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Julia, Tracy, and Marit

Welcome to the WeddingLovely Lookbook! WeddingLovely started a little over a year ago — I wanted a dedicated resource to find the best wedding invitation designers worldwide, so I built it myself. WeddingInviteLove launched in January 2011, and since then, we’ve launched four more vendor directories (adding WeddingPlannerLove, WeddingPhotoLove, WeddingVenueLove, and WeddingVideoLove) as well as a newsletter system to walk couples through planning their wedding (sign up at!) Even better, WeddingLovely has expanded to include two of my favorite friends — Marit joined as Creative Director in Jan 2012 and Julia joined as Chief Technical Officer in Mar 2012. We’re working on what we love, and I am both so proud of what we’ve built so far and so excited for how much more we have planned for the future! I hope you enjoy our Spring Lookbook! Tracy Osborn founder, WeddingLovely



4 W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K

Table of Contents Articles������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 6 Invitation Etiquette: Suggestions on How to Properly Invite Guests to your Wedding������������������6 Invitation Breakdown: The Details, the Options, & Everything In Between����������������������������������10 Why Hire a Calligrapher? ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������14 What to Expect From Your Photographer on your Wedding Day ��������������������������������������������������16 6 Reasons to Schedule an Engagement Shoot��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 20 How a Wedding Planner Can Help You��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������25 Wedding Planner vs. Wedding Coordinator: Why You Need Both����������������������������������������������� 26 Tips for Picking the Right Wedding Venue ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 29 Planning Tips For An Outdoor Wedding������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������32 How to Make the Best out of a Rainy Wedding Day������������������������������������������������������������������������35 Five Tips for Making a Toast������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 36 Why You Should Hire a Videographer��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 39

Chicago-Based Wedding Vendors����������������������������������������������������������� 40 Stationers & Calligraphers������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������41 Photographers��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������45 Planners & Coordinators ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 46 Venues ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������47 Videographers��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������47 Directory ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 48



Invitation Etiquette: Suggestions on how to properly invite guests to you wedding by Anita Brown of 2bsquared designs

So you are engaged…literally you think “what could possibly be more exciting than that?” And then it’s time to pick your dress… you look like a fairytale princess and it’s these best moment of your life. Then before you know it, you’ve picked a date, chosen the most perfect venue…EVER, decided on your flowers (original, affordable and exotic all at the same time and how you did it nobody will ever guess), booked a DJ who rocks, and a photographer who promises to make your entire wedding party look like supermodels. What could possibly be left now that all your wedding dreams are all coming true? Yes! Yes! your wedding invitations… screams the stationer. Oops, was that my outside voice? Sorry about that. Anyhoo… Shouldn’t your guests open their mailbox to find your invitation screaming…”Oh, you so wanna come to this shindig!” After all it’s not a party until their invited, right?

Getting them to the Party Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a galaxy far away… wedding invitations came in two colors- white and off-white– and the hardest decision you had to make was whether they were engraved or not. We’ve come a long way and it’s now big world of choice. Don’t get overwhelmed by your options. Consider a few keys things when choosing what works for you: Be You – keep your invitation style as close to your personality as possible. Don’t rock the bling and bedazzle your invitation unless that’s your style. Guests should not open your invitation, see your full name in bold zebra print and say who the heck is this from because they don’t recognize you in your invitation. 6 W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K

© jen simpson design

everyone is entitled to an opinion but not always a vote unless they are holding the checkbook. If so then listen close! Otherwise, refrain from the overwhelming desire to shout “because I am the bride that’s why” and consider that most of those people have your best interest at heart. So it may be a good thing when its suggested you take a break from obsessively combing blogs looking for invitations. Listen to the voices of reason and the squeals of your piggy bank. Take breaks so you keep perspective. You’ll make better choices.

It’s all in the Details © meant to be sent

Be Creative – your invitation should match the style of your event. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t think outside the box a little. A formal sit dinner for 200? Turn it up a notch and instead of the classic black and white engraved invitation, engrave white ink on dark colored stock, or add a brightly colored or patterned envelope liner. A wee bit o’the Irish…work some plaid. Boating

A wedding invitations sole purpose is to invite your guests and to tell them when where they should show up if they are even remotely interested seeing you marry the love of your life and perhaps partake in a bit of feasting and merriment while they’re at it. So once you find one you like, here is a quick primer in 140 characters or less on getting them written right: •

issued by the holder of the checkbook or

enthusiasts…anchors away! Be Careful – there are many extremely talented and reputable vendors to be found on line and in your neighborhood. Do your research. Before purchasing invitations from anyone, really understand what you will be getting for money. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or order samples

checkbook(s). •

friends who they used and recommend. Then

Spell out all words. Yep, all of them.

Do not abbreviate. Only exceptions are Mr., Dr., Mrs., Jr., Sr. and Ms.

“request the pleasure” in a house of worship. •

opinions clamoring to be heard as visions of sugar plum fairies dance in your head. Remember

What’s in a name? If her parents invite, first and middle for her and full name for him. Both parents invite – first and middle only

start an honest conversation with them.

and that means there will be a lot of voices and

Going to the chapel or not. You “request the honor” of a guests presence as it’s naughty to

pick a few designers who match your style and

Be Calm – it takes a village to put on a wedding

All invitation phrasing is in the third person. Use “their” not “our.”

of their work. Peek at your favorite blogs including this one for preferred vendors, ask your married

He /She who pays invites. Invitations are

for him and her. •

Days and dates are always spelled out. Always.

The time. The hour is “at” and followed by o’clock except at noon. Married on the half hour is “half after” or “half past”. No caps please. W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K


The year. The word “and” is either in or out

grooms parents, then only his first and

but the first word in the year line is always

middle name is required.

capitalized. •

• •

6. Date Line - the day of the week and the

Location. Location. Use the complete name

date of the month should be both spelled

of the facility. The street address of your

out i.e. Saturday, the twenty -ninth of July

location is only needed if you’re not using a

The day of the week can be proceed by “on”

map or direction card.

but is not necessary.

