Friday, November 29, 2013


With all of the details that go into planning your wedding, you should be able to save as many mementos as possible. Your dress, shoes, veil and jewelry are all cherished, but what about your bouquet? Your bridal bouquet is like a custom piece of jewelry that you carry the entire day and it is a perfect representation of the look of your wedding. Using satin, crystals, pearls and other materials, create a look that is uniquely yours and can be treasured long after the wedding!

Tie in Personal Touches
Maybe a loved one has given you an antique handkerchief or a piece of heirloom jewelry as a gift? These make excellent additions to a bouquet. These pieces can remind us of those we love and allow those people to take the walk down the aisle with us. Take any object that means something to you and make it part of the memory!

Recycle Your Faves
Re-purpose a strand of your go-to pearls to create movement in a romantic way, or use a swatch of a fun vintage lace you love to enhance the design. Incorporate bits and pieces of you into the bouquet, so you'll always remember who you were on your wedding day. And don't forget the boys: Incorporate an antique key into the boutonniere for a little flair!

Classic Styles
Pick pieces for your bouquet that won't go out of style, generally avoiding fads and over-the-top themes. If there is one thing that never goes out of style, it's crystal. This bouquet is meant to be a timeless piece that will be a conversation starter as long it is displayed, so make sure you're always going to love it. 

Already Hitched?
Create a satin replica of your bouquet! The colors and style can be perfectly captured, giving you a piece that will take you back to that amazing day and help you remember for a lifetime.

Modern heirloom bouquets are a great way to preserve memories of your big day. Display it in a shadow box with an invitation and your garter, or place it on an antique silver platter as a decoration on your dresser. And on your 20th anniversary vow renewal, this bouquet will have maintained the same classic elegance it had the first time you walked it down the aisle.

Our thanks to Anna Coy, Designer and Owner of To Hold & To Have, a modern heirloom bridal bouquet and accessory line. To discuss options for your modern heirloom, call 267-971-3906 or email Visit Anna's Etsy page for more designs!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

One day I stopped by the local Super Target after working out at the gym. While shopping, I noticed a guy walking into the store. Even though he was handsome, I didn’t really think anything else of it…just a cutie in the store. Apparently the “cutie” thought I was cute, too, because he walked past me at least four more times while I was shopping (in different areas of the food section! 

He finally decided to approach me and asked, “Excuse me…don’t I know you from somewhere?” I told him “No,” but somehow we still ended up having a conversation. Even though he seemed like a cool guy, I was set on finishing my grocery shopping and getting home. So I told him that if he wanted to keep talking to me he had to walk with me while I completed my shopping. I thought he would say he had to go but to my surprise, he stayed with me until I finished. I don’t remember exactly what we talked about, but I didn't ask him to leave so the conversation must have been okay. 

He walked me to my car, helped me get my items loaded, and then asked me for my number. Because he was cool and we shared a few laughs, I decided to give him my number. He must have been excited because he called me before I could even get out of the parking lot! I guess the rest is history.

One night my fiancé and I attended an Alicia Keys concert. When we got to the venue, I checked-in on Foursquare. After I checked in I received a message on Foursquare that said something like “Congratulations! You have been entered into a sweepstakes to meet Alicia Keys”. I thought it was cool, but didn’t get too excited just because I knew my chances of winning were probably very slim. 

A few days after the concert, I received and email from a company congratulating me and saying that I won a private meet & greet with Alicia Keys. I initially thought it was a scam so I didn’t respond. A few days after receiving the email, I received a call from a woman stating that she was following up with me regarding the email sent about the meet & greet. I immediately felt like a fool. I apologized to her for not responding letting her know that I didn’t think it was real. She told me that I would meet Alicia keys and she would perform a few songs, as well! She said I could invite my friends and family members, and that it would be a private event so no one would be admitted entry if their name was not on the list.

The evening of the event (April 30th), I wore a fitted party dress and was super excited…until I saw what my fiancé was wearing. He usually dresses nicely, but that night he wore jeans and a shirt that was so wrinkled, it looked like he took it straight out of the dirty clothes hamper. I was so upset with him. I told him, “We don’t even look like we’re going to the same event!" When we got to the venue, my mom didn’t make it any better. She validated my opinion by commenting on his attire. That let me know that I was RIGHT! 

