With the new Pantone colors of pink and blue for 2017, I’m finding less brides follow the well thought out color schemes, if you will. They are choosing to be more personalized with their guests and concentrating on the “wow” factor. Here’s a few suggestions that might help plan your special day.
Picking a Venue or Setting
Surprise settings. Today’s couples want a wedding that will blow their guests away, and one of the key elements to an unforgettable event is the choice of venue. “Any place with a large plot of land or a distinct building — or both — will allow couples to really personalize their wedding and help them tell their unique story,” says Amy Cagginello, founder of Amy Champagne Events in Connecticut.
Vintage glamour (with a twist). Picture an industrial warehouse decked out with ornate, over-the-top centerpieces and set aglow with strands of twinkling lights and candles. You get the picture: a whimsical mash-up of old and new.
Make it work! If it’s not practical to book a unique wedding venue, Bianca Hall of Chicago’s Estera Events says lofts and tents will give couples more room to get creative. “Or book a rooftop space with a jaw-droppingly fantastic view!”
Let’s talk color!
Pink is In. Blush rose, to be exact, remains the “it” wedding color. Rhiannon Bosse, owner of Hey Gorgeous Events in Michigan, has dubbed blush a “now and forever” shade, because it’s both trending and timeless. Many of the brides I work with have blush pink in the mix. It’s a great color to use for blending with more vivid hues.
Neutral territory. From charcoal to blue-greys, or grey-browns, “This color palette is perfect for the bride who wants to achieve a classic, sophisticated feel that won’t seem dated or look too trendy in years to come,” says Michelle Cousins, the planning guru behind Michelle Leo Events in Utah.
Metallics Add the Glitter. Brides continue to embrace copper, rose gold, and pewter because they’re so versatile, says Sara Fried, of Fete Nashville. Not only do they work with other colors for a look that’s at once relaxed and fun, they are ideal tones for a black-tie evening. Don’t go overboard with shine. Place metallic in specified spots that will sparkle and not overwhelm the room.
A Color Comeback
"Color is making a comeback, versus all-white weddings. We're seeing less floral and more props as well as hanging centerpieces and more lighting patterns in abundance." —Nahid Farhoud, Nahid's Global Events
Neutral Tones with Bright Accents
"We're seeing dreamy palettes of greys, creams and golds paired with glass and metallics." —Audrey Isaac, 100 Candles
The Beautiful Flowers
Flights of fancy. Tall glass trumpet vases are making a comeback. “they allow for large, lush arrangements,” says Cousins, “but they sit above guests' heads, so it’s easy for conversation.” similarly, Bosse is seeing a renaissance of linear, more tailored centerpieces, as opposed to the loose, “fresh-picked” style that’s been popular in recent years. “these structured arrangements fall in line with the trend toward a more classic wedding look overall,” she says
Gorgeous blooms. Peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, dahlias and other “soft-petal” blooms are the top-requested flowers from coast to coast — and for good reason. “They epitomize romance,” says Zoe Gallina, creative director of Botanica international Floral Design in Florida. Peonies, are in high demand, with one planner noting that some brides will time their weddings to take place when peonies are in peak season. Loose rose petals, used as a “garland” or runner atop tables or scattered among floating candles, are another trend that's coming on strong.
Sophisticated whimsy. At the other end of the trend spectrum, gallina says flowering plants like king- and pink-ice protea, along with assorted bold tropical blooms and small potted plants, lend a dose of stateliness for brides who want arrangements that feel natural and organic — yet elegant.
"With florals, we're going to keep seeing garlands, as well as organic bouquets and centerpieces, all of which have had tremendous staying power among brides." —Jamie Chang, Passport to Joy
I love seeing a variation of three different centerpieces on the guest tables. A low, middle and tall centerpiece always makes a spectacular looking reception.
The All-Important Food
As with last year, couples are infusing pride of location in their hometown celebrations, local flavors are taking the spotlight. For example, in Utah, buffalo is often featured as both a main course and as an appetizer, says Cousins. In Vermont, maple flavoring can make several appearances in the menu. Gulf shrimp is on display in various parts of the South, and so on. (The trend carries over to drinks.) “It’s an extension of the farm-to-table trend that popped up a few years ago,” says Chancey, “but even more fun for the guests.”
Wine-and-cheese pairings have become a familiar site at cocktail receptions, but the idea of matching different foods with different drinks is being carried over to other types of beverages and appetizers, says Hall. “It elevates the guest experience by keeping folks active and engaged,” she says. Some duets to consider: wine and pasta, cake and craft beer, margaritas and guacamole, or for a wedding brunch, try mimosas and pastries.
