Exhibitor List – Marriott Chicago Downtown

Thank you to all of our attendees who came out for our Marriott Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile Show.  We are providing a list of exhibitors, phone numbers and weblinks as a convenient way for you to refer back to in case you lost a business card or brochure from a vendor you connected with during the show.

Feel free to refer back to this post whenever you may need to.  We have tried our best to provide accurate data, so if you find an error kindly call our office at 847-428-3320 x221 and we will help you to the best of our ability and make the correction. You can also email us at info@bridalexpochicago.com.

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AAA Chicago Travel & Honeymoon

(312) 372-1830


Admit One DJs

(630) 205-8237


After Dark Fantasy Bachelorette Party Ideas

(224) 875-2793


Ann Duncan Designs Florist

(630) 782-6353


Arthur Murray Dance Center

(504) 875-9692


Bella Bianca Bridal Couture

(630) 627-4027


Best Western River North

(312) 410-8873


Baby to Bride Boutique Wedding & Gown Accessories

(773) 536-4269


Bloomingdales Gift Registry

(847) 568-6592


Body Movin Dance Entertainment

(219) 614-6936


Brides By Becky

(630) 788-7816


Brides By Demetrios

(847) 605-0015


Brides By Young

(317) 849-3333


Carson Pirie Scott & Co.

(414) 278-5746


Celebrate Your Sexy Boudoir Photography

(509) 332-2803


Christina Wehbe Photography

(630) 550-7516


Christos Furs Wedding Attire

(708) 562-3877


Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro

(312) 602-2129


DBY Events & Invitations

(847) 755-0861


Disco Movil Power Light DJ Entertainment

(847) 658-2959


Divine Designs And Events (Floral and Event Decor)

(773) 428-0042


DreamBoys Chicago Bachelorette Parties

(312) 265-1823


Eivan’s Photography and Video

(708) 263-4351


Essence Photo And Video

(888) 777-7011


Famous Dave’s Catering

(586) 879-5035


Fetch! Pet Care & Training

(312) 235-2409


Firefly Events & Catering

(224) 408-2464


George Street Photo And Video

(866) 831-4103


Island Getaways Travel & Honeymoon

(262) 787-0048


Kebo Media Video

(312) 801-4984


Kendall College Venue & Catering

(312) 752-2556


Knickerbocker Hotel

(312) 867-7510


Kreative Atmosphere

(630) 699-9033


Layla Eloa Photography

(773) 691-1153


LightRx Face & Body

(248) 579-6772


Lipstick Love Cosmetics

(815) 383-7899


Lisa Hoppe Travel Consulting

(414) 258-8715


Marriott Chicago Downtown

(312) 836-6109


Mary Eugene Creative Veils & Accessories

(312) 720-0831


Men’s Wearhouse

(925) 826-5029


Menguin Formalwear

(479) 243-6205


Mezlan Fine Men’s Shoes

(312) 962-8871


Nerium-Robin McKinley Health & Skincare

(604) 505-6696


Nothing Bundt Cakes-Chicago

(773) 697-9263


Paired Wine Co.

(312) 995-9812


Pazzo’s At 311 Catering & Parties

(480) 518-1930


Severin Photography

(857) 265-6170


Simply Luxe Bridal Boutique

(224) 241-8115


Spinnin’ Discs DJs

(847) 818-8330 x34


Studio M Creations Invitations

(630) 330-7713


Sway Dance Chicago

(773) 772-6204


Sweets and Treats Catering

(815) 703-3079


The Gilded Aisle Wedding Planning

(312) 699-7959


The Godfrey Hotel Chicago

(312) 649-2000


Timothy Whaley & Associates

(630) 271-1737


Trend VIP & Laser Engraving

(630) 408-4058


Trolley Car & Bus Co.

(630) 350-7433


Veiled By Chacha

(630) 790-1328


Virginia Wolff, Inc. Florist

(312) 226-1777


Warm Belly Bakery

(312) 265-0780


Warwick Allerton Hotel

(312) 274-6423


Well Told Weddings Inc. Photography

(224) 478-4245


White Wedding Cinema Wedding Films

(773) 517-6597


Window Works-Addison (Home Decor)

(630) 984-7110


Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront-ownership

(312) 346-4549


Wyndham Vacation Resorts Inc

(407) 626-6153


See link below for all gowns, style numbers, salon sponsors below:

8-17-14 cTo see all bridal gowns featured on our runway with links to each store as well as designers names, style and prices, kindly click this link.













Exhibit With Us and Meet Monte Durham from TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta!”

At Bridal Expo Chicago + Milwaukee, we’re all huge fans of the show “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta,” and we know thousands of Chicago brides and grooms feel the same way. That is why we are so pleased to announce we are bringing celebrity stylist Monte Durham from this TLC Show back this Fall to co-host our luxury bridal show on Wednesday Evening, September 14th, 2016 at Drury Lane Theatre, Oak Brook, IL from 5:00pm to 10:00pm.

