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Kate Spade Inspiration at the Adler Planetarium, Courtney & Grant

I was so excited when I began working with Courtney and Grant because they had such a clear vision of how they wanted to celebrate their wedding day. They are both very hard-working and focused individuals, but they wanted to bring their fun-loving spirits to their celebration and that was evident in every aspect of the wedding – from the nod to Kate Spade to the exuberant bandleader and musicians leading the dance floor.

I enjoyed meeting with Courtney and Grant every month at their home to go through the planning checklist and cross items of their list. We had so much fun collaborating on the details and a friendship grew from our time together. Because we met so often at their home, I loved that Courtney chose to get ready at their home and there was much laughter and excitement among all the ladies as they got ready. We then transported all the ladies over to the Intercontinental Chicago so that Courtney and Grant could have their First Look. From there, we did photos around Chicago and Bethany at Maypole Studios captured all of the moments with perfection. I love the iconic La Salle Street photos!

When we arrived at the Adler Planetarium, Food For Thought was busy transforming the reception space for our celebration. The décor provided by Platinum Events was on point with the stately gold urn focal piece for the escort cards and the absolutely lush explosion of neutral florals on the guest tables. The nod to Kate Spade with the cake from Elysia Root Cakes and the stationery items from Magnificent Milestones was the cherry on top of the celebration. Yes, we are still obsessing over these little details!

Courtney and Grant chose to exchange their vows with the city of Chicago in the background and guests were holding back tears during the emotional ceremony presided by Tom Maluga. Guests then enjoyed a beautiful hour outdoors for cocktails – grabbing photos of the Chicago skyline, lounging on a few couches and noshing on little bites like the Buttermilk Fried Shrimp and Braised Beef Beignet. We then invited guests inside for a choice entrée of Dijon Rubbed Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Pan Seared Crab Cakes or Roulade of Chicken Breast from Food For Thought. David Rothstein Music kept guests entertained well into the night and everyone enjoyed the view of the Navy Pier fireworks to cap off the celebration. Congratulations, Courtney & Grant!

Note from the couple:

We had so much fun working with Nicole of LK Events on our wedding for the last year and a half.  We decided to hire a full wedding planner due to our busy schedules and the fact that we didn’t know the Chicago wedding market and wanted someone to help us find great vendors within our budget.  Nicole did just that.  Every single vendor she suggested was AMAZING and all within our budget; there is no way we would have found them all ourselves.  It was also evident what a great relationship Nicole had with them and how much they enjoyed working with her too, which made the experience that much more positive.  Nicole was always willing to work around our schedules and meet us at our house, which helped us immensely.  She was extremely responsive and was great about keeping us updated on our budget all of the time. I also loved how she was genuinely invested in us and our wedding vision and made so many great suggestions for us along the way (she made up the perfect hashtag, came up with a really cute way to display our place cards, helped us put together our ceremony, etc).  She also has so much wedding experience and was able to navigate us through many decisions we had to make or to determine what the right wedding etiquette even was!  It was so rewarding to always have that sounding board and to have someone you trust guiding you through.

Nicole truly shined though the day of!  She had an insanely detailed schedule to keep us all organized and was always there making sure we were on track and no detail was missed.  She was even, on the fly, able to sew one of my bridesmaids into her dress (who accidentally ordered it two sizes too big and wasn’t able to get it taken in)!  I was stunned at how well she did it – you couldn’t even tell! There was no issue Nicole couldn’t solve.  Above all else, Nicole is dedicated, patient and kind no matter how stressful the situation.  It was such a delight working with you Nicole, thank you for everything!!!


Bakery: Elysia Root Cakes
Hair: Jennifer & Analicia from Salon Blue
Make-up: Branden & Gary from Arch Apothecary
Floral/Décor: Platinum Events
Food & Beverage: Food For Thought
Getting Ready: Intercontinental Chicago
Linen: BBJ Linen
Musicians: David Rothstein Music
Officiant: Rev. Tom Maluga
Photographer & Photo Booth: Maypole Studios
Rehearsal Dinner: Howells & Hood
Rentals: Hall’s Rental
Stationery: Magnificent Milestones
Transportation: The Trolley Car & Bus Company
Venue: Adler Planetarium
Videographer: Poetic Productions
Wedding Planner: Nicole Zenner from LK Events


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

Hannah & Steven, Chicago Yacht Club

We love learning about the journey of each of our couples and for Hannah and Steven, their journey began with Hannah asking Steven for a pencil when they were taking their CPA exam. Their journey also included two weddings to celebrate with both families. Their wedding in May took them to China to celebrate with Hannah’s family and I had the pleasure of working with Steven’s mom to help plan and coordinate the wedding in Chicago, three months later.

