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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

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Whitney Bischoff

Blogger Bride
Urban Glam Winter Wedding

I got married right in the thick of a Midwest winter and while some called in crazy, I called it perfect. I’m so happy this couple, Annie and Ryan, felt the same and opted for a December wedding in Chicago planned and designed by La Belle Fleur Events. Think candlelit romance with all white florals and greenery galore. Artistrie Co. photographed, and you can watch it unfold this way in the gallery.

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From Ashley La Fleur of La Belle Fleur Events… Annie and Ryan are two people that when you meet them, you instantly want to be a part of their lives. The two met in New York City and shared their first date in Central Park. Two years later, Ryan proposed on the top of a mountain in Bar Harbor, Maine 

From the stories they shared about their journey, we knew we wanted to incorporate all of that into the wedding. Annie and Ryan truly wanted the wedding to feel like an intimate dinner with their closest friends and family. One element that kept coming up over and over was how water has been a part of their lives. Ryan is originally from Florida and served in the Coast Guard. He later popped the question to Annie on the shores of Frenchman Bay. Annie also grew up collecting skipping stones to put in her backyard. From those stories, the idea of the escort card display came to life.

Vale of Enna created an incredibly beautiful and organic bouquet for Annie. After hearing about their first date, Vale of Enna even tucked in a few Gerber daisies into her bouquet as those were the first flowers that Ryan ever brought Annie. Since every relationship Annie had with her bridesmaids was different, we opted to keep the overall feel and look the same in the bouquets but highlight a different flower. We loved the added sentiment of her gifting her bridesmaids each an individual bouquet with added meaning.

One of the best parts of their wedding was how it was a family affair. One of their closest friends sang during Annie’s walk down the aisle. Annie’s cousin also played the trombone during one song, and then her grandpa surprised her by finishing up her first dance song. Her mother, a talented painter, also hand painted all the cocktail hour art. They were pieces based on places or dreams Annie and Ryan have for their marriage.

All in all, it was a beautiful day in December. Every piece of their story was perfectly highlighted on their wedding day, and every friend and family member was on the dance floor until the very end of the night.

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Photography: Artistrie Co. | Wedding Planning: La Belle Fleur Events | Floral Design: Vale Of Enna | Wedding Dress: Pronovias | Stationery: Emily Rose Ink | Reception Venue: Cafe Brauer | Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Catering: Paramount Events | Makeup: Joanna B Artistry | Hair: Nika Vaughan Bridal Artists | Calligraphy: Emily Rose Ink | Band: Maggie Speaks | Suit: Ted Baker | Bridesmaid Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Custom Pillows: Etsy | Fur Stoles: Restoration Hardware | Lighting and Decor: Event Creative | Veil: Alyssa Kristin | Wedding Design: La Belle Fleur Events

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When the Perfect Snowfall Caps Off Your Wedding Day

In my humble opinion, there’s no more romantic season to marry than in winter. And if this snowfall photograph from Emily and Kyle’s big day doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will. Set at the Chicago History Museum, the amazing LK Events brought the magic of the season to life through every detail and Tim Tab Studios didn’t miss a moment behind the camera. More pretty waiting in The Vault!

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From the Bride… Kyle and I met in Chicago – despite both being from St. Louis, we knew we wanted to share the city in which we met with our family and friends for our wedding. Kyle proposed on my birthday in December of 2015. At the time, we were dating long distance, and he flew in to celebrate my birthday, or so I thought. My parents were also in town visiting, allegedly for the same reason…but little did I know it was all orchestrated for the perfect proposal in front of the Chicago Water Tower on Michigan Avenue!

We knew we didn’t want too lengthy of an engagement, so a winter wedding in December 2016 was perfect timing. When planning our wedding, our top priorities were making sure the day felt true to us, as well as making the weekend an amazing time in the Windy City for our family and friends. We brought in Nicole Zenner from LK Events because I absolutely adored a prior wedding she had planned at our venue, the Chicago History Museum, and I also loved her personality and style! She then led us to a spectacular team of vendors, who all worked closely together to execute the wedding we had envisioned.

On the day itself, I felt so excited to celebrate our love and marriage, but also to have all of our family and friends in the city Kyle and I love so much. My favorite moment was our ceremony. Our officiant kept it true to us by incorporating both traditional and non-traditional elements, including reading excerpts from our favorite musical. We also added personal touches throughout the weekend, such as Garrett’s popcorn and St. Louis-style gooey butter cookies in our welcome bags to tie in the two cities we call home. After dancing the night away with our band, Time Chicago, guests left with a monogrammed matchbook with the date and location of our wedding as a final personalized memento.

One thing I wasn’t expecting that was so lovely was the snow that started falling just before our ceremony! Not only did it make for an especially cozy evening, but also it turned the reception into an even more festive setting for our awesome photographers, Tim and Bethany! Our florist, Allison of Stems, also had to work with the snowy conditions. She created a greenery bouquet for me the day-of since it was too cold to take my floral bouquet outside. Even though it wasn’t planned, the photos with the greenery bouquet are some of my favorites! Looking back, I’m so glad that we had the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception all in one place, as we could not have asked for a more seamless chain of (snowy) events!

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Photography: Tim Tab Studios | Wedding Planning: LK Events | Floral Design: Stems, inc. | Wedding Dress: Aire Barcelona | Cake: Elysia Root | Invitations: Ellis Hill | Reception Venue: Chicago History Museum | Catering: Food For Thought | Makeup Artist: Shannon O'Brien MUA | Transportation: Trolley Car & Bus Co. | Hotel: Public Hotel | Bride and Bridesmaid's Wraps: Mark & Graham | Bride's Fur: Family Heirloom | Bride's Gown Sourced from: Mira Couture | Bridesmaid's Attire Sourced from: Bella Bridesmaids | Bridesmaid's Camis: Aritzia | Bridesmaid's Skirts: Bella Bridesmaids | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Groom and Groomsmen's Attire: Formally Modern Tuxedo | Hair Styling: Blowout Junkie | Linens: BBJ | Live Band: Time Chicago, in affiliation with BeatMix Music | Matchbox Favors: For Your Party | Watercolor Illustration of Bride's Dress and Chicago Skyline: Jenna Muscarella

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