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Vineyard weddings: Keeping your guests comfortable

There’s something about the great outdoors that never fail to make people hungry. Maybe it’s the fresh air, the feel of the sunrays seeping into the skin or the tantalizing scent of grapes. But, whichever the reason, guests do tend to feel hungrier during outdoors gathering.

Bride and groom in vineyard

So, if you’re having a Vineyard Wedding, it’s your duty as the host to provide them with satisfying dishes. This is not the time for delicate scotch salmon fillets. Instead, go for heartier meals that include potatoes, meats, chicken and fish. Of course, it goes without saying that you should tend to favor wine as the beverage of choice if you want to stick to the overall theme of the day. In fact, it’s not such a bad idea to make a wedding toast with wine instead of champagne.

Comfortable flooring in gazebo for dancing

Bear in mind that you also have to assure the comfort of your guests during winter as well. In this case, you can even have ushers pass out some warm mulled wine or cider during the ceremony. This will not only help them feel snug and warm, but they’ll also appreciate the personal gesture. Winter or not, it’s always recommended to go for a tent or, at the very least, a gazebo to protect your guests against the sun and potential winds.

Gazebo to protect guests from sun and wind

Don’t forget that a vineyard means quite a bit of mud and grass and most of your female guests will probably be in high heels. If you don’t want to see them struggle with every step, make prior arrangements to place a carpet or some kind of comfortable flooring which will make things easier for them. This definitely applies to the dancing area as well. A homely touch would be to invest in some vineyard-related decorations. Bunches of grapes scattered over the buffet table and garland of vine leaves and fairy lights are all special touches that will enthrall everybody. If the vineyard is equipped with a barn, it would really be better to host the pre-wedding party inside for the convenience of your guests.

Mulled wine to keep guests comfortable during vineyard wedding

Parking spaces can also be quite an issue with vineyard weddings. The last thing you need are frustrated and harassed guests who don’t have the faintest idea where to place their vehicles, so, contact the vineyard owner to arrange for parking facilities. Couples who are not on a restricted budget can even hire valet services to take this extra burden off your guests’ shoulders!

Hearty dishes for vineyard wedding

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Posted in Topic WeddingVineyard Theme WeddingsWedding Theme on Mar 04th,2014
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How to choose the perfect first dance song

Undoubtedly one of the most- if not the most- memorable moments at the reception, the first dance symbolizes your very first gesture as a married couple. It should therefore come as no surprise that most couples usually obsess about their choice of song. Indeed, the first dance song should be selected with extreme care and after taking quite a few issues into consideration.

First dance collage

For example, it’s quite important to make sure that your song choice matches with the special effects. This will not only be aesthetically pleasing but it will also infuse a deeply romantic touch to the dance. Bear in mind that a couple’s first dance is always a sentimental moment and there’s no harm in adding some extra feelings, right? So, if you’re opting for a slow dance, don’t forget to enhance the overall mood with some lighting effects. Compared to popular belief, clichéd songs are not such a bad idea for first songs: tunes such as Shania Twain’s “From this Moment” or even “Forever and Always” will help you celebrate your new union while emphasizing on a happy future.

Special effects to match musicSpecial effects 2

For ultra-contemporary couples, on the other hand, Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” can be a much better option. This can actually be quite an appropriate choice for newly-weds who have decided to go for a more energetic first dance. Don’t be afraid to go for pop, techno, or even heavy metal first songs if that’s the type of music that you and your new spouse usually listen to. Bear in mind that your first dance song should be an intensely personal choice and one that should be dictated by your personal preferences, not society’s. By the same token, if you’d like to go for a different or more acrobatic song choice for your first dance.

Energetic first dance

Another factor to bear in mind is that you and your spouse have to find a common interest in the song of your choice. An all-too-common scenario shows the bride insisting on one song and the groom on another, which often leads to conflicts prior to the wedding. Hence, instead of trying to coax your song choice on your spouse, try to work a compromise which will please both of you.

Daring to be different dance

If you want- and can afford to- hire a professional choreographer, then you’re certainly going to pick up on some of the most alluring dance moves. However, if you just decide to go by the beat of the music, be sure to select one that’s easy to dance to. “Sway”, for example, is an extremely popular first song choice, but, not the easiest one to dance to unless you have some salsa or cha-cha dance move.

