Friday, February 20, 2009

Food for Thought

One of the newest trends in wedding faire is "the bar". Instead of sitting down to a plated dish of rubber chicken and some fancy named rice and soggy vegetables, guests are "bellying up to the bar", the food bar that is. Sometimes they are called stations. Sushi Bar, Taco Bar, Candy Bar, Potato Bar, Salad Bar, Dessert Bar just to name a few. If you are combining different cultures this is a fun way to merge the two types of foods into one dinner reception. It's not that the cost is any less, in fact some of these bars like the Sushi Bar can be quite a bit more expensive. I think it's the uniqueness and fun it adds to today's weddings that make it the selling point. I don't think there is tradition anymore in a wedding. Especially when it comes to the food served. Maybe a few tiny elements are left like cake, but mostly it is based on what the bride and groom want to reflect their style and personality and that changes with every single couple.

Here are a few suggestions for elements in two of my favorite food bars:

Sushi Bar: Decorate the table very simply. The Japanese are very elegant and simple with clean lines, no ruffles or fru-fru! Hire a real sushi chef from a reputable restaurant. Have a nice but simple variety with plenty of soy sauce and wasabi. And of course chopsticks!

Mashed Potato Martini Bar:
A very popular bar where you have steaming chafers of creamy mashed potatoes and all sorts of toppings. Such as, sour cream, chives, bacon bits, cheeses, mushrooms, gravy, sundried tomatoes, pesto, artichokes, olives. The sky is the limit. Whatever you could put on a potato is fair game. Have it served up in a martini glass and voila a fancy food station!

The moral of the story is to serve the food you love at your wedding. Dress it up in stations and let your guests wander around and eat the interesting foods. It adds to the fun and uniqueness of your special day. So go on and "belly up"!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Trendy or Sweet Idea?

Favors. Such a delicate decision when it comes to wedding favors. Do I do favors? What won't be a waste of money? What will my guests think is cool? Do I think my little idea of paper boats filled with awesome almonds will be loved by all? Well, the politically correct idea of donating to a charity in our friends name is cool, right? Or how about that little bottle of body lotion with our names printed on them? There are so many decisions to choose from in favorland. It all boils down to what will every guest like. I think that the new trend has hit the jackpot! A Candy Buffet! Who doesn't like candy. The diabetic? well maybe, but there are so many delicious candies that are sugar free that even they will dive in head first! What is a candy buffet you say? Well, it is lovely canisters and containers holding delicious candies either chosen in the colors of your wedding or your favorite candies with cute little scoopers and spoons with goody bags that your guests can fill to their hearts content and take home or eat right there at break neck speed! It looks great sitting there in your reception room, almost as fantastic as the cake itself. The guests are all looking at it longingly. (why else would the saying be made "like a kid in a candy store"!) Although it sounds like it may cost alot the average cost is about $3 dollars per person to do it yourself but then you have to buy all the pretty containers( anywhere from $6-$20 a piece) and set it up or for average $5 per person, you can have a company do it for you, set it up provide the candy of our choice and bring their containers, and clean-up... either way the Candy Buffet is a smashingly sweet success! For more photos or info on having one go to www.adayremembered.com/candy_buffet. I know someone who does candy buffets in our area! BUT even if you aren't in our area the idea is an awesome one! Your guests will love it! I promise!

Monday, February 16, 2009

It's your party, you can cry if you want to!

Once you’ve decided the place and time and who you’re committing your life to, now you can plan to your hearts content and the restraints of your budget. I’ve often told Brides that this is their day and if they want to somersault down the aisles then I'll help them do it. I’ve seen too many who have stressed out letting everybody else tell them what to do and it turns out to be someone else's dream and not theirs. “Easier said than done”, you say? Well, you are right! But it can be done. Start by envisioning your day and write it down. Every thought that comes to mind about your dream wedding should be scribbled down on a piece of paper or napkin or on the back of a receipt. Express these ideas to your mother and fiancĂ©e (if you’re lucky enough to find that avocado or melon who cares about the whole wedding thing). Don't be afraid to put your foot down to silly ideas that don't complete your vision. But....PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, don't become a Bridezilla. It is all about you AND your groom but it is the rest of your life and relationships you have to think about too. Vendors will react to your attitude, if you're poopy, then they will be too. If you are assertive but kind and sweet, you'd be surprised at what the vendors could do for you. As far as your bridesmaids and family members go, the worst thing you can do is to be bossy and cause hate and discontent among them. This should be a happy occasion and if they are being poopy....kick them to the curb. Really! It's not that big a deal. Tell them all at the get-go when you ask them to be your attendants that you can't have yuckiness and if there is you will just pare down your list. You don't need the bad vibes. So if you have to, then do it, but do it with a loving heart!
I have to say it is well worth any money spent to hire a planner or better yet a "Day-Of" coordinator. You need to be able to have a neutral 3rd party person who is not involved in the wedding emotionally to help your day go off without a hitch, dealing with vendors and guests and photographers and any last minute snaffu's. I am available! (hint, hint)

