Checked out Le Diplomate’s new L'apero menu that is every bit of French café culture in Washington, DC.
You’re probably bursting with excitement over your upcoming wedding – and want to shout your plans from the rooftops! But take our advice – hold back. Of course, it’s okay to share some of your wedding details with your nearest and dearest but there should be an element of surprise on your big day, especially when it comes to these things.
The Dress and Attire We’re telling you now: Everyone will want to see a picture of what you’re planning on wearing. But we recommend keeping your attire a secret from the majority of your guests until the big day. You want the gasps of delight when you first walk down the aisle to be genuine, and you never know – some Debbie Downer might say something negative about your ensemble before the big day that may make you doubt your decision.
Hair and Makeup Choices “How are you wearing your hair?” is a common question, and like your dress, there’s no need to tell everyone about your intended hairstyle or makeup choices. Everyone will likely have an opinion about how you should look on your wedding day – but in the end, it’s up to you (with the help of your hair stylist and makeup artist) to decide. Simply say “I haven’t figured it out yet” to change the subject.
Color Scheme and Decor Again with the element of surprise. You don’t want your guests to walk into your wedding and know exactly what the room is going to look like beforehand – a little anticipation is much more fun. There’s no reason you need to tell them every detail about your décor in advance, and if they press you for answers, just say “We want you to be surprised!”
First Dance Song Your first dance song is a very personal choice, and not all of your guests will “get it.” But that doesn’t matter. Even if you’re picking a more traditional song, there’s no need to share it in advance with everyone. You may pick up some unwanted comments or even criticism (“Oh really? That’s a weird choice.”) – and who needs that?
Guest List Details Try to avoid divulging too much information about your wedding guest list to others. You may get a lot of questions about why certain people were or weren’t invited, and it can turn into a sticky situation. Of course, your close family members should be aware of the invite list, but there’s no need to take it too far beyond that. And related to that, it’s best to keep the reception seating arrangements private as well!
The Favors Think of your wedding favors as a gift to your guests – and most of the time, you don’t tell people about gifts (whether it’s birthday, holiday, whatever) in advance. So any favors or giveaways should be kept private, except for anyone who is helping to assemble or purchase your favors.
The Surprises Whether you’re doing a fun sparkler sendoff, having a photobooth, or you and your dad are performing a wacky dance together, don’t ruin your wedding-day surprises by spilling the beans! Even if you just tell one person (and swear them to secrecy), you run the risk of your entire guest list finding out about that thing that’s going to make your wedding totally unique. So keep any surprise wedding elements to yourself (and your future spouse and wedding planner, of course!).
Source: Wedding Wire.com
For your bridesmaids, many responsibilities come before the actual big day – planning the bridal shower and the bachelorette party, dress shopping, helping with wedding-related projects, and more. And even though the wedding day is a time to celebrate, the bridesmaids do have several important tasks to do and roles to play. Check out the 10 things your bridesmaids need to help out with on your wedding day. Help keep things on schedule Usually, a wedding planner or venue coordinator will be make sure that everything is running smoothly, but it’s a good idea to give your wedding party members a copy of the wedding-day timeline just in case. That way, the bridesmaids can gently nudge the appropriate people if things start to get delayed.
Always stay calm There may be some stressful moments throughout the wedding day, and it’s a bridesmaid’s job to make sure you don’t get swept up in the potential madness and remembers why you are there in the first place. Whether it’s telling jokes, dancing around, or simply being a listening ear, your nearest and dearest should best know how to calm you down if you get those pre-wedding jitters.
Hold your stuff Even if you do have the forethought to prepare a clutch filled with your essentials (phone, lipstick, dental floss, etc.), there’s no way you’ll be able to keep track of it during the ceremony and reception. Assign a responsible bridesmaid to hang on to your “emergency kit.” If you need any of the items during the wedding day, you’ll know exactly who to turn to.
Be the personal mirror The sign of a true friend is someone who will immediately pull you aside and tell you that you have food stuck in your teeth. And that’s exactly what a bridesmaid needs to do for the bride, who should look her best at all times. So whether it’s a lipstick smudge on your cheek, your dress is out of place, or your hair needs a bit of smoothing, your ‘maids should let you know - ASAP. Because come on, you know you’d do the same for her.
Help the bride go to the bathroom Going to the restroom in a big ol’ wedding gown isn’t easy – so you’ll certainly need an assistant or two to help you, er, relieve yourself if necessary. There’s no need to be shy – these are your best pals and are there to help you no matter what!
Run interference There are going to be a lot of people who want to talk to you on your wedding day, but your focus should be on your new spouse and guests. Your wedding party members should serve as point people for questions (for example, “Where’s the restroom?”) or help move you away from anyone who might be causing you stress or anxiety.
Dance like no one’s watching
Your bridesmaids and groomsmen act as the epitomes of “party people” throughout the celebration and serve as examples to your other guests. They should be mainstays on the dance floor, but also listen attentively to the speeches and be present for the cake cutting and other important events.
Make sure you eat Eating may be the last thing on your mind during the reception, but it’s important that you not party on an empty stomach. Your bridesmaids should steal you away for a few moments to make sure you get a few bites in, and of course, sample the delicious cake!
