I have to tell you what a smile it puts on my face when a reader contacts me! I love to know what you love + what you need to know more about. You can only imagine my excitement when one of our readers, Morgan, offered to share all she had learned as the MOH for her sister's wedding. Thank you, Morgan! I will let her take it from here...
There’s an awful lot to think about when you’re planning your wedding. Food can be a stressful part of the decision-making process, because there are a ton of different options. What sorts of foods should be served? How should the meal be served? What about guests’ dietary preferences and restrictions? With the multitude of dining options available, it’s hard to find a clear direction. When my sister named me her maid of honor, I decided to put myself in charge of planning and coordinating everything involved in the meal. It was quite the process, but I think it went over well. When I was planning, here are some of the things I considered.
Decide on Scale and Style
When you’re planning the food for your wedding reception, one of the first things to consider is what type of meal you want to have. Of course, you can go with a traditional sit-down dinner—a meal with an entrée and sides. But you can also serve food on a smaller scale, such as cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Remember: budget isn’t the only thing that can decide between these two broad options. For example, think about the time of day you plan to have your reception—for a lunchtime meal, something smaller might be better. Another choice is which setup you’ll have for your meal. For example, your food can be served by waiters or set up in a buffet. Waiters add a traditional, formal tone to your meal, whereas a buffet allows for flexibility in terms of which foods each of your guests consumes.
When it comes to planning a meal, it’s easy to get bogged down in the food itself. Don’t forget the atmosphere! Think back to the bridal shower gifts. What I did was put some kitchen items on the bridal gift registry, so that by the time the wedding rolled around, we could actually use one of the gifts as part of the presentation. In addition to any place settings and centerpieces you choose, a great way to create a nice atmosphere is candlelight. Dim the lights, have the DJ play some mellow tunes, and light a candle at each table.
Get the Facts
One thing you may want to consider during your planning is the various needs of your guests. Is your Maid of Honor a raw food vegan? Does your mother-in-law-to-be have a severe peanut allergy? It’s definitely important to know the dietary requirements of your close family and wedding party, so you can avoid any outlawed foods. You may also want to determine if any of your other guests have diet restrictions. If you want to be super thorough, you can include meal options on your wedding invitations, and ask your guests to indicate any allergies they may have. If you decide on a buffet style for your meal, it’s a good idea to label each dish with its ingredients. That way, your guests won’t have to worry about accidentally triggering allergies, and they can also choose foods they prefer.
Test Potential Caterers
One of the most difficult parts of planning a wedding is choosing a caterer. Remember that catering depends largely on your reception venue, so be sure to decide on a location before you get too far into your catering investigation. Some venues will supply their own catering, while others will allow you to hire your own service. Because of this, when you pick a venue that provides its own food, make sure you taste their recipes before you sign on the dotted line. In any case, it’s also a good idea to get references. Ask the catering company how many weddings they’ve done—chances are if they cater a lot of weddings, their services are in demand and successful. References are especially important for destination weddings, since you probably won’t be able to taste any recipes in advance. Above all, make sure you investigate your catering options far in advance, so that you have ample time to make comparisons, ask for references, and choose your favorite.
These ideas will help point you in the right direction for your reception meal planning. However, keep in mind that there’s no universally “right” answer when it comes to your dining decisions. One of the most important deciding factors is simply what feels right for your big day. Just remember to give yourself plenty of time, take a deep breath, and have fun exploring all the options.
Morgan Gray is a writer from NY whose recent Maid of Honor title has inspired her to reach out to the Woodlands Bride community. She hopes that her experiences will help others in similar 'dresses.
We have said it a million times and we'll say it again - we have amazing vendors! And knowledgable ones. So when our readers come to us with their burning wedding planning questions, it's easy for us to find a local professional that can better address the topic.
Today we have a special guest post from Event Solutions. The owner, Ashley Fuentes, gives some insight into the importance of hiring a coordinator for the day of your wedding.
Hiring a Day-Of Wedding Coordinator
On your wedding day, you should sit back, relax, and enjoy the day. So that means allowing a professional Day-Of Wedding Coordinator to handle all of the details for you. Your mom, wedding party, and other family and friends should also be able to enjoy your wedding; after all this is a special occasion and one to remember for a lifetime!
