Exotic and Inspiring Wedding Theme Ideas- Official TopWedding Blog
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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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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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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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The most popular traditions in Jewish receptions

No one can say that Jewish receptions are dull and un-exciting. On the opposite, these celebrations are extremely grandiose and filled with a variety of festive rituals that date from quite a long while back. From the blessing of the Challah to the breaking of the glass or even the world-famous chair dance, Jewish receptions are all about spirituality, love, merriment and a deep sense of family and belonging. As soon as the official wedding ceremony is over, the bride and the groom both retreat to a room for some alone time together. Afterwards, they emerge for a highly festive reception ceremony.

Jewish wedding collage

One of the main and most coveted tradition which is present in nearly all Jewish reception is the “S’eudah Mitzvah.” This ritual mainly dictates that fertility-inducing dishes are served at the after-wedding party. These includes a variety of Kosher treats, couscous, salmon, tuna sushi, roast meat, chicken, artichoke and the likes. Desserts are usually dairy-based and crafted from almonds, coconut milk, pistachios, almonds, raisins, dates and the likes. Since the bride and the groom usually fast for a few days before the wedding, an extremely elaborate feast is prepared for them.

The Challah

However, before the feast begins, the newly-weds and the guests- under the supervision of a Rabbi- opens the reception with the Blessing of the Challah. This tradition is centered around an intricately braided bread which the guests share before starting the meal. Either the couple’s close relatives or a select guest can accompany the Rabbi during the Blessing of the Challah.

Jewish wedding

Afterwards, the feast ends with another tradition known as the Birkat Hamazon. After the meal, several wedding blessings are repeated in another prayer session. Prayer books are distributed among the guests and religious leaders usually preside over the blessing ceremony. Then, the couple pours two glasses of wine into a single one, hence representing the start of a new life together.

Jewish wedding reception

Another extremely fun Jewish wedding reception ritual is the “Hora”.Also known as the chair dance, the “Hora” is a tradition whereby several guests gather around to lift the bride and the groom above their heads in their chairs. Quite similar to a wild crowd-surfing, the bride and groom are repeatedly bounced up and down as they struggle to keep their balance. Rhythmic Jewish folklore songs such as “Hava Nagila” are often played during the chair dance. Afterwards, the newlywed couple sits on an elevated platform or stage while their guests dance for their entertainment. To add a touch of infectious humor to the dances, some friends also dress up in humorous costumes and masks.

Traditional chair dance

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Posted in Jewish Theme WeddingsTopic WeddingWedding Theme on Feb 25th,2014
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Muslim weddings: A guide to the various pre-wedding rituals

Muslim weddings are always full of age-old rituals and traditions which the couple has to follow both prior to and after the ceremony. Rich in customs, colors, music and food, these weddings will definitely enthrall any guest. Every Muslim wedding is different, with each family trying to incorporate its own tradition in the special day. For example, while some brides choose to don a traditional white dress, others like to deck up in sequined oriental clothes for their wedding. One ritual which is present in every single Muslim household, however, is the prayer session which is held right before the “Nikkah”, or marriage ceremony.

Muslim bride in white dress

Indeed, Muslim weddings usually open with a plethora of rituals which are thought to bring prosperity, luck and joy to both the bride and the groom. So, read on to families yourself with the various pre-wedding rituals that usually accompany Muslim weddings.

Prayers before Nikkah

Purifying bath
In Pakistan, elderly male relatives often visit the groom to watch him take a purifying bath on the eve of the wedding. Brides on the other hand, are accompanied to the boathouse by female relatives. Wealthier families also hire a troop of dancers and musicians to serenade the bride during her ritual bath.
Egyptian Muslim brides usually take a bath in water drawn from the Nile prior to their wedding because this water is considered to be extremely purifying. In Saudi Arabia, a team of female relatives usually help the bride get ready for her special day by bathing and waxing her.

Muslim wedding stage

Mehndi Party
Like Hindu pre-wedding rituals, Muslim families also hold a “Mehndi” Party where the bride’s hands, arms and legs are adorned with henna. This is usually held among lavish celebrations where everyone dances to wedding-related songs. Instead of a band, elderly female relatives usually gather around to sing traditional and folkloric songs during the henna application. In Muslim cultures, henna is thought to bring good luck to the bride while protecting her from any evil eye. Not unlike the customary Western Bridal shower, guests often bring various presents of silk, food, jewelry and other ornaments for the bride.

Tumeric ceremony

The “Gae Halud” or Turmeric Ceremony
In some- but not all- Muslim families, a special Turmeric Ceremony is held either one day or a few hours before the wedding. Traditionally known as the “Gae Halud Ceremony”, this pre-wedding ritual opens with the groom’s mother sliding a single gold bracelet up the bride’s wrist to signify her acceptance in the family. Afterwards, the bride sits on an ornately decorated stage and various relatives line up to apply a touch of turmeric to her face. This particular spice is thought to purify and polish the skin, hence beautifying the bride for the big day. A sweet rice-based dessert is separately fed to both the bride and the groom after the ceremony.

