Shauna and Mike’s Rainy Day Beer Garden Wedding | Chicago, Illinois | Day-of-Coordination

Continuing to play catch up on things we did many moons ago…

Shauna and Mike had a great plan for a fun and casual wedding – head to an Irish pub, get hitched the beer garden, spend the evening alternating breaks on the grass with spins on the dance floor. After all, what is a summer night in Chicago, if not spent on a patio seat with a cold brew in hand?

Sometimes, the weather does not quite cooperate with our delightfully imagined plans. It rained in the early afternoon. As we were setting up chairs outside, the clouds gathered and threatened to unleash a torrent. Shortly before the ceremony was set to begin, the downpour started. And that is why we make back up plans!

Shauna and Mike, along with their guests, were great sports as we quickly rearranged the schedule, moving everyone into the pub for a pre-ceremony cocktail hour. That gave the rain enough time to stop (almost as soon as it had started), and gave us enough time to quickly towel dry the chairs.

The ceremony, though slightly delayed, was absolutely lovely, with a stunning couple and some gorgeous post-rain light. Shauna wore her mother’s wedding dress, which she’d had restyled to better suit her tastes, for the ceremony. We really love it when heirlooms can be passed down and re-imagined this way! And rather than the traditional wedding party, these two chose to have their families walk down the aisle instead.

Thankfully, that was the end of the precipitation, and guests were able to enjoy the beer garden for the duration! Congratulations Shauna & Mike!

Photographer: Emilia Jane Photography
Florist: Ashland-Addison Florist
Cupcakes: Bittersweet
Photo Booth: Photo Booth Express
Venue & Catering: Chief O’Neill’s Pub

All photos were taken by Emilia Jane Photography and are reposted here the photographer’s permission. Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, and are not available for reproduction, redistribution, or any other purpose without written authorization from the photographer.

Caitlin and Mike’s University of Chicago Wedding – Bond Chapel and The Quad Club – Chicago, IL

Let’s go way back to April as I attempt to catch up on blogging this year’s weddings and projects…

Photo © Matthew Kuehl

Photo © Matthew Kuehl

Caitlin and Mike found me through APW and hired me to coordinate their wedding at the University of Chicago. Where Mike was finishing up his PhD roughly one week prior to the wedding. After which they were planning a cross-country move for a new job. I am tired just thinking about all that, never mind planning a wedding in the middle of it! However, they took it in stride and planned a lovely April wedding.

Photo © Matthew Kuehl

Photo © Matthew Kuehl

The Bond Chapel (which you may remember from Liz & James’ wedding) is a gorgeous historical building, and made a beautiful spot for their ceremony. One of the things I loved most was the blessing they included – they asked several friends, each of different cultures, to say a prayer in their language (Irish, Indian, Hebrew, and Greek) for the marriage – I am a foreign language nerd so I really loved this part.

Photo © Matthew Kuehl

Photo © Matthew Kuehl

Cocktail hour featured the Parkwest Strings, who at Caitlin’s request, learned the Downton Abbey theme song. If you love that show as much as I do, you know how thrilled I was to hear that familiar tune.

Photo © Matthew Kuehl

Photo © Matthew Kuehl

The reception was fantastic, in no small part because they hired the Matt Stedman Band to play for the party. I highly recommend them if you are looking for a wedding band – they had a good mix of musical genres and kept the dance floor full all night. When it came time for cake cutting, they’d chosen a comically large meat cleaver to hack their first married cupcake in half.

Photo © Matthew Kuehl

Photo © Matthew Kuehl

Finally, I have to mention the favors they made – they took square floor tiles and put pictures of each of the four states they’d lived in one them, turning them into unique coasters for each guest to take home.

Photo © Matthew Kuehl

Photo © Matthew Kuehl

Caitlin and Mike – I hope you have settled into your new home and are enjoying married life to the fullest on the west coast! CONGRATULATIONS!

