Best of

Top 30 Event & Wedding Planners in Chicago for 2019

Event Planner: Paulette Wolf Events | Décor: HMR Designs | Venue: The Standard Club | Photographer: KingenSmith

by Pamela Rothbard, Editor

When it comes to throwing a fun, meaningful, and memorable celebration, the first step is to hire an experienced planner to guide you through venue and vendor selection, to calm your nerves, and to keep you within budget while still fulfilling your vision. We’ve curated a list of the top event planners in Chicago. You can’t go wrong with the experienced planners on this list — they boast strong networks, are professional and personable, and will produce your dream party.

*list in alphabetical order

Specialities: weddings and social (i.e., birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)

We appreciate this team’s ability to use their 30+ years of experience to translate a client’s desires into a perfectly personal celebration.

What was your favorite event from this past year and why?

I did two 90th birthday parties this summer and was blown away by both. The first was at the Museum of Science and Industry. The client is a trustee of the museum, and we served dinner under the submarine. A video shown on the side surface of the submarine showcased the birthday boy’s family and many accomplishments, then we had a magician come in from Boston to entertain at the end of the night.

The second was a house party in Glencoe on Lake Michigan in a tent. This celebration was special because I have produced many events for this family and I dearly love them. We had great food from Catering by Michaels, plus background music and a song written and sung by the grandchildren and children of the birthday boy. The party ended with an Illusionist, and each guest received a giant lollipop emblazoned with the words “90 Sucks.”

What event trends are you excited about?

I’ve never lost the important traditions and always include them in my planning with clients. I notice a move away from dinner and dancing and instead adding some unusual entertainment to an event.

Specialities: weddings, Bar and Bat mitzvah celebration, milestone celebrations

We are wowed by this team’s creativity — ensuring that every single detail contributes to the narrative — and flawless execution.

Share something different or unique about your company.

I established myself in the Chicago event and nightlife industry in 2005 when I headed up the marketing and event department for several Chicago nightlife venues and restaurants. In 2012, I transitioned to serving as the event director for a private country club on the North Shore, before launching Alison Ross Events. Venue opening parties with celebrity talent, corporate events, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, charitable galas — I’ve done it all. This breadth and depth of experience — especially given my background in the food and beverage industry, hospitality, and custom menu creation — sets my company apart from others in the area.

I enjoy taking a theme or concept and having it flow through the entire event — starting at the moment guests enter and including everything from custom libations and seasonal menus to mindfully-crafted sweet tables to finish off the whole experience. Understanding the back-of-the-house and behind-the-scenes areas is such an asset to the smooth execution of a one-of-a-kind event.

What was your favorite event from this past year and why?

With so many incredible highlights, it’s hard to narrow it to one! The 1920’s Starry Night Bat Mitzvah was definitely an unforgettable event from this past year. We transformed the historic Highland Park Community House into this gorgeous, glamorous scene, utilizing touches of all the precious metals and accents of rich navy, which kicked up the elegance factor to a whole new level. It was exciting to be able to convert such a traditional venue into a modern-day glam club.

This team’s combined history makes for a full-service experience, but, more than that, we appreciate the strong bonds they form with their clients.

Share something different or unique about your company.

Big City Bride was one of the very first wedding planning firms in Chicago. We work with busy couples out of our Lincoln Park office and offer flexible meeting times to accommodate almost any schedule. This is not our side hustle; this is our full-time job. We value quality over quantity, limiting the number of weddings we take each year so we can devote the proper time and attention to each one. Our favorite bit of feedback is when our clients say that hiring Big City Bride was the best decision they made throughout the entire wedding planning journey.

What was your favorite event from this past year and why?

We put so much care into every event that we truly love them all. However, there is certainly one wedding that is especially memorable. As a little girl, our bride and her father shared a special song, “Ballerina Girl,” by Lionel Richie. So, as a surprise, we hired the superstar himself. When Lionel Richie took the stage, guests went wild. The father of the bride was wheelchair-bound, so as Lionel Richie played “Ballerina Girl,” the bride and her dad sat in the center of the dance floor and enjoyed the moment of a lifetime.

Specialties: all events, but majority are social (i.e., weddings, personal celebrations, etc.) and corporate celebrations and client appreciation events

We appreciate their great eye and the expertise they bring to the planning process as a design partner, and how they work so closely with design teams to bring their clients’ dreams to life.

