Throwback Thursday: Tracy & Mark

Throwback Thursday: Tracy & Mark

On this particular Thursday we're thinking fondly of summertime, and throwing it back to one of the great summer weddings here at G1028: Tracy & Mark's, from the magical summer of 2012. Todd James Photography was there on the scene, and they got some pretty awesome shots of these beautiful people and their beautiful event. Head on over to take a look. Happy #TBT everyone! 



(Cover photo from Todd James Photography.)

An Interview with John Calihan

An Interview with John Calihan

We have a special treat this week on the blog: an interview with the owner and CEO of Calihan Catering and Gallery 1028, John Calihan. This past Sunday, John received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Catering Executives Club of Chicago. The G1028 and Calihan Catering teams are proud to have shared this special evening with John and his family, as we know first hand the dedication and excellence he always brings to his work. Without further ado, let’s get to the interview!


Gallery 1028: Why catering? How did you get started in the business?

John Calihan: Simply put, I didn’t want to be a lawyer. I was working at McCormick Place in public relations, and I was in charge of all the guests visiting the city and started creating the itinerary for the clients. I asked the question, what were they eating before and after visiting McCormick Place? From there I tried to create a menu that was different from what they were eating the day before and after. Also, my mother didn't cook much, so we went out to dinner A LOT. I truly developed a passion for food.


G1028: What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t in the catering business?

JC: I have no idea. I greatly appreciate the museum scene in Chicago. With that being said, I would love to be a docent in a museum.


G1028: What are some tips and tricks for planning a successful event menu?

JC: Variety.


G1028: Do you have a favorite event that you have been part of? If so, what is it?

JC: I was a part of a birthday party, thrown by Oprah, for Maya Angelou on a private key in Key West. That was a wonderful event on all levels. I even had the opportunity to meet Coretta Scott King.


G1028: What is your all time favorite dish that Calihan Catering makes?

JC: Caesar Salad. I could eat cardboard with our Caesar salad dressing, it is that delicious.


G1028: What is your favorite thing about Gallery 1028?

JC: The raw space is terrific, and can be transformed into any style of event.


G1028: What do you think sets Calihan Catering above all the other caterers in the Chicago area?

JC: We listen to our clients. I think that's one of the biggest things that sets us apart. We aren't afraid to start from scratch on each event, and you can't be afraid to do that in this industry.


G1028: What does winning the Catering Executive Club’s Lifetime Achievement Award mean to you? Was this award something you were expecting, or is this a total shock to you?

JC: I was totally surprised. And, although I have known the members of CEC since I got into catering in the 1970’s this honor was totally unexpected.



G1028: How long have you been a part of the Catering Executives Club?

JC: My dear friend and colleague Judy Dorini Glassberg introduced me to CEC, and I have been a member for around 40 years.


G1028: What is one of the best memories you have had while being a part of the Catering Executives Club?

JC: Having [my son] Nash become a member on the board.


The Gallery 1028 and Calihan Catering teams are honored to work with John to build upon the tradition of contemporary cuisine and fine entertaining that his work embodies. Congratulations again to John Calihan on this much deserved award!

Throwback Thursday: Becky & James

Throwback Thursday: Becky & James

Ahoy there, fellow Throwbackers! Another Thursday is upon us, and we're feeling particularly nostalgic for the wedding of Becky & James here at G1028 in September of 2015. Cristina G Photography has some stunning photos of the event and decor, as well as some moving intimate shots, so head on over to her blog to laugh, cry, and get inspired. 


cover photo from Cristina G Photography

Herbal Remedy: Fresh Herbs to Spice Up Your Event

Herbal Remedy: Fresh Herbs to Spice Up Your Event

There seems to be a new trend making its way through the Chicagoland area, and the G1028 team is all about it. Herbs, herbs, and more herbs. We have noticed the use of pairing cocktails and mocktails with herbs and we absolutely love it. A simple, yet elegant pairing that keeps the crowd talking, and drinking. Also, an eye-popping decoration option that is simply elegant. Here are some herbs and simple combinations you can’t really go wrong with:


Rosemary and Lemonade:

Try infusing a basic lemonade recipe with some rosemary for a deep, woodsy note that’s refreshingly complex. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary for presentation. This drink is incredibly fragrant and can be made to your liking. One recipe we like is from A Beautiful Mess. For a more adult version, try tossing some vodka in there for an extra kick.


