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This summer, you may have heard about a fascinating wedding trend from South Korea, where men and women are getting paid to attend strangers’ weddings. NPR first reported on the strange seat-filling trend, describing agencies that cast young people as fake friends to make weddings seem better attended than they really are. So when a nervous bride wants to save face over a half-empty church, they simply hire professional wedding crashers.

Then there was The Wedding Ringer, in which Kevin Hart played a professional best man, paid to arrange bachelor parties and speeches for friendless grooms. And while that might have seemed like an amusing Hollywood fiction, this summer we also learned about Jen Glantz, a professional bridesmaid who’s “helped dozens of strangers have the best days of their lives.”

Unfortunately, for too many brides and grooms, there’s too much pressure to have the best day ever. Although, we know that in reality it’s really the best weekend ever. Planning the rehearsal, ceremony, reception, and morning-after brunch can quickly stress out even the most organized couple. So how can you avoid walking down the aisle to a half-empty church or banquet hall?

  • Plan Ahead: Most professional wedding planners recommend booking your wedding venues as soon after the engagement as possible. Failing that, plan on booking a venue at least nine months to a year in advance.
  • In 2014, couples invited about 136 guests to their wedding on average. Find a venue that fits with your guest list, that way you don’t have to hire seat-fillers for the big day.
  • Have you considered beach wedding places? Outdoor wedding venues are usually custom arranged for your needs. While a church might look empty, beach wedding places never will.
  • Consider booking unique wedding places outside peak wedding season. The summer is obviously the most popular time for beach wedding places, with 15% of all weddings happening in June. Book in April, and you might be able to get your dream venue after all.

Finally, consider event venues that offer wedding packages. Some of the best wedding places offer a wide range of banquet halls, outdoor patios, ballrooms, and chapels to suit parties of every size.

Hashtag your wedding!

August 25th, 2015

Instagram and Twitter let you share your wedding with far-flung friends and loved ones, and they’re also fun for guests who want to send you well wishes in a unique, if public, way. All you have to do is hashtag your wedding! But like any aspect of your wedding, sharing your big event on social media takes some planning. Here are five quick steps to help you successfully incorporate social media into your event.  

1. Take some time to craft your hashtag -  Yes, your names are fine, but if they’re common or you want something more unique, now is the time to decide. You might make it more unique by adding the date of your event or the location.

2. Make it readable -  Check it for spelling errors and capitalize the first letter of each word or name to make it easier for guests to use.

3. Make sure it’s not in use -  Check your hashtag to see if another wedding has already used it or to see if it’s associated with pictures you may not want linked with your wedding.

4. Practice makes perfect and increases viewership -  You don’t have to wait until your wedding day to use your hashtag. You can use it to post pictures from the shower, rehearsal dinner or other events leading up to the wedding.

5. Get the word out -  Once you select your hashtag, make sure everyone knows about it. Put it on your save-the-date cards, and use signs at your reception – by the guest book or photo booth, if you’re having one, and on individual tables – to serve as reminders.

Most importantly, have fun with it. Make your hashtag memorable, but don’t waste time or energy becoming obsessed with finding the perfect one.

While some couples thoroughly enjoy the experience of being surrounded by all of their family and friends on their wedding day, including any little ones, others prefer to have an Adults Only Wedding where couples can relax and the noise level is lower. If your ideal wedding only includes the over 21 set, consider these tips to ensure you don’t offend any of your potential guests, especially those who may need to make a tough decision regarding their attendance. Adults Only Wedding

Address Them Properly

One of the most difficult elements is making sure everyone is aware of your wishes. It may seem like a good idea to print “adults-only” on the invitations, but this isn’t advised. It’s the fastest way to offend some of your guests. Instead, make sure you only list the names of the individuals invited. Don’t leave anything up to interpretation.

 

Children Can Still Be in the Wedding Party

Some couples feel if they are having an adults-only reception, they can’t choose a flower girl and ring bearer. This isn’t true. Presumably these children will belong to individuals to whom you are quite close. They should understand their children are more than welcome at the ceremony but will need child care for the reception. You may even supply a babysitter for anyone who can’t make other arrangements, such as out-of-town guests.

 

Don’t Make Exceptions

Despite not listing children on the invitations, you may still encounter couples who ask about bringing their children. The best thing you can do is make it a strict rule. If you make exceptions for some people, you will find many other guests who struggled to find accommodations for their children are resentful.

 

Handling Hurt Feelings

Even if you take the right steps, you may still find some people are hurt by your request. Claiming budget constraints is one of the easiest ways to alleviate these feelings and help patch things up, while allowing you to remain firm. An adults-only reception is a perfectly reasonable option for couples who would like a more laid-back evening. Follow these tips and you can reduce the snags you encounter along the way.

