Chicago Wedding Venue: Indoor/Outdoor & Lakefront

Ah, to have an outdoor summer wedding... If I had to do it all over again - I might actually go that route - and, Promontory Point would be the perfect location for our summer fête. It has a wonderful patio with stunning views of Lake Michigan, perfect for an outdoor reception. Rain, no worries, the Point's field house is the crowning glory of this historic South Shore masterpiece...

Update Cost: you will never guess how cheap this place is!

Field House

Lakefront Patio
$75-flat rate

Front Patio
$75-flat rate

photo credit: Rosalind Weddings

vintage inspired flowers

Today during my lunch hour (I've about had it with lunch hour wedding vendor meetings), I met with my 4th florist, and finally, I feel like I'm getting somewhere. He totally gets that I want something petite, simple, elegant, vintage inspired and budget friendly.

Apparently budget friendly means roses and carnations to a some florists... I seriously can't think of anything more "uninspired" (WTRITO, you hit the nail on the head). However, with that said, the florist showed me several cost effective centerpieces that were actually...roses and carnations...which were somewhat decent. I know, I can't believe I'm saying it either!!! Don't get me wrong, I'm not walking down the aisle with a big bouquet of died carnations. But for now, I've at least temporarily suspended my protest against these everyday flowers.

I should have a quote by the end of the week, so we'll see...

above photo: ivory spray roses, ivory carnations, white orchids, ivory lisianthus, seeded eucalyptus

photo credit: for now, unknown...

monogram love!

Our monograms have come in!!! I LOVE, Love, love them! Charlotte over at Delovely is a doll! She got the color scheme immediately, and she was all too happy to make the revisions I requested. I could not be happier! (And, I still can't believe that they were only $20!)

We're going to use the "Colleen & Nathan" mono for our programs, while the "Colleen C Nathan" will be used on our cocktail napkins and menus! Then, the bottom two are going to be used for water bottle labels (I think I'm outsourcing this to Charlotte as well)! I'm not too sure if we're going to brand our OOT totes...the impracticality of it... But, I'm considering placing a small iron-on monogram on the inside of the tote...kind of like a merchandise tag...cute, eh?

bridesmaid dresses

So JCrew lied to me! Last week, I had sent out a distressed email to all my bms about pre-ordering their dresses via JCrew's 800 number, because the rep said the Fall line would go live next week...(and I'm no stranger to backorder with JCrew...). Anyway, of course, some of my lovely bms-in-waiting didn't order their dresses right away... And you know what? The line went live today! Jeez. Call me crazy, but I'm seriously stressed about the dresses going on backorder!

Anyway, I've given the girls a choice of any of the following dresses. I'd much rather all of us look stylishly coordinated, rather than have them look like freakish clones. (I just went to the wedding of a grade school friend and all of the bridesmaids had these horrible french twists and and the same ugly died shoes...yuck!)

Candle Ceremonies

Does anyone know anything about candle ceremonies? I'm not talking about the traditional lighting of the unity candle...I'm talking about a full on, get everyone involved, bring everyone to tears, candle ceremony. MrsAnayisnin, my most favorite knottie bride, had a variation of a candle ceremony. And today, perfect bound posted Rick and Allie's beautiful wedding, and it featured a candle that the church director found extremely moving! I want that!!! MrsAnayisnin explained:

"We lit our unity candles and then the officiant said a few words about how everyone in the room helped us as a couple become who we are and helped us to the point we were at that day and we wanted to honor that in sharing the flame of our unity candle. Brett and I then lit a long fireplace match from the candle and together lit each person on the end in the front row's candles. They then shared it backwards from there. To conserve time, the ushers also lit up the aisle. They only had them lit through our vows and then we did rings and kissed and blew them out after the recessional."
Are all candle ceremonies the same? Are there variations? If so, what are the variations?!
photo credit: MrsAnayisnin & perfect bound

Stay-Put Makeup

I recently read about a potential makeup emergency on That Bride, and I thought this information might be beneficial for everyone.

