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We’re So Grateful!

lk-events-grateful-2016_2642 Hard to believe Thanksgiving is tomorrow!  We are so grateful for what each day has brought us.  I especially love this post because it allows us to take a moment to reflect and think about what 2016 has meant to us.  We wish you all a safe and wonderful Holiday weekend filled with family, friends, food and champagne, of course!

Lauren KnuepferI am especially grateful for this year, as 2016 reminded me how lucky I am to be still doing what I love most. After seven successful years of running LK Events and planning my dream client’s weddings and events, I was able to take a tiny step back to focus on my family. My time (even though it never felt long enough), made me realize how much I love this industry, how much I truly love planning weddings and how incredible this company is. Thank you to my couples and their families; I have made lifelong friends and have had some of the most memorable weddings to date.

Watching my children grow has been the greatest gift God could have ever given me. I am eternally grateful for my husband (and rock), Bryan, my precocious son, Jack and my precious baby girls, Lucy and Ellie…(who are no longer babies).  You two were the biggest surprise in my life but I can’t imagine my world without you. As Carrie Underwood wrote (and what I sing to you everyday), “I finally found, what I never knew I always wanted.”   You kiddos keep me on my toes (literally) all day, you make me laugh harder than I ever thought possible and I can’t wait to come home to our nightly dance parties.

I am grateful for Sunday Fun Days, now that majority of my immediate family have made their way to the suburbs. Somehow, we happen to have dinner together every Sunday. Our kids are so close and I am so excited to watch them grow up together. My nieces and nephews are my world. I am grateful for my parents and in laws who have been the BEST Nana’s and Papa’s to our babies and provides them with the most unconditional love. To my best friends (old and new) who continue to inspire me and make me laugh even when we aren’t living in the same city anymore….I cherish the times we spend together and grateful that we can still laugh and talk for hours.

This company has grown again and I couldn’t be more proud. Bridget and Lara, congratulations on your first successful year with LK Events!!  Nicole, Jennifer, Allison, Bridget and Lara – you are the heart and soul of LK Events. I am so lucky to have you on my team. I continue to learn from each of you every day. You make me a better Mom and a better business owner by providing me with the most unconditional support and love. You are my family, my closest friends and my inspiration. And to the new additions about to make their debut into this world, Baby Young and Baby Warren – welcome to the family!! We can’t wait to spoil you!

It has definitely been an interesting year but I am SO excited for 2017 and what’s to come!! It’s going to be our best year yet!


Nicole ZennerI think I speak for most people when they say that 2016 has been a roller coaster of a year. I am grateful that I have weathered the ride – I have grown as an event professional, I have evolved as a friend, I have become a stronger individual. I am thankful for this year’s journey.
A special thank you to my family and friends who never question my commitment to my clients and are patient with my crazy schedule. To my ILEA family – you continue to inspire me, refuel my passion, and keep me driving to be a better event professional. A very heartfelt thank you to my clients, past and present, and the trust you put in me to help you plan your special day. I am grateful to call many of you dear friends! Finally, to Lauren, Jennifer, Allison, Lara, & Bridget – thank you for always sharing a smile, a shoulder, a bottle of champs and your friendship.


Jennifer2016 had some amazing highs and some not so fabulous lows. I am thankful for both as the lows made me appreciate the highs even more. I am most thankful that I was able to celebrate my Grandma’s 95th Birthday with her this year. I was fortunate enough to travel & explore Austria & Croatia with one of my best friends. We met wonderful people, saw beautiful places & things & I was able to eat anything I wanted which for someone with a lot of dietary restrictions this was a real treat! Oh how I miss those chocolate croissants! I was so fortunate to have another amazing year building relationships with clients and other wedding professionals. I am so appreciative to have another year with the lovely ladies of LK & thank them for their constant support, friendship & willingness to always pop a bottle of champs or uncork a bottle of wine. Love you ladies!


AllisonWith 2016 coming to a close, I am so grateful for my growing family! This Thanksgiving will be spent waiting for our first little one to enter our lives, which I know will never be the same. This little girl is already so loved and I just can not wait to introduce her to family, friends and of course my LK family too! Until then, I am also thankful for all the Thanksgiving pies and treats to make the end of this long wait just a bit more bearable. Oh, and Andy Cohen’s new book! 🙂

I am also so thankful for my husband, Dave, who makes me laugh everyday and never complains when I work late or ask for help alphabetizing escort cards on a Friday night. My friends and family who are spread across both coasts – I miss you all every day and continue to relish any time we spend together.

Thank you to all the couples I have been blessed with over the past year. Each of you have taught me something new and let me be a part of such an intimate and special day in your lives and I will never forget it.

And to my LK Events team – thank you for being family, friends, coworkers and everything in between. We grew so much as a company this year and and it only makes me that much more excited to share all of our passion and knowledge with the incredible couples we get to work with. Can not wait to celebrate the end of 2016 with many glasses of wine!


