top 5 spring wedding trends from Bridal Beauty

new wedding trends

chicago area wedding trends

What’s hot for 2011 weddings? We asked Jaclyn Fisher, wedding consultant and co-owner of Two Little Birds Planning, for her expert advice on the hottest wedding trends of the year


One of the top wedding trends for the upcoming year is vintage and  retro-inspired with a modern twist. What’s old is new. We’ll see:

  • vintage wedding dresses with cap sleeves
  • beautiful textures
  • ornate details
  • natural settings, including outdoor and backyard weddings
  • photo booths (actual and set areas with draped-cloth backdrops)
  • vintage photography

2. Eco-friendly weddings

In 2011, we’ll continue to see more green, environmentally friendly  weddings. Think second-hand and vintage wedding dresses, LED lighting,  recycled paper invitations and programs, and food from local farms and  providers. Charity donations will continue to be a popular option  instead of traditional wedding favors, and more couples will be asking  for donations to their favorite charity instead of wedding gifts.

3. Modern choices

The contemporary, modern wedding will still be big in 2011. Brides  are opting for non-traditional dress choices, such as: beautiful hues  instead of the usual white or ivory; old shoulder instead of strapless;  and short cocktail dresses (the little white dress) instead of a long  gown. This trend will continue through décor, as well, with couples  steering away from the customary 10-person round table and opting to mix  table shapes and sizes. They are also incorporating bright and bold  colors, cool lounge settings, and after parties; choosing cupcakes  instead of a wedding cake; and letting color tie together the  bridesmaids as they choose different styles of dresses.

4.DIY weddings

“Do it yourself” is another wedding trend we’ll continue to see next  year. Originally brought on by the economy, this trend is here to stay  because it not only saves money, but also adds a special something to  the big day. Personalized touches and little details are very important;  couples are incorporating their favorite interests, hobbies, places and  even sports. This is something we have been saying in our free report now for awhile!

5. Social media influence
We’ll also continue to see social media play a part in the wedding  planning process. Couples will keep guests informed through wedding  websites and post updates about their excitement and plans on Facebook and Twitter. Posts such as “We booked the band today!” allow friends and  family to feel like they are part of the planning.
We hope to see some of these at the upcoming weddings we do where we help make the wedding “totally You”.

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Having The Perfect Wedding

Most People know that a wedding should be fun. But how can you be sure it will be? Having great food isn’t enough. A beautiful venue may be wonderful but what if your entertainer is a dud?

Over the past few years I have heard a lot of complaints from people with the same issue: The Wedding DJ was bad. “They didn’t have any of my songs.” “ They didn’t play enough fun dance songs from my era.” “ They didn’t have my most important dance.” … I could go on and on. There are a few ways to make sure you get results from your entertainment.

First make sure they are ORGANIZED. Do they have a system to remember your song choices? Are there forms your DJ use to help you, the bride, get together all the songs you should? If they are not writing things down you may want to pass on hiring them.

Second, do they have an idea of WHEN each thing is supposed to happen? I’m not talking about a time for each and every song, but a TIMELINE to go by so they know that guests arrive at 6:30 for cocktails and they will be playing “Smooth Jazz till 7:30, etc. If your DJ or Entertainment company has an agenda you can relax a lot easier because you will have everything written down and there is little or no chance they will not have what is on the agenda sheet.

Third, what kind of time are they spending with you on the planning? Are they available to go over your request list by phone? Can they meet and help you choose songs to play? I know a lot of brides don’t know half of the music I do. If I can help by making suggestions of songs to listen to it can mean the difference between a nice first dance song and “the most beautiful, romantic and memorable  first dance.

Fouth, are they helping you go to the songlists? Do they have song suggestions on their website. All these things mean they have been spending time on their craft and are an expert.

Lastly, I hope your entertainer has a few suggestions outside of the music area. They may be able to tell you about a beautiful wedding they experienced and give you the benefit of their knowledge so that you can gain from their experience. If they are not experienced I would stay away. For a wedding DJ or Entertainer you should have someone with over 10 years at their craft. Everybody knows experience will make the best expert.

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Choosing The Right Wedding Music

chicago wedding music

Choosing music is important if you want your wedding to be "you".

Choosing wedding music can be an overwhelming task. The good news is, with an expert entertainer or DJ you should have help. Suggestions for good dance songs are on many websites in the form of songlists. There are several songs, however you want to make sure you choose yourself because of the nature of their importance.

