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We’re Declaring Private Vow Exchanges the Next Big Thing

As weddings have increasingly grown into elaborate – and sometimes overwhelming – events, an increasing desire to make space for intimate moments between the couple is only natural. So these two decided to privately exchange the vows they wrote themselves one month prior to their wedding day at The University of Chicago. Dressed in a romantic Anna Campbell gown and carrying a bouquet of fall foliage from Flourish + Bloom Events, this beautiful Bride-to-be shared promises from the heart with her beloved in a sacred moment captured by Kristin La Voie Photography. We love this idea so much – get inspired for a private, pre-wedding vow exchange of your own by all the heartwarming images in the Vault!

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From Kristin La Voie PhotographyOne month before their wedding day, love birds Katie and Tommy had a pre-wedding day shoot to wind down and celebrate during what is typically a stressful time in the days leading up to the big day. Not only is it important to take a moment to breathe and enjoy each other during this exciting time, but it is also important to relax and find quietness and intimacy while you can.

This beautiful Chicago session takes place in a peaceful, ivy-covered garden in the middle of the busy city (symbolic of this rare moment of peace during a whirlwind of wedding preparations). On this day, Katie and Tommy share their vows to each other, their appreciation of one another, their commitment for their lives together.

In my nine years in the industry, I have seen private vow exchanges become increasingly popular. With stricter church rules that forbid personal vows, couples who prefer privacy, and couples who want additional time to share their love for each other outside of the ceremony time constraints, a separate vow exchange is the perfect way to capture that beautiful moment. What better way than to create a separate shoot devoted to this sacred commitment?! A shoot completely dedicated to the promises you make to each other, without the worry of everyone around listening in. A moment to truly cherish, and now documented for eternity.

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Photography: Kristin La Voie Photography | Floral Design: Flourish and Bloom Events | Wedding Dress: Anna Campbell | Makeup: Joanna B Artistry | Hair: Megan Hollinger | Location: University Of Chicago

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Precious Moments Caught on Film at This Chicago Wedding

Two sweet little flower girls helped this Bride don her beautiful gown from Lovely Bride and fasten her vibrant Jimmy Choo shoes, while the Groom’s two handsome boys helped their dad into his dapper tux from Trunk Club. Elizabeth Nord was there to photograph these precious moments and more, so scroll on for all the feels.

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From Elizabeth Nord Photography Maggie radiated pure elegance and style in her dress from Mignonette Bridal and purple Jimmy Choo shoes. The pink tutu dresses that she chose for her flower girls were so cute, and I loved watching the boys help Tony get dressed! The ceremony at The Geraghty (with decor by Kehoe Designs) was filled with ghost chairs and tons of candlelit lanterns that lined the aisle creating an incredibly cozy and romantic environment. As Maggie walked down the aisle, you could see the tears beginning to pool into Tony’s eyes, and I’m particularly fond of the photo where one of Tony’s sons is looking up at him so adoringly. I nearly lost it when Maggie’s dad gave her away. His embrace was so tight, and his face just said it all. I’m a huge daddy’s girl, so this definitely tugged at my heart!

If you thought the ceremony set up was incredible, you’re going to fall over when you see the reception! I can’t even describe the beauty. I fell in love with the gray wood tables! Their reception was so special. You couldn’t help but notice Tony and Maggie’s selfless nature as they recognized those who have served and continue to serve in the military. They also made a point to celebrate and sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to their grandfather! A fun surprise for the guests was that Maggie’s dad sang their first dance song!

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Photography: Elizabeth Nord Photography | Event Planning: Chi Chic Weddings Events | Floral Design: Kehoe Designs | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Catering: Calihan Catering | Makeup: Salon Blonde | Hair: Salon Blonde | Band: Gold Coast All Stars | Groom's Attire: Trunk Club | Officiant: Fr Jef Johnson | Transportation: M&M Limousines Services | Wedding Venue: The Geraghty | Alterations: Mignonette Bridal | Bridal Boutique: Lovely Bridal Shop | Decor: Kehoe Designs | Wedding Ring: Dana Rebecca

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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What Better Place for an E-Shoot Than Your Neighborhood?

If you’re in the midst of planning your own e-session right now, take a cue from these lovebirds and keep it simple. Your home town likely has some hidden gems and meaningful, photo-worthy spots that’ll make the photos all the more special. Hello Love Photography captured this sweet couple at home and around their neighborhood, an engagement session that is warm, inviting, and so full of love.

From Hello Love PhotographySarah, Tyler, and I had a wonderful afternoon exploring their neighborhood around Logan Square and Humboldt Park, including a stop by an amazing wooden sculpture by the artist Jerzy Kanar, aptly titled “engagement.”

