Exemplify Your Wedding Party Duties

Being asked to part of the wedding party in an honor. A grand one. When asked to be the best man or maid of honor, it is an even higher call to action. The Maid of Honor is the person to ensure the bride feels special before, during, and shortly after the wedding day. The Best Man is the person who keeps the groom calm during the stressful planning, organizes the bachelor party, and ensures the groom feels like a King before, during, and shortly after the wedding. (Though they have dramatically fewer resources than bridesmaids and maid of honors)

I’ve put together a list that will help out both bridesmaids and groomsmen to go above and beyond the call of being in the wedding party.

Help plan the bachelor/bachelorette party. Take responsibility of this event as soon as you’ve been crowned MOH or best man. Get the entire wedding party involved, following through with simple itineraries for the weekend and book fun activities for the group attending. Take into account the interests of the bride/groom when you plan their party too – don’t take them to Vegas if they prefer the quiet of the outdoors.

Offer your help to the bride and groom. It’s a simple gesture, but it can go so far! Let me tell you I would have loved more assistance from our wedding party. The bride and groom will appreciate having your support and willingness to be involved in helping them plan. It takes the awkwardness out of asking for help, trust me.

Dance at the reception. Help get the party started and keep it going until the big send off! Most people are nervous about being the first person to hit the dance floor and being watched. When the DJ or band starts playing, grab your drink of choice, the hands of the rest of the wedding party and get grooving! Then go back and grab other guests dancing on the sidelines. The bride and groom will thank you when they have pictures of guests enjoying themselves rather than being wall flowers.

Be prepared to give a speech/toast. This should probably be at the TOP of the list. When my husband and I got married, the “best man” refused to give a speech at the reception. It crushed my husband that his lifelong friend wouldn’t speak…making me nearly transform into a bridezilla, rescinding his invitation. In the end, I didn’t but it came pretty dang close. If you are a maid of honor or best man PLEASE EXPECT TO GIVE A SPEECH. Whether you are nervous to talk in front of other people or bad at writing, or whatever the case may be at the very least come up with a short five minute toast to honor your best friend. A Practical Wedding has wonderful tips and tricks for Maid of Honors and The Roosevelt’s has put together a helpful infographic for the Best Man.

Coco+John

ADS@John&COCO-00933

My first 2016 wedding happened to be on Easter weekend. Coco and John were a lovely couple who found each other through a strong faith and love of music. They enlisted me for full planning, we toured several venues, searched through multiple party rentals  before finding the perfect fit for their special day. The wedding took place at Sanders Ridge Winery in Boonville, NC on March 26, 2016.

Their wedding incorporated French and Japanese elements to represent the heritage of bride and groom. The reception style was closer to the Ikebana style, Coco wanted the beauty of nature to provide simple, tasteful  centerpieces. Together we folded several origami cranes and candy boxes. The food included recipes passed down through the generations of the groom’s family. The chef at the onsite restaurant went above and beyond to ensure the menu included  the elements they wanted. It was delicious!

The brides family could not be present due to the distance so the entire ceremony and majority of the reception was live-streamed to them via smart phone and tablet.

ADS@John&COCO-00921 ADS@John&COCO-00925 ADS@John&COCO-00980 ADS@John&COCO-00989 ADS@John&COCO-00995 ADS@John&COCO-00999 ADS@John&COCO-01019 ADS@John&COCO-01072 ADS@John&COCO-3218 ADS@John&COCO-3227 ADS@John&COCO-3228 ADS@John&COCO-3248 ADS@John&COCO-3254 ADS@John&COCO-3260

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vendors included were:
Photography: Angela Caldwell Photography
Chairs Rental: A & J Rental
Entertainment: David B. Oh
Catering: Hearth Restaurant at Sanders Ridge

Honeymoon

When my husband and I got married, it was in the middle of a school year. We were married on a Saturday and both returned to work Monday. Then during the summer we moved to another school district and had our son ..so we never had an official honeymoon. (Exciting, I know)

We did finally take our FIRST vacation together as a couple, two years later, during his spring break. My first cruise and I highly recommend them as a vacation or honeymoon option! The cost only gets over the top when you add multiple off-shore excursions.

Our main reason for not taking a honeymoon was the cost. I automatically guessed we could not afford one. How wrong was I?! There are plenty of budget-friendly honeymoon destinations around the world that offer a romantic getaway without breaking the bank.With that knowledge, my quest to fuel my wanderlust is back in full gear bringing you some amazing honeymoon options that feel expensive but actually are not. (You could also utilize the Budget Savvy Bride’s guide to Groupon Your Honeymoon)

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

You can’t go wrong with the beautiful Caribbean. These beautiful islands boasts aquamarine waters and mountainous vistas but at a fraction of the cost, especially when you book your honeymoon during shoulder seasons (aka fall and spring). Our cruise was through the Caribbean and it was a blast!

