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Archive for the ‘Erin’ Category

To veil or not to veil…

…that is the question.

To some brides, the veil is the cherry on the top of their wedding “outfit” sundae.  To others, it just makes them feel like a bee keeper.  This is a question that a lot of brides struggle with, I certainly know I did, but in all honesty I didn’t know where this tradition came from or why a veil was significant.  After a bit of investigating, I learned that a veil covering the hair and face is meant to symbolize the purity of the bride on her wedding day (thank you, wikipedia.com).  Over time, it has become an iconic part of a bride’s wedding ensemble, however many modern brides have chosen to forego this tradition and wear something that fits a bit more within their personality. Lets be honest, its not every day you get to wear a fabulous hat in public.

I’ve seen all kinds of fun things over the years from cathedral length stunners to the very trendy Kate Middleton fascinator to sparkly clips tucked in an up-do.  I have some brides who choose to wear nothing in their hair at all.  At the end of the day, its a personal preference, and no matter what you choose it should make you feel fantastic.

Image courtesy of jcrew.com

For the longest time, I looked at birdcage veils and thought this was a look I could get behind – it was a little sassy, still had that fun nod to a traditional wedding veil and I thought it would make me feel more like a bride.

Image courtesy of jcrew.com

After trying on – oh – 100 of them, I realized the birdcage veil just wasn’t me.  I absolutely adore this look on other people, but on me it failed.  Big time.  Back to the drawing board…  I scoured the depths of the internet looking for ideas, poured over photos of other brides, tore through wedding magazines and nothing really spoke to me.  I thought to myself – its fine, I just won’t wear a headpiece, but in the back of my mind I wasn’t completely ready to give up.

This weekend, my mom was in town to search for her dress for the wedding and we ended up in the bridal section at Nordstrom.  The sales team very kindly pulled just about every style of headpiece you can imagine for me to test out.  I learned a very valuable lesson that day: just like picking out your wedding dress – forget looking at images online, GO TRY THINGS ON.  Try on things you think you don’t like, things you love and everything that falls in between because I promise you this  – you’ll find something that surprises you…

…which is exactly what happened to me.  I’m not going to go into too many specifics (because  I’m not 100% convinced that Brian doesn’t read this), but it is something I wouldn’t have tried on and the minute I did, I fell in LOVE.  Its not a veil, but to be honest I didn’t think I’d end up with one anyways.  I can’t wait to try it on with my dress at my fitting next week – and don’t worry, I’ll let you all know how it goes :)

Giving Thanks…

The Sunday before Thanksgiving, one of my girlfriends always hosts a “Friends Thanksgiving” where we can all come together and be thankful for the joy we bring each other. My favorite part of this dinner is when we all go around the table and say what we’re thankful for. This year was an easy one for me. I am thankful for the joy that Brian has brought into my life and that he’s actually going to marry me this March. I’m thankful for my family – especially my new nephew, Kevin – and for the fact that I have a job that fulfills and challenges me every day.

As we at Elevage Events sit down to our Thanksgiving tables tomorrow, we’ll be giving thanks for all of you – our brides, grooms, couples and wedding vendor teams to be that will  grace our paths over the next year. You don’t know how much joy, laughter and excitement you bring to us as we work together to make your dreams a reality. We are thankful that we can be such an important part of the start of your lives together.

On behalf of all of us, a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

Real Weddings: Regan & Mike

I love when couples are willing to venture “out of the box” with their weddings, so when Regan, Mike and I started talking about their September 10, 2011 celebration and they shared with me that they wanted a lunch that involved grilled cheese sandwiches, I yelled out loud – YES!! YES!! YES!!

It all started with a very early morning at the Belden-Stratford in Lincoln Park, where Regan and her three bridesmaids (her absolutely stunningly beautiful sisters) got decked out and ready for the big day ahead. The bride dazzled in a couture creation by Alice Padrul with her ladies looking chic in BCBG.  By 11am, the whole gang had arrived at Holy Name Cathedral, and the ceremony was underway.

Regan is a huge supporter of Lincoln Park Zoo, which made it perfectly fitting for them to celebrate becoming Mr. and Mrs. at historic Cafe Brauer. After a cocktail hour on the North Loggia overlooking the South Pond, guests made their way to the Great Hall for a tasty lunch catered by Blue Plate Catering, consisting of a classic wedge salad and the ever-popular combination of grilled cheese and tomato soup.  The David Rothstein Orchestra kept the crowd rocking while a classic candy bar had guests on a sugar-high throughout the gorgeous afternoon. As the party drew to a close, a horse-drawn carriage carried the couple into the sunset.

Big thanks to Chad Husar of Husar Photography for these amazing images of Regan and Mike’s big day. Elevage Events is so proud to have been part of the fun, and wish Mr. and Mrs. Gentile a lifetime of happiness.


