Chicago Wedding Summer Favorites

With the weeks of Chicago summer fleeting and fall creeping in, we can’t help but stop and think about some of our favorite summertime wedding trends we’ve seen this season.  Not sure if it’s the heat of the weekend or the summertime rays, but we just can’t get enough of these five things.

Mason jars.  These glass beauties make the perfect partner for summertime weddings.  They are a great way to showcase a signature cocktail or fruit infused water and add an extra ounce of décor if your drink matches your wedding color scheme.  Mason jars can be ordered from most restaurant supply stores, but we’ve also seen tons at flea markets and garage sales.  And for an extra punch of fun, add an old fashioned swirly straw.  Can a drink get any better?

Yellow.  Nothing says summer like the color yellow.  And this summer, we’ve loved the color pair with just about everything.  Yellow and teal, yellow and coral, yellow and navy; its hard to go wrong, really.  And because yellow is such a contagious color, a little goes a long way!

Sparklers.  Maybe we’re still reeling from the 4th of July, or maybe we’re just suckers for anything shiny, but a sparkler exit is still one of our wedding favorites.  We often hear couples asking about the perfect sparkler length, and we’re fans of the 14 inch sparkler.  Long enough to last for a prolonged exit, but not so long that they feel overwhelming or scary.

Multicolored bridesmaid dresses. Like bridesmaids everywhere, we love letting bridesmaids choose their own dresses, but having each bridesmaid choose a different color, creates a fabulous summertime effect.  Even if you might not expect the colors to go together in normal settings, having them sprinkled throughout attendants creates a fun and lighthearted effect, perfect for summer.

Ice cold treats.  This summer, we’ve seen an emergence of frozen treats throughout weddings.  Ice cream bars and popsicle stands have caught our attention as the perfect summer wedding addition.  As the dance floor gets going and guests heat up, be ready to cool them down with the perfect summer frozen treat.  Talk with your reception vendor about options for incorporating ice cold treats into your reception. Wedding Dessert Options.
















Wedding DIY Pros and Cons

DIY (Do-It-Yourself) is a common buzz word among brides-to-be. Some brides associate DIY projects with savings and individuality. Other brides associate the trend with cheap quality and lots of headaches. Both brides have defendable cases. Here is why.

The Pros of DIY

There are lots of reasons that DIY projects have become so popular. Those reasons include:

Low Costs – Typically, DIY projects are cheaper than store bought versions. For instance, invitations printed on your home computer may be least 50% cheaper than stationary ordered from a traditional printer.

Personalization – The modern couple wants a wedding that is all about them. They want a wedding that showcases their personalities and interests. DIY projects allow you to create wedding accessories and essentials that are 100% unique. No other bride (or groom) will create the exact same DIY project. This is especially true for wedding day accessories such cake toppers or wedding jewelry.

A Fun Experience – Besides the shower and bachelorette party, most bridesmaids have very few responsibilities. DIY projects are a fun way to include the bridal party (and family) in the wedding planning. You can have a girls’ night that involves food, wine, and DIY projects. These little moments are what make wedding planning fun.

A Sense of Accomplishment – When you walk in to your reception, you want to think Wow, I did this. You and your fiancé (and possibly the bridal party and family) created this magical day. That sense of accomplishment is amplified when you can say you physically created something whether it is as small as seating card or as big the centerpieces.

The Cons of DIY

As the old cliché goes, there are two sides to every story. While DIY projects have a variety of perks, there are also some downfalls.

Costs – Depending on the complexity of the project, some DIY projects are more expensive than store bought or professional versions. For projects that require a lot of materials, add up the costs of all materials and compare the costs to a store bought version.

Time – While you may save money on DIY projects, you won’t save time. Many DIY projects can be very time consuming. If the project is going to make your life too stressful, it may be wise to spend a little more money. You have to consider opportunity costs. Would you rather spend the month before your wedding playing Martha Stewart or would you rather be shopping for the honeymoon, getting your nails done with your maid of honor, and enjoying a bachelorette party? Unfortunately, there isn’t enough time for you to do everything.

