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Real Wedding: Katy + Jon

Having strong relationships with our clients is the most important thing to us as wedding planners. The connections we build and trust with develop allows us to develop and execute creative, personal events that are unique to every couple. When Katy + Jon came to us, they were living out of state and caught up in work schedules that did not allow them to spend much time planning their wedding day. Getting married was the priority–not planning the details or thinking about design–so we stepped in to help.

One major question mark when we were booked was decor. As a no-fuss bride, Katy wanted something special without all the frills. We decided on a clean, modern vibe with masculine touches to fit the feel of Morgan’s on Fulton‘s sleek urban setting. Florist Beth of Larkspur created lush, green-filled arrangements including a minimalist ceremony arch and tabletop arrangements in our vintage mixed metal vases. Berries in moody tones contrasted beautifully against a palette of deep reds, blues and grays.

Graphic design by Amanda at The Early Word was the perfect complement for the event’s look. Katy gave us license to make interesting choices, so we went with pared-down graphics and stark contrast. Seating was assigned using a large chart with individual envelopes for each guest. Menus at each place setting and clear acrylic menus at the bar set the luxe-yet-simple mood for a stylishly catered meal by Hearty Boys. Vintage glassware rented from us was a hit with guests as well!

Quite possibly our favorite part of the day was pulling off Katy’s surprise for Jon. As an amateur photographer, he has built an impressive portfolio of images featuring Chicago sights. We curated eight of these photos and had them blown up to create a gallery for guests to enjoy when they arrived. It was such a thoughtful touch and now the couple has a gallery collection to display for years to come!

Katy + Jon are the kind of people you want to be friends with. They are the kind whose ceremony moves you to tears because you can feel the love between them. We are honored to have been trusted with the details of their day and feel so lucky to have gotten to know them. Congratulations, you two! We cannot wait to see the amazing things you accomplish in your life together.


Planning + vintage rentals: Chicago Vintage Weddings // Photography: Nicodem Creative // Catering: Hearty Boys // Florist: Larkspur // Graphic design: The Early Word // Venue: Morgan’s on Fulton // String music + DJ: Backthird // Officiant: Walton Weddings // Transportation: Windy City Limo // Hair: Sine Qua Non Salon – Lakeview // Makeup: Nika Vaughan Makeup Artistry // Cake: Oak Mill Bakery // Donuts: Stan’s Donuts

Real Wedding: Anne + Jeremy

Some couples, when you meet them, just have “it.” They have that level of comfort, that certainty that everything is going to be okay because they have one another. Anne and Jeremy are one of these couples. When they first came to us in 2014, both were busy professionals living in Chicago. They had inspiration for their dream wedding day but no plan for how to pull it off, especially with such tight schedules and a move out of state looming ahead. We started talking with them about their priorities–an outdoor spring ceremony, comfort food, local craft beer, elegant vintage touches, a rocking dance party–and realized that just like these two were a great match for each other, we were a great match as their wedding planner. Thankfully, they felt the same way.

A few months later, our plan was coming together. We locked in an amazing industrial-chic venue in South Bend, Indiana and a nearby botanic garden, Fernwood, to host their ceremony. After getting lucky enough to secure the couple’s dream date (someone else wanted it!) and making sure that a fantastic band and photographer were available, we started on the really fun part: tasting the food. Enter Smoke Daddy, a Wicker Park barbecue restaurant that is so worth the out of state delivery fee! Between their hearty fare, assorted desserts from another local Chicago vendor, A Baker’s Tale, and The Brick’s seamless bar service, this wedding plan was on track.

Now, what about decor? This is where Anne’s vision really flourished. South Bend florist MichaelAngelo’s created a lush peony bouquet that still makes us swoon. Their tabletop floral arrangements were a perfect complement for our vintage rentals and decor. We designed a sweet little sweetheart table and some paper goods, and set the tablescapes off with vintage sheet music as a little nod to Anne + Jeremy’s Anne + Jeremy’s excellent musical taste. We made sure to cover all the little details too, from providing extra candlelight to plying accent tables with lace to complete the look. Overall, it was a perfect combination of vintage + industrial chic in a venue that we only wish could be located closer to home! Funk Harmony Park, a band the couple already knew, did an incredible job playing every genre imaginable late into the night.

At the end of it all, we said goodbye to the couple, their wedding party and their families and returned to Chicago feeling excited for them and just a little disappointed that, with our planning complete, we would no longer be working together. Thankfully, Anne + Jeremy have kept in touch and recently shared exciting news: they are expecting a baby! By the end of this month, these two fantastic people will be proud first time parents; they are going to be amazing at it. Congratulations on your growing family, Anne + Jeremy, and thank you for letting us share in your excitement!