BridgetAs I reflect back on this year, I have SO much to be thankful for, and have spent 2016 continually grateful. First and foremost, I am so very thankful for my husband, Mark, my rock, sounding board, and constant support. His love and laughter through even the toughest of times, keeps me going, and I wouldn’t be who I am without him. And for the little one we are expecting this spring. We haven’t met you yet, but my love for you already is more than I could imagine, and I am thankful for you every day.

I am thankful for my family and friends, who no matter the distance, continue to support and encourage me through life with unwavering guidance, approval and love.

I am thankful to be a part of this amazing LK team! To Lauren, Nicole, Allison, Jennifer and Lara, thank you for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to grow in my love and dedication to event planning! Thank you for being a constant support, guidance and source of laughter through it all. You ladies make this job incredibly rewarding, and I am in constant awe of each one of you! And to each couple I have met along the way, I am thankful to know you, and to have the opportunity to share in your love!

Lastly, I am thankful to be healthy and happy, to have taken risks and made choices that have brought me to where I am today. I look forward to the year ahead and all that is to come! Cheers to 2016, and hello 2017!


LaraI feel like I say this every year, but in 2016 I’m so grateful for how much I’ve learned and grown. I was able to prioritize my own happiness, which has made 2016 one of my happiest and healthiest years yet. I am so thankful for my husband, who supports and encourages me every day. We brought home a little puppy this year and it’s been so fun to watch him practice being a dad to our ball of fur. I’m thankful for my siblings and my parents who are my best friends in the entire world. I’m also thankful for all of my other amazing friends, who are so often selfless beyond measure. I am thankful each day for the girls on this team, who lead by example, are so kind, knowledgeable, and most importantly, the best people to share a drink and a laugh with. I’m hopeful that 2017 will be filled with many more (drinks and laughs).


The Real Definition of D.I.Y.

We feel our industry will always have a debate around D.I.Y. vs hiring event professionals, so we thought we would weigh in on our thoughts on D.I.Y. Weddings.

We sat down together and discussed the following three questions:

When you think of D.I.Y. & Weddings, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

Honestly, there was a lot of cringing around the table as we thought of the topic of D.I.Y. & Weddings and that is because the majority of D.I.Y. projects that we have witnessed have not worked out. Many of the Pinterest D.I.Y. tricks are not scalable for a wedding of 200 guests, nor is there a “team” for production, installation or strike. We have also seen the stress and disappointment in the face of the bride (or mother of the bride) when a project has been too much and the end product is not at all what they had envisioned.

However, we also shared stories of beautiful D.I.Y. elements that were just the right amount of a personal touch for the couple’s day.

  • Invitation envelopes with hand calligraphy from the bride.
  • A ring bearer’s pillow made out of the bride’s mother’s and grandmother’s dress.
  • An heirloom lace tablecloth for the head table.
  • Monograms embroidered on linen dinner napkins.
  • Wood signage created by the groom’s parents.
  • Jars of jam from the bride’s hometown as favors.
  • A wooden card box that was a replica of the couple’s new home that was created by the father of the groom.
  • 1000 paper cranes that have been folded by the mother of the bride for the ceremony.

View More: Photo – Christy Tyler Photography

Where do couples go wrong with D.I.Y. projects?

We have witnessed many D.I.Y. projects that have gone wrong and that is why we always try to educate our clients on what D.I.Y. elements are right for their wedding. We often get asked if our clients can purchase items, rather than renting them from another event professional. Depending on the specific item, it usually makes sense to rent from an event company, as you are often left with hundreds of votives, vases, or used dirty napkins, etc.

Couples go wrong with D.I.Y. when they bite off more than they can chew with their level of craftiness or expertise – or space! It takes a lot of space to execute a lot of what you see online and it also takes skills and tools that might not be easy to manage while juggling a career and wedding planning. D.I.Y. projects are complicated from conception to completion and often family and friends have to be brought on board for execution. Yes, this can be a bonding moment; but remember that your family and friends may be stressed with helping you too!

Finally, the wedding day logistics of some D.I.Y. projects can cause headaches for everyone. Most venues, florists and wedding planners will not install certain elements for liability reasons. You also have to be aware of building codes. For instance, buildings and venues in Chicago require special lights that comply with fire hazards and require a licensed professional to install them. Also, your wedding planner has more of a “producer” role for your wedding day, and you do not want him or her setting up your centerpieces when they should be ensuring you’re on time for photos, etc.

diy-wedding-chicago-wedding-planning_0368 Photo – Steven Rosenberg Photography

What is one D.I.Y. component for a wedding that you would recommend for a couple?

We discussed that the reason many people want to incorporate a D.I.Y. element into their wedding is because they want a unique and personal touch to their wedding. Unless your family and friends are going to weddings every weekend, we promise that even a little detail will be that one personal touch that your guests will remember. So keep your D.I.Y. product small and leave the bigger items to the professionals.