Once inside the venue, just about all of my guests were there and I was greeted by a man from the promotions company. He told me that he had some “good and bad news” for me. The bad news was that Alicia Keys couldn’t make it; the good news was that Kelly Rowland and Usher were going to do the meet & greet and perform instead. I was still excited because I love both Kelly Rowland & Usher, too!

When the DJ introduced Kelly Rowland and Usher, Babyface’s “Everytime I Close My Eyes” began to play and about eight of my fiance’s fraternity brothers walked towards me. When they got to me they split in the center and my fiancé appeared in a suit and bow tie. It was the best surprise ever!  Yes, better than Alicia, Kelly, and Usher combined. He handed me a dozen red roses, turned to my dad who handed him the ring box, and got down on his knee and asked me to marry him! He said some other things too, but the most important of everything was, “Will you marry me?” And of course I said YES!

I am still excited and touched by all of the hard work he put into his proposal. I can’t wait to marry my love.

LaTrina and Valane will be married on March 30, 2014! We wish them a fabulous wedding and all the happiness a marriage can bring.

On #weddingwednesdays, we're featuring one bride's story in her own words! If you're interested in being a Bride of the Week, email with your love story! Don't forget to add the subject line "Bride of the Week"!
The trend of Winter Weddings lends itself not only to lower price-points but often a concern for those registering. “Do I register for cheaper items since the holiday season just ended?” “Should I let my guests choose what to get us?” Of course not! Tastefully registering around the holidays is appropriate. Nancy Lee, President of, the leading universal gift registry site, can provide expert insight on the trend of Winter Weddings along with how to tastefully register for gifts during and after the holiday season.

1. Plan early and register early - Give your guests time to get your wedding gift out of the way before they start their holiday shopping. The Christmas shopping frenzy will generally peak immediately after Thanksgiving, which can be hectic for your guests; get that registry up and distributed several months in advance.

2. Don't expect double gifts - The holiday season is the time of year that people really feel a strain on their wallets. If your friends and family are getting you a pricey wedding gift, they might not be able to do the same for your holiday gift. In the long run, you’ll receive holiday gifts dozens of times over the course of your lifetime but wedding gifts only come around once. Cherish the gifts you receive for your big day and accept forgoing holiday presents.

3. Cash is the way to go - Registering for a Cash Gift Fund can make your guests lives a little easier, especially during a time when they already have tons of holiday shopping to get done. With something so hassle free as a Cash Gift Fund, they can take care of your gift from the comfort of their own home. Quick and simple! 

4. Add seasonal items to commemorate the Holiday season – Receiving seasonal holiday items as wedding gifts such as your first Christmas ornaments or His and Hers stockings add sentimental value to the gift. Your guest will feel like they are contributing to the memories you will be making with your partner during the holidays. 

5. Many more popular items can go out of stock during the holiday season - Check your registry often and keep updating it, but don’t be surprised if some of your wedding gifts don’t arrive until after the New Year. As the whole world is shopping at the same time, it’s possible that items you registered for will be on back-order. Just remember to be patient and follow up with the retailer on the order status of the item.

Our many thanks to Nancy Lee, President of gift registry site, for such great tips! Visit to start putting together your wish list!


Newly engaged? Congratulations! Now comes the hard part: the planning. You’ll find that it’s a lot like hopping on a moving train as you face the complexities of planning the wedding and the honeymoon. Although your bride and her mother will probably carry the biggest load, you’ll be drawn in by default. Here’s what you need to know:

1. When you and your bride are establishing gift registries, don’t hesitate to register for your honeymoon with a travel agency. Even if only a few friends and family members contribute, that’s money in your pocket. It beats having a kitchen full of toasters and novelty cookie jars.

2. Be the one in charge of the play lists for your reception, whether you hire a band or a DJ. In fact, create a “Do Not Play” list, as well as a “Must Play” list. While you’re at it, have a discussion about the volume of the music.

