Chicago Couple of the Week ((Allison + River))

((Allison + River)) live in Chicago, recently got engaged in the Windy City, and wanted their engagement session to take place in the city they work and fell in love in.

After meeting at work at an advertising firm, River knew he wanted to ask Allison out on a date. He also knew that breakfast was her favorite meal. So, thinking that breakfast would be a casual setting, he asked her out to breakfast. River thought if it didn’t go well, they would part ways and have the rest of the weekend to enjoy their brief time off.

Breakfast went so well, that a few hours after breakfast, River texted Allison and asked her what she was up to. She immediately replied “nothing,, and the couple spent the rest of the weekend together.

JoyLyn Photography says, “The evening for their engagement session was a perfect, Summer evening in Chicago.”

With no specific spot in mind, they left it up to their photographer to find the magic in Chicago. In search of a perfect light, the couple and their photographer set out to capture the moment. Needless to say, their engagement photos shine.

Congrats to this adorable couple on their upcoming Spring wedding!

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((Alissa + Chris)) Romantic Hyatt Lodge Oakbrook Wedding

One of the most well know superstitions is that rain on your wedding day is a sign of good luck. Boy did ((Alissa + Chris)) have a chance to experience this!

With the forecast of 90 percent rain and a whole lot of wind, ((Alissa + Chris)) had more ‘luck’ than they knew what to do with. Thankfully the rain subsided and the sun came out to make their day, the perfect day for a wedding.

The morning of the big day, Alissa found herself in her childhood home surrounded by loving family and best friends. This only erupted in joyous tears from all those helping prepare her for the big day.

As Maria Harte Photography captured the moments, she could feel the love and warmth of Alissa’s family as she got ready and among Chris and his groomsmen.  Maria says, “Anyone could see these two complement each other in the best way; with the love and support they have from those around them. Alissa and Chris’s love story is one that most college going kids dream of, as college sweethearts.”

The couple met while attending Law School. From the moment they were together they knew this was the real thing, and have been together ever since. They celebrated their love by marrying at the Loyola Chapel, a fitting backdrop to their story. The day was complete with the weather finally cooperating for their reception at The Hyatt Lodge at McDonald’s Campus.

Browse their beautiful day + catch a glimpse of Alissa’s Cinderella-inspired gown!

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Reception: The Hyatt Lodge at McDonald’s Campus • Floral: Addison Floral •  Photographer: Maria Harte Photography • Shoes: Badgley Mischka • Bride’s Hair: CM Salon • Bride’s Dress: Eva’s of Oak Lawn • Event Planner: Events by City Sisters • Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo • Bride’s Makeup: LG Makeup Design

Meet the Pro: Taylor from The Drake Oak Brook Hotel

Meet Taylor, Catering Manager at The Drake Oak Brook Hotel.  She is a recipient of The DuPage County Suburban Young Professionals Award and prides herself on attention to detail, providing her couples with the wedding of their dreams.


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How long have you been in the wedding industry?
I started with weddings and events when I was 17! Being 23 might seem like I am new to the scene, but I’ve been developing my wedding knowledge for around 5 years.

As Catering Manager, 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?
Do some research before you start planning.  A client that knows what they are looking for will have more specific questions to ask, and you will save yourself so much time in finding a venue.  That way, you will be more likely to find a venue that fits you and your vision – ultimately leading to the perfect day!

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Are there any questions that couples should ask when meeting with a catering manager?

1.     Ask about availability
2.     Ask room capacity
a.     Ask for sample floor plans and photos to see how others have been creative in spaces before.

3.     Be certain of the taxes or other charges not listed on the menu.  Often times, the venue that has the lowest entrée price does not necessarily mean that you are receiving the best value!
a.     Always ask if the following has a charge or is included:
i.    Linens
ii.    Chair covers/sashes
iii.    Set up fees?
iv.    Room Rental Fee?
v.    Ceremony Fee?
b.     When planning menu cost, check to see if:
i.    Wedding cake – included or extra?
ii.    Cake Cutting Fee?
iii.    Hors d’Oeuvres – included or extra?

The items listed above can quickly change the overall cost per person – asking the right questions and knowing of any additional taxes is very important to you as a customer.
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What sets your venue apart from our Chicagoland reception sites? What would you like couples to know about The Drake Oak Brook Hotel?
There are so many unique things about the Drake Oak Brook Hotel.  I am in love with the way this hotel is built and operated.  The history here is something that cannot be replicated in any property in the Chicagoland area.  The rich culture of the hotel includes many years of great events, valuable art both historic and customized specifically for this property, and the royal guests we have had with us in the years past.  The hotel has great natural light, an abundance of ornate décor, and a family-feel to the property.  You feel at home when you walk in the door.

