How to Welcome Out of Town Guest during your Wedding

Welcoming Out of Town Guest.

How to Make Out-of-Town Wedding Guests Feel at HomeImage

For a significant number of your friends and family members, showing up for your nuptial celebration may mean hopping on a plane to cross state lines. These out-of-towners will go to a lot of effort and expense to share in your momentous occasion, so it’s your job to welcome them, help them get around, and keep them entertained. With that in mind, here’s how to put them at ease.

Essential Details

One of the simplest, yet probably most useful, things you could do for your guests is to provide a wedding itinerary. After sending out your invitations, mail guests an additional clever, elegant, or interesting communique with a complete rundown of the events leading up to and following your walk down the aisle. In addition, create a wedding web page for an easily referenced one-stop-shop for guests to check up on everything you have planned. In both cases, include key times, locations, who is hosting, what to wear, and so on for each activity. Tell your visitors about any free time they’ll have, and provide suggestions for how to fill it. There may be events you have in mind (such as a brunch the morning after the wedding) that travelers should know about in advance so they can schedule their trips around them.

These intrepid travelers have come to see you, so make sure they do — pull them aside for some one-on-one attention.

Be aware that since many of your guests are taking to the skies, they may be turning your nuptial event into a weekend getaway or part of a vacation. Also, remember that some of your guests may never have visited the area before. You may wish to add in “travel guide” bits of information to your prewedding itinerary to get guests excited about the journey. For example, if there are some great sights to see or points of interest to visit, tell your guests in case they’d like to do some exploring. Do some research and investigate which museums will have amazing exhibits showing, whether or not the local sports team is playing a home game, and what musical or other cultural performances will be happening.

Shelter & Travel

Though footing the bill for travelers’ overnight accommodations and flights isn’t your responsibility, you and your fiance should offer suggestions for how to find both (and tips on how to score good deals will no doubt be appreciated by guests). Be sure to put important details for airlines and hotels (website and street addresses, phone numbers, directions, and cost information) on an insert sent out with your invitations, or post it separately on your wedding itinerary or web page so guests can book their flights and rooms early and know how to get around once they arrive.

Recommend different places for guests to stay. Look for locations near your ceremony and reception sites, and start calling around about six months beforehand to check on large-scale availability for the days surrounding your wedding, and to inquire about special group rates. To get the best deal for your guests, reserve blocks of rooms at a couple of hotels. Keep your guest’s probable budget range in mind, and recommend both fancy fare for those flush with cash and a less expensive alternative for the budget-minded. For the best airfares, try getting in touch with the airlines directly. Inquire about frequent-flyer deals, special discounts, and group rates for those who may all be flying in from the same place.

Getting Around

Some out-of-towners will choose to rent cars (be sure to provide car rental info with your hotel and airline details), but for those who don’t, you’ll have to figure out how they’ll get to and from the wedding. Cover all the bases: organize a fleet of relatives that will act as chauffeurs, talk to the hotel manager to arrange for a hotel shuttle, hire a car or limo service, or rent a few vans or a bus.

It’s also a kind gesture to have someone pick up nondrivers from the airport — especially if they’re new to the area or get nervous traveling. Recruit volunteers for this: parents, next of kin, and friends are likely targets. Put together a roster of arrival times, and have trekkers greeted at the gate with signs bearing their names (be sure to let guests know you’ve arranged this, and clue them in on who to look for).

Surprise Treats

Comfort the jet-lagged and travel-weary with a little something left in their hotel rooms. Imagine their delight — walking into their temporary living quarters and discovering a basket of fresh fruit, a bouquet of flowers, a tin of local chocolates, or a bottle of chilled bubbly. What you choose to give depends on your resources, and can be as lavish as a free massage at the hotel spa or as simple as a plate of homemade chocolate-chip cookies. The purpose is to let guests know you appreciate their effort to join you for your special day.

Create welcome packets of relevant information (phone numbers of the families of the bride and groom, the names of the other guests staying at the hotel, nearby hot spots to check out) to leave in guests’ rooms with another copy of your wedding itinerary, plus local brochures and sightseeing maps. Enlist the aid of your wedding crew to assemble and distribute all these treats. Finally, add that finishing touch and pen a personal note thanking each guest for coming to celebrate with you.

