Michele & Nick: Romanian Orthodox Wedding – Glenview Illinois

Glenview Wedding Photography Valley Lo Club Ariel Chapman

“In a sea of people, my eyes will always search for you” – unknown

Michele and Nick got married on August 18, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois in a traditional Romanian Orthodox ceremony. I had the distinct pleasure to be, not only a guest at their beautiful wedding, but also their planner. Blush, Burgundy and dusty rose set the color pallet for their late summer wedding. Out of all aspects of the wedding, family was by far the most important and their wedding day was no exception. For that reason, the morning began with Michele getting ready in her parent’s home surrounded by her Grandmother, Mom, sisters and bridesmaids. Their family dog was also a huge part of their wedding celebrations. Sadly, Michele’s dog passed away two weeks after her wedding. Therefore, these images serve as a very emotional reminder of the love between an owner and fur baby.

Glenview Wedding Dog Bride Illinois
Glenview Illinois Wedding Valley Lo Club

Similarly, Nick was able to spend the morning hanging out with the groomsmen and his family. I always feel that the groom gets left out of so much preparation, but Michele made sure Nick was close by and his out-of-state family was welcomed at her home to kick off the day.
Chicago Suburb Wedding Glenview Illinois

Ceremony

Michele comes from a large Romanian Orthodox family. As a result, there is a lot of tradition and culture interwoven throughout their day. Special dances, songs, ceremonies and foods are apart of every Romanian celebration. If you have ever seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” that is a pretty accurate interpretation of an Orthodox ceremony. In an Orthodox ceremony, the bride and groom wear crowns symbolizing that they are the King and Queen of their household. I wish everyone got to wear a crown for a day! Their ceremony was beautiful and full of rich history and tradition.
Orthodox Ceremony Chicago Romanian Wedding
Outdoor Wedding Photos Chicago Glenview Illinois

Reception

Michele and Nick chose to have their intimate reception (of 200) at the Valley Lo Club in Glenview, IL. Valley Lo, is a wedding venue tucked inside a private residential golf and swimming community. Michele’s aunt owns Truffles Cake & Pastry Shoppe, a bakery located in Michigan City, Indiana. Because of this, she wanted to use her special talents and gift them a stunning desert display. She painstakingly made each and every dessert and drove them to the reception. It took her several hours to build the stunning dessert display. Most importantly, they tasted better than the looked; and they looked amazing.
Reception Valley Lo Club Glenview Illinois
Daddy Daughter Mother Son Dance First Dance Glenview Illinois

Above all, as Michele and Nick settle into married life, I wanted to thank them for allowing me to be apart of their special day. It is a unique position to be in, both the planner and a guest. Ashley Nicole Events had a great team in place where I could actually step back and enjoy the wedding as a guest. I even got to have a cocktail – or two! Congratulations on your marriage and I wish you nothing but a lifetime of love and happiness!
Lakefront Wedding Glenview Illinois Valley Lo Club Dark Moody Photography Vendor Love:

Planning: Ashley Nicole Events Inc
Photography: Ariel Chapman Photography
Videography: Juan Alvarado Photography
Ceremony Venue: Holy Nativity Romanian Orthodox Church – Chicago, IL
Reception Venue: Valley Lo Club – Glenview, IL
DJ: Fig Media
Floral: SaniMar Decor Studio
Cake & Sweets: Truffles Cake & Pastry Shoppe
Transportation: VIP Express Limousine Inc.
Lodging: Sheraton Northbrook
Invitations: Paula Kolar
Hair: Hair By Julia
Makeup: Makeup By Sarah B

Top 4 Tips When Selecting Your Wedding DJ or Band

When planning your wedding, a large portion of the budget goes to the reception. Every vendor will tell you that their specific service will “make or break” the wedding. Do NOT get me wrong, EVERY aspect of the wedding is important! Food, flowers, decor, photography, etc all have their place. Music, however can truly make or break the party vibe during your reception.

Having a professional DJ or Band is one way to amp up the party and ensure your guests are satisfied on the dance floor all night long! There are some pros and cons of both types of music and it really depends on what your budget will allow. Here are some things to think about when considering a band or a dj.

