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An Autumnal Affair at the Iconic Drake Hotel

Hard to believe Ashley and Jim’s October 31st wedding was almost a year ago! From the moment I spoke to Ashley over the phone, I knew we would become fast friends; we clicked immediately! I was so excited to plan Ashley and Jim’s nuptials, especially because they happen to be friends with past clients of mine from Food For Thought. Ashley and Jim are two of the most sincere people I have ever met. They are absolutely adorable together and no matter what decision was being made, they always put each other and their family first.

After looking at a few venues, Ashley and Jim chose the Drake Hotel. Ashley had a feeling all along that the Drake was “the one” and they fell in love with the Grand Ballroom for their October wedding. After choosing Kent Drake to document the wedding weekend and Déjà vu to entertain us all night, we focused on floral and décor and selecting the perfect invitations and day of paper from Magnificent Milestones.

Erin at Revel Decor designed this autumnal affair where she created a brilliant fabric archway for the ceremony with suspended votive candles hanging throughout the entire installation. Pops or orange orchid blossoms hung amongst the glowing candles giving an illusion of floating candlelight and blossoms. Since it happened to be on Halloween, Ashley wanted to give her guests a little fun and seasonal accent. We greeted guests with metallic gold painted mini pumpkins that held escort cards designed by Magnificent Milestones. The tables were adorned with rich orange and white botanicals consisting of hydrangea, roses, orchids and calla lilies and touches of green and burgundy floral hanging. We added foliage and branches to add height to the tall pieces and an abundance of candlelight throughout the entire ballroom.

Ashley and Jim had one of the most heartfelt ceremonies and it was truly an honor being a part of the planning experience and wedding weekend. I am fortunate to call Ashley a dear friend and we couldn’t be happier for you and Jim! Congratulations on one year and thank you for choosing LK Events!

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Ceremony and Reception: The Drake Hotel
Wedding Planner: Lauren, LK Events
Photographer: Kent Drake Photography
Hair: Lauren Logan
Make Up: Krystal Hall (bride)
Jessica Bernardi-Meeker (bridesmaids and family)
Transportation: VIP Valet Services
Dress: Jenny Yoo
Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo
Groom’s Tux: Jos. A. Banks
Entertainment: Deja Vu
Officiate: Bruce Otto, Spirited Weddings
Invitations and Day of Paper: Magnificent Milestones
Rehearsal Dinner: Osteria Via Stato

A Stylish Soiree at Trump Hotel in Chicago

When one of my best friends called me to tell me her boyfriend proposed  (after digging her car out of the snow one night), I was ecstatic.  I am sure Sean didn’t intend to be stuck outside in the blistery cold Chicago weather before dropping down on one knee, but it made for a pretty cute story. Samantha and I have been friends since college and have had some incredible memories together. Samantha and Sean are two of the most sincere people I have ever met and together, they make a pretty cute couple.

Samantha and Sean fell in love with the Trump Hotel. They knew it was the perfect place for them to celebrate their nuptials and for their guests to enjoy a fun, fall evening. I had so much fun planning Samantha and Sean’s wedding because the two of them, along with Samantha’s mom, planned everything together.  I love when the groom gets involved in the planning and throughout every meeting it was apparent that Sean was there because he wanted to spend time with Samantha.  It was incredible to see two people enjoy this process so much because they were spending time together, and of course, having some fun along the way.

Samantha carried an elegant and timeless bouquet of white roses and hydrangea.   Her bridesmaids carried a smaller bouquet of all white roses to complement Samantha.  Jessica at Heffernan Morgan created a warm and intimate setting for the ceremony with an abundant array of candles.  We had two mirrored pedestals at the start of the aisle that each hosted tall silver candelabras with pillar candles. Continuing down the aisle was a series of low mirrored risers that each hosted an abundance of soft, romantic candlelight.  Samantha and Sean were married under a gorgeous Chuppah designed of modern open frame chrome legs and a white lattice top.  Suspended from the top and within the legs was a plethora of hanging votives.  Samantha and Sean’s ceremony made all of us tear up!  Rabbi Chalom told stories throughout Samantha and Sean’s relationship that made us all laugh and cry.  It was incredibly heartfelt.

Guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvre overlooking the city while we turned over the room to get ready for dinner service.  We used the silver candelabras on half of the guests’ tables with petite hydrangea arrangements surrounding the base.  We added a trio of varying height cylinders with floating candles to complete this elegant look.  The remaining dining tables featured a trio of tall glass vases with dramatic cascading white phalaenopsis orchids and surrounding candles.  We also elevated these arrangements with a mirrored light box that illuminated them from below.  The room looked incredible, especially once we opened the drapes for guests to enjoy the night skyline.  Greenlight kept the dance floor packed the entire evening and Tammy Leathem and Wedding Masterpiece were there to capture it all.

I was honored to stand next to Samantha while she married the man of her dreams.  I am so excited for what is to come for these two – a baby boy in January!!  Congrats Samantha and Sean!  Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your incredible day!

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Honeymoon Suite: The Trump Hotel
Ceremony and Reception: The Trump Hotel
Photographer: Leathem Photography
Videographer: Wedding Masterpiece
Entertainment: Greenlight
Floral and Décor: Heffernan Morgan
Lighting: PSAV, Trump Hotel
Hair: Lauren Logan
Make Up: Jessica Bernardi Meeker
Invitations: Invitations Creations, Highland Park
Rehearsal Dinner: Nico Osteria
Dress: Anne Barge
Shoes: Jimmy Choo and Converse
Tux: Armani
Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo

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

Laura & Greg, Chicago Botanic Garden

I absolutely adored Laura and Greg and I knew when we first met, the year was going to be filled with lots of fun and laughter. Greg and Laura are such a sweet and genuine couple and we became fast friends during the planning process.

Greg and Laura met while attending law school in Chicago. Laura is originally from Nebraska and Greg is from Atlanta. Greg proposed on the coast of Georgia and they decided to have a Chicago wedding. With family and friends coming from all over the country, they knew they wanted a beautiful outdoor setting. They chose the Chicago Botanic Garden for their wedding reception and we found a beautiful church near downtown Evanston for their intimate ceremony.

Fleur Couture designed the stunning ceremony and reception floral. We tossed hundreds of rose petals as Laura and Greg exited the church into a vintage car after their ceremony. We hung custom moss monogram letters in the English Walled Garden for cocktail hour. Guests signed Chicago vintage post cards for a unique “guest gook” and Laura designed sweet thank you notes to each of her guests on the back of her menu card. The tables were adorned with hydrangea and babies breath filled mason jars and an abundance of candles that softened the reception tent. Frost Chicago hung café lights across the dance floor and we brought in lounge vignettes for guests to sit and mingle on during the evening. Laura was exquisite in her Monique Lhuillier gown and I don’t think there was a moment when she and Greg weren’t smiling and laughing. It was an incredible evening filled with family, friends, love and laughter.

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Vendors:

Wedding Photography: Olivia Leigh Photographie
Getting Ready Hotel: Hotel Orrington
Ceremony Venue: St. Athanasius
Reception Venue + Catering: Chicago Botanic Garden
Wedding Coordination: Lauren Kneupfer from LK Events
Wedding Cinematography: I Do Films
Floral Design: Fleur Couture
Band: Becca Kaufman Orchestra
Honeymoon Suite: The Westin
Lighting: Frost Chicago
Transportation: V.I.P. Valet Services
Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier
Bride’s Jewelry: Family Heirlooms
Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Bridesmaids’ Attire: Jenny Yoo
Hair + Makeup: Beauty On Call

Jennifer & Tyler, Germania Place

I met Jennifer and Tyler at the beginning of the year and was thrilled when they hired LK Events for their wedding. Tyler proposed to Jennifer in the summer of 2011 and a fall wedding was in the plans. They fell in love with Germania Place for the reception and had their ceremony at the beautiful St. Alphonsus Church in Lakeview.

Jennifer and Tyler knew they wanted a “Chicago style” wedding for many of their out of town guests. Tyler chose Mastro’s Steakhouse for their intimate Rehearsal Dinner and hosted a welcome reception there as well. Jennifer and Tyler were able to take beautiful photos with their Bridal Party around the city before the ceremony, as the weather was perfect.

Taylor, at Richard Remiard Designs, adorned the guest tables with stunning crystal candelabras, Parisian style candlesticks, and Murano glass vases. White orchids, cream and blush garden roses, hydrangea and lizianthus filled the vases along with a lush bed of rose petals on the table tops.

