Wednesday, February 27, 2013

You’re Invited!
Soirée Wedding & Events Wedding March

This Sunday, Soirée Wedding & Events hosts a one-of-a-kind wedding march and bridal showcase at Chicago’s Floating World Gallery. Learn more about featured vendors including Fig Catering, Stemline Creatives, Tablescapes Event Rentals, Truffle Truffle and much more! Every bride who RSVPs will receive a special gift.

RSVP with your name, wedding date, and number of guests to

Soirée Wedding & Events Wedding March
Sunday, March 3
2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Floating World Gallery
1925 N. Halsted, Chicago

Monday, February 25, 2013

You’re Invited! Geneva Wedding Walk

Attend this special wedding walk in downtown Geneva and walk away with inspired ideas for your ceremony and reception. Tickets are just $25 in advance for the bride and two guests. Plus, one lucky registree will win a 5-day vacation in the Dominican Republic! Hurry to get your reservation in—the event is this Sunday!

Sunday, March 3
11:00 a.m.
Check-in at: The Herrington Inn & Spa
15 S. River Lane, Geneva, IL

Register now! Space is limited.

Making and Sticking to a Budget

Grab a pencil, a notepad, and a calculator. It’s time to crunch the numbers and determine your wedding budget. If you’re like most brides, you want a memorable wedding, but you don’t want to break the bank. These tips can help your bottom line.

In 2011 the average American wedding cost $25,631, according to The Wedding Report, a company that tracks wedding industry figures. According to brides polled on two popular wedding websites, in Chicago the average wedding in 2011 cost $53,069. No matter which number you look at, it’s clear a wedding is an expensive affair. Manage your money wisely in order to stick to your budget.

The first order of business? Figuring out your guest list. The next question is how much money would you like to spend per guest? How does that figure compare to the money you can afford to spend? Get practical and make the comparison between your wish list and your reality check. The result is a budget you can live with.

Your budget needs to be realistic— otherwise your planning period will be filled with stress. Don’t budget 25 percent of your budget on food when you know professional estimates say 40 percent to 50 percent of a wedding budget is spent on food and beverage. The best thing to do is prepare a sound budget and stick to it. If you go over budget, you’ll be scrambling to pay for a pricey party. You’ll have added stress, worry, and a big bill to pay well after the wedding is over. So, early on in the planning process—i.e., the first month—work with your groom to develop a pretty solid idea of how much money you’ll spend, how you’ll spend it, and who will help you cover the costs.

While your budget should be solid, it’s also subject to change. Be flexible whenever possible and re-evaluate your budget from time to time to make sure you’re on track. It’s an ongoing process and you need to be prepared to make revisions if necessary. After all, you don’t want to be surprised by a lack of cash during the final stages of planning your big day.

Don’t look at your budget as just one blank check. You’ve got to break down the budget into categories. Ask yourself how much you think you’ll spend on wedding essentials including photography, decorations, DJ or band, and flowers. Suggested budget percentages, such as 3 percent for the wedding cake, are just starting points.

Don’t feel these figures are a strict formula. If you love dessert, splurge on the sweets and make budget adjustments in other areas that make sense for you and your groom. If you’re wearing your mother’s wedding gown, for example, you don’t have to worry about spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a dress. Reallocate that money to another category such as stationery to cover the price of place cards and programs, especially if that’s a priority for you.

Many brides say the hardest part of creating a budget is deciding how to spend the money. That’s why you and your groom have to prioritize what matters most to both of you. Once you’ve come to an agreement, you can spend the most money in that area. If dancing and great photos are your main concerns, then focus your budget on hiring a great band and a skilled photographer. Your satisfaction means money well spent.

Ideally, you’ll budget more money than you’ll actually need. You could end up saving a few extra bucks. Say you set aside $500 for favors—try to spend $400. If you come in under budget, you’ll have more financial flexibility to spend on other wedding-day needs and wants. Don’t forget to keep extra flexibility in the budget for last-minute details such as footing the dinner bill for a few extra guests or ordering favors at the last minute because the ones you thought you would get are out of stock.

Additionally, remember to budget for tips. Many couples forget to include gratuity in their financial plan and that’s a surefire way to blow your budget. While not every vendor gets a tip, many wedding professionals depend on tips to make their living. Photographers, musicians, caterers, and service staff usually receive tips.

