Vroom vroom! Chicago couple ((Sharonda + Demetrius)) look like rockstars in their engagement session in front of the skyline taken by Rush Photography. Read on and find out the adorable reason why the couple opted for pics on a motorycle.
A surprise proposal was in the works! Safet reached out to Gerber Scarpelli Photography, wanting to capture the special moment of him getting down on one knee to his girlfriend Megan.
Safet knew he wanted to pop the question in the Lurie Garden as Gerber Scarpelli Photography staked out waiting for the moment to happen. A walk in the park turned into a magical, peaceful and romantic proposal. Safet even pointed out the photographer (ready and waiting) in the background. It’s safe to say from the photos that Megan was beyond surprised and excited to say ‘yes!’
See Megan’s ecstatic look as the moment transpired ~(more…)
Planning + preparation are the keys to a stressful wedding day. Knowing you look + feel your best is the other most important factor.
When you are a month out to the day of your wedding, it's time to finalize last minute details + get organized!
Four to six weeks before your wedding
1. Get a physical or checkup ~ remember, this is preventative!
2. See your dentist for a check-up and cleaning. Consider whitening your teeth to perfect your smile.
3. Get a haircut + color without doing anything drastic. Practice your wedding day hair with your hairdresser. If you opt for color, make an appointment for a touchup a week before your wedding. You don't want your hair to look like it's just been highlighted or colored in your wedding photos.
5. Have a facial + indulge yourself a little. After all, you deserve it!
6. Make it legal ~ apply for your marriage license.
7. Check with your bridal party to make sure they've gotten their attire ready. Answer any last minute questions about your wedding day timeline + wedding party arrival times.
8. Meet with vendors + make sure all of your final details are covered. Download a complete collection of Wedding Guide Chicago'sThe Book.The Book is filled with handy checklists and timetables in one easy download that will make your life (and wedding day) much more organized.
A few days before your wedding
1. Get a massage + do something to relax. Consider planning + having a spa day with your mom, mom-to-be, and attendants. This is a great way to talk about the excitement of the big day + relax.
2. Get a mani + pedi. This is another great way to spend time with your bridesmaids before your wedding day. (Grooms + groomsmen can get in on the fun too!)
3. Assign duties to your bridal party. Follow the Who's in Charge checklist from The Book. Details can be easily forgotten, but writing them down ahead of time can make remembering much easier.
4. Go to bed early (or semi-early) the night before your wedding. This may be hard to do with all of the excitement, but you will be happy you did it. Happy wedding!
Cold temperatures and snowy weather like we’ve had this past week or so remind us all to question why we still live in Chicago! These past few days, I have felt like we live in a snow globe. I have found comfort warming up with some hot apple cider or a cup of hot chocolate with extra whipping cream.
If this is a sign of things to come, I thought I better expand my typical hot chocolate and apple cider recipes for the remainder of the season! These are a few I found that you too can make at home.
Though this drink is more for my family than for me (I’m deathly allergic), I know I am in a house of nut lovers. If you can’t resist peanut butter mixed with milk chocolate, this drink is for you!
Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa
recipe from Martha Stewart
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
5 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
Warm milk and cream in a medium saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add chocolate, and whisk until melted and combined. Continue to warm mixture until thick, about 5 minutes. Whisk in peanut butter until smooth.
This Coconut Hot Chocolate recipe below is more for my sweet tooth! I can also easily find chocolate chips and coconut around my kitchen…and will have no trouble asking for seconds.
