It’s no secret that weddings tend to cost a pretty penny, but sometimes couples are blindsided upon seeing the individual cost breakdowns of wedding services. Here are the top three wedding cost shocks and some tips to overcome them.

Photo by Husar Photography. Floral by Petal Play.

Floral. One common wedding decor element comes as no surprise: fresh floral. The price of the floral, however,  is often not anticipated by couples doing their wedding planning; it’s typically much more expensive than they thought. Here’s the secret on how to cut down that cost – think local, seasonal, and be flexible. Here are some examples: 1) clients on a tight budget can incorporate candle-heavy centerpieces on half of the tables, while the other half has complete floral centerpieces. 2) Have low centerpieces (as opposed to the big, tall ones) because they are much more cost-effective. 3) Reduce your bridal party, because personal flowers can be expensive. 4) Be open to substitutions. You don’t have to have peonies. Be open to garden roses instead – these flowers are very comparable and more readily available (which means less money). One big piece of advice we give to our couples – make sure to go with a good florist who is in your budget – DIY floral is definitely something we highly recommend avoiding.

Photo by Studio Starling. Invitations by CW Designs.

Invitations. When you’re mailing over a hundred pieces of finely crafted paper goods, it’s going to get pricey. People often forget that even just the amount of postage can add up to over a hundred dollars. Here are some tricks to cut down your invitation cost: 1) Typically, each additional information card (map & accommodations, RSVPs, other activities…) costs additional money. Consider including your wedding website on your invitation to deliver this information rather than including it on your mailed invitations. 2) Make sure your invitation is a size that can fit in a standard size envelope (or else you’ll have to pay a postage premium). 3) For addressing, cut out calligraphy writing and go with digital printing instead. 3) For RSVPs, go with a postcard (without the envelope) or with a digital RSVP. Don’t forget that your guest count does not equal the amount of invitations you’ll be sending – it’ll be per household instead.

Photo by J. Brown Photography.

Transportation. Providing transportation services for your guests – especially if you have many of them – can be an all-day, unnecessary expense. Think about it – from their hotel, to the ceremony, to the reception, to their hotel again – that’s an entire day of transportation rental. Here are some different ways to cut down on this expense: 1) Choose a hotel near the venue, whether it be the ceremony or the reception venue. We typically recommend getting a hotel near the church or ceremony location, so guests can walk there at their leisure. 2) Only cover transportation from the reception back to the hotel. 3) Consider using the same vehicle to transport the bridal party and guests. 4) Especially if you have a younger and/or local guest list, let them fend for themselves. Uber is great for times like these! 5) Have your ceremony and reception in the same place. 

 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with wedding planning and staying on track with your budget, let us help! We love guiding our clients and helping them achieve their wedding dreams. Email Naturally Yours Events at info@naturallyyoursevents.com today.

A series of fortunate events led Michael and Michelle to one another. They found each other through some common threads, and got together after Michael tried and (luckily) failed to set Michelle up with his friend. They fell in love, and Michael proposed on a bridge near their first date spot in Chicago.

When it came to their wedding day, they knew they wanted to celebrate their love with family and friends in their beloved city of Chicago. First, they had their beautiful ceremony at an incredibly ornate and gorgeous church – St. Michael’s in Old Town. Afterward, they held their reception at A New Leaf in Lincoln Park, a super unique and whimsical flower shop that has a venue attached.

The overall style of their decor was elegant, posh (without being stuffy or overly formal), and glamorous with a touch of whimsy. Greenery and wild flowers within the space set an earthy tone, while the use of orchids provided an upscale feel. The centerpieces seemed wild but also curated.

Michelle and Michael chose to have a cocktail style reception, and incorporated delicious specialty bride and groom cocktails into their bar menu. FIG Catering helped them put together amazing dinner stations: a raw bar, cheese and charcuterie station (a must-have!), and grill station outside. Being proud Italians, having a very Mediterranean-inspired menu was important to them. The food was displayed beautifully with vintage platters and rented marble pieces. Their gorgeous dessert table was put together by Cacao Sweets and Treats– including different delicious cakes and Italian cookies. Together, they cut into their almond wedding cake (an Italian tradition).

