Wedding Planning

Chicago Spring Wedding Portraits

Wedding Pictures, Wedding Planning, WeddingsWedding Creativo Photography

Are you planning a spring wedding in the Chicago area? If so, you can enjoy portrait backdrops of spring flowering trees including several varieties Crabapple, Cherry Blossom, Lilac, Magnolia, and several others in our region.  Planning a date around peak tree blooming is tricky, since nature doesn't follow our human calendar, but generally the first couple weekends in May are a pretty safe bet.

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2016 Chicago Festivals & Events : Spring & Summer

Wedding PlanningWedding Creativo Photography

Many of our couples and their guests at Creativo Loft and Wedding Creativo Photography ask us for ideas about fun things to do in Chicago.  So, we've made this handy guide for 2016 Chicago Festivals and Events. This guide is for spring and early summer.  Look for a new guide in a few months as we get into late summer and fall.  Have fun exploring Chicago and all of our wonderful city neighborhoods!

Perks of a Winter Chicago Wedding

Inspiration, Wedding Pictures, Wedding PlanningWedding Creativo Photography

Yes, many people dread the Polar Vortex monster that sweeps through northern and Midwest states during winter, but if you are planning a December, January, or February wedding, there are some perks to embrace as well.

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Seven Chicago Winter Wedding Perks:

1. Early sunset and twilight between 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. means you can get beautiful twilight portraits, like the one shown above, well before your cocktail hour typically starts at 5:00 or 6:00 p.m.

2. Fancy coats, furs, shawls and other warming accessories can be warn during winter for not only practical reasons, but to also add variety to your winter wedding look.

3. Seasonal reduced rates are sometimes available at some venues and with some vendors and services that are not offered during warmer months.

4. Venues and vendors often have more available dates or have last-minute availability during this time of year compared to higher demand warmer months.

5. Cranberries, pinecones, poinsettia, holly, hot toddy, mulled wine, and other winter seasonal favorites make special appearances this time of year.

6. If you like snowy landscapes, there is plenty of it for your winter wedding portraits.

7. Close snuggles with your sweetheart to keep warm.

Authentic Victorian Era Style Wedding

Wedding Details, Wedding Fashion, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Pictures, Wedding Planning, WeddingsWedding Creativo Photography

Terah and Ross celebrated their emerald green and gold wedding at Unity Lutheran Church and the Fortnightly Club in Chicago.  The bride is a historian and created an authentic Victorian era theme wedding....down to making her own dress!  It was modeled off of a 19th century Civil War era design. The groomsmen's suits were also period inspired with old fashioned ascotts instead of modern ties.  The bride's mother Linda also helped a great deal by elaborately designing the reception table centerpieces. Each table had a different traditional scholastic subject theme and was decorated using a varieity of antiques and vintage pieces such as inkwells, maps, globes, books, and old photographs. Overall, the style of the wedding reflected both Terah and Ross's professional careers in academia.  Terah and Linda also made the invitations and programs, and many other details. All in all it was truly an exceptional D.I.Y. wedding, We will always look back on this as all-time favorite for us, not only for the amazing details, but primarily because Terah and Ross were such wonderful and kind couple, an absolute pleasure to get to know, and we were so honored to be included on their memorable day.

Wedding Creativo Photography

Magic Wedding Moment : Nervous Ring Bearer

Inspiration, Wedding Details, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Pictures, Wedding PlanningWedding Creativo Photography

The little ones that carry rings and flower baskets at weddings are usually pretty aware big importance of the wedding day, and kids always create spontaneous and unique magic moments.  To help them feel more comfortable and confident, it is nice to have a parent come a little early with them to the ceremony so they can "practice" their job before walking down the aisle in front of all those people!  Sometimes this does not work at all when kids are extremely terrified, but frequently kids fare better with just getting an opportunity to feel more familiar in uncharted territory.  Even a brief run up and down the aisle can be a big help to settle their nervousness. This little guy took his job as ring bearer pretty seriously and is shown here eagerly awaiting his cue to present the all important wedding rings. So adorable!