My best advice to you is "less is more"...I know, people say that all the time, but don't get caught up in too many details that it takes the fun out of your special day. Make choices that allow you and your Groom to shine and not be tangled up in it all. Be happy about your choices and think simple. The simpler the better. Not necessarily in regards to your groom choice of course.

Location, Location, Location

Weddings need a place and time. The place could be as grand as an old historic Castle complete with mote and alligators or as simple as the church on the hill or city hall. There isn’t a right or wrong place. It just needs to be a place you both agree upon and want to commemorate the important decision of becoming married. Regardless of where it is you will still be married in the end.(that's my mantra!) Choose a place that fits your style of wedding. Don't have an elegant black tie affair in the city park, or try to have a Redneck wedding at the Biltmore Hotel. I mean you CAN have them there it's just that you will be frustrated that it isn't turning out how you imagined and it will cost so much more trying to turn your location into something it's not.

Choosing a date can be simple or equated with sticking a needle in your eye. All it really is, is a date to which you will forever be remembering the big decision you made to become married. I say choose a date that will be easy to remember and not clash hugely with some other big event. (like Christmas or Leap year) The date may be influenced by your budget as many places offer huge discounts to weekday, Friday or Sunday weddings. Time of day is actually important in regards to budget. You can get away with not having a full sit down meal at the reception by having a early morning 9-10 a.m., early afternoon 1-2p.m. or late evening 7-8 p.m. wedding. So choose a place and time that is what the two of you have decided on. Don’t let Aunt Betty talk you into changing your dates just because she doesn’t like to travel in July. In the end this wedding day is all about you and your groom. It’s the beginning of your married life together make it the day you want.

Budget Woes

Money is one of the most frustrating aspects of wedding planning. You MUST come up with a budget. Not a starting budget but the ”absolute most I can spend or go bankrupt” budget. Now in all actuality it is good to have a starting budget as well. The goal should be to stay as close to that starting budget as you can. One trick to use is to tell your vendors that your budget for that particular product/service is at least 15% less than what you are actually willing to spend. Most vendors will take your amount and end up quoting you about 10 – 15% over your amount anyway so this way you won’t have to cut things out and the vendor thinks they pulled one over on you! Budget is essential! Do it or you will be sorry once the full planning gets under way!

For a little help in determining how much to spend for what, use these "ballpark" percentages:
Reception 40%
Photography 10%
Music 8%
Stationary 4%
Flowers 12%
Wedding Attire 10%
Miscellaneous 16%

Of course these aren't written in stone but if you have to spend more in one department, scale it back somewhere else. You really, really want to stay within your budget. Who wants to start off their married life in debt! After all regardless what you spend on the wedding and reception you are still married in the end! And really.... isn't that all that matters?

First things First

As a woman, I'm sure you're giddy over the fact that you are finally getting married. Then, after all the carbonation of giddiness subsides, the reality of planning such a huge affair starts to settle in. Some of you have dreamed of this day since you were 5 and played dress up, while others are not really sure what it all entails. So I will attempt to illuminate my ideas of the essentials of a wedding, no matter what the shape or size or the who and where of this blessed event.

First of all you need a groom. This groom needs to be handpicked by you, just like you choose avocados or melons at the market. They have been grown in a special environment exclusive to them. Some have been nurtured with kid gloves and plenty of water and fertilization, while others have learned the isolation of a lonely patch of ground with little interaction or nutrition from their tenders. Either way they have become what they are. No matter how much wishing or caressing or prodding will change a melon into an avocado. So, choose your groom wisely, you may be able enhance them but not change them. This groom of yours in turn cannot change you. You need to be enhancing and nurturing each other. That being said, he should be a hottie! “Hottiness”, however, is in the eye of the beholder.