Friday, December 6, 2013

Congratulations to the Smiths! (The couple, not the band)

I get so excited about babies! And I get super-duper-over-the-moon excited when those babies happen to belong to wonderful couples, like Cori and Steve, whose wedding I officiated in 2011. 

Tatum Ann Smith arrived yesterday morning - and she's absolutely adorable! Congratulations, Cori and Steve. I hope to meet your little angel soon!

Cori & Steve Smith - photo by Angel Eyes Photography

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Marriage Equality in Illinois!

I have literally not been able to express my joy out loud because I keep crying. And there I go again.

So, this says it all:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Case for Unplugged Weddings

This past year, I have added language in my ceremonies asking guests to put away their phones & cameras. Now, I should explain that this is put into the 1st draft, which I send to the couple, and they have the option of removing it. I find that most people leave it in. They've heard the  stories. And I can vouch for it - the stories are TRUE.

Of course, not everyone with a smart phone or an iPad is rude. And yet, many people seem to forget their manners when they're at a wedding and they want to get that one "perfect shot." I've seen a camera-happy relative almost bump into the groom as the groom was pouring a glass of wine. I've seen a bride barely able to walk up the aisle because guests were stepping in front of her to take pictures. And I hear the clicking and snapping throughout the ceremony.

 So, my friends, please watch the video below. And don't be that guy.

Thanks to my colleague, Life Cycle Celebrant Cindie Wilding of Bird and Nest Ceremonies, for sharing this video!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Casey & Andi's Beautiful Downtown Chicago Wedding

I had the honor of being a part of Andi & Casey's gorgeous wedding this past June. The ceremony and reception too place at the Hotel Intercontinental and everything was absolutely stunning due to the creative touches of Engaging Events by Ali.

Casey and Andi are truly two of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, and their wedding day was filled with so much love and happiness. It was such a joy to be able to celebrate with them.

They were kind enough to share their beautiful video, created by Highway 61 Films.

Casey + Andi - Feature Film - Intercontinental Chicago from Highway 61 Films on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Green Wedding Tips from Sierra Club

I just came across this post on the Sierra Club website - 10 Steps to a Green Wedding and wanted to share.

The article had some great suggestions, including:

  • Avoid "blood diamonds" in favor of vintage rings, or even wooden bands
  • Choose a venue that require less travel 
  • Serve organic wine
  • Use a florist that offers local flowers and greenery

One of my favorite tips was celebrating your marriage with a shower of biodegradable confetti!

Ecofetti offers confetti that is environmentally safe - and comes in a variety of colors, as seen below.

How fun is that? 

So, as you plan your wedding, keep in mind that there are many options that will allow you to have a wonderful, unique event, and still remain environmentally responsible. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Love This Photo!

I saw this on A Practical Wedding's Facebook page today and I just had to share. I am in love with this photo by Sarah Gormley Photography!! 

Photo by Sarah Gormley Photography

This is such a great way to use that old vinyl that's sitting in a box in your basement. 

Hmm ....I need to go dig out my old records.

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Reviews from my Couples!

Just received my 53rd review on WeddingWire. Wow! A huge THANK YOU to my wonderful couples! Feel free to click on the badge below to see what they said.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Surprise Wedding Proposal!

Check out this surprise wedding proposal, which took place here in Chicago. 

The groom shared scenes from their relationship, leading up to the big finale - when he popped the question!

The amazing proposal was designed and executed by Greatest Expectations Special Events & Weddings. And, the best part? She said YES!!

Visit the Greatest Expectations Blog for the whole story!

Monday, August 12, 2013

When Your Wedding is Out of This World.....

...... wear this!

This necklace would be so cool for bridesmaids ..... or a bride! Originally posted by the folks at Think Geek, the necklace (and other fun planet-themed jewelry) is created by ShopGibberish and can be found on Etsy

And my close, personal friend, Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, will be happy to know that Pluto is not represented in this necklace.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Punny Wedding

Want to inject your Big Day with a shot of FUN? Checkout Buzzfeed for 25 Ways to Make Your Wedding Funnier.

My favorite? Pins for your guests - with something funny to identify each person.

