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Event Accents with Revel Decor

Guest Bloggers: Erin & Carolyn from Revel Decor

Holiday Party season is upon us, what is the hottest trend for Holiday Parties?

Our clients this year are embracing classic holiday elements with customized details, and finding ways to elevate the guest experience at their events. We are seeing a lot of traditional winter greens and beautiful white and peach amaryllis, along with metallic touches in gold and copper. This traditional landscape offers so many opportunities for customizing your event based on elements such as venue, color palette, and budget.

What is your favorite flower and why?

My favorite flowers change with the seasons! I look forward to the winter months and enjoying the beautiful bulb flowers in their prime: amaryllis, tulips, and hyacinth are among my favorites. Moving into the spring blooming lilacs and lily of the valley take center stage, until the summer bounty rolls in with peonies and stunning dahlias. The fall brings its own floral show with hydrangea taking a turn towards antiquing and using rich autumnal foliage like oak leaves and bittersweet vine. It’s far too hard to pick just one!

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Pinspotting centerpieces – why is this a must-have for your clients?

“Lighting changes everything” is such bold statement, but it is so true. Although our clients don’t often have the opportunity to be in the room before we “flip the switch” there is no change that is more dramatic than when the house lights go down, the designed lighting is focused and the sun is setting. Pin spotting in particular takes a beautiful centerpiece design and amplifies and enhances it while the ambient light changes throughout the evening. Pin spotting allows your guests to enjoy the intricate personality in the centerpieces you have selected and the blooms within. Lastly, it adds depth and texture to the room so when your fabulous photographer captures the “room shot” it doesn’t fall flat.

What colors, themes, textures are popping for a 2016 Winter or Spring wedding?

We are seeing a lot of garden-inspired, foliage filled designs for the spring, and we could not be more excited about it! The designs we are working on have so much personality and movement, and give an opportunity for the floral elements to be a bold highlight between the beautiful green foliage.

What is your favorite tourist attraction in Chicago?

Anytime a friend comes to Chicago for the first time I take them on an architectural boat tour. I learn something new every time, and there’s no better way to see so much of the city in such a short time.

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Getting Around Town on Your Wedding Day

Guest Blogger: V.I.P. Valet Services

When do you recommend that couples reach out to you to book transportation for their wedding day?

When thinking about a time line for wedding transportation, you can never reach out to early. While VIP Services utilizes a real time network of different types of equipment, ranging from: coach buses with on-board restrooms, to mini-and party buses, trollies, stretch limos and sedans, the amount of capacity is unfortunately not infinite. The last thing anyone wants to do is try and “squeeze in” a wedding on an already busy day.

The perfect time to reserve your transportation is once you have an selected your date, have an idea of the venue and where out of town guests are staying, Then the logistics map can then begin to be created. The processes involves estimating and accounting for guests, accommodating special needs that may result from complicated family dynamics, and refining an accurate number of attendees that will ultimately rely on the transportation the coupleis offering for their guests. All of those details are then melded with a refined timeline of ceremony, picture tour, and reception times. Getting an early start insures that you can reserve the type of equipment that best fits your event. While the actual wedding day is the most important day, bachelor and bachelorette parties can also be elevated when the party is able to leave the driving to someone else.

Specialty cars such as an antique Silver Cloud Rolls Royce’s or an iconic 1935 Auburn book up well in advance for popular dates! Additionally from time to time the particular type of vehicle may need to be sourced from outside the Chicago Market, so additional delivery times and costs can apply.

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What is the #1 mistake that couples make when booking transportation?

The wedding day is very busy and there is a lot going on, not only with the wedding party but sometimes within the city. What often should be a quick 10 minute jaunt to the church can turn into a nail bitter when the city plays host to large street festivals and concerts. Be early and allow enough time, so you’re not dealing with added stress from being stuck in traffic.

Another key component is to hash out the photographer’s shot list well in advance, like many artists they often like to use their creative inspiration to drive a photo shoot, but when you have several moving pieces and tight timelines, an advance plan keeps the transportation running smoothly. Some photographers like to travel independently using their own car, some utilize the wedding party transportation, making sure there is adequate room for both passengers and gear is critical.

