Saturday, September 26, 2009

Neighborhood Nightspots

WGIC recently found two great articles on one of our favorite websites,

Article #1 - 4 New Neighborhood Nightspots for Casual Group Outings
The article highlights four restaurants (Wrigleyville, Gold Coast, River North and North Ave) that provide not only a laid back feel, but an ambiance that lends itself to casual, informal events.

Article #2 - New Nightspots for Private Events
This article looks at restaurants/venues that have opened in the last month that provide great atmospheres for private events. Now you might not have 300 guests, and may not need to utilize all the space highlighted, but they're all worth a look!

Check them out!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Windy City Gator Club - 2010 Road Trip

WGIC has the pleasure of being the main planners for the Windy City Gator Club here in Chicago.  With both of our lead planners University of Florida alumni, this probably comes as no surprise!

Every year the Windy City Gators travel to one away football game of the season; this year we will be traveling to Lexington, Kentucky for the UK/UF. The game takes place tomorrow, Saturday, September 26th at 6:00pm EST at Commonwealth Stadium.

We had such a great response this year with 65 people purchasing tickets to the game and an additional 50 PEOPLE purchasing a ticket to just our tailgate! With over 100 Gators in attendance, we're sure to have a GREAT time! Because the demand was so high this year, WGIC and the Windy City Gator Club decided to hire a professional caterer.  We couldn't be happier (thus far) with that choice. Bib's BBQ in Lexington has taken over the responsibility of cooking on game day - and we are all stoked! Bib's will be bringing a smoker onsite to roast our pulled pork and whole chickens for hours before our 2pm serving time.  With all the southern favorites of baked beans, cole slaw and peach cobbler, a good time should be had by all!

With the threat of rain looming in tomorrow's forecast for Lexington our Gator fan hats are replaced with out Event Planner hats.  A contingency plan is ALWAYS necessary, even when the forecast is sunny with a chance of blue skies.  We've purchased additional tents and sent out an email to all confirmed attendees to bring ponchos, umbrellas, and rain boots! We've also confirmed with Bib's that the smoker is able to run in the rain (100% sealed) and that one tent will be dedicated to covering the food table (nobody likes waterlogged peach cobbler!)

Despite the gloomy forecast, WGIC and the Windy City Gator Club Board of Directors are all looking forward to a huge party, great food, excellent football, and a Gator WIN!!

If you're in the area stop by and say hello!

Also, check back soon for an Event Recap and Photos from the weekend!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Their motto is 'Reduce what you can, offset what you can't!'

What They Do: supports renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects globally that reduce carbon dioxide emissions and the threat of climate change. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

How It Works:

We are all responsible for climate change and we all must be part of the solution. makes it simple for anyone, or any organization, to reduce and offset their carbon emissions.

A carbon offset represents a reduction in emissions somewhere else - like a renewable energy or a reforestation project - to balance out the emissions you cannot reduce.

Two Ways You Can Help:
1. Calculate Your Carbon Emissions and Contribute
Use the Carbon Calculator to figure out your carbon footprint or choose from one of their preset options. If you don’t see what you need, or have a special carbon footprint in mind (an organization, business, event), contact for more information. Contributions are tax-deductible. Calculate your footprint now>>

2. Become carbon neutral
A carbon offset represents a reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) somewhere else, like a wind farm in Texas or a reforestation project in Nicaragua, to balance out the emissions you cannot reduce. By becoming carbon neutral today you are supporting clean technology and reduction projects that drive investment and innovation, and hasten our market transformation to a low carbon future.

Ready More:
Read more about Projects and Standards.

What We Love:
There is even a way to offset your next event. Whether it be a wedding, tailgate, birthday, grand opening, or some other celebration, takes many aspects into consideration including: the number of guests and how they get to your event, the number of hotel nights used, and the food consumed. Check it out HERE by clicking on the last option, "Event/Wedding."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Questions for Your Caterer

WGIC is currently working with an out-of-state caterer for one of our clients and we wanted to pass along some important information to you!

There are many things you need to be sure of when working with a caterer for you next event - whether right around the corner or on the other side of the country.  Take a look at the check list we've put together here for some things to keep in mind:

Date of the Event
-Be sure the caterer has the date of your event available and that the event start and end times are clearly outlined in your contract

Hours of Service
-Most caterers have a set number of hours for which they will provide service. Most include set up and strike (tear down, clearing of equipment, clean up, etc.), but both will depend on the company as to the duration. Be sure that your interests are represented in the event contract, this is your insurance policy.

