Chicago Wedding Planner

Across the Universe: A Galaxy-Themed Styled Photoshoot

Once upon a time, two girls with stars in their eyes decided to put together an amazing photoshoot with all of their friends. They were inspired by one of their very favorite themes, and their friends brought all the pretty things to contribute. And thus, the Across the Universe photoshoot was born!

Okay, we don’t really know why, but we’ve always had kind of a thing for the stars and galaxy. Maybe it’s the grandness of the universe or the beauty that can be found in the darkest of places or the fact that Ashley didn’t see the stars for like 5 years while living in NYC or the fact that Kelley can’t see a galaxy-printed item without buying it, but we’re pretty much smitten. So when it came time to pick a theme for our Summer styled shoot, we let the galaxy be our guide!


Hosted at the spectacular Chez Event Space in downtown Chicago (a space we’d been DYING to get our hands on since first seeing those high ceilings and that epic staircase), we pictured a universe of dramatic colors, twinkling gold accents, and elegant, modern details to tie it all together. Our vendor dream team exceeded our wildest expectations! Aga Wedding & Event Décor provided the perfect design elements that lit up the space with all kinds of sparkle, along with her truly lovely florals. Speaking of lighting, our friend Ian from I Love Lamp Lighting transformed the shoot with his atmospheric uplighting and an utterly spectacular chandelier that looked like actual falling stars (seriously, guys, we were speechless). Elysia Root lent her genuine artistry to the shoot by creating a cake that was out-of-this-world beautiful – the pastel painting and gold touches were sheer perfection. Highlighting the theme with the perfect details were the awesome calligraphy provided by Calligraphy by CT and the darling groom accessories and fab invitation suite from Etsy.

Emilie and Jack, dear friends of the photographer and the day’s models, brought their real-life husband and wife chemistry to the day – we swooned hardcore every time these guys even looked at each other. Emilie was resplendent in her Leanne Marshall dress provided by Lovely Bride, and Gia Tovar’s hairstyling and Ashley of Manifest Makeup LLC’s makeup were works of art. Jack was dapper AF in his tux from Black Tie Formalwear.

Last but most definitely not least, we wouldn’t have these incredible pictures of the day without the phenomenal talents of Beth Leung Photography. She’s a total rock star!


Check out some of our favorite photos from the Across the Universe shoot below, and let us know what your favorite part is in the comments!















Venue: Chez
Photographer: Beth Leung Photography
Planners: Once Upon a Wedding
Lighting: I Love Lamp Lighting
Flowers & Rentals: Aga Wedding & Event Décor
Gown: Lovely Bride
Menswear: Black Tie Formalwear
Hair: Gia Tovar
Makeup: Manifest Makeup LLC
Calligraphy & Stationery: Calligraphy by CT
Cake: Elysia Root Cakes
Models: Jack & Emilie

Latte of Love: The story behind our romantic coffee-themed loft styled shoot

Okay, boys and girls, let’s gather around, because it’s time for a story. Picture a handsome man as he enters his favorite local coffee shop; we’ll call him Steven. He places his usual order and moves to the side to wait. The barista calls out his order, and as he moves to grab the cup, so does another hand. He looks up into the gorgeous eyes of our other hero; we’ll call him Michael. The two gents laugh at having the same order, and make a date (to have coffee of course), not knowing that there, in that quaint coffee shop, they were meeting the love of their life.


Okay, cheesy time is over. But this kind of super adorable meet cute served as the backstory inspiration for our most recent styled shoot! After meeting with the fab girls over at k+b photography, we knew we wanted to find a way to work with them asap, so the idea of a styled shoot was born. You guys know we couldn’t resist planning a themed wedding, and if you follow us on Instagram, you also know there’s one thing we love almost as much as weddings: coffee! So the theme was kind of a no-brainer.


We’ve been longtime fans of the gorgeous space at Greenhouse Loft, so we knew it was the perfect place for our theme to come together – and we were right! The huge windows, light wood, white beams, and even their awesome bar space were absolutely perfect for our coffee shop-inspired design. We envisioned a soft but masculine color palette in shades of brown and cream, with plenty of metallic accents, and our friends at Ashland Addison and Vintage Place Settings more than delivered. You guys, our centerpieces even featured a rose called Coffee Break! With the gorgeous flowers combined with the stunning vintage coffee pots and cups, we were in coffee-themed heaven.