Hiring a Day-Of Wedding Coordinator is such an important part of planning your wedding because this coordinator should understand your vision and ideas for your wedding. Your coordinator will be there on the day of to ensure that all your hard work of planning your wedding pays off with having a stress free, seamless ceremony and reception.
The most important part of hiring a Day-Of Coordinator is ensuring that your coordinator is involved in more than just the "day-of." A Day-Of Coordinator should meet with you at least two to three times prior to the wedding to go over your needs, wishes, and ideas for your wedding, during the last few weeks before your wedding. They will also need to visit your ceremony and reception site to have a clear understanding of what you want on your wedding day.
This is especially important because on your wedding day, your Day-Of Coordinator should have all the information needed to produce and coordinate your wedding seamlessly! The only way to do this is collect all the details the last few weeks prior to the wedding.
Another important factor to hiring a Day-Of Wedding Coordinator is ensuring that they are from a professional event planning company. Professional event planners and coordinators will have the knowledge, experience, and expertise to handle any and all issues that may arise on your wedding day. This will give you peace of mind that everything will be handled appropriately and in a timely manner!
Many brides don't know the difference between a Wedding Coordinator and a Venue Coordinator; and there is a BIG difference! A Venue Coordinator is there to handle all the things associated with the venue - catering, bar service, room setup, etc. However, they are not involved in the "nitty gritty" of the details of your wedding planning. They also may not work directly with your MC, Photographer, Videographer, or other vendors on the day-of to ensure that the detailed itinerary is followed perfectly. Additionally, most Venue Coordinators do not stay the entire length of your wedding. They may leave right after dinner service.
That is when having a Day-Of Wedding Coordinator is so essential. Your Coordinator will work hand in hand with your Venue Coordinator to ensure all aspects of the day are perfect; plus your Day-Of Coordinator will be there throughout your entire wedding!
About the Guest Author/Event Solutions
My name is Ashley Fuentes and I am the owner of Event Solutions. After years of planning parties and events for family and friends, I decided that wedding and event planning was truly my calling! I wanted to create a company that would include all the things I love about planning weddings and events - being creative, interacting with others, putting my best skills to work, and producing amazing weddings and events for couples just like you! So, in 2007, I created Event Solutions. I have 6+ years experience in the wedding planning industry, plus 10+ years experience working in a bakery, and 15 combined years of experience in customer service.
Event Solutions is a Full-Service event planning company, located right here in Houston, Texas. We service all of The Woodlands, Spring, Conroe, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and more. Our services include Full-Service and Partial Wedding & Event Planning, Final Month and Day-Of Wedding Coordination, Stationery, Rentals & Decor, and Accessories.
Check out our website or call us today to schedule your complimentary consultation!
Happy Friday! We are excited to share a series of guest posts with you this summer. (Can you believe summer is just around the corner?) We have wedding professionals from all over, including our own favorite local pros, who will share their expertise and ideas with you in hopes of making your wedding planning just a little easier - and fun!
Today's guest post comes from Agnes, a professional blogger and outreach editor of Photographer Tuscany. The topic: Tips for hiring a wedding photographer on your budget.
Weddings are a themed event, and can cost a fortune because everything is outsourced to professionals in their respective fields. Wedding photography, in particular, can be expensive; therefore, choosing a wedding photographer is not an easy task especially if you are running on a tight budget. Here are some tips on how to manage wedding photography within your budget.
1. Deals and discounts
One of the things that may help you get a wedding photographer in your budget would be to search for deals and discounts. Photographers' social media sites, deal sites as well as magazine ads have a lot of services offered at a slashed price, or 'more for less' deals. There are professional photographers who will offer discounts to encourage people to use their services.
2. Referral request
This works in two ways; you may ask friends, family and other service providers like party planners for a wedding photographer referral that is within your stipulated budget. Second, you may ask other photographers to refer you to a good wedding photographer that is within your budget if their packages are way out of your reach.