Keep track of gifts Whether you set up a gift table or not, there is a strong likelihood that guests will be handing you gifts throughout the day. Assign a bridesmaid the role of “gift keeper,” making sure that all the gifts get to a safe place. You can give her any gifts you receive, and trust that they’ll be stored safely and properly so you can easily get them home later on.
Be there ‘til the end If possible, your wedding party members should be among the last to leave the celebration and should make sure any end-of-the-night details are taken care of before heading home.
When you get married building your first home together as a couple is important. But furniture negotiation and conflicting styles can lead to meltdowns and drama. It’s not always as simple as deciding which sofa to buy. You’re blending two different styles, preferences, and previous lives (old furniture) under one roof. A common question that arises is -- how to do you pull it all together in a stress-free way while letting your voice be heard? DC based interior designer Danielle A. Gray of Gray Livin’ has compiled a list of tips for maintaining your sanity and love for each other while decorating your new home.
Take Inventory. Let’s face it. We all hate parting with our treasured belongings. Whether it’s the grungy arm chair from your first apartment or your massive collection of snow globes, each person walking into a marriage owns something that is valuable to them. Unless you’re moving into a mansion, you may not have enough space to store everything you both own. Deciding what to keep and what to get rid of can be a daunting process. The best solution in this case is to meet in the middle -- choose a number that you both agree on that represents the number of items of sentimental value that you each get to keep. Everything else gets trashed, donated, or sold on Craigslist. For example, if your number is three, then you each get to bring a total of three personal items with you to your new home. The number of items you keep can be determined by how much storage space you have. Additionally, some couples like to limit the “keep” list to one box per person. Either way, taking inventory and coming up with a purging plan right off the bat eliminates clutter and frees up space for new items that you can purchase as a couple.
The Big Compromise. Ladies, I hate to break it to you but he’s going to want to have a large television in the family room. Don’t fight it, let him have it. That means you get to have something you want like the floral wallpaper in the master bathroom. Give and take is the key to blending styles and preferences. Know when to put your foot down and when to bend a little.
Pick a Style. What do you do when your spouse’s style doesn’t match yours? You envisioned a contemporary space with clean lines and neutral colors while your mate prefers bold colors and a clunky leather sofa. The first step is to settle on a neutral color for the walls. Whites and grays are great neutrals to consider. Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray, Snow White, and Vintage Pewter are my favorites. Next, select an accent color for pop. Sprinkle the accent color in your artwork, throw pillows, or rug. If your mate only prefers neutrals only, add depth to the room with a mix of textures like a glass table, shiny metal accents, faux fur fabrics and varying wood tones. In terms of furniture, a Chesterfield sofa like this one from Restoration Hardware tastefully combines both masculine and feminine elements. The classic design is sturdy enough for lounging and watching sports while the tufted detail and curved lines add a touch of elegance to a room. You can also find similar versions available at any price point.
Divide the Workload. Most women want free reign for designing the house but don’t really care about the backyard. Most men to do so make him the King of the backyard. While the wife is busy selecting paint colors and fabrics, the husband can focus his attention on planting trees, routine yard work, and his beloved BBQ equipment.
Designate Personal Space. From time to time you may find yourself needing a breather from your love muffin. This isn’t because you dislike them, but a little “me” time or solitude is great for self-reflection, prayer, meditation, time-outs or relaxation. This can take place in a designated area of your home like the man cave in the basement. For the ladies, large walk-in closets and spa bathrooms have doubled as our lady caves. Spare bedrooms also make good neutral zones. Stake out your zone and claim it.
Hire A Designer. When in doubt, hire a pro! A good designer is skilled at creating gender neutral spaces and helping couples discover a design aesthetic that suits their lifestyle. Be sure to visit Gray Livin’ online to learn more about my services and to book a design consultation.
Source:Danielle Gray graylivin.com
There is so much to do when planning your wedding and so many facets of planning that can be overwhelming to anyone. Here are some tips for how being flexible can help you to save money on your wedding. Budget
The first step in the process is to determine your budget. Without a defined budget, the planning can become a little chaotic. As a standard guide, food and drink will be approximately 45 percent of your budget; the venue will be approximately 20 percent; floral and décor approximately 15 percent; photography approximately 10 percent; and so forth. Statistics for the wedding industry indicate that the average wedding cost in the Washington DC is around $37,500. Be realistic and wise with your budget, and do not go into debt to have a wedding; invest in what you can actually afford.
Also keep in mind these eleven unexpected wedding costs.
1 – Gratuity If your wedding vendors do an outstanding job, you can and should feel free to tip them. With around 40 different vendors (Yes, 40!) all contributing to your wedding, tips can add up! Be sure to read our post about tipping wedding vendors in the Washington DC area. This post has more information about how much to tip and who you should tip in the DC area.
2 – Rain Plans Let’s face it, the weather in the Washington DC area is unpredictable. (As I’m writing this I’m looking out my window at nearly a foot of snow in downtown Washington DC!) If you are having any part of your wedding outside, you should have an indoor or alternative option. Sometimes ”plan b” options include wedding-day rentals like a tent, heaters, and additional space – these things cost money. In most cases, you’ll need to reserve the items or at the very least put a deposit down to hold them.
