Monday, December 22, 2014

Val Stefani and Moonlight Bridal recently debuted their stunning Spring 2015 collections. This designing sister duo work together from start to finish on each gown, all the while sharing and implementing every creative idea to bring the fierce feminine aesthetic that is the inspiration behind the collection to life. Awww. :]

This season, eye-catching elements by way of color and crystal embellishments are at hand in each collection while staples such as intricate beading, lace details and classic silhouettes offer bride the consistency, taste and quality associated with Val Stefani and Moonlight Bridal. Be sure to catch our feature on Moonlight Couture Bridal next week!

Friday, December 19, 2014


Outdoor weddings are a huge trend for spring and summer, but there are some truly important details to consider when planning -- especially when it comes to photography. Our friend and wedding photography pro Will Knight of Will Knight Photography gives us the details on what to expect from your photographer at an outdoor wedding.

Like a Fairy Tale
Many couples dream of getting married on the beach, their toes curling in the sand and the ocean lapping gently at the shore as they say their vows. As Will comments:
“Outdoor weddings are something akin to a fairy tale. The idea of getting married outside in the sunshine is one that will always be popular and it is a privilege to be able to share this dream scenario with the happy couple by photographing their big day.”

Lighting is Key
While the perfect temperature is not guaranteed, a great photographer will know what to do in any weather. Setting up equipment to suit the light for a particular location is important, and being able to manipulate it through rain or shine...well, that's why you hire a pro. Will Knight explains:
“Lighting is key and requires particular attention for an outdoor event, where it will change throughout the day. A professional wedding photographer will ensure that he or she achieves fantastic pictures throughout the day, providing the couple with a photographic record to treasure for years to come.”

Details, Details
As with all event photography, it's the little details that produce some of the best photographs. A great photographer will ensure all these details are captured. Will concludes: 

"A close up shot of table decorations, a natural image of a groomsman helping to make your guests comfortable or a stolen moment of a page boy digging into the sand with his smart wedding shoes when he thinks nobody is looking – these are the images that will tell the true story of the day, alongside the traditional shots of the bride and groom, of course.  
“Every couple wants to have fantastic images of as many moments of the day as possible. The father giving his daughter away, the exchanging of the rings, the first kiss as a married couple – those are essential. But it’s also important to capture the moments that the bride and groom may not have the time to appreciate in the whirlwind of the day, like the way that the fabric chair decorations blow in the breeze, or close-up shots of the flowers. With wedding photography, every little detail is important.”

Thanks to Will Knight, a specialist wedding and events photographer based in Chicago. For more information on his services, call Will Knight Photography at 312.961.6067, email or visit

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Photo by Ocken Photography

You’ve put in the work. You went to the dress fittings, coordinated the bridal shower and even covered the hotel costs for those cheap bridesmaids who you knew weren’t going to pay for a thing (don’t feel bad, there are 1-2 of these in EVERY group of bridesmaids, being the maid of honor means taking one or two for the team).

You also tried that weird paleo-diet that the girl at work told you about in effort to drop weight like a high school wrestler. You have been there for the bride, through and through, and next to the bride YOU are the most stunning object in the room.

The best man just wrapped up his speech and chances are he mumbled through some crap about the time he and the groom played video games until five in the morning, almost got arrested and had that "sick time in Cancun." Now it’s your turn to show the crowd why women rule and guys drool, slobber and burp their way to weirdness.

You’ve prepared the speech, practiced it 15-20 times, have your main points down on note cards and are ready to go. Here are three tips that will make you sound relaxed, confident and likable.

  1. Slow Down – Before the first word pops out, take a deep breath and make a conscious effort to slow your words. It’s natural that you will be nervous and the adrenaline will be pumping, so ultimately you’re going to be speaking faster in the heat of the moment. A deep breath and a genuine smile will get you going in the right direction (TIP: Don’t underestimate the power of a smile, it diffuses tension and makes people feel welcomed…a free, easy thing to do to reflect your best self).
  2. Eye Contact – Before the speech, scan the room and pick three spots to direct your attention. My advice, the DJ (for the whole room), the bride and groom and most importantly, the bride and groom’s parents. When describing the great attributes of the bride (her loyalty, beauty, infectious laughter), be sure to look at the bride’s parents for at least 3-5 seconds. Your compliments reflect their efforts of raising a great girl.
  3. Acknowledge the Obvious – This is a chance for you to stick out with an observation that people notice, but rarely vocalize. Doing stand-up for a number of years, I would immediately acknowledge to the crowd if something was weird off the bat (i.e. an audience member looking like a celebrity). If there is a crazy uncle wearing ridiculous plaid pants, something along the lines of "I'm glad Uncle Steven showed up…apparently he’s playing 9 holes tomorrow so he thought he’d just get an early start with the plaid pants." As long as you smile while saying it and it doesn’t come off malicious, you’re all good.
The most important part is to remember who this speech is about. If you're the maid/matron of honor, there's a reason the bride (or groom) selected you. They care for you and know they can depend on you. 