-Finalizing the caterer, guest list, and menu are all very important, but making sure you have enough space is probably the most important detail. Will you have tables and chairs? Are you in an open space and require guests to provide their own seating? These are questions that need to be answered prior to finalizing a caterer.

-This is a big one! Be sure that both you and the caterer are on the same page. Being very detailed and 'knit-picky' is absolutely okay here. You want to make sure that you know exactly what you are getting for your money.  Is desert included? How many main courses are available? Are drinks included? What kind of drinks? Are alcoholic beverages included or just water and soda? Is there an extra charge for alcohol?

-Food without utensils, can be challenging! Be sure to outline in your contract who is providing the 'hardware'.  This includes: plates, utensils, garbage cans and bags, cups, napkins, etc.  Also make sure you know who is disposing of the garbage at the end of the event.

Final Guarantee
-All caterers require a final guarantee.  Most have a deadline of 72 hours prior to the event.  Caterers need this final number to place orders with their suppliers so they are able to be adequately equipped for your event.  If you are still unsure about what your numbers are going to be within this time frame WGIC suggests you guarantee roughly 5% over what your RSVP numbers are. This is to ensure a little leeway.

-WGIC's client is throwing an event on the campus of an SEC school.  This brings into consideration permits. Be sure that your event does not require any additional permits.  If your event is in a location that does require permits, check with your caterer to ensure they have the necessary documentation. If you're working with local banquet halls or event spaces check with your planner to ensure additional costs are not incurred.

-The most imporatnt aspect of any event is the contract. We've covered a few areas above that should be outlined in any event contract (beverages, location, cost, what is being offered for the cost, permits, menu, etc.), but it is very necessary to stress how important the event contract actually is.  Review all contracts very carefully. Contracts are the outline that all vendors go by; if your interests are not clearly represented in your event contract you are the only one to blame for miscommunication.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


The pictures are in from the TEAMiFIT/PHD Lifestyle Center Preview Party. We hope you were able to make the event, but if not, here's a look at what you missed!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Out-of-Town Guests

If you're planning a wedding (or any event) where you have out-of-town guests you might be wondering what you're going to do with them. WGIC has some great ideas to make your out-of-towners feel right at home in the big city!

First, and foremost, make sure all guests that are not native to Chicago are armed with a good map. It is worth taking the extra time to create an event map for those that may need a bit more direction when navigating through Chicago. This will also cut down on the number of angry phone calls you receive from lost family members and will leave a much better lasting impression of our great city.

Creating an itinerary with addresses for the church, reception location, city landmarks, shopping, museums, etc. is also helpful. Be sure to include event start times, dress code, weather conditions, and who is expected to attend which events.

Transportation is also something you need to think about. If guests are expected to take public transportation be sure they know where they're going and how much time is needed from door to door (this will ensure they are not late to your big day/event!). If you prefer they take a taxi, a good event favor (or something to include in the hotel goody bags) is a prepaid credit card to cover some of their costs. Another good idea is to hire a transportation company to ease you and you're guests nerves about getting around.

Check out an example of a Google Map and an Event Itinerary.

Here are some other great ideas for your out-of-towners:

Places to visit:
1. Navy Pier
- Have an outing planned for the night guests arrive. Navy pier plays host to many events with several beautiful event spaces. The Crystal Gardens are my personal favorite, but be sure to check them all out before making any decisions! After you can even go see a movie at the IMAX Theater!

2. Shed Aquarium
3. Adler Planetarium & Museum
4. Museum of Science and Industry
5. Field Museum
- See Sue, the world's largest, most complete and most famous T. Rex. See also, the current attraction: Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship
6. Art Institute of Chicago
7. Soldier Field
8. Wrigley Field
9. Sears Tower
- You can visit the traditional Sky Deck of the, now, Willis Tower. Or if you're really adventurous, you can try out the new Sky Deck Ledge!

10. Architectural Boat Tour
11. Frank Lloyd Wright Houses
12. Chicago Symphony Orchestra
13. Millenium Park
- The prominent features are the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the most sophisticated outdoor concert venue of its kind in the United States; the interactive Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa; the contemporary Lurie Garden designed by the team of Kathryn Gustafson, Piet Oudolf and Robert Israel; and Anish Kapoor's hugely popular Cloud Gate sculpture (The Bean) on the AT&T Plaza.
14. Lincoln Park Zoo
15. Lincoln Park Conservatory -or- Garfield Park Conservatory

16. Chinatown
17. Greektown

Did you recently have a destination wedding in Chicago? Let us know where you took your guests and how they liked it!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lifestyle Center Preview Party Tonight

The TEAMiFIT/PHD Lifestyle Center Preview Party is TONIGHT from 5:30pm to 9:00pm at 676 N LaSalle. The event is open to the public and FREE - so bring your friends!

