A Hollywood Love Story, Tarantino Style

Cassandra & Dan

Turning the 1993 cult flick True Romance (written by gore enthusiast Quentin Tarantino) into the inspiration behind a style-savvy wedding was a challenge for planner Katie Jane Sprenkle of Jayne Weddings—but it was the kind that Sprenkle, a former graphic designer, loves. The quirky movie was the couple’s favorite. “I had to mix Cassandra’s girly-ness with this ’90s punk film,” Sprenkle says. “That was the challenge, but that also was the best part of the job.”

To achieve the feat, Sprenkle worked closely with the design-minded couple to give subtle nods to the film through touches like gold-sequined table runners that referenced the gold Elvis suits that Christian Slater’s character dreamed about in the movie; comic-book blocks at lounge tables to signify the movie characters meeting in a comic-book shop; and old Kung Fu movies, a recurring subject in the film, silently streaming on walls throughout the reception. The result was a one-of-a-kind event that was completely unique to the couple but still cohesive and elegant, which, Sprenkle says, always is the goal.

“A lot of my brides have these giant Pinterest boards that have nothing to do with who they are as a couple,” Sprenkle says. “It’s not something meaningful to them; it’s just pretty flowers and rustic furniture. Talk to your fiancé instead and think about the things that are important to you first. I love looking at the reception hall and just seeing the couple everywhere.”


PHOTOGRAPHY: Pen / Carlson

CEREMONY VENUE: Salvage One (Chicago, IL)


PLANNING: Jayne Weddings & Events

CATERING: Fig Catering, Cheap Tart Bakery, and Luscious Layers Bakery


BRIDE’S DRESS: Jim Hjelm by JLM Couture


HAIR AND MAKEUP: Carley Martin

The First Chicago NotWedding | Recap

The NotWedding
Photo by Megan Saul Photography
Photo by Booth Photographics

Photos by Booth Photographics, John Dart Photography, and Megan Saul Photography

Since 2008, Callie Murray’s The NotWedding has been providing the affianced with a truly unique alternative to the conventions & commonalities of a typical bridal show. Rather than being accosted by competing vendors all vying for your commitment to their respective services, The NotWedding simulates a staged wedding in a mock-matrimonial fashion as each participating vendor demonstrates their serviceability by performing their function precisely as they would on wedding day. And while the ceremony is fake, the brides- and grooms-to-be enjoy the real benefit of dining, drinking, and dancing their way into a perfect fit. The NotWedding’s enormous success in Murray’s native Atlanta has inspired national demand for the event and, on August 14th, City View Loft saw the Chicago debut of the quasi-nuptial occasion. The “big, fake wedding” featured a variety of honorable vendors from the crafty confections of Courageous Bakery to the floral adornments of The Bread & Butterfly, all of which were merrily indulged against the backdrop of Chicago’s glimmering skyline.

The NotWedding
Photo by Megan Saul Photography
Not wedding expo
Photo by John Dart Photography

Continue reading The First Chicago NotWedding | Recap

JK Photoworks: Wedding Photography with a Personal Touch

JK Photoworks

Photos by James Kittendorf

The man behind Chicago studio JK Photoworks, James Kittendorf is a Lincoln Park-based wedding and portrait photographer whose breathtaking pictures capture everything from the formal ceremony to the reception and all of the candid, personality-drenched moments that happen in between. Modern Weddings sat down with the photographer to talk about his beginnings in the field, avoiding ‘fake’ smiles, and how to take a picture that will be treasured for years. Continue reading JK Photoworks: Wedding Photography with a Personal Touch

The NotWedding Comes to Chicago


The NotWedding Charleston - Lime Green Photography

Photos by Elle Golden Photgraphy, Hike Photography, and Lime Green Photography

There’s often a disconnect between the bridal show and the wedding ceremony: couples are bombarded by different cakes and catering companies but, until the big day arrives, they have no idea how these vendors will translate to the wedding itself. That’s exactly the problem Callie Murray wanted to address when she founded The NotWedding, a fake, large-scale wedding that gives couples an edgy alternative to the traditional show. Continue reading The NotWedding Comes to Chicago

Kalla: Luxury Bouquets with a Personal Touch

Kalla Sister Albert

There’s a new flower-delivery service blooming in Chicagoland this June—but unlike other shops that clutter the market with predictable, impersonal products, inspiration grows in each of Kalla’s hand-crafted, luxury bouquets.

