An elegant wedding, a touching anniversary party, an over-the-top gala—every standout event is accomplished with precise planning. From the invites to the band to the decor, personalized details can take your celebration from basic to bold. And whether you’re throwing a black-tie bash at The Peninsula or a sexy cocktail party at NoMi Garden, finding a smart, chic and reliable planner can ensure your party is pure perfection. Looking for an extraordinary planner to help put together your bash? Here is our list of Chicago’s Top Pros.
Owner and principal designer of Birch Design Studio (BDS), Marina Alexandra Birch, and her team can lend a uniquely artistic and worldly touch to your event. From Marina’s years spent living abroad to the BDS team’s work across the country and the globe, they deliver a wealth of knowledge about vendors worldwide—uncovering gems you would have never known you couldn’t live without (from a live-action graffiti artist in South Florida to the perfect getaway villa in the South of France). The BDS team will work collaboratively with you to create the perfect vision for your event. They then manage every detail: invitation design, floral, prop, lighting, menu planning, décor, entertainment, headliner entertainers… right down to transportation and security. Their unique process results in spectacularly and impactful event designed for and with each client to suit (and surpass) their needs, and because each event is assigned one point person, they ensure cohesion, discretion and the utmost care.
With a background in interior design, Paulette Wolf designs her events much like one would design a room: She begins with a fabric swatch, a photograph, a color… some small, beautiful detail to inspire an outrageously stunning and deeply personal event. The team at PWE is committed to truly listening to each client and making your ideas a dazzling reality. As one of Chicago’s top event planning companies, it’s this attention to detail and commitment to your vision that has drawn in clientele like The Clintons, Oprah Winfrey, Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jordan and The Obamas.
At the core of Hope Weis’ philosophy, developed over more than 25 years in event management, is the belief that a well-orchestrated event is the result of a focused and creative vision, combined with extensive pre-planning and careful attention to detail in a collaborative environment. Her events flow smoothly, and feel effortless – with every need anticipated so that guests are at ease – and delighted. Hope works closely with her clients to create an experience where they can be guests at their own event. Her work style is collaborative and she has built strong relationships with top industry professionals in Chicago. Hope is a preferred vendor at The Four Seasons, The Peninsula, The Langham, The Ritz-Carlton and many other leading hotels.
Jennifer Anderson Events is a boutique planning company that combines expert entertaining with one-of-a-kind event design. The team provides full management of the clients’ experience from the event’s inception to its final, spectacular outcome. Whether an exotic destination wedding, glamorous corporate gala or intimate dinner party, Jennifer Anderson Events’ first-class service, creativity, impeccable standards and incredible sensory experiences set them apart from other event planning companies in Chicago. In addition to their focus on event innovation, they provide an unparalleled level of personal attention. From custom stationery fonts to tailored linens to hand-woven silk bowties, Jennifer Anderson Events takes great care ensuring every detail is perfectly tailored to their clients’ personal style.
REVA NATHAN & ASSOCIATES
Reva moved to Chicago to get her PhD in Psychology at the University of Chicago, but the Universe had other plans. Instead, Reva launched Paperworks by Reva, a stationery business, which evolved into Reva Nathan & Associates after customers started to seek her event planning services in addition to her invitations. Because of her background, Reva brings a deep understanding of human nature to her work – a trait that has proved her well during more than 35 years in the event-planning business. Reva Nathan is a preferred vendor at The Four Seasons, The Peninsula and many other sought-after venues.
Featuring a small but profoundly talented and accomplished team, A Perfect Event is led by Debi Lilly, named Oprah’s “Favorite Pro” in the world of event planning. Having hosted Oprah’s 50th on-air live birthday celebration, her expertise has earned countless accolades. She has penned a book called “A Perfect Event”, started a retail concept store of the same name, created a Parisian-style pied-à-terre event space called DL Loft and trains each summer at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. If you’re already impressed, just wait until you meet the rest of her staff; from luxe weddings to corporate functions to staycations at DL Loft, the team at A Perfect Event has you covered.
