5 Essential Chicago Outdoor/Rooftop Spots to Visit this Season

We seriously can’t believe it’s finally warm again. This lengthy transition into spring/summer in Chicago was rough to say the least. To celebrate, we put together a list of our top 5 essential spots in Chicago with outdoor or rooftop seating so we can soak up the sun while eating all the things.

The Dawson

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Open Table

Let’s start off strong with the large outdoor patio of The Dawson. Complete with delicate string lights and generous amounts of greenery, this space is perfect for those cozy summer nights.

Celeste

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Celeste

Celeste’s rooftop garden should definitely make your list of where to visit this season. The marble tabletops, overflowing greenery, and decorative seating, this charming rooftop is quaint, sophisticated, and a must-see!

Parson’s

Chicago Magazine

We couldn’t put together this list and not include Parson’s Chicken & Fish. It’s forever going to be a staple of our summertime eating spots. They have some of the best spicy fried chicken that we’ve ever had and don’t even get us started on their fish..¬†ūüėć

Big Star

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Choose Chicago

You obviously can’t go wrong with Big Star tacos on their popular patio. But we just had to put it in because they make a one-of-a-kind La Paloma.

Cindy’s

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Cindy’s Rooftop

This terrace on top of Chicago Athletic Association overlooks Millennium Park. If that’s not enough to get you in the door did we mention they have outdoor fire pits for chilly nights?

Homestead on the Roof

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Time Out

You may recall we put on a surprise brunch wedding at this restaurant just last year. We highly recommend the quaint rooftop patio of Homestead on the Roof. They have greenery and plants growing on the walls, twinkly lights strung across the entire roof, and plenty of seating. Oh and did we mention they’re farm-to-table? Win win!

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Inspiring Bridesmaid Looks

When it comes to your bridesmaids, there’s so many different items to consider. What type of dress? What color should the dresses be? Should they even wear dresses? Should they match? Should they complement each other? Sometimes it helps to get inspired by what’s been done before. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite bridesmaids looks throughout the years to help you make sure your ladies are well taken care of!

Nicole + Richie

Nicole gave each of her bridesmaids a satin, blush robe and gorgeous floral crowns to wear during their morning hair and makeup. We love the usual floral robes but there’s something about these satin blush tones that feel so feminine and romantic.

Codrean Photography

For their gowns, each dress is a slightly different shade of blush but each have a similar cut and length.

Allison + Dave

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Pen Carlson Photography

Allison went for total glam with these sparkly, sequin dresses for her bridesmaids. While they are all the same short length, each has their own unique color and style. This is perfect for brides who want to give their bridesmaids guidelines but ultimately allow them to choose the fit and color that is best for them!

Eryn + Jim

Julia Fransoza Photo

Instead of switching up the color or style of the dresses, why not switch up the shoes and accessories!? Eryn’s bright, fun, and colorful wedding wouldn’t have been complete without her bridesmaids rocking neon shoes with mis-matched belts.

Jess + Brandon

Amanda Naylor Photo

Another amazing idea for the bride who want their bridesmaids to have more freedom is to choose the color of the dress but let your girls choose their favorite style. This way, each of your bridesmaids feel comfortable and matches the group! Throwing in a different color for your maid of honor is a lovely way to make sure she gets the attention she deserves for being your right-hand gal!

Molly + Timmy

Johnathan Crawford Photography

One of our faves as Team Jayne loves anything bright, bold, and playful. Our bride, Molly, decided to skip the flowers for her bridesmaids and instead gave each of them gold, sparkly pom poms! This is the perfect way to add a fun, unexpected element to your bridal party.

Mary + Hugh

MaryHugh-Bridesmaids

Studio Finch

Many brides shy away from black dresses but looking at Mary’s bridesmaids has us wondering why anyone ever doubts black. The bold black dresses with small lace details pop so beautifully again those bright white florals and pops of purple. Again, matching dress color with each dress given it’s own bit of flair.

Caitlin + George

Sean Cook Wedding Photography

And sometimes grooms have their very own grooms-woman! A great way to help your groomsman feel like part of the party is to have her wear an awesome (and perfectly tailored) suit to match the other groomsmen. We love the ankle-high tailored pant on George’s groosmwoman and those strappy, sophisticated heels are the perfect feminine touch.

 

Say Hello to Spring with 6 Fresh Cocktails

With it just starting to feel like spring around here we want to do everything we can to embrace the warm weather and springtime vibes. We can’t think of a better way to get in the spring spirit than with a refreshing cocktail. We’ve pulled together a list of some of our favorite fresh drinks infused with delicious combinations of floral, mint, fruit, and, of course, refreshing spirits.

