Just Engaged? How to Plan a 2016 Wedding!

Just engaged and feeling lost? Once the initial shock passes and you and your fianc starting thinking about your wedding the most important question to answer right now is do you want to plan a 2016 or 2017 wedding. 2016 Saturdays in Chicago have been booking a year out, however, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are all gone. If you are hoping to celebrate your nuptial in 2016 there is still time!!! First things first, hire a professional. A Chicago wedding planner can help you plan and act fast. We have inside resources and great relationships with Chicago venues. We can help you venue search, book and secure FAST! Another option to consider is marrying on a Friday or Sunday. If you love a venue and it fits your guest count and budget, don’t rule it out because it doesn’t have a Saturday! Consider a Friday or Sunday – you’ll have more dates to choose from and it is possible the rental fee may be lower!

Once you have booked your venue, you can secure a ceremony time, hotels and hire your priority vendors. Planning fast does not have to stressful and you can still plan the perfect day. For anyone needing planning assistance Big City Bride Chicago wedding planners would love to plan your special day!





Chicago Restaurant Week is HERE!

Foodies rejoice! Chicago’s Restaurant Week has arrived and we can’t wait to see what our city’s tops chefs have in store. Big City Bride is an office of Chicago wedding planning foodies. We love food and we love Chicago restaurants. We especially love all the opportunities Chicago wedding caterers provide to customize the most amazing wedding menus for our brides and grooms. As Chicago wedding planners (…who have been spoiled by some of Chicago’s best catering chefs!), we have very high standards when it comes to food. This years list is stacked and we cannot wait to take advantage! 
  • http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/ct-chicago-restaurant-week-recommendations-vettel-20160121-story.html


2016 Illinois Marriage License Information

2016 weddings are underway and we anxiously await the ones to come. For those marrying in 2016 don’t forget the most important document for your day, your marriage license! Below find all the information you will need if you are tying the knot in Illinois. 

How to Apply:
Must apply together, in person, at one of the below offices 
Bring current and valid identification (driver’s license, passport, military ID, etc)
Fill out and sign a marriage license application
Pay $60 fee (cash and most major credit and debit cards are accepted)
Applicants divorced within the last 6 months must present certified decree of divorce
Where to Apply:
Downtown Chicago – Daley Center – 50 W. Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602 -Call: (312) 603-7790
East Concourse (Lower) Level – 25 -Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for all services 
Wednesday 4:30pm to 7:00pm Marriage and Civil Union Licenses Only 
North suburbs – Skokie – 5600 W. Old Orchard Road, Skokie, IL 60077 Call: (847) 470-7233
Room 149 – Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for all services 
Wednesday 4:30pm to 7:00pm Marriage and Civil Union Licenses Only 
Northwest suburbs – Rolling Meadows – 2121 Euclid Ave. Rolling Meadows, IL 60008 Call: (847) 818-2850
Room 238 -Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for all services  
Wednesday 4:30pm to 7:00pm Marriage and Civil Union Licenses Only 
West suburbs – Maywood – 1311 Maybrook Square, Room 104, Maywood, IL 60153 Call: (708) 865-6010
Room 104 -Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for all 
Wednesday 4:30pm to 7:00pm Marriage and Civil Union Licenses Only 
South suburbs – Markham -16501 S. Kedzie, Markham, IL 60426 Call: (708) 232-4150
Room 238 – Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for all services 
Wednesday 4:30pm to 7:00pm Marriage and Civil Union Licenses Only 
Southwest suburbs – Bridgeview- 10220 S. 76th Ave. Bridgeview, IL 60455 Call: (708) 974-6150
Room 238 – Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for all services 
Wednesday 4:30pm to 7:00pm Marriage and Civil Union Licenses Only 
Closed on the following dates in 2016: 
Jan 1, Jan 18, Feb 12, Feb 15, Mar 7, May 30, July 4, Sept 5, Oct 10, Nov 11, Nov 24, Dec 26
Marriage Licenses are:
Issued the same day, while you wait.
Effective on the following calendar day after they are issued
Valid for 60 days 
Effective only in Chicago and suburban Cook County
Chicago wedding photographer: Stoffer Photography 

Chicago Wedding Venue: Villa D’Citta

We are always on the hunt for new Chicago venues or spaces to transform. We recently found one located in our very own backyard – Villa D’ Citta! This charming B&B would make the perfect space for an intimate wedding or special event. Villa D’Citta brings the vintage, comfortable, yet luxurious styles of Europe to Chicago. This boutique mansion has stolen our hearts and we are already envisioning the beautiful memories to be made here. 


Photo Credit: Villa D’Citta

We so look forward to working in this venue and would love to plan your wedding or event here! 

Happy Holidays!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! As we wrap up 2015 and prepare for the holidays, we must take a moment to let all of you know how thankful we are for your friendship and support.  It has been a whirlwind of a year. Weekend after weekend we have had the privilege of watching beautiful love stories unfold.

