August 21, 2014

Unplugged Weddings

{Photo Credit: Evangeline Lane}

I'm sure you've seen pictures like the one above - professional wedding photos capturing your guests taking photos with their mobile devices.  Unplugged weddings have become more popular after guests have ruined photos by blocking the photographer or using flash that ruin the photographer's lighting.

If you're thinking about having an unplugged wedding, you'll want to definitely let your guests know nicely as to not ruffle any feathers.  Also, you'll want decide on the level of unplugged that you would like for your wedding.  Do you just want to be unplugged for the ceremony or do you want the whole wedding to be unplugged?  Here are a few of my tips for informing your guests that you will be having a mobile free wedding: 
  • Add it along with your invitations or wedding website.  The earlier your guest know what to expect, the better. 
  • Ask your officiant to make an announcement prior to the processional.  Guests typically take the information better and adhere to the request when it comes from the officiant.
  • Place signs at the entrance to your ceremony.  Below are some of my favorite signs.

{Photo Credit: Glimpses Captured Phototgraphy}

{Photo Credit: A Love Affair Photography}

{Photo Credit: Chelsi Lee Designs}
I'd love to hear from you.  Are you planning on having an unplugged wedding?  How are you planning to let your guests know?

August 13, 2014

Cocktail Hour Trends

Photo Credit: Jessica Claire Photography
The cocktail hour is usually the time that falls in between the ceremony and reception.  It almost always lasts an hour long and is filled with hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, and soft music for your guests to enjoy.  This portion of the wedding started to become popularized over the last 25 years or so.  Its primary function/purpose is to provide an informal atmosphere for your guests to mingle.  This time is also important since it used as a block of time for the wedding party to take photos.  Some couples aren't really sure how they can change things up with the cocktail hour so I wanted to share some trends that I have seen recently.
  • When Cocktail Hour Happens - As I shared before, cocktail hours usually take place between the ceremony and reception.  Recently, I have seen couples who want to have the cocktail hour before the ceremony.  I've also had couples who have wanted two cocktail hours - one before the ceremony and one afterward.  Quick tip about this trend - if you decide to eliminate the cocktail hour between the ceremony and reception, do be sure to have time built into your timeline for photos prior to the ceremony so that you can just go right into starting the reception.  This way, you don't leave your guests wondering what they should be doing.
  • Comfortable Seating - Promote mingling by having comfortable seating which can be created by incorporating lounge furniture.  You can configure the furniture to create pods which makes it easier for people to spark conversation with one another.
  • Custom Hash tags - This option is becoming more popular as our addiction to social media increases.  Creating a hash tag helps to make the images that your guests post searchable.  When the night is over, you and your significant other can view all of the fun photos that your guests posted, provided that they used the hash tag.  Including the hash tag on creative signs throughout the cocktail hour and reception will help promote it to your guests.  You can also have your DJ make a couple of announcements about the hash tag throughout the night.  Quick tip about hash tags - make sure that you do a search on Twitter and/or Instagram to make sure that no one else has used the hash tag that you are considering.
  • Entertainment - Music is typically central to the cocktail hour entertainment.  Try adding other elements of entertaining such as a live musician, caricature artist, games, or photo booth.  Don't wait to introduce some of these entertainment options during the reception.  Having them open during the cocktail hour will encourage your guests to participate and will allow for more people to participate throughout the night.
Other Tips:

Don't forget that the cocktail hour leads into the reception so keep that in mind for the decor.  The linens and decor should tie in nicely with the overall theme for the wedding.  Cocktail hour is typically forgotten when it comes to decor.  Be sure to discuss floral ideas with your florist.

Cocktail hour is a great way to have your own happy hour for your wedding guests.  Be sure to have great food, entertainment, and drinks.

What are you planning to do with your cocktail hour?  I'd love to hear what you're doing to make it different.


July 30, 2014

5 Things Your Bridesmaids Will Appreciate

{Photo Credit: Jamilah Photography}
Being a bridesmaid can be very stressful.  Adding a demanding and inconsiderate bride to the situation makes it even that more difficult.  Because of this, I wanted to share some advice to help you make being a bridesmaid easier for your friends.

Affordable dresses - The dollar amount associated with being a bridesmaid can be pretty high.  Help out your bridesmaids by choosing dresses that are in a comfortable price range for all of them.  This will show that you are being considerate of them and the investment they are making to be a part of your special day.