Photo © Matthew Kuehl

Photo © Matthew Kuehl

Ceremony Venue: Bond Chapel at the University of Chicago
Reception Venue: Quadrangle Club at the University of Chicago
Photographer: Matthew Kuehl Photography
Florist: A New Leaf
Officiant: Elizabeth Harding, Midwest Ceremonies
Ceremony/Cocktail Hour Musicians: Parkwest Strings
Reception Band: The Matt Stedman Band
Chair Rental: Tablescapes

All photos were taken by Matthew Kuehl Photography and are reposted here with the photographer’s permission. Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, and are are not available for reproduction, redistribution or any other purpose without written authorization from the photographer.

Liz and James’ University of Chicago Wedding – Bond Chapel and Ida Noyes Hall – Chicago, IL

Liz and James, Chicago. Photo by Emilia Jane Photography.

Liz and James found me through A Practical Wedding, and like most couples who find me that way, they were:
1) Super in love with each other
2) Really nice and awesome people
3) Focused on the most important thing (the MARRIAGE), while still caring about the details of the wedding…
4) …But totally ready to hand all those details off to me so they could focus on the occasion and enjoy the day.

In short, my favorite kind of clients.

You guys, you would be hard-pressed to find a couple more adorable with each other than Liz and James. They are both just the nicest people, and so clearly head-over-heels in love with each other. They met at the University of Chicago, and decided to have their wedding on the gorgeous campus. (Honestly, I don’t know why you wouldn’t take advantage of the beautiful, historic architecture if you had the chance. Which I guess is why I keep getting clients who are having their weddings on this campus. But I digress.)

One of the things that struck me most about this wedding was how open everyone was – Liz, James, their parents, families, and friends – with their feelings. I could see on each person’s face just how much they all care for one another and were so happy to celebrate this marriage and their families joining together. From Liz’s walk down the aisle to a teary father-of-the-bride giving a toast at the reception, there were many tears of joy (some mine) shed over the course of the day. I think this is the epitome of what a wedding should be – an unadulterated outpouring of love from everyone present celebrating the creation of this new family.

It was a beautiful day, and beyond all the emotions, Liz and James put a lot of work into a carefully curated aesthetic for their wedding, so I have to point out some of my favorite details!

First, they really like good food. And you know how I feel about that. City Provisions served a buffet of delectable Mediterranean and comfort foods, which I think I was not alone in loving.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about one of my favorite florists, Lynn at Pollen Floral Design. Liz collected a LOT of milk glass vases for the centerpieces, and until I arrived on the big day, I assumed it would be a kind of standard one-large-vase-per-table centerpiece kind of thing. NO. I should have known to expect more from this bunch. I mean, just look:

I just love the way Lynn uses less-traditional flowers to make bold arrangements, and I love the unexpected twist of such an eclectic assortment of different size and shape vases. Just gorgeous.

I’d like to end by saying how awesome it was to work with a couple that truly shared the work of planning a wedding – James was one of the most organized people I’ve met, and I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to work with a couple who both played equal parts in the planning process. It makes me so happy when I see egalitarian relationships in action – yay!

Congratulations Liz and James!

Ceremony Venue: Bond Chapel, University of Chicago
Officiant: Ellen McManus, Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago
Reception Venue: Ida Noyes Hall, University of Chicago
Photographer: Emilia Jane Photography
Catering: City Provisions
Cupcakes: Hearts and Flour Bakery at Misericordia
Florist: Pollen Floral Design
DJ: Style Matters
Transportation: Metropolitan Limousine
Equipment Rentals: Windy City Sound and Lighting 

All photos were taken by Emilia Jane Photography and are reposted here with the photographer’s permission. Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, and are are not available for reproduction, redistribution or any other purpose without written authorization from the photographer.

Ryan and Michael’s Intimate Wedding – Olive Park and the Penthouse at Pearson on the Park – Chicago, IL

Well, I’m hopeful that I’ll start catching you up semi-regularly on all the weddings and projects we’ve been working on. If only because I feel guilty when I don’t. We’ll see, as usual.