Bliss Weddings & Events wants you to enjoy the process—as well as every moment of anticipation leading up to your event. They aim to create a planning environment where you feel comfortable sharing ideas and visions, resulting in a truly personalized bespoke affair. Specializing in full service, high-end, luxury weddings, milestone occasions and corporate affairs, Bliss provides conceptual design and produces gorgeous events in Chicago, as well as faraway destinations. If your contracts are signed and the big day is near, Bliss’s sister company, Wrap It Up, can provide a la carte planning services during any part of your planning process, including finding a venue, partial planning, design boards and vendor recommendations. Or they can meet with you one month before you tie the knot to make sure all of your last minutes desires are met.
Uniquely custom, SQN Events tailors every proposal to meet your specific needs, and can begin working with you at any point in your event planning process. With access to top venues, caterers, florists, musicians and photographers, SQN Events maintains that client needs are their top priority—they never accept commissions from vendors, so you can trust that their recommendations are both savvy and honest. Led by Beth Bernstein, who has an advertising background equal parts strategic and creative, the capable SQN Team can make your vision a reality.
Liven It Up Events is comprised of several experienced event planners with wildly different perspectives, but one shared mission: to create the event of your dreams. Though you’ll work with a primary planner, the entire Liven It Up team collaborates behind the scenes to pool resources and bring fresh ideas to the table. Liven It Up has produced corporate soirees for Facebook, Sony and Motorola, just to name a few, and they offer custom wedding packages based on your needs and budget. A “Full Service Planner” will arrange every last detail, while a “Partial Planning Consultant” assists with larger aspects of your big day: venue, catering, vendor referrals and décor.
Founded by Lauren Knuepfer Rozum after 10 years working in the catering and events industry, LK Events offers planning, coordination and custom consultations for weddings, social and corporate events. The boutique planning team of LK Events focuses on personal relationships and curating a team of event professionals that fit perfectly with their clients budgets and personalities to create flawless events. In their seven years in the business, they have built strong relationships with local vendors so you’re privy to all the wedding industry’s hidden gems.
With more than 50 years of combined event planning experience, the team at LOLA Event Productions promises fun from your initial planning meeting all the way to your big celebration. LOLA’S Owner and Principal Consultant, Lori Stephenson, attended Parsons School of Design where she designed custom bridal gowns, before going on to write a thesis on the global origins of bridal traditions. Her team is likewise obsessed with all things wedding-related, and you’ll meet them in their lovely Bucktown office. Packages run the gamut from “Lavish LOLA” (full design, planning and coordination) to “Last Minute Lola” (the final details when you’re in a time crunch). They also donate a portion of their earnings to different charities, as a part of their Pay It Forward program. Both Vogue and Chicago Magazine have named LOLA one of the top wedding planners in Chicago and the world.
Founded by Lindsay Stein Cohen and Katie Goggin, Designer Event Chicago plans and produces weddings, social events, bar/bat mitzvahs and corporate events. Both founders pride themselves on forming personal relationships with their clients in order to achieve their clients’ vision. With over 20 years of combined experience, Lindsay and Katie deliver innovative ideas, attention to detail and commitment to making a successful event, so guests will be talking about your event for years to come.
Weddings are Big City Bride’s specialty, from champagne tastings and florals to honeymoon planning, post-wedding gown care and bridal bouquet preservation. These Chicago wedding planners offer the “Grand Plan” for wedding design, coordination and management from the very beginning; the “Standard Plan” if you have the big stuff nailed down (venue, caterer, dress), but need help on the details; and the “Petite Package” for month-of coordination, management… and your peace of mind.
With a background in financial and project management, Ali credits her organizational and negotiating skills for her ability to remain graceful while multitasking under pressure, and for helping you pull off your dream weddings within the confines of your budget. Whether you picture your wedding at home, or barefoot on the white sand of a Caribbean beach, Ali can plan, design and orchestrate your big day. A member of Wish Upon a Wedding, Ali has been named one of the top wedding planners by Daily Candy, as well as Best Wedding Planners by the editors of Bride’s magazine.