Ceremony & Reception Venue

why we’re getting married in texas

by lizzie & isaiah on June 10, 2011 · 38 comments

When I briefly mentioned we might be getting married in Texas, we got a few emails asking if everything was okay, did something happy and were we and Chicago still friends?! Yes, we are, by the way. Several people (including our family and friends) have said Chicago is integral to who we are as people…we can’t get married in this state we only kind of like…right?

It turns out planning a wedding from 1,000 miles away is a pain in the ass. It also turns out when you move from Chicago to Tejas and live there for four years, only a handful of your friends will stay close and a lot of them want to visit you soon anyway. Finally, hello average cost of weddings. How are you today, you fun-ruining bastard? Chicago’s average cost for a wedding is just outrageously higher. We can have twice the wedding here in Fort Worth for the same cost as a modest wedding off the beaten path in Chicago.

The photos above are of the venue we’re leaning toward right now. The ladies are really easy to work with, their pricing rocks my Chicagoan face off and I love the xeriscaped ceremony spot and warehouse interior.

While Chicago may be a huge part of who we are (we are still throwing a fit about the last game with the Heat in the finals and we’re already saving up a little bit at a time to have an emergency fund for when the Bears go to the Super Bowl again…), does that really mean we have to pay twice as much to get married there?

We’re able to bring down the guest list a little bit by having it in Texas and almost all of the venues we’re talking to are all, “What’s a preferred vendors list?” Just kidding, but we can have our own caterer, bring our own alcohol and set up an iPod as our pre-planned DJ.

The only negatives left are that we wouldn’t be married in Chicago, our home, the city we just adore and love and want to spend the rest of our lives with and that some people won’t be able to make it, including my great-grandma, which might be my greatest regret.

What are your thoughts? We haven’t put down a deposit on anything yet, so if you think we’re making a HUGE mistake, go ahead and just…you know…tell me now.


venue inspiration

by lizzie & isaiah on January 31, 2011 · 20 comments

After our venue inspiration fest, we landed on a silly last-note of the “well, we like the venue, but we also wanted punchier colors” variety. We gave it another shot. Think the slightly less-hipster younger sibling of this DIY, indie wedding smorgasbord.

We still like the original board, but it’s clear now that we prefer this venue for the sheer ability to change vibeage with one single piece. On the other hand, (we’re always about balancing the scales) we have some options cooking at Carnivale that might make it an option impossible to pass up. (And like that would be a bad option, anyway).

loft wedding inspiration board

One: Record wedding invitations found on The Wedding Chicks Two: Succulent boutonnieres found on Heavenly Blooms Three: Cute, minimal dress vibe found on Pats and Pans Four: Vinyl guest book inspiration found on Love & Lavender Five: Simple single-tier cake found on Ruffled Six: Amazing seating chart inspiration found on Hi-Fi Weddings Seven: We kept the churro bar found on Project Wedding

We like some mix of the two ideas with our own flair. Are we worried about the blank slate? Kind of. Am I terrified it’ll be too much DIY responsibility? Maybe. Am I asking myself far too many questions and answering them immediately? Definitely.

Point is: We’re pumped about the possibilities. Pending all kinds of discussions with the venues, negotiating costs, availability…but the greatest part: We’ve got two epically awesome choices and we’ll be happy either way.


venues: the inspiration boards

by lizzie & isaiah on January 29, 2011 · 21 comments

Wouldn’t you say it’s about time we got to planning this shindig? I’m not usually a fan of inspiration boards, with the exception of Chris’ awesomely rad I-wish-I-had-thought-of-that-combo boards on Postcards & Pretties. However. We thought if we just got a few things we could see in each of the venues together, we might be able to pick one for the love of all things that happen to your mind when you’ve been engaged for almost two years and have nothing planned yet. So.

I know succulents are passé now, supposedly, but I’m hoping that people will forget they were ever a trend or something for our wedding? I’m not a huge fan of flowers. Isaiah gets me flowers for every single special occasion and every time you would swear that last statement was a malicious lie…so I guess what I really mean is that I don’t picture flowers at our wedding, necessarily. (Orchids would be the one exception to the rule).