Apple Bee’s Knees

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This classic gin cocktail with a honey-apple twist is perfect for those brisk spring afternoons. It’s th eperfect amount of tartness with the sweetness of honey and apple slices.

Ingredients

Honey Syrup:
  • 1/2¬†cup¬†water
  • 1/2¬†cup¬†honey
  • 3¬†springs rosemary
Cocktail:
  • 2¬†ounces¬†gin
  • 1¬†ounce¬†fresh lemon juice
  • 1¬†ounce¬†apple juice
  • 1¬†ounce¬†honey syrup
  • rosemary and/ or apple slices¬†for garnish

The Bordello

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There’s nothing more refreshing thank coconut and lime, but cherry blossom syrup too? This will surely liven up your taste buds and put you in a refreshing, spring mood!

Ingredients

2 oz Vodka
7/8 oz Cherry blossom syrup
1 oz Lime juice
2 coins Cucumber
Cherry Blossom (garnish)

Cherry Blossom

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Maybe you love cherry blossom but cucumber isn’t your thing? Try this cherry blossom cocktail with sparkling lemonade, gin, and grenadine for a sweeter spring drink!

Ingredients

  • Cherry brandy (Kirsch)
  • Gin
  • Sparkling lemonade
  • Grenadine
  • Cherry or other edible (organic) blossom for decor

Peach & Mint Frappe

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Give us anything peach flavored and we’re in heaven. This peach and mint frozen cocktail is no exception! The mint lifts up the sweetness of the peach for a perfectly sweet, refreshing frozen drink.

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces vodka, preferably Tito’s
  • 3 tablespoons light agave nectar
  • 1 pound ripe peaches, sliced and frozen, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons peach nectar
  • 1 tablespoon packed mint leaves, plus sprigs for serving

Sparkling Pomegranate Mimosas

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Pomegranate isn’t only for fall/winter! Give this sparkling pomegranate cocktail and try if you want something a little deeper in flavor but lighter in liquor.

Ingredients

  • ¬Ĺ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 6-8 sprigs of rosemary
  • pomegranate juice
  • 1 bottle of champagne

 

Fresh Violet Cocktail

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We think it’s only fitting to include a violet cocktail as the color of the year is Ultra Violet! This cocktail’s beautiful color comes from fresh-picked violets so if you need us,¬† we’ll be out hunting for some gorgeous fresh violets. :)

Ingredients (makes 8 servings)

  • 1 cup fresh-picked violets, rinsed clean
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup sugar (you can substitute honey or any sweetener of your choice)
  • Club soda
  • Vodka or gin

 

Creative Escort Card Displays

Whether or not you decide you want or need an escort card display is completely up to you and your future parter, but we’re here to share with you a few of our favorite displays throughout the years to hopefully help give you some inspiration to create something truly unique to you! There are always way to infuse a little personality into your display and we’ve compiled just a few for you here.

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Caitlin + George’s wedding was held on New Year’s Eve and we decided to setup this gorgeous display of family photos, mementos, greenery, and escort cards in the empty bookshelf at Chicago Athletic Association. This bookshelf had actually never been utilized for an event before. So you heard it here: Team Jayne was the first! :)

Caitlin + George |Sean Cook Wedding Photography

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Shelly + DJ held their wedding at Chicago’s Navy Pier (Crystal Gardens) and carried their child-like wonder/fairytale theme throughout the entire wedding decor, including the escort card display. We put together this library-inspired escort card filing box for their guests to sift through to find their name‚ÄĒso interactive and fun!

Shelly + DJ | Jeremy Lawson Photography

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Team Jayne custom designed these colorful, geometric escort cards for Eryn + Jim’s colorful wedding years ago but they will always remain one of our favorites. Placed on a table with a bold string heart (another custom Team Jayne creation!) to give the whole table a fun, edgy, colorful display.

Eryn + Jim | Jamie from Greenhouse Loft

Q Avenue Photo // www.qavenuephoto.com

Not all escort displays have to be extremely elaborate. In fact, sometimes simpler is better. White custom calligraphy on black cards gives this display a modern, romantic vibe, while the chocolate stands give your guests a little treat along with their table assignment.

