Sunday, April 24, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - The Invitation Package

At one time the best wedding invitations were engraved fonts in black ink on ivory or white velum.  For the adventuresome, the bride could choose paneled or plain paper stock.  Traditional, elegant, understated.  Compare that to the riot of colors, print styles, papers, trims, formats and content variables available to brides and grooms in today's invitation package.  It's amazing, it's fun, it's personal and if you let it, it's also expensive.

Collecting invitation packages has become fascinating and I thank those consultants who send me samples of some of their favorite examples.  They have been a part of the move to the new traditional for a long time advocate of paneled ivory velum with engraved script.  Keep them coming.

One of my favorites is a 5x7 bright red tri fold booklet that features the invitation centered with a wide range of print sizes and styles - an elaborate monogram of the new couple, and the right flap a folder with tri stacked information sheets on thick stock titled - Eat, Drink, Celebrate (reception information), Where to Stay (details for out of town guests and Getting There - elaborate driving instructions and maps.  Folders were inserted in matching envelopes.  Gorgeous and memorable.

I have an 8 X10 package for a wedding of a couple purchased and printed in India with red paper stock, and gold trim and ink.  Elaborate and elegant and part of my collection.

The new guidelines say "Wedding invitations are about a celebration" so why not have fun with them.  Let them show your personalities and who you are as a couple as well as the "when and where" details of your wedding.  Be creative in the shape of your invitations, the paper texture/color, ink colors, the size or how they are assembled.  Create a book with several pages, bound, including an opening page to announce your upcoming wedding, a page for the ceremony location and time, a page for the reception location and time, a page with special details and a page with a personal note from you to your guests.

You might also want to include a page with your picture as a couple and the story of how you met.  It's a great addition if many of your guests haven't had a chance to meet your groom to be.

The invitation has always been an indicator of the tone of the wedding it is announcing.  Today's bride have many more options available to help create the atmosphere they wish.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - Pleasing Others

Yes, your wedding is a happy time, a celebratory time and sometimes - a stressful time.  Managing to pick your way through a minefield of other people's opinions and feelings and ideas is going to take patience and understanding.  You want to make the people who matter to you happy with the wedding decisions.  But sometimes, issues will arise.

One such area to consider is the realm of other people's conflicts.  Every family has "issues".  Two aunts who haven't spoken in years who threaten to boycott the wedding if "the other one" is invited.   A relative who won't be in the wedding party if she doesn't like the bridesmaid dress you've selected.  A family member who doesn't like the place you've chosen for your reception.

Nearly every bride will hear rumblings of discontent regarding some aspect of her wedding plans or who is on or not on the guest list.  What to do?  Evaluate the validity of the complaint.  Can you do anything about it or is it truly "their" problem.  Most experts would caution brides against allowing themselves to be blackmailed into shaping their day around someone else's wants.  And they would caution brides about letting other people foist their issues on the bride's plate.  Recognize that others need to deal with their own conflicts no matter how much they may complain.  As one author said (Richard Carlson, Ph.D. from DON'T SWEAT PRESS) "Scratch "Make everybody happy" off your to do list."  Know that some compromise may sometimes be necessary if the person with the complaint is really close to you.  Some give and take is a wise move but know that bumps will happen.

Further good advice comes from Carlson who says "When the wedding preparations take on a life of their own and you start to wonder if it's all worth it, remember the true purpose of the festivities.  This is a celebration of your love and the union of your lives together.  And that, most certainly, is worth all of the chaos that it may bring."

Sunday, April 3, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - It's Show Time

Your wedding reception can be more than just a lovely dinner.  Give it some time and attention and you can provide your guests with an experience. Obviously your first consideration is likely to be band vs. DJ for the wedding dance, but consider all of the other "performers" you could hire for short term appearances at your cocktail hour, during dinner or even the after party.

Many couples opt to combine their desire for a live performance rather than recorded by hiring a DJ and a singer/keyboardist combo and have the best of both worlds.  Whatever you choose, make sure you see the band or DJ in action before booking.  You may want a jazz quartet, Motown music, big band sound or classical quartet.  Whatever your preference, be sure you see them perform before they surprise you at your wedding.

You can hire a strolling violinists for your cocktail hour, a jazz singer during dinner, or hire a cellist to play under a spotlight as guests enjoy dinner.  Make sure you have provided him/her with a play list of music you do want and tunes you don't.  If music is a special part of your heritage, be sure the entertainment includes those songs.  Irish tunes, Jewish music, polkas, Italian, Latin, Island/Reggae can all be memorable for you and your guests.  A team of bagpipers can pipe in the wedding party at the start of the reception.

Some couples plan to include giving their guests a show after dinner or during cocktails.  A troupe of Irish dancers,  some belly dancers who work the crowd, ballet dancers doing "Swan Lake" for the "Firebird", a team of professional salsa dancers who give lessons and inspire guests to get out and dance.  For a beach themed wedding consider a group of Hula Dancers.  Consider a gospel choir for the ceremony and/or reception.

If yours is an informal/outdoor wedding, consider hiring jugglers, face painters, acrobats and artists who would do character sketches of your guests.  Magicians, a cappella singing groups or dueling pianos can make your wedding memorable for your guests.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - Unique Gift Ideas

For those who can't bear to give traditional wedding gifts or are not enchanted with the items listed in the couple's registry, here are some gift ideas we have heard about from wedding planners and consultants.

*Give a couple's favorite wine in a special decorative wine box.  If you can, give at least three bottles with a note that wishes them to celebrate their special day.

