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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.

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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!

XO,

LK Events

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Photography: averyhouse, Kent Drake Photography

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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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!

XO,

LK Events

Photos by: Vrai PhotographyJennifer Kathryn Photography; Averyhouse

 

 

Laurin & Andy, Chicago Botanic Garden

Laurin and Andy met at a Cubs Game on the Fourth of July in Chicago and were engaged five years later in England, where Andy is from.  A few weeks later, they chose the Botanic Gardens for their ceremony and reception. Since Andy’s family was traveling from Great Britain, they knew they wanted a special place for the guests to enjoy this celebration.  Laurin and Andy also wanted to showcase the wonderful city they live in, so after the rehearsal took place at the Gardens, guests enjoyed a classic steak dinner at Gibson’s in Chicago.

The morning of the wedding, Laurin and her bridesmaids got their hair and make up done at Salon Buzz. After getting ready, Laurin headed up to the Botanic Gardens for the first look with Andy. Photos around the Gardens with their bridal party followed.

Laurin carried a romantic teardrop bouquet of peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, freesia and eucalyptus. This fresh garden bouquet looked beautiful with her Vera Wang gown. Andy and his father had traveled to Scotland to select the pattern for his custom kilt.

The bride, a designer, created all of her paper items and even customized signage that we placed around the Gardens.  Every element of her designs was carried through the reception and we completed this look with her floral.  Each of the long rectangle tables showcased a pair of tall summery fresh floral arrangements in shades of blush with textural accents and trailing greenery.  Surrounding the tall pieces was a collection of silver lanterns, silver compotes filled with coordinating floral and greenery and an abundance of candles.  The round tables were adorned with antique silver compotes filled with an array of soft floral and greenery for a fresh picked garden look.  Nicole at Fleur Couture added a lush garland with mixed foliage and a mixture of candles for the head table.  She also added silver lanterns around the lounge areas outside where guests could sit and relax while taking a break from dancing.  Style Matters kept the dance floor packed all night long.  Congrats to Laurin and Andy!!

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Ceremony and Reception: The Chicago Botanic Garden
Catering: Culinary Landscape
Photography: Avery House
Ceremony Music: Artistrings
Wedding Cake: Elysia Root Cakes
DJ: Style Matters
Floral and Décor: Fleur Couture
Hair and Make Up: Salon Buzz
Dress: Vera Wang
Shoes: J Crew
Andy’s Kilt: Vintage family tartan of the Ewing Family
Invitation Suite: Designed by the bride, Laurin Ewing
Getting Ready Location: The Godfrey Hotel
Officiant: Tom Maluga
Transportation: VIP Valet Services

Stephanie & Brian, Intercontinental Chicago

I first met Brian and Stephanie on a warm fall evening on their rooftop deck while we crossed our fingers that the first weekend in May would bring similar temperatures. Chicago weather cooperated for once and brought Brian and Stephanie a picture perfect day! Our journey together spanned just seven months, but quickly grew into a fantastic friendship filled with lots of laughter and creative planning!

Stephanie and Brian had a weekend full of celebration in Chicago with a family night out at River Shannon, rehearsal dinner at LuxBar and a Friday night official kick-off to the wedding at none other than Butch McGuire’s!

The wedding morning began with Stephanie, her bridesmaids, and close family getting pampered by Brian Sutherby and Richard Inocencio at The Intercontinental while Vanessa from averyhouse was capturing all of the pretty details and laughter from years of friendship. Meanwhile, Brian and his groomsmen were downstairs enjoying a custom burger bar at Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse.

Brian, Stephanie, and their wedding party took advantage of the gorgeous spring weather to capture photos around Michigan Avenue before heading to Fourth Presbyterian Church for their ceremony. Reverend John Vest led a touching ceremony full of sweet personal details as his final ceremony with the church. Just as Brian and Stephanie were pronounced as husband and wife, guests were surprised with a recessional lead by traditional BagPipes!

Guests were welcomed to cocktail hour with a gorgeous display of candles and vases filled with Bells of Ireland and Thistle amongst family wedding photos as a nod to the couple’s Irish and Scottish roots. The reception began in The Grand Ballroom to the sounds of The Party Faithful surrounded by lush floral by the talented Fleur. Cherry Blossoms, bold burgundy peonies, ivory dahlias, aubergine ranunculus, and lots of eucalyptus accentuated the ornate ballroom with a romantic flair that perfectly complemented Stephanie’s Kelly Faetanini gown and Brian’s emerald velvet jacket.

Guests dined on a fresh spring salad, followed by their choice of shortrib or arctic char with seasonal vegetables. After dinner, Stephanie and Brian and their family and friends danced the night away!

I was honored to be a part of Brian and Stephanie’s weekend and had the best time planning their wedding. Congratulations you two!

