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?

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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 …

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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First Comes Love, Then Comes Venue Hunting?!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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AND NOW, WE FEAST! Cheers!

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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

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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!

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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

A Seat at my Table: July Edition

Happy Fourth of July, my lovely readers!

This is one of those days I look forward to all year: we have very special family traditions that we have kept for most of my life and it's so much fun seeing my boys get to take part in them now, too! We love to watch our local fireworks show on July 3rd with a huge group of family and close friends. We've been gathering together since I was a child and now we're sharing this special night with our own kids. On the 4th, we typically take in a parade and spend the rest of the day relaxing in our backyard, and this year will be no different! How do you typically spend this patriotic holiday?!

For the next installment of our tablescape series, we decided to really lean into the red, white and blue palette we see on July 4th and we went all out! Honestly, it was when I came across the two napkin options from BBJ Linen that I knew we had to go that direction. I mean, how amazing is that star spangled napkin?! Lots of stars and stripes in this one!

Hope you enjoy these super fun images from Belen Aquino Perfilio!

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Planner-Fourth of July-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Planner-Fourth of July-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Planner-Fourth of July-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Planner-Fourth of July-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Planner-Fourth of July-Summer Wedding

Flowers for Dreams is at it again with the show-stopping flowers! I am obsessed with the large centerpiece held in the galvanized bucket - so perfect for this occasion. There was so much texture and color in the floral palette, without going overboard - it's summery and fun! The fluffy hydrangea act as the perfect backdrop to help the other, punchier flowers really shine. Can you even with those red anemones?

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Planner-Fourth of July-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Planner-Fourth of July-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Planner-Fourth of July-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Planner-Fourth of July-Summer Wedding

Amanda with Gather Vintage Tablescapes really had some fun putting the dishes together for this shoot. How often do you get to use a light blue plate and red bowl in the same stack? The gold-edged plates were the perfect addition and tied in so nicely with the hammered gold flatware. I think one of my most favorite things about this shoot is that the plate stack looks like a star from above. Perfect!

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Planner-Fourth of July-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Planner-Fourth of July-Summer Wedding

For this shoot inspiration, I asked Jeannie from Simply Scripted Ink to give us something that was simple, but had big impact and I think she did just that!  The place cards wrapped around the votive candles remind me of fireworks and added just a little extra glow to the table. 

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Planner-Fourth of July-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Planner-Fourth of July-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Planner-Fourth of July-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Planner-Fourth of July-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Planner-Fourth of July-Summer Wedding

Wishing you a safe, happy and enjoyable holiday filled with fireworks, BBQs and lots of time outside enjoying the summertime weather! I hope this fun tablescape gives you some inspiration when designing your table!

Thanks again to our awesome team:


Belen Aquino Perfilio, Gerber & Scarpelli
Simply Scripted Ink
Flowers for Dreams
Gather Vintage Tablescapes
BBJ Linen
Hall's Rental

A Seat at my Table: June Edition

I don't know about all of you, but this year is just whizzing past me! We're fully embracing summer and the warmer temps in our part of the world, and we have some super fun summery inspiration headed your way! Hope you'll stay tuned!

For our June tablescape, we decided to use the ever-present bridal shower as inspiration. After all, who doesn't love getting dressed up in your favorite sun dress to attend a fun ladies' luncheon?! We see so many showers being thrown for our clients over the summer as they prepare for their weddings later in the year, and it makes so much sense - the temps are perfect, we have so many seasonal flowers and produce to choose from and everyone is feeling so ready to get out of the house! I love the idea of gathering an intimate group of your best girl pals around a beautiful table to celebrate this very important occasion in your life.

For our table this month, we wanted it to be delicate and feminine, without going overboard with too much pink. I think the final outcome evokes all of that perfectly, with a modern and approachable touch. Hope you're as inspired as I am by this gorgeous tablescape!

All images are courtesy of the one and only Belen Aquino Perfilio, my fantastic partner-in-crime on this picturesque journey!

