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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

GUEST POST BY LAUREN RANDOLPH, FOUNDER AND CEO OF MY HOTEL WEDDING


As the founder of a wedding blog dedicated to hotel weddings, it’s no wonder that I have a serious passion for these elegant affairs. And that’s not just because I spent years planning them! There are so many reasons why having a hotel wedding will make your special day less stressful and more fun, but for now lets start with 5 of my favorite reasons.

1. Convenience: From getting ready to passing out after a long day of celebrating, you can't beat the convenience of everything for your hotel wedding being under one roof. No more worrying about transportation for out-of-town guests or lag time between your ceremony and reception because it's all at your hotel! And the bonus, hotel weddings turn your whole wedding weekend into one long party and vacation rolled into one.

Photo by Gronde Photography

2. Room service: It’s one of the best parts about staying at a hotel, right? Nothing beats breakfast in bed, especially the day after your wedding! Plus, you can pre-order snacks to munch on while you’re getting ready throughout the day, all without having to leave the comfort of your room!


Photo by Meg Baisden Photography

3. Complimentary car services: Did you know that many hotels have complimentary car service? Some even have luxury cars like Porsches and Rolls Royces! So if you were planning on renting a car for the day of your wedding, check with your hotel first to see what options they can offer you free of charge.


Photo by Gronde Photography

4. The photos: Hotel weddings have some of the most gorgeous photo ops, I've ever seen. There are the beautiful ballroom shots, gorgeous suites for your getting ready photos, and some hotels may even let you on their roof for 360 degree city views. No matter your hotel, you’re bound to have plenty of elegant backdrops to grace your wedding photo album.


Photo by Tami Melissa Photography

5. The hotel safe: Often overlooked, a hotel safe can be a true lifesaver for your wedding day. It keeps your precious wedding day jewelry safe and secures all the valuable wedding envelopes you'll receive from friends and family. Trust us, you will not want your wedding day to be spoiled by wedding gifts gone missing!


Photo by Mioara Dragan Photography


There are so many more awesome things about hotel weddings, but we'll save those for another time. And remember that Chicago has some of the most gorgeous hotels in North America, right in your backyard! If you’re ever looking for more hotel wedding tips, tools or total inspiration, you know where to find us.



Thank you so much to Lauren Randolph for her great thoughts on why hotel weddings can be truly amazing! For more information about hosting your hotel wedding, check out myhotelwedding.com! We met our friends at My Hotel Wedding through a twitter chat. Join us as we discuss all things wedding on Wednesdays at 3:00 p.m. Central using the hashtag #bridalbabble.


Monday, July 28, 2014

GUEST POST BY AMANDA LIBERATORE, GEORGE STREET PHOTO & VIDEO


What’s radiating with joy and the proud owner of an oh-so-gorgeous diamond ring? Why you, Miss Blushing Bride-to-Be! The perfect way to share the sweet news with your loved ones? An engagement session!

From save-the-dates to newspaper announcements, a creative, eye-catching photo that showcases your love for the one another is the best way to get everyone excited for the big day! Here are a few ways you can take your photos to the next level!


Places with a Purpose: Shooting your session in a location that’s meaningful to the two of you will make your photos all the more special. Is it the El stop where he first said ‘I love you’? Your favorite diner? Stop there for your session! It’s the perfect way to share a special, romantic part of your relationship with the world.






Sweet Shades: Say it with me — color, color, color! The secret to captivating photos is choosing shades that characterize your personal style and the aesthetic you’d like to achieve for your session. Unsure how to pinpoint those hues? Play off the natural backdrop of your location. For instance, if you’re shooting an autumn session, sport neutrals to accent the rich colors of the changing trees. Perfection!








Harness Your Hobbies: Are you and your beau coffee connoisseurs? Sports enthusiasts? Whatever your common bond may be, there’s no better way to shake up your session than by incorporating something you both love and enjoy. The end result will be creative, while still reflecting who you are as a pair. And really, what’s better than showcasing something that makes you, you?






Props that Pop: When used appropriately, props can go a long way when it comes to adding a little creativity to your session — whether it’s matching coffee mugs or a customized banner! Whatever props you choose, make sure they’re relevant to the style of your session or elements of your relationship! You may even consider tying in your overall wedding theme — that way, your friends and family will get a mini sneak-peek into your plans for the day!






Savvy Save-the-Dates: If you know you’re going to use your engagement photos for your save-the-dates, get crafty with it! There are so many fun DIY projects (hello, Pinterest!) for creating a fresh and fun save-the-date. We love handmade ampersand signs and initials, as well as mini painted pumpkins for fall!




