Posts Tagged ‘Wedding Tips


Official Opinions: Getting Your Groom to Dance

I get strange looks from my friends when I tell them that I am a terrible dancer. They respond, “but you were just GREAT in West Side Story when we saw it – and those are complicated dance moves.” I usually just chuckle and then go on to explain that, yes, with 6 months of intense training with a choreographer busting my hump, I can dance like in the movie West Side Story – I also tell them that when you go to a wedding or a club that people DO NOT dance like the Jets and Sharks. I mean, people would think I’m crazy if I started doing THIS in the middle of the dance floor. So how do I dance at parties, clubs and weddings… a little something like this

Yup, I flail around like a fish out of water… and I KNOW I’m not the only guy out there who is somewhat less than enthused about someday dancing in front of a room of family and friends only to been seen as a fool. Naturally of course I will do it for two reasons: 1) Because I will undoubtedly love my bride and nothing will stop us from having a good time (even if it is at my expense) and 2) Liquid courage.

Brides, if you have a groom that is like me then listen up because you’re about to get some rare insight into the male mind: guys like me need some encouragement. Essentially, to get me (and others like me) to dance and have fun doing it you need to do a few things:

  1. Gentle Reminders – Remind us every once and awhile how important it is to you that you look great dancing together. Don’t go the “you’ll look like an idiot if you don’t learn how to dance” route. It scares us off more. If it is important to you, it is important to us.
  2. Teach – Teach us a few steps we can use. We might groan and say we’d rather watch the game, but we’ll be thanking you after the reception. It could be fun!
  3. Laugh WITH me, not AT me – Again, I don’t like feeling like a fool, so if I mess up or am doing some ridiculous dance move don’t laugh at me – let me know that it’s goofy and laugh with me. Heck, join in so we look like fools together. Just don’t leave me hanging!

Basically, it just takes a lot for guys like me to get the cojones to get up and dance the night away, even at my wedding. So please, be encouraging above all else – who knows, with a little help, your groom may even find out he likes dancing!

Have fun!



Official opinions: tips for the penny-pinching bride

Planning your big day is an experience that most brides love.  Although it can certainly be stressful and time consuming, you get the chance to create your own vision for your fiance, family and friends to enjoy.  But as the endless details of wedding planning begin to pile up, so can the price!  From invitations to dresses to food to thank you cards, there are a lot of little expenses that can sneak up on you.

Here are a few tips from your friends at Stitely to help out the cash conscious bride:

  1. Timing is everything:  For couples who have not yet chosen the date of their ceremony, don’t be afraid to plan in the off season.  Sure, everyone loves a beach wedding in June, but a fall wedding in a cozy chapel can be just as wonderful and romantic (and can also result in great photos!) Many vendors offer discounts for Friday or Sunday weddings too. Avoiding prime-time rates on wedding vendors and venues can save you serious bucks on your big day.
  2. Get a pro involved:  Hiring a professional wedding planner may cost you money, but what you may not realize is that it can save you money in the long run.  Planners come with years of experience in the business.  This means they will know how to give you what you want on your budget!  Not to mention they’ll know the best people in the business as far as vendors go.
  3. Don’t fear the department store:  You probably have some very specific requirement that your wedding gown must meet…don’t feel the need to be so picky about your bridesmaids dresses though!  Bridal salons tend to have much higher prices on gowns than a standard department store like Macy’s or Nordstrom, but these stores still carry beautiful and elegant dresses that may fit your ceremony perfectly.  To save even more, look for your bridesmaids dresses around the holiday season when sales are high!
  4. Cater to the kids:  Ask your caterer if they offer children’s plates!  This simple idea is an easyway to trim down expenses (and not waste delicious food).
  5. Get flower frugal:  Flowers can be a major cost on a wedding day, especially if you have a lot of bouquets for the wedding party or if you use flowers as centerpieces.  To cut down the price try to pick flowers that are in season (ie-tulips in the spring instead of roses).  Another simple money saving trick is to choose big flowers.  This means you will need less stems, and most flowers are usually charged per stem.  If you have flowers in your centerpieces, adding cheap fillers like sticks or berries may make it so you need less flowers for each table.
These tricks should be enough to get your money saving started…also make sure to take a look at all your wedding music options (every reception needs a packed dance floor!)

