Friday, July 3, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - The Language of Flowers

Flowers have been a part of wedding celebrations for as long as we have recorded history.  Early Greek and Roman brides wore garlands of fresh herbs or ivy in their hair as a talisman against evil spirits.  They also symbolized fertility and wishes for good fortune to shine on the new couple.

No one is quite sure when garlands evolved into hand held bouquets but from time immemorial flowers have been an integral part of the wedding decor.  Favorite flowers change over the years but over time, certain flowers have assumed a coded identity.  In Victorian times (mid to late 1800s) flowers held messages for those who knew the "code".  If you'd like your wedding flowers to convey a message, here are some of the meanings attached to common wedding flower choices.

Baby's Breath - innocence and purity
Calla Lily - magnificent beauty
Carnation - Devotion, women's love (pink), pure love (white)
Daffodil - Regard/respect
Daisy - Loyal Love
Fern - Magic, fascination
Forget-me-not - True Love
Gardenia - Secret Love
Iris - Passion
Ivy - Wedded Love
Lily of the Valley - Happiness
Orange Blossoms - Eternal love
Orchid -Love and beauty
Peony - Happy Marriage
Rose - Love, beauty, passion and joy

Note:  If you wish to know more about flowers and what they symbolize, check out this web site for
victorianbazaar.com and once in click on flowers.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - Invitations for the Frugal Bride

You are planning a beautiful wedding on a budget that you definitely plan to stick to.  You are looking for areas where you can save money but have heard expensive stories about all the things you'll need to print.  As with all areas of your wedding there are varying prices depending on how much you want to spend.

Here are some workable and valuable tips to consider before you place your printing order.  You can spend big or you can spend modestly.  It depends on your budget and your tastes.  Certainly it is true that the invitation sets the tone for the wedding to follow.  It can indicate degree of formality to expect.

However, there are ways to save money without sacrificing quality.  Here are a few tips that our consultants have gathered.

·         Know that pricing for invitations is usually a la carte.  You'll pay a base price for invitations and envelopes and virtually everything else costs extra.

  • ·         Whatever paper style you select, plan to buy for the number of households, not the number of guests.  Most of your guests are likely to be couples so you'll need one invitation per address.  Make that your base order and then order extras in multiples of 25 or 50.

  • ·         When you place your order, round up to the next lot size.  Usually invitations are sold in lots of 25, 50 or 100 and larger lots are generally less expensive than smaller groups.  So if you need 130 invitations, order 150.

  • ·         Plan to order extra envelopes to cover any mistakes in addressing.  They are not "thrown in".  Your order will include the exact number of envelopes as invitations, so order an extra pack of 25.

  • ·         If money is tight, skip foil lined envelopes.  They look nice but unless you MUST have them, omit.

  • ·         Really look hard and the number of inserts you are ordering.  Unless yours is a very formal wedding (which requires the full complement of inserts),you can get by without some of them.
    * Skip the reception card - especially if your ceremony and reception are in the same place.  A nice corner copy will do just fine.
    * You may wish to give guests alternative RSVP options.  Rather than print up separate cards, return envelopes (with postage affixed) print a simple card that suggests a RSVP to your wedding website.  If that doesn't feel right to you, use a postcard for RSVP.  They don't require an envelope and postage is less.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - BouquetAlternatives

Perhaps you have decided that a bouquet of fresh flowers is not your choice to carry in the processional. Not to worry - there are many other options that may work for you.

If you or your groom have flower triggered allergies, consider silk/artificial floral arrangements.  They can be just as lovely as real flowers and won't leave you red eyed and sniffling.  If your talents don't run to assembling bouquets yourself, you can order them through many craft stores.  Or you can abandon flowers all together and consider carrying a bouquet of feathers which are gorgeous and unusual, or carry strands of crystals, or origami birds.

If you have a special passion for poetry, use that as a theme for your "bouquet" of rolled parchments bearing lines from some of your favorite poems written in ink that matches your color scheme.  You might also carry that poetry theme into decorations for the reception.

