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Ask the Experts

Wedding Cakes with Style

By Emily Yu Wedding cakes are a centerpiece for the reception — they balance a bridal couple’s style, palette, theme and creativity. And couples are now mixing tradition with contemporary elements to create unique designs. Here are some helpful tips when choosing your wedding cake. Find your comfort zone: It’s important to be comfortable with your wedding cake vendor, whether it’s a full service bakery or dedicated wedding cake specialist. You should be offered a consultation where you are able to taste various flavor combinations, browse through a portfolio of their work and begin to create your cake. Celebrate with style: Gone are the days in which wedding cakes had to be round and covered with a thick white icing with tons of piping. Brides and grooms are now incorporating color, shapes, sugar flowers, height and even cupcakes. Consider having …

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Social Media Wediquette

By Amanda Causey Baity Social media is embedded in our day-to-day life; for most of us, social media facilitates the majority of our daily interactions with others. We use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay in touch, share updates and celebrate milestones; it’s only natural that social media has found its way into wedding celebrations. That said, before uploading a photo of the happy couple saying “I Do,” it is essential to remember your social media wedding etiquette. HERE COMES THE HASHTAG A particularly social couple may utilize social media to engage and communicate with their guests from the first RSVP to the last thank-you card. While the majority of couples still choose to mail out paper invitations, many opt for electronic RSVPs: a cheaper, more environmentally friendly option. It’s also a more efficient option for guests. Wedding websites and blogs are also commonly used to share updates and information about the wedding …

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.wed: Wedding Websites & Domain Names

It seems almost second nature to want to create a wedding website. You can share your love story, post your engagement session photos, keep your guests in the loop and drop not-so-subtle hints about your gift registry. And your website provides a great icebreaker for bridal party members who haven’t met yet. “How to build a wedding website” nets over 31 million (yes, million!) results on Google. Templates make design easy and hosting is often free. The basics of your wedding website should include: • An “about” page, which is the story of how you met and fell in love (a great place to put your e-session gallery). • A “cast of characters” that includes your bridal party and why they play a role in your wedding. • Details (date, time, location) for all events. • A registry page which you can easily update. • Guest accommodation information with links to hotels. • A way for …

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Wedding Word Glossary

ARBOR: An arch of branches, vines and/or flowers that the bride and groom stand under to say their vows. Also sometimes called a “wedding arch.” BUSTLE: Fastening the wedding dress in back to lift the train off the ground. This is usually done for the reception to allow the bride to move and dance more easily. Bustling the dress is often accomplished with hidden buttons, hooks and/or strings. DAY-OF PLANNER: A wedding coordinator who works with you primarily on the day of the wedding to make sure everything goes smoothly (as opposed to a full-service planner who works with you throughout all of the months leading up to the wedding). DESTINATION WEDDING: A wedding that takes place away from the couple’s home. Often, a destination wedding takes place in a dream vacation spot. ELOPE: Long ago, eloping meant getting married without telling your family, usually because they …

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Girl for all Seasons

Perhaps the biggest decision you’ll make in regards to your wedding – besides the engagement itself, of course – is your venue. By locking down a location, you’re also making a final selection on your date, and therefore, your wedding season, which is a huge step toward hosting your nuptials. As with all aspects of your event, the decisions that you make will have their benefits and consequences, and this notion is particularly the case when the timing of your vow exchange is concerned. You may have your heart set on having your celebration during a certain month, but it’s important to do your research on what problems you may encounter before you sign that contract. Choosing the perfect season for your wedding reminds us of the scene in Grease 2 (if you have not seen it, we suggest that you do!), ‘A Girl for All Seasons.’ For the talent show, the Pink Ladies dress for each …

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How to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding Ceremony

By Christopher Baity When planning a wedding, you may feel obligated to include every family member, friend and second cousin twice removed. However, as most dog owners consider their family dog a family member, these beloved companions are often left at home and not included into the festivities. After ensuring the venue will allow a non-Service Dog, your first consideration is temperament and training. Does your dog have what it takes to remain obedient and focused during a onetime attempt as a ring-bearer or as a member of the wedding party? If your dog can or has completed a basic obedience test (e.g.,  Canine Good Citizen(CGC)) they may have the obedience and ability to perform during the ceremony. Typically, a well-trained family pet needs several weeks of specific training to conduct a few simple tasks during the ceremony. Two of the easiest would be an escort of a groomsman or bridesmaid, …

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How to Use Wedding Blogs to Plan Your Big Day

