Budget Savvy Wedding Reception Decoration Ideas

Okay, I always tell my budget conscious brides that most of your wedding budget should go towards your wedding reception, because this is where most of your guest will be spending most of their time. Whereas the ceremony may last an hour, the reception can run the span of several hours. Because this is where you and your guest will be spending most of the day, most brides want the reception site to look breathtaking. I know I want my guest to be amazed by the way the room looks.

Decorations are extremely important to me because I truly believe they help set the overall mood of the events. Believe it or not, guests do take behavioral cues based on how the room looks. Sounds silly doesn’t it? But, think about when something is decorated for kids; It’s usually in bright, playful and vibrant colors that make you feel young again. Now imagine being in a room that is decorated for a formal event. Sitting at a table where there are three forks, three knives, and three spoons in front of you, doesn’t make you feel like turning cartwheels. You will probably feel more appropriate sipping on some champagne and chatting with friends. So, reception decorations set the mood for all of your guests. But with so much to plan, where should you start?

You should always know what you want before buying or renting anything for your space. That doesn’t mean that you must know every detail, but there should be certain buzz words in your head. Are you looking for simple elegance or over-the-top fabulousness? Are you going with a particular theme? Or do you have a motif that you want to use throughout the day? These are important questions to ponder in order to get great wedding reception ideas. It is also important to understand that your wedding reception décor should reflect your personality and the level of formality that you are looking for. So think about your buzz words, because they should sound off, in your head, whenever you look at any décor elements. For example, I am truly simple when it comes to decorating. I don’t like things to be over-the-top, so simplicity is a really big buzzword for me. Although I want things simple, that does not mean I want a picnic in the park for my wedding day. I think more about a simple, sophisticated style because I think it reflects my personality. Thank goodness that my fiancé is the same way. Anyway, your buzzwords will help give great wedding reception ideas.

Now, I know that no one has to tell overly excited brides this, but you also need to flip through wedding books and magazines to figure out the look that you want. One of my favorite wedding pastimes is to go to the bookstore, get a stack of magazines, find a corner, and dream. Look at the décor elements featured in the magazine. Notice the tablecloths that are being used on the tables as well as the shapes of the tables. Think about the elements that you like and how you would want it to look differently. Pay close attention to how each detail sets the right mood. Browsing through these books, magazines, and online wedding websites helps to shape your wedding reception decoration ideas.

Now once you have done all of your researching and dreaming, you should have an idea of what you want and you can start the decorating process. Those who are not in the wedding industry probably only think about flowers and that’s it; however, so much more goes into decorating your reception-linens, lighting, and even table settings; And those are just a few items. Let’s start with the things that many people tend to overlook but is an important wedding reception element which are the tables.

Most weddings have the large round tables because many venues offer this and for years, this has been the standard. Rounds are great because many venues offer these tables at no cost and many centerpieces are made with round tables in mind. I also think that rounds are a good choice because although many brides want something out of the box, round tables still give that “wedding” feeling that we are looking for.

Although the round table is still a popular choice, some brides are looking towards square tables. Square tables are becoming quite trendy with brides and they provide more of an urban, sleek and modern feel. This is quite the option for brides such as myself. However, keep in mind that many couples have to rent square tables which can be an added expense to the budget.

Long, rectangular tables give a more intimate, family-oriented experience because the guests are not separated by a large table. A unique way to get a great experience with rectangular tables is to set up a family-like dinner setting at each table where guests can pass food around. They will feel more like they are at a family gathering.

Another unique way to really spice up your reception is to use all of these shapes. Don’t just use the rectangle tables for the head tables and the rounds for the guests, have a mix of round tables and square tables. This can loosen things up and not make your wedding reception seem so formal. This is definitely for the more daring bride.

Let us not forget that with the age of the cocktail party coming back in style, a great alternative to large round tables is the more intimate cocktail tables. You can have a variety of high and low tables that can seat two or four people. This really creates an adult, chic ambiance. This of course is best for serving hors de oeuvres as opposed to full meals. This provides the perfect opportunity for your guests to socialize with the other guests.

Alright, we have our table shapes picked out, so let’s move on to linens. Things such as tablecloths seem like no big deal to many people, but to a bride, they become larger than life. Things like tablecloths, napkins, and even fabric swags can really make your wedding reception one of a kind.

Linens lend a big hand to the reception décor of a wedding whether we notice it or not. I remember being at my cousins wedding and noticing how the overlays stood out and really enhanced the reception look. Although I was more intrigued by the couple and their happiness, I also loved that the reception reflected the wedding colors. That is the same thing that brides want the guest to think, and this may not be achieved with white linens. When white was the supreme color of the wedding, white linens had it good. Many reception areas provided them, and many brides used them. All of a sudden, brides did not want the plain white linens anymore and the demand for color was in. Even with white linens, brides are trying their best to find ways to incorporate color. Your table cloths are a great way to incorporate your wedding colors.

Now, tablecloths not only bring color, but texture as well. Tablecloths are made from many different materials besides cotton and satin. You have the heavier, more formal damask materials with beautiful patterns or stripes. This is usually made in silk, lace, or synthetic fibers. I think this is for more formal affairs & not, necessary for your outdoor, casual reception. There are even the overlays that are affected by the colors around it. These are usually sheer and when placed over a tablecloth or next to a particular color; it changes in color as well. Linens can accentuate your wedding reception and bring it to life. Because of all the choices, it is paramount to make sure that your linens reflect your look. Heavier fabrics go better with formal indoor receptions while lighter fabrics work well for outdoor or more casual affairs.

Don’t forget your napkins! The napkins can be white or match the colors of the wedding. When put on the table, they add a nice touch to the overall reception decorations.

You don’t just have to use fabric on tables. Hanging fabric is also an inexpensive way to decorate at your reception. Fabric swags from the ceiling add beautiful drama to a plain room. Also, fabric hung from the walls can also add to the décor.

One major impact on the wedding reception is lighting. Lighting can create a great a great atmosphere to get guests in the mood for a wonderful party. Of course, there are a number of ways to use lighting to help spice up the wedding reception.

Candles, candles, and more candles! Not only are they inexpensive, but they also create a wonderful glow that can warm an entire room. Candles can go with any type of centerpiece. They are great for low, high, traditional, or more modern. Candles don’t only have to be at the tables, but they can decorate other reception areas such as the bar, cake table, and seating cards.

Spotlights. Lighting companies can do great things with lights that can boost the reception feel. Spotlights can be focused on the sweetheart table or on the walls to add extra color. Maybe no one will come to the wedding and say great lighting, but it is one of those background objects that add to the overall mood. A great idea is to have a light with the monogram of the couple focused on the dance floor.

String lighting and lantern lighting are also great for décor. String lighting with swags of tulle around it makes a soft glow over the entire room. Lights intertwined with flowers attached to the bar or buffet table is a creative element. For outdoor affairs, I love to see lanterns hanging from trees or a tent. The glow is not overbearing and lends to the festive feeling of the guests.

Here are just a few tips to make sure your wedding reception decorations are absolutely perfect

o Don’t overdo it with color. Many brides get stuck on their favorite color and go overboard with it. You know those weddings where the bride’s favorite color is pink and the reception looks like an overspill of Pepto Bismol. Make sure you break up the color and not get so focused on just one look.

o You don’t have to have every decorating element to create your look. Lanterns, candles, string lighting, centerpieces, spotlights, and damask linens. Beautiful elements are beautiful because they are allowed to shine, but putting them all together can make for a decoration disaster. Pick a few elements and go with them. Trying to fit them all in will only end in a tacky mess.

o Remember the look you want. It is your day and you can do whatever you please, but don’t let that stubborn mantra ruin the reception décor. Do you really want a rich, velvet tablecloth for a summer time, outdoor, daytime reception? This goes for flowers as well as linens. Sunflowers are really summer-y, but do they work for a winter wedding?

Here are a few more tips on wedding reception decorations that will help the budget conscious bride

o Use the tables of the venue. Sometimes, instead of being stuck on a particular look, you should change your look to what fits your budget. When my fiancé and I found ourselves in a number crunch, we decided to use the rectangle tables provided by the location instead of renting round ones.

5 Tips for Finding Perfect Wedding Reception Halls and Venues

Many couples don’t contract a DJ until after they’ve shopped for reception halls. But maybe it should be the other way around – put their wedding music at the top of the wedding checklist.

Why is that? Who would know best about the different reception halls in the area – what they’re like, how many people will fit comfortably, what the dance floor is like and the overall layout of the hall?

Disc Jockeys. Experienced DJs who do a lot of weddings often go to the same places all the time. Sometimes they might even become “regulars” at different locations, depending on how popular that particular wedding reception hall is.

And since DJs can have a lot of input and suggestions for reception halls that even you may not have thought about, it might be a good idea to shop for your DJ first, and then look at some of the wedding reception venues they suggest.

Here are five tips from some disc jockeys, based on their experience. Oh, and remember, you only get married once. DJs go to a lot of weddings and they get to see the action from all angles, not just from the floor. So their input is bound to be priceless!

5 Tips for Finding Perfect Wedding Reception Halls

1. The size of the wedding reception venue.

One of the most important things to consider when you’re shopping for reception halls is the size of the venue.

How many people can it comfortably seat?
How large is the dance floor?
Is there enough floor space for the cake table and card or gift table?
Is there enough room for the DJ to set up?

The reception halls you look at may be able to seat X amount of people, but then how much room does that leave for the dance floor and other accommodations?

If you’re having the reception at the same location as the wedding ceremony, can you set up the seating to allow for a comfortable arrangement for your guests during the ceremony?

2. Indoor climate control vs. outdoor seasonal weather.

When you’re looking for indoor reception halls, make sure they have proper climate control for the various seasons.

You don’t want your guests being too warm or too chilly or they’ll start getting uncomfortable. So ask about their heating and/or air conditioning and make sure it’s in proper order.

If you’re planning an outdoor wedding reception, keep the weather in mind and make sure to have an alternative, backup plan if Mother Nature decides not to cooperate. Your DJ is not going to want to set up expensive equipment if there’s a possibility of a rain, lightning or wind storm.

3. Location of the hall from the actual wedding ceremony.

This is something that all couples should take into consideration when they’re looking for the ideal place to get married and to have their reception.

Actually, a lot of couples today are saving money by having the ceremony and the reception at the same place. This is easier for your guests too since they’ll only have to drive to one location.

I know it’s pretty traditional to have the ceremony at a church or chapel and then drive to another location, for example a fire company social hall for the reception. And while the guests make their way to the reception hall, the bridal party either stays at the ceremony location or goes to a separate location to get their photographs taken.

It may be tradition, but with so many other traditions being set aside for the modern wedding, this might be a good thing to reconsider too.

If you find some reception halls that have beautiful landscaping, you might consider having the ceremony right there on the grounds. The bridal party can head off in another direction on the grounds with the photographer while the guests make their way to the reception area.

I’ve been to quite a few weddings that were done this way and it’s so much more convenient for everybody.

