Browsing Tag


0 In Catering/ Sweets & Treats/ Vendors

Vendor Profile: Creme

Here in Chicago, we take our food very seriously – and that includes everything that’s served at our wedding. The ladies at Creme are right on board with that thought process. Along with serious foodie talent, founders & friends Laura Rodriguez and Amanda Speck also happen to be super fun and down to earth. I had the pleasure of talking with them about dessert tables, Chicago-themed menus, and barefoot mountainside weddings – after they made me some killer treats, of course.

SS: Tell us the story of how Creme got started.

LR: It really started with my wedding, actually. I did a DIY wedding and we did everything from paper invitations to decorations to gifts to cake, the food and everything. Amanda did my wedding cake and all our desserts – we had whoopie pies and cupcakes and everything was delicious. We kind of rounded all the troops, all my good friends who were in the wedding party to kind of use their own natural talents to do certain things. It just kind of naturally came together. We thought, wow, if we could do that and get married, we need to do this!


co-founders Laura Rodriguez (left) and Amanda Speck

AS: I remember when we sat down Laura said something like, “Is this crazy? Tell me if you really think this isn’t possible but I think we can do the whole thing.” And I said, “Sure, why not?”

LR: We had so much fun and that was really the inspiration behind it, it was just like, “Why don’t we do this? We’re good at it, we know what we’re doing and we have fun.”


How would you describe the perfect bride for Creme?

LR: Someone who has a vision; something that they know they want – like, “I want all of our food to come from local farmers” or, “I want it to be a DIY kind of vintage look.” I like those kinds of brides, the kind of people who are DIY because I love to help out as well. So, definitely someone with a vision and also someone who’s willing to try new things because we do like to introduce interesting food that people maybe haven’t tried before. But if we have the plain Jane who wants hamburgers and hot dogs, we’ll do that too. We really like doing small, intimate, fun, non-traditional weddings.

What’s the biggest mistake you see couples making when it comes to catering?

AS: Someone who has too rigid an idea, then they think they can find it for a certain price point, for instance, but it’s impossible. If they’re not willing to be a little bit flexible with tailoring the menu to work for their event then that can be a hard thing to sell.


LR: The best thing is to get them into a tasting because then you’ll sell them. Maybe they see the price and they don’t realize the work that goes behind it because everything is made from scratch, all natural, by hand. It’s really high quality food and so it does cost a little bit more, but once you taste it you realize the difference and I think that’s the mistake – just try it. Also, we always work with brides and couples to fit their budget as best as we can.


bulgogi bites – scallion pancakes, braised short rib & kim chi cucumbers. yes, please.

Say a couple gets an estimate from you and it’s over the budget they had in mind. Where should they go from there?

AS: Laura is so great at being creative with food to make it fit within someone’s budget. So, I think if a couple is honest with us about, “no, that’s $5-10 off per person, is there any wiggle room there?” then we can throw back another proposal that will fit it more closely. And if it means just tailoring back some of the garnishes or going with more veggies than protein or whatever, there are lots of ways to make it work. I think one of the things to keep in mind as a bride is to be really open and honest with your vendors because it’s not like anything is written in stone until you sign a contract.

What does the week leading up to a wedding look like for Creme?

L: Um, crazy? [both laugh] Hectic. Lots of lists, lots of rewriting lists. Staying up at night with the notes section on your phone. Yeah, it’s crazy.

A: A lot of time in the kitchen doing as much prep ahead of time as possible. And then, the day before and the morning of, throwing everything together and assembling.

L: Our goal really is to make sure that everything is cooked to the point where it needs to be so that it tastes really delicious and fresh and we do the rest of it that we need to on site. We don’t go with every single thing made and just rewarm it. Then everything is delicious and hot and tasty.


What are some of the catering trends you see now that you really gravitate towards?

LR: I mean, obviously farm-to-table is a huge one. We would like to do more of that but it’s really based on the client’s budget. A lot of people can’t afford it. It’s harder to reach more people when you have such a strict policy on what you can and can’t provide for them. And then the DIY stuff – I love brides who are like, “I want to make the invites for my wedding but I don’t know how, can you help me?” I would love to work with people who do that.

AS: One of the things that I love that I think is changing is people having a small cake that they’re just using to cut and then lots of really beautiful desserts that people can eat. I love homemade, beautiful things that taste good that are there just because they taste good not because they look very refined. I think there’s something more beautiful about a big, berry pie that you can cut into and that everyone’s going to enjoy instead of a giant cake that you cut and people sort of pick at it.

