July & August Wedding Recaps

July and August were very busy months! I had a baby boy at the end of July so I decided to combine these two summer months 🙂 We LOVE July and August at the estate because all of the wildflowers and greenery are fully bloomed and thriving in our prairie!  ♥(Did you know, Monte Bello has the largest privately owned wildflower preserve in Illinois?!) In these two months we had 11 weddings, 2 birthday parties and 1 bridal shower.

Here are some of the trending and unique parts from July and August weddings…

♦ Noteworthy entree options:

Shrimp and Scallops with sides of asparagus and red skin potatoesimg_7199

Quinoa stuffed eggplant with asparagus and an avocado cream sauceimg_7316

Teriyaki ginger salmon with risotto and asparagusimg_7318

Chicken champagne with a double baked potato and asparagus986-160702-vanessa-phil-wedPhoto Courtesy of Liz Lui Photography lizlui.com

♦ Weddings in July started off with some fantastic live music including a Mariachi Band!779-160702-vanessa-phil-wed816-160702-vanessa-phil-wedPhotos Courtesy of Liz Lui Photography  lizlui.com 

♦ Beautiful flower arch


♦ This couple choose to have their ceremony in our forest (rather than the gazebo)..it turned out AMAZING! I recommend using Posh Productions for your ceremony music/mic needs if you would also like to have your ceremony in the woods.img_7312img_7313img_7311img_7314

♦ A fun Cigar Bar for guests to enjoy!monique-and-rob-1912monique-and-rob-1718monique-and-rob-1979Photo Courtesy of http://www.ericgeephotography.com 

♦  Different linen colors that make a bold statement monique-and-rob-1634Photo Courtesy of http://www.ericgeephotography.com 



♦ Having a sweets table was a hit this summer!

♦ We ♥LOVE♥ that more brides have been wearing their veils during the reception, not just the ceremony 881-160702-vanessa-phil-wedPhoto Courtesy of Liz Lui Photography lizlui.com

♦ A classic, elegant theme that wow’s guestsdana_and_evan-26

♦ Having menu cards was popular as well as adding on a choice second entree for guests to indulge in :

For every table:


For every guest:monique-and-rob-1624Photo Courtesy of http://www.ericgeephotography.com 

♦ Some couples put their engagement photos to good use by personalizing their card box with some great photos


Greenery everywhere for summermonique-and-rob-1628Photo Courtesy of http://www.ericgeephotography.com 


♦ Reusing ceremony signage that double as a guest book for the reception dana_and_evan-10dana_and_evan-29-1720-160702-vanessa-phil-wedPhoto Courtesy of Liz Lui Photography lizlui.com

S’mores are still the most popular add on for 2016! monique-and-rob-2028Photo Courtesy of http://www.ericgeephotography.com 


Drone Videos have also been big this summer! Check out our Facebook page for the most current drone footage from a recent wedding and STAY TUNED because we also had a drone of our own go through the estate recently! I will post that soon 🙂

Have you noticed any neat trends or unique parts of weddings you have been to this summer?

♥ Sara  Sara@TheMonteBelloEstate.com



June Weddings Recap

June was a gorgeous month at the estate filled with beautiful flowers blooming everywhere, nice weather, and eight Friday and Saturday weddings with the sweetest couples and families! Here are a few things that were very popular this month…

S’mores are definitely the most popular wedding add-on right now! Having the bonfire turned on is a separate add-on from s’mores, whereas the four wine barrels are where your guests will enjoy the ambience of roasting their marshmallows right outside the estate! Yum!  *(shown in photos are two brown S’MORES boxes, glassware & ingredients for s’mores, sticks, S’mores signage, and four wine barrels that are ALL INCLUDED when you choose to add on s’mores as your late night snack! Upgrade the experience even more by having the bonfire turned on separately) download21


Chargers were very popular this month in both silver and gold

Swahlstedt-0096(photo courtesy of Wes Craft Photography at http://www.wescraftphotography.com )

♦ Upgraded runners and floral garland runners to make the head table stand outIMG_4311 download8.jpeg

(photo courtesy of Wedding Bug Studios)

♦  Monogrammed pillowsDSC_1571

♦ Beautiful and personal indoor ceremonies..complete with bubbles! (Photos Courtsey of Wes Craft Photography at http://www.wescraftphotography.com )Swahlstedt-0083Swahlstedt-0086

Summer themed weddings like garden inspired, playful citrus centerpieces, wildflowers, colorful glasswareIMG_4244



♦ Guests enjoying our new outside patio space during the receptionDSC_1588

Wedding signage DSC_1601Sign courtesy of Greenstar Paperie

Uplighting color #19 that adds a soft, romantic glow to the reception spaceDSC_1650download18(photo courtesy of Wedding Bug Studios)

♦ Adding on a Wine Tasting Experience during cocktail hour complete with a wine host to explain the different characteristics of each wine you select and give your guests an unforgettable, fun experience!