But if you’ve had your heart set on getting married in your church, chapel or another wedding location and you’re not able to have the reception there too, then keep the driving distance in mind when you’re looking for reception halls for after the ceremony.

Also keep your guests in mind when traveling from the ceremony to the reception venue. You could have the minister or wedding officiate announce where the reception will be or have the address and directions printed in your wedding programs.

Since a lot of people have GPS today, they can just plug the address into their GPS. Groups of people can follow each other from the ceremony to the reception too, which keeps anyone from getting lost.

4. The time between the ceremony and the reception.

Even if you find one of the perfect reception halls and decide to have the ceremony right there on the grounds, you still want to keep the time in mind between the ceremony and the start of the reception.

If you leave your guests to entertain themselves for too long, and you’ve provided a bar, you might find some of your guests have started some hard partying without you.

You want your guests to be on their feet dancing and not get so distracted that they miss you entering the reception area, having your First Dance, cutting the cake, or tossing the bouquet.

You also don’t want to have a couple of hours of photography time after the ceremony to where your guests are going to start leaving before the bridal party arrives.

If you have a really personable DJ though, he can keep the momentum going with a variety of dances and encourage your guests to mingle and get to know each other while they await your arrival.

5. Smoking or non-smoking?

This really isn’t as much of a hot issue as it was a few years ago. Most public facilities and reception halls today are non-smoking, unless the facility makes most of their revenue from beer and liquor sales and not their food.

You probably won’t have much of a problem with this today, but it is something to ask the venue coordinator first. The last thing you need is for someone to light up and catch something on fire.

Most people today are very considerate of their smoking habits, especially where a lot of non-smokers may be gathered in one closed-in area.

For outdoor wedding receptions, you may want to designate a couple of “smoking only” areas on the grounds so as not to disturb the non-smokers.

And finally, but not necessary, if you happen to have a wedding planner that working on all of your details for you, it might not be a bad idea to have your DJ coordinate with your planner and go over some suggestions and ideas for reception halls. Together, they may have connections and venues that you haven’t even thought about.

The Wedding Reception Venue For the Modern Bride

The Wedding reception venue is unquestionably is the most important component of your wedding as at least 50 % of the wedding budget is spent on the reception. The venue for your reception should represent you both as a couple as it sets the tone and mood of the event. The choices for wedding reception venues are limitless and modern brides do not have to select a traditional reception venue. It can be a daytime soiree or an evening extravaganza.

One of the many choices modern brides have for the wedding reception venue is the traditional reception centre. A sit down formal reception can also be held in restaurants, hotels, museums, halls and many other locations. Accompanying traditional wedding reception is the 3- 5 course meal. The conveniences of traditional wedding reception venues are that most have an in house wedding coordinator to assist you with your event. The formalities such as the bridal waltz, speeches, cutting of the cake and the throwing of the banquet are already taken care of by the wedding reception. There is a formula which works and the experience of the venue will ensure that the event runs seamlessly and on time.

However the wedding reception venue is by no means rigid and can accommodate special request. So should you wish to add your personal touch to the event or deviate for the norm, then most wedding reception centers can accommodate you.

Cocktail wedding receptions can also be held in traditional wedding receptions. A cocktail reception can be a less formal event allowing the bride and groom more time to mingle with the guests. It also you to accommodate a much larger guest list which means you can have more friends and family celebrating your big day. A cocktail reception can let you to be more creative with your choice of venue, location and use of space. You can hold a cocktail wedding either indoors or outdoors or in unconventional places. A cocktail wedding can be held anywhere including gardens, terraces, the beach and many other places.

Along with the cocktail reception are a variety of food choices. Finger food is usually the most common catering choice at a cocktail wedding. The focus at cocktail wedding receptions can often become the alcohol instead of the food. But to ensure the sober maintenance of your guests, it is advisable to keep the canapés coming out at a constant rate.

A wedding breakfast or brunch is a very unconventional style of reception. But it could be a stylish way to celebrate with friends who are more budget conscious. The food could include pastries, croissants, pancakes, waffles, muffins and scones. It could also be a breakfast buffet including tea and coffee but also sparkling wine.

A lunch reception is another wedding reception option. A wedding reception lunch can be a relaxed and elegant affair. Whether it is a garden picnic or sit-down meal, the wedding lunch is an alternative to the evening reception.

Many couples are now incorporating the wedding with the honeymoon. A destination wedding is an unconventional way to celebrate your wedding. Generally destination weddings are held abroad and include the bridal party and close family and friends. A wedding abroad or destination wedding can be beautiful but it does not necessarily mean it is easier. It is an enormous task organizing a wedding abroad. But done well it can set the stage for a truly magical affair.

Outdoor weddings are becoming more main stream. The most popular outdoor wedding receptions are beaches, wineries, gardens, botanical gardens and lawns. The outdoor wedding reception can be as formal or informal as you like it. Whether you have it out in the open or in a marquee the outdoor wedding reception is one of the most romantic wedding receptions.

Weekend wedding events are a good way to extend the festivities to allow for more long distant guests to attend the event. Similar to the destination wedding, weekend weddings are generally suited to people with relatively smaller guest lists for the obvious logical complications. However the options for a weekend wedding are only limited by your imagination. And the celebrations last the whole weekend allowing you to mingle and spend quality time with your guests.

Wedding Reception Decorations – Different Styles and Trends

Wedding reception decorations done in a beautiful way will bring out your personal choice and style on your wedding for others to see. These decorations can reflect your personality, tastes and interests and will help in making the reception venue very unique and splendid on your special day.

Receptions today can range from a grand and a luxurious affair to even a small brunch with close friends and family and irrespective of the kind of reception you want, it will have loads of things that you’ll get involved into!

You’ll be required to choose a reception venue, receiving lines, write the toasts and get some wedding reception decorating ideas. And this is barely the start! Receptions require a lot of preparation and planning, regardless of the formality or how small or big the celebration is and it’s easy amidst the whole process to get overwhelmed.

Reception trends keep changing almost every year and seasonally too, so if you’d like to keep yourself updated about the trendiest and latest styles of wedding reception decorations, search for different ideas in vogue for the season on the internet, this way you’ll be aware what others are doing.

The decoration style you want could be dependent upon the total number of guests expected at the ceremony. The reception ideas are many and it’s always wise to stick to a budget you have decided on. Get inexpensive, simple yet lovely looking wedding decoration items and use the money you would have spent here on something more important.

Flowers are used almost at all events and occasions. Get wedding reception flowers, imitation or real; that is up to you and you can put them in different sizes, shapes and colors of vases along with stunning multicolored stones. Get the colors in tone with the wedding reception décor and the bride’s dress. The vases can be used as stunning wedding reception centerpieces on the tables of the guests. Table cloths in tune with the wedding reception theme color can also be purchased.

A themed reception is a brilliant idea too and the whole thing can be set up on an affordable budget, but be aware and receptive of the seasons. For example if the wedding reception is a spring event then use decorations which include fresh, fragrant and light colored flowers.

Summer related themes would have neutral colors with bold and prominent decorations. Warm and vibrant colors work perfect with weddings in the autumn season while the winter decorations are great in light shades of blues and pinks. Sprinkling rose petals would be lovely as wedding reception table decorations and you can also scatter them atop the floating water bowls or on the walkways.

Cover the area of the dance floor with poles which have been draped elegantly green garlands or with silk or satin ribbons. Candles work beautifully as centerpieces for wedding reception decorations. These provide a soft glow and make the ambience romantic, tranquil and mellow. Candles don’t even cost much and would uplift your décor to a new level. The venue for the reception can be outdoors or indoors as it depends upon the comfort of the guests and the season.

Each year there would be literally hundreds of different trends for wedding reception decorations that come in to picture, so you only have to look for the type you want to incorporate at your function in a way that it exudes charm, uniqueness and looks trendy, while keeping it all under your budget.

9 Tips That Can Make Or Break Your Wedding Reception

Back in April of 2003, I had just finished setting up my DJ equipment for a wedding reception in a luxurious downtown Omaha hotel. Right on cue, the guests started to filter in, and I started the smooth jazz cocktail hour music. I headed over to the bar for a soda. As the bartender handed me the soft drink I ordered, he promptly said, “three dollars please.” Assuming he was joking, I walked away laughing as I thanked him. With a serious expression, he quickly informed me that he wasn’t kidding and that I’d better pay up on my newly acquired debt. It was then that I saw the sign on the bar. “Drinks $5.00 – Beer $4.00 – Soft Drinks $3.00.” Overhearing some of the guest conversations around the bar, I was apparently not the only one surprised by the drink charges.

When it comes time to offer tips and advice to my customers, I have to look back on my experiences as a Wedding DJ. In this article, we’ll cover some tips that are often overlooked or seen as no big deal by brides and grooms as they plan for their wedding receptions. These tips, however, WILL make the difference between happy guests and unhappy ones at your reception. In short, the following tips will increase the chances that your guests will stick around and have a great time at your reception.

I realize that many professionals offer a host of tips and suggestions in the wedding industry, and at times it’s hard to take it all in. Clearly, many things have to come together to ensure that everything on your wedding day is a success.

After talking and interviewing thousands of brides I noticed three distinct commonalities that most of them had when laying out their expectiations for their receptions. They wanted to:

1. Keep the events moving smoothly.

2. Keep the guests from leaving early.

3. Keep guests dancing and having fun.

As a DJ, I’ve had the unique advantage of being the first one to arrive at and the last to leave from hundreds of wedding receptions. For that reason, I feel comfortable and confident as I offer the advice you are about to read.

All in all I have always felt that if you want to have a successful reception, one of the single most important things you can do is to consider thing from your guests’ point of view.

TIP 1 – Never charge guests for drinks

When it comes to weddings, brides and grooms are often restricted by the limitations of their budget. There are certainly some shortcuts you can take to save a little money. But be careful! One area I strongly advise you not to skimp on is the bar. Making invited guests pay for their drinks is not a good idea, and it will stifle the atmosphere. The fact of the matter is that guests just don’t like paying for drinks. Plus, a free bar is often all it takes to keep the guests who are on the fence from leaving early.

I do not for a minute encourage binge drinking or any kind of abuse. I have just learned that the guests will loosen up, dance and have a better time when the bar is free (or, in wedding terms, “hosted”). The bottom line is that if you want guests to stick around and feel appreciated, an open bar is a must.

TIP 2 – Don’t start the reception too early

In the summer of 2007, I was the DJ for a reception that started at 2:30 in the afternoon. The event was held at a country club that had large windows all around the reception room and overlooked a beautiful golf course. For the reception, the bride and groom expected to have lots of dancing up until the 8:30 end time.

By 4:00, the dinner, toast and cake-cutting were over, and it was time to get the dancing underway. With an upbeat attitude and a desire to rock the party, I started the dance music. Despite my best efforts, I could hardly get anyone to dance and the reception was over by 5:30. Aside from the lack of dancing the afternoon went well and although I received lots of compliments the groom expressed to me his disappointment that there was very little dancing.

After hearing about the groom’s disappointment, I felt I had somehow let him down. But in reality, the circumstances were just not conducive to much dancing.

