Interactive Wedding Ideas!



A strong trend in recent years, and one we do not see going away, is mixing traditional and non-traditional elements to your wedding day. There is a time and a place to incorporate non-traditional trends like food trucks, marquee signs, etc.  Decide where you are comfortable breaking the mold and where you want to incorporate trends in your wedding. Many couples prefer to keep the ceremony traditional, but will add more flair to the dinner, dancing or late-night portion of their weddings. A few interative ideas for your wedding that will make your celebration very unique:

·       Get creative for cocktail hour and do wine tasting or craft beer tasting. 

·       If outdoor, consider adding some games to cocktail hour.

·       Hire Dueling pianos to play for cocktail hour.   Focus on love songs or encourage requests!

·       Add surprises like a confetti cannon, bottle flares, light up champagne bottles, glow ice cubes and other fun props.

·       Have fun with introductions! I love the idea of having the couple emcee their bridal party introductions adding commentary, jokes, appropriate music, etc.   This way the bride + groom get to see all the introductions rather than hiding in the back waiting to be announced.

·       Plan a trash the dress shoot so you can get all those gorgeous photos without the stress of a wedding day.  And be sure to plan out your photos by bringing props like a “thank you sign” sparklers, umbrellas, confetti, etc.

·       The interactive guest book can be achieved in so many fun ways…

o   Mad libs cards

o   Photobooth strips with stickers, markers, etc.

o   Instagram wall

o   Wine bottle wishes Writing a wedding wish on a magnum bottle of vino that the couple will drink for their special anniversaries.

o   Quilt patch wishes that are sewn together to make a blanket

o   Almost Think of a “guest book’ that will be more fun the longer you are married! 


A New Take on the Wedding Cake


Rather than having the towering layers of traditional wedding cake, we are seeing many couples opting to do smaller “photo op” cake and spice up the dessert table! When we say “photo op” cake we mean a small “ceremonial” cake to use for the traditional purposes of cutting your cake together, but that’s it! This cake can be wrapped up by the catering staff and sent home for a late night snack, but this cake will not be served. Instead, couples are offering guests a variety of sweet treats. The dessert picks can even be a personal touch on your wedding. Do you have a favorite dessert or candy as a couple? Maybe a signature date night dessert? Whatever it may be, think about including this special sweet treat for your celebration. If you are looking to add a modern detail to your wedding, an assorted dessert table is the perfect option. Big City Bride weddings have seen some very creative dessert options lately.

New takes on weddings cakes include…

·    Macaroon tower

·    Cupcake stand

·    Pie Station

·    Plated desserts like crme brulee, tiramisu, etc.

·    S’more Bar

·    “Sweets Lounge” (an sectioned off area with lounge furniture + yummy desserts)

·    Or the ever popular “Candy Bar” featuring a variety of sugar sensations


A candy station paired with assorted desserts and a “photo-op cake!”

Photo Credit: Caroline Dixey Photography


Cupcakes to grab or cupcakes to-go! A fun option of a mini-cupcake tower or Sprinkles indivually packaged cupcakes. 

Photo Credit: Riverbend Studio (left) Edenhurst Studio (right)

A display so pretty you (almost) don’t want to touch it! Mixing up the dessert options with cake pops, macaroons and much more!

Photo Credit: Robyn Rachel Photography 

Give Your Wedding a Hashtag

Give your wedding a hashtag. The term “hashtag” has become wildly popular, but have you ever thought of using it on your wedding day? Incorporating a personalized hashtag into your special celebration is an instant way to catch a glimpse of your magical day. We see guests capturing the entire night on their smart phones. Those who plan to upload a picture on Instagram or Twitter can include your wedding hashtag in the caption. Once the #weddinghashtag is included, you can search this at anytime and find a stream of photos. These photos are different from the shots your photographer(s) will capture. These pictures are your bridesmaids taking a selfie on the trolley, your groomsmen waiting for ceremony to begin, your guests enjoying cocktail hour or your favorite wedding planner capturing behind-the-scenes work! These photos capture the moments of wedding day. Our favorite way to make guests aware of your personalized hashtag is using signage! Place cute signs on your bars, sweet table, escort card table, etc. encouraging guests to share their wedding day photos.   Take it a step further and do an Instagram wall where all guests take photos in front of a backdrop and post to social media.  It becomes an instant guest book and photo album of all guests who attended your wedding.  Be creative with your wedding hashtag. Past Big City Bride wedding hash tags:

