5 Wedding Tips by Top Chicago Wedding Planners and Vendors
Photo from Unsplash
After the engagement highs and a fury of congratulations, there comes a time when reality hits you and the realization of planning your wedding is at hand. Afterall, it is a BIG day, possibly the biggest day of your life. It might have even been a day that you have been dreaming of when you were only 5 years old. Luckily, Chicago is full of wonderful wedding planners and vendors who can help you plan, execute and bring your big day into reality.
If you ever have any doubts of planning your dream wedding in Chicago, you are in the perfect place. In this blog article, you will learn from some of the top wedding pros in Chicago on what to look out for, ways to save money and how to ensure everyone is happy. If you and your spouse work full-time jobs and don’t particularly enjoy planning or if you’re a couple who relishes in the planning process and are particularly resistant to stress, you will find many tips in this article that will help you navigate this new territory.
Have you ever searched for “chicagoland wedding planners”, “wedding planner naperville”, “best wedding planners in chicago” or “top wedding planners chicago”? You are in the perfect place! Let’s begin 🙂
Why Hire a Wedding Planner in Chicago?
No couple absolutely needs a wedding planner. In fact many weddings have been done without hiring a wedding planner at all. However, if you ever spoke to a couple who didn’t work with a wedding planner, especially mid to large size weddings in Chicago, many of them would have hired one if they could do it all over again.
For the 6th year in a row Wedding Planners are ranked fifth most stressful job in the world (according to CareerCast). That is just ranked under firefighter and military personnel. Fueled by the excitement of planning your wedding, many couples don’t realize that there are a lot of wedding pros involved and that means a lot of communication, navigating the boundaries of what can or cannot be done and all the things that can go wrong.
The most important job for a Wedding Planner is to look out for potential disasters and represent your best interest. Here are just a few things benefits to hiring an experienced Wedding Planner in Chicago:
- Getting you wedding industry rates from some of the best wedding vendors in Chicago
- Get you the appropriate licence / permits for your wedding
- Review vendor contracts
- Constant communication with wedding vendors especially when plans change
- Ensure you are working with reputable vendors who will work extra hard for your wedding because your planner has worked with the many times before
- Deal with any errors or mishaps along the way and only alert you when there are multiple solutions on the table
- Keeping you and the vendors on track according to the timeline
- Provide innovative ideas and recommendations within your budget
Hiring a Wedding Planner in Chicago does not mean you are signing away your authority or getting assistance on every detail of your wedding.
There are many ways to work with a Wedding Planner and there are many wedding planning packages available depending on your needs. That means you could outsource some of the planning while tackling the rest!
Both of You Work Full-Time
It doesn’t take long to know that planning a wedding quickly becomes a full-time occupation. Not only will you need to source the right vendor for your vision, it takes time to interview each of your potential vendors to ensure they have a good track record. It only takes one bad vendor to turn a dream wedding into a potential disaster. Having a Wedding Planner represent your best interest will save you and your partner time and you can sleep well at night knowing that your wedding team consists of reputable and experienced vendors.
You have a Set Budget
Being able to balance your budget with your wedding vision is one of the most important jobs of a Wedding Planner. With an experienced Wedding Planner, she/he will have many relationships built with wedding vendors to get you the best price for value. Your Wedding Planner will know exactly who to select and recommend to you while keeping you within your budget.
Maybe you have already booked your venue and time simply flew by when you realized that your wedding date is just 6-9 months away. Or there is a special date in mind that is not too far off. The most productive thing you can do is work with an experienced Wedding Planner. When it’s crunch time, there’s no space to make mistakes.
But the fifth most stressful job in the world might surprise you. That is, unless, you’re an event planner… For the sixth year running, event planning has been ranked as one of the most stressful jobs on Earth. This year, CareerCast has pegged “event coordinator” at #5 on their list of stressful jobs—just slightly less stressful than running into burning buildings.
Destination Wedding in Chicago + Worldwide
Getting hitched a few hours away from home is one thing but going overseas is something entirely different. Destination Weddings can be appealing during covid due to the smaller size of your wedding and more relaxed rules in some countries, but it is also a much more complicated endeavor due to the pandemic. Even without the complications of the pandemic, it would be wise to seek the assistance of a destination wedding planner who specializes in your specific destination to navigate the local regulations, common cultural practices, financial protocols, vendor sourcing and so much more. You definitely don’t want to get into any unpleasant surprises on the day of your wedding.
Wedding Vendor Contracts
Although the contracts that you sign might not be complicated or require a law degree, it would be advantageous to work with an experienced Wedding Planner who knows what to look for and what can be negotiated. Everything would be fine and dandy if everything goes smoothly, but as any wedding pro will tell you, things don’t always go according to plan. Knowing what you are signing for and negotiating the terms when you hire each of your vendors can make all the difference. The average wedding couple hires 14 vendors for their big day (Wedding Wire), that’s a lot of contracts and a lot of negotiating.
Too Many Ideas from Friends and Family
It is not surprising that planning a wedding can impact your relationships with your friends and family.