In the area of weddings, our hotel has an amazing menu.  We provide “all-inclusive” pricing.  This means that the price on the menu is the only price you pay should you select the package as is!  This has been a great tool for brides with budgeting properly, as there are no surprise payments or taxes added to the bill.

Items offered in our menu:
*  6 butler-passed hors d’oeuvres in every package
*  Wedding cake included
*  Full selection of the entire entrée list in every package
*  In-house gold chiavari chairs
*  Choice of wooden or our original, custom-made electrical light up dance floor
*  A top shelf open bar in every package
*  Complimentary Valet
*  Complimentary Coat Check
*  Complimentary Bridal Suite

Our packages start at just over $100 per plate before tax and service!


What can a couple discuss with you that they can’t find online?
–       Pricing on the wedding menu is not listed online.  We have different pricing for off-season weddings, Friday and Sunday Weddings, Group Room Blocks, and Sunday Brunch Accommodations
What is your favorite part of your job? Do you have a favorite memory of a couple or of a wedding you’ve been a part of?

I truly love what I do.  I enjoy getting close to the family, learning the history of the bride and groom and what lead them to this extraordinary change in their life.  My favorite wedding – ever.  The groom planned a helicopter ride over Lake Michigan, and when the helicopter landed at the reception hall, a full mariachi band (It seemed like 15 musicians) greeted them with all of the guests from the reception to start off the cocktail hour.  Talk about a show-stopper! (Cynthia if you are reading this thank you for the memory!)


Chicago Couple of the Week ((Kelly + Willy))

Natural light makes the prettiest wedding photos! When Photography by Lauryn sent us these gorgeous photos of ((Kelly + Willy)) we couldn’t help but fall in love with the gorgeous lighting.

Lauryn says, “Kelly and Willy are engaged to be married in the Fall of 2016. When they approached me to photograph their engagement session, Kelly made it very clear that she wanted the photos to be sun-kissed.”

Due to the unpredictable Chicago weather, the first session with Lauryn needed to be cancelled. Finally, last summer evening, as the sun shined warm, Lauryn was able to capture Kelly + Willy’s pure happiness. You’d never be able to tell that the couple battled mosquitoes and gnats in a local forest preserve in order to get some beautiful images.

See their sun kissed summer engagement photos ~

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((Alexis + Dan)) Romantic + Urban Chicago Wedding

When Dan proposed to Alexis at the iconic Chicago Crown Fountain, she knew she wanted to get married in Chicago. As a residential interior designer, the site of Nellcote was truly her dream to tie the not. “It is romantic and urban and delicious all at the same time.”

With a BHLDN dress to compliment the atmosphere, flower girls donned their own plaid silk dresses with extra crinoline from Elizabeth St. James. Inspired by her husband’s love of fly fishing, Tweedle Press created invites to document his passion.

“We incorporated numbered figure drawings in the design. While being very personal to us, it felt that the fly drawings were also feminine enough to compliment the overall concept for the ceremony and reception.” Alexis says.

The fly fishing idea mixed well with the men’s suites as the couple decided to order custom fly boutonnieres. Naturally Yours Events also had dried lavender springs wrapped in raffia and tied to the place cards. It complimented the wall of lavender in beakers and wall as you entered Nellcote.

Guests took home organic cotton muslin bags with a Celtic ‘B’ stamp under the bag to use as sachets. Continuing the look of the ceremony flowers, Flowers by Stem filled in the place card table with white flowers and greens using Alexis’ mom’s antique mercury glass collection. Flowers By Stem also incorporated her mom’s collection of white antique marble fruit and Indian white marble ducks in the dinner tablescapes. “It made for a completely unique, romantic and subtle table!” Alexis says.

Peek into their beautiful wedding day with photos sent to us from Heather DeCamp Photography.

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Alexis + Dan | Trailer from Shangri-La Wedding Films on Vimeo.

Photography: Heather DeCamp Photography • Ceremony Location: RM Champagne Salon • Reception: Nellcote • Dress Designer: BHLDN • Floral: Flowers by Stem • Event Planner: Naturally Yours Events • Cake: Swedish Bakery • Invitation Designer: Tweedle Press • Cinema: Shangri-La Wedding Films • DJ: Toast & Jam

Meet the Pro: Kelly from Brides by Kelly

Meet Kelly from Brides By Kelly.  Kelly’s passion has always been to make people look and feel their best.  Her passionate team provides salon quality hair and make up services, on location, with attention to detail that is second to none.

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How long have you been in the wedding industry?
I’ve been in the wedding industry for nine years. A friend of mine was getting married and asked me to do her wedding. I fell in love and started my company shortly after.

What motivates you to keep going every day?
To see the look on the bride’s face the first time she sees her completed hair and makeup. To make someone feel like the most beautiful version of themselves is what keeps me motivated.


