By Taylor Trimble | Spring 2018 Intern
Your ceremony is finished and your guests are ready to celebrate your marriage! While this day is all about the couple, cocktail hour is definitely all about the guests and their experience. Your cocktail hour is the perfect transition into your reception and can set the tone for the rest of the event. There are a few elements to keep in mind while planning your cocktail hour in order to create the best experience possible for your friends and family!
Food & Drink
One of the most important elements of a cocktail hour is the food and drink. Your guests are going to be getting hungrier and will be anxious to start the celebration. It's important to take a few things into consideration prior to creating your menu(s).
First, remember to keep it simple. You don't want to overwhelm your guests with a million options during a cocktail hour. Narrow down food choices to three or four appetizers. Second, have fun with it! Simple doesn't have to be boring. Create a fun signature drink with the bartender or your caterer. Additionally, you want to make cocktail hour interactive to keep guests engaged. It sounds intimidating ... interactive food!? Think about how much fun a cheese and wine pairing station could be, or a create-your-own taco bar!
Lastly, make sure your selections fit with your guests. Taking your guests and their dietary restrictions or preferences into consideration will help to tailor your selections to accommodate them and ensure that there is something for everyone.
The same way that we discussed keeping guests interactive with food, we recommend you keep guests entertained generally during cocktail hour. Guests may get antsy after a while, so it's important to provide some form of entertainment or engagement. An easy way to do this is to rent a photo booth or create a fun backdrop for them to take pictures in front of. If you have an outdoor venue, you could provide lawn games, such as cornhole or giant Jenga.
Having children at your wedding? Create a kid-friendly zone with activities for them as well so that they are occupied and having fun too. Finally, make sure you've got music! Whether you decide to bring in a live band or create your own playlist, music is essential to your cocktail hour. It will help to set the vibe and get the party started!
Cocktail hour is the perfect way to incorporate the theme or vibe that you are putting into place for your big day! You don't necessarily need to have a themed-wedding to create cohesiveness throughout the day. You can simply include your color scheme into your cocktail hour to maintain the connection between your ceremony and reception. Take it a step further by creating seasonal signature drinks or festive food. For example, if you're having a summer wedding you could create a signature margarita or bring in an ice cream station. If you do have a theme, you can easily tie it into your cocktail hour through the decor that you use, the food and drink that are served, and the activities that guests will partake in.
Whether you decide to have a laid-back celebration or a fully-themed extravaganza, tailoring your cocktail hour to your guests is what's most important. Remember to provide a good selection of food and drink as well as entertainment. Keep it simple, but have fun with it! There are countless ways to get creative and fit your theme into your cocktail hour. If you keep your guests in mind, you can't go wrong!
By Erica Sonlin | Spring 2018 Intern
You've seen the magazines filled with picture-perfect couples on their wedding day. You know, the couples who have somehow managed to combine stunning vintage decorations that are perfectly in tune with their striking backgrounds. I'm sure you've wondered ... how?! How does it all look so flawless? How have they planned such a perfect, vintage-inspired wedding?
If you love an old-fashioned style, this concept was designed for you! It's crucial to be creative throughout this process, and looking for inspiration wherever you can find it is highly recommended.
There are a number of factors to consider when planning around this theme; after all, it is the first step to planning your wedding! Today, I hope to provide you with some helpful insight into how to plan your own vintage-inspired wedding.
Isn't there something just so charming and romantic about a timeless wedding from the past? Well, it's in your hands to create and bring together any ideas that you might have. To start, look for inspiration! What does vintage mean to you? Do you love a particular time period and want to draw from that? Do you want to focus on the early 1900s or something more modern, like the 70's or 80's or something in between it all? The twentieth century offers a wide range of changes throughout each decade, so it's important to stay consistent and focus on an area of inspiration.
After you have decided on the time period you're drawing inspiration from, you'll want to select a venue. Choosing the right venue for your vision will help to set the mood for the big day and can help you to determine which elements of decor you'd like to bring in based on the background and overall setting. Be mindful of the scenery outdoors, as well as the interior rooms, included furniture, etc.
Weddings in the past were often held in the homes of the family or in a beautifully tended garden, so a rural barn or old country estate could be an ideal setting to bring the vintage vibe across. If you're hoping for something a little more modern, a hotel, church or vineyard could work too.
