Causally arranged, repetition and simplicity are hallmarks of modern style showcasing minimalistic whites, dotted with shimmering votives, and enhanced with simple florals combine to create a table setting with a decidedly modernist vibe.
Accented with silver, white on white is a classic recipe for modern chic. Clean lines, unfussy elements create a setting that is both trendy and polished.
To add an additional layer of personality, take traditional glassware and make it modern with a fresh new silhouette and custom message. A custom wine glass is perfect for giving to your guests as favors and adding a little something extra to your table decor!
Greet your guests with these impressive, and unique, twisted fork handle stationery holders placed at their seat. A perfect fit for a city style modernist theme.
Add an additional personalized layer to each place setting with these city style menu cards. Uptown flair with a subtle modern twist. The simple wrap of ribbon and a lavender detail finish off the look.
Sometimes all a wedding reception needs is a little flicker of candlelight to set the mood and these glass votives with a reflective silver interior add the perfect glimmer.
Do what you love, keep it simple and remember this is your day. Each detail reflects you. A perfect balance of fresh and functional. Simple, neutral and anything but boring.
Many newly engaged couples, gay and straight, are involving friends and family members in their weddings in more creative and personal ways, redefining traditional gender-based bridesmaids & groomsmen roles.
[And really, why can’t brides and grooms have their BFF’s stand with them at the alter regardless of gender?]
Increasingly, today’s modern couples — whether two brides, two grooms or a bride and groom — are choosing to co-create their wedding ceremony from the ground up, mixing cultural and religious traditions with unique elements, and creating new terminology to fit.
Whatever your reason – here are a few examples of interesting and modern takes on wedding rituals, and some fun alternative names for your wedding party too.
Wedding colors: Couples are managing the all-to-familiar bridesmaid matching outfit and coordinating groomsmen tradition with a much lighter touch. Couples are selecting a color (or two) and inviting a close circle of friends and family to wear the color(s). Sometimes instructions include a particular article of clothing (bow tie / socks / shirt or blouse color) and sometimes the request is simply to include that color in whatever outfit is chosen. Not only are couples able to involve more people than they might if the wedding color was limited to the more traditional gang up front, it looks awesome when it comes time for pictures. David and I went this route, but in hindsight didn’t take the idea far enough. We now wish we would have had his mom and my dad wear some “poppy orange” too [really – see picture!].
Non-traditional processional – rather than the 2X2, invite your closest friends, and wedding party participants to walk down the aisle at the start of your ceremony with their respective significant others and then sit in reserved rows at the front. This eliminates the need to have everyone pair up nicely…and means you can forget about requiring an equal number of attendants for each “side of the aisle”. Isn’t it more natural and enjoyable if a family with children move as a clump, or if you have a friend who is happily single, stride down your aisle individually?
Combined bridesmaid-groomsmen party – Why not! Especially if you each already have both men and women as attendants, why not have a co-ed party involving both groups. Not only do these people then have more of a chance to get to know each other, you can have some fun with your best friends while getting to know your future spouse’s best friends – win/win.
And now, a few alternative terms that are gender neutral and more encompassing too.
The safe, tried-and-true choice: “attendants” or “entourage”
Lighthearted: team [fill in the name of groom(s) or bride(s)];
And these too: party people, wedding squad, bridal brigade paired with groom squad.
My personal favorite is the “I Do Crew” . It’s catchy, gender neutral, and – for me – a little bit sentimental.
Wedding photos have [finally] arrived! Now that bills are paid (ugh) and thank-you’s are mostly written (I know, I’m sorry) we must decide on whether and how to create a wedding photo album.
The “whether to” decision is an easy one for us – Yes.
Digitals are great, but digital images are never going to be discovered by your children or grandchildren in the attic. You will never just happen upon your digital images while sorting through a stack of books left untouched for too long. There is nothing special and almost no intimacy involved in gathering around a device to stare at images that are too small to appreciate. Wedding photos are best experienced as part of a narrative — a story that unfolds in a deliberate sequence with one image building upon and informing those before, after and around it.
