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

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

Cage & Aquarium

Name: Shelley Anderson and Tyler Huffman of Cage + Aquarium

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.

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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.

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.

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


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