Monday, May 30, 2011

Step 75 - Verify Accommodations with Out-of-Town Wedding Guests

(2 Months to 3 Months before the Wedding)
Finding great rooms with affordable pricing is an essential part of the wedding experience for your out-of-town guests. More than likely, at least a third of your invited guests are going to be driving in from other places. It's important that you cater to their needs and make their stay pleasant, exciting, and convenient.

There often is plenty of stress for your out-of-town relatives and friends who need to take care of issues like getting off of work, finding a flight that does not break their budget, getting a babysitter, finding someone to take care of their pet, etc. You can be of tremendous help by helping them find a hotel and helping them to connect with old friends and making new ones.

Most hotels will offer you a group discount for blocked-off rooms. A simple phone call and a little foresight could end up saving you and your wedding guests a couple of hundred dollars. You may have to act quickly though. At many of the upscale hotels, at least ten rooms would need to be booked and the cut off for booking generally is about one month prior to the booking date.

When you enter into a booking plan with the hotel, the hotel informs you how your guests should connect with the discount plan. They may give you a code to provide to your wedding guests or use your name. About a week before the cutoff date of when the hotel will open the rooms back to the general public, you should contact the hotel to find how many of the rooms have been booked and by whom. If there are still empty rooms available, you want to contact some of your wedding guests and remind them that if they have an interest in staying at the hotel, they just have a short amount of time left to book the room for a discount.

It may also be that when you contact the hotel, most of all the rooms are booked and you may have to find more rooms, either at that hotel or you need to find another hotel. When making arrangements for a hotel for your wedding guests, your goal is also to find a hotel that is convenient. The hotel location should be as close to your key locations as possible. Close to the airport or train, close to your wedding ceremony site, close to your wedding reception venue, and close to nightspots.

When you are investigating the hotels, also check out their transportation service. Is there a shuttle service from the hotel to the airport and back. Also if the hotel is far from the wedding ceremony and wedding reception sites, consider arranging a shuttle bus service or party bus that can transport the guests to and from the venues. Getting rental cars and carpooling, with one person driving four or five others is another possibility.

Before booking a hotel for the group discount plan, make a visit to the hotel in person and check out the hotel rooms and amenities. Try and get in one of the block of rooms the hotel would provide you and inspect it and ask yourself if the room would be one you would like and is good for your guests. Check out other hotel amenities too, what does the hotel offer, fine dining, a pool, a gym, a spa, gift shop, etc. If you call any wedding guests you can tell them a little about the hotel. Pick up a brochure that describes amenities and services too.

Be considerate in choosing which hotels to book. Your wedding guests will be in varied financial situations. You should select a moderately-priced hotel as well as a 5-star hotel so that your wedding guests will have a choice of places and options. If there is a larger contingent of out-of-town guests you might want to book three or more hotels. You may want to influence some of your guests more to a certain hotel, you may not want the fraternity guys to be hanging out with Aunt Sue.

If you do get the ten rooms booked in the hotel as is the case with many hotels, the group gets a discount and sometimes even the wedding couple gets their room for free. If you are one or two short on the rooms, see if you can get somebody on the wedding guest list, maybe someone local can book one of the rooms. They are helping you get everyone a discount and they may get a chance to meet and party with some of your friends. Some singles in your wedding may meet, you just never know.

If it can fit into your budget, arrange to leave a small gift basket for your out-of-town guests. Give baskets filled with local treats or specialties from the area will really be a kind gesture to your guests. Picking up munchies at hotels, tend to be costly, having a gift baskets with some munchies will really be appreciated. You might include a little bit of chocolate, gum, crackers, cheeses, salami stick, trail mix, jellies, peanuts, popcorn, bottled water, etc. Leaving a bottle of wine may be a treat too. Almost every city has a couple of gift bag companies with local treats, or you might find a cheese shop in your local community. If you make your own gift bag a good web site for fabric bags is .

Include in the gift basket, an itinerary of all the weekend activities. It may include a handwritten dinner invitation to the rehearsal dinner. You may also organize a little cocktail hour at a room at the hotel, just specify the date, time and place. You may even consider an organizing a wedding week activity or excursion. A one last time get together, maybe organize a hot air balloon ride, white water rafting, trip to a dinner show, or off to see a ballgame. An out of the ordinary activity that will add to your wedding guests memory.

Also you might include a magazine, a local area map, and transportation information in the gift bag. You might be able to pick up information at no cost from your local Chamber of Commerce. The brochures often will provide places to see and things you can do and may provide a free magazine offering coupons. If the gift basket is all wrapped up when it arrives, from you ordering it, you can staple a note with a little bag of information attached.

There are a couple of websites around that you can use to help you get the best offer for a block or rooms for a hotel in your area. Two of these websites are and . Still if you use these companies, still go in person to check out the rooms and meet with the hotel to work out the final details. These websites tend to charge a referral commission though, in some instances they may save you a bundle and in other situations, they may not save very much. Most major hotels do offer group discounts for blocking rooms.

There may be a couple of people coming to your wedding in which their funds are very tight. It may be very much appreciated if you can connect them to stay at a friend's house instead of a hotel. They will very much appreciate your and your friend's generosity and the gesture they will always remember.

So take care of your out-of-town guests for your wedding and it will add to the enjoyment making your wedding fabulous. Always check out the rooms personally before you book.

See you on the other side!

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Step 74 - Interview and Book a Limousine for your Wedding Day

(2 Months to 3 Months before your Wedding)
Riding in style using limousines has long been part of the wedding scene, not only is it a fun way to get the wedding party to travel to the wedding and reception, it ensures everyone arrives together and on time. As you ride in the limousine, it also hits you that you are in a transformational moment in your life.

Historically speaking, the definition of a limousine is a stretch luxury car that is driven by a chauffeur. The French Limousine region gave us the term, and it was developed from from cloak hoods that shepherds from that time and area wore, which reminded linguists of the profile of a car.

Limousines really became popular after World War II. People noticed the luxury car after the war and they became a wonderful sight. They became a status symbol of glamor, wealth, and power for movie stars and big bands would use them all the time. Limousines soon became part of the special events scene including weddings. A special glass window was added between the passenger area in the rear of the vehicle and the driver up front, so the passengers could engage in private conversations without being overheard.

As you begin your search for a limousine for your wedding day, you want to comparison shop, check out a number of limousine companies. You can find limousine companies in wedding related websites, from your local wedding pages, and some limousine companies also appear for select cities elsewhere in this blog. You want to interview a few limousine companies before deciding which one to book.

As you begin your search for a limousine, the thing about limousines, the older ones have many miles on them. You want to order a limousine that is 3 years or less in age. Older limousines have more of a tendency to break down. You also want to inspect the interior of the limousine, best to stop by the limo lot early on a Saturday or Sunday morning to check out the condition it's in prior to someone else's wedding.

If possible, you also want to meet with the limousine driver, someone that looks the part of a professional chauffeur. You want to specify I want this specific wedding limousine for my wedding day and want this particular chauffeur. You want to book a limousine with a limousine company that's geared to weddings. Some limousine companies are geared to airports, often these specific companies change their limousine schedules around and the limousine you were expecting instead is waiting for a client whose schedule was changed because a flight was delayed at the airport. You end up getting a limousine you did not agree to, show late or might not show up at all. These limousine companies may lie to you on what happened and give you what sounds like a good excuse.

After you inspect and book the wedding, about one week before the wedding, you need to call and confirm the date and time of your wedding. You also want to stop by the limo lot and give the limo a once over to be sure it's still in good operating order and looks sharp inside. You also want to be sure you send or provide precise directions. You want the limousine company and driver to have directions for every last stop on your wedding day. You want to provide directions from the limo lot to the bride's house, then directions from the bride's house to the wedding ceremony, then directions from the wedding ceremony to the photo shoot, then directions from the photo shoot to the wedding reception facility, and then directions from the wedding reception to the hotel or to the airport.

You should include a Mapquest printout and maps of the routes, it's better to show the instructions typed out rather than handwritten. Often handwritten directions gets misconstrued. Also the day of the wedding, carry directions with you, even though you booked an agreement, limousine companies may still change their drivers schedules. Travel schedules and plane flight delays happen, limousine companies scramble around to make different arrangements and you just never know if the limo you expect will get affected, having a backup map to share with the limo driver may save the day.