“The floral industry has become saturated with generic arrangements and an assembly-line approach—particularly when it comes to online and mass-market retailers,” says Kalla lead floral designer Addie Flynn. “We wanted to bring a hand-crafted, personal connection back to flower delivery—while at the same time offering products that are incredibly unique and modern. Every relationship and occasion is different, so the craft and thoughtfulness that goes into each Kalla delivery makes it all the more meaningful.”

Kalla’s bouquets are rooted in this more personal approach and layer meaning in every vase, box, and flower petal. Each stunning arrangement is infused with its own story, inspired by famous pairs from history that range from “Josephine & Napoleon” to “Venus & Galileo.” And, in honor of the company’s Chicago launch, it recently unveiled the “Georgia & Alfred” and “Sister & Albert” bouquets.

Customers can customize their orders by pairing them with chocolates and expertly chosen wines and also have the option to create an accompanying video. They’re thoughtful, classically beautiful products with a modern twist, making each purchase a work of art down to the last detail.

Bouquets can be ordered online and delivered on the same day—and, with the help of a smart device, tracked every step of the way. “Flower delivery can be such a clichéd and expected experience,” Flynn says. “There’s an exuberance about this brand. We’re infusing new life, passion, and personality into every moment, from selection to delivery to enjoyment.”

Kalla Athena Artemis

Kalla Anna Vaslav

Especially Heartfelt

Jodi & Matt


Jodi always wanted a fall-themed wedding. She loved the idea of transforming seasonal warmth and a bold palette into an atmosphere of ease and familiarity. Antonia Christianson of Antonia Christianson Events supplied the means to this end, creating an energetic autumn occasion for Jodi and Matt that exuded Southern charm and style. A rich atmosphere emerged from vibrant orange and jewel-toned linens and the stunning floral accents that were embellished with seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Handmade, farm-style tables were interspersed throughout the historic Chrysler Museum event space to foster casual mingling through the night. Guests dined on the heirloom China of both families and drank from Waterford crystal goblets—the perfect combination of style and practiced comfort. “Our favorite detail of the evening was the hand-carved Waterford-style vase that Matt recreated from the first day they met,” Christianson says. “Everything in the particulars was sentimental, making for a fun and heartfelt event.”


Daevid’s Flowers and Décor has specialized in designing for brides and special events for more than 20 years. Although the company works with Antonia Christianson Events about twice each year, Jodi and Matt’s wedding was particularly memorable because all of the floral components were kept a complete surprise from the bride and groom.





moore2ndday-14 Continue reading Especially Heartfelt

A (School-) Spirited Affair

Megan & Jordan

For dedicated University of Tennessee fans Megan and Jordan, incorporating their bold team colors was paramount in the planning of their wedding. Bright orange, however, doesn’t exactly scream “formal wedding.” “We started working on color patterns that would accent the color but not make it the main focus,” says planner Veronica Seaman of Veo Weddings & Events. “We utilized other bright colors to make the color blend well. Bright yellow and pink became more of the focus for this spring wedding, and these colors perfectly framed all of the Tennessee accents.”

Details to personalize the event included airport-code table numbers that celebrated the couple’s love of travel, late-night Sonic delivery as a nod to the bride’s family owning several franchises, and, of course, a Tennessee Vols pom-pom send-off. But the fan-favorite touch? A sweet serenade from groom to bride. “A lot of grooms surprise me, and not always in a good way, but Jordan pulled off a great surprise not only on the bride but also on me,” Seaman says. “Just after the first dances, Jordan pulls me to the side, saying that he has been secretly working with the band and that he plans to sing to his bride. He sang Michael Bublé’s ‘Everything.’ He was wonderful, and by the time it was over, everyone was in tears!”

