Author Archive | Allie House

Mother’s Day Rustic Brunch

With Father’s Day only a couple of days away, I’m finally gotten around to posting my Mother’s Day celebration!

Before thinking of the design concept I ask my mom if I were going to design a Mother’s Day table for her what colors would she like to see. Her answer, peach and green. That inspiration was enough for me to get going on this wonderfully fun design!

I love the rose gold trend that has been taking place in parties and fashion. To me rose gold is the sparkly shiny big sister to peach. Adding rose gold to the display makes me smile. I chose a rose gold sequin table linen but balanced the overall look with a faux barn wood backdrop, earthy moss lettering and a wood crate and wood tiered tray.

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I made hand cut paper succulents, as well as pre-put together punch out succulents to complete my mom letter focal point. I for one love how they turned out. I wanted to add handmade elements throughout the display but also have a cohesive menu.

My food centerpiece was a strategically stacked tower of donuts. They gave lovely height to my display as well as looking delicious. I added peach roses to accent the tiers to elevate simple glazed donuts even further. Flanking each end of the display was a tower of apple rosettes on one side and an extra large jar of peaches and fresh fruit on the other. Though different in shape, they are similar in size and subject matter helping keep an overall balanced look to the display.

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Now that we had the fruit and sweets portions of the menu checked off we needed some hot and savory items to roundout the brunch foods. Mini cheese quiche tarts filled a small tiered ceramic tray. Then towards the front of the table these trays on their own may seem a bit boring, but when lined with colorful coordinated patterned paper they transform into a fun cheery design element. On one tray were scrumptious Parmesan potato stacks while the other center tray featured mini waffles topped with popcorn chicken bites including a drizzle of syrup to top them off. To dress up the chicken and waffles, and to keep them stacked together and easy to eat, I skewered them with wood toothpicks that I decorated with hand-punched flowers and a single golden gem. On each side of those trays was a refreshing mocktail of raspberry lemonade and peach iced tea. I dubbed it the “Annie Palmer.” I used wood skewers her to add fresh raspberry and peaches to each beverage. Each skewer was then tied with a handmade tassel of peach green and cream thread. (an easy DIY project using only thread and a fork!) To compliment the rustic feel of the table the Annie Palmer’s were served in mini tulip mason jars.

All the moms in the family loved being pampered with such a delight both with style and flavor! The kids may have even loved it a little more!
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How to Make an Easter Party Tablescape

Happy Easter!  I had the fortunate opportunity to celebrate this Easter at my parents home in Indiana.  One of my very favorite things in the world are family get togethers, especially if they are being held in farm country where I grew up. 

One of the things I love about Easter is the expression of Spring it brings forth in its symbolism but also in the decor and colors that are found abound.  I found inspiration in everything from the fresh green grass and Spring tulips to the tradition of the Easter bunny and jelly beans as I was sketching ideas for a festive Easter tablescape to bring a little extra fun to our family celebration. 

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The first thing I did was decide a style for my Easter table.  Was it going to be sleek and modern, childlike and bright, or whimsical and natural?  I knew I wanted this magical, sweet, romantic bunny cake as my centerpiece.  Knowing that, the rest of the choices I made for the table reflects back to the bunny cake.  I had the perfect bakery in mind to capture all the whimsy and sweetness of my rabbit, Mamaw’s Sweet Shop in Lafayette, IN.  They did such an amazing job!  They even had the fantastic idea to layer the cake with chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavors, how pretty!  I placed the cake on our soft pink scalloped edge cake stand and it made the perfect focal point.

The next piece of the puzzle was to add depth and symmetry to the display.  I flanked one side of the bunny cake with our three tier wood and brass tray.  To add a pop of color I used crinkled soft pink Easter grass as a bed for the birds nest treats.  The chocolate nest were made of Fiber One Cereal and mini chocolate malt eggs to create the nest and added a porcelain bird and tin mini birdhouse to complete the look.   
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The other side of the table now needed some height to ensure visual balance.  I added a wood crate topped with a watering can with a lovely arrangement of spring tulips.  The wood and metal mimicked not only the height of our three tiered tray but complimented the materials as well.  

