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Chicago Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning

This Couple Turned an Industrial Space in the Heart of Chicago Into a Cozy Wedding Venue

 Chicago, Illinois, Real Weddings  Comments Off on This Couple Turned an Industrial Space in the Heart of Chicago Into a Cozy Wedding Venue
Nov 102016
 

High school sweethearts Abigail Bartolotta and Brian Flynn first met as freshmen in 2002, but it wasn't until the summer of 2004 that they actually began dating. "Through all of the homecoming dances, basement parties, and late-night Instant Messenger sessions, we knew our relationship was something special," says Abby. They attended nearby colleges, and Brian spent his final year of school planning an epic proposal. On the couple's seventh anniversary, in July of 2011, Brian took Abby out to dinner at their favorite Spanish restaurant (a nod to their semester abroad in Barcelona), then brought her back to his house. "The backyard was decorated with candles and flowers, with a book of our travels on a table," Abby describes. "At first I thought it was just an over-the-top anniversary celebration, but by the time I'd read through a book of all of our favorite memories, I realized this was it." As she turned the last page, Brian got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. "Even after seven years together, I was genuinely surprised!" she says.

They didn't rush into planning a wedding, and waited nearly five years for their April 9, 2016, celebration at Gallery 1028 in Chicago. The self-proclaimed design buffs opted for a residential-inspired theme, creating a simple and sophisticated space where guests felt comfortable, welcome, and like they were being entertained in the couple's home. "We were drawn to the blank slate nature of the venue, and the fact that we could make it our own," says the bride. "We knew our guests would be shocked pulling into to such an industrial area, but we hoped they would love the surprising transformation inside!"

Love it they did, and you will, too! Check out how Abby and Brian created this cozy environment out of a truly raw space, with help from Estera Events and Emilia Jane Photography, below!

The couple's invitation suite featured modern calligraphy paired with a sleek font — an incredibly simple design that looked chic and elegant. Luxe gray ribbon and a gold wax seal added just the right amount of dimension to the timeless design.

After trying on a series of strapless, sweetheart mermaid gowns, Abby still hadn't found the one. "On a whim while shopping on my own, I gave a long-sleeved dress a try. I didn't immediately feel daring enough to pull it off, but I couldn't get it out of my mind," she says. She headed back to the salon with her mom in tow and tried on the dress in question, as well as this stunning Yaki Ravid wedding dress with a plunging neckline and intricate beading — the gown that would ultimately be the winner. "I thought I wanted something simple, but this dress blew me away!" says Abby. She paired the gown with white leather Manolo Blahnik heels and a classic cathedral-length veil — the perfect classic accessories for a fashion-forward bride.

Brian wore a classic tuxedo, but chose a shawl collar for a modern twist.

The couple wed in a traditional Catholic ceremony at St. Michael's Church in Old Town Chicago. Says Abby, "My father walked me down the aisle. I laughed so hard when we got the photos back, because he was fist-bumping his friends the whole way!"

Although the two exchanged traditional vows during the ceremony, they still shared their private thoughts on their wedding day. "We wrote notes to one another, and had them delivered while we were getting ready," the bride says.

Instead of traditional bridesmaids' dresses, Abby had her 'maids choose Natalie Deayala dresses in white, each selecting their own style. "I loved the sophistication of having everyone in white, as well as the simplicity of the long silk gowns," she says. " My maid of honor even had hers hemmed to above the knee so she can wear it through the summer!" To fight off the Chicago chill, the bridesmaids slipped black leather jackets over their dresses. So edgy!

At Gallery 1028, the couple displayed two oversized prints from their engagement session, including this one behind the white orchids and candles on the escort table. The wood-front bar, surrounded with metallic shelving and design-focused objects, also featured a piece from the couple's home: A Roman-inspired bust. "Brian loves it, so I snuck it out of the house and brought it to our venue. It blended in with the rest of the décor perfectly!" says the bride.

Next to the bar, a large lounge area featured couches, patterned pillows, and lots of candlelight. "It gave the space a very home-like feel," Abby says.

