Planning the Bridal Shower

The celebrations leading up to your wedding should be memorable and unique. These events are an opportunity to build excitement for the main event–your wedding! And, a wonderful time to spend with family and friends.

A few tips from Chicago’s favorite wedding planner when planning your bridal shower are:  

  • Make it fun! Find ways to encourage guests to interact or plan surprises to keep things interesting.
  • Steer the focus away from opening gifts. Whether the bride opens gifts as guests are arriving or does it as an optional viewing at the end, avoid making it the highlight of the event.
  • Add bubbly! Cocktails make any party a little more fun.


To invite the groom and his guys or make it all about the bride?

Let the guys join! Make it a couple’s shower or have the groom and dads join at the end. Everyone loves to see the couple they are celebrating. Also, weekend time is precious and couples want to spend their free time together.  So, why not make it a party! A fun way to mix the genders is to plan a girl’s side (bubbly and bites) and a guys side (whiskey and BBQ) to start and bring everyone together half way through with an activity.


To theme or not to theme?

A theme could be as simple as creating theme dcor and a menu or as intricate as encouraging your guests to dress the part.

Themes we love…

  •  English Garden Tea Party (Encourage guests to wear a hat! Make the design floral and fancy. Decorate with tea pots of flowers and hand out tea as a favor.)
  • Fiesta (Do a salsa tasting station, mini margaritas, bright colors and bring in a surprise salsa dance instructor. Keep the vibe festive.)
  • Around the Clock (Assign everyone an hour of the day and encourage them to gift appropriately. It will make the gifts more unique and thoughtful ….and be a great conversation piece.)

Photo Credit: Chicago Riverbend Studio 

The Most Expensive Places to Get Married!


One of the hardest parts of our job is to explain the costs associated with a Chicago wedding. Big City Bride does not create the costs…but we can educate, prioritize and propose options for every element of your Chicago wedding day. Weddings are expensive and Chicago weddings cost more than most. The Knot magazine just released their 2014 bridal survey with the nation’s average wedding cost! According to the Knot’s latest study, couples spent an average of $31,213 on their big celebration. In comparison to last year, the average is up more than 4% from $29,858 in 2013! But, remember these are just the average! A city such as Chicago or New York will cost much more. In fact, Chicago’s national average is $50, 934 ranking the fifth most expensive to get married in the U.S.


The most important thing we hope you are able to take away from these numbers is to better understand where costs are coming from. In order to stay within your wedding budget it is important to prioritize and create a plan. One of the most conversations we have with our couples is BUDGET! Knowing, understanding and cooperating within your budget is key and will allow you to plan YOUR perfect wedding. Chicago wedding planners have a lot of responsibility. The logistics and challenges of city wedding planning, the increased costs and taxes, and the high taste and expectations make for amazing events. We are honored to be a part of the Chicago wedding industry and to have our hands in some of the very exciting Chicago weddings included in this survey (both below and above the average.) For anyone recently engaged or planning a wedding, take a look at this survey and share with friends and family! This will help you and your parents understand where costs come from. 



How to Have Finish Line Fun!

For those in the planning stages, one VERY important final detail you need to remember is to plan ahead (at least a week) so you can have FINISH LINE FUN! The week leading up to the wedding will be filled with family celebrations, out of town guests arriving and late night wine sessions with your bridesmaids. AND, this is exactly how it should be!  Don’t plan until the bitter end.  Give yourself a deadline to finish your wedding responsibilities and hand off the plans/pieces so you can enjoy this once in a lifetime experience! 

The best way to have a stress-free wedding week is to: 

  • Make a detailed wedding checklist of everything you’ll need for the wedding weekend.  
  • This list will include your attire, bridal party gifts, vendor tips, sentimental items, personal comfort kit of toiletries, etc.
  • Be specific and communicate plans with all necessary parties.
  • After the list is made, cross check your list with your wedding timeline to make sure you are covered for every moment of your special weekend.  


This is your wedding and your special time to celebrate this once in a lifetime event! So, to all our couples-embrace the small moments leading up to the wedding, don’t sweat over one hiccup and always always always remember the heart of the celebration is you marrying the love of your life! Happy planning!

Photo Credit: Gerber & Scarpelli