Your wedding “brand”, a series of articles by As You Wish.
Whether you are all lace and foo-foo or like a more tailored look, your wedding has a look, a feel, a “brand”. For your wedding to really shine, that Wedding Brand (WB) should be carried through all the details of your big day.
Your Wedding Brand (WB) starts with your Save the Date cards and wedding website…those first things your guests will see. At the time you send Save the Date cards, you might not know your colors and theme; they will likely evolve during the planning process. But, by the time guests see your invitations, the brand will be solid.
What all makes your brand?
This is different for almost every bride. One season of a wedding planning show–David Tutera is my favorite–will showcase how every bride wants her wedding to be unique to her and her groom. For me, it was bluebonnets mixed with yellow roses. That’s hardly original in Texas, but long-stem roses and bonnets (yes, there really are long-stem bluebonnets; Aggies grafted/bred them) made pageant-style arm bouquets with near floor-length ribbons made them the only bouquets like them I’ve ever seen. When I told people my theme was bluebonnets, all my vendors knew what that meant. They each brought their special talent to their area to make their work fit within my brand.
Your brand should include your colors, but it should also include some other visuals: a monogram, a logo or other type of iconography, or another element people can picture.
We have blogged about kids at weddings. Inviting them is a personal choice for the bride and groom, certainly. If they are included, there will need to be some plans for keeping them comfortable and entertained; wedding days are far too long for their attention spans.
Having a kids’ room at the wedding may sound like a great way to keep them happy so adults can enjoy the reception. However, don’t think that this comes cheap: rates on the east coast range from $95 to $205 per child for a 5-hour reception. While this comes with a full tea party, a character, and the option for a candy bar (yay for sugaring them up and then sending them home!), this is more than a lot of brides spend per adult guest.
Keep in mind, if your guests “expect” babysitting, then they aren’t the ones who would have made the efforts to attend your event, anyway. But, if a kids’ room is something you feel you need to keep the majority of your guests happy, then plan carefully.
If you want to set up your own kids room and hire sitters, check with your local chapter of the American Red Cross (who offers baby sitter certifications as well as First Aid and CPR certifications) or your local Nanny Service for guidelines on babysitting groups of kids. They can help you figure a good baby-to-sitter or kid-to-sitter ratio. Remember, the more young babies, the more sitters you’ll need. Be sure that anyone you hire has impeccable references (or works for a reputable agency), is First Aid and CPR certified, and is experienced with children in the ranges you’ll be inviting. A Nanny Service might be able to refer some of their weekday nannies for your weekend event. And, the local university’s “future teachers” organization may have some members with enough experience with the age kids you’re inviting.
A kids room should also be equipped with entertainment geared for the ages attending: movies, games, puzzles, and toys. Babies will also need cribs or “pac-n-play” sets for napping differently than they do in a car seat.
Any coloring activity should be “clean”. Think crayons and sticker books instead of markers or paint. Friendship bracelets are fun for girls (just make sure beads aren’t too tiny for the youngest kids). If you a game console and tv for the room, be sure the games are a good fit for both genders and all the ages you’re inviting.
No pieces of any toy in the kids room should be too small for the youngest child in the room. The last thing you’d want is for a baby to eat a doll accessory and choke during your reception.
A kids room needs to be equipped with an emergency kit that the sitters can access. Be sure to include plenty of “fun” bandaids because when one kid gets one, they’ll all want one.
If you are hiring any entertainment for the kids room, be sure it’s age appropriate for the youngest child. Don’t hire a clown to make balloon animals for the elementary-age kids if you have toddlers in the same room. Instead, consider a magician or a storybook character.
In lieu of a candy bar, consider heathy snacks and goody bags for them to take home.
And don’t forget to hold the bubbles to the end. They’ll love rejoining their parents for your sendoff and getaway!
One wedding tradition that involves all married guests regardless of background is a Generations Dance. This is a touching moment for your wedding reception.
You’ll need to do a little homework with the parents and grands. In addition to knowing how long they have all been married, you’ll want to know about couples in the family who have had their Golden anniversaries.
