Thursday, January 31, 2008

Photography Giveaway Contest

Vrai, formerly known as Kristina Carter Photography, is giving away a photography package. The details for the contest are in her blog.

Kristina is a wonderful photographer with unique skills in capturing moments that others might miss. Her company, Vrai, is a green business that has an inspiring philosophy regarding the environment. If you are thinking about having a Green wedding, she has some helpful tips on her website.

Menu Tasting

Usually, we go out for a big dinner on Valentine’s. Since we are so close to the wedding, we opted for a low-key Valentine’s this year. Instead, we'll be doing our reception dinner menu tasting!

We have really worked with the Catering Manager, Kerry, to customize the menu to reflect our tastes. While I wouldn't go so far as to call us "foodies", we do appreciate good food. It's a little disheartening when you go to a reception and the food is totally generic and doesn't reflect the couple.

After hours of planning, scouring the web, and asking friends, we've come up with our menu.

Butler Passed Hors D’oeuvres
Scottish Salmon Roulade with Dill Cream Cheese Lollipop
Tomato Basil Soup served in Espresso Cups
Mushroom Caps Stuffed with Wild Mushrooms and Brie
Idaho Potato Chip with Crème Fraiche and Caviar
Chicken and Manchego Cheese Empanadas
Portobello Mushroom and Taleggio Cheese Tart

Pasta Course
Risotto with Parmesan and Wild Mushroom

Farfalle with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Arugula

First Course
Field Greens with Teardrop Tomatoes, Poached Pears, Maytag Bleu Cheese, Roasted Pecans, Hazelnut Vinaigrette

Mesclun Greens with Cucumber and Fresh Berries, Toasted Walnuts and Raspberry Vinaigrette

Entrée Course

Petite Filet Mignon with Crab Cake, Cabernet Sauce

Napoleon of Portobello Mushrooms, Eggplant and Spinach

Grilled eggplant, heirloom tomato, fresh basil, buffalo mozzarella & a tomato garlic relish.
Served with Pomodero sauce & shaved parmesan on the side.

White Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce

Did you customize your meal? What did you do to make the meal less standard? Please, let us know!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Buying a Tux

My fiance decided to purchase a tuxedo for our wedding. Three weeks before our wedding, he is a groomsman and will "break it in". I'm very excited because I think he is going to look smashing!

If your fiance is thinking about renting or buying a tux, here are some options to consider:

  • Jacket Buttons-- One button is the standard for a classic tux but you can get two or three buttons or even double breasted.

  • Jacket Lapel-- One notch is classic but there is also peak lapel or shawl.
  • Pant Leg-- Pleated is classic; flat front is also available.

  • Shirt Collar-- Full collar is very Rat Pack. Wing-tip is retro classic.
  • Shirt Style-- Pleating is the standard. Plain shirt is another option.

  • Vest-- Optional.

  • Cumberbund-- Optional.

  • Tie-- Bow-tie is the standard. Ties are becoming more common.

  • Shoes-- They don't have to be patent leather. Promise.

If you want some more ideas, check out this GQ article or the New York Times style section.

After much searching, D. decided to buy a tuxedo from Jos A. Bank. He went with a one button jacket with a notch collar and a pleated pant leg. Since he loves Thomas Pink shirts, I decided to get him a full collar plain evening shirt for his anniversary present. He wanted a real bow-tie not a clip-on! Brooks Brothers was having a great sale so he bought one for himself as well as the rest of the bridal party.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Erin Cole Accessories Trunk Show
January 31

Sit down with bridal accessories designer Erin Cole and discuss the perfect accents for your big day. With more than 15 years experience, Cole will dress you in anything from fans fo headpieces.

Ultimate Bride
106 E. Oak St.

Nicole Miller 2008 Collection
February 1

Visit Nicole Miller Atelier as her 2008 bridal gown collection arrives. Known for her elegant, rebellious and sexy styles, Miller gowns make every bride feel fresh yet sophistocated.

Nicole Miller
1419 N. Wells St.

Tara Keely Fall Trunk Show
February 2-4

Find the dress of your dreams with the arrival of Tara Keely's bridal gowns.

Saks Fifth Aveue
700 N. Michigan Ave.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Haute Bride Sample Sale

One of my favorite stores, Haute Bride, is having a sample sale! All Haute Bride Accessories are 30% off.

Peruse their website for fabulous finds like these bracelets below.

See something you like? Email them at to find out pricing. Orders are accepted over the phone at 415.923.5900.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bridesmaids & Beauty

Ladies, if you bridesmaids don't have your dresses yet, this is the weekend.

Priscilla of Boston Trunk Show
January 24-28
View the newest collection of couture gowns and bridesmaids apparel from Priscilla of Boston.

Priscilla of Boston Salon
17 W. 170 22nd St.
Oakbrook Terrace

Boutique Victoria Spring Collection
January 24-27
Come celebrate the arrival of Jim Hjelm Occassions and Just Tea's Bridesmaids Spring 2008 collection.

