Bachelor Parties

A bachelor party can be as casual as a day at a football or baseball game, a pizza dinner, or a paint ball competition. Poker night is a perfect idea for a groom who loves to play cards, while golf outings are popular for the golf enthusiast. For the outdoorsman, a great way to bond before the wedding is a weekend of camping or fishing. Moderation in drinking is always recommended, and if hitting the town, it’s always a smart idea to rent a limo so no one has to worry about drinking and driving.  Definitely out of fashion is bad or wild behavior that was once expected conduct at a bachelor party. The purpose of the bachelor party is to give the groom a night to be with the important men in his life, while enjoying his favorite activity with the group. This will surely clear the way for a meaningful night of celebration!

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Whimsical Wedding Cupcakes

The wedding cake is steeped in tradition, but a fun twist to this tried and true classic is offering a cupcake tower. There are many different cupcake tower ideas and a variety of flavors and unique designs that can be used to create a visual showcase and tasting experience. If you still want a cake, but like the trendiness of the tower, opt for cupcakes on all tiers, with a small cake on top for the ceremonial cutting. Estimate two cupcakes per person, as your guests will surely want to try the different flavors. Also, the kids will simply love these whimsical wedding cupcakes! A win-win for everyone!

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Inspiration Boards

Each bride has her own unique style, and a great way to communicate that style to your vendors is to create inspiration boards. These online collages are fun to make and enable your vendors to better understand your vision. Make as many as needed and include your colors, cakes, dresses, florals, or pictures of any wedding images that capture your personal style. There are many sites that have easy-to-use templates, such as The Knot and Pinterest. Find one you like and have fun!

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Signature Your Wedding

Signature your wedding by taking your personal interests, hobbies, and/or activities and weaving them into your wedding. For example, if you both love to travel, name your tables those cities you’ve visited and add a picture of the two of you in that city. Then, provide vintage luggage as a receptacle for your gift cards, have your menus designed like a passport, and serve food reflecting a world cuisine, such as French, Italian, etc. You don’t need to overdo it, but your guests will immediately recognize your personal signature touches. In this blog picture, the couple loved to fish, ergo a fish-signature wedding! Whatever your passion, establish a theme, and create your signature wedding. It will be the talk of the evening!

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Bridal Party Gifts

Long gone are the days when you purchased the same gift for each member of the bridal party…like a necklace for each bridesmaid or a money clip for each groomsman! A more modern and personal approach is to choose a gift that fits the personality and style of each one of your attendants. Consider giving the ladies a spa day, a manicure/pedicure, a makeup lesson, or a facial. For the men, maybe a day of skiing, tickets to a sporting event, or a golfing certificate. No matter what you choose, they are sure to appreciate your thoughtfulness in giving such a personalized gift for a very special occasion.

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Trendy Seating Charts

New on the scene and keeping with a casual wedding theme, are seating charts that look like old-fashioned chalkboards. These cute and fun boards don’t really use chalk (as this would cause problems if bumped), but instead are painted to resemble the use of chalk. Framed or unframed, many couples add their wedding date and name at the top, with the seating chart below. Keep in mind that when ordering these novel boards, you won’t be able to add or remove names should your guests cancel or respond late. So ordering the board at the latest possible date is highly recommended. Easier to locate who’s sitting where, your guests will be intrigued by this very creative seating chart

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Post-Party Wine Tours

A popular event in the California Wine Country is a post-wedding wine tour. Most couples either host the event themselves or, at the very least, pay for transportation and (possibly) lunch, with the guests footing the bill for their own tours and tastings. It’s a great way to wind down after a whirlwind weekend of activities and an opportunity for the guests to enjoy the region’s beautiful vineyards, wineries, and – of course – the wine! Including a picnic lunch is always a good idea, and limiting the stops to 3 wineries is an excellent way for everyone to appreciate the wines of that particular winery. Moreover, we are fortunate to have many transportation companies who can assist with your tour and make all the necessary reservations in advance. Cheers!

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Ceremony Musicians

Envision walking down the aisle in your wedding gown and smiling at your soon-to-be-husband…but without music? Choosing the perfect song and musicians are important (but fun!) decisions when planning your wedding. The Wine Country has many elegant and talented musicians, offering everything from string instruments, such as violins, cellos, guitars, and harps, to the piano – one of the most popular instruments in the world – whose keyboard can produce classical, pop, blues, and jazz. Deciding which type of music that best suits you and your taste is a personal choice, but keep in mind that a larger guest attendance or environment (like an outdoor wedding) will require a larger ensemble or amplified music so the guests are able to hear the melody. The right song will make walking down the aisle feel like you are floating on air…and you are!

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Gown Preservation

Many brides are so excited to start their married life that they forget one important keepsake that needs tending to after the wedding…their wedding dress! Your gown should be preserved within one month of the wedding. Take it in for cleaning and preservation as soon as possible, because stains will set in and turn yellow and become difficult, if not impossible, to remove. (And often there are stains that have occurred during the wedding that you don’t even see right away.) Many cleaners, as well as the place where you purchased your wedding dress, offer this service. Though it may run a couple hundred dollars or more, if done promptly, this service will assure that your gown is beautifully preserved and available for future use by a loved one!

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Tips on Tipping

I’m often asked which vendors should be tipped and how much. While this may be a personal decision determined by the couple, here are some basic guidelines I recommend: (1) Wait staff and bartenders should receive between 18-20% of the total bill. Don’t confuse this with the service charge most caterers add to the bill! In most cases, this goes to the company to pay a higher hourly wage to the staff. Ask how it’s applied and, if this is the case, a 10% gratuity is sufficient. (2) Valet, coat check, hairstylist, and transportation drivers all fall in the same gratuity range of 18-20%. I’m not a proponent of tipping professionals, such as the photographer, musicians, videographer, florist, cake and wedding planner. Personally, as a wedding planner myself, I would prefer a thank you note, referral, or favorable review. Remember, tipping isn’t mandatory…it’s an expression of gratitude for a service well done.

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