It's not every day you get to set up your office between a vintage fighter jet, and a life-sized faux bois moose! We were lucky enough to spend the day hanging at the gorgeous and ever-distinctive Artifact Events yesterday, as part of one of our favorite events of the year, Wedtoberfest, Chicago! For those of you who are newly betrothed and planning, we highly recommend checking out the vendor list curated by this illustrious crew.
It was great meet Chicagoland's sweet and freshly engaged couples, peruse the funky antiques, and catch up with some of our favorite vendors. (Special shout out to our pals at Leap Weddings & Big Delicious Catering!)
For those of you who missed it, keep in touch, and come join us this February for IndieWed! Til then, happy planning!
We are so excited to be part of the Chicago Indie Wed Expo this coming weekend! Please come join us and meet other likeminded vendors in the area to help plan your perfect stylish (and no-cheese) wedding! The event will take place Saturday February 6, 2016 at the Ravenswood Event Center from 11AM - 4PM. Come by, say hi, and have a snack with us!
Happy new year, everyone! Just when we were feeling a little groggy and overloaded with one too many seasonal cookies and hot toddies, we opened our inbox to find Green Line Talent has been granted a Couples Choice award from WeddingWire for 2016! This means we are ranked in the top 5% of Chicago area vendors in the wedding industry, which makes us feel humbled and excited to say the least. Thanks to everyone on the crew for helping us along the way. We look forward to another great year together!
- Elissa & Erica
REAL ADVICE FROM A REAL INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL
We had the pleasure of visiting the workspace of Katie Cochara, masterful papersmith, all-around classy gal, and founder of Bluebird Paper Company. Known for their luxe, textured print work, and uniquely minimalist and vintage design, the crew at Bluebird has truly set themselves apart in the world of high-end paper production. Whether you want something simple and elegant, or you'd prefer to be bejeweled with fleur-de-lis foil stamps, the Bluebird team can work with you to create a line of print products to elevate your wedding or special event. Read on for some hot tips on how to make your wedding look great on paper!
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you found yourself in the world of custom paper?
To be honest, I sometimes find myself wondering the same exact thing! I got my first taste of graphic design during my junior year in high school when I enrolled in a Media Arts class. This was by far my favorite class in high school, and this is ultimately where my interest and education in artistic design really began. I loved my Media Arts class so much, I would visit the classroom (and my favorite teacher, Mr. Riley) during almost every free period that I had. I would even stop in during my lunchtime to hop on the computers and do some work! This class also encouraged me to join the Yearbook Club where I continued to learn about content layout and basic graphic media. While I didn’t continue on an artistic path in college at James Madison University, my love for art and my creative passion never faded.
At JMU, I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Hospitality Management. I had originally thought that I wanted to pursue a career in event planning, which was why I had chosen this concentration. Upon graduating I began a career in hospitality with Marriott International, but I soon realized that the lifestyle associated with a hospitality driven job wasn’t compatible with the life that I wanted to live. After leaving Marriott, I played around with the idea of various career possibilities, until I eventually landed an internship at the NYC corporate office of American jewelry designer, David Yurman. There, at David Yurman, is where my education and interest in creative services kicked back in. During my time at Yurman, I also got engaged and enrolled in graphic design classes at New York’s FIT.
The major event that changed my life forever and altered my path from a life and career on the East Coast to one in Chicago happened in October 2012. In the midst of my first promotion at DY, the enrollment in graphics classes, and an engagement to my now-husband, Greg, my (future) father-in-law suffered a massive stroke that left him with lifelong disabilities. My husband, Greg, is a Chicago native and his family still resides here. When tragedy struck his family, we knew that we needed to pack up our lives in New York and move to Chicago to help his family. At some point before our move, it was my husband’s idea that I should try to put my experience to use and start my own business creating custom invitations and stationery. My first ever attempt at this was for our own wedding, where I designed and produced my own Save The Dates, Invitations, Menus, Programs, and Escort Cards. I loved working on my own designs so much, once we arrived in Chicago I launched right into my own little business and never looked back!
