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. 

Wedding Checklist

Wedding Checklist

Wedding Checklist

You’ve taken the engagement pictures and announced to everyone you’re getting married! Now, comes the planning part. A Wedding checklist can be very helpful. So what type of list are we talking about? That depends on how far out you are from the date.

If your wedding date is a year or more away here are some things we recommend checking off:

  1. Make sure the date and time are available for your venue/religious establishment
  2. Establish a budget
  3. Decide how big you want your wedding to be
  4. Choose your wedding party
  5. Pick a theme or color scheme
  6. Meet and book officiant
  7. Begin the guest list

These are some bigger checklist items that you don’t need to get super detailed quite yet. A lot of them like picking your wedding party and the guest list can be fun. Some brides like to find fun, sentimental ways to ask their bridesmaids to be in the wedding.

If your wedding date is nine months or shorter here are some recommended wedding checklist things to look at:

  1. Announce the engagement
  2. Get your wedding dress and plan any alterations
  3. Meet and book photographer/videographer
  4. Meet and book any entertainment like a Chicago Wedding DJ or live music
  5. Book the florist
  6. Get the details on the venue – do you need to rent chair covers, table clothes, linens, etc.
  7. Research nearby hotel accommodations for out of town guests
  8. Look at Honeymoon Options

If you are less than four months out here’s what you should be looking at:

  1. Decide on wedding vows
  2. Marriage license
  3. Compile guest lists for showers and give to maid of honor or whoever is throwing the shower
  4. Plan bachelor/bachelorette party
  5. Confirm music and event details
  6. Purchase parents’ gifts and wedding party gifts
  7. Have programs printed
  8. Make hair and beauty appointments for the big day
  9. Get final dress fitting and any alterations

There are a million other details you could get caught up in as well! These are basic, general wedding checklist items you’ll want to think about.

Texture Wedding Initation

Add Texture To Your Wedding

Add Texture To Your Wedding Day

This week we’re talking about how to add texture to your wedding. What does that mean? Texture entails layering different shapes, patterns, & materials together. Not only does adding texture add beauty to your wedding day, it also adds a personal touch to your decor. You can add texture to your wedding day in many different aspects!

First, we look at your wedding invitations.

Adding texture to your wedding invitations gives it a more personal vibe. Are you going for trendy? Add metallic lettering or copper foil for that extra edge. Do you want it to be more romantic? You could use a deckle edge or lace on the invite. Add cloth or ribbon to your stationery to tie into the fabrics or ribbons you are using in your wedding. Add twine around your invitation to create unique dimension. Texture also applies to the type of paper you choose. You can use thick parchment for an old world feel, or acrylic for a modern touch.

Another way to add dimension to your wedding is your wedding guests’ tablescapes!

We love gauzy, romantic runners and bursting floral wedding decor. You can have a wide range of texture experiments with your wedding tablescapes. Keep in mind, big floral designs can overshadow some of the smaller textures. Because of this, we recommend you just pick three colors or materials. Choose from metal accents, wood details, flowers, runners, paper and fabric to create your unique tablescape. Texture can add that certain sparkle that you’re looking for in an invitation or tablescape. Adding texture gives you creative license to customize how you’d like your big day to look and feel.

The most obvious way to add shape and materials to your wedding day is your bouquets.

Nowadays the more texture, the better when it comes to your wedding flowers! The endless options of greenery, succulents, & flowers make it easy to add texture to this aspect of your wedding. If you’d like to follow the velvet trend of this year, you could even wrap the stems of your bouquets in a soft velvet.

Another way to add dimension and personal touches to your wedding day is varying the styles of your bridesmaids dresses.

Having your bridesmaids wear various dress styles adds dimension to your wedding photos and day. When your bridesmaids dresses are carefully coordinated to be different, yet cohesive you can rest assured you will not have a mismatched wedding. This will look beautiful visually and make your bridesmaids happier by because they can choose a personal style they feel comfortable in.

For more wedding planning and wedding advice, check out the blog posts from Chicago Wedding Blog below. Did you add texture to your wedding decor? We would love to see! E-mail your photos, with credited vendors, to be one of our “Featured Weddings” to hello@chicagoweddingblog.com.

The Wedding Diet

The Wedding Diet

So you’ve got the groom, save the dates and started to look into venues and vendors. What next? For most brides, it’s a wedding diet. Many women are not happy with their bodies, but that doesn’t have to be you! The wedding diet isn’t a fad or quick fix. What we propose is almost a life style change if you’re willing.

Everyone knows that staying hydrated is key to any diet and healthy lifestyle. On a wedding diet that still holds true as well. We recommend eight glasses of eight ounces of water a day. You may need more or less depending on the exercise routine you plan to follow. A wedding diet isn’t just a quick fix, it’s a life change. Staying hydrated will also improve your general mood because when you’re hydrated you are able to think clearly and focus on those little wedding details. If you can’t stand plain water think about adding sugar free mixes, fruits or veggies to give it a splash of flavor!

Another key to the wedding diet is avoiding processed foods. This means anything in a box, package and of course fast food. We think it’s fine to indulge once in a while, but on a wedding diet you can and should be pretty strict. Just think about how the results will make you so happy you stuck with it. You also may find once you avoid these foods it’ll become easier to do and you’ll make it a life style change.

