Come Rain or Come Shine

Come Rain or Come Shine

Come Rain or Come Shine. “April showers, bring May flowers.” We’ve heard it a million times. So what’s the worry when planning a gorgeous outdoor summer wedding? Well, rain…maybe. It’s no doubt that the seasons are changing and the weather is more unpredictable than ever. And for those of us Midwesterners, we value every sunny day we can get, even the ones where it rains a little bit! But never fear, we would never tell you not to plan a summer wedding with outdoor ambitions! But we MUST warn you to always have a backup plan. In this case, we call it PLAN B for outdoor weddings and we have some expert tips on how to turn a little sprinkle on your wedding day to just another chic element of a spectacular day, rain OR shine!


rain weddingAndrew Huth Photography

Parasols are back! And while some heavy duty smaller umbrellas will do the trick for a little rain, they are also perfect for when the sun comes back out and the temperatures sore! They also can add the perfect pop of color (hello, yellow!) to your event. And for those more neutral brides, they are conveniently just as adorable in black, white and tan. Gather a few baskets or decoration ceramic pots as holders and scatter them throughout the grounds, tent, walkways, wherever and you have a prop that is not only super fun and cute but highly functional as well!


yellow parasols

Laura Novak Photography

Having a “Plan B” is also key when accounting for weather.  If for no other reason than peace of mind, designating an alternate space for your outdoor event can save you a lot of heartache and less worry about the upcoming weather.  Should you be hosting an outdoor event under a tent at home, for example, make sure you ask the rental company if your tent can withstand rain and wind. Also, make sure to opt in favor of the tent siding. You may not need it for the whole day, but should a sudden storm sweep through just before guests arrive you can lock in the look and keep things dry inside as if nothing ever happened. In the case of total weather havoc, make sure you can also accommodate your guests inside as a worst -case scenario. Moving around furniture so that hosting an impromptu cocktail hour inside would be a breeze is always a great idea.  Just remember, it’s all about being prepared!


tent weddings

And lastly, another thing to keep in mind when braving the elements is considering your overall look for the day.  Consider bringing a spare pair of shoes to and from the church or venue to keep your fancy wedding footwear dry and clean.  If you are dealing with high winds, also take into account that a practical hairdo is better than a windblown one. Stock up on mini hair spray bottles and a comb to touch up from place to place. And keep in mind that a little wind might just provide that fabulous photo shoot look you were going for! But don’t forget that sometimes those “ messy on purpose” looks take a lot of work!



Either way, we would never say avoid the outdoors all together.  Just be ready for anything and you will be good to go!

Staying Cool at Summer Weddings by SimplyBridal

Staying Cool at Summer Weddings by SimplyBridal

Staying Cool at Summer Weddings by SimplyBridal. Summer is such a popular time for weddings, who wouldn’t love getting a little sunshine on their gorgeous white gown? It’s perfect for the wedding photos, and the greenery is in full bloom. It’s safe to say summer wedding ceremonies are just too much fun, though in some areas the heat can really get to your guests. Being considerate hosts and hostesses don’t forget to take a few precautions to insure your guests stay cool and comfortable. SimplyBridal has helped you brainstorm just a few ways to stay cool!

Staying Cool at Summer Weddings by SimplyBridal

pinterest pins of the week

Pinterest Pins of the Week

Pinterest Pins of the Week.
Clothesline Slideshow
. With beautiful Chicago weather upon us, we are loving everything related to the outdoors.  Chicago has so many beautiful green spaces, so we’ve been pinning a lot of outdoor-inspired ideas.  And this pin, well it might be one of our favorites.  Pictures have often been a part of weddings, and many couples choose to play a slideshow at their reception.  But for couples who celebrate with mother nature, a slideshow might prove to be challenging.  However, this gives couples a fabulous way to showcase special memories, while still keeping with the authenticity and vibe of an outdoor celebration.  So give us some twine and photos, and we’ll be on our way!