3. Use half day coverage
You have finally found a suitable photographer, however, their full day coverage is way out of your budget; do not let this set you back. Inquire if they have half day coverage services, use this sparingly by capturing the main event and those must-have photos. Let your bridal entourage and guests cover the events the rest of the day, but remember to ask for copies to include in your album.
4. Get soft copies
Wedding photographers will always compile their footage and create an album for you at a cost. You may request soft copies of the coverage to bring down the cost within your range. This is an option which gives you a sample of quality edited photos for the main event while the rest are handed over in raw form. Have all copy rights released to you in case you want to print the photos professionally in future. Not all photographers offer this service, though.
Sources and References:
About the Guest Author
Agnes Jimenez is a professional blogger and writer. She works for various online establishments and currently helps Christiano Brizzi Photography in their Guest Blogging Outreach project. Christianno Brizzi is a well-known Italian wedding photographer. You can see the rest of his works at www.weddingphotographerflorence.com.
It's Tuesday and it's time for a guest post! We love when we have the opportunity to share with you the thoughts, insight and experiences of other wedding industry professionals. Today's guest post is from Alyssa Ennis, a bridal blogger and professional wedding photographer from the Seattle area.
Wedding Party Etiquette
From bridesmaids to groomsmen, maids of honor to best men, the main role of the bridal party is to keep the bride and groom as anxiety-free as possible. Whether this means simply shuffling into the right positions at the right times or arranging the most high-octane, Michael Bay-esque bachelor party ever will vary widely depending on the couple.
There is, however, one universal: knowing the basic in's and out's of what’s expected of you in the lead up to the big day will go a long way towards keeping the process as low stress as possible for everyone involved – you included!
So, without further ado, here is all that the wedding party needs to do before walking down that aisle.
A bridesmaid is part-sister, part-fashion consultant and part-worker bee. Her duties include:
•Helping with the shopping. Bring out the wedding magazines: the bride may ask you
for help in finding her dress and picking wedding colors and themes. She may also have you help select the bridesmaid dresses, or she will simply send you a link and ask for your sizes. You will be responsible for purchasing your dress, shoes, and all accessories.
•Partying it up, pre-wedding style. From the bridal shower to the bachelorette party, you’ll be expected to participate in all of the pre-wedding festivities. The maid of honor (MOH) may also ask you to help make and pay for arrangements, and you’ll definitely need to pony up for a great wedding gift.
•Attending the rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal dinner is crucial for knowing how it’s
going to go down the next day. And, if there are any extra pre-wedding parties, make sure to track and attend them as well.
•Standing in the receiving line. This one is optional, so be sure to ask at the rehearsal dinner whether or not you’ll be lining up.
•Being the life of the party. Both before the wedding and during, the bridesmaids help greet the guests and make everyone feel comfortable. And, hey, if you love dancing, no one’s going to complain if you get the dance floor buzzing, too.
•Giving the MOH a helping hand. If the MOH is there to calm the bride, you’re there to calm both the bride and the MOH. Keep your eyes peeled for signs of stress and be ready to pitch in! Looking for even more tips for being the world’s best bridesmaid? Check out this for a few extra pointers.
Maid of Honor Extras
Being the (MOH) comes with a <>few more responsibilities, including:
• Keeping a record of who sent what. The bride will turn to you to track gifts, and potentially RSVP's as well.
•Planning the pre-wedding parties. While any friend is allowed to plan the engagement party, the bridal shower and bachelorette party fall squarely on you.
•Keeping track of the bridesmaids. Whether it’s making sure everyone gets to the
rehearsal dinner and ceremony on time, arranging for makeup and hair styling, or enlisting the team to help greet guests, the MOH is in charge of herding the bridesmaids from place to place.
•Signing the marriage license. Along with the best man, you will be a witness and signatory to the marriage license—depending on the state.
•Being the chief therapist. There’s no two ways around it: being the MOH may very well mean a lot of late night sobfests. Charge up that phone!
Groomsmen, just like their bridesmaid counterparts, are there to support the groom throughout the wedding process. The groomsmen duties include:
•Paying for wedding gear. From tuxes to ties and those gleaming, fancy shoes, make sure you know what gear to buy and get it ordered pronto so there’s time for tailoring.