Don't let a limousine company con you into a deal until you have had the opportunity to interview a few different limousine companies. You should not use a company that asks for a high deposit, only if a specialty vehicle such as a Rolls Royce or a classic antique car is involved. You want to avoid the "no show" or :late show", check out the limousine company with the "Better Business Bureau" and can check them out if they should show up on . You want to be certain you understand all fees including overtime and tips. Make sure the contract spells out everything including the vehicle, driver, and information on all stops.

If you do your research and homework with the transportation company, everything should go great and you will have one less worry for your big wedding day! See you on the other side!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Step 73 - Order Remaining Needs for Wedding Ceremony and Reception

(2 Months to 3 Months before the Wedding)
There are literally hundreds of ways to decorate the church or ceremony site for your wedding day. When you walk down the aisle in your perfect wedding dress, you want surrounding beauty to show up in your exceptional day.

Make sure you start off by discussing decorative plans with church or ceremony administrators, they may have some limitations of what you can do, but they might offer ideas to you too. Also consider how the lighting will play into your decorative scheme. Some decoration ideas just won't work in lower lighting situations that occur in many churches and chapels.

Consider decorative designs for aisle, pews, altars, centerpieces, ceilings, entryways, communion railings, columns, steps, door entrance ways, and stair banisters. Supplies may be found at rental service stores, garden centers, florists, church gift shops, and from many online web sites. Consider decorating to the theme and color scheme of your wedding.

You can begin by, fancying up the wedding with aisle runners, many churches may already have them in stock. A wedding runner is a rug that will run the length of the church aisle or transform an outdoor ceremony spot into a wedding aisle. Most wedding runners are red, white, or ivory. But these days wedding runners can be ordered in many colors and incorporate decorative trim and insignia, to match to the wedding theme and color scheme of your wedding, creating a spectacular entrance for the biggest day of your life.

Aisle Runner Web Sites

Pews along the aisles can be decorated hundreds of different ways using pew bows. Some materials you can use are to create a beautiful aisle path to make pew bows include ribbons, ivy, plants, flowers, synthetic flowers, pearls, laces, beads, crystals, candles, draping gossamer, Organza, floral balls, horseshoes, dried wreaths, hanging plants, designer wicked baskets. corded lasso, beach pails with seashells and shovels, parasols, centerpieces, hanging tulle fabric, balloons, and decorative arches. Many ideas can be gotten off of "Youtube" to create your own pew bow. Create pew bows that go along with your wedding theme or color scheme of the wedding.

Wedding Pew Bow Web Sites

A candelabra is an elegant decorative piece that provides multiple holders for tapers or pillar candles. They are usually made of glass or metal, silver is the most common decor used in weddings. A single candelabra with multiple branches for candle holders can look majestic for the church ceremony and moved to the head table of the wedding reception if desired. Candelabras can be decorated further by tying satin ribbons or tulle fabrics or hanging crystals below the candle holders. At some weddings, sculptures are placed along with candelabras in bare spots or on the side of the altar. You also may think of adding weave tulle, green scented garland, or lights around communion rails, columns, and stair banisters.

Candelabras Web Sites

The lighting of the unity candle is a relatively newer custom in the world of weddings, it symbolizes the coming together of the two families, the bride and the groom into a single family union. During the wedding ceremony, ordinarily, the mother's of both the bride and groom, light starter taper candles, the bride and groom in turn light the central unity candle (a large pillar candle) together using the smaller tapered candles.

Unity Candle Web Sites

Wedding Bibles are meant to be carried by the bride to the altar to be used or blessed by the officiant during the wedding ceremony. Often bibles, crosses, and rosaries are religious keepsakes that are blessed in the hopes to ward off evil spirits in the married couples home.

Wedding Bible Web Sites

In today's wedding, flower girls and ring bearer's are part of the wedding tradition. Typically a beautiful young girl and a handsome young boy who are either related to the bride and groom or are the children of a close friend, usually between the ages of 4 and no older than 10. The flower girl is dressed in either a beautiful white dress or an outfit similar or matching to the bridesmaids. The flower girl's duties is to walk down the wedding aisle proceeding the bride carrying a basket full of flower petals and scattering them on the aisle carpet, symbolizing fertility for the bride.

The ring bearer usually wears a suit or boy's tuxedo. The ring bearer pillow usually holds the wedding rings of the groom and bride and which are tied by strings or ribbon to the pillow. The tradition of using pillows dates back to ancient times to the Romans and Egyptians, only the wealthiest people had the privilege and comfort of owning pillows and cushions and were a sign of wealth. The ring bearer also brings the pillow with the wedding rings as part of the the wedding procession.

Flower Girl Baskets and Ring Bearer Web Sites

Make sure your wedding guest book is located somewhere where everyone who enters will see it and sign it. Have a member of the wedding party to remind people to sign it too. You might consider placing it as part of the receiving line. Remember, it will take a few moments for your wedding guests to sign the book. It is a must to have a good writing pen or marker that does not smear and is loaded plenty of ink. Make your sure guest book is of high quality with high quality paper. If the wedding is large, be sure to include enough room and pages for everybody to sign. Your wedding guest book is one of your keepsakes and is a reference of all that attended your wedding. You might use your color scheme when deciding on the book. Maybe present it on a nice table with a pillar candle, a family bible, and a photo of the wedding couple.

Wedding Guest Book and Pen Web Sites

The wedding arch or arbor is a doorway or tree like structure made out of metals, woods, masonry, plastic, or bamboo and is often used as the focal point of an outdoor wedding ceremony in place of a church altar. Often the wedding arch or arbor is positioned in a scenic spot in pavilions, over-sized gazebos, garden walls, scenic parks, beach fronts, lake fronts, and even the focal point of a backyard wedding. The bride and groom exchange wedding vows and pose for photographs with the bridal party beneath the wedding arbor. The wedding arbors are decorated using flowers, foliage, artificial flowers, ribbons, fabric, tulle, and even lights to make the wedding scene more picturesque.

Wedding Arbors and Arches Web Sites

Wedding sparklers can turn a typical wedding departure info an extraordinary moment that your guests will remember as a cherished moment in their lifetime. Sparklers have taken over as the grand exit of the bride and groom, they are a great send-off to the happy couple, substituting the days of old with the old time traditions of throwing rice or birdseed at the honeymooners to send them on their way. Another item occasionally used and becoming more popular is a confetti popper. The wedding sparklers are best, causing less cleanup work for somebody after the wedding celebration.

Wedding Sparkler Web Sites

Consider purchasing a wedding cake server and knife set to keep as a wedding keepsake. Get a good server and knife that makes cutting the wedding cake a much easier task of cutting a tiered wedding cake. You can add decorations to the handle of the knife by adding yarn or ribbon to the color scheme of the wedding or even have the handles engraved with your initials. You can even add wedding balls, gemstones or decorative pearls. Some families keep their cake server and knife and pass this keepsake off to their children for their wedding as a delightful surprise.

The wedding toast or flute glass has a long history dating back to the days of the Greeks of the sixth century B.C. The Greeks would pour wine from a common pitcher. The host would drink from his glass to ensure his guests there was no poison placed into the wine.

Today the wedding toast is performed to wish the couple the best of health and best wishes. Toasts are expected to be performed with some type of sparkling beverage (no coffee, tea, milk, or water, these beverages are considered bad luck and would be an insult to the wedding guests). The clinking of the glasses are said to ward off evil spirits and words from the toast master (generally the best man) to provide collective feelings of everyone in attendance of the special event. A wedding toast ends the formal part of the wedding ceremony, let the celebration begin!

Wedding Server Sets

Wedding cake toppers have a rich cultural history, most historians agree that they first hit the social scene in the 1890's. The idea of wedding toppers including the bride and groom had expanded in 1927 when a wedding topper featuring the bride and groom started appearing in the Sears and Roebuck mail order catalog included on a page of wedding cake ornaments. Later in the 20th century variations on the bride and groom became more vogue including silver bells, lovebirds, doves, cherubs, cupids, and many others. Materials used to make wedding toppers run the gamut.

