Friday, July 30, 2010

escort service

Cocktail hour is winding down and you are trying to find your seat. You go over to a large table and pick up a little escort card with your name on it. You know the one. It’s folded in half and in calligraphy it says you and your husband’s name or you and your date’s name or maybe just you “and guest”. Next to said names, it lists your table number.

There are always so many questions around how to properly do the escort cards. I am here to finally regulate the right and wrong way to the escort cards/list/board.

Rule #1 – only ONE escort card per couple, married or unmarried.
The only time you would stray from this rule is when they are not sitting together. For example, you may have a head table where your bridesmaids are sitting and their dates are at another table. Then obviously the dates get another escort card with their table number.

Rule #2 – Fill in ALL guests’ names.
If they are married, it should read: Mr.& Mrs. John Smith OR John & Jane Smith. (How formal you are is really up to how formal you want your wedding to be.)
If they are not married, it should read: John Smith & Jane Doe BUT if Jane Doe was your invited guest and she’s bringing John Smith as a date, put Jane’s name first. Jane Doe & John Smith
When you receive the couple’s response card, you should fill in the names that they listed there. If they choose to put “Jane Doe and guest” on their response card, then and only then is it ok to put that on their escort card.  Obviously they didn't read the 4th bullet point in the post about how to properly RSVP.

Rule #3 – Alphabetize by last name.
So that guests can easily find their name and table, be sure to alphabetize with the invited guest’s last name. Mr.& Mrs. John Smith would be under S. If Jane Doe is bringing John Smith as a guest, then they are alphabetized under D. Jane Doe & John Smith

Feel free to replace “escort card” anywhere above with “line on a guest board” where ever necessary. Many couples are opting for these trendy lists. They’re cool and often less labor intensive for the couple to put together. Rock out with it. Just follow the rules above.

-The perennial bridesmaid

Escort Card by impressioninvitation on Etsy

Thursday, July 29, 2010

say it isn’t so

I started this blog as a fun way to track wedding related activities, stories and live countdowns. Along the way I’ve accumulated DIY projects, lists of vendors and wedding faux pas. I’ve danced around the idea of what comes after the wedding…although I am no expert (or amateur for that matter). What I didn’t expect was to write about the truly un-fun.

I delayed this post for days because it fits in the un-fun category.

I had to remove a count down from the right column with just 60 days to go. One of the 2010 couples didn’t make it to the finish line. There will be no 00 days left blinking on their countdown.

Although it is sad, it is probably better than the alternative. Do I dare say the D word? If one half of the couple isn’t ready to commit that is enough reason not to go through with it. ‘Nuff said.

-The perennial bridesmaid

Monday, July 26, 2010

well rounded

Invitations come in all shapes, sizes, colors and umm, corners. The formal creamy wedding invitation with silver script seems to be going extinct. Everyone is opting for color! Custom monograms. Lace. Textured cardstock. Ribbon. You name it and I’ve probably seen it on one of our DIY assembly lines in the last year. Perhaps you've received one?

Today I am featuring one of these DIY gems because words alone just won’t do it justice!

Well let me try a few words anyway…This invitation is legal size. Tri-fold also known as gate fold. On the front “cover” is the couple’s custom logo that a phenom graphic designer friend put together for them. At first, that’s all you see until you remove the belly band. Oh you’ve never heard that term before as it applies to invitations? The belly band holds it all in the invitation, just like your spanx hold it all in for you.  This belly band is textured with polka dots.

Remove the dotted belly band and you've got yourself an invitation with details about the couple and wedding.  They opted for a totally casual last names, no parents' names, just "together with their families".  That safely encompasses everyone that made this union possible!

Moving on to the inside...brace yourself for inserts, maps, details, pockets, response cards and tons of rounded corners!  Have you ever seen such a detailed map?  Since there are a lot of out-of-towners attending this wedding, a custom made map was a necessity.  Made by the groom himself.

There are a total of 3 pockets here.  The picture is not clearly showing that they are all indeed texturized with the polka dots.  The details here are remarkable! 

The response card evokes humor with the following response choices next to decreasingly smaller boxes:

Yes! Save us seats
No, sadly missing out
I'm going to forget to mail this

Overall, the invitation sets the tone of the wedding and party.  Casual yet detail oriented.  Humorous, fun and well rounded!

-The perennial bridesmaid

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

brazilian getaway

I feel a rant coming on…

In the last 2 weeks, 2 of my friends with weddings in less than 2 months experienced bad service from their bands. Don’t flake on a bride this close to her big day!

