Don’t Forget Your Manners – Say Thank You!

Don’t Forget Your Manners –
Say Thank You!

We are always taught to say “please” and “thank you”, but too often does the “thank you” get over looked in the hustle and bustle of wedding planning. Hopefully you saved your list of names and addresses from sending out your invites because you are not done with them until the Thank You notes are sent!

Don’t worry about spending a lot of time on each; all you need to do is write a few sentences thanking them for their attendance and gift in a relatively personal way.

“Thank you Aunt Beth and Uncle Bob for flying out from Denver to be at our wedding, it was great to see you! We love the stainless steel Crockpot you gave us, now I can make an attempt at Grandma’s famous clam chowder!”

It’s as simple as that! Short, sweet, and personal. Even if it was the fifth blender you received or it is a frog sculpture Aunt Marge made in her beginners sculpting class, a Thank You note is still a must!

Stationery by 1st Comes Love..

Stationery by 1st Comes Love…

Trying to figure out how you are going to squeeze in the time to write all these Thank You notes? Even though they don’t have a lot of writing in each, there are still a lot of notes to write. It’s okay if you don’t get all of them done in one sitting, in fact you should take a little break! Write part of your Thank You notes on the flight to your Hawaiian honeymoon and part on the way back. Break it up into groups of 25 notes and it will seem more manageable.

Whether they drove across town or flew across the country, your guests took the time to be at your wedding AND pick out a gift or write a check. Show them your appreciation by sending them a Thank You. This small gesture can mean a great deal!

Mamma would be so proud!

The Key to a Great Party

The Key to a Great Party

We all want your big day to go as smoothly as possible. You want both you and your guests to have the best experience possible and have a great time from ceremony through reception. There are many factors that go into a great experience, one of these being the music. It creates the mood going into the ceremony, amplifies those special moments, and (along with the bar) keeps the party going.

Here the keys to a great party:

Consider live music.  It has an intimate and personal feel. If your ceremony happens to start later than you expected, listening to a solo acoustic guitar makes the wait more entertaining.

Cut down the time of the first dances. Your first dance and the father-daughter and mother-son dances are special, but having your guests wait through three whole songs makes them antsy. Consider cutting the songs down to just a couple minutes each or perhaps combining the father-daughter and mother-son dances.

Photo by Atelier Pictures

Photos by Atelier Pictures

Get everyone on the dance floor. Grandma, Grandpa, and those with kids are most likely not going to stay the whole night. At the beginning of the night have songs played that are more family friendly that everyone can have a good time with and dance to. Bust out the Salt-n-Pepa and Sir Mix-A-Lot when it’s your high school and college friends later in the night.

Trust your DJ.  You want the majority of the guests to stay there the whole time and the way to do that is to keep them dancing. If the Electric Slide or Shout is what gets them all out there then go for it! Trust that your DJ will keep your taste and the feel of your wedding in mind when receiving song requests from guests.

Get up and dance!

Mini Desserts for Weddings

Mini Desserts for Weddings

Mini Desserts for Weddings

In choosing mini desserts for weddings to give guests at your reception, the first thought is cake. In addition to the traditional cake, consider adding a variety of mini desserts or a “dessert bar”. Adding mini desserts for weddings allows your guests to choose what will satisfy their sweet tooth and still get that cake cutting photo.

Your dessert bar can include:

  • Cake Shooters
  • Mini Tarts
  • Cupcakes
  • Caramel Corn
  • Mini Pies
  • Biscotti
  • S’mores
  • Fine Chocolates
  • Cream Puffs
  • Chocolate Dipped Fruit
  • Mini Cakes
  • Petit Fours
  • Mousse Cups
  • Cookies
  • Petite Cheesecakes
  • Macaroons

The possibilities are endless!!

dessert-bar-wedding-ideas

Above: Mini Cakes & Cake Shooters – White Rose Bakery,
Cupcakes – Cupcake Jones, Chocolates – A Yen for Chocolate.
Top Image: Above: Cake – White Rose Bakery, Cheesecake – Food Lush, Fine Chocolates – A Yen For Chocolate, Cupcakes – Cupcake Jones

The varieties of desserts do not necessarily have to coordinate with each other, but it may be fun to have some sort of theme or story that goes along with each. The flavor of cheesecake you always fight over the last bite of or an espresso infused truffle because you are both coffee lovers (just a couple thoughts).

Whatever petite desserts you choose make sure flavors aren’t too out of the box. Still make sure they are memorable (and delicious) enough that your guests continue drooling over them long after your wedding day has passed!

Life is short, eat dessert first!

Be Specific: Make Sure that Grandma Gets a Chair!

Be Specific: Make Sure that Grandma Gets a Chair!

Be specific: make sure that grandma gets a chair! With all of the excitement and planning for the big day it is easy to overlook some of the most important details.

The ceremony and cocktail hour are over and it is time for the reception. Your reception area opens and it turns into a mad dash for a table so the whole family or group of friends can be sure to get a table together. How do you reduce this stampede of stilettos and bowties? Have a seating chart, seating cards, or place cards!