Wedding Cake Topper Web Sites

You want to be sure you have all items ordered for your wedding day about two months prior to the wedding to leave plenty of time to resolve issues with any orders.  You should have all wedding ceremony articles in possession two weeks prior to the wedding. Try to avoid wedding sites that don't have a phone contact number or customer service number, in the event issues come up regarding your order. If your budget is a strong issue, you don't need to go too elaborate on the wedding ceremony, try to combine decorations with other weddings at the wedding venue or use decorations at both the wedding ceremony and wedding reception site. You can also touch base with other churches in the area, to see if they might have the item you want at your wedding.

See you on the other side!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Step 72 - Order your Wedding Favors for your Wedding Reception

(2 Months to 3 Months before your Wedding)
Your wedding favors should fall into the same category as decorations, flowers, linens, and other similar stuff that makes your wedding a very special event. Wedding favors are basically a nice way to tell important people in your lives to thank them for coming and celebrate your special day and to leave them with a keepsake that will remind them of the special day.

Your goal in your wedding favor search is to find a little keepsake that your guests will likely to keep and use and whenever they view the keepsake they will think of where they got it. If you should happen to visit the wedding guests many years out, a good wedding favor is one still being used and remains a bond between you and your wedding guests back to your wedding day.

The wedding favor does not have to be expensive. It is still possible to get yourself a nice wedding favor for under a dollar if your budget is really tight. You could pick up a shot glass for about 65 cents and put some Jordan Almonds, M&M's, or Hershey Kisses in. There are all sorts of things you can do, you just need to look for ideas.

There are a ton of reputable wedding favor companies that you can buy online on the internet. Many of these companies website addresses were displayed back on Step 50. You may check out their alexa reading at . It often is a better source than buying anything locally, because it is difficult to find a local business that sells a couple of hundred of a wedding favor product. Some of these national companies can personalize the product and add a wedding picture or add your wedding date too. You might check with a number of these companies and see if they have any promotions going on. You often get a bulk discount and to get your business sometimes you can negotiate even lower.

Don't forget to get supplies to decorate the wedding favor too, maybe a decorative box or fancy bag that matches to the color scheme or wedding theme. The important thing is your wedding favor is functional and serves a purpose, don't buy a wedding favor without much thought put into it or would likely be disposed of right after the wedding. Some other inexpensive ideas are bottle openers, bookmarks, candles, candies, chocolate truffles, decorative favor dishes, decorative favor boxes, wine corkscrew, luggage tags, key chains, place card holders, and other similar objects.

Remember, at the beginning of the wedding reception, there will be a huge commotion and excitement with your wedding guests bumping into old friends after not seeing each other for a period of time catching up what's happening and hearing about their life stories. There just is too much going on to distribute wedding favors personally. They over time have become part of the decorative celebration of the event. They help decorate the tables or placed upon a help yourself wedding favor table at the entrance to the reception door.

If you still can't decide about choosing what wedding favor, it is time you have to make a decision and again get some ideas. You might try "Youtube" and put in "wedding favors" or some variation "diy wedding favors" and see if an inspiring thought results, or you might visit a local arts and craft store and talk to one of the store employees and maybe they can help you come up with an idea.

Or you may take a "What Kind of Bride Are You Quiz?" listed below to help you in a decision. Answer only one response from each question please!

What Kind of Bride Am I?

1 - When you fantasized about your wedding when you were a little girl, how did you imagine your big day?

a) A wedding fit for royalty, huge and attended by celebrities and dignitaries, in which everyone you know is invited.
b) A lovely family and friends gathering, where everyone who has touched your life comes to celebrate.
c) A wedding where I am barefoot on a beach or on a mountaintop or a destination wedding, some place natural.
d) A wedding that's hip and stylish, everything is to the color scheme and wedding theme, in which  extravagant entrees and hors d'oeuvres are served.

2 - What type of wedding dress most describes your style?

a) A wedding dress which is very stylistic with a lot of decorations that will turn heads.
b) A pretty wedding dress that is simple, looks good and is you.
c) A beautiful wedding dress that matches the mood, theme, or location and makes you feel beautiful inside and out.
d) Maybe a Victorian style of dress or one similar to my mother or sister's wedding.

3 - What kind of music would you like at your wedding reception?

a) String Quartet or a Brass Band.
b) Jazz Music or a Dance Band.
c) A DJ, Mariachi Band, friend with a music box or music is just not important.
d) An oldies but goodies group or maybe somebody like Elvis or Frank Sinatra.

4 - When it comes to food at your wedding, you would like?

a) A barbecue would be great or a dinner at my favorite restaurant.
b) A fabulous buffet with old family recipes and a delightful Viennese dessert table for dessert.
c) A delectable wedding reception meal that fits to the cultural or wedding theme of the wedding.
d) An elegant sit down dinner with three entrees, preceded by a cocktail hour and with numerous different hors d'oeuvres.

5 - What type of honeymoon mosts interests you?

a) A fabulous resort hotel with all amenities added.
b) The honeymoon location is just not important, a place just being with by beloved is just fine.
c) On my honeymoon, I can visit a great city that I always wanted to see.
d) A beach area filled with activities and it must have night life.

6 - How do you vision the wedding planning for your wedding?

a) I like to plan my wedding with using the latest technology, maybe using the IPad, IPhone, Facebook, Twitter, or Blog and maybe having a couple's wedding website.
b) I plan on using family and friends with their input.
c) I plan to use a wedding planner to create the wedding of my dreams.
d) Do a bit of research and organize the help of family and friends to create a wedding of families past.

7 - The day after you got engaged you.

a) Went about your regular routine.
b) Went into hiding.
c) Was excited, had to tell all your family and friends and started looking for a wedding gown.
d) Joined a health club or bridal boot camp and started on a diet.

8 - What type of dishes should be on your bridal registry?

a) Three sets, formal china, everyday dishes, and a patterned accent to vary the look.
b) A special set that always remind me of my wedding day.
c) I have nice dishes already, I don't need new ones.
d) The same set my mother or mother in-law has, keep the tradition going.

9 - What type of wedding cake did you envision?

a) Stacked tiers and decorated to the max with beads and fondant icing and to our color scheme and wedding theme, could be a square or octagonal cake.
b) A conventional wedding cake with butter cream icing, clusters of flowers and a bride and groom topper.
c) A white tiered cake similar to what you may see at a royal wedding.
d) I am not picky any cake will do, an ice cream sundae buffet I would love too.

10 - How long have you been thinking about your wedding?

a) Ever since I got engaged to my fiancee.
b) Since I started going to many of my friend's weddings.
c) I never really thought about my wedding.
d) Since I was a little girl of five.

11 - How do you envision your wedding party?

a) All that's important to me is having a maid-of-honor and the best man.
b) The traditional wedding format with some bridesmaids and groomsmen works fine.
c) My bridesmaid's roles are very important, we have got to make a fashion statement, we need to come up with a neat them or color scheme.
d) A wedding that is romantic, where I am the center of attention and would not mind arriving in a wedding carriage.

12 - My wedding ceremony and reception should be.

a) A religious and traditional experience.
b) Elaborate, you go girl, grandeur and fun with excitement with eclectic foods and hors d'oeuvres.
c) An outdoor or beach wedding is right for me.
d) A Disney style wedding experience.

Add up your points, answers to the quiz.

1 - a-1, b-3, c-4, d-2
2 - a-2, b-4, c-1, d-3
3 - a-1, b-2, c-4, d-3
4 - a-4, b-3, c-2, d-1
5 - a-1, b-4, c-3, d-2
6 - a-2, b-4, c-1, d-3
7 - a-3, b-4, c-1, d-2
8 - a-2, b-1, c-4, c-3
9 - a-2, b-3, c-1, d-4
10 - a-2, b-3, c-4, d-1
11 - a-4, b-3, c-2, d-1
12 - a-3, b-2, c-4, d-1

How many points?

If you have from 12-20 points you are a "Romantic" bride. Your wedding has to be perfect just like Cinderella. You have been planning your wedding since age five. You are excited about the wedding planning process, and you are likely to bring wedding ideas with you in a bulging folder with ripped pictures out of wedding magazines. You are focused on your wedding day and and you may let other responsibilities slide.

Wedding favors for "Romantic" brides - Romantic favors like candles, favor pens, Spanish or Chinese fans, picture frames with the wedding couple somewhere on the frame, engraved favors with the couples insignia, antique handkerchief

This bride might consider adding an ice sculpture at her wedding.

