Today’s Vendor Spotlight features Alliance Bakery in Chicago!  Alliance specializes in the BEST fine European Desserts in Chicago.  And you know me, I love a reason to talk about Europe;)I was lucky enough to meet Jennifer at the winter Indie Wed Chicago Event. Since my Mom helped me during the event, I was able to venture out during the show and mingle with other wedding vendors.

I had previously seen the beautiful work that Alliance Bakery does when my past clients, Liz & Eric, had a gorgeous croquembouche made to commemorate her time spent studying in Paris. So when I saw the Alliance Bakery booth, I was super excited to meet the masterminds behind their beautiful creations! When I walked up to Alliance’s Booth and saw some more of their beautiful designs, I was super impressed. But even more impressive was how friendly Jennifer was! We clicked instantly and soon realized that Liz & Eric were mutual wedding clients.

I was SO excited when Jennifer agreed to do a “Favorite Vendors” feature for my blog! Her attention to, and eye for detail will be crucial in creating the perfect wedding day dessert for you and your partner!
Alliance Bakery Chicago

Tell me about your business- what do you specialize in? Alliance Bakery is located in Wicker Park and has a new sister location called Alliance Patisserie in River North on State street. We feature fine European pastries and desserts, custom-designed cakes to suit any occasion, and a full espresso bar. We are known for our customized cakes – including wedding, groom’s cake, showers, birthdays, 3D and all kinds of celebration cakes!

Alliance Bakery Chicago

How did you get started? I have a background in fine art, my last position found myself working at Whole Foods managing the bakery department. My love for small business, pastries and making people happy, led me to seek out a position at Alliance. I’m the Wedding Coordinator and I handle almost everything wedding from tastings to helping customers design their dream cake design.

What’s your favorite thing about working in the wedding industry? Honestly, the people! I have great colleagues and it’s so rewarding to be able to provide a service to someone on the biggest day of their lives! I love the creative planning process, and occasionally when I get a hug from a client I know it’s worth all the hard work!

Alliance Bakery Chicago

How would you describe your business’ style? Alliance Bakery definitely caters to those looking for a unique cake for their wedding. We work with a few high-end and boutique hotels to provide their cakes, but most of our customers live in the neighborhood and have been coming here for years. We also can provide a wide variety of other sweets, such as macarons, croquembouche, favors and sweets tables for those who want something a little different.

How far in advance should clients book your services? Our tastings book fast, so my typically recommendation to get the process started for weddings is 3-6 months in advance. For retail orders at least a week is needed to provide a custom cake.

Alliance Bakery Chicago

Where does your inspiration come from? I am constantly browsing the internet for new cake design ideas. Obviously Pinterest has been a great place to collect ideas! When we design custom cakes, the ideas are a collaborative effort with the customers and the decorating team combining ideas. Besides cakes, I have such a sweet tooth, you will probably find me in another bakery sampling their goodies as well!

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? I love all that Chicago has to offer especially in the summer. I love getting drinks and dinner out with friends, and also seeing live music and street festivals. I also love cooking and now that it is getting warmer out, I can’t wait to get my garden started to grow fresh herbs again this year! Lastly, I am currently volunteering for a bicycle advocacy group that has community bike rides weekly so I will be busy with that all summer.

Alliance Bakery Chicago

What is some advice you think all couples would benefit from knowing? I think budget is probably the most discussed topic when it comes to weddings. Set a realistic budget for all your wedding items and then splurge on the few big-ticket items you can’t do without! I may be biased, but to me the food (including sweets) is what I remember best at weddings I’ve attended! Unfortunately the cake comes later in the planning process, so people have typically already overspent. My other piece of advice is to hire a planner for at least the day-of so that you can enjoy your wedding as a guest and they can organize the details for you!

Is there anything else you’d like to share? If you are still on the hunt for vendors, ask for recommendations from other vendors! We love to refer our clients to our favorite people!

Alliance Bakery Chicago

How can clients connect with you?


Twitter: @alliance_bakery

Instagram: alliancebakery



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Wedding RSVP Tips

The other day as I was scouring the interwebs for wedding planning tips, I came across a great article containing RSVP tips.

The invitation process alone can be really stressful while wedding planning.  From choosing your stationer, deciding on a design, getting the invites in stock, and then addressing and sending them out, you might feel ready to pull your hair out.

But… You don’t want to forget about keeping the RSVPs organized when they all start to come back!

One trick is to number each RSVP card and write the number next to the person’s name on your address list.  That way, if someone sends it back without filling it out, you’ll know who the RSVP came from.

There are so many other tips that I didn’t think of, and they’re all listed here at Weddings and What Not.  Click on the link and head over for some great tips to keep organized (and sane).

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Are you planning a wedding and looking for a wedding photographer?  Drop me a line and let me know how I can help you.