You may not think about etiquette when deciding on a budget, but it’s definitely something to consider. If you’re on a fixed budget, there are lots of ways to save money, but don’t do anything that would effect your guests’ good time. If tray-passed appetizers are too expensive for your budget, consider food stations as a way to feed your guests and still stay on a desired financial track. It’s in poor taste to skimp on food, either in quality or quantity. Your guests will know you cut corners, and that’s a sign of bad manners. Make sure your financial decisions don’t have a negative impact on your guests.

Etiquette is also a concern when you’re getting financial help from your friends or family. These days, paying for the wedding is a family affair. Often, the tab for the wedding is picked up by many people, including the bride and groom, their parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends.

If your grandparents offer to pay for the cake, they may want to offer some suggestions on flavors and decorations. They probably think their financial support means they get a say in the final decision. You may or may not agree with them, but know your position on this matter before you accept their contribution. It’s normal for them to want to get bang for their buck, but you want to have control over the details of your day. Take a deep breath, think before you say anything you might regret, and remember to be grateful and respectful to those who want to help you.

Formulating and sticking to a budget is never easy, but it’s the right thing to do when you’re planning a wedding. Your budget shouldn’t limit you; it should keep you focused and out of debt. Be realistic, analyze your wish list, and tally the price tag—you need to make the most of your money to pull off the wedding you want.

Friday, February 22, 2013

You’re Invited! Spring Bridal Preview at Kasia’s Bridal

Enjoy an evening filled with champagne, wedding cake tastings and a bridal fashion show where you can meet vendors, too! The night celebrates the unveiling of KasiaBridal’s newest salon with a look at spring fashions.

Tickets are limited!
Reserve your spot in advance by calling (847) 401-8093 or e-mailing and admittance is free; otherwise, $5 at the door

Thursday, February 28
7:00 to 9:00 p.m. (fashion show begins at 8:30 p.m.)
Kasia’s Bridal
6045 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago

Tips from the Pro When It Comes to Bridal Dresses, You Get What You Pay For

By Anna Novak

How can you find the perfect wedding dress at the lowest price? Should you look online? Should you purchase from the bridal salon that promises you they discount all their dresses? With so many options, you may wonder why some shops offer savings and others do not. This is the magic question all brides on a budget ask. The answer is actually very simple and can be summarized in the phrase, "you get what you pay for…”

Your wedding day is the single most important event in your life, and you want it to be perfect. There are many premier salons that are committed to ensuring your gown is exquisite, appropriately fitted and delivered as promised. This is the type of business you should work with, one that is trustworthy and an authorized retailer of your dream dress. Before you buy, be diligent about checking the reputation of the shop by talking with friends, looking at online reviews, perusing their Facebook page and blogs. If a salon extends an unbelievable discount to you, beware! “You get what you pay for!"

Bridal salons have contracts with their designers to honor consistent pricing. Ignoring these agreements is an ethical violation that is frowned upon within the industry and erodes the shop’s ability to rectify discrepancies. A manufacturer is unlikely to resolve issues that arise with a shop that values a quick profit over a long-term partnership with the line. To a bride, this means if there is any imperfection or error with the dress (which often occurs), you are unlikely to receive any cooperation to remedy the situation, because the gown was purchased "as is.” Ultimately, you end up getting what you paid for, a "discount version of an original design” a.k.a. a “reject.”

In some situations, a salon may not even sell you a dress made by the designer, but a "knock-off" without disclosing this fact to you. This is how a salon can guarantee a lower price, by swapping an inferior product for a cheap copy. Most knock–offs do not follow the same sizing standards as the original designer, so the fit is inaccurate. Since these gowns are often produced in low wage factories, the arms holes, lengths, beading and hems are often uneven, which creates an expensive alteration nightmare. The few dollars you may have saved upon ordering will be spent later to fix the multitude of problems. In addition, many "knock-offs" arrive in a different color, an imperfect pattern or an inferior fabric. If a bridal shop is willing to promise you an exact duplicate of your dream dress at a huge savings, be prepared to pay.