Exhibit A: The lead band member and main business contact left the country. Yup, he just relocated…to Brazil. He cashed their deposit check and bounced with no update to who-knows-how-many customers. Fortunately, the couple contacted him and he promptly replied with a new lead who he said will be in touch. The original consultation was with this Brazilian-seeking band mate though. He took notes on what songs should be played and what songs they needed to learn. This conversation may have to happen again with band lead #2. How frustrating.

Exhibit B: The string quartet lady is MIA. My other friend had her consultation back in June with this band lead. She took notes and filled out the required forms. She also cashed the deposit check. The bride followed up with her a few weeks later as discussed and nothing. Did she flee to Brazil too? The bride persistently emailed and left messages for what turned into weeks. Serious panic set in so she called in the big guns…the Mother of the bride began calling. They have even threatened to report their business. The wedding is just weeks away. Do they find a new band?

I have no solution to suggest to brides in this situation. I’m just ranting. But if you are in the wedding biz, I’d assume you know how frantic brides (and some grooms) get in the weeks closing in on their wedding. Customer service prior to the event is just as important as the tunes you will play at the event. If you are not a good business person, you may want to have someone manage that end for you.

Future brides and grooms, beware!

-The perennial bridesmaid

Drum Kit by TimWilson on Etsy

Monday, July 19, 2010

put out the fire

Today’s guest blogger is my favorite floral designer who specializes in weddings and events. She always has insight into what’s hot and what’s not in the wedding world. Take it away, Renee…

Unity Ceremonies aren't just for candles anymore!

You’ve all seen the traditional unity candle march. Moms come down the aisle, each mom lights a taper candle, then during the ceremony the bride and groom “unite” by using said taper candles to light a larger pillar candle. While this is a lovely notion, involving the moms and the “eternal flame of love”, it’s a little boring. Today’s brides are looking for the non-traditional spin on everything: “What’s everyone else doing? Now, how can I do it differently??”

As someone who speaks with brides regularly, I’ve pretty much heard it all. But every now and again I hear something new, something totally different and, I’ll admit it, I get excited all over again about this business we call weddings. Recently, one of my brides let me in on what she is doing for her unity ceremony which got me so excited, I decided to research some other alternatives in a quest to find out what else I might be missing! More on this bride and her ceremony in a minute.

First, here are some other unity ceremony ideas, sans the candle:

Rose Ceremony: There are lots of variations on this but it generally involves 2 single stem roses, each held by the bride and the groom. Then they exchange the roses and are unified! I’ve also seen the rose being exchanged between the families, which is very similar to the Sign of Peace rose exchange that is done in some church ceremonies.

Water Ceremony: The bride and groom each have a bottle of colored water. At the same time they pour their water into a larger vessel, creating a new color of water. Think back to grade school art class. Red and yellow make orange, blue and yellow make green, etc. Then this new bottle of water can be placed on the mantle to look at forever!

Sand Ceremony: This is essentially the same as the water ceremony; however, colored sand is used in place of the water. These both hearken to the fact that neither water particles, nor sand particles, can be easily separated. Leaving the bride and groom metaphorically united for all of time.

Breaking Bread Ceremony: This one involves food which is always a plus in my book. There is a small loaf of bread that acts as the unifier. The bride and groom each tear off a piece and eat it. This can also be done with the families to unify everyone.

There are some others which you can research in your spare time: Salt Ceremony, Garland/Lei Ceremony, Circling, Celtic Oathing Stone, Truce Bell or the very fun sounding Lasso Ceremony. But the one that I am so excited about, the reason I was compelled to guest blog about this all in the first place is the…

Wine Ceremony! The bride and groom both have a carafe of wine, one white and one red. They both pour the wine into a glass creating a blush wine, then take a sip! For a very small event this can be done so that each guest has a sip at the reception toast. Or that the bridal party members have a glass at the cocktail hour. I just love the idea of this; maybe it’s my love of wine, or the fact that I hate nick-knack clutter (see Sand/Water ceremony above).

Whatever unifies you, take a minute to customize it. Make it special for the bridal party and the guests. This small ceremony is a very important part of a much larger ceremony. Don’t overlook it!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

keep on rockin

Did you think I was done with the Rockabilly wedding biz? Not yet! I didn’t even tell you about what a Rockabilly bride wears! Based on yesterday’s post, I assume you have a good idea of the atmosphere and d├ęcor of a Rockabilly wedding reception.  Now, rewind to the ceremony.