Best Books for Photographers

Now that I’m back in Chicago, I’ve REALLY been taking advantage of shopping on Well actually, I’ve been taking advantage of Zappos, World Market, and West Elm, to name a few;)One thing that was “harder” about living overseas was not having as many online shopping options (or just not knowing the online shops to purchase from). Well let’s just say that I’ve been making up for lost time…haha.

When I was doing some online research (a.k.a. shopping), I started looking at some different photography books that I’d like to add to my library.

Today I’m sharing some ideas for good Books for Photographers. Most everyone has a photographer in their life. Whether an enthusiast or a professional, your loved one would, no doubt, appreciate one of these visual treats!

7 Books for Photographers

  1. National Geographic Stunning Photographs- Some of the most beautiful photographic works have been shot by National Geographic photographers and this collection of images is no exception…There is SO much breathtaking beauty here!
  2. Humans of New York- An awesome collection of New York Street Photography…Need I say more?
  3. Fine Art Wedding Photography: How to Capture Images With Style for the Modern Bride- Co-authored by Jose Villa (swoon) and Jeff Kent, this book has tips for capturing couples organically and it’s full of gorgeous imagery for inspiration.
  4. The Luminous Portrait- This book by Elizabeth Messina highlights utilizing natural-light photography to photograph couples on their wedding day.
  5. Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Mind’s Eye- This is a collection of works by Henri Cartier-Bresson on Photographers and Photography over the last 45 years. So beautifully written!
  6. Vivian Maier- A collection of nanny Vivian Maier’s street photography. Vivian was a brilliant photographer who was discovered when her photographs were found as part of an estate sale. She had taken photographs all over the world and never shared them with anyone. The images were purchased after her death by historian John Maloof.
  7. The Hot Shoe Diaries- I’ve followed Joe McNally for years and also had the pleasure of hearing him speak live.  He is the MASTER of speedlight flashes! This book would be perfect for the photographer in your life who is looking to take their photography to the next level by incorporating off-camera flash.

I hope you’ll check out this list of books when thinking of the photographer in your life:)

If you’re looking for a photographer, drop me a line and let’s chat!

Should We have an Unplugged Wedding

With today’s influence of technology in our daily lives, you may find yourself asking “Should we have an unplugged wedding?”

You may be wondering what an “unplugged wedding” is and why it’s something you should consider…

An “unplugged wedding” is one in which the couple decides to ask friends and family not to bring cell phones and cameras to their celebration.  In addition to that, going “unplugged” means no uploading to social media during the event. Or some couples choose to be more laid back and just ask that guest refrain from photo taking during the ceremony.

The next question posed is usually, “Why would we want to have an unplugged wedding anyway?” Well aside from wanting your friends and family to enjoy themselves and celebrate with you (minus any distractions), your photographer may thank you as well!

I happened to come across this great article on about ruined wedding photos due to guests flashes and other issues.  Head over and check out the article to see some visuals and unfortunate instances where couples’ guests inadvertently ruined some key images from their wedding day.  The article will definitely help you make an informed decision when deciding if an “unplugged wedding” is right for you.

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Work has been super crazy for Jon here in Dublin.  When I originally planned my trip to visit him, we had a week-long trip to Italy in the works.  We were going to hit Venice and Florence, and then rent a car to drive around Umbria and Tuscany and drink as much wine along the way as possible (although not at the same time).

Unfortunately work put the kibosh on that trip all together but luckily without spending too much additionally, we were able to re-book our tickets to Berlin, where we spent an extended weekend.

I’m so excited to share my Berlin Travel Photos with you today!! And honestly, Berlin is SO awesome! There is art, culture, food, and a bar scene that can’t be beat.  Maybe the next place I’ll land overseas for more than a weekend?!

We enjoyed our time on a Berlin Food Tour, hosted by Bastian.  We saw an amazing exhibit of Mario Testino and some of the work he did for Vogue and other various magazines.  And most notably, we visited the Topography of Terror Museum documenting the rise and fall of Hitler and the plight of the European Jews.  We also visited the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.  Walking through the Memorial was a somber experience, but I’m glad we paid our respects and learned about this part of history.

We walked the Berlin wall and experienced some fabulous street art around the city.

We also visited the Reichstag, or German Parliament that housed the famous dome made of glass.

My camera battery died within 5 minutes of our trip beginning so this was an iPhone weekend.  Apple to the rescue!! Seriously;)

Berlin Travel Photos Berlin Travel Photos Berlin Travel Photos Berlin Travel Photos

Now that I am back in Chicago and it’s FREAKING cold outside, I’ll have no excuse for not showing you pictures from my previous trips so be on the look out for more “wanderlust” photos soon!

Have you been to Berlin?  What was your favorite touristy thing to do?! Leave it in the comments…

  • Linda Rau - Fabulous!!!February 26, 2015 – 4:25 pmReplyCancel