Are those mental wheels turning? Good! Take these tips to heart, and you’re sure to rock your session! Have fun!

XO,
Amanda


Thank you very much to George Street Photo & Video for sharing these unique ways to spice up your engagement photos! Visit Amanda and the George Street team at georgestreetphoto.com or check them out on Facebook. For more information call 866.831.4103 or email info@georgestreetphoto.com.
“The morning of our wedding I woke up before the sun even began to rise, I was so excited! My mother is a sales consultant at Kathryn’s Bridal, and did such a lovely job putting together the gown, jacket, veil and shoes. I would not have felt the way I did without her! The gown fit perfectly and I really did feel like a model out of a bridal magazine.

Our reception took place at the Seville in Streamwood. The Seville is so very special to my parents because several decades ago they were married there, too! We could not have asked for more support and love from our family and friends. The dinner and dancing went by as quick as everyone says, and I did cry when I danced with my father (as I knew I would). Our day was more than we could have ever imagined, everything was perfect and we could not have done it without our family, especially our parents. Thank you!” -Annalise




CEREMONY SITE

RECEPTION SITE

PHOTOGRAPHY

OFFICIANT

WEDDING CONSULTANT

BRIDE'S GOWN/ALTERATIONS

HAIR/MAKEUP

MOTHER OF THE BRIDE'S GOWN
Kathryn's Bridal

BRIDESMAIDS' GOWNS
Kathryn's Bridal

TUXEDO
Kathryn's Bridal

FLORAL:

CAKE

TRANSPORATION
















Friday, July 25, 2014

Planning an outdoor wedding? Let us give you some advice - heels and soil (or sand) don't go very well together. Save yourself and your 'maids the embarrassment of a stuck situation by taking an alternate route. 

Nearly Naked is a collection of new "barefoot sandals." Founder/designer Crista Grasso has been designing handmade jewelry since she was a child and has been selling her jewelry since she was in her teens. “Jewelry is a means of self expression. It’s a reflection of the person you are today and a window into the person you will be come tomorrow,” Crista says. 

These sexy, stylish foot adornments can be worn alone or with cute, open toe shoes. So, enjoy your beach wedding "nearly naked" and then slide into your adorable pumps when the party begins at the reception. 

“Jewelry is one of the few things that can always be an expression of you and reflect who you really are. It can make you feel strong, sexy, and confident. If your jewelry doesn’t do this for you, you are wearing the wrong Jewelry.” says Crista. Visit their website to see the full collection!









What do you think of barefoot sandals? Would you be into them for your outdoor wedding or would you stick with something more traditional? 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

GUEST POST BY JES KOCEMBA, CREATIVE MARKETING DIRECTOR AT MENTORMOB


Photo by WASIO Photography

Working in the startup world, you are constantly learning new things. And with a company like MentorMob, a website where you can learn, enhance or master skills or hobbies for free, that learning tends to get amplified.

One of the many upcoming topics for the site launch in a few months is Wedding Planning, and we had to start from the ground up. That means networking with a community of wedding planners and wedding enthusiasts, finding and creating all the right content and finally organizing the guidebook.

This was my first glance into wedding planning, despite having attended many before. It’s a life event that is so anticipated yet can be so difficult.

These are a few things that I learned from hours and hours of wedding planning research that you should know before you start:


Sign Up For Pinterest
The wedding community here is huge and awesome. It is a great place to find inspiration and DIY ideas. Check out ethnic and original wedding ideas, but always be careful to not set your expectations too high. Many pins on Pinterest are professionally done, so look for inspiration and then make it your own.

Don’t Obsess Over Wedding Timelines
A wedding timeline is there to help guide you, but every wedding is different. Check out wedding timelines to get an idea of what yours could look like, but make your day about you and your partner. Never forget about your timeline after the wedding either, the next day and even year after matter just as much as the big day.

Find Wedding Communities
Looking to your friends and family for wedding help is a no-brainer, but people don’t realize how many wedding resources there are out there. Look for wedding twitter chats, forums, Facebook groups and bloggers. All of these places can help you find very realistic and good advice and sometimes even better prices for services. There are so many communities out there to help you, all you have to do is ask.

Don’t Fall In Love With Just One Thing (except your partner)
So many things can (and do) go wrong on the wedding day, so always have an alternative for just about everything. Have someone that is at your wedding who is not in the wedding party, most likely a close friend or relative know about plan B, so they can quickly help execute any changes that are needed throughout the day.