Boutique Victoria
924 W. Madison St.

Caroline Herrera Trunk Show
January 24-26
The designers gowns are showcased t Ultimate Bride. Come be one of the first to see the fall 2008 collection.

Ultimate Bride
106 E. Oak St

It's tragic that I'm out of town this weekend. I'd give up Botox to have Darcy make-up my face.

McGrath Makeup Consultations
January 25-26
Darcy McGrath, makeup consultant, who has worked with celebrities from Kate Blanchett to Oprah Winfrey and supermodel Cindy Crawford, will be offering consultations. By appointment only.

Metamorphosis Day Spa
1757 Orchard Lane

Bridal Beauty Day
January 27
Pamper yourself on this day of bridal bliss. Sip cocktails, get a facial, view trunk shows, sit at a round-table discussion on bachelorette party planning, experience a bridal makeover and much more. Oh and by the way, it's free-seriously. RSVP required.

1037 E. Woodfield Rd.

Ann Taylor Bridal Event

The flagship Ann Taylor on Michigan Avenue is hosting a Celebrations event this Sunday. The Celebrations Consultant, Sandy, will be on hand to show you the various looks for your bridesmaids. Refreshments will be served. The dresses will be marked down 10% for one day only!

Ann Taylor
600 N. Michigan Avenue
To rsvp,
please call Sandy at 312-587-8301.
And please tell her that we sent you!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dress Shopping with the Maids

My plan was simple. We would buy three black dresses off the rack for my three bridesmaids that would be re-wearable. Since one of my bridesmaids was pregnant, we decided to wait until early January. Once she had her adorable little girl, Maggie, she wanted a few weeks to recover and then we could go shopping.

We met at Oak Tree in Bloomingdale's for lunch. Beforehand, I checked out J. Crew. They don't keep their celebrations line in the store and didn't have any cocktail dresses either. Earlier in the week, I visited BCBG and found nothing that would work. Two stores were already crossed off the list!

After lunch, we hit up Bloomingdale's. While we found a few possibilities, but ultimately, this season's short hem line severely limited our options. I wanted the dress to be either tea length or floor length because my dress is so formal.

Our second stop was Black House White Market but we totally struck out. Our final stop of the day was Ann Taylor. The Celebrations Collection is amazing!

Everyone loved this dress. It is universally flattering as V necks with wide strap dresses are on most girls. I also like that you can see their red shoe.

The Long Strapless dress. It looked great on 2 maids but terrible on one. Who wants an unhappy bridesmaid? Once they tried it on, I was pretty set that I wanted a floor length gown to match with the formality of my dress.

At this point, we weren't sure what to do. We left, looked at Nordstrom, and then called it a day. When I went home, I checked out Ann Taylor's website and realized that there was another dress--- the Christine Long!

Christine Long- The pearls and bun make the dress look a little prudish. I called up B. and asked her if she could go back to the store to try it on for all of us.

This is it! Christina Long is very chic and will look perfect for our formal evening.

Other details to keep in mind...

The dresses come with a built in sash. Since I don't want them to be cookie cutter, I'm going to have them each tie the sash a different way. One maid loves this bow. Another plans to wrap it and tie for a minimalist look.

I also think a brooch in the middle of the sash is a great way to add some bling. I'm going to hold off on purchasing the brooches until I purchase their bridesmaid jewelry.

Another great detail-- the ruby red Nine West shoes! Very sassy and makes the dress less bridesmaid-y yet just as formal.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

DIY Invitation Inspiration

While I am probably the worst DIY bride out there, I do like to add my own little touches. Therefore, I'm going to take a class as Paper Source, The Unique Invitation. While my wedding invitations will be done professionally, I'm toying with the idea of lining my own envelopes. Also, I need invitations for the bridal lunchon as well as the rehearsal dinner.

Here are all of the details:

Wednesday, January 23rd

Paper Source invites you to come and learn how to make unique invitations & announcements that are perfect for any event. We'll get you started with a variety of invitation styles, tricks to assembly and printing, and even how to personalize your invitations with simple, yet unique embellishments. You'll go home with several invitation samples and creative ideas to get you inspired.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Introducing Marilyn!

Marilyn has recently joined Honey Bee Weddings! She is a wedding coordinator and also has beautiful calligraphy skills. What better way to get to know a wedding coordinator than by seeing her wedding? Marilyn was married over Memorial Day Weekend 2006.

She decided to travel in style and rented a Rolls-Royce for the day.

Marilyn and Keith chose to face their guests during the ceremony at Old St. Pat's.

The view of The Grand Ballroom set up at Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificient Mile.

A Classic White Cake with her Vera Wang Love Knot Cutting Knife. Marilyn & Keith also had a sweet table, which is very popular in Italian-American weddings.


Marilyn loves paper as much as me. Her invitations were designed Invitations by Gina.

Marilyn also used Gina to create the square program.