FIRST DANCE

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Posted in Wedding CeremoniesWedding Planning on Mar 04th,2014
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Japanese weddings: The most popular traditions

Almost poetic in nature, Japanese weddings are full of symbolism and traditions that bring a special old-school charm to the ceremony. Each each family brings its own culture and tradition to the ceremony, which makes it even more special. While several families have now adopted Western church weddings, a few of them still decide to go for authentic Japanese weddings.

Wedding picture tradition

Not unlike Western weddings, Japanese weddings also require a rehearsal which usually occurs a couple of days prior to the actual ceremony. Upon the last rehearsal, the bride’s mother usually adjusts a veil across her daughter’s face- a symbolic gesture that represents the very last act that she will do for her child before sending her off as a married woman. In church Japanese weddings, the father takes his daughter’s arm and walks her down the aisle, but, in authentic ceremonies, the entire bridal party makes a procession to the shrine.

Bridal procession to shrine

Prior to the wedding, the groom offers nine presents to the bride and these usually include a fan, dried cuttlefish, dried bonito and linen threads, among others. This is followed by the “Shinto” ceremony- or wedding- at the shrine. A Japanese priest, also known as the Shinto priest, guides the family into a series of payers. The priest also conducts a purification ceremony for the couple, hence preparing them for their wedded life.

Purification ritual

Another popular tradition that occurs during Japanese theme weddings is the exchange of sake. An authentic rice wine, Sake is the Japanese celebratory drink by excellence and the bride and the groom often sip this drink right after the vows. The exchange of sake is quite a symbolic tradition because it represents the union of two different families; not unlike the lighting of a unity candle in Western weddings. Afterwards, the couple is paraded in a carriage to show their new union to their communities.

Procession of bride and groom after ceremony

Japanese wedding receptions are also brimming with traditions that are thought to bring love, fertility, good luck and wealth to the newly wedded couple. The reception hall is usually very lavishly decorated in hues of gold and red for prosperity. If the bride wore a white dress for the ceremony, she might also change in a silk kimono for the party. The reception ends with the bride and groom lighting the candles at their guests’ tables to share some of their happiness and good luck. Another larger candle is then placed in the very center of the room and the new couple lights it before going away for their honeymoon.

Japanese reception setting

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Posted in Wedding Theme on Mar 04th,2014
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Tips and Secrets for a successful Destination wedding

Fun, relaxing and undoubtedly filled with surprises, Destination weddings are steadily growing in popularity. The good thing about Destination weddings is that you’ll get a chance to explore new places and hang out with your friends and partner prior to the ceremony. This certainly provides the couple with a chance to unwind before the wedding, instead of constantly stressing about minor details. After all, destination weddings are not unlike a fancy holiday!

Destination wedding collage

However, there are quite a few things to consider before embarking on a destination wedding. It’s important to think beyond the vows or the table settings: Destination weddings also demand practical issues that should be dealt with even before you embark on your flight. For example, several brides underestimate the importance of properly storing their wedding dresses before they step into the plane; something that usually results in stains or maybe even rips.

Tropical bridesmaids dresses

Hence, it’s crucial to properly protect and pack your dress before your jet off to whichever exotic destination that you’ve chosen. Invest in a few protective sleeves that will protect your dress during the trip. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to speak to the airline and ask if they would consider storing your dress in the first class closet to avoid any accident.

Protective sleeve to protect wedding dress during travelling

Tropical islands will undoubtedly result in romantic destination weddings, but, you should also remember that the climate can get quite hot and humid. This is a factor to consider even before you chose your wedding dress because the last thing that you need is patches of sweat dotting your precious white dress. Don’t forget about your bridesmaids as well: short, light and floating tropical bridesmaids’ dresses will ensure that your special ladies are comfortable at all times.

Romantic destination wedding

If you can afford it, it’s also a good idea to fly to the wedding location a few weeks before the big day to avoid any unwanted surprises. This will also give you the chance to discuss with the hotel or wedding planner and fine-tune any last-minute details. However, if you can’t afford the plane fare, don’t hesitate to check out some high-quality and reliable travel websites that will help you get a general idea on how the location truly is. Factors too look out for are room size or chapel size, a hall or bare space for the reception, as well as the catering. Many destination weddings tend to serve local delicacies but this can be quite a risk if your guests don’t have an adventurous taste buds. Try to keep a balance between familiar and more exotic dishes to make sure that everyone appreciates the wedding feast.

