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Joy & Meta, Private Residence

Where do I even start with these two amazing women? Talk about a love story through the years! They met in grade school on the same softball team, but didn’t start dating until after college. Joy and Meta chose to have a commitment ceremony in 2004 with over 200 of their family members and friends. When Illinois legalized Civil Unions in 2011, they had another celebration to celebrate their Civil Union License. Well of course that meant when the Same Gender Marriage Law was legalized on June 1, 2014, these two knew they had to have one last celebration of their love.

I had the honor of meeting Joy & Meta in early June at the Cook County Clerk’s Office. They had each brought their “witnesses” and the amazing Kent Drake Photography was also present to witness Joy & Meta signing their Civil Union license into a Marriage license. It was an emotional moment for all of us!

A week later, we gathered at Joy’s cousin’s home in Hinsdale for a beautiful reception to celebrate the last hurdle in Joy & Meta’s journey to be legally recognized as a couple. And it was beautiful…a beautiful evening, amazing food and drink, a hoppin’ dance floor and love radiating from every guest. It was such an honor to be a part of this marvelous moment.

Joy and Meta were envisioning a very relaxed celebration, but with a hint of elegance. We worked with Julie at Entertaining Company to develop the evening with rotating stations of food so that guests could meander around the property and find new food at every turn. Joy and Meta also mentioned that they were not “flower” girls, so Julie incorporated their color palette in the linens and glass vases used to accent the dining tables. Guests began arriving at 5pm and were greeted with passed wine, sparkling water and lavender lemonade for refreshments, along with Crispy Gnocchi, a Refreshing Melon and Tiny Tortilla Cups filled with Guacamole and Charred Corn.

Besides the amazing food, guests enjoyed taking photos in the Shutterbooth and dancing all night with spinning tunes from Mark from DJ-Chicago. There were also a few very heartfelt toasts that left not a dry eye in the place. Thank you, Joy and Meta, for allowing us to be a part of your very special day! We are so proud of you and your commitment to each other.

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Beverages: Binny’s Beverage Depot
DJ: DJ-Chicago
Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverage: Entertaining Company
Linen: M&M The Special Events Company
Photographer: Kent Drake Photography
Photo Booth: Shutterbooth
Stationery: Clementine Ink + Paper
Tent: Partytime-HDO Productions
Valet & Transportation: V.I.P. Valet Services
Wedding Planner: LK Events

Citlaly & John, Union Station Chicago

Citlaly and John both agree on how their journey began but when you ask who spoke to who first that day on the trolley well that part is still up for debate even to this day.  What isn’t up for debate, however, is how much these two are madly in love with each other.

The morning of the wedding the ladies headed over to Zazu Salon in Hinsdale to start getting ready with Citlaly’s Man of Honor supervising the process.  After hair and makeup they went back to Citlaly’s parent’s house to finish getting ready and begin taking photos and video as soon as David Wittig Photography and XO Pictures arrived.  In the meantime John and his guys were getting ready at the Palmer House waiting in anticipation for their trolley from Chicago Trolley and Double Decker to arrive so they could head out and get some photos and video of their own before heading to the church.

Citlaly donned in a gorgeous mermaid style Vera Wang gown with a cathedral length veil and carried a gorgeous peony and rose bouquet as she was was escorted by her father down the aisle at Holy Family Church.  If you’ve ever stepped foot in Holy Family Church you already know how breathtaking it is.  So Lauren with Fleur de Lis Florist kept things simple and elegant with a variety of arrangements composed of white hydrangea, tuberose, garden and spray roses and various greenery.  The ceremony was performed by visiting Father Adan Sandoval and there was even music by a Mariachi Band!  The Mariachi Band continued the celebration at Union Station by playing during Cocktail Hour and even a few songs during the reception.

Their guest book was a variety of postcards for people to write messages to the happy couple and then a friend takes the cards and is responsible for mailing them a card once a week until the cards run out.  Such a fun way to keep the wedding magic going!