Mehendi ceremony

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Posted in Muslim Theme WeddingsTopic WeddingWedding Theme on Feb 25th,2014
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Why should you go for a destination wedding?

With a rising need to explore and seek new adventures, destination weddings are constantly on the rise. However, some couples may feel compelled to stick with traditional church or garden weddings just because it’s the norm. Still, it’s always a good idea to opt for a destination wedding, especially if you prefer a more exotic, cozy ceremony.

Destination wedding on an exotic holiday

Extremely flexible, destination weddings are also suited to more adventurous couples, because they allow you the freedom of going for even the most unconventional of locations. The Grand Canyon, the rocks on the beach or even adventure parks are all fantastic, adrenaline-pumping locations that you can select for your destination wedding. Other unconventional albeit adventurous locations include Alaska, the African plains, the Himalayas or even in front of the pyramids in Egypt.

Destination wedding on beach

Since destination weddings are usually limited to your very closest friends and relatives, these ceremonies will most certainly be ultra-cozy, which means that the bride and groom will be able to spend more time with their loved ones. Best of all, since the guest list will be quite limited, you won’t be faced with the stress that usually accompanies large scale events. In fact, since you won’t even have to draw up table arrangements and other such tiring tasks, you will certainly be able to enjoy your special day to the maximum. You will definitely have less guests than in a formal marriage which means that you’ll also be able to save up on various items such as meals, seating plans and wedding favors.

Destination wedding with only close friends and family

With a destination wedding, couples will be make the most out of a virtually stress-free holiday, especially if they book an all-inclusive wedding package. This way, you can just lie back and relax while a team of experts takes care of all the complicated arrangements. Most hotels do provide wedding packages that usually include catering, decorations, cake, ministers, photographers and the likes. So, make sure to check with the hotel before your book your package.

Flying off to Destination wedding

Destination wedding

Because of the informal vibe that usually accompanies destination weddings, you’re certainly not going to be restricted by any dress code. So, if you’re the sort of non-traditionalist who doesn’t want to get married in a white dress, don’t hesitate to don whatever you want to wear. So, feel free to wear mini dresses, swimsuits, pants or even beach kaftans on your destination wedding. And of course, it goes without saying that thanks to your destination wedding, you will be able to honeymoon in the exact location which you’ve chosen to tie the knot.

Destination wedding

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A Shabby Chic setting for your special day

Contrary to popular belief, a shabby chic decor has absolutely nothing to do with shabby and poorly arranged decorations. Quite on the contrary, this particular setting is richly infused with warm pastels, white lace and glorious touches of vintage. With such exquisite touches and accents, it’s no wonder that a Shabby Chic decor is one of the most popular choices for vintage-theme weddings. The couple doesn’t even need to have an over the limit budget to go for this theme: all you need is plenty of imagination, some creativity and a hefty dose of fun! So, read on to learn how you can very easily bring a Shabby Chic touch to your vintage theme wedding.

Shabby Chic wedding collage

Soft hues and tones
The main thing to keep in mind is that you need to skip the bold, brazen colors such as reds, blues, blacks, browns and the likes. A Shabby Chic setting is all about soft pastels and warm hues such as pale pink, yellow, pale green, soft marine blue, beige, ecru, ivory, pale gold, white, eggshell and the likes. Best of all, this is quite an easy color combination to go for, especially if you opt for a traditional white dress.

Shabby Chic wedding dress and bouquet

Don’t hesitate to dress up your bridesmaids in similar soft hues as well. Yellow and beige bridesmaids dresses are quite popular in Shabby Chic vintage weddings. As far as the wedding cake goes, stick to pale tints such as white and yellow. The same applies for your wedding bouquet: white, yellow and pink roses will look incredible when held up against your Shabby Chic dress. Don’t forget that Princess-cut, flared ball gowns are not exactly the best options for this theme: instead, favor vintage-style dresses such as straight or mermaid-style frocks crafted from lace or satin.

Shabby Chic bride and bridesmaids

Wedding favors and Invitations
Forget about ultra-contemporary wedding favors. To create the perfect atmosphere for a Shabby Chic vintage theme wedding, it’s always recommended to opt for homemade and rustic-like favors. Jars of homemade jam, for instance, are guaranteed to delight just about any wedding guest. Other such options include scented soap bars, vintage-style candles and aromatherapy sets are all fabulous options.

Shabby Chic wedding favors

Don’t forget that the wedding invitations also play an important role in setting the perfect mood, so make sure to go for old-fashioned parchments and Italian script prints. Most agencies are quite flexible so be sure to discuss your ideas with them beforehand.