Evening Entertainment

Leading up to the main event, you may have plenty to fuss over, but out-of-town guests may not. Don’t leave them in the lurch with nothing to do. If many guests are showing up the night before the ceremony, suggest ways they can stay amused while you hold the rehearsal dinner. Ask a friend or relative to host a gathering like a backyard barbecue or pizza party to help guests get to know one another. Or arrange to have everyone meet together at a restaurant or bar. Better yet, create a more casual rehearsal dinner, and open up the invite list to include everyone who might be around. For guests who like to entertain themselves, be sure to supply a roster of your favorite restaurants, shops, and local movie theaters as a thoughtful gesture.

Time In-Between

Though recommended, sometimes it’s not possible to have your reception immediately follow your ceremony. If there will be a lengthy break between your “I dos” and the party, or your ceremony is late in the day, try to come up with a game plan. During a lull, some people won’t mind going back to the hotel and kicking back. But others may be interested in touring your stomping grounds. If guests will have the morning free, suggest a game of golf or a visit to a museum. With lots of spare time between the main events, you could organize an excursion, such as taking a group of guests to visit nearby attractions or to see a movie.

Quality Time

Remember the reason that these intrepid travelers have come is to see you, so make sure they do. Pull them aside amid all the revelry for some one-on-one attention, or make it a point to tell them at the receiving line how much seeing them means to you. Raise your glass during toasting time to acknowledge those who have come from afar, and consider setting up something special for journeyers, such as a brunch the morning after the ceremony (if you aren’t already off to a magnificent honeymoon).

welcome to wedding

Wedding Trends for 2013

wedding_SB25According to several sources, including emilypost.com , brides this year can expect to see weddings that reflect these changes and influences.
Personalized Weddings continue to be important to couples who are looking to include elements that have personal meaning to the couple. Ceremonies and receptions can reflect multi –cultural and/or inter-faith statements.  Monograms remain important and reflect the couple’s first names.
The Internet continues to play an important role in wedding planning.  High tech access is used in vendor selection, gift registries, information sharing, guest information sources and communication with members of the wedding party.  Note:  Emailing invitations and thank you notes is still not considered correct or classy.
The importance of color continues in bridal apparel.  While white and ivory remain favorites, wedding gowns are showing color touches, shoes are colorful (with blue the odds on favorite) and floral decorations carry the color theme throughout the wedding plans.
The role of grooms in wedding planning continues to grow.  There are more and more joint decisions being made by the couple (who tend to be older and funding their own weddings).
While the formal structured wording of the wedding invitation is still customary, more couples are choosing to individualize their invitations with colorful papers, ribbon trims and unique wording.  It is important to note that even if the format of the invitation is unique, it should still contain all the information guests need plus be grammatically correct.
Brides need to remember that no mention of gifts, even “no gifts, please” is ever made on a wedding invitation.  It is acceptable to mention a website on an enclosure card and that website can contain information about gift registry options.  The phrase “black tie” may appear on the reception invitation, but is not printed on a wedding invitation.

Elegance on a Budget
Even if your wedding budget is smaller than you would like, there are ways to create an elegant event.
Our expertise is helping brides have the wedding of their dreams.  We work with a bride to really understand the impact and image that a bride dreams of for her wedding.  We help the couple establish a budget and work with them to live within that budget as the wedding is planned.  Determine what you can pay and then stick to it.
Some of our advice and guidance encourages brides to:
Tap personal resources.  Are any friends photographers?  Does the couple have unused frequent flyer miles?  Are any friends caterers or do they own a large home with a yard that could host a wedding event?
Think outside the box.  Plan a wedding for a Sunday afternoon or other unusual time.  Don’t select prime time for your wedding.  Plan an afternoon cocktail reception instead of a sit down dinner. Get married in the morning and plan a buffet brunch for the reception.  Look at unusual places, times and options that can save money but still offer an elegant environment.
Remember that it’s your wedding, not an entry in the social calendar.  If you are visualizing your wedding as a way to impress people, you are sure to overspend.  Instead, think of your wedding as a way to celebrate your new life with someone.  Keep it personal not fodder for the evening news.
Reconsider décor items.  Repurpose bridal and bridesmaids bouquets as table centerpieces, skip the aisle runner, keep your invitation simple, choose in season flowers, fill space with rental greens and choose a signature cocktail instead of an open bar.
Consider the impact of texture.  It tends to imply luxury more than a glossy or flat finish.  Incorporate texture in the invitation paper, in table cloths, in napkins, menus, place cards, programs.

