What Do You Want Thrown at You?

It’s tradition. As the happy couple exits the reception, or even sometimes as they exit the church after the ceremony and head to the reception, everyone gets the opportunity to throw something at them. Or shall we say, toss something over them. Something lightweight that won’t HURT them that is!smanthascottevents

Where did that tradition start, anyway? Well, in earlier times the throwing of rice over the newlywed couple symbolized fertility and prosperity. In fact in some countries, dates or figs are still tossed at the departing couple. However, I’d really hate to be hit in the head or face with dates or figs! They can hurt, not to mention what they could do to that pretty white dress!

When my husband and I were married, it was still rice. And sometimes when that rice hits you just right, it can sting! And I can tell you, it took weeks to get all the rice out of our car, because one of our guests decided it would be really fun to throw a whole big handful at us as we got in the car. In fact, when we finally sold it, there was probably still some rice in there hiding between the seats!

But rumors started many years ago that rice tends to expand in the tummies of the birds that eat it afterwards, making them sick or even causing them to die, and rice became no longer acceptable. Truth is, birds eat rice in the wild all the time, and we’ve never seen any exploding birds. Birdseed or sunflower seeds have since replaced it at a lot of weddings, and I’m sure the birds are more than happy about that! They still get a great dinner, just like the wedding guests! It’s your basic win-win situation! Normally the birdseed is wrapped in little tulle bags that can easily be opened to toss the contents…please don’t throw the bag itself like I’ve seen some guests do as a joke! It sort of hurts!

But today, many couples are opting for other items to be tossed over their heads, or even having certain things waved at them as they leave! It’s all up to how creative they want to be!

For military weddings, the arch of swords/sabers is normally used as the couple leaves the ceremony, and we love that tradition! We hope all of you military couples who are eligible to participate in it take advantage of the pageantry, because it has such special meaning! (And don’t forget the cake cutting with the sword that is also used!)

There are a lot of other getaway ideas that are being used today, that are really fun, and innovative! The possibilities are endless, and so much more fun when tied into the theme of the wedding. (Except when you get to the clean up, but then again, you’re definitely going to have someone ELSE do that!)milbodas net

Bear in mind that many venues have rules as to what can be thrown due to safety reasons. Even though bubbles are quite popular with brides and grooms, and are actually inexpensive (and make for a great photo op), bubbles have a tendency to “pop” sometimes in places that will make the floor quite slippery, especially if it’s a wooden deck or a tiled floor. And no one wants the responsibility of someone slipping on bubbly soap residue! Outside on concrete or grass, or on the beach, is a different story! However, watch out for your dress, because some of that bubble mixture can also stain those delicate fabrics!

Flower petals or lavender have become very popular as well. Silk flower petals are pretty, but have you ever tried to toss silk rose petals? Doesn’t work too well. So you need real ones, which will need to be used no later than the day you pick them up, because as they age, they have a tendency to turn brown. Plus they can be slippery on certain surfaces. Lavender also works well, and has a nice aroma to it. And you can put them in such adorable containers! Some couples have even used colorful fall leaves for an autumn wedding. But just be careful what kind you use, because you want them to land on the newlyweds, and not on the people around you!

How about using confetti? Either paper confetti, or some of the bright, colorful mylar pre-packaged confetti you buy at the party or craft stores? Or even sequins! However, talk about being hard to get out of your hair, or your veil, or your clothes! That stuff just likes to stay everywhere! Again, be sure to check with your venue, because you’re going to have to have someone to clean it up really well! I remember one New Year’s Eve party at our house when my brilliant husband decided to toss two huge trash bags of paper punch confetti he’d been collecting for the past year. He almost wore out our vacuum cleaner the next couple of days! (Notice I said HE!) And for several years we were still finding little pieces of it hidden behind furniture!

You can also use any number of different shaped paper punches and scrapbook paper or vellum to make your own confetti in any number of little shapes! (We really like the idea of snowflakes for a winter wedding!) But again, the clean up can be rather interesting!

And you don’t have to just toss the confetti as the couple is leaving. This couple had it all totally dumped on them as soon as they were pronounced husband and wife! Wonder how long it took to get it out of her hair!pocketfulofdreams co uk confetti release

Pinwheels and ribbon streamers are a novel touch to wave at the couple as they depart, and they can also be used for favors! Little bells or even your choice of miniature musical instruments can be used as the couple either leaves the ceremony or the reception. Again, great wedding favors, and no clean up!

