Happy weekend Birdies! I’m so excited about today’s post. One of my favorite things to do is meet lovely human beings in the wedding industry who are offering unique and fantastic services to brides. This week, I attended a launch party for Carried Jewels, an online jewelry boutique specializing in engagement and bridal jewelry for the modern day bride. Why do i love them? Not only is the business run by the two most fantastically refreshing women, but the pieces are affordable, nontraditional, and just stunning. No two rings are alike and they’re all made to order. As someone that keeps my eyes open to bridal trends, I find that most of the big box jewelers carry the same styles of rings. It’s so refreshing to find Carried Jewels that really cares about catering to brides that aren’t looking for rings that all the other brides have. I was fortunate enough to see (and try on) some of their beautiful wares in person at the launch party hosted by Honey Bridal . Such a fun way to spend a Thursday evening: sipping cocktails courtesy of Crafthouse Cocktails , indulging in sweet treats by Altissima Cake Co. , and trying on sparkly jewelry! Each ring has it’s own personality, and you can even, layer, stack, and mix and match your favorites for the perfect bridal set! If you’re in the market for a ring, whether its for the ceremony or an anniversary, Carried Jewels is definitely the place to look. You can see their full collection online here
I always find it fascinating how wedding trends come and go. It’s particularly interesting how those trends change along with the advancement in tech. Wedding Websites are very “in” right now. I love them! Wedding websites are a wonderful way for the couple to share their story, like how you met, first date, the proposal, etc. They are great for giving details to your guests about the itinerary for your wedding weekend, especially if you have a lot of guests coming in from out of town. You can include info for events like wedding shower, rehearsal dinner, welcome party, ceremony, and reception of course. You can also include gift and registry info on your site. You can also keep track of RSVPs on your wedding website as well! Just don’t forget to send paper RSVPs to your not so tech savvy family members!
If you want to do a wedding website of your own, you don’t have be a web designer. You can find super cute (and free) templates online. WordPress.com is free and has free templates that are user friendly. The Knot and Minted both have free wedding website templates as well (see below)!
Here is an example of simple but adorable wedding website to give you an idea! The most important thing is to make it your own. Happy planning!
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:
wedding programs-great if your ceremony includes special readings, prayers, or other rituals before or after the actual nuptials.
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.
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!
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!
Best of luck with finding your perfect source of stationary for your wedding needs! As always, comments and questions are welcome. Until next time!
Hello Birdies! It’s officially spring time and that means the beginning of weddings season! Everyone where from Brides in the last few weeks or months before the wedding, to brides early in the planning process. And as always, B & B is here as a resource for all brides planing weddings in Chicago.
This week, we’re highlighting a fabulous venue in heart of Chicago’s South Loop: 19 East. I had the pleasure of corresponding with the lovely ladies of Food For Thought, Kendall Tuite, Catering manager, and Anna Boltz, Assistant Venue Manager, to hear more about 19 East!
B & B: Chicago is a big city. How should a bride go about navigate finding a venue?
KT: I think the most important factor in locating a venue is figuring out guest count. Once you have that nailed down it will be easier to filter through the many different venues in the city as your guest count will determine whether or not you can fit everyone into the venue. Next, narrow down by style. There are so many unique venues in this city!
AB: The internet is going to be your very best friend! There are so many different and unique spaces in Chicago and it can be overwhelming at times to navigate. Details such as guest count and style will help immensely in narrowing your search.
B & B: Can you give us a brief history of 19 East?
KT: 19 East is a flexible event space located in the South Loop. The venue boasts an urban, contemporary flair. The building has a rich history that dates back to the 1800’s when it belonged to the Chicago Illuminating Company, a predecessor of ComEd. Prior to being a ComEd run facility, it housed a shooting range for the infamous Al Capone.
It was recently acquired by Food For Thought, a premiere catering and events company who’s been helping clients create unforgettable moments for over 30 years.
B & B: What sets 19 East apart from other venues in the city?
KT: The versatility! There is so much wonderful built-in architectural adornment. This allows the space to stand alone without having to bring in too many extra garnishes to enhance the space. On the other hand, the built in pieces are neutral enough that it is still very much a blank canvas. Therefore, those looking to transform a space into their own unique vision have the perfect stage here at 19 East.
AB: 19 East has so many unique features from the built-in bars to mosaic tiles that sets it apart from other similar venues. The size and setup of the space really lends to the ability to bring in a variety of different events as unique as the space itself!
B & B: What type of bride do you find is attracted to 19 East?
KT: 19 East attracts the modern-day couple. This couple is looking to provide an urban and exciting experience for their guests. Each room has its own unique characteristics that lend to the ambience of the space. It is inviting and warm, while still offering that industrial look that is so on trend right now.
B & B: The space is gorgeous on its own as a blank slate. What is one of standout features of the space?
KT: The alley! I love it when clients choose to dress it up and make use of it. From lounge groupings to sprawling palms, it is a dramatic way to tie in the urban flair to the space. I also absolutely love the beautiful view we have in the Hideaway space. You get the entire cityscape with the bonus of an El that zips by just a mere few feet from our building.
