Dessert Buffet – A Yummy Wedding Trend

August 31st, 2009

The new trend in reception treats,  that keep your guests coming back for more,  is the Dessert Buffet. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up on having a gorgeous wedding cake if you really want one, but it can save you money to have your cake made smaller for your pictures and cake cutting tradition.

There is no end to what you can serve on a  Dessert Bar.  Cupcakes, pie, bite size brownies, rice krispy treats, cheesecake, etc.  Big taste can come in small packages.

1- Keep the servings small and presented beautifully.

2- Give a nice variety of tastes to satisfy your guests preferences.  Even some sugar free selections would be nice if possible.

3- Chocolate covered strawberries or a chocolate fountain with fruit, marshmallows, cut up pound cake is another wonderful presentation.

4- How about cookies with milk in cute glasses?

5- Make sure you have boxes to send home with your guests for their goodies from the dessert bar.

For the DIY bride, or a reception on a tight budget,  this is a wonderful idea.  You can have a dessert reception mid afternoon or after the dinner hour so guests will know they will not be fed a meal.  Make sure you note that in the wording of  your invitation “Dessert Buffet Reception” following.

I love this idea for your bridal shower or engagement party too if you still want to do a traditional wedding cake for your reception.

Now for the inspiration:

This is a brilliant idea (I can’t take credit for this one, but I love it).  Use your favorite pie recipe to make these miniature “pies” on a lollipop stick.  Wrap the top with cello tied with a bow and put them standing up in an attractive container or make an “arrangement” with them by inserting the stick into a piece of styrofoam which can be disguised with crumbled oreo cookies (that is my idea).  Use a round cookie cutter to cut the pie dough out, use your favorite pie filling, crimp the edges, and make these little pies as would any pie, except make sure you insert the lolli stick before baking.

"Lolli Pie"

"Lolli Pie"

Rice Krispy Treats in a Vase

Rice Krispy Treats in a Vase

Chocolate Fountain Buffet

Chocolate Fountain Buffet

Rice Krispy Cake

Rice Krispy Cake

Dessert Bar

Dessert Bar

Brownies, Mini Eclairs, Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Brownies, Mini Eclairs, Chocolate Covered Strawberries

dessert bar box

Cupcake Boxes

Cupcake Boxes

Boxes for all your guests to take home their desserts are available in 10 of your  favorite colors and a variety of sizes.

Gourmet Rice Krispie Treats come in different choices including Rice Krispie Pops and Decadent Chocolate Covered Rice Krispie Pops.

Individual Cupcake boxes are also available.

Clear Boxes & Cupcake wrappers

Clear Boxes & Cupcake wrappers

For an elegant way to present your cupcakes, there are many styles and colors of cupcake wrappers to make them look elegant.

Now, this is fun!!

Falling in Love With A Fall Themed Wedding

August 25th, 2009

There was a time when all brides thought the summer was the perfect time for their wedding.  However, Fall has become a very popular time of year and for many good reasons.

If you’re guests will be traveling to your wedding, the Fall season will be less expensive since, as we all know, the airlines and gas prices always go up in the summer.  Also, hotels and reception sites will be more readily available.  Since most tourists head home after the summer, hotels will welcome your business and this can be reflected in their banquet facilities as well as the rooms for your guests.

I love the Fall because of the beautiful colors of that season.  Think of your wedding pictures with the beautiful, rich fall colors as a backdrop.  If you’re doing the wedding yourself, decorating can be so much fun using gourds, fall leaves, pumpkins, apples, etc. and the warm glow of candles inserted into these items as candle holders are wonderful for your banquet table or centerpieces.

To make candle holders from apples, tiny pumpkins or gourds, simply make an indentation in the fruit deep enough to hold your votive, taper or battery operated candle.  Also, you can cut out pumpkins and gourds and use them for serving dips, soup, dessert, etc.

I hope you’ll enjoy these inspirations:

Fall Bouquet

Fall Bouquet

Image La Partie Events

Image La Partie Events

Image Jennifer Wahlquist

Image Jennifer Wahlquist

Image: Tapestry Flowers

Image: Tapestry Flowers

Fall Wedding Cake

Image: Skye-Blu-Photography

Image: Skye-Blu-Photography

There are Fall Theme Save The Dates and lots of wonderful Fall Theme Favors that will tie in beautifully with your wedding.

Help! Do I Need A Wedding Planner?