For a beach wedding, we really do like the idea of tossing little miniature beach balls, either in the wedding theme colors, or even printed with the couple’s name and wedding date on it. But beware, do NOT let the kids get their hands on these and start a beach ball fight at the reception! That could be, well, a bit tricky, shall we say! Use them as the bride and groom leave the reception. And then, even better, the kids will probably do the clean up for you, because they’ll enjoy their new toys!

We’ve even found this idea of hanging piñatas around and breaking them over the couple as they exit! The piñatas make great décor, and you never know what could be in them! Confetti (most likely), candy, who knows!confetisystelm-via-tumbler-pinata-breakaway

And sparklers are really popular now, and the pictures some photographers have taken with the sparkler exits have been absolutely amazing! However, there are also some venues that will not allow sparklers to be used because of the potential for fire. Plus, you do need to make sure that everyone who has their hands on a sparkler is well, shall we say, un-intoxicated enough to be trusted with them! You certainly don’t need singed hair or burned clothing!

We would, however, caution against a couple of things. Silly string, while fun at a birthday party or even a bachelor or bachelorette party, should be a big NO at your wedding. Not only can it get all over your wedding gown, it can also potentially stain your guests’ clothes, as well as those rented tuxes! Not a good idea! And we also found this idea of shooting a cork “gun” as the happy couple goes by for a western theme wedding. However, we honestly don’t think this is a great idea either! How about you!?

As a final suggestion though, has anyone thought about tossing money? Not coins, please, because that could really hurt! But a bunch of fives or tens, well…that would be a great thing to try….make them into paper airplanes, even? Hmmm….on second thought, that could really start a bit of a mad dash to grab the cash, so, let’s stick to some of these other ideas and give the happy couple their money in the form of checks or gift cards!

However, it’s YOUR wedding….we’re just there to plan and make sure everything goes the way you want it!

Photo Sources: 1st Row: samanthascottevents.com – 2nd Row: emgpublicatios.wordpress; gianmedinatale.com – 3rd Row: source unknown; source unknown; marthastewartweddings.com- 4th Row: amandapair.com; brides.com; warfighterdiaries.com – 5th Row: milbodas.net- 6th Row: elnovato.com; onewed.com – 7th Row: blog.glendaloughman.or; bp.blogspot; itsabrideslife.com; ebonypeoples.com; rhondapattonweddings.com – 8th Row: minted.com; blovedweddings.com; icingdesignonline.blogspot; bklynbrideonline.com – 9th Row: marthastewartweddings.com; via etsy; marthastewartweddings.com – 10th Row: pocketfulofdreams.co.uk – 11th Row: marthastewartweddings.com; lunaandchloeweddings.com; iloveswmag.com –12th Row: koruwedding.blogspot; weddinggawker.com – 13th Row: confetisystelm via tumblr – 14th Row: stylemepretty.com; winterweddings.com; bp.bogspot; linseykitchens.com; beccadillyphotography.com;studiotran – 15th Row: masterpieceweddings.blogspot; marthastewartweddings.com

I’m NOT Sitting with THEM!!

So now you’ve actually completed the guest list. Everyone has sort of agreed on who’s included, and the invitations have been ordered and mailed. RSVP’s are coming in. You’re actually to the point of being able to relax? Right?

Ha! No way. Not if you’ve had a bunch of well, shall we say, discussions (rather than disagreements, controversies, or heaven forbid, arguments!) over the guest list. Because now you have to figure out who’s going to sit where. Some people just aren’t made to get along with some other people. And the last thing you want at your wedding is for your guests, or you, to be uncomfortable!

If you’re one of those lucky couples where everyone on your list gets along with everyone else, makes friends easily, and can talk to just about anyone, well, you’re really lucky, and you can just read this and be thankful that none of these scenarios are going to happen at your wedding!

