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Engaged couple

A Scaled-Back Wedding

A Scaled-Back Wedding

Happy New Year! For 2023, we’ve noticed one trend going very strong: a scaled-back wedding. For some couples bigger is better, but it’s becoming increasingly popular to take some of the hubbub out of the wedding day. Having a scaled-back wedding means different things to different couples, so we’ve taken note to give you an overview of scaled-back wedding ideas. Here are some of the best scaled-back wedding ideas for couples ready to start planning a simpler wedding!

No Bridal Party

This trend definitely can be controversial. Oftentimes friends have been waiting to be part of your bridal party for years. Imagine their dismay when they find out you are not having a bridal party. But here’s the thing: it is your wedding. Not having a bridal party means allowing your friends to be at your wedding with less of a financial commitment: no shoes or dress involved. Not having a bridal party can also benefit you as there will be fewer details and events to coordinate. Speaking of fewer details, if you do not have a bridal party you don’t have to choose bridesmaids’ dresses, or even wedding colors for that matter. If you are someone who feels overwhelmed by having to make numerous decisions, not having a bridal party might be the perfect way to have a scaled-back wedding.

Fewer Guests

Another commonly controversial way to scale back your wedding is by inviting fewer guests. It can be controversial, especially because so many people have been excitedly awaiting your wedding day. Yes, that may mean not inviting your mom’s college friends, sorry mom, but the added benefit is you have more quality time with your closest people. If large social gatherings are not your thing, this trend will add more enjoyment to your wedding day. Likely it will also benefit your overall budget.

A Shorter Wedding Planning Process

While planning a wedding usually takes a year to a year and a half, some couples are opting for a quick, six months-or-less planning window. This can be very stressful especially because many venues book out a year in advance and many bridal gowns can take eight months to arrive, but if you’re ready to get married this option may suit you (pun intended). In contrast, it may make decision-making easier because you will have fewer options. Couples are usually choosing from a sea of dozens of wedding vendors. If you are booking a last-minute wedding fewer vendors will be available, therefore your vendors will likely choose themselves for you. This takes your job of sorting through vendors away. For couples who are indecisive, having a shorter wedding planning process may be the way to go.

Simple Flowers and Décor

While many couples enjoy choosing large centerpieces and bouquets, others are opting for simplicity. If you are looking for a simpler bouquet option, what is more timeless than white roses for a wedding? Clean and simple can be so beautiful, so there is no need to sacrifice beauty if you prefer a simpler wedding. This makes choosing your décor much more simple because white goes with everything. You could just use your engagement photos or other photos throughout the years as décor and call it a day, no need to search for color-coordinating candles and beads.



Choosing a scaled-back wedding may not be for everyone, but there are many benefits. Did you choose to have a scaled-back wedding? What were your reasons? We’d love to know, comment below! If you have engaged friends, send this blog post their way to inspire their scaled-back 2023 wedding planning. For more wedding planning tips and inspiration check out more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below. Happy Planning!

groomsman suit

A Guy’s Guide to Being a Groomsman

A Guy’s Guide to Being a Groomsman

Congratulations on being asked to be a groomsman! It is an honor that shows how much you mean to the engaged couple. Because you mean a lot to them, you’ll want to show up as your best as their groomsman. To help you do that, here is a guy’s guide to being a groomsman.

Mark Down the Wedding Date

Once you know the date of the wedding and have agreed to be in the wedding, mark down the date and make arrangements. Everyone has only so many days off for work, so plan ahead if you have to take any days off for the wedding. If you are not sure how many days off you will have by the wedding date, make a plan. Talk with your boss well in advance if you will need to take any days off. Then, make sure you communicate with work throughout the year so they don’t forget you have a wedding coming up.

Other Wedding-Related Events

Being in the bridal party means there is an expectation you will be at the engagement party, rehearsal dinner, wedding, and the day after brunch. It’s important you ask the engaged couple what events they have planned so you can ideally be there, if not, let them know in advance. (Are you getting the hint that sooner is always better?) Some nationalities’ traditions mean even the wedding is a multi-day affair. If this is the case, be sure to ask which events you should plan on being at.

