2024 WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards®

2024 Couples Choice Winner. Music By Design was announced as a winner of the 2024 WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards®

Music By Design The Knot Best of Weddings 2024

Music By Design is pleased to announce they have been selected as a 2024 ­­winner in The Knot Best of Weddings.

Planning a Wedding in a Time Crunch

Planning a Wedding in a Time Crunch

Engaged couple

You’ve heard you’re supposed to plan your wedding a year in advance, but you only have six months. Deep breaths, it is doable! With a little flexibility and resourcefulness on your end, we can help you make it happen. Planning a wedding on a time crunch does not need to be done in panic mode. Here is how you can calmly and successfully plan your wedding in a time crunch.

Be flexible with your vendor selection.

While your dream wedding photographer may be unavailable, do not panic! Wedding vendors are expert networkers! Ask your dream vendor for a referral who has a similar style and/or service. Wedding vendors understand the importance of your wedding day, they will only recommend someone they know will do an amazing job!

Consider a less conventional day of the week.

While the most common day of the week to get married is Saturday, Friday and Sunday weddings are great backup options! Friday and Sunday weddings tend to also be less expensive than Saturdays. Another added bonus to having a Friday or Sunday wedding is that your dream, ideal venue is more likely to have available openings.

Make a priorities list.

While planning a wedding you can quickly get caught up in endless details. To avoid wasting time and money, make a list of your wedding priorities. If you care less about dinner than you do about dessert, put more of your precious time and energy into planning a delicious wedding dessert bar. Trust the experts where you can, or give the job of selecting the dinner menu to your parents or spouse. When you’re in a time crunch it’s important to keep your focus on what is actually important to you.

Start planning your attire right away!

Wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses can take quite some time to come in. Choose your wedding colors and dresses as quickly as possible to allow time for shipping and fittings. If you, the bride, are in a time crunch consider purchasing an off-the-rack dress.

Call bridal shops to ask if they have a sample sale or an off-the-rack selection. There are bridal shops that specialize in off-the-rack bridal sales. Alternatively, if you are looking for a conventional bridal shop, call them before you book your appointment to ensure they can get your wedding dress there in time for your fittings and wedding day.

For bridesmaids on a time crunch, it may be impossible to have a fun shopping day with all your bridesmaids in the same room. Because of this, consider allowing them to pick any style of dress in your chosen color. Then, you don’t have to worry about one style being flattering on every bridesmaid. They can choose what they feel good in and you’ll be happy they’re wearing your favorite color.

Groomsmen, oh, groomsmen!

We’ve all been to weddings where that one groomsman didn’t order his suit till the week of the wedding. With a wedding being planned in a time crunch, that is not an option, gents!  Get to a suit shop today. Get your measurements done so you can check it off your list and not show up to your best friend’s tripping down the aisle wearing pants that are too long for you.

We promise it is totally doable to plan a wedding on a time crunch. As long as you are strategic as you choose your vendors and attire you can still have the wedding of your dreams. Happy Planning! For more wedding planning tips and inspiration, check out more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below.

Polaroid Guestbook 2024 trends

2024 Wedding Trends

2024 Wedding Trends

While so many aspects of planning weddings are classic, there are always wedding trends unique to that year. 2024 wedding trends are taking on some fun trends from custom decor to retro fashion. As you plan your 2024 wedding, consider embracing these unique 2024 wedding trends.

Custom Acrylic Wedding Signs

For many years, rustic wood signs were the most popular option for wedding signage. In 2024 however, clear acrylic wedding signs are the up-and-coming option. We love how they are see-through and airy, but can also be bold and eye-catching by incorporating your wedding colors. These signs can be used for anything from table numbers to seating arrangements. Keep your wedding day organized with these beautiful, trending signs!

A Second Outfit for the Bride

We’ve known many brides to change into a second wedding dress for their reception, but it’s becoming a popular wedding trend to change into a much more casual outfit– even custom pajamas for part of the, or the entire, wedding reception. There are many ways to embrace this trend. Some brides are adding a monogrammed jacket to their ensemble. Other brides are completely changing into a casual, white outfit. If you choose to embrace this 2024 wedding trend, you can customize it to fit your taste!

