Laura Witherow Photography

Chicago weather is particularly difficult to predict, therefore, whenever planning events outside we have a "Rain Plan". Usually, this involves something less spectacular than the outdoor option and most clients hope that the weather will hold out. I share the same advice to every client is this situation, "If you accept the rain plan in your heart, it won't happen, but if you refuse to accept it... it probably will happen."

For Allison and Mike, the rain plan wasn't that appealing. We selected Loft Lucia, in the West Loop, for it's beautiful interior, for a cocktail reception style wedding reception, and it's amazing rooftop, for a ceremony. Although we had a Rain Plan, nobody really liked the option of moving inside. Allison and Mike took my advice to heart and went with the flow, as the rain poured down that afternoon. The pictures around town were limited to indoor locations and family formals were captured in the beautifully lit indoor space of Loft Lucia.

I watched the Weather Channel radar ALL DAY and saw that the rain was supposed to stop right around 6:30PM... our ceremony time! We waited patiently and prepared to wipe down all the chairs. At 6:05PM, A Stem Above Florist moved the hexagon altar piece outside and dressed it with greens. At 6:10PM, the caterer, Entertaining Company and my team wiped down the chairs. At 6:30 PM, we sent the bride and groom down the aisle as the sun peaked through the clouds and provided perfect lighting for Laura Witherow Photography to capture the ceremony outside.

Updated: May 3, 2019

I enjoy working with a variety of clients with different backgrounds, values, religions and ages. One type of event that is dear to me is the Second Marriage. Maybe it's because I'm divorced or because I like second chances, but the second marriages are very special.

I think It's really easy to start planning a first marriage. Everyone is so excited about the engagement and the family is putting together their guests lists, before the bride and groom even have a chance to breathe. The second marriage engagement is usually a more quiet situation. Possibly their are family members who feel confused or apprehensive about this new situation. Maybe there are children involved with their own emotions about their parent's taking new steps in life. It takes a lot more confidence and outward pride to throw a big wedding for a second marriage and that's what I generally see in my lovely mature brides and grooms.

Kelly and Mike were a joy to work with and knew that they wanted to celebrate their new marriage with all their loved ones. Like many clients, they were already married. When they came to me, to assist with the wedding plans, they were just trying to navigate how to provide a wonderful experience for the celebration. Part of the devised plan was to include a quick ceremony for friends and family to experience the exchange of vows and the magical experience of two people standing, in front of their loved ones, saying that they are committed to each other.

Gibson's Steakhouse was booked for their April date without pre-consideration of a ceremony to be included, so we came up with a plan as to how to accommodate 100 people for ceremony and reception in the limited space. We draped the entire room, to soften the nautical theme, and to create a barrier between staging and ceremony spaces. We used a Hexagon altarpiece with floral and greenery to highlight the ceremony and sweetheart table. One of my favorite touches were the images of Kelly's Mother and Sister, who had passed away. We nestled them into the hexagon altar piece, whichkept them close to Kelly in ceremony and throughout the evening.

The bride and groom conveniently got ready at The Thompson Hotel across the street from the venue. The hotel was gracious to provide the bride and groom access to their beautiful event spaces for pictures. Amy Aiello Photography captures these beautiful images of this very special wedding day.

Every year, we are handling more and more milestone celebration parties. I love that people are choosing to spend their birthdays and anniversaries with friends and family, rather than fancy vacations and material objects. I think it's a true testament to our changing culture that is valuing experiences and relationships more than objects and materialism. This March, I worked with a great client who embodied that philosophy.

Genevieve Lauren Photography

When Jacqueline first sat down on my office couch and started telling me about herself and what she wanted for her birthday party, I had a venue in mind immediately... Gibson's Italia Rooftop.  Jacqueline wanted a posh location that felt polished, but not fussy.  She wanted her friends to gather to have good drinks, food and some fun music and the venue needed to be cool, but not too hipster.

Although we did look at a few venues, Gibson's Italia Rooftop ended up being the perfect fit.  This space is a private room on the top floor of Gibson's Italia, situated at the split of the Chicago river facing east. It was March, so we didn't open up the retractable roof, but the guests did enjoy the spectacular view of the Chicago skyline and the river.

Jacqueline wanted to keep the theme subtle and sophisticated, so we settled on a rose gold décor theme, based on the invitation design.  The "forty" theme, in rose gold, was added to the custom cookie favors and the cocktail napkins.  The peach and blush roses, were in bronze and gold containers, and we filled the tables with tons of candles.  The custom cake, from West Town Bakery, was an extra tall rose foil cake on a rose gold sequined table.

The guests enjoyed passed hors d'oeuvres, from Gibson's fabulous catering, and an open bar for four hours.  DJ Akib played to the crowd as they mixed, mingled and danced in the cozy lounge highlighted by Blooming Rose light projections.  Good food, good drinks and good friends to make this a 40th celebration to remember.