Today’s post goes way, way back to almost a year ago. Julia knew Ryan through her work in theatre, and in catching up on each others’ lives since the last show, Julia found out Ryan was planning a wedding, and he found out that we’d just launched Crafty Broads. Ryan and his fiance, Michael, had most of the details worked out, but really needed some help making their reception happen.

Who know there were double-man bathroom signs nonchalantly hanging out in Chicago? Not me. More importantly, aren’t these two just adorable together?

Without further ado, let me tell you about it! First of all, you have to understand that Ryan and Michael are ridiculously in love with each other – and when I say that, I mean not only that they love each other a lot, but they have so much fun at it. I don’t think I caught a glance of either of them sans giant grin all night long.

Ryan and Michael held their reception on a crisp October evening in the penthouse party room of their downtown apartment building. They did a fantastic job transforming a somewhat bland space into a very special and personal room for their party – it really was amazing to see the before and after! Bold colors and gorgeous floral arrangements from Andrew’s Garden made the space come alive.

Instead of having traditional catering, Ryan and Michael decided to order all their favorite foods from various restaurants to serve their guests. The sweetest thing was that by each dish, they had a little card describing a special moment in their relationship when that particular food played a role. Stellar idea. And the food was delicious, especially the truffle mac and cheese.

They guests were treated to a nice surprise after dinner… fireworks! If you live in Chicago, you may know that Navy Pier has regular firework displays throughout the summer. Ryan and Michael smartly planned their reception timeline to include viewing these from the outdoor patio of the penthouse.

My favorite part, though, was the toasts. Their parents said some of the sweetest, most moving words I’ve ever heard directed towards a newly-married couple. I can’t speak for the guests, but I was definitely crying.

Congratulations, Ryan and Michael!

Ceremony Venue: Olive Park
Reception Venue: Pearson on the Park
Officiant: Friend of the couple
Photographer: Green Key Photography
Florist: Andrew’s Garden Floral Couture
Catering: The Southern Mac Truck, Fox & Obel, Lao Beijing, Garrett’s Popcorn
Cakes: Nonnie’s Sweets

All photos were taken by Green Key Photography and are reposted here with the photographer’s permission. Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, and are are not available for reproduction, redistribution or any other purpose without written authorization from the photographer.

Real Wedding Budget: Chicago, Illinois | 155 Guests | $37,200

This is part of our ongoing series, Real Wedding Budgets, bringing you actual numbers from actual couples, along with an idea of what you can get for your money. See more Real Wedding Budgets here.
Want to make this series run longer? Submit your real wedding budget (anonymously) here.

Before you read, a note on vendors: We don’t provide vendor information because you never know what kind of discounts they may have given, or if their prices have changed since this wedding. And also because if the couple didn’t love them, we don’t want to be putting a bad review out there. That’s what Yelp and Wedding Wire are for.

However, there is one exception – photography. Because we want you to get a good idea of what the couple was able to do with their budget, we include photos when possible, and credit the photographers. So word of advice – if you like these photos, please do go check out the photographer’s website (linked at the end of the post), and then ask for their current ratesDo not expect that you will necessarily get the same package and pricing you see here.

$37,200: 155 Guests on a Saturday Evening in Chicago, Illinois in the Summer

The Numbers

Venue(s) $ 6,000
Photography/Video (including albums, prints, etc.) $ 6,000
Food/Beverage (catering, alcohol, and cake) $ 16,800
Floral/Decor $  300
Entertainment (Band, DJ, Ceremony Musicians) $ 2,550
Attire (including shoes, jewelry, etc.) $ 3,000
Rings $ 150
Marriage License $ 75
Officiant $ 0
Wedding Planner/Day-of-Coordinator $ 1,200
Invitations, Save-the-Dates, Programs $ 500
Rentals $ 0
Hair & Makeup $ 300
Transportation $ 10
Rehearsal Dinner $ 200
Gifts & Favors $ 150
Other $ 0
TOTAL $ 37,235

What They Got For the Money

Ceremony & Reception Venue ($6,000)
7-hour rental of a vintage furniture loft, including the patio, from 5pm until midnight for the ceremony and reception, as well as getting ready time. Chairs and tables were included with the venue rental.

