Val Warner lights up the set of WLS-Channel7’s “Windy City Live” every morning, but on Feb. 15 she shined even brighter than usual when she hosted 150 friends and fans at Hotel 71 for her engagement party to Illinois State Police Special Agent Jeff Cartwright. Just weeks prior, the duo had set the wedding date on-air during a special segment. “The viewers love to be involved, and this was my way of letting everybody in,” she says. The momentum of the announcement gave her the boost she needed to plan the bash along with help from the show’s entertainment contributor, Debi Lilly. The pair’s efforts paid off: The party was packed with Warner’s colleagues, both from “Windy City Live” and her previous gig on the WGN Morning News, including Ana Belaval and Pat Tomasulo.
The couple’s personal touches were visible in everything from the specialty cocktails to the menu, which showcased the bride-to-be’s favorites: Bloody Mary shrimp cocktail, lobster beignets and mini-truffle grilled ham and cheese. Desserts included a Swirlz cupcake bar, a Frost gelato cart, a Glazed & Infused doughnut bar and a Garrett’s Popcorn table. Post-meal, DJ Vince Adams spun tunes for an extra hour to help guests burn off the sweet treats on the dance floor. As for the wedding? Though Warner and Cartwright announced a September 2014 date, she says to stay tuned — the couple is eager to make things official.
Story by Katerina Bizios | Photos courtesy C. Saville Photography