Wedding Music Videos

Wedding trends come and go…but the job of a good wedding planner is to be a step ahead of the wedding trends. When we find something fun and new we of course can’t help but share. To start your weekend off right we are happy to share this music video wedding film. Very popular in Ireland…we imagine this trend will soon make its way to Chicago. Once you watch it we think you’ll agree. This is pure fun.

Chicago Restaurant Week!

Chicago’s Restaurant Week is in full swing. All the wedding planners here at Big City have quite the passion for food and love exploring the amazing restuarants of Chicago. Restaurant Week is a 14 day dining event from January 24th through February 6th, 2014. Each restaurant participating will feature a three course, prix fixe menu starting at $22.00 for lunch and $33.00 and/or $44.00 for dinner, excluding beverages and tax/gratuity.

Attending Restaurant Week Chicago is a great way to explore restaurants or cuisine. There are 286 Chicago restaurants participating from Lincoln Park, to River North, and from West Town, to the North Suburbs. While reservations are not required, we highly recommend making them.

The planners here at Big City recommend newly engaged couples to check out Restaurant Week to begin their wedding tasting process! Whether you’re looking for the perfect place for a Chicago rehearsal dinner restaurant or a Chicago engagement party location … this opportunity can help you explore. 

Bon Appetite!

Postage Cost Increases

The cost of a wedding goes up every year, even if it is something as small as a stamp! Your favorite Chicago wedding planner is here to report that the cost of stampes are going up 3 cents on January 26, 2014! It may just be 3 cents, but when you are sending out print materials such as, Save the Dates, Invitations to bridal showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties and your Chicago wedding, those 3 cents will add up quickly! Just take note! If can get your Save the Dates in the mail by Saturday you can take advantage of the less expensive postage!

Print Materials are an important and creative part of wedding planning! Any invitations for wedding related events are great for letting friends and family know the series of events for your Chicago wedding. Sending out the perfect invitation is key because it sets the tone for your wedding. Here are some things to keep in mind…

  • Shape and Size do matter! Odd shapes and sizes do cost more to mail and most of the time need more than 1 stamp. Squares are beautiful but require extra postage.
  • The weight of your invitation has an effect on how many stamps you will need! The cardstock, paper layers and informational cards all add weight to your invitation. Often times becuase of the thickness they need to be hand fed rather than machine fed into the system.
  • Before you go to the post office with all of your invitations, it’s best to take just one to get weighed! This way you will know exactly how many stamps you will need and won’t catch yourself in a bind at the last minute!

If an ordinary stamp isn’t your style, then you can create a custom stamp for your wedding! Zazzle is a great resource for custom or specialty stamps. Just be sure if you are going to order custom stamps for your Chicago wedding invitations, to order enough! You don’t want to get stuck with not having enough stamps!


Ode to a Chicago Venue: River East Art Center Closing

It was a bittersweet weekend for Big City Bride as we said goodbye to one of our favorite Chicago wedding venues. After 9 years of wonderful events, we were sad to see it go. Though it seems impossible to be sad when surrounded by gorgeous decor and a joyous bride and groom, we found our eyes welling up as the night’s events unfolded.

River East Art Center is dear to our Chicago wedding planning hearts. Having had the most amazing birthday celebration that started the venue we have truly seen this venue through the years! What an era it has been! The brides and grooms, the decor, the dancing….the incredible moments and stories that happened here will never be forgotten! Here are a few Chicago wedding photos as we look back on all the incredible Chicago weddings at River East Art Center…









Once the news hit that the venue was closing their doors this winter we could not have been happier to have a holiday full of weddings here. We have no regrets….we were able to truly be creative, push the limits, try new things and explore the possibilities in this blank canvas of a venue.


Over the past 9 years, we have had the privilege to work with some amazing vendors at this space. We are so thankful for the time and dedication they took to make each Chicago event just as special and wonderful as the next! River East Art Center is a space that the Big City Bride team will dearly miss!

The Whitney Reynolds Show – Happily Ever Heiner

Your favorite Chicago wedding planner was on the set of the Whitney Reynolds Show today and it was filled with wedding tips and tricks! Our very own Susan Cordogan was feautred on the show as Whitney talked through the planning of her wedding – A Happily Ever Heiner Wedding!

Whitney talked through the steps she took to plan her Happily Ever Heiner wedding on the live set of her Television show. Wedding vendors came on set to chat with her about her wedding and to share their very own wedding tips and tricks! Everyone from the stylsit to the florist was on the live set to share some great insight on weddings.