·      new last name or both last name combination #thekeneficks

·      if your last name rhymes with something–use it #scarpediem2014 

·      incorporate wedding location #jzatthezoo (wedding was at Caf Brauer)

·      something simply fun #kkspartyparty #goteamranney #staleyshindig


Wedding hashtags are an instant way to see your wedding! Search any of these past Big City Bride hashtags to see what we mean. A hashtag is a fun and easy wedding detail to add some extra magic to your beautiful celebration.


A Glimspe of Wedding Day!


There is always a moment after wedding day where we pause, look around and cannot believe the day is over. Half-exhausted and half-energized we use this moment to be extremely grateful for our beautiful clients and the magical celebration we were able to be apart of. As wedding planners, we become apart of a couples wedding months in advance. We have the opportunity to get to know their love story, plan each moment and know every detail. The wedding comes faster than one can imagine and the celebration is always perfect. Our hearts are filled with joy knowing our couple exits their wedding completely in love with everything that was orchestrated.

After the wedding comes the anxious wait of wedding photos and wedding videos! Big City Bride works with the most talented and trusted wedding photographers and videographers in Chicago and beyond. These industry professionals capture each moment beautifully. Browsing through galleries and watching  romantic videos gives us the goosebumps all over again. This week we are so excited to share two very special wedding videos. Daniel Boswell created the most romantic film capturing Michael + Emily’s love perfectly. Delack Media Group produced the most amazing 2-minute wedding trailer mixing glimpses of Chicago with wedding magic. These videos are beyond amazing. We feel truly blessed to work with such amazing professionals and clients. We love our job and we are so thankful for each wedding we are apart of!

Watch and share these amazing wedding videos!!

Video Credit: Delack Media Group Julianna + Jeff’s wedding video:

Video Credit: Daniel Boswell Emily + Michael’s wedding video:

Calling All Brides! Casting Call!


CASTING CALL! Cara G Casting, LLC is currently looking for brides that are getting married next year for a new television series. They are interested in brides that also have other friends getting married in the same year. These friends do not need to live in the same city and they can be nationwide. They are looking for brides working with a high-end, big wedding budget. Cara G Casting is looing for REAL brides attending multiple luxurious weddings this year. 

IF INTERESTED: Email: with: your name, age, location and wedding date. ALSO, include a picture of you and your fianc.


Contemporary Meets Edgy

Every morning we enter our cozy Lincoln Park office and begin another day of phone calls, emails and wedding planning. The best part of our job is working with our clients and embracing a new adventure each day. Every wedding planning experience is completely different, which is why we absolutely love our job! Our clients explain their vision and we RUN with it.

Crystal Moriarty brought her clients vision to life with this edgy Chicago wedding.  The vision: contemporary red, black and white dcor. Crystal perfectly tailored each detail around this vision creating the most beautiful red, black and white room we have ever laid eyes on. Textured white linens paired with black lace runners. The space was contemporary, edgy and completely unique. Vibrant red roses were the flowers of choice matching the lip color of our bridal party. The girls wore a mix of black dresses with classic pearl bracelets. The flower girl wore the most adorable floral crown tied with black velvet material.  

Chicago wedding photographer, Studio This Is perfectly captured the magic of this special celebration. Here are a few photos they’ve shared…  






PHOTO CREDIT: Studio This Is


Here are a few pictures Big City Bride captured throughout the night:



This adorable corner was designed for the kids to enjoy the wedding too! Red, black and white bean bags…we LOVE!


