Julie + Laura: Super Epic Funtimes Wedding (to quote the brides)

Happy Brides

Sometimes couples walk in the door that we just know are meant for us.  That was the case when we first met Julie and Laura.  These brides had a flair for the creative. We knew the moment Laura insisted we hold all meetings in a bar that their fun and very big personalities would make the wedding planning process full of laughter and such a complete delight.  We were not disappointed. Even their first glance was full of fun and laughter.

First Glance

First Glance

First Glance

We not only had the opportunity to work closely with the brides but also their amazing families.  This wedding was truly a family affair.  Getting to know entire families and feeling like we were welcomed into the fold is one aspect of our jobs that is so unique and truly adds to the enjoyment of the process on our end. We also loved the “Party People” which is what the brides affectionately called their wedding party. We even had a Ring Bear (ala How I Met Your Mother, but this little guy was adorable and refused to wear the entire bear costume).

Wedding party fun!

Wedding Party Fun

Ring "Bear"

Invitations set the precedent for all things awesome.  In this case Courtney Callahan Designs created the perfect invitation set to capture the look and feel for the event but also truly managed to embody the spirit of the brides. The event was also peppered with fantastic signage throughout, including “thoughts to consider” on each table.

Custom Wedding Invitation Suite

Custom Wedding Invitations

Welcome to the party!

Custom Table Assignment Display

Menu Cards

Wedding Program

Speciality Cocktails

The perfect location for the big day was Ignite Glass Studios.  This little gem of a venue is nestled in the heart of the city and has a gorgeous roof top deck, perfect for a ceremony with a view of the city.  The cocktail hour was held in their courtyard which is a little bit like a secret garden.  Inside we decided to leave the garage door up, revealing the glass blowing studio beyond the band. We also added some really cool lighting from Chicago Lighting Design behind the band and cafe lights strung throughout the room.

Ignite Glass Studios

Outdoor Ceremony

Back down the aisle

Just Married!

Because the brides wanted to really warm up the otherwise very urban space, we used wooden farm tables and French industrial chairs (from Tablescapes), chevron table runners (from BBJ Linen) and warm floral. One of the biggest challenges we had during planning was Laura’s severe allergies.  We worked with the ever talented Kelly from Fleur to create the most stunning centerpieces that would really represent their style but not cause Laura to be miserable.  What Kelly created was perfectly breathtaking.

Brides sweetheart tableCenterpiecesIgnite Glass Studios evening view from courtyardTable DisplayIgnite reception at night

Dining Brides

When a super foodie couple walks in the doors it is always fun to work with a speciality catering company.  In this case, Boutique Bites really pulled out all of the stops. The attention to detail is outstanding, the food is unbelievably delicious, the bespoke cocktails were insane (the “Sofa King Good Whiskey Cocktail” and “Hakuna Some Vodka”), and the s’mores station was a massive hit.

s'mores station


Speciality Cocktails

Everyone danced the night away to the sounds of Matt Lewis and The Union.  We knew this was a special bond when the brides first met Matt before a gig at The Green Mill while he was dressed as Doc from Back to The Future for a Halloween event. Matt was instructed to have the band dress in their most fun attire and bring their sense of humor.

View from behind the band


Brides dancing

Glow sticks, wine from a family winery and candles handmade by Julie capped off the night.

Glowing Bride

Glow Sticks

Family winery

Handmade candles

A giant thank you to Steve Koo Photography for making magic happen with his camera. Steve’s photographs show the extreme joy, happiness, love and over all insanely fun day.

I will bring this little love fest of a blog post to an end with the video from Smiling Toad Productions. They did an outstanding job.  Truly outstanding.

Laura and Julie from Smiling Toad Productions on Vimeo.

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank Julie, Laura and their families for allowing us to plan their super epic funtimes wedding with them.  It was one of the most fun events we have ever had the pleasure of planning.

Laura’s bespoke suit was made by Boris Powell and Julie’s beautiful dress was by Jesús Peiró.


