Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Bride Didn't Wear White

This week we're kicking off a new Wedding Wednesday series on color.  We'll show you where to find great inspiration for your wedding colors, a rainbow of idea boards for every season and style, and so much more.  But today we start with less traditional brides who opted out of the white dress.

Why do most brides wear white? In this day and age, it symbolizes virginity, but as studies have shown, many modern brides are not so pure. So why do they still opt for the pristine gowns? Well, the tradition started with Queen Victoria in 1840 and was more of a symbol of wealth than purity.  In those days, only the mega-rich could afford to buy a white dress (not so easy to clean before dry cleaners) and wear it only once. Before her time, brides wore all different colored gowns, with the exception of red and black, which represented prostitutes and death, respectively.

It was still about another 100 years later before white gowns really took off as the trend in weddings, all thanks to expanding media technologies that were transmitting photos and videos of brides wearing white.  These days, however, brides are going back to the pre-Victoria trend of wearing a rainbow of colors on their big day. Check out some of our favorite, less-tradtional brides below.

(click to enlarge)

sources: [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]

So what about you? Did you opt for traditional white or did you sport a more colorful dress on your big day?  Send us a photo or leave us a comment about your wedding day fashions.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hello Lover!

Yes, I'm channeling my inner-Carrie Bradshaw with that one, and for good reason.  I've recently discovered Washi Tape. I don't know where this product has been all my life or what rock I've been hiding under, but boy am I happy we've finally met.  I can't begin to say enough amazing things about such a simple product.  The possibilities are endless!  So sit back and enjoy a ride through Washi Town!

Washi Tape, for those not in the know, is beautiful, adhesive Japanese paper that comes in a roll just like masking tape.  Simple. Brillant. Washi tape is sold all over the internet, and probably in your local craft store. You can find it on too, which is one of my favorite places to shop. It's sold in individual roles, in groupings (like above), and in bulk.

Your imagination is the only limit with Washi tape. We've found so many fun ideas for using Washi at your next event. We can't wait to try them all out ourselves. Here's a few of our favorites:

With a rainbow of available colors, the possibilities really are endless.

So what about you? Are you inspired to get creative at your next event? How will you use Washi tape?  Need help making your next occasion extra special? Email us at to see how we can help!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Delicious Centerpieces

There's just something about using food as a centerpiece that I just love. Maybe it's the simplicity, or the beautiful natural colors and tones.  Or perhaps it's the fact that the food can often be reused or at the very least recycled or composted.  Whatever it is, I love an edible centerpiece.  I also love that they can be much cheaper than their floral counterparts.  (Think about it: a dozen lemons is way cheaper than a dozen roses!)

We've gathered some of our favorite images of edible decor for you to feast your eyes on. We hope you'll be inspired to try this at your next event.

So what about you? Have you ever used food as decor for an event? Leave us a comment or send us a picture of your event. We love to show-case reader submissions!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chicago Chef Week

It's time for Chicago Chef Week (running from March 22 - March 28) and we couldn't be more excited! If you're not familiar, Chicago Chef Week features 34 (amount varies by year) area restaurants that offer a special, preset lunch and dinner menu for $20 and $30 respectively. You choose from 2-3 options for each course (each restaurant offers between 3-5 courses), and some even pair beer or wine with the meal!

Chicago Chef Week is a great way to try out great, casual fine dining restaurants on a fixed budget. Check out the website for links to menus to pick your favorite!

We liked: Mercadito (Lunch Menu - Dinner Menu). Just looking at the menu makes us salivate! Make your reservation NOW!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Re-Wine Soy Candles

Searching for the perfect centerpiece for your next event?

Wondering what favor to give out at your wedding?

Looking for a great eco-friendly gift?

Look no futher!  Re-Wine Soy Candles from Greener Landz is the perfect answer to all three! Greener Landz is the brain-child of two friends who had a passion for the green lifestyle and were struggling to make ends meet.  Named for their kids, Greener Landz has expanded to offer design services and products with the Earth in mind.  Our favorite item in their catalog is the Re-Wine Soy Candle!

We think these are just perfect for so many occasions.  Greener Landz collects bottles from local restaurants and bars (saving them from the landfill!) then cuts, smooths, and fills each one with eco-friendly soy wax.  One of our favorite features: you can pick the bottles they use for your candles!

