Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Weddings’

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Wedding Ceremony Music

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

While the wedding reception is a celebration and you expect a certain kind of music that your guests will enjoy dancing to, choosing your wedding ceremony music can be considered a very important but difficult decision for the bride and groom.

Times have changed and fewer weddings are taking place in traditional church venues, meaning that organ music isn’t a realistic option for most couples anymore. Some venues may have grand pianos, but most will expect you to make your own wedding ceremony music arrangements. They may provide a list of recommended vendors, or your wedding planner will give you several options.

For the most part, you’ll need to choose between one of the following three options:

Using a DJ isn’t just for wedding receptions anymore. Gone is the image of the chatting, goofball DJ spinning tunes while he talks your guests through the “Electric Slide.” Now music professionals with highly technical sound systems are the ones playing disc jockey at wedding ceremonies and receptions. If your wedding ceremony and reception are at the same location, using the same DJ will probably save you money because you’re not paying two completely different kinds of music by different people. And, if you’re married (pun intended) to having a complicated traditional song, usually performed by an large instrumental group or an organ, in some more remote locations, the DJ may be your only options for hearing recognizable versions of your wedding songs.

Instrumental Soloists
A single violin, harp, piano, guitar, or ukulele is more than enough music for a romantic wedding ceremony. As long as the venue isn’t too large, you can probably have acoustic music without any electronic enhancement. If the wedding hall is enormous or outdoors someplace that can be windy, you may want to make arrangements for additional audio support so that the music can be heard by all of the wedding guests. A trumpet solo of a well-known wedding entrance march performed by a very skilled musician is simple and classic and truly attention grabbing.

See More: Listen to Our Playlist of Anything-But-Boring Classical Wedding Songs

Music ensembles
They come in many varieties, from a string quartet to duets between a piano and flute, or any other number of instrumental combinations. It’s not a good idea to ask two professionals who don’t usually perform together to collaborate unless you want to pay for a lot of rehearsal time — you’re much better off finding an established group with good references from other brides and grooms.

Occasionally, brides and grooms have very talented friends who will offer to sing a special song at the wedding ceremony. Unless they also play their own musical instrument, make sure that you arrange for a practice session with the musicians you’ve hired ahead of the actual ceremony. It’s important to make sure that everyone is in the same key, and following the same cues.

Top Wedding Trends for 2016

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

1) More and more monograms!
This could just be my preppy heart hoping and wishing here but I’ve noticed an uptick in the popularity of customized and monogrammed gifts this past year so I’m predicting that trend will ripple into the wedding world. Here’s a few pretty ideas I’m hoping to see lots of in 2016: Monogrammed … bridal sashes, bouquet ribbons, bridesmaids dresses, favors (cookies are always fun to monogram!), bridal shoes, and wedding cakes!

2) Groom’s detailing
I predict it’s going to be the year of the groom! While the focus will never really leave the bride, I’m feeling that more thought is going to be put into the groom’s appearance in 2016 – from custom tailored suits to imaginative bouttonnieres, the groom is taking center stage! Look for textured fabrics like velvet and seersucker to step up and for playful colors and patterns to be popping up in ties, bowties, ascots and pocket squares.

3) Hello, Cascading Orchids
I’m expecting a surge in popularity of the beautiful cascading orchid bouquet. This look was popular in the 1920s and 1930s and I think it’s about time for it to come back full circle, don’t you? It’s beyond luxe and romantic!

4) Buttoned backs
Buttoned backs will always be a classic and favored look but I’m predicting they’ll be especially popular in 2016!

5) Streamlined bouquets
Even though I’m predicting a surge for the organic-styled cascading orchid bouquet, I think there will also be a tendency toward more streamlined bouquets.

6) Farm-to-table Menus
Farm-to-table is nothing new but I expect to see an uptick of the concept in the wedding world this year. Whether the couple’s wedding is at a sustainable farm/garden or in the heart of a city, I think couples will be placing a higher priority on the quality (and creativity!) of the food they are serving guests.

