Endless Love, All Night Long – Lionel Richie Surprises Chicago Wedding

We did it! We surprised every guest at last weekend’s Union Station wedding with Lionel Richie! That is not an easy secret to keep and not an easy surprise to pull off…but we are proud to declare the night an incredible success and share a few Chicago wedding photos from the event. It was a luxurious and romantic wedding planned at one of the most grand Chicago wedding venues available – The Great Hall at Union Station. It was the perfect place for a Chicago celebrity wedding planner to sneak in a music legend to start the party.

The bride says that before she met her groom she knew that Lionel Richie would perform her Chicago wedding and sing her first song…and Big City Bride took that dream and made it happen! It’s a pretty incredible dream to get to bring to life and one we loved! Sending him on stage was an unbelievable feeling and the reaction from guests was unforgettable. Every jaw dropped and then every phone and camera came up. He sang “Endless Love” for the bride and groom’s first dance and then continued through a few of his classics for an hour long performance. 

HELLO! Here Lionel is with the Big City Bride team! We’d like to consider him our newest member.

Lionel Richie and his band were wonderful people and lit up on the stage – radiating a good time and sharing so much love with the crowd. They are wonderful performers and talented musicians. It was the most fun and celebratory event we’ve been apart of.

It was pure magic….ALL NIGHT LONG!

2012 Wedding Statistics


This is a very large country where brides and grooms and wedding planners dream up and create very different events. Many of the styles, options, and costs are driven by where you are planning an event. Of course, Big City Bride knows Chicago wedding planning but it’s fascinating to see what is being planned elsewhere! This gives a little insight. The below wedding statistics from the incredible research done by The Knot (XO Group Inc.) reflect their 2012 findings. 
A note about Chicago wedding budgets – they found the average wedding budget for a Chicago wedding was $49,810 in 2012! That came in as number two beneath New York City (Manhattan) wedding budgets averaging $76,687!
Average Wedding Budget: $28,427 (excludes honeymoon)
Most Expensive Place to Get Married: Manhattan, $76,678 average spend
Least Expensive Place to Get Married: Alaska, $15,504 average spend
Average Spent on a Wedding Dress: $1,211
Average Marrying Age: Bride, 29; Groom, 31
Average Number of Guests: 139
Average Number of Bridesmaids: 4 to 5
Average Number of Groomsmen: 4 to 5
Most Popular Month to Get Engaged: December (16%)
Average Length of Engagement: 14 months
Most Popular Month to Get Married: June (17%)
Popular Wedding Colors: Blue (33%), Purple (26%), Green (23%), Metallics (23%)
Percentage of Destination Weddings: 24%

New Chicago Wedding Venue: Nineteenth Century Woman’s Club


Your favorite Chicago wedding planner has found a gorgeous Chicago wedding venue for all you brides to consider. The Nineteenth Century Woman’s Club is located in Oak Park and has had a rich history since 1891. 
This gorgeous building is the home of the Nineteenth Century Charitable Association. The establishment was built in 1928 with brick and has four beautiful white pillars in the front. The sitting area on the first floor is perfect for your cocktail hour and has the feel of stepping into at 19th century novel. 
There is a large ballroom space on the second floor that is has a beautiful high white ceiling and newly refurbished hardwood floors. The ballroom dcor is clean and elegant with taupe colored walls and tasteful chandeliers. It can hold 100-300 people comfortably, but if you need a smaller space, there is a similar smaller ballroom on the first floor. This space is perfect for an elegant wedding with a historical feel. To top it off…the rental fees for the venue go to charity! The Nineteenth Century Woman’s Club uses the profits to fund college scholarships and support charitable endeavors in the community!

Chicago Wedding Hotels


As a Chicago wedding planner, I ofter stroll the streets of Chicago looking for cool new Chicago wedding reception venues and Chicago hotels. There are so many great chicago wedding venues and hotels in Chicago and more always opening. There is one in particular that Big City Bride is anxiously awaiting! 
The Sutton Place Hotel sits on one of Chicago’s most bustling corners in the nightlife mecca often referred to as the “Viagra Triangle.”  Big City Bride was sad to see the Sutton Place close its doors at the end of 2012, but there are rumblings that the new and improved property (name TBA) is going to be an amazing Chicago hotel, wedding venue and location for Chicago weddings embracing the popular “Rush and Division” area.
The location is key – so close to popular Chicago wedding rehearsal dinner restaurants like Lou Malnati’s Pizza, Gibson’s Steakhouse, Carmine’s Restaurant and Luxbar. With many hotel options in the area as well, it’s easy to find a few hotels with a variety of pricing for all of your Chicago wedding guests. It’s also near by to a few beloved Chicago wedding churches: Holy Name Cathedral, St. James Cathedral, and Fourth Presbyterian Church.
We will see what happens to this prime spot of realistate…hoping it’s something wonderful for the Chicago event world! As always, Big City Bride will keep you up to date on Chicago’s closings and openings, hot new spots, and the best Chicago wedding venues!

Chicago Garden Weddings


With the wonderful sunshine and warm weather, it makes the perfect combination to incorporate some of Chicago’s beautiful gardens into your Chicago Wedding! Your favorite Chicago wedding planner enjoys the great views and spectacular backdrops the gardens give during your ceremony.  If you’re looking for a way to incorporate the outdoors into your Chicago wedding, take a look at some wonderful Chicago gardens! 




These charming venues feature the intimacy of the occasion while hosting a spectacular setting. Chicago gardens are a great option to host your unforgettable outdoor Chicago wedding ceremony. An outdoor Chicago garden wedding is ideal for those looking to utilize Chicago’s unbeatable scenery! 

Big City Bride Chicago Wedding on Style Me Pretty

It’s a pretty wonderful week in Chicago! The flowers are in full bloom, the sidewalks are covered by the shade of leafy trees, the patios and rooftops are open, and the beach is full of anxious sun lovers. This is why we love Chicago…and Chicago wedding season.

Big City Bride is happy to share a pretty feature that made this week even better. Style Me Pretty featured Caitlin and Kyle’s wedding at a traditional mansion Chicago wedding venue – the Cuneo Mansion. It was a gorgeous day with a wonderful couple. Big City Bride is honored to have been the Chicago wedding planner behind this event. Be sure to check out Style Me Pretty for more photos and Chicago wedding photography!


Bond Chapel Wedding Chicago


Your favorite Chicago wedding planner knows how hard finding the perfect Chicago wedding venue can be…and just how much harder it can be to find a Chicago wedding church for your wedding ceremony. When Big City Bride has a wonderful option – we certainly like to share it! We recently celebrated a Chicago wedding at Bond Chapel and were reminded how gorgeous of a Chicago wedding chapel it is for alumni (only.)
Located on the campus of the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, Bond Chapel is a beautiful and breath-taking setting for your fabulous Chicago wedding. Bond Chapel boasts high ceilings, beautiful stained glass windows, and deep stained wood. They recently replaced old wooden pews with chairs and it can hold nearly 130 guests.
It is important to know that logistics are difficult because Bond Chapel is set within the campus and is hard for Chicago wedding guests to find. Big City Bride is often brought on to help manage wedding transportation and guest arrival along with ceremony planning and execution. If we can be there to make it go smoothly then this truly is a gem of a church for a romantic ceremony.