Category Archives: reception

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.

 

Of Course I Hue

Colors are one of the most exciting decisions when planning your wedding as they typically draw everything together. Your first inclination may be bits of everything so as to create a bright, cheerful and vibrant atmosphere. If you opt to streamline things while maintaining variety, a couple of complementary colors are popular to avoid appearing bland or stale. Consider choosing a single color however (which doesn’t mean just that) as there is beauty in simplicity and keeps the focus on you.

Favorite colors are usually labeled as red, yellow or green rather than cobalt, lilac etc. Each have so many variations which make the mundane magnificent and allow you to completely transform yours by using different shades.

If you select a homogeneous theme, everything can elegantly be drawn together in a subtle way that doesn’t take the spotlight off you. Perhaps you’re obsessed with all things pink for example. That doesn’t mean your floral arrangements, bridesmaids dresses, bouquet and everything at the reception etc. must look like Pepto-Bismol.

Your bouquet can be a combination of Flamingo, Pastel and Rose while your wedding party wears a mixture of Cherry Blossom, Raspberry, Blush and Carnation. The same goes for any color as there are so many different tones of each that may never even cross your mind but can easily be found.

Often times, an individual color will simplify your decisions (therefore reducing your stress level) but also create a unique and different atmosphere as well as be another way to decrease your overall costs.

Don’t Kid Me

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Children can be an issue at weddings and receptions, therefore some brides choose to request they not be present. However, if there are children involved either together or on either side from a prior relationship, they are obviously an exception and will most likely play a part in your ceremony in a special and meaningful way. Depending on age, there are many ways to do just that.

If young, the most obvious option is to have your daughter be the flower girl or son the ring bearer. If older, you could include them as part of the wedding party as a bridesmaid/maid of honor or groomsman/best man.

Another choice is inclusion by having them stand at the altar, verbally acknowledging their importance in front of your guests or being given a ring to seal your commitment as that indicates you’re not only making a pledge to your husband but to a family that he/she plays a part in making happen.

It goes without saying that brides are customarily accompanied by their father when walking down the aisle. If you’d rather, an option would be to be escorted by your child. Of course, this would be a conversation that would need to be had with your family (especially your father) so as no one feels less important or uncomfortable. While your family innately knows their importance and value in your life, sometimes children need to be reminded and that is another way to do just that.

It is imperative that everyone at your wedding feels appreciated and included and more than anyone else, your children. Despite the number of ways to incorporate them into your day, it is important for them to feel their importance as well as grasp that they are integral in your future.

Can We Make an Arrangement?

Flowers are an important part of every wedding as they are noticed by all of your guests, add a special element to your ceremony/reception and are both complimentary and indicative of your style and personality. Just as many elements of wedding planning are, florists are something you wouldn’t think you’d need to spend a lot of time on but, in actuality, much forethought should go in to your decision.

First and foremost, you need to determine your budget, taking into consideration the number of people in your wedding party, whether or not you want pew decorations, how many centerpieces will be needed at your reception, the venue etc. It goes without saying that the fewer people you have, the more you can feasibly spend without exceeding the allotted amount.

The best way to get suggestions and recommendations is from friends or relatives who have used someone they liked, were accommodating and satisfied with especially if you attended their weddings and were impressed by the arrangements you saw. They can often give you information in terms of cost, flexibility and willingness to both understand your vision and make it come true.

Shopping around and seeing prior arrangements is also important. Some florists have easier access (which may cost less) to what you may want as well as creative ideas about how everything should come together in a cohesive way. You want to find one for whom your special day is not just a job but makes you feel like a priority and who will ensure everything is both perfect and you’re completely satisfied.

It is imperative to know what will happen if the flowers you choose are unexpectedly unavailable on the date you have chosen. There may be comparable substitutions in terms of color, size and number but you need to establish some guidelines as to what is acceptable. For example, if your heart was set on peonies, carnations surely wouldn’t be an adequate replacement.

Don’t be afraid to ask for photos/videos of prior arrangements and it’s wise to take images of your vision to the meetings. That is a great and reassuring way to know the ability of whoever you choose to handle your big day and will allow you to cross one more worry off your list.

It’s not necessary to feel guilty for not choosing someone with whom you have met and could have liked very much. After all, it is your decision and many factors go in to who you select. Keep in mind that you need to start looking several months before your wedding date so that all flowers (hopefully) can be obtained and the florist can be prepared to set aside the time to cater to you without having several weddings to make arrangements for at the same time.

Let’s Make Some Music

Music has often been described as universal and in many ways is just that. It brings people together, creates enjoyment and is often a topic of conversation that can be discussed with almost anyone as not everyone at your wedding is going to know one another. The music you select for your day in terms of the ceremony will, most likely, be different than anything you’d want to hear on the radio or purchase on iTunes. Songs for the reception obviously are a much different story but there are things to keep in mind in reference to both.

As for your ceremony, the music is usually broken down into several different segments:  the prelude (what is played as people gather and get seated), what you want people to hear when your family is seated, the processional (a selection for the time when your fiancé and bridal party take their places and, most importantly, the entrance and exit songs. It is acceptable for the entrance and exit songs to be the same as they will just be played at different speeds. Before you choose any of those, however, it is wise to decide on what type of musician(s) you want so as to ensure they are able to play and are familiar with your picks.

You certainly are not obligated to choose the “traditional” music such as “Canon in D” or “Clair de Lune” as many songs that you hear on the radio, for example, can be beautifully transformed in a way that isn’t cheesy or contradictory with the tone of your ceremony.