7) Death of the Flower Crown
Does anyone else feel this trend has run its course? I’m hoping for a simpler look for 2016 – maybe a single flower behind the ear?

8) Intimate Gatherings
I’m predicting a rise in intimately-sized weddings for 2016. Large weddings can be amazing but more and more brides and grooms seem to be wanting an intimate setting in which they can focus on each and every guest.

9) 2-Piece Gowns
Whether for engagements or weddings, I’m expecting the crop top trend to continue into 2016.

10) Simpler Color Palettes
Ombré was fun but I’m looking to 2016 for more back-to-basic wedding color palettes. I’m expecting a return of 1-3 colors with an emphasis on blue-white, yellow-white and the always classic all-white palette.

The Biggest Wedding Trends of 2015

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

With 2015 right around the corner, trends are already being predicted for next year’s wedding ceremonies and receptions. Get all the details from Bridal Guide on the biggest bridal trends for the New Year.

There’s a strong spirit of individualism in the air this New Year, with couples keen on infusing their ceremonies and receptions with personality – their own. “Couples want to communicate who they are,” says Allison Laesser-Keck of Viva La Diva Events in Southeast Michigan. “They, of course, want their wedding to be elegant and magical and still very fun for their guests. But they also want all of the details to reflect who they are as a couple, their tastes. The result is a wedding that feels very personal and unique.” How does all of this individuality come together? In the details, of course! Here are the most noteworthy wedding trends we’ve got our eye on this year.

The Look

More coverage

Silent disco: Your own private boogie

5 things every bride thinks on her wedding day

Love: They were linked by a small town British invasion. Credit the unwavering appeal of Princess Kate and Downton Abbey for the influx of stylish details that bring to mind afternoon tea and garden parties. For this look, dining al fresco is a popular choice. Tables are often uncovered or simply adorned with a vintage lace cloth. Lush garlands get turned into runners, and loosely styled floral arrangements hang from above. “I’m helping one couple pull together a Victorian afternoon for their guests,” says Sasha Souza, owner of Sasha Souza Events in California. “Lots of vintage lace will be used throughout the decor. Guests will all receive either a nosegay bouquet or a buttonhole flower when they arrive. Later they’ll enjoy a cozy brunch with homemade scones and jam at each table.”

Modern luxe. At the opposite corner of the inspiration board is a more sophisticated interpretation of romance. Brides who covet sleek style will gravitate toward clean color palettes with bolder accents. Think varying shades of white or ivory with a burst of poppy red, or black and white with a punch of emerald green. “Modern needn’t mean minimalistic,” say Aleah and Nick Valley of Seattle’s Valley & Co. Weddings. Square dining tables, clear “ghost” chairs, geometric place settings, monogrammed napkins, and sculptured floral arrangements help set a sophisticated tone for the evening.

Eclectic elegance. Falling somewhere between the above interpretations of romance is a resurgence of the grand wedding – make that grand with a capital G. “For many of our 2015 weddings, we’ve been noticing a return to classic elegance,” says Allyson Levine of Bob Gail Special Events in Los Angeles. That means formal tablescapes, butler service, candelabras, and other soft lighting, dramatic cakes, lavish fabrics, and formal floral arrangements. The eclectic element comes into play when couples choose to take their formal affair outside for a twilight party. Opt for a gilded evening with lots of glittering blush-gold touches, replace centerpieces with Champagne towers, or surprise guests with a midnight arrival of an ice-cream truck parked curbside.

The Flowers

Top blooms. English roses, peonies, hydrangeas, dahlias, and ranunculus continue to be go-to favorites among brides. “They’re dramatic, they’re romantic, and they’re versatile, so they look perfect whether you’re planning a traditional affair or something more relaxed,” says New York City event planner Shawn Rabideau.

Gaga for greenery. “My brides can’t get enough greenery,” says Laesser-Keck. Herbs like rosemary and mint, lemon leaf, magnolia leaf, ivy, smilax, and maidenhair fern are being strung together and used in surprising ways – as table runners or chair swags, to frame cocktail menus, to redefine tent ceilings, or to give chandeliers a soft edge.

