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July 2015Page 1 of 1  

Finding a Wedding Reception Location

Publish On 2015-07-07 , 10:35 AM

Tagaytay Wedding Reception


Setup by Town's Delight The Caterer

Once you've have the right spot, all the rest of those wedding day details (color, style, decor etc.) should fall into place. What should you look for in your wedding reception site (aside from that sense of rightness you know you'll have the moment you see the perfect spot)? Keep these helpful hints top in mind.

A Roomy Fit
It sounds obvious (because it is) but make sure the room is large enough to accommodate the number of people on your guest list. The space may look enormous when it's empty, but wedding essentials -- tables, chairs, a buffet, a bar, the band or DJ setup, the dance floor -- can take up a lot of space. Not to mention your guests will need some elbow room. Even if you choose an outdoor site, you'll need ample room on the lawn, in the arboretum, or poolside. The best way to assess the size of a site? Ask to take a peek of the space when another wedding (with an equivalent guest list size) is all set up. Of course, if you decide you must have your wedding at your favorite bar (the one with one bathroom, two booths, and three feet of floor space), you can always work backward and tailor your guest list to match.

Eating, Drinking and Partying Areas
There should be logical places within the space where guests can eat, drink, talk, and dance. When you're standing in the space, try to envision where each activity would happen (especially if your ceremony will be there). If a room is too small to separate into sections accordingly, you will probably feel cramped. If it's shaped like an S or some other oddball figure, that could compromise your party's flow, as well. Also, note the locations of columns or other obstructions in the room -- will they block people's views of the dance floor or the cake table where the best man will give a toast?

Privacy varies widely from place to place, as does the importance couples place on it. If you're having a daytime event in a public spot, such as a park, beach or botanic garden, be prepared for strangers to trek past your party. They may even smile, wave, and come by to offer their good wishes. If this is okay with you, go for the park. If not, opt for a lawn on a private estate or golf course. Or, hold the reception at a restaurant or gallery that will allow you to buy it out (as in, guests-only). Be sure to ask about available security at your site to keep gate-crashers at bay.

In addition, don't think that just because you're indoors, you're safe from uninvited guests. Banquet halls and hotels often hold more than one affair at a time. If there'll be other events going on simultaneously in rooms close to yours, you may hear karaoke-loving guests singing their hearts out to the sounds of Madonna through the walls or meet them over the hot-air dryers in the bathroom. If this bothers you, try to schedule your wedding when there won't be another one next door. If this is impossible, visit the site on a dual-party night and see how the sound carries and whether there really are any major people problems -- before you make a decision.

Light can make -- or break -- the mood and the space. If you're marrying during the day, make sure your hall has plenty of windows. Who wants to spend six hours in a dark room when the sun is shining? If it's an evening affair, make sure the room's not too dim -- or that the lighting can be controlled for the big entrance, dinner, and dancing. If you're marrying outdoors, say, at dusk, will you be able to set up candles if necessary?

Visit the site at the same time of day that you've chosen for your wedding. Even if the space looks romantic by candlelight, you may be surprised by the sight of that 20-year-old carpet during the day. You'll also miss a chance to see how sunlight streaming through floor-to-ceiling windows completely transforms the room, if you only check it out in the evening.

A Great View
What will your guests see when they walk into the room? Whether it's your city skyline, a stunning vista of rolling mountains beyond the windows, or the crashing sea on the sand behind you, exceptional locations with a view are always a plus. If there's no view per se, look to a place's decor or architectural details: artwork on the walls, fine Persian rugs on the floors, period furniture in the corners, or an amazing crystal chandelier as the room's centerpiece all give your reception site that something extra.

The Right Color
If you're considering a certain theme and color palette for your party -- say, a modern lounge-style cocktail party reception done in black and red -- those gold cord swag curtains are really going to wreck the effect. The site doesn't have to be done in the exact colors as your planned decorations, but the walls, carpets, chairs, and curtains shouldn't clash or conflict with your party's mood or theme. If you want a spring wedding brunch, look for a space that's done in light (perhaps pastel) colors or florals. For classic elegance, consider a room done in neutrals or black and white.