Couples are opting for simple wedding colors, as opposed to having a wedding theme.

Gone are the days of a themed wedding, for example, Disney or a specific sports team. Couples are opting to have the design of their wedding day be looser, with less specific themes. Couples’ wedding colors are even becoming softer, unlike the past few years of bold colors. While couples are not necessarily simplifying the expense put into their wedding day, they are being more strategic with where that money is placed– and it’s not on themed wedding decor. Couples are choosing simpler custom, colorful decor and florals.

More than ever, pets are included on the wedding day.

While many couples have had their beloved pets be ring bearers or flower girls, more couples than ever are having their pets included in more of their wedding day. For these couples, a rise in dog-sitting wedding services is welcome news. Dog-sitting wedding services should be a must on couples’ to-book lists when it comes to including their pets on their wedding day. Someone needs to take Fido out, especially if it’s in the middle of the wedding ceremony.

Old is new!

Many 2024 couples are embracing our childhoods and including disposable cameras or Polaroid cameras for guests to take photos with. We love the idea of a photo wedding guestbook. A photo wedding guest book is when guests take an instant photo booth or Polaroid photo and sign it in a photo album for the newlyweds. Other “old” trends being embraced are 1990’s inspired fashions, such as bridal gloves, dropped waist dresses, and spaghetti straps with straight necklines. But, hey, let’s not call the 1990s old yet, okay?

Did you recently get engaged? Are you planning a 2024 wedding? Which of these 2024 wedding trends are you including on your wedding day? We would love to feature your wedding! Email credited photos to hello@chicagoweddingblog.com. For more wedding planning tips and inspiration check out more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below. Happy Planning!

Black wedding gown

Black Wedding Dresses

Black Wedding Dresses

While wedding dresses are typically white, black wedding dresses are becoming increasingly popular. If you never envisioned yourself wearing white on your wedding day, there are more alternatives than ever! Every woman needs a little black dress. Therefore, why not wear a stylish black dress on your wedding day? Before you clutch your pearls about wearing black on your wedding day, take a look at these beautiful, black wedding dresses!

First Inspiration Dress: Maggie Sottero, “Watson” dress

We love the gorgeous, floral details of “Watson” by Maggie Sottero. The nude fabric softens the look of the black tulle. The flowers, made from sequin-embroidered horsehair, give a nod to classic lace but add a modern touch to the wedding dress.

Second Inspiration Dress: Norvinia by Sottero & Midgely

If you want the uniqueness of black details on your wedding dress but still love the classic, white look of a wedding dress, the “Norvinia” dress by Sottero & Midgley is perfect for you! With its light sparkle tulle underneath and the black lace appliques on top, it’s a perfect balance of still feeling like a classic bride, while giving a small nod to the black wedding dress trend.

Third Inspiration Dress: SDWG0970 by David’s Bridal

If you love a vintage look, a classic, tea-length, satin wedding dress is the perfect option for you! You will look back for years and still love your wedding dress. If you’re not a fan of lace, satin is the perfect alternative. If you’re wearing a solid, black wedding dress, we recommend you ask guests to not wear black. Then, you still get to stand out as the bride with your unique gown.

See? There are so many beautiful, black wedding dress options! There is no need to wear white if it doesn’t feel like you. Alternatively, if you’ve never considered wearing black on your wedding day, you now know there are more beautiful options if you’re willing to widen your horizons. Are you wearing black on your wedding day? We would love to see your photos! Send credited photos to hello@Chicagoweddingblog.com. For more wedding planning inspiration and tips check our more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below. Happy Planning!

Supportive Bridesmaids

How to Be a Great Bridesmaid

How to be a Great Bridesmaid

When your friend asks you to be their bridesmaid it is such an honor. It comes with lots of fun, but also some responsibilities. Once you’ve said, “yes” to becoming a bridesmaid your job begins! What does that job entail, you ask? Here is exactly how to be a great bridesmaid.

Be the calm in the storm and a listening ear.