Q Avenue Photo // www.qavenuephoto.com

Jenny + Eamon | Brad & Jen Photo
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Alex + Ryan’s wedding decor was simple. Lots of greenery, personal photos, and delicate blooms. We opted for white on black cards for a more modern feel, while the greenery and photos surrounding the display give it a softer, more personal touch. And we’ll take any opportunity to use those adorable mini clothespins. :)

Alex + Ryan | Iron + Honey

1920’s Launch Party | The Justine at Room 1520

© 2018 J. Brown Photography - jbrownphotography.com

In February, we had the opportunity to help throw a one-of-a-kind launch party for Room 1520’s sister, The Justine! The goal was to transform the space into a 1920’s inspired paradise. From fire dancers to aerial acrobats and a fortune tellers, this party had everything! Seeking inspiration from the newest furniture additions at The Justine (those blue velvet couches & chairs‚ÄĒwe’re in love!), we loaded the space up with palms and white blooms (shout out to Flowers for Dreams for providing the florals!) Take a look at all the excitement below, thanks to J Brown Photography for these lovely photos!

© 2018 J. Brown Photography - jbrownphotography.com

© 2018 J. Brown Photography - jbrownphotography.com© 2018 J. Brown Photography - jbrownphotography.com

Guests were greeted into the space to these amazing, acrobatic ladies from Angela Eve and Eves Parlor Events, one of whom poured Champagne hanging upside down and handed it to guests!

© 2018 J. Brown Photography - jbrownphotography.com

We also called in these extremely talented fire dancers to perform outside the entrance as guests arrived. What an entrance!

© 2018 J. Brown Photography - jbrownphotography.com

© 2018 J. Brown Photography - jbrownphotography.com

Throughout the evening, guests listened to this fitting live jazz band. It really took the space to a new level and made the entire night seem like it was right out of the ’20s.

© 2018 J. Brown Photography - jbrownphotography.com

© 2018 J. Brown Photography - jbrownphotography.com

We can’t forget the fortune teller lounge we put together in the back office! Guest could enter to have their fortune read in a warm space masked with drapery from our favorites over at¬†Art of Imagination.

© 2018 J. Brown Photography - jbrownphotography.com

TheJustineLaunch

Vendors:
Event Design & Coordination: Jayne Weddings & Events
Photography: J Brown Photography
Flowers: Flowers for Dreams
Drapery: Art of Imagination
Talent: Angela Eve and Eves Parlor Events

Make Your Springtime in Chicago Count

Springtime in Chi is one of our favorite times as it’s packed full of fun activities and festivals to get us ready for the summertime weather. With that in mind, here’s a handful of amazing events you can attend this spring to get in that warm weather mood. We hope to see you at at least one!

Macy’s Flower Show

Starting off with one of our very favorites as we designed and installed an amazing backdrop for a special photo-op with a mermaid! The flower show ends this weekend so be sure to stop by sometime this week. If you want to sit with and have a photo taken with the mermaid she will be at Macy’s on State St. on Friday from 12pm-2pm.

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Chicago Food Truck Festival (it’s free!)

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Chicago Music

Chicagoans love their food truck and if you’re included in that group this event is for you. This festival will be packed full with 20 amazing food truck, live music, and a Sangria garden!¬† It takes place on April 21, will we see you there? Tickets are free so there’s no reason not to!

Cinco de Mayo Parade

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Happening on the lower west side, this parade is held to remember the victory the Mexican forces had over the invading French army in the Battle of Puebla on 5 May, 1862. This family-friendly parade is full of food, beverages, crafts, and more! This year the parade is actually being on Sunday, May 6th.

Chicago Beer Classic

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Chicago Beer Classic

If you’re a beer drinker this event is definitely up your alley. Complete with tailgate activities, master brewers, informative beer trivia, build your own pretzel necklace (you’ll find us here crafting our perfect new accessory) and you can even vote for your favorite brew! Tickets are on sale now but the even is on May 5th.

Lincoln Square Wine Stroll

Lincoln Square

Maybe beer isn’t your thing and that’s ok because Chicago has something special for all your wine drinkers out there as well. The Lincoln Square Wine Stroll is the perfect opportunity to visit some of your favorites and learn about new local businesses too! With over 40 businesses participating, this event is huge and has multiple route options from Lincoln Square to Ravenswood. Tickets available now for this April 26th event.

Should We Have a First Look?

Whether you and your future spouse decide to have a First Look or not is entirely up to you, but we wanted to share a few key reasons why we love them that we’ve learned throughout the years of seeing them first-hand. While the obvious reason is of course to have the opportunity to capture those gorgeous photos, we think there are a few other pros to First Looks that may help tip the scale if you’re on the fence.

Blake + Nicole | Janelle Elise Photo

It’s a beautiful, intimate moment between you both.

