Friday, May 31, 2013

ChicagoStyle Weddings Contest
Enter the ChicagoStyle Weddings Honeymoon Contest for a chance to Win a Dream Honeymoon in Riviera Maya! 


Vendor Spotlight
Ortanic Gives Brides a Long-Lasting Natural Glow

Nothing looks better with that gorgeous white gown than a beautiful suntan. But there is no need to spend hours in dangerous tanning beds to get the perfect glow; Fitness Formula Clubs (FFC) offers the healthiest and most natural looking solution with Ortanic, a customized airbrush tan that turns you the most beautiful, natural color. The airbrush specialists expertly customize and apply the perfect spray tan formula to match your skin type and skin tone and so you don’t have to worry about having a color that doesn’t look right. Additionally, each custom airbrush tan is contoured to enhance only your best assets, leaving you confident about your new look!

Ortanic’s custom airbrushed tan lasts 5-7 days, perfect for your special day and lasting into your honeymoon. Single sessions cost $47 and first-time users can take advantage of a $10 off coupon available on the website. Ortanic available at three FFC locations: Gold Coast, Lincoln Park and West Loop. For more information or to book an appointment, click here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vendor Spotlight
More Wedding Party Gifts for the Gadget Lover

Fashionable and functional, MAPi Cases have unveiled a line of high-quality leather iPhone, iPad and Blackberry cases that can used as wristlets, stands and wallets. Each is handmade of 100% cowhide leather and provides the utmost protection for important devices.

Here are a few cases to consider for your wedding party gifts:

Nicea: A wallet-style case that opens like a book to reveal a pocket that is perfect for money and ID cards. The case stays shut with its magnet front closure and comes with a detachable wrist strap that that allows for easy and secure hands-free carrying. Available in glossy and crocodile leather in five bright colors.

Taos: A snap-in case that securely cradles your iPhone inside a wallet-like shell, the Taos combines protection with style. The front cover is secured to the back of the case by a small magnetic tongue for closure and allows access to all control ports. Available in three bright colors.

Tion: An open-faced wallet case the Tion includes slit pockets on the backside for credit cards, IDs and cash. The Tion securely protects your device from scratches and abrasions, while also serving as an on-the-go storage for your must-haves. Available in five bright colors.

Vendor Spotlight
KRUPS BeerTender Makes a Great Groomsmen Gift

After the tux fittings, bachelor party and reception speeches, don’t forget your groomsmen! KRUPS BeerTender is a great gift to thank your best men for the support they have shown you through your wedding journey. Beer lovers can draught the perfect pour right from home with this compact machine that is programmed to work exclusively with Heineken and Newcastle varieties. An ultra quiet electronic cooling system chills beer to its optimal serving temperature and an LED indicator glows the draught is ready to pour. It’s the perfect accompaniment to any indoor or outdoor entertaining space this summer, too!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Styled Shoot
Beautiful Bride To Be Emily Faught

A special collaboration project!

Photos Courtesy of Rebecca Ickes, Rebecca Marie Photograhy & Design
Gown: Enigma by Rosa Clara, provided by LeSalon Bridal
Make-up Artist: Sylvi Davidson,  Sylvi Davidson
Hair: MaryLou Costabile, provided by Stellina Salon

Wedding Announcement
Veteran Marine Receives His Dream Wedding

On this Memorial Day we honor all the valiant military men and women who serve our country—and as this story proves, communities welcome any chance to return the service. On April 27, marine corporal Juan Dominguez received quite the gift from his community of Temecula, California—the town donated more than $30,000 to give Dominguez and his bride Alexis the wedding of their dreams. It was the perfect fairytale ending for the couple who have endured their share of challenges since the veteran lost both his legs and right arm in an explosion while serving in Afghanistan in 2010. The town donated everything from the reception venue to the photographer, cake and more to make this day special for the couple. See their story here.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Real Wedding
Aneri Dalia & Aashish Bhansali, The Eaglewood Resort & Spa

“We grew up in the same town and knew of each other because our parents were acquaintances. However, sparks did not fly until more recently. About three years ago, we started spending more time together since Aashish's good friend is married to my sister. All of a sudden it just clicked. We went on a date and had the time of our lives.