Wedding planning can cause heightened emotions. When brides are overwhelmed, things that may seem small to others may seem tragic to the bride. Sometimes we all just need a listening ear without advice or judgment. Because of that, don’t forget to ask if they need advice or just a listening ear. It’s important to be both supportive and level-headed for your friend. Whether her dream photographer is unavailable, her wedding dress is delayed in shipping, or her veil came in at the wrong length she will be grateful to have an empathetic and problem-solving friend like you. Remember, the key is to be supportive AND level-headed.

Put all important dates and deadlines in your calendar.

Wedding costs can add up quickly and you will be surprised how quickly the year of wedding planning will go! Make sure you mark any deposits needed for dresses, hair/beauty services, or accommodations in your calendar so you are prepared. Don’t make the bride have uncomfortable conversations about overdue deposits. Keep in mind there are many celebratory events throughout the wedding planning process. Engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, and after-wedding brunches are all important events you’ll want to mark in your calendar.

Communicate Early

Take stock of your allotted PTO days at work. We all only have a certain number of days off available each year. Look at how many you have, pronto, and let the bride know if you cannot attend any events. While the bride may be disappointed that you can’t attend every event, she will likely appreciate you telling her far in advance.

Another important thing to communicate is your abilities based on whether you have children or are pregnant. If you’re due around your friend’s wedding date, be clear with her about that. If you have children, it’s also important to communicate what you can/cannot do based on your children’s needs or schedules. Again, the bride may feel disappointed, but it’s best to be clear up-front to prevent any last-minute surprises. Moms & women are known to be excellent multi-taskers, but it is okay if you cannot do everything as long as you communicate early!

Be excited with/for the bride!

Every bride has likely looked forward to their wedding day for a long time. It always feels good to be supported by your friends, so show your friend your mutual excitement for her wedding day. While you may have opinions about how you’d plan your own wedding, allow the bride her turn to choose whatever wedding colors and details she loves. Then, be complimentary and supportive of her choices. Likely, the bride will not make terrible choices, like in the movie 27 Dresses, but be supportive regardless. Don’t forget, no matter the bridesmaid dress, you can likely shorten it and wear it again ;).

On the wedding day, be ready to jump in!

Be on the lookout for any hiccups on the wedding day. One often missed detail is fixing the bride’s train during the ceremony and pictures! Be on the lookout during the ceremony to ensure her train is fluffed and positioned beautifully so her photos turn out well. There’s nothing worse than beautiful ceremony photos, but the train is bunched up, fluff that train!

If anyone tries to begin conflict with the bride (Let’s be real, every family has that one family member.) gently whisk her away with an “important matter.” If her hair doesn’t look like she’d hoped, advocate for her, help her fix it, or talk her off the ledge by putting it in perspective. Be ready to make her wedding day as stress-free as possible.

Being a great bridesmaid is essentially just being a supportive friend.  By following our tips on how to be a great bridesmaid, your friends will be so glad they had you by their side on their wedding day! Now you are ready to be a great bridesmaid! For more wedding planning tips and inspiration, check out more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below. And don’t forget to share this with any bridesmaids you know!

Wedding Handfasting

Wedding Unity Ceremony Ideas

Wedding Unity Ceremony Ideas

A wedding unity ceremony is a ceremony that symbolizes the two newlyweds becoming one. While so much effort goes into the colors and attire on your wedding day, it’s more important to put some extra thought into your wedding ceremony. If you’re having a religious ceremony, many of the details are pre-planned, however, there are many unity ceremony ideas you can add to customize your wedding ceremony. There are many ceremony options to symbolize your unity. We’ll inspire you to create your own wedding union ceremony with some great ideas.

Beer Ceremony

Yup, you read that right: a beer ceremony! If you’re not the formal wedding type, this is a fun option for you! You each choose a beer that is your favorite. Each beer is in its own glass. Then, when you do the ceremony, you combine both beers into one beer tumbler. The added benefit, you create a whole new kind of beer that will either be delicious or create a fun story about how gross it was. 

Colored Sand Ceremony

In this ceremony, you each select a color of sand. You could potentially choose your wedding colors. During the ceremony, you would combine the two colors of sand together into a larger container. You could mix them all together, or layer them on top of each other in a pattern. The sand ceremony is a fun idea because it becomes a visual keepsake for you to keep after your wedding day, potentially forever. The one drawback is san art can get mixed up, so if you want a stable look this might not be it. 

