Nowadays, it seems as though weddings are becoming less and less about tradition and more and more about trends. Be it trends of the times, trends of the industry, or my personal favorite, trends of the bride and grooms themselves, today’s weddings are all about individualized style and customizable flare.
And why shouldn’t they be?
America is known as the melting pot of the world. With all the different races, religions, cultures and ethnicity, we – as a country – already have the ingredients for a pretty ahhh(to the)mazing, custom-made meal. AND when you pile on top of that all the different family makeups and breakdowns; we’re left with one of the most eclectic family extensions known to man… EXCITING, isn’t it!!??
***If you’re still sitting in the middle of your seat and have yet to be scooted to its edge in anticipation, then consider what this kind of cultural shock means for everyone’s wedding day celebrations… Oh yeah! Now, you’re with me!***
It’s true. One needn’t look any further than a newlywed’s nuptials to recognize just how exciting our assorted arrangement is.
Because, while the meat and potatoes of wedding days may all be the same: boy meets girl, girl greets boy, boy and girl fall in love, boy asks, girl answers, marriage follows, etc…. the side dishes for the “I do’s” couldn’t be more different!
In fact, it never ceases to amaze me that no matter how many weddings I go to – and Trust(AND)Believe, I go to A LOT – there’s always something unique and different involved with each and every single one of them.
I think that’s why I love going to them so much :) And when it came to the tailored portion of the below bride’s big day, she did a little something I like to refer to as Nailing It :)
Because while I find it heartbreaking and downright criminal for any bride to ever find herself absent a father for the father / daughter dance, this particular bride had to deal with just that. <insert heartbreak here>
And even though her papa had passed away just a few months prior, the beautiful bride (along with her brother) still came up with one heck of a tribute — for reals, it’s nothing short of spectacular.
So, grab some Kleenexes (trust me on this one) and check out below to see what I mean:
Originally posted by their photographer, Michael LaFrance, who wrote:
Andrea had a very special dance with some very close family and friends at her wedding. Her father passed away so her brother [recorded] “butterfly kisses” and she danced with with all of them during her Father and Daughter dance. it was a truly touching moment not a dry eye in the house. Her dad, Mark, died earlier in the year from pancreatic cancer. Andrea’s first dance is with Mark’s father, followed by her brother Luke, then brother Nick and finally her new father-in-law Scott.
From bagpipes to stand-up comedians turned DJ’s, wedding entertainment runs the gamut. The only difficulty is in determining what type of entertainment suits your personality and the likely mood of your guests. Whatever musical group or entertainer you choose, here’s a few general tips to keep in mind.
1. Keep It Light.
Weddings are festive occasions, meant for celebration. Don’t skimp on the cost of a band if it means you’re going to end up with a dour, listless bunch of performers. If possible listen to recordings of the band or better still watch a video to make sure they know upbeat songs that get people in the mood to dance and have a look that will suit your wedding’s style. Even a jazz band can play popular standards that will energize the crowd while keeping the reception moving. If you can’t afford a full band and choose to hire a DJ instead, ask for a sample playlist to get a feeling for what the DJ considers a musical good time.
2. Don’t Micromanage.
Although every bride wants her big day to go according to plan, there’s a difference between choosing the right entertainer and dragging them down with too many demands. Entertainers need a little spontaneity to keep their performances from feeling stale. Although it’s perfectly fine to request certain songs or ask for a DJ to follow a pre-programmed routine, don’t make the mistake of trying to plan out every last song or moment. Great entertainment will provide a mood; don’t get too nitpicky as to how they’re going to do it.
3. Plan for Different Stages.
Speaking of the right mood, what specific musician or entertainer should you choose to make the day memorable? In most cases, the bride and groom should choose someone who reflects their tastes but can also cater to an older crowd. After all, most weddings have a grandmother or two in the crowd. If you’re planning a big family wedding, make sure the group isn’t overly offensive. Jazz combos can make a fantastic addition to any wedding, as can eclectic DJ’s who know they should save spinning the more risqué numbers until after 9 or 10pm. Most wedding receptions have stages; there’s the immediate post-ceremony glow, followed by the mid-evening dinner/drinks period, followed by the late-night shift of die-hard partiers. Each stage has its own mood. Truly talented wedding entertainers will be able to effectively shift from one stage to the next. This will give your special day a textured quality suitable for all age groups.
Nowadays, everyone is on a budget; so, when it comes to your wedding, it’s important to get the most bang for your buck. One way you can do this is by having centerpieces that double as favors!
One of my favorite dueling decorations is potted or replant able centerpieces that your guests can take home and enjoy long after the disco lights dim and the dances are done. By using dual purposed décor, you’ll not only create a standout look for your reception, but a standout memory for all your guests.
Everything from fragrant herbs and superb spices to vibrant blossoms and tall grasses can all be arranged to your liking and sent home with your guests for theirs. It’s a win / win for everyone!
