Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Candy Buffet

Favors don't just have to be jordan almonds anymore. For the very traditional bride jordan almonds tied up in a bit of tulle is perfect, but for the bride that wants a little something extra and unique there is the candy and dessert buffet. There are many twists on this idea, but most consist of tasty confections or salty treats in a colorful display. Fun bags or boxes can be displayed at each guest's place setting to let them know to help themselves to the treats you have displayed as their special favor for joining in your special day. You can't go wrong with a candy or dessert buffet...they are always a hit with the guests!
See the photos below for inspiration in creating your own candy or dessert buffet!
Contact Designing Memories with your candy buffet questions at dmw@dmweddings.com

Friday, September 30, 2011

Napkin Folding

Dress up your table settings...
by using cloth napkins as multi-purpose decorations.

       This is an easy and inexpensive way to add a little something special to your reception tables. Cloth napkins can be folded into an eye catching design simply to add interest to your table settings or they can be folded to be both eye catching and utilitarian. For example; Highlight your favors or a thank you note or used to them to hold a favor bag, utensils, or menu card. See the photos below for inspiration!
          Ask the person in charge of your event, at your reception venue, if they provide cloth napkins. If they do ask to see the colors and styles. You can also purchase them online or rent them from your local rental store if they do not offer the color or style you are looking for. Linen, satin, and taffeta are currently the most popular fabric choices but there are many options. Your wedding planner can certainly make the folded napkin magic happen or your venue may offer to tackle the project. If you would like to take on the napkin folding yourself try http://www.napkinfoldingguide.com/ for some easy folding instructions.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Seven 'Deadly' Wedding Sins

1. You didn't order enough!? When ordering everything from hors' deourves to table linens to favors the quantities matter. Don't leave yourself one candle short of  completing your fabulous centerpieces or leave a whole table of guests wondering why everyone else got favors and they didn't. Count...recount...and count again. To be safe order a couple extra of things you think you might be short on or might need more of later.

2. Hiring the wrong or unqualified wedding planner can really damper an otherwise well intended idea. For example if your DJ or Florist says they will double as your wedding planner you may want to think twice because they may have other weddings that day  to tend to or may not really be aware of how much they will be taking care of nevermind the fact they already have a pretty 'heavy' task of doing their job correctly on your wedding day. Make sure the wedding planner you hire only does one wedding per day and is certified. Also, family or friends that offer to be your wedding planner have good intentions but likely have little (planning their own wedding) to no experience in planning major events so they may not know how to handle negotiations with your vendors, know all that truly needs to be done in the allotted amount of time given, how to deal with surprise issues, or you might find them distracted from their 'duties' more than not during the festivities...etc. Let a professional take care of everything so your family and friends can join in on the memory making and have fun with you on your wedding day.

3. Ordering a wedding dress in a couple sizes smaller than your actual size is a big no-no. As tempting as it is to give yourself incentive to loose a few pounds before your wedding refrain from this evil wedding sin. You might find yourself regretting your order and praying for miracles to happen. Any good taylor will tell you it is always easier to take a dress in than let it out. Keep in mind that some fabrics really are next to impossible to let out. You can still keep your weight loss goals but if you aren't able to make them in time it won't add stress or disapointment to your otherwise joyous wedding day. Listen to the advice of your tailor and the sales person at your bridal salon...they are there to help.

4. Procrastination is not your friend when it comes toplanning a wedding . Waiting to hire vendors may cause you to miss out on your top picks. I am not telling you to start hiring vendors the second you get engaged or let's say two years away from your wedding date. What I am saying is if you love the vendor and have the down payment available book them sooner than later. Another procrastination no-no is waiting to unwrap or put together your favors, centerpiece items, or other decor. You would never imagine how many hours it can take just to take favors out of their shipping boxes, remove tags, put them into a different container and/or tie ribbon onto them. Also, waiting to give your final head count to your caterer can cause them to go with your contracted amount: meaning they will use the total number of people you initially said would be attending your wedding. This can cause you to pay for the 150 people you invited rather than the 110 people that responded yes they will be attending. These are just a few reasons why you should stop procrastinating. Consult your wedding planner or other professionals on your wedding team for guidelines on task deadlines.