Mistakes – If a professional messes up, they fix it. You can simply send the product back, and sometimes they compensate you with a discount for the trouble. If you mess up a DIY project, you have wasted time and money, and you still have to fix the project, which means more time or money. Always consider the level of expertise a project requires. If a project requires sewing and you’ve never touched a thread and needle, the month before your wedding probably isn’t the best time to learn. Don’t be afraid to leave some things to the professionals.

Like all wedding decisions, you have to choose if DIY is right for you. The best way to incorporate DIY into your wedding is to pick and choose which projects are important to you. Decide where you’d like to spend the most money and where you would like to save. Also, consider where your talents lie and how much time you have to complete projects. Wedding planning should be enjoyable, so choose projects that seem fun and splurge on the projects that would drive you insane.

Blackboard Decor

A recent trend has been popping up in a bridal magazines everywhere — blackboard décor. This trend is perfect for environmentally concerned couples because it makes everything from table numbers to favors reusable. It is also a good idea for budget-conscious couples who want to reduce the cost of stationary. Here are a few fun ways to incorporate blackboards into your wedding day.

A Reusable Sign

Many weddings use personalized signs to direct guests to the ceremony and/or reception site. These signs are especially useful for outdoor weddings. Rather spending money on a sign that you can only use once, why not purchase a blackboard that can be used again and again? For instance, this blackboard arrow from Playing Grown Up is an adorable way to direct guests to your wedding site.

Fun Speech Bubbles

When it is all over, the only thing you will have left from your wedding, besides the priceless memories, is the photos. It has often been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but why not add some real words to those photos? Show the camera what you are really thinking with these adorable blackboard speech bubbles. These are perfect for bridal party shots as well as unique bride and groom photos.

Reusable Table Numbers

Save a tree and use mini chalkboards to display table numbers. These elegant blackboards from HerMajestysPug Shop can be reused at other events, plus the silver border makes them sophisticated enough for a formal wedding.

Blackboard Glass Charms

People hate going to a wedding or party and losing their drink. Help your guests keep track of their drink with these adorable glass charms. They are a perfect keepsake for your wedding guests, and they ensure that Grandma doesn’t accidently pick up Cousin Joe’s Seven-and-Seven because she likes it is her Sprite.

An Old Fashioned Blackboard

Most brides spend hours typing up or writing out seating cards. They then go through the agonizing process of thinking of a cute way to display those seating cards. Save yourself the time (and help Mother Nature) by using a cute blackboard to write the seating list rather than using individual seating cards. Upon entering the reception, guests can simply check the board to find their table number. Added bonus: more room on the table for fun décor.

Chalk It Up

























Wedding Cake Alternatives

Let them eat cake. But not you. No, you’re willing to admit that you’ve never been a huge cake fan. So why settle for it now on your big day? If you’re willing to go outside of the ordinary or traditional, there are plenty of desserts that can be adapted perfectly for a wedding.


Even though wedding cupcakes are essentially still cake, something about their miniature size can be more appealing. With cupcakes, you can opt for a huge range of flavors, each one with a different frosty decoration. Plus, it’s still possible to arrange them in traditional layers; just ask your wedding baker for tips! For the true cupcake aficionado, you could even play around with flavored fillings and frostings.


Smooth and creamy, cheesecake is often a great alternative to cake. Once again, there is a variety of flavors available, as well as yummy toppings, and it can also be arranged in layers with the right kind of cake platform. Want a money-saving tip? Many restaurants and caterers will offer dessert as part of your meal package. Opt for the cheesecake dessert, and serve your smaller wedding cheesecake to your wedding party. Your guests will never know the difference!

Ice Cream Cake

Summer months are some of the most popular wedding months, so what could be better to cool off the big day than a hefty slice of chilled ice cream wedding cake? As with the previous alternatives, flavors and toppings are all your choice, and it’s still easily arranged in tiers with the right tools. The only potential downside to this choice is that you probably won’t be able to have your cake sitting out until the time comes to actually cut into it and eat it up, or you’ll have a melty mess on your hands.