We love that you design a "Mood Board" for all of your clients prior to hitting the press. What kinds of things should clients think about prior to their consultation with you, particularly if they don't have a background in design?
I actually love when clients come in to my studio not knowing exactly what it is that they’re looking for. I really enjoy educating them on the various print methods that I offer (Thermography, Letterpress and Foil Stamping), and then guiding them through the creative process. When someone comes in with no pre-planned notion for the print element of their wedding, we can just start by talking about the overall vision. I also enjoy walking through their Pinterest boards with them. Pinterest is a great place to start gathering and organizing your ideas! Whether the client’s event is black tie, backyard casual, or somewhere in between, the print method and designs we choose can really enhance that overall feel.
Is there a rule-of-thumb timeline that you recommend to a couple who wants to have really beautiful paper products at their wedding, but doesn't want to get into a last-minute time-crunch? (i.e.: When do you start planning out your invitations, vs. your menus and name cards?)
Ideally, I love working with clients who come to me early enough so that I can also design their save the dates as well as their invitations. It makes me so happy when the design scheme and theme we come up with is echoed throughout all of their wedding stationery items. As far as timelines go, I always recommend sending out your Save The Dates 6 months to one year in advance. The actual Wedding Invitation can be sent out 10-12 weeks in advance, but there’s no shame in sending them a little sooner than that too! Designing and printing the menus and escort cards is really dependent on the venue. Some venues hold the right to change your menu items if they rely on locally sourced foods and seasonality, and others will stick true to the menu no matter what. Most commonly I will print Menus about a month in advance, and Escort Cards about two weeks ahead of the big day, but every wedding (and couple!) is different.
Your designs have this uniquely vintage yet sleek aesthetic. Is this a look that you personally love, and does it translate into other areas of your life? (At home, in your fashion choices, philosophically, you name it!)
Yes! I love all things vintage and handmade, so you’ll find that theme throughout my life. If you were to come to my house, you would see it's filled with flea market finds, local artisan pieces and re-purposed barn wood. I also try to mix in more modern pieces here and there too though, so it doesn’t feel too lost to the times. The overall theme of my aesthetic is to keep things light, bright and airy, and as natural as possible. Beyond my home and personal style, I also try to shop local and work with as many local vendors as I can. Even if it ends up costing me a little a bit more, or slightly raises the price of my products, I feel like it’s important to support the people within our communities. I take pride in my designs and products and the pieces made by people that I know. I love being able to tell my clients that most of my raw materials come from the gentleman right down the street, and that I’m actually friends with the artisan who mixes my inks and cultivates many of my papers. As a side note, another passion of mine is trying to live my life and run my business as “green” as I possibly can (hence my love of re-purposed and vintage items). Many of the papers that I print on are chemical-free, tree-free, or produced by wind power, for example. Everyone can make a positive impact on their environmental footprint in some way, even if it’s doing something as small as buying environmentally conscious wedding invitations or stationery products.
Can you tell us a little bit about a really memorable or unique project you've worked on for a wedding client recently?
Right now I am working on a really unique wedding that will also serve as a celebration of the bride’s grandmother’s 90th birthday. My clients are blending these two events so that they can honor their grandmother, have an awesome wedding, and create a truly memorable family event. Obviously this family wasn’t going to find an online invitation template that perfectly captured the essence of this celebration, which was why they reached out to me to create a custom design. I really love hearing people’s unique stories, and this is just one great example of that. It's been a lot of fun coming up with a design that represented this cool young couple, and their amazing grandmother at the same time. We haven’t printed the designs yet, but I can’t wait to see them come to life!
Tell the truth: Were you one of those kids who had the Lisa Frank binder, sticker kit, and 152 Crayola pack complete with crayon sharpener? Did your eye for design rear its head at an early age?
