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SMP Midwest Welcomes Our Advertisers + A Discount!

How do you spend the perfect Sunday?  Getting to know the fabulous + oh-so-talented team of eco-friendly wedding vendors at the Chicago Green Wedding Alliance.  Because when it comes to hosting an amazing event that is also socially conscious, this is a group of vendors that will most definitely deliver. Learn so much more about their mission… and their crazy cool wedding show, Committed, below.

From Chicago Green Wedding Alliance… The Chicago Green Wedding Alliance is a group of eco-friendly wedding vendors that is committed to making less environmentally impactful events. We connect vendors with the conscious consumer for mindful weddings and social events. Our vendors create gorgeous events that transcend people’s expectations of “green” weddings.

Check out the Chicago Green Wedding Alliance on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.  

The GWA is hosting a wedding show on February 22nd at Greenhouse Loft!  Any couple that books with the code “SMP” will get $5 off!  The discount on tickets can be redeemed on the Eventbrite ticketing page.


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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.)


Chic Lakeside Country Club Wedding

With a team of talented vendors and all roads leading lakeside, this soiree is overflowing with personal details. From the rose garden inspired Sadie’s Couture Floral & Design buds, to handmade signage, every detail Laura Dawson coordinated is significant. Each image from Jeff Loves Jessica is more beautiful than the last and you can see them all here!

From The Bride…Our vision was of an intimate, Minnesota summer wedding full of personal details. Knowing that many of our guests would be visiting Minnesota for the first time, we wanted to showcase the beauty of our home state with an outdoor reception. We also loved the romantic feel of having string lights under a starry sky above our dance floor. I had an image from Pinterest which I carried with me to vendor meetings so they could get a clear understanding of the mood we were striving to provoke.

We explored a number of venue options until we realized the obvious choice right in front of us: Minikahda (Ojibway for “On the edge of the water”), the century-old Minneapolis club I had grown up at. We approached The Minikahda Club with our “out-of-box” vision to host the entire reception on the roof-deck overlooking Lake Calhoun, and from which the view of the Minneapolis skyline after dark is dazzling. Jenni, the coordinator at the club, enthusiastically embraced our vision and her staff executed it flawlessly.

Minneapolis doesn’t mean “City of Lakes” for nothing, and we were blessed with the use of three for our festivities. Our reception overlooked Lake Calhoun, and just south is Lake Harriet where we had our “first look” and bridal party photos. They were taken at the Lake Harriet rose garden where I frequently wandered as a child. From there it was a quick trip back north to the church on Lake of the Isles where Nick and I had gone ice skating on our second date.

Winters in Minnesota are conducive to DIY projects, and I probably had up to five ongoing wedding “projects” at any given time, taking over our living and dining rooms. However, knowing that I had created all the signs, monogramed the napkins and candles, and designed the stationary and decor layout, made our wedding more personal. In addition, the necklaces my bridesmaids wore were custom designed by me and made in Shanghai when I traveled there for work. Other personal details included my veil, which has been in my family since the 1830s, and the flower girl dress, which I had worn 25 years before in my Uncle’s wedding. His daughters were now my attendants. Of course, our very much-loved maltipoo, “Peaches,” had to play a role, so we named one of our signature cocktails after her. The other signature cocktail was named after a very special place: Madeline Island in Lake Superior where my family spends summers.

While the weather did go our way, not everything went according to plan. Despite the limo forgetting to pick up the groomsmen for pictures, despite the antique car breaking down on the way to the reception, despite the groom getting a bloody nose minutes before the ceremony, and despite the father of the bride stepping into a large pile of dog waste right outside the church, our day was flawless. The best advice I was given during the planning process was to control the “controllables” and on the day of the wedding, just let it all go. So, being the type-A bride that I was, I spent months creating color-coded, personalized day-of schedules for each member of the bridal party. Months meeting with vendors to review the floor plans and highly detailed floor and table grids drawn up by me for all pieces of wedding décor. Weeks solving the unexpected like our linens being discontinued before the wedding. And days coordinating a custom designed necklace to be remade in Shanghai and picked up by one of my coworkers after the original was lost in the mail. But, had I not sat back and had faith that all our outstanding wedding vendors would do their jobs, knowing that I had done all I could possibly do to “control” our day to its ultimate perfection, I would not have recognized the magic and memories that encapsulated our wedding. It was truly perfect. A special thank you to all who participated, we couldn’t have done it without you!

