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How to Throw a Bonfire Themed Wedding

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Wedding themes can be fun and fit into any couple’s budget. You don’t have to put on a posh and pristine affair in order to wow guests and make your day memorable for one another. If you are planning on having a summer wedding, consider hosting a bonfire themed wedding! This works wonderfully if you are getting married on the beach, if you have access to an abundance of acreage, or are simply a country-loving, outdoorsman at heart. Be sure to exchange vows later in the evening, just as the sun sets, so as darkness falls; the emphasis is on the festive fire!

Step 1-Consider Your Seating

Whether you want guests to sit on large spread out blankets, or rustic Adirondack chairs or long wooden benches; seating is key to hosting a proper bonfire wedding. You can provide these festive seats, or encourage guests to bring their own; based on your budget. All seats should be arranged around your wood-burning fire pit.

Step 2-Light Up That Fire

If you are hosting a very intimate bonfire themed wedding, you can totally get away with using a medium sized, portable fire pit (which you may already own, or can borrow from a friend or family member). You can opt to use a gas powered pit for a zero maintenance evening, or have a pile of wood close by to keep the fire hot and blazing into evening hours. If you are having a large wedding, building a large fire pit is key. You also need plenty of wood to last throughout the night, and may want to consider hiring someone to maintain the fire (or simply ask a pal) so you can enjoy your evening and not have to worry about keeping the fire going (or getting super dirty).

Step 3-Must Have Music

One of the best things about a bonfire is enjoying acoustic tunes. Encourage your musically inclined guests to bring their guitar, or budget for a local musician to join in on the fun and entertain your guests for an hour or two!

Step 4-Pass the S’mores

No bonfire is complete without s’mores. In fact, this delectable dessert can be passed around in forego of your formal (and expensive) cake. Simply pre-bag marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate bars and have dozens of long, cleaned sticks in a large basket sitting out for your guests to grab and gobble when they are ready to!

Step 5-Set the Mood

Be sure to have plenty of mood lighting, in addition to your roaring fire. Line nearby trees and bushes with white string lights, set up lanterns, and light tea lights and place them in mason jars; setting them all around your venue. Be sure to have a basket full of extra blankets for your guests to utilize as the evening gets chilly, and have a wooden table set up nearby with buckets or coolers of beverages and other light refreshments!

One of the best things about hosting a bonfire themed wedding is that it is a totally laid back, carefree event which is big on charm and comfort; but is not a burden on your budget. All you need to do is tell your guests to arrive in comfortable, warm clothes and get ready to celebrate the burning hot love you have for one another!

Wedding Cake Vs. Wedding Cupcakes—Which Should You Choose?

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There is nothing sweeter than your wedding day, except maybe the dessert! Which little slice of heaven should you serve up? The top two dessert front runners at today’s weddings are the traditional wedding cake and the modern cupcake. Read on to learn which tasty treat will best complement the kind of celebration you are hosting.

Let Them Eat Cake

Cake is to be served if you are having a traditional wedding. A traditional wedding by definition means having a reception that is held during the late afternoon or early evening on a Saturday, in a formal venue. These traditional cakes are usually designed in a round or square shape and is arranged in layers. An average wedding cake serves 150 guests. If you are having a smaller wedding that is still deemed traditional, considering telling your baker to whip up a small sheet cake. Cakes also offer more space than cupcakes to add embellishments like flowers, berries, bows, and any other item that reflects your wedding theme if you choose one. Couples also like the traditional wedding cake because they are able to place a cake topper on top and freeze the entire top layer and enjoy it on their one year anniversary. A cake also allows a couple to slice the first piece together, hand over hand; in a cake cutting ceremony.

Cupcakes Take the Cake

Cupcakes are to be served if you are having a casual wedding. A casual wedding by definition means having a reception that is on a Saturday or Sunday around brunch time that is held in a non-formal venue. Beach weddings, garden parties, and barbecue receptions are fun but are a lot less formal than a traditional, sit down dinner. Cupcakes are fun and can capture a couple’s playful personality. Serving them shows that a couple is unafraid to conform to the “norm” and they can still be decorated and embellished to complement any wedding theme. Cupcakes are great to serve if the couple is on a budget and can even be made ahead of time by the bride to be (or another willing family member).

Whether you serve up a slice of cake or a cute cupcake; one thing’s for sure. Either will taste great to your guests. However, consider some of the facts above to help you decide which will best complement the wedding you are hosting and your wants and needs as a couple.

Compromise

And, if you still can’t decide, compromise is a beautiful way to begin a marriage.

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Heart to Heart – Five Reasons Why You Should Host a Valentine’s Themed Engagement Party

engagement-ring-hear-590If you’re newly engaged, you’ve probably started to discuss how you are going to make your big news official, in front of your beloved friends and family members. One of the best things about getting engaged during the holidays and early winter months is that you can throw a Valentine’s themed engagement party! Perfect for couples who are pinching their pennies; here are five reasons why you should totally consider hosting this fabulous, fun, and festive affair.

Reason #1-Carnations are Cheap!

