Your Big Day: The Final Wedding Preparations

Once you’ve checked off the most important part of wedding preparations like booking the venue, your wedding music, and photographer, there are still a ton of wedding “extras” you need to consider that are an imperative part to your special day!

The Cake
I am lucky enough that one of my friends, Maggie O’Brien of Velvet Dessert is a talented pastry chef and helped us come up with our dream wedding cake. Narrowing down our favorites during the tasting was the hardest part. Maggie had four different kinds of cake for us to choose from: vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, and lemon-lavender; and 11 different kinds of buttercream icings: vanilla, strawberry champagne, strawberry balsamic, pistachio, chocolate, almond, Nutella, coconut, honey cinnamon cream cheese, raspberry, and lemon lavender. In the end we chose the lemon lavender cake with alternating layers of strawberry jam and strawberry balsamic icing. We made sure to eat some of the cake at our wedding and it was outstanding!

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A Picture Perfect Wedding with Tony

bride and groom chicago wedding

Besides choosing a venue, the second most paramount thing was having a talented photographer to capture all the emotion happening throughout the day. Quality photo memories are extremely important to me, and we probably interviewed and researched as many photographers as we did venues. It just so happened that our DJ, Ryan Levin, had a good friend named Tony he often worked with capturing photos during the mitzvahs and weddings he had worked and suggested we check out his portfolio.

Within minutes of our first meeting with Tony, I could tell he had a real passion for photography by the way his face lit up when he spoke about his work. Tony began to explore and really get into photography while he was in the Marine Corps. “I was so excited to experience the world and see so many beautiful landscapes, cultures, nature, architecture and interesting people that I couldn’t keep away.” For over 10 years now Tony has been photographing weddings, engagements, food, sports, and events.

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4Sure DJ Puts the “Club” in the Montgomery Club

Ryan Levin from 4Sure Entertainment DJs a wedding in Chicago

If you’re looking to have a wedding where no one is sitting down for more than dinner then Ryan Levin from 4Sure Entertainment is your guy. Deciding on the kind of music you want to have at your wedding is a big deal, but when your best friend’s brother is one of the greatest Chicago wedding DJs your decision becomes a little bit easier. I’ve known Ryan’s younger sister and one of my bridesmaids since we were in playgroup together at age three. Ryan has always been the biggest ball of energy from as long as I can remember and he translates that into a passion for getting all the guests up and out of their seats when he DJs.

I’m not trying to brag or exaggerate when I say that our wedding had the most packed dance floor of any wedding I’ve ever attended. And it wasn’t just the younger people up and dancing, our parents and their friends, and even the grandparents were hitting the dance floor hard. One of the things both Taste Tester #1 and I noticed during our wedding was how well Ryan read the crowd. If he put on a song that people weren’t getting excited for, he quickly transitioned to the next one. That was one of my favorite parts of having a DJ over a band. If a band strikes up a tune and people leave for their seats, they just kind of have to finish it out, but if you have a DJ they can easily transition to the next song that will get people dancing again.

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The Montgomery Club: A Perfect Chicago Wedding Venue

The Montgomery Club wedding and corporate venue in downtown Chicago

One of the most difficult wedding questions for the bride and groom is figuring out the perfect venue. Before you can even begin to look at a venue you have to decide how many people will be invited and where exactly you want to get married. Contrary to what people think, we found it to better for us to go into it without having a set date in mind as that can limit a lot of places.

The Montgomery Club located in the river north neighborhood of Chicago stood out immediately among the several venues that we visited and managed to hit all the things on my “wish list.” One of my biggest tips would be to make that initial list and then pick 3-5 things you aren’t willing to compromise on. For me those were: excellent in-house catering, a space that didn’t require a lot of extra decorating, and good service and easy people to work with.

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A Wedding BeyondExpecTASTEtions

bride and groom with pumpkins

If you weren’t already aware, Taste Tester #1 and I tied the knot on October 31st this year! Even though I had to trade in consistent blogging over the past six months in order to plan a wedding, it was 100% worth it! The whole weekend was so memorable and special. What I really loved and appreciated was that so many of the little things and special touches were planned and executed by my mother and me. Even though it took TT #1 to form a true marriage, I certainly couldn’t have done the wedding itself without my Mom. She provided amazing support and took the reins with many of the vendor relations that I just couldn’t handle during the workday.

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Dinner Party Season

I am so excited that my wedding date corresponds with the start of Holiday Dinner party season! Even better yet, now I have a bunch of new dishes and serving ware to show off some scrumptious meals! Dinner parties are great in the Chicago winter as it saves you the hassle of braving the cold weather and can save money on eating out that can be put towards that heating bill! After all, with Christmas and New Year fast approaching, it is an expensive time of year.

To get the most out of it, you should take turns in hosting events. Here’s how you can make sure you party goes off without a hitch.

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Chicago Wedding Makeup

As part of my Beyond ExpecTASTEtions wedding series I’ll be featuring a variety of different wedding resources over the next few months!

I’ve never been a big fashion or make-up girl and so looking for a makeup artist for my wedding was a little bit intimidating. There are so many options out there it’s completely overwhelming! Luckily one of my foodie PR contacts reached out to me about having my makeup done by one of the clients she’s working with, Beauty Babe by Sabrina, it was the perfect timing!

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Three Foodie Honeymoon Ideas

With our wedding coming up in October, I’ve been thinking a lot about honeymoon destinations. Of course, we want to go somewhere with plenty of delicious food and restaurant options, and there are so many places to choose from. From cities across the US to the Caribbean, Central and South America, all the way to cities in Europe, Asia and beyond, there’s a whole world of food to explore. Every country and region has its own culinary culture, so it’s difficult to know where to start. Here are some of my favorite candidates for a foodie honeymoon, where we can eat to our hearts content (goodbye wedding diet!) and enjoy our first days as a married couple.

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Beyond ExpecTASTEtions Wedding Series

This past April 3rd, after many meals together Taste Tester #1 asked me to be his dining partner for the rest of our lives…and of course I said yes! Since we have been engaged, I’ve been posting a little less often due to all the exiting (and stressful) wedding planning that’s been happening. After discussing many wedding scenarios, we decided to keep our engagement short and sweet and will be getting married on Halloween this year! So that means the dressing up is already set, I’ve never been happier for my “costume” decision already to be made, Bride and Groom is way better than any couple costume I could’ve dreamed up at the last minute prior to Halloween.

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