These candles make a perfect centerpiece for a wine and cheese party or a vineyard wedding.  Heck, they'd be great at a non-wine themed event!  They also make great hostess gifts and favors for your wedding guests. Greener Landz will even help design you a custom label for your candles! For more info on these candles, check out Greener Landz on Etsy.

And be sure to check back with us soon. We're working on an awesome give-away from Greener Landz very soon!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cooking Up a Unique Wedding Favor

Let's face it, lots of wedding favors are junk!  I can't tell you how many times I've brought home some mass-produced piece of plastic "memorabilia" that sits on my counter for a week before I toss it in the garbage.  Sometimes I wonder why people even bother doing these kinds of favors.  My favorite favors are the kind with a personal touch, the kind that relfect the couple and mean something to the guests.  When I discovered the wedding favor that Emily and Nick gave their guests, I had to share it. 

Emily and Nick, who have been blogging about cooking for 3+ years now, created a cookbook of family recipes as a gift for their guests. The recipes were from each of their families, as well as ones that they had come up with together.  This was a major DIY project that used 2,500 sheets of paper and 20 ink cartridges. But the personal touch is what makes it such a great project and a cherished gift. 

What about you? What favors did you give your wedding guests? Did you add a personal touch like Nick and Emily? Leave us a comment to share your experience. If you need help creating the perfect favor for your guests, email us at to see how we can help!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Suggestion Saturday: Cortland's Garage

Looking for a hot spot for your bachelor/bachelorette party? Or maybe to celebrate your engagement, or birthday, or job promotion?

What: Local Bucktown bar with great food and drink specials and private rooms for your next big or small event. Mouthwatering food is prepared by professional chef, Jim August (Cortland's was honored with #10 burger in all of Chicago by Chicago Magazine Sept, 2009), and can be ordered in platters for larger events. Already have a venue for your event, but need a place for the recap the next day? Try Cortland's Hangover Brunch, complete with a $5 Build your own Bloody Mary Bar and $5 Mimosas. Believe us, the brunch menu is DELISH!

Where: 1645 West Cortland Street (773.862.7877)

Why: To celebrate, commiserate, eat or even nurse a hangover!

When: We would say anytime.  Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays are the best for larger, more rowdy events, but if you're looking to keep it low-key any other day would work.  Sundays are also great with the Bloody Mary Bar at your disposal!

Who: Anyone over 21

Friday, March 19, 2010


There are so many things to be thankful for this Friday. One, it's Friday. Tomorrow is the first day of Spring! March Madness is upon us.  But today, we especially grateful for Foosie Design.  We've sung Foosie's praises before, and we're doing it again. 

For the months of March and April, Foosie Design is offering FREE SHIPPING on their programs! PLUS, if you follow the Foosie blog or inquire about a quote before March 31st, you'l enjoy a 5% discount on your order as well!  How amazing is that?! 

Want to hear something even more amazing?  Foosie's programs are fabulous and eco-friendly.  Just check out what she has to say about them on her latest blog post:

I found this fantastic ribbon from Of the Earth in Seattle, made from recycled and vegetable dyed, handmade paper. So not only will your programs look fabulous! but you'll be able to recycle or compost the entire program!! And if you're looking for a more formal look, I'm offering a gorgeous, vegetable dyed double faced satin ribbon, that's completely non toxic. The programs are also printed on 30-100% recycled paper and printed with an energy efficient digital printer. Plus, I've designed them to have an extremely efficient paper yield, so there will be no paper waste turning the production process, which is generally unheard of in the stationery industry!

Prices range from $1.75 - $3.00, depending on quantities ordered and whether you choose to assemble them yourself.  And that includes FREE customization!  Check out the options you have below:

If you're in the Chicago area and would like to look at Foosie's products in person, please email us at  We've Got It! Chicago is a licensed representative of Foosie Design and can help you choose the paper products that are perfect for your next event!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Table Topics

Having a dinner party and need conversation starters?

Look no further than Table Topics.