Watch the short video below from your smart phone or desktop device to see how exciting our last bridal event was with Monte Durham. A film by by Mirar Productions.

If you are a wedding professional or have a wedding business, you won’t want to miss out on exhibiting at this upcoming show! Call Dena Kill at 847-428-3320 x228 to get pricing and contract details. See more videos here: More Videos!

Our last event in mid February of 2016 drew over 600 registered brides and grooms, and 88 exhibitors.  With additional members of the bridal party, our total attendance exceed 2,000 bridal consumers and decision makers. Needless to say, Monte was incredibly well received and he also visited the show floor to take selfies with every exhibitor and some very lucky attendees.

Visit Our Full Website Here


Above event images by Wasio Photography.

Join us and the incredible Monte Durham on Wednesday Night, September 14, 2016 at the majestic Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook, meet engaged couples and present your best work! We look forward to having you with us for a night of wedding planning, fashion and fun!002_Drury Lane_Luxury Bridal Expo_0O3A9554

This amazing sign was presented by Tone Productions DJ Services.

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Exhibitor booths and detail images by Wasio Photography.

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Above exhibitor booth designed by Divine Designs and Events.

Above images by Just Love Me {Photography + Design}

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Runway Photos

Above runway images by Just Love Me {Photo + Design} Model hair and make up by Tamara Makeup + Hair Artistry.

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Above image: Monte walks out on stage to a roaring crowd of engaged couples!

For more information on this event and how to become a part of it, please contact one of our Sales Managers:

Dena Kill at 847.428.3320 x228 or via email at dena@bridalexpochicago.com.

Michele Johnson at 847.428.3320 x235 or via email at michele@bridalexpochicago.com

Not able to join us for this event? Consider our next upcoming September Bridal Events:

Sunday, September 18th at Hyatt Regency Schaumburg from 11:30am-4pm

Sunday, September 25th at Renaissance Hotel Northbrook from 11:30am-4pm

Visit Our Full Website Here

Take a peek at one of our recent event films below:

We look forward to seeing you all!

–The Staff at Bridal Expo Chicago + Milwaukee Luxury Events

An Exclusive Sneak Peek at the new Martina Liana Collection with Designer Martine Harris!


(Designer Martine Harris pictured center, photo courtesy Martina Liana)

It’s hard to believe, but bridal fashion week is just around the corner (for Chicago, it’s THIS week!) and I had the pleasure of interviewing designer Martine Harris (Martina Liana, Sorella Vita, Essense of Australia, Stella York) on what to expect from her new collections that are about to debut at Chicago Bridal Market!

Jim Verraros: It’s hard to believe, but Chicago Bridal Market is already next week! What can we expect from your new collection for Martina Liana?

Martine Harris: Fall 2016 is all about taking traditional looks to the next level. From modern clean lines to vintage-inspired beading, every detail has been flawlessly taken into consideration. Modern lacework, plunging necklines, and innovative textures are just some of the features on our newest styles. And, as always, every Martina Liana gown is 100% available for custom changes – every element of the design, including fabric, colour, and beading is open for a bride’s reinterpretation so we can deliver a truly couture experience for brides.

JUDE_SANDER AD Martina Liana.Together Forever

(New from Martina Liana, Fall 2016; styles Jude and Sander)

JV: You’ve started a huge trend with the beaded bridesmaid gown for Sorella Vita. Can we expect to see different versions of this to continue?


(Modern Metallics Collection from Sorella Vita)

MH: Yes! We have had amazing success with our Modern Metallic Designer Collection and will continue to offer new matte sequin styles each season. We also have a Modern Metallic gown in our new Juniors Collection so there can be a gown for every member of your bridal party!

JV: I loved your concept of Separates. How have brides responded to them? What’s been the most popular style from the collection?

MH: Our Together.Forever. collection continues to be a favourite among brides, with our most popular styles being the Stevie Skirt and the Cayla Corset. Those are both such incredible pieces – they look amazing together and with any other skirt or top you might love. This season we are thrilled to introduce 13 new pieces to the collection! 6 new styles of corsets and bodysuits, 5 new skirt options, plus a new mini-dress, and a fashion-forward long-sleeved lace jacket with high collar (it can be worn totally sheer or with a solid corset underneath)! From chic and simple to sheer and sexy – the new separates showcase a variety of options perfect for those wanting a truly custom look.


(pictured above, the “Cayla” corset from Martina Liana)

JV: What was your inspiration behind this season?

