Happy Anniversary Cristina & Zach!

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The Soirée Wedding & Events team would like to wish a happy first anniversary to Cristina and Zach!


Just lovely! Hair and makeup by Kate Johnson Artistry!

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CZC-250-1The ceremony took place lakeside at the Chicago Park District Chess Pavilion!




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An intimate reception was held at the swanky J. Parker at the Hotel Lincoln.

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All beautiful photographs and stunning detail shots by Cristina G Photography!





Vale of Enna designed all of the simple yet delightfully elegant arrangements.




What a sweet couple!





The bride and groom and their guests got crafty on the rooftop deck!




We wish bright days and happiness to this adorable couple!

VENDORS: Planning/Styling and Coordination: Soirée Weddings & Events | Floral: Vale of Enna | Ceremony Location: Chicago Park District/Chess Pavilion | Venue: J. Parker at the Hotel Lincoln | Photographer: Cristina G Photography | Hair & Makeup: Kate Johnson Artistry

The true meaning of gift giving

Today is Christmas – Merry Christmas!!

After a full day of opening Christmas presents, hanging with family, catching up with friends and family on the phone…and of course…eating, I remembered one of my favorite Christmas stories.  One that many people forget about, or may not even know, but one that captures the true essence of gift giving: O.Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi”

“The magi, as you know, were wise men – wonderfully wise men – who brought gifts to the new-born Jesus in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as donors they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the Magi.” – O. Henry

If you don’t know the story –  click here so you can get the quick synopsis on Wikipedia

My mother first read me this story when I was little.  I remember thinking that it was so sad, that they only got each other one gift each – and then they didn’t even get to use them! Seemed like such a waste! (typical kid – huh?)

Fast forward a decade or so, and I heard the story again.  This time, I thought.. How sweet that they love each other so much and they would go to such lengths to get one perfect Christmas gift for their spose.  And I remember also wishing that I too, would one day have that same kind of unconditional love for a man, and he have that kind of love for me.

The story is so powerful and I feel really illustrates the purpose behind gift giving.  The giving ultimately becomes more gratifying than being on the receiving end.  Of course, getting an awesome gift is great!!  But have you ever gotten someone the perfect gift and you just couldn’t wait to give it to them?  If, your gift comes from the heart – it should always give you that feeling!

When I was little, I would be so excited to wake up on Christmas morning.  I usually couldn’t sleep the night before because I was so wound up with energy and excitement.  Sometimes I would try to sneak out of my room to the living room in the middle of the night to see if I could catch a glimpse of Santa.  I was always the first to wake up and that usually led to waking up my parents, followed by waking up my brother and sisters.  My dad would turn on the Christmas music, brew the coffee, and round up the troops.  Eventually my big brother and sisters would make their way to the tree and we would begin the present-opening extravaganza!

This year, I had that same anxious feeling when I went to bed on Christmas eve.  I was so excited for my husband to open the gifts I got for him.  We woke up at 7 am, enjoyed some coffee in bed and then turned on some Christmas music and made our way to the living room to open presents.  Getting my husband the perfect Christmas gifts brought me so much joy  – I then remembered the story of “The Gift of the Magi.”  Unlike Jim and Della, we were fortunate to not have to make any sacrifices this holiday season, however, I really understood the true meaning of the story.  I think it resonates differently with everyone who reads it. Ironic, romantic, tragic or heartfelt… It definitely helps reminds you what “it” is all about.

Merry Christmas and good night!


What is the best gift you have ever given? 

What is the best gift you have ever received?  The worst?? 🙂

What is your favorite part about exchanging gifts?

Does your family have any Christmas morning traditions?