Archive for the ‘Receptions’ Category

When You Have to Can the Candles

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Considering a candlelit wedding ceremony or reception? Don’t set your heart on it until you’ve done a little digging. It turns out that insurance regulations, fire codes, and even cleanup concerns can get in the way of having those tiny tea lights at every table. So it’s not uncommon for brides- and grooms-to-be to book that perfect venue only to find out that their candlelit dreams are being dashed by practicalities. Open flames? No way. And some venues will even balk at the notion of candles under or inside glass.

Who doesn’t allow candles at wedding receptions? Many museums, for one, along with libraries full of those burnable books. Barns, especially working ones, may say no when candles come up in conversation. Historic buildings, particularly those made out of wood, may have candle or flame restrictions. And a wedding venue can simply decide not to allow fire as ceremony or reception decor for any reason at all. Some have had issues with the smoke alarms and sprinklers. Others would prefer not to have to deal with wax. And still others are zoned in such a way as to make having open flames (even tea lights) on site illegal.


Choosing Your Wedding Chairs

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

We didn’t have a lot of options when it came to our wedding ceremony and reception seating – that we knew of, anyway. Our outdoor venue wasn’t near an urban center, and pretty much all of the rental outfits serving the area had the same selection basic folding chairs at different price points. And who knows if we’d have even been able to afford something more interesting. Still, it’s interesting to think about the seating possibilities, and seating is probably the most overlooked detail in wedding planning. After all, they’re just chairs, right?

But they can be more if you want them to be! Check out these gorgeous and interesting reception seating options:




Is the Best Man Required to Pay for the Champagne?

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

A reader who wished to remain anonymous – but is nonetheless gorgeous – wrote to ask:

My friend is best man in a wedding and the groom informed him that it’s “tradition” for the best man to pay for the champagne for the wedding reception toasts. I have never heard of this, but apparently it’s the second wedding he’s been best man in, and the second time he’s been told this. Have you heard of this, or are they just trying to offload wedding costs onto the wedding party?

That is truly the oddest “wedding tradition” I have ever heard of!


Seating Chart? Check. Less Stress? Check.

Monday, November 8th, 2010

There’s nothing quite like trying to figure out which eight wedding guests to place at which round table. Will this one be offended that he’s not closer to the head table? Will that one balk at having to sit by her sister? Does every table need to include four women and four men? Jeez, no wonder there’s so much seating chart software out there.

And who can blame brides and grooms for waiting until the last minute to complete this less than fun wedding planning to-do? Not me! I cheated and let guests sit where they wanted to – anyone looking for a seating chart would have been disappointed – which funnily enough resulted in pretty much the table assignments we would have created ourselves.

BUT before you brides and grooms go this route, let me caution that my wedding was more casual than most and I have been to at least one wedding where the lack of a seating chart left some guests feeling like the odd men out.

Some brides and grooms approach the creation of the perfect wedding seating chart with vigor. For some, it’s easy (no, really), and for others, it’s a challenge to be faced head on. Others, like yours truly, simply bury their heads in the sand, make the reception a seating free-for-all, and hope for the best. For those who are currently shaking with dread at the thought of putting together a seating chart, I’d like to offer up another option:

Banquet style seating. In other words, long rectangular reception tables.

While not every reception venue space lends itself to two very long or three shorter rectangular tables in a U shape, when it works, banquet style seating can work very, very well. Wedding guests often feel closer to the newlyweds, even if they’re sitting quite far away. And you, the mighty wedding planner, don’t have to worry as much about who is seated near whom, as everyone is seated near lots and lots of different people. Especially when the tables are placed in a U.

Other banquet style seating pros include: the ability to fit more people in your reception venue (in some cases), a more intimate atmosphere, you may need fewer centerpieces or be able to use smaller centerpieces more dramatically (like this), and the ability to use repetition to your advantage in your reception table decor – helllooo buying in bulk.

So my take is that banquet style wedding reception can simplify your reception planning. Yes, you do still have to make a seating chart – unless you’re a wussy bride like me – but there’s a good chance this particular wedding planning to-do will get checked off a lot sooner and with a lot less stress.

What kind of seating scheme are you planning for or did you have at your reception?