Unfortunately, there’s almost always someone, or several someone’s, that don’t need to be around certain other someone’s. If you get what we’re saying! Family or friends. It almost always happens.
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Unless you’re dealing with very uncomfortable stepfamily issues in one or both families, seating at the ceremony shouldn’t be too difficult. It’s only for about half an hour. Surely everyone can basically get along for that time. And if you’re having to decide how to seat parents/step-parents so there won’t be any problems, all we can say is turn that one over to your wedding planner and let her handle it, because that’s a controversy better given to someone else to handle who’s a neutral party! And for your sakes, let’s hope everyone can at least pretend to like each other during the service! (Fortunately no one is supposed to be talking during the service, so you’re probably fairly safe. Just be careful during the photos!)

The reception is always another matter. And if you know you have people that are coming to your wedding who just don’t get along, you’re going to need to be really careful where you seat them.

Now, a lot of brides and grooms prefer open seating, so people can sit with who THEY want to be with, not who you THINK they should be with. And unless you’re anticipating problems, maybe open seating will work. However, if you’re having just enough seating for all those invited, you’re also taking a risk that some of your guests will end up with people they don’t know at all and have trouble talking to for whatever reason, or you end up with an odd number of open chairs and some couples or families have to separate to be seated.interest-com

Or what if your families are all trying to sit together (hint: reserve a table or two for family!) and your Aunt Karen can’t find anywhere else to sit but at the same table your cousin Lynn is seated at…and these two absolutely cannot stand each other! And Aunt Karen is definitely the type who will stand up and make a scene with “I’m NOT sitting with HER!”

These are definitely things you do NOT want to have happen! And things that not even the wedding planner can always anticipate…only pick up the pieces afterwards!

You’re sort of doing assigned seating if you have a head table with your wedding party joining you. And as we said previously, you do need to reserve a table or two for family members. After all, don’t they deserve to sit near the wedding party? Since most of the time some of us are paying for it? So maybe you really need to re-think your idea of whether or not you’re doing assigned seating.
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After all, between the two of you, you know everyone who’s coming, and you pretty well know who they get along with and who they don’t. So it may not be quite as difficult as you think to come up with a seating plan that should basically make everyone comfortable. (And yes, people have been known to switch tables with others…and it usually works!) It’s certainly a lot better than having your guests sitting with people who make them uncomfortable, or with people who basically know each other except them, and then people can tend to feel really left out at a time that should be nothing but happy!weddingideasmag

Unless you’re having your cocktail hour in another room that isn’t near the main reception room, you can also find people saving their seats by leaving purses and jackets at the dinner tables while sampling the appetizers and hors d’oeuvres. And usually either no one else knows who’s set their things where, or even worse, someone decides they just want to move your belongings around to make room for themselves and their party, and then you can have more problems! We’ve actually seen people do this, and when confronted (nicely) by the person whose belongings they’re relocating, just shrugged and said, “oh, I didn’t know this meant someone planned to sit here! Were you really saving these seats, because we really want to sit here so we can see better!”

Really? Yes, rudeness is not limited to small children who don’t know any better. And speaking of children, there are also people who really do NOT want to have to sit at a table with children, and could very well make that request very well known if the only seats left are at tables with children!pleated jeans com

So what do you do? Well, first of all, don’t try to solve your problem like one couple did who thought it would be cute for everyone to draw table numbers out of a jar when they walked into the reception. Can we say recipe for disaster as well as angry guests?

And if you’re serving a plated meal rather than a buffet, and gave your guests choices of entrees, or there are vegetarians or guests with food allergies that you’re trying to accommodate, it gets even more problematic. Not only for the waiters who are trying to serve, but for the guests who may get the wrong meal.bella-rose-photography-via-loverly-ly

It’s also important to remember that assigned SEATS are different from assigned TABLES. Unless you’re having a five course meal with several entrée choices being served, assigned tables will suffice perfectly well. Guests can place their escort card with their entrée choice at their seat and the waiters should do fine serving the proper selection. And seating arrangements are really not THAT difficult to make, at least not in theory. (that’s what post-it notes and poster boards are for!) Because you can move the names around really easy…then you realize that there are an awful lot of possibilities out there for seating people, and well, if YOU’RE having questions about who should sit with who, just imagine how your guests might feel when they can’t find a place to sit with anyone they know and end up feeling left out and leaving early because they’re not having a good time!intertwined-events

Now chances are, unless you’ve been living in a bubble, you’ve surely seen all those really cute escort card displays on Pinterest, and we know you’re secretly just dying to try one of them out…. Many of the seating chart ideas incorporate perfectly as part of your reception décor, and can be as creative as you are! We’ve actually found so many different styles and ideas, it’s really difficult to say which are our favorites:

You can also be extremely creative with table names, even if you’re NOT doing assigned tables! After all, there has to be some good way to call the tables up to the buffet lines. (Everyone herding at the same time is NOT a good idea!) You can name the tables to correspond with your theme, or one of our favorites, using pictures of the bride and groom at their ages according to the table number! (Personally, there’s a wedding in the future I really want to do that for!) Imagine the names you can come up with!

