Wedding Week: 6 Things I Am So Glad I Did

19 08 2014





1. Address thank-you note envelopes before the wedding. Some people say you have 6 months to send out thank you cards but I like to get them out, wedding or not, as soon as possible. As a giver, I worry someone hasn’t received my gift if I haven’t heard from them and as a receiver, I am just so touched that anyone wanted to mark our celebration with a gift. You know who you are inviting to your wedding and part of what is so time consuming with thank-you’s is the addressing so just do it ahead of time so you can get them out in a timely manner. This way, the only thing you are thinking about post-wedding is filling the note with gratitude for their generosity. And if you don’t receive a gift from a guest, a note thanking them for attending and detailing a special memory from the day is always a lovely gesture.

2. Go with the flow. Here’s the game plan: you wake up unmarried. By end of day, you’re married. If something comes up that doesn’t effect that, it’s all going to be okay. My flower guy called 10 minutes after he was supposed to be there asking if being 20 minutes longer was alright. The only thing that would have happened if I had been all “No! It’s NOT OKAY!” would have been my blood pressure going up and making my mom and bridemaids anxious while we were getting ready. Insert wedding day drama here and if there’s no serious cost to the issue, let it go.

3. Know when to not go with the flow. I was so focused on not being a crazy bride that I took zen to a new level, at least for this total Type A.  My hair stylist for the last four years cancelled 3 days before the wedding. My initial reaction was to agree immediately to an appointment with another stylist. It didn’t feel great, I was making a special trip to the salon to see my girl and now that zero concern about the finished deal was gone but hey, I wanted to be the cool, stress-free bride. Cue Ryan who immediately called BS (he went to her too for his haircuts…not anymore, obviously) and my amazing makeup artist who explained to me that not only was this wildly unprofessional but there was zero need to add stress to my wedding day and not be with my moms and best friends at the hotel. In the end, I got my hair done at the hotel with my favorite people, with zero worry and a ton of fun.  Whatever the situation is, if the cost of going with the flow has adverse effects on your day, even if it’s just prolonged worry, speak up and make a different decision.

3. Incorporate your real life. Yes, a wedding day can be one of the more extravagant events in one’s life but early on, we received some excellent advice: have your wedding invite your guests into your love story, have it reflect the life you share. The first time Ryan told me he loved me was before a Cubs game so when we found out that the Cubs were in town the day before the wedding, we jumped on getting our guests to the game. I buy flowers every week from Mariano’s. I know many people just view it as a grocery store but I love their flowers and how I feel when I am choosing them so I met with their florist…who hit it out of the park for us, created exactly what we wanted and for an incredible price. Our DJ, DJK, is someone I have done events with for work for years and who Ryan and I love running into when we are out. Not only did he kill it at our reception, getting every single guest up breaking a sweat dancing their faces off but I love that our friends and family got to meet him and we got to see him on such a fun day!

4. Speaking of going with vendors you love…go with vendors you love, however unexpected. I was taking a work call from Argo Tea in the Gold Coast when I heard “Radioactive” coming from a bright blue violin. I immediately asked her if she played weddings. I didn’t ask for her website or booking agent, I just talked to her, liked her and invited her to play “Ave Maria” as I walked down the aisle and whatever she wanted during our cocktail hour. She was so lovely that a few months later, I asked if she knew any jazz trios. I signed a contract with the trio she connected me to and I can truly say they made our reception with their insane talent and style. I know there are vendors you should go with, who are big in the wedding industry, and are probably great. And if that feels right, do it. And if you happen to meet someone who can contribute to your wedding who you love who isn’t a who’s who in the wedding industry but you love them…think about it. It could be that special, personal touch that makes your day feel even more like a labor of love.

5. Make a to-do list 10 days before the wedding. After that, you do not add a thing to the list. The week before the wedding, there were a few times when I thought I “needed” something else or just got a little silly questioning if what I was doing was “enough”. By making your final list 10 days before your wedding and sticking to it, you prevent falling prey to the enoughs and made-up needs and driving yourself unnecessarily crazy. Also- send that list to your best friend/mom/organized person in your life who shares your vision for the wedding. They’ll either tell you if you’re crazy (no, you do NOT need another set of personalized cocktail napkins) or if you’re missing something major.

6. Trust your gut: Early on in planning, we knew we wanted an intimate wedding that felt like an extra elegant and extra fun version of the dinner parties we love throwing at our home. For us, that meant keeping our guest list to immediate family and closest friends. For us, this was the right move and allowed us to be fully present with each person at our wedding and do some fun extra events to create a full Chicago experience. We loved the whole weekend, the whole planning process and it was pretty awesome to start our marriage without a single regret.  The same goes with the photographer I met with who wanted me to take a personality profile to be sure the right “vibration” was communicated through my wedding photos. I am sure he was as great as “they” said he was but my gut said no way so I left and now my family is so in love with the photographer we did choose that she may or may not have been invited to Thanksgiving.