Communicate your expectations - Every wedding is different.  Let your bridesmaids know the level of commitment that you expect early on so that they can make an educated decision before they say yes.

Make them feel good - Your bridesmaids want to look and feel good just like you.  Choose dresses that make them feel confident. Take each person's body type into consideration.  Better yet, let them know the color of the dress and length that you would like them to wear then allow them to choose their dress.  The end result will be super happy women in unique dresses that show their personalities but have a common thread in color.

Be rational - Don't allow your emotions or controlling tendencies to get the best of you.  Making irrational demands like don't get pregnant, don't gain weight or being inconsiderate of your bridesmaids when you're making plans for the bachelorette gathering can ruin your relationship.  

Thank Them - Get meaningful and practical gifts to show them how grateful you are for them being a part of your wedding. It's always good to thank them verbally as well.


July 16, 2014

Choosing a Florist

If you read my blog often, you know how much I love flowers.  Flowers are one of my favorite things in generally but I really love them in relation to weddings and events.  Flowers has the power to transform any event space.  Many couples do not know much about flowers which makes choosing a florist or designer a particularly difficult task.  Here are some suggestions for finding a florist for your wedding.
    {Photo Credit: Richard Harrell Photography}
  • Ask your venue or trustworthy friends for referrals. When they provide you with a name, ask what in particular did they like about the florist.
  • Do your research by flipping through magazines and searching online to get a sense of the types and colors of flowers you would like to incorporate in your wedding design. Think about the amount of floral arrangements you will need and the overall feel that you would like to create for the wedding. Bring all of your ideas and pictures with you to the initial appointments.
  • An experienced florist will be able to provide you with suggestions or guidance if you are not sure of the direction that you would like to go.  If you're looking for direction or ideas but aren't getting it, then that may not be a florist that you should consider.
  • Ask for a proposal that includes the description of each arrangement, cost, size, any special containers or props, and the date of the event. Make sure you understand the cancellation and refund policies of each florist. Compare the proposals and choose the florist that meets all of your needs the best and understands the vision for your wedding.
Questions to ask potential florists:
  • Will you do a site visit of the venue if necessary?
  • Do you create a mock-up of the centerpieces and/or bouquet prior to the event?
  • Do you have a minimum budget that you work with?
  • Do you offer decor such as fabric draping, hanging lanterns, and other elements?
  • What do you require for a deposit?
  • Can my guests take the centerpieces at the end of the event?
  • Will you pick up vases and decor at the end of the night?


May 29, 2014

Trimming Your Guest List

Time and time again, it seems like creating a finalized guest list is a hard task for my couples.   Trimming the guest list can be difficult just by the virtue or anticipation that people may take it personally that you are not inviting them. Here are some things to consider when creating a guest list.

Who to invite?  Close family and friends are obviously getting an invite but for the others, you have to ask yourself, how close am I to this person? When was the last time that I spoke to them?  A good rule of thumb is if you haven't spoken to the person in two years, they don't get an invite. Another eliminating factor is if a potential guest didn't even know that you were dating anyone. Also, if a person only knows you by your social media handler vs your real name, they probably shouldn't get an invite either.

Will you have children attend?  Children are little people but they take space and eat into your budget too.  You might decide to have no kids at all or opt to have a cut off i.e. no on under the age of 13.   If you decide to have an adult only ceremony and/or reception, make sure to let your guests know by indicating the information on your wedding website or through word of mouth to all of your guests.

Who gets a plus one?  Unless you have an unlimited budget, you'll have to determine a criteria for whether or not someone will get to invite a date to your wedding.  Some couples will only let guests have a plus one if they're married or engaged.  Others will have a length of time as a cut off, for example you would have to be dating the person for at least a year.

Should I invite co-workers?  I have a general rule of all or none.  Doing this will avoid hard feelings. 

Letting people know that they are not invited to your wedding can bring on a ton of anxiety.  To help ease the process, I suggest not making any announcements on social media before you know your game plan.  

Also, be the first to bring up the wedding invitation topic before your friends invite themselves.  Something like  "I wish I could have you there but we have decided to keep the wedding small" or "I'm sad that I won't be able to invite you to the wedding.  We'll have to keep the wedding smaller than we initially thought" and ending it with "I hope you understand".  No one can be offended after that. 


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