Top 2 Reasons to Have Hors D’oeuvres During Cocktail Hour

The time has come for you to plan the menu for your wedding reception. You may be wondering if it is worth spending the extra money to serve hors d’oeuvres at your cocktail hour. When advising clients, I always say “Absolutely!” to this question. There are plenty of reasons giving your guests something to nibble on before the reception and dinner begin is money well spent, and here are the top two!

  1. No Need to Rush
    If you know your guests are not going to be starving waiting for dinner, you can feel free to take your time with post-ceremony pictures. Providing your guests with something to enjoy alongside their cocktails will assure you have no need to rush.  Not feeling rushed during photos will make it a less stressful experience and allow it to be much more enjoyable!  Your guests will be happy nibbling on something delicious like Bacon and Bleu Cheese Risotto Cakes or Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Pinwheels and you will be relaxed knowing they are taken care of.
  1. Enjoy Your Alone Time
    Another great way to use cocktail hour to your advantage is to enjoy a private dinner for you and your new spouse in the Bridal or Groom Suite. This may sound a little crazy at first, but hear me out.  At the reception you are going to be bombarded with all of your guests coming to say their congratulations, you may not get the opportunity to really sit and enjoy your meal. Cocktail hour is a great time to take 15-20 minutes to yourselves and just enjoy the moment together.  Not to mention, eating beforehand will allow you to avoid any crankiness and make all of your upcoming socializing much more enjoyable!

These top two reasons to have hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour are often overlooked.  I know planning a wedding is stressful, especially when it comes to your budget. Even so, in the end, the most important thing is being able to enjoy your day to the fullest.  Keep in mind, hors d’oeuvres do not have to be expensive!  You can do something like a fruit and cheese display for $3/guest and peace of mind is priceless.  Happy wedding planning!

3 Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Wedding Photos

There are so many elements to planning a wedding, and at times, it can feel like you’re writing a check or checklist every day for something new. When an opportunity presents itself to save you some time or money, think it through! This applies to your dress, food, DJ and of course, PHOTOS. Whether you are a photo aficionado or completely clueless on the topic, you could accidentally make one of these seemingly harmless mistakes:

  1. Having a Friend or Family Member Be Your Photographer
    Unless they take photos professionally, having a friend or family member double as your wedding photographer is definitely not your best option. So many times, couples have that friend from college who always liked taking photos, or that uncle with a nice Nikon, and trust them enough to capture their big day. They feel it is a great way to include someone special in the wedding while also saving a few bucks.  Unfortunately, you will later realize there is a noticeable difference between the amateur and trained eye. If you are looking to save on your budget, look elsewhere. These photos will be displayed in your home (and probably a few others!) for years to come. You want your wedding photos to be beautiful, timeless, candid, and all the other things that you could have hoped for. Let your friends and family be guests at your wedding. Their awesome camera can come too, but leave the big stuff to the pros.
  2. Choosing Photographer B Over Photographer A Because they are $1,000 Cheaper
    Before you cut loose photographer A, look at what their price includes. Keep in mind – you get what you pay for. If Photographer B is $1,000 less while offering the exact same package as Photographer A, and you like both of their work equally, you found yourself a steal! However, if there is a $1,000 difference, and you are not as big a fan of the more affordable portfolio, it’s time to renegotiate with the photographer whose style you LOVE. Going back to that point about looking at these photos for many years to come, it may be worth it to spring for the platinum package if it means you will get photos you love to post, print and frame.
  3. Not Making a ‘Must-Have’ Photo List
    Some photographers are great about requesting this and as tedious as it sounds to sit down and make a list of every photo you’d want at your wedding, it is so worth it! Your wedding day will be a whirlwind, and over in the blink of an eye. You won’t notice until you get the proofs that you didn’t take one photo with your Grandma the entire day. Make sure to take the time to outline all the photos you want to take with family and friends, don’t assume you will catch them at the reception.

I hope these tips have helped and will be remembered when it comes to your wedding photographer decision making.  While there are many important decisions to be made when planning your wedding, the photos are one of the few things that will last longer than just that night!  Be smart when choosing your photographer and make sure you don’t miss out on capturing any of the memories made during your special day.

