Helpful Tips

Non-Traditional Wedding Registries

With so many couples living together before the wedding, or merging two households together, the traditional gift registry may not be the most practical for every bride and groom. We’ve put together a list of some alternative registry options for you to consider.

Honeyfund: Register for travel and activities for your honeymoon! Also, ask your travel agent if they offer a registry program.

Wed&Wish: Register for anything you want, from honeymoon travel to items for your home. All gifts are received in the form of cash, so that you can buy exactly what you want! You could even ask for money towards a down payment on a new home.

I Do Foundation: If you truly don’t want any gifts, consider a charity registry. Your guests can donate to a cause close to your hearts, and their gift may even be tax-deductible.

Whether you are registering for traditional gifts or fun adventures, be sure to keep track of the gifts you receive and send thank-you notes promptly! For gifts received before the wedding, you should send a thank-you note within two weeks.

Pinterest and the DIY Wedding Movement

For a little over a year, Pinterest has been the hot new concept in social media. We wrote a blog post back in February about using this site as a tool for planning your wedding. Now that it has been a few months, we’re starting to see some of the creativity found on Pinterest actually show up at real live weddings. Here are some things to think about as you use Pinterest or other tools to create your DIY wedding.

  • Things don’t always go as planned.  Be sure you allow plenty of time to create your decorations, try out your hair style, or make your bridesmaids’ gifts. And by “plenty of time,” I mean a few months. Not the week of the wedding! Things don’t always turn out the way you think they will on the first attempt – if you don’t believe me, check out blogs like Pinstrosity, CraftFail or PinterestFail for proof.  (photo from CraftFail’s blog post, “Enter The Pom Poms of Sadness”)
  • Designate someone to setup your creations. You don’t want to be hanging your moss-covered initials while you are wearing your wedding gown. Find a crafty friend that can get to your venue early to put everything in it’s place – you’ll want to give your friend a very detailed diagram of where things go, and the freedom to fix things if they don’t work exactly as you’ve planned.
  • Realize that you may not save money. When you need to buy vases for your flowers, or all the paper to make your invitations, the costs can add up quickly. Not to mention that you may need to invest in other equipment to complete these projects. If saving money is your top priority for DIYing it, be sure to look at all the costs before starting a project.
  • Styled wedding shoots are not real weddings. Many blogs and magazines feature photos of tablescapes or other decor elements that were created just for a photo shoot. While they are beautiful, they may not be 100% practical for a real wedding. The photographer may have shot 100 images to get one or two that look “perfect.” The Martha Stewart version of the tissue pom poms shown here may have been completely flat on the other side. The magazine layout won’t care, but your guests will.

If you are a crafty or artistic person by nature, then by all means add some hand-crafted touches to your wedding. Otherwise, find a designer you can create the look you want.

Beach Wedding Tips

Even though summer is winding down in most parts of the country, here in Florida it is still perfect beach weather! I personally don’t recommend having the ceremony on the actual beach, for several reasons: the on-looking public, noise, wind, sand everywhere, not to mention Speedo-guy in the background of your photos. We have several lovely locations here in North Florida and South Georgia that overlook the beach while minimizing some of these issues. But, if you do choose to have your ceremony on the beach, here are some things to consider:

  • Always have a backup plan. Weather in Florida is so unpredictable, and the soft ocean breeze can easily become a tropical storm force wind in a matter of hours. While a tent may be an option, it may not be the best solution.
  • Think about access for older guests. Can your grandparents walk easily in the sand? If not, designate a family member (not someone in the bridal party) to help them.
  • Warn guests that ceremony will be on the beach. Make it clear on the invitation that guests should be prepared to remove their shoes or wear sandals for the ceremony. Nothing is worse than high heels and panty hose on the beach.
  • Have water available for your guests. Even when the temperatures are in the 80’s, it can be hot in the sun. Remember that your guests will begin arriving about 30 minutes before your ceremony time, so have a water station to quench their thirst. Add some cucumber to the water for a fun treat!
  • Have towels to wipe off feet. As I mentioned previously, there will be sand everywhere. It’s a nice touch for your guests to be able to clean up before entering the reception.
  • Rent a sound system. The sounds of the surf are romantic, but they make it difficult for your guests to hear what is being said during the ceremony. Be sure to ask about battery-operated systems, since chances are you won’t have a power outlet nearby.
  • Provide sunscreen in welcome bags. Some of your guests may be sensitive to the sun, even if your ceremony is at sunset. Add some sunscreen to your welcome bags, or have it available at your water station.

(photo from Shanae and Marlon’s wedding at The Lodge and Club at Ponte Vedra Beach, by Naturally Photography)

Broadcasting Your Wedding

With modern technology, our world has grown smaller and we are able to communicate with loved ones around the globe in ways that our great-grandparents could never imagine. Why not share your wedding with friends and family that aren’t able to travel to share your special day?

It may seem daunting to set up a broadcast of your wedding ceremony. but live broadcast isn’t just for royal weddings anymore. There are several services that make it very simple! First, check with your videographer. This may be a service they offer, since many companies offer broadcasting services to their corporate clients. If yours doesn’t, there are some other options available.

Livestream sells a nifty device that broadcasts HD quality video directly from the camera, no computer needed. At $495, it’s not a cheap option but it’s a high quality one. The Broadcaster is pictured here (photo from the Livestream website), I think it’s a pretty genius idea!

For cheaper alternatives, you could even use Skype, FaceTime, or Google+ Hangouts to share video. There are so many great options available to you!Wedding-specific broadcasts are the specialty of “I Do” Stream. Their options range from $199 to $595, depending on whether you have equipment or not.

Planning Your Wedding Menu

When you begin planning your wedding menu, there are many more decisions to make that just sit-down or stations/buffet. Here are some tips to consider:

Think about what foods are in season at the time of your wedding. In-season fruits and vegetables are more budget friendly too!

Choose foods that will pair nicely both in flavor and in presentation. Monochromatic may work as a wedding color scheme, but it doesn’t work well on a plate. Be sure to choose a variety of colors and textures for your meal.

Avoid overly spicy foods. There are few things worse that heartburn during your wedding reception!

Ask your caterer about alternate meals for vegetarians, vegans, and those with food allergies. They will usually offer an alternate entree that will meet all these needs.

Consider printing menu cards that detail the meal and include them at each place setting. If someone does have a concern about a menu item, they can ask their server.

Don’t be afraid to ask your caterer about incorporating a family recipe into your menu. Most chefs love to try new recipes, with enough advance notice.

(photo by La Dolce Vita Studios)