Do your homework in order to spend your money wisely, since your bridal gown must be perfect when you say " I do.” Work with established bridal professionals who have earned the trust of their vendors, and who value the relationships they build with you. Your wedding is not the time to make a costly mistake.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

You’re Invited! Idlewild Country Club Wedding Expo 2013

You deserve the best on your special day, from the venue to the vendor. Now Idlewile Country Club in Flossmoor has brought it all together in one place for you to meet, greet and explore all the endless possibilities that await you while you sip champagne and enjoy hors d'oeuvres!

Pre-register for $10 and receive one complimentary ticket; $15 at the door

Simply call (708) 798.0514 extension 15 to purchase your tickets

Wedding Expo 2013
Presented by Idlewild Country Club
Sunday March 3
11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
19201 Dixie Hwy, Flossmoor, IL

Vendor Spotlight INDIRA Bridesmaid Dresses

Brides can now create custom couture hand-dyed silk bridesmaid dresses with INDIRA’s interactive, step-by-step online atelier.

Made in America, INDIRA’s elegant gowns are designed with the brand’s Signature Stretch Corset—a figure-flattering top that looks and feels amazing on virtually all body types. There are ten bridesmaid dress styles, featuring five short and five long dresses, all of which are available in 111 silk hues, including two-toned combinations. Dresses can be embellished with the bride’s choice of handmade silk flowers or Swarovski crystal brooches, all available in a coordinating palette.

Dresses retail between $275 and $350; the full array can be seen here.

Vendor Spotlight Emma McKinstry Personalized Jewelry

Looking for a meaningful bridesmaid gift or the perfect finishing touch for your wedding day accessories? Consider a personalized necklace or earrings from boutique label Emma McKinstry.  Each piece is fully customizable with initials or even “save the date” number monograms.

Monday, February 18, 2013

You’re Invited! First Annual Downtown Evanston Wedding Walk

A brand-new bridal event comes to the North Shore on February 24! Visit the unique and beautiful venues of downtown Evanston to find creative inspirations for your wedding day; from your wedding gown, venue, flowers, photographer, jewelry and bridesmaid dresses to finding the special gifts for your bridal registry. Top off the day with a fabulous live fashion show at 27Live, champagne, hors d'oeuvres and amazing prizes!

Registered brides have the chance to win a one-of-a-kind, handmade gown from Avail and Company valued at up to $3,000 and other great prizes from event sponsors!

Get registered now! Advanced registrations are due by Friday, February 22 and are $25 for the bride and two guests and $5 for each additional guest.

First Annual Downtown Evanston Wedding Walk
Sunday February 24
12:00 to 4:00 p.m.
*Registration kicks off at noon at one of two locations:
Hilton Garden Inn Chicago, 1818 Maple Ave.
Hilton Orrington, 1710 Orrington Ave.

Real Wedding
Julie Hilgendorf and Caleb Eplett, John G. Shedd Aquarium

“Caleb and I met at a track meet our senior year of high school. We went to different schools and were about to start colleges 300 miles away from each other in the fall; yet it didn’t stop us from spending every second we could together. We dated long-distance for four years before Caleb moved to Chicago after graduation. Eight years (and many fantasized wedding plans) later, we tied the knot!
“Since we are both from Michigan, having the wedding in our new city of Chicago was a big deal to our families. We wanted all of our 100+ out-of-town guests to feel like they were having a real Chicago experience and fall in love with the city just like we did.”

Ceremony Site
Tiffany Gardens, Grant Park


WasioPhotography, Yaneck Wasiek





Wedding Cake

Wedding Announcement A La Moda Unveils New Website & Logo

A La Moda Events has unveiled a brand-new name and logo. Now A La Moda Weddings & Events, this luxury event planning, design and production company has a passion for creating unique and stylish events that reflect your signature style.

Check out the new website and contact A La Moda Weddings & Events for your wedding planning, design and coordination.

