Reception


30
Nov 12

The Truth Behind Wedding Food

I recently took a ‘wedding dinner‘ poll via my Facebook and Twitter networks to see what type of meat guests prefer to be served at weddings: Chicken, steak, or lamb. The answer? Chicken. That’s right, chicken! I often hear couples saying they don’t want to serve chicken because of the uncountable “rubber chicken” receptions they’ve attend but truth be told, guests prefer something that is well known and comfortable to the palate rather than foreign.

Brides and grooms are always looking for new ways to impress their guests. Many of these “wow factor” details are on the banqueting tables as guests are seated there for more than two hours. Of course food is the way to a guest’s heart, why not impress with the catering? As we just discovered, many guests prefer chicken over a fancier option. You can serve the chicken but think “outside the box” and come up with different ways to serve it. Now I’m not talking about a buffet as we’ve all been there, seen that, and done it, yet rather make sure it’s presented on beautiful china, is next to vegetables that add a pop of colour, or offer jugs of different sauce on the table for guests to top their meat. Little details go a long way.

Alternatively you could have a “family style” meal and put 4-5 dishes in the centre of the table for guests to serve themselves. If you’re afraid of serving chicken because it’s banal and boring, there are many ways to serve the meat apart from the traditional 3-course meal. Have fun and eat up!

wedding food

via Epicure

weddings at stoke place


19
Oct 12

Hot wedding trends for 2013

I’m predicting one of the hottest wedding trends for 2013 is the bride, groom, and their wedding party entering the dining room to fun and up beat songs. The past three months I have personally witnessed (and helped coordinate) all my couples and their attendants be announced into the dining room, couple by couple, to a song that represents their relationship to the bride and groom. The emcee announces each couple, the song plays, and they walk, twirl, and dance through the crowd until they locate their seat. It’s entertaining and has guests waiting in anticipation for what’s to come.

One of our winter wedding couple’s will play the “The A Team” for themselves and the entire wedding party to be announced into the dining room. I can’t wait to see what moves they have up their sleeves!

wedding trends for 2013

Lloyd Dobbie Photography

 

Another wedding trend for 2013 is lace, lace, and more lace. I’m seeing bridal gowns laced in lace all over the catwalks.

weddings trends 2013

Via One Wed

via One Wed

Via One Wed

 

Each year rings in dozens of new trends but I want to wrap up this post with one last trend I’m spotting: The bride giving a speech!! I never thought I’d see the day…!

Both the bride and groom have family and friends to thank for joining them on their wedding day. If the bride can find the courage to stand up and say a few words, it will be a toast remembered by all.


18
Jul 12

Last minute wedding tasks

Your vendors are booked, the payments have been made, now you’re in the final weeks before the wedding. There are some obvious tasks you still need to complete like finalising the guest list, chasing dietary requirements, creating a table plan, sending “must takes” to your photographer, etc, but there are other tasks that aren’t so obvious that are just as important. Below is small selection of the tasks you should complete the week before your wedding:

wedding planner london

 

Last minute tasks

  • Start writing a list of items you need to bring to the venue. Put this list on the refrigerator so you can write something down the moment you think of it. Items may include guest book, pens, table plan, escort cards, gifts, and so on.
  • Ask your venue event coordinator when your vendors have access to the venue on the wedding day. Also ask when they need to clear out equipment. This is essential information for you to pass onto your wedding team
  • Arrange a time to drop off and collect your items from the venue
  • Go through your signed contracts to see which vendors require a meal on the day. Approach each vendor to ask them about their dietary requirements then pass on the information to your caterer.
  • Decide where you want the wedding cake.  Make sure you have a good backdrop for photographs
  • Discuss who will be your MC. Your MC will announce movement of guests, announce the bride and groom into the dining room, announce cutting of the cake and first dance. The MC can be the best man, the wedding planner (me!), the head waiter, or a professional toastmaster.
  • Come up with a detailed ceremony procession. Who’s walking who down the aisle and in what order?
  • Where will your guest book be placed? If a table is required ask your venue or caterer to provide this
  • Decide what you want waiters to do in the event that guests ask for drinks not being served.
  • Tell your caterer if you plan on keeping the top tier of the cake
  • Think about transportation in great detail and make sure no one is left without a ride. Do any of the cars require a reserved parking space?
  • Talk to each person giving a speech to let them know how long the speech should be and what the tone should be like. Your food is prepared based on the timings you provide the chef so if speeches are overrun then your food may come out cold or even overcooked. It’s very important to stick to your timings and make sure each speaker is aware of this.
  • Where will honour attendants and guests sit during the ceremony? Do you want RESERVED signs?