I have a friend who is a dancer (ballet, not exotic) who raves about makeup's version of hairspray. This stuff stops her makeup from sweating off...even though she literally has beads of sweat dripping down her face! Read more about it's uses here (replace the word "cheerleaders", with "brides" to make it more relevant).

This little bottle of makeup magic is called, Barrier Spray. It can be bought at several online costume stores, but Chicago Costume (1120 West Fullerton) carries it as well (but they currently only have ONE in stock). Just in case you're not the lucky winner of the last one, they've assured me that they will be restocking the item... I hope you have found this helpful!

UPDATE: There is also a spray called Model in a Bottle. It's slightly more expensive ($18 vs $5), but if it's better, than it's worth the extra money. :)

Catering!!! WooooooooHooooo!!!

We have finally completed our menu!!!!!!!!! It's done, and it's delicious! After bidding out no less than 6 catering companies and having two tastings, we're happy to report that we've scored The Hearty Boys from the famed, Food Network! And you want to know the most amazing part - they were the second to the cheapest quote!

The food is divine! In fact, I think it's the best food I've ever tasted; like food food, not just wedding food.

Our final menu is Fall inspired and we totally let them run with that theme... They incorporated dried figs, roasted pears, and the most amazing sweet potatoes you'll ever taste! It's a vibrant, warm, hearty, Fall meal, and I LOVE IT!!!
Get a load of our menu:

Hors D'oeuvres: (more fun than fall, but really tasty nevertheless)
  • MC2 - crunchy mac and cheese squares
  • BBQ Pulled Pork on Cheddar Polenta Crisps
  • Artichoke Fritters with Lemon Dipping Sauce
  • Blackened Chicken Skewers with Remoulade
  • Merlot Candied Pear on Brie Napoleon
  • Vegetarian Antipasti - cheeses, veggies - some marinated, some roasted, some raw - and a variety of delicious spreads for crostinis
  • Port Fig Roasted Beef Tenderloin with grilled onion relish and horseradish cream
  • Herb Roasted Salmon Filet with wasabi whipped cream and lemon butter sauce
  • Fennel Seed and EVOO Roasted Green Beans
  • Mixed Field Greens with candied walnuts, shaved red onion, goat cheese, and Dijon balsamic vinaigrette
  • Gourmet Mashed Potato Bar: with Buttermilk Redskin Potatoes and Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes, accompanied by: pan roasted grape tomatoes with garlic and sea salt, crumbled smoked bacon, sour cream, Gorgonzola fondue, vanilla roasted pears with cracked black pepper, candied pecans, and brown sugar marshmallow streusel!!!! (What can I say, I'm a fan of mashed potato toppings...)
Specialty Drinks:
  • Roasted Pear Belinni
  • Pomegranate Mojito
  • Captain & Coke - Nathan's old college drink...

Ok, so seriuosly, this is like almost 55% of our budget. But, I'd rather compromise on our centerpieces and/or linens than compromise on delicious food. Don't get me wrong, I'm still being VERY budget conscious, but, you give a little here and take a little's a process... At least, that's what I keep telling myself!

Photo Credit: Chicago Magazine

Save the Dates...

It dawned on me that I never posted my save the dates! Well, here you go. They were double sided: business in the front, party in the back :). I don't love the way they turned out, but I'm not mad at them!

our registry is complete!

Wow, who would have thought that would have been as hard as it was?? Not me, that's for sure, considering I love shopping and picking things out for myself!

We have one major dilemma, however... What to do about "fine china"? We are so not fine china people. Like not at all. But when we told that to the registry lady at Macy's, she pointed us in the direction of simplyFine by Lenox. It's super practical: freezer safe, oven safe, microwave safe, and dishwasher safe...and the pièce de résistance...chip resistant. Plus, it has totally relevant designs (read: not stuffy, not trendy, just relevant). Our favorite is Flourish, but there are several that are super cute.

Herein lies our problem. Macy's carries it for $143.00 - that's not a cheap set of china. But, if it looks like everyday dishes, and acts like everyday dishes, then why not just register for some extra nice everyday dishes and call it a day? Why have people pay $143.00 per set (about $1,700 total) when they could spend less than half that for something similar?

What to do, what to do?? Thoughts?