Wedding Colors: Pantone Fashion Color Report for Spring 2012

Pantone Fashion Color Report for Spring 2012 from www.pantone.com

The color geniuses at Pantone have once again released their seasonal color report based on the amazing pieces debuted at New York Fashion week. I am absolutely smitten with the palatte for spring 2012. To see the colors up close and personal, click on the above image to see it at full size. Such fun choices, and I just love the names they come up with!

Imagine my relief when I saw that the forecast includes (something very close to) the two hues we’ll be showcasing at our reception! Solar Power and Driftwood will be the shining stars of my March 2012 celebration, but  think how gorgeous your tables would be with Tangerine Tango and Bellflower in the background of your white-rimmed china. Maybe a kiss of Cockatoo as the ribbon on the handle of a bouquet against a Margarita toned bridesmaid dress.

As you’re thinking about your colors, make a stop on Pantone’s website to see all of the amazing possibilities!  Don’t forget while you’re there to check out the official “color of the year” for 2011 –  Pantone number 18-2120: Honeysuckle. 

Image and information courtesy of Pantone.com

Wedding Stationery: Saving the Date

As I beamingly shared with you last week, I’m playing double duty these days as wedding coordinator and – gasp!bride. As of this upcoming Saturday, we’ll be 6 months away from the big day. So far, we have a date, March 24, 2012, and have settled on Café Brauer for our ceremony and Gallery 1028 for our reception. It was time to break the big news to our family and friends and ask them to save-the-date to celebrate with us.

Save-the-date designed by Jenna Plonka of Clementine Ink and Paper

Save-the-date designed by Jenna Plonka of Clementine Ink and Paper

Save-the-dates are a relatively new component to a wedding celebration, and can be as serious or as fun as you would like them to be. I love little nods to a couple’s personalities that set the tone for the event, or perhaps include a fun photo of their dog in a save the date.  To me, the save-the-date is the first glimpse to the big event, which was why I wanted my save the date to be a sneak peak of what to expect at the wedding.

Enter Jenna Plonka of Clementine Ink and Paper, whose creativity, patience and professionalism makes her one of the most talented graphic designers I’ve had the pleasure of working with.  Jenna and I had the fun opportunity to sit across from each other at a holiday party a few years ago, and not only did we become fast friends, but I knew she was the only person who could interpret the vision I had for my wedding stationery.

From save-the-date cards to event programs, Clementine Ink and Paper can manage every paper need

Save-the-date designed by Jenna Plonka of Clementine Ink and Paper

your event will require, incorporating your unique design throughout your day. Jenna has a truly spectacular portfolio of original creations she’s accumulated since she launched her business in 2004, which makes her website fun to browse and her sample books even more exciting to flip through. If an original design isn’t in the cards for your budget, have no fear.  The Studio Collection offers numerous ready-to-order options just waiting for your personal touch.

After tossing around a few creative ideas, Jenna came up with the most wonderful concept that highlighted the city’s skyline, my love for lower-case lettering and showed off our color palate beautifully.  An unbelievable pattern on the back of the card has already found its way into the design concept for the event itself (which we’ll talk about later, of course!)

The best part, though, is the amazing response our cards have gotten. Guests are thrilled and excited by this little sneak peek and have found the wedding website we set-up in advance and highlighted on our cards to be tremendously helpful as they save-the-date for special day.

Thanks to Jenna, our wedding is really starting to come to life.  I can hardly wait to start working on the invitations!

Images courtesy of www.clementineink.com

Chicago Wedding Venue: Cafe Brauer

On April 21, 2011, as we were coming home from a night out, my boyfriend of 3 years pulled a ring out of his jeans pocket and asked me to marry him in the backyard of my parent’s house in Michigan. For any girl, this is the moment of a lifetime. For a girl who plans weddings for a living, this was the moment the starting gun went off! It was finally MY turn!

Happy couple exiting Cafe Brauer. Photo by David Wittig

Over the course of my next couple of blogs, I’m going to give you the inside scoop on how my wedding is coming together. Not because I love to talk about my wedding (which – let’s be honest – I will talk about my wedding to anyone who will listen), but because I think a lot of couples have that “oh crap” moment of where on earth do I even begin.  Don’t be frightened. This process should be FUN, so try to enjoy every minute of it.

My first step was choosing my venue. I really wanted to do something that showcased our personalities while being fun and different for our guests. I’ve worked at Lincoln Park Zoo for the past 5 years, so we toyed with the idea of doing something right on Zoo Grounds but in the end, you simply can’t beat Café Brauer.

