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Archive for February, 2013

Real Weddings by Elevage Events: Jessica and Brett

Happy February and Happy Valentine’s Day Chicago Brides! Today we want to highlight a wedding from May 2012 – we hope you are inspired!

Jessica and Brett were married May 26, 2012 at Assumption Catholic Church with a crazy fun yet elegant reception at Fulton’s on the River.

The day started off early with the ladies at Hotel Sax – where Eric from Allori Photography took some amazing photos!

When Jessica’s father walked her down the aisle the sun shone through and sparkled throughout Assumption Catholic Church.

The bridesmaids looked fantastic in navy blue dresses by Amsale from Bella Bridesmaid.

As an event planner herself, Jessica knew exactly what she wanted for her wedding design and Beth from Larkspur captured Jessica and Brett’s vision of their reception at Fulton’s on the River perfectly. The room literally had a glow and felt warm, elegant and classic.

The Gold Coast All Stars kept the guests rocking all night long and little touches by Jessica and Brett such as a cigar station made it a night not to be forgotten!

Cheers to you Jessica and Brett! Thanks for letting us be a part of your big day – it was truly our pleasure!

And a big thank you to Eric of Allori Photography for taking such amazing pictures!!


Elevage Events – Morgan: 630-461-6256

Allori Photography – Eric: 312-379-9180

Fulton’s on the River: 312-527-1417

Larkspur – Beth: 773-489-2898

The Gold Coast All Stars – Danny Chaimson: 312-898-4073

Beauty on Call – makeup: 312-335-5350

Maud Jannin of Free Nation of Beautiy- hair: 312-944-3662

Meet Susan Staley of Elevage Events

Susan Staley

We are soooo excited to introduce you to our new consultant at Elevage Events, Susan Staley. Susan has always had an eye for detail and a passion for event planning. She developed a fondness for entertaining as she helped her mother organize various events in her hometown of Pittsburgh. Attending the College of Charleston in South Carolina to pursue degrees in Arts Management and Hospitality & Tourism Management, she was able to turn her passion into a career path. As one of the top destination wedding locations in the country, Susan had the opportunity to work with planners and venues in South Carolina. It was then that she realized working in the bridal industry was an extremely rewarding experience.

Upon moving to Chicago in 2008, Susan was thrilled to become the studio manager and bridal coordinator of Sonia Roselli Makeup Studio. This provided Susan the opportunity to work with Ali Phillips of Engaging Events and many of her brides. Susan is beyond thrilled to join the Elevage team and to contribute her talent and experience into day of wedding coordinating.

When not working with brides, Susan enjoys  retail therapy, trying new Chicago restaurants, Steelers football and entertaining for family & friends. Hosting “get- togethers” for friends and family has always been one of Susan’s favorite activities, down to every last detail and cocktail napkin. She is also a International Makeup Association certified makeup artist.

Susan loves working with couples on their wedding day and being apart of such a joyous and special moment in their lives. It is her privilege to take care of the details so the couple, family and friends can enjoy every aspect of the day!

Picture by Sonia Roselli

Wedding Budgets: Do you feel like an ATM?

You are engaged! You are caught up in the moment and start brainstorming plans for your big day.  Maybe a big city wedding with floor to ceiling windows and tables draped in peonies. AND THEN…. reality sets in and the budget discussion and compromises begin.

According to Splendid Insights, “66% of engaged couples in the Western United States say staying on budget for their wedding is very important to them and 28% say it matters but isn’t a priority.”

When creating a wedding budget, I find that many people underestimate the costs.  A wedding planner may only be focused on the big ticket budget items: vendors, decor, invitations, guest favors and possibly your dress.  However, when you consider all of the additional costs below, you may find that your budget is exceeded by as much as 10%!

photo credit: brownphotographic via photopin cc

photo credit: brownphotographic via photopin cc

Stationary — paper is expensive!

  • Save the date cards
  • Rehearsal dinner invitations
  • Thank you notes (for shower and wedding gifts!)
  • Calligraphy costs for wedding envelopes
  • Postage!   For save the dates, thank you notes, rehearsal dinner & wedding invitations and response cards! — And don’t forget many wedding invitations require extra postage.  Assuming a 150 person wedding and 1 card per couple — that could be $200 in postage!


  • Hostess gifts for your showers
  • Gifts for your husband-to-be, wedding party and/or parents
  • Your wedding bands — are you including these in your budget?
  • Gratuity!  While not required, if you choose to tip your vendors, these costs add up!


  • Are you taking dance lessons?
  • Slideshow? Are you paying someone to put one together or do you have to scan old photos?!
  • Photographer and/or decor for the rehearsal dinner?
  • Dress alterations – can cost upwards of $500!
  • Wedding shoes and other accessories (veil, underwear, jewelry)
  • Ceremony requirements?  The catholic church classes for Pre Cana and FOCCUS can cost $300!
  • Is your hotel room cost included the night of your rehearsal? Does the hotel charge you for a getting ready room for the groomsmen?
  • Are you parking a car at your reception site? Many hotels charge upwards of $20 per day!

I have found the best way to avoid a price shock at the end of of planning is to consider all the factors and when you come up with a final number, decrease your buckets by 5 to 10% so that you can use that money to cover the miscellaneous unexpected costs. Or if you have the luxury, expect to exceed your budget by 5 to 10%!