We have been mentioned on Martha Stewart Weddings!

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https://www.marthastewartweddings.com/619474/how-to-choose-rehearsal-dinner-venue

How to Choose the Perfect Rehearsal Dinner Venue

Plus, other planning tips.

Contributing Writer
natalie jamey rehearsal dinner tables

Photography by: KT Merry

The second most important event of your wedding weekend will undoubtedly be your rehearsal dinner. Typically, this is a less-formal event during which close friends and family come together (generally following some form of wedding rehearsal) in celebration of the big event. It’s especially beneficial if many of your guests are coming from out of town, as it’s a nice excuse to spend more time together.

 

“The rehearsal dinner is one of the most anticipated and cherished traditions of a wedding celebration,” says Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance. “For many couples, this will be the first opportunity that their friends and family members will have to meet each other.” To make the most of this treasured evening, we asked twp wedding planners to explain how you should go about selecting the right venue for this important pre-wedding event.

 

THE ULTIMATE WEDDING REHEARSAL AND REHEARSAL DINNER CHECKLIST

 

Step 1: Determine your budget.

First and foremost, figure out how much money you have to spend on the rehearsal dinner. This will help you figure out what kind of event you’re able to have, and how many guests you can invite. Setting your budget also means figuring out who will be shouldering the cost. “Traditionally, the groom’s parentsare the hosts of the rehearsal dinner,” says Lehman. “Today, however, as more couples are paying for the expenses of the wedding themselves, the cost of the rehearsal dinner is often included in the overall budget.” Be sure to allow enough time to scout out the perfect venue, taking into consideration the overall cost of enough food and drinks for guests.

 

Step 2: Settle on a theme.

This is the fun part! Just as you likely chose a theme for your wedding, be it nautical, vintage-traditional, or rustic, you can have fun with the vision you choose for your rehearsal dinner. The food you choose can play a role in this effect as well. Are you big on Italian food? A lover of guac and chips? Don’t feel the need to go fancy just because your wedding day is upscale. “A rehearsal dinner can also be as casual as a pizza party or barbecue in the backyard of the couple’s home, or a local park,” says Lehman. “Generally, whoever hosts the dinner has creative control, taking into account their budget, and the tastes of the couple, aesthetically and gastronomically.”

 

Step 3: Find the right venue.

The rehearsal dinner is often held at a local restaurant or country club, but Lehman points out that any location will do. “A rooftop with a great view in the city, a nostalgic bowling alley, a private home, or a clambake or a bonfire on the beach are all great ideas,” she says. Though she does warn that it’s wise to choose a venue that’s close enough to the wedding ceremony that it provides guests the convenience of not having to travel too far. “Visit several venues to see if there are enough areas for seating and standing, clean restroom facilities, and friendly, well-trained wait staff,” she adds. Will the venue allow the wedding party to bring in decorations, entertainment, and catering as needed?  Will the venue be able to accommodate special dietary needs of guests? Will there be a dress code? These are all things she suggests considering when finding the right venue.

 

LITTLE WHITE LOOKS FOR EVERY WEDDING EVENT

 

Step 4: Finalize your invite list.

Just as your guest list for the big day is important (and likely involved some cutting), you can expect the same when it comes to your rehearsal dinner. “If you’re having a traditional rehearsal dinner, your guests are your VIPs: your immediate family, bridal party, and their dates,” says Tessa Brand, wedding and event planner and owner of Tessa Lyn Events. “A party this size should be able to fit in a private room in a restaurant.” However, if you are extending the invite to all guests, she says this is more of a “welcome party,” which means you will need a larger space. Knowing your approximate guest count will help you determine the price per guest. “Keep in mind, that even if you invite all your wedding guests, the acceptance for a welcome dinner will be lower than your wedding, as people arrive from out of town at different times.”

 

Step 5: Pick your ideal menu.

“The menu is probably the single most influential factor when debating where to have a rehearsal dinner,” says Lehman. “Many couples choose to host their rehearsal dinner in the location they met or where they had their first date.” This is cute and all, but remember that your rehearsal dinner can hold as much or as little meaning as you want. After all, you have a whole wedding dedicated to your love for each other the following day. Have fun and be adventurous! “Sharing the experience with those closest to the couple is what it’s all about,” Lehman adds.