3 – Albums There are all types of ways to compile and cherish your wedding photographs. Many photographers charge an additional fee to design and produce a wedding album. Be sure to ask about it in advance, if that is something you might want after your wedding. Also, think about albums for others in your family like parents and grandparents.
4 – Gifts It is true that you will be getting the bulk of the gifts on your wedding day. However, there are some gifts that you might be giving. There are not set prices for these types of gifts, but certainly something you’ll want to budget for. It is very nice to give a gift to everyone in your wedding party and your wedding ceremony participants. You might also want to think about gifts for each other. Gifts are also nice for friends and family members who helped with the wedding. Other gifts include wedding favors and welcome bags for your guests.
5 – Dress Alterations In addition to the cost of your wedding dress, you will most likely need to have alternations done. Wedding dress alterations include hemming it so that it doesn’t drag on the ground and fixing the sleeves and straps. Alternations will ensure that your dress fits you perfectly, like a glove!
6 – Extra Guests The more guests you add to your list, the more money it will cost. Adding a few extra guests can really add up, especially in the Washington DC area. More guests means more food, more staff to serve the food, more linens, more centerpieces, more drinks, more escort cards, more drinks and more, more, more! Just as by cutting 10 guests from your guest list, you can save some money, you can contribute to budget over-runs just by adding 10 guests. (Be sure to read my list of 5 ways to save money on a DC area wedding!)
7 – Postage The design and production of wedding invitations are one cost, and the cost to mail them out to your guests is an additional cost. If you are doing a typical invitation suite, you’ll need two stamps per set: One for the invitation and one for the RSVP card. A USPS first class stamp is currently $0.49 and for two stamps for 200 invitations that is $196. However, most wedding invitations are too heavy for a first class stamp and sometimes the envelop is an odd shape, so these stamps will cost more. Be sure to factor in postage to your final invitation costs.
8 – Hotel Rooms for Yourself You will need a place to stay for your wedding and if you aren’t staying at home, that means a hotel. You might need the hotel room for a few nights throughout the weekend. Hotel rooms in the Washington DC area aren’t cheap and hotels do book up during peak tourist season, so planning advance for this is key. Think about where you want to stay during your wedding weekend and then factor in hotel rooms for yourself into your overall budget. (For more on hotels, be sure to read our post on hotel room blocks for weddings in the Washington DC area.)
9 – Vendor Needs There are a few little things that you might need to pay for your vendors such as parking and meals. Your vendors will be working a long day for you, and you’ll need to feed them. Your caterer should take care of feeding them, but the meals can cost anywhere from $15 to $60 per person. You might also be on the hook to pay for the parking for your wedding vendors, including your vendors like hair and make up artists and entertainment. These are typical costs, but maybe not costs you were expecting. These is probably the last things you want to deal with at the end of the night, so just ask about it in advance so you can be prepared.
10 – Taxes For all things, you’ll have to pay taxes. For big-ticket wedding items like your venue, food and beverage, the taxes can be quite a bit of money. Taxes in Washington DC are up to 10%, so if you are on a super tight budget you might save some money with a wedding in Maryland and Virginia where the taxes are 4-5%. Be very aware of initial proposals that don’t include taxes. You will be charged taxes in the end, but sometimes the first few proposals don’t include tax to make the overall cost look lower.
11 – Last Minute Items It is the week or two before your wedding and this is the time that you are paying for rush shipping to ensure that everything arrives on time. Or, even worse, this is the time that you are panicking and adding things onto your wedding day. This can be little things like your wedding garter or jewelry or craft supplies to complete any DIY projects you are working on. It can even be the last minute “I think I want a wedding video!” Either way, do your best to think of everything you’ll need for your wedding in advance to avoid last minute scrambling and extra costs.
Now that we have established guidelines for the budget process, let’s discuss five avenues in which you can save money on your wedding day by focusing on timing and flexibility.
To reduce cost in the venue area of your wedding, be flexible with your date in regards to the time of year and day of the week. Most venues have peak periods when the negotiation for cost will be very minimal, so ask your venue coordinator what are the non-peak periods in which the cost of hosting an event will fit into your budget. Most non-peak periods in the DC area are in the winter months. Scheduling your wedding during a non-peak time could reduce the cost anywhere from 15-20 percent.
If you are flexible on the day of the week, you can save money as well. Traditional weddings occur on Saturdays (the most popular day). However, if you are open to a non-traditional day, consider hosting your wedding on a Wednesday through Sunday. The savings for a weekday wedding range from anywhere from 20-40 percent a huge savings!
When speaking with your venue coordinator, acknowledge your budget in the beginning of the conversation, and ask how and where you can save so that hosting your wedding at their location fits within your established budget.
Here are a list of some reasonably priced local venues to keep in mind.
The Mount Vernon Inn in Mount Vernon, Virginia.
Jefferson Patterson Park in St. Leonard, Maryland.
Oxon Hill Manor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
The Bolger Conference Center in Potomac, Maryland
The Middleburg Community Center in Middleburg, VA.
To save money by considering time and flexibility, think non-traditional when it comes to your wedding meal. The traditional wedding reception is the standard evening dinner that contains a beef, chicken, or a fish entrée, preceded with the traditional hors d’oeuvre selections. Now think, non-traditional.
