Thursday, December 8, 2011

Karen & Jason: Old New York Glamour & Modern Trends

What I loved about Karen & Jason's wedding at the beautiful Hilton Orrington in Evanston was that it was the perfect combination of old New York glamour with the latest wedding trends mixed in.  Check out some of the fabulous photos by tim coughlin photographer:

A sneak peak of the bride getting ready
These hanging flowers lined the aisle
The candlelit trees decorated the stage during the ceremony
Trend #1: Incorporating family photos into the wedding decor
So many of my couples this season wanted to include photos of family members at the wedding.  It's such a nice way to personalize the event and honor those that are close to you.  Here, we used them to decorate the guestbook/gift table. I especially love the black & white photos of the weddings of parents and grandparents!

Trend #2: Alternative Guestbook
I did not see a traditional guestbook at all this season! Couples are opting for guestbook alternatives that they will have as a keepsake to actually use or display in their home.  Here, we did a guestbook platter, where guests could etch (with a special pen) their names and well wishes on a beautiful platter.

I'm a behind-the-scenes kind of gal on wedding day, so I try to avoid the camera! But Tim caught me giving instructions to the Bride & Groom before their grand entrance into the reception. Don't ya just adore that gorgeous wedding gown!
A beautiful fall-themed cake. Love that beautiful cake stand!
The  centerpieces consisted of three hurricane vases with floating flowers and candles.  And we placed an orchid on each napkin.
Trend #3: Floating Flowers
I'm seeing the floating flower centerpieces more and more.  It's a great option for a bride who either doesn't want a lot of flowers, wants to save some money, or just wants something that's different yet still elegant.

The Gold Coast Orchestra had the dance floor full the entire night!
The couple wanted a "New York Style Reception," meaning the band played and guests danced between courses.  Creating the wedding day timeline around that type of format is a wonderful way to keep guests entertained and keep the party lively.

Trend #4: The Sweet Table
 In addition to a classic wedding cake, sweet tables have become hugely popular.  Typically, the sweet table opens later in the night, and guests love getting to select from an array of beautiful mini-desserts.

The happy groom stealing a kiss in the elevator
Congratulations Karen & Jason!

Venue/Catering - Hilton Orrington
Officiant - Reverend Carol Munro Mosley
Bouquets - Saville Flowers
Ceremony Music - Jen Stedman String Trio
Reception Band - Gold Coast Orchestra
Wedding Coordinator - Camille Victoria Weddings LLC

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Quick Tip: Using Titles on Wedding Invitations

Wedding invitations are one of the key places where proper etiquette and tradition come in to play.  You'll have many people listed on the invitation from the hosts of the wedding to the couple getting married.  So, it's important to know the rules regarding using titles on wedding invitations. 

The rule of thumb is: the only professional designations that should appear on the invitation are Doctor, Reverend, Judge, or military rank.  Everyone else should be referred to as Mr., Mrs., or Miss (never Ms.).

Furthermore, the use of "Doctor" for the purposes of the wedding invitation, refers only to medical doctors.  Those with a Ph.D should forego the title on the invitation.

Degrees, such as M.D. or D.D.S., should never appear on the invitation.  And putting Esquire or Esq. after an attorney's name on the invitation is considered a major no-no.

If you are including a title other than Mr. or Mrs., don't abbreviate!  Spell out titles, such as Doctor or Reverend, completely on the invitation.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Holly & Skip: Beauty Under the Sea

With a wedding reception at Shedd Aquarium, the design and decor of Holly & Skip's purple and green wedding centered on the beautiful features of the sea.  Check out the wonderful photos by Ben Pancoast Photography.

The ceremony took place at the gorgeous St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Evanston.  Don't ya just love those vaulted ceilings? The flower girls tossed fragrant lavendar instead of petals.

We got a beautiful summer day for the wedding.  I snapped this quick photo of the programs -- lovely purple and white fans to help guests stay cool.

This gorgeous bouquet was done by Joanne Leiman of Flowers Flowers.

Such a unique escort card table! Each seating card was shaped like a sea creature.

After the cocktail hour, guests were treated to a live dolphin show!

The tables circled the glowing Caribbean Reef.

I snapped this photo of this beautiful tablescape.  Each table was named after a sea creature, and guests dined up close to sea life swimming past.

Another photo by me of the cake table, adorned with candles and crystals.  

I love this photo by Ben Pancoast, capturing the fireworks display that guests got to watch from the Lakefront Terrace.

Congratulations to Holly & Skip!

Videography - Hueline Pictures
Florist - Flowers Flowers
Wedding Coordinator - Camille Victoria Weddings LLC

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Role of Wedding Ushers Explained

When choosing the wedding party, the bride and groom tend to focus on bridesmaids and groomsmen -- the folks that will be standing at your side as you take your vows.  But, in truth, they have it easy compared to the often overlooked role of the ushers.

I believe that ushers have the hardest job of anyone in the wedding party.  You may think that they simply greet guests.  But there is so much more that goes into ushering, which brides and grooms sometimes don't realize when they are selecting their ushers.

