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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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Affordable and Fun Gift Baskets to Give as a Wedding Gift

Affordable Wedding Basket Gift Ideas
Gift baskets are fun to put together and also fun to receive. Whether you are the giver or the recipient, read on to learn about some affordable and fun baskets you can put together and give as a wedding gift.

Lotsa Pasta

Who doesn’t love pasta? Put together an Italian themed basket. Include specialty noodles (which you can find in the pasta aisle of your local grocery store for a dollar or two extra than traditional ones), jar your own tomato sauce, toss in a few pertinent dried herb bottles (like basil, oregano, and garlic powder-many stores offer them at 3 for a dollar), add some olive oil, and even pick up some cooking tools like a slotted spoon, and mini strainer, and a cheese grater. You can also find some barely used cookbooks that are in excellent shape for a very low price on some online market places that you can place in it as well! Mangiare!

Wine a Little

Pick up several bottles of wine that are on sale at your local liquor store. Print out several labels on your computer that highlight the couple’s potential firsts-First House, First Baby, First Anniversary, First Fight, etc. Type up an explanation of the basket and place it in a dollar store frame. Explain to the couple that they are only to open each bottle of wine when a first moment has occurred! If you have some extra dollars to burn, place cork stoppers, a wine aerator, and even personalized wine glasses inside as well!

Movie Night

Write a little note that describes the intent of the basket-for cozy nights in on the couch. Add a blanket; some Oscar nominated flicks, bags of microwave popcorn, flavored popcorn mixes, milk duds, licorice, (or whatever candy is on sale at the store). It’s a sweet and thoughtful gesture, which is light on your budget and which the couple is sure to appreciate.

Picnic Basket

Picnic baskets can be very expensive. You can absolutely make your own, based on your budget. Pick up a basket that closely resembles one of these romantic, recreational baskets at your local dollar store or flea market. Add in some basic white plates, silverware, a thermos, a checkered cloth to sit on, and some wine glasses. All items can be purchased two for a dollar at most bargain stores, and you can even scan flea markets for cheap but beautiful lace napkins, placemats, etc.

Now that you have your basket all ready, deliver it with a lasting impression that counts. Starting at just $9.95, add a custom printed fun balloon as the center piece. Quality printers like Mimosa Digital can take any photo, from an old print to a digital photo, add words if requested, and print it on 11″ round or heart-shaped balloons. Best of all, you can order yours online.

Consider putting together one of these fun and affordable gift baskets for your next upcoming wedding!

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!

How to Make Your Wedding Fun Yet Elegant and Memorable

blog-wedding-fun-yet-elegantYour wedding day will be one of the most important days of your life. It is a day that marks a turning point in your life, and should be fun yet elegant and memorable. If you’re currently going through the planning process, consider how you can make each portion of your party stand out. Here are several suggestions in order to make your special day unforgettable!

1. Pick a Theme

Couples will find that their creative juices begin to flow once they have selected a wedding theme. Some of the most popular themes are vintage, country, fall, winter wonderland, garden party, and sunflowers. Once the theme is chosen, it becomes easier to plan the rest of the wedding. Planning your wedding will not only be fun, but will also offer you limitless possibilities with your décor, color scheme, cake selection, and even your wedding ensemble. Guests can also get in on the action once you inform them about your theme, indicated by the save-the-date card and wedding invitation you send them.

2. Incorporate Your Personality into the Ceremony

Many couples feel the cookie-cutter ceremony does not suit their style. While most feel it’s just easier to stick with tradition, the ceremony may not exactly suit who you are as a couple. Know that you can infuse your personality and style into your ceremony by customizing your vows. If you are a couple who loves wine, you can ditch the unity candle and drink from the same cup. You can even pass around some pre-filled glasses to guests to join you. Include some of your favorite quotes into your vows, or even invite some friends of family members to say a few inspirational (or even funny) words about your relationship during the ceremony. It’s a great way to do something out of the norm that is fun yet classy and acceptable, but memorable (most of all!).

3. Start the Party Right

If you search YouTube for ceremony entrance or exit songs, you’ll notice that a lot of couples get the party started immediately! They put together dance routines or arrange for their wedding party members to enter and exit to specific songs that suit their personalities. Once guests hear upbeat, celebratory tunes, they are sure to start clapping, smiling, and dancing their way out of the ceremony into the cocktail hour or reception.

These suggestions are simple, fun, and completely memorable for everyone. Consider them if you are in the wedding planning process and are looking for unique ideas that are a huge hit with the guests!

Guests of Honor

You can make each and every guest feel like they are the guest of honor at your wedding celebration. Your friends and family will appreciate the little extras you throw their way (especially since some of them have traveled a long way to attend your event) and will be impressed with your creativity and thoughtfulness. Here are three little things that you can do that will make one big impression.

