Rosa + Fausto: Warehouse: 109

With Cuban and Spanish family ties, Rosa and Fausto's day was inspired by both of those cultural traditions. The happy gathering was hosted at Warehouse: 109 in Plainfield. Beyond Events blew the crowd out of the water with their Spanish-style hors d'oeuvres and paella. Live music was played by Dolce Strings (string quartet) and Carlo Basile (Spanish guitar) and DJ Louie Cue rocked the rest of the evening! Allusion Photography captured the images below.

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Angie + Matt's Wedding: Floating World Gallery

This Labor Day marked the one year anniversary of Angie and Matt, whose wedding took place at Floating World Gallery last summer. Lex of Lex Nelson Photography captured the perfect day. We had many partners who worked to pull the day together, including: Flowers for Dreams (umm... talk about a company that produces beautiful florals AND has a great mission!), Tyler Grey Bartending, MaddieBird Bakery, Taco JointLil Epic Design and DJ Rock My Party.

Angie wrote these kind words about working with Dotted Events, "Hiring Dotted Events was the best thing I did for our wedding. I like to consider myself a pretty organized person and I really thought I could do the whole wedding planning myself. Months in of planning we realized that with the lack of experience I have in the wedding industry we really needed some guidance and knew I needed to work with a coordinator. I interviewed a few different coordinators but once I met with the owner Erin, I knew Dotted Events was it! Erin is extremely kind and listens to you. Day of our wedding my husband and I both could not ask for a better experience because Erin HANDLED ALL OF IT! We had soooo many moving pieces involved on our special day and I did not have to worry about anything. She picked up our cake, floral arrangements, and kept our timeline in check. Hire Dotted Events, you will not regret it." Thanks, Angie!

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Keri + Anthony's Wedding: Loyola University's Palm Court - Part II

This post is a continuation of last week's post. Haven't seen it yet? Click here to see the start of the day! Kevin of This Is Feeling captured the day. DeepEnd Imagery kicks off this blog post with their video coverage of the occasion. The reception was held at Loyola University's stunning Palm Court and catered by Aramark.

Keri and Anthony took pictures around the Loyola campus while their guests enjoyed a cocktail reception with a view of the lake. After joining their guests, they kicked off the dinner with dancing, cake cutting and their bridal party honored them with incredibly touching toasts. It was a beautiful night to remember!

Many thanks to the other amazing partners who made this beautiful day come to life: Bakery: Ferrara Bakery, Florist: Vale of Enna, DJ: Music by Design.

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Keri + Anthony's Wedding: St. Benedict Catholic Church - Part I

Sometimes the photos captured by a wedding photographer can simply take your breath away. That's what happened to me when I viewed the images of Keri and Anthony's gorgeous spring wedding, taken by Kevin of This Is Feeling. I was so captivated by them and had such a hard time choosing my favorites that I am going to split this post into two parts; the reception post will follow next week! 

When I saw Keri and Anthony together, I could see exactly why they were getting married; something about them made me feel like they just "fit" together. Keri is an extremely organized registered nurse who burns the midnight oil on the night shift, and still had enough pep in the mornings after work to meet with me to go through wedding details! What a go getter! Anthony was a bit more laid back and "go with the flow". Perfect compliments to one another.

Anthony and Keri both got ready at the Hampton Inn Loyola Station. They hosted their beautiful ceremony at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Chicago. The couple used Vale of Enna as their floral designer and their printed goods were made by EJD Designs

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The Scoop on the Rehearsal Dinner

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I often get questions about the rehearsal dinner from the couples I work with. Whether you can (or elect to) have an actual ceremony rehearsal or not, a rehearsal dinner is a wonderful way to start the wedding celebrations! The rehearsal dinner is a chance to take a deep breath and enjoy the moment; it should be a stress-free/low-key event. Plus, for those couples with friends and family traveling from afar, it is an added opportunity for you to mingle with some of your guests in a more intimate setting, as it often feels like there is not enough time to spend with everyone on the wedding day itself.

So, then, what are the basics of a typical rehearsal dinner?

Who: Hosts

Traditionally, the groom’s parents hosted (aka paid for) the rehearsal dinner. This is still a common practice but, like many traditions, it has become less strict with time. It’s completely acceptable for the couple, the bride’s parents or another friend or relative to take the lead on the planning of the event, and on covering the bill.

 Who: Guests

There’s no specific rule on who should be invited. Some of my couples choose to only have those participating in the wedding (perhaps the wedding party, readers and parents) attend, while others choose to invite a larger list. For the weddings I have planned, the rehearsal dinner has ranged from 10 to 60 attendees

 When: Timing

A rehearsal dinner is most often held the evening before the wedding so that those traveling for the wedding can attend. However, some venues often require a weekday (Monday-Thursday) rehearsal, since they may be booked for weddings all weekend (Friday-Sunday), so a couple of days before the wedding or the weekend before the wedding works as well. A bit of advice, though: if you host the rehearsal the night before the wedding, it should start earlier in the evening and the bar should close fairly early. It’s good for everyone (especially the bride and groom) to get a good night’s sleep before the wedding day!