Photography: The Leekers

Instagram  Your Day.  Speaking of pictures, are you on the Instagram bandwagon yet?  We love this fun photo sharing site, and we are particularly smitten with how couples are integrating it into their day.  This pin gives you a great idea of just how easy this techie idea is.  Choosing a hashtag and letting your guests know the tag gives a great (and hip) way to collect your wedding day memories!  #countusin

Gold + White.  This pin is proof that sometimes simple is best.  Mix and match gold candlesticks with simple white taper candles for a sweet yet refined mood.  Grouped together they make quite the statement, and we can see this idea working for a garden party or an elegant celebration in a grand hall.  Want this look on a budget?  Scour thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales for mismatched candlesticks.

Photography: Julie Cate


How to Pull off a Surprise Wedding

A darling wedding was recently featured on one of our favorite go-to wedding blogs, Style Me Pretty.  The bride was absolutely stunning in her classic ¾ length sleeve Chantilly lace gown and her groom was flawless.  Their décor was subtle and had guests seated at a large outdoor restaurant venue that looked like a cobblestone street in Paris. Every detail was perfectly executed, but one thing made this wedding uniquely one for the books: None of the guests knew it was a wedding!

Tara McMullen Photography

When guests arrived to the venue for what they thought was the groom’s surprise 30th birthday party, they were greeted with a beautifully scripted note letting them in on the little secret. The photos are absolutely priceless; full of tears and screams of joy. We can only hope to be a guest at one of these of the moment fetes sometime soon!

Tara McMullen Photography

So we got to thinking: What does it take to pull off such a covert operation as a surprise wedding? Here were a few tips we found from the bride in this story and a few industry insiders who can only hope to see more of these type of weddings in the future!

  1. Keep it quiet, and let it slip: This has to be the trickiest part of all. Not telling your nearest and dearest about the biggest day of your life can be torture, but is well worth the pay-off in reaction. Of course there are always exceptions in a surprise scenario. Some of the guests that might think they are merely missing a birthday or engagement party might skipped the event since it may require travel – in this case, trust us, it’s worth spilling the beans. You want to make sure your secret doesn’t stop your favorite people from being there. They may never let you live it down!
  2. Make something up! : Some brides decide to surprise guests at their “engagement” party, while others create an entirely new scenario like a birthday or Bon Voyage so that their guests are completely caught off guard. Sometimes the more casual the event they think they are attending, the more exciting it is when they realize they are at a wedding.
  3. Gift or no gift?  No one gets married for the gifts. But for some couples that expect to leave their wedding with a little extra to start their new lives with , may be disappointed with the lack of envelopes they see since guests don’t come prepared. While this is hardly a reason not to have the wedding you want, most guests gladly send a gift after the wedding as they would with any other.  They understand the time and money spent and want to show they wish you well.  Some guest might even be inclined to be more generous than usual given the once in a lifetime memory you shared with them.

Wedding Programs 101

The wedding programs can be a creative detail that also helps guests feel like active participants in your wedding ceremony. The opportunity for creativity and personalization are endless, but here are a few tips on how and why to create wedding programs:

What They Should Say:

Ultimately, what you do or don’t include in your wedding programs is up to you. Some couples opt for a simple, one-page list of the wedding events, while others use wedding programs as an opportunity to get personal and creative. Consider adding some or all of these details when creating your wedding programs:

  • Full names of the bride and groom, along with the date and location of the festivities
  • A full list of the members of the bridal party with the option of including a short bio, sweet or humorous, about the person’s relationship to the happy couple
  • A personalized note of thanks to the bride and groom’s families, as well as a message to all of the guests in attendance
  • Include a special mention, letter, photo, anecdote, or poem dedicated to any deceased loved ones
  • Order of the wedding ceremony, including details about specific readings or music selections
  • Explanation of traditions, rituals, or customs being performed during the wedding
  • The bride and groom’s new address
  • Favorite quotes, poems, song lyrics, or religious scriptures
  • Photos of the happy couple, the bridal party, or late family/friends that you’d like to honor

How They Should Look:

Like every other detail of the wedding, the programs should be unique and complementary to the theme. Consider adding fun embellishments or photos to them to personalize them, or get creative and think outside the box. Try making paddle fan programs for outdoor weddings, scrolls in bottles for a beach affair, or craft paper booklets for a rustic event. Use stamps, ribbons, unique papers, and colored card stock to add personalized touches.