Our super talented pal Kasey at Fir & Feather provided the stationery and calligraphy that brought just the right amount of detail and flair – we loved the sweet foil invitations she created! We were beyond lucky to find Simply Wood Rings, who CUSTOM MADE rings for our shoot. How amazing is that! Even better, the rings featured wood made from wine barrels and actual coffee. We can’t even.


Rounding out our little photoshoot gang were our dapper models, Sam Provenzano and Ian Sargent Phillips, who wore the heck out of the suits provided by Formally Modern. We couldn’t have had two better, or more fun, guys to play our grooms for the day.

As excited as we were while planning this shoot, we never in our wildest dreams imagined it would turn out as beautifully as it did. We really had a dream team of vendors, and they all worked so hard to bring our vision to life. We hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we do! Let us know what you think in the comments.









Featured on: Borrowed & Blue

Tradition Tuesday: Wedding Food

It’s that time again! We’re thrilled to bring you a brand new Tradition Tuesday, where we focus on one wedding day tradition and our ideas on how couples can make it their own. As huge proponents of the nontraditional wedding, we always strive to make sure that our brides and grooms’ celebrations reflect their personalities; part of this means putting their own spin on the wedding traditions of days past. This week we talk about the food you choose for your big day.


If thinking of wedding food brings to mind a multi-course dinner complete with a limp salad and dry chicken, boy do we have news for you. There are so many awesome, exciting, and delicious alternatives to a (boring) plated dinner that we don’t even know where to start! Whether you’re looking for a slight update to the traditional seated meal or something totally cool and memorable, we know your guests will appreciate the extra thought you put into providing a kick-ass dining experience. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Buffets

Buffets have been around so long that they’re kind of their own tradition already. A more casual, personal option for your guests (and often less pricey for you), buffets encourage everyone to mingle and spend time out of their seats – already more fun than sitting still for hours! They can be easily customized with whatever food you wish to serve, whether that leans toward more traditional wedding fare or something a bit more unique (including the other options below).

2. Cocktails & Hors D’oeuvres

If you’re a “variety is the spice of life” kind of couple, a cocktail-style reception could be perfect for you. Why choose between sliders, empanadas, kebabs, or bruschetta when you can serve all of the above?! Selecting a number of heavy hors d’oeuvres to be passed throughout the night in lieu of a formal dinner keeps the focus on the party while your guests still get to experience plenty of exciting food options.


3. Local eats

We love when couples pay homage to places they love during their wedding day. Whether it’s your hometown, the city you’ve chosen for your wedding, or another place that means a lot to you, tying your food into a special location for you and your new spouse is always a fun way to share your interests with your friends and family. New York pizza, New England seafood, Memphis barbecue, Philly cheesesteaks – all super fun ways to make sure your guests are fed. Of course, here in Chicago we’re big fans of the deep dish pizza or Chicago-style hot dogs!


4. Ethnic Food

For our couples looking to honor a certain culture during your big day (whether your own or one that inspires you), serving ethnic cuisine is a bold, interesting choice. We recommend selecting a variety of dishes or one or two universally enjoyable entrees to ensure that even the pickiest of your guests will find something new and delicious to try. That said, don’t be afraid to go for something unusual or unexpected; it will make your wedding even more unique to your friends and family.

5. Brunch

To save money on their celebration or secure popular dates, many couples are opting to get married at nontraditional times and/or days. In some cases, this makes a brunch reception the perfect choice (and who doesn’t love brunch?!). A great mix of breakfast and lunch options and delicious cocktails, and your guests will be happy campers.


6. Late Night Eats

This is a newer trend that we adore: supplying awesome snacks later in your celebration to keep the energy going until the very end. We’ve heard of everything from surprising your loved ones with a couple’s favorite treat (s’mores, anyone?!) to hiring trendy food trucks. So fun!


Now it’s your turn! What do you dream of serving at your wedding? Have you seen any awesome or unique foods served at weddings you’ve been to? Did you get as hungry reading this post as we did writing it?! Tell us in the comments.