But no matter what you decide, this is one area where you have to think of your guests almost as much as yourselves. You want everyone to have a good time, and come away from the wedding with nothing but happy memories!

So what’s YOUR plan going to be now?

Photo Sources: 1st Row: via etsy; shefinds.com; vponsale.com – 2nd Row: iwedplanner.com- 3rd Row: mywedding.com; silberstudiostv.com – 4th Row: interest.com – 5th Row: weddingelation.com – 6th Row: weddingideasmag.com – 7th Row: pleatedjeans.com –8th Row: Bella Rose Photography via lover.ly – 9th Row: intertwinedevents.com – 10th Row:thinksmartdesigns.blogspot; onewed.com; Mr. Boddingtons Studio on Every Last Detail via lover.ly; Meg Smith on SnippetandInk via lover.ly; Bill Blakey Photography; bridescafe.com; apicturelife via bridalguide.com; lilyandval.com – 11th Row: film noir photography; bohoweddings.com; blog.myweddingreceptionideas; zazzle.co.uk; source unknown; apaperproposal.com

Keeping the Kids Busy

There’s always a big discussion when you’re making your guest list over whether or not children are invited. This subject can really make a lot of people upset, including a lot of your family members! Especially if they have children who aren’t invited!

First of all, if you’re having a flower girl(s) and ring bearer, you’re going to have children there! And don’t be thinking that you’ll just limit it to just those couple of kids, because if you’re including them, how in the world are you going to tell your fiancé’s groomsman that HIS children aren’t invited!

You want to share your happiness with everyone you love on your wedding day. But why don’t you want their children? There can honestly be lots of reasons. Cost is usually a big factor, since you’re going to have to pay for their meals, too, even though children’s meals are usually discounted. And please don’t try to ask their parents to pay for their children’s meals, like we’ve heard a couple of brides did! That’s worse than excluding them altogether! Some couples have said they didn’t want babies or kids under 2-3 at their wedding because they might cry, and it would spoil their ceremony recording. Even though they have a point, don’t tell the guests that either! Or you may want to limit it to no children because of the adult food and beverages to be served. There are as many reasons as there are weddings.

So let’s look at this issue. And bear in mind, there’s no right or wrong answer.

If you decide not to include children, let your friends and family with young children know as far in advance as possible so they can make arrangements for childcare. We usually suggest that rather than putting “No children please” or “Adults only” on the invitations. And rather than addressing your invitations as “The Smith Family” (which implies children are included) write the names of the adults who are actually invited on the envelope and the inside envelope of the invitation. If the kids are invited, “Children welcome” is fine. And be sure to include on your RSVP card a line for the number of adults vs. children who will attending!
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But it’s YOUR wedding. And you and your future spouse have to make that final determination.

As we said earlier, if you’re having a flower girl and/or ring bearer, then you’re having children at the wedding. You’re certainly not going to have them IN the wedding, and then tell their parents they aren’t welcome at the reception! Although I’m sure that’s been done. But how would you feel if it were your kids?

Personally, I love having the little ones in the wedding, even though we never really know for sure that they’re going to do what they’ve rehearsed. All those pictures on Pinterest of the little ones walking down the aisle with their signs, or their flower baskets or ring pillows are just adorable. But the younger they are, well, the less likely they are to cooperate. After all, when they practiced there wasn’t a whole huge group of people sitting around with all their eyes on them! That’s enough to make anyone nervous, especially when you’re just 3-4 years old! And having to stand at the altar during the wedding and keep still? What’s the attention span of a 3-4 year old anyway? But they are an important part of the day, and who cares if they provide a little light-hearted distraction?

Just remember, don’t make it too complicated for your flower girl(s) or ring bearer(s). Remember, they’re kids; they’re going to be a bit nervous. You’re the bride – or groom – and you’re an adult and YOU’RE going to be nervous as well!

