You’ve likely spent countless hours poring over Pinterest (or the more traditional bridal magazines) looking for the perfect dress, the most beautiful flowers and the coolest trends in hors d’oeuvres, but what about those small details. It’s the little things that people will walk away from your wedding wanting to copy for their own event. Unless you have a wedding planner that clues you in to these very important accessories, you might just assume that your venue will provide them. I don’t have to tell you what happens when you assume things – we’ve all heard that saying before. This is where a great event planning team, like Party Panache, comes in. They’ve seen and done it all and can tell you what special finishing touches will make your event that much more unforgettable.
We all know that first impressions count. When guests arrive at your reception the first thing they should see is a table set up with escort (seating) cards. For the most part this is an inexpensive item and one that can be personalized with your monogram, a ribbon or a motif reflecting your theme. Hand calligraphy gives escort cards a beautiful and sophisticated appearance, but machine calligraphy is a great alternative to achieve a classy look for less. We’ve done countless different types of seating cards – from classic to one of a kind; if you can dream it, Party Panache can do it!
During the cocktail hour, imprinted beverage napkins are a nice touch. Some caterers will supply a small quantity for “show” and supplement with plain napkins or ones that have your venue’s logo. It’s important to ask your caterer and know what you are getting as suggested quantities vary from caterer to caterer. Party Panache’s familiarity with many venues can help you make a decision as to whether this is something you should provide yourself for that extra touch of personalization.
When guests enter the main ballroom, you want them to be “wowed”! Certainly lighting and centerpieces are the first things that are noticed, but why stop there? The small touches that you add to your table décor should complement the floral arrangements. Beautiful menus, table number cards, napkin rings, mint boxes, etc. show that you put some thought and your own personal touch into the presentation. You can even take it to another level and have monogrammed Splenda envelopes…people are still talking about those from my wedding two years ago!
Choosing a wedding invitation these days can be an overwhelming experience. Your invitation sets the tone for the rest of your wedding, so you should consider the type of message you want to convey. Is it a casual beach wedding or a formal affair? While traditional invitations are timeless and beautiful, if you’re intentions are for your bridal party to be wearing flip flops on the sand, maybe that’s not the best option!
With so many invitations available, including stylish eco-friendly selections, where does one begin? While you could always opt to select something off the Internet, you’ll miss out on the tactile experience of being able to feel the texture of the paper and see the difference between several modes of print. Purchasing from a store or invitation consultant gives you the opportunity to ask all of your questions, including time frame for purchasing, addressing and mailing the invitations. Not to mention, professionals can also help you determine the best quality for your budget.
Here are just a handful of things to think about when you’re looking for an invitation:
- Paper color, texture and weight
- Font styles and colors
- Type of printing – letterpress, embossing, engraving, etc. (a professional can help explain the difference to you and show you examples).
- Appropriate text for invitation and corresponding parts
This may be the only time in your life you get to spend this much time thinking about paper, so enjoy it!!
Now that I’ve gotten over my Kardashian wedding hangover, I thought it was the perfect time for a blog entry on finding that perfect wedding dress. While Kim K. may have had three gowns, most of us only have one and want it to be perfect. Here are a few things to think about before you even step foot in that bridal salon.
- Know your budget and let your bridal consultant in on that number as well. If you can’t afford it – don’t try it on. We all want what we can’t have, so why fall in love with something you can’t buy? Don’t forget the extras (veil, accessories, alterations, etc.) – they add up fast. You may also want to consider borrowing some of those extras from your friends or family – you need a “something borrowed” anyway.
- Be realistic about what will look good on you. That model in the magazine you’re reading is most likely six feet tall and a size zero – most of us mere mortals are nowhere near that. I’ve always thought flowy gowns were so beautiful and romantic, and on many women they certainly are. I, however, came to terms with the fact that I’m nowhere near waif-like and needed a little structure in my wedding dress. By knowing what worked for my body, it was so much easier to narrow down gowns in magazines and made my search that much more productive.
- You don’t need to try on a thousand dresses to find the one. Like everything else in life, we tend to think there is something better out there. Often, that’s just not the case. If it’s the right dress, you’ll know as soon as you put it on – whether it’s the first or the last dress you try on! It’s kind of like falling in love – when you know, you know.
- Make sure you match the dress to the venue. An elaborate beaded gown may look beautiful in the dressing room, but it may be a little out of place at your destination beach wedding. Not to mention, who wants to spend their wedding day sweating through layers of fabric?