Thanks to Josh Womack, founder of Laughstaff, a speech-writing company that uses stand-up comedians as consultants to best men and maids/matrons of honor around the world. Laughstaff has written over 140 speeches and will help you deliver a wedding toast that is heartfelt, hilarious and memorable. Follow them on twitter and check them out at!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Enduring love and imaginative fairy tales inspire the Beverly Hills-based designer Winnie Chlomin's newest collection. Inspired by Danish choreographer August Bournonville's romantic ballet, La Sylphide, the Winnie Couture Fall 2015 collection features soft, light, airy styles and fluidity silhouettes.

Hallmarks of the newest collection include imaginative styles filled with nature, delicate light fabrics, as well as pastel color embroidery, fine hand-beading, three dimensional floral appliques and Swarovski crystal embellishments.

Which gowns are your favorites?

Friday, December 12, 2014


There are no longer rules that apply to a wedding reception. Each bride has the freedom to create the style of event that she wants for her big day. There are several factors that can determine what type of venue will work best for the overall feel and look of your wedding. However, there is one type of venue in particular that will provide you with the most advantages to ensure your day runs smoothly and provide you with the most stress relief -- a hotel!

 Here are a few benefits to booking your reception at a hotel:

Overnight Accommodations:
How much easier can it be to take an elevator home for the night? Most hotels that host weddings offer a discounted block of guest rooms for your overnight guests. This is especially convenient if you have a large number of out of town guests. This also cuts down on the worry of your guests drinking and driving.

Hotels often include “freebies” in their wedding package. Like us, many hotels will include a complementary suite for the bride and groom on the night of the wedding, as well as complementary upgrades for the parents of the newlyweds. Often there are also discounts for any events hosted in conjunction of your wedding, such as the rehearsal dinner and/or bon voyage brunch to name a few.

Reward Points:
Most major hotel companies have a loyalty or rewards program of some type. At Hyatt Regency Chicago, we offer our clients Hyatt Gold Passport Points for every dollar spent at the reception. If you book your honeymoon through the same hotel, you'll likely get a great deal of extra points for that, as well. These points can be redeemed later for some fabulous benefits. 

Equipment rentals can really start to add up and take away a big portion of your budget. Hotels typically do not charge for standard items that they own, which are used during a reception. This could include all standard china, glassware silver, serving equipment, hotel-owned linen, staging, dance floor and chairs. Upgrades to those standard items are usually offered at a small fee. This availability of equipment also comes in handy when your Aunt Edna unexpectedly shows up to the reception. Any last minute changes can easily be accommodated.

Engagement Fun Fact:
An average wedding in the United States has 175 guests.

Thank you so much to Rebecca and our friends over at the Hyatt Regency Chicago for all their sage advice!


Saying “yes” to your dress, is both an emotional and exciting event. If the selection process leaves you too exhausted to choose your veil and accessories, ask your consultant to schedule a separate one-on-one appointment to finalize your look as soon as possible.

Veils, tiaras and most headpieces are not readily available and must be special ordered like a gown. Generally, delivery time averages up to five months, depending on the manufacturer, so it is best to order early to avoid rush fees.

Veils are usually available in a variety of colors to closely match the color of your gown including White, Diamond White, Ivory, Champagne, Light Gold, and Blush. Many gown designers also have veils specifically made to enhance their dresses. It is common for wedding dresses to have several colors, appear both dark and light and be varied due to beading. So, if you are in doubt about a veil color, the lighter hue is often the best choice. Remember to ask your consultant for professional recommendations and she will be happy to assist!

When choosing a veil, the length is an important consideration. If you desire a chic, sophisticated look, then short birdcages, face veils and French nets may be of interest.

Brides preferring a traditional veil will find a variety of lengths beginning with elbow (32 inches), shoulder (30 inches), fingertip (38 inches), knee (48 inches), waltz (55 inches) floor (68-72 inches) and cathedral veils (108 inches).

Traditional veil styles typically include an option for a second tier to cover the face as the bride walks down the aisle, which is known as a blusher. The length of the second tier can often be customized by your seamstress.

The options for your complete look are endless! If you were unable to finalize your accessories when you initially found your gown, then make a follow-up appointment soon with your consultant.

Thanks so much to our friends at Kathryn's Bridal for this awesome information! Learn more about veils, gowns and accessories on their website at All products shown and mentioned in this article are available exclusively at Kathryn’s Bridal! Call them at 815.385.7330 for an appointment today!

Photos courtesy of Bel Aire Bridal and Kathryn's Bridal
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