If you didn’t already know, Naturally Yours Events knows how to put together a great event- and not just weddings! Our very own Carlene Smith, Owner and Lead Planner of NYE, is the mastermind behind Wedtoberfest, a unique wedding show-meets-beer festival hosted in Chicago. Partnering with Indie Wed, Carlene and the NYE team are beyond excited for this year’s Wedtoberfest happening on September 17th. Read the Q&A below to learn more about this awesome wedding show hybrid; Carlene’s ultimate planning project.


What inspired you to create and coordinate this wedding show called Wedtoberfest?

Carlene: In my experience as a wedding planner, I feel like more and more couples are wanting to incorporate local breweries into their wedding bar menu. These couples range from the ones born and raised in Chicago, to even the transplant couples who want to show their out-of-town guests all the delicious beer Chicago has to offer. But with so many options available- where to start? Some craft beers are not for everyone’s palette, and therefore may be tricky to offer in a limited selection at an event. Some are too strong, too hoppy, or too funky in general. So this idea of having a beer tasting event with weddings as the center focus came about. Beyond the beer, the idea was to also get guys involved in the wedding planning process. We really wanted to create a wedding show that guys (and gals) would be excited about attending.


What type of couple is Wedtoberfest desiring to attract?

Carlene: This show is aimed at the couple who wants a low stress, less overwhelming approach to wedding planning. A lot of my couples don’t really like the idea of going to a wedding show, because wedding shows can be extremely overwhelming. Many of the wedding shows are too gaudy and just “too much”- so we wanted to create a show that would just be a fun and relaxed way to get couples out together and plan their wedding. Wedtoberfest lets couples talk to vendors in a low-pressure environment (no hard sells!) while enjoying some good drinks and eats!


Beyond beer, what can couples find at Wedtoberfest?

Carlene: This is technically our third Wedtoberfest that we’ve put together. The first two were planned with the help of the Green Wedding Alliance, and a lot of the focus was highlighting eco-friendly event professionals. That spirit will definitely continue on, but a little bit has changed this year. We are excited to have joined forces with Indie Wed (one of the top alternative wedding shows in the country) to make the show even bigger and more refined than before. Couples can expect to cheers with vendors who match the Indie Wed profile – which is small, independent businesses (with an “independent spirit”) who have an unconventional approach to what they do, and the services they provide.

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How did you choose the space?

Carlene: We chose Studio Manarchy because it has this warm, exploratory vibe that invokes the spirit of casual drinking and having a good time. What’s cool about it is the main point of entry will be the garage where we plan to have food trucks, music, beer, and it will feel more like a beer garden. Couples will move throughout the other two spaces and each room with have its own set of food, beer, and musical acts throughout. Side note: it is rumored that Al Capone used it as a speakeasy and gin mill in the 1920s. How perfect is that?


What has been the most fun and the most challenging part about planning Wedtoberfest?

Carlene: The most fun has been choosing the beer, obviously. And seeing the excitement that everyone has about it. The most challenging has been picking and choosing which vendors that will participate, because unfortunately we can’t choose them all. We will be announcing this year’s vendors and selling tickets REALLY soon, so make sure to stay tuned by following Wedtoberfest on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. See you all on September 17th!