August 23rd, 2009

As many brides know, planning a wedding is an exciting time, but it can be terribly stressful too. That’s why many couples choose to get professional assistance from someone who knows the in’s and out’s of planning a wedding… A Wedding Planner.

So many people have asked me the question, “What can a wedding planner do for me?”  To all who are in doubt about whether they should hire someone… here is my answer; Absolutely, YES (even if it’s just for the day of.  You will be saving yourself and your loved ones a lot of stress)

Did you know many planners have a variety of packages to choose from, whether it is an all inclusive service from the time you get engaged to when you are finally a Mrs., or just their services for the big day.

Here are some important tips when interviewing a coordinator:

Make sure they do a FREE Initial Consultation. You want to make sure your personalities mesh and that you will trust this person. It is your wedding day and you want it to be the most memorable day of your life. Never sign a contract with someone before you feel comfortable with him/her and the services they can provide you.

Also, talk to the planner… do they go to appointments with you, if so what do they charge? Have them explain to you their expertise and how they can benefit you by attending vendor meetings.

Does the planner  you hired do A La Carte? Meaning if you need something that is not traditional planning, can your coordinator think outside the box and make it happen?

OK, back to the original topic…

1- Save you Money and Keep you on Budget… if you find a great coordinator they can save you money. Let’s face it they have more than one client and  plan several events a year, so there are vendor relationships that right off the bat knock 10% off a clients invoice without  having to start negotiating.

2- Negotiations… they know how much things should cost, so they can talk their way down to the price that suits the client needs and wants. If you really want those flowers… they are  going to do their best to make it happen. Not everyone likes or can negotiate, so find someone who can be your own personal wedding vendor bull dog.

3- Creativity… Many people don’t have the gift of an artistic mind. A good coordinator will see your vision and make it better with the resources and the knowledge  she/he has.

4- Flexibility… Again it is your day, your coordinator should listen to you and make your wishes come as close to reality as possible.

5- Alleviate Stress…A good coordinator will take the pressure off of you during the planning and on your big day. The last thing you want is a vendor coming up to you while you are getting your makeup done an hour before the ceremony to tell you that something has not arrived. If you have a planner, that go to person will be him/her and you will never know that there was an issue because the problem will most likely be resolved prior to “Go” time.

With a wedding planner you and your guests will have an event that will leave a lasting impression for  a lifetime!

Thank you Sara from Asare Events for helping our brides understand how helpful a wedding planner can be.

Wedding Tips: Your Guest List

August 17th, 2009

When planning your wedding you must be organized (I know, this may  not be your strong suit, but it’s something that must be done).  When planning  your guest list remember it’s the most essential item to start with because it will determine the number of people you will have.  This affects your location and the cost of the day. So set aside an afternoon (or two)  and get ready!  This is big!

1- Make a master list.  Friends and family on your side and his.

2- Remember to ask his parents and yours for their lists.  This will take some time, so be patient but let them know how important it is.

3- If  you’re on a budget,  it’s essential that the two of you be willing to cut down the guest list.  The same holds true for parents on both sides.

4- Both of you will have to be willing to compromise.  Think about your menu, the size of the wedding and your budget.  Be realistic.  Your wedding and reception location will be determined by your guest count.

5- Have a “yes” list.  Those are the people most important to you. Next, a “maybe” list.  Those you’re considering but are not sure about yet.  This needs to be done by the two of you and your respective parents.

6- Remember the 10% rule.  Invite 10% more than you think because 10% won’t be able to make it.  Weigh how much it means to you to have that person there.

7- Whether or not your  parents are paying for the wedding, the family obligations are something you have to consider.  If they are paying for the wedding  usually the “iffy” family members are on the “definite” list.  (Well, I guess it depends on just how “iffy” they are).

8- If you invite your boss only, most likely your close co workers will be offended.  Think twice before inviting work people.

9-   It’s up to you whether to allow single invited guests to bring a date.  Again, this is usually a budget issue.

10- Even if you know someone important to you will not be able to attend, you should still send an invitation to let them know they’re special to you.

This is a B-I-G task.  Try your best to be tactful and considerate but remember it’s your wedding and the two of you can invite who you want to.

Once you have this large part of your organizing skills done, it will be so helpful for the rest of your planning.  Take a deep breath…..you can do it!

Once you have your guest list finalized, your ceremony and reception site selected, make sure you send out save the dates so your busy guests will have plenty of notice to leave that date  for your wedding.  Invitations should be sent out a few months before the wedding.

Wedding Place Cards Do You Need Them?