Ample Outlets
Be sure to take a thorough cruise around the room to see if it has lots of places to plug things in -- especially if you're partying in a place that's not a regular spot for hosting weddings. Your main user of outlets will be the entertainment crew. Take note of where the outlets are; if their location will force your DJ to spin records in the bathroom (kidding, but you get the point), make sure she or he has plenty of extension cords.

Good Acoustics
If the place is too echoey, it could give some weird reverb to the band, not to mention make it difficult for guests to hear one another talking. A tile or wood floor, for example, will amplify sounds, while a thick carpet will tend to muffle them. Check out the room's sound quality during an event. And tailor your music to the acoustic conditions. A jazz combo will sound better at an intimate art gallery than a 14-piece orchestra would (not to mention the fact that it takes up less floor space).

Plenty of Parking
Make sure the site is near a good parking lot, garage, or big, empty (safe) street where it's legal to park. If parking is a problem, look for other ways to get everyone to the party. Can a shuttle bus or vans take guests from the ceremony to the reception? Inadequate parking isn't necessarily a deal breaker, but it may mean spending more time and money to figure out a viable vehicular alternative.


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8 Steps to Choosing Your Wedding Colors

Publish On 2015-07-14 , 1:48 PM

Teal and gold wedding palette inspiration


Picking your wedding palette isn’t exactly as easy as choosing your two favorite colors and making them the foundation for every wedding detail. Get started with our guide for selecting your wedding hues.

1. Get Inspired by Your Setting
First things first: location. Have a color palette in mind as you start your venue search. Think about what colors you'd like to use, and whether you'd want to prioritize finding the perfect venue or having your perfect color palette. If you find a venue that you love, but it doesn't work with your colors, you'll want to switch up a hue or two so you don't bust your budget on trying to cover up or distract from the fact that it doesn't match. Venues like converted warehouses, lofts and tents are all blank slates, meaning you can really add as much or as little as you want to carry out your vision for color and style. If you've already found the perfect venue, use the space to help you come up with your color scheme. The colors of your reception space and its surroundings, whether it's the vintage Persian rug in the dining room or the view of the ocean, can spark an idea. And that way, you won't have to work against a clashing color palette and your colors will enhance what you love about your venue.

2. Keep Your Priorities In Mind
While the venue is usually the biggest choice you have to make in your wedding planning, sometimes there are other details to consider that might come before choosing your colors too. If you've always dreamed of having your wedding overflowing with purple dendrobium orchids, then you should use that as a starting point for your palette, instead of trying to figure out a way to work it in later. You don't want to choose a color scheme only to find that a must-have, like your grandmother's ivory table runner, looks out of place or may get lost in the décor rather than standing out like you want it to.

3. Think Seasonally
Just like your wardrobe, your wedding color scheme can be inspired by the time of year you're saying “I do." Think about the shade you want to use to bring out the season in your color palette. Rosy pink is perfect for spring, while a brighter coral is a summer staple. For fall, a rich fuchsia pairs well with other jewel tones, and blush and silver are a pretty wintry combo. Don't shy away from colors you love though just because of seasonal color “rules," which have pretty much gone the way of wearing white after Labor Day. Light pastels and barely there hues, like buff, can work for a fall or winter wedding. The trick is to concentrate on texture, and maybe even bring in a stronger accent color.

4. Set the Mood
Your wedding colors can also help create a vibe for your wedding day. If you're going for a lot of drama, then a dark or jewel tone palette, like ruby red and black or emerald and gold, is a better choice than, say, light pastels. Think about the style and atmosphere you want to have, whether it's relaxed or nostalgic, and what colors put you in that mind-set.

5. Look to What You Love
The colors that inspire your home décor are ones you know you can live with for a long time (and it's an extra perk that leftover items like Moroccan lanterns will get used after your wedding day). Open your closet: What color clothes and accessories are you drawn to? Use that as a starting point for choosing your wedding hues.

