations.

Celebrate in one of Chicago’s best loved Irish pubs! Located in the beautiful northwest neighborhood of Edison Park, our private event room features a gorgeous stone fireplace, full bar with customizable draft beer system, slate and hardwood floors and iron chandeliers. We also provide private dressing rooms for the bride and groom, complimentary valet parking for guests and a private event entrance. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM





Erie Café

ETA Restaurant + Bar

Farmhouse Chicago

536 W. Erie St., Chicago 312.266.2300

455 N. Park Dr., Chicago 312.840.6605

228 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago 312.280.4960

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

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

Maximum # of Guests: 100 Starting Price per Person: $35

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

ETA Restaurant + Bar at Loews Chicago has two private dining rooms that offer unique settings for rehearsal dinners. Pullman and The Dining Car each accommodate up to 150 guests in a welcoming environment, offering menus that serve up locally sourced, seasonally-inspired dishes that pull inspiration from rustic meals of the past.

Farmhouse Chicago is a midwestern craft tavern featuring the best of the Midwest. Located in River North, our event space will make you feel right at home with our midwestern hospitality. Our mission is offering affordable, approachable midwestern fare based on locally sourced and sustainable ingredients.

Fig & Olive - Chicago

Forbidden Root

Fulton Market Kitchen

104 E. Oak St., Chicago 312.445.0060

1746 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago 312.929.2202

311 N. Sangamon St., Chicago 312.733.6900

Maximum # of Guests: 400 Starting Price per Person: $55

Maximum # of Guests: 45 Starting Price per Person: $40

Maximum # of Guests: 500 Starting Price per Person: $40

Fig & Olive - Chicago is located in the city’s luxurious Gold Coast district on tree-lined Oak Street. This 10,000 sq. ft. dining destination features indoor and outdoor spaces which evoke the ambiance of the Mediterranean Riviera. Combined with modern finishes and accents, the venue’s various spaces can accommodate an intimate event of 10 guests to a large event of 400 guests.

Forbidden Root is more than just a restaurant and brewery it’s an experience. We offer a unique, rustic setting for your wedding festivities, and have both private and semi-private dining areas that are perfect for engagement celebrations, showers, and intimate rehearsal dinners.

Fulton Market Kitchen offers guests the rare opportunity to enjoy dining, drinking, and the work of incredible artists in a single, truly unique setting. Only steps from Randolph St.'s Restaurant Row, our versatile space can be tailored to accommodate every type and size of event. We'll work with you on food, signature cocktails, furniture, entertainment, florals, and everything in between!







Galleria Marchetti - La Pergola

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

Gibsons Italia

825 W. Erie St., Chicago 312.563.0495

1028 N. Rush St., Chicago 312.587.0508

233 N. Canal St., Chicago 312.414.1100

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

Maximum # of Guests: 500 Starting Price per Person: $75

Maximum # of Guests: 750 Starting Price per Person: $45

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.

Always happening and consistently offering abundant portions of Gibsons Prime Angus, Gibsons Grassfed Australian Beef, 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.

Located in the West Loop, Gibsons Italia is a three-level, modern Italian steakhouse that features outdoor dining and a retractable roof showcasing stunning views of the Chicago River. The menu includes seafood, vegetables, risotto, and gold-extruded pasta. At the heart of the menu is a world-class tour of beef featuring Gibsons Prime Angus, Gibsons Grassfed Australian, and Japanese Kobe.

Gino’s East

Gino’s East River North

The Guesthouse Hotel

162 E. Superior St., Chicago 312.266.5421

500 N. LaSalle Dr., Chicago 312.988.4200

4872 N. Clark St., Chicago 773.564.9568

Maximum # of Guests: 300 Starting Price per Person: $30

Maximum # of Guests: 500 Starting Price per Person: $30

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

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.

Show your guests the ultimate Chicago experience at Gino’s East River North with a craft brewery on floor 1, a whimsical dining room surrounded by graffiti on the 2nd floor and The Comedy Bar on the 3rd floor. Did we mention that there is deep dish pizza too? Leave your guests with memories that only the Windy City has to offer.

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. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM





The Gwen Hotel

Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza River North

Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House

521 N. Rush St., Chicago 312.896.7474

350 W. Mart Ctr. Dr., Chicago 312.529.1114

1024 N. Rush St., Chicago 312.640.0999

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

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

Maximum # of Guests: 500 Starting Price per Person: $75

Perfectly situated in the heart of Chicago, The Gwen offers its guests the best of the city from right outside its doors. Located in the landmark McGraw-Hill Building on the beloved Magnificent Mile, the hotel offers ideal venues for intimate affairs, elegant festivities for hundreds and every event in between.

From beginning to end, the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza River North offers innovative culinary concepts, impeccable service, and Instagram-worthy cityscape views overlooking the Chicago River. Our team of professionals work closely with you to provide everything needed to make your wedding dreams come true.

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 Gibsons Prime Angus beef. Guests can choose from six elegant private dining rooms.

Kimpton Gray Hotel + Boleo

Kimpton Hotel Palomar Chicago

La Storia

122 W. Monroe St., Chicago 312.950.7012

505 N. State St., Chicago 312.985.0730

1154 N. Dearborn St., Chicago 312.915.5950

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

Maximum # of Guests: 150 Starting Price per Person: $70

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

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, outdoor patio space, 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.

Exuding a genuine Italian experience, the cozy and comfortable environment of La Storia is best for rehearsal dinners, wedding showers, family gatherings, business dinners and more!







La Villa Restaurant & Banquets

Lockwood Restaurant & Bar


3638 N. Pulaski Rd., Chicago 773.283.7980

17 E. Monroe St., Chicago 312.917.3404

18 E. Bellevue Pl., Chicago 312.642.3400

Maximum # of Guests: 230 Starting Price per Person: Call

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

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

Whether you have a growing guest list or a small intimate party, La Villa has a variety of room options to accommodate your needs. Our “Belvadore” room may be a perfect place for your rehearsal, with a minimum hold of 25. Also available, our bright open air “La Strada” room holds a maximum of 80. If that’s just not big enough, our “Grand Hall” will hold 230 of your closest friends and family.

Craft an event reflective of your vision for occasions leading up to and following your wedding. Entertain in a refined setting under 21 Greek mythology frescoes of the Palmer House lobby. Sample from American bistro selections uniting Great Lakes region flavors blended with hyper local Chicago influences to bring forward a casual yet playful experience exemplified by homegrown label partnerships.

LUXBAR is the Gold Coast’s quintessential neighborhood bar, serving hand-crafted cocktails that complement the kitchen’s all-American feel good food. The soaring second floor private dining spaces offer ideal settings for events large and small with sweeping views of State Street & Bellevue Place.

The Metropolitan

The Mid-America Club

Millennium Knickerbocker Chicago

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

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

163 Walton Pl., Chicago 312.751.8100

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

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

Maximum # of Guests: 100 Starting Price per Person: Call

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 Event Team at The Metropolitan is ready to assist in turning your vision into a night to remember!

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.

The Millennium Knickerbocker Chicago is located in the heart of the Gold Coast, and is a versatile venue that is perfect to accommodate any size event. Our Executive Chef will create a special menu for you, whether it be a casual, themed, upscale, or family fun event. We have the experience, knowledge, and setting to get you ready for your special day. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM





The Murphy Chicago


OdysseyVenue Chicago River

50 E. Erie St., Chicago 312.280.8447

800 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago 312.239.4075

455 N. Cityfront Address, Plaza CityDr., Chicago 888.957.2634 000.000.0000

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

Maximum # of Guests: 125 Starting Price per Person: $100

Maximum Maximum##ofofGuests: Guests:200 XX Starting StartingPrice Priceper perPerson: Person:$119 $XX

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.

Host guests amidst high end art, distinguished design and sophisticated ambiance with spectacular views overlooking Michigan Avenue. Design custom menus with cuisine from the award-winning NoMI Kitchen. For more information contact

The newest vessel in the Entertainment Cruises fleet – Text Text Odyssey Chicago River – features plated menus, flexible bar Text packages, curated entertainment and unparalleled views of Text Chicago’s iconic water riverfront. This unique, glass-enclosed Text made its debut in late 2018 and has since offered a vessel Text. memorable experience like no other venue in the city.

Orso’s Restaurant

Pazzo’s at 311


1401 N. Wells St., Chicago 312.787.6604

311 S. Wacker Dr., Chicago 312.913.1600

435 E. Illinois St., Chicago 312.527.3140

Maximum # of Guests: 100 Starting Price per Person: $24

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

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

Old World charm in the heart of Old Town. We offer a variety of options to host rehearsal dinners, engagement events and weddings. Our beautiful outdoor garden can accommodate up to 100 people for a traditional sit-down dinner or up to 125 for a cocktail reception. With keen attention to detail, Orso’s seasoned Event Planners will help make your vision a unique memorable experience for all.

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.

Strike the perfect balance between exceptional food, gracious service and fun as you gather with family and friends for your special day. Our elegant ballrooms seat up to 220 guests. For a more intimate experience, choose from private reception rooms or outdoor patio with picturesque views of Chicago. Pair with deluxe bowling lanes and bocce courts to create a simply unique wedding celebration!







Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar

River Roast

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

626 N. State St., Chicago 312.698.5000

315 N. LaSalle St., Chicago 312.527.1417

1 W. Grand Ave., Chicago 312.755.1677

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

Maximum # of Guests: 400 Starting Price per Person: $47

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

River North’s most authentic urban Italian food and wine experience, Quartino features a menu of regional specialties including salumi, handmade pasta, Neapolitan pizza and house made cheeses.

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 Cedric Harden’s menu of contemporary American tavern fare is satisfying and soul-warming. Our private rooms accommodate intimate affairs from 10-400 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!

Salvatore’s Ristorante


STK Chicago

525 W. Arlington Pl., Chicago 773.528.1200

123 N. Jefferson St., Chicago 312.441.1920

9 W. Kinzie St., Chicago 312.340.5633

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

Maximum # of Guests: 100 Starting Price per Person: $78

Maximum # of Guests: 550 Starting Price per Person: $75

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!

Located in the West Loop, Private Dining by Sepia is a stylish event space that brings the Michelin-starred experience to life for any private occasion. Inventive American cuisine created by Executive Chef Andrew Zimmerman focuses on productdriven menus that showcase the best of the season. Designed to cater to any occasion and available seven days a week.

From engagement to bachelorette; wedding shower to wedding reception; first date to renewal of vows – STK Chicago is your premier wedding destination. With built in ambiance, and décor that will vibe up any occasion, STK Chicago boasts a romantic and intimate setting, perfect for your engagement party, bachelor/ bachelorette party, wedding show, wedding ceremony & reception. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM





The Talbott


Terrace 16

20 E. Delaware Pl., Chicago 312.944.4970

155 W. Van Buren St., Chicago 312.624.8778

401 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago 312.588.8030

Maximum # of Guests: 100 Starting Price per Person: $30

Maximum # of Guests: 70 Starting Price per Person: $52

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

Gather your loved ones at The Talbott! Located on a quiet, quaint & quintessential Gold Coast street just steps off the Mag Mile, our unique hotel offers multi-functional venue space to cater to an intimate and upscale event of any kind.

Taureaux is an elevated, inviting French-inspired restaurant and bar in the heart of Chicago’s Loop neighborhood. From an 8-person intimate gathering to a 350-person reception, your guests will taste our acclaimed chef's seasonal menus and indulge in handpicked wines from our extensive list. Our private dining team, as well as indoor and outdoor settings, are offered to enhance your next occasion.

A rehearsal dinner marks the beginning of your celebration and Terrace 16 will create a truly memorable evening. Our private dining rooms and seasonal rooftop patio offer breathtaking views of the Chicago River, Lake Michigan, and the city's prized architecture. Terrace 16 offers new American cuisine with high-quality, approachable dining and a vivacious atmosphere.

Thompson Chicago

Tuco & Blondie

Untitled Supper Club

21 E. Bellevue Pl., Chicago 312.994.7204

3358 N. Southport Ave., Chicago 773.327.8226

111 W. Kinzie St., Chicago 312.880.1511

Maximum # of Guests: 150 Starting Price per Person: $85

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

Maximum # of Guests: 750 Starting Price per Person: Call

The Thompson Chicago is truly a one-of-kind venue for rehearsal dinners in the Gold Coast. Enjoy carefully crafted menu options from acclaimed restaurant Nico Osteria among the candle light in an intimate environment. Our exceptional service and irresistible menu will make your evening unforgettable.

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!

Untitled can accommodate up to 750 guests across its five elegantly appointed rooms, each offering distinct experiences and available together or individually. Lush materials and vintage detailing combine with chic art deco elements to add warmth, while speakeasy-inspired features and lighting provide your event an alluring backdrop.







Jackie Jasperson Photography

Volo Restaurant Wine Bar

The Walton Room by Rosebud Restaurants

Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago

2008 W. Roscoe St., Chicago 773.348.4600

188 E. Walton St., Chicago 312.778.6000

701 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago 312.274.6421

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

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

Maximum # of Guests: 200 Starting Price per Person: $70

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 urbanchic dining room combine to create an ideal wedding venue.

The Walton Room, in Streeterville is the newest private event venue from the Rosebud Restaurants family. This beautifully appointed space features, state-of-the-art kitchen, two bars, luxe gold finishes and Chiavari chairs. The spacious layout offers a variety of options for groups of 10-250. The cuisine is a combination of Rosebud's famous Italian classics plus Steakhouse favorites.

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.

Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano

Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano

Eaglewood Resort & Spa

1524 S. Randall Rd., Algonquin 847.658.5040

20560 N. Rand Rd., Deer Park 847.438.1850

1401 Nordic Rd., Itasca 630.694.5907

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

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

Maximum # of Guests: 340 Starting Price per Person: $40

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.

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.

Nestled on 106 acres of lush, manicured grounds, Eaglewood can provide an unforgettable setting for your happily ever after. From breathtaking photo opportunities and personalized culinary creations to authentically crafted receptions and rehearsal dinners, we look forward to delivering a day as momentous as your love for each other.







Event Room at Fox Run Golf Course

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

Gino’s East

333 Plum Grove Rd., Elk Grove Village 847.690.1426

5464 N. River Rd., Rosemont 312.587.0508

45 S. Barrington Rd., South Barrington 847.304.4466

Maximum # of Guests: 125 Starting Price per Person: Call

Maximum # of Guests: 200 Starting Price per Person: $65

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

Imagine your bridal shower, rehearsal dinner or intimate wedding overlooking the beautiful Fox Run Golf Course. The Event Room features a cozy fireplace, scenic waterfall and an outdoor patio for your celebration. Experience our superior customer service and allow our event planner to make sure your occasion is more than you ever dreamed possible.

This Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse location is situated in the heart of Chicagoland’s bustling Rosemont area, a stone’s throw from the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Allstate Arena and the Rosemont Theater. The classic American steakhouse features Gibsons Prime Angus beef along with fresh fish, classic cocktails, an extensive wine list and exceptional service.

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.

Gino’s East Rosemont

Grand Victoria Casino

Hofbräuhaus Chicago

9501 W. Devon Ave., Rosemont 847.825.3333

250 S. Grove Ave., Elgin 847.531.7652

5500 Park Pl., Rosemont 847.671.2739

Maximum # of Guests: 80 Starting Price per Person: $13

Maximum # of Guests: 250 Starting Price per Person: $54

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

Our private party room, Gino’s Musikskeller, features stunning portraits of famed Chicago musicians and a full service bar showcasing Chicago craft beers. Our iconic deep dish pizza is a “must experience” for out-of-town guests. We’re easy to get to and there’s a ton of free parking. Stop by to take a look and we’ll be sure to turn on the Disco Ball.

Reinvent your reception at the Grand Victoria Casino! Experience two newly renovated ballrooms, the Grand Ballroom and the Victoria Ballroom, plus our outdoor balcony overlooking the picturesque Fox River. Let us customize the perfect menu for your ideal reception, rehearsal, or brunch.

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.





Sharrett Studios



Lisa Kathan


Loews Chicago Venue O’Hare

Wandering Venue Tree Estate

The Crystal Ballroom & Lounge

5300 N.Address, River Rd.,City Rosemont 000.000.0000 847.544.5300

North Address, Barrington, City IL 847.381.1907 000.000.0000

529 Davis St., Evanston 847.570.4400

Maximum Maximum##ofofGuests: Guests:400 XX Starting Price per Person: $70 $XX

Maximum Maximum##ofofGuests: Guests:275 XX Starting Price per Person: $XX Call

Maximum # of Guests: 220 Starting Price per Person: $35

Loews Chicago O’Hare offers distinct event spaces as Text Text perfect backdrop to your event. Our unique venues the Text accommodate everything from intimate gatherings to large Text parties. From beautiful ballrooms to the eclectic Ashburn Text restaurant, our seasonally-inspired, locally-sourced menus Text. a memorable experience for you and your guests. deliver

Wandering Text Tree Estate is an exceptional venue for extraordinary Text events. It’s the only private estate in the Metropolitan Text Chicago Area that is open for exclusive luxury celebrations Text and gatherings. Wandering Tree Estate provides ten Textacres of breathtaking gardens at the edge of a four-acre lake Text. along with scenic model garden railways.

