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Brideside + A Discount!

I’ll admit it.  As much as I love being a bridesmaid (and, oh, do I love it), trekking to bridal shop after bridal shop to try on gowns is, well, seriously tiring.  Which is why I am all sorts of obsessed with Brideside, the online retailer that brings the bridal shop to YOU by letting you browse bridesmaid dresses online and then try them on in the comfort of your very own home. Say it with me, loves: awesome.

With Brideside, you can choose from a plethora of style choices and colors, all with the help of an amazing stylist who works with you every step of the way to guarantee a fabulous (+ chic) bridal party. Just chat with the stylist about your dream wedding and vision, then let them take over and guide your besties through an array of different designers on Brideside’s online store.  They’ll even provide instructional videos on measuring and selecting the best dress types for your body!  And when every last dress is chosen, they’ll ship the samples to your home, so you can have that girl’s day with mimosas and cozy yoga pants.  Soooo comfortable and soooo fun.

Ready to get started?  Visit the Brideside website ASAP or, if you live in Chicago, make an appointment with a stylist here. And don’t forget this exclusive discount for SMP readers: When you buy your bridesmaid dress in February, the first $20 is on Brideside!  Use discount code “SMP20″ at checkout. (Terms & Conditions: Cannot be combined with any past or future promotions. Readers must purchase bridesmaid dress at full price on or before 2/28/15. Offer does not apply to the following designers: Joanna August, Donna Morgan, Jenny Yoo.)


Elegant Kansas Garden Wedding at Botanica

Beautifully elegant but equally personal, this Botanica wedding has so many pretty and heartfelt little details I don’t even know where to start. Planned by Bel Amour Events with florals from Moore Flowers , there isn’t an image in this collection I don’t love, and luckily those beautiful pictures from Jackie Cooper speak for themselves.


From Jackie CooperThis late-summer wedding was all things pretty and elegant at the same time. The bridesmaids wore black floor-length dresses and carried pale tangerine and white bouquets to perfectly accent Courtney’s stunning Maggie Sottero gown. Their string-bulb lighting for the reception and the LOVE sign custom-made by Kyle himself completed the romantic, garden feel of the day.

Kyle is an avid outdoorsman, taking frequent trips to climb/hike Colorado’s fourteeners (mountains whose peaks rise above 14,000’ in elevation), so it was perfectly fitting that they literally tied the knot during their ceremony using climbing rope! They used river rocks for guests to sign in lieu of a traditional guest book, which suited their love of the outdoors and the garden setting for their ceremony and reception.

Photography: Jackie Cooper | Cinematography: Nick Miller Films | Coordination: Bel Amour Events | Floral Design: Moore Flowers | Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero | Cake: Buckingham Cakes | Invitations: Minted | Jewelry: Signatures | Bridesmaids Dresses: David's Bridal | Catering: Blue Moon Catering | DJ: Accent Mobile Music | Suits: Men's Wearhouse | Venue: Botanica | Dress Shop: Ida's Bridal & Tuxedo

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Weddings & Events at The Ritz-Carlton Chicago (A Four Seasons Hotel)

Take just one step inside the doors at The Ritz-Carlton Chicago (A Four Seasons Hotel) and one thing will be certain… this is the place you’ll host your wedding.  Because The Ritz-Carlton Chicago (A Four Seasons Hotel) isn’t just any wedding venue, it’s the perfect combo of breathtaking beauty (hello, Grand Ballroom) and top-notch service… all wrapped up in one dream-worthy locale.

Located just steps from the amazingness that is North Michigan Avenue and nestled amongst some of the world’s coolest landmarks (think the Museum of Contemporary Art and the John Hancock Building), The Ritz-Carlton Chicago (A Four Seasons Hotel) is not only a seriously stunning place to say I do, it boasts a team of Wedding Experts that will handle every last aspect of your big day, from providing those much needed vendor recommendations to customizing yummy menus to organizing the guest accommodations.  And speaking of guests, they’re going to love sampling the crazy culinary skills of Executive Chef Martin Knaubert, the floor-to-ceiling skyline views of Chicago and the 400,000 crystal chandelier located in the ballroom.  It’s basically a wedding paradise.

So what are you waiting for, lovelies?  Head on over to The Ritz-Carlton Chicago (A Four Seasons Hotel) (and their blog!) to start planning your dream wedding… you’ll even receive a guest room stay the night prior to the wedding day and complimentary lunches for the men’s and women’s changing rooms on the day of the wedding!