Getting Your Suit

The day you get the email or text from the bride or groom about the suit rental/purchasing information, make a date to do it. Do not wait for the deadline to go to your nearest tailor to get measured. The week you get that email/text go get measured and take care of your rental/suit purchase. If you’ll allow us to paint with a broad brush, guys tend to wait till the last minute to take care of their wedding attire. Don’t be that guy! Get it done a.s.a.p., way before you have to.

Plan for the Bachelor Party

If there is going to be a bachelor party, be transparent about your ability to participate sooner than later. If you have a particular budget to stay within, communicate that clearly with the rest of the groomsmen. Clarity & honesty is key. If there are days you know you are unavailable around the proposed time of year of the bachelor party, make that clear so there are no hurt feelings or surprises.

Wedding Gifts

When you are a groomsman you’re normally off the hook for purchasing a bridal shower gift, but you will need to bring a wedding gift. Wedding gifts can be anything from home or cooking goods to gift certificates. If you have a plus one coming to the wedding, have them bring the gift. Then, you will not forget the gift at home before the couple leaves for their honeymoon. We all know how adult friendships go, you probably won’t see the couple for a few months. So bring the wedding gift to the wedding so you don’t have to give it to them late.



There you have it, a surefire guide to being a great groomsman! Your friend will be sure to appreciate your promptness and cooperation as they plan their wedding. For more wedding planning tips and inspiration check out more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below. Happy Planning!

everyday dishes

Wedding Registry Must-Haves

Wedding Registry Must-Haves

Your wedding planning is off to a good start, so now it is time to create your wedding registry and fill it with your must-haves! We’ve all purchased gifts for friends from their registries, but creating our own can be overwhelming. How many plates do I need? Is China really necessary? While each couple’s style and priorities are different, there are a few must-haves we recommend you put on your wedding registry. Here’s some help to get your registry started with the most important items.

Pots and Pans Set

The number one cookware item you will use daily is your pots and pans! Whether you are a can of soup or a homemade chicken cordon bleu person, you must put them on your registry. Not only are they useful, but they are also made to last and are expensive. Many registries allow group gifts so friends can team together to give you a more expensive gift.

Bath Towels

Now that you’ll be married, it’s time for your college bath towels to become cleaning or beach towels. Register for some nice, new towels. You will be so glad you did! It is fun putting together the color scheme of your first married home together. Towels are a great way to decorate your bathroom with a splash (pun intended) of color. Pro tip: Register for bath sheets! Bath sheet towels are towels but are longer than typical bath towels, so you will be wrapped and cozy after every shower without a chilly breeze.

Bed Sheets

Speaking of sheets, you won’t want to forget to register for quality bed sheets! We recommend cotton sheets for spring/summer and flannel sheets for fall/winter. Cotton sheets will breathe and not hold in your summer heat making for a more comfortable night of sleep. In contrast, microfiber sheets will hold in your heat, so we don’t recommend those. Flannel sheets are so cozy and perfect for the infamous Chicago winter windchills!

A Clothes Steamer

This one might surprise a lot of people. You may think, “Why do I need a clothes steamer when I already have an iron?” Well, let me tell you! Many an event and weddings have been saved by my inexpensive clothes steamer! A bridesmaid forgot to iron her dress? Steamer. The groom ironed his pants wrong? Steamer. Table cloths laying strange on the tables? Steamer. Trust me, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Every household needs a clothes steamer!

Your Everyday Dishes

Unlike China dishes that you only use about once a year, your everyday dishes will be used, you guessed it, every day. Because of how often you will use them it is important to register for quality everyday dishes. Read reviews and ask questions, don’t just go by looks. We recommend registering for 8 place settings. If you are not registering for China dishes we recommend registering for 12 place settings. These dishes will ideally last for decades, so be sure to choose a pattern and color you know you will still like in a few years.

Have you registered yet? Which of these items were on your must-haves list? Would you add something else? Tell us in the comments below. For more wedding planning inspiration and advice check out more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below. Happy Planning!

