If you don’t want to have music at your wedding reception, don’t think you’re automatically doomed to have a dismal night. Many couples forgo dancing at weddings – there’s something to be said for not hearing the chicken dance or the YMCA.
You don’t need to tell any of your guests you’re having a dance-free wedding reception. They will figure it out when they arrive and see no dance floor set up. But if you decide to tell people ahead of time, be prepared to get some flack. For decades, people have been holding dances after the wedding dinner.
If you’re planning to do away with the DJ or iPod, here are some things you can do to ensure your guests have a great time.
If you’re having a dance free reception, your wedding reception will feel more like a formal dinner or cocktail party. Hire a string quartet or other small ensemble that will create an elegant atmosphere for your event, but won’t coax Aunt Matilda out for the Macarena.
Change the Time
The easiest way to alleviate the expectation of dancing is to hold your wedding earlier in the day. Traditionally, people anticipate dancing after a late dinner as it’s more of a nighttime activity. Plan a champagne brunch or afternoon reception. No one wants to do the electric slide at 3 p.m.
Relax the Venue
Think backyard or garden wedding. This creates more of a casual atmosphere, one where you wouldn’t expect people to cut the rug, and you can get away with not having the couple’s first dance, father and daughter dance because you can use that time for mingling with your guests. If you’re going to have lots of children at your wedding, consider hiring a balloon artist, makeup artist to do face painting or bouncy castles to keep them entertained.
If you’re worried about your guests getting bored, then think of ways for them to be amused. One idea gaining in popularity is the photo booth. Let your family and friends mug for the camera. It’ll get them laughing and you might even have some great souvenirs of the day! If you’re getting married at a winery here in Niagara, set up a winery tour they can embark on or wine tastings.
Feast for a King
The sure fire way to host a successful wedding reception is to wine and dine your guests. Have your venue offer first-rate appetizers while you get your photos done and mingle with your guests, and make sure your meal is unforgettable. Don’t scrimp. Make it an entire dining experience by hiring waiters to serve three- or four-course meals or create food stations, giving guests the opportunity to try different dishes.
You want every possible moment of your wedding captured. But, you don’t want the risk of putting disposable cameras on the tables and having 1,000 pictures of Uncle Bernie’s crazy chicken dance. Or, the budget just can’t stretch enough to pay the videographer to stay for the reception.
One solution costs less than $300 and requires you to just place it on a table or other strategic location to capture long-lasting memories. TheBrinno P arty Camera (it’s official name is the TLC200 f 1.2) can capture every moment of the big day, and is perfect for the wedding reception. Simply leave the camera on its rotating base and it will spin 360 degrees every 60 minutes, creating a panning effect in time-lapse video.
As your guests enjoy your wedding reception, the camera will slowly rotate, capturing more moments than a wedding photographer or videographer would be able to, from completely new and innovative angles. You can also switch up the camera’s location, moving it from the head table to the dance floor to capture different views of your guests having fun.
This camera features a super-wide 140 degree angle lens, a sensor that can adapt very well to low-light situations (ideal for a reception) and a spherical lens for excellent image quality. A 1.44-inch preview screen allows for the precise framing of scenes. And, when the reception is over, and you want to reminisce with your wedding party and family, or, simply with your new husband, you can playback the images on-the-spot with any Smartphone and a Brinno card reader, or by popping the SD card into any computer.
Shooting in HD, the camera is both adjustable and rotatable, which means you can aim the camera in any direction you wish it to shoot.
As well, if you want to show guests at the Sunday brunch or other post-wedding event, you can easily do so without much work. Though editing is available, it’s not necessary because the frames taken by the camera are automatically compiled into a well-edited time-lapse video.
The Brinno Bundle, which retails for $253, includes the TLC200 f1.2 and ART100 rotating base. For information, visit http://productivity.net/phase3systems.html.
