Are You Looking To Keep Wedding Centerpieces To A Minimum? Bring On The Fruit!

Are You Looking To Keep Wedding Centerpieces To A Minimum? Bring On The Fruit!

Looking to keep centerpieces to a minimum at your reception? Then think about incorporating a bit of nature by incorporating fruit (fresh or sugared), vegetables, spices, eucalyptus leaves, and succulents for a flare of casual elegance. What’s nice about these touches, is that they’re not expected, they’re simple to do yourself, and they don’t “tower” so guests can sit across from one and feel comfortable mingling. Just be sure to purchase the fruit the day before the wedding so that it doesn’t spoil.

Here are a 5 savvy suggestions to incorporate fruit into your centerpiece display:

1. Glass containers will display beautiful cut or whole citrus fruits (plus, citrus fruit does not like “porous” containers).

 

 

2. When displaying fruit, you can mix all different varieties or condense groupings together of the same type, or even accent with flowers, instead of flowers being the focal point.

 

 

3. When used during the Harvest or Winter holiday season, these centerpieces are sure to provide an anticipated ambiance, especially if the table is a long rectangular one. One of my favorite warm-me-up drinks during the colder months, is a hot cup of cocoa with a splash of Vandermint® chocolate mint liqueur—sure to stir the nostalgia with your guests.

 

 

4.  You’ll want to select colors that correspond with your color scheme/décor. Citrus fruits cut-kiwis go best with brights such as pinks, yellows and oranges, while apples, deep cherries, succulents/artichokes, grapes, and pomegranates  go best with deep shades.  Pears, figs, bay leaves, albino pumpkins go best with a pastel or neutral color palette.

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5. Don’t forget to extend this idea throughout other areas of “display” such as in the foyer, bar, mantle, restrooms, and of course…the cake!

Enjoy!

Divorced Parents? 3 Easy Tips For Getting Cooperation On Your Wedding Day

Divorced Parents? 3 Easy Tips For Getting Cooperation On Your Wedding Day

Ahh, the lovely “parent trap”—involving divorced parents so they can amicably join-in the wedding planning festivities, and the wedding day itself. As if wedding planning wasn’t stressful on its own, add divorced parents (sometimes on both sides of the couple) into the mix, and you’ve got some potentially sticky areas to manage. As a wedding planner, I’ve seen plenty of difficult family situations, and wanted to offer 5 keep-the-peace tips to help navigate dilemmas when dealing with divorced parents.

1. Here Comes The Bride – One of the easiest ways to smooth the way for a drama-free wedding, is to decide early on in the planning how things will stand with regard to decision making. I know that it’s fun to start the planning process by spending hours on Pinterest, dreaming of gowns and chocolate ganache wedding cakes, but trust me—speaking to those involved well advance of the wedding will encourage their participation to put their ill feelings aside because everyone will know what’s expected.  For example, if you’re having a hard time deciding between your father or your step-father in escorting you down the aisle, don’t wait a week or two before the wedding to announce your decision—you will surely have hurt feelings and plenty of unnecessary stress.

2. Getting Close: The Receiving Line, Photographs, and Seating – If you have decided (because you’ve read tip #1 above) that you would like to have a receiving line to welcome guests immediately after your ceremony, then how should you incorporate divorced parents in the receiving line? Tradition encourages that if the parents are hosting the wedding, then they should stand in the receiving line; if both the bride and groom’s parents are hosting, then both sets would be in the line. The best rule of thumb to offer here, is to never have a parent stand next to their ex-spouse, so alternate the line-up. The same rule of thumb can be offered for photos—unless your parents are cordial and are on speaking terms, you may want to skip the photo together with your divorced biological parents, and instead have a photo taken with each parent and their respective spouse. During the reception, have separate “family” tables.

3. Parent Dances – If either of you are uncomfortable/estranged from your parents, then really, don’t get worked up about the mother/son and father/daughter dances. It’s not expected that you both have to do this tradition, or it’s not unheard of to just have one dance (i.e., the groom and his mother dance but not the bride and her father).  If you’re having a rather difficult time deciding because you feel equally close to both, your biological parent and your step-parent, try one of my favorite options—have a “parent dance” where you include both, stopping halfway through the song to switch to the other parent.

