Music By Design - The Knot Hall of Fame

Music By Design – The Knot Hall of Fame


Music By Design - The Knot Hall of Fame

Music By Design – The Knot Hall of Fame

Chicago – October 29, 2014
Whether they’re trying to find the wedding dress salon with the best service in Chicago, the most creative wedding photographers in Los Angeles, New York’s top cake bakers or the hottest reception sites, engaged couples across the country want the inside scoop from real brides. The Knot Wedding Network (NYSE: XOXO), which is composed of the top two wedding websites, and, today announces the first-of-its-kind wedding industry Hall of Fame for the all-time best wedding vendors across the United States.

Comprised of winners of the annual Best of Weddings, a by-brides-for-brides guide to the top wedding vendors in 80-plus cities across the U.S., the Hall of Fame inducts wedding vendors who have won four or more Best of Weddings awards. This honorable list of more than 330 inductees includes less than 1 percent of wedding professionals.

“For the past seven years, Reviews has been the definitive resource for our brides, providing them with unparalleled vendor recommendations directly from the tried-and-true experiences of fellow brides,” said Carley Roney, cofounder of “We’re beyond thrilled to induct our first-ever Hall of Fame, crowning the best of the best across the country, based on more than 700,000 reviews from real brides.”

About XO Group Inc.
XO Group Inc. (NYSE: XOXO), is a global media and technology leader devoted to weddings, pregnancy and everything in between, providing young women with the trusted information, products and advice they need to guide them through the most transformative ev

ents of their lives. Our family of premium brands began with the #1 wedding brand, The Knot, and has grown to include, The Nest, The Bump, and XO Group is recognized by the industry for being innovative in all media – from the web to social media and mobile, magazines and books, and video – and our groundbreaking social platforms have ignited passionate communities across the world. XO Group has leveraged its customer loyalty into successful businesses in online sponsorship and advertising, registry services, ecommerce and publishing. The company is publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange (XOXO) and is headquartered in New York City. Follow XO Group on Twitter @xogroupinc.

View the Press Release: Music By Design – The Knot Hall of Fame

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CONTACT: Stephanie Fraiman

Public Relations Manager

The Knot Wedding Network


Music By Design - The Knot Hall of Fame

10 cant live without wedding blogs

Best Wedding Blogs

10 Can’t Live Without Wedding Blogs…Best Wedding Blogs
While planning your wedding, it’s always nice to have some inspiration when it comes to giving you ideas, drooling over gowns, or fun DIY projects. We’ve done the dirty work for you and sifted through hundreds, if not thousands of wedding blogs and Websites for the crème de la crème.
We chose the following fabulous wedding sites brimming with inspirations, pictures, and drool-worthy pretties to make your head swirl with ideas.
1) Martha Stewart Weddings
The queen of crafts is back at it and adding her flair to weddings. We can’t get enough of her personalized touches and crafty goodness.
2) Style Me Pretty
Want to drool over beautiful wedding photograph after another? Well, you’re in luck. SMP is the source for all things pretty. Not only do they pack the punch for pictures, but they also have a great resource guide to contact and utilize vendors that are featured in real weddings in your area! Isn’t that just the best idea ever?

3) Wedding Chicks
Wedding chicks is a one-stop shop for the bride in a hurry. From DIY printables to real wedding features to deals on vendors and services, this site is simply perfect for all brides and their planning process.
4) Recycled Bride
Are you looking for ways to turn one bride’s “junk” into your wedding day treasure? Well, the Recycled Bride does just that. They have classifieds, ideas, tips and tricks on how to effectively use someone else’s goods. They claim they have the largest wedding marketplace containing décor, wedding dresses, wedding accessories, and much, much more!
The BRIDES site is the online form of the print magazine. They cover absolutely everything you can imagine from registry assistance to honeymoon help to message boards encouraging other frantic brides that they are not alone in this wedding planning chaos.
6) The Knot
The Knot is the internet’s most-trafficked one-stop wedding planning solution. They offer a fresh voice and real-world sensibility alternative to the white-gloved, outdated advice of the available etiquette experts, The Knot has quickly become America’s leading wedding brand reaching out to millions of engaged couples each year through our award-winning website, books, magazines, and broadcast offerings.

7) Project Wedding
Indeed your wedding is a project. And with the right resources like Project Wedding, life can be a little more manageable. From DIY ideas to forums to travel tips and alternatives for the finicky bride, project wedding is a breath of fresh air.
8) Wedding Bee
The Wedding Bee is basically run by brides-to-be. You can apply to blog about your day-to-day planning, crafts, and other planning tips and tricks. It’s a perfect place for “misery is company” to find other brides dealing with similar situations or selling their goods from their own wedding.
9) Offbeat Bride
The Offbeat bride offers an alternative to traditional brides. From crazy wedding reception concepts to food to attire- anything is fair game here.