WGIC couldn't be more excited; we had such a blast during the planning process and met so many great people. We are so proud of Amy Leffel of TEAMiFIT and Doc Rob of PHD - you guys did an amazing job pulling this together!

Join us if you can and enjoy great music, dancing, messages by Massage Envy, Larabars, Sambazon, hot shaves by Halo, food by Cocoro and Cousin's IV, live Zumba demos, and SO much more.

Come check out the space for workout classes - OR - for your next event!

Be sure to check back here soon for pictures and the Event Recap.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Olympics Fever!

It's official: Chicago has Olympics Fever! With only 16 days until the bid city winner is announced, the race to the 2016 Olympics is heating up. Chicago is one of four finalist cities, competing with Tokyo, Madrid, and Rio de Janeiro.

Here at We've Got It! Chicago, we couldn't be more excited . . . Chicago 2016 promises us some of our favorite things: amazing feats of sport, a culmination of world cutures and of course TONS of events to plan. BUT our favorite thing is that Chicago 2016 promises to be the greenest Olympics yet. To read more about the "Blue-Green Games" check out the plan here.

And be sure to watch the decision live at Daley Plaza on October 2nd at 9:00 a.m. Go Chicago!

Goody Bags

One great way we love to incorporate all aspects of an event are with goody bags. WGIC is currently putting together goody bags for the TEAMiFIT/P.H.D Lifestyle Center Preview Party and we wanted to share some helpful tips for your next event.

Be sure to include at least one marketing or promotional piece for all vendors/sponsors involved in your event. Most vendors/sponsors will not have a problem providing these types of materials for you, but some persistent follow-up may be needed. (If yours is a private event you are free to put whatever you want inside, so have fun! Candy, gifts, pictures of the event, cookies, prizes, books, jewelery, etc. The possibilities are endless, but try keeping in line with your overall theme!)

Include all marketing/promotional pieces in a container that represents what you want your guests to know about your event. WGIC thrives to be Socially Responsible Butterflies and therefore plans socially responsible events, so we use try to use products that are as eco-friendly as possible (Check out for some ideas!). Your theme may be different: football party, or cooking get together, or maybe even a sports event. Try using a recycled bag, box, or other container in a new way to fit your theme. You can use reusable shopping bags, or backpacks, or even cute lunch bags to make your event a little more Green!
Don't forget to label your bag. If you're promoting your business, put your information on the outside. Most promotional companies can include logos on products or you can get stickers printed with your information and stick them right to your bags. (again if yours is a private event, what you can do with goody bags is really limitless - we've included a few more photos below for inspiration!).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

BLT Pictures

They're in!

Check out WGIC planner, Katie Karakosta's pictures from the Boulevard Lakefront Tour below.

All of the WGIC planners look forward to participating next year!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chicagoland Car-Free Day

Take the Car-Free Day pledge!

Here is an excuse to explore other ways of getting around. On Tuesday Sept. 22, Active Trans will partner with RTA, Pace, Metra, CTA and communities around the region for Chicagoland Car-free Day. The event is part of World Carfree Day, the one moment when people around the world pledge to go sans auto.

Check out the Car-Free Day Festivities:
I-Go Car Sharing Car-Free Celebration
Green Chicago Parent Car-Free Celebration
Break the Gridlock Car-Free Celebration
Loyola University Car-Free Celebration
Lake Trek Car-Free Day Celebration

WGIC did it; join us and 426 other people and go carfree - TAKE THE PLEDGE

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Boulevard Lakefront Tour

As you know WGIC planner, Katie Karakosta, is participating in the Boulevard Lakefront Tour today! She will be biking 25 miles on a route that features Beverly's Longwood Drive, the Major Taylor Trail, many bungalow neighborhoods, historic Pullman, a rest stop at Pullman's Hotel Florence.

Boulevard Lakefront Tour proceeds benefit the Active Transportation Aliance, Chicagoland's voice for better biking, walking and transit.

Leave Katie a comment and wish her luck!

(check back soon for pictures!)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Let the Holiday Countdowns Begin

So now that it's the middle of September we here at WGIC feel it's time for the holiday countdowns to begin! Don't call us crazy, we're planners, we like everything finalized way ahead of time!

49 Days until Halloween

75 Days until Thanksgiving

90 Days until the start of Chanukah

104 Days until Christmas!

105 Days until the start of Kwanzaa

110 Days until New Years Eve

Check back regularly as we countdown to your favorite holidays and give helpful tips, tricks, and party ideas to make this season a little less stressful!