What’s old is new again
In 2017, bartenders and mixologists are moving away from the very sweet and/or colorful pours in favor of old-time classics, including the Moscow mule, a Pimm’s Cup, and the sidecar.
Now on to Cakes and Sweets
Tall cakes that look as if they leapt off the pages of your mother’s wedding album are suddenly in vogue. “After the last few years of pies, cake pops, doughnuts, and cupcakes, there’s been a strong shift back to tiered wedding cakes,” says Bosse. “There’s something nostalgic to people about wedding cake.” As for the height aspect of the trend, she says tall cakes lend visual interest to a dessert table and allow for some very creative artistry — anything from hand painting to jeweled accents.
Related: 101 Amazing Wedding Cakes
S’mores stations and candy bars have been around for a few years, but one new dessert trend is to forgo a formal dessert course and instead serve guests passed desserts and/or set up several grazing dessert stations so guests can mingle and sample, “just like cocktail hour,” says Cagginello. “It keeps the energy going.”
"There will always be a place for the traditional wedding cake but more couples are embracing alternatives such as doughnuts, cookies and even cheese." —Jamie Chang, Passport to Joy
Let’s Add Some Fun!
A Never-Ending Feast of Food
"Late night snacks are becoming more of a 'must do' as opposed to simply an add-on. We're also seeing additional courses added to the dinner beyond simply a salad and entrée." —Kevin Dennis, Fantasy Sound Event Services
I’ve given you a few pointers to start thinking about for 2017. More to come in the following weeks. If you ever have any questions, give me a call or send an email.
Starry Night Events, LLC
Some information gathered from Bridal Guide and Brides.com
Drink photo credit: JESSIE ALEXIS PHOTOGRAPHY
Hanging Floral Centerpiece Photo Credit: Wild Native Photography
I’m finishing up my review series on some of the best venues in the St. Charles County area. The last, but not least is Old Hickory Golf Club. I recently was the day-of planner for a wonderful couple at this venue. Veronica, one of the staff coordinators and her staff did not disappoint. Together with the bride and her mother, Old Hickory’s staff and myself, we created the perfect day.
This venue features spectacular views, creating a perfect setting for your special day with accommodations that will make your celebration a memory to last forever.
Old Hickory Golf Club is a scenic spot set in St. Peters, Missouri, offering luscious lawns and a picturesque landscape. The clubhouse’s contemporary décor brings casual elegance and refinement together, creating a tasteful space for a bridal luncheon, a wedding ceremony or a reception.
The beautifully groomed grounds provide an optimal location for couples who are looking for a cerebral outdoor ceremony. Surrounded by green grass and a romantic canopy of trees overhead, the bride and groom can wed before their family and friends in a beautifully natural setting. Guests witness the vows on folding white garden chairs, which are set up as theater-style seating.
You can also choose to hire a tent company for added weather protection for late fall weddings. The grounds also feature some beautiful spots for couples to have their photographs taken, such as the pristine gardens and a secluded pond. There’s also a gorgeous stone bridge with elegant black lanterns, giving pictures a look of old-world sophistication.
Able to accommodate up to 550 guests, couples can host a reception or ceremony in the venue’s spacious banquet hall. This versatile room features high, modern ceilings and tasteful chandeliers. Its many windows give it a lot of light during the day, as well as a spectacular view of the grounds and an evening sunset.
Rental of the banquet hall includes votive candles, white linens, china and glassware. The menus are completely customizable. There are experienced wedding coordinators on staff who work directly with the couple to create a memorable event. Included in the rental of the banquet hall is audiovisual equipment, so couples can dance with quality sound or throw on a memorable slideshow for guests to enjoy. Dining options include round tables able to seat up to 10 guests or long tables. In addition, the banquet hall’s wood-tiled flooring is a great space for dancing.
These are just a few of the items that come with the packages Old Hickory Golf Club offer. Another perk is that there are special incentives for couples who book their event during the winter months, Friday evenings, Sundays or Saturday afternoons.
Old Hickory Golf Club works well with all types of vendors. The mid-November wedding which I helped with was amazing. The ceremony was held on a beautiful, Saturday afternoon in a clear tent near the lake, holding over 200 guests. After the ceremony, fireworks lit the sky at sunset.
