Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Inside Scoop on Planning a Wedding at The Elysian Hotel, Chicago, IL

The Elysian Hotel is one of Chicago’s most stunning venues and is the ultimate location for your wedding reception. Located in Chicago, Illinois this hotel has been opened since December 2009. This stunning venue prides itself on the experience of “luxury to be uncompromising and unexpected, warm and welcoming, modern and fashion forward, energetic and spirited,” and the Elysian is just that.

We recently had the pleasure of speaking to the Catering Director, Taylor Todd at The Elysian Hotel whom gave us a special look into their services and beauty that the Elysian Hotel offers its guests. An expert in the luxury clientele, Taylor has worked in the luxury hospitality industry for over 8 years and grew up in a family business specializing in special events.  Taylor answered questions on the personalized approach that a couple will receive when having their event at The Elysian Hotel.

The Elysian HotelGO: What is your unique role when it comes to a couple’s wedding day and how does your property distinguish a couple’s experience as opposed to getting married somewhere else?

TT: I act as an onsite coordinator for the wedding day assisting with timing, logistics, décor as needed, and of course food & beverage.  I’ve acted as a babysitter when they didn’t show, I’ve assisted directing trolleys, picking up elderly family in wheelchairs, running out for last minute items…really, whatever comes my way I am always willing to assist.

GO: From start to finish, what can a couple expect if they choose to get married at your property?

TT: An unforgettable, remarkable experience.  With our intimate venue, we cater to small-medium sized weddings.  We deliver a luxury experience in the most elegant venue in Chicago.  The setting is residential making you feel like you are celebrating in a private home, rather than event space.

GO: If you had to describe your property in three words, what would they be?

TT: Understated, Timeless and Elegant

GO: What are the unique locations that a couple can host their ceremony and reception at in your venue?

TT: Our weddings are typically held on our Salon level where they have exclusive use of the entire Fifth Floor.  Additionally, we can host after-parties in our classic cocktail bar Bernard’s on the 2nd floor.

Couples opting for a more intimate, restaurant setting can utilize Balsan or Ria’s private dining rooms, or opt to do a buyout of our fine dining restaurant Ria.

GO: Do you have customizable packages? Tell me a little bit about them?

TT: Our wedding package includes everything you would need for a fabulous wedding at Elysian, including 6 passed canapés, 4 hour open bar, three course dinner including tableside choice of entrée as well as wedding cake prepared by our Elysian Pastry Team. Additionally you receive a complimentary suite for the night of your wedding, 2 additional upgrades, 2-day use changing rooms, and a complimentary makeup consultation in the Elysian Spa.  Additionally we offer a selection of upgraded linen, charges, Bernadeau China and Christophe flatware – all of which we also use in our restaurants and acts to enhance the restaurant style experience.

GO: Food is such an important element at a wedding; tell me about your menus/culinary team?

TT: Our menus are extremely seasonal, and are customized for each wedding. Our chef works one on one with couples to customize the menu based on their preferences and the seasonality of the ingredients.  Our culinary team comes from diverse backgrounds, and have worked in some of the best restaurants in Chicago, the US and abroad.

GO: What is the first thing a couple should do if they are interested in getting married at your property?

TT: Call us! And visit our website

Thank you Taylor for giving us a look into your fashionable and luxurious hotel!

Elysian HotelElysian HotelThe Elysian Hotel

The Elysian Hotel

11 East Walton Street
Chicago, IL 60611
T: 312.646.1300

Editor’s Daily Pick

I am a true girly girl at heart and this satin bow box clutch by Valentino is the quintessential accessory for every female who loves pink. It’s the perfect clutch to accessorize with for a Sunday tea party or an elegant evening affair. Cheers and Happy Tuesday! xoxo

Kelly & Zarani Get Married

Duke Photography

Here is a teaser for Tuesday’s wedding of the week on

Most people don’t typically think of Nicaragua when they think of destination weddings, but I happen to adore Central America. The culture and environment is so different from anywhere else in the world and should definitely be considered when planning your nuptials abroad. There is something about leaving the continental US where the sky gets bluer and the water more clear. Perhaps it is the fact that you are closer to the equator, but breathtaking nonetheless.