Lauren at Fleur de Lis Florist and Maggie at Frost Lighting worked hand in hand to design amazing décor at Union Station.  Maggie used uplighting in amber tones on the marble columns and installed sheer ivory panels on which she projected textured lighting.  She used color washes to create movement and texture during dinner and ramped it up for dancing.  Citlaly’s father had these amazing marble tea light candle holders made for each guest to be used as their Escort Card along with marble pedestals that Lauren used for centerpieces during dinner.  Her centerpieces of gorgeous arrangements of white hydrangea, cream, blush and pink colored garden and spray roses and accents of gardenia blossoms sat atop pink shantung linens.

Citlaly and John wanted the food they served to their guests to be a reflection of their life together as a couple and so decided to team up with Anna and the amazing staff at Food for Thought to make their favorite things and home recipes come to life for their guests.  With John being from Wisconsin there was no doubt that there was going to be a cheese station.  But if we were going to have a cheese station we also needed to have housemade authentic guacamole to represent Citlaly’s Mexican background and we had to have Jalapeno Margaritas for the specialty cocktail.

After dinner Citlaly and John cut their cake and gave their toast which led into a slide show they had put together for their guests.  Shortly into dancing we had the La Vibora de la Mar which is a Mexican traditional dance where Citlaly and John stand on chairs while holding her veil like an arch for all of their guests to dance underneath their archway and through the tables.  It was such a fun and exciting dance to witness.  Clowning Around provided the flip book photobooth which was a huge hit with their guests…the life size cutouts of Oliver and Bella were very popular.

For dessert they had an assortment of sweets but the show stopper was made by Selene from Cakes from Atlantis who brought their journey to life with a three-part cake symbolizing their lives together up to their wedding day.  The first cake represented where their journey began upon a trolley where they first met.  The second cake showed John’s proposal over a fun game of Scrabble and the last cake was a replica of the ceiling at Union Station with John, Citlaly, Oliver & Bella (their furry kids) figurines.

We loved working with Citlaly and John on their wedding and enjoyed all the personal touches that they incorporated into their big day.  We love you both and wish you a lifetime of happiness.

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Wedding Planners: LK Events
Salon:Zazu Salon
Photography: David Wittig Photography
Videography: XO Pictures
Transportation: Chicago Trolley and Double Decker
Honeymoon Suite: Palmer House
Dress: Vera Wang
Ceremony Venue: Holy Family Church
Reception Venue: Union Station
Florist: Fleur de Lis Florist
Cake: Cakes from Atlantis
Music: DJ Chicago
Photo Booth: Clowning Around
Mariachi Band: Pedro Medina
Officiant: Adan Sandoval
Lighting: Frost Chicago
Caterer: Food for Thought

Dena & Travis, The Rookery

This wedding brings back so many happy and cherished memories of our planning discussions, meetings and the amazing day I had with Dena & Travis at The Rookery.  I met Dena and her mother, Anne, about six months prior to their wedding as they did a tour of the venue and I knew that we were going to have a fabulous experience together. I loved their soft spoken mannerisms, love for food, and their vision for an elegant and unique Chicago wedding.

From the start of the day, I knew it was going to be a marvelous wedding day because my cab driver was singing along to a love song as he transported me to the W Chicago City Center. When I walked into the bridal suite, Dena and her bridesmaids were finishing their hair and make-up appointments with Zee Gustafson and there was much excitement in the air. Rebecca of Rebecca Marie Photography and Design captured so many little details before Dena and Travis had their First Look.

Travis went ahead to Olive Park, while Dena, the Wedding Party, and parents all boarded the mini-bus to the park. Dena and Travis had a very special moment together – doesn’t she look like a model/angel – and I loved when they practiced dancing and their dip together.  After more wedding party and family photos, we all headed to The Rookery to relax a little before the ceremony began.

