Friday, September 30, 2016

Jo and Rachael from Entertainment Cruises stopped by to give us the scoop on why weddings on the water simply can't be beat.
What makes an Entertainment Cruises wedding  unique and unforgettable?
 One of the first features that really separates us from other Chicago wedding venues  is our unique perspective from the water and the stunning skyline views. There’s truly no other location that showcases this beautiful city quite like we can. We're also a one-stop wedding shop; we offer everything from food and drinks to entertainment and décor, and we have strong relationships with Chicago’s top wedding vendors. In addition to assisting with their vendor needs, every couple that ties the knot aboard one of our vessels works directly with an account manager as well as a dedicated wedding coordinator who ensures every detail is tended to. Our managers are experts on our different vessels and have the experience to make sure every wedding goes off without a hitch. The final thing that makes us stand out is that we’re an on-water venue. There’s nothing quite as memorable as getting married on a yacht!
How does Entertainment Cruises work with vendors like floral and décor?
Our in-house wedding coordinators will work with any outside vendors that a couple chooses to use. We offer all of our couples a sizable list of preferred vendors- some of the best in the city- that we work with on a regular basis and have great relationships with. Because we work with these vendors consistently, they understand our vessels, our processes and offer us exclusive pricing, making all details and coordination seamless and worry-free. Our coordinators handle all planning, ordering and delivery logistics with vendors, which takes an immense amount of stress off of the couple so they can fully focus on enjoying the day.
What about the size of events? How can Entertainment Cruises cater to small, intimate weddings vs. big, boisterous ones? 
Most people might be surprised to discover that we can accommodate both large and small weddings. Whether a couple has invited 20 guests or 350, we can find the perfect space to accommodate your celebration. With a variety of spaces and decks across our four yachts, there’s something to suit many different types of capacity needs. A two-tiered deck on Spirit of Chicago might be perfect for a large wedding group that’s looking to mix, mingle and dance all night long, while our Amethyst deck aboard Odyssey is best-suited for a more intimate wedding or vow renewal.

Does Entertainment Cruises cater weddings? Are couples allowed to use outside caterers?
All of the food served during our weddings is prepared fresh on board the day of the wedding. Our menus are all curated by our executive chef, and are updated every season to keep them current and exciting. We have a range of dining packages, some that include the cake and some that do not. If couples prefer to arrange for a cake from an outside vendor, we just ask that it comes from a certified bakery. While we can accommodate outside caterers, most couples don’t see the need as we offer a variety of food options to suit the couple and any special dietary needs.
How does Entertainment Cruises adapt to fit each couple's different needs?
 Because we have four very unique boats, we're able to help couples find the cruise that best suits their wedding needs. Each boat has a different look and feel, and this allows us to match couples to the boat that best embodies the atmosphere they’re looking for on their special day. We're also super customizable- we have a wide range of bar packages, menus, and décor and entertainment options. Our private yacht, Chicago Elite, is the most adaptable venue in our portfolio. The entire boat can be chartered for the wedding, which gives couples the ability to personalize the yacht for their big day. Our vessels offer an endless variety of both casual and elegant cruises, with options such as Lunch, Brunch, Cocktail, Dinner and Fireworks Cruises. 
Why does Entertainment Cruises like doing weddings?
Our mission is to create unforgettable memories on the water for our guests. There's truly nothing better than helping a couple, from start to finish, plan one of the most special days of their lives. We love being a part of the start of their forever. It’s also so rewarding to see so many couples return on their first anniversary for a complimentary cruise aboard the vessel where they celebrated their love.

What are your tips for couples in the market for wedding venues?
Searching for your perfect venue can be a daunting task, but do your best to find the venue that suits all of your needs. Choose a venue that suits both you and your significant other, and that will allow you to have a stress-free, unforgettable wedding day! 

To find out more about Entertainment Cruises beautiful boats and wedding options, check out the ships' websites:

Elite: http://www.eliteprivateyachts.com/chicago/groups/wedding-venue

Ready to plan your Big Day voyage? Contact Entertainment Cruises at weddings@entertainmentcruises.com.