*If the couple have arranged for cards or notes to be on all of the guest tables at the reception, give the gifts of an elegant wooden or silver or acrylic memory box for all of the notes collected.  You might have them all printed on individual card stock that will be custom fit for the memory box you've chosen.

*Give the gift of luxurious bed pillows or a set of truly elegant bed linens.

*High on the list of many brides is the hot current KitchenAid mixer in fun colors.  Add to the gift a collection of family favorite dessert recipes.

*Give sets of tickets for special dates for the couple - tickets to sporting events, movies, stage plays, concerts, or orchestral performances.

*If you are a craft person, consider creating a book of wedding memories for the couple - a wedding scrapbook.

*Create a gift basket of the couple's favorite foods and beverages and have it delivered when they return from the honeymoon.

*Give gift cards to the couple's favorite restaurants or furniture store or art gallery.
Do you have to send a gift prior to the ceremony?  Nice if you do, but  it's possible that time and distance will delay your gift.  A general guideline to remember is that you have up to one year after the wedding to send a gift.  however, it is best to do so within two months of the ceremony .

Sunday, March 20, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - How Much to Spend on a Wedding Gift

Although it still remains the guide for many people, most experts today would urge wedding guests to forget the "Price-per-plate rule".  Your gift is not the ticket for admission to the event.  It is your present to the couple and should be tied to your relationship to the bride and groom - not to how much they paid for your meal.

One recent bride made the news - both broadcast and email - by sending a bill for two dinners to a guest at her wedding who RSVP'd in the affirmative but then did not attend due to a family emergency.  Who could have guessed that bad manners are that prevalent?  Not me!

Here are some guidelines that are pretty well endorsed for today's guests.

If you are attending the wedding of a coworker or boss - suggested gift level - $75 - $100

If it is the wedding of a neighbor or casual friend - $75 - $450

If it is the wedding of a friend or relative - $125 - $1,000

If it is a close friend or relative - $100- $175

If you have to spend money on airfare and/or hotel - you can spend less on the gift.  ($50-$100)

As a guide, $50 is the usual minimum.  Of course, different areas of the country may have different norms.  Important to remember - It still is not ok to ask for gifts of money, but it is acceptable to give money.

Monday, March 14, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - Fall and Winter Weddings

Seasonal weddings offer brides wonderful ideas for themes, places, colors and decor.  And Fall and Winter weddings offer special  traditional and unique looks and themes.

Fall Weddings
Places:  Look for vintage spots, rustic barns, mills, orchards
Decor:  Use sheaths of wheat, gourds, pumpkins, leaves
Flowers:  Mums, roses, leaves, succulents, grasses
Colors:  Rusts and browns, subdued shades with brights to accent and pop.  Dark brown with hints of turquoise.  Use jewel tones for bridesmaids.
Food:  Comfort food, hearty meals with seasonal veggies and roasted meats.  Serve warm apple cider with cinnamon sticks or spiced wine.  Serve traditional deserts like pumpkin pie and apple streusal next to your wedding cake.  Choose a spiced cake with creamy frosting.
Favors:  Give bottles of maple syrup, oatmeal cookies in custom boxes, sachet of mulling spices, or homemade preserves.

Winter Weddings
Places:   Look for historic mansions, inns with fireplaces, any location with a cozy feel.
Decor:  Lots of tiny white lights, mini evergreen trees, candles on pine branches for centerpieces, white poinsettias grouped, red cranberries and candles floating in glass bowls.  Now is the time for an ice sculpture as the focal point of the reception area.
Flowers:  All white bouquets with silver accents.  Consider a crystal bouquet for the bride.
Colors:  An all white wedding  or  the bride in white with attendants in shades of silver and grey.
Food/Beverages:  Serve egg nog, spiced wines, hot chocolate with liquor or have waiter pass trays with champagne.  Have a snow white frosted cake with silver trim.  Consider a snow globe with a bride and groom inside as a cake top.
Favors:  Monogramed Christmas ornaments or miniature snow globes that match the cake top.

Friday, March 11, 2016


This is a wedding note to slip to the groom to be.  Use it in your tuxedo department as a giveaway.

There are the traditional ways to propose marriage and then there are some unique ways grooms have "popped the question".  Here are some ideas we have heard from wedding consultants and planners.

In general, be sure that you don't just ask before you've both talked about marriage.  You want the answer to be an enthusiastic "yes", not "I'll think about it."

Whatever you decide, practice saying it before you ask her.    Do propose on one knee . Don't hide the gorgeous ring in food - too unpredictable, and find the right ring.

Where and what?

1.  Go where you went on your first date and lead in with "We've come a way together......."

2.  If you propose at Christmas, hang the ring box like an ornament on the tree.

3.  Wrap the ring box is a series of even bigger boxes.  As she unwraps the last box, propose.

4.  If you play trivial pursuit as a couple, ignore what's printed on the card when it's your turn and instead ask, "will you marry me?"

5.  Propose in an unusual place.  Have a pre printed sheet inserted into the morning paper, ask the question using alphabetical refrigerator magnets, write it on the bathroom mirror using lipstick.

6.  Have a custom jigsaw puzzle created with the words "will you marry me" included in the design.

7.  Most movie theaters have paid advertisements prior to the coming attractions.  Pay for an ad, but be sure to get to the theater early so you don't miss it.
8.  While we don't suggest hiding the ring in food, you can work with restaurant management to have the words printed on a plate and/or have the waiter or  deliver the ring on a silver platter.