May 11, 2023
With all of the ins and outs of planning a wedding, it can be difficult to know where to start! As a luxury Chicago wedding photographer, I’ve witnessed countless couples plan the elevated event of their dreams. In this blog post, I’ll be highlighting 10 of my absolute favorite ideas that I encourage you to take inspiration from for your own luxury Chicago wedding!
If you’re reading this blog, I believe it’s safe to assume that you’re interested in creating a luxury wedding experience not just for yourself, but for your guests as well. However, crafting that luxe experience starts from the moment your guests receive their invitations in the mail! Some couples choose to gloss over this step in the planning process, but I believe designing your invitation to fit the theme of your wedding is an extra step that you won’t regret.
When it comes to detail shots, having an aesthetically pleasing invitation suite will elevate those photos more than you can imagine! Take a peek at some of my past couples’ detail shots and tell me you don’t love the way their invitations look next to other items from their wedding day.
I love a good classic champagne pop on a wedding day! This is such a perfect way to create a fun moment for your wedding portraits and even your wedding party. You can do this at any point in the day, but be sure to communicate with your planner and photographer (that’s me!) about your desire to incorporate this into your day. If you want to go the extra mile and make it even more special, buy a bottle of champagne from a location that’s meaningful to you and your partner. For example, one of my past couples brought multiple bottles of champagne all the way from Paris to drink on their wedding day!
As someone who has been a part of countless weddings, let me tell you one thing: seating charts almost always end up being changed at the very last minute. Whether you get a last-minute RSVP or one of your guests isn’t able to make it, something unexpected always comes up! If you have a traditional seating chart, unfortunately, it’s pretty permanent and not very simple to adjust. An easy (and elevated) way around that is to use champagne flutes as your seating chart! Eileen and Ryan chose this route for their Chicago wedding reception and it looked beautiful while also remaining extremely functional. With champagne flutes, you’re essentially utilizing escort cards instead of having a set-in-stone chart that has been designed with permanence in mind. Escort cards are extremely simple to swap out when necessary!
When it comes to choosing a color palette for your wedding, the options can seem limitless. However, opting for something neutral yet soft and romantic is never a bad idea! Kim and Dan had the most stunning white and blush color scheme that I’m still not over to this day. Additionally, they incorporated accents such as candles and glasses to contribute to a moody and intimate atmosphere at their reception. This is such a perfect way to utilize simple elements that won’t clash with other aspects of your venue or add unnecessary expenses to your budget!
I love when couples choose to go the non-traditional route in, well, any aspect of their wedding day! One of my favorite ways has to be opting for a dessert bar instead of a traditional wedding cake. This gives your guests so many more options and increases the likelihood of them actually partaking in dessert hour! You could have donuts, cupcakes, candy, or even popcorn/kettle corn if you’re really looking to spice things up.
From getting ready to wedding party photos, don’t be afraid to be a little extra with your bridesmaids’ outfits! For the ‘getting ready’ portion of the day, have your girls in satin robes or even matching pajama sets to elevate your photos. The same concept applies for their dresses! Even if you want your bridesmaids to have free range to choose their own outfits, let them know that you’d prefer for them to choose something satin.
Having a violinist or musician for your wedding ceremony is a sure way to wow your guests from the moment they walk into your venue. Live music/entertainment always feels more luxurious than just having a DJ or playing pre-recorded music! Plus, this is a great way to support your local artists in whatever location you choose to get married. If you want to keep the theme going, have live entertainment for your reception as well!
As much as I love a minimalist decor moment, I can’t help but swoon over couples who go floral-heavy for their decor! Shannon and Iain had the most beautiful, maximalist floral ceremony arch as well as bunches of flowers all down their ceremony aisle with glass candles and a cloth runner to complement. They repurposed those same florals for their sweetheart table at their reception, creating such an eye-catching moment!
If you want a slightly more deconstructed look, take inspiration from Kat & Nate’s wedding at Loft Lucia in Chicago. Their peachy/orange florals were absolutely stunning, and they were used to create a beautiful pop of color at the end of their aisle. Later on at their reception, the same brightly colored florals were used to create bold centerpieces for all of their guest tables.
One of my past brides, Kat, truly outdid herself with her timeless bridal look. She chose a long-sleeve satin wedding dress, white pointed heels, and an all-white floral bouquet! How stunning does she look? Along with her attire choice, she opted for a loose, romantic bun and a soft, romantic makeup look to complement. This type of bridal look is one of my favorites sheerly because of how classic it is; it will never go out of style!
As a photographer, I encourage all couples to include a photo booth at their wedding reception! This is a fun way for your guests to document those extra silly moments when everyone is letting loose and having a great time. If you have a pet that you’re not able to have present on your day, designing a prop for them is the perfect way to still include them! I have tons of couples who were looking for ways to incorporate their fur babes into their special day and made fatheads of them that guests used in their photo booths. I’m sure your pets will appreciate the thought!
If you’re looking for a photographer to document your day, I would love to get in touch with you! I specialize in photographing high-end weddings and elopements in the Chicago area (but I’m certainly not opposed to traveling!). To inquire with me, I encourage you to fill out my contact form and I’ll get back to you shortly via email, along with a happy dance! In the meantime, I would love for you to browse through a recent wedding I documented at Garfield Park Conservatory!
Cailynn Wolfgang is a luxury intimate wedding photographer based in Chicago, Illinois.
Copyright 2019, Cailynn Wolfgang
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