Setting Your Wedding Budget

Setting Your Wedding Budget

Setting Your Wedding Budget

One of the first and most important tasks in your wedding planning is creating the budget. Studies show that the biggest fights between bride and groom are caused by money concerns. Avoid the heartache and hassle by mapping out your wedding budget with these easy steps…

Step 1: Figure Out Who’s Footing The Bill

Before you can go any further with your budget, you need to establish who will be paying for what. Tradition states that the bride’s parents will cover the wedding costs, but nowadays that can vary from couple to couple. Have a discussion with all parties involved (parents, grandparents, step-parents, etc) to determine what each family’s contributions, if any, will be. Who pays for what in a wedding?

Step 2: Assess the Funds

Now that you know who’s footing the bill, you need to figure out exactly how much cash you have to spend. Tally up the monetary gifts contributed by each family and then, have an honest discussion with your fiancé about how much money, if any, the two of you want to spend out of your own savings. Once you’ve got a firm number, you can move on to step 3.

Step 3: Allocate the Funds

It’s up to you to determine how and where you want to spend your wedding money. Typically, wedding budgets are divided as so: Reception (48-50%), Ceremony (2-3%), Attire (8-10%), Flowers (8-10%), Chicago Wedding DJ (8-10%), Photography/Videography (10-12%), Stationery (2-3%), Wedding Rings (2-3%), Parking/Transportation (2-3%), Miscellaneous (8%). Remember this is just an average and meant to be used as a rough guide. You may choose to put more money into one area than another, which is totally fine. Just make sure you don’t underestimate the costs in any one area.

Step 4: Prioritize

The budget estimate above is just that, an estimate. You and your soon-to-be spouse need to determine exactly how each dollar is spent. If your dream invitations end up costing 5% of the budget, figure out a way to cut expenses somewhere else. Planning a wedding is a lot like marriage: it’s all about compromise. If you go over budget on the reception site rental, try to lower the expenses on food or flowers.

Step 5: Save, save, save

Just because you have X amount of dollars to spend, doesn’t mean you have to spend it all. Try to be budget-conscious whenever possible and cut costs. Wedding can be incredibly costly affairs and often there are unexpected expenses that pop up at the last minute. Plan a brainstorming meeting with your fiancé to discuss ways you can save money. Got a friend who is a great photographer/graphics designer/florist/baker? Ask him/her to take pictures, creative invitations, assemble bouquets, or make your wedding cake. And don’t forget to scour the Internet for DIY wedding ideas. You’d be amazed how many stunning details you can create yourself at a fraction of the cost.

Step 6: Reevaluate

The wedding budget isn’t something that’s meant to be created and then ignored. You should constantly be reevaluating the budget as you make decisions about the wedding. Create a spreadsheet that can easily be altered as things are purchased or booked. Plug in the numbers and tweak the budget as you go to ensure that everything is covered and you never go into the red.

Live Entertainment

Hello Brides! Are you looking to spice up your wedding? Live entertainment is what we’re seeing more of and that could be anything from musicians to acrobats to fire spitters! What could be more fun than having people serenade your reception or giving flare to your wedding in a unique way.

You can try Gig Masters to search for bands to play at your wedding. They have you type in what city you’re in and viola you have some live entertainment! Sometimes it’s hard for a DJ to create the party atmosphere you desire. With live entertainment like a band, they have the advantage of being personal and getting your guests up out of their seats to dance.

How do you pick the right band? Well, you can attend a concert or show of your favorites, get a recommendation from friends and family or do a search like Gig Masters – even google can suffice! Nowadays, everyone reviews everything so you can see videos and clips to decide if you like their style.

For any live entertainer, you need to ask the right questions as well like when do you want dancing? Before, after or during dinner? This can determine what kind of band you want. You wouldn’t want guests shouting over the rock while dining. Some couples are happy with just an hour or two after dinner. Price is always important as well. Live bands can range from $2000 to $35000 so be sure to be clear when you interview any band what your expectations are.

Or perhaps for live entertainment you just want a simple string quartet to play you down the aisle and add flare to the ceremony. You can always opt for a DJ at the reception. But don’t forget when planning for live entertainment you need be aware of the space they’ll need. They will need a place for a keyboard and their sound equipment. If you have specific song requests a good band will be able to learn the music if they’re unfamiliar with it. Have fun interviewing and picking live entertainment! Your guests will love the added visual appeal and live performers will keep them dancing all night long!

Wedding Wire Couples Choice 2017

WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award® 2017

WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award® 2017
Music By Design, Ltd. Honored For Excellence With The WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award® 2017

Chicago, IL  – January 10, 2017 – WeddingWire, the leading global online marketplace for the wedding and event industry, announced Music By Design as a winner of the esteemed 2017 WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® for Disc Jockeys in Chicagoland!

