Rustic-Chic Inspiration at Chez

The talented Tiffany Siladke partnered with photographer Angela Shae and a team of specialty vendors for this gorgeous photo shoot at Chez.  They started the day with a sunrise shoot along Michigan Avenue and then arrived at Chez just in time to capture the beautiful afternoon light.  Keeping the color palette soft and neutral, the creative team layered vintage table settings over a robust farmhouse table. Romantic floral arrangements and silver candle sticks added some height to the design. We love the juxtaposition of the warm wood table and ornate tablescape with the polished concrete floors and textured white brick. What wonderful rustic-chic decor inspiration!






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Photography | Angela Shae 
Photography assistant and videography | Daniel Usenko
Planning/Design/Florals | A Splendid Occasion
Model | Catherine M
Dress | Nearly Newlywed
Jewelry | Erin Gallagher Jewelry
Hair/Makeup | Nika Vaughan Bridal Artists (Nora-makeup and Xotchilt-hair)
Table | Chicago Farm Tables
Place Settings/Napkins | Vintage Place Settings
Cake | Lovely Bake Shop
Stationary/Calligraphy | Graceline Art

Directing Modern Meetings and Elegant Events at Chez

New-addition-to-team-ChezLauren Smith recently joined Chez as Director of Sales and Marketing. We sat down with Lauren to discuss her passion for the events industry. 

Tell us about your career path and how you got your start in the meetings and events industry.

After I graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in marketing and advertising, I joined Catalyst Ranch, a meeting and event space in the West Loop. It quickly became obvious that hospitality was the perfect blend of my natural ability to engage people, my interests in marketing, and my flair for creativity. Figuring out what makes a client tick, how I can better serve his or her needs, what makes them want to work with me and the company I represent ¬– these are challenges that make me jump out of bed each day. It is also very rewarding to see an event come to life under my direction and guidance.

Business development is my newest passion. I enjoy making connections with people and learning more about their companies and how they fit into the marketplace. With an extensive network, I have a huge variety of resources to help my clients create memorable meetings and events.

In the events industry, the possibilities are endless. I can’t count the number of times I have seen a whisper of an idea turn into a successful business or new event series or marketing initiative. An event can always be bigger and better, but it takes a keen attention to a client’s goals to know how to pull back and keep an event under creative control.

What was your most memorable event experience from your career?

here have been so many! I will never forget a June 1, 2011 event called Under A New Moon. This grand celebration of gay marriage rights started as a tiny seedling of an idea. Anita Vaughn, a celebrant and industry friend, wanted to find a way to celebrate the date when civil unions became legal for same-sex couples. As a vocal supporter for the LGBT community, I jumped at the opportunity and, of course, so did Catalyst Ranch. Our little seed grew and grew over the few short weeks of planning Under A New Moon. Over 20 vendors helped sponsor the event and pulled together a mini wedding ceremony and reception for 6 fantastic couples. At the stroke of midnight, literally the first moment these unions became legal, we began the ceremony and ended the evening with a big party. I was overwhelmed by the love and support this event received, especially from the industry vendors that heard about the celebration and asked to participate in the historic occasion. The national news coverage and my appearance on 190 North were amazing added bonuses.

What are your interests outside of work?

I enjoy a unique blend of hobbies and tastes apart from my professional interests and behaviors. Chances are if there is a heavy metal show in town, I will be there. I also have a love of video games and have gotten lost in the world of Destiny, Assassin’s Creed or Fallout for hours at a time. But I have a crafty side too and make big statement jewelry pieces from unusual objects such as computer parts, ornate furniture hardware, pistachio shells or whatever else has an interesting shape that sparks my creativity.

The best part about this industry is the camaraderie and support that so characteristic of the Chicago meetings and events community. I have made lifelong friends over the years and helped create some friendships for others as well. Work and play share a grey area in my life which helps me to love my job.

What are your plans for the future of Chez?

I look forward to bringing corporate meeting business to this beautiful venue. The 17 foot ceilings, glass staircase and white walls are a great canvas for an enormous variety of event themes. Corporate clients and experiential marketing events can easily brand the space with their company identities and logos. It will be a pleasure to introduce my network to this new venue and I am excited to bring creative and unique event experiences to Chez.

Why did Chez choose you to direct its sales and marketing?

Chez was looking for an experienced, networked professional with many years of experience in the events and catering industry. I offer that experience and network, as well as a graphic design background and a particular niche in planning corporate events and bar and bat mitzvahs. I think Chez’s management was also drawn to my organizational skills and obvious passion for the industry.