Don’t think of it as more work for you, think of it as a better experience for you and your guests day-of. Create the seating arrangement then pass it over to the pro who made your save-the-dates and invitations to be sure they fit with the aesthetic of your wedding.

Top: Seating Cards by Puddle Jumpin' Cards, Photo by Erica Ann Photography  Left: Seating Cards by Alicia Zorn Calligraphy, Photo by Amanda K Photography.  Middle: Seating Cards by Puddle Jumpin' Cards, Photo by Alan Weiner Photography.  Right: Place Card by Puddle Jumpin' Cards, Photography by The Art of Joy AJ's Studio.

Top: Seating Cards by Puddle Jumpin’ Cards, Photo by Erica Ann Photography; Left: Seating Cards by Alicia Zorn Calligraphy, Photo
by Amanda K Photography; Middle: Seating Cards by Puddle Jumpin’ Cards, Photo by Alan Weiner Photography; Right: Place Card by Puddle Jumpin’ Cards, Photography by The Art of Joy AJ’s Studio.

What is the difference? How do you choose whether to use a seating chart, place cards, or seating cards?

Seating Chart – A good sized “chart” at the front of the reception area with all your guests’ names and which table they will be sitting at. Make it fit the theme of your wedding. Writing names on a chalk board or a vintage window pane are popular ways to make a seating chart pretty.

Seating (or Escort) Cards – Displayed as individual cards with a guests name and the table number. They can grab it before they enter the reception then find their table. Get creative with the display; attach the cards to the guests’ favors or pin them on a rustic display. Make every little detail fit in with your wedding aesthetic.

Left: Place Card by Puddle Jumpin' Cards, Photo by Atelier Pictures; Right: Place Card by Puddle Jumpin' Cards, Photo by Erica Ann Phtography

Left: Place Card by Puddle Jumpin’ Cards, Photo by Atelier Pictures; Right: Place Card by Puddle Jumpin’ Cards, Photo by Erica Ann Photography

Place Cards – The most formal of the three. These are placed at each place setting, telling your guests which seat is theirs at the table. We would recommend having a seating chart as well to direct guests to the correct table first rather than making them search for a needle in a haystack of possible seats.

Prevent that mad dash race to the table, let your guests meander and make their way to the table without tripping over every other person there. Decide which of these will work best with your wedding and get creative, the sky is the limit!

Sit back and relax!

5 Fun Bridal Shower Themes!

5 Fun Bridal Shower Themes!

Whether it’s five months or two weeks before the big day, if you are having one or multiple, your bridal shower should fit your personality and be as unique as you are!  It doesn’t have to be iced tea and cucumber sandwiches (although you could definitely modernize the tea party idea!).

If you are having trouble planning a bridal shower here are a few ideas to get those creative juices flowing:

  • Bridal Shower meets Cocktail Class – Appreciate a good drink? Hire a professional bartender to come in and give a tasting of wine, champagne or spirit. Have them teach guests how to make some popular cocktails with what you have just tasted.
  • Cooking/Baking Theme – Does the couple love to cook? Have the kitchen be the theme of the party! There are so many directions to go with this theme in mind. Decorate cupcakes, have a professional come in a teach guests how to cook or bake a favorite dish, or simply have the favorite comfort food on the menu.
  • Bridal Shower Pampering – Who doesn’t love to get pampered? Of course, everyone does! Nails, hair,  face, waxing? The possibilities are really endless!
  • Get her ready for the Honeymoon – Whether it’s lingerie, a bathing suit, or a sassy sun hat, base the shower theme on where the couple is going for their honeymoon. Have guests bring gifts surrounding that theme.
  • Enjoy the great outdoors! – Who says that a shower has to be inside?! If the couple is adventurous and the group is smaller take it outside. Go skydiving or white water rafting, embrace your inner adventurer! Great idea if you are involving the guys too!

Get Creative!

Wedding Liability Insurance – Are You Covered?

Wedding Liability Insurance – Are You Covered?

It is fast approaching your wedding day and everything is falling into place. We all picture our wedding day flowing smoothly without a hitch. However, though it is not something we would like to necessarily think about, unexpected problems may arise during the planning process or on the actual wedding day. Unfortunately, it is difficult to prevent or even predict these problems, so it would be wise to prepare and protect against the unexpected.

After reading a blog from Nationwide Insurance Company, it may put your mind at ease to see it can be quite simple to insure your wedding day. With two different types of coverage from this particular insurance company, not only your wedding day, but also problematic circumstances that arise during planning may be covered!

Photos by Atelier Pictures

Photos by Atelier Pictures

Wedding Cancellation Insurance –Depending upon the reason for cancellation, this plan may include reimbursements of lost deposits or retainers you have paid to your hired wedding professionals. Through Nationwide, you can purchase this insurance up to 15 days before your wedding date.

Wedding Liability Insurance – Just in case the party gets out of hand or Mom sprains her wrist getting tackled by ladies scrambling for that bouquet you threw just a little too far. A variety of accidents can happen. They may not, but just in case they do, wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry?

Check with your insurance company and see what your options are and work one or both of these into your wedding budget. Professionals like your bartender and caterer should have their own insurance, covering food and alcohol, but there are so many other areas that need covering.  Be prepared for that unexpected strong bouquet toss!

