Wedding Planning: Out of Town Guests

Greet your out of town wedding guests with a welcome bag or basket filled with goodies to thank them for joining you and your fiancé for your wedding day…however far they travelled!

If your guest list is filled with out of towners, make sure to reserve a room block for your guests at a local hotel close to your wedding venue or downtown (close to all the tourist attractions) and be sure to include this information on your wedding invitation or website. When guests check into their room, surprise them with a thoughtful care package or have the front desk hand them out to each guest as they check-in.
*Make sure to check with the hotel beforehand and make these arrangement, some hotels charge a fee for deliveries to each room.*

Greetings-from-Toronto
Photo credit: www.canadiandesignresource.ca

What to include:

–        Thank you Note: A hand written note thanking them for coming – how about a postcard of the city!

–        Maps: a map of the city with tourist attractions & the subway system

–        Emergency contact information: Assign someone from your family or bridal party to be “on-call” for any emergency questions or help

–        Wedding itinerary: Include information for the wedding day (ceremony time & location) and any other pre-wedding event they are a part of like the wedding rehearsal dinner, brunch, etc.

–        Food: Include a fruit or snack and a local delicacy or treat (especially if guests are coming from outside of Canada)

–        Drink: Include a bottle of water or maybe some local wine

–        Bag or basket: you will need something to hold all these goodies! A canvas or paper bag or basket works best. Include your wedding colours, wedding date or monogram!

This is a great time to use your wedding colours and theme to get your guests ready for the fabulous wedding to come!

Little Details: Menus

There are soo many great ideas for personalizing your wedding day that I am sharing one of my favourites from a recent wedding. One of our June couples had the sweet idea of using chocolate bars as their dinner menus (and wedding favours). Each guest had a “chocolate” menu at their place setting along with a personalized program filled with details about the couple, the kissing game and evening’s events. This wedding was filled with many little details created by the bride and groom showcasing their overall Great Gatsby wedding theme.

chocolate menu

To see their wedding in more detail and get some inspiration, check out James Frodyma Wedding Films‘s same day edit http://vimeo.com/67812910. Keep some Kleenex handy!

Signature Cocktail: Chica Punch

Hosting a Bachelorette Party soon? Try this delicious punch recipe that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Its my go to recipe…but be careful, its very easy to drink!

Chica Punch

2 cups brandy
1 cup sugar
strawberries, hulled & quartered
1 bottle chilled champagne or sparkling wine
1 bottle chilled white wine
1 litre chilled club soda

Whisk the brandy and sugar together in a bowl. Add the strawberries, and macerate the strawberries in the fridge overnight.

When its time to serve the punch, transfer the strawberries and liquid to a large punch bowl or pitcher. Add the Champagne, wine, and club soda.

Recipe courtesy of Ingrid Hoffman’s Simply Delicioso Cookbook

Planning: You’re Engaged!…What’s Next?

engagement,love,pictures,ring,love,yourself,scrabble-6406126e1a27b9eb38b39851d8d8d7be_h
Photo credit: Jean Tsai

He proposed last night and you are too excited to sleep…You’re engaged! What’s next?

  1. Enjoy it! Some brides want to get started on the wedding planning right away but why not enjoy this stage and let it sink in. Enjoy the moment!
  2. Call and/or email your family and close friends before making the big announcement on Facebook/Twitter. You don’t want anyone important to get their feelings hurt. Ask your parents to help spread the word to your family.
  3. Start collecting all your wedding ideas in one place. Buy wedding magazines, visit wedding blogs, start a Pinterest board (if you don’t already have one!).
  4. Create a guest list. Who will you invite? Ask both sets of parents for their lists.
  5. Set a Budget. How much do you want to invest in your wedding? Who is paying for what?
  6. Get a manicure! 😉

Planning: Writing your Wedding Speech

Once everything is planned and all the RSVPs are returned, an essential final detail most couples put off until the last minute is their wedding speech. To help with the writer’s block, here are some pointers when you eventually sit down and jot down your thoughts:

RenaissanceStudios 16
Photo credit: Renaissance Studios

Here are some pointers:

1. Start by thanking everyone for joining in the celebration of your big day, especially friends and family who’ve traveled from far to attend.

2. Continue by thanking people who’ve supported you with all the wedding preparations. The Groom should thank his Best Man & Groomsmen, and the Bride should thank her Maid of Honour & Bridesmaids.

3. Include some special words about your parents, not just to thank them for their role in the wedding preparations, but describe your relationship with them over the years.

4. Include a special word about your new in-laws; thank them for welcoming you into the family.

5. Briefly talk about how you met your wife/husband; your first impressions; things you like and didn’t like about him/her; how the relationship developed over the months/years; your thoughts on love and marriage. Turn to your wife/husband and give her/him a personal message.

Keep it simple and from the heart and don’t keep it to the last minute!

Planning: How to Ask Your Bridesmaids!

More and more brides are finding creative and fun ways to ask their (best/closest) friends to join them at the altar. You are not only asking her to stand by your side on the wedding day but you are also asking her to stand by your side throughout the entire engagement/planning. A couple years ago, my friend asked me to be a bridesmaid with a lovely card and homemade cookies. If you are crafty, this is your time to get the glue gun out and get creative!

