Lake Geneva Welcome Bags

My clients are always asking for creative ideas for welcome bags and I just love helping them come up with the great ideas! The trick is to personalize them to the couple and the wedding location. Here are some ideas I had for a recent wedding in Lake Geneva!

Vendors: 
Watercolor map: Joselyns Ink Well 
Drink Koozie: Gage Marine
Fudge: Kilwin's 
Welcome tags: Sweet Sanity
 

Taylor & Rick

Taylor and Rick were married in one of my favorite places, Lake Geneva, WI on a beautiful summer weekend. They started their day off with Taylor and her girls getting ready at Lake Lawn Lodge, while the guys hung out back at their home in Fontana. Guests gathered at Lake Lawn Lodge for their ceremony which was beautiful with their hand written vows. When Taylor and Rick were pronounced husband and wife, Taylor's father had a little surprise in store for them! The bride originally from Texas, was serenaded to "My first taste of Texas." It was such a special moment for the bride and was enjoyed by all! 

After the ceremony guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d'oeuvres while overlooking beautiful Lake Como. The couple envisioned a rustic, yet chic and romantic wedding with gorgeous blush tone florals. Taylor was inspired by her home state of Texas when styling her wedding reception around farmhouse tables and metal chairs. I loved helping with all the personalized little details Taylor put together, and each detail from the Christmas crackers, to the kids goodie bags, to the DIY mini pie stand, all made the wedding feel so warm and familiar to the couple and close family and friends. The dance floor was filled all night thanks to Incognito! And if anyone needed a rest and a bite to eat, mini brat sliders were passed as a late night snack! 

Thank you to Simon at Valo Photography for sharing these amazing photos and reminding us of what a fantastic day it was. Congratulations Taylor and Rick! 

Team of Vendors: 
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Lake Lawn Lodge  
Farmhouse Tables, Chairs and Cocktail Tables: Lakes Area Rental 
Hair Salon: Clearwater Day Spa
Makeup Artist: Ryan Jaeger's Beauty Bar
Florist: Belle Fiori
Photography: Valo Photography, Simon 
Band: Cagen Music, Incognito 
Mini Pies: Lake Geneva Pie Co. 
Guest Book: Homemade bench 

Emily + Marek

I am so happy to be sharing this amazing wedding with you! I had so much fun working with Emily and Marek on their wedding day and knew at our first meeting that Emily and I would have a blast working together! Emily had a creative and fun, yet tasteful wedding vision stemmed around her reception site, the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. Every detail was so well thought out and really let the couples personalities shine. Guests first saw their ideas come to life when they received the most beautiful wedding invitation created by Cheree Berry Paper. 

Emily and Marek were married at Fourth Presbyterian Church. Except for the old Water Tower, Fourth Presbyterian Church is the oldest building on Michigan Avenue north of the Chicago River and it is absolutely stunning. As the couple departed the church, hand-in-hand for the first time as husband and wife, guests gathered to blow bubbles for their send-off. 

Even though it was a humid evening, guests wanted to be outside on the Adler Planetarium's terrace soaking up the Chicago skyline. The very talented spanish guitarist, David Chiriboga, played his guitar as guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d'oeuvres provided by Food for Thought. 

And no detail was left behind at this wedding! Kehoe went above and beyond to make Emily and Marek's vision come to life. The room was stunning centered around the blue and purple color palette alternating designs on every other table. When the sun went down the beautiful strung lights lit up the room and brought out the lighting in the custom bar image created by Kehoe's graphic design team. 
After a delicious four-course dinner, Skyline packed the dance floor and guests danced the night away. When the song "Firework" by Katy Perry played, guests were directed back out on the terrace to enjoy the fireworks over the lake. And to cap it all off, if anyone was still hungry, they could grab a bite from the Tamale Spaceship food truck. Thank you Kristin Kasperek from iKlikphoto for capturing this night to remember! We could not have done it all without this very talented team of vendors!

Congratulations Emily & Marek, I am so happy your stars have aligned! 

The Team of Vendors:
Makeup Artist: Shannon O'Brien
Hair Stylist: Joseph Michael's Salon and Spa, Edwin Torres
Ceremony: Fourth Presbyterian Church 
Reception: The Alder Planetarium 
Caterer: Food for Thought, Anna Ditton 
Photographer: iKLikphoto, Kristen Kasperek 
Florist & Design: Kehoe Designs, Phil Cooper 
Videographer: LEAP WEDDINGS
Cocktail Hour Spanish Guitarist: David Chiriboga
Entertainment: Arlen Music, Skyline
Papergoods: Cheree Berry Paper, Devon Fahner
Wedding Cake: Amy Beck Cake Design 
Coach Busses: V.I.P. Valet Services 
Food Truck: Tamle Spaceship

Tamara + Peter

Being Valentine's Day, I couldn't help but post one of my favorite weddings today. Like many winter days in Chicago, you never know what the day will bring. Luckily for Tamara and Peter the day brought mild temps and blue skies, perfect for a Chicago winter wedding. It began with Tamara and Peter getting ready in their Drake suites surrounded by family and close friends.