I totally was! I was a huge fan of this 100 color marker set, and I would sit and draw and color literally for hours. When I was about 8 I started coming up with fashion designs for dresses and things. I would draw on computer paper and then put the drawings in clear plastic folders and pile them up in a binder that I called my “portfolio.” I also discovered my love for computer graphics at an early age as well. Aside from every 90s kid’s beloved Microsoft Paint, I was also obsessed with this computer program called Kid Pix that let you create digital pictures and then assign animations to some of the graphics. I loved drawing something silly on the computer and then watching it come to life. Even in school, I was always doodling and drawing and devising different ways to be creative. Even after graduation as I was in between jobs I would just keep saying, “If I could just find a job that let me do arts and crafts all day, I would be so happy!” It may have taken some time and some figuring out, but I finally have that luxury, and I feel truly blessed.
Want to work with Katie and the Bluebird Paper Co. team? Read more HERE!
REAL ADVICE FROM A REAL INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL
We sat down with Misse Daniel of Honey Bee Weddings to get an expert's take on planning a beautiful, unique, and most importantly enjoyable modern-day wedding. Misse's sheer love for her trade radiates as she shares anecdotes about the special days she has planned over the years, beginning with her first wedding ever almost a decade ago at a remote bison ranch. (Talk about kicking things off with a challenge!) Misse has come a long way from that day, and now works along side a dream team of smart and scrappy fellow planners at Honey Bee, known for their versatility, hands-on approach, and knack for seamlessly weaving in contributions from Chicago's many amazing local vendors. Misse's background in non-profit event planning lends a sense of practicality to her naturally fanciful planning aesthetic, so she's sure to execute the vision you want with a photo finish every time.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background as an event planner, and how you got into working in weddings specifically?
After working as a non-profit event planner, I was thrilled to be asked by one of my co-workers to plan her wedding. After that experience, I knew I had found my calling, and shortly thereafter I launched Honey Bee Weddings.
Do you have an over-arching mantra or philosophy when it comes to how you approach your planning process?
I always try to work around the clients schedules and develop a good timeline. Sticking to a timeline is so important because in this day and age, there's no set list of rules for the “standard” wedding. We have so many resources at our fingertips, and this leaves us with hundreds of options for each and every decision we make, ranging from the décor to the cake. It's an amazing era with so many options, but at the same time, having boundless choices tends to make the decision making process much more difficult, so I really try to help guide my clients, and break down the entire experience into the key elements.
What kind of things should a couple in search of a planner be looking for in order to find the right fit for their overall style and personality?
I would say the first thing any couple should prioritize is a finding a planner they feel they have a great rapport with. Being able to communicate openly and positively with your planner is essential. As a planner, I am going to be working with you all the time throughout the planning process. Couples really need to feel like they've found someone they can trust and rely upon.
What advice can you give a couple that really wants to be able to enjoy their big day without getting too stressed out?
The last 4 months of the wedding are always going to be very busy no matter if you've planned your wedding over the course of 6 weeks or 24 months. The best thing I can suggest is to make sure all of the planning is DONE the Monday before the wedding. After that, you should only be working on minor tweaks and enjoy being in bride and groom mode. You won't enjoy your wedding if you aren't in the moment, so the best advice is to never be planning during the wedding.
Aside from working on the bison ranch, can you tell us a little bit about a really fun/memorable theme or concept that you implemented for a one of your client's weddings?
I would have to say the most unique event I've planned was a Day Of The Dead themed wedding. That one was a lot of fun!
Want to work with Misse and the Honey Bee Team? Read more HERE!
REAL ADVICE FROM A REAL INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL
We had the pleasure of meeting husband-and-wife photography duo Karina & Michael Metts of Metts Photo at a Therapy Thursday meeting a couple weeks ago. Aside from their clear business savvy, and passion for meaningful interactions with their clients, the sheer love and admiration between the two really set them apart, and well, in the spirit of Green Line Talent, make them the kind of people you'd like to share a cheese platter with, or dare we say, have around at your own wedding! Karina was kind enough to let us pick her brain a little bit about how to create a photo album that will truly capture the narrative of your big day.
