A Libationist's Wedding

Hello Friends!

I know, I know—it’s been a while!  This spring and summer have been crazy busy and full of amazing stuff; namely, I married the love of my life, John.  Our wedding day was the best day ever.

lauren and john wedding photo booth

John and I planned our wedding in under six months.  Yes, you read that right!  We didn’t want to deal with a long and drawn-out engagement, so we set the earliest date possible and jumped right into the planning process.  I learned a lot from planning our wedding and I’d like to share my newfound wisdom with you brides-to-be!

1. Don’t try to do it all.  John and I didn’t worry about any of the things that everyone says you "have to" include.  We kept the focus on us and included the details that made the two of us happy.  That focus eased our planning process and made it more enjoyable for us to do together. 

2. Create a timeline and share it with everyone on your wedding team.   A timeline helped us communicate the step-by-step details of our big day and the days leading up to it.  Because of our detailed timeline, everyone understood our game plan and knew their roles and responsibilities.  Basically, the timeline helped everyone in our wedding group to be on the same page.
Speaking of our group of people, we couldn’t have pulled the day off without the help of many.  Montesaro’s was the perfect space for us and their staff did such a great job.  Especially Maria Montesaro, who gave us many helpful suggestions and made the planning process easy.  A special thank you to my bridesman, Kyle.  He handled all of his duties like a pro and even reminded the groom that he wasn’t allowed to be tenser than the bride…and I was cool as a cucumber! 

3. Expect at least one thing to go wrong.  Now that I think about it, this was probably the best piece of advice that we received.  We kept the vibe of our wedding very chill.  But it was helpful to know that things out of our control could happen and that it would be okay if they did. 

4. Make your wedding, YOUR wedding. John and I have a fun tradition of going on 50’s-style dates like mini golfing and a milkshake afterward. So, we decided to incorporate that into our wedding.  On our big day, we went to the Bunny Hutch and took a few wedding photos on-site. Those shots are some of our favorites because they aren’t cookie-cutter photos, they reflect our unique personalities, and they represent our special relationship. 

lauren and john wedding and horse

5. Punch it up with a special cocktail. Of course, there were cocktails!  You may recall that I featured a few aphrodisiac cocktails on this year’s Valentine’s episode of the Steve Harvey Show. One of the cocktails, The Aphrodite, included mead.  I just love the story about mead and thought it was befitting our wedding. As a special touch, we included the Aphrodite cocktail recipe on the back of our invitations for our guests to make at home. 

So, what’s next? Well, I’m excited to announce that I’ve joined the awesome team at Loews Chicago Hotel.  If you haven’t made it over to visit us yet, you have to change that—STAT!  Stop in for a drink and say hello. 

loews chicago hotel

Also, Sub Rosa is alive and thriving!  We recently had a vintage Spanish-inspired Sub Rosa event that you can read all about on the Kissing Booth Blog.  

We’re planning a couple more for the year and you can get all of those details as they become available by following me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram


Spring Has Sprung With Exciting News!

When April comes around, we automatically have warm weather on our brains—even us Chicagoans who know better.  Spring, more than any other season, represents the launch of something new and beautiful new beginnings have recently budded in my life. I’m bursting to share all of it with you, so here we go!

After a few great years with the W Hotels Chicago, I’ve moved on to a new and exciting opportunity with BIN 36.  Many of you are familiar with BIN 36 and its previous location across from the House of Blues Chicago.  Well, we’ve relocated to the West Loop and we’re opening with gusto!  I’ll be managing an amazing and talented team at the new BIN 36.  In anticipation of the warm weather, you’ll be happy to know that we’ll be unveiling a primo patio as well as a beautiful private event space.   If you’re planning a spring or summer event, shoot me an email at lparton@bin36.com and I’ll give you all of the dets.  Tell your friends and mark your calendars for April 10th and get ready to say hello to amazing food, wine and cocktails!

Speaking of cocktails… here are a few new spring cocktails that I’m currently obsessing over.  In each cocktail, I’ve highlighted a few of the best flavors of the season.  Give them a try and tag me on Facebook or Twitter with your feedback.

Spring Awakening
1 oz Effen Cucumber
1/2 oz Raspberry Vodka 3/4 oz lime juice 3/4 oz Agave nectar 2 dashes cherry bitters
Elio Perrone Moscato
Directions: Shake and strain and top with Elio Perrone Moscato.

Low Thai’d
2 oz Ransom Aquavitae Grappa
1/2 oz lychee syrup 1/2 oz lime juice Basil leaf Tsp chili flakes 2 dash celery bitters
Thai basil (garnish)
Pickled Fresno chilies (garnish)
Directions: Shake and double strain.  Garnish with Thai basil and pickled Fresno chilies.

April Showers
1/2 plum tomato muddled
1 tsp chili flakes
Pinch of salt 1/2 oz lime juice 3/4 oz Combier Kümmel 1 1/2 oz St. George Botanivore gin
Lime twist (garnish)
Directions: Shake and strain. Top with homemade curry soda and garnish with lime twist.

Well, I’ve saved the best for last.  The last piece of news I’d like to share with you… I’m engaged!  My wonderful guy (John), made it official while we were on vacation in Costa Rica.   Yup!  He put a ring on it—during a phenomenal sunset on a Costa Rican beach surrounded only by blue waters and white sand.  It was one of the most precious moments ever.  Wedding planning is in full effect and I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the latest and greatest.

So, there you have it: a new job, a few new seasonal cocktails and a new fiancé!  I’m embracing all of the newness in my life and I’m excited for the journey ahead.  I hope you are too!  Cheers to us and all of our fresh starts this spring season.