Questions to Ask a Reception Venue Before Signing the Contract

questions to ask a reception venue wedding

Okay, so you’ve searched high and low and you have finally found what seems like the ultimate wedding reception venue. But wait, before you sign on the dotted line and hand over that deposit, make sure you’ve asked all of the right questions. What? You want to know what the right questions actually are? Then read on, bride-to-be, for a primer in how to plan a perfect party without getting burned.

The Size and Particulars of the Venue

Can the facility comfortably accommodate the size wedding and number of guests you are planning? If you’re planning a large wedding, inquire as to the largest reception the facility has handled. Does it have handicap access? Does it have air conditioning? Is there a room available for the bride to use during the reception to change clothes or just freshen up?

Your Wedding Date

Is it available? Ask if there are any other events or weddings booked for that day. Some facilities will only book one wedding a day and that’s great! Other reception locations may book two weddings back to back. And of course, large hotels can have many weddings going on simultaneously. Just be sure you know all of the details for the day of your reception.

The Decor

If you haven’t seen it already, ask to see pictures of the facility as it would be set up for a wedding. Can you make any changes? Make sure that if there are certain decorations that you see now and like, that they will still be available on your wedding date. Ask if they are doing any remodeling or redecorating from now until your wedding day. When booking sites sometimes a year or more ahead of time, some brides have been a little disappointed when they’ve fallen in love with a certain look of their reception site and come back for their wedding to find that it looks totally different!

The Number of Hours

Most receptions last for four or five hours. Ask how many hours you will have for your reception. Some facilities will give you four hours and charge you additionally (sometimes another $500) for every additional hour. Be sure to ask when you must be out of the facility and if there is an additional charge for going over the allotted time.

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How much is the total rental fee? And specifically, what does the price include? Ask about the deposit, how much and when is the balance due? Ask if they have any “wedding packages”. Sometimes facilities will offer a wedding package including food, flowers, wedding cake and even a limo. Although you limit some of your choices, it can save you lots of time and money!

Extra Charges

If it’s a banquet hall or historic estate, do you have to rent chairs and tables, and if so, is this an extra charge? What about linens and glassware are they included? Is there a cake cutting fee? What about a corking fee? (When you purchase your own alcohol for the reception, a corking fee is sometimes charged for each bottle of wine opened.)

The Food (and the Cake, too)

If the facility is a hotel or restaurant and will provide the food for the wedding, make sure that you’ve had an opportunity to sample the food and talk about menu choices. If you choose a location which requires an outside caterer, ask if you’re required to choose from their approved list or can you choose any caterer?

Alcohol and Bar Service

Does the facility provide the alcohol and bar service or do you bring your own alcohol? What about bartenders? Are there any restrictions about the type or quantity of alcohol to be served? Do they require a cash bar or is open bar an option? Ask about their liability insurance and if it is sufficient for your size wedding.

Entertainment

Make sure the dance floor is big enough to accommodate your guests. Ask the facility manager to show you where the band or DJ would set up their equipment. Make sure the facility can accommodate them adequately. Does the venue have an in-house DJ?

Parking

Is it readily available? Do you need to hire a parking attendant or valet? Are there any events (i.e. festivals, parades, sporting events) that will make parking difficult for your guests?

Restrictions

Ask if there are any restrictions in regards to using the facility. For instance, some historic estates have certain restrictions or rules regarding smoking, lit candles, and alcohol.

Overnight Accommodations

Ask if the facility has overnight accommodations for your out-of-town guests. If it is a hotel, can you reserve a block of rooms at a discount?

The Wedding Coordinator

Many facilities will have a Wedding Coordinator on staff and at no extra charge. The role of the Wedding Coordinator is to make sure that everything runs smoothly for your wedding day! The Coordinator keeps the wedding on schedule and is “the person” for the caterer, DJ/band, florist, or even the bride to go to if they have questions.


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The Top 16 Ways to Save Money on a Wedding Reception

orange wedding reception table

Here’s a “fun” fact: the reception is nearly always the most costly part of the wedding. Spring for a real pearl wedding tiara or a designer dress, and shoes that cost more than your rent – you still won’t top the cost of the reception. It makes sense. Wining and dining 100+ people is seldom (okay never) cheap, and if anyone can justify the upsell that wedding vendors are so often accused of its the space where the whole shebang goes down.

