So I am a firm believer that every wedding is unique in its own way and that all couples can really make the day reflect their personalities, but there are certain formalities that every planner, venue manager or catering manager will ask about. It doesn’t mean that you have to include it in your day, but these are the most typical things that we see at events and we won’t judge you if you want to remove it from your day or even add something else in that is more special to you and your family!
Once the guests have been seated there is usually some sort of formal introduction. This can be the entire bridal party including parents and grandparents, it could be just the bridal party or could even be just the bride and groom. If you prefer not to be introduced that is fine too! If you do choose to have an introduction, you will need to know how you would like to be introduced - Mr. & Mrs., by your first names, by your nicknames, whatever you choose! Your band or DJ will be in touch with you about the specifics, have fun with it!
After the introductions is typically when the bride and groom will have their first dance. You may have taken dance lessons and this is your time to show off your moves, or you may hate dancing and will ask your bridal party and/or other couples to join you halfway through. Whatever makes you comfortable!
There are many toasts that can take place on the wedding day from the host giving a welcome toast, to the maid of honor and/or best man and even the couple. You will need to discuss with your family who would like to toast and when. Sometimes it is more appropriate for certain family members to toast at the rehearsal dinner instead of the actual wedding day. On the day itself I recommend keeping it to 4 toasts or less - that would include a welcome toast (typically given by the father of the bride), the maid of honor toast, the best man toast and a thank you toast from the couple.
As dinner is winding down the couple will typically cut the cake before the party really gets started. This can be announced with a song and everyone’s attention on you or it can be what I call “stealth” where just the parents and the photographer/videographer are invited over to witness it. Obviously others will see it happen as well, but it will not be made a spectacle.
A great way to open up the dance floor after dinner is with the parent dances. This is where the bride will dance with her dad and the groom will dance with his mom. We do see a lot where just the bride will dance with her dad or where they will share one parent dance together. Another fun idea is to invite other father/daughter or mother/son pairs that are there that night to join halfway through the dance
Bouquet or Garter Toss
Although the bouquet toss and garter toss are not seen too much at weddings anymore I still wanted to include it. This is totally up to you and is usually based on your crowd. Do not do a bouquet toss if only 2 people there are single! Maybe consider giving your bouquet to the couple there that has been married the longest or present it to a grandmother or your mother.
Happy New Year!
As I sit here and reflect on 2014, I am so grateful for all that we accomplished. It is amazing how much love, support and recognition I continue to receive from my clients, local vendors, and my friends and family. I truly feel blessed. We are excited to look ahead at all of the wonderful clients we are already working with as well as our plan to share some new and exciting things in 2015.
Here is a look back at some of the highlights of our 2014 season. Onward and upward to 2015!
Winning Cape Cod SCORE's Small Business Owner of the Year Award!
Cover of Cape & Plymouth Business Magazine
15 Tented Events from Bourne to Provincetown
(photo by emilie inc.)
The NotWedding Cape Cod 2014 at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel
(photo by Eric Foley)
35 Happily Married Couples
(photo by Stacey Hedman)
5 Life Celebrations - Birthdays, Anniversaries, Oh My!
As the Father of the Bride, you have one of the most important roles at your daughter’s wedding, but you may feel left out throughout the planning process as the bride tends to do most of the planning with her mom.
Most dads are okay with the fact that they don’t have to do much, but others want to be included throughout the process as they can, seeing that they may be writing most of the checks to make this dream wedding come to life. Below are some roles that the Father of the Bride (FOB) can jump into throughout the planning process if he really wants to be a part of the journey.
Food & Beverage
The food and beverage is definitely a big part of the wedding day and a great place for the FOB to chime in if he wants to. Some FOBs love food, wine, beers, etc. and want to make sure the best is selected for his daughter’s special day. If your venue or caterer offers a tasting, this is also a great place for the FOB to be included!
Depending on if the FOB has an interest in photos or florals, this is a great place to help your daughter select vendors. I have worked with FOBs in the past that have a green thumb and are really interested in the floral selections. Others love photography and want to help the couple select their photographer for the day. It all depends on how much the FOB cares about certain vendors that the couple will book.
Walking Your Daughter Down the Aisle
So although a lot of FOBs don’t feel very included during the planning process, they do get one of the most important roles of the day - walking their daughter down the aisle. Couple of things to note - you will stand on her right so that your right hand is available to shake her groom’s hand. When you get her up to the front, be sure to give her a hug or a kiss, shake the hand of the groom (or give him a hug) and hand her off!
Another very popular role for the FOB is the welcome toast. Typically the welcome toast is right before dinner is served, or before the blessing. This is usually very short and sweet and congratulates the couple and thanks everyone for coming to celebrate for the weekend. Sometimes the couple will do this toast if they are hosting the event, but a lot of the time the Father will do this toast.
Finally, another very important role is the father/daughter dance. So start thinking of what song you want to share with your daughter on her wedding day. If your daughter chooses to have this as a formal event, the DJ or band will call the both of you to the dance floor to share your special dance together. This is usually followed by the mother/son dance and a killer dance party!
