- Planning Tools
- Inspiring Ideas
- Articles & Advice
LOCATION: Fairlie | PHOTOGRAPHY: Ashley Galminas Photography
STYLING: Styled by Ariana | HAIR: Zazú Salons
MAKEUP & NAILS: Patty McGuire Hair & Makeup Artists
VIDEOGRAPHY: Edward Fox Photography & Video
MODEL: Ahlam Abbas; The Rock Agency
GOWN DESIGNERS: Alon Livné White | BECCAR | Eva Lendel | Jenny by Jenny Yoo | Pronovias | Sottero & Midgley
GOWN PROVIDERS: Bella Bianca Bridal Couture | The Crystal Bride | Eva’s Bridals International | Jenny Yoo Collection | LBR Bridal | Volle’s Bridal & Boutique
ACCESSORIES: Bella Belle Shoes | Bridal Botany | Dame Couture | Davie & Chiyo | Hearts on Fire | Hushed Commotion | Monte Carlo Design | Officina Bernardi | Simon G. Jewelry | State Street Jewelers | Veiled by ChaCha Bridal Boutique
PHOTO COURTESY OF EMPRESS STATIONERY
Monograms are a unique and timeless way to express a new union as they typically consist of two or more letters intertwining to form one symbol. What a sweet element to include on your wedding invitation!
Created exclusively for each client, monograms can include up to three letters, a crest or wreath to be used on not only the invitation suite, but also on wax seals, thank-you notes, dance floors and more.
A standard four-piece invitation suite includes:
Customization of the paper thickness, printing process and add-ons may increase the investment.
We take so much care in giving our clients the very best in terms of design. Our semi-custom suites are uniquely typeset for each couple, letter by letter, and we work closely with our clients to ensure that their paper is everything they envision. We want each piece — from save-the-dates to invitations to programs — to tell the story of the couple. Monograms are very much a part of that story and travel well beyond the wedding day into the home! They are truly heirloom pieces, timeless in every way.
– JESSICA HINTON, OWNER & HEAD CREATIVE, EMPRESS STATIONERY
Atlanta, GA | 404.913.9312 | intimatesignatureevents.com
Award-winning event planner Michelle Harrison of Michelle Harrison Signature Events launched a new suite of services called Intimate Signature Events, designed specifically for couples planning micro- weddings. The pandemic has created a higher demand for those who want a small, but beautifully planned, wedding day. Harrison’s Intimate Signature Events offers just that. The micro-wedding package for 30-50 guests is an all-inclusive ceremony and reception experience — event planning and design, a venue, photography, flowers, cake, champagne, live streaming and more — along with optional enhancements. It’s everything clients love about Harrison’s work, just on a miniature scale.
Columbus, GA | 240.695.3906 | ivrysdelights.com
Ivry’s Delights traded its Chicago zip code for warmer weather, making it Georgia’s newest choice for custom desserts. Made from scratch, the custom cookies are designed with every detail in mind. From the flavors to the designs to the packaging, your guests are sure to leave your event with a gourmet cookie that delivers a sweet tasting memory. Even if your event looks a bit different this year, Ivry Radford, head baker and decorator, also offers virtual cookie decorating classes, bringing your friends and family together no matter their location.
188 14th St. NE | Atlanta, GA 404.354.9417 | watlantamidtown.com
W Atlanta – Midtown recently received a major facelift with a top to bottom renovation including guest rooms, the event space and the lobby. The ballroom, located on the 27th floor, was designed to create a major visual impact with floor- to-ceiling windows that give guests panoramic views of the Atlanta skyline and Piedmont Park. The event space can accommodate an event of any style, from intimate to grandiose and can be customized to host your wedding ceremony, reception, room block and even after party.
374 East Paces Ferry Rd. | Atlanta, GA 470.531.8930 | thesylvanhotel.com
Newly opened, The Kimpton Sylvan Hotel is Buckhead’s newest boutique property, offering unparalleled amenities, including a beautifully redesigned mid-century modern hotel, three unique restaurants and bars and a variety of enchanting event and wedding spaces. Couples seeking a one-of-a-kind Buckhead wedding destination may choose from The Sylvan Hotel’s intimate Camellia ballroom hosting up to 125 for seated receptions; Willow Bar’s lush outdoor garden oasis; St. Julep’s rooftop terrace; or the hotel’s Old Hollywood-inspired signature restaurant, The Betty. The Sylvan Hotel’s experienced team will work one-on-one to create each couples’ dream day.