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Photography: Hello Love Photography

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Modern Design Meets Midwest Cuties

Detail after delightful detail stands out from this modern Midwest wedding. The candles and greenery gracing the aisle, the draped ceremony backdrop. The dreary Chicago day turning a corner and the sun peeking out. The smiles on these two cuties that never faded. And 312 Film captured them all – and their style of filming (with cinematic bouts of slow motion) has me swooning. LOLA Event Productions orchestrated the planning of this posh party and the finished results are just fantastic. Enjoy – and take notes, because these details aren’t to be missed.

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From 312 FilmA modern Chicago wedding at Morgan Manufacturing!

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Photography: averyhouse | Cinematography: 312 Film | Event Planning: Lola Event Productions | Floral Design: Exquisite Designs, Inc. | Reception Venue: Morgan Manufacturing | Reception Catering: LIMELIGHT food illuminated | Makeup: Carly Pribich, Makeup Artist | Lighting: Frost Chicago | Wedding Band: Entourage Band

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This Couple Swiped Right and Lived Happily Ever After

This couple is the proof that sometimes swiping right leads to a walk down the aisle. From Tinder to “I Do”, this modern affair crafted by Kathy B. Codilis Design and Stemline Creative is giving hope to dating app users everywhere. It’s a celebration that pairs chic with a historic piece of Chicago architecture and through Clary Pfeiffer’s images, that combo is undeniably gorgeous.

From the couple… The story or how we met is almost a punchline… We met on Tinder (before it got creepy). However we quickly realized we did have a connection as she was the beautiful babysitter of his next-door neighbors that he didn’t have the courage to ask out, in the traditional sense. We quickly realized our connection and were engaged 18 months later! Our styles are somewhat conflicting, she likes classic and he likes contemporary. The Chicago Athletic Association provided an opportunity to have both. The building was originally opened in 1890 but was painstakingly restored in 2015, adding modern amenities to a very historic piece of Chicago architecture. Wanting to create a formal atmosphere while still keeping things simple, we invited guests black-tie optional and went with classic themes, white flowers, gold accents, and tried to highlight the beauty of the location as much as possible. Our favorite moments were certainly having all the nieces and nephews gathered for photos before the ceremony and witnessing several meltdowns, including a classic photo of one of our flower girls completely shutting down before walking down the aisle! So many memories from that day, from fantastic September weather conditions to some incredibly creative/funny toasts to having our 90-year-old grandparents lighting up the dance floor! We couldn’t have been happier with that day and we hope it is symbolic of our lives ahead of us!

Photographer: Clary Pfeiffer Photography | Event Planning: Amanda Masson | Floral Design: Stemline Creative | Invitations: Elizabeth Grace | Shoes: Rene Caovilla | Jewelry: Bridget Christian Designs - custom earrings | Wedding Venue: Chicago Athletic Association | Bride's Dress: Romona Keveza | Clutch : Judith Leiber

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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The All-Inclusive Venue You HAVE to Meet

If you’re worried that choosing an all-inclusive venue will send you down the path to a cookie cutter wedding: don’t be. Trust us – you can have that glam celebration you’ve always wanted with all of the convenience an all-in-one location has to offer. Need proof? Check out The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center – they can handle it all.

Choosing an all-inclusive venue doesn’t have to mean giving up higher-end options like high-quality invitations, gorgeous linens and stunning table settings. With Hallmark Weddings at The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, you’ll be working with a team of talented wedding pros that know how to handle everything, right down to setting up room blocks for all of your loved ones. We’re super impressed with their unique wedding packages – which start with a luxe venue of your choosing and touch on everything from customized menus to makeup + salon time to invites from the Halls Department Store.

Wedding planning shouldn’t be stressful. So if you find yourself struggling with finding the right florist or musician, need help with choosing the perfect pre-wedding event outfits or just want to make sure your guests are completely taken care of, contact The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center to talk all things Hallmark Weddings. You’ll even earn perks on every guest room booked.

This Duo Dated Nearly a Decade Before Getting Engaged

Speaking from personal experience, having a long “dating” relationship before getting engaged is an absolutely wonderful thing. That growing together process makes the day you say I do that much more meaningful, as these two lovebirds can attest. Hello Love Photography joined them to document all the feels. See some of our favorite captures below and check out the full gallery when you’re done!

From the Bride… Stanley and I had been dating for nine years before we got engaged last summer. Many of our friends and family have been waiting for this day for a long time. And since most of our family and friends live on all ends of the US (and even abroad) we were excited at the chance to have an occasion to bring everyone together! I was inspired by the beautiful arches and garden of the Winnetka Community House for the wedding. The lush greenery provides a gorgeous backdrop that doesn’t need anything more to make it beautiful. I gravitated towards floral and watercolor motifs to bring it all together and aimed for simple, romantic and elegant.

