Friday, August 29, 2014

She's at it again! Edra Wilson Founder/Designer of Edra Couture Beauty Brides shares the Enchanted Roses Design. The perfect design for the bride that wants her hair up with a look of softness and romance.

Check out the video below and let us know how much you love this style in the comments!

Video producer: Tati Lisette
Photographer Mark Sërrano
Model: Claudia Hernandez
Hair/Make-up artist: Edra Wilson

For more of Edra's tips and tutorials, be sure to subscribe to her YouTube channel and visit the Edra Couture Beauty Brides website!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Missy and Sara found happiness in the form of a hyphen in July of 2014. This couple found the perfect support system of friends and vendors (and a few "friendors") to help them celebrate their happily every after as they became Mrs. and Mrs. Furlette-Koski. Read on to hear their story of proposals, planning and the perfect day!

"We became engaged officially on August 20, 2013 when my (now) wife Sara asked me to marry her on our back porch over morning coffee. Our wedding plans were well underway in the weeks before we got engaged because we knew in Chicago you can't waste any time. We did look at wedding venues and thought it would be nice to use a Chicago Park District Building so we looked into Promontory Point, The Garfield Park Conservatory, and Columbus Park Refectory. After checking out all the venues we settled on Columbus Park Refectory because we fell in love with the pavilion, where the ceremony would be held. It's a gorgeous building designed by Jens Jensen.

"I then contacted Rebecca Ickes of Rebecca Marie Photography, whom I went to college with. I had been following her work on Facebook in the years since we graduated from DePaul University. We lucked out that she was available in July 2014. I also decided that my fiancé, Sara, should get a proposal, too, and wanted it to be documented on film. I took Sara on a bike ride to our venue and had Rebecca pretend she was a bird photographer. She captured beautiful photos of the moment I asked Sara to marry me.

"After we had confirmed our photographer and venue, and with two engagements down, I decided to go looking for a dress. My maid of honor did some detective work and found Belle Vie Bridal Couture. I fell in love with an Amsale gown. Because the price tag of this gown was significant, I threw an Ugly Dress Party in December as a fundraiser for my dress at Joie de Vine in Andersonville. Joie de Vine was wonderful to work with and I was happy to support a lesbian-owned business. Sara found her Hugo Boss suit at Nordstrom.

"In the meantime we also found our florist, Rachel Wyffels of Life in Bloom. Additionally, a friend recommend Anita Vaughan as our Life Celebrant. It turns out Anita performed the first ceremonies when civil unions were legalized.

"Viri Anguiano of Wishbone Catering has been a joy to work with. We went with a cocktail-style reception and Viri made it fun and easy to design the flow of the event.

"We went on to hire DJ Disobedience from Kalamazoo, Michigan who is a friend of a friend.

"Makeup Design was done by Joanna B Artistry. Bridesmaids hair was done by Debbie Petrielli.

"Our invitations were designed by Purple Sapphire Designs whom I found on Etsy, but is based in the Chicago area. We were able to customize he formal invitations by using a picture of Columbus Park Refectory and incorporating it into a Chicago skyline.

"I am happy to report that we were met with excitement and enthusiasm as a same-sex couple, rather than discrimination. It helped that in November 2013 marriage equality passed in Illinois. For many we would be the first legal marriage of a same-sex couple that our friends and family would be able to celebrate. There are times when we have individually announced our marriage and some assumed we'd be marrying men. Clearly that is not the case. The entire event involved a network of people who were committed to making our day spectacular." - Missy Furlette-Koski

Monday, August 25, 2014


Mark my words: 2014 is the year of the fashion forward groom! Yep, that’s right — while you’re gearing up for the debut of your gorgeous gown, your groom might also be ready and willing to make a fashion statement for the big day! And the best part? With so many wedding themes and aesthetics to play with, today’s grooms are fortunate to have a variety of style options worth considering.

Plain black suit? Throw it out the door! Here are 5 ensembles sure to suit your beau’s style preferences!

