Unique Chicago Bachelorette & Bachelor Party Ideas

By:  Susan Cordogan

From Wrigley rooftops to flirty fitness activities and drag shows, there are so many options for the perfect Chicago Bachelorette and/or Bachelor party.  Here is one we love…

The Chicago Beer Experience is a super fun way to enjoy local brews while touring Chicago’s famous neighborhoods.  This three-hour tour can be a great to beginning OR ending to a day of bachelor or bachelorette party activities.   Grab your best gals or guys and take this tipsy tour!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

By Susan Cordogan

Once in a while we come across something that we can’t wait to share…and these rings have our hearts fluttering this Valentine’s Day.  Check out these “fingerprint rings” that are stylish and oh so romantic…

 

Brent&Jess fingerprint rings are hand crafted one of a kind, personalized works of art that feature the unique fingerprints from each couple. These are made right here in the good ole’ USA and combine old world craftsmanship and cutting edge laser technology.  Design options include imprints outside or inside the ring and countless colors, sizes and details to make these symbols of eternal love even more special!
We hope you are enjoying your Valentine’s day with your special someone!
xoxo

Serving Signature Cocktails

Signature Cocktails

 

We are always looking for ways in which couples can personalize aspects of their special day. When it comes to the beverages being served throughout the evening, we love the idea of a fun Signature Cocktail. If couples share a favorite drink to sip on, one cocktail will suffice. If their preferences differ, two Signature Cocktails can be served.

 

1) Serve Your Favorites – It’s always important to keep in mind that this is your special day. We love to see couples choose their personal favorites for Signature Cocktails. If you are known to always be sipping on a margarita while you’re out on the town, serve it up for your guests to enjoy. Using a drink that is important to a bride or groom’s family is also a wonderful way to make them feel included.

2) Make Note Of Your Picks – If you are serving a Signature Cocktail or two it is crucial to make note of your pick so guests are aware. Signs or decorated chalkboards close to the bar that outline your drinks serve as wonderful reminder for guests to try your picks.

3) Signature Cocktails Don’t Have To Be Alcoholic – Are you an iced tea fanatic? Love a good fruit infused water? Or maybe just not keen on serving alcoholic beverages on your special day? Signature drinks don’t have to contain alcohol! A fun Signature Mocktail is a great alternative! We love to see warm Apple Cider in the fall or hot cocoa make a debut at a winter wedding.

4) Accessorize – Adding a cute paper straw in your wedding colors or a stylish swizzle stick are great options to carry your theme over to the bar. We love the idea of pumping up a classic , like a glass of champagne, with a fun rock candy stirrer.  Make a statement by accompanying each drink with a personalized cocktail napkin.

 

Create Your Own Wedding Snapchat Geofilter

From the beautiful floral arrangements to late night dance moves, you can count on guests snapchatting every aspect of your special day. The newest trend popping up throughout the wedding world is the creation of wedding snapchat geofilters. Geofilters allow your guests to add a fun, personalized border to the photos and videos they snap on wedding day.

Snapchat breaks down the creation of a geofilter into three simple steps…

1) Design – Use your wedding colors, chosen florals or any symbol that is important to your special day as inspiration to create a design for your geofilter. Many couples add their names or even the date to the design. Not very artistic? Don’t stress! Snapchat has several templates you can use to get your design started!

2) Map – Select a time frame and location in which you would like guests to be able to access your snapchat geofilter. We recommend choosing the time frame and location based on your reception.

3) Buy – Submit your geofilter to those at snapchat and they will review it and get back to you within one business day! The cost of your snapchat geofilter will depend on the area and time frame in which you would like the geofilter to be used.

A wedding day snapchat geofilter will give your day such an easy, personalized touch. The snapchats may go away after a few seconds, but we can ensure you that the memories will last forever!

Create your own geofilter here -> https://www.snapchat.com/geofilters

 

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25 Most Expensive Places to Get Married in the US

Every year we anxiously wait for the release of The Knot’s annual study, 25 Most Expensive Places to Get Married in the US.  The Knot gathers information, surveys real couples and translates the information into a format we can all understand! As planners, we reference this study almost everyday. It is the perfect way to explain budget and help newly engaged couples understand realistic costs. Defining your budget early on in planning will allow you to have a wedding you love, not one you need to keep cutting back on. We cannot stress the importance of budget enough!