Here are just a few weddings from this year we have had the honor of planning! So many smiles….so much love! 




We couldn’t have such successful wedding days without the help of an amazing team of vendors. Thank you to all of our wedding ninjas! We are so lucky to have such a strong team by our sides. Also, BIG hugs to all of amazing photographers – thank you for allowing us to relive wedding days!

It has been a busy year and for that we are thankful. With almost every Chicago wedding venue under our belt, we are so ready to tackle 2016! Simply, but sincerely we wish you a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays! Thank you for making our year so special. Wishing you all the best! XOXO BCB TEAM!

Modern Luxury Brides: Real Wedding Feature

This couple. Their love. This wedding. This Modern Luxury Brides feature is bringing back ALL the feels! It was an incredibly special June wedding day planned by Big City Bride and Chrissy Magliano. A timeless wedding dress, beautiful bride, handsome groom, incredible love story, swoon-worthy decor and rocking team of vendors! 
BIG thanks to Modern Luxury Brides for the feature! It is an honor to see our work in your publication. 

Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum


It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Holiday season arrived and while it often proves to be one of the busiest times of the year, it is incredibly special. As Chicago wedding planners we LOVE this time of year! This is our “booking” season. So many couples are engaged during holidays and their wedding planning journey begins. For those newly engaged and looking for a 2016 Chicago wedding date Big City Bride can help. As far as celebrating the holiday season, our friends at The Morton Arboretum have filled us in on their tree light festivities. This is such a magical event to attend and is the perfect way to get into the holiday season. This is also a beautiful venue to wed and you might consider it for your special day! Find more information here

From The Morton Arboretum…

Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum returns this November  with more lights, sights and sounds that will transform a Chicago-area wintertime walk in the woods into a colorful, inspiring experience like no other.  

From November 20, 2015 to January 2, 2016, visitors are once again invited to walk Illumination’s one-mile path, surrounded by 50 acres of trees bathed in theatrical LED lighting in shades of vivid electric blue, hot pink and neon green. Along the way, a series of “experiences”–programmed lighting, video and sound seamlessly integrated into the landscape–encourage visitors to see trees in a different light. Visitors can interact with trees that respond to voice or touch, find out how a tree responds to a big hug, or control the action of videos projected upon the Arboretum’s towering trees.

“With cutting-edge lighting and sound, Illumination not only amplifies the unique beauty of trees in the wintertime, it also offers visitors of all ages the unique opportunity to connect with the trees around them,” said Sue Wagner, vice president of education and information at The Morton Arboretum. “Last year, visitors came from every corner of the country to see the magic of Illumination. With new experiences and enhancements to our most popular elements, the 2015 season offers surprises for both new and returning visitors.”

Brand new experiences in 2015 include dazzling lighting effects on Meadow Lake, and Ornament Hill, where a series of glowing orbs of varying colors and sizes placed on the Arboretum’s Frost Hill create a glittering vista visible from many locations on the trail.


Several Illumination experiences will be updated with new effects, including:

?      Symphony Woods – The music and light experience of Symphony Woods will feature a new program, with updated music recorded by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra;

?      Garden of Light – Music has been added to LED lights moving in sync with music over the Arboretum’s historic hedge garden, for a stunning multi-sensory experience;

?      Tree Harmony – This year, singing to the trees will activate a series of programmed LED lights that rain down from the trees like shiny strands of tinsel.

Many other fan-favorite Illumination experiences will be updated for the 2015 season, including Hug a Tree, where visitors can hug a tree and watch it respond, Crystal Promenade, where 24 beautiful chandeliers of varying sizes lightthe forest, and Seasons Greetings, where visitors control the movements of a projected image using towering hemlock trees as a giant movie screen. 

Illumination tickets go on sale October 1, 2015. For more information about Illumination: Tree Lights at The MortonArboretum, visit mortonarb.org/illumination.

About Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum brings light and nature together for a wintertime walk in the woods like no other. Illumination invites visitors to see trees in a different light on a one-mile walk surrounded by 50 acres of the Arboretum’s trees, brought to life with LED lights, interactive elements and sound. Live entertainment and warming stations add to the wintertime experience. Featured in local and national media including Cond Nast Traveler and USA Today, Illumination has quickly become a winter tradition, welcoming more than 210,000 visitors from 40 states since its 2013 debut season. The event is built in partnership with noted experiential lighting designers Lightswitch, and features energy-efficient, eco-friendly LED lighting.


About The Morton Arboretum

Established in 1922, The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized outdoor tree museum and tree research center located in Lisle, Illinois. As the champion of trees, The Arboretum is committed to scientifically informed action, both locally and globally, and encouraging the planting and conservation of trees for a greener, healthier, more beautiful world. On 1,700 acres are 220,000 plant specimens representing 4,100 different kinds of plants, along with specialty gardens, educational exhibits, the award-winning Children’s Garden, 16 miles of hiking trails and the Visitor Center, featuring The Arboretum Store and the Gingko Restaurant and Caf. The Morton Arboretum is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, welcoming more than 932,000 visitors and serving 39,250 member households in 2014. Learn more at mortonarb.org.


