NOT media only, Party Analysis, Weddings

Natalie and Chris’ Chicago Wedding

Our ceremony.In this episode, we talk with Natalie about her beautiful wedding at the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago, IL. While they were planning their wedding, Natalie was finishing her graduate degree in Chicago while Chris was working in New York City. On top of that, they both come from strong but different cultural and familial backgrounds.

Natalie shares how her wedding coordinator saved her sanity and how she and Chris blended their interests and bucked tradition, all while saving money! If you’re planning your wedding while you’re busy in school or at work, listen to Natalie’s advice.

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The Basics
Type of Event: Wedding
How many guests: 165
Event location: Chicago, IL
Date of event: November 2012
Meal Served: Dinner
Caterer: Phil Stefani Signature Events
Baker: First Slice Pie Cafe
Florist: Blumgarten & Co.
Name of Wedding Coordinator: Big City Bride (Claire was our coordinator)
Service style(s): Passed Cocktail Reception, Plated Dinner, Self-service Pie Station
Menu theme: Southern cuisine
The menu:
Passed Appetizers:
-Buffalo Style Catfish Po-Boy
-Kimchi Pancake
-Artichoke and Asparagus Puff
-Blackened Soft Shell Crab Slider
First Course:
-Bread basket of Buttermilk Biscuits, Homemade Cornbread, Hush
Puppies & Johnny Cakes
-Dried Fig Salad
-Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Mac & Cheese, Collard Greens
-Moroccan Grilled Eggplant topped with Zucchini, Red Pepper, Red & Sweet Potatoes,
Lentils, Tomato, Golden Raisins, Couscous & a dash of Harissa
-Pecan Pie, Cherry Pie, Sweet Potato Pie and Apple Pie

Natalie’s Tips & Tricks:

“While we were planning, I was surprised that some people acted as if this was their wedding and not ours! Don’t worry about offending those people. Do what is best for you as a couple!”

“Make sure that you have someone in your corner. Someone who will tell you the truth but will be supportive of your process.”

“Work with professionals who have a good track record! I had a lot of great ideas but I needed people with more experience to draw the ideas out of me and help me to translate my vision to the room.”

After the interview, Natalie and I kept on talking.  Here are highlights of what she had to say:

ACC: Was it important to you that you like your vendors?

NV: Yes, it was. For instance, after we narrowed our list to two caterers with good reputations we chose [Phil] Stefani because I felt really comfortable with the rep. He made me feel at ease.

ACC: You collected second hand vases for your center pieces. What gave you that idea?

NV: I looked at a ton of pictures online of wedding reception flowers. I didn’t like any of the tall, big  center pieces. I liked the shorter, multiple arrangements. My florist suggested that I provide the vases. I specifically looked for vases with smaller mouths in order to cut down on the cost of the flowers.

ACC: Speaking of cutting costs.  What were some of the ways you and Chris cut costs?

NV: We had a healthy budget but I still I looked for savings where ever I could find them. Cutting $500 here and there really added up. We saved money by scaling down the number of bites of appetizers from 4 to 3, including seafood only in the appetizers and not in the entree, by selecting basic linens and folding chairs and not including late night snacks (our dinner was at 5:30 but the reception ran until 10 pm).

In case you want more, here are a few pics from Natalie and Chris’ wedding:

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