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. 

Heartland Honeymoon Road Trips

Heartland Honeymoon Road Trips

Heartland Honeymoon Road Trips

Heartland Honeymoon Road Trips

Taking an RV road trip for your honeymoon can be a great way to start your happily ever after time. It’s an excellent way to spend quality one on one time, share some unique adventures and build the bonds that will keep your together forever. Here are three different heartland honeymoon adventure ideas, each one starting from Chicago.

1.)     The Thrill Seeker Couple

From Chicago, head east on Interstate 90 about 5 hours to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. This is a very easy drive as this section of the US is very flat and easy to navigate. The real excitement begins when you arrive at your destination. Cedar Point is the roller coaster capital of the world. Spread over its 364 acres it has over 72 rides including 17 roller coasters. Many of these roller coasters were or are record holders in their respective classes. This is also the only group of roller coasters that fall within the 4 major height categories to be located in a single park. This means there is a coaster here to match needs of just about any thrill seeker out there. Plan on spending at least two days in the park to get the most out of it.

After getting your fill of thrills at the park, there are many other things to do in the area as well. Take a ferry out to South Bass Island to visit Put-In-Bay. This small lakeside island town has great night life during the summer months and the lack of motor vehicles on the island brings a slower pace to life and a more romantic aura. To get around, bring your bike with you on the ferry or you can rent a bike or golf cart when you get there. For accommodations, there are a number of small hotels and bed-n-breakfasts on the island. There is also a state park that has primitive camping sites where you can tent camp out under some of the darkest skies Ohio has to offer.

2.)     The Adventurous Couple

For the adventurous or outdoorsy types, head north out of Chicago about 3 hours to Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. This area is an extremely popular honeymoon destination because of the great diversity of activities it offers. The central focus of the area is the water. The Wisconsin River cuts through the area creating a beautiful scenic environment that any outdoorsy person will enjoy. Lake Denton is in the southwest section of the area and it provides excellent opportunities for swimming and boating activities. With all the water in the area, it’s no surprise that this area has the highest concentration of water parks in the world. There are also a number of dry amusement parks if water parks aren’t your thing.

After the sun sets, there are also a number of shows and entertainment options throughout the area. These entertainment options are world class and rival what you would find in other major entertainment cities like Las Vegas.

If outdoor adventure is more your speed there is a beautiful state park in the area which offers great hiking and an excellent connection to the natural surroundings. The river provides kayaking and canoeing opportunities. Finally, not far to the north there are extensive ORV areas where you explore the countryside by ATV or side by side off road vehicle.

3.)     The Romantic Wine Getaway

5 hours south of Chicago is the small town of Cobden, IL. Nestled in the same area as the Shawnee National Forest, this town boasts 12 family run wineries where you can enjoy a romantic evening sampling the fine varietals they have to offer. In addition to wine, there is also fine food and excellent entertainment offered at the various wineries in the area.

When not visiting the wineries, the excellent Shawnee National Forest provides great hiking, natural and historical sites to visit.

Chicago is an excellent hub to launch a honeymoon road trip. Whether you are a thrill-seeking couple, wine lovers, or looking for an outdoor adventure, the hardest part will be deciding which direction to choose.

If any of these Heartland Honeymoon Road Trips work for you, trying Outdoorsy for you RV Rental.

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.

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!

Creative Guest Book Ideas

Creative Guest Book Ideas

The guest book at weddings is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a book that records the guests that were present (in case you forget!)  The idea is very traditional although in today’s world of obsession over every last detail, it’s much more likely that the Bride has the entire wedding roster memorized and would never rely on a book to tell her who’s who.  Some couples have even done away with the formality to spend more time with guests and not create a hug, long line at the entrance of the reception. In any event, we think it’s fine to keep with tradition, but maybe consider mixing it up a bit? Here are some new, fun ways to utilize the guest book and make it more user (and newlywed) friendly!

Photo Booth Guestbook: Call us biased, but this idea is perfection! Guests can have their photos taken in the photo booth and then once they’ve printed out, they can adhere the strip of pics to a guestbook and sign with a fun salutation and best wishes for their pals. Not only does it double as a photo album, but in our experience, flipping through silly photos the day after the wedding and reading the messages of your party-goers never gets old!