On the day of their wedding, Hannah and Steven spent a relaxing morning getting themselves ready for their ceremony at Holy Name Cathedral. We love these images of the two of them dressing and prepping and their adorable First Look. Don’t you think that Hannah’s dress is like a work of art?

Deacon Strom presided over a lovely ceremony in this beautiful cathedral and afterwards, Nick from Rebecca Marie Photography & Design captured family portraits. Guests then had a few hours to enjoy the beautiful Chicago afternoon before making their way to the Chicago Yacht Club. Guests were ushered up to the 2nd floor cocktail hour space where Alex from Exquisite Designs had brought in some whimsy with white and lavender paper lanterns.

Guests were then brought downstairs for dinner with both of Hannah & Steven’s parents being introduced into the room with the couple. In keeping with the feel of the Yacht Club, Alex’s floral designs included monochromatic elevated designs feature white phaleanopsis orchids, white calla lilies and lavender hydrangea in glass vases with mirrored/chrome candles. Everyone enjoyed the culinary delights from the Chicago Yacht Club, which was inspired by the blending of Hannah & Steven’s families. The first course was Confit of Duck Ravioli, the second course was a Spiced Thai Salad, this was followed by a Lemon Sorbet Intermezzo, then the entrée was a Braised Short Rib & Grilled Sea Bass duet, with the final course of Wedding Cake and Cookies. Even with full stomachs, guests could not stay off the dance floor because the Chicago Groove Collective was grooving all night long. The only time that guests left the dance floor was for the Navy Pier Fireworks – what a fabulous way to celebrate! Congratulations Hannah & Steven!

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Florist: Exquisite Designs
Rehearsal Dinner: Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap
Hotel Room Block: Hyatt Regency
Musicians (Cocktail Hour & Reception): Chicago Groove Collective
Photographer: Rebecca Marie Photography & Design
Stationery: Steel Petal Press
Transportation: The Trolley Car & Bus Company
Ceremony Venue: Holy Name Cathedral
Venue, Food & Beverage, Wedding Cake: Chicago Yacht Club
Wedding Planner: LK Events

Reception & Wedding Menu Trends

Guest Blog Post from Katie Gamble of Blue Plate Catering

Top Wedding Reception & Menu Trends from Catersource

This past March I had to opportunity to attend the international catering convention, Catersource. Catersource is a four day conference that brings caters from around the world to one place to talk food, trends, and parties. J It’s an amazing opportunity to see what others are doing around the world, brainstorm with people, and take a step back and look at what we do day in and day out in a new light.

Below you will find some of my favorite trends from the conference. We heard about these repeatedly J, and I am sure we’ll be seeing these into 2015 and beyond!

  1. The Year of the Flower

Canopies, seating arrangements, headpieces, dresses – if you can put a flower on it, DO IT.   The trend is lush flowers, cascading and overflowing off tables, on hors d’Oeuvres trays, tucked into napkins, etc.

  1. Brights

Color, color and more color. Gone is the “white wedding” of old and in is the trend of BRIGHT, loud, colors. Event trends follow fashion trends closely and we’re seeing bright colors all over the runways as well. A tip – make the colors consistent. Pick two or three bright colors that you love and pair them with a neutral so they really POP!

  1. The 90’s.

Need I say more?! Think glows sticks, temporary tattoos as favors, hip-hop, break-dancing and neon. Throw in some fun 90’s classics like Pop Rocks and Slap Bracelets to really wow your guests.

  1. Non Traditional Proteins

More and more we’re seeing people stray away from the typical wedding fare of Chicken or Beef. Lamb is having a major comeback, as is fish as the single entrée option. My favorite – try an Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Seared Ahi Tuna as a duo entrée – you’re guests will leave not only full but impressed.

  1. Ombre

This is not a trend reserved to hair color. Think Ombre as an overall event design and use it throughout. Invitations, table settings with shading of napkins from table to table, floral, chair cushions, and yes – even an Ombre dessert table. If you love a certain color, this is a great way to use it throughout but keep it interesting.

  1. Plugged In

#HashtagsAreTheBest – Let’s be honest, you’re guests are going to be on their iPhones during the wedding and posting to social media. So why not capture those pics with your own hashtag? Let guests know with cute signage (even on cocktail napkins!) what the hashtag is and encourage people to post on social media. The newest trend in the “plugged in” wedding? A cell phone charging station that allows guests to set their phone in a combination locker with a charger and come back for it whenever they like!

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About Katie Gamble, Blue Plate Catering

Katie Gamble is a Sales Director atBlue Plate Catering.  She specializes in a diverse range of events including corporate, social and weddings.  Blue Plate Catering is devoted to it’s Chicago roots and has a passion for bringing food and service to the residence of this great city.  Blue Plate Catering caters at more than 85 of Chicago’s most sought-after venues. From great halls and glittering ballrooms to sleek downtown galleries, they can help you set the perfect stage for your event.