Their first looks were captured by the very talented Kristina Carter of Vrai. It was a special time for the couple to share an affectionate moment.

Tamara and Peter were married at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral where they took part in many of the Ukrainian traditions, first by entering the church arm-in-arm as willing and equal partners. The priest met them in the back of the church where Tamara and Peter affirmed that they are entering marriage on their own free will before they walked down the aisle. My favorite picture captures the burning light of Tamara's father, knowing that he is smiling down on her as she walks down the aisle with her groom.

A palette of ivory, gold and winter white provided the perfect setting in the Drake's Grand Ballroom. Allison from Stems outdid herself with the gorgeous arrangements of white and ivory roses surrounded by green foliage and accented with lots of candlelight. It was stunning!

Tamara and Peter entered their reception and went right into their first dance. The energy was then kept alive with a classic champagne parade, a long-standing Drake tradition! The evening was followed by heartfelt toasts, some more champagne and a full dance floor thanks to Skyline! Thank goodness Poetic Weddings got all the footage on film! 

Congratulations Tamara and Peter. Thank you for letting me be a part of your amazing day! May you remember your fairytale wedding forever! xo

The Team of Vendors:
Ceremony: St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral
Reception: The Drake, Grand Ballroom
Photographer: Vrai
Florist: Stems
Videographer: Poetic Weddings
Entertainment: Arlen Music, Skyline
Lighting: Sound Investment
Lace Linen Overlays: BBJ Linen
Wedding Cake: Amy Beck Cake Design
Wedding Cake Topper: BHLDN
Rolls Royce: Victoria's Flying Lady Livery
Coach Busses: Chicago Classic Coach
Bride's Wedding Dress: Belle Vie Bridal Couture, Reem Acra
Bride's Wedding Shoes: Valentino
Bridesmaid's Dresses: J.CREW

 

Lauren + Graham

Lauren and I have been the best of friends since gradeschool and I was so excited when she asked me to be her matron of honor and help plan her special day! Lauren and Graham moved out to LA after hey got engaged and did the majority of their planning from out-of-state. What made this process easy was Lauren and Graham working as a team and knowing exactly how they wanted their wedding day to unfold. 
 
We all knew Lauren would be a gorgeous bride but when she put on her mother's wedding dress it took everyone's breath away. She was stunning! The couple wed at the brides hometown church in Hinsdale and then made their way into the city for the rest of the festivities. With the groom being an expert sailor from Michigan it was only fitting that their reception was held at The Chicago Yacht Club. It was a gorgeous setting surrounded by the city lights and the sun setting off onto Lake Michigan. Before cocktail hour Lauren did a quick dress change into her "party dress" designed by an LA designer, Shareen. This was a good idea since Toast and Jam had the couple and their guests up dancing all night long! The talented Tammy Leathem captured the day getting some great shots throughout the city. 

It was sad for this amazing wedding to end and even harder to say goodbye to Lauren and Graham as they made their way to Hawaii and then back to California. The whole day was filled with so much love and laughter and I wish them both nothing but the best! XO.

Ceremony Venue: Union Church of Hinsdale
Reception Venue: Chicago Yacht Club 
Photographer: Leathem Photography
Florist: Phillips Flowers
Entertainment: Toast & Jam
Wedding Cake: Kirschbaum's Bakery
Bridesmaids Dresses: J.CREW
Bride's Party Dress: Shareen
 

Mandy + Bryan

A crisp fall day made the perfect setting for this amazing couple! Mandy and Bryan are such a fun and laid-back couple that planning this special day was a joy on all accounts. I was so happy to be a part of the celebration and had a blast from beginning to end. 

Mandy got ready at ease at her family's home in Winnetka while the groomsmen hung back in the city before departing for Saints Faith, Hope and Charity. Working with the season, Edwards Floral came up with the most creative and beautful arrangements consisting of rich fall roses, pomegranates, kale and artichokes. The deep colors complimented the bridesmaids charcoal gray dresses and elegance of the church. 

The newlyweds were serenaded by bagpipes as they walked down the aisle and entered their getaway vintage Rolls-Royce car. It was to no surprise that this Michigan alum chose the Michigan Room to host her wedding reception at the University Club of Chicago. The beauty of the room took guests breaths away as they were seated for dinner. And the fun was just beginning as Mandy's father did not leave a dry eye in the room from his witty yet thoughtful and touching toast to the bride and groom. 

