Monday, February 8, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - Wedding Do's and Don'ts

Let your guiding principle be this - "As with any wedding, it's not just about you, it is also about your guests."  Brides who keep their guests top of mind as they make decisions about their wedding plans, end up with more memorable moments than do the brides who look at guests as people lucky enough to be included in the event.    With guests in mind,

Don't plan a difficult destination wedding.  Granted you want your day to be memorable both for yourself and your mate but also for those in attendance.  If you really want to be married on top of a ski slope in the hut where you first met, accept the fact that most folks will not be able or willing to make the trip.  If that's your dream - do it, but plan a major party at another time and place for all of your family and friends to celebrate with you.

Think hard about your need to DIY.  Some brides are true seamstresses and will find joy in creating and sewing their own bridal gown, six bridesmaids’ gowns, a flower girl dress and one mother's gown.  Another bride may be capable of individually fashioning 150 handmade invitations, envelopes and enclosures.  If that's you and you can keep your sanity through it all without driving others crazy in the process, then do it.  If you can save money and put your personal stamp on an aspect of the wedding, that's great.  But if you aren't, don't get stuck with a glue gun at 3 AM putting rhinestones on ribbons for the centerpieces.  Do only what you can and borrow or rent the rest.

 Do practice self care.  Do whatever helps you unwind and relax.  If you dwell on wedding plans to the exclusion of a life, you are doing no one a favor.  When you feel the tension building, be aware and stop and take a breath.  Remember you have a finance and that you are planning a life together.  Your relationship doesn't stop because you are busy planning YOUR wedding.

Do stick to your budget.  It may be tempting to fudge here and there but unless you have built in some wiggle room in the wedding finances, don't go overboard.  Remember that you can negotiate with vendors, or hire a wedding planner to be sure you stay within your budget.

Do be grateful for all the good wishes, gifts and offers to help.  Say thank you and mean it.  You are feeling loved so share it.  You'll feel better and so will the recipient.

Monday, February 1, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - Top Wedding Don'ts

In this era of "doing your own thing" and "I want it my way", there are some things that no bride should ever do.  Of course you want to have a fabulous day that will stay in the minds of your guests forever.  Of course your wedding will be special and as unique as you and your groom wish, but here are some "please don’ts" to consider.

·         Don't try to be superbride.  Weddings take a lot of planning and you do not need to make every single decision about every little detail yourself.  Do not spend every waking moment to planning THE WEDDING.  Don't be afraid to ask for help.  Your mom, your best friend, your cousins - people really do want to help.  Let them.  Hire a wedding planner, often times they will save you time and money. You can contract with them to handle as much or as little as you need.

·         Don't have a cash bar.  You don't invite people to a party and then ask them to pay for beverages.  There are lots of alternatives.  Have a bartender help create a special drink for the event and serve that and only that.  Or consider a wine bar or gloved waiters circulating with trays of champagne.  Or you may have a cocktail hour only and serve wine during dinner.

·         Don't include bridal registry information on your invitations.  Yes, it is good to register for gifts.  It helps invitees and insures you receive gifts you actually want and can use.  However, it is good to remember that giving wedding gifts is not mandatory.  Your guests will want to gift you but they don't need to.  Get the info out on your web site or via word of mouth but NEVER on your invitation.

·         Don't be bossy with your bridesmaids.  Remember that in the most traditional sense your bridesmaids, especially your maid of honor, are there to act as witnesses to this solemn event.
They aren't "maids" to command.  Most brides handle these relationships with skill and grace, but we have seen brides shift from "asking" to "demanding" and it isn't pretty.  They expect their bridesmaids to shell out for expensive garments, wear their hair the way the bride insists, and attend countless showers.  Yes you give them thank you gifts but along with that, remember they have lives beyond appearing in your wedding.

·         Don't make guests wait for hours between the ceremony and the reception.  It is ideal to have a venue that handles both the ceremony and the reception, but if you can't try to avoid long delays between events.  If you have your heart set on being married in your family church but the reception you want can only be held as a special location in another town, you'll have to make arrangements for guests to go directly to the reception site and have a "cocktail hour" or "coffee bar" or alternative happening while they wait for the reception to begin.