Destination wedding on the beach

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Popular buffet options for Indian weddings

From fried snacks, to rice-based desserts, Indian wedding buffets are brimming with exotic delicacies. Since India is such a huge country with a wide variety of cultures and traditions, you can be sure to be welcomed with a plethora of meals that is bound to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Indian buffets are also amongst the most diverse ones you’ll ever find. If you’re going for an Indian theme wedding, it’s equally important to pay attention to the presentation to infuse an intense exotic touch to the overall day.

Indian wedding ceremony

Presentation and Setting
In traditional Indian families, meals are not served on plates, but rather on clean banana leaves. This tradition is deeply rooted in Indian culture and it’s considered much easier to serve the feast on banana leaves because there’s no washing or cleaning involved afterwards. While rural areas still opt for natural leaves, people from the city often choose to go for synthetic or plastic leaves for aesthetic reasons. Wealthier families, however, tend to ditch the banana leaves presentation in favor of Limoges or other such elegant plates.

Indian buffet presentation

The reception buffet setting is not unlike a typical western buffet, where all the dishes are laid out on a beautifully decorated table and everyone goes to help himself to the delicacies. However, in stark contrast to Western weddings, a lavish dinner is served both on the eve of the ceremony, as well as on the actual wedding night. These two dinners are more of a seated affair whereby guests sit in the eating area and are often served food by the bride’s and groom’s relatives. This is linked to the ancient Indian culture of receiving guests and making them feel welcomed by serving them. The third dinner is normally held at the reception and this is more of a self-service affair.

Indian wedding meal served on banana leaf

Popular dishes and desserts served
Several types of snacks are often handed out to guests during the Indian wedding ceremony. These may include both sweet and savory items such as fried dumplings or small cups of rice puddings. After the ceremony, guests are usually served no less than seven Indian curries. The curries are accompanied by plain white rice as well as a traditional fried flatbread. For religious reasons, orthodox Indian families refrain from serving any non-vegetarian dishes on the wedding day, but, chicken and fish are almost always served during the reception.

Indian dessert

Several types of Indian desserts are also served to the guests after the delectable feast and these include rice puddings, sweetened cottage cheese, an Indian version of the American donut served with syrup as well as “Kulfi”- which is a highly delicious and creamy ice cream made that contains several aromatic spices.

Indian wedding snacks

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Posted in Indian Theme WeddingsTopic WeddingWedding Theme on Mar 01st,2014
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Cute alternatives to flower girl dresses

Definitely one of the cutest ladies of the entire ceremony, flower girls often wear long, poufy dresses to walk down the aisle. From the typical pink princess dress to miniature version of the bride’s wedding gown, there certainly are a wide variety of flower girl dresses to choose from.

Flower girl collage

However, if you want to be different and bring some extra flair to your wedding day, why not dress up your little princess in another outfit? Contrary to what most people seem to believe, there’s really no law which dictates that the flower girl has to wear a long dress for the wedding. Don’t forget that your little girl can feel quite intimidated by the very fact of walking down the aisle in front of all these people, which means that she’s need to feel entirely comfortable in what she’s wearing. So, if she’s more of a tomboy, there’s no reason why she can’t wear pants instead of a dress.
So, here’s a list of some of the cutest alternatives to flower girl dresses.

Flower girl tutu skirt and top

Why not add some fun to your wedding day by dressing the flower girls in different types of costumes? Popular options include angel, princesses or even fairy costumes. These are quite conventional costumes though, so, if you really want to push the boundaries, think about dressing the flower girl in a Little Mermaid or even a Pocahontas outfit. Masks, tiaras and glittery necklaces can be added to make the little girl feel ultra-pretty.

Fairy flower girl costume

If you’re having a barn or rustic-like wedding, don’t hesitate to add some touches of the Wild West by dressing both the flower girl and the ring bearer in matching cowboy outfits. If the flower girl absolutely wants to wear a dress, fret not. There are quite a few ways to accessorize a western-like skirt and turn it into a cowgirl outfit. White leggings, a fringed blouse and a fringed faux leather purse to match are all fabulous ways that you can turn your flower girl into a cowgirl.

Cowboy flower girl

Of course, if you’re having an informal wedding and if you want to keep things on the down-low, there’s no reason why the flower girl shouldn’t wear something casual such as jeans and a brightly colored top. A really symbolic gesture would be to give each flower girl a pretty crown of flower or buds to complement their outfits.

Flower girl walking down the aisle

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Posted in BridesFlower Girl Dresses on Mar 01st,2014
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The best locations for a France Destination Wedding

Globally acclaimed as the country of love, France certainly provides an array of exquisitely romantic locations that would please just about any couple. From the various French Castles to the numerous vineyards or even the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop, you can be sure to find something that suits your liking and your budget. So, to make things just a bit easier for you, here’s a list of some of the best locations for a France Destination Wedding.

