Meet our friends at Soirée Weddings & Events

We recently got to chat with one of our favorite ladies: Tiffany from Soirée Weddings & Events.

Soiree Team

For people who may not be familiar with you or your work, can you share a bit on how you got started in the wedding industry? Before I got into weddings, I worked in Sales for a communications company. I was good at it, but I didn’t feel that I was using my skills to their full potential. When I began to plan my wedding I realized that I had a passion for the wedding industry. My wedding photographer, Cristina Giurgea, was the one that convinced me to start my own business as a wedding planner. It was an intimidating idea, but she made me realize that I could do it and that I had the talent to be successful. I have to say, my sales skills helped me along the way too. Some of the best business owners started as sale reps. We understand the importance of the sales process and customer service. I started the company almost 3 years ago – I am amazed by our growth and I am excited to see where we are headed in the future!

(picture courtesy of Anthony Yoon Photography)

What services do you offer? Everything from Full planning, Partial Planning, Event Design and Weekend of Coordinating.

Who are your team? Our team consists of myself, Owner and Senior Event Planner; and my two Associate Coordinators – Molly Blonn and Rebecca Niziol

What is the biggest lesson you learned working as a wedding planner? Well, I found that I am always learning. I learn something new at every wedding we do. It allows me to grow, change and adapt. But the biggest thing that I have learned it to always stay calm. I am the Director for the evening and everyone is relying on me. If I look stressed or frazzled, then everyone else will start to panic or lose confidence. I internalize any stress while maintaing my composure. As wedding planners, we just need to come up with the solution to any challenge!

Is there a particular bride style you feel you cater to best? I feel that I work best with urban brides with realistic budgets. I can design traditional weddings, glam weddings, contemporary weddings and even rustic weddings. However, all my clients have varying budgets – so it is my job to deliver a wedding that “wows” while staying within budget and complimenting their design style.

(Photography by left to right, top to bottom: Cristina G, Kristen Lynn, George Street Photo, George Street Photo, Carasco, Carasco, Nick Gerber, Nick Gerber, Cristina G)

What is the first thing a couple should do after getting engaged? First of all, they should try to enjoy the engagement a bit before jumping straight into wedding planning. Have an engagement party and enjoy the high you are still on from the proposal and the ring! Then…call me! I can give you a step by step timeline for the planning process. Chicago is very competitive when it comes to selecting a venue and date. Many popular Chicago venues book out 2 years in advance during the popular wedding season months. Venues have to be able to accommodate your guest count, fit in your budget and also your style. Those are important things to look for when choosing the venue for your wedding. After we have selected the perfect venue, then we can start the vendor selection process!

What are the best tools for a couple to use when planning for their wedding? I always recommend for my clients to join Pinterest. Pinning photos to your wedding inspiration boards is very helpful when shopping for a dress, meeting with florists, decor companies and even photographers. It helps those vendors visualize our design style. Another helpful tool are wedding websites. This allows you to relay important information about your wedding to your guests. Things like hotel rates and contact info, ceremony and reception location and fun facts can all be listed there.

What is your favorite part/moment of a wedding? Every wedding is different – but they all have moments that touch the heart. Sometimes it is when the bride is walking down the aisle, sometimes it is a heartfelt toast or a first dance. I love when there is something inserted into the wedding that is special to the couple – a fun song for the cake-cutting, a family tradition like the polka or the hora – I even had a bride get up on stage and sing Black Velvet with the band – she was amazing!!

Sami + Mike Wedding Trailer from NightOwls Media on Vimeo.

Can you give me 1-2 of your favorite requests/ ideas that a bride has come to you with? One of my couple’s asked me to do a Step and Repeat/Red Carpet for the entrance into the reception venue. The couple used to live in LA and they thought it was a fun way to incorporate a little bit of Hollywood into the wedding. The couple’s logo along with the logos from the venues printed on the back drop. The guests loved it! They all had their photos taken as they entered the venue. It was a cool and different take on a photo booth!

What are the trends you are seeing for 2013? I am seeing eclectic menus for food. More and more of my clients are “foodies” and want to wow their guests with an interesting dining experience. Also, Color for bridal gowns… and even no color for Bridesmaids – like ivory and white dresses. food trucks are a huge craze right now – why not have one pull up at the end of the reception so guests can grab some late night snacks to-go? Grooms are taking more of a role in wedding planning now too- If you have to room in your space think about adding a lounge area for the men : Whisky or bourbon tastings, flights of different craft beers, and your groom’s favorite sweets – even the men will appreciate the details!

Getting to know Tiffany 

– what is your rule of thumb you live by? Always be nice, respectful and professional. You can get further in life that way. Also, be proactive – not reactive.

– what do you do in your free time? I love to be outside (in the summer!) but spending time with my husband, dog and cat is one of my favorite things. Yoga, running and spin class is what I do to sweat. and I love to shop online!!

– If you were to turn on the TV right now what would you choose to watch? I love my reality tv! everything from Bravo to HGTV! But I love me some Dexter and Homeland!!

– what book are you reading right now? or what is the last book you read? The last book I read was The 19th Wife. It was pretty good. I don’t read the “fad” books that everyone is raves about – they are usually poorly written. I prefer the classics, like Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.

Finally we have to ask but what is an item you would have on your wedding registry? Choose a china that you can use everyday. Even if it is fine china. Most people leave their china boxed up or locked away in a china cabinet – I think that is such a waste! I used my china every day, I want to enjoy it! Also – make sure to register for china that fits in your cabinets!! So many dinner plates are oversized now – and they don’t fit in standard “city” sized cabinets!

Basic dinnerware from Simon Pearce

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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