Summertime in Chicago

Chicago summer is finally in full swing and we couldn’t be happier. Summertime in Chi manes there’s never a dull moment and there truly is an unending list of fun activities, events, and festivals to attend. If you’re ever bored and looking for some Chicago excitement, try any one of these super fun activities, maybe you’ll even see us there! :)

Jazzin’ at the Shedd
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July 5-26 (Wednesdays) Shedd Aquarium
“Every Wednesday evening during the summer, enjoy live jazz, cool drinks and a relaxed visit with 32,000 animals. Take in the Chicago skyline while listening to some of our area’s top jazz musicians.”
Take the afternoon off to wander through the Shedd and finish your evening off by enjoying live music and drinks on their outdoor patio in perfect view of the skyline. Imagine how pretty it would be at sunset!

Chicago Margarita Festival
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July 8 & 9, South Shore Cultural Center.
Live music, dancing, games, margaritas AND appetizers? We. Are. There. 

Millennium Park Summer Workouts
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Wednesdays & Saturdays, Started June 3 continues to September 2, 2017, Millennium Park
You can definitely count us in for morning yoga at Millennium Park, and maybe a little zumba to finish? Here’s what you need to know—Pilates: 7am | Yoga: 8am | Strength Training: 9am | Zumba: 10am

Dîner en Blanc
DinerEnBlancChicago
“Over the course of the evening, guests experience the beauty and value of their city’s public spaces by participating in the unexpected. Beyond the spectacle and elegance of the dinner itself, guests are brought together from diverse backgrounds by good taste and a love of beauty.”
Dîner en Blanc has been around for over 30 years and originated in Paris, making it one of the coolest, most sophisticated events. Everyone wears white, you bring your own white chairs and table, pack a fancy picnic, and then you just enjoy the evening dancing and socializing!

Chicago Full Moon Jam
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“The Full Moon Jams’ unite performing artists and spectators through a love and appreciation of fire art.”
We actually only discovered this Full Moon Jam recently but just had to share because look at it! Can’t wait to attend and see what it’s all about. Apparently it’s been around since 2004!

Retro on Roscoe
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August 11 to 13, Roscoe Village
“Local restaurants fill the venue with summertime samplings and tasty treats. All this and more liven up this tree-lined street for an enjoyable three-day festival that brings back great memories while providing excellent entertainment for the entire family.”
Live music, food, drinks, atmosphere–there seems to be a trend here…Retro on Roscoe is one of my favorite festivals in the whole city. Hope to see some of you there!

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Our Top Picks for Wedding Favors

When it comes to providing favors for your guests, you want to make sure you find the sweet spot between too cheap and too expensive, while also giving something that is useful, interesting, or exciting. When in doubt, provide something that you love to use or would love to receive. We’ve compiled a list of fun favors that we hope will inspire you to come up with your very own unique ideas!

Mini Succulents
Whether in a small pot, teacup, or mason jar, mini succulents are a lovely favor to provide your guests! You can even customize them by writing your initials and wedding date on a tag or ribbon. If you want to take it one step further, you could write a cutesy phrase as well: “Watch Our Love Grow” or “Let Love Grow” are fairly popular.
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Source: 100 Layer Cake

Popcorn
Providing your guests with food or snacks is always going to be a winner at weddings. If you choose popcorn, you actually have a couple of options, kernels or bags? If you choose kernels, try putting them in a funky jar with a catchy phrase: “Thanks for Popping by!” or “Our Love is Poppin’!” If you choose bagged popcorn, try printing custom stickers with your names and wedding date to put on your bags.
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Source: Evermine

Pickled Veggies
A step up from our popcorn kernel idea above; give your guests a jar of pickled veggies of your choice! Just find some cute mason jars and top with a custom sticker.  For some inspiration, here’s a favor display we put together with custom pickle favors for one of our favorite couples: Sara & Martin.
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Source: Pen Carlson

Cocktail Recipe w/ Tool
If you featured signature cocktails at your reception, think about giving the recipe (if it’s a complex cocktail) as a favor. Throw in a fun cocktail tool for added value (think muddling stick, jigger, or strainer) Tie them together with some ribbon and you’ve got a great favor your guests will be sure to appreciate.
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Source: Local Fixture