Things I love: as quoted by the couple, Kelly and Zarani, they are typically atypical and I love that. Weddings don’t need to be cookie cutter and you should definitely do what feels most suiting to you as a couple. The casual, but elegant style of both their attire and the decor and of course the photography and the way the light is captured is stunning.

A special thank you to Duke Khodaverdian of Duke Photography for letting us share this wedding and be sure to look out for the full feature on Tuesday. Have a great long weekend!

In case you missed the feature click here.

Editor’s Daily Pick

The warm weather finally has arrived to New England and so has summer’s hottest platforms! Featured below is the Paradox animal-print leather wedge sandals by Jimmy Choo. Pair this with a simple maxi dress and over sized cuff and you are good to go! Cheers and Happy Thursday

Editor’s Daily Pick

Looking for the perfect scent to gift your groomsmen? I highly suggest the “Artisan Black Edition” from John Varvatos. This limited-edition fragrance has woody and leathery accents and is sure to get heads turning. It is bold fragrance that is both modern and old world all at the same time. Cheers and Happy Wednesday! xoxo

The Inside Scoop on Planning a Wedding at Pelican Hill Resort, Newport Coast, CA

A relatively new hotel that opened in 2008, Pelican Hill Resort is a wedding hot spot and the ideal picturesque location for your Southern California wedding. Located just south of Newport Beach, CA, the resort offers beautiful grounds with panoramic views of the Pacific, making it a romantic and luxurious location. We had a chance to speak to George Nickels, the Director of Special Events at Pelican Hill who gave us some exclusive insight into the resort’s unique wedding services.

George Nickels knows the hotel and catering industry, starting his career in the food and beverage industry at just 13 years old in Philadelphia. Nickels entered hotel catering in 1999 at The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel and helped to open the Four Season’s Silicon Valley as the Director of Catering in 2005. When Nickels saw that Pelican Hill Resort would be opening, he jumped on the opportunity knowing it would be the premiere wedding venue of Southern California. Appointed Director of Special Events in 2010, George was able to answer some questions for us about the resort and its special wedding services.
Inside Scoop on Pelican Hill
GO: What is your unique role when it comes to a couple’s wedding day and how does your property distinguish a couple’s experience as opposed to getting married somewhere else?
: At first, couples visiting the resort are captivated by the century–old olive trees, rows of lavender and panoramic views of the Pacific as golden light sparkles across its surface. But it is our unequaled service that defines The Pelican Hill wedding. We developed weddings at Pelican Hill in a very unique way. Coming from two distinguished hotel management companies, I was able to see what is really needed on a couples’ very special day. I personally manage every wedding, partnering with the Catering Manager.

GO: What sort of wedding staff do you have on board?
We staff a wedding butler to be the personal assistant to the bridal party on the day of the wedding, as well as a wedding concierge who greets all guests, takes the gifts and creates a gift list for the bride and groom. We have the Director of Banquets, Banquet Manager and a Banquet Captain overseeing the service for the wedding reception. We also have the highest staff to guest ratio for events in the luxury market, at one server for every 8-10 guests.

GO: From start to finish, what can a couple expect if they choose to get married at your property?
Couples can expect to see warmth and passion from the staff of Pelican Hill. From the beginning, the couples meet with one of our very talented Catering Managers who help them understand the Pelican Hill wedding experience. We assist them in finding the perfect wedding coordinator to help them bring their vision to life. On the day of the wedding, the quality of food and service makes a profound impression, and guests rave that the wedding was the best they have been to. I am always delighted when guests of a wedding come to me during the dinner to tell me how impressed they are with the food and service. Even after the wedding, we personally contact our past brides and grooms to invite them back to the resort to celebrate their anniversary with some special surprises.