Photography ($6,000)
8 hours of coverage with one photographer, an album, files with print rights.

Catering ($16,500)
Appetizers; two-course meal with chicken and vegan options; alcohol and mixers for 3 signature drinks, wine and beer purchased by the couple. Dishes and flatware were included with the catering service.

Cake ($300)
The couple served cupcakes instead of a cake.

Flowers ($100)
Purchased at a local farmers’ market; DIY bouquets and centerpieces.

Decor ($200)
For centerpiece vases, photo booth props/supplies, etc.

Entertainment ($2,550)
6 hours of DJ service for ceremony and reception, including sound equipment.

Attire ($3,000)
Bride: Pre-owned wedding dress (bought for $2,000; original price was $5,000) worn with shoes she already owned. Groom: rental tuxedo, cufflinks, new shoes.

Rings ($150)
Solid white gold bands for both; acquired at cost through a family member who is a jeweler.

Marriage License ($75)

Officiant ($0)
The wedding was officiated by a close friend, who was ordained online. The couple wrote their own ceremony.

Wedding Planner/Coordinator ($1,200)
The couple hired a Day-of-Coordinator.

Invitations ($500)
Custom designed save-the-dates; Invitations designed by the bride; printing; envelopes; postage.

Hair and Makeup ($300)
Bridal updo and makeup.

Transportation: $10
The couple took a taxi at the end of the night.

Gifts ($100)
Groomsmen got ties, bridesmaids got little kits of goodies.

Favors ($50)
Homemade jam; the cost was for jars and ingredients.

Rehearsal Dinner ($200)
The couple served tacos and margaritas at an intimate gathering on their deck.


What was your biggest financial splurge? Why did you choose it? Was it worth it?
Photography and venue — totally worth it. The venue was really unique and very laid-back — us — and the photography was important because that’s what will last beyond the wedding.

Was there anything you regret spending your money on or anything you wish you’d spent lesson?
I wish we’d invited fewer guests. In fact, if I could have found a field somewhere, gotten a long table, invited our 50 closest friends and family, and flown Jonas Peterson in to photograph it, I would have.

What was the best thing you spent your money on?
Honestly, as happy as I am with everything, I’d say the marriage license.

Elizabeth and Brian’s Morning Wedding and Luncheon Reception – Spiaggia Private Dining Rooms – Chicago, Illinois

Elizabeth and Brian are my kind of people. Why? Because their number one priority for their wedding was FOOD. And, as you may be aware, I like food. I like to make it, to eat it, to talk about it, and to eat it some more. So whenever I find people I can do that with, I’m home. (In fact, we all love food so much that we got together earlier this year to have dinner together. I really, really love it when we hit it off with our clients so much that we hang out after their weddings are over!)

So – with that as a priority, they chose Spiaggia for their venue and catering. Now, you may recall, that right after this wedding happend (in October! Yes, I am behind!) I posted about the food. Because it was excellent. You may recall how I’ve attempted to recreate that beet, apple, goat cheese, and prosciutto salad a few times. Anyway, now that I’ve drooled, let me tell you about the rest of the wedding.

Elizabeth and Brian got married on a brisk October morning, coinciding with the anniversary date of Elizabeth’s great grandparents (if I recall correctly – I hope!) – which I think is an excellent way to connect your new family with your existing one. I LOVED Elizabeth’s wedding dress, because it was a 1930s-style, bias-cut gown, which is exactly the kind of dresses we are obsessed with, and she was stunning in it. Brian looked dapper as well.

These two were so calm, and so ready to get married. No last-minute nerves, no pacing, just joy. Which is awesome. They had a lovely ceremony in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Michigan Avenue, and walked back down the aisle to the Star Wars theme – a surprise to everyone except Brian!

What I loved most about this wedding is that Elizabeth and Brian were so focused. They knew exactly what was important for THEM at their wedding, and they had the courage to let everything else go. I think that is a crucial part of loving your wedding (and preserving your sanity while planning it) – to ignore all the trends and the people who say “You must do it this way, or it isn’t a wedding!” and just do what works for you.