Still, my motto is always ‘Why pay more when you don’t have to?’ There’s nothing that says you have to lay out big bucks on your wedding reception. You’ll be just as married if you don’t, after all. Chances are that even if you’re a budget bride your reception will still be the costliest part of your nuptials – but costliest doesn’t have to mean it’s a budget buster. Here are 16 ways you can save money on a wedding reception without sacrificing style or good times.

1. Reserve your banquet hall or reception space early so they put a cap on the price per person. Who knows what the cost per head will be six months from now when open days are few and far between? When you’re sure you’ve found the right space, pull the trigger.

2. Think outside of the box. Instead of a traditional banquet hall or country club, consider hosting your wedding reception at a community center, nature conservatory, greenhouse, library, museum or church hall. Some alternative options are actually more expensive, but not all!

3.Getting married in the off season really can be a money saver. Could you see yourself getting married on a Friday or Sunday morning – could your guests even make it? If that’s too much to ask, late fall and winter wedding dates are often the friendliest options when it comes to your wallet.

4. Have a cash bar instead of an open bar. Will some people give you the stink eye? Yup, but if they’re so déclassé as to absolutely require free booze to have a good time then who needs ’em!

5. Instead of treating your wedding guests to a full sit-down dinner, have a champagne cocktail and dessert reception with nibbles, a small selection of cocktails, coffee, and wedding cake. Truth be told, I have never not left a cocktail reception full – you can enjoy plenty of food without sitting down to do it.

6. Keep the guest list small. Fewer mouths to feed translates to a smaller bill at the end of the big day. Cutting down the guest list is hard, I know, but believe me when I say that most people won’t actually be offended when they don’t receive an invite.

7. Buy your own alcohol, if your reception venue allows it. I’ve written about putting together a DIY wedding bar before.

8. Limit the nibbles circulating before the meal if you’re having a sit down dinner. Consider three or four food stations, instead of eight or nine butler-passed hor d’oeuvres. Or scrap the whole works and let guests satisfy themselves with one lovely meal.

9. Steer clear of anything with “market price” on the menu, obviously. Comfort foods are often nicely priced and can be spruced up so as to make them trendy and fun. Think stuff like grilled cheese sliders and tomato soup shots.

10. Ask your reception site about guaranteed numbers. You might still have to pay for 150 guests even though 120 showed up, but the discount you could get might just make it worth it. Or heck, just flat out ask for a discount. You never know when someone might be in a good mood and the worst you’ll hear is no.

11. Prioritize. If you’re not a huge cake fan but want a wedding cake for the fun of it, let them eat chocolate and vanilla instead of shelling out for a tier each of peach spice, key lime, and almond torte. Don’t care for beer? Don’t serve it. Do you really care about the relative quality of the linens? Think about what you’re paying for before signing on the dotted line.

12. Pick daytime over dinner – lunch or brunch receptions tend to cost less than dinnertime affairs in part because lunchy and brunchy foods are budget-friendly. And who doesn’t love brunch?

orange wedding reception flowers

13. DIY your reception table centerpieces. It’s amazing what you can do with some glass jars or vintage bottles and fresh flowers – no prior experience in the florist industry required. Make sure, however, that you’re not still paying a fee for decorations provided by the venue.

14. Though it seems counter-intuitive, consider letting your reception venue do all the work. Why not DIY wherever and whenever you can? Because professionals working at a site can often do it cheaper because they do it A LOT and have access to discounts you don’t. Sometimes getting a deal is as easy as having the venue provide not only the space, but the food, drink, cake, music, and decor.

15. Switch cities. Just for the big day, of course. If you live somewhere like Manhattan or Boston, you could save big bucks on reception costs by getting married in your Middle American home town.

16. Ask for help. Controversial? Yes, but often worth it. Skilled friends may be only too willing to help out with your reception. I recommend only asking very good friends to pitch in – you know, the cousin who is like a sister and just happens to be a first class cake designer or your very best best friend who actually does arrange flowers for a living.

And there you have it. You really can plan a wedding reception that’s fabulous and frugal, too, so you have more money to devote to what really matters. Like wedding jewelry, hint hint.


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How Much Can One Bride Really DIY?