Photography: Jeff Loves Jessica | Cinematography: WonderWill Productions | Floral Design: Sadie's Couture Floral & Design | Cake: Cocoa & Fig | Invitations: Paper Lou | Ceremony Venue: Lake Of The Isles Lutheran Church | Reception Venue: Minikahda Club | Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Hair & Makeup: Creative Beaute Agency | Calligraphy: Feather Letter | Band: The Seville's | Groomsmen's Attire: Savvi Formalwear | Bride's Gown: Lazaro | Day Of Coordination: Laura Dawson

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Rustic Elegance at Camrose Hill Flower Farm

Set at the quaint and picturesque Camrose Hill Flower Farm, the soiree that sits below will charm you, enchant you and fill your wedding-loving imagination with the sweetest inspiration. Slightly rustic and oh-so-elegant, Laura Ivanova made sure that no detail went undocumented, including this fluffy bouquet, that delightful bicycle and this first dance. There’s more waiting right here.


From the beautiful Bride… Our wedding day was so special and memorable. Though it rained—and rained, and rained—we had the greatest time celebrating with our friends and families. I have never felt so loved.

When we saw Camrose Hill Farm, Alex and I instantly knew that was where we were going to get married. Even in the winter, it felt like a dream. The beauty and intimacy of the little flower farm made it the perfect place for us to plan out each detail and celebrate with loved ones.

I am so grateful for all of the people who helped make our wedding so wonderful. I met the greatest people during the planning process and cannot believe the time, talent, and love that went into our day. We have nothing but the best of memories.

Photography: Laura Ivanova Photography | Cinematography: Harrison Film Co. | Event Coordinator: Wonderful Day Weddings | Florist: Camrose Hill Flowers | Wedding Dress: Jenny Packham | Cakes: The Deco Catering | Stationery: Chelsea Petaja | Shoes: Alice & Olivia | Catering: The Deco Catering | Hair And Makeup: Justine Sierakowski | Band: Slip Twister | Groom's Suit: J. Crew | Ceremony Music: Michael Handler | Transportation: Stillwater Trolley Company | Bar & Drinks: With A Twist | Ceremony & Reception: Camrose Hill Flower Farm | Dress Shop: L'Atelier Couture Bridal | Linens: The Deco Catering | Rentals: Ultimate Events

Sweet and Sophisticated Botanical Wedding

A wedding filled with breath-taking Flora Bella blooms is a surefire way to put a huge smile on my face. So, when Studio Laguna sent over this stunner, sprinkled with the prettiest of bouquets my happy place just got a little bit happier. I could spend hours upon hours in this gorgeous gallery admiring every lovely detail, and it’s all right here just waiting!


From Katrina at Studio LagunaSweet, modern, and sophisticated. This gorgeous affair was filled with metallic accents and botanical beauty. Soft pink peonies with a hint of bright vibrancy set the scene. With the weather cooperating, there was no rain, the sun came out as they said their vows and a lovely sunset graced their reception.

The Bride was the perfect combination of modern and classic. She chose accents of mercury glass, Victorian inspired botanical drawings, soft textures, and sparkle updated with bold colors and simplicity.

The day began with the Bridal party getting ready in the hotel, even the couple’s dog Maggie was present! Afterwards, we went to downtown Hastings in Wisconsin (just across the river) to do our formal pictures of the couple. John and I had scouted locations ahead of time and found this old Bugatti factory that fit the Bride’s desire for urban and rustic backgrounds. We thought the old high end car logo went perfectly with the wedding look. We were battling rain all day, but the group was awesome to work with despite the sprinkling sky.

At the ceremony, the sun started to peek through the clouds and by the reception we had gorgeous golden light. The ceremony and reception took place under a beautiful draped tent overlooking the hillsides of Minnesota country. The classic details of chandeliers, crystal, and tall floral arrangements paired beautifully with the view of hillsides and trees. Butlers passed hors d’oeuvres, signature cocktails, cupcakes, and traditional kransekake.

When the sun set, brightly colored uplights made the tent so vibrant, and cafe lights in the trees had a romantic feel. We took the Bride and Groom to a rustic barn on the property for some lovely sunset pictures, and enjoyed watching the swallows dart around them.

Photography: Studio Laguna | Floral Design: Flora Bella | Wedding Dress: Demetrios | Wedding Cake: Kowalskis | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Adrianna Papell | DJ: Bellagala | Country Club: Stone Ridge

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
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