6. Do Your Research
Magazines, art galleries and friends' weddings are all great sources for inspiration. While you wouldn't want to choose a color combo just because it's on trend, looking towards art and design may help you see colors you already love in a new way.

7. Consult the Color Wheel
You don't need a degree from art school to pick your palette, but there are some basic principles to follow. Typically, colors that go well together are ones that are opposites because they pair a cool and warm (examples include orange and sky blue and turquoise and coral). Other color pairings that work are “neighbors"—they're similar to each other and share a primary color (think: sunshine yellow and melon orange or fuchsia and blush). A classic way to build your color palette is by pairing a bright, saturated color with a neutral, like violet and gray or blush and gold.

8. Don't Overthink It
It's easy to get caught up in the idea that you have to have a strict wedding color palette. If you're early in the planning process, you'll probably get asked, “What are your colors?" a lot by friends and family, and that can put pressure on you to pick the “right" hues. But color doesn't have to play the major role that it's sometimes made out to be. While your palette will inform a lot of your wedding decisions, like your flowers and your bridesmaid dresses, you should use it as a guideline instead of a rule. Not every part of your wedding has to match perfectly, so don't stress on having every detail color-coded just right. Instead, think of your wedding planning in terms of style, formality, texture and mood, in addition to color.


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How To Have A Fun Wedding

Publish On 2015-07-28 , 3:14 PM

How To Have A Fun Wedding | A Practical Wedding

The wedding industry, that beast of a machine, is built around selling you lots of PRETTY. Pick up any wedding magazine, and you’ll see page after page of dresses, centerpieces, favors, personalized everything (did you know that wedding toilet paper is an actual product you can buy?), and other things designed to “wow” your guests, but, oddly, very little information about how to make sure your guests have fun at your wedding. Which is odd, because when planning any other party, the main question on most people’s minds is, “Hey, how can I make this fun? (And what are we going to feed these people?)” But that doesn’t mean that people don’t want their weddings to be fun. One of the questions on my intake form for new clients is, “What are your top priorities for your wedding?” The most common answers (because my clients are rad) are:

1. That our guests are comfortable

2. That the wedding is a ton of fun (for everyone, including us)

So how exactly does one have a fun wedding? That, my friends, is the million-dollar question. If the wedding industry at large were to offer an answer, it would end up looking like some kind of fancy version of Burning Man, with a cigar roller! And a belly dancer! And a brass band! And a gospel choir! And a face-painting station! And a fortune-teller! And a photo booth! And while a wedding with all those things would probably be really fun (if a little manic), it’s very possible to create fun without a three-ring circus.


Making sure your guests know what to expect is the key element in having a wedding that people enjoy. Are both the ceremony and reception on grass or rocky ground? Let people know so that they can choose their footwear appropriately. This is also true when it comes to temperature. For example, in coastal Northern California it gets cold almost every night, even if it’s ninety-degrees during the day. So if you have a lot of guests coming from out of state, they’ll need to be informed ahead of time to bring a jacket (because unlike the more touristy parts of San Francisco, I doubt there will be overpriced Golden Gate Bridge-branded fleece jackets for sale at your wedding). Formality level comes into play here too. While you shouldn’t dictate exactly what your guests wear, very few people like showing up either extremely over- or under-dressed for an event, so giving a heads up on the general dress code is appreciated, whether that’s black tie or county-park casual (and maybe especially important if you’re doing black tie in a county park).

Beyond weather and what to wear, it’s nice for guests to know what you’re going to want them to do. Need help breaking down tables at the end of the night? My experience is that if you tell people ahead of time, they will be there with bells (or stocking feet) on. But spring this on them right before they grab their bags to get on the shuttle home? They’ll probably still help, because they love you, but some grumbling is also pretty guaranteed. I mean, I can break down chairs until the cows come home, but if I find out I have to do it after I’ve already started preparing myself to go home to take a bubble bath? The enthusiasm level is going to be on the waning side. This goes doubly for your family and your wedding party—the more you let them know in advance what your expectations are, whether that’s, “We really want you to just be guests and enjoy yourselves,” or “We’re going to have a ton of things we’ll need help with and would appreciate all hands on deck,” the more people are going to be in the right mood and mindset to both act and enjoy themselves accordingly.