5. Letting your family and friends dictate YOUR wedding details is a good way to create wedding regrets. This is your wedding and it most likely will be your only one so this is your time to shine and get what you have been dreaming of since you were just a little girl. People tend to get excited when a wedding is announced and instantly want to give advice. This advice is often unwanted because every bride and groom have completely their own wedding style. Just because your cousin had white cala lillies and she is pressuring you to do the same does not mean you have to go with her suggestion. Sometimes couples will also get pressure from family or friends that offer to pay for a wedding item or service. For example your wedding cake: The person offering to pay should be invited to the tasting with the knowledge that they are there to be support not to do the decision making. They should not solely determine the flavors you finalize with the baker. If that person insists on you choosing flavors you and your fiance do not like in order in exchange for them paying for the cake thank them for their generousity but kindly decline there offer. Let them know you will be paying for the cake. That way save yourself from a disappointment without offending your loved one. Of course being a bride doesn't give you rights to treat people badly (no 'zillas please), but you should remain firm with your choices if you feel strongly about them. The bottom line is choose things that will make you and your future husband happy because it is afterall your wedding day.

6. Under estimating the amount of time you need to comfortably complete a wedding day activity can easily created stress. Be generous with the amount of time you designate to each activity and check travel times as well. Give yourself at least an hour for photos after your wedding ceremony (add another hour for large families or photo enthusiasts) plus travel time to the photo location and then to the reception. Remember to take into consideration that there may be traffic. Also, be sure to give yourself a few minutes to relax between photos and being announced into your reception.

7. Hiring family or friends instead of  professional vendors sounds like a great money saving tactic, but most times leaves couples disappointed with the final product. These kind and thoughtful people have good intentions and commonly start out motivated to help. All too often they end up wrapped up in the festivities which causes them to forget essential wedding day tasks they should be taking care of, they aren't as well equiped as they originally thought they were, or they don't know how to handle an issue that pops up. These things happen not through carlessness, but becasue they just haven't had the experience a professional has. Think of it this way; Most people wouldn't want their cousin to cut their hair just because they have a pair of scissors or certainly wouldn't want 'uncle Bob' to perform sergery on them unless he was a sergeon, so why have a friend be your dj because they played music from their ipod at their child's birthday or allow a family member that just happens to have a camera take pictures of one of the most important days in your life. Give yourself a little extra piece of mind and hire a professional.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bachelorette Party Ideas

We all know there are plenty of strip clubs, strippers, and stripping oriented activities that traditionally surround a bachelorette party, but what if your bachelorette wants something different or refuses to allow 'such activities' at her bachelorette party? I have ten bachelorette party ideas that are trending right now for you to use as inspiration. You can add your own personal twist!

1. Pin-Up Party
         If you are looking for a truly unique bachelorette party idea this is it. Everyone gets pampered with a professional make-up artist and hair stylist. Then you put on something sexy from the 1950s era and feel like a movie star as you get your photo taken. The best part is you have a blast with your ladies and get photos to remember...and share forever.
Contact one of our favorites:
Kristina Michael at Relentless Photography 570-573-4807 for more details!
$50 a person (6 person minimum)

2. Wine Tasting Tour
   Pennsylvania has many beautiful wineries to explore! This can be fun for wine drinkers and non-wine drinkers alike. When a winery participates in a wine trail/tour event they typically serve food and even will have live entertainment along with their wide assortment of wines to taste.
   Start planning your trip by checking out the websites and reviews of the wineries in your area. Call the wineries you prefer to visit to see if there are any special wine trail tours that they are participating in around the time you would like to plan your tour. They will know where to direct  you to order your wine trail/tour tickets. You can usually fit about 5 or 6 wineries into a day trip (This estimation really depends on how close your chosen wineries are to each other and the pace you want to move at). Some wineries have restaurants or picnic areas for you to pack your own lunch so don't forget to schedule a lunch and/or dinner break to take the edge off all the wine you will be sipping. Most importantly don't forget to choose a designated driver so everyone gets home safe and sound; or better yet hire a limo to shuttle everyone around in style. Let the swirl, sniff, sip, swish, and spit or swallow begin!
Below is a link showing some of the top Pennsylvania winery listings.