How to Pick the Perfect Bouquet

A bridal bouquet is something that you can really express yourself with.  Whether you want real flowers, fake flowers, no flowers, a trailing bouquet, a posy bouquet, or anything in between, it is one of the few things that will completely and specifically be designed for you. Surprisingly enough, the bouquet needs to match your dress, in both color and style, and can really affect the way you look on your big day.  So here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Choose your dress before the bouquet. You can have an idea of what type of bouquet you would like, but style makes a huge difference.  The dress you pick may not go with the style bouquet you had always imagined.
  2. Bring Color Swatches!  There are a million different shades of white out there. Bring a swatch of your dress to make sure, if you’re having any white flowers, they don’t clash with the color of your dress.  Also, bring swatches of your other color(s) so you can be sure to match them as best as possible. Especially when it comes to your bridesmaids bouquets, they need to match their dresses too!
  3. If you want real flowers, consider which ones are in season. If you want flowers that are out of season, they will be much more expensive if they’re even available. For summer months, look into some sunflowers, hydrangea, or star gazers, for spring: orchids, cherry blossoms, or freesia, for winter months: roses, holy berry, or carnations, and for autumn: irises, zinnias, or chrysanthemums. However, there are some flowers are not really affected by the seasons, lilies are one of these exceptions.
  4. If you are going a different route, like a brooch bouquet, make sure there is a very clear understanding of what you want, and what kind of a look you want to stay away from.
  5. Your bouquet is also a good place to put your something old or borrowed. If you’ve got a family heirloom, like a handkerchief, or a brooch that you want to add to a floral bouquet, see if your florist can incorporate it. Most of the time, items can be added to the stems and can make a beautiful, and very personal, addition.
  6. The more traditional you are going with your dress, and wedding in general, the more traditional your bouquet should be. Traditional bouquets are most often a round/posy bouquet or maybe even a teardrop.
  7. If the focus of your dress is on the bodice, you should probably stay away from a round bouquet, since that will draw attention away from your dress. Try looking into an arm or trailing bouquet, both are very beautiful but sit a little differently so your dress can still be seen.
  8. Make sure to take some pictures of your bouquet beforehand, especially if you have a specific place to put it during the reception. Your photographer is going to have plenty of things to take pictures of that night and you don’t want to later realize that you don’t have any pictures of the bouquet you designed so perfectly.
  9. Keep in mind that you are going to be holding on to your bouquet for a pretty good amount of time, so make sure it’s comfortable for you. Try not to make it too heavy so it doesn’t hurt your wrists and be sure that it has soft fabric around the stems so it doesn’t poke you or irritate your hands.
  10. Take the time to see what each flower and color represents, and match it to how your feeling. For instance, roses represent love, white chrysanthemums are for truth, ivy for fidelity, and if it’s your first and only love, put some lilacs in it. The world around you may never know all the meaning behind your flowers, but you and your partner will.
  11. It is important to remember, different flowers work better with different arrangements. Longer stemmed flowers, like calla lilies, tend to work better with cascading or arm bouquets, whereas irises and tulips work better in the posy bouquets.
  12. Consider your body shape when designing your bouquet, as well. If you are really tall, try and stick to a longer bouquet to help elongate yourself and to keep with the line. If you are really short, stick to something a little smaller and compact.

If you find all of the flowers and bouquet designing a bit overwhelming, another idea is for just the bride to have a bouquet and to have the bridesmaids hold on to something different.  Not only does this lessen your stress of matching flowers to dresses, but it also makes your bouquet a little more special, and provides you with a little bit more money to spend on your own.  Also, keep in mind that if your bouquet is something you plan on preserving, you don’t have to throw it! It’s yours, do with it what you please.  You may want to consider getting a small, simpler bouquet to throw later in the night and then you won’t have to worry about it.  I hope these tips on picking out the perfect bouquet have helped ease your mind through at least one of your many wedding planning decisions!