Front of House was incredible and kept the dance floor packed all night long. Guests enjoyed a sweets and ice cream station provided by the bride and groom’s favorite local chocolatier – Kilwins. We ended the reception with a surprise Sparkler Exit for the bride and groom.

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Vendors:

Getting Ready Location: Hotel Palomar
Wedding Dress: Carolina Herrera (purchased at Ultimate Bride)
Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo
Shoe Designer: James Ciccotti
Groom’s Tux: Hugo Boss
Groomsmen Tuxes: Formally Modern Tuxedo
Ceremony Location: St. Alphonsus Church
Reception Location: Germania Place
Hair: Lauren Logan
Make Up: Sonia Roselli
Photographer: Wedding Creativo
Entertainment: Front of House
Floral, Décor and Lighting: Richard Remiard Designs
Wedding Cake: Oak Mill Bakery
Ice Cream Station: Kilwin’s
Transportation: VIP Valet Services
Invitations and Day Of Items: Magnificent Milestones
Rehearsal Dinner & Welcome Reception: Mastro’s Steakhouse

 

Melissa & Zach, The Peninsula Hotel

In celebration of our recent Valentine’s Day (yes, I know I am a little behind), I wanted to share my best friend’s wedding with you. Enjoy!

As a wedding planner in Chicago, I knew coordinating my best friend’s wedding was going to be one of the best experiences I could have. I was able to spend this past year doing what I love most, with the friend I love most. More importantly, I was able to work with some of my favorite vendors in Chicago and I cannot thank them enough for creating such a perfect day for Melissa and Zach.

Melissa and Zach were engaged in March. We had originally planned for a June 2013 wedding; until Melissa realized she didn’t want to be engaged for over a year. What meant more to her was marrying Zach…not planning the wedding. That’s where I came in! The next five months were filled with meetings, tastings, samples, site visits, and dress fittings – all completed before Melissa (who is a second grade teacher), started school again in August.

Melissa and Zach met here in Chicago, and live in River North. They knew they wanted a city wedding and a convenient location for their out of town guests. They chose The Peninsula Hotel, which offered a beautiful terrace for their (two hour) cocktail reception and a stunning ballroom that was gorgeous at night. We booked Kristina Carter with Vrai Photography right away, and Ray Pryor with Emotia for videography. Both vendors I work with all the time, who I knew would capture every precious moment of their wedding day.

The moment Melissa tried on the Vera Wang strapless Gemma gown, we knew she had chosen the one. With a dusty taupe sash, organza blossom hem and a tissue French tulle, we knew she would be a knock out….and of course, she was. It was edgy but elegant and Melissa wore that dress so well. I will never forget the moment when she walked down that aisle – she was exquisite (and I was balling).

Nicole Pandola, owner of Fleur Couture created gorgeous centerpieces that matched Melissa’s modern and contemporary style with a classic and traditional feel.  We used hydrangeas, callas and orchids and surrounded each table with dozens of candles at varying heights to capture the romance and elegance of the day.

Deja Vu rocked out from the start of the reception to the last hour of the evening and guests enjoyed every minute.  Zach and Melissa have a love of country music and Déjà vu learned several songs as a surprise to the couple.  Michelle, the bride’s only sister and Matron of Honor, had the best speech I have ever heard.  She wrote and rapped the entire song to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme, and got the crowd cheering and laughing so hard; it was incredible.

Melissa’s wedding to Zach was the highlight of my year. She was so humbled by the entire wedding planning experience and for that, I am truly grateful. She didn’t stress about the flowers, linens or chairs…she didn’t worry about the food, her hair or her walk down the aisle – the only thing she cared about was marrying her best friend. And that she did. Congratulations to my best friend; thank you for allowing me to play a part in the planning of your wedding and for reminding me everyday how lucky I am, to do what I do!

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Wedding Planner: Lauren Knuepfer of LK Events
Ceremony Venue: St. Joseph’s
Reception Venue: The Peninsula Hotel Chicago
Hotel Location: The Peninsula Hotel Chicago
Hair and Make Up: Antoinette White
Florist: Fleur Couture
Lighting: Frost Lighting
Band: Deja Vu
Photographer: Vrai Photography
Video: Emotia
Invitations and Paperie: Magnificent Milestones
Dress: Vera Wang
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Bridesmaids Dresses: Jenny Yoo