Mixed Dessert Table

Can’t decide on your favorite dessert? Have a table arranged with a variety of mini desserts. A small plate of tiramisu here, a mini dish of crème Brule there. Or serve dessert “shots,” with a variety of dessert choices served in shot glasses! Or, if you’ve been to Starbucks recently, get inspired by their adorable cake pops, and put your dessert on a stick! Perfect for a light hearted, more casual wedding!  If you still want something to cut into for those infamous wedding cakes photos, you can always have a small, one or two tier cake made up on the side.


Light, airy, and silky smooth, mousse can be a great finish to a tasty meal. Arrange a display of small dishes, available in as many flavors as you can imagine, and your guests will love this change to the ordinary. Plus, most mousses aren’t quite as heavy or rich as many cakes or other desserts, so you won’t feel as full and weighed down, even after a generous portion!

How to choose a baker

Something Blue

Your dress is new, your mother gave you something old, and you borrowed something from your best friend. Now, all you need is something blue. Incorporating the color into your wedding day is easier, and more fun, than you may imagine.

Why Something Blue

The wedding cliché “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue…” originated during the Victorian era. Blue was believed to symbolize fidelity and faithfulness. Today, many brides follow the cliché for good-luck.

How to Include Blue

At first, you may wonder how on earth you are going to wear something blue, especially if your wedding colors don’t exactly coordinate with the shade. Fortunately, there are plenty of options. Here are just a few suggestions.

  • Invisible wedding accessories – If blue clashes with your wedding colors, invisible accessories are a great way to incorporate blue. You are still following the wedding superstition, but the guests, and camera, don’t see the blue. One option is a blue garter. If you prefer a white garter, you can purchase one with a tiny blue bow. Another option is undergarments with blue detailing. This can be as subtle as a blue bow on the front of your panties or as extravagant as blue lettering across your hinny.
  • Visible accessories – If you want the blue to be visible, you can choose blue jewelry, headpieces, or shoes. This is a great way to add color to an all-white ensemble.
  • The Wedding Gown – Traditionally, wedding gowns were white or ivory. Today, gowns incorporate any color imaginable. Again, this can be subtle, such a small blue flower, or extravagant, such a blue trimmed train. The best part is you can choose the shade of blue that best coordinates with your wedding theme.
  • Wedding Flowers – Traditionally, brides carried an all-white bouquet. Today, many brides incorporate color into their bouquet. You can include blue flowers in the arrangement, or you can simply add blue details such as a blue ribbon wrapped around the stems. Another option is to wear a small blue flower in your hair.

These are just a few possibilities. We would love to hear your suggestions for fulfilling the wedding tradition of something blue.

Wedding Day Necessities

Wedding Day Necessities

Wedding Day NecessitiesRegardless of what time of day your wedding will be held, the fabulous wedding shoes you purchased, and whether you’re doing your own hair and makeup or hiring a professional, there are a few wedding day essentials that you won’t be able to live without! Avoid pre-wedding disasters by packing a kit of necessities (or delegate the task out to the maid of honor or close friend). Don’t forget these Wedding Day Necessities.

Hair Maintenance: Whether you’re styling your coif yourself or bringing in a professional hair guru, make sure you bring along hair care products for touch-ups throughout the day. Regardless of how perfectly your noodle nest is styled, hair mishaps can happen during your commute to the ceremony/reception sites or during outdoor photo shoots. Be sure to pack some extra hairspray, bobby pins, and a brush or comb to fix unruly tresses.

Make-up Kit: Be sure to come equipped with make-up essentials for touch-ups all day long. Most important is powder to eliminate shine and concealer to cover up blemishes. Also, be sure to keep some extra lipstick/lip gloss, waterproof mascara, and nail polish with you at all times.

Hygiene Products: It’s better to be safe than sorry! Bring along a small container of deodorant, dental floss, tissue, perfume, q-tips, feminine hygiene products, and breath mints to avoid unpleasant mishaps.

Dress Prep: Avoid dress disasters by packing items needed for repairs. Be sure to have a small sewing kit with you for any unfortunate accidents, as well as hem tape, safety pins, double-sided tape, static cling spray, spot remover, chalk (to cover stains on the wedding dress), and scissors. Finding Your Dream Wedding Dress.

Back-ups: It never hurts to have a backup, especially on your wedding day. Pack an extra pair of pantyhose, earrings (and backs), hair clips, and even shoes, just in case.

