Preparing for a wedding as I am, I have my thoughts on the subject pretty much 24/7. And since I have a lot of friends who are considering their own weddings (or just want to talk about the process), I thought I might start putting some of my thoughts down in a blog. I thought that it might help others who are looking for the best way to make their wedding unique but still traditional and sure to go off without any hitches.

So, let me start here by just making a couple suggestions: if you’re in the Midwest, have your wedding in Chicago. And if you’re having it in Chicago, do it in the morning.

Perhaps this advice comes with a bit of bias. I moved to Chicago five years ago, and there’s nowhere I love more. It’s the most beautiful city in the country, and it has some of the best and most romantic views anywhere.

Now, there are those who don’t want to get married in a city, in which case, fine, don’t. But if you’re open to the idea, Chicago has all the sort of emotional and symbolic pull you could want. It’s a city that suggests grand possibilities, new starts, and endless potential. In other words, it’s exactly what you want your wedding to bring to mind.

There are great restaurants and bars for bachelor, bachelorette, pre-wedding, and post-wedding parties. There are incredible hotels that can meet the needs of the frugal or those who prefer luxury. And, of course, there’s that skyline.

And for my money, that skyline really shines brightest in the morning. I know plenty of people here who will insist the best time of day to view the city is evening, right at sunset, or perhaps after the stars are up and the lights are on in all the buildings. In my opinion, though, a city like Chicago, all full of potential as it is, really shows itself best when the new day is full of potential as well.

It’s hard for me to write about Chicago and not get romantic and sentimental, as you can see, and that is my point: it’s just what the city does to you. It’s why it’s such a hive of great art and music as well.

Morning in Chicago has plenty of other benefits as well. If you’re planning for a wedding in the summer, you avoid the heat. You can also indulge in a lot of morning-only activities that are going on around the city. For instance, Anita Dee Yacht Charters run post-wedding brunches, which I hear are a lot of fun.

Finally, with a morning wedding in a big city like Chicago, you get the opportunity to turn the whole day into a ceremony. Say your vows, have a nice brunch, and then take in some incredible activities throughout the whole day. You can extend the wedding far longer than those evening events where people get worn out and start falling off to sleep after three or four hours.