Monday, April 12, 2010

From Art Deco in Hyde Park to Urban Chic in the West Loop (Part 2)

With an amazing rehearsal dinner the night before, it was a tough act to follow on Saturday. I think I only had about 5 hours of sleep... just thinking about the next day and looking forward to a years worth of working with this family to see how the wedding was going to unfold.

Saturday afternoon I arrived at Salvage One in the West Loop. With so much set-up involved at Salvage One, it was agreed that I would be stationed at Salvage One to oversee the set-up & decor while early afternoon, the bride and groom would exchange vows at Bond Chapel. As I walked in, Sara and her crew was preparing the venue for the guests to arrive later that evening. The floors were being mopped and I found myself getting right to work on my checklist. Hand towels in bathroom, check, votive candles for the room, check, and many, many, more things "To Do."

Things started to get really exciting when I heard the delivery truck from Tablescapes pull up. My Copper Link Chargers, Fruitwood Chivari Chairs, & Bengeline Linens arrived. The set-up crew was there to deliver the china, glassware, tables, chairs, linens, and ovens, hot boxes, and all of the items we needed that evening for the wedding. After the tables & chairs were set and the rentals delivered, the catering staff arrived and Chef Luke with Bonsoiree Catering pulled his truck up in back to load in. This is where I began to get truly excited!

The linens were put on the tables and they were set with silver flatware, Grand Cru glassware, Copper Link Chargers, and bengeline burgundy napkins custom made for the evening, topped with a bottle of home made limoncello for each place setting. I am explaining the setting because we probably spent 10 hours just working on it. It was not the couples fault, we just had a hard time matching the base plate to the vase to the room and so on! Anyway, Blumgarten later delivered these gorgeous centerpieces to finish off the look.

As the sun was setting, the candles were being lit and the deejay, Corey Sanford of Music Masters arrived. As his set-up was complete, the speakers filled the room with some heart pounding dance music, just foreshadowing what was to come later that evening. He slowed it down before the guests arrived, appropriate for cocktails... it was very Le Colonial Lounge.

I finished getting myself ready when I heard the mother of the bride. I came to greet her and she smiled and said to me, the room looked so beautiful and it was better than she had imagined! I gave her a big hug, we tied up some few loose ends and I gave her the tour of Salvage One! She LOVED it! That made me so happy! She worked so hard on the wedding and I am so glad that we were able to make her happy too!

The last stop on mom's tour was taking her to see the cake that was delivered by the owner Laura of Bon-Bon Cafe. It was five layers of delightfully deliciousness! (Okay, I am skipping ahead, but it was so good!) The base that it stood on was made for this wedding cake. It was copper branches, intertwined around a mirror for the base. It was really cool! The bride's mom found this cool sheer fabric which was a great finishing touch!

Just before the guests arrived, one of the photographers with Studio Verite Photography had arrived. She was ready to get photos of the room and of the guests as they were coming in. Here was one that I took... I am sure that it will not match the stellar quality of work that they had shot that night but it's still pretty good.

As the guests came to the top of the stairs, they were greeted by the servers with Caprinas made with Cachaca that was imported from South America... this was the real deal people! Passed hors d'oeuvres were on their way from Chef Luke and my AMAZING AND AWESOME Associate Planner, Julie, was in the back assisting the kitchen. She knows how to run and event from start to finish and can help in any department! Did I mention she is AWESOME!!!

Around 7pmish, the Bride & Groom were welcomed to Salvage One by their guests as they were announced into the room and were greeted with a loud roar and enjoyed their signature drink. After about 30 minutes of them meeting & greeting, we had the guests seated at their tables, followed by a heart warming speech from the bride herself to her parents. Dinner soon followed.

