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Ceremony Backdrop

The ceremony backdrop is an often overlooked detail in planning a wedding! How do you envision yourself standing with your significant other? Are there flowers behind you, lights, fish tanks or arbor arches? The ceremony backdrop isn’t exactly the main thing brides need to focus on right away. First, you should pick out your venue where you’ll have the ceremony and go from there. If the space you chose allows props to be put up behind you that’s great! We have a few ideas that you might have thought of.

First, if you’re doing a winter wedding but don’t want the hassle of the cold try a projection of a winter wonderland behind you! It’s great for the ambiance of bare trees and snow.

You and your spouse might be travel enthusiasts and what better way to add that flare to your ceremony space with a world map? You can also add paper decorations like planes or cars. We love making a unique space that people haven’t seen before and that says something about you two as a couple.

Or, perhaps you are more of a fairy tale bride! A great ceremony back drop that adds great flare could be an open story book that starts with “once upon a time”. You can add greenery and glitter to make it sparkle.

Finally, maybe the ceremony backdrop is already gorgeous. Sometimes picking a venue is as much for space accommodation as it is aesthetics. If the space if gorgeous and already has the style you love then why change it? You could spice it up with ribbons and greenery if you want too but remember it’ll save you money if you don’t need to decorate the ceremony space and the reception space!

Tradition

Going with Tradition
We’ve all been raised on what our wedding day should be, so what is tradition anyway?
Traditionally, wedding ceremonies are held in a church or other place of worship and have strong religious significance for the bride, groom, and their guests. Depending on the couple’s religious preferences, their ceremony may include prayer, Scripture reading, hymns, or other religious observances. This type of ceremony is almost always officiated by a minister, priest, rabbi, or other clergyman.In traditional wedding ceremonies, the bride’s family sits on the left side and the groom’s family on the right.The groom will enter with the clergy. The number and types of attendants will vary between different wedding ceremonies. The bridesmaids, usually escorted by groomsmen, enter next and can either stand flanking the altar or take seats in the second or third row.
When it is time for the bride to enter, most wedding ceremonies include lively music such as the traditional”Here Comes the Bride” or “Canon in D.” The bride is escorted by her father or another family member who”gives her away” at the altar. The bride and groom, of course, stand next to one another as they face the clergyman.
At the reception it begins with a receiving line consisting of both mothers, the bride and groom, and the
female attendants. It is distinctly non-traditionalto skip the receiving line or to hold it at the church. Theannouncement of the bridal party is garnered with special theme music of the wedding party and parents are
also not a tradition from mainstream etiquette. Waiters can circulate with drinks and hors d’oeuvres while the receiving line is in progress.
Toasts should begin at the end of the guests’ time to eat. If the wedding cake is the major refreshment, then the bride and groom should cut the cake before any toasting takes place. The first toast is the best man’s toast to the bride. This may be followed by other toasts or not.
If there is to be a dinner followed by dancing, the”first dance” occurs after dinner. If food is to be served after dancing begins, the “first dance” is the first major event. In the most traditional format, once the bride and groom have danced, other guests are allowed out on the floor while the bride dances with her father, the groom with his mother, and so on.

Last thing before she exits, the bride tosses her bouquet to the single women in the room. (There is no garter toss at a “traditional” wedding.) The bride and groom change into their “traveling clothes,” return to the party, and exit through a shower of rice, rose petals, or bubbles. And that’s it! The only thing left is to write the thank-you notes.


Setting a Wedding Budget

One of the first and most important tasks in your wedding planning is creating the budget. Studies show that the biggest fights between bride and groom are caused by money concerns. Avoid the heartache and hassle by mapping out your wedding budget with these easy steps…

Step 1: Figure Out Who’s Footing The Bill

Before you can go any further with your budget, you need to establish who will be paying for what. Tradition states that the bride’s parents will cover the wedding costs, but nowadays that can vary from couple to couple. Have a discussion with all parties involved (parents, grandparents, step-parents, etc) to determine what each family’s contributions, if any, will be. Who pays for what in a wedding?