Ceremony venue: Fernwood Botanical Garden // Reception venue + bar: The Brick // Photographer: Rotarski Photography // Planner + vintage rentals: Chicago Vintage Weddings // Catering: Smoke Daddy // Sweets: A Baker’s Tale // Band: Funk Harmony Park // Florist: MichaelAngelo’s // Transportation: Royal Excursion // Wedding party hair: Angie Cave // Bridal hair: Tim Toth of Lather Chicago // Makeup: Makeup by Morgan

Real Wedding: Stephanie + Michael

We work with lots of cute couples, so saying that Stephanie + Michael are one of the cutest ever really means something. Being part of this fun-loving pair’s wedding day was an absolute joy! Even with the weather being less than cooperative in late November, warmth filled every element of the day; we think that shows in these amazing images from Jason Brown of J Brown Photography. We’re obsessed with the Art Institute of Chicago portraits!

Stephanie had an elegant vision for event decor and Art of Imagination executed it beautifully. As with every wedding we’ve ever planned at Bridgeport Art Center, every detail was lovely. Sarah and her team at Berghoff knocked catering out of the park, Dominic Wayne served up the tunes, and the Venue Logic team helped everything come together seamlessly. Our own Elizabeth meticulously arranged each hand-lettered escort card because we know it’s those little details that make a big difference!

This wedding was so fun and cozy–even on a snowy day–because of all the love in the room. We had a blast working with Stephanie + Michael as well as their families and wedding party, and are so happy that they tied the knot (and picked us to help it all come together)! Congratulations to these two darlings!

Photographer: J Brown Photography // Planner: Chicago Vintage Weddings // Venue: Bridgeport Art Center Sculpture Garden // Event Decor: Art of Imagination // Caterer: Berghoff Catering // DJ: Dominic Wayne // Photo Booth: Photo Booth of the Stars // Salon: Maxine Salon // Transportation: Windy City Limo // Hotel: The James

Top 2016 Wedding Trends, Part II

The top 2016 wedding trends are back! Ever since our last post, we’ve been noticing more and more of our trend predictions popping up in magazines and blogs. Have you noticed it too? Last time we told you about the latest in cakes, accessories, tabletop decor and dining. Here, get inspired by gowns, glassware and delicious cocktails.

Top 2016 gown style | Intricate beading

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Pearls! Crystals! Paillettes! Feast your eyes on these incredibly detailed looks gracing the runways of the world’s top designers. Expect to see these couture pieces influencing the style of wedding wear in 2016 and beyond, much like the beloved Alexander McQueen long-sleeved lace gown worn by Duchess Kate did back in 2011. Why not mix it up, too? Don’t be afraid to pair beading with fringe, floral patterns and lace for some luxurious, stylish texture.

Top 2016 glassware | Colorful

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We may be a little biased because we have thousands of pieces of colored glassware for rent, but we’ll be darned if this look isn’t white-hot. Colored glass adds variety and personality to any tablescape, whether it’s all a single color, mixed and matched, or paired with clear crystal. The look can be rustic or elegant, busy or understated. If you aren’t sure you want to commit to too much color, try this at your bar for specialty cocktails, or just incorporate it at the head table.

Top 2016 cocktails | Tikiwedding tiki cocktails chicago wedding planner

Fellow Chicagoans, we know you’ve been loving the tiki trend popping up in bars across the city. What you may not have considered is that tropical cocktails can pair perfectly with your wedding too! These provide a boozy escape in winter and thirst-quenching refreshment in summer. Many classic cocktails are easy to “batch” in advance or serve punch-style, which can reduce wait times at the bar. We especially love these when they fit the event design, so use this as an excuse to fit pineapples and palms (also fun 2016 trends) into your floral decor.

That’s it for now, loves. We can think of so many other fun and exciting ways to personalize your wedding style, but we have a lot of work to do in the studio! There aren’t as many weddings at this time of year so we are spending our time working with current clients and meeting new ones as we prepare for exciting 2016 and 2017 wedding seasons. If you aren’t working with us yet and want to learn more about what we can do to make your wedding day perfect, contact us today!

Top 2016 Wedding Trends

It’s that time of year again! Of course we mean that the holidays are here, but we also mean it’s engagement season. Anyone with a Facebook feed knows that the time between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s day is full of posts from happy, newly engaged couples. For those of us who are lucky enough to be able to share in this joy as part of our work, we think of engagement season as the time to look forward to the coming year, when weddings will abound during the warmer months.

What does all this mean for you? It means we’ve used our insider knowledge to forecast the top wedding trends for 2016. Remember when we predicted that bright botanicals would be all the rage and then you started seeing them everywhere? Trust us, babies, we don’t take these predictions lightly! Think of this as Fashion Week for the bridal set: what you see here now will be what you see in real weddings sooner than you think. If you’re feeling especially daring, maybe you will even go for some of these options for your own wedding!