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Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Fall in love with Wyoming on your honeymoon, where the untamed spirit of the West and splendid natural beauty open your body, mind and soul to an adventure of a lifetime. Wyoming isn’t just a great place for national parks and recreational activities. You’ll find charming restaurants, museums and galleries alongside unique clothing, jewelry and craft shops. Jackson Hole offers endless options that will fit any personal vacation style spurring all types of adventures.

JacksonHole.com
JacksonHole.com

Montreal, Canada

Montreal is brimming with romance. You’ll enjoy French culture, historical architecture and world-class restaurants without the high cost of traveling overseas. The months of May and October are ideal if you’re looking for a temperate climate to enjoy outdoor activities and al fresco dining. Frugal honeymooners can plan travel starting at the end of October and through April. Check out She Knows for a fun “to do/see” list!

Pop Sugar
Pop Sugar

Bali

Bali is a popular honeymoon destination for couples on any budget. It hosts incredible honeymoon spots with plenty of incredible things to offer. Resort style accommodation and stunning beaches are right within your reach with a very affordable price tag. In Bali, you’ll get to experience romantic sunsets, unwind in a yoga class and indulge in world-class food.

Bali Honeymoon Villas
Bali Honeymoon Villas

Belize

In Belize, you’ll get the best of both the land and the sea. Scuba diving, waterfall treks and incredible natural beauty are highlights in Belize. Toast to your lifetime of happiness by enjoying romantic sunsets or sunrises and fall deeper in love over a romantic dinner savoring moments together under the stars for the ultimate tropical getaway.

Travel Channel
Travel Channel

Do’s and Don’t’s of “I DO”

Yes, your wedding day is YOUR day and ultimately you and your spouse should get everything your heart desires to honor and celebrate all things you. When I am working with a couple, I always inquire what they want their day to look like, who is to be banned from giving toasts, style of food/music/photography they prefer, etc. However, in the spirit of acting like the true lady and gentleman that you are here are a few suggestions to ensure your guests enjoy your day as much as you do.

Invitations and Thank You Cards

The list of properly addressing invitations is extensive but completely worth looking into. Paper Flora has a wonderful, easy to read infographic. Even if you opt to announce your engagement via social media it is still thoughtful to mail out a proper invitation with details regarding the ceremony and reception, lodging options if needed, registry inserts, and other miscellaneous information your guests may need.

Sending out thank you notes are just as important as sending out invitations. They let your guests know how much you enjoyed having them join in your special day. Try not to wait more than three months before sending your thank you cards.

Cue sound check sooner

If you plan on having a band, remember to make sure they are unloaded and have sound checked before your guests enter the event space. Too many times I have brides and grooms forget to schedule them to arrive earlier. You don’t want to kill the ambiance of your wedding ceremony by having an electric guitar rocking out during your walk down the aisle!

Allow for a lot of cushion time

Planning extra time in your wedding day is KEY to not feeling overwhelmed or stressed. If the reception is not on the same property as the ceremony, leave enough time to travel between locations, remembering possible traffic jams, road work, etc.

During the reception try to leave pockets of time open for you as a couple to around to each table to visit with everyone. A quick hello and kind word speak volumes to your guests!

Tip Your Vendors

With so many wedding expenses to keep track of, gratuities can sometimes be forgotten, and become an expensive last minute expense. Luckily the Knot has a highly informative “cheat sheet” for you to look over and add to your budget.

Just Peachy

The color peach is sweet and romantic. It pairs well with bold navy,  sparkly gold, refreshing mint, and neutral grey. With it’s easy pairing and seasonal feels, peach seems to be becoming more and more popular every year. I had fun gathering some peachy inspiration for you today!

Peach + Navy

AnnsBlog_ColorLove_NavyPeach_120415
Ann’s Bridal Bargains
NavyCoralGoldCollage
A Hue for Two
Navy and Peach Wedding
The Perfect Palette
Country-Wedding-Coral-Programs
Rachel A. Clingen Wedding and Event Design

Peach + Gold

PeachIvoryGoldCollage
A Hue for Two
Peach and Gold Wedding Cake
Fab Mood
270027_peach-and-gold-plantation-wedding
Wedding Chicks
peach gold cake
Ma Maison

Peach + Grey

291302_pretty-in-peach-wedding
Wedding Chicks
coral-peach-grey2
Fab Mood
peach-grey-wedding-3
The Wedding of My Dreams
Peach-Inspired-and-Southern-Wedding-Ideas_0011-378x567
Every Last Detail

Peach + Mint

264703_florida-wedding-full-of-peach-and-mint
Wedding Chicks
Mint-and-Peach-Reception-Decor
One Charming Day
Summery-Mint-Peach-Wedding-Inspiration-Board
Chic Vintage Brides
SomethingTurquoise-DIY-Pink-Mint-Wedding-Brooke-Photography-and-Design_0021
Something Turquoise

S’more Love

I love favors because I love the notion of giving gifts! Being able to make darling mini-presents to say “thank you” for spending the day with us, no matter what the event, is not only rewarding for you but it’s an absolute treat for your guests.

