stylish halloween wedding

A Tasteful Halloween Wedding

A Tasteful Halloween Wedding

Perhaps you’re planning a fall wedding and want to not only embrace the season, but also Halloween theme! You may be afraid such a spooky, dark theme is too over the top. Because of this, we have great ideas to keep the haunted spirit without exactly saying it’s entirely a Halloween themed wedding.

For starters:

Not all Halloween themed weddings have to be tacky with fake blood and zombies. We love the idea of a masquerade ala the Italian Renaissance or any Victorian era! You can have the ambience of decadent, sophisticated and elegant, with a touch of spookiness.

Halloween Wedding Venue:

The venue can certainly pull of a Halloween themed wedding, more than simply decorating with pumpkin and colorful leaves! We love the idea of a mansion for the reception or a Gothic looking church for the ceremony. When the venue is gorgeous it can double for amazing pictures too! If you want a more overt spooky tone, have your reception at a haunted location. A great example is The Stanley Hotel in Colorado was where Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining. A lot of local historical buildings have their own ghost lore you can capitalize on as well.

Halloween Wedding Decorations:

In tune with venue are the decorations for your wedding. We love huge chandeliers and long drapes. You can also arrange bare branches if the venue has a fireplace all the better for throwing shadows and light. Candles dripping wax are a nice touch. You can also use decorated skulls (picture Dia de los Muertos) on the tables as centerpieces with your wedding theme slogan “until death do us part.” This gives it a fun, slightly macabre feel that your guests will enjoy!

These are just some ways you can throw a tasteful Halloween themed wedding. We love the autumn wedding season because there’s so much variety in how you can show off your big day! For more fall wedding inspiration check out the recommended blog posts below!

Hat Etiquette At Weddings

Hat Etiquette At Weddings

Hat Etiquette At Weddings

What is more fun than a huge, elaborate hat? We love hats and besides the Kentucky Derby, weddings are a fantastic place to wear them. Whether you’re the bride or just a guest, hats are always in vogue. We have some hat etiquette tips to keep the big day low maintenance and hassle free.


The best thing to remember when picking out or designing a hat is that you are wearing it and not the other way around! If you are tall then avoid tall hats with wide brims. If you’re shorter, avoid large hats and go for more structured hats. You need to compliment your body type with your hat choice.

Should your mother or mother-in-law want to wear hats, they should pick ones that are smaller than yours, as the bride. This is true of guests as well – you never want to outshine the bride! In addition to wearing big, fancy hats it’s not unreasonable to ask your photographer to ask people to move their hats for better shots. Or the photographer may need to ask everyone in the shot to adjust their hats so faces are clear.

Another hat etiquette is when decorating your hat always defer to the right. You can choose from feathers, ribbons, felt bands or rhinestones, but keep to tradition and put all of that on the right. Men’s hats are embellished on the left.

When you design your hat or choose a big hat, keep in mind the tradition that the time of day dictates how large the hat must be. The later in the day, the smaller the hat is a general rule. Large brims in the morning and late evening are too extravagant since they are not needed to keep the sun out of your eyes.

And lastly, it is always customary to remove a hat when going inside a building. This does not apply to a lady’s hat as it is considered part of the outfit. Gentlemen, on the other hand, still need to remove their hats if they wear them. So go pick out that fantastic head piece you’ve always wanted and treat yourself to a bit of fancy!

Slow Down your wedding day

Three Ways To Slow Down & Soak In Your Wedding Day

The one piece of wisdom everyone tells you for your wedding day is, “It goes by so fast. Slow down and soak it in.” Here are three tips to help you slow down and soak in your wedding day.

1. When you’re getting ready, look in the mirror.

You will only see your beautiful, bride or groom-to-be wedding day face one time. Slow down and take in the memory of your smile on that day. You’ve planned your outfit and/or  hair and makeup for months. You’ve dreamed of your wedding day and/or wedding gown your whole life. Mentally remind yourself during your prep time to look in the mirror. Soak in the significance that today is finally your wedding day. You will be married in a matter of hours. Take a deep breath, this will center you to truly appreciate this moment. Pro tip, it makes a great photo!

2. Walk down the aisle slowly.

The excitement builds up, adrenaline kicks in, but slow down your walk! The moment you see your spouse coming down the aisle will only happen one time. Hold tight to the person walking you down the aisle. Appreciate them being at your side. Remember it. If you are walking by yourself, take a moment to appreciate your confidence and all that has brought you to your wedding day, the best day of your life. As you walk look at all those attending your wedding beaming at your smiling face. Look around at your bridesmaids, groomsmen, & spouse. Soak in their happiness, love, and pride for you.

