Archive for the ‘chicago wedding receptions’ Tag

What to look for when buying an Engagement Ring…

The Four Things to Look for when Buying Engagement Rings
By Dominick Donaldson

There’s something inherently special about diamonds. For centuries they’ve intrigued and fascinated many people. The earliest diamonds are believed to have been mined in India where they have been known for thousands of years. Since then, the precious stones have taken on an almost mythical status. The way they sparkle in the light is hypnotic; men and women have fallen under their spell and the history of diamonds has its fare share of stories about people going to extremes to own them.

For a long time diamonds were the preserve of the very wealthy. Several factors including how they are mined and their exclusivity pushed the price up so far many people owning diamonds was an impossible dream. But recently all that has changed and now owning a piece of jewelry with a diamond is relatively affordable. The most obvious example is the popularity of diamond rings as engagement rings.

Of course diamonds are still a luxury item with the most expensive easily fetching six figure sums when they are sold. However, the popularity of diamonds has increased since the 19th century and due to an increase in supply, improved cutting and polishing techniques and a methodical grading process there are now diamonds on the market to suit most budgets. Owning a diamond ring for most people is no longer a dream but a reality.

Diamonds are graded according to what are known as the “4C’s”, carat, clarity, colour and cut. A combination of these four factors will determine the value of a particular diamond. The very best, the ones that score highest, will become highly valuable while the ones that do not figure as high up on the grading scale will, in all likelihood, be used to make jewelry for high street stores. It’s these diamonds that are affordable to most people and these diamonds that make up the majority of sales in diamond rings and in particular, engagement rings.

Buying an engagement ring is relatively easy but it’s good to have some knowledge of diamonds before starting a search. That’s not to say you have to have an in depth knowledge of the history of diamonds but it is worth having an overview of the “4C’s” as it will help in you selection.

Carats– Carats are units of mass used to measure precious stones and pearls. A carat measures exactly 200 mg, this is also known as the metric carat and has been widely used since 1907 when it was introduced. The bigger a diamond the more carats it will have. Carats, when referring to smaller diamonds, can also be broken down into fraction, for example 0.3.

Clarity– Diamonds are graded on a clarity scale, with a ‘flawless’ diamond being the highest grade of clarity. Clarity refers to how clear a diamond is and if it has any flaws in it. Flaws occur as part of the diamond forming process. They can look like fractures, stains, or bubbles and are called ‘inclusions’.

Colour– The colour of a diamond has a big impact on its value as well. Colour, or perhaps more accurately, the absence of colour, is what an expert will look for when grading a stone. The most expensive gems will have no colour at all. The lack of color is testament to the quality and rarity of a stone as most diamonds have some colour. Diamonds come in all colours from yellow to grey and although no colour is preferable, pink diamonds are very expensive and highly desirable.

Cut– There are many different diamond cuts; pear, heart, oval, but the most popular by far is the ‘brillant cut’. This type of diamond cut is designed to get the maximum brilliance from the diamond and is the classic shape that most people think of when they picture a diamond.


1,000 Origami Cranes

Many American couples are now following the Japanese tradition of folding 1,000 origami cranes for their wedding ceremonies. In one story; I found that all the cranes must be folded by the same person within a one years’ time span. It is said, that person would be granted one wish upon completing the folding of 1,000 cranes. The crane is a holy creature in Japan and believed to live for 1,000 years, thus: being noble enough to grant the wish.

Another tradition, would be the father gifting the bride and groom 1,000 cranes as a wedding gift, wishing the couple 1,000 years of happiness.

Hand folding 1,000 cranes takes much time, patience, and understanding. These same qualities are vital for a marriage to last and thrive. This is why the tradition of hand folding 1,000 cranes to decorate a wedding is so powerful.

The practice of a couple or a group of people folding 1,000 cranes for a wedding is called sembazuru. For all the energy and time spent into the hand-folded cranes may very well symbolized the stamina and devotion necessary to sustain a happy marriage. A couple who could endure the long, time intensive folding process together, supporting each other, talking with each other for weeks while taking on a demanding mission would show their ability to maintain a long-term commitment to the relationship.

Not only would the folding of the cranes attest to the couples’ compatibility, but the cranes would become a visible testimony to their love. The cranes would be strung on garlands to drape along aisles or swag around doorways. The origami cranes would be used as place or escort cards and as favors. Cranes shaped in circles or heart shapes around the centerpieces or candles would be used for decoration. Swaging cranes on strings or garland could float in windows or lace table edges.

Recently, one of our wedding couples utilized the 1,000 cranes they hand folded and strung, as their wedding ceremony backdrop. Then in turn they used it as their photo backdrop, instead of a photo booth at the reception. Here, I’m so pleased to share the beautiful piece our couple created:


These Little Cuties…

During the winter months Bartlett Hills Golf Club & Banquets will host special events from time to time. These events include Bridal Shows, Crop Parties, Craft & Vendor Fairs and our now famous Girls Night Out, which always takes on a fun theme such as “An Evening in Paris” or “New Orleans Night”. This past winter one of our many clever vendors who typically would do cork art with birdhouses and message boards, spanned her talent to ornaments. I thought they were absolutely adorable! Not seeing a bride or groom I asked the vendor if she would consider making a sample for me. And guess what, she did. Bless you Donna. I love them and think they would make great gifts, cake toppers, package favors and so much more.