Chef Luke coursed out an exquisite meal which began with an Arugula Salad with fresh strawberries, candied walnuts shaved fennel, dressed with a sweet basil vinaigrette. Perfect salad course for an unusually warm Saturday Spring Evening. Entrees to follow which the guests had a choice (pre-determined of course) of either a Braised Short Rib in a Cabernet reduction & potatoes dauphoinse, or Grilled Escolar (which is a white fish) with Israeli couscous and both entrees paired with a portabello tower. Again, an AMAZING dinner that was DELICIOUS! Two nights in a row chef! When are you auditioning for Top Chef?!?!!

The guests danced the night away and enjoyed a great sweet table layed out my fabulous Associate Julie with pedi fours by Bon-Bon and Banana Bread Pudding Skewers by Bonsoiree. YUM!!!

Monday morning came, after all of the dust had settled, the rentals were returned, the staff had rested, the liquor from Binny's returned, the tables restocked at Tablescapes, and the floors were once again mopped at Salvage One. I found an e-mail from the bride and groom in my in-box that morning. They were on their way to the airport to leave to go on their honeymoon and wanted to thank me before they left. They said that the wedding was beyond their dreams! It was the best way to start off a Monday after a long weekend. It truly made me remember why I love doing what I do.


















Saturday, April 10, 2010

From Art Deco in Hyde Park to Urban Chic in the West Loop (Part 1)

Over the past year or so, I have been working with this couple and their families on their wedding & rehearsal dinner. You would think that working with 6 people on two events that there would be some major discrepancies but shortly after scheduling one of our first meetings while I suggested Starbucks, they suggested The Violet Hour, I knew that this was going to be a fun weekend to plan! Besides being able to have fun with the process of planning the wedding, the bride & groom & their parents are all foodies and all of them have impeccable taste. Great food, wine, music, cocktails, decor, china, and glassware...my kind of family....great events to come!


The rehearsal dinner would start off the first part of the weekend. The groom's parents live in Hyde Park, in an old historic building built in the 20's. The Art Deco design of the building is simply stunning. On the 22nd floor, there is a ballroom that seats about 100 guests. Keep in mind, there are huge windows overlooking Lake Shore Drive, and a beautiful terrace that faces south with a perfect view of downtown. Stunning! Let me take you to Hyde Park to relive this magical evening.

As the guests arrived via Coach Bus from the Wit Hotel, they were greeted by the staff from Bonsoiree Catering in the lobby with champagne. They left their coats in the lobby and were escorted upstairs to the 22nd Floor Ballroom. As they came off of the elevators, some were mingling around the bar area, others went outside to enjoy the slightly chilly, but tolerable terrace looking at the city skyline, while others found their escort cards and made their way to their place setting.

At the tables, the guests found their place card, along with these brilliant off white art deco base plates, topped with a black hemstitch napkin and menu card, platinum silver, Riedel glassware, and gorgeous low laying table centerpieces by Blumgarten. All of the guests would be enjoying their dinner that evening sitting a comfortable and cool black contemporary chairs. I loved them so much because it was as though they were made for the room.

As the guests sat down for dinner, Chef Luke from Bonsoiree Catering & Restaurant had a foodie dinner ready for the guests. He had been preparing for over 42 hours for this event and was ready to get it out of the kitchen. We started with a Sushi Grade Scallop Motoyaki that was simply divine. Course two, he sent hot from the stove a Roasted Yellow Tomato Bisque, Fennel & Duck Confit Potsticker that the guests raved about. And for the main event, guests enjoyed a Poached Main Lobster with Peruvian Potatoes Maxim & Baby Turnips or an Herb Marinated Filet Mignon topped with a Cabernet Reduction and accompanied by Haricot Vert (fancy name for green beans). Finally coffee was served table side with a Black Plum Crumble, Cassis Almond Cream, & a Dark Chocolate Mousse. All in all, as the groom got up to say some final words and as Chef Luke to come forward, the crowd roared with delight. I am not sure, but I am pretty sure a few women asked if they could marry him. Go Luke !