If you’ve always wanted to see your name in bright lights, this is the perfect time! Illuminate your reception with a custom neon display that’s distinctly you, whether it’s the family name, wedding year, a nod to the wedding theme, or a favorite quote or idiom.
A custom LED neon sign, wedding florals, a wall of ferns at a rustic farmhouse, plus a wedding planner to connect all the moving pieces were instrumental in creating this gorgeous centerpiece.
Neon signs make anything better. They are a way to personalize your wedding in a unique way that you can keep and use in your first home, at an anniversary party and throughout the rest of your lives together.
– ALY COLLINS, OWNER, ONE WEDDINGS EVENTS
A mobile bar turns standard bar service on its head with a fresh and Instagram-able alternative that exudes vintage charm and romantic whimsy.
The vintage bar experience includes everything from consultation to cleanup, creating seamless integration into your event without a worry. Customize the taps to serve any beverage combination – signature cocktails, beer, wine, champagne, cold drinks, iced coffee, kombucha – to better reflect your vision for the event and create the wow fact guests won’t stop talking about.
Custom packages typically include:
Break free from the usual bar setup and watch your guests light up with joy while being served almost any type of beverage you can imagine. This mobile bar turned centerpiece is the perfect conversation-starter for any event!
– ALICIA WALLACE, Founder & Event Planner, Tippy Tap Co.
Skyscraper-esque centerpieces certainly add a wow-factor, but they’re also a practical option. Your guests will want to chat with their tablemates without having to dodge and weave around bushels of flowers. So, you get the grandiose look you wanted, and your friends and family can mingle unhindered by blocked sightlines. Two birds, one stone!
Elevate your wedding, literally, with these tall, modern centerpieces consisting of baby’s breath, phalaenopsis orchids, blush and lavender roses.
For a table of 8:
The baby’s breath was hand sprayed to add a hint of color, making it feel modern and luxurious, but still delicate. The result is a customized piece of floral art that will capture your guests’ attention. To complete the look, we selected a mauve velvet linen and modern gold accents, including gold flatware and tableware.
– VICTORIA MILLER, Lead Planner, Luxe Atlanta Events
By Christina Oddo | Photography by Social Shots Photography
Bridal trends come and go, but these fabulous fabrics are here to stay.
A dream dress is only as good as the material it’s constructed with. Top notch boutiques will typically give their brides a quick list of “dos” and “don’ts” so they know exactly how to take care of their dresses, but in case you need a refresher, here’s our guide to a few of the most popular bridal gown fabrics.
TULLE: Reminiscent of ballerina skirts, this flirty, feminine fabric is lightweight and billowy. Tulle is well-loved for its ability to create volume and avoid fraying, but wearers be warned: Tulle is highly prone to snagging. To avoid unsightly pulls in your gown, skip bedazzled accessories and opt for smoother jewelry that won’t tangle and snare.
CHIFFON: This soft, delicate fabric is often used not only for gowns but also veils, capes, and other bridal accessories. Despite its slightly rough texture, chiffon’s dainty translucence makes it perfect for layering. This breezy fabric is the ideal choice for outdoor, summery weddings and romantic portraits.
SILK: Long revered for its glossy shine and smooth texture, silk comes in countless varieties and has been a go-to wedding dress medium for thousands of years. Satin, one of the more famous silk derivatives, spent the past century as one of the most elegant and sought after gown fabrics, but modern silk variations like taffeta and organza are currently stealing the spotlight. While silk gowns are certainly worth the hassle, storing them properly requires a bit of extra work in dark, dry environments, so be sure to store your gown in a cotton dress bag before tucking it away in your closet.
LACE: Like silks, lace comes in a myriad of styles and textures and has been adored for centuries by designers and brides alike. From elegant Chantilly and delicate Alençon to the recently popular three-dimensional lace, this gorgeous material is sought after all around the world. Lace’s intricate design makes it highly prone to minor rips and snags though, so take a few notes from the tulle to-do list and avoid accessories with sharp edges and rough links. It’s also worth noting that lace yellows faster than other fabrics, which makes professional dry cleaning and proper storage a must.
