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Magnolias For Your Wedding Flowers

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 Sticking with a classic white color palette but want to utilize flowers that are a little more unique and striking? Then the Magnolia may be for you! Traditionally used in Southern weddings since Magnolia trees are most commonly found in the south, Magnolias generally represent “love of nature”, but each of the 80 varieties holds a different meaning. Available in many shades including white, red, yellow, pink, and purple, white Magnolias symbolize purity, while pink Magnolias represent innocence, purple represents health and green represents good fortune and happiness.  Magnolias bloom in the spring and summer, and although they are unquestionably beautiful, they are quite expensive. Sweetly fragrant and exuding elegance and femininity, these large blooms are notoriously fragile, so in addition to their high cost your arrangements will wilt rather quickly post-wedding. Too costly for your floral budget? Consider adding sugar Magnolias to your cake, utilizing their shape in your wedding invitations or simply wearing a single Magnolia bloom in your hair for your big day!

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For more fun and fabulous floral ideas, visit our Pinterest board, Beautiful Bouquets.

 

Real Weddings: Alisa & Josh

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 On Sunday, August 17th, Alisa Levine and Josh Barbash tied the knot at the beautiful Galleria Marchetti in the River West area of Chicago. After getting ready at the Marriott Courtyard Chicago with her family, Alisa and Josh shot their First Look outside the Trump International Hotel with Shelley Anderson from Cage + Aquarium. After taking photos around downtown Chicago on a limo bus from Windy City Limousine, Alisa, Josh, and their families arrived at Galleria Marchetti for a few photos against the beautiful ivy wall in the East Courtyard where their ceremony would take place before heading inside for a private Ketubah signing. Arriving guests were greeted with a glass of lemonade and beautiful cello music from Stitely Entertainment. Once guests were seated with fans printed with the ceremony program, Rabbi Jason Levine (the bride’s brother) officiated the Jewish ceremony under a beautiful Chuppah constructed by Nadine Horwitz of Fragrant Design. Once the ceremony ended, cocktail hour began on the Courtyard Patio while the newlyweds enjoyed some private time. Guests were then invited into the gorgeous tented Pavilion, decorated with pink and red florals. After being introduced as “Mr. and Mrs. Josh and Alisa Barbash”, the couple shared their First Dance to The Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand By You”. While dining on delicious medallions of beef, arctic char, and eggplant parmesan, the newlyweds listened to their families as they shared well wishes and advice for their marriage. After a spirited Horah, Alisa and Josh cut their amazing square cake from Amy Beck Cake Design, with adorable red and pink flowers cascading down the side. For favors, the couple treated guests with takeout cartons for their candy bar, complete with an amazing array of sweets from M&Ms to rock candy to Twizzlers and Jordan Almonds! While Chicago 312 kept the party going with classic dance songs, Alisa surprised Josh with his favorite treat- a pie bar complete with cherry, apple, and blueberry pies from Alliance Bakery! As the reception drew to a close, Alisa’s mom also surprised the newlyweds with flower leis to celebrate their upcoming Hawaiian honeymoon! Congratulations again, Alisa and Josh! We were so honored to be a part of your special day!

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Real Weddings: Dana & Nathan

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Scattered showers couldn’t keep Dana Kurek and Nathan Lopp down on their wedding day June 28th! Dana and her bridemaids had an early morning start to the day, with their hair and makeup done by Louis Anthony. Once the gorgeous purple bouquets were delivered to the bride and groom’s house by florist Joyce Grattoni, the ladies boarded a 20 passenger party bus from Limotainment and made their way to Saint Hyacinth Basilica. Then, surrounded by 230 family and friends, Dana and Nathan became “Mr. and Mrs. Lopp” during their beautiful ceremony and then headed to Olive Park, Michigan Avenue, the Tribune Building and the LaSalle Street Bridge for pictures with photographers Tim and Frank from Gerber + Scarpelli, their bridesmaids and groomsmen. Guests then headed to Eaglewood Resort and Spa in Itasca for a travel-themed bash (both bride and groom worked for United at the time), where guests’ escort cards were darling luggage tags and tables were named after destinations Dana and Nathan had each travelled to. As guests enjoyed cocktail hour on the Red Oak Patio, MDM Entertainment transformed the Red Oak Ballroom with stunning purple uplighting. After a delicious dinner of petite filet and grilled chicken, in lieu of a traditional wedding cake, the couple presented guests with delicious treats such as cupcakes, cake pops, and mini kolachki, mousses, cannolis and tiramisus from Oak Mill Bakery, as well as a gelato cart from Caffe Gelato. Dana and Nathan danced the night away with their family and friends, rocking out to classic songs performed by the Connexion Band of Orland Park. The party didn’t stop once the reception ended; while some guests opted to go to their rooms, the majority of guests headed downstairs to the bar and outdoor patio, celebrating until 2:30 am! Congratulations again, Dana and Nathan! We loved being a part of your special day!