Wedding Creativo Photography

Summer 2013 Wedding Trend : Parasols and Umbrellas

Wedding Details, Wedding Fashion, Wedding Ideas, Wedding PlanningWedding Creativo Photography

 Parasols are popping up in cute styles of paper, prints and, of course, traditional lace at summer 2013 weddings.

Parasols and statement umbrellas always play a part in weddings every year, but new versions of paper parasols in this seasons hot coral and green colors, as well as cute printed statement umbrellas and parasols are trending this summer.

Summer 2013 Parasols

Click for more info


Add Glam to the Wedding Emergency Kit

Wedding Ideas, Wedding PlanningWedding Creativo Photography

Yes indeed, having some kind of tote bag or kit for little "emergencies" on your wedding day is always a great idea, and be sure to have items that are helpful for ladies and gentlemen.  However, it is your wedding day after all, and there is no rule that says the emergency bag has to be strictly utilitarian.  

Along with the bandages and safety pins, you can add a little glamour with small luxury items for touch ups, perfume or luxury treats or snacks.  Even if it is just the tote bag or toiletries bag, you can make them extra special...and you might even hope that you get a blister to have a good reason break out your stylish tote or sparkly flats.

Glam Reception Kit

Indie Wed Chicago 2013 Highlights

Creative Spotlight, Creativo News, Inspiration, Wedding Fashion, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Pictures, Wedding PlanningWedding Creativo Photography

We had a wonderful time at Indie Wed on Saturday, and were inspired hearing all of the creative plans couples are making for their 2013 and 2014 weddings.  Indie Wed is THE event for couples looking for unique wedding ideas and professionals, and we were honored to participate. Thanks to everyone who came by our booth to say hello, and also a big thanks to our associates Amanda and Kevin for doing such a wonderful job.  We are so fortunate to have such wonderful people, couples and professionals, to make our world go round.

Here are some of our favorite highlights from Indie Wed.  There are also lots more pictures on our facebook page.

Wedding Creativo associates and ambassadors of awesome, Kevin and Amanda

Indie Wed welcome sign

Dame Couture vintage inspired wedding dresses

The "Belles and Gents" lounge on the third floor, presented by Sine Qua Non Events

The chocolate cigar gal rounds the lounge, furnished by Aged Vintage Rentals

Those cigars were a delectable sweet and salty treat by Truffle Truffle

I think we have a crush on food truck wonder Puffs of Doom

Tablescapes unique decor rentals are always a delight

Brides and bridesmaids, can we please see some Mohop shoes on your feet? Folks in Chicago make these kicks!

The Caterist, a new catering company based in Evanston, was in the booth next to ours. They saw us drooling, had mercy on us, and gave us some treats. They were quite tasty and we were impressed!

We liked this band called We, Unity Candle. They were fun, but as serious audiophiles we were mostly impressed with their abilities to manage quality live sound while rocking the house. We see a lot of bands that mistake loud distorted volume for rocking, and these guys did NOT do that, bravo!

Tweedle Press drew a crowd with their chimerical designs and environmentally sustainable paper goods

Endearing accessories and fabric flowers headpieces on display by Clark & Diversey

A great pairing of professionals, the always sophisticated Sarah Drake Design with Pistil & Vine Floral Design

MarEva's custom designed jewelry and brooch bouquets caught our eye. We were easily lured in by so many beautiful shiny sparkly things.

Iris and Blush for Spring Save The Dates

Creativo News, Engagements, Wedding Ideas, Wedding PlanningWedding Creativo Photography

Inspired by blush and pastel colors of spring, this two-sided Save-the-Date postcard with pink and cream iris flowers is a great way to set the tone for a romantic spring wedding.  Wedding Creativo offers customized Save-the-Date cards with select engagement packages, or anyone may order custom designed cards from us by request.  For more information please contact Sarah at

Engagement Ring Trends 2013

Creative Spotlight, Engagements, Wedding Fashion, Wedding Ideas, Wedding PlanningWedding Creativo Photography

Wedding Creativo featured in CSW

Creativo News, Wedding PlanningWedding Creativo Photography

For the recently engaged, or if you know someone who is planning a wedding in Chicago, we recommend picking up a copy of Chicago Style Weddings magazine.  The magazine is desinged to follow a typical flow for  wedding planning, and especially helpful is the month-by-month chart to keep on track with planning tasks.  Wedding Creativo is also honored to be featured in a couple of articles about photography trends and tips.  January/February 2013 issue is hot off the presses, so check a magazine rack at a store near you to pick up a copy.  Happy planning!