3. Spa Day
     One way to enjoy a night of relaxing spa treatments is to invite all the girls over for all the home-made mud mask making and foot soaking fun they can handle while enjoying fruiting drinks, gossip, and classic movie watching. Another way to enjoy a night or weekend of relaxing spa treatments is to invite all the ladies to a spa or hotel and spa to be pampered with massages and manicures by the professionals.
   Start planning with professionals; Gather your ladies to find out how much everyone can afford and if you will be deciding on a group package or individual treatments. Group packages usually offer higher discounts, but if you should choose to go with individual treatments be sure to agree on at least one of your treatments for the entire group to participate in together. Also, decide if a weekend or overnight retreat would work best for everyone. Check out some local spas and choose the one you feel will accommodate your needs best. Be sure to make your reservations early so you don't miss out!

Don't forget to check allergies!!! Do NOT get a facial less than a week before the Wedding!!!
~consult your spa professionals for more details and information

    Start planning at home; Choose the spa treatments you will be treating the ladies to. For example you may want to create some home-made hand wraps, mud masks, and a foot soak. Gather enough ingredients for each lady to make her own face mask and hand wrap and purchase your soaking salts. Remember to also purchase each of the ladies a towel and a bowl (for their feet to soak in) as well. If you would like to get your bachelorette a special memento get her name or "bride" embroidered on her towel. Choose some fun and fruity drink recipes to make and top the night off with the bride's favorite movies. Below is a link for some at home spa treatment recipes.

4. Dinner Theater
      This can be a great idea for the more theatrical bachelorette. You can stay close to home with a local show or check bus trip listings for trips to New York's dinner theaters. If your group is the rowdier sort and likes to get involved in the theatrics try a Murder Mystery style dinner theater. Don't forget some feather boas and your bachelorette's tiara and sash for some extra fun!

5. Cooking Class
        Cooking Classes are quickly becoming popular for bachelorette parties. It is a great way to get out with your ladies to have some fun celebrating and to learn something new. Be sure to pick a class that you will be cooking something that everyone can eat (warn the class instructor of any allergies or special dietary needs ahead of time). Add some spice to your cooking class by purchasing everyone aprons with entertaining phrases or sayings embroidered on them. You can even make it extra special for your bachelorette by purchasing her an apron with her name or 'bride' embroidered on it.
For aprons try one of these links:
www.exclusivelyweddings.com/  or www.cafepress.com/+bachelorette+aprons

6. Mary Kay Makeover 
       This is the kind of bachelorette party a laid back girly girl can enjoy! It is easy to find a Mary Kay representative in your area if you don't already know one. Make sure to plan your make-overs at a location with enough table/counter space to fit everyone. Also, be sure to sign up the bride as a host so that she can get some free gifts at the party. Show off those fabulous Make-overs by going out to dinner at your bachelorette's favorite restaurant or a night out on the town for cocktails.
To find a Mary Kay representative in your area go to http://www.marykay.com/ or contact one of my favorites Anteria Graham at phone: 717-843-3250 email: anteria@maykay.com

7. Comedy Club
           If your bachelorette and her ladies could use a good laugh and a fabulous night out a comedy club might just be perfect for your group. Finding the perfect comedy club is just a google search away. Check for a local club with great reviews or look for your bachelorette's favorite comedian to surprise her. Top off your fabulous night by hiring a limo or shuttle to take get you all there and home safely!

8. Hawaiian Luau
       Luaus are always best if done pool side, but you don't need one to create a tropical oasis. All you really need are some leis, hawaiian party decor, tropical music, themed food, and tiny umbrellas for your strawberry daquaries! Add some tiki torches if you are planning it outside to keep the bugs away and add to the effect. Tiny pigs in a blanket, white chocolate macadamian nut cookies, chicken with pineapple and mandarin slices on a toothpick (or umbrella) are easy menu picks, but if you are quite savvy in the kitchen you may want to try some more adventurous hawaiian treats. www.myrecipes.com/menus/hawaiian-luau-menus-00420000003008/

9. Victorian Style Tea Party
        This idea is for those bachelorettes who are a child at heart in search of a mild bachelorette party idea. Choosing a classic Victorian or English tea room is key to keep you feeling the ambiance of going back in time to experience tea time. Make a reservation early because typically tea rooms are in victorian style homes with limited space. Also, find out if children are allowed...you likely will Not want to select a tea room that does allow children. There are plenty of tea rooms to choose from in Pennsylvania if this perks your interest. My choice if you live or are visiting the Reading area you may want to try Abigail's Victorian Tea Room  http://abigailstearoom.com/