Fresh pickings. Echoing the farm-to-table trend in dining, brides are building their arrangements around seasonal blooms that are grown locally or at least regionally. It’s not only budget savvy, but it also lends itself well to the “just picked” effect that’s also trending.

Free-spirited arrangements. Rather than building arrangements around one flower or one color, florists select blooms that look like they were plucked from the same wild garden or that fall within a color palette, placing nonfloral items – such as berries, fruit, acorns, even paper cutouts in the arrangement. The finished look is unstructured but magical.

Look up. Centerpieces are no longer confined to the center of the table. In fact, clever brides will be hanging their showcase blooms from above – no more peeking around a tall vase to talk to your table partners! Floral chandeliers are another way to give your space an ethereal feel, whether indoors or out.

The Invitations

Buttons and ribbons and gems. Oh, my! Couples will be generating excitement for their celebration by wowing guests with an invitation suite that’s delivered in attention-grabbing style: wrapped in shimmery cellophane, boxed in decorative paper, tied up with ribbon, leather rope or baker’s twine, studded with crystals, or adorned with dried flowers.

Perfect penmanship. The ink palette is swinging away from neon brights toward more subdued tones, says Ellen Weldon of Ellen Weldon Design. She’s working with high-gloss, tone-on-tone printing and pale shades, such as brushed gold, blush, champagne, and pewter. “Last year, there was much more color, but now I’m doing more in the way of very elegant, minimalist designs,” she says.

Selfie-sational. “Couples are spending money on fun, professional engagement photos, so why not use more of them?” says Angela Ferrara of Pear Tree Greetings. She’s noted a significant uptick in couples choosing invitations and save the dates that feature photography – anything from formal portraits to action shots to quirky setups.

Not your mother’s paper. The selection of paper choices continues to grow, says Weldon. She’s expecting to see more laser cutouts, more handmade paper with silk threads, more textured paper, and more embroidered or stitched paper. “Brides still like the idea of bringing elements of their gown into their stationery suite,” says Weldon. “That’s where the wide assortment of paper options really shines.”

The Drink Report

Champagne with a twist. Champagne towers have returned – big time – for formal affairs. A more casual, colorful option: mixing in fruit purees to create a signature cocktail that matches your palette.

Smaller sips. Be it flights of craft beer, shots of different bourbons, wine samplings, sangria that goes from white to pink to deep red, or even a lemonade or fizzy soda bar, couples are letting guests sample an array of beverages. These types of different drink stations are yet another way to let guests peek into your personal tastes, with the added bonus of helping you keep your bar budget in check.

Open bar not required. Planners are seeing more couples offering wine, beer, and liquor that has a theme. For some, that means serving only local labels; for others, it means showcasing drinks from their home states or from their favorite vacation getaway. “You never want guests to feel like they’re going through the wedding motions,” Laesser-Keck says. So while you may be limiting their choices, you’re doing it in a creative way that adds to the fun and excitement.

The Taste

Family-style dining. Guest interaction is a big goal for today’s couples. And nothing gets a conversation started quite like a meal served family style, with guests passing beautifully plated entrées and sides. “It’s relaxing and works well with both upscale and laid-back settings,” says Dan Stacy, executive chef of Royal Fig Catering in Austin, TX.

Just a taste, please. Tasting stations have taken over the cocktail hour, with couples showing off their favorite foods in manageable portions. From oyster-shucking stations and mac-and-cheese bars to make-your-own-taco stands and local food trucks pulling right up to the patio, the idea is to surprise your guests with an unexpected assortment of party food.

Locally sourced and seasonal. Farm-to-table dining has gained so much solid footing that it’s almost expected these days. At Royal Fig, for example, Stacy likes to keep the menu “chef’s choice” until the farmers he works with tell him what ingredients will be available that week. So in the Winter, that might mean roasted trout with parsley bacon salad and, in the Summer, smoked brisket with peach BBQ sauce.

Snack attack. Just when it seems like the party’s about to wind down, couples rev up the energy with late-night snack trays, brought right to the dance floor. Milkshakes, snow cones, warm cookies, and even pizza are just a few of the trending midnight munchies.