Friday, February 15, 2013

You’re Invited! 
Brides, Bubbles, and Bliss 4th Annual Bridal Soiree

Bridgeport Art Center Skyline Loft
1200 W. 35th St, Chicago, IL
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
6:00PM - 9:00PM

To purchase tickets, visit:

$50 for Bride & Guest (In Advance)
Or $45 per person at the door.
Ticket proceeds benefit Heartland Alliance.
You’re Invited! hosts the Ultimate Wedding Registry invites you to discover Chicago’s Ultimate Wedding Registry! Register locally for your wedding gifts with Poladora’s 30+ Chicago partner stores. Get inspiration for your wedding with top Chicago wedding planners creating vignettes using products you can register for. Meet Chicago’s top wedding experts. Enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres & sweets. Get pampered with massages & mini-makeovers. And enjoy a fashion show by Mignonette Bridal.

Thursday February 28th, 2013
6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Centered Chef
177 N Ada Street, Chicago

You’re Invited!
Art of Seduction’s Oscar Glam Night

Art of Seduction, a Boutique Boudoir Studio, hosts the ultimate Oscar party on February 24, 2013. You can walk the red carpet and have your photo taken by the paparazzi—but before you do, have your hair and makeup done by the professionals at the studio! Only a few spots remain so e-mail to reserve your time.

At the party, enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while watching the awards and the Secret Divas video. Dress your best because prizes will be awarded! Tickets are just $10 with a bra donation for charity organization Free the Girls; or $20 without a donation. RSVP by February 23 by e-mailing

Oscar Glam Night
February 24, 2013
5:30 to 9:00 p.m.
2250 W. Grand Avenue, Chicago 

You’re Invited!
Chicago Green Wedding Alliance Presents Committed

The Chicago Green Wedding Alliance is excited to host Committed, an avant-garde, green wedding event housed at the amazing eco-venue in Chicago, Greenhouse Loft. This wedding show will be dedicated to couples who are committed to each other, committed to the environment and committed to throwing the best party Chicago has ever seen.
The show consists exclusively of members of the Chicago Green Wedding Alliance, a thoughtful group of local Chicago vendors that make “being green” an important part of their business models. The Committed show will feature sustainable and organic food tastings, local beer, wine and cocktail demonstrations, wedding dress and tux models, DJs and bands, photographers, venues, invitation makers, salon nail and make-up demonstrations, sustainable and organic confections and cake samplings and much more.

Sunday, February 24, 2013
12:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Greenhouse Loft
2545 W. Diversey, Chicago
*Tickets for the show are $15 for singles and $20 for couples. For more information and to buy your tickets, click here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Art Institute of Chicago Open House

Café Bon Appétit presents an exclusive look at the Art Institute of Chicago. Brides can explore all the unique event spaces in both the historic building and the modern wing.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013
6:00 p.m.
Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago 60603

Wedding Announcement
Kathryn’s Invitation & Design Studio Now Carries Checkerboard

The Checkerboard collection offers traditional wedding invitations that are updated with fresh design concepts and bold colors that present a modern twist on ageless styles. Layers, ribbons and monograms present a polished, finished look for the bride who wants to portray elegance and find a springboard for inspiration to create her whole day’s theme. See a look at our favorites below and pick up yours at Kathryn’sInvitation & Design Studio.

You’re Invited!
Bella Bleu Semi-Annual Sample Sale

Mark your calendars! Bella Bleu has announced their highly anticipated semi-annual sample sale. Find your perfect bridal and cocktail accessories including bridal jewelry, headpieces, sashes, shoes, handbags, garters and gifts at up to 70% off!

Designers include Cheryl King Couture, Christina Garcia, Enchanted Atelier, Haute Bride, Justine M. Couture, Sara Gabriel, Ti Adoro Jewelry, Stephanie Browne Australia and Sondra Roberts Handbags. These are brand new, never worn display pieces or extra stock that is being replaced by 2013 designs.

Appointments are preferred but walk-ins are welcome. Extended hours by request. 
February 15-28

Bella Bleu
143 N. Northwest Highway
Park Ridge, IL 60068

Store hours are:
Tuesday & Wednesday 11-5
Thursday 11-6
Friday 11-6
Saturday 10-5

Monday, February 11, 2013

Tips from the Pro The Top Ten Tricks to Bridal Fitness
Provided by Isabelle Libmann, nationally certified personal trainer and owner of IzzyFit Personal Training. By using a holistic approach to ensure your new habits stick around after your wedding day, IzzyFit makes fitness a sane, fun and integrated part of your everyday life. Specialties include: weight loss management, nutritional guidance, post-rehabilitation training and pre/post natal fitness.