As we said before, the gallery belongs to a friend of ours and we absolutely love that the inside is a blank slate for us to have any kind of wedding. Really, this is only one option for the inside of the studio…but we like it, nonetheless.

art gallery wedding inspiration board

One: Bright pink and succulent bouquet found on The House that Lars Built Two: Off-white dress found on Green Wedding Shoes Three: Succulents in concrete squares to line the center of long tables found on VivaTerra Four: Succulent wedding cake found on Grey Likes Wedding Five: Churro Bar…YES, a churro bar found on Project Wedding Six: White balloon drop found on Alkeemi Seven: Succulent boutonniere (approved by Isaiah) found on JL Designs

The thing I love and hate about Carnivale is definitely the same thing: You don’t have to do anything. It is a wedding in a box. The decor is jewel-toned, which we love anyway, and they do everything there: Food, decor, dishes, linens, chairs (the CHAIRS!), everything. The con? Every couple that gets married in Carnivale has the exact same wedding, almost. They have a couple of decor options you can change and you’ll obviously have different attire and the like…but I feel like we wouldn’t be able to personalize it enough…or maybe that’s just the right amount of DIY for an attention-span-challenged couple, eh?

carnivale chicago wedding inspiration

One: Super cute, short wedding dress (that this bride wore to her bridal shower, say what now?) found on Style Me Pretty Two: Confetti wedding cake found on WeddingBee Three: Jones Soda favors found on Flickr Four: Purple wedding bouquet found on Bridal Tiaras Five: Confetti Wedding escort cards found on Camille Styles

Well, I don’t know if we’re feeling any more clarity…except that we are leaning more toward the gallery now, but with a bit punchier of a look than we settled on here…more color, less cacti to a tiny extent.

What do you think?


finding a venue is a pain in the…

by lizzie & isaiah on January 8, 2011 · 25 comments

Now that school is over, we have a lot more time to work on wedding planning. You might remember The Great Narrowing Down of 2010. We’re still worrying about the venue. Our problem now is that I’ve researched just about every single venue the Chicagoland area has to offer…and now there are far too many options.

We’ve finally got it narrowed down to two that are completely within our budget. Might be a step back from when we were sure we had it narrowed down to one…but you know, we’re going with the flow of information (meaning…rates).

Isaiah’s friend is a part-owner of this awesome gallery close to home in Aurora. Although we’ve only seen the one photo (below) of a wedding happening there, we can definitely picture our family and friends having a beer-filled, self-catered dance-fest blast here.

batavia water street studios wedding venue gallery loft

batavia water street studios for loft gallery wedding venue

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We’re are still head-over-heels for Carnivale, and they’ve brought down their prices a lot during negotiation and what not. We’re pumped to have it as a possibility. Also, got lucky enough to find some badass photos of the joint to showcase its radness.

Same loves for this venue apply – colors, low-maintenance, downtown view…It’s pricier than the other place, though.

carnivale chicago wedding venue

Carnivale Ceremony via Sweet Chic Events

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via Chicago Wedding Venues

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David Wittig Photography

What do you think? Self-catered, laid back gallery vibe or vibrant, low-maintenance restaurant vibe…that seems to be the question.

Also, I believe we found a photographer. More soon.

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Also, don’t forget to enter our blog header/banner design giveaway (ends Monday).


The Weekend & a Possible Venue

November 1, 2010

After my mini what-does-it-all-mean phase on Saturday, we were thinking about the parties we turned down for Halloween. We’ve never really been a Halloween couple. We got dressed up one Halloween, our first together, and never gave it another go since. We’ve always played the too-cool-for-school angle, but really it’s more of a do-we-really-want-to-spend-that-much-on-a-costume thing. [...]

16 comments you know you wanna read more..

Venue Freakout

June 22, 2010

A.K.A. What kind of wedding do we really want? Isaiah and I have been so torn on what kind of wedding we want, and in turn, what venue should the wedding be held in. So far, the only decision we have set in stone is the venue, but wait…not really. We have two very distinct [...]

17 comments you know you wanna read more..

Next Step: Contract

June 1, 2010

Since we’re planning our wedding from Texas to Chicago, we have a few people doing some scouting for us. Isaiah’s fabulous sister lives downtown and she is doing some looking in for us. We’ve been deciding between Opera and Carnivale for the ceremony/reception venue. We were under the impression that Opera was basically a less-expensive [...]

14 comments you know you wanna read more..

The Great Narrowing Down

May 19, 2010

We have narrowed our venues down to two, barring any unforeseen fantasticalness. Carnivale Chicago I’ve been in love with this venue since I first saw it, it’s so unique and colorful. Every time I envision the wedding, it’s here, in this space. It’s going to cap-out our budget, and we’ll have to get a little [...]

7 comments you know you wanna read more..

Venue Crush

May 15, 2010

How stunning is the Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois. I have a full-blown venue crush on this place… Despite the impracticality of having a separate ceremony and reception venue that Isaiah and I have already discussed…we are smitten with this house. How beautiful is it, really? It was created by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe [...]

7 comments you know you wanna read more..


May 3, 2010

Ahh, Opera. We have had an interesting time finding venues we adore in Chicago.  It seems that all the best venues are showcased everywhere, but once you’ve already looked into those, where do you look?  Since I’m not planning locally, I can’t just run into a venue. I have to find a place not only [...]

2 comments you know you wanna read more..