A lot of my clients get hung up on favor ideas, so I thought I would share with you some ideas that I typically share with my clients. Now there are a ton more ideas out there that you can definitely consider, but the following suggestions are ones that I know have gone over well at weddings.
First, some basic favor requirements.
Make it Edible
Edible favors are my person favorite. There are lots of ideas that you can do here locally or from your home town. We have done a lot of chocolates from the Chatham Candy Manor or other local candy shops and we have also seen some really unique edible ideas from our client’s home town like maple syrup and hot sauce! Another fun and popular edible idea is a candy station! Let your guests choose from multiple candies - whether they are your favorites or just fit your color scheme, guests love filling their bags with candy! With these edible options, your guests will either eat it there that night or will be so happy when they get home to snack on it before bed!
Keep Their Beer Cold!
Koozies are also another very popular favor. You can find all sorts of clever sayings on etsy or pinterest like - “To have and to hold and to keep your beer cold” or “Let Love Brew”. If you’re not big beer drinkers or are going to be serving beers in pint glasses then I probably would not recommend this. Typically these are handed out at the bar with beers and are also in a basket for guests to take them.
Double as the Escort Card
One great way to ensure your guests get their favor is to attach it to their escort card! In order to find where they are seated they will have to pick up their name with their favor attached. We have see these attached to compasses, starfish, jars of cape cod bath salts, keys and more!
If a favor really isn’t your thing, then consider doing a donation of some sort to a cause that means a lot to you and your fiancee. You may have had a friend or relative pass who you would like to honor with a donation. I recommend putting this information on the menu or thank you card at the tables so that your guests know you made this donation on their behalf. Another cool donation type favor I have seen was the replacement of their guest’s carbon footprint to get to their wedding, which was a really unique idea and also helps the planet!
If you are not the type of couple that is looking to have a huge wedding ceremony and celebration, but you love the look and feel of getting married on the beach, then Cape Cod can be the perfect place for your elopement!
I have worked with a handful of clients throughout the years who have wanted to have a smaller private ceremony with just the bride and groom and sometimes with just immediate family and there are a lot of perfect locations on Cape Cod to do such a thing.
The ceremony is typically held on a beach on Cape Cod and there are so many to choose from! For a small elopement for 2-10ppl I would say that a permit is really not required for a beach ceremony, especially if you are not using chairs or any decorations. Other places we have seen elopement ceremonies are:
The clients that we have worked with in the past are usually looking for very nice, private dinner after they get married. We recommend places all over the Cape, but here are some of our favorites for a nice dinner to celebrate together:
Most elopments do not need to hire many vendors for their ceremony, but most consider hiring the following vendors so that they can enjoy the day and capture beautiful memories.
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.
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.
Recently I was honored by the Cape Cod SCORE chapter as their Small Business Owner of the Year! It was completely unexpected and I was extremely honored to receive the award amongst other wonderful small businesses on Cape Cod. Due to the honor, I was also asked to be on the cover of Cape & Plymouth Business Magazine! I had so much fun shooting the cover with Julia Cumesand am so grateful for Lisa George and her team for doing my hair and makeup last minute as well as Designers Touch for pulling together a beautiful bouquet for the shoot. And it was great going back to Chatham Bars Inn, where I got my start, to pull it all together. Thank you so much for everyone who has supported me along the way and here is to many more years of event planning!
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!
You have found the venue, you have found the dress. All of the details are coming together, but now you have to figure out what the heck to feed your guests! From a laid back BBQ to a 4 course lobster dinner, here are some things to consider when choosing your Cape Cod wedding menu.
First things first. If you are going to be serving alcohol, there has to be food served with it. So depending on the length of your cocktail hour - anywhere from 30-90 minutes - be sure that you have some sort of food available for your guests to enjoy while sipping on a cocktail. If you are trying to mind your budget, why not just go with simple cheese and crudite displays. You can skip the passed hors d’oeuvres. If you want to provide more than just cheese and vegetables, you can also consider doing a raw bar or an action station where the chef prepares something fun for your guests - like the Chowder Station from The Casual Gourmet. If you want to have food passed, we recommend that you choose at least 5-6 different hors d’oeuvres and you can count on one of each kind per person. It is always a good idea to feature meat, seafood and vegetarian options. Some Cape Cod favorites are scallops wrapped in bacon, mini lobster rolls and shrimp cocktail.
