Category Archives: reception

The Heat is On

Along with the beautiful colors and relaxation of summer comes warmer weather that can create some potentially uncomfortable situations for both you and your guests. Below are a few clever and fun ways to ensure everyone has the most enjoyable experience possible.

Minimize the heat with savory treats. Rather than (or in addition to) a traditional cake, consider ice cream sandwiches. The options for the ice cream (sorbet or gelato if you choose) and cookies are virtually endless. You can even have a little fun and offer various flavors, colors and make them in a signature shape.

If you are having a cake, perhaps a “naked” one is the way to go. Instead of being covered in icing or fondant, the bare layers are held together with cream cheese or fluffy buttercream. Juicy, moisturizing berries and fresh flowers will make the lack of icing go unnoticed.

Sometimes, perception is reality. Use thin, airy fabrics to decorate your ceremony and reception spaces. Tulle, silk, ribbon, tassels and even paper are great options for any venue. When things appear breezy and light, your guests will be less likely to notice the temperature.

Your comfort is most important as all eyes will be on you. Don’t shy away from a tea length dress that can be embellished and made appropriate for even formal venues. Lightweight make up and updos also help keep you looking fresh and reduce the warmth.

Unfortunately, some degree of heat is unavoidable mid-year. With a little thought and creativity however, it is possible to keep your food, desserts, guests and subsequently you from having meltdowns!

I Tip My Hat to You

Wedding budgets are always difficult. It may feel like you spend more every time you even look at something but part of you says it’s your one day to indulge. There will always be unexpected costs, some of which can be minimized or completely avoided. Others, such as gratuities for your vendors should at least be considered.

Officiant: Time and energy is spent making your rehearsal and ceremony perfectly fitted to you. This is done on top of regular job duties and already busy schedules out of joy from uniting couples in marriage. A cash gift should be given by an attendant at the rehearsal. If he/she is connected to your location (and your budget permits), a donation to the venue space is an added way to show your gratitude.

Wedding Planner: Because what is provided is done as a profession, tips are optional and don’t have to be monetary. In fact, they are usually not expected. If you feel inclined, send your gift after your honeymoon (10 – 20% is appropriate). A free option is to send some photos for your planner to enhance his or her portfolio.

Hair and Makeup: Stylists should be treated as you would in a salon if not better. Often, rates are higher for wedding days and wedding parties, but the gratuity should not be affected by that. The styles are more complicated, everything must be perfect and often, hairdressers and make up artists travel to your location. Show your thanks at the end of the service and allow photographs, if requested, for portfolios or look-books.

Reception and Entertainment: Bands or DJs and catering, transportation companies etc. typically add a surcharge to their base rates so additional tips are optional. If you give extra, follow the same guidelines you would on a regular day. However, put an attendant in charge of handling payment(s), all of which should occur at the end of your big day.

Whether gratuities are expected, optional (but typical) or out of the norm, they are always welcome. Everyone likes to know they have done a good job. However, especially at weddings, vendors understand the huge costs you have already incurred. Handwritten, individualized thank you notes are a very cost-effective and special way to show your gratitude if your budget doesn’t allow for monetary tokens of appreciation.

Don’t Forget the Small Stuff

On your big day, it feels like every moment will forever be ingrained in your memory and many of them will. Like everything else though, time will blur and erase some of them. As life progresses and other monumental events happen, memory banks are replenished, hence the importance of photographs. There are pivotal shots every bride focuses on but some that are equally important that may not be considered. Here are a few of those:

Before Shots:  You will have countless glamorous photos looking more beautiful than you ever have. The moments before you start getting ready will highlight your inner glow, undeniable excitement and the naturally beautiful woman your fiancé is committing his life to.

First Look: The first time your fiancé sees you walking down the aisle is priceless as his emotions are unplanned, can’t be hidden and are as heartfelt and unfiltered as can be.

Decorations: While you will never forget the time spent planning every detail, the vision of exactly how it all came together will likely fade. While most brides focus on their guests and festivities, as the saying goes “it’s all in the details” and reminders of those are equally important.

