Setting Your Wedding Budget

Setting Your Wedding Budget

One of the most important aspects to planning any successful wedding is establishing your budget. Money can become a major stressor in the planning process so it’s best if you can determine your budget ahead of time and work hard to stay in the confines of it. Setting your wedding budget may seem like an overwhelming task, but it really can be easy and virtually painless by asking these simple questions…

Who’s paying?

Before you can begin to work up a wedding budget, you need to know who will be footing the bill. Traditionally, the bride’s parents paid for the entire wedding, but these days many couples are opting to pay for all or most of the event themselves. In many cases, the groom’s family may also like to contribute financially as well. Before you establish a budget, sit down with all parties involve and find out what their financial contributions (if any) will be. Once you know how much will be given from your families, you and the groom need to determine how much of your own money (if any) you will be adding. For more detail on who pays for what, click here.

How is the money divided?

Typically, the allocation of funds for the wedding are divided as so: Reception (48-50%), Ceremony (2-3%), Attire (8-10%), Flowers (8-10%), Entertainment/Music (8-10%), Photography/Videography (10-12%), Stationery (2-3%), Wedding Rings (2-3%), Parking/Transportation (2-3%), Miscellaneous (8%). Just because this is the standard breakdown of finances doesn’t mean your wedding has to be the same. Feel free to set aside more or less money on areas that are more or less important to you. If you or your partner’s families would like to contribute but aren’t sure of a specific dollar amount, ask them to take full financial responsibility for one area of the wedding such as booking the photographer, paying for the rehearsal dinner, or purchasing the flowers.

What’s most important?

There are certain elements of the wedding details that will be of more value to you than others. Maybe there is a reception location you can’t live without or an expensive dream photographer you’re dying to book. Understand that the allocation of the wedding budget doesn’t have to fit exactly into the breakdown mentioned above. Figure out ways to cut corners in some areas so you can have the things that are most important. If you’ve spent too much on your reception location, try opting for a less expensive food option. Instead of a sit-down dinner, consider serving hors d’oeuvres and cocktails or a classy brunch instead. They’re more cost-effective options that will allow you to stay within the confines of your predetermined budget.

How can I save?

There are a number of ways you can save money on your wedding, without sacrificing style. Hire a personal friend or family member to assemble the bouquets, design and print the invitations at home, or borrow a friend’s classic car instead of renting a limo. Figure out areas that you can cut costs and adjust your budget accordingly. By saving money in one area, you’ll be able to put those funds toward something more important.

Getting The Groom Involved

Getting the Groom Involved

It’s not unusual for a groom to take a backseat when it comes to wedding planning. Many men feel ill equipped to contribute any worthwhile suggestions during the process. In turn, many brides feel frustrated by their partner’s seeming lack of interest and wish he would offer to alleviate some of the stress. If you’re having a hard time getting your groom excited or involved in the wedding planning, try these quick and easy steps:

  • Communicate: First and foremost, tell your beau how you’re feeling as a result of his indifference about the wedding planning. It’s quite possible that he’s been staying uninvolved so as to not get in your way. Let him know that you desire his opinions and long for his help in the planning of your big day. Once he understands how much stress you’re under and that you actually want his assistance, most likely he’ll be more eager to get involved.
  • Delegate: Delegate some of the wedding planning responsibilities to the groom. After all, it’s his wedding too. Try to find tasks that might be of interest to him. Most guys are not going to want to be responsible for selecting the flowers (nor are you probably going to want to trust his opinion on that one). Instead, ask him to take responsibility for things he might enjoy like planning the honeymoon, creating a reception playlist, deciding the theme/menu for the rehearsal dinner, or choosing the cocktails and appetizers for your guests.
  • Incorporate: As much as you might hate to relinquish control over certain areas of the wedding that you’ve been dreaming about your whole life, remind yourself that this day is about you and your fiancé as a couple. Sit down with your man and get his feedback. Try to incorporate his ideas and personality into the wedding and reception. Design a groom’s cake dedicated to his favorite sports team or pastime, choose a menu that involves his favorite cuisine, or select a wedding theme that represents something unique about your relationship, dating history, or interests.

The key to getting the groom involved is letting him know that this wedding is a celebration of the both of you. Once he realizes his significance and gains an idea of how he can help, chances are he’ll be happy to serve.

