If the devil is in the details, consider this section your saving grace.
From pretty pops of pink to inspire to simple ways to use Mason jars to bring elegance to your party, and considerations when choosing food for your rehearsal dinner, this section is all about having an eye for details.
“IT MUST BE A SIGN!” Graciously Guide Your Guests with Savvy Event Signage
By Laurel Feinman
All the signs are there: custom event signage is a terrific way to share valuable information with your guests. Once just a utilitarian thing pointing which way to go, wedding and special event signage now delivers the message with style.
Cheerful signage welcomes guests and contributes to their overall experience by helping them know where to be and what to do. Plus, signs are decorative accents that may be the backdrop in some of your wedding’s most memorable photos! Don’t wait to use them—a hand-lettered sign held by the happy couple in a photograph can announce the engagement and let guests know to “save the date” for your upcoming nuptials.
Depending on the font style, size and colors you use, signs can evoke an elegant, glam, rustic, preppy or contemporary vibe. Chic shapes, cursive and calligraphy in your signature color palette elevate messages from “ordinary” to “extraordinary.”
Here’s how to make the best possible statement with your event signage.
Good guests want to know what’s expected of them and since you can’t be everywhere to answer questions, let your event signage do the talking. Don’t stop at directional signs in the parking lot—there are many opportunities to use event signage such as:
• Prominently display an event schedule in a frame on an easel
(it begs for a caption reading “Eat, Drink and Be Married!”).
Many eco-minded brides now display event schedules in place of printed programs.
• At rehearsal dinners and receptions where the meal is plated and served by waitstaff, a seating chart is a must-have. Guests find their seat assignments with the names of other diners at their table, cutting down on that confusing “where shall I sit/with whom shall I sit” dilemma.
• Small decorative plaques attached to chair backs identify reserved seating for the bride and groom and their wedding party.
• Some brides post placards requesting guests to forgo the use of smartphones during the ceremony, and others establish a social media “hashtag” to help visitors collect and share pictures from the event. Create a social media backdrop and include the hashtag information on it as a festive no-cost alternative to having a professional photo booth. Decorate it with banners, garlands or pennants to contribute to the fun of letting your guests create your digital guest book.
Though smaller and more subtle, the written word can be used to add special touches on the food buffet or at the bar. Maintain the theme you’ve established through your larger event signage by using similar font styles and colors for these small printables:
• Petite signs describe food/convey pertinent information (“Gluten Free” or “Vegetarian”) to assist diners as they make their selections.
• Show off your new monogram with a cake topper made of white chocolate or fondant.
• Whimsical paper “chargers” (placemats) with the menu printed on them made from heavy, decorative cardstock complements place settings and enhances the tablescape.
• At the bar, personalized coasters, beverage napkins or cups
can feature the ingredients for the signature cocktail/party punch you’re serving.
• At the party favor table, gift tags reading “A Sweet Ending” would be adorable on the take-home treats.
It’s Not Just “What” You Say, But “How” You Say It
Clever wordplay mixed with a dash of whimsy sets the tone and keeps the mood light.
• Circulate a basket of confetti launchers with a sign reading,
“Cue the Confetti!” as a cute way to signal to revelers that it’s
time to send the bride and groom off with a bang.
• Send your attendants through the crowd holding signs announcing event milestones like, “Here Comes the Bride” and “First Dance” instead of asking the DJ to make such announcements.
But remember, there’s nothing wrong with keeping messages simple, so don’t feel like every sign must be witty—sometimes, we just need to know where to find the restroom.
Hand-lettered event signage—like chalkboards—lends an air of personable authenticity to your message, making guests feel as though you’ve taken the time to convey a message directly to them.
• Chalkboard paint comes in no-mess spray paint or brush formulations so even an inexperienced DIY-er can figure out how to transform any surface into something they can write on.
You can also try paint pens or a Sharpie—they come in every color of the rainbow.
• If your handwriting isn’t up to par (or you prefer a more polished look), download fonts and templates from the Internet. You can find them in any style and size, often for free.