These are so cute, your guests may sport these around town after your wedding!

A big thank you to my colleague, Dorry Bless, for sharing the post!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Wonderful, Intimate Wedding

I had the great joy of participating in this incredible inspiration photo shoot of a beautiful, intimate wedding, which was featured on Style Me Pretty! It was so lovely, I had to share a few of the gorgeous photos by Julia Franzosa Photography.

The ceremony included a handfasting.

The grooms also participated in a Blessing Stone ritual.

And look at this hot cocoa bar!!

There were so many fabulous details, thanks to the creative genius of Greatest Expectations Special Events & Weddings. The delicious sweets were created by Truffle Truffle, with beautiful flower decor by Pistil and Vine. Be sure to check out all the photos in the complete gallery!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It's our Anniversary!

He looked at me, tears in his eyes, and said, "I do." I smiled and replied, "You better!"

And, yes, he still married me. That was 20 years ago - today.

Happy Anniversary to the most amazing husband I could ever imagine. We are having the best Happily Ever After.


Had a little trouble cutting the cake..... until someone told me about the cardboard between the layers. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pets at Weddings

My family loves animals - as our two dogs and two cats will gladly confirm! And if it weren't for the practicality and common sense of my husband, we'd probably have an ever bigger menagerie! 

So many of the couples I marry are also huge animal lovers, and look for ways to include their furry kids in their wedding planning. So, I was happy to see this article on the Tails website - 5 Ways to Include Your Pet in Your Wedding.

So, check out the article for some great tips - and check out the Angel Eyes Photography post on Luis & Dan's wedding to see more photos of them with their pooch on their wedding day.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

DIY Wedding Ring Bowl

How cute is this?! Head on over to Intimate Weddings for complete instructions to make your own ring bowl! This is also a sweet little piece that can serve as a lovely keepsake.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Why Chicago Weddings are so Great

Today, I spent the day downtown with my family. We strolled around a bit and walked around the Blues Festival. My husband was convinced he saw Billy Corgin walking by, but I have my doubts. (The guy in question was sporting some pretty cool cowboy boots, though). 

And then, we ran into one of my favorite couples, who will be getting married this fall! So, we stopped and chatted with Rashonda and Steve and then continued on our wandering. 

We made our way through Millennium Park and dipped our toes in the Crown Fountain. And there, between the the two spout-faced structures, this happened....

I'm not sure if this was a post-wedding "Trash the Dress" session, or if this couple just decided to let loose on their big day. Either way, it was pretty cool!

After this surprise, we had dinner, followed by a stop at Garrett's for some popcorn (cheese & caramel mix, of course), and then headed home. 

Even though I'm a suburbanite now, I'm still a city girl at heart!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Maria & Lisa's Intimate Backyard Ceremony

I had so much fun working with Lisa and Maria as we created their ceremony!

Their wedding day started off being pretty wet, especially after the previous day's storms. But, a little drizzle wasn't going to stop us! Despite it being cool and a little misty, we had the ceremony in the garden, with a beautiful flower arch as a backdrop. 

Maria and Lisa included a flower-gathering ritual, during which family members came forward to present them with flowers to create a bouquet. It was so sweet to see their loved ones come up, especially when Maria's little nephew announced with a big grin, "Here you go!" You could definitely feel the love surrounding them!

Now I'm just dying to see all the gorgeous photos by the amazing Oriana of Okrfoto. I know they'll be fantastic!

Hanging out with Lisa and Maria before the ceremony
Following the ceremony, guests joined the couple at a neraby restaurant for a reception, and then came back to their house for cake. Look how sweet that cake looks! And since it's from Luscious Layers Bakery, you know it was delicious! And from what I'm told, there wasn't a single crumb left over. 
Fabulous cake by Luscious Layers Bakery
Congratulations, Maria and Lisa! Thank you for letting me be a part of your wonderful wedding day. You're the best!! And now that I've sampled the results of your amazing baking skills, you'll never get rid of me. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

An Opportunity to Win a FREE Ceremony - and Support a Great Cause!

This Saturday, May 18th from 2-5 p.m. at Marty's Martini Bar - help  support the Chainbite Gang, a team of riders participating in the Ride for AIDS Chicago!