Share something different or unique about your company.    

We truly create bespoke events for each of our clients. We work with them to develop the desired overall scope and feel, from which we create design concepts. Our design concepts are incredibly detailed, from décor and event design, to how an event flows, the menu, staff attire, paper goods, entertainment, etc. We curate each aspect to ensure the whole event has a cohesive and experiential effect.

What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?  

We have had a few events this year that have been incredible. I would say that one of them was a 70th wedding anniversary celebration for a married couple. We had to research the era of their wedding – the music, the fashion, the entertaining – because we wanted to bring so many aspects of their lives together for the celebration. It was a labor of love to create something intimate, nostalgic, sentimental, but also forward-looking and worthy of such an incredible milestone.

We appreciate that this warm and creative team is one that other vendors are excited to work with because they know the event will be flawlessly organized.

Share something different or unique about your company.

We focus solely on full-service planning and design so that we can give our clients a customized and thorough planning experience. We believe in putting our clients first and really getting to know them — their personalities and their visions. We have also perfected our process over the years to ensure our clients are at ease by fully understanding every step. This is our foundation to craft incredibly personalized, thoughtful, detailed, intentional events.

We provide the highest level of service and attention, while still making sure that all of our clients’ celebrations are truly reflective of their unique personalities, imaginations, and style, yet still beautifully unified and cohesive. We’re known for our down-to-earth, unpretentious, playful, sparkling, fun approach to planning and design, and our ability to make every client’s wedding truly unique and special, while exceeding their expectations.

What event trends are you excited about?

We’re excited to see more guests embracing new color palettes and patterns and textures. We love fun poppy details and are heartened to see our clients wanting the same. We’re also loving clients who want more meaningful and heartfelt experiences with elements that mean something to them, instead of things they’ve seen on Pinterest.

Specialties: large-scale corporate events (sales meetings, networking events, financial meetings, sporting events and concerts, corporate social events, holiday parties, summer outings, etc.)

We’re impressed by the level of customization this team provides to impart important messages and create opportunities for events guests to interact with each other and a brand.

Share something different or unique about your company.  

Carmel Creative helps companies showcase their brands to their employees or consumers. We’ve developed a reputation for creating a very unique visual experience with content wrapped inside of it. For example, we write original music, we shoot and produce video content, we create motion graphics — we are, in essence, visual storytellers. It’s a calling card of what we have evolved into.

We handle all of the logistics and project management and have the people skills to produce stunning, creative, fully considered events. That includes working with the brand message to create a strategy for a live experience, then sourcing and producing the solutions that will deliver the message via the experience. Part of our company name is “creative” and we really do bring a creative vision to the experience.

What event trends are you most excited about?

In general, technology is evolving at a staggering pace. In the old days there were handwritten name tags, then they were typewritten — now we have digital name tags that do things like let you know that you should interact with the person whose name tag just lit up in violet, because you have similarities and shared interests (based on a completed questionnaire). Also video mapping is exciting. You can create an environment with mapped surfaces that distort your sense of perspective, while also including content and information.

Specialties: luxury weddings and social events celebrating major milestones

We love how this planner prioritizes her relationship with her clients; her team immerses themselves in the planning process, which results in warm and flawless events.

Share something different or unique about your company.  

We’ve planned unforgettable events for the last 15 years in the Chicagoland area and internationally. Christina Currie Events (CCE) offers a memorable experience from the moment our clients make a connection with us. We take pride in building long-lasting relationships with our clients and their families, partners and vendors alike. CCE is a reliable and respected company that continues to inspire and be inspired by others. Taking our business to new heights is always something we strive for.

What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?

Hannah and Stan’s September 15, 2018 wedding! CCE executed a colossal wedding at the Field Museum in Chicago. Overcoming weather obstacles and unforeseen city strikes made this affair even more powerful. We tested our limits and made every detail shine to please the bride, groom and their guests. The earthy décor was enchanting at the outside ceremony as well as in the company of our prehistoric ancestors in the great reception hall. The lively band, which included a musical rendition by the bride and groom, was exceptionally entertaining. Extraordinary catering and personalized touches made this wedding one for the ages!

