You know you’re living your life’s passion when you get up every day and are excited to start working – and yet, it doesn’t feel like work. I’ve been fortunate to have planned special events, black-tie galas, fashion shows and fundraising benefits for more than a decade but it wasn’t until a friend asked to help plan her wedding – in two weeks – that my love affair with weddings began.
Despite the countless weddings I’ve now planned, I still get teary eyed. Witnessing such heart-felt moments throughout the day and seeing the incredible love that surrounds my couples, who I have come to care deeply, will get me every time!
I received my BA Degree from Indiana University and recently earned my Accredited Wedding Planner™ designation from the Association of Bridal Consultants. I also serve as ABC’s State Manager for Illinois. I’m so proud of my Accredited Wedding Planner™ designation – it’s the 4th step (and final!) step on my way to receiving my Master Wedding Planner™ title. I’m also a Certified Sandals Specialist and received my “Honeymoons and Destination Wedding Specialist” designation and “Italy Specialist” from The Travel Institute. Currently, I live in Lake Forest with my husband, our two kids and two Bengal cats, Leo and Mars. I'm also blessed with two older step-children whose weddings I hope to help plan one day as well.
A few fun facts about me:
• I was destined to become a wedding planner! My planning experience actually goes back to my high school days when I was guilty of throwing the only high school party ever attended that included a keg of beer and my mom’s good silver. In case you’re wondering: No, my parents did not know about it. Yes, they came home MUCH earlier than anticipated. No, my mother was not amused at being mistaken for one of the young party-goers when she was cautioned by an escaping teen not to come in because “my mom and dad had just got home.” (Her terse response: “I am her mom.”) And no, the flattery did not soften my punishment!
• I have traveled to 21 different countries (Okay, 22 if you include Vatican City).
I love exclamation points – a lot!! And smiley faces ☺︎☺︎
• I'm a certified feng shui consultant and have appeared on both ABC News Chicago and NBC News Chicago. While I no longer actively consult, I love that I can use this aspect of my background in my day-to-day planning whether it’s coming up with colors, lighting or scents that will invoke my client’s vision for their day.
• I have a weakness for anything almond flavored – or with blueberries. (Yes, I’ll show up on the morning of your wedding with my famous homemade blueberry scones in hand.)
Hi I'm Chelsea! I have been planning (pretend) weddings on family members ever since I was a little girl. I turned my passion for event planning into a real profession after graduating from The University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. I am a Certified Wedding Planner through the Association of Bridal Consultants and bring an in-depth knowledge to our team on the inner workings of venues. I spent more than 6 years on the inside as an event producer for both small and large-scale venues with a focus on weddings. This eventually led me to pursuing my interest in wedding planning full time.
I truly love planning weddings and events because of the joy it brings the client. Planning events for multiple venues at the same time has taught me a great deal about organization, communication, and attention to detail, which is demonstrated in my work. I can't wait to meet all my future clients and I look forward to helping you plan your big day!
A few fun facts about me are:
• I am currently a volunteer for Make-A-Wish Illinois
• I was a dancer for 18 years and studied dance at the University of Illinois. In my younger years, I danced with the Joffrey Ballet.
• I love to travel! I try to visit another country at least once a year. My favorite place to travel to is Greece, which I've been fortunate enough to visit the past 3 years.
• I have been a Chicago native my entire life and bought my first house here when I was 25. I love Chicago and am excited to continue my work here as a Wedding Planner!
Hi, I’m Mary Catherine or MC for short. I have always loved planning things and it started at a young age… asking for a palm pilot for my 8th birthday and handwriting vacation itineraries to give to my family on big trips. With a very large family, I have always been good at listening and getting along with others. With over fifty first cousins, my upbringing taught me how to handle difficult situations with poise and have my voice heard in a crowd; it also ingrained the importance of dealing with challenging family dynamics with love.
Executing the perfect wedding celebration is all about organization, details, style, and logistics. My corporate supply chain and marketing background coupled with my MBA makes me well-equipped to offer innovative ideas needed to raise the bar, and the special touches and experiences that will leave your guests raving. My success is built on perseverance and listening. I take the time to understand your goals, preferences, and ideas. As a result, your event will feel intimate and personal and we will create memories that you and your guests will cherish forever.
A few fun facts about me:
• I was a competitive figure skater who competed internationally. I love all things cold weather related, bring on the snow!
• I love to travel and have visited over 40 countries. I am conversational in Mandarin, Ni Hao!
• I coded my own wedding website and empathize for busy brides! I was working, getting my MBA and planning my wedding in a one-year sprint.
• As a Midwestern Chicago girl with southern roots, Go Tar Heels, I love New York and building a home here with my wonderful husband.
I have been crazy about weddings ever sinceI was 5 years old and walked down the aisle in an exact mini replica of the bride’s wedding gown. (I went on to play in that dress for as many years as I could get it zipped up!)
I enjoy entertaining and have a passion for people and making them smile. I believe weddings are one of the happiest times in our lives and I want to help you make your dream wedding come true! From big picture ideas to attention to the smallest of details, I will make sure that your wedding day will be a memorable event.
My love of bringing people together fits right into the theme of wedding planning. My previous life in the corporate world consisted of managing people, products and projects. I now bring these same skills sets to wedding planning – which include creativity, organization, communication, negotiation and getting the job done on time and on budget. I have an MBA and I also attended the Straus Institute at Pepperdine Law to get my certificate in negotiation– a definite asset in the wedding world where I’m negotiating numerous contracts on behalf of my clients.
A few fun facts about me:
• I love to dance. Do not be surprised if I break out dancing if I hear music during one of our meetings. It makes me happy and I hope my enthusiasm will be contagious and you will start dancing too!
• I have lived in Southern California most of my professional adult life and have been involved in the local community and fundraising. As part of the Women’s in Business Committee, I was Chair of General Meetings and worked on the annual conferences. I served on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce as well as the Executive Board for the USC Trojan Athletic Parents Association.
• I have had speaking engagements on the topic of negotiations and business acumen for the MB Women in Business, Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Southern California College of Optometry.
Italy is a country of romance and the most beautiful place to be in love. I’m the “boots on the ground” and the perfect complement to our American team. I actually studied law but found my passion showing off my beautiful country of Italy. I’m multi-lingual in Italian, English and French and not only help with scouting wedding venues and translating our contracts but arranging tours, accommodations and ground transportation for our clients and their guests.
I also love helping people who come to Italy to re-trace their family origins. In doing so, I have come across some of the most beautiful, quaint little towns as well as extraordinary centuries-old churches which love sharing with our wedding couples. Whether I’m connecting people to their heritage or wedding clients to one another, at that end of the day, that’s what makes me happiest.
Fun facts about me:
• I love Reese’s peanut butter eggs but we cannot get them here in Italy.
• I live in an ancient little town that is steeped in traditional festivals. For one annual event, a long communal table winds through the main piazza of the town for a feast with all the villagers.
• Sharing my Italian culture and traditions is one of the favorite parts of my job. In Italy, after you make a toast at the wedding reception,
we say “Cin Cin” (pronounced chin-chin) – it’s our version of “cheers!”
Here’s a little language lesson that will impress your love. “Sei ilgrande amore dellamia vita” means “I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Of course, if we’re planning a romantic trip for you to propose it Italy, then you’ll need to know “Mi vuoisposare?” which means “Will you marry me?”
The Gilded Aisle is honored to receive recognition for our work both nationally and internationally.