Once Upon a Wedding Events: The Gallery Open House

When we were asked by our friends at The Gallery at Latin Rhythms to help coordinate their Open House event this past September, we jumped at our chance to get our hands on decorating this gorgeous space. A loft venue located in Chicago’s West Loop, The Gallery’s exposed brick, wooden beams, and string lights, not to mention their seriously awesome staff, makes them one of our favorite spaces in Chicago. They host absolutely stunning weddings and events, and we couldn’t wait to help them put together a fabulous celebration.



To honor the Latin heritage and flavor of the space, which serves as a dance studio when not hosting events, we opted for a Havana Nights theme for this late-summer party. We selected vintage décor pieces, all done with a touch of Latin flare. The tables were adorned with classic cream linens, tied with gold wire ribbon that felt simultaneously modern and vintage (we called it our steampunk ribbon!). As centerpieces, white tropical flowers in gold-painted wine bottles and upcycled wine bottle candleholders were mixed throughout the room.




Alongside the folks at The Gallery, we put together a dream team of vendors to showcase their talents during the Open House. Ian from i love lamP Lighting created and selected a number of fantastic options that transformed the space, including the aforementioned candleholders, dramatic purple uplighting, and a phenomenal installation that served as the room’s centerpiece. The wonderful Adam from Tuan B & Co memorialized the night in his beautiful photos, and the DJs at Epic DJ Services spun a wide variety of tunes.




Visitors and vendors alike had a blast playing with a Havana Nights-inspired photobooth set up in front of The Gallery’s amazing red metal door. When not concocting elaborate poses for their pictures, guests chatted, laughed, and danced the night away.




We were so thankful to be a part of this super fun Open House and to get to work with such talented vendors. Looking forward to many future happy memories with these guys!


Wedding Planning 101: 4 Ways to Incorporate Lighting in Your Wedding Decor Design


This holiday season, we can’t get enough of the twinkling lights shining along Michigan Avenue. They have us thinking about one of our favorite elements of wedding décor year-round: lighting. Wedding lighting can be one of the most overlooked aspects when couples are designing their ceremonies and receptions, but they can also have the biggest impact in the overall look and feel of your big day. Not only do lighting elements affect and enhance how your guests literally see your event venue, they also serve to decorate the space themselves. There are so many ways to incorporate lighting into your celebration, but here are a few of our very faves:

1. String Lights

One of our very favorite ways to light any ceremony or reception is string lights. These can include traditional white or yellow Christmas-type lights, the more round bistro lights, rope lights – well, pretty much any lights on a string; you get the picture. No matter which you choose, though, they all lend the perfect sparkle to your celebration. Many wedding venues come already equipped with such lighting, while lots of others easily allow for you to supply your own. Either way, we say there is nary a wedding that can’t be enhanced with the special, whimsical touch these bring.


2. Uplighting

While uplighting is pretty standard at most weddings these days, we love the personalization these bring to an indoor wedding venue. Selecting the perfect color(s) to complement the space and décor can make all the difference in how the room looks to your guests. And who wants boring old walls anyway?


3. Candles

The romantic glow of candlelight is practically designed for weddings. Candles provide such warmth and atmosphere to any room. No matter the kind of wedding you’re going for, candles will almost always be a perfect accent to the other décor you’ve painstakingly planned. There are countless options for including candles in your celebration. Whether small tealights accent your gorgeous centerpieces, clusters of chunky candles light your way down the aisle, or beautiful and interesting candle holders become integral to your stunning reception tablescapes, you can’t go wrong choosing to incorporate candlelight in your design.


4. Installations

For the truly bold, a custom light installation might just be the ideal focal point of your ceremony or reception. These pieces are perfect for showing your personalities as a couple (and provide just gorgeous, unique photos to boot!). We love the whimsy and charm a beautiful chandelier (or three…) brings to a romantic affair. Or for the modern couple, a sleek industrial piece could be just the ticket to making your wedding unforgettable to friends and family. And don’t even get us started on lighted signs.


Are you planning any special lighting for your big day? Have you seen something at other weddings that just blew you away? Tell us in the comments!

Also, don’t forget about our Engagement Season Promotion, running through December 31st! Contact us today to set up a free consultation.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Turkeys at Once Upon a Wedding!

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching (how is  it already almost December?!), the Once Upon a Wedding girls have been thinking about all of the things we’re thankful for this season. Here are a few that have been on our minds:

1. Relationships

One of our very favorite things about working in the wedding industry is the awesome people we get to meet on the regular. Whether with the amazingly talented vendors or our gorgeous, wonderful couples, we cherish all of the friendships we make in this fabulous line of work.


2. Harry Potter

That’s it. Just Harry Potter. Everything Harry Potter.


3. Equality

We’re grateful to work in an industry that celebrates love in all forms. No matter who you love, we enjoy helping give couples from all walks of life their uniquely perfect day.

4. Disney

If you haven’t noticed already, we love all things Disney. Disney movies, Disney World, Disney Buzzfeed quizzes. They’ve been part of our lives and our friendship for as long as we can remember. And where do you think our love of fairytales and belief in true love came from?


5. Our Families

We have the best families in the world! Our husbands and loved ones have been so incredibly supportive of us through this venture and we couldn’t do it without each and every one of them.

6. Working with our besties

Work isn’t work when you go to work everyday with your best friend (and the frequent wine breaks don’t hurt either).


Last but not least, we’re thankful for YOU, our reader. To show our thanks, book one of our Full Service Planning packages for your wedding on Small Business Saturday (November 26), and receive your choice of planning services for your Engagement Party, Bridal or Couple’s Shower, or Bachelorette Party for FREE! This can be used in conjunction with our Engagement Season promotion ($150 off your Full Service Planning package). Contact us and mention this post to book your wedding with us!

What are you thankful for this season? Tell us in the comments!


Alicia and Jared: Artsy Chic Loft Wedding

Creative, nontraditional, and fun are three words that describe Alicia and Jared, and their laid-back June wedding celebration perfectly captured their low-key personalities. We loved how awesomely original these guys were!

The Couple

Alicia and Jared met at a show through mutual friends and soon bonded over their love for art, animals, and travel. After becoming engaged in January 2016, the two quickly began to plan for their June wedding. A very sweet fun fact: the couple chose to marry on the bride’s parent’s 28th wedding anniversary!


The Ceremony

The couple decided to forgo a traditional ceremony, planning instead for a courthouse wedding in downtown Chicago. On Friday, June 24th, Alicia and Jared were married, surrounded by a few close family and friends. The bride wore a dress she crocheted herself (how cool is that?!).



The group then celebrated with lunch at Chicago’s Grand Lux Café.

The Reception

The following day, Alicia and Jared’s marriage was celebrated with a reception at Fulton Street Collective. The art studio/loft space in Chicago’s West Loop was the perfect location for their casual, offbeat party. Decorated with simple wildflower centerpieces and artsy photos of the couple displayed on the space’s giant metal door, the room was full of fun and love. Guests dined on amazing homemade tamales and enchiladas, honoring Alicia’s Mexican heritage, and sipped on signature cocktails – the couple’s favorite Moscow Mules and Black Cats.



Family and friends had a blast participating in a DIY photobooth set up in the foyer of the space. Entertainment was provided by the bride and groom themselves – each played with their respective bands, to the delight of all attending.


We had so much fun being a part of Alicia and Jared’s day. We wish them the best of luck as they prepare for their fabulous December honeymoon to Mexico.


Venue: Fulton Street Collective

Tables: Tablescapes

Cake: Ace Bakery


Dress, Food and Beverages, and Décor were provided by the couple and family/friends.