Guest list simple

Wedding Planning: Keep It Simple

Wedding Planning: Keep It Simple

During the time of the pandemic, couples made the best of smaller weddings out of necessity. Then, extravagant weddings filled with entertainment, experiences, and desserts galore came next. While both of those weddings can be equally meaningful and special, we propose another option: simplicity. Here are the main areas of wedding planning you can simplify to keep your wedding planning stress-free.

Bachelorette/Bachelor Party

While elaborate vacations are fun, they are not necessary to have a great time. The most important element is not the location; it’s the people you are with! As a result, you should put extra thought into the guest list. Only invite those who you enjoy spending time with! Inviting people you don’t enjoy being around is a recipe for a bachelor/bachelorette party disaster. Once you determine the list, it’s important to choose a date on which you know they can come. Send a survey to your closest and best with two or three date ideas. Then spend the decided date having fun with your friends locally. You could go to your favorite restaurants or bars or hang out all day at your house watching Netflix. Whatever you do, do it with your favorite people and it’s sure to be a special day you’ll never forget.

Guest List

The guest list is easily the most stressful aspect of planning a wedding. That being said, your marriage is still valid whether you have ten people or 300. Once you have your allotted guest number that fits your budget, focus on ease. If going through and cutting people you are close to off the guest list stresses you out, then have a bigger wedding. Remember, we are focusing on simplicity, therefore less stress. Simple doesn’t have to mean small. However; if having a huge party stresses you out, have a small wedding. There is nothing wrong with keeping such a special day more intimate if that’s what feels best to you. People will have dissenting opinions no matter what you do, so take the stress out of it and stick with what simple means to you.

Guest list simple

Photo: MBD Wedding Photography, Venue: Heritage Prairie Farm, Wedding: Fatima and Nolan

Décor

We all can recognize the beauty of elaborate candelabras and giant floral arches everywhere, but there is also so much beauty in simplicity. The easiest way to simplify your wedding décor is to go to the venue and take a mental list of their existing décor, lighting, and color schemes first before you start buying décor. You may not have to decorate much if they already have a beautiful, standard setup. Instead of having details everywhere, think about where you want people’s eyes to go. Do you want them looking at each other at their tables? Choose lower, simple centerpieces. Do you want their eyes on you the whole night? Dress up the sweetheart table while keeping the rest of the venue more simple. If your venue has a bold color scheme already, use soft, simple colors and less ornate décor.

Simple wedding decor

Photo: MBD Wedding Photography, Venue: Riverside Receptions, Wedding: Missy and Dan

We hope these ideas will help you simplify your wedding planning and take the focus from the details and put it back on to getting married. The more you can simplify, the less stressful your wedding planning will be and the more meaningful your wedding can be. Happy Planning! Share this blog post with a friend who is beginning their wedding planning. For more wedding planning tips and inspiration check out more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below.

Wedding Lights photo

Lights as Wedding Décor

Lights as Wedding Décor

If you walk into just about any store looking for wedding décor you will likely find an array of lights. Most venues have typical ceiling lights. If you add unique lights to your wedding décor it will create a warm and artistic atmosphere. From candles to string lights, there are so many options to choose from. To make designing your wedding décor easier we narrowed down the best lights to use as wedding décor.

Candelabras

Since the first time we saw Beauty and the Beast, we all saw the formality a candelabra can add to an event. If you are having a formal wedding, a candelabra is the perfect complementary lighting choice. You can introduce your wedding colors by using colored candles in the candelabra. If you prefer the classic, white candles you can have colored flowers draped around the bottom of the candelabra.

Modern Candelabra

Post: The Knot, Photo: Henry Photography

Fairy or Twinkle Lights

If you want a less formal lighting option, fairy or twinkle lights are a softer choice. Fairy lights are very thin lights on a wire that are easily moldable into or around shapes, such as mason jars or vases. Twinkle lights are essentially Christmas lights that come in many bulb colors and sizes. Twinkle lights can be hung from the ceiling or draped with tulle or other soft fabrics. Fairy lights tend to be done on a smaller scale such as being used in centerpieces. If you want to incorporate many different lights, fairy and twinkle lights are very complementary.