In some cases, the impact is so enormous that it hurts your relationship with your partner. While the pre-wedding stress is normal, an experienced Wedding Planner will alleviate the stress by listening to you, providing multiple solutions and giving you perspective.
Your Wedding Planner is also there to take care of the small stuff like calling your vendors when they are supposed to show up in 20 mins for setup or reminding your venue about the extra 2 hours you need for your vendors to teardown.
Continue reading to learn about some our favorite wedding vendors in Chicago and valuable tips especially if you just got engaged!
5 Tips by Top Wedding Pros in Chicago
WEDDING CAKES CHICAGO
“It’s important for engaged couples to plan early and do their homework when selecting a vendor for their wedding. We encourage couples to book their wedding cake no less than 3 – 6 months in advance. They should also review examples of the vendor’s work prior to their booking appointment and come prepared to share their own style inspirations!”
Becky Palermo, Owner of Creative Cakes Bakery in Tinley Park, IL
Opened since 1989, Creative Cakes Bakery & Cafe has a long history of designing and crafting some of the most stunning cakes in the Chicagoland area. From weddings to all types of special occasions, Creative Cakes Bakery & Cafe offers a wide range of cake designs and price ranges. We love working with Becky and her team and would definitely recommend her.
Another top destination for wedding cakes is Cake Chicago. Cake Chicago offers custom wedding cakes and wedding favors.
One of the more unique features of Cake Chicago is that they offer to ship your wedding cake tasting to you if you are out of town.
Yes, that is how popular and in demand her cakes are 🙂
Known for their authentic French artisanal desserts and pastries, Vanille Patisserie has been serving decadent desserts and cakes since 2002 with two locations.
Just one step into our stores and you will be surrounded by delicious entremets (mousse cakes), luscious tarts, handmade chocolates and candies, our very popular French Macarons and freshly baked croissants.
Opened since 1994, this European Patisserie & Cafe has been serving up some of the best “made from scratch” breakfast, lunch and sweets in Chicago.
When it comes to cakes, you can find some of the most exquisite six inch cakes in store or wedding cakes by custom order. If you are considering a cake for your wedding (especially a wedding cake in Chicago), you definitely should go in person and speak to Toni directly.
WEDDING CATERERS CHICAGO
Having teams for every type of occasion and event, Food For Thoughts have been catering weddings in Chicago since 1988. They believe catering should be fun and stimulate more than just taste. They are also part of the 1st Chicago Caterer which is an initiative to get rid of single-use plastic straws and the Green Wedding Alliance.
As one of Chicago’s top caterers since 1980, Catered by Design has been catering many spectacular events. From weddings, corporate and social events to picnics and celebrating life’s special moments, Catered by Design never fails to bring your event to life.
Winner of the North Shore Choice Award, WeddingWire Choice Award and certified by Green Restaurant.
Jewell Events Catering was first founded by George in 1967.
After 50 years of catering weddings and events of all sizes, Jewell Events Catering now operates out of a 40,000 square foot facility, with a fleet of vehicles and enough in-house equipment to serve a formal sit down dinner for 2,000 people.
Today they have organized themselves to specific divisions with the mission of serving their clients at the highest order. Those divisions are: Jewell Events, Jewell Weddings, Jewell To Go, Jewell Contract Dining, Jewell Picnics and Jewell Custom Cakes.
WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHER CHICAGO
Clip from Sarah and Andrew’s wedding
“We try to foster an atmosphere for creating relationships with our clients. Your wedding day is a very intimate and special event and getting to know your vendor personally will go a long way. Sometimes it’s as simple as being able to reach your vendor by phone and knowing they are making themselves available to listen to you.”
One of our favorite videographers in Chicago, Last Decade Weddings is a film production house who have done numerous weddings with a good track record. Just look at their Instagram page!
Located in Rockford, Illinois, Oakhouse is a collective of talented filmmakers and videographers who are obsessed with telling great cinematic stories through video. They specialize in capturing the candid, adventurous, fun, creative and intimate moments.
Definitely reach out to them before making up your mind!
“Designate a “go-to” person for questions on the day of the wedding if you don’t have a wedding planner/coordinator.”
Anna, Owner of 312 Film
This husband and wife filmmaking team is based in Chicago and serves the Chicagoland area and beyond. They are totally passionate about their wedding couples and are truly artists when it comes to capturing their wedding client’s special moments. Reliability is a big thing, especially when it comes to your wedding. Don’t miss out on chatting with them to see if they are a good fit.
WEDDING DRESS SHOPS CHICAGO
”looking for vendors and planning their wedding is to be open minded throughout the process! You never know what you might actually love if you’re not thinking outside of the box! ”
An European-style bridal salon since 1970. Known for their couture atelier, exquisite fabrics and collection of bridal, evening wear and custom suiting attire. Currently located in the hub of the Gold Coast’s elite Bridal District, you definitely want to visit this gem of a bridal shop if you’re in Chicago.