Image via Style Me Pretty

Wedding Guests: Serve Yourselves?

Friday, November 5th, 2010

I read somewhere recently that one of the next big things at weddings will be the self-serve cocktail bar. Fair enough. But just because something is big doesn’t mean it will be popular with guests (as we learned just yesterday). Personally, I have been to at least two weddings with self-serve cocktail bars, and wasn’t bothered at all. And not just because I had The Beard to fix up my cocktails for me. Both couples had plenty of alcoholic stuff, from beer to wine to liquor, along with mixers and non-boozahol for those abstaining.

Having a self-serve cocktail bar at your wedding reception doesn’t have to mean setting up a bunch of bottles of liquor, an ice bucket, mixers and glasses willy-nilly on a table somewhere near the buffet, though it obviously can. And that is how it was done at one of the aforementioned weddings, though don’t take that as an endorsement since the domestic wine came gurgling out of a box. A DIY cocktails table might have a small selection of pre-mixed custom cocktails in beautiful spouted pitchers. Or you can have a smaller selection of ‘ingredients,’ along with menus telling guests what they can make.

Keep in mind, that having a self-serve cocktail bar at your reception has its pros and cons. On the pro side, you don’t have to spring for a bartender, and you only have to pay for the basics (look into bulk order deals when you talk to liquor store owners) if you keep it simple. And you can take it all back to your hotel if you’re planning a late-night afterparty. On the con side, it’s now up to you to figure out how much of everything to buy, you may have to set it up, and if you’re not having that afterparty, it’s up to you to figure out what to do with all the leftovers. And you won’t necessarily save money on the cocktail supplies themselves, since your caterer may have inroads with discount suppliers.

All in all, the self-serve cocktail bar seems like a simple way to save a little money when it comes to your reception, provided you keep things simple and make it easy for your guests. I like the pre-made mixed drinks idea more than the put everything out and let guests go nuts idea, especially since it seems like there’s a lot more potential for style and individuality on the one hand and a lot more potential for spilled scotch on the other.

Photo by Frank Ross Photographic

For the Table, Sailor’s Valentines

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Having a beach wedding? Or a ceremony and reception inspired by the sea? Maybe an ocean themed wedding? I’m loving these sea urchin table number holders and place card holders from Eco-Lectic Events.

That’s right, I’m thinking about summertime and not the immediacy of winter. Because all those summertime brides saying their vows in 2011 or even 2012 are already thinking about how they’re going to incorporate the ocean into their wedding ceremonies and receptions. These sea urchin shells – commonly called tests – make pretty, interesting beachy reception decor, even if it’s a little weird to use part of an animal to add color to tables.

So cheers to all the warm-weather, ocean-happy couples – have fun thinking about the sun and the surf! The rest of us will just sit here and freeze, brrrrrr.

Oh, and just curious: What do you ladies and gents think of using cast-offs like tests and sand dollar shells, or things like star fish in wedding decor?

P.S. – Don’t forget to enter to win an adorable “diamond ring” pendant from Polli!

LOVE/HATE: The ‘Table Spanx’ Edition

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

What’s shiny, slippery, popular with middle schoolers circa 1985, and now prettifying wedding reception tables and chairs? You guessed it, I’m talking about spandex. Spandex table covers and spandex chair covers at wedding receptions, specifically. There’s no graceful draping here, and no chance that you’ll accidentally pull the tablecloth off (though you might slide out of your chair if you’re not careful). Spandex on a reception table acts just like spandex does on us – you see every curve, every angle, everything jutting this-and-that, and every bulge. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

But see what I mean about seeing everything? Spandex chair covers look sleek and clean and rather hip from a distance, but up close you start to see all of the details of the chair’s construction that chair covers are meant to hide. Isn’t the whole point of chair covers to make cheap blah chairs look more like upscale chairs?

I guess it looks pretty sleek on the table – I like it more there than I do on the chairs where it seems like they reveal a lot more about what’s underneath. Admittedly, I haven’t seen it in person, so maybe spandex table and chair covers are just awesomeness incarnate and will be appearing at a wedding reception near you in the next year or so. What do you think? Is spandex the next big thing in reception table decor or will spandex table linens and chair covers quickly go the way of the spandex jockeys?