Sustenance: Most likely, you’re going to be feeling an overwhelming mix of emotions on your wedding day, from excitement to nervousness to last-minute stress, and such anxiety can diminish your appetite, but it’s essential that you have something in your stomach. Pack some bottled water and snacks to make sure you, and all of your bridesmaids, don’t get weak or light-headed.

Miscellany: In addition to your beauty essentials, bring along some additional items for any unforeseen circumstances. Pack some aspirin and band-aids, tweezers, nail file, camera, cell phone charger, cash (just in case), handheld mirror, matches/lighter, and scotch tape.

Bridal Beauty Kit

Wedding Wishing Lanterns

Recently went and saw the Hangover II. Like the first movie, the film ended with a beautiful wedding. In this case, the wedding took place in Thailand. At the end of the reception, the couple and all of the guests released floating lanterns. It was beautiful, and it got me thinking, what are these lanterns?

Wishing Lanterns

Wishing Lanterns are an Asian wedding tradition (hence, their appropriateness at a Thailand wedding). They are also used for other celebrations such as holidays. The release of the lantern symbolizes a release of worries and problems. They also symbolize the hopes and dreams of the newly married couple.

How to Use Wishing Lanterns

Wishing lanterns are a unique way to end or start the night. It can be a special moment between the bride and groom, or it can involve all of the guests. Here are a few ideas for incorporating wishing lanterns into your wedding day.

  • At the beginning or end of the reception, provide a lantern to each guest or couple. After a short wedding speech, everyone can release the lanterns at the same time.
  • At the beginning or end of the reception (or during the wedding ceremony), the newlywed couple can release a single lantern to symbolize their love and commitment. This is similar to lighting a unity candle.
  • Have each guest write a wish for the couple on the lanterns before they are released. Some people believe that the lanterns will carry the wishes up to the heavens.

How to Purchase Wishing Lanterns

Wishing lanterns come in a variety of wedding colors. They are safe and easy to use, and they are 99% biodegradable. To learn more about Wishing Lanterns or to purchase wishing lanterns, visit Wish Lantern.

Wedding Lighting Ideas

Butterfly Themed Wedding

Many couples want a “theme” for their wedding. This overarching idea brings unity to the day and offers insight into the couple’s personalities and dreams. A wedding theme can be broad, such as country or vintage, or it can be specific, such as hummingbirds. One popular theme is butterflies, which symbolize transformation.

About the Butterfly

The butterfly is a fascinating creature. It starts out as a tiny caterpillar. Then it hibernates in a little cocoon. In the end, a beautiful butterfly emerges. A variety of cultures and religions believe the butterfly is a symbol of new beginnings and transformation. This tiny insect shows that life is about leaving behind one stage to emerge into a more beautiful stage. This concept is exactly what a wedding is. The couple starts the day as individuals, but by the end, they emerge a united couple.

Incorporating the Butterfly into Your Wedding

A butterfly theme offers endless possibilities. You can choose to subtly incorporate butterflies into the day as a way to represent your new beginning, or you can have a full-blown butterfly theme. Whether you use one or all of these ideas, here are some ways to incorporate butterflies into your wedding day.

  • Stationary – You can get invitations, thank you cards, and seating cards with a butterfly design.
  • Favors – There are a variety of favor possibilities ranging from butterfly picture frames to butterfly key chains to butterfly wine corks. If you want to use candy, you can find or make bags or boxes with a butterfly design.
  • Cake – If you search google or yahoo, there are plenty of butterfly themed cakes. You can choose a subtle design with a few scattered butterflies or you can choose an elaborate design such butterflies wrapping all around the entire cake.
  • Accessories – Accessories are an easy way to incorporate a symbol without it overpowering. Some ideas are jewelry with a butterfly emblem or shoes with a butterfly jewel.
  • Butterfly Release – Instead of throwing rose petals or blowing bubbles, some couples have guests release butterflies as they exit the ceremony.
  • Music – You can choose butterfly themed songs such as “Butterfly Kisses” by Bob Carlisle.

Do you have other ideas for butterfly themed weddings? We would love to hear your feedback.