Did you know, June is one of the two most requested wedding months at the estate? The other being September.

♥ Sara    Sara@TheMonteBelloEstate.com





Parties, Showers & Corporate Events

Monte Bello does it all with attentive service and impeccable food, making it a premier venue for parties and events. We recently held a large corporate event at the estate as well as a wedding shower, an engagement party, and my baby shower. I am excited to show you some photos of these events as inspiration to plan your next event at Monte Bello!

IMG_4709 (002)IMG_4710 (002)IMG_4711 (002)IMG_4713 (002)IMG_4714 (002)IMG_4715 (002)IMG_4717 (002)

2016-05-15 13.27.182016-05-15 13.27.462016-05-15 13.28.422016-05-15 13.36.202016-05-15 13.47.472016-05-15 15.32.29-22016-05-15 14.09.25DSC_1422DSC_1806DSC_1860DSC_1871IMG_4066DSC_1874DSC_1882DSC_209613346366_10207849587429616_7180928240833912878_o13415516_10207849589709673_3110818293348655831_o13422444_10207849590029681_5112010582528871330_o13423749_10207849589549669_3609404301447528761_nIMG_4737Petit Fourspetit fours 2chocolate petit foursIMG_4739IMG_4740IMG_4742IMG_4743IMG_4744IMG_4745

Don’t you love a great party?

♥ Sara


May Wedding Recap

May was full of beautiful ceremonies and receptions that had a blend of classic traditions and fresh, modern receptions in our glass tent. Here are some of the unique pieces I loved from our May weddings with photos…

♦ Multiple weddings added on use of our Yard Games (one cocktail hour had to be moved inside because of the weather but that didn’t stop them from playing!)IMG_3355

♦ Lilac chair covers and napkins and runnersIMG_3184

♦ One bride surprised her guests (and groom!) with having this horse and carriage bring them to the gazebo ceremony site (Jim & Beckys Carriage) IMG_3354

♦ Bagpipe introduction for the bride and groomIMG_3162

♦ One sweet couple brought in a roulette table for their guests to play for funIMG_3716

♦ Upgraded wines to be Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc, J Winery Cuvee Brut, King Estate Signature Pinot Noir for dinner and bar service (YUM!)Food and Beverage

♦ A personalized gallery wall from Details   (detailschicago.com)IMG_4037

♦ Adding on a fourth Hor d’Oeuvres was very popular this month with four of our couples offering the expanding selectionIMG_4066

Indoor Ceremony IMG_3368

♦ Fun group photos right after the ceremony unnamed

Uplighting to enhance the reception IMG_3375

♦ Highlighting special tables like the cake table with a special linen selectionIMG_3650

Unique photo spots around the estate (Photo by Korto Photo) 13320435_1303884662974153_7737145847262144026_o

Signature DrinksIMG_3153



Other noteable unique add ons from this month’s fabulous weddings….

♦ Three couples added on the late night snacks of a taco bar!

♦ Several couples added on the Rent The Estate For The Day so they were able to come into the estate five and a half hours before their ceremony start time

Wildflower Month at Monte Bello

May is officially Wildflower Month at The Monte Bello Estate and we are so proud to share with you what we have been doing around the grounds. We have started a reseeding project that will help save Monarch Butterflies! Milkweed seeds are the only plant Monarch Butterflies will lay their eggs on so we have covered our native prairie in these seeds. Did I mention our seeds are also safe for other animals like birds AND helps promote wildlife diversity? Monarch Butterflies are GREAT pollinators that will help keep the prairie in its native state!

In a way, couples who book their wedding here are helping save the Monarch Butterflies and the beautiful habitat they live in 🙂  Can’t wait to share some photos of when all the butterflies start to come in!


♥ Sara      Sara@TheMonteBelloEstate.com

Early Access For The Day

We had a full weekend of weddings and baby showers (yours truly) last weekend and could not have been more excited! Many couples like our newly weds from last weekend are taking advantage of adding on the option to “Rent The Estate For The Day”. Renting the estate for the day is a relaxing way to start your special day with your whole bridal party gathered together under one roof with four additional hours of preparation time (on top of the hour and a half you already have included), photo opportunities, and exclusive use of the estate home, tent, and grounds.