Guests arrived through the gorgeous entrance into the ivory draped room facing the grand staircase. Not a dry eye was to be found after the heart-felt ceremony concluded and guests were very ready to celebrate with Dena & Travis. They made their way upstairs to the mezzanine to congratulate Dena & Travis and partake in cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.  Meanwhile, the amazing teams at Jewell Events Catering and Scarlet Petal transformed the main floor for dinner.

After a wonderful meal of Pear & Gourmet Greens Salad and either Lemon-Rosemary Roasted Chicken Breast or Grilled Bistro Beef Filet, everyone enjoyed some cupcakes from Bittersweet and a lively dance floor, courtesy of DJ Chicago.  As the evening concluded, guests were able to take home a little piece of Chicago with the adorably elegant Garrett’s Popcorn bags. What an elegant celebration for two very dear people – congratulations Dena & Travis!!  PS – I miss our chats, Anne!

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Bridal Gown: Jenny Yoo
Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Formally Modern Tuxedo
Bakery: Bittersweet
Beauty: Epoch Studio Salon
Beverages: Binny’s Beverage Depot
Draping: Art of Imagination
Favors: Garrett’s Popcorn
Florist: Scarlet Petal
Food: Jewell Events Catering
Hotel for Guests: JW Marriott Chicago and W Chicago City Center
Musicians: DJ Chicago
Officiant: Rev. Tom Maluga
Photographer: Rebecca Marie Photography & Design
Rehearsal Dinner: Osteria Via Stato
Stationery: The Studio (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Transportation: The Trolley Car & Bus Company
Venue: The Rookery
Videographer: R.E.M. Video & Photography
Wedding Planner: LK Events

Audrey & Patrick, Galleria Marchetti

My job is never a “job” when I’m working with a couple that is so sweet and witty. Audrey and Patrick were just this type of couple and I had an amazing time working with them on planning their wedding.  Their vision was a laid back, not stuffy, beautiful and fun event. A priority of the day was to Dance Dance Dance! We shared many laughs throughout the months of planning and I loved working with Audrey on all of the little details that brought together their special day.

The morning of the wedding, Ashley of Ashley Biess Photography was able to capture many special moments Audrey had with her sisters, friends and mom. There was much laughter, as well as a relaxed vibe in the room, and that is exactly what every bride needs. The little details of Audrey’s Vera Wang gown and the invitation suite from Spilled Ink Press were also captured in our pre-ceremony time together, but soon we were off to Galleria Marchetti.

Audrey and Patrick did not want to see each other prior to the ceremony, so we kept them separated until the big moment! There was nothing but smiles for everyone in attendance when Patrick waited for Audrey at the end of the aisle. Audrey and Patrick were married by a family friend with a gorgeous, and not too hot, August sun shining down on them. It was beautiful!

After the I Do’s, guests mingled in the courtyard area for a lively cocktail hour with passed hors d’oeuvres like Arancini and Walnut Toasts.  As guests made their way into the tented ballroom area for dinner, they were greeted with a spectacular escort card table with a French Flower Market feel from Fleur and color coded escort cards. Dinner included a Grilled Tuscan Steak and Chicken alla Vesuivio with Sweet Mandy B’s Cupcakes for dessert. As Audrey and Patrick requested, the dance floor was soon packed and they were able to Dance Dance Dance! Congratulations Audrey & Patrick!

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Photographer: Ashley Biess Photography
Florist: Fleur
Bakery: Sweet Mandy B’s
Stationery: Spilled Ink Press
Reception Venue: Galleria Marchetti
Caterer: Galleria Marchetti
Planning: LK Events
DJ: DJ Chicago
Ceremony Music: Parkwest Strings
Beauty: Beauty on Call
Bridal Gown Designer: Vera Wang
Bridesmaid Dress Designer: Amsale
Bridesmaid Dress Store: Bella Bridesmaids
Hotel: Park Hyatt Chicago
Men Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Photobooth: ShutterBooth
Rehearsal Dinner: Carmine’s
Transportation: Metropolitan Limousine

Michelle & Ryan, The Signature Room

Michelle’s sister Melissa and I have been best friends for the past 17 years. Because of this, Michelle and I have shared many memories together – vacations, holidays, birthdays, etc. Of course, I was ecstatic when Ryan proposed!

