Sharon + Carlos

Sharon and Carlos were planning an elegant and sophisticated wedding, but they definitely wanted to have fun, too! Their wedding was a perfect blend of both – the dance floor was packed all night.

Band Latin Street Dancing

Cake Rolf’s Patisserie

Ceremony St. Ita’s

DJ ETV Productions

Florist Vale of Enna

Hair Alice Salazar

Makeup Nika Vaughan

Photo Booth The Traveling Photo Booth

Photographer Jeremy Lawson Photography

Reception Chicago Marriott O’Hare

Transportation The Trolley Car & Bus Company

Videographer Ben Mahoney Productions

All photographs by Jeremy Lawson.

All the girls got ready at the couple’s home. The lighting was perfect – a sunny day always helps get everyone excited!

The beautiful church where the ceremony was held.

Sharon and Carlos incorporated their Filipino and Cuban traditions into the ceremony.

After, they stopped at one of their favorite restaurants, 90 Miles, for a quick spin.

Jeremy always captures unusual and fun photos!

The Best Man signs the photo mat during cocktail hour. This is always a great keepsake for the bride and groom.

Sharing a slice of yummy cake.

Carlos and Sharon thanked all of their guests who traveled from all over the country, and kicked off the party.

Though many of my brides no longer toss the bouquet, I think it can be a lot of fun with the right crowd. Sharon seems to agree!

Leading the way onto the dance floor!

Tomorrow, I’ll feature some of the details from their wedding.

Susan + Conrad: Part One

I was so excited to work with Susan and Conrad for their October wedding! Susan was so cool, calm and collected throughout the wedding planning process, she was a dream to work with as we ironed out all of the details of the big day. I didn’t meet Conrad until the wedding rehearsal, but I was excited to find that he was just as relaxed and easy going as Susan!

Cake: Tipsy Cake
Reception: Zed 451
Ceremony: First United Methodist Church Chicago Temple
Florist: Roscoe Blooms
Hair: Marianne Strokirk Salon
Makeup: Rachel Perrin, Beauty on Call
Photographer: Maggie Rife Photography
Transportation: Accent on Excellence
All photos by Maggie Rife Photography.

I loved Susan’s bright blue shoes! They were a great pop of color.

The wedding flowers featured sunflowers and were so fun and bright, especially on a day that started rainy and cold.

The bridesmaids showed off these great peacock feathers in their hair.

Susan was in great hands with Rachel from Beauty on Call.

Rachel even pulled double duty and fixed Susan’s hair that had been blown about after leaving the salon!

Susan is from Tennessee, and there was no shortage of football in the suite as everyone got ready!

Susan’s bridesmaids helped her get into her dress…

…and the finishing touches before it was time to go.

Before we could leave, though, Susan packed her overnight bag. She and Conrad were staying at the Conrad Hotel on their wedding night!

The sky decided to open up and downpour just as we left for the ceremony, but Susan was completely calm in the limo.

I normally don’t make it into pictures, but Maggie caught this great shot of me help Susan out of the limo – I did my very best to keep Susan from getting a drop of rain on her!

The Chicago Temple was so beautiful, Susan and Conrad didn’t need to add a thing for their ceremony – the sanctuary was perfect.

Finally, it was time to get Conrad and start the ceremony!

I love seeing all of the sunflowers in this shot!

Time to exchange rings…

…have their first kiss…

…and officially be husband and wife!

Up next I’ll share Susan and Conrad’s pictures around the city and their reception at Zed 451.

Real Wedding: Noelle + Joey

I adored working with Noelle and Joey!
Noelle is a nurse so we met on a Sunday at a Starbucks in the surburbs. Although I hadn’t had any experience with filipino weddings, I talked about my interest in incorporating one’s culture into a wedding. Luckily, Noelle and Joey felt comfortable enough to book me without the experience. This can be difficult for some couple’s. One of the first questions that I often get is, “Have you ever done a X type wedding?”
I loved working with Noelle. Even with 350 guests attending her wedding, she didn’t forget the details. Instead, she focused on a contemporary design that highlighted her modern taste with many DIY projects. Her talent is amazing! I rarely see DIY projects look so professional. So let’s take a peak, shall we? All photos are by Michele Rivera from Mischa Media.

Cake: Allegretti’s Bakery
Ceremony: St. Isidore Ceremony
Musicians: Brass String Chamber Ensemble
Decor: Dayle D’Ann Edgeworth and The Chair Couture
DJ: Mark Del Rosario
Hair: Ann Bautista
Limo: American Coach Limo
Make-up: Tina Salazar for MAC
Photographer: Mischa Media
Reception: Marriott Schaumburg
Videographer: Carbon 14 Films

Noelle in her fabulous Bride silk robe getting the final touches on her hair.
This is the first of many detail: the bride and groom’s initials with their wedding date.
One of the lovely bridesmaids!
The Bride’s DIY invitations with her white bouquet — don’t you love the texture?

