Sunday, December 30, 2007


Starting in January, I am going to send out a newsletter for Chicago Brides. The newsletter is going to list upcoming events, sales, as well as tips and tricks. If you are interested in receiving the weekly newsletter, please send me an email at

Until the New Year, I am going to be taking a break with posting. Here's what I will be doing:

  • Finding Ceremony Musicians

  • Finding a Pianist for the Cocktail Hour

  • Celebrating our 3 year anniversary

  • Celebrating the New Year

  • Updating my website

  • Working on the newsletter format

Friday, December 28, 2007

My Wedding Stuff

In this world, there are savers and pitchers. I’m a pitcher. I’ve been able to condense my entire childhood down to one legal box. I'm quite proud of this fact.

But then, there is the wedding stuff. I can't seem to throw away any of it. We haven't even had our showers yet and already I have loads of stuff that I want to save and cherish forever. Does anyone else feel this way?

As a big believer in organization, I find that The Container Store is my best friend. I'm became a convert after installing the Elfa system in our tiny 750 sq. foot home. Anyhoo, I found this lovely container to keep all of my paper goods. For everything else, I might invest in this trunk. I like the idea of an old fashioned trunk but I realize that it isn't practical.

Do any brides have some ideas for organizing all of their stuff?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bridal Events

Sunday, January 6th

A L'Amour will showcase beautiful fashions for the entire bridal party at the Marriott Schaumburg at the 1st big bridal event of the season. We have a limited number of free tickets available. If you or someone you know might be interested in attending please call your consultant at 847-381-5858 and we will arrange to provide tickets while supplies last. The event begins at 11 and the fashion show is scheduled for 2pm. For additional information visit

Sunday, January 13th

Our biggest sample sale of the year! The fabulous collections of A L'Amour's top designers will be on sale for 1 day only. Appointments are filling fast--schedule now. This is the opportunity to put "Dreams Within Your Reach." The dress you felt was unaffordable could be yours. Don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity!

Wednesday, January 16th

Plan a "Girl's Night Out" with friends, bridesmaids, and moms to get tips on Planning Your Wedding. No matter where you are in the process of planning, this event is not to be missed. For those newly engaged we will answer questions you haven't even thought to ask. For those further along in the process we will have hair designers who will give tips on hairstyles, we will have a veil and headpiece trunk show so that you can work directly with the national sales rep to pick the "perfect" compliment to your gown, we will have a bridal accessory trunk show so that you can pick the perfect guest book, pen, etc. to fit your theme. We will have informal modeling of our newest selections for brides, mothers, and maids. We will provide food, fun, and a "goodie bag". Enjoy the fun and go home with helpful hints to bring your wedding details together.

For more information on these events, go to

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Out of Town Gift Bags

Gable boxes are a popular choice for out of town gift bags. While I find them stylish, I dislike their impracticality. When I am a wedding guest, I prefer to receive a gift bag that I can re-use. Knottie chitowndcbride - Tiffany- totally raised the bar by getting actual fabric tote bags for her wedding guests.

Tiffany purchased the tote bags and basic iron-ons. She filled the bags full of Chicago goodies as well as some personalized water bottles.

Water Bottle Label

I think these are some fantastic examples of adding a personalized touch to your wedding without breaking the bank!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

DIY Gift Cardbox

The photo gift card box is a long time favorite of Chicago brides. Here are the DIY instructions for any interested brides.

Estimated Cost and Supplies:

  • $44 for 4 picture frames- 14 x 20 (or something close to that) with an 8 x 10 picture.
  • $3 for fabric - 1 yard
  • $2 for poster board
  • $10 for lazy susan
  • $20 base and supplies:1/4 to 1/2inch thick plywood base, 8 ft. of plastic
    "L" shaped molding, staples, Velcro.
  • A wood base
  • Lots of staples and staple gun (heavy duty)
  • Xtra thick poster board
  • Duct tape


  1. Cut the plastic L shaped molding into 12 equal sizes. This will be used in the corners, base, and top of the box.
  2. Insert pictures in frames before assembling. Staple a bracket on the inside of 2 frames to create a corner, then the next frame until you have a square. I let the inside frame corners touch and created a indented outside corner rather than overlaping the frame edges.