  1. Can the band play a wide variety of music? Is this a “wedding band” or strictly a bar band? Wedding bands know all of the tried and true classics, know how to keep the party going and will *usually* know how to professionally MC the event as well…think Wedding Introductions, Dinner Service, Father/Daughter dance, Cake Cutting etc. A bar band that you and your fiance love to listen to on a Friday night might not have the working knowledge of weddings or the elements that go into creating a seamless event. Bar bands also *may* be limited on their range of music and will not take requests. If the band can not play Sweet Caroline at the drop of a hat, you might have some unhappy guests. This is NOT a deal breaker, just something to consider and questions to ask.

  2. Will the DJ be the same person MCing the event? There is a huge difference between knowing how to read a crowd, play music and mix beets and actually interacting with the guests. A DJ who also MC’s the event has to ham it up from time to time and get the wedding guests on their feet. You can not have a dud on the mic…it makes for some awkward transitions.

  3. Will your DJ or band perform during the ceremony? Is there an extra charge for this service? How many breaks does the band require? How long are their sets? DJs usually only require a meal break and then play for the rest of the night. If you have a band, do they play all night or do they have scheduled 10/20/30 minute breaks? What music will be played during their set breaks?

  4. What does your budget allow? Bands can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Totally depends on who you hire, how many pieces are in the band and how long you need them to play. DJs will *usually* be the more cost effective option, but do not cheap out. remember, you get what you pay for.

  5. Most importantly, find someone who you and your fiance connect with, who will be able to read your crowd and truly speak to your guests in a way that will keep the party going into the wee hours of the morning.

 Photo Credit: Mayden Photography
Photo Credit: Mayden Photography

Both bands and DJs can create a successful wedding or event. One is not better than the other, they just offer a different vibe to the evening. The most important thing is finding someone who you and your fiance connect with. Make sure this group or person will be able to read your crowd and keep the party going into the wee hours of the morning. Nothing ruins a reception quicker than a dud on the microphone. Find that person with the energy you require and no matter who you choose, you will be happier you chose a professional.


Top Photo Credit: Ann & Kam Photo 

Escort Cards vs Place Cards vs Seating Charts: Ways to Get Creative & Is There A Difference?

Did you know there is a difference between an escort card, a place card and a seating chart? No?!? Well, let me explain!

 Escort Card - Photo Credit: Mayden Photography
Escort Card – Photo Credit: Mayden Photography

An escort card is a small piece of paper (usually) that is in the lobby or entrance of the reception venue that tells your guests what TABLE they are sitting at (escorting them to their table…get it?). This card could be Mr. and Mrs. John Smith or could be individual, Mr. John Smith and Mrs. Evelyn Smith.

 Place Card -  Photo Credit: Ivory House Creative  - Shop the link!
Place Card – Photo Credit: Ivory House Creative  – Shop the link!

A place card is already at the table and tells Mr. John Smith and Mrs. Evelyn Smith which SEAT they are supposed to sit at as well as their pre-selected meals…notice the chicken in the place card.  (placing them in a seat…get it?)

 Seating Chart - Photo Credit:   Ivory House Creative  - Shop the link!
Seating Chart – Photo Credit:   Ivory House Creative  – Shop the link!

Finally, there are seating charts. These are super cute and trending right now. For the love of God, please alphabetize these charts. No one knows what table they are sitting at, but they know where their name falls in the alphabet. This also goes for escort cards. Alphabetize by last name!

Because this is one of the final visual aspects of the wedding, getting creative pulls all of the other visual aspect together. The devil really is in the details! 

Weddings can have either “themes” or “color pallet” help guide your visual elements. Making your escort cards representative of you and your partner will make a cohesive feeling on your big day.If the two of you are into traveling, find nicely folded paper airplanes and have your guests names and table number written on the wings. You could also do the traditional folded escort card but add a twist, like having them standing up in notches of a wooden log. A lot of these creative ideas can be a fun DIY for you and your bridesmaids.

