This week, Laura and Sara are joined by Rebecca Pope of RMP Chicago Events and Robyn Lytle of The Lytle House via our first post-hiatus official Zoom Podcast. We, like all of you, have been following the Stay-at-Home orders, so this is a new experience.
Rebecca Pope has worked in a variety of events, hospitality, and customer service positions for the last 23 years, and has a thing for weddings. Founded in 2018, RMP Chicago Events provides wedding planning, design, coordination, and officiating services, and proudly celebrates everyone’s right to love and marry.
In 2015, wedding photographers Robyn Lytle and her wife Michelle transformed a former auto body garage into a secret garden and premier event space. Located at 5517 N Broadway, The Lytle House is 2800 square feet of indoor-outdoor space with high ceilings, exposed brick, and concrete floors. It has called itself home to weddings, rehearsal dinners, baby showers, corporate events, photoshoots, and also Robyn, Michelle, and their two children, all who reside on the second floor.
“We’re all in this neighborhood, we’re all looking to streamline this process for you, make it so easy and special.”
Here are some references from Episode 104 that you may want to check out:
- Robyn Lytle and her wife, Michelle, first met through mutual friends in 2009. They had always dreamed of owning a venue but needed to find the right place. In 2016, during the Lytle’s annual jog, they came across an old auto garage for sale. The seller was willing to sell to them immediately. After a year of renovations, they finally opened up, offering a simple, industrial, and minimalistic look. Almost everything in the building is brand new, including the foundation. The Lytle house is a local landmark where previous clients can walk by and say, “That is where I got married.”
- The Lytle House has a simple design with white brick walls and many metal beams and other features. The Lytle’s painted a colorful and bright mural in the courtyard making it easier for clients to forgo decorations or flowers if desired. The goal of The Lytle House is to make weddings and other events easier for its clients.
- The Lytle’s first met Rebecca of RMP Chicago Events in 2019. “Events and organizing events is in my blood.”
- Rebecca started as an event manager and even found herself doing corporate events. She loved taking care of guests and surprising them. However, she missed planning weddings, meeting new couples, and hearing their stories. Rebecca was drawn to Andersonville and claimed it as her “office.” It was a vibrant neighborhood and right by the water. From there, she met the Lytle’s and decided to partner together. She explains that she believes in community over competition.
- Before entering into this challenging time with COVID-19, Rebecca would have been working on 20 to 25 weddings. Reality has shifted, though, and many couples have been forced to cancel their weddings. Partnering up, Rebecca and the Lytle’s looked for solutions, finding ways to make couples feel like they could still have a real wedding. They have tried to remain optimistic about the “no more the ten” gatherings that will be allowed as Chicago enters Phase III and will continue to serve clients with micro wedding or gathering options.
- Those deciding to move forward had to drop their previous planning and start over. Rebecca and the Lytle’s came up with a solution: the Lytle Elopement Package. This gave couples the option of having more than a courtroom wedding. This package includes a mini ceremony at the Lytle House, one-hour photography, six guests, an ordained officiant, personal flowers, a sweet treat, and champaign. The Lytle Elopement package could help take the hard making decision out of couples’ hands and help them reprioritize what they want. The Lytle’s and Pope want to help as many couples as they can by offering a beautiful space that does not need much done. As of now, the courtyard is in full bloom, and the trees are lush.
- The Lytle’s are also offering couples with Secret Garden Date Night, where their space can be rented out for a few hours. Couples can get take out or choose one of Lytle’s catering options and enjoying the beautiful venue. This is also an opportunity for men and women to propose! Couples may feel stuck in quarantine with one another and feel suppressed about proposing opportunities. This date night allows them to break the mold of proposing by enjoying some new scenery and fresh air. The Lytle house is one of the hidden gems of Chicago and could be used as an opportunity for couples to take the next step.
- The Lytle’s have recreated the Everything Will Be Okay, mural, originally from Atalanta, Georgia. The original artist has been installing them all over the world in different sizes and was excited that the Lytle’s hand reached out. The message is supposed to spread positivity to the community. You never know who might see it or whom it will touch. The Lytle’s started selling Everything Will Be Okay yard signs where 100% of the proceeds go to Care for Real.
- The Lytle’s started the Art Initiative in 2019, with the Dolly Parton Mural. They donate a portion of their revenue every year to this initiative. The work with a nonprofit, The Overhead Projects to fund the Art Initiatives. There are currently on their six installations. It’s fun to design artwork, ask businesses to take part, and offer a “canvas”. Street art is undervalued and can have a significant impact. These are created in the hope of finding hope and joy.
- During this time, Pope says that she is taking this opportunity to take a mental break. She will go on walks with her husband, looking at business doing their best right now. She says we should support the people we love with the local business we love. It is most important to stay connected as human beings at this time.
- Lytle and Pope give parting advice to couples during this time and how weddings will be impacted moving forward
“Letting people know we can step in, take things off their plate, run with their ideas, and make sure they have everything they want without compromising anything.”
“As far as details and getting overwhelmed, I think its important to start small, start with the priorities, and only build in the direction right for you.”
– Rebecca Pope
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