Our experience: WGIC helps plan events for the Windy City Gator Club where we've recently started having monthly dinners. The great thing is there's always a bunch of new faces; the difficult thing is sometimes it's hard to get conversations started when people don't really know anyone.  Enter Table Topics! They have cubes for every type of situation, from Family Get-Togethers, Girl's Night Out, and Book Club to Not Your Mom's Dinner Party!  They even have a Couples Edition and a 60's, 70's, and 80's Editions - how fun!

Check 'em out for your next get together, road trip, or night on the town!

Decades: The '80sValley girls and video games, Ronald Reagan and Rubik's Cube, Flashdance and the fall of the Berlin Wall... TableTopics '80s edition has it all covered. Let the era of big business and even bigger hair inspire fun conversation with friends and family. Because when it comes to boring conversation, our advice is "just say no."

Questions Include:
•Which was better Fame, Footloose or Flashdance?
•What were the first videos you remember seeing on MTV?
•Did you own any clothes inspired by Miami Vice?
•Which character in the Breakfast Club were you most like in the '80s?
•Did Reaganomics work?
•Was Fantasy Island magical or creepy?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

We hope the luck of the Irish is on your side, and you have a wonderful day celebrating with friends and family. Make sure your celebration ends safely: designate a driver or take advantage of pubic transportation to get you home.

Happy St. Patrick's Day from the WGIC Team!

Monday, March 15, 2010


Have you ever seen those really amazing cupcakes at a party? You know, the ones with thematic wrappers and beautifully hand-crafted cupcake flags? And you think to yourself, 'Man, that is one good-looking cupcake! But who the heck has the time or the patience to make cupcakes look so darn good?!' Or maybe you just shove the whole thing in your mouth and hadn't given it a second thought until now.  Well, whichever kind of cupcake-lover you are, your life just got better. 

Plates and Napkins: Designer Party Supplies offers you just that: amazingly beautiful designer party supplies at not-so-designer prices!  I got sucked into their website the other day for almost an hour, crusing through their inventory, browsing by color and theme and occasion.  And the best part: they offer eco-friendly party supplies. They have an entire line of Ultra Green paper goods, described here:

100% Biodegradable, Compostable & Sustainable. Ultra Green Tree Free sugarcane paper products biodegrade or compost in 60-90 days. Cornstarch cups and utensils biodegrade or compost in 150 days. These eco-friendly products withstand heat, hot liquids, oil and are safe for microwave and freezer. Plates are made of sugar cane fiber and plastics are made from cornstarch.

Okay, I've digressed enough. Back to the cupcakes. While I was cruising around Plates and Napkins, I found the most adorable cupcake kits. These kits come with themed cupcake papers along with the cutest little cupcake topper figurines. There's quite a variety too, so whatever type of festivity you're throwing, there's sure to be a cupcake kit that fits the motif. And at .50 a cupcake, it will fit your budget too!

Here's a few of our favorites:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Let the Madness Begin!

Second to Christmas, this may just be my favorite time of the year.  St. Patrick's Day is upon us.  And so is March Madness!  This is a great time to get together with friends and family to watch all the big games, cheer on your alma mater, and talk some smack! But most of all, it's a great excuse to throw a party.
Selection Sunday is just over 48 hours away.  Why not invite the whole gang over for an impromtu gathering?  This would also be a great time to organize a basketball pool (if you're into that sort of thing).  For me, this week is all about cinderallas, bracket-busters, 12s vs 5s, and a whole lot of crazy prognosticating (my inner-voice sounds a lot like Dickie V). 

So you're throwing together a last-minute shin-dig for this weekend's Selection Show. What do you need?

The show is on at 6 pm (est). Invite your friends over around 5 and do light hors d'oeuvres and drinks, and they'll be headed home to dinner when the show's over. Mini pigs in a blanket are always a big hit and super easy!  Baked sweet potato chips with dill dip and mini soft pretzels are also sure to be a success! For dessert, how about some basketball themed cakeballs?  With chocolate coating and a thin black icing gel, these would be darling for the party.

It's Sunday, and after a long weekend of early St. Patrick's Day revelry, your guests will probably want to take it easy.  White wine citrus sangria is one of my favorite laid-back drinks. It's so easy and so pretty. Your guests will love it.  Of course, we also recommend having some beer on hand for the guys, who will probably scoff at drinking sangria.