Raise your hand if you are a s’mores lover! I know you can’t see my hand raised but believe me it is raised high. Everyday is the perfect day for s’mores! They are nostalgic, american, adorable and they feel like summer and taste like fall (and just about any amazing childhood memory I have). I remember making s’more by candlelight with  my childhood best friend during snow storms. We were dedicated to this wonderful treat!

Oh Lovely Day
Oh Lovely Day

I’m a fan of the regular old s’more as a favor. It’s classic and traditional – but I’ve been enjoying finding new ways to get the flavor profile of a s’more in a non-traditional way. (S’more bark may be my favorite!)

Diary of a Fit Mommy
Something Turquoise
smore pops
Diary of a Fit Mommy
S'More Pop
Ebay
smore truffle
Sprinkle Some Sugar
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Wine and Glue

Take a Seat

I generally have posts of inspiration, plenty of pictures showcasing themes/styles that pop up in my head throughout the week. But today I want to talk logistics, specifically with seating arrangements for both ceremony and reception.

CEREMONY
Traditionally at formal wedding ceremonies, the bride’s family and friends are seated on the left and the groom’s on the right. The first few rows are reserved as seating for immediate family and special guests. Ushers seat guests as they arrive, from front rows to back; the final guests to be seated are, in this order: grandparents, mother of the groom (with father walking just behind), and mother of the bride.

Concept Draw
Concept Draw

Most weddings I have worked have not been so traditional. Other than the first few rows reserved for immediate family, guests are allow to sit on whichever side they choose. A growing trend is unique ceremony seating, where there are no rows but circular seating. With this seating trend, everyone has an even chance of seeing the bride and groom without being behind someone taller than them (personal issue when I am a guest) and takes the stress away of “picking sides”, etc.

Belle the Magazine
Belle the Magazine

Reception
Wedding seating charts for the reception have to be made at the very end of the planning process (after your RSVPs are in) when you have a surplus of other pressing matters to attend to. Unfortunately they’re not something you can delegate to someone else (like the wedding coordinator) because you are the one that knows who gets along with whomever else best. So, first thing’s first: you must decide if you want to have assigned seating at your wedding at all. If your celebration is a casual get together, you can easily get out of assigned seating. However, if you are having a sit-down, formal dinner, experts suggest assigning tables, if not seats as well. This prevents 15 people squeezing onto one table and one lone guest with no where to go ensuring that everyone has someone to talk to. It is also a good idea if guests had a preferred meal selection allowing the serving staff to know what goes where. Below are some tips I’ve learned that might minimize some of the stress of assigning seats.

1. Don’t overthink the seating chart. Don’t stress too much about breaking all of your guests into the most-perfect-groups-of-eight ever—they’ll have hours to hang out with whoever they want before and after the reception.

2. Be mindful of assigning seats vs. assigning tables. With the exception of a multi-course, plated meal with multiple selections for each course you are in the clear to assign tables and leave the seating up to the guests of each table. If you do assign seats, you’re going to need both escort cards and place cards. With assigned tables you only need escort cards or create a wedding seating chart.

Wedding Party App
Wedding Party App
guest seating chart
Wedding Party App

3. Know where you and your spouse are going to sit. A sweetheart table is not your only option. If your families all get along well (or, well-enough) a table made up of you your spouse and both sets of parents can be great, or a table with your wedding party and their dates works just as well. Regardless, it is a smart idea for couples to put their table in the middle of the floor plan to put the maximum number of other tables close by and avoid anyone feeling like they’re not important.

4. Know table sizes and how many people can fit at each. Round tables commonly come in a 60″ round. They can accommodate 6-10 guests each, with 8 guests being the most comfortable. With 8 guests it doesn’t feel crowded, everyone is going to be able to pull their chairs in all the way, and still have some elbow room. With 10 guests, you lose much needed elbow room. Rectangular tables most common size is 6′ by 30″. They seat either six or eight people, depending on if you use the end-caps (short side of the table.)

5. Play with the layout of the venue to know how many tables comfortably fit in the room. This is a big item on the “to do” list, do not forget to leave room for people to walk between tables and to actually get in and out of their seats! The standard is a minimum of 60″ between tables, anything less and there’s not enough room for anyone (a waiter, or guest trying to get to their seat) to easily get in between those chairs.

6. Begin putting your seating chart together now that you know how many guests are coming and how many tables you have to fit in the room. Today you can find a surplus of websites focused on wedding seating charts, Wedding Mapper and Tablerrr are great free sites to utilize.

For those of you who prefer the low-tech end of things, I suggest an easy paper alternative that can be done with supplies you probably already have sitting in your home or office. Write each guest’s name on a tiny post-it note, and line up as sheets of plain paper to be the tables (remember to number each table). Then stick those “tiny guests” down, and move around until you have the appropriate number of people at each table, and you are satisfied with the arrangement. Transcribe this list into a bullet point list or spreadsheet (don’t forget the table number!).

Buzz Feed
Buzz Feed

That’s it. Best of luck and happy planning!!