The Guild of St. Mary’s Christmas Prelude has been a tradition that locals have come to cherish as part of their holiday festivities for years—30 to be exact. And to mark this three decade milestone, the Guild is changing things up a bit.
Chaired by Lake Forest’s Megan Engelberg and Lauren Peters, this year’s Christmas Prelude with the theme “Hope is Born” will be a brunch and fashion show instead of
a traditional luncheon—giving attendees more time to shop at the Prelude boutique.
“Megan and Lauren are two amazing women who have fully embraced the beautiful tradition of the Prelude, while adding their own flair,” explains current Guild president Maria Cronin. “Being busy moms, they understand we all like to keep moving. Lauren and Megan have creatively arranged the event to maximize the whole day.”
The Christmas Prelude will be held at the Marriott Lincolnshire on Friday, December 4, beginning at 9:30 a.m. The new time has allowed for a reduced ticket price. General admission is $55 and senior Guild members will be charged $45.
“The Guild has always had such a great success with its Fall Mass and Brunch,” explains Engelberg. “We’ve learned from that event that an earlier starting time may be better for our guests.”
The Christmas Prelude’s more than 20 boutique vendors will benefit from this time change, too. “When the brunch and fashion show are over,” explains Peters, “guests will have the afternoon to shop for everyone on their holiday lists.”
As the fashion show headliners, Lillie Alexander Ltd., The Lake Forest Shop, and McElroy Furs will provide a special trunk show at the boutique with items curated specifically for the Prelude. For example, Lillie Alexander will offer one-of-a-kind First Communion dresses.
One final twist to this special holiday tradition is that the planning committee has asked several local event planners and interior designers to dress the tables at the Marriott and produce an additional centerpiece that Prelude guests will have the chance to win in a raffle. Among those participating are Leggy Bird Designs, Mark David Interiors, Stacey Moe Events, Lord & Mar, ArtQuest, Lake Forest Flowers, Joanne Petrillo, and Allison Buck. Centerpieces that aren’t auctioned off will be available for purchase.
“This is such a fun way for us to showcase the services we offer in a different way,” says Vicki Lidstrom, co-owner of Leggy Bird Designs in Lake Bluff.
While some elements of Prelude are changing, many traditions that attendees have come to love are remaining the same. Guild members will continue to model the season’s favorite fashions in the runway show choreographed by Fashions With Flair and one dedicated Guild member will be chosen as the Guild’s Woman of the Year. “We have been so blessed to work with such extraordinary women from the Guild, most especially Maria Cronin,” says Engelberg.
“Although the Guild’s events have changed over the years, the focus has always been faith, friendship, and service,” adds Cronin. “Prelude reminds us of the wonderful community in which we are a part, the beauty of St. Mary’s, and the spirit of the Christmas season.”
Tickets to the St. Mary’s Christmas Prelude can be purchased online at churchofstmary.org/guild.
By Ann Marie Scheidler
Photography by Robin Subar