Category Archives: Advice

I Guest You’d Want to be Included

Your guests enjoy witnessing you and your fiancé commit your lives and futures to one another. Weddings are often reminders of how special one’s own relationship is, and celebrations of love bring joy to all.

However, some ceremonies are lengthy, uninteresting to those who are easily distracted and unrelatable to guests who don’t have religious ties. Incorporating your guests is a great way to keep them engaged and add special meaning and fun. There are many special ways to do so.

Ring Warming: Everyone rubs your rings and gives you blessings to carry with you. You can do this during the ceremony, but it may cause a delay. Instead, put them near the entrance with a note asking for rubs, well wishes and prayers. They can either be written or shared with you privately during the reception. When everyone is seated, your ring bearer gets them to bring up the aisle.

Showing Love: At the beginning of your ceremony, after the guests are welcomed, have your officiant request everyone blow a kiss in your direction. It is a sweet, easy gesture that will instantly make you feel surrounded by love.

Community Vow: Relationships aren’t always easy and knowing you have the support of those closest to you is invaluable. Work with your officiant to create a unique affirmation to which your guests will respond “We do.” It should be done after you exchange your personal vows. An example is “Do each of you promise to support us, offer love, encouragement, guidance and your secrets for happiness?”

Speaking Up: As tradition goes, most weddings include a variation of “Anyone who objects to this wedding should speak now or forever hold their peace.” Why not flip the script and request “Anyone who supports this union speak now.” Guests can provide brief sentiments, anecdotes or milestones in your relationship if they choose. For larger weddings, it is recommended you designate only a few people to contribute for the sake of time.

Sing-along: Select a song you love that your guests are familiar with. Print the lyrics and include them with your program. After you are pronounced husband and wife and are ready to walk down the aisle together, cue the music and get serenaded by everyone in your life you love. It helps to designate someone to act as a conductor to minimize confusion and is fun for all.

Of course your wedding is about the new stage of life you are embarking on with your spouse. However, you wouldn’t have gotten to that place, nor will you be able to grow and thrive without the love and support of those who care about you most. An invitation is wonderful but including them in sentimental ways shows your gratitude and makes for a unique and special experience.

You’re My Favor(ite)

Your guests are honored to be invited to your wedding as much as you are to have them share one of the most important days in your life with you. Each token of your appreciation can be given at the end of your reception or placed in front of your invitees’ seats.

Spread the Love: Rather than giving gifts, choose a charity meaningful to you. Leave “in lieu of cards” at each seat or table to let your guests know you’ve donated on their behalf.

Potted Succulents: Even those who don’t have green thumbs can take care of one and they last forever. Succulents come in endless varieties and can thrive indoors or outside. Add a personalized note saying, “Let Love Flourish” or “Grow Together.”

Share the Luck: Lottery tickets are fun, unexpected and something many people don’t often buy. Add a clever touch by sealing them in “For Richer or Poorer envelopes.” Maybe your special day will bring luck to your guests.

Plantable Wish Cards: These are something your guests probably haven’t seen. Write a wish or leave it blank so everyone can make their own. Then, they just plant, water and watch them grow. Each card contains annual and perennial wildflower seeds.

Measuring Spoons: If you or your guests love to cook, silver heart shaped spoons are an ideal favor. They are accurate in size and can be inscribed with clever messages. Perhaps “A dash of love or “A spoonful of laughter.”

Thoughtful, lasting tokens with meaning serve as reminders of your connection with those close to you for years to come. Additionally, personalization with a unique message about love or well wishes are preferable over inscriptions with your wedding date. All are easy on the budget but will show your gratitude in special ways.

Give it Your Best Shot

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Capturing every moment from beginning to end of your special day is of utmost importance and you don’t want any detail to be missed. Some take longer than others. Most don’t impact your guests as they are done during preparation, the ceremony or reception. Of course you want perfect pictures with your family. However, your guests don’t want to wait long while you do so. Minimizing the time can be done very simply.

Shot List: Give the names of those you will include to your photographer, so no one is left out during formal poses. It speeds up the process so he or she can be prepared. Also, ask a friend to assist in gathering everyone. It reduces your stress and makes everything more expeditious.

Timing: Strike a pose before the ceremony if you aren’t concerned about seeing your spouse prior to walking down the aisle. Everyone will look their best and most fresh and it adds to your time celebrating. If you’d rather wait until afterwards, consider choosing only a few formal photos. Often, the random shots are more enjoyable as they are candid and surprising.

Expectations: Formal photos are tricky for any occasion and even more so if there are many people. It is difficult to capture everyone focused, smiling and with their clothes and hair just perfect at the same time. Likely, you will find quirks in many of them.  While formality may be important, perfection shouldn’t be expected. Embrace the snafus. They capture personality and add charm.

