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A Gift Lounge

Well, Brides to be, you want to make sure your guests feel welcome and appreciated so what better way than a gift lounge! Instead of having to put together gifts for your guests and leave them on the place setting you can have your guests choose their own. That way they have the option of what they’d value most to remember your big day by. It also makes it fun for children if they are allowed to come. The kids will love getting to make up a bag or basket full of treats. They can also be entertained during the reception if you want to include a variety of small toys for the young ones.

The idea of a gift lounge is to set up a few tables with take away items that people can pick and choose. The tables can be themed if you have one for your wedding such as rustic, fairy tale or disco. Your gift items can be assorted foods like chocolate with your initials, cupcakes, bottles of water with fun labels, bubbles, hair ties or anything you think your guests would love to take home to remember your wedding by! The options are endless and you can have a lot of fun picking items out. It’s a great way to customize your wedding with a gift lounge.

We love the idea of having a space set up especially for your guests. You can even greet them over by the gift lounge area. That way you will certainly be able to at least say hi and thank you to everyone. It can get hard to make it around the tables during the reception when you’re simply lost in the momentum of the fun! You can also have items on the gift table that are more for the male variety like cigars or cuff links. We love the idea even of tea bags or desserts that the guests can enjoy right at the reception.

No matter what your style, a gift lounge is the perfect way to simplify giving back to your wedding guests! It provides choices for the guests so they feel like you’ve put a lot of thought into inviting them.

 

 

Incorporating the little ones in your day

Incorporating the Little Ones in your Day

Incorporating the Little Ones in your Day

Setting guidelines and expectations are crucial if you want kids at the wedding (or in the wedding). For example, perhaps you have an adorable little chicky poo in mind as a suitable flower girl candidate aka your childhood friend’s little girl. But when it comes to your sister’s kids, your neighbors’ teenage son, or your boss’s brood of four you really want to avoid having to invite them (or have them show up uninvited) to the wedding. Here’s the good news; you can do all that and avoid conflict. Have your flower girl and consider giving your sister a free pass to bring her kiddos since she is after all your sister.

Here’s the bad news though. You will look like a total hypocrite if you invite select kids but don’t allow others. And you’re walking a fine line between doing what you want and being rude slash hurting feelings. Tread lightly. No one wants to see a humiliated girl in a pretty white dress. Nobody.

 

Incorporating the little ones in your day

Mark Janzen Photography

If you do end up having kids as guests, prepare accordingly. Depending on your planner or coordinator (if you have one) and how rad she is, she may bring snacks, games, and activities for the kids in order to keep them busy and out of your hair during the reception (and ceremony if said kids are spectators and not part of the wedding party). If it’s in the budget, look into hiring some sort of separate entertainment for the kids like a babysitter, a clown, a fairy princess, or some sort of person who can make sure the kids don’t get bored, restless, or out of hand on their own. Check with your venue to see if there’s a room this can be set aside, preferably close to the main event so parents are within a close enough distance should a problem arise. Ask the caterer for options kids will eat and get some juice boxes. Lot’s of juice boxes. Or sparkling pop for the older kids for the champagne toast.

You can make it work, and to your expectations. Just know that with kids in the (sticky) situation, your dance floor might attract some younger dancing kings and queens.

Friday Bride-day

Friday Bride-day

When setting a wedding date, couples tend to automatically begin by looking at Saturday afternoons. While there are certainly many advantages to having a Saturday wedding, an alternative that has become increasingly popular is the Friday wedding.

If you decide to have your wedding on a Friday, you’ll reap several rewards: both financial and otherwise. You’ll save time, you’ll probably save a significant amount of money, and you’ll find that your guests may appreciate having a Saturday free to spend time with you and the other guests they know.

Before discounting this option for the sake of tradition, consider the following five benefits of hosting your wedding on a Friday.

Maximize Your Dollar

For Friday weddings, the majority of banquet facilities, photographers, video producers, musicians/entertainers, and limousine services are much more willing to negotiate in order to reach a price that suits your budget. Vendors tend to see Friday as a bonus day, a time when they can earn income. Savings on these services can really add up, making this option a great way to save money without having to sacrifice the quality of your wedding.