Wedding Gown Cleaning and Preservation

Wedding planning can be a big undertaking.  Finding the location, the caterer, the DJ…it can be a lot to handle.  But the one thing brides seem to work the hardest at is finding a wedding dress—the perfect wedding dress.  So after all that hard work and the countless memories made on a wedding day, preserving wedding dresses has become a high priority of brides everywhere.  Gown preservation is a special process of cleaning and packaging a wedding or couture gown.  However, navigating the preservation process, including who to trust, where to go, and how to go the DIY route, can be tricky.  So here are a few tips and guidelines for preserving the beauty of your wedding dress:

Finding a Cleaner/Preservationist: Just like any other wedding vendor, finding someone to preserve your dress is an important task.  You want to find someone you trust, can communication easily with, and most of all, someone who will get the job done in a professional manner.  Lots of companies and cleaners claim to clean and preserve wedding gowns, yet not all are created equal.  Look for someone who is licensed by the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists, as these vendors specialize in gown preservation and restoration.  To find a licensed specialist, visit the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists.

For brides in the Chicagoland area, Davis Imperial Cleaners is an incredibly popular and well respected vendor, specializing in wedding and couture gown preservation.  They are also the only vendor in the Chicagoland area licensed by the Association of Wedding gown specialists.

Time is of the Essence: Though many brides set their dress aside for a few weeks after their wedding, enjoying honeymoon trips and new wedding gifts, it is incredibly important to get your dress to the cleaner as soon as possible following the big day.  Obvious and visible stains such as red wine and dirt can clearly damage a gown, but so can invisible stains such as champagne and cake frosting.  Therefore, for best results, get your dress to the cleaner as soon as possible.  If you plan to be out of town or busy with after-wedding festivities, ask a family member or bridesmaid to drop it off at the cleaners for you.  If you have any special requests or concerns about the dress, make sure to discuss these with your family member or bridesmaid, so they can relay them to the cleaner.

Do It Yourself Dress Cleaning: While most brides would love to have their dress last forever, many are not in favor of the hefty cost associated with licensed cleaners, which can be anywhere from $200-$800.  So if you’re not crazy about the price tag or not certain that gown preservation is for you, going the DIY route may be a good option.  Though it won’t be perfect or completely stain free, there are a few main steps in home preservation to help your dress look its best.  First, wrap the dress in a white sheet or prewashed muslin before placing the dress in a sturdy box.  Avoid using plastic bags or vacuum sealed plastic containers, as plastic emits fumes that can cause your dress to yellow or mildew.  Also, make sure to avoid storing your dress in places of extreme heat.  This typically rules out basements and attics, as both can reach extreme highs and lows when it comes to temperature.  Under the bed or in a large closet are two of the safest options for storing your dress at home.

Bridal Beauty Kit

As a bride, you want to be picture perfect at all times on your big day, so it’s essential to have a bridal beauty kit at your disposal. In the days before the wedding, while you’re busy finalizing details on the rehearsal, wedding, and reception, don’t forget to pack these absolute essentials to prepare you and your bridesmaids for any beauty disasters!

  • Hairspray: Essential for any last-minute hair touch-ups before and after the ceremony
  • Powder: Keep the shine away with a small compact
  • Concealer: To hide any blemishes on the big day
  • Bobby pins: Be prepared for hair mishaps during outdoor photos, hug-heavy receiving lines, and dancing during the reception
  • Waterproof mascara: Unless your tear ducts have been removed or aren’t working properly, there will be at least minor waterworks on the wedding day so pack waterproof mascara to avoid looking like Ozzy Osbourne
  • Lipstick/Lip gloss: For touch-ups before photos, before the ceremony, and after the big kiss
  • Breath mints: To keep your breath minty fresh when kissing the groom and greeting your guests
  • Dental Floss: There’s nothing worse than a bride with a giant piece of food stuck in her teeth (not that you’ll probably be eating much anyway)
  • Tissues, cotton balls, cotton swabs: To apply, touchup, or remove makeup
  • Deodorant: This one is pretty self-explanatory
  • Nail Polish: Everyone will want to examine your ring and the photographer will be sure to capture close-ups of your hands, so bring some extra nail polish to repair chipped nails
  • Perfume: To keep you smelling sweet all day

Keep your beauty bag with you before the ceremony and ask a bridesmaid or close friend to carry it to the reception and place it under your seat for any last-minute touch-ups.