If you have from 21-29 points you are a "Sophisticate" bride. You love weddings, you may be a self-proclaimed expert. At your wedding you want to make a fashion statement. You need a lot of choices and need to do a lot of research and find it hard to make decisions. You will need plenty of planning time for you are very picky. You worry about your wedding day a lot, everything has to be just so. Be sure to leave your wedding ideas, then let the professionals take over. Your nature is to second guess decisions but it is best to just let it go and enjoy your wedding.

Wedding favors for "Sophisticate" brides - Favors that show your with it maybe custom tin mints, a designer organza bag filled with goodies, wine stopper, engraved flute glasses, fancy soap, engraved favors, Italian baked goodies or home made cookies, lip balm, sun screen lotion, bath creams or oils, perfumes, personalized jigsaw puzzle, Mardi Gras mask. How you wrap the wedding favors and gifts are important to you too!

This bride might include a Photo Booth to her wedding.

If you have from 30-39 points you are a "Traditionalist" bride. Tradition is important to you. You will tend to seek advice from close friends and relatives. You tend to be more practical and listen to others and make yourself somewhat educated, you are open to other opinions. You tend to make decisions a little quicker than other bride types. You are likely to be the typical bride that brings something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue to your wedding.

Wedding favors for "Traditionalist" brides - Favors you should consider are Jordan Almonds, ornaments, ceramic dishes, old time candies, truffles or chocolates, create a homemade craft (get ideas from Youtube)

This bride might consider a chocolate fountain or candy buffet.

If you have from 40-48 points you are a "Naturalist" bride. You tend to be a nonconformist and are very independent minded. You are not necessarily offended to the ritual of the wedding but you tend to embrace the wedding with your own twist. You probably would like to partake in an event such as bowling rather than going to a bridal shower. You would not mind that your wedding is plain and simple, no need for an extravagant wedding or a big bridal party, a beach wedding will do.

Wedding favors for "Naturalist" brides - You like practically minded things or things of nature. Good wedding favors might be some type of plant, flower bulb, or flower seeds. Simple practical gifts are fine like a shot glass with Jordan Almonds or other candies. Personalized deck of cards, any gift from a Wedding Favor company as long as it's a nature theme, or making a homemade gift.

This bride might consider an outdoor wedding at a beach or wedding tent.

So if you have not made a decision, it's now time you must, you have to get the orders in for the wedding favors. You should put your orders in at least two months before your wedding. You also need to have all your wedding favors wrapped three weeks prior to the wedding. If you have a lot of wedding favors recruit family and friends to help wrap and make a little party of it, maybe serve your best dessert and have cappacino, espresso, latte, or gourmet coffee.

Make sure you order about 10% more than your wedding favor guest list count. Surprises, late additions or visitors tend to stop by around the time of your wedding and you never want to offend or slight anybody. Keep your wedding favors in a secluded secure spot, in a clean storage area or a back bedroom and away from prying eyes.

So just do it, make a decision, call or get supplies. Make your wedding the best it can be. See you on the other side.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Step 71 - Revisit your Wedding Reception with the Wedding Vendors

(2 Months to 3 Months before the Wedding)
Once you have your seating chart figured out, you want to revisit your reception facility and make sure everything makes sense. You first want to check in with your wedding vendors that have a desire to scope the wedding reception venue out and find what dates and times they would be free. Next contact the person or people coordinating the wedding whether it be the wedding coordinator, the reception hall, the caterer, or wedding planner and find a good place and time to meet with all parties that have an interest in scoping out the facility.

Make sure you bring your seating chart along with copies to share with wedding vendors which shows them floor layouts and where they will be located. Let them know the seating chart may not be final though, if there are any changes to the arrangements you will forward them changes in a week or two. You might want to invite along your wedding planner or day of wedding coordinator (if you have one), the caterer, the decorator, the florist, the disc jockey, any musicians, photographers, and videographers, any vendors that may have need to scope out the facility. If someone other than yourself coordinates the wedding day activities then they should be the ones to answer any questions the wedding vendors may have.

If you or family is doing the coordinating, you want to inform the wedding vendors where they will be located and should they have any questions you will answer them or provide an answer them within a few days (on answers to questions for which you may have to check out with the facility).

The key thing the wedding vendors need to know is where they will be located during the wedding reception and are they okay with the location you assigned them to. Also, is what the wedding vendor plans will it be all right with the wedding venue. For example, is the wedding venue okay with the special effects options offered by the disc jockey. The disc jockey might use sequenced lights, pyrotechnic explosions, special effect projections, foggers, bubble machines, confetti cannons, etc.

Also is the facility okay with decoration plans whether it may be the use of updraft lighting, decorated hanging fabrics, balloon drops, or have extravagant table centerpieces. You want to be sure what one wedding vendor has planned does not interfere with another wedding vendor. The hanging fabrics might interfere with the sequenced lights. Is there a limit on the amount of musicians that can perform at the venue?

Also, you need to discuss vendor electrical needs. Is there a need for electrical outlets by any of the wedding vendors, the disc jockey and his equipment, the musician's electrical guitar, the speakers for the emcee, and is there a need for charging of any equipment for photographers, or videographers or any other wedding vendors?

Also,will any extension cords be needed? How might they be secured, under the carpet or a tape job? You also want to be sure the DJ and musician's equipment don't conflict with one another, are their locations too close, it often happens you hear screeching on speakers because microphones are picking up sound. You want to try to get the wedding vendors in and out of the location and get answers to any questions they have and not take up too much of their valuable time.

You also want to have the rental contract available and start scoping the reception hall yourself. Check for access times and when do you have to be out. Usually you need approximately 3 hours to set up the reception facility. Is it possible to start setting up the facility the day before or maybe at 11:00 in the evening after the function is finished? Might there be a need to clean the reception facilities yourself, sweep, mop, and wax the floors, clean windows, dust and clean the kitchen, bathrooms, and other areas. Where are fire extinguishers located at the facility, and what if should an emergency situation arise at the event; a locked door, a broken toilet, or something other who should you contact?

The next matter to address is all the spaces at the reception facility. The most vital table at the wedding is going to be the head dining table in which the ceremonial bridal party is going to sit. Verify this table is front and middle and all the seating at the reception has an unobstructed first class view. You might want to think about jacking up the bridal head table so all the wedding guests can gaze upon the wedding couple. Make sure the head table decorations aren't too overboard and obscure the view.

Next up you want to review all the wedding reception tables and do they all have a good view of the head table. You might want to move a couple of tables a tad because wedding guests seated may obstruct the view of the wedding couple at the head table. You also want to be sure musicians and disc jockeys are not playing music right on top of wedding guests. You also want plenty of elbow room for each guests as they get in and out of their chairs and all seats are easily approachable by the wait staff.

Do you have enough reception tables and chairs, do you have all the linens, all and enough dishes that go along with each place setting, do you have all the tableware, and flatware you need, the napkins, glasses, the cups and saucers, butter dishes and creamers, sugars and sweeteners, all the extras like the salt and pepper shakers, and enough room on the tables for the wedding favors and the table centerpieces?

You also should check, are any exposed beams need to be covered in the wedding reception area, or are there any eye sore spots. Maybe add updraft lighting or hang a neat picture into a blank space on the wall.

You want to make certain that there is plenty of space for wedding guests to dance. The rule of thumb is for every dancing person you have 10 square feet of dancing space. On average, anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of your wedding guests will dance. A wedding reception of 150 guests, you should reserve enough space for 30 to 60 people or 15 to 30 couples. You should have a total of 600 square feet of dancing space, which can be 30 feet by 20 feet or if the floor is square 25 feet by 25 feet. Do you need to find a dance floor that goes over the carpet or does the facility provide a dancing area?

You need to check out all the other tables that will be needed for the wedding reception. You will need a table or nice location for the wedding gifts, a table area for the disc jockey, a space for the musicians, a table away from the wall for the wedding cake (for picture taking of cutting the cake), a table for desserts (if you have any besides the cake), a coffee station, buffet tables, candy buffet, chocolate fountain, ice sculptures, what have you. You want the photographer and videographer in a convenient location near the dance floor but on the back side away from the wedding couple, they may need a table for their equipment. If the DJ is also the emcee, you want him/her in a good spot to communicate with the bride and groom and for the sound system to be in a good location to be heard by all without blaring too loud. They need to be heard by all at the bridal party entrance, the best man's toast, the blessing before dinner, the cutting of the cake, etc.