 Photo Credit: Studio 3 Productions
Photo Credit: Studio 3 Productions

If you do not want to get too “theme-y” then sticking to a color pallet is an excellent way to finalize the wedding “day of stationary” into a cohesive wedding collection. For example: Your wedding colors are Navy and Gold. Your Escort Card could be on navy paper and the guest names could be in Gold foil.
 

 Photo Credit: Mary Rose Photography
Photo Credit: Mary Rose Photography
 Photo Credit: Authentic Adventure Co
Photo Credit: Authentic Adventure Co
 Shop the link!  Click Here
Shop the link! Click Here

Okay, Ashley! I get the difference. But do I need all of these things? This is where it gets a little tricky…technically no, but sometimes yes!

Ask yourself these simple questions to help:

Q 1.  My guests have pre selected their meals (chicken, steak, vegetarian).
A. Make an ESCORT CARD with an indication of what table number and meal choice. Couples should get their own card. Mr. John Smith (steak) and Mrs. Evelyn Smith (vegetarian).

Q 2. My guests will all eat the same thing (or it’s a buffet/stations).
A. Make an ESCORT CARD with an indication of what table number they guest is sitting at. Couples can be on the same card. 

Q 3. I really really really want to have one of those nifty little seating charts that are really trending. But my guests have also chosen their meals.
A. You now need to make the SEATING CHART and PLACE CARDS. You need to put a name to each seat on the floor plan and tell people where they are sitting. In reality, they will sit next to who they want, but you still need to let the staff know who chose what meal. Catering does not know that Great Aunt Sally ordered a steak, or where she is sitting. You need to tell Sally where to sit and that she ordered the steak.

Q 4. I really really really want to have one of those nifty little seating charts that are really trending and my guests are all eating the same thing (or it’s a buffet/stations).
A. Make that super cute seating chart and rock that look! You do NOT need to make any additional directions regarding meal choices for the catering staff or guests. The chart will work just fine!

*Please note, if you have kid’s meals, kosher, gluten free or any other dietary restrictions, you will want to give more specific directions to the catering staff to help serve these guests in a timely manner. 

I hope this helped explain the difference between SEATING CHARTS, PLACE CARDS and ESCORT CARDS and when/why you need to use them. If you have any other questions, please feel free to email me and I will explain away!

 Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography
Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography

Too Delicious to Choose: Cupcakes or Cake

Sometimes, weddings can have a certain element of pressure. Kind of like peer-pressure. Everyone you know has a wedding cake and does the “typical cake cutting” cheesy photo op. What if you and your partner aren’t the biggest fans of cake? What do you do then? Do you suck it up and have a cake because everyone else did, OR do you do something different that really speaks to you and your fiancé? 
Cakes come in all shapes and sizes. There are two types of “average wedding cakes” these days. The first is the typical 3 tier vanilla frosting with some type of butter cream filling. The second is a single tier, much smaller cake simply used for the ceremonial cake cutting. Deciding on the decorations of the cake can become a sugary nightmare! Maybe you don’t like frosting and want to mix things up a bit. Be true to yourself and the rest will follow. 

 Photo By: Crane's Photography
Photo By: Crane’s Photography

We all know that cake is good, but there’s sometimes a stereotype of wedding cake being dry and covered in too much frosting or fondant. Instead of serving pieces of cake to your guests, let them serve themselves! Give them a variety of cupcakes that were picked out by you and your partner! This way your guests can have options.

 Photo Credit:  Cupcakes 101
Photo Credit: Cupcakes 101

When it comes to cupcakes the sky is the limit! You can mix and match flavors, get creative with the cupcake liners, and even choose a simple design for the top! Just like having signature drinks you could have signature cupcakes for your guests. Your partner may like red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting while you like chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting.

 Photo Credit: Crane's Photography
Photo Credit: Crane’s Photography

Having a simple cake as well as cupcakes keeps the tradition of cutting the cake a part of the reception. This way you are allowing yourself and your partner the joy of still getting to cut the cake together. Always keep in mind, however, that cupcakes can be smashed in your face just like a piece of cake can!

