Chicago, IL 60611
Yes, they are on the expensive side for alterations…but they are also fabulous. Mary and her girls just know what they’re doing. I could pull my dress off without unzipping it when I went in, so the alterations were fairly extensive. Their work was impeccable and I really enjoyed my time with their friendly staff.
I heart Livia. She’s fun and awesome at what she does. I have a ton of long hair that I wanted her to somehow transform into a wavy not-too-big ‘do for the big day. I’d read wonderful things about her on theknot.com message boards, but scheduled a trial because I’ve had issues with hair styles in the past. At the trial I booked her the second I saw myself in the mirror…it was exactly what I wanted. The wedding day was no different. My hair looked just like I wanted and the waves lasted all night despite hours on the dance floor. She also did all of my bridesmaids and my little sister’s hair…they all looked beautiful, and again their styles lasted all night.
Chicago, IL 60626
Sonia is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. She also cracks me up. I fell in love with her shop during my trial. It’s one of those incredibly feminine spaces that make me wish I were girlier. I booked Sonia at the trial – it was by far the best make-up application I’d ever had (flashbacks to my horrific oompa-loompa experiences). Day-of was no different…she made me look like a better version of myself, not like someone else all together. She also did four of my bridesmaids and they all looked fabulous. Her bubbly personality was a wonderful addition to the day, so happy she was part of it!
Naomi at Tipsycake is one of my favorite people I met during wedding planning. From the second I walked in “just to get some cupcakes” she knew I was a bride scoping out the place. The moment DH and I tasted the cupcakes, we were sold. We had one of our best moments of wedding planning doing our official cupcake tasting. About 10 frostings and different flavored cakes…that’s what we call bliss. Naomi was great helping us pick out 4 unique flavors which ended up being a HUGE hit at the wedding. Mmm, think I might have to go after some red velvets this weekend.
Chicago, IL 60657
After DOCs, the next vendor we spent the most time on was the band. We met with several that were either way out of our budget or just not what we were looking for. Finally, we found David Rothstein. David is extremely personable and made us feel very confident in the band’s talent and services from the beginning. We signed a contract with them without ever hearing them live – something I never expected to do. The small bumps in the road we hit during the planning process were resolved quickly and agreeably for us.
Obviously, the biggest test of any band is how they sound. We had a 3-piece ensemble (piano, violin, cello) for the ceremony, piano during cocktail hour, and a 10-piece orchestra for dinner and the rest of the reception (we had dancing between courses). The ceremony musicians were great – even learning a song (Bless the Broken Road) so my sister-in-law could sing during the ceremony. The piano during cocktail hour provided the perfect background while not over-powering the conversation. The best moment, however, came when DH and I were introduced. We walked in to our first dance song and went straight into our first dance. The song (You Are the Best Thing by Ray LaMontange) has a horn intro…the second I heard it I knew we were in for a fabulous night. They sounded wonderful…at times I forgot I was listening to the band and not the real artists. The band was great at interacting with the audience and read the crowd perfectly. Our dance floor was packed all night, people were even dancing on the carpet. We loved Jeff, our emcee, who incidentally was also responsible for that amazing arrangement of our first dance song. We actually got thank you notes from guests after the wedding telling us how much fun they had and how much they loved the band. Can’t ask for more than that!
The minute I walked up the stairs to Preston Bradley Hall I was in love. I knew I HAD to get married there. Over 14-months out, we were put on waiting lists for a few weekends and ended up working our way to the top of Oct 3. It’s truly one of the most beautiful spaces I have ever seen. We were looking for a ‘wow’ factor because 95% of our guests were out of town. Based on the raves of our guests, we found it. We had our ceremony in the G.A.R. Hall, cocktail hour in G.A.R. Rotunda, and the reception in Preston Bradley. Each space is really unique and worked perfectly for what we used them for. My one and only complaint about the CCC is their chairs. There is no nice way of saying they’re ugly. So, on top of the already hefty rental fee you are essentially forced to pay to upgrade the chairs. For us, it was worth it. The best things about the CCC are that your décor can be really minimal, the rooms are beautiful as they are…AND you get to bring in your own alcohol. We saved so much money because of that. Every time I drive by the CCC I smile, I am so thrilled we got married there.
As I write these reviews I realize how lucky I was to have truly wonderful vendors. Berghoff and our contacts, Justin and Nicole, were no exception. Out of all of our tastings, I felt like Justin was the one who went most ‘all-out’ to impress us. You could have rolled me out of there I was so full by the end. I instantly felt comfortable with Justin and like he really understood what we were looking for. We settled on passed hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour, seated dinner with salad and choice of 3 entrees and passed late night snacks. On the day of, everything was set up perfectly and the room looked just like I’d hoped for. The service was great…they somehow managed to sort of blend in to the background while ensuring everyone was served quickly, glasses were kept full, etc. The bar lines moved quickly and drinks were nice and stiff Several people commented to us about how friendly the servers and bartenders were. But most importantly…the food was awesome. Any time food is produced in mass-quantity there’s a fear that the quality will suffer. That wasn’t the case at all and dinner actually exceeded my high expectations. Our only complaint is that they didn’t server our champagne toast. However, we didn’t even notice until we picked up the leftover alcohol, so it clearly wasn’t a huge deal to us. Thankfully we were able to return the champagne, so no harm, no foul.
Okay, so I’ll be honest a little biased here. I’ve known Paul since I was 13 years old and he’s married to one of my very best friends (who was a bridesmaid at our wedding). When we decided not to have a videographer I knew I needed fabulous photos to capture the day. I couldn’t imagine putting that responsibility in the hands of anyone else. Paul just understands what things are important to the couple…he gets all of the big moments, all of the tiny details, and everything in between. Sometimes he seems to be in two places at once. He is also just about the nicest man in the world. The Monday after our wedding…yes, TWO days after, he sent me a 160 picture sneak-peek of the wedding. I couldn’t stop looking at them…they blew me away. I can’t wait to see the rest.
I will admit I was a little obsessive about finding the right DOC. I was pretty relaxed during most vendor selections – if I liked them and they were in budget, I checked it off the list and moved on. However, with a coordinator I knew I had to get along with the person, and more importantly, I had to trust them 100% to take over all of the details the week of the wedding. During our first meeting I knew without a doubt that Misse was that person. In addition to her Day Of (which is really week of) services, we hired Misse to help us find several vendors. The vendors she chose in each category were great – she truly understood what we were looking for and always stayed within our budget. Throughout the process she was excellent about showing us our options without ever pushing us toward one or the other. She also came up with some great ideas I would have never thought of…like a gobo for the dance floor. The Friday before the week of the wedding I heard the best words ever…“are you ready for the hand-off?” Yes I was! I felt zero anxiety letting Misse take over the week of the wedding and it was fabulous being able to concentrate on all of the last minute DIY tasks I got myself into. To me, the wedding weekend truly seemed seamless. I know there were little snafus here and there (like me forgetting the cupcake stand I’d created at home and not realizing until hours before it was needed). But, Misse handled them all effortlessly and kept my DH and I in a state of blissful ignorance. I can’t imagine going through wedding planning or the wedding itself without her. This is, without a doubt, the very best money we spent for the wedding.