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How To Plan A Kick-Ass Bridal Shower

Whilst merrily cruising Pinterest this weekend, I came across a number of pins about bridal shower ideas, games and decorations, and I have a number of tips and suggestions I’d like to share with you here.

As with all aspects of a wedding, there are no rules. You make it the way you – and the bride – want it to be.

In all likelihood you are the maid of honour, and you may never have planned a kitchen tea before! Rule number one – DON’T PANIC! You can probably rope in the bride’s mom and the bridesmaids to help you with the party.

The most important thing to do, first and foremost, is to ASK the bride-to-be what kind of party she would like!
All too often I have seen brides have attention lavished on them at a champagne breakfast, smiling politely, whilst wishing they could have had the spa day or boot camp-themed blowout they really wanted.
If she’s not one for dressing up and party games, keep this in mind whilst you’re planning her party. And it is HER party. Keeping the guests happy is secondary to making sure the guest of honour has happy memories.
And if the bridal-couple-to-be would like a joint party, then do that! Arrange the kind of bash where men and women will be comfortable celebrating the coming nuptials.

So what is the difference between a kitchen tea, a bridal shower, a bachelorette, a pamper party and a hen party?
For any of these parties, the guest list should consist of the female wedding guests, and its very bad manners to invite someone to the shower if they are not on the guest list for the actual day.
Just as an aside, these parties traditionally exclude children mainly because the nature of the conversation and gifts can be of an adult nature, but as I already said – there are no rules.
A kitchen tea, bridal shower or wedding shower is essentially the same kind of party. They are usually held early in the day and the gifts consist of items the bride or couple will need in their new shared home, and this is most likely the party that you would invite the mom, mother-in-law-to-be, grandmothers and aunts to attend. You may not want to have kinky toys and underwear on display when granny darling is in attendance.
A bachelorette party or hen night is usually reserved for the younger wedding guests, or for the bridal party alone, and it can take place straight after the kitchen tea, or it can be arranged on a different day entirely. Its a girls’ night out kind of do, and the gifts often reflect this with sexy underwear and so on.

When it comes to surprising a bride-to-be with a party of any kind, think about what kind of person your bride-to-be is. Planning a wedding can be stressful, whether or not you have a wedding planner. If your bride-to-be is someone who has every moment of her wedding day scheduled to the minute, she may not enjoy a surprise party.
You can surprise her with a theme and decorations and gifts, but at least give her a heads’ up on the date so she can put on some make up and get dressed nicely. She is most likely going to be photographed after all and she will want to look her best.

With party games, there are loads of them that can make a shower fun for the guests and the guest of honour, like Don’t Say Wedding and Mad Libs, but remember that if you want to play games and hand out prizes- quizzes and crosswords and puzzles mean someone is going to have to sit and check them in order to pick a winner- missing out on the fun whilst they do. Games where the guest of honour can quickly choose a winner are best.

Keeping track of who brought what gift can be tricky. You can get someone to make notes as the gifts are opened – if you open them at the party at all – but if you’re getting the bride-to-be to guess who its from or what is inside this could get confusing.
The coolest shortcut I ever came up with was getting the guests to write down their gift’s contents in the guestbook along with their wishes and advice for the new bride or for the couple! That way there will be a proper record for her to look back on and write thank you notes with.

For the guests, there really is only so many times you can say “Ooohh…” and “Thats beautiful…” whilst your bride unwraps her gifts!
Try mixing it up!
This does mean you- as the organiser- may have to keep an eye on the proceedings and play the role of emcee, declaring it game time or  stopping the unwrapping process to get everyone to top up their refreshments. And even if you aren’t playing any games, taking a break to fill teacups and cake plates means people mingle a little and get to talk to the bride.
And if you’re not big on “public speaking” then perhaps ask someone to do it for you.

An ecstatic guest of honour and happy guests is the aim of the game!
Good food and mingling is a HUGE step in the right direction- get the balance right and you don’t need expensive party favours and decorations!

Good To Know

The majority of venues you visit will provide you with a list of preferred suppliers and service providers.

These suppliers and service providers however, are not necessarily the best in the business. They may also not have been vetted by your venue as reliable or efficient.

In many cases, the people on a venue’s “preferred supplier” list have paid to be there, so do not assume that a “preferred supplier” list contains your best options.

Good To Know

Do you have to toss your bouquet?