As vendors talked about their wedding tips and tricks, Susan and Whitney also shared their experiences on all facists of planning your wedding! This live set was full of everything you need to know about planning your very own wedding!

Your favorite Chicago wedding planner shared some great tips and tricks that shouldn’t be missed! Make sure you tune into the Whitney Reynolds Show on PBS in April to see Susan and Whitney talk weddings and the Happily Ever Heiner Wedding!

Dani + Fei: A DJ Chicago Wedding

One of Chicago’s best weddings of the year, no question. It takes so much creativity and courage to break the wedding mold and create a day that is not only unique, but specific to the couple. Dani Deahl and Fei Tang planned the most elegantly edgy wedding you will ever see. To introduce this Chicago wedding we must first introduce this amazing Chicago couple. 

Dani Deahl is a music producer, blogger and world renowned DJ. Perhaps you’ve seen her perform at Lollapalooza (twice) or at Electric Daisy Carnival…just to name a few shows that impressed us! Fei Tang is also known as Phives, a beloved Chicago DJ as well. Fei is owner and resident DJ for Porn and Chicken Dance Party which has been named Chicago’s #1 dance party for the last three years.  To top it off, Fei is a partner in Red Door Chicago, a Bucktown restaurant absolutely worth checking out. 

You can read more about their wedding on Huffungton Post, theVinylDistrict, or in Chicago Social Brides most recent magazine issue:

But we’ll share more photos (thank you Caroline Dixey Photography) and more details because no magazine or article could possibly show you everything you need to see!


Designer and friend of the bride, James Sommerfeldt, designed Dani’s wedding shoes. Having also designed her Lollapalooza shoes Dani worked closely with James to design her completely custom shoes….finished with a blue insole. BHLDN desined Dani’s tea length dress which Dani accented with the ombre dyed sash by James. She chose a beautiful bridal bouquet of ranunculus flowers in a range of pinks.


You need to know their first date in order to know how perfect their wedding was. Dani & Fei’s first date was picking up cupcakes at Molly’s Cupcakes and sharing the love at Gramaphone Records for Record Store Day. We planned their wedding in the same sequence…with a pit stop at the Shedd Aquarium (since Fei loves it) for photos. Their wedding photos at Molly’s Cupcakes are playfully perfect (yes, there are swings!) From there they made their way in a pink party bus (to match the pink wedding theme inspired by Dani’s signature pink hair) to Gramaphone Records for their untraditional wedding ceremony. Parents of the bride and groom officiated the ceremony with brothers standing near by for a family only ceremony.  A record backdrop and pink aisle set the scene and windows were blocked by custom record posters. Rather than a unity candle they chose a ceremonial shot of Jameson to make it official. (Just a reminder…there are NO rules to wedding planning! Cheers to that!)




With Fei as a partner in Red Door it made perfect sense to show off the restaurant and the amazing food! A tent covered the courtyard and allowed for a magical dinner outside in May. Long tables were accented with gunmetal linens and black leather runners. Translucent chairs added a modern touch to the outdoor wedding. Two black chairs were reserved for the bride and groom. Ombre flowers took the decor from fuscia to white. Black and pink menus highlighted the incredible five course meal and each place setting was set with custom written pink fortune cookies (not just cute…actually delicious!) Custom designed wine bottles labeled with music genres helped guests find their seats. As candy lovers, they chose an epic display of pink and black sweets for their after 9 o’clock party guests….opening up the party to friends after their family focused dinner. 







After nine o’clock, Red Door and the tent filled with friends who filled the disco ball lighted dance floor as DJ friends rocked the party. Late night food was served, cake was cut and the photo booth opened. It was an absolutely celebration!



Below is a favorite shot from the end of the night. Claire Weller, Fei Tang, Dani Deahl and Dani’s mom Rosemary (please note she’s holding fried chicken, a late night snack.) These people are so kind and so creative. It was an asbolute treat getting to know this couple and their families. In fact, the fun didn’t end with the wedding…we then had the great priveledge of planning a corporate rave event to showcase Big Deahl Productions…Chicago’s premier tabletop production company (filming the most delicious and beautiful food and beverage TV commercials out there.)  It was a priviledge to work alongside these talented music producers, party producers and film producers…to produce such important events as their wedding! 

Wedding Planning: Big City Bride, Claire Weller

Photography: Caroline Dixey Photography

Wedding Ceremony: Gramaphone Records

Wedding Reception: Red Door Chicago

Custom Wedding Shoes & Ombre Sash: James Sommerfeldt

Wedding Dress: BHLDN

Cupcakes & Wedding Cake: Molly’s Cupcakes

Wedding Decor: KLA Designs

Tent: Tent Professionals



Theresa + Sam

Wedding photos capture the moments and create flippable and frameable art of your day. Wedding videos capture the words and actions…telling the story out loud. It’s so fun and so emotion to watch a wedding video because it pulls you right back into wedding day. It’s amazing how caught up you can get even watching a stranger’s wedding video. It’s okay! It’s not creepy 🙂 We do it all the time.