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Why You Should Choose Sandals For Your Honeymoon

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As anyone from Chicago knows, the Midwest Winter is not to be taken lightly. After last year’s polar vortex, Chicago is ready to hunker down for another brutal Winter. With snow and ice already building on the ground, what happy thought will keep you going? How about a honeymoon to some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in the world? Consider Sandals, the luxury-included vacation. With 14 awe-inspiring locations in Jamaica, Antigua, St. Lucia, the Bahamas, Grenada, and Barbados, each Sandals resort has its own distinct personality and vibe, so no matter where your and your fiancé’s interests may lie, there IS a Sandals for you. What do you enjoy doing as a couple? Are you super foodies who enjoy a quality meal with a fine paired wine? Do you crave activity, from Scuba diving to beach volleyball to paddleboarding? Perhaps your ideal honeymoon is simply lounging by the pool with a Daiquiri in your hand, and a romantic candlelit dinner on the beach. Sandals offers all of those things, and more. And the best part? Everything is included, from your roundtrip airport transfers to taxes, tips, and service charges to all your meals, premium brand drinks, and activities. Sandals truly promises a worry-free stay, with a caring and accommodating staff that are trained to never say “no” to guests except for “no worries”. Not to mention, Sandals is exclusively for couples, so you will be able to enjoy basking in your newlywed glow without having it compromised by noisy kids running around causing trouble. Looking for a little extra luxury and pampering? Sandals offers several room categories, including concierge and butler service. Imagine relaxing in your own infinity pool in the Millionaire Suite at Sandals Regency La Toc, while a butler brings you chilled champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, taking care of your every request and desire? Perhaps you are still convinced you crave the azure waters of French Polynesia for your honeymoon. Sandals Royal Caribbean is currently constructing over-the-water villa suites comparable to any in Tahiti or Bora Bora, opening in early 2016. No matter what style of vacation you and your fiancé are looking for, Sandals truly seeks to exceed your expectations and celebrate the love you have for each other.

Want to know more about Sandals? Contact Sarah, our Certified Sandals Specialist, at 630.776.8962 or sarah@elevageevents.com.

 

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Lilies of the Valley For Your Wedding Florals

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Looking for a clean, classic white palette for your wedding florals? Look no further than Lilies of the Valley. With its bell-shaped flowers and sweet fragrance, Lily of the Valley symbolizes purity, sweetness, trustworthiness and the return of happiness. Said to bring luck in love, Lilies of the Valley are a royal favorite, making appearances in the bridal bouquets of Kate Middleton, Princess Diana, and Grace Kelly. The only downside? Its Spring season is limited to April and May. But if you are determined to add this alluring bloom into your flowers, then get the most bang for your buck by placing the Lilies of the Valley front and center where they are most visible in arrangements such as your bridal bouquet or surrounding your reception centerpieces.

 For more bouquet ideas, check out our Pinterest board, Beautiful Bouquets.

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Irises for your Wedding Florals

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Want to feel like royalty on your wedding day? Add some irises to your floral arrangements! For hundreds of years, the iris has been a symbol of monarchs and the royal family. In fact, the famous French Fleur de Lis actually depicts an iris. Blooming in May and June but available year-round in a variety of colors such as white, pink, yellow, orange, blue, purple, the name is fitting since Iris was the Greek goddess of the rainbow. If you are looking for flowers with a symbolic meaning, the iris represents passion, wisdom, and fidelity. Irises will undoubtedly add elegance and flair to your wedding flowers, no matter what colors you choose.

For more fun floral ideas, visit our Pinterest board Beautiful Bouquets.