Photography: Hello Love Photography | Floral Design: Morning Glory, Glenview | Reception Venue: Winnetka Community House | Makeup: Janice Cha | DJ: Mike Staff Productions | Hairstylist: Claire Lee

Calling All Tassel Lovers! You Must See This Rooftop Wedding Inspo

Tassels have been popping up everywhere – from handbags to shoes – and if you’re like me, you’re probably completely obsessed with this trend. So when this modern Chicago inspiration session captured by Natalie Probst Photography came across my desk, I couldn’t wait to share it with you all! The Bride’s loose up do by Gia Tovar showcased her DIY black tassel earrings, which added just the right amount of oomph to the romantic, off-the-shoulder Samantha Sleeper gown. Get scrolling to check out all the tassels, which also make an appearance on the back of the reception chairs – the coolest detail maybe ever!

From Natalie Probst PhotographyWho says tassels are just a fashion accessory? Tassels are popping up everywhere, from earrings to hem lines, and there’s no sign of this trend slowing down soon. We’re excited to share some chic, modern wedding inspiration with you that includes this year’s hottest accessory.

The Ambassador Chicago is a favorite destination for couples who appreciate and know good design. From the rooftop views of the Ava terrace to its modern, crisp white suites, The Ambassador Chicago is the perfect place for a rooftop wedding, rehearsal dinner, or getting ready location. Envision your guests dining with the Chicago skyline as the backdrop, watching the colors change on the buildings as the sun goes down. And at night, imagine the twinkle of the city lights bringing a romantic glow to your evening. A first dance 17 floors up? Epic.

This Rory gown by Samantha Sleeper is the perfect example of relaxed elegance, with its off the shoulder draping and front button detailing. Paired with long black tassel earrings (a 60 second DIY project!) this look is perfect for the bold Bride with personal style to spare. As for him, we think a Groom can never go wrong in a white dinner jacket and black bow tie. A look that will never go out of style!

Elysia Root is a genius when it comes to desserts, and this 5-tier white wedding cake with geode rock detailing brought a modern twist to the traditional wedding cake. Magnificent Milestones provided the classic, monochromatic paper goods, and May Floral never disappoints, providing the gorgeous floral centerpiece and bridal bouquet. Last but not least, Gia Tovar and Joanna B Artistry brought our vision of a chic, relaxed Bride to life through hair and makeup. Thank you to this amazing vendor team!

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Photography: Natalie Probst Photography | Floral Design: May Floral | Wedding Dress: Samantha Sleeper | Cake: Elysia Root | Reception Venue: Ambassador Hotel | Makeup: Joanna B Artistry | Hair: Gia Tovar | Groom's Jacket: Men's Wearhouse | Paper Goods: Magnificent Milestones

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A Classic Tented Reception Under the Stars

With a traditional and refined celebration in mind, Jessica and Billy set out to plan a day inspired by the royal wedding. They chose a polo club outside Chicago as the setting and opted for a romantic tented reception beneath the stars. The result was a wedding that’s totally Will + Kate approved and you can see it all with photos by Natalie Probst.

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Jessica and Billy drew inspiration from the royal wedding but wanted their wedding to feel anything but traditional. Their Arranmore Polo Club wedding did not disappoint one bit. They wanted to give their guests an all-around incredible experience appealing to all their senses – from décor to food to music. Fleur brought life to the tented reception with black tapered candles, lush magnolia trees, and accents of honed metallics. It was an intimate and oh-so-chic affair.

Shannon O’Brien and AJ Palace are the dream team when it comes to hair and makeup – Jessica and her ladies looked flawless. Jessica wowed in her stunning Carolina Herrera dress and carried a Princess Kate-inspired simple bouquet wrapped in leather, our favorite detail incorporated all throughout the day. Sarah Drake Designs provided the most beautiful paper goods: leather accented invitation suite and custom wax seal menus at each place setting. A seating chart hand lettered on leather and set in the lush ivy of a polo pitch farmhouse led guests to their seats.

And let’s not forget about the food from Boutique Bites! Coming from an Italian family, Jess knew an abundance of delicious food was a must. Preset charcuterie boards at every table and a super fun late night snack – cotton candy served on silver platters left guests ending the night on a good note. We could go on, but you get it, this wedding was absolute perfection.

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Photography: Natalie Probst Photography | Videography: Mirar Productions | Wedding Planning: Estera Events | Floral Design: Fleur Inc | Wedding Dress: Carolina Herrera | Cake: Vanille Patisserie | Stationery: Sarah Drake Design | Ceremony Venue: St. Peter and Paul Church | Reception Venue: Arranmore Farm Polo Club | Catering: Boutique Bites | Makeup : Shannon O'Brien MUA | Hair : Your Stylist AJ | Music: Chicago Players

Your Key To the Perfect Bridal Shower or Bachelorette Party Weekend

Sure, wedding planning is time-consuming, but don’t let all of those other all-too-important events fall to the wayside. Your bridal shower, bachelorette party and honeymoon are meant to be awesome, and that means throwing on your best heels and finding a space that will totally accommodate you and the ones you love. Get inspired (and find the perfect locale) below.