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Photography: Vanessa Wheeler, averyhouse
Makeup: Brian Sutherby, MUSE Beauty Bar
Hair: Richard Inocencio,  Salon Blonde
Getting Ready Locations: The Intercontinental and Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse
Transportation: VIP Valet Services
Ceremony Location: Fourth Presbyterian Church
Bagpipes: Dave Johnston, Chicalba BagPiping
Floral: Kelly Marie Thompson, Fleur
Lighting and Drape: Patti Herioux, MDM Entertainment
Rentals: Hall’s Rentals
Reception: Chris Schmidt, The InterContinental Mag Mile
Band: Colby Beserra, The Party Faithful
Invitations and day-of paper: Lynda Judge, Greenstar Paperie
Planning: LK Events
Bride’s Attire: Kelly Faetanini, Jimmy Choo
Groom’s Attire: Armani
Bridesmaid Attire: Joanna August
Rehearsal Dinner: LuxBar
Bridal Luncheon: Summer House Santa Monica

Ashley & Aaron, The Field Museum

I was ecstatic when Ashley called me to tell me she was engaged! I planned her brother’s wedding a few years ago I knew this was going to be so much fun! Ashley and her family are family to me; my parents were with her in Italy when Aaron proposed – in Italy! Doesn’t get much better than that J And so it began….

When Ashley and Aaron walked into Stanley Field Hall at The Field Museum, we knew this was the place for them. They were beaming! We walked outside on the Northeast Terrace and Ashley told me that this was the place she wanted to marry Aaron. The Field Museum holds a special place in my heart and I was so excited to begin the planning for the next year.

Music was very important to these two and we contracted Greenlight who kept the dance floor packed the entire night. Ashley’s brother is an incredible musician and he wrote and performed a song for her during the reception. It was awesome!

Jessica at Heffernan Morgan designed this elegant affair for Ashley and Aaron. Ashley loved sunflowers so Jessica created a gorgeous Escort Card display with various heights and risers wrapped in custom navy and white fabric. The sunflowers held each guests’ escort card. The ceremony aisle featured beautiful arrangement of ivory and green hydrangea, yellow snap dragons, petite white spray roses and vibrant yellow roses. We used these arrangements near the lounge vignettes inside Stanley Field Hall for the reception; they looked incredible!   We had square and round dining tables adorned with the rich yellow, green and ivory floral combinations and added antique gold etched glass candles and votives that completed this garden party. We brought in lounge groupings on shag rugs accented with petite floral centerpieces that made Stanley Field Hall so warm and inviting. Guests were served from sleek double mirrored bars which matched the mirrored stage surround that added a touch of glamour to the dance floor area.

Ashley carried a soft and textural bouquet of pale yellow garden roses, white ranunculus, light yellow spray roses, butter garden stock and white freesia.  Aaron wore a white ranunculus with freesia for his boutonniere.

The menu planning was such a blast for all of us! Ashley and Aaron wanted to incorporate their love for Italy and Italian foods and Blue Plate worked with us to customize a perfect menu for them. We started the seated dinner off with an Antipasti Course; a Burrata Salad with sliced red and yellow tomatoes and next was the Pasta Course; Truffled Pecorino Gnocchi with a Parmesan Cream and White Truffle Oil and for the Secondi; guests’ choice of Cracked Pepper Crusted Beef or Herb Roasted Chicken Breast. Guests enjoyed a Gourmet Cappuccino Station and a Dolci Station with Italian and American petite sweets for dessert. We served Mini Sliders, Mac and Cheese Cups, Mini Grilled Cheese and Chocolate and Vanilla Milk Shakes for Late Night and guests were treated to a Candy Station with Ashley and Aaron’s favorite candy and Mini Gelato Cones as they departed.

Ashley and Aaron had the most perfect day and it was an honor for me to be a part of it. Matt and Vanessa with Avery House captured every precious moment from these two. We loved every minute of working together and I am so happy for them!!

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Planner: LK Events
Photographer: Avery House
Videographer: I Do Films
Honeymoon Suite: The Palmer House
Ceremony and Reception Location: The Field Museum
Dress: Vera Wang
Bridesmaid Dresses: Joanna August Newberry Long, Tangled Up in Blue
Groom and Groomsmen Tux: J Crew
Flower Girl: J Crew
Ring Masters: J Crew
Bride’s Shoes: Bridal Tom’s
Ceremony and Reception Entertainment: Greenlight
Catering: Blue Plate
Cake: Cake Chicago
Invitation and Day Of Items: Magnificent Milestones
Officiant: Bride’s Cousin
Floral and Décor: Heffernan Morgan
Lighting: Frost Chicago
Hair: Lauren Logan
Make Up: Brian Sutherby, Muse Beauty
Photo Booth: Smile Booth
Rehearsal Dinner: Quartino’s
Thursday Night Welcome Party: Parents of the Bride’s Home
Transportation: VIP Valet Services
Sunday Brunch: The University Club

Kathy & Basil, Fusion Wedding

I had the pleasure of working with Kathy and Basil, planning their fall wedding atThe Adler Planetarium.  Kathy lived in Ft. Myers during the planning, Basil was in Boston and his Mother was in Ohio.  I actually love planning weddings for out of town clients, because we get to spend such quality time together when they come into town.  That’s exactly how the planning process was when Kathy, Basil and May would come into town.