Besides the success stories we listed above, here are some other ideas for a D.I.Y. component:

  • If you are an artist, work with your invitation designer to create a custom monogram or seal that can be used on your paper goods or even on your cake. This works because you create the image once and then your event professionals can repurpose the image in various elements in your wedding.
  • Want a unique table runner? Try a bold and patterned wrapping paper or repurpose a duvet cover into runners.
  • Create a talking point over cocktail hour or dinner by incorporating favorite sayings or moments in your relationship on your cocktail napkins or table numbers.
  • Make unique memories with your own photo booth props. Whether you have inside family jokes that you can write on a chalkboard, or live and die by your alma mater, or wish your four legged friend could be with you on your wedding day, these are just a few extra props you can add to your photo booth.

As the debate continues, we will continue to encourage our couples to add unique, personal touches to their wedding day, while relying on the expertise of their event professionals.

LK Events


View More: Photo – Christy Tyler Photography

diy-wedding-chicago-wedding-planning_0369 Photo – Steven Rosenberg Photography

diy-wedding-chicago-wedding-planning_0370 Photo – Averyhouse

Insider Secret – Budget for Food & Beverage

Chicago is a city known for culinary masters and we find that many of our couples prioritize the food and beverage experience at their wedding. We want to share some helpful hints as you review venue and catering proposals for your special day.

Before you begin thinking of your menu and specialty cocktails, we ask our clients to find their comfort threshold for their wedding food & beverage. A great way to start is to think about this scenario: If the two of you were to go out for a nice dinner in Chicago…have a cocktail and an appetizer, a salad course, a bottle of wine, entrée and dessert…how much would you expect to pay for this night out? Now multiply that by 150 guests…or 250 guests. That begins to put things into perspective as you map out how much you will pay for food & beverage on your wedding day.


Besides the guest count, here are other items that will affect your food & beverage budget:

    • Chicago weddings are known to be open bar weddings – that is about 4 hours of alcohol being served to your friends and family – with a separate wine service for dinner. Some venues require that your alcohol or mixers are purchased through them, so make sure they provide you pricing in their proposal so that you have a complete understanding of your commitment.
    • Beef and some Fish/Seafood entrees are going to be more expensive than a Chicken entrée and when given the choice, most guests will opt for Beef.
    • Everyone loves the idea of Food Stations, but they are actually more expensive than a plated dinner.
    • While specialty cocktails and late night snacks are a popular option, you never have to apply your full guest count to these items…not everyone will try these.
    • Review your proposal carefully to understand what rental items (i.e. tables, chairs, linens, etc) are included in the cost.

Your guests will remember the food & beverage experience at your wedding, so take the time to understand the costs involved in feeding 150 or 250 guests and then you can have fun with your menu choices!


LK Events

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Photography: averyhouse, Kent Drake Photography

The University Club of Chicago, Allison & Matt

Allison and her bridesmaids got ready in the Presidential Suite at the Blackstone Hotel.  After hair and make up completed, Allison put on her Vera Wang gown and saw her father for the first time.  It was such a beautiful moment and we love when our couples get to spend special moments with their parents before heading out for photos.  Allison and her bridesmaids met the groomsmen and Matt for the couple’s first look and additional bridal party photos around the city before the ceremony took place at Old St. Pat’s.

Allison carried a stunning organic hand tied bouquet of garden roses, peonies, ranunculus and vibernum.  Her bridesmaids carried smaller versions of the bridal bouquet with accents of pale and deep green.  Guests were greeted by a stunning escort card display of dramatic bells of Ireland and blooming bridal veil in a footed urn.  We covered the table with moss and duvalia ferns and placed the escort cards in antique silver trays, provided by the bride’s parents. 

The guest tables were decorated with three different designs in a lush variety of height and texture.  Stems used lush boxwood, camellia, ferns and hanging amaranthus to complete this garden inspired summer wedding. Allison and Matt sat at a gorgeous sweetheart table that was adorned with a laurel and bay leaf wreath, organic boxwood and an abundance of pillar candles.

Allison and Matt surprised their parents with a personalized note that was at their place settings when their parents sat down for dinner.  It was such a special moment watching both parents read these notes from their children before dinner was to start.  We love touches like this one!

Larry King kept the dance floor packed all night long and Gerber and Scarpelli and Wedding Masterpiece were there to capture it all!  As they celebrate their first anniversary next week, we are thinking of you both and wishing you nothing but love, laughter and happily ever after!  Congrats Allison and Matt!

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Getting Ready Location: The Blackstone Hotel
Wedding Planner: LK Events
Photography: Gerber and Scarpelli
Videography: Wedding Masterpiece
Ceremony: Old St. Pat’s
Reception: The University Club
Entertainment: The Larry King Orchestra
Floral: Stems
Lighting: Frost
Wedding Dress Designer: Vera Wang
Shoe Designer: Charlotte Olympia
Tux Designer: Martin Greenfield
Bridesmaid Dress: Amsale 
Hair: Dana Sokolewicz
Make Up: Carissa Bruce
Invitations and Day of Paper: Clementine Inc.
Linens: BBJ Linens
Chairs: Halls Rental
Transportation: VIP Valet Services
Rehearsal Dinner: The Chicago Yacht Club

Irene & Rich, The Racquet Club of Chicago

Congratulations to Irene and Rich who welcomed their son, Luis Felix Paris into the world on March 9th.  He is absolutely beautiful and we could not be happier for you all!