Yes, the first responsibility of ushers is to greet guests and direct them to their seats.  But this seemingly simple task can be chaotic in reality.  They have to remember which rows are reserved for family, and they may have to figure out who your Aunt Bertie is among a sea of unfamiliar faces to ensure that she gets a seat on the aisle for her reading. Or if most guests are transported on a shuttle from the hotel, the ushers will end up with a mass of people to seat all at once, with 10 minutes to go before the ceremony.  Sometimes guests congregate outside the church, lost in conversation, and the ushers will have to ask them repeatedly to go inside to be seated so the ceremony can start on time.

The next responsibility of ushers is to lead the grandparents and parents to their seats immediately before the processional begins. This task means they have to remember where each set of grandparents and each set of parents sits.

In addition, if there is an aisle runner, it is the ushers who roll the runner down the aisle, as everyone looks on.  Again, a seemingly simple task that can often be complicated by uncooperative runners that bunch up or stick. 

Lastly, at the conclusion of the ceremony, the ushers are often called upon again to manage the crowd.  Ushers may have to encourage lingering guests to exit the sanctuary so the bride and groom can take photos, or they may have to corral people onto awaiting shuttles. 

Because of the big responsibility that comes with the role, choose your ushers wisely.  You want responsible and conscientious friends or family members who understand the importance of the day and want it to go smoothly for you and your guests.

Make it easier on your ushers by including them at the rehearsal. Introduce them to any family members that will be getting special seating.  At the rehearsal, your wedding coordinator can go over their responsibilities with them and explain proper ushering etiquette.

Finally, be sure to thank your ushers.  If you're getting your groomsmen a gift, include your ushers.  If your wedding party is being announced into the wedding reception, include your ushers.  They are a big part of ensuring that your wedding day goes smoothly.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Quick Tip: The Importance of a Decorative Hanger

One of the classic shots that I see nearly every wedding photographer take is the photo of the wedding dress hanging by itself on a door or in a window with the light shining on it.  You can help the photographer to create a beautiful photo by avoiding an unsightly wire or plastic hanger.  I recommend to all of my brides to prepare for this shot by being sure to put the dress on a decorative hanger before wedding day.

I like these ones available on Etsy.

By LynnClaire
By Jannyfay
Happy Planning!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sally & Tom: Urban Oasis

Sally and Tom brought a beachy vibe to the heart of downtown Chicago.  The clean, white lines of the Art Institute were the perfect backdrop for the sandy tans and baby blues, creating an urban oasis for the happy couple and their guests. Check out the fantastic photos of the event by John Andrews Photography!

The ceremony was performed at Grace Lutheran Church in La Grange.

Bubbles filled the air as the Bride & Groom exited the church.
After some photos around Chicago, the couple entered the Art Institute via the Nichols Bridgeway.

Framed photos of past family wedding portraits decorated the guestbook table.
High and low centerpieces created texture in the reception room.
Menu cards informed guests of the delicious meal to come.
With cupcakes and an ice cream bar, the food was never-ending.  As the guests departed, they topped off the night with a box of Tate's Chocolate Chip Cookies from the favor display.
Guests had a blast taking photos during the reception and posting them on a photo board.
As a wedding coordinator, I sometimes have to put on my negotiating hat. It took some convincing, but we got the bridge opened back up to capture some great night shots of the city lights.

Congratulations Sally and Tom!

Videographer - 3/9 Productions
Cupcakes - Tiny Dog Cupcake
Florist - The Flower Firm
Lighting - Plan It Perfect
Wedding Coordinator - Camille Victoria Weddings LLC

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Flower Petal Aisle Runners

I love twists on traditional wedding decor.  For inspiration, here are some creative floral alternatives to the traditional aisle runner.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mia & Jason: Love & Vino

I loved working with Mia and Jason, who not only seemed to treasure wedding details as much as I do but also reminded me how special a smaller wedding can be.  The atmosphere was warm and inviting, and their closest friends and family surrounded them with love.  Peter Coombs Photography captured their intimate, wine-themed wedding beautifully.  Check out the photos!

Howes Chapel in Evanston was a charming venue for the ceremony.

Lighting of the Unity Candle
I thought this was a fantastic photo by Peter Coombs, reflecting how we so commonly rely on our gadgets to capture life's special moments.
The escort cards were placed in corks to go along with the wine theme of the wedding reception.  Each table was named after a type of wine.
Instead of a guestbook, we did a wishing tree. I snapped this photo of the empty branches before they were filled with the well-wishes and advice from the happy couple's guests. A framed poem explained the wishing tree procedure to guests.
Soon the branches were filled with dangling tags and heartfelt words.
Another photo by me of the tablescape in the Beringer Wine Room at Wildfire. Instead of table numbers, each table was named after a type of wine, and the table signs were displayed in decorative frames.
I took this quick snapshot of the place setting. At each setting, there was a menu and a custom CD for each guest.

Congratulations to Mia & Jason!

Reception Venue - Wildfire 
Ceremony Music - Moeller Music
Wedding Coordinator - Camille Victoria Weddings LLC