MH: This season we are focusing on reinterpreting classic dress details such as exposed boning, unexpected textures and volume, illusion tulle backs and, of course, lace! As always, it’s the details that really make each dress a unique work of art. High necklines, golden hues and high-low hemlines all give a modern update to traditional looks. We have carefully matched the perfect details to the perfect design, allowing a bride to show off their personal style in a new and on-trend way. Our new collection continues to emphasize what makes Martina Liana special – that every detail, no matter how small, deserves its own focus and attention.

823 AD2 Martina Liana

(New from Martina Liana, Fall 2016: Style 823)

JV: Describe your favorite piece from this upcoming collection.

MH: I love, love, love our new gown style #791. It’s a sleek, soft column gown made from the most gorgeous Natural Bellagio Crepe. It has long sleeves, which is a really hot trend that I love right now. It also showcases some fabulous details like crepe covered buttons and a cowl back that makes this dress stunning from all angles. My other favourite is style #823, which features some of the most elaborate beadwork we have ever had! With beaded cut-outs, a low back and a Bellagio Crepe skirt – this dress is high-fashion at its finest.

791 AD1 Martina Liana

(pictured above, Martine’s Favorite gown from Fall 2016: style 791)

JV: We’ve seen so many slinky, sexy versions of the white dress. Do you foresee this continuing?

MH: Yes, I think that this trend will continue as long as there are brides that want to look and feel sexy on their wedding day. In regards to Martina Liana, we will continue to offer a variety of gowns in all silhouettes so that every bride can find their dream gown!

JUDE_SIA AD1 Martina Liana.Together Forever

(New for Fall 2016 from Martina Liana; styles Jude and Sia)

Martina Liana available at the following Chicago Bridal Boutiques:

Bella Bianca Bridal Couture, Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois

Volle’s Bridal Boutique, Lake Zurich, Illinois

Click here to see the full Martina Liana Collection!

–Jim Verraros for Bridal Expo Chicago Luxury

Hayley Paige Designer Appearance at Bridal Expo Chicago Luxury Event on January 17, 2016

It was an exciting day at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare on January 17, 2016 when we held our luxury bridal show with special guest celebrity designer Hayley Paige. More than 600 brides and grooms-to-be registered for tickets to experience all that is new and unique in wedding planning.

vendor shotsAll event photos by Vito Rade Photography, all rights reserved.

To-be-weds had the opportunity to see 63 talented wedding purveyors that included popular categories such as wedding photographers, travel agents, DJs, table top décor and florists, bakeries, veils and accessories, Chicago wedding venues, caterers, cinematographers, wedding film makers, men’s formalwear and of course wedding dresses.

Second vendor gridAs couples walked through the venue, they could meet the owners of the area’s best wedding purveyors. Many booked appointments with their favorite vendors, sampled wedding cake, and were able to see all the latest trends in floral. The show also featured several wedding day transportation companies including trolleys and limo buses.

Make up TeamWe had Tamara Makeup + Hair Artistry work with all of our models to create a glamorous and romantic look to mirror the print campaigns in all the leading bridal magazines featuring Hayley Paige. Accessories by Maria Elena Headpieces were the perfect finishing touch.

Hayley smiling wide There were lots of smiles and our models loved meeting Hayley. As the day grew closer to the highlight of the day where we presented the Spring 2016 collection of designer gowns by Hayley Paige, our back stage production crew was busy helping our models get ready.

Hayley Close upAbove, with her hair and make up ready, our guest designer Hayley Paige was ready for her close up for her on-camera interview with Mirar Productions. Our President, Bill Brennan (below left) reviewed presentation notes behind the scenes with Hayley while Philipe Carvalho worked with us to find the perfect lighting to capture Hayley.

4 pic of Hayley, Bill, Jim, TamaraAbove: Hayley kicks up her heels for a snapshot with Jim Verraros. Top right, Hayley with the team at Tamara Makeup + Hair Artistry, bottom left Hayley with our President, Bill Brennan, bottom right, Hayley makes her entrance to an enthusiastic crowd.

Entire groupOnce our models were ready, we had the chance to be photographed moments before the show began by the incomparable Vito Rade of Vito Rade Photography. Pictured here from left to right is Jim Verraros, Executive Vice President, Hayley Paige is center and Carol Tardi our Fashion Director is on the far right next to Bill Brennan, President.

Hayley by herselfOur audience was thrilled to see Hayley as she made her first steps onto the runway to sit down with our Fashion Director, Carol Tardi to share her inspiration behind the collection.

The opening spotlight scene featuring Hayley’s Spring 2016 collection began with each model walking down the runway to an enthusiastic crowd as evidenced by hundreds of camera phones clicking photos of their favorite gowns.