Conveniently the church was lined in red carpet. Red was one of the accents colors of the entire wedding plus black and white. The pews were decorated in retro paper flowers. Nice touch.

The groomsmen wore dark pants with mechanic style short sleeve button downs and slicked hair. They really worked the greaser/muscle car part of the theme. For the actual ceremony, they put on black blazers and red ties. You sure can dress them up. The groom had a similar outfit on but opted for a white tie.

Since the bride and groom each have a young son, there were two adorable ring bearers to dress up for the occasion. They were wearing dark pants with a personalized retro bowling shirt. For the ceremony, they too wore a jacket and tie. Their outfits were pulled together with classic black Chuck Taylors.  Seriously, how cute is he?

The bridesmaids were dressed in retro black dresses with white polka dots that were filled out with red crinoline skirts underneath. The red peaked through just right. They also wore red flowers in their hair.  But the bride’s dress was my favorite. There is something about a short wedding dress that is just so glamorous. Maybe it is the surprise of the untraditional. I don’t know but it’s cool! She wore a white Vivien of Holloway 1950s style halter that stopped at the knee and was also filled out with the red crinoline skirt. She accessorized with a birdcage veil, of course, and red strappy shoes, black belt & pearls. She was definitely a Rockabilly bride!

Their vision became a reality...

-The perennial bridesmaid

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

i’m baa’ack

Did you miss me? I took a relaxing break from the wedding world. I am still trying to enjoy the July sabbatical but don’t want to leave you hanging so here are some reads.

I owe you feedback about the Rockabilly wedding that I attended. I really had no idea as to what to expect. The invitation advised to dress in Rockabilly attire and drive your hot rod to the chapel followed by a pig roast reception in a barn…sounds like a party. I pretty much pictured the final scene of Grease. You know the one where Sandra Dee lets her hair down (literally) and all the guys are in their leather jackets with cuffed jeans. Rizzo has some hot pants on of course. The backdrop includes sexy muscle cars and a carnival like atmosphere.

My vision was relatively on point but the reality included the following: Photo booth. Records. Polka dots. Greasers. Soda shop waiters. Candy cigarettes. Red lipstick. Muscle cars. Leopard print. Chuck Taylors. Crinoline skirts. Red roses. Popcorn machine. Ice cream sundae bar. Mary Janes. Lucky 13 Mechanic Shirts.

All of these elements came together for a memorable second wedding for the couple. Why do I mention that it was their second wedding? It actually seems that was the key to the success of the event and the theme. It seems that the first time around, one can get obsessed with the details of planning a formal event and overall, the need for everything to be perfect. The second wedding was more like a relaxed party than a formal event. The bottom line is, if you build it they will come. They will even dress in theme for you. Have a good time and as they say, don’t sweat the small things.

Because I am not even sure how I can explain without photos, here goes…

What did guests wear? It was all in the fancy foot wear. Every great outfit starts with the shoes. Let's be honest. So rockabilly ladies wore kitten toe heels, leopard flats or Mary Janes. The guys wore Chuck's or vintage leather wing tip shoes alla Buddy Holly.
Yours truly? I combined pink Chuck's with a polka dress.

The cars alone were enough to set the decor.  The bride and groom hopped into a "Just Married" adorned hot rod after exchanging vows.  They were followed by a small fleet of equally hot muscle cars.  They would have been enough to wow even Rizzo.

I am not sure who to give credit to for this adorable cake but it was right in theme.  The polka dots layered on chocolate with red rose detail were just too cute.  Did you notice the cake topper?  Yes, it is a pink pig.  It was a pig roast reception after all.  I told you how the couple didn't need things to be overly fancy and that was the fun of their day!

DIY table centerpieces fit the era dead on.  Black white checkered table clothes were layered with a record that was adorned by a red rose bouquet in an old fashioned ice cream dish.  Similar records were also handed out to the guests upon arriving at the ceremony.  Those records were adorned with the program of the ceremony.  They also doubled as fans for the warm afternoon.  Clever!

For those of you that don't know, Rockabilly is a style that combines both rock 'n roll and hillbilly music, modernly known as country.  Rockabilly was born in the 1950s.  I've recapped so many of the rock 'n roll styles that were incoporated into this event but let me remind you that the reception was held in a barn.  That's where the country side of things come into the theme.  It was a picturesque farm as you can see.  The barn was an amazing venue for a party.

