Friday, July 29, 2016

"If you can believe it, Anthony and I are one of those rarely heard of anymore cases of high school sweethearts. We met at a concert our senior year. After that, all it took was a friend request on Myspace, hours of chatting on AOL instant messenger, three trips to Panera, five episodes of "The OC," a first kiss in Anthony's car, the “will you be my girlfriend?” question, and we have been together ever since! This year makes eleven years! We grew up together and have a bond like I’ve never experienced with anyone ever before. I think we both knew pretty early on in our relationship that we were going to be together forever!

"The day we got engaged will forever be one of the best days of my life! Anthony had a whole day planned for us that started out with a drive to the suburbs. While driving on the expressway, I noticed the large sign that read "Chicago Botanic Gardens," which immediately gave me flashbacks to two years prior when we were at the gardens together and I told Anthony, "This would be a perfect place to get engaged." Of course I didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I choked back my teary eyes and put that possibility out of my mind.

"While walking through the gardens, I noticed Anthony becoming more and more nervous, much unlike his normal cool-as-a-cucumber self, but truly didn’t become suspicious until we walked under an arch into a gorgeous garden where two of my best girlfriends were standing with tears in their eyes! At that moment, I knew exactly what was about to happen, and immediately started crying as I watched my boyfriend of eight years get down on one knee and propose! As if the ring and two of my best girls being there wasn’t enough, about ten minutes after the question was popped, in rushed about fifteen of our nearest and dearest friends to help us celebrate! The rest of the day consisted of lots of laughs, excited phone calls, and champagne!

"Anthony and I truly could not have asked for a more perfect wedding day! We had an outdoor ceremony and a tented reception, which could not have worked out better on what turned out to be a gorgeous 78-degree July day. The entire day was so emotional and after being together for so many years, you could truly feel the love and excitement for us in each one of our guests.

"We made sure our whole day was filled with personal touches and details, including signature drinks, custom monograms, meaningful songs, and poems read during our ceremony by two of our best friends. Anthony and I giggled together through our relaxed ceremony that represented us even more in that moment than I ever could have imagined during the planning process. We said our, “I do’s” under a chandelier made of the most beautiful garden roses that ranged from ivory to blush pink. I remember looking into a sea of our closest friends and family and growing more and more excited as the ceremony went on! I couldn’t wait to be announced as “Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Ortale!” and to hit the dance floor!

"For our reception d├ęcor, we knew we wanted bright, beautiful flowers with bursts of fuchsia and green to pop off of the white tent and Ashland and Addison nailed it! I still can’t believe how gorgeous our floral was! All of our paper products for the day had individually hand water-colored roses by Laura at Elizabeth Grace. Our wedding invitations are one of my most prized possessions and we still have people telling us that they were the most beautiful invitations they have ever received! From the speeches by our fathers and best friends, to our first dance, to tossing the bouquet and dancing the night away, it was the best day of my life! I wish I could live the whole thing over again!" -- Alison

Ceremony + Reception Site: Lincolnshire Marriott Resort // Photography: Cage and Aquarium // Videography: Shot Time Productions // Officiant: Kate Miller // Bride's Gown: Vera Wang // Hair + Makeup: Salon M // Bridesmaids' Dresses: David's Bridal // Stationery: Elizabeth Grace // Floral: Ashland and Addison Florist Co. // Catering: Lincolnshire Marriott Resort // Entertainment: Cage and Aquarium // Sweets: Lovin Oven Cakery

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016



Your wedding cake is one of the most iconic symbols of your special day, a completely custom design tailored to the bride and groom. Wedding cakes provide a rare opportunity as you can go as crazy and unique or as classic and understated as you want. It’s tough to decide!

Hannah Bunbury of the Warwick Allerton Chicago works with brides and grooms at the Warwick Allerton Chicago in creating their perfect wedding day. Here are a few of the wedding cake trends she expects to see throughout the rest of 2016.

Buttercream is Back
Fondant cakes can be molded into just about any size or shape, but nothing beats the creamy taste of a classic buttercream cake. Brides and grooms are opting for this simple vanilla frosting in a smooth finish to give their wedding cake a relaxed, rustic vibe. Finish your creation with a whimsical topper to tie it all together.

Combine Cake and Florals
A simple yet elegant way to make your wedding cake pop is to add bright florals throughout each tier. This works especially well if you can use the same flowers in your centerpieces or bouquets. Try a monochromatic design with sprigs of color or tone down a bold pattern with simple white buds.

Shine on with Metallics
Golds and silvers have appeared on runways over the past several years, and now they’ve made their way into wedding day delicacies. Even if flash and bling isn’t your style, adding some shine to one tier or the whole cake will give your celebration a true wow factor.

Go Bold with Black
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box by choosing a black wedding cake. Matte tiers and intricate designs will give your cake a new level of style. Red roses will create an old Hollywood glamour moment, while metallic accents or toppers make it a modern affair.

Once you have your style picked out, you get to schedule one of the most beloved steps in wedding planning: cake tasting!  

For more tips on cakes & sweets, visit!

Monday, July 25, 2016

"We met through my college volleyball teammate and roommate who happened to marry Mark’s brother. So, we get to be sister-in-laws! We both love volleyball and played in many leagues together around the city. We would go to many music/food concerts and festivals and all around just enjoy Chicago and all it has to offer. In the fall of 2014, Mark went with me to the Netherlands to visit my family and we decided to stay longer to check out Brussels and Paris as well. Mark proposed to me in Paris during a dinner cruise along the Seine with the Eiffel tower light up behind us.  It was just perfect!

"Our vision for the wedding was a great concert, and what better venue than where it all began -- at Lincoln Hall. It was the location of our second date, and sister venue to Schuba’s Tavern where we had our first date. We even named our new puppy, Schuba. The band, The Big League Boys, is an up and coming Chicago band we wanted to support and thought would be perfect for the task. We opted for caricature artists instead of a photo booth to not only support local artists, but to also give people a fun favor to take home. Since we both don't like cake, we found this amazing toffee from a local guy name Dr. Ray's Toffee at a wine shop on Broadway called wineHouse. We reached out to Dr. Ray to see if he could make a toffee tower fit for a wedding, and he was able to do it! Since we lived in Lakeview right off Belmont and Clark we would come home from concerts and festivals late at night craving a bite to eat and we would make it a tradition to always go to Cheesie's Pub and Grub to end our nights. So we thought what better way to end our wedding night by having the Cheesie's food truck come out and feed all of our guests some grilled cheese goodness?

"While Mark wanted the event to be an epic concert, I wanted to make sure it was still classy and romantic. We added little touches here and there to make it feel like A Midsummer Night's Dream with fresh flowers and candles everywhere. I felt like I was married in Narnia.  

"Mark's grand idea was the Cube. One day he said, 'Wouldn't it be great if we had a giant cube hung like a diamond in the middle of the dance floor where we can project awesome videos and pictures on throughout our wedding?'  Well he made it happen and it was a great success, adding another fun interactive element to the event." --Dimphy

Ceremony + Reception Site: Lincoln Hall // Photography: Wasio Photography // Videography: Old North Film Company // Officiant: Rev. Dominic Barrett // Bride's Gown: House of Brides // Hair + Makeup: Style Onsite // Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bride to Be Couture // Formalwear: Formally Modern Tuxedo // Stationery: Minted // Flowers: Blossom & Branch Designs // Catering: Schubas Tavern // Entertainment: Big League Boys // Sweets: Dr. Ray’s Toffee // Transportation: Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Company // Food Truck: Cheesie’s Pub and Grub // Caricature Artist: Chuck Senties Productions 

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