As guests arrived, they sipped cocktails inspired by the couple's favorite drink at Fig & Olive. "We called it the 'It's About Thyme,' since we had been together for over 10 years and engaged for nearly five," says the bride. The drink combined gin, muddled blackberries, lime juice, and a rosemary-thyme simple syrup.

A long, mirrored head table created a focal point next to the dance floor. A series of chandeliers were hung throughout the space, inspired by the couple's favorite hotel, the Public Chicago. "We love how the hotel smells, so we even found candles with a similar scent and scattered them throughout the venue so it would smell like the hotel as guests arrived," Abby says.

The glow from the chandeliers, as well as the mix of pillar and votive candles on each table, cast a warm glow over the space — and could have been straight out of a Restoration Hardware catalogue!

Round tables featured vignettes of hydrangeas and blush roses and pillar candles, surrounded by gold votives.

Brushed silver chargers were topped with crisp white napkins and a printed menu finished with the same wax seal used on the couple's invitation. The customized menu included an antipasti trio with burrata, marinated vegetables, and charcuterie, alongside the pair's favorite gluten-free cheesy popovers from The Reel Club. And for late night snacks? "We had fried chicken and cheddar waffles with bourbon maple syrup, as well as truffled grilled cheese with Jamon Iberico," Abby says.

For dessert, the newlyweds served three ruffled cakes, with the larger confection layering lemon cake with lemon buttercream and raspberry preserves while the smaller two featured almond cake with Nutella buttercream.

Of course, there was also a dessert bar, with s'mores cake pops and miniature cupcakes fueling the dance party. "I'll never forget looking around late in the evening and seeing my dad, brothers, and high school friends rapping along to 'Palmdale' by Afroman. We still know every word!" says the bride.

Abby's best advice is to hire great people to bring your wedding vision to life. "Our wedding day was the opposite of stressful because we had such amazing vendors, friends, and family members there to make sure everything flowed smoothly. Surround yourselves with people you love and everything will fall into place!"

Ceremony Venue: St. Michael in Old Town || Reception Venue: Gallery 1028 || Wedding Planner: Estera Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Yaki Ravid Couture, from Dimitra's Bridal Couture|| Shoes: Manolo Blahnik || Hair & Makeup: Nika Vaughan Bridal Artists || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Natalie Deayala, from Bella Bridesmaids || Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: Formally Modern Tuxedo || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Fey & Co. || Floral Design: Kehoe Designs || Invitations & Paper Goods: Sarah Drake Design; For Your Party || Music: Style Matters DJs || Catering: Calihan Catering || Cake: Elysia Root Cakes || Rentals: Nimble Well; La Tavola Fine Linen; BBJ Linen || Videographer: Delack Media Group || Photographer: Emilia Jane Photography

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Can't get enough of this incredible day? Then you'll surely get inspired by another couple's Chicago wedding, seen below.

BRIDES Chicago: Quintessential Late-Night Snacks for a Chicago Wedding

 Chicago, Food & Drink, Illinois, Local, Wedding Catering  Comments Off on BRIDES Chicago: Quintessential Late-Night Snacks for a Chicago Wedding
Nov 082016
 

Not into serving Windy City favorites like deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs at your reception? The late-night snack serves as your chance to show off your — and your city's — foodie side. Trust us: No matter how delicious dinner was, guests will pounce on the snacks after they've been tearing up the dance floor. Here are five of our favorite options that capture the city's most famous fare.

Garrett Popcorn Shops
If you're like us, Garrett's delicious popcorn fumes are tough to resist, hence why tourists routinely swing by the airport's Garrett Popcorn Shop on their way home. Save your out-of-town guests a trip and treat everyone to the classic Chicago treat by setting up a popcorn bar just off the dance floor. Garrett's will provide an old-fashioned popcorn tin, scoopers, and to-go bags. Sweet tooths will love the CarmelCrisp, while savory fans will dive into CheeseCorn. But for the ultimate snack, go for The Chicago Mix, a genius combination of the two. Read real brides' reviews here!

Lou Malnati's
Once the smell of pizza fills the air, the dance floor will clear. (Don't worry — guests will be back and ready to keep dancing once they refuel.) The legendary Chicago pizza joint serves mini slices of their famous deep dish so guests can enjoy them in two bites rather than a fork-and-knife ordeal. Everyone's dressed to the nines, after all. Read real brides' reviews here!