The next thing to keep in mind while on a wedding diet is to limit your sugar intake. You should be sure to look at labels now! You’d be surprised by how much added sugar things have in them – yogurt and cereal are culprits that people don’t realize have a lot of sugar. It might be hard to avoid sugar right now, but just think of the delicious cake you’ll eat on your wedding day! Keeping your diet simple is also key. You can pick up easy foods like vegetables and fruits and have them readily available so you don’t reach for chips or cookies instead.

Another possible hard thing to eliminate, at least while you’re on a wedding diet, is alcohol. We suggest limiting your intake to less than 7 drinks a week if you can. You can let loose on the big day if you’d like! Alcohol dehydrates you more than you think.

The best thing about a wedding diet is you CAN have a cheat meal once in a while – not a cheat day – but give yourself permission to eat something you really want once a week or once every other week.

Airbnb Wedding

If you’re looking for a non-traditional venue, why not check out an Airbnb wedding venue? If you have any experience traveling and staying in Airbnb’s then you know not all are created equal. You’ll have to do some hard ground work before you decide, but an Airbnb wedding just might have the special pizzazz you want for your big day!

Photo by Airbnb Popsugar

The pro’s for an Airbnb wedding are that you can find virtually any place you want. Have you always dreamed of walking down the aisle with a towering mansion and fountain gardens in the back ground? That can be found. The cons here are that it is a private property and there may be limitations that other public venues wouldn’t have. Be sure to read fine print and communicate with the host. Some venues say “no parties or events” and it couldn’t hurt to ask if they’d make an exception for your wedding day.

Photo by Airbnb Huff Post

Another pro for an Airbnb wedding is it may cost less than a traditional venue. It could cost a few hundred a night versus thousands for another venue. The con here is that it probably won’t have amenities like chairs, tables, linens and servers. That needs to factor in your budget when you pick an Airbnb space. In addition to this you’ll need to make sure there are enough parking space and accommodations for everyone you want there.

Photo by Ashley Stone

Lastly, a pro to choosing an Airbnb wedding is that your guests may be able to stay on the premises overnight. This makes it easy for everyone to gather and could be even more fun the following morning! Staying together in an Airbnb creates an intimate and cozy atmosphere. This is versus a large venue where everyone has to leave at the end of the night. If you’re looking for a smaller, more personal wedding day then this is an option to consider. A con for having everyone being in the same place could be that the owner will want you to get insurance or liability waivers. This extra cost may or may not be worth it to you.

Wedding Dress Trends

It’s a new year and new trends emerge. We’re taking a look at some wedding dress trends!

Bows! This year we’re seeing the wedding dress trend go towards statement bows. These huge pieces can be used on the back of trains, loops on straps or accents. You could also use the bows on your bridesmaid’s dresses. Bows can also define a waistline or draw attention to areas of your body you’d like more attention to.

Photo by Martha Stewart Weddings 

Another trend we’re seeing is geometric shapes on wedding dresses. Shapes and cut out shapes can create a sleek and elegant outline you want. Geometric shapes on dresses are also a great way to draw the eye where you want it go.

Photo by CoutureLace

The next trend is very “girly” but if you’re into glitz and sparkle this one is for you! Glitter. This year we’re seeing wedding dresses utilize the sparkly stuff all over and it can literally help you light up the room. Glitter on your wedding dress will catch the light beautifully. If you don’t want an entire dress full of glitter you can just do a light dusting, or have a few places accented with it.

Photo by the Crystal Room

No matter what wedding dress trend you pick, you’re sure to glow on your big day!

Venue Selection Flowchart

Venue Selection Flowchart

Venue Selection Flowchart

Finding a venue for your wedding is no easy task. There are so many different options it can seem terribly overwhelming when trying to narrow it down to just one. And considering the fact that it’s the largest cost of your wedding venue, you definitely want to select a venue that is well worth the money you’re going to shell out.

This year’s wedding venue trends are straying from the traditional banquet halls and country clubs and opting for the more unique and extravagant locations, such as in a cave or on a glacier. But if you don’t have the budget to pull that off, it’s not a problem at all. By choosing a venue that is true to you and your fiance’s style, and of course staying within your budget, you’ll be able to set the scene perfectly for your big day. To help point you in the right direction, this flow chart to help determine what type of wedding venue you should consider. Happy venue hunting! Venue Selection Flowchart. Next – Choosing Your Wedding Date
Venue Selection Flowchart

2019 Couples Choice Awards

WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award® 2019

WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award® 2019

WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award® 2019

Music By Design, Ltd. Honored For Excellence With The WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award® 2019.
Chicago, IL – January 8, 2019 – WeddingWire, the leading global online marketplace for the wedding and event industry, announced Music By Design as a winner of the esteemed 2019 WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® for Disc Jockeys in Chicagoland!

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

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

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

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

Music By Design is thrilled to be one of the top Wedding Experts in Chicagoland. We would like to thank our past clients for taking the time to review our business on WeddingWire. We truly value all of our clients and appreciate the positive feedback that helped us earn The WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award® 2019.

For more information about Music By Design, please visit Music By Design Online.
To learn more about the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2019, please visit Wedding Wire.

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