 

Formal and candid photos play a big part of any wedding, providing you with a lifetime of memories you can share with family, friends – even your children. Make the most of your wedding photos with these five simple tips. wedding photos

1. Pick – and book – your photographer early. Ask friends, browse websites, or ask your caterer or venue provider or anyone else you trust to provide suggestions. The most popular photographers will be booked well in advance, so be sure to start this process early.

2. Decide which shots are most important to you, and share the list with your photographer - Make sure to fine-tune your list closer to the event once your day has been planned, so you can add any last-minute items or shots.

3. If you’d like some photos taken outdoors or at unique locations, ask your photographer for suggestions -  Let him or her know a little bit about yourself, your spouse and your relationship, so the ideas and pictures tell a story that’s unique to you as a couple.

4. Rely on your photographer to make suggestions about shots, lighting and angles -  After all, you hired your photographer because you like his or her work and style. Having a professional photographer you trust will enable you to focus on your guests and your new spouse while your photographer handles the rest.

5. Provide a photo booth or disposable cameras for guests to record the day -  If you have a booth, ask guests to leave a picture or two in a special container near the booth or guest book, so you can enjoy them after the ceremony.

Most importantly, relax, don’t overthink it, and let your photographer do his or her job. The last thing you want is an album full of photos of an anxious-looking bride or stressed-out groom.

One of the most important, and most memorable, parts of your wedding reception is the music that you play. From the first dance to the last, these songs will be forever associated with your big day. Because this is such an important decision, you do not want to leave these musical decisions to chance, do you? Here are five tips for building a playlist perfect for your wedding.  

 

Consider a Theme –  While this may or may not work for you, sometimes a theme can make creating a playlist much simpler. A theme gives you a starting point and makes the process easier.

Think About Everyone – While you do not want to play every song for grandma, perhaps you can forgo certain songs she might find offensive. It’s all about making everyone feel comfortable.

Include Important Songs - Make sure you include important songs to you and your significant other. You want to play “your song” or songs that make you think of one another. This is vital to convey the mood of love.

Add Dance Favorites – If you want to get your friends and family moving, include some hits that get everyone out on the dance floor. While these may not always be your favorite, sometimes it’s worth it just for the fun factor.

Don’t Forget Today’s Hits – You want a few songs of today sprinkled in the mix too. Even if you are a fan of older music, having songs of today will put a time stamp on your wedding and help you remember the day well.

As you can see, there is a lot to think about when creating a wedding playlist. Try not to worry too much. Remember, the most important thing is that you choose music that pleases you and your significant other. As long as you are happy everyone should be happy.

The traditional wedding dinner can be the ideal choice for many couples; however, it is far from the only option. If the standard “chicken or fish” wedding meal does not seem like it would suit you and your spouse-to-be, here are three other alternatives that you may want to consider. 

Potluck – Although this “down home” dinner may not seem classy enough for a wedding, it can be a fun choice for a casual coupling. Have your guests bring a favorite dish and everyone will enjoy many family favorites. Encourage guests to write down their recipes and share them with the bride-to-be as an extra gift.
Food Trucks – The food truck craze is at an all-time high. Why not bring in a couple of local favorites and let them cater your wedding on the spot? This affordable option can deliver a lot of fun. If your wedding is especially big, you can bring in a variety of trucks to cover all kinds of tastes.
Salad Bar – A bit “greener” than the typical buffet, a salad bar is affordable, classy and healthy. Choosing a salad bar is one way to keep costs down without forgoing the meal altogether. With the addition of bread and perhaps soups, you can make a meal that is still memorable.

As you can see, you do not have to go with the same old meal for your wedding! Do not be afraid to try something different, and you will create a day that the couple and their guests will never forget.

A traditional wedding cake can be a glorious creation. However, many couples want something a little different for their special day. They don’t want the same cake hundreds of other couples have chosen over the years. If you’re looking for inspiration for changing up your cake so it’s everything but traditional, consider these ideas. 

A Nautical Theme

Whether you’re having a beach wedding or have chosen a beach theme for your reception, decorating your cake with something from the sea can easily integrate your cake into your theme. If you choose to use real seashells, make sure you thoroughly wash and sanitize them before placing them on your cake.

Gilded Toppers

Most people choose ceramic or plastic for their cake topper. You will find a vast array of your typical options, as well as a number of comical or non-traditional poses. However, if you want something that exudes class and looks elegant, consider a gilded topper. These toppers stand out and look amazing atop a white wedding cake.

Fresh Produce

Using fresh flowers to decorate a cake has become relatively commonplace but have you considered using fresh produce on your cake? Fresh herbs can create a fun look for your cake, depending on the plants you choose. Fresh fruit can also be beautiful when cut and arranged decoratively on your cake. Your guests can even eat the decorations!