All guests then retreated inside to the front hall for cocktail hour, FishEyeFun, and visiting. An hour later the reception hall buzzed with anticipation. The couple and their wedding party was announced with grandeur. Every detail was perfect. Three different size centerpieces adorned the tables with menu cards and shades of lavender napkins to match. The ice sculpture was perfect and the head table glittered. Uplighting and the DJ made the night fantastic. The couple surprised the crowd when they performed their first dance without a hitch. You see, they had taken dance lessons beforehand, so they could wow their guests. There wasn’t one detail left undone. The evening was magical! And I think Old Hickory Golf Club and their staff helped make it possible.
Check it out at http://www.oldhickorygc.com.
If you want more information, give me a call or send an email.
Starry Night Events, LLC
Here’s some financial tips to talk over before the big day.
Think about it! You’ve planned the wedding and everything is ready for the big day. But do you really know the financial status of your new partner to be?
More than likely you have two separate bank accounts. Will you merge these accounts or not, this is the question? It’s really important to make this decision when planning your life together. This will help alleviate conflict and stress in a marriage after the wedding day.
Blueprint for Planning
Create a Budget
Evaluate Insurance Options
Name and Beneficiary Designation Changes
A few years down the road you may want to outline an estate plan. You can use an attorney. Your financial planner may have access to an estate planner who can give your great advice. You can choose between a will or trust. But be sure that you have durable powers of attorney ad health care directives. Estate planning will protect you and your spouse.
Hopefully this has given you a little information of how to begin your financial life together. If you have questions, either give me a call or email me at the information below.
Starry Night Events, LLC
Some information taken from Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis
Thinking of a hotel for your wedding? It can be the perfect place for an amazing event! Especially if its located at the Ameristar Casino Resort Spa in St. Charles, MO. They have everything imaginable at your fingertips. And a great staff to boot!
The Ameristar states, “Just bring joy. We’ll supply the rest. From the initial planning of your wedding celebrations to its finishing touches – and touching finish – our team of experts at Ameristar Casino Resort and Spa St. Charles will make it the joyous, serene occasion that you deserve.
Our company’s culture is guided by our values – Integrity, Care, Excellence, Innovation and Ownership. It’s through these values that we fulfill our commitment to remain focused on doing the very best for our team members, guests and shareholders.”
I recently worked with Samantha Hoester, the Events Meeting Manager, at a wedding where the ceremony was on the rooftop, nestled on the event lawn, just to the side of the pool area. What a beautiful site overlooking the Missouri River. The area is made up of greenery, trees and beautiful plants, so no extra flowers are needed. The space has a large area for seating, with white folding chairs, brick and stone plant beds and columns. This area can be made into a lovely setting for an outdoor wedding. Samantha is wonderful to work with and is on queue with every detail.
After the ceremony, you can move to the ballroom area for cocktail hour and the reception. The Ameristar has spacious areas outside each ballroom hall for cocktails and appetizers. The bar is usually set up in this area, along with the gift table and photo booth or other entertainment. Light snacks are served, along with a full bar. This is a great time to catch up with friends and family members, while the wedding party is out taking pictures.
You can then move into the ballroom for the reception. The Ameristar has several different options handling 80 to 700 people. They can combine four different rooms together for a very large wedding. My couple’s wedding was in the Imagination Ballroom, which held all guests, the DJ, an elevated head table and a gorgeous buffet table. You could tell the wait staff loved their jobs because of the way they performed throughout the evening. And the food was outstanding, with prime rib cooked perfectly.
One of the best parts of booking with the Ameristar is the complimentary suite at the hotel. This gives the bride and her bridesmaids a place to get ready and relax before the wedding. It also is handy for storing items before and after the wedding. This exciting room has a king size bed, awesome bathroom, with a sunken tub and a living room area to just hang out. It also has a small kitchen area with a fridge, sink and counter. You couldn’t ask for more on your wedding day. Can you tell I’m in love?
And Starry Night Events can add to your day to take out all the stress and make your day perfect in every way. We can add the little touches that take care of all the unexpected things that might happen. We are your communication piece between you and the hotel. You should not have to worry about anything on your big day and Starry Night Events can make that happen.
If you have more questions about the Ameristar Casino Resort Spa in St. Charles give me a call or send me a note.
Starry Night Events, LLC
Looking for a great venue to have your once in a life time event? I’ve visited a few lately and want to give you the scoop on what to expect.
