Clark Park WMS Boathouse Wedding

Clark Park Boathouse Wyn Wiley

When searching for a wedding venue, it is important to find one that is authentic to you and your fiancé. Wesley and August did just that, when they wed last fall at the WMS Boathouse at Clark Park. Wes and Gus swam together at Eastern Michigan University and instantly hit it off. They have been together ever since. Having a shared mutual love of water, their wedding venue had to be heavily focused on aquatics, sports and the outdoors. Enter WMS Boathouse. This hidden gem is actually a Chicago Park District rowing facility! Recently, CPD began hosting weddings and corporate events at their boathouse. Honestly, Wes and Gus could not have found a more perfect venue.

Clark Park Boathouse Wyn WileyChicago Park District Wedding Ashley Nicole Events Chicago wedding photography clark park

When I asked them what their priorities were, they said “each other!” They wanted to be fully present to and for each other. While they wanted their friends and family to have an awesome time, they were not super concerned with any “formalities” they just wanted “to be”. I told them over and over that they truly had it figured out. It is not about the “stuff” (the napkins or the color of the chairs, etc.) it is about making sure their marriage was strong. Weddings can be fun, but marriage takes work. Wes wanted to have several periods of time carved into the day where she and Gus could spend together. Not having to smile for photos or mingle with guests. Just be.  As a matter of fact, Wes and Gus focused so much on togetherness, they skipped the wedding cake entirely! It just wasn’t important to them.

Clark Park Boathouse Wedding Chicago Fall

Clark Park WMS Boathouse is home to the Chicago Rowing Foundation. This was the perfect wedding venue for Wes & Gus who have a love of water. If you are looking for a venue that has scenic views and can be both indoor and outdoor, check out Clark Park. Clark Park Boathouse Wedding Fall ChicagoChicago wedding Clark Park Fall Wedding

However, they did not miss a beat when it came to their all star vendor team! These A List vendors made sure that everyone ate, drank and danced the night away.

Vendor Love:

Planning: Ashley Nicole Events Inc
Venue: WMS Boathouse at Clark Park
Photography: Wyn Wiley
DJ: Backthird Entertainment
Catering: Food For Thought
Florist: Steve’s Flower Market
Transportation: Elite Chicago Limo
Invitations & Day of Printing: Bride

ANE Real Wedding: Kylie & Brian at The Haight, Elgin Illinois

Ashley Nicole Events The Haight Elgin Illinois

“Love is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it” – Nicholas Sparks

 

Oh my goodness! It’s been 1 year since Kylie and Brian said I do at the beautiful Haight in Elgin, Illinois. Pam, Kylie’s mom, hired me to turn her only daughter’s dream wedding into a reality. I think we managed to do just that. Every detail was meticulously thought about and planned. There were even back up plans just in case. Most importantly, Kylie and Brian wanted to celebrate the strong Irish heritage surrounded by friends and family and really good beer.

Town and Country Gardens utilized copper as the main color and softened the space with lush greenery. Mary Rose Photography beautifully captured their special day incorporating private moments for the couple to enjoy.  Finally, the wedding party danced the night away with the spinning capabilities of Sounds Abound. The Haight never fails to host an incredible wedding and all of the guests left gushing about what a fun wedding Kylie and Brian threw. Kylie’s dad even had a special surprise for the newlyweds as he serenaded his little girl and left everyone in tears.

It was such a special night and I am so lucky, proud and pleased that Pam and Kylie trusted me to help them plan the wedding of their dreams. Congratulations Kylie and Brian! One year down, a lifetime to go.

Much love,

Ashley

getting ready Ashley Nicole events haight wedding

Ashley Nicole Events Elgin Haight Wedding

The Haight Ashley Nicole Events Elgin IllinoisAshley Nicole events haight wedding

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!

6 Tasty Signature Cocktails For Your Summer Wedding

Ashley Nicole Events Signature Drink Wedding

There’s nothing better than a summer wedding, but boy it can get hot! Make sure your guests stay nice and refreshed by offering a signature drink to keep them cool. Read on for 6 different options to include on your special day!

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

1. Rum Orange Sizzle: With the sweet taste of orange juice and rum, a summer favorite, your guests will have a sweet drink to sip down.

 Complete Recipe found HERE

Complete Recipe found HERE

Are some of your guests under 21? Forget about the liquor, your underage guests will feel just as ‘cool’ by keeping these ingredients on hand: Sugar cube, Maraschino cherry and ice.