Unity Candle Ceremony

Many religions have their own version of this option. A unity candle ceremony has two smaller candles that together light the bigger unity candle. This obviously symbolizes two becoming one. If you are having a religious ceremony or love classical wedding elements, this is the perfect unity ceremony option for you. 

Blown Glass Ceremony

The blown glass ceremony is a fun keepsake idea for a unity ceremony! Similar to the sand ceremony, both newlyweds combine each of their colored glass pieces into one bigger container. However, with this option, there is an extra step. The combined glass is then brought to a glass maker who blows the colors together into a new shape! You’ll have a beautiful piece of artwork to remind you of your wedding day to display in your home. 

Handfasting Ceremony

Typical to Irish/Celtic cultures a Handfasting unity ceremony is when the officiant ties (or fasts) the hands of the newlyweds together during the wedding ceremony. This symbolizes the unity of marriage and an unbreakable bond. You can have the rope braided, tied for wall decor in your home, or just keep it as a memento. 

You will be so glad you put extra thought into your wedding ceremony! Choose a unity ceremony that best represents your relationship. Your guests will love the personalized touches you put into your wedding day. Similarly, you’ll be able to appreciate the mementos or wedding memories for a lifetime. For more wedding planning tips and inspiration, check out more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below. Happy Planning!

Husband and Wife Married

Conversations to Have Before You Get Married

Conversations to Have Before You Get Married

Wedding planning is always front and center when couples are engaged. However, the old adage is true, “A wedding is a day, a marriage is a lifetime.” We’re going deep today at Chicago Wedding Blog so you can prepare for a strong and healthy marriage! You chose to get engaged to the love of your life for all the right reasons, now let’s future-proof your marriage with honest communication. To strengthen your relationship and prevent future bumps in the road, there are a few conversations it’s important to have before you get married.

Money Conversations

Did you know the number one topic couples fight about is money? Did you know it’s also the leading cause of fights that lead to a divorce? Morbid, I know, but you can safeguard your marriage from this common pain point by having conversations about money before you get married. Here are a few important topics we recommend discussing:

  • Any debts you or your partner currently have and your plan to pay them off
  • Discussing combining finances
  • Short-term and long-term money goals
  • Which of you is a spender? Which is a saver? How will you combine those traits for good in your marriage?
  • Will you ever loan money to people? Under what circumstances?

Living Arrangement Conversations

While many couples live together before getting married nowadays, there are still many aspects of living together that are important to discuss. Families of origin have different customs and opinions about how a couple should live, but the most important thing is that you and your partner are in agreement, as a united front. Some important living arrangement topics to discuss before you get married are:

  • Are you going to live at one of your current residences? Are you going to stay where you are? Are you going to move somewhere new, as your first married house?
  • Is there a likely possibility either of you could be transferred soon for your jobs? How would you handle deciding to transfer or not?
  • Is extended family going to live with you? While most of you may be yelling a resounding NOit is important to have a direct conversation about it.
  • What money goals do you want to attain before you purchase a home? (For example being debt free, having a certain number in savings, etc.)

Extended Family Conversations

Depending on your family of origin, this topic could be relatively easy or fairly painful. Nevertheless, it is one of the most important topics to discuss before you get married. In-laws can definitely be a pain point in a marriage. Being on the same page is a must. Here are some critical family topics to discuss:

  • Holidays- Is there a tradition you feel strongly about upholding? How will you handle each holiday (consider all the holidays in your prospective faith or cultural traditions)? What conflicts do you see arising and how will you approach them? Keep in mind, that these events come up every year. Your plans can change from year to year, but it’s important to discuss all options so you and your spouse can clearly define your plans and boundaries around the holidays.
  • Meddling- How will you handle conflict or disagreements with in-laws? A word from the wise as a starting point in your conversation: You handle your family and let your spouse handle their family. That being said, always present a united front and always defend your spouse to your family. Then later you and your spouse can discuss how to approach in-laws. But at the end of the day, three (or four) opinions in a marriage are not healthy. Decide on boundaries early and clearly, just the two of you.

