Meet the Pro: Sandra from Sweet Nouveau

Sweet Nouveau specializes in custom cakes, edible guest favors and delectable chocolates & confections. Its owner and driving force is the sweet and talented Sandra.

Coming from a long line of family cooks and bakers, good food has been a crucial part of Sandra’s life. She learned at a young age from both her grandmother and mother who were deemed the best bakers in their community. Sandra started baking for friends, family, church events and even had a little cinnamon roll business at the age of 10. But her passion came at the age of 12 when she accompanied her mom to a class in cake decorating at a local craft store.

Sandra enrolled in the De La Patisserie program at the French Pastry School of Chicago, one of the most prestigious pastry schools in the world, where she was trained by world champion pastry chefs. While there she learned the art of French pastry cuisine; like sugar and chocolate candies, breads, sugar and chocolate sculpture, wedding and mousse cakes,tarts, petit fours and plated desserts. During school she interned at Panna Dolce, Sarah’s Candies & Pastries and Flirty Cupcakes. Shortly after graduation she began working as a baker for Nordstrom Cafe, then finally setting her sights on opening her own business……..so Sweet Nouveau was born in September 2012.

Read about Sandra from Sweet Nouveau + her passion for weddings. When you’re done view her gorgeous gallery of cakes + sweets.

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How long have you been in the wedding industry?
4 years

What motivates you to keep going every day?
We love all the thank you letters, cards and emails that I receive from brides who absolutely loved their wedding cake.

What sets you apart from other bakers? What would you like couples to know about you?
Each wedding is an opportunity to create a cake that tells a story. We take great pride in getting to know our clients, building a relationship with them and working with them to create a visual centerpiece that reflects the couple on their special day.

What advice do you have for couples when they choose a wedding cake?
#1 Know your budget. It is important to know what your budget is when booking your wedding cake. It also helps your baker when it comes to designing a cake for your special day.

#2 Bring as much information with you as possible to your tasting/consultation, for example pictures, color swatches, invitations, etc.

#3 Sample different cake flavors. Don’t be afraid to try cake flavors outside of the normal vanilla, chocolate and red velvet. If you don’t see a certain flavor, just ask.

What do,you like most about being a cake designer?
I like creating new cake flavor combinations and staying up on new trends in cake design.

Contact Sweet Nouveau.

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((Courtney + Prashanth)) Barrington Golf Course Wedding

((Courtney + Prashanth))  have such a super sweet wedding story our eyes watered up!

The couple met in college and after 4 years of being friends, they decided to go on a date. Five years after their first date, Prashanth popped the question on a blustery day in Chicago. Once Courtney said yes, they immediately began planning their wedding, held at Makray Memorial Golf Course in Barrington.

Family was a very important element in their wedding. Courtney’s dad was diagnosed with an early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The couple’s hope was that he would be able to be present on the wedding day to witness and take part in his oldest daughters wedding. As Courtney and her dad walked down the aisle, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.Tears were falling from everyone present as they made it up the aisle, and Courtney hugged him. Her dad hugged her a second time, as if all the sudden he realized where he was and the significance of what was happening. It was a moment that Courtney will cherish for the rest of her life.

Their photographer, Joy Lyn Photography says, “Courtney and Prashanth are the sweetest couple. They wanted their wedding day to be a party to bring their families together. As the families came together, everyone relaxed and had a great time.

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Venue: Makray Memorial Golf Course • Florist: The Flower Studio • DJ/Photobooth: Your Night Productions • Cake: Lovin Oven Bakery • Photography: Joy Lyn Photography

Wedding Event: The Big Fake Wedding at Pinstripes Chicago

Chicago brides, grab your MOHs and come to the best alternative form of a bridal show — The Big Fake Wedding!

This bridal show alternative is what it sounds like — a Big Fake Wedding, complete with an emotional vow renewal ceremony, light bites and a dance-party reception. “Wedding guests” are brides- and grooms-to-be who get to truly experience the wedding vendors in action. Meet hand-selected vendors and see how they perform their services as they would a real wedding at Pinstripes Chicago.

Hear the music, taste the cakes, and smell the flowers… while enjoying a night of great food, dancing and surprises, leaving brides-and-grooms-to-be saying “I want my wedding to be just like that!”

Visit The Big Fake Wedding for tickets and use code “CHICAGO” for $10 off tickets. See you there!

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((Kelsy + Michael)) Rustic Winter Wedding In The Woods

We cannot get over how gorgeous ((Kelsy + Mike)) look in their outdoor wedding photos. From the soft snow and beautiful sunset, their wedding pictures taken by Melissa Marie Photography are truly picturesque.

