Simple Ways to Make Your Guests Feel Included

If you are planning a wedding of over 100 guests, the thought of trying to make every person feel especially welcome may seem daunting.  While you can’t have a friendly conversation with everyone, here are a few ways you can create a more intimate vibe.

Place Settings

Name cards strategically placed on your reception tables is a small way to help your guests feel remembered. If they walk into a large space and are unsure of where to sit, it can be comforting to use them as a guide. People also feel honored to know that you considered them personally during your planning.  Even better, there are beautiful ways to incorporate them into your décor!  

Open the Dance Floor

Most weddings include traditional dances that everyone has grown to anticipate and adore. The first dance as a couple and the special father/daughter moment have been enjoyed for decades.  But there are also ways to invite your guests and make them feel included in the moment. Play a short song for couples married 50 years or more, then turn it over to those married between 25 and 49 years. Give every couple a chance to shine whether they are seasoned or newlyweds and don’t forget the singles of the group.

If you have the opportunity, also try to set aside a few songs to mingle with your guests. Even if it is a short dance, it will give you time to personally greet those around you.

Toasts

The maid of honor and best man may have a toast prepared for the reception. Also allowing the opportunity for a few quick shout outs from the crowd can create intimacy. It is essential that you only set aside a brief window for this to take place so the toasting does not monopolize the evening.

Some brides like to play a short game with their guests by letting them guess if the bride or the groom is “guilty” when asked a series of questions.  For example, ask, “Who will be guilty of stealing the covers in the middle of the night?” First allow those who believe the bride will be the culprit raise their hands, then follow up with those who believe it will be the groom.  It will be entertaining to see who wins the battle and your guests will feel engaged.

Greet Everyone

Your wedding is a big event and your time is limited. But, even if it is a quick hug, a personal thank you for attending your wedding goes a long way. If you are not a fan of greeting lines, spot those who you have not yet seen and make your way over to say hello. Your guests will understand it is not the time for a long conversation. Most people just want to wish you the best and show gratitude for the invitation. Just try your best to say hello to everyone.

Choosing Your First Song and Dance

Your first dance as husband and wife is such a memorable event. Let’s make it count!  If you are unsure of how to select your song, here are a few tips to get you digging through your playlist with purpose.

Express Your Love

Not every couple has “our song” and that’s OK! There are timeless pieces that represent romance and make beautiful first dance selections. You can choose a tearjerker or a tune with lyrics about unending romance.  Here are the top first dance song selections in 2018:

Tell Your Story

If you and your partner already have a song that represents YOU, this is the time to show it off. If not, choose something that doesn’t fall on the top 10 list but tells your unique story. If you started off as friends and it wasn’t love at first sight, there’s a song for that too!  A great example is, “Lucky” by Colbie Calliat and Jason Mraz.

Change Things Up

Think outside the box. You do not have to slow dance to songs about romance at your wedding. This is your day. If and your partner want to lighten the mood, choreograph a silly dance or take ballroom lessons to perform on stage. Changing things up will excite and engage your audience for a reception to remember. 

Dancing to your song is a perfect way to begin your journey and husband and wife while friends and family admire your love. Just have fun with it!

Staying Cool at an Outdoor Summer Wedding

When summer finally rolls around, it is natural to want to spend time outdoors. If you are planning your nuptials through the hottest season of the year, here are a few tips to keep you and your guest cool so you can keep the party going!

Fans and Shade

It is important to have a space where you can take refuge from the sun during the summer.  Typically, outdoor weddings are coordinated under an oversize tent large enough for dining tables, a dance floor, DJ stations, and food. While you may have wedding events and opportunities to gather away from your shaded space, it is important to have a place to retreat. Strategically setting fans in the corners of your tent will help to keep the cool air flowing on a hot day.

Dress Less

There is a time and place for a formal wedding, but outdoors in the middle of the summer is not one of them. Keep things casual so your guests are comfortable wearing clothes that can breathe. Let the ladies relax in a sundress while the men sport that fun Hawaiian shirt found on their recent beach vacation.  The more relaxed you are with your dress code the happier you guest will be.