How They Should Be Made:

Wedding programs are a great DIY project that is easy and can help you stick to your wedding budget. Ask everyone to pitch in by scheduling an arts-and-crafts night for a group of creative girlfriends. By creating specific stations and an assembly line, you can get all of your programs made in no time. If you’re looking for something slightly more structured, consider purchasing a print-at-home kit from a local paper or craft store with guided instructions on how to design and assemble programs. Lastly, if you don’t have the time or energy, you can pay to have programs designed and made at most stationery stores.

How They Should Be Distributed:

How you arrange and hand out programs is yet another opportunity to be creative and thoughtful. Assemble them inside baskets, tucked into wooden crates, laid along trays, or sticking out of pails—whatever complements your wedding theme. Having a close friend or family member pass them out as guests arrive adds a personal touch and allows you to incorporate another person into the wedding festivities. You can also have programs laid out on seats when guests arrive.

Pinterest: Pins of the Week

Statement Back.  We often find ourselves swooning over bridal gowns, but when we saw the back of this bridal number, we were literally speechless!  We’re not sure we’ve ever seen such a magnificent backside view of a gown.  Sometimes guests complain about having to stare at the back of the happy couple as they say their vows, but with this dress, we don’t think anyone would mind!  Wanting a blinged out backside like this?  Think hair up and simple jewelry to really let the gown sing.

Paul Vincent Photography

Streamer Backdrop.  Springtime in Chicago is upon us, and that means we’re gearing up for some fantastic outdoor summer weddings.  While we love some of the popular outdoor venues in the Windy City, we also love how more and more couples are embracing backyards, nearby parks, and hometown nature preserves.  This simple streamer backdrop adds the perfect amount of pizzazz, without distracting from nature’s beauty.  We love the multicolored streamers, but we also think this backdrop would look beautiful with shades of white, draped with ivory, cream, and tea stained linens.

Erin Chen Photography

Embrace Neon.  Neon is one of the biggest wedding fashion trends of the season.  We’re seeing it in both men’s and women’s fashions, with brightly hued chinos, handbags, and sunglasses.  So when we saw these groomsmen’s neon pink socks, we couldn’t help but love their attention to both trends and personality.   The pairing of the spunky color with the classic argyle print is a match made in sock heaven.  We also love that these socks add some whimsy without distracting from the overall look too terribly much.  Bring on the neon socks!


Summer Wedding Drinks

Instead of your standard beverage offerings, why not add a little charm and some fun to your summer wedding nuptials with creative drink options? Here are five fun and whimsical ideas to cool down guests on a hot summer’s day:

Juice Bar: Refresh overheated guests with an assortment of fresh juices in various flavors. This works great for a brunch reception, but can be a fun and unique option for afternoon or evening gatherings as well. For a more mature option, offer liquor mix-ins to allow guests to sip on a refreshing libation, like screwdrivers, mimosas, or vodka cranberry.

Dan Cutrona Photography

Lemonade Stand: Add some rustic charm to an outdoor wedding or reception with an old-fashioned lemonade stand, complete with hand-painted wood signs and a tip jar. In addition to standard lemonade, offer lemon-inspired cocktails, like Lemon Drops, Lemon Martinis, Hard Lemonade, or Lemonade Sangria. To add a bit of whimsy, leave bowls of quarters on every table so guests can “buy” their drinks at the stand.

Soda Bottles: Stir up feelings of nostalgia by serving a variety of sodas in old-school glass bottles. Set up a few rustic metal beverage tub and put bottles on ice, or create a colorful display with fruit-flavored sodas.

Heather Saunders Photography

Ice Cream Concoctions: Cap off the night with a sweet treat by offering guests a variety of ice cream-laden drinks, including milkshakes, ice cream floats, and homemade cream sodas.Kellie Kano Photography

Coffee Bar: Providing coffee for your guests isn’t a new idea by any means, but you can cool down on a warm summer day by offering a variety of iced varieties. At the very minimum, iced coffee is a great refreshing option, but depending on complex your coffee bar is, you can also offer iced espresso drinks or blended coffee smoothies.