Creating Beautiful Celebrations!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Why Wedding Cake?

Modern Wedding Cake & Traditional Croquembouche

Have you ever wondered why we have wedding cakes? Why we spend so much money on a dessert that many of your guests won't eat? But there it sits on display for all to admire.
A wedding cake is the traditional cake served to the guests at a wedding reception (or in parts of England, at a wedding breakfast) after a wedding. In modern Western culture, it is usually a large cake, multi-layered or tiered, and heavily decorated with icing, usually over a layer of marzipan or fondant. Achieving a dense, strong cake that can support the decorations while remaining edible can be considered the epitome of the baker's art and skill.

Symbolism: The wedding cake is a tradition that began back in the Roman Empire. At the time, it was a loaf of bread that the groom broke over the bride's head as a symbol of his dominance in the marriage and over her. (The pieces that fell to the floor were scooped up by guests & placed under their pillows while they slept, to ensure good luck from the couples joining. This is where the tradition of wedding favors come from) The color of the cake is typically white to symbolize purity. The action of the bride and groom cutting the cake is meant to symbolize their first joint task in married life. The gesture of feeding cake to one another is a symbol of the commitment the bride and groom are making.

One of the earliest forms of the wedding cake is the French Croquembouche. The legend of this cake says that a pastry chef, visiting medieval England, witnessed their tradition of piling sweet rolls between the bride and groom which they would attempt to kiss over without knocking them all down. The pastry chef then went back to France and piled sweet rolls up into a tower to make the first Croquembouche.

Why Toppers?: Wedding cake toppers are small models that sit on top of the cake, normally a representation of a bride and groom in formal wedding attire. This custom was dominant in US weddings in the 1950s where it represented the concept of togetherness. Wedding toppers today are often figures that indicate shared hobbies or other passions, if they are used at all.

Wedding Flowers Not Just Green in Color!

Your dream reception is coming to an end. The lights are coming on. Your guests are beginning to leave. The tables have been cleared…except for the centerpieces. Ah…the centerpieces. What to do with centerpieces? Having the catering or venue staff throw them away (which happens ALL THE TIME) is not a great GREEN option. Greening your wedding should be all about Reducing, Reusing and Recycling. Here are some ideas about what to do with your wedding flowers and centerpieces when the wedding is over.

Share Them: You can always encourage guests to take the flowers home with them. This is a nice way to have the flowers do "double duty." It’s also always nice to give flowers to people — since they make people so HAPPY! One thing to think about is whether you want your guests to take glassware or just the flowers. Lots of times, glassware is rented from the florist. In this case, tell the catering or venue staff or your wedding planner that people should be encouraged to take the flowers but leave the vase.

Donate Them: Last year, we had several socially conscious couples donate their flowers/centerpieces. Centerpieces can be made out of locally grown fruits and veggies displayed in an eclectic mix of bowls, plates and cake platters. The centerpieces look amazing, but you can also make arrangements with the Local Area Food Bank to pick up the produce at the end of the night and donate it to needy individuals and families.

Compost Them: You can always compost your flowers! What a great way to give back to the earth. The easiest way to compost your flowers is to ask your florist or caterer to compost them for you. If they don’t compost, you can hire a commercial composting company to come to the reception site, pick up the flowers and compost them. There are a million good reasons to compost (but that’s a whole other post!). For now, let’s just say it’s great for the earth and totally worth the effort.

Getting the most out of your wedding flowers is another great way to Green your wedding!

Ice Blue Wedding

With winter just around the corner, many brides are wondering how to incorporate a winter theme into their wedding, and not have it feel like a Christmas party.
If you are planning a winter wedding, consider making your color palette a simple combination of silvery ice blue and winter white to reflect the season.