 Venue: The Haight
Venue: The Haight

Choosing the Length of Your Wedding Day

Many wedding receptions last the entire night. Younger guests and friends of the bride and groom love dancing right to the end. The slightly older guests won’t typically stay the entire time. On the flip side, you and your partner may not be night people. You don’t enjoy staying up super late and then having to change out of your gown, scrub layers of makeup off and take 1,000 bobby pins out of your hair. Trust me, it’s a process!

 Photo By: Mayden Photography
Photo By: Mayden Photography

If you guys are a couple who loves to have a good time, the reception ending at midnight is nothing out of the ordinary. All you want to do is have fun, and you deserve that. After all, it’s your wedding day! You want all the time you can get to mingle with family and friends. Having a late ending reception also allows for more time between important events on the schedule.

 Photo By: Mayden Photography
Photo By: Mayden Photography

If you are not a night owl, you might want to start your wedding day earlier because you want your reception to be done at a time you’re comfortable with. You still end up hitting all of the key elements to a wedding. The ceremony would be set at a time that would still allow for a ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner/lunch, and dancing. And the best part is your day wouldn’t be rushed and you can go at a pace you feel comfortable with.

 Photo By: Crane's Photography
Photo By: Crane’s Photography

Recently an intern joined my team and told me all about her future wedding. Neither her nor her boyfriend are night people. They don’t enjoy staying up late, they know that they will get grumpy and become bad hosts. By starting earlier in the day, they would have the chance to do everything that they want for their big day while still respecting their own wishes.

 Photo By: Aysha Nicole Photo
Photo By: Aysha Nicole Photo

Not all couples want the same thing. Each wedding reception is just as unique as the couple planning it. Making your wedding unique is key. Just because your friend ended at midnight does not mean you need to do the same. Make sure to keep this in mind when planning your own wedding!

San Diego Elopement

Living in the midwest, it is not everyday where I can go to a beach and create a luxury experience for two people in love. This past February, a luxury beach elopement is just what I was able to do! Joy Bijedic, Being Joy Photography, and I styled and planned this luxury elopement experience for Malwina and Shane. This happy couple was originally from the midwest and both relocated out to San Diego due to their jobs. Everything turned out beautifully and Joy and I could not be more proud of this experience. We had a rock star team of vendors that was able to come together and pull off a romantic dinner on the La Jolla Cove beach. 


Vendor Love
Planning: Ashley Nicole Events Inc
Photography: Being Joy Photography
Bridal Gown: Alyssa Kristin
Floral: Wyld Blooms
Edible Place Cards: Nat Sweets
Stationary: Studio M Creations
Hair & Makeup: Flora Makeup & Hair
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals
Linen: BBJ Linen
Venue: La Jolla Cove
Bride: Malwina
Groom: Shane

Supporting Your Spouse

This past week, Adrian and I celebrated our 4th Wedding Anniversary! I can not believe how fast time flies! The thing with getting married, is life keeps moving after the wedding day. A marriage is simply not one day, it is a lifetime of constantly choosing that person. Every day, we choose to make it work and we choose to laugh. We also choose to cry and support each other when times are not easy. Choice, that is the thing that makes it all work. 

 Photo Credit: Authentic Adventure Co
Photo Credit: Authentic Adventure Co

Today, in this next phase of life, I am choosing to celebrate with Adrian while he is in Dallas getting a promotion for work! He has worked many long years in aviation and he is finally getting a well deserved transfer to international flying at American Airlines! We have been very lucky and blessed in our lives. It is important to realize the good things that happen in life and being able to work through the tough parts. 

Supporting your spouse does not mean that you obsess over every move they make, every meal they eat and how much sleep they get. Sometimes supporting your spouse means trying not to smother them in their sleep when they are snoring loud enough to wake the dead (not that I have ever contemplated this)! Supporting, means allowing them to be their own person while working together on shared goals and passions. When two become one, you do not stop living your individual life. You now simply have a 24/7 cheerleader and support system. You do not have to face the world alone.  

 Seriously, I have to deal with this on a daily basis! Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography
Seriously, I have to deal with this on a daily basis! Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography
 Finally, a semi-decent photo of us! LOL Thanks @Beingjoyphotography!
Finally, a semi-decent photo of us! LOL Thanks @Beingjoyphotography!