Guest Star: A fresh look at weddings with Kelly Cavanaugh

Stitely Entertainment recently got a chance to catch up with one of our favorite wedding vendors, Kelly Cavanaugh.  After 9 successful years working in event planning, Kelly is now a Certified Wedding Planner and owner of her own planning firm, Clementine Custom Events.  She was nice enough to tell us her back story, her favorite things about the business, and even shared a few photos from weddings she planned in the past!

Stitely Entertainment:  How did you get started in event planning? 

Kelly Cavanaugh:  I did an internship with American Lung Association in their Special Events Department in 2001.  The internship turned into a job and I knew after that experience that Event Planning was the perfect fit for me.  Since I only worked on fundraising events that didn’t allow a lot of creativity I decided I wanted to work on weddings.  Fortunately, I got a job at a large catering company where I planned and produced an average of 50 weddings a year for 8 years!!  In 2009 I decided to move forward with my dream of owning an Event Planning Company where I could focus on all the details, floor plans, time lines, creative touches etc.

SE:  What part of your job do you find the most satisfying and most challenging? 

KC:  The most satisfying part of my job is seeing my clients so happy on their wedding day.  When they come running up to me to thank me for being able to deliver their vision and allowing them to have fun, it is just the best!  The most challenging aspect of the job is how busy I am!  I feel like I’m constantly running around, my office is my car but having said that, I love the adrenaline and I love feeling like a accomplished a lot in one day.

SE:  How does your company differ from its competitors? 

KC:  I have a fresh approach to planning weddings and I’m pretty laid back so my clients really enjoy the process.  I trust my vendors and I love working together as a team.  Having so much hands-on experience allows me to rely on myself instead of my vendors. I’m able to do the producing as well as the execution of any event.  I’m not afraid to do whatever it takes to get the job done and I think fast on my feet.

SE:  What is the key to a successful event? 

KC:  A relaxed and confident client.  If I did my job correctly, they walk into the event feeling calm and excited.

SE: What is the craziest event story you can share? 

KC:  I’d say my craziest moment was when I had an outdoor, tent wedding and the wind was pretty strong.  The wind was knocking everything off the tables and the linens flew into a flame from a candle and set on fire!  The linen was on fire!!  Thank goodness we caught it quick and had extra linens so we could re-set the entire table before anyone even knew!

SE: Any tips you can give to our engaged clients about their big day? 

KC:  Trust your vendors!  They are professionals and they have your best interest at heart.  Try not to micromanage the event and just relax and have fun!  You deserve to let the details go and have the best night of your life.

SE: If you were stuck on a desert island, which three albums would you want with you? 

KC:  Depeche Mode-Violator, Tom Petty and the Heartbreaks-Into the Great Wide Open and the soundtrack to Amelie (random I know, but the songs just put me in such a great mood)


Official Opinions: Cupid’s Revenge Valentine’s Day Party at McCormick and Schmick’s

Hey all you single ladies (and gentlemen)! This Friday, February 11 from 8:30pm-11:30 pm, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant is having an awesome Valentine’s Day event, Cupid’s Revenge! If you’re looking to meet new people, hear live music (provided by Stitely Entertainment, of course) and enjoy drink specials, hors d’oeuvres and decadent desserts, head on down to the  41 East Chestnut Street location.  Call (312) 397-9500 to reserve $15 tickets, or swing by on Friday for $20 tickets at the door.  Hope to see you there!

McCormick and Schmick’s is located on Chestnut and Rush Street in Chicago’s famous “Gold Coast.” They have an extensive lunch and dinner menu which is updated twice daily so that they are able to offer the best and freshest selections. These selections include more than 30 fish and seafood selections from U.S. and international waters as well as an assortment of beef, chicken and pasta entrees.

And for all you soon-to-be brides out there who are no longer single, McCormick and Schmick’s accommodates both small and large wedding receptions , as well as bridal showers and rehearsal dinners. There are a number of properties that offer beautiful venues and ideal settings for these special events. Their staff is dedicated to providing assistance with the smallest details and offering a unique, stress free and enjoyable planning experience.