Bar and bat mitzvah celebrations, weddings, focus groups, conferences, innovation sessions, fundraisers, experiential marketing events – I am experienced working with all of these types of events and understand how to help clients realize their visions. My former clients include national magazines, trade groups, radio stations, non-profit and government entities, and leaders in the pharmaceutical, health insurance, and beverage industries.

A Contemporary Wedding Day at Chez

Contemporary-Loft-Wedding-Brian-Stansfield-Blog-4On a beautiful August day last year this lovely couple gathered with friends and family to celebrate their marriage at Chez. They completely embraced the contemporary aesthetic of Chez in every part of their day. The bride looked beautiful as she made her entrance down the glass staircase to receive a crisp bouquet of white calla lilies. The ceremony took place against a backdrop of spectacular floral arrangements that rested on clear risers and appeared to float beneath the glass staircase. White and green assortments of delicate hydrangea, calla lilies, orchids, and snapdragon were positioned next to floating candles. Post ceremony, guests dined at 30’ long white tables. The tables were flanked by clear, oval-backed ghost chairs while more white and green floral arrangements decorated the center of each table.
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Catering – Food for Thought
Décor – Art of Imagination
Floral – Dilly Lily
Cake – Defloured Bakery
Photography – Brian Stansfield

A Sophisticated Bat Mitzvah Celebration

Bat-mitzvah-celebration3When this Chez client described the sophisticated Bat Mitzvah celebration she was looking to host at Chez, Christine introduced our partners at Art of Imagination and Entertaining Company.  Together they produced an elegant event in shades of white.  Dozens of white paper lanterns and yards of pipe and drape framed the party space while the dance floor was surrounded by white chivari chairs and dinner tables.  Each table was dressed with white linens, delicate white flower arrangements, and tea lights.
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The Chez glass staircase provided a beautiful backdrop for an arrangement of white lounge furniture.  Light patterns, purple washes, and an illuminated DJ booth introduced color to complete the contemporary party atmosphere for this Bat Mitzvah celebration.
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Event Design by Art of Imagination
Catering by Entertaining Company
Images by Steve Becker Photography

A Very Fancy Fiesta at Chez

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The talented people at Kehoe Designs, JDetailed Events, and BluePlate Catering collaborated to produce this one-of-a-kind Mexican-themed rehearsal dinner for some very lucky Chez clients.  We recently sat down with Kehoe’s Joshua Jones, the creative mind behind the design, to get the scoop on the details.  

CHEZ: Describe this event in one sentence.
JONES: A whimsical, modern spin on a spicy south-of-the-border fiesta.

CHEZThe space came alive with color and light. Could you tell us how you achieved this effect?
JONES: We wanted to preserve the contemporary, clean backdrop of Chez’s light and airy interior so that the vibrant colors would really pop. We brought in crisp white furnishings such as our contemporary sectional sofas, tulip highboy tables, and paired lacquered dining tables with crystal chiavari chairs.  Lighting was a huge design element for this colorful fiesta. The crisp, white walls and gorgeous glass staircase of Chez really embraced the orange and magenta up lights and textural lounge washes that we incorporated to transform the space into a sophisticated night club.

CHEZ: Could you tell us a little about the unique floor plan you created at Chez?
JONES: The client did not want a typical dining room setting, so we created a floor plan that felt more like a high-energy club lounge. We divided the space with a central lounge group that consisted of a long, white leather sofa, tables, and ottomans. Above the central lounge group, we installed a lush treatment of colorful over-sized lanterns intermingled with playful piñatas.
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CHEZ: The floral design is so clever. We especially love the floral arrangements in the stone guacamole bowls! Could you talk us through the design?
JONES: Working alongside the talented planners of JDetailed Events and listening to our clients’ unique perspective, we found creative ways to incorporate a Mexican flavor.  We wanted to create a thoughtful design while maintaining an element of fun and whimsy. Inspired by a desert sunset, we conceptualized colorful floral in shades of orange, coral, hot pink, fuchsia, and yellow. For texture and interest, we incorporated unique floral such as magenta cockscomb, yellow craspedia, and desert succulents. Giant palm leaves were hand-painted with Mexican-inspired graffiti by our talented in-house artists at Kehoe Designs.
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CHEZ: Was there one special detail that you loved?
JONES: I wanted to add a unique cocktail experience that nodded to our design concept. Our graphic arts department treated illuminated bar fronts with colorful custom artwork that was inspired by Mexican folk art. The bars, bar-back shelving, and up lights looked brilliant against the textural brick walls of Chez.
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CHEZ: Lastly, we must ask about the life-sized bride and groom piñatas!
JONES: Weren’t they a hoot?! The life-sized piñatas that resembled our bride and groom were completely the clients’ idea! We got the call from JDetailed Events and we were ecstatic that our clients wanted to incorporate such a playful element within their event. Events come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. It’s such a pleasure playing a part in each client’s event design journey.
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CHEZ: Thanks so much for spending some time with us today Joshua. 