The Couples’ Choice Awards recognize the top five percent of wedding professionals on WeddingWire who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness, and professionalism. The prestigious awards are given to the top local wedding professionals across more than 20 service categories, from wedding venues to wedding photographers, based on their professional achievements from the previous year.

The WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards winners are determined solely based on reviews from real newlyweds and their experiences working with Music By Design. Award-winning vendors are distinguished for the quality, quantity, consistency and timeliness of the reviews they have received from their past clients.

“The Couples’ Choice Awards’ ninth year features one of the most impressive groups of dedicated and acclaimed wedding professionals yet,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “It is our honor to work with high-caliber merchants, such as Music By Design, who not only make a couple’s big day possible, but also contribute to the more than 2.5 million U.S. reviews represented on WeddingWire. We congratulate all of this year’s winners on their achievements.”

As a Couples’ Choice Awards® winner, Music By Design is highlighted on WeddingWire, which is comprised of more than 200,000 wedding professionals in the U.S.

Music By Design is thrilled to be one of the top Wedding Experts in Chicagoland. We would like to thank our past clients for taking the time to review our business on WeddingWire. We truly value all of our clients and appreciate the positive feedback that helped us earn a 2017 WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award.

For more information about Music By Design, please visit Music By Design Online.
To learn more about the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards®, please visit Wedding Wire.

About WeddingWire, Inc.

WeddingWire, Inc. is the leading global online marketplace connecting consumers with event and creative professionals. Operating within a $200 billion industry, WeddingWire, Inc. hosts 10 million monthly unique users across its mobile and web platforms. Consumers around the world are able to read over 3 million vendor reviews and search, compare and book from a database of over 400,000 businesses globally. It provides these businesses the technology they need to serve their clients through advertising, marketing and business management tools such as websites, payment processing, invoicing and contracts. Founded in 2007, the WeddingWire portfolio of sites serves couples and businesses across 15 countries in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia, making it the worldwide leader in weddings with brands including,, and more. The company employs more than 800 and maintains global headquarters in Washington, DC and international headquarters in Barcelona, Spain.

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

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

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.

Vinyl to Vinyl

Vinyl to Vinyl

The Music Bed has created a handy infographic charting the evolution of audio and the resurgence of vinyl nostalgia. Vinyl to Vinyl. Digital download sales continue to climb, reaching 1.3 billion in 2012, but consumers also bought more than 4.6 million records in the same year — that’s a 17.7% increase from 2011. source: mashable

vinyl to vinyl

Pitbull aka Mr. Worldwide

Between show-stopping performances, chart-topping singles and numerous award nominations, 2011 was a great year for international music star Pitbull, aka Mr. Worldwide. So far, 2012 is looking just as good. He helped ring the New Year with a performance on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rocking Eve.

According to the official Pitbull website, Mr. Worldwide titled his latest album Planet Pit because “he feels as if the world is his right now.” Based on his success, he has strong reason to feel that way: his hit single “Give Me Everything” was the party anthem of 2011 and the international star has sold millions of digital singles.

What makes Pitbull such a success?

Well, his spicy singles are instant dance hits. It is hard not to sing along or shake your booty when you hear one of his songs, especially if you are at a club or a wedding. Plus, the stylish singer oozes sex appeal and confidence. He has ladies swooning and guys taking notes. While there is only one Mr. Worldwide, his music lets you escape the hectic routine of normal life and allows you to become a confident, dancing machine, if only for a few minutes.

Honoring Your Heritage

When it comes to weddings, the more personalized, the better! This day is all about you and your spouse-to-be. Celebrate your love and all the things that make you unique as a couple. Pay homage to your heritage by incorporating elements influenced by your background, hometown, or ethnicity. Here are a few ways to infuse your wedding with personalized charm…

Food: A very obvious way to honor your upbringing or ancestry is through your food selection. Choose ethnic or regional fare that pays tribute to your family’s roots. The entire menu doesn’t need to be dictated by your heritage; instead, you can incorporate a traditional dessert, side dish, or beverage into the day’s festivities. Or, dedicate the cocktail hour solely to cuisine representative of your family history.

Flowers: Celebrate the place you grew up or the nation your family comes from with local flowers from that area. Shamrocks and Bells of Ireland represent the Emerald Isle, Roses are the emblem of England, Narcissus is symbolic of the new year and good fortune in China, and the Iris is that national flower of France. If you’re hoping to keep things domestic, simply choose the state flower of your home state, the state of your nuptials, or the place where your parents or in-laws grew up.

Music: Music is a great way to incorporate your cultural lineage into your nuptials. Most nationalities have their own traditional wedding march that can contribute to a truly unique bridal procession. Or, hire a band during the ceremony or cocktail hour to provide cultural background music.