Step 2: Assess the Funds

Now that you know who’s footing the bill, you need to figure out exactly how much cash you have to spend. Tally up the monetary gifts contributed by each family and then, have an honest discussion with your fiancé about how much money, if any, the two of you want to spend out of your own savings. Once you’ve got a firm number, you can move on to step 3.

Step 3: Allocate the Funds

It’s up to you to determine how and where you want to spend your wedding money. Typically, wedding budgets 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%). Remember this is just an average and meant to be used as a rough guide. You may choose to put more money into one area than another, which is totally fine. Just make sure you don’t underestimate the costs in any one area.

Step 4: Prioritize

The budget estimate above is just that, an estimate. You and your soon-to-be spouse need to determine exactly how each dollar is spent. If your dream invitations end up costing 5% of the budget, figure out a way to cut expenses somewhere else. Planning a wedding is a lot like marriage: it’s all about compromise. If you go over budget on the reception site rental, try to lower the expenses on food or flowers.

Step 5: Save, save, save

Just because you have X amount of dollars to spend, doesn’t mean you have to spend it all. Try to be budget-conscious whenever possible and cut costs. Wedding can be incredibly costly affairs and often there are unexpected expenses that pop up at the last minute. Plan a brainstorming meeting with your fiancé to discuss ways you can save money. Got a friend who is a great photographer/graphics designer/florist/baker? Ask him/her to take pictures, creative invitations, assemble bouquets, or make your wedding cake. And don’t forget to scour the Internet for DIY wedding ideas. You’d be amazed how many stunning details you can create yourself at a fraction of the cost.

Step 6: Reevaluate

The wedding budget isn’t something that’s meant to be created and then ignored. You should constantly be reevaluating the budget as you make decisions about the wedding. Create a spreadsheet that can easily be altered as things are purchased or booked. Plug in the numbers and tweak the budget as you go to ensure that everything is covered and you never go into the red.

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

Cash Saving Tips For Your Ceremony

Great Ways to Save on Your Wedding Ceremony

Site Savings

Two in One
Many reception venues also host on-site ceremonies. The ceremony fee may be built into the cost of the reception or tack on a minimal expense.  Hosting both events in the same location will also save on transportation expenses.
Honor Your Faith

If you have a strong religious affiliation, your house of worship will likely host your wedding ceremony. This is good news for your budget, since members of the organization can usually rent the space free-of-cost (although a donation is a nice gesture).

Décor Deductions

Something Borrowed
Plan your wedding near a major religious holiday when your place of worship is decked with festive décor. “Borrowing” your ceremony décor means one less detail to plan – and one less item to purchase.

Simplfy Your Site
Overdone decorations are unnecessary for a brief ceremony. Keep décor elements simple (and cost-effective), and save the pricey arrangements for the reception – as this is where your guests will spend the majority of time. For example, strategically placed candles set a romantic ambiance and cost considerably less than flowers.

Go Natural
Cut décor costs further by exchanging vows in a naturally beautiful location. A garden wedding hardly needs additional floral arrangements, while an ornate church may be breathtaking on its own

Music Markdowns

Alternatives
Ceremony musicians can tack on an extra $500-$1000 if you’re not careful. Consider some alternatives and pocket the extra cash for your reception entertainment.

Hire your reception DJ to accompany your ceremony as well. Vendor pricing is much easier to negotiate when you purchase multiple services or package deals. Music By Design, Ltd. charges $100 for a ceremony ‘satellite sytem‘ – this compares to $300 to $500 per hour for a string trio.

source: elegala.com

44 Creative Wedding Ideas

Below are a some wedding tips from elegala.com

Wedding Ceremony Ideas

Location
If you don’t host your ceremony in a house of worship or in the same location as your reception, you can get creative with your ceremony location and exchange vows at sunrise on the beach or at sunset from the rooftop of the tallest building in your metropolitan area. Get more ideas for unique ceremony sites.

Refreshments
Use the season or your location as an opportunity to greet guests with a refreshing drink. Lemonade and sweet tea will quench your guests’ thirst while gathering in the blazing sun, or serve hot apple cider to warm your guests during chiller months.