Crystelle and KristenNicoletta,” (left) and “Lily,” (right) by Hayley Paige, photo by Vito Rade Photography

Eliania and AuroGeorgie,” (left) and “Hayley,” by Hayley Paige, photo by Vito Rade Photography

Alijcia solo 2 picsPaige” by Hayley Paige, photo by Vito Rade Photography

Rachel, Step and AlexandraGwen,” “Cali,” and “Comet,” by Hayley Paige, photo by Vito Rade Photography


Andi and ElianiaTanner,” and “Georgie,” by Hayley Paige, photo by Vito Rade Photography, all rights reserved.

The gowns were simply stunning and our team at Spinnin’ Discs provided fabulous lighting for the runway as well as the music styling for the show.

4 Grid of Pics Hayley waivingAside from designing bridal gowns, Hayley also designs a full line of attendant dresses under the name Hayley Paige Occasions.

Hayley has also designed many Red Carpet ensembles for celebrities including Chrissy Teigen, Maria Menounos, Hilary Rhoda, Adrianna Costa and Jamie-Lynn Sigler. Be sure to watch E! News for the next Red Carpet event to see who else might choose to wear a piece from her Red Carpet Collection.

Hayley and Aura Finale“Hayley is an incredible designer and her personality is so kind and loving,” says Jim Verraros of Bridal Expo Chicago Luxury. We were honored and blessed that she was able to take time out of her busy schedule to be with us especially since she travels the country so frequently for trunk shows and designer appearances. I could tell that she was a big hit with our audience because the applause as she walked our runway seemed to last an eternity!”


***For more information on Hayley and/or where to find her gowns, visit Bella Bianca Bridal Couture in Oakbrook and Chicago where you’ll find her collection available for purchase. To schedule an appointment, call 630.627.4027 (Oakbrook) or 312.787.2377 (Chicago).


***Follow Hayley Paige on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram!

An Exclusive Interview with Celebrity Designer Hayley Paige!

The World of Bridal inspires me. Designers inspire me and their newest collections are always something I look forward to seeing at New York Bridal Fashion Week. Designer Hayley Paige for JLM Couture has always been one of those designers to get excited about. Seeing this talent grow into a bridal household name has been a great pleasure of mine to witness. Not only has Hayley created lines for her namesake collection, “Hayley Paige,” but a diffusion line, “Blush by Hayley Paige,” been named the new designer for Jim Hjelm bridal and now has launched Occasions by Hayley Paige. In other words, this bright young star is taking over.


Hayley taking her walk down the runway in New York City; Photo above courtesy Lloyd Johnston III

Needless to say, it’s been a busy few years for Hayley, but she was kind enough to answer a few questions for us leading up to her appearance at our upcoming luxury bridal show this Sunday, January 17th, 2016 at the Marriott Chicago O’Hare where we’ll be showcasing her incredible new collection to more than 2,000 attendees! In our interview, we discuss what’s next, celebrities and her very own wedding where she wore not one, not two but five different outfits during her wedding weekend celebration!


Hayley on her wedding day reviewing her dresses; Photo courtesy CHARD Photographer

Jim Verraros: We need to talk about your gowns you designed and wore for your wedding. They were ALL so AMAZING and you looked impossibly stunning! What was the process in creating them and were there others we didn’t see that you designed that just didn’t make the final cut?


Rehearsal Dinner Gown designed by Hayley Paige; photo courtesy CHARD Photographer

Hayley Paige: I went into the whole wedding wardrobe gambit with a “more is more” mindset. Thus, had I had more time, there definitely would have been more gowns! The process for each was no different than the process of creating an entire collection; each piece embraced a different personality and told a particular story. Aside from the wedding gowns, I also created a rehearsal dinner dress, a boudoir robe for the “getting ready” process and in between changes, and a brunch outfit…complete with a Chiquita banana inspired head piece.

For my first dress, the artwork was inspired by the stained glass windows in our Catholic Church. The flowers were actually hand-painted to give that translucent watercolor effect! The lavender coloring was inspired by my mom because that has always been her favorite color. This gown made me feel like a modern day Aurora from sleeping beauty (and the Haute Bride tiara certainly didn’t hurt anyone); it was just magical!


The new Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Wallis immediately after the exchange of vows outside the church; Photo courtesy CHARD Photographer

My outdoor ceremony was made to be a real “paige-turner” with dashes of Haute Couture elements. I took my favorite Hayley Paige signature ballgown silhouette and added splashes of color with dimensional flower motifs. This embellishment was also hand-painted and subtly beaded throughout. The bodice had more of a modern feel; I wanted that smooth finish that happens when you combine honey and sugar! It reminded me of marzipan in the best way possible. And of course I went for a cropped top for this look, simply because I just wanted to have some fun and be a little brazen.


