Sunday, February 27, 2011

Civil Unions licenses available June 1st - ceremonies begin June 2nd

If you're planning on a civil union this summer, there are some important things you need to know.

Civil union licenses will be issued starting June 1st. However, civil union ceremonies cannot occur until JUNE 2nd.

There is a one day waiting period for civil union (and marriage) licenses, so they are not valid until the day after they are issued. While civil unions may be legal as of June 1st, this means that licenses will begin being issued that day. The actual ceremonies cannot take place until the following day, June 2nd.

For more information on this subject, go to the Cook County Clerk's website page, Civil Union Law Highlights.

To obtain a civil union license, both partners must go together to an Illinois County Clerk Office. Click here for a list of offices, with addresses of the main location. Also, be aware that some larger counties have several locations, such as Cook county, which has six offices. Don't feel that you have to head to downtown Chicago to get your license - any of the suburban locations offer this service.... and probably won't be as busy.

Good luck - and CONGRATULATIONS!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happiness - To Go!

A while back, I heard one of my son's friends refer to the outfit he was wearing (Bears jersey and sweatpants) as his "happy clothes." I liked the idea, but thought nothing further of it.

Shortly after that, when he had a group of friends over, one of the boys was being silly and pretended to be day dreaming when the other boys talked to him. He would say, "Sorry, I didn't hear you, I was in my happy place."

Later, I realized that these boys were on to something. I could use a bit of a happy infusion myself. So, I decided to make myself some happiness-to-go, in the form of a charm bracelet.

After two trips to the bead store, I completed my bracelet last week. I started
with a pile of charms, each representing someone or something special to me. I added a few beads, some because they have meaning, and others just because I happen to like them. (Pretty things make me happy!)

Some of my favorites are:
  • Bride & groom charm for my Celebrant work
  • Maneki Neko, the Chinese good luck cat - we've had one since we were married (and who can't use a little extra good luck, huh?)
  • Cupcake charm - because, as everyone knows, I love them!
  • Jade & pearl beads from one of my mother's old necklaces
  • A grill charm for my hubby, who loves a good barbeque
  • Clay beads made by my BFF - just for me
Now I can take all my happy things with me wherever I go..... and so can you!

Wouldn't it be fun to have a bracelet-making party?

This would be a ball for your bridal party! Each bridesmaid can make her own funky bracelet to wear for the wedding - and then has a great keepsake.

And each of you will have your very own brand of happiness.... to go!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Allan and Amy's Rockin' Wedding!

I can't believe I have gotten so behind in my wedding blog posts! All I can say is that the hustle and bustle of the holidays is my primary excuse. Or at least, it's the excuse I was using in January....

In any case, I am thrilled to share some pictures from the November wedding of Amy & Allan.

Amy and Allan are such a fun couple! I knew I wanted to work with them from the moment I read Amy's initial email to me. Her sweet and spunky personality were evident right away! When I met them for coffee to discuss their ceremony, I knew we were meant for each other!

Their ceremony was held at The Carlisle in Lombard, which has large, beautiful ballrooms. I emphasize "large" because this was one big wedding, folks.
There were twenty-nine people in their bridal party!! It just goes to show you what great people they are - everyone loves them! And Amy & Allan love them right back.

One of my favorite parts of the ceremony was their choices for music. For the processional, the bridal party walked in to "Purple Haze" and Amy entered to "Stairway to Heaven." The sand ceremony was accompanied by the Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony" and recessional song was "At Last." All the songs were performed by a wonderful string ensemble. It was fabulous!

The pictures are here are from my camera, but their fantastic photographer was Jason Kaczorowski Photography. Be sure to check out Jason's blog post for great photos from this wedding! The "photo booth" shots are ones you definitely shouldn't miss.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sue & Gary's Romantic Wedding.... at Home!

Since it's Valentine's Day, I thought I'd share the details of a romantic wedding that I had the pleasure of officiating this past weekend.

Sue and Gary tied the knot in their lovely Oak Park home on Saturday afternoon. It was just the two of them, their photographer, Lee Balgemann, and Henry & Abby, their furry friends. Henry even wore a black tie for the occasion.

It was utterly romantic! The setting was perfect. They were sealing their commitment in their very favorite place - home.

Lots of candles in the background helped create a warm, intimate setting as they exchanged their vows with a combination of laughter and tears.

My favorite part of their story is the engagement. Unbeknownst to Sue, Gary had the engagement ring in his possession when they went on a vacation to California. To create the perfect moment, he hired scuba divers to help deliver his message.

As they were sitting on the beach, soaking in the sun, two scuba divers suddenly appeared in the water and approached them. They presented Sue with a large shell. She opened the shell and I'll bet you know what was inside! Yep - the ring!

How smooth is that? I gave Gary major points when I heard that story!

