Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Bridesmaids Gifts that your Gal Pals will Actually Use and Love

When it comes to bridesmaid gifts, forget the robes emblazoned with "Bridesmaid" on the back or the etched champagne glass. Your crew is there for you on your big day, but being a bridesmaid is not who they are. When choosing bridesmaid gifts, think of your support team as individuals, as if you were buying them a birthday present. You'll be sure to wow them and make them feel special. 

If you're getting ready together on wedding day, you can still consider items that they could use on on the day-of, like pajamas, cozy slippers, or jewelry. But avoid the matchy-matchy looks and choose different styles for different girls, thinking of their particular personalities. Check out the variety of options on Birdy Grey, where you can search by type of gift or color.

Practical gifts that your girl group will use again are always a great option. Add a personalized touch with monogrammed stationery, makeup pouch, weekender bag, or clutch from Minted.

Think of gifts that will pamper your ladies, long after the wedding weekend, like candles, bath bombs, and beauty essentials from Anthropologie.

Give yourself time to find the perfect gift for each girl by starting shopping at least two months before the big day or at least three months, if you're considering something custom or personalized. 

Give your gifts at a special bridesmaid luncheon or at the rehearsal dinner and get ready for the surprised smiles from your besties!

Monday, February 7, 2022

Garden Gathering: A Spring Wedding at Danada House

After Covid shut the wedding world down for a year, we could not have asked for a better first wedding back in the saddle than Hannah and Kyle's at one of our absolute favorite venues -- Danada House! What I loved is that we were able to turn Covid precautions into cute, personalized details. But mostly you'll just notice the love, joy, and fun that this sweet couple had on a perfect spring day. Check out the gorgeous photos by the incredible Sarah Crost Photography:

Danada House Wedding

One thing that I love about Danada House is the beautiful bride and groom suites upstairs, where the bridal party can get ready. It was the perfect backdrop for Hannah and Kyle to exchange pre-wedding letters. Love the reaction!

When I send out my reminders to every couple, leading up to wedding day, I always include a tip to get a decorative hanger for the wedding dress, and this is why.... it makes for beautiful photos for those classic wedding dress shots!

Danada House Wedding

Hannah had a great team of bridesmaids! Bridesmaids are not just there for photos and fun, they are actually supposed to help the bride, and these ladies definitely came through!

Chicago Wedding Planner

Can you guess whose hands those are? Yep, that's me! One of our many tasks on the day of the wedding is to pin on boutonnieres and distribute corsages

I just love this shot because it shows how the guys can have fun with the details too...love the variety of socks! And let's take a closer look......

The groom's socks are such a cute and whimsical touch!

First looks are all about the reaction, and you can feel the anticipation in this photo! On the day-of, we often work with the photographer to make the first look happen seamlessly.

There are so many great places for photos around Danada House! It's got to be a photographer's dream!

Photo by Camille Victoria Weddings LLC

Photo by Camille Victoria Weddings LLC

We called this the Covid station, complete with hand sanitizer and masks. In those crazy Covid times, vaccines were still relatively new, so there were cute wristbands to indicate a guests' comfort level for socializing. Green meant vaccinated and ready for a hug!

A special reserved chair was such a sweet and touching way to commemorate a loved one.

Danada House Wedding

In a special wine ceremony, the bride and groom mix two of their favorite wines into one. On the day-of, we setup the special ceremonial items, making sure the wines are out and open and ready to go.

Danada House Wedding

Just Married!

Danada House Wedding


I just love how Sarah, the photographer, captured a little bit of fun and silliness! I don't normally post the family photos, but many people may not realize it's one more thing we help out with on wedding day! We work with the photographer and will call out the family groupings, so photos are quick and easy, and the couple can make it to cocktail hour!

Sibling love! So cute!

Escort cards and favors all in one!

Photo by Camille Victoria Weddings LLC

Photo by Camille Victoria Weddings LLC

Another inside "Covid station." As you can see, the green wristbands were popular...people were ready for hugs!

Danada House Wedding

A room with a view! 
The glassware really adds a lovely extra pop of color to the beautiful tablescapes.

We create a custom, full wedding day timeline for every wedding. Timing may sound mundane, but it can really add an element of surprise and pizzazz to a wedding. In this case, Hannah and Kyle went right into their first dance when they did their grand entrance into the reception. It makes for a wow-factor moment!

Beautiful cake and special cake server and forks.

There are so many ways to incorporate a couple's personality and interests into the wedding decor.
These adorable record table number signs show their love of music.

Another Covid precaution, at that time, was to create special dance zones for each table around the room. These markers on the floor indicated the dance areas, and the play on words turns a safety precaution into a good-humored and cute detail.

Yep, we lit up the night by popping all of the glow sticks for a bright display. 
The glow sticks were multi-purpose for fun dance props and to wave goodbye at the end of the evening.

A cool keepsake from the photobooth. 
These photobooth scrapbooks are one of the many things we gather up at the end of the night to make sure it gets home to the newlyweds.

Their 1st anniversary is now just around the corner! 
Congratulations Hannah and Kyle!


Venue - Danada House
Florist - Kio Kreations
Greenery Backdrop and Lighting - Satin Chair
Photobooth - Concept One
Wedding Coordinator - Camille Victoria Weddings LLC

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