Is A Cash Bar Acceptable for Your Wedding?

Fun Signature Cocktail


Is it improper to have a cash bar at our reception, even if we will have around 400 people and don’t have the money to provide for everyone?


While it is often necessary to find ways to cut costs, a cash bar is never a good choice. When you have a wedding, you’re inviting people to a party, and they shouldn’t have to pay for anything while they’re there. Yes, it’s true that when you have a bash in your apartment and invite all your pals, you say “BYOB,” but it’s not quite the same at a formal event. Better to try and save money on the alcohol itself — and don’t worry, there are a number of ways to do that.

Consider having a “limited” bar. Serve only soda, beer, and wine or have a champagne toast. Some couples have a signature wedding cocktail, which cuts down on the different liquors and ingredients

This great advice came from the Industry Experts at The Knot!!!

Trends for 2012

A much needed new take on “something old” will be seen trending in 2012 weddings. Vintage inspiration is here to stay – however, we are relieved to see vintage used in a much needed variation: good-bye rustic vintage, hello sophisticated old-world glamour. Thank you, William and Kate and your Royal Wedding!

Bridal Gown Trends for 2012

We welcome the glamorous, romantic and old Hollywood-style in bridal gowns. Designers have embraced and combined flowing elegance with texture and color to produce show stopping gowns.


Trends for 2012

A much needed new take on “something old” will be seen trending in 2012 weddings. Vintage inspiration is here to stay – however, we are relieved to see vintage used in a much needed variation: good-bye rustic vintage, hello sophisticated old-world glamour. Thank you, William and Kate and your Royal Wedding!

Bridal Gown Trends for 2012

We welcome the glamorous, romantic and old Hollywood-style in bridal gowns. Designers have embraced and combined flowing elegance with texture and color to produce show stopping gowns.


Couples will continue to incorporate family heirlooms and traditions into their 2012 wedding, just with less mason jars, tin cans and vintage luggage. The ‘shabby-chic’ will be replaced by detailed French lace on dresses, favors, cake detail, bouquet wraps, and invitations.

Think old-world glamour meets modern sophistication with lavish furnishings, rich textures, lots of white, and some metallic’s in grand traditional settings.

Sweets and Treats Trends for 2012

The cupcake and candy bar trend of previous seasons will shift towards cookies and dessert tables in 2012. Expect to start seeing more cookies, pies and “hand-made” candy being served to fulfill the sweet tooth cravings of guests at 2012 weddings. We also expect to see a much anticipated return of the traditional groom’s cake.

The Difference a Planner Can Make!

The Difference A Planner Makes

One of the many comments I receive as a professional wedding planner is “I cannot imagine what today would have been like without you!”. This simple and flattering feedback surprises me every time as I am usually so focused on a wedding while I am there, that I give little thought to what it would be like without a planner present. With a bit of reflection, I am about to explore what a wedding day would be like with and without a planner. Please note that the following are examples of worse case scenarios, although they have been known to happen – they do not happen to everyone.

Scenario One: Morning Preparations

Without: It is 9:00 a.m. and the hair and make-up artists are running late and are most likely lost because they are not familiar with the area. Bride has to call her mother to get the hair dresser’s phone number, she Google’s the directions, and texts the artists her hotel room number.

With: It is 9:00 am, the hair and make-up artists have arrived on time having been provided with a map, clear directions, and hotel room number of the Bride from the wedding planner. The Bride calmly sips on a mimosa as she receives a confirmation phone call from her planner to ensure that everyone has arrived alright.

Scenario Two: Getting Dressed

Without: It is 2:00 pm, the Bridal Party is already running behind and the zipper on one of the bridesmaid dress won’t stay up. The Mother of the Bride does what she can to fix it but can’t get it zip all the way.

With: It is 12:00 p.m., the Bridal Party is running late so the planner stops by the hotel room to check on the delay and discovers the bridesmaid’s zipper won’t stay up. The planner pulls out her “emergency kit”; produces a mini sewing kit, stitches the zipper into place and gets the bridal party on their way.