With all the moving pieces and craziness that comes with your wedding day, you’ll want to embrace any moment you can sneak away and just be together. The First Look is the perfect opportunity to do just that!¬†Once the ceremony starts, the rest of the night will likely be spent running around for photos, socializing with your guests, or dancing so there’s not much time to be alone together once the day gets going.

Nicole + Richie | Codrean Photography

It will calm your nerves.

With all the planning and preparing for this day, your nerves can really start to show themselves the day-of. One way to help counteract them is to have a First Look and shake out all the nervousness of seeing your future hubby for the first time in front of all of your guests. Instead, you’ll be able to have a quiet moment together to collect your thoughts and get ready for this next big step you’re taking together!

Jess + Brandon | Amanda Naylor Photo

The photos are priceless.

Some of our favorite pictures of our couples have been during their First Look. After your wedding day is over you’ll be so happy you took every opportunity for more photos and trust us, the First Look is full of emotions (and sometimes tears!) and it really is so touching to look back on.

Allison + Dave | Pen Carlson Photography

It’s better for the timeline.

If you’re still on the fence about doing a First Look, maybe we can help sway you by letting you know that couples who do a First Look are much less pressed for time between the ceremony and reception. Usually this time is used for couples photos, bridal party photos, family photos, etc. This can all add up into a lot of time and cause a bit of rushing around on the photographers part. If you do a First Look before the ceremony, that time can also be used for photos together or with your bridal party. Not to mention, the more time spent with your photographer, the more creative they get to be with their shots.

Sarah + George | Let’s Frolic Together

 

 

 

Brunch, Anyone? | Our Fave Brunch Spots in Chicago

There’s nothing better than Sunday brunch, especially in the winter time! It really helps you forget how long and arduous this Chicago winter has been. You may be thinking “But there are so many restaurants, how do I know where to go??” Luckily for you, Team Jayne is in full brunch mode all the time and we’re here to share some of our favorite spots in the city with you.

Lula Cafe 

Located in the heart of Logan Square, this eccentric cafe is a go-to brunch spot for many, Team Jayne included. Their menu is full of creative takes on a variety of American dishes and are one of the first to hone the concept of ‘farm-to-table’.

M. Henry

Let’s start with an old favorite: M. Henry will always be one of our top picks. They menu is packed with a variety of comfort foods and anything you choose is likely to brighten your day! Just be ready to get there early‚ÄĒthis place gets packed quick, especially on a Sunday!

The Delta

For a more unconventional brunch spot, The Delta is known for their tamales and cocktails, but the brunch doesn’t stop there! Their ‘Chick N’ Waffle’ is the perfect combination of salty and sweet and¬† their Fried Green Tomato Sandwich is to die for. Not to mention this place is seriously cute (are we’re total suckers for cute!)

Tweet

One of the best (and cutest!) brunch spots to hit has to be Tweet. Not only do they offer the most delicious comfort food but they are known for their incredible gluten-free options! Though it is cash-only, this actually gives it even more charm. They also hook you up with treats the moment you sit down, and have many fancy brunchy cocktails, so even if you have to wait for a little, its still fun!

Mott Street

Mott Street

Another gluten-free fave! Seriously, this is our go-to spot for pancakes in the city but you honestly can’t go wrong with anything on their menu. Most of the items are so far out of the breakfast box, but then you order them, love them and think – “WHY ISNT THIS WHAT IM EATING EVERYDAY?!” Also they have something called the “bowl of awesome” just order that, trust us.

Big Jones

Another classic‚ÄĒand perfect if you’re looking for some seriously hearty southern cuisine. From Shrimp & Grits to Peach French Toast to Popovers, Big Jones will surely fill your brunch appetite and leave you wanting more of their coastal-inspired plates.

 

Longman & Eagle

Taking it up a notch with another Logan Square favorite: Longman & Eagle. Not only is the food totally incredible, but the lively, hip atmosphere has us coming back time and time again. Don’t let it’s Michelin Star rating deter you, this is actually one of the more casual restaurants with a star rating.

 

Team Jayne’s Top Picks for Wedding Sweets & Desserts

We’re always looking for ways to incorporate new ideas, creations, and styles into our events and desserts are no different! We absolutely love a classic, gorgeous wedding cake, but sometimes we opt for something a little bit different. From cupcakes to pastries to popsicles, we’ve seen quite a wide variety of sweets and we’d love to share a few of our favorites with you!

Pies

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Instead of cake, many couples are opting for pies instead! You can cater to many more guests tastes by offering multiple flavors and some people even prefer pie to cake! We rented some gorgeous white and gold pie stand to dress up the table a bit and added some air plants to tie into the rest of the decor.

