Chez Vendor Spotlight: Alexandra Jusino of Exquisite Designs

blog-ready-alexandra-jusinoName: Alexandra Jusino

Title/Position: Boss Lady at Exq Designs

Specialty: We specialize in floral and decor for social and corporate events.

CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry?
A.J.: I haven’t thought about this for a while but I left my previous job in November of 2004 to start working in the events industry.

CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence?
A.J.: Our company provides flowers, props, rentals and design services for both corporate and social events in Chicago.

CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?
A.J.: We don’t like to do the same thing all the time. Some floral designers specialize in one style…. we like to do it all and are not afraid to do something completely different. We also custom build, so dream it and we will build it. You want to have a free standing champagne flutes escort card wall greeting your guests as they walk into cocktails… no problem!

CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?
A.J.: We loved working for Create and Cultivate last August. We created a ombre wall of cacti that went 30’ up…. we even had to use a lift to get the cacti all the way up. We also got to work with Lush Cosmetics this summer building a living green wall on their pop up shop in Millennium Park.

CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now?
A.J.: Loving an all green event, using tropicals, bright colors, textures and hexagonal shapes. After a few years of white, and all blush events I speak for many designers we are craving color.

CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had?
A.J.: Less than a month ago we had a client ask us for a white balloon backdrop for their ceremony. It was a tad tricky to keep adding balloons without popping the ones that were already set but we got it done and the client was ecstatic.

CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?
A.J.: We usually start at 9AM (some times earlier!) checking lists, packing items, double checking to make sure that we have everything we need before we head out the door or in case of wedding days to deliver bouquets. We arrive on site and begin setup, wait until the client comes in and we can leave or wait until the ceremony takes place so we can turnover the room. Some setups take longer than others, load ins are not as easy as they sound, but it always gets done and the best feeling is to see your client’s reaction once they arrive to the event. Oh and at 12AM or 1AM we get to go back and clean it all up, load out and back to the studio it all goes. It makes up for a very long day. There is such a thing as an event hangover.

CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!)
A.J.: Besides my wonderful family I’m going to say coffee, concealer and my Converse. In that order!

CHEZ: Tell us something people probably don’t know about you.
A.J.: I used to be a construction engineer in my previous life. My last building that I worked on is 520 North Michigan I can tell you stories about that building.

CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
A.J.: If this person is in the event field my advice is It’s not about you, it’s about your client….. and remember that you are in the business of service. If you are planning an event, hire professionals and let them guide you.

CHEZ: What do you love about Chez?
A.J.: Besides the gorgeous pilkington stairs (that engineer background coming back!) and it’s great location…. Chez is a white canvas, don’t be afraid to go bold with your event colors. The space can take on colors beautifully.

Thanks Alexandra! We can’t wait to see what designs you bring to your next event at Chez.

Photography by Carasco (L), and Christy Tyler Photography (R)

Steve & Cory’s Sophisticated Wedding Celebration

Steve and Cory teamed up with the talented Joshua Jones of Kehoe Designs to bring their unique wedding concept to life at Chez. The grooms wanted to create a fun, non-traditional wedding celebration and Joshua’s design did not disappoint. Sleek, all-white, lounge groupings, illuminated cocktail tables, and an over-sized feasting table created a relaxed layout that allowed guests to mix and mingle throughout the space at ease. Towering étagères decorated with dozens of candles, elaborate floral, and unique decorative elements added a touch of drama to the design. The white brick walls were washed with color, offering the perfect backdrop for the band stage at the south end of the space. Performers from The Party Faithful entertained the crowd all evening long and guests danced on illuminated dance boxes beneath low-hanging chandeliers. Now that does sound like a fun time! Guests were treated to the culinary delights and cocktail-making expertise of the team from Limelight Catering. Congratulations Steve and Cory!