Scenario Three: En Route
Without: It is 2:00 p.m., the Bridal Party is in the hotel lobby waiting to be picked up – the limo is a no show. Bride has to call the limo company and then arrange for taxis to take her party to the ceremony site.

With: It is 2:00 p.m., the Bridal Party is picked up at the hotel by a limo with chilled champagne being poured; the planner having confirmed the date, time and address of the pick up and drop off with the limo company the day prior.

Scenario Four: Set Up & Ceremony
Without: Finally! It is 3:00 p.m. and everyone has arrived at the ceremony site, the Bride gives the decor to the caterer, who is her aunt, and helps her set up escort cards, guest book and signage. The Bride then frantically organizes the wedding party into the procession order.

With: Finally! It is 3 p.m. and everyone arrives at the ceremony site, the Bride has a quiet and special moment with her parents. Meanwhile, her wedding planner oversees the set up of the decor, confirms the final cocktail period details with the caterer, and prepares the wedding party for the processional.

Scenario Five: Introduction & Reception

Without: It is 5:00 p.m., despite a late start, the ceremony and family photos went well. The Bride and Groom now try to gather their wedding party and line them in the correct order so the DJ can formally announce them into the reception but no one can find the Best Man. The Groom goes looking for this friend, delaying the evening further.

With: It is 5 p.m., the ceremony and family photos went great and everything is on schedule. The planner collects the wedding party and lines everyone in order for the formal introduction. The planner confirms the proper pronunciation of the Groom’s last name with the DJ, preparing to queue him. Meanwhile, the newlyweds relax and share a laugh with their friends, waiting for their big moment.

Scenario Six: Dinner & Dance

Without: It is 6 p.m., the DJ senses a lull in the evening and asks the couple if they are ready for speeches and toasts. The Bride leaves the table to tell the Maid of Honor and Best Man that their speeches will be early. The toasts run long, resulting in the main course having to sit under the heat lamps, drying out.

With: It is 6 p.m., the planner checks with the banquet captain that the main courses are being served shortly. She then confirms with the DJ that the speeches and toasts will begin once the dessert course is served, ensuring the meal is served in its optimum condition and satisfied guests give their full attention to speakers.

Scenario Seven: Send Off

Without: It is midnight and the DJ has just announced the Bride and Groom’s last dance. As the newlyweds take the dance floor, the Bride’s mother misses the moment having been too busy boxing up left over personal items (i.e.: toasting glasses, Bride’s veil, presents) and loading them into her car. She then misses their farewell because she was finding the banquet captain to pay the final bill and writing checks for the final vendor payments that are still due.

With: It is midnight, the planner has already loaded the personal items into the limo before the last dance and has packed up the remaining wedding day items. The planner handles giving vendors their last payments and tips in envelopes she had her clients prepare the day before. The Bride’s mother is busy being a great hostess, enjoying the evening with friends and family. The Bride and Groom are blissful as they get into their getaway car having just been a guest at their own wedding, fully able to savor each moment and enjoy their friends and family. The planner has sent them off with a small slice of boxed wedding cake and chilled champagne to enjoy in their hotel room.

The planner is the neutral party who sees the bigger picture of the day. She is not a guest.  She is there to ensure the event runs smoothly providing convenience and a piece of mind. Most importantly, as a wedding planner, she provides a service to couples allowing them to experience their wedding day to the fullest — making all the difference!

Wedding Planning and What That Means?

Wedding Planner vs. Wedding Designer


Chances are once you got engaged you quickly realized that there is an entire vocabulary or language of wedding-speak. I often hear couples confuse and interchange the terms wedding designer, planner, andcoordinator — understandably so. A planner is almost always a coordinator, but a coordinator is not always a planner. A planner can be a designer as well, but a designer is not always a planner or a coordinator. And some are all three. Have I thoroughly confused you?