One of our brides had her flower girl and ring bearer, and also her five year old son who walked her down the aisle, since her dad had passed away. We weren’t sure whether he’d be nervous or not and refuse to walk at the last minute, so I did have (as always) a back up plan, but he did great, and was so proud to walk with his mom and hand her off to her husband to be…. Yes, I did almost cry at that moment!Shadoe and Alex

Plus, the little ones do make taking pictures afterwards a bit…interesting. But they’re so cute in the pictures, who can resist?

Then there’s the reception! And the kids, well, they do need some supervision! And almost always the parents are really good about that. Of course, sometimes they do slip away. And then you never know what they’ll get into. (I do wonder, though, if some of these pictures were candids or actually staged!)

Just make sure that if your wedding party is seated together, that the flower girl and ring bearer are seated with their parents, and not at your head table, otherwise you are most likely in for some misadventures!

You could also have a kids’ table, with special kids’ activities, goodie bags, fun kids’ food, and our suggestion, someone to sit at the table with them to “babysit” them. You don’t want their parents babysitting either, because you want them to relax and not have to worry about what their children are doing. They can even have their own special “toast” with milk and cookies! (They might even share if you’re nice to them!)

And the kids do have a great time out on the dance floor, and sometimes steal the show!

Many hotel venues actually offer a separate kids’ room that can be set up just for the younger wedding guests, with games, videos, snacks, and of course adult supervision. To us, that’s ideal, if your budget allows!

Our advice…if you’re planning a wedding start thinking about it now. It may seem like a minor detail, but trust me, it can become an issue if you’re not careful.

And by the way, we’re talking about actual AGES of the children. Not those of your friends and family who act like children on occasion or are still “young at heart”. That’s a whole other subject for another time…..

Photo Sources: 1st Row: greylikesweddings.com; karentranflorals.com – 2nd Row: onsugar.com – 3rd Row: southernbrideandgroom.com; thebridaldetective.com; Arnie Otto Photography on Etsy- 4th Row: weddingbee.com; Biltmore Estates on tworingstudios.com; phoenixweddingphotography via greatkidpix.wordpress.com; hudsonphotos.blogspot.com – 5th Row: SeanHolderPhotography.com – 6th Row: dreamweddingshawaii.com; deviantart.com by achfoo – 7th Row: GPTPhotography via BridalMusings.com; elitesoundsentertainmentgroup.com – 8th Row: theweddingcottage.net; lilsugar.com; greenbrideguide.com; cdn madamenoire.com – 9th Row: Jen Williamson on BorrowedandBlue.com; lovelyindeed.com; meyoujustustwo via tumblr; Michele Beckwith Photography on stylemepretty.com; sweetpaultypepad.com – 10th Row:besthudsonvalleyweddingever.com; thephotoargus.com; unitedwithlove.com; weddingbee.com

Making a List and Checking it….??

We’ve all seen those signs on Pinterest that say something like “Today two families become one, so pick a seat, not a side!”

Well, in theory that’s certainly true. However, sometimes in reality that’s not quite the way it works! (But wouldn’t it be nice if it did?!)

And if only it was just dealing with where someone is going to sit at the ceremony and the reception. More on that in another post!

One of the first (and sometimes most stressful) parts of planning the wedding for the bride and groom is writing out the guest list. Because it’s not usually just the two of you putting it together! Oh, no. Your families are going to want to include their invitees, and rightfully so if they’re paying for the wedding, or even a portion of it. That’s just how it works.

But the guest list can become a real point of contention, sometimes to the point of total “knock down, drag out” arguments in which you don’t speak to each other for days! And that is something you need to avoid.

The hard truth is, #1, there is a budget. Each guest costs $XX. And #2, unless you’re holding your wedding and reception somewhere with 3-4 moveable walls to accommodate half of a small town, you’re not going to have enough room for your second cousin twice removed and his whole family, or your great aunt Martha who you haven’t seen in twenty years!
Scratched off Guest List

So where do you start?

