Tuesday, April 22, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ – The Weekend Wedding

If yours is a family whose members are spread across the country, a weekend wedding is ideal for you.
Guests who have time and distance to cross to be with you on your big day, are more likely to make the effort when the celebration will be more than 1/2 hour in church followed by cake and punch in the church hall.  They will come to spend time with you and the groom and celebrating over a weekend will make it worth their while and give you time to truly spend with those close to you whom you see on a less regular basis.

When the wedding is planned for an entire weekend, there is an incentive for guests to travel longer distances to attend.  In that way, your wedding becomes the driving force behind a family reunion or a memorable gathering.

Here is a sample plan for a great weekend wedding.
On Fridayyou might kick things off by having a friend or relative host a welcoming party Friday evening or by expanding the rehearsal dinner to include out of town guests.

On Saturday another friend or relative could host a luncheon for out of town guests followed by an afternoon of activities like golf or tennis or sightseeing from a list of special features that you have provided.

On Saturday evening is your formal wedding and reception - THE EVENT of the weekend and the reason everyone has gathered.

On Sunday the bride and groom stay in town and greet their guests at a late morning brunch - usually held at the same facility that was the scene of the previous evening's reception.

On Sunday afternoon or early evening, the bride and groom say their goodbyes and leave for their honeymoon.  Guests leave at their leisure either checking out of the hotel (for which you have arranged a late checkout time)or they may stay another day and depart at their leisure.

Because guests will need plenty of time to plan for a weekend away, consider ordering save the date cards to go out well in advance of the invitations.  As the date gets closer let guests know about activities that are planned so that they know what kind of clothes to bring, and also provide any information about lodging and any reduced rates you have been able to obtain.

For more and more couples, a weekend wedding becomes a reality.  They have heard too many of their recently married friends say "Our wedding was such a blur.  It was over before we knew it."  A well planned weekend wedding is as much for the couple as it is for out of town guests.

Monday, April 21, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ – The Guest List

Deciding who to invite and how many to invite are major decisions that will impact much of your wedding planning effort.  But before that decision of who and how many is made, you must do some serious thinking.  You and your finance need to consider what kind of wedding you want.  Have you dreamt of a huge wedding with nearly everyone you know in attendance or do you prefer a more intimate gathering of your closest family and friends?  What is your budget?  Does that mean that you have a few guests for an elegant sit down dinner or a big gathering at a buffet?  Once you have a handle on the likely size of the wedding, you can begin to gather guest names.

There are a few traditional ways to assemble the guest list.  The simplest is to divide between the bride's family and the groom's family - 1/2 each.  Or you can divide the list in thirds - 1/3 to the couple, 1/3 to the bride's family or 1/3 to the groom's family.  Remember to be flexible and try not to hurt anyone's feelings.  Know that there is some flexibility in the numbers.  Most wedding planners would suggest that as many as 20% of those invited will be unable to attend for a variety of reasons.  This can vary by time of year and area of the country, but it is a good general rule to keep in the back of your mind.

When you are assembling your lists, keep in mind that not only the names on the lists get invitations, but also the groom's immediate family, the wedding officiant, all members of the bridal party as well as their spouses or dates.

Once the potential list is assembled from all parties, you may find that some cuts will have to be made.
Deciding whom to cut or how many to cut is tough.  Maybe everyone has to cut a set number from their list.  Or the person with the longest list should make the cuts.  Or you can set criteria for certain categories of people like business associates or casual acquaintances or friends you haven't seen for years.  Maybe some of the names submitted are not likely to attend and would be better served by an announcement.  Maybe the wedding should not/could not include children.  Leave the parents on the guest list but omit the children's names when the invitation is addresses.  Whatever method is chosen, try to be fair and equitable.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ – Shower Themes

Showers on one's wedding day are supposed to bring the couple good luck but try to find a bride who believes that.  She'd rather have sunshine and pleasant weather.  However, the other kind of shower that is part of the wedding tradition is welcome and given the changes happening to the traditional showers makes them a party.

Wedding showers are gift-giving parties held for couples about to get married.  According to experts, the custom began in the 19th century and is primarily celebrated in North America and Australia.  Guests traditionally "shower" the bride-to-be with the items she will need to set up her new home.
And while the traditional shower is still a main focus, versions have erupted and become popular.  According to TheKnot.com there are some key trends in modern bridal showers beyond the traditional "women only" luncheon given in someone's home.

·         Couples showers - are increasing in popularity.  The guests are a mixed audience of female and male friends and relatives.  While gifts are still the main focus of the event, they are varied and include "guy stuff" in the mix of household gifts.  The shower is a party for good friends.

·         Power showers - are events that focus on the groom-to-be who is showered with a wide range of gadgets and power tools to stock the garage.  The parties are guy focused and tend to be golf outings, poker nights or action movie themes.

·         Destination/activity showers - move out of someone's living room or the party room at a local restaurant and into a special spot or activity.  Some ideas include a spa day, horseback riding, or a day at a baseball game.  Because these types of showers can be expensive to host, the guest list is usually limited to the bride's closest friends.

·         Bride-involved showers.  This is tricky ground.  Some brides would like to be involved in planning their showers, rather than be surprised by the whole event.  However, "being involved in" is not the same as commandeering the whole event for yourself.  Traditionally, the shower is given by a friend or relative - not by the bride's mother or close relative.

·         Post wedding event -It is customary for the showers to be given prior to the wedding itself.  But with guests and couples spread across the country, some showers must be held after the wedding itself.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ – Gift Registries

Despite the fact that gift registries have been around for nearly a century, there are still couples who resist using them and feel awkward about signing up with their "wish list".  They feel like they are begging for gifts and are embarrassed to do so.  But know this - gift registries are a blessing to both the couple AND THEIR GUESTS.  Guests would prefer to give gifts that they know the couple want and will prize.  They are going to give a gift but would much rather give something sought after.  Help them out and register.

