In time for tea

This week we were invited to “High Tea” hosted by The Conrad Chicago Hotel, Engaging Events by Ali and Katherine Anne Confections.  And high tea it was! We arrived to the 16th floor terrace and were greeted with with wonderful scents of teas and an amazing view of Chicago!

I took a taste of the the first one that stood out to me,  “Chocolate and Coconut” – wow!  it was delicious!

The tables were dressed with uber-chic risers and place settings from Classic Party Rentals, fuchsia shantung linens from Windy City Linens and beautiful florals from Pollen Floral Design.

Check out the darling menus designed by Spilled Ink Press 😀

After munching on some yummy bite sized tea sandwiches, pound cake and blueberry scones, Katherine served the best part yet!  perfectly paired truffles and my all time favorite –  her famous Fleur de Sel caramels!

The afternoon was a pleasant break from the hustle and bustle of wedding season.  Delicous tea and snacks, nice company, the picturesque view on a gorgeous August day!

Thanks for including us and for the fun party favors!  nothing better then taking some caramels and truffles home to enjoy!! 😉


I *heart* the 80s

So lately, I have been noticing many movies, shows and commercials featuring popular songs from the 80s.  And boy I am not complaining!!  For anyone that knows me, it’s no secret that I LOVE the 80s!  I love the movies, the TV shows and of course, I love the music.  Since it has been on my mind a lot lately, I decided to revisit our recent 80s inspired styled shoot that we did this Spring at Room 1520.  We had so many amazing vendors involved in pulling this off, it was even published on the credited wedding blog, Ruffled!

I invite you to take a look back at what our work…and soak it all in – Like Totally!

So I came up with the idea for this styled shoot one night while flipping through the TV channels, and St. Elmo’s Fire just happen to be on. The movie exudes 80s while portraying several different characters, all with different styles.  Then the wheels started to turn…

I was a kid in 80s.  I remember watching John Hughes movies with my big brother and sisters, dancing to their “cool” music with them and being totally jealous of my sister’s yellow high-top Reeboks!  I can recite every word of Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club.   Wang Chung, Thompson Twins, Simple Minds and Morrissey (just to name a few) all have a place in my iPod!

As a wedding planner, we are always trying to push the envelope,  come up with the fresh and new ideas.  Because that is what every bride wants.  They want something that hasn’t been done before.  On the same token, the are often a bit apprehensive of doing something totally different than what we are used to seeing.  That is why I took on this challenge, because I knew it was just that – a challenge.  How do you take a theme, like the 80s and make it look good?

The 80’s were about peace, free will, lot’s of color, punk attitude, pop culture, teenage rom-coms and alternative music. Not to mention the outrageous fashion statements as well!  I wanted the shoot to be current – with only hints of inspiration from the 80s.  The fear was that this theme could become too costumey.  We wanted to play on the current runway fashions that we are seeing now, everything from bright neon to color blocking.  Today’s designers are taking what we loved about the 80s, but doing it right!  We wanted to show today’s bride how to take a modern trend and translate into bridal.

I knew exactly where I wanted to photograph the shoot.  The glass block windows at Room 1520 were what sold me, and I knew I wanted to feature them every way I could!

Suzy Rohan of Lily Red Studio came up with the concepts for the invitations and signage.  Fun sayings and song lyrics added just the perfect amount of charm.   She collaborated with Elaina Vasquez of Boutique Bites on the design of the menu.  Elaina designed a TV dinner-styled entrée that mimicked the popular frozen dinners of the 80s.  The menu was designed in sections – as if you are looking down at the plate!  I suggested a game of MASH on the reverse side to serve as a fun favor and entrainment for the guests.  Suzy designed two different coasters for the bar.  One that read “Cocktails and Dreams” along with the couple’s names and wedding date and one for the signature cocktail, “Pretty in Pink.”  The adorable tape cassette place cards added the just the right amount of 80’s to the table.

Kelly Marie Uss of Fleur, Inc. added some color blocking elements with monochromatic arrangements of  purple, hot pink and lime green flowers.  Romantic blooms like peonies and lilacs added the perfect touch of bridal, which was juxtapose with the structured and modern calla lilies used on the rectangle banquet tables.

We chose white shantung linens for the guest tables which made the black Mirage chairs and the black glassware pop with contrast.  The sweetheart table is always an opportunity to do something special. All eyes are on the bride and groom during the reception – so why not add a little bit of drama there?  We chose a teal ribbon rosette linen for the cabaret sweetheart table, adorned with crystal candlesticks and votives.

I wanted to showcase modern design but pair it with romantic elements like the flowers and the bridal gown.  I had the perfect dress in mind for this shoot!  It was the Monique Lhuillier “Bouquet” gown from her Fall 2012 Collection.  Ultimate Bride on Oak Street provided us with the gown and …voila!  The pièce de résistance!  The dress stole the show!  Some hot pink pumps, edgy accessories and big hair created just the perfect styling to bring the whole look together.

Styling the models was very important.  I didn’t want them to look too literal.  The Bridesmaids wore Coren Moore and LuluKate dresses in pink, purple and green.  I found some colorful geometric earrings and bangles to add some flare.  I kept their shoes simple with a black pump.  Their hair and make-up is what really tied it all together!  I also wanted the girls to take center stage, so I kept the guys very simple, but added pops of color with their pocket squares and socks.  My favorite were the Tetris socks I found for the groom!  Just perfect!

We also created a photo booth – equipped with bold 80s props, sunglasses, headbands and a DIY paint splatter back drop!

Amy DiTomasso of Sugar Chic Designs created the totally rad sweets table.  Everything from “Gag me with a  spoon jello shooters” to Pac Man cake pops!  The design was colorful and delicious!  I asked Bleeding Heart Bakery to  come up with a cake design that was 80s, but also still very chic and edgy.   A geometric-80’s Mondrian cake in pink, purple, teal, yellow and green was the perfect addition to the design theme.

The photos really capture exactly what we wanted to portray with this styled shoot.  Cristina G’s talented camera work was the final piece that brought it all together.  I hope that this inspires brides to think outside the “wedding” box and envision new, fresh ideas and themes for their wedding day.  If implemented with style and class – it can really work!


To see this photo shoot featured on Ruffled, click here: Ruffled®| 80s Wedding Inspiration.

Venue: Aérée Loft, Room 1520  | Event Designer: Soirée Weddings & Events  Photographer: Cristina G. Photography | Florals: Fleur | Rentals: Tablescapes | Caterer: Boutique Bites | Paper and Stationary: Lily Red Studio |   Sweets Table: Sugar Chic Designs | Cake: The Bleeding Heart Bakery | Linens: Private Label Linens | Bridesmaid Dresses: LulaKate and Coren Moore from Bella Bridesmaid | Bridal Gown: Monique Lhuillier Bridal Salon: Ultimate Bride | Hair and Make-up: Sara Jean Stevens and Jen Brown