10) Budget Savvy Bride
So you’re on a budget, we’ll most couples are trying to stay within a budget for your big day, but the Budget Savvy Bride takes it to the next level of savings. Check it out to save yourself some cold hard cash.

Vendor Spotlight The Flower Cottage

Vendor Spotlight The Flower Cottage

Vendor Spotlight The Flower Cottage

Vendor Spotlight The Flower CottageThis week we’re spotlighting a delightful local flower shop in Frankfort! The Flower Cottage is filled with charming arrangements from Valentine’s day wreaths to Sympathy garlands. However, their wedding arrangements are the big deal there and they go to great lengths to create the floral designs of your dreams. They have been in business over 20 years and personally deliver to Chicago and over 100 other suburbs. The owner is very knowledgeable and the staff is experienced designers who create what you envision on your wedding day.

The customer service is very personalized and they ask detailed questions to create your vision on your wedding day. The Flower Cottage has great sample books brides may look through and customize bits and pieces for their own design. They don’t even mind putting crystals inside the flower bouquets for that extra sparkle on your big day! It really glams up a bouquet and then when it’s dried (if you’re keeping it) the crystals keep it beautiful.

Vendor Spotlight The Flower Cottage Vendor Spotlight The Flower CottageThe Flower Cottage will design anything from center pieces, head table arrangements, bridal bouquet, bridesmaids bouquets, boutonnieres, unity pieces and arrangements for mothers of the bride and other special family. The arrangements are professionally put together so they do not fall apart on the big day!


Vendor Spotlight Carnivale

Vendor Spotlight CarnivaleVendor Spotlight CarnivaleSpring is right around the corner and Chicago brides are ready for some bright colors. What better way to experience the festive atmosphere of a party than at Jerry Kleiner’s Carnivale. This vibrant and flavorful restaurant in Chicago’s west loop boasts a reception atmosphere that’s “Exciting, colorful and unique” as proclaimed in the website. We love the wide paneled colors on the walls and the pick of seven captivating rooms to choose from! The seating ranges anywhere from a cozy seating of 40 to 1,000. There are the three salons, the Samba room, Flamenco room, Lambada lounge and Tango room (see photos below). Each room is flagged with colorful accessories and brilliant chandeliers. For the fun and quirky bride Carnivale could be the best choice. We think this venue is perfect for those spring brides who want to make sure their reception is a party atmosphere rather than stuffy winter draping’s.

Vendor Spotlight CarnivaleSamba Room

Vendor Spotlight CarnivaleFlamenco Room

Vendor Spotlight CarnivaleTango Room

Their menu, prepared by Chef Rudolf Quadros, is bursting with only fresh and seasonal ingredients. The chef uses organic and sometimes home grown ingredients. Brides can choose from tapas style meals or traditional plated meals. The menu is tailored to each bride’s tastes and Carnivale caters exclusively to the bride’s requests.

Vendor Spotlight Carnivale

Vendor Spotlight CarnivaleCarnivale Ceremony via Sweet Chic Events

Vendor Spotlight Boutique Bites Fine Catering

Boutique Bites is a Chicago-based luxury catering firm that serves up food that is equally as delicious as it is beautiful. Started in 2008 by owner Elaina Vasquez, the concept is food that looks almost too good to eat and when you check out their site, you’ll know exactly what we mean.  Elaina’s blog boasts intricately designed dishes that are inspired by her love of fashion (we particularly were intrigued by a purple chip with a scoop of caviar that mimicked a similarly decadent runway look!)  And the theme can be seen throughout much of her other creations- mini burgers in Louis Vuitton-inspired print boxes, and bites that are so rich in color they themselves could be featured in Vogue Magazine.

Vendor Spotlight Boutique Bites Fine Catering

Some of our favorite sample items that had us drooling? How about Lobster Mac n’cheese in mason jars? Mini pot pies, tapas stations, and luscious caprese bites are just a few of the signature items that you can customize for your specific event. Boutique Bites can service large weddings and galas to intimate dinner parties and bridal showers. And not only are they spot-on when it comes to of-the-moment cuisine, but their affair with tablescapes and food styling put the entire look of their process ahead of the rest.  We aren’t just talking one-note catering here. This place has shown their styling chops with themes ranging from high-end luxe, to rustic and natural and even creates the most beautiful artisanal cheese display we have ever seen! Vendor Spotlight Boutique Bites Fine Catering.

Vendor Spotlight Boutique Bites Fine Catering

We’ve all heard of farm to table. This is more like runway to plate: elegant and gorgeous, but with tastes to match.  We all know the seemingly difficult decision of choosing a caterer and using a venue that requires off-site vendors.  With so many choices in a city known for its high standards in culinary excellence, Boutique Bites put us over the top with its wide range of options and regardless of scale, their impeccable attention to detail and presentation. Rarely does a vendor come along that you know your guests will ultimately be raving about for years to come- this is one of them! And while we are dying over the creations on their sample menus, we can’t wait to see what custom tastes they can create for new clients! Needless to say, we are bookmarking their blog as we speak!

