Monday, June 30, 2014


If I were asked to rattle off all the things I love about Chicago, I could easily list 100 different reasons — the gorgeous views of Lake Michigan, countless summer festivals, the delicious food (nothing, and I mean nothing, can beat a Chicago-style hot dog!). But most of all, I love how the city strikes a comfortable balance between being metropolitan and intimate. Surrounded by a landscape of statuesque skyscrapers, it’s really hard not to feel perfectly at-home in the Windy City.

The naturally beautiful backdrops scattered throughout the city also make for ideal photo locations, whether you’re planning an engagement session or simply looking for a few wedding photo stops. Our top picks? Scroll down and take a look!

Oak Street Beach: If you’ve never been to the Windy City, you probably wouldn’t use the words ‘Chicago’ and ‘beach’ in the same sentence. But that’s not exactly the case, if you’re a native Chicagoan! Yes, I’m talking about Oak Street Beach, a mainstay for city dwellers when summer rolls around. If you’re planning a warm-weather photo session, slip off your shoes and take a stroll down this beach with your spouse-to-be, allowing your photographer to capture the carefree moments that unfold.

Honeycomb Sculpture, Lincoln Park: Nestled between the natural, cozy backdrop of Lincoln Park and the sprawling cityscape, the Honeycomb Sculpture is a perfect reflection of what makes Chicago so lovely — a small-town feel combined with contemporary chic. If you and your sweetie crave that type of juxtaposition in your photos, this spot is the place to be! 

St. Michael’s Church in Old Town: Chicago is home to some of the most timeless architecture in the country — and one building in particular captures my heart again and again! St. Michael’s Church is a renowned historical landmark situated in Old Town, and features stately Gothic architecture with vaulted archways and windows. For a unique, eye-catching background, ask your photographer to snap a shot of the two of you in front of the church’s grand wooden doors, which feature beautiful intricate detailing.

Salvage One: Easily one of the most unique venues in Chicago, Salvage One is the epitome of rustic-vintage chic! There is so much character and personality hidden in every nook and cranny of the building — if I had to describe it, I’d say it’s urban loft meets vintage antique store. Sounds amazing, right? And with a light-up sign that’s got ‘Chicago’ written all over it (literally), photos captured at Salvage One will definitely have a ‘wow’ factor that’s truly unforgettable.

Wrigley Field: No list of Chicago photo stops is complete without a mention of one of the city’s most prized and beloved landmarks — Wrigley Field! The official home of the Chicago Cubs, a photo session shot at Wrigley is a nostalgic, authentic way to pay homage to the city where you first met, had your first date and where you’ll most likely start your life together, as a married pair. If the two of you are die-hard supporters of the Cubbies, don’t forget to sport those infamous red and blue hues! Even if you’re not a sports fan, this location is truly as Chicago as it gets — and honestly, there’s nothing better than that! 

Happy Location-Hunting!


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

Images courtesy of George Street Photo and Video.
Would you rather have wedding photos that look like this:

Photo by Ocken Photography*

Or like this:


Tough choice, right? Choosing the right photographer - and getting the right images - can be really hard. And there's always a great way to justify getting an amateur photographer -- it could save some money, s/he's a friend of the family, etc. But just because it feels justified does NOT mean it's a good idea.

Chris Ocken of Ocken Photography talked with three brides about their experience (and the lack of experience their photographers seemed to have) in his video, Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda. Chris explains, "There are many reasons to choose a photographer, so we outlined reasons for not choosing a particular photographer in a fun, funny and not-so-serious look at ourselves."

Video created by Kyle Hamman at KBH Media

Friends, don't regret your wedding photos! Make sure to: 

-Hire someone you trust. You want to feel secure that (s)he really knows what (s)he's doing!

-Check reviews and always speak with the person who will actually be shooting photos at your wedding ahead of time.

-Only hire someone you feel comfortable with. Definitely skip someone who feels like they could be an unnecessary frustration on one of the most stressful days of your life.

-Say no to "backseat planners." If your parents are really pressuring you to ask Uncle Whoever, just politely explain that you want him to have a lovely time enjoying the wedding -- not working it!

-Sit down with your photographer and make sure you agree on a package, style and a must-have photo list, so as not to skip anything you'll want later.

-Be direct. If, on the day of, you feel your photographer is missing important moments or getting in the way, simply take him or her aside and politely chat about what you discussed in your initial meetings. They're pros, they can handle it.

-Get a photo with your photographer before your big day is over! By the end of the event, you'll probably be besties anyway.

For more information on Ocken Photography, check out their Vendor Page at or visit their website at Contact Chris via email at or call 312.970.0225.

*This photo was cropped for formatting purposes

Friday, June 27, 2014

If these classy gents can pull of a pocket square, then so can you!

Groom tip time! Pocket squares are the perfect way to add a pop of color and manly sophistication to any suit. With this simple square of fabric, gentlemen can express whether the tone of their wedding is elegant and streamlined, casual and fun or somewhere in between. 

Check out the video below from Gilt MAN to learn how to EASILY fold the perfect pocket square. This look is excellent for grooms, groomsmen and guests alike! Get ready to suit up -- and remember, NO WHITE SOCKS.