* This white floral bouquet is wrapped with silvery blue ribbon and contains tiny pine cones to go with the winter theme

* These beautiful snowflake bookmarks can double as table decor and guest favors

* The Lucite pedestal and ice blue colored ribbon on this cake add a wintery feel to the confection

* Present each bridesmaid with a beautiful winter white wrap

* Send guests this lovely ice blue and white invitation — Exquisite Invitations

* Consider ordering patterned tablecloths to add texture to your party space

Just because you use Christmas decorations as your centerpiece it doesn’t have to look "Christmassy", they can be used anytime of the year as they are sparkly. Look out for the ones that are plain and match your wedding color and the cheapest time to buy them is straight after Christmas so you can take advantage of the sales.

Be creative, use your imagination and let your brain take control. Before you know it, you'll have come up with all sorts of clever ideas to incorporate into your winter wedding theme!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Winter Wonderland Wedding?

Winter is filled with special holidays, festivities, family gatherings and romance. This lends to a most magical time for weddings. Those that revel in the unique and out-of-the box are more apt to go for a winter wedding date. There are trends toward cozy homey comforts that lend well to a winter wedding that will saturate the senses and make your guests say "Wow!'

Since winter is filled with special holidays it's so easy to tailor your wedding to the season and all the beautiful opulent ornamentation that's already at hand. Whether your wedding is closer to Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years so much decor is available to add sizzle to your magical day. A few items that add wintery appeal are: holly leaves, berries, pine cones, ivy leaves, pomegranates, fir branches, evergreen branches, naked wintery branches, small Christmas ornament balls or bells, glittery snowflakes and seasonal ribbon.

While there are some disadvantages to having a winter wedding, there are some significant advantages. If you want a wedding that will be beautiful and truly unique, there are lots of different winter themes for weddings that are unique and can only be held in the winter months that will make your wedding very personal and very special.

The Advantages of a Winter Wedding
When thinking about whether or not to have a winter wedding, here are some of the many advantages to consider:

* You can save a lot of money. By holding it in the winter you can save up to half the cost of a traditional summer wedding and get more for your money since winter is considered as "off wedding season".
* You can get exactly what you want. It’s more likely that you will be able to get the hall, restaurant, church, or other location of your choice. But since not that many people get married in the winter, the same popular locations are usually available during the winter, sometimes at a reduced cost.
* More of your loved ones may be able to attend. By holding your wedding in the winter it’s more likely that family and friends will have fewer social commitments and thus will be free to attend your wedding.
* Winter weddings are different. Do you want your wedding to stand out and be memorable, a winter wedding can be a great way to do something new and different for your wedding.

The Disadvantages of a Winter Wedding
While there are a lot of great reasons to have a winter wedding, there are, of course, some downsides to having a winter wedding that should be considered before definitely choosing to have winter wedding. There are ways to overcome these issues, but it’s up to you to decide if a winter wedding is right for you.

* The weather might not be what you expect. Obviously, in southern climates you’d expect it to be cold, rainy and maybe even snowy. Bad weather could mean that family and friends wouldn’t be able to make it to the ceremony. The weather might not be terrible - it usually isn’t; but it might be too mild, which can also ruin wedding plans. If you are envisioning a beautiful snowy landscape for your wedding, or arriving in a horse drawn sleigh, and there is no snow then your wedding plans could fall flat fast.
* A winter wedding might cause holiday complications. While you might love the idea of a Christmas theme wedding full of red and green and gold and traditional Christmas elements, your family and friends might not want to spend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day at a wedding. Also, holidays are a prime travel time and it might be expensive and time consuming for friends and relatives who need to travel to make it to the wedding.

These disadvantages can be easily overcome with proper planning and some creativity, there is no stopping you from having a successful and romantic winter wedding of your dreams!