As for your reception, maybe you have specific songs and opt to make a playlist or perhaps you just prefer a certain tone and the individual songs are not of importance. You need to decide whether you want a band or DJ, both of which have pros and cons. Depending on the tone you want and your budget (as typically they are pricier), bands create a more intimate ambiance and a professional one can play most songs that you find important (or at least are willing to learn them).

DJs are often used when you want more vibrancy and energy and the doubt that something can’t be played is eliminated as they can find absolutely anything. However, it may be difficult for them to change the speed and tempo of music in order to adjust to/accommodate how people are dancing.

Regardless of what type of musician (whether a pianist, violinist, band, DJ or anything else), the wise thing to do is have a run through prior to the day of your ceremony. If that’s not an option or you choose not to, you should at least get either a CD or video of past performances so you are aware of what is in store and will not be let down or look back with regrets.

I’ll Shoe You

While many of the decisions that must be made for your wedding day seem monotonous and perhaps meaningless, one that can be fun and show an interesting side of you that some of your guests may not know are with your shoes. There are many ways to go about choosing which ones you will wear and the meaning behind them but they are, again, something that most people don’t even give much consideration to so here are some thoughts to contemplate…

First and foremost, you need to wear a pair that are comfortable as, unless you change them for the reception, they will be on your feet (as will you) for hours. If you always wear flip-flops and never heels, for example, you need to give pause to how high of a heel, how much of a strap etc. you can tolerate. Spend some time in them prior to your ceremony, whether it be just walking around or dancing so you can break them in and get accustomed to them.

If you plan to wear “traditional” wedding shoes as opposed to cowboy boots, something in a bright color or anything else that showcases your personality, do not select them until you’ve chosen your dress. Dresses come in all shades of white and, while your shoes can be dyed to match your dress, it is much more impractical and expensive (if not impossible) to dye your dress to match your shoes.

Additionally, think about the length of your gown and your venue. If your dress is long enough, your footwear will most likely not even show and you could easily get away with wearing flats or something both more comfortable and practical. If the floor as you walk up and then back down the aisle is carpeted, wooden or if you choose to have a runner, that comes into play as well due to the impact it will have on how easily you can walk (as you certainly wouldn’t want to slip or fall down).

It is prudent to take your shoes to your dress fitting so, if necessary, your gown can be adjusted in accordance with the style you have chosen. If you are intent on wearing flip-flops, for example, your gown may need to be lengthened and if you want to wear “statement” shoes, it may need to be made shorter.

A really fun and special thing to do is to personalize your shoes no matter the style you select or whether they will even be seen or not. Every type can be monogrammed on the side, have something written on the bottom or in countless other ways. While certainly not the most pressing thing when it comes to decisions for your wedding, your feet should definitely be taken into consideration and what is on your feet can be a very fun thing to explore your options in reference to.

Avoiding Snaf(who)s

When planning a wedding, you will spend countless hours, months and sometimes years making sure that every detail is covered and everything is as perfect as it can possibly be. While the focus is certainly on you and your soon-to-be husband, it is important that your guests have an enjoyable time as well and that their feelings, expectations and desires are taken into consideration too. Inevitably, there will be some snafus but there are things you can avoid and do so in tasteful and thoughtful ways.

Chances are that many people at your wedding will not know one another as they come from both you and your fiancé and, most likely, haven’t met. As most strangers don’t tend to intermingle, if you are going to have an extended period of time between your wedding and reception, it is imperative (not to mention appropriate) to have some sort of diversion/entertainment for your guests. Plan for appetizers and cocktails to be available, rent a photo booth, have some games set up or anything else to keep your guests occupied so they don’t even notice the lapse in time.

Taste your food beforehand and give it some thought as two of the biggest gripes about weddings are that the food is either inconsistent in quality or that there are things that some of your guests, whether due to allergies, dietary restrictions or simple dislike, cannot eat. Choose a company that is reputable and is known for the first chicken breast, for example, tasting the same as the hundredth. Also, it is very important to make sure that you ensure an ample amount so that no one leaves feeling hungry.

Specify just who is invited on your invitations so you are not caught off guard and the location is not crowded to the point of being uncomfortable. It is prudent to either add specific names or include a check box for “plus ones” if they are welcome. Additionally, doing so can easily and tastefully avoid any issues if you choose to have a wedding in which children are not invited. All of these will help you to avoid unexpected guests as well as irritation, discomfort and a calamity of other errors.

At your reception, obviously, you choose those most important to you to give the toasts. Keep in mind a couple of things however. First, do exactly that. You don’t need to ask each relative, friend or everyone you’ve ever known to say something. Also, remember that many people who do so make references to times and events that a vast number of your guests will both have no knowledge of and/or in which they find no significance. The only thing worse than hearing about things you are not interested in is hearing about them for a prolonged period of time. Let your toastees know prior to the reception to keep it short and sweet. Have them choose a few important moments and express their wishes for you in a concise manner. That way, everyone can enjoy the speeches and memories and then the party can go on.

Respect your guests enough to spend some time considering the date you choose so it can both be special to you and not interruptive to them. There are many dates that you might not even think would be intrusive but often are such as any time around holidays as, for example, invitees from out-of-town may be less inclined to attend because they are accustomed to spending those times with their families. Days such as Friday where people either have to take off work (such as your wedding party) or attend after a long day are also not the best idea. Of course, perhaps there is a particular day that means so much to you that you insist on it and those who either can or choose to attend do and those who are not available for whatever reason don’t. The most important thing (if you are not set on a particular day) is to check the availability of those who are most meaningful to you and whose presence you want the most.

These are just a few of the things you should consider that, while may add additional time and effort into the planning process, will certainly make things easier as well as be worthwhile for both you and your guests in the end.