Vendor Spotlight: Cling & Peck Photography


We are so excited to feature the husband-wife team of Cling & Peck Photography for this week’s Vendor Spotlight! Daniel and Erin have been in the business for seven years now!



It’s crazy that it’s been that long. We’ve had the privilege of being a part of well over 250 weddings now… and still love every second of it!

How Did You Get Started?

We bought cameras as what we thought would be a hobby. Turns out we were wrong. In college, some friends were getting married on a shoestring budget and thought that since we had just purchased “nice cameras” we should take the photos!

What Makes Your Work Distinct?

clingpeck3.jpgWe love making natural looking portraits that aren’t overly posed along with capturing moments as the happen and not interfering with them. Our work really strives to capture the real human interactions and not fake ones.

What’s Your Favorite Part of a Wedding Day?

We definitely love first looks the most. It’s such a special intimate time between the couple. Being able to capture the emotions that come out as a realization that they’re going to get married is such an honor.



The Haight Wedding First Look

Why The First Look?

clingpeck6.jpgIt’s literally our most favorite thing. We do understand not doing it; and we’ll totally photograph couples that don’t do them. But if you look into the tradition of not seeing the bride before the wedding, it stems from way back when most marriages were arranged; people didn’t want either party to run away before getting married!

What’s Your Favorite Time of Year to Shoot?

Depends on where in the country we’re shooting! But in Illinois, it’s hard to beat September. The colors are great and the light from the sun is starting to become slightly less harsh.


Do You Follow a Shot List?

We definitely use a shortlist for formal portraits and groups of friends/family. However we don’t use a list for the rest of the day. After you’ve shot so many weddings, using a list actually slows you down in the day. You spend more time looking at a list instead of looking for candid moments that are happening.



Why Do You Like Working With The Haight?


The Haight Wedding ceremony

It has so much neat history and character! All of the old wooden features are wonderful. The whole team is fantastic as well; always so professional and a joy to work with. It’s also five minutes from our house so the commute is nice.



What Advice Do You Have for Newly Engaged Couples?

clingpeck4.jpgDon’t put off getting married. Do pre-marriage counseling. Set a budget for your wedding and do your best to stick to it. Compromise; nothing is worth getting into a huge fight with your family or fiancé regarding wedding planning. Prioritize your wants for your wedding and then allocate money accordingly; whatever is your most important item is what you should spend the most on. Pick vendors that you gel with as well as enjoy their work.clingpeck14.jpg

Vendor Spotlight: SLT Makeup Artistry


Sarah Tjaden has been doing makeup professionally since 2011. She received her Illinois State Makeup Artistry Certification in 2011 and started focusing her energy into bridal beauty in 2015.

How did you get started? 

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LAF Lines Photography

I have always gravitated toward makeup since I was very young- typically leaving the grocery store with a new Lip Smacker when I would shop with my mom. In high school, I was the friend that would help with friends’ hair and makeup for prom, homecoming, and other dances. The summer after I graduated college, I came across Makeup First: School of Makeup Artistry in Chicago in a Google search. I talked to my parents about getting certified and creating a bridal beauty business. They were extremely supportive, so I signed up for classes that night! My instructor, Jill Glaser, amped up my love for my craft and helped push me to make each application a perfect application.

What do you love most about doing makeup?

I love being able to help women see what makeup can do for them. I know that sounds cliché, but there are so many different ways to utilize makeup and it’s really cool when I’m able to educate my clients and share knowledge, that I’ve acquired over the years, of makeup. It’s very fulfilling to be able to empower women through makeup.



Why weddings? 

kristin getready4_16

Ashley Klemm Photography

When I was in middle school, I used to want to be a wedding planner and create beautiful weddings. I combined my love for makeup with my love for weddings and voilà! It’s also a great feeling knowing that I’m doing the beauty for an important day in someone’s life. The bride’s pictures and memories will last forever- I love being able to be a part of something so special.



What do you think makes you stand out among other make up artists?


Kara Evans Photography

Makeup artistry is so subjective; each artist has their own workflow and style to their craft. My approach to makeup is more along the lines of natural glam. I keep my client’s complexion flawless and enhance their natural features, so they still feel like themselves, just with a touch of glam. We save the cake for the table- not your face.