Grand Entrance
Make your entrance especially grand by being escorted by your pet dog or by arriving on a white horse.

Vows and Readings
Not a new concept, but speaking from the heart by writing your own wedding vows or incorporating personalized poems and popular wedding readings or even humorous wedding ceremony readings into your ceremony will surely grab the attention of your guests.

Unique Wedding Reception Ideas

Location
You shouldn’t feel bound by the need to have your celebration in your hometown or the town in which you currently reside. Don’t be afraid to consider something unexpected. Bring your event to your favorite vacation spot or another location that has special meaning to you and your hubby. Everyone can appreciate some time away.

Venue Type
Think outside the banquet hall and bring your celebration to a naturally beautiful venue like a garden or museum. Your guests will enjoy strolling around picturesque grounds or appreciating timeless works of art.

Seating Arrangements
Add some visual interest to your setting by interspersing different shaped tables throughout the room or seating your guests at long tables for a family-style affair.

Catering Ideas

Bars
Who doesn’t like something with the word “bar” attached to it? Your guests will delight in all things bar, from a mashed potato bar or dessert bar to an espresso or martini bar.

Ethnic Cuisine
If you have a strong heritage, have visited a favorite world destination together, or even just have an affinity for a particular variety of cuisine, revolve your menu around that ethnic specialty.

Family-style
Offer delectable comfort foods with a twist, served up family-style – a great icebreaker for your guests.

Seasonal
Take inspiration from the season and serve a menu that offers a theme of seasonal favorites.

Courses
Break out of the conventional chicken-or-fish mold and base your entire meal around cocktails and appetizers or coffee and desserts.

Fondues
Fondues are making a comeback, and whether you prefer sweet chocolates or savory cheeses, your guests will relish in the rich offering.

Wedding Decoration Ideas

Color Scheme
Try pairing a few uncommon colors together or featuring varying shades of the same color throughout your space.

The Food Pyramid
Fill cylindrical glass vases with fruits and vegetables reflecting your colors. Oranges, lemons, and limes have been done so try a unique, more contemporary look with mangos or coconuts or tie it to the season with texture-rich earthy vegetables like husked corn, acorn squash, or artichokes.

Au Natural
Consult Mother Nature for inspiration, and bring the outdoors in. Natural objects like stones, leaves, pinecones, even twigs can add an organic aesthetic to your reception décor. Place in rustic containers or scatter amongst pillar candles for added ambiance.

Lighten Up
Floating candles in a shallow bowl adds lighting and elegance to your tabletops. Or arrange multi-level candles on a mosaic of mirrors or tiles and surround them with seashells or flower petals. Placing coffee beans or red hot candies at the bottom of a vase or bowl to hold the candles steady also adds an aromatic effect.

Consult your Inner Child
For the kid at heart, fill decorative bowls with your favorite candies – such as jellybeans and M&M’s – in your wedding colors.

Find even more inspiring ideas for unique wedding decorations in our complete guide to wedding flowers and decor!

Entertainment Ideas

Ceremony Music
If “Here Comes the Bride” doesn’t suit your style or personality, choose a song that does. There is no written rule that states you can’t make your grand entrance to a rendition of your favorite Beastie Boys’ song.

Non-traditional Instruments
If you desire live music over a DJ, consider tying your musician selection to the theme or location of your event. A beachside bash naturally lends itself to the sound of steel drums, while a trumpet quartet will sound impressive in an elaborate cathedral.

Themed Music
Take it one step further and zone in on the music that is indigenous to your wedding location. Guests attending a Mardi Gras-themed event in New Orleans will bask in a cocktail hour of Dixieland jazz.

DJ and a Band
Can’t decide which you would rather have? Have both to ensure that all types of music are represented throughout your day to please both your 85-year-old grandmother and your 21-year-old cousin.

Photography Ideas

Photojournalism
More and more brides are leaning toward hiring a photographer who specialized in a photojournalistic style. These photographers shy away from posed shots and aim to capture all of the candid moments that you’ll always want to remember or may have never seen.

