Sunday, August 16, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - Guest Replies

When selecting items for one's paper trousseau, very few brides neglect to order reply cards and envelopes.  These have become "essentials" when attempting to calculate the number of guests to expect at the reception.

However, having sent them out with the invitation package, know that there will always be a number of guests who never bother to reply.  Your choice is to go with some industry average that calculates that up to 10% of invited guests won't attend and won't let you know they aren't coming so you can plan accordingly or you may wish to contact those "silent" guests directly and ask if they are planning to attend.

Some brides elect to make the calls themselves, others involve their mothers in the contacts or the groom's mother as well. As Martha Stewart says, "Once the R.S.V.P. deadline printed on the reply card is come and gone, you are well within bounds to start reaching out to tardy invitees."

When you do call, keep the message short and sweet.  Martha suggests these words:  "I wanted to be sure you got our wedding invitation.  I need to get the final numbers to my caterer this week, and we'd love to know whether we'll be seeing you there."

We know that some brides-to-be are considering a "B-list" of invited guests.  We don't condone that practice but know that it happens.  Some advice:  If you are planning to use this approach, we offer these considerations:  Most people will figure out they are "second-tier" guests when the invitation comes to them two weeks before the wedding date.  If you are determined to use a second round of invitations, at least be strategic about it and up the dates when your invitations go out.  Send your first round of invitations out up to 10 weeks in advance and set the R.S.V.P. to at least 5 weeks before the wedding date.  Once regrets start coming in, you can still get a few invitations out to names on the B-List if you are determined to do so.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - The Best Gift

Thanking those special people in your life who have stood up with you - parents, family and your wedding party attendants - deserve a special thanks for being an important part of your special day.

Knowing that you and your finance are not the only ones who will look fabulous that day, makes this gift idea so special.  Attendants have their hair done, their makeup done and are looking good.  Why not make this day last for them.  Your parents and the groom's parents are formally attired.  Dad is in a tuxedo!!!  The men in the bridal party are looking fine. Your gift to each of them?  A professionally done individual photograph taken by your wedding photographer.  Make it a head shot of each person.

Chances are many have never (or at least recently) had a professional head shot photo taken of themselves.  Why not provide them with one on a day they are likely to look wonderful.

Photographers are unlikely to care what they are directed to shoot.  Make arrangements with him/her well in advance of the wedding.  These photos will likely be shot prior to the ceremony.  Advance notice will enable the photographer to plan time and place for the photos (against a plain backdrop- not the church).

You can plan it as a surprise or alert the wedding party in advance.  Your choice.  But gifting people who matter to you with a professionally done formal headshot for passports, ID cards or social-networking pages is a great gift and one to be appreciated.  It is a lovely way to say thank you for being part of our important day.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - Do I Need a Receiving Line?

In our conversations with brides, we are frequently asked this question.  Many brides seem to feel that receiving lines are out of date and awkward.

In our more casual society, many people see receiving lines as being "too formal" and a throwback to days when "rules" governed how people behaved.  They think that they will informally greet every one of their guests at some time during the reception.  And if it is a small wedding/reception - they just might achieve that by "making the rounds".

However, we urge our brides to rethink their view of receiving lines.  Until someone comes up with a substitute that will allow all guests to be greeted on arrival and departure, a receiving line should be included.

Your reception is a huge party given by your family to celebrate this significant milestone in your life.  You have invited guests to help you celebrate.  The least you can do is to greet them as they arrive.  One alternative is to hold a receiving line at the end of the ceremony and greet your guests and thank them for coming at that point.  Included in the receiving line should be both sets of parents (or at the very least - both mothers) and the bride and groom.  Other members of the wedding party can be optional.

No matter where the receiving line is held - after the ceremony or at the beginning of the reception, it is a nice touch to acknowledge your guests by toasting them.  The bride and the groom should both offer a toast to their guests who have come together to help them celebrate this very important day.  You may offer the toast as a couple or each of you may offer a few words.  You may give this toast during the meal (usually best) or just before you cut the cake.

Monday, July 20, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - Your Invitations and Paper Needs

If you are planning to celebrate your wedding over a holiday weekend, or your invitation list will include a number of out-of-town guests, Save-the-Date cards should be an important part of your plans.Generally, they are sent out as early as six months prior to the wedding.  Because they will give guests a sneak preview of the degree of formality and tone of the wedding, try to select cards that are consistent with the invitations you will send later.

Formal wording and paper styles should be used for invitations to formal and church weddings.  Traditional fonts would be appropriate.  If your wedding is expected to be less formal and held in a hotel or reception facility, you may use a somewhat more informal style with your wedding papers.Individuality can be expressed by choosing unique sizes and textures of papers.  You may also choose to add color, overlays and/or ribbons.

Know that announcements are nice to send to those who live far away or who are unlikely to be able to attend wedding.  They are addressed, stamped and ready to be mailed immediately after the ceremony.  Usually the bride's mother (or trusted associate) is responsible for mailing them.

Unless the wedding is a totally informal and intimate event, plan to include a printed reply card with a self-stamped, preaddressed envelope.

Optional enclosures you may wish to choose are cards for dinner preferences, or if the wedding is planned as a weekend event, guest may be give the option to choose activities they may wish to attend.

Plan to mail your invitations ten to twelve weeks prior to the event. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - What If?