Like getting the inside scoop? ChicagoStyle Weddings is home to countless Real Weddings and vendor interviews like this one, so be sure to check them all out!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

After getting married in the same church where Annette's parents tied the knot, the new couple celebrated with friends and family at Fountain Blue.
 Annette, on how she and Mitch met...
"We met while I was attending the University of Iowa about four years ago. My brother was coming to visit for the weekend and decided to bring his friend Mitch along with him. They were both Iowa graduates that had met freshman year. I had heard about Mitch, but didn’t really know him until we hung out that weekend. We really hit it off and ever since then, we’ve been inseparable. After two years of dating we got engaged."

 
Mitch and Annette, on how they knew they were perfect for each other...
We knew we were the perfect person for each other because we could be ourselves without judgement. We loved each other with everything we had. We always put each other first in anything we did. We found joy in making the other person feel special, wanted, and loved. We always expressed how much we meant to each other, how beautiful/handsome the person was, and we always continued to bring each other up. We made each other feel like there was no greater love out there than the love that we had for each other and that is all we ever needed. 


Annette, on how Mitch proposed...
"After six months of dating, Mitch was diagnosed with cancer. It was from battling this life challenge that we both realized that our connection was one that would last forever. A year later, Mitch took me on a European vacation that included a stop in Poland to visit family. One afternoon in our hotel room in Krakow, I found a present sitting on the bed: a lock engraved with our names on the front and a beautiful love quote on the back. there was also a card that told the story of the love lock bridge..." 

"...We then walked down to the river where the bridge is located so we could place our lock. Before we threw the keys into the river, Mitch pulled me in close and began to say some sweet words which eventually lead to him getting down on one knee and proposing. At that moment, it felt like time had stopped and all that mattered was that I was going to be able to spend the rest of my life with my best friend, my partner in crime, the love of my life. Once I was able to catch my breath again, Mitch and I threw away our keys into the river, locking our love together forever. But our fairy tale didn’t end there- Mitch had a horse and carriage ride waiting for us, which took us through Krakow and eventually stopped at a castle. There, we were taken out onto a terrace for a private dinner that looked out over the river that we had just gotten engaged on." 
Annette, on why the couple decided to get married in Chicago...
"We got married in Chicago because I'd always dreamed of getting married in the same church that my parents got married in: St. Hyacinth Basilica."
Annette, on her favorite memory from wedding...
"I remember standing with my father at the church door entrance and looking into his eyes and truly feeling a fathers love. At that same time he looked back at me and said. “There’s still time, we can leave right now and forget this ever happened. You can still be my little girl.” And I said, “No daddy, I love you, but I’m ready to marry Mitch.” Right then the music started to play; I took one last look into my father’s eyes and was ready to meet the man of my dreams at the altar."
Mitch, on his favorite memory from the wedding...
"Mitch said his favorite memory was at the church when the organ began to play. Everyone stood up, gazing towards the church door entrance, and I appeared through the door with my father. At that moment, a sudden, overwhelming feeling of joy and happiness brought tears to his eyes. He said that as walked down the aisle, a sense of bliss came over him knowing that he'd made the best decision of his life and couldn’t believe it was all coming true." 



Featured Vendors: GReyes Photography (photos), St. Hyacinth Basilica (ceremony), Fountain Blue (reception), The Crystal Bride (bride's gown + bridesmaids' dresses), Men's Wearhouse (groom + groomsmen's formalwear), Cards&Pockets (invitations), Shamrock Florist (floral), Mirar Productions (videography), State of Mind DJ (entertainment), Marszalek Band (entertainment), Central Continental Bakery (wedding cake), Avital Limousine (transportation), Reverend Steven Bartczyszyn (officiant)


Can't get enough Real Weddings? Check out Christina + Jimmy's suburban soiree, or head over to chicagostyleweddings.com and explore our gallery of Windy City weddings!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Joel from Conquest Entertainment shares a few tips and tricks that will make sure your celebration goes off without a hitch. 
Planning a wedding is a lot of work and in most cases, it’s a totally new experience.  There’s lots of important decisions that need to be made that can affect how things play out.   The goal, of course, is to throw a party that everyone remembers and talks about for years to come.  There’s lots of angles to consider, so here are a few tips I've picked up over the years as a professional DJ in Chicago.

1. Work with the Right People.
The right team makes all the difference.   There are TONS of good venues and vendors in your area.   It’ll take some homework to find ones you will enjoy working with, so I always recommend meeting with several DJs and Photographers in order to compare and contrast everyone’s different style and find the ones right for you.  Tips on Hiring the BEST. DJ. EVER!