Of course not!

For one thing, it probably cost you a fair amount of money and no-one would blame you if you wanted to take it home with you and put it in a vase. Or give it to your mom as a special thank you for all her love and hard work.

Yes, it was fun thirty years ago, because the single girls at a wedding reception were- in all likelihood- considerably younger than they are now, and they had different priorities- marriage and children being at the top of their lists! These days, the bride’s single friends are often successful business and career women with either no intention to marry (even if they are happily involved with someone), or they could be unhappily single and don’t want attention drawn to that fact!

So why was the bouquet ever tossed at all?

One theory tells of how, in ancient times, it was exceptionally lucky to get a piece of the bride’s dress. It was accepted that she was unlikely to ever wear it again so single women would chase the bride and try to rip pieces off her dress! Sounds absolutely charming doesn’t it… Not!! As weddings became bigger and bigger events, wedding dresses started costing more and more money, and women started wanting to keep them to perhaps pass on to a daughter one day- leaving the bride in tatters became rather unpopular. So brides began to give away other objects instead, like their garter and their bouquet.

There are ways of giving away your bouquet where it doesn’t have to be thrown into a crowd of women who are more likely to scatter than try to catch it!

You could play a dancing game and eliminate couples on the dance floor until the couple remaining is the one that’s been together the longest and give them the flowers. Or if you have a hand tied bouquet of single flowers you could untie it and give each lady a single flower. Or blindfold the bride, have all the ladies stand in a circle around her and when the music stops the person nearest the bride is the one who gets the bouquet.

If you are going to be tossing your bouquet into a crowd standing behind you, make sure to check how high the ceilings are, that the ladies don’t stand too far behind you, and that there are no ceiling fans that could interfere with the flowers’ trajectory!

The possibilities are endless.

And there are no rules.

Category: flowers, good-to-know, tips and tricks, traditions  Comments off

Good To Know

A monogram can be a gorgeous and surprisingly useful addition to your wedding’s theme! There are a few things you may want to keep in mind when designing your monogram.

Its considered a bit of a no-no to include what will be your married surname’s initial in your monogram before you are actually married, so the monogram on your invitations, save-the-date notifications and bridal shower thank you letters should have only your first name initials in it. The ceremony programs (if you have them) are up for discussion- some feel its still too soon to use your new surname on these whilst I think its the perfect time to show your new monogram for the first time!  After the ceremony of course you can use it anywhere and everywhere- a jewelled decoration on your cake, on your bonbonnieres, traced in petals on the dance floor, printed on your thank you letters, embroidered on your serviettes- you name it!

As for the order of the letters, the bride’s name or initial must be first. Why? Because the man’s initial should never be seperated from his surname. Yes, I know it sounds antiquated, but that’s how it works. Naturally if the bride is keeping her maiden name then a monogram with the groom’s surname won’t even be considered.

There are endless options when you design your wedding monogram. You can use just your first names and initials, you can use just your new surname’s initial with a little decoration, or you can use only your initials and the first letter of your new surname, in which case the surname’s initial should be bigger than the first name initials and it should be in the middle. I used mine and my husbands first name initials on our cupcake collars!

There are no rules!

Good To Know

If you are planning to have a wedding cake at your reception, one that you will cut in a traditional type of ceremony whilst having pictures taken, there are a couple of things you may want to keep in mind.

Etiquette dictates that the bride must pick the knife up off the table (it must never be handed to her) and the groom must then place his hand over hers on the knife to symbolise their shared life. They then feed a small piece of the cake to each other- the groom feeding the bride first- to symbolise their providing for each other in their new life.

After the photographs have been taken, the cake is often discreetly taken to the kitchen (or not) and cut up for the guests to enjoy. Beware- some venues will charge you for cutting up your cake as this is a time consuming procedure, so be sure to check with your service providers. If you want to keep the top tier to save it for your first anniversary or a honeymoon treat be sure that someone knows this and can take care of it for you. If you are having a cake with several tiers, there is a possibility that one of them may be a decorated polystyrene “dummy”, so check with the bakery to make sure you don’t cut into the wrong tier!

And of course, you don’t have to have a cake at all! You could have cupcakes or a macaroon tower or even a cheese board and you could still feed each other a piece of something to symbolise your providing for each other.

Category: cakes, good-to-know, tips and tricks, traditions  Comments off