Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Logistics of Planning a Gay or Lesbian Wedding

The logistics of planning a gay or lesbian wedding ceremony are a little bit different than setting it up for a heterosexual bride and groom because there is a century of etiquette that dictates the rules of how that works. Gay and lesbian couples are left to make it up as they go along — and that isn't a bad thing! It actually gives brides and grooms the option to do whatever they want without anybody saying they're breaking the rules, but it can still raise some questions if you don't plan ahead for exactly what you want to do. Here, three commonly asked etiquette questions about same-sex weddings.
Who sits where?
You can assign sides (hanging a cute sign on the back of the chairs in the back row if you're not using ushers), or you can keep it an informal "everybody is welcome to sit anywhere except the front row" kind of ceremony. If you want to assign sides, just pick a side. Sometimes both families aren't represented and you don't want that fact to stand out, so you might opt to have a selection of special family and friends fill the front row and no designated sides for any purpose.
How do the brides or grooms get down the aisle?
You may each process down the aisle, or walk in with the officiant, or you could seat your parents, then take your places up front with the officiant. Brides may both want to process down the aisle with their fathers, or you could even walk together hand-in-hand. Grooms may choose to enter together or separately. Or each groom could come from opposite sides of the ceremony venue and meet in the middle. It's a little trickier to orchestrate with photography, but as long as you have two people shooting, it works.
Who participates in the ceremony?
Like any straight wedding, gay and lesbian weddings usually have readings performed by a friend or family members. Sometimes there is a candle-lighting ceremony or a sand blending that involves parents helping to signify the union and the blending of two souls. Involve whoever makes you happy. Reserve the important parts of your day for those who love you and support you the most.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

About Napkins


» About Napkins

Table Napkins
Today, discriminating hosts and hostesses have a wide variety of napkin products from which to select. For formal dining, there is the cloth napkin, the paper napkin being reserved for more informal settings.
The theory, evidently, is that the more food and drink that is served, the more potential there is for spillage, so the bigger the napkin must be to catch it.
Cloth napkins may be purchased in a rainbow of colors and a variety of fabrics.
» Napkin Etiquette
Ready to Eat
Whether the napkin is cloth or paper, when in polite company, a napkin is to be used with a measure of etiquette, so as not to offend other diners through a display of boorishness. (You’re excused from these rules only when the napkin you are offered is one of those flimsy little paper things that pop out of tabletop dispensers – the kind of “napkin” you cannot place on your lap expecting it to not blow away within 20 seconds; even here, however, try to keep boorish behavior in check.)
Rule 1: When you’re given a napkin, use it. Don’t let it sit beside your plate. It was given to you for wiping your face when you need to and to protect your lap from spills. Leaving it beside your plate marks you as a slob.
Rule 2: Wait for the host to pick up and unfold his napkin before you do the same with yours.
Rule 3: If the napkin is larger than your lap, fold it such that it just covers your lap.
Rule 4: In polite society, movements at the dinner table tend to be small, so don’t make any ostentatious displays like wildly shaking the napkin to open it. Just unfold it. And when you wipe your mouth, don’t use the napkin as you would a wash cloth during your morning shower; gently dab at your mouth.
Rule 5: Don’t wait for the food to be served before you open your napkin. Should your napkin still be sitting on the table when the food arrives, the server may have to create space to set your plate.
Rule 6: Should you have to leave the table during the meal, leave the napkin, loosely folded, on your seat or on the table to the left of your plate. Also put the loosely folded napkin to the left of your plate when you’re done eating, never on the plate.
Rule 7: The place for a napkin? In your lap. It is not tucked into your pants, nor does it belong tucked into your shirt collar. However, if you are in a milieu where that kind of behavior is acceptable, don’t be afraid to go along. For example, diners from Southern Italy (or southern New Jersey) have long known that a bowl of spaghetti topped with marinara sauce can be better enjoyed when you don’t have to worry about the red stuff splattering on your shirt. Many Italian and Italian-American diners therefore tuck the napkin into their collars as a matter of course. Feel free to do the same. Live! Enjoy!
But what about that waiter who carries a napkin draped over one arm? In part, it’s practicality. It’s readily available to mop up any accidental spills or other messes at your table. But the practice dates back a couple of hundred years in France; that was how waiters carried the napkins they would distribute to diners. Napkins have been in use for thousands of years.
It’s possible that cavemen at their wooly mammoth barbeques wiped the grease from their mouths using the animal’s pelt... and then rubbed it in their hair to get that suave, slicked-back look. But we don’t really know that. What we do know is that, by the Bronze Age, it’s likely something like a napkin was in use in many parts of the world. The first recorded use of the napkin was by the Romans. When that hearty eater, Buffetus Allucaneatus, reached for his napkin at the Roman dinner table, he didn’t find a cloth. What he used was some wadded up unbaked dough, which he pressed to his face. That removed whatever bits and morsels of food were sticking to it. Later, if he wished, he could bake and eat his napkin, morsels and all.
Scottish Recipes
With the fall of Rome, Europe entered that slovenly, napkin-less period of the Dark Ages, with its uncouth barons and unwashed princesses wiping their hands on their tunics and mopping their faces with their shirttails and cuffs. We don’t know how knights encased in steel armor managed to wipe off their mouths.
By the time of the Renaissance, the French had a single, large communal napkin about the size of a table cloth which everyone at the table used. It may have been the precursor of the table cloth. It got smaller and smaller over the years until everyone had his own napkin. By the 1700’s, the French aristocracy had even promulgated rules of napkin etiquette, some of which we still use today throughout the Western world; e.g., we don’t blow our nose into our napkin. Or anyone else’s napkin, either.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Wedding Reception Ideas: Chiavari Chairs as Decor