Love is Love – Celebrating 1 Year of Marriage Equality in Illinois

Love is Love Logo

Last month we worked with an outstanding group of Chicago wedding vendors to plan and produce Love is Love, a celebration of 1 year of marriage equality in Illinois.  We had hundreds of people in attendance and it was quite the celebration!  It was such a delight being part of this event and we were thrilled to see many of our past and current same-sex clients in attendance as well.

That night, we all talked about how proud we were of Illinois and how awesome it was to see equal rights for all couples in love in our home state of Illinois.  Finally, we can say the same thing for the entire country!  We have celebrated and rejoiced for over a week now that the SCOTUS ruled in favor of marriage equality! We are seeing same-sex weddings happen all over the country, in cities and counties that some of us never dreamed would be a reality.  As a wedding planner who works with a lot of LGBT clients, my heart is overjoyed to see this wave of love wash over our nation.  This Independence Day we have something extra to celebrate.  While we know there is still a lot of work ahead for equality across races, religions, gender and sexuality, it is important to still take a moment to be thankful and celebrate our victories.  They may come slowly, but they are coming.  Our hard work and dedication to equality makes changes day by day, one step at a time.

I am delighted to share this beautiful video from my friend Keith at Poetic Productions.  He did a beautiful job capturing the Love is Love celebration for same-sex marriage.  We also have a really fun stop motion video from Doug and Doug McGoldrick Weddings.  It is a pleasure to share these beautiful pieces of art with you all.

love is from doug mcgoldrick on Vimeo.

I giant thank you to all of the outstanding vendors who came together to make Love is Love such an exceptional celebration.  Everyone at Greatest Expectations is thrilled and honored to work with each and every one of you!

Amy Beck Cake Design

Limelight Catering

J & L Catering

Entertaining Company 

Wolfgang Puck Catering

Modern Luxury Brides Chicago

ChicagoStyle Weddings Magazine

Lincoln Park Zoo

Halls Rentals

BBJ Linen

Revel Decor

Sound Investment

Greatest Expectations

SQN Special Events

Liven It Up Events

Emily Wheeler Custom Cakes

Rick Aguilar Studios

Doug McGoldrick Photography

Lofty Wedding Photography and Videography

Sprung Photo

Hendzel Productions

Poetic Productions

Beatmix Music

Okyne Medialab

Shutter Booth Chicago

KGA Garret Associates

Loft on Lake

Stand Up – Wedding Professional for Marriage Equality Chicago

All proceeds for Love is Love benefited Equality Illinois.

Celebrating 1 year of Marriage Equality in Illinois

STAND UP FOR EQUALITY MEMBERS are proud to present,


a semi-formal event commemorating the first year of Marriage Equality in Illinois!

Date: Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Time: 6:00pm – 10:00pm

Tickets Available at:: https://loveisloveillinois.eventbrite.com

Join us for an evening of specialty cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, entertainment, and photo opportunities!

Guests are encouraged to wear black attire customized with a flourish of their favorite bright color!

A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit Equality Illinois.

Equality Illinois Logo


What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

We are offering valet

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?


Is my registration/ticket transferable?



Our newest addition, wedding stylist and attendant, Kristine!

Kristine Fachet Greatest Expectations Wedding Party Stylist / Attendant

Kristine Fachet
Greatest Expectations Wedding Party Stylist / Attendant

We are so excited to announce that Kristine Fachet has joined the Greatest Expectations team as our Wedding Party Stylist / Attendant.  This is something we have been hoping to add to our custom planning packages for quite some time now and Kristine is simply the perfect addition to our already awesome team.

Kristine brings 15 years of theatrical costuming experience to the Greatest Expectations team.  Her meticulous attention to detail and understanding of fit and fabric will ensure your wedding party is “stage-ready” and everyone is looking their very best.  She has worked as a stylist with some of Chicago’s top hair and makeup artists, and also as a alterations expert for local bridal boutiques.  Kristine’s talents reach far and wide, including her own line of custom handbags, Sur Le Feu Handbags & Accessories.

Chic Urban Chicago Wedding

Chicago Bridges

Kristina and Danny’s urban chic Chicago wedding was nothing short of spectacular!  The wedding was breathtaking, the clients were beautiful and happy.  It just doesn’t get any better than this!