 Where: Venue

If you are able to do a ceremony rehearsal at the ceremony venue, I recommend staying on site or selecting a place nearby for the dinner, so guests do not need to travel far. If you plan to do a rehearsal but it is not going to be held at the ceremony site, I recommend finding a venue with enough space to run through the rehearsal at the dinner location. Restaurants, hotels or clubs near where most guests are staying are great options for the rehearsal dinner because things like food, staff and furnishings will already be in place. Another option is to have a relative host a small rehearsal dinner in their home.

 How: Invitations

When you create your guest list, think through who should be invited to the rehearsal dinner. I recommend sending out the rehearsal invitations with the wedding invitations, or just after they go out, so that those out-of-town guests who need to make travel arrangements can plan accordingly.

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2017 RefugeeOne Annual Gala & Late Night Party: Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel

As many of those close to me know, I have been a supporter of RefugeeOne for many years. This year I again served as a member of the gala planning committee. With the bulk of the planning starting about six months prior to the event, it was an honor to be involved in such an extraordinary evening to raise money for an incredible cause.

At this year's April event, we celebrated 35 years of refugee resettlement by RefugeeOne. After a year of welcoming a record number of courageous refugees during the worst refugee crisis of our lifetime, RefugeeOne was humbled and amazed by the unprecedented amount of community support. Due to the generosity of the event sponsors, the 750+ Gala and Late Night Party guests, silent auction and raffle donors, and dozens of event volunteers, the organization raised more than $373,000 at this year's benefit to support refugees building new lives in Chicago!

One of my favorite parts of the evening took place during the program. We had the opportunity to get to know the Mweniake & Mwenembuka family through a video featuring their story, and then they joined us to perform a song. Both videos are below, along with some other pictures from the fantastic evening!

Susan + Rob's Wedding: Warehouse: 109

Susan and Rob are full of charm, so it was suiting that their wedding was full of it too! While there was initially the threat of storms on their special day, it turned out to be a gorgeous summer afternoon and evening.

The occasion kicked off with the two meeting at Eaton Preserve in the early afternoon for their first look. They then headed to Plymouth Congregational Church for the ceremony. After saying "I do", they closed out the evening at one of my favorite venues, Warehouse: 109, which is a unique event space with incredible vignettes, including a gallery of antique motorcycles, a vintage bar, and a 1958 Airstream turned into a lounge. 

Appetizers, pizza and gelato were created and served by Wooden Paddle Pizza, another one of my favorite wedding partners. The guests absolutely loved watching them bake the pizzas in their custom wood-burning stove, and believe me... the pizzas tasted as good as they look in the pictures. Yum! To finish off the celebration, Backthird Entertainment opened up the dance floor with a mix of today's hits and some throw-backs, while Cupcakes for Courage served scrumptious treats from their food truck. Kio Kreations put together the lovely floral arrangements, M&M Special Events provided many of the rentals and Poe Photography captured all of the images for the day!

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Food For Greater Elgin Fundraising Event: The Haight

After six months of planning, Food For Greater Elgin's fourth annual Pallet to Palate fundraising event came to life late this May. This was the first year Dotted Events had an opportunity to work with the organization as the event planner. The event was held at The Haight, which was an amazing venue at which to host the event's 250 participants, a 25% increase in attendance from the previous year's event. We were thrilled that the organization was able to raise 68% more funds at this year's event to help make a difference in the community. 

Having grown up in Elgin and with a strong tie to the community, I had heard great things about the work of Food For Greater Elgin (FFGE) over the years. Founded in 2011,  FFGE is the largest client-choice food pantry in the Elgin area.  It strives to combat food insecurity in the most effective ways, and also addresses the fight against hunger holistically by coordinating weekly client-choice food distributions full of fresh, nutritious foods, offering a Community Resource Center designed to connect individuals to additional resources to help address underlying root causes contributing to food insecurity. and collaborating with other organizations and businesses. FFGE currently provides stability to nearly 6,000 individuals, of whom nearly half are children. What an honor to be invited to be a part of such amazing work!

The evening featured chefs and mixologists from the Elgin-area, each of which provided tastings of their favorite menu items. From BBQ to Italian to Indian to French, there were scrumptious tidbits of all types to try! A bar stocked with wine and craft beer rounded out the menu for the evening. Vendors included: Aliano's Ristorante, Blue Box Cafe, Cafe Roma, Crumpet's Luncheonette, Chic Chef Catering, Delish Cakes, Duke's Catering, Emmett's Brewing Co., Francesca's Campagna, Grand Victoria Casino, Lagunita's Brewing Co., Martini Room and Rosie O'Hare's Public House. 

A new addition to this year's event included a "passport", in which guests visited four interactive stations to learn about the work of FFGE in a fun way, and then were able to turn in the completed passport to have their names entered into a drawing to win prizes. The evening also included a short program, raffle and featured a live jazz band from Backthird Entertainment. Below are some pictures from the evening. The event was captured by James of James Harvey Photography.

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