Or, you could bypass bouquets altogether and carry a fan, a special bible, a small parasol, a rosary or a small clutch handbag.  If you are planning on a unity candle in the ceremony, carry a lit candle down the aisle instead of a bouquet and light the unity candle early in the ceremony or place your candle on the altar.
Check your ethnic background for other wedding traditions that you may like to utilize.  For example, Irish customs call for the bride to carry a horseshoe for good luck (with the open end up so the luck doesn't run out).

You've seen or maybe received an edible bouquet. Consider a lollipop arrangement in the colors of your wedding.

There is a vendor that will make fabric roses out of vintage fabrics, scarves, even neckties from someone dear to you and arrange them in a lovely bouquet.

Of course, you could elect to carry nothing at all.   It is your choice.

Monday, May 11, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - Let Them Eat Cake or Pie or?

At one time choosing a wedding cake was easy.  You figured many quests were expected, you went to your neighborhood baker, you picked white or chocolate layer (s) and gave the baker the address for delivery and a deposit.  Done.

Today's couples are busily going to cake tastings, bringing swatches of material to determine the color of the frosting, debating between marzipan and cream frosting, debating about size and shape and then repeating the process for the groom's cake.  It doesn't have to be this way.

Here are some cake ordering tips that can save you money.

  • ·         Unless you really want one, don't order a multi tiered cake.  Instead, order several round single layer cakes.  Place one of them on a tall cake stand and surround it with the other round layers on varying heights.  It provides visual interest for the desert table and costs far less.
  • ·         If you wish to have a tiered wedding cake, order a smaller version and have sheet cakes available for serving to guests.  It will taste exactly the same but cost much less since the time invested in frosting/decorating the sheet cakes is far less.
  • ·         Order one show cake that you can feature in the photo of the cake cutting, but have your baker or caterer, make enough smaller cakes to be the centerpieces at guest tables.
  • ·         Order enough cake for 3/4th of your planned guest count.  Some people will leave before the cake is cut and others just don't want desert.
  • ·         Let your cake cutters know that you want 2" slices cut rather than giant hunks of cake.  It is a substantial dessert portion and much more in line with people's view of dessert.
  • ·         One bride we know chose to serve plates of cookies and biscotti to each table prior to cake cutting.  It gave her and her groom a chance to greet all of the guests and thank them for coming.  Cookies cost less than cake and many people prefer that to cake.  She ordered only a small "show" cake for the photo.
  • ·         You don't NEED to have a cake table.  Many brides are opting for a dessert table with a variety of offerings.  You can have an ice cream station, pies, cupcakes, cheese cake or even a fountain of chocolate for dipping fruit or pretzels.

Monday, May 4, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - The Seating Chart

There are plenty of areas that require input from MOM when planning a wedding reception.  Who to seat where and with whom at the reception can be a difficult PR challenge.  But a diplomatic and tuned in mother of the bride can be a huge help.

When working with the caterer or venue manager, they will need to know not only how many guests will be in attendance, but they will need to know how the bride would like the room set up.  Will there be a head table for the bridal party?  Will it include the parents?  Will there be separate head tables for the bride's family and one for the groom's family?  Will you number the tables or name them?  Who will sit where?  Is it a big deal for some guests and not an issue for others?

The best advice?  Agree on room set up with the caterer and then reconstruct that layout on paper and practice placing guests on various configurations.  You may have agreed upon long rectangular tables but think that 8 or 10 person rounds will work better.  Work closely with the room manager to insure the maximum best use of the facility.

Find out from the groom's parents about any special seating needs or issues as you help your daughter prepare the seating charts.  And keep these basics in mind as the chart is worked.