This beautiful celebration was such an amazing night…and we are so thankful we were able to plan and design our couples dream wedding. Stay tuned for the full wedding album! More photos can be found on Instagram: #goteamranney

RSVP to The Knot Market Mixer

It’s that time of year again! Time to celebrate with our wonderful friends at The Knot for Chicago Market Mixer 2014. This is a wonderful opportunity for the wedding industry to join together, network, socialize and simply enjoy a beautiful conversation. It is no secret in the wedding industry our weekends are BUSY, this mid-week soiree is the perfect opportunity to make new contacts and enjoy a night out! It has been a pleasure planning this event and we CANNOT wait for tomorrow! Secure your spot: We hope to see you there!! 

The ladies of BCB enjoying last years Knot Market Mixer!


Insight From A Bride Wishing She Hired A Wedding Planner

The Huffington Post shared insight from a bride who didn’t hire a planner, but in hindsight wished she had. This article is insightful and hits the nail on the head. Our job is to be your guide throughout the process, not “take” anything away from this special time in your life. We are your wedding expert, stylist, financer, secretary, soundboard, and often a moderator.   We are your everyday support throughout the process. We are armed with endless resources and tools. This is YOUR wedding and YOUR day. We are there to make sure the wedding is perfectly tailored to your dreams. We are the ones communicating to vendors your wedding vision. We get to know you as a couple and frame the planning off that. Please share this article with anyone you know who is newly engaged or planning their wedding. 

*We do not own any rights to this article. This article was originally published at and can be found on Huffington Post Weddings.

In the early stages of preparing for our big day, we decided not to employ the services of a wedding planner… but in hindsight, oh, how I wish we had!

Why we didn’t
We had very little debate about whether or not to bring a wedding planner on board. Quite simply, I wanted us to handle all the preparations and vendor research ourselves. I thought it would be fun to do the research, and also felt that us looking into the suppliers was the only way to know all the options… so that we could make a truly informed decision and ensure we got the style we liked at the most reasonable price — not simply a wedding planner’s “usual” contacts. My groom was more than happy with this conclusion, since it saved us an extra line item in our bridal budget… and we were indeed worried that a wedding planner would be quite expensive.

Why we wish we had
• Wedding tasks aren’t always fun. Sure, it’s a ball to ooh and aah over cake designs, but there’s nothing enjoyable about researching mini-buses for guest transport or making seating charts. There isn’t much joy in reviewing vendor contracts or keeping track of payments, either. Contrary to what I had thought, hiring a wedding planner doesn’t mean outsourcing your entire wedding; a wedding planner only handles what you want them to (support at the start to get you on the right track, on-the-day coordination only, or indeed the whole shebang) so won’t take over and choose your final bouquet design for you. So if do you want to drive your wedding planning, you can focus on the fun parts… and leave the boring bits to someone else.

• Wedding planning is stressful. Wedding planning is not the romantic experience one expects it to be. There are many details to take care of, meddling family and friends might drive you crazy and vendors can be a source of drama. During our engagement, several recently married friends told me that in the final month before the wedding they had been so exhausted that they just wanted the day to be over. This ended up being true for me: in the final week I lost five pounds from stress, burst into tears a few times and my groom and I were snapping at each other. This is not how anyone’s planning should be. Bringing on board a professional planner to help and take some of the workload off our hands definitely would have made sense (and they probably could have given advice on managing family drama).

• We weren’t that great at choosing vendors after all. Despite thinking that researching vendors ourselves was the only way to ensure we could make the best supplier decisions, this didn’t work out so swimmingly. Out of 15 or so wedding day vendors, there were only three that we were actually totally happy with… and some others we were extremely unhappy with. When we started out planning, we had organized less than one wedding… why did we think our judgment would be better than that of a professional, who has seen these vendors in action at more than one (and perhaps several, and perhaps many!) weddings? Why did I think a planner would force us into choosing a vendor we weren’t completely happy with?

• We didn’t know what to look for in a vendor. Other than a little Google research before interrogating potential vendors via email, we really had no idea what to ask. For example, after contacting 20 different hairdressers for quotes, I realized I had to specify if I was planning an up- or down-do to get accurate pricing… so had to email them all over again. We asked cake makers for price quotes for a three-tier cake, but it didn’t occur to us to ask about the height of the tiers… until two months before the wedding, when we found out the “magnificent” wedding cake we were paying hundreds of dollars for was only nine inches tall, and we’d now have to shell out twice as much money to get it to the grandeur that we wanted.