Thanks to My Hotel Wedding for sharing this video! 

Photo source: Google Images

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Check out more of Anna's work here.

Many of you may remember the talented Anna Coy, owner and designer of To Hold & To Have from her fabulous guest post right here on the ChicagoStyle Weddings blog called How to Make a Modern Heirloom Bouquet. Anna give us the inside details on how to truly personalize a keepsake bouquet made of silk flowers. And now, she's bringing her knowledge right to our doorstep! 

Anna's bringing her specialty designs to Chicago from July 27 through July 2! She's available to show samples, meet for impromptu consultations or to simply chat about bridal bouquets. Her passion is infectious! She explained her bouquet designs to us this way: 
"Each bouquet I create is handmade custom. Having a floral design background has enabled me to learn the structure of natural flowers and the skill of putting them together in an artful way. I have created new techniques to create less common satin flowers such as hybrid lilies and calla lilies. Pairing them with handmade satin or paper roses can make a gorgeous arrangement! Any color scheme can be matched and any style bouquet created. Just as every bride has a different style so should every bouquet!"
Anna uses stain, crystals, paper and personal keepsakes to create unique, modern bridal bouquets and bridal party pieces that last a lifetime. To learn more about To Hold & To Have, visit their website at

Make your appointment to chat with Anna while she's in town today! Email or call 267.971.3906.

Check out some of Anna's most popular bouquets below!

The "Tiffany" Bouquet

The "Love Story" Bouquet

Photo Credit

Monday, June 23, 2014


A warm breeze, the sound of waves crashing on the shore — I don’t know about you, but that’s my idea of pure, blissful paradise! From the idyllic setting to the laid-back atmosphere, there’s really nothing better than a beautiful beach celebration! But the best part? Armed with DIY-friendly tips and tricks, it’s easy to create an ambiance that’s not only stunning, but affordable, as well!

Here are a few beach-ready wedding ideas that won’t break the bank!

Sweetly Simple Centerpieces: Who knew that sea shells and starfish could double as stylish centerpiece decor?! Gather a few of these elements and head over to your local craft store to pick up clear vases or columns. Consider filling them with colored sand, water or candles, and add starfish and seashell accents to achieve that straight-off-the-beach effect. Add polished driftwood for a more rustic touch, or incorporate floral elements if you’d like to add some elegance to each arrangement.

Cake Adornments: Get creative with the cake topper and toppings! After all, your cake presents a perfect opportunity for you to tie the entire theme of your beach affair together! Graham cracker crumble is a dead ringer for sand, while adirondack chair cake toppers add a unique (and adorable) touch!

Delightful Details: Even the smallest details can often be expensive additions to a wedding budget. But, if you’re hosting a beach affair, crafting those details is possible with minimal extra cost! For instance, mini shells adorned with table numbers make ideal place cards and also double as cute take-home gifts for guests! And, since everyone will likely be outdoors for the majority of the festivities, consider giving them something unique to remember your day — pinwheels or streamers are fun additions to any party and can also be used in your grand exit!

Whimsical Wedding Altar: There’s no backdrop quite like the ocean, with the sun shining just over the horizon! Still, no beach wedding is complete without an altar to frame the natural setting, and believe or not, it’s easy to craft one on your own! Long, airy drapes look dreamy when caught by the summer breeze and can be attached to the framework of the altar. Add floral arrangements for a pop of color or paper lanterns if your wedding takes place at dusk.

Rustic Signage: To achieve that rustic, beachy look, make hand-painted signs directing your guests to the day’s events! Score an added bonus if you collect beach wood and craft it into signs for a truly authentic effect! You can also have fun with the signage for your reception chairs — wooden placards attached to rope are effortlessly beachy and inexpensive!

Once your sweet beach soirĂ©e has come together, you’ll definitely want to reflect on all the hard work you put into making each detail come to life! That’s where your photographer can help plan out shots that showcase the decor and details to help tell the entire story of your day, from the ceremony to the grand exit! Now, mix yourself a tropical cocktail and get planning!

Xo, Amanda

Thank you very much to George Street Photo & Video for the wonderful advice on planning a DIY beach wedding! Visit Amanda and the George Street team at or check them out on Facebook. For more information call 866.831.4103 or email

Photos courtesy of George Street Photo & Video.

Friday, June 20, 2014


The bride is the obvious focal point of a wedding, but Mom is important too. She will be one of the most photographed women at a wedding. “Most mothers underestimate their importance,” says Kathryn Trocki, owner of Kathryn’s Bridal in McHenry. “Mothers of both the bride and groom deserve to look beautiful too!”

Ivonne Dome, lead social occasion designer for Mon Cheri explains, “I work hard to create social occasion pieces that evoke the positive, daring feelings that everyday casual wear often stifles. There’s something about wearing a gorgeous social occasion gown or suit that allows a woman to live out her most glamorous fantasies. Everyone deserves to feel special.”

With all the countless hours and dollars that have gone into planning the perfect day, both mothers should be dressed accordingly.

Gowns for Mothers of the Wedding by Mon Cheri, Montage and Cameron Blake are available at Kathryn's Bridal in McHenry. Call 815.385.7330 for your appointment and visit for more info!

Photos courtesy of Kathryn's Bridal.