Congratulations Elizabeth and Brian!

Spiaggia Private Dining Rooms
Studio Finch
Sarah’s Pastries & Candies
Flowers by Color

All photos were taken by Studio Finch, are protected by copyright, and are reposted here with the photographer’s permission. They are not available for reproduction or redistribution. Please contact the photographer for more information regarding the photos in this post.

Meet us at Indie Wed

Click for more information.

We’re pleased as punch to announce that out of over 200 applicants, we’ve been selected as one of the businesses to take part in the next Indie Wed show, which takes place on Saturday, January 28th here in Chicago. (In our old neighborhood. Which we miss.) Indie Wed is an alternative wedding expo type thing, focused on small, local businesses and less-traditional weddings – it was formed to be in the spirit of indie craft fairs and the like. Here’s how they define it:

Indie Wed is a unique event that combines the idea of a traditional wedding show with a street bazaar, highlighting local and nearby independent designers and artisans. Most bridal shows tend to cater to a very specific vision of what a wedding should be. Indie Wed is geared towards couples who want to take an “independent” approach to their event. It is wedding planning… redefined.

There we are, sharing space on the Indie Wed website with all the other awesome vendors!

So – we are excited to be there. We hope to meet lots of potential clients, as well as to get to know some more local vendors. If you’re interested, here are all the details about the winter show.

Travis and Jacqueline’s Public Square Wedding with Pizza and Beer Reception – Giddings Plaza (Lincoln Square) and Market Bar – Chicago, IL

As we continue to catch you up on our Crafty Broads projects, today’s post is about the very first wedding we stage managed (aside from our own, obviously) – Jacqueline & Travis.

Jacqueline & Travis - July 3, 2011

Jacqueline & Travis

Jacqueline found us through A Practical Wedding, by way of the Chicago contingent of readers nattering on Facebook. She and Travis were looking for someone to manage the setup of their reception, specifically to make sure the wedding wish bowl and family photos were arranged the way they wanted. We had a chat (via internet, as they currently live in Fargo, but were getting hitched in Chicago) and agreed to take care of it for them. After some more discussion of their wedding, it sounded like they could really use a little more help than that, and we were thrilled when they asked about the possibility of coordinating the whole shindig.

Jacqueline works with historic costume and textiles, and as you might imagine, when she mentioned her line of work, there was some giddiness on our end. A fashion historian who needs wedding help and had a 1930s-style bias cut gown made for the occasion? Perfect client for us. And Travis? He’s a wedding photographer and works around most of the midwest. Check out his work and hire him here. For obvious reasons, he couldn’t take pictures at his own wedding, but he did dream up and design a photo booth for the reception – there was a monitor to see yourself on and he rigged up a foot pedal to stomp when you were ready to snap the picture. From the perspective of crafty, tinkering nerds, I can say this was really awesome. And different from the usual small curtained room styles you see everywhere these days.

Cindy cueing Travis to enter the cermony.

Travis waits for Cindy

Travis and Jacqueline had a lovely outdoor ceremony on a really gorgeous day in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood. They made ribbon wands in their wedding colors for all the guests to wave when they shared their first married kiss – an excellent and fun idea! And it looked really cool.

They and their guests traveled to and from the day’s events on the L trains, which I love, love, love. It’s fun, it’s good for the planet, it’s cheaper than parking, and you get awesome pictures. Win-win.

Jacqueline & Travis First Dance - July 3, 2011

Jacqueline & Travis shared their first married dance as the sun set over the city.

And their reception? Pizza (the really good kind) and an ice cream sundae bar (Yes! Yes.) on a rooftop deck with an amazing view of the city skyline. They shared a first scoop together and then danced in the setting sun. Beautiful.

We had a blast coordinating their wedding, and we’re truly lucky they took a chance and hired us. It was just the experience we needed to decide we definitely want to continue stage managing weddings.

Congratulations, Jacqueline and Travis!