If the reception center is in a long narrow room, the recommended layout is for the bridal party to be along the long wall in the middle, the dance floor also in the middle and the musicians to be situated across the dance floor, and all the reception tables off on each side of the dance floor. The wedding cake and gift tables and other tables off to each end near the narrow walls.

The entrance way also needs to be reviewed. What is the best location for the guest registry, is there a decorative table for that? What about seating tags, is there a table for them or will seating assignments be placed on an easel. Is there a coat rack and are there any other areas such as a photo booth that needs to be addressed?

Is there somebody to look out after the wedding gift table, the wedding gifts should be rearranged into a pyramid or wedding cake type structure with the bigger gifts situated on the bottom. You will want them to look nice so a nice picture of the gifts can be taken and the person responsible will get them to a final location after the reception is over. The wedding cake should be situated away from the dance floor, music areas or high traffic areas. You don't want the cake to be exposed to vibrations or a dancing couple running into them but away from the wall and you want to identify a cake cutter who is responsible and have someone else to distribute the cake.

You will want to check out the bar area too, is the bar area well equipped, where will the wait staff be stationed, is there enough supplies, bar glasses, bartender equipment, ice deliveries and liquor and if more bar supplies are needed where might they be stored. A similar story with the kitchen, what cooking supplies are needed, is there enough refrigeration, is there enough storage space, is there enough preparation space, are there enough dishes for everyone coming? Do you have enough kitchen supplies, serving bowls, serving utensils, all the right type of utensils, garbage cans and space areas for everybody that is preparing the wedding.

You want to go through all the supplies that are needed for the wedding and to create a checklist that everything is accounted for and if there is a need to rent any more supplies. You also want to create a pert chart and timeline for the reception wedding day. What need to be done after what and when and where? There should be a timeline chart for every wait staff at the wedding and a master timeline chart that shows all activities.

All activities and who is doing what should be laid out for the big day, where do all deliveries go and where should everything be stored, when should all the foods should be cooked, and hors d'oeuvres be readied to cook, and when should they be prepared and distributed. Who checks in with the bartenders and where are supplies to be picked up such as ice, liquor, and bar fruits? What order do the foods get distributed and how should the wait staff cover the tables? You want every last detail covered for the big event including a chart would be helpful of what foods should be delivered to every spot and time to every table.

Every last detail does not have to be nailed at this particular meeting with whomever is coordinating the wait staff for the wedding day, the important thing is that every detail is covered for the big day and a type of pert chart and time line is put together for all food preparation and the setting up of the tables. How long does each thing that needs to be done take. The bottom line are any more supplies need to be rented for the big day and is there enough staff on hand to cover every need.

A pert chart and timeline of activities should be shared with the bride and groom about two weeks before the wedding and assured everything is in order by the day of wedding coordinator, whether it's the caterer, wedding planner, event planner or from whomever is running the event. Each activity should be scrutinized, is there enough time and enough people to handle each activity. Make sure every person knows what they are responsible for and that they can perform every function asked of them (such as carrying trays, opening wine bottles, preparing foods, putting foods out on plates and decorating a plate a certain way).

If the bride and groom are running the wedding themselves, they may be heavily involved in bringing together all the activities needed but need to find someone to handle wedding day coordination. This person may be their mother, sibling, or close friend of the family, and oversees the activities of the wedding. The bottom line, it's a no-no for the bride and groom to act as the coordinators for their wedding, the wedding day they have assigned duties and must act their part.

Finally, a meeting and bit of time is needed for each wait staff to review their functions, the preference is a few days before the wedding but sometimes staff is unable to get off from other jobs, it may be, a few hours before the wedding reception to review each and every activity that needs to be performed. Also needed to be covered is the cleaning up activities after the wedding, should a special cleaning crew be hired or can the wait staff handle the cleanup.

Some upscale hotels and wedding reception facilities and caterers have their methods and procedures and all the wait staff have their assigned duties and the groom and bride have no worries about wedding day activities, the facility has everything under control.  Or it may be the wedding planner that is running all the activities and has experience and has everything under control. But if you have neither, the bride and groom needs to be sure that everything is planned out and taken care of, and a pert and timeline chart is helpful of what is after what and when and where and all wait staff understands their responsibilities for the big event.

See you on the other side!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Step 70 - Decide if you want Beer served for your Wedding Reception

(2 Months to 3 Months before the Wedding)
Beer has been closely betrothed to the act of matrimony for centuries. Even the biggest beer festival in the world started out as a wedding celebration. In 1810, when Crown Prince Ludwig married Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, the citizens of Munich were invited to celebrate the occasion in fields on the outskirts of the city.

As well as beer, there was eating, horse racing and other jolly japes. The event was so successful, the party is repeated every year lasting 17 days and still to this day over two hundred years later, the Oktoberfest remains the biggest beer festival in the world. The festival attracts more than 7 million visitors drinking Bavarian beer annually.

For centuries, beer has been the choice of weddings and has helped to make the occasion grand. However beer was banned in from the wedding British Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. Many British commoners think banning beer from the Royal Wedding is British heresy. The Royal Palace stated that it is inappropriate to serve beer in the Queen's presence. It is the intention to give the British Royal wedding guests a sophisticated experience and so beer despite being Britain's national drink was given the royal snub.

In America, beer drinking is commonplace at many weddings. A very formal affair may feature hard liquor but wine and beer are served in addition. Weddings in which the budget is very tight, especially many outdoor weddings may feature beer as the main drink, beer can provide substantial savings on alcohol costs. Other weddings may feature wine and beer, and offer just a couple of signature drinks to reduce the cost of the wedding. The signature drinks sometimes are hard liquor drinks maybe a whiskey, rum, and liqueur drink chosen to match the color scheme of the wedding, but a percentage of wedding reception revolves around the beer.

When selecting beer for your wedding, the green choice is to support the local economy and to promote the local brew. Beer basically falls into two categories, ale and lager beer, the type of beer created in the beer making process is dependent upon the type of yeast used in the brewery. Many local breweries and liquor stores can sell you kegs or bottles of beer for your wedding reception. They may sell you a half-barrel keg which contains 15.5 gallons of beer which serves 200 wedding guests with 10 ounce cups. A quarter-barrel keg contains 7.75 gallons of beer and serves about 100 wedding guests with 10 ounce cups.

The beer experts state that 60% of your wedding guests are beer drinkers, you can count on your beer drinkers to drink around 4 to 5 drinks, about one beer drink per hour. The most popular beers in the USA are Bud Light, Miller Light, Budweiser, and Coors Light. Most Americans have taken to like light beer, they are light in body and low bitter taste. These companies represent about 95% of beer sales in the United States. These popular brands can be purchased by the keg or by the can or bottle. Usually bottles are preferred at weddings over cans because cans leave a slight metallic taste.

There are 1500 microbreweries in the USA. A brewery is considered a microbrewery if they produce less than two million barrels of beer per year and are less than 10% ownership by one of the major breweries. Most of these breweries sell their beer in bottles. A keg is the more economical route to go when purchasing beer for your wedding that is assuming none is wasted.

Usually when you get a keg of beer, you need to rent or buy a beer tap kit to go along with it. You will need a beer tap, Co2 Canister ( 5 lb standard), hoses (usually a clear tube for beer and a copper tube for air), hose clamps, Co2 Regulator, possibly a beer tower and a faucet wrench (basically hooks into small holes around the collar and lets you unscrew and screw the faucet). The copper tube is used to recirculate a chilling fluid to help keep the tap cold.

You will want the keg in some type of refrigeration, either a special keg refrigerator, a regular refrigerator, a special refrigerator cut with a hole in top to place a keg, or for an outdoor wedding sometimes a bucket of ice or ice and cold water is used.

There is an art to filling up one's glass with beer. The goal for the brewery is for the beer product to be in the same quality as when it leaves the brewery. For great draft beer, it must remain at a constant temperature of between 38-42 degrees Fahrenheit. If the keg gets too warm, it produces too much foam and creates a lot of waste. If the keg is too cold, there will be no foam and there will be too much beer poured into the glass.

