Real Wedding: Liz + Calvin, The Evening

Yesterday, I posted about Liz and Calvin’s wedding day. Today, I am going to post about the rest of the evening.

After a few hours on the town, the couple came back to the Stardust Suite to rest up and have a few drinks before the ceremony.

The room was dimly lit for a romantic feel. The decor was done by A Perfect Event.

The groom, Calvin, is Hawaiian. To celebrate his culture, the couple wore leis. After being pronounced husband and wife, Calvin moved the flower behind Liz’s right ear to her left ear, signaling that she is married woman.

In lieu of a traditional guest book, the couple had a framed Cubs jersey for everyone to sign. It was quite the hit!

The couple opted to have a Suite Table.

The gorgeous centerpieces. I love that the candles were up high so that they did not interfere with the guests from talking across the table.

Below is a close-up of the centerpiece. It’s modern yet romantic with all of that warm lighting from the pillars.

Liz’s Dad, Ira, cut the Challah and said a prayer.

The couple had a delicious Candy Buffet with bags for guests to take some home as a favor.

The couple cut their cake after the salad course. The cake table was decorated with the bridesmaids bouquets.

After dinner, the couple had their first dance to “Better When We’re Together” by Jack Johnson.

At around 11PM, the Allegro brought out some late night snacks to feed the hungry crowd.

A really cute ring shot!
Thank you so much for letting me be apart of your wedding day!

Real Wedding: Liz + Calvin

Would it be cheeky of me to say that Liz has great taste? Probably so, but that is only because we had so many of the same vendors! Liz and Calvin were married at the Hotel Allegro, used the same fantastic band, linen company, as well as had their rehearsal dinner at the same place. We even wore the same color nail polish (Mimosas for Mr. & Mrs. by OPI). And, we opted to incorporate our husband’s culture into the ceremony. But you know what? Their wedding was completely different and I loved theirs just as much as mine.

Liz’s wedding day, unfortunately, started off on the wrong foot. Liz had hung her dress on a billiard cue rack. While it probably would have made for an amazing gown shot, the dress ended up with blue chalk all over the back. A quick call to the gown experts, The Dress Doctor, and the stains were gone. If that wasn’t enough, Liz had purchased an antique brooch to pin to her bow. As soon as we went to pin it on, the brooch broke in half. When her bridesmaid tried to sow it together, the brooch crumbled. Luckily, we have the same (great) taste and I had a brooch very similar at home. My husband came with the brooch and some much needed Starbucks. Like me, Liz never broke a sweat. She stayed totally calm after two minor freak accidents. And after that, it was smooth sailing.

Band – High Society Orchestra

Cake – Rolf’s

Florist – A Perfect Event

Linens – Covered Affairs

Photographer – Jeff Owen at Modern Images

Reception – Hotel Allegro

Rehearsal Dinner – Giordano’s

Transportation – Windy City Limo

Videographer – Modern Images

I have to include a few posts of Liz & Calvin’s paper suite. It is gorgeous! I really do believe that invitations set the tone for a wedding. That said, how do you not love these invitations? They’re a classic ecru with a modern bronze colored print and bow to seal it all up. I loved them.

Liz used Marilyn, one of the other Honey Bee Weddings coordinators, as her calligrapher.
Photo Stamps add a fun personal touch. Liz & Calvin used one of their engagement photos.
Their menu was printed on paper with a heat embossed stamp and then matted on bronze paper.

The dress with the borrowed brooch.
Inside of the dress was a patch with the couple’s name and wedding date.
Liz’s dress had pockets. I LOVE POCKETS.
The bride wore the cutest Kate Spade sequined ballet flats.

Liz also carried a hankerchief as her something blue as well as a family ring.
Liz was the perfect balance between a Modern yet Classic Bride.
For some bling, Liz wore the most gorgeous hair accessory.
Liz’s Mom, who may be the nicest Mother of the Bride ever, with some of Liz’s bridesmaids. Pashimas will always be in style for winter bridal parties!
The couple decided to have their first meeting on the grand staircase.
The Bridal Party took some great photos around the city, including the classic Chicago skyline shot.
Calvin and Liz on Michigan Ave.
The bride twirls away on the el.