Although most wedding professionals are a combination of the three, each have specific duties when it comes to what wedding services they provide. Here are the differences between the three:

A wedding designer is responsible for the overall visual aesthetic of the wedding. Designers think in terms of the big picture. They generate the wedding design and decor concept and how that concept will be threaded through each visual element. Often they will work in conjunction with florists, lighting technicians, and photographers to create the look and feel of the event.

A wedding planner is a responsible for planning the logistical elements that bring your wedding vision to life and is involved from the very beginning of the planning process. Depending on the level of service they are commissioned for, a wedding planner will assist with budget creation and management, vendor referrals, wedding day timeline, seating arrangements, and so on. They can also act as a trusted advisor on everything wedding related and a shoulder to lean on. A wedding planner will also coordinate the day as well, since they are highly involved with the planning.

A wedding coordinator is not deeply involved with planning the wedding. Their primary duty is to be there on the day and ensure that it runs smoothly and according to plan. You often hear them referred to as day-of-coordinators. Many jump in a month before the wedding to finalize the last minute details, confirm vendor obligations, create a timeline, and oversee the set-up of the décor. Many wedding planners offer wedding coordination services to their clients as part of their service package.

When thinking about hiring a wedding designer, planner, and coordinator it’s important to understand what your needs and desires are and which potential companies provide the type of services you want. Happy Planning!

The B-Word…


If you are planning a wedding, nothing can be more stressful than figuring out how much you want to spend on your big day! While engagements can be a joyful time, putting pen to paper and working up a budget can make and bride/groom/family want to pull their hair out of their head!

It is important to consider what is important on your big day – and even more important, make sure you share this information with your planner! You may wonder why they need to know, but if your planner knows your budget, they can make magic happen and more times than not, make your BIG day happen within your budget no matter how big or small it might be.

What are the big budget items? Usually 3 things to consider – 1) Photography 2) Catering/Facility 3) Floral.

  1. Photography – this can be a large portion of your budget, but the good news is that you get to keep this portion of your BIG day. Remember your grandchildren will look back at these photos one day, so this is an important investment!

  2. Catering/Facility – it can be difficult to determine how much is reasonable, but do  your homework and do some comparison shopping among facilities and caterers. It will give you an idea of what to expect. Just make sure you are comparing apples to apples (seated serve dinner vs. buffet style vs. pasta stations – all excellent choices, but all will be priced differently)

  3.  Floral – flowers can be costly depending on the type of flower and the season you are getting married in (for example Tulips after Easter have to come from Holland which can add to their cost). Work with your planner or research online which flowers come in your colors and are in season to get the most bang for your buck

Lastly, a big tip (and it’s free, you don’t even have to budget for this advice!) – agree on your budget. Make sure whoever is involved in the planning/paying process agrees on the budget whether it is your groom, parents, groom’s parents, etc. – everyone needs to know the parameters.

Best of Luck and Happy Planning!

Wedding Registries – Do’s and Don’ts

Now that you are engaged, you are more than read y to grab the scan gun and make your wedding registry, but what are important things to consider?





    1. Do register with store that located in the area where the majority of your guests live. While your bridesmaids are comfortable with ordering online from a store not located in their area, your Grandma Betty might not be.


    1. Do register with more than one store – give your guests variety and options, but do not get carried away (no need for 6 registries with all the major department stores in your zip code!)


    1. Do register before your invitations go out – people will want/need time to decide what to buy you for your special day


    1. Do keep you guest in mind. This means registering for items that accommodate a wide range of budgets. General rules of thumb  – 40% of your registry should be gifts $50 and under, 40% $50-$150, 20% $150 plus BUT you know your guests, so adjust these numbers to suit who is attending your wedding


  1. Do end thank you notes –generally within 6 weeks of receiving the gift – this is really important (and just as FYI – emails and typed general thank-you’s are not appropriate)






    1. Do not send out registry cards or include registry information in your invitation. This makes guests feel like you are more interested in the gifts then their presence on the day of your wedding.