From The Knot:

Weddings are expensive—it’s hard to avoid it. Take one look at our recently released 2015 Real Wedding Study and you’ll see that the average cost of a wedding is higher than ever. So, if you’re planning to host your nuptials in one of the cities listed below, factor in regional price ranges when making your budget. That said, there’s a reason these locations come with such a steep bill—they’re totally stunning (and, we like to think, worth the splurge). Here are the 25 most expensive places to get married in the US:

1. New York – Manhattan: $82,299

2. Illinois – Chicago: $61,265

3. New York – Westchester/Hudson Valley: $57,501

4. New York – Long Island: $56,950

5. New Jersey – North/Central: $55,389

6. Massachusetts – Cape Cod: $54,334

7. Rhode Island: $50,266

8. New York – Outer Boroughs: $46,682

9. California – Palm Springs: $44,646

10. Louisiana – New Orleans: $44,178

11. New Jersey – South: $43,223

12. Pennsylvania – Philadelphia: $42,429

13. Connecticut: $41,692

14. Florida – Southern: $39,768

15. California – Los Angeles: $39,492

16. California – San Francisco/Greater Bay Area: $39,250

17. Texas – Houston/East TX: $39,189

18. California – Santa Barbara/Ventura: $38,570

19. Vermont: $37,880

20. Massachusetts – Boston: $37,799

21. DC – Washington DC/Northern VA/Suburban MD: $37,034

22. Maryland – Baltimore: $36,934

23. Michigan – Detroit: $36,619

24. Hawaii: $36,424

25. California – Orange County/Inland Empire: $34,012

Save-the-Date!

2016 is moving fast! Can you believe it is already March?! Spring is here, which means wedding season is not too far behind! To all our newly engaged couples – stay on top wedding planning. First things first ….is your date set? If so, get the word out! Sending Save-the-dates will allow you to “claim your date!” This wedding essential is often viewed as a detail that can be ignored, but as a wedding planner – this is VERY important. Why? Well, many engaged couples have friends who are tying the knot too! Avoid this by spreading the word by sending a save the date. If you are tight on budget, send an E-save-the-date.  This is eco-friendly and cost-efficient. In addition, save-the-dates can be engagement photos, photo collage, post cards, coasters, flat cards, magnets, etc.! Be creative!

Once a save-the-date is sent, you will later follow up with the wedding invites. WARNING: begin your invitations early – they take longer than you’d expect. Trust us, you will want them early…this way you will have enough to give time to receive the RSVP’s so you can create your guest table seating without being rushed.  AND, last but not least, be sure to have the post office weigh them before mailing! You don’t want any surprises when you go to send them out. Happy planning, XOXO!

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Chicago Wedding Planner – Why We Love Our Job!

Happy Friday! We are so excited to be featured on Chicago Wedding DJs blog. We worked alongside their fabulous team at the ChicagoStyle launch party. Read through our interview below or find the original here! Claire Weller explains how she got started and why Big City Bride is so unique!

Q: What first inspired you to help wedding couples as a Chicago Wedding Event Planner for their wedding celebration?

A: I’ve always had a heart and a mind for creative projects…but never saw myself working alone as an artist. With a love of people and a smile for hospitality, I thought I’d give weddings a try. Being a wedding planner allows me to love on people, be creative and celebrate amazing moments! What more could you hope for?

Q: What inspires you today?

A: Happiness. It’s so magical to be a part of a very happy day. The happiness I see on wedding day is unlike any other…it’s powerful and palpable and emotional…and the reason I do this job!

Q: What do you love most about your job?

A: I love wedding day. I love that through the months of planning my couples become dear friends and I get to make sure they have the best day of their lives. All of the stressful planning and tiny details come together for an unforgettable day. My adrenaline pumps, I have endless energy, I never stop smiling and I’m in my groove all day long.

Q: What the best advice anyone has ever given you?

A: Never give up. We always joke that you must collect your “no’s” before your “yes’s”! It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you’re persistent.

Q: What advice do you have for our readers?

A: Figure out what is important to you and stay true to your priorities. Every bride is different and therefore so is every wedding. Remember to focus on what matters to you.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of a wedding reception?

A: I love any moment charged with emotion. Father of the bride speeches, best friend toasts, first dances, when a couple sees the room for the first time…. it’s all amazing to me!