A romantic moment overlooking the magnificent water in Lake Tahoe, California


Fairy tale kisses during the second ceremony; Photos above courtesy CHARD Photographer

My reception gown was inspired by holograms and comets. I wanted that explosion of sparkle, but not in a traditional rhinestone way. To achieve that iridescent effect, my embroiderer and I worked with unusual alabaster stones and satin-finished elements that change colors in the light. I made this gown with the intention of shining bright and feeling sexy. The daring back neckline, nude illusion tulle, and strategically placed appliques managed to stay in place all evening…. even through the limbo and failed attempts to break dance!


Hayley in her third custom gown during the start of the reception; Photo courtesy CHARD Photographer

JV: You design Jim Hjelm Occasions bridesmaids (which has now been re-named to Occasions by Hayley Paige), Jim Hjelm Bridal, Blush by Hayley Paige and of course, Hayley Paige. How do you do it and keep all of your labels distinct and separate?

HP: I believe you can kind of look at is the way a chef prepares meals. Each course encompasses a different flare and appeases a unique palate. It’s important to go head into the process with an end goal in mind: who am I making this delicious creation for?

JV: You also have an amazing red carpet collection available at the JLM Boutique in West Hollywood, California. Who’s your dream celebrity client to dress and what would you select for her to wear?


Pictured above, Adrianna Costa, Kelsea Ballerini, Peta Murgatroyd and Chrissy Teigen in Hayley Paige on the Red Carpet

HP: I’ve been a mad fangirl of Chrissy Teigen for years. Her sense of humor is ferociously sexy. Ironically enough, she recently rocked our “Bardot” pant suit at the Go90 Sneak Peak event in Beverly Hills! With regards to dressing the red carpet scene, I’ve had the most delightful taste of ice cream, but now I want the whole sundae. Whether it’s doing something custom for the Met Gala or creating costume work for rockstars on tour, wherever our gowns can take us I am ready to wow!

JV: You recently hit 187,000 followers on Instagram! Congratulations! What an incredible accomplishment! How do you think social media influences today’s bride?

HP: I love the personification of it all! Instagram creates a platform to connect with brides/other creative people on a personal level. The content is candid and inspiringly contagious.

JV: You’ve had so many amazing moments over the years with gowns you’ve created: “Dori,” “Carrie,” “Guindon,” “Paloma,” “Babs,” “Keaton,” “Josie,” “Londyn…” I could go on and on. Do you know when a dress is going to have a moment before it’s shown to the public or are you surprised when a gown takes off?


Hayley Paige “Paloma” Gown; Photo courtesy JLM Couture

HP: Every season is an opportunity to get brides, stores, and fashion-supporters alike on their sparkly-tippy-toes. It’s important to balance your assortment and answer a different question with each look, but for the sake of “wow-factor,” I always try to push the envelope; even if it means taking a risk. There is somewhat of a formula to it all, but it’s important to allow that natural reaction to happen. If you go in with too much of an expectation, you become too controlling with it all.


Hayley Paige’s “Dori” Gown; Photo courtesy JLM Couture

JV: You design four collections for bridal and bridesmaids under JLM Couture, you have a Red Carpet collection…will we see a ready-to-wear, lingerie or swimwear line from you?

HP: I sure hope so!!! I used to write comic books and children’s stories when I was really little and I also went through a period of making handbags for all of my mom’s friends. During my educational studies, I did a lot of costume work, styling, and illustrating; I LOVE being eclectic and crafty so anything and everything that the imaginative world touches…I am so down and the sky’s the limit!


Painting above by Hayley Paige

JV: Let’s say Kylie Jenner wants to wear one of your pieces for an event. What would you put her in? {P.S. I’m obsessed with her}

HP: A pink latex power suit! She has phenomenal curves and a unique platform to be fashionable. Some people have negative thoughts towards her, but I don’t have a single bad thing to say…I respect people that can put themselves out there and experiment with their look. I believe in just “doin’ your thang”!

JV: With your schedule these days, you’ve got to be insanely busy. How do you relax and unwind both physically and mentally?

HP: Pretty much anything involving my husband. He keeps me laughing and inspired which is all I need.


Another moment of love on the beach at Lake Tahoe; Photo courtesy CHARD Photographer

JV: What makes you happy? Like really ridiculously over-the-top happy?

HP: Impossibly gorgeous gowns….and unicorns.


Queen Bee, the “unicorn,” was a rescue horse from Reno Riding and a donation was made to the Children’s hospital where Queen Bee visits to cheer up the patients. The dye was of course non-toxic, safe and temporary as Hayley is a lover of ALL animals. Photo courtesy CHARD Photographer


Here I am pictured with Hayley; photo courtesy Brandon Bacquie

**Hayley Paige gowns available at Bella Bianca Bridal Couture in Oakbrook, Illinois and Chicago.

**To schedule your appointment for the upcoming trunk show held at Bella Bianca Bridal Couture in Chicago, Jan. 14th-16th, 2016 call 312.787.2377 where Hayley herself will be in attendance. If you miss this opportunity, don’t worry; this salon carries her collection year round.

