Category: Wedding Planning
Photo Cred: 100 Layer Cake: Backyard summer engagement party
While your pocket book may groan at the thought, there is a lot more to the wedding day than just the wedding day. This offers couples, families, and friends a lot of different opportunities to celebrate your new marriage in a variety of ways. Plus, who is going to turn down a time to celebrate and have fun?
Pre-Wedding Events and Celebrations
Here we have some guidelines and tips for the top three pre-wedding celebrations.
- An Engagement party: These can be as big scale or as low key as you want it. Traditionally, these are hosted by the bride’s parents, but are often hosted by both sets of parents or even the bride and groom themselves. If you are hosting the engagement party, be aware that you are footing the bill or are responsible for figuring out how it is being funded. This should happen within the first few months of the engagement so as to avoid clashing with other events and to really monopolize on the new excitement of the engagement. Keep in mind (and keep track) that who you invite to the engagement party is expected to be invited to the wedding. Although, with impromptu and casual parties hosted by friends this rule isn’t as thickly tied.
- The Bridal Shower: Also known as the wedding shower, the bridal shower is traditionally hosted by the maid of honor. So, if you are the maid of honor, go ahead and write that down on your list of duties, but you may want to contact the bride’s mother (and the bride) and let them know you plan on hosting the shower. If you are invited to a bridal shower, be sure to bring a gift. The bridal/wedding shower is one of the prime times to help the new couple set up their life together. No, you don’t have to buy an expensive KitchenAid mixer, but if you want to, there will be few brides that would say no. Lingerie gifts are also common for bridal showers and often bring in some laughs, but take a pulse on the crowd (ie. have you seen that one episode of How I Met Your Mother with Lily’s bridal shower? Watch it).
- Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties: Other than the wedding day, this is TV’s most hyped up wedding celebration. Considered the last night of “single freedom,” this shin dig is typically hosted by the best man (for the groom) and the maid of honor or bridesmaids (for the bride). Whether this will be a rowdy night or not is going to be up to the bride, so respect her preferences, but don’t be afraid to have some spunky fun with it (and yes, the bride gets the final word on the bachelor parties level of “single freedom”). Plan on keeping the guest list small (under 10 is best) and if any of your party guests are not wedding guests, make sure they are clear on that. It is often seen okay to have non-wedding guests invited the the bachelor and bachelorette parties if you are trying to keep guests lists down or if the wedding is out of town. You will want to keep this party as close as you can to the date of the wedding, but is unnecessary and usually not the best idea to have it the night before the wedding. Weddings are stressful enough without a late night and a possible hangover.
Photo: The Wedding Sparkler Store, "Wedding Sparkler Bundles".
A fun trend that is easily turning into a new wedding tradition is having wedding sparklers at your wedding to send you off in style. Wedding sparklers are great because they are fun, add magic to your wedding, and are an easy way to put that exclamation point on the end of your night. They are also easy to mix with any wedding theme or style. Long-stemmed sparklers are great for elegant weddings, heart-shaped sparklers are perfect for summer love and sweetheart weddings, and the traditional sparkler will fit in anywhere!
The Tradition of the Send Off
For send offs we have seen rice, bubbles, streamers, and now sparklers. The send off, at the end of the reception, is a way for all your guests to wish you best and say goodbye. It is the last hurrah. Often it is made silly, but it is also a very sweet moment, particularly for the parents. Usually, you will stay behind in the venue, or go off to change, and your guests will gather outside and line the the way to your limo or car. As receptions have a trend of running into the night, sparklers are a great alternative to things like rice as they stand out and really make it special.
As you plan your send off, you may encounter some difficulties with your wedding venue. Many won’t allow anything that requires additional clean up or could cause damages. So, if you were thinking confetti, streamers, rice, or anything thrown, you may want yo think again. Sparklers are great because they are not going to be tossed and left on the ground. Though, you may have some venues concerned about the fact that they do actually burn. A way to handle this is to come in with a game plan and a specific way of handling the sparklers, then a venue may be willing to bend the rules. Whatever you do, be respectful. While it is your special day and you should have all the things you have dreamed of, it is their property and they don’t have to let you marry or celebrate there.
So, Why Use Sparklers?
To put it simply: 1) Sparklers are more exciting and emphasize that happy wedding day glow. 2) They work great for night time receptions and go with just about any style. 3) They are easy to clean up.