Music Monday: Marry Me By Train

For this music Monday I chose Marry Me by Train. The song is on their newest album “Save Me, San Francisco” which came out in 2009. It’s great for all you soon to be  brides out there! It’s one of my favorites right now and seems to always put me in a good mood. The music video is also so so cute so you should check it out!


Official Opinions: indie wed is for lovers

For those of you who have never been to a bridal show, they can be overwhelming. Tons of vendors, lots of noise and so much to see that you don’t even know where to begin. But this weekend a couple of us Stitely gals went to Indie Wed to check out the scene, and what we found was a lot fun!

Indie Wed is not your average bridal show.  It caters to couples who are taking “a more modern, edgy, or eco-friendly approach to their special day,” as well as more traditional couples who are looking for unique or hand-made special touches such as custom stationery on recycled paper or crocheted ring pillows.  It was hosted on three separate floors at the Ravenswood Event Center, which is a totally cool space, btw.  If you have never been there, you should definitely check it out!  A converted factory, the space is big with high ceilings and the Showroom has antique cars and old neon signs lining the walls.  It definitely fit the independent, funky, crafty, boutique-like vibe of the show.  They had a ton of different types of wedding vendors ranging from photographers, bakeries and caterers, to fashion, stationery and floral designers.

Rachel at Indie Wed

As the resident bride-to-be, I found a lot of inspiration for my wedding! These are a few of my favorite things from Indie Wed (insert Sound of Music Reference here): I think the item(s) that I enjoyed  the most, the one I will probably incorporate into my wedding, are these incredible button bouquets.  I just love how quirky and interesting these are, and since you can get them by the wire I’m thinking about adding them to my flower bouquets.  At least they’ll last longer than the real flowers. I also really liked these beaded flowers by Ododo Originals. Hmmm, these would look great on my bridesmaids… And this peony pendant by Moira K. Lime would look pretty good with my dress. In fact, it was difficult for me to keep from buying everything in the place!

The Button Bouquet

Carly liked the sassy hair pieces from Lulu Mae and the Bario-Neal rough cut diamond engagement rings. And the amazing dishes offered by Fig Catering, like the succulent braised pork.  A combined favorite was Vavoom Pinups, a vintage style photography studio that specializes in dolling girls up in sweet 50’s vixen outfits with glamorous hair and makeup. This looks like so much fun, I can’t even stand it!

Even though by this point next year my wedding will have passed, you will still find me at Indie Wed.  Not just for the delicious food and incredibly artistic products, but for the awesome ambiance as well. Check it out.

Rachel and Carly


Official Opinions: tech-savvy weddings

Lately, the term “on-the-go” seems to be ingrained in everyone’s life. Although at times it may appear that there is not enough time to get things done, so many tools have been created to make life easier to handle and aid in multi-tasking. Brides-to-be, especially, have very long to-do lists with the addition of planning a wedding. For this reason it is not too surprising that there have been apps created to help brides plan their wedding while they are on-the-go.

1. Wedding 911 by the Knot is an app that is a Q&A forum for future brides to get instant answers to their wedding questions.

2. Wedding Dress Look Book by the Knot is an app where you can browse for dresses by body type and style while out and about. It also links to where these dresses or ones similar can be found at boutiques around your city.

3. The Wedding Envi app helps to streamline the early planning process by serving as an organized on-the-go source of inspiration. With a large database of images for all categories ranging from cakes, dresses, invitations, flowers, and hairstyles anyone in the wedding party can search through these images to save and forward them. The images also link to sites where more information can be found about the inspiring photos.

4.The MyRegistry app allows you to create a gift registry for your event, compare prices before adding items to your registry, keep track of gifts purchased, send e-card invites to allow friends and family to check out your registry and even scan bar codes to add them to the list.

5.Waltz…Your Wedding Dance App allows you to watch instructional videos for classic dance moves to give you the confidence you need to dance that first dance as well as other dances through the night. Whether you are taking lessons and need to practice or just want an introduction to the dances this is a great tool to pick up some new moves to use during your night’s entertainment.

Not only is this on-the-go technology aiding in organization, but a few professional photographers are also beginning to use them as tools to help capture moments during the weddings themselves. Whether it be as a tool that helps in moments where large cameras may intrude, or to film the whole wedding this may be a trend that starts popping up. Below are a couple short wedding videos shot on an Apple iPhone.