Unfortunately, Aashish had already accepted a rotation for work in Sydney, Australia for two years. He left two months later. We stayed together, endured long distance and have much gratitude for Skype! On December 13, 2011, Aashish surprised me by flying home and proposing. Of course I said yes! Aashish officially moved home where we currently live in Chicago.”


Ceremony Location
The Eaglewood Resort & Spa

Reception Location
The Eaglewood Resort & Spa

Appease Inc.

Fine Makeup Art

Anthony Gowder Designs

Precision Sound and Lighting

Oak Mill Bakery

DJ Shag, Bam Bam Buddha

RiverBend Studios

KP Wedding Video

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

You’re Invited!
Bella Bleu’s Justine M. Couture Trunk Show

“Each piece is its own unique work of art that hails back to a time when elegance in fashion was more important than a passing trend.” -Justine Murray

Now you can view the eclectic, vintage inspired, classic collection by Justine M Couture courtesy of Bella Bleu Bridal. Join us June 7-8! Sip mimosas, nibble on sweets and enjoy 10% off all orders placed at the show.

Justine M Couture Trunk Show
June 7-8, 2013
Bella Bleu
143 N Northwest Hwy
Park Ridge, IL 60068

Call (847) 696-7152 to make your appointment.
Time for a Tux
Outfit the guys in your party with a look that's always in style


One of the easiest decisions you’ll have to make in planning your wedding is selecting a tux. It’s hard to go wrong with a classic look that has represented the epitome of debonair for more than 100 years. Believe it or not, if you compare the tuxedo your father wore at his wedding to those available today, you’ll probably only notice slight variations – unless dad’s happened to be baby blue and made of polyester. If you ask the experts at the International Formalwear Society, in recent years, the most popular tuxedo rented for weddings has been the single-breasted notch lapel tux – proving that a classic never goes out of style. However, if you want to shake things up a bit with a less traditional tuxedo style, let us offer you some options. Here are the basics on everything from ties and vests to buttons and shoes, along with how to select the style that’s best for your groom.

Neckwear Notes
When it comes to deciding what the men in your wedding party will wear around their necks, you can go with either a traditional or trendy look. While the classic bat-wing bow tie will never go out of style, today there are many additional options for grooms who dare to think outside the box.

The four-in-hand, one of the most popular styles, resembles a standard business tie. When paired with a full-backed vest in a subtle, matching pattern, this tie is one of the top choices for today’s grooms.

If your groom isn’t a tie kind-of-guy and he’s not willing to wear one even for this special occasion, you can always opt for a tux shirt with a band collar. With this style, no tie is worn and the collar is actually fastened with a stud that coordinates with the button covers on the front of the shirt.

Vest Adventure
While cummerbunds were the epitome of the style in the 80s, today’s stylish grooms will most likely be outfitted in a full-backed vest. Now available in a vast array of colors and patterns, a full vest helps the groom and his attendants achieve a classic, more polished look even when the serious partying begins and the jackets come off at the reception. Also, while cummerbunds can enhance the appearance of extra weight to a man’s midsection, vests present a more streamlined appearance – making this option the best choice for a groom who’s self-conscious about a little extra weight around his midsection or his lack of six-pack abs.

Jacket Jargon
Often the key to a flattering tux depends entirely on the jacket. Selecting the right style can lengthen the torso, minimize the waist, and even create the appearance of broader shoulders. The single breasted jacket with a shawl lapel is the most commonly worn style because it provides the perfect look for short and tall men with a more stocky appearance. However, the same jacket with a notched lapel creates the appearance of broader shoulders for a short, thin groom.