Reimagined classic cuisine. While you can rarely go wrong offering steak, chicken, and a hearty vegetarian option, caterers say couples are asking for lighter, healthier versions of traditional entrées. “Couples want their guests to enjoy a yummy, balanced meal that gives them energy to dance the night away, not weigh them down,” says Antonia Christianson, of Antonia Christianson Events in Virginia Beach, VA. That means grilled flank steak vs. filet mignon, roasted free-range chicken breasts vs. chicken cordon bleu, and grilled or roasted vegetables (brussels sprouts and cauliflower are the current It vegetables) vs. baked potatoes and steamed carrots.

The Cake

Shine on. Metallic icing and dustings of glitter will be strong again this year. New for 2015, however, will be the mixing of gold with silver on one cake, says Rachel Teufel, owner and designer of Intricate Icings Cake Design in Denver.

Tempting-to-touch texture. Ruffled and tulle looks in particular will be very important in 2015. Lace patterns, pleats, and textured buttercream frosting also remain strong trends for brides going for a vintage or soft, romantic feel. For a modern wedding, the texture might be a three-dimensional lattice, herringbone, or other geometric pattern. Another tactile approach is to have your designer roll out black fondant and hand-paint it to look like a chalkboard.

Draw second glances. For weddings with a more eclectic concept, Allyson Levine says bare, aka “naked” cakes (as in no or minimal frosting), are trending. She’s also seeing couples opt for several vastly different kinds of cakes that they’ll arrange together in a cake bar.

Special flavors. Couples are choosing cake flavors that are rooted in their hometowns or family heritage, where they began dating, or a favorite destination. Honey lavender, coconut, and zucchini lime are just a few that Teufel offers. Elsewhere across the country, we’re hearing about blueberry, chai tea latte, Aztec hot chocolate, caramel apple cider, and more. Yum!

Storytelling. You can tell your story with fondant and flavorful tiers, says Heather Anne Leavitt, who specializes in wow-worthy confections at Sweet Heather Anne in Ann Arbor, Mi. Her cake was created with textures inspired by design elements of her couple’s wedding, a mix of rustic elements (barn wood, pressed tin), and feminine details (lace and lush blooms). Says Laesser-Keck, “I tell my brides to go big with the cake – not necessarily the size but the design. Cakes play an integral role in carrying out the theme.”

Pies, macaron towers, doughnuts, and cake-flavored ice cream. There’s no rule that says you have to cut into an actual cake at your wedding.

The Music Report

What’s old is new. Couples are requesting updated renditions of wedding classics. Instead of Etta James’s soulful “At Last,” for example, they might choose the acoustic version by Jason Mraz. or swap Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” with indie-pop sensation Ingrid Michaelson’s reinterpretation.

Look for ’70s-style bands, aka “yacht rock.” Think Hall & Oates, Kenny Loggins, and the Doobie Brothers. What started as an underground music movement based on the comedic TV/online series Yacht Rock, this musical genre is gaining major play at weddings. “We’re not the typical wedding band,” says Nicholas Niespodziani of Atlanta’s Yacht Rock Revue (Yrr). “But the dance floor is always full.” Like Yrr, most of these bands dress in period garb, complete with polyester suits and Ray-Ban Wayfarers. Party on!

The Favor Report

By far, the biggest news here continues to be edible favors. Not just minijars of jam, but food kits – boxes stuffed with all the fixings for a yummy late-night snack or a morning-after brunch.

Framed for the occasion. An artisanal, artistic twist on the photo booth, couples are hiring an on-site silhouette artist. Guests can pose for a short sitting and leave with a very personal memento.

Paying it forward. Couples are pairing causes with their wedding themes – ocean preservation for a beachside bash, say, or blankets for the homeless for a Winter wedding. A new twist is to select three or four causes, set up a jar for each, and give guests a handful of decorative chips worth $1 each to toss into the jars as a donation vote. The couple later divvies up the donation money based on how guests voted.


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