2017 In Review

Each holiday season, I do my absolute best to stop, look around and and truly reflect on what this past year has brought me, this year was no exception! I was incredibly blessed this year and I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for me, my family and Ashley Nicole Events Inc.

In 2017, I have been able to serve wonderful clients and turn their wedding dreams into a reality. I began working more regularly with The Haight, one of the hottest venues in Chicagoland, as a part-time venue manager (the venue is literally booked until 2019…they are that busy folks!) I was able to travel to a business conference to sharpen my craft and I even snuck a way for a few days to see some close friends. While I help my clients spend time making memories with their families, it is always a special treat to make memories with my own family.

Here is a look back at 2017

Leslie and Dave celebrated their love surrounded by friends and family. I was so excited for Leslie & Dave when they told me a few weeks into their wedding planning that they were also expecting a little bundle of joy. So much love radiated on their wedding day. Stay tuned for their full feature later in 2018! Photo credit: Crane’s Photography

I am so excited for Leslie and Dave to welcome into the very FIRST ANE BABY!!! Just look at that adorable little bundle of Christmas joy! 

The 15th Annual Paramount Theatre’s “Under the Stars” Gala in Aurora, Illinois was an exceptional evening filled with dinner, entertainment, raffles and auctions, with all proceeds benefiting the Broadway Series and the stars of our future: Children. Last year alone, the Dreams Do Come True program brought more than 3,500 underprivileged children and families to see a show at the theatre for free. I was honored to be able to brighten the lives of children from disadvantaged homes, low income schools and special needs organizations. 

C&C’s wedding was a breathtaking wedding celebration. When you mesh Greek and Italian you are sure to get some high fashion, great food and stunning decor…and A LOT OF PASSION. For security purposes, for the groom, I am not able to show more, but let me tell you, this wedding was certainly on the top of my list…of all time!

Kayla and Kyle were such a joy to work with. They were BOTH so giddy with excitement all day! Kyle is not shy about his feelings for Kayla and their summer wedding filled with bright, bold colors was nothing short of exhilarating. Stay tuned for their full feature later in 2018! Photo credit: Love & Ink Photography

Kylie and Brian got married on a beautiful September day. It was a family tradition in Kylie’s family to have her father sing. Her dad jumped at the opportunity to perform for her daughter and new family at her wedding and there was not a dry eye in the house. Stay tuned for her full feature later this year.  Photo credit: Mary Rose Photography

Wes and Gus have a once in a lifetime kind of love. They knew that being present in the moment was their top priority and threw tradition to the wind. Stay tuned for their romantic, fun, energetic and magical wedding feature later this year! Photo Credit: Wynn Wiley

Ioana came to me wanting to surprise her husband, Ovi for his 40th birthday. When it comes to planning a milestone event, just like a wedding, honing in on their likes and priorities truly make the party come to life! Photo Credit: Snap Happy Pics

This year, in addition to providing planning services, I was able to provide beautiful rental pieces such as this arbor, to clients across Chicagoland which enhanced their ceremony spaces. Flower credit: Town and Country Gardens

Anna and Joey wrapped up the 2017 Wedding Season and we could not have ended on a higher note. Having fought bad weather all day, we were able to sneak in this *very important* shot for the bride and groom. Stay tuned for their stunning wedding later this year! Photo Credit: Dave Pavlina

This year, I had the pleasure of creating a stunning Thanksgiving tables cape for a private residence. Ashley Nicole Events can not only handle weddings, birthday parties and corporate events, but private dinner parties as well! Photo Credit: Ashley Hamm Photography

For the first time, I was able to attend the Wedding MBA, a business conference that provides continuing education for all aspects of business and the wedding industry. I was able to attend with my business bestie (aka mom) and connect with many amazing friends and vendors from he Chicago region. Below are a few photos from the conference!  The rock statues are the 7 Magic Mountains, located outside of Las Vegas. My friend Joy, humored me enough to sneak away to capture these literal magic mountains! 