Throughout the evening, the bar was open and cocktails were flowing. There was a piano player playing throughout dinner, and a nifty lounge, (that I did not get photos of off!) to the side for folks to step away from the crowd. All in all, it was an elegant affair that was preparing the guests for what was to come the next evening... something totally different... something urban & chic. Watch for Part 2 and see the wedding unfold at Salvage One.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A New Year, A New Leaf...

The first wedding of 2010 for Liven It Up Events just happened and I am so excited to be able to share it with all of you! It was an amazing day... completely stress free for the bride & groom. Everything went smoothly, minus the crazy windy weather, but it's Chicago and it's March. You never know what can happen...

The day began with the bride getting ready at The Four Seasons Hotel on Delaware. Before any of the wedding vendors folks got there, she received an hour long massage! Not a bad way to start off the wedding day. When I arrived Sonia Roselli of Sonia Roselli Esthetique and her team had already began the hair & make-up for our lovely bride! There were a few delivery hiccups that I had to take care of but nothing too crazy! Again, that's why I get hired... to handle any of those situations!

After getting ready for about an hour, Jeremy Lawson of Jeremy Lawson Photography arrived and began snapping some photos of our bride's shoes, accessories, and getting her make-up put on by Robin. Just working with Sonia & Jeremy in the hotel room, I could just tell that we were all going to have a great day making the vision come to life!





I had gotten our lovely bride on her way to meet her fiance... almost husband, I made my way over to the venue for the ceremony & the reception, A New Leaf, and found Laurie & Michelle (who I totally love and adore) working on this great centerpiece for the food station table. It was inspired by a wedding I had at A New Leaf last year in the spring and I just thought the hydrangeas, and the blooming branches were amazing!







After getting some of the bride & grooms belongings to the necessary places... you know the usual, getting the bird cage which was used as a gift card box set up, getting the ceremony items in place, and so on, I made my way to The Apartment and found a gorgeous chuppah that was literally a sketch that Michelle, the bride & I worked out on a Wednesday night in February. It was so beautiful... the reaction I had was the same as the bride when she entered the Apartment for the first time later that day! All I had to say was Cheers to Michelle! She did a fabulous job!!

The stage was beginning to be set. And then the big truck rolled up front... it was The Hearty Boys Catering. Aurianne & her crew began setting up the room with linens, tables & chairs, while chef was preparing a meal that was served in food stations that included Beef Tenderloin with Which Chocolate Wasabi Cream (YUM!), their famous pasta station, and my favorite oh course, the Maki Sushi Station! I just loved how the room came together... I always do!

About 6:00pm or so, the room was set, the candles were lit, the centerpieces on the table and the delicious aroma of food was in the air as the guests arrived. Cage and Aquarium had arrived to mix all night for the reception and the cupcakes from Amy Beck Cake Design were delivered and set-up!

The ceremony began at 6:30pm... I was right on time with Park West Strings playing live and the the man who made it official was Rabbi Petuchowski. It was a short ceremony, but sweet and personal. Brilliant!


Cocktail hour went into full effect at 7:00pm with passed mojitos and wine service, with toasts at 8:00pm. Dinner went underway and everyone enjoyed the full menu. That led us to cutting the cupcakes in lieu of cutting the cake and then into the first dance! With some tables removed, the dancing came underway and later on everyone enjoyed passed mini burgers with sweet potato fries! Chef explained that they were made fresh on site... just love that!

Midnight rolled around and it was time for the wedding to conclude. As guests left, they grabbed a bag of Garrett's Popcorn and made their way onto the after party. As I put the bride & groom into a cab, the bride asked, "Is this it? Do we have to part ways?" I told her, "We are not parting ways... just Facebook friend me and we are linked for life!" I thanked her for letting me be a part of her wedding day and hopefully, I will be able to stay in touch with them more than just on Facebook! They were just a delight to work with and it was a great way to begin the 2010 season of weddings for Liven It Up Events!
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