Off Beat Bride - The Unplugged Wedding by ARIEL MEADOW STALLINGS - Photo by Nora & Troy at Aurora-Photography.com
As far as wedding trends go, there are two that are highly influenced by social media and technology. In 2013, there was the surge of #hashtagweddings with cute signs inviting guests to take and link wedding photos with their smart phone. It makes sense in terms of being sure to have all of your wedding photos saved to the same place, but now in 2014 there is a new trend taking the stage: unplugged weddings.
An unplugged wedding is a wedding where the bride and groom kindly request that guests refrain from using their phones or camera’s during the wedding. The ideology behind this is that they want everyone to be completely present and to experience their wedding first hand – not through a camera screen.
#hashtagwedding versus unplugged: The ideas behind each of these weddings go head to head with an essential issue that is debated on more than one platform, asking are we too dependent on technology? Do we believe, as Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky’s dystopia claims, that the virtual is “better than real”? Or is the real, the moment, irreplaceable by the photographs and video’s we capture? As we dive into social media realizing the benefits it brings, it is important to recognize the cons and perhaps that it does not belong at the moment of your “I do’s”. With a wedding photographer, you and your wedding guest should not worry about capturing your special day on camera -let the photographer worry about that. Enjoy the moment.
How to have an unplugged wedding
- Create a cute sign (better than a hashtag) asking your guests to please turn off their phones. This is a simple way to push toward having an unplugged wedding. Guests will typically be willing to follow your wedding whims because they came to see your wedding, not Instagram it. It is just easy to end up on Instagram with your phone at your fingertips. However, just like when you go to see a movie, your guests can survive a couple hours with their phone turned off OR
- Have a phone check in (like a coat check). It will be important to create an effective system for keeping track of whose phone is whose, but this is a fun way to insure that your guests won’t be Snap chatting or updating their Facebook status as you are tearing up in your vows.
There really won’t be too much to creating an unplugged wedding. It is just a matter of deciding if it is important to you or not. After all, it is your wedding day.
Wedding Stationery Wardrobe: hand calligraphy, engraved, fold over note; two color invitation, and flat printed program with slate grey ribbon. Photo: Marjorie Maxfield.
What’s in your wedding stationery wardrobe?
Is that a gasp I hear from the bride, mother-of-the-bride and groom? Yes, everyone of the prime players in your wedding, including the father-of-the-bride, should be aware of the important role stationery plays in every wedding. Here are the basics that must be addressed, sorry about the pun, by the bride and her loved ones:
The Wedding Invitation
“The wedding invitation sets the tone for the wedding!”
Does your invitation’s design, wording, style mirror your signature style? Does it reflect what kind of event it will be?
No, you do not need to give away your color scheme, theme; however, if you are planning a traditional ceremony in a church, then that casual, destination by-the-sea look that you have always adored needs to be the theme of your first summer event as a married couple, not the invitation,
The wedding invitation typically includes: an invitation, the reply set with the replay card and envelope; a reception card, unless your ceremony and wedding ceremony are at the same place.
Other wedding enclosure cards include:
A direction/map card is convenient if the venue is off-the-beaten track or difficult to find even for an Map Quest savvy guest. Put the directions on one side and the map on the other.
Although you posted the information on your WeddingWire bridal site, it is a very nice reminder to your guests, not only the wedding party, that transportation will be provided. The wording, centered on the “reception side card” reads: “Transportation will be provided from the ceremony to the reception.”
Celebrities, rock stars, and other luminaries as well as those of us who desire a more secure wedding with no unintended guests, then an admissions card is for you. The wording:
Please present this card at
St. Patrick’s Cathedral,
Saturday, the twenty-second of June
For your honored guests who you want to seat in a special section of the church, then the Pew Card is your ticket! The wording,
Please present this card at
St. Patrick’s Cathedral,
Saturday, the twenty-second of June.
Within the Ribbon Card
This was a mainstay in mid-century weddings to designate that there will be a “within the ribbon” section of the church for the close members of the family. At the church, white or creme ribbons are draped on the center aisle pews, to tell all guests these seats are reserved for the immediate family.
Within the Ribbon Card
Brides Reserved Section (Write name(s) in black ink)
Groom’s Reserved Section (Write name(s) in black ink)
Bride’s Personal Wedding Stationery
Thank you, thank you! The bride has a duty to write a thank you note for every give, gesture of love that is given to her! No exceptions. So, she needs pre-wedding notes with her maiden name; and after-the-ceremony bridal notes with her married name. Note here, if you are not married in a civil or church ceremony you cannot use you married name or initials! This means on the wedding invitation, program or bridal notes!
