Top Tips From Chicago Wedding Planners

Chicago's top wedding planners share their juiciest insider info for planning a wedding in Chicago.

The planner

Heather Lynne Vickery
Greatest Expectations Special Events & Weddings, Inc., Chicago, (312) 925-2468

Years in the biz
Thirteen

Secret weapon
Having experience in several different areas of planning, like hotels and catering.

The planner

Lori Stephenson, Lauren Carter and Tara Swift Moser
LOLA Event Productions LLC, Chicago, (773) 942-6172

Years in the biz
Lori started LOLA in 2006.

Secret weapon
"We work as a team that has expertise in both organization and design."

The planner

Ali Phillips
Engaging Events By Ali, Inc., Chicago, (773) 777-2299

Years in the biz
Eight-and-a-half

Secret weapon
"Working with amazing vendors. They all do such a great job!"

accessories secret

"The Left Bank on Webster Avenue (773-929-7422) has some of the most wonderful jewelry and shoe finds in the city at the best prices. They do custom veils, and they even helped one of my brides with one just two days before her wedding. Now that's service!" -- Heather

built-in decor

"Venues like Architectural Artifacts (773-348-0622) and Salvage One (312-733-0098) are great about letting you borrow stock from their eclectic inventory to make each table centerpiece unique -- and it's free to do when you rent the space!" -- Lori, Lauren and Tara

super sweets

"More Cupcakes (312-951-0001) is our new favorite; just thinking about their salted caramel mini-cupcakes makes our mouths water. Their signature More treats are like Hostess cupcakes on steroids, and the acrylic tower you can rent for displaying them is very hip." -- Lori, Lauren and Tara

catering trend

"Comfort food is in, and so is passing around late-night snacks, like mini Chicago style hot dogs and mini cheeseburgers. I've also done macaroni-and-cheese stations and French fry bars with regular, sweet potato and truffle-flavored fries." -- Ali

money-saving spaces

"Booking a venue that's BYOB can save you a ton. Prairie Production (312-829-7499) and Ravenswood Billboard Factory Atrium & Loft (773-388-2170) are just a couple that allow you to bring in your own liquor." -- Lori, Lauren and Tara

brand-new venue

"I love the new Elysian hotel (312-646-1300), which just opened this winter. The hotel, inspired by the designs of Coco Chanel, has a gorgeous ballroom that's perfect for about 125 guests. It overlooks the Gold Coast and has beautiful crystal chandeliers." -- Ali

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