 PHOTOGRAPHY: Christine LeGrand Photography

CEREMONY VENUE: Patten Chapel at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

RECEPTION VENUE: Hunter Museum of American Art (Chattanooga, TN)

PLANNING: Veo Weddings & Events

CATERING: Impressions Catering

FLOWERS: Humphreys Flowers

Fit For a Princess

Nicola & Jess

She wanted fairytale princess; he wanted rustic and simple. Reny Pederson of Bliss Weddings and Events struck a balance and created a memorable nuptial celebration that was both elegant and modest. Nicola and Jess’s wedding at the Ivanhoe Country Club was a gorgeous display of outdoor influences with the potential for glamor.

“The ballroom is very neutral,” Pederson says. “The bride’s love of ivory, champagne, bronze, and brushed gold was perfect for this space.” The palette was complemented by the occasional presence of rich, brown curly willows and bursts of bright, white lilies. Crystal-studded accessories, including the bride’s bouquet of ribbon-bound orchids, also dotted the event and added an understated sparkle in the midst of the wood-beam construction and mahogany chair details. Gold-rimmed wine glasses and regal taupe damask linens added to the drama of the ballroom design, and amber-lit, ivory fabric backdrops made for a romantic, candlelit glow, creating “that perfect balance of warmth and formality,” Pederson says.

 PHOTOGRAPHY: Fandl Photography

CEREMONY VENUE: Holy Cross Lutheran Church (Libertyville, IL)

RECEPTION VENUE: Ivanhoe Country Club (Mundelein, IL)

PLANNING: Bliss Weddings and Events

CATERING: Ivanhoe Country Club

FLOWERS: Jesse Deckard of Event Creative

BRIDE’S DRESS: Priscilla of the Boston Jewel Collection

GROOM’S ATTIRE: Calvin Klein

Haute Hors D’Oeuvres

Start the party off right with a stylish — and tasty! — cocktail hour


“The hors d’oeuvres hour is a prelude to the main meal. It should set the tone but not duplicate the flavors.” That’s Wendy Pashman’s take on wedding cocktail hours. Pashman, who runs catering firm Entertaining Company in Chicago, has provided delicious food for thousands of elegant weddings for more than 20 years.

To make the cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres unforgettable, Pashman suggests serving a wide selection of foods that incorporate tastes and smells from around the world. “It is the absolute best time to be adventurous,” she says. “A small cocktail Indian samosa, for example, is small enough for trying and testing without committing to a whole entrée-size portion.” Pashman also encourages serving small custom cocktails that will entice guests to try new foods without overwhelming their palates.

And as with any element at a wedding, the presentation of the bites is key. Pashman and her colleagues at Entertaining Company always match their serving pieces to each wedding’s overall style, such as mirrored trays for glamorous fetes and simple white ceramics for minimalist parties. Pashman even fashions roasted vegetables into serving vessels for more organic weddings. One thing she says they won’t do? Use hors d’oeuvres from the freezer. “A company has to be committed to taking the slow, more delicious route,” she says.

Fashion + Beauty:
Slim Down For the Gown

The stars of Bravo’s Toned Up give post-engagement fitness tips


When Katrina Hodgson, co-founder of fitness empire Tone It Up, got engaged last year, she jumped on the opportunity to help other brides with their foray into fitness by creating the Tone It Up Wedding Series. Now she and partner Karena Dawn are spreading their fitness techniques even further, starring in a new show called Toned Up for Bravo. Here Hodgson shares tips for becoming your best self for the big day—sans bridalbodyobsession, last-minute crash diets, or forgetting meals thanks to the stress that wedding planning can spawn.

Work out in the mornings. “So much comes up later in the day!” Hodgson says. “When you wake up, walk or run away from your house for 15 minutes and run right back. No cell phone or E-mails—just you and the pavement.” She adding an additional toning workout three times a week.