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Photography: Genevieve Lauren Photography | Catering: Limelight Catering | Live Music: The Party Faithful | Event Design & Floral: Kehoe Designs

Winter Wonderland Holiday Event

The team from Kehoe Designs transformed Chez into a sophisticated Winter Wonderland for a luxury holiday event last December.  The all-white lounge area was the focal point of the design. Over-sized foliage towered above the lounge, while dozens of sparkling light fixtures were suspended from the ceiling above. A collection of clear lucite, mirrored, and frosted glass tables fit the frosty, winter wonderland theme so well while pairing perfectly with our lucite ghost chairs.  Kehoe’s floral design placed delicate white orchids alongside an appropriately wintery mix of evergreen and blue thistle.

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Chez Vendor Spotlight: Brent Rolland of Fig Media + Fig Weddings

black and white image of brent rolland dj and drummer fig mediaName: Brent Rolland

Title/Position: Event Producer, DJ Manager, and DJ with Fig Media + figweddings.

Specialty: Fig – DJ, film-making, and photography for weddings, special events. Brent Rolland – Excellent service, crisp audio, super-fun parties, drumming with my DJs, and the best hugs in the industry.

CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry?
B.R.: I have been in the events industry for eleven years. I didn’t know I could count that high!

CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence?
B.R.: Fig Media and figweddings deliver truth, beauty and service beyond expectation with our creative, personable and personalized approach to DJ, film-making and photography.

CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?
B.R.: Fig is a mainstay in the events industry since 1993. We see ourselves as not only a creative event firm, but also as a great “playground” for artists to develop their craft and be successful in the world, which is the vision of our owners, James and Michele Gustin. Additionally, we have a great internship program that trains people to be ready for events in any medium of their choice. We love development, training, changing and updating our systems, and being better than yesterday—all in the name of love and a better experience for our current and future clients.

CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?
B.R.: One word: Rain. Mother Nature’s watery gift to the world has been involved in a few of my events! This month, I was the DJ for a huge outdoor white party in mid-August near Buckingham Fountain. The weather was clear and cool for the whole evening and the chance for rain was 5-10%; twenty minutes before the end of the event, it began to rain. Totally unexpected! I looked a bit ridiculous performing under a wet linen, but I was able to get five more minutes in before we called it a night (and a super-fun night it was!). Another rain story: I did the music/audio for a beautiful wedding on The Crown of the Tribune Tower. Again, the weather was perfect, up until I heard Rev. Tom Perrucci say over the speaker system, “Did you just feel a raindrop?” Ten seconds later, it POURED. Everyone came inside and the ceremony continued smoothly and beautifully. The smiles on the faces of my couple remained throughout. It’s a blessing and a lesson to be in good faith and make things as awesome as possible in the midst of things outside of human control.

CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now?
B.R.: I love our DJ/drummer combination—the synergy of live music and recorded music is a beautiful thing. I’m a self-taught drummer and enjoy the opportunity to bring a “best of both worlds approach” to event entertainment.

CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had?
B.R.: Lauren remembers this one—I was asked to cosplay (short for “costume play,” or dressing up as a character or figure in pop culture) for a nerd-themed wedding at Cataylst Ranch. I cosplayed Aang from Nickelodeon’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” I couldn’t be happier to get out of a suit for one night and take part in my client’s vision, as well as do something I enjoy!

CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?
B.R.: Since we do events throughout the week, every day is different! In addition to being an artist, I produce events (i.e. sell!), handle the contracts, our calendar, our DJ equipment, and management of the DJ team. I have mandatory sales/team training meetings on Mondays and Wednesdays, and I meet with my DJ team every two weeks. On event days, I prepare my gear/music/notes early, arrive at the venue at least two hours in advance for setup and sound check, and throw the best event I can throw.

CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!)
B.R.: God, music, and family.

