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Modern + Chic Chicago Wedding

With the ceremony at a Presbyterian church and the reception at a modern industrial venue in the middle of Chicago, this couple perfectly mixed tradition into their chic city wedding. The trendy design elements, including an iron gate escort display and a donut dessert wall, are wedding details made in heaven in my mind! Big City Bride lead the planning of this gorgeous event and Riverbend Studio captured every last detail.


From the event planner… The beautiful bride, Elizabeth Wanders, married her hometown sweetheart, John Moore Jr. At the historic Fourth Presbyterian Church on Michigan Avenue followed by a stylish celebration at the modish Morgan Manufacturing venue. The couple met in their hometown of Winnetka, Illinois where the groom made his hockey debut. Moore, now a promising pro in the National Hockey League, plays for the New Jersey Devils. The sweethearts, who were married mid-July, reside in their Chicago condo as they await the arrival of their first child, a baby girl, due on their first wedding anniversary.

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Photography : Riverbend Studio | Videography: Highway 61 Films | Event Planning : Chrissy Magliano and Susan Cordogan, Big City Bride | Floral Design: KLA Design | Wedding Dress: Sareh Nouri | Stationary: Kustom Kreations | Ceremony Venue: Fourth Presbyterian Church | Reception Venue: Morgan Manufacturing | Bride's Shoes : Christian Louboutin | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Catering : LIMELIGHT food illuminated | Makeup : Juli Valdez | Hair : Magnificent Brides | Lighting : Frost Chicago | Band : Gold Coast All Stars | Favors : Glazed And Infused | Host Hotel : Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara | Linen: Tabletoppers | Linen: M & M Rental | Linen : BBJ Linen | Lounge Furniture : Bowery And Bash | Photo Booth : Brooke Courtney Photography | Print Matierals : Kustom Kreations | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: RM Champagne Salon | Rentals: Halls Rental | Rentals: Tablescapes Event Rentals

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Designing a Custom Wedding Dress with Whitney Bischoff

Hello again, brides! If you haven’t been able to tell, I’m a lady who loves to plan, but I can also be very indecisive at times. So when it came to selecting a wedding gown, the planner in me paired with my indecisiveness created a challenge. I could not wait to try on wedding dresses, but it didn’t go quite as planned. I’m so excited to share how I ended up with a custom designed wedding dress, and as always, thanks for following along this journey down the aisle.

Like so many of y’all reading, I had dreamt of this day for SO long. The only problem was that with every dress I tried on, there was just something not quite right; something I couldn’t pinpoint (cue the indecisiveness). I found a few dresses that were 99.9999% perfect, but I wanted something 100%. This is not a decision that I could make a mistake with, but it was also a decision that I did not want to wait too long to make (cue being a planner). Goodness gracious.

After hours of researching online and collecting photos that inspired me, I walked into Belle Vie Bridal Couture completely overwhelmed. I could not understand how any woman could say yes to just ONE dress! I felt as if I desired 10 dresses to encompass a little bit of everything I loved….strapless, long sleeved, ball gown, sleek, lace, beading, color…are y’all catching my drift? I loved everything!

But let’s be real, I’m a bride with a budget in mind, and I absolutely could not have 10 dresses. Thank goodness for Amanda Bonnell, owner of Belle Vie Bridal and the creative director at Audrey Grant. Amanda put my mind at ease and ensured me that with a little bit of trust, I could have it all, even with one dress – a custom designed dress.

Trust in your vendors is something I know I mentioned in last month’s post and I will continue to do so because it is of utmost importance when planning a wedding. Being the planner I am, there is no way I could have decided to design my own wedding gown without a designer who I could trust with my vision. Amanda took the time to listen to my likes and dislikes, look at ALL of the pictures I had saved, and after trying on a few dresses, she sketched for me a custom dress with all of my favorite attributes.

Being my own fit model has been such a once in a lifetime experience, and also gives me such peace of mind knowing that tweaks can easily be made. It’s been so amazing to witness Amanda working her magic throughout this process, and I absolutely cannot wait to see this dream gown come to fruition!

To all the brides who are on the journey to finding and/or designing their perfect gown, here is my advice:

DO NOT SETTLE

If something seems off when you’re trying on a wedding gown, it probably is, so be sure to follow your intuition.

ASK QUESTIONS

Designing is an art. Designers have a knowledge, expertise, and eye for details that you and I may not notice or understand.

SPEAK UP

Once you have decided to design your own gown, be sure to voice your opinion along the way. I can guarantee your designer will want you to be ecstatic about the final product and that you said yes to your one-of-a-kind, never duplicated dress.