Q: You are a planner with Big City Bride. Tell me about the company and what makes Big City Bride unique?

A: We are a team and I’m so lucky to have the support of 5 other planners. We all work full time in our Lincoln Park planning studio. We share our experiences, knowledge, contacts and ideas. We support each other through planning and on wedding days. Wedding planning is not an easy job so I feel blessed to have a strong team alongside me.

Planning Your Valentine’s Day Proposal & What to Do Next!

SIX MILLION PEOPLE WILL BECOME ENGAGED THIS WEEKEND…

Valentine’s Day is only day behind Christmas for the most marriage proposals. 10% of couple’s choose this holiday to make it official. Chances are you know a couple that could or should take the proposal plunge.
Here are tips to help prepare and plan for the perfect proposal:
  • DO hire a proposal planner. Yes, this is becoming a thing! Just as you would hire a wedding planner to orchestrate the details of your big day, hiring a proposal planner ensures perfect production for your movie moment. They can also be on hand to capture the proposal on video and in photos.
  • DO beat the clich Valentine’s Day proposal…Skip the table-side champagne and stay away from horse drawn carriages. While your honey may love fairytales, give (s)he a great engagement story that you will BOTH be proud to tell over and over again!
  • DO use the special night as an opportunity for a surprise engagement party. Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest “going out” nights of the year, so invite all your friends & family to meet up for a celebratory cocktail and make it aninsta-engagementparty. OrplanaV-Daypartyvs.aromanticdinner:Haveyourfriendsover,shewon’tbe expecting a proposal, but will be thrilled when all of her faves are there to celebrate.
VALENTINE’S DAY MARKS THE END OF “ENGAGEMENT SEASON”…and as Chicago wedding planners we say it’s last chance to plan a 2016 wedding.
While our list could go on and on, here are a few pros of fast wedding planning most people don’t know about:
  • Lock in lower costs! Many venues and vendor pricing increases each year. Snagging a 2016 date will ensure lower costs!
  • Negotiate Vendors – they will be happy to fill their 2016 event calendar. And, let’s face it – Less time for decisions, means less time to stress!
  • Claim “Married” on your 2016 Tax Return.

 

Photo Credit: Robyn Rachel Photography

Wishing everyone the most loving and fun Valentine’s Day weeknd! Hugs to all our couples celebrating their FIRST Valentine’s Day as a married couple!

XOXO – Big City Bride!

Crafting Your Chicago Wedding Welcome Bag

A great way to kick off your Chicago wedding weekend is to welcome your family and friends with a Chicago welcome bag. Wedding welcome bags are a way to introduce your city to all your guests. They will be excited to explore and love trying some of your city favorite treats. 

Here are some fun ideas to include in your Chicago wedding welcome bags…
• A welcome letter is a great way to thank your guests for traveling near and far to help celebrate your big day. Some guests may not bring the wedding invitation from home and giving them a weekend itinerary will help them stay on track for all the wedding weekend festivities.
• Include a Chicago visitor’s guide! Share with your guests your favorite restaurants, bars, stores and Chicago attractions. They will love the opportunity to explore a new city with first hand recommendations.
• Don’t forget about the goods! Including Chicago snacks can put a nice touch on your welcome bag. Some great Chicago treats to include are: Frango Mints, Jay’s Potato Chips, Garretts Popcorn, and Cracker Jacks. Additionally, guests will love bottled water and local craft beer!
IMPORTANT: Before making your wedding welcome bags, reach out to your hotel and ask them the following:

·      What is the cost of wedding welcome bags?

·      Will they be delivered to the room or handed out at the front desk when guest arrives?

·      Are there any restrictions I should know about?

Your Chicago wedding planner will take care of all this for you, but if you are managing this yourself make sure to notify the hotel and finalize payment before dropping the bags off. The last thing you want the week of your wedding is scrambling to tie up loose ends. 

Although wedding welcome bags may seem like extra work, they are a fun and personal touch to add to your wedding weekend. Instead of putting all of this on you, the couple, ask your families for help! Make an evening out of it. They will feel honored you asked and love to give a helping hand. 
Photo Credit: Chicago Wedding Photographer Robyn Rachel Photography 
Our bride and her mother-in-law put together the cutest wedding welcome bags EVER! Not a detail was missed and our bride personalized everything. Guests felt so special opening their surprise!