  3. Cut the wood base the same size as the inside bottom edge of the assembled picture frames, so it will not be seen when you look at the disply.
  4. Insert the base into the bottom of the picture frame box and staple 4 plastic strips into where the bottom and frames meet.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Getting Away

Sometimes, you simply must stop talking about your wedding.


Denton and I agreed that at the six month mark (six months engaged; six months to the wedding), we would spend an entire weekend not talking about the wedding. We decided to “get away” by staying at the James Hotel in downtown Chicago.

We had a wonderful time! I started the weekend off by getting a massage. While I was getting pampered, Denton checked us in to our room. After meeting up, we shopped around Michigan Ave. Denton bought a fitted black cashmere sweater at Bloomie’s. Then, we totally splurged by having a Peppermint Mocha in the late afternoon. We relaxed in our room for a few hours wearing the comfy robe and slippers. We went to dinner at McCormick & Schmick’s. It’s such a man’s restaurant but I love it there! When we got back to the James, we had a few drinks at the J Bar.

We started off Sunday late in the morning with room service and reading various newspapers. After a little more browsing, we went to the movies to see American Gangster! It was awesome.

The icing on the cake? We were able to maintain our wedding budget by spending gift certificates the entire weekend! I have loads of gift cards that I have stockpiled from the past year. Our goal was to see how many we could use in just one weekend!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Welcome to my new Blog!

Blogspot is my new home!

I moved my blog over here to Blogspot from the Knot. To be honest, I was a little frustrated by the limitations of knot blogs.

Unfortunately, my pictures did not transfer over so well. Some of the images cut off and aren’t formatted properly. To fix all of the posts, I would need to spend hours. While I’m a dedicated blogger, I simply don’t have the time.

If there is an image you would like to see better, let me know.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sunset Blvd. to the Altar

InStyle just put together a slideshow of celebrity couples that are planning to get married in the next year.

Tipping Vendors

Tipping is a sensitive subject. However, couples should include tips as part of their wedding budget so that they may plan accordingly. The list below was compiled from Brides magazine as well as Emily Post.


Ceremony Musicians
$15-20 per person

Delivery & Set up Staff$5-10 per person



Hair Stylist & Make-up Artist


Photographer/ Videographer$50-200 per person

Reception Musicians
$20-25 per musician

Reception Staff
If gratuity is not included:
15-20% of food and drink bill
$200-300 for maitre d
$20-25 per bartender
$1 per guest for parking attendant

If gratuity is included:
On Site Coordinator/ Catering Manager
$100-200 optional

15% if not included as part of the package

Wedding Planner/ Coordinator

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bella Jewels Trunk Show at Left Bank

MEG & Bella Jewels Trunk Show
December 22 & 23, 2007

The Left Bank welcomes jewelry designer

Meg Lammers of Bella Jewels

Contemporary & Classic Modern Gems

Cash & Carry & Custom ~ Perfect Gifts

Saturday 11am-6pm
Sunday 11-5pm

(Hours as of Monday, December 17th)
Sunday Noon - 4:00P
Monday Noon - 7:00P
Tuesday thru Friday Noon - 9:00P
Saturday 11A - 6:00P

~Christmas Eve~ 11 - 3:30P
~Christmas Day~ Closed

House of Brides Sale

House of Brides is having their annual holiday sale on dresses. The sale runs from December 26th to December 30th.

Win a Gown Contest!

Chicago Style Wedding magazine is having their semi-annual bridal gown giveaway. They will also be giving away other great prizes.

The one caveat is that you have to have booked one of the vendors that advertises in their magazine. The list is pretty extensive. I qualify since I registered at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Chicago Style Wedding website has errors. By creating a link on my blog, a pop-up screen keeps appearing. I'm removing the link but here is the URL.

Good luck!

Ritz-Carlton Bridal Luncheon

Saturday, January 19, 2008
12:00 noon - 2:00 pm
The Ritz-Carlton Chicago
160 East Pearson Street
The Dining Room - 12th Floor Lobby Level

Enjoy an elegant three-course lunch prepared by Ritz-Carlton Chicago Executive Chef Mark Payne and mingle with wedding experts from The Ritz-Carlton Chicago, Arlen Music Consultants Inc., BBJ Linen, Chicago Social Brides, Chicago Videoworks, Floral by Kehoe Designs, Kushubse Invitations, Peter Thurin Photography, Saks Fifth Avenue Bridal Gowns and Registry, Tablescapes and Take the Cake Wedding Cakes during a post-lunch dessert reception.