Can you tell us a little bit about your personal philosophy when it comes to telling a story with your photos?
We think that value of memories can’t be measured. We want our couples to be able to look back on their wedding day years from now and experience the same laughter and tears they felt on the day itself. That's why we take photography so seriously. When we photograph a wedding, we're focused on the key moments. These moments are distinct for each couple, which is why we really take the time to build a relationship with them. By the time the wedding day arrives we are already aware of the little details they’re excited about and what moments are most important to them. We don’t do a lot of posing during portraits. Instead, we set up the scene, then allow the couple to be themselves while we capture their laughter, excitement, and joy.
Michael and I photograph each wedding together because two perspectives tell a more complete story. We also have no time limits for our coverage, because we don’t want our couples to be stressed about time or try to cram everything into a specific number of hours.
What do you suggest to couples who aren't sure where to begin when it comes to making their list of key shots for their wedding day? Is there a general rule of thumb when it comes to the number and type of shots added to this list? Is a list definitely necessary?
We do an engagement session with all of our couples. During that time we can talk about the types of pictures they really like and the locations they are thinking about for their wedding photos. We also take time to walk through the wedding day schedule and find out how much of their time they want to spend on photos. Since communication between us and our couples is very open, there generally isn’t a need for a shot list. The only list we do ask for is a list of family photos they would like to get. We ask for a list before the wedding day so we can get through the family photos quickly and everyone can get back to celebrating.
This past weekend we worked at a wedding that had a last-minute scramble to secure rainy-weather photo locations. Is there anything else along these lines that couples might want to consider when preparing the photo gameplan for their wedding?
Something to consider when thinking about wedding pictures, is making sure the room the bride and bridesmaids are getting ready is tidy. Whether you are getting ready at home or at a hotel suite, the prep shots of everyone getting ready will be taken in that room. To make the images nicer if would be great if the background was cleaned up so it doesn't look messy with everyone's suitcases, shoes, and clothes on the floor in the background.
I once had a photographer tell me that giving your toast next to the couple makes for much better speech photos than giving it next to the DJ table. Do you have any other suggestions similar to this, regarding placement of certain activities?
I agree that having the person giving the toast to stand near the couple is more visually pleasing when it comes the photos since you are able to get the couple’s reaction and the speech being given in the same shot.
One thing I do love is when the couple’s family and friends are around the dance floor as the first dance is happening. While it usually doesn’t happen that way, it is really nice to have everyone in the background admiring the lovely couple as they share this special moment. (See Karina's stunning photo below).
Want to work with Metts Photo? Read more HERE!
REAL ADVICE FROM A REAL INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL
We recently had the pleasure of meeting Jeffery, the venue manager running the show over at the modern and rustic loft space, Gallery 1028. As two girls raised in a loft in Printer's Row, this space made us feel right at home, with its gorgeous exposed brick, original wood floors, and soaring ceilings. If you're looking for character, and venue to make truly your own, then Gallery 1028 may definitely be a fit for you. Read on to catch a few glimpse's of this space's potential, along with a few "Venue-Shopping" tips from our expert, Jeffery.
In a nutshell, what type of clientele would you say that Gallery 1028 typically attracts?
Gallery 1028 attracts both social and corporate clientele. Primarily though, we do many, many weddings. Our couples tend to respond to Gallery 1028 because we are an edgy, loft-like space. We are very different than a traditional hotel ballroom, and no two events ever look the same with us.
What type of questions do you think it's important for couples to ask of a potential venue when selecting their reception location?
Capacities, rental fees, required insurance and paperwork information as well as approved vendors are always good to ask your venue sales representative.
Can you tell us about a really fun or unique theme that a client used to plan an event at Gallery 1028?