Only punctuation used on invitations are

7. Year Line - you can choose to write the year

commas. Period.

with as “Two thousand and thirteen” or

Do not print zip code on invitation. If they

“Two thousand thirteen” either is fine. Just

really need it they can find it on the envelope.

remember the first word in the year line is

Traditional invitations consist of eleven lines and they are the: 1. Invitational Line - this line tells your guest

always capitalized. 8. Time Line - the time always appears on one line and is preceded by “at.” No uppercase letters are used. The word o’clock should

who is extending the invitation. While,

always follow the hour except when married

traditionally invitations are sent by the

at noon. For weddings held on the half hour,

bride’s parents, they may also be issued by

they are written as “half after” or “half past”

the bride and groom or a combination of

followed by the hour. Ex. half after four

the bride and groom and their parents.

o’clock in the afternoon.

2. Request Line - the request line invites your

9. Location - the name of the facility where

guests to your wedding. The wording varies

your wedding will take place appears on

according to the type of service and where

this line. The complete name of the facility

your wedding is held. “Request the honour

is used.

( honor) of your presence” is always used

10. Address - the street address is only necessary

when the wedding is in a house of worship

when there is more than one of the facility

as you cannot request the pleasure of one’s

with the same name in the same town. The

company in God’s house. Weddings held at

street address is not used when maps or

a club, reception hall or residence use

direction cards are included.

“Request the pleasure of your company.” 3. Bride’s Name - the brides first and middle

11. City & State - the last line of your invitation shows the names of the city and star where

name should appear when the invitation is

you wedding is being held. Both city and

issued by her parents. If invitation is issued

state are included but not the zip code.

by bride and groom her full name is written. 4. Joining Word - the word “to” is used to join the names of the bride and groom on invitations issued by the parents. The word “and” is used on invitations issued by the bride and groom. 5. Groom’s Name - the grooms full given name should always appear unless the invitation is issued by both the bride and 8 W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K

Anita is the owner/designer at 2BSquared Designs, an oddly named but decidedly cute invitation and design studio specializing in refreshingly different wedding stationery. Small quantities or large... great design at an affordable price can be found here.

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Invitation Breakdown: The Details, the Options, and Everything in Between by Kristen Becker of Five Dot Design

Invitations seem to be the first thing that make the whole wedding process “real” for most brides. You’re taking all the details you’ve been organizing for the past however many months and putting them down on paper to send out into the world. Family and friends will come witness, not only you and your fiance getting married, but all the hard work you’ve put into pulling this event together and making it perfect. So, of course, you want your invitations to be perfect as well. The basic invitation suite can be broken down into a few simple pieces… some are must-have’s, some are nice-to-have’s and some are added bonuses. Now,

© JMM Photography

I realize that you might put some pieces in different categories and that’s perfectly fine. These are just the most popular pieces I have found with my clients.

The Must Have’s • • • •

The invitation with names, date, time and location Reception information RSVP with clear return date and postage paid for returning (and is the correct size for postal regulations) Mailing envelope

The Nice-to-Have’s • • • •

Directions or at least addresses of the important venues for the day Map Accommodation information Inner envelope

10 W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K

Invitations. Working backwards from the wedding date seems to make most sense when it comes to invitations. They should be sent out six to eight weeks prior to the wedding, ten to twelve weeks if you’re sending international invitations (and don’t forget international return postage). The earlier you start the design process, the better, so beginning to think about invitations, addresses, etc. around four to six months before sending out your invitations is best. When I work with a client, I provide a timeline of important dates for us to © JMM Photography

work by so everyone is on the same schedule.



• Things to do in the area • Itinerary for the weekend • Wedding website information

This one is always a bit confusing, especially because formal etiquette when addressing invita-

The next question I get from clients involves

envelope with proper salutation (Mr. and Mrs.,

etiquette and timelines. I’m a fan of Miss Manners,

tions sometimes goes to the wayside. Proper etiquette would have you addressing an outer Miss, etc.) and an inner envelope addressing the

but I’m also a fan of tweaking some of the etiquette

guest(s) by their first names or nicknames:

rules to fit your needs and your preference. In the

outer : Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Holbrook

end, this is your wedding and I want to make sure you feel comfortable with how we proceed with your invitations.

Save the Dates. Send them? Don’t send them? My advice is if you have a majority of your guests that will be traveling and they will either need to save for their trip in or make accommodations, a Save the Date should be sent out. Same goes for if you’re wedding is on a holiday weekend, close to a major holiday or on a popular date (like 10.11.12). In the end, those guests will appreciate the opportunity to plan. It’s best to send Save the Dates out within six to eight months of the wedding and if international travel will be asked of your guests, twelve months notice is best.

inner : Steve and Mary or Mr. and Mrs. Holbrook outer : Ms. Jennifer Smith inner : Jennie

Let’s talk about design. The internet has taken wedding invitations beyond the traditional catalog of white paper with foil borders. There are literally dozens of options to choose from when it comes to not only the style of your invitations, but where you actually find your dream invitations. There seem to be three choices when it comes to invitations: custom, semi-custom and catalog. When hiring a custom invitation designer, you work with that designer to choose the right papers, wording, fonts, colors, etc. to make sure your invitations are tailored to you. W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K


and show of gratitude to your guests (favors and thank you notes). The paper choices, fonts, colors and overall style and tone of the event are carried through from start to finish, keeping a polished look throughout the day. Often, when I’m create a piece for a client, I consult with the event designer, florist and/or wedding planner to get an overall sense of the wedding to ensure the paper goods will not be disconnected from the rest of the decor. For example, if the client wants to use pink and navy and her florist tells me there will be touches of yellow or a particular flower used prominently throughout the wedding, I can © Nathan Peel Photography