Here’s 2 pictures (as it is, my Olympus camera just does not do these cuties any favors):

Wine Cork Bride & Groom           Bride & Groom Cork Figures

Are they not adorable! Can’t you think of at least a dozen uses for them.

If you would like more information on cork art  you can contact:

Donna Zommer at

Many Shades of a Wedding


A new trend we saw quite a bit of at Bartlett Hills this past wedding season is what is known as a “Ombre Wedding”. Many brides were probably not even aware that they were having an ombre themed wedding. Ombre in French means shade. Designers are predicting that this trend will be very popular in 2013 as well.

Following are some sample pictures:

Ombre purple        Shades of Blue     Ombre Candy Station in Pinks

A Little History on Bartlett Hills Golf Club

Bartlett Hills is proud to have hosted the inaugural Bill ‘Tik’ Tiknis Classic golf outing on Sunday, April 7th. This event, which was shared with the Village of Bartlett, was to commemorate longtime resident Bill Tiknis for his outstanding commitment to the community as well as being integral in leading the efforts for the purchasing of Bartlett Hills in 1978.

With over 80 golfers participating, Sunday was a beautiful spring day for golf, drinks, a nice lunch, and great speeches by head golf pro Bob Gavelek and Village Mayor Mike Airdo recognizing Tik. In the spirit of giving, a portion of each player’s entry fee was donated to a charity of Tik’s choice with over $600 raised for the Hanover Township Food Pantry.  We graciously thank all those who contributed and participated in this event and helped honor a Bartlett Hills icon.

Bartlett Hills looks forward to making this event a yearly occurrence and hope it continues to grow over the years.


‘Tik’ (Pictured second from the right)

And now a nostalgic walk down memory lane about Bartlett Hills…

In 1920, the land now occupied by Bartlett Hills was still farmland. It probably was farmland back to the middle 1850’s when the first settlers from Germany came to Hanover Township.

Sometime in the early 1920’s, a group of Chicago businessmen decided to build a private club, which would include a golf course, equestrian facilities, and a swimming pool.

They chose Bartlett, a very small town in farm western Cook County as the location for their club. In Bartlett, they found a perfect spot, 143 acre farm owned by E.H. Glos, It had rolling terrain, an abundance of trees and was almost on a major roadway, Route 20 or more commonly known as Lake Street.

Charles Maddox, of the Maddox Golf Course Design and Construction Company was hired to design the course.

Mr Maddox had a great sense of humor, or was an avid card player. In his design, he created five distinctive greens, four in the shape of cards, a heart, a spade, a diamond and a club. The fifth was the famous or infamous 7th green, in the shape of a star. This green probably caused more golf anguish than any golf hole outside of Augusta National.

Changes to the course, including all new greens during the last few years have eliminated these “special greens”.

Mr Maddox was also responsible for the design of two area courses, Old Wayne and Stonehenge.

Construction on the golf course began in 1923, and supposedly it was complete in 1924. The earth moving operations were performed by horse drawn equipment and the strong backs of some local young men.

The plans called for a clubhouse to be built on the wooded hill area behind the current holes #1 and #11. Supposedly, the irrigation pond in front of the 12th tee was somehow to be used for swimming, or perhaps a pool was to be built in this area. No one knows for sure. The old barn, which was later used as a clubhouse, was to be a stable for the horse lovers in the club.

The entrance to the club was to be off of Lake Street (Route 20). There was an easement along the old 4th green, which went out to Lake Street. The easement was still in existence until the last few years, when the construction of new homes in the area caused it to be abandoned.

These plans for the private club were never developed, but Bartlett Hills still operated as a private club until the 1929 depression. Like so many other business at he time, the club failed, and reverted back to the Glos family in the early 1030’s. Ed and Harriet Glos operated the golf course until 1962.

They lived in an old farmhouse, which was on a hill near the old barn. This house came down after they sold the golf course in 1962. During the operation of the course, they gave jobs to many of the young men and women in town.

Because members of the group were growing older, and because of estate problems within the group, they decided to sell the course in 1973.  A small group of local men tried to buy it, but were unable to arrange the financing.

In early 1974, a land development company, Paramount Development corporation, approached the village with a plan to develop the golf course into a huge residential complex. The plan called for 1,851 residential units, which would house over 5,000 people.

The Village board at that time vigorously resisted this plan. Bill Tiknis, Village President, pointed out that while this plan was so detrimental to the community, it could be defeated, the next one might not be. At some point, the golf course would be lost. And naturally, Al Lehman’s group was anxious to sell, so the Village had pressure from both sides.