 As a girl who has helped plan a wedding knows how tough wedding planning can be. It's tough because there are so many choices, so many themes, so many colors…and everything looks so pretty! However there is one thing that all brides can agree on: chiavari chairs for the wedding reception! Prior to helping my girlfriends plan their weddings, I had no idea what chiavari chairs were, or how they were able to elevate the look of any wedding. Here are some reasons why other brides and bridesmaids have loved using chiavari chairs:
1. The Perfect Wedding Chair: Modern, Elegant, & Simple
Though the chiavari chair rental may cost a bit more than your average wood or wood chair, it is definitely worth the investment. The main appeal of the chiavari chair is its sheer simplicity. When it comes to decorating, often times than most, less is more! Less is more. The chiavari chair may not be all jazzed up with intricate designs, glitter, flowers, and other decor, but boy does it deliver elegance and sophistication.
2. Lightweight and Sturdy
Chiavari Chairs are known to be very portable because they don't weigh much at all. Wooden Chiavari chairs only weigh around 10 lbs. This makes the chairs very easy to transport, very easy to arrange, easy to stack, and easy to store. However, keep in mind that not all Chiavari chairs are made equally. Some manufacturers have higher grade chairs while others have less quality grade resulting in less durable chairs. To ensure the safety of your guests, you don't want to save a couple bucks by renting out cheap Chiavari chairs.
3. Highly Customizable
Chiavari chairs are customizable. They come in a variety of different colors such as silver, gold, black, white, natural and so forth. Two of the most popular choices for weddings are gold and silver. However you can mix and match or just pick out chairs of the same color that match up with your decor. Another option is to customize the color and fabric of the cushions. Depending on where you order your Chiavari chair rentals, you might have the freedom to change as you please.
4.. As Seen on TV
If you're not too creative and need inspiration when it comes to planning out your wedding, luckily for you, Chiavari chairs are frequently portrayed in movies, important events, hotels, museums functions, and wedding magazines all over the world! Just by Googling Chiavari chairs, you have more than enough inspirational ideas for how to incorporate these chairs during your wedding ceremony.
5. Looks Great on Their Own
Often people who rent out chairs have to rent out chair accessories. Often times, generic chair rentals are plain and boring. Brides often feel the need to spruce it up by adding additional decoration. Adding additional decor to your chairs plus the cost for the chairs usually end up costing around the same as simply renting out Chiavari chairs. So if you're looking for a beautiful and easy solution, invest in Chiavari chairs-they are perfect as is.
Do you plan on using chiavari chairs for your wedding? Share with us your thoughts below!
Photo credit: Elegant Chairs and Linens

Author Bio: Emily loves wedding decor, reading wedding blogs and blogging about wedding planning! Currently she is fascinated with cultural weddings, traditional Indian wedding decorations, Chinese marriage customs among others!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Top 6 Bridesmaids ideas

This week we celebrate Bridesmaids.
Today we want to share our top bridesmaids dress ideas.  

1. Neutrals: There's something about neutral bridesmaids
dresses that look uber elegant. So don't be afraid to try this 
non-traditional look.Tip: This color goes well with 
white or blush toned florals. 
Source: People

2. Patterns: Who says you have to have solid colored
bridesmaids dresses. Opt for a print pattern for a fun, playful 
look and event! You can choose floral prints, polka dots, 
animal prints, the options are endless!
Source: Ruffled

3. Pastels: We absolutely love pastel bridesmaids dresses!
This light and whimsical look is perfect for spring and summer weddings.
Source: Green Wedding Shoes

4. Mismatched: Mismatched bridesmaids dresses are
all the rage nowadays. We don't think this trend 
will go away, nor do we want it to. Go ahead and let
 your bridesmaids get creative and show their own style. 
Source: Jessica Lorren 

