Thursday, February 4, 2021

Botanical Beauty: A Blooming Wedding at Garfield Park Conservatory

With the pandemic still looming, we are looking back at some of our favorite weddings from years past. Megan and Richard's September 2019 wedding at Garfield Park Conservatory was a lush landscape of greenery. Around every corner of the Conservatory was a beautiful photo-op. But the true beauty came from the bride and groom's grace and genuine love. Check out the highlights with these gorgeous photos by Rebekah Albaugh.

A mother-daughter moment

Sharing faith and blessings

Talk about a scenic route! 
The path to the ceremony patio passed through a variety of vistas from jungle-like vegetation to arid desert cacti. 

A dual program and fan for a hot day!

Gorgeous, natural bouquets from Carousel Flowers

Pure joy for husband and wife!

Photos by Camille Victoria Weddings LLC
Part of what wedding planners do is setting up those special, personalized touches. 
Gone are the days of the traditional guestbook! 
Megan and Richard encouraged guests to write notes of well wishes, thoughts, and advice 
for them to open on their anniversaries.
A memory table paid tribute to family members to keep them close on an important day.

My favorite photo of the day by one of my favorite photographers! 
Rebekah Albaugh captures the most beautiful moments and is able to set up a photo while still putting a couple at ease. I even assisted with this shot!
Wedding planners have to be a jack of all trades, and we step in where needed on wedding day. I held a background light to help make this photo just right, before I shuffled the bride and groom into the reception to cue their grand entrance!

Reception Time! What a room!

Photo by Camille Victoria Weddings LLC

As wedding planners, we help the newlyweds make a smooth getaway!
Not only do we distribute bubbles, cue the getaway car the get in place, and get the guests lined up outside, but we also give some tips to the bride and groom to stop for a kiss for a great photo and memorable moment!

Congratulations to Megan and Richard!

Photographer - Rebekah Albaugh

Friday, January 8, 2021

What We Learned about Planning Weddings during the Covid-19 Pandemic


Yes, 2020 was a rollercoaster for weddings! We shared in the heartbreak of couples, who faced uncertainty and made hard decisions about such an important day of their lives. As wedding planners, our job is to plan ahead, and with ever-changing guidelines and restrictions, it has certainly been a whirlwind.

We are hopeful that with the vaccine’s arrival, we will start to see a return to normalcy for celebrations soon! However, it's expected that it will still be some time until the vaccine is widely distributed. That means many of the restrictions affecting events will likely still be in place for a while in 2021. But, with 2020 under our belt, this time around, we have ideas of what to expect. So, we thought we would share some tips on how to prepare, if your wedding is coming up in 2021.

Know your Location and Limitations

In Illinois, various phases and mitigation tiers indicate what restrictions events must follow. When events have been able to take place, the different restrictions have limited events from 10 to 25 to 50 guests, depending on the phase and tier.

The events industry in Chicagoland is preparing for a scenario where events will hopefully be happening by Summer 2021, but there will likely still be strict guest count limits. Know the county that your venue is in and keep track of its tier level, so you can prepare for the limitations that may be dictated.

Review your Guest List

With guest counts likely limited well into summer, go ahead and review your guest list now to prepare for cuts you may need to make, if there is a 50-person limit, a 100-person limit, etc. 

Be sure to check who is included in that guest limit. Vendors that are in the room for the duration of a reception, such as a bartender, DJ, photographer, and videographer, may count towards that limit.

Don't overlook the benefits of a smaller wedding. We were delighted to find that while a 50 person event may not be what you imagined, it can be elegant, intimate, and even more special. 

Consider How to Eat

Regarding catering, with Covid precautions still in mind, many venues or catering may no longer offer buffets, stations, or family style. Even if that more communal type dining is allowed, consider whether your guests would be comfortable with it, at this juncture. In talking with caterers, a seated, plated dinner seems to be considered the safest option. 

Be sure to also ask your caterer about cocktail hour and how hors d’oeuvres will be handled. We saw caterers still doing passed hors d'oeuvres, but the guests could not touch the tray and take the food themselves. Servers would give the hors d'oeuvre to each guest with tongs or serving utensils. Alternatively, you could just have individual hors d'oeuvres plates for each guest already placed at the tables. 