Wedding Butterfly Release

Some people throw rose petals or blow bubbles when a newlywed couple exits the wedding ceremony, but a fun and beautiful alternative is to have guests release butterflies after the nuptials. Butterflies symbolize new beginnings, so a butterfly release is a magical way to symbolize a marriage.

How Does a Butterfly Release Work?

You can release the butterflies in one of two ways, an individual release or a mass release. For the individual release, each butterfly is in a small, secured box. As the couple exits the ceremony site, each guests opens a box and releases a butterfly. For the mass release, the butterflies are held in a large box or container. When instructed, someone will open the box and all of the butterflies will be released. This is typically done by the bride and groom.

Where Do You Buy Butterflies?

Butterflies can be ordered from a variety of companies. They are typically shipped to you prior to the event. Here are a few possible places to order butterflies:

Swallow Tails Farms – They offer monarch butterflies. While they recommend ordering as soon as possible, they are sometimes able to accommodate last minute orders.

Amazing Butterflies – They offer monarch butterflies and painted ladies.

Butterfly Release Company – They also offer monarch butterflies and painted ladies. Last minute orders are accepted.

Tips for Releasing Butterflies

*When you receive the package, replace the ice pack with a frozen one. This will keep the butterflies dormant.

*An hour before you want the butterflies to fly, take the boxes out of the insulated shipping box. This gives the butterflies time to wake up.

*When choosing the type of butterfly, know that painted ladies will linger after being released while monarchs will fly away quickly. However, the monarchs are twice the size of painted ladies.

Wedding Bouquets – 4 Alternatives

A few weeks ago, country couple Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton tied the knot. Miranda wore her mother’s beautiful ivory wedding gown and a multi-million dollar necklace, but as she walked down the aisle, she was flowerless. Yes, flowerless. Most brides carry a beautiful bouquet of flowers as they walk down the aisle toward their future husband, but not Miranda. She went a different route —she carried a brooch bouquet.

What is a brooch bouquet?

A brooch bouquet is an alternative bouquet made of brooches instead of flowers. It is a great way to incorporate an heirloom into your wedding day. It is also perfect for a wedding with a vintage flare. Best of all, you can save the bouquet after the wedding. Unlike flowers, this bouquet will last forever.

To make a brooch bouquet, begin collecting a variety of brooches. These can be found at flea markets, thrift stores, yard sales and your grandmother’s jewelry box.  Not crafty? No problem. You can order brooch bouquets on Etsy.

Unfortunately, brooch bouquets can be expensive, unless you make them yourself. Here are some other, more budget-friendly alternatives to traditional bouquets.

Felt Bouquets

Felt is a soft but durable fabric. It comes in a vast amount of colors and can be transformed into almost any shape. Felt bouquets are made of individual felt flowers. The designs can be simple or extravagant. These are perfect for summer or springtime weddings because they have a more casual feel.  If you are crafty (and have free time), you can make these bouquets yourself, or like the brooch bouquets, you can order from online stores such as Etsy.

Paper Bouquets

Don’t like felt? No problem. Another alternative is paper flowers. Don’t be fooled. These do not look like the flowers you made in kindergarten. In fact, many of these flowers are so artistically crafted that you can’t even tell they are fake (until you touch or smell them of course). The possibilities for paper bouquets are endless —there are tons of colors, textures, and patterns. Online stores such as Etsy offer paper bouquets for all types of weddings, ranging from casual summer weddings to romantic fall events. Again, this can be a DIY project, but you better me crafty and you better have some free time.

Silk Bouquets

Silk flowers are another alternative to traditional wedding flowers. Many silk flowers are beautifully crafted to look like real flowers. One of the great things about this option is the cost. Whether you make your own bouquet or purchase it, this option is typically cheaper than traditional bouquets. Also, you will have a great keepsake. Unlike real flowers, silk flowers don’t die.

All of these alternative bouquets have pros and cons. When choosing a bouquet, whether it is made of flowers, fabric, paper, or brooches, you need consider the tone of your wedding, your budget, and your priorities. Choose a bouquet that fits your personality and wedding-theme. The options are endless; you decide which option is best.

Below are two examples of Paper Bouquets.