Specialty: weddings

We appreciate how this large team has the right high-energy match for every personality and couple and how closely they work with their clients.

Share something different or unique about your company.  

Having a big team really helps to set us apart.  It’s a huge benefit because we can share ideas and tips within the company. It also helps us to expand our network to include many incredible event partners and venues.  

What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?

It’s so hard to choose a favorite event because they’re all so amazing. We helped coordinate, plan, and produce almost 100 weddings in 2018. Our clients are seriously SO awesome and fun, so our creative juices are always flowing. One of my personal favorites was a wedding at the Adler Planetarium this fall — the couple included so many gorgeous colors and textures including velvet, gold, glass, greens, mirror and custom hand-painted details.  

Specialties: weddings (primary), plus corporate galas and celebrations, and baby showers

We love the personal service offered by this intimate team of super passionate, bubbly, savvy, and energetic planners who get asked back to produce every milestone celebration for their clients.

Share something different or unique about your company.

We really want to focus on a smaller set of clientele — we don’t want to be everyone’s wedding planner with 100 weddings a year. My personal sweet spot is 4 to 6 weddings for myself, and my colleagues are taking on weddings of their own; we’re keeping it relatively intimate with a high level of service. When we were doing weddings every single weekend, we found that we didn’t have the time we wanted to connect with clients on a personal level. I like to fold myself into their family. It’s such a personal business, and we want to feel like we’re working with a friend and for our clients to feel the same. For one client, I planned her wedding, then her older sister’s wedding, two baby showers, and her younger sister’s wedding. I’ve become close to their family and even went to cheer them on at the marathon.

What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?

There are a few, but the one that stands out is with a family I got to know really well. It was a really personal experience. What took it to the next level was that we had an incredible team of creative partners. We also curated very personal elements like custom watercolors on the paper goods, bar, and dance floor. It was supposed to be an outdoor English walled garden ceremony, but it was a miserable, cold, and rainy day at the Chicago Botanic Garden. We moved inside the pavilion and did a room turn. There were hiccups because of weather, but you never would have known because there was so much warmth and happiness inside the space.

Specialties: weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, milestone celebrations, and corporate events

This energetic team has exceptional attention to detail, from perfectly-executed wedding ceremonies to customized (and totally mouthwatering) sweet tables.

What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?

Our favorite event is always our next event that is about to happen!  We are so passionate about our clients, their events, and every single detail that goes into making an event memorable and unique.    

What event trends are you excited about?

The trend that we love infusing into all of our events is personalization. The event should feel like a true reflection of the couple, the family, or the corporation.

This team has a solid working knowledge of modern trends and is able to flawlessly weave them into their creative celebrations. We adore their clever theming.

Share something different or unique about your company.

My background is in the corporate world, so my approach to social events is methodical, organized, and task-oriented which helps clients organize their time. My entry into the social market was from a corporate client who trusted me and enjoyed working together and wanted me to help plan their child’s Mitzvah celebration — from there things took off in the social arena and I have been planning Mitzvahs and weddings ever since. My specialty is creating a custom event from start to finish no matter how crazy the idea might be!

As an independent planner, I take pride in the customer service I provide to each and every client. I do a lot of research to make certain I suggest the latest trends and to make every client feel their event is special. We have a trust and it’s essential that we’re on the same page every step of the planning process. Because of my corporate background, I have experience in every type of situation, from working with name entertainment, to destination events and out-of-the-box creations. That has given me the confidence to be able to handle any type of situation that may arise. Most importantly, my events are a collaboration with the client; we work together to create the environment they want, putting their personal stamp on their event. This means that every event is different and that’s fun for me to produce!


What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?

One of my favorite events was a destination wedding that we planned in just six months. My bride wanted something out of town but within driving distance. She wanted to transport their guests to an environment unlike what’s available in the Chicago area — a barn wedding complete with a full band, a country vibe but with elegance and touches throughout the space that reflected the couple’s personalities. There were many logistics to consider, including the weather (which ultimately didn’t cooperate) and, although we had some last-minute changes due to weather, the wedding went off without a hitch and guests enjoyed the entire evening.

Another one of my favorites this year was an storybook-themed Mitzvah celebration, from Alice in Wonderland. My client had a specific vision for the event and was very involved in the design of the room, including the intricate details for table decor and creating the finishing touches to make the event extremely custom. With the help of a talented decorator, we accomplished that and created an environment for guests to explore, experience, and enjoy!