10. Camping
          This is a great idea especially if you would like to have a Stag and Doe (co-ed) Party or just have an adventurous bunch of ladies! There is never a boring moment when you are camping and most camp grounds offer quite a bit of activities to keep everyone excited about the great outdoors. Check out your local conservation and natural resources website for camp ground locations.
Click here for Pennsylvania's: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/index.aspx

Designing Memories can help you plan your perfect bachelorette party. Let us do the work for you so you can enjoy your event! Give us a call at 570-691-7740 or email us at dmw@dmweddings.com
We serve all of Pennsylvania and will travel for destination weddings.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hot Pink Inspiration Board

If you like bold colors used in a modern and glamorous way you will be inspired by this board...Enjoy!

Purple Inspiration Board

Purple in all its royal glory has definitely been a hot color choice for weddings so I thought I would pull together a little sampling of inspiration for all the purple loving brides...Enjoy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Centerpiece Inspiration

 This is a perfect centerpiece for all you wine lovers out there. If you are looking for fun and inexpensive wedding centerpieces you have found some inspiration here. 

I used an empty wine bottle, a martini glass, a mirror, wine corks, fresh flowers, and a few petals to create this centerpiece.

Wine Bottle: There are lots of festivities surrounding your wedding day which can often include drinking your favorite wine so you may be able to collect the bottles for free through family and friends. If you feel you may not collect enough bottles in time for your wedding reception you could check with your local winery for bottles they are getting rid of due to small defects or for ones they will sell to you...maybe for a good deal if their logo is on the label. Another option would be to buy bottles shaped like wine bottles at a craft store like Michael's or The Flower and Craft Warehouse.
The Martini Glass: You could purchase these anywhere glassware is sold, but if you are looking for a good deal you could pick up similar martini glasses at a dollar store.
Mirror: The mirror pictured is a 12" round beveled edge round mirror. They come in many other shapes and sizes.You can purchase them at craft stores, but for a less expensive option you can rent them from a bridal rental store. I usually use Expressions of Love in Mt. Aetna for this type of rental.
Wine Corks: You can save the wine corks from the bottles of wine you save or ask you reception venue if they might save some for you at their next event. You can also get them at Michael's craft store or online. If you aren't fond of the the wine corks substitute them with a votive candle or large flower to create the same look.
Fresh Flowers: I consider myself to be lucky with a yard filled with flowers so I cut the pictured irises and roses for free from my own backyard. If you don't have a yard filled with flowers you can order them from you favorite florist or www.theflowerexchange.com. I was able to fit about 8 blooms (irises have stalky stems) into my wine bottle. If you want a fuller look I suggest using hydrangea or a flower with a thinner stem. Hint: If you order your flowers ahead of time ask the florist or customer service rep. to give you instructions on how to keep them fresh. If possible have them delivered on the day of or day before your wedding reception. If you are allergic to flowers or rather not be bothered with trying to preserve fresh flowers go with faux flowers. You can find them in craft stores and they come in many varieties.
Petals: I just plucked a few petals from a rose to accent the centerpiece with scattered petals.

Remember part of the fun is that they don't all have to match!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Escort Card Display Ideas

 Fun Ideas I Have Used To Display Escort Cards
Feel free to share your escort card ideas!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What are escort cards and place cards?

Escort Cards
Information on an Escort Card: the guest's name and the table number they have been assigned to sit at
More Details: An individual's name, a couples' names, or the entire family's individual names can be printed on a single escort card, considering all the guest names included on the card are sitting at the same table.
Purpose: These cards are designed to let your guests know which table you have assigned them to but allows them to choose their own seat at that table. If you want them to sit at a specific seat you will need place cards at each place setting as well.
Where to Set Them Up: any location near the entrance to your reception
`Note: Escort cards can take many shapes and forms and can be set up many ways. Look for a follow up post to see some fun ways to present escort cards to your guests.

Place Cards
Information on a Place Card: the guest's name
More Details: Each card should have an individual's name only printed on it. Children should also have their own place cards so that the parents know where they should be seating them.
Purpose: These cards are designed to let your guests know exactly which seat they are to sit in at the table they have been assigned to. Place cards are typically used in correspondence with escort cards or a seating chart for a more formal seating arrangement.
Where to Set Them Up: each place setting
`Note: Place cards are not necessary for less formal seating arrangements and can be eliminated to save money for other things.