It is very difficult to get people in the mood for dancing at 4:00 in the afternoon in a sun-filled venue. Drinks don’t flow like they normally would, and people will generally leave early knowing they still have most of their evening ahead of them.

A good time to start a reception is around 6:00 P.M. in the evening. Any earlier and you risk losing the feeling of a night out for your guests.

Better yet, if you are not planning a church ceremony, you may want to consider having your ceremony at the reception venue. You won’t have to worry about transportation, and you’ll have the luxury of timing the ceremony closer to the reception.

TIP 3 – Avoid long time gaps between ceremony and reception

I recently arrived to set up my DJ gear for a reception that was supposed to start at 6:00 P.M. When I arrived at 4:30 to start setting up, there were already 50 people in the room just sitting there in silence. For a moment, I thought I was late, but I came to find out that most of the people sitting around were out-of-town guests who had been there since 3:00. The wedding had been at 1:00 at a local church, and after the ceremony these out-of-town guest had nowhere else to go, so they headed over to the reception venue. By the time the reception officially started at 6:00, these guests had been sitting around for three hours. Most of these guests just ate dinner and left.

You must consider the time gap between the end of your ceremony and the start of your reception. Ideally, your guests should go right from the ceremony to the reception. The bigger the gap in between, the harder it is on your guests.

I realize that those who have the ceremony in their church can’t just pick the time that bests suits them and must work around normal church services. Many churches will want you to have a Saturday ceremony between noon and 2:00 p.m. That’s fine, but remember that following such a ceremony directly with the reception will mean that the reception will start too early in the day. In order to compensate, some couples get married early in the afternoon and postpone the reception until later in the evening.

My advice is to have the ceremony as late in the afternoon (or early evening) as possible and schedule the reception to follow immediately. If an early ceremony is your only option, make sure your out-of-town guests realize the reception will be later, and provide them with ideas to keep them busy in between the ceremony and reception.

Ideally, you should host your ceremony at the same location as your reception. Many facilities can provide a nice area for you to have your ceremony. If it’s possible, you should look into it.

TIP 4 – Venue Lighting

There is a venue in my town that has a very basic lighting system. The lights are either all on or all off. There is no option to dim any of the lights, so all the lights are usually left on. This makes it very difficult to get people in the mood for dancing. After all, no one wants to be in the spotlight, and bright lights over the dance floor can hinder the ambiance. This tip is very straightforward: to create an atmosphere for dancing, the lights must be dimmed.

TIP 5 – Don’t stand near the exit

Keep in mind that the exit is almost always in the same place as the entrance. Once you and all the guests have arrived, try to avoid standing anywhere near the exit. Standing by the exit at any time during the reception gives off the impression that you are there to say goodbye to guests who are leaving. Before you realize it, you will have (instead of a receiving line) a departure line. To keep your party alive and moving, avoid standing near the exit. You never want to communicate to the guests that it’s time to leave unless it is!

TIP 6 – Have a fun grand entrance

Part of having a fun, dance-filled evening is starting everything off with a bang. There is no better way to begin a reception with excitement than to make a grand entrance. This doesn’t only get you in the mood for the party; it also gets the momentum rolling and puts your guests in the spirit of having fun.

As you and your wedding party arrive at the reception, have your DJ or Emcee line you and the wedding party up to be announced as you enter the reception venue. Pick a fun song to be played while everyone’s names are announced. As a DJ, I always get the audience clapping along to the beat of the music as you all enter.

It is all about setting the tone for the evening, and there is no better way to do that than to have a thrilling and exciting grand entrance with your bridal party.

TIP 7 – Avoid offensive music

From time to time, I work for brides and grooms who insist that I play music that is littered with colorful innuendos and language. This musical pursuit for your reception is highly ill-advised. The fact is that you may not know everyone on your guest list as intimately as you may think. Why take the chance of offending someone with vulgar music? I have seen guests walk out of a reception because of loud or offensive music.

TIP 8 – Dismiss tables when having a buffet-style dinner

From behind my DJ table, as I looked at the two hundred guests standing in line for the buffet at a reception, I couldn’t help but think that these people could have been sitting at their tables, enjoying conversation. Instead, they were weaving in and out of tables, waiting in a long line for food. I jokingly compare this scenario to a herd of cattle lining up for the trough.

This situation leads to awkward feelings for the guests who are already seated with their food as well as for those standing in line right next to them as they sit and eat. I have seen this happen hundreds of times throughout my career, and it is always uncomfortable.

You can choose one of two solutions for this problem. First, you could have a plated meal (or sit-down dinner) in which the staff serves the food directly to the guests while they are seated. Second, if you are having a buffet-style meal, you can have the tables released for dinner. Ask your DJ, host couple, or catering staff to dismiss each table one or two at a time. Personally, I fell this should be done by your DJ if you have one, because otherwise there is not much for the DJ to do during dinner. While releasing tables, your DJ can discover where the “fun” tables are and solicit music requests. This will allow the guests to feel like a part of the upcoming events.

TIP 9 – Use round tables

I recently DJed for a reception at a local country club in which the layout of the tables felt like I was the announcer for bingo night at the local legion hall. The room was full of 8 foot tables, and there were 6 rows of the them in the room. Each row has 5 tables lined up end to end. Guests going to and from their seats had to weave down long aisles of people, and there were times when aisles were blocked.

As crazy as it sounds, the type of tables you provide for your wedding guests will affect the social aspect of the evening. With the exception of the head table, you will want to avoid the standard 6′ or 8′ tables for the guest seating. Long, 6′ or 8′ tables are reminiscent of a mess hall or a lunch room setting and will detract from any kind of elegance. Furthermore, long tables are not conducive to conversation.

My advice is to always choose round tables for guest seating. This setup puts all the guests on an equal playing field for socializing and mingling. It also eliminates the theatre-like seating, in which you have to feel guilty about getting up and moving through a crowded isle.

In addition, round tables make it easier for the bride and groom to circulate among the guests. Finally, they provide the guests with better viewpoints of everything that is going on throughout the evening, helping to keep them engaged.

FINAL THOUGHTS

When it comes to planning your wedding reception, many factors can affect how engaged your guests are and whether they leave the reception early. I have seen the tips presented in this article get overlooked more times than I wish to count. I just hope these ideas have inspired you to consider your wedding reception from your guests’ point of view.

Hi, my name is Steve Bergeron.

The bottom line is: if you are going to listen to one person on how to keep guests at your wedding reception dancing, drinking, socializing, and enjoying themselves, you should listen to someone whose job it is to entertain at weddings.

With over twenty years of experience as a professional mobile DJ, I will share inside secrets to keeping your guests at the wedding reception happy and having a great time.

The Process Of Hiring A Wedding Photographer

Although most people have attended a wedding, that doesn’t mean that they will know the process when it’s their turn to go down the aisle. Below is a step by step guide on the process of hiring a wedding photographer.

Step One: Hiring a photographer.

This can be a daunting task even for someone who follows hundreds of wedding photographers blogs. It is recommended that you hire someone within the state that you are getting married. Most wedding professionals travel all over and even if they do not live in the area you are getting married they have most likely photographed there before. Ask them to Narrow your search down to five wedding photographers that you really like. They can be in several different price brackets at this point. Begin communicating with them-choose three you want to meet with in person. The in person meeting is huge because the photographer will be with you the entire day and you want someone not only competent in wedding photography but someone you know you can get along with and wont mind having around. After your meetings you can then choose your photographer.

Step Two: Choosing a package

Hopefully you spoke with your photographer at the meeting about what kind of coverage they offer, and what kind of coverage you will need. Let them help with this they shouldn’t sell you more than you need, but they also should be there to cover all the important moments that will happen on your wedding day. Wedding photographer typical day is 8 hours just like any other professionals work day. That said often 10 hours of coverage is needed in order to begin with the bridal prep and end well into the reception. Your wedding photographer should help you decide if you would like a wedding album (recommended so that your memories are secure in print and digitally) and they should talk you through if they give you the rights to the wedding images or if they keep the digital files etc.

Step Three: Deciding how the wedding day works

There are two models for the photographer on wedding day… the first one is traditional, and the second is with a first look. These models are how we structure the time needed and schedule of the day for photographs.

Traditional: Photographer will come and start with the details at the hotel. Dress, shoes, invitation, rings, bridesmaid dresses, perfume, jewelry, and flowers. After those details have been photographed the wedding photographer will turn their attention to the women and their photojournalistic getting ready photos. This is where the wedding photographer begins to capture moments and build the story of the day. After the bride is in her dress an experienced photographer will often have a first look with the parents-so dad and mom will come in and see their baby girl for the first time in her wedding gown. Meanwhile the second photographer is with the men and taking candid shots of them tying their ties and just hanging out being men before the ceremony. As the bride walks down the aisle at the ceremony the second photographer is taking shots of the grooms expression, and the main photographer is photographing the processional with the bridesmaids and the bride walking down the aisle. After the ceremony the wedding photographer will (with help from the appointed family member) gather up the full family for their portraits. The wedding photographer will begin with the brides side of the family and break it down until the smallest family breakdown (mom and bride, dad and bride, siblings and bride) have been photographed. The wedding photographer will then move onto the grooms family and do the same thing starting with the biggest grouping and breaking it down to the smallest groups. When that is finished it is time to photograph the bridal party. An experienced wedding photographer should be able to get three different posed bridal party shots done in 15 minutes. From there the photographer will photograph just the group of men, and then just the group of women. These two groupings should only take 10-15 minutes and the wedding photographer should know exactly how they want each member of the party or grouping to stand. From there the wedding photographer will take a few portraits of the bride, then the groom, and finally finish up (this whole thing from family to finish should take an hour) with the bride and the groom together. At this point the wedding photographer turns everyone over to the coordinator and the band or DJ. They are in charge of how the reception flows. The wedding photographer will photojournalistic capture the moments from this point on. Even the formalities like the first dances, cake cutting, and bouquet throwing are done in a candid style.

First Look: The Wedding photographer will still meet you at hair and makeup and do the detail shots first. But after the bride is ready the wedding photographer has scheduled the day so that there is an hour and a half of photo time before the ceremony. It begins with a private viewing of the bride from her parents, and then the photographer has chosen an intimate spot with good light for the groom to see his bride for the first time in her dress. The wedding photographer will tell the bride and the groom how to walk to each other before so that they can be in the wings with their long lens getting great emotional moments. After this (generally 15 minutes) the bridal party will be gathered for the bridal party pictures, the women, and the men pictures. This will be about 30 minutes. Finally about 45 minutes before the ceremony the family will be photographed. The bridal party and bride and groom should be finished 30 minutes before the ceremony with all pictures as guests begin to arrive and often the bride doesn’t want to be where she can be seen by everyone. After the ceremony the bride and the groom can take a few moments to be husband and wife and the photographer can take pictures with little to no direction. Then the bride and the groom are able to go to cocktail hour with their bridal party and talk to all of their guests. It is recommended that in the traditional line up of a day there is a receiving line so that you meet all of your guests and don’t have to do it at dinner time. In the first look scenario you can do that at cocktail hour. Again the reception is photojournalistic and candid based for all events.