Excited to DIY your wedding? And why not! DIY can save money and is a fun way to personalize your wedding. Well, sometimes. We are all for DIYing some or even all of your wedding ceremony and reception details provided you have the time, the experience necessary, and yes, the cash. Because DIY is actually not always the least expensive option. And DIY can be hard.

easy wedding decor DIY - burlap bunting

There’s a reason that wedding cake bakers and seamstresses who specialize in alterations on wedding dresses and professional photographers get paid so much for what can seem like so little work to an outsider’s eyes.

But let’s say you’re determined to tackle one or more DIY projects. Okay. There’s no one answer to how much a bride-to-be can reasonably DIY for her wedding. But it’s not that hard to gauge how much you personally can take on.

easy wedding DIY - book themed wedding

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have a job? How stressful is your job?
  • Will you have help from bridesmaids or your intended?
  • Have you ever: arranged flowers, baked a tiered cake, brewed beer, etc.?
  • How much time do you have before the wedding?
  • Is DIY realistic given your circumstances and experience?
  • No, be honest, is it really realistic?

If you don’t want wedding planning to turn into a giant cluster you-know-what of stress and tears then you have to be absolutely truthful with yourself about your skill level and how much time you have at your disposal.

easy wedding decor DIY

If your dream is to DIY your wedding cake, do you have enough time to make two or three practice cakes – as in, full size, fully decorated cakes? If it’s DIY wedding invitations you’re after, do you have design experience? Want to make your own wedding jewelry? Sew your own gown? Handcraft your bridal veil? That all sounds wonderful and we support your efforts, but don’t kill yourself trying to do things you don’t even know if you’re good at.

After all, there’s not much worse than having to run to David’s Bridal the day before your wedding to grab something from off the rack and hope to God it fits! And there’s nothing wrong with working with professionals to ensure things are as close to perfect as they can possibly be.

In other words: Be confident when you DIY but for goodness sakes, know your limits!


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12 Tips for Having Children in Weddings

Inviting children to take part in your wedding ceremony can make it even more special – especially if you yourself have kids or your spouse to be is a dad or mom. However, the last thing you want to worry about is your flower girl or ring bearer becoming impatient, restless, fidgety, or tantrum-y on the day of the wedding.

children in weddings

Remember, weddings can get pretty boring for kids and worse, it can seem like it takes forever to get to the one thing most kids care about: cake. Here are some helpful tips to ensure that the day goes smoothly when you’re including children in weddings:

As a general rule, when choosing children to take part in your wedding as a flower girl or ring bearer, it is usually best (or at least more predictable) to pick children ages four and above. Now of course each child is different and you’ll want to consider their personality (very shy vs. outgoing) and maturity level as well. Keep in mind that very young children will be more unpredictable than older kids.

In the weeks before the wedding day, talk to your flower girl and ring bearer (or have their parents talk to them) about the events that will take place before and throughout the wedding day so they know what to expect. Some little ones get nervous about being in weddings because they don’t know what’s going to happen on the big day.

Explain what they will wear, where they will go and what they will have to do. The better young attendants can visualize their role in the wedding, the better prepared they will be to cooperate and participate as you would like them to.

flower girl jewelry - children in weddings

Choose outfits for the flower girl and ring bearer that are comfortable. Choose comfortable fabrics, ones that don’t scratch or irritate the skin. Be sure the children wear comfortable shoes, and if the shoes are new, that they have a chance to “break them in” prior to the wedding day. For little girls, a special flower girl jewelry set can go a long way toward making her job seem special.

Purchase some books! There are some wonderful books that not only inform flower girls and ring bearers of their role in the wedding, but also welcome and celebrate them as a very special part of the bridal party.

Invite all of your young attendants and their parents to the rehearsal. Let the children practice walking down the aisle several times so that they will feel more comfortable of their role on the “big day”.

Make sure that the children know exactly where their parents will be seated during the ceremony. Depending on the length and style of the ceremony, you may want the children to go and sit with their parents during the ceremony. For littler kids, place parents in the front row so they can walk down the aisle and right to their moms and dads.

The parents of the flower girl and ring bearer should be invited to the rehearsal dinner. However, many rehearsal dinners can go as late as 10:00 or even later – if you’ll be having fun late into the night talk with the parents to see if a babysitter can be arranged ahead of time.