Tip #1 Napkin Notes

It’s going to be very difficult to get around and have a lengthy conversation with each guest. Why not say hello and thank friends and family for attending your event by leaving them a personalized note on their dinner napkin? Using the inside of your place cards makes this easy. It will be the first thing they read as they sit down to enjoy dinner and will show them that you took an extra step to show that you care and appreciate their attendance and support!

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Tip #2 Goodie Guest Bags

Roll out the red carpet for your guests that are staying the night in a hotel room that you have taken the liberty of reserving for them. Place a goodie bag filled with personalized items to really wow your friends and family from out of town. Fill the bags with each person’s favorite snack, beer, wine, candy, and be sure to write a personal welcome and thank you note to each guest staying the night. It shows that you have taken into consideration their efforts in attending your special day.

Tip #3 Menu Cards

Consider placing a menu card on each guest’s plate that outlines each course and presents guests with their dining menu-cardoptions. It is a courtesy that your guests will appreciate so they can put thought into their meal selections, not be put on the spot; and will impress them with your attention to detail.

Every guest should feel like they are the guest of honor at your wedding. Consider trying these three tips to help each friend and family member feel as though you’ve gone above and beyond to thank them and make them comfortable before, during, and after your event.

How to Ensure That Your Guests Have Fun at the Party!

Many brides-to-be dream of hosting a perfect and beautiful day. They sometimes forget that their wedding day should and could be fun too. Ensuring that your guests have fun at your reception can be a daunting task. They key is to plan something unique but easy for guests to partake in. Here are five ways to ensure that your guests can have fun and you can host an unforgettable event!

Set up a Home Made Photo Booth
wedding-photo-boothPhoto booths can be very expensive to rent. Brides on a budget do not have to forego this fun family and friend activity. Set up an oversized ornate frame at a designated corner in your reception hall or a section outside if you are exchanging vows in an outdoor area. Place a digital camera on a stool for guests to pose on and place a number of props nearby (boa, sunglasses, hats, masks). Set directions near the “booth” and allow your friends and family to click away. Print out each image and send it to them as a keepsake in your thank you notes!

Boast a Cake Topping Bar

Guests also find it fun when they get to design and dish up their own desserts. Set up a topping station so guests can embellish their piece of wedding cake or individual cupcake. Toppings like sprinkles, candy, fruit, and whipped cream are affordable and fun to add to plain pieces of cake, made to your guests’ liking.

Host a Dance Off

Nothing puts guests in a dancing mood more than a dance off-with prizes! Fill several bags with items like gas gift cards, massages, pedicures, and bottle of wine or liquor. Have everyone take part in cheering on their favorite dancers and ask your DJ or band to announce the winners of categories like, “Most Original Moves”, “Worst Moves,” “Drunkest Dancer,” or “Best Dance Moves.” It will break up the night and make your guests laugh and eager to get involved in the name of good fun.

Play a Song for Groups of Guests

Have some songs that are special to friends or family members? Maybe certain tunes help you remember your spring break with the ladies, a special moment with your siblings, or simply a fun time with family and friends. Throughout the night, ask the DJ or band to play these specific songs and announce who they are for to get everyone up dancing and reminiscing. It’s easy to do and completely unique.

Make a Signature Drink

blog-how-to-ensureIf you are getting married at your own home or a friend or family member’s estate, you have more flexibility when it comes to selecting what to serve and offering specialties at the bar.  Consider inviting your guests to create or mix their own drinks. It not only saves on a bartender for brides who are pinching pennies, but also allows your guests to get their creative juices (or spirits) flowing!

Making sure your guests have a good time is just as important as hosting a beautiful wedding. Consider trying some of the simple yet affordable suggestions above to help ensure a good time for all in attendance!

Chicken Dance or None of That Ilk?

Let’s face it. There is nothing funnier than watching those you love the most (grandma?) bust a move on the dance floor in honor of your sacred and celebratory union. You want to make sure you get the entire crowd up and moving to kick off your reception with a bang. The Chicken Dance has been a classic group dance that has been popularly (and annoyingly) played at weddings since the 80’s. Should you have your band or DJ play this notoriousblog-chicken-dance tune? Or, are you going to pass on tradition? Here are some pros and cons of the infamous dance to help you decide if you want your guests to flap, clap, and waddle!

Pros:

  • The dance is enticing and catchy. You can’t help but smile when you hear the accordion’s playfully quick beat.
  • The song complements informal, outdoor, or retro themed weddings.
  • Elder members in your family are familiar with the song and they will be more inclined to dance to “oldies but goodies.”
  • You are sure to chuckle when you see the video of your wedding party dance to this tune after cocktail hour and the champagne toast (plus it makes an awesome blackmail).