  • FIRST DANCE-  You can find many examples of great songs in this category. Take the time to listen to each one, then if you like it, buy it and put it on your player and ruminate on it. Download lyrics for it. Does it say who “you” are? If the lyrics and melody are likeable you should give it two more tests. Next, play it aloud and “test” it’s danceablilty. Is it long or short? ( Too long and you may be wishing it was only 3 minutes!) Is it easy to move to? Lastly after listening to it for a few weeks along with your other favorites, suddenly put away all the first dance choices. You’ll usually hear one more than the others.
  • FATHER-DAUGHTER- This one should be something from yesteryear. It is sweet if there is a “special” song between you and your father, something he used to sing to you during your childhood. or maybe it was his favorite and you remember hearing it a lot when you were a little girl. If none of those things apply, go dirctly to the era from when you were little and find something appealing from his generation that is slow. You can also try something from one of his favorite bands, for example; The Beatles, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, etc.
  • BRIDAL PARTY DANCE- This song can be just about any kind of style from Ozzy to Sinatra. Just make sure you realize it is an important song to play for two reasons. First, the bridal party will be photographed to this one, and second, This can act as an introduction to the dancefloor for the rest of your guests if you open the floor halfway through. Sometimes this will be the perfect way to get your party going. Make sure if you choose a fast song that everyone in the bridal party is comfortable with that. Not everyone can dance fast tempo songs comfortably. If your friends are all good with a fast song make sure it’s a floor packer and not a floor killer. It can really get things going if it’s a floor packer!
  • INTRODUCTIONS- This song should be all about you. If possible get a karaoke version so it doesn’t have too much singing to compete with your emcee talking over it. In a perfect scenario we like to have Unique Individual Introductions which involve each person in your bridal party coming in the room to their own theme, as a little comment about “who they are” is made. This can be something like their hobbies, or sports team, or even a real quick funny story. At the end of it all the bride & groom come in and it’s a huge thig. Your gusts suddenly feel connected to you because they know a little more about who is standing up. Your family didn’t know as much about your friends and your friends didn’t know as much about your family. Now your guests are all engaged and connected. A good DJ can do this kind of customization if you have a song choosing meeting  enough time beforehand. It can be quite special.
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How To Handle Wedding Day Mishaps

Chicago Wedding DJs

Things can tend to go wrong any number of ways - but how should a bride handle it?

It’s your wedding day. A day you’ve planned for. You’ve had meeting after meeting choosing flowers, table linens, music, and even thought you had this down. Then it happened something went WRONG.

What should a bride do?

1. Try not to sweat the small stuff. If it’s a matter of something is running late, you should just focus on your guests and enjoy chatting and visiting with the people you love that you don’t see too often. Can your DJ fill the time with something interesting? We tell the bride & groom’s LOVE STORY. In a situation where something is running late we could switch things around to make up time while everyone is waiting. Of course if you are the one making everyone wait it is not a good idea. A selfish photographer once took the bride & groom away for photos before their  first dance and the entire banquet had to wait. As their DJs, we finally located them and begged the photographer to take a break and let us do the first dance and rest of the special dances. They conceded and we finally got our chance even though it was almost an hour late! Make sure all your hired vendors cooperate with each other by saying something beforehand so they know you don’t want to have to pose for pictures for longer than the cocktail hour. If you don’t get to have any fun your reception is more likely to be something upsetting. We always give the vendors a copy of the agenda we make beforehand. No matter what, something is likely to go differently than planned. If you expect it, but plan to have a good attitude and let it go, it will be a breeze. Just say to yoursel: “If this is the worst thing that happens to me, I’m going to have a great wedding!”

2. Make sure your vendors communicate. A DJ who ignores the photographer is a dud. What good is throwing the bouquet if the photographer is in the other room takin portraits of your guests. At a wedding in Chicago we met a photographer who was thrilled that we called him for each special moment! We were surprised! It never ocurred to us that a Wedding DJ would ignore the photographer and not realize that it is an important part of their job to coordinate other vendors for each special moment. We have found ourselves coordinating with the kitchen for dinners not ready, and guests not arriving so dinners need to be held, you name it. A good DJ can handle things for the bride.

