Archive of ‘GE in Print’ category

On trend with spring bridal fashion!

Wedding day fashion is a big topic. It’s something most brides and grooms spend a lot of time thinking about. We featured a great piece on men’s fashion several weeks ago and now we are delighted to get the bridal trends, direct from market week in NYC, from our friend Beth Chapman from Beth Chapman Styling. Prepare to feast your eyes!


Having just left New York Bridal Fashion Week. I must say, it is a fabulous time to be a bride, as there are so many beautiful options. Here are the top trends straight from the catwalk! 

Peplums:  Many designers showed peplums this season. The peplum is a flirty feminine detail.  In most cases, it was detachable, so that the bride has one look for the ceremony and another for the reception.

Plunging Necklines: Designers are once again taking the plunge this season with necklines! This trend was represented in both ball gown and fitted silhouettes.

Romona Keveza Spring 2017

Romona Keveza Spring 2017

Romantic Appliqués: As a beautiful and feminine alternative to lace, designers were showing gowns with appliqués and jacquards. 

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Hayley Paige Spring17

Marchesa Bridal Spring 2017

Marchesa Bridal Spring 2017

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Angel Sanchez Spring 2017

Long Sleeves: Sleeves are in! Long sleeves graced virtually every runway. They were often shown with an extreme neckline line – either a high or plunging.  

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Naeem Kahn Spring 2017

Marchesa Bridal Spring 2017

Marchesa Bridal Spring 2017

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Romona Keveza Spring 2017

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Hayley Paige Spring 2017

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Anne Barge Spring 2017

High Low HemsFor spring there was a variation in hem length with the introduction of the high low hem. I love this silhouette for either an informal wedding or as a reception look. 

Monique Lhuillier Bridal Spring 2017

Monique Lhuillier Bridal Spring 2017

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Anne Barge Bridal Spring 2017

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Romona Keveza Spring 2017

Pants: Pants were shown by several designers. I think this is such a modern and sophisticated look perfect for a contemporary bride! (this is a personal favorite of the Greatest Expectations staffers as it offers options for so many brides!)

Monique Lhuillier Bridal Spring 2017

Monique Lhuillier Bridal Spring 2017

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Lela Rose Spring 2017

Carolina Herrera Bridal Spring 2017

Carolina Herrera Bridal Spring 2017

Beth Chapman is a stylist, author and owner of The White Dress by the shore, a quaint boutique in Connecticut that offers chic couture of brides, mothers and maids.  Beth’s styling work can be found on her website

Why you still need a planner when having a hotel wedding

Please help us welcome Emily Vandevender, Catering Manager for the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. Emily joins us to talk about the importance of having a wedding planner, even when having a hotel wedding. We have been fortunate enough to work with Emily in many capacities over the last decade and are thrilled to have her as our guest writer this week.


The first (and arguably most important) question has been asked: “will you marry me?” and accepted. This, in turn, leads to more questions – “Where?”  “When?”  “How much will this cost?!”  “Is there anything we’re missing?”

Often the venue search can help you answer those questions.  As a catering manager, I find we often conclude an initial site visit by going through the logistical flow, set up, accommodations, availability and pricing associated with hosting an event at our property.  Given all of your other questions, you may also be wondering if the catering manager you meet during the site visit will be onsite for your wedding and if you really need a wedding planner.

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Personally, I try to be at as many of my weddings as possible.  Because we book weddings so far in advance, however, my personal availability may not always align with your big day (I was a bridesmaid in three weddings last year!) Remember that even though important elements of your wedding are being held on our property, we actually only hold a few pieces of the puzzle that is your extraordinary event.

I always like to equate planning a wedding to putting together a puzzle. You have to determine which pieces work best for you and how you want to put them together. Sometimes that puzzle looks exactly like the picture on the box and sometimes, by the end, it becomes a whole new picture. While your catering manager (at a hotel) holds three specific pieces of your puzzle – venue, food and beverage – we can’t necessarily see or manage your entire picture. Fortunately, there is someone who can: a seasoned wedding planner. I cannot stress enough the importance of hiring a professional, seasoned wedding planner!

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Every vendor holds a piece of your puzzle and due to their experience and expertise, a wedding planner can work with you to ensure that the decisions made and vendors chosen are a cohesive fit. They help ensure the entire puzzle fits perfectly together and eliminate the risk that you may select pieces that might not fit properly.