Ride for AIDS Chicago is a two-day, 200-mile, bicycling event produced by Test Positive Aware Network. The Ride is an essential fundraiser for TPAN and its Community Partners, which include  organizations throughout Chicagoland that provide HIV/AIDS services. 

Since this is such a great cause and these organizations really need help, I am donating a hand-crafted, personalized ceremony to be raffled off at the event

The gift certificate can be redeemed for a wedding ceremony, baby blessing.... you name it! Here's the info on the ceremony details:

  • The ceremony must take place at a location within 30 miles of O'Hare Airport
  • Ceremony dates are based on my availability, through 2014
  • Gift certificate may be used as a gift
  • This offer is not valid for current clients. Current clients may use the gift certificate for remaining balance of officiating fee.
  • Certificate valued at up to $900

In addition, there will be some other fantastic Raffle Prizes, including:

  • Thomas Pheasant Lamp valued at $1600.00
  • Designer Pillows from Scalamandre valued at $1000
  • Broadway in Chicago Theater Tickets
  • Chicago Blackhawks autographed hockey puck 
  • and much, much more!

So stop by, have a martini, and buy some raffle tickets!! 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Perfect Mother's Day!

I am one lucky mama - and wife! It began last night, when I was treated to a great dinner at Lucky Platter in Evanston. We talked, laughed, and had the best banana cream pie ever!

This morning, I slept in and lingered lazily in bed, cuddling with Frannie, our big furball of a cat.

Then, I came downstairs to the most amazing gifts from my family! And they were absolutely perfect!

I now have a new orchid for my growing collection, two gorgeous scarves (for my other ever-expanding collection!), yummy treats, and.... two new necklaces handcrafted by my son and daughter.

What's that, you say? Is that a sweet little bird necklace AND a TARDIS necklace!? Why, yes it is. Thank you for noticing.

All these wondrous delights = the Best Mother's Day ever! Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Marina & Bill's Ceremony at the Lincoln Park Conservatory

A view from the back of the space, just before guests arrived.
Yesterday, I had the honor of officiating Marina and Bill's ceremony at the Lincoln Park Conservatory. They are such a sweet couple! They are also very laid back. When I asked Marina what her Maid of Honor would be wearing, she said she didn't know - she was leaving it up to her. I love that! (And Nadia looked great in her green outfit, as you can see in the photo below.)

Being nature lovers, this was the perfect spot for Bill and Marina's ceremony. They didn't want all the bells and whistles, but rather something that would reflect their tastes. And so, they picked a beautiful, natural space. They gathered their closest friends and family members and enjoyed an intimate celebration.

Their good friend, Nick, provided the musical accompaniment on the saxophone. It was simply magical when Marina walked in to Glen Miller's "Moonlight Serenade."  The music filled the space and set the tone for the day. Another perfect touch.

Congratulations, Marina and Bill. I wish you all the best! Much love to you both!

Show Room - ceremony took place on the path in front of the white lilies.

Bill and Marina after the ceremony. Marina opted to forgo the traditional bridal bouquet.
Instead, she wore a green orchid in her hair. Gorgeous! 

The bride and groom with the Maid of Honor and Best Man

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

BYOB Painting Party!

Eliane giving me some painting tips
If you live anywhere in or around Chicago, you know all about the flooding we've endured. If you live near the airport (like me!) you have horror stories of nightmarish commutes for the past week. Therefore, it was a lovely distraction from the weather woes to enjoy a girls night last Friday. Organized by my sister, I joined a group of lovely ladies for a BYOB Painting Party at  The Art Station Studio in Park Ridge.

It was so much FUN!!!! 

Here I am with the owner, artist Eliane Balsewich, getting some pointers on my technique (or maybe the lack thereof).  

The great thing about this (besides getting to drink wine and eat goodies with friends) is that you don't need to know how to paint. Eliane and her team of artists will provide you with as much help as you need. Heck, they're even willing to do the finishing touches, if you like!
Moni & Rosemary with their finished work

The happy artists!
Everyone picks their own project to paint - our group leaned towards flowers and booze. You can also choose to stick with a theme for the group. Eliane mentioned that a local book club had their meeting at the studio and each person painted something related to the book they read. I love that!