What sets you apart from other make up/hair stylists?
We will always give our honest feedback. We are also dedicated to giving the bride the look she has always dreamed of.

What would you like brides to know about you?
We aren’t just there to be your hair stylist or make up artist. We strive to help complete your entire look. We are there to listen to you and to help you. We don’t treat you like a job; we aren’t just hairspray and makeup brushes.


What advice do you have for brides when they are choosing a make up/hair stylist?
I would suggest looking for a team that you get along with. These girls will be with you on your wedding day. Look for fun, professional, and personable. Don’t get caught up in pricing. You will truly get what you pay for. Look through their portfolio. Does it fit your style? Are the pictures retouched? I would suggest a complete portfolio with photos before and after photoshop. Anything retouched can look gorgeous. Pay attention to the before pictures.

What does the Brides by Kelly bride look like?
The Brides by Kelly bride is the most elegant, dazzling version of herself. From the classic girl next door to the pin up princess, the red carpet vixen, she is just an enhanced version of herself.



{Great Giveaway} Win SpaRitual Nail Polish

SpaRitual-Imagine-Fall-2010Notice that newly mani you worked on for an hour chipping? Wedding Guide Chicago has a solution for you!

With SpaRitual GOLD, your DIY mani will be long-wearing, smudge resistant WITH a high-shine finish that doubles the wear of your typical polish. Best of all, there is no lamp drying needed and no intense removal needed. That means, you won’t have to sit there for an hour with a cotton ball and nail polish remover to get that pesky color off.

It’s an easy two-step process that starts with cleansing the nail and applying the first layer of color and then applying a top coat for a long-wearing smudge resistant finish.

We’re giving away four bottles of nail polish to one lucky bride — a $72 value. Enter to win! Contest ends on Monday.

Naperville Date Night for Engaged Couples at Hotel Arista


If you are engaged and love food with drinks flowing, we have the event for you!

The third Engaged Event is coming to Hotel Arista in Naperville next Thursday, January 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Share your wedding planning stories and find your wedding planning BFF at this intimate event presented by us and The Local Tourist.

Engaged Events is date night, wedding planning, and networking wrapped up in one. Kelly Reif Stationery Studio will be on hand to discuss all your wedding suite questions.

Peek into the night’s menu and itinerary:

6:30pm – 7:00pm Appetizers and Cocktails at SugarToad Restaurant, in the lobby of Hotel Arista.

Appetizers to include: Tandoori Chicken Skewers, Honey-Soy Glazed Tenderloin Tip Skewers, Sparkling Chardonnay Marinated Cranberry and Brie Bites, Garlic-Coriander-Chili Shrimp, Buffalo Mozzarella with Sundried Tomato, Arugula, and Black Garlic on Crostini, and Avocado Cream Pate made with Cream Cheese, Fresh Parsley, Cilantro, Garlic, Scallion and a Hint of Spice on Crostini. Signature cocktails will be served.

7:00pm – 7:30pm Tours of Hotel Ballroom & Guest Rooms

7:30pm – 8:00pm Couples will be escorted via Hotel Shuttle to CityGate Grille for a dinner sampling and tour.

Menu includes: Caesar Salad, Grilled Salmon with Lemon-Caper Sauce, Filet Medallions with Demi- Glace, Whipped Potatoes, Fingerling Potatoes, Roasted Garlic Broccoli, and Honey Glazed Carrots; Wine Tasting also available.

8:00pm – 8:30pm Couples will be escorted via Hotel Shuttle to Tap In Pub & Carvery for snacks and beer/wine.

Menu to include: Jumbo Chicken Wings and Nachos.) Couples will also have the opportunity to head upstairs to tour Arista Spa & Salon, sample champagne and strawberries, and experience a hand massage from one of their licensed technicians.

DRINKS will be flowing all evening!

This is all included in the $60 ticket price. Reserve your spot while they are still available at!

Just Wed in Chicago: Winna & Ernest’s Hotel Arista Wedding

Winna & Ernest took every detail of their love, personality, and heritage, and incorporated it into their Naperville wedding. Choosing CityGate Grille because of their love for food, the foodies wanted restaurant quality food for all of their guests.

Because Ernest is from Liberia, the new bride and groom also wanted to incorporate some African traditions into the wedding. During their ceremony for example, the couple had a tasting of the four elements of sour, bitter, hot, and sweet. There is a ritual in Liberia that the bride and groom must taste an orange drink made up of four flavors that each represent different emotions found in a relationship. The chef at their celebration also combined lemon, vinegar, cayenne pepper and honey to represent these four elements and for the couple to taste.