We had so much fun on Irene and Rich’s wedding day.  We began the day getting ready in Irene’s home with her closest friends and family by her side.   After getting dressed in her Amsale gown, Irene met Rich for their first look at the South Gardens of the Art Institute.   Photos continued around the city and then we came back to the Racquet Club to get ready for the ceremony.

Irene carried a textural bouquet composed of blush and white peonies, white ranunculus, blush and white roses and elegant stephanotis blossoms. Guests were greeted by a striking display of monobotanic and monochromatic bouquets in varying glass cylinder vases on mirrored pedestals.  Irene and Rich exchanged vows framed by a collection of pedestals hosting lush floral in an asymmetric configuration.

Irene is from Venezuela so many of their guests were traveling internationally.   It was so important that their friends and family felt comfortable and at home while enjoying the wedding reception. Heffernan Morgan brought in tufted brown leather bars and dark wooden and iron bistro tables for the lounge that allowed their friends and family to sit back and relax throughout the evening.  Guests enjoyed mini chicken empanadas and lamb lollipops and the Racquet Club’s famous sausage en croute along with a gorgeous raw bar display.

The dining tables were adorned with blush peonies, ivory hydrangea, bright green viburnum and pink roses.  We completed the look with tapered candles, pillar candles and etched glass votive candles.  After a delightful dinner of red wine braised short ribs and seared mahi mahi, guests were invited back into the lounge for cake, assorted desserts and dancing. Kent Drake was there to capture it all.  Irene and Rich have one of the most beautiful relationships and I was honored to be a part of their wedding.

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Ceremony and Reception: The Racquet Club of Chicago
Photography: Kent Drake Photography
Ceremony Music: Artistrings
Reception Entertainment: The Chris Sarlas Orchestra
Wedding Cake: Elysia Root Cakes
Floral and Décor: Heffernan Morgan
Lighting: Frost Chicago
Linens: BBJ Linen
Tables: Chicago Farm Tables
Officiant: Bruce Otto, Spirited Weddings
Make Up: Brian Sutherby @ Muse Beauty
Hair: Angelair Salon
Hair on Site: Lauren Logan
Getting Ready Location: Bride’s Home
Honeymoon Suite: The Thompson Hotel
Dress: Amsale
Rehearsal Dinner: Sixteen @ the Trump International Hotel and Tower
Post Wedding Brunch: Fig and Olive
Invitations and Day of Items: Magnificent Milestones
Transportation: VIP Valet Services

Planning Your Ceremony

The LK Events team receives a number of questions about ceremonies and we thought we would share some of our favorite ideas and moments!

1. What is your favorite moment of the ceremony?

LAUREN:   “Watching our couples see one another for the first time walking down the aisle.  That moment is incredible and the facial expression tells it all.”

NICOLE:   “I love when the officiant has a story to tell about the couple. There is something about their love and tenacity and their journey that comes through in that story and I cry every time.”

JENNIFER:   “My favorite moment of the ceremony is after they have been announced as a couple and they are recessing down the aisle grinning ear-to-ear & hand-in-hand.  That being said, a close second is listening to their vows, as it’s such a perfect personal moment.”

ALLISON:   “The moment when the couple is standing together at the altar right before the officiant begins a passage, there is a sense of calm and love that washes over their faces. It makes me smile each and every ceremony.”

LARA:   “My favorite moment of any ceremony is the exchanging of the vows. There’s something about the promises being made (whether traditional wedding vows or something originally written by the couple) that reminds everyone why they are there. It almost always brings tears to my eyes and a smile to my face.”


2. LK Events has been a part of hundreds of ceremonies…tell us about a very funny (or not so funny) thing that happened at a ceremony?

JENNIFER:   “All I can think of is the time an officiant mispronounced the bride’s name.  It was especially horrifying because her dad brought him in specifically to perform the ceremony.”

ALLISON:   “A funny moment that seems to happen in many ceremonies is when one of the couples repeats their vows while looking at the officiant. I know it is tempting to look at the officiant while listening for your words, but now is the time to say those loving phrases you picked out to your new spouse!”

LARA:   “I think any moment of imperfection makes the ceremony that much more special and memorable. Whether is a little mis-step down the aisle or a slight stutter during the vows. It usually results in a giggle, and the calming reassurance that everyone there is family and friends.”

