Jessica + Michael: 6.15.19 // Garfield Park Conservatory

A Boho Botanical Wedding at Garfield Park Conservatory

I’ve teared up at many a wedding while the vows were being read, but had I not been working, I’m sure I would have just full on sobbed like a baby at Jess & Mike’s wedding. This wedding was super personal to me - not only have I known these two since we all worked together at Groupon back in the day, but I felt like over this last year, I really got to know them and they are two of the most caring people I’ve ever met. Mike proposed to Jess back in September 2017 and they didn’t quite know where to start with planning. Through the powers of the internet and our mutual friend, Haily, we grabbed beers and I became their planner in Spring 2018.

Jess + Mike actually need to give themselves a lot more credit because they already knew that they wanted a casual yet beautiful, nature-inspired wedding, which led us to one of my favorite venues, Garfield Park Conservatory. Through our Wednesday night phone dates and the magic of Pinterest, I think we found our Anthropologie-inspired groove, which I dubbed as “Boho Botanical.”

Despite the rain that nixed our patio plans, our Plan B ceremony space in GPC’s Show House was absolutely breathtaking! And after tying the knot (literally - they chose a unity knot ceremony to symbolize their families joining) these two “Trekkies” threw one heck of a garden party.

Jess + Mike, I’m honored and thrilled that you allowed me to help you plan your big day. May you live long and prosper! * insert Vulcan salute here * <3

Photographer: Emily-Melissa Photography

Venue : Garfield Park Conservatory

Planner: Canvas Wedding + Event Design

Special love to my day-of assistant, Diane T.

Catering: Jewell Events Catering

Florals: InFlorEscence Chicago

Cake: ECBG Cake Studio

DJ: Ruby @ Birds & B-Sides

Hair: Kara @ Meraki Room

* select photos to enlarge *


#valentinesfeels playlist

Happy Valentine’s Day - Happy Galentine’s Day - Happy Self-Love Day …whoever you are, cheers to you and all of the love in your life!


Remember when I said I had more 90’s playlists coming? …well, here’s my Valentine’s Day present to you - a hodgepodge of SOME (yea, I’ve got a whole bunch more) of my favorite lovey dovey songs. A mix of some feel good dance songs, of course my 90’s boy band crushes and then slowin’ it down with some makeout classics. Fun Fact: I grew up in a country town so a) Shania is QUEEN and b) I had so many more country songs I didn’t add here but let’s be real, that’s a whole other mood so I’ll just keep that in my back pocket!

Love you, mean it!



10 $99 Dresses That Made Me Like David's Bridal Again

yep, you read that right!


Dear David’s Bridal,

I’m sorry for what I said the last time I was there when I was hangry and my feet were hurting.  No, but really - I have no issues admitting when I’m wrong and I have definitely spouted my dislike for DB in the past…I’m taking that all back.   I’m blaming it on the many hours I’ve spent  being the guinea pig bridesmaid for multiple friends and family members: “Let’s try the navy again,” “Ok, straps off this time,” “Can you suck in a little more?,” “Heels off,” “Wait, put your heels on again,” “I need pics of you in the lilac one again.” UGH. If you’ve ever been a bridesmaid, chances are you’ve been at a David’s Bridal, stuffed into a couple of dresses and made to feel like a human sausage or you’ve been covered in so much damn fabric that you might as well be wearing a tent instead. In hindsight, that’s not David’s’ fault, that’s just one of the things you sign up for when you accept ‘maid duty.

Since I’m now in bride-to-be status myself and dragging my feet on a dress, my cousin texted me a link to David’s $99 dress sale; I smirked and didn’t even open it.  It wasn’t until I started seeing some gorgeous images on Instagram ads and thought maybe, just maybe, DB had stepped their game up. So I clicked that link and I was not only pleasantly surprised by their selection but I actually ended up forwarding the link over to quite a few other fellow brides. As an advocate for chill brides and emphasizing the phrase “don’t sweat it” this year, I felt it was my duty to share some great finds from the sale.

