2016 is moving fast! Can you believe it is already March?! Spring is here, which means wedding season is not too far behind! To all our newly engaged couples – stay on top wedding planning. First things first ….is your date set? If so, get the word out! Sending Save-the-dates will allow you to “claim your date!” This wedding essential is often viewed as a detail that can be ignored, but as a wedding planner – this is VERY important. Why? Well, many engaged couples have friends who are tying the knot too! Avoid this by spreading the word by sending a save the date. If you are tight on budget, send an E-save-the-date.  This is eco-friendly and cost-efficient. In addition, save-the-dates can be engagement photos, photo collage, post cards, coasters, flat cards, magnets, etc.! Be creative!

Once a save-the-date is sent, you will later follow up with the wedding invites. WARNING: begin your invitations early – they take longer than you’d expect. Trust us, you will want them early…this way you will have enough to give time to receive the RSVP’s so you can create your guest table seating without being rushed.  AND, last but not least, be sure to have the post office weigh them before mailing! You don’t want any surprises when you go to send them out. Happy planning, XOXO!


Chicago Wedding Planner – Why We Love Our Job!

Happy Friday! We are so excited to be featured on Chicago Wedding DJs blog. We worked alongside their fabulous team at the ChicagoStyle launch party. Read through our interview below or find the original here! Claire Weller explains how she got started and why Big City Bride is so unique!

Q: What first inspired you to help wedding couples as a Chicago Wedding Event Planner for their wedding celebration?

A: I’ve always had a heart and a mind for creative projects…but never saw myself working alone as an artist. With a love of people and a smile for hospitality, I thought I’d give weddings a try. Being a wedding planner allows me to love on people, be creative and celebrate amazing moments! What more could you hope for?

Q: What inspires you today?

A: Happiness. It’s so magical to be a part of a very happy day. The happiness I see on wedding day is unlike any other…it’s powerful and palpable and emotional…and the reason I do this job!

Q: What do you love most about your job?

A: I love wedding day. I love that through the months of planning my couples become dear friends and I get to make sure they have the best day of their lives. All of the stressful planning and tiny details come together for an unforgettable day. My adrenaline pumps, I have endless energy, I never stop smiling and I’m in my groove all day long.

Q: What the best advice anyone has ever given you?

A: Never give up. We always joke that you must collect your “no’s” before your “yes’s”! It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you’re persistent.

Q: What advice do you have for our readers?

A: Figure out what is important to you and stay true to your priorities. Every bride is different and therefore so is every wedding. Remember to focus on what matters to you.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of a wedding reception?

A: I love any moment charged with emotion. Father of the bride speeches, best friend toasts, first dances, when a couple sees the room for the first time…. it’s all amazing to me!

Q: You are a planner with Big City Bride. Tell me about the company and what makes Big City Bride unique?

A: We are a team and I’m so lucky to have the support of 5 other planners. We all work full time in our Lincoln Park planning studio. We share our experiences, knowledge, contacts and ideas. We support each other through planning and on wedding days. Wedding planning is not an easy job so I feel blessed to have a strong team alongside me.

Planning Your Valentine’s Day Proposal & What to Do Next!


Valentine’s Day is only day behind Christmas for the most marriage proposals. 10% of couple’s choose this holiday to make it official. Chances are you know a couple that could or should take the proposal plunge.
Here are tips to help prepare and plan for the perfect proposal:
  • DO hire a proposal planner. Yes, this is becoming a thing! Just as you would hire a wedding planner to orchestrate the details of your big day, hiring a proposal planner ensures perfect production for your movie moment. They can also be on hand to capture the proposal on video and in photos.
  • DO beat the clich Valentine’s Day proposal…Skip the table-side champagne and stay away from horse drawn carriages. While your honey may love fairytales, give (s)he a great engagement story that you will BOTH be proud to tell over and over again!
  • DO use the special night as an opportunity for a surprise engagement party. Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest “going out” nights of the year, so invite all your friends & family to meet up for a celebratory cocktail and make it aninsta-engagementparty. OrplanaV-Daypartyvs.aromanticdinner:Haveyourfriendsover,shewon’tbe expecting a proposal, but will be thrilled when all of her faves are there to celebrate.
VALENTINE’S DAY MARKS THE END OF “ENGAGEMENT SEASON”…and as Chicago wedding planners we say it’s last chance to plan a 2016 wedding.
While our list could go on and on, here are a few pros of fast wedding planning most people don’t know about:
  • Lock in lower costs! Many venues and vendor pricing increases each year. Snagging a 2016 date will ensure lower costs!
  • Negotiate Vendors – they will be happy to fill their 2016 event calendar. And, let’s face it – Less time for decisions, means less time to stress!
  • Claim “Married” on your 2016 Tax Return.