Written by Jim Verraros for Bridal Expo Chicago + Milwaukee Luxury Shows


Hayley Paige on Facebook

Hayley Paige on Instagram

Hayley Paige on Twitter

Hayley Paige on Pinterest





An Exclusive Interview with Designer Carlos Ramirez for Liancarlo


Photo courtesy Just Love Me Photography + Design at Bridal Expo Chicago Luxury

As New York Bridal Fashion Week quickly approaches, we had the opportunity to interview designer Carlos Ramirez of Liancarlo, one of the industry’s most respected bridal houses. Designed, manufactured and produced all in Miami, Florida, Carlos is known for his exquisite embroideries and innovative fabric techniques.

Jim Verraros: You attended law school and instead of interning at a firm, you sold a few sample dresses which essentially birthed the start of Liancarlo. Can you describe the very first gown you ever sold?

Carlos Ramirez: The first few pieces I started out with were actually not gowns, but sportswear pieces.  I thought those would be an easier way to break into the market.  It was almost a year or so later that the sportswear began to morph into late day/evening and slowly into gowns.  But the first piece was a very “gypsy” inspired piece with a neckline that fell slightly off the shoulder and antique lace appliqued on a silk chiffon ground. It was the late 80’s after all!


Photos above courtesy Just Love Me Photography + Design at Bridal Expo Chicago Luxury

JV: I love that your whole approach to fashion is how you approach art. Does inspiration begin with a painting that leads into a garment, or is it the other way around? Are they completely separate or very much connected?

CR: It’s ALL connected. Ideas occur in one space and are developed further in another, and that applies to pattern, shape, cut, the use of color… almost anything is “food for thought.”  A couple of seasons ago, while spending a really frustrating day working on new embroidery patterns, I left frustrated and absorbed in thought at the end of the day and went to my regular yoga class.  On the back of the guy in front of me was this small flower tattoo, it looked almost like a cornflower.  Well that was it! I got home and drew up various versions and the next morning I was emailing patterns to Italy for the embroidery.

JV: Your collections have stunning metallic threading and embroideries. Do you have a favorite gown you’ve done that you’re really proud of?


Carlos creating abstract flowers from cut up Italian embroidery for the hem of a gown

CR: It is kind of funny, I don’t get too attached to what I have done, I always think the best gown will be in the next collection. It’s just the way I think.  In every collection I have favorites, but I am always excited about what to do next; that they don’t compare to the ideas or thoughts I have going forward.

JV: We’re heading into New York Bridal Fashion Week very soon! Can you share with us some hints about what we can expect from you for your Fall 2016 Bridal Collection? Any photos or sketches you’d like to share are welcomed. 😉

CR: I will have photos since we just recently did our photo shoot.  That was awesome, we again took over my house and my paintings and the canvas served as a backdrop. It was very cool, it’s like my whole vision blending into an image. This collection is really cool.  There are of course new embroideries; I worked with a new mill to develop this really unique metal threadwork, it’s very fine and delicate, almost like filigree. Beautiful.  Also, I used one embroidery to create abstract flower patterns, it was almost like painting in fabric.  It took forever to cut up and create the flowers since it was the whole hem of a ball gown and then we added crystals.

Liancarlo Pic Grid 1

Liancarlo, Fall 2014 Collection

JV: One of my personal favorite bridal looks you did was on Jamie Lynn Spears who looked timeless and elegant in her Liancarlo gown and gorgeous veil. Who’s your dream celebrity client to dress either as a bride-to-be or for a red carpet event?


CR: I think we have lost perspective on who some of these people are.  I am perfectly content dressing a nice intelligent bride that I meet at one of my trunk shows.  Often times I meet the most fascinating and genuine women at our shows, and I am honored to be part of their happiest day. That works for me.


Carlos designing embroidery patterns above

JV: You’ve recently joined Facebook which I am so excited that you have! You’ve been sharing a lot of your gorgeous artwork lately…how do we purchase a Carlos Ramirez original?


CR: It’s at one gallery for the moment, but I am about to sign up with 2 more galleries.  It will be on my website: https://www.carlosramirezart.com

JV: The bride today is so much different then the bride of ten years ago in terms of style and buying behavior. How do you feel social media has influenced today’s bride?

CR: Obviously greatly, but it’s not just social media, it’s the internet as a whole.  The fact that brides can look at collections, wedding ideas from hundreds of resources, concepts that they may not have thought of before, really helps to expand the realm of creativity when it comes to putting a wedding together.  I think it’s a huge plus; I hear all these stories from brides about what they are thinking of doing for their wedding and think wow, that sounds exciting and fun.

JV: Is there a designer either in bridal or ready-to-wear that you respect or have admiration for?