In addition at the ceremony, Winna and Ernest “jumped the broom.” The jumping of the broom symbolizes new beginnings and is one of the most popular African traditions at weddings. To get everyone on their feet and in the moment at the reception, the couple took part in “The Grand March.” As an African tradition, the dance starts when everyone finds a partner. Once everyone has a partner, they follow the steps their partner takes set to Liberian music.

Both Winna and Ernest were ready to walk the red carpet at the Oscars on their wedding day. Winna was ecstatic that her gown designed by Waters from Miss Ruby Boutique included pockets. With a Vera Wang Gray suit and vest, Ernest was ultra dapper waiting for his bride at the end of the aisle.

Go behind the scenes of their joyful day sent to us by Elizabeth Nord Photography.

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Winna + Ernest are featured in the ‘Just Wed in Chicago’ section of Wedding Guide Chicago magazine! Submit your wedding to be featured in Wedding Guide Chicago or on

Photographer: Elizabeth Nord Photography • Ceremony + Reception Venue: CityGate Grill • Wedding Planner: Bliss by Sam Weddings and Occasions Planners • Invitations: Adorable Designs by Candice • Bakery: DeEtta’s Bakery • DJ: DJ Prince Diony • Bride’s Hair: Jae Roberts Hair • Bride’s Makeup: Lena Clark Makeup Artist • Groom’s Apparel: Men’s Wearhouse • Bride’s Dress: Miss Ruby Boutique • Bride’s Stylist: Ro’Shunda Russell • Florist: Annie Occasion for Any Occasion • Musicians: The Cake Village • Videographer: Kevin Wagan Cinematography •

Just Wed in Chicago: Leah + Tyler’s Fishermen’s Inn Wedding

A stop for ice cream changed everything for bride, Leah. “Tyler and I met at a small ice cream shop in Wheaton. Tyler was in front of me in line and he was sampling every single favor! He made quite the impression on me” Leah says.

Leah and Tyler’s proposal story is just as fun and unique. Every girl dreams of coming home to find a dress and jewelry waiting for her. Along with an outfit, there Tyler left a note for Leah which read, “Be ready at 6:00. Tonight is going to be a great night!”

Tyler took Leah to significant spots around town that represented their relationship; a

 soccer field where she played countless games, a gym where she watched Tyler on many occasions, and a park where they had their first kiss. “All the spots were memorable, but what truly made it special is that at each spot stood members of our family – parents, grandparents, siblings, friends.” Leah says.

At each stop, all of Leah’s friends and family provided her with a small momento and read a short letter of encouragement. Her siblings even rehearsed a small flash mob in downtown St. Charles! At the last stop, Leah was blindfolded and taken to a barn where she had spent many hours as a child. “There were candles, mason jars, and old photos surrounding the barn with Tyler inside. We cried, danced, and he got down on one knee. Then, from over the hill came countless members of our family and friends with sparklers.”

No beautiful engagement story would be complete without a perfect love-filled wedding at Fishermen’s Inn. The couple’s wedding mixed between elegant, bohemian, and vintage. The couple wanted to keep it simple, but have small details that described the couple. With the colors of blush, gold, and champagne, the new bride and groom used rustic lanterns as our centerpieces with gold mercury class around the centerpieces.

Fishermen’s Inn perfectly captured our personalities,” Leah said. “I grew up a country girl and the venue captured where I grew up and everything I wanted my wedding to look like. Fishermen’s Inn is unique, beautiful. I also loved the staff and the people who run this venue, some of the nicest and genuine people I have ever met!

Read more about the couple’s wedding and fall in love with their beautiful wedding photos sent to us by Rachael Osborn Photography.


Bridesmaids wore long pink chiffon dresses and carried a simple,pink spray rose baby breath bouquet. The groomsmen looked extra dapper in light gray tuxedos.

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“Our ceremony was unique in many ways,” Leah says. “Tyler and I felt very strongly about writing our own vows. Tyler and I also wanted our faith to be a big part of why we are here in the first place.”


The reception was everything the couple wanted and more. Both Leah and Tyler agree, the reception was “fun, emotional, joyful, laughter, full bellies, and just honestly…. a huge dance party. I’m pretty sure it was still going on even after we left!”

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Skip the sweets table! Guests took home favors of graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows in a bag. On the tag, the couple wrote “S’more loving.”


Leah + Tyler are featured in the ‘Just Wed in Chicago’ section of Wedding Guide Chicago magazine! Submit your wedding to be featured in Wedding Guide Chicago or on

Photographer: Rachael Osborn Photography • Ceremony + Reception Venue: Fishermen’s Inn • Bride’s Dress: Allure Bridals • Bride’s Hair: Cynthia Caribacas • Floral: Designs by Janet • Bakery: Devine Desserts • Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse • Bride’s Dress: The Crystal Bride