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Bridal Shower-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Bridal Shower-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Bridal Shower-Summer Wedding

We worked with our friends at Flowers for Dreams on this table, and boy, did they wow us! They created a perfect palette of soft whites, creams and pinks balanced by punches of green. We were able to create a stunning centerpiece by combining multiple vessels and vases filled with different combinations of blooms and greens. I'm obsessed with the marbled pieces!

Total side note: If you aren't familiar with what the lovely folks at Flowers for Dreams are doing, you must click here to read more! Each month they feature a different local charity or cause and donate a quarter of their profits to it. Amazing! Beautiful flowers with a charitable mission - LOVE.

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Bridal Shower-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Bridal Shower-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Bridal Shower-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Bridal Shower-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Bridal Shower-Summer Wedding

Jeannie from Simply Scripted knocked us off our feet again this month! Those menus and place cards are hand-drawn in the most delicate pink and light gray - the perfect finishing touch on our table! The personalized champagne bottles make for super fun favors or could serve as place cards instead as well!

BBJ Linen provided the beautiful linens, which added so much texture and dimension. The gray on the table helped the beautiful floral pop, and the pattern on the pink brocade napkins was one of my favorite things about this setting!

I can't get enough of the rose gold flatware and white "O" chairs from Hall's Rental!

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Bridal Shower-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Bridal Shower-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Bridal Shower-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Bridal Shower-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Bridal Shower-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Bridal Shower-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Bridal Shower-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Bridal Shower-Summer Wedding

Thanks again to our awesome team:


Belen Aquino Perfilio, Gerber & Scarpelli
Simply Scripted Ink
Flowers for Dreams
BBJ Linen
Hall's Rental

Real Chicago Wedding: Tess & Mike, South Shore Cultural Center

Today this lovely couple celebrates their second anniversary, so I thought it would be fun to revisit their beautiful wedding day! Tess and Mike were married on a {very hot} Saturday in early June at the historic South Shore Cultural Center. We were lucky enough to have the very talented Amanda Hein Photography there with us to capture all of the wonderful moments!

This venue holds a particularly special place in my heart, as it is where my grandparents were married in the 1940's when it was a private country club. I'm always struck by this feeling of being connected to them when I walk through the doors and I just love that! It's incredible to think that much of it hasn't changed in all of those decades - one of the many things I love about working in a city so full of history.

But, I digress - back to this stunner of a wedding!

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding

Tess spent the morning with her mother and bridesmaids at her parents' GORGEOUS Victorian home in suburban Riverside. The ladies were so relaxed as they got their hair and makeup done by stylists and artists from Solo Salon. Amanda snapped photos of Tess and the ladies on the lush green grounds of their house - it made for the most perfect backdrop!

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding

While the ladies were busy getting beautiful, the guys were across town getting ready at the University Club. This was an impressive group of groomsmen, who all looked so dapper in classic black tuxes.

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding

The couple's first look and ceremony both took place in the Dining Room - this room is just stunning with its floor to ceiling windows, black and white checkered floor and hand-painted details.

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding

Following their sweet first look, Tess, Mike and their wedding party and parents went outside for some fun, sun-filled photos because...lakefront! One of the many perks of the Cultural Center is its proximity to our beautiful Lake Michigan and they really took advantage of it!

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Obsessed with Tess's all-peony bouquet from Violet Flower Shop!

Obsessed with Tess's all-peony bouquet from Violet Flower Shop!

Tess and Mike's ceremony was definitely one to remember. It was heartfelt and so full of emotion and don't even get me started on those darling ring bearers!!

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding

From the ceremony, guests moved into the Solarium for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. For the escort card table, we used their personal collection of silver platters, milk glass and vintage cake stands. It was such a playful way to display the cards and loose greens were the perfect addition!

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Such fun guest favors!

Such fun guest favors!

For this wedding, it was so great to get to use all 3 spaces in the South Shore Cultural Center - we moved from the Solarium to the Theater for dinner and dancing and this was when things really got fun!

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Their favorite limoncello cheesecake was handmade by Tess's mother!

Their favorite limoncello cheesecake was handmade by Tess's mother!

