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Dog Friendly Wedding Schedule

A Dog-Friendly Wedding

A Dog-Friendly Wedding

We love the trend of including dogs in wedding photos. There aren’t many things sweeter than wedding photos with the couple’s best canine companions!  To include dogs in your wedding day there are a few important details to think about first. Here’s all the information you need to have a dog-friendly wedding.

A Companion For Your Companion

If you’re going to have your pets at your wedding you will need a pet sitter to be with them while you and and your guests are busy. The best scenario is to have someone your dog is familiar with be their companion. If you have a coworker or neighbor who isn’t invited to the wedding, but knows your dog well, they will be a great option. Write out as much information on your dog’s food, toys, schedule etc. so they can help navigate the day with your dog.

Schedule The Dog

Dog’s do best with their normal routine. The last thing you want is for your poor pup to freak out on your wedding day. Have them eat their normal food at their typical times. Make sure they go on a walk at their usual time. Though it is a momentous day for you, the dog will not be able to be at their best if their routine is not taken care of. Set your dog, wedding photos, and yourself up for success.

Have A Plan B If The Dog Is Overwhelmed

There are plenty of amazing doggy daycare locations in just about every town. Confirm in advance your dog has the needed vaccinations to attend incase the wedding is too much for them. Often the drop-in rate for doggy daycare is very reasonable. You can have your dog’s companion drop them off for a stress free day to play. It’s definitely important to check in with the doggy daycare place the day before the wedding to ensure they can accommodate your dog if need be.

Pack For The Dog

It is so important to have toys that will keep your dog’s attention span if you want them to be at your ceremony and reception. Keep in mind there will be lots of overwhelming smells, so have their food and favorite treats on hand to keep them satisfied. And last, but not least, the less glamorous side: when dogs have to go, they have to go! Be prepared with supplies to clean up after your dog.

We hope this list helps you prepare for a stress-free wedding day for you and your furry best friend! Are you planning on having your dog at your wedding? We would love to hear how it went. E-mail us your story and credited vendors and photos to hello@chicagoweddingblog.com. For more wedding planning advice and inspiration check out more featured Chicago Wedding Blog posts below. Happy Planning!

Wedding Formality

Wedding Formality Options

Wedding Formality Options

Once you get engaged your next step is to establish what type of wedding you want to have. Wedding formality options are a great place to start. The options range from back yard casual to white tie formal. It’s important before you choose your venue you think about how formal you want your wedding to be. To make your decision easier, here are some wedding formality options you can choose from.

White Tie Formal

White tie formal is typically the most formal of weddings. Think attire from “The Princess Diaries” ball. For women, wear a floor length, formal gown. Specifically, you should wear a ballgown with long, maybe with white gloves. It is, however, important to remember to not outshine the bride, don’t go too eye catching. For the men, plan on wearing a white bow tie and a long, black tailcoat with white gloves.

Black Tie Formal

A black tie formal wedding is a small step down in wedding formality from a white tie formal wedding. Black tie formal typically means women wear sleek, floor length gowns, no ballgown necessary. For the men black tie formal typically means a black bow tie and black tuxedo, no tailcoat necessary.

Formal/Black Tie Optional

Another step down in wedding formality from the black tie formal wedding is the formal/black tie optional wedding. In this case, women can wear a formal cocktail or T-length dress. Men can choose to wear either a tuxedo or a suit with their tie of choice. Remember, while this wedding is less formal than the white or black tie affairs, suits and dresses are still recommended.

Cocktail Attire

For a cocktail attire wedding, think going out for a date in the city. For women, a cocktail dress or skirt and formal top are great options. Another great option for women is the ever popular jumpsuit! For a cocktail attire wedding men can wear a suit with, or without, a tie. Feel free to leave the bow tie at home.

Semi-Formal

For a semi formal wedding there are multiple options for both men and women. Women can wear either a nice, but practical dress, nice skirt and top, or nice formal pants and formal top. For the men, plan on wearing suit, or dress pants, and a dress shirt or sweater are a great option. Preferably do not wear khaki pants. There is much room for interpretation with semi-formal weddings, but it is always better to err more on the formal side just incase.

Casual Wedding

For a casual wedding you can keep the formal clothes such as dresses and suits at home. Preferably, you would not wear sweats to a casual wedding. However; cute jeans and a nice top, or a casual sun, or maxi, dress are a great options for women. For men plan on wearing nice jeans or comfortable khakis with a polo shirt or whatever shirt feels nice, but not barbecue to you.

