Wedding Budget

Wedding Budget
Here are more wedding budget tips for you! Remember, your wedding day is just ONE DAY but you could be paying for it for many days after. It should be beautiful, memorable, and most of all suit your style and taste. However, brides (and grooms) can go overboard if not kept within budget. To continue on
with our wedding budget strategies, here are five ways to keep you in check.
1) Wedding Attire
Would your groom feel more comfortable in a custom suit versus a tux? He could end up paying less and will have a suit to last him a lifetime(or at least until his waist band expands!) Do you require your wedding dress to be couture, or would you consider buying a dress off a site such as Pre-owned wedding dresses. Many people sell their dresses, veils, shoes, and other accessories after the big day because they feel like they could help out another bride-on-a-budget and could probably use the cash too!
2) Flowers & Other Décor
Some brides opt to use alternatives to fresh flowers for a unique twist on wedding décor. You can find great options through rental companies such as candelabras, votives, frames,vases with floating candles, and much more. However, let’s say you do want to use flowers in your wedding – using silk flowers gives you the same result, but also won’t wilt or die on you. Some flowers are very fragile
and cannot withstand harsh elements. You could end up saving a lot of loot if you choose silk versus fresh flowers in centerpieces.
3) Invites
In this modern day and age, a majority of people have access to the Internet, smartphones, etc.
Some couples will opt to go paper-free for their wedding and send their invites online using such services like Evite. Sending things electronically also means you do not have to pay for postage!
4) Music
DJs and bands can cost a fortune. With iTunes and other music sources, people can opt to create their own party list and simply press play. If you think you might miss out on the lasers, fog, and up lighting your reception hall may have this option as an up charge. Otherwise, there are vendors who simply offer services such as this and give good deals.
5) Pictures / Video
Pictures last a lifetime. However, they can sometimes be on the pricey side. If you have a friend whom is an amateur photographer, ask if they would be willing to photograph your wedding. Other small business photography businesses tend to give better discounts rather than the“cookie cutter”big-name companies. Sometimes you can negotiate and strike up a deal!
We hope these tips give you a better idea on how to prioritize, strategize, and budget your big day. Wedding budget doesn’t have to be stressful if you plan a head a few steps.
The Knot Best of Weddings 2017

Music By Design The Knot Best of Weddings 2017

The Knot Best of Weddings 2017

Music By Design The Knot Best of Weddings 2017

Music By Design named winner in The Knot Best of Weddings 2017

Chicago, IL (December 2, 2016) — Music By Design is pleased to announce they have been selected as a 2017 ­­winner in The Knot Best of Weddings, a special section featured on The Knot. The Knot is the number-one wedding destination, most trusted by brides.

The Knot Best of Weddings 2017 provides a “by brides, for brides” guide to the top wedding professionals across the country, and is a must-have when it comes to selecting the best-of-the-best wedding resources. Whether they’re trying to find the wedding dress salon with the best service in Chicagoland, the most creative wedding photographers, top cake bakers or a chicago wedding dj, engaged couples across the country want the inside scoop on the best from real brides.

Music By Design is also included in The Knot Hall of Fame. 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 331 inductees includes less than 2 percent of wedding professionals. Music By Design The Knot Best of Weddings 2016.

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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 events of their lives. Our family of premium brands began with the #1 wedding brand, The Knot, and has grown to include WeddingChannel, The Nest, The Bump, TheBlush and Ijie. 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.

For more information, please contact weddingreviews@theknot.com.

View official press release – releases on January 2, 2017.

Wedding Insurance

Wedding Insurance
Wedding insurance is something all brides should consider! Though you might not want to think about it, disasters can strike your wedding day. From a sudden cancellation to stolen gifts to a damaged gown, wedding insurance can help protect you against the unforeseen, and can also afford you great peace of mind. Wedding insurance is not just for the military bride or let’s face it the runaway bride. Why wedding insurance?
For the bride and groom: as you celebrate the beginning of your lives together, wedding insurance can help protect your financial future if something beyond your control should go wrong.
For the parents of the bride or groom: an investment in your child’s wedding is an investment in their happiness. You want to protect their dreams of a perfect wedding–and your own financial security. If the unforeseen occurs, wedding insurance is there.
Basically, wedding insurance protects a couple’s investment from circumstances beyond their control, and reimburses expenses incurred. For example, what if your limo driver doesn’t show up and you have to book another one the morning of the wedding– for three times the price? Or what if the groom’s custom-made tuxedo is lost in airport baggage, and he has to buy a new one the day before the wedding? What if your reception space goes out of business a month before the wedding, and you lose your deposit and have to book another space? These are the types of big-day financial losses that wedding insurance can help to protect.
Some vendors may have this insurance built into their contract; however, if they go bankrupt, you’re out of luck. Some insurance carriers such as Traveler’s, Aon, and other insurance brokers, have riders or policies you can add to your existing coverage. The decision to purchase Wedding Insurance is a highly personal one–a financial decision that is an additional cost for your wedding budget, but will protect you from unforeseen disasters and mishaps. As the average cost of weddings rises, now $27,000 in the U.S.,
wedding insurance becomes more of a necessity. After all, you wouldn’t buy a new car that cost that much without insuring it against damage. Wedding insurance can save you an unnecessary headache and money loss.

