Friday, September 4, 2015

New to the Chicago bridal scene is designer Olivia Hwang. With a gorgeous break-out collection and her own boutique atelier where she creates custom designs for local brides, this lady is taking the bridal industry by storm. She shared with us how she got her start and what she's doing now:

Photo by Isi's Photography

"My family actually owns a lingerie business in Seoul, South Korea, and I grew up playing with all kinds of lace and delicate fabrics. I think this sparked my passion to be a bridal gown designer since very little.

"I studied Fashion Design at the School of Art Institute of Chicago where I received many scholarships and awards, including the Nicole Miller Award.

"After graduation, I moved to New York City and landed an internship with Zac Posen and Natori Co., and worked as an associate bridal designer for 3.5 years. Then I decided to come back to Chicago in 2013 to cater custom gowns to Chicago brides. I launched my own bridal line as part of the Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy's.

"My collection combines my appreciation for the traditional and classic with the modern aesthetic and practicality for brides. I get inspired by beautiful laces and silks, and fluid silhouettes. Use of luxurious fabrics and attention to detail are the principles that I try to integrate when I approach each gown. However, at the end of the day, it's really the individual bride who gives me the most inspirations.

"The advice I would like to give to brides-to-be's as they begin searching for "the one" is to find the SILHOUETTE that works best for you first. Don't pick a dress just because it's trendy at the moment. You've got to focus on your innate fashion sense, personality, and what really flatters you most. After you figure out the big picture, the shape, then you can go further into the details like fabrics, laces, and embellishments.

"Can't find the perfect combinations of everything you want? That's what I'm here for. I customize one-of-a-kind wedding dresses! I recently opened my showroom in the South Loop, and I am available to meet for consultations by appointments only.

"My brides and I are so happy to work and celebrate together in a very intimate setting. Actually, the bridal parties love it more! Last Sunday, one of my brides actually got dressed at my place the morning of her photo session and walked right over to Grant Park and the Shedd Aquarium. It was so convenient and wonderful!"

Check out some of the most popular gowns from her collection, and let us know which ones are your favorites in the comments! 

Photo by Jean Sweet Photography
Photo by Isi's Photography
Photo by Isi's Photography

A star on the rise, appointments at Olivia Hwang's boutique atelier are booking fast! Call 312-600-5423 or email to make an appointment to view the collection or discuss a custom gown! And for more details on Olivia Hwang and her gorgeous bridal designs, check out her website and blog!

All images provided by Olivia Hwang.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


When you are in the midst of planning a wedding, details like the dress, cake, attendants, food and honeymoon take up so much of your time that it can be easy to forget to discuss other important topics prior to your big day. For example, brides and grooms-to-be also need to discuss a variety of financial topics. Unfortunately, money tends to be the cause of a lot of marital fights, so if you can talk about credit cards, debt, credit scores and checking accounts ahead of time, it can help save some stress later on. With this in mind, the following topics should be discussed prior to saying “I do”:

Know Your Spending Styles

If you know where every dollar you make will go and your honey has a carefree “it will all work out” approach to budgeting, you need to talk about your differences. While you don’t necessarily need to change each other’s way of thinking, it is important to discuss how you spend and save your money as well as how you plan to handle income once you are married.

Talk About Debt and Credit Scores

Review your current financial states with each other and be completely honest about credit card debt, student loans, your credit scores and other issues before you get married. Even if you have been late on more Visa payments than you care to admit and your credit score is lower than it should be, being upfront about it now will prevent a mountain of headaches later when you go to pre-qualify for a house or car loan. Review your income, debt, savings and scores, and do not keep any credit card accounts secret from each other.

Decide on Separate or Joint Bank Accounts

While many couples assume they will have joint checking and savings accounts after they get married, this is not a rule that is set in stone. Different couples have different needs. Some couples combine all their money into one account. Others prefer to have one joint account for household bills and savings, but then separate accounts for your separate incomes. Talk with your fiancé about this and see what he or she has in mind. Again, be sure to work out these details prior to the wedding. It's good to know where you stand from the get-go.

Image via Shutterstock, courtesy of Social Monsters

Monday, August 31, 2015

"Kyle & I met on whim! I was attending Elmhurst College, and I had a Sports Broadcasting Internship. Kyle had just finished studying for his CFA finance exam. We both decided to go out with friends one night and ended up at State Bar in Chicago. Surprisingly, we both liked to dance and that’s what we did -- until 2:00 a.m.! 

"One night of dancing turned into two and a half years of dating and adventures.We both love being together. Whether it’s snowboarding, skydiving, traveling, or just watching marathons on Netflix --we’re best friends. 

"Kyle proposed on  a rooftop in the middle of winter! It was a normal, 30-below, Chicago night. As I walked out onto the roof, Christmas lights went on! Before I could say anything, I noticed Kyle’s brother hiding with a video camera. As I looked back, Kyle was on his knee! It was freezing and perfect. I squealed embarrassingly with excitement and said, 'Yes, of course!' It was a wonderful year-and-a-half-long engagement, filled with lots of family and crafting time. We took the time to enjoy choosing everything for the wedding, while still enjoying each other. 

"The ceremony was truly magical. Everything in a Greek Orthodox wedding is symbolic, from the stefana (crowns) to our rings. Father Nick made our wedding personal and so special to us. After marrying my best friend, we could not wait to arrive at Acquaviva Winery! Guests pulled up this beautiful castle-like venue. Cocktail hour was outside, where our guests played bags and enjoyed music. We took pictures everywhere -- as did our guests! 

"High and low centerpieces with romantic flowers set in antique gold vases set the tone, along with gorgeous candlelight. I did a lot of hand-crafted décor, specialty signs, and party favors. The food and wine was beyond spectacular. I think everyone would have been happy if we just kept eating the entire night! We also had a feast table so that Kyle and I could converse with everyone in the wedding party. 

"I wanted our wedding to bring our two families together and, by the end of the evening, even the staff at Acquaviva were a part of that family! Kyle and I danced the night away just like the first day we first met. The best part is that we can return to Acquaviva to celebrate our love and fairytale night, whenever we want!" -- Francesca Doering 


Ceremony: Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church // Reception: Acquaviva Winery // Photography + Videography: eStudio // Officiant: Rev. Nicholas Georgiou, Presbyter // Wedding Consultants: Shelly + Joe Brandonisio // Brides' Gown: The Dress by Nicole // Hair + Makeup: Total Image Bridal // Bridesmaids' Dresses: JJ's House // Formalwear: Black Tie Formalwear // Stationery: Inside the Envelope // Flowers: Phillip's Flowers // Entertainment: Tone Productions // Sweets: Sweet Dreams Desserts & Catering // Transportation: Wisconsin Coach Lines

© 2012. Design by Main-Blogger - Blogger Template and Blogging Stuff