FRIDAY GIVEAWAY: Evening of Bridal Luxury Event in Chicago!

Enter for a chance to win TWO complimentary passes to Modern Luxury Wedding Chicago’s Evening of Bridal Luxury Event!

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Happy Friday Birdies! I have a fun giveaway for my lovey brides to be!!! Make sure you subscribe to Birdcage and Blushers and you’re automatically entered into a drawing for TWO complimentary passes ($75 value) to attend Modern Luxury Weddings’ Evening of Bridal Luxury event. Join them for bites and bubbly and check out Vera Wang’s Fall 2017 bridal collection and the latest collection of sparkles from Harry Winston! Its definitely an evening you won’t want to miss!

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Birdcage and Blushers Event Calendar

pexels-photo-196650Hi Birdies! I just wanted to update you all and let you know that i have updated the Upcoming Events Calendar on the page. Use the calendar to keep track of the wedding events going on in the Chicagoland area. The calendar includes bridal shows and expos, trunk shows for wedding dresses and more! You can find the link to the calendar here

Enjoy!

XOXO

Quick Tip: Wedding Email

If you don’t have an email account just for wedding, you should. Here’s why!

pexels-photo-211856Happy Wednesday! We’ve made it half way through the week Birdies! I was at my desk this week, halfway through drafting an email when i realized the bride had a wedding email address. Yes, an email address just for her big day. Truth? It’s something that i wish i would’ve done while I was planning. If you already have one, you’re on the right track. If not, do it because it’ll make your life a little easier.

Think about all of the email you get in a day. Now think about how many emails you’re going to be receiving during the planning process: responses to your inquires, emails from your planner, the venue, the DJ, the caterer and pretty much any other vendors you’ll need.

The good news is, an email account is free and only takes five minutes to set up. It’s a great way to keep you organized and not let any important emails fall through the cracks. Another great tool to utilize is the calendar. With your wedding email account, use the associated calendar tool to keep track of your deadlines and appointments. You’ll have everything you need in one place.

Hope you enjoyed the quick tip! As always, make sure you subscribe to keep up with all the latest B and B updates!

Happy Planning!

‘Tis The Season: Winter Weddings

Let it snow, let it snow! Today we’re talking about the fun of winter weddings!

Every wedding season, traditionally summer and early fall months are the most coveted months to get married. However, a lot of couples do get married in the winter time, whether its to save money or because they love the idea of a winter wonderland on their wedding day. Either way, winter weddings can be really fun and really beautiful. Here are a few ways to celebrate the season on your big day!

Pretty lights!

 

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You can think of winter season without thinking about twinkle lights! Tiny white or amber twinkle lights is an elegant way to give your wedding a seasonal feel and you can incorporate them anywhere from the centerpieces, to the tables, and around the venue. Pier 1 Imports has very affordable LED string lights in a few different colors.

Seasonal Center Pieces

When I think winter I think holiday season, white, sparkle, red, pine, etc. You can give your wedding a winter feel by incorporating seasonal centerpieces. Notice how I say seasonal as opposed to Christmas. It’s your wedding day, so you want your wedding to be timeless and classy. Instead of Santa and Reindeer, stick to more classic themes. Your wedding will still look like a wedding and be timeless in photographs.

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Signature Flavors

Winter is such a cozy time of year! Incorporate flavors into your day that makes your guests warm and fuzzy. One great way to do that is in a signature beverage! A fun cocktail with cranberries, boozy hot cider, or mulled wine, are a few of my wintertime favorites. Why not incorporate a hot chocolate bar into your dessert service or sweets table!

Escort Cards

Ok…as much as i lean toward classic traditional notes, I love to see unique, out-of-the-box escort cards. I think its one of the areas of your wedding where you can get truly creative! Christmas Gift Boxes, Mini Ornaments, Snowflakes…so many options. I really adore these pine cone escort cards! Simple and seasonal. Spray a little sparkly, fake snow and you’re good to go!

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Sparkle, Sparkle, Sparkle!

I love seeing winter weddings with sparkle and there’s a way to incorporate sparkle without it being overwhelming. I’m a huge fan of glitter table runners, and overlays. A lot of linen companies have sparkle linen you can rent in a variety of colors like black, gold, silver, white, and fun colors like blue!