CR: I actually have had a huge respect for Valentino (the man not the current label) for all of his career.  In many ways he really dressed people and wasn’t just about the hype.

JV: Your gowns can be heavily beaded and embellished and still be as light as a feather! How do you do it?


Photo courtesy Just Love Me Photography + Design at Bridal Expo Chicago Luxury

CR: I work very hard at that.  I always think the person should wear the dress and not vice versa, so I look for ways that they can remain light and wearable.

JV: What would you say is one of the biggest mistakes brides make when shopping for a gown?


Real Bride wearing Liancarlo, style 5806, photo courtesy Troy Grover Photographers

CR: Too much shopping and too many opinions.  Once you have an entourage, you are dressing by committee, don’t do that.  Go with your feelings, have a close friend or relative that knows you help you out, but someone that also respects your individuality.  And by all means when you’ve found the gown, buy it and move on.  Lots of brides spend months looking for a dress, and end up getting confused after having tried on hundreds of styles, that they end with a poor choice.  Stop when it’s right.


Photo of Carlos Ramirez on the runway at Bridal Expo Chicago Luxury courtesy Just Love Me Photography + Design

Thank you so much, Carlos for spending the time with us! We can’t wait to see you in New York for Bridal Fashion Week!

Click on the video below to see the movement of Liancarlo gowns on our runway:

–Jim Verraros

Liancarlo available in Chicago exclusively at Ultimate Bride

To see the collections and to find a retailer nearest you, visit: https://www.liancarlo.com

Follow Liancarlo on Instagram

Follow Carlos Ramirez on Instagram

Like Liancarlo on Facebook

Like Carlos Ramirez on Facebook



An Exclusive Interview with Designer Anne Barge

As you may or may not know, bridal fashion is an integral part of our luxury bridal events, which is why we are SO thrilled to have designer Anne Barge as part of our Luxury Bridal Event tour for 2016!

As we lead into New York Bridal Fashion Week (less than a month away), we asked Anne herself about the bridal industry, where she sees it going next and what we can all expect from her this coming Fall!


Jim Verraros: Since childhood, you’ve become fascinated with weddings and cite your Mother as a source for your inspiration. Can you take us back to a memory of a wedding that’s always stayed within you?

Anne Barge: My mother was an organ pianist and started taking me with her to ceremonies when I was barely three years old. I have one vivid memory of a wedding where the entire church was filled with gardenias. Watching the bride come down the aisle to the wedding march, smelling the sweet floral air, the whole experience was like a fairytale. It was then that I began to focus on my lifelong dream.

JV: Are there other bridal designers or colleagues that you appreciate or have an affinity for?

Anne: When I graduated from college, I worked as Jim Hjelm’s assistant at Priscilla of Boston. He is one of my oldest and dearest friends. As a retailer, I was one of Amsale’s first customers and we have stayed close family friends ever since. Beyond being great people, I think the two are both fabulous designers who have made enormous contributions to our industry.


*Pictured above Anne and James Clifford Hjelm

JV: The Bridal World is constantly evolving and changing; particularly now with the trend of low backs and sexier silhouettes and necklines. Where do you see bridal heading in the next year or two?

Anne: The trend in bridal has definitely gone as low and as bare as it can in recent years. I predict the pendulum will swing back and designers will start to explore more conservative styles. My aesthetic will always be one of refinement, we interpret trends in a way that upholds our timeless and classic style.


Anne Barge “Black Label,” Spring 2016 Collection

JV: One of my favorite red carpet gowns you’ve done was for Amber Riley on Fox’s hit show, “Glee.” Can we expect to see more evening and red carpet from you?


Anne: We loved that gown on her! Joan Rivers claimed it was one of the best dressed of the SAG awards that year. Bridal will always be our main focus, but many of our gowns can be designed in color for evening wear.

JV: There are so many options and choices for Brides today, it can be overwhelming! What is your best advice for a bride who’s shopping for the perfect dress?

Anne: Above all, go to a reputable salon. There are so many fantastic professionals with decades of experience who can help you select exactly what you’re looking for. I should know, I used to be one of them! Keep your fan club small until you have made your final selection. Crowds can be very distracting.

JV: Let’s say there’s an aspiring bridal designer out there, sketching away and hopes to one day become a household name like you. What words of advice would you give to an aspiring bridal designer?

Anne: Work experience is invaluable. Pick a designer you admire and do everything you can to intern, shadow, or work on their staff. There is so much more to our business than meets the eye.


Anne Barge Collection, Spring 2016

JV: New York Bridal Fashion Week is just a few months away. What can we expect from you for your newest collection?

Anne: Our new collection is still in the muslin (cotton fabric) stages, so the finished products will evolve several times before October market. I’m very excited about the next collection, it will embody everything that defines the Anne Barge Bride. She’s timeless with a modern twist. We can’t wait to show you!