So as David and I review our images, reflect on the day, and decide how we may want to remember the moments, the wedding album creation & production decision looms — influenced by budget, creative energy, available time, and technological know-how.
I’ve summarized our wedding album website alternatives into 3 price brackets. All of these websites have beautiful wedding album examples to get your creative juices going. Disappointingly, however, none have a same-sex couple prominently displayed in their gallery. Time for some new images everyone.
$$$$ – Custom design/print/bind service.We select the basic layout and the cover, upload the images, provide suggestions for any copy we may want to include with particular images or on certain pages and then let someone else create and print. Cost: Wide range based on number of pages and cover type, but $600 to $1700 covers most of the options available. Yikes.
Blended Motion is a turnkey provider, whereas Storybook Pages focuses on the design component and then allows you to select the print/bind vendor from a list of companies they work with. Both of these companies work primarily with wedding photographers, but they have expanded their service to “retail” as well.
$$1/2 – DIY design using templates/print/bind service.We select from a wide range of pre-formatted designs, most with some customization available, upload the images in the size and position and order we want, then let them produce based on the paper and cover we select.Cost: $200’ish to $750 covers most options available.
This is a more competitive market space, and there are a number of companies. Each of these 3 are worth considering – each with “a look” and particular software & production strengths.
Milk— wedding focused, minimalist look, basic options, not a budget buster, quality product
Blurb— oriented to commercial / professional productions, wedding albums as a side business, flexible design system with default templates for the novice
Adoramapix —Template based with plenty of design flexibility, widest price range based on paper type, page count and cover material
Note: We are not considering BrideBox. Why? There was no “bride” in our wedding. Might be a clever sounding name, but it’s not very welcoming to my husband and me.
$ – DIY design using templates/print/bind service.The primary difference between this price point and the category preceding is that these two providers are not providing a wedding specific product. Their design flexibility is more limited and their production options far more limited. Their product, however, is considered high quality with very fast turnaround.Cost: $100 and under
Apple Photo book — we are an Apple family. I was a reluctant convert, but have come to fully embrace (accept) the Apple way of life. We have used this service before to make albums of family events and the results have been beautiful.
Snapfish & Shutterfly — excellent for the novice/non-tech user, low cost, high quality, very limited design flexibility, quick turnaround. You don’t have to own an Apple.
We are going to go-down-the-middle and use Adoramapix. We will share the end result when we’ve got it to show. For us, it’s a good balance of cost, time spent and design flexibility.
Whatever you decide:
Don’t overspend/overthink.Better to get your favorite photos printed in a scaled down book than have no book at all.
Do not let too much time pass. Your wedding album project will get lost in the “to-do’s” forever…and the story you wanted your wedding photos to tell won’t be telling any stories at all.
Because – meatballs and brown sugar. Perfect little mouthfuls of Brown Sugar-Glazed Turkey Meatballs! If you decide not to have these at your reception, save the recipe and serve them up at the next game event because Football season is coming – I think.
This dish would be a perfect side dish to the mini tacos below. Serve with tortilla chips and you’ve got a southwest theme in the making. Screen ‘Blazing Saddles’ in the background of the dance floor and you’ll have the most talked about wedding in town – along with the Grilled Corn Salsa.
“Hello, handsome. Is that a 10-gallon hat, or are you just enjoying the show?” – Madeline Kahn
Feeling a little chili? – Warm things up with this perfect fall appetizer, or favor, at your reception. Food Network’s Jeff Mauro’s Maple Chili Popcorn is perfect for filling cellophane favor bags that guests can enjoy later or have on the tables for guests to grab and munch between spicy dance moves.
First of all, these Ropa Vieja Mini Tacosare the cutest little appetizer out there – I mean, COME ON! With two types of chiles, these junior spicy mouthfuls are sure to keep the guests warmed up for the dance floor.
