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Everything You Need to Know About the Groom’s Cake

This wedding tradition is still alive and well.

Contributing Writer
buffalo check axe log cake

Photography by: Sugar Geek Show

If you’re like most people, you might only be familiar with one wedding cake—that is, the one the bride and groom cut into on their wedding night and feed to each other as a significance of their shared love. But wedding traditions from other cultures incorporate more than just one cake. The groom’s cake, which originated in Victorian England, is one such example. “As tradition has it, there were typically three cakes served during a Victorian wedding,” says Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance. “There was the wedding cake that was served to the guests, the bride’s cake, which was served to the bridesmaids, and the groom’s cake, served to the groomsmen.” Eventually, Southern brides and grooms in the United States adopted this tradition, making it their own. (Who could forget the armadillo-shaped groom’s cake in Steel Magnolias?)

 

While the tradition has changed over time, the groom’s cake is still alive and well. In fact, it may be becoming more popular than ever. Couples across the United States and abroad—even Prince William had one at his wedding to Kate Middleton!—are serving a second confection tailored to the groom’s specific tastes. Thinking adding another cake to your party in honor of new husband? Here are some interesting facts to know about the groom’s cake.

 

RELATED: UNIQUE IDEAS FOR THE GROOM’S CAKE

 

The earliest groom’s cakes were actually fruitcakes.

Fruitcakes are a dark, rich cake filled with candied fruits and nuts that tend to keep well, especially with all of the liqueur used in their creation, explains Lehman. This is also why they are so popular to give as gifts during the holiday season! “Today, groom’s cakes are usually made with dark chocolate and may be filled with fruits and liqueurs, however, the groom’s favorite cake flavors and fillings should definitely take priority in this luscious dessert,” she says.

 

The groom’s cake is not always served at the wedding reception.

These days, especially for the less traditional couples, the groom’s cake is served at the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding. “This is always a nice touch because it spreads the fun across your wedding weekend,” says Catherine George, owner of Catherine George Cakes in Washington, D.C. She suggests leaving the cake out on display for a while before it’s served.

 

Although designated for the groom, couples are designing the groom’s cake together.

Though the cake design you select for your wedding reception will likely be fairly traditional in terms of color and decoration, the groom’s cake can be a bit more lighthearted and fun. Choose the look together as a fun detail you can both have some say in. If you like a classic look, though, feel free to go for it. The groom’s cake doesn’t have to show off his hobbies or interests. “As couples are veering away from a traditional cake (in the last few months we have seen a cookie truck, donuts, cobbler or pie, and ice cream for dessert instead) the need for a groom cake as an expression of the groom’s personality is becoming unnecessary,” says Isadora Martin-Dye, a wedding planner and owner of owner of Rixey Manor.

 

In terms of flavor and design, there really are no limits.

“Although the Southern tradition is to make a red velvet cake, I don’t believe wedding cakes in general need to have limits on flavors,” says Liz Berman, Boston-based baker and owner of The Sleepy Baker in Natick, Massachusetts. The same goes for its overall look. “I had a groom joke around about how he wanted a wedding cake that was a pegasus with him riding on the back. The bride refused to allow that and ordered a traditional tiered cake, but then secretly hired me to make a groom’s cake. The wedding cake was displayed next to a sculpted pegasus cake with an image of the groom riding on the back!”

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My Ring Bearer Is Too Young to Walk Down the Aisle Himself—What Are Our Options?

Don’t worry, he can still be a part of your big day.

Contributing Writer
ali-andrew-wedding-wyoming-117-s111942.jpg

Photography by: Elizabeth Messina Photography

Congrats! You’ve selected a ring bearer for your big day. Now all you need to do is finalize the details of his big entrance. But what happens if your ring bearerof choice is too young to walk down the aisle himself? Most couples don’t have a long list of potential ring bearers to choose from—brides and grooms generally select the youngsters their closest to, like their nephews, young cousins, children of close friends, or even their own kiddos. If one of these important little guys isn’t walking yet, you’re not going to deny him the role, are you?

 

The choice is yours, but most couples decide that it doesn’t really matter if this attendant makes an entrance on his own or with a little help. If he needs a hand getting down the aisle, know that there are plenty of solutions wedding planners rely on when it comes to a too-young-to-walk-on-his-own ring bearer. We reached out to some of our go-to experts for their best solutions for incorporating a tiny ring bearer in the wedding processional.

 

RELATED: DAPPER RING BEARERS WHO COMPLETELY STOLE OUR HEARTS

 

Have the parent(s) carry the baby down.

