Our wedding was fabulous! We were blessed with one of the most beautiful Saturdays we have had in a long time.
Having our ceremony and reception in the city--Chicago, wasn't as cost effective as having it at southwest side Polish hall (which are nice,too,with great food), but logistically with so many out of town guests, this made sense for us. And it was well worth it! Plus it was a little different than the usual my family is accustomed to.
It was nice to have a more laid back affair. We had time for pictures before the ceremony, the ceremony was at 5:30, so we had some time with family and friends beforehand, and the having it at the South Shore Cultural Center was magical! Not in a sappy or Disneyworld sort of way, but just plain giddy magical, if that makes sense.
I didn't have a wedding planner as I'm a planner at heart, plus a bit anal and a DIYer, besides, I rather use that money for something else. But I have to admit that the Wedding Mapper was a great resource to share with our guests, and for me as well. A friend turned me onto it as I was having trouble with another website, and their tech help took FOREVER to get back to a big dummy like me! Allison would get back to me the same day, if not within the hour! I used the floor plan to help with seating arrangements and to locate our vegetarian and kid meals. The offer a service to make a map for your invitations--well worth it, affordable for a custom looking map. We'd highly recommend using it!
PS Can you believe that our picture was taken in Chicago?! It's a the Osaka Garden in Hyde Park that we like to take a walk to and in. This is a Cage & Aquarium photo.
Also, all the restaurants and venues you see are what I was able to have for our hotel/out of towners to use while they were here for the weekend. The vendors I have listed are the ones we had contracted.
Sarah, was a delight to work with! She looked at the various picture I had and that I wanted shades of pink, not fushia. My flowers were white and blush pink with greens, the bridesmaids and groomsmen had a brighter pink, and then the corsages and boutonnieres for parents, uncles and aunts were yet another shade of pink.
The centerpieces were dreamy! Not too formal, but elegant and she was able to do it in a plastic, silver vase that looked like silver! Guests were taking them from other tables!
They were perfect and the price was reasonable!
BTW, there was a snafu with the times as we needed some at the hotel, but there was a two hour lag time for the ceremony/reception. One phone call, less than half an hour later we had our bouquets and boutonnieres! They even called while we were in the limo taking pictures to ensure everything was okay. Nice touch!
We've gotten a lot of feedback on how friendly, nice, unassuming our servers and bartenders were, something people rarely comment on. Again, this is something that the caterer, FFT, arranged.
I lucked out! I saw a dress on some random website one late night. It's the style I usually wear, feel comfortable, and flatters me best. My seamstress was able to make a short party dress with a light pink chiffon skirt, so I could take off the gown part. But you know what, I LOVED that gown! Unbelievable! It fit me like a glove, yes, I know, she pinned while I had it on, but my seamstress, Pani Danusia, is the BEST!!! She had great suggestions, worked with my ideas, or didn't if it didn't flatter me (I'm not a size 6, do I was concerned about looking like Marshmallow Fluff girl). It was amazing! Just a little bling, so comfortable, not heavy at all, and everyone loved it! Best of all, I didn't feel like I was lugging a heavy weight all day long, nor was it difficult to move around in.
She also made the bridesmaids dresses as my two bridesmaids have different body shapes and I wanted silver, not gunmetal, not gray. They were the perfect, flirty, cocktail-y dresses ever! My bridesmaids looked great!
We didn't have a rehersal dinner as we had a small wedding party (five peeps) and so many people coming in from out of town, that it would have been difficult to coordinate, plus I was Martha Stewart on crack, so I was still cranking stuff out until the wee hours--procrastinating DIY girl--big time!
Anyhow, we couldn't afford the Hyatt's breakfast buffet, and some places like Yolk, won't take reservations and are over-hyped. By chance, I called the Emerald Loop as I've been there for after work drinks. Eureka! Breakfast buffet for $10pp and $6 for kids! Omelet stations, various meats, waffles, pancakes, coffee, tea, toast, bagels, croissants, cereal, fruit, yogurt and pastries!
Plus, since were were having over 20 people or so, they reserved the small private dining area for us--PERFECT!
The food was good, the waitresses were very kind and accommodating, and our hotel guests were satisfied!
It worked out great because it was an under ten minute walk from the hotel.
I looked at lots of photographers, some recommended, some found on line. The really good ones, and some of the really not so good ones, start at around $2000+. We knew this was going to be expensive, but photography is one thing, like food and music, we didn't want to be overly frugal on.
We were thinking about C&A for our music, I took a look at their photography.
The main photographer is Shelley, who happens to be the owner with her husband, the dj, Tyler. That's the first good sign.
The second good sign were the photographs. Journalist, some posed like group shots, but a healthy mix.
Third, we meet Shelley, and she is so unlike me, very laid back, but I could tell she was a stickler in what she does.