Glossary of Men’s Formalwear                  wedding_SB24
While dress criteria have relaxed in some areas, and even ignored in others, we feel that a wedding is a time for suitable dress codes for the men involved.  Here are some of the most common terms with updated explanations.
Black Tie – considered to be the standard for almost any evening affair, a black tie event requires a tuxedo for men.  While many designers have versions of this classic, choose a black jacket with satin or grosgrain lapels, black trousers (usually with a stripe down the side), a bow tie and a cummerbund.  (Think James Bond)
White Tie – refers to full evening dress.  Traditionally it is a tux with tails, a top hat, an overcoat, a cane and of course, a white bow tie.  (Think Fred Astair)  If the wedding party is in full formal attire, it is usual to suggest that male guests appear in tuxedos or at least dark suits.
Black Tie Optional (or Preferred) – This specific dress code extends the option of wearing either a suit or a tuxedo.  If this is extended to guests, then it needs to apply to the groom as well.  Generally, the groom and members of his wedding party will choose a tuxedo (with your encouragement) but classic suits in dark shades like black, deep navy or brown are also considered appropriate.
Daytime Wedding (in warm weather) – This dress code implies a level of informality (think Sunday brunch) and allows for linen or twill suits.  If the wedding is at a beach or informal outdoor site, men can skip a tie and wear a simple blazer with dress pants.
Daytime Wedding (in cold weather) – This dress code usually suggests that men go with either a cotton or wool suit in the fall and winter seasons.  Preferred colors are dark – navy or black.
Ties are preferred.

For more ideas about making your wedding plans unique, contact us at 

(864) 576-6434 or email contactus@skatellsjewelers.com

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Tips from a Wedding Planner

We know that it takes a happy combination of events and planning to produce a “perfect” wedding.  Here are a few tips from the professional planners at Weddings Beautiful Worldwide.
If you are concerned about a guest list that has gotten out of hand and is too long for your taste or budget, assemble an unedited list of names (potential guests) and ask everyone involved to rank the names from most to least important. Count up the “most important” names and see what the list looks like.  If it is close to budget, thank everyone and settle the list.  If the numbers are still off, then ask people to cut a designated percentage from their lists.  Take stock of the new total and see  if the process needs to be repeated.

Don’t even consider sending invitations to an “A” list of guests, only to invite someone from a “B” list when someone from the first list declines.  That is so “Kardashian”!

To determine the size of the site you’ll need for your reception, be sure to investigate the parking facilities and the rest rooms as well as the size of the reception room(s).  The rule of thumb for toilets is that there should be at least one for every 25 guests.  The parking lot should accommodate one parking space for every two guests.

Always have at least one attendant assigned to your gift table at the reception even if you are not planning to open and display the gifts there.  BY THE WAY, that is the best and preferred way.  Money gifts should be kept in special receptacles and secured.  Many weddings hire special security for the reception to keep an eye on gifts and to assist in their proper transport after the celebration is over.

If parents and stepparents are contributing money for your reception, it is much better to pool the money in advance.  Then no contributor will demand to take control of how the money is spent.  If someone feels strongly about “sponsoring” a particular wedding expense, it is far better to know that up front and working with that person to accommodate preferences.

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The meaning of “Something Blue”

Jewelry Trends: Blue is Making a Splash

We all know the bride’s wedding day mantra:

Something old, something new,  

 something borrowed, something blue.

This verse is said to bring the bride good fortune if she carries these items with her on her wedding day. “Something old” is to symbolize the bride’s relationship and continuity with her family’s past. Hope for the future and optimism is represented by “something new.” “Something borrowed” generally comes from a trusted friend or family member whose own marriage is successful and happy. But what is the meaning of “something blue?”

The color blue is a very symbolic color and has been connected to weddings for centuries. Brides wore blue in ancient Rome to symbolize love, modesty and fidelity. Purity is also associated with blue, as in Christianity, the Virgin Mary is often shown wearing blue. Blue was a very popular color for wedding attire before the late 19th century. We’ve all heard the proverb, “Marry in blue, lover be true.”

Now, in modern times, blue is making a big splash for weddings. Trends are showing that brides are choosing blue for bridesmaids’ gowns, flowers, wedding jewelry, reception hall decorations and the wedding gown itself. Also, the September birthstone, sapphire, is a popular option in engagement rings.

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Sapphires have long been associated with royalty. King Solomon wore a sapphire ring and Prince Charles presented Lady Diana with a beautiful sapphire surrounded by diamonds for her engagement ring. Prince William presented his late mother’s sapphire engagement ring to his bride, Kate Middleton.

Sapphires are found in nearly any color imaginable except for red, which is a ruby. Blue sapphires are the most popular. Pink is also becoming more widely used in fine jewelry.