Photo Credit: Robyn Rachel Photography

Wishing everyone the most loving and fun Valentine’s Day weeknd! Hugs to all our couples celebrating their FIRST Valentine’s Day as a married couple!

XOXO – Big City Bride!

Crafting Your Chicago Wedding Welcome Bag

A great way to kick off your Chicago wedding weekend is to welcome your family and friends with a Chicago welcome bag. Wedding welcome bags are a way to introduce your city to all your guests. They will be excited to explore and love trying some of your city favorite treats. 

Here are some fun ideas to include in your Chicago wedding welcome bags…
• A welcome letter is a great way to thank your guests for traveling near and far to help celebrate your big day. Some guests may not bring the wedding invitation from home and giving them a weekend itinerary will help them stay on track for all the wedding weekend festivities.
• Include a Chicago visitor’s guide! Share with your guests your favorite restaurants, bars, stores and Chicago attractions. They will love the opportunity to explore a new city with first hand recommendations.
• Don’t forget about the goods! Including Chicago snacks can put a nice touch on your welcome bag. Some great Chicago treats to include are: Frango Mints, Jay’s Potato Chips, Garretts Popcorn, and Cracker Jacks. Additionally, guests will love bottled water and local craft beer!
IMPORTANT: Before making your wedding welcome bags, reach out to your hotel and ask them the following:

·      What is the cost of wedding welcome bags?

·      Will they be delivered to the room or handed out at the front desk when guest arrives?

·      Are there any restrictions I should know about?

Your Chicago wedding planner will take care of all this for you, but if you are managing this yourself make sure to notify the hotel and finalize payment before dropping the bags off. The last thing you want the week of your wedding is scrambling to tie up loose ends. 

Although wedding welcome bags may seem like extra work, they are a fun and personal touch to add to your wedding weekend. Instead of putting all of this on you, the couple, ask your families for help! Make an evening out of it. They will feel honored you asked and love to give a helping hand. 
Photo Credit: Chicago Wedding Photographer Robyn Rachel Photography 
Our bride and her mother-in-law put together the cutest wedding welcome bags EVER! Not a detail was missed and our bride personalized everything. Guests felt so special opening their surprise!

Just Engaged? How to Plan a 2016 Wedding!

Just engaged and feeling lost? Once the initial shock passes and you and your fianc starting thinking about your wedding the most important question to answer right now is do you want to plan a 2016 or 2017 wedding. 2016 Saturdays in Chicago have been booking a year out, however, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are all gone. If you are hoping to celebrate your nuptial in 2016 there is still time!!! First things first, hire a professional. A Chicago wedding planner can help you plan and act fast. We have inside resources and great relationships with Chicago venues. We can help you venue search, book and secure FAST! Another option to consider is marrying on a Friday or Sunday. If you love a venue and it fits your guest count and budget, don’t rule it out because it doesn’t have a Saturday! Consider a Friday or Sunday – you’ll have more dates to choose from and it is possible the rental fee may be lower!

Once you have booked your venue, you can secure a ceremony time, hotels and hire your priority vendors. Planning fast does not have to stressful and you can still plan the perfect day. For anyone needing planning assistance Big City Bride Chicago wedding planners would love to plan your special day!


Chicago Restaurant Week is HERE!

Foodies rejoice! Chicago’s Restaurant Week has arrived and we can’t wait to see what our city’s tops chefs have in store. Big City Bride is an office of Chicago wedding planning foodies. We love food and we love Chicago restaurants. We especially love all the opportunities Chicago wedding caterers provide to customize the most amazing wedding menus for our brides and grooms. As Chicago wedding planners (…who have been spoiled by some of Chicago’s best catering chefs!), we have very high standards when it comes to food. This years list is stacked and we cannot wait to take advantage! 