Official Opinions: What to do with that old Bridesmaid Dress?

Hey all! I’d like to start off by introducing myself. I am Lauren Stitely Entertainment‘s newest intern! I am a student at Loyola University and have lived in the suburbs of Chicago my entire life. I am a huge Chicago sports fan, especially the Bears and Sox! I am excited to be working with the Stitely team and look forward to bringing you news and posts for the spring.

One of my biggest pet peeves is having a messy and cluttered closet, so I try and clean mine out as much as possible. But what do you do with all of those bridesmaids dresses that you spent so much money on and will never wear again? Or brides, what are your friends going to do with your dress when your wedding is over? One great idea is to make pillows!

I recently read an article about how easy it is to make pillows out of your old prom dresses and thought I could do the same thing with my old bridesmaids dresses. The dresses are usually a solid colored material in nice bright colors that can be used in many different areas throughout the house. I tried doing this with one dress that I would absolutely never wear again this summer, and made myself a nice set of pillow covers to match my comforter in my bedroom. They look awesome! This way I didn’t waste the money spent on the dress and can still look at my pillows and remember the occasion. If this is something you or your bridesmaids would like to do with your dresses, you can just click on this link for step by step instructions on how to do so.

Here are some great examples of pillows made out of bridesmaid dresses: Be creative!


Official Opinions: a creative proposal

When a man proposes they want everything to be just right. They want it to be romantic, memorable, and special in every way so that hopefully the woman before their eyes will become their soon-to-be wife. There are many ways in which men plan for this, whether it be roses, candles, a romantic dinner, beaches, horse-and-carriage rides, or even Muppets. Yes! I said Muppets.

Now, I know what your thinking. Yes, everyone loves Jim Henson and his Muppet stories. And yes, these have become such icons in society that even the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has created an exhibit about them, but how is this a way to propose? Well leave it to Sid Ceaser, a New Hampshire photographer, to find a very romantic and original way to propose with custom designed Muppets.

Ceaser bought custom designed Muppets that resembled the couple, created a movie trailer, and convinced a movie theater to play this trailer before a film that he and his soon-to-be fiancée were attending. More details on how he created this video, along with the story of the proposal can be found on his blog:

Will this start a Muppet proposal trend across the country? Probably not, but I am sure it will keep people thinking about new and creative ways to propose. Here is the proposal trailer!



Stitely Soundboard: Jewish Weddings

The Stitely Orchestra has done several Jewish events in the last few months and all of them have been phenomenal dance parties. I love how people come to celebrate and jump on the dance floor as they are entering the room before the bride and groom are even announced. Most Jewish weddings follow the format that we in Chicago call an “East Coast” style wedding. That’s where people dance as soon as the bride and groom are introduced into the room and also dance between dinner courses.

The challenge in leading a band for an “East Coast” style wedding is the tight relationship needed between the catering manager, photographer, planner and band leader.  There are timing issues that are much more detailed and need to be coordinated with catering as the guests are invited up to dance, and later seated to eat the next course. It’s critical that the leader of the band owns the success of the whole event. It involves more than just playing great music. For instance, last week it was time to bring up the Grandfather for the blessing and the Motzi (bread) wasn’t anywhere to be found. Most band leaders would have introduced the people without even noticing, but I looked for the Motzi, and before making the announcement, asked why it wasn’t there only to find out that the bride’s Aunt was supposed to bring it but didn’t. I went into the kitchen and asked for the biggest roll they had and a cloth napkin. Within 90 seconds we were good to go and everything went off without a hitch. It’s all the little details being handled that make a complex evening go flawlessly and we are committed to doing exactly that.

As the salad was being served, we started playing what was planned as background music but BAM, the dance floor filled up. That’s the kind of situation where you go with the moment and let an event go in the direction it wants to go. It ended up being non-stop dancing all night except while the guests were eating their entree. It’s parties like this that are so much fun for us and for everyone else involved. The best part for me is when all the players involved are committed to making everything work and know how to keep a positive energy going no matter what happens.


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Delivering a mind-blowing musical performance at an event is an art and planning it is a science. Stitely Entertainment has mastered both by planning and executing thousands of events.

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August 2020