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Post wedding celebrations to thank your guests

There’s no question about it: your entourage certainly makes the entire wedding planning process much less strenuous. Indeed, bridesmaids and groomsmen are usually chosen on the basis of their relationship with the bride and groom because they are the ones who will support the happy couple every step of the way. This is why etiquette dictates that it’s considered good form to hold a small gathering or party after the wedding to thank your closest guests.

Bride and groom

Of course, the wedding reception is a chance to thank everyone while showing them how grateful you are for all their help. But, since it can be quite impersonal, it’s not a bad idea to host a post-wedding celebration to thank a few select friends and relatives. A personalized gift for each of them is a nice start, but the new trend nowadays is to invite your most special friends to a small post-wedding gathering where everyone can finally have a chance to put their feet up, relax and talk about the celebrations.

Wedding reception

Since you’ll probably be exhausted in the days after the wedding, be sure to stick to a simple gathering. For example, if you’re honeymooning at a hotel, why don’t you invite your maid of honor and best man over for a post wedding brunch? Casual, albeit elegant, a hotel brunch will not only display your gratitude towards these important people in your life, but it will also provide you with a cozy environment where you can reminiscence about the wedding. If you want, don’t hesitate to ask your parents and in-laws to drop by for brunch as well.

Post wedding brunch at hotel

Another relaxed post wedding celebration that won’t strain you out is taking your closest friends and relatives out for a casual picnic in the great outdoors. Indeed, if it’s spring or summer, don’t hesitate to make the most out of the weather by taking the bridal party to lunch on the beach or next to a lake. Remember to keep things casual by packing light fares such as salads and cold cuts. To really show your appreciation for their help, make it clear that none of your picnic guests will have to contribute anything because you will take care of everything.

Casual picnic among closest friends and relatives

If you can afford to splurge and if you want to do something extra special for everyone who’s been by your side during the entire wedding, think about taking all of them out to dinner in an elegant restaurant. The posh setting, the soothing atmosphere and the glamorous air will be more than enough to show these special people that you do recognize everything they’ve done for you.

Taking your bridesmaids and groomsmen out for an elegant dinner

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Posted in Etiquette & GuestsWedding Planning on Dec 01st,2014
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A bride’s guide to the perfect bachelorette party

Undoubtedly one of the most memorable moments before the wedding, the bachelorette party is the best time to relax, let your hair down and forget about all the stress and planning that have led up to this moment. After all, a bachelorette party is so much more than celebrating your last night out as a single lady. It’s also about hanging out with your friends, having fun and being wild, which is why you should make the most out of every single minute. After all, who knows when you’ll have another night like that one?

Bachelorette party

While etiquette usually dictates that the matron of honor hosts the bachelorette party, we all know that the bride is the mastermind behind every move. You’re the one who’ll ultimately give instructions to the maid of honor, so, it’s important for you to take certain things into consideration. For example, you should decide whether you want a really wild, all-hells-break-loose party or a more toned down and elegant affair. Afterwards, it’s important to determine whether the party will last all night or just for a few hours. Most bachelorette parties usually last all night, whereby the bride and her bridesmaids rent a hotel room to continue the evening.

Bachelorette kit

If you decide to go with the hotel room, don’t hesitate to make the most out of the private setting to show the special ladies in your life how thankful you are for their support. Some brides make a general speech while others address each bridesmaid individually. It’s also a good idea to bring along a small bachelorette party kit for each lady. A bachelorette party is also the best setting to give your bridesmaids their bridesmaid’s gifts. Another wonderful idea for the party is to ask everyone to dress up in bright and colorful wigs and costumes which will add some extra panache to your big night.

Costume party

Some couples decide to skip the entire stag and hen do in favor of a joint bachelor and bachelorette party. This isn’t such a bad idea since it allows both the bride and the groom to spend their last single night together with their friends and relatives. However, since this is not such a common occurrence, you should probably send out invitations stating that your party is going to be a joint one. The one thing that you should bear in mind, though, is to avoid hosting your bachelorette party on the eve of the big day. Indeed, the last thing you want is to be drunk over and harassed on your wedding day, so it’s safer to have your fun night out at least two weeks before you walk down the aisle.

Gifts for the special ladies

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Posted in Etiquette & GuestsWedding Planning on Jun 12th,2014
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Selecting the perfect going away outfit

For the bride, one of the most important aspects of the wedding is the dress. It should therefore come as no wonder that brides usually pound the pavement for weeks- if not months- in search of the perfect dress. Retro, A-line, Ball gown, Mermaid or Princess, there certainly isn’t a lack of wedding frocks on the market. Even wedding magazines are practically brimming with a huge variety of choices for the bride to pick from.