String lights

Speaking of lights that can be hung, string lights have become increasingly popular in the last few years. If you are having an outdoor wedding, reception, or cocktail hour string lights add romance to the space. String lights also make for amazing after-dark photos. If you dream of having a beautiful kiss-in-the-dark wedding photo, string lights are a great addition to your wedding décor. As with any light that is hung, it’s important to check with your venue about your hanging options before you get your heart set on hanging lights.

Tea lights

Even the smallest touch of light can make a big impact. Tea lights can be burning or battery-operated candles. They can be used in so many ways from floating in water to placed in a floral centerpiece or table. If you already have a lot of wedding décor tea lights are a perfect, smaller option that will also highlight the existing décor.

Paper lanterns

Paper lanterns come in many shapes and sizes. These lights are soft but add drama to your ceremony, cocktail hour, or reception. Paper lanterns can be hung from the ceiling or placed on the ground to frame the aisle, patio, or dance floor. Similar to string lights, lantern lights are a great option if you are having any part of your wedding outdoors. The beauty of these lanterns comes not only from the color of the paper but also from the dramatic contrast of light.

We hope these ideas will make designing your wedding décor easier. Don’t forget, even a little light goes a long way! Happy Planning! For more wedding planning inspiration and tips check out more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below.

Greenery contrasts and stand out

Wedding Flower Inspiration to Stand Out with a Popular Wedding Color

Wedding Flower Inspiration to Stand Out with a Popular Wedding Color

Every wedding year has a popular wedding color. Once you know three couples with the same wedding colors you may find it difficult to have the on-trend colors, but still, have your wedding stand out. One great way to solve this common color mishap is by having unique wedding flowers. You can stand out if you choose a popular wedding color. Here is some wedding flower inspiration to stand out with a popular wedding color.

Choose a unique cascading bouquet shape to stand out.

A uniquely shaped bouquet can be such a show-stopper! A cascading bouquet blends your bridal party’s attire and the flowers together. Often, only the bride’s bouquet is a cascade. If you choose to do this for your entire bridal party, it would be unique and add drama to a popular wedding color.

Choose greenery to add a contrasting color.

When you choose a popular wedding color, it’s important to have a contrasting color as well. Greenery is a great classic contrast color for your wedding day. No two shades or kinds of greenery are alike, so you can incorporate many different shapes and shades of greenery into one bouquet, even without flowers. If you still want to have flowers in the greenery even mixing in just a few flowers can go a long well to pull together the contrasting color with your wedding color.

Wrap your wedding flowers with ribbons.

Speaking of contrasting colors, who says you have to have only one wedding color? A distinct addition to the contrast between your wedding color and greenery is a pop of color with ribbons! Wrap ribbons around the stems of your flowers to introduce a pop of color, without having the flowers be the pop of color. The ribbons can even drape down in a cascading fashion for extra drama. If you are an all-or-nothing bride, tie it all together by introducing a pattern such as stripes, sequins, or floral to tie all your colors! Nothing like tying your wedding colors together with ribbons in a nice bow, get it?

A classic style will tone down a bold wedding color.

Choosing a tight, round, classic shape is a solid option if you are choosing a modern and bold wedding color. If you choose simpler flowers that will ensure your wedding colors are the focus of your color scheme. Classic white roses never go out of style. If you like the idea of a classic bouquet, but would miss having texture in the bouquet, add baby’s breath to incorporate texture while keeping the classic style.

Bohemian-style bouquets add a unique touch to a popular color.

Another way to have your wedding stand out from your popular wedding color is to have dramatic, artistic flowers. The Bohemian bouquet styles tend to incorporate everything from wildflowers to wheat, to greenery in an unconventional way. Often wedding guests are in awe of the unique flowers they haven’t seen in wedding flowers before. If you’re trying to tone down your wedding color and turn up the avant-garde style of your wedding, Bohemian bouquets are a great way to do that. This style is sure to become a conversation piece, as well as an eccentric touch to your wedding day.



As you plan your wedding, choose the color that you love! There is no need to sacrifice uniqueness simply because you choose a popular wedding color. We hope these bouquets inspired you to choose wedding details to set your wedding apart from the rest. For more wedding planning tips and inspiration check out more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below! Happy Planning!