A planner will partner you with the perfect vendors

While any catering manager will happy to make suggestions of vendors that know their property well, who they’ve had good experience with, etc. they are not necessarily privy to your total budget – and don’t want to refer vendors that are not your aesthetic or might break the bank. A seasoned planner will schedule a consultation to not only get to know you and your style, but will delve into the “nitty gritty” about your entire vision and price point.

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A planner will be responsible for every single aspect of your wedding day

A catering manager’s responsibilities include things that happen on our property and only in direct relation to events happening on our property. Your wedding planner will handle things that happen both on and off the hotel’s property as well as wedding party and family dynamics. For example, if your ceremony is off-site and the trolley is stuck in traffic, your planner will be in constant contact with the driver and can adjust the schedule to accommodate the change. Perhaps you will spend another five minutes with your makeup artist, instead of rushing downstairs and waiting.

A planner is always working on your behalf

All of your vendors should work together but your planner is the decision maker on your behalf. Things do come up that are unexpected. Your planner becomes everyone’s point of contact, as opposed to bothering you. For example, your father would like a little more time before he speaks and we are all happy to accommodate his wish. But this does impact your caterer’s first course or entree service, your emcee announcing him and photography capturing the toast. Therefore, instead of these three vendors all asking you if he is ready, your planner has already confirmed to move forward with cutting the cake first and having your father’s toast after. He gets his extra time, all vendors stay on track and no one is bothering you with questions.

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A planner offers a personal touch

One of my personal favorites is that, often, a planner will take the gifts up to your room (catering managers won’t touch your gifts and cards because then the hotel could be liable). This prevents family members having to leave the reception to take gifts to a room or their car and ensures that there is one specific person responsible for the safety of these items. This is just one small way a planner add’s a personal touch.

You are the planner’s main focus

While you, as the client, are my focus that day, the puzzle pieces I am specifically responsible for are the venue, food and beverage – therefore, if our chef has a question and needs me in the kitchen, that’s where I need to be. If your grandma needs special access to an elevator other guests are not using, I should be assisting her – and if I’m assisting her, I’m unfortunately not able to run up to your room and grab the ballet flats you wanted to change into, but have forgotten to bring. A planner will have those extra shoes at the ready. That is one of a million aspects of their job.

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Finally, and most importantly, I stress seasoned wedding planner as the person you should hire to help you put your puzzle together. This is because he or she has the relationships and experience to lead you through this process flawlessly. His or her experience and relationships will be more valuable than anything else he or she brings to the table.

As a catering manager, I would love to be your planner and assist with every aspect of this event, but there is someone much more suited to the task: a seasoned wedding planner. They will always be your best resource.

When you asked me, “Is there anything we are missing?” my answer is simple: a seasoned wedding planner.

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20150720 averyhouse 010-XLAs Catering Manager for the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago and former Senior Wedding and Social Event Manager for Bon Appetit at the Art Institute of Chicago, Emily Vandevender has nine years of event planning experience and has executed over 500 weddings and special events.

With a degree in Communications, an extensive public speaking background and as a published writer, Emily also founded Toast Points in 2015 to assist with ghost writing and toast whispering needs.

Headshot by Avery House

Featured wedding shot by Fred Fox Studios. Venue, Four Seasons Chicago. Floral and design, Kehoe Designs.

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

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


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

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

 

 

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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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.

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.

 

Nikki and Brian’s Same Day Wedding Video


 

We had such an amazing time working with Nikki and Brian to plan their dream wedding!!  The weather was perfect (hot, but a really nice lake breeze) and we could not have asked for a more magical group of vendors!!  I will save all of the details for a longer blog post once we have the pictures from Megan W Photography (but you can see their adorable engagement pictures here).

Thank you so much to Steve and the fantastic crew from Studio Z Films for this beautiful same day edit of Nikki and Brian’s beautiful wedding.  We hope to do this again and again!

 

The newest issue of CS Brides is on the stands and we are featured!

It was so exciting to crack open the newest issue of CS Brides. The magazine is always beautiful but there is nothing better than seeing one of our weddings featured!  We were thrilled when we learned Amanda and Mike, the winners of the 2010 eleven eleven WEDDING Giveaway, were going to be featured in the fall/winter issue.

We are so honored to work with such amazing vendors for the eleven eleven WEDDING Giveaway.  Your support and dedication never cease to amaze and awe all of us!  Thank you!

 

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