Cons:

  • The chicken dance has been associated with lacking prestige, so if you want a very formal affair, pass on playing it.
  • Chances are if you play this song, you’ll be egged on to dance to the song as well, and your photographer is certain to catch this unflattering, cringe-worthy moment on film!
  • Your band or DJ plays for a limited time. This song is long and will take the place of other tunes you genuinely want to hear.

Do the pros outweigh the cons, or vice versa? Be sure to think about the type of event you are putting on and the demeanor and age of your attendees before you flap, clap, and waddle!

Popping the Question: Buffet vs. Plated Dinner at the Wedding?

We know, we know.  When you read “popping the question” in the title of this article, the issue of serving your guests dinner at your reception didn’t exactly spring to mind.  In fact, you probably got swept away in thoughts about your sweetheart’s romantic proposal, where he bent down on one knee and presented you with the sparkling diamond that you’ve got on right now.

But when it comes to wedding planning, one of the most crucial questions you can ask yourself will pertain to what type of dinner you’ll be serving your guests at the reception.  The two options – buffet and plated dinner – each have their own proponents and naysayers, which might make this a complicated issue for you to dive into.

If you’re on the fence about either dinner option, don’t fret: here are some great ways to decide between serving your guests a buffet or a plated dinner:

  • First, consider the type of wedding that you’ll be holding.  The dinner plays a crucial role in maintaining the atmosphere of your reception, be it an elegant black-tie affair or a casual backyard wedding.  Think about it this way: the more elegant the wedding, the more likely it is that you’ll need to serve a plated dinner.  While every couple is free to set their own rules, keep the comfort and expectations of your guest in mind: if they spend several hundred dollars on outfits and gifts for a black-tie affair, they’re probably expecting a similar gesture in the form of a lovely plated dinner.
  • If your wedding isn’t a black-tie event, take a careful look at your budget to see what you can afford.  You may be surprised at which option is the most affordable for you and your sweetheart.  For example, many venues often include the price of plated dinners within the overall fee, while some caterers will charge a great deal of money in addition to the venue fee to serve a buffet.  Keep an open mind, and don’t be afraid to explore both options.
  • If you love the casual atmosphere of a buffet but want to keep things elegant, consider food “bars.”  Each bar will have a specific theme, like a steak bar, a sushi bar, or a mashed potato bar.  This adds a fun and unique twist without sacrificing the fun of a buffet setting.

No matter which option you pick, make sure it’s the right one for you and your sweetheart.  After all, no one wants to start their married lives in debt due to the food served at the wedding.

Is There a Need for a Cocktail Reception Before Dinner?

Cocktail Reception Before Dinner?Admit it: you’re struggling with an important decision about your wedding.  You want to plan the kind of wedding that your friends and family will be talking about for years to come – but you don’t want to bankrupt your savings just to do it.  That’s why you’re considering slashing the cocktail reception altogether.  After all, that single hour of an open bar and hors d’oeuvres can save you thousands of dollars – so why is there a need for a cocktail reception before dinner?

Don’t be too quick to forgo the cocktail reception – take a look at the following reasons why you may want to keep that hour sandwiched between your ceremony and reception:

  1. The cocktail reception gives you and your wedding party the chance to sneak away with the photographer for posed pictures.  This is especially important if you’re holding your ceremony and reception in the same area, as you don’t want your guests wandering around without anything to do.  The cocktail reception keeps your wedding guests happy while you and your new hubby take all the cute pictures you want together as a newly wed couple.
  2. A cocktail reception puts your guests in a happy and relaxed mood.  Remember, your wedding is as much about your guests as it is about you and your new husband.  Some of your guests may have even spent the last hour or two on the road before your ceremony.  The cocktail hour is the first chance your guests may have for a bite to eat, to relax and start getting in the party mood.
  3. A cocktail reception gives your guests the time to socialize with friends and introduce themselves to one another before they start getting seated for the reception.  Having your guests break the ice is a critical part of ensuring that your wedding is a hit.  After all, you don’t want the ice breaking to occur when you’re ready to hit the dance floor – you want your guests to jump out there as soon as the music starts playing!

As you can see, having the cocktail reception is a critical part of throwing a memorable and fun wedding.  But if you want to save money on your cocktail reception, ask your venue if they can include it with the overall price of the venue.  If not, forgo the happy hour and have a cash bar instead.  It’s a great way to enjoy the benefits of a cocktail hour without spending thousands of dollars on alcohol.