Posts

Unique Venues

You’ve been to those cookie cutter weddings where everything seems like it’s a repeat of the wedding before. But, unique venues are not as hard to find as you might think! You want unique venues to not only make your day extra special but also one your guests will remember!

First on our list is the Lacuna Artist Lofts located at 2150 South Canalport Avenue, Chicago. If you want an amazing view of the cityscape if you’re looking for a unique venue that offers space outside. You can get hitched on the rooftop or inside in one of the four art gallery rooms. The outdoor deck is 5,000 square feet and can accommodate 200 guests. It’s the perfect place for your artsy side and also capturing the city that you love!

Our second pick for a unique venue is a hop away in Elkhorn,Wisconsin called Camp Wandawega! Remember those great camp memories when you were a kid or maybe you never got the experience. Now’s your chance. In 1925 it was used as a speakeasy but these days it’s being used for wedding weekends!

Guests get to stay in cabins or teepees and enjoy all that camp has to offer. There are swimming, rope climbing, stargazing and all with the luxury of access to booze!

The camp Wandawega experience will bring out the hippie in all of you! It offers fun outdoors activities to entertain families and also romantic lakeside spots for couples.

 

Our third unique venue is Thalia Hall located 1807 South Allport Street, Chicago. This building was designed to resemble the Prague Opera house and what better space to hold a wedding and feel like royalty?

The space is beautiful for any decor or theme you’d like! It can accommodate 250 seated guests and after the night’s over guest can go down to the basement the Punch House for more fun!

Wedding Budget Strategies

Wedding Budget Strategies

Wedding Budget Strategies

Time is of the essence after getting engaged. That is, unless you plan on hiring someone to take care of all the details i.e. a wedding planner, which by the way runs on an average of $2,500 to $4,000. To help guide you, here are 5 ways to help maximize your wedding budget and plan accordingly.

1) Prioritize – Right away, you will want to prioritize your most important aspects of the wedding to your fiancé and you. Will the groom just die if you do not have a Hummer limo? Or, are photos more important to you?

Wedding Budget StrategiesChicago Hummer Limo

2) In-season / Off-season – Having your wedding during the most popular wedding months are a key indicator that your costs will reflect this as well.

Wedding Budget StrategiesJill Thomas Photography

3) Day of the Week- Saturdays typically tend to be the most popular day to host a wedding. However, many vendors will give deep discounts for choosing a Friday night or Sunday afternoon. If you really like a venue, but the Saturday prices are too steep, consider having the event on an “off” day.

Wedding Budget Strategies

4) Limit Guest List– This might not make you the most favored person, but friends and family whom understand that budget is a big factor should understand. Be choosy about whom you invite. Don’t feel obligated to invite people that aren’t very important to you or you have lost touch with. Just because you were invited to your friend from college’s wedding five years ago does not mean you must invite her to your event.

5) Location, Location, Location – Your location definitely impacts tax, gratuity, and other factors. If you choose a ritzy hotel in the city versus a banquet hall in a rural area you are likely to pay less just because of location alone. Take into consideration that these places also may charge for parking, valet, etc.

Wedding Budget StrategiesOlivia Leigh Photography at The Newberry Library

There are many decisions to consider and finding what is most important is the best way to help figure out where to splurge and where to be conservative. Please stay tuned for Part Two of Wedding Budget Strategies for the last five ways to help save you some moolah!

Wedding Guest List Tips

Wedding Guest List Tips

The wedding budget will dictate how many people you can invite to your big day. It is important to lay out an estimate for a sense of framework. Creating a rough idea can really be complete chaos. Should you invite your closest friend from work? Are your younger cousins under 18 invited if you weren’t considering inviting children? Are your parents closest friends allowed to come? I can almost guarantee that these questions WILL come up.

Here are five tips to stick with when creating your rough draft of the guest list:

1) Invite people who are important to your fiancé and you

Remember this day is about the two of you- not your mother-in-law playing out her fantasies of having a do-over of her wedding day. This is a special day and in that day you should surround yourself with the people who are the most near and dear to you. If that means inviting your third cousin on your Dad’s side because you two are very close, but not your cousin on your Mom’s side- then so be it.

Wedding Guest List Tips

2) Don’t let your parents or in-laws dictate your entire guest list (even if they are footing some or most of the bill)

In continuation of the statement above, remember this day is about the couple getting married. Even if your in-laws and parents are assisting with paying for the wedding that does not give them free reign to go buck wild and invite their long-lost coworker. Respectfully tell them that they cannot invite people without checking with either of you first.

3) Create “A Team” and “B Team” lists

If your wedding venue requires a minimum food and beverage amount it helps to have a back-up list of people so you can hit the minimum. Let’s say you want 200 people to attend. On average, statistics say that 10 to 20 percent of guests do not show. If you are counting on 200 people, it’s nice to have a back-up list to work from.