The last thing you want to think about is an emergency on your wedding day, but you never know what could possibly happen. I have had bridesmaids' zippers get stuck and tear, and I had to literally sew her into her dress. Stains on dresses or even guests, clothing, headaches, hair issues, stinky breath...you name it, it can happen!
I have compiled a list of things that I keep in my emergency kit while I am working weddings. It is best to put your Maid of Honor on this task and to be the manager of the kit if you do not have a planner on site that has one.
When you get into the last couple of months of your planning process and you have some extra wiggle room in the budget, it is a good time to look into fun wedding add ons to your party. There are so many new ideas out there, way more than I can list here, but we have come up with a list of great wedding add ons that would work well at any Cape Cod wedding.
Food Trucks are so much fun and make a great late night snack option! Food Trucks have been all over the big cities for a while now and the trend has finally hit Cape Cod. There are a number of different food truck vendors on Cape Cod from Wellfleet to Falmouth that you can book for your wedding. Fiddlesticks, DPM and CDogs to name a few!
Photo booths are a great way to entertain guests, act as a favor and make memories! There are not many specific photo booth vendors on the Cape, but there are many photographers that offer the photo booth as an option to their packages. Most booths do take up some space, so be sure you have the room in your venue before you book.
Flip Book Booth
Similar to a photo booth, but with a bit more action, you will find a Flip Book Booth. Here is where your guests can get dressed up in fun attire and make a mini 8-second video that is instantly turned into a flip book to take home. Personalize the cover with your wedding colors, names, etc. It is one of our favorites!
This one has not yet officially made it to Cape Cod, but I was fortunate enough to have fun with one while I was at The NotWedding in NYC this past April. The company is called The Haiku Guys and is definitely a topic conversation. Give the Haiku writer a topic of your choice and come back later for your very own personalized Haiku. Super fun and they will travel!
Live Wedding Painter
Your wedding photos are one thing and are definitely worth splurging on, but how cool would it be to have someone there painting your ceremony or your first dance or your reception live?! Many local artists offer this service, just ask! It is very interesting for your guests to watch, but also serves as an amazing keepsake from your day!
There are so many other fun options to add into your wedding from little details like straws and personalized pint glasses to candy buffets and sundae bars! If you want to add in something clever, think about what best reflects you, your family and your party!
Cape Cod Celebrations has been fortunate enough to have an amazing young woman interning with us for the past 2 years and who will be joining us again this summer, but not only as our intern, but also our new admin!
Olivia has been studying event planning at UMASS Amherst and will be graduating a semester early this fall - smarty pants!
Words cannot express how grateful I am that Olivia found us. Her drive and attention to detail is well beyond her years. And in her 2+ years with us she has been on site with me to trouble shoot events with no air conditioning on one of the hottest days of the year, but also to be thankful for beautiful days like the one above at Chequesset Golf Club.
We love you Olivia! Thank you for being so awesome!
One of the most dreaded planning components of any wedding is where and how to seat the guests. Long tables or rounds? Assigned seating or open seating? Can Aunt Martha sit at the same table with Uncle Bob? There is not really any easy way to figure it all out, but we can provide you with some ideas to help to make the decision on how the seating will work best at your wedding.
Long Tables or Rounds
To be honest, I really feel that either work. A lot of people will say that the long tables are not as good for conversation, but I can also see how the rounds may not be good for conversation either. So I would base it off of what you want your aesthetic to be in your space. It is very popular now to do a mix of shapes as well to give more movement to the room.
If you have under 50 guests at your event, you are more than welcome to skip the escort cards and just let your guests seat themselves. The only caveat I have for this, is to make sure you have a table, or tables, reserved for the bridal party and family. If you skip this part, the bride and groom may end up at a table that they do not want to sit at!
If you have over 50 guests, I highly recommend escort cards. An escort card is what guests pick up and “escort” them to their table. This could be anything from a tented card with their name and table number to a tag on their favor which they take to the table with them or a map on an easel with names in alpha order. One big thing that brides tend to forget is that the escort cards need to be in alphabetical order, not table number order, and it is so nice to hand them over to your planner or catering manager in that order. Saves tons of time!
If you are having more of an upscale event, or if you want to assign specific seats at the table, you would start with escort cards to get the guest to the table and then you would have place cards in front of each seat showing where that guest would sit. This is not necessary, but some couples find that they prefer this so that they know that people sitting next to each other at the table will make conversation.
One thing to consider when building your seating plan is that your guests will really only be seated for 1-1.5 hours. Most of them are all just waiting for the dance floor to open! So don’t stress about it too much!
Hello Moms! Your son or daughter just got engaged! How fun! How crazy! How overwhelming! You are going to have a crazy couple of months ahead of you in the planning process so we decided to collect a list of roles that you will have from now until “I Do”.
Mother of the Bride
You have always dreamt of this day when your little girl would find the love of her life and walk down the aisle! Be sure to remember that this is her wedding and she may have some crazy ideas, but you will have to be supportive throughout the stressful process. Here is a list of “Mother-of-the-Bride Roles” for you to keep in mind while she is planning away!