Crystal Ballroom & Lounge takes events to the next level with a stunning space featuring scratch cooking, personalized one on one attention, and a flexible approach. From casual to refined, we ensure you have exactly the experience you’ve dreamed of. Located in the heart of downtown Evanston, you’ll have lakefront photo ops, guest accommodations, and amazing nightlife at your fingertips.

Hilton Orrington/Evanston


Ravinia Festival

1710 Orrington Ave., Evanston 847.556.7920

1150 Willow Rd., Northbrook 847.480.7676

418 Sheridan Rd., Highland Park 847.266.5066

Maximum # of Guests: 450 Starting Price per Person: $39

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

Maximum # of Guests: 275 Starting Price per Person: $50

The Northshore’s finest hotel located in the heart of Evanston. Ideal for your rehearsal dinner, brunch the following day of your wedding, showers and bachelor and bachelorette parties. Amazing space to fit your needs and style. More than 8 various and unique spaces to choose from.

Strike the perfect balance between exceptional food and fun as you gather with family and friends at Pinstripes. Our elegant ballrooms seat up to 200 guests. For a more intimate experience, choose from private reception rooms or a grand outdoor patio surrounded by picturesque wetlands. Pair with deluxe bowling lanes and bocce courts to create a simply unique wedding celebration!

Internationally renowned, the private spaces at Ravinia are the perfect setting for your rehearsal dinner. Our indoor and outdoor spaces along with our world-class menus will make every moment of your extraordinary event unforgettable. Begin your love story on a high note and let Ravinia’s landscape and history be the backdrop to this special time in your lives. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM




Arrowhead Golf Club

Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano

The Carleton of Oak Park

26W151 Butterfield Rd., Wheaton 630.653.5800

2752 Showplace Dr., Naperville 630.428.8500

1110 Pleasant St., Oak Park 708.848.5000

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

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

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

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. NEW outdoor terrace available for cocktail parties.

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.

Class, quality and ambiance are the signature of events hosted by The Carleton of Oak Park. A historical venue with event coordinators eager to assist in the planning of your celebration, The Carleton is located 9 miles from downtown Chicago and has over 6,000 sq. ft. of event space, making it the ideal location for rehearsal dinners and post-wedding brunches.

Che Figata

The Clubhouse

D.O.C. Wine Bar

2155 City Gate Ln., Ste. 103, Naperville 630.579.3210

298 Oakbrook Ctr., Oak Brook 630.472.3079

326 Yorktown Ctr., Lombard 773.480.3708

Maximum # of Guests: 80 Starting Price per Person: $35

Maximum # of Guests: 110 Starting Price per Person: $40

Maximum # of Guests: 100 Starting Price per Person: $19

Che Figata, Italian for "That's Awesome!" A sentiment you and your guests will share when you experience the housemade Mediterranean menu while sipping the finest Italian wines in our stocked cellar. The scene is festive and inclusive, with an open-air, exhibition kitchen. Your guests will enjoy a variety of seating options, including our stylish patio space.

Located at Oakbrook Center in the heart of Oak Brook, The Clubhouse is committed to creating an unforgettable experience for you and your guests. From engagement parties and rehearsal diners, to stunning wedding ceremonies and wedding receptions, event specialists will work with you to create an event to impress.

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.



Timothy Whaley & Associates





The Drake Oak Brook

Gino’s East

Naper Settlement

2301 York Rd., Oak Brook 630.571.0000

315 W. Front St., Wheaton 630.588.1010

523 S. Webster St., Naperville 630.420.6010

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

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

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

Escape to The Drake Oak Brook, boasting a natural grandeur and history of hosting events of all kinds. Create memorable moments while experiencing elegant venues, legendary and attentive service, delectable cuisine, and unique amenities.

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.

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

The Oaks at Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse


Venuti’s Banquets & Ristorante

2105 S. Spring Rd., Oak Brook 630.954.0000

7 Oakbrook Ctr., Oak Brook 630.575.8744

2251 W. Lake St., Addison 630.376.1500

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

Maximum # of Guests: 280 Starting Price per Person: $38

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

The OAKS is a nearly 6,000 sq. ft. private dining expansion at Gibsons’ Oak Brook location. The versatile and beautiful space, with hardwood floors, terrazzo entry, and custom wooden accents, is accompanied by Gibsons’ legendary food and service for events of all kinds. Customizable menus will be available from the expert private dining team.

Strike the perfect balance between exceptional food and fun as you gather with family and friends at Pinstripes. Our elegant ballrooms seat up to 280 guests. For a more intimate experience, choose from private reception rooms or rustic grand outdoor patio complete with a fire pit. Pair with deluxe bowling lanes and bocce courts to create a simply unique wedding celebration!

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. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


SYLVIA & BILL Keeping with Tradition Sylvia and Bill coincidentally grew up attending the same Greek Orthodox Church, though they did not know each other at the time. They decided to get married in that same church with a traditional Greek Orthodox ceremony to celebrate their shared passion for their Greek heritage.

Real Life Fairy Tale Sylvia and Bill’s wedding day was simply mag ical. They felt like royalty strolling the elegant grounds together to take photos, while the stunning interiors of the Armour House Mansion & Gardens were elevated with enchanting floral touches. The couple even made a grand entrance fit for a king and queen, descending the grand staircase hand-in-hand for a magical moment they will never forget.

Time to Party The dance floor was rocking once the couple got things started with some traditional Greek dancing. Guests loved joining in the boisterous traditional dances! Sylvia and Bill also offered guests a smoky treat on the outside terrace – a custom cigar bar featuring some of Bill’s favorite cigars. With a dance party inside and cigars and gorgeous gardens to explore outside, there was something special for guests to enjoy at every turn.

Number of Wedding Guests: 225

To see more photos from this Real Wedding, go to WRITTEN BY Emily Conley

Real Wedding Vendors CEREMONY VENUE: Holy Taxiarhai and Saint Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church | RECEPTION VENUE: Armour House Mansion & Gardens PHOTOGRAPHY: Nakai Photography | EVENT PLANNER: Kensington Florals & Events | BRIDE’S SHOES: Jimmy Choo GOWN: Martina Liana via Bella Bianca Bridal Couture | HAIR: Scruples Salon & Spa; Drea’s Hair Design MAKEUP: Kimberly Patterson Makeup; SukyVMakeup | BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: White by Vera Wang via David’s Bridal FORMALWEAR: Emanuele Tuxedo Rental & Sales | STATIONERY: Flyy Design Creative | CALLIGRAPHY: A Fine Letter FLORAL & DÉCOR: Kensington Florals & Events | ENTERTAINMENT: John Grammatis; Parkwest Strings CAKES & SWEETS: Chicago Sweet Connection Bakery; Deerfields Bakery; Orland Park Bakery; Papagalino Pastries CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM












The Team PLANNER/STYLIST Glamour & Lace Events FLORAL & DÉCOR Kensington Florals & Events CAKE & SWEETS Amy Beck Cake Design STATIONERY Amore Creative RENTALS Hall’s Rentals Marquee Event Rentals VENUE Chicago Public Library – Harold Washington Library Center PHOTOGRAPHY Ashley Galminas Photography Vote for your favorite design at



The Team PLANNER/STYLIST Preoccupied Bride FLORAL & DÉCOR Flora Elements CAKE & SWEETS The Bakester Patisserie STATIONERY EJD Design RENTALS Dish & Décor Vintage Rental Windy City Linen VENUE Pinstripes - Northbrook PHOTOGRAPHY Ashley Galminas Photography Vote for your favorite design at



The Team PLANNER/STYLIST Lillian Rose Events FLORAL & DÉCOR Phillip’s Flowers – Elmhurst CAKE & SWEETS Vanille Patisserie STATIONERY MAXE Designs RENTALS BBJ Linen Dish & Décor Vintage Rental VENUE Venue SIX10 PHOTOGRAPHY Ashley Galminas Photography Vote for your favorite design at



The Team PLANNER/STYLIST Wedicity Wedding & Event Detailing FLORAL & DÉCOR Artistic Blooms CAKE & SWEETS The Quintessential Cake STATIONERY Coqui Paperie RENTALS BBJ Linen Marquee Event Rentals VENUE Odyssey Chicago River PHOTOGRAPHY Ashley Galminas Photography Vote for your favorite design at

Benefits of Hiring a Wedding Planner W

hen is the last time you planned a large-scale, eight-

someone to oversee all the details of your Big Day so you

hour party for one hundred guests including food,

can sit back, relax and enjoy the party. Something like the

entertainment and extensive wardrobe selections?

electricity hookup for the catering staff is the last thing a bride

Unless you’re a professional event planner, chances are you

needs to be thinking about before she walks down the aisle to

have never planned such an involved affair. But it can’t be

marry the love of her life. Do yourself a favor and take some

THAT hard, right? All in all, a wedding is really a complicated,

of the wedding stress off yourself by hiring a professional.

full-scale party that requires hundreds of decisions and dozens

We have broken down the types of service and benefits of

of external vendors working together to pull off one fabulous

hiring a wedding planner here, so all you have to do is decide

event. Most of us don’t have the time, energy or expertise to

how much help you need. When you are ready to find your

put together a wedding completely on our own. But don’t

wedding planner, we have got some of Chicago’s best right

despair, that’s where our lovely wedding planners come in to

here in the pages of this issue. Are you starting to feel less

save the day. When you hire a wedding planner, you are hiring

stressed already?





choice. The investment for comprehensive

Wedding planners generally offer different

wedding planning generally ranges from

tiers of service, priced according to the

10-20% of your total budget. In return,

amount of time involved and services

your planner will help you pick a wedding

offered in each category. Before hiring a

date, secure a venue and help you hone

wedding planner, you and your partner

in on the specific style and vibe you

should decide how much of your budget

want for your Big Day. They will guide

you’re willing to spend and how much

you through selecting your vendors

help you truly need. Once you understand

including, photographers, DJs, caterers,

the volume of work you’re able to take

florists, rental compa nies, makeup and

on and how much you need or want to

hair artists. With their knowledge and

outsource, you can get to work finding a

recommen dations you will save countless

wedding planner who offers the type of

hours of scrolling through reviews. Your

service you need.

planner will attend all vendor meetings with (or for) you and handle pricing

Full-service wedding planning

negotiations. Depending on the wedding

If you have an incredibly demanding

planner you work with, you will probably

job, chose to have a wedding in a location

receive at least one wedding planning

where you don’t live or feel completely

assistant in addition to your full-time

overwhelmed and clueless about how to

event planner. Full-service wedding plan-

start planning such a big event, then a

ning typically begins shortly after you

full-service planner is probably the best

get engaged and runs through the day of your wedding.

Partial wedding planning Wedding planners may have their own term for this type of service, such as month-of planning, but it generally falls between full-service planning and day-of coordination. If you have already booked a venue and have a general idea for what you want your wedding to be like, partial wedding planning services are perfect for you. You will get help with establishing a wedding day timeline and narrowing down your design choices, while still maintaining control of the details. You will probably have one or two sit-down meetings with your planner in the days leading up to your celebration and email access with your planner throughout the process. If you decide partial planning services are right for you, be prepared to make some big decisions (like where and when to host your wedding) on your own, but feel confident knowing you have a professional to help you with the details. 256



Better Together Photography

Kara Evans Photographer

Kara Evans Photographer

Day-of wedding coordination

superhero thrown in. Weddings involve a

The term ‘day of’ is a bit misleading,

lot of people, and large numbers of

as no one could come in only on your

people generally means a few disasters

wedding day and effectively manage all of

are inevitable. We’ve heard stories from

the details and vendors. Day-of wedding

planners of every kind of crisis they have

coordination usually begins at least 8-12

solved, and most usually occur without

weeks before your Big Day. Your wedding

the couple even knowing what was

coordinator will meet with you once you’ve

happening. From a grandparent passing

hired all of your outside vendors and will

out during the toasts (they were com-

take over to finalize details and confirm

pletely fine after getting some hydration)

their coverage times for the actual day.

to a melting wedding cake, wedding

You can expect your day-of coordinator

planners are innate problem solvers. If

to provide you with a timeline of events

they have been in business for a while,

and manage the logistics of your wedding

chances are there are very few issues

day. They will also generally attend your

they haven’t handled.

rehearsal and coordinate any outstanding payments or gratuities.

Imagine you’re in the stunning wedding dress of your dreams, you just married the love of your life and you are on your


way to celebrate with everyone at your

Honestly, most wedding planners are

straight into a spilled cherry slushie on

expert event planners with a touch of

the sidewalk. There’s red liquid staining

reception. You step out of the limo and

your white dress and you are about to walk into a room full of people who will be looking right at you. If you have hired an experienced wedding planner, there’s no need to cry. They will whip out some of the white chalk they carry around for just this moment (who knew?) and color right over the glaring stain. No one will ever know the difference. That moment right there is worth every penny you spent to hire a planning pro.

MONEY MATTERS Weddings are not cheap. Even small, seemingly simple affairs will require a significant investment. It can seem daunting to spend a chunk of your wedding budget on a planner, but not hiring a professional can end up costing you even more. Planners know the ins and outs of the local wedding market, which means they know which vendors you can trust and who you should stay far away from. This expert advice and knowledge your wedding planner brings to the table will help you avoid expensive 258



mistakes. A good wedding planner will

about your desired style and vibe and

vibe you know you want but can't really

double-check every contract and every

then create those ideas and dreams into

describe? How do you make sure you're

decision to make sure all of the details

something magical.

staying within your budget? A wedding

are correct. They ensure you don’t end

A good wedding planner also knows

planner has the expertise to take your

up with a room full of gardenias when

the difference between Pinterest and

dreams and intangible ideas and turn

you paid for peonies.

reality. Your budget may not line up with

them into a cohesive, gorgeously styled

your Pinterest dreams. By using their

wedding day.


expertise, they can help manipulate your

You may have dreamt of your wedding

budget and offer creative solutions to


day for years. Maybe you know exactly

design your dream wedding while keeping

Weddings tend to cultivate unique con-

what you want the room to look like

things realistic and within your budget.

flicts. Bringing together two families is

when you walk in, hand-in-hand with

One common misconception is that wed-

inherently tricky, and when you throw in

your new spouse, to be introduced to

ding planners can save couples money

all the logistical details and personal

your guests for the first time. Or perhaps

when it comes to negotiating contracts.

feelings involved in a wedding, the sit-

you have a Pinterest board with thousands

While your planner may have a working

uation can get sticky. One of the best

of ideas, overflowing with inspiration.

relationship with a company that could

parts of having a wedding planner on

While it's fun to imagine things in your

cut costs a bit, a discount should never

board is that they can act as a mediator.

mind or look at them on a Pinterest

be expected.

Maybe you’re too scared to tell your quickly

future mother-in-law that you think her

challenge. One of the greatest benefits

become overwhelming and impossible

favorite flowers are tacky and ugly, but

of a good wedding planner is their ability

to wrangle. How do you pick a color

your wedding planner can tactfully

to look at your inspiration, talk to you

palette that evokes the timeless, elegant

inform her that you’re using specific

board, bringing that vision to life is a




floral arrangements without it feeling personal. If you have a particularly challenging bridesmaid who questions every decision, you can direct her to your wedding planner who will always have your back. Then there’s the plethora of advice you receive when you hire a planner. Not sure if a venue is big enough for your guest list? Your planner will be able to tell. Can’t decide if you should have live music or a DJ? Your planner can give you a rundown on the pros and cons of each and help you make a decision. Completely lost when it comes to wedding gown styles? Your planner has seen every body type walk down the aisle and knows what gown will impress. Wedding planners live in the wedding world – they know what is trendy, tacky and tasteful.

WEDDING DAY DETAILS It may seem obvious, but perhaps the biggest service a wedding planner provides is coordinating the actual wedding day. From what time your hair and 260



makeup should be completed to sending the wedding party down the aisle, a planner has the knowledge and skills to make your day run flawlessly. Hiring a wedding planner also frees up your family members to enjoy your day instead of working to make sure everything goes to plan. Your mom deserves to relax and enjoy your wedding day, too. You cannot coordinate your reception set-up while you’re busy walking down the aisle and exchanging vows. It takes a lot of work and expertise to pull off a wedding day. Even the most organized of couples can’t successfully enjoy their Big Day if they are simultaneously trying to manage it. Plan to hire a wedding planner and make sure there is room in your budget to cover the level of service you need before you make any other decisions.

