ChicagoStyle Weddings | Illinois Wedding Magazine And Website
ChicagoStyle Weddings Magazine & Website has provided couples with comprehensive wedding planning information and interactive tools to assist you in organizing your wedding. We strive to help you select the professional wedding vendor that is just right for you and your budget. ChicagoStyle Weddings provides you with all the necessary resources that are ultimately focused on the same goal -..
Lynn and Marker met while working at Bath and Body Works. Mutual friends urged them to go on a date, and after Marker wowed Lynn with a homemade Italian dinner, they were inseparable. The pair managed to maintain a long distance relationship for the following three years until they could be in the same city. “We found a great balance in our strengths and differences, while seemingly always being on the same page,” Lynn said.
It was important to Lynn and Marker that their wedding day feel unique and personal to them. They found their dream venue at The Ivy Room at Tree Studios where they fell in love with the abundant greenery, brick walls and romantic ambiance. On their Big Day, the bride and groom got ready separately and then met at a rooftop bar for an emotional first look. They took pictures in downtown Chicago with their wedding party before arriving for the wedding ceremony. “The venue was set for us to have our ceremony outside with the sunlight and a beautiful background of tall ivy walls in a space that has an almost European feel,” Lynn remembered. The couple exchanged vows they wrote themselves in front of their closest friends and family in the intimacy of the walled courtyard.
The romantic vibes continued in the reception space where Lynn and Marker chose to decorate with white florals, lots of greenery, flickering candlelight and pops of gold accents. Guests enjoyed a delicious gluten-free menu before getting down on the dance floor. Marker gifted Lynn with a pair of all-white Nike sneakers, complete with satin laces to match her dress, so she could dance comfortably throughout the night. Their families love to dance and the DJ kept everyone happy with a perfect playlist and lots of energy, making it a perfect party.
Lynn and Marker loved celebrating with their loved ones and enjoyed dancing all night. The couple’s favorite memory from the day came when they decided to take a small break from the dance floor. “We had a moment a couple hours after the DJ got everyone dancing. We both needed to take a breath and stood by an open veranda overlooking the courtyard where we were married. The weather was perfect to just take in the view of the courtyard with lights wrapping the trees while holding each other and reflecting on the day,” Lynn shared. It was a sweet moment of reflection in the midst of the excitement and celebration of their Big Day.
Setting up the wedding gift registry might be every engaged couple’s single favorite part of wedding planning. Except, maybe, for cake tasting! And honestly, who can
blame you? You’re basically shopping for all those splurge-worthy items you have always wanted but never really needed, without actually spending any money yourself. Plus, if you rock it old school (aka: actually register for gifts in a store, in person) you get to use one of those super-fun barcode scanners. If you’ve never done this before, wielding a barcode scanner comes with a surprisingly exhilarating sense of power, use it wisely.
But like every other element of wedding planning and prep, setting up your wedding registry comes with its fair share of etiquette, and some helpful guidance to go with it. Here are seven things to keep in mind while setting up your wedding registry – guaranteed to keep you and your gift-giving guests happy.
1. Choose Your Price Points Mindfully.
Before you even start to put together that gift registry, really think about who you’re inviting to your wedding, and plan your wish list accordingly. Be sure to have a few big-ticket items for those folks who you know are going to want to splurge on you, while also being courteous of anyone like your old college roommate and those co-workers still paying off student loans who might be operating with a more modest budget. The bulk of your registry items should fall somewhere in the middle of your highest price point
and your lowest – and a good rule of thumb is to expect guests to spend around the same amount of dough as you are budgeting per-head for your Big Day, give or take.
2. Consider Exactly The Kind of Wedding You’re Having.
Naturally, if most of your guests live locally and will have minimal travel expenses, they’re going to have more to offer in the gift-giving department. If you are asking your guests to venture across the country – or even around the world – to attend your (undoubtedly, fabulous) destination wedding, keep that in mind when you’re registering for gifts. Make sure your expectations take into account what your gracious guests will already be spending just to attend your wedding – both in travel costs and in any time they might need to take away from work. Also make sure you set up your registry so that everything is delivered directly to your home address (or wherever you want all your gifts to go). No one wants to transport a Crock-Pot across 3,000 miles, only to have you transport it right back.
