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

Say my name, say my name, say my name…and how to change it!

What to do after you say “I Do”?

Well, the first thing is you go on your honeymoon! If circumstances do not permit jetsetting off to island bliss immediately following the vows, perhaps a mini-moon is more in your future. Whenever you and your boo come back to reality (I know, it stinks having to come back to the real world) most women choose to begin the arduous task of changing their last name. I do, however, support having the men change their last name, but it is still far too uncommon. Maybe in the next decade! Here are a few tips from my experience for getting the name change started.

 Even years later, I find a few memberships that I have not changed. This is a long process, but it doesn't have to be hard! 
Even years later, I find a few memberships that I have not changed. This is a long process, but it doesn’t have to be hard! 


  1. Get at least five original copies of your marriage license, (they are not really copies, but actual legal documents). Every institution where you need to send name change information will all require an “original” not a certified copy of the license.

  2. If you can change your name online, do it. It will save a great deal of time and effort.

  3. If you choose the online method, make sure you include ALL required documents. I tried to change my name for my social security card online, which started out all fine and good. However, I ran into problems when they made me mail in all of the required documents, and I forgot to include the MARRIAGE LICENSE! The one document that actually stated that I have a legal name change, and I forgot to put it in an envelope. I waited the standard seven to ten business days and was so excited to get the card in the mail. When I opened up the certified letter, it stated that they can not just “take my word for it” when it came to getting married! Go figure! So I had to go down to the social security office, and I wasted an hour and a half of my life waiting in line for all of the thirty seconds the name change took. Make sure you pay attention to the details!

  4. Credit cards proved to be fairly simple. I just called them up and stated that I got married. They did not even require me sending them a copy of the marriage license. In three days, I had new cards with my very new name.

  5. Contact your health care providers AND insurance provider.

  6. Discuss with your new spouse about joint bank accounts, life insurance beneficiaries, etc.

  7. Stop by your local, “friendly” DMV and let them know that you need to update your driver’s license and car title if you still making car payments. (I don’t know how the DMV staff can be so grouchy all of the time, but I digress.) Smile pretty for your new photo id, although, I have never once taken a driver’s license photo that I have actually liked.

  8. If you have a passport, update that. If you don’t have a passport, get one. Trust me, you will thank me after your first trip. Travel bug anyone???

  9. Finally, change any subscriptions you receive and let your educational institution know of your life change so they can continue to mail you alumni donation requests. 😉  

  10. Last, but not least, sit back with your new partner and enjoy becoming a whole new person, legally, that is.

“Why I Didn’t Hire a Planner, But Wish I Did”

I was reading an article on the Huffington Post not that long ago and it really struck a cord with me. This article was a repost from The Reflective Bride and you can read the original article here. The story came from a former bride who was reflecting on her wedding day and everything she wish she had done differently. In all honesty, it was kind of a sad article. I felt bad for this bride, even though she goes unnamed. My heart broke as I read about her groom running around picking up last minute necessities on the day of his wedding and the awkward feeling of having to ask for help when no one really offers. 

What everyone thinks of when they hear “wedding planner” but life is not like the movies.

Below are some excerpts from the blog post and my commentary below:

I wanted us to handle all the preparations and vendor research ourselves. I thought it would be fun to do the research, and also felt that us looking into the suppliers was the only way to know all the options… so that we could make a truly informed decision and ensure we got the style we liked at the most reasonable price — not simply a wedding planner’s “usual” contacts. My groom was more than happy with this conclusion, since it saved us an extra line item in our bridal budget… and we were indeed worried that a wedding planner would be quite expensive.

— The Reflective Bride

I get it. You want to look into all of the vendor options. You want to make informed choices. But what happens when you unknowingly make the wrong choice? When I ask for the names of the vendors my clients have already hired, sometimes I actually cringe. I feel bad because they have hired someone who used catchy phrases or booking gimmicks but I know from first hand experience will not provide them with the idealistic process they had hoped for. 

Wedding planning isn’t always fun. Sure, it’s a ball to ooh and aah over cake designs or swoon over pictures from potential photographers… but there’s nothing enjoyable about researching mini-buses for guest transport or making seating charts.

— The Reflective Bride
 This beautiful farm is located in Paris, Illinois 
This beautiful farm is located in Paris, Illinois 

No, it is not all fun. Sometimes we have to figure out where your guests are going to go to the bathroom when you decide you want to have an intimate ceremony in a field of sunflowers. Enter in luxury restroom rentals

  There is a lot of logistics that go into planning a wedding. Trying to do it all is really rough. 
There is a lot of logistics that go into planning a wedding. Trying to do it all is really rough. 

It is not possible to handle everything for the wedding planning yourselves, so if you don’t have a wedding planner you either have to ask help from others or handle everything things yourself. Even if you do have someone offer to help, you may not want to burden them with tasks.

— The Reflective Bride

Save yourself the headache, heartache and most importantly, fights with your S.O. you are not superwoman/man. Realize your possible limitations and call it a day. It may be time to call in the pros. This poor bride and groom! Ah…all of the feels for them! Granted, their wedding is long past and they are writing about what they wish they would have done…I still feel so sorry for them, because it did NOT have to be like that. She didn’t have to wish that they day would “just be over” you only get one (maybe two…okay, three…after that, just elope!) shots at making this a memorable day. Thinking back on a wedding day should be filled with joy, excitement and fond memories. Not stress, exhaustion, fights and most importantly, regret. I try to live my life by never regretting and I make sure my clients do the same.