Whether you’re reading this to get tips or finding ways to avoid the hipster scene, this post will let you know what details are considered “hipster.” Feel free to embrace or avoid.

Hipster Wedding

1. The Dress

The style of dress you choose will often set the style tone for the whole event. Whether you choose a Bohemian hippie style or a short vintage look, there are unique ways that your attire can start the hipster vibe. Above all else, don’t get bogged down by the traditional tropes and brands—your dress should reflect your personal style, hipster or otherwise.

2. Invitations

Your Save the Dates and Invitations will be your guests first look into the style and theme of your wedding. For a bonafide hipster invitation, be sure to team up with your favorite local artist or graphic designer to create something wholly unique for your big day. Your guests will be impressed and slowly realize that it’s not their grandma’s wedding style that they’re walking into.

3. Location

For your hipster wedding, choosing a simple location will be key. Try finding a loft space or small outdoor venue that you can dress up to make it your own. If design is really important to you, then finding a blank canvas venue may be a great place to start. If you’re really going for that trademark hipster irony, try finding a more unique venue! A funky museum, an antique store or a coffee shop could make for a hipsterrific wedding experience to remember.

4. Food

Again, non-traditional is key for a truly traditional wedding. Food trucks are a great funky option in place of traditional plated meals. Tacos are also really trendy and fun. For dessert, ditch the traditional cake and go for something a little more fun and surprising—ice cream sundaes, donuts, or pies are some options to name a few!

5. Photography

Finding a photographer that can capture your day in a way that communicates your style is really important for a hipster wedding. Not only should that photographer themselves embrace that persona, but their shooting style should as well. Be sure to check out their portfolio to see what they can do to create a lasting keepsake of your special day.

6. Music

Finally, music is most certainly what makes a hipster wedding hipster. From artist choice to instrumentation, be sure to choose artists and songs that emanate your style. A Mumford-style ensemble for the ceremony, combined with an Indie music quartet for dinner and dancing could be the perfect combination for your big day. Make sure you are clear about what traditions you do and don’t want to include in your day. Your musicians will really play a big part in creating the soundtrack and mood for your day, so make sure you are on board with their style!

To truly find out if you’re at a hipster wedding, check out this fun flowchart at Refinery 29.

While the big Chicago St. Patty’s celebrations have more or less come to a close, here at Stitely we are still looking forward to our St. Patrick’s Day Event with the Trinity Irish Dancers! Check out the video below when they were featured on Conan.

If there ever was a wedding to recount and remember, this one takes the cake.

After having a secret wedding ceremony in the 1980s, Ann & Susan were finally able to legally tie the knot this past summer—and what a joyous occasion it was! The couple wanted their day to be focused on family and celebrating the many loved-ones in their lives. The music was also a really important factor in their entire day. From special music sung by their son during the ceremony, to a dance to “Happy” down the aisle, to a slew of musical memories made during the reception, their music really tied their whole day together.

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The ceremony took place on July 26, 2014 at the Hotel Allegro in Chicago. Their ceremony featured At Last by Etta James, A Thousand Years by Christina Perri, Your Song by Elton John and Happy by Pharrell. Their reception dancing was kicked off with Sweet Love by Anita Baker for their First Dance, and the dance floor was packed all night.

We had a chance to catch up with Ann & Susan and reflect on the planning process leading up to the big day, as well as to remember their favorite moments of the ceremony and reception. The following post is made up of notes from our phone conversation.

Ballard-WarnerCeremonyWhat kind of style or vibe did you want for your wedding? What role did music play in your vision?

Overall, Ann & Susan just wanted it to be a huge celebration and for everyone to have a good time during their ceremony and reception. They wanted their music choices to be enjoyable for everyone, but also wanted it to reflect their time together over the years. They chose music spanning from jazz and soul to contemporary. Since they were getting married later in life, they had a lot of memories to reflect on and to include in their celebration. They really wanted the music to set the tone for ceremony and reception, and truly believed that without music there would be no real wedding celebration feel—it was that integral.

Ballard-WarnerFamilyTreeWhy did you choose the Stitely Orchestra for your wedding?

Ann says that their confidence with Stitely really began after personal interview with Jeff. It was a lengthy one-on-one meeting to go over all the details of the day. Shortly after that, they made a decision to go with Stitely, and wedding planners at hotels in downtown Chicago confirmed that decision as they were looking for venues.

What was your favorite wedding memory?