I think this would be a great outing for just about any group, for any occasion - bachelorette party, birthday, you name it. Wouldn't it be fun to have a baby shower where everyone paints something for the nursery? 

Whatever the reason, I highly recommend contacting Eliane at The Art Station Studio to organize your own BYOB Painting Party. 

And she'll even let you pain something like this:

My octopus dutifully guarding the bookshelf

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Lego Save the Date!

Check out this save-the-date video that I came across on one of my favorite blogs, When Geeks Wed.

I want to be invited to this wedding!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cupcake Love for Nerds and Geeks!

This morning I was in a funk. It's been a long week. And it's only Wednesday.

It doesn't help that I'm mourning that fact that Walking Dead is over for the season. And then, to make matter worse, last night I watched the end of Doctor Who season two. And, of course, bawled my eyes out. 

But then I saw these:

Doctor Who cupcakes

Walking Dead cupcakes
This totally made my day! And if there was ever any question as to why I love Luscious Layers Bakery - I rest my case. 

So go over there right now and tell Caitlin she's brilliant. And buy some cupcakes. (And get me one, too.) 

Friday, April 5, 2013

An Evening in Nerd Heaven!

Last night I was in nerd heaven, or as my husband called in, "Nerdvana." We went to Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson's lecture, "Cosmic Perspective," which was offered as part of the Elmhurst College Roland Quest Lecture Series

And I even wore my blue galaxy scarf. (Hey, don't judge)

It was great! His presentation was funny, enlightening, and passionate. One of the highlights of the evening was when he discussed the demotion of Pluto. Neil (well, we are on a first name basis - in my fantasy life, that is) discussed the reasoning behind the decision to remove Pluto's planet status. After a lengthy discussion, he said, "Pluto had it coming."

He asked if there were people in the audience who were still upset about the whole Pluto issue. Several folks raised their hands (including my hubby). He then walked over to his computer and clicked to this:

Pluto defenders: "Get over it."

During the lecture and the Q & A that followed, he touched on topics ranging from the inarguable genius of Newton (and if you do try to argue with him, he'll tell you to "shut up forever"), killer asteroids, science education, the Higgs boson particle (explaining it with a Hollywood party analogy) and his views on the existence of God. See..... nerd heaven!

And now that I have confirmed my nerdiness, I'm going to go read The Space Chronicles. (Yes, I bought it at the lecture.)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pi Day = Cupcakes!

Today, March 14th, is Pi Day (get it - 3.14??). So, it's the perfect day to enjoy pie after your dinner. And that was the plan, until I was driving and realized I was a few blocks away from my favorite folks at Luscious Layers Bakery

So, I picked up some cupcakes for the family. And of course, one for me for the drive home (the Guiness cupcake, thank you very much).

It was nearly impossible to pick for all the yummy flavors, so I just went with a variety. Here we have Green Velvet with Cream Cheese frosting, Dark Chocolate with Coconut Mousse, Fudge with Salted Caramel Frosting, and Guinness with Chocolate frosting.

The Pistachio cupcake (with Pistachio Mousse & Cream Cheese frosting) and the French Toast cupcake never even made it from the box to the plate.

So, while today may be Pi day, EVERY DAY is Cupcake Day!! So go get some. I'd share, but I have a feeling these will be gone in a minute. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Recycled Wedding

Getting married and need some stuff?? Wedding's over and don't know what to do with all the left-over stuff? Head on out to the Great Wedding Recyclery on April 28th! All the details will be available soon at The Green Wedding Alliance's website

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Wedding Vows - What You Should Promise, But Probably Won't

Many of my couples decide to write their own vows. While they often agonize over the right wording, the proper length, and what they want to express, I am constantly awed and inspired by the beautiful vows my brides and grooms write. Well, that could just be because my couples are all so darned awesome. 

But, today I came across a blog post written by author Lydia Netzer, titled, 10 Best Marriage Vows You Never Hear at Weddings. And boy, is she spot on! 