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What Chicago venues or transportation routes are more logistically challenging for valet and bus transportation?

Many of the most popular venues are challenged by limitations of space and loading areas. Additionally there are ordinances in Chicago that prevent diesel idling in certain areas, if it’s cold in the winter or hot in the summer, the bus may need to park some distance away in order to stay running and keep the climate in the coach perfect for guests.
Hotels like the Palmer House Hilton only allow transportation to load on their Wabash entrance and The Hyatt on Wacker has a special loading zone that is one floor below ground level.
Making sure that the pick-up and drop off location is made aware to all guests can ensure things run smoothly.

Additionally, properly informing guests and bridal party of when the shuttles are leaving will help ensure all are aboard before it departs. We always recommend to pad the actual departure time by 10- 15 minutes.

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When you have a day off in Chicago, what is your favorite thing to do, see, or eat?

On the off chance VIP members have a day off, catching up with family, sports and friends are a must! If it gets to happen at home, by the lake, or anywhere in between – it’s perfect. But our customers come first, then ourselves.

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About the author:
VIP Services has been in business for 20 years and specializes in event services as they relate to valet parking, coat check, and transportation management. They have handled logistics for weddings as star studded as the George Lucas wedding at Promontory Point, and countless intimate receptions at private homes within the Tri-State area. They pride themselves on providing a service that is safe, professional and exceeds the customers’ expectations for what was originally thought feasible.

Custom Wedding Stationery with Greenstar Paperie {FREE Valentines Day Printable}

Guest Blogger: Lynda from Greenstar Paperie

Greetings LK Events blog fans!

Lynda here from Greenstar Paperie and today I’m going to tell you a bit about custom stationery, what that means and the process. So let’s dive right in, shall we?

Custom stationery means what exactly? This is a great question and definitely needs some clarification. Custom means from scratch, built from the ground up.  Most custom stationers have a background in graphic design, this means they’ve had years of experience with type, color and layout. They are also pros at formatting things that are going to be professionally printed and have a vast understanding of all the print methods available.

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So how does this whole process work and what should I expect? The process may vary from designer to designer, but most often will start with a consultation where you will be able to touch and feel actual samples that designer has produced. See the quality and crispness of the printing, decide on paper weights and colors that will match your vision and most importantly discuss the design elements that are most important to you. At this time I also like to look at inspiration the couple has brought to the consultation to better understand their vision. Pinterest is a great resource, but be careful there, you want to be inspired by what you see, not recreate a design that exists already.

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Next step is the proposal delivery and the beginning of the artwork. Here at Greenstar Paperie, we like to create 3 designs for initial review. This gets the ball rolling and the conversation started. The custom process is extremely collaborative, so we want to hear your true feedback. If helps immensely when the client pinpoints exactly what they like and don’t like. If a color seems off tell us, if you’re not crazy about the script monogram, please let us know so we can edit accordingly and deliver the next round of designs for review. Once the artwork has been buttoned up and everything looks absolutely beautiful it will be sent over as a final proof. This ensures that every little nook and cranny has been reviewed and looks fabulous. Once the proof is signed, production begins.

Production times vary for every designer and depends on the complexity of the order, the printing process chosen and if it requires any assembly. This entire timeline will be discussed during your initial consultation so you can rest easy that your paper beauties get dropped in the mail on time for your guests to receive.

Hiring a custom stationer is a big decision and you should feel confident in that designers portfolio of work. An experienced designer will listen to your vision and translate that into a design that perfectly represents your big day.  You’ll have some fun along the way and in the end you’ll be mailing a gorgeous little packet of goodness that your guests will treasure.

And because we believe in the power of sweet paper goodies we’ve designed a free set of downloadable valentines just for you! 3 card designs that you can give to your bestie or your boo! We’ve also created sets of tags that can be used to spruce up those little prezzies for the kids classroom or your cube mates! Print, cut and spread some love!