You’ll find this stylish bridal shop in Chicago’s Oak St. Fashion District. The are a host of some of the top bridal designers in the world including; Lee Petra Grebenau, Zuhair Murad, Reem Acra, Valentini Spose Italy, Inbal Dror, Romona Keveza, Lela Rose and many more. Their warm and welcoming atmosphere coupled with their superb services has made them a destination you don’t want to miss.
There are brides from around the world who shop here, definitely make an appointment prior to showing up.
WEDDING STATIONARY CHICAGO
“My tip when it comes to choosing the right stationery company is writing down all of the different elements you want to include in your wedding invitations (wax seals, belly bands, envelope liners, pocketfolds, etc.). Then you’ll need to figure out exactly how many invitations you need (think households, not total number of guests). Knowing this and what your budget is will determine the cost per invitation you need to be at. You’ll then be able to splurge or scale back on the special details on the invites based on that number.”
Savannah Whitlock, Owner of Second City Stationery
A graphic designer turned wedding stationery designer, Savannah first got her idea of starting her business in 2013 when she got married. Located in Chicago, Savannah’s mission is to craft stunning stationery to set the tone of your wedding and become a treasured keepsake for your guests.
From weddings to a baby shower, Fiore Press has got it all. Known by the Chicago locals as being detailed and creative, you definitely need to check them out! Everything is customizable and their letterpress technique is a very cool process! Plus Carmela is Italian, like me 🙂
WEDDING VENUES IN CHICAGO
A stunning and sophisticated event space that you won’t see anywhere else! It is designed to be completely customizable specifically to inspire innovative designs. Their professional team along with their state of the art technology will ensure that the execution of your event will be easy, efficient and flawless. You just need to visit the venue to give it justice.
This luxury hotel venue is not to be overlooked. It is especially true when you have guests coming in from out of town. The Langham Chicago has 3 wedding spaces that accommodates 130-260 for a banquet. Luxury is in every detail and service that you receive. Each event space can be customized and event divided as per your needs. With 22ft high ceilings, you can’t go wrong with stunning views of Chicago!
WEDDING DJ + BANDS IN CHICAGO
“Planning a wedding is unfortunately super competitive now, so you need to get the big pieces in place right away, mainly the venue and the band. It can seem daunting, but once you get those locked in, you can take a little time and fill in the blanks for everything else (with a lot less stress!).”
Danny Chaimson, Owner of The Gold Coast All Stars
Hailed as the forefront of high-end entertainers for weddings and live events, The Gold Coast All Stars is a top choice for wedding pros in Chicago and beyond. You can expect a spectacular performance as their standard lineup features 13+ pieces ( including 10 lead singers). Check out their videos on their website as all of them were taken from a live event.
Instagram: @sparkentgroup @djdjones
Known for their client focused and talented driven experience, SEG is one of the most notable Chicago entertainment groups. The vast talent pool of DJs and live musicians have played at global festivals and events.
WEDDING FLORISTS CHICAGO
At the core of Life in Bloom is the husband and wife team who prides themselves on their organic design styles and floral installations. If you are looking for a truly unique design for your wedding day, you better set up a consultation with Life in Bloom right away. They are based in Chicago and are available to travel worldwide. Minimum budget to work with them is $20,000.
A luxury florist and planning group, Christine and Janda works with a limited number of events each year. The design studio is located in Chicago in Goose Island. They have some of the most delighted reviews so if you are looking for the perfect florist for your wedding in Chicago, you definitely should meet with this lovely team.
WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS CHICAGO
From Sarah and Andrew’s wedding
A power duo, Claudia and Chris have been some of the most breathtaking wedding photos in Chicago. Wedding photography starts at $3500 and you can expect a turnaround of about 5 weeks. Check out the abundance of glowing reviews from Chicago brides.
From Megan and Jim’s wedding
Also based in Chicago, Lisa has 3 promises when working with wedding couples. 01, She will be a vested partner along your wedding planning journey. 02, You will be comfortable in front of her camera. 03, Photos that feel just as though you were back in that moment when the photo was taken.
WEDDING DECOR + RENTALS CHICAGO
At Bubbly Events, they seem to be all about making a splash at your event. If you are looking for a backdrop or a champagne bubbly wall, they got it all. The selection of rentals is vast and if you are looking for a few missing gems for your wedding, you definitely need to check out this Chicago rental company!
This is definitely a large rental and decor company located in Crystal Lake, IL. They have everything from glassware, tea cups, china to props, furniture and dessert table displays. Currently they service Greater Chicago, Highland Park, Rockford, Naperville, Winnetka, Plainfield, Lake Geneva and Kenosha and surrounding areas. They simply have everything you need!
Being engaged is a spectacular event, just don’t let it turn into something that is stressful and definitely don’t let it hurt your relationships. Being in the industry for over 10 year, I have witnessed many tragic stories when couples take on the planning all by themselves. Please make sure you do your due diligence and work with wedding pros.
If you are engaged and would like some direction or recommendation, please reach out to us on our contact page!
Our consultations are complimentary so there’s nothing to lose.