I can’t believe its 2017! Seems as if 2016 came and went so quickly. But the new year is about fresh starts and new beginnings. There’s nothing I love more than a wedding engagement during the holiday season. It’s said that the most engagements happen between Thanksgiving and New Years. So heres to a fresh stat and congratulations to all of the newly engaged couples out there!
Below you’ll find post to help you get started with your planning, the Wedding Planning Starter Pack. These five posts have very helpful tips to get you started on the path to planning your big day!
Hi Birdies! I hope everyone had a wonderful T-giving and enjoying the holiday season! I was enjoying a cozy day inside, which resulted in a sweets craving (as usual)! At weddings, aside from the first dance and the speeches, dessert is something that I can look forward to. Nowadays, a lot of brides are opting out of doing a traditional wedding cake and choosing more non-traditional desserts.
The options are practically endless! Let’s start with a little spin on your traditional teared wedding cake! Cake designers are SO incredibly talented these days, that you can make a tiered wedding cake look unique and fun. You can play with different textures, colors and flavors each tier of the cake! One wedding cake secret is you can still have multiple tiers of cake….but don’t have them stacked. It actually costs more to stack the tiers because of all the labor that goes into. Having individual round cakes will not only save you a few bucks, but it can add a bit of whimsy cake three or four individual round cakes that has its own look.
Wanna have your cake and eat it too? Cake pops are another fun way to have cake in nontraditional way! You can do multiple flavors and decorations, and they look cute! You guests can appreciate having cake they can easily “pop” in their mouth!
Cupcakes, are always a good time. You can do full-sized or mini cupcakes. I’ve seen couples do small cake to cut atop a tower of cupcakes for you guests. You can make it fun by adding fillings of fruit or ganache for a little surprise in each bite!
Doughnuts are very “in” right now. There’s been this new phenomenon of gourmet doughnuts and I am HERE FOR IT! The wonderful thing is that many of the places will do catering and bulk orders. Like cupcakes, you can do full size of minis. I’ve also seen a doughnut bar where you can have assorted doughnut holes and your guess can dip in their choice of glazes and toppings. Some popular doughnut establishments in Chicago: Glazed and Infused, Firecakes, The Doughnut Vault, and Stan’s just to name a few!
Pies, pies and more pies! Not only do they look cute, they taste delicious! This is great for fall or winter weddings too. You can do a full spread of pies, or have individual mini pies served to the tables! Bang Bang Pies and First Slice are two of my favorite pie places!
Dont be afraid to think outside of the box on your wedding day! If it’s yummy, your guests will love it!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
Hello all and Happy Friday! The weekend is usually peek venue hunting time. So for all of my newly engaged brides that are starting out on the path for the perfect wedding venue, here are some tips to make your weekend of venues a little less stressful.
Before you set out, make a list of the places that you’re seeing that day with your point of contact. At a certain point you may want to reach back out to the venue rep later so you’ll want to have that somewhere.
Make sure you get a confirmation for your visit. If you don’t get one, don’t be afraid to reach out the day before to confirm. Venue reps see a lot of brides everyday so you want to make sure your appointment didn’t fall through the cracks.
Have a list of questions ready so you don’t forget what to ask. You can find examples of this on a lot of wedding sites. I really love Here Comes The Guide’s list because it’s a little more thorough 🙂
Once you’re in the door, make sure you take some notes about each venue. Take a little note book with you so you can keep track of all of the details during the tour. It’ll make it a lot easier for you when you sit down at the end of the day to go over everything. Make a note of pros, cons, capacity, etc.
Take a break.
Venue hunting can be exhausting! Make sure you take time to stop and grab a snack. Coffee at least!
If you can, keep your group small.
Choosing a wedding venue is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for the big day. Try to keep your group as small as possible, like just you, your fiance and your parents, or you two and your best friend. That way, the MOST important people are involved but you won’t be overwhelmed with 10 people’s opinions. It’s also your prerogative to keep the venue hunting strictly between the two of you. Some of my past brides decided to do the preliminary searching just them and their fiance and didn’t get other people involved until they narrowed it down to their top options.
Got with your gut.
You’re probably tired of me saying that, but I can’t stress it enough! Seriously. Follow your instincts. No one knows your vision better than you two. So if you walk into a place that you liked online and it doesn’t ring your bell in person, that’s more than okay. Don’t force yourself to like something that may not be your taste. Just cross it off the list and keep on rolling baby!
I hope you find this useful. As always, feel free to leave comments or questions, or send me a message! Until next time!!
So you got the rock! Now comes to finding the place. With some many different venues, it can definitely be an overwhelming process trying to find the right place. I had an interesting exchange with a bride-to-be today that was injuring about a speakeasy-stlye bar space for a formal sit down wedding reception. The layout of this particular “loungey” bar isn’t particularly conducive to a traditional reception set-up. It got me to thinking: Finding the right venue is kinda of like finding the right guy! You have your ideal vision of the perfect guy in your mind, and you have traits and characteristics that you HAVE to have. Then you have the characteristics you can live with. You have those instances where you find someone that you SHOULD like, but don’t. Or you find someone that you try to “work with” only to realize you’re trying to make them into someone they’re not. Eventually, you meet “the guy” and angels sing (and you get that ring)!
Finding the right venue for you ties back into my previous post. Choose a vision, and stick to your guns! What do you like? Do usually gravitate towards clean lines? Do you love rich woods? Do you like bling? Do you have more grand tastes? Are you more traditional? These are the kinds of question to ask to get you started. Stick to those things that are the most important to you. Do you really want to have a seated dinner or are you open to doing a cocktail-style reception? Sometimes you have to go see what’s out there to get a feel for what your vision is, but eventually you’ll get a feel for what you really want. I’ve included some links to some really cool venues in the city. For example, if you love traditional touches, but know you don’t want a traditional space like a ballroom, go for a more modern space like a museum or a loft, and incorporate traditional touches like candelabras on the tables or chandelier-stlye lighting installments on the table. Maybe you need a blank space that you can decorate to truly bring your vision to life! If you love outdoors and being in nature, you may have to go outside your box a little bit, especially in the city! You could do the zoo, or a park district location. I’m a city girl at heart, but the surrounding suburbs of Chicago has some beautiful outdoor spaces as well. Looking at venues, do your research ahead of time and be knowledgeable. Make sure you know the capacities, and amenities before you go out to appointments so you’re not wasting your time. One helpful tip is to ask for a floor plan. If the venue has one that shows the set up for your numbers, even better. You don’t want to end up booking a space that advertises 200 when they can only realistically fit 150. Definitely don’t try to make a venue something it’s not. If you walk into a place and you immediately see 10 things you want to change, perhaps that’s an indication that that may not be the space for you. Again, follow your gut!I can honestly say that there’s a venue out there for everyone! If you need help finding venues, or not sure where to start, feel free to comment or shoot me a message. Happy hunting!