Coming to you from sunny and beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona where I’m currently enjoying my bachelorette party with some of my favorite girls in the entire world.
I’m SO happy that I’m taking this time to do a little getaway, get a little crazy, eat THE BEST food and enjoy hiking too. If you aren’t following me on Instagram already, do it now because I’m going to be sharing my trip with you allllll weekend long.
We’ve got hiking planned, yoga, bars, brunches and lots of pool time. I’m so excited! Just in case you haven’t been to Scottsdale before, check out my travel guide where I shared some of my favorite spots. And if you have any fun spots you wanna share with me, let me know in the comments below!
Now, let’s get into wedding details!
The countdown is ON. Today marks 5 weeks until our wedding! I told you last week that I was going to share a bunch of details of my wedding. I haven’t had time to sit down and write for a while, and I’ve gotten plenty of questions regarding the wedding, so I thought I would pop in and share with you all the deets. Here we goooo!
How did you decide on a wedding venue?
We didn’t decide on a wedding venue until late March and that’s also when we happened to pick a date based on the availability (so really I’ve only been planning for 7 months). At first Tony and I both thought we would elope or have a small wedding in Australia because we both knew how chaotic planning a wedding would be but also how expensive it was. It really took us a long time to make the decision on where to have it. Finally after landing on Chicago, we began searching for vendors. To be honest, I relied heavily on places like WeddingWire.com, Yelp and online articles.
After searching endlessly at venues, we were disappointed by how expensive things were turning out to be. But I guess that’s to be expected when you live in a big city. Granted, we certainly didn’t have to get married in Chicago, but it was my preference since I knew our guests would appreciate everything our beautiful city has to offer. So, we kept hunting and I asked for some recommendations on Instagram.
Before I knew it I recieved a message from a girl named Emily, who suggested Salvage One, an antique artifact store and event space. She said it was wonderful because you could bring in your own alcohol and use most of their lighting and tables for seating guests. I immediately looked it up and scheduled an appointment to check it out. After viewing the space, Tony and I fell in love because it was exactly us and everything we wanted. We also liked that we could have our ceremony on site, making it easy for our guests so they wouldn’t have to travel.
Honestly you guys, Salvage One is just STUNNING. It’s a mix of rustic, eclectic and vintage.
How did you decide on a date?
I thought that we’d have a long engagement and get married in April 2018, but the more we thought about it the more we just wanted to get it done with instead of dragging it out. The reason I say this is because since being engaged, we’ve felt like we haven’t had much time for many things outside of planning the wedding. At times it has felt like another full time job and I think it would have continued to feel that way if we would have gone with a long engagement.
Anyway, long answer short, after we found the venue we liked and checked their availability, we were able to make a decision. We also realized that we would save money by getting married on a Friday instead of a Saturday, and I think it’s pretty great we did that because our guests can spend the rest of the weekend enjoying our city.
Where did you find your dress?
I found my dress at A & Be Bridal in Minneapolis and it’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I had heard wonderful things from a few friends about a&be so when I was in Minneapolis I scheduled an appointment and found ‘the one’. I also have a reception dress from Grace Loves Lace because I was TOO obsessed with their dresses not to get one. Before all of this though, I had gone to Bhldn in Chicago — their dresses just weren’t for me.
What about the Bridesmaid dresses?
I cannot tell you how difficult this was for me. I had a really hard time finding a color and bridesmaid dresses that weren’t ‘classic’. I wanted my bridesmaids to feel beautiful, relaxed and bohemian. I drew a lot of inspiration on Pinterest. After ordering four different bridesmaid dress colors, I finally found some from Show Me Your Mumu that were perfect.
What about food? I know that’s important to you!
Yes, food was one of the most important things to me and I wanted to have our guests to have a wonderful experience through food at our wedding. Since we chose to have our wedding at Salvage One, they provided a list of caterers that we could work with. After reviewing the list, we chose to have a tasting with two of the Chicago-based caterers with good online reviews. I have to say though, we were BLOWN away by Fig Catering, their hospitality, attention to detail and amazing, unique and creative food.
Fig specializes in smaller events, which to me meant that they knew exactly how to make it extraordinary. In fact, they even took it over the top by letting us customize our wedding menu. My mom and I spoke about it and decided that it would be wonderful to bring some of my hispanic heritage into the menu, so we worked with Fig to develop a FUN and creative hispanic menu. I don’t want to give away too many details, but blue honey cornbread, empanadas & bacon wrapped plantains are making an appearance on our special day (OMG YES)!