CREPE: This light yet elegant material is well-known in the fashion world for its versatile applications and gauzy appearance. Perfect for formfitting gowns, crepe typically fits like a glove and leaves very little to the imagination, which makes choosing your undergarments important. Avoid unsightly bumps and lines by choosing seamless underwear or shapewear and a smooth-cupped bra.
Before heading to the mailbox, read these helpful tips to avoid any costly missteps with your wedding stationery.
Not every couple opts to include all of these items, but this comprehensive list gives you a place to start. Add ribbon, wax seals and other details for a finishing touch.
Work with your stationer to create on-brand material for a cohesive look throughout your wedding.
Guests will likely always remember a few cornerstone wedding moments: the vows, first dances and the dessert! So, here’s your chance to have fun with it.
Just envision the beauty of dozens of donuts hanging like a giant piece of art for guests to choose from. You can select multiple flavors and no one can resist the doughy goodness of a perfectly glazed donut. The different flavors and colors provide a stunning visual, which is ultimately what most couples are looking to create with their dessert.
Bars aren’t just for drinks anymore. Bars of the dessert variety can be curated with all sorts of themes. Think: cookies, pie, ice cream and s’mores. There are a couple ways of doing this. Set up your unique dessert bar in a central location where guests can create their own dessert experience with different flavor options and toppings. Or you can bring the experience to your guests with mini bars set up at each table.
Who doesn’t get excited about a food truck? Hiring a food truck for weddings has become increasingly popular and guests feel like they’re getting a VIP experience. Go old school with an ice cream truck; surprise guests with churros; or consider classic options like cupcakes, cake and cookies.
By Carrie Mantey | Photography by Ashley Gaminas Photography
If you’re like most engaged couples, the idea of having a destination wedding has crossed your mind at least once during the planning process. It’s easy to understand why. Nothing says romance quite like getting hitched on a beach while palm fronds flutter overhead and your worries are thousands of miles away.
Though the idea of turning your wedding into a vacation is undeniably alluring, the unfortunate reality of cost and logistics often derails destination wedding plans. In addition to being expensive, destination weddings typically put an extra dose of pressure on your guests, too. On top of having to do quite a bit of extra traveling to even attend your wedding, your friends and family have to take time off of work and shell out cash for a flight. These hurdles may prevent your loved ones from being able to show up for your special day and this is what makes many abandon the idea of a destination wedding in the first place.
Believe it or not, though, it’s entirely possible to have the destination wedding of your dreams without ever stamping your passport or leaving the United States. Maybe you don’t have wild macaws flying overhead during your ceremony, but the U.S. offers plenty of wedding venues that deliver all the excitement and thrill of getting married away from home.
Places nearby like Savannah, Georgia and St. Petersburg, Florida or a little further away in an entirely different climate (hello, Chicago or Phoenix), can still feel like faraway destinations and easily go toe to toe with almost any other popular destination wedding spot. Plus, planning a domestic destination celebration can be so much easier than an overseas wedding. No passports, no flights, no language barrier.
Are you a big-city kid looking to escape the hustle and bustle? The South is brimming with gorgeous tree-lined groves, breathtaking mountainside views and charming coastal escapes not too far from Atlanta. If it’s a fall wedding you’re craving, you have the extra benefit of taking advantage of the famous colorful show its trees put on every year. Do you still crave the city scene, but want to explore something new? Why not road-trip to Nashville or New Orleans for a change of pace?
An extra benefit to planning a domestic destination wedding is extending your stay past the wedding. Enjoy the local scene — absorb and explore the nearby state parks, beaches and museums. Maybe check into a nearby spa or treat yourself to a few nights in the honeymoon suite. Whatever you decide, remember that your wedding is about the celebration of your love, not where your gate-checked luggage ended up.
Difficult times often bring innovative solutions, and that’s exactly what bridal designers are delivering with adaptable gowns that give you two looks in one. This stunner from Jesus Peiro, for example, has a removable bolero that takes the dress from classic to modern in one simple transition. Other designers are creating gowns with removable overskirts. These styles have traditionally allowed a dress to transform into a new look for the reception. However, as more couples are celebrating with a micro-wedding — with plans to have a grander affair post-pandemic — they need attire that can pull double duty as well.