Big Star
On sunny weekends, Chicagoans flock to the Wicker Park taco mecca just as wedding guests will flock to Big Star's 'Little Mule' food truck when it rolls into your reception. Might we suggest serving a mix of tacos — pastor, pescado, and hongas — to satisfy carnivores, fish lovers, and vegetarians alike. Read real brides' reviews here!

Stan's Donuts & Coffee
Stan's may trace its roots back to Los Angeles, but since the donut shop opened in Chicago two years ago, we've adopted it as our own. Now with four locations around the city, chances are you and your fiancé have fallen for Stan's as well. Though your traditional great aunt might be confused by the idea of eating donuts at 10 p.m. rather than 10 a.m., one bite of a mini pistachio-glazed donut is all it'll take to win her over.

See More: Dance Off All That Food to the Music of These Top Chicago Wedding Bands

Buddy's Special Events
If there's one delicacy Chicago's most famous for, it's the Chicago-style hot dog. And the Windy City staple makes a light-hearted and playful addition to your big day, putting your hometown pride front and center. Buddy's Special Events serves authentic Vienna beef hot dogs straight from a hot dog cart. All the fixings are available too, but stay true to the Chicago theme and keep ketchup far away. Read real brides' reviews here!

The Slide Ride
When The Slide Ride drives up to your reception, it's pretty much a given that no guest will go home hungry. From brown sugar bacon-topped sliders to a spicy PB&J, out-of-the-ordinary — but no less tasty — combinations are packed into each small sandwich. Not to mention, all the deliciousness is served straight from a cute, retro food truck.

For more Chicago wedding catering options, be sure to browse our local vendors page!

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BRIDES Chicago: Quintessential Late-Night Snacks for a Chicago Wedding

 Chicago, Food & Drink, Illinois, Local, Wedding Catering  Comments Off on BRIDES Chicago: Quintessential Late-Night Snacks for a Chicago Wedding
Nov 082016
 

Not into serving Windy City favorites like deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs at your reception? The late-night snack serves as your chance to show off your — and your city's — foodie side. Trust us: No matter how delicious dinner was, guests will pounce on the snacks after they've been tearing up the dance floor. Here are five of our favorite options that capture the city's most famous fare.

Garrett Popcorn Shops
If you're like us, Garrett's delicious popcorn fumes are tough to resist, hence why tourists routinely swing by the airport's Garrett Popcorn Shop on their way home. Save your out-of-town guests a trip and treat everyone to the classic Chicago treat by setting up a popcorn bar just off the dance floor. Garrett's will provide an old-fashioned popcorn tin, scoopers, and to-go bags. Sweet tooths will love the CarmelCrisp, while savory fans will dive into CheeseCorn. But for the ultimate snack, go for The Chicago Mix, a genius combination of the two. Read real brides' reviews here!

Lou Malnati's
Once the smell of pizza fills the air, the dance floor will clear. (Don't worry — guests will be back and ready to keep dancing once they refuel.) The legendary Chicago pizza joint serves mini slices of their famous deep dish so guests can enjoy them in two bites rather than a fork-and-knife ordeal. Everyone's dressed to the nines, after all. Read real brides' reviews here!

Big Star
On sunny weekends, Chicagoans flock to the Wicker Park taco mecca just as wedding guests will flock to Big Star's 'Little Mule' food truck when it rolls into your reception. Might we suggest serving a mix of tacos — pastor, pescado, and hongas — to satisfy carnivores, fish lovers, and vegetarians alike. Read real brides' reviews here!

Stan's Donuts & Coffee
Stan's may trace its roots back to Los Angeles, but since the donut shop opened in Chicago two years ago, we've adopted it as our own. Now with four locations around the city, chances are you and your fiancé have fallen for Stan's as well. Though your traditional great aunt might be confused by the idea of eating donuts at 10 p.m. rather than 10 a.m., one bite of a mini pistachio-glazed donut is all it'll take to win her over.