Plan for Safe Seating

A smaller guest count does not necessarily mean that a smaller venue space is needed. Keep in mind the tables themselves will need to be spaced at least 6 feet apart. It’s best to space people at the table, as well, with four people at a 60 inch table (which normally seats 8-10) or six people at a 72 inch table (which normally seats 10-12) being recommended. 

Consider the Great Outdoors

Check if your venue offers any outdoor options, such as a tent. Being outside may or may not affect your permitted guest count, but it is thought to offer some extra Covid safety. Just be aware that there still needs to be air passing through the tent. A tent that’s enclosed on all sides would likely not provide more protection than an indoor room. 

Mention Masks

Mask wearing is likely still going to be important and required in Illinois for some time. Creating cute signs that encourage guests to wear masks, providing special wedding masks for guests to take, having straws to use during cocktail hour so guests can drink while still wearing their masks, putting the mask expectations on a menu or in the program are all ways to help ensure that guests abide by the mask requirements.

When events were happening in 2020, guests were supposed to wear a mask at all times, except once they were seated at their dinner table. Any time they got up from the table, they were supposed to wear a mask. Consider telling the bridal party, family members, and close friends these expectations so they can set an example for other guests.

Follow the Rules

Guidelines continue to change, so be sure to check the rules that are in place at the time of your wedding. Talk to your venue and caterer well in advance about what you can expect, in terms of restrictions and guidelines. Don’t try to skirt around any of the rules. Many vendors now include clauses in their contracts that they can leave the event, if they feel safety measures are not being adhered to. Even more importantly, the restrictions are in place for your protection. Don’t put your family and friends at risk.

Those are the basics that my team has experienced so far with Covid weddings. Most of all, we have learned that Covid can’t stop love. Weddings may be smaller and they may look a little different, but they are still a reflection of the love that a couple shares, and that is a beautiful thing!


Monday, June 3, 2019

Love among the Dinos: A Fall Wedding at The Field Museum

It was so much fun to work with Lara and Brett on their Fall wedding at Chicago's acclaimed Field Museum. They truly embraced the vibe of the venue with florals and decor that transported guests to a feeling of being in the forest, while also putting so much of their personality and influences into the day. Check out the fantastic photos by Laura Witherow Photography:

Instead of a traditional ceremony set-up, we did a Chuppah in the round, with guests on all sides. 
The couple was literally surrounded by family and friends!

With little dinos on the cover, even the programs gave a nod to the extra special and unique venue.

As the newlyweds recessed down the aisle, they passed under the traditional sword arch, welcomed by the groom's military buddies.

Photo by Camille Victoria Weddings LLC
A room with a view - guests dined with the elephants and Maximo the Titanosaur.

Luxurious blue velvet linens with tall manzanita tree centerpieces made for a gorgeous tablescape.

Artwork of the Chicago skyline served as a beautiful guestbook that can be hung in their home.

A POW/MIA table honored those who have served our country.

'90s Cover Band "As If" kept the dance floor packed.
(Can you spot a rare appearance by yours truly in the background? Clipboard always in hand!)

Bride & Groom stormtroopers were guarding the sweets table!

Congratulations to Lara and Brett!

Venue - The Field Museum
Florist - Kehoe Designs
Lighting - Frost
Band - As If
Video - Amor in Motion
Caterer - Blue Plate 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Julia & Patrick: Holiday Romance

With snow still on the ground, I can't help but reminisce about our winter weddings. Julia and Patrick embraced the season, creating an ambiance of holiday magic and romance. The personal touches throughout the day showcased such an endearing love of family and warmth to counter the cold day. Check out the gorgeous photos by Colin Lyons Photography:

Ah technology....

When traveling around Chicago in winter, one must prepared with proper shoes!

In tribute to her parents, Julia's bouquet was wrapped with a piece of her mother's wedding dress and her father's dog tag

Love this unique vantage point of the Chicago skyline!