GOWN Jesus Peiro
Show the special men in your life you care enough to give them a bloom that won’t lose its blossom. Leather boutonnieres are a contemporary twist on the classic tradition. Pin this lovely leather beauty on the left lapel of all of the very important men in your lives to help them stand out on your big day.
Don’t give your spouse the cold shoulder. From the puffy sleeve to the poem sleeve, from satin to lace, statement arms hit the runway in a big way this year, often elaborating on, and adding charm to contemporary minimalist gowns. Pair it with a trendy one-shoulder neckline for an even more modern take.
LEFT GOWN Ines di Santo
RIGHT GOWN Caroline Castigliano
All that’s old is reimagined once again, just like the sleek sophistication of the square neckline, which was popularized during the Renaissance era. The framing of this dress style allows the neck
and clavicle to be the focal point. The square neckline is a lovely option for the minimalist bride. Try it with a heavy satin gown nipped at the waist for a traditional look, or a softer, more boho vibe, with layers of tulle and lace.
GOWN Kelly Faetanini
5100 Academy Dr., Ste. 200 | Lisle, IL 630.493.4300 | chefbyrequest.com
Chef By Request Catering is celebrating 25 years of catering amazing eats and treats all around the Chicagoland area. The CBR team takes pride in delivering a full-service hospitality experience, including an on-site catering coordinator, full-service bar and culinary team, as well as a professional wait staff. For the last 25 years, CBR has been an industry leader in both classic and trendy catering. So, whether your wedding calls for rounds of tasty hors d’oeuvres, an organic buffet, a BBQ picnic or a plated, formal dinner, CBR has you covered.
875 N. Rush St., 2nd Fl. | Chicago, IL 312.787.2388 | bellabianca.com
Bella Bianca Bridal Couture’s new location in the Gold Coast is more beautiful than ever with floor-to- ceiling windows spilling in natural light as well as plush, private viewing spaces for brides to gather with their entourage. The new storefront is bigger than their previous Chicago location and offers an expansive showroom with over 400 dress options. Specialized customer service is essential with a stylist helping each bride find the perfect gown. From a family of small business owners, co-owners and sisters Melissa Russell and Natalie Bauer work hard to ensure that the bride feels like a VIP the moment she walks through the door.
Phillip Christopher Filmmaker & Photographer
53 S. Old Rand Rd. | Lake Zurich, IL 847.438.7603 | vollesbridal.com
Volle’s Bridal and Boutique is thrilled to announce an exclusive partnership with designer Victoria Sdoukos to offer brides the Atelier Experience that Volle’s started over 50 years ago. Sdoukos’s sophisticated and glamorous designs are paired with the finest fabrics, embellishments and construction. The new partnership offers brides a truly unique opportunity to have their dream dress crafted right here in Chicago. Volle’s is a full-service bridal salon also offering mother of the bride, bridesmaids and flower girl dresses, along with men’s formalwear. Make your appointment at Volle’s to meet the designer as well as see her dresses and customized accessory line.
Lori Sapio Photography
100 S. Barnes Rd. | Aurora, IL 630.892.1550 | blackberryfarm.info/weddings-at-the-farm
While Blackberry Farm might be half a century old, the barn has recently opened to host weddings. It offers all the rustic charm and modern appeal you could possibly ask for. The expansive barn seats 220 people comfortably with plenty of room for guests to roam around the outdoor patio and lawn. Hosting your wedding at The Barn at Blackberry Farm gives you full access to the park, a beautiful carousel and paddle boats — all of which make for great photo opportunities. With individualized service and careful customization, your dreams easily become a reality.
Written by E. Ce Miller | Photography by Emma Belen Photography
Setting up the wedding gift registry might be every engaged couple’s favorite part of wedding planning. Except, maybe, for cake tasting! And honestly, who can blame you? You’re basically shopping for all those splurge- worthy items you have always wanted but never really needed, without actually spending any money yourself.
Plus, if you rock it old school (aka: actually register for gifts in a store, in person) you get to use one of those super- fun barcode scanners on your phone. If you’ve never done this before, wielding a barcode scanner in this capacity comes with a surprisingly exhilarating sense of power — use it wisely.