Wedding Guest List Tips

4) Divvy the list evenly between both sides

This should be self-explanatory. It’s not exactly fair if you have 124 people on your list, and your fiancé only has 76.

5) Skip your co-workers. If you don’t hang with your colleagues outside of the office, leave them off the list. If you can though, invite your boss or assistant.

My rule of thumb is if you have worked anywhere less than one year, you can disregard the rule about your boss or assistant.

This is isn’t the last time you will look or revise your list, but it’s a start. Hopefully these five tips will save you your sanity!

Wedding Venue Cheat Sheet

Wedding Venue Cheat Sheet

Finding the perfect wedding venue can be daunting. However, with the help of online search engines, wedding Websites and magazines, along with referrals (word of mouth) things are much easier nowadays. Sites like WeddingWire, The Knot, and Style Me Pretty offer pictures and lists of local venues that come highly recommended. Who doesn’t like to drool over gorgeous pictures of dreamy and whimsical weddings all while venue scouting?

Wedding Venue Cheat SheetPhoto by Tom Nicol

Once you narrow down your list from online shopping and magazine scouting, it’s nice to visit these top locations in person to get a better idea. When you do visit these locations in person, please be prepared. The following questions are meant to be a guide for newly engaged couples:

  • How does the place charge—per person, by the hour, or flat fee? What is the payment plan?
  • Does the location provide everything we’ll need (tables, chairs, dinnerware, linens, stage for DJ or band, dance floor, tent, additional lighting, etc.)? Are there up charges for these items?
  • How many people does it seat?
  • Does the style of the space match the look we’re going for?
  • Does the decor coordinate with our color scheme?
  • Do we like the view and the surrounding area? Are their windows?
  • Where does the band/entertainment set up?
  • Is there an echo in the room? This will affect how the band/DJ will sound.
  • Can we see sample floor plans and/or visit when the room is set up for a wedding, so we can see what everything looks like when it’s set up?
  • Is in-house catering available? Can we bring in our own caterer?
  • Does the site have a liquor license? Can we bring in our own alcohol? If so, what types of alcohol will be served, and is there any cap or limit?
  • Is ours the only reception scheduled that day? If not, will there be another one during our reception?
  • Will we be sharing cocktail hour space or bathrooms with the other guests? Will we be able to hear their music during our reception?
  • Will the manager be present for our reception?
  • What are the cancellation policies? Is the deposit refundable?
  • What’s the staff to guest ratio?
  • How many hours is the site available? Are there charges if the reception runs over?
  • Is there free parking? If there is valet parking, what are the rates and expected gratuities?
  • Is parking free for vendors?
  • What is the charge for vendor meals?
  • Will there be coatroom and restroom attendants? Servers? Bartenders? What are the charges for each?

Wedding Venue Cheat SheetAllori Photography

Happy venue shopping! Make sure to ask plenty of questions, and to get everything in writing in your contract when you are ready to book the perfect site.

Vendor Spotlight Carnivale

Vendor Spotlight CarnivaleVendor Spotlight CarnivaleSpring is right around the corner and Chicago brides are ready for some bright colors. What better way to experience the festive atmosphere of a party than at Jerry Kleiner’s Carnivale. This vibrant and flavorful restaurant in Chicago’s west loop boasts a reception atmosphere that’s “Exciting, colorful and unique” as proclaimed in the website. We love the wide paneled colors on the walls and the pick of seven captivating rooms to choose from! The seating ranges anywhere from a cozy seating of 40 to 1,000. There are the three salons, the Samba room, Flamenco room, Lambada lounge and Tango room (see photos below). Each room is flagged with colorful accessories and brilliant chandeliers. For the fun and quirky bride Carnivale could be the best choice. We think this venue is perfect for those spring brides who want to make sure their reception is a party atmosphere rather than stuffy winter draping’s.

Vendor Spotlight CarnivaleSamba Room

Vendor Spotlight CarnivaleFlamenco Room

Vendor Spotlight CarnivaleTango Room

Their menu, prepared by Chef Rudolf Quadros, is bursting with only fresh and seasonal ingredients. The chef uses organic and sometimes home grown ingredients. Brides can choose from tapas style meals or traditional plated meals. The menu is tailored to each bride’s tastes and Carnivale caters exclusively to the bride’s requests.

Vendor Spotlight Carnivale

Vendor Spotlight CarnivaleCarnivale Ceremony via Sweet Chic Events

Venue Selection Flowchart

Venue Selection Flowchart

Finding a venue for your wedding is no easy task. There are so many different options it can seem terribly overwhelming when trying to narrow it down to just one. And considering the fact that it’s the largest cost of your wedding venue, you definitely want to select a venue that is well worth the money you’re going to shell out.