Semi-custom invitations are usually found on sites like and a few boutique stationery stores where you’re able to modify particular details of the design, such as color schemes, paper or fonts. Catalog invitations leave less room for modifications, but are a more cost effective choice. Custom invitations are a great way to personalize your wedding. I’m a custom invitation designer, so I speak best to this option as opposed to the other two options for invitations (but I’ll note that I have a semi-custom line available). Custom invitations are more of an investment than the other two options (though I’ve known brides to spend just as much on semi-custom or catalog invitations as others have on custom invitations, so it really does come down to design preference!). However, custom invitations lend themselves to a more personalized and appropriate look for your wedding. When creating a custom invitation suite and then also having ceremony and reception pieces created by the same designer, there is a consistent look from your first introduction of the wedding to your guests (the invitations) to the final farewell 12 W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K

suggest incorporating those details into her design or offer more options in terms of paper choices, printing method, graphics or even shape of the design to fit into the grand scheme of the wedding. When determining the style of your invitations, it’s best to take in the overall picture of your wedding- what will the bridal party wear, what would you like your guests to wear, what style is your venue, what colors are you using and what shades will you use? A laid back, casual affair would be more suited with modern fonts, little frill and informal wording. On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you’re wanting your guests to arrive in evening wear, you might go for more traditional script fonts paired with an elegant pattern or more regal color palette. It’s important the style of the invitation reflects the feel of the wedding — it could be quite embarrassing for guests to show up under or over dressed because the style of the invitation didn’t match up with the actual wedding. This is something your designer can help you achieve by helping you choose appropriate paper, fonts and color choices. In the end, the invitation is the first true, visual impression your guests get of your wedding, so give ‘em something to talk about!

Tips: • Ask the postage worker to hand-cancel your

• Be mindful of when your caterer will need food numbers and plan your RSVP accordingly.

wedding invitations (don’t worry- they’ve

Giving yourself plenty of time to assign seating

done this before). If the line is long and the

and have place cards printed up will save last

worker asks you to leave the box to stamp

minute scrambles.

later, I suggest asking when they’re less busy

• Begin seating guests you know will be attending

time of the day might be, and either bring the

your wedding right away. then fill in the rest

invitations back to witness the process or call

of the seating charts as RSVPs are returned to

and ask if it has been done.

get a jump start. time goes very quickly once

• Wedding invitations, in most cases, will

the invitations go out, so keeping yourself

weigh more than standard postage will cover.

ahead of the game and organized will only

It’s best to hold off on purchasing postage

help you in the end.

until you either have a sample to weigh or your designer has provided a weight to you.

• Reception information can be provided at the bottom of the invitation

• Be sure to order 15%-20% over your final invitation count to allot for last minute guests, addressing mistakes or samples for vendors/family/friends that might like a copy.

Kristen Becker is the owner/designer at Five Dot Design. She will give your invitations that wow factor- you want your guests to let out a *gasp* when they break that envelope seal.



Why Hire a Calligrapher? by Lynda Asprinio of Write Away For You Calligraphy

I guess some consider calligraphy to be a luxury, not a necessity in their wedding planning process. Yes, hand calligraphy does cost more than the computer generated alternative, this is because of the time, experience, and eye for detail needed to execute accuracy, but a calligrapher is also one of the least costly vendors on your list, and yet can do an important thing – relieve you of a time consuming responsibility and set the tone for your wedding day. Calligraphy enhances your invitations creating a ‘wow’ factor when they arrive at your guest’s home, which makes hiring a calligrapher a worthwhile investment! The first thing your guest is going to see that is

Usually all that is expected of you is that you

associated with your wedding is their invitation

have a typed guest list, order extra envelopes and

envelope in their mailbox. Seeing calligraphy

book approx 3 months ahead to be sure you have

on an envelope will immediately call attention

your envelopes back and ready to go out at least

to your invitation. Calligraphy will add elegance

8 weeks before the event date. Pricing can vary

and sophistication creating anticipation to attend

due to geographical location and skill level.

your event. You spend a lot on your invitation suite, why Each envelope becomes a small gift to your guest

not complete them making them beautiful

as they see their names inked in beautiful writ-

inside AND out. And don’t forget about table,

ing – your invitation and envelope will become

place cards and signs, all this can be taken care

an everlasting memoir of your day. Lettering can

of by hiring a calligrapher.

portray a formal or informal feel, but either way, it shows your attention to detail.

Lynda is the owner of Write Away For You Calligraphy, a hand-inscribed calligraphy service specializing in addressing envelopes and reception cards for your wedding and special events. Serving nationwide!

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What to Expect from Your Photographer on Your Wedding Day by Pam Garnett and Dan Barron of Altared Visions

For most people, their wedding day is the first time in their life they’ve ever been in front of a professional photographer’s camera lens. This can be some scary stuff, especially if you’re camera shy or perhaps a bit awkward in photographs normally. I am definitely in the latter category, by the way. If you’ve done your homework and selected a great wedding photographer (you are checking out WeddingPhotoLove, after all!), I give you full permission to relax! Repeat after me: “I am in good hands.” Feel better? Good. I’m going to make you feel even more at ease by giving you a few things to expect from your photographer on your wedding day.

Professionalism, Promptness & “What on Earth is She Doing?” Professionalism is a given if you’ve hired someone carefully based on their work, passion and reputation. Your photographer(s) should of course be polite and friendly as well as arrive on time and dressed appropriately. You’ll find that many wedding photographers show up a bit early to “location scout.” My partner and I call location scouting “light hunting” and may or may or may not converse with each other exclusively in a Steve Irwin accent while doing so. You will find a lot of photographers to be a little odd, but ultimately harmless. You may glance out your window and find your photographer laying on the grass or walking in circle with an outstretch palm. Perhaps you’ll begin to fret thinking the competent professional you hired is on drugs, but it’s more likely they’re checking angles and the way the light falls on their hand. In fact, I use this hand trick often. I’m sure it looks very weird. You may be asked to move closer to a window for your make up touch ups or other “getting ready” shots, and don’t be alarmed if you see your photographer cleaning up around the hotel room, we’re just staging the scene and lighting it so everything looks the best it can. Again, you are in good hands!