Until next time!

xoxo, Whitney

Follow Whitney’s Wedding Journey

Engagement Photos | Planning a Domestic Destination Wedding

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Photography: Carly Michelle Photography | Event Planning: Always Yours Events | Wedding Dress: Belle Vie Bridal

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Whitney Bischoff

Blogger Bride
Whitney Bischoff Talks Planning a (Domestic) Destination Wedding

You know Whitney Bischoff as the newest member of our SMP Blogger Bride Squad, and today this gorgeous bride-to-be is dishing a few details of her Cape Cod wedding. Based in Chicago, Whitney is planning a wedding across the country, but pulling off destination nuptials its no small task. She’s sharing two MAJOR tips – from one bride to another – to save your sanity and make the wedding planning journey one to remember.

From Whitney… Hello again! I hope everyone had a very Happy New Year and is getting back into the swing of things following the holidays. As I mentioned in my introductory post, Ricky and I got engaged the middle of July and almost immediately the questions started flooding in…”When are you getting married? Are you getting married in Chicago? Are you getting married in Kentucky?” Brides, I know y’all understand the feeling, am I right?! In today’s post, I’m hoping I can share some tips with couples who are hosting a destination wedding which have served us well since we made the decision to have a domestic destination wedding!

Ricky’s family has ties to Cape Cod, and so it was suggested we consider the Cape as a potential wedding location. Something in my heart told me I would not be disappointed and this is the place I should marry the love of my life. When Ricky and I traveled to Cape Cod in September 2016, I knew immediately this was the perfect location. We toured the area, looked at venues and by the end of the weekend, we had decided the Cape is where we would say “I do.”

With a date and a venue, we both took a huge sigh of relief, looked at one another, and thought “What in the world do we do now?!” If we were going to get married on the Cape, how in the world would I plan this wedding from so far away without having minor panic attacks on the regular? I would have to choose my vendors from afar and trust I’m making the right decisions through phone calls and pictures. For all the destination brides reading, I know you understand this feeling well! To say we were overwhelmed was an understatement. I started collecting wedding planning books and began my online research.

I soon realized there were two very important things I had to do in order for us to successfully plan a destination wedding from Chicago: I had to find local Northeast professional wedding vendors I could trust and connect with, as well as hire a wedding planner.

Tip #1: Connect With Local Vendors 

The power of social media in this day in age is quite mesmerizing to me. I love connecting with people and following their stories, seeing their travels, fashion, families growing, the list goes on, but never did I think that social media would be where I found my very first vendor- I kid you not! I mentioned I started doing a lot of research – this included reading and browsing SMP, but also looking for inspiration through Instagram. While browsing one evening, I saw an insanely gorgeous picture that appeared to be on the Cape. I started following this photographer immediately so I could keep track of photos I hopefully could capture for my day. Not too long after, I started corresponding with Carly from Carly Michelle Photography.

Not only was I obsessed with her pictures, but I was equally obsessed with how kind she was. This is a girl that if I lived out east, we would 100% be friends. And that’s when it all started to click. Not only do I want vendors who are talented, I want professionals who are passionate, kind-hearted, hard-working and who I enjoy being around. Soon enough, Ricky and I signed on the dotted line. We officially had a location and a photographer- there was no stopping us now.

Tip #2: Hire a Wedding Planner, ASAP

A week or so later, Carly emailed she had just shot a wedding on the Cape with an incredibly talented wedding planner. Originally I was not going to hire a wedding planner. But I trusted Carly (trusting your vendors is KEY, I cannot reinforce that enough) so I decided to jump on a conference call just to get a feel for what this sweet gal, Keri Ketterer, owner of Always Yours Events, was all about. An hour later, I didn’t want to get off the phone. All of the anxiety and overwhelming feelings I mentioned previously were gone. She understood me and my vision, what I was looking for in a design and how personal I wanted my wedding day to feel.

For all of you planning a destination wedding, a wedding planner is mandatory! Trust me. Your fiancés can thank me later when they realize although it might add a bit to the budget, your sanity is worth every penny. Having someone who can represent you in person at vendor meetings when you cannot be present can relieve so much stress, and just having a professional and experienced planner by your side to guide you through the process is invaluable! From there, let the magic happen.

Until next month!

xo, Whitney

P.S. Whitney + Ricky’s City Engagement Photos!

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Photography: Carly Michelle Photography | Wedding Planner: Always Yours Events | Makeup: Gabrielle Raguso | Bride: Whitney Bischoff | Sunkissed Skin: Glo Airbrush Tan | Wedding Gown Salon: Belle Vie Bridal

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here

Whitney Bischoff

Blogger Bride