My wedding planner was Emilee Lales, and before I offer my "words of wisdom," I have to disclose an important fact--Emilee is one of my best friends also; I have known her for 9 years. But don't let that color your thoughts when you read this review because our friendship probably made it harder for Emilee to do her job. In our first meeting, we sat and figured out "big picture" things; she listened to my ideas and helped me to focus my thoughts into something more concrete. We decided on our roles and what each of us expected from the other.
It is truly overwhelming to find a wedding vendor--there are SO many in Chicago! I didn't want to go with a one-stop-shop wedding center, so I knew I had already made the planning more difficult. Emilee was extremely resourceful; she helped me narrow down some choices and recommended wonderful companies. She arranged all of the meeting times to see the venues, meet the vendors, etc. If there was something I didn't want to deal with, such as telling a caterer we didn't want to go with them, Emilee took care of that. I also particularly loved (loved loved!) that she made spreadsheets, timelines, and checklists for me; she made sure that we were on the same page and that we were on track.
I was in my last year of medical school during the wedding planning time and for over a month, I wasn't in Chicago; Emilee made sure that everything was still running smoothly on track while I was gone. She made sure that we kept in touch when it was important and left me alone for the little details that I didn't care for.
I worried at first that because of our personal friendship, she would not treat me like a client. Emilee knew how to navigate between the friendship and wedding planning and was honest with me whenever I suggested something. She knew how to tactfully inform me if something would be out of our price range or would be honest when explaining why something would not work, and then would show me alternative ideas.
Emilee scores an 11 out of 10 for professionalism. I have seen her in many different social situations, and her professionalism always shines through--she is courteous, gracious, and witty. Most importantly, she is smart! She is extremely good at problem-solving. She knows how to deal with difficult people, and how to make wrong things right. Despite the fact that Emilee was also one of my bridesmaids, she handled all of the mini disasters and made sure to keep me out of the loop unless I specifically wanted to know. She also had two Blush and Bashful interns come in and help. They did a fantastic job at taking care of the busy jobs, such as moving the flowers from ceremony to the reception. My wedding day was actually quite stress-free because between Emilee and the interns, they handled all of the problems!
My husband and I hired Rich because of a recommendation from our wedding planner, Emilee Lales (Blush and Bashful). I couldn't have picked anyone better for the job--I didn't even interview other photographers. We met before the wedding to hash out important details, such as our expectations, what our album would look like, places we wanted our pictures taken, pricing, etc. We kept in touch periodically after that via email and phone (we could have met in person again, actually, but my schedule was not conducive to it). It was important that we both had a clear understanding of the types of pictures I wanted and his style, and I never felt like we were on a different page. When we first met, I felt an immediate warmth from Rich, and I knew that he would not only make me, but the rest of my family and wedding attendants feel at ease. I also liked that he works with his family because it immediately let me know that ours would be a personal interaction, which is what I wanted. The wedding day came, and he and his family were on time (very important), and I met his wife, Penny, who was just as open and warm as Rich! Aside from the fact that they are married, they work very well together professionally, and if Penny saw something Rich didn't, she would point it out, and "fix" it. I left most of the artistic views to Rich and Penny, but Rich always listened to us when we wanted to try something different.
Most importantly, the pictures are gorgeous. The resolution, the colors, the poses, the candid shots--they all tell this incredible story that makes me want to get married again and again, just so I can have Rich document more pictures!