I wanted these elements to have a fun backdrop to showcase them.  I used a 3  foot by 4 foot foam core board and covered it with these awesome tissue paper grass mats I found at a local Chicago party store Doolins.  They were the perfect thing to add whimsy yet stay in the realm of natural with its grassy texture. 

Centered in the middle I cut a vintage style honeycomb tissue egg and topped it with a fun polka dot satin ribbon with spring blue dots matching the color of the eggs.  Then I finished the background with our rustic wood carrot banner. My mom’s home didn’t have a space to place the dessert bar on a blank wall.  So to extend the background and make it more grand I added two bouquets of pearlized pink balloons.  

To fill in the table we needed a few more treats.  I made the cute cake pop garden by adding paper flower collars to pre-made cake pops.  I then cut a rectangle of floral foam about two inches smaller than the acrylic container I was using.  I knew I was going to be using edibles to fill in the garden “dirt” so I wrapped the floral foam in plastic wrap to keep little bits of foam from mixing in with the jelly beans.  Then I pre-poked each hole with a smaller sucker stick to know where I wanted to “plant” the cake pop flowers more easily.  Watching over our delicious garden was the white rabbit figurine with a few carrots to boot. 

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On the other side of the table I added a small tin basket and filled it with bright Easter themed cookies.  Also, on top of our mini bunny cake stand I placed a trio of chocolate rabbits nestled in more Easter grass.  To make them stand tall, I simply melted a little extra chocolate that acted as glue.    

The table was covered in our traditional ivory tablecloth and layered with not one but two handmade banners.  Again Doolin’s came through,  I found dye cut easter eggs and added my own ric rac ribbon.  The final touch was creating the “Happy Easter” banner by  using glue dots to adhere the felt cut out letters to our coordinating polka dot ribbon. 

It was so much fun to create this table!  Come back to our blog soon and you will be sure to find more of these party table inspiration for your own celebration or we are happy to create a custom party table just for you as well! Easter-Tablescape-Bunny-Cake-Wedding-Now-Chicago-Decorating-Ideas_0951 Easter-Tablescape-Bunny-Cake-Wedding-Now-Chicago-Decorating-Ideas_0952 Easter-Tablescape-Bunny-Cake-Wedding-Now-Chicago-Decorating-Ideas_0953 Easter-Tablescape-Bunny-Cake-Wedding-Now-Chicago-Decorating-Ideas_0957 Easter-Tablescape-Bunny-Cake-Wedding-Now-Chicago-Decorating-Ideas_0948

Cake – Mamaw’s Sweet Shop

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A Few of My Favorite Venues

What I love about planning weddings in Chicago are the options! Endless options. I’ve had the pleasure of creating events at fantastic venues both big and small. From expansive halls like Cafe’ Brauer at the Lincoln Park Zoo to intimate dinners at Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush. Here are a couple of my highlights over the years!

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Chicago Cultural Center

There is no comparison to the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall when you are in search of a venue with history, prestige, and jaw dropping beauty. The hall is everything you could want for your wedding day. The natural light flutters in through the Tiffany glass dome that graces the hall ceilings. Archways naturally divide the space allowing the center portion to be the dining area, one end to host a bar, while the other end becomes a lounge that looks out to a breathtaking city skyline.

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Carnivale

With an atmosphere this bright you better be ready to have some fun! Carnivale is a brightly colored restaurant from its exterior to multi colored interior walls. A huge canvas acts as an altar backdrop when hosting ceremonies in the space. The wedding party gets to make a grand entrance down a glass staircase. Then floor to ceiling burst of color will be sure to keep your party upbeat all night, long after the lights go low. The best bonus feature is the scrumptious in-house catering!

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Chicago Rookery

This venue is truly versatile. By day it is home to a number of modern businesses and offices. Come wedding day, it transforms with the help of a little pipe and drape into a grand ballroom. Decor can span from Gatsby era glamour with its gold leaf detailing, to sleek and modern with the use of lucite pillars and sculptural florals marrying with the architecture of the room which was redesigned by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1905 into classic vintage with the historical significance of this Chicago landmark shining through.

