Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum


It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Holiday season arrived and while it often proves to be one of the busiest times of the year, it is incredibly special. As Chicago wedding planners we LOVE this time of year! This is our “booking” season. So many couples are engaged during holidays and their wedding planning journey begins. For those newly engaged and looking for a 2016 Chicago wedding date Big City Bride can help. As far as celebrating the holiday season, our friends at The Morton Arboretum have filled us in on their tree light festivities. This is such a magical event to attend and is the perfect way to get into the holiday season. This is also a beautiful venue to wed and you might consider it for your special day! Find more information here

From The Morton Arboretum…

Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum returns this November  with more lights, sights and sounds that will transform a Chicago-area wintertime walk in the woods into a colorful, inspiring experience like no other.  

From November 20, 2015 to January 2, 2016, visitors are once again invited to walk Illumination’s one-mile path, surrounded by 50 acres of trees bathed in theatrical LED lighting in shades of vivid electric blue, hot pink and neon green. Along the way, a series of “experiences”–programmed lighting, video and sound seamlessly integrated into the landscape–encourage visitors to see trees in a different light. Visitors can interact with trees that respond to voice or touch, find out how a tree responds to a big hug, or control the action of videos projected upon the Arboretum’s towering trees.

“With cutting-edge lighting and sound, Illumination not only amplifies the unique beauty of trees in the wintertime, it also offers visitors of all ages the unique opportunity to connect with the trees around them,” said Sue Wagner, vice president of education and information at The Morton Arboretum. “Last year, visitors came from every corner of the country to see the magic of Illumination. With new experiences and enhancements to our most popular elements, the 2015 season offers surprises for both new and returning visitors.”

Brand new experiences in 2015 include dazzling lighting effects on Meadow Lake, and Ornament Hill, where a series of glowing orbs of varying colors and sizes placed on the Arboretum’s Frost Hill create a glittering vista visible from many locations on the trail.


Several Illumination experiences will be updated with new effects, including:

?      Symphony Woods – The music and light experience of Symphony Woods will feature a new program, with updated music recorded by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra;

?      Garden of Light – Music has been added to LED lights moving in sync with music over the Arboretum’s historic hedge garden, for a stunning multi-sensory experience;

?      Tree Harmony – This year, singing to the trees will activate a series of programmed LED lights that rain down from the trees like shiny strands of tinsel.

Many other fan-favorite Illumination experiences will be updated for the 2015 season, including Hug a Tree, where visitors can hug a tree and watch it respond, Crystal Promenade, where 24 beautiful chandeliers of varying sizes lightthe forest, and Seasons Greetings, where visitors control the movements of a projected image using towering hemlock trees as a giant movie screen. 

Illumination tickets go on sale October 1, 2015. For more information about Illumination: Tree Lights at The MortonArboretum, visit

About Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum brings light and nature together for a wintertime walk in the woods like no other. Illumination invites visitors to see trees in a different light on a one-mile walk surrounded by 50 acres of the Arboretum’s trees, brought to life with LED lights, interactive elements and sound. Live entertainment and warming stations add to the wintertime experience. Featured in local and national media including Cond Nast Traveler and USA Today, Illumination has quickly become a winter tradition, welcoming more than 210,000 visitors from 40 states since its 2013 debut season. The event is built in partnership with noted experiential lighting designers Lightswitch, and features energy-efficient, eco-friendly LED lighting.


About The Morton Arboretum

Established in 1922, The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized outdoor tree museum and tree research center located in Lisle, Illinois. As the champion of trees, The Arboretum is committed to scientifically informed action, both locally and globally, and encouraging the planting and conservation of trees for a greener, healthier, more beautiful world. On 1,700 acres are 220,000 plant specimens representing 4,100 different kinds of plants, along with specialty gardens, educational exhibits, the award-winning Children’s Garden, 16 miles of hiking trails and the Visitor Center, featuring The Arboretum Store and the Gingko Restaurant and Caf. The Morton Arboretum is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, welcoming more than 932,000 visitors and serving 39,250 member households in 2014. Learn more at


Thank you to  The Morton Arboretum for providing the information for this post!