This year’s wedding venue trends are straying from the traditional banquet halls and country clubs and opting for the more unique and extravagant locations, such as in a cave or on a glacier. But if you don’t have the budget to pull that off, it’s not a problem at all. By choosing a venue that is true to you and your fiance’s style, and of course staying within your budget, you’ll be able to set the scene perfectly for your big day. To help point you in the right direction, SimplyBridal has created a flow chart to help determine what type of wedding venue you should consider. Happy venue hunting! Venue Selection Flowchart.
Venue Selection Flowchart

Fido at Your Wedding

For many people, pets are like a family member, so having that pet be a part of their wedding day seems like the right thing to do. But are you and your pet ready for your wedding day? Here’s a few things to consider before you and Fido walk down the aisle:

Your Pet’s Temperament:  Is your pet easily excitable in large groups? Or have they mastered sitting on command? A wedding will be a new experience for them so be sure they will be able to behave and not make a scene on the big day. Even though you may want your pet there, they may feel more comfortable at home.

obedient

Check With Your Venue:  It’s important to make sure pets are allowed at your wedding venue before you start planning their grand entrance. If having your pet be apart of your day is a must-have, you may need to consider pet friendly places only when you are in the planning stages and picking a venue. This is definitely an area where you must plan ahead.

pets welcome

Check With Your Guests:  A lot of people have allergic reactions to certain types of pets, so informing your guest beforehand that your pet will be apart of the wedding will help those guest to take the necessary precautions.

pet-allergy

Preparing Your Pet:  If all is a go with Mr. Whiskers, then it is essential to prepare him for the day. If you are having him wear some type of clothing, or plan on strapping a ring pillow on his back and walk down the aisle, it’s best to start practicing weeks before the wedding day. If possible,  take him to the venue and allow him to get use to the new space. Allow your pet enough time to get use to his role and reward him with treats for being well behaved.

dog weddingJoe Mikos Photographers

Hire a Pet Handler:  This can be someone that you know or a professional, but having someone at the wedding that is responsible for your pet is vital. You will not have the time or  energy to worry about your pet during the rest of your wedding commotion, so having a person assigned to your pet will make the day go much smoother.  Make sure the pet handler has everything they will need to properly care for your animal on the day, including a home to take them to when the celebrations are over.

pet wedding

first three steps of wedding planning

First Three Steps of Wedding Planning

First Three Steps of Wedding Planning

Here’s the first three steps in your countdown to “I Do!” Get started now by tackling these first wedding planning tasks.

So he popped the question…now what?

Unfortunately, for most newly engaged women – the excitement of finally finding “the one” is dampened by a hard dose of stress and anxiety. Sure, you’ll find about a gazillion wedding planning checklists out there, but they all tend to overwhelm more than they help, and all essentially fail to address the fundamental question: “Where do I begin?”

We’re here to help. After you’ve announced the exciting news and taken some time to bask in your newly engaged glow, it’s time to get cracking. Here are the first three wedding planning tasks you absolutely must accomplish before anything else.

Cross these items off your wedding checklist – and you’re on your way.

First Steps of Wedding Planning:

Step 1: Determine Your Budget

Every decision stems from the wedding budget. Before you can plan anything, you must know how much you can spend and who plans to contribute. Your budget will determine the type of wedding you can have – from how many guests you invite, to where and when you host your wedding, right down to the specific blooms in your bouquet. And with the ever increasing cost of weddings, financing the event is often a group effort; the bride’s parents no longer need to take out a second mortgage just to fund the upcoming nuptials. You’ll need to talk to your families about who will pay for what, and arrive at a total wedding budget. This complete wedding budget tracker will walk you through the process.

Step 2: Tackle the Guest List

Some “checklists” suggest setting a date and commencing other wedding plans before this step, but Elegala considers the guest count is the most vital decision after the budget. Here’s why: Capacity is one of the most important criteria in finding a suitable wedding venue – more so even than style and vision – and you must secure your location before you can successfully plan anything else. Trust us, cramming 300 people into a venue that seats 150 will not go over well. You don’t need to have the list finalized just yet, but you’ll need an estimate from both sides of the family (and yourselves) right away to avert countless planning headaches down the road.  This complete wedding guest guide will help you get started.

Step 3: Set a Site and Date

Only once you have an estimated budget and guest count can you begin searching for a place to hold your event with any accuracy. Remember – many reception sites book over a year in advance, so you really can’t decide on a wedding date until you have officially booked your venue with a signed contract. Find as many reception sites that meet your budget, capacity and overall style quotient as you can. Use our wedding reception site search to find venues in your area, and narrow down your list. Then schedule appointments to tour each wedding venue and meet with the manager. After that—it’s decision making time.

There is one wedding planning truism that we hold dear. As you may have heard it said, once you find your wedding venue, everything else falls into place. Once you have accomplished these steps, you will find the rest of your planning task list a piece of, ahem, wedding cake.

source: elegala.com