Married couple in front of Eiffel tower

Ancient French Castles to sway the night away
France is practically brimming with ancient castles which offer different types of wedding packages to meet your expectations. In fact, most of them even offer overnight services which will allow you and your guests to spend the entire night like royalty. Stunningly picturesque, most of these castles are made up of lavish albeit tasteful hues of gold, purple and imperial red. If you want an entirely stress-free wedding, you can rest assured that the castle will provide a full wedding planning package for you.

Wedding ceremony in French castle

French Riviera
Undoubtedly one of the most popular French wedding locations, the French Riviera has an intensely dreamy, almost magical feel to it. Nestled right next to the breezy French beaches, this place has quite a lot of venues including wineries, hotels, beaches, villas, restaurants, private domains or, more luxuriously, yachts.

French Riviera wedding

Chateaux de Versailles Garden
To feel like royalty on your special day, why not book the Trianon Palace Versailles as your location? Indeed, this particular location will allow you to get married in the midst of the lush, colorful and magnificently kept garden of the famous Chateau de Versailles. These gardens will most definitely provide you with a highly romantic setting that will bring a fairy-tale like atmosphere to your special day. Since this is such a popular destination wedding venue, you can be sure to find the bespoke package just for you.

Married couple in Chateaux de Versailles garden

The Old Cognac Estate
This French wedding destination location is so popular that it’s recommended to book it quite a few months in advance. With several bedrooms for those who want to spend the night. This stately manor is seated in the midst of an incredibly wide cognac-making estate which is bound to wow nature buffs. Whether you want to get married in the great outdoors or have a rustic and cozy ceremony inside the manor, you can count on the Old Cognac Estate to provide you with the dreamiest, most romantic setting for your special day.

old cognac estate in France

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Posted in Topic WeddingWedding Theme on Mar 01st,2014
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Top rules for a stress free wedding

Let’s face it: as romantic and dreamy as weddings are, they are also one of the most stressful events that you’ll ever have to plan in your entire life. There’s just so much to do- from the seating arrangements to the invitations, the altar decorations or even the wedding favors, guest list, buffet and so much more, the bride and groom are often faced with an overwhelming amount of items to tick off their checklist.

Stress free collage

This is why it’s so important to adopt a few habits which will help you relax in the weeks that follow your wedding. After all if you’re tired, grouchy and overstressed, you won’t be able to enjoy your wedding day, which defeats the purpose of all the incessant planning. So, here are the top rules that you should follow to have a romantic and stress free wedding.

Stress free bride and groom

Massages and Spas
Nothing will help you unwind like a lengthy, deep-tissue massage. For best results, it’s recommended to get a massage at least three times a week, for two weeks prior to the wedding. This will not only soothe your senses and help you relax, but regular spa trips will also revitalize your senses and help you face all the planning.
Other than massages, consider frequent Jacuzzi dips, hot stone therapy or even acupuncture and acupressure. To strengthen the bond between you and your would-be husband, don’t hesitate to book special pre-wedding spa packages that offer couples massages and the likes.

Bride getting massage before wedding

Seek professional help
You don’t have to drown the midst of incessant wedding planning. If you feel that things are starting to get overwhelming, don’t hesitate to solicit the services of a wedding planner. An experienced professional will be able to handle things with a much cooler and collected mind. In fact, planning a wedding is basically routine work for them since they’ve done it so many times before!

Group of workers

Makeup artist and hairdresser
The one big mistake that most brides seem to make is believe that they’ll be able to easily do their own makeup and hair on their wedding day. Yes, you may be an expert at applying makeup, but, remember that your fingers will most likely be shaking with nerves on the special day. Your mind will be all over the place and the last thing that you’ll feel like doing is try to wrestle the tangles in your hair.

Bride getting her makeup professionally applied

So, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced makeup artist and hairdresser to help you look even better on your wedding day. Remember that there’ll be very little time for touch-ups and the last thing you want is for your makeup to melt while you’re reciting your vows. You want the good stuff- which is why it’s crucial to hire a makeup artist who will be able to provide you with some of the best products on the market.