The rest of the couple’s day is coming tomorrow!

Vendors Reviews Part II

Here are more vendor reviews. I will post the rest tomorrow.

Bridesmaid Attire
Ann Taylor

Ann Taylor made bridesmaid dress shopping completely effortless. I bought the dresses when they were having a sale. By opening a credit card, I was able to get 25% off the dresses. Sandra on Michigan Ave. offered to press the dresses for us. Additionally, the girls were offered the ability to come back to the store to learn the 5 different ways to tie their bow. Oh, and the week before the wedding when one of my maids admitted that her dress didn’t fit– they were able to get a replacement gown within a day. I would highly recommend.

I saw these shoes in In Style Weddings magazine. We ordered them before we picked a dress. They were comfortable but after 7 hours, my Maids were dying! Luckily, I had super cute flip flops for them to wear for dancing. I would recommend.

Marilyn did a wonderful job on the calligrapher on my outer envelopes. She gets the + for putting up with our multiple trips to her home (last minute addition, change of last name, change of address, can you add my nephew’s name to this inner envelope, etc.) I would higly recommend.

Ceremony & Reception Venue – Hotel Allegro

Since none of my guests saw the problems, I am inclined to give them a higher grade.

Wedding– The night of the wedding, everything was perfect. More than that, the week of the wedding, we had absolutely no problems. Let’s start with the good. The hotel was amazing when it came to food. For the entrée duet, we changed the salmon to a crab cake. We also added a pasta course and supplied our own recipes. We also came up with some more unique hors d’oeuvres and they were totally willing to do it. I really appreciated it. The service was outstanding.

Things that I didn’t like– I wish that Kerry could have gotten back to us more quickly during the planning process. I don’t know if she is under-staffed/over-worked but 10 days for a reply is far too long. I loathe the draping in the Music Room and the Walnut Room. If I had the money, I would have brought new drapes in for my event. They are absolutely hideous. I would recommend the venue. Overall, we really enjoyed the Allegro.

Dance Lessons – Monica

Monica met us several times over the past three months to give us dance lessons. She was extremely profesional. I would highly recommend. For more information, read my blog entry.

Dress – Lazaro
After trying on close to 200 dresses, I can safely say that I absolutely love my dress. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Dress #2 – Dame Couture
After months of looking for the perfect dress, I came to Dame Couture. While I didn’t find a wedding gown, I found the perfect dress for the after party. The dress was designed for a runway show and was one of a kind. I purchased it without a problem. I did post a review on Yelp! about their dressing rooms needing to be freshened up. Apparently, the owner wasn’t too pleased and asked me to remove my review. Since Yelp! let’s you post your uncensored opinion, I left the review as is.
My favors are the perfect compromise. My Mother in law really wanted to have us make a donation to a charity. I wanted to give our guests something. We are doing both with Girl Scout cookies. I was a Girl Scout as well as a leader for my niece, Sarah. To save a little dough, we bought them in Indy where they are $3.50/ box VS $4 in Chicago. We will be wrapping them in different color wrapping paper to designate the types of boxes that we have. As far as the Knot Rule that guests don’t really care for favors, well then, you should hand out girl scout cookies. We had 5 boxes left over. Yup, 5 boxes. I’m actually a little bummed out about that.
Hotel Block – Hotel Allegro
Through out the entire block process, Sarah was quick to respond and wonderful. I was very happy with the entire process. Then, there was the day before the wedding.

My in-law’s were the first to check in on Thursday night. When I went to visit them on Friday, I realized that their room was on a floor with construction. I was livid. I specifically had a line added to my contract stating that I did not want any rooms to be booked on floors with construction. To top it off, my mother-in-law said that it was loud. Sarah was on vacation. Kerry was away that day in training. After speaking with the front desk, my in-laws were finally moved.