Future Family Life Conversations

One of the obvious life events to discuss with your fiance (or hopefully before you are engaged) is if you want to have children. It’s a life-altering event that will change the feel and form of your marriage, for better or worse. Consequently, it’s important to enter into having children with a strong relationship. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a bunch of children, or not. Even then, your feelings may change once you have a child (if you’ve never had children before) and that’s okay! The most important thing is that you and your fiance are in agreement. Some important topics to discuss about your future family life could be:

  • Do you want to have children? If so, how many?
  • What religion (if any) do you want to raise your child(ren) in?
  • What type of schooling situation do you envision for your children?
  • How do you feel about how you were raised?
  • In what ways do you want to raise your children differently, or similarly, to how you were raised?


Phew! That was a deep one! However, when you’re with the right person, honest conversations and communication are part of the recipe for a happy and healthy marriage! Don’t despair, getting to know your partner on this deep level might be fun, we swear! It will grow your intimacy while also strengthening your future marriage! You’ve got this, guys! Have those important conversations. Would you add any questions or topics to our list? Let us know in the comments below! While you’re at it, share this post with a couple you love. Happy Planning!

London House Bachelorette Hotel

Chicago Bachelorette Party

Chicago Bachelorette Party

The city of Chicago has endless options when it comes to planning your bachelorette party. We highly recommend you have your bachelorette party in Chicago! Because the city feels like a destination but is close to home, you avoid the price tag of traveling. Your bridesmaids will thank you profusely when they don’t have to take up their allotted days off from work, or the expensive travel costs that come with a destination bachelorette party. We promise if you choose any of these bachelorette party ideas you won’t miss traveling at all! Are you ready to plan your Chicago Bachelorette Party? We’ve got you covered!

Let’s begin with where to stay!

As we mentioned, staying local means fewer days of hotel costs and fewer days off work. It’s a financial win only having to book one night at a hotel. There are so many great hotels in Chicago to relax in after your fun day and night out! Some favorites are:

  • LondonHouse Chicago is a river-front hotel. It is modern and glamorous in style. This Mag Mile location is a convenient walking or short ride-sharing distance to many attractions. The rooftop bar (and views) are to die for, not to mention the spa and other package options.
  • Ivy Hotel Chicago feels like home, but the home in your city-living dreams! The look of this hotel is sleek and luxurious. With its Mag Mile location, it is also perfect for walking or short ride-sharing to many restaurants and attractions.
  • Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel is right outside the Chicago Theatre District while also being steps away from River North and the Chicago Riverwalk! Talk about the perfect location! The hotel has a contemporary look, with the added Chicago perk of a rooftop! They also have a great indoor pool perfect for relaxing with your friends the next day.
  • The Blackstone is right across the street from Grant Park on S. Michigan Ave. Its vintage, luxury style is sure to make your bachelorette party one to remember. They have great bar and restaurant recommendations all within walking distance! Stylish and a great location? Win!

Where to eat dinner, you ask? The options are endless!

The privilege of being so close to a world-class city is the huge range of culinary styles! Whether you’re looking for gourmet healthy fare or legendary Chicago Pizza, there is something for you! Here are a few of our favorites:

  • True Food Kitchen is perfect if your bridal party has any dietary restrictions or is focused on wellness! The healthy food, mocktails, and cocktails are beautiful and delicious! You won’t regret keeping this one on your list!
  • Gino’s East is the perfect pre-partying restaurant! Its atmosphere is super casual, with its legendary writing on the walls. Literally, you can write on the walls. Aside from the chill atmosphere, the legendary Chicago Deep Dish Pizza is amazing. If you have any out-of-town bridesmaids, this is a down-to-earth Chicago experience for them!
  • Carnivale Restaurant is the perfect restaurant if your group wants to start the evening off with a bang! The Latin menu is absolutely delicious and unique! They also have an extensive drink menu sure to get the party started. This restaurant touts a fun experience with authentic Latin artwork and dancers! We think it’s perfect for a lively bachelorette party!

Fun options all night long!

Chicago has a great nightlife! While there are so many great bars to go bar-hopping at we have narrowed down some of the most renowned experiences. A great night is guaranteed!