Everyday, we try and be a better version of who we were yesterday. Some days we fall short and other days we thrive. Having the desire to make it work and stick it through NO MATTER WHAT has served us well these past 4 years. I can not wait to see what the next 70 years has in store. 

In what ways do you support your spouse? I would love to hear in the comments below! 


Vendor Spotlight in the Images Above:
Planning: Ashley Nicole Events Inc
Videography: NightOwls Media
Photography: Authentic Adventure Co
Hair & Makeup: Tamara Hair and Makeup Artistry


For the full feature of a Wedding Planner’s wedding, click HERE!

ANE Real Wedding: Kayla & Kyle

Every once in awhile, a love comes along that you know will stand the test of time. Kayla & Kyle have that love. This past Sunday, they celebrated their 1st Anniversary! I can not believe how time flies, when you are young, in love and having fun. 

I met Kayla and Kyle and immediately fell in love with Kayla’s spunky personality. We had a lot in common and it felt like we had known each other for years. Kayla, 100% trusted and believed that I could turn her dream into reality which makes my job so much easier. What I love about Kyle is his passion and clear adoration for Kayla. He loves her SO MUCH! This wedding was filled with COLOR and lots of sunflowers! Kayla found these fun bridesmaid’s dresses at JcPenny of all places! I was obsessed! I have a feeling, the girls will certainly re use these dresses. Their wedding was filled with so much love, laughter and smiles. It was hard for them to contain their excitement. Outdoor ceremonies can be tricky in the spring, however, the day was perfect and they were able to get married along the Fox River in Elgin, Illinois. 

Happy Anniversary Kayla & Kyle! Thank you for allowing Ashley Nicole Events Inc to be apart of your big day!


Vendor Spotlight:

Planning: Ashley Nicole Events Inc
Ceremony Venue: Walton Island, Elgin
Reception Venue: The Haight, Elgin
Florist: Town & Country Gardens
Hair & Makeup: Tamara Makeup & Hair Artistry
Catering: Evantastik, Inc
Cake: Delish Cakes
Photography: Love & Ink Photography
Rentals: A-Z Rentals
DJ: DJs For You

Wedding Contracts: Not A Dirty Word

 Contract is not a dirty word! 
Contract is not a dirty word! 

Contracts are not a dirty word. They protect all parties!

— Ashley Radosav

We are surrounded by contracts every day and there is no real end in sight. We live in a “I’ll sue you!” wold, thus our lives now revolve around everyone covering their butt ALL.THE.TIME. Here is a list of the daily contracts we enter without even thinking about it: Cable, Internet, Cell phone, Car loan, Mortgage, Gas, Electric, Amazon Prime and so many more. When it comes to arguably one of the most expensive parties of your life, having and reviewing wedding contracts are a necessity. 

This is NOT a post about prenuptial agreements! 

Finding all of your wedding vendors can be hard enough. Once you find them, they shove these legal papers in front of you and make you feel as if you are signing your life away a little at a time. Wedding contracts do NOT need to be scary or overwhelming. Arguably, these are fun and exciting things that you are agreeing to (Photo, Video, Bar, Lighting, Flowers) and not something overwhelming, or at least it shouldn’t be. It is a simple agreement: Here is the product or service I provide, this is what and when you will pay me for it. 

Making sure that you sit and speak with the vendor to explain in detail what their contracts mean is very important. The basics of a wedding contract include the names of the people entering the contract, the event date, the times of provided service and what the outcome will be. For example, you sign a photography contract and you will expect to have him/her onsite with you for 8 hours and in 6-8 weeks you will get a beautiful wedding album. My contract for example basically says, “be a nice human being, I will be nice back.” Please feed me, this is what you will get in return…fairly simple. 