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And then of course, you can always wish for snow….and get shots like this.

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You can see more stunning photos from the winter wedding above here, courtesy of Chicago wedding photographer Elena Bazini!

Happy Planning!

 

Let’s Talk Stationery!

What’s the deal with invites? B&B breaks down the topic of paper goods for the big day!

Hi Birdies! I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer, whether you’re planning or just weeks away from the big day! Today we’re talking about pretty paper goods. That’s right: stationery! Stationery is a great way to set the tone of your wedding and add elegant touches to your day. But there are so many options! How do you know what you’ll need? How do you choose? Where do you go? First let’s go over the basics!

  • Save-The-Dates: Save-the-dates have become increasingly common nowadays. It’s a great way to give people the heads up that 1) you want them to come and 2) to plan their schedules accordingly. You’ll want to get those out 6 to 8 months prior to your selected date, 8 months if you’re planning a destination wedding, for sure! Save-the-dates shouldn’t have any other info besides the date. Maybe a link to your wedding website if you decide to have one. Other than that, leave all other details of the big day for the actual invitation.
  • The invitation: The actual wedding invite is the most important piece of stationery, as it will have all the need-to-knows. Your wedding invitation will include, the location(s), date, and time, at the very least. Now here’s where it gets interesting. Its common now for your invitation to have at least two components: the invite and an RSVP card. The RSVP card is for your guests to send back to you letting you know that they either will or will not be able to attend, and their meal selections (if applicable). **Two seconds on RSVPS: 1) strongly suggested 2) put a stamp on them for your guests so they don’t have to pay for postage when sending them back.** In addition, you can have a details card with additional info i.e. hotel details, transportation, and registry info. If the reception is taking place a good distance away from the ceremony location, a map or direction card is helpful as well.

Once you have the two major pieces crossed off your list, you can get a little more creative with your stationery and paper goods. The possibilities are endless. You can also have:

  • Menu cards
  • wedding programs-great if your ceremony includes special readings, prayers, or other rituals before or after the actual nuptials.
  • table numbers
  • gift tags-for favors, or welcome bags/boxes
  • place cards/escort cards

When selecting designs for your wedding stationery, it can be overwhelming because there are so many options! If your wedding has a certain theme, color scheme, or tone that’s a great place to start. Choose something that best reflects you are your partner in crime, because, after all, its your wedding day!

You can get invitations from many different places. You can find wonderful options online at places like Minted.com or Etsy. You can also find templates to print your own at home. There are also places that specialize in crafts and paper goods that you can physically go visit, places like Papyrus or Paper Source. Here they have lots of templates to choose from in their invitation books. At Paper Source they have materials like card stock, envelopes, stamps, and more, if you’re interested in being creative and making your own invitations.

Another option (and my personal favorite) is finding a person who can create custom designed invites for you! If you’re not really seeing anything that fits your vision and you don’t want to make your own, you may like the idea of sitting down with someone and telling them exactly what you want. I am a big advocate for supporting your local vendors, and Chicago has some very talented folks who custom design paper goods!

  • Elizabeth Grace– Located in Lincoln Park, Elizabeth Grace can meet all of your stationery needs and has an adorable boutique with lovely stationery, cards, and gifts! The tags on these gift boxes were done by Elizabeth Grace.IMG_2677
  • The Art In Tara-Tara Inge, the lady behind The Art In Tara, is an artist (check out her work on her site)! Her skills as an artist, allow her to create amazing designs. From invites to save-the-dates, she’s got you covered! You want to have hand written signage on a mirror for you big day? She can do that too! I’ve seen her do it, it was amazing! I worked with Tara for the invites for my vow renewal (my husband and i are a quirky couple) and she did an awesome job!IMG_1811
  • Penelope’s Press-I learned about Penelope’s Press at Indie Wed this past year. I loved the letter-pressed style with the hand drawn designs! FullSizeRender 18

Best of luck with finding your perfect source of stationary for your wedding needs! As always, comments and questions are welcome. Until next time!

B & B Does Committed 2016!

Check out all the fun I had at The Green Wedding Alliance’s Annual “Committed” wedding event!