We have had so many! One that particularly stands out in my mind though was the South Beach themed wedding reception that we held for a client. Palm trees, neon lighting, bright white futuristic table tops, and tropical flowers all made for a very impressive aesthetic.
What's the common thread you've noticed between people who actually end up feeling prepared, relaxed, and able to have fun and their weddings?
I always recommend not biting off more than you can chew. Setting a realistic time table to finish projects is so important. Fittings, engagement parties, showers, invitations; there is always something to do. If a couple needs help organizing, don't be afraid to hire a wedding coordinator to help with the process. Sometimes it just brings some peace of mind delegating out some of those responsibilities.
Pass the baton! Can you name one of your favorite vendors to work with?
Misse Daniel of Honey Bee Weddings. She does an amazing job as an event/wedding coordinator!
Want to book an event at Gallery 1028? Read more HERE!
REAL ADVICE FROM A REAL INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL
Today we were lucky enough to collect some pearls of wisdom from Denise Gibson at Busy Beaver Button Co. Since it's advent in 1995, Denise and the Busy Beaver team have overseen the production of over 60,000 custom designs, bedecking buttons, magnets, bottle-openers, cassette tapes, and more. They've got the know-how to work with major clients (like The Art Institute Chicago), and the boutique sensibilities to take on small-batch jobs for indie bands, and couples looking to put an extra special stamp on their wedding memorabilia. They even offer start-to-finish design services for anyone in search of a little graphic inspiration. And as if that were not enough sweet talk to convince you of their immeasurable awesomeness, they also fondly refer to their workspace as the Beaver Dam. Read on to learn more about Busy Beaver, making cool, stress-free wedding swag, and what to do when life hands you 400 superfluous chopsticks.
1) What's your best advice to someone who wants to "brand" their wedding, but may not have too much design experience? Is there a secret formula to making a statement in a simple way?
Make it personal and keep it simple. Your favorite color and a recurring element (like a pumpkin because it’s a fall wedding) is all it takes to brand the day.
2) What are a couple of your favorite past design concepts used by former wedding clients?
I love the buttons that are visual representations of a couples shared history. One particular couple, Laura Eagin and Ali Jafargholi, created a fun set of buttons. The groom’s roots in Iran were represented with a map of the country while the bride’s family was represented with buttons that featured her home state of Indiana. The couple’s shared history at Savannah College of Art and Design was represented, along with various other inside jokes shared with those on the guest list. The designs were a fun peek into their life.
CUSTOM BUTTONS FOR LAURA & ALI'S WEDDING, PRINTED BY BUSY BEAVER
3) In addition to buttons, what are some other products you've seen your wedding clients successfully integrate into the swag for their big day?
Our customers are so creative! Besides buttons we’ve seen handmade cassette tape mixes, matches, kazoos, and silk screened posters.
4) What's your best advice to a couple hoping to make some custom gifts for their guests without getting too stressed out or crunched for time along the way? Are there any tips as far as volume and timelines that could be a good rule of thumb?
Definitely plan ahead. Busy Beaver’s standard turnaround time is one week plus shipping, but for some custom manufacturers turnaround can be unpredictable or long— sometimes up to 6 weeks! Also keep in mind that most custom manufacturers deal in high quantities. For my wedding, I was dead set on custom printed chopsticks even though the minimum was 500 and I only had 100 guests. So five years later, I’m still working my way through those extra 400 chopsticks. Look for the manufacturers that have lower minimum (Busy Beaver’s is 50 buttons) so you don’t end up with a ton of extras.
5) Non-button question: Which record would you put on to help power through a REALLY big order?
I get teased a lot for this at the Beaver Dam, but when I need to concentrate I listen to Justin Timberlake’s 20/20. I’ve listened to it so much that it’s like a calming white noise to me now.
Want to work with Busy Beaver Button Co.? Read More HERE!