Lavender and Champagne:

Plan on poppin’ a bottle of champagne for your big day? Top off your champagne flute with a sprig of lavender. Champagne can be an acquired taste, and the lavender will help add a sweet note to combat the bitterness of the champagne. Lavender tastes just like it smells, very floral. So the longer you keep the sprig in there, the more floral it will taste. For a slightly more complex version try this. For a kiddie version just substitute a sparkling grape juice.


Simple Syrups:

Try making simple syrup out of herbs. It is actually quite ‘simple’ (No pun intended). These come in handy especially if you have some left over herbs you just don’t know what to do with. Simple syrup can last for over a month, and you can use any flavors you can imagine: lavender, mint, basil, and rosemary, to name a few. You can truly get creative with this and there are endless combinations.


Herbs and Décor:

Try sprucing up your tablescapes with nothing else but herbs! You may be shocked at how elegant they look all by themselves. Here at G1028, we have seen the use of rosemary sprigs attached to place cards for a rustic-chic place setting and it looks incredible. A rosemary sprig stands out against a white napkin and makes a distinctive statement. And of course, you can use nearly any herb you would like, but lavender, thyme and rosemary are the most visually appealing.


If you are interested in this new Chicagoland trend, make sure you let your planner or Calihan Catering know. We can easily incorporate some herbs into cocktails and mocktails that will make everyone happy.

Vendor Spotlight: Kehoe Designs

Vendor Spotlight: Kehoe Designs

This week on the G1028 Blog, we will be spotlighting Kehoe Designs, one of our preferred vendors. We've worked extensively with Kehoe over the years and they are one of the city's best. To give you a bit of background information, Kehoe Designs is a full-service event décor and design company located in Chicago. They excel at creating top-notch floral designs, custom furniture, plantscapes, technical productions, and graphic design, just to name a few.


We have the privilege of having the wonderful Samantha Siepak and Renee Price as our reps. Renee, a Senior Designer at Kehoe Designs, explains: “I don’t put my name on anything that isn’t beautiful.”


Now on to the fun stuff, we get to see a wedding decorated by the one and only Kehoe Designs! Abigail Bartolotta and Brian Flynn’s wedding was this past Saturday, April 9th at Gallery 1028. 


Here are some pictures of the stunning décor that was present at their G1028 wedding:



If you would like to have Kehoe Designs fulfill your décor dreams at your next G1028 event, head over to for more information!


(quote taken from


Throwback Thursday: Allison & John

Throwback Thursday: Allison & John

Another Thursday, another throwback, am I right? Of course I'm right. 

This one's from September of 2015, where Allison and John enjoyed a lovely ceremony on a rainy fall day. Kristin La Voie was there to take some stunning photos. Enjoy, and happy throwbacking!

Event Planning Q&A with Shannon Gail

Event Planning Q&A with Shannon Gail

You could call this article the start of a mini-series on the Gallery 1028 Blog where we interview event planners from the Chicago area to get some juicy details and perhaps help you make decisions regarding your own event. I don’t want to spoil the series for you, but it is going to be pretty great.


Without further ado, our first interviewee is Shannon Gail from Shannon Gail Weddings and Events!

Photo by Cristina G Photography

Photo by Cristina G Photography


Gallery 1028: How did you get involved in the event planning industry?

Shannon Gail: My family is in the catering industry, and has a venue in the suburbs so I worked various hospitality-related jobs growing up. In high school, I worked at a bridal gown shop and also did hair for brides. After graduating with a Finance degree and briefly working with futures at a trading firm, I knew I wanted to be my own boss. I pieced together my love for the wedding industry with my ability to forecast and plan large-scale budgets, and SG was born.


G1028: What is the most rewarding event you have ever planned?

SG: Honestly, my first wedding ever. I remember it clearly despite it being almost 9 years in my past. There was so much build up and anxiousness to prove to myself that this was something I could do well, and that would make me happy as my career of choice. I ended up being on site for about 16 hours because I wanted everything to be perfection, and finishing that wedding successfully was exactly the confidence I needed to hit the ground running.

