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

How To Choose Your Engagement Ring

So you might not be the one who will choose 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.

View official press release

Recycle Wedding Items

You’ve spent a lot of money on your wedding, but how do you get the most out of the leftovers? We have some creative ways for you to feel like you haven’t wasted your time and money by recycling wedding items!

Wedding Planning Checklist

You’ve got the groom, the dress and the bridal party, but is it that simple? We’re here with a big wedding planning checklist so you don’t forget anything.

Most usual engagements are at least a year long. You may be in a spot where you only have a few months to plan or over a year. You can make the wedding planning time less stressful no matter your timeline if you make checklists!

Let’s plan on a 12 month long engagement. The first list on your wedding planning checklist needs to be budget. How much do you want to spend on your wedding? Keep in mind unforeseen costs too and what are you willing to compromise on? Who is paying for the wedding? It’s usually a tradition for the bride’s family to pay, but these days it’s more common for the groom’s family to cover some cost as well. At this point in time, you also will want to make a guest list. This can get tricky with everyone wanted everyone involved so be sure to make your wishes clear.

10 months out you’ll want to start the fun of wedding dress shopping and venue selecting! You may fall in love with the first dress you try on but keep an open mind. Sometimes what you envision doesn’t quite match up to how it looks actually on you. You will want to start looking at invitations and take engagement photos if you want. We’ve put together a wedding planning checklist to keep things easy:

  1. Book hotel rooms/blocks for guests
  2. Send out save the dates around 9 months before the big day
  3. Buy wedding dress
  4. Register for gifts
  5. Select bridesmaid’s dresses
  6. Meet with florist and other rental accessories
  7. Book rehearsal dinner venue
  8. Hire musicians/DJ for reception
  9. Hire Officiant
  10. Book the honeymoon, guest transportation and your own transportation on the wedding day
  11. Buy/rent the tuxedoes
  12. Choose your cake
  13. Buy wedding bands
  14. Hair and makeup trial
  15. Select groomsmen’s attire
  16. Brainstorm guest favors
  17. Select readings (from any religious texts you may want in the ceremony)
  18. Meet with Officiant and invite them to rehearsal dinner
  19. Send out wedding invitations and/or rehearsal dinner invitations
  20. Dress fitting
  21. Marriage license

These are only a few of the myriad of things you’ll want to keep track of. You may find it helpful to hire a wedding planner to help keep everything on track! No matter what, enjoy your wedding day because you’ve certainly worked hard enough planning it!

Best Wedding Flowers

When it comes to the best wedding flowers there are quite a lot of choices for you! Which ones do you gravitate towards – roses, lilies, daisies, plumeria, dogwood or lilacs?

This year, we are seeing a lot of orange and butter yellow shades. These flowers compliment both summer and fall weddings. You can use Peonies, Icelandic poppies, Juliet roses, chrysanthemums, carnations, and ranunculus to make a beautiful bouquet or bouquets for your bridesmaids. Add a delicate chandelier and you’ve got a very romantic space.

Another trend we are loving this year is moss! Who would have thought this greenery would replace the lush leaves we’ve been seeing for years? Moss adds a fabulous fairy tale element to your wedding space. Technically moss isn’t a flower, but you can add flowers to it to make it gorgeous.  You can use a moss wall as an indoor ceremony backdrop or place it as a runner down the center of a long banquet table. Different flowers can be placed in the moss to add a great splash of color.

Another flower we love is the arthurium. It appears like a tropical flower but can be placed with more traditional flowers like tulips, roses, celosias, calla lilies and mini gerberas. The arthurium gives your bouquet a very unique look. This flower is especially fun for both summer and fall due to the range of colors it comes in.

Unplugged Wedding

In today’s social media craze it’s hard to put that phone away, but you may consider it for your wedding. There are several ways even the best-intentioned friend can ruin the big day. They may forget to put their phone on silent (that includes no buzzing), obstructing the professional photographer’s view at the peril of taking and posting their own blurry, inadequate pictures on social media.