Back Yard Casual

Speaking of barbecues, at a backyard casual wedding you can wear anything you would hang out at a barbecue wearing. That being said, it is still a wedding. For women, jeans and a cute top work well. For men jeans and a nice t-shirt are a good option. Think what you would wear to hang out with your friends if they invited you over for dinner. This will help you avoid looking too informal but also not too formal.

Which wedding formality option did you choose? How did you make your decision? Did it make choosing your venue and wedding attire a lot easier? We’d love to hear in the comments below.

Wedding Day Tissues

Wedding Day Essentials

Wedding Day Essentials

With so many things to do planning for your wedding day it can be easy to forget some personal essentials. These small things will make your wedding day a lot more comfortable. Even better, you could prevent any mishaps before they happen! We put together a wedding day essentials checklist so you can enjoy your day; regardless of any hiccups.

1.) Blister Band-Aids

While wedding shoes are so pretty, they can be painful by the end of the night. It’s important to wear in your wedding day shoes weeks before the wedding day, but if you forgot; we’ve got you covered. Blister Band-Aids are thicker than normal Band Aids. These essentials are perfect for any location on your aching feet, or even if your dress is rubbing in an uncomfortable place.

2.) Tissues, Tissues, & Extra Tissues

Trust us! On your wedding day, you can never have enough tissues! From blotting wedding day makeup, to catching tears, you’ll want to have plenty stocked. Great hiding places are in flowers, on chairs, and in table centerpieces just incase.

3.) A Bottle Of Pain Reliever

No one wants to spend their wedding day with the unexpected headache or cramps. Make sure you have your pain reliever bottle of choice nearby just incase. It’s great incase anyone happens to have a hangover as well. You can never be too prepared.

4.) Period Products

It’s a fact of life. Sometimes we get surprised. Don’t be surprised on your wedding day wearing a white dress! Also, be the real MVP if any of your bridesmaids or guests are in need too. Let’s be real, it’s happened at at least one wedding we’ve been to.

5.) Mints, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Mouthwash

Everyone loves flavorful food, but maybe not so great for kissing and photos. Make sure your delicious coffee doesn’t show on your teeth during pictures. Have multiple options, you’ll be glad you did when you have fresh breath and a gleaming white smile in your wedding photos. This is great tip for the groom and whole bridal party too.

6.) Heartburn Medication/Antacids

There’s nothing worse than a queasy stomach or heartburn on your wedding day. Make sure you’re prepared with your perfect remedy. It’s also good to have extras on hand for any friends too. You’ll want to be able to enjoy your delicious wedding cake and food without pain.

Do you have any wedding day essentials you’d recommend? Tell us in the comments below. For more wedding planning inspiration and advice check out the other Chicago Wedding Blog Posts below. Happy Planning! 

Wedding Favor Ideas

Wedding Favor Ideas

When you think of your wedding guest tables you think of the centerpieces and table linens. But have you thought about wedding favors yet? These are a great way to say thank you to your guests as well as pull your wedding theme together. Here are some great wedding favor ideas sure to please your guests.

Garfield Park Neighborhood Wedding Bakery

Fall Wedding Themes

Fall Wedding Themes

As you plan your fall wedding; there are more wedding themes than Halloween. Fall wedding themes can range from elegant neutrals to spooky and quirky. If you are have a fall wedding, then you should think about what sort of fall wedding you want to have. With this in mind, we have plenty of fall wedding themes to make your decisions easier.

First, The Obvious Halloween Wedding

If you see yourselves as a fun, quirky couple, a Halloween wedding would be so fun. You could go as far as having guests dress up in costumes, or as simple as using orange and black as your wedding colors. You could have activities such as bobbing for apples, or simply have themed desserts such as apple, or pumpkin spice flavors. As you can see, there’s quite a range you can choose with the Halloween wedding theme.

Second, The Soft and Elegant Fall Wedding

This theme also gives you the option to be informal or formal. For wedding colors think golds, soft nudes, mauves, and silvers. For flowers think soft colors with added wheat or greenery for texture. Your neutral color palette will make your bridal party pop in outdoor photos because of the vivid colors of fall foliage. Especially if you want your wedding photos and color choices to be timeless, sometimes neutral is best.