Our bridal suite has been FULLY renovated from floor to ceiling and the groom’s suite is still just as fun and man cave like as it was before, complete with a pool table, poker table, foosball, and even a craps table! The bridal suite now offers plenty of seating for you and your whole bridal party with furnishings from Z Gallerie, Restoration Hardware, and Walter E. Smithe.  There is an elegant area you can display your ♥ gorgeous wedding dress you have been dreaming about wearing since you purchased it 8 or so months ago. The new bridal suite bathroom has fantastic natural lighting and vast counter space so your hair and makeup team can come on site without a worry.

bridal suite


In addition to all the renovations the bridal suite has undergone we have also added in a very posh wine/champagne refrigerator finished with a granite countertop. You can now toast with your favorite girls and bottle of bubbly one last time before you become a Mrs. Don’t worry we have not forgotten about your other half! We offer a list of craft beers for your other half and his side of the bridal party to purchase and sip on while relaxing and taking advantage of all the groom’s suite has to offer.

You can contact your venue coordinator to secure your Rent The Estate For The Day for your special day! Speaking from my experience last weekend, it was so nice to have all my girlfriends, sister, and mom in the bridal suite getting ready together and talking about how excited we were for the big shower just hours away! We had three curling irons going and lots of shared hairspray and lipstick 🙂

Such fun memories before the BIG memory!

♥ Sara





Meet The Monte Bello Team

Can you believe we are only 18 days away from wedding season? Are the May and June couples starting to get butterflies?!! We are booked every single Saturday, and in some months we are booked every Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday! Your MB Venue Staff are so eager for the season to start and to see our couples we have been working so closely with, and see their big day come to life!!! ♥


Get To Know Your MB Venue Coordinators


Abbey Tyrrell, Director of Sales & Events

What is your favorite part of being an Event Host?

♥ Building a relationship with the client during such a fun, exciting, and emotional time in their life, and being there to watch their whole vision come to life from their first tour of the estate until the actual wedding day when all of the details are in place… Being a part of someone’s best day is very rewarding

Morning or night?

♥ Night!

Go to work outfit?

♥ Midi dress, black cardigan, ballet flats, and a watch

Five Favs?

♥ My nieces & nephew. Dinner and wine nights with my boyfriend and/or friends. Chocolate & Cheese. Pinterest.

What is your Starbucks order?

♥ Grande cold brew iced coffee with two shots of espresso and toffee nut… also a venti ice water when I’m feeling needy. 😉

Favorite season?

♥ My favorite season is Spring, when everything is coming back to life! However, my favorite month, especially at the estate, is August – you cannot beat the lush greenery and late sunsets

Favorite wedding trend?

♥ Rose gold, everything! I have always been a fan of neutral color palettes with a pop of color, and the pop of a metallic tone is even better, in my opinion!

Favorite flower?

♥ Peonies!!! So much so that it makes me reconsider an August wedding for spring nuptials – is it wrong to plan my future wedding around a flower?

Favorite wedding cake flavor?

♥ Tracey’s caramel cake with caramel mousse, but don’t tell my love, chocolate

Appetizers or dessert?

♥ Appetizers! I could make a meal of hors d’Oevures and be the happiest Abbey

Favorite way to stay organized?

♥ My daily planner – you probably wouldn’t catch me dead without it

What wedding planning tools do you recommend to brides & grooms?

♥ I love flipping through bridal magazines and pulling the pages that strike me – I’ll totally be that bride-to-be with an organized wedding binder. Pinterest and The Knot fall high on my list of wedding planning must-haves, too

Best advice you’ve ever received?

♥ Fall in love with the process and the results will come



Sara Nili, Director of Marketing and Special Events

What is your favorite part about working at the estate?

♥  I love the initial meeting of our clients and getting to know them and how they came to be at Monte Bello and their vision for their big day. Then seeing everything come together on their wedding months or years later is such an emotional, rewarding experience

Morning or night?

♥ Night, my best ideas happen around 1am

Go to work outfit?

♥  Always a dress with wedges or tiny heels and a fab statement necklace

Five Favs?

♥ Family, all my babies: furry babies Ellie and Hobbes and our first tiny human baby due in July, adventures, glamping, and taking too many pictures

What is your Starbucks order?

