10 Wedding Vendors Carats & Cake’s Jess Levin Loves for a Midwestern Celebration

Some of the most exclusive planners, florists, and photographers can be found in the Midwestern states. Here, the founder and CEO of Carats & Cake shares her favorites among the group.

Chicago Botanic Garden
Photo by Three Nails Photography

The Venue

Chicago Botanic Garden

Nearly 400 acres of opulent gardens make up this setting, which includes two of Chicago’s most requested wedding locations: the famed McGinley Pavilion and English Walled Garden. Private tours can be requested. 

Kingen Smith
Photo by KingenSmith

The Photographers


Located in the Chicago neighborhood of Logan Square, this family-owned photography company works in-house in one of the city’s most historic buildings to edit, design, and process all photos. A lifetime guarantee accompanies all KingenSmith images to ensure they last long after your wedding day. 

Beale & Wittig
Photo by Beale & Wittig

Beale & Wittig

Originating from Buenos Aires and Boston, this Chicago-based pair draw on their diverse backgrounds, as well as their degrees in photography, for a unique perspective. Their work is featured in galleries around the world.

Photo by Liz Banfield

Liz Banfield 

Known for her stunning ability to capture moments in a classic way, Minneapolis-based Liz Banfield is a true fine art photographer. Her work has been widely published and time and time again she has been recognized as one of the industry’s best. 


See a Wedding Shot by Liz Banfield
Photo by Carasco Photography

Carasco Photography

After 10 years of acquiring prestigious clientele, including celebrities and famous athletes, Carasco Photography has become one of Chicago’s most renowned photography companies. This husband-and-wife duo continues to grace the covers of numerous publications and media outlets as a result of their success. 

Bliss Weddings & Events
Photo by Liz Banfield

The Wedding Planners

Bliss Weddings & Events

Opened in 2000, this full-service planning and design company has grown from creating elegant weddings to events of all shapes and sizes. Bliss Weddings & Events has decades of experience, as well as degrees and extensive training in culinary school, event production, floral and décor design, fashion design, interior design, and hospitality management. The best part is you don’t have to worry about trusting them with your big-day planning.

Photo by Bradley James Photography

Hey Gorgeous Events

From full-service planning to creative floral design, the hands-on approach of this Michigan-based event company continues to grow both domestically and internationally. Founder Rhiannon Bosse, assisted by her team of floral and event professionals, helps to plan every Hey Gorgeous Event as lead designer and planner.

A Day in May
Photo by Dan Stewart Photography

A Day in May Event Planning & Design

Housed in the heart of Northern Michigan, founder Alicia Caldecott and her team of designers push the boundaries on luxury event planning with their boutique event design and production firm, which was founded in 2007. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Alicia first landed in the event industry by working with the Michigan Athletic Department.


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Kehoe Designs
Photo by Liz Banfield

The Florist

Kehoe Designs

Since 1996, Kehoe Design’s professional team of graphic designers, lighting specialists, and room layout consultants have helped to plan corporate and social events of all sizes. However, some of their best work is their stunning floral design and event styling—if you want your flowers to make an impact, this is the company for you.


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Blue Plate Catering
Photo by Liz Banfield

The Caterer

Blue Plate Catering

Before starting Blue Plate Catering, founder Jim Horan utilized his passion for food by serving to film industry companies, crediting his famous Blue Plate Deli sandwiches as the building blocks for his business. Currently working with over 85 Chicago venues, Blue Plate executes its cuisine to fit each season, ensuring an ever-changing menu of flavor combinations.

About the Author

Jess Levin

Jess Levin is the founder & CEO of Carats & Cake, a premier network representing the best in the wedding industry. A native of Laguna Beach, California, Jess attended the University of Pennsylvania before heading to New York to work in venture capital at Burch Creative Capital, where she helped manage investments and brand development for a portfolio that includes Poppin and...


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