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photo booth by designPhoto Booth By Design

Old Fashioned Typewriter: Find a vintage typewriter and set up an antique looking display with a long scroll that guests can keep a continuous page of notes going. The look of the font and the entire feel is super romantic and would be perfect for a wedding that has an old time feel going on.

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typewriterElegant Wedding Invites

Mailbox: This is also an ultra nostalgic way to display “love letters” overflowing in your mailbox and encourage your guests to fold up a note of wisdom or encouragement that you can open after your wedding. The idea is mainly all about the display so consider painting a cute mailbox, with the flag up of course, to match the whole vibe of the wedding!

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mailboxKreatid Photography

Love Letters: In a large bowl, box or pretty apothecary jar, provide guests with timeless postcards with a romantic feel that they can write their greetings on. Then, have your maid of honor mail them to you throughout your first year of marriage. The idea is incredibly modern and romantic and reminds you throughout the entire year of that most special day. Just don’t forget to include postage!

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postcard-guestbookCalder Clark Photography

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.

Winter Wedding Attire

Winter Wedding Attire

It’s that time of year again and maybe you’re not the bride. If you’re a guest what do you wear to a winter wedding? We’ve got some great choices. For the thrifty, we love taking a neutral summer/spring dress that can be paired with pantyhose or leggings and add a great jacket. The winter wedding will most likely take place inside so you can still be stylish without looking like a bundled up Yeti.

Darker colors like Pine green or navy are perfect for winter weddings.  This dress could be from your spring collection, but a great dark green hue is perfect for winter. You can add a cardigan if you think you’ll be cold or a light, sparkly jacket.

Cozy fabrics like plaid and wool are sure to keep you comfortable at a winter wedding. A stylish pea coat is just the thing to wear between venues. Even the bride may opt for a longer, white coat to keep warm.  If you’re Scottish and the men are wearing kilts even better! Kilt wool is pretty warm and cozy.  Your date or the groomsmen don’t have to be of Highland descent to make plaid fabrics work for them at a winter wedding. A subtle plaid bowtie or tie will keep them styled and festive.

Who doesn’t love faux fur? Winter weddings are a fantastic way to wear that muff or coat that’s been sitting in the back of your closet. You can dress it up all you want without looking ridiculous or overheat. The shrug doesn’t have to be faux fur, you can opt for a velvet in a nice plum or pine shade as well.

Photo by Sissily Designs

No matter what you choose to wear to a winter wedding it’s sure to be fun to come up with an outfit you already have in your closet! And who doesn’t love the sparkle and glitz of a snowy event?

Winter Wedding Favors

We gathered a few of the top winter wedding favors! These are sure to please your guests and bring the cozy comfort inside.

  1. Gingerbread Cookies. Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked cookies? Gingerbread cookies as wedding favors can bring back good memories of childhood treats and snowball fights. You can easily package these cute cookies with fun holiday-themed bags and ribbons. They’re not too expensive and if you feel so inclined you can even try to get a friend or relative to bake them!

Photo cred Fiona Carins Wedding Cakes 

2. Chocolates. These are a sure favorite for any guest at your wedding. Chocolate is so versatile – you can flavor it, decorate it and customize it. We love the idea of putting your initials on pieces of chocolate or form them in wintery shapes like snowflakes or snowmen.

3. Mini Ice wine bottles. A fun winter wedding favor! The tiny bottles filled with iced wine – made from grapes that have been picked on the vine while frozen – are sure to please your guests.  You can personalize the bottles with your name and wedding date too.

4. Chestnuts. We love the idea of roasting chestnuts for a winter wedding! You can package a handful in bright wrapping for your guests or even have a roasting station. That way the guests can eat them fresh! It’s a different idea than just simple chocolate that brings the winter spirit to life.

5.  Another favorite winter wedding favor is soy candles. We love the soft glow that candles give and you can pick a scent that won’t overwhelm your more sensitive guests. Some of our favorite scents are pine, sugarplum, cedar or orange clove. They will be fun favors for guests to remember your big day by.