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Posted in Top Weddings on Mar 01st,2014
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Highlights of a Muslim wedding reception

Muslim themed wedding ceremonies tend to be on the shorter side, but, the reception can be quite a lavish affair that stretches across the span of several days. While everyone has their own family traditions and personal way of celebrating their reception, there are a few rituals that find their place in just about any Muslim wedding party. For example, since the color green is considered as being quite a lucky hue in Islam, most receptions are centered around a green setting to bring good luck and prosperity to the newlywed couple.So, here are some of the most popular highlights of a Muslim wedding reception.

Muslim wedding reception

Imam Zamin
Also known as the unveiling part of the ceremony, the “Imam Zamin” is the part where the couple sits on a well-decorated elevated platform for the groom to remove the bride’s veil. In India and Pakistan, the bride isn’t allowed to display her face until she’s officially a married woman. The public gesture of the groom unveiling his bride’s face for the first time is considered as one of the most romantic moments of the post-wedding ceremony.
Afterwards, the groom’s parents and relatives line up in front of the elevated platform to present the bride with various types of presents such as sweets, silk and jewelry. The bride’s mother in law also ties a single golden coin wrapped in a silk cloth around her arm for good luck.

Muslim couple seated on elevated platform after wedding

Walima
The ‘Walima’ is the feasting section of the ceremony, where the newlyweds and all the guests gather around several buffet tables laden with food. From ‘biryanis’ to tagines, hummus and pita dips, rice, fish, lamb and chicken, Muslim receptions are certainly oozing with exotic delicacies. Fertility-inducing dishes, as well as food considered as aphrodisiacs are often served as well and these include almonds and dates.
Because of some Arabic dietary restrictions, shellfish and alcohol are not served during the Walima and the guests toast with some alcohol-free champagne instead.

Walima Muslim reception feast

The Parade of the Muslim Bride
Muslim brides often change out of their bridal attire after signing the wedding contract. They usually show up at the reception in elaborate and heavily-decorated dresses and are paraded around the room to meet all the guests. In some cases, the bride is even carried over some of the guests’ shoulders and paraded around the room to meet everyone. The ceremony officially ends when the bride is finally placed back on her feet.

Muslim bride and groom

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Posted in Muslim Theme WeddingsTopic WeddingWedding Theme on Feb 27th,2014
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Bridesmaids gifts to thank the special ladies in your life

They’ve taken care of all the fussy little details like the cake, seating arrangement, aisle decorations and maybe even your wedding dress. They’ve helped you plan the wedding and reception and have most likely thrown a stupendous bridal shower for you. They’ve even agreed to wear whatever puffy, cupcake-like bridesmaid dresses that you’ve chosen for them! These special ladies have been there for you every step of the way and they certainly deserve a gift as a token of your appreciation for their support.

Bridesmaid gifts collageBridesmaid gift ideas silver charm with initials

Indeed, no bride will be able to keep a cool and collected head without the unflinching support of her bridesmaids. The tradition of giving a special present to each bridesmaid dates from quite a long time and it’s an excellent way of showing these ladies how grateful you are for their help. Best of all, the wedding industry is practically brimming with a wide assortment of presents that are especially destined for bridesmaids and maids of honors. So, whether you want to gift them something sentimental, engraved or humorous, you can be sure to find something that your bridesmaids will forever cherish.

Close bond between bride and bridesmaids

Bride and bridesmaids

One of the most popular- and useful- present is the matching bridesmaids’ bathrobes. Available in a plethora of colors, designs and fabrics, this is the one gift that certainly represents the unity and harmony that usually links your special girls together. If you can afford it, don’t hesitate to have a discreet monogram as well as the date printed on the sleeve of each bathrobe. Other memorable presents that you can give to your bridesmaids include elegant pieces of jewelry. Lockets bearing each bridesmaid’s initials, for instance, will definitely please the ladies. Charm bracelets or even anklets are other bridesmaids’ gifts which they’ll certainly appreciate.

Bridesmaid gift ideas matching bathrobes

To illustrate the close bond between the bride and her closest friends, why don’t you ‘officially’ invite each lady to be your bridesmaid by sending them a personalized invitation? Indeed, the invitation is the best time to present them with their bridesmaids’ gifts: you can either pin the invitation to the present or, more elegantly, hand them their gifts before presenting them with the invitation. Don’t forget that the presents don’t have to be identical either, especially if your bridesmaids have different tastes. Whichever gift you choose to go for, bear in mind that it has to reflect your appreciation and love towards these ultra-special women who will turn your wedding ceremony into a positively magical day.

Personalised bridesmaid invitation

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Posted in Etiquette & GuestsWedding Planning on Feb 27th,2014