How To Get Married in Chicago

Engagements, Wedding PlanningWedding Creativo Photography

You just got engaged! Congratulations!

Now what?

Well, depending on what kind of wedding or civil union you have in mind, this next phase in your life could involve anywhere from 2 years to 24 hours.  This article will not focus that much on the planning aspect of what happens next (although we have a few basic getting started tips), but rather the actual requirements and steps to legally get married in Chicago and Cook County, Illinois.

1. Figuring out what kind of wedding you want (and can afford) involves a lot of factors that you and your sweetheart need to first discuss with each other.  Your financial state and life priorities can vary greatly depending on what age you are when you decide to marry.  A couple's shared goals at age 22 are usually very different than at age 28, 34, 40 or beyond.  What ever your shared dreams are as a married couple, the wedding is only part of your future plans together, so your decision for those plans are a very personal choice.

Tip: for general cost estimates and sample wedding budgets we suggest

2. Plan the wedding. There are tons of web sites, magazines, books and software to help with this.  Or, you can hire an experienced and qualified event planner.  In the Chicago area, we recommend starting by picking up a copy of Chicago Style Weddings magazine.  It is organized like a planning guide and has a standard planning schedule of what tasks to check off your list each month.  For this blog post, we're going to leave it at that.

3. Get married!

Now, to actually get married or have a civil union in Chicago, the city and Cook County web sites have several pages with information, however, it can be tricky to find all of the specific information that you need.  So really, the purpose of this post is an effort to centralize all of the important information right here!

Step 1: Prepare to get your marriage license. To get married in Illinois, couples must get their marriage license issued in the county where they are planning the marriage ceremony to take place.  In Chicago, and closest suburbs, that is Cook County.  Generally Illinois, and specifically Cook County, are not very strict with legal requirements, but there are some eligibility laws, required legal identification, and the license fee is $60.  For more general information:

Applying for a Marriage License:

Applying for a Civil Union License:

Step 2:  Go to get your marriage license. You will need to apply for your civil union or marriage license together and in-person.  You may do this at any of the six Cook County Clerk's vital records offices in the area.  Five of the locations are in the suburbs: Skokie, Rolling Meadows, Maywood, Markham and Bridgeview. There is one location in the city of Chicago, at the Daley Center -- 50 W. Washington St., East Concourse, Lower Level 25. 

Click here for more information on Cook County Vital Records locations:

IMPORTANT!!! The marriage license is issued while you wait and is good for 60 days.  There is a 24-hour waiting period, so you have to wait at least one day before you can legally get married.  This is especially important information for couples who live outside of the county or state and are planning a wedding or elopement in Chicago or suburban Cook County.  So, plan your travel accordingly to obtain your marriage license at least 24 hours (but we suggest 48 hours, just in case) before your scheduled ceremony time.

Step 3:  Check your issued marriage license has all the correct information.  Before you leave the clerk's office, be sure your legal names are spelled correctly, and your age is correct.  If this information does not match your drivers license or or other legal identification documents, it will be a big headache to fix later.

Step 4:  On the wedding day, remember to bring your marriage license and mailing envelope provided by the county.  If you are having a big wedding day, it helps to delegate the best man, maid of honor, sibling or a parent to be in charge of bringing the license and giving it to your officiant.  If you are eloping or having a small wedding, of course you may do this yourself.