Unsupportive Families

Unsupportive Families Part I
Thanksgiving is right around the corner so now’s the time to address unsupportive families. Your parents don’t approve of your fiancé. We’re not just saying boyfriend, but fiancé. It’s crunch time before the wedding and plans are in motion…yet, Mom and Dad aren’t big fans of Mr. Right.
So, how do you deal with unsupportive families? Does this affect your decision to move forward with a marriage? Basically, do you choose your man over your family? Perhaps, they think he could be a snazzier dresser or have a better haircut. Maybe they’re not crazy about his family,his paycheck, his car. Or maybe they fell in love with the navy officer you dated in college and feel no one else will ever compare. Whatever the reason, and despite how happy you are to be engaged, your parents have yet to embrace their future son-in-law (though at this point, you’d settle for an acknowledgment of his existence). In this situation, the hardest part of planning your wedding may be the one thing you can’t control: your parents.
1) Be Up Front
Tell your parents that you would like them to be part of our day, but that their involvement is their choice. A decision to respond in a proactive-rather than reactive-way to your parents help keep things in perspective.
2) Keep Your Chin Up
A positive attitude will be your best defense against your parents’ snide comments or chilly indifference. Before these things make an ugly dent in your earnest enthusiasm, develop a motto with the staying power to get you through. Repeating a mantra, something that keeps you calm and focused, can be the quickest way back to sanity. Unfortunately, when you are an adult, your parent’s don’t always know what is best for you. You do. Live your life and hopefully your parents will be proven wrong about your “big mistake” on marrying Mr. Not Good Enough. Unsupportive families can sometimes come around when they see how good it is for you.

Vegas Wedding

Viva Las Vegas – Vegas Wedding
A Vegas wedding sounds exotic, daring and budget friendly! Getting married in Vegas doesn’t mean you need to pull into a drive-thru window or have an Elvis impersonator marry you off. Want to get married next to the Bellagio dancing fountains? Or, what about exchanging vows underneath the Eiffel Tower? Vegas caters to all sorts of budgets from the ritzy and exclusive to simple and sweet. You can keep it flashy or classy- totally up to you! There are so many options; you might just have a hard time choosing just one! Every year,some 120,000 weddings are performed in Las Vegas, making it the most popular destination wedding site by far.
The Positives
Affordability & Convenience – This is the biggest advantage of a Las Vegas wedding. While a traditional U.S.wedding costs $27,000 on average, you can have a complete wedding ceremony for a few hundred dollars (or less)in Las Vegas. At Las Vegas hotels with wedding chapels,there’s usually a wedding coordinator who can arrange everything from your wedding flowers to the officiant to music and photography/videography. And you can plan it allover the phone or even online.
Timing
You will be able to book a chapel for your wedding in Las Vegas on short notice. Reservations are helpful,although walk-ins are accommodated in some places.
Fun
If you want to get married in Las Vegas by an Elvis impersonator, who’s to stop you?Start the Honeymoon Early–No need to get on a plane or head out of town after the wedding. Las Vegas is more than a great wedding town–Las Vegas is a great honeymoon destination, too.
The Negatives
Your Wedding, Your Way–There’s no comparison between a wedding planned months or years in advance with a quickie Las Vegas one. If you’re someone who cares about having specific wedding colors, custom favors, a certain baker, local florists and bands, and other elements that personalize a wedding, you may not be satisfied with a standard Las Vegas wedding package.
Conveyor Belt Mentality
While Las Vegas wedding chapels attempt to keep wedding parties separate, they don’t always succeed. Some Las Vegas hotels have more than one chapel, so you may encounter people from other wedding parties. At one of the better Las Vegas wedding chapels, couples have one hour of chapel time: 30 minutes for guest arrival and seating, 15 minutes for the ceremony, and 15 minutes for photography.
Reception Sites
Las Vegas wedding chapels are just that: Places where weddings are conducted. If you want to have a reception afterwards, that has to be arranged separately. Larger hotels have banquet and meeting rooms
which are mostly used for corporate functions. I recommend a private room in a restaurant.
Tacky Image
Despite the best efforts of Las Vegas’ finest hotels–which can produce gala affairs second to none — Las Vegas weddings are still considered tacky by some.