Wedding Planning Conflict – Keeping The Peace

Keeping the Peace Between Bride and Groom

Your wedding day is supposed to be about love, unity, and togetherness, but often the planning process can result in blowouts of epic proportions between the bride and groom. Here are a few practical tips to help keep the peace if…

The Groom is Uninvolved: Many feuds come as a result of a groom’s general lack of interest in all things wedding-related. If your partner is unenthusiastic about the wedding planning, try to cut him a little slack. He’s a guy. His indifference about the wedding planning doesn’t mean he isn’t thrilled to be marrying you; it means he isn’t thrilled about flowers, favors, and centerpieces. To get him more involved, try to assign him tasks that might excite him like selecting the food for the rehearsal dinner, planning the honeymoon, creating a reception playlist, or choosing the cocktails for your guests. It’ll remove some of the stress from your plate while also getting him actively involved in something of interest to him.

The Groom is Too Involved: Every now and then, a groom comes along who wants to be actively involved in every detail and decision of the wedding planning process. This can result in a number of fights and frustrations. If your guy is overly involved, try to establish some boundaries. Have a sit-down discussion about the wedding details and allow him to take responsibility for the areas that are of utmost importance to him, keeping responsibility for the details most important to you. Whenever possible, try to schedule meetings together, but discuss your ideas beforehand so you can be prepared with a general understanding about what you both want.

The Groom is Freaking Out About the Bill: Money and budgeting is one of the biggest causes of stress in the planning of any wedding, especially if you and the groom are responsible for much or all of the bill. To avoid a financial fracas, it’s imperative that you establish a wedding budget together. If you can’t afford the lavish wedding of your dreams, figure out areas where you can cut corners and save costs so that you can splurge on details that are more important. Keep detailed records of your costs as you go and set aside money ahead of time for unexpected expenses that may arise throughout the planning process. This wedding budget tracker may help.

The Groom Has Very Different Tastes: If you’re having a hard time seeing eye-to-eye with your groom on the wedding details, theme, or style, it can put a serious crimp in the planning. Although you may be tempted to scoff at his idea of a Star Wars-inspired rehearsal dinner and cut him out of the planning altogether, remember that this day is just as much about him as you. The wedding is meant to be a reflection and celebration of your relationship and unique personalities. The best way to avoid conflicts about differing tastes is to compromise. Walk through the major wedding details together and come to an agreement on ways to incorporate both of your ideas and identities.

The Groom Wants to Invite His Third Cousin’s Neighbor’s Girlfriend: Narrowing down the wedding guest list can be a daunting task for any couple and it can certainly add stress to the wedding, especially when you’re trying to stay in the confines of a predetermined budget. If the guest list is getting out of hand, talk it over with your partner and decide on a reasonable number for each of you to invite. If there are still others you’re hoping to invite, consider creating an A-list (non-negotiable guests) and a B-list (friends, colleagues, and distant relatives that you’d like to invite). As guests from the A-list start to RSVP, send out additional invitations for every person who sends their regrets. If you still can’t cut down the guest list, consider holding the wedding at a larger venue or offering hors d’oeuvres and cocktails instead of dinner to save money.

All in all, wedding planning conflicts can be avoided by open and honest communication. Planning your nuptials together can be great preparation for the challenges of marriage that lie ahead. Learn to clearly communicate your feelings, needs, and desires in a way that isn’t aggressive, confrontational, or mean-spirited. Remind yourself (over and over, if necessary) that your wedding day is about celebrating your love and relationship. If you stay focused on the true purpose of the day, you’ll be less likely to be swept into the stress of insignificant details. And if all else fails, hire a wedding planner to eliminate the stress altogether!

5 Unique Wedding Favor Ideas

Weddings are special due to the fact that two people are joining their lives together, but they are also special because of a unique group of people—the guests!  Guests make it a point to make your day extra special, and wedding favors have become a fun way to thank guests for being a part of your wedding celebration.

The trick to giving a great wedding favor is to make it something fun, something special, and something that your guests will actually enjoy!  Many of us have received a favor as we exited a wedding, only to find it rolling around in our backseat weeks later.  The best favors are fun, useful, and thoughtful.  Here are five unique ideas that involve all three of these adjectives.