  • Howl at the Moon Chicago is an amazing dueling pianos bar! Belt out your favorite songs with your best girls and have fun dancing to all the hits you can request! Great music is a given at Howl at the Moon, but they also have Bachelorette Party packages! Being one of the more popular nightlife options, we highly recommend their “Jump the Line” package so you and your bridal party will definitely get in and not have to wait outside in line in the probably cold Chicago weather!
  • If dancing isn’t your thing, Chicago is well-known for their comedy shows! What’s more fun at a bachelorette party than laughing with your best friends? You’ve likely heard of Chicago referred to as “The Second City” but there is of course the iconic comedy club “The Second City” where you will love their talented comedians and some great drinks to go with it! If you want to continue the party afterward, the Old Town neighborhood in Chicago has so many great restaurants and bars too!
  • The Underground Chicago is a well-known nightclub. Its city dance club vibe, conveniently in River North, is perfect for the dancing queens in your bachelorette party, and if you’re a night owl! The neon lights and great DJs are sure to keep you dancing all night long! A fun bonus is it’s frequented by celebrities and professional athletes! They also have bottle service and a VIP area if you’re feeling fancy!

In short, you will have the best bachelorette party!

Because Chicago is a world-class city, we could go on and on about the endless options for your Chicago Bachelorette Party! We hope these ideas spark your excitement to have your bachelorette party right here in Chicago! With so much to offer, you’ll be so glad you had your bachelorette party in the Windy City! Are you planning your Chicago Bachelorette Party? We’d love to hear about it! Email your bachelorette party plans and photos to hello@Chicagoweddingblog.com. Happy Planning! For more wedding planning tips and inspiration check out more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below.

organizing

Bridal Party Wedding Day Agenda

Bridal Party Wedding Day Agenda

On your wedding day, organization is critical! It’s important to not assume your bridal party will remember all the details. We highly recommend you give your bridal party specific locations, times, & contact information to ensure everyone is prepared. By preparing in advance with our Chicago Wedding Blog Bridal Party Wedding Day Agenda, your bridal party will be ready to go. Then, you can relax and celebrate your wedding day knowing you were organized in advance. Here are all the important details to prepare your bridal party for your wedding day.

On page one, include important phone numbers.

We recommend assigning a designated person, who is not the bride or groom, to be the problem solver. That could include navigating any lost people and troubleshooting any issues with schedules that may arise. The most important thing is to take as many responsibilities away from the bride and groom unless they want to, or absolutely need to, solve any bumps in the road.

Even though we are in the age of smartphones, it’s still important to include locations and addresses if people are unfamiliar with the area.

There are so many details that go into your wedding day, it’s easy for people to get overwhelmed. You don’t want people to get lost. Times are also very important. Aside from the wedding day times, the bridal party should have clear getting ready times. Likely, your beauty vendor will give you a more detailed schedule, but give your bridal party a range. This is important so they can be prepared and packed for the long day ahead.

It’s important to also include bridal party photo locations.

If anyone has to make a quick stop, or if they are taking their own transportation, you don’t want them to miss important bridal party photos. Even though, likely, the bridal party will be taking photos during cocktail hour, it’s also important to include the time. Then, the bridal party can more easily plan to meet up with their families or plus-ones.

Similarly, reminding your bridal party of the reception start time will help keep the day moving. You’ll then get to avoid waiting for the bridal party as you prepare for your reception entrances. While wedding transportation back to the hotels is optional, it’s important to inform your bridal party if it is an option. If you have transportation arranged, tell them what times the transportation will be available. Be considerate that some of them may have to coordinate cars with friends or family, inform them in advance.

Download Your Bridal Party Wedding Day Agenda Here

Bridal Party Wedding Day Agenda Page 1Bridal Party Wedding Day Agenda Page 2

We hope our Bridal Party Wedding Day Agenda will make your wedding day organizing a breeze! Remember, giving more details is always better than not giving enough details. Your bridal party will appreciate the forethought and you will be grateful to have fewer mishaps. Enjoy your organized wedding day! For more wedding planning inspiration and tips, check out more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below. Happy Planning!