Vendor Spotlight: Erin McDonald of Erin McDonald Co

event design


Name:  Erin McDonald Co

Title/Position: Creative Director

Specialty:  Design and décor

CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry? 
E.M.: More than 25 years.

CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence? 
E.M.: EMC designs unique spaces that are influenced by the clients’ desires and direction but finessed by our knowledge and taste.

CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?
E.M.: EMC is a unique company that acts as a creative director with the ability to work with other design houses to team together to make each client experience uniquely theirs.

CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?   
E.M.: EMC always finds a special moment when handing off the clients bouquet to them for the first time.  Their reaction is everything.

CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now? 
E.M.: We are always drawn to classic, whether contemporary or traditional. Classic is always the best.

CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had? 
E.M.: Living in Chicago, one of the most “unique” requests is when a client, who is doing and outdoor wedding or event, wants to hold off on the tent…till the day before.  Or even more brilliant…to take it down the day of.

CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?   
E.M.: Up at 4:30, get to the office by 7, pack the trucks, load into venue by 9am, meet with client for some face time, and then all hell breaks loose.  No kidding, we like to be ahead of schedule most days, as we like to have a cushion for any issues that might occur.  Better safe than sorry.

CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!): 
E.M.: My dog, my family, and my mind.

CHEZ: Name three things people probably don’t know about you: 
E.M.: I was a professional dancer for many years.  I am more of an introvert than most people would think.  I can drive a semi truck.

CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event? 
E.M.: Choose personality first.  Like your vendors and choose them wisely.  Allow your creative partners to do what they are experts at…and RELAX!

CHEZ: What do you love about Chez? 
E.M.: The ability to have a slate that is clean and fresh and a staff that is wiling to allow you to showcase your talents.

Thank you Erin! We can’t see what creativity you bring to Chez in 2017.

Photography by: (L) Avery House, (R) Eric Floberg

Sarah & Konrad’s Elegant Wedding

After saying their vows at Queen of All Saints Basilica in Sauganash, newlyweds Sarah and Konrad stopped at Lurie Garden and the Wrigley Building to capture some urban wedding photographs. From the Wrigley Building, they made the short trip to Chez, where they joined friends and family for their wedding reception. Rectangular dining tables were draped with crisp white linens and lined with Chez’s lucite ghost chairs for an elegant, contemporary design. The creative teams from Art of Imagination and Steve’s Flower Market added the finishing touches to the wedding decor with arrangements of white hydrangea, lilies and roses, dozens of candles, and opaque draping. Guests were treated to specialty cocktails and dinner by Jewell Events Catering before dancing the night away beneath a sea of dramatic over-sized white balloons.
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Photographer: Ed & Aileen Photography | Day of Coordinator: Sarah Madonia | Catering: Jewell Events Catering | Floral: Steve’s Flower Market | Event Design: Art of Imagination | Balloons: Balloons by Tommy |  DJ: Style Matters

Vendor Spotlight: Lindsay Gaeta of Storybook Weddings and Events

Storybook weddings and events

Name: Lindsay Gaeta

Title: Senior Planner and Designer with Storybook Weddings and Events

Specialty: Weddings, Corporate Events, Parties

CHEZ:  How long have you been in the events industry?
L.G.:  Since 2009

CHEZ:  Describe what you/your company does in one sentence?
L.G.:  We create wonderful memories by planning and coordinating weddings and celebrations, so you and your loved ones can enjoy your special time together without any stress.

CHEZ:  What sets you/your company apart from others?
L.G.:  We are very attentive to detail and place high importance on listening to what is a priority to each client.  We also recognize that having patience is pertinent when working in this industry, because with weddings specifically, emotions can be high.

With our wedding couples, we prioritize the engagement period rather than focus on the wedding day alone because we believe that during the couple’s engagement, they begin writing the story that leads up to the beautiful new beginning of their life together.

CHEZ:  What does your typical event day look like?
L.G.:  I typically plan for a 12- hour day, depending on the load-in times for vendors, as well as when the event ends, of course.  Most of our wedding clients decide to book one of our Bridal Attendants to arrive early in the morning, which allows me to be at the venue when vendors arrive to begin setup.  We stay until the event is over, to ensure that everything runs smoothly and to see firsthand that the couple/client is happy.

CHEZ:  What is your most memorable moment from past events?
L.G.:  One of our recent weddings was for a Korean couple, and we had the pleasure of witnessing a traditional Korean Paebek wedding ceremony for the first time.  The couple changed out of their traditional American wedding attire (tux and white wedding dress) and into intricate colorful outfits.  A Master of Ceremonies explained to the audience in both English and Korean the meaning of each component of the ceremony. It was beautiful!

CHEZ:  What is the most unique request a client has ever had?
L.G.: We had a couple fly in their favorite singer all the way from Iceland!  We have live musicians perform all of the time at our events, but that was the furthest that a vendor has traveled for a client!  It was a very special added touch and I’m very thankful that the singer was able to be a part of the couple’s big day.

CHEZ:  What event trends do you love right now?
L.G.: I love the trend of food trucks and late night snacks.  I’m an eater, a stereotypical Italian girl.  Also, after working in Hospitality for over 15 years, I see the tremendous importance of offering food to guests after they have been drinking alcohol.

CHEZ:  Name three things you couldn’t live without.
L.G.: Okay, I am going to go non-sensible here, and not necessarily in this order:  1. All of the Real Housewives TV show series  2. A nice full-bodied Cabernet 2. SNL.

CHEZ:  What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
L.G.:  I end up telling every bride and groom at some point in the planning process this: in regards to whoever it is that is stressing you out with their concerns, please keep in mind that they are concerned and stressing usually because they care and want the event to go off without a hitch.  Most commonly it is the couple’s parents, and mainly Mothers (sorry but it is true!), that are a bundle of nerves compared to the couple who is actually getting married.  They truly have good intentions and don’t mean any harm, despite the fact that they can drive you crazy at times.

CHEZ:  Name three things people probably don’t know about you.
L.G.: 1. I studied Comedic Improv at The Upright Citizens Brigade school for 4 years in NYC; studying and practicing improv is so fun and liberating, I highly recommend it to everyone!  2. I like to oil paint.  3. I was in a Gospel choir in college at Miami University of Ohio, Sister Act-style.

CHEZ:  What do you love most about Chez?
L.G.:  I love fact that you can make your wildest dreams come true at Chez.  And if you prefer things to be simple, that can easily and tastefully done, as well.  Chez is a beautiful blank canvas that you can make your own.  Every now and then it is difficult for some clients to envision things in an empty room right away, but as a planner and designer I see and know that there is a world of endless possibilities at Chez!!

Thank you Linsday! We look forward to many successful events together in 2017.

Photography: (L) Louie A. Weddings, (R) Elizabeth Nord Photography