Getting Fit...on the cheap

Four weeks ago, I got my ass in gear and joined the fitness center in my office building. Now, it's not Xsport, with 25 locations, hundreds of machines, and 50 fitness classes to choose from each day...but it's convenient and cheap...two very important factors when you're worried about falling off the fitness wagon.

I asked to be weighed and measured (fyi, if you're trying to boost your self esteem, don't do this), and I'll get weighed and measured once a month for the next four months (i.e., until my wedding).

Anyway, here is my point; with our wedding costs mounting, and our budget swelling, I didn't want to add a monthly (read: insanely inflated) gym membership to our already overstretched budget. Instead, I'm paying $25.00 a month. And, I simply asked if I could be exempt from the yearly contract, and you know what, they went for it! I couldn't have asked for more!

photo credit: Buff Brides, by Sue Fleming

Merriment Design...the Urban Martha Stewart

Kathy Beymer, from the always entertaining and educational, Merriment Design, is perhaps the closest thing to a young, hip, urban Martha Stewart that I have ever seen.

When I was considering A New Leaf for my venue, I was obsessed with finding photos of weddings that had taken place there. Kathy's has got to be the most amazing wedding yet. You may recognize her wedding, as it was featured on, TheKnot Chicago Magazine, and perhaps dozens of wedding blogs.

If it's recipes you need, take a look at her city dwellers s'mores. If you want to personalize a cookbook or a coffee table photo book, she'll tell you where to go and walk you through it. But, most importantly, she has step by step instructions for all of her amazing DIY wedding stationery and other handmade wedding accessories. For example, her program has been featured on a number of wedding blogs recently; and the instructions for it are right there on her site!

I love it! I love Merriment Design!

photo credit: merriment design

day of coordinators

So...I think I have officially committed my first big wedding mistake. A few months ago I contacted a doc based on a tip that she was fabulous and budget friendly. The doc waited nearly two weeks to respond, but finally emailed me her prices, listing $850 as her starting rate. Because I was a little ticked off that she waited so long to respond, I went ahead and filed her email and contact information away, and assumed I would be able to find another doc with the same pricing that would promptly respond to my inquiries. Well...not so much. I have contacted 4 docs since that time and ALL of them are insanely priced. Like so insanely priced that I'm convinced I won't be able to afford to have any help on our big day.

So, last Thursday I sheepishly searched through gmail to find the contact info for the initial "fabulous and budget friendly" doc, and sent off a quick email attempting to justify my delinquent response... Big surprise, I haven't yet heard back... I think I've totally blown it. Does anyone know of any other doc's whose pricing starts at $850 or lower???? HELP!!!

Monograms...I love them!

I love, love, love monograms. Love them! I was on Delively Designs, admiring Charlotte's b-e-a-utiful work, when I saw her pricing... $20.00 for four, four, stock monograms! But here's the most amazing thing. There are nearly hundreds of designs to pick from, and really there's nothing "stock" about them! So, naturally, I emailed her immediately and order some! I mean really, $20.00 is like a week's worth of Starbucks. I can totally stay away from Starbucks for a week! I will be sure post my wonderful monograms as soon as I get them!

PS, my hard drive lives!

A few weeks ago I told you how my old laptop blew up, and my documents went with it... Well, some genius at the Geek Squad was smart enough to put my hard drive in to someone else's computer and activate my Norton GoBack! Wooohooooo! All of my wedding planning docs are back! I LOVE the Geek Squad!


Wow! This is the most beautiful, most delicate looking veil I've ever seen. I want it! But where? All of the veils I've seen in the Chicagoland area (I say Chicagoland because apparently you have to go out to Barrington or Schaumburg to find anything wedding related) have been poofy. Help! Where do I find a magnificent veil like this one?

photo credit: Amanda Bevington's blog

Save the Dates...holy crap

Holy Crap! I have seriously been working non-stop (read: all non-working, non-eating, non-sleeping hours) since Saturday on our Save the Dates, and I've come to one conclusion... I DO NOT WANT TO DIY MY INVITATIONS. This is for the birds! I will post the finished product when they're done...but for now, back to work.