Michelle is a pre-school teacher at St. Helen’s Church in Chicago. It was the perfect location for their nuptials. Michelle and Ryan chose the Signature Room at the 95th Floor of the John Hancock building in Chicago for their reception location. The Signature Room has incredible views of the city. It’s convenient for out of town guests and they have a wonderful culinary team and service staff. It was the perfect place for a summer wedding.

Michelle and Ryan met at McGee’s Tavern – so it was only fitting they stopped there after the ceremony for a cold beer. They also managed to swing by their home and take some pictures with their dog Juicy. It was a hot Saturday in June and Tammy Leathem of Leathem Photography captured every moment. This was also the first wedding I worked with Tammy; an incredibly talented photographer in Chicago and one of my close friends now. We had so much fun that day as we always do on wedding weekends!

It was a day filled with family and friends, love and laughter and now that they are expecting their first baby in a few months it was the beginning of a truly “happily ever after”.

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Hotel/Getting Ready Location: Four Seasons
Ceremony Venue: St. Helen’s Church
Reception Venue: The Signature Room
Photographer: Tammy Leathem of Leathem Photography
Videography: REM Productions
Invitations and Day of Items: Magnificent Milestones
DJ: DJ Chicago
Floral: Flora
Rentals: Halls Rental
Linens: BBJ Linens
Cake: The Signature Room
Hair and Make Up: Beauty on Call
Ceremony Vocalist: Jenny Knuepfer of Déjà vu’ Band
Dress: White Chicago (currently closed)

 

Kristi & Jon, Adler Planetarium

The moment I met Kristi, I knew we would be friends for life. And we are. Not only because we both share a love of wine, but because I felt like I was talking to one of my best friends from childhood during our initial meeting. Kristi is the sweetest girl I know; she has the most energetic and outgoing personality and makes everyone feel like a close friend. I knew we were going to have a blast planning her wedding for the next year.

Kristi and Jon walked into the Adler Planetarium and fell in love; we knew that was the place for them to have the reception. Kristi is modern and tres chic, but simple and classic; we knew we had the perfect setting for her wedding reception. I will never forget walking into Blumen Design, for Kristi’s floral sample and she screamed when she saw her floral design – with excitement! Amy and I still laugh about that to this day; she was just so overjoyed with everything and that made the planning process so much fun, for everyone involved.

Kristi and Jon’s wedding day was picture perfect. She looked exquisite in her Saison Blanche Couture bridal gown and her bridesmaids looked gorgeous and cheerful in their bright yellow dresses with hot pink bouquets. Her reception was stunning – black linens and chairs, hot pink and yellow floral and pink up lights – incredible against the city skyline. There was not a dry eye in the room as their best friends and family talked about Kristi and Jon during their reception. It was an honor to be a part of such a beautiful wedding for this beautiful couple, inside and out (and now friends for life!) Thanks Kristi and Jon!

 

Special thanks to our vendors:

Bridal Attire: Saison Blanche Couture with Laskers Jewelers
Groom’s Attire: Richard Bennett
Bridesmaids: Bridal andFormal, Inc.
Groomsmen: Men’s Wearhouse
Bakery: Amy Beck Cake Design
Makeup: Chicago Bridal Hair and Makeup
Caterer: Food For Thought
Floral: Blumen Design
Hotel: Union League Club of Chicago
Lighting: Spin Light Design
Ceremony Musicians:
Entertainment: DJ Chicago
Photographer: Vrai Photography
Videography: R.E.M. Video and Photography
Wine Labels: Etsy
Transportation: VIP Valet Services
Ceremony Site: United Methodist Church Chicago Temple
Reception Venue: Adler Planetarium

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