Hi Birdies! I Hope your week is off to a fantastic start! I had an extra bounce in my step going into the week, having just attended The Green Wedding Alliance’s “Committed” event this past Sunday at the lovely Greenhouse Loft in Chicago with my friend and colleague Paul (click for a link to his fantastic blog!) For those of you that are unfamiliar, the Green Wedding Alliance is a community of event vendors that are environmentally conscious and catering to “green” consumers. The Alliance has over 50 vendors as members, and I got a chance to chat with some of them on Sunday! It was a day full of tasty bites, pretty things, and blushing brides (and grooms)! See below some of the lovely people that I had the pleasure of meeting.

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First, we had to stop by and say hello to our friends at Food For Though! Food For Thought is one of the best caterers in the city, and they love to do weddings! FFT had vegan and vegetarian bites to taste! On the left, their roasted vegetable napoleon with beet-strained Israeli couscous. On the right, mushroom quinoa crisps. I caught up with the lovely Dana, and it was a perfect (and healthy) way to start the day, as I had not eaten breakfast yet!

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We found these gorgeous china displays courtesy of Vintage Place Settings, who specializes in gorgeous vintage china, glassware and place settings. I died over those pink water and wine glasses!

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I am a sucker for gorgeous blooms and I was mesmerized by the display courtesy of the lovely Fab Flora. I had a chance to chat with the lovely owner and head designer Jori, where we  chatted about our love for pretty flowers (Ranunculus is my favorite!), and my dream of retiring and growing my own flowers one day. You can check out some of her beautiful designs in her online gallery, and if you’re ever in Logan Square, make sure to stop by her shop!

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Paul and I love snacks, so we were excited to see another caterer, Big Delicious Planet, who you’ll find on catering lists for many lovely venues throughout Chicago. BDP is a wonderfully unique concept. Not only do they do event catering, but in the front of their kitchen is their Canteen where they serve breakfast and lunch (yum!!). They also have an urban farm where they grow their own herbs and veggies. The tuna tar tar that they had at  the event was fresh, tasty, and delicious!

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As I attend these fun events, I start to see familiar faces. Imagine my excitement when I saw that my lovely friends from Chicago Vintage Weddings was in attendance. Always with a gorgeous display,  they showcased some of their vintage furniture and other fun pieces, including amazing blue velvet chairs that the owner Kate had mentioned in our most recent interview! If you’re looking for vintage rentals, this is definitely a one stop shop. If you think their display is pretty, their West Loop storefront is a vintage wonderland!

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Even though I’m already married, I can never get enough of gorgeous bridal couture! This lovely display was courtesy of the lovely ladies of Mignonette Bridal! I love Mignonette Bridal because they offer stunningly beautiful dresses for brides that are looking for something that’s a step outside of the bridal box. From dresses to lovely accessories, they’ve got all you need to make your bridal look truly your own. One of the most fun pieces that they have are bridal separates, where you can create an awesomely unique look for your big day, including the lovey ensemble in the photo above. Stay tuned for a later post where I’ll talk about my own personal (wonderful) bridal experience at Mignonette!

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Cage and Aquarium is definitely not a newcomer to the wedding industry. They are one of the most popular DJ companies in the city. Cage and Aquarium was a name I was very familiar with, but I had never had the pleasure of hearing them spin! With the cool turn tables and actual records (definitely a plus if you’re a musical purists), they did an amazing job of setting the tone throughout the day with upbeat tunes. Every time I’d stop for a second, I’d find myself jamming a bit. They were great and I can only imagine how awesome they’d be at a wedding reception!

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What better way to end the day than with cake? And not just any cake. Elysia Root cakes! Now, if you’ve been following along with me, you’ll know that this isn’t the first time I’ve featured Elysia Root Cakes. The difference between now and then is that I actually had the pleasure of meeting Elysia, the woman behind the cakes! And I must say, she is just a sweet as her confections! I’m not embarrassed to say I tried one of each of the cake samples (so good!) and of course I had to capture the beauty above: a gorgeous five tier cake with delicate floral details. Elysia Root Cakes never fails to impress your eye and you taste buds!