Classic Cool: When I think of the words ‘polished’ and ‘put-together,’ the classic three-piece suit always comes to mind. This cut never fails to look stylish and can easily go from sheer class to understated casual once you slip off the jacket. Add in a statement accessory, like a chic hat, and you’ve got a look that’s...well...irresistibly cool!

Dapper & Daring: What do you get when you take a standard suit and add in a dash (or two) of color? You’ve got a sophisticated yet original take on the traditional groom’s attire! Pair a tux or dinner jacket with a boldly patterned tie, colorful pocket square or printed button-up to match your wedding accent colors! This style definitely calls for a willingness to be daring in the eyes of fashion, but when it’s done right, it’s a look that can’t be beat!

Vintage Flair: You can never go wrong with the oldies but goodies — especially when that comes in suit-form! Any groom, in any generation, looks great in a timeless vintage get-up. Throw on a retro bowtie or, for an extra dose of authenticity, incorporate a family heirloom piece — for instance, your grandfather’s watch — to pull the whole look together.

A Black Tie Affair: The epitome of a true gentleman? A groom in a dashing tuxedo! Whether it’s a white dinner jacket ‘a la Casablanca or a timeless all-black ensemble, no formal affair is complete without a tux and tie combo. If you really want to wow the crowd, add on a pair of polished cuff links. Hey, it’s your wedding! Gotta dress to impress, right?

Go for the Bow: Don’t get me wrong — ties in any style are always a win, in my book. But, when that tie takes the shape of a bowtie? Even better! Smart, polished and elegant, a bowtie can add an extra ounce of class to any groom’s wedding day look. Fall under the more casual side? Pair a plaid bowtie with a pair of suspenders and low-key khakis.

The main takeaway here? Don’t forget to deck out your groom! Sure, you might be focused on your own dress fittings and accessories, but this is the perfect opportunity for your groom to let his individual style shine. Happy shopping!


Thank you very much to George Street Photo & Video for sharing these fabulous styling ideas for all our grooms out there! 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.

“Jumping the Broom” is an African American wedding tradition included at the end of the ceremony, after the officiant has pronounced the couple husband and wife or at the reception after the entire bridal party has entered. The significance of this tradition is to pay homage to those that came before us during times of slavery. At that time, slaves were not allowed to legally get married so they legitimized their marriage by jumping the broom; leaving their former single lives and jumping into a new journey as husband and wife. 

This particular couple wanted to jump the broom; however, they did not want the traditional decorated broom. The wedding planner decided to create this design for the couple to jump over. It's perfect for the wedding day, and they can hang on it their wall or stand it on the mantle. It's the perfect reminder of their love, commitment and heritage. 

Thanks so much to Denia Williams of From Your Inspiration Wedding and Event Management! We love learning about traditions and the ways in which modern couples can update them for their lives. For more information about Jumping the Broom or Denia's services, call 708-557-2046 or email

Photos courtesy of Denia Williams.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

In celebration of its 25th Anniversary at the flagship Rush Street location, Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse gave back to the dining community after a quarter century of valued support. All Gibsons locations (Chicago, Oak Brook and Rosemont), showed their appreciation on Monday, April 21 by offering all steaks on the menu for $25. Guests were encouraged to bring cameras to the Chicago location on April 21, as it featured a unique photo opportunity with a step and repeat by the main entrance.

We want to give our sincere congratulations to our friends over at Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse. We think 25 years of excellence is mighty impressive! Check out their vendor page here for more information about this vivacious venue!

Photos courtesy of Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

Monday, August 18, 2014

A gorgeous lineup from Enzoani's 2014 collection. Check out the video and tell us which gowns you like best!

Video from Enzoani

Friday, August 15, 2014


Most little girls have dreams of walking down the aisle all dressed in white. But why does nobody ever tell them how stressful the whole process can be? With the average wedding costing just north of $25,000, according to Cost of Wedding, it’s no surprise why. Learn from other brides’ mistakes and avoid these five disasters.

