Vendors I Know: Elizabeth-Anne Stewart

August 31st, 2015
Elizabeth-Anne Stewart officiated at this lovely wedding I worked on.  Photo by Peter Coombs.

Elizabeth-Anne Stewart officiated at this lovely wedding I worked on. Photo by Peter Coombs.

There are a lot of very good wedding officiants available and I have featured some of them before here.  Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of working a few times with Dr. Elizabeth-Anne Stewart, and I thought she is someone you should know about.

With a PhD in theology and broad experience in counseling and life coaching, Elizabeth has the credentials to help you create your wedding ceremony.  She is also an warm, lovely person who seems to be able to make people feel comfortable easily.  The weddings I have been present for when she has officiated have been beautiful ceremonies.  She’s also not afraid to help you make your ceremony personal, even when that means going outside the usual bounds.

There are lots of options for good officiants.  Elizabeth is one I recommend consistently.

Body Positive Weddings

August 24th, 2015

As I mentioned last week, there are a lot of body issues that come up in connection with weddings.  While there is already an unreasonable standard of perfection for women’s bodies in the culture at large, that standard seems to be magnified about 1000 times when it is focused on a wedding.

For example, there is an entire sub-industry dedicated to weight loss for brides-to-be.  The bridal magazines also uphold the idea of the size zero bride.  And the wedding fashion industry preys on the fears suggested by the magazines by encouraging brides to order a wedding gown four sizes too large “just in case”–so they can charge hundreds of dollars for unnecessary alterations.

I call BS on all that.  As part of my wedding planning practice, I want to encourage body positive weddings.  I was inspired recently by reading an article in the Guardian titled, “My wedding was perfect–and I was fat as hell the whole time.”  The author analyzes many of the issues involved in being a fat bride and makes beautiful sense of them.  She’s also an inspiration for how to get married in a body positive way.

I remember a client of mine confiding in me the night before her wedding that she was afraid she wouldn’t be beautiful enough at her wedding.  I was glad to be able to reassure her, as I would truthfully be able to reassure anyone, that she would be gorgeous.  No matter who you are, if you’re happy to be getting married, you’ll be beautiful on your wedding day.


Every body is beautiful–especially on their wedding day. Photos by Sprung Photo, Happy Buddy PhotoArt, Agnes Malorny Photography, MWD Photography, and

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What is a Non-Traditional Wedding?

August 17th, 2015
Is this a non-traditional wedding?  You decide. Photo by Allison Williams Photography.

Is this a non-traditional wedding? You decide. Photo by Allison Williams Photography.

I talk to my clients a lot about non-traditional weddings and I have information on it plastered all over my website, but you might be wondering what, exactly, a non-traditional wedding is.  In my experience, it means different things to different people.

Here’s my philosophy on non-traditional weddings.  For me, wedding planning starts with something very basic:  In Illinois, if you want to get married legally, all you need is a marriage license and someone to sign it.  Everything else is optional.  Everything.  To me, weddings are a blank slate ready for your personal imprint, and I am always willing to question the conventional wisdom.

The concept of non-traditional also extends to the people getting married.  Same sex weddings are still considered non-traditional by some people.  And there are a lot of body issues that get caught up in weddings.  I’ll write a whole separate post about body-positive weddings because that’s a bigger issue.

I’ve noticed that the aspect of weddings that seems to be the most changeable is the processional.  Almost everyone feels free to mess with tradition there.  At the other end of the spectrum are things that almost no one changes, like the form of the ceremony.  And there are lots of variations in between.

Decor, venue, clothing, type of party–all of these are things that a couple might scrutinize when planning a wedding.  Whatever you decide, you should know that I am open-minded about your choices.  As I said before, almost everything is optional.

Re-run Success Story: The Fabulous Date!

August 10th, 2015

This is still one of my favorite stories from my years of event planning.  It was also the first of many last-minute events.  I do like to have adequate planning time, but in a pinch, I can do things at the last minute.  Here’s the story:

There were roses everywhere.

There were roses everywhere.

On a Monday afternoon, I got a call from a business man from the East Coast. He was coming to Chicago to take a lady out on a date, and he wanted to do something amazing, something unheard-of. He suggested a yacht, private dinner in a gorgeous location, a helicopter tour, private entertainment. It all had to be first class, exceptional, and, as he put it, “over the top.” Money was no object, he said.  Oh, and this date was to be a week from that Wednesday.  I had another event to work on for a few days, so in less than a week, and with the invaluable assistance of the events staff there, I was able to put together for him a private, candlelit dinner for two in the Sky Theatre at the Adler Planetarium, with skyline views of the city projected on the dome and a private sky show after dinner. A black stretch limousine brought the guests to dinner where a string quartet played while they ate.  There were flowers everywhere, and the dining table looked like a Victorian valentine. When I spoke to him the next day, he said that everything was “spectacular.”