THE VALUE OF TIME You are only engaged for a short amount of time and as they always say “time is money.” Do you want to spend that special season stressed out over five thousand wedding decisions? Or would you rather spend your time creating memories with your fiancé and dreaming of your honeymoon? A wedding planner’s most valuable contribution is their time. They spend their time finding vendors, negotiating contracts, and making decisions so you don’t have to. Every minute your wedding planner spends making your Big Day dreams come true is a minute you have back – to spend with your friends and family, your fiancé, your dog, at the gym, reading, whatever it is you’d rather be doing than stressing out about wedding planning. Hiring someone who can get things done while also reducing your stress and workload is one of the smartest decisions you can make, besides getting married of course! CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


What to Do After the Wedding Y

ou will spend several months or even longer planning your

think to plan for any after the wedding logistics, but turns out –

wedding. Chances are, you will put serious thought and

there’s a lot to be done!

consideration into drafting a workable budget, securing

the perfect venue, booking the best entertainment and finding


your dream dress. But once your Big Day has come and gone,

You’ve said “I do,” partied through the night with your friends

are you clear on all the follow-up items? Most couples don’t

and family and enjoyed a grand exit with your new spouse. Now

WRITTEN BY Emily Conley | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Rick Aguilar Studios 262


backup plan in case they need to make

cards, cash or checks to the reception.

place so when you leave the venue,

any last-minute payments. Your wedding

Make sure that you not only have a secure

everything is properly taken care of.

planner should take care of all financial

place for the gifts and cards to be displayed

logistics, but if you don’t have a planner

or stored during the celebration, but also

or coordinator, make sure you or someone

arrange for someone to transport the gifts

you trust has finalized all of the payments

after the reception has ended. Decide if

before you leave the premises.

you want the gifts brought to your home

Payments Make sure all payments were received by your vendors and that gratuities have been distributed. You don’t want an angry phone call from your caterer


you need to make sure you have plans in

or if a trusted family member or friend will


hold onto them for you until you return

demanding payment when you’re getting

With online shopping and easy shipping,

from your honeymoon. Once you decide

ready to jet off on your relaxing honey-

the number of physical gifts brought to a

who will be in charge of the gifts, make

moon. If you’ve hired a wedding planner

wedding have declined, but still expect a

sure you have a clear plan for how they

or coordinator, make sure to have a

few. Guests will also bring cards with gift

will collect the items (usually your wedding




planner will facilitate this process) and

time. If you are leaving for your honeymoon

your efforts go to waste. Click on your

when you will pick up the gifts.

immediately after your wedding, find some-

hashtag and scroll through Instagram and

one who can complete the returns for

Facebook posts to save all the photos

you. This is a good task for a best man or

other guests shared. You will find unex-

maid of honor who lives in town.

pected gems, sweet memories and differ-

Formalwear If you rented formalwear or any of your wedding attire, make sure you have a return plan in place. Most rentals are only

ent perspectives from your Big Day when

Social Media Sweep

you see it through other people’s eyes

for a few days, so avoid any late fees or

You spent hours coming up with the

and camera lenses. If you find pictures

extra charges by returning everything on

perfect wedding hashtag, so don’t let

you want to print, reach out to the guest who took it and ask if they can send you the original. If you created a special Snapchat geo-filter make sure to check your feed within twenty-four hours to see the shared photos before they expire!

Preservation Preserving your bridal bouquet and wedding gown are lovely ways to keep the memory of your Big Day alive. Some popular methods for preserving flowers include hanging the bouquet upside down to let the blooms air dry, pressing individual petals in parchment paper or using silica gel to preserve the flowers for a more natural look. If you want to keep your bouquet long after your wedding has passed, be sure to decide which method will achieve the look you want. Preserving your wedding gown is also a process that needs to start the day after the wedding. If you are heading on your honeymoon right away, arrange for your mother or maid of honor to take it to the pres ervationist or dry cleaner as soon as possible. By waiting, any stains on the gown will have fully set in. After cleaning, the preservationist will then proceed to put the gown in an air-tight box where the oxygen has been removed and replaced with nitrogen, so your delicate gown will be beautiful for years to come. If you choose not to preserve your wedding dress, the fabric may become yellow and even show signs of mold over time.

AFTER THE HONEYMOON After you’ve enjoyed a week of relaxed, newlywed bliss, you’ll return to quite a few 264


while watching your favorite guilty pleasure

cons. Sharing a last name with your

whelmed by your to-do list, it’s best to

TV show or find another way to make the

spouse will make things easier if you

know what specific tasks need to be com-

activity more enjoyable, but make sure

decide to have children together, as you

pleted and make a plan for accomplish-

you get this important task done!

are all easily recognizable as a family unit

ing a few things at a time. Don’t try to do


post-wedding tasks. To avoid feeling over-

when you fly, register for school or attend

everything the first day back!

Name Change If you, your spouse or both of you are

like sharing a last name makes them feel

Thank-You Notes

legally changing last names, make sure

closer to their spouse, while some just

doctor appointments. Some people feel

Now that you are home, you can settle

you don’t procrastinate too long. The

want to be able to use a common mono-

in and really enjoy using all your new,

sooner you get your name changed, the

gram. There are plenty of reasons to not

lovely wedding gifts. Make yourself a nice

sooner you can complete other changes

change your name as well. If you are

latte with your new Nespresso and settle

with your bank, insurance and other com-

already established professionally or well

in to write some thank-you notes. It may

panies, and get a new driver’s license.

known in your chosen field, it could hurt

feel like a lot of writing, but it’s absolutely

You’ll have to change your name at the

your respectability and notoriety. Changing

necessary to give a sincere thank you

social security office before you can make

your name can feel akin to changing your

to everyone who gave you a gift and

any other updates, so plan to take at least

identity, so some people reject the change

celebrated your love with you and your

half a day to get it done. We recommend

on principle and choose to keep their full

new spouse. Keep an organized list of

going to the social security office as early

given name. There is also a gender role at

every gift and who gave it so you can

as possible to avoid long wait times.

play – women are traditionally expected to

easily keep track of who still needs a

If you haven’t decided whether or not

assume their partner’s name, but this may

note. You may want to split the thank-you

to make the big name change, you may

feel contradictory to your personal politics,

note duties with your spouse, write them

want to consider some of the pros and

or downright confusing for a same-sex

Ann & Kam Photography




couple. There are reasons to change your

Days. Be fair and considerate when leaving

last name and reasons to keep your last

reviews. If you received poor service, you

name, but in the end, it really comes

can absolutely give a poor rating, but

down to making the choice that feels

make sure you explain the situation clearly

authentic and right for you. There are also

and unemotionally. Never use a review to

other options to a full-on switch: hyphen-

lash out at a vendor.

ated, your partner taking your name or a

Also make sure to share everything

new combined last name that incorporates

your vendors did that was above and

both names. Whatever you decide, make

beyond your expectations. Did your wed-

sure you take the proper steps to make

ding planner unexpectedly stash away

your name change legal.

two plates of food for you and your partner to enjoy once you had retired to

Vendor Reviews

the hotel room for the night? Tell everyone!

Once you have had some time to

Future brides and grooms rely on your

reflect on your wedding day and relive all

feedback as much as your vendors do,

the highlights, it’s a good practice to

so make sure to celebrate all of the won-

leave reviews for your vendors. Businesses

derful moments, big and small. It’s also a

big and small rely on reviews and feedback

good practice to send a personal thank-

to gain new customers. You can also

you note to each of your vendors as well.

think of leaving reviews as a small service to future couples who will be looking for input on who to hire for their own Big



Wedding Photos One of the most exciting tasks after

Another way to preserve wedding

palettes, venues, bouquets, overall re -

photos. Once your photographer sends

day memories is by creating keepsakes.

ception vibes and so much more. You

over your gallery of images, take the time

Photo gifts come in practically every

can submit your wedding on our website,

to choose your favorites to have printed.

shape and size. A mug with a photo of

While it may feel a bit overwhelming to

you and your dad walking down the

sort through the hundreds (or even thou-

aisle makes a fabulous Father’s Day gift

sands) of images, you will be grateful you

while a canvas print of a family portrait

Whew! You’ve checked every box on

spent the time to pick your favorites in

would be perfect for your grandmother’s

your to-do list, from vendor gratuities to

the moment. You can even turn it into a

birthday. You can preserve your photo

submitting your wedding celebration to

date night with your new spouse. Taking

memories however best suits you and

ChicagoStyle Weddings, you have com-

the time to have some of your favorite

your loved ones.

pleted every post-wedding task. Now

and not just online.

Date Nights

it’s time to celebrate with your new

pictures printed will ensure that you get to enjoy these fabulous photos in real life


the wedding is choosing your wedding

Wedding Submissions

spouse! It is quite common to feel a bit

Once you have your wedding photos,

of a letdown after the excitement and

Create a photo book or album with a

don’t forget to submit them to Chicago-

anticipation of planning and enjoying

large collection of photos you like and

Style Weddings! We publish photos and

your Big Day. Be sure to plan a date

want to keep. Perhaps smaller, customized

stories from gorgeous Chicago wed-

night out with your new spouse and cel-

albums for your parents, bridesmaids or

dings in our magazine and online to

ebrate your new life together. The new-

any others who made your day special is

share the special details from your Big

lywed title does not expire until after

your style. Consider printing photos in

Day with our audience. Our brides and

your first anniversary, so you have an

both color and black and white as they

grooms-to-be love seeing real Chicago

entire year of celebrating ahead of you.

can have very different aesthetics.

weddings to gain inspiration for color

Go get started!




How Can I Ever Thank You?

e all know wedding planning involves a lot of time,

confirms that you received the gift so that the giver knows it

energy and usually a healthy dose of stress at some

was not lost in transit. Thank-you notes should always be

point. But what makes that all worth it? Wedding

handwritten, as a printed message comes across as cold and

gifts! (Okay, and maybe the whole being married to the love of

thoughtless. While you can arguably take up to three months

your life part, too.) But in all seriousness, you will probably

after your Big Day to send a thank-you, the gesture feels more

receive more gifts for your wedding than at any other time in

sincere when sent in a timely manner. It is perfectly fine to send

your life. From outfitting your kitchen with matching silverware

your notes before the wedding for gifts received at showers

to fluffy, monogrammed towels for your bathroom, you will be

ahead of time.

given plenty of thoughtful items that you actually want and

Newlyweds can sometimes feel unsure about what to say or

need. The only catch to this plethora of presents? Writing the

how to structure a thank-you note, especially since sending

thank-you note.

handwritten letters is pretty rare these days. We have simplified

The etiquette on this item is pretty clear, you have got to

the process for you and laid out everything you need to know

send a thank-you note to every single person who gives you a

to make sure you are sending thoughtful thank-you notes that

gift. The note both communicates your appreciation and also

everyone will appreciate.

WRITTEN BY Emily Conley | PHOTOGRAPHY BY TWA Photographic Artists 268



THE NOTE Traditionally, wedding thank-you notes are small, folded-over cards with a monogram on the front. If you choose to take the traditional approach, you can use your new married monogram. If your wedding vibe is less traditional and more laid-back or modern, you may want to choose a colorful, creative and less formal thank-you note. Pick the style that fits your personality, and feel free to use more than one style of thank-you note depending on your audience. You may want a more casual or spirited card for close friends and something more formal for distant relatives and casual acquaintances. And don’t forget that you can register for your thank-you notes as well!

THE FORMAT Thank-you notes are typically small for a reason – you don’t need to write that much! You should always start with a greeting – “Dear Whomever” is always appropriate – and then include two to three sentences of text. In the body of your thank-you note, be sure to mention the specific gift you received and how you will use it. It may seem obvious, but don’t forget to say ‘thank you!’. End with something personal – “We can’t wait to see you soon!” or “We are so happy you could celebrate with us!” – to help your thank-you feel meaningful.

Dear Aunt Helen and Uncle Mark, Thank you so much for the beautiful vase you gave us. We cannot wait to display the fresh-cut flowers from our garden in it. We are looking forward to seeing you both at the Fourth of July party soon! Love, Jennifer

THE GIFT It is quite common to receive money as a wedding gift, which can make writing CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



a thank you note feel a bit awkward. Never mention the exact amount given. Rather, treat each monetary gift as a “generous gift,” and write how you plan to spend the cash in your card. For example, “Thank you so much for your generous gift. We were so excited to be able to book a snorkeling excursion on our honeymoon!” If you receive an item that is a duplicate or that you plan to return, keep that information to yourself. Mention the specific gift given in your note and focus on your gratitude to the gift giver. If you received three toasters, your thank-you might look like this: “We really appreciate the four-slice toaster. We can’t wait to have you over for brunch soon so you can see it in action! It means a lot to us both that you thought of us at this exciting time in our lives.” There is a chance you may receive something that you’re unsure of how to use or what exactly it is. In that instance, be as general as necessary while focusing on the person who gifted it and how appreciative you are.

THE RECIPIENT Model your greeting based on how familiar you are with who gave you the gift. It would be weird to address your sister or close friend with a formal pre-fix, but your Dad’s work friend that you’ve never met should be addressed with a Mr. or Mrs. as appropriate. You should also think about the recipient when signing your own name. Traditional etiquette states that since you are writing the card yourself, you should only sign your name. For a more modern approach, both names can be signed. For those who are close to you, your first name should suffice. It’s best to use your full name – first, maiden, and married – when sending a card to someone who may not recognize just your first name. Remember that thank-you notes are 270



not solely for gifts, either. You should

day, the task may feel overwhelming.

send a hand-written thank-you to anyone

At the end of the day, guests genuinely

who helps you plan, prepare and cele-

appreciate knowing that you received

brate your Big Day. This includes your

their gift and that you are grateful. Make

wedding planner, photographer, offici-

writing your thank-you notes more fun

ant, the host or hostess of any wedding

by writing while watching a guilty pleasure

showers or events and any others who

TV show or listening to your favorite

contributed significantly to your ceremony

podcast while you crank them out. Take

or reception.

a moment to truly reflect on how thankful you are for the generous people who


celebrated your Big Day before sitting

Staying organized and on top of your

down to write – the grateful spirit will

wedding thank-you notes will make life

come through in your notes. The most

so much easier. Keep track of every

important thing is that you actually send

gift – who gave it, what it is, when they

everyone a thank-you note, so stay on

gave it – in a spreadsheet so you can

top of your gift list and make sure you

clearly mark when you have sent a

address, stamp and mail each and

thank-you note for each item. If you

every card of gratitude. Your hand may

have several wedding showers, try to

hurt by the end of the process, but once

send those notes immediately after the

you are done, treat yourself to a bubble

event so they don’t pile up. If you wait to

bath and one of those new, fluffy towels

send any notes until after your wedding

you just received.



DUSTIN & ALEX From the Beginning After initially meeting online, Dustin and Alex immediately felt a connection between each other that allowed them to be their authentic selves. Alex confirmed he knew Dustin was the one for him the first time their eyes met. The Tennessee natives decided to host their wedding in their new hometown of Chicago in order to share the love of their new city with friends and family.

Dashing Details The wedding’s breathtaking décor showcased Dustin and Alex’s endless love from start to finish. Their vision came to life with towering floral centerpieces, gleaming candelabras and a chic white and blue monogrammed dance floor. The newlyweds dined at a sweetheart table complete with gilded thrones and a luscious spray of blue and white flowers. Their reception was full of meaningful toasts, plenty of dancing and even a visit from an LED robot.

“You’re the One” Alex surprised Dustin with a performance by R&B singer Dondria to commemorate a moment early on in their relationship when Dustin stole a Dondria CD from Alex and playfully refused to give it back. This thoughtful gesture, and Alex’s memory for special details, are only a few of the many reasons the couple finds themselves to be a perfect pair.

Number of Wedding Guests: 111

To see more photos from this Real Wedding, go to WRITTEN BY Emily Conley

Real Wedding Vendors VENUE: Kimpton Hotel Allegro | PHOTOGRAPHY: Jolie Images | VIDEOGRAPHY: Windy City Production RINGS: Rogers & Hollands | FORMALWEAR: Eaden Myles | ALEX’S SHOES: Versace | DUSTIN’S SHOES: Christian Louboutin ACCESSORIES: Meister Watches | MAKEUP: Beyoutiful Kisses Studio | FLORAL & DÉCOR: Yanni Design Studio ENTERTAINMENT: Avi Sic; Dondria; Ray Silkman; Z BOTS LED Robots | CAKE & SWEETS: West Town Bakery



SPOTLIGHT ON STYLE | Hues Used: Mary Catherine & Matthew


Vendors EVENT PLANNER: The Gilded Aisle | VENUE: The InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile PHOTOGRAPHY: KYLE JOHN Photography | STATIONERY: Fiore Press FLORAL & DÉCOR: Designs by Jodi | CAKE: Bittersweet To see more photos from this Spotlight on Style, go to CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM




Bouquet Basics B

elieve it or not, your choice of flowers will be one of the

these details but coming in with a few ideas of what you will

most impactful aspects of your wedding décor. Flowers

need is always helpful.

have the power to really set the mood and evoke a

magical atmosphere. Not to mention they are gorgeous in


photos! The bridal bouquet is the floral element that everyone is

First things first – what style of bouquet do you want? Your

sure to notice – your guests are going to be giving you all of their

florist will tell you that there are many ways to customize your

attention as you walk down the aisle, and your bouquet will be

bouquet to your style, and shape is one of them. Ask them to

right there with you, front and center.

show you examples of different kind of bouquets and look at

Thinking through your bridal bouquet can be a great way to

plenty of pictures ahead of time to get to know your preferences.

begin the process of determining your overall floral design.