CHEZ: List three things people probably don’t know about you. 
B.R.: 1. I’m a Weight Watchers alumni! I was with the program for about three years and lost sixty—yes, sixty—pounds. I’m maintaining keeping off the poundage, which is extremely difficult in the indulgent lifestyle that is the event industry, haha. 2. I’m a huge game show fan and I develop, host and produce shows for anime/comic conventions. 3. I’ve never traveled outside of the United States…yet!

CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
B.R.: I love this question! First and foremost, BE YOURSELF! Personalize your event that breathes who you are, what you love, and what you stand for. Secondly, hire vendors that “get” you and that you feel comfortable with. You’ll have much more trust and less stress on the day of, and the relationship will be more of a friendship than a labeled “client and vendor” relationship. Thirdly, and I agree with my friend Elizabeth Nord (hi!) on this—definitely consider hiring a great planner for your event—facilitation is an art in itself, and it is crucial to have someone overseeing the vision and team. Finally, be sure to work in a “thank you” into your event that honors your guests and all those who made your event happen—including your event team. We selflessly give our time, resources, energy, and weekends to make visions happen, our clients thrilled, and events amazing. Receiving the love back is the least we could ask for, and it’s what I yearn for as a performer and human being.

CHEZ: What do you love about Chez?
B.R.: Lauren, Louise and Kristie! Seriously, it’s the people that make any environment, and this talented trio is amazing at what they do and create a warm, wonderful space with their presence and hospitality. I also love how much history Chez carries within its stunning white walls, from its roots as a bakery-slash-speakeasy-slash-nightclub to its connections with Sinatra and Bauhaus. It is always a pleasure.

Thanks Brent! We look forward to having your enthusiasm and energetic beats at Chez again very soon.

Photography by James Gustin of figmediainc

Kelly & Dave’s Modern Monochromatic Wedding

With the guiding hand of Jaci Weber of Clementine Custom Events, Kelly and Dave dreamed up an elegant monochromatic design for their May wedding at Chez. The all-white interior of Chez was the perfect canvas for their vision. Crisp white linens and Chez’s lucite ghost chairs provided a neutral foundation for the monochromatic design. Arrangements of white hydrangeas, orchids, and roses lined the rectangular dining tables, while round tables received towering stems of perfect white orchids. The bride’s sculptured, J Mendel gown was the perfect complement for the wedding design.

After the marriage ceremony, guests enjoyed pink champagne while the Stitely orchestra played on the mezzanine level. Kelly and Dave made their grand entrance on the glass staircase before their first dance and cake cutting. The elegant, four-tiered wedding cake was created by Amy Beck Cake Designs. After speeches and dinner by Limelight Catering, Kelly and Dave danced the night away with guests. Music was provided by DJ Chicago. Congratulations Kelly and Dave!

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Photographer: Christy Tyler Photography | Wedding Planner: Jaci Webber, Clementine Custom Events | Catering: Limelight Catering | Floral: Exquisite Designs | Cake: Amy Beck Cake Design | Live Music: Stitely | DJ: DJ Chicago | Lighting: MDM| Calligraphy: Leah Moss Calligraphy | Bride’s Dress: J Mendel | Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss | Hair & Make-up: Sonia Roselli 

Chez Vendor Spotlight: Elizabeth Nord Photography

Elizabeth Nord, photographer and owner of Elizabeth Nord Photography, recently hosted a wonderful, one-day photography workshop at Chez. The photos from the Love In The City Workshop captured wedding moments and decor details beautifully while also highlighting the elegant architectural details and natural light at Chez. We were so impressed with Elizabeth’s work that we selected the staircase shot below for our print advertising campaign! We are pleased to highlight Elizabeth and her work in the Chez Vendor Spotlight series. Check out our interview below. elizabeth-nord-photo-collage

Name: Elizabeth Nord

Title: Owner/Photographer at Elizabeth Nord Photography

Specialty: Weddings, proposals, engagements, and anniversary photography sessions

CHEZ:  How long have you been in the events industry?
E.N.:  Since 2011

CHEZ:  Describe what you/your company does in one sentence?
E.N.:  I capture the most precious memories and emotions, so that you and future generations can relive those moments forever.