Legend states that sapphires could bring spiritual enlightenment and inner peace. It has also been associated with friendship and loyalty. Sapphire is also the gemstone for the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries.

Sapphires rate 9.0 on the Mohs Hardness scale which means that they are resistant to being scratched and are are excellent in toughness. Clean your sapphire jewelry with mild soap and water. It is safe to use ultrasonic cleaners and steam cleaners.

WEDDING NOTES™ – Your Ceremony

ImageHe asked you to marry him and you said yes!  Congratulations!  If you know that you will be married in a church ceremony, as soon as you have shared the good news with close family members, it is time to think about when and where you will be married.

Once you have determined when, lock in the ceremony site and the reception venue.  Then other plans can fall into place.  As soon as possible, meet with the officiant and/or his/her representative to determine the “rules” guiding ceremonies in that church or synagogue.  With that information in hand, you can begin to formulate your own personal touches with the goal of creating a beautiful setting that helps to establish the mood for your ceremony to come.

As guests arrive, the setting – candles, lights, flowers and music can create a lovely atmosphere.

Instruct ushers to make friendly small talk with guests as they arrive and as they are escorted to their seats.  This is truly welcoming and helps guests to feel at ease.  If yours is a small wedding, ushers can present a single flower to female guests along with a note from you welcoming them to the wedding.  A welcome flower can also be presented along with the programs.

Consider having ceremony hosts welcome guests at the entrance doors.  Choose one from each family – someone who is likely to recognize the majority of the guests as they arrive.  Your parents may be mingling with guests at this point or may be needed with the wedding party.

If you have music playing as guests arrive and are seated, be sure someone is ready to cue the music to change tempo or volume or both so that special music plays as the parents of the bride and groom are seated.  More and more couples are choosing to have a card or note from them along with a single flower or small wrapped gift waiting in the pew for parents as they are seated.

Consider having the music change again as the groom and his best man take their places.  Then as the processional begins, the music should change again for the bridesmaids and flower girls.

The bride should make an entrance cued by more dramatic “announcement” music.  If the church or facility can manage it, consider dimming the house lights and turn on pre placed lighting aimed at the aisle just before the bride begins her walk to the altar.

Above all remember that the ceremony is the cornerstone of the day and the reason the guests have gathered.  The reception celebrates what has happened in that church.

WEDDING NOTES™ – Centerpiece Choices

ImageSeen at current weddings – a wide variety of centerpiece options which complement the theme of the wedding and/or reflect the couple’s search for “something unique”!

For fans of traditional floral arrangements, there is the assurance that given the right color combo and size, guests will feel right at home with the idea of flowers on the table that complete the look of elegant special occasions.  Flowers work beautifully as long as the arrangements are either low enough (under 12-14 inches) or high enough (at least 30 inches) so that guests can converse across the table – or at least see each other.  Formal arrangements in glass or silver containers send one message, while daisies or sunflowers in canning jars send another.

With the changing view of wedding cakes, many brides are opting to make desert the centerpiece of guest tables.  Cupcake trees, lollipop cakes, cookie and dessert bar assortments and miniature versions of the bridal cake make perfect centerpiece options.

Guest favors artfully arranged on clear plastic or glass trays work well when accompanied by thank you notes from the bride and groom.

Candles of varying height and shape arranged on mirrors make a wonderful centerpiece for each table and their accumulated impact is wonderful.  However, be sure to check the reception hall’s heating/cooling system.  If a lot of air is going to be blowing over the tables, your candles won’t last long.  If your reception is in a tented area, think about LED tapers that look almost real.

Some brides have made the wine being served with dinner an integral part of the centerpiece.  With some greenery and/or wrapped cheese miniatures the different bottles make an intriguing focal point.

Collect a variety of glass serving pieces and fill them with beverages (or water) the theme color of the wedding.

Photos of the bride and groom as children framed and grouped in the center of the table, work well as centerpieces and conversation starters.

WEDDING NOTES™ – Bridezillas Are Wrong

ImageWe all realize that the bride and groom are the focal points of this very special day.  The wedding and its celebration are milestones in individual lives and family memories.  It is a significant social and personal event that deserves the attention given it.

But what many of us have learned is that the weddings that are most remembered are those which consider the family and friends who will be joining the couple in celebrating the event.

Here are some ways brides and grooms can focus on guests and family.