Traditions: In Scotland, it’s considered good luck for men to place a sprig of white heather in their buttonholes. In France, it’s customary for guests to toss laurel and coins as the newlyweds leave the chapel. Greek customs include pinning money onto the wedding dress, while Indian brides usually wear red. Nearly every nationality has its own unique wedding customs and traditions that can be incorporated into your union for a poignant and special moment.

Favors: Send your guests away with a little token that represents your lineage. Purchase your favors from your hometown or order something online that was made in the region you’d like to represent. Candies and baked goods are excellent ideas for culturally significant favors that taste great too!

How To Get Keep Your Dance Floor Packed

“It’s really important to us to have a lot of dancing at our wedding. Is there any guidance you can give us?”

– Ashley / Wedding Date: 8.18.12

We received the above question from Ashley this week and she poses a common concern among couples getting married: What can we do to ensure a great reception?  Below are a few guidelines to help create an atmosphere conducive to dancing.

While elements like lighting and décor do play a role in creating atmosphere, 81% of guests say the thing they remember most about a wedding is the music.  The tone for the evening really begins during dinner, before the dance floor ever opens. Your DJ should not “auto play” dinner music and sit down to eat with your guests. A good DJ is vested in “actively programming” your dinner music in a way that energizes your guests. Based on your input, your DJ should play music based on beats per minute, i.e. slower songs at the beginning of dinner and gradually increase the tempo and volume into dessert. The goal is to get your guests tapping their feet, bobbing their heads, and itching to get out on the dance floor. We want to energize your guests early in the night.

As for the rest of the evening, be sure to communicate your music tastes, must play songs, do-not-play songs, and your stance on guest requests during the planning stage. By setting guidelines, your DJ will know what requests to take and which ones to avoid. Instead of trying to select “wedding music”, you should focus your attention on selecting songs and genres that you really like. If you are not sure what you like, try to pick songs you know that your friends or family enjoy. In our experience, when the bride and groom and the bridal party are out on the dance floor, that energy resonates with the rest of the crowd. Remember, your guests are all there to celebrate with you.

A good DJ will be able to evaluate your crowd and “dial in” the music that resonates with you and your guests. It is important to communicate with your DJ and be very specific about the atmosphere you expect. In addition, provide your DJ with a solid list of true Must Plays with an accompanying list of notes like: “We especially enjoy 80’s new wave” or “we love current dance music” or even “we like country and rap”. Giving these types of notes allows your DJ to exercise some creativity and select songs that are complementary to your must play list. On the other hand, if you do not have any specific requests and are not really sure what you want, be sure to communicate that with your DJ.

A great way to get reluctant dancers involved is to include song dedications. “This song is dedicated to cousin, Mike.” Mike may have been sitting in his chair all night, until he heard “Teach Me How to Dougie” ,at which point, he sprung out on to the dance floor and a circle formed around him as he performed the “Dougie” to perfection. Dedications also work well for slow songs. Do you have anyone celebrating an anniversary on or around your wedding date? Find out ahead of time what their first dance song was and have the DJ make a special dedication.

Your DJ’s objective is to keep the dance floor full and, at the same time, satisfying the guidelines you have provided. Therefore, communication is paramount when planning your reception. If you take the time to plan your night and set realistic expectations, you and your guests are sure to have a memorable evening.

Mumford & Sons

Although they are often labeled as indie rock and folk, Mumford & Sons’ undeniable success suggests they are on their way to becoming a major label. In just four short years, they have achieved what all musicians dream of: Since debuting in the UK in 2009, Mumford & Sons reached number two on the UK Album Chart. Similarly, Mumford & Sons has reached number two on the Billboard 200 since debuting in the US in February 2010. Just this week, their album Sigh No More was number six on iTunes.

So who is Mumford & Sons?

Mumford & Sons is a folk band from London. They spontaneously came together in 2007. Each member had been playing various instruments independently prior to meeting. After an impromptu performance, the band bonded over their love for music and their desire to create unique, powerful melodies. The band began rehearsing in the fall of 2007 and was touring extensively by 2008. Since their debut, Mumford & Sons have been blessed with sold out performances and chart-hitting singles and album.

Who makes up Mumford & Sons?

Mumford & Sons is comprised of four friends in their twenties: Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, “Country” Winston Marshall, and Ted Dwane. All of the members are multi-talented, which adds to the distinctiveness of their music. Marcus Mumford plays guitar, drums, and the mandolin. Ben Lovett plays keyboard, accordion, and drums. “Country” Winston Marshall plays banjo and dobro. Ted Dwane plays string bass, guitar, and drums. All four members provide vocals.

What is their music like?

Despite the unique instruments and confident, folk sound, Mumford & Sons plays music that all people can relate to. They sing about love, heartbreak, and fear. Their lyrics are poetic and romantic, and their melodies are moving and inspiring. Mumford & Sons sing about the same topics as every other artists, but their soul and sound is unlike anything you’ve ever heard before.