Wedding Week Posts & A (bubbly) Guest Book

18 08 2014


When people ask me about our wedding in June, the first thing I say is that we did a kind of different wedding. But then I think about it and I realize that isn’t true. We actually had a really traditional wedding; we got married in a church and had our cocktail hour and reception at a hotel. What I think we identify as different is that when wedding planning, we made decisions that felt good. After years of seeing people so stressed out over their weddings, forcing the things they “should” do, we opted to…not. With the guest list, venue, flowers, weekend activities, music, you name it- we went with what was aligned with our priorities, looked fun, was within our budget and didn’t worry about the rest. While it doesn’t sound like it, it felt radical at the time and it resulted in a wedding weekend we loved. So, no- it wasn’t a really “different” wedding but it was so reflective of us, our friends and family had a blast and every time I think of the year we were engaged or the wedding, my heart just swells. I truly wouldn’t have done a thing differently.

I have gotten some of the sweetest emails from readers asking questions about the wedding so I am going to do a few matrimonial themed posts this week. I think everyone should enjoy their wedding planning process and want to share those things we did that we loved and the things we learned along the way.

First up: guest book.

Read the rest of this entry »

Link Love

17 08 2014


Illumine Magazine co-hosted a yoga class with The Langham on Saturday morning in the plaza on the river- the class was amazing, the view unreal, the morning spectacular. Illumine is an inspiration and resource for yogis, check them out. (The above photo was taken mid-pose during class- a hand selfie, if you will.)

I don’t know about you but my social media feeds have been inundated with people taking the “Cold Water Bucket Challenge” to raise awareness for ALS. The term “put your money where your mouth is” comes to mind and I am so happy to see that the ALS Foundation is raising a ton more money than usual. 1) Donate (ice water or not), 2) read this Today Show post about my amazing friend Rosemary and her family. Inspiring just doesn’t cut it- these people could move mountains.

In other inspiring news, my friend Megan was featured on “I Love You Pink“- I love her answer to the question of what motivates her. Hint: trust your gut.

I have had #5 and #13 on this list of the 36 Best Things to Eat in Chicago in the past 3 days so I am inclined to say this list is legit. Related: how have I never been to Bang Bang Pie?!?

Since our Italian honeymoon, we have been talking and dreaming about our next trip pretty much nonstop. After meeting to most delightful Irishman at a rooftop BBQ yesterday, we think we landed on Ireland. Pubs and cliffs and roadtrips, oh my!

“When someone passes their knowledge to you, it’s an honor.” I loved this article about yoga in the US vs India.

The world lost a giant this week with the passing of Robin Williams. My mom and I loved The Birdcage and quoted “You do an eclectic celebration of dance! You do…Fosse! Fosse! Fosse! Or…Madonna, Madonna, Madonna!” all the time when we were being silly. But this is my favorite scene, “But I bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel…what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and be truly happy.” Prayers to his family and gratitude for his incredible body of work that is for the ages.

16 08 2014


Summer in Chicago. It just doesn’t get any better than this.

Brown Bag Seafood

15 08 2014


Lakeshore East is one of my favorite neighborhoods. Yes, I am biased because we lived there for 2 years but this little hidden gem on Lake Michigan and steps away from Michigan Ave is just the best…and now it has Brown Bag Seafood.

I was starvation city last night after Flywheel but wanted something fresh, healthy, that wasn’t a sit down restaurant but also wasn’t Whole Foods. Brown Bag Seafood fit the bill and then some. I grabbed one of their “brown bags” (piece of paper with all the food options), marked down what kind of fish I wanted and how I wanted it prepared (tacos, salad, sandwich, plain, etc) and obviously checked the box for a glass of wine and a few minutes later…dinner.

After much debate (and the help of the sweet man taking my order), I went for the Power Pack: white fish on top of a red quinoa & wild rice blend atop spinach with lemon and herbs. But with 4 different types of tots, I will be back soon to try those and the fish tacos. And probably a sandwich. Such a fun find, this urban fish shack!



Clever Thank-You

14 08 2014


I received this thank you card from a reader whom I had coffee with several weeks back. Personal branding- subtle, authentic, meaningful. Nailed it!

(And congrats on your new job!)

Midway Morning

12 08 2014


I have primarily been flying out of O’Hare for work the last few months so while this might be old news, I was thrilled this morning to find that Midway now has mobile boarding passes AND Intelligentsia Coffee (that fake Starbucks Potbelly used to sell was gross). Adding to that? A yoga room is going in! Midway, you flirt.

I boarded next to a mom and little girl who was taking her first flight. She was so excited and dying to get a window seat. My mom always made air travel such a big deal and fun thing and now that it’s a part of my job, seeing that little girl reminded me that it is truly a modern miracle- I am sitting in a chair that is going to be in the sky. I get it, little girl in 6A. I get it.


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