Interior of Cafe Brauer, provided by TheKnot.com

Café Brauer, heralded as one of the most popular wedding locations in Chicago, was built as a restaurant in 1908 by the Brauer family in collaboration with designer Dwight H. Perkins. The Cafe enjoyed extreme popularity in the early 20th century, but closed in the 1940’s only to become a storage space for the Chicago Park District. In 1987, Lincoln Park Zoo assumed the management of the space, embarking on a $4.2 million project to restore the Café to its original beauty. Now a major fixture in Lincoln Park, Café Brauer is officially a Chicago Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and one of the most in-demand venues in the city.

Simply, for me, Café Brauer is home. Every time I walk in the Great Hall, I get goose bumps of anticipation knowing that this space will forever be a chapter in our life together.  We decided that the Great Hall was the best location for our ceremony, but we wanted to do something a little more urban for our reception and settled on Gallery 1028 for the party, which you can read about here from one of my earlier blog posts.

When you find your venue you’ll know the same way I did -your gut will tell you. Take your time and find a place that speaks to you. Stand in the space, close your eyes and visualize the day, and when you get the same goose bumps I got, you’ve found your venue.

Historical information on Cafe Brauer from Wikipedia.com

Wedding Favors: Cookies

We have noticed that more and more brides are choosing edible favors for their wedding and really embrace this idea. Favors are such a nice gesture but they are often left behind at the end of the night, or make it home only to be thrown in a drawer. Gourmet wedding cake cookies are our favorite edible favor. They make for favors that guests will actually put to good use!

Having the cookies monogrammed or including your wedding date on them adds a cute personal touch. They add to the table when wrapped up in cellophane and tied with a bow. Or you can even get stacked cookies that look like mini wedding cakes!

These cookies were made by Sarah’s Pastries and Candies in Chicago. At around $4 for the flat cookies and $6 for the stacked set these sweet treats are sure to be a hit without taking a big bite out of your budget.

Wedding Cocktail Hour: Specialty Drinks

Every bride wants people to have a rocking good time at their wedding. You want your guests to have a blast, enjoy a few libations (responsibly, of course!), eat some amazing food and

An apple wheel would be an adorable garnish for this fall favorite.

leave talking about how much fun they had for the next month. For the bride executing their party on a budget, reality may unfortunately set in when you receive your bar proposal – you want people to have fun, but not that much fun.

Don’t sweat it.  A wine and beer-only bar will cover the needs of the majority of your guests, and allows you to have some fun with a specialty cocktail in the color (or theme) of your event at a much lower price point than a full bar. Consider offering your guests red and white wine,  2 different types of beer – I would suggest a regular and a lite option – and something with some personality.

For fall brides, I think something warm with some spice can be a really nice surprise. Spiced Apple Cider with Captain Morgan in little mugs as guests arrive is down-right irresistible. You could even pair this with an apple cider doughnut on the side as a nod to the apple orchards we’re all flocking to at this time of year as an after-dinner treat.

Perhaps you consider a cocktail with meaning – for example, where I went to college, Sangria served in a mason jar with fruit bits soaking up all the deliciousness was a staple on brisk football Saturdays. It brings back all kinds of fun memories for me and my friends, and would be a great item to have on the bar at any of our events.

Spicy sangria is made festive in a mason jar.

Love champagne? How about a Kir Royale – A simple low-cost prosecco or sparkling wine in a champagne flute with just a touch of Chambord and a floating raspberry would add a little sparkle to your day. Nothing says its time to party like a little a little bubbly!

Talk with your caterer about fun ideas of how to work a specialty cocktail into your wedding’s overall look and feel as a cost-effective answer to your bar worries. Don’t forget to have fun with it – these fun touches are what makes your day memorable


Photos compliments of foodnetwork.com

Wedding Fashion: Colored Shoes

I am ob-sessed with the idea of colored shoes to go with your wedding gown.

Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings

A little peek of color hiding under a dress is such a fun little surprise and a nice departure from predictable white footwear. What a fun way to show off your playful personality, or to bring in your wedding colors in an unexpected way.

Chicago Wedding Venue: Gallery 1028

For the bride who is looking for something a little off the beaten path, head over to Goose Island and check out Gallery 1028, a refurbished warehouse owned and operated by Calihan Catering.


Photo compliments of Jeremy Lawson Photography

A loft-like space, complete with exposed brick, built-in ambient lighting, and the blank slate of white art gallery-style walls, Gallery 1028 offers a raw space resulting in a multitude of options for creative couples looking to design their reception from the ground up. Calihan Catering is the exclusive catering provider, but no other vendor is off-limits, allowing couples to customize to their heart’s content.

Photo compliments of Jeremy Lawson Photography

Dedicated spaces for cocktails and dinner allow guests to have two completely separate experiences within the same space, while the outdoor loading dock offers the perfect get-away for a little fresh air. With parking for as many cars as you can handle available for free on-site, it is truly a diamond in an unexplored part of downtown.

To learn more about Gallery 1028, visit their website at www.gallery-1028.com.

Photos courtesy of www.jeremylawsonphotography.com