Monday, January 18, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - The Rehearsal Dinner

The sense of relief and relaxation at the rehearsal dinner helps to make it special.  You've been to the church or ceremony venue.  You've been "on stage" and all the actors know where they are to stand and what they are to do and when they are to do it.  Your costumes are ready.  You know your lines.  The decorations are due the next day and someone will see to them.  Now it is time to relax and enjoy the good company of family and friends at your rehearsal dinner.  As one consultant terms it, "The rehearsal dinner is the perfect informal foil to the formal wedding day."
With good food and conversation, some toasts and some surprises, you can have your rehearsal dinner wherever you wish.  Traditionally it was hosted and paid for by the groom's parents, but as with many wedding related activities, traditions change.

·         The invitation list for the rehearsal dinner includes the "must haves" - the wedding party and their spouses, all parents and the officiant plus his or her spouse.  If your budget allows you may include some "maybes".  Some couples include out of town wedding guests if the numbers work.  Remember, it is about thanking those who help to make the wedding day special.

·         While they aren't required, assigned seats at the dinner are helpful.  Guests don't have to wonder where to sit and with whom, and you can assure that everyone feels welcome and relaxed.  It also insures that some guests are not left alone at a table.

Here are some budget saving ideas for that informal gathering.
·         Hold the dinner at home instead of a restaurant.
·         Serve a more relaxed menu like pasta instead of a formal meat course like the one planned for the next day at the wedding reception.
·         Serve wine and beer instead of cocktails.
·         Serve home baked desserts instead of the chef prepared goodies being served at the reception.
·         If the dinner is at a home, and the weather is nice, move it outside and think about using paper plates and plastic utensils instead of china and silver.
·         This is a perfect time to give favors to all in attendance.  They should be seen as a way of saying thank you.  Likewise with toasts.  A toast is about caring and it should be shared not just directed at the bride and groom.  A rehearsal dinner is all about saying thank you.

One other thought:  You don't have to have a rehearsal "dinner".  You can have a rehearsal brunch, or lunch or breakfast.  Organize your rehearsal day any way you wish.  If a morning rehearsal works better for the church, for you and your families and attendants, do it and follow it with a picnic lunch.

Monday, January 11, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - An Unforgettable Date

Here's an idea that guarantees that no one will ever forget your anniversary.  Plan your wedding for New Year's Eve!  Think about it!  There are plenty of pluses to consider.  Everyone you know is in the mood for a party - it is almost impossible to get through the holidays without someone or several some ones asking you about your plans for New Year's Eve.  A wedding invitation takes the pressure of planning off everyone.  Six - nine months ahead of time they know where they'll be on NYE- Celebrating with you!

Know that it is critical that you book your venue early.  It's a big party night for most restaurants, hotels etc.  Some places will require booking a year in advance.

When you plan your budget, consider upping your bar allocation.  People will drink more on NYE than they are likely to do at a June wedding.  It is after all the biggest party night of the year. 

Plan more food than you normally would.  Plan heavier appetizers for your cocktail hour.  Plan late night snacks like sliders and fries and be sure to send guests home with a small bag of treats or nibbles like doughnut holes, cookies.  Champagne is the order of the day.

It would be ideal to schedule your reception at a hotel and block a group of rooms for guests who don't want to drive home that night.  For those guests who prefer to head home, arrange for a fleet of cabs to be on call to insure your guests reach home safely.

Since NYE is the "glitzy" night, your decorations will be a no brainer.  Balloons, sparklers, hats and horns will take care of the party's shine.  Your guests are more likely to dress up for the event.  It is the one night that guests think of wearing something special.

Picking out bridesmaid's dresses will be easier - glitz, bling and shine should be the theme for each of them

Consider having a different twist on the guest book.  Add a space for guests to write New Year's resolutions or special wishes for the new couple.

It's your party, your wedding and your new life together - all reasons to really celebrate.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - Consider Brunch

If you have a dream venue for your wedding in mind but find out that it is already booked for your choice of wedding date, consider making a time adjustment and rather than a sit down dinner at 7 PM ask about availability of brunch at 11 AM.