What’s your favorite part of a wedding day? 

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LAF Lines Photography

My favorite part of the wedding day is when I get to do my bride’s makeup application. Spirits are high, photographers are taking pictures, music is bumping, bridesmaids are taking selfies and it’s almost time for the show to go on. Whether I’m having a Zen moment with my bride or keeping up with the excitement, it’s an exciting feeling getting her ready to walk down the aisle.


Thara Photo

What advice do you have for newly engaged couples?

SLT Makeup_Habeeb_E_JM_DO-0251

Timothy Whaley and Associates

Don’t sweat the small stuff; pick and choose your battles; laugh together as often as possible.

Why do you love working with The Haight? 

I absolutely LOVE working with The Haight because of their culture. Their environment is fun and beautiful and that’s all thanks to their employees and owners. Not to mention, the space is absolutely stunning. We have a wonderful partnership and I could not be happier working with them!






Vendor Spotlight: Anthony Alanis

Photo Cred - Roni Rose Photography.pngHow Long Have You Been In The Business? 

I consider my first wedding on July 21, 2012—although I shot weddings for other companies starting in 2009.Photo Cred - Hitch & Sparrow

How Did You Get Started? 

After graduating from the Los Angeles Film School and moving back to Illinois, I spent a few years working freelance gigs. It wasn’t until I started second shooting weddings that I realized I had the ability to capture weddings on my own. The first wedding I shot I actually had to pay to film it—I filmed it for free and needed to rent a bunch of extra gear. I turned that one video into 3 clients the following summer, 5 clients the year after, etc.… and now I’ve been lucky enough to capture nearly 80 weddings!

Ryan & Kathryn – The Crawford Wedding from Anthony Alanis on Vimeo.

What Do You Love Most About Shooting Weddings?

 Weddings afford me the ability to raise my children during the day, edit until the early hours of the morning, and sleep on occasion.

Matt_Kristi1.jpgWhat Do You Think Makes Your Work Distinct? 

Simply put, filmmaking is storytelling. Every story has 3 parts: a beginning, middle, and an end. Too many times, I see a beautiful looking wedding video that leaves me feeling like I’m missing part of the story. I focus my attention on documenting the day as a whole, as candid as possible. You’re not going to get any crazy visuals or flashy edits, but you will end up with a video that tells the complete story of your wedding day.

Matt & Kristi – The Sterricker Wedding from Anthony Alanis on Vimeo.

What’s Your Favorite Part of a Wedding Day? Matt_Kristi2.jpg

No two weddings I’ve captured have ever been the same, yet there is ALWAYS coffee after dinner.

What’s Your Favorite Time of Year to Shoot?  

Every season has its advantages and disadvantages. In my experience, no weather has ever changed the outcome of a wedding day as long as the couple embraces it and has the best time possible! Although I used to dream of shooting a wedding in a blizzard until I did it 3 times in a row!

What Advice Do You Have For Newly Engaged Couples? 

Ryan_Kathryn2.jpgFind a vendor whose work you like but maybe more importantly, find someone you get along with!

Why Do You Love Working With The Haight? 

I was born and raised in Elgin so I tend to have a different perspective on The Haight than many other vendors. Growing up you’d see people getting married at the churches in Elgin, but their receptions were always somewhere else—different towns. When The Haight opened, it gave locals a beautiful space to host their weddings (or any event, really) but it has grown into something much larger. Ryan_Kathryn1.jpgNow you’ll find couples from all over the Chicagoland area coming to The Haight to have their wedding, bringing their families from all over the country and even the world to Elgin. It’s great for the community and I love anytime I can help The Haight provide a great experience for the families!

Mock Wedding at The Haight from Anthony Alanis on Vimeo.

Vendor Spotlight: Oh So Lovely Photography


We are so excited to feature Esther Stirbu of Oh So Lovely Photography for this week’s Vendor Spotlight! Esther is currently on her 4th year of being in the wedding photography industry.


Getting started was interesting. I actually dropped out of college not knowing what my future looked like, and photography was not on my mind at the time. One year passed and realized I loved creating content for others. My husband David encouraged me to start pursuing photography as a career. Fast forward 4 years, I am a self-taught, successful owner of my business.


“I am very grateful for where life has led me!”

