Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Watters recently debuted their Spring 2015 collection for brides! We are loving the free-flowing feel of these gorgeous gowns. Below are some of our favorites! Which gowns do you like? 




Photos Courtesy of Watters; photos showcase SPRING 2015 collection for the following brands: Watters Brides, Watters Bridesmaids, Encore and D.I.D. by Watters. Available nationwide by October 2014.

Monday, April 21, 2014


You have to be a member of the club to host a wedding or special event.
You do not have to be a member to host wedding or an event at the Royal Clubs! There are no non-member fees for hosting an event at one of our four facilities. 

Country Clubs charge higher prices than public facilities.

Country Club weddings are very comparable to public venues. We have many packages and are able to personalize a menu that is sure to please you and your guests. Our strong relationship with area vendors assists our brides in finding all that they need for their special day. We offer referral lists which include everything from bakers to DJs and florists to photographers. 

Country Clubs do not offer full wedding packages.

The Royal Country Clubs offer wedding packages to fit any budget and also will personalize a package for you. Our packages start with all your standard wants and build up to include all of your dreams. Some of the packages include Late Night Snacks, Sweet Tables, Candy Stations, Chavari Chairs, Specialty Linens, Flowers, and Horse-Drawn Carriages to name just a few. We understand every bride is different and we want their package to reflect their vision. 

Country Clubs have a higher service charge.

Royal Country Clubs service charge is comparable or even lower than some of our competitors. The service we give should have a higher price because of the “Royal” service you receive, but it doesn’t. Our motto is we like to treat our guests like “Royalty.”

Country Clubs will not allow wedding parties access to the golf course for pictures.

This depends on the club. At the Royal Country Clubs, our wedding coordinator will assist you and your wedding party out on our picturesque golf courses. We have seen many pictures taken and can assist you on finding that perfect photo. The golf carts that we allow you to use make for fun pictures and will help you to get to the perfect location.

Members will have access to your private space.

Members are notified when a wedding is going to take place and they are very supportive to have their club showcased and are respectful of your special day. 

Country Clubs are too stuffy.

Yes, Royal Country Clubs will treat you like royalty but in the warmest, comfortable and most relaxed setting. Our weddings range anywhere from a rustic feel to a black tie affair. Our experienced coordinators will help you create the ambiance you want while bringing joy and happiness to the wedding planning process.

Royal Weddings & Events features four country club locations to choose from to host your special day. The Royal Fox and Royal Hawk are located in St. Charles, The Grove is in Long Grove, while Klein Creek Golf Club is in Winfield. For more information on Royal Weddings & Events, please email or visit

Close your eyes and imagine yourself in your dream wedding dress… Got it? (Wait...this is written, so go ahead and open your eyes back up) Now back to where we were. Some women who have that beautiful alabaster skin all creamy and Victorian want to show that off next to their gowns and that’s wonderful. But if you're like me (German, Irish, Italian) my heritage is confused and it's not sure if it wants to have olive or pink undertones. So when I'm pale, it's far from pretty.

 Now when I used to lay out in the sun (and still do on occasion because it feels so nice) I got a nice golden tan. But as I get older and smarter I realized that sitting out in the sun not only dehydrates my skin, making my pores look larger but its like taking all that time using good skin care and throwing it out the window (see previous blogs to read about my skin care regimens). Plus, we all know that sitting out in the sun without a good strong SPF can be very dangerous. So, when I'm looking for a good tan, now I cheat and use self tanners!

Here are the pros and cons of self tanners:

Pro: Most over-the-counter brands of self-tanner are inexpensive ($15-$40).

Con: Many of the over-the-counter types will make you orange and streaky (Oompa Loompa territory).

Pro: Going to a tanning salon is usually around $30 and lasts longer than the over-the-counter brands (about a week).

Con: Making an appointment when salons are open and stepping into a room where a machine sprays your body with a smelly mixture that flakes.

Pro: Mobile spray tanning (anywhere from $39-75) comes to your home or office at your time of choice, lasts longer, the experienced tanner makes sure there are no streaks or smudges.

Con: You might fall in love and want to do it every other week. (Yep, it lasts about 1.5 weeks.)

There are a ton of tanning places out there -- make sure you select a quality service! For my clients, we use only completely organic products and have a tent to make sure everything stays clean. And we'll come 24/7 … yep, you read that right. We have tanned clients at midnight and at 5:30 am before! Whenever you need!

One of our packages includes two tans for the bride. The bridal party (moms and guys included) also working with us on that day can get up to 3 tanning sessions for $29 each! We will make sure you get pre- and post-tanning instructions to make sure your tan last the longest it can.

Check out your options- we'd love to hear your feedback!


For more information about Kate Johnson Artistry or for a consultation, email Kate at!