One of my first rules for any party is this: do not let your guests be hungry. Because hungry quickly turns into hangry, and well, it’s pretty hard to enjoy yourself when you’re hangry. Does this mean you have to serve a full meal? Nope! You just need to serve one if you’ve set guests up to expect one. So, if your reception is, say, from 2–5 p.m., most people will infer that there won’t be a meal served and will eat before and/or plan on eating after. The same would go with a 9 p.m.–midnight reception. You can also hold a reception at another time and advertise that it’s not going to involve a full meal. “Please join us for appetizers and drinks from 5 p.m.–8 p.m.,” or “Dessert reception to follow,” or “Cake and punch after the ceremony,” or any other wording describing the fact that people should not expect to eat a meal. The opposite side of this is, of course, that if you’re having a 4 p.m. ceremony “with reception to follow” and are planning on the reception going until 10 p.m., you very, very definitely need to feed people dinner. It doesn’t have to be fancy (who doesn’t love tacos or burgers? Not anyone I want at a party) but it does have to be filling. See: hangry.


The problem with this question is that everyone has a different definition of what fun is. Because while a booze-and-drug-fueled, dance-till-the-sun-comes-up party defines it for some people, for others that’s some kind of nightmare and an intimate dinner party with board games sounds way more fun, thankyouverymuch. If forced to name the ten most fun weddings I’ve encountered, you’d see both of those, and a bunch of weddings that were somewhere in the great space in between. But what all of them had in common were that they were incredibly authentic to the couple, and to the largest part of their social circle, and hence, largest chunk of their guests. Not the giant dance party types? It’s highly unlikely that you’ve ended up with a group of friends who are, so please feel free to go ahead and skip the loud music. Totally the giant dance party types? Bring. It. On. (And leave the board games at home.) As with most things in life—knowing your crowd is key.

But what if you don’t have a particular group of friends, and your family runs the gamut, and you can barely think of two people coming to the wedding who like the same kinds of parties? Then…


This is one of the big secrets of weddings: people enjoy them the most when they’re emotionally invested in the reason they’re there—that two people they love are publicly joining their lives together. Often this means a meaningful ceremony that puts the guests into an emotional group high of holy shit, I am so happy for them. But I’ve also seen it happen at receptions after a private ceremony; the key is that a wedding reception isn’t just another party. It’s a party celebrating a very, very specific thing—your marriage. This doesn’t mean you need a tiered cake, or a white dress, or a sit down dinner—it just means that the focus should be on your marriage. If you skip the public ceremony, toasts can help a lot with this—I’ve seen many toasts that were equally, if not more, emotionally touching as any ceremony. It also has to do a lot with the attitude and emotions of the couple. It’s hard not to be on an emotional high when the people you’re there to see are on one.

At the end of the day, the people who aren’t going to have fun at your wedding aren’t going to have fun no matter what you do. You could have three live bands, a quiet board game room, and a lounge area for chatting, and there would probably still be one person who went home early. That’s okay, because this is the truth: you cannot please everyone. Once you have a group of more than about six people, someone is going to think that any given idea is probably not the best one. Your painfully shy cousin? Socially forward college roommate? High-energy sister? Easily overwhelmed and kind of awkward best friend? Party animal high school friends? Let’s just be real, there’s probably not a single party in the world that all of these people are going to love equally. What they do love, however, is you, and so even if they don’t go home saying, “That was, no question, one of the best parties I’ve ever been to,” hopefully they’ll go home saying, “I am so, so happy to have been able to be there to celebrate when this couple I love was married.”


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