A good bartender knows how to set and test the tap and knows the technique of pouring beer into a glass or stein. An inexperienced bartender can produce as much as 25-30% waste on a keg of beer at a busy wedding reception causing the owner's profits to go down the drain. The important thing at a wedding is, for whoever is handling the beer tap, they have mastered the technique of tapping the beer keg. It is preferred to set the beer keg under the bar table protected from heat and out of view and is in a convenient location to change the keg when empty.

There is a new "quick-fill" system that is taking the nation by storm and is expected to be common place over the next few years. These improved beer taps fill the beer glasses from bottom to the top, utilizing a magnet on the bottom of the glass. These systems have appeared at a number of sports stadiums and deliver beer quickly to sports enthusiasts and generate more beer with less foam. Expect to see these beer taps at wedding receptions over the next several years.

Some wedding couples decide to have beer tasting at their wedding and is fun and a great ice breaker for wedding guests. Beer tasting gives you the pleasure of exposing friends, families, and acquaintances to the rewarding world of beer diversity. Most taste testings are recommended to be in the latter part of the wedding reception or works great at an outdoor wedding.

Many people may say "I am not a beer drinker, I don't like the taste of beer". Many of these non beer drinkers change their tune after attending a beer tasting. Many people find a really good tasting beer, and benefit tremendously from a beer tasting.

There are four type of beer tasting themes: horizontal, vertical, blind, and holiday. Horizontal tasting is selecting beers of different styles around the world and has distinct color, taste, and strength. After each person sample the beer you give them beer facts on the brand of brew, what brewery made the brew, from what country, the beer ingredients, and historical tidbits.

A vertical tasting compares beers from one style, region, or brewer. The goal is to help find the type of beer the guest likes the most. The blind tasting may have the most appeal, it is a little work to host and manage, the bottles need to be hidden you might pour all the beers into unmarked pitchers and then about four ounces poured into clear glasses marked from 1 to 8 or 10. The guests take a drink from each glass and write down their observations on the taste test.

You want 8 - 10 marked spots or marked glasses to begin the taste test for each guest. They taste and smell the beer and write down adjectives how their taste buds taste the beer. The glasses should be clear wide mouthed glasses, plastic cups, or shot glasses so you can smell the aroma, see the color,  as well as the taste. A new taste test should be introduced about every five minutes. You don't want the taste test to go rapidly or the guests will be too saturated with beer to do the taste test well. You want to have a glass of water and munchies such as crackers, mild cheese, pretzels, fresh fruits, pates, or trail mix in between tastings. You should need 2 12 ounce bottles of beer for every 8 people.

Holiday tasting are basically serving seasonal beer. The beer tasting is geared to holiday events such as Oktoberfest, Christmas, Valentine's Day, May Day, or Independence Day.

There are many web sites that can help you collect information on beer. Research your beer at web sites like , , , , . Most breweries have facts on their own beer on their web site too. Another web site called can help you out with kegs and ordering keg equipment.

Have the wedding guests write down their thoughts after sampling each beer in the taste test. Some adjectives to use as a guide for a taste testing form are listed below.

Beer Taste Testing

Acetaldehyde - green apple, cidery or fresh pumpkin contamination from microorganisms
Acetic - aroma or flavor similar to vinegar usually contamination from microorganisms like Acetobacteria
Acidic - sharp sour flavor or aroma
Alcoholic - warming or hot and spicy flavor that can be prickly in your mouth high fermentation temperatures or excessive yeast in brewing
Astringent - drying, puckering, bitterness that is tannin like
Bacterial - moldy or musty
Banana - flavors and aroma somilar to the banana
Bitter - that sensation on the back of the tongue hops used in beer, malt used in beer, contamination from microorganisms, could be several different reasons that affect this component of flavor
Bland - beer taste with not much flavor
Burnt - having an overbrewed taste
Butterscotch - having a taste similar to butterscotch suckers
Chill Haze - no affect on flavor but makes the beer appear hazy proteins suspended in the beer
Clean - lacking in off and unpleasant flavors and aromas
Clove - herb like flavor of cloves unwanted yeast
Cloying - too sweet and or heavy without any balancing bitter or acidic qualities too much malt
Chocolaty - tastes like chocolate or cocoa mixed with water
Creamy - smooth mouth feel, soft and pleasant texture good carbonation
Crisp - acidic in a good way that is not over powering
Dank - moldy or fungus like
Diacetyl - butter, butterscotch, toffee flavors short fermentation, contamination from microorganisms
Dimethyl Sulfides (DMS) - cooked rancid vegetable flavor like broccoli or cabbage contamination from microorganisms
Dry - finish that is sharp and not sweet
Dull - not tasting any ingredients but may not tasting bad
Earthy - aromas similar to grass and soil, think farm like hops used in beer, usually related to hop aromas found in British beers
Estery - complex flavors ranging from fruity to spicy to flowery, these flavors are often linked to Belgian ales and wheat beers. caused by certain yeasts,high fermentation temperatures, fruit added to beer
Flat - stale, papery, or cardboard like flavors too much contact with air, high temperatures while the beer aged, old beer
Flowery - aroma like flowers hops used in the beer
Fruity - aromas like apples, pears, citrus, strawberries etc. caused by certain yeasts,high fermentation temperatures, fruit added to beer
Full-bodied - large and abundant flavors malt used in beer
Grainy - raw and grain flavor or cereal like malt used in beer
Grapefruit - just like grapefruit hops used in beer
Grassy - the flavor of chlorophyll, just like fresh cut grass, can be musty spoiled malt or hops, hops that were not dried correctly
Hazy - cloudy beer protein or yeast floating in suspension in the beer
Highly Carbonated - tastes similar to tonic water or carbonated soda
Honey - tastes similar to honey
Hoppy - is bitter from bittering hops including grassy, citrusy, earthy, tea like, etc.
Licorics - tastes something like licoric sticks
Malty - a full bodied sweet flavor to it
Medicinal - having one or many of these qualities: electrical fire, medicinal, plastic, listerine, band-aid, smoky, unwanted yeast or contamination from microorganisms
Metallic - aroma or flavor similar to licking a coin exposure to iron or aluminum or high iron in the brewing water
Musty - mildew and stale aroma
Nutty - flavors and aromas similar to various types of nuts
Oily - slick sensation on the tongue that feels like a coat on the mouth
Oxidized - flat, rotten, stale, papery, or cardboard like flavors too much contact with air or high aging temperatures, or old beer
Phenolic - having one or many of these qualities: electrical fire, medicinal, plastic, listerine, band-aid, smoky, unwanted yeast or contamination from microorganisms
Powdery - chalky or gritty in mouth feel
Roasty - has an aftertaste similar to coffee
Rose Like smell - flavor of roses from hops or as a product of some yeasts
Rotten - flat, rotten, stale, papery, or cardboard like flavors too much contact with air or high aging temperatures, or old beer
Salty - salt flavor on the sides of the tongue. use of too much salts during adjustment of the brewing water
Silky - smooth and soft texture on the palate often as a result of adjuncts such as oatmeal
Skunky - stale, skunk like flavor exposure to sunlight
Smoky - smoke taste in mouth feel
Solvent - like aroma like paint thinner, lacquer or acetone usually felt along the back of the mouth high fermentation temperatures,
Sour - acidic and/or vinegar like sensation on the sides of the tongue, can have several different characteristics, such as lemony, vinegar, or sharp contamination from microorganisms, intentional additional of lactobacillus as in lambics
Stale - flat, rotten, stale, papery, or cardboard like flavors too much contact with air or high aging temperatures, or old beer
Sting - sharp bite on the tongue carbonation, highly hopped beer
Sulphur - aroma of rotten eggs exposure to sunlight, contamination from microorganisms, random yeast infection, too much exposure to yeast
Sweet - sugary, noticed on the tip of the tongue a product of the malt ingredients, various adjuncts that are not fully fermented
Sweet Corn - has a sweet cornish taste and aroma
Syrupy - kind of a molasses texture and taste
Tangy - sharp impression on the sides of the tongue, not as intense as tart
Tart - intense acidic taste
Thin - watery or having little body
Toast - malt characteristic usually associated with dark ales and stouts
Toffeeish - has a hint tatse similar to toffee candy
Vegetal - flavors of cooked, canned or rotten vegetables such as cooked corn, cabbage or broccoli poor quality malt ingredients, contamination from microorganisms, or high or low levels of yeast
Vinous - an aroma or flavor suggestive of wine.
Winy - similar to wine with fruity aroma or flavor
Yeasty - yeast like flavor, think bread dough yeast still in suspension or beer sitting on sediment

Beer Color Test

Straw 2-3
Yellow 3-4
Gold 5-6
Amber 6-9
Deep amber/light copper 10-14
Copper 14-17
Deep copper/light brown 17-18
Brown 19-22
Dark Brown 22-30
Very Dark Brown 30-35
Black 30+
Black, opaque 40+

So if you want a Royal Wedding and be sophisticated remember to skip the beer. For an All American wedding you have got to include beer and if you decide on a keg of beer, make sure you have someone that knows how to tap and can pour the beer properly.