Your Gown: Snap your dress on the hanger before it’s been worn. The instant you put it on, dirt, makeup, food etc. will leave marks that are nearly impossible to remove. Take time to memorialize all its glory after it’s been prepared for you to step into.

Candid Moments: Some of the best shots are those that aren’t posed or planned. Capture everyone when they think no one is looking. Perhaps not the most flattering, these are the most realistic and fun reflections of your special day and the wonderful time had by all.

There are standard photos expected of every couple that every photographer takes. While those are important, equally so are ones that document the smallest details, unplanned moments and emotions that cannot be found in a posed picture.

An Overview of All Things New

Each year, the world of weddings experiences growth in the form of new trends, ideas and possibilities for brides to add to their already infinite number of options. 2017 is no exception and brings with it some exciting and fresh alternatives for just about every aspect of your big day. Some of the notable highlights are below….

Do Things Separately: Bridal stores will be filled with an increased number of both two-piece gowns and traditional ones with detachable skirts to remove for your reception as customizable dresses are the latest “must haves.” Separates are appropriate for all seasons as skirts exist to match the bottom of any wedding dress. In the winter, pair one with an elegant, embellished sweater or match it with a sleeveless, lacy top during the warmer months. Detachable skirts give you two dresses for the price of one so your ceremony can be formal with a floor length gown that you simply remove when the reception begins and it’s time to let loose and celebrate.

A LITTLE Bit of Glitz: Gone are the radiant, bright colors that flooded every aspect of weddings last year. More popular are bouquets made of ivy, local succulents and other greenery and color palettes based on tones of beige, creams and shades of gray. To add some elegance and glamour, the trend is to add gold or metallic accents through stemware, table runners, bouquet ties, ribbons, etc.

It’s All About Location: The general tendency of late to promote local businesses is spilling over into the wedding industry leading more brides to “keep it local.” Opt for decor that is representative of your community (while keeping in line with your personality). Choose a menu that celebrates what sets your area apart and gives your out-of-town guests a feel for what your life is truly like. Not only does it give back to local vendors but you will be guaranteed to have a comfortable, relaxing day.

Honorable Mention: An increase in couples will be asking for less for themselves and more for others. More infrequent are registries of household items, money for a honeymoon or wish lists filled with fun, new gadgets. Instead, brides and grooms are compiling options of charities from which each guest can choose to donate to in their honor. Most likely, you already have most of what you need and there’s immense gratitude and satisfaction knowing that those who require help are able to receive it because of your special day.

The fun and innovative ways to plan your big day that are emerging for the new year are endless. Take some time to explore all the possibilities because you may very well fall in love with some ideas that have never even crossed your mind and will turn your current vision upside down.

Banded Together?

Your reception is just as important as your ceremony as the formalities of the day are over and it’s time to relax. Everyone gets a chance to congratulate and celebrate with you, catch up with people they probably haven’t seen in quite some time and enjoy great food and dancing. While less planning is needed (relatively speaking), it is the part of the day that many attendees look forward to most so there are still details that need to be tended to. One of those is your music source as, getting people on their feet, is a large portion of the day’s merriment.

Bands are something you don’t see nearly as often as in the past so hiring one would give a personal touch and set your reception apart from most others. Additionally, they are great if you are looking to stay within a specific genre of music and aren’t finicky about which songs are played. However, they are more expensive as you are paying for time and labor and, the possibility that they will be able to perform an eclectic variety of music (in a way that is recognizable) or stick to an exact playlist is uncertain.

DJs are more cost-effective and have easy access to all types of music ranging from the Big Band era to the newest releases that have just hit the charts. Unlike a professional band, the songs played will be those of the actual artists so there will be no mistake as to the recognition of your choices.  You can give them a list of “To Play” and “Don’t Play” songs, the order and time you want to hear them, and (fingers crossed), enjoy your evening without worry.

Unfortunately, DJs often view each gig as an opportunity to showcase their personal skills which can lead to unwanted remixes, morphing your song order into a sequence he/she feels more appropriate and numerous other potential difficulties.

