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Real Wedding: Britni + Jack

When Britni and Jack first came to us for planning help in 2015, we fell in love with them and their story. The couple went to high school together but had no clue that they would become an item; she was a bubbly cheerleader and he was a low-key musician. Years later, their paths crossed and, well, you know the rest. After getting engaged on a romantic Hawaiian vacation, the couple decided to tie the knot at Britni’s father’s gorgeous property on Chicago’s North Shore because it was so meaningful to them.

Family is everything to these two, so we collaborated closely with the bride’s family to make the occasion something truly special. Every last detail–from luxurious tenting to adorable signage and tablescapes featuring our vintage glassware–was carefully considered for this black tie affair. The couple’s musical background meant that all of the music had to be just right, and for that we trusted Rendezvous to provide strings for the ceremony and a high-energy band for the reception.

Speaking of music, Jack melted everyone’s heart when he got on stage with his own band to surprise his bride with a song. This surprise was planned for months and went off without a hitch! Meanwhile, the couple’s dog Murphy was another scene stealer as he played honorary groomsman. How cute is he with his flower leash?

This amazing wedding would not have been possible without a very talented team of vendors. So many moving parts came together to create a memorable, magical event. After over a year of working together, we were so thrilled to be part of Britni + Jack’s day as they said “I do,” and we cannot wait to keep up with them to see what exciting things they do in the future!


Planning + vintage rentals : Chicago Vintage Weddings // Photography + videography : Nicodem Creative // Catering: Food For Thought // Tent: Blue Peak Tents // Band: Rendezvous // Florist: Intertwine // Day-of signage: Emily Rose Ink // Invitations: Shasta Bell // Property lighting: Atmosphere Events Group // Makeup: Leesi B Cosmetics // Cake: Bent Fork // Bridal shop: Ultimate Bride // Projector: AV Chicago // Landscaping: Mariani Landscape // Hotel: Renaissance North Shore

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

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: Amanda + Luke

Amanda and Luke blew us away with their November nuptials. Classic inspiration and personal touches lent a warm tone to the entire day, even with blustery weather outside. Drawing on East Coast roots with a seafood station and honey favors from Luke’s Massachusetts family hive, every last detail was perfectly chic. One of our favorite moments was seeing the couples’ eyes light up when they viewed their University Club reception space before it opened, sneaking in to practice their first dance as newlyweds and to spend time taking it all in. We’ll admit, too, that we got a little teary hearing Luke’s words: “Amanda doesn’t just make me happy, she makes me happiest.” This couple is a perfect match, and we’re thrilled that they have been featured on The Knot!

Photography: Sarah Postma | Ceremony: St. Clement | Reception: University Club of Chicago | Floral: Abby Flowers

What Not to DIY for Your Wedding

wedding planning advice what not to diy

Doing it yourself is all the rage for weddings, and for good reason. At its best, getting crafty means you can save money, have fun creating personalized projects, and wow guests with your awesome design skills. In reality, though, DIY projects often don’t turn out exactly as planned. Going down the Pinterest rabbit hole can lead to lofty ideas of creating everything for the wedding day all by yourself. Custom backdrop? Sure. Calligraphy for every invitation and place card? You can learn it. Self-designed and printed invitations? Piece of cake. That perfect floral crown and cascading bridal bouquet? No sense paying hundreds to a florist when you can create your own.

Well…not really. We often see brides falling into the trap of biting off more DIY projects than they can chew. There’s so much inspiration out there that it’s easy to become convinced that these undertakings will be simple, affordable, and have stunning results. In our conversations with couples, though, we often hear brides lamenting their DIY undertakings as the wedding approaches. The supplies are taking over the apartment. After-work hours and weekends are consumed with crafting projects. Everything ended up being more expensive than planned. Learning origami or calligraphy or floral design was harder than expected, and the results aren’t looking so good.

To save their sanity and their budget, what’s a creative couple to do? We’re offering up a few guidelines for how to DIY smarter, including what to absolutely NOT do yourself!

Limit the scope: Suddenly your idea for a cute custom chalkboard or two has snowballed into a list of ten different DIY projects. You’ve pinned them all to your wedding inspiration board and absolutely HAVE to have them. Do you really, though? Consider the value of your time and whether there are low-cost alternatives that you can purchase. Take a step back and think about whether this project will be something you regret not having years down the line, or whether it’s a passing trend. A good rule of thumb is to clarify your vision before deciding which projects to take on, and to not plan on doing any more than 10 hours of work yourself (believe us, you’ll underestimate how long things will take).