Inspiration for the materials you’ll use to create your signs can be drawn from the theme/site of your wedding:
• Use driftwood accented with shells for a beach wedding.
• Repurpose an old shipping pallet, wood barrel or a weathered, whitewashed window for signage at an outdoor wedding.
• Antique shops, yard sales and estate sales are great places to look for items to repurpose as event signage—even the most dinged up platter can be beautifully transformed into a fashionable sign with a coat or two of paint!
The best signs include a balance of text and graphical elements, pleasingly arranged. The text is the anchor for the sign, so center the message and let graphics frame your words and support it. Contrasting colors make your graphics “pop”—helping them stand out. Try out several color combinations until you find the look that best complements your theme.
By following these suggestions, whether you decide to frame it elegantly or spell it out with lights, the message you communicate on your customized event signage will certainly be worth reading.
Express Yourself: Ways to Incorporate Your Personalities and Interests in Planning Your Reception
By Ashley Bunner
A wedding reception is all about fun and celebration. After the stress of the actual ceremony is over, it’s time to party with your friends and family. From traditions such as tossing the garter, father/daughter dance and cutting the cake, to newer quirky trends, your wedding reception is a time to express yourself and your new spouse. Classic traditions aside, there are a variety of ways to personalize the wedding celebration.
What better way to get your guests involved in the celebration than to have the DJ play their favorite songs? Have guests send in song requests along with their RSVPs—that way you have a better chance of getting more people out on the dance floor once their requested song comes on. This method also gives your DJ a starting playlist sure to involve people. You could also have the DJ announce that he will be taking song requests for those who missed their chance to send one in.
Don’t forget that it’s the groom’s special day too! Consider having a custom made groom’s cake that expresses his personality or interests. Some options include his favorite movie/TV show, favorite sports team or a place that he’s traveled. The whimsical possibilities are endless! Ask your baker to see some sample photos of past creations, and you’ll be amazed at the options.
If you’re having a child-friendly reception, consider having a table designated specifically for the children. Not only will this make them feel special, it will also relieve their parents by having an activity available. Give them a special craft to complete or have a coloring book and crayons at each place setting. Steer clear of markers and messy paints though as they’ll more than likely be dressed in their best!
Coffee or Candy Bar
Not serving alcohol or just want to spice things up a bit with a quirky twist? Have a coffee bar at your reception with a variety of flavored creamers, milks and sweeteners. Traveling coffee vendors have been popping up more and more recently giving you the option to even have a barista or two whipping up specialty lattes. Or, for those with a sweet tooth, have a candy bar where guests can mix and match candy combinations. Make sure to point out the bride and groom candies of choice!
If you have a specific theme for your wedding and reception, consider getting creative with the favors you select for your guests!
• If your theme is rustic, you could serve drinks in mason jars and let guests take them home as favors.
• Potted succulents are also a new trending favor. Succulents make for the perfect favor because they’re small and can easily fit at home or on an office desk.
• Homemade treats such as cookies, jams and brownies are a sweet treat to remind your guests of your special day. Who doesn’t love homemade baked goods?
• Doing an outdoor garden theme? You could give guests seed packets as a favor. Not only is this is a creative gift, it’s also friendly to the environment. When choosing seed variety, keep in mind that not all of your guests will have room for a garden at their homes.
Fun and Games
For guests who would rather not bust a move on the dance floor, have some games and other activities to keep them entertained. Games such as corn hole make for a fun alternative to dancing during outdoor receptions and allow for easy conversation among guests. For indoor receptions, try having guests go on a photo shoot scavenger hunt or have a photo booth and props set up.
Guest books are a great way to collect advice from your friends and family and also to keep a record on who was there on your special day. But your guest book doesn’t necessarily need to be an actual book. There are plenty of unique ways to have people leave you their well wishes and advice.
• Have guests sign a piece of art on a canvas that can be hung in your new home.
• Have guests sign squares of fabric that can be sewn together to make a quilt.
• Couples who have a love for travel can use a world globe as their guest book. Have guests sign near the state they are from or a favorite vacation spot.
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