One of my favorites is Chandler Hill Vineyards, located at 596 Defiance Road, Defiance, MO 63341. Chandler Hill is set in the rolling hills of the Missouri wine country, with a picturesque view and enchanting charm. During the summer it boasts a large, covered deck with umbrellas and view of their vineyards. During the winter their huge fireplace draws you into the warmth of the tasting bar and event space.
I recently worked with Megan Lewis, Chandler Hill’s awesome Events Coordinator on a gorgeous wedding in July. The wedding was perfect in every way. It’s so important to have a wonderful venue to make your wedding outstanding.
A little history, …The man’s name was Joseph Chandler who died in 1952 at the age of 98. Chandler Hill Vineyards operates on the same property he once owned. The tasting room and winery stand on the site of Joseph Chandler’s modest cabin.
During excavation, many century-old artifacts were uncovered including a shotgun, rifle, tools, china and more. These relics of Joseph Chandler are on display at the winery. The stones from his original cabin foundation were also carefully removed and now surround the refreshing waterfall at the winery entrance.
Early in the 21st century, the current owners of Chandler Hill set a goal to create a Midwest winery like no other. Construction began in 2007 with the creation of a winery that idyllically is situated on a hilltop at the entrance to Missouri wine country. The essence of Chandler Hill is understated elegance. From the tasting room to the 5,000 square foot deck overlooking our vineyards, spring-fed lake, rolling hills and the inspiring Osage Valley teeming with wildlife, Chandler Hill is an enchanting year-round destination unlike any other.
Painstakingly crafted from authentic materials and boasting signature details like their celestial sky lights, candle lighting over their oversize tasting bar or magnificent fireplace in the tasting room, Chandler Hill has the power to whisk visitors away to a special place.
With approximately 6 acres of vineyards on the property and 4 acres of vineyards offsite, we’re proud of the quality of the grapes we grow and the wine it produces. Winemaker Tom Murphy oversees the task of pruning, cultivating, planting and harvesting our vineyards. We currently grow 3 varietals: Vignoles, Chambourcin and Norton. We also harvest Vidal Blanc and Traminette grapes offsite and produce the wine in-house. Our hands-on approach results in us using manpower to do the majority of the work. If participating in our grape harvest sounds interesting to you, check out our Harvest Boot Camp. Tour the vineyards to get an up close look at the vines and our vineyard practices.
So, if you’re looking for a venue that’s easy to work with, magical in the summer, and cozy in the winter, call Chandler Hill Vineyards. You can reach Megan at either 636.798.2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell her Jodell from Starry Night Events sent you!
Starry Night Events, LLC
Title Photo by White-Klump Photography
Bottom photos taken from Chandler Hill Vineyards website
Here’s a few tips on what Mom should wear on your big day.
Don’t fret! It’s really not that hard. Just use your head and go with whatever you feel most comfortable with. If you are one to follow rules, here’s a few basic etiquette tips to lead the way.
Q. What's the dress-buying protocol for moms?
A. It's customary for the mother of the bride to purchase her dress first. Her choice is usually meant to subtly dictate what the mother of the groom will wear. However, this approach can be a little old-fashioned, not to mention a little unrealistic. There's always some factor that make abiding by tradition a lost cause. My advice is to just play it by ear, and try to be flexible. It's not the competition of the Mom’s. It’s a wedding!
Q. When the mother of the bride buys her dress, is it her duty to then politely "inform" the groom's mother?
A. This is “old school”, but polite. She is expected to notify the mother of the groom (presumably to prevent overdressing, clashing colors, and other fashion faux pas.) And while it's certainly a good idea, it's not a requirement, especially if you're worried about seeming pushy or bossy. That said, the mother of the groom might really appreciate -- and even expect -- a heads up. You can either have your daughter subtly pass the details along, or give her a call yourself. Try to sound as friendly and helpful and non-territorial as possible. Chances are the mother of the groom will want to know more about your dress and how she will fit in the picture. Of course, she might be totally disinterested. If that happens, don't sweat it. You’ve done your duty.
Q. What length dress should the MOB wear, considering the time of the wedding?
A. The length of the gown or dress is a personal choice, even for formal weddings. Long dresses and skirts are fine for any wedding from noon on. The mothers do not have to wear dresses of equal length, although many do, feeling that it creates a more harmonious look, especially in wedding photos. Tea-length or shorter dresses are fine for morning weddings.