Seating Chart
Information on a Seating Chart: the guests' names and the table number they have each been assigned to sit at
More Details: A seating chart lists all of your guests and the table number they are assigned to sit at. There are two easy ways to organize the guest names and the table numbers on a seating chart.
A. listing their names alphabetically with a table number next to each guest name
B. listing the table number followed by the guests' names that are assigned to sit at that table number
Purpose: This chart is designed to let your guests know which table you have assigned them to, but allows them to choose their own seat at that table. If you want them to sit at a specific seat at the table you will need place cards at each setting as well.
Where to Set Them Up: any location near the entrance to your reception
`Note: A seating chart is normally the least expensive option out of the options listed above!

Table Numbers don't have to be numbers...they can be places you have visited as a couple, famous people, romantic words, movie titles, or anything else that goes with your wedding theme and shows off your personalities.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What you should know before booking your reception venue...

*If the reception venue says there is room for lets say 200 people that does not always mean that is the total number of people that will fit comfortably in the space. Typically the capacity number is a number set by fire codes which takes safety and not comfort into consideration.  A good rule of thumb is to allow 8 to 12 square feet per guest so that everyone is comfortable. 2 to 4 square feet per guest is a good amount of space when considering the size of the dance floor. The band or DJ you hire for entertainment will need at least 100 square feet. That measurement may vary widely depending upon the size of your band or equipment your DJ plans to set up. If you are hosting a buffet style meal you will need about 100 square feet per table for guests to easily navigate. Also, no one wants to be sitting on top of each other so don't forget to allow your guests enough room to easily get up from the table. Allowing about five feet between tables is standard practice.

*Many reception venues only allow you to access your reception space a few hours before your reception is scheduled to begin and some only allow two hours for set up. This is certainly one place a wedding planner can really come to your rescue!

*Your photographer may be restricted to certain areas to take photos. This occurs most often at golf clubs, art galleries, and museums.

*When figuring out a final price for the food and beverages always add 6% sales tax and ask your venue what they charge for gratuity. On average the gratuity fee can add anywhere from 16% to 20% to your final bill. These are the most common fees not accounted for.

*The reception venue may need you to indicate each guest's dinner selection on their escort card, place card, or an overall serving chart. Believe it or not your guests may forget what they have selected to eat.

*If the food is being provided by your reception venue you may have to meet a minimum food and beverage purchase, which often does not allow you to include tax and gratuity to reach that minimum.

*Vendor meals are normally available. These meals are less expensive than your guest meals so you can afford to feed your vendors without breaking the bank.

*Cake cutting and corkage fees are unfortunately becoming more common. Some venues will charge you per slice for bringing in a cake from a vendor other than the one they provide. This cake cutting fee is typically around $2 per slice, but does vary. A corkage fee may be assessed if you are providing your own wine or alcohol. This fee varies widely, but on average it ranges from $8 to $20 per open bottle.
*Some reception venues are particular about the vendors you bring into their establishment and will insist you choose from their preferred vendor list. This is especially common with your choice of caterer.

*Open flame candles are not always welcomed. Confetti, sand, glitter, and balloons also find their way onto many restricted decor listings.

*The reception venue may charge you for a dance floor. This fee is charged for by section, by square foot, or as part of a package deal.
*Charges may apply if your reception lasts longer than scheduled or longer than the normal working hours set by your reception venue.

*A clean up or set up fee may be offered or required as an extra charge.

*Some reception venues require you to acquire an insurance policy to rent their space. This can be added temporarily to your home owners or renters insurance policy or you may want to purchase a separate policy at a company like wedsafe.com.

*Believe it or not a venue might book more than one reception for the same time on the same day. However, most venues do try to make sure the timing is slightly varied for their own convenience. This does not mean you will have to share your actual reception space, but be aware that you may have to share common spaces like a foyer, lobby, and/or bathrooms with another reception party. Also, be aware that the other reception's noise level may travel if your room is right next to their room.  

Discuss These Topics With All Your Potential Reception Venues
 Always Ask Questions and Always Get Agreements in Writing!