Meet our friends at the Catalyst Ranch

Meet Lauren Smith the Branson Babe, Gala Girl, Marketing Manager of the Catalyst Ranch which happens to be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this Thursday (find out more about their event here )

Lauren (left) and the Catalyst Ranch team

 

 

For people who may not be familiar with Catalyst Ranch can you tell us a bit about the location?
Catalyst Ranch is Chicago’s creative meeting and event space. With bright, bold colors and nostalgic Americana furniture, our space invigorates meeting and events by constantly stimulating the senses.

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Tell us a bit about you and your team?
I started working at Catalyst Ranch in 2006 and have pretty much worked every position from the ground up, very happily moving into my current title of Special Events Manager in 2010. Our team is a wonderfully diverse, motley crew of artists and event industry hopefuls. Our staff isn’t your run-of-the-mill event staff that hover in the shadows. Our team is in the forefront with their engaging and endearing personalities, always at the ready to assist.

What services do you offer?
We have an extensive list of preferred caterers and vendors that are as passionate about making each event special and unique. We facilitate these relationships with our brides and planners. Because of our eclectic furnishings and décor, we are able to tailor a floor plan specifically for the bride and planner.

Is there a particular bride style you feel you cater to best?
A lot of our brides are very DIY and that’s great! The more you can tailor your wedding to your specific tastes and flair, the more special it’ll be when you look back on it. We’ve had some amazingly eclectic weddings in our history, including a recent cosplay wedding with a wedding cake straight out of the sci-fi show Dr. Who. Because we’re such a unique venue, the brides that come to us usually have a strong sense of self, who they are, what they like, and can also have fun with it.

Video by Sterling Wedding Cinema produced with Naturally Yours Events

What is the first thing a couple should do after getting engaged?
A wedding budget and guest list needs to be the first steps but another very important aspect to decide early on is the type of wedding the couple wants. It’s best to outline the most important elements of the wedding day that will help make the celebration special and unique.

What is your favorite part/moment of a wedding?
The “I Do’s,” plain and simple. There is a lot of stress associated with planning a wedding, especially the day of. No matter how much you plan, there are so many variables during the day of the event that the couple doesn’t truly relax until their standing in front of their friends and family. And the “I Do” is the culmination of the time this particular couple has spent together and all the hard work and planning we’ve all done to make their special day come true.

Can you give me 1-2 of your favorite requests/ ideas that a couple has come to you with?
One artistic couple created a collaborative art piece with their guests and it was a big hit. Everyone just grabbed a brush, found their paint preferences and went to town on a huge blank canvas. Definitely a memorable wedding moment and a fantastic piece the couple will have forever.

What are the trends you are seeing for 2013/14
Adding a unique local aspect to a wedding, such as food trucks and microbrew beers have been big this year and I think it will continue to get more popular in the next year.

Who is Lauren:
– what is your rule of thumb you live by?
It’s all in the details.

– what do you do in your free time?
Chill out! Painting my nails and play video games (sometimes simultaneously).

– If you were to turn on the TV right now what would you choose to watch?
“Star Trek: The Next Generation” – thank god for marathons on BBC America and Spike TV!

– what book are you reading right now? or what is the last book you read?
Just finished reading Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicle and now I’m on to James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans.

Finally we have to ask but what is an item you would have on your wedding registry?
I love to entertain so I would go with a some great bar equipment and glassware for fab cocktails.

 

Don’t forget their Fan event this Thursday Nov 15th 6pm-9pm

 

FROLIC – Apple Mojito Mocktail

This week’s FROLIC inspiration is twofold; one we are still in apple season, two my little one is celebrating her 1st birthday!

 

Ingredients:

100 ml Good apple juice
2 tsp Sugar or 20 ml of sugar syrup
15 ml Fresh lemon juice
15 ml Fresh lime juice
Soda water
10 – 12 Fresh mint leaves
Crushed Ice

 

Method:
Bash the mint and sugar in a bowl to release the taste. Add the crushed ice to high-ball glass, then add the lemon juice, lime juice and the mint. Pour the apple juice over the ice and top up with soda water. Garnish with a slice of a sprig of mint and a slice of lime

 

Meet our friends at Naturally Yours Events

Meet Carlene Smith of Naturally Yours Events the must go to event planner for any couple interested an eco-chic and green wedding. She knows all the great local vendors and has great tips and suggestions to keep the carbon foot print of your wedding down to a minimum.