5. Lace: Bridesmaids can wear lace too! This look is classic and timeless. 
Source: Belle the Magazine

6. Ombre: Last but not least. We love it when bridesmaids
are asked to choose different tones in a color. 
You can get a beautiful ombre look like this one. 
Source: Southern Weddings

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

20 Questions to ask a wedding planner

Article by Beth Angel
Hiring a wedding planner is not an easy decision. A good wedding planner can make your wedding flow smoothly. It can also be an additional strain on your budget. You may want to take the time to meet with one or two wedding planners before you make your final decision. Here are some questions to help you.
1. What is your experience in planning weddings?
Ask for specific examples complete with photos and testimonials.
2. How long have you been in business & how many weddings have you done?
Look for a wedding planner who has experience and knows the ins and outs of wedding planning.
3. What will you offer me for your services?
Ask the planner to spell out what his or her services are in specific detail. A sample written proposal should be available at the initial meeting. A written proposal specific to your wedding should follow the initial meeting.
4. Do you provide a contract?
A professional wedding planner will provide you with a contract outlining his or her terms of service. It should include a clause about cancellations.
5. How much of my time do you expect planning my wedding will take?
Ask for a schedule and ballpark figures on how much time you will spend on making decisions for your wedding.
6. Can you work within my budget?
A good wedding planner will be honest with you on the subject of what it will cost to make the wedding you want. He or she will figure in his or her fee and not surprise you when it comes time to settle up.
7. Is this your full-time or part-time job? Do you foresee any conflicts in this situation?
A part-time planner is often less expensive than a full-time wedding planner. Just be sure you are comfortable with his or her arrangement.
8. Do you double book weddings? Will there be any conflicts on the day or weekend of my wedding?
Some wedding planners manage this quite well. Ask the planner his or her plans to make sure your wedding is first priority.
9. Who backs you up? Do you have extra staff and is there an extra charge?
Ask the wedding planner to be specific. You don't want any surprises on your wedding day.
10. Do we pay you one fee and then you pay the vendors, or do we pay the vendors individually?
Many vendors require deposits or final payments before your event. Knowing the payment structure is very important and avoids confusion.
11. Are you available for all meetings with the caterer, location and other vendors?
The answer to this question gives you insight into how much your wedding planner cares about even the smallest of details. Ask if the planner will be there to walk you through these important steps.
12. Will you personally attend my wedding?
A professional wedding planner will always say yes. If not, ask why and be cautious of anyone who says they will not attend. *See #14
13. If you cannot attend my wedding? Who is your backup? Will I meet him or her beforehand?
Some planners have an assistant or staff that may attend. There shouldn't be any extra fees for this.
14. What's in your wedding emergency kit?
A professional wedding planner will show it to you or give you a list of its contents. It should include items from a sewing needle and thread to aspirin.
15. Do you charge for travel or is it included in your fee?
Ask to have this spelled out in his or proposal.
16. Give me some problem scenarios and how you fixed them.
A good wedding planner will give you examples of weddings similar to your situation.
17. Do you require a deposit to get started? When is the final payment due?
This should be spelled out in his or her proposal at your initial meeting.
18. Do you charge for the initial meeting?
There should never be a charge for the first meeting. Both parties come to the table to discuss how they will work together. Think of it as an interview.
19. Do you have any formal event planning education?
Formal education from a finishing school, culinary, design or hospitality school is a plus, especially when the wedding planner has other essential qualifications. Membership in a professional organization shows that a wedding planner cares about his or her reputation and is committed to their profession.
20. What will you not do?
This is probably the second most important question. Ask your wedding planner to spell this out in his or her proposal and/or agreement.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Questions to Ask a Caterer

Questions to Ask a Caterer
Besides your location, the food and drink for your wedding reception will probably consume the largest portion of your wedding budget. Catering costs
 are usually presented as “per-person” charges, sometimes abbreviated in
wedding brochures as “pp” after the amount. But be aware—the per-person
charge often doesn’t include everything: Tax and the gratuity (sometimes
called the “service charge”) might be extra, and there may also be separate per-person charges for the meal, drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and even setup. So your actual per-person charge might end up being considerably more than you expect. Bring your calculator along when meeting with potential caterers to help you arrive at the real bottom line.
There’s more to consider. Nowadays, many caterers offer a range of services in addition to catering. Some are actual “event producers,” providing props, special effects, décor—in other words, complete event design. They might also be able to assist in finding a location, coordinating your affair, or lining up vendors. One thing a caterer can’t do, however, is cook up a 5-course Beef Wellington dinner for $20 per person. When planning your menu, be realistic about what you can serve given your budget and the size of your guest list.
A lot of factors come into play when selecting a caterer, so don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to. You can refer to the following list, whether your potential caterer works at your event facility or you’re hiring them independently.    