Now relax, you got it covered!

Portland DJs Faceoff: DJ vs iPod a Battle of Sound

Portland DJs Faceoff: DJ vs iPod a Battle of Sound

In order to keep costs down while planning your wedding ceremony and reception, has the thought crossed your mind to just use an iPod rather than to hire a professional DJ? I hope not! But if it has, here a just a few things you should know when deciding which musical route to take.

  • Sound enhancement! Of course you want to hear the music, but you also want your vows and toasts to be heard. A professional DJ brings a microphone for him/herself as well as one for the officiant and whoever is doing a reading or toast. Can your iPod do that?
  • Need to stall? Weddings never start on time and it is rare that everything goes just as planned. With an iPod cannot before you know it, the processional song has started and people are still being seated. A professional DJ can improvise with an added track and fade out when it is time.
Above Photo by Adam Trujillo.  Top Photo by Atelier.

Kevin Venables, Northwest Mobile DJ Service
Photo by Adam Trujillo
Top Photo by Atelier Pictures

  • A master of ceremonies. An iPod doesn’t announce when to go through the buffet line, when the cake will be cut, or tell all the single ladies to prepare for a bouquet battle (there isn’t an app for that). A professional DJ can give your guests some direction.
  • Keep the party going! A professional DJ reads the crowd and knows what will get them up and dancing. It is an acquired skill to know what songs will get Grandma, Dad, your niece, and all your college friends in between on the dance floor together.

IPods are great for house parties and workouts, but don’t trust the life of the party to something whose closest thing to improvisation is hitting shuffle.

 Sounds like a professional DJ is the winner!

Invitations 101

Invitations 101

The time is coming to start thinking about your wedding invitations! So you’ve got your list; now what?

Here are a few helpful hints to help you get started:

  • Send your invitations six to eight weeks before the wedding. Make sure and give yourself enough time to design, print, put together, and address them. If you have a lot of out of town guests or you are having a destination wedding send them a couple weeks earlier so guests can make travel plans.
  • Your invitations should reflect you as a couple and give guests a little peek into the style of your wedding. Have fun with it!
  • The RSVP deadline should be about 2-3 weeks before your wedding date. This gives your caterer an accurate guest count and saves you from more seating chart edits.
  • Pay attention to the way you address your invitations. If you want your guests bring dates write “Jack Smith + Guest” if you are inviting a whole household write “Jordan, Pamela & Family”.

Don’t worry, you can do this!

HELP! Wedding Overload!

HELP! Wedding Overload!

Does going through site after site, magazine after magazine, and attending show after show give you a headache? Has looking at every venue, DJ, florist, caterer and every pro in between start to make you feel overwhelmed?

You are probably starting to realize that planning a wedding is not all froof and flowers. Between every single logistical detail and the fun stuff like picking flowers, dresses, and linens, you just don’t seem to have enough time in this next year to get it all done.

This is what wedding planners are for.

Think of them as wedding industry matchmakers, a walking encyclopedia of everything wedding. Planners take the guess work out of shopping for your florist, venue, caterer, etc by leading you to the ones that fit your budget, vision and personality.

Planners know bridal logistics. It is the job of a professional to know the logistics of their specific field; it is a professional planners’ job to know the logistics of everyone’s fields. They know everything from how long it will take for three people to move 200 chairs to what to do in the event of a banquet crisis.

Clean up and set up is taken care of! Planners work with the rental company and other professionals to set up for your big day so you and your family don’t have to. This gives you more time to relax, spend time with your family and friends, and sip champagne.

A behind the scenes superhero! Something goes wrong during the planning process or at the event; Super Planner comes to the rescue to pull the solution from their bag of tricks! (You will never know anything ever went wrong!)

Hiring a professional wedding planner is not just an added expense, they can actually help you stick to your intended budget, bring your wedding vision to life, and relieve SO MUCH stress! I really can’t see a downside here, why not hire a planner?!

Relax, we’ve got this!

Choosing A Photographer

Choosing A Photographer

Your wedding is something you will remember the rest of your life. You will replay those moments of your first kiss as a married couple, the beautiful décor, and you with your family getting down on the dance floor at the reception. This is such an important and special day for you and your spouse-to-be. Doesn’t it just make sense to have a photographer that will capture these moments exactly the way you remember them?

You have probably already figured out that Portland has no shortage of photographers, but how do you differentiate between the professionals and the hobbyists, and between various styles?

Here are just a few things to help you sift through the haystack of photographers:

  • What style of photos are you looking for? Do you like more natural looking photos or do you like them photo-shopped to the max?
  • Look through photographers online portfolios. Do you like what you see? Does this fit the style you are looking for?
  • Do you want a lot of décor shots? You put a lot of time and effort into every little detail of your wedding, it is important that your photographer captures all your favorite décor items.
  • Look through online reviews. Was this photographer easy to work with? On time? Timely? Did they fulfill the couples’ wishes? (This is a great way to see who the professionals really are.)
  • Count on your Wedding Planner to know which Professional Photographers fit your style and budget. The best reference is a professional one!

Ready, Set, Strike a Pose!