Bring several photos to your floral appointment. You might not

But it’s not as simple as just picking out a few kinds of flowers

know the name of every flower or arrangement technique, but

you like and leaving it at that. Did you know that there are

a picture is worth a thousand words!

several different shapes for bouquets? Have you thought

If you’re looking for a larger bouquet, there are several options

about any extras you want to incorporate into your floral

open for your consideration. For a dramatic look, choose the cas-

arrangements? Do you know which members of your wedding

cading style, which includes longer flowers and greenery spilling

party will get flowers? Your florist will walk you through all of

out and down from the center to create a voluminous waterfall





effect. Another related style is the pageant (sometimes called presentation) style, which features long-stemmed flowers gathered together, meant to rest in the crook of your arm. You could also opt for the hand-tied style, which features a mix of flowers and greenery loosely tied together with a visible ribbon or twine, achieving an organic “freshly-picked” boho look. For the classic bride, the round shape is timeless, featuring one or two types of flowers gathered in an arrangement that looks good from any angle, with stems wrapped completely in ribbon or with other adornments. Brides wanting a smaller bouquet can opt for the nosegay or posy style, which tends to feature just one or two types of flowers in a small rounded bundle that can easily be held in one hand. This look is popular for bridesmaids, leaving one hand free so they can help the bride with anything and everything in

seasonal blooms

a pinch! Another small style that evokes a vintage vibe is the pomander, which looks like a ball of flowers hanging from a ribbon or string. While a bride could walk

Celebrate the season your wedding takes place in and choose your

down the aisle swinging this style of bou-

bouquet, boutonniere and floral décor based on what flowers are in

quet, it’s a more common choice for

bloom. Some flowers can be sourced year-round, but other flowers – like

flower girls. Another unique smaller option

sunflowers – can be much more difficult to find depending on when

is the composite style (also known as

you’re getting married. Here’s a few of the many flowers available for each

glamelia), which takes petals from several

specific season.

flowers and pins them together to form what looks like one giant bloom.



Shape is not the only physical element

Cosmo, Hyacinth,

Anemone, Calla Lily,

you have to take into account when think-

Hydrangea, Lilac,

Casablanca Lily, Cornflower,

ing about your bouquet. You also have to

Lily of the Valley, Orchid,

Daisy/Gerbera Daisy,

pay attention to how big the bouquet will

Peony, Rose, Tulip,

Delphinium, Queen Anne’s Lace,

be in relation to your body. For taller


Rhododendron, Rose,

brides, the sky’s the limit – go for a cas-


cading look or an overflowing bundle if you want. For shorter brides, it’s best to

Fall Aster, Calla Lily,


Chocolate Cosmos,

Amaryllis, Camelia, Freesia,

Chrysanthemum, Dahlia,

Heather, Holly/Evergreen/Ivy,

Parrot Tulips, Rose, Statice,

Lisianthus, Narcissus, Rose,

Sunflower, Victorian Lily

Ranunculus, Violets

go for a smaller look. You don’t want your flowers to overshadow your face or cover up a large portion of your dress!

MATCH YOUR LOOK Your bouquet will never stand alone – it will always be seen with your wedding




gown as a backdrop. Because of this,

within. For instance, your florist may use

and spacious church allow all the tiny

it’s important to match your bouquet to

a different shade of flower to match a

details in your bouquet to be seen? Is

the style of your dress. If you are wearing

champagne-colored dress than they would

there colored carpet, tile or draping in

a more ornate dress, full of beading or

for a bright white dress. And a “pink”

your hotel ballroom? All your wedding

intricately patterned lace, think about

bridesmaid dress may mean something

plans should look intertwined in some

choosing a simpler bouquet so that your

quite different to you than to your florist.

way or another. While you don’t need to

dress takes the spotlight. This might

If you don’t have extra swatches, come

necessarily match your flowers to the

mean that you choose one color for the

prepared with pictures so they can get a

design elements of your space, it’s good

flowers and stick with that, or use fewer

feel for your true color scheme.

to be mindful of them so they don’t clash

blooms. With a more modern, simple

Besides matching your general aes-

gown, you can either match the minimal-

thetic, you want your flowers to make

istic look with a simple bouquet or you

sense given your venue and the time of


can go a bit more dramatic with the

day you will be holding your wedding. An

No matter what aesthetic you are going

flowers. If you’d like the bouquet to take

outdoor daytime wedding is perfect for

for, the time of year that your celebrations

center stage, go ahead and mix many

bright and sunny blooms like sunflowers,

occur play a huge part in your flower

different kinds of flowers or use several

tulips and peonies. The sunlight and open

choices. If you have your heart set on

colors together.

with each other.

spaces will allow those flowers to shine! If

daffodils, hosting your wedding in the

When you meet with your florist, be

you’re having an indoor wedding in the

fall is not going to bode well for your

sure to bring along fabric swatches from

evening, you’ll need to keep in mind how

floral hopes! While many flowers are

your dress and your bridesmaid dresses if

your bouquet will look under the venue’s

available throughout a large part of the

possible. That way they are able to see

lighting and alongside the interior décor

year, there are some specialty blooms

the exact color palette they are working

of the space. Will the lighting in your tall

that you will only be able to get during one season. Talk to your florist about which flowers you have in mind, and be ready to take her suggestions for alternative blooms that will give you the look you’re going for. For instance, garden roses or hydrangeas can often substitute for peonies, which are beautiful but only available for a very short amount of time. Don’t think about seasonal availability as a limitation – embrace it! You have likely chosen wedding colors that coordinate with the season, so your flowers will naturally match. Take the opportunity to use flowers and supporting elements in your bouquet that celebrate the season. You may even learn about ways your florist can source your flowers from a local greenhouse, which will mean they are extremely fresh and vibrant. Try not to get attached to the particulars – once you give your florist some inspiration photos and color schemes, let them run wild and use their professional knowledge to work some floral magic. Chances are, they will achieve a look that goes beyond your expectations.




WHO GETS WHAT? After you decide on the shape, size and blooms for your bridal bouquet, you will need to think about flowers for the other people who are helping you celebrate your Big Day. Of course, the bride gets the most dazzling bouquet, but who else gets bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres? There are no hard and fast rules for this, so choose whomever you would like! But keep reading for some of the traditional guidelines.

BOUQUETS Typically, each bridesmaid gets a bouquet that mimics or takes inspiration from the bride’s bouquet. You will never run out of great photo ops when you and all your girls have beautiful blooms to show off! If your flower girl won’t have anything else in her hands (like a basket or a sign) it’s a cute idea to give her a mini bouquet as well – she’ll love being your mini-me!

CORSAGES Corsages are meant for the women in your family or any woman you would like to honor, including ceremony readers and other guests who have a special place in your Big Day. Whether you give corsages only to immediate family members (such as mothers and grandmothers) or you offer them to all your important consistent with providing them to relatives on both sides of your families. You don’t want anyone feeling unfairly left out! You may have seen women wearing

Lilly Photography

cousins and aunties, be sure you are

corsages in different ways – some pinned onto their dresses and some around their wrists. Mimicking how men wear boutonnieres, many women will pin the corsage on the left shoulder of their dress. But they may worry about snagging or ruining a delicate gown. An alternative is to opt for a bracelet style corsage that is typically worn on the left wrist. Or, you can ask your florist if they CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



offer a magnetic option. That will take the

wedding can receive boutonnieres as

your choice. But why not go beyond the

hassle out of pinning and will simplify the

well, including fathers and grandfathers

traditional look? You can choose other

process without running the risk of dam-

of the couple, ushers, other family mem-

materials to wrap your bouquet. Try burlap

age to expensive dresses. Both wrist and

bers and even the ring bearer. This is a

or twine if your wedding will be rustic,

pinned versions can look beautiful, so it’s

special way to give a small thanks to

velvet if you’re going for a boho theme, or

best to go with whatever will make your

the important men in your life. Don’t be

lace from your mother’s wedding dress

special ladies feel most comfortable.

surprised if the guys need some assis-

for a personal tribute. You can also draw

Remember, everyone has a different style.

tance pinning them on – send a mom in

extra attention to the wrap by using a

You’ll want your leading ladies feeling

to help them attach their boutonnieres

boldly patterned ribbon or an oversized

their best on your Big Day, that way they

with ease!

ribbon tied in a giant bow. Some brides

can focus their attention on ensuring your

even opt to have several colored ribbons

celebrations go as planned. You may find


hanging down off their bouquets to add

it helpful to talk to the mothers to see

It’s easy to overlook the way your bouquet

an extra artistic flair and to showcase

which style they would prefer, and which

is held together, but don’t forget the fin-

more color.

option they think would work best for the

ishing touches! Most bouquet styles have

Another way to upgrade your bouquet

other ladies.

visible stems, which means that your

is to attach glitz or family heirlooms to the

wrap choice matters, and personalizing

wrap. Going for a glamorous aesthetic?


this part of your bouquet opens the door

Ask your florist to attach some sparkly

Grooms and groomsmen typically wear

to your creativity and allows you to show

accessories like gemstone brooches or

boutonnieres, also known as “button-

off what makes you unique.

appliques. Or perhaps you’d like to honor

holes,” which are pinned to their left

The standard option for wrapping your

your family history by incorporating some

lapel. But other men involved in your

stems is a satin ribbon in the color of

heirlooms into your bouquet. It could be a piece of your grandmother’s handkerchief, a locket passed down from generation to generation, or even cufflinks from someone special. After the celebrations are over, consider preserving your flowers so that you can insert them into a scrapbook or keep as a token from your special day. Of course, there are professionals who can preserve your flowers to ensure the best quality. Do some research for the best professional preservationist that can encapsulate your flowers and wedding day memories for years to come. Your bridal bouquet is one of the most visible aspects to your wedding-day look, so take the time to think through all of your available options! Your florist will be a wealth of knowledge for you as you decide on all the details and decisions. So, remember to take advantage of them as a valuable resource as much as possible. By putting some extra love and effort into your floral decisions, you will be able to bring a bit of floral flare to your Big Day.





t is true that we are living in a world filled with personaliza-

perfect wedding theme. In fact, you may want to emphasize the

tion. You can no longer carry a simple water bottle to the

sports team that you cheer for every Monday night, or even

gym, it must be in your favorite color with your initials embla-

include a few facets of a particular hobby. Wherever your plan

zoned across it.

takes you, there is a multitude of ways to add some of your

Almost everything is personalized, so why would you let your wedding day remain simple and straightforward? It’s only the most important day of your life, after all.

favorite things into your wedding day. Here are a few fun ideas to infuse more of your personalities into your ceremony and reception!

If simplicity is still important to you, then there are a number of glamorous, classic designs that can still set your wedding


apart. However, if you are craving a little something more, then

Before you begin deciding how to incorporate your theme into

only your own creativity can limit your ideas. Plus, if you work

your wedding, you will need to make a final decision on which

with an inspired wedding planner, then nothing is off limits

theme best represents you as a couple. There are plenty of

(except for unicorns – unicorns may be somewhat problematic.)

places to draw inspiration, like taking a nod from nature or even

As you begin to brainstorm and toss around a few ideas, you

making a list of some of the activities that you enjoy together

may find that you don’t need mythical creatures to realize your

as a couple.




Here are a few ideas to get those creative juices going!

details like bright flowers and festive

Gilded Age – The Roaring 20s was a

names for your cocktails. Flamingos can

very prolific time in American history,

Black and White – When you want to

be a fun addition to a number of designs

fondly remembered for its flapper dresses,

be somewhat simplistic, a color scheme

to add to your island theme as well. If you

its music and its “let’s all have a good

of classic black and white can add a

really want to go all out, think about a

time” feel. Touches of this era can be

formal air to your wedding, and it can be

sand sculpture, and leave sunglasses on

added to accent your formalwear selec-

accented in a number of ways. Rather

the tables for engaging photo opportunities.

tions, whether it be through fedoras or

than merely utilize the two colors in a reg-

Go Cubs Go – If you love to sit in a

sparkly, intricate headbands. Name your

ular fashion, think about stripes or even

crowded stadium, drinking a cold beer

cocktails after Fitzgerald’s characters,

polka dots. Imagine the unique invitation

and eating your weight in popcorn, you

or set up a Prohibition password before

ideas that you could explore with your

can even bring your love for baseball –

your guests can order their “hooch.” The

designer! And have you ever been to New

or any other sport, for that matter – into

great thing about this theme is that it can

York City and indulged in a famous black

your reception. You don’t have to go full-

fun, but it’s still classy, presenting the

and white cookie? Have some brought in,

blown baseball bats and umpires, but it’s

perfect union between the two. Just keep

or talk to your baker about adding them

a great idea to carry this theme into the

your eyes open for Al Capone!

to your cake or dessert table.

groom’s cake, or even with cupcakes to

All You Need Is Rock and Roll – If

Island Flair – This theme can be

accentuate the cake table. When you’re

you and your partner met at a concert or

especially fun if you will be honeymooning

meeting with your photographer, think about

share the love of this energetic genre,

in the Caribbean or if you have decided to

setting the men up with sports t-shirts

then this might be the theme for you! This

set sail on a luxurious cruise. If you’re

under their tuxedoes, as well as baseball

idea leaves you with a lot of options, as

thinking about palm trees and a playful-

caps, for a few poses. This is also a great

you can narrow down your era of rock

but-relaxed vibe, you can also incorporate

way to get the guys excited for pictures.

music. Are you 80s kids, and love the idea of big hair and blaring guitar solos, or do you find yourself wishing you grew up in the 90s in Seattle? Maybe you are into metal, and you’re not ready to leave your head-banging days behind you. Whatever the case, you can get really outrageous with this theme! Pass out backstage passes to all your guests, with your names and wedding date on them, and go crazy with your cake design. You will also want to consider hiring a live wedding band and giving special attention to the set list. Into the Woods – If you love the feeling of being surrounded by nature, or perhaps you enjoy hiking and camping as a couple, this theme can add a touch of whimsy to your day. Pin some beautifully decorated fairy wings on your flower girl, and instead of rose petals, sprinkle “pixie dust.” The bride and her attendants can wear flowers in their hair, and you can opt for choices like daisies or pale-colored baby roses with plenty of baby’s breath. You can also really bring this theme into your décor, incorporating greenery and garlands. For




translate to your actual wedding décor?

with flowers and twinkle lights.

If you’re hoping to bring out your wedding

Be especially sure to add some attention

Dreaming of a White Christmas - If

theme as much as possible, then you’ll

to areas that may be a bit overlooked.

your wedding is taking place close to the

want to weave it into as many décor

Your wedding cake table is always a

holidays, then you will want to use this to

ideas as possible. This is where working

given, but nowadays, adding a few finger

your advantage, especially when it comes

with an experienced wedding planner

desserts has become quite popular, offering

to decorations and your formalwear choices.

will come into play. He or she will be

yet another space to work into your

White will be the color of the day, accented

able to let you know if you can push

theme. Also, consider your entrance table.

with shades of red and/or green, and your

the envelope, or if you have gone way

This area can also be spruced up and

flower girl(s) can be snow angels for the

over the top. Plus, years of knowledge

even introduce your theme as your guests

occasion. You can add to the romance

and experience will be key when im-

make their way into the venue.

with cleverly placed mistletoe, and sprigs

plementing your ideas. They may look

Your reception tables are also a won-

of spruce can bring an aromatic flair.

phenomenal on paper, but how will they

derful place to get fun and creative. You


your centerpieces, think about jars filled

Amy Straka Photography

Ed & Aileen Photography

Ed & Aileen Photography




well as talk to your decorator and floral


designer about centerpieces that will also

When you begin looking at reception

Now, photo booths come with plenty

complement your ideas.

facilities, it’s a great idea to have already

of options, including backgrounds and

can place theme-related favors here, as

black-and-white photos to pop out. To put it mildly, things have really changed.

selected your theme. Of course, if you

scenes that can be selected by your


have had your eye on a particular venue

guests when posing for their pictures.

As already mentioned in some of our

from the moment that ring was placed

Some companies even create their own

suggested themes, music is an excellent

on your finger, you can easily find ways

scenes, which could apply to your

way to really breathe life into your vision.

to incorporate your theme without any

theme. Additionally, it’s common for a

This might seem like an obvious decision,

difficulty. However, if you are open to a

box of props to accompany your pho-

but with so much planning and other

variety of selections for your facility, then

to booth, or you can bring your own.

wedding-related responsibilities, some

you may want to look at it with your

Think along the lines of beach hats and

couples may not think about blending

theme in mind.

bright-colored sunglasses for a summer

their wedding theme into the ceremony or reception music.

If you have a sports-related theme, imagine if a sporting venue has a room

theme, or maybe masks and beads for Mardi Gras.

Just imagine a magical Disney theme,

that can be used for special events. Or, if

Encourage your guests to dress

complete with Cinderella’s coach, brought

you are keen on a natural theme, what if

with the theme. – This can work especially

to fruition with classic Disney melodies

there’s a reception facility with views of a

well with the black and white option that

played by a string quartet during the

wooded area or a stream? The options

was mentioned earlier, as your guests

ceremony. At the reception, you can liven

are truly endless!

can wear those colors, which can also

things up with an occasional “Kiss the

apply to any other theme revolving around

Girl” or “A Whole New World” mixed into


a particular color scheme. If you have a

your regular choices.