Brides-to-be will receive a bridal gift bag and have a chance to win a honeymoon getaway to Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma; or a luxurious Five-Star Weekend at The Ritz-Carlton Chicago, among other prizes. $35 per person, excluding alcoholic beverages, tax and gratuity.

To make reservations, kindly phone 1 (312) 573-5180.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Planning Our Dream Honeymoon

My FI and I share a peculiar coincidence of traveling solo on more than one occasion. FI went to New Zealand, southern California, and Boston whereas I’ve traveled to Morocco, Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean solo. Travel is passion for the both of us. We both agreed that friend cannot necessarily travel together. There is a certain chemistry that is needed.

Six weeks after we started dating, I asked my FI to go on a 17 day trip with me to Thailand. A lot of people were shocked; they felt that we were still too new in our relationship to be taking such a “serious” trip. Little did they know, the trip was a sign for both of us—we were meant to be together!

Well, our relationship not only survived Thailand but flourished. Since then, we’ve taken a 25 day trip to South America as well as a 12 day trip to the Canary Islands and Ireland. Being such avid travelers, planning the trip of all trips – our Honeymoon-- took quite a bit of compromise.

I agreed to pay for the honeymoon. Being a feminist, I felt that if he was shelling out for a ring, at the very least I could pay for the trip. Without hesitation, my FI agreed to the arrangement. Our top picks included:

Since I was young, I had always wanted to take a month off and see Australia. Since Denton lived in Brisbane for six months while studying abroad, I decided that I rather go somewhere neither of us had been.

African Safari
The wilderness of Africa was calling my name. Denton looked at me while I was crazy. “You hate the outdoors.” I responded that I was thinking of safari luxe—think 500 count linens, running water, and a personal butler. The idea was dismissed since we wouldn’t be able to use my Marriott Points or my American Airlines miles.

What could be more romantic then the Taj Mahal and then relaxing in Goa? India has been my top dream location for years… but Denton hesitated. Travel in India isn’t easy. He wanted something more relaxing. He also brought up the long flight. IT was a strong contender but eventually we made up our mind.

Istanbul—the only city to straddle two continents is in the country that has two distinct flavours—the European Mediterranean and openness on the east with the traditionalism and Muslim based West. What could be more exotic than spending our days drinking Turkish coffee, shopping in bazaars, and getting massages in Hamans?

Where should we go?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I Feel Good...

We are approaching the the 5 month mark. I feel excited, energized, and ready.

It hasn't always been peachy.

About a month ago, I started to lose it. I still didn't have my dress. Or my ring. Or ceremony musicians. Or x, y, z. Things were in progress but I wasn't checking anything off my list. My 300+ item task list.

My fiance and I got into a huge argument. Unpleasant things were said. I cried. He frowned.

While getting upset isn't a mandatory part of wedding planning, I do think that most couples go through a period-- hopefully very brief-- where they feel overwhelmed/ frustrated/ etc.

My point for this post is to let everyone know that wedding planning isn't always peachy. When you look at other wedding blogs, magazines, books, etc., no one really talks about the stress. It is stressful!


As my idol says, Tomorrow is another day.

Say Cheese!

Photobooths have been a long time passion of mine. As a kid, I used to take photos at the mall all of the time with my friends. It was one of my favorite things to do! Here are some terribly embarrassing pictures with my MOH, Nichole.

I wanted a photobooth since I started wedding planning. It was on my Maybe List until I worked at the wedding of W + E. The couple had a photobooth and it was a huge hit! The photobooth moved to my Must Have List but not my fiance's.

Until last week.

We went to the Yelp! Elite Holiday party. At first, no one realized that there was a free photobooth. Then, there was a line just to get some pictures taken. It was very popular for the entire night. After taking a few pictures with our friends, my fiance totally agreed that we had to get one.


Here's a screen shot from the online photo gallery.

The photobooth looks a little nicer than the ones back in the day at the mall.

We're getting the Basic Package from Photobooth Express. We're getting the deluxe photo booth, a technician tooperate the booth, unlimited photos for 4 hours and a password protectedweb gallery of all of the photos from the event.

Sample Sale!

Belle Vie Bridal Couture & Vera Wang Sample Sale

Walk-Ins Welcome
Receive 50% - 80% off Couture Bridal Fashions from our top bridal gown designers.