With so many exciting new choices popping up in our world, we can’t limit ourselves to just one post. The second installment of our trendspotting series will be making its way to you in December. Meanwhile, enjoy these first four winners and, as always, happy planning!

Top 2016 wedding cake | Drip icing

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These cakes are literally dripping in ooey-gooey goodness. Icing dripping down the edge of a simple cake makes a statement that this dessert is meant to be enjoyed in all its sweet and sticky glory. We love our ornate cakes too, but this simple look is so fun and inviting, and we anticipate seeing a lot more of it in 2016. For an extra trendy style, layer this over 2015’s top cake–naked or seminaked–to change up the look. Guests will be watering at the mouth to try this one!

Top 2016 bridal accessory | Crown

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We know it’s bold, but hear us out. Crowns have been all over the 2016 bridal fashion runways. Flower crowns were all the rage in 2014 and 2015, and of course we expect that they will stay popular in the coming year. A real crown, though, makes such a statement. It’s regal, it’s commanding, it might even be a little intimidating. There are so many ways to wear this look, whether it’s shimmering with crystals, under a veil, or completely over-the-top. Crowns can be goth, Deco, feminine and everything in between. If you’re not so sure about pulling this off on your wedding day, try the look for your engagement shoot instead.

Top 2016 catering fare | Fresh, earthy eats

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If there’s one thing we are so glad to see coming into style, it’s fresh, sustainable food. The benefits are endless! Many of these dishes are already vegetarian and can be easily adapted to specialized diets such as vegan or allergy-friendly. The quality of farm-to-table food can’t be beat and the environmental impact is well worth the investment. As more caterers begin to focus on local fare for events, some are even opening their own gardens to give you the freshest and most colorful seasonal eats available–we love seeing floral garnishes direct from the urban farm. Plus, why not give your guests a little healthy food to balance out all that indulging at the sweets table and the bar?

Top 2016 tabletop look | Black matte stoneware

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You thought it would be gold flatware? Think again. Black, matte plates are going to be all the rage in 2016. Obviously these can be part of a moody tablescape or one for the colder months, but with a little creativity (hey, that’s why you hired us to plan your wedding!) they can also be incorporated into a chic design to fit any style. Mixing them with our mismatched china is a unique stylistic choice that can pack a punch, especially when we help you pair the plates with fabulous glassware, flatware, florals and paper goods to complete your look!

That wraps it up for our first installment of the top 2016 wedding trends. Check back in December for more winners and, of course, don’t forget to contact us about your date!

2016: Get It Before It’s Gone

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Next year is looking bright! We’re thrilled that so many of you are interested in our planning + vintage rental services, especially with some major announcements on the horizon that we can’t wait to share! (Hint: wayyyy more gorgeous finds for you to rent.)

As a boutique company that places a high value on the quality of our service, the events we take on are limited. Many weekends in 2016 are already booking out, especially in June, July and September. If you’re reading this and you haven’t yet reached out to reserve your 2016 rental or planning service, now is the time to do it, especially if your date falls between March and October. Don’t miss out on getting exactly what you want!

Real Wedding: Jessica + Wyatt

We can’t say enough about how much fun Jessica and Wyatt’s wedding was! With elegant, classic details throughout, it would have been enough simply to stare at the gorgeous scenery at their Holy Name Cathedral ceremony and Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile reception. The bride and her entire bridal party were beautiful in their full length gowns and delicate florals. The groom and his groomsmen looked fab in summery gray suits with striped ties and elegant boutonnieres. Husband-wife team Christy and James of Christy Tyler Photography captured everything with a talented eye. There’s so much happiness in these images!

At the reception, guests enjoyed a refreshing cocktail hour to beat the heat and made their way to a fantastic meal in the hotel’s ballroom. Once dinner ended, a serious rager broke loose. Toast and Jam’s DJ Kate kept the dance floor packed all night, not that she needed much help prompting this crowd to get moving! With a little help from their families, Jessica and Wyatt kept guests decked in enough glowing party gear to give the lights on the Vegas Strip a run for their money. Chicago-style late night bites and thoughtful favors were a perfect way to end the night.

We loved being part of this fantastic couple’s day and are excited to see what the future holds for them. Congratulations, you two!

Photography: Christy Tyler Photography | Ceremony: Holy Name Cathedral | Reception: Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile | Videographer: Robert Cawthorne Wedding Films | DJ: Toast & Jam | Florist: Bunches | Bridal hair: Salon U | Bridal party hair: Debra Petrielli | Makeup: Anjelica Bannos Artistry | Photo Booth: ShutterBooth

Real Wedding: Allison + Neil

We connected with Allison and Neil when Allison visited our pop-up shop during September’s Design Harvest street festival. She had the best style and we could tell right away that her wedding was going to be just gorgeous. That was, of course, confirmed on January 3 when we coordinated and provided rentals for her and Neil’s wedding at Prairie Production Studios.