This list is not inclusive of last minute wedding tasks.

Let me know what tasks you’re running into in the countdown to your wedding. I’d love to hear from you!

last minute wedding tasks

Pippa Mackenzie photography


14
Jun 12

Total Guest Experience

When you hear the word “wedding” you think of a bride and groom. However, weddings are nothing without the guests. You need to plan your wedding with your guests in mind as they want to have a fantastic experience too. I’m not saying to design your wedding to their style or taste, no way it’s your day, but plan each and every move as if you were a guest.

From the moment guests arrive, it should feel like every detail has been thought of with your guests in mind. It’s not just about making the room look pretty, it’s about making your guests feel welcome, letting them know where they’re supposed to be, making sure they have transportation to and from the venue, and giving them something special, treat them like royalty. To give your guests a great experience you must tap into psychology.

stephanie and matthew etherington wedding

Before the wedding even begins, I encourage couples to write a “welcome letter” for out of town guests. This letter will include information on local transportation, the best coffee shops, museums, pubs, cocktail bars, shopping, information on the wedding and any pre/post wedding events, etc. It’s a great way for guests to explore the town without having to do their own research.

To really turn up the heat on your guests’ experience, provide transportation to and from the venue. If you’re having a London wedding then consider shuttling your guests on an iconic red doubledecker bus. Providing transportation helps your guests relax as they won’t be stressing about traffic, parking, and who’s going to be the sober driver. It’s a wonderful gesture and is greatly appreciated. If your budget doesn’t allow this then consider printing off the name and number for two local cab numbers and placing a stack of these near the bar for guests to grab.

steph and matthew etherington wedding

There are dozens of ways to make guests feel special and welcomed. I’m not going to give away all my tips (!) but lastly, if you’re giving out guest favours, then have a strolling musician (like a strolling violin) go from table to table during dinner while a waiter personally hands a favour to each guests. Now that’s love!

luxury wedding planner london

 


29
May 12

Top Wedding Planning Tips for a Full Dance Floor

I always ask my clients what their biggest priority is. More times then not they want their guests to have fun and the dance floor to be crowded! To get the ushers whipping their bow ties around their heads like a helicopter blade, and the elderly guests doing the two step shuffle, then careful attention must be put into your evening reception. See my top wedding planning tips below for a fun and unique evening that has your guests asking when your next party is.

Top wedding planning tips for a fabulous evening reception

1) Hire the best possible band or DJ for your budget. Music is no place to cut corners so you should splurge on a reliable and talented band/DJ to get the dance floor moving and bring the atmosphere to life. Bad vocals and bad music equate a disaster and your guests will head home early.  Music truly is the soul of the event.

top wedding planning tips 2

Neil Walker

2) Place the bar in the same room as the dance floor. Guests tend to linger around the bar so if the two are together your guests will remain in the same room. If they are apart, the group will be separated.

3) Hire a lighting company to transform the room. Coloured lighting instantly changes the atmosphere and will take your guests into a whole new world. Top Tip: Use a different colour to the one used for the dinner. Give your guests a complete transformation from day to night.

4) Have your first dance at the beginning of the band’s first set (or when the DJ starts), so all guests are in the room and can join you for the following songs.

5) Hire a beautiful dance floor to complement your colour scheme and design. Guests love dancing on beautiful/unique dance floors rather than the traditional wooden floors. They look great in pictures too!

top wedding planning tips

6) Consider hiring a live band and a DJ. Band’s are great at getting the dance floor filled but if you want to move over to today’s hottest hits, or even music that’s not on the band’s repertoire then a DJ is a perfect fit. If this isn’t possible, pop in a iPod and dance the night away to your favourite tunes.

wedding planner london

Lloyd Dobbie


25
Apr 12

The Seating Plan, Top Wedding Planning Tips

Creating a seating plan is often the height of stress for many couples. You must think about family relationships, friends who may or may not get along, age groups, elderly who can’t be seated near the loud speakers, Children who may be disruptive, and so on…

I suggest tackling the seating plan two weeks before your wedding. Any earlier you risk guests RSVP’ing at the last minute and having to re-do the entire plan, waiting any later will cause more stress as the wedding nears. Plus, you need to leave time for the printers to get the table plans printed.

There are no rules when it comes to seating your guests, however, etiquette suggests seating female, male, female, male, etc., and seating couples opposite of each other rather than next to one another. I rarely see a traditional top table as many parents are divorced and/or remarried, so the modern approach is for each set of parents to host their own table with the bride and groom doing the same.