My first Committed event was so much fun and I encourage you not to miss The Green Wedding Alliance’s next event! Next month, don’t miss The Great Wedding Recyclery, where many a newly wed Mrs come to sell items from their wedding day, from decor, tabletop decor, dresses, accessories and more! If you’re planning you’re big day and need a few finishing touches, this event will be a super fun place to find many unique items under one roof. Who knows, maybe you’ll see me there! You can find more details for this event and the Green Wedding Alliance Here here. Until next time Birdies!

 

Wedding Decor: Flowers 101: In Season

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Happy Sunday Birdies! I hope you’re all relaxing! As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m in the process of trying to find a florist for my big day! Because of this, I’ve become floral-obsessed! A lot of brides may think that flowers is a HUGE wedding day expense. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be. The first step is doing your research. One really great way to save but still have gorgeous flowers is choosing flowers that are in season! Here are some popular wedding flowers and when they are the cheapest!

  • Calla Lily
    • Calla Lilies are generally available year-round. Late winter to early spring is peak season.
  • Dahlia
    • Dahlias are so gorgeous and they come in varying shades. Purple Dahlias are my favorite! They are in season late summer through early fall.
  • Hydrangeas
    • I love Hydrangeas! I love them on their own, and I love using them as a base for arrangements. They come in so many lovely shades as well. They cost of Hydrangeas depends on the color, as the color is contingent upon the season. You’ll find these beauties most abundant July through November
  • Orchids
    • Orchids are gorgeous and so versatile. They aren’t super expensive either. They’re great because they come in varying shades and they are available all year round.
  • Peonies
    • Peonies are so stunning! They are one of my favorites. Peonies are usually mid range to higher end when it comes to cost. Getting them in season will keep the costs lower. They are in season in the springtime.

There are plenty of other flowers out there! My advice is to keep your options open. Planning my vow renewal, I wanted peonies everywhere! But they aren’t in season in August, so they’d be super expensive. So I kept my eyes open for other flowers that we more cost efficient and just as gorgeous! A good florist will be honest with you about what’s feasible in your budget, and suggests other ideas and options that are equally lovely. Check out a more extensive list of flowers and their seasons on the Knot (see link below).

Have a great week and happy planning!

Sources: The Knot Flower Guide

Pinterest Inspirations

Hi Birdies! It’s been a long week, but it’s finally the weekend! I just wanted to tell you about my latest update to my site! I’ve added a link to my Pinterest page so you can keep up with all of my latest inspirations for my vow renewal!

Here you can see all of my ideas and favorite looks! Maybe you’ll find some inspirations for your big day! Happy Pinning!

 

Flowers Flowers Flowers: To DIY or Not To DIY

Hello Birdies! Hope the week is going well! Just wanted to update you guys on my planning! The next vendor I need to check off my list is…florals! I love flowers and I definitely want beautiful flowers for the vow renewal. Wedding floral design usually start around $3,000 depending I the size of the wedding and what kind of design you’re envisioning. Budget aside, I can’t decide if I want to hire a florist or do it myself. Our party is so small, I could handle 6 center pieces, and it would be so fun to be hands on and play with flowers. At the same time, doing your one flowers is another thing is have to worry about and make extra time for. Decisions, decisions. Luckily, Chicago has so many options to choose from, all depending on the level of design you’re looking for. Here are just a few awesome florists in the city!

Steve’s Flower Market

I love the concept of Steve’s! They do event floral design but they are also a wholesale flower shop! So they’re a great place to start for brides who are kind of torn between doing their own flowers and having them done professionally (like me) 🙂 They even have items that you can rent like vases, votive candles and pedestals. They are located in the west loop.

Scarlet Petal

Located in the west loop, Scarlet Petal is awesome. I’ve had the pleasure of working with them and seeing their work in the industry! They can cater to any bride’s vision and isn’t wildly expensive. The consultations are wonderful, they really listen to your vision and are open to any ideas. My favorite set-up I saw was this beautiful wedding design that consisted of gold touches with white and blush flowers (see post from 11/30/14 on their blog). Scarlet Petal does a wonderful job of keeping you up to date on their work on their blog. Check it out here!