White going away dress

However, amidst the excitement and flurry of selecting the perfect wedding dress, several brides usually tend to neglect another important outfit for the big day: the going away attire. Of course, some brides prefer to spend the entire reception in their wedding dress and wear it as they slip out of the reception. But, the majority of us would certainly feel much more comfortable in another outfit before jetting off to the honeymoon. Whichever going-away outfit you chose to go for, just bear in mind that it should reflect the overall festive mood of the day. Steer clear from dark, drab colors and go for bright, sunny pastels.

Elegant going away dress

Since this will be your very first attire as a married lady, it’s important for you to select a glorious outfit that will show off your best features. The good news is that there are quite a lot of going away outfits to choose from, which means that you’ll be able to find the perfect ensemble without spending too much. Some brides, for example, choose to don a white going away dress to keep in line with the theme of the day. After being in heels and a long dress for the better part of the day, you might feel more comfortable in a knee-length, elegant going away dress teamed with a pair of flats or kitten heels. Alternatively, a classy white linen dress, not unlike Bella Swan’s going away outfit in the fourth episode of the epic Twilight movie series.

Classy white linen dress

Simple and sophisticated, this attire will help you look more toned down, without being overly casual. But, if you’re more of a jeans and shirt kind of girl and if you do want to wear something casual, why not don a smart pair of casual linen pants and suit? This can actually be quite a lovely option for winter time. Don’t hesitate to accessorize with some boots, gloves and a smart hat to keep warm. Brides who don’t want to wear pants may also go for a long or calf-length skirt and suit teamed with boots, wedge heels, pumps or even stilettos.

Sophisticated skirt and suit outfit

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Posted in Wedding CeremoniesWedding Planning on Jun 05th,2014
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Touching song options for the mother-son dance

There’s no bigger pride for a mother than seeing her son all dressed up as a groom on the most special day of his life. It should come as no wonder that mothers often tear up as they watched their sons reciting his vows in front of the entire bridal party and guests. After all, he is starting a new life and hovering on the edge of a new horizon. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the first mother and son dance is always a memorable moment, which is exactly why it’s important to select a mother-son song that will summarize the adequate emotions of the day.

Mother of the groom and the groom

The mother of the groom, for example, will undoubtedly share a touching moment with her son if they both waltz to the soft beats of ‘Because of You’ by Celine Dion. Indeed, what parent wouldn’t want to see the love reflected in their son’s eyes as they both slowly dance to lyrics such as “You were my strength when I was weak?” So, if you’re more of a sentimental person, it’s best to select your mother-son dance according to the lyrics and then work your dance moves around the song. Other such touching songs include ‘Wind beneath my wings’ by Bette Miller, ‘Child of Mine’ by Carole King, ‘In My Life’ by the Beatles, ‘Blessed’ by  Elton John, ‘I hope you Dance’ by Lee Ann Womack, among others.

Touching moment between  mother and groom

Of course, there’s no reason why the dance between the mother and groom song can’t be upbeat as well. Some upbeat tracks with a sense of humor include ‘Your Mama Don’t Dance’ by Loggins and Messina, ‘Mama Tried’ by Merle Haggard and ‘Take your Mama’ by the Scissor Sisters. If you’re more a fan of rock-like songs, you’ll most certainly appreciate tunes such as ‘Simple Man’ by Lynyrd Skynrd’ and the iconic ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ by Guns and Roses.  However, bear in mind that upbeat and rock songs are a little bit tougher to dance to and might ask for a few dance lessons.

upbeat song between groom and motherDance between mother and son

Grooms who don’t stand on tradition might even give their guests a preview of their song choice by playing this very track as the mother walks her son down the aisle to wait for the bride. Whilst unconventional, this custom is being adopted by quite a few contemporary grooms because they want to celebrate that wonderful lady who gave them life and led them to where they stand today.

Mother walking son down the aisle

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Posted in Etiquette & GuestsWedding Planning on Jun 05th,2014
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Wedding reception buffet- catering to various dietary needs

Wedding receptions are never easy. While everything normally works out in the end, no one can deny that receptions involve an extraordinary amount of work, planning and careful consideration of each and every guest and their individual requirements. In fact, one of the toughest things that usually come with the reception buffet is trying to cater to different dietary needs.

Wedding buffet

Indeed, whether your guests are diabetics, lactose intolerant, vegans or vegetarians, couples should normally try to accommodate various dietary needs, a task that can seem infeasible for many. The good news is that, in most wedding receptions, you might have a maximum of two to three dietary requirements to cater for, unless you’re having a massively huge ceremony.