Q. What are the color and style restrictions surrounding the mother of the bride's dress?
A. Every wedding has a color scheme, whether it be pastel or primary, subdued or vibrant. Every wedding also has a tone, be it formal, semi-formal, or casual. It is generally considered to be within the standards of good taste to adhere to the chosen color scheme and to the level of formality. Traditionally, avoiding dresses in the white, ivory, and champagne color family (that match the bride's wedding gown), black gowns (that can suggest mourning) and red gowns (or similarly "flashy" shades) is the standard. Though I’ve seen moms in white who look tailored and elegant. I think black is classic, chic, and formal, and know that even red can be done with gorgeous good taste. Before you start shopping, talk to the bride. She may be very sensitive to the color issue or completely indifferent. If she expresses reservation, think about subdued-but-stately colors in the lavender, silver, burgundy, and blue families.
Q. Does the mother of the bride's dress color have to match the bridesmaids?
A. Some will swear by the "rule" that all the dresses must coordinate. Some brides really love that matched look. But there are countless alternatives. If possible, bring in a swatch of the bridesmaids’ gown fabric when you go shopping, or have a description of the gown’s color. But mixing and matching can be ultra-stylish, too. What's most important, is that everyone feels comfortable and beautiful.
Q. When it comes to choosing the Mother of the Bride's dress, how much say does the bride have?
A. Definitely consult her on color -- she may have issues with certain shades (white, black, red) or want your dress to complement the bridesmaids' dresses. She may also have ideas about style, length, and formality. Try to respect her wishes -- her opinion should count for a lot, and if she wants long sleeves or if she likes you best in pistachio, what's the harm in obliging? Keep her guidelines in mind while shopping, but the dress you settle on should make you happy, too.
Q. How far in advance should the Mother of the Bride purchase her dress?
A. It's never too early to start shopping. If you must put it off, aim to make a decision no later than one month before the wedding. We know you're going to get around to it eventually -- just be sure to let the groom's mom know she can forge ahead without you and keep the bride informed of your progress. My advice, order your outfit at least two to three months ahead of time, and allow at least two weeks for alterations.
Q. Does the Mother of the Bride have to get dressed up for the wedding, even if fancy isn't her style?
A. If it's an evening wedding, you're going to have to dress up more than usual. You don't want to stick out or appear disrespectful. But this doesn't mean you have to sport sequins and satin or velvet and rhinestones. There are many frill-free formal looks out there. Stick to your guns and you'll find an outfit (pants are okay!) that's unembellished, easy, and elegant -- perfect for your casual style.
Q. Can a young-looking MOB wear a strapless ball gown -- is there such a thing as looking too young or sexy?
A. On one level we think you deserve to wear a fabulously sexy dress, but always consider the bride first. If she's supportive, go for it -- you're both going to sizzle! If your daughter seems concerned about "Mommy" turning heads, not acting her age, and otherwise upstaging her, let her be selfish. But always remember you're not limited to "frumpy" or overly conservative attire at all. It's quite possible to be glamorous without ruffling any feathers. No matter what type of outfit Mom has, get specific advice on which undergarments, shoes, and hose will go best with your outfit
Want to learn more about the Mother of the Bride dress? Give me a call or send me an email.
This blog is direct from WeddingWire, by author, Kim Forrest. I felt it hit the nail on the head and was very well written. So I am sharing it with you in hopes you will read and learn.
Wedding planning can have its stressful moments, but the experience as a whole is supposed to be fun, not nerve-wracking. If you find yourself feeling overly stressed as your wedding date nears, check out our tips.
It’s very easy to think about your wedding “All. The. Time”. But it’s important to remember all of the other wonderful things in your life, besides this one day. So don’t let wedding planning consume your existence. Try to limit your wedding planning activities to select times during the week, and be sure to take breaks (meaning no talking or thinking about the wedding!) whenever possible. And when you take the Something Blue Pledge, you’ll be doing just that on May 30! Find out more here »
Talk About It
Sometimes venting to a family member or friend (or an online community of engaged couples!) can be really helpful when it comes to relieving stress. Keeping feelings of anxiety bottled up can make things even worse, so when things get stressful, don’t be afraid to talk to those who love you—they’re here to help.
Learn a New Skill
Taking a class and learning a new skill (cooking, yoga, painting, dancing, or something else entirely!) forces you to focus all of your attention on the project at hand rather than all of the wedding-related tasks you have yet to complete.
Working out is beneficial for a variety of reasons, but it can be helpful in relieving stress. Find a workout buddy—whether it’s your future spouse, a friend or relative—and try to be active regularly, whether that means a trip to the gym, a cycling or yoga class, running, hiking, or playing a sport.