Thank you to  The Morton Arboretum for providing the information for this post!

Winter Wedding in Chicago

Well Chicagoeans, the time has come! Our first snowfall has blanketed the city and it’s beginning to look a lot like the holiday season. While the typical “busy wedding season” has passed, Chicago wedding planners begin a new term – WINTER WEDDINGS! Cue the cozy comfort foods, warm signature cocktails and dreamy snow wedding photos. While a winter wedding is not for every couple, there are many pros to consider for those who have not landed on a wedding date yet:

·       2016 wedding dates are going FAST! It is no secret Chicago wedding dates are hard to snatch up, however, during the winter months there are still prime Saturday dates available at some of Chicago’s best wedding venues. 

·       For those on a tighter budget, a winter wedding can help lower costs! It is not peak wedding season, so some vendors will have different pricing because of less demand. Explore this option!

·       Your wedding will be much anticipated! Guests will be eager to ditch the snow boots and dance the night away in fancy formal wear.

·       Beautiful snowy bliss! Chicago is beautiful in all seasons, but there is something extra magical about sparkling white snow falling from the sky. Although it will be cold, you can make the most out of a photo tour. Connect with your photographer, have a detailed plan and make sure bridesmaids are wrapped up in a cozy pashmina or some faux fur. 

Winter in Chicago is a less popular season to wed and newly engaged Chicago couples should use this to their advantage! For those engaged and considering a winter wedding, give us a call! Big City Bride Chicago wedding planners know how to plan a winter wedding.



When selecting your Chicago wedding venue it comes down to more then just LOVING the space. It must fit your desired date, budget, size, taste and style … and let’s face it the options can be a bit overwhelming! After spending just about every weekend planning in a different Chicago wedding venue, we figured it was time to team up, share information and help you narrow your search. 

Galleria Marchetti has been around for nearly 30 years and Big City Bride has spent many Saturday nights in this space! This Chicago wedding venue offers two different rental options east side spaces and west side spaces.  This venue also features 
Galleria Marchetti East Side Rental Options:
  • The East Courtyard (Il Cortile): This space is used for outdoor ceremonies and cocktail hour when the weather cooperates.
  • Tented Pavilion (Il Padiglione): This space is Galleria Marchetti’s main reception space. This space would be used as the ceremony weather-back- up-space. This tent is a permanent tent and can either be air conditioned or heated. 
• 5,570 sq feet of clear span space, easily transformed to reflect your vision
• New 800 square foot dance floor
• Heating and air conditioning
• Removable glass walls
• Easy access to adjacent deck and courtyard
• Full lead crystal dandelion chandeliers
• 1600 amps of power
• 230 guest capacity
  • Galleria Room (La Sala Perugina): This space is connected to the tent and is used as the cocktail hour rain-back-up space. Whether or not it rains, this space will be used because it is the room where the restrooms are located. Guests can enter this room from both the Courtyard and Tented Pavilion. In addition, this space has a little bridal room. This would be used to store items, makeup touch ups, bustling, and locking things up for the night (Galleria Marchetti conveniently provides a key the night of). 
***ALL three of these spaces rent together!
Galleria Marchetti West Side Rental Options: 
  • La Pergola : This space was just added this year! It has a retractable ceiling and vinyl sides that will allow for the space to be all open or closed. This will be the space that we hold ceremonies in, along with the main dinner reception.
  • La Sala Lucchese: This space is connected to the Pergola and is used as the cocktail hour space. Restrooms are located in this space. In addition, this space has a little bridal room. This would be used to store items, makeup touch ups, bustling, and locking things up for the night (Galleria Marchetti conveniently provides a key the night of). 

***Both of these spaces rent together!

Here are two recent Big City Bride weddings at Galleria Marchetti



You may have recognized this wedding from Style Me Pretty, People.com, U.S. Weekly! BIG THANKS to Chicago Wedding Photographer David Wittig Photography!

This wedding happened just a few weeks ago and the full feature can be found here! Thanks to Chicago wedding photographer Britta Marie Photography for capturing the day!


And of course, Galleria Marchetti is ALWAYS a party!


Photo Credit: David Wittig Photography                                           Photo Credit:  Britta Marie Photography


How to Ask Your Bridesmaids

Looking for a cute and creative way to ask, “Will you be my bridesmaid?” While Pinterest is a great resource, it can also be very overwhelming. There are so many ideas, but what is realistic? We have put together some suggestions, from writing a personalized note to DIY gift basket – your girls will feel so special recieveing this surprise! 


Our favorite idea this time of year is gifting a day planner and marking your wedding date. (Who doesn’t love the idea of opening a fresh planner?!!) This is compeltely practical, however, it can still be personal! Add a bookmark with a rhyme to personalize the invite, “Save the date! I want you along for the ride. Please stand by my side. Be my bridesmaid?