Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I take this chicken….or should I take the fish?

 Food. We all love to eat it, and often. So it’s pretty much a must at your wedding. Especially if you plan to have a long ceremony and expect your guests to stay and party. A good rule of thumb is to measure the length of your wedding against the quantity of food. If you are having a short morning ceremony, you might get away with some teacakes and cheese straws. But an hour-long religious ceremony followed by a cocktail hour and four hours of disco requires a bit more.  

                When making the menu for your reception, consider the style of wedding you are having. A mashed potato bar goes splendidly with a quant barn wedding with a homespun feel. Pate and croquettes might prove more appropriate for a museum or upscale hotel wedding. Next, I would incorporate items that reflect you and your fiancé’s cultures and tastes. Crab claws for your New England hubby-to-be and mini latkes to celebrate your Jewish heritage, for example.  Whatever the case, the food should reflect you just as much as the other aspects of your wedding do.

                I would also include what I like to call ‘fillum’. Fillum is anything that fills someone up. Bread is a good example. Make sure there are plenty of items like bread, cheese, fruit, or other items that are basic and distinguishable so that most every guest will have something to eat, regardless of their diet or preference. If you have vegetarian and vegan friends and family, this is especially important. Serving only chicken or beef with a side of mash potatoes and gravy could cause your vegan cousin to step out early. Then who is going to catch the bouquet?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Making The List

You know it, the Guest List. It is what everyone is trying to get on, and now it is your turn to make it. This aspect of planning a wedding is either really easy, or really difficult. It is all up to you. This is key. You must lay down the terms now before someone in your family decides for you. They all mean well, but if you waffle on whom and how many guests to invite, there are plenty of people that would love to step up to the plate. This is how marriages break up before they begin. Do not be scared, though! This is easily avoided. Just sit down with your fiancé first to talk this out. You have two factors to consider here:

1. Budget – why? Because caterers charge per head, that is why.
2. Preference – Some gals want an epic turn out, others just want an intimate circle of family and friends. Remember, you are on stage performing, so it is up to you to decide how many people you want watching.

                Once you know these two things, the rest is a snap. Sit down with your fiancé again and start that list. Of course, consider the people closest to you first. That one is easy. Depending on your budget and approximated guest list quantity, you may find that everyone you invite is a close friend or family member, and that is pretty awesome. But some of you may have to deal with a few difficult ones. Coworkers from your new job or your distant cousin that you do not know well but she invited you to her wedding. These are tough, and if you have room on the guest list, I say invite them.  They will appreciate the gesture whether they come or not. If you find you are running out of invitations, just draw a figurative line in the sand and remember to tell your coworkers and distant cousins that you are having a small wedding and only invited close family members and a few friends.  They will understand. If they do not, they probably have never been married. So it is likely that one day they will understand. Do not sweat it, do what is right for you and your fiancé. 

                NOTE:  Do not invite exes. Period. No one needs the added complication of latent feelings or memories of past relationships on the most stressful day of your life. This is a onetime deal, so focus on your future with your husband to be. Plus, no matter how progressive your boy is, he is likely lying if he says it is cool with him to invite your Heisman trophy winning, Mensa scholar, underwear modeling ex boyfriend. He may act like he does not care, but he will be grateful later. Remember, this is the first day of the rest of your life, so start it out with a strong declaration of respect and complete admiration for the man you want to spend forever with.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Reception vs. Children’s Party

              So you and your man are tying the knot in front of your friends and family, whoa.  That is some heavy stuff.  Seriously, you need to de-stress after all that heavy ‘til death do us part’ talk. That is why God created receptions, aka the Party.  Awesome.  And it is your party and you can have whatever you want! Within budget, of course. But the line between your My Little Pony Party in 2nd grade and your wedding reception needs to be drawn beforehand.
               I know, I know, you love neon green and pink, and polka dots have been quite the rage for a few seasons. But there is a tasteful way to add in your personal style without turning your wedding reception into a circus. Remember, you are going to look back at your pictures from this day, and it is highly likely you will have lost your appreciation for the donkey rides and piñatas that were key elements of your reception. 

                Make these elements part of the ‘accessories’ of your wedding. Instead of fuchsia bridesmaids dresses, try a modest black or cream with a sash or piping. Better yet, an underlay that pokes out a shock of fuchsia. This is refined and trendy at the same time. You want hamburgers and hot dogs? How about miniature ones! The condiments can be placed and delicate crystal or silver dishes. This was also very trendy this last season. And you guys are going to hate me for this one, but ease up on the candy bar. It is overly trendy right now, and I feel that this fad is fast approaching its death. Big cakes are on their way back, and there is plenty of room to get all of the Rainbow Brite colors on it that you desire.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dolla Bills Ya’ll

Prince William finally proposed to you, so now all you need to do is call your Dream Team - Versace, Martha and Wolfgang - and sit back and let them handle it all, right? I am sure that your fiancé treats you like a Princess, and gurrrl you are ALL princess on the inside!  But unfortunately, most of us probably will not have the scrilla to throw down like royalty.  But I say, so what?! That does not mean you can’t look and feel like a Princess on your big day.  But I know most of you are probably working princesses, so here is a tip for planning when time and money are in short supply:

                Treat your wedding like you treat your wardrobe. Every magazine has the same advice for appearing high fashion on a budget.  Affordable basics, one luxury statement piece (shoes!!!) and accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!  So why not treat your wedding the same way?  Remember your ‘favorite’?  That is your luxury statement piece. Now focus on the basics to compliment your luxury piece. I do not mean compromise, but if you have fabulous flower arrangements draping your reception tables, maybe an affordable satin or matte linen tablecloth is all you need. Warning:  Do not cry about your table linens.  I did. I wanted the expensive ones.  They were nearly identical to the linens that were $300 cheaper. Did I notice at my wedding?  No, it was dark. Lesson learned. But my cake?  Worth every penny.  I almost didn’t want to cut it, it was so perfect. For me, the wedding cake was the most import thing. So think about what is really important to you at the end of the day….and what is not so important.