Specialities: weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, and all social events

This experienced duo is known for producing beautiful destination weddings, creative Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations, and elevated corporate events — we are wowed by their sophisticated and memorable take on the classics.

Share something different or unique about your company.

Our firm has been creating unforgettable events for more than 30 years. We pride ourselves on building long-lasting relationships with our clients. It’s not uncommon for us to plan both the Mitzvahs and then the weddings for these families. Our reputation is built on our attention to detail, our creative vision, and our seamless execution of an event.  We treat each celebration as if it were our own.

What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?

It’s difficult to choose just one event as a favorite, but our Palm Beach Gardens wedding this past year was truly extra-
ordinary. It took rustic chic to a new level. Guests entered the tented sunset ceremony through a custom floral foyer. They sat beneath suspended wooden and floral chandeliers, surrounded by oversized perimeter trees and a grass aisle. The grounds of the club were transformed. Poolside cocktails were followed by a candlelit dinner held in a white open-walled tent filled with reclaimed wood tables and farm chairs and topped with exquisite floral and mercury glass. After dinner, guests followed a winding, custom-lit path to a clear greenhouse style tent for dancing and dessert.  It was a Restoration Hardware dream come true. The fully-furnished space had a natural wood floor, rustic furniture, custom-made bars and an assortment of eclectic chandeliers. The band was incredible and guests danced the night away.

We are wowed by the range of this team; they’re able to tend to every single design detail with their signature sense of style and their experience running venue gives them great perspective.

Share something different or unique about your company.

One of the best parts of our job on the daily is the constant creative mix of large, small, personal, corporate events and themes and styles of celebrations we specialize in. Our design studio is open seven days a week and loaded with fun inspiration and Instagram-worthy moments — pop by for a dose of happy. We work with clients to plan, coordinate, design, and create florals, lighting, custom graphics, stationery, favors and more.

What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?

We just helped an NFL player propose 94 floors above Chicago atop the Hancock Building,  filling the windows with thousands of red roses and candles.

We appreciate that this planner has built such a strong network — through mentoring and teaching others — which offers a great service to her clients.

Share something different or unique about your company.

My goal is to make each event feel effortless, organic, and utterly memorable. I live in Chicago and call the Windy City home, but I also have extensive experience in planning destination weddings around the globe in places as close as Iowa and as far away as Fiji, Ireland, and South Africa. So whether the wedding is at a downtown loft in Chicago or on a beach in Mexico, I work closely with my couples and their families in creating a unique wedding that celebrates who they are as a couple.

What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?

I planned a wedding in Chicago for a family I have worked with for 10 years; it was their fourth daughter’s wedding. I love this family and we’ve become so close. What I loved about the celebration is that the family has traditions they incorporate, but every wedding is different and every couple is different. I enjoyed working with them to create a wedding that was unique and authentic to who Liz and Mike are as a couple. We worked with the same team of amazing partners, and we’re all so honored to be trusted to produce the most gorgeous and unique events for this family for their guests to talk about for years!

Specialties: best known for Weddings, but also plans celebrations such as milestone birthdays, anniversaries, and showers

We appreciate that this well-respected planner boasts great connections and great range — perfectly executing modern and traditional events, with a thorough understanding of all sides of the process.

Share something different or unique about your company.

I come from a five-star hotel background, which is how I began my career. My hotel training gave me the foundation of fine dining, service, timing, and logistics. I’m known for creating celebrations that surprise and delight, while flowing seamlessly with great attention to detail.

What event trends are you excited about?

We’ve been having a lot of fun with neon signs! They’re unexpectedly displayed at after-parties or upon guest arrival. I also enjoy fun, creative quotes on cocktail napkins or other wedding day paperie. These special touches really spark creativity and reflect the personality of the couple

Specialties: weddings, social events, and unforgettable parties

We adore how this planner’s events offer surprise moments and that wow factor with over-the-top creative décor elements and a flawless flow.

Share something different or unique about your company.

