Friday, August 29, 2014

Practice makes perfect -- planning the rehearsal dinner!

The night before your wedding is usually the time you have your ceremony rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. Like with all things wedding-related, there are a lot of traditions surrounding the rehearsal dinner – from who pays for the dinner to who is invited. Like all things wedding-related, many couples modify rehearsal dinner traditions to meet their own needs.

For example, there’s the long-standing tradition that the bride’s family pays for the wedding and the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner. For many couples, that still works. But for some, that tradition simply doesn’t fit. Perhaps the couple is paying for the wedding themselves, or many family members are pitching in. Or, for some couples, the cookie-cutter names of “bride” and “groom” just don’t fit. So, who pays? As with all things related to your wedding, it should be discussed. Never assume that anyone is ready to pay for anything!

Which leads to the dinner itself. It can be as formal or as casual as the budget will allow. A family member’s backyard is a great place for an evening barbecue or a hotel’s banquet room can host a more formal dinner.

A formal rehearsal dinner can take place in a room like our Heritage Room
Who gets invited? Usually, it’s at least the wedding party, parents of the happy couple, parents of any children in the wedding party and the officiant. Many couples choose to invite anyone who’s traveling from out-of-town as well as any other close family. It’s a great time for everyone to get to know each other before your big day!

The rehearsal dinner is a great time to give your gifts to the wedding party, if you choose to! It’s also a time to make sure you get to say your “thank yous” to everyone who’s been a part of your wedding planning.


Do you have any special plans for your rehearsal dinner? Share them in the comments!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Make the first dance memorable for all the right reasons

For some couples, the first dance is easy. They have a special song or are avid dancers and the first dance takes little or no effort. For the rest of us, picking a first dance song is full of concerns. What song should we pick? Should we take dance lessons?

You want your first dance to be memorable, of course, so the song choice is important. The easiest way to start is to decide what you want as a couple. Do you want a romantic song? A traditional song? Something contemporary? Something funny? If you figure that part out first, then you’ve narrowed down your choices already.

Picking a song might seem overwhelming at first. 
As you’re picking your song, keep some important things in mind like song length and the lyrics. If a song is too long, you may feel awkward by the end of it. You can get around that by either having the song edited down or by asking other couples to join you on the dance floor part way through. It’s a great way to get your wedding party and immediate family dancing.

You want to be aware of all of the song’s lyrics. What may seem like a sweet love song in the chorus might have more questionable words in the verses. You’ll also want to make sure that the lyrics are appropriate for all of your guests. If it’s got some R-rated lyrics and your great-grandmother is there, you may want to look for a radio-friendly version!

Dance lessons are helpful to some couples who feel self-conscious about dancing in front of their family and friends. A dance teacher will help you work with your song and make you feel more comfortable about the whole process. It doesn’t mean you have to choreograph a whole routine – though those are fun, too! It just gives you some steps to use during the dance.


How are you picking your first dance song? Are you planning a choreographed dance? Tell us in the comments!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Unique buffet displays will delight your guests

Whether you call them buffets, bars, or stations, the self-service display has become so popular with couples at weddings! It’s a fun and easy way to give your guests a special treat that they personalize for themselves!

Here at the Heritage, we offer a yummy mashed potato bar! Your guests can choose either mashed sweet or white potatoes and a variety of toppings, from cheese and bacon to cinnamon and sugar!

Whether a candy display (left) or a cigar bar (right), give your guests a fun buffet!
We’ve also had guests create their own candy buffet display, which they made fit into their wedding theme and color scheme! With small goodie bags, your guests make the candy combination they choose.

For the cigar aficionados, we’ve also had a fantastic cigar bar display. Of course, guests had to light up in designated areas!

Other great options? A popcorn bar with toppings like cinnamon, cheddar, or chocolate; ice cream sundae bar with all the fixins’; a hot cocoa bar with marshmallows, peppermint and more; or even an Italian bread buffet with varieties of oils and vinegars to dip.

Ask your venue about options that include alcohol like a sangria bar or mimosa bar. There may be rules about who can serve alcohol.

Our favorite will always be the mini dessert display, though. A table filled with mini cannoli, cookies, tarts and cupcakes will always make us smile.


Get creative! What buffet stations will you be serving?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Tips on creating (or not!) the perfect wedding program

One of the items that many couples stress about is whether or not to have a program for their ceremony. There are many reasons to have a program for your guests – but it’s certainly not a requirement. And, if you do want to help your guests know the plan for the day, but don’t want a bunch of paper to hand out, I’ve got tips for you too!

Is a wedding program a "must-have" for you?
Should you have one? If your ceremony is short, your guest list is small and everything is happening in one place, you might not need one. It doesn’t mean you can’t have one if you want one, but it won’t be an issue if you don’t. If, however, you have a religious, ethnic or unique ceremony that may be unfamiliar to some of your guests, then a program will be helpful to explain what’s going on.

If your wedding party is large, you may want to have a program so people know who’s who. It’s also helpful if you have a large guest list where one side may not know the other side very well.

What should be on your program? Generally, an order of events and who’s taking part in each segment. If you have prayers, readings or songs, they should be included, as well as the person performing. If any parts of your ceremony include audience participation, those should also be noted.