“If you and your fiance are true foodies for whom each meal is an adventure, but your family are very simple eaters, choose some exotic hors d’oeuvres and a more mainstream entree for dinner," says Olive Chase, President of The Casual Gourmet.
Station Style Dinner
Station styled dinners have become quite popular and are just a bit different than your typical buffet style dinner. Station style dinners are set-up around your reception space with different selections like a salad station, a carving station and a pasta station where chefs are usually right there preparing the food for your guests as they come up to the table. Some couples use stations as a way to turn their reception into more of a cocktail party, instead of a sitdown dinner.
A buffet styled dinner is just as you remember it - one or two long tables set-up where guests are called up table by table to serve themselves. Some couples think that buffet style dinners can be more affordable, but depending on your venue or caterer, they can sometimes be more costly due to the fact that they have to factor in for guests who take more than their share, or want seconds. So save time, it can be nice to start the meal with a served or pre-set salad so that guests do not have to get their salad at the buffet along with their dinner.
Plated meals are the most popular of choices for weddings. I highly recommend going with a three course meal - salad, entree and wedding cake. The appetizer course always seems like a waste to me, especially seeing that your guests just came off of a heavy cocktail hour and because it adds more time to the service of the food. I also recommend avoiding giving your guests a choice of a meal - like beef or fish. Why not offer a duet entree of beef and fish and if there are guests that do not like beef or fish, they can request to have just one or the other. And don’t worry - all venues and caterers will be prepared for any vegetarians and allergies, as long as you provide them with the count ahead of time.
Ask Your Caterer!
"Make your caterer your friend! Ask what their specialties are and how they will be preparing your food at the site you have chosen. Will they cook on-site even if the venue has no kitchen or bring in food already prepared? Make sure they are receptive to your food tastes and are able to produce the meal you have in mind," said Olive. If you don’t know, do not be afraid to ask! This is most likely the first and last wedding you will ever have, so be open about what you like and do not like!
Who? What? Where? When? Always big questions come up when figuring out who will toast the happy couple the weekend of their wedding. Here are some key ideas to help scheduling your toasting throughout your wedding festivities.
Who? Father of the Bride (Mother of the Bride could also do this with the FOB)
What? Usually toasts the couple and thanks everyone for coming to celebrate
Where? Typically this happens the night of the wedding
When? I like to recommend this toast right after everyone has taken their seats (after introductions and maybe even after the first dance). It typically is the first toast of the night
Who? Best Man
What? Usually toasts primarily to the Groom and their relationship, but brings in great stories about how the couple met and tries not to embarrass anyone….too much.
Where? The night of the wedding.
When? Can be after the Father of the Bride toast before dinner, or after dinner is complete.
Who? Maid of Honor
What? Usually toasts primarily to the Bride and their relationship, brings in great stories about hour the couple met. Usually less embarrassing and more sweet.
Where? The night of the wedding, unless the MOH would rather toast at the rehearsal dinner
When? After the Best Man toast.
Who? The Happy Couple
What? Usually thank their parents, the bridal party and everyone for coming and sometimes they share words about each other.
Where? This is usually at both the rehearsal dinner and the night of the wedding. The rehearsal dinner is to really thank family and bridal party with gifts and the wedding is to thank the guests for coming.
When? At the rehearsal dinner or wedding it is typically after dinner has completed.
Who? Parents of the Groom
What? Usually toasts the couple and the parents of the bride for hosting the next day
Where? At the rehearsal dinner if they are hosting
When? Before dinner is served
Who? Other Random Toasters
What? Typically the other random toasts are more like roasts
Where? At the rehearsal dinner. It is always good to let others toast you at the rehearsal dinner so that your wedding night is not full of tons of people talking which can take away from precious dance time.
When? After all of the toasting by the couple has completed.
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!
Plan. Relax. Enjoy.
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