When my Maid of Honor and I went to check into our room at noon, I was unable even though Sarah had assured me that I would be able to check in early. We tried to check in again around 5PM. The room was still not ready. Luckily, I had rented out the Stardust Suite so we were able to get ready in that room while guests were drinking and socializing. Not ideal, but it worked. When we did go to check into the room at 10:30PM, the front desk associate told us that he had bad news for us. The only room that was available was the room that my in-laws had vacated. Great. I am having my wedding at the hotel and I get the crappy suite. I even asked if we could get a regular room but there was none available.

I was even unhappier when I found that there was a second hotel block under the name of Jacobs that had received our suites. While the chances of two hotel blocks with the same name are slim, I was still very frustrated with the entire situation. We were having our wedding there. Therefore, we deserved first priority.

Additionally, I was frustrated that my husband and I were unable to check into our bridal suite until 5PM because the room was not ready. Surely, one would assume that the bride and groom would prefer to check in to the bridal suite long before the reception commences. It is extremely disappointing customer service. The silver lining of the situation is that my guests did not have to experience any of these problems.

Invitations – White Aisle
Our invitations arrived about 5.5 weeks after ordering. A few days later– as I was assembling them to mail out– I noticed that some of the response cards had a printing flaw. It wasn’t very noticeable but it was nonetheless a flaw. After emailing Rebecca, she responded within minutes. She asked that we send her some pictures of the problem. My camera is crap so the flaw wasn’t clear. Since she was using mine invitations as samples, she already had plenty of extra to mail to me. The next day I sent her my flawed response cards and she mailed me the new ones. I received mine in the mail.

A few days later, I emailed her to see if she saw the problem. Apparently, the cards were destroyed in the mail. Maybe I am overly sensitive, but she never accepted the blame or apologized. While I see her point of view (she didn’t get proof of the mistake), I wish that she would have been a little more regretful about the entire situation.

Late Night Snacks – Minnie’s
We had a late night snack of Minnie’s for our after party. It was a huge hit! The food was delicious. I ate three mini-burgers at the after party. I loved everything. My only suggestion was that I wish that they would have packed up little mini containers for the french fries. To keep the frittes crisp and hot, they came in a huge tin serving container. We had little plates to put them on but I wish that we could have had the little french fry containers. I would highly recommend. EVERYONE raved about these suckers at midnight.

Venue Remodel

My wedding venue, Hotel Allegro, has reopened their doors! Half of te rooms are still being finished but they have already held two weddings. Here are the pictures from a recent visit. Ironically, we knew the couple, A+K that was getting married there! A used to work with both my fiance and I at a consulting firm.
It was very fun to run into her and K between their ceremony and reception. A was very unhappy with the drapes. Unfortunately, I have to concur.

Music Room
It’s the foyer immediately outside of the Walnut Ballroom. They’ve added a lot of really modern black and white touches. We’ll be holding our cocktail hour there.

I love the paintings that flank the doors to the Ballroom.

The furniture will be removed for the cocktail hour.

Very cool black and white credenza.

We’ll be using this for the guest book and the In Memory candles.

The other black and white credenza on the other side of the bar.

The Music Room has two grand staircases that lead to the cocktail hour.

Back Lobby

This is my favorite part of the remodel. We decided to take pictures over here with the bridal party.

We’re taking pictures before the ceremony. Since we both want to have our first meeting together special, this is where we decided to meet!

Walnut Room
This is the ballroom!

Room view in the process of being set up for a reception

We will be getting married facing the mirror.

Does anyone find anything redeeming about these drapes?

Overall, I am happy with the remodeling of the ballroom. It’s a risky decision to pick a venue that is going over a remodel. In our case, the remodeling to the reception space was minimal: new drapes, new carpet, and a fresh coat on the wood walls.

If you find a venue that you love, I’d say go for it! Just be prepared to not like some of the changes. In our case, it is the hideous drapes.