See you on the other side!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Step 69 - Decide if you want Wine served for your Wedding Reception

(2 Months to 3 Months before your Wedding)
If you are deciding whether to serve wine or not at your wedding, your decision should be determined if you have a number of wine connoisseurs in your wedding guest list. If the decision is yes, you will have a little homework to determine which wines to serve.

Inexperienced wine drinkers tend to purchase sweet ones over aged wines. The wine enthusiast will think lowly of you for not serving good wine. There are thousands of wine choices, the key is to find a wine expert, tell him/her you are having a wedding and the amount of wedding guests, what type of foods you are serving and the type of environment of your wedding reception (venue provides liquor, you bring the liquor, or the wedding reception is outdoors).

Your best bet is to check some wineries in your area. A few months before the wedding take a road trip with your beau and bring along some close friends if you would like. Develop a relationship with one of the owners or salesperson, and get his/her opinion of wines to buy long before the wedding. Get recommendations of wines to buy on the high, medium, and low priced wines. You can also find good wines at your local wine shop and in some upscale liquor stores.  You also can find wine at Sam's Club, Costco, and BJs.

There are a few countries that are well known for their good wine which include Spain, Australia, Argentina, Chile, and France. A good wine improves in taste for a number of years, stays at peak and then starts to decline gradually. The key in buying good wine is buy wine while it is on it's way to it's peak and store it until it reaches it's peak period. A red burgundy for example has about 6 years of maturing, 6 years of peak, and 6 years of a gentle decline. Also, wines go through a rating system by wine experts and the wine is given a score. Wine is affected by sun, weather, and soil acidity causing each years crop to have a little variance in taste.

Make sure the wine you choose is served at the correct temperature so the wine taste it's best. Wines should always be maintained between 45-64 degrees Fahrenheit. White wines should be warmed up a bit to enhance it's flavor, while reds and roses should be served at cellar temperatures usually about 58-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Reds often could use some time to decant (poured from one vessel to another), before they are served, allowing the flavor profile and bouquet to come alive. Believe it or not, serving, wine in glasses made for specific grapes enhance the flavor as well.

Another key in buying wine is to buy in bulk, preferably by the case. You can save a lot of money by buying the wine at a winery or local store yourself. But not all venues or caterers allow the client (you) to bring your own wine, so check with everyone involved before purchasing wine for the wedding.

The standard wine bottle holds 25 ounces, count on five servings of wine, at five ounces each from one bottle. For sparkling wines served in flutes, allow four ounces per serving which equates to about six servings per bottle. Although sparkling wine is a wedding fixture you should consider serving red and white wine especially if the wedding reception includes a meal and hors d'oeuvres.

It's better to have too much wine than not have enough. Guests grumble when the wine runs out and there is still food on their plate or an empty or half empty glass for their wedding toast. Most caterers will tell you to expect each guest to consume one-half bottle of wine - roughly two glasses per every two hours. If the reception lasts four hours, count on one 25-ounce bottle per person. Some guests will drink a little more than one bottle and some will drink less.

There are a number of wine websites that provide information on wines that can help you get educated some. The recommended websites are , , , , and . The erobertparker website has a rating table that gives color coded scores by tear of wines of many well known wines into extraordinary, outstanding, above average to excellent, average, below average, and appalling categories.

If you have an outdoor wedding, consider using a boxed bulk wine. Inside the wine box is a bag that takes much less space to store and will chill faster out of the box than in and place them into refrigerators or coolers with ice or ice and water. When you are ready to serve transfer info carafes. Serving wines this way can save you 50% or more on the cost of wine versus bottled wine.

One trick of the trade at wedding receptions is to have hired caterers walk around your reception tables, with good tasting cheaper wines. They will make the guests feel as they are being waited on hand and foot. This decreases the amount of time spent ordering pricier hard liquor at the bar with your wedding guests enjoying good wine instead.

Wine connoisseurs often recommend certain wines to go along with certain entrees. Some of their suggestions of what wine to serve to compliment the entree are shown in the list below.

Recommended Wines with Entrees

New York Strip Steak - Zinfandel
T Bone Steak - Merlot
Porterhouse Steak - Pinot Noir
Filet Mignon - Cabernet Sauvignon
Sirloin Steak - Merlot
Prime Rib - Syrah/Shiraz
Rib Eye Steak - Cabernet Sauvignon
Steak Delmonico - Zinfandel
Filet Oscar - Pinot Noir
London Broil - Cabernet Sauvignon
Cajun Ribeye - Petite Sirah
Steak Au Poivre - Chardonnay
Ham - Pinot Noir/Gewurz Traminer
Chicken - Chardonnay
Salmon - Chardonnay/Pinot Noir
Duck - Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Sauvignon Blanc
Lean Fish - Chenin Blanc/Sauvignon Blanc/Pinot Grigio
Fuller Fish - Chardonnay/Fume Blanc/Viognier/Pinot Gris
Shrimp - Dry Fino Sherry
Lobster - Alsace Riesling/Bordeaux Graves/Burgundy Chablis/Rhone's Heritage
Spare Ribs - Provencal Rose/Riesling/Tempranilla
Pork Chops - Beaujolais/Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc
Pork Tenderloin - Pinot Noir/Zinfandel
Roast Pork - Beaujolais/Pinot Noir
Fried Food - Champagne/Prosecco/Cava
Lasagna - Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot
Chili - Malbec/Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon
Pizza - Cabernet Sauvignon

Many wedding reception facilities push expensive bottles of wine and make a nice margin when it's included as part of the wedding reception. Very often, you can save a bundle of money if you supply the wine yourself.
The venue might charge $30 - $40 for a bottle of wine that you can buy the same wine for $10 - $15 at your local wine shop or winery. Even if you bring your own wine, if the wedding venue still uncorks the bottle and pours the wine for your guests, they may still charge you a corkage fee anywhere from $5 - $25 per bottle. It's recommended, when you order and you serve wine, you should have 50 percent of your wines white and 50 percent of your wines red or rose. If the wedding is early in the day, you should not serve wine.

Beware of unscrupulous caterers that charge by the amount of wine consumed. They pour wine to the brim of the glass and if you take a sip they pour you more and when you go to dance they will take away your brimmed filled glass and when you get back to your seat you get a new glass of wine filled to the brim again. Most caterers are pretty good but beware of some caterers where the wait staff is encouraged to play this little game to increase the wine consumption.

At some weddings, wine or sparking wine is poured into a special party punch and often is called the signature drink and helps reduce the amount of drinks ordered from the bar. There are many different punches that can be made with wine, some of the more popular ones are summer fruit punch, white wine sangria, and sparking fruit punch. At a wedding make sure you include unusual attractive glasses to serve the wine punch in.

As for wine wedding favors, give champagne flutes and fill them up with candies that are the color of the wedding and set them on the tables for wedding decorations. You could also include a coaster with a picture of the wedding couple or decorated with grapes or a scene associated with a winery. Some companies even offer make your own wine labels decorated with a picture of the wedding couple, with bottles of wine offered as a favor. You can even use a wine theme in your decorations, place a candle inside the mouth of the wine bottles and decorate many areas with wine bottles with candlelight.