No appointment necessary

December 14 11am-2pm

Belle Vie Bridal Couture
34 E. Oak Street
4th floor

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Quest for the Perfect Bridal Gown

If you read my last post, dress shopping was not easy for me. In some ways, I feel like I have earned a black belt in wedding gown shopping!

Below is a list of the salons that I went while in my never ending quest for the perfect wedding gown.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Found my Dress!

200 dresses
18 bridal salons
6 friends
5 months
1 Filene's Basement Sale


3rd Place-- Unexpected neckline. Mermaid silhouette, princess seams, embellished.

2nd Place
Richard Glasgow.
Mermaid silhouette, princess seams, embellished, sweetheart neckline.

And then...

We almost didn't try it on. It didn't meet any of the requirements I had for my dream dress. It was already 3PM. We were exhausted. My MOH slash best friend of 19 years said, "um no. That is way too much dress for her. Well... why not? Let's keep an open mind." Thank goodness we listened to Nichole.

I put it on and my mouth opened to a little 'o'. My head tilted, my eyes lit up, and I turned to Nichole and Liz, "I think... I think I LIKE IT."

We went downstairs to the "big" mirror. My eyes welled up. So did Nichole. So did Liz. The deal was sealed.

I've been looking for nothing but mermaid and fitted dresses. I vaguely remember saying "no spaghetti straps". I didn't want to look as much like a bride as more of a glamorous movie star.

But it was the first and only dress that made me smile uncontrollably. And cry a little.
I am so excited!!

Zazzle Me

When I read about the Zazzle sale, I decided that this was one "extra" that I couldn't do without! I have seen them before and just loved them!

Since this wedding has totally turned me into an indecisive bride that can never make up her mind... I ordered several!

The quality of this stamp is pretty bad. There is too much green and not enough light. Zazzle is awesome-- they are going to do a free exchange. It's their policy!

Another not so great stamp that I'm going to exchange for more of the umbrella stamp!

If you are considering photo stamps, I highly recommend Zazzle.

Happy Holidays!

I heart cards. Well, actually I puffy heart any type of stationary. So when one of my favorite stationary shops was closing, I bought almost everything in the store. (FI's reaction was: where are we going to keep ALL of that paper??? I digress. So I am now the proud owner of two years worth of holiday cards in our tiny 750 square foot apartment.

I considered buying new photo cards. However, I don't really care for the picture postcards and picture cards are pretty pricey. What's a girl to do?

Even though I'm the worst DIYer in the knot world, I decided that I could handle this one small project. I went to one of my other favorite stationary shops, Paper Doll, and purchased scrapbook photo corners. I stuck them on the inside flap of each card and then inserted a card. Viola!

Inside of our holiday card

Outside of the Holiday Card

The total cost of the project was relatively inexpensive. I bought 250 corners for $4.50. The prints were $.10 a piece at CostCo. I highly recommend getting your professional prints at CostCo. The quality is much better than Snapfish or Shutterfly.

What do you think?

Flower Girls in Bridal White

Recently, the Chicago board was talking about the Mini-Bride.

For those who have never heard of such a thing, the idea is that the flower girl dresses in a miniture bridal gown. Some knotties were horrified at the concept.

I have a confession.... I was a mini bride!

Of course, we never called it that! I was simply wearing a miniture version of a bridal gown. It was a white lace gown that and had a train that was bustled for the reception.

Everytime I wore my dress, people would say, "She looks just like a bride!" I was such a well behaved flower girl that I got the honor six times-- five of them were having me wear this dress

Here it is....

Knottie Romagrrl as a Mini-Bride

Interior Design for a Ballroom

What do you think about these designs?

For the swatch board, the top left 3 are the proposed colors of the draperies. The blue will be on the outside and the goldish tones will be on the inside.

The top right wood colored is to be restored to the color to a true walnut.

The two carpet swatches and the sample diagram demonstrates what the carpet will look like. The blue/chocolate brown swatch will be where the blue is on the diagram. The other swatch will be the on the beige portion of the diagram.

The chair is the proposed chair for right now. The color is to the right, although that is not definite yet.

Below are pictures of how the venue looks now:

A great room shot

The drapes that are being replaced.

The ceiling will stay the exact same.

The current carpet. I love it! When photographed in black and white, it looks very old school.

I heart Lighting & Draping

Nothing makes me swoon like hearing the words pin-spotting. If you have ever seen flowers look gorgeous in displays or professionally done, I can tell you why: pin-spotting! It’s gorgeous!