There are tons of dresses included in the sale with something for everyone whether you’re looking for a simple look, a sprinkle of flair, Lady Gaga level flair (i.e. my Zac Posen pick) or a cute + casual option for your shower or rehearsal dinner. Another excellent thing about these guys are that they are inclusive and have a wide range of styles and sizes, to accommodate all brides. Prices start at $99 on up - one thing to note is that some of these are labeled as Sample and As-Is, which means they’ve been tried on in-store or were used for display so make sure to read through any notes online but I’d also highly suggest heading in-store to see local options as well. You should also note that there’s a sale for $20-30 off of bridesmaid’s dresses too! But hurry - this sale ends on January 22nd! Check out my top 10 $99 picks below: ,

White by Vera Wang Halter Tulle Wedding Dress - $99

If you end up finding your wedding dress at DB’s sale, I would LOVE to hear from you! Shoot me an email and tell me what you snagged:

Happy hunting, friends!


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New Year, Same Me, Cool Things Coming

Happy New Year, Y’all!


Before you read on, you should know there’s 2 things about this post: a) I’m one of those people caught up in the new year freshness and am filled with great reflections of the past year and nothing but annoying positivity for 2019 and b) I have some exciting things that are shaking up Canvas WED and I can’t wait to share all of the goods with you so skip ahead to the TL; DR if you want the wrap up!

I’m not apologetic at all for being so optimistic when the new year rolls around, and if you read my post going into 2018, you know that I wanted nothing but a fresh start. I knew that 2018 was going to be filled with me stepping out of my comfort zone if I really wanted to get back to myself and my passions…and I have to tell you, I stepped ALL the way out on that ledge and didn’t look down! I’m proud of myself for all of the goals that I set for myself, the ones that I hit and even the ones that I fell short of because those were still lessons learned.

When I wrote that blog a year ago, I was hopeful but would have never EVER have thought that I would have been swept up in such an amazing cyclone that has led me to where I am today. Here’s a rundown of my 2018: I relaunched my side business as Canvas and started a new full time job in January. Had my first personal branded styled shoot in February and in March, I was hired by my first client since relaunch. In May, I helped put together the Gray Matter Experience Pitch Competition and also finally saw my vision for the Boho Bridal Tea Party styled shoot come together and get featured on Chi Thee Wed …and I also have to note here that I successfully pulled off a surprise birthday party for Eduardo (pat on the back!). Picked up another wedding design gig in June and then…August: Eduardo had received some offers from his company to come back to the Chicago office. Toying with the idea of moving back home, I knew that I wanted to try creative recruiting again so I reached out to a company I was interested in working for. After eight months, I was already feeling uneasy about my job so when the recruiting agency asked me to come in for an interview on a Friday, I was ecstatic. The interview went well but I still wasn’t convinced that the stars would align and this could really happen. The following Monday, I walked into a meeting at my job saying they had been acquired but we were all keeping our jobs — and I received a hearty payout that I was NOT at all expecting. On Wednesday, I received a call from the job in Chicago, making me an offer to join their team as a creative recruiter. I talked with Eduardo that night and we both decided to accept. The following week, I attended Create & Cultivate, which has been one of the best and empowering experiences of my life (like, it deserves a whole other post of it’s own)! And on the Friday that kicked off Labor Day weekend, Eduardo got down on one knee in our kitchen and PROPOSED …and I said “DUH, yes!”

So yea - August was AMAZING but everything after that was a whirlwind. September brought the Retro Fall Wedding shoot, which is one of my favorite pieces of work to date and also included every weekend was a trip from Milwaukee to Chicago to look at apartments with our realtor. October included me waking up at 4:45am on weekdays to catch a 6am train to Chicago to work and even though I was EXHAUSTED, it was beyond worth it for my new role; weekends included preparing for the move and packing. By November 1st, we were in our new Edgewater apartment and a few days after, our friends and family threw us a surprise engagement party - which, to this day, I’m still in shock and complete gratitude for everyone doing that for us. We started our own wedding planning, thanks to the payout mentioned above and I’ll make sure to fill you in on all of that soon! December brought event after event and created so many good memories with friends and family and I am beyond thankful for being back home and also traveling to St. Louis to spend time with both of our families.

TL; DR - okay I’m done babbling about 2018…let’s talk about 2019!

I’m your new venue scout!

So as I’m kicking off this new year, I’ve thought a lot about my creativity, my work/life balance, my relationships and my sanity. Which has led me to some fun new ideas this year!