Hydrate

Keep the water flowing. Set water stations throughout your ceremony and reception areas to keep you and your guest well hydrated.  The last thing you want at your wedding is a guest passing out from dehydration. While the perfect summer cocktail selections are endless, be sure to have a glass of water available with every drink poured.

Timing

Try to avoid gathering the middle of the afternoon on a hot summer day. Hold your festivities late morning or early evening instead. You want to avoid the time of day when the sun is at its peak and humidity is at its highest. The difference in a few degrees can be significant.

Summer is a beautiful time of year to be outside and the wedding photo opportunities are amazing. Just be sure to take your guests into consideration and keep things light and cool!

Tips for Glowing Wedding Day Skin

You want to look your best when you walk down the aisle.  Taking care of your skin is a simple way to help you become camera ready. With just a few simple steps you can show off a beautiful wedding day glow everyone will notice.

Get a Facial

A week before your wedding day, book an appointment for a facial with a licensed aesthetician. Let them examine your skin to determine the type of treatment best for you. Whether your concern is wrinkles, acne, dry patches, or age spots, a facial can alleviate problematic symptoms that you don’t want interfering with a picturesque complexion.

Establish a Healthy Routine

Regular cleansing and moisturizing are essential to maintaining healthy skin. Exfoliate once a week to remove excess dirt and oil and condition after every cleansing to maintain hydration. Ask a skin care professional which products best suite your skin type and be consistent.  Many products work best overtime. 

Perspire

While exercise has many benefits, sweating is at the top when it comes to your complexion. Your pores house toxins and dirt that are released through perspiration. Sweating naturally reverses signs of aging and help maintain its natural hydration. Be sure to drink plenty of water to replenish nutrients lost in the process.

Protect

If your moisturizer does not contain an SPF, be sure to apply protection before exposure to the sun. This small step can help you avoid a burn on your wedding day. Sunspots or freckles that love to appear on occasion can stay hidden longer by applying protection every 30 minutes.

Makeup

Finally, the hours leading up to your ceremony is a great time to apply concealer on any remaining spots or dark circles you want to cover. Be sure to apply your makeup in a room with good lighting and ask for help. Someone else may be able to spot areas you are likely to miss.

Tips for Setting Up Your Registry

There is no other way to put it, setting up a gift registry is fun! It is also one of the first pre-wedding items you can check off your to-do list.  Imagine yourself rummaging through a store to scan dream items that other people will purchase for you. How could it get any better? Here are some tips to help you get started.

Be Practical. Register for items you will actually use. Perhaps your parents are convincing you to include fine china on the list. If it is not something you want or will ever use…skip it. What is the use of your guests spending money on something that will only be tucked away?

Find Perks. Naturally, any store would love to have you set up a wedding registry at their location. They may even be willing to draw you with benefits. Take advantage! You can find discounts, cash-back offers, and even free stuff. It is worth your time to research the perks of registering at your favorite spot. Also, consider places that offer free shipping. Your guests will be grateful for this added perk.

Compromise.  Setting up the wedding registry is something you will want to do together. Grab lunch and make it a date.  If you have opposite tastes, find a way to compromise. Whether the answer is separating for a short time to include a personal list or allowing him to select the dinnerware while you choose the pots and pans. Whatever works for you two is great, as long as you are in it together.

Be Reasonable. Guest lists will include those who are willing to purchase the high dollar items and those who are modest. This is normal. Pay attention to price tags and register for some expensive and some less expensive options. The point is to allow everyone on your list the opportunity to contribute.  

Be Respectful. Get the word out about your registry in a respectable fashion. It is OK to add a note at the bottom of your wedding invitations that informs people of where you registered. But it is not OK to expect a gift. Traditionally, wedding guests will bring an item to congratulate the happy couple, and it is helpful for them to know what you like. It is never appropriate to ask for cash.   

