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

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!


Big News! Engagement Season Promotion

It’s that time of year! As we celebrate our launch, prep for the holidays, and look forward to a wonderful engagement season (did you know that more couples get engaged in December than any other month?!), we’ve decided to spread the cheer we’re feeling after this insane, amazing, trying 2016.


To celebrate, we are thrilled to offer a limited time promotion. Book your wedding with Once Upon a Wedding before the end of the year (December 31, 2016) and receive $150 off your Full Service Planning Package or $50 off your Day-Of Coordination Package. Just mention the code LAUNCH2016 when you Contact Us to receive this special deal.

Welcome to Once Upon a Wedding

Hello, brides and grooms of Chicago, vendors, and internet people! We’re super excited to meet you all and to tell you a little about ourselves. Welcome to our blog!

As you know, Once Upon a Wedding is Chicago’s favorite new wedding planners. You can read about Kelley and Ashley’s backgrounds on our Meet Us page and the services we offer in the Packages section, so we won’t bore you with repeating those details. Instead, let’s talk about who Once Upon a Wedding is, and who we strive to be.

once_upon_a_wedding_chicago_cardChampions of the Nontraditional

First and foremost, Once Upon a Wedding is focused on providing unique celebrations for all of our brides and grooms. We believe that each wedding should reflect the one-of-a-kind love being celebrated. Every moment and detail of a wedding should be carefully considered in order to reflect the personalities of the couple. This often means that many wedding traditions will need some tweaking or even elimination in order to embody the right energy for the day. We’re all about finding the right way to connect our couples to every element of their once-in-a-lifetime wedding.


While we’re all about adapting wedding traditions to suit our couples, we love even more when a bride and groom are looking for a completely nontraditional day. We’re offbeat and quirky, and our strongest passions lie with those couples who are too, and are looking to reflect that in their weddings. Some of our favorite nontraditional weddings include:

  • Themed Weddings:

    Ah, themed weddings. They can be as subtle or in-your-face as the bride and groom want, but centering the big day around one of the couple’s passions is such fun, and a great way to reflect their personalities and draw their family and friends into their favorite thing(s) for a day. (Side note: the first couples to allow us to plan Harry Potter or Disney themed weddings will earn our eternal love and devotion.)

  • Green Weddings:

    So many couples want to make every effort to consider the impact their big day will have on the environment. There are countless ways to “green-ify” our bride and groom’s wedding celebrations, and we can all feel good about keeping this at the forefront of our planning efforts.

  • Secular Weddings:

    For couples without strong religious ties, it might not make sense to center their wedding ceremony around religious traditions and vows. In these cases, a fully-personalized ceremony can be so impactful.

  • Casual Weddings:

    Let’s face it: not all of us are the black-tie type. Weddings with a casual, laid-back, and personal atmosphere can be even better at showcasing the couple without all the pomp and circumstance. From beach ceremonies to hors d’oeuvres or barbeque receptions, sometimes a couple wants to celebrate their day with nothing more or less than a fun party – and nobody loves a good party more than we do.

Equality Advocates

We’re passionate about the core belief that love is love. In everything we do as a business and as human beings, we endlessly strive to be 100% inclusive. We believe in equality above all – whether our couples are same sex, opposite sex, interracial, religious, nonreligious, traditional, or completely off-the-wall unconventional, all people are entitled to love whomever they choose and deserve a day as perfectly unique as they are.


Eco-Friendly Business Owners

We love our planet. Even when not a core focus of a particular wedding or event, Once Upon a Wedding strives to implement as many green practices in our day-to-day operations as we can. From utilizing recyclable or sustainable products whenever possible to supporting local vendors with green initiatives to choosing electronic methods of communication over printed materials, we take care to put conscious thought into how all of our actions will affect the environment.


Now that you’ve learned a bit more about us, we’d love to hear more about you! Please leave a comment below or Say Hello to us on our contact page.