Enjoy It
After all the searching, planning and preparing, only YOU can make sure you ENJOY every minute. Just make sure you take things lightheartedly, because this day is not about stress, it’s about you, your partner, friends, family and love. Enjoy your time as a bride to be because it will fly by.


Wedding planning really is a special experience, and working with ChicagoStyle Weddings and many others in the wedding planning community has been a great privilege. Here at MentorMob, we hope you take our little bits of advice to heart as you get started on your special day! Best of luck!



Thank you so much to Jes and her friends at MentorMob! They are featuring our blog posts on their site as they compile the "best of the best" advice for brides and grooms planning their wedding! MentorMob is a lifestyle learning website where a community of enthusiasts find the best free learning content on the web and organize it into an interactive guidebook -- think of it as the Wikipedia of learning new skills and lifestyles. Follow MentorMob on Facebook and Pinterest to stay in the loop on new and upcoming site developments.


Let the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza River North help you plan the wedding of your dreams. Overlooking the Chicago River, the Wolf Point Ballroom provides you with spectacular views of the Chicago city skyline and an unrivaled air of magic and romance. 

For a more intimate setting, there is the LaSalle Room, and for weddings up to 450, they offer the newly renovated, exquisite Sauganash Ballroom. Exceptional wedding packages and outstanding cuisine make for the perfect night!




One bride told her story through an exceptional Yelp review. Check it out:


"We were just over the moon for everything at our wedding reception- the staff, the food, the decor, the space, and especially how well we and our guests were treated and accommodated.

"When we got to the hotel we went up to our complimentary bridal suite to freshen up. Boy, oh boy was it swanky! It was HUGE! The bathroom was giant, there was a dining room with a long table, a fridge, a living room, and a separate bedroom. We also had a full wall of windows looking out over the river. Our parents' complimentary rooms were also huge with amazing views!

"Downstairs at cocktail hour, [the staff who were] sort of running our event were waiting for us. They escorted us into the main reception room to let us have a look around. We LOVED it! Our up-lighting added such a fun element to the room, the candy table was set up perfectly, the centerpieces and tables and votive candles looked great. And of course the view. Oh how it made the room sparkle!

"[They] made sure we were happy with everything. I have to say- they outdid themselves. They dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's and didn't leave out a single element or detail. They remembered to reserve two seats at each parent's table to ensure that our parents got the best view of the room. They put an anniversary card at each table making sure the table number corresponded to the number on the envelope. They put the flip flops out by the DJ's table and made sure that our VERY expensive VERY delicate cake topper made it onto the top of our cake safe and sound.

"I also want to add that they were incredibly accommodating and sweet to us and our guests. When my SIL's nanny took her baby upstairs to bed, the nice gentleman brought a filet mignon up to the nanny and reported back to us that our nephew was fast asleep!

"We also had a late night hot dog station which wound up being a huge hit with our guests...I later found out that my father wanted to taste the chili for the hot dogs but by the time he went back for a sample, the dogs had all been eaten and had been cleared away. He asked that [a staff member] if he could get a chili sample. And of course he ran into the kitchen and got my father a small bowl of chili. It made my dad's night! My dad still talks about that hot dog station!

"I'd also like to mention that at the end of the evening they made sure everything was packed up with care. As I mentioned earlier, our cake topper was both expensive and fragile. They treated it with the same TLC you'd treat a newborn baby and it made it home in perfect condition. The leftover cake was all packed up and stored overnight in the hotel fridge. They packed up the remaining candy, decor, picture frames, etc and they brought everything up to our room for us.

"When we got to our room that night, we found a few sweet surprises from the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza River North to us! Don't fret, I won't spoil the surprise for all of you future brides!

The next morning we had a private breakfast for our overnight guests. The staff working this event were wonderful as well. Attentive and eager to please. My new sister-in-law wanted a cheese danish but I ate the last one (oops). One of the guys working our breakfast overheard my SIL mention that she'd love a cheese danish and he ran to the kitchen and got an extra one just for her. It's a little thing, but it's all those little things that differentiate good from outstanding. They did too many little, extra, wonderful things to list. We loved everything about our Holiday Inn Mart Plaza River North wedding reception. I can't say enough exemplary things about...the entire team over at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza River North. Thanks to them for being a kind, thoughtful, hardworking crew. They really made ours the wedding of our dreams!" - Christy Q of Chicago, IL


The team at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza River North makes sure every event is just as beautiful and carefree as the one in the bride's story above! Check out some pictures of other weddings at this amazing local venue!
















For more information about Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza River North, visit their website at martplaza.com, call 312.836.5000 or email wedding@martplaza.com.


 
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