Archive for June, 2010

Find your Wedding Inspiration in our favorite Bridal Magazines

Monday, June 28th, 2010

I have a huge confession to make. I hardly ever buy wedding or bridal magazines because for the most part we’ve usually done most of the things in the magazines. However, I will tell you a little secret there are three bridal magazines that I absolutely love and suggest you read for innovating ideas, luxurious details and of course, designers eye candy.

Grace Ormonde Magazine ~ Not only did I get to meet THE Grace Ormonde  at her Chicago Book Launch but I also love the pictures, love the articles, and you can always use any of their grand ideas in a smaller scale. Plus, they are about to revamp their website yet again. Visit them at

WedLuxe ~ It’s a canadian luxury wedding magazine. If you are lucky enough to hold one of their issues you will not be disappointed at all. The name says it all. Visit their website at for inspiration.

The Bride and Bloom ~ Beautiful eye candy that can be applied to any wedding. Their website is

Some of the best ideas don’t all come from bridal magazines. Think outside of the box and try out other magazines or even catalogues, that are geared towards interior design for ideas on colors, layouts and of course, floral design. One of my favorites is Architectural Digest along with Homes and Gardens. As far as catalogues go… believe it or not, Crate and Barrel’s catalogue  is ahead of what the next hot color will be. Where do you think this year’s hottest color combo of light grey and yellow came from!

Later on this week, I’ll talk about my favorite blogs and books I use for inspiration!

J.Crew Bridal

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

In case you didn’t know J.Crew got into the business of selling bridal gowns. They have a brand new bridal store in NYC. Luckily, you can try on any of the wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses – by appointment only at their local 900 N. Michigan Store. You really can’t beat the prices on these gowns. As most of them retail for less than a thousand dollars, many of them for a lot less than that!

If you would like to schedule an appointment at the Michigan Avenue store reach out to Jessica at 312-751-2739.

And while you are there…. don’t forget about your bridesmaids!

How much seating should you provide during a cocktail reception?

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

I get this question a lot and it’s important that you provide the correct amount of seating for your guests during a cocktail reception. Remember you want to provide some seating because you will always have the guests that need to take a seat such as elderly, pregnant gals or the guest that wants to rest for a bit. As a rule of thumb, always provide seating for 20 % to 30% of your guest count for a cocktail reception. If you provide more seating than this then your guests will think you didn’t account for them properly.

How many appetizers should you serve during a cocktail hour?

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Cocktail hours are really one of the most interesting parts of a wedding reception. It kicks off the evening and let’s your guests mingle prior to a sit down dinner. If you are having a one hour cocktail hour I suggest you serve four passed hor d’oeuvres. If you have a one and half cocktail reception prior to dinner (which is really the longest this should last) then I suggest you serve six passed hor ‘d oeuvres. Passed hor d’oeuvres should be bite sized, easy to pick up with one hand while the guest holds a drink with the other.  Make sure you pick a good mix of hot and cold hor d’oeuvres along with a good variety between beef, seafood, vegetarian and chicken.

Here is an example of what a good variety of hor d’oeuvres should look like:

A. Mini Lamb Chops with a Pesto aioli

B. Grilled Shrimp with a Chipotle Lime Sauce

C. Spinach Risotto Cake

D. Chicken Mini Empanadas with a tomato Salsa

Have your caterer present the hor d’oeuvres in a unique plate or vessel as Limelight Catering does in the picture below.

A Thank you Letter to Engaging Concepts

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

It’s been four days that I’ve been back to Chicago from Grand Cayman and all I can say is I’m a changed person.  I felt that since you bestowed the opportunity to attend Engage10 thru a scholarship it would be a good idea to tell you what I learned out of my time at Engage10 and what really made a big impression on me.

Having my friend Ali Phillips (who also happened to be my roommate!), Harmony Walton, Liene Stevens and Donna Von Bruening moderate a panel about how to get the most out of Engage was a brilliant way to kickoff the summit. Afterwards, I felt like there was not ONE person I couldn’t approach (Speakers included) and introduce myself to, because as Ali, Harmony, Liene and Donna reminded us all that we were there to meet one another, and learn from each other. As I wrote in my scholarship essay, this was truly the main reason why I wanted to attend Engage10, and it didn’t disappoint. I met so many amazing people, everyone was so incredible and sincerely interested in me as I was in them.

Afterwards, I went to register and Ali wasn’t kidding when she said “Wait til you see this swag bag”. She was right! You were not messing around.  That was THE swag bag! It was loaded with tons of ideas I can take back to my clients for their weddings… and of course the yellow Havaianas in my size were the perfect touch. Thank you!

The next day started with meeting more people, somehow I never got tired of meeting other attendees because there was an interesting story behind all of them. And it led me to the next presentation which made a big impact on me. I’ve been trying for a long time to find business minded folks like me. Others whom I can relate to that juggle work, friends, children and life.  I’ve really have never had someone who I can relate to because not everyone “does it all, and does it well”. The next day Cindy Novotny gave one of the best motivational speaking engagements that I’ve heard in a long time. She reminded me that in the middle of my packed schedule, juggling two small children, staying happily married, running a household, traveling between jobs and a forging a business I have found balance doing what I love to do, and it’s okay because I’m enjoying myself and it’s working  for me.

You also talked about the top ten innovators…. and a few of them live in my beautiful city of Chicago. Thanks to Engage10 I know all of them personally and plan to make it a point to work with them in my future events. Within these innovators you validated what I already suspected, that a talented woman named Bernadette Smith from 14 Stories in Boston is taking the gay and lesbian wedding world by storm.  Along with  I Do Films & Avery House will forever change how my clients look at their photography and video with the launch of their new innovation.

One of my favorite evening events were the Dine Arounds. Oh yes, the Dine Arounds, I have a secret to tell. I got the golden ticket!  I was invited to have dinner with Marcy Blum and Todd-Avery Lenahan. They were very gracious hosts making sure they talked to every single guest and engaged everyone in conversation. Plus, the boat ride to dinner was a great way to start the evening.

I’m not going to keep going on and on (this post is long enough) but I met new friends, I found an accountability partner thanks to Simon ( Beverly don’t forget 9-9-10! ), Colin Cowie thought me that luxury is truly all about the service you give your clients, Todd Fiscus reminded me that it’s all possible but you have to put a lot of hard work and try different things as there really is no magic formula. And of course, how can I forget Randy & Todd who reminded me that I need to go do some power shopping for a new wardrobe.

I want to finish off by saying…..Thank you for giving me a priceless gift. It is one that will live with me today, tomorrow and always. Thank you for the gift of education. I’ll see you at the Breakers in October.

Engage 10 ~ A Wedding Luxury Symposium

Friday, June 11th, 2010

I just came back from a wedding luxury business conference called Engage10 at the Ritz in Grand Cayman. I was lucky enough to be the recipient of their scholarship and I can definitely say I’m completely hooked! I will attend the conferences from now on. Not only was I able to educate myself but also meet some of the top wedding planners, photographers, videographers, magazine editors, luxury vendors in the industry and share a lot of interesting information with them about our industry.  As a bride, you would be happy to know that some of the top ten innovators live and work in Chicago, which is something to take advantage of, especially if you would like to add that unique touch to your wedding.  I will be talking in depth next week about what I learned….. until then I leave you with a few pictures of the final event and of course of the amazing property we stayed in.

Photo Credit: Lara Casey