Easy Holiday Table Decorating Ideas

We teamed up with Art of Imagination, Amanda Hein, and Tablescapes to transform Chez for a rustic styled shoot. The design is filled with table decorating ideas and inspiration for an elegant holiday event. Deborah, from Art of Imagination was able to create a festive holiday table spread with such ease by combining natural elements like berries and branches and warm metallic accents. Candles and seasonal foliage brought additional warmth to the design.
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Photography Amanda Hein Photography | Design and Decor Art of Imagination | Table/Place Setting Tablescapes

The 5 “not-so-obvious” things to consider when booking your wedding photographer

Written and photography by averyhouse

1. Don’t forget about the engagement session! It is a great way to get to know your photographer and get comfortable being in front of the camera. We find that couples who take the time to do one are much more relaxed about having their photos taken on the wedding day. It’s also a great chance to get some fun, casual photos of the two of you in some of your favorite locations around the city that you may not have time to visit after saying “I do.”

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2. Consider a second shooter. They provide different angles and essentially allow for your photographer to be in two places at once. They can get different perspectives on the ceremony and can split up to focus on getting detail and decor shots during cocktail hour. Many photographers include this in their standard packages so be sure to ask before you book!

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3. Be sure to ask your photographer if they offer special rates for wedding weekend brunches, rehearsal dinners or mehndi ceremonies. Many people forget that the events that don’t necessarily take place on the wedding day need to be photographed too!

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4. Get a photobooth! Obviously we are partial to Smilebooth, but a photobooth is a great way to give guests downtime from dancing. Then they can take all that silly photo booth energy back to the dance floor to keep the party going. It’s also a fun way to keep capturing the night once your photographers have left.

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5. Finally, remember you wedding day photographer could potentially become your life photographer. It’s good to establish a relationship so when those other big life milestones come along (babies, anniversaries, birthday’s…) you know who to call.

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averyhouse is a Chicago based photography team who specialize in weddings and lifestyle portraiture. They also manage the midwest division of Smilebooth, a national photo booth comapny. Their studio is located at 2868 N Lincoln Ave. All photos by averyhouse.

5 Tips on Becoming a Relaxed Bride

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Written by Molly Fitzpatrick, Co-Founder Events with BeneFitz | Photo by Kent Drake Photography

There’s no two ways around it – planning a wedding can be stressful at times – but no one wants to be a stressed out bride on their wedding day. The most important thing to remember the days leading up to the wedding, is that this is your special day, and you should feel nothing but relaxed and happy. Easier said than done, right? Here are some tips to help you become a relaxed bride.

1.  Find a wedding planner or wedding coordinator you trust.
It is important to find a wedding planner or coordinator you know will meet your expectations and won’t cause you any additional stress. They are there to take the stress away, fix problems that you won’t even know about, and to have a solution in their wedding emergency kit for any last minute worry you may have. Your wedding coordinator should worry about your day being perfect, so you don’t have to.

2.  Let go and sleep.
Do you ever have those nights where you can’t sleep because you’ve got a million thoughts racing through your head, or you’re worried you’ll sleep through that alarm? Let go of all those thoughts and give them to your wedding planner. They can lose sleep the night before your wedding, not you. And the alarm thing? Your bridesmaids are a built in back up alarm. So just let go, and sleep.

3. Eat.
Ever heard the term “hangry”? When you start getting irritable because you’re starving? It’s your wedding day, your dress fits, you can quit the diet. Have your planner provide a great breakfast for you and your bridesmaids. It doesn’t need to be a heavy waffles and pancakes type breakfast, but having yogurt, fruit, and eggs along with some tea or coffee is a great way to start your special day.

4. Champagne.
After you’ve followed tip number 3, why not? Enjoy a mimosa with your bridesmaids. It will help settle the nerves.

5. No one else matters (except your groom).
If you find yourself getting stressed out by family or friends, think of the one person that matters today – your groom. A quick phone call might just be the calming voice you need to hear.

Relax, soak in the entire day, and make sure you have a great photographer there to capture every moment.