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!
Let’s be honest. Everyone knows that the wedding night is all about being on the dance floor and having a blast with your friends and family. And one of the hard parts of planning for this portion of the evening is giving your band or DJ the song choices you want to hear that night. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind and help you through the process of selecting your songs.
Have a Dance Party
One of my close friends, who is a music fanatic, decided to have a dance party at their house to go through song choices that they thought they would want to hear at their wedding. If they played the song and you couldn’t dance to it, they took it off the list. What a fun way to narrow down ideas!
There are so many first dance songs out there to choose from, but what I recommend is to choose one that really speaks to you, even if it is not a typical first dance, love song. One of my best friends had her first dance with her husband to Hall and Oates’ “You Make My Dreams Come True” which totally reflected their personalities and was one of their personal favorites. Make it your own!
So in all of the years I have been wedding planning I have had mixed thoughts on the dance lessons. Here is what I have ultimately decided on – if you are going to take dance lessons, just learn how to dance more than just swaying and turning in a constant circle. Maybe add a dip or spin in here or there, but learning a full on dance from start to finish is just tricky. And all you are thinking about at that moment is what step you are supposed to do and if you are going to mess it up instead of focusing on dancing with the person you just married. My two cents!
If you are going to dance with your mom or dad, I recommend choosing the song with your parent and making sure both of you are comfortable with it. Some couples even choose to do the dances as one parent dance where the bride and groom are on the dance floor at the same time with their mom and/or dad. Another way to make it a bit less awkward is to ask other father/daughter or mother/son pairs at the wedding to join you half way through the song.
Do Not Play List
This list is very important!! A lot of bands and DJs here the same songs (organized dance songs are typically on this list) but you need to think of songs that annoy you, make you think of an ex or just are terrible dance songs. Be sure to include all of these on your list and be specific with your band or DJ about those songs and if you will allow for requests.
Leave it to the Pros
When it comes down to it, I highly recommend making your lists of songs and then just leave it to the pros. They do this every weekend and know what the crowd wants at certain times. Don’t expect them to play straight from your playlist the entire time. Be open to their interpretation of the crowd. And hire the best! The band or DJ is not a place to skimp in your budget! Ask for references and check out reviews online!
"I always welcome song ideas from the bride and groom. When choosing music, it's a good idea to use popular songs that most people will know at your wedding. Most of the time if people don't know it they won't dance or they'll leave the floor.” - DJ Danny Walsh
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.
If you did not know already, the only thing that you cannot control at your wedding is the weather. Everything else can be timed out and planned to a T, but the rain or sun or snow or hurricane is something you will not know until about 3 days before, if not even the day of. That is why we recommend taking the following actions to be as best prepared for any type of weather that may come your way on your wedding day.
Take it from a pro who has three weather apps on her phone and checks them frantically leading up to every weekend, that no matter how many apps you have, they are all going to be different. I highly recommend not looking at your weather forecast until at least 5 days out, as in my experience the 10 day forecast is always wrong. At three days you are going to be rather close as to what is going to happen and even up until the day of it could change. Why you ask? Mostly because you are getting married on Cape Cod where it may be raining in Brewster but sunny in Dennis!
No matter what you need to have a backup plan in place for at least rain, if not worse if it is a time of year that is prone to snow or nor’easters. For any of my clients planning on a tented event, outdoor ceremony and/or cocktail hour, we always have a rain plan at the bottom of our time line. That way we can hop over to that plan if we need to the day of the wedding and be ready to go with indoor options. If your ceremony is supposed to be on the beach and the backup plan is a conference room with no windows, you have to make sure that you can envision that happening. Granted, it is the worst case scenario, but if you do not think it all through you could be super sad when you’re inside instead of out.
If you are planning to have a tented event, this post is really for you. One thing that you have to be 100% okay with is that it could potentially downpour on your wedding day. If you are not okay with that, then you need to find a ceremony and reception location that is indoors or at least have a backup plan that you are okay with. For tents, you can also talk to your tent company about rain tent options. This is where you reserve a tent for your ceremony or cocktail hour backup and then at the three day out mark you can decide if you want to put it up or not. If you decide not to, the tent company will only charge you half the cost of the tent. To me that is pretty great rain insurance!
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!
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!
Most brides nowadays are taking advantage of the brilliant website Pinterest to collect ideas and find their colors, flowers, cakes, photo ideas, invitations, you name it. I mean, let’s be honest, it is a wonderful tool that allows you to collect inspiring ideas all in one place. But after a certain point in your planning process you will need to cave to the Pintervention. Yes I said it - You need a Pintervention.
Pinterest is a blessing and a curse when it comes to planning your wedding. There are millions of ideas on the internet and there is no better tool that I know of than Pinterest to collect those ideas as you plan. But when it comes to the final months of your planning process, and as you start to really decide what you want for your wedding, you need to revisit your wedding board and clean it up. Delete those ideas that you thought were amazing the day you got engaged and narrow it all down to what you will be actually using for your wedding. Make it really reflect your personality, your colors, your plan.
Once you realize you need a Pintervention and you complete your clean-up process, then you need to start restricting yourself on things that you look for or that you pin onto your board. When you reach the 6 month out mark from your wedding day, you need to be sure you have your colors and major ideas decided on, so there is no need to keep looking for other color schemes or themes or dresses! When you get to 2 months out you are going to limit your pinning to just final details and fun things you may want to add, such as escort cards, guest book ideas, cocktail napkins, signage, etc.
Don’t get me wrong, as I said, it is a wonderful tool for brides to use - I even share boards with my brides so that I can watch what they pin and I can add pins I see that reflect their plans - but it is smart to realize when you need to slow down and reign everything in. The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a totally new idea only a couple of months before your wedding!
Follow Jamie on Pinterest
In some way, shape or form at your wedding you are going to want to be sure to say hi and thank each person that was able to join you in the celebration. The receiving line used to be the most popular way to do this, but here are some ideas as to how you can take care of this task, depending on your wedding day schedule.
The receiving line is a bit old fashioned, but it does come in rather handy from time to time. If you are getting married at a church and/or you have a lot of time to kill in between your ceremony and reception, I would highly recommend thee receiving line. This way you are able to greet all of your guests, with your parents, immediately after the ceremony, go for photos and meet them at the reception. I typically recommend this for my clients that have more than enough time in between their ceremony and reception.
Greeting Guests at the Tables
If you do not have time for a receiving line, or think it is too old fashioned, then the fall back would be to greet your guests at the tables after you have finished each course of your meal. It is always nice to have someone in charge of making sure you get back to your seats when each course is brought out so that you do not miss a course. This is a great option, but remember to keep it short and sweet at each table - keep it movong! I would also recommend that you choose to sit at a sweetheart style table so that you are not leaving your guests at your table each time you get up.
The Cocktail Hour
If you are having a less formal affair, and you are having all of your photos done before the ceremony, then it is perfectly fine to mingle at cocktail hour and visit with all of your guests. That way you can enjoy your meal without interruption and converse with those at your head table.
On The Dance Floor
If you don't like those options, and would rather keep it super casual, then just thank your guests by dancing the night away with them!!
Plan. Relax. Enjoy.
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