♥  I am more of a bacon, egg, and gouda Starbucks sandwich kind of girl more than coffee. That’s actually what I ate the morning of my wedding!

Favorite season?

♥ Summer

Favorite wedding trend?

♥ “Flower Bombing” everywhere from ceremony to cocktail hour to reception. I love a beautiful flower arch for the ceremony that can be repurposed throughout the reception. I also love monograms everywhere!

Favorite flower?

♥ Lily of the Valley

Favorite wedding cake flavor?

♥ Red velvet with so much buttercream

Appetizers or dessert?

♥ If the appetizers are meatballs and the desserts are cookies, then both!

Favorite way to stay organized?

♥ My black alligator planner that has TONS of lists in it. Those lists contain many little lists categorized by different colored pens and highlighters of course

What wedding planning tools do you recommend to brides & grooms?

♥ As a recent bride I ripped out pages from tons of bridal magazines and used The Knot and Style Me Pretty’s website, Facebook, and Instagram. I also used a day of coordinator for my wedding and months leading up to the big day (highly recommend!)

Best advice you’ve ever received?

♥ Do what you love and everything will fall into place



Katie Covalle, Executive Director

What is your favorite part about working at the estate?

♥  Seeing how overwhelmingly happy the couples and their families are when their big day comes together with flawless service from our Monte Bello staff

Morning or night?

♥ Mid Morning at 9:00am I am a rockstar

Go to work outfit?

♥  A dress with amazing accessories

Five Favs?

♥ The Ocean, the Sun, Yoga, Travel, Wine

What is your Starbucks order?

♥  Venti in Dark Roast or Trenta iced coffee

Favorite season?

♥ Summer!!

Favorite wedding trend?

♥ Glamor in neutral tones. Greige

Favorite flower?

♥ Rinocculous and Snap Dragons

Favorite wedding cake flavor?

♥ I don’t have a favorite cake flavor; I prefer a sweet table with some candy elements

Appetizers or dessert?

♥ Hands down Appetizers!

Favorite way to stay organized?

♥ Abbey

What wedding planning tools do you recommend to brides & grooms?

♥ Hire a wedding planner

Best advice you’ve ever received?

♥ Listen



Courtney Troyner, MB 2016 Intern

Why are you most excited to be interning at Monte Bello this season?

♥  I am most excited about being an intern with Monte Bello because I get hands on experience. Not only do I get to learn more about the event planning business I actually get to be part of the process and see how it all comes together. I cannot wait for my first event this summer and see the client reactions to their big day!

Morning or night?

♥  Night, I feel I am most creative then

Go to work outfit?

♥  A Dresses with a small heel or booties and of course add a little jewelry with it!

Five Favs?

♥ Friends, family, flowers, shoes, and anything sweet

What is your Starbucks order?

♥  When in season a peppermint mocha and a blueberry muffin. Other than that I’ll just take a blueberry muffin

Favorite season?

♥ Summer

Favorite wedding trend?

♥  A Simple wedding with a lot of colorful flowers, and personal touches throughout the day/evening

Favorite flower?

♥  I have two of them Roses and Gerbera Daisy

Favorite wedding cake flavor?

♥  Chocolate with chocolate frosting

Appetizers or dessert?

♥ Dessert, from cake, to cupcakes, to cookies and ice cream and the list could go on

Favorite way to stay organized?

♥  Listing everything that needs to be done and giving it a certain time to finish. The best feeling is being able to cross something off of a list!

Best advice you’ve ever received?

♥ I was always told if I can put my mind to it I can do anything. And that things won’t always be perfect, but if I fall or hit a bump in the road, get back up and keep going because I’m not alone in this life, I have my family and friends cheering me on and eventually everything I have worked for will pay off

Popular Wedding Day Add Ons

With wedding season only 40 days away many couples are asking about different add ons to make their special day even more special! Our most popular add on is the late night snack option which includes mini cheeseburgers, hot dogs, pizza, taco bar, finger sandwiches, and s’mores. We are so excited to be offering s’mores around our bonfire or inside on a sterno now! Stay tuned for photos of our s’mores spread this upcoming season. Our servers bring out late night snacks one hour before the event concludes for your guests to enjoy while dancing and celebrating. My personal favorite is the mini cheeseburgers because they are easy to eat and delicious! ♥

Add On



A sweets table is another very popular add on that guests of all ages love to indulge in! I actually made a huge sweets table my favor to guests at my wedding because who doesn’t love some sweet treats?! ♥Our in house pastry chef makes delicately decorated petit fours, delicious mini cupcakes in a variety of flavors, chocolate dipped strawberries, chocolate chip brownies, cookies, tarts, mini carrot cakes and SO MUCH MORE!

petit fours 2Petit Fourswedding-463chocolate petit fours


Our favorite wedding day add on is uplighting because it is visually such a powerful element when planning your décor – it sets the tone for any occasion and is a great way to carry your theme and color palette throughout cocktail hour and the reception by adding dramatic flair and ambiance to the event space. We recently purchased the newest, state-of-the-art,  wireless LED uplighting!