Well, the engagement finally came to fruition on Saturday, and Sue and Gary are already on the road to Happily Ever After. I'm confidant that they'll enjoy a wonderful journey together.

Congratulations, Sue & Gary. I'm so happy I was able to be a part of your wedding day. It was such a joy.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Why Marriage Matters

While I'm really excited that civil unions will become legal in Illinois on June 1st, I'm still left with a bit of sadness. It smacks of "separate but equal" which, of course, isn't equal at all.

True marriage equality is essential. I long for the day that gay marriage is legal all across the country. Until then, let's celebrate this victory in Illinois, while still working towards complete equality everywhere.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Indie Wed Favorites - Part One

I had a great time checking out all the sights and sounds at Indie Wed, not to mention all the little tastes! So, it's been more than two weeks, and now I'm finally getting around to writing about it.

Just thought I'd mention a few of my favorites. These are in no particular order, mind you.

First, I finally got to meet Jeremy Lawson, a fantastic photographer who also happens to have a very cool blog. I've heard so much about him for so long, I felt like I already knew him, but it was fun to actually see him in real life. He had a lively circus-themed booth that he shared with makeup artist Nika Vaughan. As fun as Jeremy and Nika both were, the clown at their booth scared me a teeny bit.
Go to the blog. You'll see what I mean.

On the opposite side of the show, I made my way over to the (cacao) folks, so I could check out their offerings. They had some tempting samples, but you know I was immediately drawn to the darling little cupcakes. My weakness.

I tried the adorable little Bellini cupcakes and they were amazing! Yummy!

Upstairs, I had the chance to say hi Sarah from wedding creativo, the
talented photographers you may remember from their beautiful work on Lisa & Ben's wedding. The had a great display, which was an Venetian Carnivale theme.

While wandering around with my fellow Celebrant, Michele Rose, I ran into other great vendors I've worked with, including photographerJason Kaczorowksi, and deejay Harsh Singh. They were just visiting, like Michele and me.

I also ran into a friend from high school who is planning to a vow renewal ceremony in November. How cool is that!

While wandering around, I came across The Button Florist. Loved it!! Her bouquets are gorgeous!
I love the fact that she makes her own ceramic buttons (which are fabulous!). but also uses vintage buttons and other recycled materials. The end result is a really beautiful bouquet - or centerpiece - that lasts forever. Love it!

All in all, it was a great afternoon with lots of things (and people!) to see. I'll share more tidbits in an upcoming post.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I won the Bride's Choice Award 2011!

I'm so excited to have been named a winner for WeddingWire's Bride's Choice Award! Thank you so much to my couples who nominated me - I appreciate it!!

Weddings, Wedding Venues
2011 Bride's Choice Awards | Best Wedding Photographers, Wedding Dresses, Wedding Cakes, Wedding Florists, Wedding Planners & More

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The AnitaWeds Giveaway: And the Winner Is........

And the WINNER is........

Sarah & Teresa's Dia de los Muertos wedding - 10/8/11

Okay, folks - fasten your seatbelts and get ready for the juicy details of this way cool wedding! Just look at these two - you know this is gonna be FUN!

Teresa and Sarah are having their reception at Catalyst Ranch in Chicago, one of my all-time favorite venues. This fun spot definitely lends itself to their Day of the Dead theme with its bright colors and funky decor. Perfect choice.

And why the theme? Teresa explained, "This colorful celebration fits our lives in a few very symbolic ways. The first is the death of our lives separately, and the rebirth of our lives together for eternity." She also explained that her grandfather

is from Mexico and the theme is a tribute to him and a celebration of his culture.

It also doesn't hurt that Sarah and Teresa are both fans of punk rock, So the Day of the Dead images "are very fitting."

Sugar skulls are the symbol of the day and will be incorporated in a variety of ways. First of all, they have a tattoo artist friend who designed a sugar skull portrait of the couple. See the photo of the drawing? Note the sunflowers, which are a tribute to Sarah's grandfather, who had a spectacular sunflower garden. The wedding flowers will be sunflowers and marigolds, known as Flor del Muerto.

But, who the heck is Clover? That's Teresa's nickname! So, this really is them, in case you were wondering. I'm glad we have that cleared up. Moving on....

They're incorporating the sugar skull portrait by having a stamp made of the drawing, so they can adorn their wedding invites with the skulls. They're considering having tattoos made of the drawing to give out as wedding favors. Ooh! I totally want one!

The couple will be making their own wedding favors, which will be sugar skull-shaped soaps. Cool, huh? Plus - they're making actual sugar skulls which will adorn their wedding cupcakes as well as the tables. Squeee!! I can't stand all this fabulosity!!

Of course, you know the cupcakes are a big hit in my book. But, did you notice the cupcake tattoo? I did!

Prior to the wedding, they're inviting friends over for a sugar skull decorating party to help them make the favors. What a great way to get people involved!