Inclement Weather
If you have your heart set on an outdoor, sunset ceremony or plan on having any portion of the evening under open air, you are at the whim of weather. From unpredicted hot or cold fronts to a sudden downpour of rain, mother nature does not always play nice with wedding plans.

First and foremost, let your guests know they will be attending an outdoor wedding, as this will help them better prepare their attire. Next, have the essentials on hand just in case. Consider arming your wedding planner and venue with the following:

For Heat:
  • Bottled water
  • Handheld fans 
  • Bug Spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Tissues/paper towels
For Cold:
  • Hot beverages
  • Space heaters
  • Wind-proof tent
  • Coat check
For Rain:
  • Umbrellas (both hand held and table)
  • Water-proof tent
  • Backup, indoor space
  • Coat check
  • Power Failure
Larger venues such as ballrooms and upscale wedding venues should have their own plan for power outages (ask to be sure!); however, if you are hosting a more intimate event at a small venue or even a private residence, it is important to prepare for a power surge and outage. Consider the amount of energy you will need between the DJ, lighting and food prep, and verify this will not overload the power source. If it does or even comes close, consider renting a backup generator for the evening. In the case of a private residence, it may be best to have one on hand regardless of the weather.

Unreliable Vendor
Don’t assume that because you have signed a contract that everything is set in stone. From forgetful scheduling to unforeseeable circumstances, vendors are human and can make mistakes or even get in car accidents as one bride experienced. Whether the florist arrives with wilted flowers or the entertainment is a no show, stay calm, find a solution (pick some garden flowers, plug an iPod into the sound system, etc.) and continue enjoying your day. The more planning you do ahead of time (maybe create a backup playlist just in case) and the more flexible you are day of, the more you are sure to enjoy your big day.

The Drunk Uncle
Be it family member or friend, it seems everyone has that one guest who just can’t seem to handle their alcohol intake. Avoid embarrassing blunders, unwanted toasts and general debauchery by giving your wedding planner or bridesmaids a heads up to the situation and identify some tactical solutions, be it distraction or cutting them off.

Makeup Meltdown
The culprit can be a heavy-handed makeup artist, tears during the vows or the aforementioned rain or overbearing sun, but bottom line is, brides all too often see makeup mishaps on their big day. Be prepared with a few essentials like lipstick, concealer and powder safely tucked away with your maid of honor and a full-blown repair kit with your wedding planner. And, if you aren't happy with the final result from the makeup artist, don’t be afraid to ask for her to try again or simply do it over yourself. It’s your day and you should look the way you want.

Thanks to blogger Samanta McIntosh, an unabashed shopaholic with a passion for fashion, beauty and a healthy lifestyle for her excellent advice!

Photo courtesy of Samanta McIntosh.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

There has been some ramble on the interwebs lately talking about something a bride posted on her Facebook page. Evidently, a frustrated bride felt it necessary to explain her reasons for not inviting certain Facebook friends in a rather negative manner. Originally posted on Reddit by Sea_Basstian, the offending status looks like this:

People are beginning to comment on the post both on Reddit and other sites where this post made the list of top stories, like, and there seems to be a split in philosophies. Many people said the bride stepped over the line and the post was hurtful. Others argued that the post is the bride's prerogative and commenters shouldn't shame someone for speaking his or her mind.

In my personal opinion, this is not the way to handle the situation. But, if this is what the bride in question deemed appropriate, so be it. Who am I to judge? 

My biggest fear is about the backlash that could occur over a post like this. A wedding should be a time of joy, not a time where friends feel alienated or your support system turns against you. With these vague descriptions, some people are likely to place themselves into a category the poster had not intended and feel hurt. 

So, personal opinions aside, let's all agree that the "Oh, sorry, you're not invited" conversation is an awkward one and talk about how to handle this situation with tact, dignity and without losing any friends. 

Step 1: Apologize. Even if you don't feel that you are in the wrong, someone is disappointed here and if you offer to take responsibility, the person will feel like you care about their feelings. 

