Category Archives: Liven It Up

Chicago Wedding Venues, Different Couples, Different Ways: A New Leaf
February 27, 2013

Welcome back! On this snowy February Wednesday here in Chicago we are looking at how we have uniquely crafted A New Leaf, located on the north side of Chicago in Old Town. This space is not your traditional ballroom space. Continue reading

The Wedding Project: Episode 5
February 12, 2013

Watch the latest episode of The Wedding Project brought to you by Stand Up! See how Erin and Ashley are preparing for their big day as Stand Up takes a behind-the-scenes look at this couple as they answer questions about their relationship and how they are like every couple with the same hopes and dreams for the future!

Watch Episode 5 here or go to to watch full episodes!

Chicago Wedding Venues, Different Couples, Different Ways: Cafe Brauer
February 6, 2013

Liven It Up Events is featuring a new blog series called “Different Venues, Different Ways!” Every Wednesday, we are going to show different ways a venue can capture the style and vision for your wedding. Any space can be transformed into something new and different!

Today we are looking at one of our favorite locations, Cafe Brauer, located in Lincoln Park! Take a look below at some of the different ways we have crafted the space to create each couple’s vision.

Catering by Entertaining Company, Floral by Kloeckner’s Floral, Wedding Cake by Tipsy Cake, Officiated by Reverend Marian Hale, Hair and Makeup by Appease

Catering by Entertaining Company, Floral and Decor by Scarlet Petal,  DJ by Toast and Jam, Officiated by Reverend Becca, Hair and Make Up by Sonia Roselli

Catering by Limelight, Floral and Design by Event Creative, Wedding Cake by Amy Beck Cake Design, Videography by Fig Media, Band by Maggie Speaks

Catering by Entertaining Company, Floral and Decor by Kloeckner’s,  Hair and Makeup by Chicago Bridal Beauty, Band by Bradley Young Orchestra, Wedding Cake by Amy Beck Cake Design

Catering by Entertaining Company, Floral and Decor by Kloeckner’s Floral, Wedding Cake by Amy Beck Cake Designs, Band by Maggie Speaks

Tuesday’s Tip: Hire a Professional, Experienced & Personable Photographer!
October 2, 2012

Over this past weekend, I had the privilege working with Ingrid Bonne-Goggine with Ingrid Bonne Photography, a local photographer in Chicago. Here’s why I am writing this post.  Ingrid came right into the room, got herself organized, started shooting some details as well as some candid shots.  When the bride came into the room, you could see her enthusiasm burst through at how genuinely excited she was to see the bride and how happy she was to be a part of her special day!  

Here’s a shot of Ingrid photographing the couple!

Throughout the day, Ingrid really help keep everything moving.  She was making sure the bride was enjoying herself but still keeping the bridal party of 14 plus the bride & groom on time!  Not always an easy task! 

What really made the day memorable for me is when she was shooting the bride and groom for the first time, she kept telling them how cute they were or how adorable they were and she meant it!  It made them feel good and helped make their day that much more enjoyable!
Tuesday’s Tip:  Hire a professional pro who is seasoned enough to know how to have a balance of fun and can get the shots take and make you feel great about you and your boo!  Not an easy task, but Ingrid is just one of those AMAZING photographers that can do just that!

Tuesday’s Tip: Professional Wedding Photographers Know How to Bare the Elements
September 25, 2012

In Chicago, for those of you who know this, the weather is always unpredictable.  Last week, one of the weddings we had was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, or the MCA.  The day before, we had the rehearsal and we were outside in the sculpture garden.  It was gorgeous outside.  The wedding day, it was 57, damp, and raining.  

There are a couple of lessons here….

1.  There was a back up plan that the bride and groom were happy with!

2.  The bride and groom did not get their hopes set on having the wedding indoors or outdoors.  They were happy to have space with their family and friends to get married!

3.  Having a photographer who can quickly change the plan from going on location to outdoor locations to indoor locations.

We were lucky to have Matt Haas & Sarah Olsen with Matt Haas Photography be the photographers for the day, making sure that the bride and groom were still getting all of the shots that they wanted and dealing with the rain coming on and off. 