Next on the list is your color palette! Try to envision that you're at the venue, walking down the aisle, looking around at the ceremony, and watching the bridal party dance. Which colors are you seeing or are you inspired by? Which colors do you want to see blended into the colors of your venue? Aim for consistency - neutrals always work well! If you're going for a vintage-inspired palette, you might want to shy away from really bright and flashy colors and stick with nude shades such as creams, browns and beiges with hints of light blue, blush pink or sage green.
Once your color palette is set, it's much easier to make further design decisions. Use your colors to bring the rest of the design scheme together. We always recommend strategically placing design elements and decor throughout the venue and spaces that folks will be interacting to ensure that the theme is carried out everywhere peoples' eyes are. For instance, think about your card box or gift table - will you use mason jars and bird cages? Chalkboard signs? How about a sweetheart table topped with a silk or lace linen and arrangements of flowers in vintage wine glasses or mason jars resting on top. Include vintage center pieces on tables, such as oil lamps or assorted keys. The possibilities are endless!
Speaking of florals, you'll want to use these to merge your vision together too through the use of bouquets, boutonnieres and arrangements. Consider attaching pearls or brooches to your bouquet (or use a brooch bouquet entirely!), for this would add a beautiful touch.
Finally, take a moment to think about your stationary. Wedding invitations are your guests first taste at your wedding vision, so we always recommend using something that meshes with your overall theme or vision for the day ... going vintage? Aim for vintage-inspired invitations! For example, an invitation with burlap string tied around a lace border could be both rustic and vintage or perhaps you want to give the illusion of texture with an invitation that resembles barn wood. Any indication of your theme or color palette helps to foreshadow your beautiful vintage-inspired wedding.
Hopefully, you're feeling confident in moving forward to create your own vintage-inspired wedding! By keeping the time, location, color palette, attire and decor, you're sure to have a cohesive design plan in place. Feel free to get creative throughout the process ... now go ahead and start sourcing your inspiration!
By Jackie Furia | Spring 2018 Intern
You've been planning your wedding day like crazy; you have chosen the dress, the bridal party, and all of the small details in between. Now it's time to take a step back and have a little fun! It's time to plan your bachelorette party! Although this is a job that's usually assigned for the maid of honor, you definitely want to have your say of where to go and what to do. By having clear communication, a theme, price range and organized timeline, the planning of the bachelorette party will go very smoothly.
Communication between the bride and maid of honor is crucial. Typically, your maid of honor already knows you really well, but it's important that she has an understanding of your style and comfort level. Do you want more of a laid-back approach, or are you going all out for a weekend and flying somewhere fun? You'll also want to discuss what is OK and what is off-limits for you. Have a plan, discuss it with those going, and then start to develop the rest.
Not every bachelorette requires a theme ... getting married and celebrating with the girls is theme enough for some; however, sometimes adding a little twist can add an extra element! It can be anything from a color scheme that you want to use to a more specific and elaborate idea like tropical or casino night. Go ahead and match the theme to your girls' gifts and outfits for the night/weekend! You can find affordable shirts and bags on websites like Etsy and Amazon that won't break the bank, or enlist the DIY gal in your group to be on top of customization for everyone. Your bachelorette party is exciting, so go with something that you'll all enjoy!
Just like when you're planning your big day and we have to bring up the least sexy part of the planning process (budget), we need to do it here too. Regardless of that fact, it's really important to take into consideration. You should have a budget laid out and keep everyone else's in mind too. Figure out what you will be responsible for paying for and what your friends are going to be covering. Be sure to have a general range to use for research purposes. Flight and hotel rates fluctuate constantly, so be on the lookout for when they are at their most affordable!
After you have developed your idea, know where you're going and who is going to be joining you, it's time to start working on your itinerary. At this point, you and your maid of honor have probably already worked out some ideas for what you'd like to do, so go ahead and pick a date and send out the invitations (she should do this, not you!). A few months before, make sure to make any reservations for hotels, flight, rental home, etc. As it gets closer, make sure it's someone's job to confirm all reservations. When it's time to head out and celebrate, make sure that your maid of honor is keeping track of any gifts received and when you return, send out thank you cards to your girls for taking time to celebrate with you!
It's your bachelorette party and you should relax and enjoy this time with your friends before the wedding day!