Vendor Spotlight: Vince Hart of Kehoe Designs

Kehoe Designs

Name: Vince Hart
Title/Position: V.P. Sales at Kehoe Designs
Specialty: Social, Weddings, and Bar-Bat Mitzvahs

CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry?
V.H.: 30 Years in November

CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence?
V.H.: We bring people’s dreams to reality.

CHEZ: What sets you apart from others?
V.H.: I’m always two steps ahead of the trends and fashion curve. Every aspect of my designs are intentional, and reflect the freshest ideas in the industry. As a visionary, everyone aspires to be like me.

Holiday PartyCHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?
V.H.: I’m a huge Cubs fan, and I had the chance to design a baseball-themed Mitzvah for a family that has been close to my heart for 15 years. One of my favorite memories was getting a text from the client at 12:30 am after her son’s party that said, “Vince – no words can describe what an amazing job you did! It was such an incredible room filled with all of your magical touches!!!”

CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now?
V.H.: Boho Glam for weddings and “Return of 90s” design and colors for my Bar and Bat Mitzvah clients. To them, the 90s are retro!

CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had?
V.H.: “I need you to build the inside of an airplane, complete with windows that look out to moving cloud images,” requested by the client. The goal was not simply to create a plane, but to evoke the client’s personal memories within this event at The Geraghty. With a talented team, vast resources and “anything is possible” attitudes, we can – and will – execute anything.
Holiday Party CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?
V.H.:  My job is 24–7. At Kehoe Designs, we’re always thinking, dreaming and planning the next party. I don’t really put a time limit on myself because my mind is constantly churning out ideas.

CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!)
V.H.: 1. Fashion and Design Magazines — I still tear out pages for inspiration. 2. My Trainer — the only person I let boss me around. 3. My Clients — they allow me to do what I do, and the satisfaction of executing their dream makes for a great life.

CHEZ: Name three things people probably don’t know about you.
V.H.: I am a news junkie, I could care less about pretentious food and wish I could just wear Lululemon every day!
Chair chandelier CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
V.H.: After 30 years in this industry, I can problem-solve anything thrown my way. If you hire me, you trust me. I never fail a client.

CHEZ: What do you love about Chez?
V.H.: I love that the space is a blank slate, I have done so many different looks for clients. From French Country, Art Décor, Sleek Modern. They all work because they chose to keep the finishes to a minimum and let the clean lines of the space speak for them self.

Floral

Photography:  Kehoe Designs | Event Planning: Jennifer Anderson Events

Vendor Spotlight: Lori Stephenson of LOLA Event Productions

wedding planner

Name: Lori Stephenson

Title/Position: Owner and Principal – LOLA Event Productions

Specialty: Wedding and Event Planning and Design

CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry?
L.S.: I’ve been in the wedding business in some way, shape or form since before I graduated from college where I attained my degree in fashion design and business and paid my way through school in part by making wedding gowns and accessories.  I guess wedding planning is just pumping through my blood at this point!  I started LOLA in 2006 – we are celebrating our 11th anniversary this year and have sent over 500 brides and grooms down the aisle!

CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence?
L.S.: We take our clients ideas, vision, challenges, and unique perspectives and create the wedding or event that is perfect for them – all while keeping them happy and relaxed throughout the process.

CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?
L.S.: In looking at our portfolio, it is obvious that the scope of our work is as broad as the personalities and needs of our clients.  We really LISTEN to our clients and try and deliver on their unique vision AND THEN SOME with that special LOLA touch of creativity and innovation.

CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?
L.S.: I love the moment when a client walks into the room and sees their vision turned into a reality for the very first time.  That moment at the completion of a set up is like a calming breath of air right before the guests enter the room and fill it with enthusiasm and energy.  The immense satisfaction of taking an idea from notes on paper to a room filled with beauty, love and energy is really incredible.

CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now?
L.S.: I love that event design has become about so much more than a color scheme or what décor you are placing into a space.  Innovation comes in creative menus and entertainment and experiences within that gorgeous space.  Today’s events are a feast of all the senses rather than just something visual.

CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had?
L.S.: Well, funny you should ask!  I have a groom that wants to ride a live grizzly bear down the aisle next summer at his wedding.  I had to put the breaks on that one for sure!  Although I did tell him that I would rent a bear suit and let him ride piggy-back down the aisle on my back if it would make him happy!

CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?
L.S.: An event day is kind of like a marathon.  Carbo load the night before with a giant bowl of pasta, review your notes, get a good night sleep, put on your most comfortable shoes, and have confidence in all the incredibly detailed preparation you have been laying down for weeks, months and even years leading up to the big day… and or course, be ready for the unexpected!

CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!)
L.S.: Professionally: My incredible team of loyal colleagues and professional partners that make me look good, my event emergency kit which contains everything but the kitchen sink, and my husband who has never stopped supporting me by doing everything from lifting me up when I am having a challenging day to loading up my car for an event and tying bows on programs late into the night when the client ran out of time to do it themselves.

Personally: My husband for his undying support – because being married to a wedding planner who is gone most evenings and weekends can be a real drag, my menagerie of rescue dogs and cats that keep my blood pressure down with their unconditional love, and really good concealer for the black circles under my eyes!

CHEZ: Name three things people probably don’t know about you
L.S.: I was a state champion and national championship level cheerleader in high school, I am a complete germ-a-phobe and walk through life with a lot of Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer, and before I decided to go to college for fashion design, I wanted to go to school for environmental law.

CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
L.S.: Hire great people that you can trust and then LET THEM DO THEIR JOBS.

CHEZ: What do you love about Chez?
L.S.: Chez is the ultimate blank canvas for design.  You can create something pristine and monochromatic and timeless or go crazy with the color, texture and whimsy of what’s current at the moment.  The location is insanely convenient for guests (they can stagger back to their hotel rooms just steps away), and all the perks that come included like their stylish ghost chairs make it an incredible value!

Photography by: (L) Studio Starling  , (R) Genevieve Lauren Photography

 

Vendor Spotlight: Rebecca Ickes of Rebecca Marie Photography

wedding photographer

Name: Rebecca Ickes

Title/Position: Owner, Rebecca Marie Photography

Specialty: People. By way of a camera.

CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry?
R.I.: The first wedding I photographed was 11+ years ago and I have owned my studio for 6 years.

CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence?
R.I.: I document legacies so that future generations can have an insight into not only what your wedding day looked like but who you were and what it was like to spend time with you.

CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?
R.I.: I consider my approach to photography a study of people more than a study of light as the traditional definition would state. It is my firm belief that photography is only successful if the people who were a part of the photos feel something when they see them. We can create the most unique image possible – we can win all sorts of rewards from professional organizations and national committees – but none of that means anything if you don’t look at your photos and feel something.

CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?
R.I.: There is no way I can pick just one! Throughout every event there is always one thing that jumps out at you and surprises you with how perfect it is, most likely resulting in water filled eyes on my side of the camera. What’s amazing is that moment happens at a different time for each event. Sometimes it’s the walk down the aisle to beautiful harp music which also happens to be theme from a Princess Bride. Sometimes it’s being pronounced “Husband & Husband” or a lifelong friend’s heartfelt toast. And sometimes it’s a couple belting out Living On a Prayer with their band, only to then crowd surf with their friends & family literally supporting them. The one consistent thing is that it’s always something unique to the relationships of the day that make the moment so memorable.

CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now?
R.I.: Neutrals! Particularly neutral wedding party outfits. I recently photographed a wedding where the bride chose all long white bridesmaids dresses! Of course she still stood out from her ladies with her detailed gown, but it was so sleek and the simplicity allowed for their expressions & excitement to really stand out in the photos. Choosing a simplified palette, while currently popular, I believe will also stand the test of time and look just as classic in 50 years as it looks trendy today.

CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had?
R.I.: I once had a groom who was a pilot and wanted to fly to their reception venue as their grand entrance! Because their venue was in a rural area, we were able to make it work by using an adjoining field as a landing strip. The excitement on their families’ faces was priceless.

CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?
R.I.: It always starts with a big breakfast! 😉 We often are so busy throughout the day that lunch isn’t possible.

But to be serious: Whether it be a corporate holiday party or a wedding day, we are usually present for the majority of the day. We want to be sure to document not only the event itself, but also the preparation ahead of time, the look of a room before guests arrive and move things around, and the celebration into the night. For a corporate event, that often means arriving an hour before the event begins. For a wedding, that means joining the couple while they get ready in the morning (usually about an hour before getting dressed for ladies as that’s when hair & makeup are finishing up) and about an hour after open dancing begins. This timing tells the full story of the day without overdoing it.

CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!):
R.I.: My calendar/organizer, my passport, and my beloved inner circle of family & friends (not in that order!)

CHEZ: Name three things people probably don’t know about you:
R.I.: I used to be a professional oboist. I lived in England for a year working with at-risk 8-12 year olds in an after school art center (I ran the ceramics room). The day after a wedding, I rarely make it out of my pajamas!

CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
R.I.: Trust your instincts and hire professionals you trust. If you have a team of people who you believe in and you know understand you and your vision any reason for stress is exponentially diminished. Just like the magic of knowing you found The One to marry, when you feel comfortable and confident in the vendor you are meeting with, then you’ve found “the one” there too!

CHEZ: What do you love about Chez?
R.I.: I love that you can make Chez into anything you want. It truly is a blank canvas. Photographically, I love that there is a 2nd floor to be able to document an event from. Having this type of vantage point isn’t often found and always provides unique opportunities.

Photography by: (L) Carla Ten Eyck, (R) Rebecca Marie Photography

Vendor Spotlight: Jeff Durocher of US Poker Casino Parties

poker rentals

Name:  Jeff Durocher

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

Specialty: Casino Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vendor Spotlight: Gabriel Garavaglia of RED Weddings

Gabriel Garavaglia

Name: Gabriel Garavaglia

Title/Position: Director of Wedding Services at RED Weddings

Specialty: Production Manager & Lead Cinematographer

CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry?  
G.G.: 7 years

CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence?
G.G.: RED Weddings is a premium wedding cinematography, photography, music and entertainment service firm for today’s most discerning brides and grooms.

CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?  
G.G.: We create and capture the magic of our clients celebrations with the same artistic and technical standards once associated only with Oscar-winning films.  We were the first in the world to bring actual Motion Picture cameras (the same cameras used on films like The Hobbit, Spiderman, Gone Girl etc.) to capture weddings!

CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?  
G.G.: We’ve shared so many tender private moments with our clients over the years, but capturing a grooms little girl crying tears of joy at having a new mommy during their first dance certainly tops our list!

CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now?  
G.G.: We’re incredibly gratified to see Wedding Cinema becoming as, if not more important than photography to our couples, and feel we’ve helped establish new (high) standards in what can be expected from “wedding videography” – both for our clients, and their children children!  Our FAA approved drone cinematography and hilarious Slow-Motion Video Booth have been wildly popular this year as well.

CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had?  
G.G.: Last year we had a bride book a private midnight helicopter tour over the Loop following their reception.  Fortunately, our founder is a Union Director of Photography and we’re partners with Flight AV, a motion picture / TV production company so it was easy and affordable for them.  Little did we know, the groom was a little afraid of heights, but a great time was had by all!

CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?  
G.G.: Since we prepare thoroughly in the months and weeks prior to our clients big day, including loading our transport vehicles with equipment (and backup equipment), triple checked and staged to be quickly accessible for each part of the day, we arrive ready to shoot the moment we step out of our vehicles!  Of course we’ve visited each location prior to the date and so have our “money shots” and camera angles already figured out, and go to great lengths to find shots that are 100% unique to our clients personalities and locations to ensure their photography and cinematography is unique and especially meaningful to them.

CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!)
G.G.: #1 A cooler with water and snacks, as some of our wedding days literally go from 4am until 4am and there’s rarely a minute to spare!
#2 We love our RED Cinema 6K-8K ultra high definition cameras and have found the image quality, slow motion, and ability to extract still photos of any frame we’ve shot as a printable photograph to be invaluable and help us capture moments that would otherwise be lost forever.
#3 Lastly, we absolutely couldn’t live without our in house team.  Having a dedicated audio engineer, director of business affairs, and of course our creative director and founder allows each of us to focus 100% on doing the best work possible as a single operator / entrepreneur will always have a hard time keeping up with every facet of the business simultaneously.

CHEZ: Name three things people probably don’t know about you:
G.G.: #1 Despite the quality of our work, we’re actually very affordable and have full featured all day packages for much less than one might think.
#2 We are one of very few “triple threat” wedding service providers that offer bespoke quality photography, cinematography, entertainment, photo booth and drone services in time and cost saving bundles.
#3 Very few people know that our company is made up of film / TV, music business and advertising agency professionals, so no request is impossible, and is why our work is consistent with their favorite movies and TV shows.  And no, we are not named after the books or TV show by George R. R. Martin!

CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?  
G.G.: Create a spreadsheet to document your options, meet with the actual people you will spend your most important day with, take your time and figure out your entire game plan before signing any contracts, and get specific details about each offer you are comparing and considering.  Weddings are a significant milestone, and couples have a unique opportunity to leverage their buying power to save time and money – as well, ensure their wedding day production team is perfectly in sync throughout their wedding day by bundling multiple services with a single vendor.

CHEZ: What do you love about Chez?  
G.G.: Of course we simply adore Chez’s incredible modern design and gorgeous natural light (so important for photography and videography!) not to mention their central location to endless beautiful photo / video locations.  That said, it’s their professionalism, warm, personal attention to every little detail and sincere concern for their clients success and happiness that makes Chez our very favorite loft venue!

 

Photography by Paul Christopher Greene

Vendor Spotlight: Erin McDonald of Erin McDonald Co

event design

 

Name:  Erin McDonald Co

Title/Position: Creative Director

Specialty:  Design and décor

CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry? 
E.M.: More than 25 years.

CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence? 
E.M.: EMC designs unique spaces that are influenced by the clients’ desires and direction but finessed by our knowledge and taste.

CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?
E.M.: EMC is a unique company that acts as a creative director with the ability to work with other design houses to team together to make each client experience uniquely theirs.

CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?   
E.M.: EMC always finds a special moment when handing off the clients bouquet to them for the first time.  Their reaction is everything.

CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now? 
E.M.: We are always drawn to classic, whether contemporary or traditional. Classic is always the best.

CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had? 
E.M.: Living in Chicago, one of the most “unique” requests is when a client, who is doing and outdoor wedding or event, wants to hold off on the tent…till the day before.  Or even more brilliant…to take it down the day of.

CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?   
E.M.: Up at 4:30, get to the office by 7, pack the trucks, load into venue by 9am, meet with client for some face time, and then all hell breaks loose.  No kidding, we like to be ahead of schedule most days, as we like to have a cushion for any issues that might occur.  Better safe than sorry.

CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!): 
E.M.: My dog, my family, and my mind.

CHEZ: Name three things people probably don’t know about you: 
E.M.: I was a professional dancer for many years.  I am more of an introvert than most people would think.  I can drive a semi truck.

CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event? 
E.M.: Choose personality first.  Like your vendors and choose them wisely.  Allow your creative partners to do what they are experts at…and RELAX!

CHEZ: What do you love about Chez? 
E.M.: The ability to have a slate that is clean and fresh and a staff that is wiling to allow you to showcase your talents.

Thank you Erin! We can’t see what creativity you bring to Chez in 2017.

Photography by: (L) Avery House, (R) Eric Floberg

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

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

 

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