3. Talk to your groom and bridal party about how you feel about pranks and funny stuff. Cake in the face is horrible (to most brides) after the money spent on the dress and make-up and hair. Does your groom “know” what you’re putting into it? Letting him know beforehand is the start of good communication. Tell him you heard about how a “friend” had cake smashed in her face and it ruined her wedding. Tell him how you’d feel if it happened on your wedding day. Dropping conversations that are like a hint but more obvious will make sure that you don’t have to take too many chances. Tell your bridal party you are hoping most of them will not get so wasted that they can’t behave properly. Let them know how important respect on the microphone is. With your parents and granparents all present the last thing you would appreciate is swearing ! Have the best man and any other speech makers write out their speech so they don’t slip up in case they have a few too many. The worst moment I witnessed at a wedding was a drunk best man laughing and saying he was so @*#! wasted! -This before he gave a toast. The room was speechless. The bride and groom usually know who they are having stand up pretty well. If they are likely to drink too much, take no chances and tell them to hold off a little until after the toast! Tell them you mean business! The good news is , this bride was able to somehow laugh it off and enjoy the rest of her reception by focusing on the other good moments that were very special. It’s all in the FOCUS.

Most of All remember: IF Anything Can Go Wrong It Probably Will. What you focus on is EVERYTHING!


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What To Know When Planning Your Wedding

Chicago DJ Music

What do you plan to have at your wedding? There are a few things you need to make a decision on.

Planning a wedding is important, no doubt. With a little thought you can do it without a planner if you have enough time and don’t have the extra $.

1. You can save money any number of ways. You can design you own unique dress and have it made for you by a relative or friend or friend’s mom. If you pick a pattern and fabric it cn be a one-of-a -kind original. I had a comfortable stretch fabric sheath underneath a sheer lace dress with a princess waist. All trimmed in small gold flowers. It was totally ME! If you know someone who can help you put a “look” together, by all means, you should.

2. You will have to choose a hall. In our case we had to find a church first. After we found a church available on our date we booked one of our our favorite Banquet halls, Royalty West in Willow Springs, Il. We chose Royalty West because of it’s ambience. It is a smaller, family owned establishment with the best Polish cooking that includes many items made with real butter. It’s alittle like home cooking but better than the standard wedding fare of some rooms.

3. Wedding entertainment is probably more important than anything else you have to choose. Going by price is the first big mistake a bride can make because an amatuer DJ can completely ruin a wedding. A kid who uses his computer for example, might not have two back up computers. He should have a second laptop with him and all songs on another backup hard drive. A good DJ can also simply have CDs. Both kinds should have back up equipment – we try to have a double system so that the back up system is in place and being used. If anything goes down , the other system is already there. You won’t even know anything went down. No one has to bring anything in. Mostly you have the extra sound to balance the room. It does not have to be louder if instead, the extra power is balanced, auntie can still “hear herself talk”. After training at JB sound, my partner, Nelson tells me four speakers fill a room better than two louder ones. It’s a matter of spreading out the angle of the sound positioning. Picking an entertainer who knows a few things about sound can save you.

Your entertainer should be experienced in coordinating everything but the kitchen sink. He or she can help you get better photos, video and can make the banquet hall run smoothly because they all have a copy of your agenda.

Mostly , talk to the experts and find out what they require you to choose and start checking things off your list.


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Best Chicago Area Banquet Facilities

Chicago Area wedding locations - Joliet

The Jacob Henry Mansion is beautiful - the living room is a dance floor.

Over the years, the banquet industry has really changed. As wedding DJs we thought you might like to hear about some of the best places we’ve worked in. Here is the criteria we used to make this list.

1. Staff was friendly and easy to work with.

2. Overall beauty and elegance

3. Food quality and menu choices

4. Uniqueness and charm

Jacob Henry Mansion Joliet, Il . A beautiful place for a weddingbecause it is a step back to victorian times, the Jacob Henry Mansion is a historical place that is magical becuase of it’s old-world charm.


Chicago wedding locations
The atrium Room is one of the most beautiful of all the area.

William Tell Banquets, Atrium Room or Terrace Room,  Countryside, Il -To book the Atrium room is difficult because it is booked ahead so many Saturdays, but if you can find an open date, book your church second after this gem! With a romantic balcony over a lower level of seating it is unusually different than any other banquet facility. If the atrium is booked, the smaller Terrace Room is just as gorgeous! We have been lucky enough to DJ for many weddings here and hope to be back again and again! The food here is outstanding. The best thing is this is part of a beautiful hotel with the best Sunday  Champagne Brunch for the morning after your wedding complete with  beautifully played grand piano  music. For your rehearsal dinner there is a Friday buffet with Prime Rib that is mouth watering. It even has a beautiful Gazebo for you to have your wedding ceremony right there! The William Tell Banquet Facility has it all because it is a part of the Countyside Holiday Inn Hotel & Conference Center. It includes a huge swimming pool and all the amenities you would expect at a fine hotel.