Guests eating from buffet

The easiest way to have plan the various types of food-related needs that you will have to cater for is to include a small note in the RSVP asking your guests to mention any special dietary requirements. This will help you have a general idea of what to expect on the big day. Having said that, no one can ignore how complicated and, more importantly, expensive it will be to include such a huge variety of dishes in your wedding buffet. If you’re on a limited budget, add a discreet note listing the types of meals that will be served at your reception.

Vegan buffet

However, if you can afford to splurge and want to make sure that all your friends and relatives are perfectly fed, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take their dietary requirements into consideration. Vegans, for example, will absolutely love having a special vegan wedding buffet table all to themselves. By the same token, if your wedding cake contains eggs, why not ask your baker to whip up a batch of eggless cupcakes for anyone who’s allergic to eggs? For a more dramatic look, you may even place the cupcakes around the wedding cake.

Eggless cupcakes

Vegetarian options are certainly not lacking on the market nowadays, which is why it’s probably going to be easy for your caterer to prepare several meatless, fishless and chicken-less options for your vegetarian guests. Tofu tacos, for instance, can be exquisitely delicious if properly prepared. In fact, you might even find your non-vegetarian friends reaching for the tofu tacos as well! Don’t forget to include a few eggless and vegan desserts as well. After all, if the iconic Ellen Degeneres could have a vegan red velvet wedding cake on her special day, why can’t you?

Tofu taco

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Posted in Wedding CeremoniesWedding Planning on Jun 03rd,2014
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How to have a festive civil wedding

Sometimes, a full-blown wedding is not always a good idea. There’s all this planning to be done, all the cakes to taste, the dresses to select, guest list and more. So, at times, to avoid all these constraints or to save back on money, some couples choose to have a simple civil wedding. This is also quite a good idea for couples who are having a shorter engagement period, because it will allow you to get married whenever and wherever you want. All you need are you wedding licenses, a quick trip to the civil marriage and you’re all set.

Civil wedding collage

Of course, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a festive civil wedding. It might be all about signing a bunch of documents, but you’re certainly allowed to have fun on your wedding day.

Civil wedding

For starters, while several couples decide to embrace their new life together in regular everyday clothes, it’s also a good idea to wear something festive or- at the very least- something new. Think elegant, formal clothes such as cocktail dresses, tuxes or maybe even a calf length white dress. Some brides decide to go all out and don a traditional white dress for the ceremony.

Civil marriage with traditional dress and guests

In fact, if you’re the sort of bride who wants to have her civil wedding in a traditional white dress, why not go all the way and invite guests? In such cases, couples usually try to invite closest members of their families and best friends. You are, after all, going to need marriage witnesses, which means that you can very easily ask some other guests to accompany you to the civil office.

civil wedding 2

Some couples can even ask judges to host a civil ceremony in their own home. This way, you’ll be able to have a cozy get-together after the civil wedding. Small wedding cakes and champagne can also be served after the civil ceremony to make the occasion even more festive.

Civil wedding cake

Alternatively, if you do want a wedding party without going through the entire walking down the aisle thing, you can gather some of your best friends and hit the town on the night of your civil weddings. Pub crawling, posh restaurants or even dance clubs are popular ways for couples to mark the start of their new lives together.

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Posted in Wedding CeremoniesWedding Planning on May 12th,2014
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The basics of wedding transportation

Planning your wedding transportation is never a boring task. In fact, it can even be considered as one of the most entertaining and stress-free aspect of the entire planning process. So, whether you want to go for a stretch limo or antique car, read on to learn the basics of wedding transportation.

Wedding limo

White or Black stretch limousines are the bridal transportations by excellence. Exquisitely elegant, tasteful and sophisticated, these cars are bound to make a stunning impression as you arrive at your wedding venue. In fact, limo packages even offer other services such as decoration and a glass of champagne for the bride and the groom to clink after the ceremony.

Wedding carriage

The good thing about limos is that you’ll have enough space for a couple of your close friends or relatives. The bad thing: they can be quite pricey and you’ll have to book it quite a few months in advance.

Vintage wedding car

Another expensive but just as elegant option is to hire or borrow a vintage car for your wedding. This is definitely the sort of car which will not only look spectacular in pictures, but, it will also add a lovely rustic charm to your special day. If you’re getting a vintage car, try to avoid over-decorating it so as not to distract from the antique-like impact.

Walking bridal procession

Of course, if you live close to the church or your wedding venue, you may even hold a walking bridal procession. In this case, however, be sure to pay close attention to the wedding forecast: you definitely don’t want to walk to the venue if it’s about to rain or snow. If it’s too sunny, don’t neglect to take a nice lace umbrella to protect yourself. A nice touch would be to have ushers or waiters walk with the bridal party and hand over cool drinks to the guests during the procession.