MangoStudios 13
Photo credit: Mango Studios

Here are some tips to popping the question:

  • Start with a card with a personal note: There are so many ideas online, I found many different cards with cute sayings like “I’ve got the guy but I need my girls” or “Can’t say I Do without you!” or “Now it’s my turn to pop the question, will you be my bridesmaid?” Tell her why you’ve chosen her 🙂
  • Get them ready for the day: Make a “Bridesmaid Survival Kit” include their role/responsibilities
    pre-wedding and wedding day, remind them of important dates/events to keep in
    mind, include photos of dress ideas you may have (with colour swatches), don’t
    forget important numbers and email addresses so they can all keep in touch (in
    case they don’t already know each other).Try this from Wedding Chicks – a “Will you be my bridesmaid?” box
  • Gift them a keepsake or token of gratitude: This can be something small and shouldn’t compete with the bridesmaid’s gift. How about some nail polish in your wedding colours, a canvas shopping bag that says “Bridesmaid” or “Maid of Honour” or something sweet like cookies, cupcakes or your favourite treat in your wedding colours.

If you find yourself lost or looking for endless ideas try Etsy, Lover.ly or Pinterest!

Little Details: Place cards & Favours

When it comes to wedding favours, you can gift your guests with something edible (cupcakes, chocolates, popcorn, candy), something you hope they will use again (candle, picture frame, key chain, wine opener) or make a donation to a cause near & dear to you.

Most couples opt for place cards to show guests to their seats for the reception. They are usually tent cards with the guest’s name and table number.

Why not combine the two?

Photo Booth place card

Here’s a little detail we LOVE from a past wedding. Amanda and Gary combined their place cards with their wedding favours. They had a photo booth set up throughout the night which printed photos for their guests to take home. The favour was a magnetic frame for those photos.

A great little detail!

Signature Cocktail: Caesar

Canadians love their caesars – it is considered the #1 cocktail in Canada (and its also a great hangover cure!). So its fitting that we chose it as July’s signature cocktail especially since we just celebrated Canada Day. Did you enjoy one this weekend? I did! 😉

CAESAR

Caesar

celery salt for the rim (optional)
1 oz vodka
2 dashes hot  sauce (or more, depending how spicy you like it!)
3 pinches of salt and  pepper
4 dashes Worcestershire  sauce
4 oz Mott’s Clamato Original Cocktail
1  celery stick for garnish
1 lime wedge  for garnish

Rim the glass with lime and celery salt. Fill the glass with ice, add vodka, hot sauce (to taste), Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper and Mott’s Clamato. Mix thoroughly. Garnish with celery and a lime wedge.

**Recipe courtesy of Canadian Living Magazine**

Planning: Wedding Blogs

The internet is full of wedding ideas, tips and blogs that it can sometimes be overwhelming (and time consuming) to find exactly what you are looking for.

Here are 5 different wedding blogs, reflecting different wedding styles,  that we think any bride or groom should visit  (frequently) while planning their wedding:

1. WedLuxe Editor’s Blog – “Daily eye candy from the desk of Angela Desveaux, Editor-in-Chief”
www.wedluxe.com
What we like about it: Features real weddings; Fashion & Wedding ideas.

2. Style Me Pretty – “a style savvy wedding resource devoted to the modern bride”
www.stylemepretty.com
What we like about it: Pin to your Pinterest board from blog; Style guide at the end of each post.

3. Ruffled – “vintage-inspired and handmade idea for weddings”
ruffledblog.com
What we like about it: Tons of DIY ideas with instructions & downloadable templates.

4. Martha Stewart Weddings – The Bride’s Guide – “Daily Ideas & Inspiration from Martha Stewart Weddings”
thebridesguide.marthastewartweddings.com
What we like about it: Ideas; inspiration and behind the scene view of the magazine.

5. Weddingbee – “updated daily by 20+ real brides around the world”
www.weddingbee.com
What we like about it: Written by real Brides for Brides – great conversations!

Is your favourite blog missing from the list? Please share it with us!

Planning: “Must Take” Photo Checklist

After your wedding day while looking back at your photos, you don’t want to regret forgetting to capture a moment. A photo with a special family member (your 90 year old Grandmother!) or a special detail you put a lot of thought into (personalized menus!). What’s the best way to avoid this? By providing a “must take” photo list to your photographer (and videographer).

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Photo Credit: Lisa Mark Photography

Here are some photos we consider to be “must take”:
– Wedding dress (hanging)
– Getting into Wedding dress
– Bride’s Bouquet – I especially love photos of the Groom holding the bouquet
– Bride with her Bridesmaids / Groom with his Groomsmen
– Bride with her Parents (& siblings) / Groom with his Parents (& siblings) – a great excuse to capture a family portrait!
– The rings (close-up)
– The Kiss – see photo example above!
– Bride & Groom leaving the Ceremony as Newlyweds!
– Entire Bridal Party (including Flower Girls & Ring Bearers)
– Detail shots – centerpieces, stationery (programs, menu, place cards, etc), favours, signature drink
– Wedding Cake – plus Bride & Groom cutting the cake
– First Dance
– Father/Daughter Dance & Mother/Son Dance
– Reaction to Speeches
– Dancing! – You’ll want to see/remember your guests having a great time

Make sure to give this list of “Must Take” Photos to your photographer before your wedding day so they have time to review and plan for those photos.

BONUS TIP:
For family photos, if you have a big family or a lot of family photos planned, make sure you have a list with everyone who’s included on it.  Designating a point person from each side of the family who knows everyone on that list will help find those missing people and speed up the photo taking process.