Jennifer Anderson Events is a boutique event planning company that specializes in one-of-a-kind events. Whether it’s a wedding in Jackson Hole, a birthday party in Cabo San Lucas, or a corporate event in Chicago, we create unique events that focus on personality and aesthetic. Something unique about Jennifer Anderson is that we write all of our own menus and work closely with the venue or caterer to present different and unique food presentations. We guide the client and focus on their favorite foods and beverages. Foods that may have been in the family or traditions that they do at home can all be incorporated into the perfect wedding feast.

What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?

My favorite is always my last event. An annual corporate event sticks out in my mind. We presented a Middle Eastern feté but with a French twist. Paris meets Morocco. The stunning room featured a vintage iron gazebo that all the guests walked through to enter dinner. Four olive trees anchored the room and snuggled the lush tables in their arms. Each table featured a meandering centerpiece with lavender purple sterling roses, seed eucalyptus, succulents and pomegranates with a gold patina. Each place setting had a tiny golden pomegranate that had custom made za’atar chickpeas as snacks as the guest sat down.  This event was a combination of nature, tradition, and whimsy.

Specialties: more weddings, also Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations, some corporate events

This planner grew up in the industry and has been living and working in it for years, and we appreciate how she builds trust and ensures that all of her clients’ needs are met — and exceeded.

What makes your company different?

I try to help my clients have more than a beautiful wedding. I want it to be an emotionally satisfying event and to express how the hosts want to feel at their event. When I first meet my clients, I jot down notes and special requests about what they want their event to look like, how it should feel, then as we are meeting at the florist or venue, I ask them if it satisfies that need that they had. For example, if a client described their needs as “patient, kind, responsive,” then we know you’re someone who leads with love and kindness and your event should be all about emotion and meaning. However, we also leverage technology to ensure smooth planning and flexibility.

What event trends are you excited about?

People are breaking with tradition for their walk down the aisle. Couples are walking together or walking halfway to meet each other. Brothers and sisters might walk the bride or groom down the aisle, creating more of a family moment. I have a bride who lost her mother and all of her brothers and sisters lined the aisle and they each kissed her as she walked past. We’ve also had some fun recessionals inspired by the movie “Love Actually,” with instruments popping up then moving to the aisle to play as the couple walked back down the aisle together. These are the moments that people remember.

Specialities: weddings and social

At this team’s glamorous events, no detail is left undone, and we love how they ensure a seamless flow — from custom place cards to specialty linen — they make celebrations cohesive and memorable.

Share something different or unique about your company.

Our attention to detail and our ability to create ambiance, celebrate, and cater to different cultures. We are able to create unique experiences at events — no two celebrations are the same.

What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?

There have been so many unforgettable events in in the past year. “Lunch in Capri ” was one of my favorites. It was so unique as I was asked to design my version of a Capri-inspired tablescape, and it was one of our most shared and most loved events of 2018. Also, one of our destination weddings in California comes to mind. It was so unique —  elegant and intimate and held in a venue I admire so much.

Specialties: large-scale corporate events (incentive trips, company events, internal and client meetings, etc.)

We love the unique business model of this agency, which ensures a high level of flexibility and creativity for corporate events that will have employees, clients, and stakeholders alike talking.

Share something different or unique about your company.

Ladidadi XM is a unique, flexible network of producers who can be called into action at any moment to meet the needs — and exceed the expectations — of any group or person looking to host an event they’ll never forget. Free from the constraints of a single workspace, and the hidden costs of a one-size-fits-all staff, we’ve created a model that’s built on the flexibility to tailor an ideal team for anything from social events, to pop-up activations, to large-scale corporate meetings and conferences. This bespoke resourcing strategy means more of your investment goes directly into creating an incredible experience and increasing ROI.  

Our corporate scope is large with current projects including multi-day incentive programs (in Scottsdale, Kohler, and Costa Rica), internal company meetings (in Chicago and New Orleans), shareholder meetings, client entertainment (via a March Madness themed event!), and sales kick-off programs that include high-end private dining experiences.

What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?

This year we got to work with the incredibly talented team at Second City to produce an internal meeting for one of our clients here in Chicago. Together we crafted content that was custom to the client’s culture at work, along with some of the major milestones they’re facing this year.  Ultimately, we were able to transform an experience that is typically all one-way communication into a truly interactive day-long meeting that felt authentic, since it was made just for them. There was nothing cookie-cutter about it, and the attendees really appreciated that.