Being disorganized can be a major source of stress. Using online tools like checklists, budget tools, and guest lists can help ensure that you’ll stay on track and that all of your important wedding details are in one place, and easily accessible and shareable.
Get Out of Town
A quick weekend getaway can do wonders for your stress levels. Whether you’re visiting family or friends, staying in a nearby hotel or inn, or taking a full on vacation, getting out of town can help you and your future spouse reconnect and take a break from the wedding planning madness.
If you have family members or friends who want to be involved with your wedding planning, let them! By assigning tasks (assembling welcome bags or stuffing envelopes, for example) to trusted loved ones, you’re relieving yourself of some responsibilities so you won’t feel completely overwhelmed.
Choose the Right Vendor Team
When it comes to selecting your wedding vendors, it’s important to choose pros that you genuinely like and trust—people who have a real interest in creating your dream day. That way, you’ll be able to relax and let the professionals do their jobs without feeling the need to micromanage or worry.
Hire a Wedding Planner
Even if you’re midway (or later) through your wedding planning process, you can still hire a wedding planner or day-of coordinator to help make your life easier. Planners will help you stay organized, create a wedding day plan and timeline, and take on many tasks that could ultimately become very stressful. And, a planner will be there on your wedding day to make sure everything runs smoothly and you can actually enjoy your big day.
Remember the “Why”
If things start to get really stressful, take a moment to think about the reason you’re planning your wedding to begin with—you’ve found the person that you love and want to spend the rest of your life with. Focusing on the bigger picture will help you navigate any bumps in the road with a smile and a relaxed attitude.
For more information, contact
Starry Night Events, LLC
Photo credit: Audrey Bayda, via Shutterstocks
Wedding etiquette is a difficult subject. Even if you think you're following all of the "rules," it's easy to overlook these less discussed — but still important — guidelines. Take a look and see if you are following the rules.
1: The Importance of Creating a Budget
The first of the common wedding planning mistakes is not properly creating a budget. This is the first item on the agenda after couples get engaged. A carefully planned budget can spare you a nightmare of falling prey to impractical plans or of running up unnecessary debts. Base your budget strictly on what you or your parents can afford. A budget for a large wedding should include allotments for a well thought out list of every category of your wedding. A budget for a simple wedding should include the items you cannot provide yourself and intend to purchase, as well as the things you plan to do on your own or with the help of family and friends. As a St. Louis wedding planner, I can help with every item on your budget.
With imagination and good planning, a beautiful wedding can be held within any limits. Whatever you plan, stick to your budget, or the worry and insecurity will carry over to your relationship and you will start your marriage in a state of anxiety and stress.
2: Choosing a Wedding Date
Some couples book the venue and then realized their date falls on a holiday weekend. If you choose a resort, you may have competition with other groups or the general public. Also keep in mind that your guests may not get rooms at the resort for the night of the wedding because they are required a two night minimum that weekend. Just be aware! It’s important to consider the following when selecting your wedding date:
3: You're not making clear-cut lines on who’s invited and who’s not.
There are certain groups you need to invite; even if you see some of your aunts and uncles a few times a month and others a few times a decade, you really should include all (or none) to be consistant.
Regarding “plus ones,” the general rule is that couples who are married, engaged, or living together must be invited together, even if you haven’t met your friend’s significant other. After that, it gets a little less clear-cut. Some couples give a plus one to singles over 21. Others decide to include dates for anyone in a relationship, while others draw the line at just couples who have been together for a year or more. Whatever you decide, consistency is key. The exception is your bridal party members — if you can swing it, allow your single bridesmaids and groomsmen to invite dates if they choose to do so. This is totally up to you and your budget. If you want to keep the affair a little smaller, draw a line where you think the numbers will fit in your budget.
4: You're putting a false start time on the invitation.
If you’re planning to walk down the aisle at 7 p.m., the time on your invitation should be 7 p.m. Don’t leave your guests waiting just because you want to make sure no one misses your grand entrance. Most guests know better than to show up right at the invite time anyway, so if you put 6:30 for a 7 o'clock ceremony, some of your guests could be waiting around for as long as an hour before you begin.
5: You're using pre-printed labels on the invitation.
Your invitation sets the tone for your wedding — and that starts with the envelope. You don't neccessarily need to hire a calligrapher, but it adds such a personal touch to handwrite the addresses. Perhaps ask a friend or relative with nice handwriting to help out. Or, try this calligraphy cheat: Using a fancy font in a very light gray, run each envelope through your printer, and then trace over the printed address using a calligraphy pen. Your guests will never know your secret and they’ll think you are so talented!
