Nancy Chase Arrangements
Nancy Chase started out on a creative, nonfloral trajectory. A fine art graduate, Chase pursued a career in corporate art sales for years, then entered the interior design arena, before finally landing on flowers. The beauty and benefit of a career such as Chase's is that she has an unlimited pool of inspiration to draw on for her lush, colorful arrangements. Chase excels at weddings, and with the inclusion of one of her large-scale installations, little other decoration is necessary.
Rob Krueger Photography
There’s no substitute for experience, and with more than 200 weddings under his belt, that's something Rob Krueger has in spades. When he's not shooting weddings, he's teaching photography classes or hosting his podcast, "Take and Talk Pics." Fair warning to grooms: He’s a huge fan of the “dip and kiss” pose.
Lex Nelson Photography
It’s no longer rare for a business to be bicoastal; less common is splitting time between Maine and Chicago, which is what New-England-girl-turned-Midwest transplant Lex Nelson does. (She’ll also travel pretty much anywhere in between and beyond for weddings.) Nelson, who graduated with a degree in Fine Arts and Digital Media from Northeastern University, knows the wedding biz well—she’s worked as a graphic designer, bridesmaid stylist, and worked her way up from wedding photographer assistant to second-shooter before starting her own company. Nelson’s detail shots of wedding-day gear as are lovely as her intimate couple portraits.
Feast & Imbibe
For oenophiles looking to elevate an event’s drinking situation above a well drink open bar, Feast & Imbibe will actually pair you with a chef and a sommelier simultaneously. Their Studio Kitchen in Evanston holds ticketed pop-up dinners once a month if you’d like to see them in action before you commit.
Truffleberry Market Catering
With a client list that includes Chanel, Prada, and Louis Vuitton, you can be sure that Truffleberry Market has been properly vetted. Their events are known for adventurous menus and presentation, with dishes like mini lobster corn dogs, cucumber sandwiches wrapped in a delicate bow, and goat cheese cones. The team here is always up for a challenge, making them a great option if you have an ambitious theme.
Chicago’s Girl on the Go Personal Assistant
The concept behind Jancy Audet's company is kind of genius: She and her team come in to handle all of your most-dreaded errands, from booking travel to handling repairmen and contractors to her specialty, parties. Jancy's background is in event planning, so she's well equipped to take on everything from a 300-person wedding to the kids birthday party you don't have the time to put together.
So Dressed Up Event Planning and Styling
If you tend to get wires crossed and dates confused (or if you're just busy), Katie Jackson-Meara is probably your dream event planner. Veteran clients gush that her detailed itineraries plan everything out to the minute. She's also a stylist, which is clutch for brides who need a neutral opinion on dresses, hair, and makeup leading up to the big day.
Green Inc. Florals
Family owned and run by a mother-son duo, this place has been around forever with a reputation that speaks for itself. Repeat clients love that there's no need for detailed direction: Let them do their thing and you won't be disappointed.
Nico and Lala Custom Invitations
With a signature preppy style, the team at Nico and Lala does more than design invitations—they'll create an entire brand around an event. Favorites include a construction-themed kids party (tagline: can you dig it?) and a clever happy hour celebrating the 12th birthday of one lucky gentleman's beard (BYOBeard).
Magbooth is kind of like the people's photo booth: Take your pick of prop and custom logos and never worry about going over some preset picture limit. The best part, though, is that ever rental includes an attendant, which significantly minimizes mid-party technical difficulties.