Kathy and Basil chose The Adler Planetarium for their wedding reception due to its iconic Chicago location and view.  We created an intimate setting for cocktail hour outside on the terrace, overlooking Lake Michigan.   White Planter boxes filled with greenery lined the perimeter of the lower terrace and varying potted trees enclosed the space for guests to enjoy sips and small bites catered by Food For Thought.  We used a beautiful zebra wooden bar with a custom grey fabric panel insert to coordinate with the bride’s colors.  Grey and yellow lounge groupings allowed guests to relax before dinner.

We used individual sunflower blooms for the Escort Cards and guests were seated at a mix of Rectangle Grey Farm Tables and Square Dining Tables.   The tables were adorned with white hydrangea, yellow garden roses, yellow ranunculus, while phalaenopsis orchids, white anemone, dusty miller and brunia.  We used coordinating pillar candles and mercury glass to complete the look.  HDO tented the upper terrace and we used that space for a cigar bar.  Inside the tent were tufted black leather sofas, zebra wooden bars and wooden tables to create the masculine bar.

Guests enjoyed an incredible custom menu designed by the Bride and Groom and Food For Thought‘s executive Chef, which included: Heirloom Tomato Salad for the first course and Moroccan Zucchini and Eggplant in a Squash Tajine for the second course.  The entrée was a trio or Chicken Shish Taouk, Pan Roasted Halibut and Beef Filet, followed by a Cheese Course and a Dessert Station, Gelato Bar and Wedding Cake.   We even surprised the guests  with a firework show at the end of the evening.  We had so much fun planning their wedding and I will never forget this incredible family!

Thursday @ Alhambra Palace

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Henna Ceremony at Hotel Palomar

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Wedding at Adler Planetarium

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Planning: LK Events
Rehearsal Dinner & Henna Party: Hotel Palomar
Welcome Dinner: Alhambra Restaurant
Getting Ready Location: Hotel Palomar
Ceremony: Private Residence
Photographer: Avery House
Video: REM
Reception: The Adler Planetarium
Catering:  Food For Thought
Wedding Cake: Cake
Day of Items: Magnificent Milestones
Fireworks: Melrose Pyrotechnics
Floral, Décor: HMR Designs, Jessica Pfleugl
Lighting: Frost
Hair and Make Up: Bride’s Company, Michael Anthony and Muse Beauty
Henna: Unnati Shah
Tent: HDO
Photo Booth: Smile Booth
Transportation: Karr Limousine Service

Roxane & Denis, The Ivy Room

Roxane and Denis started dating in high school and I was so excited when they got engaged. We had a blast planning their August wedding! Roxane and Denis knew they wanted an intimate Chicago wedding and reception and The Ivy Room was the perfect place for their summer nuptials.

Boka catered a delectable menu for Roxane and Denis that consisted of southern style passed hors d’oeuvre (pheasant empanadas, sweet corn chowder, corn and ricotta beignets to name a few) and a stationary farmhouse cheese and fruit display. We served a pressed watermelon, heirloom tomato and Burata salad and braised short rib with a truffle risotto cake for dinner. We ended the dinner with the hummingbird wedding cake from Table 52, Roxane’s favorite restaurant.

Paper Plane Paperie created all of Roxane and Denis’ save the dates, invitations and day of items. We re-created her calligraphy for the oversized chalkboard menus that were displayed inside the dining room and also used the light blue chevron pattern in her dining table runners. HMR Designs draped the ceiling and windows with ivory sheer fabric and hung crystal chandeliers to give the ceremony room an intimate feel and created a gorgeous dance floor setting. We used white hydrangeas, garden roses, green trick, green hydrangea and white lisianthus in silver urns on the tables surrounded by a collection of candlelight from wrought iron candlesticks and pillars. It was absolutely beautiful!

We had such a blast planning Roxane and Denis’ wedding. Avery House captured every moment and detail of their wedding weekend and The Party Faithful kept the dance floor packed the entire night. Congrats Roxane and Denis!