Step Four: What happens after the wedding

The wedding photographer hopefully explained how they work already in a meeting or in an email. After the wedding many wedding photographers will edit a photographers favorites set within several days and send you an email as well as post them to their blog/FB sites. If the wedding photographer is very busy make sure to ask what their turn around time for all of the wedding photos are. Often times a month is a reasonable amount of time. Also chat with them about their process for culling down the set of final images. It is very important part of a wedding photographers job to edit through and choose the best photos as we have the ability to process thousands of high-resolution images but it is often overwhelming for you the bride to process through that many which is why it is important that we are presenting only the best one of each of the images we take on the wedding day. That will be more than enough wedding images. Talk to your wedding photographer about how they send you the final set of images is it via web or is it via hard drive.

Step Five: The wedding album

If applicable one of the last formal business interactions (as hopefully you are friends at this point) is the wedding album design. Most wedding photographers will begin by creating a version for you telling your wedding story. Then from there you can make changes, edit it, and perfect it to be your favorite images. The wedding album is to take your readers in 10-40 years through your wedding day, so it is often best if you do not choose the images if you let the photographer choose the images to work from. Then as said you can make changes to the album. Wedding photographers are storytellers and this is where their final vision and style can be really seen. In your initial meeting with wedding photographers you saw their album style and hopefully choose someone whose design elements you liked and whose overall feel of the wedding day story through the albums you related too.

That is a summary of the involvement of the wedding photographer, and the process in which the wedding photographer evaluates your day. Each photographer will look for different things on a wedding day, and each wedding photographer will have a unique style but we all will follow a professional and meticulous formula for getting the wedding photos.

Complete Details for Wedding Gown Cleaning and Preservation

Complete Facts on Wedding Gown Cleaning and Preservation

Getting your wedding gown cleaned and preserved as soon after your wedding as possible helps to give you the very best possible results. You can still have your gown cleaned and preserved years later, but the delay can cause problems. Which of the three wedding gown preservation methods is best?

There are many wedding gown preservation companies that all claim their particular method is best. It doesn’t need to be confusing when you have the facts. This special report is designed to educate you, so that you can understand for yourself the three methods with their various pros and cons.

When you’ve competed this report you’ll have the facts you need to decide which method you want to use for your wedding gown preservation.

What you’ll find inside this Wedding Gown Preservation Report:

Chapter 1
The 5 Top Reasons to Have Your Wedding Gown Cleaned and Preserved:
-Remember your special day
-Celebrate an anniversary
-For use by a family member
-For a christening dress
-For a bassinette cover

Chapter 2
How should your wedding gown be cleaned:
-Dry-cleaning
-Wet-cleaning

Chapter 3
The three types of wedding gown preservation:
-Boxed method
-Sealed Boxed method
-Bagging method

Chapter 4
Debunking the myths, misinformation and out right lies:
-Boxed vs. Bagging
-”Museum” storage
-Cloth bag storage
-Boxed storage
-Sealed boxed storage
-Examining the dress
-Mold and mildew growth
-Insect infestation
-Allowing the fabric to breathe

Chapter 5
The goals of wedding gown preservation:
-Yellowing
-Permanent creases
-Brown spots and oxidation

Chapter 6
Upgrade offers:
-What’s included in an upgrade
-What’s the value of an upgrade
-Why is an upgrade offered

Chapter 7
Wedding gown cleaning and preservation summary.

Chapter 1

5 Top Reasons to Have Your Wedding Gown Clean and Preserved.

1. The first and foremost reason is obviously because it is your wedding gown. It is the most expensive dress you’ll ever own and it’s part of the celebration of the most important day of your life. It is the dress in all of your wedding pictures. It is one of the things you’ll remember most about your wedding.

Sure you have your pictures, but to actually be able to see your actual wedding dress beautifully preserved will always bring back a flood of wonderful memories.

2. You may want to wear it to celebrate your 5th, or 10th or 25th wedding anniversary. You could put it on a mannequin and display it for an anniversary celebration.

3. Wedding gown preservation keeps your dress in perfect condition so your sister or your own daughter or even granddaughter can wear it on their wedding day. (It happens more often then you may think and is a wonderful opportunity for you and the lucky girl who wears it.)

4. Many brides are making a christening dress from their wedding gown. Being able to make your wedding gown into a dress that your precious daughter will wear on this important day is something to look forward to. It can start a great family tradition and heirloom.

5. Something that is beginning to take off in popularity is making a bassinette cover made out of it. This can easily be done and provides a wonderful reminder of your special day and the special little one inside the bassinette.

No matter the reason, wedding gown preservation is important. You may not think so now, but years from now you don’t want to regret that you missed the opportunity. There will be a time when you’ll want your wedding gown in beautiful condition again.

After the wedding many brides just leave their dress in the plastic garment bag thinking they’ll get it preserved “sometime”. There is always good intentions, but that “sometime” turns into weeks or even years. By procrastinating you may be in for some serious risks to your gown.

You know your wedding gown has some stains on it. There is the dirt, grass stains, and sometimes asphalt parking lot oil on the hem of your dress. Then there is the underarm deodorant, the perspiration, the body oils, the make-up, the spray tan that gets on the dress. There may even be a wine spill or two.

There can also be stains that are not easily visible, like soda, champagne, or cake frosting. Stains caused by any liquid will oxidize over time and turn brown. The longer any stain sets, or oxidizes the more difficult it is to remove. It’s important to have your wedding gown cleaned and preserved to prevent this from happening.

Keeping your gown in a plastic bag is probably the worst storage situation possible. Plastic is made from petroleum and gives off fumes. These chemical fumes causes yellowing in your dress. That’s also why you should never take your dress to a dry-cleaner and leave it in the plastic bag it comes home in.

Hanging your dress can cause additional problems. Your wedding gown is very heavy and hanging it will stretch the fabric and the seams. If your dress has sleeves then the weight of the dress will stretch the seams in the sleeve. If it’s strapless or you hang your dress by the side-seam hanging loops the manufacturer provides you’ll stretch the fabric and the side-seams. And for those dresses with a long heavy train the same can be true of the hanging loop for the train.

Wedding gown preservation done right can protect your treasured keepsake.

Chapter 2

How should your wedding gown be cleaned?

There are two types of cleaning methods: dry-cleaning and wet-cleaning.

Dry-cleaning really isn’t dry at all. Dry-cleaning refers to not using water for cleaning. It is cleaning with a petroleum solvent as the cleaning agent. The most common agent for dry-cleaning is perchloroethylene – “perc” for short. It is an excellent degreaser and can be used on all fabrics including silk, acetate, rayon and polyester. It can cause damage to some sequins and beads. It can melt the coating on some beads and melt the glue if the beads and sequins are glued onto the fabric.

Stoddard solvent is not as popular because it is more expensive and it has more regulations for it’s use – like it cannot be used in a facility in a strip mall. It is an excellent degreaser but has the added advantage that it will not harm beads or sequins.

Exxon DF-2000 is also a petroleum based solvent. It will not harm beads or sequins, but is not as good of a degreaser as Stoddard solvent. It does have fewer regulations so it is more popular for some dry-cleaning establishments.

Cleaning should be done with what is called “Virgin Solvent”. Virgin solvent is solvent that has been specially cleaned and filtered before each use. Many dry-cleaners use the same solvent over and over which means the solvent can retain residual oils and “dirt” which can be re-deposited on your dress. Dirty solvent will also leave a “dry-clean” smell on your dress.

Wet-cleaning, using water to clean your dress has several advantages. Water is best for removing any type of sugar stain, food stain or plain dirt on the hem. It is a poor degreaser, (but petroleum solvents cannot remove sugar or food stains.) Wet-cleaning also removes the sizing in fabrics (sizing is a starch like substance that is used to give “body” to the fabric by the manufacturer). Sizing in fabrics attract mice and insects. Proper wet-cleaning will not leave any odor in your gown.

The care label inside your wedding gown should indicate which method is recommended by the manufacturer.

Experience is the most important criteria to consider in selecting who should do your wedding gown cleaning and preservation. Asking questions is the most effective method to determine their experience. How long have they been in business? Do they specialize in wedding gowns, or only clean them once in awhile? Do they examine each dress individually or just place it in with all of their regular cleaning?

Chapter 3

The 3 Types of Wedding Gown Preservation

The three types of wedding gown preservation are:
1. Plain Boxed method
2. Sealed Box method
3. Bagging method. Let’s examine each.

The Plain Boxed method. Your wedding gown is cleaned first and then is placed on a cardboard bust form. The bust form and dress are secured in the box. If the bust form was not secured properly in the box, the dress would slide and end up in a messy heap in the bottom of the box. The dress is folded and layered with tissue paper. The box may or may not have a windowed display area. The box is closed and sent to you.

Sealed Boxed method. This method is the same as the Plain Boxed method except it goes a step further in your wedding gown preservation protection. The box is sealed completely. It is sealed to keep out moisture and to keep out insects.

Bagging method. Again the gown is cleaned first and then it is hung usually on a padded hanger and then placed in some kind of cloth bag.

Chapter 4

Debunking the myths, lies and misinformation.

Let’s discuss these methods and debunk some of the misinformation, misunderstanding and out right lies being published on the internet about wedding gown preservation methods.

First, understand that the companies who use each of these methods try and get you to believe that their method is best. But let’s look at the logical and scientific facts.

Boxed vs. Bagging. The Boxed methods provide a convenient sized preservation box that can easily be stored under a bed or in the bottom of a closet. Bagging, depending on the size of your wedding gown can be very bulky and take up a considerable amount of closet space, especially if your gown was fuller or had a train. Consider where you would store your preserved wedding gown and how much storage space you have.

The Bagging method is also referred to as “Museum” storage or “Museum Quality” storage. The pitch behind this is that museums store their dresses in bags and not boxes. That is partially true. Even their own information explains that these museums also store dresses folded in drawers.

Museums do store most of their dresses in bags. Most of their dresses are thin A-lines and regular women’s wear dresses throughout the ages. These can easily be hung, take up very little “closet” space and will only need light touch-up and preparation for display.

It is different with bulky dresses, dresses with trains and wedding dresses. As mentioned before, if they are bagged and hung they take up a considerable amount of closet space. Also if they are hung the weight of the dress can cause the fabric the stretch. Have you felt the weight of some of the wedding dresses?

The dress manufacturer sews a ribbon loop into the seam of the dress and recommends hanging it from those loops. Yes, the loops can be reinforced but still the entire weight of the dress is suspended from the seams and it will cause the fabric to stretch. If the dress is a light weight “destination style” dress then this won’t matter.