Tradition says that each side should have an equal number of people invited. However, that tradition is not always strictly adhered to any more, since the couple usually counts their friends as THEIR friends, not his or her friends. Some families and extended families aren’t as large as others. And there are always some out of town family members who need to be invited and almost certainly won’t be able to come. At least so you think! Until they get their invitation! And guess what…they’re coming!bridalguide com

So have your fiancé and his family write out their list of “must invite” and “would like to invite” and “should invite”. You and your family do the same. (This sounds better than an “A” list and a “B” list, even though that’s sort of what you’re doing.) Go ahead and include family, friends, and anyone from your offices that you might think you should ask. But be careful here! Unless you’re really, really close to some of your co-workers, it’s usually best to leave them off the list!

After you have these lists, then ALL of you talk it over. And yes, you do need to agree, at least for the most part, on who you’re inviting. So who’s on the lists? Immediate family, well hopefully you already know each other’s immediate family. If not, you will really soon! Sort-of-distant family. Ok, we got that. And those people who will get really mad at you if they’re not invited, but someone else is. Family Feud may be a game show on TV, but it can really rear its scary head during the preparing of the wedding guest list! Aunt Sylvia is invited but Cousin Harold isn’t? You’ll never hear the end of it! Or your mom and her cousin haven’t spoken to each other in years because of some family incident no one can even remember, but you’re still not sure an invitation should be sent…..Angry woman.

Then you have your friends. And their “significant other”. You really shouldn’t invite someone to come to a wedding by themselves. You’re going to have to try to include “and guest” on the invitation. After all, if you were in that position, wouldn’t you be upset? And remember to include the spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend in the guest count for the bridal party, too.

Now here’s another sticky area. What if one of your really good friends is now dating one of your “ex’s”? And wants to bring him/her. That could be quite interesting. For everyone. As well as uncomfortable, depending on how the relationship ended. (And whether your future spouse knows about him/her!) Hopefully you and your friend can talk it out rationally and come to a solution. Because there’s really no cookie cutter answer for this one. backthird com

And no, you shouldn’t invite your ex’s brother/sister/mom/dad, etc. no matter how much you still like them.

Then you have the acquaintances who may just assume they’re going to be invited. And keep trying to find out details about your wedding, and then they start telling you how they can’t wait until your big day! Well, neither can you! But they’re not invited. What do you do? Well, just mention you’re still working on your guest list and how big a task it’s turning out to be. Then change the subject! And don’t think that just because someone invited you and your fiancé to their wedding that you HAVE to invite them. Or if someone gives you an engagement gift without being invited to a party or shower, that doesn’t mean they have to be invited either. If you hadn’t planned on inviting them, don’t do it! That’s your decision, not theirs!girlsofwisdom

Stepfamilies are always another bit of a touchy area. If you’re in that position, and unless everyone really does get along well with each other, it’s going to take a bit of diplomacy to get through this one. And we’re only talking the inviting right now, not the seating at the ceremony and reception. That’s a whole other blog for another day!

There’s also another tricky question, and that’s whether or not you invite children. But it’s also something you’re going to have to sit down and discuss (and possibly with those who have kids that aren’t going to be allowed to bring them) because you’re always going to have someone who gets mad if they can’t bring their children. Just bear in mind that when you have a flower girl and/or ring bearer, there are children at the wedding! And you have to be careful where you draw the line! Again, that’s a whole other blog to follow shortly.james thomas long photography

And when you’re doing the food count, you should also include your pastor and his/her spouse (who may or may not attend the reception), as well as vendor meals to feed your photographer and DJ’s/band members. And the wedding planner, too! If we have time to eat anything, that is.

Sound like you’re getting ready to walk through a mine field? Well, in some cases that’s exactly what can happen! Just remember, you only have so much in your budget, and your venue only holds so many people. If you have to, use that as an excuse if someone actually has the nerve to ask why they aren’t invited. Which they might.

This is also good training for your married life ahead, because there’s going to be lots of times where you and your spouse are going to disagree and you’re going to have to compromise, and sometimes those disagreements are going to be involving both of your families!

Remember it’s YOUR wedding! The final choice is yours!

(And if all else fails, you can always elope! Then just have a big party!)lilysbridalnet

Photo Sources: 1st Row: iloveswmag.com; via etsy – 2nd Row: telegraph.co.uk – 3rd Row: source unknown- 4th Row: bridalguide.com – 5th Row: thebettermom.com – 6th Row: backthird.com – 7th Row: girlsofwisdom blog –8th Row: James Thomas Long Photography – 9th Row: lilysbridal.net