Third, The Autumn Foliage Themed Wedding

For this wedding option, think harvest colors. These color options range from eggplant, to orange, and many colors in between. For your flowers we recommend vivid colors and textures, such as sunflowers to compliment your fall foliage theme. When you are planning your bridal party’s décor you can choose to blend in the bright colors with some neutrals, or keep all the attire bright and fun. This is where showing your personality in your wedding theme choices comes in.

Garfield Park Neighborhood Wedding Bakery Fall Foliage Wedding Theme

Bakery: The Quintessential Cake, located in Wheaton, Illinois, Venue: Chicago Botanic Gardens, Photographer: Gavyn Taylor Weddings

Lastly, If you are of the Mexican culture, a Día de Los Muertos Wedding Theme

Traditionally in the Mexican culture, Día de Los Muertos is a day to celebrate loved ones who have passed. This is a beautiful way to incorporate your lost loved ones who couldn’t be there on your wedding day into your day. Typically, traditional dishes are made, which we think are delish! For decoration, you can use your family’s beautiful Mexican sugar skulls both to decorate the tables, and as symbolism. Candlelight is another beautiful symbol of light and hope as well as a pretty aesthetic. If your family has a specific ritual for Día de Los Muertos it would be a beautiful thing to incorporate at the beginning of your wedding reception.

For more wedding planning inspiration and ideas check out the blog post below. Do you want your wedding to be featured? Please e-mail us your proposed wedding with credited photos and vendors to hello@chicagoweddingblog.com. Happy Planning!

Wedding Venues

Chicago Wedding Venues

Great Chicago Wedding Venues

Chicago may be called the Second City, but it’s first in our hearts. Our amazing city has a wide variety of wedding venues and styles that work for any wedding vision or budget. If you are beginning your venue search, let us help begin your search by showing you some of our favorite Chicago wedding venues.

1.) The Crystal Gardens Wedding Venue At Navy Pier

With views of the iconic Navy Pier and Lake Michigan this is one of the Chicago wedding venues that is a couple favorite. Whether you’re looking for a wedding of 80 people or 500 people, The Crystal Gardens can accommodate your wedding. This venue is the best of both worlds by bringing the outside in by the gorgeous plants and its full glass sky view. Similarly, the water fountain elements add a touch of whimsical outdoor magic to this wedding venue. Their address is: 700 East Grand Avenue, Mezzanine Level, Chicago Illinois. Their phone number is: 312-595-5436.

2.) The Bridgeport Art Center Wedding Venue

You have so many options in one venue if you choose to get marrried at the Bridgeport Art Center. For cocktail weddings in the Skyline Loft, the capacity is from 100-900 guests.  A sit down wedding in the Skyline Loft, has a capacity  of 100-600 guests. In the Sculpture Garden they can accommodate a 900 person cocktail party or a 550 people sit down wedding. This Chicago wedding venue is known for its wide-open space with beautiful exposed brick walls and rich wooden beams. However you choose to theme your wedding, the Bridgeport Art Center is easy to customize to your vision. Their address is 1200 W. 35th Street, Chicago, Illinois. Contact them by e-mail at events@bridgeportart.com.

3.) Chicago Botanical Gardens Wedding Venues

The Chicago Botanical Gardens has a variety of indoor and outdoor wedding venues on site. Capacity of their many venue options range from 50 for a small sit down ceremony, to 1500 people for a cocktail reception. Additionally, they offer a plan B in case your outdoor wedding is met with inclement weather. If the guessing game of weather makes you nervous, they also have plenty of indoor or tented options with beautiful views of the gardens. You can find the Chicago Botanical Gardens at 1000 Lake Cook Road in Glencoe, Illinois. Their events phone number is 847-835-8370. Contact them by e-mail at events@chicagobotanic.org.

4.) Galleria Marchetti

Speaking of bringing the outside in, Galleria Marchetti has had that down to an art for over 90 years! Galleria Marchetti has beautiful ivy wall backdrops, a tent with chandeliers, garden views, & set as a hidden gem in the city. This beautiful venue has both Italian and European design vibes making it aesthetically stunning. Their La Pergola venue has sweeping windows and a garden vibe; fitting 160 people for a seated reception, or 300 people for a cocktail reception. The Pavilion is their larger space. It is a beautiful, open air tent; fitting 450 people for a seated reception or 900 people for a cocktail reception. Galleria Marchetti’s phone number is 312-563-0495. Their address is 825 West Erie Street, Chicago, Illinois.