Guests danced the night away to Incognito while Smiling Toad Wedding Films and Tao of Lenswork Studio captured the love and happiness of this amazing couple, family and friends. Congratulations to this couple, Mandy and Bryan, you are a perfect match for each other! 

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Ceremony Venue: Saints Faith, Hope and Charity Parish
Reception Venue: The University Club of Chicago 
Photographer: Lenswork Studio
Florist: Edwards Floral
Videographer: Smiling Toad Wedding Films
Entertainment: Incognito
Catering/Wedding Cake: University Club of Chicago 
Guest Transportation: Windy City Limousine, V.I.P. Valet Services
Wedding Trolley: Chicago Trolley
Rolls-Royce: Cosmopolitan Limousine Service
Make-up Artist: Cheryl DeeHaan

 

Winter Wedding Welcome Bags

Wedding welcome bags are the perfect way to show your guests how much you care about them. In Chicago there are so many options to choose from but there is always a way to make your bags unique and personal. I must say I had a blast picking out and arranging these winter wedding welcome bags for a recent bride. We decided to keep it a under a classic wintery Chicago theme but also giving them a personal touch. Here is what we came up with: 

- Mini bottles of San Pellegrino and Champagne - not only did the black and white straw and ribbon add to these cute bottles but the personalized bride and groom labels made them to die for! 
- A Chicago staple, Frango mints 
- Snowflake ornament for guests to hang on their tree this holiday season 
- A cable knit sweater mug filled with the DIY hot cocoa packets (see blog post below) 
- A Chicago map for the out of towners 
- A new exhibit brochure at the Art Institute of Chicago 
- And a personalized wedding line up 

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DIY - Hot Chocolate Favors

I love a DIY project and creating these hot chocolate bags for welcome bags was so much fun! Here are the steps on how you can create these super cute and easy bags at home! 

What you need: 
Based on 50 bags 
- 100 disposable decorating bags 
- 25 twist ties, cut in half
- 58 oz. of chocolate powder
- 32 oz. of mini marshmallows
- Ribbon or twine 

Step 1: Cut your decorating bags down to 7" 

Step 1: Cut your decorating bags down to 7" 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Fill the bags with 2T of chocolate powder, make sure to push the powder down to the tip of the bags     Step 3: Use a twist tie to secure the bags, trim tops of the bag down to 1/2 inch above the tie

Step 2: Fill the bags with 2T of chocolate powder, make sure to push the powder down to the tip of the bags 

Step 3: Use a twist tie to secure the bags, trim tops of the bag down to 1/2 inch above the tie

Step 4: Insert the chocolate bag into an empty 12" decorating bag. Make sure to line up the seams

Step 4: Insert the chocolate bag into an empty 12" decorating bag. Make sure to line up the seams

Step 5: Pour about 10-15 marshmallows into the top of the bag

Step 5: Pour about 10-15 marshmallows into the top of the bag

Step 6: Tie the bag shut with your favorite ribbon

Step 6: Tie the bag shut with your favorite ribbon

That's it! Now you have cute and affordable wedding favors, perfect for winter weddings! 

That's it! Now you have cute and affordable wedding favors, perfect for winter weddings! 

Lindsey + Justin

I was so excited when Lindsey contacted me to help coordinate her wedding. Having grown up with her family, I knew that planning her wedding was going to be so much fun! Even though the morning brought rain, hail and even snow, nothing was going to discourage this amazing couple!

The couple chose to tie the knot at Lindsey's hometown church, Union Church of Hinsdale. Following the ceremony guests then made their way downtown to the Adler Planetarium where they overlooked beautiful Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. It was just in time that the sun decided to come out and light up the beautiful centerpieces designed by Kloeckner Floral. Lindsey and Justin kicked off the dancing with their choreographed dance played by Natalie of Toast and Jam and the dancing didn't stop there! To the brides and grooms surprise, Lindsey's younger sister had planned out a flash mob dance that opened up the dance floor for the rest of the evening! With all this dancing going on guests were treated by Food for Thoughts late night bites-Chicago style hot dogs and french fries. The very talented Tammy Leathem Photography and Evain's film captured every moment of this amazing day. It was such a fun wedding to be a part of! Congratulations you two; keep on dancing!  

Ceremony Venue: Union Church of Hinsdale
Reception Venue: The Adler Planetarium 
Photographer: Tammy Leathem Photography 
Florist: Kloekcner Floral 
Videographer: Eivans's 
Entertainment: Toast and Jam 
Catering: Food for Thought 
 
Photobooth: ShutterBooth
Transportation: Chicago Trolley and Co. 
 
Makeup: Ryan Jaeger's Beauty Bar
 
Hair: Buke Hair Salon