2. More Isn’t Necessarily Better…5-6 Hour Receptions are Perfect!
I’ve consulted with brides who tell me, “we have the room from 4pm-1am” and they start planning to use all of those 9 hours.   Trust me, you don’t really need all that time for an amazing party!   Below are some of my observations I’ve seen over the years.
·         Weddings pretty much run their course in 6 hours (cocktail – end).  Anything more and you start to experience the “law of diminishing returns”
·         Most crowds run out of steam after 2.5 – 3 hours of dancing.  After about 3 hours of dancing, guests get worn out and start to filter out.  Even younger crowds.  That’s why it pays to “start strong and end strong” 

3. Make an “Must Have” and an “If Possible” List. Money and Time are your two biggest limiting factors on your wedding day.   Writing down what you must have and what you can live without can simplify the planning. You can apply this to many aspects of your wedding.  For pictures, let your photographer know the poses, locations, group photos that are super important to you.  That way they can focus on those. For music, have a “must play” and “play if possible” (and a “Do Not Play”).   The more your DJ knows about your music taste, the better they can play for you and your guests.
4. Listen and Communicate with Your Vendors.
Your vendors LOVE weddings and have a lot of experience and ideas to share.  As with most things, there are lots of angles to consider.  Trust me, everyone wants your wedding to flow seamlessly and come out perfectly. The more we know, the better we can help!  Surprises can be a bad thing!
·         If you’re bringing in a Photo Booth or Projector and Screen for a slideshow, let your vendors know so they can make the most of your room layout.  Communication is the key.  If someone emails you or leaves a message, get back to them with the info as soon as you can. This is something you should also expect from your vendors as well.   Brainstorming in groups can be very productive. Getting together with your vendors or your bridal party and can yield all kinds of fun ideas and solutions.  

5. A Few Don'ts...
  1. Don’t Over Plan. Scheduling too many events into your itinerary can end up with people getting frustrated. Make sure you leave lots of “extra time” to get everything you want to get done on your wedding day.   Anything from traffic jams, dress repair, bathroom breaks or photo shoots taking longer than expected can and probably will occur.
  2. Don’t Under Plan. I can’t stress this enough.    As with virtually everything in life, you get into it what you put into it.    A party won’t plan itself, even with a wedding planner.   Your vendors still need your input and effort to make the most of everything!
  3. Don’t Wait Til the Last Minute. This tip is pretty simple and doesn’t need a lot of elaboration, but it is just a reminder.  No one is comfortable when they’re rushed.   If you’re stuck, ask for help! 
A successful wedding requires a lot of time and effort.  Even the best of us can get caught up on a small detail that can derail our mood.   Attitude is everything.   Laughter and fun is contagious… unfortunately, so is stress and anger.   If you’re dancing, laughing and having fun, I promise your guests will as well.    If something totally ridiculous happens, make a note and revisit it later…right now it’s time to have a good time!