See More: Dance Off All That Food to the Music of These Top Chicago Wedding Bands

Buddy's Special Events
If there's one delicacy Chicago's most famous for, it's the Chicago-style hot dog. And the Windy City staple makes a light-hearted and playful addition to your big day, putting your hometown pride front and center. Buddy's Special Events serves authentic Vienna beef hot dogs straight from a hot dog cart. All the fixings are available too, but stay true to the Chicago theme and keep ketchup far away. Read real brides' reviews here!

The Slide Ride
When The Slide Ride drives up to your reception, it's pretty much a given that no guest will go home hungry. From brown sugar bacon-topped sliders to a spicy PB&J, out-of-the-ordinary — but no less tasty — combinations are packed into each small sandwich. Not to mention, all the deliciousness is served straight from a cute, retro food truck.

For more Chicago wedding catering options, be sure to browse our local vendors page!

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BRIDES Chicago: Chicago Craft Stores for the DIY Brides

 Chicago, Illinois, Local  Comments Off on BRIDES Chicago: Chicago Craft Stores for the DIY Brides
Nov 052016
 
Wedding-DIY-500.jpg

Photo: SheWanders

Scrolling through Pinterest and Etsy's dreamy pages can become something of addiction for brides with an affection for all things artisan. The colorful totebags. The rustic signs. The monogrammed robes. It's almost too much to take — almost. Why not channel that inspiration into something beautiful you make yourself ? Sure, homemade details can take a little more time and effort but creating a meaningful detail for your big day will almost certainly pay off. Whether you're a crafting pro or a DIY beginner, Chicago has no shortage of shops for you to stock up on the artsy essentials that will take your wedding from pretty to perfectly personal. Below, we've rounded up a few of our favorites.

Genesis Art Supply
In addition to selling supplies from easels to drafting tools, this sprawling, independent Lincoln Park space also offers classes as well as art shows and events where you might be able to get some fun ideas for your project.

Artist & Craftsman Supply
The Chicago location of this small national chain offers everything you need for painting, drawing, crafting, printing or sculpting wedding pieces. You'll also discover unique gifts and novelties, plus a knowledgeable staff who can handle your questions.

CraftFancy
Scrapbooking enthusiasts and other paper-focused crafters will be in heaven at this suburban shop that carries a wide selection of paper, stamps and card kits. There's also a full calendar of classes available.

See More: Don't Want to DIY Your Own Wedding Cake? Leave It to These Expert Chicago Bakers

Lake View Art Supply
This unassuming neighborhood business sells a solid collection of paints, papers, brushes and more. Check out its website for crafting tips and resources on local art classes. Framing and matting services are also a specialty.

Paper Source
Its inventory leans toward the pricey side but this national favorite, which opened its first shop in Chicago more than 30 years ago, is filled with some of the prettiest crafting materials around. Scrounge up some sparkly card stock, pretty make-your-own party supplies and help from workshops and classes, then pick up one-of-a-kind gifts for your bridal party while you're there. Read real brides' reviews here!

For everything else you need to make your big day a dream, be sure to browse our Local Vendors page!

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BRIDES Chicago: 3 Totally Unique Ideas for a Chicago Bachelorette Weekend

 Chicago, Illinois, Local, Showers & Parties, Showers and Parties  Comments Off on BRIDES Chicago: 3 Totally Unique Ideas for a Chicago Bachelorette Weekend
Oct 302016
 
Chicago Bachelorette Party Ideas

Photo: Getty Images

Looking for some cool ideas for your bachelorette party weekend in Chi-Town that are more interesting than the usual spa and club night? Look no further that these unique Chicago bachelorette ideas — we've definitely got you covered.

Idea #1: Around the World Eating Tour
Do you dream of going on an international girl's road trip, but just don't have the time or the budget? Consider doing an Around the World themed bachelorette weekend and take your bridesmaids to some of the coolest international themed restaurants and stores throughout the city.

Drop by Eataly or the Chicago French Market to get a taste of European culture and cuisine, followed by Russian Afternoon High Tea at Russian Tea Time. And then for a change of pace, treat yourself to some pampering with the latest skincare innovations at Choc Choc Cosmetic, Chicago's newest Korean Beauty supply before heading down to the Argyle neighborhood to experience some of Chicago's best Asian street food. Read real brides' reviews here!