REAL ADVICE FROM A REAL INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL
We sat down to ask some advice from Eric Strom, professional photographer, scintillating wisecracker, and co-founder of the mobile photo booth, GlitterGuts. The GlitterGuts team has a knack for taking awesome and even flattering photos of all walks of life, with past clients ranging from derby girls to BINGO players, with plenty of pretty brides in between. It is no surprise that Strom has a few pieces of timeless wisdom about how to make your photo booth experience a good one, as well as a few bonus tips on how to make sure your best man doesn't cry, and why never to attempt a human pyramid in formal attire.
1) What's your best advice on how to look your best in photos while [potentially] consuming lots of booze?
People look the best when they're confident in what they're doing. Do something with your arms, do something with your face and freeze. Wait for the flash and do it again. Try to react, and don't think about it. If you feel ridiculous, you should. There's nothing sillier than a photo shoot, and that's part of the appeal.
2) In an ideal world, where should the photo booth fit in the floor plan? Does it make a difference?
The photo booth is a great activity for the people in your life who, despite being the life of the party in every other aspect, flat out refuse to dance. I'd suggest placing the photo booth near the dance floor so that everyone can still mingle in the same general area, or near the bar where all the non-dancers are going to congregate anyway.
3) Big Group Family Photos (you, know the ones that end up framed on the mantle). What's your opinion? Are they worth it?
From an artistic standpoint, I'm gonna say that if your family has more than eight people but fewer than thirty, it's going to be difficult to get a masterpiece out of your group shot, but as someone from a large family that's getting increasingly larger as my generation is starting to get married and have babies, I know how hard it is to get everyone together and those group shots are the ones I cherish the most, even if they are just a sea of faces smooshed as close as they can get towards grandma in the middle.
4) Non-photo question: You've probably overheard a lot of wedding toasts. Which kind do you think is the way to go - heartfelt, or a roast?
This kinda goes back to my advice about how to look your best in a picture. Do you! No one bursts into blubbery tears quicker than a rude crude party dude who's just broken the seal of sentimentality. No joke bombs harder or comes out meaner than one told by someone who doesn't really like telling jokes. The formality of weddings is so foreign to most of us that it adds a layer of stress, and most of us aren't writers or performers, so follow your strengths!
5) Any words of wisdom to a couple who just wants to kick back and have a fun time at their own wedding? What's the common thread between all the ones you've seen successfully have a blast on the big day?
Put the most effort into what you'll enjoy the most, especially if you're working on a budget, and then make sure there's enough there to keep your friends and family fed and entertained. I've been to weddings where the bride and groom had to be pulled off the dancefloor to take photos, and weddings where they had to be dragged out of the photo booth to cut the cake, weddings where one spouse is there to party and the other one is there to talk to their little old aunties, and weddings where it was a good thing there was a dj, a photo booth, and an open bar, to distract everyone from the fact that the bride and groom were hiding out on a balcony smoking weed with their college friends all night.
6) Any other sage advice you can give to score the most priceless photos? How to coax granny into the booth? Human pyramid?
The hair whip is always a great shot. The caught-in-mid-air jump is a classic. Hold a baby or a puppy in front of you for instant dating site perfection (bonus points if your suit actually fits you). The pyramid is a recipe for disaster, and rarely looks the way you think it will. If your grandma is a little reticent, the best incentives seem to be hunks, babies or tequila. If none of those are available, exercise your powers as the bride and groom. Definitely take some serious portraits, but also take some photos with granny in sunglasses. Because she's cooler than you and that's what cool people do.
7) Pass The Baton: Can you name another awesome local wedding vendor you love to work with? (We will interview them next!):
The more that weddings become a thing where couples brand themselves with logos and catchphrases and personalized hashtags, Busy Beaver Buttons is a great, affordable, way to make a keepsake that your guests might actually keep. I've also never been to a wedding catered by Honky Tonk BBQ that wasn't fantastic. I'm going to make the non-legally binding claim that couples who use Honky Tonk as their caterers have a 75% greater chance of staying together forever.
Want to work with GlitterGuts? Read more HERE!