I hosted the Association of Bridal Consultants Meeting on March 10th. I thought I would do “Frank’s Favorite Things” and share with other consultants some of my favorite vendors, ideas and sources. I chose one of my favorite Hotels in Chicago, The Drake. I have done dozens upon dozens of weddings here in my 16 years I have been planning weddings. This historic hotel has been host to Queen Elizabeth, Lady Di and countless Movie Stars and Political figures. It opened in 1920 and still has the grand feel it did back then. The Drake has gone thru a huge renovation, but keeping the prestigous feel it always had. I designed the whole event, from food, to decor, to the swag bag guests took as they left. I tried to pick things the consultants may have not seen before.
We started with cocktails in the French Room. Classic Party Rentals provided triangle shaped high boys, their cameleon and ice charari chairs. Informal modeling of great courture was done by The Bridal Mansion of Lisle and Elda de LaRosa. Our brides were complimented by tuxedos by Formally Modern Tuxedo. Passed Hors D’Oeuvres included Vietnamese Gazapacho Shooters, Minature Grecian Lamb Chops, and Pistachio and Bleu Cheese Truffles. Floral was done by Flowers with Feeling. We enjoyed the music of the Stu Hirsch Orchestra from Artists, Events and Entertainment. Guests got their seating assignments from a beautiful custom scroll by Baltic Studios.
We then moved into the Gold Coast Room. For those who have never been in the room, it’s a wow. I can remember the first wedding I did there about 12 years ago. I felt I had finally arrived. I have done some amazing weddings in this room, that have won many awards. From turning it into a garden with a meandering path for the ceremony aisle, to the Glam of Kelly Wearstler this is truly one of my favs. I also had the honor of doing the wedding of the original owner’s Granddaugther last year. What an amazing couple and family.
The ABC Logo was on the dance floor as guests entered to ooh’s and ahs. Each table was designed with different everything.. linen, chargers, chairs, centerpiece, and even the glassware and flatware. These were amazing and everyone took photos. Again, a team effort with BBJ Linens, The Anna Held Flower Shop, Frost Lighting and Halls Rentals. We enjoyed the music of Violin Road Trip, again brought to us by Artists, Events and Entertainment. Even the menu cards (Pioneer Custom Announcements) and Table Numbers (again, Baltic Studios) were customized to each table. God, I love designing Tabletop! Judy Alden, our ABC Illinois State Coordinator and I sat at the “head table” and hosted all new ABC members.
Dinner was great. The Drake and Chef Josh outdid themselves. We started with a Summer Salad of Mesclun Greens, Berries, Goat Cheese, Almonds and Pansies. yes, the pansies were edible. We cleansed our palettes with an intermezzo of a strawberry Shooter, “injected” with Love and Grand Manier. The Entree was amazing. It was served in an oversized bowl. Again, with my “out of the box” feel I am so well know for. The Roasted Chicken Breast was stuffed with green pea Mousee and served with a Goat Cheese Raviloi. Honestly, and I mean this, if I don’t say so myself, one of the best, if not the best chicken entrees I have ever had.
We ended with our 50/50 Raffle. We ended up with about $280, so the Illinois Scholarship rec’d half and the winner Mary Rothe of Artists Events and Entertainment won half.
No, I didn’t forget dessert. I like to make dessert an event. So, I created a dessert lounge. As the doors to the Drake Room opened, Michael O’Dea of O’Dea Entertainment played “All things just keep getting better” as guests moved up the stairs. They were delighted with Three Dessert Stations of cake, ice cream and candy all brought to us The Sweet Collective. We also enjoyed addtional entertainment from Record A Hit. Everyone got the chance to take fun photos in the photo booth, and make a DVD with Dance Heads. (your head on a professional dancers body while you lip sink to a great song. I did “Super Freak with Amanda Niemotka, my beloved intern, and Kris Malandrucculo of Elegant Videos by Kris. I don’t know why so many people were shocked I had fun with this.. there is another side of Frank, and I hope those who didnt know me, got to!) To complete the look, guests relaxed on lounge furniture from Cort Event Furnishings.
Everyone took home a swag bag filled with a ton of goodies. From Note Cards, mints, post it notes, lots of candy and cookies, I didnt want the bag filled with just advertising.
It was an amazing evening. You can see the photos at www.garbolabs.com and put in event code abc, all lower case. Thanks to my bud Cara Garbarino for shooting the event.
Not all of our ABC meetings are like this, but I love this organization. The education for those starting out is the best, and the networking is what I love. Our annual Conference will be in November and I am one of the keynote speakers. I am also the featured speaker at the Wisconsin State ABC Meeting in April. I have been a member for 16 years, and did Judy’s Role of State Coordinator from 96-02. For more info on ABC on a national level visit www.bridalassn.com or state level www.illinoisabc.com