Silky Bridesmaid Dress

Bridesmaid Dress Style Trends

Bridesmaid Dress Style Trends

You’ve found your wedding dress, so the next step on the agenda is to choose your bridesmaid dresses! The color, fabric, style, & neckline options are so endless. It may be difficult to choose an option that is both now and timeless. Bridesmaids, rejoice, we’ve narrowed down the bridesmaid dress trends you’ll actually want to wear again for years!

Silky Fabrics

This trend is a favorite of ours! Silk-like bridesmaid dresses come in many styles from long to short, and from fitted to flowing. If you are willing to be flexible with dress silhouette, your bridesmaids will be happy to find a style they feel best in for their body type. In this fabric, the cowl neckline is trendy and flattering for all body types.

T-Length/Midi-Length

We’ve seen a resurgence of the t-length dress! One thing to keep in mind is this trend looks best if all your bridesmaids feel comfortable wearing high heels. Wearing a t-length/midi-length dress with flats is not a very flattering line on anyone. This is an excellent option if you’re having a summer or warm destination wedding, but you do not want cocktail-length bridesmaid dresses. Bridesmaids also may feel more comfortable wearing a midi or long-length dress as opposed to a short cocktail dress. Brides, you can bring your vision to fruition while also being considerate of your bridal party’s self-esteem and any body image insecurities.

Strappy Backs

This is another great trend for warm-weather weddings! There are so many different options to choose from. Your bridesmaids will be happy to choose a back and neckline to accommodate their bra necessities or lack thereof. If you are wearing a strappy wedding dress, strappy bridesmaid dresses will be a fun complement to your dress.

Puff Sleeves

This one is definitely only for the fashion-forward who can appreciate this nod to the 1980s and 1990s. If you’re up for it, go ahead and be bold, choose the puff sleeve! They come in all options from long to short, tulle to crepe, and slit to solid. Brides, if you are pro or anti the puff sleeve, it’s best to talk with your bridesmaids to see how they feel about this trend. It can be gorgeous, but not all bridesmaids will feel good wearing a puff sleeve.

Variations of the High/Boat Neckline

Speaking of classics from the 1980s and 1990s, the high/boat neckline has more options than ever before! If you like to have more of an open neckline, you can choose a racerback halter. If you prefer more coverage in your necklines, a wider boat neckline will look and feel amazing. This is one option every body type will find a style they feel comfortable in.

The Square Neckline

We are so glad this trend is hanging around! This neckline is flattering on just about everyone! It gives you the clean lines of a boat neckline with the openness of a v-neckline. The clean lines are flattering and the square brings the eye up to your bridesmaids’ beautiful faces. If you’re looking to be more unique than the classic v-neckline, but still have a more open neckline, this is a perfect choice.

Have you chosen your bridesmaid dresses yet? Did you recently get your wedding photos back and would like to share how you chose your bridesmaid dresses? We’d love to hear! Email credited photos and vendors to hello@chicagoweddingblog.com to potentially be featured on our blog.

black dress to a wedding

How to Wear Black to a Wedding

How to Wear Black to a Wedding

The old adage, don’t wear black to a wedding, is out and black wedding attire is in! There are, however, some things to keep in mind to wear black to a wedding in good taste. We will help you be on trend, and sort through the etiquette of how to wear black to a wedding.

Black Dress to the wedding

When The Bridesmaids Wear Black

When the bridesmaids wear black, it’s best you wear black 0nly if you are a bridesmaid. Brides put careful consideration into who is in their bridal party, therefore it’s important to avoid any misunderstandings that you may be upset you are not a bridesmaid. If you look great in dark colors but the bridesmaids are wearing black, play it safe and wear navy or charcoal. You’ll look great and avoid any awkward moments.

The Wedding Is Black Tie

A long, black dress is perfect for a black tie wedding. If you are going to a black tie wedding, first verify the bridesmaids are not wearing black. Then, if they’re not, go for it! You will love how slender, classic, and on-trend you feel and the newlyweds will appreciate you sticking to the dress code. It’s a win-win!