I would suggest a fold over note. The most popular, i.e.. expected by the majority of your guests, has the initials, monogram of the bride (married name here). I might nudge you toward an engraved note. Why? It makes a big impression, tells a lot about you and practically, you can, later, use your monogram die in a color ink.
I see blind embossed monograms (no ink used) as the premier note. Recently, I had a bride who had her initials designed by a nationally-renowned calligrapher, Christopher Watkins. See the sample above in a bronze. What she chose was even more awesome: the calligraphy was blind embossed!
If you prefer a more low key note, then flat print or use thermography, with your name or initials in black.
Mother-of-the-Bride, Father-of-the-Bride and Groom Thank You Notes
You bet, each one of these key players have thank you notes to write to friends, family, clergy as well as those who were gracious enough to give to their time and talent to your wedding day. Your Mother needs a fold over note; the gentlemen, a correspondence note with their full name at the top.
With most business interacting online and selling their products online, it gives the consumer the opportunity to share their experiences more easily. In fact, shoppers will most often find a forum specifically designed for consumer reviews and if not, then they may be able to respond on the companies Facebook or other business profiles. As a soon-to-be, you are going to want to have the best quality and the best service, so you will most likely be searching through the various comments on vendor websites and profiles to see what passed customers think. This is great, but let’s be honest, sometimes it is very hard to judge how accurate the reviews are, especially when they seem to contradicting. Take a gander at these tips on how to judge accuracy and interpret the reality behind the review.
- Take a Step Back: This goes for both negative and positive reviews, and what we mean by this is to read reviews critically and don’t just soak up what someone says online as the absolute truth. Reviews online are very easy to do and can be done without any sort of filter. This means that yes, reviewers can speak their mind, but also that there is not any accountability or filter.
- If there is a star system and a comment box, look at both: An easy mistake when there is a star system available is to use that as your only gauge, but I cannot even count how many times a comment contradicts how many stars are given. This will happen when there is an auto or default setting, so if a reviewer forgets to set a star level, they may be leaving a positive review with no stars or a negative review with five stars.
- Read the Positive and the Negative: This is important when buying just about anything. If you only read the pros, you may miss some cons that may make or break the purchase for you.
- What is not important to one person, may be important to you. For example, if your mother is a die hard cheesy sci fi fan and she gives a review to a movie saying the fight scenes were epic and the evil monsters look so real, you may want to be wary that the main actress will scream just a few seconds too late and that the zombies make up is smeared half way through the film.
- Does this reviewer have a name? This goes along with the first tip. If the reviewer is anonymous, it may be that they just forgot to or didn’t see the point in filling out who they were, but it could also mean the person wanted to say something nasty without being caught OR that the business owner wants to fluff their reviews. Both happen, but not always.
- Keep in Mind the Client. Who do wedding vendors sell to? Stressed out brides or people feeling the effects of being so closely related to stressed out brides. With this, there may be some overreaction and perhaps a few dramatic claims that the customer service was completely awful. So keep in mind, that the customer service could be perfectly adequate, but was unable to provide the bride with the exact shade of purple that she was looking for.
Couples of all ages are tying the knot and using cash gift registries as a way to kick-start their lives together. For many, this means help with a lot of firsts: first home, first car or first baby. As an older couple, you may have already gone through many of these events, but there are still tons of ways in which you and your loved ones can celebrate your new life together. Read on for a few tips:
1. Register For Experiences
These never get boring regardless of how many you’ve had, and the options are endless! Why not register for an unforgettable honeymoon to Hawaii, as Hope and Roger did? Or sign up for tennis and dance lessons? Each wonderful experience you have as a couple adds to a lifetime of priceless memories.
2. Register for Home Improvement
Even if you already have a home, that doesn’t mean that there’s no opportunity to make some much wanted adjustments. Some couples may want to replace time-worn kitchen equipment with the newest versions, or add a few rooms to their home. Steve and Mel used their wedding registry as a way to fix up their future home in France. Cool stuff, huh?
3. Register to Bring in the Family
A wedding isn’t just a union of two people; it’s a union of two families. This holds especially true for older couples with children of their own. So why not use a registry to make merging into one big happy family as seamless as possible? One idea may be a trip to Disney World with all of your loved ones, both new and old. Another may be to add a swimming pool or play room for all of the kids to congregate in. Take a look at Abdi and Laura’s registry for some ideas.
