Monday, September 29, 2014

Michael Chen, our friend and the general manager at Broken Arrow Golf Club just celebrated his first anniversary with his wife, Sandy. (Woo! Congrats!) As they looked back on their first year as man and wife, they recalled their amazing honeymoon and wanted to share it will all of you! 

"We got married on September 28, 2014, but chose to wait until early November for our honeymoon to Hawaii. One of the reasons why we took a month after we got married was to kind of chill. All of our family members from out of the country had left and we were just beginning to experience life as a newlywed couple on our own. Also, we were able to get all our thank you cards written and sent out before our honeymoon. It made for a much more relaxing vacation.

"We booked our honeymoon on Orbitz. It took us several weeks of monitoring the prices, and we found out that Tuesday nights are the best night to book. We ended up saving about $300 per ticket by really doing our research.

"The best advice we can give is to plan the week out. Make a specific plan and try to stick to it. There's always a lot to do and see, so having an idea of the "must-see" destinations really helps keep the vacation moving.

"We went to Diamond Head for hiking one morning, then we rented a car for the week and went sight seeing to the Halona Blowhole, south shore Oahu, Makapu pu lookout. 

"One day was spent going to the polynesian cultural center. On the way there, we stopped by the Dole plantation where all the pineapples was picked. After, we stopped by Macky's, a famous local food truck, and had their famous garlic butter shrimp scampi. We also stopped at Dat Cajun Guy, another famous food truck, for their shrimp poor boy and jambalya. Delicious! 

"The tickets for the Polynesian Cultural Center were pre-purchased, and with a little bit of research, I got the best price for the experience.  

"Of course, while in Hawaii, as sad as it is, we had to see the Pearl Harbor site. It was amazing to visit the historical site and pay our respects.

"Prior to us leaving for our honeymoon, we used Yelp to find all the good local food places and we made sure that we hit them during the week. One of our favorites was the Marukume Udon, it had some of the best udon that we've ever had. The line was so long, it had wrapped around the corner before they even opened for the day. Ono Seafood had poke, which is raw tuna with a special sauce. Our favorite was a spicy tuna! The Ono Seafood restaurant was not only inexpensive, but had really authentic, great tasting food. It really paid to do our research!

"We would love to go back to Hawaii and enjoy the honeymoon all over again. It was the most enjoyable vacation either of us have been on. We hope to revisit the same place to celebrate our 10 year anniversary."

We just want to offer our deepest congratulations to Mike and Sandy on their one year anniversary! Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful honeymoon memories and advice with us! 

What are your honeymoon plans? Leave a comment with details! 

Photo Credit

Friday, September 26, 2014

Our friends at Lake Geneva Cruise Lines just shared this amazing video of Jeff and Alicia's wedding, created by Vaughter Weddings! Seriously. AH-mazing! They explained:

"The wedding party boarded the boat at the Riviera Docks after their ceremony at the Geneva Inn. After some pictures, they cruised back to the Geneva Inn to collect the rest of their guests. They had a plated sit-down dinner by Tarts and Truffles, Birchwood Catering. Music was provided by DJ Felix here in Lake Geneva. All their guests were seated on the boat on the main deck for dinner, then moved up to the 2nd deck to dance the night away!" -- Angie Jahns, Charter Sales Associate and Wedding Coordinator

What's your favorite part of the video? Let us know what you think in the comments! 


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kathryn's Bridal is hosting a SOTTERO and MIDGLEY Couture Trunk Show, September 26 - 28! Appointments are required, so please call 815.385.7330 to secure your time to see this exquisite collection.

"Inspired by vintage Hollywood, the Sottero and Midgley Fall 2014 collection introduces the modern, sophisticated bride to the opulence of yesteryear. Soft, feminine silhouettes are embellished with dramatic patterns of beaded lace applique, breathtaking vintage jewelry and glamorous jeweled belts. Unabashedly romantic and regal ball gowns showcase gilded lace and elaborate embroidery, as well as unadorned organza, kissed with singular statements of extravagance. Illusion lace, one-shoulder and off-the-shoulder necklines channel Grace Kelly’s movie star-to-royalty styling, while feathery fringe, Art Deco beading and slinky slips reminisce iconic elements of the Gatsby era. Fabrications include satin, organza, lace, tulle and chiffon; colors range from traditional whites and ivories to shades of pale blush, peach and light gold.

"Sottero and Midgley Brides not only experience exceptionally crafted, innovative designs, but luxurious fabrics, Swarovski crystals, hand-sewn embellishments and a renowned, slenderizing fit, the result of meticulous attention to, and scrutiny of, design and fitting details. As unique as the bride who wears it, Sottero and Midgley offers sophisticated brides an affordable couture experience of the highest quality in fashion forward designs. - SOTTERO AND MIDGLEY

Kathryn's Bridal
(815) 385-7330
3807 West Elm Street (Route 120)
McHenry, IL 60050

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

“I knew it was love when Marek and I traveled for a destination wedding in Cabo he was working, neither one of us knew anyone there and so we for the first time in our relationship it was just the two of us for 4 days. While I was nervous before going, I can definitely say it changed my life forever. The trip showed me there was someone out there that I could be with and no one else and I had met him. I never wanted this trip to end, so much that I called the airline and hotel and we extended it another day.” -- Ron