In closing, drama sometimes manifests because your parents/step-parents/future step-parent are trying to be a part of this milestone event in your life, and everyone “wants a piece” (an acknowledgement) so to speak. Consider that you may not have much time mingling with individual guests, but you will look back on your wedding day with many memories shared between you and your family members, so try to be neutral and as inclusive as possible with regard to everyone’s comfort level. A wedding has many layers, many emotional choices and decisions to be made, and if feeling overwhelmed, a couple may make a poor choice, and look back later with regret.

Do yourself a favor, and consider hiring a professional wedding planner to help you with any difficult decisions you may be having—they’re not just for coordinating the day-of, finding vendors, or making the venue look stunning.  Most planners offer couples a complementary initial consultation where you can learn about the many benefits of using their services. You might be surprised what they can really do for you at rates that are worth your peace of mind.

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How to Recite Meaningful Wedding Vows

How to Recite Meaningful Wedding Vows

Your happily ever after starts with your wedding vows. Think about it—without those wedding vows, the gown, flowers, cake, or even guests would not even be needed because there wouldn’t be anything to celebrate! Your vows become the center of the ceremony, and should be given much thought –after all, besides the “will you marry me?” and the reply, your vows will become the most important words you’ll ever speak, and hear between the two of you within your marriage.

Photo by Caroline Frost Photography

Photo by Caroline Frost Photography

Things to consider:

· How do I deliver these words in front of many people without sounding like a squeaking mouse?

· Is there a way to prevent myself from passing out at the altar? (many grooms say they feel as if they are about to tip over as they watch their bride headed down the aisle, or when reciting their vows)

· Am I a traditionalist or a modernist?

· What do I want to promise? What does marriage mean to me? What do I see in our future? What do you bring into my life?

So then…remember those days of “public speaking 101” in college? How do you speak from the heart, knowing all eyes are on you, and be sure to get those words out in a way you intended them to? This is where a wedding planner can help. Not only can a wedding planner help with exploring options that exist (traditional, non-traditional, interfaith, religious, second marriages, blended families), or help with getting the creative juices flowing to write your own vows, but can also help with the preparation of the delivery of your vows—how you speak them is as important as what you say. I helped one shy groom overcome some obstacles so that when he recited his own vows, he captivated everyone within earshot, with everyone around getting a glimpse of who he was, what his family meant to him, and what his partner brought to his life that no one ever knew…tissues, please!

The face of all the world is changed, I think,
Since I first heard the footsteps of thy soul.
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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Is It Necessary to Have a Reception?

Is It Necessary to Have a Reception?

The wedding reception can easily eat-up 50 percent (sometimes more) of the entire wedding budget. I recently had a discussion via email with a bride who wanted to know, was it necessary to have a wedding reception as she was trying to keep costs down. I thought I’d share some ideas that I communicated with her.

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Wedding receptions initially began centuries ago by the newlywed couple hosting a gathering immediately following the ceremony in which guests could offer congratulatory wishes while being served non-alcoholic beverages and cake. It is still the norm today for the newlyweds to continue with this tradition except that it has become more grand than just “congratulations” and . I proceeded to inform this bride that she and her fiancé may want to get the word out to close family and friends that they are saving for a house, which can begin the first impression as to what guests can except. Having a simple wedding reception is still in “good taste” considering this was traditionally how receptions were celebrated. It is not however, in good taste to have a ceremony with many friends, family, acquaintances and colleagues, and then have an intimate, small post-ceremony gathering for a limited, “selected” group of individuals. This could result in resentment and hurt feelings of those who would feel “I could only be there for the vows, but not important enough to celebrate the marriage“. In the end, the couple decided to go ahead and have a scaled-back reception, and I encouraged this couple to consider:

  • If your ceremony is taking place at a house of worship, consider if there is an on-site room that could be available so that there isn’t an additional cost incurred to have it at a separate facility, especially since many are equipped with a kitchen. Many times I have seen the house of worship “barter” the cost of the rental in exchange for community service (spring cleaning, yard-work, painting, etc.). This same idea can hold true for civic agencies, such as a police department, firehouse, Knights of Columbus etc.
  • You are not obligated to serve a full-course meal and alcohol to your guests. Light “finger foods”, cake and beverages are acceptable. In addition, if you are choosing from a menu, at times there are some “side” dishes that could easily be considered the main entree–get creative with the chef!
  • Consider your college/university as a place to host your reception. Colleges/universities may be willing to offer discounts to their alumnae.
  • There are also some lovely parks with pavilions on the premises in the event of inclement weather.
  • Mid-week weddings are becoming a popular choice for couples. You may have room to negotiate if a facility is too pricey to host your reception

Thanks for visiting! Would love to chat more about how we can help you figure out the logistics of your reception planning (or to forgo it)!

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3 Easy Tips For Wedding Stationery Etiquette

3 Easy Tips For Wedding Stationery Etiquette

Wedding InvitationsYour invitations set the tone and provide a preview of what guests should expect, so be consistent…

An embossed/engraved invitation to a Sunday morning brunch wedding would be out of place, just as a handmade invitation with a tear-off RSVP card would be too casual for a semi-formal or formal wedding.

Oh, and Evite’s are out of the question! And please do not include information about requesting cash, gifts, or registry information on the invitation, that is mentioned via word-of-mouth, or included with the shower invitations. And lastly, no stick-on labels printed from your home computer to address the envelope, no matter how much time it may save.

  • When ordering invitations, plan on at least 3 to 4 months for arrival
  • Send invitations 6 to 8 weeks ahead of the wedding date
  • Consider a “Save-The-Date” a must for a wedding which falls on a holiday/holiday weekend. Speaking of “Save-The-Date” cards, everyone who receives one should also receive an invitation to the wedding, but not everyone who receives an invitation requires a Save-The-Date.
  • No punctuations are included except for Mr., Mrs. Ms., Jr., Sr., Dr., Rev.
  • Half hours are written as “half after five o’clock” and not as “half past five”
  • If you want to save on costs, include both the ceremony and reception information on the same invitation. “RSVP”, “R.S.V.P.”, “R.s.v.p.” and “The favour of a reply is requested” are all equally correct.
  • Use “honour of your presence” for ceremonies taking place in a house of worship, and “the pleasure of your company” for anywhere else
  • The word “to” connecting the bride’s name to the groom’s name is replaced by “and” for Jewish wedding ceremonies
  • Do not list the bride’s last name unless it is different than the hosts’
  • Children over thirteen should receive their own invitation, if possible (even if they still live at home). For joint siblings, address the outer envelope as “The Missess Fusco” or “The Messrs. Fusco” and “Susan and Connor” for the inner envelope.

Traditional

Mr. and Mrs. Allen Adams
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Maggie Anne
to
Mr. Calvin Michael Sampson
Saturday, the twelfth of January
two thousand twelve
at half after six o’clock
St. Bridget’s Church
Old Saybrook, Connecticut

Combining Ceremony & Reception on One Invite

Mr. and Mrs. Allen Adams
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Maggie Anne
to
Mr. Calvin Michael Sampson
Saturday, the twelfth of January
two thousand twelve
at half after six o’clock
St. Bridget’s Church
Old Saybrook, Connecticut
and afterward at the reception
The Antique Cottage, Groton Connecticut

RSVP
455 Freestone Lane
Bristol, Connecticut 06010

When Couple Issues Own Invites

The honour of your presence
is requested
at the marriage of
Miss Janelle Lynn Monk
to
Mr. Robert Scott Rudders…
Or
Miss Janelle Lynn Monk
and
Mr. Robert Scott Rudders
request the honour of your presence
at their marriage…
Or

Together with their parents
Miss Janelle Lynn Monk
and
Mr. Robert Scott Rudders
invite you to share
the joy of their marriage…

Wording When Bride Has Only One Living Parent

Mrs. Sandra Watson Smith
requests the honour of your presence
at the marriage of her daughter
Cynthia Amy
to
Mr. Justin Robert Stykes
Or
Cynthia Amy Bradstone (bride)
Daughter of Sandra Watson Smith and the late Edward Smith
and
Justin Robert Stykes (groom)
request the pleasure of your company
At their marriage…

