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


Sometimes, being a business owner, you get to create epic work. Like out of this world beautiful work. This week, I was commissioned to create such work and I am SO EXCITED!  Here is a sneak peak of where I will be for the next three days. Creating stunning photos of love, life and marriage. Follow along with my Insta stories @ashleynicoleevents_Inc or the photographer @beingjoyphotography to get more behind the scenes details! California, we are in love with you! 

 Photo Credit:  American Expeditioners  
Photo Credit: American Expeditioners  

This is a sneak peak of our two day photo shoot. Apparently, Joy and I brought the Windy City with us, because San Diego reached record breaking lows with 40 mph wind gusts. It was quite the chilly day. Real life couple, Stephanie and Alex were such troopers braving the temperatures and looking stunning while we dragged them all over the city. We ended our day with some of the most adorable seals…San Diego, you have our hearts. 

 Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography | Floral: Wyld Blooms | HMUA:Flora Hair + Makeup Team 
Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography | Floral: Wyld Blooms | HMUA:Flora Hair + Makeup Team 
 He was quite the charmer! 
He was quite the charmer! 

Here is my happy dance

Happiness means getting to do something you love every day!

— Ashley

The Red String of Fate Lands in the Happiest Place on Earth

There is an ancient proverb that says the gods tie an invisible red cord around the ankles of those that are destined to meet one another in a certain situation or help each other in a certain way. The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of place, time, or circumstances.

I have met a lot of couples but none more clearly that represents this Chinese proverb then Alex and Kelly. Alex and Kelly met as children and became friends in middle school. Through the years, they ebbed and flowed but were able to maintain their friendship into college. They felt the stars were aligned and found the one whom their soul loved. Friendship turned into dating and on a flight to Walt Disney World, in February 2015, Alex tightened the bonds of the red string by proposing to his long time girlfriend.

Disney World holds a special place in their hearts, after all, they did get engaged on a trip to the happiest place on earth! Disney themes were woven into their Chicago wedding by incorporating Mickey and Minnie trinkets around the venue and a Disney sing along during the toasts. Alex and Kelly love Disney World so much, they visit at LEAST once per year! Since they have been married, they adopted their very own Pluto, a fluffy golden retriever fur baby.

 How can you be sad when you are wearing Mickey ears?!?!
How can you be sad when you are wearing Mickey ears?!?!
 Welcome to the family, Pluto!
Welcome to the family, Pluto!

Alex and Kelly professed their vows in their childhood church, St. Patricks in McHenry, Illinois on June 18, 2016. It was very important to them as a couple to get married in the same church that they received their First Communion and other sacraments throughout their lives. They never lost sight of their beliefs, their family culture and their values as a couple. Alex got to bring a little of his fun-loving and goofy personality to the wedding when his colorful socks poked out from under his pant leg during the ceremony.

 How fun are those socks! Bring a little of your personality into the mix! 
How fun are those socks! Bring a little of your personality into the mix! 

As a nod to Alex’s career, pilot at American Airlines, Alex and Kelly wanted to take their bridal party photos at a local regional airport in the suburbs of Chicago. Standing on an active runway (no planes were actually landing) is such an exhilarating feeling. I have had this experience once or twice! It is a place where not many people think to have their photos taken!  With modern day security issues, actually, not many people are allowed to go. As a note to other couples, think outside of the box when it comes to finding locations to take your photos. If you are a fireman, think of taking photos with a fire truck. If you are a musician, perhaps taking photos (or having your ceremony) on a stage or in a theatre. Be creative!

Alex and Kelly had a beautiful wedding and since their Chicago suburb wedding, we have become great friends. Alex works with my husband at the airlines, (which is how he discovered Ashley Nicole Events) and we enjoy getting together when their crazy work schedules allow. Alex and Kelly, your red string of fate might have stretched and tangled, but never broke. Congratulations on your big day! It was such a pleasure working with you both. Much love!

Forever let us hold our banner high. Come along and sing a song and join the jamboree….
M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!

— Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Vendor Love:
Planner: Ashley Nicole Events Inc.
Ceremony Venue: St. Patrick’s Catholic Church
Reception Venue: Concorde Banquets
Photographer: Lex Alexander
Videographer: With Love Productions
Invitations: Ijorere
Florist: Trellis Weddings
DJ: Fantastic DJ
Hair: Hair Philosophy
Makeup: Nina Trader Makeup
Transportation: Exquisite Limousine Chicago
Lodging: Courtyard North Arlington Heights

Vendor Spotlight: Joy Bijedic from Being Joy Photography

Having worked in the wedding industry for over a decade, I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with some amazing talent. As a planner, my job is to share my knowledge and by creating a Vendor Spotlight, I can share some of Chicago’s best and brightest (and most coveted) wedding professionals with you! Without further ado, please meet Joy Bijedic from Being Joy Photography

 Joy loves nature, water, daisies and butterflies. She even spills the beans about a secret tattoo! 
Joy loves nature, water, daisies and butterflies. She even spills the beans about a secret tattoo! 

Tell me how you got started in the Photography business. 