If the dress has sleeves and it is hung from the sleeves the stretching can be worse. The shape of the sleeve can be deformed. The hanger can leave permanent marks in the top of the sleeves.
Other advantages this method purports to have is inspection of the dress and no folding of the fabric. When the wedding gown preservation is done with the Bagging method you can open the bag and easily examine the dress. If the dress is short with no train, then it shouldn’t have any folds. If it has a train then the train will be hung by a ribbon loop in its seam and will be folded about half way up the train, this will cause a double fold back for the last 12″-24″ of the train, from the hanging loop to the hem of the train. Remember how the train on your wedding dress was hung in the bag when you took it to your wedding. It will be hung the same way for this method. So dresses with trains will always have at least two folds in them using the Bagging method. (If they really don’t hang the train by the hanging loops then the entire train will be a wrinkled mess piled in the bottom of the bag – there is no place else for it to go).

Lastly, the cloth storage bag that is used in the Bagging method should be addressed. There are two areas of concern in regards to insect infestation when using a cloth bag for storage. Insects can get into the tiniest places and through the smallest cracks and openings. We have all experienced spiders, earwigs, pill bugs and other insects in some pretty unusual locations. The closure area, in many bags it’s a zipper in the Bagging method it is usually tied shut. This can provide an opportunity of insects entering at the ties or in between them. Second is the hole in the top of the bag where the hanger goes through. Insects can enter at this opening and get in a ruin your dress.

Cloth bags do let air pass through but that also means moisture can also pass through to the dress. As the humidity rises there’s more moisture in the air and therefore in the fabric of your dress. It really doesn’t mater much unless the humidity gets too high and that can promote mildew growth on the fabric.

Something else that can happen with the cloth bags. Cats, dogs and mice especially like to “mark” their territory. It has happened where an animal has urinated on the bag to mark their territory. Obviously it can soak through the cloth bag and onto the wedding dress. The dress would then have to be re-cleaned.

OK, now lets discuss the Boxed method. Two types of boxes can be used, one with a windowed display area in the top and the other just plain cardboard box. This is really a personal preference for each individual to decide.

With this method of wedding gown preservation the dress is cleaned first. It is then steamed and pressed. Then it is placed on a shaped bust form to fill out the top of the dress and makes it display better. The bust form is attached to the box so that the dress doesn’t slide around in the box and end up in a heap at the bottom of the box.

As the dress is placed in the box it is folded and layered with acid free tissue paper. This layering is to protect and soften the folds. If it is a plain cardboard box then a final layer of tissue paper is placed on top of the dress. If the box is a windowed display box then this layer is not used so you can see your dress through the display window.

The box can then be stored under a bed or in the bottom of a closet.

The Sealed Box method goes through the same process with the added step of sealing the entire box.

What are the advantages and disadvantages to each. The Boxed method says you can open the box see the dress to make sure it’s yours and to examine it. If it’s a windowed display box, you don’t need to open it to make sure it’s your dress – you can see it through the window.

However, there are problems if you think you can just open the box and examine the dress. First, you should never touch a cleaned and preserved wedding gown unless you have white cloth gloves on. You may or may not have clean hands, but your hands will have body oils on them and so you need gloves.

If you have white cloth gloves then when you open the box you’ll discover the bust form is attached to the box, so you’ll need to unattached it. Next you’ll need to unfold the dress, layer by layer to examine the train which will be the bottom layer in the box. Once you are satisfied you’ll need to refold the dress as it was before and reattach the bust form. This sounds considerably easier than it is.
If you actually take the dress out of the box, you’ll find it even more difficult getting everything back in the box properly.

Something else to absolutely make sure of before you open the box and try to examine your dress is the wedding gown preservation company’s guarantee. It may or may not say you can open the box and examine your dress. It may say you can open the box to examine your dress but doesn’t specifically say whether you can take the dress out of the box. If it isn’t specific then you should ask specific questions to make sure of what you can or can’t do that would void their guarantee.

Wedding gown preservation companies must protect themselves from the situation where a bride can take her dress out of the box, wear it, get something on it, put it back in the box and claim that the stain or dirt or whatever was never gotten out in the original cleaning and preservation process and demand it be reprocessed for free.

Don’t assume that just because the box is not sealed that you can open it, examine the dress and or take it out and not void the guarantee… you need to check first.

Boxes that are not sealed are susceptible to insect infestation. Insects love to get into small thin opening and into the fabric to build their nests. Just because the box is closed doesn’t mean insects can’t get in.

The same warning applies to Boxes as to the Bags when it comes to animals marking their territory. Cardboard protects better than a cloth bag but still can be ruined by an animal urinating on it.
Moisture and humidity can also vary in an unsealed box – same warnings apply.

What about the Sealed Box method then? It provides all of the benefits of the Boxed method with much more protection. You don’t have to worry about animals or insects.

What about examining the dress and the question of moisture and mildew in a sealed box? A number of the wedding gown preservation companies site these two reasons as a warning to not use the Sealed Box method.

Let’s address them one at a time.

Here’s the actual science on mold and mildew growth from a publication by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science. Optimal conditions for mildew to grow is 70%-98% relative humidity and 77-88 degrees Fahrenheit. When relative humidity is less than 62% mildew growth ceases completely.

So if your wedding gown is either boxed or bagged but not sealed you run the risk of mildew if you have high humidity and warm temperatures. If you live in an area of the country where the humidity level can be higher than 70% your unsealed exposed wedding gown can run the risk of mildew growing on it. You could also run the same risk of mildew if your box is sealed and you have sealed in that high moisture content in the box and dress.

So for optimal wedding gown preservation you want to have the Sealed Boxed method with little or no moisture sealed in the box. That would mean you need to make sure that your wedding gown preservation company dries your dress and controls the humidity prior to sealing the box.

Another objection some companies have about the Sealed Boxed method is that the fabric should be allowed to breathe. That’s almost comical when you think about it. Fabric doesn’t have any lungs – it doesn’t and in fact shouldn’t breathe. Having the fabric breathe means that air is allowed to flow through the fabric.

The problem with air flowing through the fabric is that the air carries dust, dirt, pollen, mold pores and bacteria. The fabric acts as a natural filter. So if the air is allowed to circulate through the dress then more and more of the contaminants can build up on the fabric. A sealed box does not allow the air to circulate and eliminates this problem. So what some companies pitch as a determent actually turns out in reality to be a benefit for sealing the box.

When it comes to wedding gown inspection with the Sealed Boxed method you simply can’t thoroughly examine the dress. You will want to choose a company that has a windowed display box so can see and verify it’s your gown. You will void their guarantee if you open the box to take your dress out and examine it.

That means you will have to “trust” the wedding gown preservation company that you use to do the cleaning and preservation right.

Check out the company. What type of reputation do they have? Read their testimonials. Are they members of the Better Business Bureau and with what kind of rating. How long have they been in business? Do they specialize in just wedding gowns, or do they do every kind of dry-cleaning? Can you call and get your questions answered personally?

Chapter 5

What do you want your wedding gown preservation to do for you and your dress?

1. You want your wedding gown preservation to prevent your dress from yellowing. Yellowing can be caused by several situations. Don’t use a plastic bag for long term storage. Plastic bags give off petroleum distillates that can yellow your dress over time. Storing your dress in a non-acid free environment can also cause yellowing of your dress. This would include a regular cardboard box, or using regular tissue paper instead of acid free tissue.

2. You want your wedding gown preservation to prevent any permanent creases in your dress. Make sure that the company you use properly cares for your dress. If you insist on using the Bagging method they should make provisions for your train especially so it does not double fold back on itself in the bag. If you use the Boxed or Seal Boxed methods they should carefully fold the dress and buffer each fold with acid free tissue paper. This buffering will make the folds gentile and keep them from creasing.

(Be aware that some companies will promote the idea that your wedding gown should be re-folded every few years to prevent permanent creases. Although this sounds good in theory it isn’t true at all. First if your gown is stored properly, buffered with acid free tissue paper, the folds will remain folds. Unless there is some force that “squishes” the dress flat, or specifically flattens the folds into creases, creases won’t happen. Folds don’t “automatically” flatten themselves into creases. The fact actually is – creases can be removed from the fabric by proper steaming and or ironing. Seamstresses do this all of the time. If a seam or hem has to be changed they can easily make the “creases” disappear when they steam and or iron it.)

3. You want your wedding gown preservation to prevent and mold, mildew or insect growth or infestation. This can only be guaranteed when you use the Sealed Boxed method – see that section under “Wedding Gown Preservation methods”.

4. You want your wedding gown preservation to prevent brown spots or oxidation spots on your dress. Brown spots usually occur when a stain in the dress was not properly cleaned. The stain will oxidize over time and turn brown. This is especially true for any sugar based stain – ones caused from soda, wine, cake frosting or food.

These stains may not be visible when you send your dress in to be cleaned and preserved. It’s important that the company you use not only does a careful visual inspection but also a black-light inspection to reveal any hidden stains. And that the company completely removes all of the stains in your dress.

Chapter 6

Upgrade Offers

Some wedding gown preservation companies offer an upgrade service. The upgrade consists of using muslin in place of acid free tissue paper, additional insurance, and a upgraded storage container. Upgrades can cost anywhere from $40.00 to $100.00 more than their standard offer.

Upgrades are a “rip-off”!

Muslin is a very cheap fabric and offers no added benefit over acid free tissue paper. It sounds great, but it does nothing to make a better storage environment or keep the dress safer or better. Acid free tissue does everything muslin can do – and saves you money.

Most wedding gown preservation companies automatically provide $500.00 of insurance on their cleaning and preservation insurance. The insurance is actually provided for and through U.P.S. (or Fed-Ex). An upgrade increases the insurance to $1,500. You can purchase additional insurance when you ship your dress for $2 per $100 value, so for $10-$20 you can get the maximum insurance.
Remember insurance is provided so that the company providing the insurance can make money. It is a huge profit center for U.P.S. and Fed-Ex. Realize also that insurance companies do not like to pay out on claims and will minimize the payout as much as they can. They will claim your dress is used – (which it is) – that it is in poor condition – (that’s why you are having it cleaned) – that it’s last seasons or older model dress – (which it is, bridal manufacturer’s bring out new dresses twice per year, creating two seasons per year, so your dress is at least 1 to 3 or more seasons old). Get the picture, insurance is for the insurance company. Oh, and as and aside, in 12 years that I personally have dealt with U.P.S. shipping wedding dress for cleaning and preservation they have yet to lose a dress. I guess wedding dress boxes are too big to lose.

The last of the upgrade items is a different storage container. Check and you’ll see that the box is exactly the same except it’s a different color. The size, shape, it’s materials are all the same, the only difference is the outside color of the box.

So is there really any significant value in purchasing an upgrade? Absolutely not. It’s just a great ploy by that particular wedding gown preservation company to get you to spend more – thus increasing their profits dramatically.

Chapter 7

Wedding gown cleaning and preservation summary.

Cleaning summary:

Determine the fabric of your wedding gown. If it is polyester then it can usually safely be wet-cleaned. If it is silk, acetate or rayon then you have a few choices. Does it have beading or sequins on the dress? Percloroethylene (perc) is the most common dry-cleaning solvent but can discolor or melt the coating on the beads and sequins and can dissolve the glue if they are glued on. The better alternative is Stoddard Solvent or DF-2000. These dry-cleaning solvents are still excellent degreasers but will not harm the beads and sequins. Stoddard solvent is the best degreaser of the two.