-The perennial bridesmaid

Friday, July 2, 2010

pulling it off or putting it on

Hopefully you read the last 2 posts about the Greek themed honeymoon shower we threw last weekend. I wanted to follow up with some other details that went into the theme to round out this "mini-series" of posts.

Having never thrown a honeymoon shower, I didn’t know what to put on the invitations. I googled a few things but didn’t like much of what was out there. Collectively we came up with the following...

[Bride] and [Groom] will marry soon
Followed by a Greek Honeymoon

Let’s send her to Greece in style!
Out of the box, off the registry…

This verbiage combined with some stellar graphics (which I can't take credit for) seemed to do the trick. Guests came equipped with honeymoon and vacation gifts (see previous blog entry for honeymoon shower gifts).

Polka dots have played a big part in this wedding overall. The bride loves them. We decided it would only be appropriate to work them into the shower as well. It was subtle on the plates and napkins. The fact that they were blue and white also worked to our Greek theme being that they are country’s colors.

The guest of honor got to sit in the Aphrodite chair which was simply a chair lined with tulle and dotted swiss fabric. It may look simple here but once she was in it she literally looked like she was on a cloud channeling her inner goddess, of course

Favors are on of my favorite shower elements to put together. I like to come up with favors that are practical. Fortunately we started the planning early so I was able to pull of my vision. Wine charms are not necessarily a new concept in the favor category but we put a Greek spin on it that played to the theme quite nicely.

After researching significant Greek symbols and their meanings, we settled on the following four which also lend the appropriate symbolism to the upcoming marriage that we are celebrating.

Owl – wisdom, protection, inspiration
Meandros – permanence, stability, infinity
Evil eye – protection and good luck
Selene – goddess of the full moon, womanhood

Here is a tip, these charms were not easy to find. Hit etsy to find an artisan who can create yours for you! Wildbryde was awesome to work with and custom made the charms for us - the only party of the shower we didn't DIY! We added the charms and a few beads to the hoops and voila!

We didn’t just pull of a bridal shower but we put on a themed event! It was easy to hit all of the elements in this shower because of the partnership between the MOB and me. The more communication and organization that goes into these things, the better the execution! Did I mention she’s a great baker too?

-The perennial bridesmaid

Thursday, July 1, 2010

how do you spell greece

Where did I leave off? Ahh, dessert.

Before we could actually move onto dessert, we had to have an inevitable bridal shower game. It’s not just any game. We made this one up ourselves so we like to think it is original and more entertaining than the typical games turning up at showers.

Let’s call it “honeymoon girl”. The object of the game is for a guest to answer a correct trivia question. Then they get to put an article of honeymoon attire on the bride for the guests’ sheer entertainment.

By the end of our game “honeymoon girl” had everything on that she needed for the beach and we all had a good laugh! She was a good sport. This game is easily transferable as long as you come up with trivia questions that apply to the couple or their destination. Our questions were related to cities named Athens. Turns out there are tons of Athens beyond just Greece.

Now for dessert – baklava, oh how I wish I had more of that. Chocolate cake, almond cookies, brownies. I am sure I missing something. Check the menu. Did I mention that the brownie was iced in the Greek flag? How cute. Mmm, more baklava please.

We wrapped up the shower with gifts. As you know by now this wasn’t a typical bridal shower so there was no need for buying cutlery and sheets from Macy’s. We asked that the guests bring gifts that were “out of the box, off the registry” so we could send the bride to Greece in style.

We asked and they answered! She got fabulous floppy hats, beach bags, flowing dresses, summer scarves and more practical things like an umbrella, a passport purse, travel guide books, luggage, custom luggage tags, sunscreen, travel games and tons of flip flops. These are all ideal gifts to give at a honeymoon shower. The bride could get on the plane tomorrow to Greece and be set with those presents.

She also received several fun "before and after" gifts like a Greek cookbook and photo albums.

One guest had a creative way of presenting her honeymoon gifts. She lettered 6 blue gift bags with the letters G-R-E-E-C-E. Each bag had a different present that corresponded to the letter on the bag. For example, G – “Get ready for your trip”. The DVD of My Big Fat Greek Wedding was one of the items inside! There are so many ways you can spin these lettered bags to work for you for almost any occasion. It was such a clever idea! I want to try it.

Overall, this shower was as un-bridal shower as a shower can be and that was pleasing! A little bit of creativity and a great theme can really spice things up.

Stay tuned for some details about planning.

-The perennial bridesmaid