Winter Wedding in Chicago

Well Chicagoeans, the time has come! Our first snowfall has blanketed the city and it’s beginning to look a lot like the holiday season. While the typical “busy wedding season” has passed, Chicago wedding planners begin a new term – WINTER WEDDINGS! Cue the cozy comfort foods, warm signature cocktails and dreamy snow wedding photos. While a winter wedding is not for every couple, there are many pros to consider for those who have not landed on a wedding date yet:

·       2016 wedding dates are going FAST! It is no secret Chicago wedding dates are hard to snatch up, however, during the winter months there are still prime Saturday dates available at some of Chicago’s best wedding venues. 

·       For those on a tighter budget, a winter wedding can help lower costs! It is not peak wedding season, so some vendors will have different pricing because of less demand. Explore this option!

·       Your wedding will be much anticipated! Guests will be eager to ditch the snow boots and dance the night away in fancy formal wear.

·       Beautiful snowy bliss! Chicago is beautiful in all seasons, but there is something extra magical about sparkling white snow falling from the sky. Although it will be cold, you can make the most out of a photo tour. Connect with your photographer, have a detailed plan and make sure bridesmaids are wrapped up in a cozy pashmina or some faux fur. 

Winter in Chicago is a less popular season to wed and newly engaged Chicago couples should use this to their advantage! For those engaged and considering a winter wedding, give us a call! Big City Bride Chicago wedding planners know how to plan a winter wedding.



When selecting your Chicago wedding venue it comes down to more then just LOVING the space. It must fit your desired date, budget, size, taste and style … and let’s face it the options can be a bit overwhelming! After spending just about every weekend planning in a different Chicago wedding venue, we figured it was time to team up, share information and help you narrow your search. 

Galleria Marchetti has been around for nearly 30 years and Big City Bride has spent many Saturday nights in this space! This Chicago wedding venue offers two different rental options east side spaces and west side spaces.  This venue also features 
Galleria Marchetti East Side Rental Options:
  • The East Courtyard (Il Cortile): This space is used for outdoor ceremonies and cocktail hour when the weather cooperates.
  • Tented Pavilion (Il Padiglione): This space is Galleria Marchetti’s main reception space. This space would be used as the ceremony weather-back- up-space. This tent is a permanent tent and can either be air conditioned or heated. 
• 5,570 sq feet of clear span space, easily transformed to reflect your vision
• New 800 square foot dance floor
• Heating and air conditioning
• Removable glass walls
• Easy access to adjacent deck and courtyard
• Full lead crystal dandelion chandeliers
• 1600 amps of power
• 230 guest capacity
  • Galleria Room (La Sala Perugina): This space is connected to the tent and is used as the cocktail hour rain-back-up space. Whether or not it rains, this space will be used because it is the room where the restrooms are located. Guests can enter this room from both the Courtyard and Tented Pavilion. In addition, this space has a little bridal room. This would be used to store items, makeup touch ups, bustling, and locking things up for the night (Galleria Marchetti conveniently provides a key the night of). 
***ALL three of these spaces rent together!
Galleria Marchetti West Side Rental Options: 
  • La Pergola : This space was just added this year! It has a retractable ceiling and vinyl sides that will allow for the space to be all open or closed. This will be the space that we hold ceremonies in, along with the main dinner reception.
  • La Sala Lucchese: This space is connected to the Pergola and is used as the cocktail hour space. Restrooms are located in this space. In addition, this space has a little bridal room. This would be used to store items, makeup touch ups, bustling, and locking things up for the night (Galleria Marchetti conveniently provides a key the night of). 

***Both of these spaces rent together!

Here are two recent Big City Bride weddings at Galleria Marchetti



You may have recognized this wedding from Style Me Pretty,, U.S. Weekly! BIG THANKS to Chicago Wedding Photographer David Wittig Photography!