It’s so fun to share wedding videos and we’re thankful for Highway 61 Films for putting this together. Take a break and dive into Theresa and Sam’s amazing Chicago wedding day planned by Big City Bride. They chose the Chicago Cultural Center as their Chicago wedding venue and it was absolutely breathtaking. It’s fun to experience on screen how a wedding is celebrated in this history and public Chicago building.

Wedding Speeches: A Guide to Not Screwing Up Your Loved One’s Biggest Day

The wedding planners of Big City Bride manage every detail of wedding day but we do not write speeches and we do not deliver toasts. Once the microphone is in hand we can not tell you to speak louder, stop talking, or rethink the embarassing story. Public speaking is never easy and with a few cocktails prior even the best planned toast can take a slight turn for the worst. In an effort to be as thorough as possible we would love to share this candid and amazing advice from a dear friend:

If you have been asked to give a speech at a wedding, you need to read this.  If you are requesting to give a toast, you really need to read this because the expectations are even higher for you. All others — you’re excused for now, but save this because you may need it someday — and the information included here has no expiration date.
1) Speak up. Nothing will get people plowing into their salads faster than a speech they can’t hear.
2) Speak clearly and articulate.  This is not the time to sound like you’re chewing on a sock or to show off your nervous vocal pauses.  “Ummm, Nicole and I met back in college, and, ummmm, like, we…”  Salad.
3) Timing is everything. The equation for speech length is as follows, using a scale of 5-12: (delivery skill) x (quality of speech) = number of seconds you’re allowed to speak.  If you think you’re a 8 at delivery and your speech notes are a ten then go ahead and give yourself 80 seconds to do your thing. There is a bill in front of Congress to get this passed into law.
4) Check yourself and your surroundings. Check your hair, your teeth, your fly, your tie, your make-up.  Be calm, be engaging, be prepared. Can you be seen well?  If you’re using notes, know that the lighting may not be as good as it was when you wrote your speech so be sure your notes are easily readable, especially if you have/need glasses. On a related note, bring those glasses.  And just say no to having your notes on an electronic device like an iPad or worse yet, your phone.  Blech.
5) Know how to use a microphone.  If you’re not used to using one, find one and practice — especially if you want your speech to actually be heard.  Working a microphone doesn’t come naturally any more than delivering a speech to a room full of your closest loved ones along with complete strangers.  Good mic technique includes finding the distance from your mouth (which is usually about an inch!) where it produces the right volume for the room, then KEEPING IT RIGHT THERE…The. Whole. Time.  If you turn your head, the mic needs to follow, otherwise it will sound like you just got tackled mid-sentence.
6) Private jokes and rambling. If I may quote Steve Martin in Planes, Trains & Automobiles, “Here’s a good idea — have a point.  It makes it so much more interesting for the listener!”  Reminiscing about things and events to which guests cannot relate or where there’s no comedic value is a sure fire way to lose your audience.  “Tony, remember that time when we were at Denny’s and, that girl, what was her name? Anyway, she…”
7) Insensitive, inappropriate and off-color content.  If you’re writing your speech thinking, “Oh man I wonder if I should bring up ________.”  The answer is no.  Your loved one’s wedding day is not the time to test market your low-percentage material.
8) The crying game. Women, don’t feel obligated to cry. If you do, get a grip, take a moment to regroup. Hyperventilating through your speech isn’t going to make the video highlight reel. Gentlemen, your Man Card is not in jeopardy if you get choked up but you sure better pull through it fast!
9) Bring a drink with you. It seems like such a simple thing but many people forget to do it, especially since the mic goes in one hand and the speech goes in the other. Remember, it’s a toast, so when you’re done, don’t forget to toast!  Have that drink ready and waiting to make a seamless end to your speech.
10) Big City Bride’s Hierarchy of Wedding Speeches.  It goes like this (whenever possible): Father of the Bride, Best Man, Maid of Honor, Bride & Groom, Father of the Groom. Not everyone can have a shot at the mic. If there are too many people with something to say, open the floor at the rehearsal dinner. For some speeches, this is an even more appropriate setting.
Together we can put an end to wedding speech disasters!  Please share this with anyone who is preparing to grab the mic and anyone who deserves a hard time for grabbing it when they shouldn’t have!