Photography: Kent Drake Photography | Photography: Gerber + Scarpelli | Photography: Katie Kett Photography | Photography: KingenSmith | Photography: Amanda Hein Photography

Romantic Manhattan, Kansas Wedding at Houston Street Ballroom

I just want to thank Keith Czechanski for sending this beauty our way. Because the images sitting in this gallery? They are beyond lovely. They captured the essence of what was surely a lovely and meaningful day overflowing with love, and you can see every gorgeous moment right here.


From Keith CzechanskiJessica and Nathan were married on May 25th, 2014 in Manhattan, Kansas. There was a threat of rain for most of the day but it held off luckily. The day started off at Platinum and Co with the bridesmaids getting their hair and makeup done. Thankfully the brides baby niece kept us all entertained. The Groom and Groomsmen hung out at the church playing cards to keep the groom from getting to nervous. The Bride and Groom did a first look outside the church under a very cool arch in the courtyard. After a nice wedding ceremony the bridal party went to the Kansas State University Gardens for pictures. Then it was off to the reception at the Houston Street Ballroom.

Photography: Keith Czechanski | Floral Design: Kistner’s Floral | Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero, Bought At Ida’s Bridal & Tuxedo In KC | Ceremony Venue: First Christian Church | Reception Venue: Houston Street Ballroom | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Target | Hair And Makeup: April Jacobs At Platinum & Co | Tuxes: Men’s Warehouse | Linens And Food: Ramblers Steakhouse (Doug Long)

Whimsical Kansas Vintage Barn Wedding

The vision was simple: sparkling sunlight, vintage heirlooms, and loved ones all around. And sure enough, that starting point turned into the kind of pretty-filled, whimsical wedding that’ll leave you smiling from ear to ear. Poppy and Clover whipped up blooms for the occasion and Rose Wheat Photography didn’t miss a beat.  Click here for sooo much more!


From the Bride… When Drew and I first began planning our wedding, we knew we wanted to accomplish three things: 1) have an outdoor ceremony with sparkling sunlight, 2) include vintage family heirlooms in the decor and 3) surround ourselves with family and friends to celebrate all day long. The inspiration for the entire event was “vintage glam” and “wanderlust.” We wanted it to be whimsical, creative and lovely.

The ceremony decor included a stained glass bay window (circa 1890 England that we found in a stained glass warehouse in Arkansas) that served as an altar. I loved the concept of bringing the traditional-ness of a church wedding to the all-natural outdoor venue via the stained glass. The grey tuxes, bridesmaid dresses and flowers were all selected to coordinate with the beautiful, outdoor wooded ceremony site.

Other than renting the linens and table runners, all of the reception center pieces were made using glassware, vintage teacups, pitchers, etc. that belong to myself, my mother and grandmother. We purchased wholesale fresh flowers through our florist (Poppy and Clover) to save on costs as well. The chandelier was made using a vintage wagon wheel, DIY hand-dyed coffee filter flowers, crystals and branches from trees in our yard. One of my favorite little touches was the 1930′s vintage cake topper, which we found at The Potting Shed in Chelsea, MI while visiting my grandmother. Homemade pralines, made by my Texan grandmother, were the perfect way to share my Texan heritage as a party favor to guests. The wedding love bird logos was created by our fabulous event planners at Barn Door Events. We utilized the logo on our invitations, programs and was lit-up on the dance floor for our first dance!

Our wedding day will always be my favorite day, and one that I wish I could re-live over and over again. Every little detail – from my great-grandmothers teacups on the tables, to the soft flowy ribbons lining the ceremony aisle chairs, or the soft glow of the twinkling lights streaming from the barn rafters — truly made the day a fairytale.

Photography: Rose Wheat Photography | Wedding Planner: Barn Door Events | Floral Design: Poppy and Clover Floral Design | Wedding Dress: Alfred Angelo | Wedding Cake: 3 Women and an Oven | Catering: Affordable Catering | Hair & Makeup: Classically Chic Designs By Leslie | Barn: The Barn at Schwinn Produce Farm | Dj + Lighting: Your KC DJ | Rentals: UltraPom

Intimate Kansas Park Wedding

For this Kansas couple, paying tribute to Lawrence, the town where they fell in love, was an important part of their wedding day. The decision to work with local vendors proved to be a huge success. Antique pink peonies from Pendleton’s Country Market and three beautiful cakes from Sweetcakes Bakery were the perfect way to celebrate not only their love, but a beautiful place to live. See the rest of the lovely details in the gallery.