Tess's family has a long-standing tradition of surprising the happy couple with a group Irish dance and this one did not disappoint! When Tess and Mike were introduced into the reception, we ushered them right up on to the stage where they watched about 80 of their closest family and friends perform the Siege of Ennis, a very intricate Irish line dance. It was the most amazing thing to watch and Tess and Mike couldn't believe their eyes! The photos of their reactions are some of my favorite of the whole day!

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding

After the excitement of that performance, guests were treated to a delicious spread from Wishbone Catering and the most incredible sweets display from Bittersweet Bakery. They danced the night away to the sounds of the Chicago Groove Collective, but not before we had some very special dances. Tess and Mike danced for the first time to a song beautifully performed by their friend, Lily and Tess performed a traditional Irish dance with her father. Everyone loved it! 

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding

This day was so full of special, personal touches, which is what we strive for for all of our clients' weddings! It was a wedding we won't soon forget! Hope you enjoyed the beautiful photos from Amanda Hein!

Clover Events-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-South Shore Cultural Center-Summer Wedding
How gorgeous is Tess's pink sapphire ring?!

How gorgeous is Tess's pink sapphire ring?!

Guests had so much fun in photo booth from the Traveling Photo Booth!

Guests had so much fun in photo booth from the Traveling Photo Booth!

CREATIVE TEAM


Venue: South Shore Cultural Center
Photographer: Amanda Hein Photography
Floral & Decor: Violet Flower Shop
Catering: Wishbone Catering
Dessert: Bittersweet Bakery
Cocktail Music: Mike Knauf Music
Band: Chicago Groove Collective
Hair & Makeup: Solo Salon
Linens: Windy City Linen
Photobooth: Traveling Photo Booth
Transportation: M&M Limousine Service

Dressing for the Occasion: Advice from a Chicago Wedding Planner

With wedding season descending upon us (and the weather getting a little warmer), it’s a great reminder to start thinking about dress code options for your own special day. This may be one aspect you didn’t think you had to plan, but no one wants Uncle Jim to show up to your glamorous Art Deco wedding in blue jeans and Converse. When it comes to wedding dress codes, we think it is to keep it cohesive! You want it to make sense in the context of the overall style of the party and that means taking all aspects of your day into account - from your wedding venue, the type of menu you serve your guests, and the look and feel of your event design and decor. 

Dress codes for you, your wedding party and your guests should feel like they fit with the rest of the party. For example, if have chosen to serve a 5-course meal at an elegant downtown hotel, you will likely want to see your guests in formal attire (think tuxes and floor-length gowns). On the flipside, if you’re planning an outdoor, beachside wedding, more casual attire may be appropriate and more comfortable (think linen suits and sundresses). We’ve broken down dress code options down from the most casual to the most formal!

Photo courtesy of  Emilia Jane Photography

Photo courtesy of Emilia Jane Photography

Casual
What it means: Anything goes!
Play it safe: Summer dresses for ladies, dress pants and polos for the gentlemen.
Where we see it: Parks, community halls, backyard gatherings, low key events.
Where we shouldn’t see it: Hotels, golf clubs, historic venues.

Cocktail (also known as semi-formal and dressy casual)
What it means: A safe zone right in the middle of casual and formal.
Play it safe: Ladies break out those mid-thigh to mid-calf length party dresses. Gentlemen go for the suit and tie (no tux!).
Where we see it: Restaurants, hotels, golf clubs, historic venues, anywhere!
Where we shouldn’t see it: Luxury hotels.

Island/Beach
What it means: It’s warm and tropical and you don’t want your guests to melt!
Play it safe: Ladies go for the flats and sandals paired with a gauzy and breathable fabrics (bright colors a plus). Gentleman grab your boat shoes or loafers and pair that with a lightweight suit without a tie.
Where we see it: Tropical destinations.
Where we shouldn’t see it: everywhere but the beach

Formal (or Black Tie Optional)
What it means: It is an elegant affair, but you don’t expect everyone to have a tux and a ballgown. Elevated but contemporary.
Play it safe: Ladies mid-length cocktail dress or evening gown (avoid heavily sequined or elaborate). Gentleman can break out their tux but can absolutely wear a tailored dark suit and tie.
Where we see it: Hotels, historic venues, luxury venues.
Where we shouldn’t see it: backyards, beaches, parks.