3. Once you’ve met with your officiant, you’ll know whether or not you and your bride are allowed to write your own vows. If you are, don’t leave it until the last minute. Begin composing your vows now, even if you're only writing down words or phrases that come to mind. The more you collect your thoughts, the easier it will be to write them out in full later on.

4. You may be legally responsible to see to it that your reception guests don’t drive home drunk. Therefore, you may elect to pay your limo driver an extra fee to be available after the reception for any guests who need a ride.

5. Instead of planning the bachelor party on the night before the wedding, it makes more sense to have it two or three days before, because, not only is the night before the wedding usually reserved for the wedding rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner, but it’s an awesome idea to avoid a hangover.

6. Unfortunately, well-dressed thieves specialize in crashing wedding receptions unnoticed and walking away with gifts or the card box. Provide paid security, or have a trusted friend keep an eye on gifts and the card box.

7. Think up ways to ease the stress your bride is feeling as the big day approaches: buy her an afternoon at a spa; plan special times together, such as an all day get-away; dinner and theater tickets; or an evening at a concert. Or, if you both enjoy a round of golf, or a day surfing at the beach, go for it! Your goal should be to break the stress cycle with a little R & R.

8. Book your bride’s airline reservations in her maiden name. Although she’ll be a married woman when she goes through the checkpoints at the airport, all TSA wants to see is that the name on her ticket matches her driver’s license.

9. When you return from your honeymoon, your wife has four choices:

  • Change her legal name to her married name.

  • Retain her maiden name.

  • Use a hyphenated last name that includes her maiden and married surnames.

  • Use both names: her maiden name in her business or career, and her married name in all other circumstances, including legal documents.

10. If you feel uneasy around your future mother-in-law, or vice versa, one solution is to invite her to lunch. Take her someplace nice, where the ambiance is conducive to having a good talk. By “good talk,” I mean saying things like, “Ashley and I really appreciate all your help with the wedding plans.” Butter her up a little. Establish a genuine friendship if you possibly can. She should appreciate your attention, and after your little one-on-one chat, tensions should ease considerably.

11. Instead of rushing from your wedding reception to the airport to catch your honeymoon flight, consider spending your wedding night in the bridal suite of a local upscale hotel or resort. As you board your getaway vehicle after a practically flawless wedding day, exhaustion will set in and you’ll practically slide into a coma. The mere thought of waiting in security lines at the airport, and fighting to cram your carry-on luggage into an overhead bin, will cause you to appreciate a quick drive to your luxury suite. Your honeymoon destination will still be there the next day!

12. Watch your luggage carefully. If you’re on an airport shuttle, be sure someone doesn't “accidentally” take your luggage with them at their stop. Also, when standing in line at the check-in counter, keep your luggage in front of you, so that they are touching your feet. This will make it more difficult for a thief to walk off with your bags. Watch for distractions. For example, a thief may “accidentally” drop his ice cream cone onto your shoulder or lap, then make a big fuss of cleaning you up with a napkin while an accomplice picks your pocket or walks off with your cell phone. Thieves love honeymooners because they know you’re probably not paying attention to anyone other than each other.

Tuck these twelve truths in your hip pocket and take them out as needed. Your family and friends will be impressed with your worldly knowledge and self-confidence. Have an extraordinary wedding day!

Special thanks to Diane Warner for her amazing tips! Find her book, Diane Warner's Complete Guide to a Traditional Wedding at most major bookstores and online.

Excerpts reprinted with permission of the publisher, from DIANE WARNER’S COMPLETE GUIDE TO A TRADITIONAL WEDDING, copyright 2014, published by New Page Books, a division of Career Press, Pompton Plains, NJ 800-227-3371. All rights reserved.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Trends are great, but not for everyone. As the Mother of the Bride or the Mother of the Groom, sometimes it can be difficult to find an outfit for the big day that balances trend with comfort and style with fit. Even if something looks trendy and fabulous on the mannequin, doesn't mean that it will be the best pick for your body. Better to go with something that will look flattering when your great-great-great grandchildren see the pictures!

Since we all know that frumpy isn't fun, here are some simple guides to follow when hunting out that perfect dress for your kid's big day! 

Neckline- A v-neck is a great cut for women with a larger bust, whereas a jewel neck is good for small bust-lines.