L: We really like the non-fondant route with cakes. We like the really nice, rich buttercream that looks like Amanda said – homey and real. You know, real food. I love dessert tables.


bangers & mash cups. I can’t tell which is better – the way they look or they way they smell

If you could throw your dream wedding tomorrow, what would it look like?

LR: Maybe Amanda should answer that [laughs].

AS: I love an outdoor wedding with an indoor component because you always sort of need that as a backup, right? Lots of beautiful lights and kind of mismatched although really unique, beautiful furniture, chairs and things that you can sit on. Paper lanterns, and people just having fun. I think that’s the thing – having everyone feel comfortable and relaxed because it can be hard to be at a wedding for a lot of hours and maintain that kind of energy. A beautiful dessert table; I like being able to sort of nosh throughout the night – I’m not really that into plated dinners. I feel like if you can have some passed things every so often, but also have a station where you can grab a bite when you get hungry, that’s nice. Live music I think is really, really essential.

LR: If I renew my vows, we’ll probably do it – I mean, it sounds really cheesy, but – on a mountain somewhere, just a few people, and maybe just a really casual summer white dress. Barefoot. That’s what I would do. And then lots of champagne… maybe some ceviche or something.


all photos by Stephanie Schertz

0 In Fashion/ Vendors

Hand-Made Monday: Gowns & Dresses by Dahl NYC

Corinne Photo

Hello, Indie Wed community! I’m Corinne Van Arsdale, a wedding coordinator based in Madison, Wisconsin (you can visit my website to learn more about me). I’ll be guest-blogging here on two of my most favorite aspects of wedding planning — small businesses (shopping local) and handmade wedding items! Weddings are great opportunities to give business to small/local companies that do unique and custom work, and I’m so excited to be sharing some of my favorite small businesses and hand-made finds with all of you on Hand-Made Mondays! [Side note: Do you know of a great small business whose work you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it! Send me an email at] Without further ado, let’s dive right in and get to know Alison Dahl Kelly of DAHL NYC!

The perfect wedding gown is like the perfect mate — it should make a woman feel courageous, comfortable, beautiful, and truly like herself. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that independent-spirited brides are turning more and more to like-minded vendors to help them achieve a look reflects their unique personality and perspective.

One such independently-spirited vendor is Alison Dahl Kelly of Dahl NYC, the designer of a gorgeous line of unique gowns and dresses for brides and their favorite ladies. Indie Wed has featured Dahl dresses before (see the post here), but this time Alison was kind enough to answer some of my questions below about her journey to her current line of work (fun fact — it includes Project Runway, one of my most favorite shows), what inspires her, the kind of women she designs for, and her advice for brides-to-be.


{Alison Dahl Kelly in her NYC Studio}

CV: Tell me about the beginnings of Dahl. How did you get into the bridal fashion industry?

ADK: In some form or another, I have always had my own clothing line since graduating from college. In the beginning it was all punk-inspired one-offs made from vintage and surplus fabrics under my first label, Run R1ot (the “1” symbolizing one-offs). I happily sold these mini-collections on consignment in boutiques around LA.

Later, when I moved to New York City, I auditioned and was immediately cast onto the third season of Project Runway. This changed things a bit! Because of the buzz associated with the show, I took the plunge and created a wholesale clothing line called Dahl, named after my Swedish grandmother. Large-scale wholesale fashion production ended up not being the right fit for me at all, so I continued to design tops and dresses to sell through my website while designing select pieces for boutiques with which I’d formed good relationships.

It wasn’t until planning my own wedding in 2011 that I realized the significance of wedding attire. I designed and sewed my wedding gown, seven different bridesmaids’ dresses and three flower girl dresses for my wedding party [the photo below is from Alison’s wedding]. We were all Dahl’d up. This collection of dresses became the catalyst for a new collection–it had struck me that wedding attire can be incredibly meaningful and personal, and that we don’t all fit into the traditional bridal molds of style and aesthetic.

My Wedding

{Alison & her wedding party on her wedding day}

CV: Where do you draw inspiration for your work?

ADK: I would say textiles are the driving source of inspiration. I am forever using muted silks in a range of pastels, soft vintage lace, swishy tulle and I hand dye fabrics for that special touch. I am less trend-driven and more enchanted by vintage silhouettes, especially from the 20s-40s.