Carnations are a very popular Valentine’s Day flower that are ultra-affordable and are in season. They can fill vases on tables and a bar, or even be handed to each guest as they walk into your party (everyone loves getting flowers!). You can find them virtually anywhere. In fact, they are widely stocked in grocery store floral departments and cost a fraction of the price of what you’d pay at a florist’s shop.

Reason #2-Candy, Candy, and More Candy

Valentine’s candy can serve as part of your décor, can be used as dessert instead of a cake, and can serve as your party favor. Whether you buy heart shaped chocolate boxes in bulk, or set up a serve yourself dessert table; all candy put out at this time is designed in classic red and pink colors, is budget friendly (strips of heart-shaped pops cost only a dollar); and are just fun!

Reason #3-You Can Do Fondue

If you love fondue, you can totally get away with hosting a dipping party for your Valentine’s event! Fondue is relatively affordable to put together and super simple to cook up on your own. Plus, it can be extremely romantic if pots are placed intimately at each table, or a lot of candles are lit around your set-up. Opt to serve a cheese appetizer in place of an entrée; as bread cubes, crackers, and veggies will not break the bank!

Reason #4-Love is in the Air

If you wanted to have an engagement party around any holiday, Valentine’s Day makes the most sense. You can create a playlist filled with the most romantic love songs of all time, decorate your venue with heart decorations, and your happily married guests’ love for one another will contribute to the overall vibe and ambiance. An added bonus? Your single friends and family members will not be alone on this Hallmark holiday and can even be set up during your event!

Reason #5-Valentine Invitations

How cute would it be to send a Valentine as an invitation in lieu of a formal, printed one? Valentines are only a few dollars a box and will set the tone that your engagement party is clearly going to be held on or around this holiday, and is sure to be casual, creative, yet fun!

These five reasons alone will get you in the mood to celebrate your love with others who are in love around you!

Chow Down or Chuck It? What to do with the Top Layer of Your Wedding Cake

Wedding Cake TraditionsHave you been told by your mother, wedding planner, and friends that you simply must save the top layer of your wedding cake, store it in your freezer, and eat it one year later on your anniversary? This tradition has been around for decades-but how did it begin? And, what are modern brides really doing with their decadent dessert a year from their “I do” day? Read on to help you decide if you should chow down on the cake, or chuck it!

Saving the top layer of your wedding cake originated back in the 19th century. Long ago, the bottom layer of a three tier cake was for the reception, the middle layer was to give out to guests, and the top layer was used one year later at the christening of the couple’s first baby (“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage!” Ring a bell?). These two traditions have long since parted ways and a modern wedding ceremony tradition has emerged. Couples now choose to share the cake with each other or with the ones they love to remind them of their first happy day as husband and wife. And, it doesn’t hurt to hope, wish or believe that this tradition will also bring you prosperity and a long future! The modern take on the old tradition is worth considering.

blog-cake-tradition2If you believe in the fate of the cake, you will also have a beautiful reminiscence on your first anniversary. There is something ultra-romantic about savoring a slice of something that was cut for you on that most significant day in your life. Ask your caterer or reception venue to properly wrap it up (they do it on a weekly basis) the right way to ensure your dessert tastes nothing less than a little slice of heaven.

Some couples don’t think twice about saving the top layer at all! They will chuck the wedding cake leftovers after the ceremony, stating it’s unimportant, they’re not superstitious or they just aren’t keen on the idea of snacking on a bite of freezer burn. If you aren’t superstitious or don’t like to conform to tradition, pass on saving the cake and don’t think twice. If the idea of eating a thawed piece of cake which may no longer resemble the stunning centerpiece it once was leaves you feeling a bit nauseous, there is another option. Many top quality bakeries will offer to take a picture of your completed wedding cake in all its original glory and will then recreate it exactly – one year later at no charge. Ask your bakery if they offer this service. Your last piece of wedding cake should taste as fresh and fabulous as you remembered it.

Whether you decide to chow down or chuck it, you probably won’t cast good luck or bad luck! But, one thing is for certain – your first year of marriage is certainly something to celebrate… so, eat your heart out!

Why Should You Go to a Bridal Show When You’ve Already Got Pinterest?

blog-Great-Bridal-Expo-PromoWhat is your wedding theme and color? Have you chosen a venue yet? How big is your wedding? What stationery are you using? Have you picked your cake or flowers? Are you taking dance lessons? Handing out party favors? Where are your in-laws staying? Have you thought about the food? What is the style and color of your bridesmaids’ dresses? Who is doing your makeup? Brooch bouquet or natural flowers? Does all this stuff match your Save the Date cards!? Venues, and veils and Guests, OH MY! No one said planning one of the biggest days of your life would be easy, but we can help and you don’t have to go it alone.

blog-great-bridal-expo-pinterestIt’s time to make wedding planning easy! Dive deep into the world of wedding planning and have a great day with your bridesmaids looking at potential flowers, center pieces, gowns, and stationery for your wedding. There are a lot online and magazine resources to help you plan, but it can become difficult to keep it all organized. Have you spent hours on Pinterest, pinning up all your hopes and dreams for your wedding? But now what? Most links on Pinterest don’t even work and the stuff in the magazines is always over budget–am I right?