Unique Pigmentation

Most wedding cakes feature white or ivory frosting and may be decorated in frosting or fondant in other colors as well. However, you can opt for something out of the ordinary by requesting fondant that is dyed in a unique pattern. Perhaps you want a marbled look to your cake or even the impression of a watercolor painting.

While there’s nothing wrong with going traditional with your wedding cake, there are plenty of options today for dressing up your cake. You can opt for a creation that really stands out and keeps your guests talking.

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Up until now, there have been an average of 2.4 million weddings per year in the United States. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on June 26 legalizing same sex marriages, the number of U.S. weddings may be in for a considerable boost. According to The Street, there are currently 4.5 million gay and lesbian couples who may take advantage of the ruling, and, in doing so, give new business to wedding planners, bakers, florists, and wedding reception places.

What To Expect From Same Sex Weddings
While it is monumentally important that lesbian and gay partners can now 100% legally say “I do,” there aren’t as many differences between heterosexual and homosexual weddings as you might think. The most obvious difference, the Auburn Journal duly and accurately notes, is that there are two grooms or two brides. Other than that, all inclusive weddings and all inclusive event packages for same sex couples look pretty much the same. There are some slight adjustments to be made here and there. The Knot showcases cute signs bearing the words “Here Comes The Brides,” there are gay marriage-specific webpages for couples to refer to when making wedding plans (sites like engayedweddings.com), and, yes, the wedding cake topper will undoubtedly reflect the likeness of the couple getting married, with two grooms or two brides.

The Biggest Differences
The biggest differences, according to married couples and experienced planners, are: the rules. As for the rules, there pretty much are none. When it comes to same sex marriages, there are relatively few established rules — and that can be a wonderful thing. It’s up to you to determine your wedding etiquette, like what exactly your wedding party will look like. Do you want all bridesmaids, all groomsmen, or a combination? How will they walk down the aisle, and how will they line up during the ceremony? Will one or both partners walk down the aisle? Will they walk down the aisle with a parent or their parents? Choose friendly and welcoming wedding reception places, set up a few rules with your partner, and enjoy the freedom and convenience of making your own rules.

Over one-third (35%) of weddings take place outdoors. Forty-eight percent of couples will look at venues online first. Thanks to the Supreme Court, gay and lesbian couples can now do all of these things — and more.

Putting Together A WeddingIn many cases, putting together a wedding is something that takes months or even years to plan; however, there are occasions where time simply isn’t on your side. If you find yourself planning a wedding in a hurry, these five tips will help you avoid burnout and get the event going as quickly as possible.

1. Consider a Planner: While you may want to do all the planning yourself, working with a wedding planner or consultant is a great time saver. Not only will it take some of the pressure off planning, you will have access to connections you may not have otherwise had.

2. Work with a Venue: Along the same lines, many wedding venues will help you save time and effort. A venue gives you a “home base” something very important when you are trying to get things going quickly.

3. Think about a Destination Wedding: Instead of trying to do it all at home, sometimes a destination wedding can be a good solution if you need to rush. Many top wedding destinations (such as Miami, Las Vegas or the Caribbean) offer package deals to help move things along quickly.

4. Keep the Guest List Small: Putting together a wedding for 40 guests is much different than one for 400. When possible, keep the guest list as small as you can to reduce the workload.

5. Don’t Worry, Be Happy:  Finally, and most importantly, don’t worry about the little details. The most important thing about the wedding is that two people who love one another will be getting married! Try not to let the stress distract from the fun and beauty of the big day ahead.

 

Wedding Seating ChartDesigning a seating chart is one of those hassles you’d like to put off until the last minute, but it doesn’t have to be a headache:

1. Get started ASAP. As soon as you know who is atteding, start planning the seating arrangement. Don’t leave it to the day before your wedding (or worse the day itself)  you’ll have plenty of other things to occupy your every waking moment.

2. Divvy ‘em up. Make a list that’s divided into the bride’s family and friends (and friends of the family), and then do the same for the groom. Seeing it all on paper (or a computer spreadsheet) can make it easier to determine natural seating partners.

3. Go low tech. Break out the sticky notes and paper and start trying out different arrangements (the sticky notes make it easy to rearrange guests).

4.  Dive in head first. The head table is a cinch  bride and groom at the center, best man, next to the bride, maid of honor, next to the groom, then fill in the rest following a boy-girl arrangement. Or if you prefer, seat the bride’s party on one side and the groom’s on the other. You’re in charge. Flower girls and ring bearers are seated elsewhere with their parents.

5. Parental guidance suggested. Parents of both the bride and groom usually sit together along with other close family members and the officiant. But if your parents are divorced, you’ll probably want to have a different arrangement. Ask your parents what makes them comfortable.

6. Squash feuds: If you know some relatives just don’t get along, seat them at a distance to keep the peace.

7. Scrap it all: If you’re having a very casual event, you may not even want a seating chart. Let guests seat themselves an provide an extra table or two for overflow.

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