2. Blueberry Ginger Mule: Putting a creative twist on a Moscow Mule, blueberries can be added for both flavor and a touch of color. Try putting the drink in a frosted glass to keep it cooler longer!

 Complete Recipe found HERE Complete Recipe found HERE

Are some of your guests under 21? Forget about the liquor, and add lemonade, frozen blueberries, zest and juice of orange and lemon, sugar, white vinegar and vanilla flavoring.

3. Flor de Cana Pina Colada: A typical summer drink, your guests will have this cocktail and feel like they are on a tropical vacation. Don’t forget a pineapple wedge on the rim of the glass for a nice, simple garnish!

 Complete Recipe found HERE Complete Recipe found HERE

Under 21? Simply take out the liquor, allowing your underage guests to enjoy a nice, refreshing coconut delight.

4. Tropical Negroni: A classic drink but with a twist. To incorporate even more of the tropical feel, serve the drink inside a pineapple!

 Complete Recipe found HERE Complete Recipe found HERE

Under 21? Forget about the liquor while still keeping these simple ingredients: crushed ice, strawberry simple syrup and pineapple juice

5. Dragon Bramble: A unique cocktail will keep your guests on their toes, while also incorporating you and your significant others unique relationship! With a nice pop of color, this drink would be perfect with anything millennial pink.

 Complete Recipe found HERE Complete Recipe found HERE

Under 21? Forget about the liquor while still keeping these simple ingredients: dragon fruit puree, blackberry simple syrup, lemon juice and ice.

6. Sparkling Raspberry Lemonade: With a twist added to regular lemonade, there will be an sweeter punch when mixed with lemon and sugar.

 Complete Recipe found HERE Complete Recipe found HERE

Under 21? Forget about the liquor while keeping these simple ingredients: lemonade, sugar, lemon sugar, grated lemon rind, muddled raspberries and ice.

What is your favorite signature cocktail? My favorite is an oldie but a goodie…vodka tonic. 😉

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

A Groom’s Perspective: Planning Your Wedding

 Photo: Being Joy Photography
Photo: Being Joy Photography

Often, the bride is the focus of the wedding. Wether it is the planning or the wedding day, all of the questions seem to go to the bride. What is the date? What are the colors? How many guests? Where is the venue? How did he propose? The list goes on and on. For the groom, he often gets overlooked and told to “just show up.” What terrible advice is that?!? “Just show up” tells him that his opinions and thoughts don’t really matter. “Just show up” says that he has no say in his most special day. In my mind, this is a terrible miscarriage of justice. The groom in my world is just as important if not more important in some cases. Without him asking a very important question, the bride might not betting married. 

 Photo: Being Joy Photography Hair: Flora Hair and Makeup Team Flowers: Wyld Blooms
Photo: Being Joy Photography Hair: Flora Hair and Makeup Team Flowers: Wyld Blooms

Perhaps the most important Groom I have ever had to deal with was my groom, Adrian! Being married to a wedding planner is not always easy. I work most weekends and evenings are spent meeting with clients. Having listened to me for years, Adrian has learned that floorpans can make or break a wedding and can accurately describe the difference between poly and lamour linens. He never ceases to amaze me! He even offers to help write blog posts! I certainly got very lucky! Adrian has agreed to give his perspective on the wedding planning process. Below are his responses. 

 This is Adrian. He is pretty great. 
This is Adrian. He is pretty great. 

What is it like being a groom trying to plan a wedding and what advice would you give to other grooms?

Lucky for me, I married a wedding planner, but I was her own worst nightmare! I was a groom Zila, OK maybe not a total Groom Zila But a very picky Groom.  We had 12 months to get everything set and planned for the killer bash that we had wanted in our heads. Like I said, I married a wedding planner so the timeline of events and the coordination of people and companies came quite easy for us.  We both wanted something spectacular. Our wedding was a blank slate and we had to start to create our vision. 

I didn’t even know weddings had themes.  We both agreed on the same colors right away which was good! Boom done! From there we had the food that had to be decided on and I know for the brides that this is important, but this is just as important for the guys. Food is very important for guys so don’t blow it off, go do the food tasting! Also, if you are at all like me you’ll want a late night snack. Just an idea but we did a bacon bar and fresh donuts made on site. They were a huge hit. 

The bar was another important factor for our wedding. You have to make a statement and make your guests feel comfortable. We had a giant ice sculpture alcohol fountain, i’m guessing this was the statement piece. I was also very specific in not having beer bottles given to people but wanted the beer to be poured into glasses. It was about the look and the experience. 