When you’re newly engaged (or anticipating getting engaged), it can be easy to fall down the rabbit hole of wedding blogs. After all, there are so many great blogs out there, and they’re full of gorgeous images! Many brides find themselves spending countless hours scrolling through these blogs and becoming overwhelmed by all of the weddings they see published and by the imagined pressure to recreate those images or to compete with them. Don’t worry – we’re not going to tell you to stop looking at wedding blogs! In fact, we are going to help you use them better! Here are some specific ways to use wedding blogs so that they inspire you rather than adding stress: 1. Learn to identify your wedding style. When you begin planning your wedding, you may not know what your wedding style is, other than “beautiful.” Wedding blogs provide great descriptions and definitions that …

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Fourteen Questions to Ask Your Caterer

Food and catering typically comprise one of the largest portions of a wedding budget. Whether it’s a local vendor who provides cuisine specific to your wedding theme or a full-service caterer equipped to help make your day seamless, asking the following questions can help to ensure your wedding food and reception will be unforgettable for you and your guests: Do you specialize in a certain type of food or serving style? Whether you’re looking for a certain serving style or a specific cuisine to coordinate with your wedding theme, it’s important to find out how your caterer typically handles receptions. Ask if menus are set or if there’s the option for customization. Can you make a family-favorite recipe for our reception? Some caterers are willing and able to recreate the dish on a large scale for all of your wedding guests if you provide them with the recipe. Have you previously worked at our wedding venue? Many …

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A Bar without Breaking the Bank

Open bar versus limited bar … price per person versus consumption. Cash bar – no way! Remember, these are your guests, not your buddies out for a night on the town. Bar budgeting is a key part of reception planning and Christopher Williams, Event Manager for The Fish Market, has some great advice. An open (or full) bar includes wine, beer, and a variety of liquor (both rail and call brands) and is the most expensive to host. When estimating consumption, Chris says, count on two to three drinks per person. Beer is $4-$5 a bottle; wine $5-$6 a glass, and mixed drinks run $5-$6 for rail liquor (such as Aristocrat vodka) to $7 for a call brand, such as Absolute. “Plan on more than less,” advises Chris. “That way there is no sticker shock and if your bar comes in under budget, great. And your event manager will let you …

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Your Guide to an Exceptional Event

By Michael Evans Putting together a great wedding doesn’t happen by accident. It takes careful planning and the enlistment of talented event professionals. Use the following tips to help plan your perfect day. Take some time and visualize your event: close your eyes and walk through it in as much detail as you can, from start to finish. This takes a little time, but you’ll find that it enhances creativity and helps you anticipate and avoid problems. Your site sets the tone for the experience: make sure your site fits the guest list — don’t try to squeeze too many people into the venue. And don’t pick a huge site that will make a small gathering feel uncomfortable. And remember, you’re not just choosing a site for an event — you’re also choosing a backdrop for your wedding photos. Be clear about your reception’s purpose: This helps you create the right setting, mood and format. For example, if …

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Hotels: Your One-Stop Wedding Resource

  After the engagement ring is on your finger, the questions looms, “Where should I have my wedding?” Although many options are tempting, from historic homes and favorite restaurants, to exotic locations like mountain tops, many brides must find a balance between budget, planning time and out-of-town guests’ requirements. Hotels offer convenience, value, a wide array of capabilities and experienced staff to make wedding planning and the big day effortless, cost-effective and polished. Convenience Today’s brides are busy with families, careers, studies, travel, hobbies and, of course, a fiance. Some brides are even planning weddings from another town or state. Many of the wedding guests are traveling from a distance to share in the special day. Some will be drinking during the reception. Hotels offer the ability to hold both the reception and guest rooms in one place so that no one will need to drive afterwards. Most hotels offer a complimentary bridal suite with wedding packages and many airport hotels allow …

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Spend or Invest? New Thoughts on an Age-Old Dilemma

By Bennett Whitlock, CRPC ® A familiar experience for many Americans is that as fast as money comes in, it goes out the door again in pursuit of the next “must have” purchase. Such spending habits can take a toll on plans to build up savings for the future. The key is finding a balance between immediate gratification and long-term financial security. In many instances, we can all find ways to save on daily purchases to set more money aside to help meet goals like saving for retirement or a child’s education. The bigger challenge comes when it is time to make a major purchase – a home, a car, appliances or home improvements. These expenditures can require the immediate outlay of thousands of dollars. You may have to drain money from savings or, at the very least, reduce available funds to invest for your future. When is the expenditure worth it, and when is the cost …

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