6: You're having a cash bar.
In a perfect world, your guests won't have to open their wallets at your wedding. But you don’t need to shell out for a top-shelf open bar if that’s beyond your budget. It’s perfectly acceptable to offer just beer and wine, and it's a nice touch to add a signature cocktail or two. If you must have a cash bar, see if you can negotiate some drink specials with your venue to lessen the burden on your guests.
7: You're not feeding the band.
Vendors who will be sticking around through your reception — band/DJ, photographer, videographer and wedding planner — need to be fed. Think about it, they get hungry during the day. Most even state this in their contracts. Check if your venue offers a “vendor meal,” which typically cost about half as much as a guest’s dinner (the vendor meal usually includes just the main course, which lowers the cost). Or, you can sometimes provide subs, pizza, or another quick meal for your vendors (ask them!). Also, encourage them to grab some food during the cocktail hour.
8: You're not taking the time to greet each guest personally.
As “receiving lines” have gone out of fashion, more and more couples plan to visit each table during the reception instead. What you don't know is that most couples never make it around to every table — you'll get sidetracked when your favorite song comes on or when your cousin drags you off to the bar for celebratory drinks, and before you know it, it's time to cut the cake and say goodbye. You might consider having a receiving line at the reception, even if it feels outdated and takes away from photo time. Think about it this way: Would you rather spend 15 minutes having a receiving line during your reception or spend an hour (or more!) going around to every table? Whatever you do, do not make an announcement that guests who want to see you can come join you on the dance floor. You’ll spend the entire night dancing with your guests and not the more important people you want to spend time with.
9: You're skimping on bridal party gifts.
Considering that the average bridesmaid spends between $500 to $600 between the dress, the bridal shower, the bachelorette, and attending the actual wedding, this isn’t a place where you should trim your budget. No, you definitely don’t have to match what they’re spending on you, but plan on about $50-150 per bridesmaid if your budget allows. Also, don’t forget thank-you gifts for your parents and others in the wedding party!
10: Putting Off Thank You Notes
Order thank you cards before the wedding so you can start hand writing (yes, you should hand write) your notes as soon as possible. Don’t even consider preprinted thank you cards. You might even consider ordering them when you order the invitations, if you want them to match. In terms of when to send out your thank you’s, “Brides” has laid down the law: "Let's set the record straight: You do not have a year to mail your thank-you cards. Instead, for gifts received during the engagement party and shower, send a thank you within two to three weeks of the festivities; for gifts sent before the wedding date, send a card as soon as possible but definitely before the wedding; for gifts given on the wedding day itself, mail a thank-you note within three months; and for gifts received after your wedding, send one within two to three weeks.
There are oh so many more mistakes being made with wedding etiquette. Contact me with help on your questions.
Some information gathered from Peggy Post, author of Wedding Etiquette and Kristen O'Gorman Klein
Bar Photo Credit: D. Park Photography
A "guest book" is a great way to look back and remember the people you shared those special moments with on your wedding day. Think about the traditional guest book, couples have a sign in-station where wedding guests write a little something special. But what happens to these guest books after the wedding? Often, couples store them away on a bookshelf — which isn't a great way to remember your big day. So let’s make this part of your wedding entertaining for your guests. Creative couples are personalizing this wedding detail by transforming it into a fun event that makes it memorable for not only the couple, but also the guests. I’ve listed 10 unique ways to keep your guests amused during your wedding.
Your guest will get a kick out of filling out these wedding mad libs. Have a lot of guests who don't know each other? Use the mad libs as an ice breaker by putting the cards on the table and asking guests to complete them with the person sitting next to them. This is a great way to get them talking.
Love jet-setting around country? Grab a vintage globe and some sharpies – have guests write their names over either their hometowns or perhaps favorite vacation spots? You could even ask friends and family to write their well wishes on a globe.
Here’s a fun task for your wedding guests. Provide a stack of construction-paper strips (like the kind used in grade school to make paper chains) and ask each guest to write a message on one link that he or she then attaches to the chain. Have glue dots on hand so it’s easy to adhere and there’s no dealing with sticky glue. Beginning the day after your honeymoon, remove a link and read it together to relive your big day. If you forgot the glue dots, ask your wedding planner to assist. She’ll have some in her emergency kit.
This guest book is fantastic and so easy! Create your own custom puzzle using a favorite photo of you two together on one side, and then guests write their messages on the opposite side. You'll both have a blast putting the pieces together while reading all of the well wishes from your loved ones. Remember to get your puzzle made ahead of time.