- Come up with a budget you are comfortable with early on in the process
- Make your guest list and keep in mind that it is not ideal for your daughter to meet anyone for the first time at her wedding!
- Be supportive! Times have changed and there is a lot of added stress that comes from planning a wedding. Be her rock when she needs it!
- Hire a planner! It is definitely a smart move - mostly because if you don’t have someone there the day of the wedding to help, you may be doing it all and not enjoying the day the way you should.
- Be available. There are lots of meetings and decisions that have to be made and you are most likely going to need to be by her side when she makes them. Be sure that you can make yourself available for her when needed.
- Get to know the next lady that we are going to talk about. The more you are on the same team, the easier the planning process will go!
Mother of the Groom
Your son found the love of his life and now the planning begins! Because you are the Mother of the Groom, you do not have as many roles as the Mother of the Bride, but we have come up with a list of things for you to keep in mind throughout the planning process!
- Make your guest list and keep in mind that it is not ideal for your son to meet anyone for the first time at his wedding!
- Be Supportive! Let your soon-to-be daughter-in-law live her wedding dreams even if it was not what you would had in mind.
- Find a great rehearsal dinner venue and include your son in the process.
- Find a beautiful Mother of the Groom dress and be sure to ask the bride what colors would be appropriate.
- Enjoy the process. Because it is not your daughter getting married, you really need to take a bit of a back seat on this one. When she wants your help, she will ask for it, but be sure she knows you are available!
- Get to know the next lady that we are talked about above. The more you are on the same team, the easier the planning process will go!
I always love when we cross over into a new year, because my brides can finally say “I am getting married this year!”. Which also means that their wedding day is creeping even closer and wedding planning has to get kicked into high gear. Here is a list of what my 2014 brides are working on at this point in their planning process once the New Year has hit.
1. Finalizing the Guest List: Who are definite? Who can we cut? Are kids invited?
2. Vendors: If your major vendors are not secured yet (florist, photographer, DJ/Band) get on it and make some final decisions!
3. Venue: If you do not have a venue and you are looking at 2014, you will need to reach out ASAP to get availability in the months you are interested in! At this time, September 2014 is almost completely booked for most venues and vendors!
4. Save-The-Dates: At this point, most all weddings for 2014 should have sent their save the dates. The exception would be weddings in October, November, December.
5. Invites: The process should be in the works for design! Invites go out around 3 months before your wedding date.
6. Wedding Website: Be sure you have one and that it is up to date with information!
7. Payments: Be sure to do a review of your vendor contracts and see when your next payments are due.
8. Attire: Finalize what everyone is wearing and start ordering!
9. Rings: Start looking at wedding bands and be sure to order them in time so that they are ready for you to pick-up a couple of weeks before the wedding!
10. The Fun Stuff: Decor, favors, photo booths, oh my!
So you have your heart set on an outdoor ceremony, eh? Beach? Backyard? Open field? All beautiful locations on the Cape (obviously), but not so pretty when the weather does not cooperate. I always tell my brides that the one thing we cannot control is the weather, and unfortunately, you cannot control it either. So no matter what, if any part of your event is outside – ceremony, cocktail hour, photos – you will need to have a rain plan or back up option available. Here are some locations you can take into consideration when putting together your rain plan. And trust me – if you don’t have a rain plan, and it rains, it will be a nightmare!
If your wedding reception is taking place at a Cape Cod venue – resort, hotel, ballroom, etc – and your ceremony is outside at that venue, or maybe even off site at your favorite beach, be sure to talk through back up options with your catering manager at the site. You may need to have the ceremony in your reception area, which would then limit the amount of set-up time for the reception. They may have an open ballroom or venue space you can use and keep on hold for you at no charge for a rain back up. Just be sure you get that figured out, maybe even at the time of booking, to be sure that the week of the wedding you have a back-up in place.
If your wedding reception is in a tent at a private home, rented home, or venue there are two options for you. You can either have your ceremony under the reception tent on the dance floor, or you can talk to your tent company about a back up ceremony tent. This tent is usually on the order early out and then you can make the decision the week of the wedding if you want it or not.
I have actually had brides that are getting married outside also secure a church as a back up plan. If your ceremony is on a beach and your venue does not have a back up plan, or it just really does not make sense or you just really do not want to, have your ceremony under the tent, then you could contact a local church and secure the date and time as your back up. Basically what you are paying for at the church you can consider your rain insurance plan.
One thing to really keep in mind about your rain plan is that it will, in some way, shape or form, affect your time line. The reception space may need to be ready up to 2-3 hours earlier if you need to be under that tent. So be sure to keep your vendors up to date if the rain plan needs to go into action. And be sure you have a solid plan on how to let your guests know if the location has changed significantly – like from a beach to the church.
And if it rains on your wedding day, you have to do your best to not let it upset you. It is the only thing out of your control! Be happy that all of your friends and family are there to celebrate with you – rain or shine!
Plan. Relax. Enjoy.
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