Everybody loves hearing about – and looking at – pictures of celebrity weddings. They’re lavish, over-the-top and, sometimes, outrageous. But weddings of the rich and famous can also be great starting points for ideas for your own upcoming wedding. Celebrity brides always wear the most up-to-date fashions, decorate in the hottest colour palettes and are very trend setting in every detail. Here are some ways you can incorporate the celebrity touch into your own wedding:
Magazines and entertainment shows
Celebrity weddings are all the rage so they regularly appear in gossip and entertainment magazines and shows. Flip through some of these magazines and you’ll see what’s in style and what you’re favourite celebrities are doing – whether it’s their first or fourth marriage. Use these images to inspire your planning and help you with the theme of your own wedding.
Choose your favorite detail
Examine celebrity weddings for those details you think you might like to incorporate into your wedding. Check out the design of the gown or the hairstyle of the latest Hollywood wedding, or maybe what centerpieces they are using.
Hire a wedding planner
Preparing for a wedding can be a difficult task. It can get very complicated if you are eyeing a particular celebrity wedding you want to replicate. Hiring a wedding planner, who is up on all the latest celebrity styles, can help you organize your plans and put them into action. The proper wedding co-ordinator will also find the things you want – or be able to suggest better alternatives, while still lending that celebrity feel to your wedding.
Pick a celebrity hairstyle
Some celebrities are known for their perfect hairstyles. Look for pictures of the celebrity style you most admire and present them to your salon so they can replicate the look. You deserve to look magnificent on your wedding day, and that’s why your stylist should be able to copy exactly what your celebrity counterpart has on her head.
Copy that celebrity wedding gown
Vera Wang might not custom design a gown for you, but, armed with a picture of the gown you adore and the proper help, you can have your own gown designed to look exactly like one created by a famous designer.
No matter what you choose for your wedding, there is no question you will be the biggest celebrity that day. Make sure you get what you’ve dreamed of because it’s your special day and you deserve nothing less than perfect.
Every detail of your wedding will give your guests a glimpse into your personality, from the flowers and bouquets you select and the meal you serve to how you decorate the tables, your preference in colours and the design of your cake. But there’s a little detail you might not think of during the initial phases of planning your big day – the wedding cake topper.
Gone are the days when the wedding cake topper was a bride and groom posing stonily. Today, the possibilities are endless. From humorous and cheeky wedding cake toppers to classic and stylish designs, there are literally hundreds to choose from.
The best thing about a wedding cake topper is that it doesn’t necessarily have to follow the style of your day. For example, if you’re having a traditional wedding, you can still have a fun wedding cake topper, such as a couple driving away to start the honeymoon. If you’re huge sportsfans, you’re in luck. For the baseball fan, you might want a bride swinging a baseball bat and her groom holding out a mitt or for those who love the links, maybe a bride impatiently waiting for her groom to finish his round of golf is appropriate.
If you’re having a themed wedding, you can, of course, incorporate that into your wedding cake topper, such as seashells for a beachside wedding or a castle if you’re more of a princess. Also available these days are cake toppers that reflect our multicultural society and ethnic diversity. But, if you’re a traditionalist at heart, there are plenty of options for you, from a single, bejeweled initial to a monogrammed topper that you can later display to remember your day.
You’ve probably seen this wedding picture. Napster co-founder Sean Parker, who was also Facebook’s inaugural president (he was played by Justin Timberlake in The Social Network), married singer-songwriter Alexandra Lenas recently in the charming forested surroundings of Big Sur, California. Though many thought the wedding would be Game of Thrones-themed extravaganza, Parker Tweeted before the big day that it wouldn’t.
Nevertheless, Lenas wore a lavish and opulent gown by Elie Saab (and resembled Daenerys Targaryen from the hit HBO show). The couple also spent $10 million to transform a boutique hotel into what would pass as a movie set and hired the costume designer of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy to create costumes for their 300 guests. The only thing missing was the dragons.
If you don’t want to travel that far back in time, another popular wedding trend right now is The Great Gatsby-esque/Roaring Twenties/Art Deco theme.