Double-breasted jackets are a perfect choice for thin men. With it’s two rows of buttons at the midsection, this jacket draws the eyes to this area and presents the illusion of girth. The shoulders of a double-breasted jacket can also be padded a little to enhance the appearance of broad shoulders, while maintaining the look of a fit and trim waistline.

The Basics in Black & White
Determining the color of your groom’s tuxedo is a decision the two of you should make together. You’ll want to consider the time of day you’re getting married along with the formality of your celebration. For an afternoon wedding, the standard look is a gray tux with a stroller coat, a variation of the traditional morning coat. A popular option for casual affairs closer to evening is a white dinner jacket with black tie and pants – think Humphrey Bogart in the movie Casablanca. Formal evening affairs call for the classic look of the traditional tuxedo.

If you want to include a little bit of your personal style in your formal attire go for it. If you or the groom is of Scottish descent, why not honor that heritage by wearing a kilt in your family’s tartan pattern? Decked out in the family plaid, the groom and his groomsmen will bring a bit of ethnic flair to any affair – even the most traditional and formal celebrations.

Once you’ve learned the basics of finding the perfect tux, you need to get busy and finalize the details. Overall, the most important thing to remember in men’s formal wear is fit. Therefore, it’s important that your groom be measured by a formal wear professional. His attendants will also need to be fitted by a professional – even though they may be located all across the country. If they visit any tux shop in their area, a formal wear professional will be happy to measure them. And finally, don’t forget to tie it all together with matching shoes and socks. All of the groomsmen’s socks should be the same color as their shoes. Shoes may be rented in a range of sizes from your formal wear shop, and can vary in style from the traditional classic black wingtip, to a more modern slip-on version with a patent shine.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Vendor Spotlight
Mirar Productions Offers Photo/Video Packages to Showcase Your Day

Mirar Productions understands that love is a good thing. The greatest of things. And no good thing deserves to go unshared. That’s why they want your story! Together, Mirar can work with you to creatively showcase your storyline. Photography and video packages are available with $250 off standard investments for any bookings made before June 15.

Call (650) 333.4227 or e-mail to get your session booked!

Susan & Shane I Waldorf Astoria from Mirar Productions on Vimeo.
Vendor Spotlight
Brides, Bubbles and Bliss Event Brings Bridal Magazines to Life

In year four, the Brides, Bubbles and Bliss wedding spotlight has kept its vow of being the best event of the wedding industry, providing just as much a party as a purpose to showcase the best vendors in Chicago. Hosted by Cara and Scott Nava of Carasco Photography, this year’s affair was held at Bridgeport Art Center’s Skyline Loft on May 1. The lush event included floral and tablescape design by Revel Décor, Soiree Weddings & Events, Ashland Addison Floral and Event Décor and Sugar Chic Designs. For the menu, Jewell Events Catering provided small bites and Veuve Clicquot refilled glasses all night long. New this year was a beauty bar by Jouer Cosmetics and a U.S. runway debut of Ersa Atelier couture gowns, courtesy of Dimitra’s Bridal.Automated Lighting Design provided the runway production and lighting.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Tips from the Pro
Bridal Fitness and Nutrition Tips from UNICUS Fitness

We’re back to the conversation about the core! To strengthen your entire your body and create a healthy and lean physique, remember you want to strengthen the muscles of your core. Core exercises can be done with your body weight and with or without equipment.   Whether you are a beginner or have been working out for years, here is a basic core or plank hold to incorporate into your workout routine. There are a variety of modifications to this exercise to make it easier or more challenging depending on your fitness level.


Before you start any exercise, you always want to ensure that you have the correct technique. 

Proper Form & Technique:  Stack your shoulders directly above your elbows, keep your hips at the same height as your shoulders and try keeping your eyes above your thumbs. Make sure not to sway or arch your lower back.Think about pulling your belly button up and in towards your spine to engage the core muscles and to protect the lower back.

