Real Chicago Wedding: Leeann & Charlie, The Bridgeport Arts Center

Hard to believe it’s already been a year since Leeann and Charlie Wedding at the Bridgeport Arts Center. A reception full of color and fun had always been a dream of Leeann’s and her big day definitely encompassed that fantasy. The couple also incorporated a train theme throughout their celebration. Charlie’s proposal to Leeann involved a banner reading “Leeann, will you marry me?” on the side of the Hoosier State train running from Indianapolis to Chicago. They included other subtle train allusions including naming each of the tables at their reception after Amtrak routes. The personal touches were made even more special because they were all created by the groom’s cousin who illustrated their tables cards, invitations, and menus. Check out the scenic and colorful affair below with the photos from Gerber + Scarpelli Photography!

Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Screen Shot 2019-09-13 at 12.58.06 PM.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Screen Shot 2019-09-13 at 1.05.01 PM.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png
Screen Shot 2019-09-13 at 1.08.16 PM.png
Clover | Gerber Scarpelli | Bridgeport.png

As featured on: So This is Love

Wedding Vendors:
Photographer: Gerber + Scarpelli Photography Ceremony Location: St. Mary of Perpetual Help Parish Venue: Skyline Loft Event Planner: Clover Events Design and Decor: Bowery & Bash Floral Designer: Flowers for Dreams Cinema and Video: Wedding Masterpiece Films Invitation Designer: Jen Keenan Caterer: Limelight Catering DJ: Cage and Aquarium Transportation: M&M Limousine Services Bridal Salon: The Green Bride Gown Designer: Hayley Paige Jewelry: Monsieur Pamplemousse Beauty: Bianca Sansosti Artistry Hair Stylist: Bianca Sansosti Artistry PR Rep: OFD Consulting LLC


Rehearsal Dinners are Not What They Used to Be

With all of the stress and meticulous planning that goes into coordinating your entire wedding day, the last thing you want to do is worry about executing ANOTHER wedding-centric event: your rehearsal dinner. But, fear not! Rehearsal dinners can now be as customized as your wedding day, in that they can be as grand or modest as you please. 

alasdair-elmes-ULHxWq8reao-unsplash.jpg

What is a Rehearsal Dinner?

Historically, a rehearsal dinner is an event held the night before the wedding, immediately following the wedding ceremony rehearsal. It is typically organized and hosted by the groom’s parents and usually includes family and the wedding party, as well as all of your out-of-town guests who have traveled in for the big day. Now-a-days rehearsal dinners can be anything from a full wedding pre-game to a more intimate gathering and, more often than not, couples are choosing not to stick to the rules about who to invite. Regardless of which route you decide to go, here’s advice on how to make planning as stress-free as possible. 

Think Outside the Box 

scott-warman-rrYF1RfotSM-unsplash.jpg

It doesn’t have to be a rehearsal dinner.  For a more wallet friendly option, consider opting for something casual like a dessert reception or a cocktail-style reception. Make sure to tell invitees in advance about the dinner (or lack thereof) menu so they can plan their evening accordingly and grab some grub before the gathering (if need be). 

While the traditional rehearsal dinner venue may be a restaurant, consider opting for a more unique venue like a local park, the beach, or a beer garden. Choosing a venue that has special meaning to the couple (i.e. where you met, where you had your first date, etc.) makes for a good story at the rehearsal dinner and makes the evening that much more special. 

Who’s Invited?

samantha-gades-7J4T1XzpJgU-unsplash (1).jpg

Creating the guest list can be the hardest part of rehearsal dinner planning. If money is tight, don’t worry about slimming the rehearsal dinner down to only family and the wedding party.   It can be relaxing and pleasant to spend time with your closest family and friends the night before the big day in an intimate setting – what a way to kick off the weekend!

We also have many couples who consider Chicago a “destination” for their wedding, in that most of their guests are traveling to celebrate with them.  In this case, it’s a nice gesture to invite them to spend time with you the evening before the wedding. How about a hybrid event where you have a smaller dinner for your family and wedding party followed by a welcome cocktail party with everyone else?  Everyone is happy!

What are you planning for your rehearsal dinner? Still need some help with it? That’s why we’re here. Make sure to check out this blog post from Catalyst Wedding Co. on rehearsal dinners, featuring our very own Katherine Healy Brown!




Creative Ways to Ask Your Bridesmaids to Say "I do!"

You’re engaged! Congrats! Now it’s time to start planning for your big day. Venues, and dresses, and tastings, oh my. But first thing’s first, you need to figure out who your bridesmaids are going to be and let them know that you NEED them to help you all the way up through your walk down the aisle. There are a million different gifts to buy, and ways to ask your bride tribe to help you make it to your big day, but we’ve gathered a list of creative ways to do it and found personalized swag to treat them with. Check them out below!

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Month-of Coordinator


Sip, Sip, Hooray!

For your caffeine obsessed friend, invite them over for a cup of coffee or tea and pour their drink of choice into one of these adorable mugs from Etsy. Not only will they get to enjoy a hot beverage in your company, but they also get the pleasure of being your bridesmaid, and keeping this seemingly simple mug. This idea is clever because they won’t necessarily know you’re going to pop the question until they get to the bottom of their beverage. Surprise!

Moh Mug.jpg
Bridesmaid mug.jpg

Bride Bomb

For those in your crew who need a little more rest and relaxation, try one of these punny bath bombs. Not only do your besties get to be a part of your bridesmaids crew, but they also get to draw themselves a long, relaxing bath with an unexpected treat before the madness of the big day. VelvetMoonStudio has a ton of different styles and colors that you can choose from to personalize the bath bombs for each one of your crew members on their specific tastes and style.

Bath Bomb.jpg
Bath Bomb 2.jpg

Sock it to Me

Snag these cute socks from The White Invite to cater to everyone in your wedding party. You can get a pair for your maid or matron of honor, a couple for your bridesmaids, and even treat yourself to a pair. Not only are they an accessory to warrant another wedding day Instagram post, but they’re also versatile enough that they can be worn even after the wedding festivities have ended.

socks_group_2000x.jpg

Foxy Ladies

If you’re having trouble deciding on just one goodie to treat your crew to, try one of these completely personalized boxes using Boxfox’s capabilities to create a custom box for every member of your party based on their likes and interests. Everyone has their favorite candy or candle scent, and with Boxfox you can embrace those differences. Or if you’re short on time, you can send each of them this pre-designed bridesmaid gift box that Boxfox has already prepped for you. Check out their blog post specifically on bridesmaids gift boxes here or get to cultivating your own special boxes to send out to your crew on the Boxfox website.