Step 2: Stress How Difficult It Is to Create a Guest List. If someone hasn't had a wedding, they may not know the hours upon hours you spend going over the guest list deciding who gets to come, who gets a plus one, arranging a seating chart, making sure you don't forget about anyone, etc. Explain to them that it was a truly difficult process and it was very hard for you and your fiance to make cuts. 

Step 3: Give Your Reason Why. Feel free to blame your budget, your large family, your small venue, anything, but be as honest as possible. We don't suggest you lie to someone, but this is about making them feel better. If there's a reason other than "I don't like you," the non-invitee will feel a lot better.

Step 4: Remind Them That the Choice Was Not Personal. The person who's upset he or she didn't get an appointment may feel like they were the only one who was cut. There's a "why me?" mentality. Don't forget to explain to them that it wasn't a personal thing. You had to make a lot of really difficult choices. 

Step 5: Thank Them For Understanding. At this point, you've explained as well as you can. Whether the person feels better or not, you've done your best to fix the awkward situation. It's up to them to forgive and forget. So, to encourage that, thank them for being so understanding about your difficult decision. Tell them how much you appreciate that they're cool about the situation. 

If you'd like some examples of exactly what to say, Offbeat Bride has some really excellent ideas on being gentle but firm. The most important thing to remember is that if someone is asking why they're not invited to your wedding, they're probably hurt by it. Try not to hurt them more, rather offer them an explanation and express your gratitude of their understanding. 

What are your thoughts on the post? How would you handle the situation?

Photo from

Monday, August 11, 2014


From mama’s pearls to larger-than-life hair dos, the South is a region steeped in elegance and tradition. And when it comes to weddings, it’s no surprise that a few of those tried and true traditions are influencing brides all over the country — one of them being bridal portraits.

What’s a bridal portrait, you may ask? Originated in Europe, before slowly making its way past the Mason Dixon, this type of session not only celebrates a bride’s sweet wedding day glow, but her unique personality, as well. Want to make bridals apart of your wedding photo collection? Here are a few tips to keep in mind!

Consider the Big Picture: Think about what you want to get out of your photos. Will you be giving them to your parents as keepsakes for their mantle? Creating canvas prints to hang around your new home? Knowing your end goal, plus communicating that with your photographer, will give you the best results and help you get the most out of your session!

The Perfect Backdrop: The best part about bridal portraits? You get the final say in selecting a location. Aim for a setting that offers numerous options — a historic estate with beautiful columns, or a Southern-style bungalow with brightly colored furniture. The sky's the limit, but whatever you decide, be sure to research proper photo permits and consider daily traffic. After all, you’re the focal point of these photos — and you don’t want random passersby popping up in the background!

Take a Trial Run: Think about it — when will you ever get the opportunity to see how you’ll look on your wedding day, before your wedding day? Ladies, the bridal portrait is the perfect opportunity for a trial run! Consider hiring your beauty artists to get you dolled up for pre-wedding portraits. That way, you’ll get to see how everything is going to look on film and make adjustments before the big day, if necessary. Be sure you connect them with your photographer, so they can collaborate on the day of the shoot!

Props to Make it Pop: Last, but certainly not least...props! Many brides opt to have a mock-up of their wedding bouquet on hand during their session, but there’s also plenty of room to think outside the box. Depending on the theme and aesthetic vision you’re dreaming up for your bridals, a few fun props might include vintage furniture, a family heirloom (think shawls, veils or other accessories) or even balloons! Follow your heart and choose the item that fits you best!

Most importantly? Have a blast, girl! Look that camera in the eye, and let your personality shine! A bridal portrait is all about highlighting the love and happiness that goes hand in hand with getting married to the love of your life. Plus, your future self will thank you for documenting how beautiful and excited you looked leading up to your special day!


Thank you very much to George Street Photo & Video for sharing these tips for the perfect bridal portrait! 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

Friday, August 8, 2014

It's the biggest day of your life and Hyatt Regency McCormick Place wants to make it perfect.

Their stylish Chicago wedding venues can accommodate everything from intimate gatherings to lavish wedding receptions. From the flowers to the food to the music, their staff will make sure it’s the wedding of your dreams.