3. Enlist the help of the wedding day pros!

Build in moments of newlywed time. Your best allies in this are your photographer or wedding planner. Tell them when you want time just the two of you. These pros are organizer extraordinaires! They will ensure you get the perfect amount of time at the perfect time. Maybe you’ll even get a sweet, candid photo op from it. During this time, slow down together. Look at your venue and each other. Become aware this is it your wedding day. It will help you be present and soak in every second of the party.

Your wedding day is one of the only days in your life in which you have all the people who love you in one room, at the same time. Such a once in a lifetime event can be enjoyed to the fullest with simple preparation. Best wishes on slowing down and soaking in every second of your wedding day! If you like these tips, check out more advice from the experts at the Chicago Wedding Blog below!

Daytime Wedding Breakfast Bar

Daytime Wedding

Daytime Wedding

It’s not unusual for couples to want a daytime wedding, but what are the differences between a daytime wedding and traditional evening wedding?

First, of course, is the timing. A daytime wedding will usually start at noon or eleven am. That means as a bride, you’ll have to start getting ready pretty early. We recommend giving yourself at least two hours for hair, makeup for you and add another hour for your bridal party. Your dress can go on around 10am for an 11am ceremony. The ceremony will most likely only be an hour at most so it’s customary for a daytime wedding to have a lunch afterwards.

A big difference between a daytime and nighttime wedding is the lack of cocktail hour.

After the ceremony guests are invited to go straight to the venue for the reception. The afternoon reception is sometimes shorter than a night reception with things wrapping up as early as 2:30 or going late as 4:30. You still get to do all the “traditional” things like cake cutting, father/daughter dances, first dance and all the pictures you want! The daytime wedding can be as formal as an evening wedding. You can still ask guests to wear black tie, but don’t expect lavish ball gowns. The afternoon reception can still include the same service as an evening wedding like open bar and linens on the table.

For a daytime reception you can serve anything from a playful brunch to a full meal.

Options like fish, chicken, & beef are options, but usually more appropriate for dinner plates. You could consider a fun waffle bar or omelet station. Drinks should be lighter wines with a lunch menu, or champagne cocktails, Bloody Marys and spiked coffee with brunch.

After a daytime wedding is over you are not obligated to entertain guests.

We do like the idea of suggesting activities for your out of town guests to participate in. It could be anything from museums to concerts or just a fun park. You can choose to continue the wedding festivities with just a few family members and close friends after a daytime wedding as well! Who says there’s a limit on how long you get to celebrate your big day?

No Makeup Wedding

No Makeup Wedding

Have you ever thought about going sans makeup on your wedding day? To most brides, this is a terrifying thought. We have tips on how to achieve a “no makeup wedding day” look if you can’t bear the thought of going completely without! Especially if your wedding day is in the summer and don’t want all that product dripping down your face – even if all those products say they are sweat proof.

The first step to a no-makeup wedding day look is glowy skin. Find a great exfoliator to rub those dead skin cells away. Then, instead of a foundation you can try a BB, CC or tinted moisturizer cream. A lot of BB creams or tinted moisturizers come with SPF in them. You can’t go wrong with protecting that glowing skin!
Another way to avoid foundation is to just use a concealer for those trouble spots. We love concealers with a wand so you can be sure to get the foundation exactly where you want it. Use a sponge to blend into your skin and you’ll have that flawless, dewy skin look without a lot of foundation!

Next step to getting the no-makeup look is to make sure your eyelashes are wide open. Use a thick mascara to get those lashes to pop and curl up! Along with lashes are brows. If you’ve got naturally shaped and thick brows congrats! But for those who have some thin spots we recommend just filling them in with a brow gel to get a more consistent look for wedding pictures.

The final touches we love are using a highlighter on your skin that will also help in pictures to make you appear natural and like “you woke up like this”. The facial part that brings it all together is lips. We find that even a simple tinted lip balm gives you a soft, weightless look.

You don’t need a lot of makeup to get that smooth, glowing skin look. If you’re a bride who doesn’t want a glam squad on the big day than these steps are easy to do!

Healthy Bride, Not Skinny Bride with Rachel Hollis’ “Five To Thrive”

Healthy Bride, Not Skinny Bride with Rachel Hollis’ “Five To Thrive”

We live in a diet culture. There are hundreds of diets claiming to shrink your body. Women are constantly criticized for being too big, too small, too short, too tall, too (fill in the blank). Enter Rachel Hollis, author, motivational speaker, and fierce equality and female empowerment advocate. Rachel Hollis encourages her followers to do her “Five To Thrive” to become the healthiest, best version of themselves. Your fiance is marrying you, as you are, beautifully and wonderfully imperfect. Therefore, let’s make healthy your goal, not skinny. Here are Rachel Hollis’ “Five To Thrive” and examples on how it will help you prepare for your wedding, the healthy way!