Black Tie
What it means: A formal evening event.
Play it safe: Ladies should wear embellished mid-length cocktail dresses or full length evening gowns. Gentleman should wear a tuxedo with tails, white vest, and white bowtie.
Where we see it: Hotels, historic venues, luxury venues.
Where we shouldn’t see it: Backyards, beaches, parks.

White Tie
What it means:
The most formal of formal events. Expect to see someone famous. 
Play it safe: Ladies should wear full length evening gowns. Gentlemen, break out the tuxedo, black bow-tie, and vest!
Where we see it: Hotels, historic venues, luxury venues.
Where we shouldn’t see it: Backyards, beaches, parks.

Photo Courtesy of  Perregeaux Photo

Photo Courtesy of Perregeaux Photo

No matter the direction you go, it is super important to communicate the suggested dress code to your wedding guests.  Weddings are an opportunity for people to celebrate and not everyone dresses the same for a celebration. You’d be surprised about who shows up in jeans and a t-shirt, and who wears a dress fit for the club. Communicating this to your guests can be done very literally on your invitation or your wedding website, but it can also be communicated through the style of your invite.

If you want to help guests understand what that guest code means, feel free to send them to this post!

A Seat at my Table: April Edition

Well, it seems Spring has finally decided to join us and maybe even stay this time! I don't think anyone in the Midwest would deny that it has certainly felt like the never-ending winter, what with 3 snowy days in April. That must be a record! It feels so good to see gardens and grassy areas starting to show signs of life. Personally, I can't wait for my lilac bushes to bloom!

For our April tablescape, I'm going back into my archives to share photos from a beautiful photoshoot I did last Spring with some very talented ladies. We called it "Easter in Paris," and I think the soft pastel color palette, overcast skies and the French macarons illustrate that theme to perfection. The greenhouse on the grounds of the historic Cheney Mansion was the perfect setting to transport us to the French countryside. It's the perfect space for an intimate birthday party or bridal shower! 

This was one of the those days where everything comes together more perfectly than I could have imagined and makes me so grateful to be surrounded by such creative professionals.

I hope you enjoy these dreamy photos from Kristin La Voie Photography!

Clover Events-Chicago-Wedding-Planner-Coordinator-Day-of Coordinatior-Cheney-Mansion

The gorgeous floral was done by Casey of La Rue Floral. Since this shoot, she has moved her business to Denver, so if there are any couples looking for an amazing florist in Colorado, Casey is your girl! We were so sad to lose her in Chicago, though!!

One of the first things Casey and I talked about when conceptualizing the decor for this shoot was adding a suspended floral element. I love the idea of filling the space on the table from the top and bottom - I think it makes for a cozier and lusher feel! She knocked me off my feet with this stunning hanging piece! I love the texture and dimension in the centerpiece as well. The colors were so perfectly springy in peaches, lilacs and baby blues.

The French country chairs and linens were provided by Classic Party Rentals. We chose an Ivory Imperial Stripe linen and went bold with the bright peach napkin to contrast the other more muted colors on the table. I think it was the perfect punch of brightness the table needed!

Clover Events-Chicago-Wedding-Planner-Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Cheney-Mansion
Clover Events-Chicago-Wedding-Planner-Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Cheney-Mansion
Clover Events-Chicago-Wedding-Planner-Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Cheney-Mansion

I was lucky enough to team up with my dear friends Amanda of Gather Vintage Tablescapes and Jeannie of Simply Scripted Ink on the table settings and paper products. You've seen their names before in all of our other monthly tablescape shoots!

The light blue plate stack paired perfectly with the paper, flawlessly hand scripted by Jeannie. The silver flatware and crystal glassware added just the right amount of elegance to the table. Can I just say I'm obsessed with the tiny, blue rim footed dishes? They were splendid!