Typically, the time allotted for formal family photos is between 15 and 30 minutes. It is surprisingly short but very doable if you prepare in advance. Cameras will be clicking from the time you get ready until the time you call it a night. There are countless photos to go through once the day is done. Hence, the number of formal ones doesn’t need to be excessive and can be done quickly with a bit of forethought.

Unique Budget Friendly Bouquets

Flowers are a very noticeable part of a wedding and one of the costliest portions of your budget. Many brides look for small ways to show bits of their personality. Unique bouquets are one way to do so while cutting down on the price.

If you want to stay close to tradition, wear a cuff made of real flowers. You won’t have to worry about holding on to anything and your arm will be adorned by a gorgeous floral bracelet that can even take the place of jewelry.

A great idea you can do on your own (without requiring much craftsmanship) is a felt bouquet. A quick internet search will find you realistic patterns to parse through. They can also be purchased for a minimal cost and make for great keepsakes.

If eco-friendly is important to you, wood may be your perfect match. Aside from appearing real and being sustainable, almost any type of flower can be simulated. Scents can also be applied that add a wonderful aroma to your venue.

With your invitations, include an envelope for each guest to send you a button, broach, pin etc. they want to gift you. With wire, a bouquet holder, floral tape, ribbon, the pieces you were sent and a little patience in placement, a one-of-a-kind bouquet will be the result. FYI, you may want to purchase some fun pieces to fill in empty spots if needed.

Those mentioned are solely a few ways to stand out and have fun while doing so. Any can be DIY projects or purchased for small fees. All will last forever and hold special meaning because it is guaranteed that they won’t be duplicated.

Gifts for the Girls

Everyone at your wedding is important but those standing next to you at the altar hold a special meaning. Aside from being closest, they’ve helped get you to your big day. Alongside saying how thankful you are for their time and assistance, a keepsake is a tangible reminder of their value.

Although it may seem like a task you can leave for the last minute, doing so may make it obvious by limiting your options. You don’t want to settle for something or worse, have your bridesmaids feel as if you did.

While you should stay within the same price range (whatever that may be), don’t give your bridesmaids the same present. Even though it’s easier, they don’t have the same interests or wants. Selecting gifts with special meanings lets them know you took time to show how valuable they are to you. Add a touching message to make them even more personal.

While each contributed to your shower, decision making and preparation, your maid of honor had the most responsibilities. Giving her a pricier or extra special gift is appropriate. Don’t be too extravagant though as that may make the others appear insignificant.

If the presents are ones to be incorporated in your wedding, it’s best to give them while getting ready so they aren’t accidentally left behind. Otherwise, doing so at the rehearsal is great. That way, the girls can take them home without worrying about keeping track of them during the festivities.

Sometimes it seems as if there’s another cost at every turn. With all the love and support your closest friends have given you, this should be an expense you are more than pleased to include in your budget.

The Venue Too?

As with most aspects of your dream day, finding the perfect venue may require more time and thought than anticipated. You should research and brainstorm before you look for many reasons some of which follow:

Style: While spaces of every size and sort exist, perhaps they don’t in your area. If they do, they may not match your style, vision, theme etc. Work around this by finding venues you can easily transform, i.e. blank slates or non-wedding locations similar to what you are looking for.

Availability: Looking early is important because many book up way in advance. Even those that don’t sometimes have your chosen date already taken. If so, you can ask to be put on the waiting list if your date becomes available while continuing to look. However, if you can’t see getting wed anywhere else, extending your engagement is an option.

Size: If a place is too small, invite only close friends and family to your ceremony and include everyone else at the reception. Alternatively, if you have too much room, see if you can use only a portion of the space or get creative by spreading out the seating to minimize the appearance of the size.

Regulations: Locations without any restrictions are rare so consider what you will accept. Churches, for example, likely don’t allow alcohol, have limits on noise levels and closing times. Such are reasonable due to locational and TABC regulations, etc. Other sites require you to use “preferred” vendors, have minimum time requirements and other ways to increase costs you don’t want, need or can afford.

Given the number of possible places, you need a clear vision of what you are looking for to minimize the time and energy spent looking at venues. Among those considerations are budget, capacity, restrictions, style and availability.

Backing Out

Some of the first things when preparing for your big day is to choose your pastor, the wedding party and who will give toasts and speeches. All are very important roles requiring time, energy and forethought both on your part and theirs. Unfortunately, there are occasions when one or more will back out at the last minute leaving you to wonder what to do.

Don’t get upset. Life happens and those who accepted their positions did so out of care for you. While it may throw you for a loop, there is surely a good reason behind his/her decision.