Their elegant downtown Chicago wedding location offers all you need as you create memories of lifetime, including:
  • A professional wedding specialist, who will work with you throughout the process 
  • Beautifully decorated venues with floor-to-ceiling windows for rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception, and morning-after brunch of up to 1,000 guests 
  • A tempting array of food and beverage from our talented catering staff with the option of Personal Preference Dining 
  • On-site dining options including Shor Restaurant and M/X Lounge
  • 1258 newly renovated guestrooms and suites
  • Convenient valet and self-parking options for your guests 
  • In-house audio visual experts to help create the perfect lighting or creative setting 
  • Special wedding packages to make the planning process as painless as possible 
  • Complimentary city-view overnight accommodations for the couple on the night of the wedding 

Chicago LGBT Wedding Celebrations
Hyatt Regency McCormick Place is proud to host your gay and lesbian wedding ceremony and reception. Whether you prefer a lavish affair or a simple gathering, their team will design a wedding or commitment ceremony that is a flawless expression of your love, style, and traditions.

Chicago Wedding Specials
Now when you celebrate your wedding day at Hyatt, you can enjoy free honeymoon nights at any Hyatt Hotels & Resorts location worldwide. Simply book and hold your wedding at a participating Hyatt hotel by December 31, 2014 and you will earn Hyatt Gold Passport® bonus points redeemable for free nights with no blackout dates at Hyatt Hotels & Resorts worldwide. For more information please contact the hotel for details or visit their website.

Photos courtesy of Hyatt Regency McCormick Place.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Cook County averages more than 31,000 weddings a year, according to The Wedding Report, but every couple's dream wedding is unique. Whether it's inside the elegant rooms of the Chicago Cultural Center or outside with the historic Buckingham Fountain framed in the backdrop, most weddings have one thing in common—they're expensive. If your heart is set on a Chicago affair, you'll need vision, planning and some decent budgeting skills. Here are three creative fundraising ideas to help any bride and groom pay for their ideal Chi-Town wedding:

Have a (Cyber) Yard Sale
What better way to begin your new life together than by getting rid of some of your old possessions and making some money while doing it? Shed the baggage of your old life and get ready to begin your new one. Since you're required to have a permit to hold a traditional yard or garage sale in Chicagoland, you can save yourself some time and effort by using online venues to sell your items. Sites like Facebook offer area-specific communities, like Chicago Yard Sale, where locals can view and buy items online. It's an easy and simple strategy to pad your wedding budget.

Try Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding has been used to raise money for everything from movie projects and college tuition to charitable causes and medical care, and now many couples are using it to help cover the cost of their wedding. According to ABC News, GoFundMe currently has 1,533 active wedding and/or honeymoon campaigns, with more than 16,300 donors who've contributed to those campaigns. Try a platform like The Crowded Wedding, which is specifically targeted to raising money for weddings, engagement rings and honeymoons.

Tap Into Potential Funds
Even with the best of intentions and most carefully laid plans, weddings get very expensive, very quickly. Many costs pop up that were not originally considered in the budget. Just the addition of a single guest can add $131 to $165 to your total cost, notes When costs escalate and you don't want to scrimp on your special wedding experience, examine all your options and have a plan of action.

Maybe you or your fiancé have stocks or bonds you could sell to raise some money. Or, if you receive regular payments from a structured settlement or annuity, you may be able to sell all or some of your future payments to a company like J.G. Wentworth for a lump sum of cash now. If you've minimized your spending but still find that you've gone over budget, cashing in on opportunities like these can give you some cash to cushion your wedding wallet.

Plan for the Future by Prioritizing
Please note, we do NOT recommend going into debt to pay for your wedding. That is not a good way to start a life with your new spouse! It's important to be realistic about what you can and cannot afford to ensure that you're not screwing up you future before you even get there. Have a discussion with your partner about your spending priorities -- for the wedding and for your future. Make sure you're on the same page before you spend the cash you've so ardently saved.