Shabby Chic wedding invitation

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Posted in Topic WeddingVintage Theme WeddingsWedding Theme on Feb 11th,2014
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A Brief Introduction to Indian Weddings

Extremely lavish, with several important ceremonies that span over the course of several days, Indian theme weddings are absolutely dazzling in terms of colors, food, accessories and jewelry. If you do want to throw an Indian theme wedding, however, bear in mind that it’s extremely important to familiarize yourself with all the various norms and traditions that are rooted within this culture prior to the ceremony. In fact, while most Occidental, white-dress weddings usually last for an average of an hour or less, Indian weddings can very often last for an entire week. A more “toned down” aspect of Indian themed wedding, on the other hand, can last for a minimum of three days, with each day dedicated for a particular ceremony.

Indian bride in traditional indian wedding gown

A few days prior to the wedding, for example, Indian families usually hold a traditional ceremony which includes dances, songs and henna application on the bride’s hands, arms and legs. This ceremony is often packed with various friends and relatives, with several of the older female relative singing wedding-related songs. Henna is also applied to the bride’s sisters, cousins and closest friends. This particular day is often considered as a very family-friendly, joyful and colorful bachelorette party, since it mostly involves women. This ceremony usually goes on for two to three days, with several relatives flocking to the bride’s place to help with decorations and table settings, especially in the absence of a wedding planner.

Indian bride and groom with bridesmaid and groomsman

Another very important ceremony that usually occurs on the eve of the actual wedding is known as the “Haldi” ceremony, or saffron application ceremony. This even takes place at both the bride’s and groom’s places, usually in their own homes. In this ceremony, the bride and groom are seated on an elevated platform, holding a bowl of crushed, slightly liquefied saffron and a grass brush in their hands. One by one, each relative gets on the stage and dips the grass brush into the saffron before applying it to the groom or bride’s head, shoulders and legs.

Haldi ceremony

And then, of course, the following day brings with it the actual wedding ceremony. A lengthy affair, the Indian themed wedding ceremony is usually held in front of a sacred fire. The priest, bride, groom and a few close relative sit around the fire during a three-hour prayer. Afterwards, to conclude the ceremony, the bride and groom walk seven rounds around the fire, a ritual that symbolizes the seven scared vows of newlyweds.

Indian wedding altar on beach

Following that, instead of a ring, the groom traditionally places a golden necklace with black beads around the bride’s neck and she acknowledges the gesture by placing a thick garland of flower around her husband’s neck. And then, just before leaving the stage, the husband places a dot of red or orange vermillion on the bride’s forehead, hence signifying that she is now a married woman.

groom putting sacred necklace around brides neck

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Posted in Indian Theme WeddingsTopic WeddingWedding Theme on Feb 10th,2014
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Various types of Muslim Bridal Attires

Muslim-theme weddings are one of the most diverse and flexible ceremonies. Indeed, not one ceremony is exactly the same, which leaves the bride with a wide variety of dress options. In fact, Muslim bridal attires usually vary according to region and family traditions. It should therefore come as no surprise that some brides choose to get married in simple white dresses while others don elaborate green, red, gold, orange or even black attires.

Muslim bride collage

In more religious countries like Pakistan, brides are usually decked in traditionally Oriental Indo-Muslim attires which consist of a red sari and lots of gold jewelry. Henna patterns are painted on the hands, legs and feet a couple of days prior to the wedding and this tradition is found in nearly all Muslim weddings, even if the bride chooses to go for a more laid-back affair.

Muslim bride in Oriental attire

On the other hand, Muslim brides who come from more flexible and less religious families often choose to don an Occidental white dress on their wedding day and several of them also go without the traditional headdress or hijab. While most ladies commonly opt for loose-flowing dresses, contemporary brides can wear figure-hugging, mermaid dresses, but this is quite a rare occurrence.

Muslim bride in traditional white dress

In more religious families, the hijab is an integral part of the bride’s wedding attire. While this headgear is often black and simple in everyday life, Muslim brides often go for more elaborate styles of hijab for their wedding days. Hence, if you want to infuse a Muslim theme on your special day, don’t hesitate to decorate your hijab with pearls, sequins or diamante. For a more striking look, you can even go for a shiny satin or velvet fabric and wear it in the form of a turban.

Muslim bride wearing elaborate hijab

As far as the white dress goes, it can either be simple and elegant or elaborate and frilly. In fact, some Muslim families strive for simplicity and in such cases, the bride is usually adorned in a plain albeit sophisticated gown made in satin or taffeta. Even if modern ladies choose to go for the typical strapless gowns, traditional Muslim bridal dresses are usually floor-length, high-necked and long-sleeved. Some ladies also refrain from showing their wrists and hands and in such cases, they can don satiny gloves for a shimmery effect.

Non traditional muslim bride

Of course, there are some brides who are more liberal and hence opt for the classic white dresses without hijabs. In families where the headgear is a must, some stylish ladies often arrange a shimmery scarf on their head.

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Posted in Muslim Theme WeddingsTopic WeddingWedding Theme on Jan 11th,2014