Beginner: Hold this position for 10 seconds. Slowly lower down to place the knees on the ground and rest for 10 seconds and then lift back up and repeat. As you get stronger, increase the hold time and decrease the rest time.

Intermediate: Start on your forearms and without putting your knees down or altering your hip or low back height, and push up onto your hands. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then lower back down to your forearms. Alternate back and forth while maintaining proper alignment and keeping the muscles engaged.

Advanced: Follow the directions for the intermediate level, but when you are in the hold position, lift up one arm and your opposite leg. Lower down with control, do a pushup and then lower down to your forearms. Repeat on the other side and continue for 60 seconds.

With these great tips, you should be in bridal shape in no time!

Content written by Dina Castillo of UNICUS Fitness

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wedding Snapshot:
Take a look at these gorgeous photos from a recent wedding held at Stan Mansion!
(Click Images for Larger View)
REMINDER: You’re Invited!
Celebrate 100 Years of Cheney Mansion on May 19

Cheney Mansion is one the finest showplaces and historical homes in Oak Park, Illinois. Designed by architect Charles E. White, Jr., a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, Cheney Mansion is one of his most important works. Originally built for the C.E. Sharpe family, the property was deeded to the Park District of Oak Park in 1985. Over the years, the unique beauty of Cheney Mansion has served as the perfect location for weddings, special events, feature films and television commercials.

Located just a short walk from historic downtown Oak Park, Cheney Mansion is an exquisite and unique setting for your special day. The 12,000 square foot mansion boasts reception rooms, a catering kitchen, a solarium, an outdoor veranda and a ballroom perfect for entertaining your guests. In addition, Cheney offers a beautiful environment for couples to take their vows outdoors under the sun or stars. The mansion is situated on two acres of beautifully landscaped grounds complete with a restored waterfall garden.

We invite you to enjoy “A Day at Cheney” on May 19 for our 100th birthday celebration, and enjoy a full day of events including:

  • Tours: Guided tours of the mansion and its grounds for potential wedding clients, as well as self-guided tours for visitors who want to view the mansion’s beautiful interior.
  • Cooking Demonstrations with Cheney Mansion’s chef Ron Martin.
  • Spring Plant Sale (9am-Noon): Cheney Mansion’s 16th Annual Plant Sale is a great way to start your morning. This year’s sale features organic Heirloom Tomatoes and other vegetables, as well as hardy perennials grown right on the grounds of Cheney Mansion.
  • Waterfall Unveiling (Noon-1pm): Join us at the formal unveiling and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the restored Woodland Waterfall located on the property’s southeast corner. This feature is part of the home’s original design and serves as a stunning backdrop for wedding photographs.
  • Picnic in the Park (1pm-3pm): Bring your blanket and relax in a traditional picnic setting on the mansion’s grounds including old-fashioned yard games such as croquet, provided by the Oak Park & River Forest Historical Society, a performance by Pro Musica Youth Chorus. Period costumes are welcome!

220 N. Euclid in Oak Park, Illinois

For more information, call (708) 725.2500 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Vendor Spotlight
Concept Effects Announces Bridal Packages

Concept Effects, Chicago’s premiere lighting and event company, recently released full-scale bridal packages for current and future clients, including:

Lighting and DJ services
Lighting, DJ and Complete Interactive Package
Lighting and Photo Booth (photo and video)
Lighting and Make-up
Lighting and Hair
Lighting and Photography
Lighting and Transportation (3hr minimum)
Lighting and Videography
Virgin and Alcoholic Cupcakes (great for bridal showers and late night wedding snacks)
Custom Scents (capture you theme with an added scent; over 80 to choose from)

Clients can also combine their Full Perimeter Lighting Package (30 LED up-lights) with any service and receive additional discounts towards their event.