We’re literally SO excited to have them cater our wedding and it has been a dream to work with the catering team at Fig. They are so responsive and on top of things. Oh and we’re also doing a super fun drink menu with Fig that includes local beers & hand picked wines, plus a specialty cocktail!
If you ever need a caterer in the Chicago area, I highly recommend them — and I can’t wait to share photos of the amazing food with you after our wedding.
There’s something spectacular about crushing a workout on a Friday then heading to @stansdonutschicago and doing a taste test for our #ambitiouswedding donut wall! 😍🍩 Verdict: obsessed with the lemon pistachio + Blueberry old fashioned 👅
A post shared by Monique: Ambitious Kitchen (@ambitiouskitchen) on
Are you really having a donut wall?
HECK YES. This was a dream of mine and Tony’s Dad built our donut wall and it is MASSIVE. I’m talking 8×8 feet. SO EXCITING. And bonus… we’re having Stan’s donuts at the wedding. I loved the variety that Stan’s has for their donuts — from old fashioned to glazed to cake, they are LEGIT. I ended up picking six different kinds of donuts to display. #bestweddingever
What did you use for your wedding invites?
I hired out Katelyn, a designer, to create my Save the Dates & wedding invites. This is really just a personal preference because we had worked together before and have such similar styles that I knew she would be the best person to create something unique and beautiful. She’s also a recent bride, so she helped me with a lot of the language surrounding invites, accommodations, save the dates, and RSVPs. Tony’s mom works at a college, so we were able to print there for pretty cheap.
I’ve heard wonderful things about Minted too!
Katelyn ended up creating a special stamp for me to use for my return addresses, then I just uploaded it and ordered from RubberStampChamp. However, if you look on Etsy, there are plenty of stamps that you can customize and use too. I highly recommend getting a return address stamp when doing your invites because it makes things 100x easier.
We purchased our invite and rsvp envelopes from French Paper. However, I did purchase our save the dates Kraft brown paper envelopes from Amazon and they were fantastic. I also got twine from Amazon to tie our invites and rsvps together. It was super cute!
Lastly, I wanted to mention that I used a Chicago-based calligrapher, Samantha Meyer, to write out all of the addresses on our invites. She did such an amazing job and it really set the invites apart and made them incredibly special. P.S. she also teaches calligraphy classes here in Chicago if you are ever wanting to learn!
moodboard by Katelyn Calautti
Where did you get inspiration for your wedding?
I know my personal style pretty well, so I knew that I wanted our wedding to be vintage and romantic with a little bit of bohemian thrown in. Because of this, I searched Pinterest a lot and often ended up stumbling down rabbit holes to give me inspiration. If you take a look at my Pinterest board, you can easily recognize my style.
Picking out colors was the hardest part. Everyone kept asking me if I had colors for our wedding and I didn’t know how to pick them out or what I wanted. So I also ended up spending a lot of time researching colors of wedding I liked on Pinterest. After taking a look at what I was pinning, I realized that I prefered neutrals and that I wanted the flowers to set the tone and mood of the look I loved.
I also think it’s important to take into account the time of year and season of your wedding. Since my wedding is in the fall, I am going for a moodier look with darker burgundy accents, plum and jewel tones. I referenced JuneBug Weddings a lot of design details & inspiration. I basically stalk their website and Instagram on a daily basis.
How did you find your vendors? Who is your florist? Photographer? Videographer?
I found most of my vendors through Instagram and your recommendations! Seriously I fell into major rabbit holes on Insta multiple nights and saved people I really liked to my collection. Otherwise, I asked my Insta followers and got lots of responses — ask and you shall receive, right? I also searched a lot on Wedding Wire & June Bug Weddings for those who might be a good fit, but referrals ended up being my best bet.
In all honesty, it didn’t take me long to find out who I wanted to work with and I’m SO SO lucky to have such an amazing group of creatives by my side. I do want to note that I think it’s crucial to find the vendors you want to work with as soon as you can — they are busy and get booked up quickly!
Here’s a list of who is doing what.