Boxfox Bridal.jpg

Now that we’ve given you some ideas on how to spoil your bridesmaids, we want to hear your ideas and ways that you’ve thanked your girls for helping you prepare for your big day!

Real Chicago Wedding: Allie & Matthew, the Blackstone Hotel

Being an artist and a musician, Allie and Matthew’s wedding and reception were bound for high creative expectations. The two had a traditional Jewish ceremony, incorporating Allie’s late grandfather’s tallit and the Kiddish cup Matthew used at his Bar Mitzvah. Not only did their dog, Otter, join in on the photoshoot, but he’s also featured atop the couple’s cake along side bobblehead versions of his owners. During the reception at the Blackstone Hotel, Allie and Matthew shared their first dance to John Mayer Trio’s “Another Kind of Green,” a song which the two said has defined their relationship since the beginning. Check out some sweet scenes from the wedding below with the gorgeous photography of Tim Tab Studios.

AllieMatthew-Wed-0057.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-0036.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-0049.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-0022.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-0104.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-0223.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-0133.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-0356.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-0307.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-0392.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-0162.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-0927.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-0833.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-1012.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-1279.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-1018.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-1176.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-1035.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-1292.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-1268.jpg
AM-Wed-0015-1.jpg
AllieMatthew-Wed-1456.jpg
AM-Wed-0919-1.jpg

As Featured on Chicago Style Weddings

Vendors

Venue: The Blackstone HotelPhotography: Tim Tab StudiosVideography: Smiling Toad ProductionsOfficiant: Rabbi Eddie Sukol, Wedding Rings: Gottlieb & SonsEngagement Ring: Family Heirloom, Bride’s Gown: Paloma Blanca via Mira CoutureHair & Makeup: Bianca Sansosti ArtistryGroom’s Formalwear: BonobosGroom’s Accessories: Boss TieBridesmaids’ Dresses: Bella BridesmaidsGroomsmen’s Formalwear: Men’s WearhouseStationery: Sally Bram, Floral: Juliet Tan Floral DesignCatering: The Blackstone HotelEntertainment: The Chicago CatzCake & Sweets: Bittersweet Pastry ShopKetubah: Jessica Kraft, Cake Topper: WeCakeToppers.com

A Month Until The Wedding! HELP!

So there you are, staring down the last month before your wedding and you're thinking, "How did we get here so quickly and how will I get it all done?!" From finalizing guest seating to final dress and tux fittings, it can be very easy to feel overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done in those final thirty days, but the good news is we're here to help!

Read on for some helpful tips as you prepare to say “I do!”

Photo courtesy of    Tim Tab Studios

Photo courtesy of Tim Tab Studios

Sit down with your wedding planner or coordinator to begin working on your wedding day timeline – this is typically a 1-2 hour meeting where you walk through your day minute by minute while your planner takes lots of detailed notes in order to create the timeline. You may feel like you’ve already lived through your wedding day when the meeting is over!

Coordinate your final venue walk-through with your key vendors to finalize floor plans, menu and timeline.

Photo courtesy of    Gerber & Scarpelli Photography

Schedule your final dress and suit fittings – don’t forget your accessories, such as your veil and shoes!

Arrange your hair and makeup trial with your hair stylist and makeup artist - be sure to share some inspiration photos with them before the trial so they can plan for it ahead of time! We wrote a great post on the importance of the hair and makeup trial - click here to read it.

Plan for your wedding day beauty appointments - any skin or hair treatments (facial and waxing/hair cut and color) should be done at least 10 days prior to the wedding to avoid any breakouts or skin reactions.

Photo courtesy of    Emilia Jane Photography

Photo courtesy of Emilia Jane Photography

Photo courtesy of    Metts Photo

Photo courtesy of Metts Photo

Finalize music selections for the wedding day with your musicians, band or DJ – they’ll ask for songs to play during your cake cutting and wedding party introductions, in addition to your first dance. This is also a great opportunity to share those “must-plays” and “do-not-plays!”

Finalize day-of print items with your designer and printer - think ceremony programs, menu cards, escort cards and any fun signage. Signature drinks, anyone?!

Compile your photo list for your photographer - this includes family photo combinations, detail photos and wedding party photos. Your photographer will also advise you on the best locations for your photos both at your venue and off-premise.

Nail down ceremony details with your priest or officiant and write your vows!

Photo courtesy of    Belen Aquino Photo

Photo courtesy of Belen Aquino Photo

Check in with your wedding party about dresses, suits and accessories. This is a great time to provide them with an overview timeline so they know when to arrive and depart and what important things they will need to be present for that weekend.

You’ll also want to finalize your wedding party gifts, particularly if anything is personalized or a custom order.

Photo courtesy of    Ashley Bosnick

Photo courtesy of Ashley Bosnick

Apply for your marriage license – every state/county has different laws. In Illinois, a marriage license is good for 60 days and must be in the couples’ hands at least 48 hours in advance.

Get to work on those table assignments for your escort cards – yes, this may or not include tracking down those naughty family members who haven’t sent in their RSVP yet!

Pack your suitcases for your honeymoon!

Photo courtesy of    Perregeaux Photo

Photo courtesy of Perregeaux Photo

Maybe the most important task it to sit back and take it all in! Remember, you're in the home stretch and rounding the bend to one of the best days of your life, surrounded by your closest friends and family!

It’s a day you’ll never forget!

Photo courtesy of    Monroe Street Photography

Photo courtesy of Monroe Street Photography

Ten Fun Facts About Jessica!

While this is long overdue, we’re so excited to introduce our newest team member, Jessica!

Jessica started with Clover Events as an event assistant in 2018 and very quickly jumped into an Associate Planner role. She is a recent transplant to Chicago, coming from her hometown of Kansas City, where she was planner there. Jessica brings to the team an incredible attention to detail, a keen eye for design and a constant smile! We love having her!

Photos courtesy of    Gerber & Scarpelli

Photos courtesy of Gerber & Scarpelli

Clover Events-Associate Planner-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator

You can read more about Jessica over on our About page, but we wanted to share some fun facts today! Enjoy!

ONE: Originally from Minnesota, but spent most of my life in Kansas City. I have major hometown pride; let's talk BBQ, oh, and Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

TWO: My favorite brunch spot in Chicago is RM Champagne. I mean, it has the word champagne in it, need I say more? Plus they have a killer patio!

THREE: You can always find me dancing. I started when I was two, and still take classes as an adult. Don't be surprised if you see me busting a move next to the DJ table at your event. 

FOUR: I have a fear of balloons, "globophobic" if we're getting technical. The balloon decor trend has definitely made me face my fears. I'm actually obsessed with the trend, just don't pop that thing near me and we're good! 