In 1974, the Bartlett Hills Preservation Commission was formed. This commission was charged with investigating ways for the Village to acquire the course. They checked on various funding sources-federal, state, foundations, and even joint efforts with other communities. Any plan which would allow the continued existence of Bartlett Hills. None of these efforts were successful.

In fact, in a strange development, the Streamwood Park District in July 1975 conducted a Streamwood referendum to buy Bartlett hills. Fortunately, this was rejected by their voters.

After much effort and hard work by out commission and the village board, it was determined that the only way we could accomplish our goal was to hold our own referendum. We would ask the people of Bartlett if they would agree to small increase in their taxes in order to buy the golf course.

So work began in 1977 to set up the machinery for a referendum.

In April of 1977, there was a change in administration of the village. Fortunately, the new board, headed by village president, Dick Belz, agareed with the direction we were heading and kept on with plans for the referendum. They worked hard and successfully to inform our citizens of the threat to our community.

The referendum was held on February 25, 1978 and passed almost 4 to 1-1, 129 for and 301 against. This referendum was for $1,9000,000- $1,7000,000 for the golf course and $200,000 for needed equipment and improvements.

On that great day in February, the people of Bartlett bought 143 acreas of green grass, trees, and open space. The fact that there was a golf course was incidental. Bartlett Hills was dedicated to the community on July 9, 1978.

After the village assumed ownership of the course, the village board formed a Bartlett Hills Golf Commission to assist in the management of the day to day operation of the course.

Dick Stilin, and some of his family who had been running the golf course for the previous owners left, and the commission’s first decision was to hire a golf professional. Bob Gavelek, who was the assistant pro at Elgin Country Club, was hired as our first and last golf professional. Bob is still General Manager today.

Doug Papp was hired as our grounds superintendent. After Doug Papp left, the commission hired Joel Purpur, an outstanding young man who did a lot to shape the development of the course. Unfortunately, we lost him to River Forest Country Club, where he is still employed.

John Gurke was hired after Joel, and did a fine job for us. He is currently at the Aurora Country Club. Our next Superintendent was Kevin DeRoo, who grew up in Bartlett. Kevin is still with us and is doing a great job, and the course shows it.

The old barn had been transformed into a clubhouse, and served as our clubhouse for many years. It became a focal point for social events, for great food and service and for fun. Many long lasting friendships were developed in the old barn.

Unfortunately, the old barn did not physically meet the standards set by our society today. A decision to demolish it and build a new clubhouse was made in 1995. The old barn came down on November 20, 1995. An era had come to an end.

But, with the end comes a new beginning. Construction of the new clubhouse began on January 18, 1996. It was completed the following year on April 21, 1997.

The Food & Beverage operation is managed by Paul Petersen as Food & Beverage Director, Mateo Ortiz as Executive Chef, Tony Staskewicz as Sous Chef, Mary Gearhart as Wedding & Event Director and Evan Blum, Banquet Assistant.

During the 25 years the village has owned Bartlett Hills, many improvements and changes have been made. In addition to the new clubhouse, a new maintenance building was built in 2002. Hundreds of new trees have been planted, all new greens have been built, cart paths, and irrigation system is in place, and bent grass fairways were put in. New equipment to maintain the course is constantly being updated. And now the clubhouse is updating its interior to better serve our community and surrounding communities for social events. Bartlett Hills has become one of the premier public courses in our area.

The investment the people of Bartlett made in 1978 has returned a fine golf course, a new clubhouse, and a source of revenue for Bartlett. But most importantly, it retained “143 acres of green grass, trees, and open space.”


Excerpts from Bartlett Hills 25th Anniversary Event’s program.

Pam Rohleder/Bartlett Historical Society.

Introduction of Bill Tiknis Classic by Evan Blum.

The Ultimate Maid of Honor Speech

This article has some great ideas for speech giving:

The Ultimate Maid of Honor Speech.

MOB Reviews

We love our reviews from the Mothers of the Bride (MOB)…

Hi Mary,

Just want to thank you and the Bartlett Hills staff for making our daughter’s wedding a memorable occasion.  The room looked absolutely beautiful, the food was delicious, and the chocolate chip cookies were a BIG hit.  Everyone had a wonderful time and it was the wedding celebration Kristin and Dan had dream of having.

We really enjoyed working with you.


Michael and Karen Zivic

Sent from my iPad


Dan Moore & Kristin Zivic-October 6, 2012

Dear Mary,

Tom and I would like to thank you for the wonderful job that was done by your staff and yourself. Because of all your hard work Taylar and Dan have a wedding reception that will live forever in their minds as wonderful. Everything was beautiful, the staff was very helpful and polite and everything was delicious. Mary, you were very instrumental in making this a success and it was! Taylar always spoke kindly of you and it showed in the way everything was presented. We received many compliments from all the attendees on how beautiful it was and how delicious the meal was. Again, a huge thank you to you for all your hard work!

With Many Thanks,

Tom and Kathy Kuzniar

P.S. The happy couple are in Thailand enjoying their honeymoon.

Sent from my iPad


Taylar Kuzniar & Dan Klouda-Reception October 20, 2012