While this is a last-minute gathering, you shouldn't shirk on decor.  As my mother always says, "Presentation is everything."  If your guests are all primarily fans of the same team, go for your school's colors as the motif.  Plates, napkins and cups can reflect this theme easily enough.  A few small vases of flowers or candles in the right colors, while subtle, can create a more welcoming atmosphere.  Mildly scented decor can also add a pick-me-up to any room that needs a bit of freshening up.  If you've got a party store nearby, stop in to pick up some pom-poms in your school's colors.  Arrange them in a vase just like flowers.  If you have a little extra time, make some of the infamous Martha Stewart pom poms to hang over your buffet table.

Who will you be rooting for this year in the NCAA tournament?  Are you planning any festivities to cheer on your team along the way?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

St. Patrick's Day March 17th

St. Patty's day is almost upon us (we still can't believe how fast this year has gone), and we want you to be prepared!  There are so many great ways to celebrate, even if you aren't Irish. Because the holiday falls on a weekday this year, the big parade falls on the Saturday prior (March 13th).

The Downtown Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade begins at noon on Saturday, March 13th.  But get there early to see the river died green. Or if you can't be there in person, check out this awesome stop motion video of the river changing its hue.

The South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Fest will also take place on Saturday, March 13th with activities for guests all ages.  Events will include food and live entertainment, as well as an array of contests.  Please see the above link for more information on the festivities.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Giving Tree


Who didn't love The Giving Tree as a child?  Heck, who doesn't love it now, as an adult?  This endearing tale of love has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember. And what better way announce your upcoming nuptuals than by incorporating this sweet story.

Because the groom who designed this save-the-date is so awesome, he decided to share the template and an easy tutorial with Merriment Design.  Check it out for step-by-step directions on how to make this your own!  He also threw in precious custom address labels to match!

And we like the way Merriment Design is thinking.  While this is perfection for a fall wedding, it can easily be tweaked to be suitable for a spring or summer ceremony or even an invitation for a child's birthday party or baby shower.  We absolutely love the whimsy of this save-the-date and the warm fuzzy memories of favorite childhood stories that it invokes, but we also love the hint of eco-friendliness that's implied with the tree theme. 

What's your favorite childhood story? Have you ever incorporated it into an event that you've planned? 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bike the Drive

Have you dreamed of biking Lake Shore Drive without worrying about speeding, careless drivers?  Have you wanted to take in the beauty of Chicago's skyline and Lake Michigan without worrying about keeping pace in a bike race or watching out for motor vehicles? Then this is your opportunity!  On Sunday, May 30th, you'll have your chance at the MB Financial Bank's Bike the Drive fundraiser for the Active Transportation Alliance.

Sign up online today to enjoy a $5 discount. The discount ends today, but registration is still possible for a while longer.  Or take advantage of a great opportunity to save $22 by registering for the Gold Package which include Bike the Drive, the Lakefront Boulevard Tour and a one year membership to the Active Transportation Alliance, complete with all the member benefits!

This is a great way to get active, see your city and kick-off your summer the right way! Plus, we love that it encourages people to opt for Earth-friendly modes of transportation!

Will you be participating in Bike the Drive or the Lakefront Boulevard Tour? Tell us about your favorite bike path through or around the city. Or share with us your favorite way to kick-off the summer!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Make It Yours Monday: Drawstring Goodie Bags

Lovely Design has come up with another lovely design that we love!  Last year she hand-crafted these precious drawstring goodie bags for her daughter's birthday party.

And because she's a generous crafter, she's even offered up a simple tutorial for putting these together yourself.  Now, if you're not a crafty person (and we understand not everyone is), you could always purchase the drawstring bags in bulk and personlize them yourself.  With iron on adhesive and ready made appliques, it's pretty idiot-proof!

We love her idea of monogramming the bags for each of the children with fabric scraps from previous projects. Not only did she save some money going this route, but she also saved the leftover fabric from ending up in the landfill.  Other than monogramming, we've found some adorable appliques to make this project perfect for your next event.

Having a beach wedding?  Give your guests a fan to stay cool and pair of flip-flops in a coastal-themed bag. Use two different images to distinguishe between men's and women's sized sandals.

Springy birds would perfectly fit a nesting theme for a bridal or baby shower favor bag.