The DJ is given a montage of romantic slow-dance songs starting with the most current song and moving back one era at a time. He then “lets go” each of the following couples off the dance floor. For every ~decade, the music should change to reflect that time period.
to start: all married couples
first cut: those married less than one day
next cut: those married less than one year
…less than three years
(In the design of this event, milestone years should be adjusted to best honor the couples closest to the bride and groom: their siblings, parents, and grandparents. So add in 25 or skip 40 in lieu of 45, if necessary.)
at this point, the bride usually presents all 50-year couples with a token that represents this milestone…a yellow rose tied in gold ribbon, for example
as more couples are eliminated from the dance, the years should be:
Once the last couple is left dancing, the DJ/MC will recognize them by asking all guests to applaud. Your guests will likely give them a standing ovation.
And don’t forget to tell you photographer you are doing this. The pictures will be amazing!
This is a sweet testament to your future as a married couple…and a wonderful memory for your wedding day. The best part: after the first minute, you get to watch and enjoy the whole thing!
Small business are capable of donating products/services, and thus, receive many requests. I used to run a tiny non-profit; I know how a few more donations to the silent auction can make a lot more money for the cause. Gift Certificates for silent auctions are easy for us to donate. Unfortunately, not every donation is smooth, so As You Wish has a donations policy.
This week, we received a donation request from a group that technically fits the listed criteria, but still doesn’t meet our standard: they discriminate against GLBT persons.
A local animal group asked for a silent auction donation.
The group seems organized. Their offer of advertising in return for the donation was clear. Again, they seemed to meet all the criteria in our donations policy.
For all the good this group does for their animals and for Austin, they do not meet our ethical standards. They discriminate, even in this day and age.
I know of a couple that was turned down from participating in the group’s primary purpose. The couple is gay. The volunteer from the group said that they won’t allow a gay couple to adopt. (Yes, there are a lot of “Well then why….?” and “How did it even get that far?” pieces to this story.)
The couple was heartbroken and angry. They had already fallen in love with the critter and met all of the written criteria. This very private couple had taken enormous risks to be truly honest with the group and was punished for that honesty.
Unwritten “rules” are not honest. Discrimination is hurtful to everyone. Just look at how embarrassing this show host was this morning. This hateful nonsense has to stop.
I’m not writing this to flame them or out the group for this behavior (which I did not personally witness), so please forgive the vague language. They do a lot of good, too, I’m sure. It’s a bit unfair to the group that I know any backstory, but I’m involved in my local community …and that’s probably a big reason why they asked me to donate in the first place. Although they did not mention it, I also think that an acquaintance may have told them I’d consider a donation. Normally, I would.
My purpose here is to explain this sliver of the values that drive As You Wish photography and to out the behavior itself as unacceptable. I will also share this with them so they will know why I’m telling them, “no, thank you.”
This is a chance for me to do something about bad behavior. This is a chance for me to stand up for what is right and shun what is wrong.
Their bigoted behavior does not fit the value set of As You Wish photography.
For the next month, all sessions and orders will include a donation to a local LGBT organization.
Believe it or not, some venues have “no candles” rules. It is our opinion that this reduces their liability and keeps their insurance premiums lower. In some cases, it’s the pure mess.
Because, what if this…?
Clearly, they “got” them. Still, your venue is wondering, “what if something like this did happen?”…and so is their insurance company.
What’s a bride to do?
- Ask if tarping the area under candelabras will make a difference? If they don’t have to clean wax drops off the carpet, they may let you have them.
- Ask about shaded/hurricane pillar candles and/or jar candles. These are both far safer than exposed tapers.
- Ask about mechanical candles. Some ceremony venues exclude messy wax candles, but will allow you to have have (rent) “mechanical” candles. Either way, you’ll probably need to make sure protective sheets of fabric are put under candelabras and other pieces that tend to drip.
- Stock up on LED votives and plan to use them, exclusively. Buy them early and look for sales and coupons. They are pricey little things.
- Research other lighting options.*
- Consider other venues. How important are candles to the mood you want to set? Is a unity candle essential to your ceremony, but unallowed, even at the altar? It boils down to what is most important to you.
* It was not until our wedding day that I learned our church windows opened. I’d never seen them open before (or since). The natural light from the outside was far superior to the normal look in the space.
We just love it when two things Austin come together! …and even more so when we’re one of them! tee hee heee! Today, we share the spotlight with the Austinista!