Vendor Spotlight Boutique Bites Fine Catering

Kelly Vanderploeg Photo

Vendor Spotlight Kelly Vanderploeg Photography

Vendor Spotlight Kelly Vanderploeg PhotographyEverytime I pick up my camera, my heart starts beating a little faster. I am a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP), which is not that common…that test nearly kicked my butt.  I am also a proud member of Professional Photographer of America (PPA), Professional Photographers of America – Northern Illinois (PPANI) and Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI). I offically opened my proverbial “doors” for business in 2007.  That was when I was trying to be a mom, a wife, a paralegal and a photographer…and doing none of them well.  Today, as a mom of four, it is a daily struggle to balance it all, but it is a way of life I have learned to embrace. I am a hugger.  I am shorter than people think.  I try keeping life simple.  I love home improvement projects.  I love a spontaneous dance party and I keep music playing in our home 24/7.  I eat more cereal than Jerry Seinfeld.  I call Geneva, Illinois home. Check my website and drop me a line if you see something that makes you smile. Also, my Vander Blog is filled with some great weddings.

I am lucky enough to shoot all my weddings with my BFF, Faye, so, when you book me to shoot your wedding, you get her as a little bonus (unless you are having a smaller wedding and just need one photog — in which case, we can chat).  We have both been brides and also stood up in each other’s weddings.  We have seven kids between the two of us, including two sets of boy twins, so we are prepared for anything and are anxious to get out of the house.  The fast pace hustle & bustle of a wedding day gets our creative juices flowing and makes our hearts flutter.  We dress in black and are ninja-like…seriously, you may not even know we are there at times. Ironically, we both speak Spanish (truth be told, I am more fluent after a few margaritas), but we also speak perfect “wedding”.  This is a non-verbal language spoken with the eyes in which fluency increases after shooting weddings together for so many years.  We are there to capture your day as it unfolds…we are not there to run the show, but are ready to direct traffic when the time comes. And I can not guarantee you won’t find us on your dancefloor…it might have been known to happen…just sayin’. Vendor Spotlight Kelly Vanderploeg Photography.

Vendor Spotlight Kelly Vanderploeg Photography
Vendor Spotlight Kelly Vanderploeg PhotographVendor Spotlight Kelly Vanderploeg Photograph

Venue Selection Flowchart

Venue Selection Flowchart

Finding a venue for your wedding is no easy task. There are so many different options it can seem terribly overwhelming when trying to narrow it down to just one. And considering the fact that it’s the largest cost of your wedding venue, you definitely want to select a venue that is well worth the money you’re going to shell out.

This year’s wedding venue trends are straying from the traditional banquet halls and country clubs and opting for the more unique and extravagant locations, such as in a cave or on a glacier. But if you don’t have the budget to pull that off, it’s not a problem at all. By choosing a venue that is true to you and your fiance’s style, and of course staying within your budget, you’ll be able to set the scene perfectly for your big day. To help point you in the right direction, SimplyBridal has created a flow chart to help determine what type of wedding venue you should consider. Happy venue hunting! Venue Selection Flowchart.
Venue Selection Flowchart

NYFW 2014 Roundup

NYFW 2014 Roundup

It’s about this time every year where we begin to dust off our open-toed shoes and dream of warmer days ahead. But for the fashion elite, February marks the coming of Fall as they look way ahead to predict the biggest looks and trends for the most impressionable time of year. Don’t get us wrong, Spring is always a welcome showing for florals, sleeveless looks and the newly reinnovated crop top, but Fall is and has always been the big-time when it comes to high-end couture. This year was no different with the biggest names in the biz closing the shows with the most talked about trends. Here is our take and what you should start prepping for now…

NYFW 2014 RoundupSapphire Blue: By far the hottest hue seen all over the runways, this purplish-blue stole the show with major players like Calvin Klein Collection showing it in ultra sleek and modern silhouettes. The key is to let the bold color do the talking and keep things pretty minimal. Other designers went a big further with the color offering separates that made a statement but also kept this bright blue as a neutral accessory, showing off how versatile it will be this Fall.

NYFW 2014 RoundupSuiting: The obsession with the dress is over Sorry Brides, but the new menswear inspired vibe is all about suiting separates. From wide leg pants and jackets to ultra sleek suits with plunging necklines, the boy’s club is calling the shots this year with a whole new look for women. Thinking of a LWD for your wedding rehearsal? Go for a jumpsuit instead. It’s playful and sophisticated and a welcome change from the typical and often expected dress option. Ralph Lauren pretty much shut down the runway with his superior take on the look he has been perfecting his entire career. This is one trend that is also so classic and timeless we love seeing it reinterpreted this Fall.

