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Refined Summer Elegance at Union League Club of Chicago, Jennifer & Wick

I find that most of my couples have high demand careers and have limited time to plan a wedding. This was true for Jennifer and Wick last year. We strategized when they would have some down time so that we could schedule multiple planning meetings to knock out decisions. I also had the joy of working with Jennifer’s mother, Linda, throughout the planning process and through multiple phone calls, that included a bit of laughter, we were able to put together an amazing team for Jennifer & Wick’s wedding day.

My first thought was to introduce Jennifer & Wick to averyhouse to capture their day. They connected right away and Vanessa was able to navigate our rainy wedding day to capture all of the perfect details. Isn’t Jennifer’s First Look with her Dad so priceless? I loved that Jennifer and Wick were able to see each other for the first time on the terrace at the Public Hotel. It is such an iconic backdrop!

Jennifer, Linda and I absolutely bonded over planning the décor for the wedding. I knew that Jessica at HMR Designs would understand their vision and be able to take it to the next level and we were not disappointed. Everything about the Main Dining Room at the Union League Club of Chicago was enhanced to showcase a style of refined elegance. From the entrance drapery, to the King’s Table, to the custom dance floor, the room was absolutely stunning!

Jennifer’s father, Jim, made one of the best welcome toasts that I have heard over the past 12 years and that set the tone for a very celebratory evening. (You can hear some of it in this highlight reel from Delack Media Group). The Union League Club of Chicago put on an impressive culinary display with a duet entrée of petite filet with blue cheese crust and a jumbo lump crabmeat cake. Once dinner wrapped up, guests were on the dance floor with the High Society Orchestra for a dance party that included baskets of flip flops for tired feet, passed mini hummers for those with a sweet tooth, personalized sunglasses for the cool cats, a dress change for Jennifer, and a wedding wand send off for Jennifer and Wick.

Congratulations Jennifer & Wick! I was so honored to be a party of your beautiful celebration!

A little note from Linda, the Mother of the Bride:

The weekend was fabulous and YOU are a huge reason why.  We cannot begin to thank you enough. You anticipated our every move and were there to lead us, guide us, nudge us, and HELP us.  It was never more evident than when we arrived at our table and my flip flops were under my chair and Jim’s cigar box was on his…and then magically in our room later as were the baskets, vase, leftovers! Thank you for helping make our daughter’s wedding day seamless, beautiful and memorable. We are very grateful!

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Bakery: Bittersweet
Beauty: Pin Me Up
Ceremony: St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church
Floral: HMR Designs
Venue, Food & Beverage: Union League Club of Chicago
Rehearsal Dinner & Post Wedding Day Brunch: University Club
Musicians: High Society Orchestra
Photographer: averyhouse
Chairs: Tablescapes
Getting Ready & Room Block Hotel: Public Chicago
Room Blocks: University Club and The Westin Michigan Avenue
Day of Stationery: All She Wrote
Day of Calligraphy: Stacey Shaprio
Transportation: V.I.P. Valet Services
Cinematographer: Delack Media Group
Wedding Planner: Nicole Zenner from LK Events

 

The Ivy Room, Stephanie & David

The term “Triple Threat” is typically reserved for actors and actresses in showbiz, however Stephanie and David brought the term to wedding planning – a great sense of humor, graciousness, and style. And when I say style – this couple really hit it out of the park. When they teamed up with Jessica from HMR to take Stephanie’s love of the color marsala, bold details, and out of the box ideas into their October wedding, I just knew it was going to be really, really good.

When I first met Stephanie and David, their graciousness and hospitality was evident right from the start. When we started talking about their vision for the wedding day, their answers always came back to making it the best day for their guests. We tackled their desire head on, beginning with transportation for all guests to and from the ceremony – making their trip from downtown hotels easy and enjoyable, with coolers filled with waters and easy pick-up locations. The next approach was through food and drink, and Abby from Boka Catering Group helped Stephanie and David come up with an incredible menu, drinks, and worked in Stephanie’s Croatian heritage into the mix as well with glasses of specialty liqueur, which greeted guests as they entered the reception. The mix of farm tables and round tables with luxurious leather banquets designed by HMR provided their family and friends with unique seating and a stunning atmosphere to dine and celebrate the newlyweds!

With family and friends continuing the unofficial theme of hospitality through some of the most heartfelt speeches I have ever witnessed and surprises for the bride and groom, their guests were in no doubt left with a wedding that was unique, personal, and flowed seamlessly into dancing and late night fun. Front of House kept the party on the dance floor until the very end! We are so excited to share the incredible photos from Pen/Carlson and are so happy for Stephanie and David!

A little note from Stephanie & David:

The entire day was incredible. We cannot thank you enough. You know, a lot was said at the rehearsal dinner about David’s love of rom coms. To steal a line from one, Allison Young, you are our Ambassador of Quan. We love you!