I am someone who isn’t afraid to dress up and I find so much expression and personality in clothing. I live in Dahl dresses and sometimes use an occasion to create a new silhouette–for a friend’s wedding in California, or date night, or a day dress. I try to incorporate romantic and whimsical accents into my dresses. I’d like to think that I’m not only creating a dress but a mood… A mood that is at once nostalgic and modern. I strive to make dresses with a lived-in feel, or at least look a bit vintage-y, to seem like they have a past or a story to tell.


{The Clara Gown}

CV: What do you love most about your job/working in the wedding industry?

ADK: I was never one to fantasize about the perfect white wedding, so I was shocked by how much I cherished planning the artistic details of my own celebration. I’ve since learned that this public confession of love can be so beautiful and meaningful, and that everyone has their own idea of what they want, whether it be grand or toned-down. I get a charge out of working with brides on color schemes and fabric choices, to lend a hand in bringing their vision to life.

Creating a custom piece for a client is also an invaluable learning tool. I love to discover what women want, which parts of their bodies they would like to celebrate, or maybe conceal. The biggest gift is when I receive photos from a bride or client; to see my dresses come to life as characters in someone else’s story can be heartwarming and encouraging.

CV: What three words best describe your work and/or the style of your gowns and dresses?

ADK: Whimsical, romantic, bohemian.

CV: How would you describe your ideal customer/the woman you design for?

ADK: The client I have in mind is a shameless romantic, an offbeat bride, a bohemian at heart.

Two Wedding Gowns by DAHL NYC

CV: What are some new/emerging trends you’re seeing in wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses?

ADK: Personalization. I think more people are taking the reins in terms of personalizing their wedding attire by adding color, a homespun touch or wearing a less traditional silhouette. I’ve had more requests for mismatched bridesmaids dresses in either color or style, or both. Many of us ladies want to be able to wear our bridesmaid dresses again, so when given a choice between ten different styles or colors, we are more apt to do so.

As for brides, Dahl clients are definitely looking for something less traditional and more laid back, but with a romantic or ethereal vibe. Ivory, champagne, nude and blush pink are my most popular wedding gown color requests. I don’t think anyone has ever even asked me for a true white dress!

CV: What advice do you have for brides who are choosing their wedding gown?

ADK: I would highly recommend making appointments at two or three bridal salons, for example, an upscale salon, a vintage or second hand salon, and an indie or smaller salon who carries some handpicked selections. Try on a few different silhouettes and see what you like. That strapless princess dress with boning and miles of gathered tulle may look stunning on the rack, but it may look very different on. I just did this with a friend, and every gown she put on reaffirmed her desire for a sheath gown with a train. And it’s fun!

I also recommend taking a look in your closet and studying your favorite garments–what is it about them you love? Keep that in mind when choosing your gown and go with what you feel your best in, not what you think is right.


{The Marni Bridesmaid Dress}

CV: Any advice for choosing bridesmaids’ attire?

ADK: I do think it’s important to have a color scheme in mind when choosing your bridesmaids dresses, and to base your decision on color palate, venue and the vibe which you’re going for. If you’re having a vintage-inspired wedding, you may look for retro dresses, or frocks made with vintage lace. For many brides, the first question from their maids is “what are your colors and what are we wearing?”

I am often approached by brides asking if they can mix and match my dress styles, and I’ll give them a list of which styles can all be made in mint green, or which styles can be made in a palate of pastels. They’ll send their maids to my website and let them choose which style they like best for themselves. I admire this approach and I think everyone wins in the end.

CV: What is one thing that every bride needs on her wedding day?

ADK: A bottle of good champagne while getting dressed with your maids!

CV: Do you create custom gowns and dresses?

ADK: Yes! I welcome custom design inquiries for both wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses. Prices vary depending upon materials utilized and complication of design.

2 Bridesmaid Dresses

{The Posey & Anouk Bridesmaid Dresses}

CV: What is/are your favorite piece(s) you’ve created?

ADK: I still get emotional when I see my wedding party, the collection which ultimately led me to designing wedding attire.

CV: At IndieWed, we love small and/or alternative wedding businesses. Any fellow indie vendors you’d like to send a shout-out to?

ADK: Yes! I love Skip To My Lou, for it’s whimsical, print-inspired customizable wedding invitations & personalized stationery. I love the collection of handmade metallic chartreuse, gold and silver tassels by EverlyLane. Die for these flower crowns by RoguePony. Amazing millinery arts by Laura Kranitz.

CV: Thanks, Alison for spending some time with us! Be sure to check out Dahl NYC’s website, Etsy shop, and Facebook page!