Every couple dreams of pulling off an epic wedding. But doing that takes a fair amount of hard work. There are months of planning and countless stressful nights to create a day of memories that will last a lifetime.
Are you making the right choices to ensure your wedding ceremony and reception stand out from the crowd? Or are you quietly fitting in with the rest of the wedding pack?
No matter what, no couple should ever have to worry about whether or not their wedding is unapologetically them or stress out that the day goes off without a hitch. They also shouldn’t be anxious about keeping their guests occupied with “wow” moments.
You hire me for just that reason! I’m the one that can bring “wow” ideas to the table for you. I help execute them or make sure the wedding day team has what they need to get it done, and done right. That’s not something you should be thinking or worrying about.
One of the most effortless conversations we can have is about adding moments of surprise and delight. These moments can help to entertain your guests and give them a long-lasting impression. And as your wedding planner, it’s important to me that you recognize your guest’s experience is important too.
Here are just a few ways that you can start planning “outside the box” and add a bit of surprise and delight into your wedding day:
Dream Up A Memorable Entrance
They say first impressions are everything, so why not make your wedding stand out right from the get-go?
Grand entrances can be an impressive experience for both the couple and their wedding guests. Say you want to entice your guests as they enter the venue space. You can opt to entertain them with live musicians or other performers as they mingle for cocktail hour or make their way to their designated tables. Your dramatic introduction can happen at either the ceremony or the reception (or both if you’re feeling fancy).
Another way to make a memorable entrance is by going over-the-top to introduce the happy couple and their wedding party. Try and recreate elements of your love story. Think of creative and unique ways to highlight how you met, your favorite activities to do together, or anything in-between.
No matter your budget, you can easily elevate the reception space with luxurious decor. But don’t get me wrong, luxurious doesn’t always mean more money. See your design elements can be something as simple as throw pillows or fabric-rich tablescapes to more off-the-wall and adventurous endeavors such as hanging installations or over-the-top light shows with accompanying music. These lush elements can help set the mood for the reception and put guests in the right vibe and headspace for the event.
Personally, I love hanging installments over sweetheart tables, head tables or dance floors. People will be taking a lot of pictures of you to in those spots. So make them extra photogenic.
Craft Different Scenes
Storytelling is a great way to bring your wedding to life. Every couple has a unique journey, whether it’s your family history or your extraordinary love story. Either of these can easily be divided up into stations.
Want to incorporate both partner’s family history and culinary traditions into your wedding menu? Try dividing each cuisine type into a section of the room and scatter in tidbits of family tradition and history throughout the tablescapes.
Another way to break up your reception area is by creating seating areas. Comfy chairs and couches with coffee tables. It brings people in for conversation when they need a break from the dance floor. Include wedding décor and pictures of you, and it’s like you’re inviting them into your living room.
But seriously, creating “wow” factors can be easy. Sometimes it just takes diving deeper into you as a couple to find the fun things to focus on. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me and let’s start a conversation that can lead to the “wow factor” your wedding deserves.
Many people opt to have a signature cocktail or two on their wedding day for guests to enjoy and I fully support this decision. Not only is it a great way to save some money if you wish to limit your bar, but it’s a fun way to connect to your guests. ESPECIALLY if you make them personal.
How to Personalize Your Signature Cocktails
If you wish to have two cocktails available, pick two drinks that each represent you. It can be your favorite drink or something you come up with. The most important thing is what you name it. Use your Alma Maters, your favorite TV shows, your Hogwarts House or even just your names. Call it something that people will see and immediately relate it back to you.
You can also just have a single cocktail option and then name it after something that represents you as a couple. The sweetest version of this I have seen was a cocktail created with the couples two favorite alcohols and then titled “The Barretts”.
Top 5 Signature Drinks
Here are my personal favorite signature drinks for your wedding day. They are simple, classic and easy to incorporate. You can find these recipes and more on my Pinterest page too.