Coconut Hot Chocolate
recipe from the crafted sparrow
2 Cups 2% Milk
1 can Coconut Milk
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
3 Tablespoons Sugar
7 oz. semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (3/4 of bag)
1 tsp. Vanilal Extract
Shredded coconut and whipped cream optional (but a must 🙂
Sugar free coconut flavored syrup (if you want more coconut flavor)
1. Toasting your shredded coconut. Sprinkle it evenly on a baking sheet and place in a pre-heated 350* oven. Toss occasionally so it doesn’t burn. This should only take a few minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
2. In a large sauce pan over medium-high heat add the following ingredients: milk, coconut milk, semi-sweet chocolate chips, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, & sugar. Using a wire whisk to mix, keep a close eye on it for a few minutes so your chocolate chips don’t burn the bottom of the pan. Whisk occasionally until thoroughly heated.
3. Pour in to mugs and top with whipped cream & toasted coconut.
Even if you do not have all of these ingredients, but have a simple cocoa mix, add in some extra flavor! Throw in a leftover candy cane or toss some sprinkles on your whipping cream. Grab a soft blanket, your copy of Wedding Guide, cuddle up, and stay warm! Remember… warmer months are ahead! 🙂
After 5+ years, Chicagoland couples can once again host their elegant weddings at The Drake Oak Brook! This fabulous, independent hotel, owned by Jim & Tely Nagle,has reopened for business after undergoing extensive renovations Says Jim, "I think we're bringing it back to what it was for five decades. It was the best hotel around … "
Originally built in 1961 as the suburban counterpart to Chicago's famous Drake Hotel, the Drake Oak Brook has always catered to a sopisticated and upscale clientele. The property's traditional elegance and old world feel have been preserved by the recent revitalization project which involved the exterior, 12,000 square feet of banquet/reception space, 2,000 square foot outdoor patio, and guest rooms.
The Drake Oak Brook was pleased to be able to honor the Drake Oak Brook's history by highlighting its unique traits. The new owners have kept the original murals and still offer the coveted "Bookbinders soup" that has become a staple with the local community. The lobby bar, now the "Polo Lounge", has been renovated and is perfect for pre/post wedding celebrations.
Other unique details of the property include a piece of floral "floating" artwork composed of 1,000 pieces of glass and a massive gold-leafed table in the lobby designed by an artist whose work also appears in the Vatican.
Call The Drake Oak Brook directly to set up a tour and get information on elegant wedding and shower packages: 630.571.0000.
Grab your holiday sweaters and your family’s smiling faces. It’s time to take those Holiday photos! If you are like my family and you are struggling to find that great family photo, you’ll want to take advantage of this offer from Lemon Twist Images and DBY Events and Invitations!
Lemon Twist Images, custom photography studio, has teamed up with full service custom invitation studio, DBY Events and Invitations to bring couples and families this special offer:
Why choose custom photography?
Custom photography is more of a luxury than your typical entry level photography experience. Families who enjoy taking an active role and want to be creative can have portrait art that is truly personalized. This is a special experience that can document your families life.
There is a great deal of time involved in creating high end custom photography sessions. The luxury of great service, better choices, and a superb end product. The time invested at the session is only a small portion of the time involved in this process.
The beauty of custom photography is in the choices and luxury of having options. The knowledge that your final images are the result of someone caring about these moments so much that they take extra time ensuring that the artwork you receive is good enough to stand by with their name on it. Custom photography is based on being uniquely you.
So now that your wedding has past, what to do with your bouquet? It certainly pains you to think about trashing the bouquet, with all the time and research (not to mention the money) you and your florist spent crafting it.
After the party is over and way after that wedding cake has gone stale (I know people save it and freeze it… but we all know that it tastes questionable), how can you continue to enjoy that beautiful bouquet? Loreen, the artist behind Reenie Rose, presents a unique solution to this question by reincarnating your bouquet as an oil painting!
Check out some stunning examples from her portfolio!
Loreen crafts an original oil painting of your bouquet by working with you to choose a composition style, canvas size, and arranging for digital pictures to be taken of the bouquet. Her gorgeous work is so lifelike, it’s amazing knowing it was hand-painted.
