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.

BAP_3679

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!

Engaged!

Engaged!

 

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

 

 

 

The Details Are In The Fine Print: Creating An Event Concept With Printed Items

We think it’s important to create a cohesive event “concept” for your wedding.  Some people may use the term “theme” but we don’t really love the associations made with that word, so let’s call it “creating a cohesive event concept.”

Some couples become leery when we bring up the need for an event concept.  Often they mistakenly think we are talking about a cheesy prom theme like “Love Under the Stars.” We assure you, this is not the case! Creating a concept for your wedding really means coming up with something that is unique to you as a couple; something that is presented to your guests at every turn. It can be as simple as a color scheme, a custom monogram, or a specific pattern set.  The most effective way to introduce a concept into your wedding and have it play out from start to finish is through printed details.

Once you have selected your wedding date and location you are able to let those two details inspire your concept. If you’ve chosen a rustic, outdoor location, take note of the flora and fauna that surrounds your venue and choose colors, patterns and textures that speak to it.  The same applies to a wedding taking place in an urban loft space or chic city hotel. The use of clean lines, colors and a modern patterns in your pre-wedding printed items gives your guests a little taste of what is to come and will help build the excitement for your big day.

Beautifully thought out invitation suite. Patterned backs, coordinating designs and colors.  Designed by Elizabeth Grace.  Photo by Wasio Photography.

Beautifully thought out invitation suite. Patterned backs, coordinating designs and colors. Designed by Elizabeth Grace. Photo by Wasio Photography.

 

Custom Invitation Set from Magnificent Milestones.  Photo by Amanda Hen Photography.

Custom Invitation Set from Magnificent Milestones. Photo by Amanda Hen Photography.

So, what do we mean by “printed details?” We are not just talking about your save-the-dates and invitations … Oh no, this goes much deeper than that, although they are the perfect place to start. Depending on your interests, budget and personality, consider a fun mailing just before your guests’ arrival.  Perhaps that’s a little letter or note to get them excited.  Include some details about the ceremony and reception venue.  Tell them about the local restaurants, where to get a great spa treatment, or who has the best cocktail!

Rehearsal Dinner Invitation from Magnificent Milestones.  Photo by Amanda Hein Photography

Rehearsal Dinner Invitation from Magnificent Milestones. Photo by Amanda Hein Photography.

When it comes to your guests’ arrivals be sure to welcome them in style.  Depending on budget this can be as simple as a welcome letter presented at check in, or a fabulous swag bag with treats that represent your style and personalities.

If you’re letting the small details stand out in print, as we suggest, this is the time to let them start shining. Programs, place cards and menu cards are not the only way to wow your guests with print. We are big fans of signage for events.  Make signage (large and small) interesting, eye catching and fun.  Highlight your sweet treats, favors, coffee stations, popcorn bars, or anything your beautifully creative mind can come up with.

Custom signage for a Hindu wedding. Design by Ruby the Fox.  Photo by Jennifer Kathryn Photography.

Custom signage for a Hindu wedding. Design by Ruby the Fox. Photo by Jennifer Kathryn Photography.

Scoop, Savor, Sip sign designed by Courtney Callahan Paper. Photo by Belen at Orange 2 Photo.

Scoop, Savor, Sip sign designed by Courtney Callahan. Photo by Belen at Orange 2 Photo.

Personalized napkins designed by Courtney Callahan Paper. Photo by Belen at Orange 2 Photo.

Personalized napkins designed by Courtney Callahan. Photo by Belen at Orange 2 Photo.
Event logo featured on matchboxes designed by Courtney Callahan Paper. Photo by Belen at Orange 2 Photo.

Event logo featured on matchboxes designed by Courtney Callahan. Photo by Belen at Orange 2 Photo.

Infused water bar for a Hindu Wedding Ceremony.  Design by Ruby the Fox.  Photo by Jennifer Kathryn Photography

Infused water bar from Entertaining Company for a Hindu Wedding Ceremony. Design by Ruby the Fox. Photo by Jennifer Kathryn Photography.

Consider parting gifts or treats to thank your guests for making an effort, traveling and spending a great deal of money to celebrate with you (let’s face it, it does cost guests a lot of money to attend a wedding).  

Organic honey guest favors with custom labels. Courtney Callahan Designs, Fleur, Inc.  Photo by Simply Jessie Photography.

Organic honey guest favors with custom labels.designed by Courtney Callahan. Photo by Simply Jessie Photography.

