All posts from "June 2012"
Wedding cakes come in all shapes and sizes these days. Whether you’re going with a classic look or with something a bit more modern, all cakes have something in common: the sweet factor. Making sure your slice of confection heaven is finger licking good is almost just as important as the way the cake will look. The great thing about what goes inside the cake is how many options you can have. For example, for my own wedding, we had a vanilla cake with fresh strawberry filling & a vanilla layer with oreo cream filling. In addition to that, on the third tier, we had chocolate cake with chocolate mousse. It was great to have options that could make most people happy. One savings tip is to actually have your cake baker create a large sheet cake instead of adding in another tier. They’ll typically keep it in the back/kitchen and your guests won’t know the difference.When it comes to budgeting a cake, you can also aim to count for less than your actual guest list. Most likely, not everyone will eat a slice and slices can be cut slightly smaller if you ask. Your cake may end up coordinating flowers with your florist so make sure they’re in communication for measurements and quantity. Be sure to ask if your baker has their own cake stand or see about renting one or getting creative with that as well.
Aside from that, you’ll want to make sure you research your cake maker’s designs and research reviews. The last thing you want is for your cake to end up here! Unfortunately, that could be the case when a family friend has the best intentions. If you or a family friend or family member are going to DIY your cake, be sure to practice several times and you may want to try to keep it as simple as possible! Sometimes the simpler cakes can be the prettiest!
Enough with the chit chat here, though. Here’s some deliciously sweet eye candy:
So one of the most exciting things about getting married (or perks, I should say…as if spending the rest of your life with your best friend wasn’t enough) would be the wedding gift registry. While it can be slightly overwhelming, here are some tips to hopefully simplify the process.
Before venturing out into the major stores (Macy’s, Target, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, etc) browse online and talk to your friends first. See what their experience was like. Make sure the store has a great registry completion option (where you can get a major discount for buying stuff that you didn’t get!) and be sure to account for all your needs.
Be mindful of what could be included:
The basics: Kitchen supplies, china, everyday dishes, household linens. Most likely these items could be found at a department store and/or Bed, Bath, and Beyond or Target.
Step it up: That steamer you may be considering? YES. Shopvac? Why not. Tools? Even Better. Camping gear? OK! Decor? Yes, mam! Sometimes you may end up getting gift cards or cash to purchase such things that you realize you may need once you’re getting settled in, but it’s fun to include a few items on your list. Lowe’s, REI, and online retailers would be good options here!
Give ‘em something to talk about: Honeymoon fund…Donate to a cause worth giving to….Wine Club Membership….Season tickets to the local theater….Artwork….Now’s the time, guys. Go online with it and sign up for Newlywish.com or Amazon.com! Certainly you’ll find some creative items that you may just need to have!
When you’re registering for gifts, be sure to realize that now IS the time. Rarely in your life again will you have family and friends so excited for you that they are happy to help you get your life started on the best foot.
Select quality items that will stand the test of time. With that said, make classic choices with your linens and china, but spruce it up with some accents or your everyday plates. Have an idea of your decorating style so that you can register for matching or coordinating items. Go for style and not so much trend, as you never know where life will carry you and how many times your mind may change about your paint colors!
Feeling slightly guilty about crystal or that Kitchenaid Mixer? Don’t! Most likely, you’ll discover that perhaps your great uncle or your grandma may be more than happy to splurge on something nice for you. If anything, you’ll hopefully get a special discount later on through a completion event so that you can use some of the cash to buy it yourself!
Have a variety of price points included. This pleases everyone. There’s a chance that maybe a few of your friends could go in together on something big (like that mixer!) or they may be perfectly satisfied in getting you a place setting or even some wine glasses or candlesticks. Mix it up so folks may even get creative in purchasing a bundle of items or even so it’s easy on them if they’re invited to showers or pre-wedding festivities in addition to the wedding.
When it comes to sharing your registry information, I’d suggest creating links on your personal wedding website. Guests should gain access to that through your save the dates, prior to the pre-wedding festivities. This allows ample time for them to shop around and it shows them beforehand so they’re not showing up empty-handed!
Lastly, make sure you keep track of gifts so that you may send the proper Thank You notes in a timely manner. It is most important to show a handwritten note of gratitude towards your guests. They will be certainly grateful and appreciative! The track list also helps with you and your new husband for when it comes time to fill the registry or make returns. There will most likely be repeat gifts or items that you may even change your mind about so make sure wherever you go, they have a great return policy! You’ll also be able to see what you need and what you can start shopping for with the gift cards and cash!
It took my husband and I almost a year to go through that process, but slowly we got everything we needed and we returned what we didn’t! We had a fun time with all of it from the very beginning as soon as we got the scan gun for the very first time! Oh the power!
“Marwiage is what bwings us togetha today!”
Wedding officiants play a huge role in your big day. The ceremony aspect of your wedding may very well be the most important and significant portion of the day as you and your fiance share your vows and profess your love and committment to each other. As your officiant will essentially lead the ceremony, it’s important that you take the time to hire the right one for the both of you, based on your beliefs and personalities. Depending upon your backgrounds and current situations, you and your partner should decide if your wedding day will be religious based or secular.
