Wednesday, July 23, 2014


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, call 312.836.5000 or email

Monday, July 21, 2014


It’s no secret that I adore Chicago — after all, I spent my last segment raving about all the amazing photo destinations the city has to offer. But if you’re looking to exchange skyscrapers and busy streets for a more intimate feel, you’ll be pleased to know there’s a host of photo gems available beyond the city limits. And trust me — they’re stunning!

Escape the hustle and bustle and take a look at our favorite suburban photo spots!

Independence Grove: Panoramic lakefront views, secluded walking trails — you name it, this Libertyville-based hideaway has it! The surrounding prairieland and woods create the most beautiful natural backdrop, especially during the autumn season. The area is also available for weddings (score)!

Cantigny Park: Looking for a little bit of history? This venue’s got all of that and then some! Formerly the estate of Chicago Tribune publishers Joseph Medill and his grandson, Col. Robert R. McCormick, Cantigny hosts 500 acres worth of gardens and nature walkways, not to mention a gorgeous 20th-century mansion. Translation? Photography gold! Just be sure to give their office a call and make arrangements ahead of time!

Morton Arboretum: An enchanted natural paradise, right in the middle of the Western Suburbs. The Arboretum is truly one of the most stunning locations in the entire Chicagoland area, with thousands of different species of native and exotic plant life...all of which provide the perfect scenery for your photos. Plus, it’s open year-round!

Wilder Mansion: Once in awhile, I’m lucky to discover a landmark that never fades in beauty — rather, it grows even more beautiful with time. Wilder Mansion, ladies and gents, is one of those rare spots. With stately columns and timeless architecture, the mansion itself is enough to make your photos pop. For a change in scenery, take your photographer to the neighboring greenhouse, another one of Wilder’s most popular features.

Historic Oak Park: Are you and your hubby-to-be architecture buffs? Soak in the influences of Frank Lloyd Wright and other cultural icons in this charming neighborhood. You can pose next to stunning centuries-old buildings and vintage shops, or roam the cobblestone paths near Marion Street. It’s all just a few miles west of the city!

Having a tough time picking just one location? Try sitting down with your photographer to develop a plan. It’ll make the process so much easier! And don’t forget — they’re your photos! So, let go and let your personalities shine through!


Thank you very much to George Street Photo & Video for sharing their favorite photo locations in the Chicagoland suburbs! Visit Amanda and the George Street team at or check them out on Facebook. For more information call 866.831.4103 or email

This art takes the romance novel to the next level! Artist Carrie Ann Schumacher dabbles her creative chops in many mixed media projects, but right now she's gaining some attention for her amazing fashion-meets-fiction frocks.

"Alice and the Boy She Left Behind"

In her artist's statement about the series Romance Novel Dresses: The Fragile Fantasy, Schumacher explains:
"The dresses I create from the pages of romance novels examine the demands that feminine culture places upon women by utilizing the garment as a social signifier. Women often define themselves through clothing; we use our appearance to project ambitions, attract mates and signal our social status."

"Carolyn and the Mae of 1968"

She goes on to discuss the taxing effect unrealistic notions of beauty from fashion magazines have on women and how it's impossible to truly obtain the standard of beauty the fashion industry holds in high regard. The dresses are made out of romance novels (which have similar unrealistic standards of love and beauty) and therefore cannot be worn. Schumacher concludes her statement saying, "Completely without function, it represents how useless the feminine myths we have created are in real life."

Schumacher's dresses themselves are truly works of gorgeous, high-fashion art. Her collection was recently featured in the Build Her a Myth: Romance Novel Dresses exhibit at the Harold Washington Library Center. In an explanation of the exhibit on the library's website, we learn more about the artist's process:
"When Schumacher came across a box of discarded romance novels at the library, she knew she wanted to use them in her artwork. The feathery white pages became her medium as she transformed the old books into seductively beautiful yet unwearable dresses. Like the novels they are constructed from, the dresses represent an impossible mythology where love and relationships are all-consuming and eternally passionate, while exploring a universal narrative based on the real stories of women."


Yes, we are a magazine -- one that delves deeply into fashion, no less. But we totally agree with Schumacher's statement. Many times the ideals of beauty set by the fashion (and publishing) industry seem completely unattainable. It is our hope that every bride and groom can find someone in our magazine to whom she or he relates. Whether it's in a photo shoot, our gown gallery, our Real Weddings, our Spotlights on Style or even in an advertisement, we hope there's someone out there who matches you. We hope the standards we set define beauty as the love people share, not the way their clothes fit. 

"Vicki and the Vision"

Check out more of Carrie Ann Schumacher's amazing artwork on her website at

"Never the Prom Queen"

All artwork by Carrie Ann Schumacher and photos from

Friday, July 18, 2014

Going for that Old-Hollywood glam look? Yeah, we love it, too. Our dear friend, the amazing Edra Wilson of Edra Couture Beauty Brides, has created a video to help our readers learn how to create the perfect finger waves for that long-haired, silver screen goddess look.

Check out her video below and let us know what you think of this style in the comments! Don't miss the amazing photos at the end of the video -- just gorgeous!

For more of Edra's tips and tutorials, be sure to subscribe to her YouTube channel.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"Mike and I met in college at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He noticed I was wearing an Elmhurst College hoodie (I had previously attended Elmhurst College for 2 years prior to transferring) and because Mike grew up in Elmhurst his entire life he started talking with me about it and everything went from there. We started dating through the rest of the school year, fell in love during the summer, and I think we both can say we knew at that point it was forever for us.

"Our wedding day could not have been a better day! I woke up early, had breakfast with my bridesmaids and started getting ready with them. Mike and his groomsmen started out the day with 9 holes of golf, breakfast, then they got ready. The entire time I was getting hair and makeup done, everyone who had been in and out of the room kept telling me what a gorgeous day it was turning out to be which only made me even more excited to get married.

"The ceremony was, of course, emotional in many ways. I got to have a moment alone with my dad right before he walked me down to aisle to tell him how much I love him and what a fantastic father he's been to me. I will never forget my walk down the aisle, I instantly calmed down as I kept my eyes on Mike the whole time. I remember breaking down in a few joyful tears during our vows, and laughing as Mike accidentally tried putting my ring on the wrong finger at first!

"The reception was just the perfect way to celebrate that we had just been joined in marriage before God, and all of our friends and family. It was so great to see people from all different parts of each of our lives. The food was amazing, the drinks were great, and the dancing all night we will never forget! Our goal during the wedding planning process was not to make the most chic, eclectic, or extravagant wedding reception, but to make it the most genuinely fun celebration of our love, and to thank our friends and family for being there for us. I think it's safe to say we succeeded!" - Liza 


Visitation Church


Jill Tiongco

Father William De Salvo


Marissa Paulo

David's Bridal

Men's Wearhouse


A Posh Production

Cupcakes for Courage






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