2016 Illinois Marriage License Information

2016 weddings are underway and we anxiously await the ones to come. For those marrying in 2016 don’t forget the most important document for your day, your marriage license! Below find all the information you will need if you are tying the knot in Illinois. 

How to Apply:
Must apply together, in person, at one of the below offices 
Bring current and valid identification (driver’s license, passport, military ID, etc)
Fill out and sign a marriage license application
Pay $60 fee (cash and most major credit and debit cards are accepted)
Applicants divorced within the last 6 months must present certified decree of divorce
Where to Apply:
Downtown Chicago – Daley Center – 50 W. Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602 -Call: (312) 603-7790
East Concourse (Lower) Level – 25 -Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for all services 
Wednesday 4:30pm to 7:00pm Marriage and Civil Union Licenses Only 
North suburbs – Skokie – 5600 W. Old Orchard Road, Skokie, IL 60077 Call: (847) 470-7233
Room 149 – Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for all services 
Wednesday 4:30pm to 7:00pm Marriage and Civil Union Licenses Only 
Northwest suburbs – Rolling Meadows – 2121 Euclid Ave. Rolling Meadows, IL 60008 Call: (847) 818-2850
Room 238 -Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for all services  
Wednesday 4:30pm to 7:00pm Marriage and Civil Union Licenses Only 
West suburbs – Maywood – 1311 Maybrook Square, Room 104, Maywood, IL 60153 Call: (708) 865-6010
Room 104 -Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for all 
Wednesday 4:30pm to 7:00pm Marriage and Civil Union Licenses Only 
South suburbs – Markham -16501 S. Kedzie, Markham, IL 60426 Call: (708) 232-4150
Room 238 – Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for all services 
Wednesday 4:30pm to 7:00pm Marriage and Civil Union Licenses Only 
Southwest suburbs – Bridgeview- 10220 S. 76th Ave. Bridgeview, IL 60455 Call: (708) 974-6150
Room 238 – Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for all services 
Wednesday 4:30pm to 7:00pm Marriage and Civil Union Licenses Only 
Closed on the following dates in 2016: 
Jan 1, Jan 18, Feb 12, Feb 15, Mar 7, May 30, July 4, Sept 5, Oct 10, Nov 11, Nov 24, Dec 26
Marriage Licenses are:
Issued the same day, while you wait.
Effective on the following calendar day after they are issued
Valid for 60 days 
Effective only in Chicago and suburban Cook County
Chicago wedding photographer: Stoffer Photography 

Chicago Wedding Venue: Villa D’Citta

We are always on the hunt for new Chicago venues or spaces to transform. We recently found one located in our very own backyard – Villa D’ Citta! This charming B&B would make the perfect space for an intimate wedding or special event. Villa D’Citta brings the vintage, comfortable, yet luxurious styles of Europe to Chicago. This boutique mansion has stolen our hearts and we are already envisioning the beautiful memories to be made here. 


Photo Credit: Villa D’Citta

We so look forward to working in this venue and would love to plan your wedding or event here! 

Happy Holidays!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! As we wrap up 2015 and prepare for the holidays, we must take a moment to let all of you know how thankful we are for your friendship and support.  It has been a whirlwind of a year. Weekend after weekend we have had the privilege of watching beautiful love stories unfold.

Here are just a few weddings from this year we have had the honor of planning! So many smiles….so much love! 




We couldn’t have such successful wedding days without the help of an amazing team of vendors. Thank you to all of our wedding ninjas! We are so lucky to have such a strong team by our sides. Also, BIG hugs to all of amazing photographers – thank you for allowing us to relive wedding days!

It has been a busy year and for that we are thankful. With almost every Chicago wedding venue under our belt, we are so ready to tackle 2016! Simply, but sincerely we wish you a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays! Thank you for making our year so special. Wishing you all the best! XOXO BCB TEAM!

Modern Luxury Brides: Real Wedding Feature

This couple. Their love. This wedding. This Modern Luxury Brides feature is bringing back ALL the feels! It was an incredibly special June wedding day planned by Big City Bride and Chrissy Magliano. A timeless wedding dress, beautiful bride, handsome groom, incredible love story, swoon-worthy decor and rocking team of vendors! 
BIG thanks to Modern Luxury Brides for the feature! It is an honor to see our work in your publication.