Photography: Studio 29 Photography
Videography: Aaron Bean Cinema
Flowers: Splendor of Eden
Hair: Carrie, my hair stylst from XO Studio in Lakeview, Chicago (she’s the best!)
Makeup: Shannon O’Brien
Did you make a wedding website?
Yes! I made our wedding website through Squarespace. It was SO easy to do and I purchased a unique URL so that it was easy. I know there are plenty of other options out there though, but I loved how easy the Squarespace process was.
Do you have a wedding planner or day of coordinator?
I didn’t get a wedding planner, but rather went all in myself with a lot of help from Tony’s mom. Don’t get me wrong though, the process has been STRESSFUL and time consuming. I also think that part of it was the fact that I’ve been very busy over the past year with the blog and Healthy Glow Co so purchasing a home and having a wedding was a little much. However, it’s been fun to see it all come together and as we get closer I’m getting more and more excited.
I did just get a day of coordinator and I’m so excited to hand off the final details to her ASAP! We have our walkthrough with Salvage One next week whoo hoo!
What else do you have to do?
As we get down to the final month, most of it is just the little details and making decisions (table cards, seating chart, donut bags, guest book, first look, etc). I also need to get my dress altered just a bit and find wedding shoes, but I know it will all happen soon enough! I have tried my best to work ahead as much as possible and not work when I need to take personal time to get things done.
Where are you going on your honeymoon?
Australia! And New Zealand! We won’t leave until the end of the year though. CANNOT WAIT.
Okay that’s all I’ve got for you. I hope that if you are engaged, you find this helpful or just fun to read.
Thanks for being here and of course, let me know if you have any other questions! I’m off to enjoy the rest of my bachelorette party. xo.
Loved reading this! Your honeymoon destination sounds amazing!! And a donut wall?! Yes please!
Thanks so much! We can’t wait 🙂
So excited for the two of you. I have been married 34 years now and had the best wedding day. My advice to you is to remember to have FUN on this special day. I know my guests probably appreciated that I had no idea people were supposed to give speeches at weddings as I am a child of German immigrant parents and had never been to a North American wedding. Keep the speeches short and the wine flowing. Wishing you the very best!!
Such great advice – thanks so much, Carol!
Oooooooh! I live 2 blocks away from Salvage One and I LOVE this place where I have been so many times already. I saw the place prepared for a wedding and it’s beautiful. Vintage, fun, I love it. Excellent choice 😊
No way! What a small world 🙂 We’re very excited!
I loved this post… I like your style so it was really fun to get to read a bit more about the choices you’ve made for your big day! I have so much admiration for you… I’m sure this has been a CRAZY season of life with wedding planning, etc. but you have managed it all with such grace- or at least that’s how it appears to one of your regular readers! I applaud you! Your blog content has not suffered a bit; in fact it all seems just that much more inspired. Must be all the love in the air!! Wishing you all the very best!!! Have the best bachelorette weekend!!!
Thank you so much, Trista! That means the world to me 🙂 There will be more delicious recipes (+ some fun wedding updates) to come!
Ummmmm you RING!!!!! So pretty! Also great post and I am very happy for you both!
Thanks so much!!
Thanks for sharing all of this with us. So happy for you!
Thank you Angela!
Do you have any guests attending that was specific dietary concerns due to a serious medical issue? I have celiac disease and I’m starting to get some wedding invitations. I’m afraid to offend or cause problems for anyone, but don’t want to starve for hours either. Just wondering if you had to deal with that type of situation at all.
Yes, but usually your caterer will be cautious of this and knows what they are doing. We just let our caterer know in advance!
Good advice, Monique! Cory, at FIG we’re able to accommodate dietary restrictions including gluten free, vegan and no nuts, but with very serious allergies (where food cannot even be in the presence of allergen containing items) we do outsource specialty plates from either gluten free, nut free, or kosher kitchens. A good caterer should be able to make these arrangements for you so that you can feed everyone, offend no one, and enjoy your day.
Congratulations Monique! I honestly am SO behind in reading all of your posts–shame shame shame on me! LOL! It must be so exciting to plan out your big wedding day. It’s funny to read about this because I think about my theoretical wedding ALL the time (Pinterest for life)! It’s really easy to get lost in the world of Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration!
Thanks so much, Cassie! It’s super exciting over here (and yes, I’ve been looking for inspiration on IG and Pinterest for a very long time 😉 ).
Thank you for posting this guide.