In true fairy-tale fashion, a horse and carriage whisked the bride and groom away after the ceremony.

The bride and groom's East Side/West Side chair signs added a little whimsy to the elegance of the Mid-America Club.

A family heirloom cake topper made the wedding cake extra special.

The Head Table

A classic table setting with candle favors for the guests, basking the room in a candlelit glow.

Lush greenery made the room seasonal yet romantic.

Foam glow sticks made magic happen on the dance floor!

A glowing sendoff for the Bride and Groom.

Congratulations to Julia and Patrick!

Wedding Coordinator - Camille Victoria Weddings LLC
Reception Venue - The Mid-America Club
Photographer - Colin Lyons Photography
Florist - Flowers for Dreams

Friday, September 22, 2017

Top Ten Wedding Photo Locations in Chicago

by Camille McLamb
reprinted as appeared on
With its impressive architecture and unique attractions, Chicago provides a variety of stunning backdrops for photography. Many couples take advantage of the city’s features, spending a few hours on wedding day, either before or after the ceremony, to take wedding photos around town. Whether you want skyline vistas or garden foliage, here is my top ten list of wedding day photo spots in Chicago:

Chicago Marquee
A shot of the newlyweds with the famous Chicago Theatre marquee will make it clear for posterity where you got married. The lights on the sign are spectacular at night, but the colorful sign grabs attention for great daytime shots, as well.
Address: 175 N. State St.

The Bean
This quirky sculpture, formally named Cloud Gate, is a popular tourist destination and a favorite with wedding parties. The reflective surface can make for some artistic shots. But it can be crowded, and you likely won’t be the only wedding group there.
Address: 201 E. Randolph St.

Buckingham Fountain
A Chicago landmark that is a fun stop for a summer wedding. The fountain’s water display occurs for 20 minutes every hour. Inspired by the Palace of Versailles, the fountain provides an elegant setting for group photos while still being outdoors.
Address: 301 S. Columbus Dr.

Adler Planetarium
For some of the best skyline views, couples head to Adler Planetarium. With the lake and the beach there too, it’s a scenic spot for photos. But be sure to allow for plenty of time getting to and from the museum campus.
Address: 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr.

Art Institute Garden
This little courtyard garden on the Art Institute’s south side provides a respite from the hustle and bustle of Michigan Avenue. Generally a quiet space, the canopy of trees, sculpture fountain, and stone benches offer nice photo opportunities and a moment of peace. 
Address: 111 S. Michigan Ave.

Michigan Avenue at Wrigley Building/Riverwalk
On the other hand, if you want to capture the energy of the city, go for a shot of the couple on the median of Michigan Avenue, as cabs and cars whisk by. You can then head down the spiral stone stairs to the Riverwalk for some photos of the Chicago River and surrounding famous architecture.
Address: 400-410 Michigan Ave.

Kinzie Street Bridge
For that industrial Chicago feel, Kinzie Street Bridge, with its high steel trusses, has become a must. It’s a great location for the full wedding party, but be prepared to wait, as other wedding groups take their turn.
Address: Kinzie St. & N. Canal St.

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool
If you want to get back to nature, the Lily Pool offers rocky limestone paths, a prairie style shelter, and, of course, plenty of lily pads. Located in Lincoln Park, it is a national historic landmark.
Address: 125 W. Fullerton Parkway

Union Station
When planning the photo locales, don’t forget to consider a possible rain plan! With its massive stone columns, elegant staircase, and detailed ceiling, Union Station provides a grandiose indoor stop for photos.
Address: 225 S. Canal St.

Chicago Cultural Center
Stained glass domes, curving staircases, and marble walls with colorful mosaics create a magnificent backdrop. The location near Millennium Park is convenient if an unexpected rainstorm interrupts your photos, or if you simply need a break from the heat! 
Address: 78 E. Washington St.

When choosing your photo stops around town, map out the route in advance to best maximize your time around town. When planning the number of stops and amount of time for the trip, be sure to take into account likely city traffic. Rather than worrying about making it to each planned stop, be flexible and enjoy each location! You’ll get beautiful photos but will also be making memories in the process, as you spend time with your closest pals and newly minted spouse!

