I did an Insta-poll last week to see who was interested in hearing about our wedding planning thus far, and I am so excited to finally be sharing! I wanted to write this post almost as a “diary entry”, since I know these days are going to fly by and sentimental me is going to want to remember all these exciting details!
I’m going to start by sharing some of the vendors we have selected/used so far and our thoughts as we were selecting them.
Photography: Ben Ramos Photography
Confession: I reached out to Ben BEFORE we even announced our engagement on Facebook or to a majority of our family LOL. If that doesn’t tell you how good he is, nothing will. Ben is a true professional, but also such a hype-man! I don’t know about you, but I want that kind of vibe surrounding me on my wedding day!
We have already done our engagment shoot with him (featured photo), and we cannot wait to see all our photos! The shoot was so fun- even Justin said it was a blast and the 1.5 hours flew by. It helps that I know Ben from high school, but honestly even if he was a stranger- it would have been the same amazing experience!
This was one area we KNEW we were going to splurge in- I have heard horror stories about wedding photographers and knew I didn’t want to skimp here. To each their own of course, but I am already so confident with our decision to invest in Ben!
Reception Venue: Hotel Arista, Naperville IL
With so much event experience under my belt from my career, I thought this step would be easy. Spoiler Alert: it. was. not.
I thought I was sold on Elements at Water Street, before even seeing it in person. I had always dreamed of having my wedding there! So, when we toured and it didn’t live up to our expectations, I was crushed (there may have been actual tears… #NotACrazyBride).
We continued on our venue search, and eventually came to find Hotel Arista. Hotel Arista and Katie, their wedding coordinator, had amazing reviews! We made an appointment, and from the first step in, everything was perfect.
Hotel Arista is a boutique hotel, so it is decorated very unique! Think white marble, gold fixtures, leather couches, navy velvet curtains… totally our vibe! When we stepped in, we were greeted with the most friendly faces and given a very through tour of the actual hotel and their amenities before even seeing the event space, which was a great touch!
Katie totally understood my vision, and was so great to talk with from the very first moment. That was the kind of vibe I was looking for. At this point, it was a no-brainer that Hotel Arista was where we wanted to be!
Ceremony Venue: Our Lady of Mercy Church
DJ/Photobooth: DJ D.JONES // Spark Entertainment Group
I found DJ D.Jones via The Knot- and I am so glad I did! Durrel is so professional, but also so friendly and outgoing. From the first conversation, he gave so much amazing advice and insight into our day as a whole that I was 100% sold on him.
He will be sure to keep our wedding feeling more like a party- which is exactly what we wanted!
Durrel and his company also have Photobooths for rental. What we loved about his photobooth was that they will set up hours beforehand, even if the photobooth will only be open for a part of our reception. We deff did not want workers setting up our photobooth as our guests tried to eat dinner.
The final selling point on DJ D.Jones was his website! All his couples get access into a custom portal where we can give song suggestions, make a do not play and must play list, and enter in our run of show. If you know organized me- you know that is amazing!
Suggestions from Others:
A couple of weeks ago I asked my insta-friends to share their biggest regrets/suggestions from their wedding days, here are some of my favorites:
Get a videographer
Don’t party the night away at your rehearsal dinner
Have a well seasoned photographer to keep you on track
Don’t leave for your honeymoon the next morning
Eat a good meal before- you won’t eat a bite during your reception
Signage asking guests to not take cell phone pics during your ceremony
STRESS LESS 🙂
So far, the easiest parts of planning have been choosing decor and colors (not sharing this til the day of!), and everything with our bridal party (they are all seriously the best!)
Hardest parts so far have been deciding how much we want to invest in flowers (not a big flower person), finding a videographer (send your recommendations my way!) and WEDDING DRESS shopping.
As I am sure you all know, we went to Klienfeld’s in NYC to dress shop! Although I didn’t ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ there, it was such an amazing experience that I wouldn’t change a thing about! It gave me a better idea of exactly what I was looking for… fingers crossed that clarity is given at the next appointment we have back home in Naperville later on this month!
I am honestly loving every second of this planning so far, and am already wondering what I am going to do when it’s all done! Good thing we have until October 3rd, 2020…or 473 days… but who’s counting?! 😉