The Candy Bar
The best way to prevent your favor from being banished to the backseat or the bottom of a purse?  Give something edible.  And who doesn’t love candy?  Candy bars are typically set up on a table on the way out of a reception space and include large glass containers filled with different types of candies or other sweets.  Guests use small cellophane bags and scoops to create their own mixture of candy to take home and enjoy on the car ride home and well into the next day.  Make your candy bar personal by adding favorite candy of the bride and groom or color coordinate the candy to the colors utilized in the wedding.  For an extra special touch, use stickers with your names or monogram to seal the bags closed

Frame It
From the single gal, to the married mommy, to the dancing grandpa, everyone loves pictures, which means everyone loves and uses frames.  Frames come in countless shapes, sizes and colors, so you can’t go wrong with these memory holders.  Though some couples opt for personalized frames with their names or wedding date printed on the frame, your guests will likely get more use out of a favor without your name scrawled across it.  Nonetheless, they will still think of you each and every time they look at their frame.  This is a great favor option for couples who are considering having a photobooth at their wedding, or for those who want to do individual reserved seating.  The frame favor can double as a place card holder!

Think local
Every city has a few special and unique spots scattered about.  Perhaps it’s a bakery with cookies to die for or a local brewery that is unmatched by any others.  Maybe you are thinking about a destination wedding in a place with a well known specialty fruit.  Think about sharing some of these local favorites with your guests, especially if you have lots of guests coming in from out of town.  What better way to introduce them to the city than with a local favor?  For Chicagoans, this might mean a personal sized serving of Garrett’s Popcorn or a cookie iced with the Cubs logo.

Candles
These lovely lights and scent sharers have become recent favorites in wedding favors.  They are pretty, available in bulk, and easy to individually wrap.  However, take this popular favor to the next level with three things.  First, make it a scent most people like.  Just because a certain summer scent is on sale, doesn’t mean all of your guests will like it.  So, try to get a somewhat universal, but above all, a pleasant scent.  If you utilized a scent during your wedding, use that same scent to remind guests of your special day.  Second, even if the candle is already in a votive holder, wrap it in a something pretty so that guests can distinguish it from a candle being used for décor.  Tulle is a great wrapping option, and using tulle in your wedding colors will give it a personal touch.  Lastly, use a ribbon or tie of some sort to attach a quick note to your guests.  “Thanks for lighting up our night,” or “May the light of love shine for you tonight” are both fun options to keep with the candle theme.

Carts, Trucks, or Stands
Maybe the favors so far aren’t quite for you; maybe you want something a little bit more “outside the box.”  Think about giving your guests a tasty treat just after they’ve exited the reception site.  Take guests back to their childhood with an ice cream truck or snow cone stand outside of the reception site.  Not one with a sweet tooth?  Take a note from the city of Chicago and find a local vendor serving Chicago dogs or hot pretzels.  It’s a fun detail that will be sure to leave your guests with sweet taste in their mouth!

For additional ideas, visit the Music By Design Wedding Store.

Ceremony Music Tips

All About Ceremony Music
Hiring Your DJ to Play During Your Ceremony Makes Sense and Saves Money. A string quartet will run you between $300 and $500 per hour. Your DJ will charge you between $100 and $300 to run your ceremony.

When it comes to planning your wedding, a lot of attention is paid to the reception part of the day, but there’s also quite a bit to be considered when it comes to the ceremony itself.  One key question you may be asking yourself is, “Who will be providing the music for the ceremony?”  If you are having your ceremony at the same site as your reception, chances are your DJ will gladly provide music of your choice for your ceremony for considerably less (or at no charge) than it would cost to hire a string quartet or other musicians.

Live music is beautiful, but when you are on a budget, prerecorded high-quality digital versions are just as effective.  Your DJ will also have the microphones needed for your officiant and any readings you may have during your ceremony.

In terms of the music, you have unlimited options.  Some couples prefer traditional music and others prefer more contemporary options that reflect their personal taste.

The following are some examples in Ceremony Music Tips:


Traditional

Canon in D
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
Ave Maria
The Four Seasons: Spring
Lohengrin: Bridal Chorus
Midsummer’s Night Dream: Wedding March

Contemporary

Storybook Love from the movie “The Princess Bride”
When I’m Sixty-Four: The Beatles
Over the Rainbow: Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole
All I Want Is You: U2
Lovers in Japan: Coldplay
Lucky: Jason Mraz
Into The Mystic: Van Morrison

For a great mix of traditional meets contemporary, look into the Vitamin String Quartet.  They perform classic string versions of music for hundreds of artists – from The Beatles to Guns ‘N’ Roses.