FIVE: I'm a big craft beer fan. Whenever I travel I like to try the local breweries.

Photo courtesy of    Lilly Photography

Photo courtesy of Lilly Photography

SIX: I have a large postcard collection from all over the world dating over fifteen years old. I love collecting postcards from my friends to see the different places they have traveled and hearing what they loved about those places. 

SEVEN: I firmly believe cookies were put on this earth to make me happy. My friends call me the cookie monster. 

EIGHT: I love finding new and trendy places. Chicago has no shortage of this, and it makes my heart so happy.

NINE: My favorite pizza in Chicago has to be Jets Pizza. Those pizza squares just get me.

TEN: I'm a sucker for a good true crime story. SSDGM--Any fellow murderinos out there?! 

Photo courtesy of Y   ou Me Photography

Photo courtesy of You Me Photography

Real Chicago Wedding: Julia & Jake, University Club of Chicago

What happens when you book your wedding date on a weekend where there are literally no hotel rooms available (thank you gigantic city-wide medical convention) and virtually all of your guests are traveling in for the wedding? Well, you move your wedding date of course!

Yes, this is how wedding planning began for our sweet clients, Julia and Jake. They had originally planned for a June 4th wedding and ended up getting married on a rainy, cool April 30th. Julia and Jake’s wedding day was an elegant, classy affair held at the University Club of Chicago in the stunning Cathedral Hall. They chose a springy palette of whites and greens with touches of Bells of Ireland, as a nod to Julia’s Irish heritage and StemLine Creative did an amazing job pulling it all together. Their guests danced the night away to the incredible sounds of the Becca Kaufman Orchestra.

Be sure to scroll to the end of the post for the killer team of vendors, but take your time with these jaw-dropping photos from Emilia Jane Photography!

Happy {almost} anniversary, Julia and Jake! We loved planning with you!

Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography
Clover Events-University Club of Chicago Wedding-Langham Chicago Wedding-Chicago Spring Wedding-Emilia Jane Photography

Vendor Team

Venue: University Club of Chicago
Photography: Emilia Jane Photography
Floral & Decor: StemLine Creative
Entertainment: Becca Kaufman Orchestra
Hair & Makeup: Nika Vaughan Bridal Artists
Wedding Dresser: Caroline Shaw
Officiant: Rev it Up
Photobooth: Shutterbooth Chicago
Invitations: Gus & Ruby Letterpress
Getting Ready Location: Langham Chicago

Money Matters

A Wedding Costs What?

Recently The Knot published that an average wedding costs roughly $35,329 across the nation, while weddings happening in major cities (like Chicago) would run nearly double that ($60,035 to be exact).

No matter which way you roll the dice, a wedding is an investment.

So where can you save?

Clover_Events_Chicago_Cultural_Center_Allison Williams Photography.jpg

If You Build It They Will Come

Let’s start with the venue: The more space you have to fill, the more likely you will be to invite that second cousin twice removed who you met that one time when you were seven at Aunt Kathy’s 90th birthday.

An average wedding is roughly 150 – 200 guests, so when doing the math ($60,035/200) your average per guest is going to be run around $300 - $400 per person. If you are looking to save on costs, limiting the guest count may be the right way to go.

If your budget is roughly $10,000 and you run the numbers ($10,000/$300) you have enough for an intimate gathering of approximately 30 of your closest friends and family in Chicago. Keep in mind that this does not include all of the costs associated with a typical wedding, like postage for your wedding invitations, and your gratuities for your vendors. So when budgeting it’s a good practice to separate out your food, beverage, and venue budget from the ancillary budget for photographer, music, dress, etc …

Clover_Events_Newberry_Libaray_Erika Mattingly Photo1.jpg

Depending on how many out-of-town guests you are inviting and what weekend your chosen date falls on, something else to consider is that you will probably have anywhere from 20% - 30% attrition on your invite list.

Before You Sign the Dotted Line

Both on-premise and off-premise venues (see the difference between venues HERE) have their pitfalls. Generally speaking anything customized beyond a hotel’s set menu is going to cost. Similarly, an addition to the bar package, lighting embellishments, and even sometimes a DIY project that you need to pay union labor to have installed, will drive up overall costs.

The same could go for that perfect loft venue that was just within your budget, until you realize it doesn’t come with any chairs, tables, glasses, forks, knives, or coffee equipment (Don’t get us started on the cost off off-premise coffee). All of a sudden your caterer has to tack on another significant charge to their bill that sometimes can equal the same amount as the venue itself.

Clover_Events_Zhou_B_KatEye Studios.jpg

There’s going to be pressure to sign and lock in a date. There’s going to be that emotional connection you have with a space that checks all your boxes and evokes that vision you had when you thought of your wedding when you were younger. As a voice of reason, we encourage one extra look through the contract, a few extra questions, or a conversation about where you may want to customize. This could mean the difference between “We do” or “We do need to find an additional job.”

So Where Can You Save Some Money?

With all of the options available, we recommend finding the space with the least amount of stress on your vision. If you are set on suspending elaborate hanging centerpieces over long feasting tables, a venue like Café Brauer, which is excellent for rigging, may be the right choice. Or if you want a contemporary and elegant environment with incredible views, maybe the Langham Ballroom is the right fit. Either way the more your vision aligns with your space, the more your decisions will match what the space is already equipped to do.

Clover_Events_Catering_Elizabeth Greve Photo3.jpg

The same could be said for food and beverage. If you know you want to recreate the appetizer you and your fiancé shared on your first date, you may be hard-pressed to find that on a hotel wedding menu, whereas an off-premise caterer will be able to recreate it in a snap of a finger. If you are interested in a completely customized bar, with 12 craft beers, a whiskey tasting, and wine pairing with each course, it may behoove you to look into a venue that would allow you to provide your own liquor, like the Newberry Library.

If your top priority is having a live band and creating a dance party that rivals River North’s best night clubs, choosing a venue that has ample power, includes a dance floor, and has a list of recommended bands that have worked in the space is a smart route to take.

When you align your vision with both your vendors and your venue, things will naturally fall into place. The vendors themselves will be able to naturally guide you through conversations and decisions that match your vision, and inevitably the costs associated with those decisions will fall closer to your ideal budget.

Clover_Events_Wedding_Planning_Emilia Jane Photography1.JPG

What Not to Do

One of the most commonly missed opportunities we come across when working with our clients is prioritizing the budget. Establishing what is most important to your vision is the #1 way to establish whether the expense is worth the dollars associated with it. Our recommendation is to choose your top three “budget busters.” This may be the band, food and bar or perhaps it’s venue, dress and desserts. It’s different for every couple!