  • Remember to treat attendants like the friends they are – not servants.  They are expending time and treasure to celebrate with you.  Certainly they are there to support your wishes, but not to grant your every whim.  Consideration and gratitude are welcome gifts to wedding party participants.
  • When you are developing your gift registries, remember to include items for all price ranges.  Friends and family members want to give you as nice a gift as they can.  Spend some time making thoughtful choices.
  • Select reception food that most guests will enjoy.  If you are planning an ethnic specialty, be sure to include an alternative.  Not every guest will welcome unfamiliar food.
  • If music is to be played during cocktails and/or dinner, make sure it is background music soft enough so that people can hear themselves and others talk.
  • If you are having a wedding dance, make sure that the band plays some “golden oldies” so that parents and/or grandparents and their friends can dance too.
  • Don’t micro manage everything.  Once plans are in place let vendors you’ve hired do what you hired them to do.
  • For everyone’s sake, try to limit the time delay between the end of the ceremony and the start of the reception to one hour or less.  If it must be longer, arrange something for the guests to do while they are awaiting your arrival.  No one wants to go home and come back again.

Remember that this is one of the biggest parties you and your family will ever give.  Make it memorable for your guests.

WEDDING NOTES™ – Alternate Sites

ImageWhen a bride asks about ideas for a non-traditional wedding site, before we offer suggestions, we ask how flexible she is.  Planning a wedding at an outdoor site requires arranging two sites.  One is the prime location and the other is the alternate.  The weather has been known to ruin many original plans.  Don’t let that discourage you from having the wedding you want, but do have backup plans in place.

An outdoor site can be a perfect spot for those of different religious faiths.  It is a perfect choice for couples who love the outdoors or have families with extensive gardens or grounds.   Often outdoor sites are less expensive than closed venues.

The intimate setting of a chapel, beach, park or backyard offers the freedom to add personal touches to the ceremony.  The location choice will set the theme for your wedding celebration and once selected make many subsequent choices easier.  Canopies, tents and gazebos may be rented and needed.

Once you have secured plan A and plan b, other plans and decisions will flow more easily.   Decorations, food, refreshments, entertainment and guest list will all be governed by the location decisions you have made. It is good to have another viewpoint and advice on the unusual celebration you have in mind.

WEDDING NOTES™ – Under it All!

ImageAll brides look for a wedding gown that has the look and features that they want.  Whether simple or ornate, there truly is a gown “out there” for every bride.  The guidance of an experienced consultant who knows each designer’s specialty can put her in the perfect dress.  The hands of a skilled alterations expert can make the gown of choice fit beautifully.   But even those professionals can’t change body shapes.  We all sometimes need help with that.

Some designers construct a wedding gown with built in corsets.  That can come as a surprise to a bride from a generation that thought corsets disappeared with the end of the Civil War, but the designer who added the proper “infrastructure” to the gown, knew what he/she was doing.

If your gown of choice does not have a built in minimizer or enhancer, rely on the skill and advice of a trained consultant who can help you find the proper undergarments to make the most of you and the gown.

The proper bra and slip and other “control” items like Spanx can help you feel and look your very best on this important day.

Be sure that the undergarments you choose are neutral or skin toned.  You don’t need a surprise color peeping out or showing through.  Be sure that you try all of the undergarments on under your gown and have a friend take photographs from the front, back and side so you know all is secure.

Far from being uncomfortable, many of today’s undergarments are designed for both comfort and camouflage.

WEDDING NOTES™ – Rehearsal or not?

ImageUnless you are planning to elope or get married by a judge in his/her chambers, you and your wedding party are going to participate in a wedding rehearsal.  Even if you have been a bridesmaid in six weddings of friends, this is your wedding and you will want a run through.

What are the things you will want to cover:

  • The order of the processional and recessional: who goes with who and who stands where and for how long.
  • Where the photographer and videographer will be located as well as any musicians who may be part of the ceremony.
  • What music will be played – when and for how long.
  • Who will cue the wedding party to enter and exit.
  • The offiiciant’s instructions and cues for vows, reading, music and movement.
  • The duties of the flower girl, ring bearer, best man and maid of honor.

Who will run the rehearsal?

  • It usually handled by the wedding planner you have been working with and/or the wedding coordinator from the church or synagogue where you will be married.
  • The officiant will have input and the final word.
  • You may want to ask a family member or friend to oversee the rehearsal to make sure all the questions are covered, but be careful not to choose someone who could be at home on a battlefield.  These are not orders to be given, but friendly and caring requests.

You are about to star in the biggest “show” you’ve ever been in.  No show goes to Broadway without weeks of rehearsal.   You are only asking for your bridal party’s attention for one hour or so and then they will be fed and thanked at your rehearsal dinner.  Make both parts of the evening festive.