The old saying - "The Best Laid Plans..." should be considered when you are actively planning your wedding.  It's not bad luck to anticipate potential areas of concern and have a Plan B.  Our consultants are creative realists and can help you develop a fabulous Plan A but they know from experience that backup plans (Plan B) are wise.

Here are some of the recommendations from our experience wedding planners.

*Have an emergency kit packed and ready.  It should include a sewing kit that has thread in all the colors that are in your wedding party - white, ivory, black/grey or other tuxedo shades, colors for bridesmaid gowns and both mothers.  It should include needles, pins - safety and straight, scissors, a few paper clips, mending tape.  One bride related that during the receiving line she leaned over to kiss a relative and in the process, he unknowing stepped on the front of her gown.  When she stood up, the entire front of her gown's skirt ripped out at the waist.  A quick repair job with the contents of her emergency kit saved the day.  Also include Kleenex, spot remover cloths, aspirin, breath lozenges, feminine products, make up, hair spray and any necessary medications.  And always have a bit of florist's tape.

*Have a backup plan to cover the what ifs.  If someone has to drop out of your wedding party at the last minute - what will you do?  Find someone in the same size to replace the person or consider how important is it to have the exact number of male and female attendants?  If you are planning an outdoor wedding and reception, what will you do if it rains or storms?

*Remember that everything can be fixed in some way.  Use your imagination and try to anticipate some possible solutions.  So you are one boutonniere short - it's not the end of the world.  Clip some blossoms from either the maid's bouquet or the bridal bouquet.  Go to you emergency kit for the magic green tape florists use to fashion arrangements and voila!  Problem solved.

*Trust your feelings.  If something doesn't feel right, pay attention.  Your instincts are probably right.  Plans that feel right to you are the ones to go with.  Others can make suggestions but the final choice is yours.

Your wedding will be wonderful.  Mishaps can occur but if you don't panic, neither will anyone else.  At one bride's wedding, the processional was complete and the ceremony about to begin when she noticed that the altar candles had never been lit.  No one else noticed so she wisely ignored the lapse.  Her wedding was beautiful.  Yours will be too!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - Themes and Centerpieces

All parts of planning a wedding can be fun and exciting.  Our experienced consultants can help you with all aspects of the wedding so feel comfortable asking our advice.  We love to help brides plan all parts of their upcoming wedding, but centerpieces and party themes are among our favorites.

Selecting the flowers and interesting pieces that will decorate your celebration can be a daunting task but the results from carefully chosen centerpieces can be a dramatic way to pull together the theme of your wedding.  We have many, many suggestions.  The most obvious one is that centerpieces should relate to and emphasize that theme.

If your wedding is around a holiday, the theme and its expression is obvious.  Christmas, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Independence Day all suggest the colors and elements.  Other themes require more thought but are just as fun to create.

Is your wedding and reception near water?  If yes, use ship's lanterns or bowls with tropical fish swimming over shells and sand in the bottom.

Is your reception in the country at a farm house or barn?  Use checkered tablecloths and make a ceramic or straw rooster the center of each table.  Add miniature bales of hay and/or summer flowers and greens in milk bottles or canning jars.

Incorporate seasonal fruits in centerpieces.  Big bunches of strawberries in the summer, gingham tied baskets of apples in the early fall, pumpkins and gourds with fall leaves would also work.

Celebrate your heritage with national colors, flags, patterns and fabrics.Oriental poppies, tartan plaid table linens, silver trays piled high with Mexican wedding cakes all make a statement.

Create a circus atmosphere with balloons, candied apples, popcorn and candy floss.

If both the bride and groom are teachers, the school house theme is perfect with paper chains, chalk boards, posters, report cards and lots of numbers and letters.

Monday, July 6, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - The Little Party AFTER Big Party

Weddings are a big deal!  They are important milestones and deserve to be celebrated in the best style you can manage (or afford).  The ceremony is the most important, followed by the reception for one's family and friends who have joined the couple to celebrate their union.  But a newer/smaller celebration has joined the mix - the AFTER PARTY which is held to continue the celebration with those closest to the new couple.  In other words, it is known as "let the good times roll".

Because so much time and effort and planning has gone into the wedding event, more and more couples are electing to plan and hold smaller and more intimate parties after their guests have headed home.  Usually included in these events are both sets of parents (if they are still in party mode), members of the wedding party and a few close friends of the couple.  Keeping the party going - albeit at a slower pace - works for many couples today.  If that appeals to you, here are some ideas for your party after the big party.

* Be sure to let family and those close friends you plan to invite about your after party so they can plan accordingly.  You could include a special card in the formal invitation which informs a select few of your plans or you can send a separate invitation to the party.  However, a word of warning.  Be sure to let the after party invitees know that this is "exclusive" so they don't spread the word.

* If your reception is in a hotel and you are staying there, the natural gathering spot is your suite of rooms or a smaller party room in the facility.  Make those arrangements when you are booking the reception, and order the snacks and beverages you plan to serve.

*Maybe there is a small, intimate jazz club or a 24 hour breakfast spot that may be favorites.  Make arrangements in advance with the manager and specify a likely time of arrival so that your party will be welcomed and there will be room for them.  

*Arrange for special foods and refreshments that are different from what was served at the reception.

*This is a perfect time to relive the ceremony and reception by looking at photos that everyone has on their iPhones.  Believe it or not, but there are lots of things happening at a reception that the bride and groom will have missed.  Their presence is pretty well orchestrated throughout the ceremony and reception/dinner/dance.  Now is their time to share in all the fun little things that happened of which they were unaware.