Perhaps the best and most important way

Hawaiian theme, flowered shirts should

Be sure to meet with your DJ or live

to incorporate your theme is through

come to mind, and you can ensure every-

band to explore your options, and let

engaging your guests. If they can feel as if

one has a lei or two.

them know that you are interested in

they’re a part of what’s going on, then they

If you want to keep your ceremony

extending your theme into your musical

will have a much better time, and your

classic, you can request that your guests

selections. If you’re going with a Broadway

wedding will always be a memorable event.

play to the theme only for the reception.

Baby theme, it doesn’t necessarily mean

Rent a photo booth. – Nothing can

Think about Superman or Batman tees

that your entire reception must be filled

showcase a theme quite like a photo booth.

coming out for a superhero theme, or

with Showtunes. A professional entertainer

When you initially think about a photo

clothing sporting your favorite “Game of

will be able to find just the right mix to

booth, your memories might take you back

Thrones” character. Your guests will never

keep your guests on the dance floor, but

to a little box at an amusement park, where

forget such a unique reception!

still tie in the music that will embrace

you crammed in with your two best friends

Hopefully, you have drawn some inspi-

your theme.

and then waited patiently for a strip of

ration, and you are just bursting with ideas. Set aside some time with your partner to go over some of your favorites and even come up with a few new ones. You can also get opinions from your friends and family before you make your final decision. Above all else, remember that your wedding is a celebration that will not only focus on your love but also on who you are as a couple. Get creative, have fun and let your personalities shine through, you and your fiancé will definitely be happy with the results!



LEXIE & TYLER Say “I Do” Lexie and Tyler held their wedding ceremony and reception at the same venue, but still wanted the ceremony to feel traditional. A family friend created glass crosses and a gorgeous centerpiece for the altar to bring a church-like feel to the space.

School Pride The couple met at the University of Kentucky, and they made sure to include their alma mater in their reception. Kentucky fans call themselves the “Big Blue Nation,” so instead of a more traditional route, Lexie and Tyler had a UK-themed “BBN” cocktail hour featuring bourbon, beer and nugget pretzels.

Autumn Beauty The reception space is incredibly unique, fea turing woodwork architecture, hand-painted ceilings, tall vases of magnolia leaves and a giant stone fireplace. Lexie and Tyler wanted to make sure the décor was cozy and warm, so they had candles flickering in the fireplace and the entire space draped in warm shades of maroon, gold and deep green for their fall wedding.

Love, Sweet Love Lexie and Tyler share a love of all things food. Lexie also happens to be the lead cake designer at Vanille Patisserie, so they treated guests to unique sweets including a tiered wedding cake, a groom’s cake shaped like a bourbon barrel that actually dispensed bourbon, a full dessert table of sweets and late-night snacks.

Number of Wedding Guests: 125 To see more photos from this Real Wedding, go to WRITTEN BY Emily Conley

Real Wedding Vendors VENUE: University Club of Chicago | PHOTOGRAPHY: Dory L Tuohey Photography | ENGAGEMENT RING: Kruckemeyer & Cohn WEDDING RINGS: Tiffany & Co. | GOWN: Martina Liana via Volle’s Bridal & Boutique | BRIDE’S SHOES: Betsey Johnson FUR STOLE: Betsey Johnson | HAIR: Touché Salon | MAKEUP: Elana Darrus Makeup & Hair | FORMALWEAR: Tom James Company GROOM’S SHOES: Allen Edmonds | BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Jasmine Bridal via GiGi’s Boutique | STATIONERY: Little Shop of Papers FLORAL & DÉCOR: Fleur | ENTERTAINMENT: Bluewater Kings Band; The CoverGirls Violin Show | CAKES & SWEETS: Vanille Patisserie CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Food Truck Frenzy Whether you’re at an outdoor festival, a farmer’s market or


even a high-end wedding, these rolling kitchens are clearly

There are a large variety of food truck options customized to fit

having a moment in the spotlight. Food trucks are fun and offer

almost any dietary preference, budget or theme. There is no

specialized food options that are delicious and convenient.

limit to what you and your vendor could come up with to

While there are some logistical considerations required, we

accommodate your guests. Your favorite restaurant may even

think having flavorful tacos, decadent crêpes, gourmet grilled

have a mobile catering option that lets you bring your favorite

cheese or artisanal coffee at your event is worth the challenge.

foods to your wedding guests.


t is no secret that food trucks have become very popular.

WRITTEN BY Nicole Swanberg & Emily Conley | PHOTOGRAPHY BY TWA Photographic Artists 290



Food trucks can offer almost every

flavor (maybe a combination of you and

their wedding receptions because they

type of international cuisine imaginable:

your partner’s childhood favorites?). There

evoke an open, laid-back and welcoming

Mexican, French, Chinese, Thai, Italian

are mobile cupcake trucks specializing

vibe. Using a food truck is also an easy

and more. With trucks that specialize in

in unique flavor combinations with the

way to make your wedding feel per -

childhood staples like hotdogs, ham-

additional possibility of creating a cus-

sonalized and unique. The food at your

burgers, grilled cheese or shaved ice,

tomized recipe just for you. Shaved ice,

wedding plays a large part in setting the

you can keep things casual and unex-

cotton candy and sweet French crêpes

tone for the night, so it’s important to

pected for your guests. If sweet treats

are other great dessert options.

think about the overall effect your menu

are more tempting then savory snacks,

You can also use a food truck to

will have on your reception. Food trucks

then dessert-specific trucks that focus

revive your guests after a long night of

don’t just offer culinary delights, they

on cupcakes, ice cream or baked goods

dancing. Bring in a truck for late-night

also give your guests a one-of-a-kind

may be just what you’re after. There are

eats like mac-and-cheese bites, seasoned

experience they will always remember.

even trucks that serve up specialty bev-

fries, sliders, churros or popcorn to keep

Most food trucks allow guests to cus-

erages, from artisanal coffees to cocktails

your guests fueled for more dancing. If

tomize their orders while the typical

and Prosecco.

your band or DJ has everyone dancing

reception menu is usually limited to only

the night away, they are going to need a

a couple options. Many food trucks also

pick-me-up after a few hours.

contribute to the overall style of a

Maybe you aren’t a huge fan of wedding cake and you want a food truck for the dessert portion of the evening. An

wedding – providing unique décor or fun photo opportunities. Guests will have

off if your wedding is on a warm night.


Consider creating a custom ice cream

Many couples choose food trucks for

energetic and social crowd as opposed

ice cream truck could be a fun way to celebrate childhood nostalgia and cool

the opportunity to mix and mingle while in line, which can help encourage an to strict seating charts or standard dinner arrangements. Depending on the number of guests and your menu selection, food trucks may be a cost-effective complement to the traditional plated or buffet-style meal. The ability to customize food trucks means they can accommodate almost any need. Regardless of the size of your wedding, there’s a food truck for you. Food trucks are extremely versatile and can be integrated into nearly any wedding theme. Have you planned your reception in a vintage French style? Consider hiring a French crêpe food truck to enhance the experience. Adding a Latin flair to your celebration? Find a food truck to serve up empanadas or tacos. You can even choose a food truck with a specific exterior – think metallic, antique or a bright and bold color – to fit in with your color scheme. You can also customize the menu to highlight you and your partner’s personalities. From serving your favorite comfort foods to a childhood sweet treat or



one to a Chicago hotdog or deep dish

you, the menu options can serve as a

pizza to introduce your guests to the


way to personalize your Big Day.

city’s flavors. If you or your partner are

Whether you and your guests are vegetar-

Don’t be afraid to ask your food truck

from different regions, consider a truck

ian, gluten-free or dairy-free, dietary restric-

vendor if they can add a menu item for

that honors your roots with lobster rolls,

tions shouldn’t be an issue for a food

your event. Most vendors will accommo-

fried chicken or cheesesteaks. What a

truck. There are food trucks that specialize

date special requests as best they can.

fun way to represent your hometowns!

in vegan-friendly menus and gluten-free

With food trucks, the food and drink

If your bridesmaids are up for it, con-

treats. When in doubt, just ask. They’ll

sider ditching the traditional bridesmaids’

have the scoop on preparing gluten-

luncheon in favor of a gathering of food

free sandwiches, crafting a vegan dish or


trucks. You can usually find parts of

whipping up non-dairy ice cream. Chances

town that host several trucks for lunch.

are, they’ll be able to accommodate any

This can be a fun way to let everyone

dietary restrictions you may have.

If you have your reception menu set, but

pick their own favorite food items. Or, if

still love the idea of incorporating a food

you’re planning to host a post-wedding

truck into your wedding festivities, there

brunch or barbeque, a food truck can be


are plenty of other ways to do so.

options are nearly endless.

the perfect way to keep things casual and

A single food truck can accommodate

Consider your rehearsal dinner, reserve

laid back. You can use the post-wedding

75 to 100 guests. Since the average

three food trucks to serve an appetizer,

gathering as a way to leave guests with a

wedding has 150 guests, two food trucks

the main course and dessert. Another

lasting memory of your favorite eats. A

might be a good option while also allowing

idea is to highlight regional specialties

food truck specializing in bubbly would be

for a larger variety of food. To really cut

for your out-of-town guests. Treat every-

an ideal addition to any brunch.

down on lines, you may want to hire



highlighting an ethnic food special to



three trucks. You can mix it up and offer three types of cuisines like Italian, Mexican and Chinese. Or go the breakfast, lunch and dinner route. Lots of variety is sure to entice your guests’ taste buds. If you stick with one food truck, make sure you discuss your head count with them to ensure there will be enough food items for everyone to be served. Keep your season in mind. Off-season weddings may come with a less expensive investment, but make sure you think about your guests. Most people won’t trudge through the snow for a cupcake, even from a seriously cute food truck. If you plan on having a summer wedding, make sure there’s shade nearby to keep your guests cool as they order and wait for their food. Make sure your venue is food truck friendly. Trucks need a place to park and a suitable electric outlet to plug into. While food trucks can be offered at both indoor and outdoor events, it may be easier for the truck to pull into an open spot rather than a crowded parking lot. Talk through your ideas with your wedding planner and venue coordinator to iron out the logistics of when, where, and how many trucks you can have on the property. Food trucks require time to set up and tear down, so check with your reception venue about the time allotments before you sign anything. What time can the truck set up? When should the truck be removed? These times are very important when selecting any type of mobile catering. Lastly, creating a specific, limited menu from your food truck’s larger menu may help streamline everything. A smaller menu will speed up the entire process. When guests have only four or five options to choose from, they will order a little more quickly. Having a limited menu will cut down on wait times, help the staff plan more accurately and may keep your costs down as well.



give my compliments TO THE CHEF Chicago attracts some of the world’s top culinary talent by combining a sincere passion for food alongside the artistic mastery that only a select few embody. When it comes to your wedding day meal, Chicago’s culinary scene is ready to prove that it is in-fact a reality to have high standards when it comes to what your guests will enjoy after you say “I do!”. Amaze your guests by serving them an edible masterpiece that will be talked about long after your Big Day.

Cedric Harden Executive Chef River Roast Chef Cedric Harden is the leading force behind the culinary program at River Roast. Growing up with the natural inclination and desire to cook for his family, Harden realized that he was passionate about bringing people together through delicious dishes. This revelation inspired him to begin his study at the Le Cordon Bleu Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago at the age of 22. After working his way through different kitchens, Chef Harden now uses his culinary expertise to amaze guests at River Roast. With a strong focus on Midwestern comfort food, he thoughtfully creates shareable dishes that are meant to bring joy, and capture the love and warmth of the region’s cuisine. Dish Right: Apple wood smoked chicken, seasoned and served with signature crispy potatoes.

Ben Holt Director of Culinary Operations Jewell Events Catering With degrees in Culinary Arts and Pastry, Ben trained at Second Empire Restaurant in Raleigh for almost 8 years under Executive Chef Daniel Schurr. It was there that he learned the discipline of working hard and always staying true to the craft. Ben entered FOUND LIGHT STUDIOS

the catering world for the excitement and unique challenges that come with working in prestigious offsite venues. With ever changing menus, cuisines, venues and tight timelines, there is never a dull moment in catering. This lively atmosphere feeds into his passion for the culinary arts and gives him the motivation to express his creativity. Dish Left: Summer Salad - arugula, peach, blueberry, mint, shaved parmesan and pancetta collar with blueberry vinaigrette.

Greg Carso Executive Chef The Metropolitan With a widespread wealth of culinary knowledge and 30 years of experience, Chef Greg Carso brings a special flare to The Metropolitan in Chicago’s iconic Willis Tower. After attending Chicago’s Washburne Trade School and La Varenne École de Cuisine in Paris, Carso established himself at Levy Restaurant Group. Soon after, he joined the culinary world of private

Michael Tsonton

clubs that landed him in his current role at the bustling city club.

Executive Chef Ravinia Festival

Carso has celebrated many company-wide awards including Rookie Chef of The Year. He continues to experiment and evolve using cutting edge techniques to provide guests with world class cuisine.

Award winning chef Michael Tsonton is the talented man in charge of the

Dish Below: Chicken Milanese - breaded chicken breast, topped

culinary team at Ravinia Festival. He

with arugula. grape tomatoes and pecorino romano cheese,

oversees all of the versatile dining

finished with a red wine vinaigrette and balsamic glaze.

experiences within the venue including the Lawn Bar, Tree Top, Park View, Ravinia Market and the new rooftop dining experiences that recently opened. As an impacting force in the culinary industry, Chef Tsonton is passionate about bringing a memorable food experience to your wedding celebration. Together, Chef Tsonton and his hardworking staff will turn your festivities into a culinary masterpiece that your guests will rave about for years. Dish Above: House cured salmon gravlax with braised grapes, cucumbers and black pepper-farmers cheese.

Matt Jergens Executive Chef The Gwen Hotel As Executive Chef of The Gwen Hotel, Matt Jergens applies his culinary expertise from different regions of the country and their origin to create unique dishes that guests will savor forever. His lifelong passion for cooking has allowed him to have an extensive career in both hotels and independent restaurants. Jergens oversees all aspects of the luxurious hotel’s food and beverage programs, striving to create cuisine that will tap into diners’ past memories, as well as creating new ones. Chef Jergens states, “Every dish has some kind of thought or story behind it.” Dish Right: Tempura Octopus – sprinkled with rancho gordo salad, salsa tinta and purslane.

Walleska Cianfanelli Executive Pastry Chef Palmer House Walleska Cianfanelli is a renowned international pastry chef who brings a sweet and savory touch to the Palmer House. She specializes in pastries and desserts among other sweets and was awarded the Best Chocolate Sculpture award at World of Chocolate in 2017. Cianfanelli has extensive experience in decorating pastries and plating desserts, as well as assembling dessert buffets for a large number of guests. All of these attributes showcase her passion for the culinary arts and her devotion to the craft. Dish Right: Caged Heart - milk chocolate sponge cake, fresh strawberry confit, milk chocolate mousse and strawberry glaze encaged by a chocolate dome.

Dan McGee Executive Chef Swissôtel Chicago Chicago native Dan McGee uses his 30 years of culinary experience to influence his role as the Executive Chef at Swissôtel Chicago. His love for cooking made him get into the business, but it was his passion for travel and international cuisine that convinced him stay. Chef McGee first began working for Swissôtel Hotels in 1990 and joined the Chicago team in 2008. Beyond his daily role as Executive Chef, he spends much of his time working with the brand team curating seasonal Vitality menus and activations. Chef McGee is recognized as one of the company’s Vitality Cuisine experts and represents Swissôtel nationally and internationally on various press trips. Dish Left: Turmeric rubbed chicken kabobs, red & black quinoa, mango chutney, with shaved apple.



ake tasting may be one of the more exciting aspects of


wedding planning, but knowing where to start the

With an abundance of cake designers to choose from, it’s

process can be daunting. For most couples, the cake

important that you decide on a bakery that you think is

is the centerpiece of the reception. Your cake is not only an

delicious, and also talented. You should feel confident that they

exquisite feature, but also gives your guests something delicious

can deliver you the cake of your dreams. Once you have nar -

to look forward to during the celebrations. When choosing a

rowed down the selections, schedule a tasting. If you’re trying to

wedding cake, you should decide on a style that matches your

decide between two bakeries, you can schedule a tasting at

wedding theme as well as your own personal preferences. Use

both, but just keep in mind that many places have a fee for

the tips and tricks throughout these pages to help pick out the

tastings. Check with the shop about any tasting charges before

cake that’s a perfect fit for your wedding.

you arrive to avoid any unexpected fees. You don’t want to bite

WRITTEN BY Amanda Shepard | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Hadassah B. Photography 298



into your wedding cake without under-

choose a more personalized flavor com-

the type, color and consistency of your

standing exactly how much it will cost.

bination for the remaining tiers. Consider

frosting. You want to make sure that

choosing more daring flavor combinations

your cake designer knows what you


such as lemon raspberry, hazelnut praline,

want your wedding cake to look and

Deciding on the flavor of the cake might

cookies n’ cream, coffee or salted caramel.

taste like before deciding on the frosting.

be the most difficult part of the process.