This wedding happened just a few weeks ago and the full feature can be found here! Thanks to Chicago wedding photographer Britta Marie Photography for capturing the day!


And of course, Galleria Marchetti is ALWAYS a party!


Photo Credit: David Wittig Photography                                           Photo Credit:  Britta Marie Photography


How to Ask Your Bridesmaids

Looking for a cute and creative way to ask, “Will you be my bridesmaid?” While Pinterest is a great resource, it can also be very overwhelming. There are so many ideas, but what is realistic? We have put together some suggestions, from writing a personalized note to DIY gift basket – your girls will feel so special recieveing this surprise! 


Our favorite idea this time of year is gifting a day planner and marking your wedding date. (Who doesn’t love the idea of opening a fresh planner?!!) This is compeltely practical, however, it can still be personal! Add a bookmark with a rhyme to personalize the invite, “Save the date! I want you along for the ride. Please stand by my side. Be my bridesmaid?




HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Although it is a rainy Chicago day, we hope you are able to enjoy it!
Last year, Big City Bride spent the holiday weekend celebrating Halloween-style for this sweet couple’s big day! Instead of incorporating the holiday into their actual wedding, they decided to throw a fun and festive rehearsal dinner. Chicago wedding planner, Claire Weller planned the most perfect Fall and Halloween inspired dinner. Big City Bride worked alongside HMR Designs to create the perfect look. 




How cute are these?! Our bride treated her maids to a monogramed, Halloween clutch! The perfect size for carrying around wedding day needs. 

MAZEL TOSS – Wedding Confetti

Just when we thought we couldn’t love confetti anymore then we already do Chicago wedding planner, Susan Cordogan designed the most adorable confetti pillow for this Chicago wedding. After our couple said “I Do!!!” at their Jewish ceremony, guests showered them with “Mazel Toss” confetti! 

Adorable, right?! 


A few tips when adding confetti to your wedding: 
  • Don’t overstuff or under prepare! You want this detail to make a statement, without creating a huge mess. Remember someone will need to clean up after the toss!
  • The more color, the more fun! You don’t have to pick just one color or style- mix metallics to create dimension!
  • Add detail to the packaging. This is a perfect place to introduce your wedding hashtag, incorporate your wedding monogram or add a cute phrase as shown here! Guests couldn’t stop loving on this cute and catchy phrase. 

Thanks to BethLaurren Photography for capturing our glowing bride and groom exiting their ceremony!! The confetti toss worked better then we imagined. 



Joanna + Brian’s Chicago Wedding

Joanna and Brian’s Chicago wedding was incredibly special. Every wedding detail was a representation of their style, passions and personalities. The historic Chicago History Museum was the perfect venue allowing both a picturesque ceremony setting along with an elegant reception area.

Chicago wedding planner, Claire Weller worked alongside the couple providing them with creative inspiration all while developing a cohesive vision and plan for their big day! 




Instead of traditional rows for seating, their ceremony featured a circular design. Chicago wedding planner, Claire Weller designed this layout to bring intimacy to the ceremony. Joanna and Brian were literally surround by family and friends as they exchanged vows. 


The Chicago History Museum has one of the most magical ceremony entrances. The grand staircase serves as the perfect entrance for the bride! 


The place cards were held together by adorable gold animal figurines symbolizing a passion of the bride and groom – Animal Rescue. 


Their passion carried through to reception where each table had a photo of an animal and their story. The bride and groom sponsored an animal for every table. 


Every place setting was sealed with a bow!


Big City Bride Chicago wedding planner, Claire Weller designed a room perfectly fitting for our couple featuring a bold color palette + lush floral!


The Chicago Room features a display stained glass pieces from the collections of Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Comfort Tiffany 


Joanna and Brian’s day was uniquely theirs. To all our couples dreaming of creating a wedding that represents them, as a couple…Remember, be resourceful and don’t be afraid to break the rules! Weddings have a certain format, but it is okay (and usually great) to break the mold and incorporate the unexpected.  Do what feels right, but consult your experts if you get stuck.  Your wedding planner can help bring your ideas to life. 