G1028: Would you ever plan your own wedding? Or would you even be able to? I know personally that I wouldn't want to plan my own wedding, but I wouldn't be able to stay out of the planning process.

SG: 4 of the 6 planners on our team are married, including myself! We did all plan our own weddings, but not without immense help from the rest of the team! We conceptualized our ideas and what we wanted, and then really relied on our team to execute. There is not much that can go wrong with 5 wedding planners on site the day of your wedding ;)


Photo by T & S Hughes Photography

Photo by T & S Hughes Photography

G1028: What are some challenges that you commonly face, and how do you overcome them?

SG: One of the largest challenges in the industry these days is truly unrealistic expectations. Unfortunately, nationwide publications or blogs sometimes give clients an untrue idea of what things cost, and what is within reach in terms of event planning. Combined with countless styled shoots on Pinterest, etc. that show glamorous set-ups that would not be scalable over 20 tables and you often get clients wanting much more than they can feasibly attain. Though we hate to do it, the best way to overcome it is simple honesty. We explain the logistics it would take to achieve the idea/look or even obtain quotes to show exactly what it would take to do it, and then give our clients more realistic alternatives to do something similar.


G1028: How many hours can go into planning an event?

SG: Countless. In fact, I prefer not to always count. Our team does not limit time spent planning an event or meeting with/speaking to a client. To me, it’s one of the cardinal rules of hospitality. We do not price our services hourly, and we never want our clients to feel limited or rushed.


G1028: How do you handle a bridezilla?

SG: Listen and execute. A bride or groom who is slightly difficult to work with is not trying to be difficult for you; he/she is likely just very stressed and on edge emotionally. The best thing to do is really listen to what is causing the stress and do your best to assure he/she that it will be okay and is in your hands.


G1028: Do you have any memories of events that you still laugh about to this day?

SG: Oh absolutely. With hundreds of weddings under our belts, we definitely have some stories. Out of respect for our clients, we won’t share specifics, however be on the look out for my book release as soon as I retire ;)


Photo by T & S Hughes Photography

Photo by T & S Hughes Photography

G1028: What are some of the current wedding trends in the Chicago area?

SG: Couples in Chicago are starting to break rules, and we love it! We have always been an advocate of planning events that are tailored to our couples, and it’s really refreshing to see couples ready to restructure the typical wedding timeline or inclusions to do so. Maybe it’s moving cocktail hour before the ceremony and then going directly into dinner after the I Dos or ditching the typical dinner for a 10 course small plate and wine pairing. We encourage couples to reflect on what they love and plan an event that tells that story.


If you want more information on all things Shannon Gail, head over to There you can find even more out about the lovely Shannon Gail team, inquire about event planning services, and learn about the beautiful events they have put on in the past. 


cover photo by Cristina G Photography

Throwback Thursday: Melissa & Graham

Throwback Thursday: Melissa & Graham

Throwback Thursday at Gallery 1028 means one thing: remembering beautiful weddings from times past. This week we're thinking about Melissa & Graham, who got married here in October 2014. averyhouse photography was there to capture this event in all its rain-soaked glory. 

In the Details: 7 Planning Items You May Be Forgetting

In the Details: 7 Planning Items You May Be Forgetting

The wedding planning process can be intense.  You have hundreds of decisions to make in a limited amount of time.  Think about it; you have to pick the venue, catered-food options, floral arrangements, centerpieces, seating arrangements and so much more. At this point, you are probably wondering what the purpose of this article is, and that would be to remind you of a few things that are EASILY forgotten during the planning process.



1.)  Marriage License:

You do want to be legally married, right? Believe it or not, this is one of the common things forgotten by couples. And, the good thing is that it is incredibly simple. Just head to your local county clerk and fill out an application. 

2.)  Food Allergies:

There is a 99% chance there will be a guest with a food allergy at your wedding. Although that statistic was not scientifically proven, know this is crucial for the safety of your guests. Make sure you communicate with your guests to confirm if they have any allergies.  An easy way to find out this information is to ask if the guests are gluten free, vegan, etc. on your RSVP. This way, you get the guest count and their choice of entrée all in one!