Specialities: primarily weddings; corporate celebrations and galas too.

We love the diverse skills this team offers, which make for creative celebrations and top-notch service; they’re enthusiastic and easy to work with.

Share something different or unique about your company.

We have five incredibly talented planners on our team that come from a diverse background in the event industry — from corporate planning and non-profit to event design and catering. We work closely as a team and have every base covered with extensive shared knowledge and nearly 60 years of combined experience.

Speciality: weddings

After starting in the industry making custom gowns for some of the biggest fashion designers, this creative team has some of the most diverse education and backgrounds we’ve seen.

Share something different or unique about your company.

When you read the bios of wedding planners, they’re really varied and broad. Lori’s career in the wedding business started her freshman year of college when she began designing and making custom bridal gowns and accessories while interning for some of the biggest designers in New York City and attending Parsons School of Design. She was awarded a senior thesis scholarship that focused on the history and customs surrounding weddings in multiple cultures and has spent the last 25+ years building her experience within every facet of the wedding industry and best business practices and partnerships. LOLA is literally her lifelong dream, and it shows in the passion and understanding she has for the job and her clients. Her colleagues share her passion for weddings — most of her team members started as interns with the company and have continued to learn and grow with LOLA over the years. The company really is the embodiment of the women who represent her.

What event trends are you most excited about?

I am absolutely OBSESSED with the idea of creating an immersive experience by decorating a room rather than just a table. Installations that incorporate suspended elements, interesting floor plans, layouts, and decorating combined with the presentation of the food and entertainment. These are all things we’ve been incorporating into our wedding and events with great success, and the event community in Chicago is so down for the challenges we bring them. I love doing my design research outside the wedding space by looking at art installations and exhibits, colorful cultural experiences, travel and more.

Specialities: wedding and event production and design

This planner’s background in planning and as managing partner of a restaurant hospitality groups brings a deep understanding of the event process, and we appreciate the level of service and taste her team brings to every celebration.

Share something different or unique about your company.

I think what makes us unique is that we’re really dedicated to creating beautiful events with a multi-tiered approach; from the beginning we build a strong foundation of good communication, trustworthy creative partner referrals, and honest expectations. It is from that really solid base that we are able to build other layers ranging from food and decor to entertainment and everything in between.

What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?

2018 was such a standout year for us. We produced events in collaboration with our clients that were meaningful and created experiences with intention. It was such a magical year because we worked with clients that trusted us, and because of that we really pushed ourselves creatively and it was awesome. I am so proud of each and every wedding we brought to life in 2018!

Specialities: primarily weddings and wedding-associated events; also milestone parties (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)

This planner’s background in luxury hotels makes for on-point budgeting, strong contract negotiation, and clear expectations — resulting in gorgeous, stress-free celebrations.

What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?

One of my favorite events from the past year was a 40th Birthday Celebration, at the client’s home in Lake Bluff. The client really wanted to make it a large casual soirée rather than something stuffy. We captured the essence of the client by planning a tented event along the lake, with a street festival boho theme. My client was a fan of jam bands, street festivals and Busch Light, so the casual concept was complementary to his personal style, although the property and location were quite formal.

Blue Peak Tents brought in a beautiful sailcloth tent and wood flooring, then the tent was decorated with a stunning boho chic cocktail party vibe. Entertaining Company created themed international food stations to emulate Chicago street festival fare. Most important to the client was to have lots of live music and we had Final Say, a popular street festival band, play early and then a Talking Heads cover band, This Must Be the Band, closed to a packed dance floor.  The most stunning part of the event was the balloon entrance created by Luft Balloons.

What event trends are you most excited about?

Color is coming back, and clients are requesting we use more vibrant tones in the design of events. I’m already planning events for 2019 with bright tones taking lead of the design. One wedding will have bold bridesmaid dresses and table settings to challenge the senses. I love when clients allow me to work outside the box, and our events in the next few years will feature bold color as much as possible.

This planner’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations are truly impressive; we love not only the theming but the cohesive, immersive experiences she creates, from the centerpieces to the giveaways.

Share something different or unique about your company.  

Partie Girl/Tracie Simkin provides a boutique “partie” planning experience, personally customizing every aspect of each unique event while blending traditions with hot new trends.

What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?

