Archive of ‘Media’ category

7 Ways to SPRING into action for the big day and beyond!

If you want to spring into action and get yourself fit, emotionally and physically, for the big day — then you will not want to miss this blog post. I have had the pleasure of knowing our guest blogger, Chris Szabo, for nearly 15 years now and let me tell you, she is a total powerhouse! I asked Chris to write about ways to get “wedding day” ready and then keep those routines long after the wedding. I love her fitness motto: Train – Evolve – Achieve. Train for an Adventurous Life.

The Big Day is fast approaching and there is so much to do! How can working out be something besides just another task to check off the endless list? There are lots of ways to make it happen – here are some main concepts to guide you to success:

1. Prioritize. Remember we make time for the things we want to prioritize. Whether it’s conscious or not, ‘not having time’ is the number one reason clients give for not getting the workout in or the results they want. It helps to reframe this by realizing ‘I make time for’ or ‘I choose to.’ It helps to think of working out as non-negotiable as brushing your teeth. You just do it. It’s part of your day.

2. Start with something you know and LIKE to do. I can’t emphasize this enough. Exercise can be hard work and is challenging. To have staying power it’s got to be something that you find satisfaction in, intrinsically. Is this taking a class on a regular basis? Is this working out with a friend? Do you like to dance? Take a hip-hop class. Rather lift weights? How about cross-fit or a strength class?

3. Make it count. It’s not only what you do that matters, but HOW you do it. You will get much more out of 30 minutes where you try to jog or run versus walk. Exertion counts. Sweat! You need to challenge yourself to make changes and take your fitness to the next level. There’s a place for reading books and magazines but if you read them when working out, you’re not making much of a difference in your fitness.

4. Be Accountable. For many clients, having to answer to someone or something other than themselves creates more accountability and commitment. What motivates you? If signing up and paying for classes will get you to workout, great! Do you hate the gym? Find a group or trainer to work outdoors. Want to spend more time with your spouse-to be? Find a time to workout together, or at least at the same time.

5. Persistence wins the day. So maybe you missed a day this week because you had a work project to do, or you were feeling sick. Make sure to keep it in perspective. Life happens. Keep in mind that missing a day or two isn’t the problem, it’s when that becomes a pattern that you develop issues. You didn’t bring your regular intensity to spin class? That’s ok. You showed up. Take the long term approach.

6. Schedule it, write it down. It’s great to have ideas and goals. It’s more important to write them down. Make things happen by creating goals that are realistic, time-bound, and measurable. These things don’t happen in your head. You’ve got to make them actionable items. Spin class is on the calendar, like a business meeting. Aim to workout two to three times a week on alternate days, for a few weeks. If you stay consistent with that, add in another day. If you already workout, shoot for five days, a recovery day, and a complete day off.

7. Focus on the process. It’s easy to focus on what pounds are coming on or off, or how you will look on the Big Day. While these things may matter to you, it’s most important to focus on how you will feel on that day and beyond. If you stay in the moment and focus on the process, one workout at a time, the rest generally takes care of itself.

Now take time to reflect on your successes and hard work along the way! You deserve it. By the time your Big Day comes around, you will shine with pride and confidence knowing what you did to get there.

greatest-expectations-szabo-fittness-chrisChris Szabo – Szabo Fitness, owner

Chris is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, Bootcamp & Strength Instructor and Cross Country Coach.  She promotes a love of lifelong fitness through unique and fun workouts.  She especially enjoys empowering clients by building a sense of community and using the outdoors as her fitness playground.

Certifications Held: ACE Personal Trainer, AFAA Group Instructor, TRX trainer, USA Track & Field

Specialties: Strength Training, Body Weight Training, Core Training, BootCamp, TRX, Middle Distance/Distance Running

If you are in the Worthington, Ohio area be sure to check out Chris’ classes!

Class Times: Pure Strength: Mondays 7-8pm

Total Body Bootcamp: Wednesdays 5:45-6:45pm & Saturday 8:30-9:30am. All at the Worthington Community Center.

Bridesmaids dresses: top trends for 2016

When it comes to outfitting your wedding party there are so many choices that many couples find their heads spinning!  Thanks to our friends at Bella Bridesmaids, we have pinned down the top trends for bridesmaids dresses this year. These are some seriously stunning gowns that your bridesmaids will be delighted to wear. 


(Never) Too Much Tulle

Move over, ballerinas! Tulle is no longer just for pale pink tutus. Brides have been gliding down the aisle in this breezy fabric for years so it’s time the bridesmaids felt the tulle love, too. Looking for an alternative to chiffon, but don’t want your bridesmaids to look so structured? We HIGHLY recommend tulle. Designers like twobirds and Monique Lhuillier have transformed their classic styles with this fabric. We promise they will never want to take it off.

