Happy New Year and Happy Planning!

Happy New Year and congratulations to the newly engaged! Here’s your planning starter kit to help you on the right track to planning the big day!

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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! img_4556

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!

Congratulations, you’re engaged! Now what?

Friday Quick Tips and Tricks: Venue Hunting

Wedding Planners 101: To Hire or Not To Hire, That Is The Question

Wedding Planner Match Making!

Friday Tips and Tricks: Budgeting

Be sure to keep up with Birdcage and Blushers on Facebook and Instagram for all of my latest tips and wedding obsessions.

Congratulations again and happy planning! XOXO!

Wedding Sweet Treats!

Not really feeling the traditional wedding cake? Here are a few nontraditional sweets for 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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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Dont be afraid to think outside of the box on your wedding day! If it’s yummy, your guests will love it!

Happy planning!

What’s The Deal With: Wedding Websites!

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)!

 

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Templates on theknot.com

 

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Templates on Minted.com

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!

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!

Pretty Table Top Florals

Feature Table Top Florals courtesy of Zuzu’s Petals!

You know I’m a sucker for pretty blooms! Last week, I attended a super fun networking event for wedding and event professionals; and the floral centerpeices were created by Zuzu’s Petals! Flowers and candles are always gorgeous together (and can save you money in your flower budget)! See below!


  

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!

 

Don’t Miss The “Committed” Wedding Event!

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!

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B & B Talks Rentals With Chicago Vintage Weddings

Vintage is a trend that never goes out of style. B &B sits down with Chicago Vintage Weddings for all the scoop on renting vintage wares for the big day!

Hi Birdies! I sincerely hope you’ve been enjoying the new Facebook and Instagram pages! I’ve been working on a little project. I’m proud to release the first ever recorded interview! I sat down with Kate Lerman, the mastermind behind Chicago Vintage Weddings to get the rundown on how to navigate the world of equipment rentals for your wedding day.

Located in Chicago’s West Loop, I sat down with Kate in her shop full beautiful vintage furniture, tea cups, and many other pretty pieces, all selected by Kate. Inspired by an early love of thrifting for vintage things, Kate saw a need for a place where brides could find unique vintage pieces for their wedding day! She met that need by creating Chicago Vintage Weddings, a one stop shop with a wide variety of one of kind items for brides to rent, coupled with wedding planning services. Check out the photos blow and listen in as Kate talks about Chicago Vintage Weddings, vintage rentals, and other valuable advice!

 

B & B Does Indie Wed Chicago!

B + B does Indie Wed Chicago 2016! Check out who i met at the show and my tips on how to attend your first wedding expo!

Happy 2016 Birdies! We’ve been on a bit of a hiatus but I’m so excited to be back to share fun wedding goodies with you this year! To kick off 2016 let’s talk about wedding shows!!

Wedding and bridal expos can be a fun way to interact with wedding professionals in one place, and get inspiration for the big day. To some the idea of going to a wedding expo can be very overwhelming, but they don’t have to be! If you’re thinking about attending a wedding show, here are a few quick tips:

  • See what’s out there!
    • Wedding expos happen throughout the year and they come in all shapes and sizes, from the smaller, more intimiate shows, to large and elaborate affairs. See what’s out there and find out what works best for you.
  • Do your research!
    • Most shows have listings of all the vendors that will be in attendance. Make a short list of vendors that you’ll definitely want to see while you at the show.
  • Travel Light!
    • Not such a good idea to bring yor wedding binder. Maybe a little note pad to take notes, but other than that, travel light. You’ll be walking out with TONS of loot from all the vendors.
  • Take a buddy!
    • If this is your first rodeo, don’t try to tackle it yourself. The show will be so much more fun if you have a buddy to enjoy it with, whether it’s a friend, your maid/man of honor or your fiance.
  • Have fun!

Indie Wed is not your typical wedding expo. Indie Wed was created by Kelly Maron Horvath of Paper Stories, who wanted to connect with brides that had more out of the box, and quirky tastes. And Indie Wed does just that! All of the vendors have something unqiue to offer brides that are looking for something different, from fun catering,  wedding dresses, and more!

This year, Indie Wed took place at the Ravenswood Event Center in the North Center neighborood on Chicago’s northside. Lofty and artisitic, it was a perfect backdrop for all of the fun, creative vendors in attendance. I had such a fun time walking the three levels of the show! Check out some of the fun people that I bumped into!

 

Dame Couture

Dame Couture specializes in vintage wedding dresses! Their north Evanston showroom houses gorgrous vintage wedding dresses. They also do custom gowns, and do restylings if you have a vintage dress of your own!

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Penelope’s Press

Penelope’s Press offers pretty, simple, and creative stationary for all of your wedding needs. From Invitations, Save-The-Dates, and RSVP’s, this is a great place if you really want to customize your stationary. Penelope’s Press has a wonderful personal touch, from hand-drawn designs, to even being able to print your handwriting! Check it out below!

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Spark & Glow Photo

Choosing a photographer is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make for the big day. One of the keys to selecting the photographer of your dreams is choosing someone that you get along with. If you want a photographer who is creative, bubbly, and fun, Michelle, the woman behind Spark & Glow Photo is the photographer for you! Not only does she have a great eye, but every single person in here photos look like they are having so much fun on their wedding day!

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Chicago Vintage Weddings

The boss ladies behind Chicago Vintage Weddings are as classy, elegant and fun, as their display. These ladies specialize in vintage rentals, perfect for brides that are looking for unique, vintage touches to add to their wedding. CVW offers vintage furniture rentals, delicate china pieces, gorgeous candelabras and much more. They also offer full, partial, and day-of planning services!

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LetterBoxInk

Laura Nehls of LetterBoxInk offers intricate designs, vibrant colors, and the element of story-telling for couples to create customized wedding stationary for the big day! Vinyl records, travel tickets, storybooks and more, Laura has a little something for everyone. You can also find her work on Zazzle and Etsy!

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Elysia Root Cakes

Elysia Root Cakes has become a household name in the wedding scene in Chicago. Not only are the cakes stunning, but the flavors are mouth wateringly delicious! One of the reasons why I love Elysia Root cakes, is that they really start with the foundation of the cake and working their way up. There are so many delicious flavors to choose from. The design possibilties are endless from minial to elaborate, and everywhere inbetween. Elysia can design a cake to fit any bride’s vision!

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Indie Wed was such a blast and it’s even better that I can share my experience with you. Stay tuned for more wedding fun! Until next time!

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