-For the first half of the year, I’ll be taking a break from planning gigs: I’ll still be the creative direction and planning for styled shoots, events, and even some girlboss get togethers. I’ll be checking out party and wedding related vendors and their products + services to share the best festive pieces out there! But what I’ll be focusing on is traveling ALL around this Windy City exploring new and old venues and even uncovering the potential of their backrooms + patios for weddings and special events. I’ll be reporting back with photos of these spaces - adding in my personal styling touch to dress it up when I can, food + beverage recommendations and any hidden gems or special notes that will make planning your next event easier! I’m happy to introduce my readers to my contacts in these spaces and even suggest my preferred vendor friends. And not to worry Milwaukee friends, I’ve already got some MKE trips in the works - and STL is close to home for me, so hoping to share some cool spots there and anywhere else I’m traveling as well. SO. FREAKING. EXCITED!!!!

-For the second half of 2019, I’ll be back …working with a vendor dream team to wave our wands and create fun days for couples that don’t want the stress of planning - I can’t share all the deets just yet (heck, I’m still working it all out) but I will continue to keep you all posted on what’s coming.

So * deep breath * HERE WE GO!

Looking forward to sharing this with all of you - so bookmark the blog and keep an eye out for new posts. And if you’re looking to collaborate, well let’s do it - I’m just an email or DM away.

Wishing you uncover all of your 90s cds and have all that your heart desires in 2019!



winter 2018 wedding gift ideas


Although the traditional wedding peak season is over, more and more couples are ok with jumping the broom during the winter months. Off peak weddings (November-February) can save a nice chunk of change on venue rental fee and also on select vendors that may have special seasonal pricing. A lot of couples also find it a convenient way to rally their loved ones since family and friends are already heading home for the holidays. And one huge trend I’ve seen recently is vow renewal celebrations on NYE - I mean, isn’t refreshing your love for one another the ultimate way to kick off a new year?! So on top of finding the perfect long-sleeved party dress or winter suit, you’ll want to make sure you bring along the perfect gift.

I remember several years back when I was invited to 2 winter weddings and was stumped on what to get as gifts because both couples’ registries were barren after the holidays. About to give up on a failed registry walk through Macy’s, I found a packaged set of gorgeous Calvin Klein heavyweight plush throw blankets (similar) and I had a light bulb moment that led me to add a personal touch by getting them monogrammed for the couple. I ended up buying 2 sets and both couples LOOOOOVED those blankets! So in case you’re having similar registry woes, I’ve put together a few of my favorite winter gift ideas for couples:

1) Plush Monogrammed Faux-Fur Throws


As I just mentioned, these were a HUGE success with both couples that I gifted to. It’s an idea a little outside of the normal registry but oh so perfect for chilly nights when two folks want to snuggle up and get a lil cozy! Check out all the colors and finishes West Elm has to offer. Also, if you hurry - these are marked down a whopping 50% for Black Friday sales and they’ll monogram each one for just an additional $10!

Faux Fur Throws, West Elm ($99, currently $49)

*Get creative: Throw a Redbox movie rental code and/or a gift card to their fave food delivery service in the card!

2) Custom Engraved Wood Cutting Board


Another gift that I love is this gorgeous wood cutting board by Shelby Made It that you can customize for a couple or a loved one. For those snowy nights spent in making comfort food, give them something to help spice up their kitchen! Shelby is a designer based in Milwaukee that creates BEAUTIFUL custom design invitations. I knew this girl was a star when I watched her on Instagram Live writing names on apples in calligraphy, one-by-one, …yes, APPLES! She also has online shop where she has engraved wood signs and she also currently has ornaments.

Visit her shop before November 27th and you can receive 20% off items during her Black Friday sale!

Custom Engraved Wood Cutting Board, Shelby Made It, $80

*Get Creative: Throw in a week’s worth of meals from Plated (use my link and get up to $72 off of your first box!) or wrap up a cookbook like Jeanine Donofrio’s Love & Lemons


3) Edgewater Candles Holiday Collection Set


Ok, I seriously love these candles - and not because we just moved to Edgewater but because every one that I’ve picked up so far has smelled heavenly and burned forever. I came across Edgewater Candles at the top of the year when they were a vendor at IndieWed and I couldn’t help but buy a bagful of candles. My absolute favorite was their Orchid Neroli and I was so sad when it was finally gone but I can’t wait to try these holiday scents! The complete set is perfect to gift or can be broken up individually to create different gift sets for friends and family! Hurry on over to their site and get 25% if you purchase by 11/26!