You Have A Great Relationship With The Newlyweds

If you have bad blood with the newlyweds, listen to me: Do not wear black to their wedding! Their wedding day should be filled with joy, laughter, and calm, regardless of any rocky relationships they had in the past with their wedding guests. The last thing you want is for them to feel you wore black to dig at them on their wedding day. Consequently, whether you are the mother-in-law, cousin, or friend from high school who had a fight about who was invited to homecoming; avoid wearing black if you’ve had any conflict with the newlyweds. You’ll thank me when everyone has a great time and a healthy, long-term relationship with the newlyweds.

You Are The Mother Of The Bride/Groom

As a host of the wedding, it’s important you look and feel your best. That being said, it’s important to choose your attire with etiquette in mind. As said above, if you have any bad blood with the newlyweds-to-be, do not wear black. Even if you have a great relationship with the engaged couple, it’s still important to double-check with your child and their soon-to-be spouse to ensure there are no hurt feelings. Once you’ve checked with them, choose the beautiful black dress you’ve dreamed of! Remember, as the host of the wedding you should be more formal than a wedding guest. So don’t be afraid of beading, bows, and dramatic sleeves.



Are you planning on wearing black to a wedding? What aspects of this new trend do you love? We’d love to hear! Comment below! For more wedding planning tips and inspiration, check out more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below. Happy Planning!

Jenga yard games wedding

Wedding Experiences

Wedding Experiences

The last few years, experiences have become more popular than tangible things. Experiences are fun activities you participate in within a specific event. They create memories far after your guests lose your wedding programs. While your wedding is a once in a lifetime event in and of itself, you can make it packed full of memorable fun by adding wedding experiences to your day. Here are a few ideas!

Games

If your venue has the option for an outdoor reception or cocktail hour, this is a fun option. Games such as bags, bocce ball, giant Jenga, and Twister are amazing games to add extra fun to your wedding day! This gives your guests plenty of activities to keep them occupied as you wrap up your wedding photos. They will surely not forget how much fun they had!

Make Your Own

Do you have a large group who isn’t so sure about dancing? Keep them busy with a make your own activity while they wait to become dance floor ready as their liquid courage to kicks in. Make your own experiences can range everything from make your own wedding favor to make your own custom drink or dessert bar! Guests will love customizing this fun experience to their taste and preference.

Boat Ride, Petting Zoo, or Pool Party

While definitely venue specific, these amazing experiences will definitely take the cake. If your venue is on a lake, treat your guests to boat rides. If you’re getting married on a farm, guests may be able to enjoy petting and feeding the animals. Guests will have to prepare in advance, but having a pool party as part of your reception will be one-of-a-kind, refreshing fun for you and your guests. Keep your venue in mind as you think about experiences. So many options are available if you think creatively.

Dance Lessons

Having two left feet is nothing to be afraid of when you bring in the experts. Your guests can enjoy learning some new dance moves by having dance instructors come in to teach you and your guests some ballroom dance! Everything from swing dance to tango can be easily taught in a few minutes, but you and your guests will have fun memories, and impressive dance moves,  for years!

Magic

Table to table entertainment may not be for everyone, but if you have a group of guests who prefer to stay at their tables a magician is a great way to keep them entertained. Cocktail hour is another ideal time for a magician to perform. Some guests may not know many people, so having entertainment is a great topic to promote natural, easy mingling.

Are you planning experiences into your wedding day? Does your wedding venue have built in experiences? We’d love to hear about your plans! Comment your plans below. For more wedding planning tips and inspiration check out more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below! Happy Planning!

all bridak

2022 Oscars Style Bridal Inspiration

While everyone else was distracted by the slap heard round the world, we at Chicago Wedding Blog saw some gorgeous 2022 Oscars style bridal inspiration. If you are a bride planning your upcoming wedding, there are many Oscars style elements you can incorporate into your bridal gown. From gorgeous beading, to minimalist fabric details, 2022 Oscar style has your name all over it! Here is some inspiration to keep your eye out for as you shop for your 2022/2023 bridal gown!