How to Be the Best Wedding Guest: Wedding Day Reminders

Now that you know how to dress and are fit with some helpful pre-wedding tips, it’s time to talk about the day of!  So many exciting things happen on wedding day, and as a guest, you want to make sure to add to the fun festivities and not complicate them with avoidable distractions.  Here are some wedding day reminders that will help you be the most fun and supportive guest at the party! 

First things first, it is important to be an attentive guest at the wedding celebration.  Make sure to plan ahead and arrive 30 minutes early to the ceremony; you will have ample time to find a good seat and watch the loving couple say their “I do’s.”  Also, to make sure an unexpected call doesn’t set off your ringtone, it is always a good idea to turn off your cell phone.  Lastly, be careful to listen during the ceremony and toasts, and try not to be incessantly texting throughout these significant moments. 

After the ceremony ends, it is time to have fun!  This is the biggest night of the newlyweds’ lives, so make it an enjoyable one.  Don’t be afraid to dance and mingle with other guests.  If you are seated at a table with people you haven’t met yet, be sure to introduce yourself; the bride and groom thought you all would be a good fit at the same table, so take advantage!  Enjoy the night as much as you want, but as always, remember to be responsible and make sure your date is acting appropriately as well!

When you are worn out from a night full of dancing, it is time to head home.  Be careful to leave at an appropriate time—leaving too early in the night might make the bride and groom feel like you are not having fun, which of course is not the case!  When the night is coming to an end, make your way to the newlyweds to say thank you and goodbye.  After all the work they put into this event, it’s important to let them know how much you enjoyed your time and how happy you are about their new union.  It is always a nice idea to appreciate the parents of the bride and groom as well for all they put into the wedding.  


How to Be the Best Wedding Guest: What to Wear

As a wedding guest, finding the perfect outfit can be stressful!  It can be difficult to look appropriate for the event while also expressing your own individuality.  White tie, black tie, semi-formal, and casual: how to keep it all straight?  Check out this easy guide and you are sure to be a hit at the next Chicago wedding. 

  • White Tie:  This is the most formal event option, so don’t hesitate to dress to the nines at your next white tie wedding!  Men are expected to wear a tailcoat, a formal white shirt, white vest and tie, white or grey gloves, and black opera pumps.  Women should wear a formal floor length evening gown. Don’t worry, White Tie events are very rare!


  • Black Tie:  Black tie dress code is the most common choice for formal weddings and events.  Men should wear a black tuxedo or evening jacket with a black tie, black vest or cummerbund, and suspenders. Women have the option of wearing a formal floor length dress or a fancy short cocktail dress.


  • Black Tie Optional:  The black tie optional dress code gives guests a bit more flexibility.  Men have the option of wearing black tie, or they can wear a dark suit with a white shirt and nice tie.  Women can wear a formal floor length dress, a cocktail dress, or even dressy separates.  


  • Semi-Formal:  Semi-Formal is a popular choice and should be your go-to if a dress code has not been specified on the invitation.  Men wear a dark suite with a white shirt and nice tie, while women should dress in a cocktail dress or a dressy separates.    


  • Casual:  A great choice for outdoor weddings, casual attire is very common in the summer.  Men should wear a button down shirt with a tie and khakis; on some occasions, shorts are even appropriate.  Women please wear a nice sundress. 


In addition to these simple rules, women should always remember that the only one dressed in white should be the bride.  Also, especially for summer weddings, be prepared for all sorts of weather.  If you are attending an outdoor wedding on a hot day, bring a nice looking fan or a bottle of water and leave it in your purse.  On cooler summer nights, a sweater or light jacket will be a good addition to any look.  With these guidelines in mind you can’t go wrong in choosing the perfect outfit for your next big event!

How to Be the Best Wedding Guest: Pre-Wedding Tips

For every couple, one of the most special parts of getting married is being able to share it with their friends and family, so this week on the Big City Bride Blog we are focusing on you: the guests!  We want to help you be the best guest you can be throughout the entire wedding celebration—and that even includes everything that comes before the event.  From a prompt and appropriate RSVP response to the perfect wedding gift, remember these tips for being a good pre-wedding guest!

Your first wedding task usually comes with the RSVP.  Send in a prompt RSVP to secure your spot on the guest list and allow the engaged couple to finalize the guest count and table settings with plenty of time to spare.  The planning team will have so much to do before the wedding; they simply don’t have time to track you down for your RSVP.  Additionally, be sure to invite along a guest only if you have been given that option (who is the invite addressed to!?); it is never safe to assume you get a plus one!  And remember, you are responsible for your guest on the day of the wedding, so be careful to invite someone you know and trust to act appropriately.    