If you’re having a very young child serve as the ring bearer at your wedding, chances are, his parents will be in attendance as well. Don’t hesitate to ask if they’d be willing to accompany (A.K.A. carry) their child down the aisle. If you prefer a more unified front, wedding and event planner Taylor Keenan suggests asking the parents to coordinate attire to show the significance.

 

Decorate a wagon or carriage for the baby to sit in.

Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegancerecommends pulling small children and toddlers down the aisle in a decorated wagon or stroller. “If the child has a favorite doll, or push or riding toy, consider allowing them to bring it along for the journey to make them feel more secure,” she says. “If the child likes balloons, (and, really, what kid doesn’t?) let them carry a small colorful bunch.”

 

Buy a personalized walker and have the baby push it down the aisle.

If your ring bearer needs a little help standing, but has enough leg power to keep his wheels in motion, a baby walker can be just the thing to help him walk down the aisle. “The walker can be painted in wedding colors and have the names of the bride and groom, the date, or even the name of the ring bearer,” suggests Keenan. “It also serves as a really nice gift for the baby!” If the aisle is a long one, have someone carry the baby half way down it and pull out the walker as they get closer.

 

Skip his role in the processional altogether.

There’s no rule that says a child can’t be ring bearer just because he didn’t walk down the aisle? “If the baby is simply too young to participate, in the programyou can have a picture of the ring bearer along with a cute biography,” suggests Keenan. “Ring Bearer: John Smith, nephew to the bride, is three months old. John loves to play with his toy giraffes, drink from his bottle and take naps. Currently, John is taking his nap!”

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What to Do If You (or One of Your Wedding VIPs) Are Sick the Week of the Wedding

Don’t let illness ruin the fun.

Contributing Writer
sick-on-wedding-day-1115.jpg

Photography by: Westend61

Ever become overwhelmed with worry when you think about all of the big and little things about your wedding day that you need to go right? It’s totally normal to freak out—you’re planning a huge event and a day that will hold immense meaning for you, your fiancé and your families. Of course, like anything in life, nothing is perfect and your wedding won’t be either. But that’s okay! Even illness is inevitable, especially during cold and flu season, so it’s smart to be prepared for anything and have more than one person that you can go to for support.

 

What happens if you, the bride or groom, or one of your wedding VIPS becomes ill during the week of your nuptials? It’s a tough dilemma that can totally happen. Of course, if your symptoms are treatable you can get on medications, but what happens if you get sick the day of the wedding? Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance tries to be prepared for any situation—even the bride and groom turning green on their big day. “I have an emergency kit that contains over-the-counter medications like aspirin and ibuprofen, antacid tablets, various topical creams, a small first aid kit and personal products,” she says. “Being trained in general first aid, CPR and how to use an AED is a good idea for all event professionals.”

 

If you’re worried about getting sick—or someone important getting sick—before or at your wedding, here are some doable lines of defense.

 

RELATED: HEALTHY TRICKS TO GET YOU WEDDING READY

 

Hire a wedding planner at the beginning of your planning journey.

“A planner will be able to step in and take care of any last-minute crisis, whether it’s a few weeks before or on the ‘day of’ to ensure you have a special and memorable day you feeling like your day was ruined,” says Deborah L. Erb, owner and event planner at Simply Events Inc. “Planners also carry emergency kits with them in case someone needs pain reliever, something for an upset stomach or first aid kit.” They can also run out to get you anything else you need from a local pharmacy to help you and your loved ones get through the day!

 

Take care of yourself in the best way possible.

Planning a wedding is a stressful time—not only for the bride and groom, but also for those participating in the planning process, such as your parents, siblings, and wedding party. A month or so before the wedding, email or call as many of those important people as you can and remind them to take preventative steps to stay healthy in the weeks leading up to your wedding. “Eat well, stay hydrated, get your rest (eight hours each night!) and allow yourself some time to relax,” says Erb.

 

Recognize symptoms.

“Heading into wedding week, your body and mind will feel so many emotions—excitement, anxiety, stress, and nervousness,” says Lindsey Sachs, a wedding planner and owner of COLLECTIVE/by Sachs in Boulder, Colorado, and Minneapolis. “Take a moment early in the week to do a self-health check to monitor possible symptoms that could grow into sickness.” Remember: The sooner you can recognize these symptoms, the sooner you can begin to treat them.

 

Get checked out by your doctor.

Even if you’re feeling slightly under the weather, it’s important to listen to what your body is trying to tell you and seek out medical assistance. “Explain that you have a big day coming up and you need to be able to get through it and hopefully feeling well,” says Erb.