I wish I could take credit for discovering this wonderful post, but I have to confess that I saw it referenced on Pinterest by Crafty Broads, an incredibly cool couple who create custom clothing (nice alliteration, there, huh?) and do event planning - and who I am dying to work with some day.

 And they have a pretty cool blog, Crafting a Marriage, which you need to check out.

So, back to the vows...... Netzer explains that there are ten vows couples should make to one another, in order to have a happy, healthy relationship. These include, "I promise to make sure I'm not just hungry, before I yell at you." And my husband can vouch that this one applies too me a little too well. 

Another important vow

I think we can all agree that this is an important one. 

So, check out the post for more excellent advice. And, if you do have a wedding coming up, you may want to think about including some of these suggestions in your vows. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Wedding Inspiration for Whovians

For the longest time, two of my friends (that means YOU - Carolyn & Heather!) have been urging me to watch Doctor Who. I resisted for ages. My TV watching is pretty limited and I'm way behind on the few shows I do watch. (As in a whole season behind on Breaking Bad!) I did not need to start another show.

Then I broke down and watched. And you guessed it - I'm hooked.  

So, imagine my delight when I came across a Doctor Who stylized wedding video! That's one of the many wonderful surprises you'll get when you browse around one of my favorite blogs, When Geeks Wed.

I love just about everything about this video, from the darling dress to the funky cake. But, I think my favorite part is the wording for the ring exchange - "Together, or not at all." Swoon.....

Through All of Time and Space: Wedding Inspiration from Doctor Who from Jakfoto Films on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Wanna Marry You - a Group Effort.

A beautiful marriage proposal. I'm still in tears. Enjoy.

Marriage Equality in Illinois

Please contact your legislators and voice your support for marriage equality. 
Not sure who to call? Click HERE for quick links to your representatives!

You can also check in with Equality Illinois for the most up-to-date information.

Let's go, Illinois!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Octopus Cakes!

My friends at Cake Wrecks did a post just for ME!! It's all about octopus cakes. Which, naturally, means it's for me. Aren't they nice?

Here is my favorite:

I really want this cake!! But the others are pretty amazing, too. Check them out HEREGo, already!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Star Wars wedding featured on Offbeat Bride!

The ceremony ends with a kiss - under the watchful eye of Darth Vader.
I'm so excited, I can barely stand it!!! I just found out that one of my weddings was featured on Offbeat Bride!

Karrie and Matt's wedding - from the ceremony to the reception - featured Star Wars and LEGOs. Their awesomely geeky wedding was one of my favorites. Yes, partly because of the theme, but mostly because they're just so darn awesome! 

Here are a few of the photos by the wonderful TrueLee Photography. But for the whole deal, check out the feature on Offbeat Bride by clicking HERE.

Incredible Star Wars cake, created by the chef at Starved Rock Lodge!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Luis & Dan's Incredible Wedding Photos - with Bacon and Eggs Socks!

This past fall I officiated Luis and Dan's wedding ceremony at Uncommon Ground (known as the "Greenest Restaurant in America.")

They were lucky enough to hire the amazing Hilda of Angel Eyes Photography. Not only is she always fun to work with, I knew there would be amazing photos. Boy, was I right! 

Be sure to check out her blog post about the wedding. Don't you just love those bacon and egg socks? 

Here are a few photos in the meantime, but be sure to go to the blog for more!

Breakfast footwear

Handfasting during the ceremony
Luis and Dan light up the night!

If you need a photographer for your wedding, Hilda is fantastic. But you can already see that from her work. And did I mention how much fun she is??

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2013 Bride's Choice Award!


I'm very excited to announce that I've been awarded Wedding Wire's 2013 Bride's Choice Award!
Thanks to the wonderful couples who made this happen!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Support Marriage Equality in Illinois!

Happy New Year! 

And the best possible New Year's wish may come true very soon. Illinois legislators may be voting on a bill to finally legalize same-sex marriage - possibly this week!

Please, please contact your state senators and representative right now to voice your support for marriage equality. 

Not sure who to call? Not sure what to say? Visit the Equality Illinois Marriage Equality page for sample phone scripts and contact information for your legislators.

Go! Let's not just cross our fingers and hope it happens. Let's MAKE it happen. Now.