Rewind to how Kelsy + Mike met, from their photographer: ((Kelsy + Mike’s)) families both had an annual camping trip at the same campground Columbus Day weekend of 2009. It wasn’t until three years later that they began to date, even though the couple had been probing questions from family who had predicted their marriage from their first meeting!

Mike proposed to Kelsy on that same camping trip… 5 years after they first met. Starry night skies, campfires, and hikes in the woods had become something very special to them.

For their January wedding on one of the coldest days of the year, the wood beam ceilings, bare branch centerpieces, twinkling lights, and black linens captured our love for the outdoors and those chilly fall camping trips at The Sanctuary + Independence Grove – Audubon Hall.

The colors of black, grey, silver, and white, helped create a cozy yet elegant space. The bride says, “Our families were aware of our vast array of nerdy interests and made the reception extra special by placing mini silver dinosaurs throughout the reception hall and surprising us with a lightsaber–tunnel introduction fit for any Star Wars fan! Needless to say, it was a very cold, but very perfect day.”

See this beautiful couple say I do:

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Photography: Melissa Marie Photography • Ceremony: The Sanctuary •  Reception Venue: Independence Grove – Audubon Hall • Flowers: Balmes Flowers •  Caterer: Catering By Michaels • DJ: DJ Tabitha • Bride’s Makeup: Fabb 2 Go Makeup • Groomsmen’s Attire: Joseph A. Banks • Bride’s Dress: Kathryn’s Bridal • Bride’s Hair: Vickie’s Personal Touch • Transportation: Way To Go Limo Palatine

Couple of the Week ((Alex + Scott))

((Alex + Scott’s)) engagement photos are the perfect picture to have us thinking of summer! On one of the hottest Sundays, Ed & Aileen Photography met the adorable couple along with their pups, at a park near their home.

After exploring their neighborhood, the couple dropped their pups back home and went to Northerly Island just in time for the sunset. Ed & Aileen Photography says, “Even though there were so many people enjoying the last few weeks of summer, Alex and Scott seemed to only notice one another. They were lost in each other’s arms.”

The couple’s engagement session ended in the best way possible — with margaritas + tacos! Peek into their adorable tour of the city:Noriega_Copeland_Ed__Aileen_Photography_AlexScott37_lowNoriega_Copeland_Ed__Aileen_Photography_AlexScott31_low Noriega_Copeland_Ed__Aileen_Photography_AlexScott46_low Noriega_Copeland_Ed__Aileen_Photography_AlexScott78_low Noriega_Copeland_Ed__Aileen_Photography_AlexScott91_low Noriega_Copeland_Ed__Aileen_Photography_AlexScott117_low

Bohemian Romance at Ellis House and Equestrian Center {Styled Shoot}

A gorgeous floral crown mixed with country horses set on the farm of Ellis House and Equestrian Center had our heart going pitter-patter for this beautiful styled shoot by Rachael Osborn Photography.

Picture a gorgeous, countryside bohemian wedding with a simple dress like the one pictured below from The Crystal Bride and instead of a traditional veil, opting for a lush, floral crown. You’d never guess these beautiful photos were taken just an hour outside of Chicago! Ultra romantic, ethereal, with a hint of whimsy, made this romantic styled shoot something to remember. Be inspired by this beautiful wedding inspiration:

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Venue: Ellis House and Equestrian Center • Photography: Rachael Osborn Photography • Bride’s Dress: The Crystal Bride + SimplyBridal • Floral Designer: Designs by Janet

Meet the Pro: Diane Cook from Mistwood Golf Club

Meet Diane, Director of Sales for Mistwood Golf Club the newest, premier wedding venue in the south suburbs. Featuring stone bridges, a grand, castle-like entrance of bluestone floorings, and incredible views of their picturesque Scottish-like links golf course, Mistwood Golf Club offers a variety of indoor and outdoor settings ideal for weddings. Diane’s experience, passion, and attention to detail will help you create an elegant wedding that reflects your personal style.

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Read about Diane below + browse through photos of their new Clubhouse!

How long have you been in the wedding industry?
10 years

What motivates you to keep going every day?
I love how creative each and every bride is.  Everyone has a different vision for their wedding and being able to collaborate with them and help bring their vision to life is inspiring to me, and provides variety to my daily work.

As Director of Sales at Mistwood Golf Club, you have a lot of experience helping and meeting with couples who are planning their wedding. What are your expert tips to share with couples planning? Are there any questions that couples should ask when meeting with a catering manager?
Make sure that you understand what is and is not included in your “package” pricing. The venue that seems at first glance as though it is the least expensive, might not be when you find out that you will have to also rent linens, pay for bartenders, incur a cake cutting fee, etc.