The Basics
1. Do you have my date open?
2. How many weddings do you do per year, and how long have you been in business?
3. Have you done events at my location? TIP: If you haven’t chosen your location yet, ask the caterer if they can help you select one.
4. Are you licensed by the state of California? Are you licensed to serve alcohol?
5. Will I need any permits for my event? If so, will you handle obtaining them?
6. Will you provide a banquet manager to coordinate the meal service or an on-site coordinator who will run the entire event?
7. Can you assist with other aspects of the wedding like selecting other vendors, event design (e.g. specialty lighting, elaborate décor, theme events, etc.)?

Food & Presentation
8. Given my budget, guest count and event style, what food choices would you recommend? Do you specialize in certain cuisines?
9. Do we have to work off a preset menu or can you create a custom menu for our event? If I have a
special dish I’d like served, would you accommodate that?
10. Do you offer event packages or is everything à la carte? What exactly do your packages include?
11. Do you use all fresh produce, meat, fish, etc.? Can you source organic or sustainably farmed ingredients?
12. Can you accommodate dietary restrictions, such as kosher, vegan, etc.?
13. What décor do you provide for appetizer stations or buffet tables?
14. Do you offer package upgrades such as chocolate fountains, ice sculptures, cappuccino machines or specialty displays?
15. Can you do theme menus (e.g. barbecue, luau, etc.)? Would you also provide the décor?
16. What’s the difference in cost between passed appetizers and appetizer stations? What’s the price difference between a buffet and a sit-down meal? If we have a buffet, are there any stations that cost extra, like a carving station? NOTE: Don’t automatically assume that a buffet is going to be the less expensive option. Ask your caterer which type of service is more affordable for you, given the menu you’re planning.
17.          How much do you charge for children’s meals?
18.          How much do you charge for vendor meals?
19.          Do you do wedding cakes? If so, is this included in the per-person meal price or is it extra?
20.          Can you show me photos of cakes you’ve done in the past?
21.          If I decide not to serve cake, can you provide a des- sert display instead?
22.          If we use an outside cake designer, do you charge a cake-cutting fee?
23.          Do you do food tastings and is there an extra charge for this?
24.          Do you handle rental equipment such as tables, chairs, etc.?
25.          What types of linens, glassware, plates and flatware do you provide? NOTE: Some low-budget caterers have basic packages that use disposable dinnerware instead of the real thing, so make sure you know exactly what you’ll be getting.
26.          Can you provide presentation upgrades such as chair covers, lounge furniture, Chiavari chairs, etc.? What would be the additional fees?
27.          What is your policy on cleanup? TIP: Be very clear about what “cleanup” means and who’s responsible for handling it—and be sure to get it in writing. We’ve heard many tales about caterers that left dirty dishes, trash and uneaten food behind. In most cases, when you rent a location it will be YOUR responsibility to leave the place in acceptable condition. You want to spend your wedding night with your honey, not picking up empty bottles from the lawn!
28.          If there is leftover food from my event, can we have it wrapped up for guests to take home or have it delivered to a local shelter?

29.          Do you provide alcoholic beverages and bartenders? Can you accommodate specialty cocktails?
30.          What brands of alcohol will be served?
31.          Can we provide the alcohol and you provide the bar labor?
32.          Do you charge a corkage fee if we provide our own wine or champagne?
33. How do you charge for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages? Per consumption or per person? Which is more cost-effective?
34. Is the champagne toast after the ceremony included in your meal packages or is it extra?
35. Will your staff serve the wine with dinner? 36. How long will alcohol be served?
37. Is coffee and tea service included with the per-per- son meal charge? What brands of each do you offer and do they include decaf and herbal tea options?

Business Matters
38. What is the ratio of servers to guests?
39. How will the servers be dressed?
40. How is your pricing broken down (e.g. food, bar, cake-cutting, tax, gratuity)? NOTE: Usually tax and aservice charge are tacked on to your final cost. The service charge, which can range 18–23%, is used to tip the staff. And in many states, the service charge itself is taxable.
41. How much time do you require for setting up and breaking down my event, and are there extra fees for this?
42. If my event runs longer than contracted, what are your overtime fees?
43. What is the last date by which I can give you a final guaranteed guest count?
44. What is your payment policy? Do you accept credit cards?
45. How much of a deposit is required to hold my date? When is the final payment due?
46. Are there any fees that won’t be included in the proposal that we should be aware of?
47. Once we book with you, how quickly can we expect a contract? And if we make changes to menu choices or other items, will you update us with a revised estimate and contract?
48. What is your refund or cancellation policy?.