1.) Drink Water

Most of our body is comprised of water. In order for your skin, joints, digestion, hair, and cells to regenerate and do their job, you need to drink water. Drinking water is the simplest way to get healthy. Rachel’s recommendation is to drink half your body weigh in ounces of water every day. I have tried it and I can honestly tell you it makes a huge difference in my energy levels and skin health. Fun fact: Coffee, iced tea, & lemonade do not count. It has to be water. But never fear, you can drink coffee as long as you drink your water.

2.) Exercising at least 30 minutes per day.

Exercise is imperative on your journey to get healthy. If you are not usually an active person you need to reset your habits a bit, but trust me, it will be worth it. Exercise helps increase endorphins, the happy hormone. Elle Woods, anyone? This means 30 minutes of exercise can decrease your wedding stress, big time! Exercise also gives you more energy. Wedding planning can feel like a stressful part time job. An extra boost of energy will give you the energy you need to balance work, wedding planning, relaxation, & fun time. Most importantly, exercise prevents health issues such as: heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. What’s not to like? Build it into your schedule every day and you will feel amazing.

3.) Give up one category of food that is not good for you.

Okay friends, put down the cookies. This is not to say you cannot treat yourself every once in a while, but the old adage ‘you are what you eat’ is a real thing. Aside from drinking water and exercise, what you eat has the greatest effect on your health. Examples of junk foods we love that are bad for us are: Cookies, cola drinks, juice, cheese crackers, chocolate, sour candy, ice cream, cake, chips, & pretzels. Long story short, these foods cause a craving in your brain making you want them more and more. If we cut junk food for 30 days the odds of our bodies craving what is bad for us decreases drastically. You’ll be amazed how good your body feels. We recommend you replace whatever food you cut with something delicious and actually healthy for you. There are plenty of easy, Pinterest-worthy recipes that you and your body will love far more than the cookies.

4. Wake up on hour earlier every day and do something for yourself.

This means going to bed earlier, instead of sitting on your phone for an hour before you go to sleep. Fun fact: The blue light emitted from phones and computers keeps you awake, bad idea before bed. “You’re telling me to wake up earlier?!” Yes! This means you get to drink your coffee in peace, read a book you’ve wanted to read for a while, and/or eat a real breakfast to start your day off right. We are always rushing from one thing to the next, especially in the morning. A little relaxation time is important and healthy! Waking up an hour earlier starts the focus of your day on you and your health.

5. Write down 10 things you are grateful for every day.

Did you know, according to science, focusing on what you are grateful for everyday wires your brain to be more positive? The more you count your blessings and focus on what you are grateful for, the more your brain is trained to look for the good in every day. Multiple studies have shown people who practice gratitude every day have more life satisfaction and less stress. What’s to lose? Commit to doing it every day you will feel healthy and happier.



We can’t wait for you to look and, most importantly, feel your healthiest on your wedding day! You and your fiance showing up as your healthiest, best selves for each other will ensure your marriage will start strong, and continue happily ever after. Get ready to ‘thrive!’


Recommended reading for funsies: 
How To Choose Your Engagement RIng

How To Choose Your Engagement Ring

Choosing Your Engagement Ring

So you might not be the one choosing your engagement ring, but you can be part of the process! Or perhaps you are the one choosing the ring so read on. Either way, it’s nice to make it a joint effort since this piece of jewelry will last a lifetime and probably be the most significant piece you will own.

First, let’s start with the four C’s of a diamond. If you’re a traditional bride you’ll be thinking diamonds. The four C’s can apply to other gems, but specifically they apply to diamonds. Color, cut, clarity and carat weight. A few other things to consider are shape (ie pear, oval, round, marquise, heart), brilliance, dispersion and scintillation. These factors determine the value of a diamond so you’ll want to establish a range in budget of what you want to spend.

Second, you need to decide on metal. Do you or your partner prefer white gold, yellow gold or platinum? Platinum is the most expensive metal because it resists tarnishing and the repairs are also quite pricey. Yellow gold rings are available in 14 carat or 18 carat gold and are the most popular. White gold rings appear silver and a major pro for this metal is it matches most other jewelry. However, the white gold also does fade over time and will need to be replaced. Another fun option that is becoming popular and is outside the normal is rose gold.

Third, you will need to choose your setting. There are an overwhelming amount of options like simple solitaire settings to contemporary tension settings. Prong settings are the most popular because it makes the center diamond appear as if it’s floating.

After you’ve chosen your ring (and had a lot of fun trying several on) you should receive a certificate of appraisal and a guarantee warranty. Most certificates are given by the American Gem Society or the Gemological Society of America. Depending on where you purchase your ring, there should be a guarantee warranty that would provide a limited time money back guarantee or a lifetime warranty. Make sure you do your research where you purchase your beautiful ring! This is the fun part, so don’t be afraid to shop around and try on as many sparkly pieces as you want!