Read the manufacturer’s fabric care label to help guide you on your choices.

Select a wedding gown preservation company that uses virgin solvent. You don’t want your dress being “cleaned” in dirty solvent that can leave an unpleasant odor in your dress.
Select a company that specializes in wedding gown cleaning and preservation. Choose a company that has been in business for a substantial time, is a member of the Better Business Bureau and has excellent reviews.

It’s also best to use a company that carefully hand inspects your dress and then does a further inspection using a black light. The company should do minor repairs at no additional cost to you. They can fix those loose beads, replace a button or fix a small tear in the fabric as part of their service.

Carefully examine the entire wedding gown preservation method. Select a company that will provide you the peace of mind, where you know your treasured keepsake will be put in an acid free environment, will be protected from unwanted creasing, protected from mold, mildew and insects, and provides a lifetime guarantee.

How to Become a Successful Wedding Planner With Inexpensive Weddings

Can you make a living planning weddings? Yes. As a self-employed professional, you can either charge a set fee for the wedding or a percentage of the total cost. Your income can be uncertain when you first start planning these extravaganzas, but as your reputation spreads and you gain more experience, your income can increase dramatically.

Of course, you will make more income on an elaborate, huge wedding, but several smaller and simple weddings will be less stressful when you are starting out and, when the separate income is added together, you will probably make the same amount of money.

Some agencies who track salaries report yearly incomes in the $50,000 range for wedding planners. One such agency, PayScale, currently reports these average hourly rates for the profession:

* California $28.00

* Georgia $27.50

* Massachusetts $20.64

* New York $15.00

* Louisiana $14.00

* Pennsylvania $10.23

* Texas $9.00

As with any self-employment, your success depends entirely on your creativity, reliability and marketing skills. There are online courses you can take to teach you the skills you need to plan the perfect wedding for your clients. Some of those courses will lead to certification as a Wedding Planner, which will give you more credibility with your clients and improve your professional standing with your colleagues.

Getting Started

What a professional Wedding Planner actually does is take on the details and responsibility of the event, relieving the bride and groom and their families, from the stresses involved. In turn, this allows them to enjoy the preliminary wedding events, like bridal showers and picking a honeymoon location.

There are lots of details you, as a Wedding Planner, need to know to keep things running smoothly and within the budget available. You will have to have a set of resources you can tap into to get the best service at the best prices, like reserving the church or chapel, catering the reception, ordering flowers, getting the wedding dress designed and ordered, selecting invitations and announcements, booking the music and hiring a professional photographer, among many other tasks.

It would probably be very good advice to start your career on small and somewhat inexpensive weddings. Giant extravaganzas can be very complex and time consuming to the most experienced Wedding Planner and you would be well-advised to start smaller and work up.

Some of the following tips should help you get started on planning a smaller wedding that will save money on several of the more expensive features of normal weddings. The bride’s father will love you for it.

The Wedding Gown

* The wedding gown can be expensive enough to break any budget. You can offer your client several options that are affordable and will still make the bride look like an angel as she floats down the aisle.

Renting a gown is becoming more popular every day. Think about it. The bride is going to wear it once and it was probably worn once before she rented it. It also avoids the storage problem for 20 years if the bride will not be saving it for her firstborn child to wear at her own wedding.

* If a member of the bride’s family is a good seamstress, suggest that she ask the family member to make the dress. Providing all the material and even paying the family member for the service will more than likely be less expensive than buying one from a bridal store.

* Another way would be for the bride to wear her mother’s wedding gown, if she saved it. You might want to check it carefully for any deterioration before the bride commits to wearing it. The mother is probably from a generation that thought saving her wedding gown was an obligation of the marriage and believed for several decades that her daughter would wear it at her own wedding.

The Reception

Another budget-buster is the reception, but some planning with a true reality check can reduce your client’s expenditures here.

* Think smaller. Talk to your clients about how they can downsize the guest list. When the excitement of the coming event takes over, your clients and their parents will many times have a very long list of people to invite to the wedding and the reception after.

Many of the parents’ visions of the reception can resemble an extravaganza with hundreds of guests, munching caviar and drinking champagne all night long in a huge ballroom. If their budget will not cover the considerable expenses involved in their dream reception, your skills as the Wedding Planner will be well served here.

To start with, keeping the guest list small and only inviting close family and friends will save money and still provide the dream celebration your clients want. If your client hasn’t had a close relationship with college friends or neighbors from four moves back, don’t put them on the list.

Instead of renting the largest hall or club banquet room in your town for the reception, you have a couple of inexpensive options that might appeal to your clients:

* Check out restaurants in the area. Some have banquet rooms that they will either rent out or provide free if you use their services for the sit-down meal or the buffet.

* Consider suggesting that your clients hold the reception at their home. The party does not have to include a full meal. Catered hors d’oeuvres and a champagne fountain will set the festive mood your clients want.

* Weddings held in gardens or other natural settings are very popular and beautiful. There’s minimal decoration needed and the only expense might be for the minister, rabbi or Justice of the Peace.

* Not having a full bar will save a lot of money, regardless of where the reception is held. The champagne fountain mentioned above can also be combined with beer or wine if the clients want to provide additional libations for their guests.

The Photography

The formal wedding service requires a professional photographer who will create a beautiful album to record the special day and preserve the memories to relive as they wish. If you create a relationship with several photographers as you build your career, you will know which one to hire for your client’s purposes.

The rest of the celebration can be recorded by all their friends and relatives with a digital camera in their pockets. Some clients put disposable cameras on tables for anyone to use. Have a decorated basket nearby and visible to give your guests a place to leave the cameras when they go home.

The Wedding Invitations

Newly engaged couples can go way overboard on their wedding invitations and your task, as their Wedding Planner, is to suggest ways for them to save money on this expensive item.

Those engraved invitations with the ribbon attached or the edges cut into curvy designs are expensive. The same effect can be achieved with a good card stock and one of those edge cutters used for scrapbooking. The necessary items can be found in any good craft store and some stationary stores. They come with matching envelopes, too. The actual text can easily be printed with a good inkjet or laser printer.

One way to make homemade invitations special and very personal is to order stamps from the US Post Office with the couple’s engagement picture on them.

Consider suggesting that your client include making her own thank you notes and, even the place cards, if you are including a sit-down reception for their wedding. Once again, a good laser or inkjet printer can do the fancy fonts and include a picture of the couple to make them personal. The thank you notes would stand out if they were sent with a wedding picture on the stamps.

The Flowers

It is not necessary to buy fancy floral arrangements and pay for the floral designer’s time and expertise. Simple flowers arranged beautifully in clusters or cascades can be created by either the bride’s family or a crafty friend. They can be delivered to the church by you or by friends.

If you are building your business, create some relationships with flower vendors and provide that service to your clients. They will be delighted at the savings and the vendors will love you for the business.

Depending on the time of the year, the flowers can be picked from the bride’s own backyard or from a friend’s yard. A few inexpensive vases, some ribbon and both the wedding and the reception will be beautifully decorated while not breaking the family’s budget.

A few flower arrangements can attractively set off a buffet table or on the tables at a sit-down dinner. Think about several weddings you have attended as a guest. How many flower arrangements do you really remember? During the entire wedding ritual, most of the guests were focused on the bride and groom; weren’t they?

A simple floral bouquet can be easily arranged from flowers out of a garden with the stems wrapped in a ribbon that complements or matches the bride’s gown. When you toss the bridal bouquet before you leave the reception, you will be tossing out a truly personal memento of your wedding and not one that was exorbitantly priced.

Any flowers left over can be scattered in the bride’s hair to make her even more beautiful as she walks down the aisle.

The Wedding Cake

There’s lots of tradition around the wedding cake, including saving a piece to be eaten on the first anniversary of the wedding. The top layer of the cake is normally put aside before the cake is cut and frozen to preserve it. Some bakers have been making a top layer that is a light fruitcake. It freezes well and thaws better a year later.

Wedding cake history can be traced as far back at the Roman Empire and the traditions have gone through so many changes between now and then that there is no comparison.

Today’s “traditional” wedding cake practices can be anything the couple wants them to be. Some have abandoned the white wedding cake and substituted frosting colors and decorations that reflect the bride’s choice of décor or the color of the bridesmaid dresses.

The multi-tiered cake is not an obligation and can be a heavy drain on a limited budget. Friends can make the cake for the reception or something else can replace the cake entirely, like a wedding cake made of frosted cupcakes stacked in layers. The cupcake wedding cake is becoming very popular, not only for economy, but for it’s novelty and the range of cupcake flavors that can be offered.

As the Wedding Planner, you will need to have a list of different and affordable wedding cakes to give the couple choices. If no one in the family or set of friends can make the wedding cake, you will also need a list of economical bakeries.

Lists – How To Plan A Small Wedding

When you first begin to work as a Wedding Planner, you will be buried in details that can only be managed if you know how to make ordered lists. Over time, you will probably create your own templates on your computer and be able to print out a complete set of templates whenever you book a new wedding.

Your templates will be your “spare brain” and will keep you informed of what needs to be done and when, along with favored vendors, the services they provide and what their fees are.

Your templates should include the following information:

* A reasonable timeline for all activities concerning the wedding from start to finish. That should include preliminary details, like scheduling the bride’s appointments for fittings, reserving the banquet room or restaurant for the reception, booking the chapel and anything else that needs advance scheduling.

Waiting too long may require rescheduling that might interfere with the travel arrangements made by the out-of-town guests or make finding a caterer difficult, to name only a couple of serious possible problems.

* After your templates are printed and initially filled out, you need to make a preliminary wedding budget and include the fees for your services. As the director of this event, you will be spending the money and have a responsibility to provide records when requested.

* The actual wedding ceremony should be painstakingly detailed to ensure that all aspects are taken care of in advance. Leave nothing to the last minute.

o Have the bride and groom choose their wedding date as soon as possible. Everything needed to be in place for that date has to be scheduled and confirmed before any other plan can be completed.

o Decide upon the wedding site, church, chapel, garden, park, etc. Make that decision specific. Get the details of the church or chapel, the address of the garden and the phone number of the relative or friend who owns it or permission of the agency controlling the park.

o Book and confirm the minister, rabbi or Justice of the Peace who will be performing the wedding ceremony.

o Start selecting the music with the couple for the actual ceremony. Include the music for the reception and book who will be providing it…disk jockey, small band, etc.

o Send the couple to get the marriage license. For their book of memories, see if a friend or family member will take a few photos of this necessity.

One thing you might consider is using your own digital camera and recording most of the less dramatic events of preparing for the wedding, like getting the marriage certificate, making or addressing the invitations, trying on wedding dresses.

A CD or DVD given to the couple after they return from their honeymoon will serve two important purposes.

1. They will have something to remember all that went into the ceremony that will not be included in the normal wedding album.

2. When they share the CD or DVD with their friends, some of whom might be contemplating their own wedding, your name and contact details will be prominent.