Prepare your meals on Sundays. “Make it a priority with your fiancé,” she says. “Nutrients and exercise affect your mood and hormones, and taking care of your health will make wedding planning a more enjoyable experience for both you and your hubby-to-be.”

Join a community. “There are more than 250,000 women and more than 4,000 brides in the Tone It Up community right now,” Hodgson says, noting that it’s free to join. “For brides, it’s nice to connect with someone who’s also getting married and going through the same thing.” For more, check out toneitup.com.

Food + Drink:
Respectfully Delicious

Wedding food doesn’t have to be bland. Take it from Contemporary Catering: your food should be as telling as any other day-of detail.

Contemporary Catering offers a variety of food for the big day, such as this delicious plate of sea bass with roasted tomatoes, carrots, and kale. photo by Amy Squires.
Contemporary Catering offers a variety of food for the big day, such as this delicious plate of sea bass with roasted tomatoes, carrots, and kale.
photo by Amy Squires.

Wedding food traditionally has gotten a bad rap, but with so many innovative things happening with food right now, what are some ideas for couples who are looking to keep their wedding fare fresh and interesting?

They should try to bring out authentic foods from their backgrounds. People love regional cuisine that highlights the bride and groom’s heritage. Every dish served should be tied to the story of the couple and
their traditions.

What are some recent industry trends?

We’re finding that guests really like live stations, where the food is cooked to serve per their request. Some interesting stations we’ve done include a raw bar, wood-fired pizza station, panini station, burrata bar, dim-sum cart, and slider bar.

Where should couples draw the line when planning a menu while still considering dietary restrictions and preferences?

It’s important to translate any dietary restrictions into a beautiful menu, but couples should draw the line when the menu starts to pull too far away from the celebratory vision. Food, like anything on their wedding day, should represent the bride and groom. We make sure to carefully guide the bride and groom on a “style” of dining that can serve their preferences without forcing guests to eat something too unfamiliar.

photo by Caroline Tran.
photo by Caroline Tran.

How do couples get a specialty menu that works for their budget without breaking the bank? 

We always recommend sitting down and engaging with your caterer. More often than not, the caterer can design a menu that is more cost effective than a couple’s initial selection.

Food + Drink:
Heavy Metal

These high-shine cakes in gold, silver, and other metallics pack a punch of pretty, high-wattage cool. Frosting your fête just got a little fiercer.

Cake Design: Nine Cakes Photo: Heather Waraksa
Cake Design: Nine Cakes
Photo: Heather Waraksa
Cake Design: Yummy Cupcakes & Cakes
Cake Design: Yummy Cupcakes & Cakes
Cake Design: Sharon Wee Creations
Cake Design: Sharon Wee Creations
Cake Design: Erica O'Brien Cake Design Photo: Brooke Allison Photography
Cake Design: Erica O’Brien Cake Design
Photo: Brooke Allison Photography

Industry Experts:
Rocking the Wedding Bells

A pro’s advice for choosing (and becoming) a live wedding band

photos courtesy of Live Revival
photos courtesy of Live Revival
photos courtesy of Live Revival
photos courtesy of Live Revival

Between mastering the choreographed steps that you and your fiancé have been practicing for your first dance and your fear that your great aunt might break a hip getting “a little bit softer now” in “Shout,” designing the sound for your big day can be a nerve-wracking experience. But if it’s done right, a good band or DJ can prove to be one of the most memorable parts of a wedding.

We caught up with John Shortridge of Nashville-based wedding band Live Revival on wedding-music dos, don’ts, and songs that are guaranteed to get everybody on the dance floor.

What would you say are the most important factors in choosing a wedding musician? 

My advice to couples is to find a band that knows the ins and outs of a wedding reception and who will understand that even though they do this every weekend, for the bride and groom, this is their one big day coming from months of planning and headaches. Find a band that gets this and approaches their “weekend gig” with the same level of care that you put into your wedding day.

What advice would you give to musicians who are looking to book weddings?