I have always loved photography.  Growing up my Mom was always taking photos of me and my brothers.  It never really dawned on me that I could make a career out of it until I started “modeling” for a friend who was newer to the photography business.  Then another friend asked me to pose as well. After that I was hooked.  In 2010, I purchased my first nice camera and began learning.

 You will never guess that this wedding took place in a cemetery...the couple met at Mortuary Science AWESOME is that!?!?!
You will never guess that this wedding took place in a cemetery…the couple met at Mortuary Science school…how AWESOME is that!?!?!

How long have you been running Being Joy Photography? 

Starting out I had three jobs. I waited tables, bartended and worked on building my company.  In 2014 when I relocated back to Chicago from Oklahoma I cut down on waitressing in order to really make a go of my company.  In May of 2015 I went full time.

What do you love about the job?

I think what I love most about my job is being able to give other people those moments frozen in time that they will be able to look back on years later.  When my father passed in April of 2014 it made all those photos I have of him even more special.  I think everyone deserves photos of their loved ones as well as each important moment in their lives.  No matter how busy we get.

What do you not love so much about the job?

Being a photographer owning a small business is a rollercoaster ride.  You never know if you are going to book the next year.  You never know if you will have the income to pay your bills.  You never know if your company will survive in an industry that is surging with talent.  It’s hard.  Keeping the faith.  Believing that what I do matters and that I am impacting the lives of others.  Every time I meet a new couple it’s like going on a blind date.  You chat on the phone or exchange an email, you seem to hit it off so you set up a “coffee date”.  Afterwards you leave on a high, filled with excitement and anticipation of working with them. However, all you can do is wait.  Wait and hope that they felt the same way.  Wait for the phone to ring.  Wait for your email to pop up with a new message.  Wait and hope that they want to book you.  Just wait.  That is the hardest part of the job.

Every time I meet a new couple it’s like going on a blind date. 

— Joy

What is something you wish all couples looking at professional photography considered or asked?

Don’t just look at the price tag.  I understand how easily the price of a wedding can escalate, however, keep both eyes open.  Meet with your potential photographer and see if you both like one another.  That is step one.  Next, ask to see an entire wedding.  As artists we all try to display our best and favorite pieces, but that doesn’t always tell the full story.  Ask to see a recent full wedding so you can see how your potential photographer handles different lighting situations.  Know what you want going in.  What is most important to you from your photographer.  Do you want two photographers?  Do you want a wedding album?  Do you want an engagement session?  Lastly, don’t be scared to ask questions.  We know you probably haven’t done this before.  There is no stupid question.

Where are some of your favorite engagement session locations?

If I had to pick just one in Chicago, it would probably be Montrose Harbor because it gives me the best of everything I love.  I love water!  Lakes, rivers, oceans.  I will always find a reason to take a photo there.  I also love nature with the greenery as well as the city skyline.  Montrose Harbor offers all of that.  In the burbs I think I would say Fabyan Park is my favorite (along with many other photographers).  It’s close to downtown Geneva to get that urban vibe.  It’s  on the Fox River (again water!).  It has gorgeous stone architecture and an iron gate that makes me drool.

What is your favorite wedding venue? Why?

There are so many gorgeous venues in the Chicago area, many of which I haven’t even seen.  My favorites are always changing.  At this moment in time if I had to choose my favorites it would have to be Emerson Creek Pottery & Tearoom and the Monte Bello Estate.  Both of those venues take my breath away.  I never get tired of photographing there.

What do you wish people thought of for photography on the day of the wedding?

One of the biggest hiccups I run into on a couple’s wedding day is timing. Early on, when setting the times for your ceremony and cocktail hour think about how much space you leave in between for your photographer.  The more time you give them, the more photos you get!  Plus, it gives us a little more flexibility to be a little more creative.  I have done portraits in only 15 minutes more times than I like to say and at the end of the day they are nice, but I am always disappointed I couldn’t give them a little more.

 A good photographer makes sure everyone in the bridal party looks their best...including the littlest members. 
A good photographer makes sure everyone in the bridal party looks their best…including the littlest members. 

Tell me one thing no one knows about you (but you are okay with the world knowing!)

One thing no one knows about me, butterflies and daisies are two of my favorite things.  My freshman year of high school I broke both bones in my right forearm during gymnastics practice.  I had to have surgery to have two plates and 12 screws placed so that my arm would heal.  They are still there to this day.  A year or so after the scar healed I noticed that if I flexed my arm the scar moved in one spot.  I use to draw butterflies on that spot and flex to make it look like it was flying.  Eventually I wanted a butterfly tattoo there.  However, as I got older I decided I wanted it in a more subtle place.  No bigger than a quarter.  It’s something I drew that’s for me. I love my little butterfly tattoo.

Thank you, Joy, for being the first Vendor Spotlight! I know that couples all over Chicago would love to meet you, see your beautiful work and have you capture the moments that matter most. One side note about Joy, is she is a fur momma to not one but three adorable fur babies and she has seen every Disney movie ever made! She takes an annual pilgrimage to Disney World and loves to run. Please check out her amazing work!  

 Joy and I at a Wedding Convention this past October. 
Joy and I at a Wedding Convention this past October.