Holiday Collection Set, Edgewater Candles, $72

*Get Creative: If you’re gifting a busybody or a couple who is always on-the-go, consider adding a pair of adult coloring books and nice colored pencils for some mindless fun. If your friends are readers, consider picking up books by each of their favorite authors or a gift certificate to a local bookshop.

4) Wood Wall Hanging Wine Rack

I found this non-traditional wine rack while cruising through Etsy and fell in love with not only the wood’s gorgeous red mahogany color but the artist's mountain style. This would make an excellent gift for anyone who loves outdoors (…and wine, obviously) and also becomes a great conversation piece for their home!

Wine Rack Rustic Mountain Style, Indoor Survival Co. (Etsy), $59

*Get Creative: Let your friends explore their palette by gifting them a gift subscription to Winc, a personalized wine delivery club. You can also snag some glasses to put on display from Waterford’s Elegance collection.

5) French Press Set & Tiled Monogram Mugs

I saw all of these lovelies while shopping in Anthropologie last week and couldn’t stop thinking about them! The sleek French press set comes in a stunning copper and the mugs are described as being “inspired by French bistro tilework (their words, not mine).” These together as gifts are sure to turn anyone’s kitchen ultra chic! Anthropologie currently has a Black Friday sale going on - not sure when it ends but everything is 30% off! Ok, maybe it wouldn’t hurt if I just snagged these as an early wedding present for my fiance and I….right?!

French Press Gift Set, Anthropologie, $148 (currently $103!)

Tiled Margot Monogram Mug, Anthropologie, $10 (currently $7)

*Get Creative: Visit your neighborhood coffee roaster and pick up a ground seasonal bag o’ beans for them to try a new local blend!

6) ‘Hayes’ Black Marble Collection


If you’ve got friends that love to entertain, this set is EVERYTHING! I love this modern and moody collection by Crate & Barrel! We actually purchased a couple of these pieces earlier this year for a friend’s wedding and I was beating myself up for not grabbing one or two pieces for myself! I love Love LOVE that these pieces have such beautiful texture on top of the dark colors - which means, no more worrying about how to get the spilled red wine stains out of your white marble cheeseboard! (P.S. Try baking soda or hydrogen peroxide.) The sleek gold accents along with the complimentary wood sections will have guests drooling over your charcuterie AND your serveware! To gift, I’d highly recommend grabbing at least one serving tray, the cheese tool set and either the wine chiller or salt + pepper cellar. There’s currently a Black Friday sale happening on the site so you can swipe all these pieces for 20% off. UPDATE: while typing this, I just bought the serving tray and cheese tools sooooooo, who wants to come over and eat all the fancy cheeses with me? #noregrets

Hayes Black Marble Entertaining Collection, Crate & Barrel, $24.95-$59.95 currently $19.96-$47.96

*Get Creative: We wanted our friends to be cocktail-party ready when we gifted this for their wedding so we added in a gift card to Eataly so they could grab fresh Italian market goodies the next time they had guests. If your pals aren’t pros at hosting just yet, you can also gift Eataly classes like “Salumi and Formaggi Board for the Holidays”, Cheese 101 or How To: Winter Cocktails. Another idea is to toss in a copy of Sur La Table’s “Host: A Modern Guide to Eating, Drinking and Feeding Your Friends.”


Happy Gifting!


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fallin' for you...

retro wedding inspiration in Bridgeport


I’ll start off by saying that I’m IN LOVE with this project for so many reasons. This was definitely my spin on a fall theme but there were so many layers that made this fun. From the non-traditional fall palette to adding in a vintage scooter to highlighting two models with gorgeous brown skin tones - I’d say those things were the recipe for something this entire team could high-five about.

