As I mentioned in an earlier post, I wanted to talk to you guys about some of the things we’ve already got figured out for our wedding! I figured it might be beneficial to do it in a list format and I can leave a link to the website of the vendor and a short blurb about them! I don’t want to leave all of the information regarding our wedding for privacy reasons so I am not going to be disclosing the ceremony and reception locations but I will mention a little about them! If you guys want any more further information about our wedding planning, let me know and maybe I can make another post about it!
Ceremony Site: we booked this after our reception site and confirmed via email that our date and a desired time was available before viewing the location in person. It’s in a downtown area of a Chicago suburb and it’s got some super cool buildings around it that might be nice as a backdrop in some photos! My mom was actually the one who wanted me to take a look here even though I thought it might be a little on the smaller side. It’s a nondenominational chapel which is exactly what we were looking for. I have a catholic background but am not a practicing catholic (I have previously discussed some of my religious views) and my fiancé is Presbyterian but he does not practice any particular religion. Neither of us want to have a formal, hour long catholic mass, and we wanted our ceremony to be very personal to us so we wanted someone we know to officiate our ceremony. We plan on asking my godfather to officiate the ceremony, since typically godparents have a role in a Catholic ceremony and I am much closer to him than my godmother (plus he’s a great public speaker). We will be asking him in the next couple weeks so I will make a post after we get that taken care of!
Reception Site: this was the first thing that we booked and probably the most stressful thing to research. We both had so many things we wanted our venue to include and it seemed like neither of us wanted to compromise any of those things in our location. Luckily, we found the perfect place for us! It has an outdoor patio area where cocktail hour will happen (weather permitting) and that will be open to us throughout the entire ceremony, it has on-site catering so we did not need to find an outside caterer to bring in food (the venue has a restaurant attached which is a huge plus because we get to have a tasting before making our menu selections and if anyone last minute changes their entree on the night of the wedding, the chef is able to make a quick switch since he is preparing the meal in his regular kitchen in the restaurant), there is a lot of windows to get in natural light, it is attached to a hotel so we can have a block of rooms and our guests do not need to drive or take a shuttle to a different location at the end of the night (plus the hotel is pet friendly so Luke’s dad can bring his dog!), they offer late night snack options, cake is included with the price of our venue, and they handle set up and break down at the beginning and end of the reception. We fell in love with it the first time we toured the place and came back a week later with my parents so they could see if for themselves and we could write up a contract. We saw 3 other venues prior to seeing this one and this one was the perfect fit. I’m so thankful it wasn’t too long of a process to find a venue because scheduling appointments to go out and see them and going through all the numbers and different options was definitely stressful for me!
Photographer: As I stated in my engagement photo post, we are using the same photographer that did our engagement photos! She’s super awesome and sweet and so much fun to work with. While she is super pricey in comparison to companies who will assign a photographer to you for the night, she is definitely worth it. She is so personable and will do anything to get good photos, plus we know her personality and what she is like, whereas with a photography company, you have no idea who you are getting until right before or the day of the wedding. This was slightly unfortunate for my brother when he did this, as they were given an older male photographer who did not understand my family’s level of sarcasm and his personality did not mesh with our families or the bridal party. Our photographers name is McKenzie Bigliazzi and you can find her photography page on Facebook or Instagram!
DJ: At the end of July, my maid of honor, my mom, and I all went to a bridal expo. There, we met so many vendors and got a bunch of brochures and free goodies! Fortunately, that was where we found our DJ. The company we are going through is called Admit One DJs and they are super awesome. The representative speaking for the company, Nick, was great to talk to, super helpful, and fantastic at selling the company. Later that day, I told Luke about the company and said we should set up an appointment to check them out. We went the next week to sit down with someone and we ended up signing that night. We got money off for going to the bridal expo and they were also doing a deal through The Know website, so we got about $800 off our total price! With the total amount we pay, we have the DJ from cocktail hour until the end of our reception (a total of 5 1/2 hours), LED lighting effects, uplighting, an online website for us to make lists of music to play, music to not play, and write down our songs for special dances like first dance, father/daughter dance, etc., plus a concierge service pager! What the pager is is something we get for cocktail and dinner hours that myself and Luke hold on to and if we press the button, the DJ will come up to us and get us whatever we need, whether it be a drink, using the microphone to find someone, or just to get us out of talking to a family member that is too talkative for the moment! It’s super awesome and definitely was a selling point for me 😉 . We haven’t met our particular DJ yet because they do something called Meet the DJ Night which we have coming up September 21st! The way the described it was sort of like speed dating. We get to come in and meet all the DJs and spend time to talk to them, find out their style, and how they mesh with us and what sort of a vibe we’re going for for our special night. At the end, we write down our top 3 DJs and one of those will be the one we get for our wedding! It’s an awesome concept because again, we get to find someone who’s personality is a good mix with ours. If you want more information on them, their website is admitonedjs.com
Bridal Gown: I am so happy to say that I have also found my dress! I found it at a place called Wolsfelts, which is a local shop that has a prom shop, bridal shop, and spa. I went to one other bridal salon before finding my dress, so it wasn’t too long of a process. The first time I tried on dresses, the consultant ended up being the mom of a girl i have known since elementary school. It was somewhat a weird experience and was more about catching up (her daughter is engaged as well) and her talking with my mom. It was only me and my mom at the first appointment and I’m glad I did it that way because I didn’t want the pressure of a bunch of people when I went for the first time, especially since I had no idea what I wanted. I wasn’t disappointed walking out of the first place without a dress because I was still unsure of what I wanted, although I did find a designer that I was quite fond of. I loved the Essence of Australia dresses I tried on there (I tried on like 6 of them) and was hoping we could find another shop that also carried this designer. Wolsfelts did and we got a last minute appointment 2 days after my first dress appointment. I brought my maid of honor with to this appointment because I felt I needed an extra opinion and an extra pair of eyes to find dresses to try on. The consultant at Wolsfelts ended up being a girl me and my maid of honor graduated high school with (she recognized my MOH but not me until she liked my photo on Instagram that I had found my dress) but thankfully, she didn’t make it about that AT ALL! She was 100% focused on helping me find my dress and make it a fun experience for all of us and I am so thankful she did that! After trying on 8 dresses, all different styles, my MOH pulled a dress and hesitantly asked if I would try it on. In the bag, it looked super ruffly and like the bottom was ginormous, but I wasn’t going to say no to anything anyone pulled because I wanted to be open minded since I still wasn’t sure what style I liked. Lo and behold, that was the dress. My mom and MOH both said they could tell the second I came out of the room. Of course, I did have to try it on a second time after narrowing it down to three dresses, but it was definitely the one and everyone who came with me, the consultant, and myself all knew it was the one. It didn’t end up being an Essence of Australia dress, but that’s totally okay, because it’s the perfect one for me. I am so obsessed with it and have been itching to try it on again even though my first fitting won’t be for a long time.
That’s the majority of the stuff we have figured out, signed off on, and a payment plan already determined for thus far in the process of wedding planning. There’s a lot of little details that we have figured out and we’re still fitting all the pieces together on those but I think I’ll be able to make individual posts on them since it’s more of DIY stuff 🙂 Although it’s been stressful, its been such a fun process so far with my fiancé, best friend, and mom all being so helpful. Until next time!