One favorite detail was the cigar bar. It consisted of a few vintage, wooden crates stacked upon one another, and featured custom matchboxes and cigar cutters. Guests were able to take a cigar and enjoy on the patio outside.

The dance floor, situated on the upper level, fed into the glam and whimsy of their decor. A beautiful pink sofa and two complimentary seats (provided by Bowery and Bash) sat directly underneath a pink neon sign that read “Love is the Drug”. Illuminating the dance floor, projectors provided by Atmosphere Events Group displayed a cool palm tree pattern.

Take a look at these amazing photos by Mark Federighi Photography and relive Michael and Michelle’s amazing day. Other vendors involved in their wedding celebrations were Andrea C. Pabon, Cage and Aquarium Productions, Odyssey Transportation, Binny’s, Dream Dry, Courtney Allen, and Marshall Pierce & Company.

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When it comes to wedding receptions, there are a few ways to go about serving dinner. Whether you want to get creative with your meal- or want to go the more traditional route- is up to you. Emily Yao of Paramount Events is here to help you decide what type of dinner service you should have at your reception. 

Seated Dinner

A seated dinner is your usual wedding service where all the guests are formally seated and served a pre-plated meal consisting of greens, a protein and sometimes a dessert. Something to consider: How many options do you want to serve?  The most common thing we see are two proteins: a chicken and a beef, or a beef and a fish. A vegetarian is also usually included as an option. You’re definitely not limited to these options as some couples want to serve lamb, pork, or a shellfish. I even had a bride last year serve variations of Paella!

Julia Franzosa Photography

Julia Franzosa Photography

Dinner Stations or Buffets

Dinner stations allow for your guests to be seated formally or informally, and tend to the station at their leisure. This is nice when you want to give your guests many different options for food.  Something to consider: Do you want fun themed stations, or do you like a classic style buffet where the elements of a plated entrée are deconstructed and put onto a station? A themed station could be a Mexican station consisting of tacos and empanadas or a Chicago style station with Chicago Hot Dogs and Italian Beef. A classic style buffet usually consists of two proteins (chicken and a beef, etc), a starch (potatoes, barley, rice, etc), vegetables, a salad, and bread. Remember: you can always ask for variations of stations. Also, keep in mind that this option is usually more expensive since caterer has to bring in 20-30% more food to ensure they don’t run out!

Cocktail Style

Lastly, a cocktail style reception is a casual style of service usually consisting of passed hors d’oeuvres and smaller bite stations. Most of the time, cocktail style receptions don’t have full seating for everyone and work more on a flow basis. Servers will pass appetizers all night while attending to stations that have mini pizzas, mini burgers, and mini fries. Almost anything can be made mini, so don’t be afraid to ask! Are passed hors d’oeuvres your favorite part of a wedding? If yes, then this might be the style of reception for you. 

Abbey Moore Photography

What’s the best choice?

It’s really up to you and your fiancé. If you want more of a party/celebration feel – a cocktail style reception might be best or if you like the traditional plated salad followed by speeches followed by a dinner and more speeches, then a seated dinner might be best for you. Keep in mind, this is your wedding – so plan it how you want. For any wedding, social or catering questions – please reach out to Emily at eyao@paramounteventschicago.com. Happy Planning!

Last winter, we helped our client- Anita- throw the cutest baby shower at the Hotel Chicago. The shower was planned for her daughter-in-law, Heather, who was pregnant with a baby girl. Anita envisioned throwing a sophisticated shower with a more posh-feeling theme – and what’s more posh than shopping in Paris?

Anita made sure to plan a very interactive shower, so not only were there your standard baby shower games (bingo, don’t say “baby”, and a raffle) but there were a couple other super cute activities that stayed perfectly on theme as well. The first unique idea was to have an eco-friendly and all-natural make-your-own-perfume station. Guests grabbed a mini-perfume bottle, and mixed essential oils to create their own scent. Some guests chose from the pre-established perfume menu, which listed the ingredients for scents such as “Montamerte”, “Chateau de Versailles”, and “La Sene”.  The elegant perfume station was done with the help from Jenny of Noktivo (an eco-friendly salon). The second activity, which we think gave the shower the most unique flare, was the “shopping” aspect. Typically when a guest attends a baby shower, they walk away with one little favor. But at this party, guests were encouraged to “shop” at the Parisian boutique! Guests took a pink “shopping bag” and hand-selected their cute, artisan favors: nail polish, lovely soaps and perfume sachets, pashminas, and Eiffel Tower mirrors. Little chandeliers hung above the “shop”, that really set the tone for an upscale shopping experience!