Drapery can be used to make your wedding look beautiful.

Below is a picture of the Rookery. The event designer used soem soft drapery to create a stage like appearance for the ceremony as well as hiding some of the local businesses in the entrance. There is natural uplighting to create a focal point.

In the picture below, the event designer used drapery and lighting to create a dramatic entrance into the room. Since the wedding was the Cultural Center, the dramatic entrance also creates a divider for uninvited guests. This is a great idea if you are having your wedding in a public venue.

We are having our cocktail hour in a sectioned off part of the hotel lobby. Our event designer will be creating an entrance so that nosy hotel guests can't peak in!

One of the most elegant and dramatic huppahs-- it is gorgeous!

Drapery and lighting can also be used in other parts of your wedding. Below the event designer used drapery to create a lounge. I love the drama and intensity!

The event designer used lighting through out the space to create drama!

My needs for lighting and drapery inside my reception are very similar. We're going to use the lighting near the band. I want the 9 piece band to stand out! I am also using pin-spotting on the tables with high centerpieces.

My vendor is Art of the Imagination. After I booked her, I found out that Mrs. Emerald from Wedding Bee used her as well!

Blue Light Special!

I've gotten various offers and discounts from the bridal events that I have attended. If you are interested, let me know.

Free Bridal bouquet

Flower Girl Dresses
Us Angels

Artisan Events

Jeanette Diaz
$100 off

Photo Images
Free gift

Lisa Winn
Free e pics

Jai Girard
Free e pics

Joseph Chen
Free Wedding Album

Scott Patrick
$250 off

$25 off

Marilyn Miglin
Comp hair & MU application; 20% off

D' Works
Free BM application with 10+ people

Engagement Pics-- Great Ways to Use!

Now that we have taken our engagement pictures, I have become obsessed with using them! Here are some great ideas from fellow knotties.

  • STDs

Save the Dates are probably one of the more popular ways to use your engagement photos. Here's a sample of a picture that really fits with the layout of the postcard.

  • Holiday Cards

I've never been a fan of photo holiday cards. My main problem with them is that there is no way to prop them up on my mantle. Yet now I have my engagement photos, I want to send them out!!

  • Wedding Website

The home page of our wedding website is more of a visual treat than informative. I use the page to showcase photos of us. I've been changing the photos on a regular basis.

  • Stamps

Photo stamps are not cheap...but they certainly make your invitation stand out from the crowd! I've also seen them used on thank you cards.

  • Newspaper Announcement

Although I am not close with my Mother, her one request is for us to announce our engagements in the paper. Four of 'em. I agreed...but that was before I knew how much it cost!

  • Cardbox

In some parts of the country as well as certain ethnicities, cash gifts are given. When this is the case, a cardbox is a must. Instead of using a generic white box from Michael's, why not DIY and use your e-pics?

  • Guest Book

Our package comes with a 6 page guest book. Our guests can sign around the pictures. Other knotties have made a book at Shutterfly, Snapfish, or My Publisher.

  • CDs

The cover of a CD-- which can be used as a favor or OOT gift bag stufffer-- can include a picture from your engagement photo.

  • Rehearsal Dinner Invitations or Shower Invitations

In the past, I saw a knottie that used an engagement photo for their rehearsal dinner invitation. It was really cute!

  • Photofetti

Photofetti can be used to dress up high-boys that are used during the cocktail hour. They can also be used on the various special tables: gift table, guest book table, etc.

  • Table Numbers

Table numbers that have engagement photos in the background are super popular on theknot.

  • Slideshow

A slideshow can be done before the ceremony, during the cocktail hour, or during dinner. It's a great way to showcase many photos.

  • Photo Coasters

Photo coasters are one of the most popular favors for a shower, rehearsal dinner, or even the wedding. Simply print your picture on a color printer and insert into the frames.

  • Program

Your wedding program is a great place to add a picture of you and your FI!

  • Centerpieces at the Bridal Shower
  • Guestbook Frame aka Signature Mat

The signature mat, made popular by Pottery Barn, is widely available and has become very popular in the past few years. It's a wonderful way to display your engagement pictures!

  • Framed Pictures at the Placecard Table

  • Calender-- Countdown to your wedding
  • Christmas Ornaments
  • In your Home!

How do you plan on using your engagement photos?

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