 

Custom Designed Monogram used on Favors by Truffle Truffle.  Design by Lily Red Studio. Photo by Amanda Hein Photography.

Custom Designed Monogram used on Favors by Truffle Truffle. Design by Lily Red Studio. Photo by Amanda Hein Photography.

As for your reception, there are a countless number of ways to use printed details throughout the night. If you’ve chosen to have a traditional, seated dinner for your guests, one the more obvious print item needs you’ll need are place cards. We admittedly love this small but important detail! There are so many different ways a place card can look, feel, be presented … It may seem silly, but we look forward to being inspired by them at every event we produce! You can easily take whatever printed details you’ve used on your invitations and ceremony programs and pull a piece of it onto traditional, small tent cards. If you’ve offered guests a choice of entrée, don’t forget to somehow indicate each guest’s selection on their individual place card. This in itself is a fun way to keep your theme going! We absolutely love the tiny animal that was stamped in the upper right corner of one of our recent couple’s place cards that indicated a chicken, fish or vegetarian dish (a small heart indicated a vegetarian dish).   

Beautiful patterned, square place cards/  Photo by Belen at Orange 2 Photo.

Beautiful patterned, square place cards/  designed by Courtney Callahan. Photo by Belen at Orange 2 Photo.

Honey dipper place's as place cards! Vintage drawers filled with sugar.  Courtney Callahan Designs, Fleur, Inc.  Photo by Simply Jessie Photography.

Honey dipper place’s as place cards! Vintage drawers filled with sugar. Courtney Callahan, Fleur, Inc. Photo by Simply Jessie Photography.

Custom Labels for favors (that are also place cards).  Design by Magnificent Milestones.  Photo by Amanda Hein Photography.

Custom Labels for favors (that are also place cards). Design by Magnificent Milestones. Photo by Amanda Hein Photography.

Creative Place Card Display on Large, Padded Picture Frame.  Photo by Amanda Hein Photography.

Creative Place Card Display on Large, Padded Picture Frame. Photo by Amanda Hein Photography.

 

Custom place cards for a Hindu wedding.  Guests meal options were shown with darling little carrots, chicken, or fish to indicate meal choice. Design by Ruby the Fox.  Photo by Jennifer Kathryn Photography.

Custom place cards for a Hindu wedding. Guests meal options were shown with darling little carrots, chicken, or fish to indicate meal choice. Design by Ruby the Fox. Photo by Jennifer Kathryn Photography.

Monogramed Place Cards. Photo by Dayna Schroeder Photography.

Monogramed Place Cards. Photo by Dayna Schroeder Photography.

For couples who are either working with a tight space (not enough room in the venue to display their place cards) or are going for a more non-traditional vibe, there is always the option of a seating chart instead of place cards. Instead of having several small cards printed with your theme of choice, show guests to their seats via a creative, well produced seating chart that fits in with your theme. The more creative, the better! We love the idea of having the seating chart professionally painted onto a vintage, framed mirror, a chalkboard, or just about anything you can imagine!

Seating chart poster. Photo by Document The Day Photography.

Seating chart poster. Photo by Document The Day Photography.

Chalkboard Seating Chart designed by Lil and Val and sold on Etsy.

Chalkboard Seating Chart designed by Lily and Val and sold on Etsy.

Your custom print details definitely don’t have to end with place cards or a fun seating chart; depending on your venue, guests might need more direction than just to their assigned table. Sometimes, directional signage to things like your cocktail hour location, dinner and dancing location, restrooms, bars, etc. might be helpful (or just plain fun) for your guests. Or, perhaps you’ve selected some yummy cocktail hour bites and beverages that you’d like to call attention to with menu signs. Keep this in mind during any walk-through appointments you have with your venue, and take the opportunity to create fun signage that will further enhance the theme you have going on.

Custom Designed Monogram and Food Signage.  Design by Lily Red Studio. Image by Amanda Hein Photography. Food Scape from Pure Kitchen Catering.

Custom Designed Monogram and Food Signage. Design by Lily Red Studio. Image by Amanda Hein Photography. Food Scape from Pure Kitchen Catering.

Custom Chalk Board Dessert Station Signage.  Photo by Jeremy Lawson Photography.

Custom Chalk Board Dessert Station Signage. Photo by Jeremy Lawson Photography.

Let’s not forget table décor – just like place cards, we’ve been inspired by a wide array of table numbers and names. Whatever your preference, numerical or something unique to you as a couple, keep it in line with your theme in order to keep the tone you’ve set in tact when guests are seated. We also adore a beautifully crafted menu card that slips into or sits on top of each guest’s napkin (for traditional, seated dinners of course). For couples that have chosen the food station route, creatively themed signs or individual food labels at your buffets ensure that your creative vision is seen in every corner of the room.

