Bride-on-the-Go | Lauren Knuepfer

Occupation: Owner and Lead Wedding Planner of LK Events, LLC in Chicago

 

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Wedding Photos: Vrai Photography | Catering: Christine Farris Catering

During the planning process, were you able to squeeze in date nights that were wedding talk free? Do you out or stay in?
Since I work from home, date nights “out” are a must! Otherwise, I can’t get away from my computer when I am at home.
What’s your favorite restaurant/lounge?
I love so many Chicago restaurants – hard to pick my favorite!  I am a huge fan of farm to table/small plate type places.  I love Longman and Eagle, La Sirena Clandestina, Aviary (for the fabulous cocktails) and Avec.  My favorite neighborhood places are Southport Grocer, Boka and 404 Wine Bar.
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Who did your wedding planning? I planned it all!  I had a destination wedding in Michigan, so of course I hired a wedding planner to assist with the final details and the weekend. She became very involved several months out and pretty much saved my life :)  It was so nice having someone up there who could coordinate with the vendors and make sure everything was the way I wanted.  She was incredible.
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How involved did you want to be in the planning process? Were you hands on or did you have a vision that you hand over to professionals to execute?
Very involved!  Being a wedding planner in Chicago, it was hard to make decisions because I liked everything!  I wanted so many different things and really had to sit down and think about the look and feel I wanted.   I selected all of my vendors and had great relationships with many of them, as several came from Chicago.  Food was extremely important to me – having a catering background.  I wanted to use a local caterer, to incorporate the seasonal flavors and foods that Michigan farms specialize in.  I found a fabulous caterer who was able to use my ideas and menu concepts and produce a flawless meal – having cooked everything in an outdoor kitchen tent.   Service was also very important to me – I wanted my guests taken care of and they were!   I am very hands on when it comes to selecting vendors and conceptualizing the overall look and feel, but I left the final decisions up to the vendors.   I wanted them to be comfortable with everything they were doing and feel as though they could showcase their best – whether it was food, service, décor – I knew they would create a magnificent wedding day for us, and they did.
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Did you and your hubby choose details to focus on separately or are you both tackling all of the decisions together?
Our wedding was in Michigan, so most of the time spent up there planning was during the week.  I have weddings on the weekends and he works during the week – so that didn’t leave much time to get up there and finalize plans.  I spent Sundays and Mondays in Michigan with my Mom handling all the planning but always kept my now husband in the loop.  He knew this was my passion, so he left the decisions up to me.  All he had to do was show up….and he did!
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What was the overall look and feel that you are going for?
 I went from a modern, monochromatic, clean and crisp look – to using my surroundings (think – wedding ceremony on the lake, tented reception on the grass) and we ended up created a more vintage inspired, natural feel, but still clean and crisp the way I had envisioned!  I definitely left the décor up to the professionals but we worked together to create the overall design.
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Any special touches that you enjoyed putting together the most?
I loved our place cards – we hung wooden boats from the tent and filled them with sand and stuck the place cards in there for guests.  It was so fun!  We had a beautiful ceremony on the water and honored our loved ones who were not able to be with us that day by tossing roses in the lake. It was a beautiful moment and one I will cherish forever.
My absolute favorite part of the day was having my sister sing for the processional.  My sister, Jenny, is not only the most talented and beautiful singer I know, but my best friend in the world.  She sang, “Feels Like Home” as I walked down the aisle – one of our favorite songs from childhood, that we sang together often.    I will never forget her singing that song, because I was able to listen to her from inside before I walked down the aisle.  Jenny also surprised me on our wedding video (I Do Films), and sang an acoustic version of “Don’t Stop Believing” which I had no idea about until I received our wedding video! T was incredible.   She is a part of the Deja Vu Band in Chicago – one of the best!
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What was your favorite memory during the planning process? Was it the engagement party? Bachelor/Bachelorette Party? Or the wedding day itself?
Bachelorette Party of course!!  :)  Everything was so much fun.  I have to admit, I had such a busy year planning my client’s weddings that many of the details and final decisions were made last minute.  In a way it helped as I just had to make the decision and stick with it!  We did not have time for any changes by the time we made the decisions!  Having our family and closest friends travel from all over the country to a small town in Michigan was by far the most incredible part of the entire wedding weekend.  
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Any advice to brides that are just starting to plan their wedding and are intimated by the process?
Enjoy the planning process and have fun!!!   We laughed so much during the planning…many things came up (for example –  trying to cater a dinner for 300 guests outside in a tent with no power or running water..small things like that!!) but TRUST your vendors.  We do this for a living and know how to fix any situation.  Allow us to handle the little things so you don’t have to.  And enjoy every moment!  We had one of the biggest rain falls I have ever seen in Michigan on the morning of our wedding.  Even though our entire wedding was outside, I did not let is phase me.  Because there is nothing you can do about mother nature.  Let your vendors handle the plans, let them handle the logistics (or the rain plan) of the day so you can be a bride and enjoy every moment with your groom!

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