Vendor Spotlight: Shelley Anderson and Tyler Huffman of Cage + Aquarium

Cage & Aquarium

Name: Shelley Anderson and Tyler Huffman of Cage + Aquarium

Title/Position:
Shelley: Head Photographer and General Manager
Tyler: Head DJ and General Manager

Specialty: Providing turntable style DJs and unique, photo-journalistic style photographers for weddings and events.

CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry?
S.A. & T.H.: Since 2007

CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence?
S.A. & T.H.: We provide a complete experience that captures emotions throughout the wedding day and sets each day to the perfect soundtrack.

CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?
T.H.: Our team includes real DJs with hundreds of hours of training on turntables. Our style of DJing allows us to engage the crowd with old-school style of DJing and make great mixes and seamless transitions between songs. Our clients book either an all digital music service, or they have the option to add in a “wax” element where we bring crates of records and play vinyl throughout the evening.

S.A.: Our photographers capture the whole day from start to finish, so it is a very photo-journalistic style mixed with classic wedding portraits to create a well-rounded gallery for each couple we work with. We have a true passion for covering weddings and I think it shows in our final product.

CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?
S.A. A recent memory came from a wedding that I shot where Tyler DJed. His mixer glitched for just a second and the sound went out…during the dance floor. It was a few moments of silence while Tyler worked to fix the situation. In the meantime the crowd started singing a song that Tyler hadn’t been playing when the sound when out. It was “Party Up (Up in Here).” Tyler got his system up and running and took a few seconds to find “Party Up.” When he dropped that track to bring the music back on the crowd absolutely lost it and started dancing like crazy, break dancing, etc. When you work weddings there is always the stress that something could go wrong, we wedding professionals are only human. Even with years of experience, things happen from time to time. I loved Tyler’s ability to take that moment and use it to pivot the mood in the room to escalate it to the best party those guests had ever been to.

CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now?
S.A. & T.H.: Marriage Equality! Since same sex weddings were made legal we’ve had the opportunity to work with so many more amazing couples, and it makes us happy!

CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had?
S.A. & T.H.: One time we had a groom obsessed with Chicago radio jingles, like the Luna and Empire carpet commercials. He wanted them played at his wedding, so we sprinkled them into the dinner music.

CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?
S.A. & T.H.: We are fully focused on our events and weddings for the day! Our photographers typically start with getting ready photos and cover through dancing at the reception, very often 8-10 hours of shooting. Our DJs meet at the studio to gather their gear and wedding notes before heading to the venue. Between loading gear and event performance time, our DJs consistently put in 12 hour days for a wedding.

CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!)
S.A. & T.H.: Our daughter, Eleanor! S.A.: a camera, T.H.: turntables

CHEZ: Name three things people probably don’t know about you.
S.A. & T.H.: When people find out we are married, they always ask if we met at a wedding, but we actually met many years earlier in college. Tyler was the lead singer of an 80s cover band, and Shelley stopped in to Harpo’s (Columbia, MO) to see the band with her roommate. It was love at first sight and we’ve been together ever since!

S.A.: I have an identical twin sister. She lives in Ft. Collins, CO so people don’t often see her around Chicago.

T.H.: Before I became a DJ I was in live music for most of my life. One of the first bands I was in was a ska band and I still love that music.

CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
S.A. & T.H.: Do your research, but don’t overthink it. If you find a vendor you love and want to work with, go with it and book them! Too many meetings can make the planning process overwhelming and tedious.

CHEZ: What do you love about Chez?
S.A. & T.H.: 
It has a unique, modern and fresh style that you can do almost anything with. It’s the perfect canvas to paint your unique day!

Thank you Shelly and Tyler! We look forward to working with you in 2017.

Photography by: Cage + Aquarium

Vendor Spotlight: Ryan Turner of StemLine Creative

Stemline Creative

Name: Ryan Turner/StemLine Creative

Title/Position: Owner/Creative Director

Specialty: Upscale Floral and Event Design company

CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry?
R.T.: 11 years

CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence?
R.T.: StemLine Creative offers modern and classic styles through flowers, in addition to a vast selection of creative and innovative props perfect for various styles of events and weddings.

CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?
R.T.: Personal vibe for each and every one of our clients, and of course attention to even the smallest details.

CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?
R.T.: Creating an event/wedding from start, to finish. Executing each detail to produce a beautiful, finished product, which results in having very happy clients.

CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now?
R.T.: Bold and vibrant color palates through flowers, designed in a mixed assortment of metallic(gold, copper, silver mercury glass, rose gold) vessels.

CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had?
R.T.: Suspension of a round chuppah from a 30ft high ceiling. We, of course made it happen and it was another example of beautifully executed wedding.

CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?
R.T.:12-14 hours of splendid chaos :)

CHEZ: Name a few things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!)
R.T.: My dog, Allegra, husband Dan, and my sunglasses.

CHEZ: What is something people probably don’t know about you?
R.T.: I’m one of the most open people anyone would ever meet, therefore most all people who know me, knows everything about me.

CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
R.T.: If planning an event with another person (i.e., fiancé, co-worker, colleague, etc.), it very important to hear all opinions and not to take any criticism to heart. And I also always suggest in hiring an event planner/coordinator.

CHEZ: What do you love about Chez?
R.T.: It’s versatility and modern style that can accommodate to ANY event and/or wedding. There are several “loft-type” venues in Chicago, however The Chez is the ONLY venue that offers a pure modern “white/neutral”. And of course the staff is one of the friendliest and most accommodating. We love working here!

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Ryan. We look forward to working with you and the StemLine Creative team in 2017.

Photography by : Cristina G. Photography

 

5 Luxurious Wedding Lounges

Chez’s all-white interior and soaring ceilings make decor and event design possibilities truly endless. Each Chez client has the opportunity to transform the space into their wedding vision, focusing on what is important to them and what they want to impart on their wedding guests.

It has been forecasted as a trend for 2017 weddings to ditch standard furniture pieces and opt for more creative choices that keeps the flow of the wedding day going throughout the entire event. Wedding lounge areas that incorporate plush lounge furniture, coffee tables, and ottomans are a popular wedding trend that can be set up for cocktail hour or the reception. The lounge areas that you create specifically for your big day now becomes the center of focus. Not only will your guests feel relaxed but people will be able to take in the beautiful atmosphere you have created. Here are a few of our favorites. corey_and_steve_145-genevieve-lauren-photography-bloggold-grid-studios-kesh-designs-blogchez-pic-blogseconda108605-blogkellydave-wed-571-christy-tyler-photography-blogPhotography: 1. Genevieve Lauren  Photography | 2. Gold Grid Studios | 3.  Chez | 4. Jeremy Lawson Photography | 5. Christy Tyler Photography

Design: 1: Kehoe Designs | 2. Kesh Designs | 3. Kesh Designs | 4. Kehoe Designs | 5. Exquisite Designs & Clementine Custom Events

Vendor Spotlight: Virginia Kinnard Lionberger of VKL Consulting Group

Name: Virginia Kinnard Lionberger

Title/Position: Principal/Lead Event Consultant of VKL Consulting Group, LLC

Specialty: We specialize in the art and the science of event creation and management (Weddings, Corporate and Not-for-Profit) and we practice our craft with integrity and genuine care for our clients, their guests and their events.

CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry?
V.K.L.: 17+ years

CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence?
V.K.L.: Building on years of event expertise, artistry and sophistication, we custom design extraordinarily creative events, that exceed our clients’ expectations, delight their guests and generate years of lovely memories.

CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?
V.K.L.: It’s got to be the collective experience and reputation we’ve built over the years, in creating and managing events. From weddings to corporate events to non-profit fundraising galas, we have designed and delivered some of the most memorable and sophisticated events in town. We know what works, what wows guests, and what red flags to anticipate to ensure that your event is the best it can be. In addition to our in-depth event consulting capabilities our group consists of the best practitioners for every component of your event to create the perfect team. Our extensive experience, creativity and relationships provide our clients the highest quality and effortlessly sophisticated events.

CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?
V.K.L.: For me, as a professionally trained artist, the most memorable moment is always the same – when my clients come into their venue for the “reveal” before the guests arrive. All of the prep work is done and I can experience the fruition of the thought, effort and process that we experienced together pre-event. When they see and feel the actual masterpiece we created it is completely exhilarating and humbling simultaneously! It’s quite a rush for me. When my clients exclaim, “This would never have happened without you!” I am deeply gratified.

CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now?
V.K.L.: Quite honestly, I don’t follow wedding trends religiously. I would rather we consult together and let my clients pick the trends they like and that’s what we follow. But I do like that engaged couples are less encumbered by wedding tradition and protocol, which sets VKL’s creative juices flowing to perfectly individualize their big day.

CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had?
V.K.L.: We had an amazing couple several years ago that had a doozy of a request! The bride grew up in an agrarian Midwestern state and her family has a long-standing wedding tradition that she wanted to follow. Their tradition is that the oldest unmarried child in the extended family has to dance in a pig trough until it is destroyed. It was her day and her wish so we found a venue in downtown Chicago that allowed us to honor the family tradition.

CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?
V.K.L.: There is no “typical” Corporate or Not-for-Profit event. However, for a wedding, our day goes more or less as follows: We’ll visit the Bride as she’s getting ready to make sure the photographer and videographer are on site. We double check to see if there’s anything the Bride and her Maids need. There’s always something, which is why we never fail to bring an emergency kit. Then, we visit the Groom and his Men where we practically always need to sew on a button or a repair a tie. We’ll leave an associate with the wedding party to make sure they board their ground transportation in a timely fashion.

We arrive at the ceremony site at least an hour before to double-check on the florals, the personals, the music, the programs, etc. Once the wedding party arrives, we distribute the bouquets to the ladies and pin the boutonnières on the men. We get them organized for the processional and send them down the aisle after which we depart for the reception venue. At the reception venue, we double-check the florals, the seating chart, the escort cards, the place settings per table, etc. During the entire event we work closely with the emcee, photographer and videographer (as well as the venue representative and/or caterer). We want to make sure we’re all on the same page time wise, especially for unexpected items that pop up that weren’t included on the detailed time line we had previously distributed.

After cocktails, we gather the wedding party and families for introductions then manage the remaining moving parts: the dances, the cake cutting, toasts, bouquet toss, etc. We ensure that the gifts and cards go to a safe place, distribute tips to the various vendors, and handle any issues that may arise. When I get home in the wee hours I pour myself 2 fingers of brown liquor and reminisce about another fabulous event/wedding that created fabulous memories for our clients.

CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!)
V.K.L.: 1. My family and friends 2. My four legged furry children 3. Events to create.

CHEZ: Name three things people probably don’t know about you.
V.K.L.: 1. I can yodel and speak fluent Italian 2. I love to swim and cross country ski 3. I was a YMCA Camp Director in my very early 20’s and it was a pivotal opportunity replete with lessons and skills that have positively affected my entire life.

CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
V.K.L.: 1. If it’s a wedding, hire a professional planner (not a friend or family member) for either Full Wedding Consultation or, at the very least, “Day of” Management. Your wedding event will be one of the biggest dollar items in which you’ll ever invest and having a professional planner is the cheapest and best insurance you’ll ever buy to ensure a special day. 2. Make sure you and your professional planner are a good “fit”, that you actually “like” them and most importantly that they can translate your dreams into reality. It is not unusual to be working together for 18+ months and, with the right planner, it will be a joyful, fun experience and one to remember.

CHEZ: What do you love about Chez?
V.K.L.: What’s not to love about Chez!!! It is the most exquisite “blank canvas” in which to create any look your clients want in the Chicago area. I love the architectural proportions, the luminous windows and the light they transmit, the floating glass staircase, the glitter, the history, the location, and the “monochromaticness” of the space. Best yet, the staff is FIRST CLASS!!! They care as much about delivering a memorable event for our clients as we do. Chez has it all and I’m so grateful for their offer to spotlight VKL Consulting Group as a Chez Vendor.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Virginia. We’re looking forward to working with you and the team VKL Consulting team very soon.

Photography by: (L) Andre LaCour Photography, (R) Rick Aguilar Studios

Vanessa & Hayden’s Intimate Wedding

On September 24th, 2016 Vanessa and Hayden were joined by friends and family for an intimate wedding ceremony at First United Methodist Church in Evanston. After the ceremony, with the help of Amanda Megan Miller Photography, they captured photos along the lakefront and at several popular locations throughout Chicago.  While the wedding party was taking photos, Christine Janda Design & Events was working hard at Chez to set the tone for the reception. Soft and delicate floral arrangements were combined with cool metallics to create a classic and elegant atmosphere. Vanessa and Hayden made their grand entrance down the glass staircase, and enjoyed their first dance together as a married couple. After enjoying dinner from Food for Thought, guests took to the dance floor to celebrate. Congratulations Vanessa and Hayden!

wedding dresswedding shoeswedding ringswedding invitationbride getting readygroom getting readywedding ceremonylake michigan industrial chicagochicago bridgeescort card tablechandelierswedding reception wedding reception grand entrance first dance wedding photo booth

Photography: Amanda Megan Miller | Wedding Planner & Designer: Christine Janda Design & Events | Catering: Food for Thought | Ceremony Location: First United Methodist Church, Evanston | DJ: Vow Media

 

5 Classic Escort Card Displays

While we see all varieties of customized escort boards and seating charts at Chez weddings, we’ve noticed many couples move in the direction of a more subtle escort card table. In this scenario, the design of the escort table is still fitting with of the overall style of the wedding, but does not steal the show. Check out these elegant options from recent Chez weddings. Note that each incorporates classic tent cards with unique floral arrangements. The all-white brick and sheer drapery at Chez provide the perfect back drop. Simple, elegant, sophisticated.