A great way to sidestep all these concerns (AND POSSIBLY FOR FREE) is to use an MP3 player.  Compile a few hours of music, including some throwbacks that have meaning to your college friends, ones that the older guests will appreciate and whatever else you and your fiancé choose. They can play in a definitive order or be set to shuffle and the only potential cost is having to download tunes you don’t already have in your collection(s). However, it is imperative that you inquire about your venue’s sound system, any fees for using it and do a test run to be certain everything will work as expected.

The allure of live music and the prestige of a DJ are lost when you opt for an MP3 player. There is a time and place for both of those but, on your big day, the allure and prestige, attention and excitement are all focused solely on you and your fiancé. Your personalized music and special songs will make your guests realize the energy and thought you took to include each of them in your celebration and appreciate your doing so.

Minimal Assistants


It goes without saying that, as a bride, you likely have a plan (or at least a clear vision) in place regarding most of your wedding day details. Making your ideas come to life may be challenging for many reasons leaving you wishing for sole responsibility over every component. Unfortunately, that is an impossibility as outside help, whether from friends and family or hired professionals, is required. However, every decision including the amount of assistance you want or need and from whom it comes is yours to make.

Remember that the period leading up to your special day is not just exciting for you but for those close to you as well. Many will offer their time, advice and skills to ease your burden and lower your stress level. While usually successful, occasionally their good intentions lead to uncomfortable situations and hurt feelings.

One objective of your wedding is for your guests to enjoy themselves which includes being able to take in everything going on around them. If someone offers to provide their services on the day of for something other than what you want, kindly pointing out some of the special things they would miss is a great way to decline the offer while avoiding being offensive.

Unsolicited offers will not just come for your ceremony and reception but may arise throughout the planning process too. Fortunately, those are easier to handle. During this time, you can include the individual(s) in different yet equally meaningful ways making it seem as if you are not being dismissive. For example, if your mom is determined for you to wear her veil and your heart is set on a birdcage, invite her to help you choose just the right one and offer to sew a piece of the veil inside your gown or to use it as a wrap around your bouquet.

All intentions are good when those who love you offer a lending hand as difficult as that may periodically be to keep in mind. However, it is the one day that all attention is on you and your future husband. Therefore, while always doing so kindly and with consideration, you should not feel guilty for ensuring that what you envisioned is exactly what materializes.

Let’s Break the Rules

Certain things in life have rules and expectations that must be adhered to but others that, while are assumed, definitely are not required to be followed. There are long-standing wedding customs with important meanings behind them and some that were simply started and have been incorporated as time has gone on. It is a personal decision whether or not you choose to integrate any or all into your ceremony and here are just a few of them….

The Seating Chart: It’s not necessary to assign a place for every guest to sit at your venue and is perfectly acceptable to allow each to select their own upon arrival. No one needs to sit on one side or the other based on which part of the family they are associated with. The same goes for your reception space as, not only does not worrying about it ease your stress level and save you preparation time, it allows people to meet, mingle and interact with others they may not know.

The Rehearsal Dinner: While your rehearsal isn’t a tradition you should skip so as to ensure your wedding runs smoothly, the subsequent dinner is one you can. Any way to save money is a positive thing and two fancy dinners in a row are not necessary so long as that is clarified early on. One option is to invite those in your wedding party to eat while specifying you are not hosting (hence not funding) it. Another is gathering after your practice to simply give thank you notes or small tokens of appreciation.

The First Dance: Every wedding you’ve been to probably included a first dance with the couple, whether rehearsed or simply to a chosen song but that is not necessary either. After all, your guests have already witnessed the special commitment between your husband and yourself during your ceremony. Therefore, why not skip everyone watch you share more intimate time together before the festivities begin and let the first dance be one for everyone?

The Dress: The term “blushing bride” has a new meaning in the sense that it’s no longer necessary for you to wear a stark white dress. Shades of ivory, pale pink or beige are unique without being over the top and completely acceptable. If you want to go bolder, it’s perfectly fine as well. The tradition of wearing white began with Queen Victoria so it goes without saying that it’s one that can be discarded in this day and age.

It is your day, after all, and you should have it your way. Not only breaking these traditions but any of many others will make it special and memorable for yourself and your guests but likely inspire and open the minds of any friends who get married in the future.