Your wedding day is the day you'll remember for the rest of your life, but that doesn't mean you should have to pay for it for the rest of your life. Chi-Town has such wonderful and unique wedding options, and your special day in the city should be exactly the way you always envisioned it. By utilizing a few wedding savvy strategies, you can have your wedding cake and eat it too.

Thanks to Jayme Cook for her excellent ideas on saving for a fabulous Chicago wedding! We love these tips. It's all about finding what's right for you!

How are you saving for your wedding?

Photo courtesy of Social Monsters

Monday, August 4, 2014


I found myself bent down, the tips of my Guess heels dinging against the cold tile floor. There I was, holding up the layers, upon layers, upon, layers of the bride’s dress so that on the most special day of her life she could pee. Maybe you’ve been there before – maybe you haven’t, but if you have ever been a bridesmaid, you’ll know for certain that it can feel more like a job, sometimes, than anything else.

Within 48 hours, two of my dearest friends both asked me the very same question. It was the kind of question that made little pellets of sweat dance down their foreheads and splash onto the collar of their shirts. It was the kind of question that made me run home and check the contents of my bank account, praying that the zeroes I kept seeing would magically turn into 8’s.

“Jen,” they both kicked it off with, fiddling the tips of their freshly manicured fingers, “Will you be my bridesmaid?”

And without even swallowing the nervous saliva that was building up in my mouth, I said yes. The first time and the second time.

Being a bridesmaid and having the chance to stand beside someone who means something so significant to you in your life, on their special day, is one of the greatest honors. It’s also something I’ve become quite familiar with these, days.

But with that honor comes enough responsibility to put a dent in your bank account and hold hostage a chunk of your precious vacation days. It requires a lot of energy and an alarm clock: so you’re awake early enough to start getting ready for the wedding before the sun even has a chance to rise on the bride’s big day. It also requires knowledge.

After my friends started calling me a professional bridesmaid, I posted an ad on craigslist offering up my services as a bridesmaid to any bride out there that’s looking to add one to their wedding party.

Of course, as I mentioned in my ad, I’ll be there for the bride to do things like:

  • Hold up the 18 layers of your dress so that you can pee with ease on your wedding day
  • Catch the bouquet and then follow that moment up with my best Miss America-like "Omg, I can't believe this" speech.
  • Do the electric and the cha cha slide.
  • Respond in a timely manner to pre-wedding email chains created by other bridesmaids and the Maid of Honor 

But I’m also there to get to know the bride. To find out, beforehand, the kinds of things that make her heart race with sweet and her nerves pump with negative energy.

And when my inbox started filling up with their requests and their offers to have me as a part of their wedding day, I realized that there is a need for something like this. For a “bridesmaid-for-hire” kind-of service and here are a few reasons why:
  1.  It’s tough to make friends once you’ve graduated from college. I understand that. I’ve been out of college for four years and since then, some of the closest friends I’ve made have been the guy who works at the pizza shop across the street and the librarian at my local library.
  2. Your friends, often, live all over the place. Most likely they are a plane ride away or a few hours on a train. Maybe they can’t make it to your wedding or to all of your events
  3. Not everyone wants to be a bridesmaid. And so they will do things like ignore email chains and show up 3 hours late on the morning of your big day.

Pick me – I wanted to tell these brides. I know the in’s and the out’s of how to make your wedding day – and the months leading up to it, flawless. I know how to rally up the guests to dance the Hora or how to give a speech at the rehearsal dinner that won’t sound like it’s being read straight off a Hallmark card.

But most of all, I know that love is impossibly hard to find and even harder to hold onto. I want to be there, beside you, as you look into the eyes of the guy who makes your heart beat like an Avicci song and hear you say some of the most powerful words in the universe: I Do.

You can learn more about Jen Glantz and her professional bridesmaid story and project here. Or, say hello to her on Twitter! Jen Glantz is the author of All My Friends are Engaged and the heart behind the website, The Things I Learned From.

Photos courtesy of Jen Glantz.