Esther loves the diversity of each wedding. No matter how many she has done, the excitement is always new.


Each couple has their own style, their own traditions, their own personalities, it’s beautiful. Meeting all sorts of people celebrating the same thing—love—is beautiful.

Esther’s favorite time to shoot is the fall.

Not too hot; not too cold; plus all the beautiful colors!

Even in such a competitive industry, Esther believes that she brings something different to the table.

I would like to consider my style as modern but classic. I think my photos portray that.


During Esther’s first year, she only did fifteen weddings. Gradually she jumped to thirty-eight, then forty, and currently she’s at twenty-five and counting going into 2019.

In regards to first looks, Esther thinks they are a great way to calm your nerves about the day. She says it’s almost as if you can see stress melting off the couple when they see each other!

When it comes to your wedding day, Esther doesn’t follow a shot list, rather she knows that her couples trust in her direction and goes with the flow of the day.


I never want to force any moment or emotion.


There are so many moments throughout the day that Esther could classify as her favorite, but the moment after the couple says, “I do” always stands out.


To me , the emotion couples have at this point is PURE HAPPINESS and it is so evident. I love capturing that raw emotion.


After shooting a few weddings at The Haight, we are so happy that Esther enjoys working with us as much as we do her.

I am always cared for and treated with respect by the staff. The location itself is one-of-a-kind, perfect for those modern and unique couples.


Esther’s advice to newly engaged couples planning their weddings is to pause and take in the overwhelming love surrounding them.


It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to fit everything in your schedule but if something doesn’t go according to plan, don’t stress. Take in every second because the day zooms by!


The Haight Team


Our team has grown so much, we wanted to take some time to introduce you to the fine individuals who help make The Haight and your day run smoothly.

Meet The Leads

Briana Bialk, Events & Sales Manager


1. What made you get into the industry?

​I found that in college, I enjoyed my after-school club of planning events around the university more than most of my classes. I wanted to pursue that and found that wedding were definitely my calling after an internship that did mostly outdoor events (not my thing). The idea of planning someone’s big day was a dream, so I became a wedding planner in Florida until I found my way back to Illinois where I am now! Here, at The Haight!

2. How do your weddings differ from one another?

 ​Every wedding is so unique in its own way. Even if two weddings are similar in aesthetics, florals, colors, the couples make them different. From small touches to some great family members, the smallest thing can make it different and fun. This job always keeps you on your toes because no two weddings are exactly the same.

3. What is your claim to fame?

 ​I was a child model and in beauty pageants!
Check out some of my headshots (can you tell it was the 90’s?). I was on things like toy packages and sales catalogs. I even tried out for a few commercials and the movie “Contact.” Didn’t make it that far though, I ended up retiring at the solid age of 7.

4. How do you relax after a hard day of work?

 A readily available bottle of wine is crucial in this industry. Just kidding (kind of)! Really, I thrive on human interaction, so grabbing some food or a drink with a friend after a hard day is amazing. After a 12-14 hour wedding day, my bed is my best friend. No after parties for me, thanks! 

5. What piece of entertainment do you wish you could erase from your mind so that you can experience for the first time again.

 LOST. I kick myself that I didn’t watch it when it was on TV for the first time. They had so much interaction, so many questions (I still have some) that everyone wanted to talk about. However, even watching it on Netflix, my mind was blown. I think I’ve seen the series 5 or so times. I even have them on DVD. If you haven’t watched it, now is the time.

Lauren Schroeder, Venue & Events Manager

Being Joy Photography-1

Photo by Being Joy Photography

1. What is your favorite part of the planning process?

I love the final meeting with the bride and groom, they are starting to get super excited about their big day and most of the hard work has been done.  So, it is a great opportunity to get to know the clients a bit better!

2. What is the best/funniest/worst wedding story?

For one of my weddings the bride & groom had their children stand up as their wedding party.  The oldest son/best man was hesitant to walk down the aisle but I assured him that everything would go just as it had during the rehearsal the night before, little did I know it would not.  In the middle of the ceremony the sister of the groom stood up and flagged me down.  I was so far away I couldn’t see that the son had just thrown up all over the groom’s back.  We rushed to clean up the mess and take care of the son and groom while the officiant entertained the crowd with some impromptu stand up.  It definitely livened up the ceremony but the bride & groom did not let it dampen their day!