One of the highlights in a wedding is when the best man offers a toast to the new couple. This momentous occasion requires an official toasting beverage, one that has a bubbly dance. Tradition says champagne serves the purpose, symbolizing "celebration". Some of the recommended champagnes at weddings are Dolbeck, King Louis Roederer, Mumm, Veuve Clicquot, and Moet et Chandon. Whatever champagne you order, first test it yourself and make sure you have wedding flutes for the wedding reception and keep as a keepsake from your very special day. Don't forget flutes or wine glasses for all your wedding guests too.

Not everybody likes champagne and many champagnes are a little expensive. Lots of champagne are left on tables half filled with bubbly. You might save yourself some money for champagne by having a mix of champagne, sparkling wine, sparkling apple cider, and regular less expensive wine at the wedding toast.

The last thing to note about wine, red wine stains. Be careful of wine around white wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses, tuxedos, suits, and expensive carpets too. So if you have wedding guests that love their wine, consider serving wine and save some money on your hard liquor costs.

See you on the other side.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Step 68 - Collect RSVPs/Develop your Seating Chart for your Wedding

(2 Months to 3 Months before your Wedding)
As your RSVPs from your wedding invitations get returned, update your wedding organizer/planner on all the responses. Update whether your invited wedding guests have accepted your invitation and mark down any other particulars you were requesting such as the entree they have chosen or other items such as, are they booking a room at one of the hotels you have reserved for out of town guests.

If the RSVPs are not returned after 3 days in which they are due, you need to try to make contact with them either by phone call or email. You may need to reach them also if they do not provide feedback on their entree or with any other open matters to discuss. If any of your guests have declined the invitation, you can go back to your prioritized B list and invite the next guests off of your reserved list, send the invitations out right away. You want to be sure the RSVP due dates gets changed to a later date, you don't want the date to show too far out because you need to contact the wedding vendors of the wedding guest headcount shortly.

Once all wedding guests have responded with their RSVP, get a headcount for each of the entree counts from your wedding planner/organizer and give a tally of the counts to your caterer. Verify how you are going to handle food for the children and for your wedding vendors, are they going to get an entree or a separate meal. You will also want to forward the wedding guest headcount to the other vendors as well, you want to forward the amounts to your church, chapel, or ceremony site, to the reception facility if different than the caterer, to the florist, decorator, wedding planner (if you are using one), cake baker, photographer, videographer, disc jockey, and wedding musicians. It's also a good time to check in with your wedding vendors to see where things stand.

 After your vendors have been contacted, it's time to move on to preparing the seating chart for your wedding reception. Many wedding reception facilities might have provided their unique tool to help you out, there are many online seating programs available too or you can create one the old fashioned way or maybe you can find a classroom with a white board to borrow one day when the room is not in use.

Developing a seating chart for a wedding is basically a solving logic problem exercise. There are tricks to create a seating arrangement quickly and easily. Take out your list of wedding guests and divide them into logical groups; the wedding party, the bride's family group, the groom's family group, the bride's friends group, the groom's friends group, the work friends group, the wedding vendors group, etc.

Guests will tend to seek out people they know from their past, so you should attempt to have them sit together or near each other.  Wait until all RSVPs have been returned before laying out the seating arrangements or you may cause yourself doing extra work. You want to match people with compatible people, older people with older people, younger people with younger people, children with other children (unless they're rambunctious, put them with their parents), and teenagers with other teenagers.

You will need a large work area to create your wedding seating plan, a dining room table, a banquet table, a white board in an empty classroom, or on a computer. It is recommended that the bride and groom or a knowledgeable family member help in the project. Next get a large piece of cardboard, unless it's a white board and draw a rough outline of the room setup. Next draw the location of all the tables, i.e. the head table, all the reception tables, the DJ tables, the buffet tables, the wedding cake table, and any other tables needed for the reception room.

Next you need to identify the wedding guest list and put them into logical groups. One idea is to buy post-it notes in different colors or use colored poker chips. Write names on the colored post-it notes or print out and tape names on to the poker chips. The bridal group is one color, the bride's family another, the groom's family another and so on and so on. You then start assigning assigning people to tables.

First you assign the wedding party, the bridal party are generally situated on a long table, often on a raised platform called a dais, facing out to all the wedding guests. The bride and groom are situated in the middle seats, usually the bride in the right seat facing out. The general option is to have it male female male female, with the best man sitting next to the bride and maid of honor sitting next to the groom. Another option, is to have all groomsmen on the side with the groom and all bridesmaids on the side with the bride. The best man seated next to the groom and maid of honor seated next to the bride. If it's a smaller wedding, the bride's and groom's parents could be seated on the head table, but for most weddings it's not the case.

The bride's family is the next group to be seated, the table selected should be the closest and best view of the head table. The bride's parents and grandparents should get the best view of the bride with their seats facing the head table, to get a good look at their daughter and a good location for best man speeches and toasts. If the wedding officiant (and if their is a spouse) is in attendance to the wedding, they should be seated with the bride's parents. If the parent's are divorced, allow each parent to host a table. Siblings can either be seated alongside with their parents or host their own table. The groom's family should be seated in the same fashion as the bride's family.

You now want to seat the rest of the families, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, close friends of the family as close to the head table as possible. Next seat your guests, many of whom won't fit with into any particular group, try to seat them with guests with common interests. Don't seat calmer people with rowdy people and non-drinkers with drinkers. Position those who are younger or like to dance near the dance floor if you have one and position older people away from the dance floor and more convenient to rest rooms.

If you have a table with wedding vendors, have them in a convenient position, so the DJ can escape on cue, the photographer and videographer can take pictures on a moments notice, and the wedding planner can cue when food, coffee, or desserts are to be served. Make sure the wedding cake table is not in a dangerous location like near a dance floor where it may be bumped and away from a wall for picture taking.

As you are developing seating arrangements, if you have a group of twelve and the table holds ten people split the group evenly in half, six to one table and six to another table and fill the four seats with unmatched guests. Try to avoid empty seats at a table, for a half empty table is depressing to anyone seated at it and they might end up feeling slighted and not have a good time. If tables are long rectangles, seat family close to the head table and process gradually to family friends. Friends understand they don't get the best seats and tables at a wedding.

When using round tables, seat couples together, and then arrange an alternate male female pattern. With a long table place couples across from each other. Have male female seating on the same side of long tables. Avoid creating tables with a single family group, this is a wedding after all and you want guests mingling. If you are trying to connect a guy and a girl don't be too obvious. Seat them catty corner from one another maybe three seats apart, leaving them close enough to connect for themselves but do not make them feel in the spotlight by seating them next to each other.

If you are think creating a seating chart is too much work, and let wedding guests to seat themselves wherever they choose, reconsider! Chaos may ensue, many guests will fight for the best seats. Many of your guests will end up with total strangers and different personality types. If you want a fabulous wedding, it starts with harmonic seating.

Use place cards to show your wedding guests to seat, it's a nice idea to create a wedding favor out of them as a memento from the big day. You should number or name each of the tables and it makes it easier for the caterer too. Also have place cards near the entrance off to the side a little, you don't want to create a bottleneck at the entrance. You can do it one of two ways, folded alphabetical on a table or on a big board sitting on an easel with a blown up seating.

If you create a seating chart using Microsoft Publisher you can save the file as a PDF extension file and save if to a CD, you can then take the file to Staples or Kinko and upload the file on a large sheet of your choosing. You find an antique picture frame to apply it to and wahlah you have a keepsake document. Make sure a picture is taken for your wedding album.

When you apply the names to the place cards put the first and last names on the place cards not Mr. and Mrs. Smith. You want everybody talking on a first name basis like you always have been friends. When you have not seen somebody for many even sometimes a couple of years you forget peoples names. People also may look quite different after a number of years and are not recognizable. The place cards help prevent your guests from embarrassing situations.

Also apply simple titles to the place cards, use Dr. if a doctor or a military title such as Lieutenant, Major, or Corporal etc. Don't use advanced degree titles though. But always include first names such as Dr. Keith Smith and always use the first name of the wife too. Nancy Smith and not Mrs. Smith.

There are a number of computer software packages that can help you with your seating charts. Some of the more popular packages are noted below.

Wedding Reception Seating Charts

Many wedding coordinators at reception facilities and hotels might have seating charts for their facility too. You want a fantastic wedding, help create a harmonic chemistry for it and create a great seating chart.

See you on the other side!

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