Tell us your favorite photo spots in the city!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Casey & Joe: Campus Lovebirds

College sweethearts, Casey and Joe, provided a fun-filled wedding weekend for their guests at the place that brought them together, their alma mater, Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal. The reception was full of personal details, and their school spirit was only matched by their love and devotion to each other. To top off the evening, a surprise guest even stopped by the reception, for these two ISU lovebirds.

Photo by Mark Romine Photography
The First Look took place in the college classroom where Casey & Joe first met!

Photo by Mark Romine Photography
The ceremony took place in Evelyn Chapel.

Photo by Camille Victoria Weddings LLC
Black, gold, and ivory created a dramatic look for the wedding reception at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott. 

Photo by Camille Victoria Weddings LLC
Instead of a guestbook, guests wrote their well wishes on a gold and ivory globe.

Photo by Camille Victoria Weddings LLC
These cute maps highlighted important relationship moments, while guests could peruse the photo album of Casey & Joe's journey together. 

Photo by Camille Victoria Weddings LLC
Family wedding photos decorated the gift table.

Photo by Camille Victoria Weddings LLC
These escort cards were a whimsical play on the bride's maiden name.

Photo by Mark Romine Photography
ISU's Reggie Redbird made a surprise appearance at the wedding reception!

Photo by Camille Victoria Weddings LLC
Beautiful candlelit tablescapes created an elegant ambiance.

Photo by Mark Romine Photography
Congratulations to Casey & Joe!

Reception Venue: Bloomington-Normal Marriott
Wedding Coordination: Camille Victoria Weddings LLC

Monday, September 12, 2016

Top 5 Wedding Trends for 2016

At the beginning of every year, there are always a slew of wedding magazines and websites that proclaim what the top wedding trends will be for the next season. Sometimes they are spot on and other times the supposed trend never takes flight (ahem... floral print wedding dresses). So, I was excited when my friends at Paperless Post asked me to share what wedding trends I'm actually seeing in 2016! Here is my list of the top 5 wedding trends that real couples are doing this year:

Unconventional Seating 

Instead of the traditional round banquet tables, couples are using tables of assorted shapes and sizes for their reception seating plans. A mix of round, square, and long tables creates added visual interest in the room and a cozier ambiance for guests.

Metallic Accents

Photo by Camille Victoria Weddings LLC
From the floral decor to the stationery, I am seeing metallic accents everywhere! Couples are incorporating silvers, golds, and glitters into their wedding color palette. Whether mercury glass vases for a vintage feel, a sequin linen on the cake table for a touch of old world glamour, or silver borders on the wedding invitations for a modern design, metallics can easily work in an array of different wedding styles.

Dance Floor Giveaways

When it comes to the wedding reception, couples are always eager for the dancing to begin and want to see a packed dance floor. In prior years, they would think about comfort and provide flip flops for their guests weary feet. But now, it's all about fun, and couples are opting for foam light up batons, glow bracelets, and sunglasses to get their guests in a party mood.

Selfie Booths

Photobooths have been an ongoing trend for years. But in 2016, couples are paying tribute to our cell-phone obsessed times with "selfie booths." No need for an actual booth, attendant, or printer. With just a table of props and some selfie sticks, guests can have some fun and share their photos instantly. Don't forget to post a custom wedding hashtag nearby for guests to use so that you can check out all the selfie shenanigans later. #MarriedMayhem


Photo by Camille Victoria Weddings LLC

Wedding decor is most often associated with flowers and linens. But this year, couples are focusing on lighting. Whether it's simply specifying the level of dimness for the venue's lights or bringing in outside uplighting, the lighting is one of the quickest ways to change the look of a room and create a certain atmosphere. Amber uplighting can transform a boring ballroom into an enchanting soiree. Or a custom monogram gobo light behind a head table can give a wow-factor personalized touch.

It's always an exciting part of my job to see how real brides and grooms incorporate the latest trends into their big day. So take a trend and make it your own! Happy Planning!