The sweets table was in front of a lovely, red velvet curtain backdrop and displayed adorable “Bebe” balloons. The sweets (which included macarons, other sweets, and cookies by Scafuri Bakery) sat on adorable platters – some in the shape of mini Eiffel Towers. A savory lunch was offered as well – including a beautiful cheese tray, delicious croissant sandwiches, and a refreshing salad (all provided by FIG Catering). The mimosa bar was also a lot of fun – we included some mocktail ingredients for the mom-to-be to enjoy as well. All of the paper goods were designed by Carlene, the lovely event planner, and designed to go perfectly with the theme. Take a look at these amazing photos by Ed & Aileen Photography!


Happy new year, ladies and gents! With every new year comes a clean slate and endless possibilities. Wedding season has not yet begun, but we have a feeling of what 2017 has to offer. Here are some wedding trends that we think will really take off this year.

 

Non-Diamond Engagement Rings

Marilyn Monroe once said “diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, but she was definitely generalizing. Not all girls love diamonds – some prefer sapphires, emeralds, or opals and these make great engagement rings. Non-diamond heirloom pieces are also being repurposed and given as engagement rings. We love this trend, because there are so many beautiful stones to signify love – not just plain old diamonds!

Photo by True Grace Photography

 

Bold Fashion

Fifty years ago, brides didn’t have to think twice about what they were going to wear for their big day. They basically had no other option than to wear a white gown with a veil to match. They didn’t even realize their lack of options – it was just assumed that’s just what brides wore. Luckily, these days (and now more than ever), brides have unlimited options of what they’d like to wear for their wedding. While soft colors like champagne and blush are very popular, bold colors like green, black, maroon and even pink are trending – and we’re so glad they are! This same idea applies to grooms, too. Gone are the days when grooms were implored to wear a tux- now we’re seeing grooms choose bolder patterns and brighter colors. This year, we think more couples will express themselves with their wedding attire by choosing more unconventional wedding outfits.

Photo by Soda Fountain Photography

 

Intimate Weddings

More and more couples are choosing to scale down their guest list, and celebrating their wedding with only their dearest friends and family. This comes as no surprise, considering how pricey large weddings can be. But aside from price, couples are realizing that their wedding day might be more fun and meaningful if only shared with their closest friends. Intimate weddings mean a higher concentration of love! Some couples who have a hard time eliminating people from their guest list even choose to have a destination wedding, so that guests can opt out themselves. It’s brilliant.

Photo by Lamb & Lark Photography

 

Cocktail Style Receptions

Weddings these days are stemming away from your typical timeline: ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, dancing. We’re starting to see more weddings mix the order of events to make them happen simultaneously – and we love it. Cocktail style receptions are fun and energetic, allowing guests to mingle and enjoy themselves in an interactive experience. Instead of guests sitting down for an hour eating their coursed meal, they can eat, drink and chat at their leisure. This style of reception also encourages a more creative food experience. Couples can have fun food stations, focusing on small bites with big flavor. It’s perfect for the foodies.

Photo by Thistle and Twine Atelier

 

Repurposing Decor Elements

Our favorite trend gaining popularity is not only cost-friendly, but also eco-friendly. Couples are becoming more conscious of the amount of waste that is produced in the wedding industry, and are finding ways to reduce it. Why spend a ton of money on ceremony flowers for just forty minutes of use? That’s just silly. More and more, we’re seeing decor elements being used creatively throughout the entire event: like ceremony backdrops becoming the sweets table backdrop, or bridesmaids’ bouquets getting incorporated into the escort card table decor. We love incorporating green strategies into events, so we hope we see lots more of this in 2017. 

Photo by Tuan B & Co

 

There are so many exciting trends that are bound to make the 2017 wedding season great. We’re booking up fast, so contact Naturally Yours Events today to ask about our wedding planning and coordinating services!