We won’t lie, it is very easy to spend a few thousand dollars on custom letter-pressed invitations, and if that is the most important thing to you, then it’s great to establish that when allocating funds. However, if you’ve gotten wrapped up in the fun of planning then the budget you allocated for your band may have just been spent on those beautiful invitations. 

When you are able to prioritize the important items, it will establish where you should start, what matters to you as a couple, and also give you the confidence to say, “the most cost-effective option is just fine” for those items that fall outside of the lines.

With the amount of details, guests, vendors, and logistics that go into a wedding, it is sometimes hard to have “the budget” conversation, but the more you are able to clearly allocate your funds and prioritize what is most important, the easier it will be to come to your day with peace of mind, allowing you to say “I do” without the weight of the wedding on your shoulders.

Clover_Events_Wedding_Planning_Gerber Scarpelli Photography1.jpg

First Comes Love, Then Comes Venue Hunting?!

Clover_Events_Chicago_Premiere_Wedding_Planner

So you said “Yes”

No matter if you are bride or a groom, everyone has envisioned their wedding day at some point. From gilded golden archways that spill into a candlelit aisle, to reclaimed wood beams that frame wildflowers and natural linens, that day started as a vision somewhere.  

But wait.

No one said there would be just as many decisions required to build and furnish a house, as there would be to say I do.

We understand.

So where do you start?

Well it all needs to happen somewhere, right? So, let’s start with the venue.

Clover_Events_Chicago_Wedding_Planning

The Basics of Wedding Venues

In Chicago there are two major categories of wedding destinations; hotels and venues. From the Drake Hotel and Union League Club, to the Bridgeport Art Center and Chicago History Museum, there is no shortage of options to float over the floor during your first dance. However, there’s another, often overlooked, differentiator between the locales: on-premise vs. off-premise.

What is on-premise?

On-premise venues refer to venues in which the food is prepared on site. Think hotels, private clubs, restaurants, banquet facilities, and even some of the cultural institutions like the Shedd Aquarium. These venues generally are able to offer you more finite wedding “packages,” many of which include in-house equipment, like tables and chairs. On-premise venues will often provide the bar and may include staff as a part of your per person price. On-premise venues generally will come with an F&B (food & beverage) minimum or tag on a mandatory gratuity or service charge.

A Service Charge? Where does that go?

More often than not, a service charge will go towards staff gratuities and taxes. When working with a hotel it’s important to establish early on what the standard service charge of the property may be. There’s nothing worse than budgeting based on a published menu or package price, only to be surprised when the actual bill is going to be 20% - 25% higher.

If the property does have a service charge, another important thing to note is if that service charge covers gratuity. If so, confirm with your catering manager or salesperson if the expectation is that you would add any additional gratuities on top of the total charge. Think of this being similar to going to a restaurant with a large group and finding that a standard 18% gratuity will be added to parties of 6 or more. For exceptional service, you may tip beyond that.

Clover_Chicago_Wedding_Ben_Elsass

What is off-premise?

As you might guess, off-premise is somewhat the opposite. Think a converted loft venue that can be transformed into a Soho House fantasy, or a park district venue that does everything from public programming to garden weddings. Off-premise venues, a lot of the time, will allow you to choose your caterer, may or may not have tables and chairs for you to use (or if they do, you may prefer not to use them, just saying), and may even allow you to provide your own liquor for the bar.

It takes a village

With off-premise venues, you can expect to be reaching out to a few more partners to execute your day. With more partners, comes more meetings, more logistics, and sometimes more room for details to slip through the cracks.

At an on-premise venue, by comparison, you will typically be working with one Catering Manager who handles your menu, room layout, staffing, equipment, and sometimes even lighting. In the world of off-premise, you can expect to work with someone who represents the space (a Venue Manager), your main catering contact (who will typically handle staffing) and may even have a third-party equipment provider that will be bringing in specialty furniture or rentals. There’s also potential for a lighting crew (which may be coordinated through your décor partner), or a vendor hired to provide some drape or fabric panels.

Clover_Events_Chicago_Wedding_Emilia Jane Photography3.jpg

All of these vendors will be in addition to your more commonly referenced wedding vendors which apply to both on-premise and off-premise venues: Wedding Planner, Florist/Decor Provider, DJ or Band, Photographer, Videographer, and Bakery.

What Wedding Venue Is Right for You?

So where do you start? While style is always a driving factor, something else to think about is the amount of decisions you will want to make. We’ve sat through a tasting with a caterer that has erupted into an argument over the flatware pattern for an off-premise wedding. While the argument was never about the pattern on the fork (we kid you not), it was only heightened due to the amount of decisions that had to be made.

Clover_Events_Chicago_Wedding_Elizabeth Greve Photo2.jpg

Off-premise venues are often times a blank slate, allowing you, as the incredible visionary you are, to mold and transform the canvas into your own personal work of art.

Now if that last sentence just made your heart flutter, and a wave of anxiety washed over you, maybe off-premise is not the way to go. We are not saying you can’t turn the ballroom at the Four Seasons into something that is truly unique and incredible (if you are interested look up Oprah’s going away party, pretty astonishing to see the before and afters), but even so, you are generally a little bit more limited in your selections.

We are lucky enough to live in an incredible city that allows us the luxury of having every type of venue available to us. There’s no one right way to choose the place you may be taking your fiancé’s hand in marriage and dancing the night away, but hopefully a little knowledge leads to power in weighing the options.

As always, we’re here for you, with services ranging from month-of coordination to full service planning, and everything in between!

Happy hunting!

Photos in this post are courtesy of Erika Mattingly Photo / Tim Tab Studios / Ben Elsass Photography / Emilia Jane Photography / Elizabeth Greve Photography

Happy New Year!

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Wedding Wire-Couples Choice Awards

Today we got word that, for the third year in a row, we were awarded the Wedding Wire Couples’ Choice Award! This award is particularly meaningful because it is based solely on our clients’ reviews and feedback. This award recognizes our commitment to quality, service, responsiveness, and professionalism - all values that are so important to us as wedding planners! Our clients are everything to us. Without them, we would not be here, plain and simple.

We feel an incredible sense of responsibility and pride that each couple entrusts us with one of the most important days of their lives together and it is not something we take lightly! We strive to create planning experiences that allow our couples to be fully present and stress-free on their wedding day. To be acknowledged by our clients for how hard we work is truly wonderful!

2018 was a pretty incredible year of growth for Clover Events and 2019 will be even more exciting! You’ll continue to see exciting and interesting content here on the blog, including profiles on some of our favorite venues and vendor partners, design inspiration, real weddings and expert advice on all things weddings.