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I’ve had the pleasure to coordinate and design weddings at all of the above venues. Each one different and unique just as the couples who celebrated there.

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Pink Bling

It is not everyday that a bride requests all things pink and sparkly! But it’s not everyday that you meet a bride like Dawn. Dawn and Chris have actually been married 25 years to the day when they celebrated their anniversary in style. Dawn and Chris eloped the first time around, but this time Dawn wanted the full shebang!

I had the amazing pleasure of helping Dawn create the vision she had in her mind for her fun, high energy, very pink, and very blinged out wedding day! Dawn and Chris renewed their vows in the Chapel at Dinolfo’s in Homer Glen. The bride searched high and low for her classic strapless satin rhinestone encrusted gown. She accessorized with fabulous pink heels, a rhinestone tiara, and a cascading veil. She looked stunning as she walked down the aisle to meet her groom.

The couple’s sons were also a part of the beautiful ceremony, each pouring sand into a single vase symbolizing the family unity. After the “I Dos”, outstanding photographer Robb Davidson snagged a few shots of the couple and their VIPs before heading inside to get the party started! The ballroom at Dinolfo’s is striking. The guests entered through twin staircases under sparkling chandeliers.

In the center of the dance floor stands the piece de resistance: a stunning three tier cake trimmed with rhinestones and surrounded by custom monogramed and blinged out petit fours created by Amy Beck Cakes.  The bride and groom take their seats at a raised sweetheart table with the same lovely pink backdrop dripping in crystals and pomanders accents that was used as the altar backdrop. Flowers by Steen also created the breathtaking lush centerpieces.  

Because the bride wanted the full bridal experience, they were sure to fit in a bouquet and garter toss. The evening was capped off with delicious late night pizza! I think it is safe to say this bride got her day!

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VENDORS

Venue & Catering: Dinolfo’s | DJ: Okyne Media Lab | Officiant: Pastor Joe | Florist: Flowers by Steen | Photography: Robb Davidson Photography | Videography: Just Hitched | Bakery: Amy Beck Cakes | Makeup/Hair: Appease | Transportation: Classic Wedding Cars | Wedding Now Coordinator: Allie House

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Beyond Glamorous at Galleria Marchetti

Jillian and Gary could not be a more down to earth couple. They like to spend weekends playing vintage video games and hanging out at home. When it came to their wedding day they most definitely kicked it up a notch or two.

Glamour, twinkle, and shine radiated throughout all of the wedding day details. Yet, the day still felt relaxed because Jillian and Gary were still being their authentic selves. Both the ceremony and reception were held at Galleria Marchetti. The iron gate leading into the courtyard greeted guests with a vintage welcome mirror. As they approached their seats for the ceremony they passed by a polaroid photo booth which also acted as a guestbook for the couple. Once guests took their selfies they continued on to where the seating cards were strung in front of the ivy wall. They took their name cards and replaced them with a photo for the couple.

The bride walked down the aisle in a stunning fit and flare gown with a long sleeved lace overlay. She carried a lush romantic bouquet with seeded eucalyptus, dahlias, and roses in shades of blush, ivory and soft pink. She met her groom at the altar under a twinkling chandelier. The chandelier, along with the vintage furniture, only upped the glamour of the night. The chaise lounge was a favorite of the couple as well as guests for photo opportunities.

After the ceremony, the party got started right away with passed pink bubbly. As the guests entered the reception they saw large contemporary chandeliers hanging from the soft fabric draped peaks of the all season pavilion. They were treated with lovely floral details by A Stem Above. Lush garland draped across the head table and gracefully hung down the backdrop framing the wedding party.

The guests’ tables were adorned with wood cut out table numbers bedazzled with glitter. The sparkle continued to the cake table swathed with gold sequins. Even the cake was glamorous with a soft pink ruffled tier and a tier covered with edible sequins!