Choosing to capture your bouquet with a painting by Reenie Rose is such an artistic way to remember your big day (without screaming “bridal” all over your home) and it will give you a head start on your future art collection. Renoir, van Gogh, O’ Keeffe, and Reenie Rose…
So before you toss that bouquet, get it painted by Reenie Rose! 😉
In case you were wondering…a little bling can really go a long way…
With a roll of rhinestone ribbon, some silver sparkle sheer overlay and pearl-head push pins, you can add some serious glitz to plain white linens on your cocktail rounds. Follow these steps + see how it's done!
Whether by sunlight or candlelight, this ribbon brings a little something special to your decor. By tailoring the tablecloth with a ribbon, it not only adds style, but a little shimmer.
A hydrangea stem also can pick up the purple accent color by utilizing the mirrors provided by the NIU Naperville Conference Center. These simple centerpieces simply shine.
Renting mirrored table tops for your reception brings-in an extra pop of sparkle & helps all the details stand out.
Whether it's a personalize ice sculpture, drink stirrers in an accent color or sealing your wedding programs with a little sparkle, there are endless ways to let your love glisten around you and your guests through small details and simple touches.
Many thanks to Sahara Givens for her design and vision at her August 2014 Wedding/Reception to Howard Evans at the NIU Naperville Conference Center. Congrats, Sahara and Howard!
The legal and financial aspects of your nuptials should be planned as carefully as your wedding service, ceremony, and reception. There are a few unwritten rules that should be addressed during the dating and engagement period of a relationship before saying “I do.”
Support Each Other. This may sound simple easy as pie, but once you’re married, you have a legal responsibility to support each other and your future children. This obligation includes family expenses, medical coverage, education, food and housing, and the general upkeep of your household.
Marital Property. Without a prenuptial agreement, marital law generally assumes that each partner’s personal assets will become assets of the marriage, just like earnings or assets acquired after the marriage. In the event of a divorce, the court will equitably (but not necessarily equally) divide all assets, no matter whose name is on the title.
Spousal Debts. Know each other’s financial histories! Marriage can make you legally responsible for your spouse’s pre-existing debt. Even if your are not directly liable for your partner’s debt, debt collection may impact your marital or jointly owned property, and beneficiary rights.
Inheritance. Without a will, you won’t be able to decide how your estate gets divided between your surviving spouse, your children, and your other heirs, nor will you be able to designate a guardian for your children. Planning ahead and drafting a will can ensure that your estate is properly handled. It will also help you and your loved ones take full advantage of tax cuts.
Beneficiaries.Revisit all of your accounts ~ from retirement plans to insurance policies and update your beneficiaries where you see fit. This includes reviewing and updating your medical, life, and car insurance plans. You may find that combining coverage may save you money or that you have insurance plans that overlap.
Property Ownership. Generally, married couples own property, as joint tenants with the right of survivorship, but some assets are better owned in other ways. For example, depending on the conditions of a trust, it may be safest and wisest if only one partner is entitled to the contents.
Record Keeping. You should keep important records and legal documents in a concise filing system, such as in a fireproof safe or in a safety deposit box so you both know where to find important files and folders. This will help you stay organized in the past and for the future.
It is important to remember that keeping an open line of communication between you and your significant other can help build trust and establish roles in your marriage. Happy wedding!
Happy Belated 4th of July! We hope you had a great weekend celebrating with the ones you love.
The Fourth of July is one of the most popular times for a wedding. While many of us attended a wedding this weekend, we thought we'd look back at the positives and negatives of having a July 4 wedding day.
– It's a holiday weekend! Many have an extra day off and many businesses are closed leaving opportunties for more people to get together.
– If you are itching for a summer wedding, nothing says a summer like the 4th of July. There is something heartwarming about having all of your friends and family together on our nation's b-day.
– There are festivals occuring all week, which means many cities and towns have firework displays, letting many guests venture out and explore the area near where you live.
– With all of the events occuring, you'll never forget the day you said, "I do!"
– With many people being off, consider the traffic going to and from your ceremony and reception.