0242015-10-23 18.23.58


Thoughts?! Enjoy the gorgeous and unusual March weather!!

♥ Sara


Wedding Linens

Have you thought about your wedding linens yet? Not to worry! We have some great (and fun!) information about what’s the big deal about linens and choosing the right ones for your special day.

As a recent May bride I knew nothing about linens until my wedding planner showed me what my room could like with the standard white linens and napkins, and what it could look infused with my wedding colors that really set the tone for a fun, party like reception space. Having uplighting and upgraded linens was something I was unsure of at first, but I would one-thousand percent do it again! Both uplighting and linens are visually the most powerful elements when planning your décor. It creates the ambiance for your wedding and carries your theme and color palette by adding dramatic flair.



Cocktail hour linens are sometimes forgotten about but it shouldn’t be since you really don’t need many! A few high boy tables in a rose-gold sequin linen has the warm tone that sets the anticipation for guests to get excited about seeing your reception space you have planned out so perfectly. Perhaps you are going for a more classic look and wanting to have your wedding color of navy incorporated so you can have your high boy table in a gorgeous satin navy with the tie in a deep emerald jewel color. Not having high boys? No problem! Set the elegance from the get go by having your bar linens be a beautiful satin color in your wedding palette.


Reception linens should be a reflection of your and your fiancés personality and style. There are a variety of colors, styles, textures, and sizes to choose from. White linens come with our Classic package, and your choice of colored poly linens come with our Signature and Premier packages.

Photo Oct 10, 6 43 17 PM (1)Photo Sep 13, 4 23 35 PM



Within Reception Linens you can have Overlays and Table Runners added to the table for a polished look. Below are some examples of linens shown with overlays (top layer over table cloth) and table runners. Overwhelmed? Don’t be! Here at Monte Bello we think a simple table runner and colored napkins is an easy and beautiful way to compliment your décor. 

Photo Oct 03, 6 53 03 PMIMG_1397




For finishing touches we love adding chargers (base plates) that enhance your tabletop décor and elegantly compliment your event design. Chair ties are another finishing touch that some couples are interested in adding for their special day. See below for charger and chair tie examples.


Monte Bello Estate_Vanderschoot_T_GH_DK_2042



Photo Jul 19, 2 07 04 PMPhoto Oct 03, 6 08 37 PMPhoto Oct 17, 6 38 07 PMIMG_0296


*We love helping you select your wedding linens so don’t hesitate to email us or schedule a time to come into the estate and go through our linen book together 🙂 You can contact me at Sara@TheMonteBelloEstate.com for questions or meetings

Happy Wedding Planning!


Highlights From 2015

I wanted to share some of my favorite photos from the 2015 wedding season at Monte Bello. We had so many unique weddings with such beautiful couples under our ownership as The Monte Bello Estate. I am looking forward to kicking off our 2016 season and sharing highlights from each of the weddings with you all! -Sara


2015-10-23 16.25.38Alex and Rebecca-44411201868_1643407885900256_8324869235510840868_nIMG_0710 updatedTS_Gal0845TS_Gal0754


2015-10-23 21.19.38


Photo Oct 17, 5 46 26 PM (1)Photo Oct 03, 6 53 03 PMPhoto Sep 12, 6 39 27 PM

Photo Oct 10, 6 43 17 PM (1).jpg

Monte Bello Estate_Vanderschoot_T_GH_DK_0372-Edit.jpg



Photo Sep 26, 7 25 37 PM2015-10-23 17.47.30receptiontreeTS_Gal0820

Congratulations to ALL of our wonderful 2015 Brides and Grooms!! Big thank you to all of the talented photographers who captured all of these timeless memories  (Photo Credit: Timothy Whaley and Associates, Being Joy Photography, Feather Print Photography, T & C Photographie, Greyes Photography, Xcite Photo, and Image Icon).