My suggestion get involved, this is your wedding too. One of the biggest time sucks and most difficult parts were the invitations and day of printing. It took us an entire weekend to get all of the invitations stuffed in the envelopes and mailed out.  Don’t think this is a quick process, as this was probably the hardest thing about the whole wedding.

I was given one task to handle on my own. I was in charge of the transportation. Ashley did not care or want to be involved in that process, so she let me handle the entire thing. I had to organize the transportation for the entire wedding party from the hotel to the church and then on to the venue. It’s not as simple as just renting a bus, you have to plan that timeline pretty much to the minute because everything relies on this bus and getting you to the church and to the venue at specific times. We also stopped at a few locations for photos in between. It is quite the logistical chess match. On the topic of transportation, food deliveries is just as important. You are going to be busy all day so you’ll want to get some sort of food delivered to the bus. Depending on your timeline, stopping for lunch might not be an option, so you can plan on having sandwiches for the bus because you and your bridal party will be starving. 

Here is my advice for the actual wedding day: While on the topic of food, consider having some bagels with juice and coffee delivered in the morning while you are getting ready. This is a very long day and you will not have time to stop anywhere. Having things come to you is always a better idea. It makes the day go much smoother. 

Best piece of advice that I can give you is while your guests are eating their salad you and your bride eat the main course. That way when everybody is eating you can go table to table and say hi and thank them for coming. It is very important to not skip a meal on the wedding day. Before I got married, people would say you won’t remember much about the day. I did not think this was possible. It is the best day of your life. How can you not remember it? I thought they were lying, but no, it is so true! The day passes by in a flash and this is why a really good photographer and videographer are such an important investment. You will be shocked at how much you forget. You begin to slowly piece the day back together when your photos and video come back. Getting your footage can take a few months! Time seems to erase memories sooner than you think. I cannot harp enough and how important both of those things are.


Adrian will be making other guest blog posts in the months to come. He has more experience than most guys in the wedding planning world, mainly because he has to listen to me talk about weddings all.day.long! I want to make sure that guys know that they are not alone and that their opinions matter too! So often, I see them get pushed to the back and told to smile and make sure they show up on time. The guy is just as important as the girl. I want to make sure their voice and opinion (as crazy as it might be) gets heard. 

 Photo: Mary Rose Photography Venue: The Haight
Photo: Mary Rose Photography Venue: The Haight

Top 5 Wedding Speech Mistakes

We have all been to a wedding where the best man had one to many cocktails prior to giving his speech. While it is really awkward for the guests, it is even more uncomfortable for the bride and groom. Relinquishing the mic at a wedding is a big deal! You have no control over what anyone will say, do or even…sing when they have a mic in their hand. Having helped over 250 brides and grooms, I have witnessed just about every kind of speech imaginable.  Here are my top 5 things to NEVER do while giving a toast.

1. Don’t start with “For those of you who don’t know me, my name is…” No, there is a good chance that half of the room has no idea who you are, but by announcing that, it just makes an awkward and very overused opening line. Instead, simply begin by saying, “Good evening, my name is (Insert Name Here) and I am so happy to have been given the honor of saying a few words”. Then, say a few words. Keep it short!

2. Don’t tell inside jokes that only you and the Bride or Groom will find funny. These inside jokes are completely lost on all of the guests and looking back at it, it probably wasn’t even that funny of a joke. No one really cares about that one time you and the bride did something in your dorm room. Save those memories and stories for girls night. Instead, mention how incredibly brave or sweet the bride was during (insert situation) and how you know that she will treat her partner the same way in life.

3. Don’t talk about past relationships or lovers. It is really awkward and why would we talk about bad things at a happy event. The only reason I could POSSIBLE see to EVER mention an ex would be if the new bride or groom saved the life of the other party when they were still with the other person and that is how they met and fell in love. Even then,  it would still probably not be a good thing to mention. Don’t mention their name, simply express how happy you are the the happy couple found each other.

4. Don’t talk about how many people the bride or groom has slept with. No. Just no. I once had a mother of the bride get up and say how she is sure glad her daughter was hooking up with the groom instead of all of the other boys she hooked up with.

5. Don’t immediately start talking about wanting or making babies. We get it. Babies come from two people who engage in certain activities. We do not need graphic encouragement nor is it appropriate to discuss in front of a hundred people.

What can you talk about?

  1. How long you have known the bride or groom. How you are associated with them.

  2. Share a sweet story of the bride or groom as a child or of them as an adult.

  3. Wish the happy couple a lifetime of love and happiness, then pass the mic on to someone else!