If a member of your wedding party, replacing them is not the best idea. Who you choose will likely feel as if a backup and be hurt. It is perfectly acceptable to have an uneven number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. However, if it’s your maid of honor or the best man, feel free to ask someone already chosen to change roles.

As far as toasts and speeches go, people put time and effort into saying what they will deliver. There’s no reason to ask someone new. It also puts a lot of pressure on anyone to compose anything meaningful at the last minute.

For piece of mind, you should (at some point in time) inquire why things changed but no wedding is perfect and such questions should be addressed after your ceremony. The best thing is that, at the end of the day, you have married your life partner.

Can You Hear Me Now?

You may not realize music is a sizable portion of your wedding during the ceremony and reception. There are many things to consider when choosing what songs, the number, timing, length etc. you opt for. In fact, sometimes your decisions have an impact on your guests as many things can easily go wrong.

Sound Check: Whether a pianist, violinist or MP3 player, it is imperative you check out the acoustics prior to your ceremony. Doing so ensures the songs you want are familiar, the sound system comes across to your liking and, if not, can be adjusted prior to your big day.

Timing is Key: Many guests arrive early and don’t know one another. That leads to an uncomfortable silence while sitting with people you’ve never met. It’s important to elect music to diffuse the awkwardness.

First Dance: The song you select for your first dance shouldn’t be too long. It is a special moment for you, your husband and guests but it shouldn’t be more than two to three minutes.

Give Me a Break: You should have downtime in your music as well. When eating, it is a good chance for quiet conversation as you likely have seated people who know one another together and too much volume equals overload.

Including Everyone: You and your husband my be huge fans of jazz (for example) but it’s important to mix up the genres so your guests are pleased. Whether dancing or not, you don’t want monotony and people getting bored from what sounds redundant.

While the ceremony and reception choices are quite different, each are equally important and shouldn’t be put off until the last minute. Some venues have regulations which could keep you from having music if you don’t plan ahead. It also makes people smile, enjoy themselves and perhaps even make new friends.

But(ton) Not for you

Buttons are often thought of as tiny things that keep clothes intact. Once lost, you buy another and your outfit is seamless again. If you take a closer look, it is the small threads that connect and tie everything together. Your fiancé is your button that ties your life together and makes everything harmonious. Incorporating them into your wedding is a whimsical way to show your connection.  Following are a few ways how to use them from beginning to end:

Save the date: Because they are cheap, you could use a different one to enclose each card and, once returned, sew them on to the tie that holds your bouquet together. It’s a fantastic way to make all your guests feel special.

Backdrops: It’s likely that no wedding you’ve been to had button banners. The variety in color, shape and size make it easy to sew and hang them behind the altar for a unique alternative as you take your vows.

Bouquets: Of course, you can have a button bouquet as you walk down the aisle in re flowers. If your mom, grandmother or anyone in your husband to be’s family sewed, using their collection would make it extra special.

Centerpieces: Whether you fill your vases with buttons or have flowers made of them going from smaller to larger in diversified colors to replicate real flowers, there are artisans who can make anything you envision.

Grand Exit: Rather than throwing rice or flower petals as you exit after your vows, you can have small bags of buttons at the entrance of your venue for your guests to toss as you leave as husband and wife.

Aside from showing your personality and doing something different, when you think of what buttons are used for is quite appropriate for your wedding as they sew you together for the rest of your life.

Dropping Petals

It has been a long-standing tradition that flower girls drop petals along the aisle prior to the bride’s entrance. Depending on the venue, real petals may be prohibited and artificial ones are used instead. However, as customs lessen, many different and unique alternatives are becoming popular. Here are just a few:

Individual stems: A basket full of individual stemmed flowers for your flower girl to hand out to either give to your guests seated at the end of each aisle or to those who are most important to you and your fiancé.

Bubbles: Blowing bubbles is a fun and whimsical way to precede your entrance. Aside from not being messy, even adults can’t help but smile at the sight of bubbles and some guests might even try to catch them.

Miniature bouquet: Any little girl given a special job would be honored and feel even more significant if she was given a small bouquet (one suitable for her size) that matches yours.

Customized sign: A sign or pennant with a message introducing you is another clever substitute for petals. Whether it says “Here comes the bride” or “Introducing Mrs. (insert your new last name), not only will your guests be surprised but it will be a keepsake to remember your special day.

Paper hearts: Your wedding is a celebration of the love you have built and will continue to grow. Whether made of shades that match your décor or are crafted out of something important to the two of you, they are a wonderful thing to see as you walk down the aisle.

There are many creative and fun things for flower girls to carry. Not only are they unexpected but each will bring joy to both you and your guests and be an element that sets your wedding apart.