4. Register For Charity
As you get older, material things may not seem nearly as important. Experiences with loved ones may take precedence but so can giving back to a cause that you’ve always cared about. Having family and friends donate to a charity or organization of choice can add that much more meaning to the start of this new chapter in your life. Check out Rayna and Eli’s contributions toward American Jewish World Service as an example.
You’re starting a new life together; why not start a new commitment? A new commitment to go green. Living an eco-friendly lifestyle is one of the best things you can do as a new couple. So, get a head start planning your eco-friendly wedding now! Below are tips on how to go green for your wedding reception:
1. Food and Catering
The food and catering for your wedding reception is a great way to incorporate eco-friendly elements. Buying local food and beverages can help in reducing the amount of transportation needed for your big day. When you go to buy your local food, choose organic products. They aren’t as wasteful and they taste better! You can also donate any excess food and drinks instead of just letting it go to waste.
Flowers are normally a big part of wedding receptions. Many flowers imported into the U.S. are normally sprayed with pesticides and fungicides, and who wants that at your reception? Local and organic flowers are not sprayed with these chemicals and also reduce transportation needs. Also, you can buy seasonal flowers which are often less costly and also helps in fuel use.
3. Waste Cans
With all the food and beverages being served at your wedding reception, you can expect a lot of trash to accumulate. This is a great opportunity to include eco-friendly ways. Set out recycling trash cans that are for certain things. For example, you could have containers for paper, plastic, bottles, can and whatever else you can think of.
There are some simple ways to incorporate various eco-friendly products into your decorations at the reception. For example, use soy candles. They don’t release toxins into the air that all of your loved ones are breathing. Another thing you can do is use tablecloths made of organic and recycled fabrics.
Wedding favors given out at the reception can be very costly. Also, a lot of times they are just gifts that are going to be tossed in the trash, which is not good for the environment. Some alternatives are edible gifts or potted plants. Not only are these types of favors better for the environment, but they have less of a chance of getting tossed in the trash.
As you can see, going green for your wedding reception really isn’t as hard as you might think! All of these are simple and easy things you can do to help incorporate eco-friendly elements into your big day.
These days people are getting so creative with their approach to registering. They’ve realized that it’s an amazing opportunity to truly share their story with friends and family and let them be part of making a dream come true. For many, this dream is about starting a family. To them, the best gift would be helping them with their goal in becoming parents, so that is what they register for!
Because the costs of IVF, adoption or other methods are very high, a great idea to raise funds in order to start a family is through a registry. When you’re making your registry, think of all the necessities you will need to pay for in the process of becoming a parent, such as medical or donor services. Also, an in depth “About Us” page detailing what your plans are can help your friends and family know what you are trying to achieve.
Your family and friends can make gifts to cover some (or all) of these costs and help make your family expansion a reality. An invaluable way to keep those people close to you connected with your journey in life can be to thank them by sending updates on the progress to becoming parents and then showing them your child’s growth once they are in your life.
To get an idea of how it can be done, take a look at Jonas and Suzy’s registry or Lesley and Michelle’s registry for some great setup ideas. For example, both registries make good use of their “Welcome” and “About us” pages, writing a few paragraphs about themselves. Within both registry pages, the more expensive gifts are separated into less expensive parts so that more people can help chip in. Be sure to explain each item requested in the description box in order for people to know how that gift will be used — sometimes the IVF or adoption process can be confusing. This is a great way to help people understand all that the process requires. The “Guest Book” page is a nice way of letting your friends and family leave messages of support to you.
Congrats on your wedding and good luck on your journey to parenthood!
Wedding bells. Flower petals. Dancing lights. Stars. Romance. All in one day is a whirl wind of fun, affection, and sharply focused enthusiasm. After that day, and even after the honeymoon, you will be settling into life again, but this time with a partner in crime! So, because wedding planning doesn’t seem to stop at “I do”, here is a quick checklist to help new couples gain there footing in post-wedding chaos and changes.
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Kim and Matt had a fantastic destination wedding in Key Largo. Their ceremony was at the San Pedro Catholic Church and their reception at the Marriott Resort, right on the water. The weather was typical Florida Keys perfect, the bride radiant as a Florida sunset. See below for more photos from this event.
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