During the off season, I was able to spend a little quality time with my husband, Adrian and take a class in outdoor floral design. It was such a fun day! The photos below are highlights out of my personal life from doing fall activities, attending my Godson’s baptism, celebrating my other Godson’s 6 birthday, making and donating 145 dog toys to a local shelter and spending time with family. 2017 was a great year and I can not wait to see what 2018 has in store for both me personally and my family! 

 Photo credit: Mary Rose Photography Venue: The Haight, Elgin, Illinois 
Photo credit: Mary Rose Photography Venue: The Haight, Elgin, Illinois 

Thank you for all of your support this past year. I could not have done it without each and every one of you. Without all of your love, support, guidance, friendship and faith, Ashley Nicole Events would not be looking back at another successful year, and certainly not looking to a brighter future. May your new year be filled with love, faith, family and friends! Cheers to 2018! 

Vendor Spotlight: Brent Rolland from Fig Media

When planning a wedding, one of the most important aspects is the music. As a planner, I can work on the pre-wedding preparations, the logistics, design aesthetic and timeline for the day. I work closely with all of the hired vendors to ensure a successful event, but once the reception begins, it is really the caterer and musicians who set the tone for the rest of the evening. 

One of these Chicago wedding professionals I want to introduce you to Brent Rolland from Fig Media. He has worked in the Wedding DJ industry for 13 years.

Please enjoy the following interview I recently had with Brent. He is quite special and I just know you will love him as much as I do! 

Tell me how you got started in the DJ business:

It was a complete accident—but one of the best of my life: I have a background in multimedia and design, and I needed an internship to graduate from college. One of my instructors asked me to check out Fig as they were looking for design interns. I applied and got the internship for the summer (yay!). Part of the curriculum of the tenure is to assist on events; I chose to work on DJ gigs. My first experience was a wedding at the Adler Planetarium. I loved that guests were happy, dancing, and unified. I then started learning from my team and leading my own events. The rest, as they say, is history!

How long have you been a DJ? How many years at Fig Media? — 13 years, all of them at Fig! 

What do you love about the job?

I love the philanthropy of the business—bringing people together with music. I believe my calling in life is generating unity and joy in the world, and this is one of the ways that I am accomplishing it. I also love all the long-lasting friendships and relationships that I have made in this profession, and for the number of people I’ve been able to serve and bring joy to. I also am grateful for my team at Fig for their feedback, training and support over all these years.

What do you not love so much about the job?

Aside from the physical (lifting, setting up, etc.), being a DJ can be emotionally challenging: Sometimes, I’m seen only for my job title and not as a guest or an equal. The hospitality of folks at venues varies, as well as the attitudes of the people I meet and their requests or reactions to song choices. Despite this, I still enjoy and love this art form.

 Brent has a contagious smile and gives the best hugs. From the moment he meets you, he treats you like an old friend. 
Brent has a contagious smile and gives the best hugs. From the moment he meets you, he treats you like an old friend. 

What is something you wish all couples looking at bands or DJs considered or asked?

One big question that I’d love to hear more of is, “Tell me more about yourself.” I love getting to know all the wonderful people I meet and learning their story, but I occasionally get to tell mine! Relationships are a priority of our process, and I love when I can make the people I meet feel comfortable and like friends. I also like couples considering their vision for their night and their guests critically—that is, who is coming, ages and demographic, and whom in the group likes to dance. Fun groups always lead to an awesome party, and it’s great data for us to have early on.

SONG SELECTIONS

If you had to pick a top processional song what would it be?

       “Perfect” (Ed Sheeran cover) by The Piano Guys  Click HERE to watch video
       “Perfect” (Wedding Version) Featuring Cannon in D –I also love THIS version

If you had to pick a top recessional song what would it be?

       “You Are The Best Thing” by Ray La Montagne  Click HERE to watch video

If you had to pick a top cake cutting song what would it be?

       “L-O-V-E” by Nat King Cole  Click HERE to watch video

If you had to pick a top first dance song what would it be?

       “At Last” by Etta James  Click HERE to watch video

Tell me one thing no one knows about you.