 

Step 6: Plan your décor.

Once you’ve locked down your rehearsal dinner venue and selected from the menu options, your next to-do is décor. Brand suggests going with a completely different color scheme for your flowers, and switching up the décor from what you’ll have at your wedding. “While the idea of having one cohesive wedding weekend may sound ideal, it is much more fun to switch it up and will show you put thought into each event,” she says. “Plus, this leaves an element of surprise for your guests to see on your wedding day.” Floral additions are great, too, as they will easily last a few days and can be repurposed for a farewell brunch at the end of the weekend.

 

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We have been featured on Martha Stewart Weddings!

We have been blessed, again, to have been featured in an article on Martha Stewart Weddings!  Thank you, Jenn Sinrich!

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8 Wedding Planners Weigh In: Can a Guest Wear White to the Wedding?

Is it really that taboo?

Contributing Writer
bridesmaid drinks

Photography by: Clary Pfeiffer Photography

It happens to the best of us—you fall in love with a stunning cream- or ivory-colored dress that would be just perfect to wear to that wedding you have coming up in a few months. But wait—is it too close in hue to the bride’s attire? Does she care? Will other wedding guests care?

 

Some might say “go for it,” while others will be quick to say it’s a bad idea. Like any other situation, there are two sides to every story. “The tradition of the white wedding dress began when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840,” explains Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance. “Victoria selected a white satin gown lavishly embellished with lace that was handcrafted in England. After the photographs of the wedding were widely published, brides began copying Victoria’s style by wearing white gowns to their own nuptials.” Since that infamous celebration, it’s generally been frowned upon for anyone other than the bride to wear white to a wedding.

 

But is it still a no-no for wedding guests today? We asked eight wedding planners from all different parts of the country to give us their most unbiased and unfiltered advice.

 

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO DECODING WEDDING DRESS CODES

 

Don’t risk it.

“Out of respect to the bride and the legacy of tradition, go with another color,” says Lindsey Sachs, wedding planner and owner of COLLECTIVE/by Sachs. “Whether you know the bride’s stance on this topic or not, you can’t go wrong by playing it safe. Consider hues that coordinate with the current season, or those that complement the wedding color palette. By not wearing white, you won’t end up the topic of conversation among other curious guests and, most importantly, your wardrobe choice won’t detract from the bride who deserves to be honored on her wedding day as the leading lady in white.”

 

It’s no longer taboo to wear white!

“According to the Emily Post Institute, it’s acceptable to wear white, as long as it doesn’t ‘distract from the bride or her attendant’s dresses.’ For example, a colorful, cocktail-length dress with a white lace overlay is acceptable,” says Lehman. “A casual sheath dress also works well, but if the dress is white and floor-length or full-skirted, it won’t work. If a guest or attendant has any hesitation about appropriate attire, it’s usually best to check with the bride, and follow her wishes.”

 

Only when it’s part of the theme.

“There’s only one scenario in which it’s okay to wear white to a wedding and that’s when the couple asks you to. A friend of mine planned a wedding where the bride wore a fuchsia dress and the couple asked all of their guests to wear white. I personally think that’s such a fun idea and a great way to flip tradition on its head,” Leah Weinberg, wedding planner, owner, and executive planner at Color Pop Events, says. “It also made for really striking photos. I’ve also seen couples have their wedding party wear white. Clearly the rule of not wearing white to a wedding doesn’t apply to smaller details like white stripes or polka dots, but my rule of thumb is this: If you’re picking an outfit and the question pops into your mind of whether or not this is too much white to wear to a wedding, then don’t wear it.”

 

Never!

“The bride may or may not wear white (maybe ivory, maybe champagne) but it’s her color for that day. You don’t want to be mistaken for the bride in a white or lace gown,” Brandi Hamerstone, owner and wedding planner at All Events Planned, says. “You don’t want to stand with the bride and look as though you were attempting to look bridal on someone else’s day. Even when or if that wasn’t your intention, that’s what people (and possibly the bride) will think and who wants to be ‘that’ person?”