Also, be sure to check out Fred Benedetti for some great instrumental guitar selections.

To make your ceremony easier to envision, the following is a sample of a timeline including notes where a special song is typically played.

Ceremony Timeline

Guests arriving and seated by ushers (ushers distributing programs) Prelude music playing

Ceremony begins

1. Groom and officiant processional Select a Song
2. Grandparents then parents processional (Select a song – usually same song as number 1)
3. The parents will light the candles (if you decide on a unity candle)
4. Bridal party processional Select a Song
5. Bride’s processional Select a Song
6. Bride and groom give flowers to the parents (optional) Select a Song
7. Readings (this is not as popular these days)
8. Vows
9. Unity candle or sand ceremony Select a Song
10. Bride and groom recessional Select a Song

All About Bridal Showers

As the bride, you won’t be planning your own bridal shower, but it helps to have an idea of what to expect (especially if your maid of honor is slow on the draw).

Read on for everything you need to know about bridal showers…

What Is It

Traditionally, a bridal shower is an opportunity for your close female friends and relatives to “shower” you with items you’ll need to make a new home and enter into marriage.  In fact, bridal showers are really the only wedding related event explicitly centered on gift giving.  Like many events and customs surrounding weddings, the rules for bridal showers have bended a bit.  Guest lists often include male attendants, and gifts don’t necessarily have to consist of hand towels and kitchen appliances.

When Is It

Showers typically take place a few weeks or months before the wedding but can really occur any time that’s convenient for the group to gather.  If you have a lot of long distance bridesmaids, they may choose to plan the shower and bachelorette party over the same day or weekend.

Who Hosts

Your maid- or matron-of-honor traditionally plans and hosts the bridal shower, enlisting the help and input of the other bridesmaids.  It’s typically viewed as impolite and self-serving for your close family members (mom and sis) to host the bridal shower, since it’s a gift giving event.  The etiquette around this has relaxed somewhat, however, especially if your maid-of-honor and other bridesmaids live far away and are unable to host.

Who’s Invited

The guest list includes all your bridesmaids, your mom, sister(s), and other family members, as well as your fiancé’s close female relatives.  Other friends and even co-workers may attend.  As couples showers are becoming more popular, spouses and the groom’s attendants are also joining in the fun.  Really, the only rule pertaining to the shower guest list is that everyone invited to the shower must also receive a wedding invitation.  (etiquette says: if they’re important enough to attend the shower – and bring a gift – then they’re important enough to attend the main event). Make sure to consult with your shower hostess before she sends the invites to make sure your guest lists match.

Where Is It

The style of the party will usually dictate the location, so feel free to have your maids get creative with the shower venue.  Here are some ideas:  a tea room, a garden, a park, a backyard, a friend’s house, any restaurant or function space.

What Happens – Bridal Shower Games

Since bridal showers center on gift giving, you’ll usually open your gifts surrounded by your guests.  One bridesmaid will keep track of who gave what to help you with thank-yous after the event.  Another shower custom is the mock “bouquet,” which the bridesmaids will create out of the package ribbons and bows for you to carry down the aisle at the wedding rehearsal.  Planned activities and games are a traditional shower staple, but don’t feel restricted to the typical “pin the tail on the groom” or “toilet paper wedding dress.”  You can find a list of bridal shower games here. Other requisite shower activities include – eating, laughing, and a little female bonding.

Ideas & Trends

Incorporating a theme can make planning a bridal shower easier and more fun, so if you have something in mind, feel free to consult with your maid-of-honor or bridesmaids.  Remember, the bridal shower doesn’t necessarily have to be a girly tea party.  If you’re not that type of girl, there are tons of options for themes based on your interests, whatever they may be – reading, gardening, outdoor activities, volunteerism, you name it.

source:elegala.com

Wedding Show Tips

The following wedding show tips will help your experience.
1. Make a list of what services you are looking for. Do you have a DJ yet? If not, put that on the list…etc.