CHEZ:  What sets you/your company apart from others?
E.N.:  I am an energetic, dedicated, and creative photographer that looks at every detail to make sure my couples look their absolute best. I do everything in my power to keep them stress-free and having fun throughout the wedding day. Often times, brides are really stressed on the morning of the wedding day, but time and time again they tell me “Oh good, Liz is here. I can breathe now.” They trust me and I love that my presence calms them.

CHEZ:  What does your typical event day look like?
E.N.:  I am typically at a wedding day between 8-10 hours, sometimes more depending on my clients’ needs. I start about an hour before she is to start putting on her dress, which is typically when hair & makeup is being finished. I usually end after about an hour after open dancing has begun. A typical wedding day with me includes lots of fun, laughs, and dancing.

CHEZ:  What is your most memorable moment from past events?
E.N.:  I typically cry during either the first dance, a first look with the bride’s father, or one of the speeches. Those get me EVERY. TIME. The moment that has stuck with me the most was when the groom danced with his aunt in lieu of his mother who had recently passed away from cancer. It was a touching moment that had the whole room in tears.

CHEZ:  What is the most unique request a client has ever had?
E.N.:  The most unique request I’ve ever received was when my couple had to put down their dog the day before their wedding day. We had talked about having a photo of them with their two dogs, so it was a surprise when they told me on the wedding day that there would only be one dog joining them. It was incredibly sad and the groom was really upset about it. Later that evening, he asked if I could Photoshop his dog into one of the portraits that they took that day. It turned out to be a beautiful photo that he was grateful to have, and being a dog lover myself, it was my honor to create it for him.

CHEZ:  What event trends do you love right now?
E.N.:  I love the trend of mini dessert options like small lemon meringue pies or banana foster “shots”. I also love the trend of a donut wall. I’m obsessed.

CHEZ:  Name three things you couldn’t live without.
E.N.:  1. My husband 2. Dogs 3. My friends

CHEZ:  What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
E.N.:  Delegate! For the little things that you may not care as much about, delegate a friend or family member to care of it for you. Often times, they are more than willing to help. You just have to tell them what you need help with. Delegation will help you SO much with stress throughout the wedding day planning as well as on the actual wedding day. Take the time to enjoy your wedding day instead of worrying about the little things that aren’t going as planned. This is also where an amazing wedding planner comes into play! You will not regret hiring one!

CHEZ:  Name three things people probably don’t know about you.
E.N.:  1. In the 9th grade, I sang at Carnegie Hall in New York in a women’s choir 2. I was married at the age of 20 and have been with my husband since I was 16. 3. I am from Tennessee and lived on a farm there, surrounded by 30 acres of land, 28 dogs at one point, and multiple other animals. Although I was born in the country, I love city life!

CHEZ:  What do you love most about Chez?
E.N.:  I love Chez’s ultra modern style. I especially love the glass staircase and it’s gorgeous floor to ceiling windows. And above all, I love the people that work at Chez. I’ve never met a nicer group of people at a venue!

Thanks Elizabeth! We look forward to working with you again very soon.

Be Inspired: Luxury Chez Holiday Party

Though it’s 80 degrees and sunny outside, at Chez we have Holiday Season on our minds. With December 2016 and January 2017 Holiday Event dates filling up quickly with we thought it time to start a series of holiday-inspired posts. Here’s a look at a creative holiday party design from January of this year. Jennifer Anderson of Jennifer Anderson Events teamed up with event design experts Kehoe Designs to produce a truly unique experience for her client and their guests. Amber lighting, rustic farmhouse tables, and high-back lounge furniture created a warm and cozy atmosphere that welcomed guests on the cold January night. The team from Kehoe suspended dozens of orange tulips from the ceiling to fashion dramatic floral chandeliers over the dining area.  Congratulations to all involved in creating this incredible event.