Finding the ultimate spot to host all of those “other” events may seem a little daunting, but The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center makes it sooo easy with oversized rooms that are totally luxurious AND undergoing a fab renovation that will be completed in 2018. Yep, your fave hotel in Crown Center will be even better, with plenty of space for hosting that bridal shower or bachelorette party. We’re obsessed with their convenient locale for any last-minute shopping and their easy access to airport travel. Not to mention their Bridal Suites are perfect for morning-of festivities, so you can relax with your besties before you walk down the aisle. (Champagne optional.)

When it comes to making it simple for you and your guests, The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center most definitely delivers. Host your entire wedding weekend at the hotel, or set aside room blocks for your off-site celebration. Trust us, you’ll love the beautiful rooms (we mentioned they were renovated, right?) and easy access to dining, shopping and nightlife. Oh, and don’t forget your honeymoon and check out the romantic suites with stunning views.

Contact The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center today to guarantee that every last part of your celebration is in place.

9 Wedding Locations You Havent Heard About Yet

We know that finding the perfect wedding venue isn’t always easy, especially if you’re looking for something that totally speaks to you and yours. So today we’re running through a list of nine (yes, NINE) fab venues we absolutely love, so you can find that dream locale. Scroll for some hidden gems you haven’t even heard of.

THE ST. REGIS WASHINGTON, D.C.

Why we love it: Just steps from the White House, The St. Regis Washington, D.C. is the perfect mix of luxe accommodations and upscale wedding offerings – all with a dash of historical charm. You can opt for a cocktail hour in the Italianate revival lobby, or celebrate your “I do’s” in the Astor Ballroom with its hand-stenciled ceiling (an original 1926 decorative feature) and Palladian windows overlooking The Astor Terrace. This place is beautiful, you guys – and it’s no wonder it continues to be named the “Best Hotel for Small Weddings” by Washington Magazine. It’s just that good.

What you can’t miss: The Astor Terrace. Perfect for ceremonies OR receptions, this gem of an outdoor space features a dreamy fountain. Need we say more?

W SCOTTSDALE

Why we love it: Located smack-dab in the middle of Scottsdale’s Entertainment District, W Scottsdale is every modern lovin’ bride’s dream. Think totally chic contemporary spaces (both indoor and outdoor) perfect for celebrating your Big Day, plus amazing accommodations that will make your entire wedding weekend.

What you can’t miss: Their fab W Insider service. It’s concierge plus some with everything you’ll ever need just a push of a button away. Whatever you want, whenever you want it.

LE MÉRIDIEN DELFINA SANTA MONICA

Why we love it: Situated just three blocks from the ocean with great access and breathtaking views, plus offering up some awesome amenities for guests (hey there, Bicycle Programme), Le Méridien Delfina Santa Monica seamlessly combines a glam spot to say “I do” with all of that laid-back Southern Cali charm we love so much. We’re obsessed with their Pool Terrace receptions, not to mention their chef-inspired catering menus and views of the Pacific Ocean.

What you can’t miss: Their venues. From the Delfina Ballroom to the Terrazza GardenLe Méridien Delfina Santa Monica has you covered when it comes to celebrating in style.

HOTEL COLONNADE CORAL GABLES, A TRIBUTE PORTFOLIO HOTEL 

Why we love it: Ideal for those travel lovers who want to say “I do” in complete luxury, the Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables has elegant weddings (and accommodations) down to an absolute science. From their 23,000 square feet of event space to their gorgeous venue options (hello, marble-tiled rotunda) to their talented staff that knows everything there is to know about throwing the perfect wedding, you’ll most definitely be making a statement.

What you can’t miss: Their Make a Green Choice Program. Guests receive a $5 food credit or 500 SPG points just for making the choice to conserve natural resources in their room. We love that.

THE WESTIN CHICAGO NORTHWEST

Why we love it: It’s hard not to fall in love with a setting as pretty as Hamilton Lake and when you add in a climate-controlled tent and fully-renovated guest rooms, you have yourselves one of the prettiest wedding locales in all of Chicago. Plus, the Westin Chicago Northwest also offers up a plethora of indoor + outdoor venue options, customizable menus AND your very own wedding specialist.

What you can’t miss: Their 24-hour room service. (Enough said.)

SHERATON SAN DIEGO HOTEL & MARINA

Why we love it: You honestly can’t go wrong with a San Diego wedding, and the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina is the epitome of a perfect SoCal soiree with a gorgeous seaside location and deluxe amenities. Now add in a stunning garden ceremony spot (with marina views) and indoor venue options that are just as cool and you have the perfect place to say “I do.”

What you can’t miss: The Culinary team. They’ve been named “Best Caterer” by San Diego Magazine for 15 years running. Yum.