 Google Images
Google Images

Here is a brief run down of the key elements to a successful wedding contract:

  1. Make sure that all of the wedding/event dates are the same. I have caught more than once a wrong event date as I reviewed my client’s contracts. 
  2. Make sure your guest count is the same. The worst thing ever would be to have 225 guests and only food for 125. Double check your numbers…OFTEN!
  3. Make sure the timelines are corresponding. If you sign an 8 hour photography package, make sure all of the important events (ceremony, cake cutting, first dance) all happen within that 8 hour window. Otherwise, you will be missing some key elements of your day in the album you receive after the wedding. 
  4. Follow up and confirm with all vendors a week or two prior to the wedding day to fill them in on any last minute changes. A wedding vendor will always refer back to their notes or their contracts if something goes awry. If you do not inform them of changes, these vendors are NOT mindreader! 
  5. Hire a wedding planner to help catch some of these common mistakes. At the time of signing a wedding contract, there might be some gaping holes in your timeline, this is quite common. However, that is something a wedding planner can help fill in for you and make sure your other vendors are all kept up to date! 

I hope this shed a little bit of light on how to approach a wedding vendor’s contract and have them break it down into simple easy to understand language. You are getting married, not trying to pass the bar. Have them (or a planner) break it down for you!

If you have other questions about wedding contracts, send me an email at Hello@AshleyNicoleEventsInc.com and I will be happy to help!

 Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography
Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography

Event Security: Planning Events in 2018

 Photo: Steve Parsons
Photo: Steve Parsons

Security.

This topic has been around for awhile, though, I think it is often overlooked when it comes to small scale events. Out of the approximate $42.8 million dollars the Royal family spent on Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s recent wedding, 94% or a whopping $40.1 million dollars was spent on security for the royal family, their guests and the general public. Not every wedding planned today has a budget that lavish. However, in today’s day and age, security is, or at least should be considered. I do NOT mean to be a Debby-Downer, but seriously, these topics MUST be thought of! 

 Photo Credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Photo Credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Here are 3 things you should consider when planning an event or wedding in the world today. 

1. Location – Are you having your event in a large metropolitan area? If so, are large cultural events taking place in or around your event? For example, if you are planning a wedding on the Chicago marathon route, ask yourself if your guests will be able to get from point A to point B in a timely and safe manner. Fighting crowds and getting stuck in traffic is not my idea of fun. It could put a damper on an already tight timeline. Have you thought about group transportation if you have a situation like this?

If you are getting married in a smaller city and public parking lots are readily available, are street lights and well lit sidewalks available for your guests? Walking alone late at night in a dark, unfamiliar area is not always the best decision. God forbid something happen to you or your guests, it is better to be safe than sorry. If public parking is available, but far away, you might consider offering a complementary valet service – not free to you, but free to your guests.  

 Photo Credit: Getty Images Women's March
Photo Credit: Getty Images Women’s March

2. Fire Exits – We are pretty well conditioned at this point to look for the fire exits when we walk into a movie theater. How about your wedding or event venue? If an emergency arose, could you direct your guests to the nearest exit? You most likely will be getting married in a venue that your guests have never been to before. In the middle of busting a move on the dance floor, where do they run for safety in case of a fire or active shooter situation? While I am not suggesting you add the nearest fire exit on the dinner menu, at least having a few key people know where and how to exit the building could mean the difference between life and death. 

3. Life Saving Equipment – Does someone at the venue or your wedding planner know CPR or at a minimum First Aid? While this is not necessarily the first question I would ask your potential venue, it is a good idea to at least bring up in conversation. This should NOT be a deal breaker on finding your wedding venue. However, consider if a member of your family or bridal party happens to be a first responder. An extra bonus for the venue, is having a defibrillator on site.

While these might seem like silly questions or morbid thoughts, last week during a wedding a Great Aunt did indeed have a heart attack. Paramedics arrived on the scene quickly and the guests remained calm, however, for a brief moment, there was that *heavy panic* in the air. Happy ending: she is fine and recovering well! 

This experience reminded me to check the renewal date of my CPR certification and the pledge to never let it expire. These milestones should be filled with fond memories and only happy tears. However, the worst has happened and having a solid plan is the difference between a minor setback and a major tragedy. Having a plan for the worst and only expecting the best is how I approach every event I work. Hundreds of events every day go off successfully. I would hate to see you be at the one that does not. 

If you have any other questions or suggestions on how to make your next event both successful and safe, feel free to send me an email at hello {at} AshleyNicoleEventsInc {dot} com. I would love to chat further about this important topic with you!