Top 5 Reception Songs

Top 5 Reception Announcement Songs
Your reception songs selection is a fun part of the wedding planning! The reception is a party and the grand entrance is the first chance you get to express the vibe you want your wedding reception to be. The grand entrance can either be high energy or low key. For the bridal party grand entrance songs, ask yourself: Do I want this to be humorous? What special song will signify my transition into a marriage? What type of energy do I want my grand entrance to entail? Do I want the grand entrance to be romantic,high energy, or low key? Remember that your choice of reception songs may be a small thing but it can contribute much insetting the tone and the atmosphere of your wedding reception.
1. “Light it Up” by Major Lazor
2. “All the Way Up” by Fat Joe
3. “Desiigner” by Panda
4. “This is What you Came For” by Calvin Harris
5. “Cant Stop the Feeling” by Justine Timberlake
For your bridal party entrance music, you can also change it when you and your groom walk into the reception hall for an added‘grand-entrance atmosphere’. Remember too that if you need to walk down a flight of stairs going to the reception hall, you may need to have a slow song accompanying you both and change it to a more upbeat one when you reach the party crowd. Indeed, the entrance songs for your wedding reception depends largely on the venue as well as your preference.
Reception Entrance Songs for the Bride and Groom
1. “Marry You”Bruno Mars
2. “Beautiful Day” by U2
3. “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce
4. ” Let’s Get it Started”by Black Eyed Peas
5. “So Right” by Dave Matthews Band
You can also make your reception songs into a remix or have a medley of good reception entrance songs as the bridal party enters the hall. A good DJ can do this for you.

Transformation to a New You

Transformation to a New You
Transformation sounds like something you might be resistant too – why change a good thing? But most brides have at least a few things they’d like to change (mostly on their bodies) before the big day. Your wedding day will probably be the most photographed day of your life. That is, unless you’re Heidi Klum. We’re not all supermodels, but you can sure look and feel like one on your big day! Plus, the camera adds 10 lbs…so why not make the playing course fair? With so many camera bulbs flashing in your direction, it’s important to feel and look your best. You don’t want to have to worry about “sucking it in” or if you have two chins. Or worse…the dreaded back fat.
Knowing that all eyes are on you can add extra motivation to get into shape. You’ve got the groom, the venue, the meal, the bridesmaids…now you need to focus on YOU! Most brides on average want to lose between 10-15 lbs to fit into their “princess perfect”dress. According to fitness experts, bride-to-be’s are some of the most driven exercise addicts. And while you’re at it, it might turn into a healthier way of life for you in the long run.
Twelve weeks is the ideal amount of time to see real transformation in your body utilizing both diet and exercise. However, it is not recommended for anything less than six weeks for you to start a major diet. Losing weight too fast is a no-no. It is extremely unhealthy and puts a lot of strain on your organs. Also, consider your dress fittings while losing weight. Typically, dress fittings happen over a few weeks time and or a week or two before the wedding for a final fitting. You don’t want to lose weight between that time period because your outfit might not fit as well as you would like. There is a difference between looking healthy and looking like a skeleton.
Transformation of any kind takes time, dedication and knowledge. We will help educate you on meal plans, exercise regimes and training tips!

Wedding Budget Strategies

Wedding Budget Strategies

 

Time is of the essence after getting engaged. That is, unless you plan on hiring someone to take care of all the details i.e. a wedding planner, which by the way runs on an average of $2,500 to $4,000. To help guide you, here are 5 ways to help maximize your wedding budget strategy.

1) Prioritize – Right away, you will want to prioritize your most important aspects of the wedding to your fiancé and you. Will the groom just die if you do not have a Hummer limo? Or, are photos more important to you? They do last a lifetime!

2) In-season / Off-season – Having your wedding during the most popular wedding months are a key indicator that your costs will reflect this as well. A wedding budget strategy here is important because you don’t want to be blind sided by the cost of a venue during certain times of the year.

3) Day of the Week- Saturdays typically tend to be the most popular day to host a wedding. However, many vendors will give deep discounts for choosing a Friday night or Sunday afternoon. If you really like a venue, but the Saturday prices are too steep, consider having the event on an “off” day.