Next on the list of pre-wedding preparation is to buy a good and appropriate GIFT.  When buying a wedding gift, the first place to look is the couple’s registry.  The registry items, though they might not always seem glamorous, are exactly what the couple wants.  We know every guest hopes to give a very heartfelt gift to the bride and groom, so search through the registry to find something that might be particularly meaningful to your relationship, and attach a personal note to explain why you chose that item.  This is a great way to show the bride and groom how much thought went into their gift!  Remember to send the gift directly to the home of the bride or groom and do not bring it to the event—there is so much to keep track of on wedding day, a big package is an added burden as they leave for their honeymoon. 

Another option for a wedding gift is to send a heartfelt note with a check (cash can get lost!) Some extra spending money can be the perfect thing for newlyweds as they embark on their new journey together! Depending on your relationship to the couple, it is nice to spend anywhere between $75 and $250 on the gifts, including the engagement and shower presents, as well as the wedding gift.  This may seem like a lot, so we recommend deciding on a wedding budget before purchasing anything and plan on spending about 20% of that budget on the engagement gift, 20% on the shower gift, and 60% on the wedding gift.  If you are only attending the wedding, you have your whole budget to spend on the wedding gift. 

Remember these tips as wedding day approaches and be the dream guest for the newlyweds!

Paper Flowers – The New Trend in Weddings!

We have a brilliant new trend that is popping up in the wedding world and Big City Bride is excited about it. We love the potential of paper flowers to add elegance, texture, whimsy or craftiness to your Chicago wedding!

We love the idea of having paper flowers in a wedding and can’t wait to share with you what we have learned from Molly Ryle, expert paper flower designer! Your options for paper flowers are only limited by your imagination (and that means pretty limitless if you’re working with Big City Bride.) The paper flowers can be as small as 2 inches wide and as big as 4 feet wide! Here are some awesome ideas that Molly has done and loved:

•  Single large flower centerpieces  •  Large flower runners  •  Large flower centerpieces in a vase  •
•  Small flower place settings  •  Small flower napkin rings  •  Chair back dcor  •  Chandelier dcor  •
•  Hanging flowers from the ceiling  •  Backdrops, arches, and stair railings  •  And the list goes on!  •

The great thing about paper flowers is that you can pick any color imaginable and pick from a ton of different flower types! They are very eco-friendly (recyclable)! Plus, you can re-use them for different events or decoration after the wedding! Take a look at Molly Ryle’s etsy shop, Thrify Chic Love to see all different types of paper flower dcor for your engagement party, bridal shower or Chicago wedding and be one step ahead of the wedding trend!

Trump Chicago Wedding

With incredible weather like this we’re dreaming of a cocktail on the Terrace of Trump Towers Chicago! There is nothing like the downtown view from one of our favorite five star Chicago hotels. Even in poor weather you can enjoy the view from their guest rooms and most importantly from their event space. The Trump Chicago has a ballroom full of windows, set on the river with views of the vibrant streets and serene Lake Michigan. Here are some favorite Chicago wedding photos from Edenhurst Studio, who captured Beth & Sabah’s wedding day beautifully in April. With gorgeous decor by Kehoe Designs, the ambiance was set for an intimate celebration of family and love. So much emotion dwelled in this room for an evening Big City Bride will never ever forget.

To start the night, Sabah helped Beth show off her life long love of dancing. After years of performing, Beth still has moves! It was the perfect beginning to the evening and a wonderful surprise for guests! We always say that the bride and groom set the tone for the party…so a dancing couple is destined to have a full dance floor and a lasting energetic party!




The Murphy Chicago & The Driehaus Museum

Chicago is home to many unique venues located all over the city, which can make discovering the perfect venue quite challenging! Last week, your favorite Chicago wedding planner was able to explore two of the cities “finest architectural jewels” that we absolutely fell in love with; The Murphy Chicago and The Richard H. Driehaus Museum. This unique historic venue is tucked into the lovely River North neighborhood featuring gorgeous interior and exterior design influenced by the French Renaissance art style.

                                                        {Murhpy Chicago Entrance}                                                                             {Driehaus Museum Entrance}

This historic space was built in 1926, renovated in 1987, restored in 2003 and opened to the publuc in 2006. The Murphy was built to serve as a memorial to the great surgeon Dr. John B. Murphy and a center of education in surgery. Due to growth, their headquarters relocted, but The American College of Surgeons still obtains ownership. This elegant and remarkable venue is the perfect fit for a ceremony and reception celebration. It features a beautiful vaulted ceiling with intricate French designs, decorative wallls accompanied by stunning stained glass and as elevated stage, creating an overall remarkable room.