Lots of love and papery goodness, Lynda

Logo Greenstar Paperie was founded in 2005 by Lynda Junge. After a successful stint in corporate design she took the plunge, followed her paper loving heart and started Greenstar Paperie. With a focus on custom stationery, her design studio continues to thrive on custom print and branding projects. You can check out all of the pretty print work at www.GreenstarPaperie.com

Getting Ready Photos with Kent Drake Photography

Planner, Check.
Venue, Check.
Caterer, Check.
Photographer, Check.
Band, Check.
Dress, Check.
Prep Location….?
A wedding checklist can be long and overwhelming, with some items feeling more rushed or important than the next. It’s a day you’ve thought about for years, envisioning the dress, the spouse, the venue, the portraits and everything in between, but you can’t . One item I wish to remind you of today, is another location you spend a good part of your time… The prep location!
For many of us, we aren’t born and raised in downtown Chicago. The city is full of transplants and professionals from the surrounding suburbs. You may also have out of town guests, and there is no way a bride & groom should be spending your wedding night in your own bed. The hotel you choose to call “home” for your wedding weekend has a few important factors, which I wanted to provide some insight on from the experience of a professional photographer. I hope this can serve you as some help!

Hotel Service

It’s possible you are having your ceremony and/or reception at the hotel you do your prep at. This is very convenient option for the day, and the hotel staff is there for you all weekend long. Whatever you need (within reason), they understand you are bringing in a lot of business, and should be providing flexible assistance to you and your guests during your stay. This makes the rehearsal process easier, and it’s a one stop shop for your wedding experience. Luxury hotels are not only immaculate, but they excel at high quality service, and that cannot be overlooked.
There are of course downsides to the all in one approach. Most obvious, being you miss out on some of the great venue spaces that are in Chicago. It’s a matter of taste, but there is no shortage of venue options. So due your research, and if you have a planner like LK Events, they know venues and staff inside and out. This is why you brought them in.

Getting Ready

As a photographer, this section will carry the most weight for me. Photographically, the room you decide to dress in, is a big part of your wedding day story. First and foremost, it should fit your style. If you are into modern furniture and sleek lines, that’s the hotel you should be looking for. If you are into classic Chicago architecture and motifs, you should be looking in that direction. Whatever it is, here is what is important to make those images really shine.

1. Windows:

Where ever you end up, ask for the room with the best light. In Chicago, that generally means south facing, and a high floor. That may not be the case for every hotel, so ask the hotel coordinator as you book your suite. Floor to ceiling windows are fantastic, and allow the photographer the most flexibility to control the room.
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2. Suite:

You will have anywhere from 5 to 20 people in that room, depending on your bridal party and family size. That’s a crowd, and has the potential to overwhelm both you and the space. Having a large open suite with a living room set up is great, and multiple rooms are also a plus. I prefer to clear out a room of excess luggage and food/bottles before we starting photographing you putting on your dress. This also allows more flexibility for the photographer to shoot the dress, shoes, accessories without being in the way, or your bridesmaids can dress in the other rooms if need be.
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3. Mirrors:

Once that dress is on, you need to see yourself from head to toe. After all the work you’ve put in, you deserve at least that much! If the room doesn’t have a full length mirror, ask the hotel what they have on hand.
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4. Bridal Party:

I stress this with every couple I meet, and I will do so again here. Please consider having your bridal party dressed if they are done with hair & make up. At the very least, by the time you are putting on your dress. When you flip through your wedding album years down the road, you will appreciate the difference between your friends in their dress versus pajamas. This is so often overlooked, but it does change the tone, and adds that extra touch of class to the room. Now, I am all for getting your girls something personal and that matches to wear all morning long. I think this is great, and is really the best alternative. Whether it’s a robe, monogramed shirt or anything in-between, I love it. It’s a great idea, and is a wonderful favor.
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5. The Gents:

Everything I said above stands here too, with just a little less stress on the suite and mirrors part. The biggest thing, is having the guys get ready in the same building as the girls. You ensure nobody forgets something, the planner/photographer can balance the schedule better, and if you wish to do a first look, it’s very complimentary to first looks. If you have the whole bridal party, parents and more at the same location, no one should be left behind, and everyone has someones cellphone number.
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6. Perks:

What else does the hotel have to offer you? What is the aesthetic and environment of the space? Keep in mind, that many hotels have luxurious bars, lounge spaces, or even rooftops and terraces for you to access. These are priceless perks on your wedding day, so don’t forget to look beyond the suite itself!
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Call an Audible! Private Residence

Let’s just say for a second you have no desire to use a hotel for yourself at all. I’ve photographed in many different prep locations, and it’s not the end of the world. If you have a space in the city that can hold your bridal party, is open and clean, I see no reason to dissuade you. I’ve been in friends homes, and also in more intimate settings with only immediate family present. I honestly loved that too. It was classy and personal, and that fit the bride.
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Everything I’ve shared is about finding what suits your tastes the best, and promoting a relaxing wedding environment. I hope that this was able to provide some insight and help to you in your planning process. Remember to seek advice from other professionals around you, our insight comes from nothing more than experience!

Engagement Sessions with Rebecca Maria

Guest Blogger: Rebecca from Rebecca Marie Photography

Engagement sessions are a really fun way to not only spend some quality time with the one you love, but also take your photographer for a “test drive” before the big day. I’ve found over the years, that the couples I’m able to hang out with on an engagement session are leaps and bounds more comfortable when it comes time for the wedding day. They know that I’ve learned what to do to capture that real smile (not the one your fiancé makes for every picture Mom asks to take) and that I totally have their back. However, as much fun as engagement sessions are, the time leading up to having your picture taken can be stressful and overwhelming. Do these thoughts sound familiar? “What should I wear?” “Does my favorite dress photograph well?” “How in the heck am I supposed to know all of this? I’ve never gotten married before!”

Deep breathes and no worries. Here are 5 simple tips to help rock out any photo session…

  1. First and foremost, be comfortable in what you’re wearing. Your portraits are about you and your unique style. Don’t force yourself into something you would never wear. Granted this is a special occasion, so we won’t wear our comfy yoga pants if you agree to not wear your old sneakers. 🙂 You do want to look smokin’! If you feel amazing you’ll look amazing in photographs. Yep, you know what that means… I’ve just given you an excuse to go shopping!
  2. Don’t be afraid of color. You want to stand out as the subject of your images and strong colors can help you do just that. When planning outfits together think about coordinating, NOT matching perfectly. You want to compliment each other without looking like twins. Stay in the same color family like reds & browns, greens & blues, or purples & greys. Take a look at how photos in ads and catalogs are styled to present the models as a cohesive image in the way they dress – they can give you ideas for complementary colors and clothing styles for the engagement shoot.
  3. Accessorize! Accessories can bring out even more of your personality and a great statement necklace or fabulous earrings can add the perfect finishing touch to any look. Props can also be theperfect finishing touch. A large brimmed hat to sneak a kiss behind, your fiancé’s guitar he or she plays for you after a long day, or the new furry addition to the family – if it helps tell your unique story then bring it along!
  4. Finishing off your perfect look also requires the perfect pair of shoes. Go ahead, splurge. I officially give you permission to shop for those sexy pair of black heels you’ve been wanting.
  5. Avoid large logos and really wide stripes (vertical or horizontal). We want the focus to be on you! Solid colors and simple patterns always photograph well but that doesn’t mean fun patterns are totally off limits. If you found the perfect printed ensemble keep your fiancé in a solid shirt that compliments one color of the pattern.

Bonus tips I tell all of my awesome RMPD couples…

Leave your cell phones in the car and don’t schedule anything immediately after your session. This is all about blocking out some intentional time just for the two of you to focus on each other.

Get ready for some serious cuddle time! It’s my job as a photographer to make sure you look amazing, you just relax and have fun!

Have more questions? Feel free to ask away by shooting us an email at photography@rebeccamarieart (dot) com If you have a question, odds are plenty of others have the same question. Why not consider asking on our Facebook page so everyone benefits?

Rebecca is the owner and lead photographer at Rebecca Marie Photography & Design, a Chicago based wedding and portrait studio. Her goal every time the shutter clicks is to create an image that not only showcases your personality to loved ones but also reminds you of a feeling in that split second.

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Guest Blogger: Rebecca from Rebecca Marie Photography