Photo Credit: Chicago Wedding Photographer, Riverbend Studio

Liz + Dan’s Chicago Wedding

From our glowing bride and groom to all the rustic, glam and garden-inspired wedding details … we are completely in love with this Chicago wedding! Big City Bride Chicago wedding planner, Chrissy Magliano alongside HMR Designs created the perfect wedding day design for our bride and groom.  Chicago Illuminating Company and 19 East were perfect Chicago venues to host Liz + Dan’s special day. This Chicago wedding and event venue is what we call a blank canvas. Chicago wedding planner, Chrissy Magliano helped Liz and Dan vision their day and from there she selected vendors that matched their taste and style. BIG thanks to Robyn Rachel Photography – we are able to relive this wedding day over and over again through such perfect captures! 






Liz + Dan’s first look still gives us chills! Love was radiating from these two!






This lounge was the perfect area for guests to cozy up during dancing! 

This alley was filled with dcor and was the perfect entrance for guests to walk up and have a first taste of Liz and Dan’s dreamy day!


As we all know Chicago weather is unpredictable, our couple hoped for a night shot with sparklers…but the rain had other plans. Liz and Dan had the best attitude and opted for this picture instead. The moment was as perfect as it looked! 

Photo Credit: Chicago wedding photographer Robyn Rachel Photography

From the bride and groom….

We had the absolute best experience planning our wedding with Big City Bride. We worked with Chrissy Magliano and she was AMAZING! From start to finish, Chrissy and the Big City Bride team made the wedding planning experience seamless. Needless to say, our wedding was everything we could have ever hoped for – from the venue, to the Band, to the priest, to the photographer, to the floral and design, to the food – and, Chrissy and the Big City Bride team were responsible for it all. We could not have asked for a better team to help us with our special day.


A Toast To Friday – Advice for Anyone Giving a Wedding Speech

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.
Photo Credit: Bob & Dawn Davis Photography 


Chrissy Magliano Is Getting Married!

ATTENTION WORLD – We have a very important announcement. The woman behind hundreds of Chicago weddings is getting married THIS WEEKEND. Chrissy Magliano is GETTING MARRIED!!! If you have ever browsed through The Knot, Inside Weddings, CS or Style Me Pretty you have most likely seen a wedding by Chrissy. She has mastered creating timelines, building budgets and creatively designing floor plans for everyone else, but this year she planned her own. Watching Chrissy plan her special day hasn’t been that different from watching her plan everyone else’s. Aside from her booking appointments for herself, the process has been very similar. Chrissy truly treats each bride as if it was her own wedding.  


We know you are dying for the story – WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A WEDDING PLANNER GETS MARRIED?! The scoop on that will be dished out after the wedding, for now let’s talk about a really great love story. 

The Story: Brady and Chrissy met while they were attending Southern Illinois University.  Their personalities clicked  and they formed a beautiful friendship. In February 2010, Brady (finally) asked Chrissy on their first date!! Their love is as romantic as it sounds – two friends that fell deeply in love. After years of dating and many adventures together, Brady got down on one knee and proposed. Of course, Brady had something very special planned. Last year, Chrissy completed her first FULL MARATHON. After crossing the finish line with Brady, he got down on one knee and she said YES! 

This Saturday, EXACTLY 11-Months to the engagement date Chrissy and Brady will celebrate their LOVE with all their friends and family!  


After TEN YEARS of planning everyone else’s celebrations it is time for Chrissy to have her own perfect wedding day! 

Chrissy and Brady, 

         We CAN’T believe this day is finally here!!! Your love is admirable. You both fill our lives with such joy and we couldn’t be happier for you both. Your genuine hearts have found each other in the most romantic way. Let the wedding weekend begin!!! XOXO