One of my favorite events from this past fall 2018 season was an “All You Need Is Love” themed Bat Mitzvah. The Park West was the perfect backdrop for gorgeous blush pink, rose gold, and crisp white hues mixed with bright red and hot pink neon kisses. For added fun, we had a Cheesie’s Food Truck at this event, and it was a huge hit. We also had yummy individual logo’d cups of “cookie-dough-to-go” for guests to take home after the “partie”! The Bat Mitzvah was for the third child of an amazing family whom I’ve had the honor and pleasure of working with for their first two children — and I’ll be planning the Bar Mitzvah of their fourth child coming up in 2021!

Specialities: large-scale corporate events (incentive travel, grand openings, etc.) and social celebrations (weddings, galas, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, etc.)

We’re wowed by this team’s ability to produce stunning, large-scale events with efficiency and attention to every single detail for a flawless client and guest experience.

Share something different or unique about your company.

Paulette Wolf Events (PWE) began over 40 years ago and quickly became a leader in the event industry known for creating unique, innovative and experience-rich events with a personalized approach. PWE is driven by the philosophy that experience changes everything. Our difference is truly in our team, the culture we’ve created, and our commitment to going above and beyond for our clients.

What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?

One of our favorite events this past year was The Nature Conservancy 60th Anniversary Gala. This was not your traditional sit-down dinner. We helped formulate a new fundraising model – a

model that engages your senses, surprises you throughout the evening, excites you to interact

with hands-on activities, and takes down barriers so guests feel comfortable to network with everyone at the event while donating to the cause. The gala began with an enticing environment with image and video mapping either on the venue walls or the ceiling of the space allowing us to control the imagery, lighting and ambience throughout the night. Guests mingled beneath a beautiful projected sky, enjoying custom cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres. Rather than traditional seating, there was soft seating for guests as well as branded lounge groupings for high-level sponsors including a dedicated server. Restaurant food stations from Gibson’s Italia, RPM, Duck Duck Goat, GT Prime, and GT Fish & Oyster offered a strolling supper.

Activation stations surrounding the conservancy’s five pillars of work (land, water, people, climate and cities) utilized a passport system that encouraged the journey throughout the event. Much of the focus of the evening was on “friend-raising” in addition to fundraising and this event exceeded all of their goals. The concept received rave reviews from the 500 high-level donors, sponsors guests and executive team — and raised over $1 million for the organization.

Specialties: weddings, rehearsal dinners, milestone birthdays and other social events

This seasoned planner produces timeless celebrations by considering every moment from when guests walk in to when they leave, and by being in constant communication with every event partner.

Share something different or unique about your company:  

I’ve been in the industry for 35+ years and have seen so many changes and have seen trends come and go. I’ve collaborated with hundreds of event professionals, and I focus my business around personal relationships both with my clients and my industry peers. I take great pride in partnering with very talented event professionals with whom I work closely to ensure execution beyond our client’s expectations. My approach to making this a seamless process is fully inclusive of both small and large details, and I very much enjoy using my creative vision to collaborate on ideas with my clients.

What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?  

This past year was filled with a wide range of beautiful events, but one of my favorites was a 2-day wedding celebration filled with both intimate gatherings and large crowd-pleasing moments. A private ceremony that was simply dressed by the couples love lead to a luxurious cocktail party at RPM Steak. Guests enjoyed a custom a menu and entertainment by a mentalist, Ross Johnson.

The following evening the couple celebrated their nuptials with family and friends at The Standard Club with a reception-style format featuring lounge furniture and food stations. This elegant evening was designed as a tribute to the bride’s love of her garden. A whimsical magic garden was designed by Vince Hart of Kehoe Designs who transformed the ballroom into a stunning and colorful masterpiece.  A fountain was created as an entry focal point, which offered guests the chance to make a wish by tossing in a penny. A surprise flashmob, by Mystic, dressed as waiters, bartenders, and guests put on an eye-catching performance and had the crowds dancing in no time. Music by Larry King Orchestra with a performance by The Jersey Boys kept the dance floor full all night. Stan’s Donuts were handed out as a parting gift to end the night on a sweet note.

Specialties: weddings, corporate and multi-location retail events across the U.S. and Canada

We love how this planning team is able to deftly move between corporate and social events, leveraging their connections to create gorgeous celebrations and memorable branded events.