 

16 WEDDING TRADITIONS AND SUPERSTITIONS

 

I’ve seen it at nearly every wedding.

“After planning hundreds of weddings, I’ve noticed that there are always at least one or two people wearing something along the lines of white at every wedding. Beyond the wedding, it can also be inappropriate to wear a white dress to the rehearsal dinner or bridal shower as you wouldn’t want someone to mistake you for the bride,” says Wendy Collings, catering sales and conference services manager at Stowe Mountain Lodge. “Not that I recommend it, but if you have to wear white, I would follow a few rules to keep the glancing looks from other guests at bay. Don’t wear a floor-length or strapless dress and try to stay away from a high neckline with lace. Do add a bright pop of color like a belt, earrings, chunky statement jewelry, and stay away from updo-style hair.”

 

White’s for the bride only.

“While many wedding traditions are going away, I feel strongly that wearing white or ivory should be reserved for the bride only. That’s not to say that you cannot wear an outfit with some white in it (like a white camisole underneath a jacket with a colorful skirt) or as part of a pattern—just don’t wear a solid white outfit,” Vicky Choy, event planner and owner of Event Accomplished LLC, says. “Even if it’s a summer beach wedding, don’t do it. You can’t tell me that with so many colors out there that the only outfit you can wear to a wedding is a white one.”

 

Tradition stands in this case.

“White is still reserved for the bride(s) or groom(s) only. Of course, there’s almost always an exception to the rule, and in this case I find only one: It is okay to wear white if, and only if, the couple has specifically requested that attire be worn,” Megan Seaton, wedding planner at Molly Mae Events, says. “For example, I had a wedding where all bridesmaids wore a white dress, which was a specific request of the bride. Another example is when couples throw a ‘White Wedding’ or ‘Black and White Party.’ In this case, the attire will be specifically mentioned in the invitation. If it’s not on there, don’t risk it.”

 

There are certainly exceptions.

“If the wedding attire is all white and it has been requested, it’s safe to wear white. We’ll take to Hollywood, where Solange and Tina, Beyonce’s mother and sister, both had an all-white affair for their wedding day,” Myriam Michel, owner and creative director of M&M Elite Events, says. “For my wedding, I had a good girlfriend wear a brocade ivory dress, which, for November, was tastefully done and I didn’t feel upstaged. Use your best judgment as you really don’t want hurt feelings.”

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(https://www.weddingwire.com/wedding-ideas/wedding-etiquette-dos-most-people-forget)

9 Wedding Etiquette Must-Dos Most People Forget

Written by Jenn Sinrich  Photo: Anna Simonak Photography

The concept that there’s a right way to do something (and a wrong way), a.k.a. etiquette, has been around since the dawn of time. But, in today’s day and age, especially when it comes to weddings, much of the old-school protocol has gone out the window. Sure, it may have to do with changing times, or type of wedding you’re attending—i.e. a ceremony in a church with hundreds of people will likely hold you to a higher standard than a beach wedding with a handful of the bride and groom’s close friends—but that doesn’t mean etiquette in its entirety no longer exists (at least we hope not). “Etiquette was created so people would know how to act and be accepted by the rest of society, which, when you get right down to it, is no different than trying to get a ton of likes or hearts on your social media posts,” says Larissa Banting of Weddings Costa Rica in Santa Ana, Costa Rica.

So what rules should you remember at your own wedding—or as a guest? We talked to top wedding and event planners to get the inside scoop on which elements of wedding etiquette still matter today.

If you’re getting married…

Treat your guests like guests.

“Since you’re inviting people to celebrate your passage into wedded bliss, it’s your responsibility to make sure they are taken care of and made comfortable,” says Banting. “That means having enough seating for the ceremony so people aren’t left standing, having fans or cold drinks available if it’s hot, and having sufficient food and drink for all.” Of course, this is why you hire a wedding planner—to make sure you can sit back enjoy on your big day while ensuring your guests are taken care of. “It may be your day but once you’ve included other people along for the ride, you need to worry about their comfort too,” Banting adds.