But like every other element of wedding planning and prep, setting up your wedding registry comes with its fair share of etiquette, and some helpful guidance to go with it. Here are some things to keep in mind while setting up your registry — guaranteed to keep you and your gift-giving guests happy.
Before you even start to put together that gift registry, really think about who you’re inviting to your wedding, and plan your wish list accordingly. Be sure to have a few big-ticket items for those folks who you know are going to want to splurge on you. But also be mindful of anyone — like your old college roommate and those co-workers still paying off student loans — who might be operating with a more modest budget. The bulk of your registry items should fall somewhere in the middle of your highest price point and your lowest. A good rule of thumb is to expect guests to spend around the same amount of dough as you are budgeting per person for your big day, give or take.
Naturally, if most of your guests live locally and will have minimal travel expenses, they’re going to have more to offer in the gift-giving department. If you are asking your guests to venture across the country — or even around the world — to attend your (undoubtedly, fabulous) destination wedding, keep that in mind when you’re registering for gifts.
Make sure your expectations take into account what your gracious guests will already be spending just to attend your wedding, both in travel costs and in any time they might need to take away from work. Also make sure you set up your registry so that everything is delivered directly to your home address (or wherever you want all your gifts to go). No one wants to transport a Crock-Pot across 3,000 miles, only to have you transport it right back.
We once gifted a soon-to-be-wedded friend a dozen napkin rings, 18 napkins, nine place settings, a soup ladle, and the lid to a butter dish. This was not by design. The folks who had gotten to her registry before us had completely ransacked it — buying a couple plates here, a few table linens there, a butter dish (sans lid), without any rhyme or reason that we could discern. It’s funny in hindsight, but a good reminder that if you’re registering at one of those housewares stores where everything comes with its own barcode, it can be hard to keep your registry orderly. If possible, try to register for things in sets, and try to refrain from constantly editing the items on your registry throughout your engagement.
It makes things very confusing (and unnecessarily embarrassing) for your guests. Particularly those of us who are not especially adept at wrapping one half of a butter dish.
Don’t feel like you have to register for items you will never use, even if it’s a classic registry gift. Should you register for a bread maker and then actually receive one, you will most likely attempt to make said bread exactly one time, before you realize two things: 1.) You are not all that interested in baking homemade bread and 2.) You have now made it entirely impossible to return your shiny, brand new bread maker for something you will actually use and love.
If the person who gifted you the bread maker is someone who regularly spends time at your house, you will be obligated to pull the bread maker out of the back of your pantry and place it on your kitchen counter every single time they come over. And bread makers, for anyone who hasn’t spent a lot of time moving them to and fro, are notoriously heavy. Know yourself, register for things you will actually use.
If you’ve always been interested in, say, brewing your own beer (or, you know, actually baking your own bread) then, by all means, your wedding registry is the opportunity to treat yourself to the pricier items you have had your eye on — with the added benefit of someone else’s budget.
…The gift box, that is. Although receiving eight blenders and a stash of sterling silver candlesticks you will (probably) never use has practically become the stuff of wedding clichés, that doesn’t mean you’re limited to filling your registry with items that can fit inside a standard gift box.
Consider registering for experiences instead of, or in addition to, items to stock your home. Take some of the financial stress out of your honeymoon by setting up an account where guests can contribute to your travel budget. You can make “experiential gifting” feel a little more personal than just writing a check by inviting your guests to put together a few fun date night goodie bags for you and your new spouse. Instead of adding everything and the kitchen sink to your registry, you can also put together a shorter list of bigger ticket items (think camping gear, a wine tasting class, his-and-hers kayaks, etc.), and make sure your guests know they can pool their giving toward one larger item or experience for the two of you. At the end of the day, your guests just want to give you something you’ll both love.
Have everything you could ever need and want, and a comfortable travel budget to boot? Consider using your wedding registry to pay your own hard work and good fortune forward. If there’s a charity you and your soon- to-be-wedded love, or a nonprofit near and dear to your hearts, invite your guests to make a donation in your names, in lieu of gifts. Giving back is definitely a great way to celebrate your new life together.
Check out these vendors for help with your registry, favors, gifts and more.