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Wedding Gift Ideas

Wedding Gift Ideas

Every couple appreciates receiving monetary gifts from their wedding. However, some wedding guests can’t afford a large monetary gift. Here are some wedding gift ideas newlyweds are sure to love!

First Idea: Artist Rendering Of Couple’s Photo

As newlyweds begin their lives together, they will need to decorate differently than when they were single bachelors or bachelorettes. Photos and artwork of the married couple is a great gift. But if you’d like to make the gift more special, get an artist to hand paint or design a caricature of a favorite photo of the couple  or even one of their engagement photos and have it framed. This is a great gift for a range of budgets depending on the size or skill of the art. A meaningful keepsake perfect for the couple to decorate their new home.

Second Wedding Gift Idea: A Funded Date Night

This gift can be done many ways. You could give a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant in a basket with a bottle of nice wine. Give a card written in calligraphy that you will pay for a date night of their choosing and place that certificate in a photo album for their wedding photos. A gift certificate to a spa or hotel is also a great gift for a quick getaway. This is a great way to treat a newlywed couple nomatter what your budget may be.

Third Gift Idea: Special Home Goods or Decor

Most people will not splurge to get themselves nice home decor. Purchasing a special item for the newlyweds’ home you know they’ll love is a generous gift. Maybe you know the couple LOVES Crate & Barrel, but is very frugal. Purchasing them a gift from that store would be a meaningful surprise for them. Home decor or serverware is a great gift especially if the couple loves to have friends over.

Fourth Gift Idea: Contribution To A Charity In Their Name

Some couples have a cause they are passionate about. A beautiful way to support them and their passion is by making a donation to a charity close to their hearts for them. This is especially meaningful if the couple has lost someone close to them from an illness. Some charities sponsor children others rescue animals. Choose one close to the couple’s heart.

Fifth Wedding Gift Idea: Holiday Decor

We’ve discussed how couples love to decorate their new home. Giving decor for each holiday will be a useful and fun way for couples to decorate their new home. Keep in mind which holidays the couple celebrates, or if they have a favorite holiday. If they love Christmas, you can throw in extra Christmas decor. You can also put in holiday glasses, plates, or serverware to accommodate extra people at holiday gatherings.



What physical wedding gifts have you given? As a couple what would be your favorite gift as above? Let us know! For more wedding planning advice, tips, & tricks check out the blog posts below!

Sustainable Wedding Decor

A Sustainable Wedding

A Sustainable Wedding

More and more couples are becoming aware of how their big celebration will impact the earth. This year we will see an in increase in sustainable weddings. While it’s perfectly alright to want a big celebration; it’s also great to keep in mind everything that goes into it. From the caterers to florists, there a lot of waste that goes on with weddings. We have a list of things to consider if you’re going to have a sustainable wedding.

Choose your wedding venue wisely.

A destination wedding means a lot more carbon footprint from airplanes or car rides. Think about who you want to invite and perhaps pick a location that’s not too far for everyone to reduce the amount of travel involved. We’re all about getting married wherever you want, but if you’re thinking of the sustainability, keep travel costs/emissions in mind.

Ask your venues what their processes are for waste.

You have every right to ask potential venues about their green initiatives. How do they dispose of waste? Where do you source your food – is it local? What is your plastic policy? What kind of cleaning products do you use?

Find an eco-friendly caterer.

In this day it shouldn’t be too hard to find a caterer or venue that will be able to create a “green” menu. Ideally they will source local, organic produce and ethically produced ingredients. A vegan or vegetarian menu would also the environmental impact but we’re realistic and if that’s too much perhaps try at least half the menu be vegetarian. Getting your alcohol from local distilleries is also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.

Limit stationary.

You can completely side-step this by going digital and only do email wedding invites, but we love just one statement wedding announcement piece. You can ask that it be printed on recycled paper. It’s also worth trying to get the printer to add extra signage like seating arrangements and directions/schedule to save paper.

No matter how you celebrate your big day it’s possible to have a sustainable wedding! You will not only feel great surrounded by your closest friends and family, but also love knowing you’re helping sustain the environment for future generations.

Why Hire A Wedding Planner?