 

RELATED: 3 TIPS THAT WILL HELP YOU BE HEALTHIER IN THE MONTHS LEADING UP TO YOUR WEDDING

 

Keep your family and friends informed on your progress.

If you are not feeling well—or a wedding VIP is not feeling well—let the other important members of the wedding party know. “Everyone will pitch in to assist as much as possible, to make sure the wedding day goes smoothly or to rearrange and reschedule plans as needed,” says Lehman. “Delegate duties and errands to your wedding party and family members.” If you’ve hired a wedding planner or coordinator, they can also assist in contacting vendors, wedding party members and guests and updating important information regarding the wedding. “We are here to help you,” Lehman adds.

 

Stay positive.

Sachs urges not to let your mind focus on the negative outcomes of being sick the week of the wedding. “The sickness of a wedding VIP can create unnecessary focus and attention away from the wedding as a result,” she says. “The marriage is what you want to remember and not who was sick.” Use the power of positive thinking to your benefit and breathe, think optimistically and hope for the best!

 

Have a “plan B” in place.

If a parent is sick, think of other people in advance that could step in for them last-minute if necessary, suggests Erb. Otherwise, come up with options to make it easier for them to “carry out their duties,” and rest in between or always have a chair to sit on. “Seek out someone that you trust to care for the one who is ill, so everyone can get through the day,” Erb says.

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These Are the Wedding Trends Planners Expect to See in 2018

The pros are very excited about these ideas.

Contributing Writer
156SHARES
Fern Wedding Bouquet with Peonies, Roses, and Zinnias

Photography by: She Takes Pictures He Makes Film

Trends of all kinds can last for just one season or stick around for decades. This is true of wedding trends, too. While the white gowns, loving vows, and festive celebrations will likely remain unchanged, there are plenty of new ideas we can expect to see in future celebrations. To get a look at the wedding trends to come, we asked planners to share the ones they’re gearing up for in 2018.

 

WEDDING TRENDS TO WATCH FOR IN 2018, ACCORDING TO PLANNERS

 

Next-Level Food and Beverages

Wedding food and drinks have been getting more and more unique each year, but Brandi Hamerstone, a wedding planner at All Events Planned, expects to see couples really go for it in 2018. “This trend is happening mostly by a push from the groom!” she adds. “Having a bar with several versions of bourbon (or whisky and tequila), special glassware, and a knowledgeable bartender is a fun concept for everyone. It’s best to have something like this only available through cocktail houror later in the evening as it becomes a focal point and will definitely pull people around and keep them engaged.”

 

Suspended Florals

“In the past few years, floral design has taken a completely different turn. Where we primarily saw arrangements on tables, we’re now seeing flowers suspended from the ceiling,” explains Alison Laesser-Keck, event planner and designer at Alison and Bryan. “This creates an ethereal ambience that’s unexpected and multi-sensory. It just transports people and has a huge impact.” If you love the idea of a hanging floral installation, Laesser-Keck says to make sure you hire an experienced floral designer since there are a lot of logistics and liability to think about. “Find someone who will help you visualize the right location in your venue for maximum impact,” she adds. “Installations can be very expensive, so choose a few key places to do them in and make sure it’s where you’ll be spending the most time.”

 

Fashion Risks

Gone are the days of all-white, strapless wedding dresses, says Laesser-Keck. “Brides today are forgoing tradition and choosing a dress they love. Some go classic for the ceremony then change into something super fun for the party,” she explains. “Either way, we are definitely going in a direction where brides feel like they can showcase their personalities through their outfit choices.” So if you fall in love a patterned dress or one in an unexpected color, wear it.

 

Resurgence of ’80s and ’90s Style

“If the runways at New York Fashion Week were any indication, we’re going to be seeing a major comeback of ’80s and ’90s fashion inspiration in weddings next year,” explains Leah Weinberg, wedding planner, owner, and executive planner at Color Pop Events. “From colors like turquoise and hot pink and patterns like splatter paint and geometrics, those decades will inspire bold ideas that will pop up in a variety of ways—on invites, table runners, day-of signage, and much more.”

 

7 WEDDING TRENDS PLANNERS LOVED IN 2017

 

An Infusion of Metallics

Expect to see some glam events in 2018. According to Larissa Banting, President of Weddings Costa Rica and founder of The Lazy Bride, metallic color palettes will rule the 2018 wedding scene. “We’re seeing a return to luxe, with sparkling sequins overlays, chargers in every shade of metallics, and chairs in varying shades of gold,” she explains. “We’re seeing gold foil on invitations, menus, seating cards, wine glasses—everywhere!”