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE FOR COURT HOUSE WEDDINGS OR ELOPEMENTS!!! Marriage court is NOT located in the same building downtown where you get the marriage license.  Marriage Court in Chicago is located at 119 W. Randolph St., Lower Level (City Hall building).  Although, these buildings are close to each other, so if you get the locations mixed up, you won't have to go far to find the correct location.  No appointments accepted, first come first served.  The fee is $10.  Here is more information about hours and locations for marriage and civil union by a judge in Chicago or suburban Cook County:

Also, in the City of Chicago, on select Saturdays throughout the year, Marriage Court judges hold brief ceremonies for a couple hours in the morning at the beautiful Chicago Cultural Center at 78 E. Washington St.  You have to call to find out the available dates, and go in person to Randolp St. Marriage Court to make your appointment for a specific designated time for your ceremony.  These special dates and times typically get booked in advance, especially during popular times of year.  Call 312.603.5660 for information, or go here on the City of Chicago's website (scroll down to the bottom of the page):

Step 5:  After your ceremony, your officiant will fill out the marriage license.  You can make this a ceremonial moment with your photographer capturing the signing, or the officiant can just fill it out while you're getting hugs and kisses.  The officiant is then responsible for delivering your completed marriage license to the county office.  When you are issued the license, you also receive an envelope with the county office address already printed on the envelope.  It just needs a postage stamp, or the officiant can deliver it in person if they prefer.

Step 6:  Order an official copy of your marriage certificate.  Cook County does not automatically send you a copy of your offical marriage certificate.  You will need to order this after the wedding. There are several ways you may order your certificate, including online. (You should order at least 2-3 certified copies....see step 7).

Here is more general information about Cook County Marriage Certificates:

Direct link to ordering a standard marriage certificate online:

The county also offers special decorative commemorative certificates:

Step 7:  Changing your name.  Not everyone does this, but if either spouse is changing their name after getting married, you will need several certified copies of your marriage certificate.  The bad news can be a hassle to change your name, and then update that change on everything from your drivers license to your retirement account.  The good news is, you do NOT have to go through the court process with a marriage name change (which is really good news, because to otherwise legally change your name in court costs nearly $400!).

You should first change your Social Security card, here is information on Social Security Administration web site:

Then, after you receive your new Social Security card, go to your local DMV to request a new driver's licence, update your vehicle registration and title.  There are many other legal documents or financial institutions where you'll also need to update you name, such as your passport, with your employer, bank, insurance, post office, credit card companies, etc.  Some of these you can do over the phone, but in some cases be prepared to provide additional certified copies of your marriage certificate.  Sounds like a big hassle, yes?  Well, there are online name changing services that can make things easier....for a fee....such as

Step 8:  Enjoy your marriage!

Of couse, at our wedding venue Creativo Loft, and photography studio Wedding Creativo Photography, we would be happy to help you plan a fun and memorable wedding.

10 Great Chicago Wedding Blogs 2012

Creative Spotlight, Inspiration, Wedding Fashion, Wedding Ideas, Wedding PlanningWedding Creativo Photography

With thousands of wedding blogs around the world there is literally limitless inspiration and information for wedding planning.  For the Chicago area, we are fortunate to have so many creative and knowledgeable wedding professionals who also have fantastic blogs.  We find the advice and tips found on event professionals blogs to be more realistic, filled with a lot more original ideas, and frankly, far more diverse than what we see on the nationally-known wedding blogs. 

10 of our favorite Chicago wedding blogs and posts in 2012           (listed randomly)

1. Wedding Creativo Blog (okay yes, we are biased, ha ha) - of course as photographers, we feature lots of pretty pictures, but also practical tips and insights based on our real weddings from two decades of experience. One of our most popular posts: Make Your Own New Wedding Traditions

2. Entertaining Company Blog - this is a great catering and event design company, and owner Wendy Pashman is an amazing writer to boot. This blog shares a wide variety of ideas and inspiration for weddings and parties of all sorts. Recommended reading: How to Cocktail Like a Marchesa

3. Alice Padrul Journal - Couture wedding dress designer Alice Padrul shows her stunningly beautiful gowns in action featuring videos and photos of real brides on their wedding day, and occasionally she gives us a peek behind the curtain into her dress making workshop in Chicago.  Recommended reading: The Making of a Gown

4. Sarah Drake Design Blog - Sarah Drake is a professional creative designer on several fronts, and has expanded her creative work beyond weddings and paperies, but she is a greatly admired wedding invitation designer in Chicago.  We enjoy reading about what inspires her work, and also regular features of her behind the scenes working on the delicate details of her designs. Recommended reading: September = Wedding Production