We are in the business of weddings.  That means we see a lot of people in love (and it’s awesome!) but there was something extra special about Kristina and Danny.  The look in their eyes, the way they connected so beautifully.  These two never stopped smiling, it was magical and we were honored to be part of their wedding planning experience!

Kristina found us through a friend in the wedding industry and we instantly “clicked”.  It was such a pleasure helping her put her chic urban wedding together.  We began by building the greatest creative team imaginable: A New Leaf, HMR Designs, Boutique Bites Fine Catering, Kevin Weinstein Photography, Sound Investment, Magnificent Milestones, BomBon Cakes, Livia Caporale – Hair Stylist, Sonia Roselli – Makeup Artist and StyleMatters DJ’s.  With this killer combination we transformed what is already a stunning space into a warm, modern and breath taking ceremony and reception.

Kevin Weinstein performed his usual magic in capturing such raw emotion and love between the bride and groom.  These first glance pictures just make us smile from ear to ear.

First Glance Bride

First Glance Groom

Happy Couple

The bride was stunning in her Oscar de la Renta wedding dress and Jimmy Choo shoes.  Those pretty little shoes gave us a hard time when they ripped during family photos!  Thank goodness we always bring a full staff to each wedding and our Event Assistant, Spencer, was able to take them to a local cobbler and have them repaired before the ceremony!

Bride wears Oscar and Jimmy

The ceremony, which was really intimate and beautiful, was performed by Danny’s godfather. There was no shortage of tears and laughter throughout the entire thing.

A New Leaf Ceremony

Ceremony peep

A New Leaf newly Weds

HMR Designs built stunning custom pieces for us including square wooden tables, burlap covered cabaret tables and recycled barrel highboy tables.  Each beautifully topped with elegant floral from A New Leaf and an abundance of candles.

A New Leaf, Custom Made Wedding Tables

Burlap covered tables

Wildflower centerpieces

Wedding Table Candle Treatment


As event planners and designers, we get very excited when function meets fashion.  Working with the team at Boutique Bites Catering is so exceptional.  Their delicious food is nothing short of art and they don’t miss a detail when it comes to presentation.  We especially love the vintage tea cups used to serve soup in!

We also loved the simple yet elegant wedding cake from BonBom Cakes.

vintage tea cups for soup

Boutique Bites Catering

Boutique Bites Catering Speciality CocktailBoutique Bites Catering

Boutique Bites Catering

Boutique Bites Catering

White wedding cake

Kevin captured such tender moments of the bride and groom on the dance floor.  No matter how talented a photographer is (and trust us, Kevin is widely talented) you cannot make magic like this unless the couple really feels it.  We loved working with Kristina and Danny and wish them a lifetime of love, laughter, joy and happiness!


Last Dance


Monica + Nathan: A Classic Wedding

City Shot

We are thrilled to share Monica and Nathan’s breath taking wedding with you.  The entire team loved working with this fun couple and guiding them through the wedding planning process.  We did so with lots of laughter and good company.

One of our favorite things about this wedding is it’s stunning location.  The Saddle and Cycle Club is one of Chicago’s best kept secrets.  This breath taking private club has stunning grounds and makes you feel like your inside an oasis.  It was the perfect setting for a great party!

Hats off to the creative team that helped us put together this exceptional event. Exquisite Designs created perfect centerpieces in ivory, blush and gold that complimented the federal blue shantung linen. Amy Beck Cake Design provided the most delicious and beautiful blush and ivory cake.  Erickson Designs used the softest blush paper to create the custom menu cards, place card and programs.  Guests danced the night away to the sounds of The Larry King Orchestra and all of these lovely images are from the ever talented Husar Photography. We especially love the homemade jam provided by Nathan’s mother (she was kind enough to send a jar home with us and it was delicious!).

Enjoy your peek into Monica and Nathan’s special day.