Have a backup: What if your project doesn’t end up as picture-perfect as you had hoped? What if you don’t have a chance to complete it? Don’t torture yourself by taking an “it’s this or nothing” approach. That kind of pressure will drive you nuts, and can result in losing perspective of the things about the wedding that really matter. Start early and go into each task with a non-DIY backup in mind. If you begin to sense that things aren’t working out as well as you had hoped, go with your alternative. No need to guilt trip yourself—you don’t need to do it all!

Start early: Beginning a project one or two months before the wedding is a recipe for frustration. You don’t want to start so early that you risk changing your mind about style and scrapping your work, but you don’t want to experience any deadline or budget stress as the big day approaches. Allot twice as much time as you think you’ll need and your future self will thank you.

Enlist help: Delegate, delegate, delegate! Host a crafting event where wedding party members help you accomplish whatever needs to get done. Ask interested family members to take on a project or two. Find out who wants to be involved and let them contribute. Just consider whether that person will be reliable and will have the skill to achieve the results you want; this will avoid friction later on. On that note, be sure to express gratitude for any help offered!

Manage expectations: We can tell you from experience that styled wedding shoots are just that: styled. By professionals. The inspiration photos you find online are the result of the collaboration of teams of experienced wedding vendors, often with little consideration for budget. A photo shoot is very different from a real event and photographers have a much more controlled environment in which to get that perfect shot. Don’t compare your skills or your event to these professionally created, one-off (not for 100+ guests!) designs. Remember that your guests will be at the wedding to celebrate with you, not to critique your style. Nobody is going to be as much of a perfectionist about the big day as you are, so keep the pressure you put on yourself in check.

Now for the list of what to leave to the pros.

Invitations: Invitation design is trickier than it seems. It requires a familiarity with graphic design as well as access to a high quality printer. Not all paper types or printing methods will work with all printers, so providing your own paper stock is not the best idea.  You’ll need to consider very specific measurements and eliminate all chance of error, or you risk a costly reprint. Custom printing jobs for a variety of cut paper sizes and colors can also end up costing quite a bit of money. If you’re looking for some level of involvement in the design process, find a designer to fit your budget and go from there; Etsy has great options, just do your homework to find someone reliable.

Floral design: When it comes to doing flowers yourself, just say no. Creating a good look is harder than it seems, and so much more goes into it than you might initially consider. Arrangements are created a few days in advance of the wedding, a time when engaged couples shouldn’t have to worry about complex, time-consuming work. Transport is difficult. Flowers wilt if not properly refrigerated and hydrated. We could go on but the bottom line is this: DO. NOT. DIY. YOUR. FLOWERS! Can you tell that we have strong feelings about this one?

Vintage items: Buying your own plates and providing that cute vintage sofa you found can be an enormous, stressful pain in the butt. The popularity of these items means they are more expensive and harder to find than ever before. They need to be stored, organized, transported, and cleaned after the wedding. You may be able to sell them after the big day but that’s not guaranteed and it could take a while. Renting costs less than purchasing and it’s hassle-free. We offer vintage rentals so we’re a little biased, but we still stand by this advice no matter where you get your rentals!

Makeup: Makeup artists are called artists for a reason. Every one has a unique style and you should find one that fits your vision and the tone of the event. Unless you’re in the beauty field, it’s going to be nearly impossible to get yourself looking as photo-ready as a pro will. Even a lighter touch, sans fake lashes and airbrushing, will look smoother and more flattering in photos when it’s handled by someone who has done this hundreds of times before. The cost of hiring a bridal makeup artist is relatively low for the returns you’ll see in your photos, and it’s one less thing for you to worry about on the morning of the wedding.

Day-of coordination: Weddings have a lot of moving parts. This is a celebration and you should have every opportunity to enjoy it, not to engage in logistical firefighting. Your coordinator will be a point of contact for every vendor and wedding participant. The coordinator will ensure in advance that everything is on track to go smoothly and will be prepared to meet any emergency situation that may arise on the wedding day. A good coordinator makes all the difference, from facilitating your ceremony, to keeping you calm, to advocating on your behalf and keeping the timeline moving along. Other vendors appreciate working with wedding planners because it means that there is less chance of something unexpected happening that might limit their ability to do their jobs well.  An experienced planner’s coordination fee is a seriously smart investment in your wedding.

 Hopefully this advice has you feeling more comfortable with your DIY aspirations and the planning process in general. We love helping couples create events that reflect their personalities, and if you follow these guidelines you’ll be on the right track to add a personal touch without going overboard. Still have questions? Contact us for a little extra help. Happy planning!

Photo by Amy Jo Royall, design + rentals by Chicago Vintage Weddings, floral by Asrai Garden, collaboration with BHLDN

Real Wedding: Carolyn + George

Carolyn and George have Chicago in their blood, so it only makes sense that they would want the city to play a role in their wedding. From the industrial, rooftop skyline backdrop of their photos to the Bears-themed groomsmen, no detail was left out. Each table was named after a location of particular importance to the couple and even the beer selection was a who’s-who of top local flavors.