– A few places you may want to hold your reception at may be closed or may fill up ahead of time. Be sure to plan ahead!
– Red, white, and blue weddings, though nautical, can get very patriotic. Before you know it, your wedding may be America themed.
– July 4 is a big family vacation week. You may have trouble booking future anniversary celebrations.
Our jury is tied on whether or not 4th of July weddings may be a little more costly. It seems to depend on where you'd like to celebrate. Whether you opt for a July 4 wedding day, or a holiday weekend wedding, it all depends what your dream wedding consists of. Happy planning! 🙂
If you’re having a destination wedding, then everything is a little bit different from the norm, from guest etiquette to decor and outfit choices, right down to the way you serve food. Flowers for a destination wedding are usually different as well, especially since they offer the chance to showcase local blooms that might not be found anywhere else. Here are just a few ideas and inspirations that are both classically beautiful and appropriate for a destination wedding almost anywhere in the world.
A bouquet of orchids are a Caribbean specialty and they come in a wide array of different varieties, many of which are native only to the region and are possibly unlike any other flowers you or your guests have ever encountered before. The other big advantage the orchid family offers is these are some of the most colorful flowers found in nature. Some varieties are so bright and bold you almost have to touch them to believe they are real.
Orchids also blend beautifully with roses and wild Caribbean offerings are exceptionally beautiful and surprisingly hardy. It is also more economical to extend inexpensive locally sourced orchids as most Caribbean villages boast amazing produce and horticulture markets which you can implement into your into decor as well. A single orchid placed in a bud vase can prove to be a very striking and original centerpiece.
Wildflowers and destination wedding locations have one thing in common; they are truly beautiful places. Along with this beauty often comes a plethora of brightly colored and unique wildflowers. Even if you are not quite sure just what a certain flower actually is, if they look good in the bouquet – who really cares? Wildflowers are particularly suitable for a more casual, laid back ceremony and are intrinsically romantic, imparting not only a bright and beautiful look but enhancing the overall atmosphere of the day as well.
A beach wedding will give you a unique opportunity to push the boundaries and break a few rules, but in a very beautiful way, as you can leverage the bounty of the sea. After all, who says that a bridal bouquet has to be completely comprised of flowers? Creating a seaside themed bouquet does call for a little more imagination and perhaps a little more effort on the part of the florist, but that extra effort can be truly worth it for the bride who is not only looking for something different, but also wants a unique memento of their very special day.
Are you incorporating different elements into your bouquet? Let us know in the comments below!
xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo xo Denise Bonds, owner of Windermere Elegant Weddings & Special Events, began her career in the wedding industry with a desire to create beautiful memories for her friends and families on their special day. With her keen eye for design and her impeccable attention to detail, brides-to-be have turned to Denise for over a decade to assist them in the entire wedding planning process. Since 2000, Denise has planned over 75 weddings and events locally and internationally and is a certified Professional Bridal Consultant (PBC), recognized by the Association of Bridal Consultations (ABC). Denise has organized events for an impressive list of high-profile clients both locally and in the Caribbean.
As Director of Sales + Marketing at Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center,
Katie Davis shares wedding expertise with her Top 5 Tips for the Big Day
Guests Come First
Understand the approximate number of guests you plan to invite before selecting a venue. This will ensure enough space for your special day. Chic is the style within the Grand Salon Ballroom at Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center. Accommodating up to 150 guests for a reception,
The Grand Salon Ballroom offers spectacular views from floor to ceiling windows.
Make Cuisine a Priority
Taste the unexpected at Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center. Our focus is to stimulate our guests’ curiosity and palates. Our chef will collaborate with you on each element of your menu, to ensure it is not only unique and engaging, but also reflective of your personal tastes. Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center offers innovative flavors and creative presentations using the finest ingredients, all combined to maximize flavor and texture.