2. Print out labels with your name, phone #, email address, and wedding date! (If you have room add your address also.) Many of the booths have drawings for prizes. They have forms to fill out to register for the drawing. By printing out labels you can just stick that to the vendors form and then get to the important stuff…checking out the vendors products and/or services! I’ve noticed some people just print out paper with their info on but labels are better as you can stick them onto the vendors form. If you don’t want to print out your own check out online companies like Vista Print where you can often get some printed for free!

3. Check out the wedding show website to see what vendors will be there. If you need a photographer then check out all the photographers that will be there. If you need a cake…do the same.

4. Decide what you’re looking for in the vendors you still need. For example, with your DJ, do you want an interactive DJ that plays games and dances with the guests or one directs and coordinates your event in a more professional way? Do you want a photographer that provides you with albums or do you just want a full resolution disk of your photos to do what you want with? Make a list of what you are looking for and questions you want to ask them.

5. Once you see what vendors will be there, check their websites. By doing this you can get a preview of their work and get an idea if it’s a vendor you’d like to work with. Add the vendors you’re interested in to your list of services needed.

At the show

1. Bring with you the list of services needed and vendors you’re interested in as well as your labels. Also bring a notepad and pen to take notes.

2. Bring a camera to take pictures of any ideas you want to incorporate into your wedding.

3. Bring your checkbook. Many vendors offer specials if you book while at the show. However, don’t book a vendor just because of a show special. If you have any doubts about them…wait until your consultation.

4. Bring your mom or a friend whose opinion you trust. Plus, as a bonus, they can help you carry things!

5. Register when you get to the show and be sure to grab the map or program they provide so you can locate the vendors you’re interested in.

6. Take notes! You will probably meet with multiple vendors offering the same services so be sure to take notes so you remember who you like and why. And be sure to ask the questions you listed before the show.

After the show

1. Pull out the brochures and/or business cards from the vendors you liked.

2. Call or email those vendors to set up consultations so you can see more of their work and so you can get to know them to make sure your personalities “click”!

source: bridaltweet.com

Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette

Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette

Everything you need to know to plan a rehearsal dinner, the prelude to the main event…

The rehearsal dinner sets the stage for the entire wedding weekend and is often the first opportunity for family members and guests to meet and greet.  Like a calm before the storm, it’s usually relaxed and intimate, allowing the bride and groom to unwind with their closest friends and family before the whirlwind of the main event.

What Is It

The rehearsal dinner is a celebratory meal after, you guessed it, the ceremony rehearsal.  It can be a formal dinner party, a backyard barbeque, or a seaside clambake. Regardless of style – it almost always involved a meal of some kind.

When Is It

The rehearsal dinner usually occurs right after the rehearsal, which is almost always the afternoon or evening before the wedding.

Who Hosts

The groom’s parents traditionally host and pay for the rehearsal dinner.  Nowadays, however, planning and hosting weddings – and all the events surrounding them – is often a group effort.  During your initial wedding budget talks with all contributing parties – you’ll need to discuss and determine plans for hosting the rehearsal dinner.

Who’s Invited

The guest list typically includes the wedding party, immediate family, and the officiant.  Some couples choose to invite out-of-town guests as well, but if you have a far flung guest list, inviting them all may be impractical.

Where Is It

For convenience reasons, the rehearsal dinner should take place close to the wedding location; however, the choice of venue type is pretty open.  Restaurants are always a popular option, yet more and more couples are starting to get just as creative with their rehearsal dinner venues as they are their wedding venues.  Mansions, museums, parks, gardens, backyards – you name it – it can host a rehearsal dinner.

What Happens

Rehearsal dinners are well-suited for toasting (and roasting), since speakers may feel more comfortable in a more intimate environment.  As the traditional host, the father of the groom usually speaks to welcome guests.  The best man, maid of honor, bridesmaids, or really anyone else may offer a toast.  The bride and groom can also use this opportunity to distribute their attendant gifts and thank their families and guests.

Ideas and Trends

More and more couples are opting for casual rehearsal dinners, especially when the wedding is particularly elegant.  Brides and grooms who want to relax and enjoy themselves before the main event find an unbuttoned affair particularly enticing, causing clambakes, crawfish boils and barbeques to become popular.  Other couples are centering the dinner around a fun activity such as a boat cruise, wine tasting, casino night, mini golf – even bowling.

Regardless, try to plan a rehearsal dinner that’s a contrast to the wedding, so your guests aren’t thinking “been there, done that,” by the time your reception starts.

source: elegala.com