5.) Keith House Chicago

Looking for a small wedding venue? We found it! The last few years small weddings have ranged from trendy to mandatory. Regardless of your reason for having a small wedding, you can still have a stunning wedding venue. The Keith House has the options of both an outdoor courtyard and an indoor historic home. They can host up to 75 people for a people for a cocktail style wedding, or 50 people in the same sit down room. The Keith House Chicago, has options for every budget. Couples can choose from having just a ceremony, just a reception, or a ceremony and reception. To contact them by phone number, call 312-907-7909. Their address is 1900 South Prairie Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.

6.) Exchange 312

Are you looking for an urban-chic wedding venue? Exchange 312 is perfect for you! The walls are beautiful exposed brick.  Additionally, they unique furniture making this venue a photographer’s dream! Their setting in the middle of Wicker Park. Exchange 312 accommodates weddings from 100 seated, up to an 150 people reception. Design details from floor to ceiling are custom and curated. Even the bathrooms are beautiful! The Exchange 312’s phone number is 312-956-4080. Their address is 1714 West Division Street, Chicago, Illinois.

7.) The Lakewood Chicago

The Lakewood Chicago is a fun, modern venue in Chicago. This venue, in the West Loop neighborhood, is beautifully bright and white. Their white color scheme makes it easy to tailor to your wedding theme. If you are looking for a seated wedding reception they can accommodate from 120 to 200 people. They also have optional floor plans tailor to your wedding style and decor. The Lakewood has onsite catering from Paramount Events and Truffleberry Market.  They also have a unique greenhouse where they grow their own produce! If you are an Eco-friendly couple, this is a great venue for you. The Lakewood’s address is 1758 West Lake Street in Chicago, Illinois. Their phone number is 312-366-2293.

8.) Greenhouse Loft

Speaking of Eco-Friendly Venues, Greenhouse Loft is perfect for couples looking for a green wedding venue. For example, they reduce waste, use Eco-friendly cleaning supplies, and even have an on-site composting facility. Their modern atmosphere, glass walls, and convenient location make this venue a must see. They also have a beautiful courtyard perfect for photos, ceremonies, or cocktail hours. The Greenhouse Loft has a capacity of under 200 guests for various layouts. The Greenhouse Loft’s address is 2545 West Diversey Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Their phone number is 312-733-5762.

9.) The Drake

The Drake Hotel Chicago is the epitome of Luxury Chicago Wedding Venue. You have a choice of four different rooms. First, The Gold Coast Room has amazing Lake Michigan views. It has the capacity of 100-900 people depending on the type of wedding format you choose. Secondly, The Grand Ballroom, built in the 1920’s,  reflects a modern take on the 1920’s. The Grand Ballroom overlooks Walton Street and has a capacity of up to 500 people. Third, The French Room has beautiful, silk walls and damask details. The French Room can hold up to 350 people. Lastly, The Carmellia Room overlooks The Mag Mile and the lakefront. It has beautiful white wooden walls and blue and gold accents. The Carmellia Room holds up to 200 people. The address of The Drake is 140 East Walton Street in Chicago, Illinois. Their phone number is 312-787-2200.

10.) Salvatore’s Chicago

Salvatore’s wedding venue is located in the neighborhood of Lincoln Park in Chicago. Its dark wood accents bring back old world charm with modern romance. If you love food, you’ll love having your wedding at Salvatore’s, who specializes in amazing wedding cuisine and events. Salvatore’s can accommodate weddings up to 200 people.  Their address is 525 Arlington Place in Chicago, Illinois. Their phone number is 773-528-1200.

11.) Row 24 Events And Productions

Row 24 is a fun, warehouse chic venue right on Michigan Avenue. They have beautiful exposed brick walls and dangling chandeliers from the ceiling. The venue has a beautiful, private bridal suite just for weddings. Depending on the format of your wedding, Row 24 can accommodate up to 250 people. Row 24 is a historical landmark, built in 1903. Their bar is spectacular and designed with 1920’s vibes. The address is 2411 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Their phone number is 312-374-3165.



As you can see, Chicago has more than a few amazing wedding venues! We hope this gives you a great list to get your Chicago venue search started! For more wedding planning advice, tips, & inspiration check out the recommended Chicago Wedding Blog posts below. Happy Planning!

Jumping The Broom Ritual

Wedding Ceremony Rituals

Wedding Ceremony Rituals

Every wedding ceremony is personalized by the engaged couple. One way couples personalize their ceremony is wedding ceremony rituals. A ritual can be religious or spiritual in nature, or simply symbolic. The choice is yours as to which you prefer. Here are some unique wedding ceremony rituals to give you some ideas.