Being a part of Jillian and Gary’s wedding day was incredible. From helping ensure all of the glamour of the day was showcased to recommending A+ vendors, it was our pleasure!

 

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VENDORS

Venue: Galleria Marchetti | Photographer: Maria Harte Photography | Officiant: Chuck Bono | Rentals: Chicago Vintage Weddings | Transportation: Bus Bank | Florist: A Stem Above | Video: Shutter and Sound | Bakery: Amy Beck Cake, Vanille Patisserie | DJ: Okyne Media Lab | Hairstylist: Christine DeMark | Bride’s Hairstylist: Lindsey Olsen | Makeup: Tamara

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Rustic Romance

Whitney and Tom brought a little bit of country to the country club! Both the bride and groom started the day getting ready at the Eaglewood Resort and Spa. The couple chose not to see each other before they walked down the aisle. This allowed for them to make the most of their fantastic day of transportation, the Barrel Run bus! This unique vehicle really helped set the tone for the day. You know you are going to have a great time when your ride is a gigantic wine barrel!

Once everyone arrives at St. Isidore, the bride is escorted down the aisle in her dazzling lace appliquéd ball gown with a beige sash.  To complete her look, the bride wore cowgirl boots! Complementing the bride’s look were her lovely bridesmaids. They wore one shoulder gowns with a lace bodice overlay and clutched hand tied bouquets of white roses and lamb’s-ear. The bride’s bouquet echoed the bridesmaids dresses deep jewel tone.

After the first kiss, the couple was joined by their wedding party for some scenic shots on the golf course at Eaglewood Resort. Their guests enjoyed cocktail hour on the rooftop before heading down to the reception portion of the evening which was held in the fabric draped pavilion. The guests’ tables were accented with burlap table runners. Centerpieces alternated between small floral wooden flower boxes and tall manzanita branches with hanging candles which were each designed by the talented Abby Flowers.  

Hand painted wood table numbers and sweetheart table sign stating, “you’re my favorite”, continued the rustic style throughout the room. A fun blue mason jar displayed the brides bouquet for the remainder of the evening. Whitney and Tom enjoyed each moment together.

It was our pleasure to ensure that the night was fun, exciting and enjoyable. We are thrilled to be a part of making their wedding day the best day ever!

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VENDORS

Ceremony Venue: St. Isidore | Officiant: Joe Hlubik | Ceremony Music: BSCE | Reception Venue: Eaglewood Resort and Spa | Florist: Abby Flowers | Cake: Oak Mill Bakery | DJ: Dustin Harris | Photo Booth: Timothy Whaley and Associates | Photographer: Jorge Medina Photography | Videographer: Brides Day Video | Lighting: Elegant Lighting | Transportation: Barrel Run, First Student Buses | Hair & Makeup: Pin Me Up Chicago | Wedding Now Coordinator: Allie House

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The Red Lacquer Room

Ever since seeing the Red Lacquer Room, just one of the Palmer House’s majestic ballrooms, a number of years ago while touring venues I have been obsessed! So I was over the moon when Anna and Brian asked me to coordinate their wedding there.

As stunning as these pictures are, you have got to see the Red Lacquer Room in person to behold all of its awe-inspiring beauty. Just as the name suggests, the rooms’ walls are a deep merlot shade of red from floor to ceiling. Gold accents draw your eyes up to the ballroom’s high ceilings which host a number of crystal strewn chandeliers. Each one adorned with ruby red crystal teardrops to tie into the rooms theme.

Anna and Brian kept tradition and the bride and groom did not see each other until she walked down the candlelit aisle. The bride carried a bouquet of solely red roses. Her attendants bouquets were smaller versions of the bride’s only with both red and cream colored roses. These were among the only flowers of the day, less a few boutonnieres and corsages for honored guests.

At the altar the couple stood next to two large wine barrels that displayed the brides’ DIY decor. Anna paid homage to the bygone era of speakeasies and glamour with her arrangements. In addition to anchoring the altar each table at the reception had a personally curated collection of decanters, pearls, and wine corks displayed in vases and stemware.