Chicago Wedding Receptions
A Midieval Castle in the West suburbs (slightly south)

Royalty West Banquets, Willow Springs, Il Step into a magic land with a castle straight out of a fairie tale. This facility has home-made Polish Cooking to die for. All made with real butter, it tastes so good it’s hard not to gorge yourself! The romantic grounds are the most beautiful of anywhere and the best part is that they are reasonably priced. Try to get the Castle Room which is by far the most ambience. It is so beautiful, this wedding DJ picked it for her very own wedding! The food was so good and still is, that every time I work there that it is hard not to overeat! This is a personal experience, run by a family NOT a big corporation. The experience is unlike any other. I often recommend it to my clients because of the friendliness of the family running it, the ambience and the food – a triple delight!


South Chicago Area Wedding Reception Locations
A Newer facility, the most ambience for the area.

DiNolfo’s Banquets Homer Glen, Il  This is a newre facility and is filled with beauty.

Because this is a family run venue , you can trust that everything is personal and your event will be extremely wonderful. I have thoroughly enjoyed the lavishness of this place from the moment you drive up to the beautiful spaciousness of the rooms. It is well worth a look if you are in the south suburbs. There is even a small room upstairs laid out like a chapel for ceremonies. And DiNolfo’s still has the VERY BEST Roast Beef on their banquet menu of anywhere! Take it from a DJ who has been around!


The stonegate is a wonderful north suburb location for elegance and beauty.

Big and beautiful, with the ability for outdoor cocktails


The Stonegate, Hoffman Estates, Il The Stonegate is one of the most awesome, modern, elegant venues I have had the pleasure to work in. It has a beautiful outdoor terrace next to the foyer bar area, where the guests enjoyed cocktails and I was singing jazz. We were able to put the speaker outside so everyone could hear even though I was indoors singing. After cocktails we went into a grand ballroom and had one of the greatest meals I’ve ever enjoyed. I highly recommend this wonderful romantic spot if you’re in the north suburbs. Beaty in a modern setting with all the amenities for a perfect evening!





For more information contact Dalis Santiago of Funnsongs Productions

Dalis Santiago

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5 Creative Ways To Make Your Wedding “You”

Wedding cakes

What will make your wedding stand out as unique and a reflection of you?

Here are some tips to stand out in a world of vanilla, common weddings. Why not break out of the cookie-cutter mold and try some unique ideas?

1. Have a theme.

2. Have your story told.

3. Decorate with your style.

4. Unusual choice in dress.

5. Your music should say “YOU”!


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Secret to getting cheap flights

Life has become extremely stressful, today? The stress of work, home, studies etc. leaves us no time or energy to relax and de-stress. In such a scenario, a long vacation is the one thing that can provide us with all the relaxation and freshness we need in our life.

Whether it’s the sandy beaches of Kerala or tall mountains of Himalaya, shopping malls of Malaysia or ancient history of Egypt, a vacation helps us live a life that’s out of our own life. Most people think that one has to splurge in order to make a vacation luxurious. Thus, they don’t even think twice while buying air tickets from their regular travel agent. They pay whatever price is demanded.

But, if you purchase your air tickets from the right place, you can save a lot of money. There are a number of websites which have become the hot-spot for cheap flight tickets for travelers. These websites allow travelers to search for the best deals by providing information about all available flights in the given time period to a particular destination. Thus, it makes it easier for travelers to compare and also avail special discount offers given by airlines.

Most of these websites are absolutely free of cost. You will have to simply enter the information about your trip, such as date of departure and arrival, number of tickets required, destination, etc. You can also choose the class i.e. economy, business, executive etc. that you want to travel with.

Besides being extremely convenient, online airlines ticket reservation is also a very good way to save money. These websites feature best deals and offers on various holiday packages and air tickets. If you are planning a vacation, but don’t have the time to look for best hotel deals, leisure activities, then these websites can be of great help to you.

They offer pre-booked holiday packages to different destinations for a fixed period of time. These packages are the most convenient way to enjoy a holiday as you don’t have to make each reservation individually. You also save a lot of money with these packages as hotels, airlines and other parties offer discounts on their prices.