FlutterFly Events

FlutterFly Events, photography by Lloyd Dobbie

Below are some of my top wedding planning tips for your seating plan:

~ Elderly guests should be seated further away from the band/DJ and any speakers

~ If children are attending, their table should be at the back of the room near the door so they have easy access to the restrooms and can be escorted out if there are disruptions

~ When you handover the seating plan to your wedding planner, put a star by the people that should be facing the head table. As a planner, I often receive seating plans that tell me the order in which guests should sit around the table, but I don’t know where on the table they should be positioned. To help me out, let me know who should have the best view of the new Mr. and Mrs.

~ Put a single guest who knows nobody on a table with a talkative friend of a similar age/interest

~ Seat work colleagues together

~ If you’re truly afraid of offending guests, consider offering “Zones”.  Set up 3-5 zones and assign each guest to a zone where they choose their own table and own seat. It’s on a first come first serve so if they get the table in the corner they can’t bicker to their friends after the wedding!

If you’d like to have the traditional top table, see the seating plan below:
top-table-seating-plan
Happy planning!
Erika

 


24
Apr 12

Receptions On a Loan

Rental equipment has the power to transform your reception into something magical and personalised. From stylish china to chic sofas, consider a visit to your nearest equipment showroom to find pieces that will make your event über glamorous.

Examples of pieces you can hire:
Banqueting chairs
Luxurious linen
China/glassware
Table accessories
Candelabras
Storm lanterns
Sofas, ottomans, decorative pillows, side tables, etc
Rugs
Antiques
Chandeliers
Lamps
Large parasols
ans so much more!

Tip: Hire a lighting professional to spotlight special pieces and add colour and warmth to your reception.

erika unbehaunerika unbehaun 2Hello BlogErika Unbehaun 4Glasswareluxury wedding planner london

Glass_SilverBeads4_LR

black-chandelier


6
Apr 12

Top Tips for First Dance

The first dance is one of the wedding memories you’ll never forget. Five years after my own wedding, I can still remember every moment from my first dance to Alison Krauss’ song, “When you say nothing at all”.  If you’re thinking about skipping this tradition and heading straight for the dance floor, just remember that this is your only shot at a special dance in front of your loved ones so think twice before ditching it!

Below are three top tips for a memorable first dance:

1) Make it meaningful. Almost every couple has a song that makes them think of one another. If the song is suitable for a first dance, give it a shot as after all the first dance is for the two of you, not for your guests. If you struggle trying to find a meaningful song, consider doing a traditional dance from your home country. Think line dancing for Americans, Bollywood for Indians, etc.

2) Listen to the lyrics. It’s important to listen to the lyrics in a song before making the decision on your first dance. Some songs seem sentimental and romantic but the lyrics portray a different image.

3) Don’t stop dancing. If you have a rehearsed dance routine that doesn’t go to plan on the day, don’t stop dancing! Either start the routine from the beginning or bust your own moves- either way have a back up plan in case this happens.

top-tips-for-first-dance
Lloyd Dobbie Photography

 


25
Mar 12

Escort Cards vs Table Plan

It’s a good idea to have a seating plan at your wedding- especially if your guest list is over 15. Many couples stress about the seating plan as they’re afraid they might upset family and friends. As long as everyone gets a seat, no real disasters are likely to occur.  The seating plan should be finalised when you submit final numbers to your caterer however, the reality is that seating plans will not be completely finalised until the actual wedding day. Guests fall ill, unexpected guests show and Uncle Joe insists on sitting at table 8.

You may have heard or seen the words “Escort Cards” thrown around but what exactly are these and what’s the difference between Escort Cards and Table Plans?  The escort card is a more modern approach to assigning a table to your guests, the trend starting in American weddings. These are generally handed out at the cocktail reception and assign guests to a specific table for the meal. Once they find their table they will have a place card and seat waiting for them. Escort cards are a great ice breaker as guests tend to walk around with a card in hand asking other guests what table they’re sitting at! They make beautiful decorations as well- see below.

wedding escort cards

escort cards

escort cards

A table plan is mounted onto an easel and visually shows guests which table they will be seated at. They can look beautiful but the flaw with the table plan is that you will need to cross guests off the board who didn’t show up and you will need to add names for those unexpected guests. It’s not something I would recommend if you are a perfectionist. You can create additional escort cards for unexpected cards, or pull them for those that did not show, which is a much cleaner look.

table plans for weddings

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