16 W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K

Direction & Striking a Pose.

creeps, be sure to let them know!) We find our

A photographer’s ability to direct a subject is just

couples are more relaxed with us demonstrating

behind light hunting on the important skills list.

instead of dictating poses and usually a couple

Most couples are not models or celebrities and

seeing James in a pigeon toe stance gets me

need some gentle direction while being photo-

some great natural laughing photos. You can’t

graphed to feel at ease and make great photos.

take yourself too seriously in this industry!

Your photographer may have you act out gestures, walk together holding hands or pose you in that

A Note on “Uncle Bobs.”

perfect light they found light hunting. You should

For those new to the term “Uncle Bob”, that is

also expect your photographer to fine tune poses

the probably slightly impolite way we wedding

by asking you to make small adjustments such

photographers refer to relatives of the bride who

as “drop that shoulder” or “lift your chin.” There

bring their own camera to the wedding and

is a whole science behind posing, just know that

photograph over our shoulder. The trouble with

your photographer is making you look fabulous

this seemingly harmless uncle or aunt shooting

with these little tweaks! Some poses may feel

along with the photographer is, among other

unnatural, but trust us…you will look great! Zach

things, no one is sure where to look or who to

and Jody Gray, amazing wedding photographers

take direction from. This leaves you with a lovely

from Nashville, TN like to say “feels weird, looks

group photo of your family and only half of them


are looking at the camera. This is no good and it will certainly affect your final images as well

If you’re confused by your photographer’s

as your professional’s concentration, so we may

direction, ask them to physically show you what

ask them to stop shooting or wait for us to finish

they mean so that you can mirror them. (Note:

first. I’ve found asking relatives to allow me my

Some photographers take a very hands-on ap-

shot first and standing aside for them after makes

proach so if that sort of thing gives you the

everyone happy. W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K


wedding • photo • love Worlds largest curated directory of wedding photographers. © Stella Weddings © Scott McNamara Photography © Bre Thurston Photography

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The Reception: Forget about it!

Lastly, The Law of Photobooths.

Expect to mostly forget about your photographer

If you have one, we will use

at your reception, in fact you should forget about

it. It’s like a moth to a bug

your photographer at your reception! Your hard

zapper… this is immutable

work is done; it’s time to cut loose! Unlike the

science and cannot be

beginning of the day’s in-your-face formals, the

helped. We apologize

reception presents the photographer with a

in advance.

photojournalistic challenge in that they must hang back and catch natural, candid moments. Rather than pester you, the savvy photographer will seek out the maître’d and DJ/band immediately upon arrival to find out all they need to know without ever having to disrupt your celebrations. My partner and I alternate following our couple and shooting crowd reactions and dancing. The best reception photos are often ones taken while you’re unaware you’re being photographed in the first place, so forget about us and have a great time!

Pam Garnett and Dan Barron are photographers at Altared Visions. They are a wedding photography duo with a passion for candid moments and stylish portraits.



6 Reasons to Schedule an Engagement Shoot by James Paul Correia James Paul Correia Photography

Now that you’re engaged you must be busy planning the details of your big day, from flowers and invites to vendors such as photo and music. With all that is going on it can be easy to overlook this unique stage of your lives. It’s a time filled with anticipation, joy and love; capturing this moment in your life can often be just as exciting as your wedding day. Whether you are keen on having your photo taken or not, the numerous benefits of taking part in an engagement shoot (popularly referred to as

“Wedding gowns and tuxedos aren’t exactly our everyday attire.”

an e-shoot) may not be immediately apparent, so here are a few reasons you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity for that pre-wedding photoshoot!

1. Get yourself some sweet photos! Sounds pretty obvious, right? But as time inches closer to the big day you start to find yourself getting busier and busier. Early in the engagement is the perfect time for an e-shoot; while the excitement of the proposal and visions of the future are still fresh in your mind, that emotion will be clearly evident in your photos. Sure you’ll have photos on your wedding day, but this is different! Your wedding is the day planned for a party with your family and friends, but this shoot is all about YOU. While the wedding day will flash before your eyes, the e-shoot is slow paced and allows you to really soak in the time you have together. Grabbing those raw emotions just between the two of you is a rare opportunity and you’ll be glad to have this to look back on when you’re old and grey. Also, wouldn’t it be great to have some fab photos of you NOT in wedding threads? Wedding gowns and tuxedos aren’t exactly our everyday attire.

20 W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K

4. Practice for the big day. Chances are you haven’t had your photos taken by a professional before, so how do you know what to do? On your wedding day you’ll be surrounded by cameras, not just the one you hired. With everything that is going on during the day, it’s great to have one less thing to worry about. Whether you are camera shy or a photogenic vixen, the e-shoot is a great opportunity to instill confidence and build comfort in front of the camera. It can be daunting to have a camera follow you, it happens to all of us, and it’s best to get that

2. A chance to let loose and get creative.

anxiety out of the way in advance. In no time, you’ll stop focusing on the camera and more

You have an opportunity to take some truly

on each other. Your nerves will calm and your

unique photos, different from any you’ve had

stress will float away. Your interactions with each

before, so make good use of it! Start with the

other will become more natural and you’ll learn

location and pick a place that means something

to avoid the innate reflex to stiff up and smile

to both of you. It can be where you got engaged,

directly into the camera.

a first date or just a very memorable date, where you met (maybe your high school/university). It

If you want to really make it a true dry run, try

can be any place that puts you at ease, something

coordinating your e-shoot with your hair and

familiar that naturally makes you feel good, such

makeup trials; it will allow you the chance to see

as the zoo, a beach, or even your regular coffee

how they show up in photos.

shop. Where ever you decide, make it mean something to you. Don’t forget to get creative! You can create a theme (bake some cookies together) or bring props (maybe you are Scrabble junkies). Whatever it is, think colorful, let loose and tap into your imagination.

