Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Photographer Jill Tiongco not only took gorgeous pictures of the couple's celebration but also got the scoop on their sweet engagement story. 

“The couple had planned a trip to San Francisco with Lauren’s college friends the first weekend of March in 2015. It was technically Lauren’s first time in San Francisco, so they spent Friday doing all kinds of touristy things before meeting up with the group for dinner. Joe was insistent on going up to Twin Peaks before dinner to “watch the sunset" but Lauren was skeptical about getting across town during rush hour traffic. However, Joe uncharacteristically put his foot down and Lauren rushed to get ready, complaining that she didn’t have enough time to put on her jewelry… 

When the couple arrived at Twin Peaks, Joe gave Lauren a scrapbook full of cards they had exchanged over the course of their relationship, complete with explanations of what they meant to him and why he loved them. The last card in the book was new and read “Grow old along with me… the best is yet to be.” Joe got down on one knee and proposed right then and there. Lauren, not usually a fan of surprises, was shocked and thrilled. The couple spent the rest of the night and weekend celebrating with Lauren’s college friends, making the weekend even more special and memorable."

Pictured Vendors: Jill Tiongco Photography (photography), Newberry Library (venue), You Name It Events (wedding coordinator), WTOO (bride's dress), Jarlo (bridesmaid dresses), Ike Behar (tuxedos), Becky Rosza (place cards, table numbers), Stacie Yarosz (hair), Antonette White (makeup), Vale of Enna (floral), and Event Brilliance (lighting).

Can't get enough Real Weddings? Head over to and browse through our collection of Windy City nuptials!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Inspired by gifts from the earth, Gemstones & Geodes delivers a decadent, color-rich shoot that's dripping in rubies, amethysts, sapphires, emeralds and beautifully textured geodes.

When it comes to color schemes, many brides feel pressure to stick to the classic "two hues and a neutral" rule. However, the traditional route isn't the only way to go. This Gemstones & Geodes photoshoot breaks conventional rules, boldly exploring complex color combinations and delivering tablescapes that are more imaginative and inspiring than their dual-chromatic counterparts. The result is decor that's all at once enticingly soothing and tastefully vivacious. 

Vendors: You Name It Events (planning/design), The Haight (venue), Photography by Lauryn (photos), Josh Smith and Taylor Anians (models), Menguin Tuxedos (menswear),  Veiled in Elegance (gowns/bridal accessories), Elysia Root Cakes (cake), Sylvia Stremming Designs (paper goods), Style by Bravura (hair/makeup), Town and Country Gardens (floral), Atmosphere Events Group (lighting), Megboys Studio (boutineers), Elegant Presentations (linens), Dainty Delights Bakery (cupcakes), Azar Jewelers (male jewelry)

Want more styled shoot inspiration? Head over to and browse through our collection of Windy City nuptials or check us out on Pinterest!

Friday, August 19, 2016

When Brian and Katie first met at a city bar called Stanley’s, they had no clue that in just a few years’ time they would be living together with a dog named after that very same bar.

Brian and Katie always had mutual friends but since Brian was living in Seattle, it wasn’t until he came to Chicago for a boys’ weekend that he and Katie finally crossed paths. “There were instant sparks,” Katie says. “But he lived across the country. He was heading back to Seattle the next day, we didn’t think anything would come of it.” 

After Brian left, the couple went several months without any contact but when Brian texted her on New Year’s Day, the conversation simply never stopped. Neither of them had been able to stop thinking about the other. Before Katie knew it, she was booking a flight to Seattle- a city she’d eventually move to so that the couple could start their life together.

Despite living on the west coast, the couple chose to host their wedding in the Windy City, the place where their love story began. Their ceremony took place in the Cancer Survivors' Garden, offering guests not only breathtaking views of the Chicago skyline but also gorgeous greenery. “I’d seen the venue multiple times before but as I was walking down the aisle, I was so in awe of our surroundings,” Katie says. “It was the best walk of my life.”

While walking to Brian as their friends and family looked on was unforgettable, one of Katie’s best memories from the day happened hours before the couple said “I do”. Katie says she’ll never forget seeing her dad for the first time: “He walked in, whistled and said ‘Wow’. I’ll always remember the look on his face.”

After the ceremony, the new Mr. and Mrs. Betz treated their bridal party to a short cruise on the Chicago River before arriving at their reception via water taxi. The after party featured billowing crème drapery, delicate floral centerpieces that echoed the Survivors Garden, luxurious ambiance provided by bobbing votive candles and surprises for the guests that included a photo booth and cheeky “Betz Day Ever” bracelets. In lieu of favors, the newlyweds made a generous donation to PAWS Chicago, a no-kill shelter.

“Our vendors were absolutely spectacular,” Katie said. “Brian and I had high expectations and they more than exceeded them. So thank you for making our day come to life.”