                So you know what you are going to splurge on, you know what your basics are going to be, and the accessories are everything from actual accessories to DIY projects of your own. Maybe you and your bridesmaids make all the party favors for your guests. The personal touch will make them special, and could save you some cash. But not always, so avoid allocating the time for this unless it is either important to you or a major factor in your budget. Otherwise, I recommend buying favors.  Whatever the case, once you make a decision about the types of items you will either purchase or make, and their budget, you can move forward with a clear wedding plan. This will make shopping for that diamond and sapphire tiara that much easier! 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Always Say Thank You

So Monday is here again and I find the best way to feel good about the week ahead of me is to start the week off with a high level of productivity. In your case, that would mean squeezing some serious wedding planning in.  But if the showers and engagement parties are already starting, today would be a great day to start writing those Thank You notes.

                Fretting over the type of stationary to use is a waste of valuable energy and time. Find a simple and classy style that suits your budget and get to writing. What to write?  It is simple, follow these guidelines and it will make writing those notes a snap:

1. Greeting - e.g. ‘Dear Aunt Bev,’
2. Gift and Use – e.g. ‘Thank you for the blender.  I cannot wait to make smoothies with it!’
3. Mention the past, allude to the future – ‘I have told my fiancé all the stories about summers at the lake house with you and Uncle Jack, and he cannot wait to visit too!’
 4. Grace – e.g. ‘Yours Affectionately’ or ‘Your Niece’ or just a simple ‘Love’
5. regards – e.g. ‘Casey and Dan’

So make it short and sweet, but emphasize the sweet. Remember, these people care about you and are excited for your marriage, and they have shown that by giving you a gift. So say a little more than just ‘thank you for the toaster’. It can be simple and short, but it should key in on your relationship to the person. Trust me, they will remember and appreciate the gesture. 
But however and whatever you write, the key for a busy bride-to-be is to write them NOW.  Do not wait until after the wedding. Etiquette says you have a year, but the further you get into a year, the harder it is to write them. This is something I know firsthand……sorry, Cousin Beth. It is in the mail, I promise!....But seriously, if you write them immediately after an event, that allows you to break them down into groups. So by the time you are leaving for your Honeymoon, you will only have a small stack waiting for you when you get back. And that is something to be thankful for.

Friday, May 13, 2011

‘I do do’

It’s Friday!  Or, Friday Friday, gotta get down on Friday, to quote Ms. Rebecca Black. Since it’s the weekend, let’s talk about weird wedding trends.  Or just one:  the bridal diaper.  I just am not sure what to make of these.  I mean, I get it, when I get nervous I always need to go, but is this really necessary?  I mean, it isn’t like you are going to chase your groom from Houston to Orlando in your SUV.  Seriously, how long does a ceremony have to last to constitute wearing a diaper?  

Apparently, some gals are doing it. I am not sure I would recommend it, outside of a medical condition, but I guess if you’ve gotta go, you gotta go.  I just would think twice about the potential chaffing and swishing noises it might make.  It can get real quite up at that alter.  So perhaps if a bridal diaper is on your to ‘do’ list when planning for your wedding, you will keep these things in mind.  Maybe prepare to go before you corset up that giant tulle confection.  But if you have awesome bridesmaids, I am sure they will help you, ahem, take care of business before you make your way down that aisle, so fresh and so clean, minus the baby attire. 

Happy Friday Ya’ll!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

OHMIGOSH You Are Getting Married!

So he FINALLY proposed!  I mean, you hinted about it every time you walked past a jewelry store, or talked to his family or friends, or even when you went to buy groceries. Or maybe it was the bridal magazine collection you started, the HIS and HER towels you began to monogram or the preemptive dress fittings you had scheduled...just me?  Well, whatever the case, you got him and now you guys are gonna get married!  Hooray! So now what?  Well, now everyone starts telling you what to do. Your parents will, your friends will, your coworkers will, anybody that you tell probably will.  The first thing to remember:  they are all almost as excited as you are.  If one of those people is your mother, she is MORE excited than you are.  So take it easy and try not to freak out on them.  This is a good time to assess what really matters to you about your wedding.  Mine was cake.  I'll tell you more about that later, but figure out what your wedding 'favorite' is.  It's likely your dress or the music or the food.  Or maybe it is a detail, like your grandmother's necklace, or the gold embossed place settings. Whatever it is, decide what you want before anyone starts weighing in. Because they will.  When they do, you can offer up compromises to the things that you feel indifferent or at least less strongly about.  Plus, it just saves time.  Now that you know what your favorite is, relax, call some more girlfriends and go get martinis with your friends and your soon-to-be hubby!