Original and sophisticated, Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center offers wedding guests a preferred rate, a personalized booking web page and an engaging experience infused with high impact art and unique cuisine.
Location, location, location
Le Meridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center is centrally located adjacent to Oakbrook Shopping Center, steps from luxury boutiques and a selection of chic restaurants. Our Grand Salon Ballroom, located on the 9th floor, captures breathtaking views of Downtown Chicago with floor to ceiling windows. We are also easily accessible to either airport.
Discover your style
Are you planning a grand wedding celebration or an intimate ceremony? Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center will cater to your every specific need and will organize your event from start to finish. From your bridal shower at the spa to your ceremony and reception, our wedding specialist will be there every step of the way.
Set to open July 2014, Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center will debut the 9th floor Grand Salon Ballroom, capturing breathtaking views of Downtown Chicago with floor to ceiling windows and gourmet cuisine infused with the freshest and finest ingredients – all combined to guarantee a memorable experience. Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center’s luxurious wedding package includes four hours of premium brand open bar, hors d’oeuvres, a four course dinner, custom designed wedding cake, deluxe overnight accommodations for the bride and groom, preferred room rates for guests, a menu tasting with the Chef and many more perks. The chic wedding venue also offers complimentary self-parking for all guests attending the special occasion. The prestigious hotel boasts 172 rooms and suites, including a presidential suite, two spa suites, and artwork that ignites creativity and sparks conversation throughout the hotel. Located at Oakbrook Center, Le Méridien is just steps away from the finest dining, shopping and entertainment in the Western suburbs.
It's been a while since my last post, and the wedding planning is finally in full swing. We are a little over four months away from our Big Day, and our heads are spinning with all that there is left to do.
This past spring, my fianceBen and I were fortunate enough to have not one – but TWO – engagement photography sessions with the talented Dana of Dana Ann Photography. We wanted to capture our love for each other in two places very important to us – Champaign, IL (where we met) and Chicago, IL (where we are starting our life together). Dana was so gracious to grant our wishes and work with us.
Before our photo shoot, I was SO nervous. What should I wear? Will Ben and I coordinate well? What if the weather doesn't cooperate? Is that a pimple? I need a haircut. I need a manicure. I need a glass of wine.
I'm here to tell you, Sassy Brides, that an engagement shoot is the most fun, stress-free part of wedding preparations. Don't sweat it! My advice to you is as follows:
1. Wear something you already own and love. This way, you're representing your true self and you will be completely comfortable . Choose what looks best on you – if you have to buy that new sweater, make sure you're not like me and out the night before your shoot scratching your head on which color compliments your finance's shirt. Tip: if you recently went on a date with your significant other, wear that outfit.
2. Choose locations that you're familiar with or that represent you and your partner well. We chose a bar that we love in Champaign with great lighting and sweet decor. In Chicago, we asked Dana for her expertise since we were new in town, but we knew we wanted something quirky and Chicago-ish. She sent us a few ideas, and we picked from that.
3. Trust your photographer. I have never worked with someone so trustworthy and encouraging in my life – Dana helped us be true to ourselves while also having fun and posing for photos. Putting our trust in her helped us to relax and be goofy.
4. Get your nails done. And that's it. Don't fret over an expensive salon trip for make-up and hair. Save that for the Big Day. Looking like your natural self will help you feel like your natural self when taking pictures
Final thought: Your engagement shoot is nothing to fret over. Just be yourself, make sure your partner is well-informed, and enjoy getting to know your photographer. This is your practice for the photo shoot on your Big Day, so enjoy it!
When the going gets tough this Thanksgiving, mix a delicious seasonal cocktail from Sugar Factory. We know we’re a few weeks early, but we thought we’d pass on the recipe so you have plenty of time to test the recipe yourself! 🙂
2 oz. vodka
2 oz. ginger beer
Garnished: ginger snap cookie and white chocolate shavings
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a glass. Top with white chocolate shavings and garnish with a ginger snap cookie.