Consider hosting a brunch-style reception starting around late morning or early afternoon. The style of service for brunch receptions can either be served, buffet, or interactive stations (omelet station, waffle station, potato bar). The excitement around the brunch is that your guests that commonly attend events or weddings, have the opportunity to taste something different and have fun with some of their favorite breakfast treats.
Brunch receptions that I have hosted in the Washington DC area average around $85 to $100 per person versus a dinner reception around $175 to $200 per person. If you are flexible with the time of day for your reception, you can ultimately save, save, save!
Your beverage selection is another route to consider cost reducing alternatives on your special day. One suggestion is to limit your beverage selection from a full bar to just wine and beer. To add a little spice to your selection, create two specialty cocktails from one type of alcohol.
Another suggestion is to eliminate alcoholic beverages from the bar completely and have mocktails. There are many flavorful and interesting mocktails. Have your venue or caterer be creative with various types of punches, teas and lemonades.
If you are hiring an outside caterer, an option is to purchase the alcohol yourself from a beverage company in which you can return bottles/cases that have not been opened. You can save as much as 50 percent by purchasing the alcohol yourself rather than having the caterer to purchase the alcohol for you. This method only works with an outside caterer. Unfortunately, you would not be able to purchase alcohol yourself when hosting your wedding at a hotel or a venue that does its own catering.
To help preserve your financial resources during your wedding, you can also focus on timing and flexibility with your floral selection. Time is significant when selecting flowers. Select flowers that are in season year round, such as baby’s breath, calla lilies and roses. For example, although orchids are in season year round, phalaenopsis orchids are more expensive than dendrodium orchids. It is the same scenario with hydrangeas; your typical white or blue hydrangea is less expensive than a purple or pink hydrangea.
When discussing flowers with your floral designer, inquire with them about what is in season and how you can achieve the same look that is cost effective for you by being flexible with your flower selection.
Be flexible with your floral design style as well. You may want tall floral arrangements on every table, however, to reduce cost consider alternating high and low centerpieces for your tables. You can also alternate floral centerpieces with non-floral centerpieces like trio of cylinder vases with floating candles. Implementing some of these options can save anywhere from 10-20 percent off of your floral budget. Be sure to work closely with your floral designer and be open to alternative design concepts
If you are flexible with considering alternatives and flexible with time, you can plan the perfect wedding with the perfect budget!
Source: United with Love (Unitedwithlove.com)
Thats right ladies, you can get that dream dress for just a fraction of the price! Tradesy.com, an online consignment store is having is having a huge sale on wedding gowns. Shop Editor's Picks and save on unique wedding dresses. Selection includes designer names like Oscar De La Renta, Vera Wang, and Jenny Packham. Dont let this deal pass you by!
Back in the day, wedding planning meant cutting images from magazines, lugging giant, overstuffed binders from appointment to appointment, and handwriting guest lists and seating charts. Fortunately, those days are far behind us, and truthfully, the only thing you need to plan your wedding is right in your pocket or purse – your phone! Check out six ways you can use your mobile device to complete wedding-related tasks!
Start a Checklist The first step of wedding planning is figuring out what you actually have to do. It may seem overwhelming at first, but a streamlined checklist that’s accessible from your phone can help you take things step-by-step. That way, as soon as you accomplish a wedding-related task, whether at home or while out and about, you can check it off your list. And there’s really no feeling more satisfying than that, right?
Manage Your Budget Figuring out your budget might not be the most fun part of wedding planning, but it sure is important! The Budget Tool on the (free!) WeddingWire app not only divides your total budget up for you so you’ll know how much you can spend on each vendor, but also helps track your spending and set up payment schedules. And if you pay a vendor or make a wedding-related purchase while you’re on the go, you can input the payment into your budget tool right from your phone so you can keep your budget on track no matter where you are.
Find Your Vendors Selecting the people who will help put your wedding together is a crucial part of the planning process. Fortunately, the WedTeam app allows you to search for, compare, and contact wedding vendors no matter where you are.
Update Your Guest List It happens to all of us. You’re running errands when you run into a friend, and immediately think: “Oh shoot, I totally need to invite her to the wedding!” Before you forget, hop on the WeddingWire app to add your pal to your Guest List. You can also add guests’ addresses, RSVP info, and more while on the go.
Get Instant Feedback Yup, it’s true - you can crowdsource your wedding style decisions! If you’re having trouble picking between two different dress/bouquet/invitation styles, snap photos of each, upload them to the free WedStyle app, and get instant feedback from the wedding community to help you make the right choice.
Share Info With Your Guests There’s a lot of information that your guests need to keep straight – the date and time of your wedding, where it is, how to get there, where you’re registered, and all the rest. Once you create your free wedding website on WeddingWire, your guests can download the free WedSocial app so they can access your wedding details on their phones. And, they can easily share their photos from your big day with you!