•Partying it up. Between the engagement party, bachelor party and rehearsal dinner, it’s up to you to party it up in a big way. The best man may also ask you for help in planning and paying for the bachelor party.
•Painting the getaway car. Contact the bridesmaids and begin plotting nefarious plans for decorating the honeymoon getaway car.
•Buying a wedding present. Whether you pool your resources with the other groomsmen or go solo, make sure you get the couple something good – not something that could be pasted to a college dorm wall.
•Lending your arm. On the big day, make sure you arrive 45 minutes to help escort guests to their seats – particularly those who are elderly. For Christian ceremonies, this will mean seating the guests of the bride’s family on the left, while Jewish ceremonies will be the opposite. That arm will also be used for escorting a bridesmaid down the aisle.
Best Man Extras
The best man is the leader of the groomsman. As well as the groomsmen’s duties, the best man must also help in:
•Picking out formal wear. You will also guide the groomsmen in buying or renting their own.
•Planning the bachelor party. Whether you head to Vegas or go snowboarding, it’s up to you to make sure the party’s festivities match the groom’s party style and to arrange all of the little details, like hotel and flight bookings.
•Helping make it official. Sign as a witness on the marriage license and make sure to pay the officiant after the ceremony. (The groom will provide the cash, but he’ll be busy celebrating after the nuptials).
•Preparing a speech. You’ll be the first one to toast the couple after the ceremony, so get writing!
Weddings are a time for celebration. With the entire bridal party working to make the day go smoothly, it should be just that. So get to know your duties, buy your formal wear, and get excited for the big day!
Alyssa is a bridal-savvy blogger and avid DIY-er living in the Seattle area. Through her work as a professional wedding photographer, Alyssa has developed a keen eye for both classic wedding styles and modern day trends (though she tends to gravitate towards all things vintage!).
You can keep up with Alyssa via Twitter.
A gracious bride knows to honor her hostesses. After all, these women dusted off their fine china and whipped up their favorite Hors d'oeuvre all ensure you are showered with love and pretty items for your new home. Say thank you and treat them to one of these handmade hostess gifts.
Cover// Felted Stones by Fairyfolk (be sure to also see Fairyfolk Weddings)
1// Silk Screened Teal Towel set by Lauren Alison
2// Vintage Fabric Wrap Gift Box by Graham and Olive
(photo Joseph De Leo, courtesy Chronicle Books.
3// Flower Box by hoganfe
4// Vanilla Hazel Heart Soap by Bubble City Soap
5// Farmer's Market Strawberry Mango Jam by Northern Lodge
6// Tea Time Wallets by GrammiesQuiltz
7// Cute Apron by Creative Chics
When it comes to gifts, a wedding is like Christmas + their birthday times ten! You have showers, engagement parties, and more and if you aren't carefully organized, thank you notes can completely take over your life!
Anything less than a handwritten thank you card is considered bad manners and no one wants to be known as the ungrateful bride! So, grab a good pen, you are going to need it!
1. Organization is key! You need to be organized from start to finish! Keep an accurate track of all gifts received and record the date you sent the thank you note.
2. Purchase your stamps and stationary in bulk and keep it together so that everything is easy to find when it is time to work! No excuses!
3. Set a quota. Make it a goal to write a certain number of cards everyday so you don't get behind.
4. Share the task! Consider it your first big goal to accomplish together as husband and wife!
Wording your note:
There is this moment when about 20 notes in your brain has turned to mush. You can't seem to craft a single sentence that is coherent or think of anything to say about the toaster or towels.
Writer's Block Buster:
When you start finding yourself with writer's block, follow this simple formula! And remember, no one is grading your notes and probably not getting together to compare them!
Sentence 1: Thank them for the gift specifically (Example: Thank you for the place coffee maker.
Sentence 2: Describe how you will use it. (Example: (Husband's name) and I both love coffee in the mornings and this one is perfect.
Sentence 3: Something personal. (Example: Thank you for traveling so far to share our day.)
Download the list here.