JV: How long has it been since you’ve been to Chicago and what’s your favorite thing about our city? We can’t wait to have you!

Anne: It has been a couple of years since I was last in Chicago, but I love your city. My favorite hotel is The Burnham with its Mozart music print drapes, and I love the street shopping on East Oak. Of course, a visit to Belle Vie Bridal is always a must! It’s a beautiful salon.



Pictured above: Anne Barge and Jim Verraros


*Anne Barge Collections available exclusively at Belle Vie Bridal Couture, Chicago.

*To see Anne Barge’s collections, visit: https://www.annebarge.com

*Follow Anne Barge on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnneBargeBride?fref=ts

Anne Barge on Instagram: @annebargebride



*Anne Barge Trunk Show: Sept. 18th-19th, 2015. To schedule your consultation for your Anne Barge gown, call 312.751.2222.


Spring Bridal Events!

Brides, if you’re planning a wedding and you’re on the hunt for wedding professionals to help assist in making your dream day perfect, don’t miss our schedule of April Luxury Bridal Events.

Sunday, April 12th at the Marriott Chicago Northwest in Hoffman Estates


Sunday, April 19th at the Doubletree by Hilton Oakbrook

Welcome to the DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago- Oak Brook Hotel

Sunday, April 26th at Georgio’s Banquets in Orland Park


Not only will you have the opportunity to book appointments with our exhibitors, but you’ll also have the chance to see the top designers in bridal and bridesmaids on our gorgeous runway! Names like Ines Di Santo, Lazaro, Liancarlo, Mira Zwillinger, Inbal Dror, Edgardo Bonilla, Yaki Ravid, Johanna Johnson, Hayley Paige, Alvina Valenta, Matthew Christopher, Tara Keely, Sophia Tolli, David Tutera, James Clifford, and bridesmaids by Alvina Valenta, Jim Hjelm Occasions and Noir by Lazaro.


{photo above courtesy Just Love Me Photography + Design}

To order your four complimentary tickets to any of the events mentioned above, visit our website at: www.BridalExpoTickets.com and use the Promo Code, FB-Spring! We look forward to seeing you and to helping you assist in your wedding planning!

Jim Verraros for Bridal Expo Chicago + Milwaukee Luxury Events


An Afternoon with Ines Di Santo

It’s not every day we have the pleasure of welcoming a celebrity designer to one of our events. Ines Di Santo is a celebrated designer of bridal and evening couture, but more importantly, she gives each gown her personal touch: “Your wedding day is your chance to have your red carpet moment, and I’m here to help you look and feel amazing.”


Her sense of glamour and vibrant femininity inspires every appointment. She custom fits luxury to your body and spirit with her mastery of tailoring and construction that has been perfected over countless brides in the United States, Canada and beyond. Combining her European aesthetic with her innate sense of design, she experiments with swathes of silk, lace, embroidery and embellishments to effortlessly create your perfect gown.

We had the distinct pleasure of featuring her and her newest Fall/Winter 2015 collection at our event on Sunday, February 22nd at the Marriott Michigan Avenue in Chicago.


Not only did she captivate our audience with her words of inspiration, but the gowns truly made a statement on our runway.




To learn more about Ines Di Santo and to view her entire collection, visit her official website: www.inesdisanto.com. To schedule an appointment for your Ines Di Santo gown viewing, visit Chicago’s official Ines Di Santo retailer, www.bellabianca.com.

To see our event film captured by Mirar Productions, click below:

Thank you to: Marriott Michigan Avenue, Tamara Makeup + Hair Artistry, Ines and Veronica Di Santo, Bella Bianca Bridal Couture, Just Love Me Photography + Design and Mirar Productions.

An Evening of Bridal Luxury with Matthew Christopher


One of our most favorite venues to host our luxury bridal events is the majestic Drury Lane Theater, located in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. The incredible chandeliers, the history behind this venue and the incomparable service all lend themselves to a truly magical experience.
We were lucky to have designer Matthew Christopher with us for the evening, as we showcased his newest 2015 “Reflection of Inspiration” collection to over 1,200 attendees. This collection was filled with impeccably fitted gowns, beading and his signature laces that the industry has come to know and love from Matthew.


To shop Matthew Christopher’s collection, visit our Preferred Retailers:

Dimitra’s Bridal Couture in Chicago, Illinois: 312.787.0920


Volle’s Bridal Boutique in Lake Zurich, Illinois: 847.438.7603


Wolsfelt’s Bridal in Aurora, Illinois: 630.896.7166


A special thanks to Tamara Makeup + Hair Artistry, Just Love Me Photography + Design and Mirar Productions for helping to make our event a true success!

To see a sneak peek of our event with Matthew, click on the link below:



Jim Verraros for Bridal Expo Chicago Luxury