Hosting a party for the big game? Hand out personalized bag with game snacks, pom-poms and other fun treats.

Instead of giving out stockings filled with treats at your holiday party, use this darling stocking applique to turn the goodie bag into a festive holiday gift.
Add a sweet treat to the bag and fill it with delicious snacks for your guests to take home.

Have you been inspired to make personalized goodie bags for your next event? Want help customizing your next occasion? Email us at to see how we can help!


For those of you that subscribe to Groupon in the city of Chicago, today's deal is for one of our favorite places (and a recently featured Suggestion Saturday), 1154 Lill!

The Groupon deal will only run today and is good for $25 toward $50 Worth of Custom Handbags and More at 1154 Lill Studio.

Check it out, the deal is on!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Suggestion Saturday: Daffodils Flower Shop

With Spring not so far away, our minds are on: Daffodils

What: 'Daffodils' Flower & Gift Shop

Where:  1935 W Armitage Ave (Bucktown, just east of Damen) 773.276.1000

Why: Because of their quality.  WGIC has used Daffodils several times for events (and even a few times for personal bouquets) and we've never been disappointed. The owner, Michelle, is very helpful and always willing to work with a fixed budget; and she's super creative with her arrangements. You won't be disappointed!

When: For your next event or just to brighten your day! Their flowers are always fresh and beautiful. 

Who: Anyone, anytime!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Happy Friday!

We wanted to use today's post to tell everyone Happy Friday!  The weather in Chicago is beautiful; go outside and take advantage of your 40+ degree weekend!

Days 'til Spring: 15

Spring begins 3/20/10

Thursday, March 4, 2010

And the Winner is...

Thank you all for your lovely responses to our first Give-Away here on the WGIC Blog. So many great stories were shared and we loved them all.  We are thrilled to say that we had a total of 54 submissions to the contest (with Comments, FB, Twitter, the Newsletter and Blog Following).

Now, down to business.

The winner is:
Brandy Wilson!!!!!

Congratulations Brandy. I will be emailing you shortly to introduce you to Erin Frano of Foosie Designs and to get the address you would prefer we send your hand-picked Foosie Design package!

**Keep checking back for more great WGIC give-aways!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Google Weddings

Just when you thought Google couldn't get any better, now they want to help plan your wedding!  Yep, you read that right. Google has created a range of Google Docs to help make the wedding planning process that much easier for you.  Google has teamed up with the folks over at Style Me Pretty to create more than 20 docs for you.

So what exactly are these Google Docs?  They are templates that you can download and fill in with your personal info. They are tools you can use to make your life easier, like the address collector:

The address collector link can be sent to everyone on your guest list. They enter their information and it appears in a spreadsheet, all ready for you to use when addressing invitations. How easy is that?!

Another favorite is the budget spreadsheet.  Google has included EVERYTHING you could possibly imagine spending money on for your big day.  The template even includes an estimated column and an actual column so you can track how well you are staying within your budget.

Another favorite of ours is the Music List. It's a great way to organize your music preferences for your DJ or band.  And a great way to ensure that the Chicken Dance doesn't get played!

These are just a few of the amazingly helpful docs that Google has created to help you. Be sure to check out the full list here. They have more than 20 docs to make the planning process easier. Thanks, Google!

Are you planning a wedding?  Will you use any of the Google Wedding Docs?  Leave a comment and tell us about your big plans and how Google Docs will be incorporated.  Or, if you're still intimidated by the entire process, shoot us an email at to see how we can help make your day amazing!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Brighter Planet's March 'Project Fund' - You Decide

March voting has begun!

"On Brighter Planet you’ll measure your carbon footprint, discover simple ways to reduce it, track your progress, and share your experiences. No politics, no arguments. Just real people, real actions — all making a real difference."

As members of the Brighter Planet Community WGIC once again has 3 votes in the March round of the 'Project Fund;' and once again we want your opinion.

Visit to read about each project, then leave a comment here and tell us which one gets your vote. We'll count your comment as one point towards the project of your choice (one vote per person, please!). Official voting ends March 15th; on March 14th we will tally up the points and give our remaining vote to the project that has received the most points.

For more information on how to track your own carbon footprint click here.

**We're thrilled to see that Gainesville, Florida and the University of Florida have a project this month. Go Gators!