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Ceremony: Alice Millar Chapel
Reception Venue: Leslie Fuller, The Ivy Room
Getting Ready Suite: Trump Hotel
Transportation: VIP Valet Services
Photography: Brett and Kiri Carlson, Pen/Carlson
Videography: Tom Buttaccio, XO Pictures
Band: Ken Arlen’s Front of House
Floral and Décor: Jessica Griffin, HMR Designs
Lighing: Frost
Catering: Abby Kritzler, BOKA Catering Group
Linens: La Tavola Linens & BBJ
Rentals: Tablescapes
Hair Styling: Michelle Foust, George The Salon
Makeup: Sami Young, Sonia Roselli Studio
Cake: Sweet Mandy B’s
Invitations & Day of Paper: Kara Gordon, Magnificent Milestones
Wedding Dress: Ultimate Bride, Oscar de la Renta
Planning: Allison Young, LK Events

Klari & Mike, The Field Museum

From the first meeting I had with Klari & her mom I knew this was going to be fun!  Klari & Mike wanted a private ceremony with just the two of them so they were eloping to North Carolina in July and they wanted an amazing celebration in October with all of their family and friends.  When we were doing our site visits looking for their venue it was apparent that the search was over when we walked into The Field Museum as Klari just glowed when she walked in the door and envisioned having her Celebration there.  Done and done!

Something I have to let you know now as you will see this throughout the story of their day is that I was obsessed with their details!  Klari’s nickname is “Bee” so our décor team came together to effortlessly find creative ways to bring this into their celebration (more on this later).

Kara at Magnificent Milestones helped us incorporate cute little Bee’s on their custom paper items.  Bee’s appeared on various pieces of their invitation suite, the outside of envelopes, menus, escort cards and of course there was a honeycomb liner for the envelope.

At the start of Cocktail Hour their guests were greeted with Moscow Mules in the traditional copper mugs.  While guests were enjoying Cocktail Hour they also took time to sign Klari & Mike’s Jenga Guest Book.  HMR gave the guests a preview of the beauty they would see the rest of the evening with their amazing Escort Card Table design of an architectural arrangement of crisscrossed orange eremurus coming from a bed of chartreuse moss all designed in a white box.

Matt from Matt Lewis & the Union Band, Klari & Mike led the guests in a trumpet & tambourine parade down the stairs into dinner.  Blue Plate tempted their tummies with a Baby Arugula and Fig Salad that was accompanied by Corn and Poblano Chowder.  Guests dined on Chaippetti Lamb Loin and the Pan Seared Halibut for dinner.

We have to talk about décor, as this was such a collaboration of our décor team with Jessica from HMR & Maggie from Frost!  The round tables were dressed with Hunter Green Bengaline Linens and then a tall white square vase and gold cube were each filled with a textural and interesting design of white football mums, orange ranunculus, umbrella fern, pin cushion protea, chartreuse celosia, fern shoots and eucalyptus foliage.  Then there was an air plant that sat under a glass dome and all of this was surrounded by a collection of pillar and votive candles.  We brought in rectangle farm tables and dressed them with the White Taurus Runner (that is a honeycomb pattern – of course)!  Then the tables featured a collection of white, copper and gold vessels filled with white, orange and chartreuse floral and foliage.  White resin candlesticks and mercury glass hurricanes sat amongst the floral with additional votives scattered about.

The look would not have been complete without the round bar with copper top.  When guests needed to give their feet a rest due to the amazing Matt Lewis & the Union Band we brought in high back sofas, upholstered metal arm chairs, gold benches and wood tables for them to take a break on.

And then there were the draping and lighting elements Maggie from Frost put together.  There were washes of color on the balcony arches and dance floor.  Pinspotting on the centerpieces and uplighting on the south dome, columns, elephants & totem poles – how often can you say you had uplighting on elephants & totem poles at your celebration? Frost hung fabric panels that had a honeycomb wash on them.  The details didn’t stop there with the multiple strands of mini lights strung across the room.

I am so glad that I was able to help Klari & Mike bring their vision to life for their Celebration and that Amanda Hein was there to capture it all.  And I LOVE that these two get to celebrate their wedding twice a year – once for their Ceremony and once for their Celebration!

 

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Band: Matt Lewis & The Union Band
Beauty: Sonia Roselli
Catering: Blue Plate
Favors: Sertodo Copper
Floral: HMR
Hotel Blocks: Club Quarters, JW Marriott, Palmer House & University Club
Lighting: Frost
Photographer: Amanda Hein
Stationary: Magnificent Milestones
Transportation: VIP Valet
Venue: The Field Museum

 

Meg & Alex, Peninsula Hotel

I had so much fun planning Megan and Alex’s wedding. Megan was one of the sweetest brides I have worked with and Alex had the greatest sense of humor. There was something about the two of them though – they had such a connection and every time we got together we shared plenty of laughs.