Three Wedding Planning Conflicts And How To Handle Them

Three Wedding Planning Conflicts And How To Handle Them

You went from dating to engaged, excitement ensued. Now the engagement bliss is fading. This means it is time to get wedding planning. Let us prepare you: while wedding planning is fun, there are many emotions, traditions, and people’s opinions involved. These things can complicate not only your wedding planning, but also your relationship. Here are three examples of wedding planning conflicts and how to handle them with a problem solving guide.

1. Your parents or in-laws have a different wedding vision than you do.

Most of the time, your loved ones mean well. Let’s assume that for the purpose of this section.

  • First things first: handle your own family, let your fiance handle theirs. If your parents want a large wedding and you don’t, explain to them you appreciate all they want to give you, however you and your fiance are only comfortable with a smaller wedding. If your in-laws have the differing opinion, your fiance should explain on behalf of both of you how you feel, what you are going to do, and why. This will set a healthy boundary between in-laws and your relationship. Here is more advice on family communication .
  • Second things second: Give your family space and/or time for them to understand your vision. They probably envisioned the kind of wedding they’ve wanted to give you your entire life. They have seen your grow up. This is a sentimental time for them. Maybe they still can’t believe you don’t want a glamorous fairytale wedding as you loved in your storybooks. They will need some time to slow down and refocus on what you actually want. Here is more advice on narrowing down the size of your wedding .

2. Drama over who, or who is not, in your bridal party.

Here we go, from movies on TV to fiction books there are numerous stories based around these wedding planning conflicts alone. There are so many emotions built into a wedding day. Your loved ones want to be there for you, but maybe you envisioned a small or no bridal party. Maybe your family wants you to include your sixth cousin, twice removed. Let’s talk out some scenarios.

  • First things first: Think of those people who have always been there for you and always will. Sometimes friends fall away, but family never will. Unfortunately sometimes it’s the opposite. Either scenario, think long and hard about those permanent, loving people in your life and include them. That being said, “loose lips sink ships.” Before you are absolutely sure who is going to be in your wedding do not talk about it to avoid unnecessary hurt feelings.
  • Second things second: Think long term. A wedding is one day in your life. The situations and their effect on your relationships, both good and bad, will continue long after your wedding. When considering who or whom not to have in your wedding think about the long term effects that choice could have on your relationships. Is it a good idea to include one friends instead of a pair of two because you have a large family? Or would it be better to only have family in your wedding to not hurt that one friend’s feelings? Every situation is different, but remember this is one day. Make the choice that will have the best results to continue happy, healthy relationships moving forward. Here is more advice if you want a small wedding party.
  • Third things third: (Because this is a big topic) Every situation is different. These ideas are simply prompts to help you think through your options. Some couples are in the middle of a very difficult family dynamic. Because this is unfortunately common, let us let you off the hook, trust your gut! This should be the happiest day of your life. Do not allow people who want to manipulate or harm you, or your relationship, into your wedding or life simply because it’s easier to placate them.

3. Friends or family don’t like my (fill in the blank).

Everyone has opinions. That does not mean you need to change yours because of them. If you want to wear an orange dress on your wedding day, you rock that like the queen or king you are! Everyone can choose to wear what they want when it is their turn to plan their wedding. The same rule applies for if they don’t like your: food choices, hair style, fiance, church vs. outdoor ceremony, and even riding in on an elephant instead of a horse. All jokes aside, if no one is put in danger by your choices, it’s your day! Wear, do, eat what you want, and enjoy!

  • First things first: Remember often people’s opinions are said to you with good intentions. Maybe they wish they would’ve worn a more traditional wedding dress and don’t want you to have the same regrets.  It is possible to acknowledge their good intentions while also staying true to yours. Many wedding planning conflicts can be solved with saying, “Thank you for looking out for me, but I prefer a different direction.”
  • Second things second: Don’t ask for opinions if you don’t want them! Too many opinions will lead to definite confusion. If you want someone’s opinion on your dress, wedding colors, or kind of animal you ride into the sunset on; choose them wisely. Not everyone has the same taste. Ask someone whose tastes are similar to yours so you can be confident your wedding day stays true to your vision.



We hope this wedding planning conflicts problem solving guide helps you have a seamless wedding planning process. For more expert wedding planning advice, check out the other blog posts on The Chicago Wedding Blog. 

Music By Design The Knot Best of Weddings 2019

Music By Design The Knot Best of Weddings 2019

Music By Design The Knot Best of Weddings 2019

Music By Design The Knot Best of Weddings 2019

Music By Design named winner in The Knot Best of Weddings 2019

Music By Design The Knot Best of Weddings 2019
Chicago, IL (November 29th, 2018) — Music By Design is pleased to announce they have been selected as a 2019 ­­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 2019 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 2019.

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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.

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