Ask the parents of your flower girl and ring bearer to make sure their children are well rested before the wedding (without implying that they won’t be, of course). A good night’s sleep the night before, or even a nap the day of, can help little ones get through the day with smiles on their faces instead of frowns.

flower girls and ring bearers

Assign a bridesmaid to each child in the bridal party. Have each of your secret helpers keep a goody bag handy. Fill it with nutritious treats (dry cereal, crackers, carrot sticks), crayons and paper, a bottle of water and small travel games. These kid supplies will come in handy while traveling from the church to the reception, while waiting for photographs to be taken, and during the reception.

Take pictures with the flower girl and ring bearer as early in the day as possible, preferably before the ceremony. Then there is less chance that their outfits could get dirty, torn, wrinkled; you know how kids are!

Be sure to express your heartfelt appreciation to the children in your bridal party. Photographs make a cherished gift for parents of flower girls and ring bearers of all ages. For your littlest attendants themselves, opt instead for toys and other things children will appreciate.

Kids are unpredictable! All the practice and preparation in the world does not mean that they will perform their role flawlessly. Don’t expect perfection and laugh at the hiccups. Remember, if it doesn’t go just as planned, it will make for entertaining clips in your wedding video!


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The 10 Most Asked Questions by Brides-to-Be

Etiquette-schmetiquette, until you’re planning a wedding. Then it’s all wedding etiquette, all the time, because you know how easily offended some people are and there is no leaving those folks off your guest list. Here are 10 questions brides-to-be ask us and our answers because there’s a good chance you’ve been wondering, too.

1. How can I let people know where I am registered?

Word of mouth is really only the “proper” way to inform people where you are registered. You really must wait until they ask you or other family members. The one exception: all close family members and your attendants should be told where you are registered so they can inform others when they’re asked. And they will be asked. Okay, there is one more exception – but one that is still considered unmannerly by many. Most couples these days are putting their wedding registry information on their wedding websites.

2. How can I ask for money instead of a gift?

Hold up. There is literally no way to politely ask for money as wedding gifts in lieu of something else without being totally, utterly tacky. I’m afraid this is a cardinal rule of etiquette that must be taken seriously. You can plant the seeds with close family and attendants but even then, it’s still kind of tacky. That said, here’s a trick that could just get you cold hard cash: don’t register. Anywhere. People are much more likely to give you a check when you haven’t registered anywhere. But when guests do come bearing gifts that don’t fit into an envelope, accept them graciously.

formal wedding - adults only wedding receptions

3. How can I let people know that I don’t want children at the wedding?

The only thing you can do is not include the children’s names on the invitations. However, you’ll find that some people will still want to bring their children. Hopefully they will ask if that’s okay at which time you absolutely can say that your ceremony and reception will be adults only – just make sure you say it kindly. Should you find yourself in a situation where children are coming, be prepared with a “kids table” that includes crayons, coloring books, and candy. Don’t print Adults Only on your invitation.

4. Who pays for what?

A growing trend today is for wedding expenses to be shared among the bride and groom, as well as each of their families. Don’t rely on traditional ‘who pays for what’ lists without actually consulting your families and one another. You may be expecting your parents to pay for most of the event when it’s not in their budget. Or your future in-laws may have some ideas about what they would like to pay for. It never hurts to ask – just be mannerly about it.

5. How many invited guests should I expect will actually attend my wedding?

The general rule of thumb is if you’re inviting over 200 guests, then you can estimate that about 25-28% of your guests will be unable to attend. If you are inviting fewer than 200 guests, then the percentage usually decreases to about 15-20% or less. Other factors include how many guests you invite that live out-of-town and the travel distance required to attend the wedding. Ultimately, there is no way to predict with certainty how many people with RSVP yes. Remember, every family and guest list is different, so always be prepared in case everyone is able to come! And please, no A lists and B lists because that sort of thing has a way of getting out.

maid of honor responsibilities

6. What are the Maid of Honor’s responsibilities?

The main role of the Maid of Honor is to help the bride with the wedding planning. This can include shopping for dresses, addressing invitations, putting together favors and just being there when the bride needs some extra help, support or someone to talk to. However, don’t choose your MOH based on who you think can give you the most help. If your favorite person in the whole world lives miles and miles away, pick them anyway. And don’t forget to buy her some stunning bridesmaids jewelry to make her feel beautiful on your big day as a thank you in either case.