Ann & Susan had plenty of memories to share from their big day, as did everyone I’ve spent with who was in attendance that day. It is fondly remembered as a day full of joy and love.

Susan & Ann’s first favorite memory one is the ceremony. It included Happy by Pharrell playing during the recessional, with their kids and family dancing down the aisle with them. It was a beautiful visual representation of the joy that they wanted to portray during their wedding, and the music really helped. A related memory is that people never stopped dancing during the reception—the dance floor was really never empty!

Another favorite memory was their son singing At Last during the ceremony and some Frank Sinatra and Jackie Wilson tunes with the band during the reception. That was really special, and Ann said it was so cool that Stitely made it happen for their son to sing with the band.

BAllard-WarnerDancing1Please share any stories or special significance behind your song selections for the special dances.

Happy by Pharrell was one that Ann & Susan wanted to integrate early on. It was really the inspiration for the heartfelt atmosphere we wanted to create. Having it played during the ceremony was very special and reflected them as a couple well—people still talk about it all the time!

Ann also said that having Stitely work with them prior to the wedding and helping their kids get songs and ideas together was a dream. She says “we couldn’t have made our vision of intertwining the music with our friends, family and guests come true if they hadn’t worked with us in the months and weeks leading up to our day. Without all those elements it really wouldn’t have been the dream day that it ended up being!”

Thanks again to Ann & Susan for being such a joy!

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Want to make your wedding a little easier on the environment? Here’s how!

Do Your Research
Half the battle of creating a sustainable event is knowing which vendors you can trust to share in your vision. Determine what is important for you, and seek out vendors who share your priorities. It will be much easier to succeed when working with vendors who share your goals than trying to work with those that don’t understand.

Paperless Invitations
Although you may get some flack for being untraditional, many are turning to the web for their invitations. With so many great graphic designers and web developers out there today, it’s still possible to keep the classic style and feel of traditional invitations, yet transform that style via web-based media. This will save paper as well as postage money! Greenvelope is a great E-vite resource that provides beautiful alternatives to paper invitation.

If you want to be green but are tied to the idea of traditional paper invitations, a compromise in this area would be to send an electronic Save-the-Dates but still keep paper invites. A little still goes a long way!

Picking the Right Venue
Choosing a venue that has a green initiative is probably one of the biggest things you can do to have an eco-friendly event. Find an event space that has met the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Rating System, which sets the standard for sustainable spaces.

Some green venue options in Chicago would be Venue Six10, Greenhouse Loft, and Loft on Lake.

Go Organic
Work with your caterer to learn where your food is coming from. Make sure the caterer you hire has sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives for your dinner such as free-range chicken or fresh wild salmon. For dessert, include free-trade coffee for your guests. Remember, going organic doesn’t have to be a trade-off for delicious food!

Green Wedding Favors
Certain wedding favors can contribute to waste, so give something eco-friendly as well as memorable. One idea is to plant a tree in your guests’ name, or even give out trees for them to plant in your honor. On a smaller scale, you could include sachets of herb or vegetable seeds so your guests can start their own eco-friendly edible garden.

If anything, foregoing the deck of cards or shot glass with your name printed on it will help save some trees and spare your guests from pretending to be excited about that.

Charitable Donation to Eco-Friendly Non-Profit
In lieu of gifts, you could also use that money to give to charitable organizations that support the green causes you are passionate about. Choose one that already has a special meaning to you, or do some research to find local organizations that share your passions. Your guests will appreciate knowing that their gift is going somewhere meaningful.

For more ideas on making your wedding a platform for service, check out our previous blog post on Weddings For a Cause

Recycle Your Decor, and Even Your Dress!
After any event there will almost certainly be a lot of things leftover. Whether it’s leftover food and cake or forgotten flowers or decorations, there are plenty of things that are in perfectly good condition at the end of the night that you no longer have use for. Instead of just throwing everything away or letting it sit in the back seat of your best man’s car for a few months, make a game plan for all the leftovers so nothing goes to waste. You can donate your flowers to a nursing home to brighten their space, recycle any paper decorations you’ve used, and coordinate with a food bank or homeless shelter that would take the mountains of leftover food you undoubtedly have. In these ways your big day can continue on to effect even more people for the better!

As many artists are gearing up for their Spring and early Summer album releases, it begs the questions: are albums still important? Sure we all know that music matters, but does the physical album, vinyl or otherwise, still have a candle to hold in this digital day and age?

Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy has a few thoughts on the subject. In a recent article from Chicago radio station 93XRT, Tweedy says he is “not worried about the ‘experts’ saying that the album is a music medium that is dying out.” He continued saying, “an album is a journey…It invites you into its environment and tells a story. I enjoy albums, and I assume that if I enjoy them there must be others who feel the same.” (Read complete article here.)

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While personally I agree with Tweedy—my personal record collection continues to grow much more rapidly than my digital one—many do not. The vinyl resurgence has been condemned as a fad, kitsch, hipster and a waste. Yet Jack White, whose Third Man Records label played a major role in the increase in vinyl sales, is hopeful about the resurgence of vinyl. White says “All of those people who preach the gospel of the vinyl; it’s all come back into the mainstream…It’s an incredible resurgence. It’s the only part of the music business that’s growing in sales…”  (View complete video of this interview here.)

For White and many of his disciples, vinyl is the best way to listen to music at home. The warm tone is often referred to as the way music is supposed to be listened to. The vinyl resurgence has also promoted creativity. Many artists include special features in their vinyl packages, like their own artwork on record sleeves, to create a more holistic creative experience rather than just downloading an album from iTunes.

So what do you think? Are albums still important to the music world, or will our digital age continue to reign?

This week we feature another astounding planner: Clementine Custom Events. Not only do they have one of my favorite company names, but they are great woman to work with, incredibly helpful, cordial, and really put their clients needs first. See below for our conversation with the lovely ladies of Clementine.

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How and why did you get started in the wedding planning business?
My involvement in the wedding planning business evolved over my career in off-premise catering. I began coordinating social affairs in 2005 and was given the opportunity to really focus my attention to the wedding business with I joined Clementine in 2012.

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What are some of the main services you offer and how do they set you apart from other competitors?
We offer month-of coordination, full-planning and everything in between. I feel that the “Custom” in Clementine Custom Events really speaks to our core principles. It is important to us to really take the time to listen to the needs of our clients and what they wish for their special day. From there, we work as a team to prepare a plan that will best suit their needs, while providing expert guidance within the evolving wedding landscape.

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What are some things couples should consider when creating a design/style for their wedding?
Take the time with your significant other to jot down how you both envision your day and what is most important to you. Keep the top three elements top of mind as you begin to research, brainstorm and make decisions. I also recommend envisioning how you will feel when you look back on your wedding day photos 10, 20, 30 years from now. Sometimes that point of reference can really help in making decisions on design and style.

 

How do you go about interpreting a couple’s vision and designing a unique look or style for an event?
I feel that this can be an evolving process. Many times we will prepare a thorough plan based on the preliminary design thoughts, and use this as our guide for the duration. Thoughtful vendor selections for who will enhance the design plan is incredibly important. Of course, as important as it is to listen and reconfirm direction, it is equally important to be flexible. As we all know, plans change.

What key qualities should couples look for when choosing a planner?
Experience
Responsiveness
Trustworthiness
And comfort…you are hiring this professional to be a partner in one of the most special moments of your lives.

What part of your job do you find the most satisfying and the most challenging?
My catering background will always be a major factor in my love of this job. I find the production and logistics of the day challenging and satisfying. I also have to say that my most favorite moments in every wedding day is sending the bride down the aisle, a fluid dinner service, and seeing our timeline tick along with ease.

What is the craziest event story you can share?
My lips are sealed ;)

For more information, check out the Clementine website here.

As we inch closer to wedding season, we thought we would take a look at some trends we’ve seen that are sure to reappear in 2015!

1. Wedding Attire

For men, we’ve seen an increase in blue and navy suits, rather than traditional black or gray (although gray is still prevalent.) For the bridal party, brides not longer feel pigeonholed in the traditional cookie-cutter choices for their bridesmaid dresses. They are choosing bold prints and patterns that reflect their style and are very fun! Check out these sequined dresses and this simple pink print!Paul+Jessica380Chicago printed bridesmaid dress

2. Indie Music

Couples are also feeling free to play their favorite music during their reception. Rather than sticking to just the Top 40 dance music, many couples are slowing it down during dinner with eclectic indie rock groups, highlighting singer/songwriters and indie bands that they love.Kowalski0434-L copy

3. Family-Style Receptions

For many couples, table décor is becoming less formal and more family style. They feature colorful and comfortable table decorations that make everyone feel at home in their seat.paper antler - 0002(1)