Choosing unique, personalized cake flavors

For example, you might like the way

You want to find something that everyone

will help put a delicious twist on the final

fondant creates sharp, clean edges, but

loves, while making sure you still enjoy

notes of your celebration.

you’re not fond of the actual flavor. Butter-

the cake as well. If you and your partner

cream makes for a better tasting cake,

have different tastes, consider alternat-


but it won’t create as clean of a look. If

ing flavor combinations by tier. You can

When the cake flavors are selected, it’s

your wedding vibe is sleek and elegant,

pick something safe for the largest tier –

time for the icing on the cake – literally.

you may choose to forego the taste in

think vanilla or chocolate – and then each

There is a lot to consider when choosing

favor of the aesthetic appeal of a fondant

your wedding as much as possible.

If your wedding is more modern, you

cake will still tie into your overall theme.

Depending on the style you’ve chosen

might want to go with more vivid colors.

for the décor, you’ll want the cake deco-

An ombre cake will create an eye-drawing

rations to match.

centerpiece. You can keep it simple or

Another thing to consider when picking the frosting is color. If you select darker shades – like black, blue or purple – you

If your wedding is designed with ele-

spice it up with flowers and other dec -

could end up with stained teeth in your

gance in mind, you might want to go with

orations. Including bright, vivid colors

photos after sharing the first bite with

a wedding cake that is more traditional

will insure that your cake matches your

your spouse. Consider choosing a lighter

in style. This might include piped flowers,

desired theme.

accent color that won’t leave noticeable

like roses, or real flowers as accents.

A rustic wedding might lead to a naked

traces behind.

Lighter colors are usually associated with

cake. Naked cakes usually include some

elegance, so stick with a color that matches

type of filling, like fresh fruit, but aren’t


the rest of your wedding theme to make

fully frosted on the outside so some of

Your cake should capture the essence of

the cake the centerpiece of your reception.

the “naked” cake shows through. If you’re


icing. Whatever you decide, make sure the


someone who doesn’t enjoy the taste of

The first step is to check the cake

icing, this might be exactly the cake for

pricing at your bakery. Many bakeries

you! And bonus – less frosting means

charge by the slice, which can range any-

less of a mess!

where from $2.50 to $8 per slice. The

The final step in dressing up the cake

price of the cake will depend on how

is the cake topper. You may choose to go

large the cake is, the kind of ingredients

with something more traditional, or you

used and the overall design of the cake.

may think of something that’s completely

When you’re first meeting with your

out of the box. Whatever you choose,

baker, make sure you’re clear about your

you want the cake topper to tie the cake

budget and make selections within your

together. A unique topper can also help

price range.

the cake to stand out.

The list below is a guide for determining just how large a cake you will need,


depending on how many people will be

It’s important to know just how many

attending your reception:

people are going to be at your wedding

• 5-inch round: 8 servings

before ordering your cake. Not only do

• 6-inch round: 12 servings

you want to make sure that you have

• 7-inch round: 16 servings

enough cake to feed everyone at your

• 8-inch round: 24 servings

reception, but you also want to ensure

• 9-inch round: 32 servings

that the amount of cake you need is

• 10-inch round: 38 servings

within your budget.

• 11-inch round: 47 servings • 12-inch round: 56 servings • 13-inch round: 67 servings • 14-inch round: 78 servings • 15-inch round: 89 servings Use these serving sizes as a starting point but also check with your cake designer for their recommendations. You want to make sure that there’s enough cake for everyone to enjoy!

DELIVERY There are a few things that you should keep in mind when scheduling the delivery of your cake. First, try to avoid transporting the cake yourself if at all possible. There’s a lot to consider once the cake leaves the bakery and makes its way to the venue. Leave the delivery up to the baker so you don’t have to worry about the cake arriving safely. Plan on leaving extra time for your cake designer to make last-minute adjustments before the rest of your guests arrive. You also need to know how the venue plans on storing your cake. This will ensure that the cake is fresh and 302



ready to eat once your reception starts. Most professionals suggest that getting the cake to the venue about an hour to an hour and a half before the reception begins is ideal.

EATING THE CAKE If your reception is outdoors, you’ll need a plan to keep your cake as pristine and delicious as possible. This might include doing your cake cutting pictures early so that the culinary staff can take the cake in the back and cut it up to prepare it for serving. Double check that your reception venue has a cool, dry area to store your cake before setting it out for the reception. Before you dig in, make sure your photographer has taken pictures of the cake by itself and any other photos you want with you and your partner. Don’t miss your chance to stuff cake in your partner’s face because all the frosting melted off before it was time to cut the cake!

A SWEET ENDING Your wedding cake needs to be both visually pleasing and delicious. Striking just the right balance between style and substance can be challenging. This is why we suggest thinking through all of the details and decisions before sitting down with a baker to design your cake. After reading this article, talk with your partner about the goal for your wedding cake. Do you want guests to rave about how beautifully designed the cake was, or how scrumptious the cake tasted? Honestly, it can be and should be, both. These priorities are personal to each couple and drive your decisions about the size, flavor and design of your wedding cake. Once you understand what you want from your wedding cake, you will be better equipped to find a baker that can bring all of your cake dreams to life. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM


Delicious Decisions A wedding cake is the most traditional type of wedding dessert, but that does not mean this treat has to be dull. Your cake designer can help you decide what works best for your wedding reception and figure out how to create a dessert that not only looks


sensational but tastes delicious, too! Take a look at some of our favorites that are sure to have your guests wanting another slice.

LEFT: Amy Beck Cake Design | RIGHT: The Quintessential Cake




TOP LEFT: Bittersweet | TOP RIGHT: Vanille Patisserie | BOTTOM LEFT: Urban Icing | BOTTOM RIGHT: The Bakester Patisserie





Million Dollar Moments H O W T O AV O I D T H E M U N D A N E A N D E L E VAT E Y O U R W E D D I N G P H O T O S


hen you hire a photographer for your wedding, you’re entrusting them with one of the most important aspects of your Big Day. Memories fade, but photographs last

forever! Professional photographers are talented artists and they know how to make you look your best for your engagement shoot and your wedding day. But there are also steps you can take to set your photographer up for success. With a little bit of planning, you can make decisions that will elevate your photos and create an inspiring scene for your photographer to capture. Keep reading for some practical tips that will take your wedding photographs from bland to fantastic.




PERFECT TIMING Even if you plan ahead and account for last minute changes, everything will take longer than you think on your Big Day. It’s important that you build additional time into your wedding day timeline so that you are prepared for any delays, setbacks or extra shots you might want. Ask your photographer if she has suggestions for a specific time of the day to take certain photos so you can come prepared with a photography-friendly wedding day timeline.

TIPS FOR GETTING READY TIME Starting your Big Day by getting ready with your wedding party? If you want to get some shots of this exciting time with your besties, you should plan about 3045 minutes at the end of your getting ready time just for photos. This is the perfect opportunity for your photographer to use that natural morning light streaming in the window for capturing detail shots of your dress and jewelry, plus it will also give you the chance to pose for some group shots. Want an insider’s tip? Wait until you’re actually finished getting your hair and makeup done to take most of those primping photos. It may seem a little fake, but do you really want a photo with your face only half made up, or your hair lopsided and only partially in an updo? Save a few key steps to complete while taking photos, like adding one last decorative hairpin or applying a final dusting of powder or lipstick. Be mindful of any items that might create an eyesore in photos. Whether you’re getting ready in your home or in a packed hotel room, designate a corner where all your girls can stash their belongings. Nothing cheapens a photo like several overnight bags overflowing with brightly colored odds and ends! Pick a spot that will be out of the photographer’s line of sight and hide 308



everybody’s personal belongings. That

you will take advantage of this short


way, your favorite candid shot won’t be

timeframe to capture the most important

Once your day gets going, it doesn’t

ruined by random clutter.

photos. Couples often choose to use

stop! You’ll be surrounded by people

this time to take their “couple” portraits,

and hurrying from place to place, so be


the more intimate photos of you two

intentional about grabbing your photog-

The 30 to 45 minute window right before

looking adoringly at one another. Golden

rapher to sneak away for some quick

the sun sets is undeniably the best time

hour is also the ideal time to schedule an

private sessions throughout your day.

to capture magical photos. The sun gives

engagement shoot. Take note of a tricky

Wouldn’t you like to see your reception

off its warmest hues and lights up every-

timeframe: noon to 2:00 p.m. has the

venue when it’s all set up before guests

thing in sight with a glittery soft light. No

brightest sunlight and therefore creates

arrive? Sneak in with your partner and

matter what time of day you’re holding

the harshest shadows and squintiest

your photographer before they open the

your ceremony and reception, be sure to

faces. Avoid taking outdoor photos at

room to your guests. You’ll get some

talk with your photographer about how

this time if possible!

genuine shots of your reaction to the

under the stars. Soft lantern or streetlamp

common element is the group shot. Why

practice twirl on the dance floor. You’ll

lighting is romantic and gives you and

not step it up and try something uncon-

be thankful once the night is over that

your partner much needed alone time to

ventional? Whether this is your classic

you have some photographic evidence

take in the day you’ve just had. Since

family portrait, your bridal party session

of your perfect venue and your photog-

the Big Day is complete and the stress is

or groups of friends during the reception,

rapher will love that you planned a time

over, these photos are some of the most

here are some tactics you can use to

for them to capture all the beautiful

genuine and intimate you’ll capture

breathe new life into your group photos

reception details.

throughout the day.

for visual impact.


either when you want a break from danc-


ing or after your guests have gone home.

While wedding photos can vary dra-

and it can take a little bit of coaxing to

Go outside and create a little getaway

mat ically from wedding to wedding, one

get your family or bridal party out of their


space, and you may even want to take a

Another great chance to sneak away for a photo op is at the end of the night,

Most people are not natural models,



shells and looking comfortable. Start putting people at ease by playing music from someone’s phone to get everybody moving, smiling and laughing. Photos can be very flattering when the subjects are in motion – walking towards the camera, laughing while gathered close together or dancing as a group. For bridal parties, experiment with poses beyond the straight line, like semicircles and circles, clusters of smaller groups spread out, differing levels (some sitting and some standing) or turning your back to the camera to catch those special back-of-the-dress details.

Reception Groups Group photos aren’t over once you’ve taken the family and bridal party shots. How about taking one giant group photo at your reception, or capturing other large specific group photos? From college




buddies and extended family members,

The background of your photos will be

these group shots will give you priceless

just as noticeable as the people in the

memories to cherish forever. What could

foreground! Your photographer will natu-

be better than commemorating this

rally scope out the best settings at your

moment in time with all of the people

venue, but you can help them by thinking

who love you most and came to celebrate

this through ahead of time and creating

your union?

a dramatic backdrop that will look stun-

The logistics of that many people in


friends and childhood classmates to work

ning in photos.

one photo can get tricky, however, and you should talk to your photographer

Specialty Walls

first if this is something you’d like to try.

Consider asking your floral designer

She may need to bring a special wide-

to create a large flat structure with a

angle lens to make it work, or you’ll have

stand that can serve as a background

to think creatively about your space. Is

wall and cover it in items like flowers,

there a large staircase you can pose

paper pinwheels, tissue poms, balloons,

people on strategically? Can your pho-

vinyl lettering or greenery with a custom -

tographer peer out a window onto a

ized neon sign. You can use this “wall”

wide lawn filled with people? Have your

behind the head table (for all those teary-

DJ help facilitate this group photo process

eyed toast reaction shots) or as a photo

so it goes as quickly as possible with the

booth background for all of your guests.

least amount of fuss.

You can even repurpose a ceremony




arch as a reception photo op spot! And

and fell in love. For a rustic wedding, be

better. When your background is dark,

don’t forget to take advantage of existing

sure to find a great barn wall to serve as

you might be washed out or details will

backdrops at your venue or in the neigh-

the perfect backdrop.

get lost. Think about renting uplighting

borhood that are just screaming to be included in your photos. For the edgy

from your venue or a lighting designer.


Uplighting comes in a variety of colors

couple, a wall covered in bright-colored

This can’t be overstated – the right

and can feature patterns or textures

graffiti is a great photo spot. For a small-

lighting can make or break your wedding

(called a “gobo”) meant to illuminate the

town wedding, take a stop by the town

photographs! In general, the greater the

walls, floors and specific focal points.

sign to commemorate the place you met

number of soft lighting sources, the

Remember that warm colors like pink, purple and orange tend to flatter most skin tones, and you can even get custom lighting designs like a monogram or your last name that you can shine onto a dance floor or prominent wall for a personalized experience. There are plenty of lighting options that go beyond being simply functional – they are beautiful to look at in and of themselves and they’re even prettier in photos! Have you seen how eye-catching string lights can be when they’re draped across the top of an open outdoor space? What about rustic lanterns on tables or hanging from trees, or candles of different heights scattered around in ornate candelabras? String lights can also create a tented ceiling structure when draped from a central pole or hung from above, and they look especially romantic when they glow from behind sheer fabric. Remember to always check with your venue to see if they allow open flames before you plan on lighting hundreds of candles. There are plenty of non-flame options that look real!

ACCESSORIES TO THE RESCUE A few props and accessories go a long way in making your photos unique and special! Toss items are not limited to your ceremony exit – consider bringing items like confetti or even a champagne bottle to pop for other occasions, like pictures with your girls or group shots with your family. Of course, don’t forget that sparkler shot! You could also bring along a few cute signs to hold in photos, 314


you can put it on the ground so you

or “Thank You” to be featured on your

won’t get dirty for any sitting poses. And

thank-you notes later on. If you’re getting

don’t forget about a specialty hanger for

married in the winter, think about a

those dress shots – there are a lot of

glamorous fur wrap or silk scarf to keep

cute options for personalized hangers

you warm and add some texture for

that will match the style of your gown

snow-filled outdoor photos. Want one

and really pump up your photos.

of those beautifully curated invitation

Your most personal “accessory” might

suite photos? Remember to bring dec-

be your fur baby! Don’t overlook your pets

orative accessories to style this look

when it comes to your Big Day. Whether

with your photographer, from coordinat-

just in the engagement shoot or on the

ing ribbons to a fancy ring box and

wedding day itself, be sure to include your

loose flower petals.

furry friends in your photos and you’ll

The furniture in your photos shouldn’t

always look back with fondness on your

be an afterthought. While you can find

family photo. The best way to elevate

something to sit on anywhere, you can

your wedding photos and engagement

get an elevated look in photos by bringing

shoot is to put in a little advance thought

along or renting a vintage velvet chair or

and then let your true personality shine.

chaise lounge. A cute coordinating blanket

Remember to relax and enjoy the day.

is also a lifesaver, especially for engage-

You favorite photos will most likely be

ment shoots. You and your partner can

the ones capturing the candid moments

snuggle together wrapped up in it, or

between you and all your loved ones.


like “Just Married,” your new last name





fter your Big Day winds down, your photos will be some

feel. Are they warm and welcoming? Do they have a sense of

of the most precious keepsakes. But let’s face it, unless

humor and charisma that instantly puts you at ease? This is

you’re a professional model, getting in front of the

the person who will be trusted with capturing the most intimate

camera can be nerve-wracking. While it is perfectly natural to

moments from your Big Day. So, it is important to make sure

feel a bit awkward, the last thing you want is for that anxious

you feel comfortable being vulnerable in front of them.

energy to show in the photos. Luckily, there’s plenty you can do

The best photographers are pros at making you feel as if

to ditch the nerves and achieve picture-perfect posing. Read

you have known them for years. Often, your photographer will

on for some tips and tricks to help you make the camera lens

do plenty to get to know you. But your relationship with them

your friend.

should be a two-way street. Just think about it, would you rather have your photos taken by a good friend or a complete


stranger? Learn as much as you can about your photographer

When you book your photographer, try to learn as much about

as early as possible. It will do wonders for calming you down

them as possible. Think about how their personality makes you

once the camera starts flashing.