The wine barrels used during the ceremony were became the couples “guestbook.” After mingling at cocktail hour the guests returned to the ballroom and signed their well wishes directly on them! Anna and Brian plan on uses the barrels as a base for a bar in their home.

Anna and Brian wanted to share with all of their guests some background details on their wedding party to let everyone know how much they mean to them. For each person during the bridal party introductions DJ Peter Merkle of Chicago Wedding DJ’s read short stories the couple had composed about their friends. It was a huge hit. Right before the cake cutting the DJ melding together another story. This time it was the love story of Anna and Brian. This unique detail was prepared with questions and tidbits of information Peter got from an interview with the couple. Their superb cake was designed by Cake Chicago. It was absolutely stunning!

After a night of reminiscing, celebrating, and dancing, Anna and Brian made a grand exit through a human tunnel of family and friends. At the end of the evening each guests left with a either a miniature bottle of wine or bourbon echoing back to the overall theme of the wedding.

It was a great joy to be a part of such a amazing day. I’m so happy we were able to help ensure the success of Anna and Brian’s day by coordinating all aspects from vendor set up to late night bite services for them. It was evident that they were able to have a fantastic time and enjoy each moment without concern.

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VENDORS

Venue: The Palmer House Hilton – Red Lacquer Room | Catering & Rentals: The Palmer House Hilton | Photographer: Michael Paul Photographers | Flowers: Mariano’s | Officiant: Pastor Scott Oberle | Ceremony/Cocktail Music: David Rotchford | Reception Entertainment: Chicago Wedding DJ’s | Cake: Cake Chicago | Hair & Makeup: Paige Balash | Wedding Now Coordinator: Allie House

 

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River Roast Wedding for a Cool Couple

Sarah and Mike have this spark between them that is rare. Each of them radiates energy, joy, and kindness which is only compounded when they are together. Their wedding was exactly that.

Sarah started her day getting in the comfort of her condo surrounded by her family and bridesmaids as well as the couple’s beloved dog, Zoey. On this tremendous occasion, it was a priority for the couple to get a few pics with their pup after they had officially tied the knot.

Sarah and Mike chose to not see each other before walking down the aisle. Old St. Pats set a breathtaking scene with its vaulted sanctuary and gentle glow of the sun streaming through its stained glass windows. The bride carried a lush bouquet of ivory and blush roses. Sarah wore a timeless fit and flare strapless gown with a ruched wrap bodice. Her groom stunned in a great navy tuxedo.

The Bride’s mother actually designed all of the centerpieces for the reception. The tall eiffel tower vases topped with white lily arrangement shined in the industrial chic space of River Roast. The guests enjoyed a lively performance by the Blue Water Kings Band. The groom even jumped on stage with the band for a special serenade to his bride.

One personal touch that was especially fun was Sarah and Mike’s wedding cake. Instead of a traditional tiered confection they had West Town Bakery reproduce the Stanley Cup in cake form. On top a custom cake topper made in the likeness of the couple wearing Chicago Blackhawk Jerseys.

As a wedding planner, it is days like this one that stand out. Helping such a wonderful couple feel like there isn’t a care in the world on their wedding day is our greatest pleasure. We were so fortunate that Sarah and Mike chose Wedding Now and included us in there vendor team for this amazing day.

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VENDORS

Ceremony: Old St.Pats | Reception Venue: River Roast | Photographer: Orange2 | Video: Poetic Productions |Band: Blue Water Kings Band | Florist: Steve’s Flower Market | Bakery: West Town Bakery | Makeup: Blend Beauty Studio | Transportation: Second City Trolley | Photo Booth: Shutterbooth Chicago  | Wedding Now Coordinator: Allie House

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Sophisticated Style

Faith was an important part of Meghan and Tony’s wedding day. After getting ready at the breathtaking historic Palmer House Hotel, the couple saw each other for the first time as the bride walked down the aisle at Queen of Angels Church. She looked striking in her strapless gown, finished with a sparkling sash. The bride carried a stunning deep red bouquet filled with lush roses and calla lilies. Bridesmaids were dressed in matching satin navy dresses which let their red rose bouquets really pop.