LAUREN:   “I will never forget the hot summer day where we had a beautiful ceremony overlooking Lake Michigan.  All was going swimmingly until the officiant’s iPad blew out from the heat. I was able to hand the officiant a printed ceremony script so fast and hardly any of the guests realized the short pause that took place. One of the many reasons to hire a wedding planner…”

NICOLE:   “I once had a couple that did Rock Paper Scissors to see who would say their vows first. Everyone was giggling over that move.”

5-16-15 Sima + Jonathan Wedding Stone Gate Banquets Hoffman Estates, IL @2014 Jennifer Kathryn Photography

3. What is your favorite reading for a ceremony?

ALLISON:   “One of my favorite readings was actually done in song. Since music played such a big role in their lives, they chose to have friends sing during their ceremony. It was so touching and unique to them!”

LARA:   “My favorite reading is anything unique to the couple. I’ve seen passages from books or lyrics from a favorite song. I love these special touches more than any traditional reading.”

LAUREN:   “I love when couples use non-traditional poems, song lyrics or something meaningful to them in their relationship.”

NICOLE:   “My favorite reading for a wedding ceremony is ‘i carry your heart’ by e e cummings.”

JENNIFER:   “I personally love non-traditional readings for a ceremony.  One of my favorites was when my brides selected a Carole King song and then put their own twist on how it was presented. Instead of having their readers at the front of the room, as a surprise to their guests they chose four different couples who then stood up from where they were seated and read their part from the song.”


4. Thinking of a non-traditional ceremony, what is the most creative song or musician choice that you have seen?

LARA:   “I once had a bride walk down the aisle to ‘A Thousand Years’ sung beautifully, live on the top of a mountain in Michigan. I really cannot imagine anything more beautiful.”

LAUREN:   “I may be biased, but my sister sang ‘Feels Like Home’ as I walked down the aisle.  Not only was that song so special to my husband and I, but to my sister and I as well.  Having my sister sing that song (with her band) was one of the highlights of my entire wedding day. I love when couples get to incorporate personal music selections into their ceremony, it makes it that much more personal and unique.”

NICOLE:   “I absolutely love a harp for a ceremony and actually I do not see that very often. But I think my favorite so far has been a string octet playing ‘All of the Lights’ by Kanye West featuring Rihanna and Kid Cudi while the Bride walked down the aisle.”

JENNIFER:   “The most creative song choice I have seen at a non-traditional ceremony was when the couple recessed to ‘You Make My Dreams Come True’ by Hall & Oates.  It was totally their personalities and a fun way to kick off cocktail hour.”

ALLISON:   “Like Lauren, I can’t help but think about my best friend singing ‘Sea of Love’ as I walked down the aisle with my dad. Her voice is so angelic and it was so special to have her be a part of such an emotional moment of the ceremony for me.”


May your ceremony be everything you imagined it to be!


LK Events

Photos by: Vrai PhotographyJennifer Kathryn Photography; Averyhouse



Insider Secret – Plan with a Budget

If there is one thing about a wedding that causes the most angst, discussions and compromises, it is the BUDGET! Whether you have a budget of $50,000 or $500,000, this is where we see the most frustration because of the lack of knowledge and distrust for the wedding market. We admit, our industry is not that great in publicly sharing the costs associated to getting married in Chicago. Nor are we vocal about sharing that the profit margin for the industry is minimal, at best. Most of the businesses in the Chicago wedding market are small to medium-size businesses that are not looking to over-charge you; rather they want to exceed your expectations on the product or service that you are receiving from them, all while employing others and running a legitimate business.

Budget is the thing no one wants to talk about, but it is crucial to understand the restrictions or parameters that you have when booking all of your event professionals. It’s time to start talking about the numbers and that is why we will have a monthly feature to highlight how you can be more informed about your investment for your big celebration.
Here are our tips for having your initial budget discussion:

  1. Discuss what your comfort threshold is for the entire wedding.
  2. Prioritize the things you want to remember about the wedding. For a lot of couples, this is food & beverage, music and photography. The elements that are the most important and what you want to remember is where you want to invest more of you money.
  3. Discuss who will contribute to paying for the wedding.

Chicago-wedding-planner-budget-planning-avery-house_0784 You may not have everything figured out around your budget, but your next step is to talk with and hire a wedding planner to help you understand the total cost of getting married in Chicago. You wouldn’t sell or buy a home without working with a licensed realtor, right? Trusting a professional wedding planner to guide you through the process of planning will be the best investment you make on your wedding. If you begin the process without fully knowing the Chicago market, you can actually harm your budget because you are not aware of all of the additional expenses to make your dream day come to life.

Maybe you are envisioning a downtown hotel ballroom wedding for 200 people, a 12 piece band, and a professional photographer…right there you have committed to at least $65,000. Perhaps you want to opt for a museum or raw space in Chicago, but just know that there are not that many savings once you add up the venue rental, catering and table/chair/linen rentals that you have to secure to have your wedding in that event space.