Amy + Ben | Bang Bang Pie | Christian Gideon Photography

Cupcakes + Cake Toppers

Another great option that also allows for multiple flavors is mini cupcakes! Since they’re mini cupcakes guests feel like they can try more than one flavor. You can always include a smaller cake for the cake cutting like we’ve done with Kara + Tommy. Also, how amazing are those cake toppers? The bride, Kara Burke, is an extremely talented designer and created them herself.

Kara + Tommy | Kara Burke | The Colagrossis

Donuts

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We’ve been dying to spell out a word with donuts for a long time and we finally had the space to do so! Donut walls are one of our favorite dessert displays. They’re an adorable photo backdrop and allow your guests to have a wide variety of flavor choices. We topped with a luscious brand of greenery and blooms to dress it up and tie it into the rest of their decor.

Jess + Brandon | Maple Donuts | Amanda Naylor Photo

If you’re not able to pull off a donut wall, try donut holes on cake stands with an adorable couple’s cake on top like we used for Marissa + Will! The groom actually handmade those cake toppers, we’re totally impressed!

Marissa + Will |West Town Bakery | Christian Wilson

Mini Waffle Parfaits

These mini waffle parfaits were the perfect choice for this carnival-themed wedding at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Their entire dessert setup screamed upscale fair sweets! Everything is miniature, which allows for your guests to have a little bit of everything.

Shelly + DJ | Crystal Gardens | Jeremy Lawson Photography

Popsicles/Ice Cream Cart

If you’re having a summer wedding and looking for a unique, quirky idea you should consider having a popsicle/ice cream cart (see above) or truck (see below).

Sara + Martin | Pen Carlson

Katie & Jordan Rcpt-0132

Not only is it fairly cost effective but your guests will get to choose their favorite treat! Not to mention you get some adorable pics with your icy treats.

Katie + Jordan |  Joey Kennedy Photography

Jessica + Rami | Simple, Sweet & Sophisticated

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Sometimes we run across a wedding that really touches us and this definitely one of those weddings. Not only are the bride and groom some of the nicest people we’ve ever worked with, but their love is just so sweet it melts our heart. After seeing how special Jess & Rami’s relationship was we just had to put together the wedding to match. We opted for a sweet sophistication with lots of romance. From the beautiful, delicate ceremony arch decor to the touches of fruity accents in the centerpieces, this wedding truly captured the love these two share. And we are so in love with these photos by XO Azuree!

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Jess chose the most gorgeous dress with delicate, intricate lace and an adorable sweetheart neckline. Our favorite ladies over at Mignonette Bridal got it just perfect!

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Jess and Rami are forgoing a honeymoon and instead moving to Colombia in a few months just because they can! We are totally envious. Much of their food and music choices were influenced by their ties to Colombia.

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Beautiful florals throughout the event were provided by Pollen Floral Design and they totally knocked it out of the park. The deep burgundy mixed with ivory, blush, and overflowing greenery really captured the sweet sophistication of Jess & Rami’s wedding.

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When designing Jess and Rami’s day we knew we wanted a natural, simple, fun and approachable theme so we chose a color palette of burgundy, burnt orange, dusty blue with beautiful hints of ivory, blush, and gold which really elevated the deep colors.

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To keep this day looking natural and approachable, we chose really focused on the floral elements of the day.

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To give the ceremony more of a personal touch, we seated guests in a semi-circle around Jess and Rami. This seating arrangement is being used more and more these days and we can totally see why‚ÄĒgave the ceremony such an intimate feel to it!

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Another great Jayne Weddings original was Jess & Rami’s hanging menu. We achieved something similar at Kristin & David’s wedding this past year and we think it is just as fitting for Jess & Rami.

This wedding was just all around utterly beautiful and captured the individuality of Jess & Rami. For their ceremony, we set up chairs in a circular arrangement to make the whole event more intimate. To take it a step further, they passed around a mic during the ceremony for guests who wished to give them love, advice, stories and good vibes‚ÄĒit was so moving!

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We repurposed their ceremony arch and created a quaint VIP Lounge area (for Jess & Rami to enjoy a bite to eat while chatting with guests) using Room 1520’s lounge furniture and we added in some funky graphic pillows.

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Jess and Rami really wanted their reception to be full of mingling and chatting so they cut down the number of chairs so their guests would be up exploring the space.
Vendors:
Event Coordination & Design: Jayne Weddings & Events
Photography: XO Azuree
Venue: Room 1520
Hotel: Ace Hotel
Catering: Cocina Fusion
Dress: Mignonette Bridal
Dessert: Bang Bang Pie
Makeup/Hair: Debra Petrielli
Floral: Pollen