Archives for December 2012

TIP: Bridal Party Gifts… Subscriptions Boxes!

It is a long-standing tradition to give your bridal party a small token of appreciation for being a part of your big day… but that often leads to a popular conundrum, what can you give to your bridal party that they will actually enjoy and appreciate?! 

Finding bridal party gifts that everyone will love is a difficult task, but Subscription Boxes just made your job easier! Subscription Boxes are the gifts that keep on giving, all throughout the year. You can usually select if you want to gift a 3 month, 6 month or 12 month subscription (think – fruit-of-the-month club, but waaaay cooler!) Easy for you, the whole process is done online; no post office trips necessary! Subscriptions are being created for everyone you know; the beauty queen, the foodie, the dapper gent… here are some of our favorites!

For the Beauty Queen:

Birchbox  Each month, the lucky lady will receive a beautifully packaged gift box full of high-end beauty samples (keep in mind, not full-sized products). Birchbox offers four different subscription options (with free shipping!) starting at $30.00 for 3-month gift subscription, to a 1-year Ultimate Women’s  Collection Subscription for $200.00.


For the Gentlemen:

Birchbox also offers a Men’s Subscription Box with the latest grooming and lifestyle products. Men’s Groom Subscription start at $60.00 for three months to 12 months for $195.00. Searching for something that really screams ‘man’? The Mantry, The Modern Man’s Pantry, sends your guy a selection(6-8 items) of full-sized exotic food & drink from around the world. Each box is $95.00, or a 3 month subscription for $225.00.

For the Foodie:
Petit Amuse sends your foodie friend a tasting box each month which includes 1-2 full size products and 3-4 sample products from artisanal producers. They pride themselves on helping small-batch food producers reach new companies. Most of the products they send, you will have never tried before! Petit Amuse’s gift subscriptions start at 3 months for $36.00.


For the Eco-Friendly:
Conscious Box delivers a box (100% recycled of course!) that includes sustainable products from businesses that care for the planet. Items in the box may include snacks, decor, and lifestyle products. You have the option to send just one box for $12 (plus shipping) or keep gifting for 6 months at $64 (plus shipping).

For the Crafty Ones:
For the Makers
 send out a box which includes materials and instructions to make four trendy DIY projects each month. Projects may include making jewelry or something for the home. Subscriptions also allow the recipient access to For The Makers website to find expert tips and techniques. These gift box subscriptions are $29 a month with free shipping and look like SO.MUCH.FUN!


For the Fashionista:
What woman doesn’t love a new piece of jewelry each month?

Still can’t find that perfect bridesmaid (or groomsman!) gift? Check out Subscription Boxes. Here you will find more unique subscriptions boxes, along with customer reviews.



Interview: Karen’s Custom-Made Wedding Gown

Last week, we featured the beautiful wedding of my friends Karen and Boris. What I didn’t explain was that Karen had a custom-made wedding gown… as in, from scratch! Since she is the only bride I’ve ever worked with who went the custom route, I knew I had to ask her to share a bit about her experience with Dame Couture!

Q: What made you decide on a custom-made wedding gown?

A: My main reason for going the custom route initially was because I couldn’t really find anything I liked. There were a lot of beautiful dresses out there which I probably could have chosen, but none of them seemed like “me”. I’m a pretty simple person, and I like simple/understated styles, so I felt like a lot of dresses had too much (i.e. lace, beading, etc.).  I saw a lot of dresses with elements that I liked, but none with all of them in the same dress.

Q: What did you think when you first met with Dame Couture?

A: The ladies at Dame Couture were amazing. I first met with Gretchen, then Holly. Right away, they made me feel like I would be able to drive the process but also have their guidance. They quickly got a good sense of what I really wanted (even when I didn’t really know what I wanted sometimes!), so that helped me develop a lot of trust in them.
I met with them, then shopped a little more at traditional stores, and finally decided to go ahead.

Q: If you don’t mind sharing, what was the price point?

A: They quote $1950 – $4500 on their website…. I think it is based on materials and complexity. My dress cost $2600. I actually thought this was quite reasonable compared to a lot of other dresses that I was looking at in stores.

Q: Can you explain how the design process went?

A: Initially, I went into their shop to try on some of the samples they already had, mainly to get an idea of elements that I liked. There was one sample that I particularly liked, which basically served as the prototype of my dress. It had the slight sweetheart, strapless neckline , and a shape that I liked (not sure if my dress was completely mermaid/trumpet shape… maybe sort of an in-between of that and a-line?). I also brought in a collection of pictures of dresses that had some of the elements that I liked (like the light beading, some cascading/flowy effect, etc).