The final step in preparing your budget is to determine how many people you would like to be a guest at your wedding. All professionals will tell you that the biggest factor to your wedding budget is your guest list. It’s the absolute truth. If, after the first four steps, you find yourself with a more limited budget for Chicago, then you will have to have the conversation about either reducing your guest count or increasing your comfort threshold to pay for your guests. No matter what you decide always use your highest guest count when budgeting as it’s better to have “leftover money” in the end than having to come up with extra funds to cover guests you thought weren’t going to be able to make it.

This is a time of joy and celebration for you as a couple, and in order to keep that feeling throughout your planning process, you will want to be well-informed and have a trusted friend to guide you through your decisions.


LK Events

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Sara and Jon Wedding Photos

Photos by Kent Drake Photography, Averyhouse, Amanda Hein Photography, Dabble Me This



LK Events: Rehearsal Dinner Ideas

The LK Events team receives a number of questions around Rehearsal Dinners and we thought we would share some of our favorite tips!


While who to invite to your rehearsal dinner has seemed to change over the years, etiquette dictates that parents, siblings, grandparents and any other person involved in your ceremony should be invited to attend the rehearsal dinner. That’s it!

Now we know that many couples that get married in Chicago either have extended family or friends that are traveling to attend the wedding. Why not host a Welcome Reception after the rehearsal dinner? This can be done at the same location as the rehearsal dinner, at the hotel where you have your primary room block, or a new location. You can host drinks and appetizers or you can have a cash bar and take this time to greet your guests.


Typically, the rehearsal dinner follows the rehearsal and both occur the day before the wedding. However, we are seeing different trends with rehearsals happening two days before the wedding. In Chicago, many museums and raw space venues will not have the availability for you to hold a rehearsal in their space, so a quick “rehearsal” can occur at the dinner location or prior to the ceremony on the day of the wedding.


Chicago has an endless supply of locations for a rehearsal dinner. Restaurants vary from a casual location like Lou Malnati’s or Little Goat Diner, to a more sophisticated location like Quartino or The Crown. Depending on the size of your rehearsal dinner, you may want to opt for renting a space like Chez, the Madison Ballroom at Chicago Athletic Hotel, or Gallery at GreenRiver. During the warmer months, you may even want to have your rehearsal dinner on an evening cruise on Lake Michigan with someone like Chicago’s First Lady or Odyssey Cruises.


Other Details

The flow of a rehearsal dinner is typically more relaxed. This is the best time for the father of the groom to make a toast. Additional groomsmen and bridesmaids may also want to say a few words. During the dinner is when a slideshow can be playing in the background, or you can take some time before dessert to highlight a slideshow.
Your invitations for the rehearsal dinner should be mailed about 6 weeks prior to the wedding. These should always follow the wedding invitations and never be sent out before the wedding invitations have been mailed.

While the rehearsal dinner is the beginning of the wedding celebration, the theme and color palette do not have to match the wedding day’s celebration. You can make this a unique celebration! Do not forget to think about music, décor, and documenting the celebration with either a photographer or videographer!

May you have the best celebration from beginning to end!
XO, LK Events

Rehearsal-Dinner-Ideas-Wedding-Planning_0341 Rehearsal-Dinner-Ideas-Wedding-Planning_0343

Photo Credit: Vrai Photography, averyhouse, Chris + Lynn PhotographersAmanda Hein Photography

2015 In Review

We are so thankful for the couples that we were able to work with in 2015! Their journeys of love, their family dynamics, and their wedding day vision had our hearts full all year long. They had us at historic venues and clubs in Chicago, private residences in Lake Geneva, and even in Door County WI. We are so honored to have spent this year with you and celebrated with you!

THANK YOU Stephanie & Chris, Kendall & Ben, Kathryn & Jed, Stephanie & Brian, Klarrise & Jay, Sima & Jonathan, Katie & Dave, Leslie & Scott, Kylie & David, Laurin & Andy, Allison & Matt, Sara & Jon, Irene & Rich, Katy & Karl, Eleni & Steve, Claire & Billy, Stephanie & Pat, Jennifer & Wick, Katie & Connor, Analisa & Andres, Andrea & Lupe, Megan & Darrin, Hilary & Nick, Lindsey & Valbon, Stephanie & David, Liz & Lou, Mollie & David, Ashley & Jim, Elena & Rob, Samantha & Sean, Sarah & TJ, Melanie & Richard, and Becky & Jeff for bringing us into your lives! We congratulate you on being newlyweds and wish you many blessings in the years ahead!

Cheers to Love, Laughter & Happily Ever After!


Lauren, Nicole, Jennifer, Allison & Lara


Photo credits: Amanda Hein Photography, averyhouse, Cristina G Photography, Dabble Me This, Elena Bazini Photography, Gerber & Scarpelli, Jennifer Kathryn Photography, Kent Drake Photography, Rebecca Marie Photography & Design.