Here are some guidelines to help make the registry lists helpful to both you and your guests.

  • Take a look at the guest list and make sure the items for which you are planning to register offer a wide price range.  If lots of your friends are in college or just graduated, they may have a ton of student loans to pay off and can't afford expensive gifts.  Make sure your gift registry has plenty of moderately price items on it.
  • Put gift cards on the list.   At one time people felt funny about gift cards, but they are totally acceptable.  They are an easy last minute grab for guests who don't plan ahead and are a lovely bit of spendable "cash" for an item you wanted but didn't put on your gift registry.

  • Provide in-store and online options.  The online options are perfect for out of town guests and relatives.  However, remember people who like to lift and touch the items they plan to buy for you.  For them, a bricks and mortar store is a must.
  • Ask only for items you really want.  Some wedding planners will say it's ok to include items that you don't particularly want because you can always return them.  Try to avoid that.  It can be a hassle to return things and you can end up having to explain to your favorite aunt why the lamp she purchased for you isn't on the end table as she envisioned it.  Spend time up front and make good choices the first time.
  • Consider adding a few personal items to the list.  The bride can add a few things she personally wants and so can the groom.  The items don't need to all be useful around the house.
  • Be gracious no matter what the gift is.  You must thank every person for every gift whether you like the item or not and whether it was on your registry or not.  People give you gifts because they care for and about you and want to share in your celebration.  They need to know how important their gift was to you.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ – MORE QUESTIONS FROM BRIDES

One huge topic that brides want to talk through with our consultants is the issue of BUDGETS.
Most brides have a long list of things they'd like/want and that list has been assembled before the question of how those items will be paid for has been addressed.  They ask us these basic questions.

If my parents and future in laws are contributing to wedding expenses, do they get a say in how I spend the money?
They certainly do!  Some parents will give you the money with no instructions or restrictions, but some will prefer to sponsor or fund a particular aspect of the wedding.  Some may wish to host the reception in its entirety.  Others may wish to pay for the bar only. Your role is to make sure that if there are preferences that you and the groom make that work by consulting with the donors as you meet everyone's needs.  If parents are giving you a set amount of cash toward your wedding, it makes sense to try to receive the money as early as possible and then invest it in a short term CD where it may earn at least a little interest in the interim.

No one has offered to help us pay for any part of the wedding.  Is it ok to ask?
It is, but do try to do so graciously.  You and your fiancĂ© may meet individually with each set of parents and share with them your plans for the wedding.  After you have reviewed everything you have so far, it is appropriate to ask if they would be interested in helping you to fund any part of the day.  You might suggest that funding the flowers or the photography or the cake or the band would be in lieu of a wedding gift.  If there is no interest - so be it.  Regroup and rethink your budget.  That's where working with one of our consultants can prove valuable.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ – Questions Brides Have Asked

Our trained consultants have been advising brides on all aspects of their weddings for a number of years.  And while every bride and every wedding is unique and special, the questions brides ask about various aspects of wedding plans are similar.  Here are some the most common questions we are asked about bridal registries.

Should I register both online and in a store?
Absolutely!  Registries on line can be a huge time saver for your out of town guests, plus you can log on to the site anytime to add or delete items.  But be sure to register your preferences in a variety of retail locations as well.  Be sure to select at least one national chain if you have guests from out of town.  In addition, you should provide a range of purchase options for your guests by selecting one high-end store and at least one inexpensive retailer.  Consider expanding your gift options to include items that you would enjoy as a couple - like camping gear or sports equipment.  Some couples are also including information about a favorite charity and will indicate on their wedding website if they prefer gifts to that charity in their name.

How do I let guests know where I am registered?
Count on your website and your wedding party to spread the word about your gift registry preferences.  Every season we have at least one bride who wants to include this information in her invitation packet, but we inform her that it is considered extremely bad form to do so.  Parents, bridesmaids and relatives can spread this information to those who inquire.

Signing up for gifts makes me feel uncomfortable.  It feels like begging.  Do I need to register at all?
Utilizing a gift registry is as much for the guests as it is for the couple.  Invited guests will want to send or bring a gift to commemorate the occasion.  Bringing a gift that they know the bride and groom will cherish makes the effort even more special.  Think of the registry process as a gentle way of assisting the guests to do what are going to do anyway.  Registry gives them a comfortable way to help the young couple celebrate.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ – Story Time

Some of the most memorable weddings are those that tell a story - a story about the couple themselves, their family, their friends and their memories.  They tell those stories through the themes of their weddings and make the stories come alive through the colors they choose, the venues they pick and the myriad of details they put into place to create their story.

Our trained consultants have the experience and the creativity to help you tell your story in a special and memorable way.

  • ·        If you are a history buff your story can be told in the venue you select for your ceremony such as an older home or club or church with a story of its own.  Let that guide your choices.  It is often wise to choose your colors after the venue is chosen.  In that way, color becomes a part of the story.  Our consultants can help you with volumes of ideas about utilizing vintage items - old linens, flea market china, flowers and vases, jewelry, music and items of your paper trousseau.
  • ·        If you live for adventure and love to travel, the whole world of maps, tickets, trains, planes, automobiles and luggage can provide inspiration for food and decor.
  • ·        Movies and favorite books have inspired many couples' wedding plans from location to the design on the napkins and the cocktails served.
  • ·        Music is a very strong influence, whether you are a classics fan or a rock and roller, a country music devoute' or a fan of marching bands, each one can be the starting point for your story on your special day.
  • ·        A unique cultural heritage can provide the underpinning for the entire wedding.  Incorporating traditions from that heritage with your partner's will create memories that your guests won't soon forget.