What services do you offer? Full, partial, and day-of event or wedding planning, baby showers, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, birthday parties, anniversaries, mitzvahs

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Photos courtesy of Cage and Aquarium, Jeremy Lawson Photography, Julia Franzosa, Chrissy Deming

Tell us a bit about you and your team?

I am the owner and lead planner for Naturally Yours Events. I do have an extra pair of hands, the amazing Jessie, that helps on certain events.

What is the biggest lesson you learned working as a wedding planner?

I would say that nothing is black and white and sometimes things don’t go as planned. You have to be able to roll with it to have a successful event.

Is there a particular bride style you feel you cater to best?

I really cater to the non-traditional couple who wants their wedding to be tailored to them. My clients tend to value choosing smaller independent businesses to work with on their special day and many value having a greener event.

What is the first thing a couple should do after getting engaged?

It is very important to figure out what type of wedding they want to have, what’s the most important element, how many people they plan to invite, and how much they want to spend.

What are the best tools for a couple to use when planning for their wedding?

I love blogs and pinterest to figure out the style and design of the day. But the most important tool is a good, well-kept spreadsheet that has all the details- guest list, vendor information, budget, music and ceremony information, etc. These are all tools I provide my clients and we update them together.

What is your favorite part/moment of a wedding?

I love the moment the bride walks down the aisle. She looks at me with anticipation right before I signal her to walk down the aisle. With a huge grin she begins her processional and I end up crying, every time!

Can you give me 1-2 of your favorite requests/ ideas that a bride has come to you with?

I had a client who was very into music and we named each table after their favorite record and the escort cards were concert tickets. My client next year is doing an interactive S’mores bar with flavored handmade marshmallows. Super excited!

What are the trends you are seeing for 2013?

I am seeing a lot more mixing of platinum colors such as silver, gold, and coppers. I am also seeing couples choosing to do standing ceremonies for a more intimate setting.

Quick getting to know Carlene questions:

what is your rule of thumb you live by? I guess, I just try to do the right thing and live with integrity.

what do you do in your free time? Biking to new places, watching movies, and trying new local brews.

If you were to turn on the TV right now what would you choose to watch? I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I like Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and Parks and Recreation.

– what book are you reading right now? or what is the last book you read? Right before wedding season I finished “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.”

Finally we have to ask but what is an item you would have on your wedding registry?

I would go for a good set of knives. Everyone needs the right tool to do the job

See a little video of one of Naturally Yours Events wedding

Find out more

Email: info@naturallyyoursevents.com

Phone: 312 – 752 -5890

Election day products

Did you vote today?  Here are some election inspired products for your Chicago wedding registry!

 

Getting ready for the Turkey

Thanksgiving is around the corner we thought this week’s registry inspiration should help you prepare for the big Turkey dinner.  Find out here how some of our local Chicago partners can help you and your bridal registry have everything you need!  See how Northwestern Cutlery and Crosell & Co can help you out

Everything you need to cook the bird

  

 

Once the bird is cooked time to decorate the table

 

 

Don’t forget a great knife to carve the turkey!

FROLIC – Bourbon Cider

One of my favorite things about the fall is apples and with apples comes cider, so today’s inspiration

 

INGREDIENTS
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. whole cloves, crushed
1 3″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cinnamon stick
3 oz. apple cider
1½ oz. bourbon
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Dried apple slice, to garnish

 

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Boil 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Remove from heat; stir in sugar, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon; let sit for 1 hour. Strain and chill syrup.

2. Mix ¾ oz. ginger syrup, cider, bourbon, and juice in a shaker with ice; shake to chill. Strain into a martini glass; garnish with apple.

 

And here is a great glass to add to your registry to drink your new cocktail in