THE EQUINOX, A LUXURY COLLECTION GOLF RESORT & SPA, VERMONT

Why we love it: You know we can never get enough of Vermont weddings and if you’re looking for the perfect destination spot: this is it. From their three unique venues (Pond Pavilion, Colonnade Ballroom and Meadow House) to the amazing views of the Equinox Mountain and the Taconic Mountain Ridge, The Equinox Resort has everything you’ll ever need for that dream wedding… AND can accommodate anywhere from 80 to 250 guests.

What you can’t miss: The activities. This four-season resort offers up a world of fun-filled adventures, from golfing to skiing to fishing to snowshoeing – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

THE ST. ANTHONY, A LUXURY COLLECTION HOTEL, SAN ANTONIO

Why we love it: Four words: Open-air rooftop ballroom. Yep, you can literally dance the night away under the stars. Plus, the St. Anthony has been hosting weddings for over a century, so you know you’re in good hands with their talented staff of event professionals. From their gorgeous rooms to their convenient downtown locale, you won’t be missing a thing.

What you can’t miss: The details. From crystal chandeliers to a winding staircase to theatrical lighting and a 19th Century French tapestry, get ready for some non-stop oohing and ahhing.

THE WESTIN GALLERIA & OAKS HOUSTON

Why we love it: If you’re having a celebration with a lot of out-of-town guests, you can’t pick a locale better than the Westin Galleria & Oaks Houston. Its Uptown location paired with its amazing guest amenities and reception space for up to 1,000 makes it the ideal location for those looking to explore the Galleria neighborhood of Houston. Think shopping, dining and spa-ing the days away. It’s perfect.

What you can’t miss: The Monarch Ballroom. With floor-to-ceiling windows and views of the city, this 24th floor gem is a reception dreamland.

Visit SPG Weddings to find out even more about these hidden gems AND all of the amazing perks of having an SPG Wedding. You can thank us later, friends.

Charming Summertime Wedding at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Allow me to introduce this sweet couple, Mandy and Joe. They planned a wildly romantic wedding at the Chicago Botanic Garden complete with neutral tones, organic greenery and a tented reception that’s straight out of our garden party dreams. Olivia Leigh came alongside to capture the magic and there’s a whole gallery just waiting to be opened.

Mandy and Joe are the most amazing, sweet, intelligent couple. They held a gorgeous wedding at the Chicago Botanic Garden, near where they grew up. Mandy looked stunning in a gorgeous gown that caught the light in a gorgeous fashion at the garden.

Their ceremony was held on the Rose Terrace, surrounded on all sides by friends and family. Their vows were emotional and beautifully-written, and the ceremony was capped off with a rendition of “Oh Happy Day” by the musicians as well as some surprise guests in the audience.

The romantic garden theme of their wedding was accented with blush bridesmaids gowns and greens and whites with accents of pink and orange in flowers by Fleur and gorgeous farm tables that looked over the pond at the gardens. It was a magical day that had a wonderful heart and a sense of family.

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Photography: Olivia Leigh Photographie | Event Coordination: Estera Events | Floral Design: Fleur Inc | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Cake: Deerfield's Bakery | Invitations: William Arthur Fine Stationery | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bella Bridesmaid | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale | Makeup: Elise Brill | Hair: Magnificent Brides | Venue: Chicago Botanic Garden | Dress Boutique: Ultimate Bride Boutique | Music: Skyline | Photobooth: Olivia Leigh Photographie

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This Black Tie Wedding Defines Timeless Elegance

We’ve featured countless black-tie weddings over the years, yet they’ll never cease to make our hearts pitter patter when an exceptionally lovely one like this comes across our desks. From the beautiful lace detailing on the back of the Bride’s gown and the dapper gentlemen sporting attire from The Black Tux, to the gold accents, pretty arrangements by Steve’s Flower Market, and romantic candle light at the reception, this wedding by Elizabeth Nord Photography is the absolute definition of timeless elegance.

From Elizabeth Nord PhotographyKevin and Laura began their wedding day by getting ready at the super cute Rafaello hotel, had their first look on the hotel’s rooftop (called Drumbar), and then held their ceremony at Germania Place. There are so many things that I loved about their wedding day including her dainty, rose gold accessories, the men’s custom fitted suits, the couple’s portraits at the Art Institute of Chicago, and the personal touches that they included in their wedding ceremony. They both chose to wear something from their grandparents – Laura wore her grandmother’s ring and Kevin wore his grandfather’s cuff links. I love how important family is to them and how they trusted me completely when it came to portrait locations! The colors of the wedding were so classic and beautiful. I loved the pink, green, and white floral paired with the gold decor that was so gorgeously designed by Steve’s Flower Market. All of the speeches were so warm and heartfelt. It’s obvious that this couple is loved by so many… And it’s easy to see why! This was one wedding I’ll never forget. I had so much fun working with these two!