We were thrilled when the Austinista herself asked for some wardrobe shots for her blog where she writes about “Style, Beauty, and Exponential Growth from the Violet Crown” as well as a few other nuggets of goodness. And today is the day she launched a new series.
Christine is a delightful person that I’m proud to call my friend. Go subscribe to her blog. Your wardrobe and makeup collection will thank you!
From the Austinista herself:
“Austinista.net was established in 2013 to share my love of fashion, beauty, the arts, and becoming your best self. There are many roads to empowerment: wearing a favorite shade of lipstick, self reflection, and remembering to take risks in real life.
Over the years, I’ve had many opportunities to explore my love of fashion and beauty. Growing up, my mother taught me to sew my own clothes. As a result, I have a keen eye for silhouette and lines that will make anyone look their best! In my singing career, I’ve had the chance to swap roles and work behind the scenes. I’ve enjoyed my time as a makeup artist for stage and photographers but worked several studio photography jobs.”
If you have been a guest at a wedding with gauche centerpieces, you know how annoying they can be. But, unless you have been invited to one of “those” weddings, you might not realize the Pilates moves needed to enjoy conversation around large pieces. Sure, they look great in an empty room. But, if they keep your guests from having a good time, they can’t be worth the expense.
Centerpieces that will keep your guests talking
Keep centerpieces low, below eye level, so guests can talk across the table. After all, you went to all that trouble to seat them together.
As an alternative, mount centerpieces high on a skinny (and properly weighted/configured) pedestal. Guests will have no trouble talking around the skinny post that supports the beauty…and you can still get away with opulence. Drape ribbons, drip crystals, sprinkle with battery-powered LEDs. Just be sure the line of sight for the average seated guest is clear.
Better yet, mix the room. Every other table gets either a low or pedestal centerpiece. You get both the grand look when the room is empty and the grand look when the room is full. It’s a win-win for elaborate pieces in your reception venue.
What if elaborate isn’t in your budget?
Again, mix. With the help of your florist, planner, and even your photographer, plan a mix that works both with your concept and your budget. Mix the tables in thirds/fourths/fifths to vary the look around the room, but keep the whole look cohesive.
1/5 pedestal floral pieces with draped crystals
1/5 low, smaller floral pieces with LED lights
1/5 arrangements of candles
1/5 greenery, or stacks of old books, or tiers of your wedding cake, or vases to hold your bridesmaids bouquets
1/5 as collections of photos from your engagement
Your vases are just that, a vessel. They need not be elaborate or costly. Unless they are cut crystal, no one is going to notice them over your beautiful floral arrangements. Over the course of your engagement, collect vase, flower bowls, votives, and candlesticks from garage sales, thrift shops, and even your local dollar stores. Just pick one style and stick with it. If they aren’t similar enough for you, consider painting them.
With just a little creativity, you can mix, blend, and dual-purpose your reception decor into both what you want and what you can afford.
Every bride wants to look her best for the big day. Whether you think you have pounds to lose or merely muscles to firm, adjusting your diet and fitness plan can help you complete goals more quickly.
Diet. a four-letter word
Eat your veggies. No matter the current fad diet or healthy philosophy, no matter what your doctor says, no matter some old wive’s tale, eat your veggies. Vegetables are packed full of vitamins and fiber. Whatever you consider the bad stuff to be (fat, meat, sugar, carbs, all of the above), keep those to a minimum. Whenever you feel like reaching for “bad” food, try a piece of fruit, first. In Austin, you can even order local/organic produce to be delivered to your front door from Greenling.com.
Eat natural. Drop the chemicals (diet cola). Read labels. Cook from scratch.
Move. another four-letter word
There are, of course, Bridal Boot Camps and plenty of other programs at your local gym. But, if you don’t have time for that due to all the wedding planning, or, if you need to supplement on the camp’s off days, there are some simple alternatives.
Burn fat. Want tone arms? Then do some cardio. One current theory is that your body burns carbs/sugar during the first 30 minutes and burns fat after that. So, plan for some long cardio sessions of brisk walking, biking, running, tennis, swimming, or whatever keeps your heart pumping. If 30+ minutes gives you the, “I’ll just DIE” reaction, mix it up with intervals like a Couch To 5K program; just apply the timings to the cardio workout of your choice.
Lift. Yep, you need more muscle to burn more fat.