bride-to-be-real-wedding-inspiration-moroccan-style

7. What is appropriate to wear for a second wedding?

No matter whether it is your first, second or third wedding… the focal point is still the wedding dress. Many second-time brides choose a simpler, more elegant or sophisticated wedding dress. Many choose a floor length or cocktail length dress in white, off-white or a pretty pastel. Many “etiquette experts” advise second-time brides to not wear a veil or a long train for their second wedding. Don’t listen to them! This is your day, wear what you want to wear! Maybe you had a very small first wedding and now you want to go all out! Wear what makes you feel beautiful!

personalize your wedding - custom wedding details

8. How Do I Personalize my Wedding?

There are plenty of tips and ideas to make your wedding unique and personal. But, which ideas are right for you. Only you can decide. Think about what is important to you and your fiancé. Think about special interests or hobbies that you share together. Or, maybe there is a special place, the beach or some quaint little Inn you went to when he proposed. Incorporate these elements and these “feelings” into your wedding and it will be truly unique and personal. Theme weddings are okay but expect some opinions!

9. Should I tip my wedding vendors?

Your caterer or reception site serving the food will most likely include their gratuities with your bill. So, a tip is not necessarily expected. As for your other vendors (wedding consultant, band or DJ, limo driver, photographer), again a tip is not required if they are business owners. Employees of a business should always be tipped. It never hurts to ask a particular vendor if they are expecting a tip.

10. What fee should I pay my clergy or wedding ceremony officiant?
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Easy Edible Wedding Favors from Real Brides

Looking for easy wedding favor ideas? Edible wedding favors tend to be inexpensive, easy to DIY (for those brides who want to), and  beloved by wedding guests who are happy they don’t have to find a spot for another little knick-knack. Here are some amazing edible wedding favor ideas from real brides who wanted to give their guests something special on the big day.

Fortune Cookies
Rebecca, Deming, WA

We are ordering fortune cookies with personalized fortunes as our favors. They are very inexpensive.

hot chocolate wedding favors

Personalized Hot Chocolate
Kathy, Erie, Pennsylvania

Since we’re getting married during the winter and it gets cold in our area, we decided to give everyone a personalized packet of hot chocolate with our picture, a thank you message, and our wedding date printed on them.

My fiancé used a computer program to place our photo on top of a background of snow-covered mountains. We’re wearing winter hats and coats, but we really had the picture taken on a rather warm day. It usually takes me about an hour to glue 20 labels onto each packet. I do it while I’m watching TV so it’s no bother. We look really funny and it suits our personality. Everyone will get a good laugh. The hot chocolate costs 11 cents per packet. We’re having 100 guests.

Homemade Jam
Leah, Edmonton, Alberta

We, with the help of our mothers, will be making homemade jams for everyone. We bought 200 of those tiny jam jars for a total price of $15.00 at a discount store and the rest is free since we picked all the berries ourselves this past summer. We plan to make personalized labels for each jar with our names and the date of the wedding.

muffin mix wedding favors

Muffin Wedding Favors
Jeanette, Milwaukee, WI

Our wedding color is cranberry. My fiancé works in a restaurant and they are going to make cranberry muffins and we’ll add a cranberry tea bag and a little poem.

Heart Cookie Cutters for Heart Cookies
Kami, Woodland, CA

I baked 4×4 inch heart sugar cookies and dipped half of the heart in white chocolate and put my soon-to-be first initial (of my last name) in the middle of the cookie. Then I wrapped the cookie in a clear bag and tied it with a silver ribbon. All this for about $1.00!!!

apple wedding favors

Apple Themed Wedding Favors
Jennifer, New Milford, CT

We are getting married in the fall at an old inn…. our centerpieces are baskets filled with apples and small apple blossom flowers. Our gifts… a metal apple corer with cinnamon sticks tied on top and a recipe card (folded over) of a recipe calling for cored apples. The front of this card is embossed with a seal that reads “From the Kitchen of Jennifer & Scott 10-10-98”. We are giving the men “shooter”, of a variety of Apple Liquors.