Training is available in Evanston and Chicago. Contact Isabelle by e-mailing or calling 312-497-8999. To see a full list of services, click here.
  • BREATHE: Taking deep, cleansing breaths can help wash away the stress of wedding planning. Since stress can contribute to immune suppression, weight gain and a variety of other nasty side effects, try a yoga or meditation class and really tap into your breathing form.
  • Do not buy into fad diets and cleanses: Your body needs carbs, fats and proteins; cutting any one of them out will leave your body completely confused and on high alert. Portion control can be your best friend.
  • You do NOT need to work out to capacity every single day: Recovery is just as important as your workouts so make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, eating well, stretching, sleeping enough and de-stressing.
  • If you don’t write it down, it isn’t real: Write down your goals along with the reasons you want to reach them on index cards. Read these a few times a day; having it fresh in your mind can keep you focused on the prize.
  • It’s all about baby steps: Research shows you’re more likely to stick to lifestyle changes in the long term if you work on one new habit at a time. Choose one new habit to work on every day for 14 days, and then add another.
  • Hire a fitness planner: Find a trainer or coach who will give you the guidance, accountability and encouragement you need to reach your goals.
  • Don’t focus on a number: The scale can be a major source of anxiety so pick a pair of jeans or an outfit you really want to fit into and let that be your fitness barometer.
  • Let exercise be a stress relief, not a stressor: If you’re not having fun, try something else! You should feel amazing after your workouts, not like you want to give up.
  • Don’t be afraid to lift heavy weights: Women don’t have the hormones needed to bulk up like men. Using a challenging weight will torch calories and help you get lean.
  • Change it up: The body is really good at getting used to new demands so change up your workouts every 4-6 weeks and make sure you’re challenging yourself during all of your workout sessions.

Friday, February 8, 2013

ChicagoStyle Weddings Blog: February 8, 2013
From Our Print Issue
12-Month Planning Countdown

Everything you need to accomplish from 12 months to 6 months out from your wedding day; plus a checklist to get it all done.

  • ___ Choose the date and time for wedding and rehearsal.
  • ___ Purchase ChicagoStyle Weddings and register on
  • ___ Create a wedding e-mail account.
  • ___ Decide on the style—whether a formal event with a sit-down dinner, for example, or an afternoon in the garden.
  • ___ Choose color schemes.
  • ___ Review your budget. Ask both sets of parents for advice if they’re paying for any or all of the occasion.
  • ___ Select wedding and reception sites.
  • ___ Make appointment with the officiant to learn about premarital requirements.
  • ___ Plan the guest list to get a rough count.
  • ___ Choose bridesmaids/groomsmen and ushers.
  • ___ Research honeymoon spots.
  • ___ Interview wedding planners (if you are using one).
  • ___ Shop for gown and headpiece.
  • ___ Book the musicians for ceremony and reception.
  • ___ Interview photographers, videographers, caterers, and florists.
  • ___ Mail save-the-date cards.

  • ___ Announce engagement in newspaper.
  • ___ Select dress for bridal attendants.
  • ___ Start shopping for men’s wedding attire.
  • ___ Decide on the caterer, photographer, and videographer.
  • ___ Book a florist and choose arrangements.
  • ___ Register for gifts at bridal registries of choice.
  • ___ Select transportation for ceremony and reception.

  • ___ Order dress and accessories—including veil, gloves, and shoes—and schedule delivery date.
  • ___ Help mothers select and coordinate their dresses.
  • ___ Reserve any rental equipment such as tables, chairs, and tent (if marrying at home or in an unfurnished space).
  • ___ Choose baker, and order your wedding cake and groom’s cake.
  • ___ Shop for your trousseau.
  • ___ Decide on dance lessons and plan your first dance together.
  • ___ Select your wedding stationery, envelopes, and thank-you cards.
  • ___ Scout around for accommodations for out-of-town guests.
  • ___ Plan the rehearsal dinner.
  • ___ Research marriage license requirements at
  • ___ Choose favors.
  • ___ Confirm honeymoon plans and compile necessary documents, e.g., passports, visas, etc.
  • ___ Finalize guest list.