For the reception, the Day of the Dead theme will carry over into the menu. Guests will get to dine on a taco bar and made-to-order guacamole. Plus, lots of chips and salsa.

The beverages will include Mexican beer and wine, and a specialty drink - Margaritas. These women know how to throw a party!

Other great details? How about an awesome sugar skull cake topper?! They're having one custom made by the etsy shop, dnacreations. See the photo of an example. Sweet!
And one of my favorite details of all?? Teresa's proposal. For Sarah's birthday, Teresa created a painting that said "Marry Me" and tied an engagement ring to the middle. Here she is with her painting. I guess Sarah liked it, 'cause she said "Yes."
Clearly I am in love with this wedding! So, congratulations to Sarah & Teresa! Your AnitaWeds Giveaway prize will be on its way to you shortly.
Just PLEASE send pictures of your Big Day..... I'm DYING to see them!

AnitaWeds Giveaway - Honorable Mention #2

Honorable Mention #2.....

Alison- getting married on 9/11/11

Alison is planning the most amazing Alice in Wonderland-themed wedding! Check out the fantastic engagement photos. (She did ensure me that they don't dress up as Alice and the Mad Hatter on a regular basis!)

The bride is a graphic designer and her groom is an artist, so this will be one amazing DIY event! They wanted "lots of unique touches and mismatched eclectic items," so most of their purchases have been from thrift stores, antique shops. yard sales, and flea markets. Thrifty and creative - I love it!

The ceremony will take place in a rose garden, followed by a tea party reception. Here's how Alison described the scene: "We are going to have long tables with mismatched chairs (painted by yours truly), hand-sewn chair pads, napkins, and tablecloths. Our guests will dine on mismatched china, and the tables will be decorated with playing cards and teapots filled with flowers and silver tea trays filled with little tea sandwiches and 'eat me' cakes."

They'll also be making topiaries covered in "twinkly lights" and will be stringing colored lanterns from the trees. Alison put together an inspiration board of photos, which will give you an idea of what this will all look like. Although, I know she will make it much incredible!

Alison's dress will have a light blue sash and she'll be wearing a pocketwatch necklace on a long strand of pearls. Her groom will have a pocketwatch boutonniere and is even considering a top hat. I think he should go for it - he looks pretty dashing in one, don't ya think?

In addition to being crafty, Alison is also a baker. Her hobby is baking cakes, so she's creating their "topsy-turvy teapot shaped wedding cake." How cool is that??

Lewis Carroll has even inspired the invitations that Alison's designing! They include original illustrations and whimsical wording.

Man, I wish I could be there to see this!! I only hope Alison may wish to share some photos after the wedding. Hint! Hint!!

Thanks, Alison for sharing your amazing wedding plans. I know your day will be spectacular!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

AnitaWeds Giveaway - Honorable Mention #1

The Giveaway ended on Monday and then the hard work began - selecting a winner! I received such fantastic entries, so I had a hard time deciding. I narrowed it down and then enlisted the help of my website guru (aka - my husband!) and my logo designer (a brilliant artist who happens to be my BFF). We finally came to a decision. We also felt that it was necessary to also have two honorable mentions. They were just that good!

So, before I announce the winner on Friday, I'll tell you about the entries who made it so darn hard to choose.

The first:
Cori and Steve, getting married on 9-10-11

They're planning on a ceremony that will be "a bit of
sweet and a dash of funny." They come from different religious backgrounds, but plan to include her Jewish heritage by ending the ceremony with the breaking of the glass. As Cori put it, "...honestly, who doesn't love to stomp on glass till it breaks and yell out Mazel Tov! Sounds like a good time to me!"

Their reception will include other personal touches. For example, the customized cake topper. As you can see from the photo, they're Hawks fans, especially Steve.
In fact, the Blackhawks even had a role in their engagement! Just look at their engagement photo, if you have any doubts! Well, the wedding cake topper will feature a bride and groom made to look just like them..... with Steve in a Hawks jersey- and both of them perched on a hockey puck!

Cori's favorite flower is the orchid, so she'll be carrying a bouquet with the beautiful blooms. The picture here is a photo that inspired her choice. Steve will also have an orchid boutonniere. And since they both like bamboo, they'll have bamboo in the centerpieces and will offer guests mini "lucky bamboo" as wedding favors.

Cori said, "We're hoping some of our luck in love will rub off on our guests!" How can you not love these people?!?!

She also mentioned that their "ultimate favorite thing" is their families, explaining, "Without our family's love and support we don't know where we'd be!" They plan to include special items from both of their families into the ceremony and reception. So sweet!

See why it was so hard to choose, with fabulous couples like Cori and Steve?

Details on the other Honorable Mention will follow tomorrow. And the WINNER will be announced here on Friday! Stay tuned.....