Why Hire A Wedding Planner?

You’re already strapped for cash as it is, so why hire a wedding planner?

We’re delving into this big question because The Knot found that 29% of brides in 2018 hired a planner. Reasons to hire a wedding planner run the gamut from “control freak” to “disorganized hot mess”. If you’re very strict and like to control every detail a planner can still be a good idea to help keep your wedding planning checklist on track. If you’re always late and never remember to feed the dog then a wedding planner will help organize and keep you calm.

Even if you’re on a tight wedding budget, hiring a wedding planner doesn’t have to be a huge expense.

In fact, if you choose wisely, you could end up saving money in the long run! A planner will go over your budget and the legal contracts for venues, live entertainment, etc. They can see holes where money is going down before you do. A lot of wedding planners also have contacts in the industry and can possibly get you discounts. Vendors would sometimes rather bother a planner rather than you since you’re already stressed. A wedding planner is the middleman who takes the emotion out of a stressful situation.

Another great reason to hire a wedding planner is that they are in your corner 100%, they will fight for your dream wedding!

You definitely need to vibe with your planner because they are the ones who can make your vision a reality. The venues and vendors go through several weddings a month, but a wedding planner is solely focused on what you want.

Lastly, hiring a wedding planner is genius because they can coordinate your entire day. If you’re switching between ceremony and reception venues a planner will make sure the transition is smooth. They are worrying about the little details while you enjoy your special day! Even if you can’t afford a planner for the whole day, having one for part of it will make a lot less hassle for you.

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!

feed wedding vendors

Take Care Of Your Vendors! Here’s How And Why!

Take Care Of Your Vendors! Here’s How And Why!

One of the biggest things you need for your wedding day is help from vendors.

This comes in the form of both paid and un-paid vendors (thinking of your well-meaning uncle who makes his own bourbon)! The best helpers are the vendors you’ve hired such as a photographer, videographer, wedding planner and DJ or band. To show your gratitude for their work, take care of your wedding vendors! Here’s how!

Most couples are on a wedding budget. You’ll need to factor in extra meals to take care of   your vendors.

This is a subject of much debate : do you have to give a meal to your photographers or musicians? Some wedding vendors such as  planners and photographers build in a clause in their contracts. Some couples simply offer it as a common courtesy. These vendors are, after all, holding your entire wedding day memories in their hands. 

You’ll also want to speak to your caterer and ask if those meals are included in your meal fee or are they extra.

Why is it important to feed your DJ and photographer? It is important to show your gratitude by taking care of your vendors. You also don’t want them tired from lack of food, or miss important events if they’re having to only eat a snack. 

Timing is key for giving your vendors time to eat.

For photographers and videographers it’s best to have them eat while you are eating. Then, they won’t miss the cake cutting or first dance. If they come as a pair, even better! You could have them alternate as they take breaks. For the band or DJ it’s best if they eat during cocktail hour. After that, they are ready to go and get everyone up and ready to dance after dinner. 

A happy, well taken care of  vendor is one who will most likely go the extra mile for you on your wedding day. 

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 you pick out or design 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. You will be happy you did when you see the wedding photos.

Should your mother or mother-in-law want to wear a hat, 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! 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 you decorate 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. It’s important to know these social cues so you do not unintentionally offend someone.

So go pick out that fantastic head piece you’ve always wanted and treat yourself to a bit of fancy! For more wedding planning tricks and tips, or wedding fashion advice, check out more Chicago Wedding Bride posts below!

Slow Down your wedding day

Three Ways To Soak In Your Wedding Day

Three Ways To 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

How To Organize A Daytime Wedding

How To Organize A Daytime Wedding

It’s not unusual for couples to want a daytime wedding. But they don’t know how to organize a daytime wedding. How is it different than a traditional late wedding?

First, of course, is to organize 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

No Make Up Wedding

Have you ever thought about having a no makeup wedding? To most brides, this is a terrifying thought. We have tips on how to achieve a natural 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 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.

When you use highlighter it helps make you appear natural in your wedding photos and look 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.

See! 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! Best wishes on planning your wedding! We hope you find more inspiration and tips from the blog posts below! 

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!’


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