Recently, Aaron Paul, star of the AMC drama Breaking Bad, tied the knot with Lauren Parsekian, co-CEO of non-profit Finding Kind Productions, in a Gatsby-themed wedding ceremony in Malibu, California. The bride donned a shell-shaped purse and the guest were encouraged to look their Twenties best, from furs and head pieces to flapper-like dresses and pearls. The couple also doled out masquerade masks to their guests at the reception.
Even if you’re working with a limited budget, there are many ways to incorporate these hot trends into your wedding décor or theme if so you desire. Aside from medieval- or vintage-inspired cake, invitations, flowers, invitations, hors d’oeuvres or wedding meal, here are some ways to focus your theme on the little extras.
For a medieval-themed wedding:
- long, flowing hairstyle for the bride, braids or flowers woven into the hair
- ask guests to wear brightly coloured robes
- hold your wedding in an enchanted location such as a museum, castle or courtyard
- chalice-like cups, and other dramatic tableware at your reception
- hire minstrel-like musicians to play during cocktails or the dinner
For a Roaring Twenties-themed wedding:
- pearls, feathers, headbands and vintage jewellery
- black tuxedos (with tails!)
- ask your guests to wear top hats (men) and gloves (women)
- flapper gowns
- a signature cocktail with gin
- jazz music or a jazz band to dance the night away
The bridal shower is one of the most exciting parties for brides. This party is exclusively for and about the bride. It’s a chance to give her some time to relax, be pampered and shown just how much she’s valued. Unlike bachelorette parties, where sometimes things get a little wild, the bridal shower usually includes every female the bride is close to, including grandmothers, aunts and mother and the future mother-in-law, so what goes on at this wedding event should be PG. If you’re planning a bridal shower for a special lady, here are some suggestions for party themes.
Wine & Cheese
If the bride is a wine connoisseur or just someone who enjoys relaxing with a good vintage, then this is an excellent idea for a shower. Mix it up and host a bit of a wine tasting, offering a variety of different wines for guests to sample, along with a nice selection of cheeses, chocolates and other gourmet treats.
Planning a wedding can certainly be a stressful time in a bride’s life, and what better way to pamper her than to host a spa shower? You can either bring the ladies to a spa for a special afternoon or evening out, or you can hire estheticians to come to someone’s home to provide mani-pedis or facials. You can also hire a masseuse to provide massages for member of the wedding party as an extra special treat.
The original purpose of the bridal shower was for the bride to receive gifts that would help her set up home once she was married. With many couples living together before the big day, many already have towels and other items for the home. If the bride and groom enjoy entertaining, then why not help them stock their bar? If you’re looking for a way to make sure the bride doesn’t end up with six toasters, ask an aunt to bring a bottle of vodka, and a good friend to chip in with a chardonnay.
Along the same idea as a stock-the-bar shower is the garden shower. Not only can you host a wonderful garden party, with summertime beverages, luscious fruit trays and other warm weather delights, but guests can bring hard-to-find flowers, seeds, bulbs and perennials the bride would love to add to her garden, as well as gardening tools and other items. For a bride who is yet to begin her garden, this is the perfect opportunity to get her started!
With weddings, you can always default to money for a gift. But with showers, it’s not so simple. One great way to get guests to think of unique and appropriate gifts for the bride is to give them a time of day. For example, if you’re asked to bring a gift for 8 a.m., you might think about a lush housecoat or breakfast dishes. If you’re assigned 6 p.m., then dinnerware and stemware it is! Just make sure you give 10 p.m. times to younger friends and family members, who won’t be too shy to purchase lingerie.
Before you throw your hands up in the air and decide weddings are naturally expensive and you’ll just have to find a way to pay for the flowers, transportation, favours, cake and other incidentals, you might want to throw caution to the wind. According to a recent survey of millionaire investors, most would spend far less than the average person does on their wedding.
According to monthly research with Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner, which surveys millionaire investors with a net worth of $1 million to $5 million, more than one-third of millionaires believe it’s reasonable to spend $10,000 or less on a wedding. Roughly half of millionaires would spend between $10,000 and $30,000.