You also can include special notes in your program, including any thank-yous or memorial notifications. If your reception is taking place in a different location from the ceremony, putting the address of the reception is helpful to your guests, too!

You can make your program as unique as you’d like. If you want to avoid printing costs and your program is short, a chalkboard or other type of sign is very eco-friendly! If you’ve got an outdoor wedding and you think it may be warm out, printing the program on a fan is also a hit!

And if you do decide to go the printed route, you can personalize the program to reflect your ceremony. A lengthy, formal or religious ceremony should have a more formal program. A short, unique or civil ceremony program can fit nicely on a fun, colorful sheet of paper.


Tell us your thoughts. Are you planning to have a wedding program?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Yes, you do have to send out thank you notes!

Many couples choose to change many traditions associated with weddings – and that’s great. Each wedding should be personal for each couple! But one thing that’s really not negotiable is the thank you note. Sure, it may feel like a tedious process, but it’s an important one. 

Get stationery. You can choose anything that fits your style as a couple. Just like with invitations, a casual backyard wedding will have different thank you notes than a formal wedding will. In fact, you can order your thank you notes at the same time as your invitations, if you like, so that everything fits your theme

You can get your thank you notes at the same time as your invitations. These are from Respond If You Please
Have a good list. Generally, the people who have you pre-wedding or wedding gifts were invited to the wedding, so you have their names and addresses. You also will want to send a thank you note to anyone who helped you on your big day. Perhaps a co-worker coordinated your shuttle from ceremony to reception site. Your sister went above and beyond in making your centerpieces. Thank you notes to them would be appreciated too!

It’s ok to use a template. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. Just fill in the blanks!

Dear (Aunt Sue),
Thank you for the lovely (steak knife set). We can’t wait to (use them in the kitchen in our new house). It was great to see you at the wedding. (I’m sorry you couldn’t make the wedding, and you were missed.) I hope we can get together soon!
Love,
(Pat and Chris)

Get help! Both of you got married and both of you will get use from the gifts. Both of you should be working on the thank you notes, too! According to Emily Post, your notes should be sent out within three months of your wedding. Having the two of you work on them together will make that a reality! You don’t have to do them all in one sitting – just a few each a night will get the job done.  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dessert options besides the traditional wedding cake

Many couples dream about the elaborate tiered wedding cake they will have at their wedding reception. But what if you or your sweetheart doesn’t like or want cake? Or, perhaps you want more choices than just cake alone! There are plenty of other dessert options out there that are “wedding day worthy.”

Cupcakes or cake pops. If you want to get just a little away from tradition, the wedding cupcake or cake pop display is great. You can choose different flavors and give your guests options, but it still feels like everyone is having cake!

Would you have a naked cake at your wedding? What about NO cake?

Mini dessert bar. If you want to give your guests a variety of dessert options, the mini dessert bar is always fun. Min brownies, cannoli, cookies and more make for a delicious dessert!

Anything on tiers.  If you don’t want cake, but still want the feeling of an impressive dessert, display your dessert on tiers. Because of its height, whatever you place on the tiers will look even fancier. What you choose is up to you: pies, donuts, cookies! They will all look fantastic on display!

Depending on how many people you’re serving, and how much dessert you want to offer, you can have special desserts as an addition to your cake or instead of it!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

How to be a good wedding guest

Most of our advice is aimed at brides and grooms to help them plan their big day. But there are some rules for being a good guest, too! Here are ways you can help the happy couple have a great day.

Send in your RSVPs. You’ve probably already gotten a save-the-date, and you’ve checked your calendar. Most of the time, you know if you can make it to a wedding or not. So don’t put it off – send in your RSVP as soon as you can!

Don’t add a “plus one.” Your invitation should be fairly clear as to who is invited. If you aren’t sure, it’s ok to reach out to the couple or their immediate family for clarification. But don’t assume you can bring a date – or your kids – without a clear invitation.



Arrive to the wedding on time. Which, of course, means early. You should plan to be in your seat 20 minutes before the ceremony is scheduled to start. If that means you have to leave early to avoid traffic, so be it. But you don’t want to upstage the couple by arriving during the ceremony.

Follow the dress code. Dress for the formality of the wedding. A backyard or beach wedding will have a different dress code than a formal religious ceremony. Tradition says wearing all white or all black is a no-no.

Follow the couple’s requests regarding picture taking, social media, and using your phones. Don’t text or blog during the ceremony unless the couple asks you to! If the couple has asked for an “unplugged” ceremony, then leave your phone in your pocket or purse. That being said, if the couple has made it clear they’re happy to have their wedding on Instagram or some other social media site, then share away!

Try to find out answers without asking the couple. Most weddings now have a wedding website you can visit, which will probably have all the answers to all your questions, from hotel rooms to schedule. If you can’t find your answer there, ask the maĆ®tre d’ at the reception site, the wedding planner or the mother of the bride or groom. Try not to bother the couple themselves, if you can avoid it!


Have fun! Enjoy yourself. Dance, if there’s music. Drink, but not to excess, if there’s a bar. Celebrate!