Everyone loves a Mojito. It’s refreshing and tastes great, but it’s also light. There are so many flavor options you can add to it too.
Apple Cider & Fireball
So simple, few ingredients which keeps the cost down, and it perfect for a fall wedding.
Again, many flavor options to pick from so it doesn’t have to be orange juice. Especially because orange juice can become heavy. This one with pears is unique and light on the tummy.
My personal favorite is Whiskey, and you cannot go wrong with a Whiskey Sour. Add cranberry for the holidays or keep it classic.
From Halloween to Christmas to something Patriotic, you can find any yummy signature cocktail themed to match.
Choosing a bridesmaid dress for the females in your wedding party is no easy task, but it can be one of the most fun parts of the wedding planning process. Inviting the special women in your life to be your bridesmaids; your sisters, your lifelong friends, your cousins, and special family friends; is a way to seal important friendships during this very special time in your life.
Tips on Choosing the Right Bridesmaid Dresses
Naturally, it’s the couple who will be the focus of attention on the wedding day, but it’s important for the bridesmaids to look gorgeous too. Choose something simple and not overdecorated or detailed, but which will make your bridesmaids look elegant and sophisticated.
It’s important to choose a dress style which will flatter everyone’s figure. This is never an easy task, but empire waists and A-line or princess skirts will tend to suit most shapes and sizes. A very nice alternative, and one I recommend, is to choose the fabrics and colors and allow each individual bridesmaid to choose her own dress style. Separates are definitely an option too. Mixing and matching separate tops and skirts makes it easier to find a style that suits each individual bridesmaid.
Always keep a budget in mind for your bridesmaid’s gowns. Some times you can find sales or dresses even cheaper if you go to the right store. If you have your heart set on a more expensive gown, or one of your bridesmaids is financially unable to purchase the gown, you might consider helping out or give another dress option. Having someone be a part of your big day is more important.
Classic Looks for Bridesmaids
Any kind of formal gown, semi-formal, or evening dress can be chosen as a bridesmaids gown, so you have literally thousands of options. Satin, organza, chiffon, georgette, tulle, lace, brocades, and crepe are all classic fabrics for bridesmaid dresses.
You should think about the time of year you plan to hold the wedding, and how this will affect your gown choices. Choose lighter fabrics for summer, and a sleeveless or even a strapless dress style. If your wedding is planned for a cooler time in the year, long skirts and sleeves are best, or include a shawl or wrap as a gift.
Though a lot of people tend to choose their colors according to the time or season of the year, it’s not really necessary. If you want a color that isn’t typically seen in the winter, do it anyways. My only recommendation is to make sure they match your floral choices so your gowns will tone in nicely with the bouquets. Discussing your color ideas with your florist will make the job of choosing colors much easier. In the end, black never goes out of style.
Accessories for Bridesmaids
The simplest look will tend to work best, so accessories should best be kept to a minimum. Often a simple pair of earrings or necklaces are all the jewelry you’ll need. If you want to give a gift and keep things uniform, you can also gift jewelry to your bridesmaids to be worn on your wedding day.
Keep comfort as well as style in mind when you choose shoes for your bridesmaids. Very high heels may be uncomfortable to stand in for any period of time. I once wore 3.5″ heels and personally was in pain because I don’t wear heels regularly. So keep that in mind as well as the fact that the bridesmaids will most likely be wearing the shoes for the wedding ceremony and the reception. Choose shoes which will be comfortable to wear all day, then dance away the night.
I know you’ve been looking forward to your wedding day for some time now. Planning has taken you months, if not years. From your venue to your first pick photographer to the DJ that will keep the dance floor hopping. The perfect stationery and the flowers to match. The hairstyles, the outfits, and even the favors. Everything has been meticulously picked and put together to reflect your vision.
As the day gets closer you start to get back your RSVPs and you get a little more excited with each one. You slowly start to see everything coming together and everyone there that you love celebrating you two. Then one day it’s all gone.