You have to show clients that you are the real deal musically and a class act either through playing live or a good promo video. After you have that, you need to know that brides won’t book you unless they think you are genuine and not just there for the paycheck. Charge what your band is actually worth. So many bands will charge through the roof just because it’s a wedding and they know that people are generally prepared to spend a lot. Most of the time you won’t get booked, and if you do and don’t live up to the fortune that your client forked over, then you are likely to not get a good review.

What songs get requested the most for a couple’s first dance and the father-daughter dance?

“At Last” and “I Loved Her First.”

What song gets the most people out on the dance floor?

This is a tie between “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Sweet Home Alabama.” They will never fail you!


The Stylish, Savvy Skills of Bash, Please


Much like the couples for which they plan weddings, Paige Appel and Kelly Harris experienced a marriage of sorts when they merged their respective companies—Bash and Yes, Please—into a singular creative event-production and styling company. Considering that their list of common interests includes “confetti canons,” “crooked teeth,” and “funny jokes,” and shared dislikes are “Marriott ballrooms,” “stale cheese,” and “people who take themselves too seriously,” their unification was a match made in heaven. We caught up with the LA-based duo as they dished on their two-day wedding school and one-of-a-kind bridal show, as well as the recent boom in their chosen industry.

image courtesy of Bash, Please
image courtesy of Bash, Please

What inspired you to come up with tools and new ways for wedding planners to be successful, such as The Cream and WedPrep School?

We feel that community is important—in both life and work. To inspire others is also inspiring to us. We don’t see competition as a challenging obstacle; we see empowerment as a way to thrive in this industry. There’s room for everyone.

Tell us about The Cream. How is it different from other bridal shows?

It’s a really good party! It has one cohesive theme to it, one color palette, and one idea that everyone has to turn into their own. It’s a thoughtful gathering of a curated community and not just booths with books to look through. It’s creative, experimental, and loads of fun.

Why do you think the bridal industry has seen a massive boom in the past five years or so?

Options are unlimited now. It used to be a cookie-cutter industry, and now there are so many creative people thinking in innovative ways about their weddings that the sky has busted wide open with opportunity. The blogs have really helped this movement in getting the word and the photos out there about the options available now.

But with the proliferation of bridal blogs, Pinterest, etc., brides can feel bombarded with choices and inspirations. How do you suggest that they narrow down those visions and ideas? 

We ask them to create a Pinterest board, and then we go in and edit it. We then create our own project board with a culmination of their ideas and our own take on their vision. Once they see how we envision the cohesive design, they usually let go of any residual inspiration that didn’t fit into the overall aesthetic.

What should a bride look for in a planner?

Comfort, creativity, and collaboration. We always say that our clients should feel like we are their brutally honest best friends and passionate advocates for their wedding day. If they don’t trust us, it never works out.

What kind of person do you think it takes to be a part of this industry?

A person with motivation, passion, a thinking cap, and the ability to understand the human experience.

Do you have any advice for planners that are looking to break into the field?

Be honest about your level of expertise and stay humble. You will learn something new with every client and every event.

What are your favorite wedding traditions to break? 

The garter and bouquet tosses. Major snooze fest.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Our Labor of Love and Max & Friends Photography


From This Day Forward

Modern Design and Chic Fashion Come Together in This Unforgettable Affair


Production: Be Inspired Pr

Event Design: Chic Celebrations

Photography: Brandon Kidd Photography

Venue: Shade Hotel (Manhattan Beach, Ca)

Cake: Torrance Bakery

Floral Design: The Hidden Garden

Stationery: Hello!Lucky

Calligraphy: Copper Willow Paper Studio

Rentals: Signature Party Rentals

Funnel Cakes: The Fry Girl

Makeup: Nyrie Aitken For Symmetry Beauty Using Tarte Cosmetics

Hair: Camila Padilla For Symmetry Beauty

Wedding Dress: Jenny Yoo Collection

Bridesmaid Dress: Aria Dress

Chandelier: Cb2