According to the 2013 Real Weddings Study from The Knot, the average wedding – not including honeymoon – cost $28,427 in 2012. So, what about other aspects of the wedding? Just how much would affluent investors spend on a wedding or shower gift? What factors influence their decisions? How do they feel about destination weddings? The answers might surprise you.
Less affluent investors, those with less than $100,000 in investable assets, would spend $100 or less on a wedding gift for a close friend or family member. High net worth millionaires, those with $5 million to $25 million in investable assets, would spend between $200 and $500 on a wedding gift for a close friend or family member. Investors of all levels of wealth would spend significantly less on a wedding gift for a casual friend or business associate.
Less affluent investors would typically spend $50 to 100 on a wedding shower gift for a close friend or family member, though 35 per cent would spend $25 to $50 and 15 per cent would spend less than $25. High net worth millionaires would spend approximately $50 to 100 on a wedding shower gift, though 23 per cent would spend between $100 and $150 and 17 per cent would spend $150 or more. Investors of all levels of wealth would spend less on a shower gift for more casual acquaintances and business associates.
Factors Influencing Spending
An investor’s household budget is the most influential factor in gift giving, followed by the couple’s gift registry and their financial situation. Less affluent investors are more influenced by their household budget, while high net worth millionaires are most influenced by the couple’s registry. More than 25 per cent of high net worth investors also fear looking cheap.
Investors feel the disadvantages of destination weddings outweigh the advantages. High net worth millionaires are most likely to express a negative opinion of destination weddings because the events can place a financial burden on people attending and can distract from the true meaning of marriage.
If you don’t want to serve cake at your wedding, you’re not alone. The wedding cake is ever-evolving, and instead of the traditional three or four-tiered confection, brides are turning to a wide variety of goodies, from cupcakes and dessert bars to cannoli and cake balls to satisfy those sweet cravings.
If you’re really keen to replace the wedding cake at your reception, you might want to take a peek at Dede Wilson’s Cake Balls More Than 60 Delectable and Whimsical Sweet Spheres of Goodness, to be published in September. The book has a recipe for every style of wedding, whether it’s fun and whimsical or a traditional and refined affair. Think your guests might want more than vanilla cake? Try confetti, pink raspberry, marbleized black and white, Crème Brûlée or peppermint-white chocolate cake balls, for which the recipe is provided below.
Dulce de Leche Cake Balls
Makes about 56 golf ball-sized balls
Yellow Buttermilk Cake (makes one 9x13-inch base cake, about 12 cups crumbs)
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ¼ cups low-fat buttermilk
Directions: 1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 350F. Coat the inside of a 9x13-inch rectangular pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. 2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl to aerate and combine; set aside. 3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter until creamy, about two minutes. Add the sugar gradually and beat until very light and fluffy, about three minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Beat in the vanilla. 4. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down after each addition and allowing each egg to be absorbed before continuing. Add the flour mixture in four additions, alternating with the buttermilk. Begin and end with the flour mixture and beat briefly until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. 5. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre shows a few moist crumbs when removed. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. The cake is ready to use. Alternatively, double-wrap the pan in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to one day before proceeding.
1 batch Yellow Buttermilk Cake, baked, cooled and crumbled
1 (13.4 oz) can dulce de leche
1 ¾ lbs milk chocolate, such as Callebaut or Valrhona Jivara, finely chopped
5 oz caramel, such as Nestlé
56 miniature fluted paper cups (optional)
Directions: 1. Combine the cake with ¾ cup of the dulce de leche. Test by compressing and tasting and add more dulce de leche only if needed for flavour and moisture. Roll into golf ball-sized cake balls. Refrigerate until firm. This can be done one day ahead; store in an airtight container once they are firm. 2. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler. Dip the balls one at a time in the chocolate, encouraging any excess chocolate to drip back into the container. Place, evenly spaced, on the prepared pans. Refrigerate briefly until the chocolate is set. 3. Melt the caramel in the microwave until fluid, watching carefully so it doesn’t boil. Use a fork to drizzle caramel zigzags on top of each ball. Refrigerate again until the caramel is set. Trim the bottoms if needed. Place each cake ball in a paper cup, if desired. Place in a single layer in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to four days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
There’s no way around it. We live in the age of apps. There are thousands of apps out there, including many to help you plan a wedding. Some are good and some are so-so. Here is a list of some of the best iPhone and Android apps out there to help you stay on track, plan and dream about your wedding.