We went through 2 rounds of sketches. During the first round, she provided me with 2 sketches, even before I formally decided to move forward. Then when I finally decided to commit, we took one of the designs and revised it based on more elements that I had seen when I was shopping around.  We had a final sketch, but the designing really continued throughout the whole process based on how things looked on me, and what worked best with the fabrics, etc.

Q: Did you have a choice in fabric?

A: Yes, I did have a choice. The dress was shantung silk with a chiffon overlay.

Q: How many fittings did you have?

A: I think I had at least 4 – 5 fittings. The first fitting was with a mock-up dress in muslin. The toughest part was figuring out how the chiffon overlay would work, so we went through a few versions of that, and I brought in more pictures during one of those fittings to help with that element. The next fittings were figuring out the back chiffon and how the bustle would work. The ladies were really helpful and patient… I felt really comfortable because I got the sense that they knew what I wanted and were open to suggestions/changes.

Q: If you had to do it again, would you still go the custom route?

Yes, definitely!  It was a fun process, and I’m really happy with the way it turned out. To be honest, if I had seen my dress in the store, I’m not sure that I would have immediately thought it was “the one”, but because it was something I helped design from beginning to end, it truly became MY dress. I really love that no one else has the same dress. :)

Thanks, Karen!! I so appreciate you sharing your experience with us!!

Dame Couture
1804 Central Street
Evanston, IL 60201
847 866 7599

Karen custom made wedding gown Dame Couture Evanston sweetheart strapless chiffon trumpet 2.jpeg.jpg

Photos by Fragola Productions

Hitched: Boris & Karen’s River East Art Center Wedding – Part 3

Here we are, capping off the final post for Boris and Karen’s wedding at the River East Art Center, photos by Fragola Productions. Be sure to check out part 1 and part 2! Luckily, I had the help of my amazing Sweetchic Team to hand the reigns to once the reception began… then I was able to enjoy myself and be a guest! ;)

Loved this escort card table, although I will admit it took fooorever to set up the adorable little tags! (And that’s why you hire a planner to do it for you!! ha!)

Their gift table and stunning wish tree by The Flower Firm.

Yummy nibbles by Food for Thought.

4. Karen.Boris.River East Art Center. Fragola Productions. Sweetchic Events. Food For Thought. Passed Hors D'oeuvores
11. Karen.Boris.River East Art Center. Fragola Productions. Sweetchic Events. River East Art Center Reception Room Shot.

We went with a beautiful palette of pale grey with dark purple and bright green accents. Lots of purple hydrangea, lisianthus, purple vanda orchids, green dendrobium and cymbidium orchids, succulents, green trick and
curly willow accents

7. Karen.Boris.River East Art Center. Fragola Productions. Sweetchic Events. Flower Firm. Sphere with Green Trick and Purple Hydrangea

9. Karen.Boris.River East Art Center. Fragola Productions. Sweetchic Events.

14. Karen.Boris.River East Art Center. Fragola Productions. Sweetchic Events. REAC Reception Room Shot

Their delicious green tea chiffon cake by Bombon Bakery

 Of course I had to include a pic of my handsome husband/groomsman!

15. Karen.Boris.River East Art Center. Fragola Productions. Sweetchic Events.

16. Karen.Boris.River East Art Center. Fragola Productions. Sweetchic Events. Cake Cutting.

The best way to make use of bouquets? Lie them down flat and create a little “wreath” around the front of the Sweetheart table! The colors here look especially stunning!

17. Karen.Boris.River East Art Center. Fragola Productions. Sweetchic Events. A Toast at the Sweetheart Table.

18. Karen.Boris.River East Art Center. Fragola Productions. Sweetchic Events. A kiss as the sweetheart table.

20. Karen.Boris.River East Art Center. Fragola Productions. Sweetchic Events. Bride and Groom Speech.

25. Karen.Boris.River East Art Center. Fragola Productions. Sweetchic Events. First Dance.

26. Karen.Boris.River East Art Center. Fragola Productions. Sweetchic Events. First Dance.

I LOVE a combined Father/Daughter AND Mother/Son dance at the same time! It takes the pressure off, lasts only one song, and then the dance floor can be officially open!

28. Karen.Boris.River East Art Center. Fragola Productions. Sweetchic Events.

29. Karen.Boris.River East Art Center. Fragola Productions. Sweetchic Events.

30. Karen.Boris.River East Art Center. Fragola Productions. Sweetchic Events.

Congratulations, Karen and Boris!!

We are sooo happy for you and look forward to spending many years to come with you two!

Venue : River East Art Center
Photographer: Fragola Productions
Caterer: Food For Thought

Planner: Sweetchic Events 
Floral & Decor: Flower Firm 
Ceremony Musicians: Parkwest Strings
Linen: Chaircovers by Sylwia
Make-Up: Mary Yu
Hair: Beauty on Call
Cake: Bombon Bakery

Transportation: Windy City Limousines
DJ: Spin Chicago