Thursday, May 16, 2013

Perfectly Personalized Guest Bags

Guest bags- little bags/boxes/baskets that greet hotel guests at check-in- have become a norm in weddings. Guests appreciate having a snack and some ibuprofen throughout the festivities and its an easy way to personalize your wedding. Planning for this little extra stresses my clients. They want them to be full of fun and useful stuff, plus they'd like them to coordinate with the wedding decor and invitation, plus they need to be packed and ready to go during a very hectic time. I started offering personalized guest bags as a service and its been pretty popular. Its nice to have one more thing to pass off!

I take several things into consideration when planning these bags. Where are the guests from? What is the schedule for the weekend? How much down time will the guests have? Most importantly, what is your budget? You can include a few little things to make your guests feel appreciated, or you can really do it up to set the tone for the weekend.

This guest bag featured a map drawn by the very talented Sarah Hanna printed on a soft, reusable canvas bag. Tucked inside were a bag of Garrett's popcorn (famous in Chicago), 2 bottles of 312 (another Chicago favorite- 312 is the area code for Chicago's loop and Goose Island was started here), a cookie from Tag's in Evanston, the bride's favorite childhood bakery, an itinerary created by Sarah Drake and a few other comforts. The guests were thrilled!


This guest bag was created for a wedding in the sweet beach town of St. Joseph, Michigan. Everyone was an out-of-towner, so the bag offered lots to do and see in the area, as well as a little first aid kit, bottled water and snacks. The highlight of this box were two little breads, made by the bride's mother. The little sticker on top shows off the couple's dog, hand-drawn by Anne Benjamin.



Have you seen any creative ideas for guest bags?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Picking the Right Dress


When looking at wedding dresses, I was totally anxious. There is so much pressure to pick the perfect dress. So when we went shopping, I was overly critical of every detail and dragged my mom, sister, niece and at one point my brother and his girlfriend around Chicago AND New York trying to pick out a dress. After shopping some local boutiques in Chicago, I made a trip out to New York with my mom, sister and her 6 month old, Eloise. My brother, Charlie and his girlfriend, Sasha, lived in New York at the time so they tagged along for a day of dress shopping at Kleinfelds and Lovely Bride. Say Yes to the Dress was pretty big when I was dress shopping so we started at Kleinfelds. I tried on a bunch of very vintage feeling Jenny Packham and Claire Pettibone gowns but wasn’t in love with anything enough to commit. Lovely Bride was probably the cutest boutique I’ve ever been to in my life. I so badly wanted to find something there but we walked out empty handed.

Images via Jenny Packham (left), Claire Pettibone (right)

After failing in New York, I did some serious thinking about what I actually wanted in a dress. I wanted the dress to feel like me and not like I was playing dress up. Natalie, my mom and I made one more trip in Chicago to Ultimate Bride. I was feeling pretty defeated until I slipped into one last dress of the day- a silk chiffon, Grecian style Lela Rose dress. It felt like heaven on. It weighed absolutely nothing and was lined in silk. I was so comfortable and didn’t want to take it off. I was done. On my wedding day, I felt the same way- totally comfortable, ready to dance and run around. Ultimately for me, comfort was the biggest deciding factor. What made you decide on your dress?

Wedding photography by Harrison Studio

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pineapple Sunshine

I live in Denver and we are treated with some seriously wonderful weather this time of year. Its been in the 60s for weeks and I've slowly started packing up my sweaters and pushing my boots to the back of the closet. But today, it is 20 degrees and we have a bit of a blizzard on our hands. I'd already mentally broken up with winter for the year so when I had to pull out my winter boots to walk the dog last night, my mind was pulling me towards summer and away from the snow. In my mental escape from winter, I'm dreaming of the tropical: pineapples

There's something unexpected about produce in a center piece and a pile of pineapples could make a great statement piece for a summer beach wedding table. 


Image via Once Wed


And I love the idea of a pineapple margarita for a signature drink. 

Image via Martha Stewart


Pineapples are an international symbol for welcome. What better way to welcome out of town guests than with this pineapple tote



Wouldn't these make sure a fun alternative bridesmaids dress? Or maybe just a honeymoon on the beach.




Summer may still be a far off memory but until then, I am gonna be sitting by my furnace, drinking a margarita in a sundress. 

Meet Elise

My beautiful and wise sister Elise has agreed to write some guest blog posts for me. She is much cooler and more knowledgeable about fashion and stuff. Please welcome Elise!


Last year, my husband, Bill, took a job in Denver. We packed ourselves up with our dog, Bobby Jenks, and headed west on a new adventure. I've lived in the Chicago area my whole life and in the city of Chicago since college. I've always considered myself a city person and living in Denver has been an entirely new world of hiking, skiing and having pretty mountains to look at on my morning drive to coffee. On the weekends, I love my morning yoga classes, buying myself flowers at the local market and coming home to read a good book or listen to This American Life. If we're lucky with weather, which seems more often than not in Denver, we'll go for a day hike or ski and wander through mountain towns and usually end up at one of the micro-breweries. Moving to a city where you know no one can be scary and exciting at the same time. For us, its become just one long honeymoon and always feels a bit surreal.  

I never really thought much about wedding planning until I had to plan a wedding of my own in 2011. I love fashion and worked in the industry out of college planning fashion shows and events in Chicago but never connected my day to day fashion life with wedding fashion. My sister, Natalie, has been planning weddings for years and when it came time to figure out what we wanted our wedding to be, Natalie was a total life saver. I loved thinking about the pretty things and she had an amazing ability to figure out how to make the details work. Our wedding was rustic with eclectic touches and felt very much like us. I loved the idea of a "Midsummer Nights Dream" wedding with lots of candles, big branches and just earthy touches. Planning my own wedding really made me think about how style and weddings can be so connected. It's not about "wedding fashion" but just your personal style and planning a big beautiful party you can be proud of that feels like you.

You can also find Elise on all those social networks.
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