WRITTEN BY Micaela Fischer 316


| PHOTOGRAPHY BY Bethany Kay Design Studio


whether the photographer is a good

Your photographer will doubtlessly have

Engagement shoots are a trend that has

match and can deliver the kind of photos

many poses in their arsenal to bring out

been picking up steam in the last several

you’re looking for. Ultimately, you can

the best in you. But that doesn’t mean

years. We’re talking more than just the

think of your engagement shoot as “prac-

you can’t bring your own ideas to the

“prom pose” pictures in a studio. These

tice” for the main event.

table! If you have a pose that you're

creative engagement sessions are a beau-

absolutely dying to try, let your photog-

tiful way to kick-off your engagement,

rapher know. Better yet, bring in some

and the photos can be used in a multitude

photos that can be used as a reference.

of ways. But engagement sessions do


Your photographer will be happy to help

more than provide adorable material for

One of the most common questions cou-

bring your vision to life.

your save-the-dates. They also give you

ples ask when being photographed is,

This is when you will truly know

Keep in mind that some poses, while

and your fiancé a chance to be in front

“What should we be doing with our

they might look stunning in magazines,

of the camera before the Big Day. Plus,

hands?!” This is a very valid question.

don't exactly translate well in the real

it's yet another wonderful opportunity to

Many times, the instant you step in front

world. Just be prepared for your photog-

connect with your photographer, with

of the camera, your arms suddenly feel

rapher to make modifications or adjust-

the added benefit of seeing them in

like paperweights dangling uselessly at

ments. Their entire job is to make you

action. In fact, many photographers

your side. You need to give them some

look and feel your absolute best, so try

include engagement sessions as part of

purpose. But you don’t have to make it

to keep an open mind to the suggestions

their packages for precisely this reason.

too complicated. In fact, it could be as

they give you, and don’t take it personally

After all, this is also their chance to get

simple as both of you using your hands

if they tell you to pose differently.

to know you more as a couple.

to help support the bouquet, throw your






ring hand out in front of you and show

care! It’s a great way to instantly lighten

A good remedy is to start developing

off your bling or even delicately resting

the mood and will no doubt make for

better body awareness.

your hands on each other’s shoulders or

some wonderful shots.

waists. Again, your photographer will

In fact, you can start right now! Take stock of the position of your body. How

guide and assist you, but the main take-


are you sitting? Slumped forward with a

away is to always make sure your hands

When you feel nervous, it’s natural for

curved spine and slouchy shoulders? That

are engaged.

your body to start caving inward. But

simply won’t do! Take a moment to draw

If all else fails, don’t be afraid to

poor posture, along with being bad for

your shoulders back, opening up your

throw them in the air like you just don’t

your spine, is extremely obvious in photos.

chest and lifting your chin. Draw your belly button to your spine to give yourself an instantly tighter stomach. Make a conscious effort to sit and stand up straighter. The sooner you make good posture a habit, the easier it will be to maintain when the wedding day jitters kick in. But maintaining good posture doesn't mean you have to be tense. Occasionally, check in to make sure you aren’t holding any unnecessary tension. Remember to relax your shoulders and unclench your jaw.

FIND YOUR WAIST. Often, when your photographer instructs you to “place your hands on your hips,” they’re technically referring to your waist. Your hips are usually the widest part of you, so placing your hands here might make you look bulkier than you really are. But if you rest your hands right above your hips on your waist, you instead draw attention to your smallest width—which can actually slim you down.

LEARN FROM THE PROS. Start studying photos of your favorite celebrities and take notes on their posing styles. If you look at enough pictures, you will start to notice a few patterns. First, rarely do they stand facing the camera straight-on. Instead, they often position themselves slightly angled, with one knee bent or crossed over the other. Their arms float delicately away from their sides, to avoid making them look bigger. Sometimes, a hand is placed on a slightly cocked hip to create flattering curves. 318


The truth about good posing is that it’s often uncomfortable. As many pho-

Gaga are great reference points. They

tographers will tell you: if you’re not sore,

are masters of making the camera work

then you’re probably not doing it right.

for them. But you don’t need to be a

That idea might seem counterintuitive at

superstar to take pictures like one. You

first. But sometimes what feels awkward,

can learn from their techniques and use

actually looks way more natural than you

them in your own photoshoot.

might think. The best thing you can do is


Red carpet pictures of Kim Kardashian, Emily Blunt, Lupita Nyong'o and Lady

to try and relax into the pose if possible.


can be a bit uncomfortable, you should

At the same time, posing is much easier

never be in pain! If your photographer

said than done. It’s one thing to under-

poses you in such a way that is excruci-

stand how your body should be posed.

ating, don't suffer in silence. Let them

It’s another thing entirely to actually do

know so they can adjust and accommo-

it. Don’t be fooled by the way models

date you.

On the other hand, while some poses

seem to effortlessly slide into crazy-

Also, if you are confused by what

photogenic poses. Remember that these

your photographer wants you to do,

individuals are trained professionals

don't hesitate to ask for clarification. A

who make their careers out of being

good photographer should be able to

photographed. They had to work hard to

give you directions that are easy to both

make it look so easy.

understand and execute.





but it can also be tricky to get right!

Although you might feel a bit silly doing

need to be in a lunge position, so that

it, practice your poses in front of a mirror

most the weight is supported by the

Whew! Tired yet? Don’t worry – the

until you feel confident about them. This

thigh rather than just the arms. This will

more you practice, the easier it will

is an especially good idea for poses

provide more stability for the one being

become. Just remember, the perfect dip

that are a bit more complicated – like

dipped back. Meanwhile, practice keep-

won’t happen overnight.

dancing shots. The famous “dip” is a

ing your spines and neck completely

romantic and timeless moment to capture,

aligned to make you streamlined. Try

Typically, you or your partner will

not to crane too much when going in for a kiss as this might create an awkward angle.

SAVE YOUR MUST-HAVE POSES FOR THE END. Of course, you want each and every picture to turn out spectacular. But if there are any shots or poses that you want to just knock out of the park, save them for the end of your session. Chances are, you’ll be stiffest at the beginning when you’re most nervous. But once the camera starts firing, you’ll get warmed up in no time. As your confidence grows and you build rapport with your photographer, you’ll fall into those dream shots much more easily. The same applies to the day of your wedding. While your engagement shoot will give you some much-needed practice, you'll most likely still be a bundle of nerves when the Big Day finally arrives. So, it's usually best to do the more traditional portraits with your bridal party and family before moving on to the magazine-quality creative shots.

BREAK-IN YOUR SHOES. Whether you’re wearing flats or heels, find time to break-in your footwear. Trust us, you do not want your wedding to be the first time you wear your shoes. The last thing you need is blisters that will leave you dreading being on your feet all day. And you definitely don’t want pictures of you hobbling down the aisle. After all, how terrible would it be to look back on your photos only to remember how much pain you were in? If you’re worried about scuffing up your shoes before the wedding, try just wearing them around the house. A few 320



hours over the course of several days should do the trick.

IT’S ALL IN THE WAY YOU SMILE. It’s common for people to not like the way their smiles look in photos. But there’s a reason for it! A strained, artificial smile is easy to detect – especially if it doesn’t quite reach your eyes. At the same time, over-smiling might cause you to squint in a way you otherwise wouldn’t. A beautiful, natural smile comes from true emotion – which will only happen if you let yourself relax. Ironically, if you are feeling a bit tense, one of the best ways to get a genuine smile is by fake laughing. Letting out a forced “ha-ha” will feel strange, but that’s the whole point! It will feel so funny that you’ll actually end up laughing for real. And those shots will be priceless.

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE CANDIDS. Keep in mind that not all the photos from your Big Day need to be posed. Your photographer will be there every step of the way, capturing hundreds of special moments between you and your new spouse. In fact, for many couples, their favorite photos end up being candid shots that truly capture the essence and joy of the day.

REMEMBER WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT. While being photographed can be somewhat uncomfortable, don’t get too hampered down with the need for perfection. Remember, this is your wedding day! Try to keep the focus on what’s truly important: capturing the pure love shared between you and your new spouse. If you stay calm and relaxed, your delight and excitement will naturally come through in your photos – no matter what pose you strike! CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



Newest Newlyweds 1


4 3

1. Sora Rivka & Netanel, Duron Studio 2. Daisy & Warren, Elena Cuellar Photography 3. Erica & Ryan, Ocken Photography 4. Alma & Joseph, OkBritknee Photography 5. Ilana & Ben, Rachael Schirano Photography









6. Jennifer & Kristin, Hadassah B. Photography 7. Catie & Kyle, Kenzie Leigh Photography 8. Amanda & Eddie, UnPosed Photography 9. Amanda & Joe, RED Weddings 10. Jissy & Josh, Dan Voss Photography



The Most Important Playlist of Your Life


he cake flavors and fillings have been selected, and

You have probably heard it said that “music is the soundtrack

you have made the painful decision between London

of our lives,” and it can never be more true than at your

and Paris for the honeymoon. You found the perfect

reception. Think about it. We have all been to those receptions

horse-drawn carriage, and you somehow managed to find

where the dance floor is almost always empty, or when the

bridesmaids dresses that no one has made a single complaint

couple insists on playing an endless stream of songs that

about – openly.

almost no one has ever heard before. It makes the reception

Certain wedding planning aspects are higher on your priority list, or there are those that you just can’t wait to do because

awkward, and it definitely doesn’t create a lasting memory for your guests.

the process is actually going to be fun. Making important

While your guests come to your ceremony to witness you

decisions regarding the music at your reception checks off

exchange your vows, share your first kiss as a married couple

both of those boxes.

and wipe at happy tears throughout it all, they come to the

WRITTEN BY Angela Ash | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Rachael Schirano Photography 324



reception to celebrate, and dance the night away. So, it is your job to ensure that they have a phenomenal time. This can rely on the music, along with the interactive abilities of your DJ or band leader. So, when you are considering your vision for your ultimate playlist, there are a few things that you will want to keep in mind.

WORK WITH YOUR DJ. Selecting your DJ is perhaps one of the most important decisions you can make when it comes to your reception. A professional DJ is an entertainer who will wear many hats during your celebration. See your DJ as your Master of Ceremonies, who will not only play appropriate music but will make announcements, interact with your guests and keep that dance floor full! It’s true that you will want to work with a DJ who will assess your guests and instantly get a read on the type of music that will work best for your particular crowd. However, when you have a varied guest list, a little bit of this and some of that is often in order. Yet, you will need a professional with numerous weddings under their belt to be able to play the right song at the right time. Once you have met with a few different DJs and have finally made a decision, opting for a true professional with abundant experience, you want to immediately





of music that you hope to play at your reception. If you thought you were off the hook, think again! Just because you are working with a professional doesn’t mean that your input won’t be required. Of course, you can provide minimal information and leave it in the hands of your DJ, but years later, you won’t want to watch your reception video and wish that you had taken more time in selecting particular music. CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



DECIDE IF YOU WILL HAVE A COCKTAIL HOUR. Sooner rather than later, decide if you’re going to incorporate a cocktail hour. This is a time when photos are being taken at the ceremony site, or if everything will be held at the same venue, when the space is being rearranged to accommodate the reception, including dining tables and a dance floor. At this time, your guests can gather and even snack on hors d'oeuvres, also indulging in a cocktail or a glass of wine. Envision this as a laid-back time, where guests mingle and discuss how much they loved the ceremony. For the cocktail hour, choose low-key music to give a chill vibe. A lot of DJs go with what is commonly known as “elevator music.” Another trend is to play the instrumental versions of popular Top 40s songs. It’s always fun to watch guests exclaim, “Oh wow, I didn’t know this was Lady Gaga!”

INVOLVE YOUR PARTNER IN THE DECISIONS. Even if you are tempted to start scribbling down every song on your “Favorites” playlist, be sure that you make this a couple’s decision. Sit down when you have plenty of time to discuss the music for the reception. Consider your guests, as well as the particular genres of music that you prefer. Both of you should feel responsible for the decision that you eventually make, ensuring that you’re equally happy with the selections that will play. Don’t be afraid to mix it up, either. It’s not a problem to go from smooth jazz to a little heavy metal – just pass out the earplugs at the door!

THINK ABOUT SONGS THAT HOLD A SPECIAL MEANING. Every reception has special moments that require a song that is every bit as special. Of course, there’s the First 326


few selections to your reception repertoire

Father’s Dance, just to name a few.

as well. A truly cultural wedding can

However, you can also request specific

involve many different aspects, and the

songs for other dances with people who

more you include, the more authentic it

are important to you as well. If you have

will feel – to both you and your guests.

had a best friend for 10 years and you

You may have seen a Jewish wedding

have “a song,” then set it up for a mem-

where the Krenzl is performed, or maybe

orable moment during the reception. The

where an intricate African step dance

same can even go for friends from school

takes center stage. If older family mem-

– play your school “fight song” and see

bers are present, displaying your religion

who can still remember the words!

or nationality can be a great source of

The most important thing to remember

pride for them, and it also illustrates that

is that you can never honor too many peo-

even if you may be living in a modern

ple at your reception. If playing a certain

world, you will never forget your back-

song does the trick, then go for it!

ground. This can often be a happy, emo-


Dance, the Mother’s Dance and the

tional moment for the entire family,


especially when they see your partner

Culture is an important part of any wed-

joining in as well.

ding, but if you have chosen to really

If you happen to be a couple who

display your heritage through your attire,

come from completely different cultures,

the food and other facets of your wedding,

then it can be really interesting to add an

then it’s only natural to want to include a

interactive dance from both backgrounds.




Think of group dances that both cultures

allow your guests to dance to songs with

theme, there’s no better way to incorpo-

can try for the first time, which will engage

which they are more familiar, but it will

rate it than by playing a few perfectly

all of your guests. You can also consider

make the cultural moments even more

placed songs throughout your reception.

playing a few songs in different languages,

significant and memorable.

If you want to remind your guests that they’re at a Hawaiian Luau, then throw

which can be a very unique touch.

“Over the Rainbow.” If you’re giving a

retain such songs as an occasional


feature or highlight. Not only will this

If your wedding reception has a particular


If the majority of your guests are not of the same culture, you may want to

on Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole’s version of nod to Broadway, then who can resist Hamilton?”



name, man? The genre of the music can even reflect your theme. Your guests will love to hear a little Swing to complement your Roarin’ 20s theme, or even some Madonna to tie in the 80s era vibe.

INCLUDE SOME FAN FAVORITES. Whether you love them or hate them, there are some “get out and dance” songs that have made their way around the wedding circuit for the last decade or two. You know the ones we’re talking about, from “The Cha Cha Slide, Part 2” by Mr. C to "Apache (Jump on It)" by The Sugarhill Gang. They probably aren’t something that you will throw on in the car on your way to work, but they are songs that will fill up the dance floor and get everyone moving.

MAKE A “DO NOT PLAY” AND A “PLEASE PLAY” LIST. For every wedding, there are typically two important lists that you will want to hand over to your DJ eventually. After much care and thought, these lists will dictate two imperative things regarding the music at your reception: what to play and what not to play. • The “Do-Not-Play” List – This list will include songs that, even if a guest should request, the DJ will not play. Maybe you have just never liked Bon Jovi, or perhaps you never want to hear “YMCA” again during your lifetime. These are things that your DJ needs 328


so don’t ever take a chance on play-

played while they were driving to the

send someone across the dance floor,

ing whatever pops up on your random

lake or a particular set of lyrics that

demanding that the song be changed.

Pandora or Spotify playlist. Give your

really tug at the heartstrings.

You’re not hanging out with friends at

selection of songs a lot of thought, and

You will never create a more important

a club where you have to endure

let it change and grow in the months

playlist, so be sure to give this the time

tracks that you really don’t like, only

leading up to your wedding. Some cou-

and consideration that it deserves. It’s

hoping that the next selection will be

ples start keeping a list in the Notes

your moment, your vision and your wed-

better. This is your reception, which

section on their smartphones months

ding. Let the music that you select

means you are ultimately in charge.

out, so they don’t forget the song that

embody it in every way imaginable.


to know, so that you never have to

• The “Please Play” List – This list will include selections that you actually want the DJ to play during the reception. Very special songs for the First Dance, the Father’s Dance and the Mother’s Dance will be set ahead of time. The “Please Play” list will be comprised of regular songs that you would like to hear during the “open” portion of the reception, when you’re hoping to join your friends on the dance floor and sing every word. Maybe a particular song holds a special meaning to you and your girlfriends from college, or perhaps a song brings back memories of growing up with your brother. When you create a short list of this music, your DJ will typically fit them into the playlist whenever possible, or during certain requested moments.

ALWAYS LISTEN TO THE LYRICS. At the end of the day, don’t forget to pay close attention to the lyrics of the notable songs that you have selected. The words are what give the songs meaning, which is more than likely why you have chosen them in the first place. Some couples even select a particular tune as their official wedding song. You can incorporate this in all sorts of fun ways. Have a line of the lyrics stamped on your napkins, or it can even be emblazoned across a banner that hangs above the cake table. Creativity is always key! Your wedding will be one of the most important days of both of your lives, CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



Arrive In Style ransportation is often lost among the extensive checklist

Numbers will vary from vendor to vendor, but usually a party

that comes along with planning your wedding celebra-

bus can carry anywhere from 12 to 55 passengers while a

tions. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t equally as important

stretch limousine offers seating for 8 to 10 people. Maybe a

as everything else! There are many details to consider while

classic car or trolley is more your style, make sure to review all

thinking of transportation for your Big Day. In this article you

of the available options. Another item to consider is riding in a

will find the ins and outs of everything you need to know and

separate vehicle from the bridal party after the ceremony for a

remember about wedding transportation, while still adhering

few private moments with your new spouse.

to your allotted budget.