4. Personalized Cocktails/Hors d’oeuvres

Couple are also personalizing their cocktails and guest favors to reflect their personal preference. From unique personalized cocktails named after the bride and groom to this party favor that plays off the couple’s first dance song (Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison) adding that personal touch is sure to be a hit!BeckyBrown0724

5. Technological Innovations

Broadcasting your wedding for out-of-town loved ones has also been a trend. With friends living out of state or abroad, or parents and family haling from all over the world, couples are coming up with creative ways to use Skype, FaceTime, or other broadcasting video services so other family members can tune into the special day.Guests snap their own photos of the bride and groom at a Chicago wedding

6. Music Requests

Finally, for those special dances songs, we at Stitely have already seen an increase in requests for Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” for the First Dance and Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” for dancing!

For more trends from other sources, check out this great post on Wedding Wire here.

With Spring just around the corner, I’ve been itching to get out and do more things in the city! If you’re feeling that cabin fever and love hearing new music as much as I do, then here are some shows to check out this month!

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March 3
Ariana Grande @ Allstate Arena
If you like top pop, head over to the arena for what will surely be an entertaining production with high wow-factor.

March 4
The Lone Bellow @ Lincoln Hall
Unfortunately sold out, but had to mention them. If you haven’t heard their new album “Then Came the Morning” it’s a must must must.

March 5
Ben Sollee @ City Winery
This cellist and songwriter’s music is incredibly unique and hard to describe. Transcending genre in the best way, Sollee will keep you entertained with his skill and creative use of his instrument.

Milo Greene @ Lincoln Hall
While Milo Greene is not actually a real person, the band certainly and thankfully is. Check them out.

March 6
The Dodos @ Lincoln Hall
The band has been around for about 8 years, but is consistently coming up with new and interesting additions to the genre. Check them out at Lincoln Hall!

The Apache Relay @ Schubas
More people should know about them. Period.

March 7
Bob Schneider @ SPACE in Evanston
This Austin, TX native will be playing back-to-back shows at SPACE in Evanston. Definitely one to catch! A unique and intimate venue featuring a uniquely talented lyricist.

March 10
Shooter Jennings @ City Winery
Get your country on.

March 12 & 13
JD McPherson @ Lincoln Hall
This man is true rock and roll. Headlining 2 show at Lincoln Hall it’s a wonder that they’re both not sold out yet. Get on this!

March 16
Thelonious Monday: An Evening of Bebop Jazz @ The Double Door
To jazz up your monday night, head to the Double Door for a unique night, tributing a legendary jazz musician.

March 19
Maroon 5 @ United Center
Enough said.

March 21
Mat Kearney @ The Riviera
A favorite of many, Mat Kearney is sure to entertain on his tour for his new album “Just Kids.”

Mortified! @ Lincoln Hall
While not exactly a music show, this hilarious comedy event is worth every penny! Listen as Chicagoans read their middle school and high school diaries out loud! So relatable, so hilarious, and completely mortifying in the best way.

March 27
Penny & Sparrow @ Schubas
This up-and-coming duo has been around for a while, but their newest album has gained well-deserved traction. They are ones to watch!

March 28
Matthew Perryman Jones @ City Winery
So mellow. So beautiful.

March 31
The von Trapps @ SPACE
Great-Grandchildren of the legendary Capt. & Maria von Trapp, this group has toured across the world, carrying on their family’s musical legacy.

This week’s Stitely Vendor Spotlight features another one of our favorite planners to work with in Chicago–LOLA Event Productions! These women go above and beyond the call of duty for every event that we’ve worked on with them. We had a chance to catch up with Lori Stevenson, a founder of LOLA to see what she has to say about her beginnings in the industry and tips for couples choosing their vendors.

Lori Stevenson

Lori Stevenson

How did you get started in event planning?

I have been in the wedding business since college – my degree is in fashion design, and I paid my way through school designing and making wedding gowns. Brides are just in my blood! I started LOLA in 2006 recognizing a gap for a planner that can also act as a design liaison as well as dig into the logistics of planning a wedding or event.

There are 4 of us so our journey is a collaboration that clients really get to take advantage of. While they have a single consultant they are working with, they have the ideas and expertise of the entire group and our diverse backgrounds in design, catering, logistics, etc.

What part of your job do you find the most satisfying and the most challenging?