6. Bruschetta With Caramelized Dates, Walnuts and Goat Cheese
Whipping yourself up a Bruschetta With Caramelized Dates, Walnuts and Goat Cheese appetizers is a snap. Just toast a fresh baguette, then top the slices with a soft cheese — like chèvre — plus any combination of savory ingredients — like caramelized dates — and finely chopped pistachios or delicious crumbled bacon. See, it’s a snap. SNAP!
These Taleggio Crostini With Apple, Thyme and Honey can be prepared with only a few simple ingredients and thyme – see what I did there? Spread cheese on toasted baguette slices, top with 1 or 2 apple slices, drizzle with a little honey and done!
I have just received my impersonal-yet-irritating “happy one-month anniversary” reminder email from WeddingWire, requesting feedback on everything wedding. And though I am not acting on their request, it did serve as a reminder that our thank-you notes are still not done. It also got me thinking about what stands out — after 30 days — as the best “unscripted moments” from our wedding day.
The GIF Photo Booth is a HUGE one – first on the list of happy surprises. BTW – we get nothing from gifyyy.com for sharing any of this — nada.
When our photographer, Jeff Newsom, offered to set up his new GIF machine at our reception, we said yes not knowing anything about it. It sounded like it might be fun. We already had decided not to have a photo booth, an idea that did not excite us and an expense we could do without. The gifyyy, however, sounded like a fresh, social media-ready upgrade of the photo booth idea. Why not.
It was a hit, with kids and adults alike. Not only are the images hilarious, people had fun just watching other people interact with the device, take their GIF and then play it back. Think of it as an ice-breaker exercise you don’t have to organize or push people to do.
Good stuff to know: Gifyyy’s website provides a good overview, though it is more oriented to wedding professionals who might buy the equipment rather than end users, but you’ll get the idea.
Five points worth emphasizing:
1. The equipment takes up very little space – it really is just that tripod. The design is attractive & neutral enough for any setting, and the circle of lights on the perimeter naturally encourages guests to come check it out. The iPad screen invites you in with a “Touch Me”. Once touched, there is a slight delay and then 1-2 seconds later the GIF is created and immediately displayed. Key in a phone number and the GIF is sent. Ready for the next GIF, just like that.
2. What it does require is plenty of space in front of it so that small and large groups can create their gif, and so that others can watch. How much space? We had a 10’ semi-circle available in front and that worked well.
3.No need for a backdrop or props. Guess you could, but you don’t need to. Put the faux mustaches away.
4.It does require a wifi or cell connection. If your reception location has poor signal strength, you’ll need to figure out an alternative, because a big part of the fun is being able to share your gif on social media – immediate gratification.
5. It is battery powered and self contained — no wires or cables to trip over or cover up.
And best of all, when your party is over you have a collection of all the GIF’s created for you to keep.
We haven’t decided what we’ll do with all of ours, but we are thinking that when our one-year anniversary arrives – we might just be sending out “anniversary reminders” of our own!
Three Wedding Planning Lessons from the Other Side of I Do
We did it. After lots of searching, appointments, joint decision making, and check writing, we are most certainly, legally, undeniably married. What did we learn?
Hiring a wedding planner really is worth the cost – really.
I am a recovering control freak and proud spendthrift [sounds much better than ‘cheap’], and thought we could do without a planner. As the date approached I began to feel overwhelmed, so with about 90 days to go we found someone who would actively manage the last few week’s “crunch” time, especially the few days leading up to our wedding and the clean-up after. Her suggestions with our timeline were invaluable, she managed the wedding & reception set-ups perfectly, and having her there as the go-to person for the other professionals was, I am sure, more helpful than we know. It was not cheap, but worth it.
What we learned: Having the first dance early in the evening, our planner’s suggestion, was a nice change-up and got the evening off to a great start. Thank you Jazmyn Strickland at Love Always Weddings!