We used two larger menu cards on each table for this romantic terrarium wedding.  Designed by Anne Benjamin from Mok Duk.  Photo by Chad HusarPhotography.

We used two larger menu cards on each table for this romantic terrarium wedding. Designed by Anne Benjamin from Mok Duk. Photo by Chad Husar Photography.

Custom table numbers designed by Ruby The Fox.  Photo by Jennifer Kathryn Photography.

Custom table numbers designed by Ruby The Fox. Photo by Jennifer Kathryn Photography.

Menu card designed by Pink  Paper + Ink.  Photo by SnoStudios Photography.

Menu card designed by Pink Paper + Ink. Photo by SnoStudios Photography.

Creative table names, Cocktails! Each table featured a special cocktail recipe. Design by Magnificent Milestones.  Photo by Amanda Hein Photography.

Creative table names, Cocktails! Each table featured a special cocktail recipe. Design by Magnificent Milestones. Photo by Amanda Hein Photography.

We think printed details are a great way to create a long lasting, cohesive concept for any event. Hopefully our ideas have inspired you! Still having trouble coming up with a theme for your big day? Our creative team at Greatest Expectations would be delighted to help you create a vision for your “I Do’s” from start to finish!

Chic in the City – Inspired Designers’ Challenge!

Last year we were honored to work with ChicagoStyle Weddings on their Designers’ Challenge.  The design concept and general creative direction was left up to us, but we were partnered with a “surprise” creative team … We were so pleased with the team assigned to us!  We couldn’t have asked for a better group!  Below are the images that the magazine featured.

We hope you enjoy it and it inspires you throughout your process.

This sexy yet elegant design showcases glamorous details while still being romantic and fun. We combined slate grey, apple green and white with a variety of textures and patterns to pull everything together in a sleek, sophisticated look. The result? Crisp style perfect for the chic Chicago bride.

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ChicInTheCity-Page236ChicInTheCity-Page237

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planner/Stylist: Heather Lynne Vickery, Greatest Expectations Special Events & Weddings,  Inc. 

Floral, Custom Lamp Shade, Custom Napkins: Stems

Invitations, Placecards, Menus and Favor Boxes: Elizabeth Grace

Cake and Macaroon Topiaries: Alliance Bakery

Charger Plates, Stemware, Flatware, Napkin Rings, and Dining Chairs: Halls Rental

Draping, Lighting, Table and Wing Back Chairs: Precision Sound and Lighting  / Modern Event Rental

 

Honored: Brides Choice 2013 Awards Winner!

Weddings, Wedding VenuesGreatest Expectations Special Events & Weddings, Inc., Best Wedding Planners in Chicago - 2013 Bride's Choice Award Winner

We are honored and thrilled to be awarded the WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Award 2013.  This marks the fifth year in a row we have received this prestigious honor! Thank you to all our amazing bride’s and groom’s who gave us such stunning reviews and helping us win this exciting award.

The WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards™ 2013 recognizes the top local Wedding Professionals that demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. Unlike other awards in which winners are selected by the organization, the WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards™ are awarded solely based on the reviews from over 1.2 million newlyweds. Awards are determined by a combination of four factors: overall rating (quality), total number of reviews (quantity), review performance from 2012 (recency), and consistency of reviews from year to year (consistency). This year’s recipients represent the top 5% of WeddingWire’s vendor community, across all service categories and all regions throughout the US, Canada and abroad.

Walking in a Wedded Wonderland

Photo by Heather Parker Photography

Baby it’s cold outside!!!  That means it’s time to get cozy with those you love, indulge in treats and cheer, and stay snug and warm. What better way to  enjoy the season than creating the perfect, cozy winter wedding? We’re taking the opportunity to not only wish you and yours a wonderful New Year, but to dish out some of our favorite tips for spreading warmth and cheer to your guests for your winter wedding.

Deck the halls

A snow filled landscape sets a perfect stage for your winter wedding. But, not all of us are able to experience a snow (even those in chilly Chicago!). So, how can you set a festive tone without the puffy white stuff?

If your venue of choice comes complete with a wood burning fireplace, fantastic! Light it up. If not, you can still create the romantic feeling of snuggling up by the fire with candlelight. And we mean lots and lots of candle light. Light your ceremony and reception by tucking candles of all shapes and sizes into every nook and cranny (as much as the venue will allow). We promise the warm glow created by clusters of candles throughout will give your wedding the “snuggled by the fireplace” feel you’re going for.