TIP:  Have a rain plan on the day of for your wedding photographs and work with a photograph who knows how to be flexible on the day of!

Ceremonies of All Sorts (Loft Weddings, Part 1)
June 26, 2012

One of my favorite things to do after sending the bride down the aisle is to watch the ceremony.  Now I do not always get to do that, but when I have the chance too, I just love watching!   

Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to share with you some photos of four different types of ceremonies that we have done.  Keep in mind, these are all from my iPhone (so I understand if the quality is not the best!) and from my point of view!  I have sorted them into the themes, lofty, modern, garden, and traditional.

Today, I thought we would start with the Lofty Wedding Ceremonies!  Take a look and get some ideas for your ow lofty wedding!

This wedding happened this year, at Loft on Lake.    The couple and I had a great time planning.  They wanted to keep it simple, yet elegant and with the fabric draping by Art of Imagination we were able to make that happen!

This wedding took place at the MCA Warehouse.  This space is raw (and I LOVE IT!!). It’s a warehouse in the West Loop where the MCA stores art.  The second floor can be rented for events and this is what we did here.  We added in the entrance drape, the fabric aisle runner, fabric Chuppah and fabric backdrop.  Thanks again to Art of Imagination. 

This wedding was really amazing and love the space at Salvage One.  Stems lined the aisle with florals and candles and the natural beauty of the space.  Sara, at Salvage One made sure there were extra chandeliers hanging and a beautiful stone alter stone at the front!  It was spectacular!     

Thursday I will be looking at some Garden Weddings we have produced this season!  Stay tuned!

Top 5 Questions to Ask YOURSELF Before Hiring A Wedding Planner
May 10, 2012

There are so many questions that you can ask a wedding planner before hiring.  Have you ever thought about the questions you should ask YOURSELF before you hire a wedding planner.  Here is what I think!

5.  Do I believe that this planner has the same aesthetic and taste as I in food, decor, music, photography, and everything else that going into planning a wedding?
I say this as something to ask yourself as everyone has a certain level of taste. With that level of taste they have a selection of vendors that they are going to bring you too and on some level those vendors are going to have similar styles, tastes, ideals, and ways of execution as the planner.  Every planner has strategic partnerships with other vendors and normally, those vendors have the same skill sets, price points, and level of experience as the planner.  A good planner will have a variety of vendors in different price point and aesthetic categories that they should be able to share with you.

Wedding Stylized at Harold Washington Library

4.  Does the philosophy of the planner aline with the type of wedding I want to have?
Every planner has a reason for doing what they do!  Some planners love the details and the creative ends of building a wedding, some are more focused in logistics and numbers, some have a balance in both.  I know that we me, I do what I do because I love it!  In that, it comes through my planning experience of being able to be creative but also have the ability to think about budget and logistics when it comes to planning.  

Deborah Weisenhaus with Art of Imagination photographed with Anthony 

3.  Do I  have any reservations or concerns about going forward? 
I can tell sometimes when something just does not feel right.  It’s my gut telling me that something is not right about something.  It could be hiring a contractor, purchasing an outfit, or even sometimes which route to take to work!  Trust your instincts.  If you have any reservations over hiring a planner, meet with someone else to either prove it to yourself or prove yourself wrong!

Desiree Dent with Dejanee Events & Anthony smiling for the cameras!

2.  Is this planner someone who is known through the wedding community and am I comfortable with the level of service and expertise of this planner?
There are so many wedding planners out there!  How do you choose one?  There are some who are seasoned, medium, and rare when it comes to experience!  I would ask what is the comfort level of working with someone to little or no experience or someone who is experienced?  Remember, I had little experience when I started, but I did have the expertise of working in hospitality for 7 years before I started Liven It Up.  The flip side is someone with too much experience might be comfortable with planning the same wedding over and over and over and looses the nuance of being creative and reinventing themselves as well as the events that they plan.  Do you want someone who is new to the scene, someone who has been doing this for a long time, or someone in the middle of the road.  My only advice, just make sure that the person is known by some of the wedding community!  At least this way you know that they are legit! 

 Some of the planning team for one of TLC’s Four Weddings!