Sand Art

Any child of the 90’s will remember the joy of sand art! Each person can choose their own color they’d like. Then, during this ritual the couples will pour both of their sands into the capsule to blend them together. As with most wedding rituals, their meaning is the union between two people becoming one. Couples can then use this capsule as a decorative keepsake.

Unity Candle

A unity candle is similar in idea to the sand. Each person will hold a lit candle and together they will light a big beautiful candle, called a unity candle. The candle makes a great living room keepsake. Who doesn’t love a good candle? Every year on your anniversary you can make use of it again by relighting it.

Jumping The Broom

Jumping the broom is a wedding ritual from the African culture, specifically Ghana. Traditionally a broom is circled over the engaged couple to cast away evil. Then, at the end of the ceremony, the couple jumps over the broom, as a solidifying of the ceremony. The jump of the broom traditionally symbolized a wife’s promise to clean their house and whoever jumps higher over the broom, typically the man, would get to make the decisions in the home. However; in the 21st century most couples embrace this tradition simply as a cultural tradition they want to pass on, not a symbol of the wife being lesser than. Many couples embrace this ritual by applying their own meaning to it such as their embracing of one another’s culture and commitment to their relationship.

Hand Tying Ritual

A hand tying ritual originated from the Pagan and Celt traditions. Some couples, however, just like the meaning of the ceremony, so it does not need to be a cultural ritual. The tying of the hands, also known as handfasting, symbolizes a couple’s commitment to each other through good times and bad. Historically, some traditions would tie a couple together for a year and if they lasted a year being tied together their marriage would last. While we are not recommending you be tied to your fiance for a year, a hand tying ritual is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to each other through good times and bad times. You can later keep the rope, maybe even braid it to create home decor.

Wine or Communion Ritual

In the Christian traditions, some couples will feed each other wine and bread symbolizing their promise to care for eachother. Some weddings do not have a communion service, but just have the couple give communion, bread and wine, to each other. Some people do not come from a religion who participates in communion. In that case, this ritual can also be a sort of blessing that the couple may never go hungry or want for anything.



Each ritual can mean something different to each couple, and that is the beauty of planning a ceremony. Unless you are getting married in a religious denomination with strict guidelines, there are many ways you can customize your ceremony to embrace symbolism that is meaningful to you as a couple. You could even get creative and create your own ritual specific to you as a couple, such as a beer pouring ritual. It is your wedding day! Structure your ceremony to reflect the love you feel for each other. From there, there are no wrong choices. Happy Planning!

BBB Torch Award Winner – Music By Design

BBB Torch Award Winner – Music By Design

TorchAwardBBB Torch Award Winner – Music By Design.

The Better Business Bureau of Chicago & Northern Illinois (BBB) announces the winners of the fourteenth annual Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, which spotlights companies that exemplify ethical business practices. Music By Design, Ltd. is the Torch Award Winner for Category V – The awards luncheon ceremony will be hosted at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza in Chicago on Thursday, December 2nd.

“As the headlines have reflected, ethical business practices have taken a beating on Wall Street, the banking industry, housing and other marketplaces,” says Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “The Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics honors companies that make a demonstrable effort to promote ethical business practices, and we are pleased to see the number of businesses who, in the eyes of their customers and other associates, meet that threshold.”

The award recipients are selected by an independent panel of judges each year. Bernas continued, “This year’s participants and winners have reaped many rewards as a result of their commitment to achieving and maintaining high ethical standards including stronger customer loyalty, enhanced reputation, and greater employee commitment.”

The competition had the largest number of nominations and entries with nearly 2,000 nominations from a wide variety of businesses, explained Bernas.

“This variety in entries and the subsequent winners and honorable mentions reflect an increasing interest by more and more companies in using ethical business practices in their operations as their primary method of self-regulation,” Bernas said. “This belief is the cornerstone of the BBB system.”

Companies are judged in five categories based on their number of employees. Bernas noted that the presentation of awards is just the tip of the iceberg for companies that do it right by working with their customers, suppliers and other organizations in an ethical manner. It remains important for people to inform the BBB when they have done business with a company that did an exemplary job. Many of the nearly 2,000 nominees for this award were the result of consumers alerting the BBB to companies who ‘do it right’.

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.

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