I’d recommend meeting your officiant (whether it’s a Justice of Peace, clergyman, or an ordained friend) to make sure you’re comfortable with them. Sometimes it may be obvious to you who you’ll be asking to partake as this role-perhaps it’s your minister in your church or even a minister you grew up knowing. It may be a relative or even a family friend who you’ve asked to become ordained. Maybe it’s an official wedding officiant that you found from a local vendor research. You’d want to ask them some questions prior to the wedding so you can be on the same page about your ceremony. A few questions that I’d recommend asking would be-
How can you make this personable for the two of us? What types of stories or information would be beneficial from us so you can celebrate our love and make this special?
Are you open to marrying us in our preferred location? If you’re talking to a minister, make sure they’re OK with the ceremony location if it isn’t in their church or house of worship.
What do you need to know about our faith? If we’re of different faiths, are you OK with proceeding?
Do we need to go through pre-marital counseling with you?
What sort of structure do you normally go with in your ceremonies? Is there a homily? Will it be short and sweet?
Will you allow our friends/family to sing, give readings, or take communion?
I’d also recommend going over the vows. Are you writing your own? Does your officiant have scripted vows that you may want to review?
If you’re going the route of finding someone who is ordained, or even considering asking a friend or family member to become ordained for the occasion, be sure to check with your county clerk or your Secretary of State to make sure that it would be recognized where you’re located! You want to make sure they take the proper steps in doing so and also that they’re up to the responsibility!
Without the officiant and the license, you can’t officially get married! Make this a priority early on, brides, and your “I Do’s” will come true.
The next ‘to do’ we have for you, dear Brides, would be to find a caterer and start considering your menu! Food is definitely an important aspect of your big day, whether you’re serving simple pick-up foods or a six course meal. This is one area you may get really creative with and your groom may actually be interested in helping! When it came to my own wedding menu, my fiance (at the time) and I definitely knew we wanted our food to reflect what we found to be southern staples and old time favorites–fried chicken, mac n cheese, beef brisket, southern vegetables, and naturally, some sweet tea to wash it all down! Of course the gourmet details and the fancy twists dressed up our meal to please our guests and raise the standards for a special evening! Southern hospitality was our goal. Our guests were well fed and even walked away from the night with to-go bags and biscuits from our biscuit bar!
image: Nancy Ray
Picking out our menu was easy for us, as it was the same sort of Sunday after church feast we both were used to, but some couples may not have a special meal they find to be nostalgic. It’s fun to consider stations with a variety of options, mini food, or even a fare that reflects your new life together. Moving down south? Why not go for a crawfish broil or a fancy gumbo? Maybe if you’re starting your life up north, a surf & tuf with lobster and steak fits the bill. I’d love to see a fiesta styled reception in person, to be honest! Food trucks and midnight snacks are trending right now, but there’s always the option of going classic with stuffed chicken and glazed vegetables.
When interviewing your caterer, make sure he/she is open to your individual style. See what they may come up with based on your personality. If you’re going with a caterer who has standard options, you may not have much wiggle room for creativity, but maybe you have already been able to taste the food and you know it’s delicious! Working the budget and the guestlist is important for your contract. Catering costs will most likely change closer to the big day once you’ve finalized your headcount, but you don’t want any major surprises when the RSVP’s start coming in. If you base off cost per person off an average number, you’ll be able to see where your cost may rise or depleat. Say, you’re inviting 180 guests, but you expect that 20-30% won’t be able to make it. Base your food costs off 150 people so you can have an understanding of what you may be looking at when it comes to the bottom line. Be sure that head count cost includes your tips, fees, and anything you may be renting so there are no surprises!
Food costs will not only include the actual meal, but also the wait staff, the beverages, the bartenders, the meat carvers, and then set up and break down at the end of the night. Sometimes your caterer may even throw in dishes or flatware and maybe even food risers and display options for your buffet or stations. It’s important to understand that costs may be high because they’re catering to you, for one night, for your event. It’s most likely going to cost more than it would for a restaurant dinner because they’re not serving a steady flow of tipping guests throughout the course of an evening.
image via Collin Cowie
Be sure that you’re going to get a tasting included with your catering contract! This was a fun evening out with my groom to be and my parents because we got to experience the amazing menu creations our caterer designed for us. It’s important to note, too, that our menu options changed a few times before the tasting. What we initially started out with ended up being a bit over budget, so we had to cut out a carving station and we had to freshen up some of the passed hors d’oeuvres. Our caterer was so flexible with us and was OK with us cutting things out to bring our costs down. We were really grateful because he cared about us being happy, rather than us costing him money. I would say that it paid off, because I’ve sent two other brides over to him for their weddings in the next year!
You may want to ask your caterer what exactly he/she includes in the contract: from glassware to coffee to sodas and lemons for waters. Sugar for coffee? All of the little details shouldn’t be assumed. It’s custom to tip your caterer at the end of the night, as well! Be sure to see if that is something included in the contract, or if that will be additional. Ask about traveling costs. Arrival times, kitchen space needed. Your caterer may do a walk through of your venue to see if it’s possible to work in that space with the amount of guests you have invited.
Once you’ve finalized your details of the catering contract, you can then get more of an idea of your specific menu items. I’d say, that’s the fun part! My mouth is watering just looking at all this yummy food, y’all.