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Getting Ready Location: The Trump Hotel
Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Ivy Room
Photographer: Avery House
Caterer: Boka
Floral and Décor: HMR Designs
Lighting: Frost
Officiant: Bruce Otto, Spirited Weddings
Invites and Day of Items: Paper Plane Paperie
Entertainment: The Party Faithful
Wedding Cake: Table 52
Bride’s Dress Designer – Monique Luhlier
Bridesmaid’s Dresses – Monique Luhlier
Bride’s Shoes – Jimmy Choo
Brides’s Jewelry – David Yurman earrings, wedding gift from Denis
Broach on flowers: Borrowed from Sister
Groom’s Custom Tuxedo – Wilfred Newman
Groomsmen’s Ties: were Hugo Boss
Groomsmen’s  Suits – Men’s Warehouse
Groomsmen’s Custom Shirts- Wilfred Newman
Transportation: VIP Valet
Rehearsal Dinner: Carnivale
Hair and Make Up: Kathy Jacob

Marisa & JP, The Palmer House

We had a wonderful time planning Marisa and JP’s wedding. Marisa worked with us here at LK Events and assisted on many weddings. We loved having her on site and so did our clients! She was so enthusiastic, extremely detailed and was a joy to work with. When she got engaged to JP we were ecstatic!

Marisa and JP met at The University of Iowa. Several years afterwards, JP proposed to Marisa in Chicago with a surprise celebration that included both of their families. The planning began soon after!

After getting ready at Marisa’s childhood home in Oak Brook, we headed to the ceremony at Ascension of our Lord Parish. It was officiated by JP’s childhood priest, which made it very special. We transported guests to the Palmer House Hilton Hotel in Chicago for the reception. Marisa and JP loved the traditional and classic feel of the Grand Ball Room. The Palmer House Hilton Hotel was a convenient place for guests but offered a stunning reception site. We decorated the tables with tall birch branch centerpieces and exquisite floral and lighting by Erin Patrick Designs.

Marisa and JP had so much fun during the planning but especially on the wedding day. Ron Bedel Orchestra played continuously during dinner and the reception, so guests danced and celebrated all evening long. Avery House captured every moment of their day and One Fine Day productions created a magical wedding video we will post soon. It was a beautiful wedding for a beautiful couple.

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Getting Ready Location: Marisa’s Parents Home
Ceremony Location: Ascension of our Lord Parish, Oak Brook
Reception Location: Palmer House Hilton Hotel, Chicago
Honeymoon Suite: Palmer House Hilton Hotel, Chicago
Band: Ron Bedel Orchestra
Photographer: Avery House
Videographer: One Fine Day
Photo Booth: Smile Booth
Floral, Décor and Lighting: Erin Patrick Designs {vendor has closed}
Bride’s Dress: Lazaro
Shoes: Ann Taylor
Tuxedo: Vera Wang
Transportation: Windy City Limo
Hair and Make Up: Morgan Perris Salon
Invitations: Ashley’s Stationary
Bridesmaid Dresses: Wtoo
Jewelry: Bella Bianca

PS, stay tuned later this week for the videos from Marisa & JP’s wedding, we are obsessed!!

Alissa & Ryan, The Ivy Room

I had so much fun working with Alissa and Ryan. Their wedding was gorgeous – as you can tell from the photos, and they were just a joy to be around. Alissa knew she didn’t want a traditional wedding after we booked the Ivy Room for her reception. She and Ryan had friends coming in from all over the country. Since the majority of her guests were their friends, they wanted a party – which not only meant an open bar all evening, but great food, fun stations (thanks to Food For Thought) and a fabulous DJ. Stems created beautiful centerpieces on the mix of tables set up and Frost brought in gorgeous chandeliers and up lighting. Avery House captured this day beautifully!

We started at the Elysian (now Waldorf) Hotel, where Alissa and her bridesmaids got ready and we were able to take some incredible photos there before the ceremony. Alissa and Ryan were married at St. Mike’s – one of my absolute favorite churches in this city and even though they were in the middle of a renovation; you couldn’t tell, thanks to Stevi and Matt’s incredible footage of their wedding day. One of the most memorable parts of this day, was when Alissa and Ryan’s golden retriever came to the Ivy Room to join them for photos – it was so much fun! We had such a fun wedding day, for such a fun couple!

Special thanks to our vendors:

Bridal Attire: Rivini with Manolo Blahnik
Groom’s Attire:
Bakery: Sweet Mandy B’s
Caterer: Food For Thought
Floral: STEMS
Hotel: Elysian Hotel
Entertainment: DJ Chicago
Photographer: Avery House Photography
Stationery: Magnificent Milestones
Transportation: VIP Valet Services
Ceremony Site: Historic St. Michael in Old Town
Reception Venue: The Ivy Room