Referrals are what will build your business. Subliminal ads, like on the CD or DVD label and at the beginning and end of the photos might bring you some business. At the very least, your unexpected gift after the excitement that goes with any wedding, will be remembered by the bride and groom.

The wedding ceremony rehearsal needs to be scheduled as soon as possible. It normally takes place a night or two before the actual ceremony (after work) and can be easily forgotten in the rush of last minute details. Additionally, the church or chapel might be previously booked by another wedding party.

Some have a small dinner party in a restaurant after the rehearsal. If your couple is planning one with their bridesmaids and groomsmen, make the reservations as soon as possible and confirm a few days before the rehearsal.

Make sure that everyone knows who will be in the wedding processional and the recessional and what to do. Practice it with the actual music, if possible, so it looks graceful during the actual event. Never forget that you are creating life-long memories for the couple.

The wedding reception has its own set of details to schedule and set in motion.

1. You need to determine the time of day for the reception. Be sure to allow enough time for the photographer to take the album photos after the ceremony and for the newly married couple to travel from the church to the reception.

2. Make sure the place for the reception is set up, decorated and stocked. It would be a wise decision to check with the restaurant or hall about a week before the wedding to check details and to discuss any changes in the menu or times with the manager. A phone call the day before the event wouldn’t be a bad idea.

3. Normal wedding reception activities need to be scheduled and coordinated so they feel like a natural progression before the couple leaves the reception.

Those activities can include the receiving line, the first dance, cake cutting, tossing the bouquet, speeches and toasting from the best man, parents or friends.

How To Find A Job In The Wedding Industry

There’s over a dozen different industries that might be interested in hiring Wedding Planners or consultants, if you were interested in working with companies.

Resorts in popular vacation spots are becoming sites for destination weddings and would have the need for a Wedding Planner. This would be a way to work and enjoy all the amenities available in some of the world’s most beautiful spots.

Hotels almost anywhere, even in your current location, are always sites for weddings or receptions in their banquet rooms and many might need a Wedding Planner or Event Coordinator to keep their wedding parties from becoming a disaster.

Churches and synagogues might be on the lookout for someone to handle the weddings being scheduled at their churches and temples. Distributing a well-designed flyer at each facility might get you referrals, if not an actual job. Make sure to include some business cards with the flyers.

Finally, do not forget to leave your business cards with local bridal shops, caterers and florists. These businesses handle some aspect of the wedding preparations every day. They would be good reciprocal referrals for your services. If you, in return, used their services in the wedding planning, it would be a Win-Win situation for all involved.

You should have enough information to decide if being a Wedding Planner is the career for you. You can find eCourses to take online and several step-by-step eBooks or manuals that explain everything you need to know and even provide templates to help you organize the details.

Wedding Traditions and Superstitions That You Should Observe

Over the past fifty plus years that I have been alive I have had many occasions to watch friends and loved ones marry. There are more than a few things I have learned about weddings as a result of all this, but adhering to some of the most common traditions and superstitions associated with weddings are the most important. Why? Because it just so happens that many of those who chose to ignore these seemingly nonsensical and sometimes almost comical steps to get to the alter have often paid a high price for their disrespect of these long standing customs.

The Wedding Dress

We have all heard that it is bad luck for the groom to see bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony. The truth is that a longer standing tradition says that it is bad luck for the bride to wear the complete wedding outfit before the day that she takes her wedding vows. That is why you almost never see a bride trying on a wedding dress with her wedding shoes, veil and so on. A female college friend of mine knew a young girl who decided to ignore that tradition and display her complete wedding outfit to her bridal party for the purpose of having “some photos taken with her friends” the night before her wedding. So she said, most of those present think she was just showing off. The dress seemed unusually tight to some who saw the bride all decked out that night and soon gossiping tongues spread the news quickly.

The next day the groom decided not to show up for the ceremony after my college friend said that she called and told him that his bride looked “fat or pregnant” when she saw the bride in her outfit the night before. My friend was not being mean, but she felt sorry for the groom who had gone out of his way to keep his bride pure (she had claimed to be a virgin) by abstaining from sex with her. He had never seen her in the wedding dress, but even his sister said that she noticed an unusually rapid weight gain in the bride who was not one known to fluctuate in her weight or overeat. There could have been a lot more to the story than that, but I have no doubt that the catalyst for the groom’s cancellation was that phone call from my friend and the call would never had been made if the bride had not been showing off and scoffing at a long-standing tradition.

The Wedding Shoes

Both bride and groom should know that the superstitious among us say it is unlucky to wear any shoes for the ceremony that are not to be used specifically and only for the wedding. They claim that it is also bad luck to wear the shoes before the day of the ceremony, or to ever wear them again after the bride and groom take their vows. The shoes should be ripped apart or burned sometime shortly after the ceremony and never given away to anyone else. This tradition began sometime in the late 1800s and probably came from merchants eager to sell shoes. However, there may be some truth to it.

A friend of mine reports that a neighborhood friend of his who got married about twenty years ago had some very bad luck as a result of ignoring this odd superstition. Ben was a thrifty guy who hated wasting money. Sometime in the year before he was married he had purchased an expensive pair of shoes to wear for weddings, funerals and other special occasions. When my friend went out with him to help choose an outfit for his own wedding, he asked Ben about shoes. Ben told him that he was going to wear his best pair of shoes because they had barely been worn and were like new. After all, even back then a new pair of quality shoes could easily cost over one hundred dollars and Ben felt that money would be better spent elsewhere.

My friend told Ben about the wedding tradition regarding shoes that he had heard about from his mother, father and grandparents. My friend took the advice himself, got married without incident and has remained married ever since. Admittedly, he and his family are very superstitious about things like weddings, but there have been few divorces in his family line and many successful weddings and marriages. Ben wore his “best pair of shoes” on the day of the wedding despite the warning he received from my friend. Amazingly, his bride had her own unique plan for wedding footwear. She decided to wear sneakers for the wedding as a kind of joke as to say that she might be a runaway bride. The joke backfired.

Ben and his family were highly insulted by the presence of the sneakers and an argument began during the wedding reception which continued throughout the honeymoon and for weeks afterward. Things really came to a head when relatives on both sides viewed the wedding photos. The photographer became fixated on the bride’s sneakers and kept taking pictures featuring them. Many of the guests were captured displaying a scowl on their face as they spoke to the bride and stared down at the sneakers. The couple broke up and divorced within three months of their wedding. I say that we should add wearing sneakers to a wedding to the bad luck list for wedding footwear, apparel and choices.

Placing a coin (especially a silver dollar) in one of your wedding shoes is considered extremely good luck. Although this applies mainly to the bride, I suppose that the groom has nothing to lose by trying it as well. This tradition goes back to the “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe” wedding superstition from old England. Relatives and close friends would give the bride small tokens of their affection to wear or carry with her on her special day. These items were presented just before the wedding began and were not wedding gifts, just mementos to remind the bride that she has family and friends that care about her and support her decision to marry.

Something Old was usually a token carried by another bride at a previous wedding who has had good luck or a successful and happy marriage. This gift is about sending the previous bride’s good luck and fortune on to the present one. Something New is supposed to impart good luck to the bride giving her hope and confidence for the future. Something Borrowed is said to represent happiness that is imparted to the bride from her family and friends. Any happiness that they have experienced they offer to loan to the bride while she makes her own happy memories. Something Blue is given with the hope that the bride’s marriage will be filled with an honest and pure love, as well as fidelity. A Sixpence (Coin) In Your Shoe is said to impart a financial blessing on the marriage. Few brides dare to ignore this tradition which many consider the most important of all. I know one that did.

She insisted on a marriage ceremony with included just her, the groom and a clergyman. Most of the bride’s family and friends, as well as those of the groom, were against the marriage due to a huge age difference between the bride (who was very young) and the groom (who was thirty five years older). Most of the groom’s family thought she was a gold digger because he had a substantial fortune and his family was well known in the city where they lived. However, the bride also came from money, but it was new money. Sadly, I think her decision to marry this man really had more to do with the fact that she may have wanted to enjoy the status of being married into a family with a major standing in society than real love. Anyway, she decided to punish all the nay sayers who were against the marriage and prove them wrong by insisting that her wedding be held in a public park with no guests. The couple spent the money that a huge wedding would have cost on an elaborate honeymoon.

That bride broke nearly all the rules of tradition and superstition involving weddings. This included the tradition of bringing tokens to her wedding given to her by a friend who thought the age difference thing was no big deal. That friend could not attend the ceremony regardless of whether she was invited or not because she was living in another country at the time, but she hoped that the tokens would bring the couple good luck. And they might have done their job if those items had been brought to the small ceremony by the bride. They were not. Despite what seemed like a marriage filled with bliss during and just after the honeymoon, the couple divorced after just five years citing irreconcilable differences.

The Wedding Rings

It is considered extremely unlucky to go shopping for a wedding ring on a Friday because that is a tradition Sale Day and a highly discounted ring set is considered bad luck overall. It is even more unlucky to wear a wedding ring (other than trying it on) for any length of time before the ceremony. I know of at least a dozen occasions where either the bride or groom wore their ring (for whatever reasons) for hours or days before the wedding and could not for the life of them remove it. This not only caused physical and emotional discomfit, but ultimately ended up in arguments that broke up four of those couples before the day of their weddings. There could have been a million other reasons for those break ups, but why take the chance?

There are other things to watch for when it comes to wedding rings. Too loose and that could mean a husband or wife might stray from the marriage bed because they would forget the full meaning of their wedding vows. Too tight could curse the couple to a marriage full of arguments and fights bringing out the worst in one or both people. Wearing the ring on the left hand is considered very good luck. That tradition goes back centuries to when most work was done with the right hand making it appear more aged or dirty than the left. A plain wedding band is good luck compared to a highly decorated one in some societies, while a ring with religious or cultural icons on it is considered very lucky in nations with people from a Celtic background.

I cannot say that anyone I know has ever broken up over a plain or decorated wedding ring, but more than a few have had major disagreements over the cost and style of wedding bands which may expose a lack of character on the part of the bride, the groom, or both. The biggest superstition surrounding a wedding ring involves dropping it. Superstition says that a bride or groom who drops a wedding ring during the ceremony will be the first to die. This is said to be almost guaranteed if the ring rolls to a stop on a memorial or remembrance stone in the church or chapel. Wow! Be careful not to drop the ring.

The Flowers

Tradition says that the best choice of flowers for the bridal bouquet are either orange blossoms or roses. Orange blossoms are said to represent chastity and fertility, while roses stand for true love. It is also considered extremely good luck for members of the wedding party to wear garlands. This is a very old tradition, but one which has been making a comeback over the past several decades. If the bride tosses her bouquet and it is dropped, the bad luck is not on the bride, but on the person who failed to catch it; so no worries there. It is thought of as good luck to catch the bouquet even if that does not lead to the person catching it being the next to marry. No good or bad stories to share here, but fresh flowers do often help make the wedding and/or reception photos all the more precious when the wedding album is complete. Beware of the presence of wilted flowers which are considered extremely bad luck.