When the ceremony ended the couple and their wedding party took off on a classic trolley from Second City Trolley for photos with their wedding party. The bride’s cathedral length veil made for some amazing compositions.

Meghan and Tony hosted a standout celebration at the School of Art Institute Ballroom. The feeling of grandeur was instantaneous as you walked into the room, which was entered from double spiral staircases. With crystal chandeliers, marbled pillars, gold molding, and stained glass two story windows, the ballroom is opulent from floor to ceiling. The guests enjoyed cocktail hour on the wraparound balcony which was perfect for getting a rare birds eye view of the sophisticated table settings and grand dance floor.

The tables were draped in a satin navy linen off set with red napkins for a truly striking look. Lush red rose centerpieces were surrounded by mercury glass votives. Even the gold silverware was coordinated beautifully with the table settings. The expansive dance floor was a classic black and white checkered pattern that by night’s end was filled with guests. Before dancing began, it was the ideal backdrop for Meghan and Tony’s traditional three tiered buttercream wedding cake.

I love how much joy is captured in the faces of the bride and groom in each photo. It was our pleasure to help ensure their wedding day was the amazing sophisticated affair they imagined!

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VENDORS

Venue: School of Art Institute Ballroom | Catering: School of Art Institute | DJ: Toast and Jam | Officiant: Queen of Angels Rev. Monsignor James Kaczorowski | Florist: Roscoe Blooms | Photographer: George Street Photo and Video | Bakery: Dinkels Bakery | Makeup: Appease – Milka | Transportation: Second City Trolley, M&M Limo | Wedding Now Coordinator: Allie House

 

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Backyard Bliss

If you have ever envisioned your wedding day as personal, relaxed, and happy, then you will want to take notes. Liz and Dan were as easy going as a couple gets. Their low key but polished backyard wedding was on point with personalized vows, yard games, and Hoosier Mama Pies.

The day began at the Groom’s family home in Batavia, IL. Liz along with the VIP women of the day took over an upstairs room to get ready. Theodora Bourikas gave the bride her elegant hairstyle as well as the other members of the group. Natural yet professional makeup was precisely applied by the talented Jenessa Blaine. All of the ladies looked lovely.

As the ladies finished putting on their attire, the hustle and bustle of setup began. Blue Peak provided the picture perfect white tent that would house all 130 of the day’s guests. Clean, crisp linen adorned each table. However, the showstopper was the hand made rustic wood planters filled with herbs that the guests could take home and enjoy. They and groom put a lot of love into creating each centerpiece.

The fragrant herb centerpieces complimented the wonderful food catered by My Chef. In lieu of a traditional wedding cake, Liz and Dan choose to provide Hoosier Mama Pies as dessert. The rustic pie bar was a huge hit. Liz and Dan kept their guests cool throughout the evening by setting up ‘misting stations’ where the bride place infused water in fine mist spray bottles. This was particularly helpful for when guests while playing on the backyard regulation bocce ball court, a project that Dan’s parents had the push to get done now with the wedding being held at their home.

Even if guests didn’t win at the yard games they were sure to enjoy the signature cocktails and live music. The bride’s father had once played in Four Man Band and stepped in for a few songs towards the end of the night. For those who didn’t want the party to stop, Spare Wheels transported the group to Gammon Coach House to draw out the night.

I love backyard weddings and as Liz and Dan’s day of coordinator, I was thrilled with all of the romantic and personal details they had put together. Often times backyard weddings come with their own challenges that you typically don’t worry about at more traditional venues. It was our pleasure to ensure the coordination of the layout, timing, and vendor set up all made sense to create a flawless day for the couple.

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VENDORS

Photographer: Shalena Eaton | Band: Four Man Band | Dessert: Hoosier Mama Pie | Officiant: Robert Selden | Transportation: Spare Wheels | Tent: Blue Peak Tent | Hair Stylist: Theodora Bourikas | Makeup Artist: Jenessa Rifkind | Caterer: MyChef Catering | Planner: Allie of Wedding Now

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