Groom’s Family Hosts

Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Diaz
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage uniting
Miss Karla Alice Bryers
to
their son
Edgar Fernando Diaz…

Groom in Military

For officers whose rank is Captain or higher (Army, Air Force, Marines) or Lieutenant or higher (Navy), list the rank on the same line as the name:

Captain Brian Sellworth
United States Army
For junior personnel, the rank and branch of service are printed below their name:
Brian Sellworth
Corporal, United States Air Force
When the bride is active duty, list both her rank and branch in the invitation:
marriage of their daughter
Jessica Marie
Lieutenant, United States Army

Belated Reception (marriage takes place earlier)

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Saltz
request the pleasure of your company
at a reception
in honor of
Mr. and Mrs. Craig Urban…

Addressing Outer Envelopes:

Married Couple: Mr. and Mrs. Simon Frost (Inner: Mr. and Mrs. Frost)
Male Doctor: Doctor or Dr. and Mrs. Simon Frost (Inner: Dr. and Mrs. Frost)
Female Doctor: Doctor or Dr. Lisa Frost and Mr. Simon Frost (Inner: Dr. and Mr. Frost)
Unmarried Couples Co-Habiting:
Mr. Alex Crier
Ms. Jennifer Stella
123 Main Street
(Inner: Mr. Crier and Miss Stella)
Clergy: The Reverend Michael Holster and Mrs. Shirley Holster or The Reverend and Mrs. Shirley Holster (Inner: Rev. Holster and Mrs. Holster)
Have further questions regarding your own stationery or need to know what stationery items you can skip? We can help, contact us today. Thanks for visiting!
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Receiving Lines…Yea? or Nay?

Receiving Lines…Yea? or Nay?

Ahhh…The question of “should we have a receiving line, or not?” For many guests and for some cultures, the receiving line is traditional, offering a formal opportunity for you to greet and thank your guests. Whatever you decide, keep in mind that as the “hosts” or your wedding day, it is proper etiquette and good manners to personally thank and acknowledge your guests at some point throughout the day.

For planning purposes, allot about 30-40 minutes per 100 guests.

Who Stands in the Receiving Line and Where?

The easiest way to shorten the time greeting in line?…Shorten the amount of people partaking in the line! If you are following tradition, then the couple, their parents and the maid of honor would be the ones to stand in the line. However, at the bare minimum, it should be the Bride and Groom, Bride’s Mother (or whoever is hosting/paying), Groom’s Mother, and Maid/Matron of Honor. The fathers, best man, and bridal party are optional, but would make a nice touch. Ushers, flower girls, ring bearers, and siblings of non-wedding party members do not participate, but can instead, socialize with the guests.

The order of the line-up is the following:

1. The wedding hosts (usually the bride’s parents, the mother first)

2. The groom’s mother and father

3. The bride and groom

4. The maid/matron of honor (optional)

Military Wedding

For a groom in the military, it is protocol for him to be in uniform and if wearing a cutlass/saber, then the bride would then stand to his right (instead of the traditional “left” for non-military weddings).

Divorced Parents

Divorced parents do not stand in the line together. Usually, the parent and step-parent who are hosting or that are closest to the bride stand in the line. If the divorced parents are amicable and friendly with each other, then it acceptable to have the bride’s mother stand in the line first—regardless of whether she is paying or not. If there is serious discord among family members, then it may be wise to forgo the formality of the receiving line entirely. To avoid a very lengthy line with parents and step-parents, consider having the fathers circulate among guests instead of standing in the line. Otherwise the line up with remarried parents would look like this:

1. Bride’s mother and step-father

2. Groom’s mother and step-father

3. Bride’s stepmother and father

4. Groom’s stepmother and father

5. Bride and groom

Alternatives to the Receiving Line:

· By far, the most popular alternative to the formal receiving line, is to greet guests at each table over their meal. You may also incorporate having your photographer (or someone else) take photos of you with each table. I have also seen couples hand-give their favors to each guest/couple at this time, too

· For a church ceremony, have the priest/pastor ask that everyone remain seated, and then have the bride and groom “dismiss” each row (meet and greet by row)

· Meet and greet with your guests during the cocktail hour. Travel around with the groom only, or add your Mothers too. You may also ask your MOH to join you (she’ll be great at keeping you moving through the crowd)

· Hold your receiving line prior to the entrance of where your guests will be mingling for cocktail hour

· Greet guests as they sign the guest book (parents/bridal party can join you too)

· Do a receiving line as you exit the night: Have guests line up on either side (making an aisle for you) and say “farewell” as you make your exit. This option can work at your ceremony, too.