This couple couldn’t be more darling. Their deep love for each other and their spirituality shone through beautifully in the ceremony, during which they broke bread with loved ones and shared a laying on of hands with guests. Their artistic sides were evident as well, with Allison’s handmade touches throughout and inspired floral design by Samantha Margerum. Big Star, never failing to impress, catered the affair with a handmade tortilla station and to-die-for tacos. Desserts came from Lovely: A Bake Shop, and we just couldn’t get over the gold-accented miniature donuts. This was truly an indie, local affair, with nearly all vendors coming from the West Loop, West Town, and Logan Square neighborhoods.

The couple’s closest friends rocked it out with live music and a song written just for them. Zoe Prinds of Flash Photography and assistant Crystal Liepa captured every sweet moment on film, which you can take a peek at below.

 Congratulations, Allison + Neil!

Venue: Prairie Production // Coordination + vintage rentals: Chicago Vintage Weddings // Photography: Zoe Prinds-Flash Photography + Crystal Liepa Photography // Florist: Samantha Margerum // Caterer: Big Star // Standard rentals: Tablescapes // Sweets: Lovely: A Bake Shop

Wedding Coordination + Unlimited Vintage Rentals

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It’s back! Our unbelievably popular coordination + unlimited rentals package has returned!

This was our most popular offering for a very long time, until we let it go in early 2014. Since then we have received so many requests to bring it back that we’ve decided to give the people what they want. With more beautiful, quality vintage rentals than ever in our collection, this is perfect for DIY couples who want to de-stress and have full access to our entire inventory on their wedding day. Furniture, tabletop, decor and more are all up for grabs. Very few dates are still available for 2015 and we recommend reaching out for 2016 dates as soon as possible. You heard it here first!

Interested? Click here to contact us.

Wedding Planning vs. Wedding Coordination

One question we are asked rather frequently is whether to book a wedding planning service or a wedding coordination service. Even couples who come to us with a notion of which one they would prefer sometimes end up choosing a different service following a consultation about their needs. Making the smart choice early on is important for a few reasons. Most notably, a wedding planner should usually be the first vendor you hire because the planner will be able to assist you with all other vendor selections. If you start the planning process on your own only to realize later on that you would like to hire a planner, you may be missing out on valuable services and doing more work than you need to do! It is also important to know whether you will be hiring a coordinator–even if you will be doing so later on–because budgeting for a coordinator from the beginning is far preferable to a last-minute scramble when the wedding is close and you realize you need to hire someone.

On the flip side, not everyone needs or wants full wedding planning. While we always recommend at least considering a full or partial planner for reasons you may not have considered (great vendor recommendations, money-saving tips, countless hours saved), there are plenty of couples who go through the planning process without a professional consultant. These couples often turn to a coordinator to handle the details of the final weeks and days of planning, as well as all day-of management.

So, what does a coordinator do that is different from a planner? Usually the same person can provide either of these services, but planning is much more comprehensive. It varies based on how involved a particular planning service is (full or partial) but planning generally includes many more hours of service, thorough advice and vendor referrals, meetings with other vendors, contract review and negotiation, budget management, design consultations, and quite a bit more. Coordination, on the other hand, usually starts only a few weeks before the wedding. Coordinators do not assist in booking vendors or in coming up with plans for decor or for most other event details. Coordinators save the day by catching potential disasters before they strike, creating a workable timeline, and communicating thoroughly with vendors and with the wedding party, but they are mostly there to execute plans that the couple and their chosen vendors have already made.

Now that you know the basics, which service is right for you? Do you feel confident in your ability to narrow down your vendor options and to choose the most reputable, competitively priced services? Are you eager to navigate the wedding planning seas or would you prefer a compass? Are you more of a pushover or are you able to put your foot down when you need to?

Fear not, we’ve created a handy little graphic to get you started thinking about all of this. Take a look below and consider which of these sounds more like you. Be honest with yourself! This is an important decision but it shouldn’t be a hard one. If you have more questions, feel free to reach out to a planner (you can contact us here) and ask. Good planners know what it takes to put a wedding together and will have a sense of what you need. Chicago Vintage Weddings is proud of our ability to discern which services would best suit each couple. We are equally proud to only recommend services that we feel are needed–not simply ones that will cost you more–and we aren’t in the business of pressuring inquiring clients. You found the right match in your partner and we are here to help you find the right match for your wedding!

Wedding planning vs wedding coordination