Concept Effects
126 E Wing St #136 
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
(847) 878-5366

Friday, May 10, 2013

Tips from the Pro 
Bridal Fitness and Nutrition Tips from UNICUS Fitness 

Are you starting to think about your honeymoon, the beach and desiring a lean, six-pack set of abs? I am here to tell you that old-school thinking which recommended thousands of crunches in order to achieve definition of the mid-section is gone!

Research shows that the repetitive motion of sit-ups, which causes flexing of the spine, can cause back pain and not even recruit the correct muscles. Many times other muscles are “turned on” when doing these exercises and therefore the abdominals don’t even get a workout.

I suggest core-strengthening exercises to achieve the results you desire. The core is composed of as many as 35 different muscle groups connecting into the pelvis from the spine and hip. Your core is responsible for most of your full-body functional movements and determines your posture and overall body alignment.

In addition to working the core, abs are made in the kitchen. Proper nutrition and clean eating has a major effect on the results that you see or do not see. Stay tuned for next week’s blog on core exercises and clean eating recipes.

Content written by Dina Castillo of UNICUS Fitness

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May 3rd - May 19th these gowns will be available for this BIG EVENT. Special pricing will be offered on group orders.

Book your appointment now!

Francia Bridal Boutique
47 South Washington Street
Hinsdale, IL 60521


On any given night, Chicago offers a huge variety of live music and entertainment options for an evening out on the town. The same can be said for wedding entertainment. However, matching your tastes with the right choice of musician(s) for the most special night of your life is a little more important than a regular ol’ date night!

There are many factors brides and grooms should consider when shopping for their live music: Professionalism, experience, cost, style, music flexibility, creative

trends, and emcee capabilities are just a few to consider. Ultimately, you have to decide what is the right fit for the vibe you wish to create on the night and the degree of “party” you wish to have your friends and family remember forever.

“A big trend is to incorporate newer pop songs with classical music—John Lennon, Coldplay, Styx, Beatles, even Nirvana with a classical feel. Piano and guitar can more easily cover these elements and adding a violin or flute can help create more harmony and melody,” explains Jeff Stitely, president and owner of Stitely Entertainment.

Many brides still seek the traditional classical ceremony standards like the “Bridal Chorus” or “Pachebel’s Canon in D,” but flavoring ceremonies with modern, contemporary tastes is in vogue now. Everybody’s doing it, and there’s nothing wrong with this. Your “old-school” parents might question this, but it’s your wedding. Individualizing your wedding through music is exciting. You do so with your choice in invitations and event colors. You choose a cake or desserts that represent your favorite tastes—music should be just as prominent in the pecking order of planning importance.

“I say to every couple, the week after their engagement, they should start planning their ceremony versus saving the ceremony until last. Live music at your wedding makes a definitive statement about who you are. It’s tremendously important,” implores Ron Arden, owner of the Allegro Quartet.

Another commonly overlooked aspect brides need to consider with respect to incorporating modern music into the ceremony is the time factor a musician or set of musicians may need to learn the pieces. There is rehearsal time and a string quartet might need to secure a composer to create an arrangement. You have to plan ahead and give ample time for preparation.

Seeing couples marry with mixed ethnicity, religious beliefs and varying cultural backgrounds and tastes is nothing new. However, incorporating more of a mix of that cultural flavor into their reception through music and entertainment is becoming much more popular…and exciting.

Entertainment companies are able to mix up the types of entertainment scheduled for the evening. They might be able to provide a traditional soloist and/or a classical guitarist for the ceremony. For the cocktail hour, to honor the Latin heritage in one of the families, perhaps a guitarist with more of a flamenco or Latin flair takes over.

“Make sure what you want is what you are going to get. Musicians need to know the background of the people and know the right style of music to match that. Salsa, cumbia, and cha-chas are all very different rhythms,” shares Andres Meneses from Latin Street Dancing. Meneses proudly uses a filtering factor to help brides and grooms find the right sound for the different parts of their wedding night. “Musicians can be very specialized with their talents. Some, with multiple combinations of musicians, can play more of a variety. We prefer they hire a band and DJ for not only non-stop music, but for the best variety,” adds Meneses.