 

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Fabulous Chicago-Themed Favors for your Wedding

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 Whether you’re a native Chicagoan or life brought you and your fiancé to the best city in the world, when planning a wedding centered around the Windy City, don’t forget to consider favors that stick with your theme. Offering your guests delicious local favors and flavors they won’t forget or absentmindedly toss in the trash is a small little detail that can have a major impact. I believe edible favors work are the most successful, and thankfully Chicago is home to some of the best food in the world! Here are some of my favorite ideas:

Garrett Popcorn

Since 1949 Garrett Popcorn has created arguaby the best handcrafted gourmet popcorn Chicago has to offer. With eight traditional flavors including Cheesecorn, Buttery, and even Macadamia CaramelCrisp, what could be better than offering a light late night snack for guests to take home? Garrett also offers seasonal recipes such as Pumpkin Spice CaramelCrisp, perfect for a fall wedding! Order Garrett’s “Create Your Own Favor Bag” for your wedding, where guests can scoop their favorite flavors into adorable favor bags!

Frango Mints

One of the oldest Chicago delicacies, Frango Mints from the State Street Macy’s (formerly Marshall Field’s) are a sweet surprise your guests will rave about for the rest of the weekend. Originally served in the classic Walnut Room at Marshall Field’s since 1929, Frango Mint truffles have remained a staple in the true Chicagoan’s diet. Prominently sold around Christmastime, you can find little square favor boxes in a variety of colors from Party City which will fit four chocolates per box.

Eli’s Cheesecake

What better way to give guests a taste of Chicago than a slice of Eli’s Cheesecake? Perhaps you’re not satisfied with just cheescake- Eli’s also offers amazing cakes and tarts such as Bavarian Apple, Limoncello, and Moscato Berry Tiramisu! Having a fall or holiday wedding? You can count on guests loving the Pumpkin or Salted Caramel Cheescake. Plus, if you’re not a fan of the traditional cake cutting, why not cut a slice of cheesecake with your hubby and send guests home with a slice of heaven?

Oberweis Ice Cream

Gelato bars were all the rage this wedding season, so why not offer guests the best ice cream Chicagoland has to offer? Whether coming from near or far, your guests will satisfy their sweet tooth with over 16 premium Oberweis ice cream flavors to choose from (plus seasonal favorites such as Pumpkin, Brandy, Egg Nog, and Peppermint). Choose two to five flavors for the big day complete with toppings and to-go cups, and your sundae bar is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser!

Affy Tapples

A Chicagoland favorite since 1948, Affy Tapple is the quintessential fall favor. Whether you’re going for the classic peanut covered apple or looking to mix things up with M&Ms or even Oreos, guests will be delighted when they realize they actually get to take home the original caramel apple at the end of the night! Order the apples in bulk from the factory store in Niles, wrap them in cellophane bags and finish it off with pretty ribbon and customized tag celebrating you and your new hubby.

Nuts On Clark

Two blocks north of Wrigley Field (GO CUBS!), Nuts On Clark is mostly known for its popcorn, but also offers nuts, candy, and dried fruits. Famous for their Caramelcorn and Cheesecorn, you can also give guests a variety of Giant Colossal Pistachios, Jumbo Cashews, Dark Chocolate Almonds, and Honey Roasted or Double Dip Chocolate Peanuts. Or give your family and friends the best of both worlds with both popcorn and nut combo! Nuts On Clark takes care of all the prep work for your favors and provides individually wrapped bags with your choice of popcorn and/or fresh roasted, mixed gourmet nuts for those late night cravings.

 

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Hydrangeas for your Wedding Florals

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At Elevage Events, part of our job as expert day-of planners is to help educate our clients on all the possibilities when it comes to their flowers. Hydrangeas are one of the most popular filler flowers for wedding arrangements, meaning they are used to fill in the the remaining empty space in the arrangements once your focal flowers have been added. Because they have so many blooms per stem, hydrangeas give you a lot of bang for your buck since less of them are needed. Hydrangeas are incredibly versatile, often used for everything from the bouquets to the centerpieces to decorating the cake. Hydrangeas also come in a spectrum of colors: blue, red, burgundy, purple, raspberry, pink, white, lavender, green,  For those of you looking to feature symbolic blooms in your flowers, the hydrangea symbolizes heartfelt emotions as well as gratitude. Be wary- these flowers wilt incredibly fast, so be sure to keep bouquets in water and out of direct sunlight before pictures.

Need more inspiration? Visit our Pinterest board Beautiful Bouquets for more great ideas!