Megan and Alex fell in love with the Peninsula Hotel and decided to host their ceremony and reception there.  Soon after we booked the Peninsula, we contracted with Becca Kaufman. Music was so important to them and I just knew Becca would be the perfect fit for this couple!  Becca and her band learned, “I Believe In a Thing Called Love” for their first dance and it was beautiful!  Every time I hear that song I think of Megan and Alex; it was such a special part of the evening!

Megan and her bridal party walked down an aisle adorned with mirrored cubes filled with fluffy white hydrangeas.  Heffernan Morgan created a stunning arch backdrop with crystal strands and hanging white peonies in front of a white drape.  She carried a stunning bouquet of all white peonies accented with a locket enclosed with a picture of her grandfather.  The oval dining tables were dressed with lush mirror cubes of fluffy white hydrangeas, white peonies and floating candles.  We added phalaenopsis orchids and glass globe candlesticks for the round tables and completed the look with taupe and soft pink sequin linens.

Chad Husar and I Do Films captured every moment of this incredible wedding weekend.    I was honored to help plan Megan and Alex’s wedding; hard to believe it’s been a year! Congrats you two!

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Planner: Lauren Knuepfer, LK Events
Getting Ready Location: The Peninsula Hotel
Ceremony and Reception Location: The Peninsula
Entertainment: The Becca Kaufman Orchestra
Photography:  Chad Husar
Videography: I Do Films
Floral and Décor: HMR, Jessica Griffin
Lighting: Frost
Hair and Make Up: Sonia Roselli
Invitations and Day of Items: Magnificent Milestones
Ice Sculpture: Nadeau’s
Rehearsal Dinner: Public Hotel
Rentals: Halls Rental
Linens: BBJ Linens
Transportation: VIP Valet Services

Liz & Dave, Chicago Illuminating Company

I am not even sure how to begin to tell about the journey I had with Liz & Dave in planning their wedding day. It was one filled with laughter, planning pretty details, and setting a foundation of a friendship. I was so honored to work with these two…and their families and amazing team of creative partners!

We started the wedding day at the Four Seasons with Liz and her ladies having hair and make-up done by Sara & Melissa from Sonia Roselli Studios. It’s not like these girls needed a lot of extra primping to look absolutely stunning! Meanwhile, Dave and his gentlemen were relaxing in another room and even spending some time with Webster, Dave & Liz’s dog. As Tim Tab Studios and Chris & Oliver arrived at the Four Seasons, we had the wedding party finalize their preparations and let Liz and Dave have some personal time to open each other’s wedding day gifts. What a very special moment!

Once Liz and Dave were dressed in their finest and ready to go, we had them arrive separately at the Lyric Opera of Chicago for their First Look. How cute are these two!?! I don’t think they ever stopped smiling all day! The Lyric Opera was a perfect location to keep Liz & Dave and their wedding party out of the rain we had that day. But it was also fun to grab some umbrella pictures at the Museum Campus. It was so amazing to have the clouds break and sun come out for the rest of their special day! These shots from Tim and Bethany are award-winning!

While photos were being captured around the city, we were also managing the set up for the ceremony and reception at Chicago Illuminating Company. Guests arrived and walked down the brick alley to the tent covered courtyard. They were able to grab some flavored water before finding a seat, all while being serenaded by musicians from the Becca Kaufman Orchestra. Jessica from HMR Designs had worked with Liz on a romantic setting with a boxwood wall backdrop with two large arrangements flanking the couple. The use of the French Country chairs in this setting was absolutely perfect!

Rev. Tom Maluga performed a lovely ceremony for Dave and Liz with a special blessing from Father FitzGerald. Then it was time to celebrate with the new Mr. & Mrs.! Guests were welcomed into Room 21, which was decorated with hiboy and cabaret tables with cameo shantung linen and white ruffle linen with gold stich. There were also large round ottomans for additional seating. Meanwhile, the staff from Entertaining Company was passing Prosecco with a fresh raspberry garnish, Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin, Pear & Smoked Gouda Quesadillas and Cucumber Yellowfin Tuna Lillipops…just to name a few.

Guests were then brought into the main event space for dinner. The room was a perfect mixture of sequins, stripes and pure elegance. From the drapery to the mixture of table sizes and textures to the gold rimmed glassware to the crystal versaille chairs and the low, lush floral arrangements – it was such a romantic picture. Liz and Dave had their parents and wedding party enter the dining room to “Bust a Move”, while they entered the room as husband and wife to “You Make My Dreams”. Guests enjoyed a lovely meal with a Wild Field Greens first course and a Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin & Seabass duet entrée.