But online booking is not just for vacations. You can book cheap flights for pretty much any kind of travel through these websites. Whether you are going on a business trip or on a personal visit, simply log on to one of such websites and book your tickets. All this takes less than 10 to 15 minutes and you don’t even have to call a travel agent for this.

The best thing about booking online tickets is that you don’t have to worry about getting ripped off by anyone. You can check the prices yourself and pay only the amount that you are required to. You don’t have to pay any travel agent fee or other hidden charges.

So, in your next trip, don’t waste your time and money on expensive air tickets and book air tickets online.


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Some Wedding Humor

Having a hard day planning your wedding? Daydreaming about which bars or nightclubs you will be heading to this weekend? If so here are a few jokes to make your time a little more funn!

Marriage requires a man to prepare 4 types of “RINGS” :
- The Engagement Ring
- The Wedding Ring
- The Suffer-Ring
- The Endue-Ring

Son: Is it true? Dad, I heard that in ancient China, a man doesn’t know his wife until he marries. Father: That happens everywhere, son, EVERYWHERE!

Man is incomplete until he is married. Then he is really finished.

A little boy asked his father, “Daddy, how much does it cost to get married?” And the father replied, “I don’t know, son, I’m still paying for it.”

Getting married is very much like going to the restaurant with friends. You order what you want, and when you see what the other fellow has, you wish you had ordered that.



The bride said she wanted three children, while the young husband said two would be enough for him.They discussed this discrepancy for a few minutes until the husband thought he’d put an end to things by saying boldly, “After our second child, I’ll just have a vasectomy.”Without a moments hesitation, the bride retorted, “Well, I hope you’ll love the third one just as if it’s your own.”

Husband to wife: Why do you keep reading our marriage licence?
Wife to Husband: I’m looking for a loophole!

Q: Why do brides wear white?
A: To blend in with everything else in the kitchen.

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10 Ways To Lose Weight for your Wedding

wedding weight

What are some good ways to lose wieght before the big day?

According to a Cornell University study more than 70 percent of brides-to-be want to drop 20 lbs before the big day. It’s like, OMG – the camera adds 10 pounds! here are some safe ways to get off a few pounds

Top 10 diet-wise steps for losing  weight before a wedding

Forget the fads and supplements. Follow the basics and the weight will come off steadily.

1. Aim to halve your alcohol intake. If you stop drinking altogether – even better.That  beer gut is not a myth – alcohol is a big contributor to calories. Stick to 1 glass of red wine a night, trade down to light or low-carb beer, intersperse a mineral water or diet soft drink when you’re out.

2. Keep portions modest. Unless you’re working out or in training, aim for no more than a fist sized portion of meat. Don’t go back for seconds.

3. Fill your plate with more vegetables or salad; cut back on potato, pasta and rice. A large baked/boiled potato or a cup of pasta/rice is ample for most women. Easy veggies to cook are tomatoes, broccoli, peas (frozen as nutritious as fresh), mushrooms and onions (good to barbecue along with the lean meats). Keep fdrozen veggies handy. Use a buttery spray or low calorie dressing sprinkled or sprayed on. Above all , watch out for hidden calories in sauces and salad dressings.

4. Steer clear of fast food with its super-sizes and artery-clogging saturated and trans fats. Filled rolls eg Subway, plain burgers without the bun, BBQ chicken, sushi rolls and Asian stir-fries with vegetables are usually healthier choices (but not always – it depends on the outlet). Say No to chips and breads as much as possible. Even baked, chips have a lot of calories.

5. Swap white bread for wholegrain; trade in frosted flakes for high-fibre or oats options. These fill you up and stick with you for longer for the same calories.

6. Look for the high-fibre option when you can in breakfast cereals, soups, cracker biscuits, vegetable sticks instead of crackers.

7. Buy fruit you can eat on the run without having to peel like cherries, grapes or blueberries. Or dice up 4 or 5 different fruits and make up tubs of fruit salad to take to work or have ready as a snack when you get hungry.

8. When dining out, skip bread and pastas and order fish or lean steak or chicken as your main dish. Make sure you ask for vegetables or salad. Avoid rich creamy sauces and gravy. Don’t feel you have to clean your plate.

9. Don’t skip breakfast. A pizza or a danish later in the morning adds more calories than a simple bowl of wholegrain cereal with milk.

10. Get moving. Walk the dog, find a walking buddy in your street to meet up with twice a week, swim laps or in the ocean, join the local gym. Tip: write in two classes a week into your calendar so you don’t forget. Notch up 30 minutes of brisk exercise every day.

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