3. Try To Keep That Registry As Organized As Possible.
I once gifted a soon-to-be-wedded girlfriend a dozen napkin rings, 18 napkins, 6 place settings in one pattern, 3 place settings in another, a soup ladle, and the lid to a butter dish. This was not by design. The folks who had gotten to her registry before me had completely ransacked it – buying a couple of plates here, a few table linens there, a butter dish (sans lid), without any rhyme or reason that I could discern, based on the chaos that was left behind. Now, I understand if you’re registering at one of those housewares stores where everything comes with its own barcode, it can be hard to keep your registry orderly. (Plus, nobody wants to stress over being their own gift registry police when they’ve got an entire wedding to finish planning). But, if possible, try to register for things in sets, and try to refrain from constantly editing the items on your registry throughout your engagement. It makes things very confusing (and unnecessarily embarrassing – see personal anecdote above) for your guests. Particularly those of us who are not especially adept at wrapping one half of a butter dish.
4. Know Yourself (And Your Fiancé).
I speak from experience when I say if you have never, ever, felt the impulse to bake homemade bread in your life, marriage is not going to change that about you. Not now, probably not ever. Do not feel like you must register for items you will never use, just because it is a classic registry gift. Should you register for a bread maker and then actually receive one, you will most likely attempt to make said bread exactly one time, before you realize two things: 1.) you are not all that interested in baking homemade bread and 2.) you have now made it entirely impossible to return your shiny, brand new bread maker for something you will actually use and love. If the person who gifted you the bread maker is someone who regularly spends time at your house, you will be obligated to pull the bread maker out of the back of your pantry and place it on your kitchen counter every single time they come over. And bread makers, for anyone who hasn’t spent a lot of time moving them to and fro, are notoriously heavy. Know yourself, register for things you will actually use.
5. But Don’t Be Afraid To Treat Yourself, Either.
If you’ve always been interested in, say, brewing your own beer (or, you know, actually baking your own bread) then, by all means, your wedding registry is the opportunity to treat yourself to the pricier items you have had your eye on – with the added benefit of someone else’s budget.
6. Think Outside The Box.
…The gift box, that is. Although receiving eight blenders and a stash of sterling silver candlesticks you will (probably) never use has practically become the stuff of wedding cliché, that doesn’t mean you’re limited to filling your registry with items that can fit inside a standard gift box. Consider registering for experiences instead of, or in addition to, items to stock your home. Looking to take some of the financial stress out of your honeymoon? You might want to set up a fundraising page and ask your guests to contribute to your travel budget. You can make “experiential gifting” feel a little more personal than just writing a check by inviting your guests to put together a few fun date night goodie
bags for you and your new spouse. Instead of adding everything and the kitchen sink to your registry, you can also put together a shorter list of bigger ticket items (think camping gear, a couples’ wine tasting class, his-and-hers surfboards, etc.) and make sure your guests know they can pool their giving towards one larger item or experience
for the two of you. At the end of the day, your guests just want to give you something you’ll both love.
7. Pay It Forward.
Have everything you could ever need and want, and a comfortable travel budget to boot? Consider using your wedding registry to pay your own hard work and good fortune forward. If there’s a charity you and your soon-to-be-wedded love, or a nonprofit near and dear to your hearts, invite your guests to make a donation in your names, in lieu of gifts. Giving back is definitely a great way to celebrate your new life together.
While every couple’s wedding is unique, when it comes to planning the Big Day, it often seems that a large amount of focus and energy goes toward planning the perfect reception. Of course, the reception and all of its intricacies are indeed a big undertaking – but it’s only one part of your wedding day. The reception is a celebration of the
ceremony that precedes it, and planning the ceremony takes time and effort as well. As you work toward putting together your perfect day, consider these seven key ceremony aspects.
1. The Angles.
Many ceremonies have a pretty standard set-up: the couple and officiant are up front, the bridal party is on either side, and the guests are seated in rows (with an aisle in-between). But that doesn’t mean every ceremony looks that way. Depending on your venue, the layout might be slightly different. Make sure you discuss with your wedding planner or the venue manager exactly how everything will look. Some questions you may consider asking include: Where will you and your officiant stand? Will you be on a platform elevated slightly above your guests, or on the same level? Where will your bridal party stand or sit? Where will your guests sit? Will everyone be able to see the action?