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Photography: Elizabeth Nord Photography | Floral Design: Steve's Flower Market | Cake: Alliance Bakery | Makeup + Hair: Sarah Williams | Calligraphy: Cali O'Rourke Calligraphy | Band: Chicago Catz | Venue: Kenmare Catering | Tuxedo Rentals: The Black Tux

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A Blush Hued Celebration That Highlights the Beauty of Chicago

This blushing beauty of a wedding is not only draped in the most gorgeous shades of pink but it’s also highlighting the elegance of a classic Chicago celebration. With river views, gorgeous architecture and romantic details galore, take a front-row seat to this pretty day through the lens of Tim Tab Studios.

From the Photographer… James and Amy met 8 years ago on their first day of undergrad at Florida State University. After graduation, James moved up to Chicago with Amy as she started medical school. They fell in love with the city, and now couldn’t imagine leaving. James proposed to Amy on a trip to Hawaii, in the most romantic way possible: on the beach at sunset, with a photographer hiding in the bushes since he knew Amy’s love for pictures. Their process of wedding planning was slow, as they had a two year engagement due to Amy’s little free time out of the hospital. This actually became a huge blessing for them, since there was no pressure in making decisions quickly and they could take their time in making everything just right. Amy dreamed of a romantic and dreamy theme, with shades of blush, white and champagne. They were able to have the ceremony in the beautiful Rockefeller Chapel, on University of Chicago’s campus where Amy would receive her MD just three weeks later. They chose Galleria Marchetti for the reception venue, as it gave them the romantic and dreamy feel they were looking for. James really tapped into his creative side, as he played an integral part in the planning process. Their advice to couples in the planning process is to decide together the few most important parts of a wedding to them first. Weddings can get incredibly expensive, and knowing you and your partner’s priorities up front is crucial. For them, the most important factors were that their guests had a fun party and the photographs could be something they could treasure for a lifetime. The day goes by so quickly, so also take some time with your new spouse to be in the moment of the day.

Photography: Tim Tab Studios | Floral Design: Trablume Floral Design Studio | Wedding Dress: Essense of Australia | Cakes: Amy Beck Cake Design | Reception Venue: Galleria Marchetti | Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mishka | Jewelry: Dae Sung | DJ: Style Matters DJs | Bridal Boutique: Diana's Bridal - Skokie, IL | Bridesmaid Dress Designer: Watters | Bridesmaid Dress Designer: Adrianna Papell | Bridesmaids' Dresses Source: Brideside | Chapel: Rockefeller Chapel | Groom's Bowtie: Tom Ford | Groom's Tux: Suitsupply | Groom's Watch: Cartier | Groomsmen's Tuxes: Men's Wearhouse | Makeup Artist and Hair Styling: Deco Adamo | Reception Decor and Lighting: Elegant Event Lighting | Veil: Bel Aire Bridal

This Is How You Do a Garden-Inspired Wedding, Without the Garden

Although this Bride had envisioned a garden wedding with overflowing greenery, her winter nuptials in the Windy City meant it was going to be cold. Very cold. With a little creative planning and the help of Avant Gardenia, she pulled off a classic indoor affair that still felt garden-inspired, with the Bridesmaids in floral Plum Pretty Sugar getting-ready robes and then flowing blush Jenny Yoo dresses, the light and organic bouquets, and the table runners made from ample greenery interspersed with romantic candlelight at the reception. After perusing the gallery by Tim Tab Studios, we declare this Chicago wedding as pretty as any English garden we’ve ever seen.

From the Bride… Chris and I got engaged in Chicago in April. We were so excited to start wedding planning, but we didn’t get very far before we realized the timing was going to be tricky. We knew we didn’t have time to rush into a wedding that summer, but we didn’t want to wait over a year until it was wedding season (and decent weather) again. After hours and hours of research on destination weddings and exploring different options for locations, we ultimately decided to keep it local and set out to plan a winter wedding in Chicago!

One good thing about planning a February wedding in Chicago is that you know it’s going to be cold, so it takes all the guesswork around weather off the table entirely. I had visions of a garden wedding, and even though that’s virtually impossible in the city in winter, we found The Ivy Room and knew it was the perfect venue for us as soon as we walked in. It’s a fantastic space with a simple elegance and rich wood floors, which was the perfect backdrop for the garden-style floral and greens I had been imagining. And on our wedding day, when surrounded by romantic vintage-inspired candlelight, it was truly a dream.

The courtyard just behind the venue is an oasis in the middle of the city and was the perfect spot for the two of us to escape to be alone for just a few minutes during our reception and reflect upon the amazing day we’d had. (And to take a few pictures before returning to the dance floor!)

We planned our wedding in about 10 months, and there were some stressful moments, but my advice to any Bride is to try to have fun with it. Time just flies when you’re planning a wedding, so find time to pause throughout the process to appreciate your fiancé and all your family and friends surrounding you along the way. Oh, and if at all possible, budget for a day-of wedding planner to help ease the stress of the wedding weekend and the days leading up to it. It’s seriously money well spent!