Homemade Jam
Doreen, Philadelphia, PA

My fiancé and I took an evening to make strawberry/banana jam. We then put them in cute, 4 oz. jars, one per family. They’ll be placed at the entrance to the reception with a label on the top designating the family and what table at which they’ll be sitting. We think it’ll be a personal, unique, and scrumptious reminder of the special day we all shared together.


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Cheap & Chic Wedding Reception Centerpieces

Looking for amazing, DIY-friendly reception table centerpieces for your wedding? We’re here to help! Here are just a few ideas for prettying up your tables without spending a lot:

Print

Mother Nature’s Own Fresh Tulips

Use tall glasses and cut fresh tulips and greenery. You can find the glasses at the dollar store. Paint them for more impact.

Framed Family Photos

Have your parents, family and friends make copies of their wedding photos and put them in nice frames to use as centerpieces. Your guests can enjoy the look of weddings past – especially with parents and grandparents’ wedding photos.

sugared fruit reception centerpieces

So Sweet Sugared Fruit

Make your own centerpieces out of real fruit covered with sugar – so easy. It makes a beautiful centerpiece and you can eat the fruit later, so no waste at all.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

These do double duty – dessert and decor! Display them in piles or pyramids, as many as you need to make a big statement.

The Story of How We Met

Write out the story of how you met, print it on nice paper, and place the story in silver frames. After adding a little ribbon & silk flowers, you’re done!

candle centerpieces for weddings

Gently Scented Candles

With these, you wouldn’t need flowers and you wouldn’t need a mirror or a dish. Just simply light the candle and set it on the table, and add great scents to your reception. Just make sure they smell fresh and not overbearingly perfume-y.

silver candelabra wedding reception centerpieces

Classic Silver Candelabras

Simply rent silver candelabras for each table. Each candelabra holds 5 white candles. Display them as is or place each on a square piece of mirror and put real ivy and small white flowers around it.


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Choosing the Perfect Bridal Headpiece

Here is the best advice we can offer when it comes to choosing a bridal headpiece or hair accessory!

1. Pick out your wedding gown first
2. Decide on your hairstyle second
3. Choose the headpiece and veil third

bridal tiara usabride crystal wedding accessories

In my career as a bridal style adviser I have actually tore apart a headpiece on the bride’s wedding day and redesigned it because it did not go with the hairstyle she wanted. The best way of course is to have a couple of trial run appointments at the hair salon prior to the big day. This way an exchange can be made for a different style headpiece if that is what is necessary to create the look a bride wants.

Don’t feel pressured into purchasing a bridal headpiece because it “matches your dress”. Instead look for a detail from the gown you would like to enhance and find a headpiece that complements. It may be pearls, a flower detail, or the trim. Or maybe you want a hair accessory that will match the flowers in your bouquet.

bridal comb usabride pearl wedding accessories

Petite? If you are finding that the headpieces seem to big, look at what is offered for first communion headpieces and ask the bridal salon to add a longer veil.

Second marriage? Having a veil is fine if you want one, but you may want to skip the blusher. A beautiful tiara is perfect or ornament your hairstyle. Try a hat, they are coming back!

And here’s a new trend you can be a part of: ornament your hairstyle! There are also many beautiful decorative bridal hair pins, barrettes and bobby pins to add to your hairstyle! Simply attach a comb with netting to cascade down the back of the hairstyle – best part is you can remove it easily at the reception!


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Tips for Getting Married for the Second Time

second wedding advice 2

Getting married for the second time? Or maybe you’re marrying someone who has been married before? Here are a few tips:

Don’t ask about the details of his first wedding, and if you were married before, don’t bring up what you did at your first wedding. Just concentrate on planning the wedding you want.

If he’s been married before and you want a large, traditional wedding and he wants something much smaller and informal or vice versa the only answer is compromise.

If your groom-to-be has been married before, then he should allow you the opportunity to have the wedding that you’ve always dreamed of. But you need to compromise too. If your fiancé agrees to the church ceremony for 200 guests, then, you should let him choose the reception location.

No matter whether it is your first, second or third wedding… the focal point is still the wedding dress. Many second-time brides choose a simpler, more elegant or sophisticated wedding dress. Be as flashy as you want with your bridal jewelry and accessories.

second wedding advice

Many “etiquette experts” advise second-time brides to not wear a bridal veil or a long train for their second wedding. Don’t listen to them! This is your day, wear the bridal accessories you want to wear! Wear what makes you feel beautiful!