"I knew it was love when Ron was recovering from a badly broken ankle and all I wanted to do was nurture him back to health. Every moment of every day was consumed with my concern for him and how I could make him recover faster. I specifically remember looking at him struggling to walk to the Kris Kindle Market, on crutches, and thinking…I am in love with this man.” -- Marek


"After four years together, we were sitting on Poipu Beach in Hawaii discussing marriage. Gay marriage was still not very available throughout the states, which definitely put a damper on things. I remember jointly almost at the same time saying, let’s get married! We went to Jewelers Row when we returned from Hawaii and had custom platinum wedding bands made, but had decided we really wanted to wait for the ceremony until it was accepted in our home city of Chicago. As we anxiously waited, and waited, it did not seem like things were moving along. I remember sitting together watching the Supreme Court ruling on Prop 8 and DOMA and after the wonderful news we decided we could no longer wait for Illinois to start discussing the issue. Marek said, let’s go do this in LA and have a huge party back home in Chicago. The planning began.

"When we began planning our wedding, we started with designing a logo to set the tone for the event, being that Ron is in Advertising, this part was very fun! We came up with a logo that used our initials, MR, very fitting for a gay wedding. From there we carried the logo through on the invitations, napkins, guestroom boxes and various other pieces.

"On February 15, 2014 Marek and I were married on the rooftop of the Andaz West Hollywood overlooking the stunning views of the Hollywood Hills. The Ceremony was small with only 6 of our closest friends, one whom was ordained to perform the ceremony. Finding a place and vendors to host this reception was actually quite easy considering Marek is a bridal stylist and the two of us have witnessed many different vendors and venues.

"The Tiffany Dome of the Preston Bradley ballroom at the cultural center set the stage for a fabulously arranged room adorned with the beautiful floral arrangements of white calla lilies, yellow tulips, moss and more. When guests entered the room we had a Jazz Trio welcoming with the mix of music. We wanted a party, not a sit down dinner as many choose; our reception was a fabulous five-hour cocktail reception. We wanted finger foods but definitely in a gourmet style and enough scrumptious morsels that everyone was satisfied. We chose small hors d’ oeuvres, a selection passed for the first hour or so, then stations with options a bit heartier, followed by passed cake pops and milkshakes and to top off the night each guest left with bag of Garrets Chicago mix popcorn.

"Many people ask how’s married life? Does it feel any different? We can both honestly say, we were surprised: YES, it does fell different! The morning after our celebration we both woke up beaming with joy that so many came out to celebrate. The day was absolutely as we had both envisioned, and we were sad it was over. But most of all, it is a wonderful thing that we can finally share the loving marriage that we were once denied." --Ron

Rooftop of the Andaz-West Hollywood

Chicago Cultural Center

Erin McDonald, Platinum Events

Janet Gallagher Designs

Weddings by Blue Plate

Ta-Dah Pastries

Custom Burberry

Larry King Orchestra

Jai Girard Photography

Larry Wayne of Evolution Films

The Palmer House

"Michael and I met in 2008 while finishing college at Miami University. It was funny because we were both seniors studying Architecture, but we had not met until the last semester of school. We found each-other at a party, and I immediately declared to my friends that I had found my soul mate.

"I love to tell people that I proposed to him! I spent a few years not being sure of what I wanted, but once I got honest with myself everything fell into place -- and he said yes!

"Our wedding day was incredible. We both rented apartments in Logan Square through; so I had a bride's headquarters, and he had a groom's headquarters. Everyone met up in the middle for the "first look" and a friends and family photo shoot. While posing for photos out on Logan Boulevard, a nice lady who saw us came out with a bottle of champagne and glasses for a toast. This made our day! At that moment it truly felt as if the whole universe was cheering us on!

"After the photos, Michael and I walked alone with the photographers to the venue. This quiet time right before the ceremony helped us get centered, and fueled us throughout the day. Our ceremony was fun, whimsical, meaningful and unforgettable. Our friend Tim officiated, and our friend Colleen sang Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time." We also had a taxidermied black bear as our ring bearer. Placing the rings on each other's fingers was transformative.

"After the ceremony, our guests were invited on a tour of the brewery. We then enjoyed drinks and hors d'oeuvres before sitting down to dinner. We did a lot of DIY things that made our day special for us. Michael made the table numbers (we actually opted for animals instead of numbers) out of wood and patterned paper. I taught myself calligraphy, and used the skill to hand address the invitations, scribe the escort cards, and illustrate a fingerprint-tree for our guestbook. I found a train-case at a thrift store, and fancied it up with cool lettering for our card-box. We also self screen-printed welcome bags for all of our guests from out-of-town. We danced the night away to electronic dance music played by our friend Steve.

"Our wedding day turned out to be more fun that I could have imagined. We loved every minute of it." --Louise

Editor's note: Bespoke gown-makers and seamstresses extraordinaire, Crafty Broads, incorporated Louise's grandmother's wedding dress material into Louise's custom-made headpiece and a hidden applique inside the lining of her gorgeous custom dress.