You are your own gym. Google it. You’ll find a ton of exercises you can do without a gym or any equipment. Invest just a little in a couple of pieces of equipment (like an exercise ball) and expand your workout’s “wardrobe” even more. Pushups. Jump rope. Plank.
Rest. hey! that’s a good four-letter word!
Rest. Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. To wake more refreshed, consider an app for your smartphone that will measure your sleep patterns and help you wake up between cycles instead of in the middle of one.
For some PINspiration, check out these workouts I’ve Pinned.
Of course, before you adjust anything about your diet or fitness plan, you should talk with your team (doctor, nutritionist, trainer, and even Grandma!). Information like this can kick-start your own thorough research.
How to find a great band or DJ
Finding a cheap DJ is easy. Finding a good band or DJ takes more work.
- Ask your other wedding vendors. Your reception venue and photographer will know which musicians did a good job and were good to work with.
- Arrange to see the ones you can live. Are they also a show band at public events?
- Book early. The good ones book 8-12 months in advance.
- Go local to save money. Less travel for the band will cost you less.
- Double dip to save money. Hire someone that can truly perform both ceremony and reception music.
Some parts of the contract are essential–both for you and for the musicians. Whether they are new or veterans of the wedding industry, be sure your contract covers all these details.
- Event date/location/address
- Contact information
- Names of any specifically contracted performers or techs
- Start/end times
- List of music to be played; list of music not to be played
- Sound system specs, including how they will integrate with the venue’s equipment
- Cancellation/refund policies
- Total fees including non-refundable reservation fees, refundable deposits, and overtime rates
- Hospitality “rider”: number and length of band/DJ breaks, where breaks will occur, meals performers will receive
March came in like a lion in Austin, but also brought us one of the most exciting times of the year, South By SouthWest (a.k.a. SXSW or South By). We enjoy the Education, Interactive, Film, Music, Comedy, and Sports themed conference and all that it brings to our town. Usually, it also consumes St. Patrick’s Day, but this year, the day falls after the last SXSW event, allowing the holiday to stand on its own.
Some rights reserved by apdk on flickr.
To celebrate, we are sharing a few Irish wedding traditions.
- the claddagh ring — This Irish engagement ring is worn face out when a woman is available and face in when she has committed to someone. The ring “represents love, friendship, and loyalty” and is worn on the right hand until a woman is engaged; then it is moved to the left.
- a braid in the hair — A braid is an ancient Irish symbol of luck or power.
- handfasting or “tying the knot” — The couple clasps their hands together; a ribbon, cord, or rope–often matching the wedding theme–is wound around joined hands as a symbol of agreement to spend their lives together.
- carry a horseshoe “up” — Horseshoes hold good luck, but just like in Texas, the open end of the shoe must point up so the luck won’t “fall out”.
- lavender — Lavender symbolizes devotion and love; herbs represent fidelity.
- ringing of bells — Bells are said to keep evil spirits away. [Maybe if the bells are loud enough, "that" member of the family won't attend the big day! ]
- Irish wedding blessing/toast – “Friends and relatives, so fond and dear, ’tis our greatest pleasure to have you here. When many years this day has passed, fondest memories will always last. So we drink a cup of Irish mead and ask [for] blessing in [this] hour of need.” Guests respond: “On this special day, our wish to you, the goodness of the old, the best of the new….bless you both who drink this mead, may it always fill your every need.”
- superstitions! — Don’t marry on a Saturday! Avoid all funeral processions on wedding day. The bride and groom should not wash their hands in the same sink at the same time.
Of course, you’ll also want to consider lace, bagpipes, and kilts (or at least a little tartan pinned under your gown) for a full Irish effect on your big day.
Whether you can trace your lineage back to the motherland or you’re just “a little Irish” one day of the year, these traditions can help you personalize your ceremony and reception to the uniqueness that is you and your mate. And if you need some inspiration (or just to decompress!), join most of Austin at Fadó Irish Pub or Opal Divine’s Austin Grill.
What other traditions would you like to learn more about? As Americans, we are influenced by so many parts of the world. What parts speak to you? And, what parts do you want to know more about?
Spring Break is around the corner. What a great time for Senior Class of 2014 Portraits!
We have a wide range of packages so your Senior Portraits session is just As You Wish!