3. What fad or trend do you hope comes back?

I love when a couple has a send off at the end of the night, a few clients have had fun “get away” cars and I just love the photos!

4. What would be your ideal way to spend a weekend?

My favorite way to spend a long weekend would be outside with friends and my dog. I love good music at an outdoor venue.

5. What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?

I have worked in the service industry since I was 19, I could definitely give a presentation on serving and bartending without any prep!

Nicole Patterson, Events Coordinator


1. What’s your favorite part of the job?

I love seeing how creative all of our clients are! Although everyone is using the same venue, every wedding has a different style and creative touch. It’s so fun to see all the new ideas and personality that comes with each event!

2. What tips do you have for brides and grooms planning their wedding?

My biggest tip for planning a wedding would be to sort your priorities. Planning can be overwhelming!  Choose the things that are most important to you, like food and photographer, and focus on those first. Other details will follow, and that will help you stay organized and ensure you get what’s most important to you on your big day!
Another tip would be to make sure to enjoy every moment including the planning process! Food tastings, expos, venue tours, etc. can all be turned into a fun and memorable part of your experience. The day will go by quickly!So, enjoy every moment including the ones that lead up to your big day! 

3. What are you most likely to become famous for? 

If I could I would become famous for being an artist. I have always loved to draw/paint and I really enjoy any type of arts and crafts project!

4. Where do you usually go when you have time off?

I like to go to the movies when I have some time off. I am a big movie buff so I love to catch up on new and old movies that I have never seen before. 

5. What would you rate 10/10?

I would rate The Haight and all it’s staff members a 10/10!

Ashley Radosav, Events Coordinator

Being Joy Photography-28

Photo by Being Joy Photography

1. Why the Haight? What makes us stand out vs. working with other venues?

I enjoy working with The Haight, because it is a family-owned venue. I am a huge believer in supporting small businesses and believe that not all good things come in large, fancy packages. The Haight is a small, boutique venue that caters to a client looking outside the box for a fun, once in a lifetime wedding. There is no other venue exactly like The Haight. A lot of urban lofts in the city, but none that can transform into rustic and urban so easily, and especially in the suburbs, it is a hidden gem. 

2. What was the most unique wedding you’ve ever planned?

Being a wedding planner, I have planned all sorts of events. From large to small, fancy to casual. I think a good wedding planner needs to be a chameleon of sorts to best create the vision for their clients. No two weddings are the same. The most unique wedding, would have to be my wedding! I got married four years ago and while I have planned hundreds of events, I have only been a bride once. It was such a special experience to be able to now relate to all of my clients. I understand, 100% the fear, the excitement, the giddy anticipation of seeing their spouse at the end of the aisle. I went through all of that. I also had a giant walk up ice bar dispensing cocktails.

Photo by Jazi Photo

I have only seen one of those, so I guess my wedding was pretty unique!

3. What game or movie universe would you most like to live in?

I have a dream of owning a lot of property, so I would have to say my game of choice would be Monopoly and I would always be bankrolling the Park Ave property!

4. What amazing thing did you do that no one was around to see?

I once performed CPR on a neighbor who had a heart attack in his front driveway. I also was able to call 911 and keep up CPR until the ambulance arrived. He lived three more days! I like to say that I brought him back to life. 😉

5. What’s the best way a person can spend their time?

I believe besides taking a really good nap, the best way to spend your time is with friends and family. It is not about the stuff in your life that makes it complete, it is about who you spend your time with that makes all of the difference. 

 Kelsey Richmond, Social Media Coordinator


1. What’s your favorite thing about writing the real weddings blog?

 I really enjoy that I get to relay the story of how our couples met and fell in love. I also love that I get to give those couples a chance to relive their wedding day.  I can’t tell you enough how many times I hear from couples thanking me for giving them a chance to revisit those precious memories.

2. Any specific blog or wedding really stand out for you?

A specific blog that stands out to me would be Behind The Scenes of Your Wedding Day. I loved writing about how each wedding comes together and giving the audience a visual for that with beautiful pictures from some of our photographers. I even got to share an amazing timelapse video from Newlyweds Cinema showing the transformation of our space. I just really enjoyed putting that post together!