August 11th, 2009

Ever wonder what the difference is between a Place Card and an Escort Card?  An Escort card tells your guests what table they are assigned to.  A Place Card has the guests name on it and is placed on the table so your guests know which seat is theirs.  This is very helpful to the servers if your invitation included menu cards with different meals offered and your guests got to choose which meal they prefer.  The Place Card can have the meal choice printed on it so the waiters don’t have to interrupt the flow of conversation to ask the guests what meal they are having.

Escort Cards  serve an important function at your reception.  Most brides  have family members or friends you know will want to sit with each other.  Even though your invitation states what time the festivities begin, people arrive at varying times, and it’s possible others will fill in the tables that would otherwise be used for those who want to sit with each other.  This is where Escort cards become a very useful tool. It helps things to be organized and convenient for your guests and should definitely be used if your wedding has 100 guests or more and if it’s a formal affair.

True, it does take a lot of planning, organizing and then re-shifting as you learn some guests won’t be attending, but it’s worth the trouble.

The Escort Table is the first thing your guests will see when they enter the reception hall or before they enter the hall, so why not  make your Escort Cards and Table “Numbers” fabulous as well as functional.

1- Figure out how many guests you are inviting and whether you will be using a table that seats 8 or 10.  Sometimes the table sizes will vary, depending on your guest list.  There are programs that are designed to help you do your seating chart, however, I simply made a large drawing of the reception room with circles representing the tables and used little post-it notes with the guests name printed on them.  This made it easy to rearrange the tables as I learned some guests weren’t coming, or Aunt Sue is no longer talking to Cousin Jill, which I didn’t know when I originally made the seating chart.

2- To help make your seating arrangement “fabulous” think outside the box for your table “numbers”.  Choose a theme that reflects both of your personalities.  Examples can be places you’ve visited together, artists you especially love, movies you love, flowers that are your favorites, names of sea shells or beaches if you’re having a beach theme wedding and either use postcards as your “table numbers” or create your theme from pictures or on the computer.  Coordinate your escort cards to match your “table numbers”.

2- Put your escort cards in alphabetical order on the table so your guests can find them easily.

3- Putting your escort cards into picture frames or place card holders serves as a favor as well and your guests can use them for a wallet size photo afterwards, a helpful tip for those on a budget.  Frames and Place Card Holders come in a wide variety of themes and styles from sophisticated to whimsical, so you’re sure to find exactly what will work with your reception decor.

ka-25053

Work of Art Antique-Finish Photo Frame

ka-silver_beaded_frame

Beautifully Beaded Photo Frame and Placeholder

fc_9418

Shell Design Place Card Holders

fc_4138

Autumn-Inspired Candle Favors

4- If you’re having a DIY reception, you can purchase Table Number Holders or use any tall Place Card Holder.

Thought you’d like to see some imaginative “Table Numbers” to inspire you:

Image: Brittany Photography

Image: Brittany Photography

Honeymoon Destination

Honeymoon Destination

Favorite Cities

Favorite Cities

Number with Picture Image: The Flower Alley

Number with Picture Image: The Flower Alley

We have a winner!$250.00 shopping spree!!

August 10th, 2009

Favors By Serendipity is offering a $250.00 Shopping Spree towards anything on their site – including Cake Jewelry, Bridesmaids Gifts, Bridal Shower Favors, Wedding and Party Favors, Candy Buffet Packaging and more…..

Imagine getting a free gift just for giving your opinion.

Post a comment here telling us which item from the Favors By Serendipity website you especially like or would love to get if you win.

Giveaway ends Thursday, August 13 at midnight, PST.

Winner is chosen randomly and will be notified Friday, August 14, and announced here as soon as they accept the prize.

Here are some ideas of what you can win:

product_montage

Wedding Reception Decor Ideas & Tips

August 5th, 2009

Whether you create your own  centerpieces, or have a florist do them for you, making sure  they fit your style will ensure your wedding to be one to remember.  Designing your reception decor is a wonderful opportunity to express yourself.

Start by creating the big picture then decide on the style that shows your personality.  Then add the details.

1-  What colors are you attracted to?

2- What season is your wedding?

3- Bring in different colors of candle holders to compliment your color scheme. Some may hang from the centerpiece, some on the table.