There are a few ways you can help your guests get “unplugged” for your ceremony. The reception is a better time for guests to be on their phones.

You may have your officiant greet guests and kindly remind them to turn off their phones before the ceremony starts. You could also kindly say that you’d prefer them to enjoy the moment instead of trying to capture it on film – that is what the professionals are there for. If you’re concerned that the photographer or videographer won’t get all the angles and if so, then consider hiring a team of two or three.

It might also be a good idea to remind guests to unplug with signs before they enter the ceremony site or on your wedding website. It is not proper etiquette to print it on the invitation. You also want to avoid confiscating phones. That sends a negative message to your loved ones and it creates more problems than it solves. You may also offer an “altar photo op”. During the ceremony, the bride and groom can turn to face the audience. At that time, you may invite them to take pictures and then put their phones away for the remainder.

An unplugged wedding is a simple way to enjoy the day and not worry about people crowding each other or getting in the way. It might also take the pressure off your guests or family as well. They can relax and have the memory captured for them by professionals.

 

First Look

We discuss today the pros and cons of having a First Look on your wedding day! Most brides don’t let the groom see their dress until the wedding day. Some brides like to let their groom see them just before the ceremony for a great, intimate moment together before they walk down the aisle.

The Pros of having a first look:

  1. If you or your husband to be are feeling nervous before the big reveal it’s nice to have the first look to reassure each other. Not only will the photographer capture real moments, but it’s a great way to spend a little time just the two of you. You can take time to truly connect before the chaos of the celebration.
  2. The time of day can also impact your decision to have a first look. If you’re getting married in the winter the light fades pretty early. So, having a first look earlier ensures you can use natural light for great photos.
  3. Another reason is just practical. A first look gives you time to get those pictures out of the way so you can get to the cocktail hour and reception sooner.

 

The Cons of having a first look:

  1. If you are a traditional couple that can be the only reason needed to skip it. If you want the magic of the moment when you’re walking down the aisle that’s not a problem.
  2. Timing can be an issue as a con as well. If you get married earlier in the day then that means your time table will need to be pushed up as well. You may have to get ready earlier and that also possibly means your bridal party may have to get ready too. Some brides include their party after the first look too
  3.  It’s not as private as you think. The photographer and assistants or videographer may be far away, but they’re still there to capture the moment. If you’re camera shy you may not get the genuine moment you want.

Indoor Wedding Reception

Last year we saw a lot of outdoor wedding venues, but this year it’s all about the Indoor Wedding Reception! This is a great option for those brides who want to tie the knot in a season where the weather may not cooperate. Summer can be blistering hot and humid, winter can get snowed out. We have some great indoor wedding reception decorating ideas.

If you choose a venue with tall ceilings we love the draped look. This can be elegant if you stick with a neutral white or pale shade. If you’d like a more jazzy look use a colored fabric or add lights in the drapes. The draped ceiling gives your venue a romantic, soft vibe. The draped ceiling will also work for a rustic indoor wedding reception or if you’d like to dramatically change a plain space.

We also love decorative pillows for your indoor wedding reception. If you want a more relaxed and inviting appeal try getting some comfy and warm pillows for your guests to sit on. This is also works well for cultural weddings where it may be more customary to sit on pillows.

Another way to decorate for your indoor wedding reception is to hang flowers. Your guests may thank you for not putting huge center pieces on the table. Big center pieces may block their view of each other and the bride and groom. This trick is also a fun way to bring the attention up if you don’t like the flooring of your venue. Hanging flowers creates a more intimate space. We love simple and lush bouquets that invite your guests into a romantic landscape. If you don’t want to spend money on all the hanging flowers you can always use a projection and light show – with flowers!

No matter what you choose to do for your indoor wedding reception we love the idea of keeping it all inside! That way you get to control the temperature, sound and lights!