Save TimeFriday Bride-day

On a Friday, you’ll probably have your wedding in the evening, which means that the ceremony is followed immediately by dinner. This means that you will avoid the extra cost and hassle of a one-to-two-hour interim reception or cocktail party. Having the ceremony and reception back to back may ensure more people at the church ceremony.Friday Bride-day

Ambiance

Friday wedding ceremonies offer the opportunity of creating a dramatic, romantic ambiance that starkly contrasts that of a bright spring afternoon. If you’ve dreamed of a candlelit wedding ceremony, dancing under the stars, or elegant evening gowns for your bridesmaids, a Friday wedding might be for you. If you live in a particularly warm climate, an evening ceremony can also help your guests to escape the uncomfortable heat and sun.

Time with Guests

When out-of-town guests come in for a Saturday wedding, they usually have to leave early the next day in order to make it back for work and school on Monday. With a Friday wedding, you have the option to take the whole day on Saturday to spend with out-of-town friends and family. Though it is probably less convenient for guests to come in to town for a Friday wedding, they may welcome the opportuFriday Bride-daynity to take a long weekend and make a mini-vacation out of your special occasion.

As with all aspects of wedding planning, it’s important to remember to consider a variety of options and to think outside the box before making final decisions. As long as your wedding party and out-of-town guests don’t mind taking a little extra time off, the benefits of a Friday wedding might just outweigh those of the traditional Saturday afternoon!

Fido at Your Wedding

For many people, pets are like a family member, so having that pet be a part of their wedding day seems like the right thing to do. But are you and your pet ready for your wedding day? Here’s a few things to consider before you and Fido walk down the aisle:

Your Pet’s Temperament:  Is your pet easily excitable in large groups? Or have they mastered sitting on command? A wedding will be a new experience for them so be sure they will be able to behave and not make a scene on the big day. Even though you may want your pet there, they may feel more comfortable at home.

obedient

Check With Your Venue:  It’s important to make sure pets are allowed at your wedding venue before you start planning their grand entrance. If having your pet be apart of your day is a must-have, you may need to consider pet friendly places only when you are in the planning stages and picking a venue. This is definitely an area where you must plan ahead.

pets welcome

Check With Your Guests:  A lot of people have allergic reactions to certain types of pets, so informing your guest beforehand that your pet will be apart of the wedding will help those guest to take the necessary precautions.

pet-allergy

Preparing Your Pet:  If all is a go with Mr. Whiskers, then it is essential to prepare him for the day. If you are having him wear some type of clothing, or plan on strapping a ring pillow on his back and walk down the aisle, it’s best to start practicing weeks before the wedding day. If possible,  take him to the venue and allow him to get use to the new space. Allow your pet enough time to get use to his role and reward him with treats for being well behaved.

dog weddingJoe Mikos Photographers

Hire a Pet Handler:  This can be someone that you know or a professional, but having someone at the wedding that is responsible for your pet is vital. You will not have the time or  energy to worry about your pet during the rest of your wedding commotion, so having a person assigned to your pet will make the day go much smoother.  Make sure the pet handler has everything they will need to properly care for your animal on the day, including a home to take them to when the celebrations are over.

pet wedding

Preparing for Out-of-Town Guests

If you’re expecting a significant number of out-of-town guests (i.e. if the wedding is taking place outside of your hometown or the groom’s hometown), there are a number of things you need to prepare in advance. You can’t leave your visiting guests to fend for themselves, which means the task of booking rooms, providing transportation, and creating itineraries falls on you. Here’s what you can do to ensure your out-of-town guests have a fun and effortless experience at your wedding:

Book Hotel Rooms: It’s up to you to secure a block of hotel rooms near the wedding/reception site for your guests. You should reserve these six months in advance in order to get the number of rooms you need, avoid scheduling conflicts with the hotel, and secure a good rate. Most hotels will offer you a set, discounted rate for the rooms. Ideally, you should book rooms at multiple hotels to give your guests the option of where to stay. For your ease, if at all possible, book hotels nearby each other and select places with various price points for guests that are more budget-conscious or ones who want to enjoy a lavish weekend away.

Secure Transportation: If guests will be flying in, it’s up to you to arrange transportation to and from the airport. If the hotel has a shuttle, you’re in luck, but if guests are staying further away from the airport, you’ll need to figure out additional rides for them. If there’s room in your budget, you can book shuttles for the weekend. If not, this is a great task to hand off to members of your bridal party, family members, or trustworthy friends. Also, make sure that visiting guests have a way to get to/from the wedding and reception.