We are working with couples at fantastic Chicago wedding venues like the Chicago History Museum, Artifact Events, School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Newberry Library. Can’t wait to share photos from these beautiful weddings! We’ll be planning Thursday Therapy networking events all year, collaborating with amazing vendor partners and brands for more installments of A Seat at My Table, and working on a couple top-secret projects (more info to come soon)!

Thank you for following along for another exciting year!!

Photo courtesy of    Tim Tab Studios

Photo courtesy of Tim Tab Studios

A Seat at My Table: December Edition

I think it’s official - 2018 was the fastest year ever. Seriously, it’s gone by in a blink.

Here we are on the last day of the year and I’m so excited to bring you our final installment of the series we’ve been sharing all year. For the December edition of A Seat at My Table, we chose to create a New Year’s Eve-inspired tablescape full of sparkle and shine. Once again, I was lucky enough to work with my creative soulmates, Belen Aquino and Lindsay Campbell, to bring this fun table to life.

The Joinery in Logan Square was the perfect venue for this shoot - with its rough painted brick walls, beautiful wood floors and stunning skylight. If you’re looking for a unique venue for your wedding, this one fits the bill for sure. And yes, those killer teal chairs are included when you rent the space!

Can you even deal with the ridiculous balloon installation behind our table?! Ozzie of Gromeza Designs brought our vision to life so perfectly and created the most beautiful focal point for our shoot. We knew we didn’t want to incorporate floral into this table, so balloons felt like the perfect solution. What very little floral he did use was spray painted a blushy gold and added into the backdrop after he created it. It was so incredible to watch the backdrop come to life!

To be honest, the sequin linen from BBJ Linen very quickly became the color palette inspiration for our table - it’s the perfect combination of sparkle and color. The velvet napkins were the perfect way to add some texture. We chose to go simple with matte black plates and flatware and gold-accented glassware. After all, that linen needed to shine! I’m obsessed with the Madame and Monsieur glasses from West Elm!

Hope you enjoy these photos and HAPPY NEW YEAR! Wishing you all the best for 2019!

New Years Eve-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Clover Events-The Joinery
New Years Eve-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Clover Events-The Joinery
New Years Eve-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Clover Events-The Joinery
New Years Eve-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Clover Events-The Joinery
New Years Eve-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Clover Events-The Joinery
New Years Eve-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Clover Events-The Joinery
New Years Eve-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Clover Events-The Joinery
New Years Eve-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Clover Events-The Joinery
New Years Eve-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Clover Events-The Joinery
New Years Eve-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Clover Events-The Joinery
New Years Eve-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Clover Events-The Joinery
New Years Eve-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Clover Events-The Joinery
New Years Eve-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Clover Events-The Joinery
New Years Eve-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Clover Events-The Joinery

Thanks again to our awesome team:


Belen Aquino Perfilio, Gerber & Scarpelli
West Elm Chicago
The Joinery
Gromeza Designs
BBJ Linen

Real Chicago Wedding: Leta & Joe, The Murphy Auditorium

Last December we had the pleasure of working with Leta and Joe on their holiday-inspired wedding at the beautiful Murphy Auditorium. With holiday cheer all around us, we thought it would be fun to revisit their festive wedding day!

All photos were taken by Matt Mason Photography.

Leta and Joe got ready at the Viceroy Hotel in Chicago’s Gold Coast. They chose to surround themselves with family in their wedding party, including Joe’s daughters, Leta’s sister and their niece and nephews. We love to see couples surrounded by family on their wedding day!

One of our favorite moments of the whole day was Leta’s first look with her darling father. He was so moved when he saw her for the first time in her stunning wedding dress! Leta and Joe’s first look in the sun-filled, bright penthouse at the Viceroy was so lovely as well.

The couple and their wedding party went up to the rooftop for photos and then headed over to the Murphy to prepare for the ceremony!

Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator

Leta and Joe’s ceremony was officiated by their dear friend who personalized it so beautifully for them. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room during their vows!

All of the jaw-dropping floral and decor you see was done by The Flower Firm. Leta had a very specific vision (that included as many Christmas trees as possible!) and Ashley and her team executed it flawlessly. We used a simple line of pipe and drape to hide the band’s equipment and serve as a crisp white ceremony backdrop. So obsessed with all the stained glass and architectural elements at this venue!

Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator

While guests enjoyed cocktail hour, we were all busy flipping the event space from ceremony to dinner and dancing. It was all hands on deck for an hour as we completely transformed the space. Paramount Events and their team did an amazing job getting the tables set and served the guests the most delicious dinner. Flower Firm stunned, yet again, with the holiday-inspired centerpieces. It was so festive and twinkly in the room!

Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator

As soon as dinner ended, the one and only Chicago Catz kicked off the opening of the dance floor with some very special dances. In addition to Leta and Joe’s first dance, Leta had a sweet dance with her father and Joe chose to dance with his twin daughters. It was so adorable!

Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator
Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator

This was such a special day and we’re so grateful to Leta and Joe for including all of us! The team they assembled was top-notch and the day went off without a hitch! Happy holidays, everyone!

Chicago Wedding-Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Viceroy Hotel-Murphy Auditorium-Chicago Wedding Coordinator

Three cheers for a rockstar team!


Venue: The Murphy Auditorium
Photography: Matt Mason Photography
Floral & Decor: The Flower Firm
Catering: Paramount Events
Entertainment: Chicago Catz
Lighting: Frost
Getting Ready Venue: Viceroy Chicago
Hair: Changes Salon
Makeup: Dawn Bliss Beauty

A Seat at My Table: November Edition

It’s so hard to believe we’re already in holiday season mode - we’re wrapping up our final events of the year and fully embracing the magic that is Chicago during the holidays! With Thanksgiving just behind us, you may be looking for a fun way to bring your friends together to celebrate the season and express your gratitude for their friendship. Well you’re in luck! Today we’re bringing some serious Friendsgiving inspiration for our next installment of A Seat at My Table.

We used a warm, fall-inspired palette of camel, cranberry, mustard, hunter green and royal blue which is carried through the floral, table settings and even the delicious food!

Grab your favorite cozy blanket and a mug of something hot and tuck into these gorgeous photos from our beloved Belen of Gerber & Scarpelli Photography!

Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving

Our incomparable hostess was Mary Simmons of Persephone Floral Atelier who had the perfect studio for this tablescape. On top of that, she’s an incredibly talented florist who took our ideas and ran with them. I can’t even get over how perfect the flowers were and can we talk about that killer suspended piece?! Amazing. It’s so rewarding collaborating with other creatives who really understand your vision and are just as excited about it!

Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving

Our table was outfitted in the best way by beautiful pieces from West Elm and Williams-Sonoma. They have the best holiday collections! The entire tablescape may or may not have been planned around using those whimsical Dapper Animal plates. (Hint: it was)

We mixed and matched colors with wood, marble and china elements because we wanted the table to feel like something you could easily put together yourself with pieces you already have in your home. No need to bring out the crystal and fancy china for this party!

BBJ Linen provided us with the delicious camel-colored velvet linen that we couldn’t help but pet all day! Hall’s Rental was kind enough to provide the cross-back French country chairs that were the perfect addition to the table.

Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving

This was a bit of a different tablescape for us because we incorporated FOOD, and what delicious food it was! Pyrite Sun Catering is a fantastic, up-and-coming caterer with a really great farm-to-table approach to food. Sarah, the owner, even grows a lot of her own vegetables and edible flowers. Together, we dreamt up an approachable, yummy feast that included many different kinds of pies and tarts, both sweet and savory. So in love the idea of using mini quiches as place card holders. Make elements of your tablescape edible and keep the floral simple!

Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving

You’ve been viewing her beautiful work throughout this post; Jeannie from Simply Scripted Ink once again lended us her impeccable hand and created some really lovely printed pieces that tied all of the elements together. We covered a small window behind the table with a hand-written menu that create the perfect subtle backdrop for our table. Obsessed! And, of course, don’t forget to take a piece of pie home with you in one of those darling to-go boxes!

Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving

AND NOW, WE FEAST! Cheers!

Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving


On a personal note, I have to thank these amazing ladies who mean so much to me. We’ve worked tirelessly side by side all year on these tablescape shoots sharing ideas, inspiration, and many, many laughs. They’ve come into my home month after month and helped me transform it in ways I never thought imaginable.

This has been one of the most challenging and rewarding projects I’ve undertaken in my career and I can’t imagine doing it with anyone else.

Belen and Lindsay, so grateful to call you both dear friends!

xo,
Kath

Thanks again to our awesome team:


Belen Aquino Perfilio, Gerber & Scarpelli
Persephone Floral Atelier
West Elm Chicago
Williams-Sonoma
Pyrite Sun Catering
Simply Scripted Ink
BBJ Linen
Hall’s Rental

Wedding Traditions Explained

I was recently a guest at a wedding shower (crazy, I know!) and the hostesses led us all in a couple really fun wedding-related trivia games. All of the ladies were really getting into the trivia and it made for such a fun shower activity.

One of them I thought would be particularly fun to feature as a blog post because some of the questions really had me stumped! This quiz features trivia about wedding traditions we all know and love but may not be aware of their origin. Makes you really think before incorporating some of these into your own wedding!

See how many you can guess correctly and post in the comments!

Photo courtesy of    Steve Koo Photography

Photo courtesy of Steve Koo Photography

Match each of the following wedding customs to the reason for doing them!

Answers are listed below the next photo.

  1. The bride wears a veil.

  2. The bride stands to the left of the groom.

  3. Having a designated ring finger.

  4. The bride wears something old.

  5. Having a flower girl drop petals.

  6. The bride wears something blue.

  7. Having a ring bearer.

  8. The bride wears something new.

  9. The bride throws a bouquet.

  10. Cutting the wedding cake together.

  11. Having the bridal party dress alike.


A. To confuse the evil spirits.
B. Pass on good fortune.
C. Symbolizes their shared fortune.
D. Proves the bride’s worthiness.
E. Symbolizes optimism for the future.
F. Protect her from evil spirits.
G. Marriage is doomed if the ring is dropped by the groom.
H. Represents continuity.
I. Contains the vein of love.
J. Symbolizes fertility.
K. To defend her bride, his right arm must be free.

Photo courtesy of    Essence Weddings

Photo courtesy of Essence Weddings

Photos courtesy of    Metts Photo

Photos courtesy of Metts Photo

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Day-of Coordinator-Wedding Planning-Wedding Trivia

Answers below!

  1. F

  2. K

  3. I

  4. H

  5. J

  6. D

  7. G

  8. E

  9. B

  10. C

  11. A

Quiz Credits

A Seat at My Table: October Edition

Halloween week is upon us and we have some seriously spooky inspiration in our latest installment of A Seat at my Table! We brought a great team of creative ladies together once again and created some magic. I have just two words: SMOKE MACHINE.

All photos are thanks to my wonderfully talented friend, Belen of Gerber & Scarpelli!

Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Event Design-Design Inspiration
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Event Design-Design Inspiration
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Event Design-Design Inspiration

West Elm Chicago and Pottery Barn Chicago helped us fill this table with so much texture and layers, not to mention all of the fun props that made their way into our shoot. Lindsay and Charlotte came along from the West Elm shop to help style the table and their eye for design was so crucial!

We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with two new #ladybosses on this shoot as well! Jenna from Shop Vagabond created the striking floral pieces both on the table and on the mantel. It was so much fun to watch her draw inspiration from the pieces we had from West Elm and conceive of these beautiful centerpieces!

We have to talk about the jaw-dropping cake that came from Bon Vivant Cakes. The owner, Emily, took our inspiration and truly ran with it! Her design couldn’t have been more perfectly fit for the overall look of the shoot. Everything except the flowers on the top of the cake were completely edible and, bonus (!), the top tier was a real cake and you better believe we dug into that as a post-photo shoot treat!

Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Event Design-Design Inspiration
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Event Design-Design Inspiration
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Event Design-Design Inspiration
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Event Design-Design Inspiration
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Event Design-Design Inspiration
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Event Design-Design Inspiration
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Event Design-Design Inspiration
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Event Design-Design Inspiration
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Event Design-Design Inspiration
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Event Design-Design Inspiration
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Event Design-Design Inspiration
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Clover Events-Event Design-Design Inspiration

Thanks again to our awesome team:


Belen Aquino Perfilio, Gerber & Scarpelli
West Elm Chicago
Shop Vagabond
Bon Vivant Cakes

Real Chicago Wedding: Jessica & Alex, LondonHouse Chicago

It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year since Jess and Alex’s lovely LondonHouse Chicago wedding. 10/14/17 was one of those days you ask any Chicago wedding professional about and we go immediately to the weather - it was a complete wash-out! It rained all day, and I mean poured. Jess and Alex were so great about it though, and didn’t want to change any of their plans that day. It was so amazing to see them enjoy every second of their wedding day and not let the weather dampen (hah!) their spirits. They had some really great moments and fun details, all perfectly captured by Ed & Aileen Photography. Enjoy!

Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography

The LondonHouse was the perfect setting for their quintessential Chicago wedding - breathtaking views of the city, stunning architecture and just a short walk to many of the best Chicago landmarks. The ladies spent the morning in the bridal suite getting beautified by the team at Bianca Sansosti Artistry, while the guys cleaned up and got ready just down the hall.

Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography

One of the best features of the the LondonHouse is, of course, the stunning cupola on the top floor of the building - this is where you get the best views of our gorgeous city. Naturally, Jess and Alex decided to have their first look up there and we dodged some major raindrops to get them out there. I’d say it was worth it for these EPIC photos!

Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography

After that stunner of a first look, Jess and Alex met up with their wedding party to head up to Lakeview for photos outside Wrigley Field. Did we mention they’re Cubs superfans?! They even got an interview with WGN!

Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography

Perhaps one of the most memorable moments the entire day was when Alex surprised Jess with a visit from their beloved puppy, Wrigley. (Remember, they’re super fans!) He arranged for their dog walker to meet them across the street from the hotel on the riverwalk and got her over there under the guise of taking more photos. The rain and nearly 2 hours of photos were starting to get to Jess, but that all changed when she saw Wrigley walking towards her. We’re so in love with these photos of her reaction!

Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography

After everyone came in and dried off, we got ready to send this lovely couple down the aisle. Jason and his team at Flowers for Dreams created the most beautiful chuppah to honor Alex’s Jewish heritage, including his family’s tallit that was strung from the top. The bold paper elements were provided by Magnificent Milestones, who always does such a wonderful job executing our clients’ visions!

Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography

After the ceremony, guests enjoyed a delicious and festive cocktail hour just outside the ballroom while the amazing teams at LondonHouse and Flowers for Dreams transformed the ballroom from ceremony to reception. The centerpieces from Flowers for Dreams were beautiful and understated and the long head table was just stunning! Jess and Alex’s guests grooved all night long to the sounds of Bluewater Kings Band. They had the dance floor packed all night long!

Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography
Chicago wedding-Chicago wedding planner-Chicago hotel wedding-Clover Events-Clover Events Chicago-Ed and Aileen Photography

A Seat at My Table: September Edition

Fall! Oh how I love fall - it might even be my most favorite season. I love the crisp temperatures, the ever-changing colors, and the feelings of being reinvigorated that come with a changing season.

I love soaking up those last few warm nights, even as the sun sets a little earlier each day, by dining outside with friends while our kids run around the yard. For our September table, we were inspired by those meals al fresco! We brought back the amazing team from our August shoot (read it here if you haven’t done that already) and put together an inviting, colorful table worthy of any gathering!

I love how the orange and yellow hues play off of the natural greenery in the background. This color palette feels like the perfect bridge from summer to fall. Of course, you see that fantastic blue and white combo again as well - such a perfect compliment to the bright citrus!

Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Month-of Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Inspiration-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Month-of Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Inspiration-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Month-of Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Inspiration-Clover Events

Our incredible team of creative ladies knocked it out of the park yet again on this design. Staci from Flowers for Dreams filled our table with so much color and texture. Did you notice the sweet little clementines tucked into the large centerpiece?! I love the concept of incorporating food into a tablescape, so was thrilled with her idea to use oranges as the base for the place cards. So festive and fun!

Lindsay from West Elm Chicago brought so many beautiful pieces to add to the table. I love the simplicity of the china, glasses and flatware - they really allowed the natural elements to shine. We couldn’t help ourselves and had to use those incredible Constellation plates again!

We got to see more creativity from Emily with La Vaca Design House with the menu cards and bar cart sign. She created them to look like clear boxes, which we filled with greenery that tied into our centerpieces. Obsessed!

Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Month-of Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Inspiration-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Month-of Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Inspiration-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Month-of Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Inspiration-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Month-of Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Inspiration-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Month-of Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Inspiration-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Month-of Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Inspiration-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Month-of Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Inspiration-Clover Events

Thanks again to our awesome team:


Belen Aquino Perfilio, Gerber & Scarpelli
West Elm Chicago
La Vaca Design House
Flowers for Dreams

Real Chicago Wedding: Aubyn & Danny, Kimpton Gray Hotel

Aubyn and Danny were married on a beautiful day in late June at the stunning Kimpton Gray Hotel, using both their ballroom and restaurant. Niki coordinated this wedding and formed a wonderful bond with the couple right away, working closely with them to make sure all the final wedding details came together with ease. It was such a pleasure to work on this wedding with the fantastic team at The Gray and such an extra bonus to walk away with awesome new friends!

All of these gorgeous photos are courtesy of Peter Gubernat Photography.

BONUS: Check out their incredible wedding film from Red + Olive. We dare you not to cry!

Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Month-of Coordination-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Month-of Coordination-Clover Events

Aubyn has a booming personality and Danny has a very chill demeanor – they both are hysterical and SO in love with one another! Their love for each other was so evident all throughout their wedding day.

They held their wedding ceremony in the stunning ballroom in The Gray. We can’t get enough of the modern chandeliers in there! After the ceremony, guests proceeded literally down the hall into the hotel’s restaurant, Boleo. This space is edgy, modern and moody - perfect for a knockout dance party. Maybe the most interesting thing about this venue is its fully retractable roof, bringing a bit of the outside in! Guests danced the night away under the stars.

Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Month-of Coordination-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Month-of Coordination-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Month-of Coordination-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Month-of Coordination-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Month-of Coordination-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Month-of Coordination-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Month-of Coordination-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Month-of Coordination-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Month-of Coordination-Clover Events

Aubyn and Danny met when they were in a band many years ago, called Farraday. Aubyn is still one of the singers in the very popular Chicago band, Gold Coast Allstars, so as you can imagine, having one of its band members get married, the band played a little “EXTRA” at Aubyn and Danny’s Chicago wedding! As you will notice in the amazing photos, their wedding was quite the party!

Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Month-of Coordination-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Month-of Coordination-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Month-of Coordination-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Month-of Coordination-Clover Events
Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Chicago Wedding Planner-Month-of Coordination-Clover Events

Vendor Team:

Photographer: Peter Gubernat Photography
Video: Fox + Ivory
Floral: Redberry Floral
Venue: Kimpton Gray Hotel
Music: Gold Coast Allstars
Hair & Makeup: Pin Me Up

A Seat at my Table: August Edition

It's hard to believe summer is starting to wind down already - kids are going back to school, nights are getting cooler, days are getting shorter and wedding season is really picking up in Chicago as fall approaches. We couldn't let summer come and go without a little backyard pool party and who better to do that with than our friends at minnidip?!

I've known Emily Vaca, the incredibly creative boss lady behind La Vaca and minnidip, for a few years and I am constantly inspired by her. This year I was so proud to watch her take the jump into full-time entrepreneurship and now she's killing it (hello, Target)! Her line of luxury inflatables is so fun and unique, and makes for a stylish, colorful addition to any backyard, balcony or roof deck!