1.  Outside of everything else, do I like this person as a person?  
On the day of the wedding, your planner is going to be with you for most of the day.  From getting ready, to getting you down the aisle, to pulling you around the reception, telling you what to do, hopefully is a kind and fun way!  Outside of everything else, do you like the planner as a person?  Would you want to go cocktailing with the planner after the wedding?  Would this be someone you would make friends with?  This is SO important that outside of everything else, that  you LIKE your wedding planner as a person!  Trust me, the bond is so important and with a strong bond, the experience will be more enjoyable!

 Anthony doing his thing!

Watch for more Top 5 Questions to Ask Deejays, Photographers, Florists & Other Wedding Vendors in Upcoming Blogs!   Visit for more information!

Even More Unique Chicago Weddings!!
May 3, 2012

If you have not been following our Unique Chicago Wedding Venues blog series, you have to take a look as this is Part 3!  These are some of the full service wedding venues that we have worked with and really enjoyed the service and execution of some of the most memorable weddings we have been a part of in planning!  (If you have not seen Part 1 or Part 2, click the part and see what other venues we looked at!)

 Hotel Sofitel is in the heart of the Gold Coast and when checking at the front desk you hear, “Bonjour” you will surely be charmed.  The planning team at the hotel is amazing and with an executive chef that wows guests’ palettes, you are sure to love this venue!

Spiaggia is another great location for a wedding or event.  The private room overlooks the park across the street from the historic, Drake Hotel, with views of the lake.  Not only is this a great location the food is out of this world!  Other great choice for a venue with everything on site!

The Quadrangle Club on the University of Chicago Campus is a charming space that is perfect for a boutique wedding.  Not only can your guests stay at the club in the over night hotel accommodations right on site, the space allows you to do a ceremony on site as well!  Good food is a must and here you will get just that as well as a historically rich space that can be dressed up or as is!
Looking for another hotel idea, Hotel 71 is a great location for a wedding.  The ballroom on the 39th floor is perfect for a ceremony and then is easily flipped for a dinner reception.  Over looking the river and great views of the city, it is a perfect hotel venue for those who want a view and a full service location!
If you are looking for a venue with true historic charm, the Palmer House Hilton is where you need to go!  Rich in history and the lavish ballrooms and accommodations that the Palmer House offers is exquisite!  The food is amazing, the staff is wonderful and knowledgeable and truly, this is a venue that will “wow” your guests!
 The Mid America Club is another great space in the city, located in the AON Building, close to Millennium park with 360 Degree views of the city!  Tall ceilings, friendly staff, and great food, this is a great backdrop for any event!
The Metropolitan Club is other wonderful location for a wedding or event.  On the 66th Floor in the Willis Tower, the Club can provide space for a ceremony, cocktails, and reception.  The main ballroom has incredible views of the city.  Seriously, a great space, great food, and again “wow” with views!

More Ways on How to Become a Wedding Planner
April 26, 2012
Another tip of the week on how to become a wedding planner.  Look for a course that you can take.  Not just any course, either online or in person in your local area, that is taught by a professional wedding planner.  Learning from someone who knows from first hand experience is really a great way to gain the knowledge that you will need to build a successful wedding planning business.  
Thanks again for watching and don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter or visit our website to learn more about us!
See you next week!

How To Become A Wedding Planner
April 24, 2012
This week’s blog post is answering the question that I have been getting so much over the last couple of weeks, “How do I become a wedding planner?”  My response to this and always has been is to look for a job opportunity within the hospitality industry, specifically in a food and beverage environment.  This includes.. 
  1. Hotels
  2. Off-Premise Catering
  3. Restaurants
  4. Country Clubs
  5. Banquet & Conference Centers
You might have to start off as an assistant, but I am telling you, you will learn so much!  I say this because this teaches you the operations end of how to plan an event.  You learn everything that is going on behind the scenes so that when you go off on your to be a wedding planner, you know how everything is working in order to produce a wedding!
To all of you aspiring wedding planners, I hope that this helps!  Watch later this week as I release another tip! 
Thanks again for watching and don’t forget to Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, and visit us at!
Stay tuned!

CONTACT     INFO@LIVENITUP.COM    773.727.4929
Liven It Up Events, 220 North Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60661, By Appointment Only
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