Fourth, we got a second photographer for the same price others were charging for one! Most others were charging $1000+ for an extra person.
Fifth, the price includes engagement pictures, that you can use for your save the dates.
Do you really need more reasons? We're waiting for our pictures as it takes six weeks,we got married 17 Sept 11, but that's pretty standard. She sent me a couple of photos so that I could use them for our thank you cards, and they are great!
What two great guys! They were like spies, we barely knew that they were there. The biggest plus was they knew exactly what I wanted in regard to a highlight video. I don't want to sit through two hours of even my own wedding!
Compared to some of the other 'wedding' videographers I looked at, they were not nearly as pricey, almost half, and they just don't do wedding (short films, commercials, etc) so they are truly professionals and on their toes.
We don't have the video yet since we're freshly married, but as soon as I do, I'll update my review.
After much comparison shopping, this was the best booth and the best price. Tons of great pictures, I just wish the attendants were a bit more active in getting guests that were walking by to take pictures as not all my guests didn't partake, which I sort of expected at a half Polish wedding, but the guys were Polish, so there was no communication barrier there.
It was a nice set up, the helped the guests with putting the pictures into the album, and your guests can take as many pictures as they want, it's unlimited.
As the bride and groom, you get a flash drive of all the pictures mailed to you home, and your guest can go to their website and order more.
I found these great magnetic frames to use as another favor for our guests and inserted a DIY bookmark to match our invites to remind our guests to take pictures in the booth.
Worth the money, and so much better than a guest book!
They have two big books of cake designs. I came in with a random picture of a pink cake that I saw on some random wedding site.
Can you do that in buttercream and not fondant? I don't like fondant.
Yes, we can. Sold!
Well, that was the first part, the second was the tasting! We chose lemon cake with lemon curd, white chocolate mousse, and raspberry puree--best wedding cake we ever had! And our guests thought so, too, as I heard about it for long after the wedding.
They are a bit pricey, but if you're serving it as your dessert, make it a good one. I ordered small cake boxes for the cakes, as that's a Polish wedding tradition, to take home.
Since we didn't do the traditional Polish wedding at a Polish hall, I was in for a bit of sticker shock. The food and liquor was actually quite reasonable, but it's EVERYTHING else that you have to rent, from flatware to kitchen 'caves', that really threw me for a loop.
Anyhow, that cost is due to the fact we choose a venue that could accommodate a ceremony and wedding in the city, and the only thing they had were the dining room tables and 180 white folding chairs for the ceremony, so we knew we were in for it.
Regardless, I'm still hearing from guests, and one that happens to co-own a family banquet hall, said that was one of the best wedding dinners that they have ever had.
We were picky about the meal as I know what my Polish side likes and expects, and the American side is a little easier to please, so it wasn't so bad, but FFT made it really easy.
I told Kevin, the salesperson/event manager that we worked with, that we wanted soup, salad, chicken/beef entree, and dessert. Couldn't believe the choices he gave us for the tasting! At least six salads, ten chicken dishes or so, and about six different beef dishes, oh, plus five or so vegetarian dishes! Amazing! If we couldn't pick something to please our guests, something was wrong with us. Then again, Kevin really listened to my concerns to satisfy everyone, or as much as I could, and made suggestions here and there along the way--not pushy, but more guidance.
Needless to say, the food was amazing! I haven't heard one complaint yet, and for a Polish wedding, that is AMAZING!
Really like this old, beautiful, grand place. Couple of things, it is a Park District venue, so I had to ask to see if the bathrooms would be attended to during the night, parking is not free, but cheaper to hire two kids to pass out the parking passes from the kiosk than to pay $3300 for parking in back, which cost about $300.
Plus, I had some friends go there during set-up, and they told me that they had to request the widows, the ones at eye level to be cleaned and corners of the floors in the dining room needed to be mopped.
Regardless of these minor things, the Solarium was breathtaking! We had the florist make an 'arch/chupah/canopy', I made rose balls and had big bows for the end chairs, and the background through the windows--AMAZING!
The dining room, as I walked there with our guests from the ceremony, took my breath away. I saw the room several times, empty and with a party set up, but gosh, never though it could look so magical. I'm not a romantic or sappy, but it definitely put a smile on my lips!
Guests are still talking about how beautiful and magical it was.
BTW, the rental fee for SSCC was the lowest for any city venue we checked out, and even though we paid for our guest parking--you don't make Polish guests pay for parking--it was the best value for the buck, especially since we did both ceremony and reception there. It was perfect for us.
Extremely accommodating, flexible, and good value. I was able to get the rooms for $150/night for a double. For Michigan and Wacker that is amazing for September during convention time.
Our out of town guests loved it, and it was convenient for those that flew in earlier to enjoy the city.
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