3.)  Vendor Meals:

What are vendor meals? Well, these are the meals you will plan for all of those providing a service to your wedding, such as the DJ, band, photographer, and so on. Talk to your caterer for options! Also, don’t forget meals for the servers. If you are having a late night snack catered option, it is always easy to add a few more boxes of pizza onto your order and provide them to the servers after their shifts are over. A simple, yet very appreciated thank you.



4.)  Consider Flipping the Room:

A huge way to save money and time on your wedding day would be having the ceremony AND reception at the same venue. Often times, you can flip the room within an hour to ensure the reception can take place just after cocktail hour finishes! Keep in mind that elaborate décor and a larger space will call for a longer time to flip the room, so plan your timeline accordingly. Remember, it is always better to leave extra time than to cut yourself short.

5.)  Phone Chargers:

This may be a tad self-explanatory, but necessary. If you have a bridal suite leave a few chargers in there so your bridal party can have a secure place to charge their phones. Also, leave your phone in there as well. Having charged phones after the wedding could be a necessity for people using the super reliable Google Maps, using the Uber app, or posting amazing quality selfies on Instagram.



6.)  Passport:

Are you two lovebirds going on a luxurious honeymoon after your wedding? Travelling to Punta Cana? Bora Bora? Playa del Carmen? The Italian wine country? Well, you aren’t going to get there without a passport. If you are leaving for your trip the day after your wedding, pack your bags a few days before and do not forget your passport. 

7.)  Thank You Notes:

Make sure you send your thank you notes after the wedding! Try to get them done as quickly as possible. The quicker you get them done, the quicker you are free from post-wedding obligations. You will thank me later (No pun intended).

Remember that you can save thousands of dollars by planning your own wedding, but you still want to be able to enjoy your big day. Consider hiring an event planner for full or partial day-of coordination. The planner will make sure you’re enjoying your wedding rather than orchestrating it.


Throwback Thursday: Sara & Mike

Throwback Thursday: Sara & Mike

It's Throwback Thursday at Gallery 1028, and this week we're taking a look at a wedding from October 2012. Sara & Mike had a beautiful wedding and it was all captured by Ashley Biess. Head to her site for a full photo recap. 



Spring Wedding Tips

Spring Wedding Tips

Well this is it.  The first blog post.  What can you even expect on this blog? I don’t have an answer for that question.  I am going to be talking weddings, corporate events, fancy galas, mouth-watering food, and the trends grabbing the attention of all couples in the Chicagoland area.  So probably exactly what you expected.

But the topic of this article? How to spruce up your spring wedding. Luckily, I have a few tips to make your spring wedding just a tad better and more unique than it was before.


1.) Pack a punch (no pun intended) with a flavored water station before and after your ceremony. Nothing is more refreshing than drinking a cold glass of water after sitting through a 30 minute ceremony. Some flavors to consider: cucumber, lemon, strawberry, orange-pineapple, and raspberry.  The possibilities are endless. Plus, it is best to get your guests hydrated before they take advantage of the open bar. It will make for an easier recovery the morning after. I may be a little biased, but this is one of my favorite things you can add to a wedding. Plus, it really isn’t that expensive. After all, it is just water.  

2.) Good thing you’re staying hydrated, because now it is time to talk hard liquor. Be creative when selecting specialty drinks. You can select as many specialty drinks you want, but the less the better. One way to add a little character and personal touch is to select 2 specialty drinks; one representing each half of the couple. Moscow Mules, Mint Juleps, Martinis, Margaritas… Apparently, lots of drinks start with an ‘m’. They don’t have to contain alcohol though! You can definitely serve refreshing lemonades or punches. But, who doesn’t love Sangria, am I right? This is also a good time to incorporate the flavors of spring too. These drinks can be easily tailored to fit the season!

3.) Decorations are just a tad important when it comes to a wedding. (I personally think food is the most important, but opinions are like specialty drinks, every one has their favorite). Don’t be afraid to spruce up the space with vibrant linens, and flowers, and try having a different centerpiece on each table. Most people think that symmetry among the tables is a must, but it is 2016. You can do whatever you want. Plus, it looks pretty great. If you want to go the elaborate décor route, hire a planner. This will make everything easier for you so your wedding goes stress free.  


If any of these ideas interest you, don’t hesitate to talk to one of our account executives about adding them to your wedding!

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