Recipe Cards
Recipe cards are a great favor option, personalize them with your names and anniversary date. You can provide blank cards or fill them up with some of your favorite recipes you’d like to share. Whichever you choose, your guests will think of you each time they cook the dish! Check out these from Magnificent Milestones that we featured on Kelly & Bryant’s day.
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Source: Laura Meyer Photography

Confetti
Maybe you want to give favors that are meant to be used that night or at your reception? One of our brides, Emily, (see Chris & Emily’s full day here!) chose to provide her guests with customized boxes of confetti to throw during their grand exit. This is a super fun way to get your guests involved and ensures that your favors will not go to waste! Plus, confetti always looks gorgeous in photos.
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Source: Nicodem Creative/Jayne Weddings

Sweets To-Go
A classic, no-stress favor will always be take home dessert. Simply place plain, or customized take-home boxes on your dessert table at the end of the night and watch your guests load theirs up! Get creative with your boxes to make a big impact. These triangle boxes are too fun!
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Source: StyleMePretty

Have you received a favor at a wedding that just blew you away? Share with us below!

4 Must-Try Cocktails in Chicago

When it comes to cocktails, our Jayne Weddings team knows what’s up! While it was so difficult choosing from our extensive list of favorites, we eventually landed on 4 cocktails from our very favorite bars in Chicago and we want to share them with you!

BigStar-Cocktail
Source: Big Star Instagram

 

Source: Big Star Styled Shoot

One cocktail that will remain on our list forever is La Paloma from Big Star. Known for it’s “garage party” vibe, Big Star is the perfect hangout to grab some cheap tacos and incredible cocktails. Now, if you don’t frequent Big Star you should know that their all around best seller is the Classic Margarita. While also an incredible cocktail, don’t let it distract you from La Paloma. La Paloma is an unexpected twist to a classic marg—the blend of Lunazul Blanco, lime, and grapefruit gives this cocktail a tart, refreshing, and crisp finish.

VioletHour-Cocktail
Source: Violet Hour Instagram

Is it possible to create a list of Chicago’s best cocktail spots without naming The Violet Hour? We sure don’t think so. Violet Hour’s mysterious exterior, cozy interior and simple cocktails with a punch will have you adding everything on their menu to your favorites. Violet Hour is known for being difficult to find due to its unmarked door, but you may have better luck looking for their commissioned art pieces on the wall next to their door. Be sure to try the old classic ‘Briar Patch’. It’s been around since 2007 and it doesn’t seem to be leaving anytime soon. The mixture of gin, lemon, and blackberry creates a fruity, floral cocktail masterpiece with a tart finish.

Celeste-Cocktail
Source: Celeste Instagram

Up next is a place that is part lounge bar and part restaurant: Celeste. The cozy nooks and luxurious, yet approachable menu give this place its charm. Though surrounded by many other bars, Celeste has them beat with its seductive atmosphere and comfy spaces, making it one of our favorites in River North. Our top cocktail pick has to be ‘Thai One On’. We do love our puns, but the combination of whiskey, thai basil, ginger, blueberry, and lemon have us sold. These unusual flavors will have us coming back time and time again.


Source: Lost Lake
We’re rounding out our list with a fun tiki fave: Lost Lake. Heard of it? Located in the corner of Logan on Kedzie and Diversey, it’s definitely worth the visit. Though similar to its brother bar Three Dots & a Dash (actually, Paul McGee ran Three Dots before venturing out to open Lost Lake), there are some striking differences that will convince you to visit if we haven’t already. If you’ve been to Three Dots & a Dash, perhaps you can guess what Lost Lake’s decor will look like: a tiki, neon, leafy heaven (if Jayne Weddings owned a bar, this would be it). This is where the similarities stop as Lost Lake’s list of cocktails is full of deeper, darker tiki cocktails that are a little less accessible, though they do have the signature fruit skewers, crazy straws and umbrellas with each drink. If you’re looking for a single serving cocktail, try Tic-Tac-Taxi. With Aged Multi­-Island Rum, Overproof Jamaican Rum, Coconut, Passionfruit and Lime, it’s a perfect combination of strong, sweet, & tropical. If you’re with a group of friends, get a large drink to share (we suggest Ruby Mae’s Second Surfin’ Bird: Reposado Tequila, Mezcal, Ruby Port, Campari, Pineapple, Lime and Passionfruit)! They even provide you with extra long crazy straws that’ll have you feeling like a kid again sip after sip.

Have a favorite of your own? Share it with us, we’re always looking to add new faves to our list!