In addition to candles, tie classic, festive seasonal elements into your décor. Think cranberry bunches, white tree branches, and pinecones. One idea we love is a cluster of white tree “stumps” in different shapes and sizes used as candle holders – simply drill a small, quarter to half inch “well” into the top of the “stump” (or ask your florist if he or she can do so) and voile! An instant, rustic and festive element to add to your winter tablescape.

Image from http://www.bridesmagazine.co.uk/caption

Don’t stop at your guest’s sense of sight – try appealing to their sense of smell with winter scents! Our top suggestion is natural floral and design with a delicious smell (cedar, pine, clove etc…) but you can also mix in a few scented candles with regular, unscented ones. Pick your favorite smell … It is sure to enhance your guest’s enjoyment and your festive theme.

Feasting and Merriment

Warm, comforting food. Sugary cookies. Colorful candies. Yumm. One of the best parts of the season is indulging in the treats you look forward to all year. Even brides who want to look their best have a free pass to indulge in their favorite goodies this time of year.

We love the idea of warming your guest’s souls with delicious, comforting fare. Start by serving indulgent hors d’oeuvres like mac and cheese baked into a crunchy, breaded ball, grilled cheese triangles perched atop a shot glass filled with tomato soup for dipping, or lamb lollipops drizzled with a minty sauce. The options are endless when it comes to fun, festive hors d’oeuvres.

Image and recipe from http://www.yummymummykitchen.com/caption

Then, serve up a hearty dinner. Think meat and potatoes or family style pasta dishes. How about warming up that first course with soup. Pick a festive soup like butternut squash or potato leek. Salads can be dolled up for the holidays with ingredients like cranberry, plum, and pecan.

Winter beetroot soup with parsnip, ginger & horseradish with Sauté of Black Pudding and Apple Chutney Salad.
Image and recipe from yorkshireprovender.co.uk

Don’t think we’ve forgotten desert! There are no limits to what you can do here – any favorite seasonal cookie, candy, or treat that has been a staple in your family traditions will add a wonderful, personal finish to the meal. We love gingerbread, bark, shortbread…really, we love it all when it comes to sweets! Or, how about a marshmallow bar.  Our friends at Truffle Truffle provide killer customized sweetsscapes, including the most amazing and delicious marshmallow bars, the flavour options are endless!

Image from hostessblog.com

If you’re considering a late night snack, we think roasted chestnuts would be the perfect, unexpected surprise towards the end of the evening! Other fun ideas include hot cocoa bars complete with fun flavors like peppermint and gingerbread.  How about spicing that hot cocoa up with some after dinner liqueur’s such as Kalua, Brandy or Whiskey.  Add cinnamon sticks, marshmallows, and chocolate shavings to top everything off.

Oh, we love a good spiced cider bar also!

Roasted chestnuts.
Image and recipe from kitchen-goddess.yumsugar.com

Image from magazine.fourseasons.com

You can also keep the entire bar stocked with seasonal favorites. Bubbly is a go-to celebratory beverage to toast with for any holiday or occasion. However, why not add one or two signature, festive cocktails to your bar menu?  How about featuring an ice wine (wine made from frozen grapes) alongside or in lieu of your standard red and white? Or, we’d like to warm up with a Saketini (Japanese rice wine mixed with a sweet flavored vodka of your choice) with a sugar crystal rim. Talk about toasty!

Image and recipe from stepbystep.com

Gift Giving

What do you think about wrapping up the details of your festive soiree with gifts of the season. Welcome your guests with a warming basket of “tea for two”, hot cocoa, and/or specialty coffee. Have this delivered to their hotel room upon arrival and include a mug or two and a pair of fuzzy socks. Or, how about draping a shawl or wrap over every other chair at your ceremony? This doubles as a parting gift and a way for ladies dolled up in cocktail attire to fight the chill later in the evening.  We also love the idea of using miniature bottles of ice wine as a parting gift. Guests can take one as they leave your reception and make a toast to you when the open it at home!

Mix and match any of these ideas (don’t forget to tie in your own family traditions) to keep guests warm and snug at your winter wedding. We’re sure your guests will end the evening nestled in their beds with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads!

Our staff at Greatest Expectations sends warm wishes for joyous and prosperous New Year!  Thank you for sharing 2012 with us … We look forward to a delightful 2013!

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