 

Majestic Marble

Stately, elegant marble will play a big role in upcoming weddings. If your venue already featrues walls or columns in the material, you’re in luck: Use these areas as a ready-made photo booth backgroup. If not, says Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance, find other ways to bring the cool stone into your day. “Use marble patterns in smaller, more decorative ways, like on your invitations or wedding cake,” she suggests. “Marble drink coasters could double as place cards and favors, with names scripted in gold on each one.”

 

Incorporating Your Hobbies and Interests

“Keeping guests entertained and engaged is still popular, and things like open-air photo booths and lawn games are a great way to do that,” says Myriam Michel, owner and creative director of M&M Elite Events. “Couples can make this trend their own by incorporating their hobbies into the reception. For example, this past summer, our couple was big into hookah so we created a custom hookah bar lounge that was a huge hit with all her guests.”

 

Bold Floral Statements

Hanging installations of blooms aren’t the only floral statement couples will make in 2018. Lehman expects to see bouquet upgrades, too. “We’ve seen lush floral bouquets with large blooms and trailing greenery. This will continue into 2018,” she says. “The colors will be bold, and eclectic, rather than the soft pastels so often used. Oversized bouquets and table arrangements will take center stage, with smaller, more subtle accents of candles and ribbons. We will see more patterned floral gowns for brides and attendants, as well as blooms used creatively in hairstyles.”

 

Colored, Custom Tuxedos

Good news for the guys: You also have a trend to look forward to. Michel says that more grooms are making bolder fashion choices and will continue to do so next year. “Men’s fashion is stepping out big. They are making bold tuxedo and suit choices, choosing colors like burgundy, plum, and indigo and wearing slim fit cuts,” she says. “We also see grooms wearing custom bow ties and suspenders.”

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Is a Destination Wedding Right for You?

A vacation and a wedding all wrapped in one sure sounds great—at least at first.

Contributing Writer
getaway car

Photography by: Abby Jiu Photography

One of the first big decisions you’ll have to make after putting that shiny new ringon your finger is choosing where you want to have your wedding. For many couples, the choice is simple, but for others it can involve a long, drawn-out decision-making process that can months. If you’re not tying the knot in your hometown, your partner’s hometown, or the city you both call home, you’re likely having a destination wedding. Although they’re not for everyone, a destination wedding can provide a sense of excitement (it’s basically a vacation where all of your favorite people are invited) and relief (your second cousins once removed likely won’t make it to Aruba).

 

To help you decide if you’re the type of couple who should tie the knot away from home, wedding planners took us through the questions they ask clients who are considering a far-flung celebraiton.

 

EXPERT TIPS FOR PLANNING A DESTINATION WEDDING

 

Do you want to get married far from?

Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio, points out that, by definition, a destination wedding is one that takes place at least 100 miles away from where you currently live. That’s about the distance between New York City and Hartford, Connecticut. You don’t have to feel any pressure to have your nuptials in a tourist attraction, though they are popular choices for couples planning destination weddings. “You could get married at a somewhat local bed and breakfast or a charming winery,” adds Lehman. “The most important thing is to consider a destination that appeals to your personalities, dreams, and interests.”

 

Who do you want to be there?

Destination weddings are usually smaller than a hometown wedding would be, as guests have to travel farther for the event. If you’re okay with this, great! If you’re in a situation where you feel obligated to invite several relatives or family friends but don’t really care if they show up, then even better. But it is important to remember that some of your close relatives and friends might not be able to physically travel or afford a plane ticket and hotel stay. Before you book anything, make a list of guests you want by your side, and then see if that core group of people can make it.

 

Can you afford a wedding planner?

Having a wedding planner is extremely helpful in ensuring your destination eventgoes smoothly. “Hiring someone that has the expertise and experience will greatly help when making decisions on quality and trusted vendors,” says Cristen Faherty, wedding and event planner at Cristen & Co Event Coordination & Design in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. “This person could either be a destination planner in your area or a local planner in your destination. Which ever you choose, you have to be willing to give up a little control and trust their recommendations.” Remember, you likely won’t have the luxury of meeting face-to-face with the majority of your vendors, so an on-site planner can represent you from afar.

 

How flexible are you when it comes to dress code?

Enforcing a black-tie dress code—a tux for men and a formal gown for women—is tough when you’re asking loved ones to pack their wedding attire in a suitcase and travel to what might be a totally different climate. That’s not to say it’s not allowed, but you should be comfortable with the fact that some of your guests might not follow suit (literally). If you’re okay with bare feet and flip flops on the dance floor (or sand), then go for it.

 

Are you willing to host more than one event?