Bride gets dressed

Groom Cuff Links

Brides Flowers

Bride on stairs

Custom Wedding Programs

Church Exit

place cards

Room Shot

Blush Wedding Cake

Custom Cake Topper

head table

Tall Floral Arrangements

First Dance

Favor table

Hand Made Jam



One Love Wedding Event

One Love Flyer

Everyone at Greatest Expectations is proud to be collaborating with the Chicago History Museum on the One Love Wedding Event being held on Thursday, April 10th . This one of a kind event is geared towards the LGBTQ community and features an extensive list of LGBTQ friendly wedding vendors including Egalitè Wines and Halsted Vodka who give 15% of their proceeds to the LGBTQ community.

Please join us for what promises to be an upscale, elegant and unique wedding event! Attendance is free but registration is required and space is filling up fast.  Please click here to register.

Thank you to all of the wonderful vendors participating in this exceptional wedding event.

Amy Beck Cake Design, Andie Cumber Make Up, Anita Weds, Berghoff Catering, Berghoff Beer, Blue Plate, Carmel Entertainment, Egalitè Wines, Flower Firm, Food for Thought, Fragrant Designs,  Glazed and Infused,  Greatest Expectations, Halls Rentals, Halsted VodkaIntercontinental ChicagoJewell Events, Julia Franzosa Photography, Katherine Anne Confections, Livia Caporale, Magnificent Milestones, Mini Cooper, Platinum Events, Poetic Productions, Private Label Linen, Revel Decor, Shutterbooth Chicago, Stemline Creative.

The event has been featured on WGN Midday News  and OUT CHICAGO.



Project Gigeo – A Surprise Wedding Proposal

A couple of months ago we were approached to help plan a really unique wedding proposal.  We were excited about this adventure and enjoyed the entire process.  Below you will see photographs from Belen from Orange2Photo and Videography from Joey at Shift Focus Productions. Thank you to everyone at Lula Cafe  and all of our “extras” for helping make this such a special evening for Ken and Elena.

Here is the story of Ken and Elena …

They met on match.com in September 2011. On their first date, they had two high-fives and 20 minutes of conversation before even placing their drink order. Their second date was a 14 hour adventure culminating in a 500 person robot vs. human all-night scavenger hunt/game of tag through the streets of Chicago. From there, the countless adventures continued…travel to four continents…… hiking, climbing, skiing, camping, scuba diving…parties, concerts, and dancing…meeting family and friends…moving in together.

On a typical Tuesday night, Ken took Elena out for a “date night” to one of her favorite Chicago restaurants. Little does she know the restaurant is really closed and filled with extras. Ken excuses himself to the restroom…

Lula Cafe was the perfect setting for the big surprise.

Lula Cafe was the perfect setting for the big surprise.

Scene 1: Match.com

Actors begin to read Ken and Elena’s match.com profiles over the restaurant speakers.

"Ken and Elena" pull out their laptops for the Match.com Skit

“Ken and Elena” pull out their laptops for the Match.com Skit

An unsuspecting Elena looks at the menu as the Match.com skit starts.

An unsuspecting Elena looks at the menu as the Match.com skit starts.

Elena starts to catch on.

Elena starts to catch on.

Scene 2: Robots vs. Human Chicago Tag Game

Robots in the Robots vs. Humans Skit

Robots in the Robots vs. Humans Skit

"Ken & Elena" in the Robots Vs. Humans Skit

“Ken & Elena” in the Robots Vs. Humans Skit

Scene 3: Christmas Tree Hunting

"Ken & Elena" in the ChristmasTree Hunting Skit

“Ken & Elena” in the Christmas Tree Hunting Skit

Scene 4: Gingerbread House / Marshmallow Fight

Elena meets Ken’s family for the first time: Elena turns gingerbread decorating into an all-out marshmallow fight… Ken slips, cracks his head open and is taken to the ER… Ken and Elena say “I love you” for the first time.

"Ken" splits his head open after the extensive marshmallow fight. EMT's to the rescue.

“Ken” splits his head open after the extensive marshmallow fight. EMT’s to the rescue.


Scene 5: South African Safari / Moonlight Skinny Dipping

"Driving" through the jungle.

“Driving” through the jungle.

Jungle Animals

Jungle Animals

South African Safari complete with Safari animals and a Safari Jeep!

South African Safari complete with Safari animals and a Safari Jeep!

After the Safari ... There was Moonlight Skinny Dipping.  Love the rip off clothing and nude suits.