I’ve been wanting do a “throwback” themed shoot since I launched Canvas but kept shelving the idea. When I started seeing a ton of styles from the 60s-70s popping up in stores, I knew it was time to pull out all of the inspo boards I had created and get this thing going! I originally wanted a summertime shoot but then I realized how PERFECT it would be to blend fall color palettes with the retro theme. In all honesty, I was so excited to pitch this look to a prospective client and I was immediately shot down because they were looking for more of a traditional fall look - like, we’re talking gourds on the menus and wheat and leaves on the table, traditional. Don’t get me wrong - I would have whipped up something “autumnal chic” for them but it’s probably for the best that I was able to use my retro idea for this styled shoot and take it to the max!

I got really lucky with so many mid-century modern pieces trending right now - there was seriously inspiration everywhere I turned! And not to mention, every clothing store has the perfect showcase of retro prints, fabric and colors on display right now - velvet…SO. MUCH. VELVET. And ochre, I’m obsessed with the color and the word since it’s fancier than saying “mustard”. I actually settled on the color palette for this shoot when I came across an Apartment Therapy article that featured a velvet couch, a cool chandelier and bold colors (similar).

I still couldn’t help but think that people might think I was a little crazy but of course, Meg, my creative soulmate, sent me a message within minutes of reaching out saying that she was all in to partner up and photograph the vision. An AMAZING team all fell into place after that and I can’t thank everyone enough for how dreamy this all turned out. Ok, enough chatting - let’s take a little cruise over to Bridgeport…

Gorgeous dress by: Love Lives Here Bridal - Style: “Luca”

Gorgeous dress by: Love Lives Here Bridal - Style: “Luca”

*fun fact: I found these earrings at JoAnn Fabrics near the check out for $4.99 and scrapped the other jewelry choices when I found these!

*fun fact: I found these earrings at JoAnn Fabrics near the check out for $4.99 and scrapped the other jewelry choices when I found these!

Stunning flowers by InFlorEscence Chicago

Stunning flowers by InFlorEscence Chicago

*fun fact: I recently got engaged myself! And this beauty is my engagement ring! &lt;3

*fun fact: I recently got engaged myself! And this beauty is my engagement ring! <3

Dapper in the tux rental provided by Formally Modern

Dapper in the tux rental provided by Formally Modern

Drooling over this cake made by ECBG Cake Design!

Drooling over this cake made by ECBG Cake Design!

*fun fact: we turned on 60’s hits and these two were dancing to “Stand By Me” for their bar shots.

*fun fact: we turned on 60’s hits and these two were dancing to “Stand By Me” for their bar shots.

*fun fact: I spent way too much time deciding on fabric for the table but when I finally came across this ochre crushed velvet, I dropped everything and asked them for 6 yards immediately. P.S. This candleabra and the vintage-looking vases are all from Ikea’s new catalog.

*fun fact: I spent way too much time deciding on fabric for the table but when I finally came across this ochre crushed velvet, I dropped everything and asked them for 6 yards immediately. P.S. This candleabra and the vintage-looking vases are all from Ikea’s new catalog.

*fun fact: I came across this early 70’s scooter on Craigslist when I was actually looking for apartments and had to reach out. The owner was cool enough to let us borrow it for an hour during his lunch break since it hadn’t sold yet.

*fun fact: I came across this early 70’s scooter on Craigslist when I was actually looking for apartments and had to reach out. The owner was cool enough to let us borrow it for an hour during his lunch break since it hadn’t sold yet.

*fun fact: Meghan and Shawn know each other but are just friends. They were great sports and certainly played along to help rev thing up during the shoot! So fun working with these two!

*fun fact: Meghan and Shawn know each other but are just friends. They were great sports and certainly played along to help rev thing up during the shoot! So fun working with these two!


Much love and thanks to all of the vendors:  

Photography: Meg Adamik Creative

Venue: The Duck Inn

Dress: Love Lives Here Bridal, Milwaukee

Tux: Formally Modern - Clybourn

Floral: InFlorEscence

Cake: ECBG Cake Studio

Makeup: Heather Busulovich Artistry

Hair Stylist: Devin Sutter

Invitations: Hannah Hightower, Seattle

Models: Meghan Mathew and Shawn Kay

And many thanks to my cousin/assistant for the day, Aramis <3 and also to our buddy, Nate, from Craigslist who let us borrow his vintage scooter during his lunch break!


Sharris, @canvaswed