Fall is just around the corner and that means bonfires, apple cider, pumpkins and yes...pie! Fall colors are gorgeous and make it a great season for an outdoor wedding. Here are some fun creative ways to incorporate some of your favorite fall festivities into your big day! I don't know about you but when I think Fall I think pumpkins and hayrides. Orange might not be your fist choice for decor so consider painting or even decorating pumpkins to add that fall feel to the scene. Switch things up a bit by getting rid of traditional ceremony seating and going instead with hay barrels. As beautiful as an outdoor wedding might be we all get a little chilly after a while. Help guest combat the cold by offering blankets to keep them warm. If you really want to heat things up bonfires are the way to go. They will get your guests warm in no time and can actually be quite romantic. And if you do choose to have a bonfire then its only right that you have s'mores! Pre-made kits make the cutest favors! If your venue doesn't allow open pits of fire or if you just don't have the extra space you can still have a s'mores bar. Just use small burners to roast the marshmallows. Its a great substitute for a sweets bar. Speaking of sweets; instead of going with the usual cake for dessert try offering up some fall flavored pumpkin and apple pie.
Favored Bride Helen and groom Dawit tied the knot last month in true elegance. The couple exchanged vows at the Vincent de Paul Church in Washington DC. The church's gorgeous painted ceilings created a warm and romantic ambiance. The wedding ceremony was followed by a candle lit reception at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria Virginia.The couple had a stunning mint and gold cake was baked by Swiss Bakery. The couple added a personal touch to the decor by having custom cocktail napkins made by Wedding Paper Divas The rest of the night was filled with music, dancing and love. The Favored team would like to once again congratulate the newlyweds on their union!
Fathers Day is this Sunday and Co Co. Sala has got you covered! Check out their brunch menu and gift selections below!
This past Wednesday, Chrysis Entertainment hosted a Vendor Showcase in Washington D.C. The event took place at The Loft on 600F. The Loft at 600 F is a versatile space, available for whatever your event needs may be. The light-filled, modern space can be set in various layouts ranging from a comfy lounge to a formal conference table or from a engaging lecture to an inviting happy hour. Drinks were catered by Mixology. Mixology caters private parties, weddings, corporate events, and birthdays. Their available staff includes Bartenders, Banquet Servers, Buffet Servers, Wait Staff, Party Assistants and Coat Check Attendants. The frozen Pina Colada I had from them was delicious! The showcase decor was designed by N4 Weddings. The Chrysis Entertainments band got the party started its jazzy music complete with a live saxophone player!
So now you’re engaged. You’ve taken the first step toward one of life’s most fulfilling relationships. Congratulations! Now that the initial announcement has been made and you’ve celebrated your big decision with family and friends, it’s time to start making those wedding plans. Elements like date, location, food, invitations, guest list, where to register, dresses, tuxes; it can all seem overwhelming.
But think about it, how many of these items will your guests remember in 10 years? They might remember the location and your dress, right? For all of the time, effort, and yes, emotion that goes into choosing the elements of your wedding, very few end up being long-term memories of your special day.
Other than the bride and groom themselves, of all the elements of a wedding, the music (good or bad) is one of the most memorable aspects of the day. So, it is too bad that music is often an afterthought in the planning process, sometimes being left until just a couple of weeks before the wedding day.
While music isn’t the focus of your wedding day, it does set the atmosphere of the day. An inspirational soloist or a really cooking band playing tunes hand-picked for you and your family make everyone happy. At the same time, a band that isn’t experienced at doing weddings, isn’t very good, or can’t adapt to special requests can be a real downer.
So to help you make the best possible choices for your wedding music, here are five things to remember:
1. Start planning your music early. As plans take shape, your wedding day will take on a character of its own. Including music at the beginning of the planning process will ensure a good fit with your vision for the day. It will also make sure that your wedding budget includes enough dollars to get you what you want.
2. Decide what type of music you want for yourselves and your family. There are probably hundreds of options in your community for wedding music. As you go to the marketplace, knowing what will make you and your family members happy will save you time, money and regret after you’re married.
3. One stop shop. You will save money and time by working with a musician or booking agency that offers a wide range of options. You may want a classical singer for the ceremony, a swing band for the dinner and family dances, and a rock and roll band for late night festivities. Booking these three types of musicians separately will probably cost you hundreds of dollars more than if you work with someone that has access to all three styles.
4. Always hear the bands you are considering, preferably live. It is surprising how many brides and grooms choose wedding musicians without ever hearing them perform. Reputable musicians and agents will readily offer you samples of their work, or even better, dates when you can hear them live. Avoid choosing musicians based solely on the recommendation of a friend, family member or through social media.
5. Ask questions. One of the main reasons music planning gets put off is brides and grooms feel intimidated talking to musicians. They feel they don’t know enough about music to make good choices. Any reputable musician or agent will be happy to answer any questions you have about choosing music. Always look for people who take the philosophy that “there is no such thing as a bad question.”
There you are, five tips that will help you get you exactly what you want in your wedding music. A little bit of concentrated effort early on in the planning process can make the long term memories of your wedding day especially sweet.
Inspired by nostalgic moments & the promises of a bright future, Do Driver of Piggy Bank Parties styled this creative “Picture Your Future” Graduation Party with Polaroid & photo album decor! The adorable “yearbook” party favors and “Sweet Memories” photo garland are such great graduation party ideas… they get an A+!
PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:
– Cute Polaroid inspired banner + tissue “graduation tassel” garland – “Yearbook” favor boxes filled with the graduate’s favorite chocolate treats – “Sweet Memories” photo banner and graduation “photo album” guestbook – Varsity letter brownies & Chalkboard inspired printables
Graduation is often a time of reflection when photo albums and yearbooks from the past are reminisced over while dreams of what the future holds are ever present. This graduation party design was inspired by the magical Polaroid photographs of yesteryear and the slides you’d see projected on the white wall of your grandparents’ basement!
