Vendors I Know: Crafty Broads!

April 24th, 2017
Custom Silk Jersey White and Purple Color Blocked Wedding Gown. Photo © Brave Lux Photography.

Custom Silk Jersey White and Purple Color Blocked Wedding Gown. Photo © Brave Lux Photography.

Remember a few weeks ago when I said I was moving into an office space with Crafty Broads?  Well, the lease is signed, and it’s official.  So who are these Broads and what makes them so Crafty?

Crafty Broads was founded originally as a wedding planning and custom garments/alteration business.  The wedding planning half of the business has moved to St. Louis, where the business has expanded.  But you’re probably more interested in what’s in Chicago if you’re reading this.

Crafty Broads in Chicago makes custom garments, including wedding dresses, suits, corsets, and probably just about anything else you can imagine.  You can have a custom veil or fascinator made for you.  You can have garments altered to fit you.  Pretty much, if you want something done with clothing–especially fancy clothing–you can get it done at Crafty Broads.  If you want to get an idea of the breadth of their work, check out the gallery on the website.

And don’t forget the alterations.  If you have a garment that isn’t quite right or needs repair or just doesn’t fit, Crafty Broads is the place to go to make it right.

I’m lucky to be sharing a space with so much creativity.  It has inspired me to start making lace again, which you’ll be able to see when you’re at the shop.  There’s a lot of goodness all in one place!

Vendors I Know: Ryan Timm Photography

April 3rd, 2017
Photo by Ryan Timm Photography.

Photo by Ryan Timm Photography.

Sometimes I run across a vendor that I never knew about and whose work I like a lot.  Photographer Ryan Timm is in that category.  I worked with him on a wedding last fall and was completely stunned by the photos he shared with me.  I’m pretty jaded about event photography, too, so it’s hard to get my attention.  But Ryan managed it with beautiful photos, each one a little narrative in itself.

I was also impressed that he caught so many wonderful photos working entirely by himself.  Most wedding photographers work in teams, so I was very surprised that he did all the work himself.  I was doubly impressed that working solo did not compromise the quality of his photos at all.

There are a lot of excellent wedding photographers in the Chicago area.  There are plenty that I’d be more than happy to recommend.  I’m glad to expand the list by one more, now that I know Ryan.

Vendors I Know: Van Galder Bus Company

August 8th, 2016
Too bad you can't see the Van Galder bus fighting through traffic in this skyline view!  Courtesy of

Too bad you can’t see the Van Galder bus fighting through traffic in this skyline view! Courtesy of

One of the types of vendors I help clients with the most is transportation vendors.  I’ve spent a lot of time researching various options for buses, limos, trolleys, and other ways to travel.  One of my favorites is the otherwise unexciting bus company called Van Galder.

This is the company I recommend and hire when clients need to move a lot of people and need reliable transportation.  While the company is based in Janesville, WI, they do a lot of business in Chicago.

One of my favorite things about Van Galder is that they don’t mark up their prices for weddings.  It’s the same price whether it’s a convention or a wedding.  (See my recent post about which vendors are more likely to mark up their services.)  You get clean, reliable buses either way.

They also tend to have nice, friendly bus drivers, which is a bonus!

Vendors I Know: Vistaprint

June 27th, 2016
Need a menu printed?. Photo by hannahelaine photography (

Need a menu printed?. Photo by hannahelaine photography (

When you’re planning an event or a wedding, you might find that you need printing services.  If you plan to send paper invitations, you’ll need invitations, envelopes, and reply cards.  You might also want to have a program for your guests or a menu at dinner.  And you could want signs to direct your guests to the location.

There are many options for all of these items, but some of them are expensive.  Traditional engraved invitations, for example, are costly.  They can also take several weeks to be printed.  But it turns out that the place where you can get inexpensive business cards is the same place where you can get some or all of your wedding or event printing done:  Vistaprint.

A recent client of mine used Vistaprint for her invitations, place cards, and signage, and she was very happy with the service–and, especially, with the turn-around time.

The only drawback to the service is the designs.  If you like their designs, then it is a convenient service. If you don’t find one to your taste in their gallery, you can upload a design for them to print, but that means that you still have to get the invitations designed.  It’s great if you are a designer yourself and can do the work.  But if you’re already working with a designer, then you probably also want to use whatever printing services they recommend.

You might not think that a service that is primarily thought of as a business service would be good for weddings and events, but it turns out that under some circumstances, it can be both convenient and economical.