And depending on your budget, you can easily make homemade plant boxes for super cheap, simply by using wood, nails and a stain of your choice… or leave the wood as is for an even cheaper, more rustic solution! As always, it’s really up to you. Get as over the top or under the radar as you want… just be sure to have fun and stay happy :)
Here are some of my faves:
photos courtesy of theknot.com and marthastewartweddings.com
YOWZAS! Talk about making a statement from floor to ceiling… floating or hanging wedding décor is one way to get more bang for your buck! Because they offer a means to create more levels of dimension throughout your entire reception hall, you’ll easily streeeetch your real estate dollar to its fullest potential by filling in areas that otherwise would be lost… And who doesn’t love that??
After perusing through several images on BeautifulBlooms.com, I couldn’t help but be inspired by these float-tastic furnishings and immediately set off on a journey to discover more. (Of course by “journey,” I mean manic mouse clicking and by “discover,” I mean whatever Google Images wanted to show me… but alas, I digress.) I went absolutely Lady GaGa for the one of a kind, optical illusions they create and fell even deeper in love when I realized their practicality.
Not only do these suspended superstars create an allstar look, but they also offer brides and grooms a way to decorate their tables without blocking the view of their guests. Because big, bold centerpieces can create such big, bold WOW factors, so many brides are drawn to them… but they don’t always create the most rational way for your guests – seated in between and across from them – to communicate to others or worse yet… see you! Blasphemy!
Hence, only furthering the appeal of hovering centerpieces! By cutting out the middle “man” altogether and suspending the décor, you can be as big and bold as you want without blocking the view of your guests! It’s a win / win for everyone!
Just be sure to go over things with your venue. Since some of these will more than likely need more planning to accomplish, you should definitely work with your reception hall vendor and / or coordinator to make sure they go off without a hitch!
And if you’ve found yourself already booked to venue that doesn’t allow or have a means to hang things, there are still several options for you to create this look. One, consider using super tall, thin vases and placing floral or “pom pom” styled arrangements on the tops only. This will ensure you’ll get the height you want with minimal to no distractions of your guests… Or I like the idea of using large, elevated glass cylinders. You can fill them to the top with water, creating the illusion of “clear” space, and crowning them with your favorite flower buds, floating candles or fiber optics.
Let’s be honest here, ladies… creating and consolidating your wedding guest list can be a real pain in the patella. Picking and choosing who stays and who goes, who’s A List and who’s B List can leave a very “Mean Girls’esque” spot on the soul; so, when it comes to arranging those guests into specifically grouped tables at your reception, you just may be left feeling like Lindsay Lohan… on a bad day. Yikes!
But don’t let it get you down! While your wedding day should be planned around your taste, “your taste” more than likely, includes a concern for your guests. After all, you want your celebration to be one that everyone looks back on fondly. So, while it’s important to consider important guests (i.e. parents, grandparents, officiant, etc.), you can’t let the fear of upsetting guests prevent you from getting the job done. Keep reminding yourself that everyone is there for you, and where they’re seated is merely secondary to the reason they’ve all gathered together. Plus, once the dinner plates are cleared, it generally become a free for all anyways :)
To help keep your sanity level normal, however; here are some tips to make seating your guests even easier:
Be sure to have your seating arrangement completed at least two weeks before the big day. This will ensure everything can be properly coordinated with all other vendors concerned. (ie. reception hall managers, caterers, etc.)
Etiquettly speaking, both your parents and the groom’s parents may be seated at the same table or separate tables depending on what works best.
The officiant and their spouse (if applicable) should also be seated at the host table.
If your parents are divorced, seat them independently from one another. For an easy fix, one set may be seated with the groom’s parents, and the other set may be paired with the officiant and other family members.
Seat the rest of your guests according to family size, common interests and age.
Families – for the most part – should always be seated together. If their numbers are too great, be sure to put them at side by side tables.
Be sure guests with strong opinions on certain topics (i.e. Religion, Politics, etc) aren’t grouped with other guests who have polar opposite views. (Don’t act like you don’t know who I’m talking about here – hehe!)
Put your college friends and his college friends together for an easy match up.
It’s also nice to pair up family members that haven’t seen each other in awhile at the same table. It’ll be super nice for them to catch up on old times… well, unless they’re like the aforementioned clashers. Then, avoid this rule.
Also consider having a children’s table. Feel free to fill it with coloring books, crayons and games to keep them as entertained as the older crowd.
If possible, try to have an even number at each table. This will avoid having anyone feel like the “odd man out.” Nobody likes to play that role.
Also, seat people who love to “shake their groove thangs!” close to the dance floor. They’ll help transition the place into a real party.
Most importqantly, you know everyone the best; so, as long as you do your best to keep everyone comfortable, you’ll do just fine!
And if all else fails, just do like me: set up a couple extra tables in your reception hall and let your guests seat themselves! The extra tables will allow larger groups or families who arrive last the opportunity to stay together, instead of piece mealing themselves out to 6 different tables. ‘Cause Lord knows… that could be all kinds of awkward. Any other good tips? Let me know! And happ-happ-happy planning!