1.  Don't seat divorced or divorcing couples together.
2.  Don't seat a divorced person with a table of happy couples.
3.  Don't seat guests who haven't spoken to one another for decades at the same table.
4.  Don't seat heavy drinkers right next to the bar.
5.  Don't seat elderly relatives in hard to reach seats.
6.  If you have guests who love to dance, seat them close to the dance floor.
7.   If you have relatives that don't get along, avoid placing them at the same table.
8.  Unless you have planned a special children only reception to coincide with the adult reception, always seat children with their parents and not at a kid's only table.
9.  Be alert to potential problems if you have numbered tables for honored guests.  Some people are highly sensitive to slights - like being assigned a seat at a lower numbered table.  Avoid this by naming tables like - Love, Peace, Joy, Heaven etc.
10.  Be flexible enough to do some last minute juggling of places if you see a problem developing.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - The Caterer

Once the groom is chosen many brides-to-be consider the selection of the reception site the next most important decision to be made.  This is the person that will create a memorable party for your celebration.  The service they deliver, the food they prepare and the flair with which it is served will make a lasting impression on your guests.  So pick a good one by doing your research.

Some hints that make a difference:
  • ·         Always go for a meet and greet with the caterer or banquet manager you are considering.
  • ·         Book them early.  The best ones are usually widely recommended and sought after.  Consider a year in advance if you have that much time.
  • ·         Always ask for their professional credentials.  You'll want someone who is state certified and is a member of a professional organization.
  • ·         Ask for proof of liability insurance.  Without it, you could be sued for guest's food poisoning.  It has happened.
  • ·         If the vendor you are considering is relatively new, ask for references - and check them.
  • ·         Check if you are required to use one of their "package receptions" or can you design your own.
  • ·         Check on the availability of rental items - chairs, linens, dishes etc.  Can you bring in your own resource or are you committed to their facility.
  • ·         Check on the number of events that may be booked at the same time as yours.  Can the facility handle that traffic load?  How's the parking?  Are there enough bathrooms?
  • ·         Who will be the onsite event manager the day of the wedding?
  • ·         If you have decided on a vendor, make sure you have a solid contract with that person.  It should cover all of the items related to the event that you have discussed.
If the parents of the bride are likely to be held up with post ceremony photographs, they should arrange for a couple to be the official host and hostess of the reception.   This couple should arrive at the facility well before the wedding party and liaison with the caterer.  They should review the terms of the contract and make sure that everything is in place prior to the start of the reception.  Be sure that the
caterer knows the official status of this couple."

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - Mom and the Guest List

Sound scary?  It shouldn't be!  As the mother-of-the-bride remember the one most important rule that describes your role in your daughter's upcoming nuptials.  The most important job you have is to make things easier for the bride. Establishing the guest list is a critical part of wedding planning and being there to help your daughter plan THE list should make things easier for her.

Once the wedding budget has been established and the maximum number of guest that it can support determined, your role in helping her plan the guest list means walking a fine line between the "musts" and the "shoulds".  Your daughter will be well aware of that distinction since she has a guest list of her own in mind.  And then there is the groom's family wishes to consider.  Your advice can make it easier.  Here are some options.

Once the budgeted number of guests has been determined, it can be as simple (and fair) as dividing the total by 3.  If your daughter is planning on (budgeting for) 150 guests, her family gets 50, the groom’s family gets 50 and the bride and groom get 50 together.

As the bride's mother, you can propose your guest list.  In fact, make two lists - one for the "musts" and one for the "shoulds".  The "must list" includes grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and other of your closest relatives.  The "shoulds" list would include the names of those friends you'd love to include if you could.  Suggest that the groom's family and the couple do the same.  Once the three separate lists are merged, you can see where adjustments must be made.

If the first cut at the guest list exceeds the budgeted number, something has to give.  Either the budget grows or the guest list is cut.  Managing the guest list seems like the best solution.  If it's the bride's family list that is over the count, many brides choose to make the cut at lst cousins.  All extended family members just can't be asked to attend.  It becomes mom's job to explain that to relatives in her best diplomatic style.

Another option for controlling the list would be to watch out for "plus ones" - allowing single wedding guests to bring dates to the wedding.  Etiquette books generally state that only married and/or engaged couples be allowed to bring their partners.  But sometimes real life gets in the way.

The bottom line - the bride's input on the list should be the most important.  After offering your input, the bride should have the final decision.  Your role is not to dominate the guest list.  Be as supportive as you can of her final decisions.