After the Safari … There was Moonlight Skinny Dipping. Love the rip off clothing and nude suits.


Each new skit surprises and delights Elena.

Each new skit surprises and delights Elena.


Scene 6: Hiking & Camping / Peru

Hiking adventures.

Hiking adventures.

"Ken and Elena" hike through the mountains in Peru.

“Ken and Elena” hike through the mountains in Peru.

"Ken and Elena" meet children while hiking.

“Ken and Elena” meet children while hiking in Peru.

Scene 7: Mediation atop the Pyramid of the Sun Teotihuacan Mexico

All friends and extras participated in the finale. Performers from the skits begin to form the circle.

All friends and extras participated in the finale. Performers from the skits begin to form the circle.

Changing "Om" everyone gathers together, butterflies are released and Ken begins to part the crowd toward Elena.

Changing “Om” everyone gathers together, butterflies are released and Ken begins to part the crowd toward Elena.

Elena in awe.

Elena in awe.

The man of the hour appears.

The man of the hour appears.

Ken gets down on one knee to propose.

Ken gets down on one knee to propose.

She didn’t just say “yes” she said ABSOLUTELY!

She said YES!

She said YES!




Followed by a champagne toast and lots of hugs!

Champagne toast!

Champagne toast!

Such an emotional night with the love of friends and family.

Such an emotional night with the love of friends and family.

Watch the video below to see the whole event!


We offer the most heartfelt congratulations to Ken and Elena as your adventure continues …

Intimate Winter Wedding

This past winter we worked with an amazing creative team to do an inspiration shoot that is up on Style Me Pretty today.  We couldn’t possibly be more in love with this shoot and want to give special thanks to everyone who helped us! Julia Franzosa, Sarah Drake Designs,  Pistil & Vine, truffle truffle, AnitaWeds, BackTie FormalwearNimble Well and Tablescapes.

I have been wanting to do an intimate winter wedding inspiration shoot for a long time and when these adorable gentlemen came into my life I knew I needed to show them off.  I mean really, how cute are they?  Did you see those beautiful smiles on their faces?

The design was inspired by a modern, neutral color palette with a striking color blocking design. We decided to go with cream, black and bronze and I think the end result was stunning.  The hand painted aisle runner featured a bronze pattern and we used simple white cube seating topped with wheat colored wraps for the guests so they didn’t get a chill.

The guests were treated to a beautiful custom marshmallow (featuring vanilla bean and Mexican spiced chocolate marshmallows) and hot coca bar complete with chocolate covered spoons and all the “toppings”.

I hope you enjoy all of these beautiful images.  To check out the rest of the images go to the article on Style Me Pretty, you won’t want to miss them and thanks again to everyone who helped to make this such a beautiful shoot.

The shoot took place in a private residence.

Outdoor Winter Wedding

View More: http://juliafranzosa.pass.us/winterstyledshoot

View More: http://juliafranzosa.pass.us/winterstyledshoot

View More: http://juliafranzosa.pass.us/winterstyledshoot



Love generously, kindly and with wild abandon … Always

Today is not only Valentine’s Day, it is also Generosity Day.

All of us at Greatest Expectations love a reason to celebrate. Any reason to celebrate, in fact.  But the truth of the matter is … We think it is far more important to love generously and kindly at all times.  We are not just talking about loving your family members, your partner or your children.  Show love, generosity, kindness and overall goodness to everyone you come across in your day.  Smile easily (and mean it).  Say “please” and “thank you” at all times.  Apologize truthfully and with meaning. Tip extremely well (your servers work their tails off!). Be patient. Listen intently.  Look people in the eyes. Volunteer. Donate your time, money and other items. Open your heart and your mind. Write a thank you note to someone who has touched your life. Be passionate, about everything you do.

Today is Generosity Day, it’s a good reminder to slow down and take a moment to to give of your whole self and to be kind.  It is also Valentine’s Day.  Both are beautiful reasons to celebrate, we just hope you choose to celebrate all year long and not just on February 14th.

Check out this great page to Spread Generosity.

We hope you go out and love generously, kindly and with wild abandon … Always.

Generoisty Day




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