Idea #2: Dessert Crawl
Do you and your bridesmaids love all things sweet and sugary, but find yourselves avoiding desserts so you can be in the best shape for the big day? Perhaps a dessert-themed bachelorette weekend might be right up your alley. Leave the Fitbit at home and give into your sweet tooth just for the weekend — nobody needs to know!

Start your weekend right by dropping by Dylan's Candy Bar, where you can find two floors of candy heaven: M&Ms of every color possible, almost every type of candy under the sun, and a cafe with luscious menu option like cookie butter dessert pizza, cheesecake fantasy ice cream sundaes, and chocoholic martinis. Next up, head over to the Chicago classic: Molly's Cupcakes. There's something for everyone, whether you're interested in creating your own cupcake, visiting the Sprinkle Station, or treating yourself to one of Molly's famous center-filled cupcakes, with delicious options like Nutella, peach cobbler, and Creme Brûlée, among many others. Finally, cap off your day with a visit to either Amorino, an authentic traditional Italian gelato shop that serves gelato shaped like a beautiful rose, or to Paciugo Lincoln Square, which has more flavors than you can imagine. Read real brides' reviews here!

See More: Thank Your 'Maids for Coming with Fabulous Favors Made by Local Vendors

Idea #3: Body and Mind Spa Weekend
Are you more interested in doing a fun activity with your bridesmaids than just sitting around at a spa? Why not spend it engaging your Body and Mind by taking a variety of fun classes throughout the city? At the Aloft Loft, you and your friends can explore the aerial and circus arts, from silks and trapeze to acrobatics and tightrope wire. If you'd rather stay on the ground, perhaps consider a group class or two at Pure Barre, which combines the art of ballet with cardio for a fun and challenging workout.

If you're of a more artistic frame of mind, Bottle and Bottega is a great place to have a low-key bachelorette weekend. There are locations throughout Chicagoland, and you can reserve a 2-3 hour block to drink wine and paint the evening away. If you've got a few musicians in your party, a musical workshop at the Old Town School of Folk Music would also be another fun and unique way to spend your special weekend with the girls. Depending on the time of year, there are a wide range of classes — from the roots of Tap to Mexican fiddle to Blues Harmonica and Country Dancing. Read real brides' reviews here!

Need more ideas for where to host your bachelorette bash? Browse our Chicago Venues page to see dozens of party and wedding locales.

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BRIDES Southern California: 5 Shops to Get the Perfect Wedding Tux in Los Angeles

 California, Chicago, Grooms, Local, Los Angeles-Orange County  Comments Off on BRIDES Southern California: 5 Shops to Get the Perfect Wedding Tux in Los Angeles
Oct 282016
 
Best Los Angeles Wedding Tuxedo Shops Local Brides

Photo: The Black Tux

There's no shortage of bridal shops in LA, but when it comes to shopping for a tuxedo, grooms aren't blessed with as many options. Nevertheless, there are a handful of shops in Los Angeles that stock sharp, handsome tuxedos for the big day. From Hugo Boss to Bloomingdale's, here are five shops in LA where every type of groom can find their dream tux.

Mr. Tuxedo
Mr. Tuxedo boasts three collections—platinum, gold, and silver—to fit every wedding budget. Here, you'll find a variety of different tuxedo styles in a range of colors including white, navy blue, black, and dark grey to suit every groom's individual style. Grooms can bring in their groomsmen too to make sure the entire wedding party looks good for the big day. Read real brides' reviews here!

Friar Tux Shop
With numerous locations in Southern California, Friar Tux Shop makes it easy and convenient for grooms to pick out their perfect tux. Grooms can try on tuxes for free and work with an in-house stylist to find the most flattering fit. The shop also stocks a variety of accessories to complete the wedding day look including ties, pocket squares, socks, shoes, and shirts. Be sure to check out their exclusive Michael Kors collection too. Read real brides' reviews here!

See More: When in LA, why not explore beachfront venues? Browse dozens of gorgeous SoCal wedding locales on our L.A. Venues page!