Sewn with Love
Hang small squares of fabric from a string and encourage guests to sign them throughout the evening. (Yes, your guest “book” will double as decoration.) After the wedding day, pay your wedding planner who specializes in sewing, alterations and embroidery (from Starry Night Events) to spruce up your handmade sentimental quilt. What better way to remember your wedding day!
Garden Guest Book Poster
Why not arrange flowers and stems just so and photograph them to create a poster that is blooming with beauty? This is a great place for loved ones to jot down messages whose meanings will grow even more precious with time.
And for the tech savvy, "create a photo booth" with a Polaroid camera or an iPad, where guests can take fun snapshots and leave video messages for you and your groom. Ask guests to film video messages on an iPad to create fun shout-outs to you and your groom. What fun!
Love Always Guest Book Poster
How about printing out a poster to display at your wedding for attendees to sign. After the wedding, frame it and hang it on your wall for a sweet memento. Adding the word “LOVE” will always remind you of the most important day of your lives.
Pressed Flowers Guest Book
If you’re the sentimental type, boxes of African violets, pansies, Johnny-jump-ups, and maidenhair ferns are a lovely sight for wedding attendees to see as they enter your reception space. But these blossoms are more than just a festive focal point, they’re also the beginning of an interactive guest book-turned-charming keepsake. They are almost as easy to assemble as, well, writing your name.
For people that are into music, the old kind, think 45’s, maybe even some 33.3’s then this is for you. Thrift some vintage records and grab a paint pen. Then frame them and hang them on your wall! This would be a look great in an entertainment room after the wedding.
Contact me for loads more ideas.
Starry Night Events, LLC
Mad Libs - Left: Cami's Paperie; Right: Paper Bliss Designs
Puzzle From Bella Puzzles Too
iPad Photo: onelove photography
Vinyl Photo: Chernivsky Weddings
Of course, go ring shopping!
I found the perfect place for you and it’s in St. Charles. Located on North Main Street there’s a quaint, yet progressive jewelry store that is probably the most customer oriented in town. You guessed it, its Walter’s Jewelry Store, located at 230 North Main. They specialize in customization, personalization and making each customer feel special. If you are looking for one-of-a-kind wedding sets, Walters has a staff to design the perfect one for you.
Walters offers very competitive pricing, compared to the competition and large chain stores. They also maintain a large stock of loose cut diamonds. When you go in the store, it glitters with everything from silver, gold to crystal to most precious stones, including some of the most beautiful diamonds I’ve ever seen.
Tom Wapelhorst runs this truly amazing business, with his son, Chris, and a great lady by the name of Connie Buffington. Walter’s Jewelry is a family run business and has a constant stream of satisfied customers who return frequently.
Charles Walters started St. Charles Music and Jewelry on November 28, 1916. In 1935 the business found its home at the current location on North Main Street, changing its name to Walter’s Jewelry. This year will mark their 100th anniversary of providing outstanding service to the St. Charles Community.
If you are looking for a beautiful wedding set, earring for the bride, cuff links for the groom, or gifts for your wedding party, stop by Walters today. They are the friendliest people around town. Their service is outstanding and they care about each customer. I would recommend them for your wedding needs.
Now that we’ve talked about where to buy your rings, let’s review what to look for when picking out your diamond. For most people, buying a diamond is a new experience, but that doesn't mean it should be overwhelming. Understanding a diamond's quality characteristics is straightforward and simple. Think of buying a diamond as the four C’s.
The Four C's- cut, color, clarity, and carat weight are the most important characteristics of buying a diamond. But a bride always has a shape in mind first.
As the name suggests, shape (round, princess, radiant, etc.) describes a diamond's form, primarily as viewed from above. All diamond shapes have different attributes, but overall the beauty of the individual shapes is a matter of personal taste.
Almost all diamonds have tiny imperfections. Diamonds with few or no imperfections receive the highest clarity grades.
The cut of a diamond determines its brilliance. Put simply, the better a diamond is cut, the more sparkle it will have.
This is the term with which people are most familiar, but bear in mind that carat is specifically a measure of a diamond's weight.
A diamond's color grade actually refers to the lack of color. In other words, diamonds that are white, containing little or no color, receive higher quality grades than those with visible color.
I hope you find this information useful. It can sometimes be difficult to find a trusted merchant to help select the perfect rings to last a lifetime.
If you have further questions about Walter’s Jewelry, give me a call or send an email.