3. Your photos are actually pretty useful! Speaking of creativity, your photos aren’t limited to the confines of a picture frame! Many savvy do-it-yourselfers are using their e-shoot photos in many crafty ways. Use them for save-the-date cards, receptions seating charts and table indicators, wedding programs, guest books, or even just a really awesome coffee table book for home. W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K


5. Letting your photographer get to know YOU. Not only is it good practice for you, it’s also a great trial run for your photographer. It allows him/her to see how you interact; to learn if you

and probably has a ton of advice on how to organize the day and minimize rushing and delays. Lastly, think about this, you will likely see your photographer more than anyone else on

are timid or big on the PDA. They will learn

your wedding day … including your fiancé!

about your personalities, whether you are goofy

The e-shoot is a perfect ice breaker to transform

or serious, and how much direction you’ll need

your photographer from a ‘stranger’ taking your

or want. It’s a great time to learn about your love

photos to a ‘friend’ taking your photos. Establish

story, chat about your wedding plans, and push

a relationship with your photographer (and all

to see how affectionate you can get in front of the

your vendors for that matter). Get to know his

camera. The opposite is also true, you’ll be able

personality & hobbies to the point where you feel

to communicate what you like and don’t like, as

comfortable enough with them that you’ll look

well as your preference for angles, expressions,

forward to spending time with them on your

lighting, and editing styles. All this will allow

wedding day.

them to tailor the photos to make your images more personal and memorable.

By the end of it all you’ll be ready for anything the day throws at you, you’ll have some fantastic

6. Getting to know your photographer. It’s great to have your photographer get to know

photos and you’ll be pumped for the big day! Keep Smiling!

you, but it’s more important that you get to know THEM. Get a taste of their shooting style and learn how they direct you. It will be very similar to how they direct you on the wedding day so you’ll know exactly what to expect. Chat with them about your wedding plans and get tips about planning out the schedule. Your photographer has seen it all 22 W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K

James is the owner of James Paul Carreia Photography. Capturing real emotions that occur throughout your day and telling a story with them is what gets him excited about what he does.



wedding • planner • love

Curated directory of wedding designers, planners, and coordinators. © Twist

© Beyond Events Atlanta

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How a Wedding Planner Can Help You

by Joyce Scardina Becker, CMP at Events of Distinction

With a myriad of details to handle, planning a wedding can be time-consuming for engaged couples, and spare time is often in short supply for brides and grooms who are busy establishing careers or attending school. You should consider hiring a Wedding Planner for your big day if:

• You don’t have at least 12 hours a week to devote to planning

• Your idea of being creative is copying a wedding that you saw in print or online

• You’re having a destination wedding • You have previously hosted parties where you spent the entire evening in your kitchen

Aside from saving you that precious element of time, there is another fundamental reason why Wedding Planners can be a tremendous benefit to you – they are experts at what they do. The more complex the details of your wedding are, the greater the skills that are required to implement these details flawlessly. So, for the same reasons that many people hire professional accountants to do their taxes, many couples also hire professional planners to do their weddings. The only difference is that weddings are much more fun than taxes! Successful planning and execution of a wedding requires an understanding of many disciplines –including audio-visual, budgeting and financial analysis, food and beverage, design, entertainment, flowers, graphic design and methods of printing, hospitality law and contracts, lighting, music, photography, transportation, videography and wedding cakes. What separates the pros from the novices is a solid track record of producing hundreds of weddings, maintaining quality relationships with many wedding service providers and keeping current with the latest trends. This experience gives the Wedding Planner the foundational knowledge to effectively assist you with:

• Developing a detailed budget • Selecting the best venue(s) • Recommending vendors that fit

• Understanding the flow of a

• • • •

• Producing floor plans drawn

with your taste and budget

Scheduling vendor appointments Performing cost analyses of vendor proposals Effectively negotiating contracts through an understanding of hospitality law

• Organizing the planning process

wedding, and developing a detailed timeline, which enables the ceremony, cocktails and reception to run smoothly

to scale • Providing on-site management for your wedding day – overseeing all activities to ensure a flawless execution

Joyce Scardina Becker is a CMP at Events of Distinction – recipients of 13 international Gala and Esprit awards for breathtaking designs and meticulous planning.

in a logical fashion



Wedding Planner vs. On-Site Coordinator: Why You Need Both. by Melissa Nemitz, Tiny Bubbles Wedding and Event Design

If you’ve chosen to have your wedding at a full service wedding venue, chances are there’s an on-site coordinator who will be there to make sure your day runs smoothly. While that’s certainly a huge weight off of your shoulders, there is a difference between an on-site coordinator and a wedding planner. Although these two individuals strive to work synergistically together and to not compete against one another, many brides and grooms don’t know the difference between the two (other than the fact that they have two different titles). An on-site coordinator does much of what a wedding planner does, but only up to a certain point.

26 W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K

“An on-site coordinator’s job description has boundaries, but a wedding planner’s duties are next to unlimited.”

