Happy Wedding Wednesday! A long overdue post but I wanted to share a list of the wonderful wedding vendors that we used for our Chicago wedding. I have a little story for most of them that made them even more special to work with.
As a young girl I knew that I wanted to get married in a Greek Orthodox church. I imagined it would be the church I grew up going to. Since Rhys and I live in the city, it didn’t logistically make sense for us to get married at my church. We started reaching out to churches in the city of Chicago. There was one that always stuck out to me, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral.
My Great Grandparents got married in this church over 92 years ago. With my Papou (my grandfather) still being alive at the age of 91 (at the time). I thought it would be so special to get married in the same church that his parents got married in. I remember Stacy asking him at our rehearsal dinner “Do you remember your parents getting married here?” and he replied ” I don’t know I wasn’t alive yet.” haha. Still makes me giggle to this day. It’s funny the little moments you remember.
Galleria Marchetti is where we had our reception. Prior to getting engaged I saw this venue on the knot and knew I wanted to get married there. The tented feeling was what I was looking for and with the location in the city it had an outdoor garden. I loved the chandeliers and knew that it was going to be big enough for our guest list. Since we were inviting 356 people, it was also hard to find a place in the city that was able to hold that many guests.
Galleria Marchetti years ago was previously called the Como Inn. Which was a family-owned Italian restaurant. Oddly enough my family used to go there often, even my Aunt and Uncle got engaged there!
The venue was wonderful to work with. I think my favorite part leading up to the wedding was the menu tasting. Based on the package we picked, we then got to choose from a huge list of appetizers, entrees, and wine. They served us full entrees and hefty pours of wine. I remember leaving the tasting feeling extremely full and a little tipsy. We had great feedback from our guests after the wedding on the food and venue!
Neither Rhys or I wanted a wedding cake. We did a dessert table through our venue and we also worked with Firecakes Donuts! There was a small cake at the top we used to get the cake cutting picture. Donuts went like hot cakes and our guests said they were delicious. Our cake topper was from my parents wedding!
Stacy and I have been working with the Swissotel for a couple of years. When thinking of where I wanted to get ready, as well as a place for my guests to stay I knew the Swissotel was the perfect place for us. It was our home away from home. I have loved the relationship we have built with their team over the years. You can check out my post here that is all about getting ready at the Swissotel Chicago!
Brides by Becky was on my list before even being engaged. I met Becky almost 14 years ago through Stacy and my other college roommate/Bridesmaid Jodi. They all grew up together. Becky did my hair when I was a bridesmaid in Jodi and Stacy’s weddings. I needed someone I felt comfortable around since I was super indecisive.
We had a trial at my apartment a couple of months before the wedding. I was set on wearing my hair down with my extensions in for the ceremony and then wearing it up at the reception. After the trial, I loved what she did but I wasn’t sold. I must have sent Becky 1,000 texts (okay exaggerating there) of inspiration and completely changed my mind. I ended up wearing my hair up all day, with no extensions and I was so happy with the end result. She did such a beautiful job!
Tip: Make sure to ask for a hair trial.Having the trial helps you to better visualize for your big day! Make sure to bring with any hair accessories you want to wear for your wedding day.
I cannot even tell you how much anxiety I had when it came down to finding the right makeup artist. Historically getting my makeup done has been a nightmare. I have a birthmark called Cafe Au Lait. My birthmark is slightly darker than the rest of my face. Any time I talk about it I cry and anytime I get my makeup done it’s a big deal. Ask my family and friends they will tell you.
Many makeup artists think that they need to completely wash out my skin to cover up my birthmark. They tend to use a foundation that is three times lighter than my skin tone. 85% of the time I end up taking my makeup off. I’ll redo it wasting X amount of dollars and end up crying in the bathroom before whatever event or wedding I am in or going to.
I inquired about makeup artists on Instagram to see if anyone who follows us had any good recommendations. Mina who is a blogger in Chicago and a friend we have met through the years at events recommended I work with Marie. Marie was everything I had ever hoped and dreamed for in a makeup artist. My mom and I had a trial with her. It was long but worth it. She really studied my face, she asked lots of questions, she listened and took her time. I was pretty emotional during my trial, she made me feel so relaxed and so beautiful.
Tip: Make sure to get your makeup trial. Be vocal about what you want and how you want to look. Bring inspiration if you have to. It’s your day!