4) Limit Guest List- This might not make you the most favored person, but friends and family whom understand that budget is a big factor should understand. Be choosy about whom you invite. Don’t feel obligated to invite people that aren’t very important to you or you have lost touch with. Just because you were invited to your friend from college’s wedding five years ago does not mean you must invite her to your event.

5) Location, Location, Location – Your location definitely impacts tax, gratuity, and other factors. If you choose a ritzy hotel in the city versus a banquet hall in a rural area you are likely to pay less just because of location alone. Take into consideration that these places also may charge for parking, valet, etc. There are many decisions to consider and finding what is most important is the best way to help figure out where to splurge and where to be conservative.

 

Wedding budget strategies aren’t hard but they do require work on your part. Just take it one step at a time and breathe!

Wedding Organization

Tips & Tricks for Wedding Organization
Planning a wedding is arguably one big, long test of organization and time management. Staying on top of things is KEY, or the whole process can get really overwhelming and out of hand if you aren’t keeping track of everything.
Here are our tips for staying organized while planning your wedding:
1. Get yourself a binder and some dividers, and make your own wedding organizer. Fill it as you go with inspiration photos, vendor contracts, business cards, and anything else you get that you need to keep track of.
2. Do most of your communication through email so there is written documentation of everything. You can print it out and put it in your binder.
3. Find a calendaring system that works for you. Whether it be a planner or on your Smartphone calendar, keep this with you at all times!
4. Have an individual document (either on the computer or on paper) to track wedding financials.
  • Each group contributing to the wedding financially (if you have multiple parties paying), showing their total contribution, anything they have paid so far, and the balance left over
  • Each vendor showing total cost, amount paid, balance,and whether there are any refundable deposits (e.g., our venue has one)
  • Miscellaneous money-related items to take note of (e.g., amount of cash needed on hand the dayof the wedding for vendor tips)
5. This may sound silly, but having a planner and binder won’t do you any good unless you actually USE it. Wedding organization in the form of binders are great but you need to be sure to keep updating them. So make sure to keep them handy and that way you won’t miss a meeting or (worse) a payment!
Follow these tips and you get to feel the sweet relief of knowing all your wedding organization is under control and at your fingertips anytime.

Hiring Vendors

The How-To’s of Hiring Vendors

 

How do you hire vendors? How do you know which match is right for you or who to trust? Where do you go for advice? First of all, this is not an easy task and it’s totally normal for couples to feel overwhelmed, frustrated or
confused. It’s not like you plan a wedding every day! This is all probably brand new to you, so be patient with yourself.
Do Your Homework. When hiring vendors you’ll get much more out of a meeting or conversation with a wedding professional if you do a little background homework first. Spend some time on the internet or talking to friends who’ve recently been married. Find out the average prices in your area and what services are available. Get an idea of what you like and don’t like. Wedding websites and chat rooms can be a great resource. This way when you meet with a wedding professional you’ll be able to ask better questions and have an idea of what to look out for.
Meet With Them. An in-person meeting is the best way to interview a potential wedding vendor. It lets you get the full experience of their personality, style and professionalism. If that’s not possible, have a phone conversation.
Ask Questions. There are no stupid questions when hiring vendors! Make sure you get clear, specific answers to your questions. If you aren’t sure what something means, ask them to clarify. Keep asking questions until you completely understand. If a wedding vendor has a problem with you asking questions, they probably aren’t the one for you. The best wedding professionals are patient, understanding and take the time to help you make the best choices for
your wedding.
Here are 8 questions to ask when hiring vendors and/or your potential wedding professionals:
How many weddings do you do per year? How much experience do you have?
How much do you cost?
How much is the deposit?
What specifically is included in that cost?
What happens if I cancel? What happens if you cancel?
Do you use a contract?
Are there any additional fees?
Do you carry liability insurance?
Listen. Don’t just hear the words they say, really listen. Watch the vendor’s body language. Are they confident and comfortable with their response? Do they look and sound nervous? Do you get a “funny feeling” about them? Take all the sights, sounds and feelings into account along with their verbal responses; if your gut tells you something isn’t right, it probably isn’t.
Check References. Portfolios are hand-picked to show off the best work, but they may not represent the “average” wedding performance. Videos are edited for the optimum presentation. But real referrals from satisfied clients are hard to fake.
When hiring vendors for your wedding it’s important you feel good about them. They’ll provide great service and you’ll get the wedding day of your dreams!