Capes: We saw this one coming from a mile away when Gwyneth Paltrow showed up to the Oscars last year in a custom white Tom Ford dress donning and ultra modern cape. The look is actually very reminiscent of the 1960’s “Jackie O” era and it still works today. Lupita N’yongo earned our best dressed award at the Globes for her red hot Ralph Lauren cape gown and we know there are plenty more capes to come!

Fur: Fur accents and embellishments ( real and faux alike) were a key element in layered and textured looks from everyone from DVF to Altuzarra. The idea for fall is taking traditional pieces like jackets and tops to include luxe fur accents like collars, sleeves, and slim fur jackets in all kinds of bold prints.

Jenny PackhamFeathers: Formal favorites Jenny Packham and Naeem Khan stuck with their outrageously gorgeous beaded looks and added a hint of feathering for movement. The look is perfect for bridal and adds an extra dose of glam to an already perfected look. NYFW 2014 Roundup.

Naeem Khan

Vendor Spotlight A Sweet Delivery

Vendor Spotlight A Sweet Delivery

Vendor Spotlight A Sweet DeliveryWith Valentine’s Day upon us, it seems that chocolate and sweets are all we can think about.  As much as we love sweet treats, we can’t think of any better way to receive them than being sent a gorgeous hand picked box of perfectly style artisan candy. A Sweet Delivery does just that- it takes the art of giving up a notch with customizable boxes for work or play that are equally as delicious as they are stylish.  Our favorite part? The versatility of sending someone you love a box of gourmet chocolates in sleek clear tumblers or just surprising your favorite little person with whimsical gummy bear collections for their birthday ( both occasions which are on our personal gift- buying agenda!)

The company’s motto “ Because candy is always in fashion” echoes the overall theme of super yummy treats dressed up to look just as good as they taste. The mix of prints and patterns in their candy box collections are perfect for literally anyone in need of a sweet gift. And they customize for corporate gifts as well!

And this is another Chicago vendor we think would be perfect for wedding gifting and thank you’s. Want to thank your bridesmaids or the lovely host of your bridal shower? Send them a thoughtful and fashionable gift that they will talk about for days.

Owner and creator, Ami DiTomasso started A Sweet Delivery as an extension of her already thriving dessert design service, Sugar Chic Designs. Her impeccable eye and flair for food styling has put her at the forefront of to -die –for wedding and event candy displays that go way beyond your typical candy bar. Check out both sites and prepare to be wowed- it’s all almost too beautiful to eat…almost! Vendor Spotlight A Sweet Delivery.

Contact A Sweet Delivery

Vendor Spotlight A Sweet DeliveryVendor Spotlight A Sweet DeliverVendor Spotlight A Sweet Deliver

vendor spotlight drybar

Vendor Spotlight Drybar

vendor spotlight drybarVendor Spotlight Drybar. We’ve been hearing about this new phenomenon for awhile: A trip to the salon JUST for a blow out that keeps your hair styled and perfectly coifed for days. For some, it was an insider secret of the fashionable and super elite. Picture those always put together Upper East sider women heading to power lunches who simply don’t have the time ( or the desire) to give themselves the every exhausting blow out. But now, the “blowout” is more accessible and closer than ever, with a local haunt here in Chicago that is creating quite the loyal following.

Drybar, is an exclusive blow dry bar in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood that is attracting throngs of hair obsessed ladies from all over. And what sets this place apart from the rest is the attention to detail like the complimentary cocktails and great flicks being played on repeat on TV’s throughout the ultra chic salon space.

And the price really can’t be beat. For 40 bucks door to door you can walk in with a hot mess or usual wet bun and walk out a swingy-haired glamazon ready for a special night out or just a work week that leaves very little time for hair maintenance. The hours are super convenient with appointments starting as early as 7 AM and staying open late so that you can get a quick blow out for your early morning flight the next day.

We are obsessed with this idea for brides too. Who wouldn’t love to show up to their rehearsal dinner or bridal shower with hair that looks almost too good? Without the unintended hair nightmare of a self-one updo, Drybar keeps things simple in the best way possible. It literally takes your hair to new levels- more volume, better staying power, and several types of blow outs to fit each customer’s specific needs and events.

The super cute website boasts a simple “menu” that includes blow outs for little ones, at- home services ( what a dream!),  updos and all kinds of add ons like conditioning treatments and scalp massages. And if you think getting your girls together for some pre-wedding pampering is in order, they even do private parties! Perfect for the wedding and beyond, Drybar is our newest obsession- we dare you to try it and NOT go back! CONTACT DRYBAR

Heart and Soul from drybar on Vimeo.

vendor spotlight drybarvendor spotlight drybar