If you’ve ever watched a wedding related “chickflick” (Father of the Bride, anyone?!), you have your assumptions of what a typical wedding planner will do. An on-site coordinator’s job description has boundaries, but a wedding planner’s duties are next to unlimited. A destination wedding, for example, requires a planner to help brides and grooms who just aren’t around to deal with all of the necessary details. The same is true for any wedding, destination or otherwise. Your planner is there to get to know the on-site coordinator at your wedding venue personally, as they’ll be working with them quite closely for (in most cases) 9 months or more. An on-site coordinator does quite a bit to manage the details of your wedding, which is what causes confusion for many brides and grooms. Your on-site coordinator can often give answers about

Make no mistake; there is without a doubt some overlap between a wedding planner and

processionals, music selections, and lodging.

an on-site coordinator. The best suggestion I

They see many weddings throughout the seasons,

can give is to interview your on-site coordinator

which gives them expertise. However, an on-site

well, identify exactly what their duties include,

coordinator may not be required to do certain

and hire a wedding planner to pick up where the

things, such as facilitate your rehearsal, in which

on-site coordinator leaves off and to fill in any

case, a bride and groom may be left feeling uneasy

blanks. Your wedding planner will be back at your

and insecure. At the end of the day, an on-site

wedding venue on a very regular basis to prepare

coordinator is there to represent the property, but not necessarily the bride and groom themselves. Rather than managing your every wish

things exactly the way you envision them while you’re busy working and living your life in the months leading up to your wedding.

for your wedding day, they may be there to make sure you’re getting what you were promised in

So, if you’ve been trying to weigh the differences

your venue’s contract, to make sure the kitchen is

between what you’ll get from an on-site coordinator

staffed, and that they’re sound system is working

versus what you’ll get from a wedding planner,

properly. Your wedding planner will be there every

stop. The bottom line is, you need them both.

step of the way, making sure you’re getting not only what your venue’s contract states, but what all of your vendors’ contracts state. They’ll get to know you and your soon-to-be spouse, and will represent you and your wishes, not just the property.

Melissa Nemitz is the owner of Tiny Bubbles Wedding & Event Design. They believe that every client, be it a blushing bride, or a client planning a fabulous soiree, should have every opportunity to end up with an event exactly as they pictured it.



28 W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K

Tips for Picking the Right Wedding Venue by Kelsey Motes-Conners of Glacier Park Weddings

Choosing a setting for your wedding is often one of the first and biggest items to check off your wedding-planning list, and for good reason: the venue lends atmosphere to your event and becomes the aesthetic foundation on which the rest of your style decisions are built. What’s more, your venue’s availability will often dictate your wedding date and, by extension, your bookings with other vendors. So here are a few tips to keep in mind during your hunt for the perfect venue: © Ryan Flynn Photography

Style As you research and tour different venues, keep your vision for your wedding in mind. Pay attention to the look and feel of the place, and whether you can see it complimenting your style. Consider choosing a lovely, well-cared-for space that is also flexible, neutral and customizable–a blank canvas for you to make your own (You’d hate to get three months into planning, change your color scheme entirely and then be bummed about the way your dream flowers will clash with the red drapes at your venue).

Vendor flexibility Ask whether you’ll be able to choose your own vendors, or if the venue will require you to work with specific caterers, cake bakers, bars, etc. Consider choosing a venue that can provide recommendations as to reputable or ‘preferred’ vendors, but will still allow you to make the final choice about who you’ll work with.

One venue Your event will flow more effortlessly, and your guests will likely be more relaxed, if the ceremony and reception are at the same venue. Look for a venue that has separate spaces available for the ceremony and reception, though, to keep the event lively and interesting for your guests. W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K


© Alicia Brown Photography

© Latasha Haynes Photography

Outdoor amenities


If you are in love with the idea of an outdoor wedding,

Ask for a detailed description of what is included

choose a venue that can provide the necessary

in the rental of the venue; Knowing what you’ll

amenities (water, electricity, restrooms and some

have to provide versus what will be provided by

kind of shelter) to avoid the added stress and

the venue will help you determine how it will

expense of trucking in generators and water

all fit into your budget. Keep in mind that some

tanks, renting tents and portable restrooms.

venues also come along with food and beverage

Simplicity is key!

minimums that should be figured into your

Staff and services

budget as well.

A professional and accommodating venue staff

Most importantly…

can go a long way in taking the stress out of

Make sure both of you agree that the venue feels

your big day. A venue with a designated events

like the right place for your celebration!

manager will likely provide all kinds of helpful services, coordination packages and more, and you’ll have a contact person for questions during the planning process.

Destination weddings For a destination wedding, work with a venue that can also provide lodging, activities, gathering places and transportation for your guests. Not only will all of your guests be in worry-free vacation mode, but you will also be relieved of making sure everyone is entertained and taken care of. 30 W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K

Kelsey Motes-Conners is a Weddings + Events Coordinator at Glacier Park Weddings, a stunning outdoor Montana wedding venue at Glacier National Park. Their top priority is your happiness, and coming in a close second: your sanity.

wedding • venue • love

Curated directory of wedding ceremony and reception venues. © Glacier Park Weddings

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© Wonder Valley Ranch Resort

© Houston Station

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family W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K


Planning Tips for an Outdoor Wedding by Terrica Skaggs of Cocktails + Details

Whenever most brides envision their day, more and more are leaning outside the traditional indoor wedding and instead are opting for a beautiful outdoor wedding that encompasses their event vision. Be it beachside, in a field or garden, outdoor weddings are so very romantic because it is like Mother Nature is lending a bit of her own glory to your wedding day. Provided you have your logistics and contingency plans worked out, your outdoor wedding can be a glorious, memorable affair.

Choosing a Location As with any location, you want to choose something that is meaningful but also practical. In the wedding pictured below, our client actually chose her the backyard of her childhood home for her ceremony. Surrounded by family and friends and the beautiful perennials her mother nurtured throughout the year, the wedding ceremony needed only a few touches to transform it to something spectacular. When searching and scouting for locations, don’t discount non-traditional options. Consider the time of year and what will be growing and in season for your wedding. The more green and lush a garden, yard or field is, the more vibrant everything else appears with it.