3. What is something that is considered a luxury, but you don’t think you could live without?

Oh for sure my eyebrow pencil! I love a good eyebrow. I constantly have to remind myself that eyebrows are sisters not twins. The day I learned to shade my brows changed my life.

4. What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?

I am OBSESSED with the horror genre of anything. I absolutely love being scared. When I go to a movie or read a book, I need it to affect me…and I get the biggest affect from horror anything.

5. Where is the most relaxing place you’ve ever been?

The most relaxing place I’ve ever been would have to be my family’s summer home in Meredith, New Hampshire. The little cabin in the woods sits right on the lake with the most breathtaking views of still water and trees. It is one of my favorite places on earth. 

Meet The Assistants

What is your favorite part of a wedding?

Leanne Valdes: My favorite part of the wedding is just before the bride walks down the aisle—usually we’re one of the last people with her as the photographer and videographer are further ahead ready to capture the moment. I would usually say something to her like, “breathe, smile and go whenever you’re ready!” and it’s just so fun to be a part of that super special moment!
Megan Garner: I have many favorite parts of a wedding! For mine, it was seeing everything I planned come together and being surrounded by so many loved ones! Oh and I loved our food truck! The best part about attending a wedding is seeing the bride walk down the aisle and watching the father/daughter dance! And my favorite part about working a wedding? Seeing all the different decor and personal touches that each couple brings that makes their wedding special and unique to them. 
Bianca Bialk: My favorite part of a wedding is the food, definitely. But a close second would be seeing the space transform every wedding—it’s always the best!
Heidi Engebretsen: My favorite part of a wedding is when the bride is just about to walk down the aisle. As an assistant, I have the privilege of fixing her dress and her hair and telling her she looks beautiful right before she goes down the aisle. Seeing her transition from nervous to excited when she sees her groom is always so much fun and so touching!
Nicole Jones: My favorite part of a wedding is the first look between the bride and groom. The look of pure happiness and love in each of their eyes makes each and every wedding unique and memorable. 

Meet The Security Team

Wayne Deitz, Head Security


Photo by Mary Rose Photography

1. What the best part of being the lead security guard?

The best part of being lead security is seeing everything—the good and the bad.

2. If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?

No more wedding cake!

3. What’s something you’ve been meaning to try but just haven’t gotten around to?

I really want to try camping in Alaska.

4. What is something that a ton of people are obsessed with but you just don’t get the point of?


5. What movie title best describes you?

Wayne’s World!


What is your best story from working a wedding?

Breje Whitt: The best story I have is from a very rainy day, when the deck was not going to be open. All of a sudden, the weather completely changed (go figure Chicago weather), the sun ended up coming out and we opened the deck for the guests. It made my night to see how happy our guests were to be able to enjoy some fresh air and sunlight during the reception.

Jose Ocon: My favorite experience working security was during a reception when hardly anyone was dancing and I wanted to help get the party started. I did what any normal security guard would do….I went out to the dance floor and challenged the groom to a dance off. It was an epic battle. Moves were exchanged, but in the end, I’d say it was a draw.

 Peter Lentz: I don’t have a specific story that stands out to me, but I really enjoy the sparkler send-off. The couple and the guests are all so happy and it’s really fun to watch!

Meet The Owners

John Haight, Kari Haight-Goodmay, Linda Haight (their mom), & Doree Haight-Motl

What do you like most about owning an event venue? 

Kari Haight-Goodmay: Definitely the tacos. What I like most about owning an event venue is seeing that the equation to develop a perfect event is so open to interpretation.  The basic formula and logistics plus customization and personality all equate to one unique and memorable event.  I love knowing that so many lives are changed in our space, families are formed and celebrated, meals are shared, laughter is belly shaking good and that no matter how old you become dance moves never improve. I love knowing that our passion for family is experienced by thousands of people a year.  I love that something old has become new again and that every single member of our family has had hands on involvement in the development of this business. I love that we grew up working in a family business and those skills and commitment to each other have been carried forward a generation and are now shared with thousands. But mainly the tacos.

Doree Haight-Motl: Every event is different. No client is ever the same. Ideas are constantly flowing. And getting to work with everyone across the company. We have an awesome, talented, funny dedicated staff.