5. Fleur Chicago Blog - Kellie Marie, owner of Fleur, is hands down one of the most talented florists in Chicago, and her blog regularly inspires with photos of her beautiful work, boutique floral shop, and her personal notes and insights.  Recommended reading: Don't Sweat It

6. Sine Qua Non Special Events Blog - event planner Beth Bernstein leads the team at SQN with lots of practical planning advice, and her blog also shows her talents as a taste maker with posts that are always on top of the latest trends.  Recommended reading: Beauty and the Brooch (Bouquet)

7. Stitely Entertainment Blog - Jeff Stitely and crew are tops among wedding musicians in Chicago, and their blog often has some surprising and clever sources of inspiration for wedding music.  Recommended reading: Perpetuum Mobile - Music Inspired by Food Poisoning

8. Anita Weds Blog - Anita Vaughan is a kind and thoughtful person, which is why she is a much loved wedding officiant in Chicago.  As a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant she shares a lot of diverse weddings on her blog, and we always enjoy reading how she works with couples to help them add personal touches and special meaning into their ceremonies.  Recommended reading:  Adding a Little Spice to a Ceremony

9. Everything But The Dress - This blog belongs to the ladies of The Left Bank, where brides find dazzling wedding jewelry in Chicago.  It is always fun to see their latest arrivals and trunk shows, and we also enjoy seeing their real brides' bling, as well general wedding style tips and trends.  Recommended reading: Magnificent Cuffs Inspired by the 2012 Oscar Awards

10. The Haberdash Blog - For fashion and lifestyle tips for the guys, this blog by the Chicago men's clothing boutique Haberdash is an excellent resource.  This is not specifically for grooms, but these curators of fashion for well-dressed men can also inspire great ideas for grooms looking to express their own style beyond the standard black tux. Recommended reading: Classic Essentials The Overcoat

Perfect Perfumes for Weddings

Inspiration, Wedding Details, Wedding Ideas, Wedding PlanningWedding Creativo Photography

Whether you collect perfumes, or are searching for a special scent just for your wedding day, here are a few tips for your fragrance selection and post-wedding storage. 

Wedding Creativo's top 10 favorite perfumes for brides:

All of these wedding fragrances are equally wonderful, and listed alphabetically.  The right choice is the one that best represents your personal style and scent preference.

Burberry Body - absinthe, peach, freesia, rose, iris, sandalwood, woody cashmerean, creamy vanilla, amber and musk; a modern and crisp scent, currently very popular

Chanel No. 5 - the classic luxury fragrance, launched in 1921, jasmine, rose, iris, amber, patchouli; timeless romance

Chantecaille Vetyver - bergamot, lemon, nutmeg, pepper, musk and sandalwood; an earthy and spicy chic fragrance

Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue - Sicilian citron, bluebell, granny smith apple, lasmine sambac, bamboo, white rose, cedar wood, amber, musk; a tropical floral fragrance

Estee Lauder Beautiful - floral scents of rose, jasmine, and carnation, with fruity notes of fresh citrus, melons, peaches and plums; a fresh summery fragrance, popular since the mid 1980s

Guerlain Shalimar - another classic introduced in 1925, exotic florals and vanilla; seductive evening or autumn scent

Issey Miyake Women - blend of fresh water florals; a clean, soft and feminine fragrance

Oscar de la Renta Live in Love - sweet hyacinth, lily of the valley, orchid, sandalwood, cedar amber; graceful floral and chypre blend

Ralph Lauren Romance - rose, ginger, marigold, violet, oakmoss and musk; refined and flowery

Vera Wang Perfume - mandarin, lotus and iris; exotic and feminine

After the wedding, many women keep their perfume bottles in the bathroom, which is actually not the ideal place for storage.  The steam from the shower and inherent humidity of a typical home bathroom affects both the aroma and color of perfume. It is optimal to keep them in a in a place without direct sunlight and relatively low humidity, such as your bedroom dresser or wardrobe closet.

If you rather show off your pretty bottles, perhaps display them on a tray or in a basket that can easily be moved to a closet shelf on occasion, such as when you are away on vacation or on a long weekend.  This will help to extend the life and vibrancy of your favorite fragrances.