Share something different or unique about your company.

What makes our company unique is the backgrounds of each member of our team. Our planners have extensive backgrounds in the areas of venue coordination, catering, décor, and finance, giving us the joint ability to truly excel at all crucial areas of event production and provide our clients with a seamless experience which maximizes on their vision, budget, and resources.

What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?

Just this past season, we produced the holiday party for Crate and Barrel at their offices in the Chicago suburbs. We transformed their lobby and café into a dazzling, energetic disco celebration — all in a matter of hours. Associates entered into the space they were used to seeing daily, and by lunch, the space had been incredibly transformed. The marvel and surprise from guests was so fun to see!

Specialties: weddings — but we love planning Bar and Bat Mitzvahs too

We appreciate this planner’s experience in creating luxury weddings that surprise and delight couples and guests alike.

What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?

One of my favorite events from this past year was a wedding where the bride told me at the very first meeting that she wanted to get married in what felt like a forest, even though they had booked a hotel ballroom. Ten months later, and after many conversations with her parents about the cost of the trees and specialty lighting and why they were so necessary, we created her chuppah entirely of trees — even the room smelled like a wonderful forest and it was beyond anything she had dreamt of. We incorporated the same trees by deconstructing her chuppah as we flipped the room and used the trees as part of her décor and in custom branch-shaped lighting so the couple and their loved ones could dance under the trees for hours. The bride got her wish — she was married and danced in her indoor forest.

Specialities: weddings, milestone celebrations, nonprofit, and corporate events

We love the flexibility of this team’s suite of planning and coordination services and the depth of their vendor network, ensuring a perfect party line-up.

Share something different or unique about your company.

We believe that planning an event  whether it’s a wedding, a 50th birthday party, or non-profit gala  is a collaborative, creative, and fun process. To that end, we customize each proposal for our clients (no “packages” here!), as no two events are alike. We also retain a strict no-commissions policy and have full transparency with all of our clients. We are true matchmakers, pulling together the best team to make sure each of our clients’ needs are met, regardless of budget, size, or scope of work.

What event trends are you excited about?

Our events are truly one-of-a-kind and reflect each couple’s unique personality and love story. While we certainly stay up on trends, most of our clients want a chic and sophisticated look that can stand the test of time. No one wants to look back on their wedding photos and say, “What was I thinking?”  

Specialties: large-scale corporate events, association and not-for-profit events globally (meetings, expos, conferences, fashion shows, trade show activations, pop-ups, galas, etc.)

We appreciate how this team is able to perfectly produce really large corporate events, seeing to every single little detail to create a memorably engaging experience.

What has been one of your favorite events of the past year and why?

This past year brought a unique variety of events for our team, but one of our favorites was a biennial convention and expo for BPAMA. Wanting to bring new ideas and solutions to the table to attract more attendees and sponsors, Total Event Resources turned to several new event technologies to modernize the experience, add interactive elements, and engage attendees. These included an interactive innovation center, gamification technology to encourage interaction between exhibitors and attendees, and video-mapping technology that allowed for visually impactful storytelling. The entire Total Event Resources team nailed the event and we had a great time along the way!

What event trends are you most excited about?

The trends our team is most excited to incorporate into upcoming events are the interactive pop-ups and experiential engagements that more clients are leaning towards. Creating smaller, more targeted, activations brings in the audience your client wants to target while building a strong brand of ambassadors. We have incorporated this into several events this past year including an after-party celebration filled with branding at every touch point, an interactive wine wall, and a champagne tower bathtub.

Specialties: weddings and Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations

We appreciate this planner’s positive attitude and expertise, which makes planning an event incredibly fun, as well as her vast knowledge working in varied venues and ability to transform them.

Share something different or unique about your company.  

My company gives expert personal service while letting all vendors “do their thing” and shine. We help pull everything together in a calm atmosphere and pride ourselves on the smooth execution of a celebration — and skip the drama that can occur often at events. Our clients feel like they have had the event of the year when all is said and done.

What event trends are you excited about?

Added entertainment is a growing trend. I’ve brought in photo booths from the West Coast, custom tattoo artists, live airbrushing, real graffiti artists, interactive desserts, and “old school” video games — just to name a few. The days of just dancing at a party are over!


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