Don’t keep people waiting.

You’re going to be pulled in a million and one different directions on your big day, which is why it’s crucial that you create a realistic timeline that you can stick to — and one that won’t keep guests waiting. “Hair and makeup is usually the area that can send the best-laid plans off the rails, so pad in an extra hour to ensure you’re ready on time,” suggests Banting. “If you have a long photo session between the ceremony and reception, offer guests a cocktail hour to keep them occupied—and, if you’re planning on having touchups done or changing into another outfit before or during the reception, just be aware of the time.”

Play music that will appeal to all guests.

You and your crew might be into Beyonce’s latest single, or those 90s throwbacks that you mentioned to your band or DJ in your pre-wedding meeting, but remember that you’ve likely invited guests of all ages. Consider what some of the older crowd (your grandparents, uncles, aunts) might want to listen to as well. “Select a wide range of music to be played so everyone has a chance to get up on the dance floor and have some fun,” says Banting. “Save the hip hop for later in the night once the older crowd has cleared out.”

Be thankful for your toasts.

As the focus of all the wedding toasts, the couple shouldn’t toast to themselves, says Banting. “Proper etiquette is to remain seated, smile and not raise your glass, then thank the person who made the toast.” Although it’s not required, she points out that it’s a nice gesture to finish the toast session with a small speech from you and your bride or groom. “Make sure to thank your guests for coming, your parents for their support and then say something gracious about your newly betrothed before raising a glass to all and taking a sip.”

Send thank-you notes.

Even if you had the chance to thank someone verbally for attending your wedding or giving you a gift, handwritten thank-you cards are still definite dos. “Guests spend considerable amounts of time and money in choosing a gift, selecting attire to wear, finding child care, and traveling to and from all of the wedding-related events,” Kimberly Lehman of Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio, points out. “A heartfelt message, written to the giver of the gift, is much appreciated—just a few lines stating how nice it was to see them and spend time together at the shower or wedding, and how much the gift is appreciated and may be used is fine.”

If it’s not your wedding…

Give a gift at each event you’re invited to.

Traditionally, as a guest, if you are invited to the shower and the wedding, then yes, you should bring a gift, says Lehman, though the bachelorette party is usually more informal so a gift is not necessarily required. “If you are a member of the wedding party, you are expected to contribute financially to the shower and bachelorette party, as well paying for your attire, accessories and/or grooming for the wedding,” she adds. Of course, this can be a bit overwhelming for some, especially when you’re still in school, but Lehman points out that it’s your choice to say yes or no to being a part of the wedding party. “Another solution is to have the wedding party contribute one large gift, for example the stand mixer the bride has had her eye on for months.”

Don’t assume you can bring a plus-one.

“Many guests don’t realize that when they are invited to a wedding, the couple and families are paying for each individual person to attend, to eat and drink and be entertained, rather than one blanket fee,” explains Lehman. “This is why accurate head counts are so crucial to keeping the budget under control.” In other words, if the invitation sent reads “Mr. Jim Smith and guest”, then yes, bring said person, but if the invitation is addressed only to “Mr. Jim Smith,” only Mr. Smith himself is invited to attend.

Always RSVP by the deadline.

There’s a good reason invitations, especially ones to weddings, have a deadline for when you can RSVP by. Head counts are important people! Whomever is planning (and paying for) the wedding seriously needs to know how many people to expect far before the one-month countdown. “If you happen to see the bride before the wedding and end up telling her your RSVP in person, don’t think that got you out of sending your response in,” says Jessica Janik of The Invisible Bridesmaid in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “As soon as you know you will or will not be able to make it, be courteous and send back the RSVP card if that’s what is requested.”

Don’t get in the way of the photographer or videographer.

You might consider yourself the master photographer, thanks to your skills on Instagram, but the couple hired professionals for a reason. “Don’t stand in front of the hired personnel so you can get the perfect shot of the bride and groom on their big day,” warns Janik. “And, if you did happen to take that perfect shot, wait until the ceremony starts to post a photo—you don’t want to beat the bride and groom and post before they have a chance to.”

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