On a high boy, Marilyn displayed a picture of her parents wedding day.

I had to include a shot of the flowers. Marilyn booked with Aberdeen before hearing all of the horror stories. Her flowers, thankfully, turned out just fine.

The place settings included jordan almond favors.

The placecards doubles as favors. Who doesn't love Frango Mints?

Marilyn displayed collages of memorable moments with her husband in the foyer.

Welcome Marilyn.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pre-marital Counseling

Before we said "I do", we really wanted to go to pre-marital counseling. While my fiance and I have a healthy relationship, we felt that at the very least, we could prepare for our marriage.

Who knew it would be so much work?

Not the counseling, but finding someone to counsel us! Apparently, it is not a popular idea in Chicago. Finally, my fiance found Urban Balance. We had our first meeting last Saturday. In our first meeting, we went over a lot of great topics:
  • Is there any alcohol, drug, abuse in the relationship?
  • Is there a history of any alcohol, drug, abuse in our families?
  • Have we discussed having children?
  • Do we live together?
  • Have we talked about finances?
  • How do our families play a part in our relationship?

It was a wonderful session. I am very excited to continue our counseling and prepare for our marriage. If you are looking for someone, I would highly recommend their services.

Friday, January 18, 2008


My plan was to design my own invitations and have them letterpressed by Superior Letterpress. Unfortunately, I don't have a design bone in my body. This is a great option for couples on a budget that crave letterpress.

After weeks of agonizing, I decided to purchase them. When I was started looking around, I thought, well, there is really only one wedding vendor website that makes me want to buy everything-- White Aisle.

My fiance liked many of the styles. We ordered a few samples. Rebecca has a great policy that the money for the same can go towards the purchase of your invitations. What do you think of the styles? I love them all so it is really hard for me to pick.

Each invitation can be customized in several ways. The color is picked based on a Pantone color to ensure that you are getting exactly what you want! The invitations come in one or two colors. She has a list of fonts that are available too.

Here are our top picks!




New Orleans

Groom’s Cake Tasting

The cake tasting was, by far, one of the best parts of wedding planning thus far! We decided to tryTipsy Cake. I met the owner, Naomi, at a Vera Wang bridal event a few months ago. Plus, the bakery is in my neighborhood and has great reviews on yelp!

My fiance and I were not disappointed. The cakes were delicious. Naomi took the time to look up some items to make our cake even more realistic. She gave us pricing to for both a buttercream or fondant version. She is the most cost conscious vendor that we've met!

Our cake is going to be a surprise…but here are some pictures of her excellent work.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Real Simple Weddings -- Skip It

It's rare that I totally bomb something, but the Real Simple Wedding book is terrible. I can't believe that I actually wasted $12 to buy it. I'm usually diligent in scoping out potential wedding paraphernalia before opening it. BIG MISTAKE.

In a word, it sucks.

This is by far the lamest wedding magazine/book out there. There is the same freaking wedding outline that is in every wedding book known to man. In between chapters, there are some "real weddings" to peruse. While cute, I didn't get one idea. As in, this is the first time that I have ever picked up a book and not walked away with a great idea.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Invitation Text

I cannot believe it is that time... we are getting close to proofing our invitations. Do you like Format #1 (more traditional) or Format #2? The wording is the same, just different fonts.

Invite Format #1
Invite Format #2
Response Card

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

SOS Polka Dot Fabric

We are looking for polka dot material to make my pocket squares for the groom and the groomsmen. I’ve been to every place in the city with no luck.

Does anyone have any ideas for us?

Please help!

New Chicago Venue-- The Ivy Room

The newest venue in Chicago is take your breath away beautiful.

There aren't many spaces in Chicago the include indoor and outdoor space. At The Ivy Room, you can have your cake and eat it too. The space can be configurable for both an indoor or outdoor ceremony. Located at 12 E. Ohio Street, The Ivy Room will certainly become the next in demand wedding venue.

If I was to get married here, I would first have my cocktail hour, then a sunset ceremony outdoors, followed by a boisterous reception.

Photography by Chris Guillen.

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Ring.

My original plan was to wear my engagement ring on my right hand and my wedding ring on my left hand. I am not a fan of stacking an engagement ring ontop of a wedding ring. I also only wear one ring per hand.

My plan went out the window when my fiance bought me a gorgeous amethyst for my 30th birthday.

I call it my, "I'm 30 and fabulous ring."

My new plan is to get just one ring. One perfect ring.

I wear my amathyst on my left hand. It's funny because as soon as you say you are engaged, there are some women that immediately look at your left ring finger. These women usually do a double take when they see my ring.

I have always been the type of girl to march to the beat of my own drum so this suits me just fine. However, I am not sure what I want for my wedding ring. It has to have lots of pave. If I get a center stone, it has to be an Asscher cut.

Asscher cut center stone with pave band. This is close to what I envision my wedding ring to look like.

Gorgeous cushion cut ring with pave and filigree.

Do you have your dream ring?

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