I have never traveled outside the United States—but want to do so!

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me, Brent! Anyone in the Chicago area looking for a wedding or corporate event Deejay, consider booking Brent or one of his associates at Fig Media. They are professionals, they get to know their clients and they truly want to make your event as awesome as possible. Fig Media also offers photography and video production for corporate clients. You can find out more about Fig Media, by clicking the link below.

 Thanks for following along my interview with Brent! I recently got a new headshot from Mary Rose Photography. Isn't it pretty!?! Hair and Makeup was by Blow Bar!
Thanks for following along my interview with Brent! I recently got a new headshot from Mary Rose Photography. Isn’t it pretty!?! Hair and Makeup was by Blow Bar!

 

If you are a wedding professional or know of someone who I should feature next, please drop me a note! Email hello@ashleynicoleeventsinc.com 

 

 

The Best Day of the Year & a Halloween Corporate Party

It might not be such a big secret, but I love Halloween. I love everything about the holiday. I believe that my affinity for this special day came from my amazingly talented Mom who every year hand made my costume. We would start in June or July…I would look at all of the patterns at JoAnn Fabrics and decide what I wanted to be. My mom always started early, because she knew, inevitably, I would change my mind. In August, I would finally be settled on what my costume would be and she could officially begin! (Thanks for all of your patience, Mom!) As a family, we would then visit our Grandparents, because they of course, gave the best King size candy bars! We would end the night with home made beef vegetable soup (to keep my tummy warm while trick or treating) and pizza when we came back in to assess our newly found sugary riches. 

 My very first Halloween...I was a Strawberry Ice Cream Cone! For those who know me...this is very fitting! 
My very first Halloween…I was a Strawberry Ice Cream Cone! For those who know me…this is very fitting! 
 I have no idea how my mom made those puff sleeves, but boy...that took talent!  Side note, I also think I cut my own bangs...
I have no idea how my mom made those puff sleeves, but boy…that took talent!  Side note, I also think I cut my own bangs…
 This right here is by far my favorite Halloween costume! I was Belle from Beauty and the Beast and of course my brother was Batman! I always did love a good Disney Princess! 
This right here is by far my favorite Halloween costume! I was Belle from Beauty and the Beast and of course my brother was Batman! I always did love a good Disney Princess! 

Now that it is clear, exactly how much I LOVE Halloween, let’s review an epic corporate Halloween production I took part of. This event was for the Western Illinois University cultural arts program called The Bureau of Cultural Affairs. You can click here to support the arts and see what new theater productions they are bringing to the University. The BCA, as they are lovingly called, wanted to put on a full caliber Halloween production with a twist. Universities are chalk full of creepy, rundown spaces that might or might not work for an actual event. With much cajoling, we convinced the University to allow us to turn one of the creepiest spots on campus into a one night only theater. It actually helped, because that was the intended purpose back when the University was built! 

 Check out that spooky lighting! Lighting is key in any event and can really make or break the atmosphere. When given the choice, ALWAYS spend the extra money for a good lighting company. 
Check out that spooky lighting! Lighting is key in any event and can really make or break the atmosphere. When given the choice, ALWAYS spend the extra money for a good lighting company. 

The band we selected,White Ghost Shivers is an eclectic American band based in Austin, Texas which claims cabaret, jazz, vaudeville, hokum, western swing, hillbilly, jugband and ragtime as its inspiration. Given the right setting and spooky lighting, this made for the perfect Halloween concert. They are still available for booking, so if you are planning your own spook-tacular Halloween event, look no further than White Ghost Shivers! 

 The Bureau of Cultural Affairs staff with the cast of White Ghost Shivers
The Bureau of Cultural Affairs staff with the cast of White Ghost Shivers

Have a happy and safe Halloween! If you are planning on doing a Halloween themed party in the future, I am happy to provide some pointers on how to not make it a cheesy party but truly an epic, thoughtful, beautiful and perfectly crafted event. 

It’s just a bunch of HOCUS POCUS

— Max