· Have your parents meet and greet guests as they arrive, and together as husband and wife, you can greet them on the way out

· “Man” the photo booth together and greet guests as they’re in line to take pictures (then join them in the booth afterwards!)

Things to Consider:

· Do you like to be “touched”? (hugged, kissed, hand-shaking)

· Taking your photos ahead of time so you don’t keep guests waiting longer..they’ll also be hungry!

· A receiving line is a great “filler” if you have a gap to fill between the ceremony or reception. If not, you may be cutting into your reception time (remember you only have a 4-5 hour reception time!)

Do’s and Don’ts:

· Don’t engage in lengthy conversation. This isn’t the time to get completely caught-up in the “oh my goodness! It’s been forever since we’ve seen each other!” moment. Offer a pleasant “I can’t wait to hear more about it when we have cocktails (on the dance floor, etc.)”

· Do be mindful of your guests who may be juggling drinks, plates, etc. (ever try to shake someone’s hand while holding a drink and your plate?), and offer tables nearby where they can put them down

· Don’t keep guests (and yourself!) in the heat for long periods—consider a location with shade (and possibly a cool beverage)

· Do study your guest-list ahead of time so there are no awkward introduction moments (or create a cue that your Groom/Mother knows to jump-in with the names)
So have you decided “yea or nay” for the receiving line? We can help, reach out and we can help you manage your details!

 

Wedding Stationery: What You Can Forgo

Wedding Stationery: What You Can Forgo

Ahhh, so many components to a wedding invitation! Yes, first impressions are crucial, but there are certain items that one can forgo that no one would ever notice!

Photo by DTA

Photo by DTA

Envelope Linings and Tissue Overlays – In the not so distant past, these were used during the printing process when the ink from the printing press, did not dry completely and the ink smeared onto the invitation. The tissue overlay (sometimes made from onion skin—imagine crying when opening someone’s invitation?) would prevent the ink from smearing onto the envelope and other items within the invitation. With today’s perfected printing process, these are unnecessary, and just add to the final bill or increase postage.

The Invitation “Inner” Envelope – This is the envelope in which the invitation is placed into before slipping into the “outer” envelope which is addressed to your guest. Again, drawing on decades past, when invitations were hand delivered, the inner envelope served its purpose so that guests always had a clean, crisp envelope. As with the tissue overlays above, this can easily increase postage costs.

Note: If you are planning to keep this tradition and use the inner envelope, note that you would be only addressing your guests’ titles and surnames on the inner envelope. Example: “Mr. & Mrs. Sanchez”. The printed side of the envelope faces away from the front of the envelope. And it is not acceptable to use computer printed labels on the outer envelopes (but using your printer to print on the envelope directly is okay).

RSVP Cards – If using RSVP cards and envelopes, this adds bulk to your ensemble and there’s also the added expense of postage on the RSVP envelope. Instead, have guests RSVP to your wedding website or via phone (a great task for bridesmaids!). Or use a postcard in a stock that’s complementary to your invitation theme—no need for moistening more envelopes, and the postage is less than a first-class letter.

Direction Cards / Maps / Accommodations – Save postage costs by posting this information on your wedding website. For those who are having their ceremony at a separate location than the reception, you may include directions to the reception in your wedding program. You can also create your own maps/directions for free at www.weddingmapper.com.

Modern “E-vite” – For those who want to go modern with an invitation via email but don’t want to use E-vite, check out www.paperlesspost.com. Their Bridal section has customizable, gorgeous e-vites that resemble paper stationers. This site also has a tracking feature that you can use to collect RSVP’s. Great for save-the-dates and holidays, too!

For more tips, or to chat one-on-one advice on your invitation ensemble, give us a shout, we’d love to chat!

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