Just when we thought the twobirds dress could do it all…they add tulle. We were THRILLED to welcome this addition at Bridal Market and we are even more excited to share it with our brides in our showrooms. It’s light. It’s airy. It’s a bit more formal. And yes, it can still be tied in a zillion different ways.


Monique Lhuillier’s tulle gowns feature some seriously stunning colors this season which are perfect for creating an ombre palette. Your bridesmaids will love her delicate details with cool cutouts and sophisticated silhouettes. The tulle fabric ties together this glamorously girly look.

Say Yes To Separates


Gone are the days where bridesmaids dresses are actually dresses. Designers like Jenny Yoo and Joanna August are giving girls more options with skirts AND tops. The mix and match trend is still holding strong in 2016 and separates are the perfect effortless addition for your bridesmaid.


Jenny Yoo’s 2016 collection includes classic sweaters and tulle skirts in soft colors and watercolor prints. Audrey would be proud with the new Jenny Yoo closet must haves. Joanna August keeps her California cool style this season with flowy chiffon tops and wrap skirts. Try pairing a neutral top in white or ivory with a colored skirt to stay on the two tone trend. This will give your wedding photos more dimension and keeps your girls feeling fresh and playful.


Metallics are the New Neutral


Sparkle and shine are having their moment in 2016. Glitter done. Amsale and Nouvelle Amsale have introduced new fabrics that will quench your thirst for sparkle. Be bold this year because metallics are the new neutral.

Nouvelle Amsale’s new liquid metal dresses are perfect for the boho bride that wants some red carpet flare. The rosegold and wheat colors are subtle, yet still make a statement. Plus the touch of glam is a flower crown’s best friend.


Amsale raised the bar this season with sequin styles that are a major must have for any black tie wedding. Their color options include gold, rosegold, navy, gunmetal and black. PLUS the sequins are soft so your bridesmaids won’t have to itch about it.

So tell us … What are your favorites?  What will your bridesmaids be walking down the aisle in? We cannot wait to see all of the beauty.

Photos courtesy of Bella Bridesmaids and Krista Mason Photography

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.

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

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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.



















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


Wish Upon a Wedding Volunteer Film

We know that you have already heard us talk a great deal about Wish Upon a Wedding.  It is clear that this is an organization that is very near and dear to our hearts.  After being a Wish Grantor for Nick and Bahar’s amazing wedding, two years ago, we have worked hard to help spread the word about this amazing organization and the importance of continuing to help them gain support.

Our owner, Heather Vickery, was featured in this beautiful piece produced by I Do Films for this year’s Blissful Wishes Ball.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.


Making it “Facebook Official” on your wedding day: What are your limits?

Image from Wedding Nouveau

We’ll admit it – we’re just as tapped in to the most popular Social Media outlets as the next person. In fact, if you “friend” and follow the right people in the industry, Social Media can be a super resourceful tool that spits out useful tips and trends when it comes to wedding planning. We use it to stay current ourselves, and support any Facebook or Twitter savvy bride that wishes to do so as well!

However, we were intrigued by this recent article on Huffington Post Weddings, which calls attention to a whole different side of wedding-related social media behavior and one that you may be more familiar with!

You’re probably thinking “Oh my gosh! Updating my relationship status in between my ceremony and reception? I would NEVER!” Ok, maybe you wouldn’t go as far as doing it immediately after saying “I do”. But if you’re of the “Facebook Generation”, do you have

Image from Luciana Pampalone Studio

the willpower to restrain yourself from quickly whipping out your Smart Phone to make even a simple status update on your wedding day/night?

If your answer is “yes”, more power to you! We admire your dedication to staying focused on the “here and now” during some of the most special moments of your life. Deep down, we think this is how it should be. Marriage is a sacred thing, which is why you probably spent a good amount of time carefully selecting the list of guests who will celebrate this momentous and personal occasion in person with you (and didn’t invite each and every one of the 754 “friends” you keep on Facebook).

It is actually somewhat alarming how much you can know about someone whom you haven’t physically spoken to in over a decade.

All of our Greatest Expectations staffers have been brides ourselves. There aren’t many days in your life when you will be as overwhelmed by emotion as your wedding day – you’re nervous, excited, and (hopefully!) ridiculously happy. And, we have the extreme pleasure of sharing these emotions every day with the brides we work with!

So, if you feel like sharing your joyous, festive spirit with the world, we think you should! It is your day, so scream it from any virtual rooftop if you are moved to do so. We’re sure you’ll get a slew of congratulatory responses in return that you’ll get another wave of excitement from reading. We do, however, suggest you don’t keep up with the comments while seated at your head table!

