Cage + Aquarium is excited to bring "Be There" virtual event and live streaming services to all upcoming Neighborhood Nuptials wedding dates. Read on to hear all about this unique opportunity for couples to throw a small, yet beautiful, wedding and support local businesses in their Chicago neighborhood at the same time. The first pop-up takes place on June 28th at the Lytle House. We are joining our planning partner in crime, Naturally Yours Events, to donate the proceeds of this event to the NAACP and The Brave Space Alliance, a black-led, trans-led LGBTQ center in the South Side of Chicago. Thank you to Naturally Yours Events for this guest post below!
 
When COVID-19 initially hit, the wedding industry didn't know how large of an impact it would eventually have on the future of events and large celebrations. Now we have been surrounded by a vendor community pivoting their businesses so we all can still celebrate love in a safe but fun, memorable way!
 
Since the beginning of the pandemic outbreak, the team at Naturally Yours Events have conducted many conversations with their 2020 couples about their wedding plans- answering questions about cancellation, if/when they should postpone, how to plan a party for the future, as well as offering additional services with a new Postponement Planning package. They were heartbroken each time they helped a couple through changing their plans and it doesn't get easier. Postponing a wedding is a very emotional experience as two of their team members have even experienced with their own weddings. 
 
With all the uncertainty they see their couples facing, Naturally Yours Events began to brainstorm how there can still be a focus on positivity, love, and community amidst our current climate. They wanted to create a way for people to still get married this year because they believe engaged couples shouldn't have to put their lives on hold as they wait for life to return to normal- or whatever normal will end up looking like.
 
With personal experience from courthouse weddings to elopements and the most intimate of small weddings- the team knew there was a possibility to create a unique, meaningful experience in which to say "I Do's" that was much more exciting than the beige basement of city hall. Wanting to focus on supporting local Chicago small businesses, the team collaborated with neighborhood venues across the city of Chicago and partnered with environmentally and socially responsible wedding vendors within the community. All of this led to the founding of Neighborhood Nuptials where couples can get married in their neighborhood, their way.
 
Neighborhood Nuptials is popping up for one day at each of their neighborhood venue partners. Engaged couples plan their nuptials with the assistance of Naturally Yours Events, say their vows in front of the gorgeous backdrop of a local wedding venue, capture every moment with a designated photographer, and live stream all the excitement to their friends and family with Cage & Aquarium's Be There service. 
 
Naturally Yours Events plans weddings & events that are full of personality and they reject the idea that weddings have to look or feel a certain way. Keeping with that philosophy of cultivating creative event experiences, they encourage couples to choose from thoughtful additions to make their Neighborhood Nuptials truly personalized and unique. From cake & champagne toasts, lush seasonal personal flowers, brunch & dinner packages, professional officiating, hair & makeup services, to live-streamed dance party receptions and more- couples have the opportunity to make the most out of their special day. 
 
Neighborhood Nuptials' first wedding ceremony pop-up is scheduled for the day Chicago's Pride Parade was supposed to take place before the coronavirus pandemic put those plans on hold. They'll be popping up in the Edgewater neighborhood at Lytle House on Sunday, June 28th. To start planning their nuptials, couples can fill out a style questionnaire on the website and then get connected to a planner to coordinate all the details so they can just focus on the "I Do's" and not the To-Dos.
 
Other pop-ups are coming this summer to Chicago neighborhoods including West Town (July 11th at Fairlie), South Loop (July 18th at Mae District), Bridgeport (August 8th at Sculpture Garden), Logan Square (August 22nd at The Joinery), West Loop (September 19th at Ignite Glass Studios), and Ravenswood (September 26th at Artifact Events). 
 
Vendor Partners in upcoming events:

Introducing Love is Stronger - a campaign to celebrate innovation and love. 

We want to inspire our clients to go from “We HAVE to” to “We GET to” and embrace this moment in time.

Cage and Aquarium refuses to wait. On behalf of our couples and all of us who deserve to celebrate life’s memorable moments with all of the feels. We are ready to celebrate love in ways we never thought possible. 