Cowboy boots? Check. Hanging mason jars? Check. Country barn with all the trimmings? Absolutely. Here's our guide to the essential bits and pieces you'll need for your country chic wedding. The country-themed wedding is by far one of the most novel-wedding aesthetics. It's down-to-earth, its simplicity is elegant and it is usually held in the great outdoors; what is there not to like? An outdoor country wedding is the perfect summer setting for a blooming romance.
Open woodland spaces and rustic barnyards can host an entire evening of drinking and dancing as the lovebirds usher in the latest chapter in their lives cloaked by warm summer evening air. To be sure that your country wedding goes off without a hitch, here are a few of the most important considerations that you should take when planning the wedding.
This is merely a suggested framework for your event, and you should expound, improvise and elaborate as much as you can until it fits your taste perfectly.
The most important consideration for any wedding is going to be the location of both the service and the reception. Some people have to reserve a venue for their nuptials almost a year in advance, which sometimes postpones a wedding for longer than many couples would like. Being the country boy and girl however, you know that resourcefulness is one of your greatest qualities. You don't need to exchange your vows in a swanky venue. Your wedding is validated by the love of your family, friends and spouse-to-be. You want your wedding to simultaneously illustrate your lofty affections and your down-to-earth roots.
Image courtesy of http://www.robholley.net
An outdoor location for one or both of your wedding events is going to be a high priority. This means that weather considerations are very important, since you don't want your guests shivering in their seats and cursing your ill-advised winter wonderland wedding. Once you've decided on a date, you need to find an area that can host your estimated party attendance and give them room to roam about while enjoying the conversation and delicacies that will be had at your reception.
Barns are the ultimate symbolism for a country lifestyle, so if you can find a preserved one ready for such an occasion as a wedding, it will really boost the overall effectiveness of your country theme. For a daytime service in particular, slivers of sunlight peeking through the old barnyard walls and falling on the wedding couple can be romantic and, quite frankly, exciting for all of your guests to see. The bottom line is that your location is going to function as the canvas for your dream country wedding, so make sure that it will be something that will look good when accented with country-style decoration.
Image courtesy of http://www.carpenteroak.com
If you've been thinking about having a country wedding, chances are that you've already thought about walking down the aisle in your favorite pair of boots. This is a wonderful idea since boots are obligatory country footwear. Cowboy boots are the most iconic element of western culture heritage and they can't be neglected if you are taking a comprehensive approach to country-style nuptials. Although the bride will most likely still be wearing white, she doesn't have to adhere to tradition when it comes to her footwear. In fact, a straightforward pair of neutral Justin Boots may be the best way to bridge the gap between a white wedding gown and an earthy rustic wonderland. Bridesmaids can follow suit, or they can wear a brown slouch variation to complement their colorful bridesmaids' dresses. You should also decide whether or not you would enforce a dress code. An entire wedding party that participates in your down-south festivities can only enhance what will already be a pretty fabulous event. Let everyone know in the invitations if western-oriented styles of dress are suggested or encouraged.
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Fortunately for you, a cowboy country wedding theme doesn't require that you have consistency in terms of furniture. Instead, the outdoor country wedding should be reminiscent of the days when a rural community would come together and the growing crowd of locals would have to improvise seating when they needed a rest from the activity. You're obviously excited to spend your reception dancing the night away with all of your loved ones, but the older invitees will want you to have ample seating at your event. One of the most ingenious ideas for seating that has been used is covering hay bales with burlap or lightly colored sheets secured by twine or thin rope. Hay bales are essentially building blocks that can be stacked and scattered in any way that you think would look best or be most convenient. They offer that quintessential country touch while still providing you with flexibility. A single bale can seat multiple guests like a farmhouse love seat, and they can be scattered throughout the reception space for easy access to everyone in attendance.
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At the dinner tables wooden seating is a must, so don't worry about deploying an army of folding aluminum chairs to accommodate everyone. A hodgepodge of mismatched wooden seating, maybe even a bench or two gives your dining setting a lot of character, while adding to the underlying casualness of the event. It can also make your seating arrangement pop against the background, and can reflect the diversity of the newly-combined families coming together in celebration of a single event. Abundant seating should be an important consideration, so any surface that is relatively comfortable and thematically consistent can be used to help your guests take a load off. In fact, if you can somehow acquire a rusty old pickup, just pop down the tailgate to open up seating for about half a dozen of your guests: it will create conversation and be a prime picture location for the entire evening.
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The part of your country wedding that will really distinguish you from others is going to be how you decorate the landscape. If you wanted, you could go with the 'southern social elite' vibe, but the creative, more accessible 'rustic romance' approach will be much more interesting to your invitees and less alienating to your casual guests. The rustic aesthetic is really a beautiful juxtaposition between the antiquated southern lifestyle and modern-day country living. Your decoration will need to reflect the resourcefulness of the simple country folk, but be highlighted by the traditional trimmings of a romantic wedding. On paper this might sound odd, but anything that rusts or rots could make for some very rich thematic decoration for your wedding background. Think of how great the scenery would look with the occasional cartwheel leaning against a hay bale or a wheelbarrow used as a cooler.