The Logistics of an Outdoor Wedding Make sure that you have an area that can serve as a main focal point for your guests to attract their attention. You will also want to make sure it is easily accessible. There needs to be an easy way in and easy way out – don’t forget to take into account elderly or handicapped individuals in your guest list. Fun signage is a great way to ensure that your guests don’t get lost and know where important areas of your event are (e.g., restrooms, event areas, etc.). When your space is vast and large, don’t be afraid to use areas to create lounge or rest areas. Also be sure to think strategically– as weddings happen within a time frame of four to six hours, 32 W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K

© La Dolce Vita Studio

• Try to see your location at or around the

same time you are planning to have your wedding to see what factors need to be taken into consideration: lighting, weather, insects, tides, winds, etc. These factors will help you with your layout but also creating realistic contingency plans for your wedding.

Contingency Plans for Outdoor Weddings The one thing about outdoor weddings is that as soon as you pick your dream location, you need to pick your plan B location. To be frank, © Agnes Lopez

we won’t work with a client who doesn’t have one or refuses to get one in place with their wedding– that’s how important it is. Weather and outside forces

you don’t want any significant downtime with

can change at a moment’s notice, causing your

travel, additional set up or “flipping”– a term we

guests, musicians and other vendors to scramble

use in the industry that entails us moving all of the

looking for cover and attempting to salvage what

furniture and decor in one spot and replacing it

is left of your wedding. So while you may feel like

with another. You can see this above where we had

you’re planning two weddings, your plan A and

a beautiful garden wedding and then transformed

your plan B, make sure they are both something

it to an outdoor party with a black and white dance

that you can live with – even if adjustments need

floor, lighting, bars and more. Additionally, there

to be made. Tents need to be ordered at the very

has to be a great flow to the event. There should

latest a week in advance. A tent can’t be thrown

be an area for your cocktail hour, which can segue

together and erected within hours of your event. It

into your reception.

takes an entire team who needs enough time to plot its position and account for any mishaps that

Here are some things to consider:

could happen. If there are indoor options at or near

• Ensure that your food areas have proper

your wedding location, look into them and see if the

• If you are in a humid area or an area that has

location. Remember– it’s nothing to stress about! If

cover and protection from wind and insects an infestation of mosquitos, sand gnats, etc., see if your location can be sprayed or bring in fans to disperse them. These tiny wedding crashers can and will ruin the experience at your wedding, so don’t take this lightly!

• If your event will go into the evening, consider

what you will do for lighting– will you bring in tiki torches, string/bulb lights, lamps, or dramatic lighting? This is something that you cannot skimp on and need to consider as you make your location decisions. The last thing you want is a wedding in the dark!

• Additionally, as you scout for locations, check your power sources– you may need to bring in a generator to accommodate the needs of your caterer, band/dj, lighting, etc.

outdoor layout can be duplicated at your Plan B you have to make changes before your wedding, your guests will never know you had something different planned. They’ll just attend a beautiful wedding. Outdoor weddings take a bit more work, but are worth every bit of effort!

Terrica Skaggs owns Cocktails + Details. She is “a party planner, national speaker/teacher to the wedding industry and self proclaimed geek.” W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K


34 W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K

How to Make the Best out of a Rainy Wedding Day by Jessica Herberger from Experience Events

A wedding by the beach, cocktails in the garden, pictures by the barn all sound very romantic. Until it rains. But don’t panic, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure all is as magical as it should be on that most special day. None of which include relying on the “rain is good luck” theory. First, IF you are planning a wedding that could be impacted by inclement weather make a plan. Not just a rain plan, but a great rain plan! Take the time to really assess the best possible solution to a rainy day. Perhaps it’s renting

© Casey Connell Photography

a second location as backup, putting a reserve on a tent for the ceremony or even a covered walkway. Whatever it is, think about well in advance and come up with a solution that you love. Because it could be raining. On your wedding day. (I know, ugh.)

Accept It and Move On. Making “the rain call” can be an exhausting process full of lots of back and forth phone calls, watching the Doppler and rearranging the wedding setups over and over. If it is going to be rainy and make the wedding less than what it could or should be, skip the outside option and move on (and in!)

Look at the Positive. Cloudy days make for amazing photographs and that is something to be happy about. Also I find that when brought inside weddings become more intimate, more connected.

Have Fun with It. Bring your pink wellies, do a “first look” with an umbrella. A few puddles make for sweet pictures and great memories especially if you are smiling through it all. As I tell our brides, the goal is to have an excellent Rain Plan and never need it-but if nothing else, rain or shine it is going to be one of the best days of your life so enjoy it!

Jessica Herberger is the owner of Experience Events. She creates droolworthy events in NY, New England and beyond.



Five Tips for Making a Toast by Amber Cleveland, Beyond Events Atlanta

Being asked to be a part of someone’s wedding is an honor and privilege. Along with being part of the wedding party can also come the responsibility of giving a toast to the happy couple. Over the years I have heard hundreds of toasts, some beautiful, others funny, a few that were boring and a handful that were down right disasters. In order to give a toast that you’re proud of and that others enjoy follow these five tips:

1. Remember Your Audience. For a wedding you’ll be speaking in front of children, grandparents and possibly friends from church. Your speech should be tailored to the people hearing it. This means no cussing, no sexual innuendo, nothing embarrassing about the bride and groom, and no telling stories that involves being drunk, wild college days or ex’s.

2. Keep It Brief. Your speech should be between 2- 6 minutes. This is your chance to say a few short words about the bride and groom, if it goes on for too long people lose interest. It’s best to congratulate them and resume celebrating.

3. Be Prepared. Although it’s not necessary to have the toast written down word for word, it’s a good idea to have a rough idea of what you’d like to say. One thing that’s often helpful is to use a small notecard to write down words or phrases to remind you of the important points you want to make.

4. Practice. Deliver your speech in front of a small crowd a few times before the wedding. It’s even better if it is for people that won’t be attending. When you do the trial run(s) you get to gage people’s reactions or get feedback. By getting comfortable with what you have to say you’re less likely to get nervous, stutter or forget what you’re going to say.