In true Chicago fashion, these two weren’t afraid to break a sweat! Carolyn, owner of The Bread and Butterfly, arranged all of the flowers herself. This is something we normally ask brides not to do (the last thing a girl needs on her wedding day is to stress out), but this talented florist was certainly an exception to the rule. She blew everyone away with her colorful, textured designs.

Also keeping with what it really means to live in Chicago, the weather was less than cooperative. Even so, the entire wedding party braved a cold and windy October afternoon to pose and play on the Ignite Art Glass Studios rooftop. Seriously, how cute is the couple and their wedding party?

Fun was an integral part of the big day. The bride walked down the aisle to the Jurassic Park theme song and yes, it was as amazing as you think. Post-ceremony, guests were treated to a live glass-blowing demonstration in the venue’s working art glass studio. DJ Kate of Toast & Jam cranked out the tunes all night, leading to some seriously impressive sing-alongs.  Even the cake-cutting was quirky and personal, with an adorable superhero cake from Luscious Layers.

We are so in love with Carolyn and George and were honored to help coordinate their wedding. These two are amazing, kind individuals who are clearly so in love that the good vibes are infectious. Thanks, you two, for trusting us  with your big day. It was a blast and your photos are just perfect!

Chicago couple

DJ: Toast & Jam

Venue: Ignite Art Glass Studio

Photographer: Chrystl Roberge Photography

Florals and design: The Bread and Butterfly

Coordination and vintage rentals: Chicago Vintage Weddings

Cake: Luscious Layers Bakery

Real Weddings: Laura and Bobby

One thing we love at Chicago Vintage Weddings is how personable and unique our couples are. No two weddings are ever remotely the same! Laura and Bobby’s September wedding was special for so many reasons, not least of which how touching their ceremony was. The special touches they included throughout the day were fun, creative and so uniquely them.

An outdoor wedding can be tricky to plan. At the Friday night rehearsal, rain fell so hard that everyone was forced indoors at the Columbus Park Refectory where the ceremony was to be held. How lucky, then, that on the big day the sun never stopped shining! This resulted in some stunning photos by T & S Hughes Photography, an enormously talented husband-wife photography duo.

After a touching ceremony featuring music by several of the couple’s friends, a tented reception was held on the grounds of Oak Park’s Cheney Mansion. The bride’s friend JT helped add special vintage touches and was so much fun to get to know. Catering by Maya Del Sol, all served on our vintage tabletop rentals, set a playful tone for what became quite the party. Just Press Play’s DJ services had guests tearing up the dance floor all night. Oh, and did we mention that there were doughnuts from Beaver’s Donuts as well as Windy City Ice Cream serving up dessert from their ice cream truck? That’s right: double the sweet tooth satisfaction.

There are so many wonderful things to say about Laura and Bobby and their wedding day that we could spend another hour writing about it. It was a wonderful experience getting to know them throughout the planning process. Their families and friends brought so much love to the day’s celebration. We loved seeing their personalities shine through and wish them all the best for their future as husband and wife!

 

Vendor Team

Ceremony Venue: Columbus Park Refectory | Reception Venue: Cheney Mansion | Photography: T & S Hughes Photography T & S Hughes Photography | Florist: Westgate Flowers Westgate Flowers | Catering: Maya Del Sol | Coordination and Vintage Rentals: Chicago Vintage Weddings | DJ: Just Press Play | Bride’s Hair: Mops Beauty Shop | Donuts: Beaver’s Donuts | Ice Cream Truck: Windy City Ice Cream

Real Weddings: Jill + Johnny

Jill and Johnny are a couple after our hearts. Jill discovered our vintage rentals at the Chicago Green Wedding Alliance annual eco-wedding fair, Committed, way back in February and since then we’ve had a blast coming up with creative vintage rental plans for this past weekend’s wedding at the lofty Chicago Urban Art Society.

According to composting guru Mary Beth Schaye of Collective Resource, these two threw the most sustainable wedding she has ever seen. Composting? Check. Reusable, rented decor? You bet. Recycling? Yep. Vegan fare? Of course! The list could keep going on but we think you get the picture. It was an incredibly stylish, fun, sustainable affair!

Here is just a small peek at some of the day’s vintage design elements. The couple chose a Chicago theme with colors of the Chicago flag throughout. Florist Forget Me Knodt incorporated these colors into her floral choice for an incredibly sophisticated, bright palette. We designed a custom sweet table and appetizer table, and we provided cafe lights, lanterns, champagne glasses, chairs, a lounge area and more for rent. It was certainly an affair to remember–congratulations, Jill and Johnny!