Friday, April 18, 2014

See other Bridal Beauty series posts: Bachelorette Bash + Stylish Shower + Final Dress Fitting

Photo: Schademann Studios

In this series by makeup artist Tricia Clarke, we're discussing how to beautify the whole wedding process. So far, we've covered your bachelorette party, wedding shower, and final dress fitting. For this fourth installment in our series, we are focusing on something that is becoming more and more popular, your engagement photo session.

It's not a new concept to have engagement photos taken with your betrothed, just look back through family members' scrapbooks and you're sure to find yellowed newspaper clippings from the Announcements section of their local paper. Engaged couples met with the photographer from the newspaper, were told how to pose (and probably only given two options) and the picture accompanied a paragraph or two containing details of how the couple met and where they went to school. These days, with the advent of save-the-date cards, wedding websites and the prevalence of social media in everything, the engagement photo session has morphed into a fun event of its own. This is a good thing because it gives you the chance to audition some of your most important vendors.

Through my work as a makeup artist, I've seen countless occasions in which the bride meets the photographer the morning of the wedding, and it's apparent their personalities don't mesh. Now, many of these photographers might still deliver good results, but do you want to be spending all day with someone's lens in your face when you don't feel comfortable with them? I didn't think so! Just as it is so important to "click" with your makeup artist, it is also crucial that you click with your photographer. Your engagement photo session is a great opportunity to give both a trial run.

Having your photos taken by a pro will give you beautiful images of you and your fiance in non-wedding clothes, and you can take them pretty much wherever you want. Having your makeup done that day will let you see how your makeup photographs, and gives you the chance to make any adjustments with your makeup artist prior to your wedding day. Never worn false lashes before? Don't wait until your wedding day to try them! See how they look and feel by wearing them for your photos--then you'll know for sure if you want them to be part of your wedding look. Don't know how well your lipstick holds up to kissing? Take it for a test drive!

If you are able to use both your wedding photographer and makeup artist for your engagement photo session, you are one step closer to making sure your wedding day is beautiful, and beautifully captured. You will know that you feel comfortable with both people providing services, and can look forward to spending time with them, primping and documenting your special day. IF it turns out that you aren't a fan of one or the other, you still have time to find someone else! Take full advantage of the events leading up to your big day to put together a team that will make your wedding what YOU want it to be! You are your most radiant when you are confident in yourself and in the decisions you've made, so seize the chance to make best choices you can.

For more amazing beauty advice, check out Tricia Clarke Makeup on Facebook. To chat with Tricia about a beauty question or to schedule an appointment for your big day(s), email

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nina and Joey Glorioso got engaged two months after dating, but their connection started long before that. Both hail from the same Chicago neighborhood and the bride’s stepfather and groom’s father were childhood best friends. “We never knew each other until about five years ago,” says Nina. “When we finally did meet, the rest became history.”

Nina and Joey had a non-religious ceremony (and reception) at Shedd Aquarium that involved a lot of family, including the groom’s cousin who officiated the wedding; the bride’s cousin who gave a reading; the bride’s goddaughter who served as the flower girl; and the groom’s half-brother, who was the ring bearer. The reception’s theme was all about feathers, including varieties of plumes from owls, ostriches and maribus. Even the centerpieces had a feather focus. “The centerpieces were large trumpet vases filled with LED crystal lights. At the top of each vase was a large ivory ostrich feather poof,” says Nina. “At the top and bottom of each vase, was a light pink feather bracelet.” The Aquarium proved to be an interactive venue, which included a live fish feeding in front of guests. The professional diver who conducted the feeding wore a personalized T-shirt showing the couple’s photo, their custom monogram logo and their wedding date. “Every guest remembered that part of the wedding and shares the story with people they know,” says Nina. “It was such a unique detail to have included in an already special day!”


Shedd Aquarium

Aria Wedding Films

Michael Szymanski

Annabella Boutique

JanAshley DeJesus

House of Brides

Pulp & Ink

Shedd Aquarium

Anthony “Frank” Cassano

Lutz Bakery

Second City Trolley

This Real ChicagoStyle Wedding was featured in our 2013/2014 issue! See it on pages 452-453, "Family, Fish and Feathers".

Monday, April 14, 2014

I was lucky enough to chat with Katie O'Reilly, Co-Owner and Co-President of Kenmare Catering & Events in Chicago. Katie's background lies in Protocol and Event Management for dignitaries, counsel generals and presidents from all over the world! It was amazing to listen to her philosophies on food, service and excellence in quality. Below are a few of my favorite excerpts from our discussion. Read on about "Food as Art" and always making sure the client is happy! 

The Philosophy
"We strive for excellence. What we want is for the whole event to be excellent for the client. We want the food quality, the luxury, the ease and the energy of the event to be very, very high according to the dream and the vision of the client. That's what's really important - that we have to capture what they want for the event. And excellence can be food quality, food presentation, eating with your eyes first, and it's also staff, general nature of our employees and the presentation, and their joy in serving things to the clients. That they actually find a passion in doing what they do...The goal is the same for everybody in our company: make sure the client is happy."