We’re guessing most brides are middle-of-the-road on this subject. You might not be planning on changing your name to “Mrs. So & So” in the limo en route to your reception, but you’re not opposed to a quick status update while doing a hair and make-up check in the ladies room, and you trust that your Instagram-obsessed bridesmaid will only upload the most flattering shots of you on the dance floor. With Social Medial being so much a part of our daily lives now, a relaxed approach like this one is probably the best attitude to have on your big day.

Image from I am Baker

At the same time, there is nothing worse than catching a not-so-flattering shot of yourself when you were just feeling like the most beautiful version of yourself. Afraid of waking up the morning after your wedding to a slew of such pics covering your meticulously maintained virtual profile? While you don’t want guests to cease all picture taking (some of the best, most genuinely candid shots can come from the most random sources!), you may kindly ask your bridal party and those closest to you to hold off on publishing their work on the web. Instead, ask that they email or text their favorite shots to you after the wedding. Then, you can pick and choose the memories that you wish to share of you looking totally stunning!

If taking Social Media dos and don’ts is not something you wanted to add to your already lengthy list of to-dos, let Greatest Expectations help! We’d love to help you sort through your thoughts and come up with the perfect solution.

We’d love to hear your thoughts, opinions and any experience (good or bad) you’ve had with broadcasting wedding moments online. Give us a shout!

We crowned a new couple for the eleven eleven WEDDING last night!

Thanks to Poetic Productions for this fantastic video!

We had such an amazing time at Nellcote last night!  They hosted the eleven eleven WEDDING Giveaway’s live reveal party and it could not have been more perfect!

It was great fun to catch up with all four finalists, our fellow sponsors, the press and the winners from last year (Amy and Howard)!

When the big announcement was made we were on pins and needles but could not possibly be more thrilled for Connie and Jessica!  Not only are we excited to work with them, we are proud to be supporting gay marriage!  This is something all of us at Greatest Expectations have always been passionate about.

We know this will be an exceptional journey … Please be sure to visit the eleven eleven WEDDING website to get all the juicy details as we work with our new bride’s on their extra special wedding!

Thanks to Amanda Hein for these beautiful images (more to come soon).


Lesley and Matt’s Wedding Video Trailer

We are in love with this fun wedding video trailer from Lesley and Matt’s wedding at The Newberry Library last September.  Take notice of the beautiful floral from Fleur and custom wedding cake from Amy Beck Cake Design. A special thanks to our friends Scott and Barb from Chicago Cinematic Weddings for putting this together.  We really love it!  Lesley and Matt’s wedding was also featured on Elizabeth Anne Designs.  Check it out to see some of the stunning images from Jennifer Kathryn Photography.

Lesley & Matt Trailer from Chicago Cinematic Weddings on Vimeo.

The eleven eleven WEDDING Giveaway, featured on TV and in Newspaper

We are so proud of the work we have done with the eleven eleven WEDDING Giveaway.  The event is extremely near and dear to our hearts since we created it in 2010.  This year’s exceptional event took place yesterday at The Chicago History Museum and was featured on the ABC 7  News 6:00 pm broadcast and in the Chicago Sun Times.

Working with the winners, Amy and Howard, was a truly exceptional experience.  They are the kind of people you just want to be around all of the time, infectious, generous, gracious, funny, kind (I could go on and on). It was such a pleasure to introduce them to each of the sponsors and work with them throughout the planning process.

It is important to note that none of this would be possible without the constant support from the vendors in our community. We are so blessed to work with these amazing people who give of their time, talents and resources so willingly and with such grace. We are truly humbled by the experience and thank you simply does not seem to be “big enough” but we hope it will do.

Keep an eye out for some sneak peak pictures from Amanda Hein Photography.

The eleven eleven WEDDING Giveaway for 2012 will be announced sometime in February so please check back often and send in those applications, as you can see,  dream weddings really can come true!

You can find all of our sponsors listed below.  We thank them all, from the bottom of our hearts.






Amanda Hein Photography
Amy Beck Cake Design
Bella Bridesmaid
Berghoff Catering Group
Blacktie Formalwear
Ceremonies for your life
Chicago History Museum
Chicago Trolley
Fleur, Inc
Greatest Expectations Special Events & Weddings, Inc
Halls Rental Service
Hotel 71
Jenny Yoo Collection
Joy B Millinery
Magnificent Milestone
Mario Tricoci
Poetic Productions
Private Label Linen
Rappatone Boutique Training
Rosemary Hall Calligraphy
ShutterBooth Chicago
Team Blonde
The Larry King Orchestra
The Left Bank Jewelry  & Shoes
Truffle Truffle

All images are from the Chicago Sun Times Article.