- Unless you’re J-Lo, you really don’t need an entourage with you to choose your dress. Bring the people you trust the most to be honest with you. Sometimes the fewer people in the peanut gallery, the better.
- Last, but not least, is a tip from my own experience. Splurge for a great seamstress – it can make all the difference. It may also save you from needing pricy undergarments!
Armed with these tips in mind, you’re ready to say yes to your dress!
While your wedding may be the most important and biggest event you have planned this decade, your guests may already be planning their next beach getaway for that same date. With busy schedules and travel often involved, Save the Dates have gone from a “nice to have” to a necessity. If your wedding has been planned far in advance, you can send these out 6-8 months before your date. One important consideration, however, is to make certain that everyone getting a Save the Date is someone you want at your wedding! If you’re on the fence about a guest, it’s better to leave them off this list and just invite them when you send out your wedding invitations . Sure you could e-mail all of your friends and family with the heads up, but Save the Date cards are inexpensive and a lot less tacky than a mass e-mail! That begs the question, “Other than the date, what should go on the card?” Think of a Save the Date as a scaled down invitation. You want to make sure you have the Who, What, When and Where.
Who: You and your fiance’s names (first names only are okay on the card, but you may want to consider a last name on the return address)
What: A wedding
When: Month, day and year
Where: City and State
There are a couple of other things you may want to consider including on a Save-the-Date. If you’ve created a wedding website, this is a great place to tell your guests about it. Also, if you have a lot of out of town guests and you’ve reserved a block of hotel rooms, go ahead and share the details. You can give more specific information about the hotel(s) on your website, but it’s wise to first mention it here. Waiting to include that info on an enclosure card with your actual invitation may turn out to be too late.
Save the Dates can also set the tone/theme of your wedding (e.g. color schemes), so you may want to give that some consideration as well. Have fun with it! Some companies worth looking at are William Arthur, Crane, Carlson Craft, Elum and a new fun printer–Kramer Drive, just to mention a few. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to guide you through this process as well as inform you of special offers.
Choosing your bridal party can be stressful for a lot of brides. There are plenty of places you can go for advice, but at the end of the day, you have to do what is right for you and your fiancé (remember him?). Some people have a dozen bridesmaids while others choose not to have a bridal party at all. My husband and I had an average size bridal party, but no best man or maid of honor. Whatever you fancy, once you’ve decided to have bridesmaids and who they will be, have some fun letting them know!
Sure, you can call them up or invite them over (if they live nearby), but why not take the opportunity to let them know how important they are to you. There are plenty of cute ways to do this. Here are just a few ideas, but a quick Google search will definitely dig up more:
- Send her a picture frame that holds two pictures. One side can have a picture of the two of you and the other a note asking her to be your bridesmaid. She can eventually replace the note with a wedding picture of the two of you.
- Write her a poem – it’s sweet, sentimental and personal.
- Send her a Bridesmaid cookie. I found these great looking cookies on Etsy.
Whatever you decide, definitely consider sending your bridesmaid her invite in one of these beautiful handmade boxes.
We love these designs so much that we’ve now started selling the collection from our showroom on Long Island. If you aren’t in the New York area, contact us to find out how to order.
Marriage is all about compromise, so when my husband (then fiancé) declared “I do not want a wedding website,” I caved. If I’ve learned one thing in life, it’s that I have to pick my battles. Little did I know that his hesitancy to have our “About Us” section aired across the Internet would lead to lots of little annoyances throughout our engagement. If I had to do it all over again, I would have picked this battle and won. Here’s why a wedding website is a great idea.
Info on accommodations: I need more hands to count the number of e-mails I got from out of town friends that read, “I lost your Save the Date, can you send me the hotel details again?” Really?!?! Is this a generational thing that we can’t hold onto a piece of paper for more than five minutes? Is there an app for that? If only we had a website where my iPhone loving friends could find all these details!
Registries: We all have them, so how do you get the word out? It’s tacky to include registry information on a Save the Date or invitation, but it’s totally acceptable to include your wedding website on a Save the Date. Problem solved – a wedding website is a great place for wedding guests to find out where you’re registered.
Everything else: A wedding website can help save you valuable time from not having to field phone calls and e-mails with questions from guests. It can serve as a one-stop shop for your guests to find all the information they need. It’s the who, what, when and where of your wedding festivities, so take advantage of it. I can’t promise that your 90 year old great aunt will know how to find your website, but for everybody else, it’s a really helpful tool.
These days, great wedding websites are a click away. WeddingWire has a great FREE wedding website service – and you can even choose background music!