Our Do-over:Hire a planner from the start (it doesn’t cost much more than bringing someone in toward the end) and off-load more responsibilities, like managing contracts & deadlines, progress payments to vendors, running a list of “to-do’s”, and keeping the two of us on a schedule.
2. Don’t leave as much time as the experts tell you for guests to RSVP
I did what we all do when faced with an unfamiliar topic – I googled it. My question about lead time for mailing invitations and the RSVP generated an overwhelming number of responses. Most read something like the advice from from the Knot, “make your RSVP deadline 2-3 weeks before your wedding date”.
What we learned: Do NOT follow this advice.
Why send out invitations 90 days or more in advance — as is often recommended — and then give people two months or more before responding? For us, anxiety set in and we sent follow-up emails to our non-responders about one month before our date. Almost all of the replies at that point were “no”.
Most people know if they are going to attend your wedding from the moment they get the invite. More time to decide does not generate more “yes” responses, just more creative “no’s”. Might a shortened RSVP deadline mean a couple more last minute cancellations? Maybe, but those are beyond your control regardless.
Our experience — despite sending save-the-date announcements 6 months in advance, invites 90 days in advance, and allowing people to RSVP up to 2 1/2 weeks before our wedding, we still had a table’s worth of guests cancel during the last week. Shit happens.
Our Do-over: Still send save-the-dates at least 6 months out and invites no more than 90 days out, but give people only a short window to RSVP. Then, if you have that “B-list”, you can actually use it.
3. Spend your time (and money) finding your photographer
Then spend the extra money to have an engagement session even though you really don’t want to (and as a groom, I can’t emphasize enough how much I really didn’t want to). Why? The time you spend with your photographer during the engagement session is invaluable in building a relationship that will make your wedding photography more fun, natural and successful. We knew we found our photographer from the first meeting (and he did not disappoint!). Despite that immediate connection we felt, we were much less comfortable during our engagement session than during the wedding and its seemed to us that he felt that way too.
We had a blast with our photographer at our wedding, loved our engagement photos and can not wait for our wedding day shots.
What we learned: There are many wedding photographers, but there will be one that will BOTH meet your requirements AND feel right to both of you. Spend the time to find that one. We are so glad to have found Jeff. Thank you Jeff Newsom.
We are proud of what we accomplished and are really happy with the day. We made our wedding our own – a goal we share with many couples. It takes time and energy. We hope our experience helps you manage your time so you have the energy for creating your wedding day…and some extra left for the dance floor.
‘Why everyone hates wedding toasts”, “A tradition we can do without”, “Wedding Toast Survival Tips” — titles from my recent google search on wedding toasts.
Yes, people do not like public speaking in general. It is difficult to risk putting ourselves “out there” for others to see. Many of us are shy and experience stage fright, particularly if a microphone is handed to us. And like you, I’ve read the posts indicating that toasts are not just difficult for the “toaster”, but for vendors too, who struggle to manage the event and keep within a particular time frame.
To be sure, there is no shortage of anxiety and nervousness at a wedding. It is tempting to eliminate this tradition that, it may seem, has outlived it’s usefulness and has few supporters. Don’t.
Being asked to provide a toast is an honor. It is a recognition of a shared bond. Toasting is a connection to an earlier time. By accepting, you are acknowledging and supporting the new couple. It may feel somewhat burdensome to be asked, but it truly is not intended as such — and it doesn’t mean you need to contort yourself into a pretzel of originality and praise worthy prose.
Wedding Toast Anxiety Reducing Strategies:
Keep your remarks “in your wheelhouse”. If poetry is your thing, create a poem. If you are most comfortable keeping your comments lighthearted, do it.
Keep it short. Hopefully you were provided guidance, but if not — ask for it. A couple minutes can feel like an eternity if you are not comfortable. You are not the evening’s entertainment.
Write it down and rehearse. Memorization is not required or expected. If a note card helps, use it — though reading a paragraph word-for-word is not engaging.