When all of your wedding guests are traveling far and wide to be there for your big day, they expect that you’ll be hosting more than the ceremony and reception. Many destinations include welcome parties and daytime activities, like scuba diving or horseback riding, for their guests to enjoy more face time with the bride and groom.

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6 Ways Social Media Is Changing Wedding Planning

Planners dish on what’s different in the age of Instagram.

Contributing Writer
woman using cell phone

Photography by: Getty Images

There’s no arguing that social media and its many platforms and pretenses has forever changed the world of weddings. In fact, it’s even difficult for some to imagine a time when the only people who caught a glimpse of the bride and groom on their wedding day were the hundred or so attendees themselves—and maybe a lucky handful who spent some time on the newlyweds’ couch flipping through their glossy album. Nowadays, anyone in the world has immediate access to the attire, décor, location, and events that occurred at any given celebration. Even going into work once your wedding weekend or honeymoon has concluded isn’t the same—everyone has specific questions about “that view” or “those stunning flowers—what were they?” To dig deeper into the many ways weddings have changed thanks to social media, we talked to wedding planners who’ve seen it all.

 

CAN SOCIAL MEDIA HURT YOUR MARRIAGE?

 

Brides have exposure to a variety of different weddings.

The image of the modern wedding is no longer limited to what one sees in a magazine or on a television program, Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance points out. Now, the images are everywhere: on mobile phones, tablets, laptop computers. Think about how little you would know about weddings if you had to subscribe to a number of wedding magazines and wait every month to get your hands on the latest copy? Now, with consumer demand, countless wedding websites (like this one!) deliver instant information at your fingertips.

 

Expectations are set so high and can be unrealistic.

“The hard part that we’ve all found is that social media allows for brides and grooms to see other weddings and love what they are seeing without realizing the time and money it actually took to create the look,” explains Brandi Hamerstone, a wedding planner at All Events Planned. “Unfortunately, there are so many unrealistic expectations that people now have for their day that they might not be able to afford, or won’t have the time to create if it’s DIY.” This isn’t to say you shouldn’t browse the web to storm up ideas for your big day, but it’s important to keep in mind your own limitations—which are totally okay to have.

 

Couples connect more with friends and family.

Chances are, not all of your friends and family will be able to make your big day. The good news is that social media allows them to feel like they were a part of the event even if they weren’t physically present. “Unique apps can transmit important information about your wedding to those who weren’t able to be there,” says Candice Dowling Coppola, owner and creative director at A Jubilee Event. “The one downside we’ve noticed, however, is that some couples crave a sense of privacy that social media makes it hard for them to have.” In her experience, she’s had to ask several guests and hired creatives to refrain from posting pictures of a couple’s wedding unless they’ve given consent. “Some couples prefer to have control over how their wedding day is shared with others,” she adds.

 

27 WEDDING PLANNERS YOU NEED TO FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM

 

The bevvy of information and inspiration is limitless.

If you’re a bride-to-be who hasn’t scoured Pinterest yet, log on! It’s become the go-to resource for gathering ideas for planning a wedding. “Users can create virtual bulletin boards of their favorite flowers, dresses, cakes, poses for pictures, decorations, and more, as well as share pictures with others, and follow boards that have the same vibe as their own,” says Lehman. YouTube is another hot spot with thousands of videos of everything from wedding hair and makeup tutorials to heartwarming wedding films. “You can watch amazing choreographed wedding party dances, adorable flower girls and ring bearers as they attempt to walk down the aisle, and memorable wedding speeches,” says Lehman.

 

Virtual meetings avoid unnecessary travel.

Any bride- or groom-to-be knows that time is precious when you’re planning a wedding—especially when it comes to managing all of the various meetings you’ll have with vendors. This is when live streaming can seriously come in handy. Instead of commuting two hours in rush-hour traffic, or across the state or country if your wedding location isn’t nearby, you can set up a Google Hangout, Skype call, or any other live-streaming service to chat wedding details with as close to an in-person charm as possible.

 

Couples now “brand” their wedding.

Who knew hashtags would allow you to collect all of the photos and videos from your wedding so easily? “When friends and family upload their pictures to a social media site, they will add the special hashtag so everyone has access to all of the posts in one spot,” Lehman explains. Companies and vendors are also catching onto the trend. “If a couple is looking for a photographer in their hometown, they may use a hashtag such as ‘#ChicagoWeddingPhotographer,’ and the search will deliver listings for wedding photographers in that area.” Can’t come up with a clever hashtag idea for your big day? Try one of the many wedding hashtag generators available online! There’s social media doing its thing once again!

 

 

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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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