When planning a wedding, it’s hard to know where to start – it’s easy to be overwhelmed with a lot of balls up in the air. Once you’ve figured out where you’ll be hosting the big day (e.g. your current city, your hometown, a deserted island) and approximately how long you’d like your engagement to last, the next step is to decide upon your number one priority. For some brides, getting married at a historic church with a reception in a castle is non-negotiable, but for others the most important aspect may be the entertainment. Maybe you can’t imagine your wedding without that awesome ‘80’s cover band? Whatever that priority is, let that be your anchor, and within a window of time you’ve selected, let that vendor’s availability help you determine the date of your wedding. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to get all of your first choices, but flexibility is key here. If you’re looking to get married in one of the most popular wedding months, especially in a big city, you may have to set your expectations accordingly and widen the net a little bit. Knowing what to ask when choosing a venue is enough for a whole separate blog entry (and I’ll eventually get to that), but there are a couple of things to consider even before you pick up the phone. How many guests do you plan on inviting? Do you only want a Saturday evening wedding, or are other evenings a possibility? What about an afternoon wedding? Any of these options can significantly reduce your cost (strictly due to supply and demand) and can be a great way to save money so that you can spend it elsewhere. Sometimes another couples’ misfortune can be your windfall. Occasionally a venue will have a cancellation a few months out and are willing to really negotiate with you on price. This is a great option, especially if most of your wedding party and guests are local. The idea of pulling together a wedding in a few months may give you the cold sweats, but it can definitely be done – especially with the help of an experienced and organized wedding coordinator that can quickly get you on track.
Once you’ve picked your venue, you can breath a sigh of relief. You’ll now have an
answer to that age old question – “So, when’s the wedding?”
It’s a six-letter word most newly engaged couples don’t want to talk about, but I’m just going to go ahead and say it…BUDGET! If you haven’t talked about it yet, you need to do it soon. You can have your perfect wedding regardless of your budget, but one of the first things you and your fiancé should discuss is how much you (or someone else – we’ll get to that later) are prepared to spend on what will hopefully be your first and last walk down the aisle.
The first step is figuring out who is going to pay for the wedding – and there are no set rules here. Traditionally, the bride’s parents paid for the ceremony and reception, while the groom’s parents took care of the rehearsal dinner. In certain cultures, groom’s parents actually pay for the whole wedding, or offer to cover a specific expense (e.g. flowers, music, etc.). Nowadays, with couples waiting longer to get married, many chip in for a significant portion of their wedding costs, or even foot the whole bill. Scary, I know! No matter who is springing for wedding, it’s important to have a rough idea of your total budget before diving into the details. Once you have this magic number, there are a lot of great worksheets out there to help you figure out what your expenses will be. Real Simple a great one posted on their website that does a good job of laying out most, if not all, wedding-related expenses. Having all your expenses written down will definitely help you manage expectations, because I can tell you firsthand, last minute expenses have a way of sneaking up on you. Who knew a bus from the hotel to your reception would cost several hundred dollars or more?!?!
Every couple (who am I kidding, every bride) will have their own priorities, so no two budgets will look the same. If you can’t imagine walking down the aisle in anything other than a Monique Lhuillier gown and you don’t have a money tree in your backyard, you may have to sacrifice elsewhere in your budget. Here is where an event planner, an expense many people think they can’t afford, can really save you money. A good event planner will tell you what is and isn’t necessary and help you make the most of your wedding budget. You can have a fantastic wedding AND stay within your means, because going into debt is no way to start a marriage!
I couldn’t help but write a quick post and congratulate all those newly engaged New Yorkers who will finally be able to legally recognize their unions in one month. Happy wedding planning!
Whether you’ve been dreaming of a princess gown for as long as you can remember or the only aisle you’ve ever imagined walking down is at the supermarket, every bride gets a little overwhelmed once that ring is on her finger. Where do you start? What’s the first thing to do? What most brides don’t do is take the time to relax – enjoy the glow of being engaged before the mayhem sets in. There are a few exceptions where timing is of the essence (e.g. deployment, school or career obligations), but in general, every bride-to-be has the luxury of taking at least a week to relax and enjoy her engagement before the planning begins. For those anxious brides, don’t fret. My next blog will tell you exactly what to do first to start planning the wedding of your dreams.
And I wasn’t kidding about the manicure! Never before and never again will so many people be looking at your left hand – unless you happen to be the one hand model reading this blog. So my advice to all the newly engaged – take a deep breath, relax, enjoy being engaged and don’t forget that manicure!