The Great Bridal Expo is easily one of the most popular bridal shows and it tours around the country. This year, the show kicked off in Washington, DC. What? It’s already happened? Keep calm. There are still more shows ahead!

Go Big this weekend in the Big Apple and in Philly! Or, swing by in October in the great city of Baltimore!

Yes, you can get help with all things wedding–from professionals! Your bridesmaids are invaluable, but when was the last time they designed the perfect stationery with exactly that one font with all the curlicues and in that particular color that matches your fiancée’s eyes? And, do you really trust them to pick songs for the DJ? Remember the chicken dance?

Bridal shows are also the place where you can win amazing things like wedding invitations valued at more than $100, center pieces and jewelry – heck, you can even get your nails done. Have a day with your bridesmaids and check out in person what really fits your style for your perfect big day.  Don’t get bogged down trying to stay afloat in this crazy wedding planning world. Pick a theme, pick a color, and pick a date!

Join experienced professionals this weekend or the next week! Win prizes and support from all kinds of specialty bridal stores. The professionals are here to make your day perfect. They are here to help make all your dreams come true.

What’s the Standard? Do You Get the Leftover Food From the Cocktail and Wedding Reception?

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Saying “I do” is actually the easiest part when tying the knot. What’s complicated are all the technicalities of wedding etiquette and the tedious (and sometimes stressful) planning process from start to finish. One area brides-to-be should really focus on is the food. Not only do you want to feed your guests, you want to ensure they don’t leave your reception hungry and disgruntled. Read on to learn about what’s standard when it comes to leftover food from your cocktail hour and your wedding reception; helping you make sure that every guest has enough and you get full use of your funds!

Cocktail hours vary. Some couples who are on a budget opt to serve strictly cheese and crackers, or they will host a room full of buffet style snacks. Others, sparing no expense will have 25 butlers serving dainty hors d’oeuvres with white gloves. The bottom line is all food should be passed out for guests to enjoy. Don’t try to hoard the extras! The cocktail hour truly makes the first impression of your event, so don’t hold back. If you are worried you and your partner won’t get to enjoy the food, be sure to ask your wedding coordinator to have the help serve you first, or set aside a large plate that you can enjoy when you are ready.

leftover-memeWhen it comes to leftover food from your reception, you have one of two choices that are socially (and financially) acceptable. You can opt to send servers back out after everyone is served and stop by each table, offering seconds. You can even direct the staff to cut entrées into smaller portions when offering seconds to help you be sure you have enough for everyone who may want more. Or, you can simply package the left overs and take them home to freeze or eat with friends and family for a post-wedding dinner. Either way, you have paid a lot of money for your food and should never allow it to go to waste. Wedding venues always prepare extra food as a courtesy and there are always a few guests who RSVP and do not show up, so be sure to take their food home or pass out their share! Both options are classy and everyone will appreciate your good taste.

It’s good to know wedding food etiquette prior to your big day, so guests can be fed and full and you can maximize your expense! What do you think? Do tell!

What You Should Know About Your Wedding Cake Options

Apart from the wedding dress, the wedding cake is often considerably one of the biggest showstoppers during your special day.  Whether you plan on wheeling it out in the middle of the dance floor for your guests to admire or you’d like it as the centerpiece of your wedding buffet, there’s no denying that the wedding cake plays an important role in your big day.  The wedding cake can set the tone of your reception, as well as help tie together the overall look and feel of your wedding theme.

While selecting the wedding cake can be an enjoyable and calorie-tastic experience (after all, you have to taste the cakes to see which one you like!), the wedding cake can take a bite out of your overall budget.  The type of cake you select can be particularly expensive, especially depending on the person or company you hire to provide you with the cake.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at what you should know about your wedding cake options:

  • If you’re having your wedding reception at a hotel or restaurant, you could have the establishment itself provide you with the cake.  Many places are more than happy to do this, and it can even be included in the overall price package for the reception.  However, this may limit your choice of cakes, which may not be an option for couples who want to find a unique show-stopping piece.
  • You could also consider outsourcing your wedding cake needs to a local bakery in town.  Bakeries are often a great choice for couples who are looking for a happy medium between cost and appearance.  For example, you could find a beautiful wedding cake at your local bakery for less than what you’d have to pay at a hotel or restaurant.  However, some couples may not like the additional task of dealing with another wedding vendor.
  • Finally, you could opt to have your wedding cake needs fulfilled by a close friend or family member who has a knack for baking.  This can save you a significant amount of money on the cost of your wedding, but be warned: if you don’t have a contract in place, it’s all too easy to end up with a disappointing cake (or no cake at all).  Be sure to select a dependable friend who is more than happy to provide you with a wedding cake – and don’t forget to compensate them for their efforts!

No matter which wedding cake option you pick, make sure you select a cake that’s a perfect fit with your reception.