• Wedding planning takes time. Until you really get into the preparations for your big day, it is impossible to fathom how much work is involved and how many details need to be taken care of. I know brides who have taken leave from work in order to have more time to prepare their weddings. If you work long hours, have lots of hobbies or have children to look after, and don’t want to be completely drowning in to-do lists during your engagement, a wedding planner handling some of those tasks for you could be a real lifesaver. Also, you really don’t want to get in trouble at the office by getting caught doing wedding planning on company time!

• Things do go wrong at the last minute. The day before the wedding, the baker for our cake buffet claimed they never received our order, and our dance floor provider phoned halfway through our bridal party lunch claiming they hadn’t been paid. That night while setting up the reception room, we realized one table setting was missing, so had to frantically call the decorator for extra chair decorations, and re-confirm guest numbers with the kitchen. Tiny things, but they were unnecessary and brought a general feeling of stress on a day my groom and I had planned to be lovely and relaxing. Someone to handle those details for us would have been amazing. We were lucky nothing went wrong on the wedding day itself, but — yikes! — what if something had?

• A wedding planner can help with costs. The imagined price for a wedding planner was a reason we decided against hiring one. However, here are two things that I realized in hindsight: 1) Planners know what different services cost, and can better spot when a vendor price is exorbitantly high or too good to be true. They know most local wedding vendors, and can help you get the best value for your budget. 2) As with any other wedding vendor, you will agree in advance what services you want from your planner and how much that will cost. It is not in their interest to hand you a bill at the end of the wedding that you can’t afford to pay. Wish we’d realized all that earlier!

• It can be difficult to find help elsewhere. There is much to do in preparing your special day, so without a planner you either must ask help from others or handle everything yourselves. Occasionally we asked our family or bridal party to help, but none actually themselves offered assistance, so we soon felt awkward asking. On the wedding day, when my groom should have chilling out, he was driving all over town picking up cakes and buttonholes, and when he arrived at the ceremony had to set up our refreshments table. We asked one friend to reach the ceremony early so she could SMS us that the officiant, musicians and decorator had arrived on time. These are all tasks that an on-the-day wedding planner could have coordinated for us, rather than burdening ourselves or our guests.

At the beginning of your wedding planning, sit down as a couple and consider how much time, how much budget and how many helpers you have available for big-day preparations. Consider which areas you could do with professional support, and which planning areas you’re less interested in and happy to outsource to someone. Look into wedding planners in your local area; even if you’re hesitant, it won’t cost you anything to give them a call and find out the range and price of their services. It could be your best way to a smoother, less stressful and more romantic wedding planning experience.

This post was originally published at Follow the Reflective Bride on Facebook and Twitter.


Rent the Runway for Bridesmaids

Brides are being more daring when it comes to their maids’ attire. We are seeing bold color palettes, unique designs and even different styles. A new twist on the bridemaid gown is to rent couture gowns for a fraction of the price via Rent the Runway. If you haven’t been on this website yet…check it out! This website allows gals to search thousands of couture gowns by size, color, length, style, formality, etc.   Maids or even moms can wear these gorgeous frocks without breaking the bank.  How it works?…The dresses are shipped out to the renter in two sizes, pressed and ready to wear!  Rent the Runway is even a great option for guests. Many of you have numerous wedding obligations each year. Lots of family members and friends tying the knot…Rent the Runway allows you to save some cash and still look fabulous! A little perk…you can keep the garment bag that comes with the gown.  The downside…saying goodbye to a gorgeous gown as you mail it back. 

For any Chicago brides: Chicago’s New Flagship store IS OPEN!!!!!! 


Single Event (45 min)
Multiple Events (90 min)
Fit Guarantee
Pick Up
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Location: 710 N. Wabash Avenue Chicago, IL 60611