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Event Planner: Jennifer Anderson Events | Event Design & Floral: Kehoe Designs | Catering: J&L Catering | Photography: Team Chez

Vibrant Summer Decor Inspiration

We were thrilled when Chicago party planner, Sarah Deeke, of Cheers! Chicago came to us with the concept for this vibrant styled shoot with Elle Rose Photo. They gathered a team of talented local professionals to create a completely unique design that contrasted greatly with many of the neutral and soft wedding palettes we’ve seen at Chez of late. The shoot is filled with inspiration for  a unique Spring/Summer wedding, party or shower. The color palette was filled with hot pinks, bright oranges, and bright blues. Florals by Hello Darling stole the show. The eye-catching florals arranged in unique  gold vases popped against the all-white background of Chez and the soft pink lace linen from Windy City Linen. Gold accents brought even more warmth to the design. Bittersweet Bakery created a three-tier cake showcasing their talents at hand-painting and swirled fondant techniques. Invitations By Design created a colorful stationery set that incorporated a playful font and hot pink border with a little gold glitter in keeping with the fanciful theme of the shoot.

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Event Planner : Sarah Deeke of Cheers! Chicago | Photography: Elle Rose Photo | Floral: Hello Darling | Linens:  Windy City Linen | Cake: Bittersweet Bakery | Stationery: Invitations By Design

Irene & Chris’ Woodland-Inspired Wedding

Irene and Chris turned to the talented team at G Reyes Photography to capture the details of their wedding day, and they did not disappoint! Every detail from Irene’s delicate lace dress to the late night sparkler send-off were captured impeccably. After getting ready at the W Chicago Lakeshore Hotel, Chris and Irene had their first look and captured some beautiful cityscape images on the lakefront. At Chez, the team from Meetinghouse was finalizing the woodland-inspired details that included a tree branch ceremony canopy adorned with dozens of cream and peach roses. After an emotional ceremony and cake cutting Jewell Events Catering served a delicious meal before guests took to the dance floor energized by Stephanie Rogers Band. At the end of the night, Irene and Chris led a flash-mob style dance routine before heading to the street for a spectacular sparkler send-off. Congratulations Irene and Chris!Blog-mix-1g-reyes-photo-4blog2g-reyes-photo-20blog2g-reyes-photo-7blog2g-reyes-photo-11blog2blog-mix-2g-reyes-photo-25blog2 g-reyes-photo-29blog2g-reyes-photo-41blog2blog-mix-3 g-reyes-photo-48blog2g-reyes-photo-50blog2g-reyes-photo-58blog2g-reyes-photo-64blog2 g-reyes-photo-87blog2 g-reyes-photo-84blog2blog-mix-4 g-reyes-photo-74blog2g-reyes-photo-94blog2 g-reyes-photo-95blog2g-reyes-photo-103blog2g-reyes-photo-107blog2g-reyes-photo-115blog2g-reyes-photo-114blog2

Photography: G Reyes Photography | Get Ready Hotel:  W Chicago Lakeshore Hotel | Floral & Decor: Meetinghouse | Event Planning: An Event Less Ordinary | Catering: Jewell Events Catering | Music: Stephanie Rogers Band

Color Transformation

Chez is so easily transformed with colored lighting and lighting pattern. The white brick walls, columns, and ceiling are a blank canvas waiting to be saturated with color to fit the theme of any event. We’ve seen cool blue and purple tones and warmer tones of red, pink, and amber. Clients often select a color to match their company logo or party theme. Chez is connected to a team of talented industry vendors who can easily transform the space to create your event vision.

CHEZ-COLOR-BLOG-1 CHEZ-COLOR-BLOG-2 CHEZ-COLOR-BLOG-3 CHEZ-COLOR-BLOG-4 CHEZ-COLOR-BLOG-5Photography credit from top to bottom: Chez | Lindsay Gallup Photography | Amanda Hein Photography | Kent Drake Photography | Gold Grid Studios