AB: The shelving units in Commonwealth! It is always so neat to see what clients will put up there next. From simple yet beautiful votive candles to full-scale canvas paintings, product placement and more. The sky is the limit on how you dress up the shelves!
B & B: What is one of your favorite wedding set-ups that you’ve seen in the space so far?
KT: Each set-up is unique in its own way, but I think my favorite is when we utilize a mix of different table shapes. Rounds, rectangles and squares all add so much texture to the room. A unique space should have a unique set up!
AB: I would have to agree with Kendall! I think the mix of different shaped tables is my absolute favorite. It adds so much to the dimension and overall look of the room. I really love when different chairs are used at the different tables too.
B & B: Where did the gorgeous paintings throughout the space come from?
KT: There are two paintings on site from Chicago Native Susan M. Olmetti. The larger paintings in the main spaces are by Indiana artist David Randall.
B & B: In your time with Food For Thought, you’ve obviously seen lots of weddings so I have to ask: What’s your Favorite wedding treat?
KT: I am a big fan of anything that has a personal touch that reflects the couple. When we have the opportunity to recreate a family recipe or come up with a specialty cocktail that is personal to the couple, it is so exciting to me!
AB: Anything the represents the couple or their families! I love when cultural or family treats are tied into their day. The personal nature of it is just so special and adds a huge layer to the day.
B & B: What’s your favorite part of a wedding?
KT: At 19 East we are lucky enough to be able to host ceremonies in addition to the reception. My favorite moment of the entire day is right after the ceremony. This is the moment in which we whisk the couple away from the crowd to have a moment to themselves in the wedding suite located upstairs in the Hideaway. During this time, I have the opportunity to send them food and beverages while they bask in their first few minutes together as a married couple. There is no greater feeling in knowing we made those first few moments together a little bit more special with treats made especially for them.
B & B: Your favorite color palette?
KT: I love the look of mixed metals in this space. Coppers, silvers, golds, rose golds, gun metals and etc. all really play up the industrial accents. I absolutely love soft greys, crisp whites and lush greenery.
AB: I’m really loving jewel tones right now! I’ve seen so many beautiful arrangements utilizing them and I can’t get enough. They work really nice in the space too because of the natural palette the white walls offer.
B & B: When you’re on-site for an event, what is one thing that you always have with you?
KT: A watch! During events it is very important that I am aware of the time. As a caterer it is important that we are sticking to a timeline as closely as possible. While I do always have my phone (I love taking photos) I think it is important to also have a watch during those times when it might not be appropriate to check the time on your phone.
AB: My phone for sure! Whether it’s keeping track of the time, weather forecast, in touch with other vendors or taking photos of the space all set up, I will always have my phone with me. It’s so crucial to be easy to get ahold of during an event!
B & B: Fun Fact about yourself!
KT: I went to culinary school! I absolutely love food and working with it. While I no longer work in the back of house I do try to cook any chance I get. I learned so much in Culinary school that has been so beneficial to me in my catering career. Writing new menus for client’s is one of my favorite activities. I am so lucky to have found a profession in which I can express my culinary creativity, while still being able to connect with my clients on a personal level.
AB: I used to be a ballet dancer! I grew up dancing and actually majored in dance in college. In the dance and arts world, I was a part of and attended many events growing up. Working in events felt like a natural progression because I was around them my whole life. Events themselves are very similar to a performance in the sense that there is a lot of practice and time spent leading up to them. Each event is another performance to me!
Recently engaged or in the throws of planning your big day? Don’t miss “Committed: An Avant-Garde Wedding Event”, brought to you by the Chicago Green Wedding Alliance this Sunday! At the lovely Greenhouse Loft, get a chance to meet fun, indie wedding professionals that can not only offer you services for your wedding, but help you to keep your wedding eco-friendly! Don’t miss a day full of cocktails, goodies, and bridal fashion. You may even see me floating around! Grab your tickets here, and I hope to see you there!
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 Lilies are generally available year-round. Late winter to early spring is peak season.
Dahlias are so gorgeous and they come in varying shades. Purple Dahlias are my favorite! They are in season late summer through early fall.
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 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 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).
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!
I 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.
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.
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.
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.
Happy Labor Day weekend Birdies! I’ve been so deep in planning I finally had to come up for air. I’m somewhere in-between work, deciding on bridesmaid dresses and trying to decide on a florist! As I mentioned previously, I’d go crazy without my friends Jillian and Katie. Jill is my maid of honor and Katie is my VIB (very important bridesmaid)! They are so supportive and easy going, and they keep me excited and positive about planning! I couldn’t have asked for two better ladies to stand up with me. I want to hear from YOU! How did you ask your closest ladies to be your bridesmaids? With novelty socks (like I did 🙂 )? A cute note? I’d love to hear your stories! Let me know in the comments or send me a message through the contact page and I’ll select a few to share next week!