Emma & Tunji’s Wedding

After their first-look on the rooftop of the Ivy Boutique Hotel, Emma and Tunji strolled east along Ontario St to Chez where they said their vows in front of family and friends. Dozens of white calla lillies and candles set the tone for the elegant event. A menu influenced by traditional Nigerian dishes was served by Food For Thought. After dinner, the newlyweds changed into Nigerian dress and danced the traditional money dance. Congratulations Emma and Tunji.bridal style bride getting ready first look chicago wedding chicago wedding Chicago wedding newlyweds candles chez event space calla lilies

Photography: Bob Leavitt, Believe It! |  Catering: Food For Thought | Floral: Amelia Cole Events | Event Design: A Posh Production | Cake: Urban Icing | Music: Oluleke Owojori

Vendor Spotlight: Jeff Durocher of US Poker Casino Parties

poker rentals

Name:  Jeff Durocher

Title/Position:  President/Owner of US Poker & Casino Parties

Specialty: Casino Games

CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry? 
J.D.: In some ways, I was born into the industry.  My parents came out of the carnival business and were owners of food service companies.  I have owned US Poker & Casino Parties for 6 years.

CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence? 
J.D.: We provide premier casino night entertainment to companies and individuals at great venues all over the United States.

CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?   
J.D.: Our customer service, quality equipment and helpful dealers.  Many times we end up taking the Event Planning portion of the event off the clients hands which makes it much easier for them.

CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?   
J.D.: It is always great to see a group of corporate clients high five-ing, yelling and hugging at the craps table.  I LOVE those moments!

CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now? 
J.D.: Entertainment budgets are back and early bookings seem to be making a come back.  Both great trends for us.

CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had?
J.D.: Two things come to mind:  1. We had a client from Ohio, fly 150 employees to Las Vegas for a conference and they wanted us to provide ‘fake’ gaming for them at the Bellagio hotel which, of course, has the live gaming one floor below. 2. The other one was providing our equipment and dealers for a TV shoot.  That was pretty cool.

CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?  
J.D.: We meet at the warehouse around 11am or noon to load the truck.  We get to the facility a few hours before the event to set up.  We like to be set one hour before the guests arrive.  Our dealers show up 30 mins before the guests for a “Dealer Briefing”.  We make sure everyone has a great time at the Blackjack, Roulette, Craps or Poker tables.  We often run the raffle for the client prizes.  Then we tear down immediately after the event.  Head back to the warehouse and unload the truck.  This often takes place after midnight, making for a long day.

CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!):
J.D.: Computer/internet, quality people that we can trust, and repeat clients.

CHEZ: Name three things people probably don’t know about you: 
J.D.: I played Division 1 football, I have 5 children and work is my hobby.

CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
J.D.: Plan everything to be done EARLY.  Never let the ‘go time’ get there before the set up is done.  It puts too much stress on everyone!

CHEZ: What do you love about Chez? 
J.D.: The space is so beautiful and super flexible.  One night could be an amazing wedding and the next a corporate party for 100.  Love. Love. Love the place.

Photography by: (L) Sum Lau, (R) Charlie Simokaitis

Empire Fashion House Scenes

When the production team from Fox’s tv hit show, Empire, visited Chez we were excited to imagine how the space would be transformed by their set design team. Fast forward a few weeks and Chez became the home of fashion label ‘Antony & Cleopatra’ for Empire scenes featuring Taraji P. Henson, Naomi Campbell and other cast members. The all-white space, 17′ tall ceilings, abundant natural light and contemporary glass staircase served as the perfect back drop for their stylish fashion house design. The scenes filmed at Chez were aired on Fox in early 2016.

Naomi Campbell on phone Empire SceneScene from Empire Taraji P Hensonpeople talking scene from EmpireEmpire fashion house in white loftTaraji P Henson Empire sceneperformance Empire scenecrowd gathered for cocktail reception Empire

Image 1 – 2, 5 – 6 courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox. Images 3- 4 and 6 approved by Twentieth Century Fox.

Top 10 Chicago Event Planners To Follow On Instagram

A curated list of Chicago event planners with the most inspiring Instagram accounts. From photos of extravagant events to behind-the-scenes details of event planning action, this group of planners covers it all. Follow this list for the best quality wedding and event inspiration.

place setting gold pineapples flamingoDEBI LILLY
@debililly | 10.5K Followers
A daily dose of the most incredible inspiration from celebrity party planner and author Debi Lilly, this Instagram feed seamlessly places images of floral details and party festivities alongside shots of travel and time with family.

Photography: @debililly


dining table pink floral centerpiecesLK EVENTS
@lkeventschicago | 5.5K Followers
Highlighting the talents of the LK Events team and the fantastic network of vendors they work with, this feed features images of beautiful weddings and events, exquisite florals and smiling newlyweds.

Photography: (l) @lkevents, (r) @gerberandscarpelliweddings via @lkevents


floral chuppah galaPAULETTE WOLF EVENTS
@paulettewolfevents  |  1.4K Followers
Images of large scale events, live performances, and tips on event planning fill the Instagram feed of this national event management and event planning company.

Photography: (l) by @kingensmith via @paulettewolfevents (r) @paulettewolfevents


white chuppa contemporary wedding cakeSQN EVENTS
@sqnevents | 7.6K Followers
Impeccable wedding details, happy newlywed clients, and a few personal posts fill the Instagram feed of SQN owner and event director, Beth Bernstein.

Photography: (l) @maypolestudios via @sqnevents, (r) @erickelley via @sqnevents


floral wall floral decor

@keshevents  |  19.7K Followers
President of Kesh Luxury Group and author of “The Art of Floral and Event Design”, Akeshi Akinseye, fills this Instagram feed with images of opulent florals, destination weddings, and peeks behind-the-scenes at Kesh Luxury Group.

Photography: (l) @carascophoto via @keshevents (r) @folalawal via @keshevents


5 tier wedding cakeLIVEN IT UP EVENTS 
@livenitup  |  4.1K Followers
Towering wedding cakes, rustic and romantic weddings and shots of creative cuisine fill the Instagram feed of Liven It Up Events, offering a look at the incredible work of their talented team of event planners.

Photography: @livenitup


sweeping drapery floral decor

@lolaeventpros  |  3.9K Followers
Wedding inspiration galore! The Instagram feed of LOLA Event Productions inspires with details of glamorous weddings, designer dresses and special wedding day moments.

Photography: (l) @lolaeventpros (r) @genevievelaurenphoto via @loleventpros


suspended floral chair chandeliers black ghost chairsJENNIFER ANDERSON EVENTS
@jaevents  |  3.5K Followers
Offering inspiration for everything from wedding dresses to honeymoon locations, event design and florals, this Instagram feed has a wonderfully curated selection of posts.

Photography: (l) @kingensmith via @jaevents (r) @jaevents


wedding cake with floral decor place seetting

@clementinechicago  |  5.5K followers
Behind-the-scenes shots and details of custom weddings planned by the Clementine Custom Events team make this Instagram feed fun, fresh and filled with inspiration.

Photography: (l) @christytylerphotography via @clementinechicago, (r) @emiliajane_ via @clementinechicago


floral invitation blue pink event decorBLISS WEDDINGS & EVENTS 
@blisschicago  |  6.9K followers
Filled with details of real weddings and colorful florals, the BLISS Weddings & Events Instagram feed demonstrates the team’s talent at creating events that are sophisticated, playful, inspired and cohesive.

Photography: (l) @chrispluslynn via @blisschicago, (r) @lizbanfield via @blisschicago