Bride arriving by boat

If you’re lucky enough to get married next to the sea or river, don’t hesitate to arrive by boat while your groom waits for you on shore. Ultra-romantic couples may even consider a horse-drawn carriage to drive them to and from their wedding venues. For an ultra-dreamy touch, try to find a rounded, fairytale-like carriage that will make you look like Cinderella at the ball. These can be quite expensive too- sometimes even more than limos- so, if you’re on a restricted budget, consider hiring it just for the going-away part.

 

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Posted in Etiquette & GuestsWedding Planning on Mar 31st,2014
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Easy ways to choose your wedding cake

Choosing a wedding cake is both a fun and a challenging task for just about any couple. The fun bit is, you get to taste and sample quite a lot of cake and enjoy these delicacies to your heart’s content. The challenge, however, is when you realize that the market is oozing with an insane amount and variety of cakes that will make it so much more difficult for you to choose only one. Of course, if you can afford it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go for two cakes, hence making the selection process even easier.

Wedding cupcakes

So, read on to learn how to easily choose your wedding cake– not matter what your budget or personal taste is.

Extravagant wedding cake

Decide whether you want something simple or extravagant
As obvious as it may seem, most couples don’t even think about whether they’d like a simple or an extravagant cake until they reach the cake shop. This concludes with both the bride and the groom being overwhelmed by the sheer varieties of cake on display, which can ultimately lead to a poor judgment call and the wrong cake.

Simple wedding cake

The easiest way to determine whether you’d like a large or small cake is obviously by going over the guest list and counting the number of people who will be attending your wedding. Having said that, bear in mind that, if you’re not on a budget, there’s no reason why you should have an extravagant cake even if you’re holding a small ceremony. An extravagant cake will allow room for several personalized touches such as a mini replica of the church in which you’re tying the knot.

Wedding cake display

Sample the cake on displays
Cake shops are notorious for their alluring display of wedding cakes. The sugary scents, the exquisitely crafted flowers and the light, airy sponges are enough to crack even the toughest of pre-wedding dieters. However, it’s quite crucial for the actual couple to sample the wedding cakes instead of sending the groomsmen or bridesmaids for a test.

Cake testing

Make sure to eat before you go to your cake sampling: several people are under the illusion that it’s best to go to a cake testing on an empty stomach because that will help them appreciate the taste even better. This is unfortunately not the case. If you sample your cake on an empty stomach, you’ll automatically find everything super tasty, which can be quite derivative to the whole purpose of the cake testing. It’s equally important to have a mint or, at the very least, a minty drink to sip on as you alternate between different cakes and flavors to clear your palate.

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Posted in Wedding CeremoniesWedding Planning on Mar 18th,2014
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The most common wedding planning problems and how to overcome them

While we all dream of a smooth sailing on your wedding day, the unfortunate truth is that wedding planning is dotted with various problems and challenges. There are, thankfully, quite a few easy measures that you can adopt to overcome the most common wedding planning problems. The main thing to remember is that you should first be practical and try to think outside the box: just because your best friend got married in a huge hall doesn’t mean you should do the same if you can’t afford it.

Inviting too many guests

One of the typical problematic encounters that most couples have to face is the fact that they invited too many guests. This can cause quite a challenge to you, especially if you’re on a restricted budget. Indeed, too many couples get carried away as they draw up the guest list and they end up inviting everyone from Great-Uncle Alf to your boss’s ex-girlfriend. Not only will this present you with some serious monetary challenges but it will also be quite rude to your guests because you won’t be able to properly welcome each and every one. Besides, if you have too many guests and not enough funds, you’ll end up skimping on important things such as the wedding buffet and favors.

Not asking to RSVP

Speaking of which, it’s extremely important to attach an RSVP card to your invitation or send it separately. This will help you draw out a proper budget and prepare the approximate number of seats and favors for your guests. Another common wedding planning problem that you’ll have to face is the location. We all want to get married in a wide, airy and dreamy area that will look great in pictures. But, to avoid straining your budget to the maximum, be sure to skip overly expensive locations in exchange for a cheaper albeit cozier place. Good ideas include farmyards or ranches or even cozy B&B’s.

Renting an overly expensive location

Pay close attention to the wedding buffet as well. A very popular mistake is to include hard to handle and messy dishes such as lasagna, overly-creamy salads and the likes. This can be quite problematic to guests because most of them will be decked in their most expensive attires and would probably want to avoid any spills and stains. Remember that toothpicks are your best friends in such cases: hors d’oeuvres and other such finger snacks can hence be easily picked up without staining the fingers. Steaks, roast chicken and fried fish are other easy options.

Easy to handle wedding buffet

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Posted in Etiquette & GuestsWedding Planning on Mar 17th,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