A brunch wedding is perfect for the smaller wedding.  It usually starts at 10 or 11 AM and runs for about four hours as opposed to the typical evening wedding that can go for 6-7 hours.  

You'll pay less for food and for cocktails and if your wedding includes a plane trip to the honeymoon destination, you can easily fit it all in.

Menus are easily planned, the decor /flowers are simpler - no less elegant - just simpler.  Table linens, silver, china, can be chosen with care to reflect your color theme.  Consider the brunch buffet with waffles, custom omelettes, quiche, ham, bacon.   Instead of wedding cake have the caterer construct towers of doughnuts or mini caramel rolls.  Some brides choose French toast sticks with maple syrup.  Consider hors d'oeuvres like mini "pigs in a blanket" or toffee-dipped bacon kabobs.

It is unlikely that you will host an open bar at a brunch but you can do personalized bloody Mary bars or mimosas and champagne.

As one bride said about her brunch wedding - "it's more about the guests and a lot less pressure".  Everyone likes breakfast foods, and a daytime celebration can be very special.  For many couples, brunch is the answer.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - Guys Night Out

We are learning about some alternative ideas for the bachelor party thrown for the groom.
There are stereotyped groom's parties that we see on TV and in films, but there are alternatives that can be fun for the groom and his friends without the specter of having to claim "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas".

  • ·         Instead of bar hopping to the same old favorites, why not try an evening exploring tap rooms?
    Whole phenomenon of craft beers and their popularity offers an evening of "something new" and still fun.  Arrange for a limo to drive the group or an absolutely trusted "designated" driver.
    The best man can organize the evening of craft beer tastings, spicy nibbles topped off with a late dinner.  Check with tourist information centers in your town for possible tours that are all planned and waiting for the groom and his guests.
  • ·         Many groom's parties have been built around major league baseball, soccer or football.  But more and more we are seeing groom's parties built around their own "game" day.  A round of golf is a logical choice, but what about doing miniature golf, followed by an hour or two at batting cages, followed by bowling, brews and supper.
  • ·         Instead of heading to Vegas what about a weekend of fishing or camping closer to home?  Many areas in the country are also close to an Indian owned casino that could arrange a fun evening of dinner and blackjack or slots.
  • ·         A few brides have suggested that instead of separate bachelor and bachelorette parties, that they combine them.  Both groups can play 9 holes of golf or attend a concert or amusement park if there is one close by.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - Prepare Your Itinerary

It's hard to believe but it's finally here!  Your wedding day.   You've been knee deep in plans for what seems like months, but you've done it right.  You've kept flawless notes on all decisions you've made.  You've checked and double checked vendors, your guest count is in and all systems are go.  The one final thing you really must do is lay out your Wedding Day Itinerary.  Who is doing what, where and when?
Here are some suggestions for creating that itinerary.

  • ·         Begin with the start times you know.  You know when the ceremony is to start and you know when the reception is scheduled.  Plug those times in and work forward and backward as you fill in the schedule.
  • ·         Confirm those set up and start times with each of your vendors.
  • ·         Schedule departure and arrival times for each venue being sure to include estimated travel times.
  • ·         Schedule any pre-ceremony events like hair, makeup and photo sessions.
  • ·         If yours is a formal reception, confirm and review the timing for the formalities planned - the grand entrance, toasts, first dance, cake cutting etc. with the location manager and the music or master of ceremonies you've engaged.
  • ·         Double check with the florist on delivery and set up times you've arranged.  Make sure they have given you back up phone numbers in case of emergency.
  • ·         Make sure that every vendor has contact names and phone numbers for you, or your parents and/or the reception hosts.
  • ·         Make sure that you have contact names and phone numbers for each and every vendor servicing your wedding.  Note their appointed delivery times and places and entrust this information to your personal attendant, or wedding coordinator.
  • ·         Make sure that the photographer(s) with whom you've contracted know where they are to be and at what time.  Get their mobile phone numbers so you can maintain contact with them before and during the events.  Make sure they have a copy of the names of those people you want in family photos.  If the photographer doesn't have an assistant, ask one of your cousins or close friends to act in that capacity.
  • ·         RELAX - you've done your best.  You've covered all bases.  Enjoy your day.  It is the first day of the rest of your life together.