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Photography: Tim Tab Studios | Coordination: It's All Happening Events | Floral Design: Avant Gardenia | Wedding Dress: Matthew Christopher | Invitations: Minted | Church: Holy Name Cathedral | Reception Venue: The Ivy Room at Tree Studios | Bride's Shoes: Stuart Weitzmen | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Makeup: Jeannie Giannone | Hair: Debra Petrielli Freelance Hairstylist | Bride's Fur: Family Heirloom | Bridesmaids' Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Groom's + Groomsmens' Attire: Macy's | Signage: Reenie Rose

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All You Need is Love and A Romantic Beatles Themed Wedding

For a couple who watched Across the Universe on their first date, this Beatles themed wedding planned by Sweetchic Events was the perfect fit. Inspired by the hit songs of the Fab Four, it’s a mix of gorgeous florals by Avant Gardenia, sweet images by Kristin La Voie and a subtle theme that brings it all back full circle to when they first met.

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Jennie & Nic had the kind of wedding day dreams are made of. Meticulously planned by Courtney of Sweet Chic Events, the lovebirds’ magical Beatles themed wedding was pulled off without a hitch. One of Jennie & Nic’s first dates consisted of watching the Beatles inspired movie “Across the Universe” so the day appropriately so incorporated beautiful hints of the Beatles; the “All you need is love cake”, the Octopus themed escort table and bow ties, their “love” table favors, and of course, the band!

Photography: Kristin La Voie Photography | Planner: Sweetchic Events, Inc. | Floral Design: Avant Gardenia | Wedding Dress: Amsale | Cake: Le Sucre | Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas | SHOES: Stuart Weitzmen | Bridesmaids' Dresses: BHLDN | Hair & Makeup: Nika Vaughan Bridal Artists | Band: Meet the Beetles | Tuxedo: The Black Tux | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Noah's Event Venue | Mexican Catering: El Pollo Rico | Sushi: El Pollo Rico

Looking for a unique space to tie the knot? We found it.

Let’s be honest, no one wants a cookie cutter wedding. But if finding a venue that is the perfect mix of luxe accommodations and totally unique wedding space has left you a little frustrated, we’re here to help. Because today we’re hosting a little meet and greet with The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, a hotel that has everything you’re searching for. Find your dream space below.

Situated in the center of downtown Kansas City, The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center is the type of venue that just makes sense. Surrounded by Hallmark’s Crown Center and more than 85 acres of fabulous shopping, yummy restaurants and entertaining theaters, it’s the perfect spot to spend a weekend with your nearest and dearest, celebrating your big moment. But what really stands out about The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center is the amazing venue options. From sophisticated ballrooms, to the gorgeous panoramic views from The American, to the elegant rooftop locale known as the Games Deck, each venue will truly stun your guests. Which means saying goodbye to a generic, cookie-cutter wedding and hello to an awe-inspiring soiree for the ages. Just like you want.

Ready to host the wedding of the century at a hotel that knows everything there is to know about glamorous nuptials that are as unique as you and your love? Contact The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center today to start planning your dream day. With a talented team of wedding specialists, an amazing downtown location and accommodations that are the definition of luxurious, you honestly can’t go wrong. Oh, and don’t forget to ask about their Hallmark Wedding Packages, because, well… they’re awesome. Happy planning, loves!

Photography: Kelsey Diane Photography | Photography: Wirken Films | Event Design: Craig Sole Design | Event Planning: Quintessential Events | Reception Venue: The American Restaurant | Hotel: Westin Kansas City At Crown Center

Embracing the Rain with a Chic and Romantic Chicago Affair

Returning to the city where their love story began, this Bride and Groom threw an insanely romantic Chicago wedding….rain included. Captured by Kate Weinstein, the gloomy day set the scene for a chic celebration planned by Estera Events, including blush colored blooms by Stems, watercolor stationery by EVR Paper and the prettiest portraits under the umbrella.

From the Photographer… Susan & Peter met while in college in Chicago and their first date was to a dog park. After a few years of dating, they moved to NYC so Susan could pursue her dream to work in fashion, and Peter in tech. Since they are both from Chicago and it is where their love story began, they decided to get married in Chicago and chose Cafe Brauer in Lincoln Park for its natural but still urban setting. Chicago weather in March can be quite unpredictable and it ended up being a foggy day with intermittent rain, but the bride was not the least bit concerned with the weather. Susan said she loved that it was raining because it made the usually busy city feel “so still, and peaceful.”