What "Day Of Coordination" Is (and is NOT)

Brides seeking wedding planning assistance generally fall into two categories: Full Service ("I’m overwhelmed, I don’t know where to start, I need all the help I can get!") and Day Of ("I’m a hands-on kind of gal, I’ve got lots of help, I just need a little assistance along the way"). With the onslaught of wedding planning blogs, magazines, TV shows and books along with the downturn in the economy, more and more Day Of Brides are surfacing. Being a crafty, creative, practical, "hands-on" type myself, I can totally appreciate the Day Of Bride. But with this continuing emergence of the DIY wedding, there seems to be a bit of confusion about what "Day Of Coordination" actually means….

A Day Of wedding package means that the Bride is responsible for doing the majority of her own planning. In order for your Planner to do her job (and do it WELL), she needs to know every detail you have planned. No detail is too small here. If your Aunt Shelly suddenly decides to sing a solo during the ceremony, the Planner needs to know. If you are considering including a sand ceremony with your vows or want to surprise your new Scottish family with a special bagpipe performance in the middle of dinner, the Planner needs to know that, too! A good Planner will be asking LOTS of questions about your planning, maybe even asking you to fill out some forms, but sometimes details can fall through the cracks. Communication is key.

There is actually no such thing as a "DAY Of" anything. Any reputable planner will tell you that she starts coordinating the final details of your wedding at least a month out. There are vendors to contact, coordination of deliveries, set-up, strike (that’s industry speak for break-down), confirming final payments, going over every little detail with a fine tooth comb to ensure nothing has been overlooked (and trust me when I say it happens…all the time!).

Is your Planner creating a detailed Itinerary for you, your wedding party and all your vendors? She should be. And that, too, takes time. Scheduling all the "major players", letting everyone know where to be and at what time. Contact names, cell numbers and emergency backup contacts can’t be gathered on the "Day Of". It all takes TIME.

Trust me…you do NOT want a Planner who is just going to show up on your wedding day and make sure everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing, when they are supposed to be doing it. Because what if they DON’T? What would she do then? And how would she even know? By then, it’s too late.

Price is important here, too. A smart, budget savvy Bride will get some references and call more than one or two Planners before making her decision. She also knows that pricing should not be the deciding factor when hiring any wedding professional. A good general rule of thumb is to "throw out" the highest and lowest priced Day Of Coordinators and focus on the one(s) in the middle. Coordinating your Day Of package could take upwards of 30 hours, so consider the time and cost associated with that. A ridiculously low price quote and my guess is that the Planner is not doing all she is supposed to be doing.

One more thing; more and more vendors (photographers, caterers, florists, rental companies) are telling me that they are "this close" to not taking weddings if the Bride doesn’t have a Planner. They are being paid for a service that most likely does NOT include lining up the wedding party before the ceremony, coordinating the dances or showing you how to cut your cake. Will they help you if you need it? Of course they will, because they are professionals who love Brides, weddings and helping you have the day you’ve always dreamed of. But given the choice, they’d much rather be able to focus on doing what you hired them to do, because they are good at what they do!

If you decide to go for a Day Of Coordination package, be sure you are asking the important questions of potential planners:

* When do you officially start coordinating my wedding?
* Are you willing to look over all my contracts to be sure I am getting what I am expecting?
* Will you be contacting all my vendors?
* What kinds of details will you be asking them for?
* Will you create an itinerary/timeline for me, my wedding party and my vendors?
* Will you be present for and coordinate the details of the rehearsal?
* Will you be bringing an assistant with you on the day of my wedding?
* Do you bring an emergency kit with you on wedding day?
* What kinds of items/how many items are in it?
* Will you personally take responsibility for personal items like the cake knife/server, toasting glasses, etc and make sure they get back to us at the end of the night?
* Will you stay until the VERY end of the reception, after we are gone, to be sure any last minute issues are taken care of?

Don’t be misled into thinking that a Day Of Coordinator will (or should) show up on your Wedding Day, magic wand in hand with nary a thought for the details prior to her arrival. If you are paying more than several hundred dollars for a reputable Day Of Wedding planner, chances are you WILL get what you are paying for and you will NOT regret it!