It’s worth having a conversation with your photographer and videographer once you have a concept of the layout, so they can ensure they’ll be able to get the photographs they need.
2. The Duration.
If you’re following a fairly traditional ceremony (such as a religious one), the length may be dictated by the predetermined elements of that ceremony. If not, it’s a good idea to consider how long you ideally want your ceremony to last before figuring out the individual parts of it. Do you want it to be a short and sweet 20 minutes and get your guests quickly to cocktail hour? Or do you want to take more time – perhaps 45 minutes to an hour – to incorporate more components that are important to you? Keep in mind that the length of the ceremony affects the rest of your schedule as well. When deciding on ceremony length, try mapping out a rough itinerary for the day, working backward from your reception. If the ceremony is 45 minutes, for example, what time will you need to start in order to get you and your guests to the reception on time? If the ceremony and reception are at the same venue, what time will you need to start to ensure the cocktail hour starts on time?
3. The Order of Events.
If you are putting together your ceremony without following a predetermined layout, it’s up to you to decide the order of events. Some of the most traditional elements of a ceremony include the processional, the officiant’s greeting and message to the couple, the declaration of intent, the readings, the vows, the exchange of rings, the pronouncement of marriage, the kiss, and the recessional. There are of course certain components that clearly fit into certain spots, but you have some freedom with the order of the ceremony, after all, it’s your ceremony. While you may find that plenty of couples do the declaration of intent immediately before the vows, for example, it’s completely fine to swap those two, or include a reading in between. You can intersperse a few readings throughout the ceremony or have them read consecutively. Try “storyboarding”
the ceremony: write each element on a small piece of paper, lay them out in order, and then play around with them until you find something that feels right for you and your fiancé.
4. The Events Themselves.
One of the most fun parts of planning your ceremony is deciding what elements you’ll include. Again, there are plenty of traditional components to a wedding ceremony, but you can decide which of those to use and not use, as well as any additional “events” you may fancy. The decisions can be based on whether the ceremony is religious, non-denominational, or perhaps a fusion of two different cultures. The ceremony can be based on what speaks to you and what best represents you as a couple. For example, you may want to include a memorial to loved ones, a thank you to your guests, a “Blessing of the Hands,” or a musical performance, the options are limitless.
Customize the content and wording of your Big Day as you would like. Don’t feel constrained to only the most common wedding readings. For example, if you want someone to recite the lyrics of your favorite song, go for it! And when it comes to things like the declaration of intent, there are many variations your officiant can use leading up to the “I do”. Browse online and find versions that really speak to you. Many people choose to incorporate a mini “unity ceremony” within the larger ceremony. If you go that route, consider what style of unity ceremony you would like – such as mixing two different colors of sand into one glass vase or using two separate candles to light one unity
5. The Music.
There are a few things to think about when it comes to ceremony music. First, decide where you want music to be incorporated into your ceremony. Will it only be during the processional and recessional? Do you want anything to play softly in the background of events like the unity ceremony or ring exchange? Do you want to include a vocal or
instrumental performance in the middle? Once you’ve made those decisions, you can move on to choosing the tunes and how the music will be played (such as live instrumentals via a string quartet or harp, a live vocalist, or recordings played over a speaker). If you’re working with a musician, they can likely play you some samples and help you decide what direction to go with your song selections.
6. The Participants.
The participants include the usual suspects: you, your future spouse, and your officiant, of course. But, who else will be involved in your ceremony? What roles will your bridal party play in the ceremony? Will they stand the entire time on either side of you or will they sit in the front row? Are there any additional tasks you need to assign them (like holding bouquets or rings)? Beyond bridesmaids and groomsmen, consider how you might incorporate other important people into your ceremony. Perhaps you’ll have two parents light the individual candles ahead of the unity ceremony or ask a close friend to do a reading.
7. The Physical Elements.
Think about what types of physical elements to include in your ceremony. Will you get married under a chuppah or wedding canopy? If so, plan ahead to secure the purchase or rental of one along with any additional components, like silk draping or an additional floral display. Don’t forget to confirm the logistics of delivery, set up, and break down. Then, there are the smaller things such as an aisle runner, a microphone, and a table for the unity ceremony. Many items like candles, chairs for your musicians, programs, as well as a card box may seem like small details that can be figured out last minute, but those small details can add up to big headaches when you’re trying to take care of them the week of your wedding. Get ahead of it by making a list early on, checking off when you acquire the items, and then delegating the plan to get each piece to the ceremony on time.