It’s easy to forget that you will need to plan transportation before AND after the ceremony. An optimal time to start


looking at transportation options is around four months

When thinking about transportation between wedding venues,

before your wedding day. At this point, you should know

start with a headcount of people who will be needing transpor-

where the wedding is going to be and the size of your bridal

tation. Include you, your future spouse, the bridal party and any

party. Also keep in mind the time of year your wedding will

other friends and family members that will need transportation.

take place. If you are having a spring wedding, transportation

This information is necessary to know while talking with vendors

services will be in high demand during the months of April

because it will help you decide the size of vehicle you will need

and May due to high school proms. It is never too early to

on your Big Day. Keep in mind, the number of passengers may

start looking at your transportation options. It’s also a good

also affect the price.

idea to get price quotes from a few different companies

Before reaching out to vendors, ask yourself what kind of transportation you want to use for yourself and the bridal party.

before signing a contract. This will give you an accurate comparison of services and costs.

WRITTEN BY Aleesha Thomas | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Duron Studio



a more unique form of transportation like

transportation service you need for your

For out-of-town guests, check with the

a trolley or double-decker bus. You will

wedding day.

hotel that you have booked your guests’

leave your guests in awe and they will

• What forms of transportation do you

room block to see if they offer any type

appreciate your thoughtfulness.

of shuttle service. Most of the time this

offer? • What vehicle sizes and color options

not responsible for a rental car service


unless there are circumstances where

On the day after your wedding, it is time

you feel it is necessary. Provide a link to

to head to the airport from the honeymoon

a local car rental company on your wed-

suite. Check to see if the hotel or resort

ding website so guests can rent a car

you are staying at offers a shuttle service.

while planning their flights.

This amenity is often a free and convenient

is free or at a low cost to you. You are



way to get to the airport. Or, start your


married life in style by choosing a limou-

If you are wanting to transport your guests

sine or private car service to get to and

from your wedding ceremony to the recep-

from the airport.

are available? • What different amenities do your vehicles offer? • Are alcohol or snacks provided in the vehicle? • Tell me more about my chauffer and his/her background? • Can I pick a playlist? • When will you arrive to pick up the guests? • Can I decorate the vehicle?

tion, consider renting some sort of party bus that will be able to accommodate


everyone. Again, check to see if the com-

It is critical that you ask the right ques-

any sort of breakdowns or delays?

pany you’re using offers any packages

tions, but where do you even begin? Below

• What are the cancellation or refund

for renting multiple vehicles. If you want

you will find a list of questions to get you

to think more creatively, you could choose

started, to ensure you’re getting the

• What insurance is available to cover

policies? • Can we meet in person to finalize?



Types of Honeymoons F R O M R E L A X AT I O N T O E X P L O R AT I O N – T H E R E ’ S A P E R F E C T D E S T I N AT I O N F O R E V E RY D I F F E R E N T TA S T E .


our honeymoon has the potential to be one of the

lace up your hiking boots and explore miles of scenic trails. Or,

most, if not the most, memorable trips of your life. Get

if you like wine and picturesque landscapes, the West Coast is

inspired from the following adventures, and take the

where you should go: Northern California’s gorgeous Wine

time to plan a getaway that appeals to both you and your

Country. Book a comfortable stay at a nearby bed and breakfast

spouse – a trip that will create special and unique experiences

after indulging in the offerings of one – or several – of the region’s

you will cherish forever.

400 wineries.

The Laid-Back Loungers: Tropical, beachside honeymoons

The Romantics: Get swept up in the history and old-world

are always in style. It’s the ideal setting to unwind from the

charm of Europe. You can’t go wrong with Paris, Rome, Venice

stress, soak up some sun and concentrate on one another.

or Prague, but there’s an abundance of hidden gems that also

Mexico’s vast array of all-inclusive hotels offer great value. If

deserve some love. For the best of both worlds, try a river cruise

ou prefer to stay domestic, you can relax by the ocean at one

that docks at large metropolis areas, while also letting you

of the many beautiful beaches and lovely hotels Florida and

explore lesser known but equally beautiful cities and towns.

California have to offer. If you are bored by the beach, consider

Keep in mind, you don’t need money to make memories. If

activities like whale watching (great in Los Cabos, Mexico) or

finances are an issue, plan a trip close to home. Spend a few

swimming with wild dolphins (Oahu, Hawaii).

days at a quaint, little Inn, or enjoy one of the many resort spas

The Domestic Roadtrippers: Hit the open road and feel the wind in your hair. Venture to any of our 61 national parks,

nearby. You have the rest of your lives to travel – what matters now is fully enjoying one another’s company.

WRITTEN BY Bridget Clemens | PHOTOGRAPHY BY OkBritknee Photography 332


Advertisers’ Index Beauty | Hair & Makeup

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse ...............................6, 7

Appease, Inc ....................................................83

Ceremony & Reception Locations

Bridal Brigade ..................................................84

Allegra Banquets.............................................104

Gwen Hotel, The .............................................143


Armour House Mansion & Gardens ....................130

Hawk’s View Golf Club .....................................192

I Do Plus Two...................................................84

Arrowhead Golf Club .......................................126

Heritage Ballroom at the Centre of Elgin .............134

Sophia Bella Bridal............................................91

Bolingbrook Golf Club......................................112

Heritage Prairie Farm .......................................202

Brookfield Zoo ...............................................209

Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort ................108

Burr Ridge Hotels ...........................................191

Hilton Orrington/Evanston .................................159

Café la Cave ..................................................211

Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza River North .........155

Cantigny Park & Golf .......................................177

Holiday Inn Itasca............................................152

Carleton of Oak Park, The ................................136

Hotel Arista ....................................................187

Chicago Athletic Association..............................107

InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile............101

Chicago Gaelic Park ........................................114

Kimpton Gray Hotel + Boleo.............................135

Chicago History Museum..................................110

Kimpton Hotel Allegro ......................................109

Chicago Marriott Naperville ...............................171

Kimpton Hotel Palomar Chicago ........................145

Chicago Marriott Southwest at Burr Ridge ...........191

La Villa Banquets ............................................186

Chicago Park District .......................................132

Lake Lawn Resort ...........................................154

Chicago Public Library – Harold Washington Library..182

Lehmann Mansion...........................................146

Crystal Bride, The..............................................31

Chicago’s First Lady Cruises .............................144

Lincolnshire Marriott Resort ..............................195

Dame Couture..................................................52

Chicago’s North Shore CVB ..............................168

Loews Chicago Hotel.......................................129

Diana’s Bridal Boutique ......................................33

City Hall ........................................................137

Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel ............................189

Eva’s Bridal International ....................................53

Clubhouse, The...............................................194

LondonHouse Chicago.....................................111

Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio ..............................59

Concorde Banquets.........................................173

Makray Memorial Golf Club...............................206

Jenny Yoo Collection .........................................19

Congress Plaza Hotel, The................................157

Manzo’s Banquets...........................................120

Kathryn’s Bridal ................................................25

Cotillion Banquets ...........................................181

Mayne Stage..................................................164

Luxe Bridal Rack ..............................................21

Crowne Plaza Chicago Southwest at Burr Ridge ...191

Metropolis Ballroom.....................................14, 15

State Street Jewelers ........................................37

Crystal Ballroom & Lounge, The ........................163

Metropolitan, The ............................................113

Veiled by ChaCha Bridal Boutique ........................52

Doubletree by Hilton Chicago Alsip.....................122

Mid-America Club, The ....................................119

Volle’s Bridal & Boutique ....................................51

Drake Oak Brook, The .....................................207

Midwest Conference Center ..............................184

Wedding Dresser, The........................................55

Drury Lane ....................................................124

Millennium Knickerbocker Chicago.......................99

Dupage Convention & Visitors Bureau.................205

Mirage Four Points Sheraton .............................172

Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa ................................201

Murphy Chicago, The.......................................125

Eaglewood Resort & Spa .................................147

Mystic Blue Cruises .........................................106

Elite Private Yachts ..........................................106

Naper Settlement ............................................203

Empress Banquets, The....................................175

Oaks, The – at Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse ..........165

Studio Stÿl.......................................................90 Visage Joli Makeup & Hair Chicago .....................80 White Lotus Weddings .......................................85 Zazú Salon ......................................................81

Bridal Fashion Aisle Chic ........................................................23 Alexis Kay Designs Bridal & Formal Wear ..............50 All About the Gown by Judy................................54 Bella Bianca Bridal Couture ................................17 Belle Custom Atelier & Bridal Boutique .................54

White Dress Bridal Boutique ...............................35

FORMALWEAR Formally Modern Tuxedo ....................................63 Groomsman Suit, The ........................................62 Jojayden .........................................................61


Grand Victoria Casino ......................................185

Fulton Market Kitchen ......................................167

Odyssey, The..................................................183


Galleria Marchetti – La Pergola .........................8, 9

Odyssey Chicago River ....................................106

Austin Preservations ........................................282

Galleria Marchetti – The Pavilion........................8, 9

Odyssey Lake Michigan ...................................106



Paramount’s Meyer Ballroom ............................158

Johnson Studios Ice Sculptures.........................294

Park Hyatt Chicago..........................................127 Pazzo’s at 311 ...............................................149


Pinstripes ......................................................153


Prairie Landing Golf Club..................................148

Bluewater Kings Band......................................327

Ravinia Festival ...............................................2, 3

H.Y.P.E. Productions, Inc...................................325

Renaissance Center.........................................213

JoeSounds Music ...........................................326

Ridge Hotel, The.............................................174

Standing Room Only Orchestra..........................326

River Roast ....................................................133


Rolling Green Country Club...............................190

Chicago Wedding DJs .....................................327

Rookery Building, The......................................169

H.Y.P.E. Productions, Inc...................................329

Salvatore’s Ristorante ......................................105

Midwest Event Solutions...................................328

Seven Bridges Golf Club ..................................166

RED Weddings........................................310, 311

Invitations & Stationery Amore Creative...............................................269 Coqui Paperie ................................................270 DBY invitations ...............................................270 EJD Design....................................................271 Invitations by Design........................................271 MAXE Designs................................................269

Jewelry Benchmark ......................................................BC Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio ..............................59 European Jewelry .............................................61 Lasso .............................................................62 State Street Jewelers ........................................37

Silver Lake Country Club ..................................193 Skydeck Chicago ............................................121

Floral & Décor

Spirit of Chicago .............................................106

Artistic Blooms ...............................................285


Stan Mansion .................................................131

Avant Gardenia ...............................................280

Amanda Mae Visuals .......................................320

Swissôtel Chicago .......................................10, 11

Johnson Studios Ice Sculptures.........................294

Ashley Galminas Photography ...........................315

Taureaux .......................................................204

Kensington Florals & Events..............................266

Bethany Kay Design Studio...............................319

Thompson Chicago .....................................12, 13

Northern Greenhouses Floral & Event Design .......281

Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago .......IFC, 1

Phillip’s Flowers ..............................................284

Venuti’s Banquets & Ristorante...........................4,5

Yanni Design Studio ........................................279

Volo Restaurant Wine Bar .................................176


Wandering Tree Estate .....................................151

Yanni Design Studio ........................................279

Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago .........................123


Dan Voss Photography .....................................315 Duron Studio..................................................312 Elena Cuellar Photography ................................318

Austin Preservations ........................................282

Culinary Services CAKES & SWEETS

Gift Registery

Amy Beck Cake Design ...................................302

Bloomingdale’s, The Registry .............................IBC

Emma Mullins Photography...............................321 Erin Hoyt Photography .....................................314 Hadassah B. Photography.................................321 Jasko Omerovic Photography............................313 Kenzie Leigh Photography ................................317 Kristin Bernice Photography ..............................308 Mangata Studios.............................................312

Bakester Patisserie, The ...................................302 Bittersweet.....................................................299

Guest Accommodations

Ocken Photography.........................................313

Quintessential Cake, The ..................................303


OkBritknee Photography...................................319

Urban Icing ....................................................303

Carleton of Oak Park, The ................................136

Rachael Schirano Photography ..........................320

Vanille Patisserie .....................................300, 301

DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau.................205

RED Weddings........................................310, 311


Guesthouse Hotel, The.....................................210

Rick Aguilar Studios ........................................309

Bauer’s Catering .............................................146

Gwen Hotel, The .............................................143

TWA Photographic Artists .................................308

Hilton Chicago Oak Brook Hills Resort ................108

UnPosed Photography .....................................314

Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza River North .........155

Zazú Media......................................................81

BellaRu Catering .............................................293 Chicago Food Truck Hub ..................................292 Jewell Events Catering .....................................291


Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel ............................115

Hotel Versey...................................................212 Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago .......IFC, 1


PHOTO BOOTHS AirBooth Social...............................................318

Carol’s Event Staffing.......................................294

Honeymoon & Travel

Instant Party Photo Booth .................................309


Apple Vacations ................................................96

Midwest Event Solutions...................................328

Chicago Food Truck Hub ..................................292

Pompano Beach Club ......................................333

RED Weddings........................................310, 311 CHICAGOSTYLEWEDDINGS.COM



Rehearsal Dinners, Brunches & Events

Gino’s East – Wheaton ....................................241

Volo Restaurant Wine Bar .................................237

Grand Victoria Casino ......................................238

Walton Room, The – by Rosebud Restaurant.......237

312 Chicago..................................................228

Guesthouse Hotel, The.....................................231

Wandering Tree Estate .....................................239

Arrowhead Golf Club .......................................240

Gwen Hotel, The .............................................232

Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago .........................237

Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano - Algonquin ...............237

Hilton Orrington/Evanston .................................239

Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano - Deer Park ...............237

Hofbräuhaus Chicago ......................................238


Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano - Naperville ...............240

Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza River North .........232

Blue Peak Tents..............................................287

Biggs Mansion ...............................................228

Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House ..........................232

Midwest Event Solutions...................................328

Blue Door Farm Stand .....................................228

Kimpton Gray Hotel + Boleo.............................232

Step It Up Rental ............................................286

Blue Door Kitchen & Garden .............................228

Kimpton Hotel Palomar Chicago ........................232

Carleton of Oak Park, The ................................240

La Storia .......................................................232

Che Figata .....................................................240

La Villa Restaurant & Banquets..........................233

Chicago Athletic Association..............................228

Lockwood Restaurant & Bar .............................233

Chicago q......................................................228

Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel ............................239

Chicago’s First Lady Cruises .............................229


City Hall ........................................................229

Metropolitan, The ............................................233

Clubhouse, The...............................................240

Mid-America Club, The ....................................233

Cochan Volant Brasserie...................................229

Millennium Knickerbocker Chicago.....................233

Coco Pazzo ...................................................229

Murphy Chicago, The.......................................234

Coco Pazzo Café ............................................229

Naper Settlement ............................................241

Congress Plaza Hotel, The................................229

NoMI ............................................................234

Crystal Ballroom & Lounge, The ........................239

Oaks, The – at Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse ..........241


Curragh Irish Pub, The .....................................229

Odyssey Chicago River ....................................234

Wedding Dresser, The........................................55

D.O.C Wine Bar – Lombard ..............................240

Orso’s Restaurant............................................234


Drake Oak Brook, The .....................................241

Pazzo’s at 311 ...............................................234

Bethany Moore Events .....................................264

DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau.................205

Pinstripes – Chicago .......................................234

Big City Bride .................................................257

Eaglewood Resort & Spa .................................237

Pinstripes – Northbrook ...................................239

Effortless Events .............................................261

Erie Café .......................................................230

Pinstripes – Oak Brook ....................................241

Gilded Aisle, The .............................................265

ETA Restaurant + Bar at Loews Chicago Hotel ....230

Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar .........................235

Glamour & Lace Events ...................................263

Event Room at Fox Run Golf Course ..................238

Ravinia Festival ...............................................239

Farmhouse Chicago.........................................230

River Roast ....................................................235

Fig & Olive – Chicago .....................................230

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery ...................235

Forbidden Root...............................................230

Salvatore’s Ristorante ......................................235

Fulton Market Kitchen ......................................230

Sepia ............................................................235

Galleria Marchetti – La Pergola .........................231

STK Chicago ..................................................235

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse – Chicago ................231

Talbott, The....................................................236

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse – Rosemont .............238

Taureaux .......................................................236

Gibsons Italia..................................................231

Terrace 16.....................................................236

Gino’s East – Barrington ..................................238

Thompson Chicago .........................................236

Gino’s East – Chicago .....................................231

Tuco & Blondie...............................................236


Gino’s East River North ....................................231

Untitled Supper Club .......................................236

Complete Wedding Expo, The............................244

Gino’s East – Rosemont...................................238

Venuti’s Banquets & Ristorante..........................241

Illinois Bridal & Wedding Expo ...........................254

Transportation Classic Wedding Car........................................331

Videography Amanda Mae Visuals .......................................320 RED Weddings........................................310, 311 TWA Photographic Artists .................................308 Zazú Media......................................................81

Wedding Services

H.B.I.C. Weddings ...........................................267 Kensington Florals & Events..............................266 Lillian Rose Events ..........................................260 LOLA Event Productions...................................259 Preoccupied Bride ..........................................266 Sarah Kathleen Events .....................................258 Soirée Style Events .........................................258 Wedicity Wedding & Event Detailing ...................256 You Name It Events .........................................256



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