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Table centerpieces are a great opportunity to really seize the country theme and make for an almost anachronistic dining experience. Old milk or cream cans can be used to contain a daisy arrangement at the center of each guest table. Smaller hors d'oeuvres stations around the area?s perimeter might be made of upright wine barrels with a single baby?s breath bouquet sitting in a polished aluminium soup can. Nametags or table assignments can be hanging from horseshoes or etched on circular wood slabs. The country wedding is all about taking easy-to-access items and refurbishing them for a simply elegant wedding event.
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One other suggestion would be to buy a ton of mason jars. Mason jars are the most versatile country wedding accessory, as they can be used for fancy drinks, floral arrangements, they can hold candles, or be used as gift containers. You can even hang them from a barn ceiling as decoration. When it comes to country weddings, you can never have too many mason jars.
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Themed weddings are becoming increasingly prominent in our culture, and reasonably so. Couples are not willing to spend their big day (and their money) going through the motions the way that their parents, and their grandparents probably did in the past. People today want their wedding day to be expressions of the unique personalities that are being united in marriage, and they want their guests to have a genuine impression of who they really are. Themed weddings allow couples to impart a statement about their romantic story on the people whom they share their big day with.
The key to a southern-themed wedding is to relax. After months (and maybe years) of planning, this is going to be the evening where everyone unwinds and enjoys the company of an enthusiastic couple taking their first steps on a lifelong journey together. Whether they?re on hay bales or rocking chairs, your guests will share in your excitement as they marvel at the wonderful wedding that they are now a part of. Use these suggestions to help you create the perfect country styled wedding.
The Dandelion Patch is a fine stationery store that began in the heart of downtown Vienna, Virginia. Since 1994, thdy have been part of the fabric of the community and through their invitations, stationery and announcements we have been privileged to share in the many births, weddings, anniversaries and parties of their growing list of loyal customers. As Northern Virginia and their customer base have grown, they too have expanded. You can now visit them at their flagship store in Vienna as well as at their locations in Reston and Georgetown. The Dandelion Patch is hosting a Tip Tuesday event Tuesday the 28th of April at their Georgetown location and you're invited! Source: thedandelionpatch.com
The online dating world is heating up, but a lot of the big love-finding websites like eHarmony and Match are smelling pretty stale. HowAboutWe has the right attitude and is making online dating fun again.
Located in Brooklyn, New York, HowAboutWe is “all about wonderful people (like you) going on awesome dates. Playful dates. Cultured dates. Magical dates. Surprising dates. You say, “How about we…” and fill in the dots with the dates you want to go on.”
HowAboutWe works like this: Members fill out a profile, upload a photo and propose an intriguing first date idea. Other users browse proposed dates, and if they like what they read, they can message their potential date. “Partakers can design both an elaborate or simple rendezvous, from meeting for coffee or sampling sushi to conducting a couples séance in hopes of connecting with childhood pets.”
The site includes the traditional features of dating websites, such as online chatting, emailing, and profile cruising but HowAboutWe puts the emphasis on stepping offline to encounter real-life camaraderie. One of the service’s best features is the Daily Dates email with date proposals selected to match your profile; it’s a gold mine of interesting things to do in New York City. And the locations are conveniently powered by Foursquare.
The site’s emphasis on friendship is unique; it asks if you’d like to pull in your contacts from Facebook, Gmail and Twitter. You can also answer a list of questions so users can know a bit more about you like “The movie I’ve watched the most times,” and “An awesome place I’ve visited.” It also asks you to pick which dates you like or don’t like to weed out potential football watching afternoons.
HowAboutWe’s co-founders Aaron Schildkrout and Brian Schechter grew up down the street from each other; they even threw a 4th grade dance party at their elementary school together. The two became teachers in their 20s, then turned 30 and decided they wanted to start a big, exciting business, something a bit more challenging. After traveling together, they arrived at the HowAboutWe concept in August 2009. “We were both single at the time. What would would be cool in the States? What if you had a stream of date ideas?” says Brian.
With little background in either tech or business, Aaron and Brian have been learning along the way. They incubated the idea in Boston, from August to December of 2009 and launched the site in February of 2010 in NYC.
“I’ve been thinking constantly about dating and the Internet. What it’s like for people to find love and meaning and having to engage in a digital culture, and how that translates into their real life. People have a hard time presenting who they are in a digital context and how they are in real life. HowAboutWe gets people off their computers and gets them together with likeminded folks who may want to protest at the UN together or explore Red Hook.” – Brian
The 1990′s The 1990′s was another decade of fashion change. The early 1990′s held onto some of the same styles, but as the years progressed, the styles became a little sexier and less traditional. Rock & Roll was the primary influence that changed this time period, slowly doing away with the big veil and long sleeved, modest wedding dress.
The early 2000′s
This is where personality prevails. The idea of making your wedding day your own has become more acceptable, and for good reason; it’s your day! As the years progress, creativity and using inspiration from years past, and future, has become more acceptable. Whether your invasion of the perfect wedding day is with all of the glitz and glamour or a casual picnic in the park, make it your own!
Here are some top trends shaping weddings now.