My Heart Goes Out To You
This pandemic has come at the worst possible time for weddings in Ohio. It impacts so many and you are one of the hundreds if not thousands of couples who will be affected by this. Whether you have already made the choice to postpone or are patiently waiting to hear if your wedding day will move forward. My heart goes out to you.
I know you are probably working through so many emotions right now. Anger, frustration, disappointment, and sadness. You are crushed and at the same time feel guilty. Your wedding day is the most important day for you right now, but people are losing their jobs and even their lives. Don’t get me wrong, yes it can seem trivial in the grand scheme of things, but you are valid in your feelings too.
I can also tell you that it’s going to be OK. Your perfect person will still be there with you at the end of this. Your big day will still happen. It may not be on the date you picked, but it will still be on a perfect day. Your family will have even more reason to celebrate with you. You will come out of this stronger and even more ready to get married.
I know it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel and that things seem really hard and heavy right now. I know that you’re heart may be breaking, but take a step back and breathe. Look over at your perfect person as you read this and remember the real reason you are doing this. To marry them. Although it may not be exactly as you have envisioned, it will still happen and it will be just as perfect.
When planning your wedding the music you choose for your first dance can be a daunting task. It must be just perfect and reflect you as a couple, not to fast and not too slow. Something you both like and can dance to. Maybe something that’s not too long for those who don’t like to dance in front of others. There’s a lot that can be taken into account when picking.
My first recommendation is to look at songs that are meaningful to both of you. Something you may have danced to before or maybe something you sing together. A song that comes on the shuffle and it always makes you think of each other.
If all else fails you can find many examples of songs to pick from with a simple Google search. The problem with that is, although you may think Christina Perri or Ed Sheeran are amazing picks with the most beautiful songs, so does everyone else getting married.
To help with that, here are some songs that I pulled together that are not overplayed every weekend. Some are songs that I love and knew I wanted to share. Some I just happened to find and thought were perfect.
Top 10 Picks for First Songs
I Get to Love You by Ruelle – This is by far one of my most favorite first dance songs and not many people have found it yet.
Beyond by Leon Bridges – A song from a man to a woman explaining why she is so important to him and hoping that she will be their everything. It has a simple beat and easy to sway to.
Lover (First Dance Remix) by Taylor Swift – Remixed specifically for first dances and just recently released. Will this be the song of the 2020 wedding season? Beautiful, enchanting and completely meaningful.
You’re My Best Friend by The Once – As a big fan of Queen I love the original, but this is such a beautiful cover that it cannot be overlooked.
Speechless by Dan & Shay – By the video itself you can see that it was made for weddings, but you must listen to truly see why it can truly be perfect for your first dance.
I Choose You by Ryann Darling – Your Mine and all the reasons why. So simple and elegant.
I Choose You by Sara Bareilles – I little more upbeat than a traditional first dance song, but not everyone wants slow. It’s still easy to sway together or choreograph a dance to.
Forever Starts Today by Tim Halperin – Piano lead with beautiful vocals talking about this moment and how it begins your forever together. Very heartwarming and makes my heart smile.
Come What May by Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor – Starts soft and romantic and grows into something epic. A beautiful song just waiting for some special choreography to make it come to life.
Love Someone by Lukas Graham – You’ve probably heard this song on the radio at some point. It’s simple and true and with a good beat to dance together.
Bonus First Dance Song
Be My Forever by Christina Perri (feat. Ed Sheeran) – I know I said that these two are overplayed at weddings. But this song that they did together is not only catchy and a little upbeat, but I have yet to hear it used for a dance. So if your up for a little faster paced first dance, this one might be for you.
Our First Dance Song
I thought as a fun tidbit I would share my husband and my first dance song. He hates the spotlight, so we wanted short. There were many options we discussed, but this movie is a favorite of mine and we always talk about growing old together. So it was just perfect.
Diana is a Cleveland Wedding Planner serving all of Northeast Ohio.