Stage fright walking down the aisle, that weird thing your hair is doing, or the weather forecast gone awry, these are just some of the factors that can induce wedding day anxiety. The good news is, there are tons of tips and tricks for keeping it together when you start to feel totally overwhelmed.
A Little Lavender Goes A Long Way.
In your day-of bridal survival kit, consider tossing in a small bottle of lavender essential oil. lavender oil has long been studied for its calming properties, helping to eliminate
anxiety and soothe stress. a couple of drops on the inside of your wrists or on the soles of your dance-fatigued feet, followed by some deep breathing, can totally Zen you out in a pinch.
Plan for Plan B.
Planning for plan B isn’t easy. You had your heart set on first-look photographs outdoors and it’s pouring rain. now what? A great wedding planner (or a bestie who’s been there) can help you plan for plan B, before the wedding. That way, you will have a solution on hand, one that will keep your day from going totally off the rails.
Have A Member of Your Bridal Party on Call.
Do you keep missing the tray of mini quiche appetizers because yet another cousin has pulled you aside to say hi? While making your guests feel welcome is critical wedding day etiquette, you’re also entitled to a break from the chit-chat. Having a member of your bridal party nearby will give you time to relax and refuel for a second wind.
Have A Chat With The DJ.
Feeling like you have not had enough one-on-one time with your new spouse? Give the DJ a heads up that you would like to take things down a notch for a couple of songs. Take advantage of this time to reconnect with one another, even if it’s just for three minutes to waltz to “When a man loves a Woman”. For a day dedicated to celebrating the two of
you, surprisingly, you see very little of each other once the festivities begin.
Avoid That Impulse To Hit The Open Bar.
Normally, an extra glass of wine or two, to help you unwind after a long day is entirely fair game. But, if you find yourself repeatedly hitting the open bar to relieve that wedding day anxiety, you might want to think twice. From being too buzzed to appreciate memorable moments to getting a little sloppier than intended, using the open bar as your anxiety outlet is probably best avoided. save those celebratory sips for the honeymoon.
Despite strong winds on their wedding day, Kolby and J. enjoyed a dance-filled celebration on Kolby’s family farm. The couple also managed to incorporate their love of Disney throughout their Big Day. All photos by Vivid Studios, Inc.
Kolby was working as a graduate assistant for the Illinois State University softball team when she met J., who was an assistant coach for the baseball team. When the baseball team staff challenged the softball team staff to a trivia night competition at a local pub, the two sat next to each other and hit it off. “We shared the same morals, beliefs, and are strong in our faith, which was huge for me,” Kolby shared.
Soon the couple was planning their wedding! Kolby and J. are both huge Disney fans, so they incorporated the magic in subtle ways— Kolby and her bridesmaids wore robes with their favorite Disney princesses on the back and Kolby gifted J. a pair of Mickey Mouse cufflinks. Kolby had an emotional first look experience with her dad before joining J. for their first look. J. said seeing Kolby in her wedding dress for the first time was his favorite moment of their Big Day: “I had an idea in my head what her dress was going to look like and when I finally got to see her, it surpassed anything I could have imagined.”
The pair wed in a traditional Methodist ceremony. Kolby carried a brooch bouquet including brooches gifted to her by her friends and family, that was as heavy as it was beautiful. After they exchanged their vows, Kolby and J. joined their guests at Kolby’s parent’s farm to celebrate beneath tents that stood up to the extremely windy weather. Guests entered the reception through the corn crib that has stood on the farm since 1925 and enjoyed custom mocktails named after the couple’s favorite Disney characters. The reception was decorated with a color palette of dusty rose, navy and gold with candelabras and floral centerpieces on the tables.
Kolby’s first dance with her father was a highlight of the evening. They practiced for four months and pulled it off perfectly! “Neither my dad nor I have any sort of rhythm and hate being in the spotlight, so nobody suspected a thing,” Kolby said. Guests enjoyed sweet treats from an ice cream food truck between turns on the dance floor, which was packed all night thanks to the fabulous eleven-piece band.