chp_javiermaryreceptiondetails-2-blog 05783-amy-colin-4nightsblog dsc05168-blog-size ic_gal0865-blog esenam-photography-chez-wedding-69-blog

Photography: 1: Caili Helsper Photography, 2. Colin Lyons Photography, 3. Chez, 4. G Reyes Photography, 5. Esenam Photography

10 Unique Wedding Table Numbers From Real Chez Weddings

1: Hand-painted Watercolor Table Numbers
For the creative, artistic wedding. A hand-painted table number is a great way to add color and personality to your wedding decor.05801-amy-colin-4nights-blog2. Stainless Steel Table Numbers
For the contemporary wedding. These table numbers are like stainless steel sculptures.
allison-williams-blog

3. Printable Table Numbers in Vintage Mirrored Frames
For the opulent wedding. Vintage mirrored frames elevate the classic, printed table number. jlpa106914-710x4734. Barely-There Table Numbers
For the oh-so chic wedding. These white-on-white table numbers disappear into the decor.

View More: http://christytylerphotography.pass.us/kelly-dave

5. Log Slice Table Number
For the woodland-inspired wedding. These table numbers add a touch of whimsy while bringing the outdoors in.

g-reyes-photo-87-blog

6. Colorful Printed Table Numbers in Acrylic Block Frames
For the non-traditional wedding. Use these acrylic block frames to display custom printed table numbers that match your decor or wedding stationary.
inez-saunders-blog-size7. Etched Acrylic Table Numbers
For the glamorous, modern wedding. These acrylic blocks blend beautifully with other decor details.
larson-0879-blog8. Rustic Wood & Metal Table Numbers
For the rustic-chic wedding. These table numbers pair beautifully with farmhouse tables.

caili-helsper-photo-13blog29. Scalloped Edge Table Number
For the classic wedding. Use card holders to place these elegant table numbers alongside centerpieces. ryan-moore-photo-3410. Cities We’ve Visited
For the couple that loves to travel. A truly personal “table number” idea to that can be a conversation starter at the singles table.
Grey and pink wedding decor

Photography credit: 1. Colin Lyons Photography, 2. Allison Williams Photography, 3. Jeremy Lawson Photography, 4. Christy Tyler Photography, 5. G Reyes Photography, 6. Chez, 7. Tim Tab Studios, 8. Caili Helsper Photography, 9. Ryan Moore Photography, 10. David Turner Photo.

 

 

 

 

5 Dessert Trends from Real Chez Weddings

1: Suspended Selection of Petit Fours
A unique way to impress guests. The team from Platinum Events suspended trays of sweet treats from Jordan’s Food of Distinction under the Chez glass staircase.

dessert trends, glass staircase

2. Buffet of Small Bites
The organic floral arrangement surrounded by wooden wine boxes and a traditional cake stand made for an elegant, rustic-chic dessert display for this wedding catered by Calihan Catering. The white-painted brick and sheer drapes at Chez offered the perfect backdrop.
dessert trends, rustic3. Creative Cake Table
The creative team at Bittersweet Pastry Shop created not one, but five wedding cakes for this glamorous Chez wedding. Acrylic block frames listed cake flavors. The illuminated glass staircase at Chez provided a wonderful contrast against the custom linen and textured frosting finishes. dessert trends, glass staircase4. Classic Cheese Bar
A classic touch for those who don’t have a sweet tooth. The catering team from Limelight Catering assembled cheeses, breads, and fruit for guests to enjoy at this summer wedding. Cheeses were identified using mini chalk-board signs.

dessert trends, cheese bar

5. Ombre Cakes & Macarons
A delicate collection of cakes and macarons by Elysia Root Cakes are displayed in unique way. The vintage dresser, stack of designer books, and variety of cake stands brings a personal, residential touch to this statement dessert table.
dessert trends, vintage dresser

 

Photo credit: 1: Kent Drake Photography, 2: Caili Helsper Photography, 3: Tim Tab Studios, 4: Megan Saul Photography, 5: Tuan B
Dessert credit: 1: Jordan’s Food of Distinction, 2: Calihan Catering, 3: Bittersweet Pastry Shop, 4: Limelight Catering, 5: Elysia Root Cakes

Vendor Spotlight: Sharokina Pazand of Citygirl Events

City Girl Events, chicago wedding planner

Name: Sharokina Pazand

Title/Position: Founder & Event Director at Citygirl Weddings & Events

Specialty: Weddings, Corporate, Social, Non-Profit Events, and Marriage Proposals

CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry?
S.P.: I established the company in 2009.

CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence?
S.P.: We are passionate about creating events that encompass the five senses.

CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?
S.P.: We believe that planning and design go hand-in-hand. A well-coordinated event is only amazing if the design – the true feeling of an event – can match in excellence.  We create a complete event environment by using intuitive design to create from within – making each and every event truly a once-in-a-lifetime event.

CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events? 
S.P.: It unexpectedly began to rain about 10 minutes before an outdoor ceremony. This was a beautiful wedding and all of the paper goods and furniture were set outdoors. Our team worked diligently to route the guests early to their cocktail hour while we waited for the rain to settle. We made sure the bride and groom had drinks and food  and the music was playing. We then made sure to reset the outside ceremony and had the bride and groom blissfully on their way to “I Do” in no time!

CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now?
S.P.: Dessert stations instead of traditional wedding cake. Late night bites. Entertainment during dinner. Unique wedding invitations with fun fonts and hand drawn illustrations.

CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had?
S.P.: We had a client that wanted to hire a helicopter and photographer to capture their wedding ceremony that was taking place at the Willis Tower. We coordinated with the helicopter team to ensure we were able to coordinate the start time of the ceremony with the time the helicopter would hover near the window to get the perfect coverage!  We had to make sure to work with the Willis Tower events team to get security clearance. It was pretty cool and the guests were surprised. It was absolutely a memorable wedding!

CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?
S.P.: I start with walking in with my coffee, wedding padfolio, game plan, and my radio and headset and I’m ready for the day! I field up to 10 questions at any given time. I make sure I’m thinking 3-5 steps ahead of everything to make sure my next move is as intentional as possible. Consultant, therapist, cheerleader, life coach, friend, and safety pin guru are just a few of my job titles that day. Making sure everyone is where they need to be ahead of time, have what they need, following/adjusting the timeline and making sure all of the beautiful design is in place are my ultimate goals. From making sure hair and makeup runs on time, transportation arrives, any pivotal moments coordinated, music is playing, cocktails are flowing, and the timeline is being followed – well, it’s just a basic overview of what I do on any given event day.

CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!)
S.P.: Coffee. Netflix. Hot Cheetos.

CHEZ: Name three things people probably don’t know about you.
S.P.: I had my first small business for a short time in grammar school where I’d buy warheads and sell them in the lunchroom. I sang in the choir in high school and college as an alto. English is the third language I learned.

CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
S.P.: Let the professionals know what you love and want to see and leave the rest to them.  You’ve hired the best – now let them show you the possibilities!

CHEZ: What do you love about Chez?
S.P.: I love that it is a clean canvas. Each event there looks completely different – making the event completely customizable.

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

Photography by Jennifer Kathryn Photography

Sarah & Christian’s Romantic October Wedding

On October 15th, 2016 Sarah and Christian were joined by their loved ones for their ceremony and reception at Chez. Their day began at the W Hotel Lakeshore for their first look, and then headed to Lake Michigan with their wedding party and photographer, Louie A Weddings.

Every detail of the day was planned by Linsday Gaeta of Storybook Weddings. While the wedding party took photos, Phil Cooper and the team of Kehoe Designs were putting the final touches on floral arrangements and each romantic detail for the ceremony. The mood for the ceremony was set by Bill Pollack String Quartet. After the ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres by Jewell Events Catering.

Once the ceremony space was flipped for the reception, guests were invited back in to take their seats. Tables were covered with sequined linen and lined with Chez’s mirage ghost chairs creating a charming atmosphere. Kehoe Designs made sure every table was impeccable with elegant floral arrangements set in various gold and glass vessels. The tables were completed with custom escort cards by Minted.

After cutting the cake, the couple and their guests danced and enjoyed music from Style Matters. Congratulations Sarah & Christian!

 

getting readychicago wedding wedding accessorieschicago wedding first look wedding photos wedding photos wedding photos wedding photos escort cards wedding ceremony romantic wedding ceremony romantic cocktail hour romantic wedding reception wedding reception cutting the cake

Photography: Louie A Weddings | Bride’s Dress: Sarah Seven | Maids’ dresses: J. Crew | Groom’s Suit: Mens Warehouse | Groomsmens’ Suits: Mens Warehouse | Planning: Lindsay Gaeta of Storybook Weddings & Events | Floral & Design: Phil Cooper of Kehoe Designs | Caterer & Cake: Jewell Events Catering | Ceremony Music: Bill Pollack String Quartet | Reception Music: Style Matters | Menu & Program: AJ Powills | Escort Cards: Minted