John Haight: My favorite part was watching a fairly unusable and filthy warehouse space transform into a warm and inviting venue for people to share some of the happiest memories of their lives…and getting to see this week after week. And knowing that I had something to do with helping create those happy memories even if they don’t know me. 

Vendor Spotlight: True Cuisine Catering & Sweet Baby Ray’s Catering


For this week’s vendor spotlight, we had a chance to talk with Lisa Houswerth, the event producer for True Cuisine Catering/Special Events. We are featuring True Cuisine and their sister company, Sweet Baby Rays Catering!

True Cuisine has been in the catering industry for over thirty years and Sweet Baby Rays Catering (SBR) has been in the industry for over ten years.

On average, the company produces between 75-150 weddings a year, and that number continues to grow year after year!

I cannot give enough credit to our entire team, as each event would not be possible or as successful as they are without all of their help! Although I may be your main point of contact throughout the planning process, there is an entire team both behind the scenes and on-site, that is making sure every detail is hit and that your wedding day is everything you hoped it would be and more!

Emily and Chris 12-09-2017_Power Point - High Res_24748.jpg

What sets True Cuisine and SBR apart from other caterers? Well, according to Lisa, a few things. The variety of menu options offered including their seasonal selections; the quality of freshness of our product; their artistic style of food presentation; they are a scratch kitchen and have a farm to table approach; and the level of service they provide.

We will assist with all details of your event from custom menu creation based off of what excites you and that you want to serve at your event, taking care of your event and table enhancements, staffing, floor plan, and timeline creation, coordinating with vendors, and setting up any personal décor items or centerpieces.

The Haight_Grana_O_MiC_SG-1303.jpg

Timothy Whaley & Associates

Lisa has always worked in the hospitality industry.  For about five years she has been working in the wedding industry and has found her true passion.

I have always enjoyed bringing people together to celebrate, no matter the occasion. And when you spend time getting to know your clients, their story, and their vision, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing all the details come together, and the smiles, laughs, and memories that are shared between friends and family, knowing you got to be a part of making such a special day memorable for all.

The best part for Lisa is that no two weddings or events produced with the team are ever the same.

Each client and couple I work with is unique, and although the logistics of how to execute the event may be similar based on the venue, style of service, or guest count, the details are never the same and we are always creating a new experience for both guests, and our team!

I love collaborating with my clients and our team and am constantly coming up with new, creative ideas that make both planning an event, and attending an event, fun and exciting for all involved!

True Cuisine is known for their seasonal menus and selections. Each year in the Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, their culinary team comes up with a new menu based off of what is in season and on trend.


Austin O’Brien Photography

These tend to be the most popular selections each year. However, being the scratch kitchen that we are, we are not limited to any types of food or cuisines! We have done themed menus, fusion cuisines, and can also always accommodate any food preference or allergies whether it be for one guest, or the entire group.

We can do everything from heavy hors d’ oeuvres, buffet, family style, plated, or fun food stations that can be interactive! You are also not limited to one style. I’ve seen clients that like to do a salad course, but then a buffet for the rest of the meal, or do plated with sweets and/or a late night station. The possibilities are endless!


Mary Rose Photography

We always enjoy hearing that other vendors love working with us and we are so happy that Lisa and her team have such kind words to say about us.

What I love about working with the Haight is that their venue space invites a unique and fun experience for anyone that walks through the front doors before even adding any personal touches or details. I also enjoy working with the entire Haight team both prior to an event and on-site. Their attention to detail, and value that they offer their clients is top notch. They make their clients feel comfortable, and at ease and assist with all details.

The Google sheets they use are easy to navigate and read. They cover any detail any vendor would want to know about the wedding day. It is great to see how involved they are in the planning process, and the day of making it truly a team effort between all vendors, with one goal in common—to create an unforgettable event from start to finish where the client gets to enjoy themselves just as much as their guests and not have to worry about a single thing!

Lisa’s advice to newly engaged couples is to trust and enjoy the process! At first it may seem like there is so much on your to do list and not enough time to do it, but if you just put one or two things on a list to execute each month, it’ll be so much more enjoyable! She also says to work together on projects and make decisions together!

I always find that when I work with couples, each person has different elements to the wedding that are more important to them. Make sure you listen to each other’s ideas and thoughts when it comes to making decisions, and help each other out!