Length- The mother of the bride or groom should never wear a mini skirt. For any other participants, use your judgement on the formality of the event. 

Waist line and cut- If you want to bring attention to the waist, find an outfit that is fitted. If that's not your best asset, go for ruched or loose-fitted options. 

Shoes- Add a pop of color to a short black dress to really add some flair. For longer dresses, make sure that you pick a heel height that you can wear all day. And no flip-flops! 

Sleeves- If you've got amazing arms, show those guns off with a sleeveless dress. If you're not one of those lucky few, just remember that anything goes! Pick what makes you feel good. 

Color- Color can be tricky! It is important to take into account what truly looks great with your skin tone. Pick something that makes you light up. You can't wear a color that doesn't suit you - even if the bride wants it that way.

Fabric- Fabrics are really an individual choice. You can have anything from flowing frocks to stiff suits or anywhere in between. If you're shorter, stick to a dress with less fabric. That way you won't risk getting lost in it! 

The most important thing to remember is to get something that is comfortable! You're going to be wearing it all day, running around to help out, greeting and hugging people, and dancing the night away. Make sure you can move and groove in it!

Special thanks to Jon and Marlies of Boutique Unique and Bonjour Madam for these fabulous fashion guidelines! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Your wedding is a HUGE day and you've got to take as many pictures as you and possibly squeeze in! But what do you do with all your guests while you're snapping photos and looking glamorous? Especially those folks who are from out of town and can't just run home between the ceremony and the reception.

Enter the coolest idea ever...

Why not show your guests a good time, even when you're not able to be there! Let the explore our wonderful city through a walking tour. They can hit up the most famous places like The Bean in Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago! You could even have guests take pictures at each location and tag #yourwedding on Instagram! Talk about Insta-memories!

Create a custom map and give guests the opportunity to see the sites with a little bit of personalized guidance! You could even develop a route highlighting places that are important to your love story. Did you spend Valentine's Day at a show at the Chicago Theatre? Put it on the map!

Personally, I'm seriously digging this idea. I love it! And it's fun even if you're not in the city. Just pick places like your old high school, the house where you grew up and park shelter where you had your first kiss together. Create a custom itinerary on the back to explain the significance of each location to your guests.

Our good friend Carol Wilmot, owner of CW Designs specializes in creating these awesome custom maps. Here's one she created just for us called "A Walk in the Park." Isn't it absolutely gorgeous! She highlights some of the best spots in the city with artistry and flair (and our famous Chicago "stars")!

You can even ask your guests to take photos of their adventures and tag your wedding on Instagram with one of these babies:

How do you plan to keep your guests entertained during the gap between your ceremony and reception or cocktail hour? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Here are a couple of Carol's other fabulous Chicago maps for your viewing pleasure:

Check out more of Carol's work by visiting the CW Designs website. Email for more information about developing your custom map!
"Our wedding was nothing short of gorgeous! I am proud to say that I (the bride) planned 100% of our wedding without a wedding planner and without any details lost. From buying my own table linen and chair sashes to doing some DIY to save a few bucks...I did it all.

"Our wedding was everything we wanted plus more. I had visions of what I wanted but never expected our wedding to turn out the way it did. From our traditional catholic church ceremony and release of doves, to our 1958 white Rolls Royce, my bridesmaids blushing pink dress, and our pictures in front of an outdoor movie theater where they wrote on the marquee 'Mr. And Mrs. Woods' -- it was nothing but true elegance with a little bit of old Hollywood.

"On top of our beautiful wedding day, but had the best photographer Jenelle Kappe to capture every second of our wedding. From tears to smiles, and our adorable flower girl and ring bearer, she captured it all." -Agatha


Brides by Demetrios


Mens Wearhouse

Jenae Wiedemann of Fabricate Studios

Meg Griffin of White Orchid Spa

Central Continental Bakery


Created by Bride

A Dynasty Classic Cars & Limousines

White Dove Release

Music Non Stop

Jenelle Kappe

White Wedding Cinema

Thursday, November 21, 2013

We're crossing our teen dramas here, but everyone's atwitter about the latest news on Seth Cohen and Blair Waldorf! Yep, it's true - Adam Brody and Leighton Meester are engaged!