When it comes to bridesmaids, many second time brides choose to have a smaller wedding party with simpler bridesmaids dresses.

If you or your fiancé have children from previous marriages, include them as much as possible in your wedding plans. Invite them to be bridesmaids and groomsmen or junior attendants and let them participate in family ceremony rituals.

Children in a second weddings can do special readings, sing a song or play an instrument to be part of the ceremony. Wedding vows can also be written to include children.

You may feel uncomfortable registering for wedding gifts because friends and family gave you gifts at your previous wedding. There is no getting around that! People will want to give you a gift for your wedding. By registering, you help yourself by getting gifts that you want and you also help your guests in choosing gifts for you too.

When selecting items for your registry, you may already have all the china and kitchen items that you need, so try registering for other items such as sporting equipment, camping gear, electronics, or honeymoon excursions.

Congratulations!


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10 Reasons to Build a Wedding Web site

Building a wedding website to keep guests informed and share some of you and your fiance’s backstory does add yet another thing to your wedding planning to-do list but we think it’s worth the time (and sometimes the trouble).

wedding website

Here’s why:

1. When you’re either planning a wedding at the last minute or years in advance, it’s an easy way to either keep guests informed or store important information for later. It’s also a fun way for your loved ones to keep tabs on your during your engagement, especially if you’re blogging. And a wedding web site can provide late-breaking details to keep your guests up to date about all the most recent changes in your plans.

2. The wedding invitations, reply cards and envelopes, and reception cards barely fit into their envelopes. There’s no way you can stuff in directions and special requests, but that’s okay because that is exactly what your wedding website is for. Include the address of your wedding website in your invitation. Then your guests can log on to find out additional information: where to bring gifts, if you prefer donations to a certain charity, whether you want children at your wedding and if childcare will be provided, and any other special requests. You can also scan in a copy of your actual wedding invitation and post it on your site.

3. Your family and friends are going to lose the paper invitation, anyway. On your web site, you can include information that is either troublesome or just plain impossible to add to your invitations. One of the most helpful tips: list where you are registered and include a link to their site if they have one because while it’s considered rude to put your wedding registry info in invites, it’s fine to share it on your website. Include a link to local hotels, restaurants, the local weather forecast so your guests will have an idea of what to expect climatically.

4. Half of the people in your wedding don’t know each other. Introduce your families and your wedding party to each other before they meet in person by posting pictures and short profiles. When they finally meet in person at the wedding they’ll already know something about each other. And it’s fun for guests to learn something about your attendants, too!

5. Information on paper has a way of disappearing. Why not put a newsletter online for your wedding party where you remind them of special duties or give tips on attire. How about those other people that will be helping with the wedding that may not know what they are supposed to do? They can log on to your web site site to find out when they’re needed. You will take a huge amount of stress off yourself and your wedding party.

6. You and your fiancé come from different cultural backgrounds (or it just feels like you do). Use this opportunity to explain wedding traditions you will be incorporating that your guests may not be familiar with before the big event. Then your wedding day can be more meaningful for your friends and family and all your guests will feel involved.

7. Most of your family members live out-of-state, cross-country, or internationally. After the wedding, use the same site to recreate the event for your family and friends. This is especially nice for those who couldn’t attend the wedding. Wouldn’t it be nice to put it online for those who sent gifts, but couldn’t make it? A walk-through of your wedding is a great way of saying thanks and it brings all your long-distance family and friends closer to your special day!

8. Everyone wants to join you on your honeymoon. Don’t stop with a play-by-play of your wedding day. Process those great honeymoon photos and put them online for the world to see. No one else gets to go with you, so bring them the next best thing—pictures that will make them drool!

9. Because it’s fun! Your wedding is the most spectacular day of your life and you want everyone else to know. So let them in all the details. Have you always wanted to blog? Here’s your chance to share your wedding planning triumphs and stresses with the world!

10. Finally, it gets the groom involved. One of the best ways to get your groom involved with the wedding planning is to build a wedding web site together. It’s a fun way to spend time together… (writing the text for the pages and scanning pictures) and if your groom is not “intimately” involved with the wedding plans – at least he can stay up-to-date by reading the web site!


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