Juliet Tan Floral Design

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Juliet in action over the past couple of years. Her shop is also located in Chicago’s west loop. Juliet Tan’s work is always blows you away! First off, hope that you get to work with Juliet directly. She is a little ball of fire, very energetic and fun. I love Juliet because she has away of taking your vision to the next level. One of my favorite designs she did was a rustic wedding this past summer (July 18 Facebook uploads) She made the rustic theme come to life in very unique ways and it was so creative, yet still looked like a wedding! Check out her Facebook page here!

Marguerite Gardens

I absolutely love this place. They are right in  my neighborhood, and I can’t help but pop in every weekend to see what they have in stock for the week. The feel of the store is very calm and earthy, and the staff are so down to earth and helpful. I was so excited to find out that they do wedding flowers! They always have a wonderful variety of flowers, and awesome selection of succulent plants as well. I feel like they are perfect for a bride with a vintage or rustic vision, but they can do it all! They have two locations: one in (the one i frequent) Andersonville and the other in Ukrainian village. You can see the wide variety of work on their Facebook page!

Until next time and Happy Planning!

Friday Tips and Tricks: Budgeting

Happy Friday Birdies!

IMG_5384I hope everyone had a productive week and looking forward to the weekend. Today I wanted to touch on budgeting. Disclaimer: This is in no way financial advising. I want to share with  you all my personal experiencing having to budget for the big day. As I’ve mentioned previously, my husband and I are in the process of planning our vow renewal to celebrate our anniversary next year. The process has been pretty smooth so far, as I locked down most of the major pieces early on. But now we’ve hit the point where my husband brings me back down to planet earth and asks me, “How’s the budget looking?”. Thankfully we’re in pretty good shape, but establishing a budget and sticking to it is always stressful on some level. So below is my tips and tricks on budgeting for your big day!

  • Establish a budget
    • Have a budget. You need one. And if you don’t, it very well my come back to bite you in the butt later. This may be a two-part process for some people. If this is your first rodeo, you may want start out by doing some research about how much an average wedding costs. Please keep in mind that this will vary based on how many people you’re planning to invite and the city that you live in. And look at multiple sources to get a realistic idea (not one glance at Wikipedia). If you already know how much you want to spend, then I suppose you can skip this step. If you’re getting outside financial assistance, that’s wonderful. If you’re not sure if you are getting help from parents or other family members, plan your budget as if you’re paying out-of-pocket, because the last thing you want is to budget and end up having less to work with than you originally planned.
  • Prioritize
    • Once you’ve got your budget, it’s time to prioritize. This is where you decide which area of your wedding are the most important to you. If you care more about the venue and food than flowers, than those things will probably be budgeted higher. Sometimes (like me right now) you’ll find your self at a point where you have to cut costs. For example, in our budget venue and food is the largest area. We don’t want to touch the photographer, and we’re already getting a wonderful deal with or DJ. So we’re compromising with the flowers, by either reducing our budget, or possibly doing our own flowers (which would actually be fun for me). If you’re hiring a planner, they can help you prioritize and stick to your budget.
  • Stay organized
    • It always helps to have a visual aide to keep you on track with where you’re at with your budget. The Knot  has a very helpful budget calculator. You can also find an excel template for a wedding budget sheet. Whatever is easier for you, this will definitely be a useful planning tool.
  • Compare costs
    • When looking at vendors for your weeding, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Even if you have your heart set one certain vendors, look around and compare costs to see what’s out there. But do this with decisiveness. Don’t get overwhelmed looking 20 different florists. Select from a small pool of realistic contenders, so you don’t end up going nuts. When I was looking for my photographer, I looked at five ranging in budgets, then narrowed it down to three. I ended up going with the most expensive one because I loved her work so much and was willing to cut elsewhere.
  • Stick to it!
    • As you start booking vendors, and looking at all the things you’ll need, stick to your budget! If you know you only have $3000 for a wedding dress, DO NOT pick up, or try on a dress that’s $10,000. You’ll just make your planning more difficult. You’ll have to decide if going over is worth having to rearrange your entire budget for your wedding. Keep in mind, you can find things to fit within your budget if you look in the right places. The Overwhelmed Bride is another wonderful resource that I stumbled upon during my planning. There’s a great blog post about budgeting that I found very helpful.

Have a wonderful weekend and happy planning!