Professionals are predicting a return to formality and dramatic opulence. “Say goodbye to Mason jars and burlap, and say hello to caviar and elegance,” says South Florida-based party planner Sara Renee Lowell . “Wedding vendors are sick of couples bringing in the same rustic, vintage inspiration photos. Opulence is in.”
Which means the return of dramatic floral arrangements on pedestals, gleaming candelabras, and loads of professional lighting (translation: no more simple strands of café lights). For a recent wedding, New York event designer David Stark created a luxurious reception with a formal French garden theme: Sculpted hedges around the perimeter of the venue and structured dinner table centerpieces were juxtaposed against a lush, romantic canopy of flowers and glowing lanterns suspended overhead.
Pictured: David Stark created a formal French garden theme for a recent wedding reception.
Social Media Bans
With a smartphone in nearly every guest’s purse or pocket, wedding-day photos are almost guaranteed to appear in real time on social media sites. But more and more couples are politely restricting smartphone usage during the ceremony using cleverly worded signage (displayed at the venue’s entrance or printed in the ceremony program), as well as verbal reminders from the officiant.
“We’re going to see more and more ‘unplugged’ ceremonies in 2014,” says Renny Pedersen, Chicago wedding planner.. “Nothing is worse than seeing a beautiful photograph of the bride walking down the aisle marred by a bunch of cameras and iPhones. This way, the wedding photographer is able to get the most important shots, without any unobstructed views.” Bonus: Guests will also be more present during the ceremony.
Pictured: A printed chalkboard sign by DesignSmithPaperArts asked guests to keep their smartphones and cameras in check.
Tapas-Style Tasting Plates
Family-style dinners were a huge trend last year, but they’re actually quite expensive to pull off, and the platters of food require significant table real estate, says Calder Clark of South Carolina-based Calder Clark Designs. So, what’s next? Bar-height tasting stations, where guests receive artfully plated, fork-friendly miniature meals prepared on the spot by stationside chefs. Experts say guests love the variety.
“Today’s couples are serious foodies, and they come bearing recipes and resolute memories from their favorite restaurants,” Clark says. “They want to include them in the reception, and there’s no easier way to do that than with the tasting plate—it’s petite, going back for seconds is totally kosher, and guests are able to be more experimental with unfamiliar foods.”
Pictured: For a wedding designed by Calder Clark, chef Johannes Klapdohr created an elegant tasting plate of Southern fried tomatoes drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar and accented with edible nasturtiums.
Large Focal Points
Rather than decorating the reception with a slew of blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em D.I.Y. details, couples are more interested in decor that makes a statement. “The 2014 bride is ditching contrivances for oversize ‘wow’ factors like custom dance floors, vast patterned wall installations, and Versailles-worthy furnishings and lighting,” says Clark. “Our client is tired of littering seated tables with tchotchkes and is favoring the mantra ‘go big or go home’—in good taste, of course.”
As a result, couples are asking, “What will catch my guests’ attention when they walk in our tent?” Clark says. “Savvy couples realize that very few will remember custom-colored confetti packets at each place setting, but everyone will remember a nighttime ceremony lit only by 500 luminaries.”
Pictured: For recent wedding, Calder Clark designed an installation that served as a focal point: The 3-D wall was inlaid with boxwood topiaries arranged in a geometric pattern.
Source: Bizbash.com Source: weddingsbylily.com
Fergie and Josh Duhamel tied the knot at the Church Estate Vineyard in Malibu, California. Fergie called it “magical” and “ethereal,” while Josh said it “incorporated both our personalities.“Lots of nature was important to Josh,” Mindy Weiss says. “I knew I could bling it up for Fergie.”
The entire wedding party — including the bride and groom — was outfitted in dresses and tuxes from Dolce and Gabbana. Fergie wore a fitted, white ruched, corseted wedding gown with a mesh tulle overlay, spaghetti straps and a long train, all custom-made for the occasion. I love the back of her dress!
375 guests in attendance enjoyed a massive 150 pound cake at their $1 million wedding. Following an after-dinner slide show, Josh presented to Fergie a segment he produced of 40 of the couple’s friends and family lip synching and dancing to her signature hit, “Fergalicious.” – What a cute idea!
Ellen Black, of Lehr and Black, the company that designed the couple’s wedding stationary, tells People.com, “Fergie loves bling and has a love for unicorns and Josh loves nature. The artwork had leaves and hidden details like a unicorn and the invites were decorated with crystals. There’s a current trend for celebrities to give out the invitation as a gift at the end of the wedding. That way, they can avoid the invitation being revealed before the wedding and can keep all the details a secret.”
The couple also gave their guests a unique treat by including a specially designed caricature of themselves with the invite. Black adds, “Josh has a love for art and viewed it as giving away of piece of art.”
Fergie‘s and Josh Duhamel‘s matrimonial diamonds were designed by Brazilian jeweler H. Stern. The jeweler designed the engagement ring, wedding bands and some wedding party accessories.
Fergie’s engagement ring is a customized Stars ring that features a round, 4-carat brilliant-cut diamond set in a stunning band with colors ranging from white to cognac. The singer also received a matching, narrow wedding band. Both rings were made of H. Stern’s 18 K Noble Gold. Josh’s wedding band was created at Fergie’s direction, featuring organic lines and asymmetric edges. Each band also has a special engraved personal message by the bride and groom.