A Very Grateful 2015

Hard to believe the Holidays have arrived. The fall has been amazingly pleasant, which allowed LK Events to enjoy the beautiful weather outside in a photo shoot with Leathem Photography. We always have a blast together on these photo shoots, and this year, we were fortunate enough to have Puja Batura help us coordinate our outfits and Brian Sutherby beautify us. ☺ We’d now like to take some time to reflect on the past year as we are so grateful for our family, friends and community – we wanted to share some of our thanks to those around us.

We hope you, your family, and your friends have a warm, wonderful, and safe Holiday. As always, we thank you for your support!

Wedding-Events-Planner-Lauren-Knuepfer-98It would be safe to say, this year has been the craziest….by far….of my life ☺ And I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I am grateful for my husband, Bryan. He has been my rock, my partner and my calm since the day I met him. If it weren’t for his love and support, I don’t think I could have gotten through the past 11 months. In February, we were told we were having twin girls. I spent the next six months of pregnancy in complete shock, while wondering how I was going to deal with everything that comes with twins…not to mention raising a 17 month old….and running a business. Bryan reminded me that God only gives you what you can handle and although I didn’t believe him all year….I wouldn’t trade my family for the world. Thank you, Bryan, for always putting our family first, for taking care of our children when I go to work (while keeping the house clean to my standards), and for your understanding in the midst of all of it. I love watching you light up around our children, I love that Jack waits for you to come home by the window, and I can’t wait to see how attached our little girls will be to you, just like their brother. I couldn’t do this without you.

I am grateful for my children. Jack, you have brought more joy into my life than you will ever know. I love your smile, your contagious laugh, your cuddles, your words, your manners, your affection, your bright blond hair and those beautiful blue eyes. I love your curiosity about everything, your appreciation for the smallest things in life (like turning the lights on and off) and how you love to clean, like your mom. I look forward to our nightly dance parties. Never stop dancing, Jack. Ellie and Lucy, I never knew I could love two little girls as much as you. I love watching you smile together, talk to one another and hold each other’s hands. You have made this transition from 1 to 3 pretty easy, and I have learned so much from you. I can only hope you will be as close to one another as I am to your Aunt Jenny, and as close to me as we are with your Nana. Who knew I’d be 32 years old with three kids under two, living in the suburb I was raised. Next thing you know, I’ll be driving a minivan with an LK Events logo!

I am grateful for my parents – who have been by my side throughout every pivotal moment in my life. Most importantly, the birth of my children. Mom, you are my best friend. There is no one in the world I would rather talk to 10 times a day (except Missy) and I appreciate you always being there. I can only hope I am as close with my children as you are with yours. You are always putting everyone else’s needs before your own. You have more energy to keep up with seven grandchildren than I could ever have. I hope to be half the mother you have been to me. There is no one else I’d rather share a glass of wine with while feeding a baby at 4 pm on any given day. These are the memories I will cherish forever. Dad, thank you for always being my first phone call when I’m in a bind or need advice (like when all those curbs got in the way when I was learning to drive). Most importantly, you are the first person I contact when I am in need of anything. That will never change. I love you both so much.

I am grateful for our nanny, Krystina. I don’t like to use the word “nanny” because Krystina is so much more. She is a part of our family. Yes, she takes care of our children so Bryan and I can go to work every day, but her presence is so much greater. She adores our children and they adore her. She manages to keep the twins on the same schedule, while always making time for Jack. But more than that, I come home to a spotless house after a long day. I get asked constantly, “How do I do it all?” It’s simple, it’s Krystina. I am so grateful for you Krystina. You came into our lives when I had no idea how I was going to get through the day. You walk into my home every day with incredible energy, calmness and a smile on your face.

To my LK Event Family – this company would not be where we are today, if it weren’t for you. Nicole, you continue to steer this ship and lead the team on everything. And I mean everything. Jennifer, Allison and Lara – I am so proud of everything you have accomplished both professionally and personally and I look forward to what lies ahead. We are not colleagues, we are a family….and that is something so special to me. I could go on and on about each of you but you know how special you are to me. Thank you, for all you do.

There are SO many more people I am grateful for and I have to stop soon before I bore everyone but I am pretty sure you all know how important you are to me. I am SO grateful for my sister, my brothers and my in laws, best friends, colleagues, vendor friends, clients, brides, grooms, parents of the brides and grooms, my doctors, nurses and of course, Carrie Underwood – you are all so special to me and I thank you for being a part of my life.

Lauren Knuepfer Rozum

Wedding-Events-Planner-Nicole-Zenner-108I am so thankful for the health of my parents this year. They both had some scares and I am not ready to face ongoing health issues with both of them, especially since they live in Montana. They have been taking care of themselves and each other and I thank my friends for all of their prayers for their recovery. I am thankful that I will be spending a long Thanksgiving holiday with my family this year. The time with my parents, brothers, sister-in-law, two nephews and one niece are what I treasure most in life. Even if I may need to take a “Nikki Time Out” during the visit, I enjoy the time we spend over a home cooked meal and playing with the kids outside. I am thankful for a safe place to live and for all of my friends that supported me during that crisis in September.