Creative Shots
Hire your photographer to follow you throughout your entire day (leading up to the “Do Not Disturb” sign, of course). While it may make you feel anxious to have someone photograph you as you get ready, these shots will help you to remember the joy and anticipation of every part of your big day. Read more ideas for creative wedding pictures.

Wedding Cake Ideas

Minimal Adornments
Some brides believe in the “less is more” adage. A simple cake minimally ornamented can make a bold statement.

Square Tiers
Looking for a subtle way to break away from the ordinary? Square tiers make a modern presentation. Whoever said “it’s hip to be square” must have been in the cake business.

Cake-free
If cake isn’t your favorite dessert, then don’t feel the need to serve it to your guests. Apple crisp, peach cobbler, pumpkin pie, cupcakes, or even glazed doughnuts are a hit at the dessert table.

Sugar-free
The end-of-meal offering doesn’t have to be made of flour and frosting. Think savory instead, and visit your local cheese shop to have them construct wheels of cheese in tiers and stacked to look like traditional wedding cake.

Our complete wedding cakes guide has even more advice and a list of creative and unusual wedding cakes ideas. You can also browse hundreds of pictures of wedding cakes in our wedding cake gallery.

Attire Ideas

Wardrobe Change
Today’s brides are opting to wear not one dress, but two! Wear an elegant gown while you exchange vows, then slip into something a little more comfortable to round out the evening.

Anything but White
A white wedding dress symbolizes innocence and purity, but if that’s not your style, feel free to bring out your colorful personality by adding a splash of color to your attire. You can be as subtle as a colored sash and jewels or as bold as a fuchsia-colored dress.

Something Borrowed
Anything retro screams chic these days. So why not consider donning your mother’s vintage gown as a tribute to a family legacy. A few alterations can make it your own.

Stationery Ideas

Ethnicity
If your heritage is important for you to represent on your big day, do some research and find a stationer who offers multi-cultural invitations and announcements.

Creative Touch
For more intimate, casual gatherings, request the honor of your guests’ presence in an innovative and entertaining way. Here’s an idea – have your invite printed on a balloon so guests have to blow them up to receive the message.

Programs
Do something a little different with your wedding programs by including personal photos or by printing them on something that serves a dual purpose – like a fan.

Storybook
Get the most bang for your program buck by including stories of how the two of you met, who introduced you, and your relationship to everyone in the bridal party. Think of all the time you’ll save by not having to explain all of this to your husband’s childhood neighbor during the reception!

Transportation Ideas

Grand Entrance
If the size of your bridal party doesn’t warrant a stretch limousine, consider arriving on horseback, on the back of your husband’s motorcycle, or in the passenger’s seat of your dad’s antique car.

Wedding Favor Ideas

Double Duty Décor Elements
Use photo frames as place cards or potted plants as centerpieces, and let your guests take them home at the end of the night.

Something Useful
Give your guests something they can enjoy for years to come. A small bag of seeds to plant will remind them of your big day every time they smell the flowers.

Something Edible
As if a five-course meal wasn’t enough, send your guests home at the end of the night with an extra treat of your favorite candies or special hometown delicacies.

Donations
With a high emphasis on karma these days, give something back and make a donation to your favorite cause in lieu of knickknacks. Your guests will appreciate the altruistic gesture.

Wedding Gift Ideas

Attendants
After seemingly endless Friday nights spent planning showers and licking envelopes, your bridesmaids are going to need a little pampering of their own. A spa gift certificate is the perfect way to thank them for their hard work.

Gift Baskets
Make out-of-town guests feel welcome by greeting them with a basket of goodies in their hotel room. Include some essentials that will make their stay more comfortable, and incorporate some items that are reflective of your wedding location. Nothing like some bottled water and Vermont maple syrup to get them through the weekend!

Registry Ideas

The Gift of Travel
If time away is more important to you than a waffle iron, consider setting up a honeymoon registry. Many travel agents offer services to collect, record, and apply contributions from your guests toward your honeymoon travel expenditures. Some even allow guests to contribute to specific activities at your destination location, such as scuba diving lessons or boat rides.

The Gift of Life
If your house is already stocked with all of the essentials, give something back instead. Many eco-friendly organizations such as the World Wildlife Federation offer donation registries.