We attended a Victoria Secret event at London House Chicago and I couldn’t get over the florals at the event. After some instagram stalking I found out that Revel Decor was the team who produced such incredible floral arrangements.
Once I was engaged Brittany and I exchanged some messages back and forth through Instagram. We met for coffee at Princi to walk through some of my inspiration. Revel does some really incredible work that was out of my budget. Brittany and her team were so wonderful to work with.
I wanted something that was minimal but romantic. I also wanted to make sure that my bouquet and my bridesmaid’s bouquets were not flimsy. That was also a must for my mother!
One of my favorite things about wedding planning was when my mom and I went to Revel Decor. They had a preview of our tables. I am really glad my mom was there. She saw a lot of things and had opinions that I necessarily wouldn’t have thought of. She even made her way into the back room
Samantha James is such an angel and she also was the photographer at Stacy’s wedding. After a long search for photographers the ones I did like in my budget weren’t available on our wedding day. Stacy suggested I reach out to Sam to see if she would come to Chicago. She is actually based in Michigan. She is warm, inviting and her positive energy radiates through her work. I was so pleased with our engagement photos and knew I would be just as happy with our wedding pictures.
Tip: Make sure to do your engagement photos with your same photographer. This was great especially for Rhys in our case. He isn’t used to being in front of the camera. This helps both of you to feel comfortable with the photographer and each other! You may have taken hundreds of pictures together leading up to your wedding but a photo on your iPhone is very different than hours of pictures in a row.
Gina Tyler Creations
There is definitely a theme to some of the vendors I worked with. Gina and Stacy met at design school. I wanted to support a small independent designer for our invitations so I immediately thought of Gina. Just through conversations I had with Stacy, meeting Gina and following her on social media it felt more personal than working with someone i’ve never met. I loved working through the process and sending my inspiration to Gina. I also wanted to keep our paper (invitations, menus, programs etc) very simple just like our decor. She did a wonderful job!
Day of Wedding Coordinators
Kim and Kristie of K & K Celebrates are twins! I actually met Kim and Kristie in Design school. We lost touch after we graduated, but that is the amazing thing about social media. It keeps you connected with people even if you don’t see or talk to them all of the time. We knew that a full on wedding planner was not in our budget. I was pretty on top of things when it came to wedding planning. I was very organized and knew what I wanted. Day of wedding coordinators were the perfect solution for us.
Kim and Kristie communicated with our vendors about the day of and helped coordinate the schedule. While one sister was with the ladies getting ready, the other could check on the men. Which we all know they need a little more direction. I felt so relaxed not having to worry about all of the logistics on that day. They were such a positive and calming influence for me that day!
Originally we would have loved to have a band. When it came to budget and after some inquires we knew that wasn’t going to be in the cards for us. Which was okay! Again I tapped into our network and asked for our followers to share any local DJ’s that they would recommend. My friend Alyssa told me about Toast and Jam who were the DJ’s at her wedding. Since we were guests at her wedding and had a ton of fun we thought it was a great suggestion!
Tip: Carve out some time between you and your groom to be. Listen to music you want to be played at the wedding. Talk about songs for your first dance, connect with your parents that you will be sharing a dance with. This takes time, don’t wait until the last minute.
When we went shopping for engagement rings we walked up and down Jewelers row. My diamond is a family heirloom from Rhys’ mom’s side. I wanted a jeweler that was not pushy and made us feel comfortable. We immediately felt that when we walked into Diamonds on Wabash. Some of the other stores we walked into were very pushy. After we were engaged I went back to Diamonds on Wabash to get my ring tightened and cleaned. Since I didn’t purchase the ring the jeweler didn’t know my last name. When I gave her my information to pick up my ring, she just kind of stared at me with a look in her eyes. She said did your family grow up on XYZ street? to which I replied “Yes” and now I was staring at her.
She grew up behind my grandparents, she knew my dad and his siblings. My Papa had passed four years prior to our wedding. I was having a really hard time when we got engaged coming to terms with the fact that he wouldn’t be there. This was the first sign I got that really truly made me feel like he was a part of our next chapter. It made my heart really happy.
If you are a bride to be in the Chicagoland area I hope this post was helpful for you! Please comment or send me an email at Hashtagsandhandbags@gmail.com if you have any other questions! I am always happy to share based on my experience. For my next post i’ll share where I got my dress, the bridesmaid dresses, mother of the bride dress, flower girl dress and groomsmen tuxedos!
Happy Wedding Planning!
All my love,