    1. Don’t register for $5 or less items. You can pick these up on your own or use a gift card. A guest might be thrown off by a $3.99 item on your registry.


    1. Do not ask for cash. If you are seeking cash and checks only, it is considered taboo for you to tell guests that – let your relatives and bridal party tell guests. Word of mouth works best for spreading the word that you would rather have money than items, BUT if you do receive a blender or toaster, graciously accept it.


  1. Do not use wedding gifts prior to the wedding in the event that something happens (God forbid!) – it is etiquette to send back wedding presents if for some reason the wedding is called off

Size Matters…

Is it just me (& my now husband) or do all couples struggle with finding the right number of guest to invite to their wedding? Our original guest list started with over 500 people and we finally adjusted it down to 300. So how do you determine the magic number for your big day? Keep in mind 3 things…1)Who is paying for the wedding? If it is your parents or a relative, you will want to be considerate of who they want to invite to share in the big event – after all, they are signing the checks. 2) Does your budget match your guest list? If you have 600 people on the list and can only afford to feed 400, it is time to make some cuts 3)Lastly – does you guest list match your wedding vision? Did you always dream of a small, intimate wedding with just close family and friends? If so, make it happen! Moral of the story – size does matter, at least when it comes to the size of your guest list. Happy planning!

Invitation Etiquette

Invitations are almost always issued in the name of the bride’s parents, even if she lives away from home or has been married before. If her parents are deceased, her guardian, a close relative or family friend may sponsor the wedding. When only one parent is living, the invitations are issued in his or her name alone. If the bride’s parents are divorced, the name of only one parent – usually the one who raised her – appears on the invitation. If the parent has remarried, the step-parents name also goes on the first line followed by his/her daughter’s to indicate relationship.


Invitations should be addressed by hand, using a neat, legible script. Use black ink if possible to match the printing. Some people prefer to have their envelopes done by a Calligrapher.

The guests full name(s) go outside the envelope, followed by the address. The inside envelope carries the last name only (Mr. and Mrs. John Doe) and nothing else.

For a church or temple ceremony “the honour of your presence is requested”. For a non-church wedding or reception it is “the pleasure of your company”.

You may request a reply to the reception with “R.S.V.P.” or “Please respond” in the lower left corner of the invitation. This is known as “Corner Copy” and there is usually an extra charge for this. (However, it is usually better to order a matching RESPOND card when you order your invitations. Respond cards include an envelope for the return. It is polite to put a stamp on the envelope so your guests to not have to pay to reply.)

 Each adult member of the family receives an invitation, as well as dates of single guests.

The phrase “and family” is never used. Instead, invited children’s names go on a line under their parents names on the inside envelope.

Southern Ladies: We are, What we ARE!

Y’all know that, in the South, the ladies of the family, both sides, are really the “glue” that makes it one big fat happy family, right? We know our place as a wife, and we know our duty as a Southern Woman. 
So, when you think about it, it’s quite silly that the women of the brides family, and the women of the grooms family, have their FIRST meeting at the rehearsal dinner, or worse, at the wedding! (Heavens NO!) Have a “Women of the Families” luncheon or dinner!
Again, as you know, in the South, cousins, best friends, old friends, etc, are all “Aunts”, so WHY NOT have ALL the women of the Brides family AND the Grooms family, have a luncheon, prior to your wedding? It can be a month before, or 3 months before your wedding.
Either way, “merging” the families is very important, and having special day for just the “Women” will be more valuable, and meaningful, than you can EVER imagine. If you think about it, and actually make a list, that includes your bridesmaids, your mothers, grandparents, sisters, aunts, cousins, and close friends, on BOTH sides, you very well may end up with about 50 people.
It’s something that can be planned very easily, and executed seamlessly, but the relationships that will begin, loving memories maintained, are PRICELESS! It’s all a part of building one big happy family!
It DOES still exist!
In fact, these Women of the Family luncheons/dinners should happen, at least once a year. It could save some money on therapy!