There are so many couples grappling with how to move forward with a wedding. The unknowns at this moment seem insurmountable. There are no definitive guidelines telling us when or how it will be safe to gather groups of people in 10, 50, or more. Many of our couples that were planning to get married in 2020 have already postponed to 2021. They’re holding out for a better time when more friends and family are allowed to attend. When it’s safer to travel. When it is more likely that elders are able to come out of their shelter-in-place scenario. 

But what about today, at this very moment, if there was a safe way to celebrate a wedding or other milestone, would you seize it? Would you reset your path to one that looks quite a bit different from what we have always thought about weddings, but is still very special? At Cage and Aquarium we are working to provide solutions for couples to be able to celebrate during these uncertain times and still have the wedding of their dreams. Be There - A Virtual Wedding Experience - is a way for our clients to bring friends and family together, no matter what the circumstances. 

We are providing a specialized and one-of-a-kind fully virtual celebration at this moment before it’s safe to gather. When we’re able to gather groups of people, be it 10 or maybe all the way up to 50, this service will become a tool for couples to include their loved ones who must stay at home. We can provide live streaming and full event experience for your stay-at-home guests alongside the select guests that came to celebrate in person. With small gatherings on the horizon for the unforeseeable future, we want to help our clients move forward because love doesn’t stop. Love is stronger.

Reach out to us if you want to book Be There for your wedding. We are here for you!

We are also thrilled to partner with industry colleagues offering unique opportunities to bring Be There to couples planning their weddings during this unusual time. Stay tuned for upcoming features on some of our industry’s most innovative leaders. These exciting options are a true solution for couples and we can’t wait to share more!

Outdoor photo sessions are now permitted and we couldn't think of a better time to go out and explore! We are throwing it back to Laura and Johan's engagement session at Golden Gate Park and the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco for a little inspiration. If you could go find the most beautiful backdrop with your partner, where would you go? Let's get out of the house create some magical photos!

Juliana and Max are super stylish, trendy, and know what they want. In 2019, they chose to have a 25-person intimate elopement at Cindy's Rooftop in Chicago, IL. Little did we know they'd be setting the trend for the 2020 wedding season. So take notes from a couple who eloped before it was cool.

Max and Juliana coordinated a day that was perfectly tailored to them. They met the morning of their elopement at the coolest park in Chicago, so they could include their pup in wedding photos! They invited 25 of their closest family and friends. Does that number sound familiar? Well, it might be our new cap on guest count for weddings in 2020. We told you this would be relevant!

They chose Cindy's Rooftop as their elopement venue. Cindy's is an outdoor-indoor patio rooftop that overlooks Millennium Park and the streets of downtown. Their elopement ceremony was officiated by a best friend. Their guests surrounded them, many on video Facetime with distant relatives unable to make it. Does that ring a bell? It's the new normal.

They shared hand-written vows, exchanged rings, and sealed their marriage with a kiss. Attending guests shared stories, recited readings, speeches, and gave wholesome toasts. The bride and groom then made their way around to each phone screen to say hello and receive congratulations from guests who witnessed their ceremony from their homes miles and miles away.

Champagne was poured and candid group photos were taken. The guests took their seats for lunch while Juliana and Max soaked up the view from the rooftop, alone, together.

Juliana and Max sat at the head of the long wooden table. Cindy's created a dining menu of all their favorite foods: pasta, hot dogs, french fries, gourmet salads, etc. while also pairing it with their signature cocktails and favored wine.

There was absolutely no stress. They still got glammed up, and ate and drank their favorite foods. They still exchanged vows and rings. Their most important people attended their wedding, near or far. At the end of the day, Juliana and Max were married.

If applicable, we highly suggest eloping on your actual wedding date and saving the large party for later. You might be shocked to find out that an elopement was what you should have been planning all along. You have more time to spend with each guest, your new husband or wife, and that makes the day infinitely more emotional and special.

Technically a wedding is just the event to celebrate your marriage - sooo you could do that every year if you wanted! ;)

C&A Photographer: Hanna Walkowaik

Venue: Cindy's Rooftop

Bride's Dress: Needle & Thread

Groom's Suit: Suit Supply

Ring Designer: Pli Restrepo

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