A note to you “toasters”… any anxiety you may be feeling will likely be a fraction of the nerves being felt by the couple. Why not expand your supportive role and check-in with the bride or groom and see how they and their anxieties are doing. In addition to just being a good listener, you might have an opportunity to suggest some “day-of” stress reducers.
Two Easy To Implement Wedding “Day-of” Stress Reducers:
Couple agrees on a “safe word” or a gesture that, when spoken/motioned by either, means he or she is in immediate need of a break from whatever or whomever – right now, no questions asked. You then excuse the both of you for a minute.
Advise the planner, the officiant, the DJ – of potential anxiety inducing moments for the couple and let these professionals do their job — looking out for the couple and making sure they are prepared should there be a moment of stage fright.
A toast is an ancient tradition – a way of symbolizing camaraderie by raising a glass together to celebrate. Your toast is an opportunity to connect an important part of a bride or groom’s past with their future by sharing a bit of yourself and your shared history with the couple’s friends and family. If your remarks are sincere and you speak in a way that is authentically you, you will have succeeded. For inspiration, watch this video of a heartfelt toast from a dad to his son and son-in-law .
We had an ‘engagement’ photo session with photographer Jeff Newsom.
Since we started talking about getting a photographer for the wedding it has felt a little nerve-wracking. I was not comfortable with the idea of being in front of, or followed by, a camera. Do we pose? Do we look at the camera? Do we stare longingly into each others eyes? Do we hold hands? Too many questions. And, at the wedding are we going to FEEL like the camera is watching us EVERY moment? It made sense that we, and by we, I mean I) needed a way to work that nervousness out.
Working with Jeff on an ‘engagement’ session felt like a way for us to get comfortable with him and him with us. Since Jeff is going to take part in our day we needed to feel like he was comfortable with us as well. Knowing he was sincere in his world meant we would then get real and honest imagery that showed the sincerity of love in our family.
When we first met with Jeff, he and his wife invited us to their home. That was a big deal. That showed us who he was. We looked at his book. He told us a little about himself and his life and we talked about our family and what we wanted. Jeff and his wife both made us feel right at home. We told him we would take a few days to think about it, but by the time we were in the car we had both decided he was the one.
We did check out other photographers. Looked at websites, read reviews and made calls to a couple wedding photographers that seemed like they might fit. Face-timed with one of them, but did not get the same easy feeling we got from Jeff.
When we finally booked Jeff we had decided that we wanted a family photo session and not an ‘engagement’ session. We have been together for nine plus years and it felt like ‘engagement’ just didn’t really fit our situation. We thought it would be more fun to have Leo and the dogs involved.
For the location we met Jeff at a field at Santa Margarita Ranch. After considering a couple of other locations — the beach, here at home, a winery or two (because wine!) — we decided on Santa Margarita Ranch – it just felt right. The place where we are getting married. There are big fields so we could have the dogs out running around. We could toss the football (I know right! A football.) with Leo and just feel like we had lots of room to roam around with the dogs off leash. Plus, it’s the Historic Santa Margarita Ranch. It’s beautiful!
So in the end I had nothing to worry about. The photo session was great. Jeff made us feel really comfortable. There is a very authentic way about him. I am much less nervous about that part of the wedding now. I can now let those nerves move over to the guest list RSVPs!
It is time, with 3 months to go before the big day, to make yet another one of “those” nearly irreversible decisions. This one concerns our wedding cake. And though I freely admit to a mild case of wedding-decision weariness, it seems the wedding industry, which thrives on creating ever more [costly] options from which brides and grooms must select, has been working overtime in the wedding cake arena.
Most alarmingly, the wedding cake decision now includes both the decision of whether to have a cake at all as well as whether to have not one, but two cakes — a more traditional “bride’s cake” as well as a more theme oriented “fun” groom’s cake. Really?