Clover Events-Chicago-Wedding-Planner-Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Cheney-Mansion
Clover Events-Chicago-Wedding-Planner-Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Cheney-Mansion
Clover Events-Chicago-Wedding-Planner-Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Cheney-Mansion
Clover Events-Chicago-Wedding-Planner-Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Cheney-Mansion
Clover Events-Chicago-Wedding-Planner-Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Cheney-Mansion

I can't end this post without talking about the incredible sweets Sugar Fixe whipped up. The gold foil drip cakes are so on trend right now and there was no way we were going to have a Paris-inspired shoot without macarons! The cake stands and flowers were the perfect addition to bring it all together!

Clover Events-Chicago-Wedding-Planner-Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Cheney-Mansion
Clover Events-Chicago-Wedding-Planner-Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Cheney-Mansion
Clover Events-Chicago-Wedding-Planner-Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Cheney-Mansion

Kristin snapped a few behind-the-scenes photos of us while we were setting up, and I thought it might be fun to share them. It's so rare to see what goes in to a gorgeous, stylized shoot like this - I can't tell you what a labor of love they are! That's why a team that's willing to collaborate together is so important! I definitely could not have pulled this off by myself!

Until next month...

Clover Events-Chicago-Wedding-Planner-Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Cheney-Mansion
Clover Events-Chicago-Wedding-Planner-Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Cheney-Mansion
Clover Events-Chicago-Wedding-Planner-Coordinator-Day-of Coordinator-Cheney-Mansion

Ten Fun Facts About Niki!

Last week I shared some fun facts about myself, and now it's our Associate Planner, Niki's turn! Niki has been with Clover Events for over a year now and brings so much to the team! She's cool as a cucumber on wedding days and always has a smile on her face. You can often find her in the back of the room grooving to the music while the couple dances with their guests!

Before she took the jump into planning weddings and events, she had a flourishing makeup business. In Niki's words, "My other love (makeup) took me into the wedding industry. Many times I've experienced brides without a Wedding Coordinator and unhelpful family/friends and I wanted to be there to help her with more than just makeup. The idea of wedding planning had always been a lingering idea and I put the idea into motion after meeting a wonderful mentor in the industry. I have really enjoyed being a part of the other side of the wedding day and having the opportunity to get to know clients on a deeper level. It has brought me so many new and rewarding experiences that continue to excite me for future events to come."

Photo courtesy of  Peter Gubernat Photography

Photo courtesy of Peter Gubernat Photography

Ok, on with the fun facts about Niki!

ONE: I have done bridal makeup professionally for 10 years. (I was always good at art and painting and discovered at a young age that I was very good at painting faces, too!) 

TWO: I never, ever liked working out, but discovered Barre last year and look forward to it every week.

THREE: I am "double-jointed." I can twist both arms around in almost a complete circle. (It's my party trick!) 

FOUR: My sister and I are the first in our family to be born in the US (in New Jersey to be exact).

Photo courtesy of  Ed & Aileen Photography

Photo courtesy of Ed & Aileen Photography

FIVE: I was in a Macedonian Folklore dance group until I was 15 and traveled the US performing.

SIX: I taught gymnastics to kindergartners when I was in grade school. 

SEVEN: I am fascinated by horoscope readings and psychic abilities. (I'm a Cancer and we are known to be highly imaginative, sympathetic, & persuasive. I agree!)

EIGHT: I need everything in my living space to always be clean, orderly and symmetrical (a crooked picture will drive me nuts!)

Photo courtesy of  Peter Gubernat Photography

Photo courtesy of Peter Gubernat Photography

NINE: My happy place is drinking coffee at an eclectic cafe or beautiful outdoor patio.

TEN: I would eat Mediterranean-type food everyday if I could (just no seafood!)

LOVE this photo of Niki and her adorable boys!

LOVE this photo of Niki and her adorable boys!

Niki and her lovely husband, Peter

Niki and her lovely husband, Peter

So there you have it! If you haven't had the opportunity to meet Niki at an event, I hope you get the chance soon! I just know you'll adore her as much as I do.

I'm super excited to announce that she will be taking over the Clover Events Instagram account for the next week! Hope you enjoy hearing about the events we've done from her perspective!