Hugo Boss
Hugo Boss' formalwear collection oozes elegance and sophistication. Stop by the brand's Sunset Boulevard store to peruse their collection of polished tuxedos made from premium wool silk blends. Find everything from classic black tuxedos to non-traditional velvet or metallic sports jackets, as well as all of the accessories needed to complete the look including Italian calfskin dress shoes, brass cufflinks, and luxurious dress shirts.

Bloomingdale's
Just like brides, grooms deserve to look like the best version of themselves on their wedding day and that means wearing the best of the best. To find the best tuxedos in town, grooms can head to Bloomingdale's and explore their stunning collection of tuxedos by top-name brands including Ted Baker, Theory, Ralph Lauren, Canali, Armani, and many more. Read real brides' reviews here!

Burberry
Nothing says modern luxury quite like a Burberry tuxedo. Made from sumptuous fabrics woven in Italy—think cashmere, silk, and mohair—the fashion house's stylish tuxedos boast modern and slim fits to flatter every type of groom. The ultimate Burberry wedding day look includes a striking tuxedo jacket accented with satin notch lapels paired with virgin wool tailored trousers in a relaxed silhouette.

Check Out Other Local Shops and Boutiques to Find Your Perfect Wedding Tuxedo!

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BRIDES Chicago: Wedding Day Transportation for Every Bride’s Taste

 Chicago, Illinois, Local, Planning Tips, Travel  Comments Off on BRIDES Chicago: Wedding Day Transportation for Every Bride’s Taste
Oct 252016
 
Best Wedding Day Transportation for Every Bride

Photo: Cooper Carras

On your wedding day, you'll be floating on a cloud — but how should you plan to actually get around? It all depends on your style. Do you want transportation with a bumping sound system? Something out of a retro movie? Chicago area transportation vendors have got you covered and we've broken down your options for you.

For the couple that's ready to party:

Get things popping as you take pictures or travel from ceremony to reception in a fully-loaded party bus. Exquisite Limo & Party Bus, for instance, offers a fleet of fun-mobiles for up to 30 passengers with features like leather seats, bars, fiber optic lighting and custom sound systems just waiting to blast your Wedding Day playlist.

For the fairytale fans:

There are few things that can make a bride feel more like a princess than having a real life horse-drawn carriage waiting to carry her and her new husband off into the sunset (or, you know, to the reception). If your wedding is outside the city, there are a few places that offer the old fashioned rides. Looking to go full fairytale? Try the Peotone-based Jim & Becky Horse & Carriage Specialists, which offers a Cinderella-style pumpkin carriage for you and your Prince Charming.

See More: Cherish your big day forever with beautiful pictures. Find the perfect local photographer on our Chicago Photography page!

For the old-world charm:

A trolley is good middle ground for couples looking for something more dapper than a shuttle but more low key than a limo. Companies like Trolley Rates Chicago offer the colorful vehicles for transporting your guests from hotel to wedding and back or just to transport your wedding party around.

For the car buffs:

On your wedding day, nobody has to know you drive a '93 Chevy. Borrow a pair of significantly sleeker wheels — a 1954 Bentley Sedan? A 1962 Rolls Royce limousine? --from a company like Classic Wedding Car for you and your fiancé to cruise around town in or take pictures with.

For the traditionalists

You can't go wrong with a classic. Rent a stretch limo or town car from Windy City Limousine or Celeb Lux Limos. Want to take things up a notch? The Hummer H2 from Naperville Limousine seats up to 20.

Browse dozens of other options, from cars to carriages, on our Chicago Transportation page!

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BRIDES Chicago: 5 Fun Wedding Weekend Activities Beyond Brunch for Your Guests

 Chicago, Illinois, Local, Showers & Parties, Showers and Parties  Comments Off on BRIDES Chicago: 5 Fun Wedding Weekend Activities Beyond Brunch for Your Guests
Oct 162016
 

After a night of getting down on the dance floor, a satisfying spread of omelets and pancakes is a logical choice for you and your wedding guests. But that doesn't mean post-wedding activities have to end with the traditional brunch. Especially if your wedding is on a Friday, additional weekend activities are a fun way to make the weekend more like a vacation for out-of-town guests and a fun way to make the most of all the people you love being in one place. Here are a few of our favorite low-key Chicago group outings.