To the numerous friends I call besties – thank you for your love and support from near and far. I am thankful for the couples that I was privileged to work with in 2015 – you have all helped me grow as a wedding planner and I will always remember our time together. I am thankful for the Chicago event professionals that have opened their arms for me this year as I stepped into the President position for ISES Chicago. It is truly an honor to keep our chapter members moving forward in the growth of their businesses and personal development.

Lastly, to the ladies at LK Events, you make me laugh, let me cry in front of you, and keep me motivated. I am so grateful for each and every one of you.

Nicole Zenner


Wedding-Events-Planner-Jennifer-Crouch-119I am thankful every day for my life choices that have gotten me to where I am today in my journey. I often wonder if I would have moved to a different city other than Kansas City right after college if I would have followed my lifelong dream of getting to Chicago. Or how different my life would be if I wouldn’t have joined the sorority I did with women I adore & have such wonderful memories of. I lost a pledge sister this year and through her struggle she was able to reconnect so many of us which she would have loved. Although we lost her at such a young age I am grateful to her for bringing us all back together despite being spread out all over the world.

I will be forever grateful to my best friend, Lindsey, for many things but also because if it wasn’t for her lack of organization (sorry Linds) I may never have found my passion of event planning over five years ago. I am grateful for living in a high rise (even though I said I never would) for if not I would have missed out on another amazing group of friends. Unfortunately this year I lost a friend from there as well who had an amazing journey and had so much left to still live. Through our inseparability as “neighbor-roomies” she taught me how to live, love and laugh and always had a smile on her face.

This year obviously had its struggles but through the care of some great doctors my health issues seem to be finally getting back on track. I am thankful to them and to the doctors who have helped and continue to help my loved ones this year too. Because of them my mom’s back is making progress and we celebrated my Grandma’s 94th Birthday this year. I am grateful to Ollie’s team of veterinarian’s and dog walkers for without them we wouldn’t be where we are today; almost two years seizure free! I thank Gloria for being my low maintenance “furry kid.” I appreciate my friend’s patience with my schedule more than they will ever know and vow to do better. ☺

Thank you to all of my amazing clients and vendors that I had the pleasure of working with this year – it was truly a wonderful year.

And then there are the ladies of LK Events who are not only my colleagues but some of my best friends and I thank you all for your love and support and always being willing to catch up over a glass of wine or champs.

Jennifer Crouch


Wedding-Events-Planner-Allison-112With 2015 coming to a close, I am initially thankful for forcing myself to disconnect from technology to enjoy some quiet time to think back over an exciting year. Above all, I am thankful for the health of my family. This year brought some challenging news, but with it, I realized just how strong and close the DeKnight family can be even while living up and down the East Coast. There were definitely times this year when I was humbled by their strength and remembered why I am so proud to call everyone my family.

I am also so thankful for my husband, Dave, who makes me laugh everyday and never complains when I work late or ask for help alphabetizing escort cards on a Friday night.

I am eternally grateful for my friends who I know will always be by my side even though they span both coasts. I can always count on them for a crazy laugh or to giggle when I tell the same story over and over (guilty!).

Thank you to all the couples I have been blessed with over the past year. Each of you have taught me something new and let me be a part of such an intimate and special day in your lives and I will never forget it.

And to my LK Events team – thank you for being family, friends, coworkers and everything in between. 2015 was an incredibly exciting year and I can only imagine what the next year brings!

Allison DeKnight Young


Lara-Bio-300x200Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it forces us to pause from the hustle of every day life – the emails, the texts, the social media, the busy schedules, the stresses of making enough and being enough and doing enough – and really focus on what is important and how fortunate we are.

This year I am thankful for so many things. It has been a year of change and growth for me and I’m so thankful to have the unwavering support of husband, my biggest cheerleader. I’m also thankful for his professional success and the daily stories he comes home with from the hospital, because they serve as an amazing reminder of how small our problems really are.

I’m extremely grateful for my parents, who continue to put their four children at the forefront of every single thing they do. I am especially thankful for my mother who continues to answer my MANY phone calls every day – she is my lifeline. I’m also grateful for my father who walks me through life’s biggest challenges in painstaking detail via phone – like how to fix a radiator or how to file taxes. They are honestly the best. I’m thankful that despite the fact that my three siblings are currently living in three cities, we are still best friends and always prioritize time our together. It’s amazing to watch them grow into adults and figure out the kind of people they want to be. I’m constantly in awe in how much I learn from my little brother and sisters.

I am also thankful for my amazing friends who show me the biggest most selfless hearts when I really need it. They are my workout, wine drinking, Target shopping, restaurant trying partners, and I couldn’t do life without these people.

I am thankful for the amazing opportunities that I’ve been able to take advantage of this year, especially joining this phenomenal team of women. They have been so welcoming not only as colleagues, but as friends, and I couldn’t ask for more inspiring people to work alongside. I’m so lucky I have the ability to do a job that I truly love.

Lara Tumer


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