Be Grateful.  Send personalized thank you notes to everyone who gave you a wedding gift. Ask a friend to help you keep track of the items you received if you get overwhelmed.  Be sure to name the item you received in you card and include a line about how or when you will make use of it. Personalizing a note shows that you care about their gesture in a kind and considerate way.

The Latest in Wedding Cake Trends

Cakes are one of wedding’s most coveted traditions.  They serve as dessert, decoration, and an adorable face-stuffing photo opportunity.  But wedding cakes aren’t what they used to be…they’re even better. Now brides are taking them to the next level.  Here’s how brides are sprucing up their cakes for 2019.

Incorporate your theme.  Some brides incorporate the season into their wedding theme. While nature is the most beautiful backdrop, your cake can play a role too.  For example, an enchanted forest cake would look gorgeous on display at a winter wedding. 

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Tell a story.  It used to be that the groom’s cake was the acceptable outlet for creativity. Not anymore!  Now brides let their wedding cake display whatever it is they are into.  If you and the groom share a passion, show it off! 

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Dress it up.  Yes, accessorize your cake!  Cake toppers have met their match because a bedazzled cake looks amazing.  You can use decoration, color, floral arrangements, anything you like.  Bakers everywhere have creative ways to make your wedding cake look good enough to eat!

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If it is difficult for you to decide how to customize your wedding cake, relax.  If you have a date, wedding colors, and something you are passionate about, your baker can take the reins. You’ll be amazed how dessert can bring your wedding dreams to life.  But, don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

The Beauty of a Simple Wedding

Weddings are very exciting! All the time and planning you put into making it the perfect day pays off when you say, “I do.” Yet, a reception hall with hundreds of guests, a band, and seated dinner may not be your thing. There truly is beauty in keeping things simple.  Here’s why.

Less Stress

There is no doubt that planning a large wedding can make you frantic at times. One of the easiest ways to keep your wedding simple is to invite fewer guests.  By hosting less people, the cost of food and beverages will be noticeably lower, and your budget won’t make you pull your hair out!  You can hold your reception at a smaller venue and worry a little less about the seating arrangements.

Another way to keep things simple it to minimalize the number of vendors. Shuffling from vendor to vendor to plan the perfect wedding can be fun, but also time consuming. Perhaps you can hire a photographer but eliminate the videographer; have a friend capture a video instead.   Consider eliminating planning ideas that you simply can do without.  The extra stress of pulling together the extras may not be worth it.

More Intimate

If you prefer a smaller wedding and decide to keep the perks to a minimum, your ceremony and reception can have a very sweet and intimate feel. You can keep your focus on the guests who are there to celebrate your special day, the ceremony itself, and most importantly, your husband-to-be.  Leave the worry and stress to someone else and just enjoy the moment. A joyful and peaceful presence is contagious, and you set the tone. No one will remember that you opted to do without the ice sculpture but will tell stories of when you sang a song to your new husband at the reception!

Most importantly, realize that not everything will go as planned. Any bridezilla can sweat the small stuff but going with the flow goes long way.  

Sweet Gifts for Your Wedding Day

Weddings are a huge investment of time and money, but there is one last detail to consider on your wedding day – a gift for your husband-to-be.  While a gift exchange between you and your finance is not a necessity, it is a sweet gesture to show how excited you are to start your life together.  If you need inspiration to help you decide what to give, here are a few suggestions.

Be Thoughtful

You two have a history and a story to tell. Offer a gift that represents your love! Is there something you enjoy doing together? Do you have an inside joke? Is there a trip or a goal you both dream of? Find a way to represent whatever it is you hope for or value.  For example, if you two have a dream of traveling to France, buy him a miniature statue of the Eifel Tower and attach and photo alongside a heartfelt note. Tell him how excited you are to make you life journey and your dreams come true together as husband a wife.

Be Romantic

Perhaps you just want to tell your finance how much you love him. Find a way to share how excited you are to tie the knot and make a list of all the traits that made you fall in love in the first place.  Engrave him a plaque of promises you plan to honor during your marriage. Consider sharing your heart in a poem and have it framed. As long as your gift come from the heart, it will be perfect.