After a lovely speech from Liz and Dave, they hit the dance floor for their first dance to “Into the Mystic.” The Becca Kaufman Orchestra performed this and the parent dances and then the dance floor was open. So was the dessert station!!! Between the beautiful and yummy carrot cake from Elysia Root Cakes and the mini desserts (like the warm doughnut holes and nutella crepes) from Entertaining Company, guests were in heaven. For those guests that needed a break from the dancing, we transformed the brick alley into a cigar bar. So many details and so many pretty things for a couple that I am honored to call my friends. Congratulations Liz & Dave!

PS – Please check out some of Liz’s thoughts on her wedding and follow her at Sequins & Stripes.

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Wedding Gown: Monique Lhuillier
Hair & Make-Up: Sonia Roselli Studios
Bakery: Elysia Root Cakes
Favors: Matchbooks from Magnificent Milestones
Florist: HMR Designs
Food: Entertaining Company
Bridesmaids Luncheon: Fred’s at Barney’s New York Chicago
Rehearsal Dinner: River Roast
Welcome Reception: Glascott’s Saloon
Post Wedding Day Brunch: Thompson Hotel
Hotel Room Block: Four Seasons, Thompson Hotel, Hilton Chicago
Musicians: Becca Kaufman Orchestra
Officiant: Rev. Tom Maluga
Photographer: Tim Tab Studios
Stationery & Calligraphy: Holly Hollon & Emily Irwin at Paper Plane Paperie
Transportation: V.I.P. Valet Services
Venue: Chicago Illuminating Company
Videographer: Chris & Oliver
Wedding Planner: LK Events

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

Jessica & Michael, The Ivy Room

I had the absolute pleasure of helping coordinate one of my dearest friends and colleagues’ wedding this past March.  Jessica and I have been working together for several years as she is a talented senior floral designer for Heffernan Morgan.  We became fast friends and have worked on some of our most memorable weddings together.  I was honored when she asked me to help with her wedding plans.

Jessica knew when Michael proposed, that she wanted her ceremony at St. Michael’s Church in Old Town.  The reception was at her favorite venue in Chicago, The Ivy Room.  Given her event schedule, Jessica decided on having the wedding in March, which worked out perfectly, given that March is one of the best months for floral! Jessica designed her entire wedding, starting with the gorgeous bridesmaids gifts.  She made each of them custom wooden boxes with wedding inspirations and personal messages about how important each of the girls were to her.  The bridesmaids all wore variations of gold, champagne and ivory dresses that looked beautiful with the groomsmen’s grey suits.

For the reception, Jessica used bold patterns in shades of gold, ivory and grey, with an abundance of candlelight and modern lighting.  These elements created a sophisticated yet warm and intimate feel.  The floral centerpieces consisted of garden roses, white sweet pea (the bride’s favorite), ranunculus, dusty miller and camelia.  For the “dinner club” feel, banquettes were used that surrounded custom mirrored top tables.  There were custom grey patterned linens on the round and long rectangular tables.  The gold sequin linens that adorned the head table were stunning, along with the custom sputnik chandeliers that hung low over the banquettes.

Jessica created and assembled all of her own invitations, programs, menu and place cards.  Her father made the backdrop for the band, Michael’s dad made the wooden table numbers and Jessica’s mom made the late night cookies to go.  A real family affair! Jessica even baked her own wedding cake!!  Her delicious carrot and chocolate cake was THE best wedding cake I have ever had.

Jessica’s design expertise showed in creating her own magnificent wedding reception.  She had so many personal details that made her wedding day truly special and unique to her and Michael.  It was such an honor to be able to help one of my dearest friends with her wedding.

Congratulations Jessica and Michael!

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Ceremony Site: St. Michael’s Church in Old Town
Reception Venue: The Ivy Room
Photographer: Kent Drake Photography
Caterer: Entertaining Company
Band: Green Light Band
Rentals: Halls Rentals
Linens: BBJ Linen & Tailored Elements
Floral and Decor: Heffernan Morgan Ronsley (HMR) Designs
Planner: LK Events
Cutting Cake: Tipsy Cake
Wedding Cake: THE BRIDE!
(Jessica baked the cakes that were served to the guests – carrot and chocolate)
Bride’s Dress: White by Vera Wang
Bride’s Shoes: BCBG
Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss
Groom’s Shoes: Gucci
Groomsmen’s Ties: Men’s Warehouse
Bride’s Fur: A vintage find borrowed from a colleague
Band Backdrop: Father of the Bride
Table Numbers: Father of the Groom
Guest Favors: Mother of the Bride
Programs, Invites, and Day-of Paperie: The Bride
Bridesmaid ‘s Boxes: The Bride