Comedy Show
In a city known for its comedy scene, a matinee comedy show at Second City, iO Chicago, The Laugh Factory or another Chicago standard will give guests a chance to sit back, relax, and let out some serious belly laughs. At Second City, the spot your out-of-town relatives will already know by name, nearby eateries like Old Town Pour House and Orso's offer special dining packages through a partnership with the iconic club for groups of 16 or more and there's in-house catering options too. In Lincoln Park, iO's new facility comes complete with its own event space to rent before or after a performance with a stellar view of the city skyline and capacity for up to 300 guests. Read real brides' reviews here!

Sporting Event
Whether it's a Wrigleyville rooftop, tailgating at Soldier Field or getting hyped for the Bulls starting lineup, Chicago has a lot to offer squads of sports superfans. While this could be the priciest option if you plan to pay for the group, it also may be the liveliest. Check daily deal sites like Groupon or Living Social for rooftop or tailgating package discounts or if snagging actual tickets to the big game isn't an option, pick a neighborhood sports bar that's showing it on the big screen and feel like you're up close to the action while still being able to catch up with your childhood neighbor or college roommates about their favorite part of the wedding.

Lincoln Park Zoo
On a sunny day, a group stroll around this exotic oasis in the heart of the city is a crowd-pleaser for all ages. Visit the snow monkeys lounging in their state-of-the-art hot spring in the Regenstein Macaque Forest, the zoo's newest exhibit, ride the Endangered Species Carousel or take skyline selfies from the pedestrian bridge that looks out over the city. Plus, it's free and within walking distance of a number of bars and restaurants for when your crew gets tired. Read real brides' reviews here!

See More: Impress Your Guests With Wedding Favors From These Local Vendors

WhirlyBall
If you have the energy for it, this playful place combines bumper cars and lacrosse and the sprawling game centers with three Chicagoland locations have plenty of space for lounging, eating and drinking for those who aren't in the mood. Private and semi-private event space is available to rent and you'll find different food and drink packages and additional activities like bowling, rock-climbing and laser tag depending on whether you choose to visit Lombard, Chicago or Vernon Hills. Just watch out when your most competitive bridesmaid gets on the court.

Green City Market
Depending on what time of year you get married, a morning visit to one of Chicago's favorite farmers markets is a cheap, laid-back and sweet way to send off your guests on a fresh note. Fresh croissants from Bennison's Bakery? Jam from Ellis Farms? A Hoosier Mama pie? You never know what you might find at the market and that's what makes it so fun. Once you and your group get your goodies, settle in on a park bench or right on the grass and make sure not to miss the weekly live music, cooking demonstrations and other events. Read real brides' reviews here!

For more places to hold your post-wedding fun (or even your "I do's!"), head to our Chicago Venues page!

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BRIDES Chicago: 5 Unique Welcome Party Venues for Your Wedding Weekend

 Chicago, Illinois, Local, Showers & Parties, Showers and Parties, Wedding Venues  Comments Off on BRIDES Chicago: 5 Unique Welcome Party Venues for Your Wedding Weekend
Oct 122016
 
Seattle Welcome Party Venues

Photo: Courtesy of The Berkshire Room

Rehearsal dinners are generally a more intimate affair, a tradition reserved for the bridal party and close friends and family alone. So how can you make other guests arriving a night early for your celebratory weekend feel included in the pre-wedding festivities? A casual post-rehearsal gathering can really do the trick. Instead of the standard watering hole, consider a location with a little personality — like the five Chicago spots listed below — for this mood-setting meeting. Your guests, out-of-towners and otherwise, will thank you for it.

The Berkshire Room (Above)
Anchoring the trendy ACME boutique hotel, this cozy and chic bar stands out for its drink menu. If your gathering is a relatively small one, the dim ambiance and creative cocktails will win over even the hardest to please of guests. How? In addition to their pre-set drink menu, the Dealer's Choice option allows patrons to design their own swanky sipper based on the flavors and styles they like best with the help of the bar's talented staffers.