It’s always a good idea to have an accurate estimate in your head of what your time frame will be, what your guest count will be, how many courses you would like to serve and if you are bringing in any décor or floral items. The more information that you are able to share up front, the more accurate your initial proposal will be.Mistwood_3

What sets your venue apart from our Chicagoland reception sites? What would you like couples to know about these venues?
The Great Hall at Mistwood Golf Club is a beautifully crafted, brand new facility that has a very different aesthetic than any of the other nearby venues.  It has an old world charm, with beautiful warm tones and elegant chandeliers, with an undeniably beautiful view of the golf course.

However, what I feel sets Mistwood apart above everything else, is the experience. The staff at Mistwood always goes above and beyond to make our guests feel welcome and comfortable. We strive to make sure that not only are your needs met, but that you are able to enjoy your time and create memories at Mistwood.Mistwood2015Nov_0455 Mistwood2015Nov_0462

What can a couple discuss with you that they can’t find online?
I love customizing menus for our guests.  Many times our guests might have a favorite family dish or special dietary requests that they would like to incorporate into their menus. I love working with our clients in order to create fun menus that are not part of our “standard” offerings. If you met your fiancé at a baseball game and want to incorporate hot dogs and peanuts into your reception – ask me!

Additionally, at Mistwood we are not just your venue or menu writer. We are your full-on event coordinator!  If you have questions about floral arrangements or DJs or the timeline of the day, we are here to serve as a wedding resource for you.  If we don’t have all of the answers we are able to refer someone who does!

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What is your favorite part of your job?
I love seeing how creative people are and how other vendors in the industry interpret people’s visions and inspirations. It is very exciting when a couple is pleasantly surprised by an interpretation of their ideas.

Interested in learning more? Contact Diane at Mistwood Golf Club.

((Bonnie + Josh)) Northwestern Chicago Couple of the Week

((Bonnie + Josh)) are internet friends of their photographer, Elle Golden Photography, and finally got the chance to meet during a work visit to Chicago this year. Bonnie is a self-proclaimed “girl from down under, who grew up in Indonesia and married a California boy.” Josh is her high school sweetheart and the couple is celebrating 5 years of marriage this January! Their photo session commemorates both their time living in Chicago and their anniversary. The couple decided to hold the session on the beautifully historic Northwestern University campus where Bonnie currently studies English Literature. Elle Golden Photography, says, “I’m so honored to photograph such a unique session for these two lovebirds considering all the places they’ve lived before are such hot or tropical destinations!” Watch them battle it out in an impromptu snowball fight. Eastwood_Eastwood_Elle_Golden_Photography_IMG0401_low Eastwood_Eastwood_Elle_Golden_Photography_IMG0455_low Eastwood_Eastwood_Elle_Golden_Photography_IMG0458_low Eastwood_Eastwood_Elle_Golden_Photography_IMG0482_low Eastwood_Eastwood_Elle_Golden_Photography_IMG0500_low Eastwood_Eastwood_Elle_Golden_Photography_IMG0513_low Eastwood_Eastwood_Elle_Golden_Photography_IMG0522_low Eastwood_Eastwood_Elle_Golden_Photography_IMG0535_low

((Jay + Amy)) Vintage Chic Fall Wedding

((Jay  + Amy’s)) wedding envelopes the simplicity and elegance of a midwest Fall wedding with a vintage feel on a crisp October day in Illinois.

((Jay + Amy))  wanted a simple, organic, vintage wedding where all the guests were treated like family. It was so important to them to be surrounded by their friends and family, from the ceremony to the reception.

Storybook Gardens made their dream come to life with an amazing “down home” fall decor for a super elegant, but super simple wedding. The ceremony was set up as a semi-circle under a very large, old tree creating a peaceful yet elegant environment. The reception was set up in a large U-shape so it was like guests were sitting at a large family table. There was also no head table — everyone sat together.

Amy’s  dress was worn by her mother years ago on her wedding day, and was made into a more modern gown altered by DMP Tailoring and Alterations in Wisconsin. Vintage-chic would be the best way to describe this beautiful bride.

The dapper groom wore a sharp gray suit from H&M. The flowers brought the all of the bridal party colors together with a vibrant fall mix from Pocket Full of Posies out of Waunakee, Wisconsin.

Jon Larson Photography has us looking forward to sunflower weddings in the fall.

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((Doris + Simon)) Chicago Couple of the Week

((Doris +Simon)) wanted to capture their love in their favorite place to spend time together — The Windy City. The bride and groom have been together for a few years and really wanted to convey their happiness through photography when they are with each other.

Even though they decided to go casual for this session with Kat/Eye Studios, their summer engagement photos tell a photo journalistic story of a day wandering about the city. Tourists in their own town, the couple had fun going for a journey doing what they love the best — spending time with one another.
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