Connected to The Murphy venue is the Driehaus, which was formerly the home of banker Samuel Mayo Nickerson. After many years of inactivity, Chicago philanthropist Richard H. Drieshaus founded the museum on April, 1 2003 to preserve and showcase artifcats from this late 19th century home. The marble clad entrance hall, wooden interiors and beautiful rooms are sure to take your breathe away! The museum hosts the perfect space for an intimate dinner party or cocktail hour, where guests would be able to tour the exhibit and admire the stunning furniture, art and exclusive selecton of works by Tiffany Studios. Just image wandering through the enchanting hallways with a cocktail at YOUR wedding! We can’t think of anything more perfect.


The Murhpy and Driehaus Museum are historic gems and exclusive venues on Chicago’s event scene! This space is perfect for a smaller event guest list looking for a truly unique and elegant experience!



Wedding Child Care Options

Weddings are the best time to celebrate family, and we want to make sure that your event is fun for everyone, including the kids!  Whether it be planning a fun kids’ table at your venue or arranging sitters for each child, there are endless possibilities when it comes to making your little ones happy on the day of!

If you want to be able to hit the dance floor with the little tikes, a good way to incorporate them into the party is to have a kids’ table set with fun games and coloring books.  You can even give them special goodie bags full of wedding day mementos so they will never forget your special day.  Another option for on-site childcare is to organize a kids’ room at your venue with a babysitter ready to handle all of the little ones at once.  It is always nice for children to have a place to play fun games and do crafts.  One last option is to organize separate child care for each little one at their home or hotel.  We know that everyone has their own level of comfort with who they choose to take care of their children, but this can be a nice gesture for a bride to offer her guests. 

Here in Chicago there are many reputable organizations that help you handle sitters for your big day.  Sitters Studio offers group childcare at your venue as well as individual sitters for each little one at their home or hotel.  Their artistic sitters are sure to engage the little ones in artsy kids games and activities throughout the night.  American Childcare is another sitter service that specializes in creating a special on-site kids’ room that is sure to be a party in itself—fully equipped with age appropriate toys and educational activities.  One last service to note is Sitter City, a great website where guests can find babysitters for your big day.  

While we know it is not the bride’s responsibility to handle childcare for each guest’s child, it is always best to have as much information as possible while planning the details of the wedding day.  Whether responding to inquiring guests or organizing sitters for all of the young ones, we hope these resources help make the party fun for every member of the family! 



One Year Ago at the Beach


Chicago beach weddings are hard to come by and it’s hard to imagine anything more perfectly beachy than this. One year ago Big City Bride spent some time at the beach of this beautiful home. With a month-long load in we built the tent right on the beach and created a boardwalk to the family’s pool house. It was a laid back affair in the most elegant way possible. With natural elements throughout the decor, incredible lighting, an eclectic color palette and thoughtful details this wedding was one of a kind. Umbrellas, flip flops and sunglasses greeted guests for the shoreline ceremony. Frames hung from the trees around the pool deck for a fun photo booth opportunity.  Menu cards doubled as thank you notes, which were printed on paper thin wood, same as the escort cards and ceremony programs. All in all, it was an unforgetable Chicago beach wedding and Big City Bride looks back on it with so much love. It was a Chicago wedding that redefined the potential of the Windy City as a destination wedding location and Lake Michigan as the perfect beach for a wedding ceremony.
It certainly was a lot of work but it was worth every minute of the Chicago wedding planning process and month of set up. The family and the bride and groom were absolutely wonderful people and we miss working with them! Wishing them all the best as they celebrate their one year anniversary with their new baby bundle of joy!


This amazing woman turns the corner to THIRTY today! She brings so much energy, passion, drive, laughter, knowledge, creativity and love to the world. To know her is to love her. Chrissy is the woman behind so many of Chicago’s most renowned weddings and events. She is respected. She is admired. She is beloved. 

Today we wish her the happiest 30th birthday and hope she feels our love on this very special day. 


As always, Big City Bride is full of tips for all things wedding. There is magic behind every moment on wedding day – to pulling it off and making it seem effortless in all its perfection. We often joke that clients don’t know how good we are at our job because we work so tirelessly to make it seem easy and stress free. Sparklers are one of those moments that looks easy, sounds like a great idea, but has the potential to crash and burn. Here are the Chicago wedding planning tips of things to know before you attempt your sparkler get-a-way:

  • Buy at least two foot sparklers. You need enough time where they are all lit for a photo to work so length is important.
  • You may need to make a quick trip to Indiana!
  • Not every guest needs them. Plan on only your bridal party and close family being a part of this moment and wedding photo opportunity.
  • Plan this time into the evening to sneak outside – many couples don’t actually do this at the end of the night but quickly during dancing (you’re still looking good!)
  • Have a bucket of water ready. Drunk friends in close proximity should not play with sparklers.
  • Hire a Chicago wedding planner and let them manage the crazy moment!
  • Hire a Chicago wedding photographer who knows how to take the picture. It’s a true talent!