Pictured Vendors: Artisan Events (photography), The Cancer Survivors' Garden (ceremony venue), River Roast (reception venue), Ashland Addison (floral), Style by Bravura (hair and makeup), Alvina Valenta (dress), West Town Bakery (cake), Windy City Trolley and Chicago Water Taxi (transportation), Suit Supply (groom's suit), Burberry (groom's tie), Macy's (groomsmen outfits), JCrew and Kate Spade (bridesmaid's outfits), Corky's (catering) and Tablescapes (chairs)

Can't get enough Real Weddings? Head over to and browse through our collection of Windy City nuptials or check us out on Pinterest!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Navigating a wedding vendor break up, as written by Amanda from Salvatore's Risorante.

Choosing any vendors for your wedding are going to be some of the biggest decisions for that day. These are the people you will be working with to create the day you have envisioned, for, well, a long time.

As a wedding vendor in the business we deal with a lot of different people and situations.  I can honestly say not hearing back from a potential client is not the best feeling in the world. We know that there are other options out there and we know that couples are shopping around. Why wouldn’t you? We would do the same! But, we do give all of our potential clients the same amount of energy and attention whether they decide to book with us or not.

Without being crude, a simple email letting us know that you have decided to go with another vendor for whatever the reason may be, would be nice. However, with our busy schedules and couples busy schedules, we understand how communication can get lost. To help you out with the how and why, I have included a list of ways to let your vendors down easy, but honestly.

Believe it or not, we would love to hear why you are not booking with us. As professionals we love constructive criticism. We want to hear if our pricing didn’t fit within your budget, or you didn’t feel we were the vision you wanted for your wedding. Knowing why we didn’t work for someone helps us better ourselves as professionals!

For some couples, this woodland decor might be picture-perfect. But for others? Maybe not...

Here are the top 3 ways to let us down easy!
      At the appointment
Believe it or not, some couples know right when they walk in if the venue is for them or not (kind of like love at first sight). If the venue, or the floral budget, or the style of music doesn’t work for you, tell us! We LOVE honesty! Letting us know before you leave the appointment that you don’t see it being a fit leaves us knowing exactly how you feel. This makes for less confusion (and follow up voicemails) as your process for vendor searching continues.

Now let’s say you don’t know what you like right when you see it and need more time to make a decision, which is totally understandable! Not everyone can be decisive. You should shop around, compare prices and quality, and the people you will be working with. If you feel like you haven’t found a vendor that really pops out to you, you haven’t found the right one. However, that magical moment will happen when all of the wedding gods align, everything falls into place, and you find them all! When this happens, taking seven minutes out of your day to shoot a quick email to the vendors that did not make the cut, would mean a lot. Even something as simple as, “Thank you for your time, but we have decide to work with another vendor for our wedding.” Easy enough right!

Calling someone up on the phone can be a little more personal (especially now a days). It’s kind of like a break up! If you have been in contact with a certain vendor for quite a while and met with them to go over details, and they made it to your top two vendors, I would definitely recommend a voicemail. These professionals have clearly put in a lot of effort to help you create this perfect day up to this point. Now, not wanting to speak to them personally is totally understandable, it’s not fun to hear disappointment in anyone’s voice. The solution to this, is call when they are closed and you can leave a nice calm voicemail letting them know, “you won’t be needing their services any longer, but really appreciate all of their hard work.” No harm, no foul on this one.

(Disclaimer: We are not recommending breaking up with your significant other voicemail)

No two couples will feel the same exact way about what a vendor has to offer- that's the beauty of the process!

This may seem like common sense to some, but on the other hand, no likes being the bad guy. It is hard telling someone they aren’t needed, or just didn’t quite make the cut. However, we are in the wedding industry, which means we have slightly thicker skin, than well, everyone else. Don’t be afraid to tell us what we did wrong or what didn’t work. This only means we have the upper hand in fixing it for another couple in the future! 

Like what you see? Head over to Salvatore's website and learn more. 

If want to hear more tips from our vendors, swing by and discover what other advice they have to offer.

Monday, August 15, 2016

White dresses. Long veils. Church bells. Crisp roses. While all these wedding elements are classic for a reason, more and more couples are straying away from tradition and opting to infuse their celebrations with their own personalities. Whether it’s using four-legged friends as ringer bearers, having “brides-people” instead of just bridesmaids or swapping out tiered cakes for donuts, couples are getting more and more creative with their weddings. We’re totally on board with this trend towards the unexpected and so are our friends over at Blue Plate Chicago. Here are a few of their favorite not-so-traditional ways to make your wedding funky, fresh and absolutely unforgettable. 

Looking for more wedding inspiration? Head over to to catch up on the latest trends and browse through our Real Weddings!