For this month's tablescape shoot, we used the minnidip "Splash Outside the Lines" as our palette inspiration. I love the bold blue and white pattern - this is a trend I'm seeing everywhere from home design to wedding tablescapes. We were lucky enough to work with West Elm Chicago for this shoot as well - their bright textiles were the perfect addition! One of my favorite elements of this entire setting was the Constellation plate with bits of gold and sparkle. They're almost too pretty to eat off...almost.

My boys invited a friend over and got to splashing outside the lines!

All photos thanks to the wonderful Belen Aquino.

Chicago Wedding Planner-Day-of Coordinator-Wedding Coordinator-Summertime-Pool Party
Chicago Wedding Planner-Day-of Coordinator-Wedding Coordinator-Summertime-Pool Party
Chicago Wedding Planner-Day-of Coordinator-Wedding Coordinator-Summertime-Pool Party
Chicago Wedding Planner-Day-of Coordinator-Wedding Coordinator-Summertime-Pool Party
Chicago Wedding Planner-Day-of Coordinator-Wedding Coordinator-Summertime-Pool Party
Chicago Wedding Planner-Day-of Coordinator-Wedding Coordinator-Summertime-Pool Party
Chicago Wedding Planner-Day-of Coordinator-Wedding Coordinator-Summertime-Pool Party
Chicago Wedding Planner-Day-of Coordinator-Wedding Coordinator-Summertime-Pool Party
Chicago Wedding Planner-Day-of Coordinator-Wedding Coordinator-Summertime-Pool Party
Chicago Wedding Planner-Day-of Coordinator-Wedding Coordinator-Summertime-Pool Party
Chicago Wedding Planner-Day-of Coordinator-Wedding Coordinator-Summertime-Pool Party
Chicago Wedding Planner-Day-of Coordinator-Wedding Coordinator-Summertime-Pool Party
Chicago Wedding Planner-Day-of Coordinator-Wedding Coordinator-Summertime-Pool Party
Chicago Wedding Planner-Day-of Coordinator-Wedding Coordinator-Summertime-Pool Party

Thanks again to our awesome team:


Belen Aquino Perfilio, Gerber & Scarpelli
West Elm Chicago
La Vaca Design House

Chicago Engagement Session and How to Prepare

Engagement session - many couples hear that term and have a million questions.

What is it?
Do we need it?
Do we really have to be in front of a camera more than just the wedding day?


In a word, YES. Yes, you do need it and yes, you do need to be in front of your photographer's camera before your wedding day. Most couples haven't spent much time with a professional photographer, so it's a great opportunity to get comfortable before you put on your wedding dress and tux. It's also a great way for your photographer to get to know you! The more they understand what works and doesn't work, the better off you'll all be on the big day.

I also hear a lot of couples say they don't think they'll ever use the photos, but I beg to differ. My favorite engagement sessions are those done in the couple's home, their favorite coffee shop or restaurant or with their pets. Use this opportunity to get some photos in a place that's special to you that won't necessarily be a part of your wedding day. And anyway, trust me, you will love these photos 10-15 years down the road. I can just hear you saying, "Remember when..."

Photo courtesy of  Ashley Bosnick Photography

Photo courtesy of Ashley Bosnick Photography

I'll get off my soap box now and let the experts step in.

So excited to get some insight on how best to prepare for your engagement photo session from our friends over at Gerber & Scarpelli Photography. They've been at this for years and certainly know how to get couples in the right frame of mind to have some fun!

Photos courtesy of  Emilia Jane Photography

Photos courtesy of Emilia Jane Photography

Engagement Photos-Chicago Engagement Session-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Clover Events-Emilia Jane Photography

We get it!  Not everyone enjoys being in front of the camera.  For many couples, Engagement Sessions seem like an overwhelming and unnecessary part of wedding prep.  For us, an engagement session is a great opportunity to meet our clients, learn your dynamic as a couple, and see how natural you are at posing and being photographed.  We love the opportunity to spend some time with you and get all the photo-related butterflies and awkwardness out of the way long before your wedding day!

Here are a few ideas to help you prepare and get in the mood to look and feel your best during your engagement shoot:


Eat well and hydrate!  Drink plenty of water in the days before your shoot to make sure your skin looks its best.  Try to avoid salt, lots of sugar, and alcohol the day before your session.

Get a full night's sleep!  Easier said than done, we know.  The more sleep you get before your shoot, the more relaxed and rested you'll feel.

Choose your clothing carefully!  We advise clients to avoid clothing that has a certain time or style specific quality.  Just look at a photo of your parents in bell bottoms and polyester, and you'll know what we're trying to avoid.  Solid colors, classic styles, and the occasional pattern are safe ways to go.  Make sure to coordinate your outfits as a couple so you don't end up wearing conflicting colors or patterns.

Embrace movement!  Ladies, flowing dresses, scarves, or tops are a great way to guarantee some dynamic movement in your photos.  You'll look and feel like a movie star when the wind starts to blow.

Get a little crazy!  We've met enough couples over the years to know all couples are weird in their own way.  Show off your particular brand of weird by getting a little crazy with the one you love.  We love a couple with a sense of humor and we promise your photos will be unforgettable.

Get ready for some close ups!  Ladies, try to get your engagement ring professionally cleaned before the session and make sure those nails are camera ready!  You'll be glad you did when you're showing off your bling!

Don't be afraid of early evening or winter sessions!  We don't need warmth and sunshine to make beautiful pictures.  We love a dramatic shot framed by Chicago at night.  Fall leaves or winter snow can be fun and beautiful settings for your shoot.  Grab a stylish coat and let's take some photos!

Photo courtesy of  Gerber & Scarpelli Photography

We want you to look like you!  You don't need to wear tons of makeup to look great in your photos.  Choose colors and styles that feel comfortable and normal for you.  If you choose to wear a darker shade of lipstick, make sure it won't rub off when you kiss!

Bring along your fur babies!  We get it, pups are family.  Not only will they help make your photos feel more special, but they'll help you relax and have more fun in front of the camera!

Highlight special locations!  When we're scheduling your shoot, make sure you let us know if there are any significant places you want to visit to help make your images even more meaningful!

We love a costume change!  For more variety in your photographs, consider preparing two outfits each.  Try switching out a formal look for a casual one.  Need advice on what to wear?  Feel free to ask us!

Brush your teeth right before the session!  Everyone looks and feels better with some fresh pearly whites!

Relax and be in love!  We're all here to capture your love and your story.  Try to forget the camera is there and enjoy some time to snuggle up with your honey in a beautiful location!

Photo courtesy of  Sarah Postma Photography

Photo courtesy of Sarah Postma Photography