GO: What are the unique locations that a couple can host their ceremony and reception at in your venue?
We book only one wedding per day, in order to ensure complete privacy and exclusivity for our couples. The preferred ceremony site, our Rotunda Event Lawn, is a manicured oval lawn spilling out to the end of the ridge, where a timeless, iconic Italian rotunda is perched 300 feet above the ocean. The views and the peaceful surroundings are unmatched. Our premier reception venue, Mar Vista, is also a grand and flexible space, featuring a limestone fireplace and floor–to–ceiling windows that frame gorgeous ocean views.

GO: Do you have customizable packages? Tell me a little bit about them?
We do not offer packages, as we prefer to sit down with the couples, get an understanding of what they like and what is important to them. Then, we customize an experience that is theirs, uniquely.

GO: Food is such an important element at a wedding; tell me about your menus and culinary team?
We customize all of our menus to the couple’s desires. We offer traditional filet mignon and lobster dinners, authentic eight-course Chinese dinners, Japanese fusion menus, authentic Persian menus and everything in between. Our talented culinary team can perfectly create most any cuisine requested by couples. Our Executive Chef, Jean-Pierre Dubray, hand-selects all of the produce for the resort from local Irvine Ranch farms each week, so that we are always using the freshest locally grown products.

GO: What is the first thing a couple should do if they are interested in getting married at your property?
: We have a wonderful website for them to visit at, or they may contact the wedding team at (800) 820-6800. We are also in process of developing a wedding blog.

Nickel’s tells us, “The Pelican Hill Resort offers 504 acres of natural beauty overlooking the Pacific Coastline, breath-taking Palladian inspired architecture and a feeling of being transported to a Tuscan seaside resort” making it the ideal place for your wedding and photos. Pelican Hill according to George can be described in three words; luxury, exclusivity and quality.

Thank you George for speaking to us about the superb services and elegant venues the Pelican Hill Resort has to offer!

Pelican HIllInside Scoop on Pelican Hill
Pelican Hill Resort
22701 Pelican Hill Road South
Newport Coast, CA 92657
T: 949.467.6800

Editor’s Daily Pick

I absolutely adore this beautiful jacquard print box clutch by Alexander McQueen. This clutch has a gold and Swarovski crystal-embellished skull clasp and a edgy-chic vibe that I truly adore. Cheers and Happy Tuesday! xoxo

Editor’s Daily Pick

This gold-plated bull’s head Perspex Cuff by Roberto Cavalli is such a striking statement piece. With its multicolored crystal detailing, this piece is sure to complete any evening look. Cheers and Happy Monday!

Grace & Cec Fell in Love

Suzy Lamont Photography

Sometimes it’s not just about falling in love, it’s about staying there. And sometimes the hardest thing is to find love again or later in life. Here is an inspiring image captured by Suzy Lamont to help you get through the rest of the day. Celebrate love!

Grace and Cec, a lovely couple in their very young 80’s, met at the retirement home they reside in. Cec saw Grace from across the dinning room and “her lovely smile glowed.”

Amy & Ladis Get Married

David Michael Photography

Here is a teaser for Monday’s wedding of the week on

Jewish weddings are one of the funnest types of weddings to attend. From the signing of the ketubah to breaking the glass, the excitement of the hora and the cutting of the challah. I love every minute. One of the things that I like best about Amy and Ladis’ wedding is that they incorporated traditional Jewish customs and then added so many personal touches.

Things I love: they by far have one of the most unique guest book alternatives that I have ever seen. I also love the milk shooters with cookies and who doesn’t love a caramel-covered apple? And of course, her gown is incredible.

A special thank you to The Langham Huntington, Pasadena for submitting this wedding to us. Thank you also Michael Brannigan of David Michael Photography for letting us share this wedding with you and be sure to look out for the full feature on Monday. Have a great weekend!

In case you missed the feature click here.