Create an Information Pack: Be sure to provide out-of-town guests with everything they need to know about your wedding weekend. When you mail your save-the-date cards or invitations, you should include information about hotel accommodations, car rentals, nearby airports, wedding events, and a weekend itinerary. It’s also incredible helpful to include a phone number of a friend or family member that guests can call with further questions.

Create a Wedding Website: A great way to consolidate information and make it easy for anyone to find is by creating a wedding website. Depending on how tech savvy you are, this can be as involved as you want. A lot of wedding websites allow couples to create a personalized site including information on their registries, accommodations, schedule of events, and location details. Google weddings is the newest trend in wedding websites.

Assemble Gifts: One of the greatest ways to make your out-of-town guests feel welcome is by assembling a gift bag or basket for them. Put together reasonable gifts based on your budget and number of visiting guests and have them waiting in each hotel room. Some great ideas of items to include: snacks, bottled water, fresh fruit, brochures for local attractions and area restaurants/shopping, disposable cameras, homemade baked goods, and gift certificates for brunch, a massage, or a nearby eatery. Feel free to include themed gifts (i.e. beach towels for a seaside wedding or local apple cider for a autumn celebration).

Plan an Event: Since most of your out-of-town guests won’t be included in all of the pre-wedding festivities, like the rehearsal dinner, bachelor/ette parties, and brunch, plan a special gathering strictly for visiting attendees. Host a cocktail party in the hotel or invite everyone over for a backyard BBQ. It’s a great way to welcome your out-of-town guests, give them a chance to mingle with one another, and show your appreciation for the sacrifice they made to attend your wedding.

Wedding Guest Etiquette

In an ideal world, every guest would RSVP on time, purchase a gift off the registry, and behave appropriately at the wedding and reception. In the real world, wedding guests make mistakes—a lot of them—and unfortunately, it’s up to you as the bride to fix them. Here are some surefire solutions for common guest mistakes:

WHAT TO DO IF A GUEST…

…Doesn’t RSVP: Give guests a little leeway—maybe a week or two—before contacting them via email or phone call and asking for their RSVP personally.

…Plans to bring an uninvited guest: As awkward as it might be, you need to contact the guest to let them know their guest isn’t invited (unless you have room to accommodate him/her). To avoid this problem, be sure to properly address every invitation so guests know whether or not their children, significant others, or dates are welcome.

…Contacts you with inane questions: Compile information, like hotel accommodations, maps/directions, and itineraries, to answer guests’ questions in one, easy location like a website or mailed package. When a guest contacts you, politely redirect them to the place where they can get the answers they need. You can also ask a friend or relative to serve as a wedding concierge to answer any questions from guests that you haven’t already covered.

…Buys a gift you didn’t register for: The only way to handle any gift is with graciousness and appreciation. If a guest included the receipt, feel free to return any unwanted presents, but you shouldn’t, under any circumstances, ask for a receipt if it wasn’t included.

…Is late for the wedding: Some ceremonies naturally start a few minutes late and many guests hope to avoid the pre-wedding hoopla by trying to arrive right on time or a few minutes late. Have an usher, friend, or relative stationed at the door to catch latecomers when they arrive and seat them at an appropriate, non-intrusive time during the ceremony.

…Gets drunk at the reception: If there’s an open bar, there’s always the chance that some irresponsible wedding guests may have too much to drink. Before the wedding, find a responsible friend or family member to offer rides or call taxis for guests who’ve indulged in too much alcohol.

Chalk It Up – Wedding Tips

Chalkboards can be a creative and unique way to add fun and whimsy to your wedding ceremony or reception. The inexpensive décor has a variety of practical uses that can be classy, rustic, or charming. Here are a few clever ways to use chalkboards on your big day:

1. Welcome Sign: Welcome and direct guests to your wedding or reception with a cute chalkboard sign boasting your names, wedding date, and/or directional arrows.

2. Seat Assignments: Instead of individual place cards with seating assignments for guests, why not utilize a giant chalkboard to direct them to their seats? Draw a detailed map of the reception hall or write out a list of guests with corresponding table numbers and display it at the entry on an easel or hanging on the wall. Or, if you prefer individual place cards, create them on mini chalkboards and hang along ribbon or clothesline or adhere mini stakes to the back to stand them up for guests to peruse.