There is no bride and having two groom’s cakes seems redundant, so we’re going to pass on that idea.
Our guide to getting to yes…
COST: Pricing generally is quoted per slice. If you go the custom cake route, per slice cost starts at $5.00 and moves up from there. It can easily top $10.00/slice for more complicated detailing, so buyer beware.
Naked/buttercream vs Fondant: Not a hard decision for us. A less formal and less fussy design suits us better. Naked it is, with buttercream filling as a maybe. However, buttercream and whip cream are not summer-temperature friendly, so be careful if your event is outside in the heat.
Tiered vs Deconstructed: A tiered cake generally is [much] more expensive, and probably too “wedding-y” a look for our tastes. The deconstructed option could allow for a smaller symbolic wedding cake while your guests are served from single layer versions.
Warning here – there is an additional “option-within-an-option” to consider. An increasing number of couples are opting to have a mini-cake for each guest table.
The rationale is that the cake serves as a centerpiece substitute — reducing your florist bill. True enough, but price out the cost of individual cakes before you happily bank your savings. Cake bakers spend much more time decorating many small cakes than one larger cake – and will charge 3 to 4 times more as a result — easily tripling your cost per slice. Depending on your guest count, those flower table-top centerpieces my start to look like a bargain.
Square vs Shaped: I’ve spent considerable time reviewing wedding cake images from the world wide web and the more I viewed, the less I liked the over-the-top uniquely shaped designs. Shaped cakes also are budget busters of the first degree. Square is a more efficient shape to cut – serving more guests. This decision becomes much less of a concern if you decide on having only a small ceremonial cake and is a much bigger concern if you decide to have one wedding cake per table.
Standard Flavors vs Exotic: I say, go with what you know. I’m a dark chocolate addict, and I’ve successfully converted my partner over to the dark side. Our son, however is a vanilla hold out, we’ll figure something out.
Piped Detailing versus ribbons/berries/flowers: We’ve all seen how intricate detailing can create a visual masterpiece. Our view, a cake is to be consumed, not curated. I want it to be appetizing visually and delicious, but mostly delicious.
COST: Less than traditional cake, but guests may eat more than one.
By now, tiered cupcake holders, cupcake carts and designer cupcakes have become part of the normal wedding reception discussion. Cupcakes offer a chance to provide a more varied selection, but often are more of a self-serve type dessert. Many couples have paired a mini-wedding cake with cupcakes as an alternative to the deconstructed sheet cake thing.
Doughnuts,cookies, mini-cheesecakes, rustic-pies, fruit tarts, brownies, cinnamon rolls and ‘candy-bars’ all have supporters. And for those with the budget to handle it, creating a dessert station with any number of these treats so that guests can choose their sugar-fix can be an awesome option. Many of these options also are delivered to guests via a food cart for added fun and atmosphere. I’ve not listed costs here, because quotes seem to be all over the board, which gets to another concern I have with some of these alternatives. I very much value being able to make this decision and not feel as though I need to then worry about whether my artisan-mini-fruit-pie person is going to go out of business between now and wedding day. These one-of-a-kind desserts are often prepared and supplied by fantastically talented – and over-worked – sole proprietors.
As it turns out, we easily agreed on a cake / sheet cake combo. The ceremonial cake will lean toward “naked,” and it will not be tricked out – too much. And it will be chocolate – dark. We’ll be sure to post a picture. Next up – play list…
David and I have been shopping for rings, so I have been getting lots of wedding band and engagement ring follow-up emails. Most of these ads are focused entirely on brides — reflecting the reality of the wedding industry I know — but certainly not at all helpful or appealing to me. Most barely acknowledge the existence of men and none were thoughtful, or proactive enough to consider two brides or two grooms…until now.
This ad is A W E S O M E! It arrived this morning from Blue Nile.
Thank you Blue Nile for your inclusive advertising! Made our day here at Taylor Street.
We will shop your store and encourage modern couples to do the same.