Crafting Menus
"Figure out who's vision it is - who's making the decisions? I get that person on the phone with me. I listen to what they present to me first, and then I ask them questions: What's important to you? Did you meet somewhere significant? Is there something you're trying to deliver to your guests at the event that is significant? Is there something about you that we should know -- not only food and taste, but also that underlying 'What else'? What makes it that much more special for you? And I take in all of that information.

"I always ask their likes and dislikes because sometimes people forget to tell you. Let's say there's a salad with blue cheese on it and one of them doesn't like it, but they say, "It's okay, I'll just pick around it.' My theory is why would you pick around it? Just tell us and we'll take it off! It's that easy. Or we can replace it with something you do like. Let's make exactly what you want. So, we're extremely flexible, but also help them to vocalize and to actually put into words what they like and don't like. Before that point it can be a little overwhelming and confusing and they think, 'Eh, I'll just settle.' We don't want people to settle. We want to be exactly what they want. So we help them create that by having conversation and asking questions to help them develop that vision."

"Everything that comes out of our kitchen has to look beautiful...Because we use such fresh ingredients, we are always looking for natural colors in produce that can enhance things without changing the flavor - or at least by enhancing the flavor. Or we use seasonal items! We go outside the box in terms of living green, where we can trim our own things that are season. We get edible flowers all the time! We get things to add color without adjusting the flavor.

"Then we use different color profiles in the vegetables we use. So, say it's a carrot. We use an heirloom carrot, so we get a purple with the yellow inside, we get an orange with a yellow inside, a white with a green inside. And then we slice those so that you can see all the color. So we actually take that and make sure we're displaying the beauty of that to the client while still making it very easy to eat and very palate-forward.

"It's kind of a complex thing, but it works. Everything that comes out has artistry. [It's] behind every single thing that we design. I draw pictures, I lay out places, I see bite sizes, I choose colors.

Bite Size
"It's a huge consideration. Actually that's one of the biggest considerations. When you sit down with people at a party, watch how many bites it takes for someone to eat something. There's an actual method behind it! Because if you have passed hors d'oeuvres, are they one-bite or two-bites? If it's a two bite, does it fall apart after the first bite? Then we have to redesign it. Because I don't want to wear it, do you? That's what it actually comes down to: what is the actual functionality of that piece? So there's function behind it. Art and function. There's a lot that goes into it.

"Usually by the time they sit down with me and they see the hors d'oeuvres come out, they'll see a selection of probably four on a plate set in front of them for a tasting. They'll see the variety of beauty in those pieces. And then as we eat it, you're focusing just on that. If you were standing at a party, how would you envision this? And you make your decision based on that. The benefit to us is that everything is homemade. So if the size isn't working or we need to make adjustments, it's so easily done -- because we do it! It's up to us! We just have to make those decisions and see what the client wants."

Her History of Excellence
"It's shaped our company based on the level of excellence that we demand, because that was where I started. I started at the highest level [of excellence]. Plus, background-wise...I was exposed to a lot. I've been exposed to the highest quality luxury hotels, the finest dining restaurant experiences throughout the world, I've traveled a lot. I've had first-hand experience with a lot of this stuff. And to understand what my high level of clientele demands, well, it's often times what I'd demand myself. I've seen it. I've experienced it. So I know the differences. And then to cater to people visiting a cultural institution, there's protocol that requires us to have a certain level of standards. And when you are dealing with people from different cultures, there's already a predetermined level of excellence. That was my starting point. That was where I started from and I've only worked up from there. So that's what I require to see at every event. And it could be a backyard bar-be-que. It's not that it has to be formal, it just has to be the best."

Irish hospitality
"What happens in Ireland is that you get the pure ingredients. When we go over to Ireland, we leave our cell phones behind, our computers behind and we just live. So you simplify everything and see what's right in front of you. We're really present with the ingredients, with the people, with the surroundings - that's excellence in itself: purity is excellence.

"It doesn't have to be the most formal event, it has to be beautiful, it has to be fresh, it has to be presented in its best form - even if that's just simple. Simple done perfectly is excellence, as well...We have to deliver the product uncompromised. So, it allows us to kind of strip down to our true nature and just live, which is nice. And then we transfer things like that into everything we do. We do keep the ingredients real simple, and then we present them beautifully. But they're still fresh and we don't compromise the integrity of the ingredients."

Germania Place
"That's actually where we started our company...Reid started the company at Germania Place. He started the foundation of our company there because it was an amazing venue and we began catering out of there. So our main kitchen is actually located in that location...In building that, Kenmare is our off-premise division. Same chef, same staff, same everybody, same quality."

Thank you so much to Katie O'Reilly for sharing her philosophies, techniques and the art behind the food at Kenmare! 

Kenmare Catering & Events is located in Chicago at 108 West Germania Place. Call 312-787-0190 or email to discuss catering or renting space at Germania Place.

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