Working with brides is incredibly rewarding – you get to be with people on their best day. How many people get hugs from clients on a weekly basis? It feeds my soul! Most of my challenges just come in work/life balance. I am lucky to have a VERY understanding husband as this job is really 24/7.

What is the key to a successful event?

The LOLA Pros

The LOLA Pros

A great guest experience. Yes, a wedding is to a certain extent “all about the bride” but at the end of the day you want to make sure guests get the experience that a bride and groom are striving for from the band to the food, flow, decor and atmosphere.

What is the craziest event story you can share?

Whenever I say, “Well, now I have really seen everything” something even crazier is bound to happen! I feel like I need to knock wood if I am going to answer this one :-) Last year alone we had a “cheeky” grandmother (yep, she mooned the DJ), we had a streaker blow through cocktail hour chased by 5 of Chicago’s finest police officers, and we surprised a bride and groom with a flash mob (not all surprises are bad, but I can’t say I love any surprise on a wedding day!)

Hire your planner before you make ANY decisions. Not only can we help create a beautiful, cohesive and well-planned event, but we can help you tackle it all with aplomb so you can have a great time doing it. No stress needed!

If you were stuck on a desert island which three albums would you want with you?

I always tell clients not to judge me based on my musical acumen! It’s petty awful in a tween-pop sort of way. My husband is ashamed of my iPod selection.
I think I would have to stick with classics, even though there are so many good contemporary artists out there spanning pop and indie like The National and Bruno Mars (seriously, can you STOP singing Uptown Funk?! Absolutely NOT!):
-Hot August Night – Yes I am die-hard Neil Diamond fan since childhood – I blame my mother!
-Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits – for when you need to sing along to something (and for the record, my husband is NOT ashamed of this pick)
-Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits or ABBA Gold – for when I just need to ‘dance it off’ – it really never gets old.

For more information and to connect directly with Lori and the other ladies at LOLA, check out their website here!

In light of our recent Vendor Spotlights in which we have been sharing some of our favorite planners, I thought I would highlight some reasons why planners can be incredibly helpful in making preparations for your big day!

Planners are no longer reserved only for the upper-class and extremely wealthy like they were once depicted in the movies. There is now a range of ways you can hire a planner to best fit your budget and your needs, so everyone can benefit from a little professional help on their big day. See our thoughts on why and how to make this work below:

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Perks of the Planner: Although it can be really fun, planning your wedding day can quickly turn into a challenging project. Not only are brides and grooms trying to create the perfect vision for their event (a tiring task in itself), but they’re trying to do it with limited knowledge on how to put together a wedding. From catering menus to invitations to booking a rocking band for the reception, it’s all new territory for most couples. And unless you happen to have a ton of free hours every week to pore over details, it can get really stressful really fast. Brides-to-be may write off the idea of hiring a planner, thinking that they know how to throw a party or don’t have the budget for such a luxury. The reality is that the help of a professional is invaluable in letting you enjoy your day and the months leading up to it.

There are some wedding details that practically demand a planner. If you are planning on having a large wedding (100+ people) things can get complicated quickly. A professional has dealt with large guest lists in the past, and she can help you prioritize your tasks and help you make choices that will satisfy your expectations, as well as those of your family and friends. Even if you have a smaller crowd, it can be a good idea to hire a wedding planner if you are holding your ceremony or reception in a location that is atypical. For example, a wedding held in a museum, park or historic home can be a beautiful and unique choice, but that also means there could be less wedding-specific assistance and a lot of unknown factors. This is a time when hiring someone who has spent years planning events comes in handy.

A professional planner can also save you money through their established connections with local wedding vendors.

Not for Everyone: If you are holding your wedding in a full service location (i.e. a banquet hall) you may be able to take advantage of an in-house planner who can assist with the catering, seating, and music set-up. Couples who plan to have a small, intimate wedding may also be able to handle the details themselves, though that depends on the wedding location and time limitations of the couple. (No matter the size, it’s always good to have help planning a destination wedding).

A Happy Medium: Brides who like the idea of having a professional on their team but don’t think they have the budget for it still have some options. Consider hiring a “day of” coordinator. These wedding planners will learn your wedding details a few weeks beforehand and manage the day from start to finish. They confirm details with all booked vendors and arrive on the day of the event, clipboard in hand, to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Even if you spend your days, weeks and months leading up to your wedding in a planning tizzy, the day of the event is really when the planner is clutch. If you’re going to have a planner in any capacity, the day of the event is the number one day to utilize that resource.