Wedding DIY

With the wedding season just around the corner, we wanted to share some popular DIY (do-it-yourself) tips for personalizing your special day. Not only can you save money with DIY décor and invitations, you can also allow the personality of your relationship to really shine through!
Not sure where to get started? It often helps to start with a wedding theme and colors. Some popular themes include country chic, vintage, romantic, beach, or classic elegance. Otherwise, opt for a more unique theme such as Harry Potter, Disney, classic movies, or destination-specific. Once you have decided these important factors you can get helpful tips online and through popular wedding magazines such as the Knot, Chicago Style Weddings, and Modern Luxury Brides. Also, Pinterest is an awesome resource for DIY ideas and directions!

Here are a few top resources you will want to be sure to check out when creating invitations, centerpieces/ event decor, and wedding favors.

DIY wedding invite

1. Wedding Paper Divas 
2. Pinterest
3. Paper Source

Centerpieces/ Event Décor


1. Pinterest
2. Afloral
3. Appy Couple

Wedding Favors



1. Julep
2. The Knot Shop
3. Oriental Trading

You can also check out Loyola’s Pinterest page for other great wedding ideas and DIY tips and tricks.

Winter in the Gardens of Loyola

Interested in the progress of the Gardens of Loyola’s Retreat and Ecology Campus? Here is an update from Farm Manager, Emily Zack, on what she has been doing the past three months and her upcoming plans for a successful spring/ summer at LUREC.

I know it is hard to believe but spring is going to show up eventually! This winter I have been busy planning for the growing season and catching up on the office work I ignored all summer! My planning started with seeds. After taking inventory of what I had left over, I paged through the newest seed magazines for what to grow this year. Johnny’s Seeds, Fedco, Baker’s Creek; I love getting these publications in blustery December to remind me of warmer temperatures. I chose many of my favorite varieties: Fortex pole beans, Winterbor kale, Golden Sweet yellow grape tomatoes, and Diablo Brussel sprouts. Plus many I haven’t tried including dry beans; kidney, midnight black turtle and Kenearly yellow eye. In all, I have 14 kinds of heirloom tomatoes, 11 kinds of peppers, 3 kinds of eggplants and a bunch of herbs. Exciting!

LUREC green house resized

We are expanding our growing spaces this season to include an asparagus plot. The crowns are shipped about April and will be ready to harvest in one to two seasons. We are also seeding lots of flowers in the greenhouse this year to make our grounds beautiful!

This being my first winter at Loyola, I had no idea how the greenhouse fares in the cold temperatures. I realized quickly if the roof ices up or the snow piles on, the sun can’t melt it and the temperatures inside never rise. To remedy this, we hooked up propane to the existing furnace and set it at 40 degrees. This is just warm enough to keep the roof clear so the sun can do its job. Now, even on the coldest days, when the sun does appear, the temperature can reach 80! What a treat to feel that kind of warmth in winter. I had winter lettuce, arugula and leeks growing in the greenhouse but until the roof had thawed, they hadn’t really thrived. Now they are doing well!

A new volunteer and I started seeds last week for our gardens. We started with 3 kinds of onions and leeks. This week we seeded the brassica family including cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, collard greens and kale. This round will be for the gardens, hoping to plant them in the ground in late April or early May depending on the weather and soil conditions. In a few weeks we will re-seed these to sell at the plant sale, then a third seeding for our fall harvest. The warm loving, cold intolerant tomato family and squashes will be the last to be seeded. Soon we will have over a thousand seedlings in the greenhouse, it’s a busy time, but so fun.

I do love the downtime of winter. The cozy evenings, the stillness of snow covered fields and the quiet of the long nights, but as the days start to get longer I feel the pull of the soil. Dirt and sweat, sore muscles and a tired body, this is what I crave. Spring can’t come fast enough!

Interested in learning more?  Visit the Farm Workshops event page to find out about upcoming classes and events happening this spring at LUREC.

Cooking Classes at Loyola’s Retreat and Ecology Campus return this season

Classes Instructed by Executive Chef John Schnupp; Open to the Community

Loyola University Chicago’s Retreat and Ecology Campus has announced a series of culinary classes that begin December 13, 2014 and will run through May 14, 2015. All classes are open to the public.

The one-session events are open to the public and range in theme from Holiday Hors d’oeuvres & Appetizers 101, which will provide simple techniques to create appetizers and beverage pairings, to The World of Italian Cuisine, where participants will explore, prepare, and sample authentic regional cuisine, including fresh pasta, gnocchi, and tomato sauce.

Loyola's Executive Chef, John Schnupp

Loyola’s Executive Chef, John Schnupp

The classes will be taught by Loyola’s executive chef and former restaurateur John Schnupp in the recently opened state-of-the-art Duchossois Demonstration Kitchen and Food Systems Lab. All classes are designed to be hands-on, and attendees will participate in each step of the cooking process to ensure techniques can be mastered at home. Classes will include:

    • Holiday Hors d’oeuvres & Appetizers 101
    • Food & Wine Pairing – Red Wine with Fish
    • Mediterranean Cuisine
    • Food & Wine Pairing – Cult Wines of California
    • Food & Wine Pairing – Valentine’s Day & Fess Parker Wines
    • Food & Wine Pairing – Sweet and Savory
    • Green Thumb – Starting from seed
    • Tapas 101
    • Meet the Farmer – Gardening 101
    • Food & Wine Pairing – Vegetarian Wine Dinner with Guest Chef
    • Desserts and Cakes
    • Food & Wine Pairing – Champagnes & Sparkling Wines

To learn more or register for a culinary class, visit or call Loyola’s Retreat and Ecology Campus at 815.338.1032.


– Article by Kristin Trehearne Lane,
Loyola University Chicago Communication Specialist


Stylized bridal photo shoot at Loyola’s Palm Court

Bridal showers are a wonderful opportunity for a bride to get together and relax with her closest friends and family before the “big day”. This is a chance to share advice and laughter before becoming a newlywed. When planning a bridal shower, it is important to be creative. The bride can incorporate small details to make the shower unique to her personality and wedding. Check out this bridal shower wedding photo shoot in Loyola’s Palm Court. Small touches like teacups and mini desserts reflect the bride’s personality and give the shower creative flair!



Photographer- Tara Wickey, Roots of Life Photography
Venue: Loyola University Chicago, Palm Court
Cakes/Sweets- Mary Plovanich, Tasty Tidbits
Makeup- Joanna of Joanna B Artistry
Hair Styling- Sarah Plovanich & Georgia Loukopoulos
Treat bags- Yuri, S
ummers, Fox & Hound Paperie
Assistant- Stephanie Ortiz
Models:Polly Nanavati, Magdalena Mentelska, Ashley Murray, Yuri Summers, Natalie Plovanich, Mary Plovanich