Commemorate the Day

Your wedding day is finally here, after all the planning and excitement. So, celebrate! Mark your special date on a gift that will remind him of you. If he is a golfer, buy him a new bag with your date engraved on the side. You could even frame an engagement photo with your wedding date for his office.  This is the day you began your life together and one that will be celebrated for years to come. 

There is no need to spend a lot of money on a gift for your fiancé. This gesture is meant to be personal and thoughtful. Let it represent your love and congratulate one another!  

Last Minute Beauty Tips

Many brides will spend the hours leading up to their wedding ceremony tucked away with bridesmaids, makeup artists, and hairstylist to prep for the big event. Afterall, every bride wants to look her best.  Here are some last-minute beauty tips that are a must before finally walking down the aisle.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is very important for your skin. Not just the day before your wedding, but the months prior. Hydrated skin shows less wrinkles, dark circles under the eyes, and reduces the appearance of acne. 

Rest

If you are losing sleep from nights spent pondering wedding details, this is perfectly normal. Although, keep in mind that sleep is essential for looking your best. The obvious effects of minimal sleep are dark circles and blood shot eyes. You also smile less when you are sleep deprived making you more likely to drag and slump through the day. Attractive people stand tall with confidence. There is some truth in getting your beauty rest after all!

Use Primer

Whether you are applying your own makeup or have help from a friend, it is important that you apply primer before getting started. Primer will give your skin a smooth finish and hold your makeup application for the day ahead. It helps your eyeshadow, blush or bronzer, and powder adhere to your skin without the frustration of creases.

Setting Mist

Once your makeup is applied and you are ready to walk down the aisle, don’t forget the setting mist. You have spent hours getting ready and you want your makeup to last. Would you work hard on the perfect hairstyle and decide not to use hairspray to hold it in place? Probably not. Consider this for your makeup as well. Setting mist will hold your makeup application for a full day of wedding events. 

The help of friends and family will go a long way when getting ready to say, “I do!” Listen to their suggestions and allow them to help. You never know what beauty tips and tricks your sisters may have in their back pocket. But, most importantly, don’t forget to smile!

Hot Honeymoon Spots for 2019

Planning a wedding can be a little stressful and very time consuming. Yet, is can also be exciting and well worth all your hard work and effort.  And once the festivities are over, you get to head out on romantic getaway with your new spouse!  If you can’t decide where to spend your honeymoon, here are some of the hottest spots for 2019.

Jamaica

Jamaica is well-known for its all-inclusive resorts, fantastic service, and gorgeous scenery. The day that you arrive at your destination there is no need to leave the property. Food and cocktails are included in most honeymoon packages and tipping is not recommended. This perk can relieve the financial stress so you can get the most of your relaxing vacation. Jamaica also has perfect weather every season.  You can tie the knot any time of year before heading off to this tropical paradise. When you get there, be sure to enjoy their world-famous jerk chicken while accompanied by some of the best Reggae music you have ever heard!

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Italy

If you enjoy history and culture, Italy is a perfect honeymoon destination.  The food is rich and flavorful matched with outstanding wine selections. You can visit unique villages, relax on the beach, and tour some of the world’s most famous historic landmarks. Popular attractions are the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Trevi Fountain, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, and the Colosseum.  In Italy you can see amazing artwork in their world class museums or rest at a romantic bead and breakfast. Italy has it all!

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Napa Valley

If you are not interested in international travel, consider a trip to Napa Valley. This wine country has been ranked as one of the United States’ most romantic honeymoon destinations. There are hundreds of wineries to choose from and each are unique. You can tour the properties, learn how wine is fermented, and taste many exquisite varieties. During your stay you can also take a short trip to San Francisco for sightseeing and fine dining. The weather in Napa Valley resembles a Mediterranean climate providing comfortable temperatures year-round. So, tie the knot any time of year and head off to Napa Valley for your dream vacation!

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Regardless of where you travel, make the most of your new marriage and enjoy this time together. If you fall in love with your destination, make sure you plan another visit on your ten year wedding anniversary!