5. Use Humor at Your Own Risk. Many times I’ve heard someone giving a toast attempt to be funny only to be met with silence. This is awkward and a little painful for both the speaker and the listeners. It is best to use humor only if you’re naturally funny (according to other people) or you have practiced in front of others and be told your toast is funny.

Amber Cleveland is the owner of Beyond Events Atlanta, whose goal is to take care of all of the stressful details so that you can enjoy the fun parts of planning a wedding.

36 W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K

wedding • video • love Curated directory of wedding videographers. © Ever After Videos

© Cherry Tree Films © Society Hill Films

© Aperina Studios

© WHITE Wedding Cinematography

© Wes Haley Films

W W W.W E D D I N G V I D E O L O V E .C O M Browse nearly 100 of the top videographers worldwide online. Search by price range or location and watch their beautiful videos!

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Why You Should Hire a Videographer. by name here Visualities Videography

I’m a wedding videographer. A storyteller at my core. And my job is pretty dang important. Why? I’m capturing special moments, video, sound, bloopers for you to remember forever. I’m not trying to sell you on hiring me to be your videographer. But this article does contain some ramblings about why I think know a professional videographer is so important for your special day.


I’d love to relive the feelings I had before walking

I’ve talked with couples who have chosen to opt-out

down the aisle. I’d love to listen to our vows and

of having a professional videographer document

hear exactly how they sounded in the moment. I’d

their wedding day. Their primary reason: Too much

love to know what hubbs whispered to me while

Moo-lah. Well, and Uncle John has an iPhone and

the congregation was singing. I’d love to hear

he can record the vows on it… for free (by the way,

how loud the applause was as we happily left the

good luck with that). Folks, when it boils down to

church into our limo. Bottom line: I’d love to have

it, what pricetag can you put on a video? Emotion.

a video with those special moments that I’ll never

Sound. Movement. HD quality capturing moments

get to experience again.

that can’t be repeated ever again!


Weddings are drastically different than a birthday

If you’re investing in a wedding, consider investing

party on a home video camera. They’re different

in documenting the day with a videographer. I’m

than a cute kid dancing to Justin Bieber on your

not asking you to contact me.– heck, I might not

iPhone. They usually happen once. And lets face it,

be their style. The point of this is to encourage

Uncle John isn’t a wedding videographer. He doesn’t

all couples, including your friends and family, to

have experience white-balancing, sound-checking,

consider [or reconsider] budgeting for a profes-

and trouble-shooting the way a professional does.

sional videographer.

Hire a professional, ladies and gents. It’s a worthwhile investment that you won’t regret.

Let Uncle John and the rest of the fam have fun celebrating. And leave the video to the pros,

The CONFESSION: My husband and I got married four years ago.

peeps! It’s a worthwhile investment. One I wish I had made.

It was a beautiful day. So perfect in every way. Red roses everywhere. Perfect August weather in Northeast Iowa. But I have to confess: We didn’t have a videographer. Our BIGGEST regret.

Shelley Skuster is the owner of Visualities Videography. Using top-of-the-line HD equipment, they tell your story on film beautifully.



Chicago Stationers & Calligraphers �������������������������� 41 Photographers�������������������������������������������������� 45 Planners & Coordinators������������������������������46 Venues���������������������������������������������������������������� 47 Videographers�������������������������������������������������� 47 Directory������������������������������������������������������������48

(more wedding verticals coming soon!)

40 W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K


Girl Metro Inc.

Fiore Press






Lisa Samartino Design


IJORERE The Invitation Inc.

Julie Hanan Design



42 W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K

Be U Brides

Bellis Studios



4 Curly Brackets

Daily Sip Studios




CT-Designs Calligraphy & Wedding Stationery $$$

Lambert Letterpress

r3mg:: creative boutique

Carnelian Creative

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Inside the Envelope

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Birdhouse Stationery

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Hitched Invites


Posh Inscriptions

The Paper Co.


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Courtney Callahan Paper


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Save the Date Originals







OMG Photography

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Planners & Coordinators

Greatest Expectations Special Events Golden Chic Events & Consulting & Weddings $$$$ $$$

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48 W E D D I N G L O V E LY L O O K B O O K


Stationers cont.

Planners & Coordinators

Girl Metro Inc.

Courtney Callahan Paper

Greatest Expectations Special Events & Weddings

Fiore Press

Hitched Invites

Lisa Samartino Design

The Paper Co.

IJORERE The Invitation Inc.

Paper & Silk {Press}

Be U Brides

Oh That’s Elegant

4 Curly Brackets

Save the Date Originals

Julie Hanan Design


Bellis Studios

greenstar paperie

CT-Designs Calligraphy & Wedding Stationery


High Dynamic Photography

Birdhouse Stationery

EMC Photography

r3mg:: creative boutique

Melissa Troyan Photography

Carnelian Creative

Gray Photography

Invitations by Design

Brian Rickey Photographer

Steel Petal Press

The Imagery Theatre Collective

Inside the Envelope

Love Above Photography

Nicole Francesca

Happily Ever After Photography


Nic / Design + Photography

Ruby the Fox Design

S.C. Photography

Five Grain Events

Visions Wedding & Event Boutique

Power Wedding Planning

Accent on Events


Celebrations by Cyncie Signature Events by Shelly

OMG Photography

Lambert Letterpress

Golden Chic Events & Consulting

Daily Sip Studios

Venues The Crystal Gardens

Chicago History Museum

Loft on Lake

Videographers Orange Wedding Films

Delack Media Group

HWu Studios

LetterBoxInk by Laura Nehls Design


Posh Inscriptions



Chicago WeddingLovely Lookbook, Spring 2012  
Chicago WeddingLovely Lookbook, Spring 2012  

Browse your local Chicago wedding vendors and read informative articles about wedding planning in the Spring Chicago WeddingLovely Lookbook.