The Wedding Cake and Reception

There are many traditions involving wedding cakes. One of the most popular has been that when a couple agrees to place a statuette of the bride and one of the groom on the cake these should be of equal height. This is said to represent equality in a marriage. However, more often than not, people these days choose not to include likenesses of the bride and groom on their wedding cake. Instead, many are choosing eatable representations of their favorite flowers on the cake presented in various styles and set in all kinds of positions. Another popular trend is for the wedding cake to include the favorite flavors of the bride, while a separate cake is prepared called the Groom’s Cake which is designed to please his taste buds.

It is considered bad luck for anyone except the bride or groom to be the first people to taste the wedding cake. So I guess the tradition of getting a piece of cake shoved into your face will continue for some time to come. The bride usually does that to the groom first, then some grooms reciprocate. Others fear the wrath of ruining that expensive make up job that most brides have professionally applied shortly before most weddings. On multi-tier cakes it is considered very good luck to save the top tier, freeze it and eat it about three months later or after all the wedding photos have been entered into the wedding album. Most couples serve the remainder of the cake to a small circle of family and friends who stop by to view the completed wedding photo album.

Many brides like to include special charms into their bridal shower or wedding cake. This long-standing tradition brings good luck and normally includes gold or silver charms in the shapes of hearts, clover, horseshoes, wedding bells, baby carriages or money purses donated by bridal shower attendees or wedding party members. Sometime in the 1980s it became a new tradition to include one or more French-style Cream Puff Trees (croquembouche) in the bridal shower and wedding reception among with the cake. This amazing creation is made of many individual cream puffs covered in caramel and presented in the shape of a tree. Guests can use a small spoon or fork to remove as many cream puffs as they care to eat and place them on small plates.

Some couples opt to have their wedding cake divided up carefully and plated by serving staff out of sight of the wedding guests after the cake is shown to everyone and the bride and groom take the first piece or pieces. This is a popular way to make sure the cake is carefully and equally divided. However, the bride and groom should always be sure that the first piece or pieces of cake are cut with a silver cake knife and silver server. Those first pieces should be placed on fine china and eaten with silver or high quality forks. This is considered extremely good luck. Having been to a number of wedding receptions, I can tell you that nothing says cheap and nasty like a couple who choose to cut their cake with a regular kitchen knife and serve it with a pie server. The only thing worse is slopping those first pieces of cake on to paper plates. Once the bride and groom are served, cake should always be served to guests on ceramic plates.

Beware of cracked or damaged plates. The presence of cracked or nicked plates is considered extremely bad luck for the bride, groom and wedding guests. I have never personally seen this (or, I should say I am personally unaware of it), but some of my older family members claim that almost anything bad that happens during or after the reception is brought on by the improper presentation of the wedding cake and other food items. I have heard of everything from fist fights to auto accidents and missed flights blamed on bad or improper presentation of the cake and food during the wedding reception. Even bad toasts are extremely unlucky and usually the cause of spats and fights, so never hand a microphone to someone that you know will say something stupid or improper.

The Wedding Vows

People who write their own wedding vows may think this is the best way to express their love, but wait! A newer wedding tradition says that writing your own vows is not the best of ideas and could mean disaster to a newly married couple. This is probably because of all the hippie marriages that took place in the sixties and seventies. People used pet names for each other and authored often long, convoluted and embarrassing vows that made no sense to anyone at the ceremony and sometimes had nothing to do with the couple’s promises to each other. I sat through one of those types of weddings and wished I had not. No one knew what the couple was talking about and they even appeared to confuse each other. This is why people should never do drugs. The couple I spoke of broke up within two years and now hate one another.

A long-standing tradition says that wedding vows should be set by the minister. A more recent tradition states that it is good luck for the vows to be written by the bridesmaid for the bride and best man for the groom when the minister suggests the couple provide their own vows. Superstition says that parents should keep quiet during the ceremony accept for occasions when a father or mother is asked if he or she gives their daughter or son away to marry. Having a stand in for the bride’s father is considered bad luck. I know of at least two weddings where both the parents refused to attend and both marriages later ended in divorce. I am sure there were other causes for those break ups, but why take the chance?

The Parent’s Blessing

Finally, it is extremely good luck for the groom to be given the blessing of the bride’s parents or parent. This goes back to Biblical teaching and tradition, and also happens to be a tradition that I think is essential for a long and happy marriage. That is just my opinion. I guess I have just seen too many couples torn apart by family influences and interference because someone had something against the groom (or the bride for that matter) to begin with and that remained a matter of contention until it caused an eventual break up and divorce. Only the strongest of couples can stand up to that kind of pressure, so I do not recommend ignoring this tradition. If worse comes to worse try to get on the good side of the family of the bride or groom well before you announce an engagement or wedding date.

Simple Centerpiece Ideas for a Wedding That Add Beauty to the Table

These unique centerpiece ideas for a wedding will leave a lasting impression on everyone that takes part in your ceremony and reception. Every bride wants her big day to be incredibly special, and creating a unique wedding that everyone remembers fondly is the ultimate goal of most engaged couples.

One of the first decisions that a bride and groom must make together is the season in which they’d like to get married. After all, winter weddings are typically much different than spring and summer weddings, so it’s important to select the time of year that’s right for you. After the season has been narrowed down and an official wedding date has been chosen, it’s time to begin selecting wedding colors!

The wedding color palette is crucial because it must be incorporated into all aspects of the wedding such as the bridesmaid dresses, the floral arrangements, the ceremony and reception decorations, and often times the wedding cake, too! Once a color or group of colors has been chosen, you should begin thinking of ideas for your wedding reception.

wedding centerpiece idea Your wedding is supposed to be a beautiful event, not one that makes you want to rip your hair out, so you should try your best to avoid stressing out! That’s why these simple yet elegant centerpiece ideas for a wedding will come in handy.

Round reception tables are the norm at most wedding receptions, and they typically have some sort of tablecloth or table linens. Tablecloths in a basic, muted shade such as cream or light beige will work best with these centerpiece ideas for a wedding. Depending on the size of the table, six to eight place settings will most likely be present. Set a tall clear glass wine goblet in front of each plate and stuff a cloth napkin inside each so that it puffs out and looks like a flower. Use cloth napkins that are the main color of your wedding – for example, napkins that are the same color as the bridesmaid dresses. The colored napkins will add emphasis to your table, especially since you have such basic-colored tablecloths. These “floral glasses” are simple yet elegant, and they are also completely functional because they are composed of two items that need to be on the table anyway.

Place a round mirror in the middle of the table, and set a glass bowl or vase filled with a floral arrangement that includes flowers which are the same color as your napkins. For an extra bit of “oomph” you can scatter flower petals on the table as well. These simple ideas are stylish, unique, and classy, and your friends and family will be sure to remember your special day!

Pink Wedding Table Centerpiece Ideas

Flowers and candles have always been popular wedding table centerpiece ideas, but if you can’t make up your mind between the two there’s no reason you can’t have both! There are countless ways of combining floral arrangements and candles into stunning wedding centerpieces, and with a little thought and little effort you can create some of the prettiest wedding reception table decorations that you’ve ever seen. In fact, the blushing bride may wind up sharing the spotlight with her reception centerpieces on the big day!

Pink has always been a fashionable wedding color because it’s so romantic. Pastel shades of pink symbolize youthfulness and innocence while bright pinks and hot pinks give off a trendy, up-to-the-minute vibe. Whichever shade of pink you prefer, including pink flowers in your wedding centerpieces shouldn’t be a problem because there are so many pink flowers to choose from! Dahlias, pansies, daisies, gladiolas, lilies, and peonies are just a few… and let’s not forget the all-time wedding favorite, roses!

Your wedding florist should be able to help you choose the perfect combination of flowers and greenery for your centerpieces, and you’re going to need some clear glass vases in which to display the floral arrangements. Square or rectangular-shaped vases are great wedding table centerpiece ideas! Place the pink floral arrangements in the center of your reception tables. wedding centerpiece idea Set them on top of round mirrors in order to create a bit of shine.

Now it’s time to throw some candles into the mix. You can find tea light candles and small glass candleholders at just about any discount store in town, and they’re relatively inexpensive. Place two candles on top of the mirror beside your pink floral arrangement. White candles will add a bit of contrast to all of the pink, but pastel pink candles will work as well – it’s up to you!

Providing guests with wedding favors to take home with them is a tradition that most brides enjoy, and incorporating the color pink into these little gifts can also help you think of wedding table centerpiece ideas. Place small candies, such as mints, Jordan almonds, or M&Ms into individual pink pouches or bags. You can tie them with pink ribbons and attach a small tag that includes the bride and groom’s name and wedding date. Place one of these pink wedding favors in front of each place setting in order to add even more pink to the reception table.

The use of pink floral arrangements, small tea light candles, and pink wedding favors is an easy way to incorporate the color pink into your wedding table centerpieces. Whether you follow these plans exactly or tweak them to make them your own, you’ll be sure to have attractive reception tables!

Outdoor Wedding Reception Centerpiece Ideas

Whether it’s at the beach or in your own backyard, our wedding reception centerpiece ideas will come in handy as you plan your outdoor wedding. Outdoor weddings usually take a bit more planning and effort than indoor weddings because of their location, but your reception centerpieces don’t have to be difficult to make! Even if you decide to hold your reception indoors once the wedding ceremony is over, you can give your wedding centerpieces an outdoorsy feel that goes along with the overall theme of your special day.

Weddings held on white sandy beaches automatically have a tropical feel to them, and using seashells and palm branches as table decorations are wonderful wedding reception centerpiece ideas. Place a few pieces of palm on the center of each table, beach wedding centerpiece and set a large conch shell on top. You can then scatter a variety of smaller seashells around the large shell. Surround your tropical creation with white candles in clear glass jars that have been wrapped with strands of twine. This is an easy centerpiece that can go along with a tropical beach wedding or simply add a tropical vibe to a wedding held in your own backyard.

Speaking of which, backyard weddings are growing in popularity as more and more people decide to scale down and save money by holding inexpensive weddings and receptions at home. Patio tables and picnic tables are a great place to eat dinner and socialize during a wedding reception, and you can easily decorate them with great centerpieces. Small metal buckets full of wild flowers may be all that you need, but if you’d like to skip the flowers altogether you can use food as centerpieces. Red and white checkered tablecloths and homemade apple pies can give your backyard reception tables a “country” appearance, and baskets of fruit can act as both decoration and healthy alternatives to sweet desserts.

Gardens can provide a quaint, romantic setting for outdoor weddings, and many also have adequate space for outdoor receptions. Tables can be set up among gorgeous trees and flowers, and additional floral arrangements are easy outdoor wedding reception centerpiece ideas. Vases of flowers that grew in the garden add charm to the reception, and you can even scatter additional flower petals on each reception table for an extra touch of romance.

Outdoor weddings and receptions may involve a bit of extra work, but coming up with ideas for your wedding reception centerpieces should be a fun process. Save money by creating them yourself, and work together with your fiancé to create special memories together. Be sure to remind your wedding photographer to take a lot of pictures of them!