Estera Events planned the day to perfection, and Stems created the florals. Peter and Susan got ready at the Public Hotel and had their first look on the Ava Terrace at the hotel. Susan chose an embroidered dress by Lee Petra Grebenau, and accented it with a white fur stole for extra warmth. Joanna B Artistry designed Susan’s makeup, and Gia Tovar designed her hair. The Groom wore a suit by Double RL – Ralph Lauren. At Cafe Brauer, Tiger Lily Weddings provided the catering, Alliance Bakery created the cake, Toast and Jam DJ’d, String Theory provided the ceremony music, and Nimble Well provided rentals. The paper and invitations were designed by EVR Paper, who created a custom watercolor of Cafe Brauer to fit Susan’s vision and colors. For their first dance, Susan and Peter danced a piece choreographed to a musical medley from one of their favorite movies, La La Land!

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Photography: Kate Weinstein Photo | Florals: Stems, inc. | Cake: Alliance Bakery | Ceremony Venue: Cafe Brauer | Reception Venue: Cafe Brauer | Shoes: Charlotte Olympia | Bridesmaid Dresses: Monique Lhuillier | Catering: Tigerlily Events | Makeup: Joanna B Artistry | Hair Stylist: Gia Tovar | DJ: Toast and Jam | Ties: The Tie Bar | Groom's Suit: Ralph Lauren | Groomsmen Suits: Jos A. Bank Rentals | Transportation: Echo Limousine | Ceremony Musicians: Style Matters DJs | Getting Ready Hotel: Public Hotel | Paper / Invitations: Evr Paper Co Christine Bellagamba | Planning: Estera Events | Rentals: Nimble Well | Ring box: The Mrs Box | Sweets: Snow Dragon Shavery | Veil : Cassandra Silvestro | Wedding Dress Designer: Lee Grebenau | Wedding Dress Shop: SPINA

This Inspiration is a Study in Classic, Blush Colored Romance

For this wedding shoot, the end goal was all out romance. Think elegant neutrals, blushing roses and a sparkle of gold. It’s as classic and glamorous as can be with design and florals by Splendid Weddings and Events and the prettiest of images by Codrean Photography. Sneak a peek at truly romantic inspiration right here.

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Photography : Codrean Photography and Films | Event Planning and Design: Splendid Weddings and Events | Floral Design: Splendid Weddings and Events | Stationery: Minted | Hair and Makeup : Rare Bird Beauties | Venue: Room 1520 | Bouquet Ribbon: Frou Frou Chic | Linen Rental: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Model : Mackenzie Possage | Place Settings : Tablescapes Event Rentals | Venue and Furniture: Room 1520 | Wedding Gown and Accessories: Mignonette Bridal

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Bride Steals the Show in a Pink Vera Wang Wedding Dress

ANY Vera Wang number is a showstopper in my opinion. But a pink Vera Wang? Hold the phone. This Bride absolutely rocked hers and it was perfect for this city fete planned by LOLA Event Productions. How fun would it be to prance in the street in this beauty?! Amanda Megan Miller Photography captured it beautifully, along with the entire day—here in the full gallery.


From Kirsty Basch of LOLA Event ProductionsJenna and John wanted an intimate celebration full of good music and great food. We love giving the client what they want! They found the perfect location for their affair at A New Leaf in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago. Being a flower shop, a New Leaf provides the perfect amount of quaint and cozy, all while surrounding it’s guests in a garden-like atmosphere.

The day started at the Public hotel where Jenna enjoyed the company of her bridesmaids. It was impossible for anyone to ignore the gorgeous blush Vera Wang gown in the room which was the perfect accessory to the bride’s beaming smile. She was truly a vision.

Their courtyard ceremony was warm and welcoming, and full of laughs. You know a couple is meant to be when they each shout ‘HELL YES’ when asked if they would take the others’ hand in marriage. The reception to follow was just as fun. To create a relaxed, less formal, environment, Jenna and John chose to have a cocktail style reception instead of a classic sit down dinner. Per usual, Limelight catering wow’d with their delectable small bites, raw bar, and charcuterie station, – just to name a few! And who could forget about the donut wall from Do-Rite Donuts?! Guests were definitely energized after a fantastic meal to get out and shake it on the dance floor!

We loved the simplicity and softness of the decor at this wedding. The blush peonies and accents of greenery everywhere provided a nice feminine touch while still keeping some edge and sophistication with the brick walls and industrial feel of the space. As always, finishing off the space with an abundance of candlelight will do the trick to set the mood! There were perfect details all around to show off the subtle and classic style of the couple while complimenting, not competing with the already gorgeous surroundings of the venue. This intimate Chicago wedding was oh so dreamy!

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Photography: Amanda Megan Miller Photography | Wedding Planner: Lola Event Productions | Floral Design: A New Leaf Floral Design | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang | Invitations: Shine Wedding Invitations | Catering: LIMELIGHT food illuminated | Makeup: Joanna B Artistry | DJ: Toast and Jam | Hotel: Public Hotel | Ceremony & Reception: A New Leaf | Donuts: Do Rite Donuts | Pie: Hoosier Mama Pies

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