Want more tips from our arsenal of wedding experts? Check out what The Montgomery Club has to say on catering options, or head over to chicagostyleweddings.com and get advice from our other vendors!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Overflowing with personal touches, Emma and Andy's River Roast wedding was romantic, festive, and beautifully unique.
Emma, on how she and Andy met...
"Andy and I met shortly after I moved to New York City from Chicago. I wasn't expecting to meet someone so soon, but it seems fate had other plans. One of my good friends had free tickets to a Mets game and invited both Andy and myself--though she wasn't intending to set us up, she always said she thought we'd get along. Because none of us actually cared about the Mets, we spent most of the time talking instead. Andy and I sat next to each other, and I remember the conversation flowing so smoothly and easily. It wasn't long after that day that we began to date, and the rest, as they say, is history. We were together a little over three years before we got engaged."
Emma, on the moment she realized Andy was her perfect person...
"One of the first times I brought Andy home to Chicago, we were supposed to go to a Cubs game with my entire family, but it got rained out. Instead, we all sat inside in my sister's living room for a couple hours trying to figure out what else we could do (no easy task with a big and loud family like mine)--intermittently getting sidetracked and watching funny YouTube videos--before deciding to go to a middle-of-the-day movie, for which we arrived way early, and ended up all sitting together making random conversation again, this time in an empty movie theatre instead of a living room. The entire time, he held his own, chatted with everyone, made jokes, and was fully himself - I knew he was a perfect fit." 
Andy, on how he knew Emma was the one...
"One day, out of nowhere, she looked me in the eyes and rapped every lyric to Salt-N-Pepa's Shoop. How could I possibly let a girl like that go?"
About six months after Emma and Andy moved to Chicago together, the couple returned to NYC for a visit. They set up a dinner date to celebrate their three year anniversary, then planned to meet up with friends for a joint birthday party for Emma and their friend Lauren- the same friend who had introduced the couple in the first place. The restaurant was in the opposite direction of the birthday party so Emma put up a fight, but Andy was insistent.
"Only when we got out of the cab on the Upper East Side did it begin to make sense," Emma said. "Andy was re-creating one of our earliest dates: takeout Chinese food dumplings on the East River. 
loved that date- picking up our dumplings, stopping at 7-11 for drinks, having a picnic on a bench overlooking the beautiful East River. I'd always said I wanted to do "dumplings on the river" again before we moved to Chicago, but we never got the chance."
 After a delicious and nostalgic dinner, Andy announced that he'd brought candy for dessert. He told Emma to close her eyes and hold out her hands and when Emma opened her eyes, Andy was down on one knee, holding not candy, but a ring.  "It was perfect," Emma remembers. "I couldn't have asked for a better proposal."  Afterward, the couple met up with several of their closest friends and went back downtown for the birthday party, which conveniently doubled as an engagement party. 
Emma, on why the couple held their wedding in Chicago...
"I grew up in Park Ridge, close to the city, and always enjoyed coming downtown. Now, living here, we both love the city so much and we knew from day one of our engagement that it was the perfect setting for our nuptials. The majority of our guests were coming from out of town, so we were excited not only to get married in the city we love, but to show our out-of-town guests why we love Chicago so much. That was a big factor in us choosing River Roast for our venue: The location right on the river, the insanely gorgeous views from the terrace- it just couldn't be beat."
Andy, on his favorite memory from the wedding...
"As we were getting ready to start the ceremony, the entire wedding party was lined in up in a hallway. I remember looking back and seeing my parents and siblings, Emma's parents and siblings, best friends from each other's colleges and hometowns, and my soon to be wife all staring back at me at once. It's so rare to catch a glimpse of nearly your entire support system. It was incredibly moving to fully realize the great relationships that had been built over the years, day by day, that will last me a life time. I can still remember that moment incredibly clearly."
Though the couple included a few traditional Jewish elements like getting married under a Chuppah and breaking the glass, the overall ceremony was nondenominational so Emma and Andy essentially crafted the entire thing themselves. "We hand selected every element  and wrote our own vows. It all felt so meaningful and special when it came together," the couple said. The couple's brother-in-law, Rob, officiated the ceremony and absolutely blew their expectations out of the water. 

Emma, on one of her favorite memories from the wedding...
"My maternal grandmother lived in California, and by that point in her life, travel was incredibly difficult for her. We didn't expect her or my grandfather to come to the wedding, but at the last minute (maybe a few weeks or a month in advance), they decided to make the trip. It wasn't easy, but they got to Chicago, and were both there to witness Andy and me getting married, and the celebration that followed."
Emma and Andy, on their Big Day...
"Everything was incredible but aside from the ceremony, the dancing, the venue and decor, it was just so amazing to have so many people we love in the same room at the same time."

Can't get enough Real Weddings? Check out Cindy and Corey's brewery bash, or head over to chicagostyleweddings.com to browse our gallery of Windy City nuptials!


Featured Vendors: Kenny Kim and Rob Ramirez for Kenny Kim Photography (pictures) RiverRoast (ceremony/reception), Two Sisters Events (wedding coordinator), Reddington Bridal  (bride's gown),Nicholas Joseph Custom Tailors (groom's suit), Chi Chi Styles (bridesmaid's dresses), Macy's (groomsmen suits), Kiko's (flowers), Maddiebird Bakery  (cake). Better Off Wed (cake topper), Debbie Davis Makeup (makeup). Irene Jones from Salon 9nb (hair), Peter Merkle/Chicago Wedding DJs (entertainment), Janelle Lake (harpist), Chicago Chuppah Rental  (chuppah frame), Windy City Limousine (transportation), Real Star Media  (videography)