This app lets you create a wedding app and website at the same time. You can show the world who you are as a couple and then keep everyone in the loop about your wedding plans. You can send your guests travel and lodging details, maps, registry information and more. Guests can also share photos and anecdotes with everyone who’s connected.
Brit + Co.
This is the epitome of the DIY wedding. Though the app isn’t strictly for weddings, it offers thousands of ideas, how-tos and tutorials on everything from planning a party to sewing. The company’s founder, Brit Morin, has been nicknamed the Martha Stewart of Silicon Valley.
The beloved website is also an app. You can pin your favourite dresses, decorations, cakes and other wedding ideas as you go.
Just plug in your wedding date and this app creates a customized to-do list for you, as well as a dashboard that helps you glimpse where you are in the planning process at all times. You can also send vendor and schedule information to anyone you want to have the details.
Wedding Dress Look Book by The Knot
This app will help you narrow down your wedding dress search in a snap. Simply punch in your sizes, the style of your wedding and your best and worst features and the app will generate a list of hundreds of dresses to suit you. The dresses will showcase different designers at different price points, offering you a never-ending selection for you to consider.
This app is the perfect replacement for disposable cameras on reception tables. Encourage your guests to use Wedding Party to share photos with you and others. The app collects wedding photos from all of your guests and stores them in one place. You can also print out place cards to put at your tables to instruct your guests on how to use it.
The biggest challenge when planning as wedding is staying within your budget. This app helps you do that by keeping track of expenses and updating your budget status as you go.
Leave the file folders at home. This app allows you to organize all your wedding needs in one place. Compile all your wedding ideas, from wedding blogs, shops, magazines and even your own emails and photos in one central place. Unlike other inspirational board platforms, Clipix is private so no one else can see what you’re clipping unless you want to share. An awesome feature is the price drop alert function that lets you know if something you’ve clipped falls below a certain price.
Similar to WeddingParty, but this app lets guests use their own smartphones, tables or traditional cameras to share photographs instantly. Photos can be grouped into albums organized into events, such as getting ready, ceremony, reception, etc., and photo captions can also be entered.
Wedding911 by The Knot
This app is the latest for last-minute wedding advice because you can get answers to your top wedding questions no matter where you are. Post your questions and get answers from other brides-to-be or scroll through more than 150 top wedding Q&As and get expert answers from The Knot editors.
When planning your wedding day outfit, you will focus most of your attention on your wedding gown. However, there are other details you’ll have to consider, including your hairstyle. For some brides, the myriad choices available can be overwhelming. Lea Journo, owner of the chic Lea Journo Salon located in the posh Beverly Wilshire Hotel, gives these five tips to ensure you have perfect wedding hair.
1. Get Creative: While the undone look is a modern bride’s classic choice, consider incorporating a braid, fish tail or knot into an updo or side style. Get fun and creative with your hair!
2. Pay Attention to the Dress: Your hairstyle can mirror the style of your wedding gown. When your hairstylist is helping you select a hairstyle, one of his or her main concerns is the style and cut of your gown’s neckline. If you’re wearing a classic or traditional style dress, then you should have a classic hairstyle. But, if you’re wearing a more modern or unique dress, then your hair can also be more fun and funky.
3. Take Care of Your Hair: You should go to weekly conditioning treatments prior to your wedding day to ensure your hair is shiny and strong on the big day. If you colour your hair, you should do so one week prior to your wedding day.
4. Don’t procrastinate: To find your ideal wedding hairstyle, you and your hairstylist should always have a consultation and a few trials prior to the wedding. You should think about what you’ll be comfortable with and what will compliment the dress.
5. Have Fun and Relax: Head to the spa with your besties a few days before the big day so it will be one of the best and most beautiful days of your life.