This was Shelly’s first wedding. She’s using her floral background to help pin bouts.
The programs were also DIY. Noelle has some made paper skills.
Noelle and Joey during the veil and cord ceremony.
St. Isadore is a modern Catholic Church in Bloomingdale.

Did I mention that Noelle is a DIY goddess? She even made the Unity Candle.
As the couple exited, there was a ton of bubbles! I love this photo!
After the ceremony, the bridal party headed out to take some fabulous photos in the city.
The escort “cards” were actually votive candles. It was a lovely sight when all 350 were lit!

Instead of a traditional guest book, the couple chose to make a book from their engagement photos.

Tomorrow, I will post photos of the reception.

M+D: Our Ceremony Details

Call it an occupational hazard, but details are the favorite part of wedings planning.  Here are the details from my ceremony.
The Walnut Room set up for the ceremony.

Outside of the ballroom is the Music Room.  We had In Memory Candles set on my Mother-in-law’s beautiful silver platter.  There was a candle for everyone that we have lost.  
Additionally, we had the names of those that had passed listed in our program.

Our gorgeous thermography programs designed by Le Le Designs, inside my damask box.

Our guestbook on of the marble tables outside the Ballroom.  It was included in our engagement photo package from Kevin Weinstein.

We kept our bouquets in water before the ceremony.  
My bouquet included my “something old”, “something borrowed”, and “something blue”!

M+D: Our Ceremony

For couples that are designing their ceremony, it can be really overwhelming as well as challenging. We spent a lot of time planning our ceremony. We opted to customize the entire ceremony to reflect us as a couple. Nothing reflected our personalities more than our ceremony. One of the ways we did that was through music.


Since we are both big fans of street musicians, we had a saxophone player greet the guests as they arrived at the hotel. I found the musician, Mike, while I was picking up jewelry from Tiffany’s on Michigan Avenue. He was excellent!


Since I love String Quartets, we splurged to have them play for a full half hour before the ceremony so that the guests could enjoy the musicians. As a wedding coordinator, I know that there are always those few guests that arrive early.

Our fabulous string quartet, Accolade Musicians

Just as I had anticipated, there were some early guests.

Bridal Party Processional

The first bridesmaid heads down the aisle. It was exactly as I had envisioned.

Bridal Processional

My song choice was absolutely perfect. I love this song even more when performed by a string quartet. I’m very happy with our decision to use non-traditional songs. Everytime I hear it on the radio, I think of walking down the aisle.


The guests were greeted by our Officiant. Bridget is a friend of ours that we had ordained online.

Bride’s Reading

I chose “I Carry Your Heart” by ee cummings. It was read by my oldest neice, Ashlynn. When I was in the early stages of wedding planning, we sat in Border’s reading wedding magazines. I mentioned that it was my favorite poem, and she told me that it was hers too. I couldn’t have been more pleased that my once shy neice read our favorite poem.

Scottish Handfasting

As I have mentioned in a previous post, we opted to have a Scottish Handfasting during our ceremony. We included a detailed explanation in our programs.

Groom’s Reading

Love sonnet xvii by Pablo Neruda was chosen by Denton. Part of the reason that he chose the poem, other than enjoying it very much, was that we visit Pablo Neruda’s home in Santiago, Chile. It seemed fitting for the occasion. Denton chose his former roommate and fraternity brother as his reader.

Exchange of Wedding Vows

As I had mentioned in a previous post, we wrote our own vows. It was important for us to express how we really felt. My husband’s vows were so much better than mine!

Exchange of the Rings

Pronouncement of the Couple

It was the most romantic kiss.


I will follow up with the details tomorrow.

Tying the Knot – Scottish Handfasting

My FI and I wanted to incorporate traditions into our ceremony. Since he is Scottish, we have decided to do a handfasting during the ceremony.

Ever wondered where the term “Tie the Knot” came from? Handfasting!

History of Handfasting:

The very word Handfasting derived its origin from the wedding custom of tying or hitching the bride and groom’s hands or actually their wrists together, as a symbol to their clan, tribe or village of their decision to be bound together in family living. The traditional length of time was a year and a day, or 13 moon cycles. If the marriage proved to last over this period of time, then the vows would be renewed for a life time or they renewed them for “as long as love shall last”.

My fiance and I will agree to a set of commitments and then our hands will be fasted with the Cunningham tartan.

We considered the idea of having him wear a kilt. Instead, he is going to buy a tux. It seems much more practical to buy a piece of formal wear that he can rewear.

Has anyone ever seen a Scottish handfasting ceremony? I have not but am excited to participate in the tradition.