 

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Honeymoon in Las Vegas

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When you hear “Las Vegas”, you may think of Ocean’s Eleven, getting married at The Little White Chapel ala Britney Spears or Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, or stereotypical bachelor/bachelorette parties throwing dollar bills on strippers and stumbling along the strip . And while these scenarios are definitely plausible in Las Vegas, that’s not the whole story. There is so much more to Sin City than it’s name would indicate. Here are some alternative reasons to spend your honeymoon in Las Vegas:

Las Vegas is now a culinary capital of the world.

Craving Mongolian?  Yearning for French cuisine? Whatever food you desire, Vegas has it. Bally’s Sunday Brunch (featuring champagne and caviar) and Cosmopolitan’s Wicked Spoon buffets are some of the best  buffets in the world. Offering everything from sushi to gelato to filet mignon, you will definitely not leave hungry. Everyone who’s anyone in the food world has a restaurant here, from Emeril to Gordon Ramsay to Wolfgang Puck. One of my favorites is family-owned Italian restaurant Ferraro’s with delicious homemade gnocchi, bread, and an outstanding wine bar. While it is off strip, it is definitely a date-worthy dinner.

Las Vegas has some of the greatest live shows on the planet.

Of course CelineShania, and Rod (and let’s not forget Britney) call Sin City home and perform nightly. But there’s also illusionists David Copperfield and Criss Angel, and the incredibly flexible feats of Cirque du Soleil. Blue Man Group  is always entertaining, and if you are looking for the quintessential Vegas showgirl performance, Jubilee at Bally’s is the longest running production in Las Vegas history.

Las Vegas has legendary shopping comparable to Fifth Avenue or Rodeo Drive.

Looking for luxury? The Bellagio has every designer from Chanel to Prada, and the Aria just opened The Shops at Crystals which houses the likes of Tom Ford, Louis Vuitton, and Fendi. But no fear; at the north end of the strip near the Wynn hotel is the Fashion Show Mall, with more wallet-friendly stores. Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile shops and The Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace are also great places to shop that won’t deplete your finances.

For the more active couple, you need only rent a car to find more adventurous activities. 

For the history buff, Hoover Dam is a short drive away and only takes a few hours to tour the dam and read the history behind its construction. Lake Mead is another fun option for the adrenaline junkie. Rent jet skis on an hourly basis and enjoy dipping into the lake on a hot 100+ degree day. Just off Strip, the Gene Woods Racing Experience is another great way to get your adrenaline pumping. While it may be scorching hot to race during the day, going at night is cool not only because of the weather, but you can see the lights of the Strip as you zip around the track. Interested in getting some fresh air (not to mention spectacular views)? The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is a four hour drive from Las Vegas. If you enjoy hiking or have never seen this world wonder, make it a point to stay here at least for one night. It takes about half a day to drive along the South Rim, but the views are totally worth it.

Of course, there’s still the gambling..

Vegas is not strictly reserved for the gambling greats. Want to learn Craps or Blackjack? Many casinos offer morning lessons on how to play casino card games and more since the morning is their slowest hours. Most off-Strip casinos also have $5 tables where the dealers are more than happy to help you learn. Downtown or “Old” Las Vegas is another great spot to find cheap tables to practice your newly-honed skills. Not to mention Fremont Street has some of the best street performers and people watching opportunities in the country. Grab a cocktail and watch the Viva Vision Light Show after dark, which is not to be missed.

Groupon Is Your Friend

Everyone wants to save money where they can, especially when planning you’re honeymoon. Groupon is a great resource to utilize when planning your trip. You can find Las Vegas deals on everything from the Gene Woods Go Karts to restaurants such as Senor Frog’s and on-Strip hotels such as the Mirage and the Flamingo.

 

 

 

Gorgeous Gloriosas for your Wedding Florals

 

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Gloriosa, also known as the Glory Lily or Fire Lily, was originally used for medicinal purposes in many cultures to cure everything from gout to infertility to treating a snakebite, despite being completely toxic if ingested.  Today, it’s much more commonly used in wedding bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres. It’s beautiful tendrils can be found in shades of yellow, orange, and red, although the red bloom sometimes appears more magenta in color. Available year round, this tropical plant is more expensive than other blooms, but definitely adds a distinct texture and burst of bright color.

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For more gorgeous bouquet ideas, visit our Pinterest board Beautiful Bouquets.