Though the couple has been dating just under a year (sources first linked them romantically back in February), Cohen supposedly popped the question a little earlier this fall. The couple is known for being quiet about their private lives, but get this - they have yet to publicly comment on their relationship. They've been spotted together many times holding hands on the red carpet and going on low-key dates, but the two refuse to say anything.

However, sources are firm in their knowledge of the engagement. Wonderwall was first to break the story, saying, "A spy tells us Leighton and Adam celebrated the happy news with close friends and family at an engagement bash in Los Angeles on Nov. 10."

UsWeekly reports, "The pair (whose breakout TV shows were both created by Josh Schwartz) worked together on the 2011 film The Oranges and began "hanging out" in early 2013...They'll also be working together again in the upcoming comedy Life Partners." Talk about a perfect title, am I right?

Can't wait for more news on the nuptials. We'll keep you posted!

Sources: E! Online

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

When Jenna Speight, fabulous hairstylist, personal friend and the fearless leader of the ladies at Rue 62 Salon, mentioned that she was putting together a photo shoot with other local wedding talent, I was floored. When I was invited, I nearly hit the roof of the PF Chang's where we were lunching. Not long after, Jenna finalized the details and told me to bring a little black dress.

It turned out the shoot was scheduled for none other than my birthday. So upon arriving, I obviously found cupcakes and champagne. As if they needed to do more than get me all dolled up and take my picture to make my happy on my birthday.

First, I sat down with a stylist to put together my retro, Pinterest-inspired updo. She worked with my unruly hair like the pro she was and eventually it stuck. Beside me, three other ladies were having their hair twisted and bent into perfection by other master stylists at Rue 62. The curls, the pins, the hair spray! It was fabulous.

Once the hair was complete, I shuffled over to the makeup station where I promptly asked Jessica Sawicki, owner and top retro-makeup-designer-creator-badass-artist at Bomber Betty Custom Cosmetics if she could hide my acne. Her response was, "Of course! Silly..." And she did. I was probably the worst canvas ever because I kept trying to look at all the makeup. I couldn't believe that she actually makes it. Yes - you read that right - she MAKES her makeup!

So, by the end I'm looking pretty hot, if I do say so myself. I changed into my little black dress, got opinions on the five (overkill) pairs of shoes I'd brought with me, and stared at my mediocre jewelry collection. As I expressed my consternation with my options, people started calling for Devin, one of the other models/hairstylists (she's the blonde bride below). Devin walked over, explained that she's a Stella & Dot consultant (dream come true), took one look at my outfit and pulled out the most perfect necklace ever. It was the just the right combo of funky and classy, and helpfully pulled the attention up above the cleavage.

At this point I'm set. Seriously. I figured if they make me prettier I wouldn't be able to fit my big head through the door. And then came the photographer...

Ciana Alexander of Cici Pictures, LLC is pretty much the most adorable thing ever. I spent the first twenty-five shots she took just talking and apologizing that I don't know how to model and still she made them look good. She gracefully climbed on furniture, peeked over desks and called out instructions until she had the models moving like Tyra.

Eventually, we took a jumping shot and duck-lip pic as a group and called it a night. I drove home dangerously, since I was too busy staring at my hair and makeup in the mirror. I didn't look this good at prom. Or ever maybe...When I got home, the fam did a double-take and fiance was pleased. Score one for the team.

The makeup, the hair, the photos - it all made for a fabulous night filled with new friends and new Facebook profile pictures. I'm so thankful to Jenna, Jessica and Cici for asking me to participate and letting me see how they all operate! I had so much fun at the event, but the thing is - I think I would have that much fun with these guys even if we were just sitting around in sweatpants eating potato chips (but we'd still have the champagne, obviously).

A big thank you to Devin Dalakouras, Mariana Sretenovic, Kelly Kelley, Lindsay Curtis, Lisa (Dee) Aviles, Carol Bishop, Jenna Speight, Jessica Sawicki and Cici Alexander! It was lovely to meet and work with you all! I had a fabulous time and I hope you'll invite me back to play dress up with you guys again soon!
Here are some of the fabulous pics from the evening! (Can you tell we had some fun?)