4- Whether simple or extravagant, consider the size of your reception space.  If your space has high ceilings, you need to bring in height to the centerpiece.  You don’t have to have all of them high, you can do high on one table and low on the other.  It brings more interest to the room.

branch centerpiece

Simple Centerpiece

Simple Centerpiece

High Centerpiece

High Centerpiece

Low Centerpieces

Low Centerpieces

Image: Laura Davis Events

Image: Laura Davis Events

Image: Simply Blooms

Image: Simply Blooms

5- Using  square vases is a way to do your centerpieces yourself with minimal flowers and a lot of elegance.

6- Always test your design ahead of time.  Especially if it’s a DIY.  If you are using a floral designer, ask that they make up a sample to be sure you are happy with the final results.  This way you don’t have to imagine what it’s going to be like, you can experience it.

Idea:  If you’re doing it yourself, keep it simple and elegant and bring in color with candles.

orchids in vase with candles

Wedding Photos Fun For Your Guests

August 3rd, 2009

Why not  provide a fun,  photo opportunity experience for your guests that will be a memorable and  lasting keepsake  (and I don’t mean cameras on the tables).  Of course, this will not take the place of your professional photographer taking pictures of your special day, but it’s a great, joyful  idea to make your wedding stand out from the rest.

Some brides take their professional pictures before the wedding so they won’t keep the guests waiting extensively for them to arrive at the reception.  I think that’s the way to go.  However, some brides prefer to take their pictures after the ceremony and that’s where this idea will be most helpful. It keeps your guests occupied so they don’t even realize how long they’re waiting for you to “start the party”!

A photo booth brings back many memories of my childhood when my girlfriends and I would put a coin in the machine, make funny faces, and take strips of pictures which we would cut up and share.  I still have those pictures in my photo albums and remember the day we took them (you know how silly you can be with your best friend).  Well, photo booths are a current trend for wedding receptions and I just love it.  These are the details:

1-  At Foto Cabina you can rent a photo booth which provides digital quality pictures (same as your photographer is using) in 10 seconds.  What better way to get your guests involved in your big day?

2-  Once entering the booth guests can instantly see what they look like on the screen inside.  They can be as silly as they want..it’s more fun that way!

3-  Every photo that is printed has 2 copies, one for the guest and one for your photo memory album.  An attendant who accompanies the booth is standing by to assist the guests and add the photos to your album.

4- A silver or gold sharpie is  provided for the guests to write a note next to their photo in your album.

5- Provide a picture frame favor and your guests will have something to take away with their instant photo.

6-  Make sure you and your groom get in the booth.  It will capture  tender and fun moments allowing you to relax and have a good time after what most likely was a stressful, nervous energy day.

Image: Foto Cabina

Image: Foto Cabina

Image: Foto Cabina

Image: Foto Cabina

Wedding Reception Site Tips

August 1st, 2009

Most Important Tips to Find the Perfect Reception Venue

Choosing the right reception venue is so important. Not only do you have to make sure it can accommodate your head count and budget, you want to make sure that it will fit the style of your wedding. Researching all the different venues, their packages and what you will have to do to make it a unique space, etc. can be overwhelming. You open a magazine or go to a website and there are too many to choose from. (Ok, I am done scaring you newly engaged brides! And I am not about to start promoting that is why you should hire a planner. It helps, but really you can do it on your own if you make time.)

Here are the 3 most important tips when starting your search for the perfect reception venue:

1. Know your budget before you start hunting.

You will waste a lot of time going to great places and you might fall in love with a spot that is way out of your price range. I have so many brides that come to me wondering if I can work my magic to make the venue discount their price. Of course there is some room to jiggle, but not that much. The rental price is almost set in stone if you are being proactive in your planning.. If not, you might have room to negotiate, especially if you do it off season, plan only a few months out or pick a weekday.

2. Know your headcount (or have a good idea).

Again, why go to places that will not accommodate all your guests and why rent a space that is too large for your party? You don’t want to do either. You will be more frustrated in the end if you don’t take a hard look at your guest list.

3. Have an idea about now you want your wedding to look and feel.

So,  for instance,  if you have a theme to your wedding, let’s say beach, do you want to have the setting for your reception to be in the middle of the desert? I would say no, unless you can recreate the beach (you can, but it takes a lot of money). What I am saying is be realistic and really think about what your style and theme is going to be before you go out searching.

You want your guests to feel like you actually planned for your wedding. Having the wrong space sends the wrong message and sets the tone for the whole event.  Your budget does not have to be huge to find a fantastic space. All you need is organization and creativity and your canvas will be painted!

Taking a step back and thinking about who you and your fiance are and how you picture your wedding day is the first and most important step to planning any wedding.

Thank you Sara of asareevents.com for sharing these tips with my readers.