Latin Street Dancing can also provide pre-event dance lessons for either the bride and groom or the entire bridal party. Imagine a party starter where the band gets everyone fired up with a tremendous salsa number that a dozen couples actually perform and it electrifies the room.

“The music is definitely getting younger, and the brides have their own ideas on music. I don’t think we should take control of the event’s music styling, but if it starts to fall apart because not everyone is enjoying hip-hop, we can take over and save the day,” advises Lee Bailey, owner and bandleader of Timing’s Everything. That’s what true professional entertainers do. They are prepared to manage issues as they arise and read the crowd and adapt. Your bandleader can act as an emcee to help with the flow of traditions and events throughout the evening.
There is a slight trend lately that more often than not has been backfiring—the do-it-yourself approach. IPods may be fine for the simple pool party or family barbecue, but is that really the image you wish to share with guests at your wedding? It looks cheap! Plus, a friend or family member has to operate it.

“The visual impact of live music is tremendous. We’ve got to look first-class all the time. We’ll wear tuxedos. We pride ourselves on our consistent professional look,” states Arden. Bands are also taking advantage of advances in technology. Incorporating electronic drums and pre-recorded backing or synthesizer tracks are big trends with bands. “Only a couple of the top bands are actually using the cutting-edge technology. Our sound guy, who doubles as a DJ when we take breaks, offers sub-sonic sound to the band’s mix,” offers Stitely.

In preparation stages, there is software some companies are using that displays music databases for clients to pre-select songs and artists they’d like to hear during the reception. Bands can post their repertoire online for everyone to see.

Waiting to shop for your ceremony and reception music is very perplexing to bands and entertainment companies. The fact is, the sooner you shop, the more variety of bands you have to choose from. It makes sense, right? The best and most popular musicians will book up soonest.

You’re also afforded more peace of mind. Once the key pieces of the wedding puzzle are in place, you and your fiancé can relax more and the smaller details like the men’s tuxes or the place cards can more easily be wrapped up. There’s a growing trend among live bands and entertainment companies toward being more flexible with cost-conscious clients. Meaning, they are getting creative on how they use a combination of musicians for the evening. “We can provide a piano player for ceremony music from the main band playing the reception. Then, during our band breaks, in lieu of hiring a separate DJ, we can provide recorded music,” says Bailey.

If a band is performing at a private wedding, it’s generally NOT appropriate to crash that wedding to see them. If it’s a more public performance, that’s a different story. This is where video, websites, and YouTube come in. Most reputable bands and musicians have demo footage of them singing or performing. Ask to see it. “The energy of a live band is off the charts. Look for live performance video versus staged footage and canned audio. People listen with their eyes. Look for the ‘look’ of the band and the quality of the sound,” offers Stitely.

When all is said and done, seek the style and vibe that best suits both your personalities and the theme you wish to convey on your very special day. There is a huge variety of entertainment options to choose from in the Chicagoland area.

Music is arguably the key element in making the day memorable. Photo and video may capture those memories, but entertainment makes most of them.

Search early. Shop wisely. Seek the right fit. Relax and enjoy the party. You deserve it!

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Enzoani aesthetic is framed by modern styles, elegant fabrics, delicate lace and a focus on fit, all at a price that appeals to brides just like you. The added reputation of their attention to detail—evident in the intricate hand-beaded Swarovski crystals and built-in corsets—have projected Enzoani’s brand as a must-have designer for wedding dresses. Now, McHenry-based Kathryn’s Bridal is proud to present a trunk show of Enzoani’s latest designs for your first look.

Kathryn’s Bridal
3807 West Elm Street (Rt 120), McHenry, IL
Friday May 17 to Sunday May 26
(815) 385.7330

*Space is limited. Call to schedule an appointment