From The Bride…Cooper and I met in Lawrence, Kansas in 2009. Lawrence is a quirky college town with a flourishing local music scene, great restaurants, and a lot of heart. It is a beautiful place to live, and from the beginning, Cooper and I knew we wanted to highlight the town where we met and fell in love. In keeping with our “Townie” theme, we selected historic locales to serve as the backdrop for our day. Our intimate ceremony was held at South Park, founded in 1854, and we hosted our reception the historic theater, Liberty Hall, the name of which comes from a speech by Abraham Lincoln in which he called Lawrence “the cradle of liberty.”

We were lucky enough to work with about 90% local vendors. It was important to both of us that we support our local economy as much as possible, and this infusion of local goods and services made our day truly unique. From the beginning, I knew I wanted local peonies, and our florist, Pendleton’s Country Market provided the beautiful antique pink peonies. My bouquet also had white hydrangea and baby’s breath, and my hair piece had white tea roses and baby’s breath. The bridesmaids carried pink peonies with organically-placed fern pieces. The light pink peonies added a necessary bright and springy feel to our otherwise dark and sophisticated palette of black, dark blue and gold. I wore a full-lace gown by Ivy and Aster, with an open back and covered buttons. The bridesmaids picked their own navy blue dresses. The groom wore a J. Crew suit, and his groomsmen wore a suit of their choice.

We had a small ceremony with 50 of our closest friends and immediate family in front of a fountain, surrounded by pink rose bushes. A string quartet played Gabriel Faure’s “Pavane” as my father and I walked down the aisle. My oldest sister could not make it to the wedding, as she was 8 months pregnant, so we “skyped” her in to participate in the ceremony. My maid of honor’s mother officiated, focusing her marriage address on the history of our town and the value of civic spirit, public spaces, and community. In keeping with this, my dear friend Jordan wrote a small piece about marriage equality:

“Kelly and Cooper also ask you to remember that the legal institution of marriage is a privilege in our society that not everyone shares. Beyond the social and economic security that the institution currently offers, marriage for many people represents a commitment to love, trust, and partnership. The desires for companionship, growth, hope, support, laughter, and a person to call home are not limited by one’s sexual orientation or gender identification. Kelly and Cooper feel so lucky as a couple to legally and publicly express their love and commitment before you today and ask that you keep all people who are fighting for the same right in your thoughts. We ask you to take a moment of silence, for these and any other thoughts and prayers you carry.”

One of the most special moments of our ceremony was when my friend Molly recited an excerpt from The Little Prince, even Cooper shed a tear as she reminded us all, “The essential is invisible to the eye… you become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.” Finally, Cooper and I wrote our own vows. I cannot say this enough to any future bride or groom: write your own vows! It was such an honest, beautiful moment that I will always cherish.

After the ceremony, our bridal party walked the five blocks from South Park to our reception venue. As we walked down Lawrence’s main strip, Massachusetts St., people whooped and cheered congratulations. This was one of my favorite parts of our wedding, and the pictures really capture the spirit of downtown Lawrence.

The tables at our reception were decorated with peony buds in mini milk jars. The tables were scattered with homemade gold and white origami cats, which served as a symbol for our party favors: a donation to our local animal shelter. We had custom-made chalkboards for the wedding program, schedule, menu and seating chart, and I made chalkboards for our cakes.

We had three cakes made by Sweetcakes Bakery. Our flavors: Dark chocolate with local raspberry filling and chocolate buttercream, Vanilla Cake with local strawberry filling and Tahitian vanilla butter cream, and Lemon Cake with fresh blueberry preserves and lemon buttercream. This local one-woman company uses eggs from her friend’s chickens, organic sugar and flour, and local berries when seasonal. Fresh peony buds adorned the cakes, and I made gold marquee letters in our initials to add sparkle to the table.

For our first dance, an old bandmate performed “I Love You for Sentimental Reasons.” And when the dance party started, we had a local DJ, DeeJay Maudrey Hepburn play oldies music. She worked with me at the University of Kansas radio station, KJHK.

Photography: The Waldron Photograph Co. | Floral Design: Pendleton's Country Market | Wedding Dress: Ivy And Aster | Cake: Sweetcakes Bakery | Invitations: Hello Tenfold | Ceremony Venue: South Park | Reception Venue: Liberty Hall | Rings: Goldmakers | Catering: Culinaria | Makeup: Kallista & Co. | Hair: Greenroom Salon | Bridal Shoes: Joie | Chairs: Anderson Rentals | Chalkboards: Chalk Full Of Love | Earrings: La Vie Parisienne | Groomsmen Attire: J.Crew | Music: The Oread Strings | Photo Booth: Oh Snap! Photography | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: 715 Restaurant | Table Numbers: That Girl Press | Wedding Dress Shop: Altar Bridal