3. Photo Props: Chalkboards are a great prop for photos for both you and your wedding guests. If you’re having a photo booth during your reception, provide chalkboards (as well as hats, boas, fake mustaches, or a variety of other props) for guests to write funny or meaningful messages for their shoot. Chalkboards in classy or colorful frames make a great prop for your formal wedding photos as well; ask an artistic friend to help out by writing words or sayings (such as “Mr.” and “Mrs.” or “Happily Ever After” or “Just Married”) that you and your new spouse can model in your pics.

4. Food Place cards or Menu: Label food options, available drinks, and dessert offerings with mini chalkboards, serving as place cards. Display them along food tables in frames or on tiny easels. Or, write out the entire cocktail or dinner menu on a large chalkboard displayed near the buffet or at the entry of the reception hall.

5. Table Numbers: Use chalkboards to identify each table at your reception with a clever or artistic drawing of numbers.

6. Children’s Entertainment: If you’re planning for a large number of children at your reception, keep them entertained by providing mini chalkboards at their table or in a kids’ gift bag. Depending on the location and setup of your reception venue, consider setting up a children’s area with larger chalkboards for the kids to draw on.

7. Favors: Unconventional chalkboard options can be a creative option for wedding favors. Coat the outside of candleholders or coffee mugs with chalkboard paint for a fun, customizable gift.

Save money by creating your own unique chalkboards. Purchase frames in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes at a local home goods store or thrift shop and apply a layer of chalkboard paint to the back panel for an instant chalkboard that’s chic, stylish, and completely original.

Out Of Town Wedding Guests

Many guests will travel far and wide for your wedding, and between airfare prices, tight schedules, and family obligations, we understand that this can be quite the challenge for guests.  Though all weddings guests are important, we love the idea of giving a bit of special attention to the out of towners.  Try a few of these ideas, and your traveling guests will be sure to not only notice, but to feel more welcome and at home than they expected!

Create a wedding website. We know that lots of couples do this, and it’s actually an enjoyable treat for all guests.  But for out of towners, wedding websites carry special meaning, as they become a go to guide for how to plan their trip.  Of course, wedding day dates and times are important to let guests know when to arrive.  Don’t forget to include to include details for other events including the rehearsal dinner, day after brunch, or welcome party if you’re having any of these.  Pay special attention to the addresses of each location guests will need to be at.  This allows guests to see how far they’ll need to travel and whether they’ll need to rent a car, take a taxi, or reserve the hotel shuttle.  While tech savvy guests could likely hunt down this info on the internet, make it easy on them, and provide it up front in one easy to find spot. Online Planning Tools

Send out a city guide. Travel expenses are steep these days, and many guests take advantage of the wedding trip to stay a few days and enjoy a vacation.  So send out some info about why you love your city so much, as well as some of fun things to enjoy there.  Think zoos, parks, sports teams, shopping spots, and nightlife favorites.  Include websites so guests can easily follow up on anything they’re interested in, and if you or your partner have any special recommendations for any of the spots, share them.  Your guests will want to know if a particular exhibit is a don’t miss or if there is a downloadable coupon for an attraction.  PS: Email this info to out of town guests as a PDF and it won’t cost you a dime!  Cost effective, thoughtful, and eco-friendly.  We love it!

Welcome your guests with a taste of home. You can tell a lot about a city by its food, so take advantage of this fact, and share your city’s famous food with out of town guests.  This idea is easiest to execute with food that isn’t temperature sensitive, so that your city treats can be left in hotel rooms or with hotel front desk staff.  We’ve seen salsa in Dallas, peaches in Georgia, locally made fudge in Denver, and Magnolia Bakery sweets in NYC.  A fan favorite with Chicago locals?  Garrett’s Popcorn!

Say it in a note. No matter what you do, make sure your acknowledge your guests’ out of town travel with a thank you note.  If you’re already sending a thank you note for a wedding gift, make sure to include a special line about how much you appreciate them traveling all the way from (insert city) for your big day.  Your guests will feel special when they realize you took the time on your big day to think about that.

Wedding Favor Ideas Here