The Drifter Chicago Venue

Photo: Courtesy of The Drifter via Facebook

The Drifter
Plenty of places in Chicago try to cash in on the city's sexy prohibition history, but few do it with as much style as this secret speakeasy hiding in the basement of an unassuming sports bar. Steeped in real 1920s history, this tiny retro lounge gets bonus points for special details like a tarot card menu and carnival-like performers. Like Three Dots and a Dash, things get tight here, so renting it out might be wise if you have more than a few guests attending.

Three Dots and a Dash Chicago After-Party Venue

Photo: Courtesy of Three Dots and a Dash via Facebook

Three Dots and a Dash
Stepping into this subterranean cocktail lounge is like hula-ing back in time to a fabulous '60s tiki bar, complete with unforgettable drinks served in everything from a coconut to a retro chalice ringed with seahorses and adorned with tropical blooms. The space can get crowded and there's often a wait, so reserving the bar as a private event may be your best bet.

See More: Arrive in Style with These Chicago Wedding Transportation Options

Headquarters Chicago Venue

Photo: Courtesy of Headquarters

Headquarters
Unlike some other downtown nostalgic arcade-style bars, Headquarters two locations are brimming with old school pinball and video game machines that you can play free of additional charge. Playful without being exhausting, this choice is a memorable one for '80s enthusiasts and craft beer fans alike.

Pinstripes Chicago Welcome Party Venue

Photo: Courtesy of Pinstripes via Facebook

Pinstripes
If you've got a particularly energetic group, this upscale bowling alley and event space rolls the line between playful game night and a posh party. The downtown location also features an impressive patio overlooking the Chicago river. Read real brides' reviews here!

Still not sold on a welcome party venue? We have more to choose from on our Local Vendors page!

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BRIDES Chicago: 4 Vintage Bridal Shops in the Windy City

 Chicago, Illinois, Local, Wedding Dresses  Comments Off on BRIDES Chicago: 4 Vintage Bridal Shops in the Windy City
Oct 012016
 
vintage bridal shops chicago

Photo: Getty Images

Finding the perfect gown to fit the mold of some of the past's finest silhouettes is no easy task. We've gathered a list of some of Chicago's most renowned vintage bridal shops that encompass true elevated elegance, designated for any windy city bride to find the perfect present day gown inspired by the styles of the past. Here are the best vintage bridal shops in Chicago.

1. Silver Moon Vintage
With over 18-years of design experience in helping to create some of the music industry's most influential entertainers' gowns, owner Liz Meyer continues to spread her impeccable eye for design across the racks of this vintage bridal mecca. An endless variety of handcrafted designs blend effortlessly with old-world textiles and modern silhouettes to make this Chicago landmark a perfect resource for romanticism and style. Read real brides' reviews here!

2. Meringue Vintage
With a motto that fittingly focuses on "curated vintage for the modern bride," this Chicago bridal shop houses some of the city's most diverse selection of vintage bridal gowns, headpieces, veils, and accessories. The breathtaking and cozy environment offered by this famed Chicago boutique is perfect for any bride looking to spice up her bridal experience with a one-of-a-kind atmosphere.

See More: Find The Perfect Jewelry to Match Your Vintage Gown On Our Local Vendors Page

3. Veronica Sheaffer
Labeled as one of Chicago's premiere design studios, this house of curated vintage carries everything from custom bridal gowns to heirloom accessories. Having built a nationwide reputation for luxurious dresses that embody classic elegance, owner Veronica Sheaffer is a favorite among Chicago's fashion-forward brides thanks to her self-taught skills in design and dressmaking. Read real brides' reviews here!

4. Mignonette
Not only can every bride find her perfect vintage gown at this upscale Chicago bridal shop, but now she can match with her groom thanks to the vintage suits offered at this formalwear hotspot as well. Devoted to making every bride feel beautiful on her big day, owner Kpoene Kofi-Nicklin devotes her time to finding one-of-a-kind vintage pieces to help connect each modern bride with her perfect vintage past. Read real brides' reviews here!

Need more options to find your dream gown? We have even more wedding dress boutiques on our Local Vendors page!

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